Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Tue December 21, 2021
Barclays Premier League
Dover (9-5-3, 32 points, 3rd) vs. Arsenal (9-4-3, 31 points, 5th)
Crabble Athletic Ground, Dover, UK
Betting Odds: Dover: 3-1 Draw: 2-1 Arsenal: 4-5 (Favourites)
Past Meetings: 2W 2D 5L
Our emergence as a top contender in the Premier League actually effected Arsenal last year, as they'd finish fifth and lose out on Champions League play for 2021/22. That said, they're in the first knockout stage of the Europa League and playing quite well this year in league play too. They were modest spenders during the summer transfer window, only utilizing £14.5 million with the majority on two players: £6 million on DL Luis Agualusa, who has been solid for the Gunners and £5.5 million on Canadian defender Lorenzo Tomaselli, another solid addition. They're scoring in bunches this year and have a prolific attack led by two strikers: Teddy Gallo, an Italian international and Nchimunya Munyao, a Zambian international. Gallo has 12 goals from 20 matches and Munyao has 11 in 22 games. Boakye is a third striker with 7 goals in 13 appearances so they are deep. Cristiano Ronaldo was signed in the offseason but the 36 year old is just veteran depth at this stage of his career.
We rested some key players in our last game and they'll all be back today - leading scorer Shanon Andrea will team with Zoltan Bardi up front. Gianluca Bolis is back in at right midfield, even though he's been slumping - we'll give him another chance. Ingo Wilke is back in net after getting his first day off in league play all season against Derby a few days ago. Mancini will start at central midfield with injuries to Rocca and Spall. Young Emmerson Harvey is recalled from the U18s and may have a chance at seeing action off the bench for the first time as a senior player.
We've had success just playing a flat 4-4-2 control when at home against top sides, using it to beat Manchester United, among others. So we'll go with that mentality to start.
Dover: 4-4-2 Control
GK - I. Wilke
D - R. Gaucho, C. Contreras, R. Hamon, S. Loucif
M - A. Bamba, Mancini, N. Cairney, G. Bolis
S - S. Andrea, Z. Bardi
Bench - J. Varga, J. Kuciak, P. Tjiuoro, E. Harvey, A. Zubizarreta, C. Murray, G. Gesios
Arsenal match our formation and have Gallo and Boakye up front. Cristiano Ronaldo is starting today for the first time all year in league play. Dangerous striker Munyao is actually playing central defence today, as he's accomplished at both positions. My assistant thinks I should tell the players to go out and perform well for the fans and I go with it - he's been pretty good at team talks lately. This is our second game in our newly expanded stadium and expectations are that we will set a new attendance record today.
8' - Andrea feeds a little pass to Bardi, who has his back to the goal at the edge of the area. He pivots and shoots hard but Oscar Ustari, the Arsenal keeper, makes the great diving save.
15' - We win a corner on the left side of the field and Bamba takes it. He goes near post and Rayane Hamon, our central defender, boots it into the back of the net for his first ever Dover goal! DOVER GOAL 1-0
21' - Boakye is sent in past Renato Gaucho but he shoots low and just wide. That was a glorious chance for the Gunners.
34' - Play has been a bit sloppy both ways and Arsenal have had some good stretches of possession but no real chances. We strike back on a counter, as Arsene Bamba avoids a tackle from Tomaselli around midfield and speeds down the left flank with the ball. He sends in a beautiful cross into the box and right to the foot of maligned winger Gianluca Bolis, who volleys it hard into the net for his first in at least two months! Gorgeous! DOVER GOAL 2-0
36' - Adam Hlousek, the Arsenal captain, gets a header off a nice cross into the area but Wilke is in good position, as usual, for the save.
43' - We win a corner on the right side and Cairney takes it. It's cleared out and comes to Cairney again. He dances along the byline, sends a touch pass to Bolis and he immediately passes to Bardi. From in tight, Bardi turns and slots another one home and we have struck for three! Wow!!! DOVER GOAL 3-0
HALFTIME - Outstanding half where we cashed in on every chance practically. Stats were pretty even: we hold 51% of possession and outshoot Arsenal 8-7 (4-2 on target). I am pleased, to say the least! No tactical changes necessary!
