Wembley Joy For Arsenal’s Super Troupers…

Arsenal 1 – 1 Chelsea
Arsenal win 4 – 1 on penalties

So there you have it. Nine unbeaten at Wembley and another trophy won at Tottenham’s home ground. Sunday afternoon’s in pre-season don’t get better than this. It’s a sign of the times that a winner must be declared so penalties decided the occasion. For the best part of a century, sharing the rewards of football’s charity match was good enough but not anymore.

Surprisingly, Arsenal’s spot kicks were perfect in every way. The best Chelsea excuse I’ve seen was that Thibault Courtois wasn’t supposed to take a penalty and cocked up his moment of glory. Which is a fine theory except his name was on the list of penalty takers given to the referee. Still, at least we know where his ball landed:

Arsène has plenty of positives to take from the performance, as well as a few extra hours on the training pitch to get everyone up to speed. The team looked as sharp as you might expect at this stage of the pre-season with the later returning players still with a bit more work to do.

At the end of 90 minutes, a draw seemed to be a reasonable reflection of the game. We were the better side in the first half – Alexandre Lacazette was unfortunate not to score when his shot rattled the post – while Chelsea had the better of the start of the second.

Victor Moses’ goal was down to poor marking from a set-play; bad habits die hard. Which could be title of the next film in the franchise, with a zombie Alan Rickman taking the lead role. Surefire hit, covering off the popular bases thanks to The Walking Dead.

Anyway, Moses goal. Poor marking which the makeshift defence must deal with before Friday, particularly if Per isn’t fit.

Kolasinac, The Wonder Horse

If Oleg Luhzny took the nickname “Horse”, what for Sead Kolasinac? Chelsea had no answer to the strong run and powerful header. It was due reward for the overall performance. The bleating goes on about whether it was a red or yellow for Pedro which led to the free kick but I don’t see any other decision than the sending off meted out. It was late, dangerous and made no attempt to win the ball. Fortunately, we were spared the sight of Mohamed Elneny being stretchered off but that was more down to luck than judement.

If it had been Granit Xhaka committing the tackle, the media would demand he be tarred, feathered, dragged through the streets of London and then hung, drawn and quartered at Traitor’s Gate. No mercy, clemency or appeal. But it was Pedro, the masked man, and his happy-go-lucky smiley ways convince everyone that it wasn’t intended. When a boot lands that squarely on an opponent’s Achilles, it was intended.

I haven’t yet seen it but someone somewhere must be promulgating the theory that his mask slipped and he couldn’t see what he was doing.

Yet again, Chelsea found themselves at the centre of a diving controversy at Wembley. The older generation will remember the Empire Pool but there hasn’t been events there for half-a-century. Wil.I.an was adjudged to be a transgressor and deciding whether that was deliberate or not was a tough job.

It wasn’t a foul but the question of whether he deliberately clipped his own heels is impossible to answer. It’s a difficult skill to master, coming to most of us only when excess alcohol is imbibed. At full pelt on a football pitch and ensuring the landing doesn’t cause injury? That would take hours of practice at Cobham.

Intensity And Quality

ArsΓ¨ne thought both teams contributed to a good match. Obviously, he happier with the Arsenal performance than had we lost, declaring that “the performance is a continuity of what we did at the end of last season.”

Perhaps. Certainly, the adaptability in defence and doggedness but he offered the right sense of caution lest anyone get too carried away with win. Lifting the Community Shield was “an encouragement and nothing more than that”, as we head into the new season.

Wenger is mindful of previous good pre-season results, knowing they don’t translate into good starts to the season. The manager observed,

“We want to find a good balance between the confidence we can get out of these games and the urgency that every Premier League game demands. We had some bad starts in the first game of the Premier League over the last four years but we’ve had the intensity in our games that is needed to be ready. Let’s go into the Premier League with the same discipline, the same spirit, and see where we can go.”

Presumably, we were one of the “seven or eight teams” he thought were in the race for the title before a ball is kicked in anger. I think we’re still a central midfielder away from being that team. We shall see; were football so easy to predict, it would be a dull sport indeed.

But it isn’t – on either count – and the “big kick-off” is now just 5 days away. Let the butterflies gather, ready to flutter at the start of a new season.

’til Tomorrow.

