Leicester Review: The Ten Minute Match

Arsenal 1 – 0 Leicester City

I doubt that anyone would argue Sky Sports made the right choice in ditching this match. Until the last ten minutes, the corpses in The Midsomer Mysteries had more life than this match. Good players were mediocre at best and the rest aren’t worth commenting on.

And Arsenal took three points. With a horribly deflected goal from Nacho Monreal’s shot. Off Robert Huth. The Leicester defender’s face said it all, much to mirth of those who can’t forget his Chelsea association nor should his Pulis Years be overlooked either.

Toward the end of the game, Christian Fuchs threw ball directly at Alexis’ face. Comically, the Chilean took a couple of paces before collapsing and earned himself a yellow card for simulation. Fuchs should have received a straight red for violent conduct while Alexis another yellow for not retreating two metres from the throw-in.

An incident which typified the evening. The players couldn’t get it right while Alexis’ post-match photos of his ‘fat lip’ suggested that neither could the officials. Referee Mike Jones inexplicably failed to book on Benalouane for his challenge on Giroud, when he planted his studs in the Frenchman’s back. A “dark orange”, Arsène called it afterwards.

By any standards of decency, the post should end here. Or the match element of it, save for mentioning Petr Cech’s saves. Two of them which kept Arsenal in the match despite enjoying the lion’s share of the match. Possession may be nine-tenths of the law but it’s a sure-fire way to lose a football match, it seems.

Duff Beer, Duff Football

The worst match I ever saw was Birmingham City’s visit to Highbury in November 1985; a goalless draw, memorable only for David Seaman being in the visitor’s goal. Last night made that look good for eighty minutes.

Alexis couldn’t trap the ball but managed to rattle the bar just before half-time; he was in the running for Man of the Match, the first eighty minutes were so bad. Francis Coquelin underlined his demise as Arsenal’s midfield future while Theo Walcott was just as bad. Which for a player on £120k per week is some sort of achievement.

Fortunately, the defence was clued up and switched on, rarely putting a foot wrong while Granit Xhaka, with time on the ball and space, pinged passes around for fun. And got booked.

After the way this year has gone, maybe Arsène is right to think that luck has turned. Ringing the changes to rest the squad ahead of the North London Derby, he got away with it and won, which is what we want of any Arsenal game. The winning part, that is.

The top four is still beyond us. Liverpool’s run-in is far easier while City have three consecutive home games starting next weekend. Unless one of them is going all Spurs for no good reason, the Europa League is where next season’s European action lies. Indeed, we’ve already qualified for it – or the qualifying round – at the very least. No Chelsea-esque season out of the sun for us.

Wenger evaded the questions about the future, not with any aplomb or guile, just a straightforward, flat-out refusal to discuss his, Alexis or Mesut Ozil’s situations.

Probably because there is no change from the weekend for the players  and Arsenal still haven’t come up with a palatable way of explaining why Wenger is staying. They won’t either; it will slip out after the final whistle on the last day of the season when there is no one about to protest.

The banks of empty seats told their own story.

Dad’s Jukebox and Other Stuff

The day didn’t get off to the best of starts. RBS Leipzig have a curiosity value but Sevilla and Benfica are familiar enough foes to make The Emirates shindig this summer look utterly uninspiring. How long before we’re told new faces will make their home debuts that weekend? Or, will it be a case of waiting to see if any new faces are arriving? That’s more the Arsenal way.

The FA got in on the act as well, announcing that Anthony Taylor is to officiate this year’s FA Cup final. Yes, that Anthony Taylor. It’s primed for post-match rants about how hard done by we were, isn’t it. Maybe it’s a pact with Arsène to elicit sympathy for him and a more welcoming atmosphere for renewal announcement?

Who knows but having limped over the line of 700 words, it remains only for me to point you in the direction of a new playlist on Dad’s Jukebox where Times of our Lives returns, with 1999 the year in question.

’til Tomorrow.

