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June 2021

Another match another win at Wembley. But still, it seems, lots to moan about.

By Walter Broeckx

Another match at Wembley and another Arsenal win in the end. We are rather building a nice run out on the pitch of the national stadium over the last four years.  In this period we’ve always managed to win our matches at Wembley when it mattered.

Some wins only after a penalty shoot-out, and sometimes the wins only came in extra time but the most important thing was that we went out as winners in the end.

It is fair to say that most of our players like to play on the Wembley pitch. And having been there twice I can imagine it is a nice surface to play on. Well it was on the days I was there. The last time was in May for the FA Cup Final itself and yesterday I had a lot of good memories coming back to me.

This last weekend we had a rather open match for most of the first half. Arsenal starting to dominate in the opening 15-20 minutes and then Chelsea had a better spell. But I felt that when it came to chances it was most Arsenal that came closest to opening the score. Lacazette being unlucky to see his ball bounce off the post with Courtois well beaten.

Our 3 defenders did rather well and so Cech was mostly unemployed in the opening half hour. That changed a bit when Per had to be taken off with a big cut on his head. Then Chelsea threatened a few times but Cech was faultless and parried the efforts. Shortly before half time we again had a rather open match.

I sure was a satisfied supporter of Arsenal but also I thought it was a good match to follow for any neutral out there.

The start of the second half was a bad one for Arsenal. And we paid for it in cash in the form of an opening goal. An opening goal for Chelsea that made me think….what if Giroud had been on the field? I think the chance that he might have headed it away as the ball dropped in the zone where Giroud is defending usually on corners, might have given another outcome. But that is of course lots of ifs and buts.

But after recovering from the initial shock we pushed Chelsea back to their goal more and more. And we worked hard and tried to create problems for Chelsea. Now Chelsea has some decent defenders out there who know how to shut down a team. And when Giroud came on you could see the pressure building on those defenders. Cahill and Luiz weren’t as comfortable anymore when crosses came in.

The most dangerous situations came from shots from distance. Elneny with a shot from the side that almost surprised Courtois and then Xhaka with a thunderbolt that was parried by Courtois.

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I haven’t mentioned Sead Kolosinac yet. The way he came in in a team under pressure at the time was excellent. I thought at first he went a bit under the radar and that might have everything to do with him looking at flow of the match he was thrown in. But gradually he started to use his strong body to put some dots on the i’s.

You could see Chelsea players who usually are not softies at all bounce off his body. He made a few useful fouls when we lost the ball high up the pitch that prevented Chelsea starting a counter. And as he isn’t the smallest man around he also caused problems when we could deliver corners or free kicks.

The combination of the two former Bundesliga players Xhaka-Kolosinac brought us the deserved equaliser. I know lots of attention went rightfully to the man who scored the goal. After all scoring a goal on your debut in the first match of some importance is not given to everyone.

But for me the man of the match was Xhaka. The way he directed our game from a deep lying playmaker position was amazing to see. He was the man who made us tick. He looks to be the man that could step up to really fill the gap Cazorla has left.

Last season I had hoped he could do this after Cazorla got injured. But he couldn’t do this from the start. Maybe he’s getting used to a new team, new players and then seemingly being targeted by a ref leading to seven matches suspension made it difficult to really get going.

After changing the system he more and more became an important player for us. And he is looking to continue where he left last May. If we can believe the stats he played 98 passes against Chelsea and all of them came with a teammate. That is obviously a pass completion of 100%. Against a team that has the best defensive midfielder in the PL.  So Kante not being able to rob Xhaka of the ball or to intercept his passes shows the quality of his game.

We showed good fight last Sunday. Playing the match for more than one hour without any real central defender apart from rooky Holding but we hardly gave anything away. I have heard that Hoddle has said that Chelsea missed chance after chance…. Well he must have been looking at a different match from the one I saw.

Looking at those players who weren’t there and those we lost, I find this a very encouraging step forward. We showed fight and determination and did not get defeated. And in the end we showed composure when it came to take the penalties.

So against all odds we won the CS. That itself is always pleasing at the start of the season. Mind you not enough to put the moaners off their day to day task…. But I enjoyed our match a lot. Something the moaners should have tried to do also instead of predicting the end of the world before, during and still after the match.

