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August 2021

Arsenal/Villa. The view from the travelling supporters in a home game

By Walter Broeckx

Going to the Emirates on our pilgrimage to our spiritual home of football is a long journey for us. But having the sun shining continuously from the early hours in Antwerp till the moment  we left London was a very welcomed bonus. I remember April games when we almost froze out of our jackets.

Our party was just in time to get on the Eurostar and this was the real start of a great day in London. Eating and drinking from 10 am in London was great. It was warm and all you could see was the red and white in the streets around the Emirates and Highbury. More of the Arsenal Benelux supporters are finding the way to the Auld Triangle [traditional watering hole of Untold readers and writers] for a short stop before the game. Or a long stop for some. The Scottish Arsenal supporters were also very visible this time.

Meeting Tony and whoever is in his company is always a great moment. I think Tony is one of those persons who only attracts nice and friendly people around him. One of my ref reviewers was there to meet us. And we both were very much surprised by what we have managed so far this season. And promises were made to keep on doing what we are doing. And indeed we remembered the one great remark made by Laundry Ender at that same corner in front of the Auld Triangle that brought up the idea to expand the effort I then made and to bring in others.  Thanks for volunteering; what a great result so far.

Let us move on to the game. And as I don’t do the review of the ref of this Arsenal game  I must say that I have seen Dowd do great games. And I have seen him do the most biased games since our game number 50 that ended our unbeaten run. He was so outrageously biased last year at Newcastle that it was almost impossible to write it down in words.  But yesterday I had the impression that he tried his utter best to be as unbiased as possible. Now I could be wrong when our reviewer sends me his findings but I think he will have a high score in this game.

And what about the team itself. What about our Gunners on the field?  It was a one way affair this game. We played them off the pitch as the expression goes in Dutch [and in English, Walter – you are fine with that expression, Tony] . Or from the closet to the wall which is another Dutch expression meaning that Arsenal had a total supremacy on the field. [No that one doesn’t work in English].  Gibbs scoring was great and Walcott doing the same made it an all English first half for Arsenal. Szczesny was mostly enjoying the sun shine during that first half. The big difference with the second half was that he then was standing in the shadow. But he had almost nothing to do during the whole game.

What I did see was 10 Gunners (sorry Szczesny I can’t include you in this) working so hard and with lots of energy that is was almost impossible for Aston Villa go do anything meaningful in this game.

I think Djourou was doing great to cover up for Koscielny. I admit I was a bit anxious when Djourou went down after what I had been told was an elbow from Heskey but thankfully he recovered and had a decent game. Sagna was world class once again. He now has really completely recovered from his broken leg. Gibbs was great in attack, just needing to pay a bit more attention on a few occasions when he ran forward a bit too much and opening space for Villa. Vermaelen was …well he was just The Verminator once again. Leading the backline by example and also pointing at players to do their job.

In midfield we had what I think looks the strongest combination of the whole league. Rosicky is running as if he is only 21 years old. Twisting and turning, making life difficult for the opposition. What a rebirth. Song is just the best defensive midfielder in the world. As we expected him to become. Did I just wrote defensive? No, he is more than that. His assists stats don’t lie about that. Arteta… we should have brought him earlier. He is not a Cesc. But the way he always seems to find space for himself is amazing to see when you are in the Emirates. He always keeps calm and his movement is really great for the other players who can always find him on the field running away from his marker.

Robin Van Persie could and should have scored but maybe it is not a bad thing that other players scored. One man team… sorry just don’t agree. Walcott with a well taken goal and always sharp and looking dangerous against the opposition he is not at his best against with them playing with all and everyone very deep and with some 10 defenders on the field.

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Gervinho is slowly getting back to his start of the season form. What was great was that after he didn’t track back early in the game he got some players pointing to him and telling him to do better next time. And minutes later he was the one that came covering for Gibbs and the Villa players could not but foul him and the assistant signalled and the ref blew the whistle. And then Szczesny showed what this Arsenal team is all about by now. Our young Polish keeper came rushing out towards Gervinho to give him a well deserved pat on the back.

