Arsenal Left Four-lorn After Looney Toon Comeback

Newcastle United 4 – 4 Arsenal

0 – 1 Walcott (1)
0 – 2 Djourou (3)
0 – 3 van Persie (10)
0 – 4 van Persie (26)
1 – 4 Barton (68 pen)
2 – 4 Best (75)
3 – 4 Barton (82 pen)
4 – 4 Tiote (87)

Diaby sent off (50)

Having dominated the opening fifty minutes, Arsenal capitulated in the final forty minutes, undone by a combinaton of attacking reticence due to diminished numbers and refereeing decisions that left Jack Wilshere enraged enough to comment on Twitter. That the tragedy was not of Shakespearian proportions is largely due to Wolves surprising win over Manchester United, the gap at the top reduced to four points.

Yet it is still a case of two points thrown away. And that should never have happened.

The start was the brightest that could have been wished for. Newcastle barely had time to get within a breath of the ball before forty seconds of keep ball from kick-off had ended with Walcott being released by Arshavin, sprinting past Coloccini and beating Harper with consumate ease.

It got better. Djourou’s run of games without scoring was in danger of becoming Jensen-esque, instead it remains at Clichy levels. Arshavin was once more the provider, delivering an inch perfect set piece, Djourou rises majestically to power home an unstoppable header.

Five minutes later the good start became excellent. Walcott found himself unchallenged and took advantage of the Newcastle laxness, racing into the area and calmly squaring for Robin van Persie to add a third, his first of the afternoon.

Arsenal were picking their hosts off at will, reducing Newcastle to long, hopeful punts into the area in the hope that a flailing boot might connect. They did not and in the meantime, Arshavin, Fabregas and van Persie all had decent opportunities.

An excellent start became almost uptopian when Sagna’s cross took a slight deflection to find Robin van Persie, the Dutchman’s salmon-like leap ensuring that the cross received the devastating finish it deserved. His hat-trick was denied only by an outstanding save from Steve Harper and a lacklustre finish by himself.

The second half had barely started before it descended into calamity. Djourou succumbed to a knee injury, the extent of which is not yet known, rendering criticism of Wenger not signing a centre back premature to say the least. Matters became worse when the red mists fell on Abou Diaby, sent off for manhandling Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan.

There can be no complaint about the decision to dismiss Diaby, raising hands on the pitch more often than not leads to a three match suspension. Nolan and Barton can consider themselves lucky to have finished the match. The former had no reason to push Diaby, little more to put Szczesny into a headlock later on. This second incident should have resulted in a minimum of a yellow card. There was no reason to do so; the ball is not live once more until Arsenal kick off and running back to the centre circle does not make that happen quicker. Instead Szczesny entered the referee’s notebook.

Back to Diaby. It is hard not to feel sympathy for him in that his career has been marked by bad injuries and Barton’s tackle was reckless at best, the Newcastle midfielder unable to control his follow through. It was worthy of a yellow card but received none.

With the loss of Djourou, this incident became game-changing. Squillaci had barely been able to settle when a solid form of protection disappeared. Here I think Arsène made a mistake; the introduction of Ebouè might have given more tenacity to midfield, rather than waiting twenty five minutes before that happened.

Whilst Newcastle sought to impose their numerical advantage, Arsenal failed to capitalise on their greatest strength; passing. The ten men failed to retain possession in sufficient quantity time-wise to take the sting from the game.

With a quarter of the game remaining Newcastle came back into the game. Koscielny had hold of Best and then tackled from behind, failed to win the ball and Dowd pointed to the spot. Barton scored coolly although his fascist hairstyle and moustache makes him less savoury than before.

It was the spark that Newcastle needed. Best reduced the deficit further from close range. The game was swinging further out of Arsenal’s control, reaching farcical levels with the award of Newcastle’s second penalty. It is hard to see how Dowd could have awarded the spot kick, his view of the aerial tussle between Koscielny, Rosicky and Williamson. Neither could the Assistant which renders Dowd as incompetent at best.

Barton beat Szczesny once more although this time marginally, the Pole’s leg unable to stop the shot. He was beaten minutes later by Tiofte with a super strike from twenty yards. Instead of being a consolation, it was a hammer blow to Arsenal.

Immediately after the match, Arsène observed that he was concerned about the psychological damage this draw might have. There is that element to work on, ten v eleven is standard training fare for the players but he needs to look at the attack happy side he left on the pitch at that time. Gibbs and Ebouè could have given more protection to the defence, that course of action natural in that scenario.

This morning has seen Squillaci blamed by all and sundry yet he had no part in any of the goals being conceded. It is perverse to blame him; the loss of Diaby had more impact and importantly, conceding possession too readily was punished with goals.

More damaging though was some perverse refereeing decisions. The second penalty will never be accepted yet the worst Dowd will suffer is a week’s relegation to the Championship before being promoted once more to inflict his incompetence. There was a lack of consistency in his decision making that is symptomatic of recent decisions.

Ironically Arsenal benefitted from the incompetence as Newcastle had a perfectly good goal disallowed for offside, TV showing Rosicky played everyone onside.

There are issues to be looked at by the manager and his staff but the internationals stop that happening. Positives are the first half, as rampaging as has ever been seen by Arsenal. More of that and none of the second half will see a title delivered. But lessons have to be learned.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on February 6, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 284 Comments.

  1. Agree that Eboue should have been introduced much earlier – by the time he arrived we had been overrun in midfield for a good 15 minutes.

    It’s far too easy to blame one thing yesterday – Phil Dowd, Squillaci, Wenger’s lack of tactical switches, no leadership on the field, substitutions, the absence of Song (or even Denilson), Phil Dowd again – but it was simply a catastrophic collective failure. And I don’t think it can be put down to a simple lack of character either – we showed plenty of gumption with 10 men against Huddersfield and in the comeback win against Everton.

    No one is blameless by any means – on the contrary, everyone was at fault – but sometimes you just have to scratch your head and do the “football, bloody hell” thing.

    A point gained? Two points dropped? Doesn’t matter. The key now is to ensure that yesterday becomes a blip rather than a season-defining moment. How we respond is everything now.

  2. I agree with dups yesterday – lets move arsenal to spain

  3. would give me a good enough excuse to move out of england myself!

  4. well we would have taken a 4-4 draw and a manc loss at the begining of the day.

    The most important thing is Djourou’s injury.

  5. Good summary Yogi, I do believe that Bartons tackle on Diaby was a red though, the way he followed through was intentional, thats whyDiaby lost his cool the way he did.

    Apart from the ref our lack pf ball retention was our undoing. I said this yesterday but I found it crazy that we kept making long goal kicks even though Newcastle was having the majority of the ball, in cases like that we needed to pass it up field.

    Hope Djourou is not too bad.

    We shall overcome!

    Anyway, with the United loss it doesnt feel as bad.

  6. How either of the penalties was given is beyond me but the second one is unbelievable every player on the pitch had started retreating for a goal kick and not one asked for a pen.

    Barton is just a thug and should not even be allowed anywhere near a football field

  7. The ref yesterday was shocking. Barton should have gone for a minimum of 2 yellows, the tackle on Diaby and the tackle on Arshavin. What was the difference between what Diaby did and Nolan on our keeper? 2 goals disallowed incorrectly for offside.

    An absolute disgrace.

  8. Like Arsene’s immediate post-match response, your post is measured, balanced and well-considered in it’s restraint and deserves much credit, in my view. But in some strange quarters, a handsome victory total was yesterday surrendered in a fashion that was ENTIRELY the fault of the visiting side. Yet when the outcome of the game has set new records, all observers are entitled to ask questions. Never before has a side given up a four-goal advantage; something pretty unusual has clearly taken place.

    And, in a word, that ‘thing’ was leniency. Unbridled leniency. On the part of the referee and his assistants. And consistently in favour of the home side. Leniency from a referee whose standards dropped to levels only previously plumbed by Lee Mason in the Arsenal v Everton a few days earlier in a performance few imagined they would see repeated in their lifetimes. That two such excruciatingly bad refereeing performances could occur so close together is scarcely believable. Yet over at Spurs, Mark Clattenburg, supposedly one of the ‘better’ refs also, in parts, had a nightmare on the same day as the wretched O’Dowd.

    The collapse in refereeing standards presents a real problem for Football as the integrity of the game is now being widely questioned. Teams trying to play the game the ‘right’ way suffer, the innocent are punished and the guilty do worse than get away Scot free; they are seen to profit by their thuggery and foul behaviour. Cheating thugs like the Hitleresque Barton flourish. Genuine talents, yesterday in the form of Diaby, are given zero protection and disproportionately punished when they react to the kind of play that has already seen, in Diaby’s case, his own leg broken as well as those of his teammates.

    And unless something is done this will just get worst. Instead of running the games, referees are routinely ruining them. Yesterday may have been a bad one for The Arsenal. But it was far worse for the governors of the game. When our players are assaulted over and again as they were yesterday, those players need to stay down and not leap back up to their feet. Their colleagues need to surround the referee in protest and demand action. Whilst not becoming cheats and thugs themselves, they should nonetheless keep doing this until the cheats, bullies and thugs are driven out. At the very least it would highlight the abuse and the abusers. And if they don’t like that, the authorities can always try introducing technology to help out the refs and rescue the integrity of the game. As they have already successfully done for rugby. And tennis. And cricket.

  9. oh well let the papers have their feast. now its international break , the guys wil lhave a nice break away with their teams, Djoro will have time to recover and we will fight again after break. we will still winn more than one trophy this season.

  10. Tim, we did make some mistakes but i dont think there is much we couldve done with the refs decision making. If he deals with Bartons foul on Arshavin and gives him a yellow (atleast) he most probaby doesnt try to break Diaby’s leg. The sorrows begin sand end with Dowd, he was atrocious! He told the Arsenal players that we wouldnt have a fair match.

  11. @arsenalandrew, what you saying is scary. the “lesser” teams has moaned about it for a while now already. But as you say , footy is no longer fun to watch if the playgrond rules are not equal for everyone.

  12. Excellent summing up Yogi,

    The Toon crowd became the 12th man in that second half & we had no chance playing 10 versus 15.

    If decisions really do `even themselves out` then we`ve got a sh&t load of penalties, dubious offsides & opponent sending offs coming our way in the near future.

    The standard of Premier League officiating is becoming excruciating. Some of the things that went on at Stoke yesterday for instance beggars belief. It`s now become a lottery , with officials changing games more than any player can.

    I agree Diaby had to go but I`ve every sympathy with him. Barton`s challenge was De Jong like. He saw an opportunity to try to hurt Diaby & took it. For him to then make comments about what Arsene should do (fine Diaby two weeks wages) is beyond the pale. I hope the bloke falls in front of a combine harvester. Any spare ones near you Consols ?

    Taking everything into account we seemed to suffer another fade out similar to previous ones & appeared to lack the desire to stop Newcastle`s momentum.

    If D’jourou`s injury is minor then we can overcome this – anything more & we`re struggling.

    For once the international break has come at a good time – get away & clear the heads.

    Onwards & upwards

  13. It is strange that the most important points in this match are not related to football but deliberate actions by the two thugs- Nolan and Barton, which lead the commentator, on the stream I was watching, in his awe-struck praise for Barton, call him a US Marine man of the match! Pardew, after match interview claimed that the sending off of Diaby was as a result of pressure.
    It is clear that Barton’s challenge on Arshavin was the initial trigger in the first half. Arshavin actually sullied his hands by shaking them with Barton! Then the events of the second half, sending off, which Diaby should have intelligently avoided. Newcastle’s plan was clear: we can’t play like them, let’s disrupt them, though the second half display of our team leads to many questions.

    I had argued, on this blog a week ago that Wenger must sign a CD, that he must not act as a book keeper. With mounting injuries, our season is at risk of floundering, for which Wenger must take blame, as also for last nights defeat. He must apologise to the fans and so should the players.

    As regards the xenophobic, racist and prejudiced way Arsenal are treated by all and sundry, I wonder if it is because of the foreign players( though every team has many) or is it because Arsenal play the best football or are there other reasons?
    As an Arsenal fan, I suffered last night, even Man United’s loss could not dull my anguish. Last night’s defeat was because of many
    reasons, one amongst them refereeing but there is no excuse after leading 4-0. This is not what great teams do. I guess we have to get behind our team and wait for another year. But Wenger, you too must leave, your unashamed reasons have started to grate.

