Tag Archives: Arsenal

Match Report: WBA 0 – 4 Arsenal

West Bromwich Albion (0) 0 Arsenal (2) 4

Premier League

The Hawthorns, 9 Birmingham Road, West Bromwich B71 4LF

Saturday, 2nd January 2021. Kick-off time: 8.00pm

(4-2-3-1) Bernd Leno; Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding, Pablo Marí, Kieran Tierney; Dani Ceballos, Granit Xhaka; Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang; Alexandre Lacazette.

Substitutes: Willian Borges da Silva, Alex Rúnarsson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Nicolas Pépé, David Luiz, Mohamed Elneny, Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli.

Scorers: Kieran Tierney (23 mins), Bukayo Saka (28 mins), Alexandre Lacazette (61, 64 mins)

Yellow Cards: Hector Bellerin, Dani Ceballos

Arsenal Possession Percentage: 62%

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Assistant Referees: Darren Cann, Harry Lennard

Fourth Official: Darren England

VAR Team at Stockley Park: VAR Jonathan Moss; AVAR Stephen Child

Attendance: A maximum of 300 attendees due to UK government coronavirus restrictions

Firstly, Happy New Year to everyone! Secondly, the pressing matter of tonight’s game. After winning the previous two matches, this evening’s contest becomes paramount in our restoration to a decent Premiership position, one that a club of our stature should be rightly pround of. Today is all about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is set to make his one hundredth Premier League appearance; and by the way, he has also been involved in seventeen goals in fifteen Premiership matches against promoted opposition, scoring thirteen goals and four assists. To date, he has scored fifty-seven Premiership goals (with thirteen assists) since he started here at Arsenal in the 2017-18 season. Congratulations, may there be many more goals and assists for us from him, starting with tonight’s match at The Hawthorns. Let’s go! 

On an absolutely freezing night in the West Midlands, both sides started quite slowly, probably due to the chilly nature of the weather tonight, but we looked the livelier of the two teams when Hector Bellerin drilled a low shot at goal which goalkeeper Sam Johnstone managed to clear the ball away after just four minutes. Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe got extremely close to opening the scoring, but in both cases, the WBA goalie saved well; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also came close to scoring (via a Bukayo Saka cross) after fifteen minutes, but only suceeded in wrapping himself around the far post! After twenty-two minutes, Kieran Tierney beat Darnell Furlong twice on the left, cut inside, and scored a beautiful opening goal with his right foot that sailed past Sam Johnstone and into the top right-hand corner of the net. Five minutes later, we got the second goal of the evening, when Bukayo Saka received a pass and fed Alexandre Lacazette, who rolled it into the path of Emile Smith Rowe in the box; he then merely laid it on a plate for Bukayo Saka who tapped the ball into an open net from a couple of yards out, which finished off a Barҫa-like movement perfectly, and in the middle of a snowstorm too! Sublime. Despite being two goals ahead, this did not stop our hunger for more. Rob Holding came close with a powerful header that the WBA goalie managed, somehow to hold, and just before the healf-time break, Alexandre Lacazette was desperately unlucky not to score from close range, when his powerful shot cannoned off the goalie for a corner.

Just a couple of minutes into the second half, the home side did manage to get the ball into the back of our net, but fortunately it was cancelled out for offside. Phew. Anyway, we composed ourselves and got back into the match with some very good work on the wing by our two full-backs, and less than ten minutes after the restart, surprisingly it has to be said, Ainsley Maitland-Niles replaced Hector Bellerin at full-back. Just after the substitution, Dani Ceballos picked out Alexandre Lacazette, but he was forced wide by Sam Johnstone allowing Dara O’Shea to get back on the goal-line and hack the goalbound shot clear; it made no difference, as just after the hour, Bukayo Saka got involved again as his cross was volleyed onto his own post by Semi Ajayi; he then blocked Emile Smith Rowe’s follow through, but the ball fell nicely for Alexandre Lacazette to convert a low finish from about five yards out. And again, three minutes later, Alexandre Lacazette grabbed our fourth (and his second) of the night, when a Kieran Tierney cross was diverted into the back of the WBA net by our number nine, who was having a superb night. Bukayo Saka made way for Willian after seventy minutes, and six minutes later, Joe Willock replaced Emile Smith-Rowe in order to get new legs out on the pitch for the remainder of the game. And still we came forward, hungry for yet more goals. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Kieran Tierney were unfortunate not to score, and despite the disappointment of Dani Ceballos receiving a yellow card for a pointless challenge a couple of minutes before the end, that was pretty much the end of things here at The Hawthorns tonight.

