Guest Post: Indexing The Performances

Disraeli is believed to have coined the phrase, ‘lies, damned lies and statistics’? Ole Gunner has a thing or two to say on the latter whilst dispelling a few myths at the same time:

The Castrol Index is basically a score out of 10, that’s based on actions a footballer performs on the pitch. The higher the score, the better the performance. Unlike typical indices, it doesn’t rank strikers or attacking midfielders higher. To learn more about it, look here.

It seems like a very valid index. I think it provides the best, most detailed index for measuring player performance that’s available to the general public.

Someone will rightly point out that statistics only measure certain things. One example is the highest goal scorer chart. The fact that Fernando Torres is the highest goal scorer in the Premier League with 10 goals is just a stat. It doesn’t tell us if all goals were goal of the season contenders or if all ten were Fat Frank Lampard-type deflections.

Even the league table is just a stat. It wouldn’t tell us who deserves to be top though currently 3rd solely because they only had 12 youth team players fit for half the season.

Stats do not tell us everything but they measure actual events in football matches. What they do measure does not tell us everything we need to know, or how we want to feel, but they provide more insight into what we see for ourselves.

The fact that people regularly reject football stats when they contradict what they already believe just shows why it’s important (even if not close to being the most important thing in football) to check the stats.

When we watch football, we simply cannot watch every single player and what they do. We form a vague general impression, and we are most likely to notice mistakes (and probably magnify their weight) and superb actions (a sublime Cesc pass).

The Castrol Index won’t tell us everything about how well or how poorly Arsenal players have played this season, but they will tell us something, and that something is not just valid but factual-if incomplete.

It is much like company accounts. All the wealth in the world is staked on a numerical count of income and costs of every company. But it doesn’t measure everything. It is debatable, but it nevertheless tells us a lot.

In evaluating each Arsenal player’s Castrol Index one wants to see three things. First, one wants to know what level of performance you can expect from a player (average index score). You also want to know how consistent that player is (the variation in performance from game to game e.g. 9/10 today 3/10 the next game). You might want to know what is the best performance he has put in. For the purpose of this article, what is most of interest is the worst each player has done. The logic is thus: If your worst performance score is high, it shows you not only have the best quality performances but it also means you never let the team down.

Stats are for the season up till October 31st 2009. Note that the stats are based on performance in the league and Champions League.

Our most consistent player is…………

Looking at all the Castrol Index figures for each player, it appears that the player whose performance varies the least is Alex Song.

That, however, does not tell us everything we want to know. A player could be consistently bad or a player could be consistently good.

So we do want to know what level of performance we can typically expect from him. Well it turns out that on average, he puts in a 7.3/10 performance. If you think that’s impressive, wait till you hear that the worst performance he has put in this season was a 6.34/10!

Our best performing player is…………

When Arsene Wenger was asked who his player of the season 08/09 was he said it was William Gallas. Very few people would have taken that seriously given how much of a shambles his final days as captain were, and how off-form he and Kolo Toure appeared to be at the beginning of that season.

William Gallas has been Arsenal’s best performer this season (09/10) as measured by the Castrol Index.

William’s average rating is 7.87/10. At his worst this season, his performance was rated 6.14/10. He is also Arsenal’s second most consistent performer after Alex Song.

What? Where is Cesc Fabregas in all this? What about that RVP?

Robin has been our second best player. He has been somewhat less consistent than Gallas or Alex Song since, at his worst, he only bagged a 5.37/10. Robin typically gets 7.78/10.

Wenger recently said Robin is the best striker in the Premier League. That is not perfectly true.

One striker has a better rating this season. No, it is not Fernando Torres. It is Didier Drogba. The Ivorien may have survived several near-death experiences on the pitch this season, but while he’s alive he typically delivers a performance rated 8.21/10. In fact, the Castrol Football website indicates he had the best single individual performance in a single match in all of Europe.

RVP is however more consistent than Didier Drogba. As we know, it’s not enough to be performing, it’s important to be performing consistently.

Cesc has been absolutely Fabregas this season. He’s been fabulous and we all know it. It must say something about the quality of Arsenal this season that he’s our 4th best performer. His average Castrol index rating is 7.67/10. The worst rating he has is 4.42, which he got against Portsmouth. That stat is a bit skewed however. In that game he came off at half time. Take out that game and his average performance become 7.97/10, and his consistency score improves dramatically. He becomes Arsenal’s best performer if viewed that way.

It might also be an example of the limitation of stats. The index almost certainly has no way to measure the fact that Cesc is no ordinary Arsenal player, but one who makes the team play. Also, 9 goals and 11 assists in 15 games is amazing, as most players would get that in a season and think they’d done superbly.

One should point out, however, that Cesc did have a slow start to the season and only just exploded since mid-September or thereabouts.

Is Diaby the new Denilson?

No, the question is not whether Diaby has become the interception and possession king that is Denilson. The question is not whether Diaby has replaced Denilson. The question is not Diaby has become the god of endless but useless stopovers like the other famous Brazilian called Denilson.

The question is whether Abou Diaby has replaced Denilson Neves Pereira, our baby-faced Brazilian, as the unjustified target of the Arsenal boo-boys and bullies.

Denilson had a great season in 07/08, earning the distinction of being the player who won the ball most in the Premier League by a distance. One section of our Arsenal support had decided at the start of the season that it was going to be Denilson’s fault if we didn’t do well.

They then diligently stuck with their convictions and foolishly, and destructively refused to allow neither rhyme (what rhymes with ‘boo’) nor reason to change their minds.

It was pathetic and really disheartening to see a young, determined and hardworking player do so well but yet get so much stick.

Any measure of performance that exists and has been published shows Denilson played well. The Castrol Index is no different. His typical game was rated 6.95/10. This rating is higher than was had by any other defensive midfielder worth measuring in the league (see the attached detail spreadsheets). He was also remarkably consistent.

The answer to the original question seems to be yes. Diaby is doing well this season. His typical performance is 6.96/10. By that rating he is our 6th best performer of the 17 players who have featured enough to feature in our analysis.

There is something for everyone-even the anti-Diaby people in Diaby’s stats. He might be our 6th best performer, but he is our 12th most consistent player.

Abou Diaby is unfortunately still inconsistent. Even knowing this, it is clear from his typical performance stats that he is doing quite well, and the vilification he suffers is unjustified.

Almunia is not a top performer…

Your correspondent has been a staunch defender of our Spanish goalkeeper and would still maintain that the stick he gets is for coming to Arsenal with no reputation and less on his actual ability.

The stats show that the reason Almunia needed defending might have been as a result of not doing the business.

Almunia has virtually been our least stellar performer this season. The two players who have lower average ratings are Aaron Ramsey (4.11) & Nicklas Bendtner (4.94), but the two have been bit-part players this season. Each of those two lads has hardly played a full 90 minutes this season and their ratings are depressed for that reason. In the games Bendtner started and played most of the game, he has an average rating of 6.54/10. Almunia’s average rating is 5.42/10.

Almunia’s average for November to May of the 07/08 season was 6.39/10. He will be happy to hear that he did better than Petr Cech whose average was 6.31/10. He will on the other hand be humbled by the knowledge that Schwarzer (6.84), Kirkland (6.48), Green (6.52), Jaskalainen (6.42), Given (6.60) have all done better than him, talk less of Van der Sar (6.70) and Reina (6.54).

He is not a crap keeper. His average is within a narrow band as can be seen above. He simply has not been outstanding and that has to be the final word.

Is Vermaelen doing better than Kolo did last season?

Tommy V. is our third best performer this season. He has had a flying start to his Arsenal career, and the stats confirm what most of us think. When Tommy dons the magnificent red and white you can expect him to play well enough to merit a 7.73/10 rating. His worst performance came at Fulham where he only did well enough to get 5.76 out of 10. He has also been quite consistent.

Has he been better than Kolo was last season? The answer at this point is…YES.

Many will be surprised to know that even though Kolo Toure was inconsistent, and sometimes poor last season, his average rating as 7.4/10. He did have a couple of games in which he was poor enough to get a 3/10.

Vermaelen, for now appears to be a trade-up from Kolo Toure.

Takeaways?

