Tag Archives: She Wore A Yellow Ribbon

MATCH REPORT: Arsenal 2 – 0 Newcastle United

Arsenal (0) 2 Newcastle United (0) 0

Premier League

Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU

Saturday, 27th November 2021. Kick-off time: 12.30pm

(4-4-4-1) Aaron Ramsdale; Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Gabriel Magalhães, Nuno Tavares; Bukayo Saka, Thomas Partey, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Emile Smith-Rowe; Martin Ødegaard; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Substitutes: Bernd Leno, Kieran Tierney, Alexandre Lacazette, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Rob Holding, Nicolas Pépé, Mohamed Elneny, Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli.

Scorers: Bukayo Saka (56 mins), Gabriel Martinelli (66 mins)

Yellow Cards: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Arsenal Possession Percentage: 66%

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Assistant Referees: Dan Cook, Harry Lennard

Fourth Official: Robert Jones

VAR Team at Stockley Park: VAR Darren England; AVAR Mark Scholes

Attendance: 59.886

After last week’s bruising encounter at Anfield, the boys return to action today with a match against Newcastle United, who are currently lying at the base of the Premiership with just six points from twelve matches. However, don’t be misled by this, as there is many a sting in the tail of a team which is hungry to survive in this tough division, and as we have seen so many times previously, they will fight tooth and nail to maintain their fading status. We need to show our true mettle at all times today, and must not be complacent on any level in order to obtain maximum points. It’s more than important for us to bounce back in the correct manner to consign the result (not to mention the humiliation) of the previous match to the dustbin of history.

We kicked off today’s encounter, and it has to be said that the opening minutes of the match were quite sluggish, with both sides merely jockeying for positon to try to test each other’s players and formations, of course. It was becoming fairly obvious to all and sundry that between the two sides out there today, Arsenal were by far the most organised, and as such, were slowly gaining the measure of the Magpies in all areas of the pitch. Our possessional domination was good to see, especially when it came to the visiting side trying to put a few moves together; any one of our players were there in an instance, neutralising a problem before it got too serious. Both Nuno Tavares and Takehiro Tomiyasu were doing sterling work out on the wings, pumping balls into the penalty area for our players to grab, and Albert Sambi Lokonga was looking very impressive in his desire to open the scoring in these early exchanges; speaking of which, after a quarter of an hour our first real decent chance of the match came when his long-range pass found Bukayo Saka, who was desperately unucky not to score when his attempt went narrowly wide of the goal. It seems to be that long balls appear to be the key that will undo the Newcastle lock today, as when these moves are executed by our midfielders, the visitors’ defence have little answer. After twenty minutes, Martin Ødegaard fired in an excellent left-footed shot from a free kick just outside the penalty area, and somehow Martin Dúbravka managed to leap across the goal to push the ball away for an Arsenal corner. The defensive pattern of the visitors were causing us utter frustration at times, but the groupthink amongst our players seemed to be along the lines of “the more we knock, the more likely the door will open.” Keep on knocking harder, chaps. However, after half an hour, a Jonjo Shelvey shot from outside the penalty area was tipped on (and over) the bar by Aaron Ramsdale, which, leaving his excellent save out of this, was an object lesson of how not to be too complacent in these situations. Having had a wake-up call, we certainly need to raise our game more, and after a hiatus in play when two Newcastle United players collided after an Arsenal free-kick, we continued our high-pressing game. Just five minutes before half-time, a Bukayo Saka cross from the byline found Emile Smith-Rowe just outside the six-yard box, and his superb subsequent header was saved by Martin Dúbravka, who pushed it into the path of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose quick-reaction shot hit the outside of the post from point-blank range. How it was not a goal is anybody’s guess, but despite several great chances afterwards, we entered half-time goalless. How?

