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October 2016
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Burnley – Arsenal 0-1, The Paradox Curse has been broken

By Walter Broeckx

As you may have read I was not able to do my usual life match report. The reason was that we had a supporters club meeting straight after the match. And as I am the president of the Arsenal Belgium supporters club I had to be there of course.

But I must say that it is not easy to get torn between two loves like Untold and Arsenal Belgium. As I had to let down one of them and this time I chose to let our readers down. The reason… The Curse. But more on that later on. You will need to get to the end of this article to find out about the terrible Curse and the Paradox.

Arsenal started in attacking mood and a first shot from Alexis that was first touched by a Theo and then by a defender went just wide. The ref gave a goalkick when it should have been a corner. Then Theo was given some space by Alexis but his shot went wide. Not the easiest of angles.

For the rest it was Arsenal going forward and Burnley defending in numbers with only one player at the halfway line and all the rest around and in their penalty area. Where is Giroud (injured) when you need him? And it looked as if too many of our players had trouble in controlling the ball. Amazing how many times players like Özil, Santi and Alexis had terrible poor control and misplaced passes. Iwobi joined in with them and I think Theo was the only attacker who did his usual job. The rest were having a collective off-day.

A half chance fell for Burnley when Vokes was completely unmarked but headed wide. For the rest Burnley mostly hoofed the ball up field when we lost the ball. Playing the ball past such a packed defence is difficult and to do this you need to have all your players having a great match. And as I said before most of our attacking players had a complete off day. Effort enough but it just wouldn’t work out as they had in mind.

The atmosphere in our pub went a bit: oh no, the Curse is striking again….. We felt staring miserable and guilty. Why had we picked this match to come together? We knew the Curse….  Not much to report for the rest of the first half so a 0-0 score was the result of the efforts we made.

Arsenal kept on trying to play through the packed Burnley defence and nearly got there but the Burnley keeper made a good stop on a low shot from Alexis. A shot from Özil was blocked by defenders when he had a good shooting chance.  Burnley just defending and defending. But suddenly they got a chance out of nothing and Cech had to palm it away for a corner.

Alexis at the other end had a volley that shaved the outside of the post. At the other end Burnley nodded a corner against the crossbar. Refs may I urge you to pay attention to the fact that it is illegal to put an attacker in front of the keeper who then moves in the path of the keeper to block him his movement. Burnley did this each time and a ref should have kept an eye on this.

A Burnley player committed a clear handball in his own penalty area but the ref seemingly didn’t want to give any handball decisions in this match. But for the rest it was again a match when too many Arsenal players played below the level they showed the last weeks. Maybe a bit of fatigue after two excellent matches in the last week?

Arsenal broke away after a Burnley corner and the ball ended up in front of Theo but his curled effort curled just wide of the post.

The 90 minutes were up. A minimum of 2 extra minutes would be given. Only two minutes????? No punishing the time wasting by the Burnley keeper then….

I turned to Marcel our treasurer who was sitting next to me. The Curse is still there I said.

So “what is this Paradox Curse?” you will be shouting at me by now. Well for the past season and a half we have had a pub that we can call our home. It is situated in Leuven, Diestsesteenweg 109. So if you ever are in Belgium and want to see an Arsenal match you can go there and ask Yann if he can give the match on one of the 5 screens. Mind you only matches officially broadcast in Belgium can be seen there. The name of this café (= pub in Dutch) is Paradox.

And since we have made the Paradox our supporters club home pub…. we haven’t won a match when we had an official meeting in this club.

So we bowed our head in despair… F*ck why did we have to arrange a meeting here again? We knew it would bring bad luck. Never again… we had in our heads. Next time we would meet in Antwerp, Ghent, ….anywhere but not Leuven (Louvain as you know it in the UK and in French.)

Deflated and full of guilty feelings we sat there… it was all our fault that we would drop points. The Paradox Curse had stricken us again.

Oh look we have a final corner with 15 seconds or so on the clock. They take it short. Alexis turns… a cross… Theo heads it on…. OMG Arsenal players bundle it somehow over the line….. what the f*ck…. is this real…. is it really a goal…. yes it is given…. the Arsenal Belgium supporters in the Paradox go wild, my bottle ends up crashing on the floor, who cares,…. My god the ref ends the match…. We won…..

A very, very ugly win. One that you only see from time to time from teams who have a chance to win the title. We kept on going and got rewarded.

But the most satisfying thing about this day was that finally after some 6-7 attempts Arsenal won their first match when we gathered in Cafe Paradox.

Finally the Paradox Curse had been broken. The owner of the pub, Yann, came to me after the match very relieved…he feared we would leave him as we couldn’t in at his place.

