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August 2021

The Untold match report: The harder you have to work for it, the sweeter the win feels

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By Walter Broeckx

The first real goal mouth incident was when Van Persie took a free kick short to Vermaelen and  the Verminator launched a rocket. Given was equal to it with a great save.  Both teams with high pressure all over the pitch in the first 15 minutes. Walcott with a run but his shot went well off target. Not much threatening stuff from Villa in the first 15 minutes.
Walcott on the right but his cross was diverted and Ramsey was fouled just outside the penalty area. But the Villa wall stood tall and stopped the ball. The first danger from Villa but Bent had shaved his hair too short so he couldn’t get on the end of what could be called a lucky cross.  Oxlade-Chamberlain showing his class on a few occasions with some nice footwork and some good touches.  Arsenal much possession but not much chances in the second quarter.

And when Villa took a short corner the organisation was lost in the Arsenal defence and Dunne, leaning a bit on Koscielny, could score a goal out of the blue for Villa. Arsenal went forward but the shot from Rosicky was direct at Given. Oxlade-Chamberlain with a nice run and a cross, but nobody there at the end.

The Ox (sorry his name is too long to type each time) with a few great runs but nobody at the end of it. Dunne got a deserved yellow card for a hard tackle from behind on Rosicky. Arsenal pressured and pressured and in the first minute of added time Bent escaped on the right. Fabianski could stop the first effort but the ball came back to Bent who put in cool in the goal. 0-2 at half time. One team done the attacking part and couldn’t score, the other done the defending and scored two goals. Football can be cruel sometimes.  As my match commentator said: Arsenal the best team in the match but nothing to show.

I don’t think there was many happy Gooners in the Emirates but it was just that hard to take half time  score line. Given our current run in January out season looked at the end of the line. We didn’t play  bad we just messed up the chances we had. The team could have collapsed at that moment.  The players could have given the AAA their pleasure. The players could have accepted defeat.

I must admit that when coming home from my own game (the things I talk about is when seeing the first half after seeing the second half) and seeing the half time score it was over.  I just hoped we would score an early goal somewhere. If anyone would have asked me to agree on a replay I would have taken it with both hands.

Out came the players for the second half and what was followed was something that I hadn’t seen from an Arsenal team in …well I can’t remember having seen it happen at all. Just point at some similar come backs in the comment section if you want.

I have seen 11 Gooner-Gunners coming on the field. Within 2 minutes Mertesacker had a header and with Given beaten Ireland was to save on the line for Villa. At that moment you felt: oh well it really is going to be one of those days. I heard the Emirates shouting: Arsenal, Arsenal. Rosicky making a crunching tackle,  Walcott stopped with a last second interception, our defenders going in with all their heart for every ball that had to be won, Ramsey with a shooting chance but straight at Given, Vermaelen with a distance shot. Our match commentator stated: looking at all the chances and football it should have been Arsenal 2-0 in front and not 0-2 behind.

And then suddenly the most stupid challenge. Dunne went in on Ramsey when he didn’t have a chance to play the ball but as the ball was in play it was almost a typical striker tackle and very late. The only thing missing was a second yellow or a straight red card for Dunne.  Van Persie stayed calm and scored from the spot. 1-2 and the Emirates was signing and shouting and did what they are supposed to do = support  the team. And the players? Well they doubled their efforts even more.

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Walcott went down the line and in stead of a cross he tried to shoot the ball from a Van Persie angle in goal, Given got a hand to it and a defender tried to clear the ball but struck it on the chest of Walcott and the ball ended up in the goal. 2 goals in 2 minutes. I had a feeling the Emirates was rocking.  The Villa supporters feared the outcome of the game and refused to give the ball back when it had gone in their part of the stadium. Lucky the Arsenal have more than one match ball.

Koscielny of all people charging down the left flank and Bent of all people chasing him. The world upside down. The striker tackling the defender it as most happens it went wrong. Bent went through Koscielny to finally end up with the ball but the ref was spot on and gave the second penalty for Arsenal. Van Persie in the other corner of the goal this time and 3-2 for The Arsenal. 3 goals in 7 minutes for The Arsenal. I can’t remember anything like that.  What a turnaround.

Oxlade-Chamberlain running all over the field, sometimes covering at left back when Vermaelen was suddenly the attacker. All the players were attacking when they could and defending when they had to. I can’t remember a team working their socks of like that this month. Mertesacker heading away the danger, Coquelin charging up and down the flank. Rosicky twisting and turning, Ramsey being left, right, forward and at the back helping out, Fabianski with some firm and good kicks when the ball was played to him by the defenders.  The work ethic was amazing and heart  warming to see. This was a team wanting to fight till they dropped.

