Sunderland Review: Arsene Gets Bent Out Of Shape

Sunderland 1 – 1 Arsenal

0 – 1 Fabregas (13)
1 – 1 Bent (90)

Alex Song sent off (55)
Tomas Rosicky missed pen (74)

Arsene Wenger evoked the spirit of the midweek demolition by naming an unchanged side for the trip to the Stadium of Light. He got the early goal to boot but the rest of the performance was a polar opposite as Sunderland hassled, harried and pressurised Arsenal onto the back foot. The final kick of the ball gave the hosts a share of the points, scant reward for the defensive performance his charges put in.

Sunderland had a lot of pressure but despite dominating possession, they created few clear openings and when they did, Almunia produced a performance of the level which added more evidence that he is gradually shaking the demons of last season from his system. That he is receiving more protection from his centre backs helps; Squillaci’s experience shone through but it was Koscielny who was the outstanding performer, shackling Bent in a defensive prison for most of the afternoon.

The French defender is showing why Wenger was keen to sign him, willing to pay more than he perhaps intended. His tackling was excellent, as was his anticipation. He has made mistakes in other games but what marks him out differently from say, Senderos, is his ability to learn and not let those errors impact his game. His confidence, it seems, has granite as its foundation,

If Wenger was unhappy with the result, the outcome of the demanded FA charge may leave him sitting in the stands for a few games whilst Mrs W’s spending power could be diminshed for a week or so by the fine which would accompany any ban as the manager alledgedly pushed the fourth official in the aftermath of Darren Bent’s late equaliser. Perhaps his legendary failing eyesight may work in his favour, arguing that he did not see Martin Atkinson on the touchline.

And yet the three points ought to have been on the flight home. Tomas Rosicky took the captain’s responsibility for taking the penalty with fifteen minutes to go. The art of leadership also involves knowing when delegation is a better option than doing something yourself. Chamakh and Nasri have both taken penalties for Arsenal more recently than the Czech international and will do so before he does again. Power is as well and good but as Chris Waddle will attest, it is nothing without direction.

Sunderland started the match and carried the plan through. They worked hard to close Arsenal down and tried to prevent the passing game from exerting a stranglehold on the match. The plan lasted less than fifteen minutes. Anton Ferdinand thought he had time to pick his pass; Cesc ensured he did not, closing down the centre back and benefitting from an outrageous block, the ball finding Mingelot sufficiently off his line for the forty yard rebound to fly into the net.

In the celebrations, it is clear Fabregas was feeling some effects on his hamstring, which would lead to him being withdrawn later in the half. Steve Bruce’s reaction summed it all up, hand over his eyes, crying out, “Oh, for f**** sake!“. One-nil to the Arsenal and any nerves should have been settled. Far from being deflated, Sunderland set about retrieving the deficit with a gusto and deserve credit for their workrate, even if it left little tangible mark in terms of chances.

Almunia dealt with crosses confidently once more, opponents are rapidly finding that this supposed weakness is not bringing any reward. Whether it leads to them playing more football against Arsenal remains to be seen. Sunderland may have had plenty of corners but few led to real chances. When they did, Bent blazed high and wide whilst Onhoua missed equally badly with a free header.

Before the interval, Arsenal had the chance to increase their lead. An increasingly rare attack found Song at the far post and he should have done better with his header. The second half saw Arsenal start brightly, Nasri’s cross found Arshavin in the middle and under pressure, his effort flew over the bar. The Russian then missed following good work by Rosicky and Song; he should have done better than screw his shot wide of the goal.

As it was, Rosicky’s penalty miss proved costly. Nasri was needlessly fouled and this in contrast to Sunderland’s spurious claims in the first half, was cast-iron in its award. Rosicky’s miss was as sinful as Elmohamady’s challenge. Just as it seemed the misses would not matter, the sky fell in as Bent rammed home in the dying minutes. A lot of hard work undone by a lapse in concentration.

Wenger complained post-match that the referee should have blown for full-time before Gael Clichy’s mis-hit clearance found Bent on the edge of the six-yard box. However, four minutes added time is a guide and officials have been more lenient in its application this season, not blowing the whistle exactly on time. Had the positions been reversed as they were two seasons ago, there would have been no arguments.

Clichy is being roundly criticised for the goal and that is not without foundation but to temper that, Koscielny was in close proximity to the left back as he sought to find safety. Perhaps it distracted or made him conscious of the element of misfortune which may have occurred had full-blooded contact been made. There was a fair chance of the ball cannoning into the net had it struck the centre back. Even so, there were gaps where a chipped ball could have found relative safety.

The mistake though is highlighting who is going to be donning this season’s scapegoat jersey. Before the match, Keiran Gibbs abilities were being played up as if his potential were actually experience. There are demands for him to be first choice despite lacking first team outings, coming from the same quarters who wanted experienced players signed in the summer. They won’t see the irony of the conflicting stances.

Clichy has weaknesses, all players do. They become a problem when they are not dealt with and there is no sign that this is the case with the Frenchman. Gibbs has potential but he is not ready to be first choice left back yet. More to the point, how will the critics react when their chosen one makes a costly error? Will it be blithely dismissed or will they get on Gibbs back, demanding Wenger replace him with Clichy, questioning why an experienced player has made way for a youngster?

Alex Song has been there and won over most with good performances. He will want to forget yesterday. The initial booking was contentious to say the least and there is a nagging belief that had Song not shown dissent over the decision to give a free kick against him, he would probably have not been cautioned. That done, Song would have instantly known that he was walking a tightrope and amended his game accordingly.

Referees tend to give players who are genuinely going for the ball the benefit of the doubt in those instances; they don’t for a bodycheck,  a foul which is cynical in its execution. No arguments over the second yellow but disappointment that Song was thoughtless in those circumstances, especially as there was little or no danger in not being in possession of the ball. It was nothing less than immaturity from the midfielder and he will be learning the lesson.

I am not sure if he misses purely Premier League matches only or whether it applies to all domestic fixtures. If it is the latter, the visit to White Hart Lane is a bonus and Song will be available for the visit of West Brom. If not, he can play in the Carling Cup and add a bit of experience into the midfield.

It was a match title-winning teams should win but a draw is not a disaster either. Defeat in fixtures such as this last season were as costly as the poor record against the rest of the top four. Already Arsenal has four more points than the corresponding fixtures last season. There is a long way to go this season and the signs are encouraging, the foundations for a title challenge being built steadily.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on September 19, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 236 Comments.

  1. Perfectly put as usual.

  2. Nasri decided to delegate the penalty-taking responsibility to Rosicky. It wasn’t Rosicky’s decision as captain, or anything.

  3. good review.

    one of the frustrations for me is our failure to wind the clock down; force corners, fouls, throw in’s in the oppositions half and just maintain possesion, normally something we are so good at.Towards the end of the match we saw examples ofDenilason taking an unlikey shot on and also of Nasri when dowin in the corner flag taking the opposition on, both of which resulted in gifting possesion back. Kind reminded me of ther 4-4 with the spuds. we need a bit more nous in that area. other teams do it to us. i know Clichy made the final error in this instance, but as a team we often seem to lose our heads when defending a 1-0 lead so they are all to blame.

  4. where’s bigbrovar?
    oh, if forgot that shite has finished.

  5. Am disapointed cos i wanted our very much improved defensive performance{including almunia} 2b rewarded with all three points.

  6. Whilst rosicky missed the pen I am finding it increasingly frustrating that he is not getting more game time. I personally think his performances have been one if the highlights this season and feel sure he is certainly in better form than arshavin!

  7. YW.

    Song’s suspension is valid for all association games including EPL, league cup and the FA cup. He’ll be back for WBA.

  8. Very well written and a fair summary of the match.

  9. I knew I could rely on you to give a balanced review YW and you have not let me down.

  10. Thinking about last nights game, I feel it’s important for us not to let valid frustration and disappointment cloud the balanced perspective of the merits of the game.

    Conceding a goal with the last kick of the game is always a bitter pill to swallow, but it shouldn’t hide from the fact that the game largely showed an improvement in many quarters from last season. The best part of the game for me is that the team proved that they are capable of absorbing relentless pressure and that has to be a good thing.