No need to fear that anymore, Yann. Because you know once a curse is broken the balance suddenly shifts to the other side completely. Well that is what we hope of course. From now on the Paradox will be known for bringing us the luckiest win in a very, very, very, very long time.

A big win and 3 big points. And a curse is broken in the most strange way. Going from completely being out of luck for one and a half seasons it all turned around in those crazy seconds right at the end of the match.

PS: For those who want to know about the validity of the goal…. wait for the referee review. For the moment and in the pub we really couldn’t care. We have had difficult moments enough over there in the matches before (the Dean/Chelsea win one of the most painful in the Paradox) to just enjoy the change of fortune for now. From tomorrow on it will be time to examine the goal in detail.

PPS: Looking back at last season and the Curse… it was us using the Paradox in those cursed days that cost Arsenal the title. Not the refs, not the players, not Wenger… it was The Curse I tell ya. It was The Curse!

Recent stories from Untold Arsenal

Wenger ponders whether Yaya Sanogo will ever really be good enough for Arsenal. 

A goal or not a goal? Burnley v Arsenal – the first reactions.

Burnley v Arsenal, the team, two contrasting styles of play and the sequences

Burnley v Arsenal. Seven and a half things to look out for and a pic of Mr Wenger down the pub.

A reminder of how things have changed and why top four finishes are not to be decried

Burnley v Arsenal Sun 02 October 2016 – The Match Officials. Which Mr Pawson will turn up – Jekyll or Hyde?

UEFA Champions League – Arsenal v Basel key incidents, plus the under 19 Arsenal/Basel game


23 comments to Burnley – Arsenal 0-1, The Paradox Curse has been broken

  • nicky

    What with the match AND the club meeting, Walter, you must have had something to eat. Let’s have a catering report! 😉

  • Florian

    Walter, as a tourist I experienced Belgium’s appetite for bilingual jokes many years ago. Speaking about Leuven, that is. When taking the train there from Strasbourg, I naturally used the French name, Louvain. The result is that I got a ticket to Louvain la Neuve, which is something else entirely. Not very far, but a different place. The Frenchmen had Leuven in their system by its Flemish name. How about that?

  • Florian

    Oh, and, looking forward to the ref review. The AAA station that is ESPN apparently had something to say about Kos’s hand, and mostly his position, which was a bit suspect of offside, when Ox struck the ball. But I’ll leave it to you to decide 😉

  • Mandy Dodd

    You just know it has been a good day when a curse was broken, Arsenal win in the last minute and the WOB are left angry and devastated after their earlier high of Spurs winning

  • Leon

    The goal was scored in time added onto added time, which I assume was for the small amount of goalkeeper time wasting.
    Burnley held us up for most of the match with a fine defensive display while creating three excellent chances of their own. In the end I was relieved to get those points when a draw looked inevitable .
    I’m in the “no goal” camp, but who cares we got the points.

  • Leon

    Re goalkeerpers being penalised for time wasting, have you noticed how many of them are out of their areas when releasing the ball when kicking out?
    This as far as I know is a red card offence yet none ever get picked up on it these days. Before the “preventing a goal scoring opportunity” rule referees used to have a quick word with the goalkeepers to stop them doing this but they now do it with umpunity. And I never see it mentioned in your match reports.

  • WalterBroeckx

    It needed some “special” to lift the curse and weel the least you can say about the goal was that it was a special goal. Haven’t seen anything like that before. Or at least not that I can remember….

  • WalterBroeckx

    Nicky, no as it is only one hour away from home we just had our meals at home. Sorry, no catering report. 😉

  • WalterBroeckx

    Florian a bit of history about Leuven and Louvain La Neuve. (From my head and how I remember it)
    In the old days (since the start of Belgium in 1830) the elite spoke mostly French even in Flanders. Only 100 years after the start of Belgium in 1930 the first Dutch speaking university was allowed to start. Before that Dutch was considered a language not being good enough to give higher education. That first Dutch speaking university was in Gent. (Ghent as you know it).Dutch was a paysants language for the elite and the French speaking part. (a generalisation of course as not all people thought the same)

    Leuven was a bit special as it was close to Brussels and had a French reputation but was situated in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium.
    When going to universities became not just the privilige of the very rich we got a movement that demanded also Dutch lessons in a university situated in Flanders. Add to this the atmosphere or rebellion that went through Europe in the sixties and you got the ideal mix for protests, demonstrations. I still remember the radio reports in the news as a kid (6-7 years) where you could hear the shouts, the sirenes, ….. I must say I found this a bit fascinating.

    I think we even had a governement that had to resign over the matter.

    Anyway after a while and with all the protests and violence the governemtn decided to make the university of Leuven a Flemish university and the French students got a brand new university build just over the linguistical border in Brabant Wallon (Leuven is in Vlaams Brabant)and they named it … Louvain La Neuve. If it would have been in English it would have been called New Leuven.