63 thoughts on “Leicester Review: The Ten Minute Match

  1. I’ve watched it a couple of times now. Hats off to Huth, it was a deft touch to put that one home

    All is forgiven, you lumpy poor man’s Dolph Lungdren

  2. Great result. Winning every game till the end of the season will put us in the top four. Lose one or draw and we wont. For me thats like a cup tie every match. That makes me nervously excited and i like that. Can we do that, ok probably not but until that lady sings im going to hope we can.

  3. Good morning folks, well done Yogi seven hundred words on such a non-event is deserving of a resounding pat on the back.

    I’d have summed it up as….Not much happened until Huth deflected Monreal’s shot into the net and some petulant twat threw the ball at Sanchez who bravely staggered on for a pace or two before collapsing in agony.

    One nil to the Arsenal!

  4. It is interesting the options open to managers

    Develop the creative, expression of possession football which Arsene likes and has been very successful at scoring enough goals to put away the average EPL team = top 4

    But if you don’t study opponents to stop them playing or develop a defence first attitude you are vulnerable unless you have the Barca money to buy 3 of the best strikers in the world

    So now we join the queue defending and get 1-0 home wins like Man U or risk 0-0 that the special one has specialised in this season despite the spending

    Interesting. What do we want?
    I prefer winning that’s for sure

  5. Had to sit in the freezing cold watching that! Can’t believe those teams were 1st and 2nd last season. Better get used to all those empty seats at games unless they make Thursday night football prices same as EFL cup

  6. Mo

    > Winning every game till the end of the season will put us in the top four.

    No it won’t.

    We can knock Liverpool out of the top four if we win all of our games but it will be on goal difference so no certainty, particularly as they have easier fixtures than us.

    Manchester City are four points ahead of us, so they can lose a game but so long as they win all the others, they will finish above us.

    Manchester United are three points ahead of us, which means they can lose to us and it will come down to goal difference.

    We won’t catch Tottenham or Chelsea.

    So, as you can see, we could win all of our games and still finish sixth.

  7. YW,

    Miserablist!

    (But I hugely appreciate your interesting blogs which create debate and insight for all of us thank you)

  8. 1-0 on a chilly April evening.

    Leicester seemed to be channeling their inner Wimbledon. Long balls, long throws, knuckle-dragging defenders. Not sure Shakespeare will be writing the script for much longer.

  9. YW,

    Yea your right but that would mean that liverpool win all their games, man u win all theirs, i dont think they will , so by that rational we will

  10. Mo,

    Exactly

    IF we win all the games NLD, home to the Arsehole and away to the orcs etc

    IF – that would secure 4 I feel sure

    But odds are horrible

  11. The match sums up a very poor season for Arsenal – We have struggled even to put away mediocre sides like Leicester at home.
    We still have to play Everton and Man Utd at home and Southampton, Spurs and Stoke away and how many wins are we going to get in these games?
    A top 4 finish would indeed be a remarkable (and unlikely) event

  12. thebigM,

    Any bonus points for rotation and having some fresh legs for Spurs?

    First leg was classic possession versus their defensive strategy

    Horrible mousse dembele penalty

    I think we can win with our new noting attitude

  13. Thanks for the post and it sounds like your post was more exciting than the match.

    Top 4, meh don’t care about it just going to watch the matches and hope we win and the cards will fall where they fall

  14. Wonder how bad Kos’ injury is too.

    I see Xhaka is starting to finally hit his stride after struggling during the middle part of the season (lets be honest, who wasn’t struggling for form during the middle part of the season).

  15. Top 4 if he does achieve it will be remarkable and he will deserve credit for turning things around hopefully now out on some sort of a high if he can cap it off with the FA Cup.

    Xhaka played well in a metronomic kind of way. Walcott was poor and for some reason looks to lacking confidence to run at players always playing safe. Whilst Sanchez played poorly but always trying to find a pass or dribble that will unlock the opponent.

  16. YW

    I too went to that Birmingham match and concur it was the worst game I’ve ever seen in my life.

    Although there were a whole lot of bleak games that season including a 1-0 win over Leicester, guess things haven’t changed much in over 30 years.