    Coming away with a point from Sunderland with 10 men playing for at least 35 minutes is not a bad result when you look at it in the cold light of day.

    Serious improvements were visible with our defensive display and particularly with Koscielny. This boy is the real deal and he’s just warming up. Squillaci was also a solid rock and considering that Vermaelen was out – times are good when it comes to defence. Perhaps it wasn’t such a bad idea to let Gallas go – I get the sense that it would have been hard to get such a defensive performance with Gallas in the team.

    Koscielny’s intelligent reading of the game is first class – and his interceptions are just silky. I remember one specific incident last night where he opted not to challenge for the ball with a Sunderland player, but instead positioned himself where the ball was likely to land and with a single touch, he launched our next attack.

    As a collective, the key lesson for the team is to make sure that we put the game beyond the reach of any match official. I don’t think there’s any merit in complaining about the referee’s decisions, Fergie time, our missed opportunities, the fact that we could have run the clock down by playing keep ball – all those are irrelevant come the end of the game.

    Next time, the lesson is to put the game beyond their reach.

  11. Clichy’s big problem is he switches of in games.His concentration levels are poor.Its happend before this season He was at fault in the goal at Blackburn and yesterday made two bad errors before the goal yesterday
    I feel the same way about Gibbs as i did when Cashley first came into the team.Gibbs is top quality

  12. Passenal

    I would hate to disappoint you.

    YW

  13. How is this being characterized as whinging and complaining?

    “Members of the media asked Wenger afterwards about a suggestion that he had put his hands on Atkinson, Wenger replied:

    “Take the pictures and look at it.

    “I complain to nobody, especially not to you.”

    Asked whether he was angry about the amount of injury time had been played, the Frenchman said:

    “If you have a watch, you can control. It’s as simple as that.

    “I believe the performance was good. We had problems to start in the first half.

    “In the second half, we played very well. We were, even with 10 men, in control of the game and unfortunately in the 95th minute, they equalised.

    “I was very pleased. We could battle, we could play, we had all the ingredients of a good team.

    “We had a slow start, but in the second half, we did well.”

  14. Excellent points Darius @ 10.40 am!

    YW @ 10.43 am you display a consistency that Arsenal can only hope to emulate this season!

  15. Passenal…

    One of the reasons days like yesterday (as well as the morning after) are unbearable for many Arsenal fans around the world – is the sheer amount of faecal matter written about Arsenal’s perceived failures by a British media biased to the hilt when it comes to Arsenal, and a world media blindly following what the British media do and say.

    I’ve come across a newspaper article abroad which printed word for word, the crap written from a red top here and it was just too surreal.

    What’s said about the game usually has no bearing on the balanced perspective of the game that you will find somewhere like ACLF. The irony is that if it was Chelski or Manure – the headlines would be something like:

    “Gallant 10 Men of Chelski Battle at the Stadium of Light”
    “United Show Metal To Secure Valuable Point With 10 Men”

    If Fergurson had ‘handled’ the 4th official as alleged that Wenger did – then the headline would be “Sir Alex Shows Passion As United Bravely Fight for a point”

    You know the rest of the script.

  16. Excellent review of the game YW

    No blaming the referee.We got what we deserved for that performance.And Song will be banned for the Spurs game not that there was ever a chance of him playing

  17. The media are making a big deal out of us having someone sent off after Arsene’s comments about reckless tackles which is utterly ridiculous. A total non-foul for his first yellow and mild obstruction for his second. He hardly threw himself in two footed on anyone. Also I swear on the penalty you can hear the ball make contact with the bar as it skims over it, agonising.

  18. Nice post Yogi. I feel there’s little argument about Song being sent off. The first yellow came because he made a few silly fouls before that. The second came from a cynical foul. But we still played well against an inspired Sunderland and without RVP and TV, not to mention Cesc going off. I rate those three as our untouchables! But the moment I loved most in the match was when Nasri, Rosicky and Denilson run a triangle formation around the Sunderland horde. My pal called it a “samosa” formation.

  19. Because whenever people see that Wenger has commented, they automatically assume that he’s whining and then they go on and whine about him.

  20. Am I the only one who thought that the second Song yellow was laughable? It was hardly even a body check, malbranque ran into him. Most refs would have thought about even giving a foul.

  21. Clichy is the new Almunia. He’ll get blame for anything that goes wrong this season.

    Gael had a great game yesterday. He had a fantastic all round performance. Stringing him up for attempting to clear the ball and seeing it go wrong off a team mate is not how to support a team. It’s not like he was being negligent, he was switched on and trying to prevent a goal against the team we all support.

  22. Great write-up, YW. Another satisfied customer! Particularly agree with what you say about Gibbs and Clichy.

    ***

    @ Passenal

    “How is this being characterized as whinging and complaining?”

    a)”Wenger” can just about be turned in “whinger” by puerile tongues. b) Wenger/Arsenal bashing sells papers and c) Wenger is French.

    We can’t dwell on the injustice of the way the club and the manager are treated by some sections of the media, or we’ll go insane. All we can do is form a solid wall of loyalty behind both.

    @ Vince
    Totally expected. The fact that none of it was violent or dangerous play is an irrelevant detail!

  23. I doubt if many people who whinge about Wenger allegedly whinging even read the article – that’s if they print everything in context. They usually just read the twisted headline and start their attack on Wenger.

    For example – where did Wenger actually say that referees need to protect his players. His comments were general about the state of tackling in English football and valid for all teams that suffer injuries from agricultural tackling.

    You know we’re in trouble when someone like Adrian Durham for 2 days consistently defends Wenger to the hilt against all those whinging about Wenger’s alleged whinging even when they actually agree with Wenger once Durham challenges them and dresses them down for hating Wenger simply because he’s French and proving that they didn’t even read what Wenger was saying.

  24. ”Gael had a great game yesterday. He had a fantastic all round performance”

    I really disagree with that. He had an ok game at best. I’m not saying he was terrible like some people would have you believe but he always seems to be an accident waiting to happen. He always panics in the box.

  25. @ Oliver

    Agree with that!

  26. The end was disappointing as I thought we he had defended really well under quite a lot of pressure, particularly in the first half, and we had shown a lot of resilience.
    But overall, 1 point at Sunderland is not a bad result and an improvement on last season.
    I don’t think you can query the Song sending off as although the first booking was a bit soft, he had committed quite a few fouls before this, so it could have been for persistant fouling.
    I thought we were a bit rusty from our mid-week excertions, so not a bad result at all. I really like the look of Squillaci

  27. Bob,

    Were you watching the game, or are you responding only to the clearance that led to a goal?

    I watched the game, he won at least 15 headers, kept intercepting, he was solid as sam allardyce’s frame, and he kept supporting the attack. It was a brilliant, yes brilliant, defensive performance.

    I was very pleased with the back 5. We had 4 clear chance, Chamakh, Arshavin and Rosicky should have taken at least one of those.

  28. Look at this headline build from supposition and guess work:

    “Arsene Wenger’s in the money as Arsenal reveal £50m transfer kitty”

    And guess what, the narrative starts that Wenger doesn’t want to spend money and yada yada yada – allegedly because the money is there.

    What amuses me the most is that football doesn’t fathom the idea that if you have a youth and reserve system, the object of the exercise is to use these systems for squad development as opposed to buying exclusively like other clubs we know.

    There’s a very sick mentality where the establishment wants to make us believe that the only way of building teams is by buying players off the shelf.

    If there’s a problem – buy; if a player gets injured – buy; if a player loses his virginity – buy; if a player is suffering loss of form – buy; if a player has a headache or the flue – buy.

    Nobody wants to build and develop things any more – buy buy buy buy buy.

    And people wonder how come clubs are facing bankruptcy left right and centre.

  29. I doubt if many people who whinge about Wenger allegedly whinging even read the article – that’s if they print everything in context. They usually just read the twisted headline and start their attack on Wenger.

    You got that right, DS!

  30. A strange game in some respects. We did not play particularly well, but defended excellently by and large.

    Sunderland seemed very “up for it” and played a really fast tempo. For the most part in the 1st half they were the better side without creating too much, whilst we did create some good chances (enough to have won the game).