    Last year I was visiting a medical congress with my wife about Lyme disease in Louvain La Neuve and then had to go to Leuven to the Paradox to see us get shifted by Dean at Chelsea. The first match of the curse…. So yes they are not that far apart.

  • MickHazel

    People, including a lot of the ‘experts’, complaining that the goal was scored after the 2 minutes added on time had passed show themselves up for what they are. Thick.
    If the referee wants to add on say two minutes thirty seconds he relays that as two minutes to the fourth official who indicates that time on his board. That is the minimum extra time to be played, the ref then blows when he sees fit after the two minutes has elapsed, surely even someone like Shearer should be able to grasp that simple concept.

  • MickHazel

    Two minutes added on was a bit stingy given the time wasting and the number of substitutions.
    It is normal for a ref to add 30 seconds for each substitution and I think there were 5 in yesterdays game.
    On that basis I am guessing that the ref allowed two and a half minutes for the substitutions and nothing for the time wasting.

  • markyb

    The whole minimum time thing only gets brought up if someone scores a winner against us about a minute over

  • bjtgooner

    I was out of town for the match & have not as yet watched the full recording. However, Dermot Gallagher this morning on SKY confirmed the disputed goal (mostly disputed by visually challenged punters!) was fair – Kos (not the Ox) kicked the ball – hence no offside, the ball struck Kos’s elbow on the way into the goal – but it ball to elbow, not elbow to ball – so ok.

    Video evidence seems to confirm this.

    A good three points – well done guys!

  • para

    I think the ref justs adds on extra for the time wasting and other short incidents taking place in the extra time (basically extra-extra time) as he sees fit.

    “The Curse” is more likely that the players heads are on the upcoming holidays and lose a little determination for the game. 🙂

    Anyway we got through, just.

  • Pete

    Wow! Dermot Gallagher was on Arsenal’s side? Wonders will never cease…

  • NuttnTiddy

    The Burnley game was certainly not played like a friendly but astonishingly there were only five fouls, three by Arsenal and two by Burnley, would be interested to know (if anyone has the information),is this the lowest ever in the premier league?
    In the Spuds/Mancity game there were thirty fouls, Twenty by the home team, ten by the away team. But then what do you expect from two teams who are declared push and shove specialists.

  • Gord

    First game after the break is Swansea. They just sacked the manager (on his birthday). So, Swansea will have “extra incentive” in that game.

  • omgarsenal

    IMHO, Kos’ arm was in a normal playing position, considering he was jumping up AND right beside the Ox. As well, the ball, kicked by him, was so fast that he had no time to actually prevent it from hitting his hand, therefore the goal stood. He couldn’t be offside because he was parallel to the OX when the Ox played the ball, therefore no offside call possible.

    The time wasting and added time issue is a moot point, as the referee is the ONLY timekeeper, but he does usually check with his assistant(s) to be sure there are no major disagreements between his watch and theirs. When I officiated, I asked the assistant on the bench side of the field to keep stopped time with me and the assistant on the other side to keep running time, thus ensuring that few errors could pop up.

    Leon…..impunity is spelt with an i, not a u….so probably a typo?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Pete, refs and ex refs giving us a fair deal,almost a level playing field…all very strange…has someone seen the light?..maybe something to do with the Fa ….in my view , quite wrongly, thinking they can entice Wenger for England,after his recent…perhaps clever flirtations?
    or am i talking complete rubbish, and we are about to get Messrs Taylor, Dean and Atkinson in the next few games?

  • Menace

    Alexis miss kicked the ball, Theo didn’t even realise it bounced off his head straight into Ox’s foot who knowing Kos was off side, passed it to him. I think that Kos then deliberately kicked the ball at his hand knowing his angles with a classic in off his hand. The ref only saw the net bulge with a ball & realising it was end of game went for the easy option of giving the goal so that he could get a few beers in at Wengers 20 year celebration.

    Leon knows that is what happened!!!

    Damn this whiskey is good.

  • Gord

    Hmmm, Menace likes whiskey. And probably knows it isn’t whisky.

    Do you know port? What would you think of a “port” not made from grapes? But very red. Or at least before any aging.

  • Pat

    I could just imagine the Paradox when that goal went in, Walter.

    Interesting about blocking the goalie – we have seen this in the past from some teams and without wanting to be rude, Burnley is the sort of team that would do it.

    Were you quite fair to include Santi in the first half blunderers? I think gave him very good numbers for successful passes.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Menace -October 4, 2016 at 12:19 am – I like your version of the goal ! Lucky Arsenal!
    WOO HOO , HOO !

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