De Futebol


The guys stopped the bleeding with a 2-0 win over Sutton to advance to the round of sixteen in The FA Cup.

The Daily Mail: “Breathe…and relax. Disaster did not follow calamity for Arsenal. They were not, after all, the stooge victims of the biggest shock in the history of the FA Cup.

If it is any consolation, shipping five goals in Munich will still, in all likelihood, be the low point of this season.

Full credit to Sutton, who never gave up and even hit the bar from 2-0 down in the second half, but Arsenal avoided this king-sized banana skin and progressed, almost smoothly, to a quarter-final meeting with yet more non-League opposition in Lincoln City.


By then, a National League challenger should be seen as a blessing, rather than a curse. It did not always feel like good news last night, though, not when Sutton were mounting a surprising rearguard action, or in the periods when Rob Holding looked flustered and David Ospina unconvincing. The bottom line: Arsene Wenger now has a home tie with Lincoln to set up an FA Cup semi-final. Could it be his year again?


He certainly seemed happy with the win. Considering the opposition — Sutton were 25-1 to win — there was nothing too blase in the team he picked, or the way he celebrated Arsenal’s goals. Theo Walcott’s 100th for the club after 55 minutes took the game away from Sutton, giving Arsenal an important two-goal cushion, and that seemed the contest over.

To their enormous credit, Sutton had other ideas. In the 60th minute, a corner found captain Jamie Collins who took advantage of the uncertainty from Ospina off his line, but headed over the bar. Then, five minutes later, former Arsenal man Roarie Deacon — arguably the man of the match, certainly for Sutton — struck a shot from 30 yards that struck the bar with such force the rebound took it clear of the penalty area. Had that gone in, who knows what late chaos would have been unleashed?


Instead, Arsenal saw out the evening in relative comfort, even if the introduction of Alexis Sanchez seemed an unnecessary precaution. Still, after the traumas of the last seven days it must have come as something of a relief to finally cruise in calm waters.

Gander Green Lane must be one of the only grounds where there is a pitch invasion before the game, as well as after it. The artificial surface lets everyone join in the pre-match fun. Teams warm up beside kids in full Sutton kit, plus sponsors, officials and anyone with a good connection who fancies a stroll. Even the sprinklers did not dampen the enthusiasm, the little ones getting as big a kick out of a random dousing as they did their ad hoc 13-a-sides.


Whether Wenger would have enjoyed the wet and wild scenes is another matter. He said at the weekend that he hoped the pitch would not be watered. It wasn’t: it was saturated. Maybe this was a double bluff — the water making the bounce more even, which surely benefited Arsenal — but it wasn’t as if he could have any say in the matter anyway.

The team bus got stuck in traffic, and Arsenal only arrived one hour before kick-off. Sanchez was escorted through the crowd in a last show of generosity from the hosts. For once the game started, no quarter was given. The only reminder of the gulf in class between these teams came through the public address system rather than on the pitch. An announcement to keep off the scaffolding around the TV gantry, a request for reinforcements at Rose’s Tea Bar, an ambitious attempt to promote the next home fixture against Boreham Wood.



Wenger said he came from a club even smaller than this in France and spoke of his enormous admiration for the ‘two or three’ people who tend to keep the Suttons of this world going. It didn’t feel like a few last night, though. The town turned out, and not just to see the visitors, either. There is enormous pride in this team locally — still in the FA Cup with the daffodils out on the roadside verges — and so there should be.


Wenger said he came from a club even smaller than this in France and spoke of his enormous admiration for the ‘two or three’ people who tend to keep the Suttons of this world going. It didn’t feel like a few last night, though. The town turned out, and not just to see the visitors, either. There is enormous pride in this team locally — still in the FA Cup with the daffodils out on the roadside verges — and so there should be.

They were never going to triumph in terms of possession yet at the moment when Arsenal took the lead in the first half, Sutton were causing a bit of aggravation. Holding, certainly, didn’t look at home, while Alex Iwobi seemed initially irritated by the physicality of Sutton’s resistance — although only one challenge bordered on recklessness. Granit Xhaka and Jeff Reine-Adelaide were the first names in the book, though, for foul challenges.

eturning to their poky brown-painted dressing room at half-time, Arsenal’s £133million starting XI most certainly knew they had been in a game.


Their goal came at a time when Sutton were beginning to grow in confidence. Lucas Perez may not feel he has a future at the club, but Arsenal were very grateful for his presence here. He broke down the right, cut inside and struck a low shot goalwards. Walcott ran across the eye-line of goalkeeper Ross Worner, who had to move to prevent the flick, leaving a large area of his goal exposed. Walcott didn’t get a touch and Worner was therefore out of position; Perez scored, direct.

It was to Sutton’s credit that, down after 27 minutes, they did not allow Arsenal to build on their advantage before half-time. Sadly, while Sutton were game, they could not make their possession near goal count. Their best first-half chance came in the 44th minute when Ospina hit a lousy clearance straight to the feet of an advancing Adam May, but he snatched at his shot, which travelled wide.


Just 10 minutes into the second half, Walcott afforded breathing space. Nacho Monreal and Iwobi combined in a neat one-two, the full back picking Walcott out in space for the simplest finish and, despite Sutton’s spirited riposte, the home side had accepted their fate by the end.

Breakout star Wayne Shaw, the 20-stone reserve goalkeeper and club odd job man, could even be seen eating a pie on the bench. It turned out to be not such an innocent snack — there was a bet of 8-1 available from one of the match sponsors that he would do just that, and the Football Association may take a dim view if they think there has been a gambling coup.


Equally, what began as a harmless pitch invasion at the end deteriorated into something less edifying thanks to the actions of a few idiots and inertia from police and stewards. It didn’t spoil the occasion, but Sutton could have done without it, having represented themselves and their league so well.


22 thoughts on “De Futebol

      1. This is so true. West is a great basketball player and now he is proving he is a great GM. Magic Johnson is a joke that is not very funny. I agree. Yet Jerry Buss listened to Jerry West. This is what a father does. he hands down the business to the kids. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t


      2. In the five years since Magic Johnson and his partners spent over $2.5 billion to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers , what the hell has that baseball club actually achieved ? When it comes to the postseason since 2012 , the Dodgers have been like a deer caught in headlights . What do you think is now likely to happen with the Los Angeles Lakers , with Magic having given the go ahead to trade their best player , Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets ?

        It’s bad enough when you have former Lakers’ player Vlad Divac state he had two better offers for the best center in the NBA , DeMarcus Cousins but then trades Cousins from the Sacramento Kings to the New Orleans Pelicans for what amounts to some juju beans and pixie dust.

        This is the type of bull$hit stupidity (Divac’s comments) that not only exists in the NBA but also in the Premiership as well .


      3. this is what gives you chops and you learn how to deal with adversity. Sure the idiots are on parade in LA. Walton will be okay.


      4. I believe they will ride out the storm with Luke Walton as the head coach of the team . But a year from now , if things are the same , then I do believe they will fire him ! The Los Angeles Lakers have been such a dysfunctional organization over the past six years , that comparisons to the New York Knicks can definitely be made , This is now so embarrassing for the NBA and the more knowledgeable fans of the game .


      5. Yes the Lakers have. Boston and LA were two of the great franchises in the NBA. Now the NBA is a joke that is not funny


      6. When one forgets the past they are doomed to repeat it. Experience is the best teacher it gives you the task first and the lesson later


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