A Last-Minute Winner? It Must Be Burnley

Burnley 0 – 1 Arsenal

Gruffalo Voicebox was not a happy man. He lashed around post-match, accusing the referee of giving a penalty because Arsenal is a big club, before admitting that Lee Mason was right to award the spot-kick. All manner of frustration surfaced and fair play to him, Gruffalo Voicebox didn’t blame Tarka the Otter in public for a blatant and stupid shove on Aaron Ramsey as the final whistle was close to sounding.

Whether he was so forgiving in the dressing room, I’m guessing probably not.

Arsenal left Turf Moor with three points from a match we didn’t deserve to win. We didn’t deserve to lose either before you ask. Burnley’s position in the table isn’t the result of a kind fixture list; they were hard-working and knew their gameplan to the letter.

They had their moments but beyond a shot Cech tipped onto the post, I’m struggling to recall a moment of genuine concern they caused. We weren’t much better. Our attacking intent, hidden under a bushel in the first half became evident in the second but it manifested more in half-chances than genuine danger.

Moments when we should have done better rather than forcing Pope – who looked a tidy goalkeeper, by the way – to comfortably collect the ball or prepare to take a goal kick. In the final third, we were awful for the most part. And Mesut Özil wouldn’t have made a blind bit of difference to that.

Anything of Note to Talk About?

Alex Iwobi came in with Jack Wilshere kicking his heels on the touchline until his introduction midway through the second half. The midfield became more dynamic in terms of snapping at Burnley and we took control of the game.

Arsène observed that “he did alright when he came on because he had that little burst to be dangerous.”

“I think he is focused, determined and that’s what we want from him,” he continued. “We play so many games that he is getting up and stronger in every game.”

Özil will be “a little short” for Huddersfield on Wednesday, so I hope Wilshere is given his chance to stake a claim in the side. If he doesn’t start at least one of the next two home games – United follow The Terriers into town – then if I were Jack, I’d assume that I don’t have a first team role to play.

In sections of the media, Arsenal’s late arrival at the ground is an issue. According to the Heil, it’s unforgivable. That’ll teach Arsenal Twitter to take one of their hacks to task and more. It’s “unforgivable” because it left the Heil hack at yesterday’s game disappointed. His claret and blue tears stained his programme, just to dampen his mood further.

Three points was the order of the day and three points were achieved. It was much of a muchness, the fixture; more akin to Cologne than last weekend but in the context of the season, it was good to build on the NLD momentum.  With Huddersfield at home, we have the genuine prospect of going into next Saturday’s match with some good results behind us and that’s all that matters.

If It Happened Before 1992, It Didn’t Happen At All

Paul Davis, very much an undersung member of the 1989 and 1991 title-winning squads, writes in the Heil this morning that the former squad would be more than a match for Manchester City.

I think he’s right; the 1989 squad was on a par with City. The Premier League champions-elect are playing a flowing football but defensively, they are shocking. Graham’s first champions weren’t as flowing as City going forward but as Liverpool found out on 26th May 1989, they were hard-working, skilful and fighters.

Disciplined defensively, I’d suggest City might score once but defensively, Guardiola’s team wouldn’t have coped with Smith and the service he received. Brian Marwood was the most consistently accurate crosser of a ball since George Armstrong. Merson and Rocastle were equally adept at providing for the league’s leading scorer that season.

Davis looks at De Bruyne and compares him to Hoddle. It’s an easy mistake to make; the Belgian is more akin to David Rocastle with his fighting spirit. It’s all about opinions…Then again, I think the 1991 squad would wipe the floor with City, so there you go.

Finally, the much-promised Record of the Week post did arrive on Dad’s Jukebox yesterday. Does Noel Gallagher fare any better than the three-letter review of Liam Gallagher’s solo lp…?

’til Tomorrow.

56 thoughts on “A Last-Minute Winner? It Must Be Burnley

  1. No stream so watched BBC teletext or whatever they call it now.. Stats seemed to look good but the highlights on MoTD were fairly even.

    ref the pelanty – the guy who pushed Ramsay dives and pushes two handed.. dumb.

  2. Morning YW that game was utterly booting with the last minute winner being the highlight, nothing like a last minute winner to make a poo game feel like the best thing since sliced bread.
    I have to say Dyche deserves all the credit he gets for how Burnley are punching above their weight.
    They do have an old fashioned hard working style that will frustrate many teams into submission.
    I felt he was honest about the penalty too, it must be unbelievably disappointing to loose that way….
    But from our perspective with the way the results panned out we have had a fantastic weekend.
    Everything is as it should be with us ahead of the spuds.

