Rambo Returns and it’s 1-0 to the Arsenal

May 1, 2011 14 Comments by Sian

I think it’s fair to say there were two feelings among fans going into the match against Manchester United at the Emirates today. One feeling was one of blind terror at knowing that, yes, it was probably absolutely possible we would dominate posession yet somehow lose to one single goal scored by something as freakish as a header by a passing pigeon. The other feeling was that we would probably win.

And win we did. It may matter to many that it’s too little, too late. It may also matter to some that this was good for Chelsea – and believe you me I hate that team, I really do. But I don’t really care about either, because today was a great result, a great win and a great performance from the whole team. Very, very much needed after the utter misery of the past few weeks.

One single goal was the difference and it came from the most attractive of sources, Mr. Not Broken Any More Ramsey! Rambo started the match today thanks to an injury to el capitan Cescito in training yesterday, and he started as he meant to go on. At half time all talk was of how well he and Jack were working together and of how exciting a partnership they could prove to be in future. Aaron has only started two matches since last February when Ryan Shawcrunch put in the tackle that kept him out for so long, so matches like today are important in getting him back to level he was getting to pre-leg mangle.

We played well throughout, Ramsey, Koscielny and Song our stand-out players. United were just starting to get the upper hand in the game when Ramsey eventually put us ahead and ended our parched desert of a scoring-at-home-from-open-play dry spell in the 56th minute. The work was almost entirely RvP’s, Robin having burst down the right hand side before cutting back to Ramsey for the Welshman to put it in van der Sar’s net. Kind of Arshavin versus Barcelona-esque, no?

‘And it’s van Persie… can he go all the way here… looks for Ramseeeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyy’

They even celebrated in the same corner! Anyway, good goal especially since it came from a player just SHOOTING FOR CHRIST’S SAKE after so many matches of not doing so. Given it was only the 56th minute, however, there was still plenty of time for something ridiculous to have happened. Like the goal to have collapsed, knocking Szczesny out cold. Like all four of our defenders to have run into each other, breaking various cheekbones, collarbones and foreheads. Like Wayne Rooney to have closed his mouth and stopped whinging for more than 15 seconds. Oh, I do like my imagination to run wild!

Actually, in the 68th, Johan Djourou DID fall awkwardly and have to leave the pitch injured, being replaced by Sebastien Squillaci. Do we think he likes getting injured against Man United or something perhaps? Poor bloke. We’ll see how that injury pans out over the next few days. In the closing twenty minutes of the game, United had a few more attempts but Szczesny did his best to wind them up by catching everything that came his way and being generally good and tall throughout. United brought on Berbatov, we brought on Eboue. Eboue and Squillaci: that is one deep bench. (sorry guys)

Man United also got a free kick in pretty much the last minute of extra time, which could so easily have gone straight in or have rebounded for a penalty shout as it tends to do against teams from the North West, but the gods were finally on our side today and it didn’t. We finished with three points and a great performance under our belt.

The other talking points of the match included of course the exclusion of Cesc in the squad. The manager said he was injured in training and there’s no reason to believe that’s not the truth. Tabloids have suggested Cesc may have had a difficult week personally over the past seven days, but I highly doubt that this would cause Cesc to rule himself out of a match. Remember this is the chap who played very shortly after losing his grandfather a season or two ago. So let’s give the speculation a rest. If Wenger says he was injured, he was injured. Those questioning his commitment to the team after missing this match need to cast their minds back to a few weeks ago when they criticised him for playing not fully fit against Barcelona. You can’t complain both ways. It’s also the man who gave us a chance in hell against that very team the year before by scoring us an equalising penalty with a broken leg. If he’s physically fit, he wants to play.

During the match, on the other hand, there were a few penalty shouts for both teams. The first occurred in the first half when Nemanja Vidic intercepted a cross from Theo Walcott meant for RvP, with his hand. He looked sheepish, while RvP was smoking from the ears that such a blatant call had gone unseen. From where I was sitting, we failed to see what he was arguing about as it did look as though Vidic had headed it away. Somehow both the referee and the linesman missed this, but it didn’t get punished so let’s move on.

Later on, Clichy brought down Michael Owen in the area and Man United were denied a penalty as well. Could Chris Foy have been evening things up between the teams? Who knows, but all in all the match was another piece of evidence for those calling for video technology to be introduced into the game. That, however, is an entirely different can of worms to sort through, so let’s not get into it now, eh? Match of the Day 2 is on in 13 minutes and I’d really like to get this posted before then… it’s the first one I’ve wanted to watch in months.

Check Ferguson’s post-match interview, by the way. You’ll giggle at his comments regarding both penalty shouts. Vidic’s handball was harder to see than Clichy’s bringing down of Owen, you see. So, the referee’s a little blighter for missing their shout but ‘Ah well fair enough, it was difficult to see’ our shout. Please.

