A New Arsenal Hero Is Born

By Kevin Whitcher

Online Ed: More Wembley joy at Chelsea’s expense as Kolasinac stars

The final warm up game of the season, and let’s be honest here, only Jose Mourinho treats this as a trophy… at least if he wins it anyway. Significantly though, a well below strength Arsenal matched a stronger Chelsea line-up over 90 minutes and even won the lottery of a penalty shoot-out with Petr Cech (the man who has never saved a spot kick for Arsenal) in goal. More of that later (although not much later, as I am ever so slightly knackered after getting the first issue of The Gooner this season to the printers after four hours’ sleep last night).

So, no Koscielny (presumably not played to get the defenders who will play the opening two fixtures more game time together), no Mustafi, no Ramsey, no Sanchez, no Ozil. Chelsea were without the injured Eden Hazard and opted to start Alvaro Morata on the bench. Aside from that they were at full strength. And friendly or not, Antonio Conte does not like losing matches.

The time of the kick off had been brought forward by 30 minutes because of a theoretical clash with the England Ladies playing in the European Championship finals. You have to hand it to the FA… ever the optimists. Anyway, I think some people were not aware of the revised start time, as there were a fair few empty seats at the start of the match, with latecomers presumably unaware of the change.

Although Arsenal did not perform particularly well, they did fashion three pretty decent chances before the interval, Lacazette coming closest hitting the post. Overall, it felt a pretty even affair, although Wenger’s team had to adapt to a back three (the starting trio were the same as the FA Cup Final) featuring two nominal left backs and young Rob Holding when Mertesacker was subbed due to a head injury. And I admit, I was uncertain of the solidity of Nacho Monreal in the middle of the three, but they coped. Kolasinac did plenty of shouting and looks like the leader figure the defence have been lacking. Based on yesterday’s display, I’d like to see him remain as one of the three at the back, even though he looks equally adept wide.

It can take a while to buy food and drink during the interval at Wembley, and many were not in their seats when Chelsea scored soon after the re-start. Arsenal looked half asleep, Holding allowing Victor Moses to steal in and convert. In one sense, it was the best thing that could have happened, as Wenger’s team suddenly started to show a bit more in the way of threat going forward. It was a long wait before parity was restored. Giroud and Walcott replaced Lacazette and Iwobi, but frustration slowly grew as the Gunners misplaced passes and it looked as if the game might peter out. Then Pedro got a red card, although I have yet to read any accounts of the game nor seen any video of it to have an opinion of whether or not it was deserved.

No matter, Chelsea were down to ten men, just as they were last May in the cup final, although then, they were a goal down rather than one up. Not for long. From the resulting free-kick, Kolasinac climbed highest to meet Xhaka’s ball into the box and steered a beauty of a header past Courtois before diving into the Arsenal fans to celebrate. Loved it. By far the team’s best player on the pitch, although a mention is also due for the Ox who also played very well.

We reached full time and the penalty shoot-out, with the new ABBA system. I hope Bjorn, Benny and the girls are getting some copyright royalties for this. Anyhow, I like the system. The theory is that the team taking the second penalty is not always playing catch up, and I can see the logic. Mind you, if they are mirroring the tie-break system in tennis, why not go the whole hog and state that one of the teams has to score five and win by two clear goals. Then again, we might still be at Wembley now…

Gary Cahill got Chelsea off to a good start with an excellent penalty, before Theo did about the first thing properly all afternoon by leveling the scores with an equally good spot kick. Then the ABBA system kicked in and Monreal put Arsenal ahead. A surprise followed as Courtois took Chelsea’s second spot kick. I doubt this would have happened in a shoot out of greater significance, and I suspect the reason was that he used to take pens against Cech in training at Chelsea, so fancied his chances. Cech didn’t save his effort. No need. It was high, and not very handsome. Advantage Arsenal, which became a double advantage when Alonso tamely pulled his side's next penalty wide. The Gunners had the next two penalties and secured the trophy when the Ox and Girould converted.

A beautiful sunny day, a trophy to wave around with slightly more credibility than the Emirates Cup, and another win (albeit on penalties) against the Chavs. What's not to like?

Of course, going forward there is much to discuss. Not least who will play in defence in the immediate matches, what will happen with the players with a year left on their deals and whether or not Gunnersaurus is going to provide the wrong kind of cameo on My Outdoor TV as Stan gets his shotgun out.

