Early United Thoughts & Other Stuff

A calm before the storm today, Arsène has his press conference today, facing his media critics for the first time since Sunday’s defeat at Bolton. No doubt there will huge speculation about the comings and new arrivals this summer, where its all gone wrong for Arsenal this term. 

Attention will be on facing Manchester United this weekend, presumably a stronger side than might have been expected had Schalke not laid down to have their tummies tickled on Tuesday night. There was a stat somewhere yesterday that in 15 attempts, no team has progressed to the Champions League final with a two-goal deficit to overturn.

An indication of how the squad is feeling was given by Emmanuel Eboué,

We need to respect them but not be scared, play our football and we’ll see after the game

Personally it suggests to me that there is an element of United being inside their heads which is not really that surprising given that Arsenal have lost the last six meetings between the two sides.

Eboué’s choice of words suggests that inhibitions are surfacing, presumably due to the recent run of form. Arsenal’s decline is as marked as United’s consistency in the final games of this season. We shall see if Arsenal are the ‘wounded animal‘ that Patrice Evra fears they might be or the kitten chasing a ball of wool around the living room.

Elsewhere, Arsène is looking to wrap up his summer transfer deals very quickly. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for £10m and Carl Jenkinson for a tenth of that cost, according to The Telegraph anyway.

To put Jenkinson’s fee into perspective, it is around half the money Arsenal expect to make from The Emirates Cup. Paris St Germain, Boca Juniors and New York Red Bulls are the opponents. A return for Thierry Henry and two new continental opponents offer differing styles of football than we might normally expect to see. That New York, Buenos Aires and Paris are all major international destinations for Emirates Airlines is, I am sure, entirely coincidental.

Pat Rice is apparently leaving this summer, not renewing his contract due to injury. Now whether this is true or speculation – the injury part – I am not particularly bothered. If he decides to retire, that is Pat’s choice. What I find bemusing and frankly disrespectful, is some of the rubbish spouted about how the players failings are his fault.

Nobody offers any evidence of this other than to say that Ferguson changes his No. 2 regularly – a few not by choice is never acknowledged – to keep things fresh. Whether that is telling is unprovable since none of them hang around for more than 2 or 3 years.

It sums up everything that is wrong with football today that slurs are made against a man who has given most of his professional career without a shred of evidence and are accepted as the truth.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on April 28, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 180 Comments.

  1. I could well be tempted to the Emirates Cup this year as Boca are playing. One of those iconic sides you have to see when you get the chance. Maybe take my oldest for his first visit to THOF too.

  2. We shouldn’t have time for any fans or “pundits” or criticise Pat Rice, he has been immense for our club.

    Interesting lineup for the Emirates Cup, there should be some very open games with attacking football.

  3. What’s the betting UEFA are too cowardly to ban him:

  4. You just have to appreciate we dont have to watch a bunch of cheats roll around every game. As good as their football is, I can’t say I hold much admiration for the likes of Pedro, Alves, Busquest and Xavi. They are world class cheats.

    Eboue isn’t half as bad as their lot.

  5. I don’t really see how anbody can critisize Pat Rice; unless you have an inside view of the club, it is unlikely that any of the fans actually know what he actually does on a day to day basis.

  6. Some shameful stuff from Barca last night. They are lucky Messi grabbed todays headlines with his brace.

  7. United surprised me with their lineup against Shalke. Very attacking, especially away from home in the CL semi-final. And after me saying that they always play with at least two or three cloggers holding the midfield down, they go all out attack with just one holding. Couldn’t help but respect that a little.

  8. What is there in the busquets image? I can’t open it from where I am.

  9. United are really going for it lately. Lets see if they are brave enough to try it at the Emirates.

    You just know they will be sitting deep playing Nani and Rooney on the counter.

  10. YW
    It was Jack Wilshire who said at half time at Blackpool Lehmann was like the assistant manger.So the criticism of Rice is not just coming from the fans.Ferguson has had 7 assistants in his time at Man Utd and he says he always likes to freshen things up with new ideas maybe our players are bored with hearing the same things from the same two people.And you would think Pat would do something about the defending of set pieces considering he was a defender

  11. Pat has an injury, leave it at that. Why are there so many who raise their eye brows, not one persons word is ever taken these days, BY ANYONE. Dont care about the other games, ide support them if i did.

