A perfect team performance

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By Walter Broeckx

Well what do you want more, my dear.  In Belgium and Holland, where I come from as you will know by now, this weekend we have a special child festivity. It is called Sinterklaas. And it is the habit that this Sinterklaas (an old historical figure – just google it if it or follow this link gives presents and sweets to the nice children. And if you didn’t behave good during the year you get nothing.  And in this weekend most children will wait very excited to find out what this good holy man brought to them.  Will it be that so much desired toy they have been dreaming of? Most of the children will know tomorrow morning.

But I got my present already. I must have been a nice boy (okay if you look at the picture you will realise this is a bit over the top) this years. Because this win was really a very good gift from Sinterklaas. The perfect gift for this weekend. So I will sing an old Sinterklaas song later today to thank him.

But it could have gone the other way. Because the first chance fell to Wigan and it was only because of our Brazilian left back who couldn’t defend ( we had been told by some), actually did show he could defend and made a very, very vital block to divert the ball in to a corner. Wigan looked lively and our players didn’t find their feet immediately.  In other and past seasons  we would have conceded and struggled for 90 minutes. But this is a new Arsenal since the 1st September. This is an Arsenal that can have something and that can fight their way back in a game.

And so we did. Gradually we took over. Not that we were very dangerous at first but you could see that our midfield took things in hand or better said feet and began to play the ball around a bit. And you could feel it coming (well I pretend I felt it coming) that we would score.  And what a goal. Arteta got the ball in midfield could run free to the Wigan goal and as nobody really attacked him he steadied himself for a shot and what a shot it turned out to be. The ball was swerving and took a very strange curve and the keeper could only see himself diving in the air but the ball curled its way in the back of the net.  A goal from distance from Arsenal… who said we didn’t shoot from outside?

I think we have been told a few times by some people that we are bad at corners. And today I have seen some things that can only come from the training ground.  Usually we take our corners and we have Per, Vermaelen, Koscielny all running from the edge of the penalty area. But this time we saw a completely different routine. So for me the unofficial assist goes to whoever proposed to use Mertesacker as a diversion. The big German defender put himself in front of the keeper and you could see the Wigan defenders all trouping around him and so Van Persie curled the ball to the far post where who else but my compatriot (I hope you don’t mind me bragging a bit about this?) connected cleanly and put the ball in the top corner. The official assist to RVP but for me it was Per who assisted very much to this goal.

We then had the game in hand for the rest of the first half. And could go in with a comfortable 0-2.

Wigan came out with new believe and they again started strongly for a few minutes. But our attackers defended, our midfielders defended and our defenders defended. This was a team performance.  We then should have had a stonewall penalty for a pull on Ramsey. The ref let it go and our players were so furious about it that they almost gave Wigan a chance.  But this inspired to settle the game completely. We played the ball around the Wigan penalty area it looked a bit like a handball team going from one end to the other waiting for the chance to come. And who else but Robin Van Persie to create the third goal. He turned and twisted his man and another and then saw his shot saved by the keeper. But there was Gervinho on hand to put the ball in the empty net. I think you could hear the sigh of relief from millions of Gooners all around the world : Gervinho could score again! I think no person more relieved than Gervinho himself. Great to have him on the score sheet and like Wenger said this week: Gervinho will score.

We then played a bit of a cat and mouse game with poor Wigan at times. And when Theo was faster than the defender he could choose between an attempt on goal himself or help Robin to another goal.. he preferred Robin to have another goal. Robin kicked it in with his right foot as if he was a right footed player.  I actually think he has scored most of his goals with his right foot. And did you notice how Robin wanted all the Gooners to acknowledge Theo for his great contribution.   0-4 and the game was over.

What followed was 11 Wigan players who only wanted one thing: that the ref would finish the game as soon as possible. Not only because of the once again excellent away Gooners were shouting the olé olé with each pass but also because some of them risked getting send off because of some rash challenges.  Clattenburg only gave 2 minutes of extra time and I don’t think anyone really wanted more.  Well I could have settled for a few more minutes to be honest but whom am I…

This was really a first class team performance. And as football is a team sport this was the almost perfect performance.  So here sits a very happy Gooner who had the perfect Sinterklaas gift of the weekend. Now if you excuse me I will finish the article here because I do must see if he has brought me something else like some chocolates and other sweets.  And after that: up to the next game in Greece which is played on Sinterklaas day. Looking forward to see more of the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Frimpong, Cocquelin…..

