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July 2021

With a little bit of luck…. (and some comments from Mr Wenger on Stoke/Arsenal)

By Walter Broeckx

Well it didn’t look that way at first but it was a very good day for Arsenal.

The game started well for Arsenal. Apart from the usual trouble with some high punts from Stoke it was Arsenal who had the first two clear chanses of the game. But we didn’t take them.

And inevitably the first chance for Stoke went in. Crouch towered above Vermaelen and headed a cross in. We sure could have done with Mertesacker in this game. We looked shocked for a few minutes but then Benayoun nicked the ball away from a Stoke player, gave it to Rosicky who came back in and crossed the ball to Van Persie who scored with his right foot.

Arsenal on top and we had a few other chances. In fact Arsenal had enough chances for a second goal and kept Stoke away from our goal apart from a few threatening free kicks. But they always look that way for Stoke.

At half time when the other scores came in it was all surprise. Wigan leading with 4-0 against Newcastle!!! And Dowd was not the ref so no chance of them pulling that one back.

I think we could see the result in the second half. Stoke refused to play during the whole match and wanted us to commit ourselves with lots of bodies in front of the ball and then counter us to death. They kept this tactic the whole game. But the change in the way Arsenal played was obvious.

I think Arsenal knew with that half time score in the game Wigan – Newcastle, that a point at Stoke was worth a victory. And we played in the second half to make sure that we would at least get that point. This is business end of the season and running in attack and leaving space open and lose the game could have been very bad business for Arsenal.

So we got a bit of a surreal game at times with both teams not committing themselves to go forward too much. Of course we tried to score a second and it would have been great to win this game but I felt that the team was more focused on not conceding a Stoke goal. And we didn’t.

This point could be a vital one. We now are one point in front even if Newcastle win their game in hand.  And this game in hand is next Wednesday away at Chelsea. If Chelsea win against Newcastle,  a win against Norwich next week would give us third place.  We are also one point in front of Tottenham even if they win their two games in hand.  Tottenham have to play Blackburn and Bolton as their games in hand. And as both are in a fierce battle to avoid the drop it is not totally impossible that Tottenham would lose points in these games.

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And if they lose points in those games and Newcastle also then we just need to win the game against Norwich to put us in heaven.

So my Gunners when next Saturday comes you know what to do: win the game against Norwich. Not just because I will be there to cheer you on. But also because you could bring the joy to the Gooners of celebrating St. Totteringhamsday next Saturday.  And it could bring the joy to the Gooners of being sure of third place.

Now who would have thought that possible after a few games in the season? Now who would have thought that would be possible before the start of the last North London derby? In fact I know a person who believed in it. And I also know that if he would have been around this season only for half of the games we would be much further ahead in points. Yes it was Jack Wilshere who after receiving a lot of banter from Tottenham fans made his bet with Defoe that Arsenal would be in front of Tottenham at the end of the season.

Many of us hoped it would end that way, but the way Jack was confident that his team mates would turn things around shows how much the players have believe in what they do. It isn’t always easy during the seasons. You have ups and downs. But what is sure is that this group has done all it could to bring us where we are now.

We are maybe one win away from third place and St. Totteringhamsday. And I can be a witness to this if all goes right. I will be there to clap my hands at the end of the game next Saturday when they have finished the job.

If it would go that way for me it would almost feel like winning the title. In fact it would be a title. It would be the title of the Big Turnaround of the season. Made possible by these players and despite a very unlucky run with injuries. Despite a very unlucky run with debatable decisions going against us.

Come on you Gunners: let us finish the job next weekend at the Emirates. Make us proud. Make us the kings of North London once again. In fact, make us the kings of London this season. And who knows what we will be crowned at the end of next season? Impossible is nothing.

By the way thanks J.S. for the trouble you have gone through to make sure I got my ticket for our final home game of the season.


Mr Wenger’s comments:

“The Stoke crowd have a relationship with me, but I don’t have one with them. It’s easy to sit in the stand and abuse people – the easiest sport in the world.

“Football has to tackle it. And if you want to stop it, it’s easy to stop it. You can isolate every single face.

“Sometimes when I go out on the pitch at the end of the game, and people are angry or hateful, I would like a little picture to send home for them to show their son or daughter, and then come back next week and see if they will do it again.”

And on the way the crowd treated Ramsey in a match involving Shawcross:

“I don’t see what he has done wrong and so I don’t think the crowd can be proud of themselves.”


51 comments to With a little bit of luck…. (and some comments from Mr Wenger on Stoke/Arsenal)

  • PV4

    Good piece!