60 thoughts on “Wembley Joy For Arsenal’s Super Troupers…

  1. Morning, Yogi

    The fact is that an enjoyable game did not hide the flakiness of our defence.

    The chances of recruiting a proper CB to eventually replace Per and Kozzer does not seem to likely.

  2. As for a nickname for Kolasinac, in my watering hole the choice is Hissing Sead. Friendly before the game but woe betide the opposition if riled. πŸ˜‰

  3. Nicky,

    You are incorrigible — not because of Hissing Whatnot — but your refusal to comply with convention and Capitalise the first letter of your name — ‘nicky’ just won’t do!! πŸ™‚

  4. Excuse my ill manners, YW, but I forgot to commend you for a very interesting and, as usual, a very well written article. Thank you, your esteemed Elfship. πŸ˜€

  5. When you stand on the half-way line with the ball at your feet because it is your kick-off and one minuted later the ball is in the back of your own net without yet crossing into the opposition half would make it seem that you are doing something very wrong with the first few touches.
    It is common for Arsenal to lose possession from their own start before getting over the half-way line.
    Surely an advantage should be gained from having the first touch by making sure that the ball gets into the opposition’s penalty area along with some of your teammates in the shortest possible time and having them on the back foot from the off instead of the other way round.

  6. Morning all
    Firstly I think arsene should stop being sentimental and pick the team based on current form.
    Bellerin was one of our better players during his breakout season, but is currently way below than standard, Chamberlain was our second most influential player towards the end of last season playing as our RWB and has obviously carried on that form into this season. FFS, i really don’t understand why wenger would move the ox to LWB that is not his natural position just to accommodate the off form Bellerin, especially when we have someone as good as sead thats in form n very capable of doing a better job on the left.
    Secondly, I think wenger should reconsider any previous attempt to sell ELNENY cuz he has really improved his overall form.
    Lacazette looked sharp but would need some time to adapt to e.p.l so I would advise we keep giroud. Wallcott should be sold if possible, cuz the guy is lighter than a piece of paper and has no footballing brain.
    Finally I think Sanchez will sign a new contract once he gets the slightest hint that Arsenal can now challenge for major trophies and achieve his dream career playing with like minded players in the team. For me arsene should do everything in his power to make the ox sign a new contract cuz he is simply a more skillful and powerful version of victor moses.
    My preferable team for this season would be.

    Cech
    Mustaphi kos Monreal
    Ox. seri/ramsey/elneny Xhaka sead
    welbeck lacasette Sanchez

    Substitutes.. Holding, Bellerin, reiss, ospina,ozil,Gabriel, ramsey or elneny depending on who starts.
    But plz the ox starts as our RWB..

  7. Name; maybe King Kong Kolasinac, or Kong for short.
    He’s built like a brick house, looks more like a light heavyweight boxer and takes no prisoners
    when surging down the left. I was overjoyed when he planted that header past Courtois, and really pleased to see we have a bruiser in that position who seems quite quick moving forward.
    Great to beat Chelsea, again.

  8. I know a lot of folks here will be surprised i put ozil on the bench, yes I would not start ozil unless we have a serious wave of injuries. The guy is simply a liability and we can’t afford to continously carry him throughout every 90min of a season.
    Remember maureenho dropped fabregas when he became a liability to his team despite the fact that fabregas and Costa practically won him the e.p.l the previous season.

  9. Afternoon,

    Thanks for the write up YW. Pedro clearly knew what he was doing in attempting to stop Elneny getting away from him. There were a couple of times that Chelsea employed the dark arts when an Arsenal player was looking to break away from the opposition. Pedro’s was clearly the most cynical and was deserving of a red. Willian’s tumble in the area may have been a case of tripping over his own feet, but his cries for a penalty probably led the ref to feel he went down deliberately.

    In the post match interview I’m amazed that Conte was still going on about the controversial incident in the Cup Final. Moses dived without a doubt. The only thing that he could consider controversial was that the ref gave a second yellow. So it’s down to the argument that ref’s should be more lenient in giving a second yellow. Did your player dive? Yes. Should he get a yellow? Yes. If an incident is worthy of a yellow the ref shouldn’t consider the incident based on whether or not the player has already picked up a caution. Ref’s are bottling out too often and, whilst it has sometimes worked in our favour, there has to be consistent treatment of such incidents.

