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Photo credit: Gooner fanzine editor and journalist @laythy29

I like 3pm away day kick offs, even when a 380 mile round trip is part of the day. You don’t have to get up in the middle of the night, and you’re home in time to watch Match Of The Day. We left St Ives on a glorious morning at around 9am. A splendid breakfast was taken in an American Diner on the A1 somewhere near Newark. After a trouble free journey we found ourselves rolling into Burnley not long after 1pm. To pick up our tickets we had been told to go to Burnley Cricket Club, home of the great Jimmy Anderson, the Burnley Lara. A ten minute stroll and we were there, with the Gooner travelling faithful enjoying themselves in the sun and boosting the bar takings for BCC.

A beer and some greetings to friends old and new (including the guy who sells the Gooner under the railway bridge on the Hornsey Road) and it was time to walk the five minutes to the ground (as the picture shows, it really is right next door to Turf Moor). In we went. The picture at the top of this piece shows the Arsenal fans taking up half of the stand behind the goal at one end, with what proved to be the most vociferous Burnley fans by the side of us, kept apart only by a thin dividing line. More of this anon. 

We had all been delighted by the team announced. The same back five as against Norwich, Partey holding and then a very attacking front five of Pepe, Saka, Odegaard, Auba and ESR. The gladiators came onto the pitch, weirdly, from different ends of the ground. Sean Dyche, hot from his new four year contract, strutted across the grass to his dugout in a bright white shirt and looked King of all he surveyed.

We started brightly, with Tierney frequently in action on the left and Pepe seeing a lot of ball on the right. Partey was looking imperious in midfield, shrugging off tackles and making intelligent passes into space. At our end, although Burnley were pumping in crosses to Wood, we dealt with them well, Ramsdale frequently coming and catching, not punching the ball. Bob Wilson would have been delighted. On the half hour, we saw the first really significant move from Saka. He picked up the ball just inside the Burnley half and ran straight at the Burnley defence, who scattered in panic. He was just shaping to shoot when he was cynically chopped down by Westwood. 

Three players gathered around the ball, Partey, Pepe and Odegaard. We were right behind the ball, and so had a great view as Odegaard stepped up and delivered a fabulous shot, up and over the wall and right into the top corner, giving Pope no chance. A real moment of magic, of fabulous quality, which brought back memories of Santi at Wembley. The Arsenal faithful went absolutely ballistic – to the extent that your correspondent was sent sprawling into the next row. Many came to my rescue as my 16 stone was hauled back into position. Thanks guys!

We saw out the first half and took a one nil lead into the interval. 

Burnley had clearly had a half time talking to from the ginger testicle because they came out with more purpose. The centre backs, Tomi and Partey continued to mop up the crosses, with Ramsdale again dealing well and confidently with anything coming his way. But we were struggling to get out. We bypassed the first press with ease, but kept losing the ball around the half way line, inviting Burnley back onto us. On 60 minutes, White, who had done well in the air, but struggled with his distribution, turned and passed back to Ramsdale. The pass was woefully short and as Ramsdale came charging out at Vydra. He took a tumble and Taylor gave the penalty. Ramsdale furiously disputed the decision and VAR invited Taylor to take another look. Now when the ref is invited to go and look at the screen, it’s usually a sign that he is being asked to overturn his decision. So it proved. Ramsdale had just got a touch on the ball (MOTD showed me) and so, correctly, no penalty. We had the incredibly pleasant sight of Dyche standing, hands on hips, looking furious. The travelling faithful greeted this with joy and hilarity. The local faithful, to our left, rather less so.

It was at that point that it kicked off. No, not on the field, but in the stand. Plastic bottles were hurled across the dividing line and threats were loudly exchanged. The stewards, caught in an unenviable position, struggled to contain it. I have no idea who started it, but both sides were giving it plenty. Yes it was largely harmless plastic bottles and coffee cups, but the lad in front of me was hit (fortunately in the chest and not the head) by a 10mm spanner. Who brings a spanner to a football game? I avoided any damage, but was hit by a packet containing stuffed olives; cheese and what I think were sun dried tomatoes. I could be wrong, but I think it was friendly fire. I’m not sure if Burnley even has a Waitrose! 

