Category Archives: Chary

Öoops Özzy

Man at the Match, Chary: Jack gets the job done

A goal in each half, from a Jack Wilshere in smoking hot form, meant the Arsenal finished their work for the evening on top of their Champions League group although not quite guaranteed qualification into the next round.

Many of the Ashburton Grove faithful had barely settled into their seats (yours truly included) when the first home attack of the night caught the French team napping. I was seated in the lower tier behind the goal in the clock end and had a close up view of Jack opening his body and curling the quick fire first goal beyond the flailing keeper. Were Marseille Totn**b in disguise as they conceded so quick?

Are you Totn**mb in disguise?

“Are you Totn**mb in disguise?”

Any hopes of an upset in the away end seemed to die right there and while they carried on singing pretty much the whole way through, apparently aided by one Joseph Anthony Barton who was in their ranks, there was little sustained interest in how the game was going from the travelling support.

That said it appeared to me that Marseille were very much snapping into tackles, their midfielders seeming to have an elastic/bouncy running and tackling style, and harrying Arsenal in possession with the good guys fighting back to gain possession energetically.

While there was not much of note from the Marseille fans, an ill-advised decision to wear what looked like a team onesie from the Marseille coach caused me much mirth.

Team Onesie

Team Onesie

There was also much laughing at the referee’s wardrobe malfunction accompanied by wolf whistles when he his shirt was being seen to.

Selection wise Monreal for Gibbs while Arteta and Cazorla benched were the only changes with Jack and Flamini replacing them.

The presence of Flamini was the main reason that, in contrast to seasons gone by, a one goal lead was seen as very slender and we would concede a goal to a counter attack. I noticed that straight after an attack had failed or finished our returning ex-Marseille man would wave his arms to his team mates and shout for them to get back to their positions and not dwell on the missed chance.

THAT is the sort of protection he has been giving the back four; think how many times in the past after shot was saved by the opposition the goalie would bowl out the ball and the opposition forwards would run through the middle of the pitch unhindered. Not so much now thanks to Flamini and a more responsible defensive attitude from all midfielders.

This, to my eyes, accounts for the more relaxed attitude of the home crowd with just a goal lead to defend and hence the atmosphere being less fractious than in the past.

So when Özzy had his penalty saved, note not “missed his penalty”, their groans were minimal.

Öoops Özzy

Öoops Özzy

In fact, as the penalty incident was just in front of the block I was in, most of the crowd thought it was outside the area and we had the rare feeling of getting a penalty when none was deserved rather than the familiar rage when we are usually denied stonewall penalties.

Giroud had various chances to double the lead in the first half but the ball didn’t quite sit up for him yet the crowd would still sing his song after a failed shot. His tireless work in the offensive and defensive parts of the field accounts is probably why any of his fluffed shots aren’t followed by groans.

Half time arrived and the crowd happy although wistfully wishing perhaps a few more goals for the good guys would have been nice.

You don't get these at Shite Hart Lane

Half time

With their onesie clad managers words no doubt ringing in their ears the Marseille players seemed to play with more urgency straight after the restart however Arsenal’s slightly more combative tackling approach, I don’t recall ever seeing quite so many sliding tackles from us, gradually eroding away the Olympique de Marseille’s bright start to the second half.

I recall one instance where Tomáš Rosický sprinted across the pitch to dispossess a Marseille midfielder and it was just as well he got the ball as it could have been taken for a lunge otherwise.

With arsenal attacking the end far away from me there was not much action at the Clock end in the second half, except for a few smart saves from Chesney, who seems to be having consistently better games this season.

Another player who had a good game was Nacho man Monreal.

He can defend half the pitch in his own

Lone Nachoman

It’s easy pick out how well he provides width on our left flank for attacks but his goal line clearance to keep a clean sheet, after Chesney’s partial block from a Gignac shot spun up and over the Pole towards the goal, was excellent defensive work.

I could see his eyes follow the arc of the ball, rather like a cricketer in the outfield waiting to catch a lofted shot, as it fell towards the goal so he could volley it clear. All defensive units like a clean sheet and thanks he got from the BFG and Chesney was proof of that.