  14. I blame Squillaci YW because he brought Kos down to his level.With Djourou as his partner we would never have conceded 4 goals.But the Squillaci/Kos partnership just doesnt work i.e Spurs home Wigan away Lets hope Djourou’s injury is not long term
    Also the substitutions were crazy.We needed someone to keep hold of the ball upfront because everytime the ball was cleared it kept coming back.Chamakh would have been perfect for that.And we had to keep Theo on for his pace
    Rosicky and Eboue made things worse Newcastle just dominated us in the final 20 mins.
    Szczesny was brilliant and crazy as it seems about a team that was 4 nil u without him we would have lost without his three great saves

  15. im hearing that JD is out for 3 months..
    just a rumour and i dont think its hit the blogs yet..
    can anyone confirm theyve heard similar
    come on where are you…im pulling my hair out here..

    good write up yogi..
    after the manc loss though id like to think of it as a point gained..thats how i managed to sleep last night anyway taking that theory

  16. agree with marc, ches was excellent, the 4 goals does not represent his performance
    squilacci is quickly becoming the next stepanovs…he just doesnt fit the pl one bit and hes not adapting…
    if jd is done we are in trouble v barca
    messi v scuillaci???
    sagna out also???

    oh lordy

  17. I remember March 2008. I’m scarred by it. It’s one of my Arsenal scars.

    I mention it because we suddenly had a run of games in which our title challenge ended in which there was a string of poor refereeing decisions that affected the results.

    Starting at Birmingham where the clearest penalty on Adebayor wasn’t given and a penalty was invented against Clichy.

    It went on in the Chelsea game where Drogba was offside. Went on in the Boro game where a good Adebayor goal was disallowed.

    Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get us.

  18. I just want to forget this ever happened and move on. I believe the boys will comeback lesson learned.

  19. Good measured article nice to read. At the moment there seems to be floating around the internet rather a lot of bile against certain members of our team. I think any bile vitriol and spite should be aimed at the ref.

  20. An underrated factor in yesterday’s loss is that we were left with no defensive midfielders after AD2 was sent off. Both Song and Denilson were not available so we had to play Wilshere as DM.

  21. It all comes down to YW’s last sentence “But lessons have to be learned.” But how many times have we said this?

    There was some disgraceful refereeing indeed. Barton’s challenge was definitely worthy of a card, possibly red, but as soon as Diaby raised his hands he was definitely going to go. He needs to keep his head in that situation, he would have got his free-kick and off we would have went with a full compliment.

    Koscielny’s tackle for the penalty was rash, Best was going nowhere. There was no need to make that challenge at all.

    Nolan should have gone for dragging Sczeszny to the ground. The fact that the lino was about three yards away makes the decision not to red card him even worse.

    To compound the poor officiating, Best’s “offside” goal was as poor a decision as any of the others, he was at least a yard onside with Rosicky between the lino and him, so there’s no excuse whatsoever. If the officials had got that right then we could be looking at a defeat this morning, so be thankful for small mercies.

    With all the poor decisions I still have the overriding feeling that we did for ourselves yesterday, even with ten men there’s no way we should have capitulated in such fashion. The players and manager keep saying they’re learning, but there is no evidence of that. I hope this is finally going to prove the turning point and they come out for the rest of the season with a good old-fashioned “fuck you” attitude to whoever they play and channel whatever feelings of unluckiness and injustice into their game. If they can do that for the next three months then there will be big prizes coming to Highbury come May.

    Lastly, I have to add to the hopes that Djourou’s injury isn’t too bad. He’s been great this season and we will miss him if he’s out for an extended period.

  22. Thank you Yogi. That must have been a difficult post to make, my feelings are all over the place at the moment. I can’t make sense of it all.

    At bottom, I suspect that Ole’s fears are similar to mine and that is worrisome as no one can do anything about it. At least no one WILL do anything about it.

    We should be looking forward to games for this Arsenal side. As it is I dread them to an unresonable degree. I can take losing but losing when you doubt the integrity of the games governors? It destroys the game. It destroys the work of good people.

    Paranoid? Oh yes.

  23. I don’t think Koscielny challenged. All he did was get tight to his man. You can criticise him getting tight, but it was no foul

  24. Kubla,

    I agree it felt like a defeat but it was actually a draw.

    Just another crazy 90 minutes of Arsenal football

    Hope the JD three month rumour is bow locks

  25. Sure the ref was incompetent and we all know Barton’s a jerk. But my heart was screaming for Eboue when Diaby went off. And then for Gibbs. It’s hard to say but Wenger got it wrong. He was mesmerised by our first half display and hoped Rosicky would keep it up!

  26. Had calculated that two loses by the mancs and we’d win the league. One more to go!

  27. I think that’s a fair summary YW, but I don’t agree that the subs were necessarily the wrong ones. Gibbs is inexperienced compared to Rosicky. He also has been guilty of a few rash challenges and we could not afford to take the risk of another sending off. Rosicky’s strengths are normally tracking back and tackling, holding onto the ball, winning free kicks, direct running at pace and creative play in the final third. I think he was a reasonable choice to replace AA, rather than Gibbs. He just didn’t have a very good game, is all. The two subs were meant to provide more defensive cover while maintaining an attacking threat, and made sense to me. Eboue might have been brought on earlier, but Theo could have got us a goal. The mistake was more in the team’s tactics – we were too conservative, counterattacked too slowly and generally put ourselves on the back foot.

  28. I love Wenger, I really do, but yesterday his decisions have been poor, I am not talking that it would have made any change as Downd decided of the match result anyway but.

    Sagna can play in a CB position and so Eboue could have come on taking the right position.

    Rosicky should never come on, reduced to ten and obviously chasing the ball, Gibbs should have been on for Arshavin.

    Last, a few times and even reduce to ten men, I have notiuced that a 423 tactic was being played, with no real holding midfileder this is just a big gamble that Newcastle manage to deal with, if you fancy playing a defence tactic then you work out one, not a “let’s try that tactic” but a 4-4-1 should have been played, packing the defense and eventually leaving RvP up front alone, who cares scoring more goals when you 4 up and one man down. No instead Wenger let his team playing some attcking football, which in some ways I agree, we are The Arsenal but with one man down and a referee who think that Wenger cheated with his wife, you cannot take gambles

  29. He he he a typical bunch of whinging gooners blaming everyone and everything except themselves.

  30. THese boys have shown alot of growth this year and very quickly. everytime something goes wrong in a game they try to fix it by the next and they will try to fix this. Of this I am sure. Now they know that the referees are shit and maybe they will play to that somehow.
    WE know all about the joey “if i wasnt a footballer i’d be a serial killer” barton. This season, non of these fools will stop us.

  31. He he he a typical bunch of whinging gooners blaming everyone and everything except themselves. You play great passing football but lack bottle when it matters which is why you will win sod all this year.

  32. @ Block4

    It all comes down to YW’s last sentence “But lessons have to be learned.” But how many times have we said this?
    Lessons have been learned over the years that this side has been coming together.
    Lesson 1 – Don’t be bullied out of the game.
    Lesson 2: Grind out wins/play badly and win.
    Lesson 3: Be more clinical in front of goal – 50% ratio of shots to goals, still clearly highest ratio in PL, compared to low or mid-40s last year and year before
    Lesson 4: Defend as a team, attack as a team, back five to operate as a unit
    Lesson 5: Commnicate more.

    That’s just off the top of my head. There’ll always be errors they are prone to make, but over time these become fewer and fewer.
    Big Picture.

    To compound the poor officiating, Best’s “offside” goal was as poor a decision as any of the others, he was at least a yard onside with Rosicky between the lino and him…we could be looking at a defeat this morning, so be thankful for small mercies.
    Yes, they had a good goal disallowed. And the first penalty was legitimate, though soft. But Cesc was pushed in the back in the penalty box in the first half just before he took a shot – that should have been a penalty to us if Dowd was being consistent.

  33. NUFC don’t you have a blog where you can celebrate your draw?

  34. Good Post Yogi.
    I really think that we squandering the lead is more of a mental thing than lack of quality. So, a winning march at wembley will do good than a big name signing.
    Keep hope gooners, we’re gonna win the league….

    @NUFC :
    Watch out dude, there’s no Phil Dowd to save you here… 😛

  35. Best of luck staying up, NUFC. I’m sure you won’t mind if we concentrate on our title challenge and three cup runs.

  36. We made history yesterday in a way we would never want. The solution is to make history as winners of the domestic triple.

    I am concerned by how the team and supporters will react. Will we let this game, the refereeing, the media hostility deflate and derail us? I hope the team is stronger than that. I think the venom last night toward those who wanted to discuss the weaknesses of the team points to the anguish as well as the fears that a familiar story is potentially unfolding–07-08. I am most worried by the injuries. Without Song and Djourou we do give up the goals. With Nasri out, some of our firepower is missing. The strain of fighting on four fronts plus the FA schedule, the referees and the baying media are taking it’s toll.

    It feels depressing yet we are closer to ManU now. Our Invincibles will remain. Psychologically this is a big relief. We just have to embrace this team and give it as much support now as we can in our home games especially. No one else is going to give them a lift. It will come from themselves and from whatever we can impart. I think RvP is going to put this team on his back and carry us forward with his brilliance. It was a borderline call but he almost pulled it out of the hat with his disallowed goal.

  37. I really think that we squandering the lead is more of a mental thing than lack of quality.

    I agree with that, Konkani Gooner. The ref was so obviously favouring Newcastle, it got into our heads.

    @ Block4

    Just thought of another lesson learned – coping with a team-mate’s leg being smashed. Birmingham 2008 compared to Stoke 2010.

  38. NUFC: Joey Barton is the new poster boy of your long-running farce of a club. Joey Barton. Congratulations. You must be proud. Now please f*ck off. Bonny lad.

  39. While I agree with all the posters on here blaming Dowd, i still reiterate that Diaby was silly to have gotten himself sent off. I understand his anger due to recent injuries, but if he is going to react that way anytime he gets kicked, then he is most likely going to get sent off in every match and become a liability to the team. I hate Barton and i think he is a scum, the best way to deal with such low lives is to beat them in a game of football. He knew exactly what he was doing by going into Diaby the way he did and he dint react after being pushed to the ground shows he wanted a reaction from us. He then goes on and scores two goals. The only winner from yesterday was him. He doesn’t care what we think of him and if he could earn his team a point like that everyday, i believe he would do it. The question is, was he taught a lesson? No. After the red mist clears, Diaby would realise how silly he was and that every player has a responsibility to not leave ur teammates disadvantaged especially when it is clear the opposition and ref have an agenda!

  40. nufcanddowd. and what the fuck are you gonna win without a biased ref ?

  41. I have similar feelings to Consolsbob and Ole Gunner. I’m genuinely worried our season will be derailed by forces outside of our control.

    Let’s at least hope their is no lasting “pyschological damage” to the team as Arsene fears.

    I still believe we’ll win the league. It’ll have to be the hard way. Twas ever thus.

  42. Why some of you people insist on blaming Arsenal players and/or the manager is beyond me. There was one reason for the result yesterday and one reason only. Refereeing in this country is biased, corrupt and incompetent. The fact that the establishment, media and pundits do not find it necessary to question the abilities or the intentions of the officials speaks volumes.

    The simple fact that our ability to win the EPL, FA or League Cups depends upon fat little porkers like Dowd is terrifying and depressing in equal measure.

    That people like Pardew, Barton, Nolan are held in higher regard in this country than Arsene Wenger or any of our players is cripplingly perverse.

  43. There has always been a lot of positive feel amongst most football fans for Newcastle. A great old club who probably gained a few modern sympathisers due to Keegan’s battle with Ferguson.

    Now though, with the likes of Pardew as a manager and Nolan and Barton as key players, not forgetting the ridiculous expectations of their fans, they are slipping into the bottom rung of regard amongst the Stokes and Blackburns.

    Shame really. NUFC had a club to be proud of once. Now? No.