    Really soft sending off for Song, and the ref was not great overall. After not playing well away from home with ten men a point is not a disaster. A shame we did not put the game to bed with the penalty, but shit happens. I don’t really think we can complain about the time issue. It was only 14secs after the allotted time; we would do better to look at the way we defended at that late stage in the game

    I thought Almunia was again nice and solid, whilst Chamakh worked his nuts off up front. Nasri was busy, and Denilson did fairly well when he came on.

  31. All in all, a satisfying game and effort, if not result. More than other easier matches, for me, this one said more about Arsenal’s title credentials. We played well with 10 men and Cesc and Song off. We worked extremely hard, and Sunderland really wanted this one, and are our current bogey team (yes, they exist folks). Our defence was fantastique, and I don’t recall Almunia needing to make a single ‘telling’ save until the last. Denilson looks damn good.

    Personally, I felt good about this. You get these days – just after a really good game/result, Cesc hamstring, Song silly red, Rosicky misses penalty, they score last gasp goal. Sunderland dominated the first half, but couldn’t turn dominance into goals. 1-1 is in some ways a fair conclusion to the balance of the game.

    Always, it’s how how deal with it, especially fans. We came away with a draw. We should have won. Last season we would have lost, and did. I like he look of the this Arsenal, I really do.

    viva Arsenal!!!!!

    ps it’s rubbish (football illiteracy) to suggest clichy had a ‘bad game’ – watch the match again if you don’t believe me. I think the clearance took an unlucky bounce off Kos, and into the path of Bent.

  32. Oliver

    Completely disagree. You forget to mention the brilliant moment when he lost the ball in our box. And basically looking shaky when in possession on many occassions. He was the weak link last night.

  33. “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs”…..quality article, analytical and not overwraught with emotional knee jerk reactions. Keep up the good work.

  34. A sad way to end what was a resilient if hardly fluent performance. I don’t care if we weren’t dominant I felt that our resistence warranted 3 points, especially after a harsh sending off.

    I haven’t been a fan of Clichy for a long time now and it seems that the dynamic player of a couple of years ago has gone for good.

    He makes way too many mistakes and his passing is dreadful. Clichy is a liability at both ends. Gibbs needs more time but surely must take over soon. Gael has had his chance and quite frankly he is not good enough anymore.

    The cliche of lack of ruthlessness was true again yesterday. We missed a pen that cost us 2 points. We can’t sfford to let teams off like this.

  35. I know he probably won’t change after all these years, but I really wish Arsene would stop giving them content that they can twist. He should just make the usual bland non-committal statements that most managers make and leave them to stew in their own juices. The press are scum and it’s particularly galling when you have heard what Arsene said direct from his own lips and then see it reported when it has been mangled on it’s passage through the biased, xenophobic media filter.

  36. Clichy had a good game overall, and IMO was not at fault for the goal. But he did get caught on the ball in his own area a few times, he really needs to cut that out. It seems to be a long standing habit of his.

  37. Well I didn’t see where Clichy lost the ball in our box. Everything else I saw he was very solid. Excellent defending. I can’t count the number of crosses he snuffed out. He won headers incessantly.

  38. I’ll say it again, I thought he had a decent game, but he was definitely the weak link in our back 5. To me, he just seems like he’s always about to make a mistake, especially when in possession and under pressure in our own half. He panics too easily sometimes.

  39. We dropped points simply because we did not defend well enough at the end. No other reason.

    But overall our defensive performance was refreshing. People will point at our “soft underbelly”, but I see evidence (despite yesterday) that it is no longer soft.

  40. As a unit, our back 5 were outstanding yesterday. I’ve just watched the entire game again. Clichy, Sagna, Squillaci and Koscielny were outstanding. Koscielny was an absolute monster, Squillaci was solid, and Clichy comes next in terms of contribution

  41. AHHHhh A hoooo hooo A HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11676_6386615,00.html

  42. Oliver – You were watching a different game then. He got the ball nicked from him twice in our area, and won hardly any headers against that big Egyptian bloke. The header thing is not a criticism though as Sunderland had obviously worked on that as the Egyptian seemed handy in the air.

  43. Our inability to hold the ball in midfield areas away from home is worrying. Perharps, an experienced head in there will do.

    Song oh Song, im not his biggest fan and he’s showed why yesterday. Someone tell him he’s supposed to protect the back four.

  44. “Agricultural tackling” Very funny Darius. But watch out you may be accused of being insensitive to rural folks!

  45. if koscielny keeps these performances going and squillaci remains solid, vermaelen might not find getting back into the team as easy as he wouldve thought. Its good competition, but sooner or later there wont be any competition any way when half of them get injured in november..

    Ive had some time to reflect, and there are so many positives to take from yesterdays game, the most obvious one is we actually look like a team that can win the league. I havent had this belief in our team for a while, I think our team spirit is just right, we have the players, squillaci, koscielny were quality additions and chamakh, well that was just a steal, and now our job as fans is to support the team the best we can, yesterdays support was amazing as usual, something really needs to be done about the home games though, I dont know what, but its just full of these idiots who care more about getting a good meal at half time and not making any kind of atmosphere, which is really annoying.

    I hope liverpool beat united, and beat them well, there are rarely good times to go to old trafford, and today is one of them, so come on pool..

  46. Another nice one “A player loses his virginity – buy” Darius is a roll today.

  47. With you on this Zap. Pool to beat manure. Not that we need favours from anyone I just love to see manure lose.

  48. @Kenyan gunner – as my friend says…jembe ni jembe – call it what it is. It’s not football.

    On the issue of Clichy losing the ball – what does it matter if the rest of the defenders covered for him – isn’t that what team work is for? I bet you that if you looked hard enough you’ll count a number of instances where Clichy is backup to cover for another defender.

    The key thing is that the backline plus Almunia played as a unit. Picking holes from one defender is unproductive. There’s more merit in acknowledging how well the team dealt with relentless pressure throughout the game, this despite the last minute equalizer.

    The way some people are talking – it’s easy to think that we actually lost the game.

  49. YW,

    Thank the gods for your level-headed response. I haven’t logged on since the result as I fully expect the negative contingent to dominate for the next week or so.

    Maybe the response boils down to pessimists contra optimists. some will say: “but we dropped two points.” I join you in saying: “we gained a point, which is better than last year.”

    I think there is much to reflect on from yesterday but our next couple of games should give us the answers we need.

    COYG

  50. Good summing as per usual up Yogi

    My glass is a little more half full this morning but last kick defeats / draws must be high on the list of social immobilisers. I didn`t want to speak to anybody last night.

    On the game itself there were plenty of positives. Song will hopefully learn that an early booking away from home means you have to be squeaky clean for the rest of the game.

    Personally I don`t feel Gibbs is ready to start ahead of Clichy & AW knows better than me anyway. Having said that at times he veers between panic & nonchalance which are not great defensive attributes so I can understand some of the criticism.

    Overall I would probably have taken a point. It reminded me of the 1-1 draw at Leicester in the Invincibles season & we know how great that turned out to be.

    Heads up & on to the Spunts on Tuesday.

  51. Oliver, you might as well save your breath. Unless everyone is perfect and does not make one mistake in 95 minutes it’s never good enough for some people. I’m sure those hypercritical people are perfect themselves. The rest of us who live in the real world know differently. Gael Clichy is an easy target especially as there is an English player with potential who is waiting in the wings behind him. If people are looking for someone to blame you could just as easily blame the forwards who failed to take their chances. One poster yesterday also found a way to blame Denilson. Personally I blame Darren Bent for reacting quickest to a lose ball at the end of a long game!

  52. Zap.

    There is a school of thought that suggests that the atmosphere at the Emirates has been affected by the reassignment of seats when season ticket holders broke up old alliances from Highbury. There’s also a hell of a lot more emphasis on club level – where it’s a crime to even shout or curse at the referee in case you offend other chino and polo shirt wearing prawn sandwich eating folks (Frank’s words – not mine) .

    Even in regular stands, its not uncommon for someone to tell you to shut up and stop supporting vocally because they’re trying to watch the game.

