Alexis, Xhaka, Pushy Wenger, Late Goals, Penalties And A Good 3 Points

Morning, folks.

The weekend has been been kind to us. As far as the Premiership results go, that is. The weekend itself wasn’t altogether kind to those of us working long hours (cue violins) in a kitchen and having to miss practically all of the football. Mercifully, the internet is a delightful tool that enables you to follow events as they unfold on Twitter (there’s always someone happy to commentate on every single happening during the game) as well as searching all the highlights and aftermath. This morning I’ve spent the last hour doing exactly that,

So, the other results

  • Stoke City 1-1 Manchester United
  • Liverpool 2-3 Swansea (MEGA LOLS)
  • Manchester City 2-2 Trumped-Up Bellends XI

Before ourselves and Chelsea kicked off yesterday’s games, there was certainly a degree of pressure to get the victory. Often it’s palpable. I’ve been to the stadium on several occasions where the expectation is like a smog across everything; a chance has presented itself and we have to capitalise or it will be Armageddon. The players and manager themselves would have been fully aware of the previous day’s fixtures. For the first 45 minutes, we controlled the possession against Burnley without doing anything with urgency, or so it seemed. Perhaps that pressure had got to the players a little.

The 2nd half, we’ll.. that was quite a considerable amount more eventful than the first. As there were so many talking points over 45 minutes, I’ve decided the best way to ensure I cover everything is to break them up – kinda like Jok does on The Hot Stepanovs when he reviews a game, but different. I’m not stealing his idea… Honest.

Xhaka’s red card

I’m a bit torn on this one. Initially, I though it was a straight red, no debate. He finishes a challenge at the point of contact with both feet off the ground. However, having viewed several replays from a variety of angles, it does look like he’s a touch unfortunate to be awarded a straight red. It’s a stupid challenge, but not a dangerous one and it appears as if he’s trying to pull out at the last moment. Xhaka was very good yesterday as he has been the majority of the time he plays, but this side of his game needs to be eradicated. There was no need to make the challenge in the first place and give the referee a decision to make. The opponent was 60-70 yards from goal. We’ll lose him for 4 games now, and the only person I blame for that is Xhaka himself.

Burnley’s late penalty

I’ve seen a lot of people tearing the referee to shreds for this one, but it was a clear penalty in my eyes. Coquelin, blissfully unaware of his surroundings, dangled a leg into the path of Ashley Barnes and brought him down. Penalty. No arguments. There’s not any room for debate. You could, perhaps, lay some blame at the door of Coquelin, if you were that way inclined, but I can’t say I feel that’s fair. It was just one of those things that happens in football.

Arsenal’s late, late penalty

Offside in the build up? Yes. Clear penalty for high foot/dangerous play? Yes. The offside decision itself is marginal. Watching it in real time it was practically impossible to spot from the linesman’s point of view, but it was certainly offside when you see it via Sky’s 350 replays and variety of angles.. Those are the marginal decisions that sometimes go your way, sometimes they don’t. Burnley can rightly feel aggrieved from that point of view, but not with the challenge on Koscielny. If Ben Mee (shake me, any way you want me), much like Coquelin, pays attention to his surroundings before committing to sticking a leg out then the offside mistake is irrelevant and the game ends all square.

Special mention here goes to Alexis for having the balls to attempt a panenka (whatever it’s called) penalty with essentially the last kick of the game. If you miss that and don’t secure the 3 points, then you look a total idiot. Loved the banner with Atom and Humber on, too. Good boys…

Arsene and the pushy antics

I think Mr. Wenger might be in a bit of trouble. We all know the FA treats its referees like f*cking Disney Princess’; fragile, special little snowflakes unsuited to the harshness of being culpable for your mistakes. If you say anything mean or sassy about them, regardless of its accuracy, then you’ll be hit with a fine and a telling off because we can’t have officials in a professional sport getting upset now, can we?

But if you put your hands on one and push them – irrespective of how tame and insignificant it may be – then you’re in hot water. I think that very notion may apply to Arsene and some sort of touchline ban is lurking ominously on the horizon. The incident is a total nothingness. It’s just a few very tame pushes to get his attention. It’s not exactly the fight at the end of The Raid 2.

All that in mind, the important thing was winning. We are The Arsenal; we don’t like to make it easy for ourselves. But we got there and took a small step towards closing the gap on Chelsea. If we can keep winning, however that may be, then we can still catch them. When we did the Goonersphere Podcast last week, Daniel said;

If Liverpool are still title contenders, so are we.

He’s absolutely right. Klopp and his reds might be the current media darlings, but it can all change very quickly in this league. Now we’re 2nd and they’re 4th. I’m certainly not going to start assuming we can win it just yet, but I’m more than happy to let a bit of the hope back in. Let’s just hope it doesn’t kill me this time.

That’s all for today, folks. I’ll endeavour to be back with more soon. Until that time, why not leave me a comment below and share this post across social media so it can be read, and I can become an international superstar who’s above the law.

Until that happens, and as always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

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