The whole team is working together and is gelling. The return of Santos brings another player back and brings some extra competition for Gibbs who for the moment looks strong and injury free (fingers crossed).  Santos still a bit rusty in his first minutes though…  The other subs coming on just played without hesitation. Ramsey slotted in place of Gervinho and almost scored after a fine move. And I felt sorry for the Aston Villa left back. After having ran after Theo for 70 minutes and being exhausted we brought on The Ox. As fast as Theo and with even more tricks in the bag.

The last minutes of the game was great. The Emirates singing and then  shouting when Song was fouled.  And if it works I will show you a little video that I recorded from this minute. Foul on song

And then came the free kick. And I also filmed it. Now you will see why I never will get a job to work as a cameraman but remember this was taken with a little camera designated to take pictures and not really a video camera. So it is a bit shaky at times.

And for those knowing Dutch they will hear me predict that we would score. Okay I said it would be Santos to score. And I think Given was expecting Santos to take it also. But then to my and Given’s surprise it was Arteta who scored with an amazing free kick. So a great moment to see again. Arteta goal  And the perfect ending to a great but on sided football game at the Emirates. If all goes well I will be back for the last home game of the season. I will order my ticket after ending this article. Hope to see you again then.

Arsenal v Villa: The tactical review

Being there: conversations at the game on Villa, Liverpool, Tottenham, the coffee and racism

Wrong calls by the refs.  We compare Arsenal,  Chelsea, Liverpool, Man C, Man U, Tottenham


27 comments to Arsenal/Villa. The view from the travelling supporters in a home game

  • addy

    HAHA, great video there. It is a BIT shaky, eh?

    Nonetheless, things are looking good. Hopefully we can add a few players in the summer and have a formidable squad to try and win the league. There aren’t as many players needed as the media would have us believe. I think the midfield is well-stocked if diaby and wilshere regain fitness. The defence has depth id DJ can perform; bartley is yet to return.
    Ryo looks a class act. Afobe is very highly rated, looked rusty vs blackpool, though should regain some form.


  • Mahdain

    the one man team slogan is nothing but media bs who are desperate for anything negative to say and in fact that gibbs goal made it 17 different scorers in the league more than any other team

  • Mahdain

    great pic

  • ASNLthruNthru

    Thanks for the video of Artetas great strike.

  • Odhis KenyanGunner

    Allow me to indulge… when ‘Sir’ Harry Redknapp uses Twitter, am i correct to say that hes… well… twitching? Just a thought. Mind the gap.

  • marcus

    In answer to your question, I felt that once it became apparent to AW that Fabregas leaving was a probability, then he shifted him out of his most effective position, as a creative midfielder, (the position he played when he took us to the European Cup), and into an offensive midfielder.

    He played two seasons in this position, and scored lots of goals, but it was slightly illogical to play him there, when Nasri or Arshavin, (Arshavin shines for Russia in this position), could play there…(as well as about 4 other players).

    The reason why I felt AW played him there was financial. Instead of being a 20 Million midfielder, he then became a 40 million goalscoring midfielder.

    (Although the figures are symbolic)

    Equally though, AW may have played him there and made him Captain to placate him…

  • rusty

    @marcus — I have to agree, when Cesc got the armband anyone and everyone knew it was “one last thing” to try to get him to stay, and didn’t necessarily reflect his role on the team.

    As to the nature of his positioning, I’m not so sure. has written up some Barca games this year where Pep has played Cesc in a wide variety of positions — in the hole behind Messi, on the right wing, centrally partnering Xavi… I can’t stand the way Barca’s players whine to the refs, but they are a tactically innovative side.

  • RedGooner

    I cant wait for the next game. Oddly I think Swansea will take 2 points of Twitchys mob this weekend and Arsenal will increase the GAP to 5pts. Which would be nice with next month having tougher fixtures.

  • Mahdain

    im disgusted..seriously PGMO ARE A JOKE..guess who we will be getting vs qpr? Oh yeah its mike fucking dean AGAIN…FIVE times in total and 3 times in space of two months…

  • Nice video Walter good composition in both the videos so that we could see whats happening around including Szczesny conversation with Djourou 🙂 I am going to link those 2 videos to my new blog if you won’t mind 🙂

  • Dominic

    Not really relevant to the Villa match but with Bale claiming that the Spurs blip is over I wonder has anyone noticed the resemblance between Bale and Murdoc from Gorillaz?