The foregoing is what the stats say. But after all said and done, the best player is the one who gives us the most joy, is most associated with positive emotions, and the one who most rouses our passion. That is what football is all about.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on November 19, 2009, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 323 Comments.

  1. Uno? Nah…heavy shit… i read with a pen and highlighter…

  2. Fantastic stuff, Ole Gunner. You consistently voice ideas of genuine quality on the blog and you made a well stated case here.

  3. So this basically gives the stats from what we already know????

    I prefer the form table thought, which say that Arsenal is the most in-form team…come on the EPL….

  4. How does one get the stats for Lamps, Essien, Fletcher, so as to compare with our glorious mid??

  5. AK guess who I saw after the Bafana Bafana match this Tuesday!!

  6. whtais th select channel

  7. nice post with good insights ( I’m sure you meant 08/09 season was the one in which Denilson was consistant and a mark above all others in the league in the same position)

  8. Flint McCullough

    It’s more like “Football Manager” than real football, YW.

    Bollocks really, who sets the parameters, decides if a shot should be saved, a good or bad tackle?

    I agree with your conclusion as that is what really matters.

    On the handball incident last night:

    I didn’t see much of the game but I did try to get a stream as I knew they were playing extra time. The only bit I got funnily enough was this incident.

    The question really is:
    Is cheating when it is so blatant any different to any other form of cheating (the shirt pull, the crafty push in the back, claiming the throw in when you know it’s not yours, playing the ball when you know it is out of play, the going down easily etc..etc…etc) ?

    The hypocrisy is just amazing.

    TH14 has disappointed me but he hasn’t done anything that any other player has done, in one form or another. Why should his reputation be more tarnished than the likes of serial cheats like Gerrard & Shearer or the Anfield crowd, who have been taught the word “HANDBALL” before any other.

    My team has won by cheating & certainly lost by it many times. I wish it was not so.

    Having seen how it works in rugby there seems to be no reason why we should not follow their example for the very important decisions & timekeeping.

  9. Some interesting points as always with a partial conclusion however.

  10. Flint McCullough

    done anything that any other player has’nt done

  11. Flint,

    Re TH14, well put.

  12. AKabisa, Fabregas comes 8th after the usual suspects Gerrard, Lamps, Essien, heck even Ballack!

  13. also, Denilson is the only other Arsenal midfielder in the top 20 midfielders ranking

  14. @Rob………….

    No absolute conclusion because maybe JUST maybe he aims to spark a debate!!

    It is a major aspect of the charm of this site were one dimensional opinions aren’t rammed down your throat repeatedly.

    On AFCL god forbid you have to use you own mind and come to YOUR own conclusions.

  15. Re handball/cheating:

    Fans tend to be reluctant to admit that players associated with their teams have cheated or are cheats. e.g only manure/english fans will say Rooney is not a cheat, or that fletcher is not a serial fouler. Only red scousers will argue that Gerrard doesn’t dive. Even the more obvious or serial cheaters like C.Ronaldo, Drogba, and our own Eboue find support/justification by some of their fans although most will agree they are embarrassed by these players antics.

  16. Simply brilliant! Of course the usually biased twats will hide for a day and then find another scapegoat no later than Sunday. Almunia, anyone? I salute you YW and your guest poster. Is that O/G?

    PS: I thought it was Mark Twain (Samuel Clemmons) who came to that timeless observation about lies, damned lies and statistics. I may be wrong however.

  17. Good to see Gooner sticking up for TH14. I watched the game and France were SHOCKING with the L.Diarra the main man in the middle you knew they were in for it. To think he plays for Real Madrid and does so so well is beyond me. Personally I think only the goalkepper and Sagna showed any quality and passion the rest were doing some kind of Anelka impression at his worst.

    Also what the hell is wrong with Evra???

  18. As for cheating: I remember years ago playing a competitive football game and denying a goal scored by my own team because we had committed a blatant offence. Of course my team mates turned on me in a flash and let me know the call was not mine but that of the ref. No football team welcomes moralizing by their team mates, no matter how talented. Choir boys are not welcome.

  19. Arsenalkabisa,

    I have a spreadsheet will all the data. I will copy it into a Google spreadsheet hosted on the web.

    But you can check for yourself. Go to the Castrol football site, copy the data for Lampard, Fletcher or anyone else. I did an average of the CI per game to come up with the typical performance. I calculated the std deviation of the CI to measure variation and thus consistency. Then I checked the minimum

    Or, I should say, my pal did….

    Essien’s average is 7.57/10
    Fletcher: 6.83/10
    Ballack: 7.09/10
    Anderson: 6.81
    Carrick: 5.77
    Giggs: 6.64
    Palacios: 6.24
    Barry: 7.13
    Ireland: 5.34
    Jenas: 6.02
    Lassana Diarra: 6.58
    X. Alonso: 6.85
    Xavi: 7.08
    Keita: 7.44
    Y. Toure: 6.62
    Gerrard: 6.99
    Benayoun: 6.78
    Lampard: 7.32
    Mascherano: 6.04

  20. On Eboue I love how whenever his fouled he does that star shape fall where he makes sure he spreads his arms and legs wiiiiiiiide apart. Got to love him.

  21. Eboue also scored against Germany yesterday.

  22. “On Eboue I love how whenever his fouled he does that star shape fall where he makes sure he spreads his arms and legs wiiiiiiiide apart. Got to love him.”

    My point exactly. Now if a manure or chav player did that, you wouldn’t think it is all that lovely will you?

  23. “Amy Lawrence cannot help but praise Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni for what he’s achieved with the Republic. “What Trapattoni has achieved with this group of players, comprising solid workers from Preston and Hull and Stoke and Wolves welded on to the more established performers, is remarkable… Shame for Ireland. Shame on Thierry Henry.”

    This b**** is beginning to really piss me off!!

  24. S-G

    Depends which side of the pond you sit…

    YW

  25. Eboue only does that to ensure that the referee sees his been fouled that doesn’t mean his cheating.

  26. Love the Malcolm X picture SG.

  27. Oh c’mon, would you make the same argument for Drogba!?

  28. Football’s a team game. How can you break it up into personal statistics? Makes no sense to me.

    For instance, how can the Verminator’s worst performance have come at Fulham where we kept our only away clean sheet in the league?

  29. Robin Van Persie is a better football player than Didier Drogba. He is certainly more suited to Arsenal than Drogba would be. If the statistics do not demonstrate that then they are using the wrong criteria. Apples and Pears.

  30. SG I rember Arshavin doing something similar last season. Some gunners didn’t take it too kindly….

  31. perrygroves,

    Us keeping a clean sheet does not mean every defender played well.

  32. Did the other defenders play especially well, then to make up for TV’s below par performance?

  33. You can defend poorly and still not concede a goal. It could mean Fulham attacked poorly for example.

  34. Or was it the midfield who stopped Fulham from getting near our defence?

  35. At 7.67/10 Cesc is about the best midfielder in the premiership? That sounds about right.

  36. Could have been the attack that meant that the game was played in Fulham’s half.

  37. Precisely OG. It’s a team game and individual statistics don’t take account of how other team mates were playing or how the other team were playing.

  38. As I remember it, the Fulham game was actually one of our worst team performances this season, Worse than the manu game which we lost

  39. very good Perry groves grouped stats tend to blur the image..

  40. Is there a statistic which measures the performance of the other players in the team when a particular player is playing? And if so how do you attribute the performance of the other players to that player and not the others?

  41. Mannone’s stat for the fulham game was 9.58. I think he kept us in it tbh

  42. Statistics… ah…
    I bet you could make a case with them that Lee Cattermole is the best midfielder in the world.

    Denilson is not the king of anything… except maybe average performances.

    ”One section of our Arsenal support had decided at the start of the season that it was going to be Denilson’s fault if we didn’t do well.

    They then diligently stuck with their convictions and foolishly, and destructively refused to allow neither rhyme (what rhymes with ‘boo’) nor reason to change their minds.

    It was pathetic and really disheartening to see a young, determined and hardworking player do so well but yet get so much stick.”