    Compare this to away fixture where its largely a different crowd who appreciate that they might as well get into the mood if they’re going to travel away from home – and they’re also clustered in one section. Away support is magnificent in this respect and many times, they’re even louder than the home crowd.

    The Emirates will get there eventually, but I must say, we do have some customers who are there to keep up appearances. Surely you can wait 90 minutes before your next pie or pint?

  53. Benefit of hindsight and all that buy I must admit I raised an eyebrow when he put out the same eleven who played midweek…

  54. Look at Old Trafford. The atmosphere is non-existant.

  55. Another consistent performance from Almunia. Wankers will have to find another scapegoat for this defeat. Oh, hold on…..

  56. ”Unless everyone is perfect and does not make one mistake in 95 minutes it’s never good enough for some people. I’m sure those hypercritical people are perfect themselves.”

    That’s what it takes to win certain games. At this level of football one mistake can lead to losing a game. All I’m saying is that Clichy looked the least composed out of our back 5 yesterday and his mistake, however unfortunate and unlucky, cost us the 3 points in the end. As for whether I’m perfect, that is completely irrelevant, by that logic I can’t criticise anyone ever.

  57. Thanks Bob.

  58. Darius – the problem is one person’s “support” is another’s irritation.
    It’s alright singing and shouting at the ref, but is it ok to sing offensive/homophobic songs at players or the ref?
    Whether we like it or not, football has changed a lot since the 80s and there are many more children/women in the crowd, I don’t want some my son/daughter to hear that a certain player takes it up the arse, etc.
    Is this a class issue? Not really, unless you starting from the assumption that normal people, not the prawn sandwich brigade, are ignorant loud-mouths. Where do you draw the line between support and idiocy?

  59. “Blame Darren Bent for scoring the goal” good one Passenal!

  60. theBigM

    To be honest with you, complaining about vocal support in a stadium is as ridiculous as going to a brothel and complaining that there’s too much fucking going on. You have the choice of not going to a brothel and watching a porn flick instead in the quiet environs of your house.

    Vocal support doesn’t have to get abusive. It’s a recognized expression of solidarity with the team and involves many songs, chants and vocal celebration that are not abusive in any shape or form.

  61. I don’t envy Clichy. Gibbs is a homeboy and it would only be expected that they’d want him to play over Clichy. Even the none Arsenal supporters have got his back.

  62. yes i agree with you darius…

    we dont expect anything from the corporate levels anyway their mouths are stuffed with oysters for 90 minutes, and i hope something is done about it sooner rather than later..

    the big M thats a very interesting point, football has changed a lot in that respect.

  63. The Big M – I don’t think we need to shelter our children from offensive language so long as they have been brought up to know that some of it is unacceptable and some of it is simply part of football banter. Children, especially those living in multicultural areas, are in the main smarter than adults when it comes to knowing where to draw the line. There will always be idiots who make silly remarks but I have never heard any racist or homophobic chanting at the Emirates and I hope I never do.

  64. I’ve read 3 newspaper articles about the game.

    1 says Wenger “touched” the 4 official, another says he “patted” the official, and the last says Arsène “pushed” the official.

    Personally I’m upset about the dropped points, Rosickỳ has no business missing that penalty.

    However I am really encouraged by the defensive performance of the team, there’s no doubt that we are stronger in that area of the game this season whilst also going up a notch in attack.

    There’s 33 everyone will drop points, we just need to keep going as we’ve started and we will be fighting it out at the top come may.

    The unbeaten season is still on.

  65. I don’t expect Sam Allardyce to think anyone’s a better coach than he is.

  66. Schwarzer had a difficult game to put it mildly coming back from injury. Tumbled over on a high ball, handled the ball outside the box which was missed by the referee and got cluttered into by Diouf for Blackburn’s goal.

  67. lets hope at least one result goes our way..

  68. Yogi…I plead the right to free speech…please unmoderate me for the sin of using adult language to make my point.

  69. Wenger should of punched Atkinson in the face, not pushed him.

    Either way, physically handling the ref, any ref, whether hes on duty or just walking down the street shopping, is tolerated by me. Headlines or no headlines.

  70. Is Clichy the new Eboue?

  71. Ridiculous quote of the day goes to:

    “Personally I’m upset about the dropped points, Rosickỳ has no business missing that penalty.”

    (Wengerball)

    I completely agree. He ought to be punished for avoiding the goal.

  72. Wengerball…

    Shame on you for not looking hard enough for the news report that claims Wenger punched the 4th official….it’s out there – LOL!

  73. Welkl according to ‘Sunday Supplement’ this morning:

    ‘Arsene has become a parody of himself’

    ‘He should face disciplinary action’

    ‘Fat Sam has ‘mullered’ him this week’

    ‘Fat Sam was only having a laugh with his comments about managing Real Madrid’

    ‘Arsenal can’t win the prem because the team is not strong enough, Arsene has bought badly and the ‘keeper is not good enough’

    ‘They love to watch us play football at our best’

    ‘ A shame Wenger doesn’t priorise the Carling Cup as that’s Arsenal’s best chance of winning anything this season’

    I have to ask, do we live in a bubble of over optimism or reality here on ACLF?

  74. Great Blog.

    What the fuck is wrong with clichy? Gibbs must be fazed in now

  75. Clichy always needs a few games to get going. No need to overreact.

  76. consolsbob

    My answer is in tomorrows post.

  77. consolsbob – I think It’s called supporting our team, It’s what we are good at, it’s what we do.

    Those guys try to invoke a reaction and fabricate their own headlines and then call it news.

  78. damien, we dont have few games and clichy fucks up at crucial points far too often. He’s turned into a liabilty over the last two seasons. Gibbs will be great given the chance.

  79. Do you think it’s possible for Torres, Gerrard and Cole to actually put in a shift and hammer United on our behalf?

    A draw or a Liverpool win will do me good this afternoon.

  80. And dont get me started on Rociskys penalty, why the fuck did he take it anyway? Should of been Chamack who worked his socks off and deserved to score.

  81. Raz

    Take it easy – you’ll blow a gasket.

  82. Cbob

    Living in a bubble? Hmmm, a bit Prisoner-esque that one.

    YW

  83. Darius

    Freed. And you’ve reminded me to set tomorrow’s post up. Ooops…

    YW

  84. Who’s that person who does the individual highlights of players? I hope he does one of Clichy yesterday.

  85. I was discussing the quality of punditry with my good friend who supports Liverpool.

    His take was that one of the reasons Arsenal gets bad press is that very few of our ex-players actually get involved in punditry. The scene is overwhelmed by ex Mancs, Liverpool and Chavs – and the used to be’s who only made a few appearances and call themselves experts.

    I suppose if we had more people to bat for Arsenal, then there would be some balance, but the few who are there seem to have all gone native on us – Merson, Dixon, Keown et al. The only person I hear batting tirelessly for Arsenal against the odds out there is Ray Parlour.

  86. Those hacks on Sunday Supplement don’t know their arse(nal) from their elbow. With the occasional exception of Patrick Barclay I wouldn’t give a penny for most football journalists opinion on anything..we got a decent draw (ok it was really disappointing that we lost points at the death) away from home and they start trotting out the usual cliches. I don’t know how anyone can seriously say Arsene has bought badly. We look like so much so stronger…..we’ll be very difficult to roll over this season. Obviously we are bias over here…but I can’t understand how anyone can look at the strength of this team and not have us down as serious title contenders. Yesterday’s match only confirmed that for me. Injuries are, as usual, what concern me the most.

  87. with us dropping two points in injury time last night in similar fashion to united of late, perhaps interesting topic of discussion to consider both managers reactions to this.
    Wenger was very quick to defend the team last night in contrast to the Ferguson quotes I just read,
    “this early in the season is just downright careless and it has to stop…..I want the players, both up front and at the back, to reflect on their powers of concentration – or lack of – and work on that aspect of their game.”

    I’m not necessarily trying to criticise either manager, especially not Wenger or the team. I actually thought last night was a very encouraging performance from the back 5, I just wondered peoples thoughts on whether, particularly with the team maturing, a slightly firmer public stance from Wenger could benefit them at times?

