Arsenal – WBA, after the beginning now on to the match…

By Walter Broeckx

Before the match when talking with Marcel, Andrew and Drew we agreed that with the results going our way the day before we should rest a few players.  The general feeling was also that with nothing really to play for this could go both ways. We could play without pressure at all and make a spectacle of it. Or we could play with the handbrake on. Because as we all know there still is a bit of an important game coming up  in two weeks time.

And I think it turned out the last option. You could see that the players wanted to win this match but not at all costs. It was obvious that Wenger also wanted to make sure that nothing could be said about the team selection. The only strange thing was no Ramsey.  A ‘minor’ thigh injury was said. Religious or not why don’t we all go down on our knees and pray that it really is a real minor injury. And that he will be fit for the cup final. Flamini took his place in a further unchanged team.

The bench was holding the return of the injured son. I think that if the bible would be rewritten now they wouldn’t speak about the prodigal son any more but it would be the injured son. Welcome back Abou. I wouldn’t be surprised that he would start at Norwich.

The first chance of the match fell to Podolski after Giroud gave him the ball. But the ball bounced a bit too high so Poldi could only make half contact and the ball went wide. A bit alter a shot from Santi was blocked and Arsenal could take a corner. Santi being booed by the WBA fans and being applauded by they Arsenal fans. Santi made a perfect delivery and Giroud headed home.  Even the WBA defender hanging on to him with all he could get around Giroud couldn’t stop the Frenchman.

Özil delivered a few amazing passes. The weight he can put on some of these balls is simply amazing. Alas it didn’t give us a second goal. And that was also because of Foster in goal for WBA made a great stop when a shot from Santi Cazorla looked to go in.

WBA didn’t create much going forward.  Szczesny had to deal with a few crosses and one shot from distance that he had to punch away. The rebound from an offside position according to the linesman was missed in an awful way.  But you could see that the players were more focused already on our match in 14 days. And this resulted in one team not giving it all and one team giving it all but being not good enough to produce much.  One nil to the Arsenal at half time. Completely what we deserved.

At half time Robert Pires came to say a few things and they honoured a very special person. A person I have seen myself in the past. Jill Smith was honoured as she will retire next month. Jill Smith has worked a lifetime for Arsenal and was the person who was responsible for the contact with the supporters clubs from all over the world.  A nice gesture from Arsenal to Jill.

And they surprised a Junior gunner who was chosen to be the mascot for the cup final match and he seemed rather pleased with that. Can’t blame him…

Back to football. The second half was the same. Arsenal keeping it slow but when we moved to a higher gear we immediately looked dangerous. Özil was given a chance by Giroud but his right foot shot missed the target as the ball just refused to calm down and kept on hobbling and wobbling.

Another chance fell to Podolski but yet again like in the first half the ball just wouldn’t bounce at the right height for him to have a real cracking shot at goal and his effort this time hit the post and then fell in the arms of Foster. Wenger then took of his Spanish armada and Kallstrom, Rosicky and Vermaelen came on.

In the last 15  minutes WBA tried to find the equaliser but Szczesny wouldn’t have anything like that. A good stop when finally WBA got a real chance was needed and he provided it. Another clean sheet was needed from our defence and they just delivered it.

It wasn’t the best match from Arsenal. But even when playing with a more important match in your head we still managed to do a professional job. WBA was really poor and this was somehow painfully shown when in the last minutes of the match a WBA players slipped when trying to run after a ball that could have been the start of a promising attack if he would have managed to keep it in play. But now his rather comic looking slip and tumble brought a big laugh from the stands.

A bit cruel for the unlucky WBA player of course but I admit I laughed about it. And I laughed even more when the supporters started singing: “Are you Gerrard in disguise?”

A job well done, another 3 points in the table and that makes it 3 points more than we had in total last year and we could add another 3 points next weekend. The sun was shining, the atmosphere was enjoyable, and some songs were really funny.

Not the best of matches but this was what can be expected when nothing really at stake. And then we had the after match festivities. But we will deal with that in the next article about our final home match of the season.

The books

74 Replies to “Arsenal – WBA, after the beginning now on to the match…”

  1. Walter.

    Nice report.