  44. “Taking everything into account we seemed to suffer another fade out similar to previous ones & appeared to lack the desire to stop Newcastle`s momentum.”

    If you don’t feel like you are in a fair fight, it’s hard to keep going. I’m sure the players were forced into their shells because of fear of making a mistake and putting the team further in the brown stuff. With an inconsistent referee giving license to thuggery by the opposition but calling everything against you, it starts putting doubts in your head and leads to the outcome we witnessed yesterday.

    Ole, I have exactly the same fear as you. I would have thought the referees would want to be seen to be 100% fair to play down recent talk about lack of impartiality, but it is obvious there is either corruption or incompetence on such a scale that most of them are not fit to do their jobs. The FA will do nothing about it because they are not intelligent enough to see how this is ruining the game since it tends to favour their flagship teams.

  45. Key Statistic for the match:
    Joey Barton
    Red Card – 0
    Yellow Card – 0
    Fouls Committed – 1 (not even the lunge through Diaby was a foul)
    Fouls Won – 5 (4 in dangerous positions to put the ball into the box) 4 after Newcastle went behind 4 nil.
    Arsenal 4 yellows, 1 red. Newcastle 1 yellow (for the headlock and WWW body slam on Sczeszny).

    You cannot blame any of the Arsenal players for what happened. When the Ref allows continual fouling, and dangerous play, and whistles you for any minor touch on the opposition there is little you can do. The players don’t know whether they are going to get a serious injury or concede a ridiculous free kick or penalty. We used to see rotational fouling to stop Arsenal, Dowd simply said you can kick and foul them with impunity. Newcastle needed no invitation.

    I feel very sorry for Wenger. He is trying to win with good football, but they won’t let him (and he’s suffered from corruption previously). Sadly they are winning. When Cesc joins up with the Spanish team this week they won’t need to talk of DNA, they need only take a look at his battered legs and remind him of the FIFA directives to refs that they must protect the players and particularly the star players (these directives strangely don’t apply to Arsenal). Remember the Birmingham game last spring just before the Barcelona quarterfinal. Gardner after the ball has gone swings his leg at Cesc and severely bruises the bone (he was touch and go to play the quarterfinal after that, and duly had the bone fully cracked after the kick from Puyol). No need for Gardner to do it (Birm safe in their mid table mediocrity) just spite, just try to kick Fabregas out of the league.

    I would not be surprised if Nasri thinks twice about his contract renewal with this ridiculous state of affairs. How long until he’s hobbled?

    Of course the Media is fully complicit in this assault (Sky, ESPN, Fox and the main UK Newspapers). The FA will do nothing – remember the atrocious officiating of Mason last week – what was the FA sanction? Demotion to the bench for a couple of weeks? No – he was out whistling the Aston Villa game yesterday.

    The only thing I can suggest for now is get behind the players and boycott all Media sponsors/advertisers of Sky, ESPN, Fox, etc.
    And get your companies, families, associates, to do it as well.

  46. Hey NUFC, put your shirt back on. We really don’t want to see your pudgy red skin and beer belly, you cunt.

  47. The second penalty award defies logical explanation.

    The headlock Nolan puts on Sczezney LITERALLY under the official’s nose that resulted in our keeper getting a yellow, defies belief.

    Yesterday’s result has left us all sick, but I think the squad are starting to smell something fishy with decision. The siege mentallity that Moureen cultivates to such great effect will hopefully be the result of all this. Only we will play football at the same time.

  48. @ 1coolsteve
    Like you, I totally understand Diaby’s reaction but I would have preferred him to act like Nasri, and exact sneaky retribution later in the game. Revenge being a dish best served cold, etc.
    I think the referee had no option but to send off Diaby but he should have sent Barton off as well – for the tackle or the stamp in the first half. And Nolan should have been cautioned for pushing Diaby and sent off later for messing with Chesney. Barton is a wind-up merchant, and I’m sorry we gave him the opportunity to look smug. But the fact remains that he shouldn’t even have been on the pitch in the second half.

  49. “That people like Pardew, Barton, Nolan are held in higher regard in this country than Arsene Wenger or any of our players is cripplingly perverse.”

    Sums it all up really.

    A terrible indictment of the media and FA.

    We are The Arsenal. We are on our own.

  50. I think FG expressed the concern that coverage of Cesc’s tunnel remarks could hurt Arsenal. Perhaps that was what we saw yesterday. I don’t know. But the only way will be to come back strong against our next opponents. Hopefully the defeat will affect ManU more than this draw does us in terms of morale.

  51. Frank | February 6, 2011 at 12:38 pm |


  52. You do have to wonder. In our last 3 games we’ve seen the ref not sending off a Leeds player while awarding a pen, the Saha offside goal and yesterday which had just too many bad decisions to go into individually. All ref’s are going to make mistakes and have an off day but this is crazy.

    How many times does it have to happen before your allowed to suggest that something is going on?

  53. Flint McCullough

    Good stuff YW.
    “The collapse in refereeing standards presents a real problem for Football as the integrity of the game is now being widely questioned”

    I was paranoid, after the game, but after seeing so many other dodgy decisions in other games it does seem that there is a need for a complete overhaul of how refereeing is taught & organised.

    Part of a refs duties is the care of the players.

    Yesterday we saw AA wiped out by Barton, no foul given yet even a yellow would have been lenient. He does the same to Diaby. To my knowledge again he gives no foul, for what was a premeditated assault deserving a straight red. In 2 minutes we have lost our physical presence.

    The 1st penalty I would accept as soft if he hadn’t let much worse go elsewhere. The 2nd was just made up.

    From our point of view if Djourou hadn’t go off we would have won that game more comfortably than the 4-0 & that is not a slur on Squillaci other than it was his first touch in the game that led to the hospital ball that brought about Diaby’s red.

    Diaby had been my motm up to that point. I know he shouldn’t have reacted
    but this guy has struggled with injury after the Dan Smith assault . Every time he gets back he is cynically clattered with no protection from our refs who are 20 years behind the times.

    I hate picking on players but Rosicky was not at the races yesterday although he was the obvious choice. With the benefit of hindsight Bentner would have a least offered the physical presence.

  54. ture Diaby was silly and Barton was the hero of the day, wonder if he can save the horrible England team now with his attitude. I think the lads would be happy to have him back. he is the quintessence of the english game. He should really be on the england team, thus mirror the PL perfectly out in the world.

    Another ting, any Americans here today? Im holding a Superbowl party tonite! woohoo! and i decided to cheere for the packers. they are from a small town and as far as i can see the steelers quarterback is an american joey barton. Am i right?

  55. “I think FG expressed the concern that coverage of Cesc’s tunnel remarks could hurt Arsenal.”

    No, not me, LimestoneG.

  56. Greg is a bit of an idiot. The team changed to 4-4-1 after the sending off. Exactly what you are here saying we should have

  57. FG, yes, Nasri would have got payback later. Will Diaby ever get his career back or has it been too warped now by the time missed and the psychological consequences of the tackles, injuries and failure of refs to protect players?

    Now he misses another three league games after a long injury layoff. It’s like a curse has been laid upon him, the poor man.

  58. I hope JD is not another one cursed…but i am really afraid

  59. Speaking of deja vu – has anyone actually noticed that it was this very weekend one year ago that Aaron Ramsey had his leg broken at Stoke – by that ‘onest player who had no intent like Joey Barton the Hitler-esque thug.

    Couple that with Diaby’s own experience, and the only regret I have on this one is that Diaby didn’t get his money’s worth off that red card. He should have sent Barton to hospital with a concussion or bbroken jaw. As I mentioned yesterday, better Diaby out for 3 games than another year. It’s a no brainer.

    Having had time to reflect on the match – I honestly don’t blame the team. The only downside for me is Djourou’s injury. The team has time to recover such a result and it feels more like 2 points dropped. We have Wolves to thank for diluting the bitter pill – but I honestly think that yesterday’s game will make the team so much stronger because they are under no illusions about the adversity they face on and off the pitch.

    It’s OK to be sad because it feels like a loss, but it’s nothing that can’t be taken care of by a few wins to get as to the top of the pile as Manure play the London and Mancunian Chavs. Winning the Carling Cup will also be the mother of all adrenaline shots to the arm.

    And for us as supporters – now is not the time to whine and bitch about the team and the tacticts and who did what or not. If there’s any lesson we should have learnt yesterday – it wasn’t on the pitch. Newcastle fans were first class. They stood behind their team regardless, even after a 4 nil mauling. They were there and they were counted.

    If only our fans can set aside the drama and use the same spirit the Toon fans have to carry this magnificent team over the line. They need as right here and right now.

  60. Lets go on and win this league, thats the only way to shut these thugs called refs up. The media is surely loving this. I dare say football is the only game that is so obviously influenced by the refs decision. There has to be a change as the refs in England are either incompetent or corrupt. I say its a combination of both as the we clearly paid for Cesc’s comments last week. Then again he disallowed two legit goals from both Best and RVP. Its beyond believe.
    I think we will win this league. We have been the best team this season and am sure we will walk it.

  61. “The only thing I can suggest for now is get behind the players and boycott all Media sponsors/advertisers of Sky, ESPN, Fox, etc.”

    I’ve been doing that for years. I don’t buy newspapers, I got rid of sly sports after the home game against wigan after the TH14/Kirkland time wasting business. I never watch Arsenal on ESPN or ITV and MOTD is a distant memory for me. It may be meaningless to them but I feel better for it.

  62. very good, balanced post.Yes the refereeing was very poor but we should not have given up a four goal lead. I agree that Wenger must take responsibility for not making changes after the sending off. Arshavin should have been replaced by Eboue.
    Wenger has brought some great talent to this club but he has a definite blind spot when it comes to centre backs. Surely there is someone out there that’s better than Squillaci

  63. @ Darius
    If there’s any lesson we should have learnt yesterday – it wasn’t on the pitch. Newcastle fans were first class. They stood behind their team regardless, even after a 4 nil mauling. They were there and they were counted.
    Except for the hundreds who left at half time! 🙂 But I take and agree with your point.

  64. LOL – Fun.

    I kid you not – more of our fans would have left at half time if we were 4 nil down.

  65. Limestonegunner

    Sorry, FG, don’t know who it was then.

    But it seems obvious that we have an uphill battle. And while it may be distressing for the players to feel like the ref is hellbent on throwing the game, just last week we had a terrible ref and defeated Everton. Even so, we almost got a goal from RvP and were lucky Best’s goal was disallowed. I expect a strong reaction from the players. I don’t think the international break is coming at a good time. We would be better off playing a game and washing this Newcastle feeling away.

  66. Considering that performance in his first start back after so long out, even his sending off, Diaby is not cursed. He has footballs made of the hardest, saltiest Gr*t. Ole Gunner wished for Djourou to return from his serious injury ‘hungry’. A good anti-jinx. No one can accuse Diaby of a lack of commitment yesterday.
    Damned if he doesn’t.
    D**Med if he D**Ms.

    The Braga game I didn’t mind.
    A localised ‘incident’ in what was a historic game/event for the Home team. It was AFC’s ‘second’ team. Fine. Move on.

    Since that interception by a referee, when he chose, instinctively, to drop-b*ll*cks in public, we seemed to have re-entered into a surreal and parallel footyverse. That referee dropped more then just a football. Arsenal have been in this twilight realm before. At Stoke last Februaryt. Oh, Darius has already mentioned the timing there…and One Of Us has written of expecting some shenanigans as Arsenal continue to fight this season. 7am has written over the season of oddities in the referring patterns in Arsenal games this season. A different tactic to previous (recent) years?
    Here we are. Wolves next.

  67. refereeing patterns>

  68. Oops.
    Was Diaby’s second start.

  69. What a brilliant shining star you are, Passenal

  70. some say jd is done for the season…
    i despair…i feel for the lad i really do..after everything hes been through he finally gets a run and he proves hes one of the best in the league, this could really damage us, more than yesterdays result…come on wenger tell us whats going on…
    oh and NUFC…
    now we all know what you did with your 35mil dont we you prick

  71. Fingers crossed for Djourou. He’s probably going to have a scan tomorrow or something.

  72. jon jon you telling me all my fukin dancing to the injury gods didn’t work then, well if djourou is out now then there is only one man to blame for this, like isaid we needed cover and we could all see us getting an injury in defence so why couldn’t wenger. if he is out then we really are fucked.