  88. Harry Flowers

    I suppose buying badly means that we didn’t buy a big name, big money – in the region of £20 mil plus – player who had been scouted on our behalf by the media and Triple As.

  89. Arsenonzo

    Wenger does not criticise his players in public – it’s just not his style.

  90. I think it’s more to do with the English media looking after their own, although there is a certain amount of paranoia with Arsenal fans. The more you take notice of them, the more negatives you will notice.

    Arsenal always get the chant: “same old Arsenal, always cheating” thrown at us. It’s because we are seen as the foreigners.

    In that respect we are almost Millwall like: No-one likes us, but we do actually care somewhat. Maybe that should be our new chant 🙂

  91. Time for Scholes to get injured, I reckon. Interesting line ups from both teams. I hope it’s an entertaining match. Last time I decided to watch both of these team play against others it proved to be a horirble decision.

  92. If Man Shitty, were to buy three of the players that we bought. They would have surely cost them around 50-60M. Chamakh is worth 20M, and atleast 15m for both CBs. Instead we got them for considerable less amount. The obsession the media has with spending big amounts is predictable given the nature of our societies.

  93. If folks are complaining about Clichy – think about how Patrice Evra feels for being responsible for the goals against United at Goodison Park and Craven Cottage.

  94. Nani and Rooney are doing an Arshavin.

  95. Interesting – that move from United that was wasteful is being described favourably as a positive United attack; bright start even – yet if it was Arsenal, it would be – same ol’ same ol’ for Arsenal.

  96. Oh, and ‘their central defnders go missing at key moments’

    ‘Arsenal have the London based media in their pockets’

    Seriously, media coverage is so one eyed, it is incredible that someone, somewhere doesn’t exercise some quality control.

  97. Darius

    Sure, wengers a shrewd media operator and will go to any lengths to protect his players, which is exactly what he should be doing.
    I realise its an aimless question, but for the sake of sunday armchair discussion, do you think, given that the majority of the first team squad have a good 2-3 years first team experience, and therefore, you’d hope, aren’t going to burst into tears at the next piece of bad press they receive, that a little harder public stance could actually benefit them. probably not to individuals but the team as a whole?

    Personally i think given the ‘father’ like adoration you feel many of the players have for wenger it might sometimes just help push them out of there safety zone a little and reflect on performances from a different perspective which could help them develop a stronger mental attitude and fortify the team a little?

  98. …or that could just be a load of bollocks!

  99. I think the harder public stance will benefit you and others of your ilk. You want players to get a public bollocking from their manager, because somehow psychologically it does something for you. Otherwise, a private bollocking has to be every bit as effective without potential detrimental effects of a public bollocking.

  100. Arsenonzo.

    There’s no evidence that rolockign your charges in public produces good results.

    The school of Phil Brown that encourages dressing down your players on the pitch at half time is over-rated.

    Needless to say, Wenger does give his players grief and encouragement in equal measure.

    For example, you’re more likely to get more from our defense by building on the positives from yesterday, rather than rollocking them for what you think went wrong, especially in public.

  101. Looks like game over at Old Trafford for Liverpool me at half time. I don’t see any way back in this one for them.

  102. On the performances this season alone, it’s hard to see how Fernando Torres is still being considered as the dogs chuffers worth £70m in transfer fees, yet Chamakh is seen as a bargain basement acquisition.

    Perfomancewise, Chamakh has really been the cats pyjamas this season, in spite of those who choose to suggest that the only quality you can measure him by is whether he is built like a brick shit-house.

  103. oliver,

    Wow, quite defensive aren’t you! not sure quite how you’ve interpretted the phrase ‘a slightly firmer public stance’ as ‘a public bollocking’ but i can assure you thats not in any way what i was suggesting, which i hoped was quite clear if you actually read the two posts i made.
    Perhaps being from ‘my ilk’ i was mistaken in thinking that ACLF encouraged considered footballing discussion !?

  104. Chamakh has been a huge success so far. Worked his bollocks of yesterday as well.

  105. Goonerandy.

    The funny thing is that he is likely not to be recognized widely as a success because he came on a free and didn’t cost £20 million.

    Same as Koscielny – they’ll never recognize him because he came from the wrong side of the rail tracks.

  106. That one hurts. Overall we played a great game defensively. The upgrade from last year is crystal clear. The Kos was superb again. Great addition. Almunia the surprise of the season for me so far. Hopefully we have matured enough to take the positives from the performance and not let the negative of dropping points in the last second affect our play in the coming games. This team is clearly a stronger unit then last years version. Lets hope the mental strength can match the obvious strength in numbers and personnel we have.

    The game highlights what we talked about the day we discussed keeping clean sheets. Even the best teams are going to have games where the attack is off stride. Statistically over the last 5 years we have averaged about 10 – 12 games/yr that we score exactly 1 goal. Our title challenge will be severely hurt if we drop points in all of those games. Keeping our concentration for the entire 95 minutes may be the last piece of the puzzle for this team.

  107. Oh noes, not that, if you disagree with me you’re suppressing discussion line?

    Wenger’s comments about being surprised Rosicky took the peno suggested he was annoyed with him. Which was a public stance against something his player did. I also remember him apologising for his players’ actions before.

    We’ve even seen him criticise his own players in public. He however clearly doesn’t seem to think he has to do it regularly and in time to satisfy the people who for whatever reason demand it.

  108. Darius – I do agree. It was not a marquee signing (whatever that is) so he will only manage to get recognized as “a good squad addition”. I could not care less what the media think though, it is obvious what he brings to the team. Even with everybody fit I think he will start up top.

  109. Meh, shit happens (regarding the pen). Rosicky did not really look confident taking it. The fact he smashed it as hard as possible only confirms that. Not a good technically taken pen for such a technically minded player.

  110. All the disappointed about the lost points could be resolved by winning the games against our closest rivals United and Chelski within touching distance.

    The fact that Vermaelen might be wondering whether his starting place is automatic has to be a good thing.

  111. Darius, what crap you talk. If a player is good enough he gets the credit no matter how much he cost. If anything the more expensive players are supposed to work wonders every game.

  112. Good point about TV5’s place in the side. I suspect he will come straight back in, but I wonder who Arsene see’s as his regular partner. I have a feeling it may be Squillachi.

  113. Darius,

    I guess proof is in the pudding, and signs are certainly more than encouraging. I should probably try harder to suppress my immediate post match niggles.

  114. Raz.

    If I didn’t know better, I’d actually agree with you about talking crap. Like I said earlier, take it easy, you’ll blow a gasket.

  115. Arsenonzo

    I think you should be more worried if you didn’t have post match demons…all of us have and its a natural reaction.

    I actually find it amusing to read the comments published during the game as things go for and against us – its a comedy. Some otherwise rational people usually lose the plot as emotion overcomes them….

    It’s good to express it….

  116. Liverpool have regressed under Roy Hodgson. It’s still early days, but that’s what seems to be the case atm

  117. Quite glad we did not get Joke Hole on this showing. Fucking awful.

  118. That was a brilliant goal from Berbatov.

  119. Great goal by Manure. Inch perfect cross field pass by Flecther and a superb overhead Kick by Berbatov.

    This game is over.

  120. Liverpool are rattled….

    On this performance, they’re a mid-table team.

    They get a penalty though.

  121. Poulson isn’t good enough to play for Spurs. Konchelski neither. Just shows you how poor they are if they’re not even good enough to play for Spurs

  122. Heh, maybe not over then.

  123. oliver,

    Not suppressing discussion, just learn to read perhaps instead of making aggressive response to a pretty placid question.
    Good point re. Rosicky though, does highlight arsenes acknowledgement of a poor decision made.

  124. Manure will score again, no doubt about it.

  125. Nani is such a little minge. Any contact whatsoever he ends up rolling around for ages.

  126. Bringing on N’gog was a good idea – because he occupies the Manure defense to buy space for Torres. When Torres is playing up front alone and waiting for Gerrard to support, it’s not working.

  127. It’s a mystery to me how playing on the right wing for United, turns a player into a cheating cunt. First the lesser Ronaldo, and now Nani.

