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Arsenal – Sunderland, a view from the North Bank

By Walter Broeckx

I’m stating the obvious here, but a match in the stadium is completely different from watching a match on TV. In the stadium you can see the whole pitch and you can see at a different thing than where the ball is because some interesting move is happening far from the ball but what might be of big influence when the next pass is played. On TV you depend on the angle the director has chosen to show on TV. So sitting in the North Bank upper tier this time was a great place to watch the football unfold before my eyes.

The way we started was like a practice game: keeping the ball and working our way past the Sunderland players. From the start we were strong and you felt that if we  could score that opening goal really fast we might have an easy game.

A really nice combination of one touch football presided our first goal. Wilshere starting from the right hand side going inside a lay of to Podolksi, one touch to Rosicky, one touch back to Wilshere and then the attempted shot felt kindly to Giroud who wrong-footed Manone and buried the ball.

at followed was more of the same. We completely controlled the match and Szcezsny only had to be attentive when Koscielny diverted an attempted cross a bit and he had to fall backwards to smother the pass. It was waiting for the second Arsenal goal to arrive. Podolski with one of his cannonballs that must have hurt Manone’s hands when he palmed it over the crossbar. A shot that deserved better.

The second goal was all about putting enough pressure high up the pitch on the Sunderland defenders. Podolski and Rosicky both putting so much pressure on the Sunderland defenders who tried to pass the ball around a bit so at the end one had to pass it back to Manone.  Giroud was looking for it and came in between and passed the ball home between the legs of Don Vito. I think he will have felt let down by his defenders. 2-0 and you could feel that this was already the end of the match.

Let us treat the Gooners in the stands with something to talk about must have been on Rosicky’s mind a few minutes before the interval. Arteta to Jack who took the ball immediately in his stride and gave it to Rosicky who cut inside from the right.  Rosicky to Cazorla who played it one touch to Wilshere. Another one touch from Wilshere back to Rosicky who followed up the move and Rosicky with a one touch passed to Giroud who laid it off for Rosiscky who was just quicker to the ball than Manone.  This was one of those moments you know that at the end of the season when great goals are remembered it will be part of it. And I was there to see it with my own eyes. 3-0 at half time. Match over.

During the pause it looked as if nobody wanted to leave his place. I think you even could have got a cappuccino at half time Tony if you would have been there.  Dennis Bergkamp was the reason for an immense drop in sales of beverages at half time I think. Dennis said some wise words and remember you young kids : it’s all about the first touch. I can imagine Brickfields having a few jokes about that in his sleeve. I’ll leave it to him.

Dennis was being ultra cautious when a possible return was mentioned and he got a great applause from the fans who understood what he was trying to say. “Call me and I will be there” was what I  heard.

The second half started with some confusion. Jenkinson on the field but hey Sagna is also still on the field. Blimey Sagna at left back? Monreal off? This could only mean an injury. Damn. The left back curse is still on?

And I think replacing Monreal was one of the reasons why our fluent attacking game wasn’t so hot any more.  Of course with the score line at 3-0 and with a few of the players having played against Bayern the need to keep on attacking was not that big any more. Letting Sunderland into the match a bit and even needing Szczesny to make a good safe on a shot from a tight angle.

When it was out turn to attack it was obvious that no natural left footed player on the flank held us back a bit. But Sagna used his left foot to produce a cross that was almost turned in an own goal. And from the resulting corner it was Koscielny who rose the highest and headed the ball home for our 4th of the match. Manone once again could nothing do about the goals at all.

After that it was as if the team didn’t want to score any more and give Vito a break.  It’s hard to have a go at a player that has been a part of your own team so we were a bit wasteful. Koscielny limped off the field and you could feel the ‘OH NO’ amongst the fans. Not another injury. Sagna moved on to the centre of defence and Flamini came on to play left back. He has done this before. But let me hope that for next week we have Gibbs or Monreal back or if possible that Vermaelen would be back. He could fill in as a natural left footed player.

A bit later we all went for a standing ovation when Rosicky was taken off and replaced by Gnabry. The 33 year old midfield maestro was immense in this match and showed that he still has some pretty impressive legs to carry him around the pitch. And his supreme goal, self made and created and expertly finished surely will have been goal of the day.

Gnabry didn’t want to score against Manone a bit later when Wilshere released him perfectly but the young German slipped when he was going to pull the trigger. But he was very lively as we have seen from him in the past.