We’ll have plenty more of substance to discuss after the game next Friday evening…

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7th August 2017 13:07:15


Comments and Reaction

User comments on this article are now closed. If you want to continue the debate, why not do so on the Gooner Forum.

GoonerRon  15:50pm 7th Aug 2017

Pretty good performance overall, obviously it's always nice to beat Chelsea. I thought Monreal was excellent and Xhaka/Elneny looked good as a pair. Kolasinac looks like a brute, hopefully he can add some of the steel that we've lacked. - Post No. 108771

TOOAW  18:50pm 7th Aug 2017

I feel that, generally the squad is better faced with a tilt at the title this season than many years previously. Xhaka will improve on last seasons efforts backed up with Elneny and le Coq. Ramsey had niggles last season and was never fit and focused. Rob Holding is another genius signing by Wenger or should we have signed Stokes at 20 times the money? A freebie for Kolasinac is yet another good deal done and early too by le Boss. Up front, hopefully Giroud can stay as his record speaks volumes when put under the microscope. Lacazette, Danny, Alexis, Iwobi will score plenty because when Mezut Ozil is in the team it's a given. I expect another good season under Arsene Wenger. 10 more points than last season and we are in the hunt if the 'fans' can believe. Start throwing fellas!?!?! - Post No. 108772

Badarse  19:41pm 7th Aug 2017

No real surprise that I pretty much agree with your take on matters TOOAW, but then neither of us know what we are on about. Neither do we spend our days sniping and trying to tear down as the WOR do, they behave more like ISIS in destructive terms than fans and supporters of a pretty special football club and it's personnel. I have been so impressed with Mo and if the partnership with Granit grows it will add the steel in the centre of the park, missing for so long.I have mislaid the baton and I think a WOR bottom may be housing it temporarily-oh I wish. Custard pies at the ready? Begin! - Post No. 108773

markymark  20:09pm 7th Aug 2017

Badarse - good to see your relationship is building to brokebackmountain like proportions with TOOAW. I think you've been missing someone to hold onto since Jamieboy left. Do you remember your let's stand together Jamee? . Or the promise to fight on the terraces with Colesore? I must admit for a leftie pacifist that left me stumped particularly as both were vile racists. Anyway a good display from Arsenal, but still not the finished article when an on field incident occurs like Mertsecker. That's the price Wengo pays for losing the big voices . Perhaps Wengo is trying to learn his lessons after 12 years of title failure by bringing in Sead. Well we will see. - Post No. 108774

A Cornish Gooner  21:23pm 7th Aug 2017

Mark "Misery acquaints a man with strange bed-fellows." They seem to enjoy egging each other on. - Post No. 108775

markymark  21:29pm 7th Aug 2017

Cornish, indeed a pair of fellow travellers on the road of mediocrity. Still it gives Badarse something to cling onto, until he flounces off I reckon around February. - Post No. 108776

A Cornish Gooner  23:10pm 7th Aug 2017

I find it incredible that somebody, who reminds us constantly of his 'alleged' life of protesting, has now come to the conclusions that protests that he doesn't agree with are a)moaning b)similar to ISIS. However, coming from the odious hypocrite Badarse maybe I shouldn't be surprised. Whenever I smell a rotten egg I will think of him. - Post No. 108777

Exeter Ex  9:58am 8th Aug 2017

Comparing those who want change to ISIS is a new low. In their support for the "personnel" that currently control AFC, TOOAW and Badarse are supporting the stripping of class, identity and sporting ambition from the club. They support the hollow corporate husk it has become. Badarse won't even stand up for his own proclaimed values if he thinks it may make Arsene look bad. Shame on them both. - Post No. 108778

Badarse  10:07am 8th Aug 2017

Well there are three who have been poked with a sideways bald egg, ha ha. Am flouncing around at the moment, but only in protest. Toes and rags seem to go together sometimes. - Post No. 108779