  • nicenshine

    Times are changing, Arsene Wenger will be Arsenal historic figure. Just Move Arsene to Football Director and get Pep Guardiola or perhaps Jose to manage. Support Pep Guardiola or Jose, you will see at least 1 trophy within 2 years. Rather than 7 years. If this carries on, not forking out the right amount of money for the right players, delaying bidding, same old strategies, same selling of our best players, the intention of Arsenal Board is clear. Just to make money and not fighting for honours at all.

    And Fans, BOO the board, not the players. Some of our players have huge potential, just that some are involved in lots of injuries and some take abit of time to settle in.

    Get Pep Guardiola, give enough fundings for goodness sake. Not asking every damn years to buy 2 world class players! When 1 or 2 world class players comes, just buy. Pep Guardiola can attract the right players in and certainly Van persie to stay.

    Arsenal ticket prices have risen alot, so expectation has to be there as well. Board you listening?

  • Aussie Jack

    Ramsey aside for a moment I like to mention Wilshere.

    The Arsenal medical staff have come in for criticism of late and in the case of Wilshere it seems justified.

    First Wenger was advised two or three weeks, that soon became six weeks. Before we knew where we were it was three months then, hopefully he will play end of April. Next he will be out for the season, now he is to miss the England squad and the Olympics and Wenger is not sure if he will be fit enough to start the new season. I don`t know who feeds him with all this medical information but it must be very frustrating for him making excuses week after week. Maybe the doctors should give the fans an assessment of Jack`s situation and give Arsene a break.

  • Damien Luu

    “Sometimes when I go out on the pitch at the end of the game, and people are angry or hateful, I would like a little picture to send home for them to show their son or daughter, and then come back next week and see if they will do it again.” -> Smart comment from a smart gentleman. Like I said, he is zillion, zillion times smarter than the Rednose.

    @Aussie Jack: Sometime injuries are just like that (unpredictable) and you have to live with it. I think the Arsenal medical staff are not worse than any other one of any other club.

  • Arvind

    @nicenshine: Could you elaborate on what you mean when you say “times are changing”? And why Barcelona are not winning this year in a 2 team league? And Madrid despite buying and buying for the last 3 years? And maybe Man City this year? And Chelsea maybe? And Liverpool? Or maybe ManU.

    And also I’d love to know what chants you use at the ground when you boo the board? Does it go …. ‘Peter Hill Woood booooooooo” or “Stan Kroenke…booooooooooooo”. Or something even more innovative? So innovative… that the players realize instantly while playing at a high pace that its the BOARD you’re booing and not them. I’d love to know..really.

  • Chidi

    Jack Wilshier case is complicating, Diaby’s own another headache. Before now, we should have cemented the third place position if they were available.

  • marcus

    I think Chelsea are the biggest threat to third position.
    Also, in spite of Bayern being logically the favourites, (better team, home ground), I have a funny feeling Chelsea will win the European Cup. Long-term that will be good though. Don’t particularly want Guardiola at Chelsea.

    Fabregas won two funny cups with Barca, but now the long-term pattern is re-establishing itself…..Fabregas=cup drought..(joking, I think)

    Sky is promoting a Wenger war on obnoxious chants;_ylt=AkbST7WeSQAX8hRA5DqmHETEfMl_;_ylu=X3oDMTQzNTBsMGt2BG1pdANCcmVha2luZyBOZXdzBHBrZwM3NGVmOGUxOS04M2M2LTM0ZmYtOTIwMC1iOWE5MzU3YjI3ODUEcG9zAzIEc2VjA01lZGlhQnJlYWtpbmdOZXdzVGVtcAR2ZXIDMzY2ZjE0NjAtOTFkMC0xMWUxLTkyYmItYjczMmYwODJhNmY2;_ylg=X3oDMTJyMHE4MDBnBGludGwDZ2IEbGFuZwNlbi1nYgRwc3RhaWQDYWMwOGI2NmEtZTgxNy0zNDcwLTgxOGQtZWE1MTkwODBiOTQwBHBzdGNhdAN1awRwdANzdG9yeXBhZ2UEdGVzdAM-;_ylv=3

    Er, no. The Media is promoting a war on chants. They just happened to rope Wenger into it.

  • Blimey that is the longest link I have ever seen in my life

  • robl

    @ Nicenshine, why Pep? All he has proven is with an unlimited budget, the best players in the world, a two team league and a lot of help from refs you don’t always win everything.
    Arsenal don’t have an unlimited budget, or Messi, Xavi & Iniesta, we’re in a league with at least 3 clubs that can spend more, and certainly no help from the men in black.