    It was a strange game. we seemed to work REALLY hard when we didn’t have the ball, or lost it, busting a gut to chase the ball and get back into shape, but once we did have it we slowed right down and sort of hoped something might happen.

    Although, as you suggest, in the brief periods we did ‘step it up’ with the ball, we always looked like scoring.
    As I say, strange game.

  2. Walter, I think that WBA player got a touch of cramp. I normally don’t get to watch a game, but I seen the last 3/4 yesterday. It looked to me like his calf.

    Glad you enjoyed the game.

  3. Good for the win. I was expecting some kind of ref trouble, sending off or penalty, but lo and behold, we got through without any of that.

    I was wondering how much money Arsenal got from being qualifying for the CL for 17 years, thats about £480m if it is correct that one gets £30m for qualifying. Then the money from the progression in the CL?
    Maybe some will now see that it is not to be taken so lightly.

  4. Walter, glad you had a great day.

    We played some good football at times, but not as consistently as I would have liked, but that may be because of the pending cup match.

    I didn’t think the ref had a great game, seemed to let a lot of fouls by West Brom go – Walter would appreciate your impressions on this. As para implies, our players would need to be careful next week to ensure they give no excuse to be carded.

  5. para

    If that £480M is correct then CL football has basically paid for the new Stadium.

    So no it’s not a trophy, IT’S A BRAND NEW 60,00 SEATER F*****G STADIUM.

    That is pretty amazing.

    NB: I know with interest and the like it wont be that simple but nether the less it’s a pretty amazing figure and if ever something highlighted the value and importance of qualifying for the CL every season surely that’s it.

  6. @Jambug IT’S A BRAND NEW 60,000 SEATER F*****G MONEY WELL SPENT STADIUM. Plus it attracts quality players that are worth the money.

    I wait with bated breath that none of our key players are carded in our next match.

  7. menace

    Have we got anyone in the last chance saloon with regards to Yellows?

    If so surely they have to miss the Norwich game.

  8. Highest is Flamini with 8 yellows, according to BBC. The limit starts at 5, goes to 10, and at the end of season I believe goes to 15. The only card problem would then be two yellows in a game (which gets a suspension) or straight red cards. But do cards carry over to the FA Cup?

  9. In terms of things to pursue, if Szczesny gets a clean sheet, he’ll finish at the top of the clean sheet race (currently tied with Cech, who is injured).

  10. Gord

    Thanks for that.

    Good luck to Szczesney in his bid for the ‘golden Glove’. Despite the ‘drubbings’ he’s played very well and it will be well deserved.

  11. Bootoomee

    Personally I think there defence is just not good enough. As carragher has just said, there was always a chance that one day it was going to bite them on the bum and tonight was that Night.

    Well done to Palace.

    I can see the ground from where I work and loads of my colleagues are Palace fans.

    They will be buzzing tonight.

    All I can say is enjoy it lads, that was special.

  12. Hilarious!
    Mugsmashers up 3-0, get caught on the counter again, again and again, with the Eagles eventually pulling a miraculous 3-3. Man City’s job got suddenly much easier.

  13. While the comercials at the programme came in switched to the sports channel 0-1 to liverpool, next commercial break suddenly 0-3. Didn’t check after that.
    My program ends, I watch the final score and I see 3-3…. Amazing….

  14. Nice to see how easy it is to go from smiles to tears. There were a lot of conversations when cards should have come out. Good for London that Palace showed up the non existent defence in the Liverpool team.

    Now who says Pulis won’t get Manager of the year!

  15. According to the master analyzer Carragher, Diverpool’s problem was physical & mental tiredness – I wonder how other teams who played more matches than the dippers have managed to cope!

  16. bjtgooner

    I just think they lost the plot. They had got to 3-0 up and all thoughts had turned to a cricket score.

    Adrenalin was flowing and all they had in there minds was attack attack attack.

    I think once Palace got one back, then 2, there heads went, Liverpool just couldn’t switch off the adrenalin.

    Not so much mentally tired, more mentally addled.

  17. Not sorry for Liverpool.
    Anything that splashes eggs in the faces of ex-Liverpool players turned pundits is welcome.
    Anything that frustrates rewarding a team that will lie and get the establishment to cover its lies as it did along with the PFA over Suarez is welcomed. Anything that will frustrate the narrative of AAA about our having had a bad season.when, obviously, this season has improved over last year’s is more than welcomed.