Oh and not all went right but when we lost the ball the players chased and pressed and forced Villa to make a hasty pass forward and the defenders dealing with those long balls most of the time. Villa got a chance when Koscielny was tripped by Petrov it seemed but the ref played on and Mertesacker stood his ground and diverted the danger in to a corner.  Rosicky acknowledge the importance of this clearance when the danger was gone. One came Arteta for Rosicky. A great game and hard work from Rosicky and welcome back Mikel. We surely missed you the last couple of games.

The Ox kept on running with the ball and the Villa players were having a difficult time chasing him. Arsenal kept on playing the ball forward as much as they could. Like Johan Cruijff once said: when the ball is in their half, they can’t score.  Koscielny getting himself a yellow card not that much for the foul but more for kicking the ball away against Bent.  Coquelin slipped but he was back in time to make up and cut out the ball from Ireland.  The assistant messed up with a wait and see rule but the Arsenal defenders were in numbers and covering anyway.

Time for another come back boy. Sagna was getting ready for his first minutes since he broke his leg at White Hart Lane. Oh didn’t we miss him also the past months?  Great to see you back, Bac. Even though he was a bit rusty I must say. But he will get better with game time.  Also Thierry Henry entered the field for the last 2 minutes.  Walcott and The ox left the field to great cheers of the crowd this time.  The former Southampton boys who had shined on the day. And certainly the younger one.

Coquelin showed he is not just a defender but not as fast as Theo but he sure can run on the flank also. Arteta with a ball to Henry but he chose to dribble the last man and he was stopped.
The Emirates was signing and making us proud. That is the way to do it lads. Making us proud this time.


41 comments to The Untold match report: The harder you have to work for it, the sweeter the win feels

  • Mark

    Great performance- I hope the ‘boo boys’ realise now that the team needs us as their 12th man so we can lift them and not deflate their shaky confidence. Anyway It was good to see the fighting spirit and the belief the team has in Arsene and his half time team talk. Top Four here we come.


    Great write up Mr Water I always like to read ur article all time, keep it up.I’m happy for d result tonight bt d team shld try & stop coceading goals any how and for d fans they shld continue to support d players the way they do it so the boys will continue to make u proud.

  • LRV

    Hey Walter, I think there may have been at least a come-back of vital importance, details of which I cannot readily remember right now(you will admit that it is rather late). I may come back to it tomorrow. Too tired to remember anything now.

    Good spirit from the players in the second half.

  • bob

    Well, some media credit where it’s due: While generally being varying degrees of horrible (Steinberg to Hytner)when it comes to all things Arsenal, the Manchester Guardians neverthless do have in their midst, one consistently decent-to-appreciative reporter who covers Arsenal – Amy Lawrence. (I think hers is the female voice that can be heard asking a question in Arsene’s postmatch press conference.) Well, consistent with your super article title, Amy reports the match this way: “…But against all expectation, the players rallied during the interval in the bowels of the Emirates Stadium, found reserves of courage to disprove the doubters, and scored three goals in a frenetic seven‑minute burst to tip this compelling Cup tie on its head.” And then concludes her coverage with this: “Arsenal reclaimed control and a gutsy mission was accomplished.” Thanks then to Amy Lawrence for being an island of fairness and appreciation in Guardian Football’s infestation of Arsene/Arsenal-bashers.

  • bob

    p.s. I hope I didn’t just get you fired, Amy! (Keep up your good reporting, please.)

  • bob

    Oh, and, btw, did McLeish get a post-match phone call (or was it an envelope) to encourage his free speech rights in so eloquent a protest against RvP’s alleged elbow to a Villa face? Well, then Mr. McLeish would wish to hold forth on his boy Dunne’s going un-carded for a vicious hit on Ramsey – a hit that by all rights should have banished Dunne from the match (via card) and for several to follow (via red card). Then again, perhaps that non-call is what allowed the errant ref to balance the scales by giving us the (unprecedented) two (well-deserved) penalty shots.

  • bob

    sorry, meant to write, “perhaps Mr. McLeish would wish…”


    Amy Lawrence is a Arsenal supporter so she always seems to cover Arsenal in a fair way unlike someone like John Cross who claims to be an Arsenal supporter and can’t wait to put the knife in whenever he gets the chance.

  • Arvind

    Posted this on the other thread but realized there was a new one:

    On RVP though… I’ve seen a red card given for those btw. He’s looked at the defender and gone and backed in to him. It’s not a vicious swipe..yes. But it is an elbow. So yeah…seen them given. The ref was right there though and saw it and didn’t give it. So going by past incidents.. where the ref has ‘consciously decided’ against a card..RVP shouldn’t get a retrospetive ban.