We appear to have risen, phoenix-like, from the ashes of the possibility of relegation. Nine points from three games, eleventh in the Premiership, three points from sixth place. Wow. The demolition derby that took plave in the snowbound West Midlands tonight was a football lesson, the likes of which we have not seen from the team this season. It was a joy to watch from start to finish; accurate passing, good running both on and off the ball, and above all this, they had complete control. Great to see Alexandre Lacazette getting on the scoresheet again, and just how good was Kieran Tierney tonight? A superb way to start a new year. Keep it up, chaps.

Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match: Newcastle United at the Emirates on Saturday, 9th January at 5.30pm (FA Cup). Victoria Concordia Crescit.

Steve

Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.

Match Report: Brighton 0 – 1 Arsenal

Brighton and Hove Albion (0) 0 Arsenal (0) 1

Premier League

The AMEX Stadium, Village Way, Brighton BN1 9BL

Tuesday, 29th December 2020. Kick-off time: 6.00pm

(4-2-3-1) Bernd Leno; Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding, Pablo Marí, Kieran Tierney; Mohamed Elneny, Granit Xhaka; Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe, Gabriel Martinelli, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Substitutes: Dani Ceballos, Alexandre Lacazette, Alex Rúnarsson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Cédric Soares, Nicolas Pépé, Shkodran Mustafi, Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah

Scorers: Alexandre Lacazatte (66 mins)

Arsenal Possession Percentage: 00%

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Assistant Referees: Gary Beswick, Sian Massey-Ellis

Fourth Official: Michael Oliver

VAR Team at Stockley Park: VAR Peter Bankes; AVAR Matthew Wilkes

Attendance: A maximum of 300 attendees due to UK government coronavirus restrictions

So we can do it then. The Boxing Day battering of Chelsea at the Emirates proved beyond reasonable doubt that this group of players are more than capable of meeting challenges head on, and coming through them releatively unscathed. Not only did our remarkable and unexpected victory end our seven-match winless Premiership sequence, but it gave notice to everyone that we are capable of a cohesive, ruthless performance that can put the very best of them to the sword. Now all we have to do is keep it up. Let’s go! 

The match started off fairly even, with both sides halting each others’ progress, but overall, we created the more opportunities to score in the first quarter of an hour or so. The game started to get rather ploddy, with players attemtping to capitalise on some half chances that never really had much of a chance of coming off. Just after the half hour, from a direct free-kick, Granit Xhaka’s left footed shot from outside the box went too high and into the empty stands. Bernd Leno made a superb double save from Alireza Jahanbakhs, which was by far the best chance the home side have had this match. With chances few and far between for both sides, it was an absolute relief when Martin Atkinson blew his whistle for the half-time break.

With no shots on target in the first half, we hope that at the start of the second half, our strikers find their shooting boots in earnest here at the AMEX stadium tonight. Less than a minute of the restart, Brighton claimed a penalty over a suspected foul by Rob Holding, but thankfully VAR cancelled the rather tenuous claim. Minutes later, we had out best attempt to score of the match so far, when Bukayo Saka fired over a cross from the left, to be met by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose shot from point-blank range was pushed aside by the goalkeeper. Then Gabriel Martinelli fired a superb shot over the bar from close range after some sterling work by Emile Smith-Rowe, cutting in from the left, and already, we have looked more lively in the first ten minutes of the second half than all of the previous one! The match started to quieten down and the pendulum swung back a little in the home team’s favour with their forwards showing desire to score. And so, with twenty-five minutes left of the game, Gabriel Martinelli made way for Alexandre Lacazatte; an inspired choice by Mikel Arteta, as literally seconds later, Bukayo Saka tore down the right wing, crossed a low ball, and who was there to tuck the ball away? Yep, you guessed it, our substitute, who announced his entry into the match in the most positive and grandest manner. Bukayo Saka nearly added a second goal five minutes later, when Kieran Tierney cut a ball back from the byline, but his shot was blocked by a couple of Brighton defenders. Dani Ceballos replaced an already injured Bukayo Saka, who hobbled off the pitch after eighty minutes, and following a rejig of the formation, we carried on regardless. We did have one or two lapses of concentration in the final few minutes of the match, but that was addressed by Ainsley Maitland-Niles replacing Emile Smith-Rowe to shore things up at the back somewhat. And it worked, so now we have back-to-back wins in the Premiership in December, and for that we all have to be truly grateful, my friends.