  3. Good post YW, thanks for your sterling efforts, never miss a day, speaking of Sterling much being made of his improvement with Guardiola, he is 21 been around football since he was a child hard to believe he hadn’t been told about body shape before now, was he not listening, or maybe his coaches hadn’t heard of it either,

  4. I’ve just watched whatever highlights there were, it seems we were under the cosh for much of the first half with Burnley chasing and harrying quite effectively. They slowed down a bit as they tired in the second half and as result we got more time on the ball, we were able to pressure them and that finally paid off with the shove in the back for Ramsey. He duly collapsed and the ref quite rightly, by today’s standards, awarded the penalty.

    I have to say that, back in the day, a push like that wouldn’t have moved a striker let alone dumped him on his face. Still, that’s football today.

    The important thing is we got the three points which moved us above the Sorry Spuds. Wembley Hoodoo? It’s alive and kicking! 😈

  5. I didn’t see the game, so it sounds like I got off lightly. Last minute penalty to win – I’ll take that. Now more of the same please!

  6. Ah the 88/89 and 90/91 sides’ – *wells up with happy memories*

    …as for yesterday, another dross performance.

    Thankfully Lee Mason is definitely our ‘ying’ to Mike Dean’s supposed ‘yang’!

  7. @Damon

    Its actually one if the things he said, he only played when somebody got injured and he would play well then when we would lose he would get blamed and get dropped.

    I think he is one of those CB’s that isn’t most people’s cup of tea but just goes out and is effective.

  8. Saw the game with Myanmar commentary on a HUGE old Chinese brand TV (pre flat screen) in my hotel room in lovely Hpa’An (not a spelling mistake). Had no idea Ozil wasn’t playing until the 2nd half – assumed he disappeared on the field. Fell asleep from minute 65 -87…as I’d lost interest in the Myanmar commentators hilarious attempts at pronouncing Laurent Koscielny. Yeah, I feel guilty cuz I’ve learned but one Myanmarese word since I’ve been here. It might have been the U$1.50 from the minibar. Probably was the beer because it must have been the alcohol that made me think I’d seen Jack Wilshere on the pitch.

  9. Watched the match, we got 3 points, Jack made an appearance and those are the highlights.

    Yogi I tip my hat to you for banging out 1000 words from that performance.

  10. Great post Yogi.

    Other then the Everton game we have not been very good away from home and yesterday was no exception. However, credit where its due and keeping a clean sheet was huge and allowed us to take advantage of their mistake. 3 points is all that matters.

    I thought it was a legitimate penalty to call. If that same thing would have happened to us I guarantee the conspiracy theorist would have claimed it was a dive. The frustrating thing is that whether or not it would have been called a penalty is basically random and depends on whether the ref might have been screened by another player or if has the proper angle to see if the push really happened. If he does not have the proper angle or he was partially screened then he would have to base the decision on the Ramseys reaction and he would basically be forced to guess. The reason players push like that is they know they can usually get away with it. To me it’s frustrating that getting the correct decision on the games only true critical play is based on random chance but that is part of football and we will win some and lose some. In the end I think the good luck and the bad luck come reasonably close to cancelling each other out.

  11. Bill,

    From the angles I’ve seen it was a push, the Burnley manager agreed it was a penalty. The ref did not hesitate to award it. Therefore there can be no dispute.

    Whether or not the push was of such force as to cause a fit active player to fall on his face is open to question, but as I said in an earlier comment, that’s today’s football.

  12. C

    We did not keep Gabriel because he was not very good for us and we needed to dump wages and we had to many CB’s and he was marketable. I doubt that any team would keep 7 CB’s and Nacho on the 25 man roster when you usually only use 3 of those CB’s on any match day roster. You don’t rotate CB’s and right now we still have Holding, Mert and Chambers as back ups. If we still had Gabriel he probably would not even be on the match day squad in most high leverage games. That seems pretty straight forward.

  13. Pushing and shirt tugging and wrapping the arms around the attacking players happens all the time and in theory they are all legitimate penalties but I suspect that they are rarely called because most of the time the ref does not have a good view and he can’t watch where the ball is going and the players at the same time.

  14. Afternoon,

    Mason gave Burnley a free kick for a similar push by Mustafi on Barnes minutes before. If it was enough of an offence to be deemed a free kick to them, it had to be a penalty for us.

  15. C:

    Yogi I tip my hat to you for banging out 1000 words from that performance.

