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August 2021

What it feels like to win at Anfield: The “O”nfield victory


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By Walter Broeckx

This was a game that we all have seen a lot in recent seasons. But usually with a reverse score line.  How many times have we seen Arsenal dominate a game and still at the end of the game we stood there empty handed. And on such occasions the reaction from some part of the fan base was that we are useless and rubbish and here is a list of players who should be sold as they were not good enough to wear the shirt.

Then the pundits would go out and applaud the other team and praise them for their resilience and hard work. Curious to see if they now will do the same thing.

So just try to imagine this game the other way round. Just try to imagine it. Just try to pretend that it was us who dominated a large part of the game. Just try to imagine it was us who hit the woodwork twice in this game. Just imagine it was Arsenal who have seen the keeper of the other team performing heroics in goal. I think in recent years we can all remember a dozen such games and with Arsenal losing the game.

Now just imagine us going in front with an own goal. Okay, this looks a bit more difficult because it was  usually the other way round as did happened today. And then imagine the other team stealing the points away  at the end.  Just imagine it was us losing 1-2 despite dominating a large part of the game (certainly the first half).  What would the reaction be from a part of the fans?

I’m not going to write it down.  Because others who are more experienced in having such thoughts can do it much better. But it would contain the usual “Wenger Out” comments. It would contain the abuse of some players ‘who after this debacle have definitely shown to be not good enough”.   Of course I write this in a mild fashion, but you know that the words they use are far more abusive.

Now of course those people will still say Wenger out and this and that player still should be kicked out even after this narrow and hard fought victory. But the point is how would the average Liverpool fan feel now?

Will he shout King Kenny out? Will he write about which players should be sold? I do think when they look back at this game they will point at the ball against the post and the missed chances and the good saves from Szczesny. And those with an eye for good football will acknowledge what a great player Robin Van Persie is.

I think they will say: well such games happen. You play well, you get the chances but you don’t score them and then you get unlucky because the other team takes their chances. Saying: this is football, sometimes you win when you don’t really deserve it and sometimes you lose when you don’t really deserve it.  But is this a moment to go overboard and question all and everyone? I don’t think so. And still whenever we are on the receiving end of such a game we see the same people coming out and saying all those negative things about Arsenal, the manager and the players.

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Yes we were a bit lucky to get the 3 points on Saturday. But as we have seen so many times at the Emirates the visiting keeper can sometimes just be unbeatable (bar the odd own goal). I have no problem in admitting that we were the luckiest team on the day. Oh and I enjoyed it very much to be honest.  I enjoy it enormous how our team fought and showed a big heart.

I enjoyed how Szczesny stopped the penalty and then kept the ball out the goal when the rebound was struck from just 7 meters out. I have been a goalkeeper in my playing days and in fact I would say that the first stop was a  bad one. I think Szczesny will have kicked himself for pushing the ball back in that area. But maybe he did it just to make that impressive second save? What a save!

I also enjoyed the moment after Koscielny miss kicked the ball in his own goal. Don’t worry I was disgusted at the moment it happened. But the way Szczesny picked him up and gave him a pat on the back in the style of: “don’t worry Kos, we will put this right and just keep on doing your job”.  It’s one of those moments when as a centre back you just miss kick the ball. I remember an own goal from Mr. Arsenal Tony Adams some years ago in the same way. It can happen to the best.

I also enjoyed the moment when Sagna crossed the ball to RVP to head in the equaliser. Sagna can’t cross was the word of those who know more than Wenger through the last seasons. Maybe he has practised his crossing the last weeks because this was an excellent cross. And an excellent finish.

I also enjoyed the way we played in the second half. This was far better than the first half. We battled and we fought for every meter of ground. Losing Arteta was a big blow. The man who runs the midfield for a great part is very important for our game. And Diaby did a good job at first as he really had some great touches and made no mistakes. Alas we lost him again and this is the second player we lost today.

And the icing on the cake came in extra time. Song (who according to some still not good enough to wear the shirt) with an inch perfect pass to RVP and Robin did what he can so exquisitely. He just volleyed the ball past Reina. A superb pass and a superb finish to nick the 3 points. This was almost a copy from the goal against Everton in the 125-year celebration game.  Maybe Song and RVP keep them for the games against teams from Liverpool?

So what did we learn today?

  1. Spending £75m in one year on forwards is no guarantee to score more goals than a team with a  £3m centre forward.
  2. Liverpool lost their first game at Anfield for over a year and we know it is difficult team to beat them in Liverpool.
  3. Arsenal has maybe more determination in them than people thought they had.
  4. We scored 3 and Liverpool 0

It was not the best game of the season from Arsenal, but maybe it was the best win of the season.  And maybe whenever we lose a game in such a way we don’t need to go overboard and throw all and everyone out. After all such victories or losses are just part of that funny old game called football.

