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Arsenal v Red Star: our kids need playing time but ex Man U players always offer amusement

By Tony Attwood

From what I saw, (and as with the commentary about Swansea supporters, people in the ground can only report what they saw), the Red Star fans were what away fans should be.  Very positive, very noisy, no fighting among themselves, no flares.  They didn’t exceed their ticket allocation in the number of people who turned up, and by and large none of them were attacked by a player of the team they supported.

Which is a trifle different from what happened at Estadio D Afonso Henriques in Guimarães, the home of Vitoria SC in Portugal where that old turnip Patrice Evra was sent off before the game for kicking a Marseille supporter before the match.  At least Cantona, as I recall, waited until after he had been sent off and managed to kick a supporter of the opposition.  As far as I know Evra kicked one of his club’s own fans.  During the warmup.

And so he was sent off before the game started – thus creating a debate.  Since the game had not started could another player be put on in his place?   Which led to the discussion: if a player is injured in the warm up does the substitute count as one of the three that the club is allowed to use, or is he part of the starting XI.  Interesting stuff this football lark.

Yes it’s tricky stuff following the rules, especially when there are people like Cantona and Evra around – although it is in passing a little curious that they both had connections with Manchester United.

Anyway, the debate didn’t get that far largely because it was conducted while we were trying to cross Seven Sisters Road to get to Finsbury Park for a train that was soon to leave.  For some reason I have never understood, whenever Blacksheep and I want to board that train, so do a lot of other people.

But back with the fighting, the Cantona incident apparently “changed football forever” according to the media who love events that change the world forever.  But I am not too sure it did, unless it set up a situation in which every 20 years we have a Cantona memorial kick.

There will be lots of moral outrage, although I suspect no calls for Manchester United to be shut down on the grounds that they keep producing players who kick supporters.  But it was ever thus.  Anyway as the media tell me, it “will come under fierce scrutiny in the coming days.”  Fierce scrutiny no less.  I wonder what that actually means.

Meanwhile back on planet Earth, only one of the four teams that we listed yesterday as having won all their games in the Europa thus far continued so to do – Lazio.  Zenit went through in a game played against Rosenborg for whom… Nic Bendtner, yes Nic Bendtner, scored a penalty.   And the mass marauders of Cologne actually won a game  – 5-2 beating BATE Borisov to help us go through.

P Team GP W D L F A GD Pts
1  Arsenal 4 3 1 0 8 3 5 10
2  Red Star Belgrade 4 1 2 1 2 2 0 5
3  BATE 4 1 1 2 6 10 -4 4
4  Cologne 4 1 0 3 6 7 -1 3

One more point should do it, two draws or a single win in the last two would certainly do it.  Because of this maybe Mr Wenger will decide to use the kiddies in the last two games.  Oh, actually…

Arsène Wenger said that he has enjoyed having two separate squads to play in the League and the cup games, and we should not lose the site of the lack of experience this team had, combined with the fact that we had a very mix and match squad out there.

Of course they are dismissed in the press for lacking creative inspiration, and of course we might hope for more from Giroud and Jack but the essence of the team was players without experience or indeed without recent experience.

Macey was getting what I think was his first start, Nelson still a novice although we’ve now heard so much about him, Debuchy playing out of position and who has hardly played in two years, Elneny who only started playing as a centre back in the summer, Holding – £3m from Bolton, Maitland-Niles, Willock… and a beach that apart from Cech and Eddie, most people had hardly seen play.

And one burk in the media called it a “tortured” display.  How silly.  This was young players getting used to playing in a big arena with a crowd present, against a team of full on professionals with nothing to lose.  And let us not forget that that attempt by Jack which did come so close to a goal.

To dismiss this game as laboured and tortured is ludicrous – it was a game of youngsters and returnees against a hardened team, and they came through it ok.  Of course we all want to see free flowing high scoring games.  But if the price of getting there is having games like this when the kids and returnees are given a chance, I’ll still do the 170 mile round trip each time and pay to go in.  Unlike those journalists who sneer after actually being paid to be there.