    Quality too, not just quality. Am in Myanmar and when I travel I eschew all types of mass media EXCEPT good ol’ ACLF. Can’t live without it…..hooked. Thanks Yogi.

  16. Bill,

    Holding’s can’t defend, Chambers hasn’t been able to stay fit and even when he is Arsene plays him as RWB and doesn’t play him in CB. I wasn’t saying we should have kept him (personally I would have) I’m just saying yet AGAIN when a player doesn’t make it at Arsenal or the PL he is deemed ‘not good enough’ but Gabriel has started every match for Valencia since his return from injury, who currently sits 2nd in La Liga and not just again Barca but since his return he has been nothing short of brilliant. I don’t think he was nearly as bad as you think but I think it was his “look and style” that wasn’t always highly thought of which is funny because he is an old school defender.

    Also, Chelsea have Rudiger, Luiz, Cahill, Christensen, Azpilicueta. Arsenal have Mert, Kos, Mustafi, Chambers, Holding and Nacho (I don’t count Debuchy), I also found it funny you say he wouldn’t have made the bench yet, Holding has already been dropped 2X, Chambers again hasn’t been fit, Mert is retiring and Kos is a one mis-step from tearing his Achilles to pieces and being done for the season.

  17. Excellent Post, YW, and as C and others have said – to do so on the back of a very wonderful win — and a dreadful performance takes some doing. 😀

  18. Hi C,

    I have never been able to understand why Gabriel, of all players, was let go at a discounted early Black Friday deal.

    He is rough, tough and full of vigour (look at how he dealt with that nice thug Costa) whereas Holding and Chambers, both of whom have time to improve, are far too nice.

    Not sure he ever had a good run in the team, as he was in and out like a Fidler’s whatnot.

    We have been through all this before, but with Per retiring at the end of the season, Kozzer our one class CB carrying a perpetual injury or two, and will go sooner rather than later, Holding struggling to get a game, and Chambers slated to be let go when his injuries make that possible, we have had to rely on non-CBs like Nacho (who hasn’t been bad, in fairness) and Debuchy — (Debuchy for goodness sake) makes you wonder what else was going on with Gabriel.

    Ridiculous!

  19. Good´day,

    I did watch the second 45 yesterday evening (must be a glutten for punishment) even though I was sorely tempted to give it a miss.

    We were better the second 45 and we showed some intent which is more than can be said for the first 45 (utter rubbish ).

    I think Mason missed a pen for us when Brady took out Bellerin in the box (not the ball) and maybe that weighed on his mind when Ramsey went down?

    At least I think the Gruffalo should be reminded that there were more than one call for pens and that they got away with one 🙂

  20. HenryB,

    Yup, its kind of crazy especially when it was at a discount and now you look (I know hindsight is 20/20 but still) he is playing brilliantly and is the key man for a defense that has helped his team up to this point be fighting for the La Liga title only 4 points behind Barca.

    I think, as I said to Bill and Damon, he isn’t what people think of either in style of play or the vaunted ‘eye’ test when it came to CB’s but when he did play he wasn’t nearly as bad as people made him out to be. I would take your Costa and raise you a Lukuka and a Carroll both of whom regularly torture our Kos.

    Mustafi has looked much more like the CB of the first half of last season and not the 2nd half so that is definitely going in our favor and he played brilliantly against Spuds and was good against Burnley. Kos is literally a wrong step away from his futboling career possibly being over with that bad Achilles, Mert is retiring and if I’m honest, I worry about Holding’s confidence after being dropped twice from the senior side only to play equally as poorly in the U23’s. Chambers really is the great unknown, on loan last season he was widely praised and his performance for England only made those praises that much louder but for Arsenal, I’m not sure WTF Arsene is doing. Lucky for him Nacho is as consistently superb as they come and Kos is able to do it just enough. Debuchy, he is a non-starter topic for me.

    It will be interesting to see who starts at CB’s on Wednesday especially with Kos NEEDING to be saved for the weekend, this is exactly when Gabriel would have been brilliant.

  21. On Gabriel…. he never looked confident, Holding is having the typical softmore season he hasn’t become turd overnight. It seems wilshere will not be playing cm which I think is a shame better than the likes of Elneny and Coquelin but tbh I’m just happy to see him get decent game time.

  22. No team will keep more then 5 CB’s on their 25 man roster and most teams have only 3 CB’s in their match day 18. Right now we have Kos, Mustafi, Mert, Holding and Chambers which means at least 1 and perhaps 2 can’t make the bench on match days. There was no room in the squad for a 6th senior CB.