  73. well if DJ is done for the season we have to rally around Squilly as he will have to step in. Its vital for him to feel fans backing to get the neccesariy confidence to preform his best. We need him to preform his best if we gonna have a chance to win this.

  74. Great post Yogi. Dowd lost control of the game yesterday. The inconsistency of the referees has become difficult to understand. I usually try to defend them but it is getting more difficult. I understand why he gave the 2nd pen. From the angle he saw the play you could get the impression that Rosicky pushed Williamson in the back, nonetheless is was a terrible call. The Newcastle offside goal that was disallowed was just as bad. The need for video replay is so crystal clear.

    Even without the 2nd penalty and the unpunished thuggery we would have won easily if we had stayed organized and defended anywhere close to what we have seen since Christmas. In the 2nd half our defending was unorganized and we had no strength in the air. Newcastle won almost all of the headers and they totally dominated our penalty area. Blaming it on Squillachi or Wenger’s substitutions is far to simplistic. The defensive revival that I and everyone else has been praising was fragile at best. Hopefully the meltdown is one and off, but our performances without Djourou does not give much confidence if he is out for any length of time. Hopefully he will be back in time for the CC final.

  75. We are faced with a situation whereby players are increasingly younger, fitter and faster and ref’s are still slow, fat, middle aged men who have probably never kicked a ball outside the playground. Desperate to be liked and wanting to be the stars of the show. Its all so wrong.

    This posted by Toby on Goonerholic made me smile.

  76. and what you gonna do about it Duke? hate wenger or support Squilly? What would be the best strategi for the team to win ?

  77. Di Matteo goes at WBA

    Probably Fat Sam or someone of his ilk coming in to save the day by playing the percentages (long ball & fouling to me & you)

  78. duke.. lol
    im dancing right as we speak, with fingers and toes crossed…
    this is looking bad
    i thought we had a chance v barca but we are starting to drop like flies..
    our back line looks like being eboue koz stepanovs clichy..against messi…jeeezz
    and whats going on with song?? how long is he out for
    nasris out.. 😦
    de ja fucking vu
    i just hope we can field a team capable of winning CC at this rate..

  79. poodle this isnt the point is it, the point is we will be down to two cb;s at the business end of the season.

  80. Duke

    This rumour is from Switzerland – no proof yet from Arsenal. Probably best to wait.


  81. @FunGunner, you can come up with all the smartarse bollocks you like. How about not learning the lesson of pissing away wins when ahead? Yesterday’s game is at least as bad as losing at home to Spurs and stupidly losing away at Shakhtar giving us a much harder last 16 tie in the Champions League than would otherwise have been the case. Wigan and Sunderland are games where we were ahead and drew, including missing a penalty against Sunderland to put the game to bed. It doesn’t give me any pleasure to criticise the team, but neither to I live in a red and white tinted world where Arsenal can do no wrong and I think everyone is out to get us. Yesterday’s game should have been a cricket score, instead one player loses his head, another makes a rash challenge and it goes downhill from there.

  82. At first it looked to me like Dowd was trying to level the playing field, playing God and showing mercy on the home fans. That alone is bad enough – seeing as it is his job to absolutely not do that. As it escalated and escalated into a complete feather-plucking sham, it’s impossible not to think it was more than that. Incompetence is far too kind. I’m finding it very hard to look beyond corruption. It was such a concerted effort on Dowd’s part; what constituted a foul tackle was completely skewed, completely disparate for the two sets of players. Astonishing and flagrant partiality.

    I’m less dismayed with Arsenal’s 2pts dropped as I am with Dowd’s failure to send off Joey Barton as part of his lightening rod chucking. Dowd will have blood on his hands before the season’s out.

    Anyway, fuck em. We can beat them all. It will be interesting to see how Arsenal step up to this sinister new gauntlet. And victory will be made all the more sweet because of it.

  83. the thing that makes Wengers decision not to get cover so baffling is the fact that not only did he have just 3 cb’s but one is well known for his poor injury record.

  84. Fuck off and watch the Superbowl, Bill.

  85. limpar
    even the commentators were saying dowd was giving decisions cos he felt sorry for newcastle at 4-0 4-1
    it snowballed..
    dowd has alot to answer for but he wont face any questioning from his authorities..they never do they just bang on about respect and all that bollox but how can anyone respect officials when they make schoolboy errors every game…

  86. Block4, your whole comment is simplistic. Yesterdays match has nothing in common with the other matches you are talking about which makes your comment invalid in my view. You are just criticizing but you have not said where things went wrong, you offer no insight at all.

    Bill, you are wrong about our defending. Where we did go wrong was not continuing to pass the ball around. Giving Newcastle the ball put our team under pressure. However if the ref makes the necessary calls we dont even get to that point.

    Again, it went downhill when Barton got away with the tackle on Arshavin.

  87. exactley duke
    its not like we can use the ‘in hindsight’ line
    we went in to the business end of the season with 3 fit cb’s..not knowing when tv is coming back seeing as though wenger originally said before xmas and now its claimed to be march,
    one of those three has a poor injury record and the other is nothing more than average who hasnt yet adpapted and is in very poor form..
    if the worst comes to the worst then yesterday wont be wengers biggest regret becuase of the scoreline, but cos of the fact we lost another one of our top cb’s and he let january fly passed him..
    it smacks of ‘been here before, seen it got the t shirt’ but we will have to wait, see, and judge when the seasons over..

  88. I’ve read Yogi’s post and I’ve seen Tim’s comments and whilst I greatly admire their restraint and their need to appear even handed I have to stress that some bloggers and all too many of our own fans underestimate or misunderstand what yesterday represents.

    I have long been of the opinion that Arsenal are, in the main, seen as “other” by the football community and football press in England. There’s a basic misunderstanding here about what being seen as “other” means in our specific case. It isn’t necessarily about having foreign players per se although that is a part of it … it is more about us being seen to have an alien ethos under Wenger, and an ethos that is at odds with the macho, testosterone driven lunancy that is the premier league. The problem as I see it is that there are vested interests within the game who see an Arsenal triumph in the league in particular as a threat to all the shibboleths they push regarding the right way to win in football… ideas like “star players”, “mega money transfers”, ‘courageous’ splurging of cash, violence and thuggery masquerading as bravery and commitment… all these things are under threat if Arsenal are seen to triumph in the EPL or elsewhere for that matter. That is why IMHO we have this ludicrious double standard in the reporting of the events at St James’s Park. Imagine Diaby doing what Joey Barton did… imagine it for a second. In fact you don’t have to imagine it at all… remember Eboue’s scissor tackle and the hoo ha in the press? Remember Jack’s challenge and the kerfuffle that ensued? Then cast your mind back to the Cesc’s non tackle on Distin and how a journalist on the Guardian, no less, described that as a sending off offence… Cesc should have been sent off for have his foot stood on by Distin!

    Someone on the Guardian comment section compared Arsenal current plight with officials and the media to the plight of African Americans in the 50’s and sixties. Now that is clearly ludicrious… we may be hard done by but we are not down trodden and nothing in football can begin to compare with the injustices that one set of citizens decided to mete out to another set based on nothing more than skin colour… but the guy did have a point in so far as what he was actually talking about was the way that people who are SYSTEMATICALLY victimised take on board the falsehoods spread about them.

    Too many Arsenal blogs have internalised the idea that our players are wimps who don’t like it up them, they’ve kind of acquiesced to the notion that their is a mental fraility link inextricably to the way we chose to do things … there an acceptance that we are not quite right ourselves, that is why there’s all this equivocation about the actual impact of Mr. Dowd’s actions on saturday IMHO. I say bullsh*t.

    If you are playing a game, any game, and the arbiter of the game begins to interpret the rules of the said game in ways that have no logic or reason to them I challenge anyone of us here, not to be utterly discombobulated. Watch the tackle on Diaby again on Arsenalist and watch Diaby’s femur actual bow out with the force of Barton’s body weight and tell me that Dowd’s refereeing made any kind of sense. People should be outraged that it was Diaby that was sent off and that nothing happened to Barton instead what we have is a kind of hoo-ing and ahhh-ing about Diaby controlling himself… Diaby has had his career almost ruined by one malicious tackle and he’s had his season wrecked by another and in each case the referee did NOTHING. How much should one man take? Today’s Mirror has a photograph of Sczceny being dragged to the ground by Nolan with Barton in attenadance along with the word “MUGGED” in other words our mugging is funny… the Guardian made Joey Barton a hero for the way he “inspired” Newcastle’s revival… can you believe that?

    What happened yesterday was a result of all the things that Arsenal have to deal with… if Diaby had lied down and feigned injury he’d be a cheating foreigner, if he reacts as he did he is an indisciplined foreigner, if he makes the same tackle in retaliation he is a cheating foreigner and Wenger is a hypocrite… basically Diaby cannot win! Let’s not forget that the same Dowd that considered Barton challenges, not just on Diaby but on arshavin and others, not worthy of a card is the same guy who sent Song off against Sunderland for two nothing challenges….

    What happened to Arsenal yesterday wasn’t a result of tactical naivety by the manager or lack of will on the part of the players… what we saw yesterday was the result of a biased and morally bankrupt official inserting himself into the game and successfully changing it and it’s imapct was magnified because of the hoo ha surrounding Cesc in the amtch against Everton. That’s it IMHO. I challenge anyone to place themselves in the players boots and tell me you would know how to react.

    Dowd cost us. End of

  89. i would have put myself in diabys boots and i would have kicked the prick in the face when he was down..and nolan would have got a kick in the bollox too
    ban me for 6 games i wouldnt give a shit if the ref wont stop the crap then i would have happily taken one for the team and broke some fucking noses, jaws and whatever else they put in front of me

  90. Sorry for the long post people… next time I’ll edit and snip out sections. Apologies.

  91. come on the dippers…

  92. Squillaci gives me the same confidence Stephanovs did.When he came on at 4-0 i was still worried.Him and Kos just dont work as a partnership like JD and Kos do.
    On the penalties the first one was as soft as the Bendtner one last week so no complaints.The 2nd no pen at all.But Best had a good goal disallowed
    If JD is out i would play Song at CB.He is not a great defender but i would have him before Squillaci every day of the week

  93. if song goes to cb then who plays in songs position???
    we have nobody who protects the defence like him and the jack/song axis is fucking brilliant..

  94. Gordan, tell me what Squillachi did wrong? get off of the mans case for crying out loud!

  95. I read this blog and comments every day (to the detriment of my work), good work guys, most are valid points.

    I’ve just told my dad (in a paranoid “they’re out to get me” way) that I have no doubt that 1 month, year, decade from now the corruption will come out. It is everywhere, in every sport, and I wanted to put on record to people who aren’t that interested that one day the travesty of what should have been for Arsenal will come out. An no I am not a conspiracy theorist but it has become unexplainable.

    Another point to consider, assuming that referees like football, they must support a team? This is the biggest conflict of interest possible, imagine if one of us referreed an Arsenal match? We’d never lose.

    Interesting – Wenger moots possible successor –,17033,8689_6732905,00.html

  96. Wenger is Wengers worse enemy, why does he make life so hard for himself, all he had to do was get in 1 fukin defender as cover.

  97. This blaming Squillaci business quite frankly makes no sense. Which of Newcastle’s goals were exactly his fault? In what way would Djourou’s presence have stopped Dowd awarding the first penalty or the second? Djourou has the making of a CB legend with his calmness, skill and aerial strength and passing ability but Squillaci is no mug. The guy is struggling to settle in the EPL but there’s nothing unusal in that… Vidic struggled initially… so give the guy a break. It’s a good thing that Denilson didn’t play or all the cockroaches that love nothing more than an internet lynching would be having a day to end all days.

    Funny how all those who say that Diaby is useless and makes the team worse are now lamenting his sending off… I’d have thought that they’d have been rejoicing!