    Let them add another year to their 24-year -EPL trophy less seasons.

  18. Jack just won SKYs goal of the season on the ‘Twitter’ vote.

    62% of the vote. Pissed it.

    Neville went for Rooneys.

    Not even in my top 10 !!

  19. Did anyone notice our Jack won the MNF goal of the season – despite the studio idiots preferring goals from Rooney & another player – name escaped me.

    Well done Jack – great goal!

  20. Shakabula Gooner

    “Let them add another year to their 24-year -EPL trophy less seasons”

    Funny, I haven’t heard it mentioned once on SKY tonight.

  21. @Jambug,
    On hearing that the computer clown Neville had voted for a Rooney Goal, my Gran (who cleans at the Emirates) echoed the words of Mandy Rice Davis, all those years ago…..
    “Well he would, wouldn’t he”!

  22. What’s the bigger ‘bottlejob’? Arsenal leading the league for 128 days when most people in August expected 5th place, only for injuries and some ‘interesting’ refereeing to spoil things? Or Liverpool being 5 points clear with 4 matches left and not winning the league, despite playing the fewest games of the top teams, getting more penalties than anyone else and relentless sucking up from the ex-Liverpool players in the media and their friends in the press?

  23. Specialists in failure:
    -Jose for being out-bus-sed, with 1 point out of 6 in the final two home games.
    -Brendan for failing to realize that a score of 17-17 still yields only 1 point.
    -Giggs for failing to realize he can’t score if he does not play; wait a minute…

  24. Vikrant Dogra

    No contest really.

    We didn’t ‘bottle it’ at all. As you say a combination of injuries, some dodgy decisions, and lets not forget, some very poor performances, cost us.

    Yep, Despite all those advantages you mentioned Liverpool did ‘bottle it’.

  25. Giggs remaining at MU as a coach after playing there for so long is a bit…..incestuous?

  26. jambug & bjtgooner,

    I recall Wilshere beating Kasami to win Goal of the Month on MoTD with about 60% of the vote and the tossers in the studio said it must have been because Arsenal fans were the majority of their viewers that evening because it was a great weekend for Arsenal. BTW, I am an Arsenal fan but I did not vote.

    I wonder why the goal still got about the same percentage now.

    That goal was a great testament to Wengerball and a type of goal that comes once in a decade.

  27. Bootoomee

    “That goal was a great testament to Wengerball and a type of goal that comes once in a decade”.

    If you’re lucky.

    Neville was trying to justify his selection of Rooneys goal under the pretext that you only see 2 or 3 goals like that every 10 years. Really ?

    Perhaps the fool didn’t notice that Shelvey had an almost identical goal (if not better in fact) in the same contest!

    I’ve seen hoofs from the half way line scored on a Sunday morning down the park. That’s how special’ they are………not.

  28. Wilshere had the last laugh on the studio idiots – he sent in a final text – something to the effect that the “masters” showed they knew less than the fans – I didn’t quite catch it as I was working on something else at the same time – but Wilshere put them down very nicely.

  29. bjtgooner,
    What about the Ox’s re-tweet?
    That is also really sweet.

  30. jambug,

    You don’t get 62% of the vote frequently on anything in football. Not particularly something as contentious and opinion driven as quality of a goal. The unanimity of the vote shows that football fans are not lemmings. They can make up their own minds and they surely recognise a perfectly worked goal from belters that are often lucky goals made out of speculation. A few of those are scored every season by…well, virtually any player really.

    That Wilshere goal on the other hand, is a big fucking deal.

  31. Usually, goals from midfield involve a player with a couple of seconds on their hand.
    Cesc scored a better long range missile than anybody this season.
    He was harassing a defender and he blocked a pass that flew into the goal, lobbing the poor goalkeeper. I just cannot recall what season and who it was against… Sunderland?

  32. And we will celebrate one amazing anniversary for one amazing title in exactly three weeks, May 26. Celebratus commemoratus upforgrabbus.