With some 10 minutes to go Giroud made a foul and the free kick was punched out by Szczesny. You thought it was punched wide enough but Giaccherini, the Sunderland player, controlled the ball and and had a hard shot on goal. I think Szczesny was slightly unsighted and he couldn’t stop the shot. 4-1 was the final score and the biggest scare was when Jack Wilshere suddenly pulled up and looked to have some sort of cramps. I hope it were just cramps…

It was a delightful afternoon to be in the stadium. I hope they can produce he same in our next home game. When I will be there again. So hope to write the same after our FA cup match against Everton.

Now a week to recover and get the niggles sorted out. Please let them just be little niggles and let some players just be able to play next week.

38 comments to Arsenal – Sunderland, a view from the North Bank

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Thanks Walter, a very enjoyable read. Glad you had a great time!
    COYG! Aha and Amen!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Nicely capturing a near perfect day. Rosicky…..just keeps getting better…amazing, and what a goal! Was that a tribute to the great man who graced the club yesterday?
    That aside, spent a bit of this afternoon a bit pissed off about other results, Chelsea’s gamesmanship being rewarded by weak refereeing…..again, city getting a late goal, then a few raised hopes at Anfield from a gallant performance by Swansea….for a while. Was thinking for a while all the other results were not going in our favour, but forgetting….There is always Tottenham!
    Well done Chris Hughton and agent Sherwood, if the latter gets sacked, at least he can return to his true self….a Gooner!

  • Mick

    I am so happy that such a conclusive scoreline was saved till you was present in the stadium Walter. Maybe you are a lucky charm in which case we should club together to bring you over for all our games so as to ensure we win them. Have you got a ticket for the Bayern Munich 2nd leg, if not you better hurry up before they are sold out.

  • Mick

    Mandy, considering Rosicky’s age, 33 I think, he seems remarkably fit in terms of speed and endurance. Possibly because he has had many injuries his body is better compared to say a 28 year old. His movement for that third goal was really something to behold.
    Spurs losing has added an extra 10% to the weekends enjoyment level.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Mick,
    it felt to me that they had been waiting for me. I only could go to the away match in Dortmund (memorable win) and now this.
    and I think with Monreal on the pitch for 90 minutes we would have trashed them completely.

    We will see if I bring luck as I will be there also for the FA cup match against Everton in our next home match.
    Sure hope so….

  • AL

    Rosicky’s pace energises the whole team, you can feel the urgency when he’s on the pitch. I have a feeling he will be our giggs, he looks like he has a good five years in him still. His goal yesterday was just brilliant.

    Good result at Carrow road. Would’ve been nice if the swans had managed to hold on at Anfield but will take that.

  • Gord

    The youth team (U18?) won their game (2-0) against Charlton Athletic, and next play Everton as well in the quarter finals at the Emirates.

  • Rosicky brings urgency to our game in the final third like no other. I agree that he has about 5 playing years left in him.

    Happy you had a great time Walter.

  • bjtgooner

    Nice write up Walter.

    This was an enjoyable match to watch with some super football. Rosicky was excellent in this match – but then so was all the team. A lot of the paid pundits have commented on how bad Sunderland were – trying to devaluing our win. However, we played so well, moving the ball quickly and accurately, with good movement off the ball, that it was hard for Sunderland to cope.

    I do hope Rosicky and Sanga (who was also immense yesterday) agree contract extensions, they are so important to this squad. (I have a feeling Rosicky may have agreed a contract extension but I have not yet noted an official announcement.)

  • OMGArsenal

    I don’t, for the life of me, understand HOW we won yesterday without:

    1) OZIL….who according to the gutter press IS our saviour?

    2) Ramsey..whose absence clearly displays our core weakness?

    3) Walcott…whose injury dooms us to relegation?

    4) Wenger’s penchant for failure and his tactical naivete?

    5) Sanogo…whose is our new Anelka,Adebayor and Song all rolled up into one?

    It must be sheer LUCK!!!!

  • Florian

    I understand:)

    1. Ozil’s presence lifted Arsenal.
    2. Ramsey was never that good.
    3. Who needs such a unidimensional player like Walcott?
    4. We have Steve Bould.
    5. Sunderland’s defense was so weak Arsenal didn’t need attackers. Giroud only happened to be there.

