Category Archives: Chary

Man at the match, Chary: Krul’s karma comeback

For once footballing justice was seen to be done where a side wasting time to hang on to a draw had left Ashburton Grove with exactly what they deserved – nothing. Aided by referee Webb (aka Fergie’s rent boy) who was happy to let Krul take an eternity for every restart in play, the Toon army were flaunting triumphalism till the Verminator’s late strike gave them the heart break the Arsenal are so used to being on the receiving end of.

Following on from the impressive showing at the previous home game, as reported by Tim, the Gooner faithful were expectantly waiting for the good form to continue against a Newcastle side that have surprised many this so far this season.

Thanks to leaving my membership card at home your humble scribe was forced to queue up at the ticket office, close to the Armoury, for a paper ticket and therefore missed the first ten minutes of the game.

When I finally got to my seat the selection of Arfa instead of Cisse/Ameobi in the starting line-up suggested some attacking ambition to me from the Pardew, the Newcastle manager – who I was watching for any signs of bad behaviour on the touchline, as evidenced in his fracas with Martin O’Neill in his previous game.

Sure enough that selection option reaped dividends as no sooner had I settled into position then Arfa exploited a positional error by Gibbs and fired in a classy, virtually unstoppable, shot to score and put the away team in front.
At this point I felt like it was my fault and wondered whether I shouldn’t leave, but no sooner had I bemoaned my role as a bringer of bad luck than Theo sprinted towards me, positioned behind the Clock end goal, and rifled in a cross which Robin bundled in, exactly how I couldn’t see as most of the Clock end was already standing, arms and scarfs waving.

That was as swift a reply as is possible to going behind to the oppositions only forward foray and it’s worth pointing out even after the Arfa goal there were no groans from the crowd, just singing/cheering to urge the good guys on. Even the equaliser caused mass celebrations and I got carried away in hugging a stranger in the next seat as the solidarity amongst the supporters appears to strengthen game by game.

The Toon army were silenced and the “We pay your benefits” chants aimed at them caused much glee in the aftermath of the equaliser once the “He scores when he wants” died down.

During the first half the difference between the two wide players of the front three was painfully obvious, Theo was having a storming game whereas The Ox was subdued and didn’t seem to want the ball much. The Ox’s inexperience and youth means we are going to get games like this from him occasionally and as long as the fans show patience with him we are going to have a superstar on our hands.

Rosicky was driving forward and pushing for space in the midfield and getting a fair amount of kicking from Newcastle (and Tiote in particular) which Fergie’s rent boy was happy to wave play on, as you’d expect from the man who allowed a king fuck kick by De Jong on Alonso in the World Cup final.

Webb always seems to want to be the star of the show and his overly demonstrative style of refereeing, coupled with his poor decision making, is always going to make him the ref you don’t want in charge of your teams game unless, of course, you support the plastics of Salford FC, from Old Toilet.

Fergies rent boy at it again

Webb shows who's in charge

To be fair to the Newcastle players when Kozzer was caught on the follow through of a tackle and went down they did stop play, something many teams would not have done.

However the goodwill for that gesture was drained away by Krul’s persistent time wasting tactics when taking goal kicks and free kicks. It was gratifying to hear that as soon as he started this mid-way through the first half the home support started the whistles and booing to highlight his poor sportsmanship.

In situations like this where the team need a certain extra push to drive them on it was great to see and hear how the crowd got behind the team as a red and white tide surged at the Newcastle back line relentlessly in wave after wave of Arsenal attacks.

Another free kick

Another free kick

The change in atmosphere at the Grove during this season will make the hacks lazy assumption that Arsenal have quiet home support look as fatuous as it is specious.

The second half started much as the first half ended with Arsenal attacking and Pardew jigging like a dancing fool on the touchline resplendent in his “Man at C & A” suit that made him look like a parking valet. As we’ve come to expect from him he was haranguing officials all through the game and encroaching on Wenger’s technical area primed to reprise his jig of joy in Wenger’s face from their meeting at Upton Park.

When a Newcastle player went down and the Toon army jeered Arsenal for not stopping play, the hilarity of the Newcastle players not stopping play either when they regained possession made Pardew’s protests look as foolish as the man himself.

Krul’s’ time wasting worsened as the second half went on and Robin ended up running up to him while he dithered around with the ball in order to speed things up and that sowed the seeds of the later confrontation.

Again the crowd didn’t let this go unnoticed and even though Webb did nothing the fourth official was noting the delays so when 5 minutes of injury time came up the Newcastle players shoulders visibly sagged as holding back the Arsenal attacks was wearing them down.

