Arsenal v Lens: what we found, what we felt, what they did




By Tony Attwood

Leaving the ground was like walking an air.  My pal and I walk back to Finsbury Park railway station to get the train heading north.  The station is horrifically overcrowded, sometimes to the point of danger, but I didn’t seem to notice.  Everything that I felt Arsenal had been heading toward was now coming together, and we really could see it.   And wow, did it work!

And yet even in such euphoria, I can’t help but feel annoyance at the media.  The Guardian’s report on the match against Lens speaks of the “away contingent’s admirable efforts to maintain an atmosphere.”

This “atmosphere” included the constant setting alight of what appeared to be hundreds of flares before the during the game, but that was a fact that they did not care tp mention.  Now you might know that Arsenal have a list of items that cannot be brought into the stadium and it very much includes “flares” – but this total breach of rules didn’t seem to bother the more intellectual parts of the media.  Maybe they were enjoying the hospitality too much.   Indeed such a breach of the rules didn’t bother the journalists from the Guardian for example, nor any of the security team who let all those people with flares through and into the ground.

Which raises a thought: what is the point of having regulations, if they are not going to be upheld?  Surely it just brings Arsenal into total disrepute.   There is of course also the second point that flares are dangerous, and indeed for people who don’t want to see the match through a haze of smoke they do interfere with viewing the game.

But then if the away support are going to be allowed to bring flares in en masse, or if Arsenal don’t have a way of finding flares on incoming visitors (sniffer dogs can help) then what’s the point of the regulation?

And why am I being frisked so vigorously?  I am an Arsenal season ticket holder, and had my first season ticket way, way back in the Highbury days.  I’m now in my 70s; I am an elderly guy who has been attending Arsenal matches since the age of nine and who, if I had wanted to disrupt Arsenal games I would have done it at sometime in the past sixty or so years. 

But as I say, before I could enter the ground I was frisked from my collar to my ankles – although I would suggest that the level of a threat to public order that I posed was pretty small.

As for the game, as you may well have heard or seen or read, Arsenal played the game with five attacking players, which made the whole thing rather fun – especially as all of them scored before halftime.  In order it was Havertz, Jesus, Saka, Martinelli, Odegaard, Jorginho.  Apparently, that is the first time any club in the Champions League has had five different scorers in the first half of the match – so another Arsenal first.

Oh yes, and we had the new chant of “£60 million down the drain; Kai Havertz scores again.”

Meanwhile, off the pitch everything imaginable was thrown at the security team who eventually gathered to face the away fans.   And for me, a question remains. If the man who frisked me with such vigilance could have had his attention directed instead, to some Lens fans, maybe there would have been less disorder.

And believe me there was disorder.  The man from the Guardian didn’t manage to notice it (perhaps he spent too long in the hospitality lounge) but the Sun  altough hardly the most reliable of sources did manage to spot what was going on, and we might note, for example, their commentary that “Lighters and seats thrown from the crowd.”   And more.

But I suppose someone somewhere at Arsenal, deems us English old age season-ticket holding pensioners a bigger threat than a group of much younger Lens supporters.

As we know Arsenal have won the group.   And because of the curious way in which these things are worked out Arsenal will go through with PSV because of results between the clubs rather than the goal difference within the league table.

Arsenal head the table with 12 points, then PSV with eight, Lens with five and Sevilla with two.

The teams that have now qualified for the knock out stages contain most of the usual suspects…

  • Bayern Munich
  • Real Madrid
  • Real Sociedad 
  • Inter
  • Atlético Madrid
  • Lazio
  • Borussia Dortmund
  • Manchester City
  • RB Leipzig
  • Barcelona
  • Arsenal
  • PSV Eindhoven

Arsenal will play one of the second-placed teams – but not PSV.

This win has made it six wins in the last eight games in all competitions for Arsenal with the two defeats coming in successive matches against West Ham in the league cup and Newcastle in the league.   Arsenal have scored 20 goals in these games and conceded seven.   It does seem we are back on track.

8 Replies to “Arsenal v Lens: what we found, what we felt, what they did”

  1. On the television coverage, it seemed at the start of the match that the atmosphere had become very foggy, – no mention on the commentary, but the explanation is now apparent.

    Further to the general media disappointment at such a fantastic performance:-

    It was only Lens, their team had an off-night, Arsenal were lucky, Havertz should have been penalised for handball (from Newcastle fans, who we know have had such an awful time because of VAR), wait and see what happens against a top European side like Real Madrid, or Bayern Munich, etc. etc.

    More attention being given to Man Utd managing not to get beaten by Galatasaray.

  2. “And yet even in such euphoria, I can’t help but feel annoyance at the media.”

    I know exactly what you mean. I’m just sitting here having a cuppa with the better half and on comes the BBC lunchtime Sports news, which as you would expect takes a look back at last nights Champions league. Well say that.

    You’d of thought that following our brilliant performance in sweeping aside Lens to top the group, and on the way to doing so setting all manner of records wouldn’t you? But no. Not even worth a mention. Not a single word.

