Gunners vs Villains: five of the best (and worst) and a new hero emerges

By Blacksheep

Today was a five star performance from the Arsenal against a Villa side that might need to readjust to life in the Championship if they can’t get their act together soon. But I’ll leave the match report to Walter when he gets back from leading Arsenal Belgium to the Emirates.

I experienced 5 things (good and bad) that I thought worth noting today and I’ll start with the lowest and end on a high.

Tony and I had arranged to meet Walter and the Belgian Gooners outside the Armoury early, so we headed off from Northampton at the uncivilized hour of 9.45 (uncivilized for a Sunday – as I’m usually still in church* at that time!). We arrived at the Ems at about 11.30 and I was already hungry. There were a fair few people milling around, young fans, foreign fans (I heard Germans chatting nearby), Villa fans (looking miserable already most of them) and some police and stewards.

Then a bloke asked me if a wanted a ticket ‘tickets, buy any spares, anyone need a ticket?’. For the more honest of you who don’t know, this guy is a tout. A ticket tout.

Note this from The Gooner News in 2013

“Can I get a ticket without all this membership stuff?
Touts operate around the ground, and do sell tickets. But remember, touting is a criminal offence, and the ticket you buy might be a fake. So you could end up wasting your money, and being hauled off to a police station for the duration of the game.

Plus remember that the price via a tout is going to be much inflated for most games. I have been offered £750 for the use of my season ticket for a single match – while the cost of the games works out at about £45 each on my season ticket. That £750 is the price the tout offered me. I presume, had I been stupid and given in, he would have sold it for £1000.”

This is the guy I saw –


for the record the stewards were close by, as were police , and no one did anything to stop his illegal activity. I tweeted the image and one of my friends on there reported that there was a dozen touts operating under the noses of the police on the other side of the stadium. I don’t see how this can still be happening in the 21st century. No one should have to pay more than face value for a ticket, EVER.

Soon after we met up with Walter and the Flemish hordes and we were in for a treat. The club had invited the Belgian supporters group to go into the ground before the match to greet the team as they arrived on their coach. And Walter said that his fellow Untolders (Andrew, Tony and myself) to join them. So, unsure whether I would need to pretend to be Belgian or not (I have one word of Flemish, alstublieft – or ‘please’ and I don’t look very Belgian) I joined the queue with the others and before you could say ‘TinTin’ I was in.

Bedecked in my Visitor’s Pass I felt about 12 years old again as we all waited for the team bus to appear. I watched Pat Rice and Ivan Gazidis drive in and maybe Thierry Henry (not sure, it was fleeting…) Then I snapped Tony with one of his oldest dancing partners…


…before a huge coach pulled up and the squad got off. The BFG was first with le Boss and Stevie Bould bringing up the rear. None of the players smiled much or interacted with the fans but they did all high five or fist pump Goonersaurus. They looked focused and given what they were about to produce I can forgive them. It was exciting though and thanks to Walter for making it happen.


Theo and Akpom arrive

 We watched Arsene Wenger give his pre-match interview (I couldn’t hear a word but then again I cant hear a word INSIDE the stadium either, so no change there!) before we were invited to have our picture taken in front of the players’ entrance (hopefully Walter will post the full pic when Arsenal send it to him)


Once outside with an hour to KO my stomach was rumbling so Andrew and I set off in search of food (are you paying attention Nicky?)  We didn’t have to go too far because just opposite we found a stall selling hot salt beef bagels. Loaded with soft pink beef and housed in a fresh bagel, with yellow mustard and gherkins this was a treat for £3,50 – yum!

But I went from food heaven to drink hell in a matter of minutes. Once inside the stadium I found Walter, his wife Carine, and Tony at the bar and I ordered a glass of red wine. £5.90 for a ‘Merlot’ – well that’s what it said on the label – “Do you want a cup” asked the girl serving me. Really, a cup/glass, how novel. I did. It didn’t improve it much. It was nasty, take my advice – avoid at all costs!

So that’s 2 good and 2 bad so now to finish on a high note.

The game was great, especially in the second half and there was plenty of good humour around the North Bank. We enjoyed Giroud’s goal (and Özil’s assist), Özil’s goal was sumptuous, Theo’s was very well taken, Cazorla’s penalty (which looked soft from where I was) was amusing when we saw Guzan’s reaction but the peach for me was Bellerin’s shot. It seemed to take him by surprise and he didn’t really know how to celebrate. I’m really pleased  for Hector because he has emerged as a proper talent this season and that was the icing on the cake for his performance today.

