By Walter Broeckx
As you will now by now I am chairman of the Arsenal Belgium supporters club. And as with any other official supporters club we have to hold regular board meetings. Check the finances, look at where we can improve and on where we are doing a good job.
Now I must say that when our current board took over from the former board we hoped to get some 40 – 50 members. Paying members that is. People who are willing to pay a membership fee in order to be a member and to be able to get to Arsenal matches. And we do have some competition from a not-official supporters club who don’t charge fees and who work on red memberships owners. But in our meeting today the count was 93 members. So more than the double we hoped for and we are slowly thinking on how to celebrate our 100th member.
Today was our second board meeting of this season and it was held in the Flemish Ardennes in a pub called De Oude Koeiestal or the Old Cowshed in English. Where we first had our board meeting and finished that just in time to see the match on the big screen that was installed for us.
The board meeting went fine and the future of our supporters club looks fine and bright. But what followed was even better.
The first thing I want to point at was the magnificent block from Szczesny on a point blank header. What an important and crucial save that was! I think we will see Ospina in goal next Tuesday but he sure has a big task and has to really impress if he wants to play Szczesny out of the goal. What I have seen from Ospina in clips and in the world cup looks promising also so I really do think that we have two excellent keepers in our squad.
Villa played their usual strong defensive style of play. The went forward and almost scored on one occasion but they were more concentrated on stopping us from playing. Not by really unfair means for most of the time but they tried to organise themselves defensively and then tried to hit us on the counter. But our boys didn’t want any of that. And as our match previewer pointed out before the match Villa isn’t a team that is going forward a lot. Waiting in defence and then hoping for that lucky break.
So we had to be a bit patient at first and work hard to get to some openings. Ramsey had a few decent shots that just went wide. Cazorla was dribbling all over the place. And a seemingly disinterested bloke strolled on the pitch playing the ball left, right and centre. He reminded me of a player that got called all sorts of names over recent days and I was told he was a flop, useless, nicking a living. But that must have been another player as this one was doing a rather nice job.
First he got a lovely ball from Welbeck and he finished it off over rather cooly under the keeper. He sure had a big happy smile on his face when he was surrounded by the other Arsenal players to celebrate our first goal. As I was sitting on a high barstool to see the match I jumped up in celebration and I almost pulled down the lights in the Old Cowshed. The son of the owner (one of our board members) came out to fix the damage. [I do hope you have not been banned from board meetings for rowdy behaviour Walter. I’ve warned you of this before. Tony]
He had just done that and we scored our second goal. This time Özil got the ball on the left flank and his low cross was nicely finished off by Danny Welbeck. Assist maker becoming goal scorer and goal scorer becoming assist maker. Nice work from both of them on both occasions. And I didn’t pull down the lights this time when I celebrated the goal.
Aston Villa was on the ropes and we smelled blood. And in our next attack we scored again. This time Gibbs had a low cross and a Villa player put the ball into his own net. 0-3 and again I managed to not destroy the lights in the Old Cowshed.
Ramsey could have scored a 4th goal just before half time but I don’t really like going in 0-4 ahead so was happy with the score as it was.
The second half was one that was not really necessary any more. Aston Villa feared a rout and pretended they were hanging on to a 0-0. And Arsenal who knew the real score new that if we didn’t do anything completely silly the match was very well won. After a hard match on Tuesday and another match in front of us next Tuesday no need to risk anything.
Talking about risking anything…. what was that idiot Clark thinking he was doing when he came in like a lunatic on Özil deep in the second half. The ref gave him only a yellow card but that was a reckless and dangerous challenge that should have resulted in a red card. And that in a match that was already well over. But luckily no real damage was done but the ref should have made sure that there is no room for such tackles in the PL any more. But more on that in our referee review of course.
So it remained as it was at half time. 45 minutes of practising in keeping the ball for Arsenal. A good session and because of Villa playing as they did it was a long 45 minutes for the Aston Villa fans. And the away Gooners enjoying their afternoon and making themselves noticed with their songs.
Wilshere, Podolski and Rosicky came on towards the end but nothing changed any more. A good win, 3 points in the bag. Özil and Welbeck scoring their first goal of the season.
It was a lovely afternoon in the Old Cowshed. Which actually is an old cow shed. A really great afternoon. More of this please.
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