Anyhow, thanks for your company - ta-ra.
- 2nd Half
- Le Tallec63'
- 1st Half
Crvena Zvezda - Arsenal
Europa League - 19 October 2017
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So Arsenal are 3 and 0, clear the top of the group and more or less in the knockouts. And what a goal they scored; the question now is can Wilshere reproduce the skill he showed in creating it against better opposition?
Full-time: Red Star 0-1 Arsenal
Stojkovic crosses, looking for Pesic, but Elneny strong-stands and Arsenal get the ball away.
Nelson fouls Grobeljic and is booked.
I know it's only Red Star, but when you see stuff like that goal, you wonder what'll become of Jack Wilshere. Obviously part of being proper is being proper regularly, and loads of players can do good things sometimes. But very few midfielders can run with the ball like he can.
There'll be five added minutes.
Giroud holds up well so Babic loses patience and rattles him. He's booked.
Sheaf, making his debut, replaces Coquelin.
Willock has cramp, so McGuane replaces him.
Grobeljic makes tracks down the right and slides inside to Kanga, who tries to fade a finish into the far top corner with his instep. He doesn't.
Arsenal are more or less through if they hang on.
WHAT A GOAL! Red Star 0-1 Arsenal (Giroud) Wilshere again drives forward with the ball, backheeling to himself then dipping inside two tackles. He slides to Walcott, flicks back the return first time, and Walcott then nods back across the box. there's nothing on, as Grioud has his back to goal, 10 yards out ... but he vaults into an overhead kick and finds the corner! Brilliant!
Coquelin may in fact have a lump under his eye. Still not a red card - Rodic made a fair attempt to win the ball and did win the ball - but perhaps he wasn't being snide.
Red star want their point. Grobeljic, a defender, replaces Srnic, and attacker.
Rodic jumps early so is over Coquelin when he wins the header and perhaps tickles him with his arm; Coquelin collapses. The ref decides this deserves a second yellow card; I've not a scooby why.
This should sort it: Pesic replaces Boakye.
If something that can't peter out because it never petered in is petering out, what do we say?
The home lot are still absolutely going for it. I suppose they're making their own entertainment.
Arsenal hit Maitland-Niles with a diag - yes, I know - and after a stepover, he wins a corner. This is clipped to Giroud, pulling back towards the edge of the box, but he can;t get his foot behind it nor his knee over it, and he slices a skier.
Borisov now lead Koln 1-0.
after that little interlude of entertainment we're back to nonsense. Donald gets possession 30 yards out, and with men here and there, opts to drag a shot well wide.
That Boakye header that hit the post.
Kanga pops up and finds Radonjic down the right. He runs into trouble and Arsenal are back in possession.
Savic is hurt, so Babic replaces him.
As the ball breaks and Red Star try breaking with it, Coquelin is late on Srnic, earning himself a booking.
...and he clatters the wall.
Wilshere has been good this half, running at Red Star whenever possible. He skates around one challenge, then that of Le Tallec ... who brings him down and is booked. Free-kick Arsenal, just outside the D, right of centre ... here comes Reiss Nelson...
Walcott zips through midfield, a good touch taking him across Boakye, who puts an arm around the neck to haul him down. He's booked.
A quieter couple of minutes, but Red Star are keen to get things moving again. They're trying to play as quickly as possible.
Nelson is coming on a game now, trying a little give and go just outside the box. It doesn't come off, but he's growing in confidence.
Do you know someone English who calls Red Star "Crvena Zvedza"? I hope not.
This is now an interesting game. Elneny taps a square ball, close to his own box, but wasn't looking; Srnic pounces, but the angle is against him and Cech saves easily.
Nice from Boakye, who holds up and finds Stojkovic. He unfurls a fine cross, and Krsticic hurls himself at it ahead of Debuchy, but heads straight at Cech.
Now Nelson nashes down the right and crosses ... again, Walcott misses his kick. But they maintain the pressure, the ball comes back in from the left, Coquelin toches it on, and Nelson is there again, driving a rising shot which Borjan claws away from his near post. The corner comes to nothing.
Nice from Arsenal, Willock into Wilshere who runs at the Red Star defence before feeding through a return. Willock shows lovely balance to drag past his man and eventually the ball breaks across the box, where Walcott screws his kick and Giroud fluffs his shot.
Nice from Kanga, slotting a straight pass to meet the outside-to-in run of Srnic. But Elneny does well, timing his slide to perfection, and Cech picks up the ball.
Off we pootle.
Back come the players.
It's also BATE Borisov 0-0 Koln.
Anyway, Arsenal had perhaps the best chance of the half - Walcott ought to have scored - but so should Boakye. Red star will feel they can win this; Arsenal will hope they can win this, I'd say.
"After the break we'll get the thoughts of Martin Keown" might be the saddest sentence I've ever heard.
Half-time: Red Star 0-0 Arsenal
Boakye fouls Holding, then as the ball is tossed back for the free-kick, he deflects it over with his back. There shall be two added minutes.
Olivier Giroud must be hating this.
Arsenal win a free-kick down the right, between box and touchline; Walcott to take! It's actually not as bad as you'd expect, and Borjan does his bit to help, coming for it at the far post and flapping behind for a corner. That comes to nowt.