    People are entitled to their opinions, just because you think they’re wrong and dream up these ‘reasons’ doesn’t make them true. You talk as if Arsenal fans WANTED him to fail. Bollocks. I’d be the happiest if he proved me wrong and became an excellent midfielder. I just haven’t seen anything special from him, nothing that sets him apart (and I mean that in a defensive way, before you say it’s not his job to be spectacular). An average player who’s best attribute is that you know he’ll be consistently average. He won’t have a bad game, but he won’t have a great game either.

  43. Would Keane be talking so much if it was the other way round.. and the media??? they would have said it was an intelligent handball beautifully played for the motherland…

    I can hear them saying…”well thats football, he did not mean to do it, it hit his hand, sometimes you have to accept some decisions go against you and some for you and hope over a period of time, they even out.”

    I liked that handball… it enabled an arsenal player to score, so it cant be bad.

  44. Y.W. – Like everything else, depends on your perspective. As an anti-colonialist you know which side of the divide I stand 😉

  45. I think, Bob, that like the rest of us, you see what you want to see.

  46. What is an anti-colonialist, s-g?

  47. Bob, if you listen to some fans, it does sound very much like the WANT some of our players to fail

  48. ”I think, Bob, that like the rest of us, you see what you want to see.”

    Possible. But I honestly have nothing against him, he’s an Arsenal player.

  49. Maria – I agree with you about France and Lass Diarra. He is close to being one of the worst central midfielders in a “big” club in Europe. He may be a decent tacklier but he is horrible as a passer and is pathetic when falling back to help his defenders (in contrast to Song). The French may be good technically but IMO they are very pedestrian in the midfield area. If you recall last W/C final they brought Zizou out of retirement and although he was a step or two slower than in his prime he ran their midfield, taking them to the finals. Since he finally retired, I simply am not impressed by their set up this time around.

  50. Agreed Frank

    In the words of Floyd “money” Mayweather

    “fans see what they want to see”

  51. Maria – I agree with you about France and Lass Diarra. He is close to being one of the worst central midfielders in a “big” European club. He may be a decent tackler but he is horrible as a passer and is pathetic when falling back to help his defenders (in contrast to Song). The French may be good technically but IMO they are very pedestrian in the midfield area. If you recall last W/C final they brought Zizou out of retirement and although he was a step or two slower than in his prime he ran their midfield, taking them to the finals. Since he finally retired, I simply am not impressed by their set up in midfield. Of course, they might turn it around and make a mug of me.

  52. Hi Frank – Anti-colonialist, pro-independence, however it strikes you. Benjamin Disraeli was a firm believer in the British Empire. After 400 years of colonial mis-rule in the Caribbean, give me Mark Twain anytime.
    Gone to work.

  53. Damned Lies and Statistics

  54. Bob,

    I don’t see any stat that establishes Cattermole as the best midfielder in the world.

    What we do know is that in every single stat (axim index, tackling, Guardian, Opta, Finktank, Castol Index) they all universally show Denilson was good.

    Your opinion is not just conflicting with mine it is patently wrong.

    If a player wins the ball more than any player in the league you can’t say he played poorly. If you’d said that you’d be so deluded you’d be bordering on insane.

    It would be like me insisting Man United did not win the league last season.

    Some things are beyond opinion.

  55. Mean Lean,

    Myles Palmer has been wrong on Henry for over a decade. Now he just sounds bitter. Very bitter.

  56. Well said, Ole Gunner. Some things are just facts and you can’t say “but in my opinion” when talking about facts. If Denilson wins the ball all the time, it’s not an opinion, it’s a fact.

    As for Henry, in an interview he said that he actually told the ref it was a handball…

  57. From Guardian.co.uk:

    Henry admitted the ball did strike his hand and claims he told the referee, who chose to allow the goal to stand.

    The Barcelona striker said: “The ball hit my hand, I will be honest. It was a handball, you can clearly see it. [Sébastien] Squillaci went to jump with two Irish players, I was behind him and the next thing I know the ball hit my hand.

    “It was a handball, but I’m not the ref. I told [the referee] but he said to me the same: ‘You are not the ref.'”

  58. Also, just imagine Henry visiting our ground the next time and some of OUR fans booing him. That would be dreadful…

  59. Just saw this OG – must say a very well written and researched piece. Well done

  60. He cheated irish , why we boo him ??
    if he did that in a chapions league game against us and manage to knock us out , i will boo my heart out next time i saw him but not for the irish.

  61. Yes, not you, santino. But I bet you’ve seen OUR fans saying how everything he did for us doesn’t matter anything after that handball yesterday…

  62. he was always pants for france .

  63. Ole gunner.

    Interesting and well researched article. At least it removes emotion and prejudice in a conversation about how players are really doing. I enjoyed reading it.

    On Denilson and Diaby – I think both are different players who bring different things and can be used differently depending on the opponent. What interests me about them is that they are both very good ‘defense to attack’ transitional players who compliment the defensive Song as well as the attacking Fabregas. Not many teams have that flexibility.

    As for Henry – I’m just bemused that the British media have just made him the anti-christ in the space of a few hours. Tell me an Irish player who wouldn’t have done the same and we can then move on.

    What pisses me off the most is when TH14 is referred to as “the ex Arsenal player”. I must have missed a few years – but I thought TH14 went to Barcelona.

  64. Three statisticians went out hunting, and came across a large deer. The first statistician fired, but missed, by a meter to the left. The second statistician fired, but also missed, by a meter to the right. The third statistician didn’t fire, but shouted in triumph, “On the average we got it!”

  65. Oh love it, as much as I’d enjoy to see Bergkamp as Arsenal coach after Wenger’s 20+ year reign, Henry has the one ingredient I don’t think Bergkamp can acquire..

    An orchestra of hate from hacks and cundits.. Wenger has been subject to this since he was announced as Arsenal coach and it has spurred him and his team to overcome..

    I am certain every thing happens for a reason and as the British media seek to destroy Henry’s character it will only become stronger..

    here’s another classic moment of Henry influence..

  66. santino,

    Why don’t you go around stadia across England booing Paul Scholes?

  67. for what ?

  68. i already boo all the manures whenever i see them.

  69. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or the Americans.

    On the other hand, the French eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or the Americans.

    The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or the Americans.

    The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or the Americans.

    Conclusion: Eat and drink whatever you like. It’s speaking English that kills you.

  70. Boo him for handling the ball deliberately and “‘cheating”.

  71. against us ?? when ??

  72. Not against us. Against some other team. Do you hate “cheating” or not?

  73. The whole affair’s getting ramped up by the media to a frightening level…now we have the BBC live-blogging the story as a kind of diplomatic incident.

    The hysteria around a hand-ball makes you wonder if anyone learned anything from Robert Enke’s story.

  74. Think it was Mark Twain, YW, rather than Disraeli… but wouldn’t bet on it. Lies etc..

  75. I still haven’t heard any real news about an Aaron Ramsey injury. Was that just bullshit?

    SSN: (*sensationalist inflections abound from news reader*) “The Republic of Ireland’s appeal to have the match replayed will be turned down because they are a SMALLER NATION!

    ……………..says Tony Cascarino”

    Oh. For a second there I thought they were reporting news.

  76. Santino add me to the list that boos Mancs whenever!!for the love of me i can’t stand them!!!

  77. i hate cheating us. What henry did was cheating ,but i dont care as long as that the affair between two shit teams (footballing wise).But if someone did that against us i wont be happy.

  78. Ole gunner your article was very enlightening..I’ll be sure to check out the link after every Arsenal performance before throwing any stones.

  79. Sad man that i am, i checked on wikipedia… it was Disraeli, then popularised by Mark “Not my real name” Twain.

  80. i think wc should be played like cl and uefa cup .one for the big and one for the not so big. England should go for the second.

  81. France should offer a replay to Ireland.

  82. this is going to be a great season,arsenal to win the double,cl and epl and my beloved algeria to win acn and do well in south africa.up the gunners,allezz les verts

  83. @ SG

    I agree did you see any reason for the two Diarra’s one was bad enough.

    I really think that French side need to bring in Nasri if they want some much needed creativity.

    On the mug thing I really hope they do. Yesterday they had 11 quality players on the pitch which I hope to see in WOZA 2010. On the Irish side besides Shay Given there was nobody there that impressed me enough to want to see live next year!!