The second half began with Arsenal taking the bull firmly by the horns, and getting stuck into the Arteta gameplan. After five minutes into the second period, Bukayo Saka was unfortunate not to score when his accurate, but strong shot was pushed away by Martin Dúbravka, sadly. We started to ramp up the pressure now, with the game certainly getting more physical with tough challenges being metered out by both sides. Eleven minutes after the restart, Bukayo Saka scored with an excellent low left-footed shot that was drilled past the Magpies’ goalie after sixteen passes in which no Newcastle United player got even close to getting. What was even more impressive was the combination of passes between the players, particularly Emile Smith-Rowe and Nuno Tavares. Shortly afterwards, our goalscorer went to the floor, injured. Although he carried on, he looked in severe difficulty, and knowing just how important he is to both club and country, this was a most concerning point in the match. The goal certainly fired us up and into full body and life; as expected Gabriel Martinelli replaced Bukayo Saka finally after sixty-three minutes, and two minutes later, the substitute grabbed our second goal of the afternoon when he ran into the Magpies’ penalty area and collected a superb ball from Takehiro Tomiyasu and neatly lobbed the ball over Martin Dúbravka and into the net. Classy, classy stuff from our boys. The visitors started to take a few desperate chances with a couple of long-range shots, but they nearly all went either high or wide of the mark, which in itself was not only a blessing, of course, but judging by their poor shooting abilities was abut par for the course. Arsenal looked fairly confident now, and just before he was subsituted after seventy-four minutes for Alexandre Lacazette, our captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was booked for a messy and clumsy challenge, which was a shame, really, as it took away from what otherwise would have been a peerless performance by the boys. As the match entered its later stages, silly mistakes were being committed by both sides, and with ten minutes of the match remaining, we broke out in a classic smash’n’grab operation, when Emile Smith-Rowe released Gabriel Martinelli out on the right, who advanced and passed the ball to Alexandre Lacazette, who dropped a shoulder, lost a defender, and watched his left-footed shot hit the side netting. Thomas Partey was substituted for Mohamed Elneny after eighty-four minutes, and as the match started to slow down to its natural conclusion, both sides were having their chances on goal, but the score remained the same, despite four minutes’ injury time. A good, satisfying victory.

Make no mistake about it, this was an extremely important victory today against Newcastle United. Okay, the first half was a wee bit patchy, but after last week’s Liverpool match, the boys may have had a bit of trouble in the confidence area, but all that was forgotten as soon as the whistle blew for the second half. So many good things to talk about on the pitch today: Aaron Ramsdale was truly sensational in both positioning and saving multiple shots from a very dangerous Callum Wilson; Nuno Tavares and Takehiro Tomiyasu never stopped running and tackling, and it is to be wondered, just how Kieran Tierney is going to get back into this side?; Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe were their usual electrifying selves, whilst Albert Sambi Lokonga was just another class. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and both Alexandre Lacazette were unlucky not to get on the scoresheet this afternoon, and just how good was our supersub Gabriel Martinelli this afternoon? We are fifth (joint fourth) with West Ham United in the Premiership tonight, and with our next match being Manchester United at Old Trafford on Thursday evening, not only our confidence will be rebuilt today, but our burning desire to win and control matches has returned. All things considered, a very good day for all those involved with Arsenal Football Club.

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: Manchester United at Old Trafford on Thursday, 2nd December at 8.15pm (Premier League). Be there, if you can. Victoria Concordia Crescit.


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.

At some point games against Liverpool need to stop being a “shot to nothing”

“It was a shot to nothing”

“Didn’t expect a result anyway”

That was the common consensus from the majority. And they are right.

But it is also important that we learn from the defeat against Liverpool. And Manchester City. And Chelsea.

At some point we need to move up to the next level. Away from calling it a project; that we are a team in development.

For now, it is fine. We are a team whose target was to compete for top 4. We are in the race.

But if we want to transition from top 4 contenders to title contenders, we need to begin getting results against City, Liverpool and Chelsea.

Those teams comes to Arsenal and do not see it as a “shot to nothing”. They see it as 3 points. Anything less is a failure.

The change won’t happen this season.

Considering how poor we have been and for how long, turning the good ship Arsenal around was always going to take some time.

It feels like we are on the right road. Just at some point we need to find a new gear if we wish to be title challengers.

At the moment we have one of the youngest teams in the league. They were due a capitulation and in the second half at Liverpool it was heads gone.

The game is easy in hindsight.

Mikel Arteta should have probably gone with Kieran Tierney over the inexperienced Nuno Tavares – especially against Mo Salah who is probably the best player on the world right now.

Likewise we probably should have flooded the midfield. Played Ainsley Maitland-Niles ahead Alex Lacazette matching up Liverpool’s midfield 3; with Maitland-Niles also providing extra cover in that wide position against Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

As it was Tavares was exposed on the left and we were over run in midfield. Thomas Partey and Albert Sambi-Lokonga provided no cover and no out ball.