  12. Keysersoze

    Busquets is rolling round on the floor following the “injury” – he’d collided with Marcelo, I think – holding his face but peeked through his hands to see if he had garnered the referees attention.


  13. Thanks Yogi. Same stuff then, he did exactly the same thing exactly 1 year ago.

  14. CG
    Were we brave at OT?.Utd dont need to be brave.They need 6 pts from 4 games.They dont need to beat us.The onus is on us to win to stop Man City getting 3 rd place.You should be asking the question about Arsenal being brave at home to Sunderland Blackburn and Liverpool

  15. Graham

    So one player on one occasion had his say at half-time. Well, that is nice for Pat isn’t it. His entire Assistant Managerial career is dismissed on the basis on a 15 minute team talk.

    On three occasions that I can think of – Kidd and Queiroz (x2) – SAFs assistants have left because they were offered other jobs, not because he wanted them to. Walter Smith only joined him until the end of one season as it was beneficial to both of them. So on more than half the occasions you mention, it has not been his decision to freshen things up. It’s a spurious comparison in those circumstances.

    The trouble is people presume they know whats going on without being there on a daily basis to assess what work is (or is not) done – presuming that you know is a dangerous thing.


  16. Seriously…I bet nobody has any idea about how effective or ineffective Pat Rice is, unless they have an access to the Arsenal dressing room and training. He just seems to be a convenient scapegoat in the present scenario for many fans.

  17. Pissed off that I now want to go to the Emirates Cup just to see Thierry. You swines Arsenal, swines!!

    Comic book serialisation of Diaby getting slaughtered on Twitter if anybody is interested: http://www.arsenalisation.com

  18. So we know who the judemental whinger of the day is.

  19. Graham – I don’t think what jack was saying was a swipe at Pat Rice. It sounded like a figure of speech.

  20. YW, it’s a gif from the BBB-Inter game, the score is in the top left.
    That famous roll was not so different to what Serge was up to last night.

    A response of sorts I hope to an open question asked by consolbob, a while ago now.
    I think Arsenal did stand off BBB inside the opponents half in that first half of the away tie. More then they would have liked at times, but they did get out and scare the BBB boys into a few ‘skirmishes’. The reason was, I believe, that Arsenal had experience. And knew BBB would roll about, limp spines and all that jazz. And of course, Arshavin had played the full ninety against Sunderland (the league was a priority this season), scored one or two disallowed goals, so another player got that start. Which meant that there was a little less zip in the front three then this championship manager would have desired. Still, the Arsenal were doing OK in that game…
    Great post on Untold on Arshavin.

  21. GA- It was a figure of speech. I think even my 3 year old got that one.

  22. Goonerwife – That what I thought too.

  23. If jack Wilshere said that lehmann was like the assistant manager he must have meant that Lehmann was just like Pat Rice, surely?

  24. Why are you so hot under the collar about he impending departure of Pat Rice? That the team has failed is a collective fault of the coaching and management staff. There is a definite need for refreshment. If AW himself decides to go as well, so much the better. I am sure he would do well upstairs as financial director. We need a manager whose sole ojective is to see the team win.

  25. Furious Styles

    yeah YW have a look at the top right of the gif and see who barca are playing. Remember seeing that gif a year ago or so. Doesnt make the guy any less of a cunt though.

  26. I watched the Barca/RM game last night and found it pretty boring. Neither goalkeeper had much to do and there was little football inident to keep one interested.

    There has to be more than simply passing the ball around, which is something that we need to learn. The diving and cheating was unbelievable.

    In our loss to barca, I was convinced at the time that the penalty was not one and just another dive. The thing with these players is that you really cannot tell what is a dive and what is a genuine foul, rather like the one against us on Sunday. At first glance it looked like something and then, when you see the repeat, you can see it was a dive.

    One way of spotting a dive is whether the player supposedly being tackled starts to go down before the tackle comes in. I remember that happened with Rooney a couple of years ago. Until they bring in some sort of video evidence, such travesties will continue., because the ref will be left with the initial image, which can mislead him.

