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Now that was rather entertaining I thought

By Walter Broeckx

We started with the strongest team we had available with some 11 players out for various reasons like injuries, carrying knocks around, feeling a little pain left or right.

So the starting line up was: Szczesny, Debuchy, Chambers, Mertesacker, Bellerin, Flamini, Campbell, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Podolski, Sanogo. And on the Turkish beach we had the players they usually call subs:  Martinez, O’Connor, Kamara, Maitland-Niles, Zelalem, Iwobi, Akpom.

Bellerin at left back for this match. Campbell on the right flank, Podolski on the left and Sanogo in the middle of the attack. A few players wanting to prove a point in there. And Debuchy back for the first time after being out for a few months with an injury.

Let me show them what I can do must have been the thought of Podolski. And well we all know that his left foot can be lethal. But what a thunderbolt that was in the 3rd minute. I don’t think Bolat the Galatasaray keeper knew what happened before the ball bounced out of the net. It could have broken the net. Bang, aha in the top corner said Lukas.

I have said a few times before WHEN Lukas is in the mood and on fire he can be world class. The big problem is that he in’t always is in the mood and on fire. But today he was.

Before the Turkish players knew what had hit them we were 0-2 up. Podolski chasing a Turkish player who went down and the ref saw nothing in it. The Ox with a great run releasing the ball in the path of Ramsey. Will I turn to my right foot or just go on the outside and pass the ball in the goal at the far post? Ramsey did the latter and we were well in front.

“I want more” must have thought Podolski and his shot almost broke the crossbar. Unlucky! I also was very impressed by his hard working attitude in this match. Defending when needed and helping out Bellerin at left back. Galatasaray tried hard to get one back but apart from a shot that was diverted in to the path of a Turkish player who missed they didn’t really create any open chances. Shots from far and even further but they couldn’t really trouble Szczesny.

After a corner to Arsenal the ball was half cleared and an Arsenal players smashed it in the top corner from some 25 meters out. A completely unstoppable left footed volley. My instant reaction was: Lukas….but no it was Aaron Ramsey who just scored a brilliant goal! WHAT A GOAL! WHAT A SHOT! 0-3 and only half an hour played.

Arsenal ran riot and whenever they came forward they looked threatening. Campbell could have put the icing on the first half cake but was denied by a great stop from Bolat this time.  But I was rather happy with the 0-3 at half time.

Dortmund still being at 0-0 meant that we could still be top of the group if we would score another 3 goals. But Wenger changed and took off Flamini on a yellow and man of the match Ramsey who was on a hattrick. Saving their legs for next weekend I suppose. So on came 17 year old Zelalem and Ainsley Maitland-Niles also 17 came on.

So we had two seventeen year old kids in midfield playing against Sneyder and Altintop who had come up for Galatasaray. And a 19 year old left back with no experience. In a way it did tell a bit. We still played the ball out nicely at times but the Turkish team now trying to do something about the score line. Neat passing but not the drive we saw from Ramsey and thus we were less good going forward.

And the ref who had an excellent first half looked to have placed a bet on Galatasaray at least scoring a goal. Sanogo was whistled back whenever he came close to the ball for some strange reason. Well it looked that way on my stream. Galatasaray pressing for a goal the longer the match lasted and some tired legs by some Arsenal players. Debuchy was looking more and more tired and was also replaced by …another 17 year old boy Stefen O’Connor.

The defending became more difficult but that is no real surprise when you play away from home in the CL with 3 kids, 2 almost kids and other players who didn’t have much playing time so far this season.  But with some hard work, much running around by the kids, it looked that we would keep the clean sheet.

But then the ref decided to give a handball against Mertesacker who had blocked a shot with an arm in front of his chest. Can someone cut his arms off… no just joking but it was in line with the ref his 2nd half performance. Sneyder stepped up and aimed for the same top corner like Ramsey did with our 3rd goal and I must say it was a decent kick that deserved a consolation goal. But I still doubt the free kick very much. But 1-3 after 90 minutes was still very decent.

But I think it angered Podolski a bit who had been rather quiet in the second half. And so he decided to make up for that goal by making a nice 1-2 with Sanogo and finishing it off calmly with his right foot.  1-4 to Arsenal after 92 minutes when the ref had enough of it. I wouldn’t have minded another 10 minutes of this to be honest.