And one final note before I go hunting for chocolate: how on earth do you pick a man of the match for a game like this?

LATEST NEWS….. The agency that Fifa has brought in to investigate corruption in Fifa has walked out and refused to continue, because Fifa won’t act on any of its recommendations.


37 Replies to “A perfect team performance”

  1. Oh and if you look at the league table we are in 5th position for the moment. Not that bad for a team that started with only 4 out of possible 15 points after 5 games….

  2. I’m glad the away fans were mentioned in this excellent match report, the away fans have been superb all season, even when the team was struggling in the first few games.

    This was a good team performance from what appears to be a happy and united team. Long may it continue!

  3. From Gunner to Gooner… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDvqiMr9PIU

    apparently Szczesny asked for silence standing in front of the away supporters and then started signing we’re by far the greatest team…. and the fans joined in…

    This is what Arsenal is going to be in the next decade: players that are also Gooners.

    All thanks to Arsène and his youth project

  4. brilliant article walter…it was a really great all round team performance no one really stood out tbh..they were all amazing…one thing i wonder is where would we be if the Arsene out brigade and the AAA in general had their way? inside two moths we went from a team in crisis with a clueless manager to relegation candidate to a one man team to errrm…what are they calling us now? and is it only me who got annoyed with the commentator? it was as if he wanted to cry because were losing they must be getting really desperate to see us fail…they can suck on it

  5. Hi
    Off topic but thought I’d get it in. What do you reckon to Le Sulk making a return now Chelsea have given him the go ahead to find a new club in January?

    Could he be the added dimension and influence we need?

  6. 4 Man Team! 😉

    The third goal took 33 passes, the highest during this season so far!

    Le Sulk may sound nice on the outside, but he may disturb the team spirit. Not worth it at all, specially at the wage he must be used to in Chelski.

    Gunner 4 Life.

  7. @ Stuart,
    Can’t see Arsene pursuing this one, not after the way he left the Club all those years ago. In any case, I wonder whether our game is now a bit too quick for his declining years.

    p.s. But I may be wrong.

  8. @stuart he is not worth it…his ego will disrupt the team and i really hope and wish he doesnt come…imo the only reason that our players seem to enjoy playing with each other is the peace and harmony within the dressing room and taking in le sulk would change that.

  9. I have to say, Arteta looked extremely relaxed with his goal. Coming to Arsenal has definitely sharpened his skills.

    With regard to the Anelka thing, I wouldn’t expect to see him back but just thought I’d throw it in there!!

  10. It was lovely seeing RVP showing that much respect and appreciation for Walcott after scoring the goal.
    What a great team spirit!

  11.  I thought it was a great game and couldn’t wait to read your article. Arteta and Song once again brilliant. Ramsey & TV brilliant, everyone brilliant.  How dare Arteta score a screamer from outside the box.
    Santos got skinned a few times in the beginning of the 2nd half during their short lived revival, but it thanks to a poor Wigan nothing came of it. Had it been a better side then a come back was on for them. Not trying to bring down the performance at all, I just wonder if the big sides have noticed or if they have, think it’s worth while to pursue.
    He Likes to risk a quick stabbing kick when standing in front of a player to get the ball, it works most of the time but risky business. I love his attaking skills much better than a fast runner and crosser like Clichy, scored more goals than him in handfull of games already to boot.
    Feels soo good to know Olympiacos is for the fringe players, cos were top. If we feel this good  imagine how the players feel, team harmony!!! 
    Comon the Mighty Arsenal

  12. Thanks for writing this Walter, for it meant that after a very late night out with my pals from the dance club I didn’t have to get up and start editing the blog at first light.