  98. i agree duke
    its one thing that still puzzles me about wenger to say he was a defender
    we have a massive squad with lots of competition but only for certain places
    we have plenty of options available in attack..with 3 even 4 players fighting it out for a position
    but when it comes to the defensive side of things we have the basics…
    it worries me…especially when the injuries kick in

  99. joshua, dont be silly, squillachi is second rate

  100. I’m a long time reader, however, this is the first time I’ve contributed to the site.

    My thoughts on the game: Diaby up till the sending of was MOTM, his passing was fast and effective and he contributed to a number of our goals. The sending of was a travesty, how Diaby went of and Newcastle remained with 11 men is a mystery to me. Barton is a complete and utter twat, Nolan has now also fallen to his standard for his ‘protection’ of Barton after the Diaby tackle and the arm lock around chesney. After watching, admittedly, only the highlights, even from that, you could tell Newcastle came out in the 2nd half to kick the crap out of us. Ok, I understand that to a certain extent and within the letter of the law, however, the ferocity and plain malicousness of there tackles was just absurd, and the referee not penalising not one of those tackles contributed greatly to our downfall.

    The first 45 minutes was an excellent pointer of what we can do with a near enough first team fit and firing, again the main thing is how we bounce back, anything less than a resounding win against Wolves and I can see self pity creeping back into our system. The fact that Man u dropped points also means that we, somehow are in a better position than when we started. If we beat em at the Emirates, we, are in theory, only one point behind. But the mistakes HAVE to stop now really, we honestly cannot afford to drop any more points. Man u may have difficult games coming up, but them dropping points is not a reason for us to think that we can make silly mistakes and as a result drop points, its a time to capitalize on their mistakes and get us back to the summit of the PL.

    In summary: A horrendous game, but not the end of the world.

  101. Nice posting joshua.

  102. League if United had beaten Wolves:
    Man UTD: P 25 Pts 57
    Arsenal: P 25 Pts 50

    League as it actually stands:
    Man UTD: P 25 Pts 54
    Arsenal: P 25 Pts 50

    At least this along with further opportunities to gain points in the next two weeks, is a reason to remain positive on an otherwise grey Sunday…

  103. Well said, Joshua. Very well said that man.

  104. @ Block4

    FunGunner, you can come up with all the smartarse bollocks you like.

    It’s called evidence and argument. If you can’t handle debate, jsut say so. Has the team not improved in many ways? I acknowledged that some lessons have still to be learned, you should acknowledge our progress.

    “all he had to do was get in 1 fukin defender as cover.”
    Dukegoonem – what on earth does that have to do with what happened yesterday? You’re bitching about Squillaci, would you have wanted Wenger to sign just any old player? Do what poodle suggested and support the man, and perhaps he will show us why he has been capped for France.
    But of course you’re right – buying a defender better than or as good as Djourou, and who suits our style, is jsut the easiest thing in the world. Like, all we have to do to win the quadruple is to win every single match. Easy peasy, can’t think why Wenger won’t just do it.

  105. I agree with Limpar. A referee who seeks to ‘level the playing field’ is corrupt. Perhaps not in the financial sense but I do wonder if he was trying to get retribution for his ‘friend’ Lee Mason.

    Corruption in football starts at the very top. FIFA, UEFA, the FA anyone? It’s just one big back handed, brown envelope passing, old boys network. The monster needs to be demolished and rebuilt again from scratch.

  106. @ Joshua
    You should look up a post on Untold Arsenal from last season (I think) which articulates many of the reasons why we are disliked. The saddest part of it for me is that as the time since our last trophy has increased, Arsenal fans whose xenophobia or fear of the “other” was suppressed by our success, havve begun to show their true colours.

  107. i think some of these critics should watch fabregas play for 90 minutes. How can you not see the class oozing from that dude!! best midfielder in england…

  108. And a perfectly decent person to boot, bill with small letters.

  109. to be fair i think duke is pointing out the situation we will be in if JD is done..
    seeing as though we will only be down to two cb’s

    he did mention that earlier and i dont think hes bitched about squidgy at all…

  110. Fingers crossed on Djourou. Two centre backs is scary. Kos and Squi are prone to the odd red card!

  111. OK, sorry duke if you weren’t bitching about Squillaci – but I stand by the part about the supposed ease and simplicity of signing a defender.

  112. whats your guy’s opinion on the chels milverpool game? i’m thinking a 1-1 industrial snoozefest.

  113. Was not going to post today but feel as if I must. Firstly we drew yesterday, regardless of how big a lead we had, so why everyone is sounding defeatist is beyond me!! Secondly, the Mancs lost so that means we have closed the gap by a point. Thirdly, all this talk of a CB is as fucking retarded as anything Hansen himself would say. We do not need another CB as we have 2 healthy, Song for cover and our best returning from injury pretty soon. We also have Miguel don’t forget. Fourthly, and most importantly, we went down to 10 men because their 12th man(the ref) was having the game of his life!! Barton should have had at least 3 yellows, Nolan the same and as for the second PK, it simply never was.

    Oh yea and if Saha’s goal was not offside(Yogi do not start!!) then RVP’s should have been allowed to stand, if for no other reason than balancing the game, which is exactly what the ref had been doing since we scored our 4th goal.

    A pox on the ref!
    A pox on the F.A!
    A pox on Newcastle!
    Bring on Wolves, bring on Barca, bring on whoever you want, we are ARSENAL! COYG!!!!

  114. About to watch the Torres show.

  115. Irishgray I wouldn’t bitch but Miguel has started any senior game. It’s really down to Song as emergency cover. And maybe Sagna aswell!

  116. Well said Joshua

  117. Irishgray I missed “n’t” – sorry.

  118. great. Alan smith and martin tyler for the commentary. gotta love those wank bags. not.

  119. come on liverpool
    if chelsea win this they are only three behind us…
    its getting tighter than a mermaids arse at the top we could do with a few more slip ups from the others the pressure aint good for my health

  120. FG,

    When did i bitch about Squilacci, read my comments again.

  121. fun
    wenger has about 40mil+ in accumulated transfer kitty to spend…
    he chooses not to spend he admits it, he goes with developing his own, but im sure if he really wanted one he could have got one with ease..if youve got a tenner its not the dificult to find a mars bar, it all depends if you fancy a mars bar that day
    he just didnt want a mars bar that day..
    he may regret that depending on JD…

  122. I have no problem with squilacci actually just the numbers we have in that position.

  123. JonJon, I think chelsea will be in the hunt for the league title. They just hit a dip of form earlier on then others. Hopefully Chelsea have passed on their overall shite attributes to ManU who continue to go on winless in the next 6 matches!

  124. chelsea are always a threat bill
    roman signalled his intentions with 75mil in jan and with them playing utd twice real soon we could see them rise up the table as utd fall down it..
    we just need to keep that bit of daylight between them and us
    im glad weve played them twice already
    i wouldnt like to play chelsea now…

  125. agree. I can see the look of fear in Skrtel’s face evertime Van Der Sar launches one and drog, anelka and torres are sprinting at you.

  126. Roman did not signal any “intentions”. The 75mil spent simply represent pure despair that they might not get a CL spot, that’s all. It’s no “intent” to challenge for the title, it’s the same thing we did two seasons ago when we bought Arshavin. Despair and fear of a season filled with Europa League football.

  127. well well there will be no Dowd in the next games for Newcastle. they will implode and go down. thank god for that.

  128. Sorry Frank, I spoke too soon, this is Post of the Day or maybe even the Year!

    joshua | February 6, 2011 at 2:26 pm |

  129. @ JonJon
    wenger has about 40mil+ in accumulated transfer kitty to spend…
    he chooses not to spend he admits it, he goes with developing his own, but im sure if he really wanted one he could have got one with ease.. if youve got a tenner its not the dificult to find a mars bar, it all depends if you fancy a mars bar that day
    he just didnt want a mars bar that day..
    he may regret that depending on JD…

    We don’t know how much he has to spend, and in any case they decide on expenditure on the basis of what value the transfer would bring to the club, not by settling on a particular sum.
    Even if he was prepared to spend £45 million, that is no guarantee he would get what he wants, or that the deal would go through. Ever bought a flat or house? Deals are not just about money.
    He chooses not to spend money on players he does not really, really like. Good. If we waste money on the wrong man, there’s less to spend on the right one in the future, or on improving Djourou’s contract, or re-signing Nasri.
    We are not in the market for Mars Bars, which can be picked up anywhere. We are looking for caviare. Wenger said he had mulled over many options, but none of them “clicked”.
    Djourou *may* be injured long term, but we have two good fit CBs plus two halves – Song as emergency CB and soon Vemaelen as an occasional CB. If Song plays as a CB, one of our many other midfielders cover for him. I know you don’t like Denilson, but what about Diaby? Ramsey? Rosicky, even? Song’s not our holding midfielder, he’s our second-best midfielder after Cesc. (Not counting Nasri because he plays as a wing-forward). To Wenger, the middle three are all just midfielders who defend when we don’t have the ball and attack when we do.
    It would have been nice to get the right player, but pointless getting in someone who either isn’t good enough or wouldn’t fit in.

  130. “It doesn’t give me any pleasure to criticise the team, but neither to I live in a red and white tinted world where Arsenal can do no wrong and I think everyone is out to get us”

    Block 4 – welcome to my world.

    Paul N – agree that its not all down to defending but the midfield should have stood up. We never retained possession in midfield. We lacked composure and leadership to close the game out. And its far too familiar a storyline with this team.

    Yogi – Saying that there are lessons there to be learned is a little too kind. These are the same lessons/soundbites that we’ve been learning/hearing for years now.

    Joshua –

    Nice post – agree with much of it. Except we just cannot continue to blame the referees. Good teams beat referees too. Good teams don’t loose 4 goal leads. Even bad teams Joshua don’t loose leads like that. To loose a 4 goal lead is just wholly unacceptable even if the referee was a cunt.


    So were still on for the “quadruple” are we? Comments like that in the wake of yesterdays capitulation are actually pitiful.


    “Having had time to reflect on the match – I honestly don’t blame the team.”

    Well Quel Surpris…!!

    Tell me Darius, just what more has to happen for you to accept that we have major problems collectively in defence, application and leadership? Do you think if we were the first team in the history of the premiership to cough up a four goal lead to a bunch of pub players that you might accept it? And don’t you think its rather fucking spineless to try to pass the buck and not accept responsibility?

    Jesus Christ Darius – the only chance this team has of progressing is to accept that there’s a problem which has been plaguing us for years now..!!

    Our solution to our defensive problems, this, our 6th season without a trophy despite having the most talented squad in the PL, was to have 3 x No 1 goalkeepers for far this year, two new CB’s that have never played in the premiership before (and arguably 3 given that Djourou has been out injured all the time) and a continuing persistent inability to defend aerial balls/set pieces.

    Tell me Darius, at just what point do you think the players and the manager should stand up and take some fucking responsibility…??

  131. dont agree evil
    jeez liverpool miss a sitter

  132. @jonjon may that be because he has a bigger fish in the waiting for the summer? I wonder what defender we could have bought or borrowed this january window that would have been remarkably better than Squilly for under 20m. I think non. If you blow 20m in the january window they are gone. they wont come back., there are nobody in the wings that can rescue the club financially if it fails. Id rather play with squilly this spring and get Sakho in the summer. a KNOWN and PROVEN defender, hes better than ALL the english defenders(alot better than cahill yes) than to buy a bolton defender that has no experience what so ever with CL or big preassure matches.
    If Arsenal was gonna buy a defender in this window he had to be better than Squilacchi and cost around 10M. Can you point me in the direction of any?

  133. And regarding Barca, Squilly is form the Spanish league, he will be very acustomed to their playstyle and may actually be rather good againt them since he faced them and know them better than most other players.

  134. @ Joe

    We are indeed still on for the quadruple. I know you have difficulty facing facts, but try to swallow this one – we actually gained a point on the league leaders yesterday. If only we stood a chance of making up that massive 5-point lead Chelsea have over us…. Oh.
    And we are still in all cup competitions, already in the final of the CC.