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56 comments to What it feels like to win at Anfield: The “O”nfield victory

  • sahil

    Nice write up Walter. A proper smash and grab victory yesterday, justice for the last summer robbery.

  • mark

    Great work from the goalkeeper! Great second goal from RVP and two very good assists! Nice to win what looked like a tie at 90 minutes.

    I did not think the officiating was balanced and the ref bought all that Suarez sold him! He is a good player but he is also always trying to con the ref. It should not have been a penalty as the keeper got the ball in the first place!

    Chelsea losing is an added benefit!

  • Arvind

    Good stuff Walter. Its a funny sport Liverpool find themselves in. Won a cup. Spent a huge lot but aren’t a huge lot better than us. And if it wasn’t Kenny at the helm, I dare say the manager would be in trouble too. But really…its a super tough job and I doubt a manager can ask for too much more to be frank, from his players. In the end as AW said after that famous RVN penalty miss at Old Trafford… ‘So often it is the consequence of the problem that is punished, and not the source’.

    That’s exactly how every manager has it. Its sad if you ask me…Fun for me coz Arsenal is so stable, but ‘footbalistically’ speaking… its just unfortunate that a lot of fans are such short term idiots who want ‘big’ players and ‘trophies’ so they can gloat in the pub. And its they who bring in the money, oh the irony ; )

    I’d have taken a 1-1 though; RVP had other ideas though. And really…how many Defensive Midfielders have made such gorgeous passes? How many?

  • Clyde

    i bet a bit of karma had sumthin to do with the outcome of the game 2…dare i say gareth bale dive the previous week?play fair with flaire.notice rosicky played both passes to the assist makers!!!he can spot a pass!!milan here we come.We myt not get through to the next stage but from wat i gather fro AW we gon rily give it a go!!!blisterin pace down both wings!!!by half time we should see some tired legs,bookings and the deficit halved!!oooooooooooohhhhhhhh to be a gooner!!!

  • Mahdain

    @arvind and thats why nowadays majority of us call him Songinho and rightly so even RVP knows it and hence kissed that boot which provide him with stunning assists

  • Sammy

    1) It was a tremendous performance by Szczesny. We all noticed the way he picked up Koscielny after the OG. He is also very articulate. When the interviewer tried to remind him how badly Arsenal played, he said something like “there have been many times in the season when we played well and lost, today it was the other way around, so we’ll take the win”. Excellent reply. He grows in stature every season. Hope to see him captain Arsenal one day.

    2) RvP was immense once again. As much as we all want him to end his career Arsenal, do you realistically think he would stay next season? Even if we finish in top four? He gets paid half the salary of many players who’re not even half as good. And can you honestly say that we’re in a position to win the CL or the Premiere league in next 2-3 years without a significant overhaul of the squad, which is unlikely under Wenger? Well, or we can wait another 3-4 for the young players like Walcott, Wilshere, Ramsey to become world class as is the Arsenal way. Do you think after turning 30 this year, RvP would be willing to wait another 3-4 years to win a proper trophy? If he decides to leave, can we blame him? If he does leave, are the fans who pay the highest season ticket prices in the world wrong to complain if we can’t keep our best players?

    3) You yourself asked above “How many times have we seen Arsenal dominate a game and still at the end of the game we stood there empty handed?”. Now ask yourself, how many times teams like Man-Utd, Chelsea, Man City etc dominate the game but end up losing the game? If Arsenal have a disproportionate amount of such games where they end up losing, is it the fan’s fault or the team managements? Do you feel it right to take one opportunity, after a dozen going the other way, to criticise fans who are frustrated?

  • DeeDee

    Sorry for re-posting from the previous thread.

    Here’s Henderson’s crash with Arteta. It looks deliberate to me:

  • Arvind

    Its dicey DeeDee. You could argue he was trying to get to the ball and close Song down and just bumped Arteta off on the way. A foul probably which the ref missed; but the only person who knows if it was deliberate is Henderson himself. No one else. And Sky who showed so many slow mo’s of the Henderson incident. Oh wait…

  • FinnGooner

    great article Walter. Arsenal has had the possession but lost several times but big difference is our players haven’t then turned to thugs and trying to hurt opposition players (as Liverpool seemed to do).
    On interview with Arsenal Player Tomas Rosicky said couple things that I find important and hope all Arsenal fans/supporters would agree (interview was before tinies match):
    1. They need to STICK TOGETGER and fight together as people OUTSIDE WANT TO TEAR THEM APART, smell the blood.
    2. In time like this it’s not good to say this player is good, that player is bad etc. stay together. (He was asked how he felt about most fans saying he has been one of the best players).
    I think UNTOLD (at least in articles) do those, stay behind and together with team and don’t really slagg players even when things are not going our way. As they are now.

