Patchy Arsenal Take Deserved Three Points

Arsenal 2 – 1 Burnley

Sean Dyche chatted sh*t after the game about simulation. Of course he did; his team lost.

The real target of his ire was his own player’s stupidity. Instead of criticising Ashley Barnes stupidity, he thought Sead Kolasinac an easy target. Not that he mentioned him by name; he’s seen the video.

Barnes pulled Kola, no doubt about the contact. In those circumstances, with Whistle-Happy Dean in control, it was always going to be a free-kick. I’d have been cross if Kola hadn’t tumbled, knowing the final whistle was imminent.

We haven’t indulged in that kind of sh*housery since Peter Storey had his ‘666’ birthmark removed.

The Gruffalo is a plank, pure and simple. No player sat there thinking, “Oooh, I’ve got one warning about sh*thousery; I’ll just collect a booking and subsequent club fine” simply because that yellow card puts them one mistimed tackle from a red.

Still, you have to admire Dyche’s willingness to charge into Pulis’ throne as Goonerverse’s pantomime villain. It’s been kinda boring without one. Mustafi doesn’t count before you ask; his is unintentional villainy.

Football wisdom has it that winning whilst playing badly is the sign of champions. We won’t be champions; we didn’t play badly for a start, just in patches. We’re still finding our way into the season, with spells of numbing football – preseason football – surfacing.

Next weekend, we need a leap in our intensity, in concentration. Liverpool’s prayers that Alisson will recover seem set to be unanswered so their defence is as vulnerable as ours. Anyone for a 5 – 4 cracker? I’m just not certain who will win.

Leno’s distribution yesterday was inconsistent; poor under the pressure exerted from goal-kicks, better with time on his hands. It will improve with confidence as he gets used to the new era of football.

Let’s Talk About The Match

There are lies, damn lies and football statistics. Burnley had twice as many shots on goal but half the number of ours on target. Which of the two stats are you happier with?

Of course, it’s the latter; the only one which matters is, as ever, the final score. 2 – 1 might have been 3 – 1 were it not for those pesky officials who spotted Nacho Monreal’s toenail being offside. VAR and the lino conspired against leaving Reiss Nelson, quiet otherwise, still waiting for his first Arsenal goal.

He nearly got us out of gaol; we’d thrown away the deserved lead given to us by Alexandre Lacazette. That was a penalty, by the way; maybe the Gruffalo needs to worry about the stupid fouls his team are giving away.

The concern with the Burnley’s goal is how easily we were susceptible to the counter-attack. Last season hasn’t ended yet, has it? The issue is clouded with Emery playing without a defensive midfielder. No, that’s not a cheap jibe at Granit Xhaka; he wasn’t fit.

That was a cheap jibe at Granit Xhaka, however.

Which brings us to the enjoyable points of yesterday and that was most of the game. Certainly, the bits when Dani Ceballos is in possession. I’m far from being the only one who wants Real Madrid to go on a spending spree to the point where he has no future at the Bernabeu.

He has a very bright one at the Emirates. So bright, match tickets ought to come with shades.

Victory came thanks to a goal apiece for Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Naturally, two assists for Ceballos. The first from a corner which found an Arsenal player, which is something worth celebrating in itself.

I Cannot Think Of A Better Home Debut

The closest any Burnley defender got to Dani Ceballos all afternoon

Lacazette ignored the distraction of a marauding Monreal to control the ball and as he was hauled to the ground, turned and shot powerfully through the Pope’s legs. There’s a catholic joke in there somewhere, screaming to stay in. I’ll oblige this morning.

The second is the dogged determination that inspires others. Ceballos, unusually, ceded possession cheaply. Before Gudmonsson settled on the ball and thought about a counterattack, Ceballos was on him and winning the ball back.

Aubameyang said “thank you very much” and flew at the Clarets defence before scoring with some aplomb from the edge of the area. Game over.

Everything Ceballos touched turned goldish in colour. He rarely wasted possession with quick feet and an even quicker mind evident. Dribbling, passing; you name it, he was a wide range of everything.

The only genuine improvement is in his finishing and even then, the willingness to shoot from anywhere is at once refreshing and a blessed relief.

His ball control is mesmerising. The synthetic pigskin is glued to his boot the moment he brings it under his spell, ready to cast magic with an ease that makes Harry Potter puke.

He treats the ball reverentially. It isn’t a hot potato, it is caressed through his strides; never so far ahead that he loses control, never so close that he falls over it. It is just there; tantalising opponents with glimpses, in the same way, Robert Pires taunted the Premier League all those years ago.

If David Luiz is a defensive inspiration, Ceballos occupies a god-like status.

I cannot think of a more impressive home debut and the rapturous applause which hailed his departure from the action underlines that.

C’mere, There’s More

Nicolas Pepe had to be content with another cameo from the bench. He improved as he got into the game with nutmegs and flashes of pace as he ran at the Burnley defence. A full debut at Anfield? It’s got to be on the cards, especially as we will be playing on the break.

And Luiz was a calming in a back four which was a bit jittery. As per usual, that nervousness was of our own making. We’ll get better as the season progresses; we need to by next weekend, if that’s not too much to ask for.

Overall, it’s a good three points to claim; a decent performance but plenty to work on.

To answer the question about comparing six points after two games to none last season; better to look at the corresponding fixtures. We took six then, we have six now; business as usual.

’til Tomorrow.

20 thoughts on “Patchy Arsenal Take Deserved Three Points

  1. Michael says:

    A fair report.
    I think that Luiz was good business in the window, when we could have had Cahill.