A Gervinho sliced miss and a few headers which Krul did well to keep out in injury time made me think we would have to settle for a draw but as the stadium clock read 9.53 (5 minutes would be up by 9.54) another cross from Theo resulted in the ball in the net – who was the scorer I couldn’t see as everyone leapt up as one and cheered themselves hoarse and yours truly spent the next 90 seconds turned to the away supports and swearing at them as Ashburton Grove reverberated to the sound of a stadium packed with ecstatic Gooners.

I could make out a bundle at the corner of the north bank and West stand where the exultant arsenal players celebrated the deserved winner.
While the man pile, at the bottom of which was the match winner the Verminator, was breaking up Chesney had jogged up to the centre spot where the ball had been placed and cheekily kicked it to the corner flag in front of the away supporters – as if to say to Krul that he was not the only one who could waste time.

Robin was waving his hands up to urge the crowd to make more noise for the end of the match and the crowd upped the volume levels even more with few empty seats even this deep into injury time.
The speed at which Newcastle were re starting play for the final few seconds was priceless – Krul especially ran to take a free kick after a Theo off side with unbelievable sprinting ability. The irony of the injury time that Krul built up allowing the late winner was delicious.

It was too little urgency too late from Pardew’s pretenders and when Webb finally blew up the orgasmic relief of the Arsenal gaining three vital points was shown not only by the scarves held up in all corners of the stadium but by the ferocity of the celebrations thereafter. Sights and sounds to that I’ll never forget.

The Krul-Robin flare up at the end was an amusing coup de grace in the feud between the two Dutchmen as the guilty party was left to pick the ball out of the net.

Prelude to Robin-Krul handbags

Prelude to Robin-Krul handbags

Final whistle melee

Final whistle melee

The team could to be proud of their efforts as could the supporters who have been building up better and better atmospheres for the players to thrive in as the season has gone on.

If we keep up these kinds of performances (hopefully without going a goal down first though) then the catastrophe of the summer transfer window and the subsequent poor start to the season will seem a distant memory

Justice had been done and now all that remained was to listen for the sound of choking from up the Seven Sisters Road as the happy Gooners made their way home.

Man at the match, Chary: Rovers given a spanking by rampant Arsenal.

A Blackburn side without their two main pillars of attack and defence (Yakubu and Samba respectively) where dismantled by an Arsenal attack that were unrecognisable as the one that failed to score at Bolton earlier in the week.

Having kept an eye out for legions of spectators making their way to Ashburton Grove with bin bags and seen none the atmosphere before kick-off was subdued due to the near freezing temperature and the early kick off.

Wot no bin bags ?

Wot no bin bags ?

Your humble scribe even omitted his pre match Peroni’s as necking lager at noon didn’t feel quite right, in any case a hot drink would have been more in order to stop the teeth chattering.

The only surprises in the starting XI were the omission of Sagna (perhaps due to his comeback being managed with caution) and the continued starting of Robin, although to be fair he would have a week’s rest before the next fixture; the resting of Ramsey was less of a surprise as he had looked tired towards the end of his last few games.

Viewing from behind the clock end goal the away support seemed, like the home crowd, filled their quota to around 80% and seemed a respectable turn out especially considering their relegation battle and the supporter-Board of the club struggle.

Northern monkeys penned in

Blackburn supporters

Barely had we taken our seats then Theo rampaged towards my line of sight to the left of “Chunky” Robinson’s goal and slid in a straight forward cross which Robin ran onto and slotted in, easy as you like.

A quick fire start

A quick fire start

One nil down inside 90 seconds and the away support became even quieter.
The Blackburn midfield had offered no protection for the back line and the early attack cut through the defence with ease.

From thereon in some jolly jokesters in the Clock End decided to heckle Chunky with (in a parody of Robin’s song):

“He eats when he wants,
He eats when he waaaaants,
That Paul Robinson,
He eats when he wants……you fat bast**d”

Sitting behind him for the first half I noticed Chunky’s nervous tic of kicking his right foot against the post and looking at the sole of his boot to ensure there was no mud on his studs, before he would take a goal kick that always landed near the right touchline, level with the centre circle.

Arsenal continued to probe away at a Blackburn side that struggled to gain any meaningful possession of the ball so it was against the run of play when a rare Rovers foray up field resulted in a free kick following a Kozzer pull back on Modeste, I think it was.