  84. lol Ole you’re joking.. right

  85. Santino and if we did it against another team? I remember against Liege Song assisted by hand while he was still offside, we all acknowledged it but were happy we scored as things hadnt been on our side for awhile.

  86. New Zealand will be at the World Cup, and Russia will not.

    mmm…

  87. “France should offer a replay to Ireland.”

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

  88. SSN: (*sensationalist inflections abound from news reader*) “The Republic of Ireland’s appeal to have the match replayed will be turned down because they are a SMALLER NATION!

    ……………..says Tony Cascarino”

    Oh. For a second there I thought they were reporting news.

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

  89. ‘France should offer a replay to Ireland’

    Why not?

  90. Firstlady,
    In that case i would say what wenger alwas says.

  91. Limpar Assist the same reason why Argentina didn’t offer England a rematch after “the Hand of God”

    and why England didn’t offer Germany a replay in 66..

  92. @Limpat

    While everyone was worried about not seeing old spotty sliver shorts, Messi and Henry 2010 will be without Arshavin which is criminal and god knows if Russia will get to the next one if Hiddick leaves as reported.

    BTW How old is AA?

    Also loved you Jenas and Matalan reference yesterday had me going….

  93. according to reports arshavin was pretty poor in both games .i just love the players who just perform for us not for their bloody country.

  94. I’d hate it if there was to be a replay. 4 of our players would be called-up. But I think France should do that in the spirit of fair play.

  95. yeah I’ve heard about that “spirit”

  96. ‘France should offer a replay to Ireland’

    Why not?

    The French FA I think are very aware that they just squeeked through a three match in this dual may well see Ireland actucally get to the worldcup. There is no way that FFA are going to risk that happening methinks.

  97. also loved the way robbie keane blasted blaster and platini.would be happier if they ban him for life for this.

  98. Someone pointed out that in Germany they’re trying a new procedure for refs to rule such controversial circumstances such as the Henry incident.

    Apparently, the referee asks the player. Using yesterday’s example, the ref would have asked Henry if he handled the ball. If Henry admited handling the ball, the goal would have been disallowed and Henry would have been booked.

    If he denied it, and video replays after the match showed he had lied, he would subsequently get a hefty ban of say 6 matches.

    I can see that working. Very good idea!

  99. ole,
    if it is a cl final many people will take 6 match ban i think.

  100. in the future..

  101. Limpar i fear for Arshavin.I hope he does better on his fitness than last summer.

  102. santino,

    Then gradiate the punishment.

    If done in the CL final, make the punishment higher.

  103. Ole you’re right, fair play says they should. But no one takes fair play that seriously

  104. KS, but it was a rather lovely gesture of ours to offer Sheffield Utd another crack at the whip in the FA Cup in ’99, don’t you think?

    We beat them. They said, ‘half a second, you’ve cheated there’. We said, ‘No, you’re quite right. Would you like to have another go?’ They said, ‘Awfully decent of you…’ And so we beat them again.

    Paddy Kenny cried… twice. But they can’t say they weren’t asking for it.

  105. I still don’t get why anyone cares that Ireland aren’t coming to the 2010 unless ofcause your Irish.

    They team sheet yesterday was enough to make most neautrals see sense i would have thought.

  106. Why are we still discussing the handball??? Things like this happen in every game, every player does it.

  107. I like that German rule, but who thinks FIFA or UEFA would ever adopt such a common sense aproach?

  108. not our players

  109. Maria, you’re right. The FFA are scared. And a wounded, hard done by Ireland given a second life, is quite scary. I’d back them to win a replay.

    Unless Gael and Sam and Abou were picked of course.

  110. Arseblog an Irish gooner has it spot on I think.

    http://www.oleole.com/blogs/arseblog/posts/on-thierry-henry-handball-and-ireland–eduardo-gibbs-good-news

    [Edited to show link to article – YW]

  111. Maria i think AA is 28.Let them have a replay!!I bet Henry scores a brace.

  112. the backlash re: the whole Henry episode is a bit over dramatic.. the bbc and their live text reaction is a bit tooo much…

    Henry shld apologize to the Irish and we shld all move on….
    my fear is the brit media r gonna take this out on arsenal!!..

  113. i think the matter is not simple as poor Irish didnt make to Africa, but the tendency of blaster and platini to influence games. I think they really wanted to see all the big teams qualify and they succeeded in it. Coincidence may be ,but i had this feeling before in cl last year. i thought all the high power wanted to see Barcelona win.

  114. “Unless Gael and Sam and Abou were picked of course.” Yep

    Key I think, but what the French new more than anything is a NEW manager. Geez, there is no way that France can have so much talent in the squad and still be on par with the likes of Ireland the result should have been similiar to our spanking of Celtic (5-1) this season over two legs.

  115. The only flaw with the German plan is that the referee must have an inkling that something was amiss. It is no good relying on the reaction of the opposition to drive this notion as there will be spurious claims made without any notion of punishment for such irrelevances.

    If FIFA wants to clamp down on this, video technology is the only way forward – a man in the stand reviewing something like this, even watching TV broadcasts, could have an answer inside of 1 minute. The ball is dead already so there is no interference with the natural progression of a match.

    YW

  116. A nice Gesture indeed LA but nothing compared to the world cup final, where not just one goal was in question but two, as when the fourth was scored the Germans had stopped playing because 5 or more members of the British crowd had infiltrated the pitch yet the goal was still aloud.. (but we all know who writes history don’t we)

  117. “Henry shld apologize to the Irish and we shld all move on….
    my fear is the brit media r gonna take this out on arsenal!!..”

    Arsenal supports really do worry me at times. I mean WTF????????????

  118. Any ARSENAL team news anyone?

  119. Very good point, YW.

    I think referees generally would suspect something was amiss. Unfortunately, in many cases the referee couldn’t (and shouldn’t) give the decision if s/he was unsure.

    I think the ref would have known something was amiss yesterday, because long before Henry squared to Bill Gallas, the Irish defenders raised their hands to highlight the foul.

    There will be cases where the ref would miss the incident completely.

    In those cases my personal proposal would be to have a 5th official in the TV broadcast room who can tell the ref exactly what he might have missed.

    Of course there would still be incidents like at West ham where RVP was fouled as he headed the ball. A clear penalty and denial of a goalscoring opportunity. His case was not helped by the fact that he got the header on target nevertheless and Rob Green saved.

  120. I think we should stick this to barca. The cheating mentality of classless team spreads to the player also.

  121. Half the problem with Sky’s coverage is that they have a vested interest. Not in justice but in improving their audience take in broadcasting areas.

    A sense of justice condemns Henry. Practicalities suggest the opposite – whilst the rest of the world might have applauded him for honesty had he fessed up immediately, his team-mates and probably the French media would have slaughtered him.

    Nobody should expect any action from FIFA or UEFA since that would fly in the face of their track record for total and utter hypocrisy.

    YW

  122. This is like the QB rating in the NFL. Van Persie scored ten goals but lets say that seven of those were match winners. This is a good stat. When it comes to nut cutting time can a cat score? This is the point. The Fake Ronaldo never shows up during crunch time.
    Stats are good but how to break them down into segiments of the game. A key “D” stop or a matching winning save is huge. http://bobbygee.wordpress.com/

  123. who the f is bobbygee?

  124. i saw this man on many blogs talking bolloks and a link to a bolloking blog.

  125. Thanks KS!!

    Great to see RVP walking without assistance. So shopuld be expect him to be returning just in time for the Carling cup game???????????

  126. Wow, bobbygee, you make me wish the Mayflower had sunk at Plymouth.

  127. This is from arseblog

    John Cross from the Mirror said on his Twitter:

    Next time Arsenal are cheated, no one can complain. This was a big game.

    Again, what the fuck does it have to do with Arsenal?

  128. santino,

    Don’t act the simple kid. We all know it. It was 2 ex-Arsenal captains.

    That has affected the response, and we will be made to pay for it.

    The cost of Eduardo’s dive against Celtic is 8 clear penalties we have been denied this season.

    This Henry matter is not over yet.

  129. Media’s obsession with attacking Arsenal FC without reason is nothing new why are fans still surpised?

    F*** the media and they Spud luvin’ writers we are second in the table with a game in hand.