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13 comments to Another match another win at Wembley. But still, it seems, lots to moan about.

  • Arthur

    Thanks Walter for a really enjoyable article!

  • Gord

    Looking over the “news” this morning (it is before 8am for me), I see that Ian Wright has had a lot to moan about.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Nice write up , Walter . I think that with those who didn’t play , we have a near complete squad .
    Then again AW may just surprise us all before the close of the transfer window.

  • nicky

    Like the sound of Xhaka.
    Last term I think his settling-in led to too many yellows.
    If, as suggested, he could replace Cazorla it would be yet another magical Wenger signing. 😉

  • Pete

    Someone who knows about these things says that Xhaka’s track record demonstrates that he always takes around a year to settle at a new club – but his second season is always significantly better than his first. Here’s hoping!

  • The_Ledge

    Just to squash our positive feelings about the coming season, Riley imposes Mike Sh*te Dean on us!
    What an utter TWAT!

  • Chris

    Reading what Chelsea think about the game is intersting…

    Definitely they are used to see an Arsenal player being sent off, a penalty given and some Arsenal players hurt.

    Their preview of the FA cup makes for funny reading as well….

  • omgarsenal

    Chris……the arguments although very blue in character, are insightful as well about Wenger and Arsenal.

  • Markyb

    What a load of crap that second piece is. Clichés on Arsene all over the place.

  • nicky

    If today’s report is true that PSG are about to offer £80m for Sanchez, I hope Arsenal will accept it (or at least negotiate).
    The financial loss incurred by letting him go next Summer on a “free” is too much to contemplate. 😉

  • Gord

    £80m doesn’t do it for me. If they want to talk £160m, that might be a start.

  • Nitram


    As you say, the second one could well of been cut and pasted from any of a thousand articles in the Sun over the last 10 years.

    Funny isn’t it how he’s criticising Wenger for being slow in the transfer market, when in the next breath he’s whinging about the need for Chelsea to get there finger out before Conte throws his toys out of the pram and walks away.

    The truth is there’s a new kid on the block, well a couple actually, maybe even more, who have more financial power than Chelsea currently appear to have, and that makes ALL the difference as to how they can perform in the transfer market.

    When Chelsea where the financial power house all players eyes where on them.

    When Chelsea where the financial power house the place to be was Stamford bridge. Highest wages. Best chance of winning the domestic title, and a good chance of a run at the CL.

    When Chelsea where the financial power house they just said ‘how much’, wrote the cheque, and bobs your uncle the player was on his way to West London.

    This is no longer the case.

    The big big money is elsewhere.

    The players eyes are looking elsewhere.

    Take Sanchez. 5 years ago Chelsea would of been top, or near top of anybody’s list of possible destinations for him.

    I wouldn’t put them in the top 5 now.


    Man City

    Real Madrid



    Even Man Utd would be above them in a list of possible destinations.

    I would even go as far as saying that if Chelsea where Sanchez only option he could well opt to stay at Arsenal, that is how far I feel Chelsea have fallen in terms of being a desirable destination for the elite players.

    And that despite them winning the PL comfortably, having a great manager, still having the basis of a very good squad, and despite all what I say, still having a great deal of money.

    So what Chelsea are experiencing in the transfer market is just a little taste of what it’s like to be in Wenger’s shoes.

    It is not quite so easy to ‘get the deal done’ when you have others with more money hovering in the background.

    It is not so easy when you cant just ‘pay whatever it takes’.

    It is not so easy when you are perhaps only the player you wants 3rd or 4th proffered choice of destination.

    It is not so easy when you are waiting for others to act before you can.

    It is not so easy when you cant just pay all their demands without a blink of an eye.

    It’s all the above that cause deals to stall, or of course even to materialise at all.

    So it is NOT dithering, it is the real world, and despite all Chelseas money, that is what they are getting just a little taste of, and it seems some of there fans don’t like it, or at least are just not used to it.

    Well, I’m afraid, the way things are going it might just be something they are going to have to get used to.

    Only time will tell I suppose.

  • MickHazel

    Crap indeed.
    Anyone who puts Ozil in the ‘deadwood’ category shows themself to be a bit of an idiot.