Those around me muttered their expectation of an equalizer, which Pedersen duly supplied.

Now the press may have been rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of another half time booing of the home team off the pitch, but 5 or so minutes later another Theo surge down our right flank resulted in another assist for Robin and the lead was restored, much to the chagrin of the hacks ready to paint the Arsenal support as fickle and petulant.

I saw no dissent or protests of any sort, trash/bin bag related or otherwise; however with the way the game panned out perhaps that is not surprising.

While Theo did not score he was creating almost as much havoc on his wing as Oxo was on the left – the twin wing menaces were giving the Blackburn full backs an unnerving time all through the game – and two assists will have done his self-confidence wonders.

Theo shows some leg ?

Theo sets up RvP's 2nd goal

Almost straight after we had started goading the away end with “You’re not singing anymore” then Oxo crowned a stand out first half performance with a debut premier league goal after he rounded Chunky, following a Robin through ball, and showed composure beyond his years to slot the ball home.

Oxo's 1st goal celebration

Oxo's 1st goal celebration

3-1 nearing half time and Rovers already looked a shattered side although to be fair their supporters still tried to keep their spirits up with a near constant refrain of “Barmy army”

However all spirit seemed to drain from them when a few minutes after Oxo’s goal Givet was off for an early bath, as Eddy Waring may have said, for a crude lunge on Robin, one which Robin took some of the sting out of by managing to hurdle some of the flailing legs of the Frenchman.

The red card and all the yellows were fully deserved as Rovers were a fairly cynical side, giving our players a nudge whenever they were following the flight of the ball onto their head; however referee Mariner spotted most of these offences and had a fairly decent match.

Note, we were 3-1 up BEFORE the sending off so don’t believe any pony (pony and trap, crap) about the red card being a pivotal moment.

It was still an anxious wait for Robin to recover and prove there was no lasting damage done and the first half ended with the Gooner faithful very happy, if rather frozen.

The second half started with a spell of dainty possession for Blackburn, with which they produced no significant attacking intent and soon enough we increased our lead thanks to a rare long range shot from Arteta after a half clearance following one of our endless number of corners.

Theo then produced his third assist of the game to set up Oxo for his second of the game and confirmation that he had arrived – are we seeing a legend in the making? Too early to say but the possibility is mouth-watering.

A present day legend however sealed his hat trick after receiving a cross from the willing Coquelin and slotting in effortlessly for his third of the game and the cue for the Rovers fans to start drifting away at 6-1.

Those that remained did show a sense of humour in “Oleing” whenever their team could string a few passes together as Arsenal inevitably eased off in the intensity of their attacks after the 6th goal.

Some more action in the Rovers penalty area led to what, even from my view at the opposite end of the ground, looked like a decent shout for a penalty however at 6-1 we could afford some largesse to the referee and his linesman and lineswoman.

Oxo and Kozzer were taken off so there was time for the re-introduction of another legend (and for Sagna to continue his comeback) and with the sense of theatre we expect from the great man Thierry Henry duly obliged with the 7th goal in front of his beloved North Bank.

His upward twisting, pirouetting goal celebration shows that his 228th goal for Arsenal is as cherished as his first. As he left the pitch and the sky darkened and looked ready to start sleeting at full time one could sense the NY Red Bulls player was savouring every moment he could in his second chance to play for the club he loves.

TH12 claps off the pitch

TH12 claps off the pitch

Charybdis1966

twitter @charybdis1966

Man at the match, Chary: Scrooged

A ricocheted deflection off the Wolves player who typified their approach, Hunt, at Ashburton Grove today gave Wolves a scarcely deserved point and denied Arsenal the chance to rise to fourth.

Players line up

Players line up

On a deceptively cold December afternoon all eyes were on The Arsenal to take advantage of the Siberian oligarch’s team’s concession of two points to the Michael Jackson Velodrome all-stars team on Monday.

High fives all round

Kick off huddle

Few teams have arrived at London N5 and offered so little going forward and also played such a defensive formation, generally resembling a 6-2-2.

The only Wolves player interested in attacking was Jarvis, of the flat footed, wobbly running style. Surprises in the Arsenal line up were the replacement of Ramsey with Benayoun and the absence of Walcott from the squad.