57' - Cairney takes a free kick from just outside the right side of the area and sends it back to Mancini outside the box. He rifles a left footed blast that Ustari dives and deflects off the goalpost and back behind the net. Sooo close!
63' - We have a throw in down the left side and Bamba throws it to Mancini and the midfielder delivers it back to Bamba on the sideline. He takes a look and sends a high cross into the area and it's Gianluca Bolis, jumping in the air and winning the header that deflects off Ustari and into the net! Boy, Bolis runs hot or cold but we'll take it! That's two for him today! DOVER GOAL 4-0
66' - Claudio Contreras trips over his own feet and that allows Boakye to spring Teddy Gallo on the break. He shoots and Wilke makes the acrobatic diving save!
67' - Time to start resting guys. Jozef Varga comes on for Renato Gaucho.
68' - Mancini sends a long ball up field and the Arsenal defender misjudges his jump and that allows Zoltan Bardi to get a step. He dribbles into the area and from a very awkward angle, sends a shot to the near side that somehow gets past Ustari and into the net! Ustari has been TERRIBLE for Arsenal today and that's two for Bardi now! FIVE BELLS! DOVER GOAL 5-0
72' - This is just MAGICAL! We work a STUNNING counter attack and it's Bolis cutting in diagonally to the area. I'm thinking hat trick but he selflessly dishes back to Neil Cairney, who then one touches a pass to a wide open Shanon Andrea, quiet until now, who EASILY deposits the ball into the net. Just a GORGEOUS passing play and I want to cry tears of joy looking at this scoreline! DOVER GOAL 6-0
73' - Well, 17 year old Emmerson Harvey, come on down! The highly rated youngster comes in for his first ever senior team game! Aitor Zubizarreta also comes on and we take out Neil Cairney and Shanon Andrea.
74' - Harvey immediately gets hurt trying to make a tackle. I think he'll be okay but comes off for brief treatment.
76' - Arsenal have no answer for anything we do. Bardi wins a tackle at midfield and dribbles all the way down the field, getting off a hard shot to the far corner that is JUST turned aside by Ustari. Almost the hat trick for Bardi!
80' - Contreras coughs up the ball and is forced to foul Teddy Gallo. Yellow card for Contreras.
If you didn't know it by now, we have officially ARRIVED!
Dover 6 - 0 Arsenal
Goals - Gianluca Bolis 2 (9.5), Zoltan Bardi 2 (9.4), Rayane Hamon (9.1), Shanon Andrea (8.4)
Assists - Arsene Bamba 3 (9.3), Gianluca Bolis, Neil Cairney (8.3), Mancini (8.4)
Man of the Match - Gianluca Bolis
Other Dover Notables - Ingo Wilke (7.5), Salim Loucif (8.3), Claudio Contreras (8.2), Renato Gaucho (7.8)
Attendance - 16,178
Well, we set a new attendance record today and hopefully that performance will put more butts in the seats! Simply an astonishing result, as we hold 53% of possession and outshoot Arsenal 18-12 (10-4 on target). We were relentless all game and this is a GOOD TEAM we just played - we're turning into a world-class club and every single starter had a rating at 7.5 or better.
-- With his two goal performance, Zoltan Bardi has now scored 56 league goals in his Dover career, a club record total that moves past Aaron Greene's 55. Arsene Bamba now has FIVE assists in his last two games and is up to a league leading 12 on the season.
-- Man City and Man United both win so we maintain our hold on 3rd place on the Premier League table. Everton beat Liverpool so we now have a three point cushion over the Reds.
-- We face long odds as we travel to Manchester to take on two-time treble winners and one again, Premier League table-toppers Manchester City at Etihad Stadium on Boxing Day.
Last edited by NoSkillz : 02-16-2014 at 01:33 PM.