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June 2021

Middlesbrough – Arsenal : 1-2

By Walter Broeckx

A few big changes both in players as in tactics for this match.

Cech back in goal after his injury. At the back 3 central defenders with Gabriel – Koscielny and Holding. The first big surprise. I didn’t see that coming. Then we had a 4 man midfield with Oxlade-Chamberlain – Ramsey – Xhaka and Monreal. And up front we had Özil, Alexis and Giroud in the central attacking position.

On the beach we had Martinez, Bellerin, Gibbs, Coquelin, Elneny, Walcott and Iwobi.

A bit of a slippery opening 5 minutes with most Arsenal players slipping a lot. The Ox going in the book for a late foul when Fabio could have gone away.  Leadbitter also getting a yellow for a lunge on Özil. If Moss was the ref and Xhaka doing the tackle we would be down to 10 man. Arsenal win a corner and Giroud is being dragged down. This is Taylor so nothing given of course.  No real goal mouth incidents at either end in so far apart from the penalty incident.

Not much to be seen. Arsenal trying to go forward and Middlesbrough trying to hit us on the counter. With the many Arsenal players slipping there is always a chance for a counter. Talyor giving free kick after free kick in favour of Middelsbrough. Only when he really has no other option he will give a free kick in favour of Arsenal. The Ox with some good runs and hard working on the right flank and our most dangerous and creative player so far. Arsenal having more than 70% possession but no real goal chances. Middelsbrough think they have scored after a free kick but the player was clearly offside. Good decisions from the assistant. Still 0-0 after 30 minutes.

Both teams working hard but both keepers not really troubled a lot so far. Lots of free kicks against Arsenal. I think we predicted that one. Oh a free kick in favour of Arsenal just outside the penalty area. Xhaka was cut in two from behind. Even Taylor couldn’t let that go. But no card. Oh well…. Alexis behind the ball…. GOAL!!!! 1-0 to the Arsenal after 42 minutes. Alexis curled the free kick over the wall and it went in just under the crossbar. What a nice goal.

Gabriel goes in the book for a high kick against Negredo. No complaints about that card. The free kick is stopped by the wall. That was the last exciting moment  before the ref blows the end of the first half. Arsenal go in the dressing room with a 0-1 advantage. That has been a while since that has happened.

Arsenal try to go forward in the second half. Alexis with a pass that is intercepted. Downing gets away on the left flank and curls a cross to Negredo who can put his foot behind the ball and put it past Cech. Middelsbrough equalise. 1-1 after 50 minutes.

Arsenal already low on confidence is visibly suffering after that goal. We were well in control but now Middelsbrough sense there might be more in this match. Cech twice with a good save to deny that upset.

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At the other end Alexis with a pass to Özil who tries to put it past Guzan but the keeper can block the effort and then the ball bounces against the shin of Özil and hobbles wide.  Gabriel then with a shot from distance when a ball is cleared but well off target. The match now being very open with Middlesbrough even more trying to attack.

Alexis on the left flank tries a second cross after the first being blocked. The ball comes to Ramsey who was on his own, a chest control to Özil who shoots with his right foot. GOAL!!!! 1-2 to The Arsenal after 71 minutes.

Arsenal with a break after a foul on Xhaka deep in our own half but credit where it is due for Taylor who played an excellent advantage. Alexis and Özil combine and Giroud tries to curl a shot in the top corner but his effort goes wide. Taylor gives a yellow card for the foul after that. Wow!

Arsenal now leaning a bit more back in the final 10 minutes. Isn’t that a dangerous tactic? Middlesbrough with a sniff when Traore goes past Holding and Gabriel but he can’t produce a shot. Cech has to go down on the ball after a free kick. Taylore still giving lots of freekicks in favour of Middlesbrough for every slight touch.

Arsenal make their first two changes in minute 89. Yes you read it well. Minute 89. Coquelin come son for Alexis and Bellerin comes on for Özil. 4 minutes of extra time is given.

The Ox gets a pass from Bellerin and with players arriving he tries a near post shot but Guzan with a great save. Lets hope we don’t pay for this miss. Would be harsh on The Ox. The Ox away again after a pass from Xaha but this time he shoots in the side netting. We could and should have added a third one now.

But lucky those misses didn’t cost us as the ref blows the end of the match. Arsenal can win again.  Not the best performance but the players worked hard and with a new system and some new players.

My man of the match was The Ox for the way he went for it for 90 minutes.




17 comments to Middlesbrough – Arsenal : 1-2

  • Pat

    Yes and the Ox thanked the away fans for coming all the way to Middlesbrough in his post match interview. Nice!