  10. Good afternoon folks and thank you Yogi for the post.

    Wavey I agree entirely, Pedro’s “tackle” was dangerous and to my mind a quite deliberate attempt to injure a fellow professional. There was an iota of doubt about the penalty claim but having decided that it wasn’t a legitimate one the ref had no option but to book the player for diving.

    I see no need to lumber a player with a nickname, people should show some respect and simply learn how to spell and pronounce Sead Kolasinac’s name correctly.

    I apologise to him for not being able to add the accent above the letter s in his surname.

  11. Tonto was out on the range one day when he saw The Lone Ranger riding towards him with a dustbin on his back, “Kemo Sabi” called Tonto “where are you going with that dustbin?” The Lone Ranger replied: “To the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump.” An oldy but goody! 😎

  12. I did not think the tackle was meant to injure and therefore did not deserve anything more than a yellow card for careless behaviour. In any event, I generally hate sending players off the field with a red card. In my opinion, it ruins the competitiveness of the game. We pay extraordinary costs for a ticket to see competitive matches and anything less I feel cheated.

  13. Good stuff Yogi and anytime we can lify a trophy at Spuds new home whike beating Chelsea, well I’ll take it 10/10!

    I read a couple pieces from Germany about Sead and the one thing that was clear was that he is the sort of defender and player that as a supporter you want because not only is he quality but he gives his all for the club. At Schalke he was adored by supporters and he would regularly be seen amongst them. Cult status at Arsenal, I would say by mid-season he will be there.

  14. To get the squiggle above yer average ‘s’ just depress the key when you get there, and swiftly turn your laptop or computer around with a flourish – Sead KolaΕ‘inac. There you go!

    Some people have no respect for their esses.

  15. Hi C,

    That’s fair enough @ 3:05 and we have all been encaptured by the energy and determination of Sead the Beast, but like Sanchez, Γ–zil and the Ox he allowed his contract to run out. Would not have pleased his employer.

    Loyalty? Hmmmm – not too sure about that.

  16. Nooners “winning” gooners.

    Not that I advocate violence or revenge, but I’m sure after Pedro left the hospital his phone must of had a plethora of mp4s showing our Columbian keeper doing his Jon “bones” Jones impression on his face. With captions such as: you got Merked, owned and shoryuken.
    Unfortunately for him he is not a dark arts practitioner and was cast out.

  17. HenryB,

    Morning mate,

    After looking into it and based on what I had read and seen before, it was a mutual decision from both the club and the player. Having come through the youth ranks, while he made over 100 appearances, he was never a nailed on starter for Schalke as he was still young and coming through and developing, after Schalke had brought in Baba Rahman from Chelsea, Sead decided he wanted to leave and not until he displaced Rahman rather early in the season as the full-time starter (they were alternating/rotating) he had decided he wanted to leave but both he and club out of respect for each other allowed him to run down his contract because he was still giving his all to the club he loved and the the supporters. I think Schalke offered him a contract but it wasn’t until late in the season and the rumors of us having a deal in place in the winter assured him leaving.

    If you read the reports and articles, it wasn’t anything bitter or lack of loyalty more so it was he decided to leave in the summer once the club signed a player and he still played and was voted into the Team of the Season with many thinking he was the 1.b to Alaba’s 1.a at LB last season in the Bundesliga. What was even more weird for a modern futboler is that his last playing match the supporters held up loads and loads of signs thanking him and wishing him all the best while understanding the situation throughout the stadium. Then the last match of Schalke’s season(I think he was suspended due to yellow cards), he actually walked with the supporters from the local pub and sat in the stadium among the supporters (not the wealthy, the regular joes like you and me) and watched the match.

  18. chavs are a borderlilne dirty team without cosTa, and malicious when he is in it.
    alonso’s elbow on Bel last year was full of intent, being masked by trying to head the ball. Watch fellaini anytime he goes up, elbows almost always hit skull, eye, cheeck neck or other soft tissue.
    alonso was and is part of moaninho’s tactical revolution of serial fouling, with just enough in it to hurt your teams players when added up.
    cahill did the same to the BFG, and how he was not even carded was beyond me, he did the same to Xhaka in the lead up to the goal.
    The little tool meant to rake Elneny’s achilles and cause some damage- straight RED that was! So, if pedro got Lehmanized I really do not care. That kind of foul in any Sunday league competition would lead to a fight for sure. Similarly, like typical stoke play, arnotovics shove on Deb out of bounds and Holding’s pay back was beautiful. If Sead helps bring the team to a new level of gritty demeanor than I am all for it.
    Back to the game, well played and enjoyed the comeback, 3 out of 4 victories against the champions now, and 2 trophies. (they all count, some more than others)
    The penalties were well taken, including courtois’.
    Arsenal need to add a DM and lets get ready to rumble on Friday!

