Tag Archives: She Wore

MATCH REPORT: Arsenal 3 – 1 Aston Villa

Arsenal (2) 3 Aston Villa (0) 1

Premier League

Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU

Friday, 22nd October, 2021. Kick-off time: 8.00pm

(4-2-3-1) Aaron Ramsdale; Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ben White, Gabriel Magalhães, Nuno Tavares; Thomas Partey, Albert Sambi Lokonga; Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang; Alexandre Lacazette.

Substitutes: Bernd Leno, Martin Ødegaard, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Rob Holding, Cédric Soares, Nicolas Pépé, Mohamed Elneny, Sead Kolašinac, Gabriel Martinelli.

Scorers: Thomas Partey (23 mins), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (penalty, 45+6), Emile Smith-Rowe (55 mins)

Yellow Cards: Albert Sambi Lokonga, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Arsenal Possession Percentage: 54%

Referee: Craig Pawson

Assistant Referees: Richard West, Dan Robathan

Fourth Official: Michael Salisbury

VAR Team at Stockley Park: VAR Michael Oliver; AVAR Peter Kirkup

Attendance: 59,496

Alexandre Lacazette will make his first Premier League start since April, whilst Bukayo Saka has been passed fit to start tonight despite being injured in Monday’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace; however, we have made three changes from that match, with Alexandre Lacazette, Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga replacing Kieran Tierney, Nicolas Pépé and Martin Ødegaard. And, interesting to see that both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette make a start together tonight too!

We kicked off proceedings, and within seconds Oli Watkins received the first yellow card of the evening when he threw Gabriel to the ground unnecessarily. It could be one of those nights methinks. After that unsavoury incident, both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka came mighty close to opening the scoring when both of their inspired efforts came to nothing, sadly. Arsenal applied pressure to the visitors’ defence, and it looked as if they had no answer to our relentless, goal-hungry play. We had a goal disallowed after eight minutes when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang managed to get the ball in the net, but unfortunately referee Craig Pawson cancelled it out because Alexandre Lacazette fouled an Aston Villa player (apparently) just before the disallowed goal. The game started to turn into a physical battle of wills, with Arsenal getting the better of the visitors time and time again. After nineteen minutes, a Bukayo Saka free-kick into the Villa penalty area found Thomas Partey, who was desperately unlucky in hitting the bar with his trusty right foot from almost point-blank range; four minutes later, Thomas Partey opened the scoring (and his Arsenal account also) anyway, when a Emile Smith-Rowe corner found his head and he managed to glance the ball into the net. Having scored the opening goal, we made every effort to break down the Villa defence in order to grab a second one. Having said that, on the half hour, Nuno Tavares ran down the left wing, unselfishly crossed the ball into the Villa penalty area, but sadly Bukayo Saka failed to score in a one-to-one situation with our old goalkeeper, Emi Martinez. However, we continued to dominate, and as shot after shot rained down on the Villa goal, there appeared to be only team on the pitch tonight at the Emirates, and it certainly was not the visitors! Complete control. On the stroke of half-time, Albert Sambi Lokonga received a controversial yellow card for a foul on John McGinn; however the resulting free-kick came to nothing. Deep into injury time, Matt Targett went straight through Alexandre Lacazette, when attempting to clear the ball. Craig Pawson had a look at the pitch-side monitor, subsequently gave the penalty (quite deservedly), and despite objections to the fourth official from Villa manager Dean Smith, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang took the penalty, which was unbelievably saved by Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez, but he was straight on to the rebound in a flash and unceremoniously whacked the ball past his former Arsenal team-mate and into the net at the second time of asking. Craig Pawson blew the whistle for both the goal and the half-time break, and we went into the hiatus deservedly in the lead.