Srnic gets away at inside-right and tries to coax a cross into Boakye's path. But he doesn't get the angle or velocity right, and Cech collects easily.
This is a good period for Red Star, who seem to be growing in confidence. Arsenal don't have much on the bench, but will be confident of qualifying even if they lose here.
Walcott weaves through a coiuple of challenges in midfield, but Maitland-Niles fails to offer him a left-wing option - that's the way he's facing - and he can't pick a pass through to Wilshere.
Walcott eases away from Rodic, who brings him down and is booked.
Srnic nashes down the right and crosses for Radonjic, who takes a nice touch to control as Nelson dashes past the ball. He then spins into a shot, saved well at the near post by Cech, and the rebound is snaffled clear by a repositioned Nelson.
Arsenal haven't yet been able to get Nelson into the game. And they need to get Wilshere on the ball more, but the only way to achieve that is for him to start deeper.
Kanga is causing Arsenal difficulty, because he seems to be going wherever he fancies, making the extra man across the width of the pitch.
Krsticic takes the corner, curls towards the far post, and Boakye, completely unmarked, steps back to head down - luckily for Arsenal, not powerfully enough - and the ball bounces, the drifts against the post.
Kanga slides a ball down the right for Donald, whose cross is a good one, looking for Boakye at the near post. Someone - Holding I think - concedes the corner.
Radonjic has a little sally down the left, but Nelson does superbly to slide in and relieve him of possession.
""Jack Wilshere is one of the best midfielders England have developed since Paul Gascoigne." I'm just surprised he didn't say "since Stewart Robson."
A quiet period.
Boakye escapes down the right, losing Maitland-Niles, and looks to square for Srnic but Holding is there to get in his way.
Kanga finds space in the Arsenal box - down the right, Arsenal's left, which is where they're finding joy. He tries a scoop to no one, and amazingly, nothing comes of it.
First proper chance of the match. Arsenal win a free-kick, chipped into the box. Giroud and Debuchy both pursue the bounce, and the former forces it across to Walcott, eight yards out with a clear sight of goal. He really should score, but needs either power or direction, not quite finding enough of either, and Borjan saves with his foot.
Boakye chases a bouncing ball and Cech considers coming but doesn't. So Boakye catches up with it close to the right by-line and ducks inside Holding's slide, but can't make anything of it.
Arsenal have a corner, and we see the entire stand above it bouncing, arms around shoulders; it looks absolutely great. Wilshere then picks out Donald, he heads clear and Red Star break, earning a corner of their own; Radonjic's kick is headed away,
Wilshere is in strongly and well on Kanga, then tries to release Giroud, but the ball is slightly stuck in his feet through no fault of his own. Naturally, Stewart Robson thinks he should've done better.
Srnic scuttles down the right and squares itowards the box for Radonjic, but Maitland-Niles is in well.
Walcott comes short and then spins in behind Rodic, but the ball over the top is overhit - I'm afraid I didn't see by whom - and runs behind for a goalkick.
Maitland-Niles finds himself down the left and sways down the line then passes infield to Wilshere, but without such precision as to allow him to gather in stride, and Savic nips in.
Nice from Nelson, skirting a challenge and finding Wilshere, who transfers to Walcott very nicely. Walcott, though, wants two touches and his first isn't very good - STOP PRESS - so the opportunity vanishes.
It turns out that Debuchy is playing on the right of the three centre-backs and Holding on the left.
Kanga is claiming an elbow. There wasn't one.
The ground is absolutely bouncing, even if the camera-angle is somewhat vertiginous. There's not much going on currently, but Kanga is down and being poured water like a boxer.
Pretty sure they're not checking Twitter at the moment.
Off we go.
Francis Coquelin is making his 150th Arsenal appearance. What a sentence that is.
Petr Cech is captaining Arsenal tonight, in the absence of the injured David Ospina. What a sentence that is,
The Europa League anthem is playing. The hairs on the back of my neck are growing inwards.
Out come the teams!
The atmosphere in Belgrade is useful, apparently.
I wonder if there's a future at Arsenal for Jack Wilshere. Wenger seemed to have given up on him, but if he can excel in this competition, you never know.
Some Reiss Nelson.
"Jack Wilshere is becoming the cornerstone of Arsenal's European campaign", apparently.
Running tracks are the worst, yet I daresay the row will be better than at the Emirates.
As far as the group's concerned, these two looks the best of it: Arsenal have beaten both BATE and Koln - in entertaining style - while Red Star drew at home to BATE then won in Koln.
Arsenal, meanwhile, play their second string. Mathieu Debuchy plays for the first time in a year, a right-back playing on the left of three centre-backs. Terry Venables will be happy - he likes full-backs in those positions so they bring the ball wide. In the middle of the defence, the selection of Elneny is interesting - I wonder if Wenger would ever use him there in a league game - and I'm looking forward to watching the very talented Reiss Nelson.
So Belgrade are going for it - they've picked their best players, and have gone for proper pace on both wings with Srnic and Radonjic. In front of them, Boakye, who's in good goalscoring form, will fancy himself against Arsenal's back-three.
Evening all, and welcome to Yet More Football! And this time, at teatime! Ooh yeah!