  135. poodle
    who said anything about spending 20mil??? and for the record 20mil wouldnt kill us financially we make too much money we are loaded mate..
    your just asserting points in your last comment none of it is factual..
    at the end of the day wenger has vast knowledge of both the french and english leagues..
    arsenal have a massive scouting network and with all the clubs in all the world and all the CB’s out there your honestly trying to say we couldnt find one???
    wenger wanted one..had many options lined up..but waited for news on squilaccai and TV and then decided not to do it..

  136. John Terry just made the sort of tackle Joey Barton would be proud of. The commentators think it’s a fair tackle. And some people wonder why England does poorly at the world cup!

  137. btw thank god Wilshere is English. No way they will charge him for an innocent twitter rant! Hes the new star of england. They cannot go after him. Hes like Shawcross, untouchable.

  138. Hope so, poodle – but he is also an Arsenal player and hence “foreign by association”!

  139. @jonjon yes i dont think they found anyone that fitted the bill no. We dont want anyone do we. we wanted someonew with proven pedigree that could slot straight into the team with pl experience. that narros it down does it not? it also sky rockets the price as we all know the pl are inflated. That is why i say 20M cos a decent PL defender with a proven pedigree of playing at the highest level cost that much.
    If we bought someone from abroad i would either be a new squilly, or a kos that took 6 months to adjust. do we have time for that?

  140. i mean jeezes Smalling went for 10M !

  141. what like squilacci n kos had bundles of pl experience a poodle.

  142. Jon Jon I think Wenger didn’t really want to buy a CB. Apart from TV coming back he didn’t want to block the development of promising reserves. Miguel and Bartley most often mentioned but there is also Cruise and a long bet on Hoyte.

  143. He definitely said he thought Miquel was ready, but I’m not sure about the others.

  144. 0-0 at Chelsea. Lovely jubbly.

  145. Well Wenger said that a loan move would have been the optimal solution but that did not come off.

  146. thats what i mean doh. that what arsen said to. If we bring someone in it must be someone with Pl experience, if not there is no point as they wont add value to the team in the short run. And that is what we need right? A defender of vermalens caliber to help us trhough until hes back no? Then we can buy longterm defender in the summer.
    And thats why we have not bought anyone. cos there was nobody available that was good enough with a proven track record. That is the essence here. the proven track record and slotting right in. If they did not exsist he rather go with squilly.

  147. wonder if he will recall bartely though if Djorou is out for a longer time. Also wonder if he will recall Henners?

  148. @ poodle
    Guessing Wenger’s thought processes, he’s more likely to recall a midfielder who is up to speed and move Song back, than recall Bartley. Just my guess.
    Who’s Henners?

  149. FG you’re right – Arsenal’s English players are fair game because they are young, not established ‘stars’ and therefore not important enough to be feared. The FA could easily go after him to prove that they don’t just pick on foreigners.

    Ole re the betting odds, perhaps Arsenal should invest in a private detective to gather some evidence to send to the police? I’m sure there’s plenty to be found if you can be bothered or know where to look. There must be some ambitious person out there looking to make their name by bringing down the whole rotten establishment.

  150. Does anyone know how long Djourou is out for?

  151. “Who’s Henners?”

    Henri Lansbury, I assume?

  152. “0-0 at Chelsea. Lovely jubbly”.

    Is that the final score? It’s what I would have put money on if I were a betting person!

  153. lol you not seen Lansburys ask henners on his twitter page? 🙂 made me laugh

    He wrote ask henners and people asked him qs just like they do Arsharvin. I like Henry landsbury, he seems like a cool guy.

  154. On a lighter note, it seems our loanee Miyaichi has played a full 90 mns for Feyenoord which is quite impressive given he’s just come in from a japanese High school team…and a lot better than some other loanees somewhat lost in the pampa.

  155. Duke, you can afford to buy players without PL experience in the summer, when they will have pre-season and friendlies to help get up to speed, but the chances of finding a CB in January who could just slot in and play right away are slim. Arsene was able to do that with Sol last year because he was a former Arsenal player with PL experience and as he had been training with the club, he got to see him close up in order to assess his fitness etc.

    P.S. I disagree with whoever it was that claimed that Arshavin was a January panic buy. Arsene was a long time admirer and as he says he is always in the market and will take an opportunity when it presents itself.

  156. I think “ask Henenrs” is/was his new Q and A column or something…

  157. Ohhhhh – thanks poodle and Passenal. I don’t do Twitter, you see.

    Funnily enough I was thinking that the midfielder most likely to be recalled was Lansbury. Or Henners, as I now feel obliged to call him.

  158. Tokala, great news!
    And Ramsey provided the assist for Bellamy’s wonder goal in the South Wales derby today. JET on for last 15 mins as well.

  159. 0-0 only the current score, I’m afraid.

  160. @Passenal
    Well, let me put it differently: if we were not fifth or sixth at that point in the season I do not think that Wenger would’ve necessarily ended up signing Arsha. We might have still tried to pursue him, but I do not think that the transfer drama with the signing drawn out until actually a day after the deadline etc. would have ensued.

  161. Chavs vs the Bindippers. Two over-priced teams playing like bloated, obese kids. Uninspiring.

  162. The Torres show is over. It didn’t even start. Meireles scores.

  163. 1 nil to milverpool. Haha how is that for bad defense! screw you chelsea.

  164. Ivanovic and Cech miscommunicate and blunder again. 1-0 to the bindippers.

  165. Once again those who believe a back-up defender midway the season is ever a good buy need to see Cech and Ivanovic, long-time team-mates, abject miscommunication.

  166. i dont do twitter neither, but i do browse the guys pages, i like the pics they posting and their comments. They tend to give away shirts etc to to fans if they answear qestions( but i dont know much about any of them except they play for arsenal so i could never win).
    atm it seems like they got a “who can catch who sleeping” contest. Seems like Cesc is winning… Also its nice to see they do actually care as much as us about results and games etc. They all come across as bright young men imo. Except JET but im sure hes comes across rather different IRL.
    “ask henners” was mentioned in the guardian or bbc or something, the journalist was excited about the englishmans very own Arsharvin q&a column. Thats how heard about it.

  167. So I can browse the Twitter pages on the internet, poodle?

  168. well according to Harry Cheslea re now titlecontenders! they will take 2nd place and tottenham 3rd pfft!

  169. If the Chavs lose that point is starting to look really good 🙂

  170. @fungunner
    hell yeah! 🙂

    he got most of his team mates as follow just press the pics of them and you cal watch them all…

  171. @poodle
    So ManU will self destruct after the loss and go down to 4th? 😉

    Well, what intent are we seeing tonight from Chelsea? Look like ordinary EL place contenders to me, despite spending 75 mil quid.

  172. Is it better for us that Chelski draw and retain some belief for the ManU games ??

  173. be warned though, Twitter is rather addictive for sad people like myself 😛

  174. This is what I was mulling pver, tokala. But Liverpool play ManUre sooner than Chelski do, so the Chavs can build up their belief another time.

    thanks, poodle – I will check that out.

  175. this won’t be popular, but I feel that a couple of observations need to be made. Dowd’s unbelievably bad performance has obscured bigger problems like the thin cover we have in the event of injuries to key players, and the suspect temperament of some of our players.
    Let’s look at the second issue first. Who can think of another situation where a player has been sent off for violent conduct in a game where his team leads 4-0? Yes, Barton’s tackle was a legbreaker. Yes, he should have been shown at least a yellow. I understand that Diaby has been the victim of bad tackles as recently as this fall by Robinson. But despite all that his reaction was stupid and selfish. I somewhat agree with Darius that I would have preferred to see Diaby leave Barton in need of an ambulance, but what he really should have done was get up, shake himself and go about winning the damned match. It was obvious at the end of the first half that Barton was going to ugly up the match. Was nothing said in the locker room to warn the players about being wound up by Barton? If Diaby is at the point where any tackle of the sort Barton put on him will result in a reaction that risks having him sent off, he needs to move to Spain or Italy. Despite his skills he is a liability to the team. It’s truly a shame, but the reality is that in England he will be targeted with impugnity by the likes of Barton, and the team will be at risk of playing shorthanded whenever he’s selected.
    The other issue is Arsene’s decision not to bolster the squad. I understand his logic about not wanting to sign a CB who might not be needed when the squad is at full strength, but when are we ever at full strength in March, April and May? In less than a week his plan has blown up in his face with injuries to Song and now to Djourou. If JD is out for any length of time this squad has no chance for anything more than the Carling Cup, barring a miraculous return to form by Vermaelen. Arsene’s insistence on counting Song as cover at CB was ridiculous at best and disingenous at worst, given that we have little to no cover for Song at his primary position, as was painfully evident yesterday. It pains me to see this team work so hard to get into position to win on multiple fronts, only to see it all come undone at the business end of the season. This club has the money to be able to pay for short term, high quality cover. Their refusal to do so is hard to accept.

  176. Someone mentioned Ramsey, when does he come back to us? Will it be in time for Barca second leg?

  177. poodle i disagree with ya. if djourou is out and we are left with just two defenders and one of them get a knock then we will be playing midfielders in defence , is that better then a defender albeit non pl experience. not sure
    .also kos n squi may have had the summer or a part of the summer but they were both thrown straight in at the deep end aswell and have done well.

  178. @ Irishgray
    Ramsey is back after Feb 27th. So in time for Barca away leg.

  179. FunGun i think Chelsea play Manure first…

  180. goonzablazin – Though i understand your frustration in regards to the CB situation I think you are not seeing the full picture. Song is a fantastic player in his position but he is also a very strong CB choice. As for who will cover his position if he drops back to CB, it will not be such an issue if we revert to a 4-4-2 formation as we will have more cover in midfield. I think it was the Ipswich second leg(Leeds?) when we did this, you could clearly see NB52 saying it to the rest of the team when he came on.

    As to Diaby, you make a very good point. One which I think we all agree on, although we are all aware of the serious injuries he has had to suffer and also understand his reaction. In my opinion we should have taken a leaf from Wimbledons book and when 4-0 up sent on Rosicky or some other “Squad” player to man mark him and give as good as he gets. The “Crazy gang” where famous for doing this and while ugly it makes sense when the ref is not going to protect you. And trust me Rosicky is always prepared to dish it out, especially to someone like Barton.

  181. and dukegooner you are one of the fans that are most unhappy with that, with the “shitty Squilly”. what would a man like you have done if we bought another “Lousy defender for under 10M”? a defender that did not adjust to the pl and that did not live up to your expectations>? you would call aw stingy or just think he was usless as usual. So really wahtever he did he could not win with you could he?
    Song is a better defender than most average 10M defenders really. Song is a better defender thatn say Smalling. And smalling was 10M. Id rather recall landsbury and drag SOng down as someont said than to waste 10M on a unproven defender in the middle of the season.
    We want to sing something that makes us a better team no? Not just sing for the sake of it or am i wrong here Duke???

  182. FunGunner – Thank you sir!! Can’t wait for him to play again 🙂


  184. 1 Man Utd 25 31 54
    2 Arsenal 25 27 50
    3 Man City 26 20 49
    4 Chelsea 25 24 44
    5 Tottenham 25 8 44
    6 Liverpool 26 3 38

    Looking good my fellow Gooners!!!

  185. 7th loss for the chavs. 7th hell!

  186. Manure V Shitty next week LOL Someone is dropping points!!!!

  187. our team draws. chels and the other team lost! now i can take a feeling of mild satisfaction with me as we wait to for the next arsenal match!

  188. My (I thought very obvious) point was that we keep on dropping stupid points after being ahead, very well ahead in some cases. I offered evidence to back it up naming several games just from this season where this has happened. Credit where it’s due, criticism where it’s deserved. If this team wants to win the title, then games like yesterday just can’t happen.

  189. @ Irishgray
    Madam, actually.

    @ Tokala
    Do they? Oh well – the Chavs lose, it’s all good!

  190. irishgray

    ramsey excluded from arsenals champions league squad. he wont play.

  191. FunGunner – Most humble apologies M”Lady 🙂

  192. Who south of Manchester says “Bindippers”? Seriously.

  193. poodle what the fuck are you going on about.

  194. What an effect kenny is having for the scousers. There is nothing in football more important than tight organization and mental fortitude to go along with talent. Fair play to them. At this rate they could very well be in for the title the way the league is going.