    5th place indeed. I am sure there is already someone saying, that if Liverpool win their match in hand we’ll be 6th, but the fact is that for the first time, we have the better goal difference! Liverpool have to win by I think 3 goals to go above us. Quite remarkable.

    I’d also note that we are just 2 points behind Chelsea – one of the models for mega spending.

    It is strange that there are people who still keep telling us that we need to Oil model of football – but that would mean putting our club in the hands of a man on who we are dependent utterly, changing our manager regularly, and spending millions, and all for 2 points.

    And let’s not forget that this summer we lost our midfield of world class players: Nasri, Cesc and Jack.

    And then lost 3 of our regular full backs.

    I must look up what our spend and receipts were in the summer. I guess we got in maybe £65 million, and spent what? £45???? (that’s a guess – I am still half asleep!)


  13. Speaking of hating Arsenal with a passion:
    Call it opportunism or call it lurking with intent or call it atonement or call it whatever pays the rent, the one and only David Hytner of the Guardian – who became the leading hatchet man in the Arsene Out destabilization campaign of not that long ago – has actually written a readable and worthy interview on Gervinho today: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/dec/02/gervinho-arsenal-interview
    The blood is no longer in the water when Hytner is all peaches n’ cream. Go Gunners!

  14. @bob

    Good link and a decent article by Hytner – but to quote the old adage “a leopard never changes its spots” – I expect it would be the same with hatchet Hytner. He has a long way to go to redeem himself!

  15. Great performance, heard thatSong hobbled off , anyoe know if he is going to be ok?
    As for Le Sulk, think he will most likely be Spud fodder, as Arry tries to sign up every aging player going – his view on youth does not bode well for his possible next job, he is kn record as saying there are very few good English kids out there. Really Arry?

    Still, onwards and upwards, hope the bring in Martin O Neill / Moyes / Ancelotti brigade feel very silly now….

  16. Good remark M.V. I seem to remember when we had to play them they wrote Udinese down a bit to show that we were a bit lucky to “scrape trough” to the next round.
    I always found them a very good team and that it was a great performance to beat them twice

  17. Great to see this team play so well infact it may be as enjoyable watching this squad play as it was watching the invincibles.
    I think the big difference is the forward movement is comming from everywhere, where as last season I still have visions of cesc with his hands out everytime someone else had the ball saying pass to me.
    Cesc and Nasri 2 players who didnt want to be here but wanted everything played through them hindered many of the players on the team. Also looking at clychy responsible for the city goal yesterday I think we got the best of that deal.
    When you think back to the sp*rs loss where we were then and are now a lot of credit has to go to everyone involved an amazing turn around.

  18. The team has a good look about it.

    Bear in mind that the pitch looked like a cabbage patch prepared during the ploughman’s lunch break.

    In the past, such pitches would have scuppered us….

    I think our team looks better balanced without Fab And Naz.

    Is anyone else perturbed by the Gary Speed killing?

  19. hahaha did anyone see match of the day’s coverage of the game?

    tottenham beat bolton 3-0 at home. bolton had ten men for most of the match, after a horrible decision from the ref. according to the ‘experts’ at the bbc, tottenham are simply brilliant, yes a good preformance but also against a ten men bolton side who are short of form and a home game for tottenham.

    they then go to the arsenal match, which we obviosly won 4-0 away from home against a wigan side well short of form. the anal-ysis of this match is, wigan were poor defensively and made it easy for arsenal. no mention of the good play, control etc from the away team. they even went so far as to say that TV got a goal ‘completely unmarked’! when it seemed to me that he read the flight of the ball better and outjumped two defenders while still having the composure to squeeze the ball in from a tight angle.

    it shouldnt upset me, as this is very much the norm from motd, but i was having a chat with a fellow gooner, whose a bit of a AAA, and he was basically repeating the line from the motd coverage. he hadnt watched the game, but formed his opinions based on the ‘match reports’ he read and watched. its frustrating as i believe that much of the AAA stuff that we hear is from fans who havent actually seen the games!!

  20. Nasri a world-class player? I don’t think so. Okay, he gave Arsenal 3 months when he was on fire, sandwiched in 2 more years of mediocre performance.

