Tag Archives: She Wore A Yellow Ribbon

Match Report: Arsenal 2 – 1 Burnley

Arsenal (1) 2 Burnley (1) 1
Premier League
Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU
Saturday, 17th August 2019. Kick-off time: 12.30pm
(4-2-3-1) Bernd Leno; Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, David Luiz, Nacho Monreal; Joe Willock, Mattéo Guendouzi; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Dani Ceballos, Reiss Nelson; Alexandre Lacazette.
Substitutes: Emiliano Martínez, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Calum Chambers, Lucas Torreira, Sead Kolašinac, Nicolas Pépé, Gabriel Martinelli.
Scorers: Alexandre Lacazette (13 mins), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (64 mins)
Yellow Cards: David Luiz, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Arsenal Possession Percentage: 68%
Referee: Mike Dean
Attendance 60,214
There is something special about our stadium at this time of the year, maybe it’s because the grass seems to be greener, or perhaps the spick-and-span feel of the place gives everything a feelgood factor, or it could be the aura of anticipation which hangs heavy in the air giving the impression that at last, we could be really on to something for the first time in quite a while. After just thirteen effervescent minutes, Alexandre Lacazette showed his strength and determination in holding off Erik Pieters, pirouetting awkwardly and shooting the ball through goalkeeper Nick Pope’s legs to open the scoring for the season here at The Emirates.
After this auspicious beginning, the scrap began, which to be fair was always going to happen against the Lancastrians. David Luiz showed both his experience and confidence many times in the first half in dealing with issues that the defence found difficult during the last campaign. His addition to the squad could very well be an inspired one for the club; he may well turn out to be a stop-gap signing at best, but it’s not often that such a defender becomes available, and Unai Emery should be applauded for his gamble. Burnley caused us problems down the channels, and our organisational abilities, which have been called into question before, worked well to neutralise the threats.
Young Reiss Nelson was unlucky not to score (as was Mattéo Guendouzi), but all of our good work during the first half was undone by Ashley Barnes’ messy equaliser just two minutes before the break. The second half became somewhat of a revelation when our Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos started to make his mark on the match. Johann Gudmundsson was caught dawdling by the Spaniard, who duly relieved him of the ball, then slotted it deftly to our man in the Number 14 shirt, who wasted no time in introducing the ball to the back of the net.
Dani Ceballos is truly a different class, and his awareness both on and off the ball were a delight to behold. He had a hand in both of the goals, and his celebration after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the winner with 26 minutes left, showed his passion for the club, and above all this, a desire to succeed, an attitude that has been found missing in the team for quite a while now. The rest of the match became a case of game management and just holding on to the lead, which we achieved successfully. 
So many good things to mention in today’s match; the defensive pairing of David Luiz and Sokratis Papastathopoulos worked well, and although at times it looked a wee bit frail, time and work on the training pitch will iron out the rough spots there. The young guns, namely Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Mattéo Guendouzi all gave good accounts of themselves, whilst one feels that Nicolas Pépé will become the player that we all know that he is eventually. And what is there to say about our forward partnership of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang? They surely must be one of the most feared strike force pairings in Europe, and as it looks as if they have simply carried on from where they left off from last season, we should be in for some exciting matches in the coming few months. This is the first time in ten seasons that we have earned maximum points from our first two matches of the season, and although it is not best practice to get carried away, it still has to be said that we go into the Liverpool match at Anfield next Saturday afternoon with our heads held high and hope in our hearts.
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: Liverpool at Anfield Stadium on Saturday, 24th August at 5.30pm (Premier League). Be there. 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.

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Nelson and Willock set to be dropped as Pepe in line for first start

Arsenal will look to continue their 1 game unbeaten run in the Premier League this weekend against Burnley.

Having beaten Newcastle 1-0 at St James’ Park, Unai Emery has a bit of a selection headache.

Does he stick with the players who defended well, but created little for the match against Burnley; or does he bring in some of the fit again senior pro’s, including a couple of new signings.

Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson, Matteo Guendouzi and Calum Chambers all performed well against Newcastle and probably do not deserve to be dropped. However Emery will know how important it is to play the best team available, even if it ruffles a few feathers.

David Luiz sat patiently on the bench against Newcastle following his deadline day arrival. He had a full pre-season with Chelsea and is ready to play. Will Emery pick Luiz over Chambers or Sokratis? My bet is Emery might just reward Sokratis and Chambers with a fine 1st display and keep the pair in defence.

With Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac all out for one reason or another, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Nacho Monreal will be the full backs.

Moving to the middle of the park, the axis of Granit Xhaka and Guendouzi provided good cover for the defence. But at home against an average side, do we need to play 2 defensive midfielders? Could Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos come in for one? Giving the side a more creative option for deep.

And what for Lucas Torreira?

The Uruguayan midfielder played next to no part in pre-season (just 4 minutes against Barcelona) due to only returning to training on 1st August after the summers Copa America. Taking into account Xhaka and Guendouzi played a full part, I would not expect him to start against Burnley – he did not even get off the bench against Newcastle.

If Arsenal are winning comfortably, I expect Torreira to come off the bench and be given 20 minutes as he regains full match fitness.

That leaves Xhaka, Guendouzi and Ceballos fighting it out for the central midfield positions.

I actually think we might see all 3 start, with Ceballos replacing Joe Willock as creator in chief.

Willock had an OK game against Newcastle, but his performance is more remembered for a tackle than anything he created. He is a hard working talented footballer and I see his career actually being a little deeper than playing Number 10.

At home against Burnley we do not have to worry as much defensively, so it might be a better option to play the more attack minded Ceballos with Willock relegated to the bench.

On the wings, record signing Nicolas Pepe looked fairly sharp on Sunday despite only recently returning to training following playing in the African Cup of Nations and the stress of his big move.

Games like Liverpool away is why Pepe was bought. His pace and power key on the break. For that reason I expect him to start against Burnley on the right hand side, replacing Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Pepe to be substituted off on 60 minutes will be a bank bet if he starts.

The left wing is an interesting conundrum.

Nelson had a solid game against Burnley and you also have the aforementioned Mkhitaryan. Alexandre Lacazette is also available which gives Emery the option of playing Aubameyang wide left.

With one eye on that Liverpool game, I have a hunch that Emery might plumb for Lacazette up top and Aubameyang on the left. That will give 60 minutes to his 1st choice front 3 – Aubameyang, Lacazette, Pepe.

It might be harsh on Willock and Nelson, but football is not a business of compassion. We ned to play the best team we can. That means an exciting front 4 of Ceballos, Pepe, Aubameyang, Lacazette.

Expect Willock and Nelson to come off the bench (if we are not chasing the game) as well as Lucas Torreira.

It is exciting to actually have so many options.

Expected starting XI:

Leno

AMN Chambers Sokratis Monreal

Xhaka Guendouzi

Pepe Ceballos Aubameyang

Lacazette

Keenos

The Wonder of You – It’s a NO from me

When we moved to the Emirates Stadium back in 2006, everything felt a little bit manufactured, and a little bit too corporate for many fans.

Highbury was home. It was the house we had all grown up in. Then it was as if we had won the lottery and moved to this shiny new mansion down the road. It was bigger and better than the old creaky place, but it was not quite home.

The move to the new ground (13 years later, it is not so new anymore) was the correct decision. It meant 20,000 more Arsenal fans could go each week (how many reading this had spent 10 years on the waiting list for Highbury to the get their 1st season ticket at the new ground?). But it also felt like Arsenal had changed with the move; chasing the commercial revenue.

From the selling of the naming rights, the ring of boxes and the invention of club level allowing people to buy their way into a season ticket ahead of fans who had been waiting for years, it all felt like it was only about the money.

Add in the badge being changed and at the time it felt like our club had completely changed.

Synonymous with these changes was a new song. The Wonder of You.

For years Liverpool had sung “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, Manchester City had “Blue Moon”. West Ham “Bubbles”. The Arsenal board had taken it upon themselves to try and manufacture an anthem for Arsenal fans to sing. And it was horrible.

The Wonder of You was a song made famous by Elvis Presley in the 1970s. It had zero connection to Arsenal, and Arsenal fans failed to connect with it.

It was so bad that the club had to put the words up on the big screen. It simply was not Arsenal.

After a few years the club realised that The Wonder of You was not working and returned to classics such as “Good Ol’ Arsenal” and “Right Here Right Now”.

There is plenty the club can do to improve the atmosphere at the ground – from campaigning for safe standing to telling it’s stewards to be less aggressive with those trying to start a song. I even support the drum that is planned against Burnley.

What the club should not be doing, however, is taking a step backwards. They should not return to The Wonder of You.

Keenos