    Last season everyone was absolutely raving about Holding and his awesome potential so Mert and Holding were going to start the season as #3 and #4 behind Mustafi and Kos in the CB pecking order. For the last 3 years everyone has been talking how much potential Chambers has and how good he was last season on loan. Gabriel was never that good for us and most would argue that Chambers probably has more long term value. Gabriel and Chambers were the clear bottom 2 of the CB pecking order. If reports are true Arsene make inquiries about selling Chambers but someone needed to go and Gabriel still had some value in the transfer market.

  23. As far as I know both Holding and Chambers are healthy and neither made the match day 18 yesterday because teams don’t start with 2 CB’s on the bench. Gabriel would have filled the Chambers role if Arsene would have sold Chambers instead of Gabriel.

  24. Bill,

    Chambers was just back in training from his injury on Wednesday, don’t forget that little nugget. Anyways, I don’t know how all of this came about, all I said was its funny how Gabriel is playing so well for Valencia and was arguably MOTM against Barca .

  25. Maitland-Niles made the match day squad ahead of Elneny. You can only have 2 back up central midfielders on the bench and I guess Maitland-Niles is a better option then Elneny as a back up wing back. I think Maitland-Niles has done a good job as a square peg in the unfamiliar role of wing back on the cup and Europa League squads.

    Realistically we need Elneny in the squad because Ramsey and Wilshere are both injury prone. However, from the standpoint of his career, Elneny would have been better off accepting the transfer to a mid or lower table team that Arsene had set up last summer. Giroud would probably be a regular starter with Everton and he also would have been better off moving. My guess is that the wage drop made those moves unpalatable for both players.

  26. C

    You had mentioned that you thought Arsene made another big mistake by selling Gabriel. That may turn out to be true in retrospect but Arsene has to make decisions without the use of a retrospectoscope and prospectively the move made a lot of sense. IMO

    I have no problem with criticizing Arsene but we have try and understand the reason behind a move like that. If we are not fair and we don’t try to look at both sides then our criticism has very little credibility.

  27. C

    Fair enough about Chambers injury but I doubt that he will move ahead of Holding in the pecking order. However, no matter which of those 2 is the front runner, I doubt that either Holding or Chambers will make the match day 18 in the high leverage games.

  28. Bill,

    My comment was made about Gabriel (take into account when Gabriel was sold, it was after Holding had been dropped both times to start the season, Kos was still injured, Mustafi wasn’t ‘back, Chambers was injured) but also I could be right, we will know soon enough.

    I was literally just congratulating Gabriel on widely being considered one of the signings of the summer in La Liga and playing superbly since his arrival for a 2nd place team in La Liga.

  29. Anyways, Jack must start Wednesday if he is to have any future at Arsenal. If Iwobi does get the nod then Jack knows where his future lies. The other thing will be who starts in midfield, I’m assuming Elneny or Le Coq or both start but if Arsene wants Ramsey to stay fit, then he can’t start Wednesday and then on the weekend.

  30. It’s to be hoped that either, or if we’re lucky both, Chambers and Holding will mature sufficiently to take over from Koscielny when he finally goes. They probably have the rest of this season and maybe the next to make the transition from back-ups to first team starters.

    Can we rely on Wenger not to flog Mustafi if a decent offer comes in? Perhaps after being put up for sale last summer he will look to leave next summer.

  31. Silver

    When you say; “On Gabriel…. he never looked confident, Holding is having the typical softmore season he hasn’t become turd overnight.”

    Who said he was having a sophomore season (he has hardly played) and who said he was a ‘turd’? What an unfortunate term!! Yeuk.

  32. By the way, the English FA fucking showed how incompetent they are with the whole Lukuka situation. Okay, maybe he gets away with it for the first kick, but to kick out at a player TWICE in CLEAR view of cameras with the ball nowhere around and the FA decides, “Nope, no punishment needed” is fucking laughable and again they should all be tared and feathered!

  33. So let me get this right, the fucking FA will give you a retrospective suspension for diving but pushing a ref or kicking out at a player TWICE you get nothing but a, “please don’t do it again, pretty please”

  34. C,

    Quote. “The Football Association referred it to three ex-Premiership referees to independently review the incident.”

    “They each had to agree it was a sending off offence for action to be taken. This was not the case”.