I also found this old library photo of Hec’s distant family (who actually hail from east London…)

kraysbellerinNo one is going to mess with Arsenal now we have Hector 🙂

So all in all this was a very good Untold day out

* er surely bed? (ed)

41 Replies to “Gunners vs Villains: five of the best (and worst) and a new hero emerges”

  1. Not the usual sort of post, but a very enjoyable read.

    Bellerin was a winger in his, er, younger days, so the finish wasn’t that much of a surprise. It was still an immaculate finish, though. Now, how long before the Child Traffickers come sniffing around?

  2. Great day for Bellerin. See what you mean with his relatives. Thought Chubs did well too, apparently Krazy Claude singing his praises rather than laying into Wenger. Good day all round.

  3. Thanks Blacksheep.

    Hector had mentioned his parents were visiting (Friday). But that he had relatives in London when Arsenal picked him up probably helped immensely. There is quite the resemblence.

    At your initial description, I couldn’t imagine salt beef bagels. A SeriousEats write up, described things better for me. On this side of the pond (USA, Canada) we would call it corned beef. Which immediately explains the mustard to me. I’ve tried cooking with salt pork, and it takes a bit to get used to working with it.

    For those who like to cook, this looks an interesting recipe:

    The pickling liquid has some interesting components. Another recipe I had seen, had nitrate (and salt) which has some stronger preserving properties than just nitrate on its own. Companies over here are claiming there preserved meats are healthier as they have taken out nitrate and nitrite, and added celery juice (which contains nitrate and nitrite). I could see a person dissolving the salt in warm/hot water in slightly less than 1.5 litres of water, and then adding 250 ml of celery juice and the aromatics.

    I think a whole grain mustard would work well.

  4. maybe after the result today, The Flemish Hordes should be made honorary team greeters for the rest of the season !
    We took two of my nieces today, and the look of awwwwwwe on the younger ones face as she came into the ground for the 1st time was a look to behold !
    Spot on with Hector ‘Cray’ Bellerin though !

  5. Gord,
    That recipe looks to be ‘the business’. The result is far superior to what is known here as Corned Beef, which is timed and really bears little resemblance to anything coming from a cow. Just goes to show how the same words can mean totally different things depending on location.

    Today,s bagels were certainly delicious and very filling.

  6. I know villa offered very little in a way of attack,,
    That could be good defending on our part ?

    Or in a short space of time young franny coq has become an integral part of the arsenal cog.

    He is the best we have at the club at the moment in that position!

    For me he is above flamini, Arteta in that role..

  7. @Andrew,
    How dare you belittle the delicacy known as corned beef.
    My hash is known far and wide (by me) for its texture, fragrance and taste.
    It is also famed for converting more folk to become vegetarians than any other dish. 😉

  8. Thanks Andrew.

    After Bellerin added another name today, we now have 19 players who have scored 68 goals in all competitions.

    I sure hope Hodgson made it out of the stadium okay, he certainly was sitting close to a Neville.

    I wonder if the MOTD crew have got their tax situation sorted out? They were quiet in the BBC coverage today.

    As my Internet had been down from early last evening until after the game today, I managed to watch the second half courtesy (using the term loosely) of NBC sports. I turned on the TV at half time, and it took me all of 10 seconds to get tired of the blob doing commentary to turn the volume down to 0. I thought Taylor was mostly letting Villa get away with pushes, there didn’t seem to be a lot of kicking. Letting Villa play with the ball caused them to waste a lot of their own time.


    I like Arsenal as an organization and team. I seen on the website today: “Arsenal for Everyone; Embracing Diversity & Equality”. Yes, some people and groups looking for a more level field to live on got nice coverage there. There are a few dyslexics in Untold, they can speak for themselves. But I think Arsenal needs to add autism to the groups needing a little help on the diversity side of things.

  9. Yes Will, Sanchez and Welbeck to come back, but don’t forget Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere, Arteta and Gnabry too.

  10. Salt beef is a good Jewish food,and the correct spelling for bagels is beigels as everyone from the East End knows(or used to know).Sorry to be pedantic but even my spell checker gets it wrong. Great win and great web site.