Yes its Ron  10:30am 8th Aug 2017

I think Asls season will improve on last yrs but they ll do well to wriggle back to a top 4 slot. They ll be torn over the Europa Cup and the issue of how to deal with it i.e abort it totally or give it a go. I suspect the former will occur. Theres nothing thats happened during the Summer to suggest that Arsl will garner enough extra points to move from 5th to top. to suggest a genuine title tilt is more a blind hope than a considered opinion. It should be remembered that Arsl haven't put in a genuine title challenge for 10 years and as such they have no momentum to do so this time. They ll win more times than they lose of course, but a title? Its highly unlikely. - Post No. 108780

Redshirtwhitesleeves  10:38am 8th Aug 2017

I see wally is shooting his big mouth off again about 'how it will be different this time'. Does this moron never learn? He should have been shipped out years ago. From what I've seen nothing has changed and nothing will. Half a dozen should have been sold and 3 or 4 more should have been bought in. Instead we have dithered and dallied as per usual as typified by the seemingly endless and tedious Lemar saga. We just don't act like a big club and the consequences will be the same this season. So bored of it....another groundhog season awaites - Post No. 108781

peter wain  11:02am 8th Aug 2017

we need better quality players and they do not seem to want to join us. We should be in for Van Dyke and need a quality midfield creative player but fat chance with Wenger in charge, - Post No. 108782

TOOAW  11:09am 8th Aug 2017

Morning Ex. I feel that you represent disproportionately people's views on the Arsenal. Personally, I witnessed healthy sporting ambition on Sunday, also back in May against the league champions. I feel for you that you want your Arsenal back because in all fairness, I would like my local hardware store and record store returned but alas it's not to be. It's not a crime to support fella. - Post No. 108783

mbg  11:22am 8th Aug 2017

Back from my hols feeing fresh and ready to go, my the furoe over wiggy and his hunting exploits caused a quare storm and certainly brought the holier than thou down from mount olive to tell us all what they thought, as if it wasn't already known but i guess when it became public people had to speak out, a bit like the AKB's when the evidence was/is there against their messiah had to say something. It's just a pity wiggy didn't mount and hang TOF' head up in his den along with all the others. Anyway back to normal I see, tippy tappy in a meaningless friendly, and we're good to go with new beards and haircuts all round, nothings changed. wenger out. - Post No. 108784

Badarse  11:41am 8th Aug 2017

A rock shifts, something moves...it's mbg, delivering a sermon of his entrenched religious drivel. Welcome back you have been missed-like a headache. Task nearly completed, objective virtually obtained so will soon be off. Anticipate more flouncing and spitting of dummies, ha ha. I shall not be away before I deliver the monthly WOR report once that strange bird arrives-no mbg it is a pigeon not a woman; all about respect. - Post No. 108785

Exeter Ex  11:56am 8th Aug 2017

Every summer, the likes of TOOAW and Badarse turn up here proclaiming AFC will challenge for the title. Season after season, they are proven wrong and so disappear for months on end. Yet they return each following summer with the same condescending, know-it-all attitude towards those who have been once again proven right. It displays a remarkable inability to join the dots, show some humility and learn from experience. - Post No. 108786

Badarse  12:07pm 8th Aug 2017

Interesting use of the English language, and it's meanings. 'To cling' suggests a negative, so why not toss it in, or in your case Mark of Nark, why not wink it in? The rewriting of history with 'we'll fight them on the benches' attitude which never existed. The slight nuances-threw that word in for you to read Bard, once the sun goes down and you venture out from your crypt-to garner support. Ah, the art of vilification. 'Is dis just because Badarse doesn't vant to join your gang or is it something deeper, do you see Badarse as a threat to your desired order of things, or just overawed by your farters?' Interesting BadFreud, but leave this to me, just get back into your cupboard under the stairs. An interesting observation of those proclaiming 'leftist' views who would scurry in the shadows in a cowardly fashion and try to tear down in a vain attempt to snipe to silence opposition. More Stalinist than Leninist, then Stalin was never a member of a beat group. The way the Tory media insist on JC answering a loaded question without due regard to his explanations is reminiscent of some insistencies here. If he answered once he would set a precedence, so he doesn't. Anyone see the connection? Still the job continues. Mark of Nark I was with Heath Ledger two weeks before he died so sometimes a reference can go awry. I am not offended though some might use something like this as a weapon. Enjoy your eggs, er I mean day, gentlemen. - Post No. 108787