  130. maria, so what do u mean by wtf?? i mean we all need to move on.. but dont u think the media will somehow link this to arsenal??? the whole thing has been overblown (obviously by still talking abt it im contributing to the hysteria…)

  131. i remember the haedline Arsenal win the worldcup with a photo of viera and petit celebrating a goal against brazil.The media is like that .That also had nothing to do with arsenal.

  132. OG great piece thanks for that. all the best Dave

  133. “When it comes to nut cutting time can a cat score?”

    Most cats I’ve had are sh*t scared when it comes to nut cutting time, let alone being able to score.

  134. Of course it isn’t over the hacks will milk it for all its worth..

    Whats worse is our own fans are convinced Eduardo dived contrary to what Wenger said or that he was proven innocent..

    Its no wonder why members outside the club can feel justified that Arsenal only produce cheats..

  135. And remember, Thierry Henry is not a striker. He is not a goalscorer.

    He scored only 20 goals in 103 games for Monaco. And he did nothing at Juventus.

    Henry is a right-footed left winger who is quick and skilful. He can also play wide on the right.

    Even Arsene Wenger cannot make Henry into a striker.

    So lets get that straight in our minds before we read any more ignorant tosh in the papers. Got it?

  136. “F*** the media and they Spud luvin’ writers we are second in the table with a game in hand.”

    My sentiments exactly!

  137. I thought the idea of cutting their nuts was to stop them scoring?

    YW

  138. “Whats worse is our own fans are convinced Eduardo dived contrary to what Wenger said or that he was proven innocent..”

    Eduardo dived mate, but that’s neither here nor there. Everyone will do the same given the chance

  139. Edurado tried to avoid an injury by diving .its a mental thing which happens mostly to players who just came back from long term injuries.

  140. http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/clichy-i-considered-playing-for-england

    Oh dear. Clichy must realise he would have to share a changing room not with world- class players but world class nobs like Defoe, Fat Frank and Shrek doesn’t he?? EEEKKKKKKK

  141. Contact is visible Henristic (but that’s another story)

  142. Three that maybe back.

    Theo Walcott
    November 9
    Theo has been sidelined by a knee injury and is expected to return to training this month. “He will be back in training the week after the international break,” said Wenger ahead of the Wolves game.

    Denilson
    November 9
    Denilson is expected to return to training later this month. The Brazilian midfielder’s last appearance in an Arsenal shirt came at Eastlands back on September 12. He was substituted eight minutes after half-time and has not been seen since. Speaking ahead of the game with Wolves, Arsène Wenger revealed: “Denilson will be back in training during the second week of the international break.”

    Armand Traore
    November 9
    Armand Traore has returned to training but was not available for the Wolves game. “It seems a bit short for Armand,” said Wenger ahead of the game.

  143. Eddy did NOT dive nor did he DEMAND a penalty.

  144. Am also hopomg Vela gets fit soon I miss him.

  145. but he claimed an own goal by a wolf player like fat frank .What a shame

  146. Just because there’s contact doesn’t mean its not a dive. Rooney divedto win the pen in our manu game, even though Almunia clearly made contact. Same logic applies to fouls to. a tackler can foul a player even when he wins the ball

  147. K S/Maria

    Just because there’s contact doesn’t mean its not a dive. Rooney dived to win the pen in our manu game, even though Almunia clearly made contact. Same logic applies to fouls to. a tackler can foul a player even when he wins the ball.

  148. Gallas scored with his face again, something that I celebrated.

    Saw quite a few handballs last night. As well as the one that ‘mattered’ the most. A decision/reaction taken in less than a second time. What’s the reason for the referees not to use video evidence and other technologies in his decision making again?

    Was quite disappointed and taken aback for a second or two, to be honest. Didn’t want to see Henry in that light. Cheating is not okay and shouldn’t be.

    Enough to taint him and what he was/is to Arsenal and me? Course not.

    Poor Arsh 😦

  149. nor should it mean it isn’t a foul because contact isn’t made when a player is trying to protect himself.. yet the contact rule is followed..

  150. Trapattoni refuses to blame Henry for Ireland’s elimination. Class…measure, reason, perspective…everything that’s lacking in English football punditry.

  151. one question.if by miracle fifa decide (uefa and platini have nothing to do with last night match)to get the match replay,france by now sack domenech.and france win by 4 goal (2 goal by henry 🙂 ),will the irish and anti-arsenal still complain about it.of course they will.

  152. sacking of domenech is a bigger advantage than henrys hand ball .

  153. @ Ole Gunner

    Excellent article. Research – you can’t beat it!

  154. Flint:

    Nice comments and well put.

    Ole:

    I enjoyed the read in relation to the stats. And I think the point Fact v Opinion is well made. I was not at all surprised to see Essien getting top marks, despite being a chav, he really is a superb player. I rate both Diaby and Dennilson. Even though I have my doubts about Diaby’s defensive ability at times – your analysis is food for thought. I think we’re blessed to have them both.

    And kudos also for having the balls to admit that Eduardo did dive and call it as it was. I said as much at the time, that the establishment would seek revenge and of course we got it in spades at Old Trafford and ever since.

    On the rematch issue – If it were to happen I would be astonished. While I largely agree with Arsebloggers take – the real cheating took place when FIFA contrived to ensure that the draw was seeded at such a late stage when surprise, surprise, the traditional footie nations with the greater TV revenues got to play against the smaller ones. When the establishment itself is corrupt it really leaves little hope for the game. Just how much longer will Refs be abused, video evidence excluded, bungs, bribes etc……..and then by comparison, just look at how Rugby is administered and see the contrast. It’s the lunatics that run the asylum!

    What Brady and Trappatoni achieved with a bunch of average players against superpower talents like France and Italy deserves to be commended. Ireland, for all their limitations, played like a team. Its says a lot about the French performance that Lloris was their best player! Domenech even managed to leave Benzema on the bench!

    Henristic – nice comments too.

  155. Respects to Trapattoni for quashing the slurs about a re-match and that Henry should have told the Ref at the time..He acknowledges that this type of incident has happened many times before and he accepts Frances victory over Ireland, as they would have had to accept it if this had happened to them..

    He goes on to stipulate that this is a further call for Video replays in the future, as such incidents hamper the games credibility..

    Henry laughs in the faces of those who say that he should have told the referee in order to influence his decision or perhaps the lack of one..

  156. at last some good news.

  157. Denilson, Vela & Traore are back!!!!!!!

    All fit.

    Good news!

    Theo & Diaby might likely be back for next week.

  158. Speak for yourself, SD. TH14 is still my hero.

  159. Great post OG.

    Very dignified and graceful interview by Trappattoni, as a fan one can see a glimpse of how he’s earned a reputation amongst his peers for being one of Europe’s leading coaches/managers.

    Domenech seems to be the real benefactor out of all this bluster. Shame for French football, I thought the English FA was bad. L.Diarra was shocking last night, not much better then when I saw Barca thump Madrid last season, and without the aid of statistic’s, I would say that Diaby looks a much better player then either Diarra. Considering this might be his first full season, you could say that’s an unfair comparison from Diaby’s perspective.

    I liked your tale OG yesterday of how your cat feels about Diaby when he makes those angled runs, incredibly beating two/three players, and then sometimes losing the ball. The difference between watching a player like either Diarra last night or Diaby, is that Diaby clearly has some special talent, when he’s trying out such moves, you want him to succeed, because he’s doing things, running past people in a way that few can.
    Inspiring stuff, he will just get better and better.

    Ramsey got no grief from fans for his jaw dropping cross field passes across the defence to the opposition, in both his last games, but Diaby gets slated for any error. That difference in attitude doesn’t need statistical data to prove that some people are being irrational.

  160. SD;

    Count me out of that “our”. Thierry Henry remains a sparkling Arsenal hero.

  161. Cheers Finsburyparker! And I swear it’s true, the cat tale.

  162. A severely “tainted” one for me!

    Anyway enough about last night’s farce.

    Back to business at the weekend! Good news on the injury front. Hope Eddie & AA can stay fit over the next couple of weeks.

  163. @ Joe
    Saying that Eduardo dived is stating an opinion, not a fact.