The second half started pretty much where the first one finished, with Arsenal showing their class and dominance again. To be fair, the visitors tried to make a better fist of things, but we managed to contain them. After one or two unlucky attempts on goal, ten minutes after the restart, after Emile Smith Rowe intercepted John McGinn’s error on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area, he ran down the pitch as a couple of passes were bouncing around in pinball fashion, before the ball reached him racing down the left-hand channel. Emile Smith-Rowe lined up a right-footed shot that looked like it took a deflection off Tyrone Mings’ leg before hitting the left post and the back of the Aston Villa net for our third goal of the night. Brilliant and superb. What a player. Although the visitors came back in the game just after the break, the match was now so heavily weighed in our favour, that was starting to look halfway to a rout. Just after a pointless booking for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when he tackled Douglas Luiz rather strongly, Martin Ødegaard replaced an injured Alexandre Lacazette after sixty-seven minutes, and the Arsenal express train just continued. Albert Sambi Lokonga made way for Ainsley Maitland-Niles with eighteen minutes of the match remaining, and his mere presence on the pitch fired up the chaps even more. With three goals to the good, the match started to level out a bit now, and every time we went forward we looked extremely dangerous, and our ability to move into the forward positions is truly a sight to behold. Douglas Luiz fouled Bukayo Saka on the edge of the penalty area, and the subsequent free-kick from Martin Ødegaard was acrobatically saved by Emi Martinez. Not again. Just nine minutes from the end of the match, after a bit of a mix-up on the edge of our penalty area, Jacob Ramsey struck a right-footed shot that went past Aaron Ramsdale into the net, giving him absolutely no chance to save it. This goal gave the visitors the impetus and desire to get something out of this match, when in all essence, they looked as if they had no chance to do so. Now was the time, if there ever was one, to start employing game management, and with just minutes to go, we did just that, in order to preserve our lead and take the sting out of any possible Villa attempt to score, of which there was one or two, all of which went happily wide. In injury time, a limping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was replaced by Gabriel Martinelli, who immediately tore into the fray. Our hearts were in our mouths when, with a minute of the match remaining, Aston Villa had a free-kick awarded to them on the edge of the Arsenal penalty area; thankfully Jacob Ramsey’s inspired effort went over the bar, and seconds later, Craig Pawson blew his trusty whistle and we ran out worthy winners. And in doing so, we moved into the top half of the Premiership table, in ninth place. A good night’s work all round.

A superb win, well deserved, no doubt about it, and tonight there were several players that played unbelievably well, namely Bukayo Saka, Ben White (who was immense again at the back) and Emile Smith-Rowe, of course, whose talent and skill positively lit the stadium up with their brilliance. For eighty minutes, Arsenal were literally the only team on the pitch, but then Aston Villa scored a consolation goal, and we started to wonder if history was going to repeat itself. Thankfully, we pulled ourselves together enough to regain control and collect the three points, which was badly needed. This win should give them the confidence to defeat Leeds United on Tuesday, and Leicester City next weekend; but we’ll see. That’s football.

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: Leeds United at the Emirates on Tuesday, 26th October at 7.45pm (Carabao/EFL Cup). 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.

The Emile Smith Rowe Derby

Over the summer, Aston Villa fans tried to manufacture some sort of rivalry with Arsenal over transfers.

It probably originated a year before when Villa signed Emiliano Martinez.

Villa fans saw this as them poaching one of Arsenal’s best players. The reality was they had signed our back up keeper who had played just 15 league games in the previous 10 years at the club.

Martinez played well and Villa best Arsenal twice. But at the end of the season Arsenal fans were disappointed with 8th whilst Villa celebrated 11th

Then we had their fans odd behaviour this summer.

It started with their signing or Emi Buendia.

Arsenal were linked with the former Norwich City midfielder in the press. When Villa sainted him, they bought into the “Villa beat Arsenal to midfielder” story.

The way they saw it, they had signed one of our best players and beaten us to our number one target.

Buendia was never Arsenal’s number one target. It was always Martin Odegaard.

I started to see Villa fans claiming that not only were they rivals to Arsenal, but were now a better proposition to players.

They pointed to their owner whom they said was one of the richest in the Eagle and capable of bankrolling the club to glory. They pointed to the signings of Martinez and Buendia. They were in not doubt that they were a better option for players.

And it all culminated in their signing of Emile Smith Rowe.

They had returned to Arsenal and signed one of their own. A London lad who had been at the club for a decade. One of Arsenal’s best young prospects.

On top of all of this, Jack Grealish was going now where. So they would have a 3 of Grealish, Smith Rowe and Buendia. It would be enough to see them push ahead of Arsenal and challenge for top 6.

Only they did not sign Smith Rowe. He signed a new contract. And then Grealish left for Manchester City.

And despite Arsenal’s poor start to the season, we are still ahead of Villa. Not that they matter to Arsenal fans.

It was a very odd summer.

Ultimately the stature of your club is beyond a short term league position.

Regardless of where they finish in the league, Arsenal are one of the “Big 3” alongside Manchester United and Liverpool. Those are the 3 biggest clubs in England. There is no debate.