    What was worth a mention was how crap Man Utds keeper is. What was worth a mention was Liverpools rather predictable Europa League match tonight.

    Can you just imagine the furore had it been Man Utd or Liverpool that had done what we did last night?

    But not a single word about little old Arsenal.

    Look, like yourself Tony I know it’s something and nothing, but it really does show how we are seen by the media.

  3. Guys,

    you know what ? WTF !
    We had fun watching the game, and I’m happy for all these idiots feeling upset and having no fun.
    Happy to know that Arsenal is screwing up their ‘pleasure’ at football and makes them frustrated and angry.

    Meanwhile, we are having FUN. And so is the team. I mean…it is so visible how they have become a unit.

  4. It is becoming so obvious that the media drives what happens in the EPL. German media were jumping about Dortmund’s win in Milan – I have noticed nothing about Arsenal.

    The officiating is decided by which teams the “experts” decide they like.

    Play fair and by the rules – not a chance.

    I have said many times it is not a sport any more – it has become the football equivalent of WWE due to the manipulation by the PIGMOB.

    I notice that IFAB are planning to introduce sin bins – how much more do they want to fix results? Don’t they do it enough already?

    I watched one game this week where the ref booked a goalkeeper for time wasting in the 93rd minute – why bother when they have been doing it since minute 5!

    I say this as a totally neutral supporter. If I can see it then it must be fairly obvious.

    Meanwhile fans are walking away in droves …

    The only answer UEFA, FIFA, The FA and EPL can do is add more and more games to, hopefully, make more money. Don’t they realise that they are devaluing the product they have?

    And as for the “ranting” about Newcastle – PSG – isn’t it different when one of their favourites are involved. After all Arsenal had 4 reasons to disallow a goal! (I say that as a neutral)

    If only fans realised how much power they have if they work together.

  5. Les I would like to say that it couldn’t have happened to a ‘nicer’ bunch of supporters that the Toon brigade. They crowed when their gold stood against Arsenal, now they need to remember that and consider whether they are in the boat that want to crucify Arteta or the 1 to change the EPL for the better. There is a saying that dead fish flow with the water but it takes an alive fish to be able to swim upstream. We can trust that the FA sees the joke about the newcastle goal when they compare it to the foul on the Pool keeper in their shitty match with the foul on Gabriel. We can live in hope and ask all supporters to stand together for the good of the game….

  6. Les Williams

    “It is becoming so obvious that the media drives what happens in the EPL. German media were jumping about Dortmund’s win in Milan – I have noticed nothing about Arsenal. The officiating is decided by which teams the “experts” decide they like.”

    I’ve been saying that on Untold Arsenal for years Les. The media sets the narrative of who they want to win things. They make it absolutely clear through SKY, BTS as was, and the BBC. Through Talksport and the Red Tops, as we have seen yet again these last couple of weeks.

    Liverpool harshly treated by VAR: Klopp moans. He’s backed 100% by an outraged media. No consequences. In fact he gets an apology.

    Wolves harshly treated by VAR: O’Neil moans. He’s backed 100% by an outraged media. No consequences. In fact he gets an apology.

    Newcastle harshly treated by VAR: The media again are outraged at the injustice.

    I have no problem with any of that.

    Fans are obviously entitled to have a moan. They pay hard earned money to expect better from the officials.

    Players will always have a moan. As long as they don’t go OTT that’s fine. They too expect better. If they do go OTT they will get carded.

    Managers are also entitled to moan. In fact it is expected of them. Why else would the PL INSIST they face a post match press conference? Or do they expect them just to say, yes the ref was great. VAR was great. Everything in the garden is Rosy, when it’s clear to everyone it isn’t. Surely we expect nothing other than their honest appraisal, and if the PGMOL, The Premier League, etc. don’t like it, DON’T ASK.

    But when it comes to Arsenal, the medias take couldn’t be more different. After the Newcastle match we heard the fans are always whinging. Similarly the players. The managers a nutcase. Apart from a couple exceptions, almost to a man the media attacked Arsenal.

    What happens. Our manager is up before the beak.

    How boringly predictable.

  7. Legacy media have an agenda and if the situation doesn’t fit their agenda they don’t report on it. Excessive deaths, Sweden’s non lockdown, Grooming gangs, rampant anti semitism, beheading women & children. They don’t report today but push the agendas of the WEF, WHO & Bill “Friend of Geoffrey Epstein” Gates that’s against the publics interests in economics, health & sport. Is it a coincidence that FIFA, UEFA & the EU are all based in Europe & all up to their eyeballs in corruption?
    PS Regarding security I was in New York before lockdown & was taken to watch the Mets baseball team (the Sp*rs of New York baseball) and went to buy a beer where I was asked for ID. My relative told him I was from the UK (he didn’t have a clue were it was) and didn’t have ID but could guarantee that at 76 I was old enough to buy a beer.

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