Exeter Ex  12:36pm 8th Aug 2017

Waffly, excuse making BS for cowardice, Badarse. You proclaim certain life principles repeatedly on here, yet refused to stand up to the hateful views of Jamerson and Colesyboy, simply because, like you, they are devoted to Wenger. Wenger himself refuses to condemn bloodsports, yet you refuse to criticise. Your devotion trumps all. You stand for nothing. Yet still you feel you can morally sermonise to those who, unlike you, will stand up for certain principles against those that supposedly are on their 'side of the fence' when it comes to Wenger. These are simple truths. No one has denied you a platform for full contextual explanations of these perceived failures on your part. Instead you try to hide in name calling, unfunny inconsequentialism and waffly sophistry. But you have been exposed. You do not explain simply because you cannot justify yourself. - Post No. 108788

TOOAW  13:10pm 8th Aug 2017

So Ex. Are you suggesting that I withdraw my support for the Arsenal ??? - Post No. 108790

Exeter Ex  13:21pm 8th Aug 2017

TOOAW - I suggest you learn to distinguish between the power holders of the club - Kroenke, Wenger, Gazidis - and the club itself. Stop supporting their long con and support the push for change. But you'd have to wake up to it first. - Post No. 108792

A Cornish Gooner  13:48pm 8th Aug 2017

Badegg You're already off, you old name dropper you. Were you also with JFK the night before his death or maybe Osama bin Laden or possibly John Lennon? - Post No. 108795

Moscow Gooner  14:19pm 8th Aug 2017

I really don´t get the point of the ABBA format: to take pressure off the guys taking the kicks?! Surely the whole point about a shoot out is that it is high pressure, that builds the drama and keeps people watching! There´s nothing inherently fair about a penalty shoot out in the first place. Still if it helps England finally beat Germany.... - Post No. 108797

markymark  15:02pm 8th Aug 2017

Moscow Gooner - As far as I am aware I believe they ran stats showing a significant disadvantage in going 2nd in a penalty shoot-out. The playing catch up was creating a lesser likelihood of winning. And so it was proved as Chelsea collapsed like a heap of cards. Maybe they should do tennis style as well with minimum of two clear goals. - Post No. 108801

A Cornish Gooner  15:18pm 8th Aug 2017

Badegg.Presume you mean precedent. On the subject of Corbyn. Tuesday 1st August. Jeremy Corbyn: “I’m appalled at the glorification of killing wild and rare animals on this TV channel.As an Arsenal fan I’m disgusted that Stan Kroenke is involved in such a brutal, unethical and unnecessary activity.This is not sport. Kroenke should stick to football if he wants to be involved in sport” Thursday 3rd August. Arsene Wenger: “Look, I cannot judge because I don’t know what’s going on, I have not been informed about that and so I cannot give you any more information on that.” 6th August. Badegg’s response to Wenger’s answer: “ “. - Post No. 108802

Badarse  16:55pm 8th Aug 2017

No you missed again you Corny old man; I have to spell it out don't I? Nothing to do with AW but the insistence by an Eggman that I stand still and answer him when he demands and if I do not do his bidding I am...insert any of the nasty sniping names he can spell. Actually I did some business with dear Robert Hardy and also watched a Welsh International footie game on the telly with Hywel Bennett, bang, boom, two more names dropped. Toes and rags gentlemen. - Post No. 108805

A Cornish Gooner  17:09pm 8th Aug 2017

Badegg. Thanks for the response, my great pedigree chum. Feel free to correct me if I make a similar 'schoolboy howler' to your use of 'precedence'. You must have had your mantra in mind: 'Arsene-licking takes precedence over all my principles'. It must be a bit worrying that all the names you have met are now dead. Coincidence or what? It wasn't a hard question from Ex was it? Weasel words I'm afraid. - Post No. 108806

Badarse  17:24pm 8th Aug 2017

You do realise Corny old man that neither you nor the Eggman would deign to act in this rude and insulting fashion in real life. Does that not shame you both, or is the wrinkly old skin too tough? Anyway I have a 5am shout tomorrow as a live export is taking place and I need to go and do my bit, I shall reassure the poor creatures that the WOR branch of the Online Gooner might have a good moan on their behalf. Money where your mouth is, or courage where your cowardice is? You decide. - Post No. 108807