Meanwhile on the pitch, our gallant defenders continued to repel all boarders. Ramsdale made one incredible save. Up front, Burnley’s increasing desperation was leaving counter attack possibilities for us. But it just wasn’t clicking. We butchered half a dozen three on two positions. ESR did get sight of goal, but shot weakly. Time and again we tried intricate passes that were mispaced or misplaced, or our close control was poor and the chance was wasted.  I saw a bit of the later Villa game on the way home, in a pub in Doncaster where we were having some supper. Two of Villa’s three goals came from shooting when they had sight of goal. Our lads kept refusing to put their laces through the ball. We need to sort this out. 

Well, as you know, we saw it through. Gabriel, Ramsdale and Tomi were simply magnificent. Standing up to the physical challenge, putting their bodies on the line, apart from that Ben White backpass we never looked like crumbling in the face of the onslaught. I read somewhere that we had 75 successful challenges in the game.  Partey was excellent until he came off (he and KT3 were apparently cramping and were replaced by Lokonga and Tavares. ESR seemed to pick up a knock and was replaced by AMN.) I give Odegaard more than a pass because of that sublime goal, but Saka, ESR, Pepe and Auba had poor games. 

Also, plastic bottle throwing apart (which evidently continued after the game), the away fans were magnificent, as they have been in all the games this season. Very loud and constantly supportive. This was a day for cheering crosses headed away, tackles made and blocks put in, rather than beautiful football around the opposition penalty area. 

I would have taken a one nil win away to Burnley like a shot before the game. Now we have a midweek Carabao Cup home game against AFC Wimbledon (will we see Patino?) before the NLD next weekend.

Now, how do you get olive and tomato stains out of a t-shirt?

56 Drinks to “The Battle of Turf Moor”

  1. 1
    TTG says:

    Splendid stuff C100.
    Your away reports are part of the fabric of this blog. Very fair commentary on the game too. I watched it on a very decent stream ( no river was available) which was ok except it was heavily biased in favour of little Burnley those plucky shithousers who are allowed to shithouse because they are plucky .
    Some notable performances including Ramsdale ( now an Arsenal icon) , Gabriel and Tomi.
    Concerned about Partey’s fitness and our lack of end product . It was a brave ( foolhardy ?) move to set foot in Grimpen Mire with such a lightweight midfield and this set-up won’t work against better sides . But it does suggest a way we might see the end of Xhaka !

  2. 2
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    Wonderful stuff Countryman.

    I’m with TTG that your awayday reports are part of the fabric of this blog. They are just brilliant and evoke matchday like few others.

    Have a drink on me, sir.

  3. 3
    Gunnersaurus Stunt Double says:

    I don’t often agree with Steve on refs. And there is no need to rehash that now! I take his point that blaming refs for our own shortfalls is not a good stance. I also think it is worthy of discussion when they make poor decisions.

    So, today (in a game that doesn’t affect us much at all, and hopefully doesn’t have the emotional baggage of an Arsenal result) I’d like to say that Martin Atkinson and VAR have made such a baffling set of decisions in West Ham vs Manure that I’d be tearing my hair out if it had happened to us.

    It is a really low standard they set, there is no consistency, and it introduces an element of pot luck to every match that would be more appropriate if the refs all wore clown shoes – just so it was clear that they are present for comic effect.

  4. 4
    ClockEndRider says:

    Only for 21st centuryArsenal fans could olives and feta be the weapon of choice!
    Great report, C100. By the way, 4 hours to get to Burnley? Did you go by TARDIS?!

  5. 5
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks C100, a very enjoyable report. Not only because
    we won but because you so obviously love going👍
    Same as against Norwich we should have wrapped it
    up earlier but hopefully that will come

  6. 6
    Countryman100 says:

    190 miles. With a 40 minute stop. Traffic was very light and the A1 has very little in the way of roadworks. Same coming back. Helps that it’s dual carriageway virtually the whole trip.

  7. 7
    Countryman100 says:

    Matt I hated watching all the games on TV, mainly for the moronic, agenda driven commentators TTG refers to above. I appreciate that those in far flung parts don’t have the same options that you do.

  8. 8
    Countryman100 says:

    I mean that I do!

  9. 9
    ClockEndRider says:

    Aah, that would explain it. The change to “smart motorway” on the M1 seems to be something of a Sisyphean task. I really see very little evidence of progress and it’s been going on for what seems like donkeys years.