Wenger meanwhile had the usual things to say, but looked a little less ill this time, bless his heart. He and Pat Rice were going absolutely nutty on the touchline in the second half.

‘We had a good performance that had everything in it; discipline, fighting spirit and our usual passing game. Until we scored the goal, I feel we completely controlled the game. Then, because we have not won a lot recently, we tried to protect our advantage and were more under pressure. Overall, I believe we deserved to win the game.’

About fair, I think. Actually, having just had a go at Ferguson’s comments, I’ve just spotted Wenger’s about the Vidic handball under that link. Honestly, that pair! Anyway, the game nearly boiled over a bit when Alex Song was yellow carded but as compared with previous encounters between the two, it was a relatively mild game. Nasri also ended today with a hamstring injury and the boss said Cesc has a chance to be back next Sunday.

That’s about all, in terms of the match. Feelings were largely happy post-match but with a bit of the inevitable ‘what if’, ‘if only’, etc going around. You can keep thinking like that but you’ll get increasingly miserable if you do. Mistakes have been made this season and it’s been a long and winding descent into sadness again, but today was a great boost for a side that was looking a little too like an abused puppy lately for my liking. We’ve asked them to keep fighting until the end and today they did that. Arshavin, who often misses out on credit where it’s due, was excellent today as well. Plus, it’s never not funny seeing Rooney leave the pitch pissed off.

Next up we have Stoke away, with the possibility of Ramsey starting there. Obviously the match will be a difficult one regardless but for him it will be especially testing. He said that today was the happiest moment he’d had since he broke his leg, which was lovely to hear but it’ll be a real test of his character returning to the place where the damage was, literally, done. His performance today will certainly not have done the chances of that any harm at all.

Finally, the atmosphere at the Emirates was great today. Allegedly a lot of people had decided not to show up as a sign of their disgust at the team. Bahahahahaha to those people! Everyone who did show up, however, gave it their all. A couple of the players have mentioned this post-match as well, so it clearly doesn’t go unnoticed. Let’s do a deal: you keep it up, boys, and we’ll do the same, yes/yes? Shake on it? OK BRILLIANT.

*runs away before they can change their minds*


  1. Alan
    2364 days ago

    Glad you had a happy blog to write at last, Siany. Generally, a good performance with some standout displays from Aaron Ramsey, Jack and Alex Song in midfield and Bac and Kosser in defence. In fact everyone was at least up for it with our erstwhile Russian passenger showing what ‘up for it’ really means. If only…


  2. Gary
    2364 days ago

    It must be weird having to right a happy and positive blog after the last few weeks, but good blog as always!!

    Today was a fantastic performance from the whole team which was capped with some outstanding individual performances.

    Ramsey was fantastic. Composed on the ball with some incisive passing and was capped with a good goal. Whatever else I think today he showed why he was rated so highly by the manager and why we fought so hard to sign him. All this with just a few games since he game back fit. I would like to see him play the rest of the remaining games (though not sure about the Stoke match…wouldnt put it past Pulis to have his team “target” him through the match coz they could consider him mentally weak or something). Definetly part of the Arsenal midfield for many years to come.

    I thought Wilshere made some good runs altho I would like to see him take more shots on goal. Van Persie led the front line well and he was very “captainy” today as well, defending his team well when it came to decisions etc. Song made some clumsy challenges today (and does so in dangerous areas far to often) but he also performed his job well and kept Rooney quiet. Song is a much better player and is better for our team when ALL he does is focus on the defensive side of his game and forgets about attacking.

    I thought Szczesney was superb….commanding and had control of his area and saved well when he was called on. Sagna and Koscielny (who made some brilliant interceptions today) were superb in defense..solid, commanding and had the Utd attackers in their pockets all day long. Sagna is 100% consistent game after game and deserves a medal for being so awesome IMO!

    And Arshavin deserves a word for sure – some of his tackling was brilliant and he put in a right shift defensively which is not something you can always say about him. He really lifted the fans.

    And yeah the fans were brilliant today…vocal and that came through on the TV etc. When our fans REALLY get behind the team we have a brillaint home atmosphere. Maybe certain people who didnt bother to turn up today as protest should never come back!! Either way it was brilliant.

    Today doesnt cover up the fact that we still have issues that need sorted at the end of the season. Yet there was some fans on twitter that couldnt even be happy with the win!!! Moaning about why we couldnt do this last week etc etc. Some people cant be happy at all. Frankly if you cant be happy with a good performance and win vs ManUtd then your probably going to be miserable for the rest of your life.

    Plus I dont think any team that can beat Barcelona, ManUtd and Chelsea with some great performances are not a bad team. The foundations are definetly there…some tweaks and changes and I think this team will definetly win a trophy next year.


  3. Uncle Mike
    2364 days ago

    Most satisfying Arsenal win in League play since… since… someone help me out here… 2006 finale?