  33. Celebratus maximus liquorus! (but lets not put the scud on ourselves!)

  34. Liquorus…
    What is Arsenal’s partner in wine making?
    I know it is Carlsberg for beer, but what else?

  35. Not sure if Arsenal have a wine partner.

    To select one the club should really consult with nicky – to ensure the wine complimented his favorite mature cheddar.

    If we win the FA Cup I will be having a wee dram of single malt Scotch. (maybe two!!)

  36. Going through the commentary at BBC, I find:

    > Maybe Liverpool will just settle for a victory tonight, knowing they have lost their last two meetings with Liverpool

    It’s a typo, but it is almost prophetic (of Liverpool) and pathetic (of BBC, and media)!

  37. Alsatian champagne for me.
    More specifically, Cremant d’Alsace in homage to the Boss.

  38. Sounds nice Ray.

    I enjoyed our exchange tonight – but must get some shut eye & prepare for the morrow.

  39. Later on in the BBC commentary, I find:


    Goal of the month

    What has been your goal of the month for April? Have you seen an absolute thunderbolt of a strike?

    Vote for your Match of the Day April goal of the month.

    Full terms/conditions available at


    I suppose if you look up those terms/conditions, you will find:

    > Must not be an Arsenal supporter.


  40. Wilshere goal against Norwich.
    Seven passes, six of which one touch including a side footer, back heel volley , a side toe half volley and a weaker foot volley to finish it off.
    All of that by three Arsenal players on the move, taking less than six seconds to totally outmaneuver seven Norwich defenders in a area smaller than one half of a tennis court.
    I’m not a big ballet fan but if I were , I imagine that’s what I would like it to look like.

    I wouldn’t hold it against Neville though. As much as I respect him as a pundit, his entire illustrious playing career was based on industry and trying to kick the boots off players like Wilshere and Co.

    As for goals scored from the half way line, well , they don’t require a high level of skill but rather a decent technic and a strong leg.
    Also worth noting, those goals are almost entirely the trademark of the EPL due to pitch lengths in England .

  41. If Liverpool fail to win it , theirs will be by far the bigger failing .
    With three weeks to go , they had it in their grasps and because of naive tactics threw it all away.

    Rogers’ young age and relatively short tenure might offer some consolation but the fact remains , his tactics were solely responsible for Liverpool’s undoing.

  42. Tom (and others).

    It is obvious that a person can (continue to) learn how to play football up to the age they graduate university with a Bachelors degree (age 21-23 usually). While there are some real idiots in university sports (idiots in that they really should never have been in university in the first place as they were too damned stupid), there will be new university graduates who have played the game competitively for many years at a high level, are skilled at thinking, research and problem solving.

    I (personally) discount B.Sc. Phys Ed graduates, because I have talked to some fresh graduates who apparently have no idea where muscles connect with respect to pivot points involved in transferring forces.

    But there have to be some that have a brain. And we are talking 21-23 years old. So, we can have 21-23 year old football athletes who have probably been in elite programs for 8 years or so. They know athletes, and they have been trained. Can they turn this knowledge on its head to train athletes?

    There are some really screwy Ph.D. degrees I’ve seen over the last 20 or so years (I am an outlier, I read far more Ph.D. theses than any of my peers). But, I would imagine it is possible for a student to study pretty much everything that FIFA requires for a national team coach, in the process of getting a Ph.D. B.Sc. was 21-23, so we are looking at maybe 25 at the earliest, for people that have studied football enough to be considered capable of managing a national team. Any nationals team: England, Brazil, Germany, Italy or whoever.

    To talk about people that are late 30’s or early 40’s as not having enough experience, is a problem with the system. As a person could have easily acquired 10,000 hours of study in the field by the late 30’s.

    How old do you think the people sending rovers to Mars are?

  43. AL Well they have to laugh about something unrelated to the slough of despond?

  44. From the Suarez reaction, I won’t be surprised if he decides to leave Liverpool at the end of the season. He took it very badly, crying like a child. Liverpool were supposed to have won a lottery this season but they’ve now lost their ticket. I strongly doubt they will come anywhere close next season but we’ll see.

  45. Well well.. Weren’t Liverpool supposed to have a sports psychologist or something that gave them the ‘mental strength’ that we all know Arsenal doesn’t have? Wasn’t Rodgers the young go-getter with a plan and brilliant tactics, not afraid to experiment, while Wenger has no clue about tactics?

