Arsenal 5 – 0 Lincoln City
Job done. The gulf in abilities shone through in the end with four second-half goals suitable reward for Arsenal’s dominance.
Lincoln’s first half efforts ensured they earned the sobriquet, “Plucky Little Lincoln”, for future reference while Arsenal got a bit of confidence back. The real test comes next weekend when we face West Bromwich Albion, a team whose fitness levels won’t wilt after fifty minutes of pressing and rearguard action.
Arsène surprised everyone by taking a common sense approach to the game. A first team bereft of belief, took to the field in an attempt to drag them out of the slough into which they had fallen. It’s too soon to declare it’s worked but as far as yesterday was concerned, the object of the exercise was to win and that box was ticked.
The Imps defended resolutely for the first half but a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping kept Lincoln on course to reach half-time just one goal down. Then the luck which has deserted Arsenal in recent weeks returned. Theo Walcott’s shot deflected off a defender’s thigh and ended in the corner of the net.
That was the point it genuinely became a question of how many.
Safety in Numbers
Olivier Giroud’s goal eight minutes into the second half, was accompanied by the sound of floodgates coming slightly ajar. An unfortunate own goal five minutes later made it three and Arsenal were passing for fun as Lincoln’s first half efforts caught up with them. Tiredness and fatigue fell on them, that not even the 9k supporters could lift.
Alexis inevitably scored the pick of the bunch, an excellent curled finish around the ‘keeper after he had ridden an attempt to bring him down thirty yards from goal. He rattled the bar with an excellent free kick as Arsenal threatened to run away with the game.
I don’t know if we merited any more but an 8 or 9 goal thrashing wasn’t what Lincoln deserved. Aaron Ramsey finished off the scoring with the fifth, walking the ball into the net from close range. Although the way his luck has gone this season, I was more surprised he didn’t lash the ball over the bar.
Great British Mistake
Look, it was a comfortable win that not even the FA could cock-up for us.
Officialdom decided the match was so much of a ‘home banker’ that it a good idea to get Anthony Taylor back to the Emirates, to allow both he and Arsène the opportunity to put the past behind them.
All it served to show was that the Law of the Game are too trivial for Mr Taylor’s superior intellect. A genuine highlight was Mesut Özil shoulder charging a Lincoln full back to the floor. Not a flicker from the referee; no foul in his eyes. Indeed, most things were let by and deemed part of the ‘magic of the Cup’.
Except for Granit Xhaka’s foul; that’s always a booking.
There was time in the second half to consider a tweet to Bayern Munich’s social media team along the lines of, “Hey Bayern, thanks for the lessons on Tuesday. We learned quickly. Five goals at the Emirates and a centre forward who hit the dirt in the penalty area.” I suspect they have come back with, “Ja, at least there was contact on Bobby”. I assume they call him Bobby; it seems a very ‘football’ thing to do.
Post-match, Arsène occupied some ethereal plane rather than reality. The players, he contended, “didn’t let me down, or themselves or the club.” I agree for the first hour that it was true but ignoring the last thirty minutes doesn’t make it go away. There isn’t some little footballing pixie who sprinkles her dust and ends the game early.
It was a collapse based on his own appalling gamble to chase five more goals. Barcelona’s success in overturning a similar deficit twenty-four hours later doesn’t justify Wenger’s decision. By the hour mark, they were already 3 – 0 up.
Presumably, he thought the ground was a sellout yesterday and that 10-15,000 empty seats was just a bloody long queue on the concourse.
This morning sees claims that Arsène has the full backing of the dressing room. All except for Alexis, who’s sitting in the corner sulking and generally upsetting everyone. Equally unbelievable is the claim that the board has grown a set and demanded Arsène make a decision on his future during the international break.
That, of course, fits in with the ‘end of March/April’ timescale Arsène said when he initially commented on his situation all those months ago. Of course, that’s led to claims Arsenal transfer business is paralysed by Wenger’s indecision. So it’s business as usual, then. Boom, tsh.
Ah, what a week ahead of us we have.
Finally, Dad’s Jukebox ticked over to 1995 with Blur v Oasis among other things. Listen to the soundtrack of a year with all the rubbish taken out, here.