    The media and the referees are anti-Arsenal because our manager is French, most of our players are foreign, and England have not got anywhere in the World Cup for decades now. Eduardo’s “dive” and Henry’s handball are just an excuse.
    I would never want us to bow to xenophobia and prejudice just for an easy life.

  164. Thanks for the link, fastforward.
    Denilson AND Vela available for Saturday, Diaby might be available for Chelsea.

  165. Fungunner my sentiments exactly and oh how I’ve missed the Master Denilson..

  166. AFC & AW used some kind of anatomical/ bio-mechanical consultant to prove that Dudu got a knock that, erm, knocked him over.
    Of course, it’s possible to prove such things when you have several camera’s focused on a particular area, most fans only saw a few angles of the Dudu incident.
    But regardless of that, anyone who’s played even in a school team as a goalkeeper (or Guardian as the French commentator said)knows that: If you rush out and make any contact with the attacker, unless you clearly, obviously win the ball, you’ve given away a foul. Simple.
    The referee had to point that fact out to the Celtic players as he repeatedly slapped his shin to shut up them up.

  167. Because the keeper made much more contact with Dudu’s shin, then the football. Foul.

  168. cant wait for deni to play again he was great at the start of the season

  169. loads of premier league players waiting in line for the serbian woman.

  170. Contact doesn’t always equal foul. Contact has to be deliberate and it must be enough to knock the player off. Also, you have to consider who makes contact with who.

    If Striker runs into keeper, it’s not a penalty.

    For a long time, what Finsburyparker says was the common interpretation. However, strikers now deliberately knock the ball into Row Z, to make sure the keeper gets no touch, and then lets himself run into the keeper.

    Referees are (or should be) aware of this trick.

  171. as my comments above indicate Ole, the blade is double edged .. Maybe you should take up refereeing..

  172. Eduardo did not dive. The keeper did come out to intimidate him and did knock his foot away. Whether that was enough to trip Eduardo up or whether Eduardo’s momentum carried him over is not the point. It is not against the rules to go to ground. It was an intentional foul by the Celtic keeper, who insisted that Eduardo was a cheat even though he knew he had made contact with him. Through all of this Eduardo did not claim a penalty. As an incident it was much closer to call then many, many other actual ‘dives’ by Rooney, Gerrard, Lampard, Beckham etc etc, none of which attracted FA, UEFA, FIFA, press or media attention. There have been many incidents of actual diving since Eduardo was criminally lambasted incuding Young, Bent….nothing mentioned.

  173. KS,

    I did referee for a while, a long time ago (of course at nothing like the top).

  174. og that’s very true, wayne rooney against us for example, his touch was far far too heavy, and he was obviously looking for a penalty, it’s very difficult to round a keeper properly

  175. A long day and after all of it Flint summed it up very well.

    A few minutes after the goal, an Irish player went flying on the touchline when a French defender breathed on him. ‘He earned Ireland a free kick there..’ said the commentator. It happens every game, all over the pitch. Until we take the hypocrisy out of which we deem to be acceptable and unacceptable cheating, we should save our breath.

    Most telling was Thierry seeking out Dunn at the end and sitting beside him chatting like old mates. You can imagine the conversation, can’t you? Along the linbes of ‘shit happens’. Both knowing that any player on either side could have won the game by an illegal act.

    Truis in all games. the pros know it. Just the complete idiots like Cascarino pretend otherwise.

    Idiots, fools and bounders.

  176. does eduardo want to kickstart a series of small injuries again? No, which is why he got out of the way in my opinion. It just happened so quick it looked like a dive

  177. There are many forms of deliberate contact in football which do not warrant a foul. Contact is not relevant.It is the intent behind the contact that is the issue, in fact so much so that the player’s intent can warrant a foul even if no contact is made.

  178. What a shame the guys at the top could really benefit from your incites into trickery which you say they are unaware of.. Its a wonder why that ref said after the Celtic game he would have still given it as a penalty..

  179. why doesn’t anyone give credit to rvp’s penalties?? I reckon he is the best taker in the world, i can’t recall any misses. The ones last season that were particularly outstanding were roma (1st leg) and the semi final one.

    He looked very happy coming out of the clinic this morning

  180. Fair point OG.

    That’s a good description of the Rooney penalty incident as well.
    Maybe my understanding of what a foul by a keeper could be is a bit harsh considering that players do throw themselves into the keepers path in professional football. I’d still say that Dudu didn’t do that, at least it’s impossible to prove. But anyway, that’s old news.

  181. Of course. Not all times does deliberate contact equal foul. An example is a shoulder challange.

  182. I would like to commend RVP on his penalties.

  183. By: Flint McCullough on November 19, 2009
    at 10:58 am

    “The question really is:
    Is cheating when it is so blatant any different to any other form of cheating (the shirt pull, the crafty push in the back, claiming the throw in when you know it’s not yours, playing the ball when you know it is out of play, the going down easily etc..etc…etc) ?”

    You’re absolutely right Flint, people get all riled up and take the moral high ground when cheating results in a goal in a big game…but all the other cheating is ok or part of the game….or even some of them call it “Grit”.

    TH14 should not have done that, but at the heat of the moment, with thousands of your own fans are dying to qualify and time running out…I bet Keane or Rooney or any other player would have done the same even if he didn’t want to.

    It’s harsh and it’s sad but you win some and you lose some. Introducing video evidence in the game for incidents like this is no more like asking to introduce video evidence for Eduardo falsely alleged dive…it opens a huge can of worms, and which decisions during the game we should stop to watch? the pull on the shirt, the contested throw in, etc etc…

    So glad the Internationals are over…back to Arsenal.

  184. Quite the reverse, Finsburyparker, the Celtic keeper threw himself at Eduardo. Deliberately. He tried to pull away at the last split second and failed. It is a physically dangerous and threatening act.

  185. does anyone know the date for the k.o round of the c/l?? (That’s provided we dont get a point out of our last 2)

  186. I was watching some old clips of Viera, it’s amazing how many times he lost the ball by holding on to it for too long.

    Reminded me of a current Arsenal midfielder that gets pilloried for the same.

  187. i think what we did last season was underestimated games. We always looked to the next ‘big’ one, for example the 1-1 with middlesbrough was really pissing annoying, aswell as the 1-1 with s’land whe we think abt it, though at the time it felt like a point. We need to win these early away games, i dont think wolves are a good enough test, since they barely have any premier league experience

  188. @Ole

    I wrote this long ass post about stats and logical fallacy and why the stuff people have been saying to you is like saying you don’t “believe” in gravity…etc. Then I remembered I was wasting my time, and that you already know all that.

    Excellent post!

  189. wengerball,

    You’re blaspheming against St. Patrick. Your pennance will be paid in shamrock or Guiness.

  190. axis,

    Some of these people are like creationists. The earth was created 6000 years ago. It’s so because I say so. Any facts contradicting this, I will disregard.

    The argument that drives me insane is; stats don’t tell you everything.

    Fact: Denilson won the ball more than any other player in the league. By some distance.

    Denier: There’s no stat for stat for how many times he was out of position.

    Me: There is, you mug! Tell me how many times it happens, compare it to other players. Make a case. In any case, it doesn’t negate the impressiveness of him being the best ballwinner in the league.

  191. I didn’t mean to infer that contact equated to a foul, just that if a keeper rushing out makes more contact with his opponent then the ball, that it tends to be a penalty? Insightful comments as always.

    Frank, I was being too kind to the Dudu bashers out there, the case was comprehensively dismissed on review. There isn’t a debate about that incident, just the lingering malaise of propaganda directed towards non-english players. It’s so obvious that it’s become amusing listening to people make fools of themselves trying to claim that Eduardo dived.

    A trip to sunny Sunderland beckons. There’ll be many tired players, so it will be a toughie. Great news about Vela, Traore & Denny. I’ve been dreaming all season long about that raking pass from by TV5 onto a run by either Vela or Walcott.
    Not long to wait now.

    COYG!

  192. You are a star, Finsburyparker

  193. I wonder if Deni Deni is fit enough to come straight in for Song. When AW says someone’s fit, it usually means they’re 100% and raring to go – so I’m gonna say yes.