Ramsey scoring again and even twice with his left foot. Podolski scoring two goal once again underlining his thunder-shot and even scoring one with his right foot.  And at the end we found out that we missed the first spot in the group with only two goals as Anderlecht managed a draw in Dortmund.

But what the heck, this was fun. I felt good for the match and I like to thank all those who did their usual rituals. I think the match was as enjoyable as their rituals.

53 comments to Now that was rather entertaining I thought

  • Alex

    thanks walter!

  • Khan

    Thanks Walter! That was a quick one. Thoroughly entertaining match right from the start whistle. Our team was fresh & raring to go today. Highlight of the match: The Ramsey shot from set piece. COYG!

  • apo Armani

    Spot on article Walter!!

    I have been absent from posting (have had my mum in hospital the last few days – thankfully all ok and will be home sooner then expected!)…managed to get home just in time for kick off!!

    We overpowered in the first half, and TBH I did not give much attention to the required 6 goal margin required for us to top the group. What did cross my mind though on several occasions during the game, was the two dropped points at Anderlecht – had we hung on to our 3-0 – that would have put us were we truly deserved to be in this group!!

    But, it was great to see the youngsters on, and doing well.

    Many positives from this away game in what has been a difficult country in general for other PL visitors. If Poldi’s goal made us scream…that Ramsey rocket – coupled with unbelievable technique and execution was the absolutely sublime!!!!!!! Haven’t seen anything like it before!!!

    On to the knock-outs (for the umpteenth time) and I have a strong feeling we will overcome the best of them this time round (providing we can field those who we need to field)

    COYG!!!!

  • dan

    Walter
    could you do a piece on Jamie (crybaby)Redknap soon?
    He is the biggest hypocrite on tv.

  • Very good post in very short order, Walter. A great performance from the guys tonight. We should have made up for Anderlecht with a couple more goals or so, to top the group.
    It’s all good though. I join in the firm belief that we will progress beyond the next round.
    Glad for you @apo Armani that your mum is okay. What a way to celebrate that! Upwards and onwards on Saturday. I wish the boys an even better game then. Seems Ramsey is coming back to his desired form. Long may it continue. Good job, Poldi. Good job.

  • Pete

    From the previous thread – got half way through then went back to watch Liverpool highlights..

    Gord – comments.

    Thought the defence defended the box well. Gala had shot after shot from outside the box – almost all off target. Thought Szcz looked safe (although missed the Gala goal as turned over to watch the Dortmund – Anderlecht game once Anderlect had equalised. Very disappointingly, they showed no interest in getting a winner). Debuchy looked very solid defensively. A major gain once he’s fully fit and functioning. Mert and Chambers looked sound too. One extraordinary goal-saving block from Per. Bellerin did reasonably well at left back all things considered.

    Flamini was Flamini. Needless booking but protected the back four well in the first half.

    The Ox did well with driving runs – getting Wilshere like with his surge to beat the first man. However felt his decision-making was slightly sub-optimal – didn’t always release at the right time.

    Ramsey – astoundingly good. Only played 45 minutes but completely bossed the game and scored two fantastic goals. Came off with a tight hamstring which is a concern – but hopes to be fit for Saturday. But players rarely know best in these situations…

    Podolski. Sensational strike for first goal and composed finish for 2nd. Otherwise looked a bit sluggish and didn’t give good enough protection to Bellerin.

    Campbell. Lively, but poor decision-making (see Ox, but worse) and little end product. Also didn’t do enough defensively.

    Sanogo. Hate to be negative after a good win, but was exceptionally disappointing. Hardly any influence on the game whatsoever and a pass completion percentage likely well below 50%. Sorry.

    Maitland-Niles (half time for Flamini) – Steady in a possibly unfamiliar position.

    Zelalem (half time for Ramsey) – Tidy but lightweight. Little influence going forward.

    O’Connor (about 75 for Debuchy) – Some way short at the moment, but apparently out of position.

  • bjtgooner

    Nice write up Walter. You are right about the ref, some strange decisions in the second half, I wonder did he take a phone call from Riley at half time!

    Overall a very pleasing performance tonight.

