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July 2021

Now that was a real quality Saturday afternoon

By Walter Broeckx

Sometimes you think surely my luck will stop at some moment in time. It started rather well with the game between the lot down the road and the lot with the lots of money. The best result for Arsenal in my  opinion would have been a draw. And that is what we got.  So this meant that even a draw would keep us top of the league.  And keeping our win win win record away from home would bring some daylight between our opponents.

The next game was Aston Villa – Man $ity. I must say that at half time I turned off the game and watched Bayern Munich against Wolfsburg. The ones with lots of money were so much better that I never could imaging Aston Villa getting a point. When there was a substitution in the Bayern game I checked and just saw Villa score from an offside position. They surely have a bit of luck with referee decisions it seems. And when City restored the lead almost immediately I thought the game was over. The only thing that was really over was the Bayern game by then so I switched back to the Villa game and they suddenly scored 2 goals in quick succession.

My ref view on the second Villa goal  (the free kick) was a perfect example of good refereeing. There was a foul on a Villa player but they kept possession and as the other Villa player had to play the ball backwards it was clear that there was no advantage but only possession. So the ref came back to the foul and gave the foul and Villa scored from the free kick. This is what I have been talking about for years on this site. Possession is not the same as advantage.  Lucky for Vila that the ref knew that rule or has he learned it at Untold?  But the final score of 3-2 was a really amazing scoreline as City has been the better team during the whole game.  So I was lucky with that.

Could it get any better? It sure could. As on my sports channel they then showed the images of the MU – WBA game. And I really couldn’t believe my eyes that WBA won that game 1-2. So that was it 3 dream results from an Arsenal point of view.  At that moment I feared that my luck was over. Surely now disaster would struck.

I can imagine that all these results did put some extra pressure on the team. It became a must win game now. Losing this game would have been a sign of the team mentally maybe being not strong enough.  A draw could be accepted and don’t forget that the first leader in the PL dropped their first points at Swansea. And Swansea are a team that knows how to play the game. All the players have good technical skills and ability. We always had tough games playing them. So would this be the day that our winning run would come to an end? Or even worse…that we would lose away from home for the first time in well…6 months!

Now this is a team that is hit again and again with an insane injury crisis. Cazorla, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Podolski and then Flamini and Ramsey were doubts before the game and had to face a late fitness test. And I could even add Diaby and Sanogo to make it 7 injuries and 2 doubtful players.  Swansea had 3 injuries and one doubtful player. All doubtful Arsenal players could start eventually. And that was great for Arsenal.

The first half was one of two teams who balanced each other out. Not a lot of big goal scoring chances that I can remember from looking at my blurry stream. Giroud having the best chance right at the end of the first half.

The second half we played much better. And Gnabry slowly getting more and more involved in the attack. He was working very hard in the first half and did his best to not only join the attack but he closed down space and it was as if he had been there for months or years.  And that after being dead after playing 120 minutes on Wednesday.

The first goal came from the young German player who will give Theo some work to do when he comes back from his injury. A fluent move and Ramsey giving the ball to Gnabry who kept his cool and and picked the far corner and giving the keeper no chance at all with a simple shot. Well he made it look easy but I have seen some older and more experienced players miss it.

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Özil then should have made it 0-2 seconds later but the keeper saved.

But minutes later Arsenal made the goal. And what a goal it was. Ramsey to Wilshere to Giroud to Ramsey who turned and smashed the ball in the top corner. That was an example of how high his confidence level is in front of goal.  Two quality goals from Arsenal.

And to give credit to one player that will go unnoticed a bit I do want to mention him. Our Polish goal keeper Szczesny. He made a few great stops in the game when we were 0-2 up. I know he had one scary moment in the first half but apart from hat he had a great game and made some good saves. The goal from Swansea also was a real passing move from them.  It could have been a nerve wrecking end of the game from there on but the team looked determined to not concede any more goals after that.

You can feel that this team has high level of confidence that they will not be beaten. Imagine if we would have had a decent ref in the first game…

But the most important thing is that we are top of the league. Two points in front of the one from down the road. Four points in front of Chelsea, five points in front of Manchester City and eight points in front of Manchester United.  Well done boys. And well done Mr. Wenger.  Keep it up.

As I said…a real quality afternoon for an Arsenal supporter.

You might also enjoy….

29 September 2007: Arsenal are top as Mr Wenger says he’d hand back the transfer fund

And the books…



21 comments to Now that was a real quality Saturday afternoon

  • Mandy Dodd

    As you say, it really was quite a day. Even the MOTD pundits seemed quite impressed with us, although in fairness, it was Murphy and Martinez rather than shearer and Hansen. No pressure, but looks like we may eventually have another German full international on our hands, and as much as I would love to have our finest never to have to play internationals, German internationals on the whole are a good thing for most teams. Wonder when ” friends” of RVP are going to start briefing, with criticisms of his fellow team members? Whoever that was must feel a bit stupid now over Ramsey not being good enough! So glad we have Rambo on a long term deal, can imagine who will be after him if he continues like this, and long may he do just that.