  10. 10
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Wonderfully atmospheric and evocative away day report Countryman, as ever! Your away day summaries in the drinks were an essential part of the original ‘Holics blog and it’s great to have that tradition back.

    Unlike most others I am more optimistic about the Partey-ESR-Ødegaard midfield. I think it will work out, especially with Saka and Pépé well capable of moving inside as well as stretching outside. Martin and Emile have good defensive awareness and discipline. Even though our final third passing and shooting were off yesterday the synchronization will come with practice. A defensive wall of Tomi-White-Gabriel allows us the option of being more aggressive with high risk vertical passing. Burnley thought they will try the trick that had worked for everyone very well last season against us: putting balls over our right back to exploit the 3 man defense with KT out on the wings. Tomi was superb in the air, and in one on ones. Hector was excellent going forward at his peak, but Tomi is the best defensive right back we have since the magnificent Sagna.

  11. 11
    Countryman100 says:

    RIP Boycie. A true Gooner and a very funny man.

  12. 12
    Countryman100 says:

    Graham Souness comprehensively roasting the Spuds on TV right now. A bit like Chelsea did on the pitch. I only support Chelsea two games a season. This was one of them.

  13. 13
    Countryman100 says:

    Roy Keane comprehensively roasting the Spuds on TV right now. A bit like Chelsea did on the pitch. I only support Chelsea two games a season. This was one of them.

  14. 14
    Countryman100 says:

    Sorry. Mixed up my pundits.

  15. 15
    North Bank Ned says:

    As others have said, C100, your awayday reports are part of the warp and weft of this establishment not just for being unique but for being so evocative. Once more, you have demonstrated that, and it was the more welcome as I was unable to see the game, only highlights, which showed Ramsdale making two good saves but gave no sense of his other contributions you highlight.

    For the record, there is no Waitrose in Burnley; the nearest is in Preston. And as a public service laundry announcement: https://www.thespruce.com/thmb/0qzqKY_IuwBNBgGOZoU__rwQMwY=/960×0/filters:no_upscale():max_bytes(150000):strip_icc():format(webp)/How-to-remove-tomato-sauce-stains-1901051_final-0f953f26fa0b4965a2666bb36e62a651.jpg

  16. 16
  17. 17
    bt8 says:

    c100. Match report from the top part of the top notch. More than carried your weight. As did your fellow away day supporters I could add. 🙂

  18. 18
    Countryman100 says:

    Guys thank you so much. I love my away days and love that you like my scribbling about them. Bt8 heh. I’m amazed they managed to pull me up, given that they were laughing so much.

  19. 19
    Bathgooner says:

    Great stuff, C100. Almost like being there!

    That was a pretty good defensive performance under a strong, if unsophisticated assault and we really should have scored a couple more but that was a lovely goal from Odegaard to win the game. Our forwards desperately need to be more clinical in front of goal as chance creation seems so hard at present. It would also be nice to see Auba recapture his form of two seasons ago.

    Our shiny new goalkeeper is having an encouraging start and Tomi San and Sambi look excellent additions, as does Tavares in his brief cameo but Ben White needs to smarten up a bit and lose the sloppy moments.

    It would be rather nice to compensate for those missed chances and make it a hat trick of PL clean sheets next weekend.

  20. 20
    Countryman100 says:

    Thank you for the help in getting the piece up Bath, especially in improving the sharpness of the pics. It’s a great team effort here!

  21. 21
    Trev says:

    Another excellent away day report from behind the lines, C100.

    Home fans throwing olives and sun dried tomatoes at you ? Maybe they noticed your 16 stones and were offering dietary advice. I didn’t realise such commodities had reached that far into the north west.

  22. 22
    Las says:

    Thanks C100, excellent report.
    Enjoyed as much as the win. Especially, because I have never been on the road with Arsenal. Only seen at Highbury and Emirates.
    I think Arteta finally found his first team and we were really good both at the midfield and the defensive areas. Reliable, strong and calm. Even Whites backpass could not provoke the usual self destructive panic.
    We were not the best going forward though. The last passes ofren went ashtray but as Dr. F wrote above some practice will do. I wouldn’t mind seeing a goal galore against Spurs.