    I have just watched the Dortmund – Anderlecht highlights….and guess what…Anderlecht were denied a clear penalty….if converted it would have made the group very interesting!

  • Pat

    Great match, great report. Interesting comments about the ref’s second half.

    It’s so much fun to watch Arsenal play and just be able to enjoy it, because we had already qualified. As some pundit said, Arsenal played as good football tonight as any other team. Gordon Strachan said, this doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s the result of all the work over many years of Arsene Wenger and his coaching team.

    But then he went on to spoil it by saying we needed more steel. People have forgotten that last season we had one of the best defences in the premiership, and but for injuries would probably have the same now.

  • apo Armani

    @Stan The Man
    December 9, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    Thanks buddy!! and yes it was a welcome distraction with a feel good-factor attached after the stressful last few days 😉

  • apo Armani

    First time I heard Merson TRYING to be positive!!!! As for the other two he had beside him…choked up!!

  • Jay

    It seems clear to me that arsenal play much better in the champions league than in england is because of a much higher standard in the champions league than in the premier league. And also why they pick up less injuries in the champions league

  • Jay

    Higher standard of refereeing in the champions league i mean

  • Alex

    Gary Lineker @GaryLineker
    “On a night when one PL side has gone out, with probably another to follow tomorrow, it’s worth noting Wenger’s great CL qualifying record.”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Walter – re : rituals – it was a pleasure .Really !

    @ apo – hope Mama Armani gets well soon .

    To the team – well done lads !

    To the AKBs – WOW ! Great support and keep the faith .

    To the AAAAAs – FUCK YOU !!!!

  • va cong

    Yeah hhhhh hhhhh! !!!

  • Gord

    The BBC has a blurb about “that strike”. Heck, everybody has a blurb about it.

    But, in any event, the BBC from somewhere got the information that the ball was travelling 53 mph.

    I could easily be wrong, but I was under the impression that the hardest known shot on net (ever) was around 75 mph.

    It was still a wonderful shot, even if all I see are stills of the shot (no flash installed).

  • Brickfields Gunners

    The Irony of life

    The lawyer hopes you get into trouble.
    The doctor hopes you get sick.
    The police hopes you become a criminal.
    The teacher hopes you are born stupid.
    The landlord hopes you don’t buy a house.
    The dentist hopes your tooth decays.
    The mechanic hopes your car breaks down.
    The priest hopes you sin.
    The coffin maker wants you dead………

    Only a Thief wishes you “prosperity in life” and also wishes “you have
    a sound sleep!”

    At least there is someone who really cares!

    ( And we AKBs wish that the AAAAA fuck themselves silly ! Most of the time they need no encouragement from us !)

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Gord – since you love cooking , this one’s especially for you . The cook however ,I suspect is having some issues . May even be an AAAAA !
    Have a look .Tell me what you think .

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOYq2dcu9uI&feature=youtu.be

  • Gord

    Thanks for thinking of me Brickfields. I currently have no reliable way of viewing any video on my computer. And I am fighting another problem at the moment.

  • Gord

    The USA still thinks Zelalem is going to play for them. The Washington Post comments on his play against Galatasaray.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/soccer-insider/wp/2014/12/09/gedion-zelalem-plays-for-arsenal-in-champions-league-match/?tid=pm_sports_pop

  • Gord

    Apparently Ramsey has been posting that he is not hurt, which is good news.

  • Menace

    It was worth staying up to watch. Fluent Arsenal with consistent quality.

    Time for the British media to return their expensive press passes to Arsenal for distribution to foreign ‘football appreciating’ media.

    Anderlecht were denied a penalty that could have made some difference in qualifying position. Bring on the draw and any team that can stand the heat of playing the Arsenal.

    Now for teaching Pardew a new toon!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    These guys MUST be AKBs ! A joyous song dance , reworked to a Tamil song , my mother tongue . Everyone up and get down and dirty !

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3T_z-QsOVA

  • ARSENAL 13

    Well, no ones talking about gritty Anderlecht performance to draw the game at Dortmund.

    Its doom when it happens to us. Only us.

    I am not done watching that goal. I bet it’ll be ranked high among great Arsenal goals.

    Ramsey is making a habit of scoring volleys. Ramsey and Ox make good partners. Add Wilshere and Ozil to the mix….and watch the league explode.