  19. Lets also talk about Xhaka, I think we will see more of the player that I thought he was going to be last season now that he has adapted to the speed and less tactical PL. He always showed that range of passing but it was the speed and closing down that he needed to adjust to, we saw it later in the season and I think he will prove he is worth every penny this season. He isn’t the box-to-box type that closes down and presses higher up the pitch but he is a reader of the game that sits deep in reads the game adn intercepts but is aggressive when he does it and is naturally a strong boy.

  20. C @ 3:47

    That’s really interesting and puts a different perspective on his decision to run his contract down.

    Thanx for researching it. πŸ˜€

  21. C,

    Have you noticed that at this point each year, Arsenal fans stand full of hope of and anticipation, and yet at the same time fitfully aware of calamity always lurking at the fringes.
    The different sections of the fan base will either move forward together enamoured with the team’s successes — or become even more split – if the club’s successes turn out to be smoke and mirrors.

    Look, there is nothing wrong with a little introspection – is there? πŸ˜€

  22. HenryB,

    Not a problem, I know that amongst most supporters and others I have chatted with they tended to wonder why he left on a free so I figured I would dig into it. It actually reminds me of the times when I was growing up on futbol and hearing less about the transfer non-sense that takes place and instead from time to time the club, the player and the supporters understanding and being okay mutually with a player leaving.

    The other thing that endeared me to Sead, was that I constantly read both supporters reports and German outlets talking about how he is a player that engulfs himself into the culture and history of a club and is more a supporter who happens to be a quality futboler as opposed to a quality futboler who is there to collect a pay check.

  23. HenryB,

    I have started to notice it more last season and now this season and its the strangest thing because its as though we all know that we have quality players like Ozil, Sanchez, Bellerin, Sead, Lacazette, Xhaka, Nacho, etc. that are all capable of beating anybody in the PL and lifting the title, but we have also seen that when things start to turn for the worst, they go really bad really quickly.

    I for one will always go into a season with hope knowing that success is there to be had, but I also know that we are 1-2 injuries away from it all go to shit. The thing that doesn’t help is it seems year in and year out there is always something: the summer we only signed Cech when the PL was there to be had, then last years debacle of the Arsene situation and now the contracts of Sanchez, Ozil and to a lesser extent Ox, Ramsey and Jack.

    I truly do feel that we are one good summer of any sort of stability from really having a good run of 2,3 or 4 seasons of challenging for the title but until that stability its all hope and the roller coaster ride of being close but not close enough.

    Damn you Arsenal! πŸ˜‰

  24. I knew they would struggle to win that. How annoying that I said I thought this England team could be very special indeed. And there they are – only 3rd in the world rankings! Tut.

  25. There are no really great teams in cricket at present but England at home are pretty invincible across the course of a test series.
    Add in Woakes and we have 4 genuine all-rounders – with Johnny Bairstow batting down at seven, that’s pretty mental.
    Man of the Series, Moeen, continues to make fools of the doubters – what a delightful cricketer and human he is.
    Work to be done on finding the last few pieces but Westley looked okay (unconvinced by Malan, Jennings and, in particular, Ballance).
    Hameed will be back once he has found some country form, or for the winter tour.

  26. HenryB,

    If the reports of Barca being interested in Lemar as a backup to Coutinho are true, well then it won’t help the fan base any as they will view it as another ‘dillying of Arsenal’ in thw transfer market.

    Luckily there are other options still available.

  27. Jonny,

    We really need to find an opener to partner Cooke, Jennings has had ample opportunity to nail down the position but has signally failed to do so. Now even Moeen Ali is being suggested for the opener spot.

  28. As stated I think the long term answer will be Hameed.
    I wouldn’t play Ali there personally – in one days okay but not in a Test.

  29. After keeping a close eye on him all match yesterday, I’m 100% certain I’d rather have Elneny in my team than Ramsey.

