By Tony Attwood
There always has to be someone to blame and for a number of years it was Wenger. Wenger out! placards were all over the place, and finally the mob got their way, only to find… it didn’t make any difference. Now you might think people could learn a bit from that, but now we have the chant replaced with Kroenke Out.
The problem is that Kroenke is going to be a lot, lot harder to get out than Wenger. There is even talk of undertaking a protest at the pre-season event that is once again being arranged for the main supporter groups. Would that actually make him change his mind? I can’t see it.
Anway, it is half time and Arsenal are 3-1 to Boreham Wood and we await the second half. If you missed it, the first half was here Boreham Wood v Arsenal live match updates: the first half .
The team for the first half was
Hein; Swanson, McGuiness, Medley, Thompson; Smith, Burton; Olayinka, Coyle, Tormey; Balogun
The subs that we have for the second half are…
Hillson, Dennis, Azeez, Olowu, Clarke, Amaechi, Cottrell, John-Jules, Greenwood, Aleblosu, Ogungbo, Matthews
And given that the players clearly are not yet match fit I suspect we are going to have a different side out in the second half.
Hillson is now in goal, as it looks on the TV screen as if Arsenal have put out a team with a lot of subs, although Smith who scored is still on the pitch. It is certainly looking like a much more meaningful Arsenal team that is not looking so overawed. And indeed Arsenal has started with some attacking intent and Boreham Wood have lost some of their intensity.
51 mins and a clever attack on the left led to the keeper being drawn out and John-Jules had a shot that was blocked followed by a shot by Thompson which goes across the whole goal and hits the upright only to bounce out again.
But this is now a totally different game with Arsenal pressing and working their way through the Wood defence at ease. A completely different approach.
55 minutes gone and Arsenal are now managing to keep the ball and launch intelligent attacks. Boreham Wood are reduced to lobbing hopeful balls and making hasty clearances – it is a totally different game. And a terrific move through the right side, four passes reach John-Jules on the right and he fires across the keeper and nearly gets it in. But a much better style and approach.
Wood also have changed. Before they were charging around pushing the Arsenal players aside and just doing what they want. Now the game is slower, there is much more space and Arsenal have much more time. And it seems to have stopped raining.
And then a nine man move using the whole width of the pitch until it ends up with John-Jules on the edge of the penalty area, he sees the space and slots the ball in to make it Wood 3 Arsenal 2. Before the restart Matt Smith the scorer of the first goal goes off.
The JJ goals was on the hour, and it is amazing how different this game is from the first half. It looks like an Arsenal team now with some real thinking and skill going on
John Jules is still working hard, running back, challenging, always looking for the ball.
The ref gives a long talking to, to two Boreham Wood players and from the re-start the Wood are much more in the game putting Arsenal under pressure. But there is still much more space available for Arsenal to attack when they get the ball. Although the game is now subject to a lot of interruptions as the Wood substitutions start to be made.
68 minutes gone and Arsenal are attacking once more and a deflected shot leads to a corner. A lot of pushing from the Wood players, along with a fair amount of arm holding leads to Arsenal getting a penalty. John Jules as cool as anything takes a step stops and moves and taps it against the keeper’s legs and into the net.
Boreham Wood 3 Arsenal 3 and Arsenal on the attack from the kick off. The defence is much calmer, and the mistakes that are being made have the players running back to redeemthe situation. Lots more pressing, lots more working hard to redeem a lost situation, and Arsenal certainly deserve to have been able to get back in the game. Nice also to see Steve Bould animated on the bench, rather than sitting there mute and removed as he was last season in the first team games.
Boreham Wood getting deeper and deeper and Arsenal are once more moving into the gaps. Although Barnet are managing to work a few attacks. But the key difference is that Arsenal have a new team out for the second half while mostly Barnet have stuck to their own team.
Last ten minutes and Wood players are starting to look tired, and Arsenal also seem to have run out of steam after all the excitement of the opening part of this half.
A free kick in from Boreham Wood leads to a ball into the box and a foul on the Arsenal keeper, which then leads to an Arsenal attack – and we have hardly seen these for the last five or ten minutes in constrast to the earlier part of this half. Five minutes to go and it is 3-3.
Lots of space now and both teams looking quite tired, with a fair number of sloppy balls being knocked around.
Two minutes to go and Arsenal get a break with the Wood defence out of position, but the whole move breaks down through tiredness.
Last minute Wood get a corner and the older players of Wood come into the area to try for the goal, but the header of the ball in goes wide, the whistle blows and that is it.
A game of two halves.
Has anyone ever used that phrase before?
If you have been, thanks for reading.
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