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When this game was scheduled it was expected to be shown here in the US on ESPN+, which would have made fine lunchtime watching on the West coast. Alas, it was not to be, and so this report is brought to you, in the main, by the fine voices of the Arsenal commentary squad…whose names I failed to get at the start or the end of the match.

Needless to say it is not the optimal way to “watch” a match. Given the ongoing attention to various “colorful” details of the clubs, the players, the coaches, and the fans, the reportage of the playing of the game was somewhat lacking. Still, I managed to compile 4 pages of notes while listening, and I’ll mix in overall impressions with moments from the commentary team. Hopefully I’ll be able to create a semi-vivid picture of the game. And for those of you who went to the game, even if you were held up by Picadilly line works issues, please add your commentaries in the drinks below.

We started the game in a 4-3-3:


Cedric — Holding — Marí — Tavares

Lokonga — Partey — AMN

Gabi — Laca (c) — Nketiah

Apparently we started out well, dominating the opening exchanges only giving Wimbledon rare chances on the break for the first half hour. We moved the ball quickly up the field, and across it, with Gabi being particularly active; at one point he started a move for Cedric to cross for Nketiah, only to see the end product be a goal kick.

One such move led to our first goal, as Gabi interplayed with his teammates across the box then was brought down by Guinness-Walker in the 10th minute. Captain Laca stepped up and sent Tzanev the wrong way, sticking the ball to the keeper’s left, in the bottom corner.

Arsenal 1-0 Wimbledon (Laca, 10′)

AMN, Lokonga, and Partey were passing in a number of triangles, and continued to move the ball quickly from defense to offense, often in breaks of 4-6 players, only to see the ball at the end blocked, intercepted, or out for a corner. But Wimbledon were remaining dangerous on the break as well; in the 18th minute Capitola Rob had to head over the bar a Wimbledon cross after they broke upfield, though it ended with Gabi on the turf after clearing the ball and getting caught.

On 23 minutes Eddie tried an overhead kick (see photo above) after some good exchanges by the front six, and missed; he was nearly booked for it, apparently, though it’s clear the danger to the Wimbledon player might have been the latter’s own fault. Lokonga flashed a shot over the bar from a corner on 26 minutes…perhaps his and Eddie’s audacity was just part and parcel of Arsenal enjoying themselves on the pitch on the half hour. McCormick was shown the yellow card for a foul on Gabi, who took some time and treatment before he was up again to play on.

Arsenal continued to defend what breaks Wimbledon were able to muster and Wimbledon enjoyed more of the ball as the second third of the match began. Nonetheless we were still pressuring them, and in the 38th minute had a shot from Cedric saved for a corner after a good move involving Gabi and Laca. Gabi then had his shot from that corner put behind for another, thought that came to nothing as Cedric hit the first defender…sigh. A later corner to the near post was nearly flicked in by Nketiah, and led to a freekick by Gabi on 41, which was disappointingly wasted. In one minute of added time Heneghan was booked for fouling Eddie; this was followed by a shot from Tavares that was blocked, then a corner, which was headed over by Laca.

Arsenal 1-0 Wimbledon (Halftime)

The halftime commentary left our two announcers and went to the studio, though before they left they did say AMN had played a good game at center mid for the first half, though he was a bit sloppy, and raised some questions about his passing range. They praised Nuno for his strength and direct running, and passing. They also acknowledged that the game must not be streaming worldwide as they had so few Twitter comments/questions/whatever they use to drum up interest in their halftime festivities.

The first quarter of an hour of the second half was more to Wimbledon’s liking than Arsenal’s, especially after they substituted Pressley for Palmer up front. He was able to take advantage of Arsenal sloppiness for a couple half-chances, and the voices of the Wimbledon faithful were raised high and proud in the evening sky. In truth, both sets of fans could be heard throughout the game, giving vociferous evidence of their value in this post-Covid season.