  2. Las says:

    Excellent summary Yogi.
    David Luiz had a fairly good game. Burnley equalizing so easely was dusappointing.
    What I don’t understand why we want to see out the games like this, this is not our stronger side, I am more relaxed when we are attacking and scoring goals. It siuits us more.
    Great game with the premium of Ceballos and it is good to see that Laca and PEA are on fire.

  3. Spike says:

    Our defence is bound to be better, not least as we have another back four that could be better…

    Bellerin Chambers Holding Tierney…

    Sean Dyche is trying to be as odious a little Englander as Pubis!!

  4. Saa says:

    Not sure which is better. ..ceballos magic yesterday or today’s post …wonderful stuff

  5. Sheffy says:

    Great post YW! Appreciated the cautious optimism that you concluded with. It feels great to win the opening 2 games but once compared to corresponding fixtures it’s nothing to be excited about.

    Did get me thinking though, I heard we hadn’t won the first 2 fixtures since 2009! How great it feels to not be chasing anyone straight from the off! Arsenal in the media are often noted for the timings that poor form arrives e.g February/March tail off in form etc.

    Thought I would look at who we have failed to beat in the first 2 games since ’09 and I believe it makes for both misery in the memories yet optimism in the fact we have had a good summer and have a balanced looking squad. What does everyone else think??

    09/10 Everton W Blackpool W
    10/11 Liverpool D Blackpool W
    11/12 Newcastle D Liverpool L
    12/13 Sunderland D Stoke D
    13/14 Aston V L Fulham W
    14/15 C Palace W Everton D
    15/16 West Ham L C Palace W
    16/17 Liverpool L Leicester D
    17/18 Leicester W Stoke L
    18/19 Man City L Chelsea L

    Looking at that I actually think 6 points from 2 is excellent, no matter what results we achieved in those games last year

  6. Kadeet says:

    Good post and wonderful result yesterday. Bring on Liverpool, I believe this team is up to the task.

  7. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Nice stuff as per , YW.

    The Ginger Dalek really does get paranoid when his honest , brave boys take on flaky, cheating , southern softies. He needs to take a couple of chill pills.

    Whilst Ceballos was superb yesterday I think it’s important not to expect too much too soon. Looking back just 12 months there were similar comments after Torreira’s early appearances.

  8. JonJon says:

    great result yesterday

    good review.

    one thing i’d like to mention over the last two games weve come up against inept refs and shithousery from the oppo. i would suggest these are reasons (as well as the rebuilt squad) for our lack of free flowing football.

    over the years weve come up against such opponents (and refs) played the beautiful game of death by 1000 passes and lost. argued for years that we need to learn to win ugly. we were too one dimensional with no other gameplan than to expect teams to stand their and let us pass it into the net. needed to find another dimension to our game.

    doing that now

    6 from 6 under the circumstances for the first time in 10 years is a great start.

    and i think those of who have watched ceballos play at the u21s knew we had a gem of a player. nothing against rambo but twice the player he is, offers so much more, and ozil too. the complete package in midfield. like others im hoping his loan here is successful and he falls in love with the club and pushes for a permanent move next summer – which should be achieved if madrid need to fund a pogba or someone. finger crossed

    pepe will show us what hes about next – im not sure about anfield – i think we’ll get spanked – which is why the 6/6 are important at this stage but the game after should be interesting – emery had pochatinos number last season – with a better squad and ceballos, pepe, laca, PEA starting i think we’ll fuck em good.

  9. Bill says:

    Great post Yogi

    One of the complaints about the latter half of the Wenger era is the fact that he did not take the first couple games of the season seriously and we consistently dropped points. 6 points from the first 2 games is a great start to the season. I recognize that Newcastle and Burnley are both bottom 1/2 of the table teams and neither has a lot of firepower but the fact that we have only conceded 1 goal and already won and away game is certainly encouraging.

    Regarding Ceballos I agree with Paulie’s comment at 1:49. I long ago ran out of fingers and toes to keep count of how many times we have gotten excited about a player after an adrenaline fueled strong start only to see them hit a plateau that is not nearly as high as we hoped. Torriera is just one example of dozens and dozens. Life in the PL catches up with players. That said I certainly hope Ceballos can help us this season. In about 125 minutes of playing time he already has 2/3 of the total number of assists that Mesut Ozil had in the entire season last year.

  10. jonnygunner says:

    Afternoon all…..lovely balanced write up YW.
    I don’t think it’s too soon to be waxing lyrical about Dani boy at all-he’s very different to our little number 11 altogether.I can’t see him waning-having watched him on his two appearances I genuinely think he’ll stay at that level.
    He’s absolutely everywhere-demanding the ball,he’s got Velcro on his boots,and big flat feet just like Bobby Pires !
    He really just makes things happen and I think we’re bloody fortunate to have him for a year.

  11. C says:

    Top stuff Yogi!

    That performance by Ceballos is exactly what he used to do at Betis and the sort of performance that shows what we have been missing since Santi. A player in the pivot who links play but can plan in tight quarters but jot afraid to stick his nose on. Absolute class!

    Alway great to see Lacazette and Aubameyang get goals. Lacazette again with superb close control and a calm head and Aubameyang picking it up and burying it. Pepe showed his quality and was it just me, or does he make everything look effortless despite moving so quickly.

    Good stuff Willock too who continues to show growth and that he physically is ready coupled with the skill and talent.

  12. C says:

    Guendouzi needs credit too because he did all the dirty work and between he, Torriera, Willock and Ceballos…not sure how Xhaka should get back as they are all better on the half turn and in close quarters but also keeps thing moving much faster.

  13. Dukey says:

    Oh no, change know we don’t like change Yogi.

  14. Damon says:


    Like the new layout YW, but I wonder if it will hold my details for the next time I want to post?

  15. JersiBennyman says:


    Well, we never lost first two games like last season too, my cents

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