  17. Interesting game, with nothing really to play for other aspects came into play. Like what the hell is up with Alexis? Fair enough, he enjoys turning the ball over almost as much as dribbling the entire team. But yesterday bar that shot (pun intended) he was verging on embarrassing. Not so much the delayed reaction to being assaulted by throw in, as I’d expect most brains to slightly malfunction due to the audacity. But the challenge afterwards (I think on the poor man’s dolph lundgren) on the left. Already on a yellow I don’t expect someone of his experience to be doing that when a “trophy” is still possible. Unless he’s off and doesn’t give a….?

    Theo conjured old memories of Joel, who was replaced by Lucas? Skill, guile, passion, work rate, improving every game, acclimatizing to our system. Odd decisions seemingly never-ending with the gods choosing Nacho to lead the charge. Or has the sustained talk of new “wing-backs” awoken his spirit as the end is near?

    Is rapture an option for our woes? Too much?

    I’d like to see us bring in more crazy like Sanchez, be more defence focused and boss the Europa. Yeah I know……

  18. Great post Yogi

    Arsene always finds a way to get a run of good results at the end of the season when top 4 is at risk. I suspect the same thing will happen this year but this year he may have waited about a month longer then he should have and this will be the toughest fight of his career and the odds are heavily against us. Nonetheless Arsene is the great escape artist and I would not put it past him.

  19. The fact attack was an afterthought for Leicester hardly inspired any intent in us going forward.

    I always get irked by people when they criticize fan ‘negativity’ as there is always just cause and last night provided two such low points at 0-0 deep into the second half.

    The first was Walcott receiving the ball on the edge of the penalty area with a defender a few yards in front of him. If out of nothing more than boredom everyone expected him to run at the defender – Theo’s option? Nah, I‘ll just pass that sideways.

    Cue tens of thousands spontaneously moaning in unison.

    Next up, Ramsey running into the penalty box close to the six yard line, receives the ball and thought he’d go one better than Theo by passing it back out of the penalty area.

    Cue tens of thousands spontaneously groaning in unison.

    The own goal, Alexis pathetic playacting (twice) in the dying minutes.

    The game was painful.

  20. I almost hate to admit the truth but I really believe that Arsene and our whole organization needs some sort of “shock to the system” to shake us out of the sense of complacency that has developed in this decade. We can drop points in the first couple of games and have at least a bad 1/2 season every year and still make it to the CL. Missing the CL for a season or 2 might actually be the “kick in the arse” the we need to rebuild the lost sense of urgency that we had in the first half of Arsene’s reign. That might be wishful thinking and it may be it to late for all of that but at least its something to hope for if we do miss the top 4.

  21. silvergunner,

    Wenger would deserve no credit for getting us into the mythical top 4, as if he achieves it, it will be more the result of another team imploding than anything he has done (much like last years’ runners-up spot).
    4, 5, 6th what does it matter?

  22. DFS

    Results are all that matters. If we are going to blame Arsene for bad results then in order to be fair we have to give him credit for good results irregardless of whether or not he deserves the credit. Our defense kept the clean sheet we needed and you will win almost every game when can do that.

  23. Bill,

    “I almost hate to admit the truth but I really believe that Arsene and our whole organization needs some sort of “shock to the system” to shake us out of the sense of complacency…”

    This times a hundred.

    I’ll tell what I found dumbfounding last night.

    The dreadful thing to me was you could see most of the team was putting in a shift, they wanted it (only Walcott didn’t seem fussed).

    We simply found oursleve right back in the hapless, clueless, no idea zone. Just the same old, same old, earnestly moving the ball around with no real purpose or intent…everyone waiting for some one else to pull some piece of magic out of his rear and turn things around.

    It’s that dreadful (and I mean dreadful) realization if there is no Plan A, there isn’t even a shadow of a Plan B….

  24. Bill,

    Arsene deserves credit for last night’s result?

    A deflected shot going yards wide – sorry but I cannot take comments such as that seriously.

  25. thebigM,

    Fair enough. I just want to say that i too want change. But we all have to accept the standard in the EPL is high this season. I’ll be honest after the money he has spent in the past few years i don’t think we have moved forward as a team.