  195. Tokala – I think it is better that the Chavs lost as this means they have to beat Manure in both games if they want to stand any chance of winning the title. If they had won today then they could have settled for a draw away and winning at home.

  196. I just want Chelski to get some belief back end of the month – for one game or two 🙂 – we do need a little help from them

  197. I respect Torres for not celebrating his goal.

  198. @ Block4
    I got your obvious point. I said that they would learn eventually – which does not mean that we would never ever drop stupid points again. Which team has ever gone through a season without dropping stupid points? We will do it less and less, year by year, in line with the other improvements which you can’t acknowledge. Just thought of another one: conceding fewer late goals. Yesterday was all about the ref. When the game was relatively fairly run, we were 4-0 up.

  199. Tokala – Belief was one thing but today’s game was more about Liverpool showing they could live without Torres. The Chavs, though I hate to say it are still a very dangerous team and can and will beat Manure. Indeed now they have to 🙂 which is great news for us!!

  200. Anyway, this got up quickly:

  201. Poliziano – LMFAO mate well said!!

  202. Block, we were on a magnificent run prior to the game against Newcastle. To say that we keep on dropping stupid points is not too insightful when you consider how the current first 11 has been playing. Why can’t you and your ilk accept the fact that we were done in by a shitty referee instead of bringing up past arguments that just don’t hold any water at present?

  203. If we are dropping stupid points, what are ManU and Chelsea doing then?

  204. Di Matteo sacked as manager!!! Warren Barton’s response? “Only Roy Hodgson can go in there now” Where does this guy get off!! I mean an attack-minded team and your first choice is Woy o’ da Wovers!! Ar’ you ‘avin a larf?

  205. Block – For a team that is always dropping points and needs to sign a CB NOW, how come we are the only undefeated team in the EPL this year?

  206. Been a bit quiet pz. Missed you.

  207. @duke
    that if people think Squillachi is not good enough for the team and thus want Wenger to sign someone in this window so we dont have to be reliant on him when injuris strike. Then its impossible to do that in the January window withouth splashing alot of cash.

    People want a ready replacement for JD a player with proven pedigree of playing on the highest level. It does not excist unless you pay silly money like Chelsea in the january window. that is what im on about.

    on a different topic. this must be the pundits wet dream weekend. both liverpool and united win! Can they be more happy? with king kenny and sir Alex as the managers. can it be any better?

  208. Consolsbob – I have to go mate so can you keep tabs on the “howards” please, thank you sir and a good day to all!! oh yea, how funny was it seeing $60million getting subbed off after little more than an hour? Torres MEH!!!

  209. Poodle – United lost mate

  210. @ Block4
    If you want to show that we keep on dropping silly points, do a table of how many games we have lost or drawn from a winning or drawing position, and compare it with the performance of other teams in the league. That would be better evidence.
    ManUre have just dropped silly points against Wolves. And they went 2-0 up against Aston Villa and were eventually held to a draw. Man City went 2-1 up agaisnt Birmingham and then drew. It doesn’t just happen to us.
    Big picture = we’re doing well.

  211. now both Tottenham, United and Arsenal got huge defensive problems. Liverpools defence aint all that and chelsea is leaking as a sive even WITH Luiz. Wow the big teams are all having a rough ride in defence this year. Only City is still holding on.

  212. Great banner at Liverpool:

    “He Who Betrays Always Walks Alone”

    Hahaha Torres!! Brilliant 🙂

  213. @Irish
    according to Jeorge Bird Ramsey wasn’t included in the squad registered with FIFA so he won’t be eligible to play.

    I find it weird that Arsenal fans are so hard to please.

  214. poodle i have not said Squil is shite, i dont want a replacemnet just saying he should have brought someone in for when we get an injury which we now have. the fact is Wenger CHOSE not to bring someone in he never said he couldnt find anyone did he, so that leads me to believe there were defenders out there.

  215. Thanks for the link irishgray – Miayachi looks like a promising prospect.

    So that’s what £75m gets you? Good job I’m not a betting person or I would have lost my stake on that 0 – 0 but 1 nil to the hub cap stealers is even better. chelski will need all the points they can get to ensure they stay in the CL spots, so there will be no slacking off against manure!

  216. lol they did indeed loose! im so angry about Dowd i forgot. muahaha united lost. thanks for re enlightening me! 🙂

  217. I think we should recall Bartley if Djourou’s injury will keep him out for long.

  218. @ dukegoonem
    the fact is Wenger CHOSE not to bring someone in he never said he couldnt find anyone did he, so that leads me to believe there were defenders out there.

    Actually he did say he couldn’t find anyone. He said he had been offered many defenders, none of whom “clicked”. He also said he would try until the last minute. It’s all in his interviews or press conferences on Nobody whom he liked was offered. So rather than sign somebody he did not really rate, he chose to sign no-one. Makes sense to me.

  219. The £25m pound Brazilain novice lost on his home debut. Good on Mike Ashley for getting £35m for an England u-21 player.

  220. Of course Warren Barton doesn’t see anything wrong with Joey Barton’s tackle. And according to tht 2 bit hack Kyle Martino Arsenal lack a leader in the Vieira,Adams mould. Memo to Barton and Martino, getting the ball has nothing to do with the whether the tackle is good or not. The law has no provision for winning the ball but rather for dangerous play. And players like bould adams come along once a generation.

  221. Goonzablazin…

    Serious questions. 1) Have you ever broken a leg? 2) If you have can you imagine being in that sort of pain and also KNOWING that it was caused by some else’s recklessness? 3) Can you imagine the same thing happening time and again to you? Now factor in the fact that the referee did nothing either in the Sunderland case or the Bolton case… and now remember that the referee also did nothing in this case too! And you want Daiby to get up and walk away as a matter of course?

    The problem here isn’t with Diaby IMHO but with fans who are all too eager to blame the players who play for them oand accuse them of mental weakness and a lack of fortitude. I’m sorry but that is a load of cobblers (please excuse my language) Our team has shown remarkable mental fortitude… extraordinary mental fortitude even. Who believed that Arsenal would be major challengers for trophies this season apart from Wenger and his players? Did you?? who thought that Fabianski would become the keeper he became.. Did you? who rated Djourou as a CB before the season started… did you? How many of us believed that we’d be into the 25th game of the season without Vermaelen and still be in with a shout? Would have belived it? This team was written off before a ball was kicked and after the loss to Spurs we were supposed to be finished again… and now? After the loss to United the blogosphere was awash with doom laden predictions of how a rejuvenated Chelsea (No one remembers their second half performance against spurs now) was going to tear us to shreds with a returning Lampard yaddy yadda… and what happened?

    You see some people just take on whatever the media spouts and repeats it… because Wenger looks like a professor and is polite and charming with the media the macho tossers consider him a coward and the more moronic of our fans buy into the same narrative… when the fact is that Wenger is as tough and courageous as they come… For those who talk of bottle and mental fortitude you know how much bottle and mental fortitude it took for Wenger to be aware that Tapie and Marseille were buying matches and referees and still perserve and win?

    I’m sorry but |I really have no time for people who pocket the great and amazing things that this team, even now ,have achieved while bleating for more… Diaby reacted like a human being… go and look at the tackle. The only selfishness I see is a fan who is down on Diaby when he or she should be outraged at Dowd ‘sperformance. 4-0 or not Diaby given his history of injuries has every right to expect protection from a match referee. That that protection wasn’t there for him is IMHO an outrage.

  222. so if Jd is out for the season and we have 2 cb’s where is the sense in that. fukin all gunner be on edge now everytime one of em so much as get near another player now. are you not worried at all about us only having 2 cb’s then with al these games coming up?

  223. FG, you might as well save your breath – DG has made his mind up despite the facts and there is no changing it. I still blame the negative nellies who wished for an injury to one of our CB’s, just so Wenger would be shown up for the stingy miser he is. And why not? It’s about as logical as blaming Denilson or Squillaci for everything that goes wrong for us.

  224. @ dukegoonem

    If JD’s out for the season, we have two specialist CBs and Song, plus we will get the odd game out of Vermaelen. We might even give Miquel some minutes against Leyton Orient. Hand on heart, would you be less on edge if Wenger had signed Silvestre mark II, and he was lining up against Barca?

  225. My post seems to have disappeared – here’s the gist of it:

    @ dukegoonem
    Yes, I am a bit worried, but I accept that there was nothing that could be done about it in January. Would you want Silvestre mark II just to have someone? Would you get behind him? I doubt it. We start out with four CBs in order to cover injuries. That is the normal number to have. We can also call on Song and possibly Miquel. At least we know what Song can do.

  226. joshua nice posting ( 5th i think )
    any ideas on how to get even with dowd. i’m stuck on glock 19.

  227. Good post Joshua. You and OG have made me paranoid now. But like Bobs been saying for weeks now, we’re on our own. Screw them. They can’t keep cheating the way they have past 2 weeks. So fingers crossed for the next few games.

    There has been no reports of Djourou out for the rest of the season. You’re on one of your moaning days. Just because doomers don’t show up doesn’t mean you have to take their place.

  228. Anyone saying Diaby was “silly” or should not have reacted is frankly retarted.

    The guy is JUST NOW coming back from an injury after being assulated by Paul Robinson – and no the ref didnt send Robinson off. Before that he has had basically 2 lost years after being savaged off the pitch by a deliberate leg breaker tackle from a Sunderland player who was nothing but a thug

    And now Joey barton, another professional thug, comes in to deliberately break his standing leg (watch the tackle replay and see how Diaby’s leg actually BUCKLES under the impact from Barton) and somehow you expect this guy to be a saint and walk away.

    You people are crazy – why dont YOU go out there let Barton attempt to cripple you, the THIRD such attempt in a short career, and then see if you turn in to Jesus Christ or Ghandi and turn the other cheek.

    Absolultely insane. Only in England is this sort of garbage tolerated. In any other top league in the world Diaby would never have had time to retaliate because the whistle would have gone off and Barton would have been off the field witha straight red card.

    Only in England is the VICTIM blamed.

  229. By the way, all of you Ghandi’s should go and google the video of when Diaby got savaged and Sunderland a couple years ago. I am still haunted by the scream of sheer pain he made.

    And then come back and tell me you can expect this guy to have Barton attempt to do him in, see the ref ignore it – and do NOTHING to protect himself.

    Frankly I think Barton is lucky. Had I been Diaby, I wouldnt have thrown him down – I would have rearranged his teeth. Nothing less.

  230. @ssa a shame DIaby just did not punch him in the face. He would have getten redcarded anyway and it would have made people think twice before doing it again. After all nobody wants to be punched in the face.

  231. Fungooner @3.40pm

    Thanks for the tip. I’ll make sure to check Untold Arsenal and see if I can find the article.

    Thanks Ateeb. You are too kind.

    Dowd isn’t worth any Arsenal fan sullying their hands. Let him go and screw himself.

    Enjoy whatever is left of the weekend everyone. PTBAG

  232. great post (6:50) Joshua very eloquently put!

  233. I believe Arsenal will still win the league, and when we do be prepared to hear the following “Arsenal won the league because the league wasn’t strong this year”.

  234. All this centre back stuff is just conjecture right now.

    For all we know JD may have been pogo-ing all over his house to The Clash this afternoon.

    Let`s wait for any news & take it from there

    btw – nice touch of class from Aaron today


    are they for real. a point worse then a defeat now is it you phillie blunts. and with 2 dodgy pens. fukin unbelievable.

  236. What did wilshire say on twitter?

  237. Firstlady

    Inconsistent refereing needs to stop.its killing the game.if Diaby goes..whats the difference between that and Nolan on our keeper!?? joke.’

  238. Firstlady He just stated that inconsistent refereeing is making things very difficult for the players, in so many words. Nothing that bad that I can see and as mild a criticism as you could get give the depths of incompetence to which Dowd sank in that game.

  239. Block4, again you are comparing apples and oranges in the matches you have named, for they were not the same at all.

    The team didnt drop points, the points were ripped out of our hands by a biased ref. We were not at our best in the second but the officiating was a big part of that and the subsequent outcome.

    Joe, what is familiar about this team is winning.