But then had we made those changes and lost Arteta would have been criticised for changing a winning team.

We move on with Newcastle at home up next before trips to Everton and Manchester United.

Whilst a trip to Liverpool at the moment is a shot to nothing, we need to be returning to the north-west expecting wins in the coming weeks.

5th in the table after 13 games. I am happy. We dust ourselves down and move on.


Premier League should not be publicly shamed for Shelter rejection

I am not usually one to go out of his way to defend he Premier League or it’s member clubs.

Too often over the years they have done very little to help the likes of me – a match going fan.

In fact, at times it feels like fans like me are not wanted by the Premier League. By Arsenal.

But on this occasion I will come to the defence of them.

It has been well publicised that the Premier League turned down a request from homeless charity Shelter for home clubs to raise the awareness of rough sleeping.

The league have been criticised by all corners of the media and across social media sites. But they are on the right to turn them down.

Football clubs and the Premier League will have countless requests from charities for support. They can not support them all.

What Shelter have done is wrong.

They have used the rejection to publicly blackmail the league into changing their stance.

Rather than accept the decision and move on; they went to the media.

This was done to shame the Premier League into a u-turn whilst also giving lots of free publicity to Shelter.

That does not sit well with me.

Charities should not be using the rejection of companies and organisations to boost their profile. It is uncharitable.

Take the MacMillan Nurses a few years ago.

They publicly wrote to every Premier League side asking their players to donate a days wages to their charity. Some accepted; others rejected.

MacMillan Nurses then published the list of clubs that rejected their request in the hope the media would pick up on their story. They did and the public flogging began.

Arsenal were one of those clubs to reject the request and became the headline name the papers went with.

What it ignored is that Arsenal had its own charity – the Arsenal Foundation – which distributed funds across many charities across Islington. One of the fundraising activities they already undertook was every player donating a days wages to the Arsenal Foundation.

From this blog we make a small amount of money. We donate that money to charities.

We often get requests from people asking for donations – whether it is or a kids football team or to support someone’s JustGiving charitable drive. We often have to reject them as we simply can not afford to donate to every request.

Whilst football clubs are much richer, they will get countless more requests than our little blog. And whereas we are getting asked to donate £50, they will be getting asked to donate £500,000.

Like us, at some point they have to say no. They can not donate to every charitable request.

It is why Arsenal – and many other clubs – have set up their own foundation. This allows them to point any request towards their own foundation.

If you want a donation, apply to the foundation not the club.

The Premier League are also no different.

They will get daily requests to donate money or publicly support a cause. They can not agree to donate or promote them all.

We already have the support of Black Lives Matter and Mind. As well as Kick It Out and Rainbow Laces. They already do a lot to raise awareness in multiple causes.

But the more causes they agree to raise awareness in, the more diluted that support comes.

It could get to a point where every weekend the Premier League are showing their support for a different cause. And then some will still get rejected.

So you will still have a charity or organisation going to the press saying “our request for support from the Premier League has been rejected”. And it will become a headline story.

A lot of football clubs already run a “Big Sleep Out” event for homelessness.

This is where they encourage people to spend a night sleeping in their stadium to raise funds for homelessness. In 2019 Chelsea raised £25,000 split between the two local homeless charities. Wolves raised £30k in 2019; Bristol Rovers £7k in 2020 and West Ham over £100k for Shelter just last year.

Clubs clearly already do so much to raise awareness and funds for homeless charities.

The sad fact is their rejection of Shelter’s proposal will get more publicity than the positive acts each club does in the area.

What Shelter have done with their public shaming leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

Instead of praising clubs for the work they do, they could end up alienating them and losing their future support.

Shelter might have just shot themselves in the foot for future funding from clubs.

Over the pandemic every club stepped up and donated a huge amount of food, resources and time to help those who needed it. They also would have rejected a lot of requests to help.

If every rejection was made public, it would have been a daily story.

At some point the Premier League, football clubs and businesses have to say no. They can not support every charity, every cause.

On a final thought, those media companies that have criticised the Premier League in recent days; do they support every charity that requests it?

We should be focusing on the charities, causes and work the Premier League and her members already do. Not criticising them for rejecting one charities public advances.

Move on. Focus on the football.