  128. O’shay should have got a red card for that – he was the last punk.

  129. Webb should have sent off O’Shea. He bows to his old Master Ferguson again.

  130. Coward webb

  131. that is red card. Howard webb bottled it

  132. Outrageous. Can’t the News of the world, bust this excuse for a referee like they did the Pakistani players? Surely, there is something evil lurking in the footballing world the same way. Web is surely on Manure’s payroll.

  133. come on you uselss scoussers don’t throw it away now pleaaaaase

  134. Ha, the slo mo replay of that goal was great. O’Shea’s face is a picture.

  135. Game on…

    Gerrard has silenced Old Trafford.

    Fletcher and O’shay parted the wall like Moses parted the river for his Israelites to pass through.

  136. Great substitution by Hodgson. I really don’t see what the fuck Maxi Rodrqiuez is all about. And he is picked week in week out, instead of Babel.

  137. When he’s not diving, beating up people in bars and being generaly abnoxious, Gerrard is quite a good player.

  138. Manure should be a man down

  139. Gerrard hasn’t done that. Torres has done that. Who remarkable had been slated all of last week for not having the right attitude. Won the penalty, won the free kick. Good way to shut up the critics.

  140. Just curious – now that United has conceded 7 goals in 5 games – does that make them useless?

    I mean, Arsenal is berated for the 4 we’ve given so far, but we’re told Manure are title contenders and not us…

  141. Manure have a weak defence it really crap and teams will now see how bad they are

  142. Jesus, if we don’t finish at least 2nd this year it’ll be ridiculous. At least we only surrendered a one goal lead away from home, I don’t know what’s happened to utd this season.

  143. Torres is having a better 2nd half. I agree that Gerrard is a good player. One of the few midfielders in the lge who could improve our side.

  144. How can it be a red?You don’t show a red because it the “last man” as the press would like you to believe.

    A red is given for “denying a clear goalscoring opportunity”. VDS would most likely have reached the ball before Torres

  145. It was a 50/50 on the red. Seen them given, but Torres was not in control of the ball.

  146. Joe Cole has been a useless passenger in this game.

  147. my chedder….the 17 year old who looks 33 is coming on.

  148. Nani is just a punk…how do you just continuously dive all over…

  149. Nani is such a diving cunt. That is the sort of thing the FA should be able to act on after the game.

    i knew they would score again.

  150. C’mon Liverpool – finish the job…don’t lie down now…there’s enough time left…

  151. If United win – do we still stay 2nd on GD?

  152. darius- yes, they’d need to win by 4 goals.

  153. Yup, I think we have a few one them.

  154. The biggest disappointments in this game have been Wayne Rooney and Joe Cole…

  155. The biggest disappointment is that somehow both teams have managed not to lose. With plenty of injuries.

  156. Which injuries do Man Utd have?

  157. Hmmm, what is this running down the clock business to ensure a result?

  158. That’s how you hold the ball to the end of the whistle. Smart.

  159. Oliver – Nothing serious that I know of; hence my disappointment. It would have been nice to see Nani’s head fall off or something similar.

  160. Thank God Joe Cole turned down Arsenal!

  161. Never knew it was possible to end a game at 94.04secs. Pathetic refs. So manure is championship stuff? This bias becomes more obvious as the season goes by.. 5 goals conceded in two games, yet the claim we are the ones that possesses a soft centre!!! Can’t stand these Hacks.

  162. Joe cole is waste of space. Typical scoussers and Manure simply covered over the cracks in this game. They r useless at the back and living off Rio and vidic reputation. But teams will have a go at them now. Liverpool were useless and not brave enough to have a proper go

  163. Roy Hodgson made some horrible changes when Liverpool were in the ascendancy. Old Roy tried to secure the point and he got punished for it.

    The Clichy scapegoating is hillarious. Whoever says that Clichy didn’t have a good game prior to his fumbled clearance needs to watch the game again.

    What’s an AAA?

  164. ”It was a match title-winning teams should win but a draw is not a disaster either”
    Well concluded, Yogi

  165. Anti-Arsenal Arsenal, GB69

  166. Oh fucking hell Blackpool.

  167. that didnt take long

  168. Heh, Blackpool are going to get smashed.

    AAA? Why would somebody claim to be an Arsenal fan with that approach?

  169. Thanks, MJ.

    Wow!! There’s a media onslaught on Wenger today.

  170. the thing about Adrain Durham is he loves england and he has really noticed Jack for england. Thats why he has been fighting our corner. he doesnt want any of the cloggers breaking Jack’s leg.

    He is ready to fight anyone right now on the bad tackling issue. I guess they’ve always known the tackling on arsenal was bad, Jack wilshere has changed that for some.

  171. Some plunker from the Sunday express named John Richardson is saying Wenger is a parody of himself. Who the fuck is John Richardson, anyway?

  172. only thing that could brighten my day is atletico beating barca cmon forlan & co.

    so we’re still 2nd, shame about man u but I think Liverpool are no longer a good team (they havent been for a while)

    Please PLLLLLEEEEEEEEASE man shitty, get something of chelsea next weekend.

    Only if chelski go and win there next saturday will I be impressed, because so far their games have been very easy.

  173. oh for fucks sake 2-0

  174. It’s tough watching hacks speculate over what Arsene Wenger thinks of his team and how he manages it. It’s no coincidence that it’s three older, no doubt conservative, gentleman trying to decipher how one of the most progressive men in world football thinks. It’s like the hacks are stuck in the late eighties or early nineties and modern football is alien to them.

  175. The only thing that will shut them up is a trophy. Until we win something they can justify their shite.

  176. Look at a sunday league team.

    A manager
    A coach
    A squad full of people who just want to play football, and every weekend go out there and enjoy themselves.

    And thats what arsenal is, just ignore all the hype, all the press, all the fans in the stadium and its the same thing. Sometimes we forget its just a game of football, and probably take it too seriously..

  177. It’s not looking good for Blackpool. Hardly a surprise I s’pose. If Chelsea put 6 or 7 past them today then you can imagine the gushing headlines. I don’t know who John Richardson is G69…..the Express is a nasty right-wing joke of a paper anyway so I wouldn’t take much notice.

  178. Zap you twat do you expect Blackpool to win?????

  179. “The only person I hear batting tirelessly for Arsenal against the odds out there is Ray Parlour”.

    And charlie Nicholas. He’ll bet on Arsenal everytime.

  180. Chelsea to get 10(TEN) today

  181. ”Nani is such a little minge. Any contact whatsoever he ends up rolling around for ages.”

    ”Nani is just a punk…how do you just continuously dive all over…”

    what more can you expect from someone who had Cristiano Ronaldo to emulate?!

  182. Oh dear, this really could end up in double figures.

  183. Thanks for sharing that Tony. I think it might be 6(SIX) or 7(SEVEN).

  184. Unlike us when we get to 5 or 6 we ease off Chelsea will keep going

  185. Oh dear. 10(TEN) it is then.

  186. back to yesterday’s game- I thought that overall our defense was very good and the game should never have come down to a last second opportunity. We had more than enough chances to put the game away and did not. I think there was a valid point made earlier but dismissed by some- in these late game situations we are not good at milking the clock. Denilson could have used up 30-45 seconds or more when there were only 90 left if he had taken the ball to the corner instead of shooting. I think the officials missed the fact that the Sunderland goalie got a finger to the shot and it should have been a corner anway, but we can’t count on the officials to get anything right. Arsene could have used some time by taking his last sub as well. These are small things that can decide a close affair. I daresay that we won’t see Chelsea blow two points all season on a final kick, and these points could decide a race.

    One last point- I agree with whoever said that TV5 might have a battle to break back into the first choice CB slot. He is better going forward than Kos or Squillaci, but both of them seem less prone to positional errors. Hopefully all three will be healthy so that we can rotate and keep them fresh, but I like what I see of the Kos-Squillaci partnership so far.

  187. Only one englishman on show for the chavs; surley that’s not good for the english game.
    The real test is next week but you won’t hear this from the hacks.

  188. On the left back debate, though I`m still more than happy with Clichy I`m sure TV would do a cracking job if required.

    He`s quick , good on the ball & not phased in the final third plus I think I read somewhere that he`s played there earlier in his career too.