    Would any tabloid hire me? 🙂

  • OMGArsenal

    Florian….thanks for the AAA enlightment and yellow media response and ANY Redtop, crap fish-warpper paper would hire you in an instant, as your IQ rivals their combined editorial and sports reporting IQ collectivity combined!

    What I did see was that this ¨practice¨ game proved we are worthy of the top 4 and also probably likely winners, if we can maintain our pace and willpower to win. I also noticed Sagna and Flamini’s versatility, Podolski’s work-rate and ability to last 90 minutes, and the excellence of our rotational tactics. I also noted that Rosicky and Giroud both share the ability, like Jack, to hold up the play and give swift little passes that destroy their adversaries defensive cohesiveness. coming off a very hard fought and disappointing CL game against Bayern, I am now more confident that the Arsenal have it in them to win.

  • No, Florian, you’re not negative enough.

  • I notice that Talk S….. that usually has a limitless capacity to churn out any number of vitriolic articles on Arsenal almost every ten minutes or so, are quaintly subdued when Arsenal win handsomely. Seems they can only generate positive articles on teams like MU, MC, Chelsea,and Liverpool – the latest media darling.

  • Florian

    OMG, Michael,

    Thank you, looks like I missed my chance to convert a few of them to the good side. Talk about being delusional. Though I did notice the indifference (here in the US) to the new Spuds face, the one that just lost a few hours ago to a relegation-threatened side. Quite a shift. One more reason to have a cheer for the day:)

  • John

    Tony Gale on the Sky commentary talked incessantly about how poor Sunderland were and how they should have been getting stuck into Arsenal, to give them the physical challenge to stop them playing the pretty passing football which was turning the game into a practice match.

    His comment on Rosicky’s wonder goal was all about how useless Sunderland defending had allowed it to happen, saying it was the worst performance he’d ever seen from a Premiership team.

  • Arsenal never win because we are good; we win because the opposition is weak and useless. Never mind that the same weak opposition beat our rivals and supposed league favourites.

  • Florian

    I can’t wait to hear what the pundits will have to say about the City and Cheatski’s dismal performances when we win the League. And Liverpool were never in it for real anyway.

  • Micheal Ram

    Im so glad that Ricky scored THAT goal, as a cherry on top of an already delicious cake sort of performance. Got a new 2 year contract a day after. Looking forward for his testimonial match cause by the end of new contract, Mr Mozart would have played at Arsenal for 10years! Even Henry, Pires and Vieira didnt cut for it. Though Sunderland were woeful as much as static, they clearly came to watch and admire the Wengerball more than anything. Someone forgotten to inform their travelling supporters nevertheless. Hilarious. For what it makes of, obviously transfer of 14 new players and constant managerial change really took the lights out in Sunderland at Emirates. Some fans can learn from this. Not all that glitters is gold. Maybe they just there for Bergkamp Day. A real glittery gold and still is.

    Congrats to our forever Dutch Meastro on his unveiled statue. I will be watching Dennis the Menace for a week now. Not the whacky cartoon but perhaps youtube collection on Immortal Dennis Bergkamp. The top five goals anyone? Whats the point anyway, everyone number 1 is predictably known. How about Bergkamp’s top five assist at Arsenal? Would be fine lesson for Ozil too.

  • Gord

    Interview with George Graham Cracker by Pun Dit

    Pun Dit: I understand you wrote a new book, “What Arsene Wenger Should do Between 20140223 and 20140312”. Before we talk about your book, I would like to ask you what those 8 digit numbers are about?

    GGC: Well Pun, can I call you Pun?, my publisher says those are ISO dates. They are supposed to be better, because they sort properly. I don’t know what kind of sort my publisher is talking about, and really I think I should find a different sort of a publisher.

    ghdhjf: The first 4 digits are the year, the next 2 digits are the month, and the last 2 digits are the day of the month. My grade 3 class learned that last week, you ninny.

    Pun Dit: Look you little brat, just because your school came to watch us produce a show doesn’t mean you have to talk like that. Most of us on this show don’t even have grade 3.

    Pun Dit: So you produced a book about what Arsene Wenger should do over the next 2 weeks?

    GGC: More or less.

    Pun Dit: Do you think you will sell many copies of this book?

    GGC: Well, my publisher says there are 1947 football experts employed by media companies in the UK, and I am hoping to sell 1947 copies. My publisher mumbled something about all of them sharing one brain, I didn’t understand what he was talking about. Siamese twins?