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12 comments to Arsenal v Red Star: our kids need playing time but ex Man U players always offer amusement

  • Brickfields Gunners

    WOO HOO , HOO ! Not the besrlt result , but it will do.
    Up the Gunners !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Sorry …best result

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    With due respect to you sir Mr Attwood, let me say I refuse to buy in into the idea that our match agsinst Crvena Zvezda in the Europa League match day no 4 played yesterdsy night at the Emirates Stadium wasn’t tourtred and laboured. For, Olivier Giroud and Theo’ Walcott in their lacklusterness in front of Crvena Zevzda’s goalmounth made the game looked laboured for Arsenal to win. Which as a result of their pathetic failing to score for Arsenal and no any other Gunner on the field of play capitalised on their failing to score and scored, Arsenal team 2 did not lose the match but didn’t win it either as the match ended in a goaless draw to end Arsenal’s 13 games winning run at the Emirates Stadium. In fact, with the catalog of goals scoring chances Giroud and Walcott in particular had in the game for Arsenal which they didn’t take, the Arsenal team 2 that was spearheaded by them and largely dependent on for their striking force to deliver a win for Arsenal, Giroud and Walcott with their incompence in composure having before shooting in front of goal yesterday night failed to produce the win for Arsenal in the match which consequently had us the Gooners punished but not pained yesterday night as we watched them fluffed their lines severally with reckless abandons for Arsenal.

  • Gooner S

    @Tony

    “To dismiss this game as laboured and tortured is ludicrous – it was a game of youngsters and returnees against a hardened team, and they came through it ok”

    It was not a good game. Both sides were poor. Yes, Arsenal were fielding a very young and inexperienced side but still this is a European Competition. I would like Arsenal to be taking this competition a little more seriously especially when games such as this count as a cup game from our season tickets. RSB finishing was particularly poor and Arsenal played at too slow a pace and our passing was poor. Not worth booing the team or anything like that. Just one of those games that will be quickly forgotten.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I think Le Prof should keep all the senior and junior Gunners presently in his Arsenal team 2 intact and not demote any one of them back to the Arsenal U18 team from where he pulled them from but continue to have them in his selection for Arsenal team 2 for matches locally in the FA Cup against the lower opposition teams and in the 2 remaining Arsenal Europa League first round matches to keep developing them. Should Le Prof plays a wholesale young Gunners for our BATE Borisov ELC match at the Ems and against FC Klon in Germany but only for Arsenal to lose the games in the name of giving chances to young Gunners alone to play in these game? NO SIR!!!

  • Goonermikey

    @ Gooner S

    “Not worth booing the team or anything like that”. Please explain to me what value there is in ever booing the team.

    Tony stated that he does a 170 miles round trip to get to games and my journey is slighter longer than that. If we can accept the vale of giving future players valuable experience I see little reason for anybody to moan about it…………………..let alone consider the option of booing!

  • Flares

    Sky Sports match report proclaimed Arsenal to be ‘unconvincing’ and that we ‘stumbled into the next round’…do previous results not count then? Three wins and a draw with only three goals conceded. That isn’t stumbling. It’s working through the group stage better than Milan, Lyon, Marseille and Villareal are, for a start. Interestingly, Steaua match our tally exactly so I’ll happy to swerve them going forward, in addition to Dynamo, who also look half decent. Group F is dire. Copenhagen on top with one win. Dreadful.

  • Andy Mack

    Didn’t Macey start in the TinPot Cup game against Norwich?

  • goonersince72

    Goonermikey

    Well said!

  • Ando

    Tony,
    That should be ‘berk’ as in Berkshire Hunt
    Other than that – keep up the good work
    Cheers

  • Gord

    Macey did start against Norwich. The game versus Red Star was his UEFA (or Europa League) debut.

    Hopefully in the future, when he is playing in a UEFA club game, it will be back in the Champions League.

  • Gord

    OT: Champions League Trivia

    Players who have played for Arsenal in Champions League, who have 100 or more appearances in Champions League

    112 Thierry Henry (Monaco 9, Barcelona 26, Arsenal 77)
    111 Petr Čech (Sparta Praha 12, Chelsea 94, Arsenal 5)
    108 Ashley Cole (Arsenal 45, Chelsea 60, Roma 3)
    100 Cesc Fàbregas (Arsenal 55, Barcelona 26, Chelsea 19)*

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