    Oh if ManU wins today there is only 4 points between us and 3rd place 😉

  • Mandy Dodd

    Can only agree with most of that, although I think Liverpool fans will start to become impatient if their top 4 chance fades regardless of how they do in the cups. I think this Liverpool side, despite playing well at times are a very plae shadow of teams who went before them, despite what they have spent. £20m for Henderson and Downing? Presumably Downing is there to get the best out of a £35m flop? Still, their problem…and our day.
    Another thing that made it so enjoyable for me…Halsey. I will wait for a review from someone who knows far more about reffing than me, but that looked like one of the most biased performances, certainly up there with Dean, Webb and Dowd. He appeared to give us nothing, and let some very dangerous looking fouls go. I thought we beat 12 men yesterday.

  • Ruaridh

    small annecdote. I work for an un-named retail group, for whom I work in their online customer services division.

    On monday past there a customer calls and after seeing his account, I noticed he was from London. He said he was buzzing and after asking why he told me that it was because of the arsenal 5-2 result. He, like me, was a gooner and we spoke about arsene and arsenal for the for the next 15 minutes (before even helping him with his query). Towards the end of the conversation I told him about the Arsenal Untold blog and he asked me if it was connected to the “arsenal uncovered” articles in the arsenal programs, which, I was not sure of as I have never seen one of the new programs.

    Anyway the points of this story is:

    1.Is the arsenal uncovered article in Arsenal programs linked to this arsenal untold blog and if so, is the name of this blog marketed/stated in the article?
    2. I believe that I am lucky that in my customer services role that they do not record phonecalls…:-

  • @Ruarigh – Yes, I believe that Tony writes that bit for the match day programme.

  • ak47

    i liked big tom’s reaction after THE save, and then chezzas wet quiff that made him look like a mad scientist with ‘im the f-ing man’ realisation that crept onto his face.

    come on manure. make yourself useful for once.

    imagine the look on peoples faces if we not only get third but keep van p, get wilshere, diaby, santos and per back and add players along the lines of gotze and poldolski. not to mention this seasons new players and step ups with a year behind em. surely that team could compete for top honors.

    a month ago that would have looked like fantasy. today? still a bit of a stretch but not impossible.

  • Deedee,

    I can never be convinced that Henderson did it inadvertently, if that wasn’t deliberate then i’m a fucking Spud. Problem is, the authorities have decided that it wasn’t deliberate so no FA investigation. Dah!

  • Adam

    Will Chelasea ever learn? At least they put Di Matteo in charge, hope he does well.
    @Walter, I do recall watching Song put in some awful performances for the reserves at underhill and thinking he’s not going to make it (and I was not the only one to have thought that). However it does make me wonder how much of an influence the Arsenal enviroment is. Is this why we now see Arsenl reserves playing behind closed doors (to protect them from pre-judgement). How much of an influence did Cesc have on Song? When we look at the enviroment that Arsene and Arsenal have built, It’s only then can we appreciate the lenghts these people are going too, to ensure Arsenal has a very competative future.

  • Gf60

    @Walter. You asked:
    “What would the reaction be from a part of the fans?”
    Oh my. Fans are very much the same… here are the scallie reactions.

  • alex

    Fine diamonds among plenty raws won us the game.I can belive the first half specially was Arsenal playing.
    Liverpool they nik it last time and that was a sweet revenge.

  • Stuart

    I had a quick look at some Liverpool blogs after this game to see what people were saying and I saw some comments from the Kenny Out brigade. Every club has this section of fans I suppose

  • bjtgooner


    My initial feeling was that Henderson deliberately elbowed Arteta as he ran past him; having watched the review I still feel this, but no doubt the FA will not take action. Just imagine the outcry if Song did the same thing to a Liverpool player.


    Good review of the match. I’m glad you enjoyed it – it was too tense for me to fully enjoy – until RVP’s second goal. Now I could watch the match again and enjoy it fully!

    The team has shown great character in the last two matches, coming from behind twice to win. While it could be said that we were lucky with the result yesterday, at the end of the match Liverpool had nothing left and we were still attacking. Liverpool had been trying so hard to close us down (and chase the ball) they had burned out. At the end of the match we were the stronger team, so I do not altogether agree with those who say we were lucky.