  35. C,

    That’s what I understand, fee agreed etc, so selling Gabriel didn’t strike me as if the club/ manager had a clear plan last summer…

  36. C, not sure why the Mustafi deal broke down (maybe Arsene changed his mind) but I think Chambers to Palace went south because of salary.

  37. Orson Kaert,

    Which makes it even more laughable when you consider that players are being sent out for even “intent” of some slide tackles let alone actually connecting, yet Lukuka can CLEARLY kick a player twice and refs and the FA can’t agree it was a red card offense.

    If I was Zidane, I would build a time machine and take those 3 refs with me back to the World Cup, replace the ones that we had in the Final and only receive a yellow or a ‘talking’ to for head-butting that Italian; that way we (France) can win the World Cup and me and Henry can walk off the international stage as 2 time World Cup Champions

  38. Allevkev

    I suspect Arsene would have sold been Ok with selling either Chambers or Gabriel or may be even both. Gabriel probably brought a bigger transfer fee and he most likely had a higher wage so it made sense to move him.

    Clearly Mustafi was a first choice CB and the loan or transfer rumors made no sense. My guess is that Arsene had to get rid of one CB and he wanted to decrease the total wage bill and shopping Mustafi was a last resort in case the Gabriel sale fell through. The Mustafi rumors went away after Gabriel was sold and Mustafi moving right back into his role as 1st choice.

    Both Elneny and Giroud are decent squad players and I suspect the attempt to sell them was a wage dump but neither cooperated.

  39. allezkev,

    Exactly my point, we were on the verge of selling Mustafi, Chambers and Gabriel; I guess the plan was to go with a back 3 of Debuchy/Kos/Nacho

    Just did some digging to refresh my memory and apparently the deal broke down with Mustafi because there was a set price then Arsenal asked for more at the last moment and it all went to shit

  40. So are we likely to see:

    Cech
    Chambers—Mustafi—–Nacho
    Bellerin—Elneny—Ramsey/Xhaka/Le Coq—-Sead
    —–Welbeck—-Giroud—-Jack

    Given who started and the fact that I doubt Arsene would play some of the players all 3 matches in one week, that is the line-up or some of the line-up I would think Arsene would play but then again, who the fuck really knows

  41. allevkev

    I think Arsène needed to move one CB and I doubt he would have sold both Mustafi and Gabriel. However that late in the transfer window he apparently needed a back up plan in case he could not sell Gabriel which is probably where the Mustafi rumors came from.

  42. Chambers Elneny and Giroud would all probably have been first choice if they had been willing to take wage cuts and move to another team. I don’t really blame any player for being reluctant to take a big wage cut.

  43. C,

    You couldn’t have said it any better. I just wonder how stupid a coach would sell a defender of Gabriels caliber based on mediocrity like holding,debuchy etc. Selling Gabriel was a joke

  44. Bill,

    Well he had a strong end to the season and was instrumental in the winning the FACup, he’s still young and defenders tend to mature later in their careers, I’m sure he’ll come back and be better for it.

  45. Morning folks,

    I pinched this from one of my favourite blog sites – hope they do not mind — but it is a wonderful story!

    Twitter thread
    Jacques Joseph‏

    Arsenal’s class is international.

    I am a “soccer” coach in New York and last summer we hold our preseason camp at the Golden Goal Residence in Upstate New York. Golden Goal host many teams and organizations, including the Arsenal Academy Camp (Arsenal School USA).

    Arsenal’s camp was being held while I was there with my team. They had top classes coaches replicating the coaching from Hale End and London Colney. I witnessed some sessions and they were very impressive. Kids who registered for that camp had the new kit before it came out.

    There was also an organization/camp that same week who brought underprivileged kids from the Bronx to Golden Goal so they could experience a residential camp experience out of the city. Those kids were so happy to be there and were living a dream.

    When the organization learned Arsenal was there, they humbly ask Arsenal Academy if their coaches could give those young kids one afternoon session. Can you imagine those kids coming back home telling their parents they were coach for one session by Arsenal coaches?

    Arsenal not only said yes, but took it to an higher and unexpected level. They ACTUALLY ADDED ALL THE KIDS TO THEIR OWN RESIDENTIAL CAMP FOR FREE!!! Those underprivileged kids got top coaching from Arsenal for a week and went back to their neighborhood with the new kit!!

    Some of the kids were crying and most of them could not believe it! Some kids thought it was a prank lol. Let me tell you it was very moving and I was very proud of the club I support… although I wished I would have got that kit too lol!!

    Proud to be a Gooner!!

    Thanx, Chas 🙂

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