    Go gunners.

  • SA Gunner

    As someone who is likely labelled a AAA in these parts, I thought I would make it my business to come and comment after a win.

    Good morale boosting win for the squad and fans, happy for Wenger as well as this gives him that ability to smile smugly with the cameras.

    Of course, it would be nice if teams played like Galatasaray in the league, unfortunately they dont. Lets hope that the confidence however, especially for the likes of Ramsey, allows us to have more cutting edge when we faced with the brick wall tactics on the weekends.

  • Sleekwhale

    I could use this performance week in week out

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Life is the most difficult exam .
    Many people fail because they try to copy others .
    Not realising that everyone has a different question paper.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Today’s inspirational quote-
    “There is nothing more wonderful in life than seeing life as an adventure .
    We should all try things that we’re afraid of.
    We should all look very clearly into the unknown and enjoy it.
    Because when you come in contact with things that you really don’t know ,
    that’s when you are truly living.”

  • Will

    A couple of point.

    Podolski needs to be given a run of games. How we are treating him is shocking.

    The kids needs to get out of this 2 yard pass to each other crap. I saw in the second half, they were just playing it to themselves over 2 yards, this will cause issues against a pressing team.

  • Gord

    Brickfields

    Okay, I watched your video. If he cooks remotely like that regularly, he will probably starve. I also got to see one version of Ramsey’s goal. I can see where some people are just watching it over and over.

    It’s about time for me to go to sleep.

  • Gord

    Daily Mail also has Ramsey’s strike at 53 mph. It also says Podolski’s first goal was at almost 79 mph.

  • @SA Gunner. Every team plays the way they want, especially if you let them. Please don’t sound like we had it too easy. I suspect that you are of the school of thought that Arsenal wins only because the other team plays badly, never because we play well. Correct me if am wrong.
    @Brickfields. Thanks for those words of inspiration. The piece about the irony of life is quite interesting. I will spare a thought for my local thief from now on.

  • Will

    If we get Bayern Munich again, would that be grounds to call a fix?

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    I thought that during the first half it was the best atmosphere here on UA in in the last three years, everyone was so up for it as much as AFC themselves.
    Bloody hope Poldi plays at the weekend –and like that!
    COYG!AHA and Amen!

  • Well done everyone: what a fun game and nice to see the players enjoying it. Podolski’s first was the goal of the night for me: it set the tone, settled the nerves – and he had no right to score from there, which is just what you want from a striker. Let’s hope this is the start of a proper run in Arsenal colours for him.
    I do have one slight worry about the match though, and that was the fluent way we played without Alexis. I wonder if we become too one-dimensional when he is in the side, wonder if the other players are subconsciously looking only to him, wonder if he is too demanding to sit happily within a team framework.

  • Nicky

    At least we now have until February for the start of the KO stage….to get everyone fit and to bond with the newbies signed in January! 😉

  • WalterBroeckx

    Dan,
    as I am lucky enough to live outside England I miss that crap you have to endure 😉
    I was watching Sky on my computer but with no sound and made sure that at half time I didn’t put it on. I didn’t want to spoil the night.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Foreverheady, very interesting point.When PG first wrote about this I agreed then.Tough for Wenger to sort out.I also liked Poldis first as much as Ramseys screamer.

    Still cracking up about Usmanov being Sir M-D!

  • TommieGun

    Nice write up Walter.

    I think that more often than not Poldi is in the mood; he just doesn’t get enough opportunities and usually the problems are that he does not contribute to the general pressure game like Welbeck and cannot hold off the ball with his back to goal like Giroud. BUT finishing wise he is probably our best finisher, and to me his main contribution last night was hassling Gala’s defenders, winning the ball off them through some shoulder barges and other little pushes. I think that it proves that we must not be afraid to show off that side – even if in the PL we will get whistles against us.

  • SA Gunner

    @Stan The Man

    Not at all Stan. As Wenger stated prior to the game, Galatasaray are the Turkish champions and the best team there. He also went on to mention the environment which is very hostile. So by no means was it an easy trip. Also, on the day, Galatasaray played a very good game, as seen by their ability to play through us on regular occasion.

    The issue that Im raising is that the style of Gala suits us very well, spaces between their lines and they do not press their opponents. These factors contribute beautifully to our success as we are allowed time on the ball and to build a rhythm in our play.