  4. Andy
    2363 days ago

    It was a good result but as I read elsewhere, Arsenal was playing for pride, which is vastly different than playing under pressure.


  5. akag9
    2363 days ago

    Great post. Agree with Alan. Boys did good. And the “what if” feeling still is there.
    As for pride v. pressure… We’ll never know for this particular game, right. I’d say benefit of the doubt. Want to think that if we’d won in Liverpool game and, say, draw with Bolton we would have still beaten manure.
    Oh well. Let’s win our Stoke game next. One at a time.
    And City is way too close for comfort…


  6. Daniel
    2363 days ago

    Now THAT was pleasant to read… you summed it all up perfectly.

    As a lover of Arsenal, I can safely say that despite not being entirely happy with this season (obvs!), wins like this still feel absolutely thrilling and brilliant. We just need to remember what we can do when we put our minds to it (and when Song doesn’t gallop forward at every opportunity – he was very disciplined and brilliant yesterday).

    I also thought Sagna was fantastic, especially first half and Arshavin was flying in with tackles and being utterly amazing too.

    I know we will come back a stronger team next year and seeing Ramsey play like that just filled me with hope and pride and love.

    Also, GET OUT THE BLOODY WAY REF YOU %^&%^^%*%$%!



  7. Girl Gunner
    2363 days ago

    nice blog, and a happy day, it was for the gunners…. i tell myself when i get the ‘what if’ moment, sure we could have been top if we won against those teams we didn’t win against, but nothing much we can do now but be happy for and proud of my favourite team in the whole wide world :)

    the team’s performance was excellent and we did deserve a win…sorry to those people who wished we lost and to those people who didn’t go to spite the team, i wish i had your tickets and had a chance to go ( + as Sian said, Bahahaha)…

    the boys have made us proud and AW can atleast take time to smile and enjoy the win after the horrible past weeks

    happy, happy times for the gunners!!! lets keep going up!!! God bless<3


  8. 1NilToTheArsenal
    2363 days ago

    NIce one Siany, and good posts by all.
    1 nil to the Arsenal, eh? Just like old times, but better, as this is the youngest starting XI in the Premier League. IF they can find a way to play this way with any degree of consistency come August/September we will all be very very happy Gooners indeed. But that all remains to be seen. For now, James Brown is looping in my head singing “I FEEEL GOOD, so nice…” Thanks, lads.


  9. AllTheSkill
    2363 days ago

    There certainly was a lack of season ticket holders in the North Bank, but those who showed cheered and jeered with the best of us.

    What a great day for the Arsenal on its own, and what a joy to have been there.

    To post, miss.



  10. AllTheSkill
    2363 days ago



  11. El Greco
    2363 days ago

    Great blog, Sian – and it occurred to me that, as long as you write the way you do, I don’t have to suffer the stuff written elsewhere by other Arsenal ‘fans’…..

    Fantastic win and, if the lads can do the same for the remainder of their games, it would put them in good stead for next season….


  12. shegunner
    2362 days ago

    Happiness is so much better than sadness, isn’t it? Glad we won. There would have been no benefit AT ALL to losing, despite the many things people said eg. showing we need to act in the transfer window, might as well not bother beating MU after losing to lesser sides. Bollocks to all that.

    Regardless of context, winning is better than losing. Happiness is better than sadness. Playing well is better than playing like shite.

    Also, this is true for MU. I will not be a party to any suggestion that they didn’t play for a win. SAF fielded his best team. Enough said.



    • El Greco
      2361 days ago

      Woah, ‘Utd play not to win’? Who in their right mind would think that?
      Clearly there are some disturbed people out there!


  13. Irishgray
    2349 days ago

    Sian what the hell has happened to the Arsenal?!!!! Even my Utd friends are speechless!! From the Leyton Orient cup game which we won to losing to Aston Villa was 14 games, that’s 42 points, of which we bagged only 11!!!!!! I know some where cup games but just putting it in perspective as if they where all league games. It is just incredible. Embarrassing really. I can see a lot of heads rolling over this. Some I will agree with, some I won’t. And yes come next season I will be screaming at the new boys as well as the old that remain to GET IT IN!!!!!!! But I honestly think I will be doing it with the knowledge that as breathtaking as we have been at times these last 5 years, we where never good enough over all. Shames me to say that but I feel it has to be said. This season has left me more gutted than any of the last 5 . Would like to thank you for cheering us all up along the way when we needed it and for sharing in the awesome but all too rare victories along the way :) at the very least we did finally manage to beat Utd, Chelsea and the mighty Barcelona all in the same season. Let’s be more careful about what we wish for in the future shall we?

    I really hope you will write a seasons review for us Sian as I think we could all use some perspective, just try not to make it too honest will ya sweetheart? Pleeeeease?


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