  • WalterBroeckx

    The Ox: Playing on skates, having a yellow card after 4 minutes and then the way he kept on working was amazing. After the match you could see the players also appreciated his hard work. A goal at the end would have been well deserved for him

  • Bash

    Walter, no mention of Ramsey’s leg breaker studs up challenge which didn’t even get a card?

  • Mandy Dodd

    A decent win, if not the best performance, but stops the rot of away performances. Very impressed by Xhaka, should have been motm?
    Taylor tried to do mike Riley proud, just didn’t work out for him this evening. When are the club going to finally raise the issue of refereeing?
    The top four is now a big ask , none of the rivals seem to be faltering, but all our players can do is keep plugging away.
    Hopefully, a win against City in the semi, then only Spurs, Chelsea and an anti arsenal ref stand between us and a trophy in this most difficult of seasons.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Nice to see the win…Not particularly pretty but hey!

    Especially in the 2nd half the team seemed unwilling to make a lot of runs into the box…perhaps afraid to be caught out with a counterattack? This lead to static passing around the back 4 (or 3 as may be the case). You can really see how we miss Santi spinning off a defender, moving forward and making an incisive pass. Maybe Jack would be able to supply that in the future?

  • Goonermkey

    Have to say played exactly as UA called it. Completely blind to some major fouls against and fee kicks to them if we breathed to hard. Not a great performance but with a straight ref it could have been a very solid win by 3 or 4. Can’t wait for the moaners to start bleating myopically yet again….

  • Brickfields Gunners

    WOO HOO, HOO ! Great to be winning away from home . Almost all of the players performed well and creditably , despite some slanting of the pitch. And a new formation.
    Up the Gunners !

  • Hang on a minute bash. In your last comment you said that because of something I wrote, that you “shouldn’t attach much substance to the comments.” And then you come back with this comment about “Ramsey’s leg breaker”. I can deal with quite a high level of self-contradiction but this goes beyond even my limits. Ultimately you do take notice of what is written here or you don’t. Or maybe you do sometimes and not others. If only you could resolve this matter and come down on one side or the other I’d personally find it easier to follow what you are saying. But I am bemused. My fault I know, but that’s how it is. Enough of this, it is far too confusing for me.

  • Menace

    Bash – you must be on something. Taylor would have sent off half the team if Ramsey had fouled in the way you claim. If I remember the tackle it was a clean tackle after which Ramseys foot came up past the opponent. There was no ‘leg breaker’ apart from the play acting of Boro.

  • finsbury

    The Ox has always been an impressive footballer, unlike the amazing lauded and superstar genius who play for Tottenham, he’s actually performed in an England shirt. Or against the likes of Gent (Ghent?), or Milan, or Munich.

    Makes one question the wisdom (or lack of) from the uber bloggers and gallant podcastateers questioning the players value to the squad at the start of the season. These Experts know who they are, it’s not as if they have previous. What a shower they are.

    He had a set back to an injury during the bungle by Apprentice Taylor during that famous last highlight for the aaa (not the back to back FA cups but the “loss” to Villa) and their sponsors the hack dwarves with expertise in football finance and physiotherapy writing for the loss making evening standard which is not at all an extreme politicised rag, not at all.

  • bjtgooner

    A very welcome win – despite very obvious biased refereeing.

  • Bash

    @Tony, I don’t see how it should be confusing. The other thread had myriads of comments about the ref being biased against arsenal, while being strangely quiet about Ramsey’s studs up challenge and Gabriel’s high Boot, I felt that hypocrisy was tainting the credibility of their complaints and mentioned it. You replied that, that was to be expected on an arsenal supporting site, while suggesting I look out for the more objective/unbiased article coverage of the match on the site. Well, this is a new article and I haven’t seen any mention of that. My opinion on that is either of the following
    A. It didn’t happen and I’m seeing things
    B. The reviewer(who happens to do the ref reviews) didn’t see it, although I find it hard to believe since he’s seen more irrelevant stuff that didn’t get replayed
    C. The reviewer purposely has refused to discuss the event. I wonder why and that’s why I write in

  • Bash

    It was studs, made contact with the Middlesbrough players shin. Surely if it had gone the other way you’d be writing essays about ref bias

  • Bash the answer is that the ref review is written slowly and carefully by 3 people who analyse the videos over time. The instant match report is written instantly, and is hard to do and is written from a supporters angle. When I’m watching at the Ems I watch and support Arsenal, I am not neutral, and althouggh I can’t speak for Walter I know that when I have done it, I don’t see everything – not least because I am trying to write at the same time.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Well, Ramseys tackle was not a red card offense. Just a foul. You can watch replays on Bash.

  • Polo

    Congratulations to the team for a hard fought win. Long may the win continue.

  • omgarsenal

    Bash….wait for the ref review coming in a few days….then you’ll see mention of Ramsey’s crime of the century foul, but made in an objective fashion.