Özzy seemed to put aside his penalty mishap and pull the strings more in midfield leading to his part in Jack’s second goal. Yes, he is having a little dip in form but still his importance the team cannot be underestimated, every team shudders a but when they see him prowling the midfield, and opposition supporters fear him.

In my previous game, the Capitol One Cup game versus Chelsea, the obnoxious Chelsea fans stopped their vile chanting when Özzy came on as a sub and seemed to be caught by surprise.

Arsenal bringing on a superstar? No, they can’t do that. (That game may have been lost but the Chelsea crowd reaction was something I’d not seen before and worth pointing out).

As the game wound down Theo and Santi came on for Jack and Rosický while after Marseille had already brought on Valbuena and Thauvin.

The new defensive responsibility was further exemplified by Santi tussling to get the ball off Valbuena; the sight of those two sprinting for the loose ball looked like Sports day at Oompah Loompah school.

The game petered out and the crowd were happy at full time with the result with confusion over whether the Dortmund- Napoli result, when it was read out, was good or bad news.

However all agreed Mourinho’s Chavs defeat at the hands of Basel was hilarious.

Onwards and upwards, UTA !

By ChärybdÏß1966 (on Twitter @charybdis1966)

Man at the Match, Chary: Arsenal second string lose out in Capitol One Cup.

A goal conceded in each half eased Arsenal’s fixture congestion problems by ushering them out of a Cup competition which many will say was our fourth priority of the season. The first goal due to a defensive howler and slightly fortunate ricochet/shot and the second half goal an inevitable result of the home team pushing up for an equaliser and being open enough for the petro-dollar team to launch a counter, which Mata expertly finished.

After the hard fought league victory against Palace at the previous weekend the attention was on the starting XI to see who would be rested for the visit of the Bin dippers for the next league game. A cold night at the Emirates saw Rambo surprisingly start with the rest of the team, Kozzer aside, being as we’d expect with BFG, Gibbs, Sagna, Giroud and Özzy left out.

The first unwelcome surprise of the night was the 4-5 block allocation given to the West London plastics.

Mourinho Groupies

CSKA Fulham Bus Stop

For League games 2-3 blocks seems to be the allocation yet this time the blue hordes had spread, like vermin, beyond this and made the extra noise commensurate with their larger allocation.

Two main features of the away support was the persistent shout of “Show us your European Cup” – to which the home support countered with “Where were you when you were shit ?” and, secondly, an almost prepubescent style gushing worship of Abramovich’s (current) favourite eye gouger Jose, the Specious one, Mourinho.

Who's eye can I gouge ?

Who’s eye can I gouge ?

The Justin Bieber-like worship of Eye Gouger by the Chavs made me think it would only be a matter of time before soiled Y fronts would be hurled at their beloved José from the away end as a sign of their devotion.

Initially the possession and play was fairly even and with the onus on arsenal at home to attack so they pressed more, however as with all Mourinho teams the defence was packed and every time the good guys attacked the Chavski penalty area was packed with the blue-kitted Mourinho automatons.

Chavski were happy to counter attack while staying solid/turgid, but it was one of these counterattacks that was partially cleared but led to a looping ball just outside the Arsenal penalty area.

This was not dealt with by Jenks properly and his attempted headed return to Fabianski in goal failed to reach him and fell invitingly for a Chav player to rifle through his legs for the first CSKA Fulham bus stop goal.

To the home crowds credit there was still the will to urge the team on to equalise and while Rambo played his usual for this year, sterling effort in midfield and Santi showed touches of genius, surprisingly Nacho man Monreal seemed quite an attacking threat on our left flank. The first half finished with Arsenal still pushing forward and the mood fairly optimistic amongst the home support.

The second half began and the away support were even more obnoxious than before with various snide and crude chants directed at Arsenal and Wenger, with a lot of finger provocative finger wagging at the home support going unchecked by the stewards whilst at least three Gooners ejected for responding to the provocation or just for standing up to respond.