    Nobody to my knowledge mentioned Pellegrini as a master tactician, yet he might well win two trophies this season, and Wenger might win one. Geez.. What narrative will they come up with next to take away from Arsenal’s achievements. WHo will they big up? City probably..since Arsenal and Wenger can never do anything right. Not even score a beautiful goal. Wilshere’s goal was clearly a fluke against a hapless Norwich side.

  46. We’ve seen some glimpses of proper Wengerball this season. Only glimpses. A goal that doesn’t often stay in the memory, but which on seeing recently, I started applauding, was Gnabry’s goal vs Swansea.

    I’m hopeful that next season, with a few signings, and better luck with injuries, we’ll have more frequent displays of Wengerball.

  47. @bjtgooner,
    Strangely enough, the nectar which complements English extra mature Cheddar, in my book, is a quite reasonably priced German table wine Niersteiner. Some prefer Hock but I find it too sweet.
    In the evening a Calvados or two goes down well with the cheese on a carefully selected biscuits.

  48. Shard,

    Agree with you but I am wishing for less injuries than signings. Not against signings but I believe that we have a great team already. We were undone this season by injury to our most potent players at the same period.

    The loss of Ramsey for period that we did is so vastly underestimated when talking about this season. The guy was our player of the month for about 5 consecutive months and at the time of his injury, the best player in the country. Ramsey was better and more effective than Yaya Toure and Steven Gerrard at that time. Now imagine Man City or Liverpool losing Toure or Gerrard for 3 months. Ramsey’s relevance can be seen in the easy way that we’ve dispatched all our opponents since his return.

    I am predicting here that Ramsey will be huge next season, even more effective than this season. My only wish is that he (and indeed all our player) have an injury free season.

  49. I initially was not bothered if Liverpool were to win it ,until I saw a poster (may have been a comment !) proclaiming that the EPL trophy was finally coming home .
    Home ? Was it theirs to begin with ? Especially since they have never won it in the Premiership years . But they are hardcore -those ‘Pool supporters despite the barren years . Problem is that they are also delusional !
    Was happy to see all those Liverpool legends ‘ faces after the defeat by Chelski. They had come to honour the changing of the old guard and to welcome in the new.
    Alas ! The best laid plans of men and mice ….!
    Those t-shirts should fetch a pretty penny at auction in about 25 years time !

  50. @nicky

    Thanks for the info, I might try that combination, in addition lets hope the club takes the recommendation to heart!

  51. Bootoomee

    Well I don’t disagree with you there.. If someone gave me a choice between having all our current squad fit for the duration of the entire season, or signing two world class players but no injury guarantees, I’d definitely pick the first..

    However, realistically, I think we’ll need some signings to add something.. And that is after replacing Sagna and Fabianski (both are probably off since their contracts run out)

    Wenger said 2 or 3 signings, and I’d be fine with 2 (striker and DM) if we replace Sagna and Fabianski properly. I also hope space can be found in the squad for the likes of Campbell and Aneke, both of whom have done quite well on loan the past two seasons. Plus give the likes of Akpom, Bellerin, Zelalem some games to see how they get on. New signings shouldn’t mean the end of a youth policy.

  52. Shard,

    I don’t disagree with either of the points you made earlier, I just agree with one more 🙂 We signed world class Ozil for over 42 mil and then lost him for some time due to injury. We definitely need additions and our astute manager has already made that clear. With our likely departing players, signings are mandatory but I worry more about injuries than new additions.

    Maybe because we have control over additions but none over injuries. Let’s hope for an injury free 2014/15 season.

  53. Shard
    Not all new signings have to be ‘world class’.
    There are plenty of players around which would complement this Arsenal side without having to spend a fortune.

    Yannick Bolasie of Crystal Palace could be one of them. He has shown under Pulis to be very adventurous going forward and more than capable of giving nightmares to players like Ivanovic of Chelsea or Liverpool’s Johnson . His pace and dribbling ability on the left wing , with Walcott on the right( assuming Walcott comes back strong and with his pace in tact ) , would create a real headache for defenses .