Whatever went on in the dressing room at half-time, it certainly worked! The first half was extremely lack lustre, but the second half was a totally different case in point. They played like a different team, and although it certainly was not pretty at times, we grabbed the three points, which is what counts at the end of the day. Happy New Year.

Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match: West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Saturday 2nd January 2021 at 8.00pm (Premier League). Victoria Concordia Crescit.

Steve

Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.

Goodbye for 2020

This is my last blog of the year.

Blogging has always been something I’ve done for enjoyment. It is an outlet. I am not driven by making money (the blog makes none) or by social media followers. I do it for me. But with the negativity flying about the world, I think it is time to stop. To enjoy Christmas.

2020 has been filled with good and bad both football and professionally.

The football year has seen us struggle on the pitch yet still win 2 trophies. The hardest part has not being able to go games with mates.

Going pub before and after the game, celebrating success and commiserating defeats together is perhaps more important than the 90 minutes. With COVID19 that has been taken away from us.

I still managed to have 12 or so people round mine for the cup final. A great memory in the garden, with close friends, watching us win. We made the best of a bad job.

But we finish the year in an awful position. One I don’t have the energy to go into.

Personally it has been a year of ups and downs as well.

As I’ve said, I blog for enjoyment. But 2020 has seen some right weirdos attempt to ruin my life. All because of the opinion I share.

I had 2 people write to my work claiming I had racially abused them, demanding my work to be sacked. I had two stalkers and I had someone distributing my name, address, place of work and pictures of me on social media.

The first person to accuse me of racism was wary in the year. The girl in question, let’s call her Jazz, provided a Tweet I wrote 4 years ago as proof that I was “always racist on twitter”. She also claimed I was sexist, homophobic, etc, etc. My work saw through her BS and stuck with me. They asked her for more evidence. None came. Clearly some issues there

The second person to claim racism wrote a letter to my work saying that they were my “neighbour” and that I had racially abused them in the street. They said that they did not know my full name, but knew who I worked for and had tracked me down on my company website.

On my company website, it has my full name…

They threatened that if my work did not sack me, they would go to the police. Surely if someone has racially abused you, your first thought is go to the police, not their place of work?

My work advised them to go to the police. I still have not had a knock on my door. It was clear and obvious that they were not a neighbour, and just some weird little kid who had managed to get my street name, first name, picture of me and my place of work. A few people from a certain fan TV channel we’re distributing these details online.

Then we have the stalkers.

Let’s call the first Johnny. He spent a few days calling up my office, abusing me down the phone then hanging up.

Johnny apparently has a reputation for this and I am not his first victim.

The second, let’s call him Tony, has sent me over 100 message through the blog for 4 years. He is a 50 year old man with a family, sitting their weekly stalking someone on line.

This year I had enough of him so publicly shamed him in the hope it stopped. I made it clear that I knew who he was, the names of his daughters, where he lived, without releasing personal details. Overnight his stalking stopped.

These four people have made me wonder whether it is worthwhile still blogging. But then I realise that I blog for me. And they will not stop me.

The issues are clearly with them and I am probably not the only person they have tried to get sacked or stalk. I hope in 2021 they all received the help they need.

But the year is ending on a high. Work is going great and the side hustle I started during lockdown is making good profits. I am in a good place. Hopefully in 2021 I will be able to get abroad again. I have missed that in 2020.

2019 I went Antigua, Morocco, Liege and Lisbon. The first two on my own, the later two with great mates. Trips abroad for cricket, football, culture and beer have been missed this year.

I also wrote a book in 2020, helped host online quizzes and spoke to my family more than I had done in any previous year.

So I go into 2021 in a strong position than I started 2020. The nut jobs that attached themselves to me this year seem to have slithered back under the rock. I am buzzing for next year.

Enjoy Christmas.

See you in the New Year.

Keenos