  11. It wasn’t so long ago that all the pundits and hacks used to bash Arsenal and Wenger for not having British players, and not doing anything to promote British football, blah blah blah.

    Today we have six British players who play regularly for us, when fit:
    Gibbs, Chambers, Ramsey, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Welbeck.
    Plus a few youngsters on the fringes: Hayden and Akpom.

    Compare that to Chel$ea, who only have Terry and Cahill. The Manche$ter Accountants only have Joe Hart and Milner, plus Lampard on loan (Or not on loan. Who knows.)

    Where are all those people who were crying about Arsenal not having British players? Why aren’t they blaming the England national team’s performance on Chel$ea and the Manche$ter Accountants? Why have they suddenly lost interest in this topic? And some people still believe there is no media campaign against Wenger and Arsenal. Funny they haven’t got their knives out for those bloody forreners Pelegrini and Mouth-inho. Too funny.

  12. @Blacksheep

    Sounds like you guys had a really wonderful day – apart from the Merlot! I am delighted for all.


    I know sodium nitrite was (and probably still is) used in the curing of bacon, not sure about the sodium nitrate – it could be as you suggest that a mixture is used for some products. If the nitrite is a preservative – what does it do to us?

  13. Nicky,

    I didn’t mean to belittle corned beef, which I quite like cold and I’m sure thay your hash is indeed excellent. Given the choice though I will take hot salt beef every time.frrtr

  14. @BJTGooner

    Nitrite and nitrate (usually the sodium salts of both) are both preserving agents. Nitrite is apparently the stronger of the two. Some of the reactions driven by nitrites, or by nitrates, preserve food. (they could kill putrefying or dangerous bacteria, they could make the surfaces deadly to those bacteria). But, nitrates and nitrites can apparently also promote reactions which lead to cancer. Part of the reason people dislike them is that they will preserve us, part is this rather remote cancer argument, part is a dislike for things chemical.

    Celery juice (and apparently beet juice, and some other vegetable juices) has useful levels of nitrites and nitrates, so people can use those. And who has gotten sick from eating celery?

    Here is the website I ran across (verifying that celery juice had nitrite and nitrate), which does a good job in putting across an argument.

    On the preservative line of thought. Some of the problem with oak, has to do with tannins. If we leave coffee on the heat all day, it develops a rather nasty layer at the top. Tannins are in that layer. They are a class of chemicals. In a sense, tannins help preserve things, which is part of the reason we use tannins on leather. In a sense, hysteria about nitrates and nitrites is the same.

    There are lots of strange compounds in our diet. In moderation, few are hazardous.

    After mentioning my complaint about the Diversity Day, I looked a bit around Arsenal. One of the groups they are supporting, is Resources for Autism. The front page article at about the Arsenal Foundation, references Resources for Autism. The demonstration article there, is about a functional autistic adult, and the help he got because Arsenal helps. So Arsenal does help, I just think they missed a chance with this diversity program.

    A recent article at Ars Technica was about a functional MRI (fMRI) study of normal adults and functional autistic adults. All the normal adults had about the same results in the fMRI scan. The functional autistic adults were all different: they were different from normal adults, and they were different from each other. In terms of diversity, functional autistic adults are not 1% of the population, each one of them is a single person on their own. That is why getting it on Diversity agenda is I think important.

  15. @Gord

    Thanks for that info. Re tannin – it does have a useful purpose when absorbed from the oak casks during the aging of wine! (Also sometimes from the grape skin depending on variety.)

    (Not sure if Blacksheep’s Merlot had too much or too little tannin – or if was just a poor variety!)

  16. Off topic a bit but the U18 FA Cup game is at Borehamwood ground tomorrow evening, absolutely free to get in and a nice little ground as well. Kick off is 19:00, worth going if you can. If we win the next game is away to City possibly at the Etihad..

  17. @BJTGooner

    There is something about tannin and oak that is avoiding me. Is it the tannins in oak that turn purple in contact with iron that spoils staining jobs? Yes, there are some good tannins and some bad ones, for various purposes.

    Thanks Pete.

    Do you know of people with autism, or are struggling with some diversity issue?

  18. WHAT A DAY! WHAT A MATCH! Now off to bed to sleep. Exhausting it is such a trip but oh so great feeling. Articles brewing in my head 🙂

  19. Thanks for great article, Blacksheep, and lovely pictures.

    Glad Arsenal rustled up a little treat for the Belgian supporters and Untold representatives.