On 59 minutes Thomas hit a driving shot low to their keeper’s left, and Tzanev got down well to save, but the corner led to nothing. It was Thomas’s last action as he was replaced a minute later by ESR, even as Mebude replaced McCormick for the visitors. Mebude was quickly involved in a break for Wimbledon, with Pressley running at our defense before passing to Mebude, only to have the pass cut out for a corner (that, like all their other corners, led to nothing).

Again and again Wimbledon looked like they would be dangerous on the break, only to have their moves snuffed out by the Arsenal defense…who turned nice, quick movement into breaks of their own. A good run by Gabi into the box brought us another corner; Nuno blasted his shot over the bar after Marí’s headed ball from the corner was saved.

On 69 minutes Wimbledon threw on their last sub, Chislett for Rudoni, in an effort to get their left wing juiced up to push for an equalizer. Arsenal started putting higher and higher pressure on their goal, leading to a wasted corner after some fine play back and forth across the box. Saka replaced Gabi (big clap for Gabi) in the 76th minute, and very shortly ESR scored our second after interplay with Tavares, Laca, and Saka.

Arsenal 2-0 Wimbledon (ESR, 77′)

Wimbledon must have drooped at that point; who wouldn’t have? To their credit they fought on, blocking a Lokonga shot in the 80th minute. However, Arsenal recycled the ball, finishing with passes from Saka to Cedric to Eddie…who flicked in a sumptuous goal with his off foot, if I understood rightly. The goal of the game, the announcers implied.

Arsenal 3-0 Wimbledon (Eddie, 80′)

That was Eddie’s last meaningful contribution to the game, as he was replaced by Balogun in the 84th minute. The game largely petered out after the third goal, though the commentators pointed out Wimbledon was still doing their best, and their fans were up on their feet to get them going. In the 90th minute Saka drove the ball downfield and got a good shot away, but it was just wide left. Apparently he was very dangerous after coming on, as one might expect. He had the final shot in the game, after running at their defense and playing a 1-2 with Laca; Saka’s powerful shot to the upper right corner was well saved by Tzanev.

And the whistle sounded.

We get to the next round of the Carabao Cup (26-27 October), when we’ll play Leeds United at THOF. Rumor has it tonight’s game will be up later on the .Pravda, though I wouldn’t put real money on a bet about it. Similar rumors abound about it being on ESPN+ on demand after 24 hours; my feelings about that are similar, with respect to a punt.

I do hope anyone who was there (ahem, C100) can flesh out the above with more/better information. It’s a really bad way to enjoy a football match. Thanks for reading!

36 Drinks to “Blind man’s bluff – the Carabao Cup tie with Wimbledon”

  1. 1
    TTG says:

    It reads beautifully and I wouldn’t take issue with a word . Sky showed snippets in the UK as the game progressed . They don’t even bother to pretend that they didn’t want Arsenal to slip up but they were mainly preoccupied with their darlings, Manchester United , losing C100 will put us right tomorrow and we can enjoy a bit of Italian in the Holloway Road and Guinness at the Tolly ! .

  2. 2
    bt8 says:

    A masterful job, Scruz. The cup could be ours if we keep on this track.

  3. 3
    North Bank Ned says:

    Bravo, Scruz. To repeat my cheap joke from the previous drinks, we both didn’t see the same game. But you have produced a silk purse from the sow’s ear that the broadcasters left you. Those radio broadcasters in the 1940s who produced baseball commentaries based on the box scores coming in over the telegraph wires have nothing on you.

  4. 4
    Countryman100 says:

    It was actually a curry in the Holloway Road and Guinness in The Horatia TTG. I’ve just got home as they chose to shut the M11 at Stansted and add 45 minutes to my journey. A masterful job Scruz. I’ll add some pitch side thoughts tomorrow when I’ve had some shut eye.

  5. 5
    Countryman100 says:

    Here’s the Guardian report on the game, the fact that it tells you little more than Scruz’s report does shows you what a good job he did.


  6. 6
    Doctor Faustus says:

    That was a truly superlative effort scruz to be able to write a report — based purely on audio commentary — that is filled with such precise details conveying a very comprehensive feel of how the game had progressed through phases. Thank you! The inexplicable act of selectiveness by ESPN+ had blindsided myself as well and I was just looking at the results now and then.