    Momo Diame of West Ham is another player I wouldn’t mind seeing play for Arsenal. Strong, pacey, good on the ball and can play box to box.

    Players like those two ( and some others) could hit the ground running at Arsenal and contribute immediately .

  54. Agreed Bootoome..

    Tom. I agree with the idea that not all signings need to be ‘world class’. That is basically an artificial construct anyway. I merely used the term to show that I would prefer an injury free season for our current squad.

    In fact, although we need something to our attack, I would say we don’t need a Cavani or whatever. I don’t think we’ll get much more output from them than someone who can come much cheaper, leaving us the money to strengthen the squad all over. Of course if we get Cavani or someone like that I will be happy.

    As for the two players you mention, I don’t know enough about Bolasie, but I don’t think we need Diame anymore. Maybe a few seasons ago. But now Ramsey is there, Wilshere will be better next season, Ox plays the box to box role as well, and I don’t think Diame offers anything different or an upgrade on any of them. Nor is he controlled enough to replace/spell Arteta, or defensive minded enough to cover for Flamini. I’d much rather give someone like Aneke or Olsson a chance there than buy Diame. Although as I indicated above, I think we need a ‘DM’ of sorts. A more defensive minded player than we have currently. Failing which, I’d want an upgrade on Arteta. Maybe Fabregas if available, but I was thinking along the lines of Rakitic of Sevilla. He’s got only one year on his contract as well apparently.

  55. I just watched MOTD which now seems to be like an old boys club for ex Liverpool players, none of whom seem capable of saying anything positive or complimentary about Arsenal or its players. The two experts today, Fowler and Hamman, were somewhat, no actually very, negative about Arsenal’s season. Fowler made an idiot of himself by saying that even if we win the cup, with the players and team we have we should be finishing higher than fourth. He then contradicted himself by saying we should have bought more players in the transfer window. Well Robbie, is the team good enough or not, make your mind up! Hamman did at least concede we had lost Walcott and Ramsey to injury, no mention of also losing Ozil, Wilshere, Kos, Gibbs etc etc during the last couple of months though. Then we got the Ozil hasn’t done enough nonsense followed by the obligatory ‘should Wenger keep his job’ crap to finish up with. What a sad reflection MOTD is now compared to a few years ago.

  56. Thanks Mick,
    so it was very sensible of me to only watch the match highlights and even turned off the sound for that and skipped the rest. 🙂

  57. Mick
    A few months ago Fowler said on MOTD that we “would” win the premiership. Not might, maybe, good enough etc., but “would”. This was when we were in first position and in response to Shearer (I think) saying we’d be no better than 4th. When prompted by Lineker he confirmed it.

  58. @Shard

    I agree with you re a DM – hopefully with height, pace & attitude as well as football skills, this would be my first priority. Add an additional striker & we are sorted – apart from replacing any players who leave, unless juniors in the required positions are ready to step up, but they don’t look ready just yet.

  59. @Walter
    Turning the sound off is definitely the best option especially if, like me, you suffer from high blood pressure!

  60. @Tom et al

    Most of you have lives, and don’t delegate sleep to solving problems.

    I slept on things (from my last note, which says there is no naiveity present), and what my subconcious came up with is that Rogers has a personnel problem. To me, this is an authority problem. Any manager can name people to be captain, but team dynamics can often have the “real” captain as being different from the one declared by the manager. And I will suggest that there can be more than one “real” captain on the field at any given time. It there are multiple captains, one would hope that their influence doesn’t effect the same players. If that does happen, you want that influence to be the same from all of them.

    I am an Arsenal person, I really don’t want to read articles about other teams which only peripherally involve Arsenal.

    But, since posting my response that Rogers was not naive, I ran across an article talking about Liverpool defences. I may mis-spell names, sorry. But apparently, Rogers tends to play Skrtel and Sahko, even though they are apparently not a good pair to play. Compared to others Liverpool could play.

    To me, it is obvious. There is a personnel problem here, and while Skrtel/Sahko is not best, it is predictable.

    To me, this is not a tactical problem, but rather a man-management problem. Roger’s has “rogue” leaders in his team, who will either not follow what he wants to do, or will not work with players they are set to play with.

    And that is far as I can go.

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