  240. hey!!! What about uited and chelsea

  241. excellent..
    pool take points from the chavs
    just what we needed…love it…
    anybody any news on JD yet??

  242. not sure if dowds incompotence is the issue. for me he had every intention of swinging the game as soon as it became possible to do so. Paranoid ? Always.

  243. apparently..and this is probably a load of bullshit…but ive just read an article that interpol are investigating yesterdays match and phil dowd is under investigation…as well as ROSICKY!!!!!!!!!!!…
    its originally come from a french news source and they say serious money had changed hands during the game…
    ole gunner did state this morning that the bookies slashed the odds on a newcastle come back at half time due to the money being banged on??????
    surely not????

  244. now ive read two articles…
    no way…..

  245. JJ

    It’s not Rosicky but spread betting and the drift towards Arsenal after he came on. Dunno, not really following it as (a) the French site hasn’t claimed any sources and (b) it isn’t directly involving either TR7 or Dowd.


  246. JonJon dont do this. here the sun will be up in an hour. i haven’t had proper sleep for 2 nights now.

  247. yw
    i wouldnt at all be suprised if it was just dowd…
    but im not having rosicky being named as well…its gotta be bullshit…
    il be devoed if this snowballs and the truth is really out there…
    not rosicky..not one of our own..
    we see it all the time in cricket and stuff…il never love the game of footy in the same way if one of our own is involved…

  248. trevor i promise you im not lying
    i hope the articles are lying though
    not about dowd interpol can fuck him sideways for all i care i just dont want an arsenal boy involved

  249. rip favourite guitarist ever.

  250. On the subject of media bias, can you imagine the uproar if fabregas had used his hands to try to score an important goal like Scholes did?

    Where is the condemnation at such non-English sporting behaviour?

  251. did Ole Gunner find out anything about the betting yesterday – or earlier ?

  252. Jonjon
    I read those articles myself it appears some french guy is having a rant.

  253. The POTD was actually made by a very eloquent Arsenal supporter in the very last comment of Alan Green’s talk show on 5 Live today.

    One or two xenophobes had called in to say that they thought that Arsene Wenger should be banned for stating that Moyes had ‘pretended’ that Cesc made a comment in the tunnel. Suggesting that Moyes had pretended or lied.

    Our intrepid Arsenal fan simply pointed out that if AW used the word ‘pretend’ it was probably becuase he is French. ‘prétend’ in French means ‘he claims’ from the root verb ‘prétendre’ ‘…to claim. Arsene did not state that Moyes was making it up,he stated that Moyes ‘claimed’ that Cesc made the comment. Which of course is true.

    Green’s comment….’oh thank you for that excellent comment…sorry I failed French O level after four attempts’.

    Here we have it in a nutshell. The resentment of Arsene Wenger in the football establishment is in fact based on misunderstanding and also resentment or even fear of intelligence. They don’t understand him. Therefore they are suspicious of him.

    Fucking neanderthals.

  254. I should say that I have always felt deeply sorry for Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. Always had a raw deal from the brighter people. In football we simply see history repeating itself. Arsenal is in the vanguard of a sea change. These poor brainless people are being usurped….and there is not a thing they can do about it.

    By the end of the weekend Arsenal will be within a point of the big Mancs and still potentially four points in front of the little Mancs. The events of yesterday have blinded people to the fact that Arsenal have just moved a step closer to winning the EPL.

  255. but moyes did lie…
    he had different versions
    first it was cesc shouting and swearing to the ref in the tunnel stealing old ladies bus money and taking kiddies sweets
    then it was cesc was insulting his players and calling them naughty names
    then it was cesc was calm and telling the 4th official he had a nice lump in his shorts and was it money or was he just pleased to see him
    ffs you twat make your mind up…
    but it didnt matter in the end did it the fa believed him and sent mr fixit out to offiate our next match

  256. Frank | February 6, 2011 at 9:29 pm |

    I’m just pleased that there are so many contenders Frank! People are slowly starting to twig that there is something rotten at the heart of the EPL. I just hope it leads to a closing of ranks behind our boys rather than the usual blaming of the victim. This season is far from over, so we need to keep our nerve and push the boys over the finishing line.

  257. Although I have no proof of anything, but the PL is the most suspicious league of all.
    With the amount of money going in and out of the game and the massive betting industry that goes with it, it’s no wonder the FA and others fiercely protect it and don’t allow any criticism. Where is the freedom of speech? Or is it selectively used? Why can’t we criticize referees, after all they make very suspicious decisions and it’s obvious to every one.

    Another proof the football nation is a rouge nation with tyrants and dictators in charge. How long Sewage Pladder has been in charge and why? You mean to tell me there is no one else better than him?

    I’m beginning to lose interest in the competitions, but not in Arsenal. Regardless of the results, our team still plays the most beautiful football in the world and worth every penny and minute you spend watching it.

    So again,
    Fuck the FA, Fuck the Referees, and Fuck the Media.

  258. Wilshere unlikely to face FA charge over twitter rant! I guess there is something nice about being english after all.

  259. I DON’T GIVE A FLYING FUCK ABOUT WHAT STUPID POINTS MAN UTD AND CHELSEA DROP!!!!!!! Why can’t people get that through their heads?? An rebuttal to my point that it has to stop is not “Oh, but look at Man Utd and Chelsea”. I am concentrating on my team and the fact is that this tendency to switch off and give up games that are easily being won is all too apparent too often. Let all the other teams in the division drop points, brilliant, but I want Arsenal to be the best, which currently, according to the league table, we’re not.

  260. fuck off, sp*d.

  261. colney blog, I’m amazed that being English trumps being an Arsenal player in this case! It would be nice if it resulted in fair officiating of our games, but I guess that is too much to hope for!

  262. No Jon Jon, that wasn’t what I said this morning. Just that there was a rumour on Twitter which I read yesterday lunchtime (BEFORE KICK OFF) saying that Arsenal’s odds of beating Newcastle were lengthened from 1.9 to 1.7 which could be indicative of a lot of money moving late.

    Usually when a lot of money moves on an outcome it’s indicative of some new info. An injury to a key player, adverse weather, anything.

    In this case it wasn’t clear what had led to the late movement of money betting against Arsenal winning.


  263. Paul N. That clip on the site of Rio Ferdinand doing a karate kick is hilarious. I can almost imagine Sagna thinking, wtf is this guy gunna do! the video sums up Man U’s favorite style of play. which just happens to be karate infused illegal-ness.

  264. Joshua-

    you taken my questioning of Diaby’s reaction and stretched it into quite a series of accusations. Not sure why you would assume so much about someone’s fanhood based on one observation but that’s your problem moreso than mine. And your assertion that I am somehow spouting the conventional wisdom of the sports media is laughable considering that I live in the US and pay no attention at all to British football punditry.

    I’m not unsympathetic to Diaby’s unfortunate series of injuries. But he is a highly paid professional athlete. Part of being a professional is understanding that how you react to situations can affect the outcome of a match. Watch the sequence at the end of the first half when Barton upends Arshavin. Diaby immediately goes after Barton and puts a ridiculous late tackle on him well after Barton had passed the ball, injuring himself in the process. He’s lucky he didn’t see at least a yellow, but Dowd was letting pretty much everything go at that point. The play that provoked this had nothing to do with him, he appears to be retaliating for the tackle on Arshavin. It’s at 47:42 if you have Arsenal TV Online. I subscribe to it, do you?

    So given what happened right before the break, how could Diaby not be aware of the possibility that Barton might come after him and be a little more mentally prepared? I’m not unsympathetic to his injury history, but he’s a professional footballer in England FFS. If he doesn’t know what that means and thinks he can clatter into Barton and not have to face the consequences, he’s an idiot and should be playing in a more benign league. I’m sorry if this seems insensitive, but what’s the alternative, excuse him for getting sent off whenever someone puts a bad tackle on him because he’s had his leg broken? Even after he’s put a reducer on the same guy not 20 minutes earlier? His sending off was stupid and it cost us 2 points. If I was managing this club I’d have serious reservations about playing the guy again.

  265. Rosicky couldn’t possibly be involved. With all the will in the world he couldn’t know he was going to be brought on.

    i mistakenly took the ‘lunchtime’ comment as ‘halftime’
    you dont have to explain anything to me mate ive been a compulsive gambler since i was a teenager i know how it works…speaking of which the birmingham liverpool away double as well as a few la liga games squeezed in on a tasty little accumulator earned me a nice 75 in the ol sky today
    lenghtened and shortened odds are something you see on the gee gees in the main…dont usually happen in football before the match, mainly during the game from in play betting…the gee gees are easier to predict cos they are rigged and if an outsiders odds are slashed in the hours building upto a race its worth a cheeky punt cos it normally means the owners know something we dont and the money plows in, the bookies cant stop the race so they shorten the odds to reduce the payout
    this dont really happen in footy….once a team is 9-2 it stays 9-2 until the first goal goes in…then it will drift or come in depending on who scored…

  267. we said the same about george…. 😦
    unfortunatley it happens but i cant see it to be honest its a load of bullshit…
    if the news of the world would have reported i would have been worried 🙂
    but until then i’ll go with colneys comment that its some dude having a laugh

  268. Maybe Rosicky is been suspected for earlier matches? Dowd has ruined more than this match this year so if they in investigate it’s based on more than yesterday just yesterday was so obvious. It’s all over the Internet now but I think they all quote the same source some french page called. Football 365 wire or something

  269. It is all a load of rubbish about Rosicky.

    Was thinking, if we all feel bad about the 4-4 with Newcastle think how bad Down feels. All that hard work getting it to 4-4 and the mancs throw it away by losing. 🙂

  270. Its a marvellouse practical joke on the pl though. Must make em think a d react on the poo refs.

  271. When Dowd next goes to OT he will get a red hot nose up his arse.

  272. just think tho dups..
    if it is true and it dont involve rosciky and interpol go after dowd it would be piss funny…

  273. It’s nothing to do with Dowd either.

  274. In other news: Ramsey got an assist in the game between Cardiff and Swansea as he set up the winner for Craig Bellamy.

  275. joshua- some fantastic comments and posts. You stopped short of saying that at least some of the match officials are racist. I will say it for you, yes they are rabidly racist. English media is even worse. It makes me puke to see all this nonsense about Kick the racism out campaigns. Yes, a typical English fan is not as racist as it was when I arrived in this country 20 years ago. FA and the match officials are still caught in the time warp. Sadly, it has not allowed the English game to develop the way rest of the world has. It is also killing EPL slowly but surely it will strangle the inflow of all the talented foreigners who have made it the best league in the world.

  276. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Bill has shown how much of a cunt he is once again I see. The fact that you could even bring up the word defense after that farce of a game shows just how dastardly are. Fuck off already you Moaninho loving cunt.

  277. i do love me some moaninho right after i wake up in the morning. Before my coffee.

  278. Good Grief, another early post. People will start expecting this…

  279. To be up, by 4 goals with just 26 mins gone, and still not win, is a dreadful indictment of this team’s inability to finish off an opponent.

    I always used to be nervous, about keeping a lead, even when Arsenal were 2-0 up (eg. West Ham – away, Spurs – home, Wigan away… Now I don’t think we (and by this I mean the players and the fans), can be confident even with a 3-0 lead, that the team will be pulled back.

    I think Diaby was rash to retaliate, but if you watch that tackle, you can see that if he had been standing on that foot, when Barton recklessly hit him, he would have had it broken. No wonder he reacted badly, (what with his history of injuries). Also I can’t see how Nolan’s reaction to Szechney’s timewasting did not warrant a red card. What was more violent about Diaby’s reaction?

    The referee and linesman were both incompetent with a number of decisions. I also think that van Persie’s offside at the end, was wrong, as he was virtually parallel, and should have been given the advantage, as we originally the FIFA dictate, on close offside decisions.

    One very important issue, has still not been resolved, and was patently obvious, when watching the match. Our defence are absolutely useless at competing in the air. Newcastle won virtually every aerial dual. We really should have bought someone like Chris Samba, and we have appeared to have loaned out all our remaining centre-backs. This lack of an imposing centre-back could lose us the title.

    I don’t think I have ever been so depressed by an Arsenal result.

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