There seemed to plenty of opportunity to go through the middle of the Wolves back line and there were early chances created by the Israeli, Benayoun who was given a debut start in the Premier League, with the first of his many probing runs being curtailed by being barged off the ball by a lumpen Wolves defender – the tactic for the day was for all headers to be contested with a leading elbow as Robin and Mertesacker can attest to, with Zubar and Johnson showing a penchant for the sharpened elbows raised tactic. Being in the North Bank today meant I heard a rendition of Per’s song for the first time:

“We’ve got a big fu***ng German,
We’ve got a big fu***ng German
“We’ve got a biiiig fu***ng Geeeer-man!”

An inspired through ball from Benayoun was trapped by Gervinho who swiveled and shot after rounding Hennessey, who was to star for good and bad reasons later.

After the goal the script was for another goal to come floating Robin’s way to continue his steady march to Alan Shearer’s calendar year goal record – wrong.

A rare sortie up field by the Wolves pair of non-defenders led to a deflection off Hunt after a cross in from what looked to me an offside position. Being located by the corner flag where the North bank meets the West Stand the Wolves player who put the cross in appeared to me to be a good yard or two closer to Chesney’s goal than our back four.

Half of block four, North Bank lower tier, rose to shout offside well before the deflection. The replay of the “goal” was not shown from the view of a line across that I had, however to the naked eye and in real time it appeared off side.

The black and gold dummies that populated the south eastern corner of the stadium suddenly woke up and began celebrating their scrappy, messy, undeserved equaliser.

After this it was entirely predictable that McCarthy’s men would resort to time wasting and shows of dissent to the referee; Hunt expending most of his energy on jibber jabbering away in the referee’s ear at every Arsenal free kick to distract him from encroachment by Wolves players.

Every tackle from an Arsenal player was the cue for face clutching or floor rolling, akin to those spats seen by children having tantrums at being refused their way in supermarket aisles the world over.

The second half saw a continuation of the ill-tempered, “gamesmanship” tactics of standing on the ball at free kicks to slow Arsenal’s attacking momentum and haranguing the officials at every opportunity, not just the players but McCarthy and his assistant routinely arguing with the linos for every call that didn’t go their way.

The first action of the second half saw Zubar slide in with a cynical, late challenge on Gervinho in front of me but some justice was done as he injured himself and had to go off later – but not after holding up play with a few more bouts of rolling around on the grass to curtail Arsenal attacks with the aid of referee Atwell, who repeatedly fell for this “rope a dope” trick, hook line and sinker. You know the referee is on a wind up when he holds up play for treatment to an opposition player when the player is not even on the pitch.

Not wanting to be outdone by Zubar in this form of cheating Hunt also fell, in the style of a downed cowboy from a Sam Peckinpah movie, in the Wolves penalty area during a spell of pressure when there was corner after corner for Arsenal.

10th time lucky ? :-(

Arteta floats in another corner

Hennessey kicked the ball out of play when Hunt was felled by the invisible sniper in the Upper Tier and the looks of indignation when Arsenal, rightly, didn’t return the ball to Wolves were a picture of hypocrisy and self-righteous outrage.

It’s clear Wolves were not demonstrating the Corinthian spirit of sport in any way today and none of their team enhanced their sporting reputations although we did witness yet another visiting goalie have the game of his life as per-freaking usual; however he was rightly booked for timewasting so in that respect he kept in with the team ethic of the day.

Referee Atwell didn’t help himself by allowing numerous displays of dissent from the Wolves and, as we can guess, when a ref lets the opposition bully him around the first sign of dissent from an Arsenal player and a yellow is flashed; Vermaelen for the standard “first offence Arsenal yellow” we have come to know so well.

Similarly when Atwell lost control of the game, Wolves changed their mind about who was to be substituted and Hunt hadn’t even gotten off the pitch and his replacement was on and the throw in ordered to be taken, Wenger’s waved his arms in frustration so Atwell made a big show of going over to him to tell him off. Pity he didn’t do that when McCarthy and his assistant were routinely abusing the lino for giving throw ins to Arsenal even from balls bouncing straight off Wolves defenders and out of play.

Wenger threw on more attackers, Arshavin and Chamakh after he replaced the tiring Israeli skipper with Ramsey with Arshavin looking skill full and tracking back to snuff out any rare counter attack from McCarthy’s rag tag mob – he still has the ability to worry any defence and with an upturn in form/effort he can be a vital squad member.

Chamakh’s only contribution seemed to be banging heads with Robin and causing a sharp intake of breath all around the stadium at the sight of Robin prone on the floor; it’s hard to know how to solve a problem like Chamakh.

As we approach the half way stage of the season Arsenal will need maximum effort and luck with injuries from hereon in.

Keep the faith everyone.

Charybdis1966