    I doubt WG will be too knackered after 120mins at centreback. Sagna though? He’ll have covered a lot of ground, but then he’s a very fit man. Was Eboue playing in Germany or at home?

  194. Wenger said Deni is travelling to Sunderland, I assume that means he is 100% fit.

    Have you seen Eboue’s goal?

  195. A great finish might I add!

  196. Really good article Ole.

    Personally I think that Thierry loses nothing by publically suggesting that the French FA should offer a reply. Just state it was instinct rather than premeditated cheating, he’s sorry and would be confident of winning if the game could be replayed.

    The French FA won’t do it, but at least some of the hysteria aimed at a true footballing legend would be removed.

  197. odds are even for Henry to apologize — 4 to 1 for one of the french officials to apologize .. 100 to 1 for Henry to score a goal in the World cup with his hand next year..

  198. queen, i agree the french f.a should do a bit more to back him up.

  199. nigel winterburn gave a good interview on sky sports news just now saying in that situation, with all the fans and the situation you would be in, nobody knows how they would react.

  200. The French FA, press and media are a bunch of hypocrites though are they not? They will denigrate TH and distance themselves from the event, but of course they are happy to be the beneficiaries. Same the whole world over.

  201. very true. i just don’t want his whole career to end with people still thinking about the incident. However, I still think it was intentional and he regrets it.

  202. what will be will be..

  203. I think the whole incident is hilarious.

  204. Just as I thought that Zizou’s last act for France was a work of art. Oh how the high-minded, santimonious tossers moaned about that one.

    Some people need to lighten up…

  205. you’ve got it Frank..

  206. talk to frank

  207. Frank – you’re right.

    3 years ago, Zizou was demonized for head butting the Italian thug who called his mother and sister unmentionable names.

    The press conspired to suggest that his legacy will be blighted by that red card….Duh!

    Folks are just angry and emotional – but let’s face it, shit falls.

    If Damien Duff would have taken his 121 chance with Lloris, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

  208. Amen Frank. I just listened on Sky to the prissy, smug sanctimonious Minister from Ireland suggesting that Thierry’s reputation will be as damaged as Maradonna. Please!
    Despite Maradonna’s personal failings, his reputation as a footballer is cemented in history for his audacity for the “hand of god” and his subsequent one man devastation of England with the dribble and score from the halfway line, leaving 5 English players in his wake.
    One wonders if Mr Minister would be so verbose if an Irish lad had the gall to win the game for Ireland by dubious means….I thought not.

  209. Amen Frank. I just listened on Sky to the prissy, smug sanctimonious Minister from Ireland suggesting that Thierry’s reputation will be as damaged as Maradonna. Please!
    Despite Maradonna’s personal failings, his reputation as a footballer is cemented in history for his audacity with the “hand of god” and his subsequent one man devastation of England with the dribble and score from the halfway line, leaving 5 English players in his wake.
    One wonders if Mr Minister would be so verbose if an Irish lad had the gall to win the game for Ireland by dubious means….I thought not.

  210. This week in football has been great fun. Most of the entertainment has been provided by Arsenal old and new. We have Thierry’s handball, Emanuel Eboue’s belly goal and to top the lot the week started with Robin hopping over to a Serbian lady to have his foot rubbed with horse giblets and walking back to the plane.

    Heroes all.

    You couldn’t make it up.

    ….Arsenal….

  211. a god insight into the season on the eve of the busy Christmas schedule. A similar post was presented by http://www.desigunners.wordpress.com.
    He has told the same that Song Diaby have been quiet good this season, contrary to popular belief.
    BTW gr8 post.
    But these stats will count for nothing unless and until we win some silverware this season.
    But the things are looking brighter as Gibbs’ injury is not that serious and RvP may be back sooner than expected. May be The God is wearing Red & Whites for a change.
    Up the Arsenal
    Go Gunners..

  212. The first thing that came to my mind was that it was instincts. Like when man first fell off a tree and put their arms out in front of them to shield themselves.

    Henry reached out instinctively for the ball, kept it in, admitted his faults to the referee and was fully entitled to celebrate soon after. There should be an end to this now except Dara O’Briain is going to go on newsnight (they asked him, the poor sap to appear on it to talk about this). Hopefully he also puts his Arsenal cap on because Henry is one of the nicest guys on the pitch and this is completely a punch drunk reaction.

  213. A correction
    It is @ http://desigunner.wordpress.com
    and no I dont represent that blog. I am associated with http://11gunners.com

    up the arsenal…

  214. Do you know, Brain, at the end of the day who the fuck cares what these people think?

  215. Dara O’Brian, “In tribute to the Irish, (Thierry) was playing Gaellic football…he was hurling”

    Brilliant.

  216. Dara is a Gooner 1st and Irish 2nd. Like most Arsenal fans I don’t think he gives a toss about internationals.

  217. Arrr them poor paddy’s throwing paddy’s and still crying into their guiness’es.

    Well at least Eds can relax now as he is now no longer the hated man of britain. even though who gives a feck about the irish because they aint even british.

    so talkshite say football is now in the gutter…well it must have been since 86.

  218. Excellent, Limparassist. There are people out there who do not take themselves serously after all.

  219. Neves Denilson….Click Click Click

  220. “according to reports arshavin was pretty poor in both games”

    Santino, I didn’t see the first match but watched most of the one last night. Arshavin plays as a striker for his country and he got absolutely no service. The midfield was poor and lacked any quality or creativity. The defence was shambolic as well. In fact it was two Arshavin free kicks and a cross, which created Russia’s best goal scoring chances last night. As good as he is, he cannot win the matches single handedly. So despite what some Arsenal fans believe, the fact that he does so well with us, has a lot to do with the quality of the players he is playing with.

    “I think referees generally would suspect something was amiss. Unfortunately, in many cases the referee couldn’t (and shouldn’t) give the decision if s/he was unsure.”

    I think this was the problem in the Serbia/Russia game. The Russian player was sent off because of the reaction of the Serbian players, but the referee also failed to deal with the Serbian player who raised his hand to the Russian’s face.

  221. The fact that Maradonna is among the “Panthenon” of the very greatest footballers ever is now like a lead weight drowning the Argentine Football Association who decided on making him their national coach. Once again a great footballer does not a great manger make. The shamolic performances of Argentina in the lead-up to next year’s finals augurs for them being knocked out in the first round. Yet if I voiced this possibility, say two years ago, it would result in my being marked on this blog as a stark raving mad man. Yet even if the unheard of should happen to Argentina, it would make the slightest dent to Maradonna’s reputation as a footballer. Afterall Pele is still a much heralded figure despite his rather questionable financial shennanigans.

    IMO, after Titi Henry’s lifetime achievements for Arsenal, this incident will be the slightest of footnotes on his reputation say 10 years from today.

  222. i did see the russian games and arshavin really doesnt have the role that would bring out the best of him- or maybe he does but instead of having cesc fabregas feeding him he’s got berezutski. His delivery is one of his main assets for russia, the 2nd goal of the 1st game was masterminded by him.

    Come on Arsenaaaal!!!!

  223. QoS! Welcome! I thought you’d gone for good.

  224. Ole,
    Brilliant article today. I never would have guessed it was you…

  225. Hello everyone……great post OG!!

    Saw the gloom over RVP’s injury. I think we have enough players who can step up and take his place. We’re certainly not a one man team, Cesc, Rosicky, and Arshavin will create easy chances. Eduardo will regain the confidence, and in 2 months, we’d be debating if RVP should replace Eduardo or not, because eddy is top scorer in the EPL.

    Amazing that with three LB’s injured, we still have Sylvestre, and Eboue who can play there.

    In Arsene we trust!!!

  226. lol Pz, you mischievous little……..

  227. I have never heard anyone, English or otherwise, suggest that Maradona’s reputation as a brilliant footballer was diminished by his handball against England. It is also worth remembering that he scored that goal in the quarter finals of the World Cup, not in a mere qualifying competition. For that reason, amongst others, Maradona’s transgression was far more serious than Henry’s.

    As for the Zidane headbut: the media completely misjudged public opinion in that case. Even Materazzi’s mother would have to admit that he deserves as many headbuts as he gets.