  26. Yogi

    I was sorry to hear you say that Le Coq was so poor. Listening on the radio it sounded like he was doing a good job of breaking up Leicester’s attempts to counter attack which is exactly what we expect from our DM. It’s hard to understand how someone we were so excited about 2 years ago could fall this far. Le Coq is another example of a player who has a great first season but never comes close to repeating. The reality is that for the vast majority of his career he has been mediocre and that one run of form was an adrenaline fueled run of over performance that he will probably never replicate. It’s sad because I really wanted him to be the all action DM we have needed for the entire Emirates era

  27. DFS

    Fair enough, to each his own. No doubt that the way that goal happened was lucky but we kept the clean sheet we needed to give ourselves a chance and I suspect if the own goal had not happened we would found some other way to nick a goal. We always have a run of good results at the end of the season when the top 4 is at risk and when the same pattern happens 13 years in a row it stops being luck.

  28. DFS

    It’s the same logic that I would use if someone tries to deflect criticism of Arsene by blaming our 9 year run of not challenging for a title on bad luck or ref bias or injuries or some other problem that is out of our control. You can blame any single game or single event on bad luck or good luck but when the same pattern of results occurs year after year then the pattern becomes inescapable.

  29. I still think Coquelin was the worst choice for this game, or at least if you’re going to play him, he should strictly stick to being the defensive midfielder with clear instructions not to go beyond the center line under any circumstances.

    El Neny would have been so much more suitable for this game to move the ball faster and most importantly to someone on our team.

    ****

    All talk about Wenger and the contract is now useless. The Board and Arsene managed to silence the fans – for the time being – by being complete dicks. We the Fans and Arsenal will be here when you’ll long gone and forgotten, so till then, Fuck y’all so much.

    ****

    It was comical to see the only consistent player we have, having a nightmarish game with almost %90 of his passes delivered securely to the opponents. No disrespect to the guy, I still think he put himself about for the team despite the nightmare.

    ****

    I hope this game we played with our “Camouflaged Form” to put of the Spuds off, cause if we play this way in White Shit Lane…..It’ll be a difficult result to forget.

  30. I have to say that I’m becoming increasingly disillusioned by Welbeck. Signed for £16 million and on goodness knows how much a week, his showing so far has been somewhat underwhelming.

    Only nine goals from forty-five appearances in all competitions over almost three seasons is just not good enough. Yes he has suffered injuries, but what player at Arsenal hasn’t.

    It looks more and more likely that Van Gaal’s decision to sell him to a direct rival was a shrewd piece of business.

    Welbeck will turn twenty-seven in November, he should be in his prime now, but time is running out for him.

  31. Morning all.

    I am coming to you live via the wonders of technology that is free WiFi on a bus to Lille.

    I did not see the game but it sounded fucking dreadful 😀

    Ah well it’s all a bit immaterial if we are not Europa bound already we bloody well should be.

  32. Jonny,

    I drove through Lille about forty years ago, I can’t say I’ve ever been tempted to return. Perhaps you know something I don’t. 😀

  33. Bill,

    We’ve given away a penalty in each of the last three games….it’s just that the refs didn’t give them.

  34. ORSON. There is a case for a penalty of some other major game changing event that the refs do or don’t call in every game that is played in the PL. Nearly every supporter believes that the majority of those calls go against them and they remember the ones that go against them forever but very quickly forget the ones that go in their favor which is where all the nonsense about ref bias comes from.

  35. Michael Voller was left nursing serious injuries after a fellow Spurs follower attacked him in the wake of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley
    A Tottenham fan has been left with a broken cheekbone, eye socket and skull after being attacked by a fellow Tottenham follower who mistook him for a Chelsea supporter.
    Michael Voller was set upon in a “violent and unprovoked assault” following a FA Cup semi-final clash between the two London clubs at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.
    Spurs set new Premier League points high
    The incident took place outside the Moore Spice Restaurant on Engineers Way at around 7.30pm, with the victim reported to have been identified by a group of Spurs fan walking in the opposite direction.
    Voller has been discharged from hospital following treatment, but police say there are still concerns as to possible permanent damage to his eyesight.
    Image credit: Metropolitan Police
    PLAY
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    Detective Constable James Robb, of Brent CID, the investigating officer, said: “This was a violent and unprovoked assault that has left a young man with some terrible injuries that could end up affecting him for the rest of his life.
    “This kind of violence has absolutely no place at a football match, and I sincerely hope that those who were with the person responsible do the right thing by Michael, who is a fellow supporter and has supported Tottenham since he was a young boy.
    Spurs boss excited for vital derby
    “I’d appeal to all Spurs fans to think hard about whether they have any information about the person who did this.
    “I’ve no doubt that there will be several people who know who did this and I would appeal to anyone with information to get in touch with us or to contact Crimestoppers anonymously.”