    As we anticipate the Spuds v Manures match we have to ask the question – who can do the better dive – Rooney or Bale?

  • Damien Luu

    “I also enjoyed the moment after Koscielny miss kicked the ball in his own goal. Don’t worry I was disgusted at the moment it happened. But the way Szczesny picked him up and gave him a pat on the back in the style of: ‘don’t worry Kos, we will put this right and just keep on doing your job'”.

    I felt very much the same. I loved to see Szcz very quickly picked Kos up and hugged him. Now that’s called team-mates.

    I already saw some anti-Arsenal twats in the disguises of Arsenal “fans” saying that we “played like sh*t and still won”. No wonder about what they would say if we lost. But they are nothing but the dregs and sc*ms so just let them bark and don’t listen to.

  • Damien Luu

    @bjtgooner: “As we anticipate the Spuds v Manures match we have to ask the question – who can do the better dive – Rooney or Bale?” Absolutely Bale is my answer, and I have to say Suarez is not far from behind those two. They could make great careers as actors, couldn’t they?

  • Gord

    @Damien Luu and bjtgooner
    Well, no Bale to contest Rooney today, he is ill.

    I don’t know if ManU is going to do us any favours, but Atkinson has disallowed a Tottenham goal for handball by Adebayor. Again, I am following BBC play by play, I have no idea what the incident looks like.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Watch out for some very nervous Spuds!

  • bjtgooner

    The Spuds have just been mashed again!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Yes, last week when Ade scored that pen against us, and knowing we were facing a difficult game at Anfield, they were looking at a 13 point gap between us

    The gap is now 4!

    Chelsea dont look too clever either!

  • WalterBroeckx

    just came home from my game.
    The ref review in my mailbox from one of our ref reviewers thanks for that and it will be on line later today (if Dogface can find some time and I can find some time)

    Seeing that MU has won at the shit lane makes this the perfect weekend for a Gooner.


  • Ruaridh

    gunning onwards and upwards!

  • Steve Vallins

    A good weekends results for us , poor Diaby did he pick up another injury ? and has he ever played more than 5 consecutive games and how long will Arteta be out . it seems every time we gather some momentum injuries happen . Hope we do ourselves justice against Milan and keep them on the back foot Italian teams always have a caution approach so a couple of early goals would do us wonders

  • Gord

    @Steve Vallins

    Sky Sports has a story about Arteta, where he says that he would like to play on Tuesday. But, if you follow ice hockey and Sidney Crosby, concussions can take a very long time to heal from. The Arsenal medical staff will make the call on that one.

  • dan

    I for one love beating LFC, they represent all that is wrong in the EPL, over spend, paying the odds for average English players, an old manager returning, history, history, history, blaming others, oh and they were nearly declared insolvent last year but no LFC fan would ever admit. The greatest player Stevie G. never dives.

    Sad to see AVB lose his job but the chavs will never learn, long may Wenger be at Arsenal but realistically how many years dos he have, AVB could be the right man to learn from Wenger.

  • Taeryn

    Gf60 – The most hilarious part of that post is where the scouse numpty who wrote it demands “at least two more prolific strikers” to be signed over the summer. ROFL!

  • Mandy Dodd

    This weekend has thrown up a very interesting top 4 battle. Betfair have the Spuds @ 1.23, us at 1.63 Chelsea 2.76 and Liverpool 6…to finish in the top 4.
    Can we avoid injuries to key players? Is RDM really the man to galvanise the Chelsea old guard? Just do not get Chelsea, I presumed AVBs brief was to play attractive football, to develop youngsters and to start getting rid of the destructive old guard. Seemed he was trying to do just that…and got sacked. Way too much player power at that club. Puts into perspective Wengers achievments over the years, on a fraction of a Chelsea budget. Basically, one of the worlds richest men bottled trying to get a manager to do what wenger has actually been doing.
    Will Spurs suffer from the last two results, or will they kick on, or will their luck with injuries to the key players run out? Will Bale stay on his feet in the area?
    Can Stevie G get Liverpool going again? Could Newcastle still be a threat?
    Who knows, but our injuries aside, the perfect weekend.

  • Gord

    Our loanies.

    Mannone at Hull City, was trying to break the club record of 6 successive clean sheets, but Blackpool managed to get one past him.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks to the hard work of our ref reviewer and the hard work of Dogface we have the ref review on line from now on

  • critic

    those of u who thnk arsenal won’t break the salary structure to keep RVP are stupid. Arsenal paid henry around 200k when they didn’t have that kind of money. They had to sell him due to his ego. RVP doesn’t have such problem. He can play out n out striker, behind out n out striker, left wing, right wing,..arsenal will surely do evrythng to keep him.