  228. I disagree, he gets a lot less headbutts than he deserves.

  229. ooh, pool vs citeh on saturday morning to warm me up for sunderland

  230. who the hell thought of calling sunderland’s stadium, in possibly one of the gloomiest areas to grace northern england the stadium of light????

  231. Oh have you never been there, zaparodje? It is common knowledge that you can see the stadium from miles away because it is always illuminated by a heavenly ray of light. Day and night. Rain or shine. No-one knows why?

  232. the heavenly ray of light doesnt do much for the football played there does it?

  233. Wiki answers for Why is the stadium of light called that? (i googled it)-answer: Because there are lots of lights in it

  234. For anyone who doesn’t know what a c*nt Materazzi is, have a look at this encounter with Juan Pablo Sorin. On second thoughts, don’t bother. It’s horrible.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8115272967897393558&ei=S54FS7bPE6Ki2AKsxLn9CQ&q=materazzi+sorin#

  235. Well, have you seen Arsenal’s record there, zaparodje? SETI always record much higher levels of activity in the Sunderland area when Arsenal play up there. I think you will find that our support stretches much further than you think.

    ….Arsenal….

  236. i’m not really interested in a debate concerning activity levels in sunderland mate

  237. i’m sure you aren’t either. Now denilson’s back in the mix, do you reckon he will start or come on as a sub to enforce our defensive midfield if we need him??

  238. Is this a debate, zaparodje?

  239. Don’t know. But in my pointless opinion if a player is coming back from injury I would always start him, on the grounds that you can sub him if he turns out not to be as fit as you thought. My view is that if he is fit Denilson will start.

  240. haha no mate, it wasn’t i get confused when i’ve got simultaneous windows up. just watched a romanian cup match between dynamo bucaresti and err someone else, yeah that’s how starved i am of football. internationals don’t count

  241. i wouldn’t consider anyone’s opinion pointless. unless it’s mark lawrensen and alen hansen

  242. Do you notice the way gary linaker introduces his guests on motd and conjures up an exciting adjective for them, such as ‘exciting’. if you look closely, you can see alan hansen and mark lawrensen shuddering and shifting nervously. The most pointless analysts known to man. ‘out of 10, the defending is minus 6’ Bet he spend college thinking abt that.

  243. Alot of sporting greats have cheated in their careers. Maradona, Micheal Schumacher,Mike Tyson, Carl Lewis,Emanuelle Eboue,Stella Walsh,Joe Niekro.

  244. By the way ..Maradona..best footballer ever, even though he robbed us.

  245. Duke, Eboue hasn’t changed gender, it’s Emmanuel not Emmanuelle

  246. Your too clever for me pas.

  247. very true, and we dont look back at their careers remembering these things. Ok, world cup qualification is large-scale, but what abt theirry henry’s career? he’s won the premier league, la liga, the world cup, the f.a cup, the copa del ray, the champions league……then, a mistake made in a qualifying match won’t really be remembered will it????

  248. hahahahaha emanuelle….eboueeeeee

  249. oh..18th November 2009..Thierry Henry breaks the world gang bang record as he ‘single handedly’ f*cks the entire population of Ireland!!

  250. except northern ireland, who probably love him

  251. Duke, you forgot Andre Kirk Agassi in your round up of cheats.

  252. What did Agassi do wrong?

  253. He took performance enhancing drugs I think as did Ben Johnson

  254. It’s really amazing that the radio or TV presenters are either fake Irish or Celtic or spurs fans Alan Brazil, Townsend, Cascarino, Ray Houghton Danny Kell, Darren Gogh the list goes on. The funny one is Danny Kelly an Irish spurs fan who blames Wenger for Thierry’s handball. Honestly its getting really ridiculous now. The Irish government stopped short of declaring war on France. its really is pure stupidity now.

  255. i love henry.

    hopefully now they will get rid of domenech and france can be an exciting team at 2010.

    News papers made me sick today moreso than usual.

    Sometimes I despair at how backwards the world is.

    Come on arsenal you beautiful bunch of cosmopolitan foreigners….show the world how football should be played.

  256. But he did crystal meth, didn’t he? That’s surely a performance diminisher!

    The only other thing I heard was about the wig. I wonder if there are rules about wigs on the ATP tour. Perhaps it gave Andre an unfair confidence boost.

  257. Was that a chest wig, Big Al?

  258. Didn’t His wife wear a wig??

  259. Seriously i wouldnt like to be married to Passenal….i’d never win an argument.

  260. Did anyone hear about the twit by Maradonna??

  261. I my self hope that domenech gets sacked before the world cup.Coz the problem with domenech is that he doesn’t put his best players inside the park.And I still Don’t get the point of him putting Benzema on the bench.And I hope he learns this in the world cup.and that is to put the right players inside the park.And this is what arsene has to learn as well.coz when all of our players return fit then wenger should sort something out.or maybe he should just pick the players of his interest.

  262. When Andrei Agassi was captain of the American Steve Davis cup team did they call him captain kirk then???

  263. Your wife will be pleased, Duke – so long as that’s not the only reason.

  264. I my self hope that domenech gets sacked before the world cup.Coz the problem with domenech is that he doesn’t put his best players inside the park.And I still Don’t get the point of him putting Benzema on the bench.And I hope he learns this in the world cup.and that is to put the right players inside the park.And this is what arsene has to learn as well.coz when all of our players return fit then he should sort something out.or maybe he should just pick the players of his interest.

  265. I heard he told Theirry he knows how he feels being hounded by all those ***** and that they had a date in South Africa 2010.

    What a character.

  266. “Seriously i wouldnt like to be married to Passenal….i’d never win an argument.”

    Funny Duke, my mum always said I should have been a lawyer, because I loved a good argument!

  267. All mothers say that to their daughters.

  268. gooner2,
    Have you ever considered writing a guest post for Yogi?

  269. What goes on inside the park stays inside the park

  270. arsene should get in the park then select the team coz then he’l b inside the park get it

  271. Wenger doesn’t even like Park.

  272. domenech shld also get inside the park in france as well coz don’t they have parks their

  273. inside the park,

    what the hell?!?!?!?

  274. Poliziano

    I haven’t yet thought about being a guest post for yogi.But I think that It’s nice of you to think that I can become a guest post for yogi.

  275. do you remember park’s face last season when he scored and broke all our hearts, i have never felt so aggressive towards my tv

  276. hahaha gooner2 I would actually read it if you did

  277. Hold on, zaparodje, I thought tv was FunGunner’s.

  278. pffffffffffffaaaaiim bored

  279. Poliziano

    I haven’t yet thought about being a guest post for yogi.But I think that It’s nice of you to think that I can become a guest post for yogi.

    Oh dear.

  280. poliziano,

    i have no idea what you meant.

  281. poliziano i have no idea what you meant

  282. i dont know what you meant

  283. click on gooner2’s link

  284. “hahaha gooner2 I would actually read it if you did”

    If you do read it zaparodje, would you mind translating it to the rest of us in the park.

  285. oh and cheers whoever recommended myp2p football, i was able to watch a romanian cup tie

  286. What The Fuck Maria?

  287. etamgnihterus.

    i’m speaking in you language dupsffokcuf

  288. Maria did you try that British TV link for MoTD?

    If not the link is on my name.

  289. At leas gooner2 knows how to save space in his posts.

  290. huh??????????

  291. “What The Fuck Maria?”

    Down boy.

  292. dupsffokcuf i was in the park

  293. Where can I find MOTD from there?

  294. maria are you maria?

  295. Did you meet players of your interest?

  296. cheers whoever gave me the link to my p2p, i was able to watch a romanian cup match today.

  297. interesting…….

  298. It is a program you download and run (in vlc media player) and you can watch many British TV channels and it’s all for free.

  299. Dupsffokcuf take off the link it ruins your image

  300. On Saturday Vermaelen scored a 56th-minute goal as Belgium defeated Hungary 3-0 in a friendly match. Marouane Fellaini and Kevin Mirallas also scored in the game.

  301. Thanks Dup.

  302. have you checked out my link?? If not, make sure you do….

  303. oh wait that was the wrong link……bah forget it

  304. goodnight everyone…..if anyone’s still here, and sorry if the end of your day was ruined by the tesco link

  305. that’s 3 in a row, is it 4?

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