    This is where I make the distinction. You will never see this in England or in the latter stages of the Champions League. Our opposition know very well that to nullify us, they need to become very very compact, press us or man mark us and cut down our passing channels. They also know that we do not have good compactness and leave spaces between our lines (defense, midfield and attack) and thus can counter attack us quickly.

    In short, you will not see such opposition team shape against Arsenal FC, this is why we are so dreadful at the moment in most areas.

  • WalterBroeckx

    May I also point at the brilliant block from Mertesacker in the second half when lying on the floor he blocked a shot from close range with his long leg. That was some top class defending!

  • gouresh

    I could not see the game. Does anyone know the chances to score ratio? we scored early to settle the nerves as they say, plus we could then dictate the pace. reminds me of what Martin Keown said on TV the other night, “good teams finsh the game off in the 1st 25 mins and that’s what they did back the the days.” now i don’t have the stats for old games, but this so true. a very nice win. need to focus for the NC game and please no more defensive horror’s.

  • TommieGun

    @ Brickfields I have to say that –

    The lawyer hopes you get into trouble, get sick [personal injury], become a criminal [legal defense], born stupid [can get more fees out of you], etc.

    So please don’t limit me to just one hope !

  • TommieGun

    @ Will – no. Our luck means that we always get the BEST team at the moment, which was Barcelona twice, then Bayern twice, and now we will be getting Real Madrid. You heard it first here.

  • para

    Good performance the team, and i know this is what most fans have been missing.
    We want to see a well oiled team playing for each other, pressing when we lose the ball and the great football that Arsenal are known for.

    I know the wait is long and even longer, but there is something in this group of players that is straining to get out, and it’s going to break free any day now, yesterday was a flash of what’s coming, even though this was “only” Galatasary.

  • @SA Gunner, well said my friend. Like I also pointed out in my earlier post, a team plays the way they want if you let them. One strategy is to not allow a team play like their normal game. The other is to somehow find a way to play your game inspite of the opposition.
    Some teams are so good at how they play that they have, different variants to cope with the opposition’s counter-strategy.As long as we don’t leak goals like we’ve been doing this season, we will be fine. We are actually good at what we do. It’s just that we need to be better finishers, more efficient in front of goal.
    We create chances aplenty,regardless of the opposition, if you will agree with me, and that is inspite of opposition counter-measures. Dodgy refs, team imbalance due to constant change in playing personnel occasioned by injuries, (which in part is due to dodgy refs), coupled with dreadful defending are the main reasons we are where we are on the log.

  • Rantetta

    Thanks Walter.

    …and Brickfields. Succinct stir-fry.

  • Menace

    I have not seen any opponent that can consistently get through our defence. There are occasions that we are vulnerable but generally our team is balanced. It takes an additional influence to break us.

    In my opinion with our squad fully fit & available there is very little to compete against us. It will take a little luck and God’s blessing but we will get what we deserve.

  • andy bishop

    Not interested what so called pundits say if you listen long enough you will hear something detrimental I thought the team was set up perfectly for the tie. Decisive on the break and well balanced particularly going forward. Without Sanchez Ramsey had more space to operate in and showed his class. Big fan of Podolski..not sure we could set up and play that way week in and out in the premier league. Well done to Wenger for last night.

  • bob

    Anyone,
    I didn’t see the match, but two reports I read say that Anderlecht had an definite penalty claim turned down when it was 0-0. Were we robbed of top place in our CL Division! Anyone following this – or are we not following it because we are so accustomed to the second place finish?

  • Marcus

    It was a result that will have done no harm to the psychological wellbeing of the team after the defeat at Stoke, but I fear this is another example of the club’s inconsistency. Excellent occasionally, functional at other times, and too often plain shambolic. No doubt that the visit to Istanbul was one of the better nights in recent times, even if, ultimately, it made no difference to anything.

  • SA Gunner

    @Stan The Man

    Agreed, its ultimately about our defense, and if we can fix that we will be good to go. Looking at the United game for example, shows that we are able to put together some great attacking play.

    I refuse to believe Wenger does not know this, he is extremely exprienced. The question I have is why he doesnt address our issues faster, and the main frustration.