    Martinelli seemed to have enjoyed a busy game, drawing the penalty and then afterwards creating moments of danger. Looking forward to C100’s eyewitness report to learn more about how Martinelli, AMN, Partey, Samba, Tavares, ESR and Saka coming on later, Leno performed..

  7. 7
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Just saw the highlights on Arsenal … Eddie’s goal was very enjoyable.

  8. 8
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks scruz, I’m afraid I slept
    through the game without even
    looking for a stream, so I appreciate
    the report

  9. 9
    Bathgooner says:

    Top work scruz. Thank you. I was otherwise occupied so only saw the scoreline and the goals on the SkySports app at midnight. You have filled in the gaps admirably as well as providing a 60’s-80’s throwback experience of following football when one couldn’t get to games and the media were parsimonious with images.

  10. 10
    Countryman100 says:

    It’s an amazing situation when there is a virtual worldwide blackout on an Arsenal game. Even Arseblog this morning was saying that for the first time in forever he couldn’t watch the match. Surely the club could have streamed to a YouTube channel? I suppose it was something to do with rights.

    Anyway, some of us were lucky enough to be in the ground, and at very cheap prices. £10 for lower tier, £20 for upper tier and half that for kids. The lower tier felt totally full, and while there were spaces in the upper tier and club level, a more than respectable 50,000 fans were in the ground. Close to 9,000 of that were from AFC Wimbledon, which, when you consider that their ground only holds 9,000, was a pretty good effort.

    A league cup crowd is a very different crowd. There were a lot of kids, which is a 100% marvellous thing (the guy two rows in front of me carried his one year old the whole game. The toddler was really enjoying chanting Eddie, Eddie at the end). But there are downsides for entitled regulars like me. Many ST holders don’t come (which means others can which is a good thing). However your usual terrace mates aren’t there to chat to. The presence of so many kids mean that you sit to watch the game rather than standing as we do on the North Bank, except as exciting things happen everyone stands up so you have to. Most people only know the standard chants (Arsenal, Arsenal etc) and the ones about Spurs including the dreadful “stand up if you hate Tottenham” which just gets everyone up again and is never usually heard because it means nothing when you stand all the time. And people are in and out all the time as they take their four year old for a wee, or some chicken nuggets.

    However enough misanthropic chuntering from this old bastard. I’d enjoyed a couple of beers and a curry with my son on Holloway Road, it was a lovely warm t shirt evening, and we were out to enjoy our football.

    Scruz did such a good job above, that I’ll just make a couple of observations on the football. The whole back five were changed from the weekend. Wimbledon came with a reputation for being big, physical and scoring lots of goals from set pieces. Well, we had the cigars on at the back. Rob and Mari won every challenge in the air. Leno had nothing to do, I don’t think he made a save. Late in the game, a Wimbledon player finally got free in our box, but sent his header yards wide. Up front we were a bit turgid in the first half, but I’ll except Gabby from that, who worked hard, regularly beat his man, and won the penalty early on.

    In midfield, Arteta had decided that rather than wrap him up for the weekend, Partey needed to get more miles in his legs. When he is playing well, as he did last night, he makes our midfield run like a Swiss watch. I love watching him play. Alongside him I thought Sambi Lokonga was excellent and AMN was quietly efficient.

    The game changed when the subs were made and ESR and Saka came on. They were, frankly, just too good for this level of opponent. Pace and tricks were used and we were always going to score again, as indeed we did, a scruffy one from ESR and then a delicious Ramseyesque back heel flick from Eddie.

    On to the next round and Leeds. Get there if you can.

  11. 11
    Cynic says:

    Here’s the Guardian report on the game, the fact that it tells you little more than Scruz’s report does shows you what a good job he did.

    Or that Mr Guardian “at The Emirates” couldn’t find a stream either 🙂

    Still, at least the Guardian is free.