  • Hjorvar Olsen

    The best Saturday for a long time.
    Just go on winning and think about the next game not more – only the next game. Then we will be in a good place come January to build on.

  • The font

    Without any prompt on the way out of the ground one of the stewards said well done you are by far the best fans we have had here you were so loud safe journey home

  • WalterBroeckx

    Per surely will enjoy his birthday today 😉

    Happy Birthday Per

    Maybe we could sing a little song for him?

    All together now:


  • Klaus

    It could not have been a better day for us and AW’s 17 years anniversary …. lonf may it continue … #COYG

  • waiyuen leong

    Arsenal players made that Saturday a perfect day playing against a tough Swansea team. I thought the game would end up as a draw making it difficult to penetrate despite full force from Arsenal players.Swansea did make their best efforts but the stregth of the back four stood against a team that had won four games in a roll. The second half play was the best when Gnabry pushing harder by making his effort to to make it 1-0 and later Ramsey added another to make it 2-0 scoreline. Swansea players did very well in their attack in the few minutes to score to make it 1-2 against Arsenal. Arsenal is now leading with 15 points against Hotspur with 12 points. Keep up the tempo of play against Napoli on 1/10/2013 for the champion league game.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Hopefully we will have a BFG for some time yet, hope they get Bac, Szcz and the great man himself also singed up for longer very soon

  • Tom

    @Walter . It sure looks like things are going our way at the moment with the perfect trifecta of results from around the league. But I would argue that our good luck began with the announcement of simultaneous regime change at the other big three( what were the adds of that), and continued with a favorable league schedule which has by far been the easiest amongst the big clubs. I imagine that if Arsenal got the schedule Man United has gotten and vice versa ,some on this forum would’ve cried “league conspiracy” again. Which brings me to the infamous Villa game, I wish you guys would drop it already. Every other post on UA has at least a mention of this alleged injustice against our club ad we played four league games since. Yes, referee had a poor game and everyone has agreed on that. Let’s move on. We’ve since signed a DM in Flamini who would’ve come in handy against the Villains as it was no secret that their biggest strength lies in quick counterattack . Their away record has been far superior to home record. Every questionable decision Taylor made that day followed Arsenal defensive mistake and Agbonlahor ran riots. But as I said , let’s drop it already. There are plenty of positives about Arsenal to focus on. The fantastic away run we are on, players coming back into fitness and last but not least the great team spirit they’ve been exhibiting . And another thing, it seems Arsenal aren’t afraid to sacrifice time possession, drop deep and soak up the pressure. I’m not sure if it’s intentional but it’s working. Seems in years past we had so much possession that when we finally turn it over our defense was unsure how to defend and panicked at times. I’m very optimistic and I’ve been on the record about it since the end of last season. Keep up the good work and take care.

  • Rufusstan

    @Tom — I’d rather like to think that our luck has come from meshing a good squad together last season, see it begin to flourish after Christmas and match any other team in the league in that period.

    Then have held that squad together, kept improving it as a team, alongside adding new players, rather than having to go back to square one (again).

    Its in that context that I think the Villa game stays in the mind. Rather than just a first day defeat, it is a blot separating the 12 game unbeaten run at the end of last season and the 9 game winning streak we’ve had since.

    As far as the schedule goes, I’d sort of agree, except our first 6 games last season were remarkably similar and I don’t remember much moaning — we had City and Liverpool away, Chelsea at home, and the annual trip to see the Orcs as a bonus.

    After 6 games, we were 8th, had more 2 points than United do now, and were a point closer to the leaders (and had been written off as title contenders).

    In the end, any group of fixtures mean little, its the results you get. United have simply dropped points where as champions they should not have.

  • raavans

    “Imagine if we would have had a decent ref in the first game…”

    we wont b enjoying these wins as such…..reading about flying from ashes….

    remembering well those dark dark days when every1 was writing against us…being linked to every tom dick and harry…and calling for wengers head as usual…

    i’m certain i would not be this happy without those….and the villa-ref fiasco certainly helped…..

  • I don’t like to promote my own articles normally,… well actually yes I do. Just did a piece on the History Blog about this day in 2007 when we were also top of the league. Apart from the game (a 1-0 win away to WHU) and a fine run similar to that this season, there is a look at Mr Wenger’s commentary on the fact that if he was given £100m transfer fund he’d give it back – although he might spend it one day if the right player came along.

    I don’t want to distract from Walter’s article above, but it makes an interesting reflection on six years ago – and the top of the league table contains two clubs we might well have forgotten about.

  • gouresh

    The 1st half was dull, was it nerves? I don’t know but 2nd we came alive. The 2nd goal was a work of art right from the time the ball when left our GK’s hand. The only thing I can be critical of is their goal. Ozil not tracking back and helping out. It was really half hearted. Looks like that’s his only weakness? Overall great result and a treat to watch the team.

  • Tom

    @Rufusstan. Thank you for your reply. Yes, keeping the squad together was paramount in having this successful run but I’m not sure I would attribute that to luck rather than careful planing on Mr. Wenger’s part. Although he has been known to let players go if they felt they were unhappy at the club, or if the price was right. So yes , maybe there was some luck involved in keeping the squad together. As for the the Villa game and the big disappointment that it was, I understand people like Walter who looked at it from a refereeing stand point and found it appalling . I looked at it from an ex- player prospective and found many things Arsenal did (or didn’t do) that would have caused trouble even if referee had been perfect. In any event it was just one game and I can guarantee that no Arsenal player or Mr Wenger himself is thinking or talking about it anymore. The only scenario I can think of in which this game becomes relevant again is if Arsenal go undefeated for the rest of the season. Take care.

  • nicky

    If a Martian had suddenly descended and watched the first half, he would have asked “Which team is the Arsenal I’ve heard all about”.
    At half-time I said to myself “This game needs a goal”.
    Fortunately, Arsenal provided the goal that paved the way to victory.
    As our grandson emailed from OZ “There won’t be many sides who’ll come to Swansea and take 3 points this season”.
    I know it’s early days but there is an air of confidence permeating this team at the moment starting with goalie Szczesny, the whole of the back division, probably the best midfield in the EPL and a strike force of any number who have now learnt how to shoot.
    The reason for this resurgence?
    I feel that the arrival of Ozil has made a difference. His class is evident in the number of attacks he inspires, even this early in the season. The other important signing is that of Flamini whose non-stop industry is a joy to watch. We will lose him from time to time (he’s already on his 3rd booking) but the way he bosses EVERYONE within earshot, he could be the team captain instead of just a returning son.
    And on the horizon are our wounded who are not long from rejoining the squad. I can foresee the day coming when Arsene Wenger will have an embarrassment of riches when selecting his team….a situation he will no doubt enjoy.

  • AL

    With reference to the Villa game, would be interested to hear your views if say Arsenal were to miss out on the title by about 2 points. Or 4th spot even.

  • alex

    As Ramsey said it was tactical approach the first half. Let the Swans have ball possession and hit them on counter attack.

    Gnabry the first half kept it simple it was a tactical approach.
    I love this boy and as you said not only Walcott others too must up their game to be selected. I don’t see it easy to dislodge Gnabry from selection with these form.

  • Adam

    Not long back in the UK and it’s nice to see all the regulars chirpy, Arsenal are moving towards what we all hope they will become, Swansea put Valencia to the sword, no easy task, and I must admit to developing a big soft spot for the Swans. I’m still catching up on recorded games, but am enjoying this run of results. Long may it continue.

  • rantetta

    Am I alone in thinking the 1st half was fascinating, good, clean, “chess-like” football, even though there weren’t many chances? The way Arsenal tried to get on top, but Swansea were organised and skill-full with their work, and Arsenal had to defend well and yet still looked more likely to score?

    I’ll watch again at some point…

    A good afternoon? I’d say.

    Walter @ 1:03

    Man, you sure know how to throw down some lyrics!

  • Tasos

    Agree with Alex.

    First half was tactical, conserving energy whilst containing the game. With the games coming thick and fast I’d prefer to believe this is part of Arsene/Arsenal’s intelligent approach but I’m no expert.

    During this match one player stood out for Me,
    Serge Gnabry looks a massive prospect.

    After enduring 120 mins of cup tie football in midweek he really impressed how quickly overcame the obvious disappointment from his penalty miss in that game.

    Tim Stillman posted a good article on Serge Gnabry here;

  • Rufusstan

    @Tom — I agree with a lot of what you said, in fact I only used to word luck to mirror your comment (I really don’t believe there was any luck involved either).

    I also agree with the player perspective, I’ve started to come round on Roy Keane a lot over the last few years, as amongst the bollocks in his comments, there are a few gems.

    After Nani got sent off in the CL game, Keane’s response was that if you don’t want the ref to act against you; don’t give him the opportunity. I agree with that, but the Villa game showed a ref selectively taking those opportunities.

    Players move on quickly because it is counterproductive for them to dwell on that is already done. Fans seem to worry more about patterns, reasons, and whether it will happen again.

    @rantetta — I don’t get it either, 2 sides playing passing football, pressing and defending is enthralling to me, and I never understand how anyone can say its boring.

    In the end, Arsenal slowly started to win the battle, scored, and looked secure until Swansea did something a little special which gave them hope (and a tough last 10 minutes for us).

  • Mandy Dodd

    Anyone else surprised at the lack of scrutiny of verthongens piece of theatre at the weekend by the media? They only seemed to report Joses words on his disgraceful dive rather than the action itself. Heir apparent to bale it looks to me