    Very pleased that we gave Mrs Broeckx a glorious victory!

    I saw several touts as well, including one who had the cheek to be operating not far from one of the turnstiles.

  20. The first first thing that popped into my head after i saw we won was that Walter was there… and Mrs. Broeckx as well. I hope that you both had a wonderful wonderful day and … I am so go glad Arsenal didn’t lose of all days. I’m sure everyone of the regulars on Untold feels that way.

  21. Was that Anthony Taylor yesterday? Someone must be paying attention to Untold. Thought he was decent this time around. A penalty……bloody hell. COYG.

  22. From GoingGoingGooner’s article:

    > Our attempts late on Saturday to get Manuel Pellegrini to articulate what he quite plainly thinks – that his side are creative and Mourinho’s are not – had entered the realms of the absurd when he resisted what, by my count, was the 10th way of posing the question.

    > “I don’t think nothing. If you want to say something, say it – don’t try to get me to say it,” Pellegrini said before departing the press room.

    Team managers are indirectly under contract to the EPL and The FA. They are (probably) limited as to what they can say. If they say something contrary to that contract, they will be fined or otherwise disciplined.

    The press is under no such contract. By repeatedly trying to get a manager to say something that will subject him to disciplinary action is just going to annoy him.

    And Pelligrini is completely correct. The press is being a bunch of chicken shits, to try and get the manager disciplined. If they think something is going on, get the proof. Pretend you read about Watergate way back when. Do some real research and work!

    > And now, because Diego Costa buried his foot into two individual Liverpool players in a League Cup semi-final last Tuesday night – and because writers and broadcasters had the temerity to recognise that fact – we are being asked to believe that there is a conspiracy.

    There doesn’t require any temerity. They had the video evidence. All they had to do was present it. Show replays of it. There is no need for conspiracy theory here.

    That article could have been far better than it was.

  23. An important property of quality control, is the idea of statistical control. If a person inserts a problem, is the problem detected?

    Why do we need this. Officials have lost trust. And various contract provisions notwithstanding, you can’t legislate trust either.

    I think teams should be allowed to submit to the Disciplinary committee of the FA, letters of intent to practice statistical control. Each letter should include two sealed letters addressed to two prominant news organizations. The club shall keep in its possession, copies of both of those letters that are notarized. The next business day after the game in question, both the FA Disciplinary committee and the team shall send their identical letters to the same news organizations (and hence both organizations should recieve two letters each).

    In order for this idea to work, the FA needs to change its legislation, to allow it to rescind yellow cards or fouls after the fact.

    In the incidence where the two teams are cooperating in a statistical control experiment, the news organizations will end up recieving 4 identical letters each.

    In each letter, the team will lay out up to 2 statistical control experiments. The experiments are meant to occur at specific times, although the means of specifying the time will be variable. There will be an estimate as to the precision of these times.

    For instance, a team might say that in the 4th minute of the second half, a specified player will commit a specific foul (such as lower his head such as to place himself in hazard) on the north side of the visitors penalty area. The precision on this is +/- 2 minutes. Hence, before 2 minutes and after 6 minutes, the opportunity to do the experiemnt is not present. TV coverage verifies the incident itself. What is expected, is that the referee call a foul or present a yellow card to the player for the foul.

    If the referee calls the foul or issues a card, the action is noted as the correct detection of a positive. The foul or card will be removed from the player’s records. If the referee does not call the foul or issue a card, the action will be noted as an incorrect detection of a positive. Nothing will be done to the player’s records, and no false information was introduced.

    If the two teams “conspire” to present an incident which is meant to look like a foul which could cause injury, and injury does in fact happen (regardless of whether the referee catches it). the player that caused the injury shall be banned for a period between 6 and 38 games, to be subject to negotiation. If a player in such a statistical control experiment is injured, and the referee did not call a foul or issue a card, that referee shall be forever struck from the officials list in the UK effective immediately.

    I suppose this could be a lot more complicated and likely has holes in it. But I think you get the idea.

  24. A fantastic game we played. You see that the team plays with the plan, not that “attack everytime and the defence deal with counters” stuff. When we loose the ball, its every man behind the ball. Thats a welcome development, I think it all started after the 3-3 draw in the CL game. We dont mind this new way of playing as its very effective. The stats say that Villa have scored for 8 game which is a surprise as they do have a decent forward line. As for us, its looking great. Now the teams around will be warey of us and watch them use physical or park the bus tactics. All jn all a very enjoyable game. Looking forward to the next one.

  25. @Blacksheep
    Look, we cannot have that. Going to another church alongside Arsenal? Shame on you for admitting that.
    Great win, so easy, we could have had 9. The performance of the team is good, and i hope as mentioned above, that it is our way of playing now. Team have always feared us, but when we are on form they just get blown away, so looking to stay on form. Two more justice(revenge) matches to come for me, ManU and Chel$. Justice is sweet no doubt about it
    WOW, TWO penalties, and both from our problem refs. Dean and Taylor. It must be Untold’s credit me thinks.
    As AW says, its a little early to talk of being still in the race for title, but i am enjoying the shape and players in the team, and hope they have the determination to win all our remaining games now.

  26. Gord – quality control in officiating must never be done by insertion of known issues in professional sport. There are sufficient issues that are incorrectly dealt with that can be used to ‘educate or correct’ officials decisions. What is needed is a broad selection of officials (40 for EPL plus assistants) that are allocated games randomly at the start of season or allocation can be on a monthly basis. The fact there are 4 officials already caters for necessary change in case of illness etc. The random selection must also ensure that all officials have a reasonable schedule & are not given repetitions. Referee ascessors need to be selected from a panel of ex officials & agreed by the EPL. Banning of referees must be only done in cases of proven corruption. Poor officiating should result in demotion &/or retraining.

    Mistakes & errors are expected but all officials involved in the match must ensure that these are avoided. The radio communication must be broadcast to ensure transparency.

  27. That article seems like it might have something interesting to say, but unfortunately I can’t understand half of what the writer is one about. But my God, the Football Writers Association had a tribute night for Mouth-inho? Bloody hell. Hitting lows we never imagined. But anyway, the writer makes it seem like he is taking Mouth-inho to task, but in the end he writes:

    “It would be easier to rationalise Mourinho’s mores if he were not the best manager in the Premier League by a distance.”

    Which ruins everything. Not such a good article after all.

  28. Great team performance. Credit to our players and ARSENE WENGER. I’m also happy that our fans from Belgium especially Mrs Broeckx had a wonderful Arsenal winning experience.

    Now it’s been how many matches since Arsene did ‘tactics’?

    AKB, COYG 🙂

  29. Aren’t we a one-man team, Our highest goal scorer Alexis, didn’t play, do we know where the goal post is?

    Just wondering what the AAA and sewer rats are feeling like right now. I like how miserable they must be feeling now.

    Better days are surely ahead for THE ARSENAL!

  30. Gord – Yes, I know people on the autistic spectrum, and have met others. Both adults and children. It is tough and I am full of admiration for people such as yourself who work hard to overcome the inherent challenges. Very pleased to see that Arsenal have made some effort in this direction and hope that the profile of this part of their diversity campaign is enhanced.

  31. Damilare

    “Aren’t we a one-man team, Our highest goal scorer Alexis, didn’t play, do we know where the goal post is?”

    Great point.

    Arsenal have the highest number of different goalscorers in the PL, I beleive Hector made it 19. You wont read that anywhere.

  32. I gather Gunnersaurus is actually Gunnersaurus Rex

    Not that many dinosaurs have “rex” as part of their name or heritage: Albertosaurus, Daspletosaurus, Dilong, Dracorex, Nanotyrannus, Qianzhousaurus, Raptorex, Rhinorex and Tyrannosaurus Rex form an incomplete list. Nominally, most of these are Tyranosours.

    Apparently the most likely theory is that tyranosours were predominantly scavengers (poor eyesight, good sense of smell) and not all that fast. The forelimbs were not very strong.

    So, I suspect you could pull away and outrun Gunnersaurus. Perhaps you need to ask Nicky for some of his hash, and if you throw that on the ground in the direction opposite of where you plan to make your escape, that would divert Gunnersaurus’s attention?

  33. Menace.

    I certainly know of philosophical problems with trying to demonstrate statistical control of officiating, but as far as I know, you need to inject known events in order to demonstrate it. The worst thing is having to think about things like this, because one doesn’t trust them.

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