    Oh & I`m not forgetting Gibbs either – it`s just another option we could use from time to time perhaps.

  189. It is very painful for me to see Wenger attacked by fools in the managerial ranks, punditry and media to the extent that they now never listen to what he is actually saying and evaluating it on its merits. It is always Wenger whingeing. But, as goonerandy said, I don’t think our team will be properly respected or Wenger appreciated in those quarters until we win a major trophy. Quite the opposite, there seems to be delight in any of our misfortunes. I try not to let those biased idiots affect me, but I do feel that Wenger and Arsenal deserve a lot more admiration for our quality, style, and generally successful approach to the game than we get and small-mindedness does gall me. Seeing us lift a major trophy after playing wonderful football would be the best tonic.

    I think, though, it isn’t helpful to criticise the Sunderland goal either–yes it was a bit late but it wasn’t a refereeing crime on the order of missing Robinson’s attack on Diaby or Davies’ flying head-butt on Koscielny, for example. It undermines the 90% legitimate and persuasive and principled points Wenger does make by confirming the stereotype that he is complaining after a loss in ways that deflect responsibility from himself and our players. Perhaps he feels it is important to do that, so that’s his prerogative and the main issue is what is best for the team. And, frankly, yesterday’s result had mostly positives, but we should look to ourselves for not securing the win rather than blaming the ref, who wasn’t great but wasn’t as bad as last Saturday by any means. I include some tactical decisions in this: we need to rotate the squad since we will be facing even tougher away games after CL fixtures mid-week over the next couple months; when we were flat in the first half, not keeping possession and not defending well in midfield which put the defense (which was magnificent) under pressure, and had yellows for both Song and Wilshere, it would have made sense to bring Denilson on for either of them. (Before I am attacked for second-guessing with hindsight, I wrote that last suggestion in the comments here during half-time).

    Also the game was played at a higher level, cleaner–I didn’t see thuggery myself. Credit should go to Sunderland for their energy and attacking attempts. I don’t know all that Wenger said in his press conference, but if he didn’t praise Sunderland for their merits and acknowledge that they had earned their point, I think that isn’t as gracious as I would expect a man of Wenger’s sophistication, elegance and humanity to be able to express, even though he is such a fierce competitor.

    Anyway, we are undefeated and better than last year. That’s my sense of what has come of the Sunderland game, even if we should have been able to close out the victory and feel awful for giving up a goal so late. I see this draw as overall a positive improvement on last year. Every one is getting carried away with praise for Chelsea out there, but lets wait and see. We may have some surprises in store this season.

  190. The Blackpool fans are taunting the chavs singing “you’re not as good as Arsenal”

  191. @ Limestonegunner

    I agree with some of that and I think the muted tone of the criticism (from Arsenal fans – excluding the extreme lunatic fringe) is indicative of greater underlying confidence in the team.

    However, although I would also have put out a different lineup, the fact is we don’t know what factors AW took into account when he picked his starters. We can’t expect him to get every decision right, just to get many more right than wrong, but I always feel confident that he has good reasons. And for all we know, the result might have been no different with a changed team.

    I also think that the ref applied yellow card sanctions inconsistently, which always infuriates.

  192. The Blackpool fans are taunting the chavs singing “you’re not as good as Arsenal”

    ha ha ha ha
    that is priceless, Oliver! Good for them.

  193. Nice! Blackpool and their manager are class!

  194. FG, no argument, the inconsistency is infuriating.

  195. Have to say, I was so disgusted by the anti-Wenger comments on the Hacks Supplement today, that I switched it off. Egged on by the limited Brian Woolnough of the sister paper of The Screws, we were treated to a mindless exhortation of prejudice. Ian Ridley, inparticular, who I previously thought was an intelligent man, who writes for the Daily Heil, seems to have relegated himself to the standard of the gutter press. Trying to make the point that “Wenger has lost it”, because he is so incensed that the referee hasn’t blown after 4 minutes 16 seconds. And, of course, this is very strange, because Wenger should just take this very calmly, like a man, just like any other premiership manager, including red nose. And then there was John Richardson, a mouthpiece, if I’ve ever seen one, for the Mancs, whose words just transformed themselves into diarrhea as soon as they left his vocal chords. Forgetting of course, the 2 goal leads squandered by Manchester United against Fulham and Everton, he confidently said that because Arsenal had let slip against Sunderland, it was same old same old and they wouldn’t win the title. Then he had the audacity to question Fabregas’s credentials as a captain, claiming that we needed a big man like Vieira in the middle. Cesc is a world cup winner for fuck sake, and he played, and scored an equalisier against Barcelon, with a broken leg. Then we had the odious Rob Beasley, a chav, but by then I was so enraged I didn’t care what he had to say.

  196. I hope MOTD2 will show the chances Blackpool had. They got behind the Chelsea defence multiple times and were unlucky not to score.

  197. Limestonegunner on September 19, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    He was not happy that the equalizer was scored in the 5th minute of 4 minutes injury time, just as any manager in his situation would be. But if you actually read what he said, he was clear that we threw it away ourselves by not taking the chances we had to score the second goal. Arsene is not the one making a big deal of the injury time goal and as Arsenal supporters we should use some judgement and avoid getting sucked into the media generated version of what happened and/or what our Manager actually said.

  198. Laurent Koscielny’s Twitter comment on the game yesterday

    “It was sad to concede a goal in the last minute,but we have to keep focus and forget it,next is spurs and hope I get to play.”

  199. fuck off tony

  200. is that a real twitter, ’cause i know there are a lot of fakes out there….

  201. It seems pretty real – there are a few of our players on there.

  202. see for yourself. He also has a website although it has not been updated for a while

    http://koscarsenal.blogspot.com/

  203. This is the best though. Shame we did not win or we would have been treated to samba with Denilson on Twitcam last night

  204. 6 games into the season. Unbeaten so far. 20 goals scored, 8 different scorers, 4 conceded. 3 games away, 3 at home. 3 strikers missing. A penalty missed. No, CBob we are not living in a bubble. I’m off to eat my chicken curry I’ve been coaxing all afternoon. Over a vodka. For Rosicky.

  205. Probably a silly question, but do you need to have a twitter account to see the video?

  206. Curry with Vodka? Surely a nice cold beer?

  207. No FG I don’t have one either but you can watch it online when it’s live. It was Ole that linked to here after the Bolton game.

  208. hmm how come on koscelny’s twitter thing he speaks english but he doesnt in his interviews..

  209. Good comments from AA

    “AA: Today we had, as expected, a difficult match. Our opponent played well, but I think our defense\ courageously coped with their attacks and pressure at our gate. It was especially hard for the guys after Song was sent off the pitch. On the one hand, we can say that luck was on our side at the very beginning of the game – we scored. On the other hand, it turned away from us later – we didn’t manage to score a penalty and missed an unfortunate goal at the very end. It was a very unpleasant moment.
    As for the game I think that it pleased the audience but not our fans. They are great guys, they’ve been supporting us today and I hope that they see the way we play and understand that our victories are ahead. Of course we are unhappy with the result, but what’s done can’t be undone.”

  210. I know, I know. But tonight it’s vodka.

    As I see it 3 tricky away games out of the way nice and early. 4 points dropped. OK.

    I thought Rosicky played well. It happens to everyone (although I don’t recall TH missing a penalty, but still). It happens.

  211. Good old AA. Very philosohical. Sounds almost Russian.

  212. zap he’s learning English, it’s always easier to write in a new language before you are confident enough to speak it.

  213. not in some languages passenal

  214. So Fat Sam has finally gone crazy comparing himself to Wenger in managerial terms?

    Well, Fat Sam….if you were that good, why didn’t Chel$ki or Liverpool pick you for a manager? Why do you always end up managing mediocre teams? do you think it’s because you’re just as mediocre manager as the teams you manage?

    I say, you’re chewing too much gum and it’s effecting your fat brain.

  215. True zap, where the written language is very different, but if the alphabet is similar and they all come from the same root e.g. Latin it’s easier.