I have seen similar behaviour from Leeds United fans. From Crystal Palace and recently Newcastle fans.

The Newcastle situation sums it up.

With the action taken on sponsorship, they have used Arsenal as to “how much a club not in Europe can get in sponsorship”.

Arsenal’s sponsorship deals are not based on us being in Europe. They are based on us being massive.

So enjoy the Emile Smith Rowe Derby tonight. Fingers crossed we get back to winning ways!


BOOK REVIEW: Arsenal is for Everyone

Arsenal is for Everyone and after reading this book, you realise that a) many of us live in our own bubble and b) Arsenal really IS for EVERYONE.

The term “Be Kind” has been banded about pretty glibly over the last 2 years and having been involved in the funeral of big Arsenal fan and legend of the concourse, one Danny Bailey – this opened my eyes to the “be Kind” motto and those that knew Danny – he was the epitome of “be kind” – I am digressing a bit but bear with me – Danny had this knack of talking to everyone, making you feel special – even if you didn’t know him – he would make time for you – you will get where I am coming from the more you read on.

From Dave Seager’s opening words, a book dedicated to his bright, articulate, handsome, talented son, who had his own life tragically cut short, to the chapter after chapter of awe inspiring Arsenal Fans who have fought through all kinds of adversity with barely a hint of a grumble to follow the team we love – it really does put your own “troubles” into perspective and brings me back to the Danny Bailey and “Be Kind” message!

We all get those days – could be getting up in the morning, going to work, should be going to the gym – going for that run – could be after another abject performance from The Arsenal – you just feel all sort of …… what’s the word they use on social media … “meh” …. Or for the older lot …”you just can’t be arsed”. Or, and we have all been there, we feel the world is against us, you;ve lost your oomph, as Thierry so beautifully put it “your Va Va Voom …… well do yourself a favour and give this book a read!!!

It really does put everything into perspective.

After reading this book, and I know everyone has been through ups and downs in their own life, it has opened my eyes to what others have to endure and makes me realise how bloody lucky I am and how at times I can even be a little bit selfish. I would like to think that after reading this book it has the same effect on you and we can all make the effort to “Be Kind” to everyone…… well nearly everyone….. and even then to our less fortunate neighbours from Middlesex there are levels of kindness … but you get where I am coming from … I married one …. Now that’s being kind !

Each chapter in the book is dedicated to an Arsenal fan who has battled through all kinds of difficulties and it follows their early lives , how they got into the football and their experiences at games – something the majority of us all take for granted! I don’t want to use the term disabled and I even feel using the term less fortunate is wrong.

These people put me to shame with their resilience and positive outlook on life .

Their battles include, Blindness, Deafness, Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Cancers.

Certain chapters will get you – where you read it and get that cold feeling followed by goose bumps, a lump in your throat and then you reach for the back of your sleeve to dab at your eyes – yes it really does that. I’ll let you find your chapter but my one – a lady called Lyn diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 where it was caught and she was given the all clear only to be told in 2019 that it was back with a vengeance, had spread to her lungs and was terminal. Diagnosis 2-5 years. She is then diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, which affected her limbs and nerves and confined her to a wheel chair- most of us would give up – but her determination and love of football has seen her continue to get to the games, even though she is in constant pain and has a matter of years to live. I tip my hat in admiration for this brave Arsenal and football fan.


What is also evident from this book and one I have to admit I was shamefully unaware of is the work that Arsenal Football Club do to ensure that Arsenal really is for everyone.

From the Disabled Purple Members Group, to the Clubs Disability Access Officer, to the countless Liaison Officers, the Sensory Room, the Audio Commentary, the Premier Leagues first disabled supporters lounge – it’s a real eye opener but goes to show that although everything may not be where we want it on the pitch at the moment off the pitch the club still has class, tradition and values

I could go on but I want you to read the book and find your Lyn. As one of the contributors said – “the world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows” but reading their stories you would never think that.

This book will raise your awareness of what others, less fortunate (my words not theirs) have been through, have to go through to watch , or in some cases sadly not be able to watch, the team they/we love and support.

This book will make you realise, when you think you have it bad that compared to some – you really haven’t.

Arsenal is for everyone.

You can order the book, signed by Dave, now for November delivery at Legends Publishing or you can wait for the official Arsenal launch at the Armoury on the 27th of November at the match. (Look out for details…)