    Pun Dit: I got my copy from Alan Hanson. I don’t know if he bought a copy or borrowed from someone else. There is some scribbling about Rosie Redknapp at the beginning. It look a long time to photocopy this book, you know.

    Pun Dit: Do you feel you are qualified to suggest strategy to Arsene Wenger?

    GGC: I couched that team before that stupid frog was even hired! How the f’n hell H-Wood could hire a frog is beyond me. They couldn’t fight a war, two wars, how the hell can they play a man’s game?

    Pun Dit: So you are qualified?

    GGC: Is the Pope Jewish? Of course I am qualified! You must have played at Spurs.

    Pun Dit: Hey, no need to get personal. No, I didn’t play at Spurs.

    GGC: When I was managing, players had 2 arms and 2 legs. Players still have 2 arms and 2 legs. Nothing has changed.

    Pun Dit: Why aren’t you still managing Arsenal?

    GGC: H-Wood said something about 1-0 wins and too many losses.

    The only way to win in this MANS league, is 1-0! There should be no other scoreline for Arsenal! This is my legacy! This is how it it is always supposed to be!

    Pun Dit: Isn’t your management style different from Arsene Wengers?

    GGC: This frog is strange. When I was getting my license, Seth Blatter said that all managers should strive to win games with a score of 1-0. And he is inefficient, he wins far too many games by scores different from 1-0, often winning by more than 1 goal. The Blatter said that this should not happen in world Football.

    Pun Dit: What is wrong with the current Arsenal side?

    GGC: They pass the ball too much. Especially the defence. Whenever they get the ball, they should just kick it as hard as they can, except if they are facing the goal. Then they should kick it away from the goal.

    Pun Dit: Is that all?

    GGC: People say that AW player’s “pass to space”. What good is it to pass to a space? What is the space going to do with the ball?

    Sort of like pundits, a bunch of has-beens, all preaching how they were brought up with Football, and none of them actually tried to study the game.

  • elkieno

    Who typed the comment above about the match commentator that was saying Sunderland are playing like a training day session and need to get stuck in physically to rattle us into a mistake.
    I think that’s how they all think, players, managers etc, kick us and we will not play our game. But it strikes me that this is not in fair play at all and why don’t they see this?
    I do think many supporters/fans of teams that want our 4th spot currently work in media, TV etc and it comes out when they open their stupid mouthes
    Anyway, they can all go jump cos we are here to stay. They had the chance to take advantage of our wobbles recently, but if this season is anything to go by, they missed their chance big time and now its utd that looks to have dropped out, who would have thunk that this time last season?
    The world/God works in mysterious ways!!!
    COYG…

  • Micheal Ram

    Elkieno,

    The world or god dont work in mysterious ways at all. We do. We, the people, humans, homo sapiens or whatever else words we brag around with tend to use the word mysterious to work out predictable cause with unpredictable effects. There is natural order in everything. As much as there good people, im sure there is equally evil people around. If you are going through a book filled with all the qous and phrases in human history, you will find many of it contradicts with many other. Of course, those are mere words from humans like you and me. Some works for some and some doesnt. It makes you think a lot about the origin of such things we see today. There’s no point questioning or speculate the mighty creator because everything is already being set up in a stage. We just have to sit down and enjoy the show. Try to be happy and have fun while you are at it because your life is scripted too. Alas.

  • its not just one commentator, whenever a mid/lower table team plays “sit back and defend” against us the commentators go on and on abt how the the mid table team should play to beat arsenal coming up with new and improved versions of “kick them to the ground”. But these same commentators when they do a match for the same midtable teams against mutd or city or any other top of the table team , all they can talk abt during the match is how good the top of the table team is.wonder why that is.

    Liverpool wins 2 matches – commentator screams title contenders, arsenal wins 2 matches – commentators say , how long can arsenal keep this up before the wheels come off – their exact words by the way.

    I cant stand watching matches without commentary- i want to hear the crowd, hope these useless commentators shut their mouth.

  • elkieno

    Michael Ram: ahh but the world is us people isn’t it?….

    r.iris: I know what you mean for sure, double standards is the name of the game with them. I just cant believe that or the commentators recommends getting physical with us. The will say but don’t break the laws of the game, just let him know you are there. Then the next problem is that it is not possible to be physical like they want to be without injuring, fouling us. The ref thinks the same way so lets them get on with it, after all how can the smaller teams compete against us without kicking us?
    I don’t fuking care how they compete with us they can skip around like ballerinas for all I care, but don’t break the laws of game and play fair…
    coyg…

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Resentment leads to bad poetry.