  23. 23
    bt8 says:

    Speaking of a goal galore, which sounds like some sort of culinary concoction, I was just looking at at food menu at The Tollington, which lists this:

    Traditional Sunday Lunch with all the trimmings.
    Choose from:
    Roast Beef / Roast Chicken / Roast Lamb.
    (Sunday Roasts include Yorkshire Puddings which contains Wheat, egg, milk)

    And why not? Non appetit, all.

  24. 24
    bt8 says:

    Non = Bon, of course. Well, a few courses, actually. 🙂

  25. 25
    Countryman100 says:

    Harsh Trev, very harsh. I was pleased I had brought it down as low as 16 stone.

  26. 26
    TTG says:

    Re Boycie I met a Gooner TV exec friend at the ladies NLD a couple of years ago . He is a good friend of my son in law . He was also a good friend of John Challis and suggested we took in a game together.Sadly the Pandemic and the Grim Reaper have prevented that A great pity . My mate said he was wonderful company and loved Arsenal to bits
    RIP John

  27. 27
    Cynic says:

    Who brings a spanner to a football game?
    The team bus driver for Spuds.


  28. 28
    Noosa Gooner says:

    Stuffed olives, cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. Add a few crackers and a bottle of Retsina and you had quite a nice little Mediterranean snack there. Very gracious of the home support if you ask me.

  29. 29
    OsakaMatt says:

    The FA have announced an inquiry into
    crowd violence at The Arsenal / Burnley
    game – your shirt may have to be taken
    in evidence C100.

  30. 30
    TTG says:

    I think this may mean a whip-round to meet C100’s legal costs . I just thought he went up and down the country eating very large breakfasts . I had no idea he was the leader of our Ultras . Respect

  31. 31
    Uplympian says:

    A super match report as always C100.
    It look likes old skool Arsenal – 1-0 to the Arse and some “afters” at the end of the match. Obviously old habits die hard C100 but you are fortunate in that I’m sure TTG can pull a few strings with his contacts to minimise your time inside 😎

  32. 32
    Countryman100 says:

    I just wish Esso had been with me!

  33. 33
    Cynic says:

    Next time, take Ainsley Harriot and he can whip up a spicy jerk chicken to fight back with.

    Be like the showdown in Scum
    “Where’s yer tool?”
    “He’s over there, up to his elbows in turmeric”

  34. 34
    Countryman100 says:

    With all the excitement of flying middle class snacks, I forgot to tell you about the new Matin Odegaard song heard at Turf Moor.

    To the tune of She’s Electric by Oasis

    He’s Norwegian
    He came back for a good reason
    Cos he’s playing with Partey this season
    He’s O-der-gaaaaaard

  35. 35
    Doctor Faustus says:

    U-23s beat Chelsea 6-1, playing 1ith 10 men for nearly an hour, with Biereth scoring a hat-trick and Balogun with a brace.
    The new U-23 manager, Betsy, has been steadily improving the performances and results it seems.

  36. 36
    Trev says:

    C100 @ 32,

    No you don’t ! 😆😬

  37. 37
    Bathgooner says:

    A scouting report from Dave Seager about the young Bruges winger who is allegedly on our radar. The clips suggest he could add goals to our somewhat parsimonious attack (i know):

    Bruges Winger Star Noa Lang to Arsenal in January – Scouting Report

  38. 38
    North Bank Ned says:

    Lang looks to tick all the Arteta boxes — 22 years old and a right-footed left-winger, schooled at Ajax who scores goals and is positionally versatile; he can also play through the middle and on the right. Leeds, Seville and perhaps most significantly AC Milan are all interested in him.

  39. 39
    Cynic says:

    We won’t get him until he’s Willian’s age and rubbish, then the headlines will be …
    Old Lang Signs!

    Sorry. Ahem.

  40. 40
    Countryman100 says:

    That’s awful Cynic! Kindly leave the stage! 😂😂

  41. 41
    bt8 says:

    Interesting article worth a read as much for the part about the fans disinfecting the stadium as the part about Falcao.


  42. 42
    Doctor Faustus says:

    If you haven’t watched already recommend seeing our U-23 highlights against Chelsea. The standout is a sensational goal where Balogun lofts in a curling pinpoint accurate delivery from an inside-left position outside the penalty box for Biereth on the right side to ghost pass his defender and score from a wonderful side footed volley. Maybe U-23 level, but simply magnificent.