  12. 12
    Countryman100 says:

    Sorry guys I forgot to mention Tavares! In the first half he was concentrating on his defensive duties but in the second he went wide and Wimbledon were happy to allow him acres of green grass. He loves a run, tall, rangy, crazy haircut, and he generated some real excitement as he galloped time and again towards the North Bank. He got into their penalty area time and again, hit the post once and generally made a nuisance of himself. He is very, very raw, and needs polish especially in his final ball, but I think we finally have a good back up to KT3.

  13. 13
    Las says:

    Thanks scruze, you cruised through the report like a natural born blind.
    For North Bank Ned, you just don’t what makes a good community, sometimes not-watching together will do.

  14. 14
    Countryman 100 says:

    Some interesting comments from Tim Stillman here. Confirms my own view that the Arsenal support home and away is in a happier place than pre lockdown. https://arseblog.com/2021/09/back-in-the-game/

  15. 15
    TTG says:

    Thanks for the colour and also for attaching Tim’s article ( one slight diversion is that several people I know have rounded on Tim saying they found him personally ‘ unfriendly’ I think he gives a more than adequate reason for that in his article. )
    It’s good that there is a reset that is far from all-encompassing. There are a lot of Gooners out there and some have ridiculous expectations. But we have a genuinely loyal support, God bless our away fans ( duly refreshed ) who are such a help to the side and provide a sense of what Arsenal is about . C100 is a noble representative for GHF .
    I was interested to see the safe standing announcement. I diverge from several on here being someone who paid over £80 for a seat for the Villa final and never sat down once . I still feel robbed . My days of standing at football are long gone. I like to watch the game in comfort and without my views being obstructed . Standing is dangerous and often anti-social . It’s part of a slightly strange male rite of trial by discomfort that conflates passion and loyalty with suffering . I’m a sad old comfort seeker now .
    I’ve served my dues standing in great discomfort and danger in many different grounds . It was massively overrated as a pastime and many tragedies were only narrowly averted . Any thought of the 1970 Fairs Cup brings to mind a plunge about 20 feet into a vortex of humanity as we scored our third goal. Incredibly dangerous and for this old curmudgeon something I will not be availing myself of again

  16. 16
    Countryman100 says:

    I still enjoy standing, at least at the Emirates where the aisles between rows are wide and the seats are high backed. Where it does get dangerous is where the aisles are narrow and the seats are low. Apart from Turf Moor, I have taken a tumble at Old Trafford before. I don’t like sitting at football. I am still a youngster compared to you old Father TTG!

    Re Stillman yes I’ve met him a couple of times and can seem quite strange. But I think he explains why very well in that article.

    As for “duly refreshed” away fans are you casting nasturtiums? 😂😂

  17. 17
    North Bank Ned says:

    Ony bouquets should be coming your way, C100. 🙂

    By the by, I still keep up with an old London acquaintance who would sometimes take me to games when the North Bank Highbury was a single terrace (and, as TTG reminds us, not the safest of places for a youngster to stand and watch a game). He lives off a pension now and welcomes the Carabao Cup as one of the few occasions he can afford to watch a game at the Emirates.

  18. 18
    scruzgooner says:

    thanks, all, for the compliments. it was a trip to write down what i was hearing, brought me straight back to my school days. 🙂

    ned, it reminded me of “bull durham” when the radio announcer makes up the call of the game based on hearing what’s happening through the phone connection with his assistant, and they use a block and a bat to make the sounds of hitting and pre-recorded crowd noise. kinda fun, actually.

    c100, thanks for the filling out. and i am surprised the guardian’s writer didn’t do more with it; he sounds exactly like the commentators, with other extraneous information brought in to fill time rather than describing the game…

    cynic, this blog is free, too 🙂

    las, there are some that would say i *am* natural born blind, just not in my eye sight.

    finally, 21st century gooner, excellent first post for us. i think you captured the run-up well!

  19. 19
    North Bank Ned says:

    Scruz@18: Bull Durham is the greatest baseball movie. I suspect there is a bit of Crash Davis in many of the denizens of this fine establishment.