    I love this team- mutual trust, more heart, enjoy playing with each other, more spontaneous goal celebration, give each other credit, cannot be pushed around,etc.

  21. It’s only going to get worse for the MOTD gang, well with a bit of luck anyway.
    What are they going to say when a mostly English qualified Arsenal side batters one of the teams they like to wank over?

  22. RedGooner,
    Our current chemistry does feel a quantum jump forward. On your haunting comment about least season:
    “Cesc and Nasri 2 players who didnt want to be here but wanted everything played through them hindered many of the players on the team.”
    I wonder if/when this truly became widespread in the team’s overall sense of itself last season? I mean, if a lot of our lads thought this in their heart of hearts, it would have to have had ruinous corrosive impact, especially as the losses and draws mounted. And how could anyone have said this out loud when Cesc was always the golden child. Do you see this as a perception that might have come into full effect at any point in the second part of last season, as things started to fall apart at a more rapid clip? We really are seeing something this year that we did not see last year; and it seems quite special and raises imho really interesting questions about last season’s decline into early this season.

  23. MOTD – well they would wouldn’t they, an ex Spud and a guy who has never got over what Mickey did to Liverpool over 2 decades ago, Shearer obvoiously not a fan either, maybe we are still not English enough. The media love Arry, even more than they love the new Sunderland manager.
    As the headline says, a great team performance. I think a man in the background, Pat Rice deserves a lot of credit for our recent revival. A common question the AAA ask – what does Pat Rice actually do? Well Chesney answered that last week, he has been taking the defensive players aside and working with them, and seems to be paying off. Just look at Kos for instance. Look at the overall performance against City, ok forget about the goal. The AAA will say not before time, as they will say we are a one man team. Let them say what they want.
    Pat Rice is the truest of Arsenal legends and I hope he is there to back up Wenger for a long time yet.

  24. Also interesting to me is that RvP becomes a father and, soon thereafter, starts to emerge (and continue to mature) as a true captain. We haven’t had that under Cesc, a real captaincy in the inspiring, constructive demanding, not petulant sense; and I think that even as the media portrays us as a “one man team,” that RvP feels and shows genuine happiness at other’s success on our squad. That, from a world class striker and captain, has got to be infectious (in the best sense, of course)…

  25. I think you raise some very valid points about our captain and last seasons decline Bob.
    Who knows the effect wantaway players could have had, even if some certainly did not intend it that way

  26. truly we are improving and now looks like a settled team.also the optism around the club is increasing.Just read a blog by accident and its new but a real optimistic blog like this.www.arsenalview,blogspot.com

  27. What’s not to like about this performance. One long rang shot, one set piece from a corner, first to a rebound in the penalty area and an unselfish cut back to setup RVP. I agree with others here, the team looks more capable then last season but I’m not getting carried away. I’ve been dissapointed too many times so all I’m going to do is enjoy the moments and see where they take us.

  28. i agree that this team seems to have something about them, that arsenal have been missing recently. spirit, hunger, determination….i cant quite put my finger on it. but there is something there, an unspoken, subtle edge about them. they have turned the season around magnificently, and started to put together a good run of form and consistency, while giving us a memorable win v chelsea.

    the best thing is that they arent even close to their best yet. you can see that the players are slowly developing more fluidity, movement, anticipation and understanding of each others play. they are starting to develop their own style. i think this season will be great, but next season this team could really be dominating. if we are doing this well, and the team is only starting their journey together, think of what they can achieve in the future!

  29. I think the team’s evolution we’re seeing in progress is also causing the opposition problems. Just when they think they’ve got us figured out, someone does something unlike they’re used to seeing, like Arteta’s long range strike. He caught them all fast asleep, much like Verm’s header.
    Definitely looks a more balanced team in every department.

  30. And thanks to Fulham we are 3 points above Liverpool…
    And that after the worst start of the season ever… well as long as I can remember…

  31. We are above Liverpool! Lots of pundits will be drowning their sorrows, almost as much as they will be when this team reels spurs in

  32. Say what?! Above Liverpool??!! Time for Daiglish to have another verry meaningful $itdown with Riley and the FA brass.

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