  36. Bill,

    Bill, I’m not talking about ref bias, luck or conspracy theories. It is a fact that in the last three games we have given the referees the opportunity to award our opponents at least one penalty each and that is indicative of a failing in our much vaunted new defensive formation. At best it is a work in progress.

  37. I guarantee that the next time we have a good goal disallowed by a close offside call then the conspiracy theorists will scream bloody murder and call it ref bias but they will conveniently forget that got the benefit of the ref mistake in the goal that was wrongfully disallowed against Man City

  38. I have heard it said that this years issues are not our fault because of the bad luck of losing Cazorla to injury. However, Cazorla has been here for 5 years and we have had the same pattern of 1/2 season of good results and 1/2 season of bad form and finishing the season with around 70-74 points when he was healthy and for the last 13 years. This is going to be another season just like all the rest and there is no way to prove it but I suspect that the same thing would have happened if Cazorla had been healthy

  39. Of course; just that it’ll be a Monday morning in 2 years time

    Orson Kaert:
    C,

    Smoke and mirrors!He’s our next manager, he’ll take over on Monday morning.

  40. Man City lost David Silvia because Gabriel kicked him in the knee. Raheem sterling came on and ran really fast but was otherwise useless. If the reverse had happened and we had lost an important player then you know with 100% certainty that the guys at Untold Arsenal would have been blaming the loss on the other team for targeting an Arsenal player for overly physical tactics and the refs were biased because they would not give us the protection we should be getting. I know its human nature but the culture of making excuses and blaming circumstances out of our control has been a big part of the Emirate era. You can’t fix something until you are willing to admit that you have a problem

  41. What we really need to hope for this season is ManU finishing 4th and winning the Europa League. If that happens then we would make the CL by finishing 5th. Wouldn’t it be ironic and typical Arsene to maintain his consecutive CL streak by finishing 5th

  42. Bill,

    Not sure it works that way, only four teams get Champions League places. At present that looks likely to be Chelsea, The Unmentionables, and two of Liverpool, City and United. If United win the Europa League, then it’s between Liverpool and City. Our only hope is that they both blow out and we can sneak fourth place.

    On a brighter note we are guaranteed Europa League football by way of the Cup Final. The winners of which go in, but as Chelsea will almost certainly make the Champions League, win or lose we take the Europa League spot.

    Now, doesn’t that make you feel all warm and fuzzy?

  43. Mourinho parked the United bus and City ran up countless blind alleys. Fellaini played the fool and will hopefully get a long ban. Personally, I’d dock both teams six point each for failing to control their players.

  44. Good result for us today I think. It’s going to be close but 74 points might be enough to get nick 4th place. That means we can draw the next 2 games and then win the last 4. If we win against either Spurs or ManU we can get 75 or even 76 points and I think that would give us a really good chance for 4th.

  45. Orson

    England gets an extra CL spot if United win the Europa league and I am pretty sure that the 5th place team would get in if United win and also finish in the top 4. There were Spanish teams in the CL 2 years ago

  46. G4E,

    Leicester’s counter-attacks were pretty woeful and they didn’t score. That doesn’t just happen. It happened because (in particular) Coquelin chased the ball around like a junkyard dog. He just keeps chasing the thing until he gets it back. I love that. I admit, his passing can be pretty woeful. Sometimes, he hits a cross-field pass and it looks like the ball has suddenly gone flat. Arsene’s got to send him to the Elneny school of simple passing.

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