  • nekuhan

    I’m disgusted with BBC’s MOTD. When Arteta was brought down away at Anfield vs Liverpool, not even one word on ‘the elbow bang’ on his head/jaw which sent him to the hospital.
    This last Saturday, Johan Djourou was knocked down by Emile Heskey’s deliberate kung-fu elbow kick. Not a yellow card?
    Again, not a word on the foul and required lengthy treatment on the pitch of J.Dj. What kind of TV, Sports program, pundits, etc are these people? Hansen is all happy when teams are kicking Arsenal players all around the ground with the majority of referees letting it go.
    @ Mahdain – Yes, PGMO are the disgrace! So we have to beat the opponents, the referees, the PGMO, UEFA, FIFA, etc, etc.
    Come on ARSENAL !!

  • Anne


    I really enjoyed this write up. I wanted to write up my experience at the Milan game at the Emirates, but I really just couldn’t put it into words. It was amazing to actually be there. At the time I met Tony at the Auld Triangle, I was so excited about the match that that part of it is all kind of a blur, although I do clearly recall getting lectured for saying “Highbury” with an American accent 🙂 Overall, a great evening.

  • Damien Luu

    @Mahdain: That means we were wrong: the screwing job is not done yet! Keep very open eyes on Dean, folks, because he may dance again 😉

  • Mahdain

    @damien yep if you put them in order it will be
    Dean,Foy,Marriner,Swarbick,Dean,Halsey,Webb,Mason,Dowd and now Dean again.. thats THREE games out of eleven..seriously PGMO you are a joke.. where is Mike jones? where is Mark Clattenburg? hell eventhough im really not eager on them that much but where are Friend and Taylor? the list goes on

  • Mahdain

    3 games in 10 i meant

  • Mandy dodd

    Cannot believe dean again? If we finish third with that bunch of refs,in our recent run, we are doing,something right. Is dean a last tilt to console arry for not getting the england job?
    Really enjoyed reading this article. Agree with it all, especially song, what a class act. Does anyone know how long he has on his contract….I was under the impression the same time as vp and theo….we need to be signing him up

  • Mandy dodd

    The more I think about it, the more dean worries me , mark Hughes sends teams out to kick us, we know all about Barton who will certainly be pitted against us. Luckily, we now have streetwise players like arteta , who is a very very clever player, almost as if he was born knowing what you need to know about the goings on in the epl.

  • Pat

    Great article Walter. Really gave the feel of the match. So did the videos with the cheering and shouting just adding to the atmosphere!

  • bjtgooner

    Nice write up Walter, it gives an extra perspective of match day.
    I am also concerned about Dean, he is probably the most scheming
    of the refs and to be sent to us once again seems a bit sinister. Arsenal FC should really be asking why we are having this creep for the 5th time this season. Lets hope Dean does a hamstring during warm up.

  • WalterBroeckx

    No bjtgooner, then it will be Probert I think as he is the 4th. Another creepy ref

  • Arvind

    @Walter: Hope to come to the UK and see the famous “Auld Triangle” some day!!

    On another note, is it not possible to tell in some way about all this nonsense about referees and ask them to complain to the FA?

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Far better for AW to give a press conference, praising Dean, commentingon how Arsenal have worked things out with Dean and they know exactly what they’re going to get from him. PGMOL will tear itself apart trying to work out the meaning of it.

  • Anne

    @Marcus & Rusty:

    I really don’t believe that Cesc would have been given the captain’s armband simply to “persuade” him to stay at Arsenal. That makes almost as little sense as playing Cesc in the “wrong” position simply to drive up his “economic value.”

    I agree that what happened with Cesc was very much a “behind the scenes” story, but let’s not lose our common sense…

  • Anne


    The Auld Triangle is awesome 🙂 If I lived in London, it’s where I would likely watch all of my matches.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Nice suggestion Woolwich Peripatetic ,mind games and double speak
    may work on simple minds (as do Jedi “mind tricks”) , but what if the mind is devoid of grey matter ?

  • Woolwich Peripatetic


    A nice Powerpoint presentation based on DogFace’s refwatch ought to scare the crap out of them.