Of the non-first team players Nacho man seemed to impress the most especially attacking wise suggesting he is a possible option on the left side of midfield.

Monreal unimpressed with Chavski free kick award

Monreal unimpressed with Chavski free kick award

Sadly, however, Ryo looked far from ready and the way in which he was constantly shrugged off the ball reminded me of watching Carlos Vela in Cup competitions in years past where it appears he’s not up to the physical side of playing in England.

With time ticking away Wenger brought on Özzy to create a way pass the solid wall of blue defending Schwarzer’s goal.
Within minutes of that, as Arsenal pushed forward ever more desperately the inevitable sucker punch was duly applied as our two centre backs for the day left a huge gap between them which Mata ran into and volleyed in a superb second goal.

The sucker punch delivered

The sucker punch delivered

This sent the already raucous away support into further paroxysms of delight and I noticed many Arsenal players shoulders sag at this point.

Giroud was then brought on to replace a largely ineffective Bendtner however despite finally getting some shots on target the feeling that there was going to be no arsenal goals intensified as shots went just wide and Arsenal’s forward players couldn’t find a way through the Chavski robots who were happy to sit back given their two goal lead.

The game wound down as predictably Mourinho used his subs to break up the rhythm of the last few minutes play and allowed Mata to be applauded off; a smattering of applause from the home support showed we have the class to appreciate a good player.

Demba Ba to me seemed just like a clumsy battering ram who barged his abut the final third with little intent on doing anything with the ball.

Final whistle

Too many empty seats

The final whistle went with swathes of empty seats on show and a chill wind starting to whip up from the concourses. To me there seemed an inevitability about the remorseless progress of the Chavski team through the game and in the competition as a whole and as much as I find Mourinho to be a despicable so and so and the ultimate personification of preening narcissism he does build an air of invincibility about his teams, whatever the personnel he uses.

On the up side we have one less competition in which we have to stretch the resources of our injury ravaged squad for yet I hope this defeat won’t damage the morale and confidence of a team on top of the league.

UTA !

By ChärybdÏß1966 (on Twitter @charybdis1966)

Man at the Match, Chary: Arsenal Out-stoke Stoke to go top of the table

After conceding an unlucky equaliser to an Aaron Ramsey opening goal Arsenal’s defenders stepped up to put the game beyond Stoke with two more goals from set pieces to ease Arsenal to the top of the table.

Having held Man City to a nil all bore draw at home last time out Stoke were fancied by some in the media to take a “plucky” point from the soft, southern boys from London.

An hour or so before kickoff a welcoming committee of fans were out in force with their number 11 shirts to welcome the umlauted ex Real Madrid playmaker, M Özil.

In front of the Armoury

In front of the Armoury

The weather for the game was as you’d expect for late autumn in southern England, overcast with a light wind and a temperature around the twenty degree mark. Not ideal for rugby but better for football, no prizes for guessing which team would choose to which sport to play.

A rather unwelcome surprise just before kick-off was the news that Theo was out, not even in the squad, due to an, unspecified at the time, injury and young Serge Gnabry was to step into the breach on the right wing.

The early pattern of crowd behaviour set the tone of the game: the Stoke fans would chant their worship of chief Orc Ryan Sha***ss, from the second minute onward as I noted, and the aforementioned Orc’s every touch would be greeted by boos/whistles from the home supporters(and me of course) all game long. This happened to such a degree that he didn’t seem to want to dwell on the ball.

All the pre match excitement had been about Özil’s home debut and the script could not have gone better for him as the first of many fouls committed by one of Stoke’s lumpen defenders resulted in a free kick that Mesut stepped up to take.

Having deliberately placed the ball yards in front of me at the corner flag of the Clock End and the west stand the ball was swung in by our £42.4m man.

Waiting for Özil's free kick to come in

Waiting for Özil’s free kick to come in

The ball dropped into the penalty area and Begovic, in goal for Stoke, seemed to have it covered yet amazingly it popped out and one of our players pounced to lash in the spilled ball. When I realised it was Rambo the arced run to the opposite corner flag, in front of the away support, made sense.