    So what makes Pep the ideal Arsenal Manager? Looks like an ideal Celtic manager to me……

  • Cent

    @nicenshine isnt it funny how you want Wenger to be moved upstairs and Pep given adequate funds? So you know Arsene doesnt get adequate funds and yet you demean him for not spending enough? Which money do you want him to spend on our squad? His salary? Stop contradicting your self.

  • WalterBroeckx

    The hate towards Ramsey from the Stoke fans is totally out of order. FFS it was Ramsey who was the victim. I think even the Arsenal supporters have stopped booing Shawcross most of the time and he was the criminal in this incident.

    I feel sorry for normal people who are from Stoke because from now on they are identified with those stupid c*nts.

  • WalterBroeckx

    And the hate towards Wenger in the media is hotting up. How they hate the fact that he has turned our season that started in disaster and now we could be one week away from a CL spot in third place. In front of their darlings like Arry.

    Oh how Gary Lineker hates it.

  • JohnW

    I would be satisfied if Chamack, Squilaci, Benayoun, Almunia are sold off. Then Arsene promotes Watt, Lansbury,Afobe and Miguel.

  • Pat

    Just watched Arsene’s interview. No doubt, we have the most moral, the most thoughtful manager in the premier league. That is why not only the football, but the behaviour of our players on the pitch is of such a high standard. I am glad he does not hear the chants and concentrates on the football. Because he does not deserve the chants. And now he only has to hint at his opinion of Stoke’s play because criticism comes from many sides and not just from him. It is worth sticking to your principles.
    And by the way, I thought Gary Lineker showed himself up on Match of the Day with his imitation of the Stoke fans. Would he have done the same if it had related to any other manager, I wonder? And yet Arsene deserves such disrespect least.

  • anatra

    I honestly don’t think it would have been any better with Mertesacker on the field. I have never seen a guy so tall, with so little ability to actually head the ball. He hardly jumps, and he seems to have an awful stamina and can’t stand on his feet when tackled. Both Vermaelen and Koscielny have better stats on arial duels than Mertesacker.

  • FinnGooner

    Didn’t Guardiola say main reason he didn’t sign new contract was because stress of being Barca manager was too much (and look his photos before and now you can see the change). I don’t believe bein manager of Arsenal is any less stresful (I think it’s opposite) so if Guardiola becames Arsenal manager he will be dead in 2 years. I’m not relly convinced that he is even that great manager. Wenger is much better.

    JohnW Benayoun is ON LOAN so we can’t sell him. In June he will be back with Chelsea and talk with them about his future.

    I’m really nervous about Norwich match because of the date. Last time Arsenal played on May 5th it was against ManU in CL, and we lost… why I remember it was because I was in sports bar watching it and later had a chat with barca fan who said English players (or players in England) were really bad, none are barca standard (not even Fabregas who barca started to talk about months later). Really not enjoyable birthday at all.

  • Unfortunately Walter, Stoke’s average attendance is about 10% of Stoke’s population so unless their football attracts the biggest pillocks in the area – plausible – I suspect their fans are representative.

    The BNP likely launched their manifesto their for a reason…


  • @JohnW – How much do you reckon we would get for Benayoun then… considering he’s on loan from Chelsea?

  • robl

    @ Phil, no, I work there and reasonable decent, hardworking everyday people turn into complete twats where football is concerned.

  • Fair cop, the Suarez-Evra thing showed Liverpool had it in them too, while Chelsea fans booing Anton Ferdinand was downright grim.

    Every season I hope for their relegation. Vile club.

  • bjtgooner


    Looks like you have spent too much time at Le Groan.

    @JohnW ref Benayoun

    Chelsea will decide his future, having said that he has been a useful player for us this year so I would not mentally discard him too readily. The 25 player rule is a limiting factor and what we don’t know AW’s plans for next season, but we could do worse than include Benayoun. Regarding the other players you mentioned, I think it important to concentrate on our final two matches without distraction, after that we can review the possible composition of the squad for next season.

  • WalterBroeckx

    To be honest I wouldn’t mind signing Benayoun for next season. When ever he has played he has shown his skills and worked hard for the team. A top professional in my opinion. And a nice person in real life also I think. Well he gives this impression when you see how he reacts on twitter.

  • Ruaridh


    Benayoun is a loan signing so what world could we ever sell him off in?

  • robl

    @ Phil, also they need to do something to entertain themselves for 90 minutes…..

  • marcus

    lol, sorry Tony, I should have shortened it…I would do but there is no edit feature

  • Matt Clarke

    An encouraging article Walter. 🙂 Enjoy the game!
    Although it will not be easy; as Norwich will be keen to end their 3 game losing streak.