  27. Can’t really blame Busquets for play acting. RVP is on record as saying that he also play acts so that the referee can appreciate that a foul has been committed. Such wouldn’t be necessary if video evidence was in use. As for Pepe he deserved that red. Had Danny Alves been half a second slower Pepe would have snapped his leg. There’s no place in football for Joey Barton/ Shawcross type techniques – in decent football anyway. Which brings me back to Busquets and our own Diaby. When Barton charged down Diaby he should have gone to ground. He needn’t have rolled but I hope you get the point. And finally mourinho produces ugly football anyway. He’s the King of ugly, followed closely by Roberto Mancini. It a good thing – no, actually a great thing – that Wenger didn’t resort to ugly when playing Barca, and we almost won!

  28. Ajax may qualify for the Champions league next season. So I hope we’ll return for the Ajax cup. Always liked the tournament even when the Ajax fans give RVP stick because of his Feyenoord connections. Not forgetting the incident between RVP and the then Ajax captain Thomas Vermaelen!

  29. Kenyan: “RVP is on record as saying that he also play acts so that the referee can appreciate that a foul has been committed.”

    The difference being he only does it when an ACTUAL FOULD HAS BEEN COMMITTED.

  30. YW,
    I wouldn’t worry about Eboué’s choice of words in that quote in your post. It’s more likely just some clichéd soundbite of the type players usually come up with before a big game. I bet if asked, he’ll say something similar for every other big game we play.
    I find footballers rarely put much thought to their words in situations like that and don’t think it signifies any real fear within the squad. Not saying that there isn’t though…

  31. Markus, RVP is no angel. Dennis Bergkamp was though!

  32. Limestonegunner

    Kenyan, he does it to highlight that a foul has been committed and doesn’t roll around to insure the opponent gets a yellow. Busquets exaggerates and fabricates contact then goes into a theatrical death scene for us all to appreciate.

    It has gotten so bad that followers of football around the world will start to react negatively to the arrogance and craven cheating of this team. Their legacy is going to be tarnished by this. It will be remembered, I think.

  33. Graham

    The games you mention we were the only team trying to attack. So don’t see where exactly your going there…?

    I don’t find it brave or Champion-like for the top of the table team parking the bus at the Emirates either. Some applaud United and Chelsea for their tactics against us in recent years, I personally see it as them being afraid to play football against us. At Old trafford earlier this season we dominated the play but lacked the ability to break through and score. Same happened in the FA Cup where a fantastic Van Der Sar somehow saved their bacon.

    We may have bottled it in the title race and messed up our chances “Graham”, but we have shown a lot more guts than most teams who are too scared to attempt to play football.

  34. limestonegunner, the game of football is suffering from the stupidity of football’s top dogs who appear to have a mindset set in the 1950s. Video replays would cut out play acting. If a fourth official had been watching the match on video nobody would have dared roll. As Josef Stiglitz says : “people cheat because they know they can get away with it.”

  35. Markus

    That is the key difference. You only see Cesc and co do it to exaggerate a real foul because they know the referee will probably not give it if they don’t. Its one of the key reasons I feel that lead to decisions going against us. Most the smaller clubs we play against in the Premiership have a lot more less talented English speaking players than us who rant continuously in the refs ear. They compensate for they shiteness by getting in the refs head.

    Off and on the pitch we have to fight this kind of biasness.

  36. Barca dominated Shakhtar. But against top competition in the CL (Arsenal and RM), their GD is now -1 when it’s 11 on 11 and +4 when it’s 11 on 10.

  37. I would be embarressed to roll around clutching my face, even though I was only lightly brushed on the chest. What do these people think when they watch the game when they get home.

  38. They laugh Goonerandy.

  39. Slightly hypocritical of Mourinho to accuse Barca of influencing referees. Under his management Chelsea were the worst for surrounding refs in the PL.

  40. Limestonegunner

    Mourinho is rightly being taken to task for his tactics. He has become a caricature of himself. This was already starting to happen in Italy but he covered himself with success. But it was always a concern in Madrid that his ruthless killing of the game to achieve victory might not go over well with fans and press. If the return leg is as dismal, he might get fired or decide to leave and come back to England where there are still worshippers of his depraved cult.

    Apart from Schalke’s tie with Inter, since we went out of the CL, the games have been pretty boring and the ties have lacked football drama. Yes, there is drama off the pitch, but it does no credit to the game.