  30. If reports of Barca chasing Seri are true, I think Arsene should really take a long look and enquire about the services of one Sergi Roberto who would be an excellent upgrade over our current midfield options to pair with Xhaka.

  31. If we are looking into wingers, with the arrival of Neymar, we should take a look at getting Lucas Moura! He would be an upgrade over Ox but also allow for us to have a ready made replacement when/if Sanchez leaves on a free next summer.

  32. Hameed has a problem, Jonny – and how are you? πŸ™‚

    It seems that he has been caught in an unenviable position. After being rested because of his injury, it is ‘reported’ that his father has not agreed with the England batting coaches, and is telling him to do things differently.

    The result is his county form has gone to pot – which is self evident from his scoring record this season – and until he makes his mind up whether to fully go with his father’s wishes – or to stay with the England coaches and buy into their advice he could be one of those who promised to be great but blinked out.

  33. C,

    Once we read that Barca with their huge Neymar money are now after both Lemar and Seri we can forget those protracted negotiations, for both of them — in which case your suggestions are better than most. πŸ™‚

  34. Being a Middx man – I would put Gubbins’ name up there. Solid, reliable and not flashy – perfect opening batsman.

    Go Gubbins!! πŸ˜€

  35. @Henry B,
    Persevere with the Yorkie boys and you won’t go far wrong. The selectors must have more patience and lessen the pressure on the recruits for 2 and 3. Ballance is worth another chance. He’s hit form after being made skipper of Yorkshire.
    Alternatively open with Bairstow and Root with Stokes at 3 lol. πŸ˜‰

  36. Yup – pre-season but for me that was one of his best performances. Very robust and dynamic.

    Pistol Fish:
    After keeping a close eye on him all match yesterday, I’m 100% certain I’d rather have Elneny in my team than Ramsey.

  37. Well, I did say long-term – I recognise Hameed is unpickable in current form.
    He is very young, plenty of time to iron out the kinks.

    Stoneman is a great option and he was unlucky not to get picked this summer but maybe his age counted against him.

  38. Ballance? You’re having a laugh.
    He has been exposed technically and looked lost at sea and was only saved further embarrassment by injury – worst player of the series.
    Never again.

  39. I think you guys are being unfair to Ballance.
    Since his selection as Yorkshire skipper, he has had a remarkable improvement in his batting.
    Currently lying second in the County averages, he has had 11 innings with 3 not outs, scoring 815 runs, averaging 101.88. Highest score 203.
    I think he deserves another go, against the Windies. πŸ˜‰

  40. Plenty of players have been great at county level and not good enough for tests.
    He has plenty of chances but has been found out –
    27, 4, 20, 34.
    Pretty woeful return considering his county scores.

  41. Those scores, admittedly poor, were made before he was made County captain and regained a bit of form. Give him another chance. πŸ˜‰

  42. Well it isn’t up to me but, he was in great nick when he was brought in, and for now, I think the selectors have seen enough of GB.
    I imagine he could do a job against WI but it’s not exactly the sternest test.

  43. Pistol Fish,

    C,

    Elneny over Ramsey, yes.

    A while ago I joked with a friend about the football equivalent of “The Leftovers” (the show where a few per cent of humans inexplicably disappear overnight).

    If you stop and think, there are numerous players (across all clubs) who if evaporated overnight, would not be particularly missed.

    Specific to Arsenal if Ramsey or Wilshere were not seen in an Arsenal shirt again, I am not convinced it would make any noticable difference.

  44. Well, depends upon the context mate.
    Ramsey did score 2 winning goals in the FA Cup.
    Is it worth it to you?
    It is to me as we needed a lot more than Ramsey to win the EPL in those years, D was horrible, and injuries basically ruined any chances for a title push.

  45. Indeed he did.

    And Ramsey’s goal against Galatasary was one of the most stunning goals I’ve ever seen.

    But I am not talking highlight reel moments, I am talking game in and out. Ramsey has many more games where he is ineffective rather than effective and I geniunely do not feel he would be missed.

    For what its worth, I have posed the best thing that could happen for Ramsey and Wilshere is a move to a team with more structure as I’m sure they would develop further. They are two examples of players who have simply plateaued at AFC.

  46. It’s all gone bit funny Yogi. Comments box above the comments. If it was intentional, a brilliant idea of course. Otherwise can we get back to the old layout? Please, pretty please.

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