    However, as I be honest, I’ve seen reds for less.. like the red card a Wigan player got against ManU a month or so ago for just backing into a defender(Evans I think). That was hilarious. So ..for me..while I’d need to see it again..and considering Arsenal’s overall luck…I think RVP got away with one. Your thoughts Walter and the other refs?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Hope nothing come out of this incident as RVP was looking back at the defender as he closed in .We can’t be sure that he was only gearing to protect himself from the on rushing player.
    This win was satisfying and ranks highly with those comeback wins against Aston Villa (when Paul Merson scored for them )and the now epic Kanu vs Chelksi fightback.
    I was hoping that RVP would score a hattrick but for now I ‘d settle for him not to be charged by the FA.

  • john L

    two penalties in one game?!? (thatll probably be the last two for the season)

    i mean how obvious is it that wenger is inept after that half time turn around. hes ruining this club with comebacks like that!

    HAH, i wonder what the fine folks over at le groan will have to say to that?

    big ups to all who believe none more so than wenger and the boys!!

  • Shard


    I think it would be wrong if RVP got a ban for that. For one, of course the referee was there. But he didn’t swing his elbow at Cuellar (who apparently isn’t the sort to go down unless he’s hurt because Alex Mccuntly said so) The only ‘evidence’ is that he looked behind. Want a bet there’ll be many many times in a match where players look to see where the opposition players are before jumping for a ball? You need to do that to gauge the best time to jump I would imagine. It’s something out of nothing and for me is a complete non issue brought up by an absolute disgrace of a man and a sorry excuse for a manager.

  • Stuart

    Lot’s of talk about the RVP elbow incident today but I’ve yet to find anyone who has an image of it. Could it just be a load of hot air from McLeish??

  • The Spartan

    I have to say that I’m very impressed with Rosicky. He was a live wire throughout the 1st half. Obviously Arteta and Song are automatic choices for the other two midfield places, who will Wenger play against Bolton as both Ramsey and Rosicky played well? At the centre back I would rather have The Verminator and Laurent. With Sagna back, I don’t see us conceding any goals coming from the right. The left back position is a problem for me. Upfront I’m happy with the Ox-RVP-Theo combo. It`s as if the Ox made Theo work harder.

  • Arvind

    @Shard: While that is true…and numerous people over the years including Alan Shearer have done it…I’m not so sure doing it is sensible. I mean..why would any player elbow someone in the face? Lightly or with an arm swing? Makes no sense. I’d like to see a consistent yellow card for those offenses and a consistent straight red card for a swipe.

    I quite dislike McLeish though…must be up there with Tony Pulis and Sam Allardyce as the most thuggish managers around.

  • Rhys Jaggar


    It was shown on ITV highlights last night so it definitely happened. They didn’t replay it 10 times so it was hard to comment objectively. Contact was definitely made. So it definitely happened and wasn’t made up.

    Come on: no EPL manager will make something like that up – he’d be trashed by the Press within days.

    I’m sure there will be comment about Dunne’s tackling in the mid-week Press conferences if this issue gets blown up…….

  • Micko

    Spot on, used to see Amy Lawrence in the Highbury Barn years ago when she wrote for the Gooner.

  • Walter,
    I know you mean to write ‘singing’ but it conjures up a wonderful image of a fairly quiet Emirates atmosphere with thousands of gooners exploring the more offensive parts of BSL and hundreds/thousands of deaf people watching the game on TV and laughing their asses off whilst their ‘normal’ neighbours are bitching about ‘the library’.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Managers certainly have made stuff up about our players, step forward Phil “where are you now?” Brown.
    Even though Wenger and Fergie seem to have buried the hatchet, there are a set of mainly home grown old school, hoof and rush managers, mainly very poor at their job, who seem to wish to carry on doing anything they can to damage Arsenal in an attempt to please their Lord and master. We all know who they are. Unfortunately, we will most likely face another one in the next round. O Neil is too much his own man to be a Fergie gimp, but when it comes to Arsenal, he may as well be one. Wenger will need to send them out in some very strong shin pads.

  • Arvind

    @Rhys: Maybe you’re partially right.

    I disagree though about Richard Dunne getting any bad press whatsoever, irrespective of how this pans out. After 1 million footballers have subsequently dived, we still hear articles today about Robert Pires and that Portsmouth game…

  • Stuart


    Fair enough, I havn’t seen it and usually something like that would be plastered all over the back pages unless it was just a case of accidental contact or 50/50 blame.

  • bob

    Vigilance, mates: If RvP gets a banning, then all Gooners should break out evidences of the MANY horrific non-calls of “unseen” violent penalties that have harmed us. Surely, together, we have memory and images and ref-reviews here to come to RvP’s/AFC’s/our own aid = by petition and write-ins/comments to other blogs and pickets of the FA HQ; and, Ok, if nowhere else, then in the courtroom of public opinion. What, if any, is the statute of limitations on past malfeasance: say, for one, on the non-slated stompings against Sagna last season which went “unseen,” as I recall. There surely are others in our very own Ref Reviews last season and this, etc. Losing RvP now for a stretch of games will smother our offense (our only clinical scorer) and with it our resurgence. We’ve shown what 7 minutes can mean. Our opponents may well have taken notice. (Then a phone call/envelope to and then from McLeish?) Vigilance! Go Gunners!