    We are the only big side besides Bayern that will try to play football and don’t have a systematic policy of deceiving and harassing referees. Proud to be an Arsenal supporter and sad that we haven’t been able to do better this year in Europe because we faced Barca, the chosen ones. RvP’s comments about Barca’s behavior were mocked but now all the Madrid players are saying the same thing. They are getting a justifiable reputation.

  41. Wow. That is a pretty telling fact Nola

  42. Chris @ 1:41 – Hmmm, I have to disagree to a point with that mate. There is more than one way to skin a cat. Just because they resort to counter attacking football against us does not show a lack of “guts”. It just shows that they can adapt their game to beat us, something that we cannot yet do.

    Why should they come out and play into our hands? They have found a stle that works against us and exploit it. It is our own shortcomings that let us down in that we have not worked out a way to overcome this.

  43. lets all hope murino gets his position as United manager and kills the clubs enterntainment value once and for all…

  44. Anyone know what has happened to Irishgray? He hasn’t posted for quite a while. Or did his anti-gooner girlfriend get to him.

  45. Andy : ” It just shows that they can adapt their game to beat us, something that we cannot yet do.”

    I don’t know, the rope-a-dope seemed to be going quite well against Barca until we lost Van Persie.

  46. Markus – I honestly don’t know if that was our strategy (if so that would make us Gutless according to Chris), or if we were not quite on our game whilst Barca really really good that night.

  47. Cant you guys fcuking imigine dat aftr all we go through Arsene still hasnot sold diaby denilson and almunia? why keep them, throw them out? we will never win against united if they still at the club!

  48. Ateeb – What if they are not playing? Would them still being at the club prevent us from beating Manure?

    As it goes, from the players you mentioned I still think Diaby (if he remained fit) could still have a big future at the club.

  49. Limestonegunner

    Good question, Kenyan. I miss his humorous posts!

  50. Tom Vermaelen plays for the Reserves tonight…

  51. Bolloks. I give up.

  52. Pat Rice has given a lot to this club, both as a player as well as a coach. Anybody who does not respect that can seriously p*** off!

  53. Ateeb, Diaby is an automatic starter when fully fit and firing. I suppose you think we should also bring in a ‘commanding Vieira-type midfielder’, having gotten rid of the one we already have…

    Denilson, why get rid of a great squad player just because he had a quiet season?

    Alkmunia, meh. It’s a shame but his loss of confidence will cost him his place I’m afraid.

  54. Yogi:

    Making Pat Rice a scapegoat is truly the ultimate attempt to grasp at straws. I think that we should freshen up the assistant coaching ranks. I would like to see another face or 2 added wheather he retires or not. Sometimes change just for its own sake is good.

    Not sure why anyone would question the way ManU play against us. To play any other way would be the ultimate in stupidity. I think we have been brainwashed into believing the only way to play “good football” is our style. Scoring goals and winning games is what entertains. We have been 3rd in the league in goals scored for most of the last 5 years. Those boring teams consistently outscore us. Last years Chelsea team scored 103 goals, more then any team in the English top flight for 48 years and only 1 team in Europe scored more goals in a season over the last decade. Yet lots of us commented about their boring football. Say what?

  55. Fuck off you manc in the grass snake cunt.

  56. If the Blue Manc’s win all their games we need to take 10 points from the last 12 to keep 3rd place. 4th not an option, 2nd would be ideal. Strong finish would be a great start for next season. Fergie said there will be some changes in his side this weekend. I expect a couple of Da Silva’s in midfield or some strange side from ManU. Don’t want to have to look at our navals again the way we did after the FA cup loss. We tried RVP up front with Chamakh briefly earlier in the year and it did not really work but I think we should try it again. I would like us to win a couple of games and give Theo a shot up front against Villa and Fulham.

  57. Bill – The RvP behind Chamakh is a good shout to mix things up a bit. I don’t see Theo every starting as our striker in this formation though. His touch is simply not good enough. It is essential that out main striker is able to hold the ball up in this formation.

  58. Limestonegunner

    Apart from Spurs they have a manageable run-in too, Bill. This season is not over and we still have quite a lot to play for. Losing to ManU at home is just too much, but I don’t think we can afford to be cautious. I like the idea of playing Chamakh with RvP and playing Fabregas a bit deeper. But Wilshere or Song with him? I might also play Arshavin over Nasri but be prepared to bring him on for Walcott if the defense is packed tightly.