Exeter Ex  17:26pm 8th Aug 2017

If someone proclaims that they have certain principles, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask if they'll actually stand up for those principles when the moment comes. You won't, that's settled now. - Post No. 108808

Exeter Ex  17:37pm 8th Aug 2017

Would you deign to compare us to ISIS in real life, Badarse? - Post No. 108809

Arseneknewbest  18:13pm 8th Aug 2017

Badarse - You insinuating that others are rude and insulting on here is at Austen-esque levels of irony. Whatever happened to self awareness? Get a grip Badarse - to thine ownself be true. Time to get in Leslie Judd's box and take a sojourn from these august pages. And take your casually racist cohort tooaw with you. - Post No. 108810

A Cornish Gooner  18:24pm 8th Aug 2017

Badegg. Or how about: 'A rock shifts, something moves...it's mbg, delivering a sermon of his entrenched religious drivel' Would you say that to mbg in 'real life'? Sorry, you don't answer questions do you? Hypocrite. - Post No. 108811

A Cornish Gooner  18:35pm 8th Aug 2017

AKB. Badegg in Lesley Judd's box! Nooooooooooooooooooooo! - Post No. 108812

TOOAW  19:01pm 8th Aug 2017

@ Ex. I'm wide awake fella. My support of the Arsenal is and has been 'fru fik and fin' . The internet was nowhere to be seen when I stood on the terraces and boo boys reigned supreme at times. I fully understand your stance on the whole AFC matter. If you can't see mine then fine but don't spoil my love for a club which looks past your agenda driven hatred. - Post No. 108813

Exeter Ex  19:15pm 8th Aug 2017

TOOAW - I fully understand what you love, the clue's in the acronym. There's no virtue in blind, uncritical adoration, though I understand it's a lot less taxing on the brain. - Post No. 108814

markymark  19:38pm 8th Aug 2017

Now Badarse your bizarre likening of decent Arsenal supporters to a nilhilistic , nazi style terror group is odd in the extreme and as others have mentioned shows zero tolerance of other views, dreadful insight and a real loss to understand the worldview around you. I'd be very very careful about bandying around this type of casual insult. After all somebody could say that you are destroying the moral fabric of society with your life long support of PIE. Now that would be a terrible allegation to make, as bad as calling people ISIS supporters who of course also practise morally abhorrent behaviour. Have a think, better still why not take your February vacation early? - Post No. 108816

TOOAW  20:59pm 8th Aug 2017

@ Ex. Aye aye captain. You can steer your boat with your prejudices and biased beliefs. Now I'm glad that markymark followed on from our discussion because this is the person that tried to promote and establish himself as one of your types. Confused and extremely contradictory. I'm happy to explain. He hates the manager, despises putting money into the club, hates the board and a full boycott is unquestionable etc etc. YET keeps up with the membership payment for father and son, attends the West Ham game, purchases merchandise. etc etc. Unblind adoration for my club is my way of life but unfortunately, your supporters are bewildered, unbalanced and very muddled. - Post No. 108819

markymark  21:12pm 8th Aug 2017

TOOAW - you're a right numbnut, I actually support Arsenal . Why shouldn't I promote the Arsenal experience to my son. I like going to games therefore I attend occasionally. I dont like Kronke and think Wenger is a failure . That's my type. Support the club not the manager there is no confusion fool. - Post No. 108820

TOOAW  21:44pm 8th Aug 2017

@markymark. I've not got an issue with that but don't post on here 5 months ago that you wil never put any money into the club other than sustaining your membership and then attend the West Ham game ploughing money in. Keep it to a degree of honesty at least. Confused, bemused and muddled like I've been telling you. - Post No. 108822

Exeter Ex  22:30pm 8th Aug 2017

TOOAW - You believe that a Winger side I'm 2017 is capable of putting in a challenge for the title. That says it all about your ability to assess and judge. - Post No. 108824

markymark  22:39pm 8th Aug 2017

TOOAW - but you do have an issue with it . So don't try and say you don't. My father died two years ago so why you are dragging my father and my son into I cannot understand. If I choose to attend an Arsenal match well blow me down I support Arsenal. Now if you heard me say I've just bought a Wengo rosette you might have some point . I really cannot understand why you come on here trying to say I cannot attend an Arsenal match. By the way I have a signed Tony Adams book as well, does that pass your test, how about AISA? Do I need your permission first? You weirdo. - Post No. 108825