Never has “One Aaron Ramsey” been sung with such gusto and vehemence in the face of the away support who were still holding him responsible for psychological damage to their ‘ickle Captain.

How to silence the Stoke supporters

How to silence the Stoke supporters

For most of the first half the Arsenal midfield kept a strong hold of the game with Flamini’s bow legged running style combining well with Ramsey’s athletic all action brand of midfieldmanship. While all the attention was on our star signing Flamini added some strength to the team and impressed me to the extent it could have been like watching our midfield of 2008.

Later in the game he would pump his fists at the crowd to ask for their help in keeping the tempo up by urging the team on, to which the crowd responded – he seems to have been forgiven for the manner of his departure. If he carries performing as he has and I will cheer him on as much as I would Santi, Prince Poldi, Kozzer or anyone else who busts a gut for the team.

Then came the undeserved Stoke equaliser, from a long diagonal ball (how often do Arsenal get undone by those?) that luckily fell onto the boot of an onrushing Stoke forward who half volleyed his shot onto the post. Six inches to the left and Chesney had it covered, six inches to the right and it goes wide, but bang in the middle it ricochets off the post precisely into the path of another Stoke player who barely had to change his stride pattern to rifle his shot in.

This transformed the away section into a mob with incomprehensible chants (they sang the Spud’s song “When the Spurs go marching in” and the Rugby union song “Swing high, swing low” just to revel in their notoriety as a rugby team playing in a football league) where before they didn’t have much to say.

Now in seasons gone past the Ashburton Grove crowd would have transmitted their nervousness to the team with groans, but from the resumption “Come on arsenal” was the message.

Soon enough Gnabry’s growing confidence, after being slightly overawed at the start of the game, led him to run the channels enough to force a corner which was to be taken by you know who.

Taking a corner

Taking a corner

An Özil outswinger led to a back flicked sort of header from the BFG that looped into goal to rightly restore the Arsenal’s lead, cue the “Who are you?” shouts eyes right to the away section that was silenced again, 2-1 to the good guys.

The second half started a bit slower and yet the Arsenal’s midfield still exerted a control on the game although Chesney did have to make some important saves. Stoke did push forward a bit more but their lack of quality showed in the number of through passes that led nowhere and overhit crosses that went into touch, appropriate to a team of rugger players.

It has to repeated that I’m proud of the way that every touch the Stoke skipper took was greeted by boos – this is what home support should be all about, make it uncomfortable for opposition players. So when the Sh*****ss showed dissent to the lino in front of me for giving a goal kick rather than a Stoke corner, most of my section got up with me to wave arms and shout at the number 17 to stop arguing and get on with it.

This led to him getting a talking to from Mike Dean as he was alerted to the dissent by the home supporters reaction, kudos my gooners!

A word for the referee, for once he had little effect on the game by making any incorrect decisions so perhaps Mike Dean is turning over a new leaf and being the impartial enforcer of the rules he should always have been.

While Wishere was being prepared to be subbed, and yours truly was trying to ascertain who were the other three parts of our double substitution, another Özil free kick was being lined up; as it was at the North Bank end of the stadium, opposite to where I was, I saw little of the goal other than Sagna’s run to the corner flag and celebration.

Distant fuzzy shot of Sagna's goal celeb

Distant fuzzy shot of Sagna’s goal celeb

So three goals from three set pieces – against the team who are set piece specialists – who’d a thunk it ?

A welcome return to the ranks for the man with Lego perfect hair, Arteta, was the only further incident on the pitch, while off it the sight of flailing arms amongst the away section pointed to some ejections from the ground. So Stoke supporters start fighting amongst themselves and they get chucked out, who knew?

Three satisfying points

Three satisfying points

At the final whistle while Arsenal fans could bask in the view from the top of the table while the journey back to Mordor was about to start for “Sparky” Hughes’ team and their supporters.

Three points earned and returning first team players on the horizon, a satisfying way to finish September, UTA !

By ChärybdÏß1966 (on Twitter @charybdis1966)