    Producing bad shortness of breath:
    Terry put one in at the death.
    Toure did score, crushing Sparky.
    And the Mugsmashers got lucky.

    Luckily, we had a sumptuous Arsenal for 6o minutes.

  • Florian

    A bit off-topic: MOTD on NBC is having an extensive review of Liverpool-Swansea game:

    1. They highlighted Skrtel’s manhandlings of the opponents. The interesting comment relates to how the referees are known to react: By their knowledge, the refs are doing match reviews, and they are subsequently instructed to pay attention to the serial offenders and punish them harsher. To me it looks like the refs are not able to keep up with the game, and try to cover for this shortcoming by guesstimating the severity of the contacts based on the involved players’ track record.

    2. The pundits are offering right now free tactical advice to Liverpool on how to position their midfielders when defending.

    Sorry couldn’t help it.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    “An over-indulgence of anything, even something as pure as water, can intoxicate.”
    ― Criss Jami, Venus in Arms

    “Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.”
    ― Louis Pasteur

    “Alcohol, taken in sufficient quantities, may produce all the effects of drunkenness.”
    ― Oscar Wilde

    “It’s a great advantage not to drink among hard drinking people.”
    ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Gord – that was awesome ! Thanks .
    Just got me thinking , should pundits , commentators, jurnos etc; come with warning labels ?
    Apparently they are a hazard for all Arsenal fans ,and injurious to our mental well being.

    “I think the warning labels on alcoholic beverages are too bland. They should be more vivid. Here is one I would suggest: “Alcohol will turn you into the same asshole your father was.”
    ― George Carlin.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Am I glad the most of us have had our aha-moment vis -a -vis the bent media and the refs .Read on…

    “There’s a phrase, “the elephant in the living room”, which purports to describe what it’s like to live with a drug addict, an alcoholic, an abuser.
    People outside such relationships will sometimes ask, “How could you let such a business go on for so many years? Didn’t you see the elephant in the living room?”
    And it’s so hard for anyone living in a more normal situation to understand the answer that comes closest to the truth; “I’m sorry, but it was there when I moved in. I didn’t know it was an elephant; I thought it was part of the furniture.”
    There comes an aha-moment for some folks – the lucky ones – when they suddenly recognize the difference.”
    ― Stephen King

  • Tom

    Elkieno
    I’m very happy Sunderland played the way they did against us seeing as we have suffered too many injuries this season already but there’s middle ground between kicking the opposition off the pitch and allowing them to five- touch their way onto your penalty area without making any physical contact whatsoever .

    Good defending begins with good body position , being light on your feet and keeping your mark at arms length . Any defensive play that doesn’t end with a tackle should involve upper body contact within the rules.

    Even during training sessions e g ‘monkey in the middle’, managers will encourage their players to push off with your arms as you charge from player to player.

    Rosicky does it better that most and you can hardly acuse him of being overly phisical .

  • Tom

    I hope Arsenal players get the Sunderland game out of their mind and prepare for something totally opposite because that’s what they are gonna get from Stoke.

  • para

    Why is Arsenal v Swansea 8th Mar Postponed, and i noticed that they are quite a few other matches postponed. Is this because of Sky, or is there another reasonable reason?
    I tried searching for reason, but could not find why.

  • para

    Sorry, prob FA Cup, me ninny.

  • AL

    Bjtgooner 8:45pm
    “I am absolutely adamant he has to stay at the club,” added Wenger.

    “He is maybe one of the players who plays the game of give and move. He is a great accelerator of the game.” – BBC website, 24/02/2014
    Fabulous news.

  • AL

    Sorry, Wenger was referring to Rosicky.

  • AL,

    It’s got to be Rosicky. No other player gives us the kind of urgency that he does in the final third. His harassment forced the error that led to our 2nd on Saturday. I absolutely love Rosicky and I am so glad that he has 2 more years with us.

  • AL

    Agree Bootoomee. And while Wenger praises his players, he went a bit further than usual with Rosicky this time. Just shows how much he rates and appreciates him. If only he hadn’t lost all those years, when he was at his peak, to injuries.

  • bjtgooner

    @Al

    Thanks for that; good news about Rosicky, lets hope we can sign up Sagna next.