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Reserves v Le Arse 27th Feb Match Report


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Match Report on Arsenal Reserves v Villa Reserves

Played on the side of a mountain in Barnet.

Firstly for those that haven’t been Underhill is a misnomer it’s a bloody hill. I don’t know what the incline from one end to the other is noticeable to the naked eye it is that bad!

Anyway onto the game and the first news was that Crazy Horse Laursen was missing from the team and squad so the line up was:

GK: Olejnik

Time to watch ‘The Beast’ in action once more

RB: Hogg

CB: Osbourne!

CB: Lowry

LB: Lund

So that’s midfielders playing both RB and CB with Erik The Viking playing left side as opposed to RB like the last time I saw him. It’s good to have versatility in ones so young.

RW: Bellon

CM: Gardner

CM: Herd

LW: Steiber

With Herd drafted into the middle in place of Ozzy it was pretty much the same as last time I watched the reserves.

FW: Moore

FW: McGurk

Another chance to see these two and hopefully a more inspired performance from Luke.

The game kicked off and it was obvious to why there had been a pitch inspection as the ball splashed through puddles. Then before the game had even settled into any pattern Zoltan Steiber found himself free at the back post and he should have done better but le Arse keeper pushed it wide for a corner. From that up rose ‘Played Shane’ Lowry who knocked it across goal only to find Ozzy who returned it into the middle where Adam McGurk lashed it in triumphantly. Well I’m sure he would say that whereas it was really a sort of halfhit shot that crept passed everyone. 1-0 to the boys – nice.

A moment of madness from Hoggy in trying to play the ball back up the Eiger, against the tide only to give Simpson a free run through, only for him to suddenly become more like Terry Thomas than Terry Henry and missing the chance.

Arsenal then proceeded to show that try to play the same quick passing game to feet at all levels, they looked good until they got into the final third, to my mind we were giving them a little too much space and Chris Herd seemed a little out of his depth as the game whizzed by. On 13 minutes cries of ‘Herdy Herdy, over here’ from Kev McDonald went unheard and the ball moved out to the Arse left before finding Simpson in the middle who hit a hopeful daisy cutter straight at ‘The Beast’ who did a good impression of Monty Panesar at his worst in not getting anything behind the ball and watching in horror as it squirmed passed him into our net.

Equalité pour le Arse.

Craig Gardner was getting into the game a little more and his battle with ‘little Cesc’ in the middle was somewhat the highlight of the game for me as these two stood out as the class performers up to now. Villa pressed and created some good chances:

Craig had two good chances, missing one and one header being deflected wide when it had goal written all over it; Bellon belied a lack of confidence when a mishit clearance fell to him and he snatched at the shot. (Note: The regular reserve watchers in front of me think his brother is the better of the two, but he is having his ankle rebuilt – nice); Zoltan was again causing trouble with some excellent crosses and set piece delivery. The only disappointing thing for me was Luke, who seemed reluctant to break out of a jog, whereas his partner in crime Adam McGurk was chasing down everything.

So we got to half-time all square and I was off for a delightful cup of tea.

The second half saw me joined once more by the other Beast, puker, John and a couple of others so whilst watching the game I didn’t make as many notes – sorry! Especially as I was in awe as they had met former Villa player – Big Cyrille Regis at half-time.

Le Arse kept playing the ball into feet but seemed to be either tiring or bereft of ideas as ‘little Cesc’ was limping through the game (courtesy of a nice tackle from Herdy in the 1st half I forgot to mention). But despite doing something we never tried in the first half and shooting from outside the box, they never really tested Olejnik as we took control.

GOAL: Well Luke and Zoltan worked well out left, Luke cut in and fired a low shot in, the keeper parried it and Adam McGurk was on hand to knock the rebound in – hurrah. “What do you mean line-o, you can stick that flag…..”. Luke should really have squared it, but having accused him of doing that when he shouldn’t in the Derby of 05 I’m not complaining.

Luke had started to try at last and looked far livelier, indeed even interested. He took the ball off Ozzy and went to shoot only to get tackled by Ozzy for the humorous moment of the night. Ozzy seemingly annoyed to see his 50 yard run end like that.

Marc Allbrighton replaced Bellon on the right and showed some good pace to put his opponent under a good deal of pressure, so much so that he in turn was replaced.

Then on 77 minutes Luke showed why he is rated so highly by so many with a touch of sheer class. He got a little lucky in that he played a flick to Zoltan that never came off and picked it up himself. Skinned le Arse defender – twice – and curled an unstoppable shot into the top corner. 2-1 Villa and a deserved lead.

The game then didn’t exactly fizzle out but apart from a last minute chance saved well by ‘The Beast’ Villa saw out the last quarter of an hour and took the three points.

I’ll not do ratings this time as they are very similar to the Fulham game. Everyone played their part in a good win. Of those players I hadn’t seem before ‘Played Shane’ Lowry looked an excellent prospect from the long line of decent centre halves we seem to have. Hogg looked out of position, which he was but he does like to tackle. Herd – well the game seemed to pass him by for 30mins and then he got stuck in well another who likes the rougher aspects of the game. Allbrighton looked all bright on the night (sorry) and ‘The Beast’ needs to use his body better – which should be easy for him!

Chelsea away will be my next venture and the game is played in Kingston.

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Excellent report Lancs, a thoroughly enjoyable read.

I'm looking forward to keeping that "Played Shane" going. Stieber and McGurk seem to be improving quickly to me, I'm not sure if you'd agree ? I just hope Stieber puts on a bit of a growth spurt.

Moore seems to have mastered looking bored in reserve games but grabbing the headlines, I think it's time we saw him back with the first team.

Here's hoping that the Chelsea game brings you the opportunity to see a reserve game that isn't played in stinking weather !

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Zoltan - does need to fill out a little but his delivery of set pieces and crosses in general is the equal of anyone in the first team. McGurk is a real trier and has the knack of being in the right place at the right time which is always a good thing.

Luke could well be the next to disappoint if this 'attitude' transfers itself to being in the first team SQUAD as opposed to first TEAM. The days of simply being the best and that guaranteeing you a place are gone. It's a squad game and if that means you play in the reserves to keep your match fitness and 'edge' then he needs to learn to do it.

Was disappointed Bannan never got on....

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