    Regarding the behaviour of the Stoke fans, en-masse, I would be very interested to hear from a psychologist as to what is going on with them and their abuse of AR – as to me it sure does seem simply shitty.

    @robl… “@ Phil, also they need to do something to entertain themselves for 90 minutes…..”

    Ha ha, nice one: I think you have hit the nail on the head.

  • bob

    Matt Clarke,
    Aaron Ramsey represents the truth about Stoke and Pull-This and their vicious agro-ball. When the living and breathing evidence of your own evil stares you in the face, you want to “erase” it by any means necessary. Ramsey deserves massive home support and applause for having gone through that fan-shite.

    As for Pull-This, his tell-tale post-match comment says it all about him: AW doesn’t get all the stick, he says, look at what poor “Sir Alex” has to go through. Thus, Lap dog Pull-This bashes Arsene by immediately invoking his master and maker, Don Fungus. He is wired to Don Fungus er, pinky, and will surely continue to be looked after by his Don for this .

    Cheers for the link. Linekar should get a life sentence to have to sit in the stands for every Stoke match from now through relegation and have to continually make the very same gestures he’s just made in pathetic imitation/go at AW.

    On the Awards front:
    Linekar (Scummer) and David Hytner (Manchester Guardian) are my two nominees for Disinformer of the Year award.

  • bob

    A shocker: The Manchester Guardian Football Department is actually capable of writing about a present-day new outbreak systemic football corruptions an amazing scandal with 50 indictments of players to come and, according to the article, fan indifference: Is it fan indifference, then, that enables the non-stop refshite that they/we only seem to be sick of?

  • Yankeegooner

    I hope that on the day this season ends (whether we have come 3rd, 4th or nowhere) Arsene Wenger tells us that he will resign at the end of next season if he fails to win a major trophy (and let us, for his sake, define the FA and Carling Cups as major). My reason for this is not that I doubt that he is a good manager; on the contrary I believe him to be a GREAT manager – and a man of high principle, too, a true gentleman. Nor do I believe that if he fails, the fault will lie primarily with him. So why do I hope that he threatens to resign? Because I believe that a Club of Arsenal’s stature should be winning trophies. Because I believe that, in this respect, Arsene’s hands have been tied by the zero nett transfer expenditure policy. Because I suspect that the new owner is continuing the same policy. Because I believe that only Arsene could have done as much with so little. Because the old Board sheltered behind him and it appears the new one is trying to do the same. Because the threat to resign, the emphasis on winning things, might persuade the Silent One to loosen the purse-strings.

  • aj

    “If Chelsea win against Newcastle, a win against Norwich next week would give us third place.”

    How so?

    Correct me if I am wrong but Chelsea can still get 70 points. A win for us against Norwich will guarantee us 69 points. So, if Chelsea win all their remaining games and we lose to West Brom, we end up below Chelsea. No?

  • iniez

    bob, thanks for the link, I liked that little part at the end:
    “Even if the game is riddled with gambling, corruption, bad refereeing and secret agreements, well, in Italy everyone is at it,” wrote political scientist Ilvio Diamante. “Everywhere. In politics, business, at work. Why be scandalised? That’s life.”

    Gives me an idea for a new mantra to go by. It all evens out in the end..that’s life

  • Gord

    @ marcus and tony

    I am going to guess that much of that URL is a session variable. You can just enter the part up to “.html”, and it works fine.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Think you are correct AJ, and Chelsea have done no harm to their GD today.
    Simple, we need to win the next two. No room for complacency. We should do it, but we all know Woy will park the bus. We have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot by going behind in matches.
    Everything seems to be going for Chelsea, including, (tho they did not need it today) unfeasibly large slices of luck. The senior players are probably in effect managing the team, some want a glorious swansong, some are competing to impress to play in the finals. That, in my book makes Chelsea a dangerous threat to 3rd. We cannot afford any slip ups that havedogged us a couple of times in recent games, that will either focus the team, or make it nervous, with this bunch, I am convinced it will be the former. We are not there yet.

  • RedGooner

    NiceNShine you clearly have no idea what Arsenal football club is about.
    While Lineker is a disgrace on Motd its great to see his sorry Sp*rs mug acting like that …It means we are doing someting right annoying him so much.

    Wenger is to be applauded for his interview they way he behaved was commendable while those hacks pushed and probed looking for a wrong answer.

  • Mandy Dodd

    A bit of a bad day, Spuds about to win – ever get the feeling we make things harder for ourselves than we need to sometimes!

  • Gord

    Yes, it was disappointing to not see Blackburn try harder. Or, that is the feeling I get from the BBC commentary, not much effort. Did Sandro get kicked at 27 minutes? I don’t think I’ve run across a game before where someone vomits on the field, let alone in the box.

  • Gord

    Some BBC trivia on the “effort” by Blackburn:

    > “0 – Blackburn have become the first team not to manage a single shot (inc blocks) in a PL game since WBA v Man City in Dec 2004. Blunt.”

  • Mandy Dodd

    not sure, maybe he had had a hard night before, or maybe just a spur of the moment ereaction to all the power, corruption and lies in football!

    Still, expect Bolton and Villa to give the Spuds much harder games. Think they also have to play Fulham, can see Jol rolling over a bit if this is the case?

    I think we will beat Norwich, but West Brom and THE PGMOL still worry me a bit. Dean , Dowd or Webb for West Brom? Failure to finish third has all sorts of as yet unforseen consequences I do not even want to think about. 4th, and we are at the mercy of a draw in Switzerland,unwanted games on top of the internationals, Olympics and the pre season travelling that now seems en vogue with our board/owner…. and all that entails, including issues we may or may not know about. Anything else, lets not go there. We really should have wrapped this up after all our hard work this spring.

  • Gord

    In terms of pre-season traveling, they have been visiting places where you can pick up some bad diseases. Taking a team out, and coming back with 1 or more players having malaria (or worse) would be a lousy way to start the next season.

  • bjtgooner

    If we win our last two games we can have 72 points, similarily if the Spuds and Newcastle and Chelsea win their remaining games they would have 71,71 and 70 points respectively max. Lets hope they drop some more points and reduce the pressure on us.

  • Basil

    Arsenal fans are such hypocrites.Adebayor was subjected to disgusting chants at the Emirates,and Nasri,Shawcross and Cole are continually booed,even though Cole has been gone for 6 yrs.So what if people take the piss out of Wenger?He asks for it with his flapping, undignified penguin routine,arrogance and bad sportsmanship.This site routinely takes the piss out of Redknapps so called “twitch”.Well he got that in a car crash in 1990 which killed his best friend and left him fighting for his life.It was a bit more serious than just a broken leg.Get your own house in order before criticising others.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Adebayor was also subjected to disgusting chants at WHL if you remember. Does not say much for him that he chose to go there really, does it?
    Fans often boo ex players, a few exceptions, but it happens.
    Guess you will be booing Modric and Bale next year, assuming they go the EPL clubs?

  • bjtgooner


    I don’t think we fractured someone’s leg and then booed the victim on his return. Get your facts in perspective or go back to the sewer.

  • Matt Clarke

    Please read it.

  • iniez

    Nasri, adebayor, and ashley were our players and sold us out, we have a personal connection with them and that is our justification for having hard feelings towards them. Shawcross, really? Do I really need to explain why we’re bitter towards him? He broke a 19 year olds leg in two places in a very harsh, unnecessary challenge. It’s one thing to boo, but what do the stoke fans sing when they see ramsey, “he walks with a limp”. How dare he break his leg on their soil, and for that matter how dare eduardo and rosikcy get their legs broken, the nerve of them. Suffice to say we get a litte pissed off when another player injures one of our own. Please don’t try to justify the paedophile chants and all the xenophobic chants arsene has been subjected to all these years. In terms of harry, my condolences to his friend but we have no qualms with him and never have we commented on him. I wish no other human being any physical harm and I mean that, and I’m sure many gooners agree with me. Strange as it sounds coming from an arsenal fan, I’m glad harry got out alive, but I’m sure if any tottenham fan even caught the scent of wenger in any form of an accident they would track him down to finish him off. What have we done worse than any other fans? If anything arsenal fans respect the game more than most and only act in response to what we have to endure

  • WalterBroeckx

    chelsea and Newcastle draw this week 😉

  • rantetta

    Another considered and positive piece, Walter. Thanks.

    Ta for your link, Bob. And this:

    “When the living and breathing evidence of your own evil stares you in the face, you want to “erase” it by any means necessary.”

    Very Shakespeare/Malcolm X. Very Bob.

    MOTD2 had Pulis on as a “guest”. I can’t give you any quotes as I’m in denial that he got on there and that I watched. They even done a feature about Pulis/Stoke where they played the Tony Pulis rap – which you can find on youtube. I’m not f’ng posting it.

    And Pat, you’re quite right in pointing out that Linekar has “shown himself up”.

  • Pat

    Good article on Ramsey. Thanks Matt Clarke for the link. Rantetta, I couldn’t even bring myself to watch MOTD2 when I heard Pulis was on. Especially after MOTD the night before.