    But then again arsenal are a club that sends important players on loan afrer tw close down.

    A club that puts players 1st club 2nd.

  • critic

    players interest*

  • Jorgi

    I am sorry for Diaby though (and Arteta). I think he currently our most barcelonesque player, i.e he knows the moment before he receives a ball where to play it next. It would be shame to see him sidelined again. Hope for speedy recovery!!

  • WalterBroeckx

    About Diaby a gooner from the Flemish gooners has seen him when he went home from the Liverpool game. both where on the same shuttle to France and he had a long chat with him.
    Said he was a very nice and friendly person to talk with. But don’t know anything more about it. he posted a picture on facebook and must say : ooooh what a lucky guy he was.

    Damned if it would have been me we would have had another Untold interview on Untold…

  • Basil

    Can someone please enlighten me as to how Chelsea are going to comply with FFP with all the money they keep throwing at hiring and firing managers?They are also being linked with a long list of players who will command huge transfer fees and even bigger salaries;even if they sell players like Lampard,Cole etc,they are not going to bring that much revenue.I know City have their dodgy sponsorship deal and will use the “infrastructure” (cough,cough)exemption to try and wangle their mucky little way around FFP,but what will Chelsea do?If anyones got any ideas i’d be fascinated to hear them!!!

  • mark

    Henderson did a number on Arteta! There was going to be some contact but Henderson lifted and arm to put an elbow in Areta’s face.
    This is why they need two refs on the pitch – one ref can’t see the off the ball incidents enough. Another pair of eyes might help with some of the nasty stuff that happens behind the ball!

  • Damien Luu

    @Mark: Yeah, two refs and/or video technique. And you are absolutely right about the Arteta incident. Maybe Hendersonofab*tch didn’t want to hit Arteta that badly, but he absolutely did that elbow swing intentionally. And if you killed someone although you didn’t mean to, does it make you innocent? Like someone else said, just imagine what could happen if Song did that to a Pools player.

  • Damien Luu

    @Basil: Well, I have one. Maybe someday you will see the Santa Claus sent a 100M check to Chelski manager (whoever he is), stating “This is a gift from old Santa because Abramovich has been such a good boy all year long.” Now you can’t disagree with Santa or can you?

  • Kentetsu

    Spurs lost, Chelsea lost, Liverpool lost (obviously), Newcastle draw. It has been a good weekend for Arsenal. Third place is in sight and I am confident we can overtake Spurs.

  • Damien Luu

    @Kentetsu: Good for Jack. He could save his 3k pounds 🙂

  • Ong Bing

    I hope for miracle this week.

    1. Pass Milan
    2. Spud beating by Everton
    3. Win over Newcastle
    4. Our players not injured

  • Mahdain media watch picked up your article again are on a roll

  • Darren

    A great article,but I am somewhat confused. Everyone keeps saying we were lucky! We went to Anfield and thanks to some brilliant football, despite some appaling theatrics and poor refereeing we won 2-1 having scored all 3 goals!

    No luck there, just resilience, skill, determination and sheer doggedness.

    Oh and Liverpool were not unlucky either. They were just complacent and arrogant and got found out, again. Just like City will in a few weeks time!

    If you cancel out our terrible start to the season and make some objective guesses at what some of our earlier results should have been we would be comfortably in 3rd now if not vying for 2nd / 1st. No luck, just football.

  • Ruaridh

    the photo for arsenal untold on arsenal’s website link is quite peculiar… (in a good way)

  • Ruaridh Yes it is a pic of me – I sent them the wrong one first time they asked for one, and have never got round to change it. But it seems to be much more memorable (because it is not just another icon or badge) so I guess it does the trick.

  • Remigius Akinbinu

    After the win(against the run of play) on Saturday,my mind went back to our home game against Man City last season,when we did all the play but couldn’t score to win the game.This Liverpool match was thus like a recompense for such matches against ManCity.indeed it was our biggest result of the season so far!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Tony wears a magic hat 😉

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Walter, I can’t believe it, I was just about to post more or less the same thing!

  • Nash

    Hi Guys
    New here
    Just writing keep up the great work
    Cant wait for tomorrows game

  • Ruaridh

    Walter, I wholeheartedly concur…

  • what a wonderful performance. I hope it continues the way it is now, Arsenal is sure to end third on the table