Arseneknewbest  6:19am 9th Aug 2017

tooaw - after the pernicious rubbish you wrote on here about Irish people the other week, you have the brass neck to talk to others about prejudices and biased beliefs. Almost badarsian levels of stupidity to the extent that I wonder if you and he are living under the same roof and are no longer happy simply serving up your verbal trash to each other. You are a couple of sad, ignorant numpties who have nothing of value to say on here. Time to put the keyboards down and snuggle down in the straw for some shut-eye. Cornish sorry for the disturbing image but leslie judd's box is the only safe place for these two swivel eyed nut jobs. - Post No. 108827

Badarse  10:46am 9th Aug 2017

Mark of Nark you must try to get it straight my banana-like friend. I said '...like ISIS in destructive terms.' Now I neither live in a constricted society, nor do I act in a servile manner, so comparing a person/group's actions to ISIS, Attila, General Haig, Hitler is only offensive to those receiving the criticism, and then because it criticises their actions in a specific instance, not necessarily them or general responses. If it doesn't make them self-assess then we remain ignorant as a herd, because I am regularly accused of a failure to do this. What the veiled request asks for is a submission, to bend the knee-and in my case that is a non starter-to prostrate myself before a superior force both mental and physical. Tosh matey. As for more recent criticisms of my rudeness towards mbg, well the line in the sand was marked and he insults frequently. Strange that he is never pulled up on that, don't you think? He is off beam with religious language and refers to dwarves and pansies-very DUP, methinks. Again odd no one pulls him on this. Sauce for the goose, eh? Anyway I am back from my 4 hour stint protesting the live shipment of lambs. I gave them the reassurances of the WOR branch of the Online Gooner, that they would moan on their behalf. We issued a joint response. They said 'Baa', I added 'Humbug'. - Post No. 108829

Exeter Ex  11:13am 9th Aug 2017

Badarse, going by your behaviour and logic, if someone had asked you "What do you think of the live shipment of lambs?" you would have refused to join the protest. Keep digging though. - Post No. 108831

markymark  14:02pm 9th Aug 2017

Badarse - "they behave more like ISIS in destructive terms than fans and supporters of a pretty special football club and it's personnel. " Err is that not comparing WOBs to ISIS? - Post No. 108840

markymark  14:16pm 9th Aug 2017

"they behave more like ISIS in destructive terms than fans and supporters of a pretty special football club and it's personnel. " - Donald Trump's just confirmed its fake news apparently it was never said just a nasty rumour from those New York Times losers - Post No. 108842

A Cornish Gooner  14:47pm 9th Aug 2017

AKB I think Badegg's making a better fist of it with TOOAW than he did with 'Brian' - Post No. 108845

markymark  19:15pm 9th Aug 2017

Cornish - fisting, caravan's , two Wengo lovers . It's bringing back memories... - Post No. 108848

TOOAW  21:24pm 9th Aug 2017

@markymark. Good to see your humour is back. It doesn't still account that you are a hypocrite and fraud. Nevertheless, Season starts Friday and I'll hold your hand and sing and shout as after all, the gooner in you will be in attendance and we do after all want the same thing for the Arsenal. Don't forget to wear your colours. I know you are more of a yellow shirt wearer as red doesn't suit you as you have stated previously. League Winners 2018 sounds good eh fellas . - Post No. 108852

A Cornish Gooner  21:45pm 9th Aug 2017

TOOAW? League Winners 2018. Good to see your humour is back 'fella'. - Post No. 108853

markymark  7:55am 10th Aug 2017

TOOAW - climbing into that pulpit again I see. Thou shall not attend the Arsenal for ye are cursed and a hypocrite....... blah blah blah. Obviously a member of the Church of Badarse. Anyway I'll politely decline your offer to hold hands. However, here's a counter offer. When Wengo is gone I'll crack open the bubbly. I'll generously offer you a small glass . Though you may see me making a sharp exit as I do seem to remember your recent Whiskey laced racism and you're also a weirdo who I'll have just met from the Internet. - Post No. 108855

Issue #269 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

16th February 2018

Frozen North Provides Relief For Arsenal

Rare comfortable away win for Gunners v Ostersunds