  216. learning from speaking first applies to languages like chinese and arabic..but koscielny isnt learning either so i dont know why i brought this up in the first place..

    cmon atletico please grab an equalizer v barca

  217. Barcelona are a wretched team. They embellish, waste time and harass the referee endlessly. One would think that their talent alone would win them games but the fact that they have to do all that extra stuff is truly sickening.

    Muppet, you saw the same sunday supplement I saw.

  218. Cheers Gainsbourg69. Yes, I think a few saw it earlier – see the comments from Consolsbob and Darius, and there appears to be a general consensus that enough is enough. I think it’s about time an action group was formed that looks into the likes of Sky, Talk Sport and ESPN and looks at their vested interests – clearly Chelsea and Manchester United.

    For it is having an effect on the impartiality of the game, including right up to the FA and the Referee’s association.

  219. Lets do it then Muppet.

    Let’s all complain offficialy! I’m in!

    We just need quotes.

    I’ll try and find out the governing body, would it be Ofcom?

    Impartiality is vital on all fronts for the integrity of the game, maybe we can do something about it, not just as Arsenal fans, but as football fans. They would say it’s freedom of opinion, but anyone could see that varying (sane) points of view are scarcley privalidged in a debate.

    I’m convinced it has taken it’s toll in many ways with results too. After all in football or any sport, frame of mind is key. Aside from referee decisions, which is the most obvious channel of influence, also player mentality.

    I would argue that Ramsey’s snapped leg is a DIRECT result of the “the Arsenal foreigners don’t like it up ’em” mantra spouted by every cholestrol headed fuck given air time. This renders them dangerous as well as infuriatingly stupid.

    It beggars belief. I’m sure we can do something about it. But will we?

  220. Deano,

    The problem is that it’s like getting into a pissing contest with a skunk. The only media I would think about ringing up is probably 606. But then, I think that the program is too centered around Alan Green. Marcotti, when on, is better.

    As for Talk Sport, I had the misfortune (out of having no choice), to hear the last 45 minutes of the radio, and hear the frankly, blatantly one sided commentary from the tosser Stan Collymore. All I could hear was that Nasri and Rosicky were attacking, the whole half, yet the Sunderland equalisier was fully deserved, even though I only heard one header on target in the second half. There just seemed to be an undercurrent of arsenal hatred throughout the whole commentary. The penalty awarded was scathingly “never a penalty” and the miss was “just what arsenal deserved”, yet nowhere could I find any other media report that said that the penalty award was harsh.

    Stations like Talk Sport have to have talking points, and polarisation. To their credit, Durham has been defending Wenger on the over the top tackles. And, Alan Brazil is usually pretty sympathetic towards arsenal. Ray Houghton trots out garbage, glorifying the dippers, and Durham, usually, doesn’t have anything good to say about Arsenal.

    But more worrying it’s the unintelligent misreporting and distortion of Wenger’s comments that will have the most influence on referees and the FA. I do not understand why so many pundits have an opinion on how great physical play is this country, and how it makes this league, when surely it is about what is in the rule book. If charging a goalkeeper is not in the rules (as Diouf did to Schwarzer), then the debate should just be about that, and not expand to a wider histrionic defense of hard men in the english game, which happens every time. If the rule book disallows foul play, or a certain type of foul play, then it’s not about football culture, it should be just about the rule book. Blocking the keeper is a foul – it says so in the rule book, but Wenger is castigated for highlighting that this foul play is not going penalised by referees.

    I think we just need to react to every piece of idiotic reporting and punditry by writing an email response, phoning up and posting comments on boards. That way, the level of debate goes up, with awareness. I think the impartiality thing would be hard to prove. Every fan believes their club is treated unfairly by the press.

  221. fuck the press it and everyone involved in it it all thoroughly depresses me

  222. Wenger was saying it like it is and it makes sense that managers are ganging up against him. he is blowing their cover and they do not like it. Wenger talked about the illegal challenges on the keepers by Blackburn and Stoke last week or so and what did happen yesterday? exactly that Diouf Fouled Schawtzer rugby style, the goal stood, Hughes moaned about it and I did not see the media gone into a frenzy about Hughes’s comment something smacks of hypocrisy and xenophobia .Wenger is his own man and does not care if the truth hurts. All he cares about is protecting his players from career threatening injuries. I do believe in 20 or 50 years time when the face of football changes in England where young managers want to play proper football, people will look back and say Wenger was ahead of his time compared to other managers.

    here is a link where you can read Fat Sam gives you a biography about Wenger and yet I don’t hear anyone tell him to mind his own business and not talk about others. He also thinks Wenger is not better than him as a manager and he can also manage Real Madrid. What a laugh. This guy is a clown.

    http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=824766&sec=england&cc=5739

  223. The biggest laugh was Allardyce’s comment that he studies Sport Psychology more than Wenger.

    What he didn’t know is that the contents of those Sports Psychology text books would have been written by Wenger.

    I agree with 1 Loose Cannon. No other manager has had to deal with 2 players in recent years who have been inflicted by near career ending challenges. And let’s be honest, the challenge on Eduardo effectively ended his premiership career; he was no longer in the Torres/Rooney league, which I believe he was before the challenge. The Ramsey challenge, touch wood will not have the same effect.

    Allardyce, Hughes, Pulis are all men cut from the same mould. They are basically out to use any advantage they can, other than relying on the simple philosophy of playing good football to achieve a win. As 1 loose cannon has said, they are afraid of a culture shift towards european style physicality which would leave them exposed.

  224. Does this intense Arsenal bashing mean that Arsenal is actually seen as a threat this year? thus to be on the safe side the pundits have to atlest do their job so the “foregins” without a british backbone does not win anything.

    Cos lets face it. That would be a disaste for the british pundit establishment. I mean they would all physically hurt if we won.

    And no body would want Wenger to have more success. What would that feel like for the pure breed English managers? They would feel usless and that would be extremly bad now when in 2 years time FA has to find a Englishman to take over the national team job. Thus it is important that managers like Harry and Sam does win stuff so the public trusts the new England manager.
    It would look bad if a frency like AW came out and seeme as a more clever man.

    Also it is a fact of life that AW bashing does sell papers. He is a very skilled man and everyone that watches footy has an opinion about him. Him and SAF are the marquee managers of the PL.

  225. I particularly agree with your 3rd paragraph gulp. I think there is an element within the media who do not want Wenger to have any more success, as they have dismissed his whole footballing philosophy.

  226. As Consolsbob would say.

    “We are the Arsenal, fuck em all”

  227. I think the difference between eduardo and ramsey is the whole celtic thing didnt help at all..

    Fucking ITV commentators began it all, the second they layed into him, i knew something big had begun, and it had the fucking idiots at ITV sparked an absolutely disgraceful..ahh you know what why am i saying this, you all know it and are as sick as me of it..so i won’t bother..im just watching these guys at MOTD have a wank over chelsea..

    were still above united..chelsea next 4 games are:
    City away
    Arsenal home
    Aston Villa away
    Liverpool home

    They surely cant come away with max. points from all these games, i can see dropped points at citeh and at home to us but you never know where it could happen..

    We look very strong

    We have tuesday night to look forward too

    Its not all that bad….

  228. But Arsenal have got a soft centre.

    Lawro said it.

  229. yes deano heard that, he said it as if it was a fact . What did he base that on? We are second in the table having played harder opposition that Chelsea. There is no way Chelsea will win all the next 4 games. They were awful away from home last year and I’m expecting the same thing this year just wait and see. The fact they had 5 easy games it does not give them any advantage I would rather have those games midway in the season when the legs start to tire a bit. We shall see.

  230. Muppet………wear their hatred with pride. true, we ARE Arsenal. fuck it, i’ve even had it embroided on my favourite shirt.

  231. Ar-se-nal, Ar-se-nal.
    There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.
    Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung.
    Nothing you can say
    but you can show how to play the game
    It’s easy.

    There’s nothing you can make that can’t be made.
    No goal you can save that can’t be saved.
    Nothing you can do
    but you can show how to be you
    in time – It’s easy.

    All you need is Cesc, all you need is Andrey,
    All you need is Arsene, he is all you need.
    Van Persie, Di-a-by, Gael Clichy, oh,
    Arsenal’s all you need.

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