  43. 43
    Doctor Faustus says:

    “…ghost past history defender …”

  44. 44
    Doctor Faustus says:

    I see autocorrect is having fun with me today 😂
    Alright, history defender it is … 😉

  45. 45
    Trev says:

    Cynic @39 – heh ! 😆

  46. 46
    North Bank Ned says:

    Trev: don’t encourage him!

  47. 47
    North Bank Ned says:

    Dr F@43: That made for joyous watching. Patino’s pass for Balogun’s second was quite something, too.

  48. 48
    TTG says:

    The progress made under the two new coaches for the U23s and U18s is very gratifying but I’m still a bit surprised that they play a different way formation wise to the first team.
    Under Wenger the junior teams were a carbon copy of the first team in set up and style . It’s not just being picky either. Are the wing backs at the lower levels able to play full back in a four ? Because they may need to.
    Can the central defenders play in a two rather than a three? It’s a very different positional situation .( I sense White is much happier in a three than a back four with only one other centre back. ) If we bring through defenders to Premier League football which is a big ask it is an even bigger ask to expect them to adjust up to a different playing formation .
    The other big question from a first team perspective is whether our midfield alignment on Saturday is going to be the norm or will we change back to accommodate Xhaka? The thought of changing your team to incorporate Xhaka is utter anathema to most on here but that ridiculous contract suggests they have plans for him . If we are looking at Partey flanked by Odegaard and ESR it makes it easier to see earlier promotion for Lokonga , Patino and AMN . When Xhaka comes in that offensive style ( we’ve not conceded in the two games he has missed) goes out of the window .

  49. 49
    OsakaMatt says:


  50. 50
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Ned@47: Yes, Patino’s one touch defense splitting pass pass while losing balance was very Cesc-esque. I have only seem highlights of his game and left footed though he is his style reminds me of Cesc.

    On the topic of striker — Biereth, Balogun et al. — Haaland now has 68 goals for Dortmund in 67 matches! Maybe next season when we are back in CL he would like to join his friend and compatriot Martin to play alongside with him in English football. 🙂

    The deadly Norwegian duo in resplendent red-and-white, coincidentally now also with indigo stripes on the shoulder … 🙂

  51. 51
    North Bank Ned says:

    Norway appears to have complicated laws about when its national colours can be flown. If Haaland joined, we might have to play all evening games in our away strip.

  52. 52
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Ned@51: 😂 Adidas will then need to drop the indigo stripes from the shirt.

    I know in the current footballing landscape it is quite unlikely, but it will be just brilliant to see Haaland playing for us.
    BTW, I believe the monks had already straightened me out once last season but was Nordtveit the first and now Ødegaard the second Norwegian to ever play for us?

  53. 53
    North Bank Ned says:

    Dr F.@52: Pål Lydersen, a full-back, played a few games between 1991 and 1995. He was good enough to win 20 Norweigan caps but not good enough to oust Lee Dixon from the Arsenal side.

    Havard Nordtveit left without playing a competitive first-team game for us, although he would play 21 Premier League games for West Ham and Fulham later in his career. He won more than 50 caps for Norway.

  54. 54
    bt8 says:

    But were Pål Lydersen and Lee Dixon good pals?

  55. 55
    TTG says:

    One particularly for Ned . The first thing I can remember us winning
    #OTD 1965 🗓️ Arsenal beat Corinthian Casuals 5-2 at Highbury to win the ‘Sheriff of London Shield’.

    John Radford 2, Alan Skirton, Tommy Baldwin and Jon Sammels are all on target.

    This shield was and remains the largest football trophy ever competed for in England.

  56. 56
    scruzgooner says:

    since i am pinning the chevrons, i’ll sneak this in: love your report, c1000. sorry you had to wear the appetizements, rather than eat them, but if someone dumped a lager over you after you’d have the full setup. hopefully you got to pour one in you, rather.

    agree about ramsdale, in a happy way, and am surely not convinced by white (especially over capitola rob, but that’s my bias, right?). thought tomi was brilliant. and mø.

    looking forward to giving wimbledon a tonking. will we, though? you going to be there, c100?