  20. 20
    TTG says:

    The term ‘ refreshment ‘ was poorly chosen . I was referring to the change referred to in the regular group that get tickets away from home. No snide references to liquid refreshment were intended .
    My last away game was at Selhurst Park last year. It’s a crap ground with very restricted views and I had to stand all the way through. If you’re not fit enough to stand ( not me I’m an Adonis ) it ruins your afternoon . Safe standing will be better but standing in an area designed for seating is both unsafe and uncomfortable

  21. 21
    scruzgooner says:

    the greatest quote, ned.

    “Well, I believe in the soul, the (yada yada yada), the small of a woman’s back, the hanging curveball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather that Christmas Eve, and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days. Good night.”

  22. 22
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thanks C100!
    9 goals in 2 games in the Carabao
    and 2 in 5 in the PL. If it’s goals you
    want to see then it’s more for less at
    the Carabao.
    Sitting / standing always depended on
    the game for me – 90 minutes was a
    long stand in a dreary 0-0, but passed
    in a flash in an entertaining 3-2. Either
    way it’s good to see at least some
    standing allowed again.

  23. 23
    OsakaMatt says:

    Good to see Partey putting in an
    hour, he’s going to be so important
    for us this season as CM is where we
    can make the biggest upgrade on
    recent seasons. If we have to wrap
    him in cotton wool then there was no
    point in buying.

  24. 24
    Countryman100 says:

    Dear God

    Please please please let Xhaka not be in the team on Sunday.

    I’ll be good, I promise.

  25. 25
    North Bank Ned says:

    So many great scenes and lines in Bull Durham, Scruz. Hard to pick a favourite, but I always liked the down-to-earth bump of ‘Baseball may be a religion full of magic, cosmic truth and the fundamental ontological riddles of our time, but it’s also a job.’

  26. 26
    Trev says:

    Scruz, well played, Sir !

    A tough assignment but a great ear witness account.

  27. 27
    bt8 says:

    Hoping Adrian Clarke is right about Thomas’ impact on Sunday.


  28. 28
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Countryman@24: Given that we won games without him and looking to play a less tepid kind of football even the Granit-enthralled Mikel would be foolish to change that midfield set-up. With Tomiyasu allowing us to defend in a solid block of three we don’t need Xhaka to cover for KT as well. If for some reason Mikel tries to shoehorn him in the starting eleven just when the team is starting to look like there is a way forward it would be one of his worst decisions.

  29. 29
    scruzgooner says:

    ned@25, another gem. it’s a great film, even if you’re not a baseball fan (right, c100? 🙂 ).

    gracious, i hope arteta has realized xhaka’s absence has allowed us to exhibit an early-spring-like swelling of our collective offensive bud…let’s hope ma8 doesn’t nip it.

  30. 30
    Countryman100 says:

    Excited to se the Rays galloping away with the AL East Scruz. Looking forward to the playoffs. I’ve seen a few games on TV, these new rules about starting with a man on second in extra innings seem to be making things exciting.

    Are you still coming across to England this autumn (I refuse to write fall)? Have you got your eye on any games? We’ll have to sort you some tickets.

  31. 31
    scruzgooner says:

    i’m glad you are enjoying it, c100. all i hear out here is giants-dodgers. what, you get a free baserunner in extra innings? sorry, that’s just weird. it’s like starting with a freekick just outside the box in extra time…

    not coming to england. i can’t take that much time off work right now, and ali is just going just to visit her folks next month. i’m hoping to join her for the spring (march-april) trip, hopefully including both london and lucca, after things have settled down here at the university. i’m looking forward to the next time we can discuss exploding nipples over guinness…or maybe italian.

  32. 32
    Countryman100 says:

    Whenever you visit will be great. Looking forward to seeing you again with a full complement of GFE regulars.

  33. 33
    scruzgooner says:

    c100@32, indeed. 🙂

  34. 34
    bt8 says:

    Great picture of Tomi heading the ball at #22 of the 26 training pictures on the dot.con. Hoping to see Tomi grab the occasion by the testicles this weekend.

  35. 35
  36. 36
    Bathgooner says: