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…?