  • Talking about comebacks, you have to remember Arsenal-Chelsea (in 2000 i think). We were 2 goals down with 15mins to go and a sensational Kanu hattrick save the day.

  • ….oops, saved the day!

  • WalterBroeckx

    It sure did 9jagunnerdoc, but those was the days that I couldn’t see the games live and seeing it live is something completely different then seeing the highlights in motd.

  • Mandy Dodd

    RVP must be guilty, he is not an England international, only they can get away with such things. Crouch is even allowed to gouge eyes, Shearer was back in the day, given special dispensation to stamp on heads. We all know what the likes of Lescott, Lampard and Rooney, to mention but a few, are allowed to do.

  • Norm

    Dead right, Mandy. We remember x-rated elbow Rooney v McCarthy of Wigan – no case to answer, and notably fat Frank’s fat legs scything Hammill of Wolves. Worse in this case was the fact that the fat one scored vital goals and won vital points for the chavs.

  • dan

    Crouch eye gouge, oh thats nasty but his English.

  • Gf60

    Here’s a video of Robin…
    I presume it’s kosher. You make up your own minds. Possibly it’s as well that Morocco got knocked out of the African Cup early. :o(
    After all it’s Arsenal and RvP we’re looking at…not MFU and Rooney…and as Mandy rightly says, Robin’s not an English international.

  • rusty

    The thing I find fascinating about the English international double standard is that it actually hurts England in international competition! Rooney is so used to haranguing the refs, stomping opponents without penalty, etc, that he keeps missing high profile games through suspension…

  • FinnGooner

    Great article Water.
    I can see RvP thing nothing but accident. And banning him would be wrong. Can Arsenal get FA look at Dunn’s escape from 2nd yellow/red card? And I would really love to hear that McWhinge’s view on that.

  • Mandy Dodd

    IF he does get a ban, we should get the legal team onto it, a la Eduardo and his supposed dive. BUT, there is always a cost in taking on these bodies

  • Chad

    My thinking is RVP was expecting Cuellar to come in hard with a shoulder barge, and put his arm up to fend it off. RVP’s elbow was at his shoulder level and he didn’t jump. If he was intentionally going for the face, his elbow would have been higher. Is Cuellar that short? No, his head was just that low.

    (Cuellar is 6’3″ according to Wikipedia while RvP is 6′ 0″)

  • Ugandan Goon

    your assertion that premier league managers are above mudslinging and obfuscation makes you sound like a little less the wizened devil’s advocate (mostly at Walter’s expense), god knows you do give a healthy dose of much needed balance to comments and articles printed in these much loved but extremely partisan pages.
    however this time you go too far, sir. alex mcleish is the last person on this earth to talk about fairness or tough tackling- we have lost diaby, walcott, fabregas and van persie to his birmingham sides- he inherits a team set up for football and not kicking and all of a sudden, all talk of football being a man’s game disappears- if the papers were really up to scratch- the headlines should be reading “Aston villa- they don’t like it up em” but give him a season or two and we’ll have a version of the SPL coming out of Warwickshire.
    P.S van persie elbowed a fellow professional in the bonce if the FA decide to punish him so be it, RVP is not an angel by any stretch of the imagination, i am sure like all arsenal fans of certain years, you remember the young tearaway we bought all those many moons ago, he is one of the current squad who did grow up on the streets, not cosseted in some football academy like most of the young pro’s about these days! and god bless his little cotton socks, he gives as good as he gets- so no hand wringing from me, it is not easy playing upfront on your own, going up for headers time and again not knowing what the cunt behind you is planning this time.

  • DC

    Great comeback and result yesterday!
    Additionally, Robin to face no (F*** A**) sanctions over alleged elbow!
    New signing of young Eisfield from Dortmund also in process before deadline! Happy Days!!! Come on you Gunners!

  • critic

    emm…comeback against brothelona… 2-1 nd 2-2

  • bjtgooner

    @Mandy Dodd

    Good link. I didn’t think the RVP incident had any substance, he did not jump or strike out at Cuellar, it was more of a collision and Cuellar seemed to run in to RVP. The incident was blown out of proportion by McLeish – a sour loser.

    It is time for all fans to move on, to enjoy the way the team responded in the second half and also the excellent result.

  • Anne


    I agree with you. I thought it was nothing.


    I also liked your take on this incident.

  • bob

    Ugandan Goon,
    Yessssssss! super posting.

  • DC

    @Ugandan Goon,
    Excellent comments, especially about “what the c**t behind me is going to do this time”!