    It will be interesting to see what side Fergie puts out against us since the Schalke tie is for all intents and purposes over. he doesn’t really need to rest players for the second leg at home.

  59. I think we will see.





  60. Rooney
    Nani Parkthebus Carrick Anderson Gibson
    Evra Vidic Ferd O’Shea

    summin like that.

  61. Limpar – I reckon your side, except with Rooney playing left with Hernandez up top.

  62. We will line up like Leonidas at the pass of Thermopylae, cut them to ribbons with our passing, beat them 3 nil and tell them all to Fuck Off.

  63. A scuffed 1-0 win will do me.

  64. YW, When are moving upstairs mate and be the voice so many claim to be?!

    Due to media boycott I haven’t been taking much notice when I heard this Pat Rice rubbish but, it sounds like it’s got well out of hand and these silly cunts have digested the lot and are asking for seconds. No doubt it was first read in a tabloid and then picked up relay race style but, some of our own.

    Jack Wilshere, made an on the spot figure of speech statement. He has most prob known Pat Rice, since he was about 6/7yrs old and I don’t think his or Jens’s mind works in such a bitter and disrespectful way to ones peers.

    I don’t even want to hear what Eboue, or any of our players want to say as I think they should shut their boat and get on with business on the pitch. Every time they shit, shit happens to us and the media hate our guts and love spuds and more so utd so why bother? Do our players not know how anything Arsenal is reported yet?

    Again, we have seen our team get beat by an average side and then get a beating from another average team in their next game so I think it’s time our lot stopped the chatting and get ready to wobble utd and hope for the crazy season to continue and utd luck well to run dry.

  65. Goonerandy

    They are gutless in footballing terms in comparison to us. I will give credit where it is deserved however, they pull it off when they need to. That is why they are top. Tactically they seem years ahead of us, that is where we suffer. That and set-pieces.

    It has been pretty basic errors that has cost us in the run in. Turn of the year we looked as solid as we have done at any period over the last 5 years.

    I think next year we can develop on that and turn our underperforming talents into consistent world beaters. We can beat the best on our day, we should have beaten the greatest and talented bunch of divers to ever exist in world football, we just need to overcome these anti-football tactics that has ultimately cost us the league.

    We done well against all the top teams in the league, battered Chelsea, looked far superior against City, and had the chances and possesion against United in both games. Lets just hope Wenger keeps what worked so well together for next season…

    Nasri, Wilshire, Djourou, Szezhny, RvP… we have some very very talented players. Its a huge shame we couldnt convert that to a trophy or 2 this time round.

    Forget the 6 years, we are in there with a shot on all fronts. I dont get why people keep going back to that, its pointless and an easy excuse to start finger pointing. Massive strides are being made forward, lets not forget what progress we have made this season.

  66. unbiasedtobias

    how should we line up
    like this
    Sagna Koscielny Djourou Clichy
    ———–Nasri Song
    —————–Van persie
    No fabregas? Gasp… im not to sure he is mentally ready for a game like this
    Eboue if he goes forward like he did against pool he’ll be great
    VP behind chamakh VP showed that he has the qualities of a trequartista (only found out that its a position a few days ago)
    No getting round it we need chamakhs work ethic todae, and someone whos going to win balls in the box.

  67. unbiasedtobias

    Are we linked with any1 who can take free kicks
    only1 i know of is Taiwo

  68. Chris – I pretty much agree with that mate.

  69. If they drop off us too much they’ll be punished. The players are smarting and will be wound up for this. Hopefully not too wound up. If they drop off Van Persie he will punish them very quickly I reckon. When they come out and play we’ll pick them off again…. and again. 3 nil.

    (Our inimitable 3-goal-lead achilles heel may yet come into play at this point. …………Hopefully we don’t prang out.)

    …some party tricks and showboating would be nice. Theo megging Evra and shouting “Olé!” like a matador…. that sort of thing. RVP doing Vidic with the eyes, no-look pass to Nasri who dummies, dummies, dummies again and no-look passes back to Cesc who slides round Van Der Watsit like Kanu. And we all do a little dance in the stands…. aaaaah.

  70. Markus,

    Denilson, had a quiet season so why get rid of him based on that?!

    Denilson, is a young man with no pace whatsoever and had a good season 3 seasons ago and has gone backwards ever since.

    Remember the game v utd when Almunia, palmed Nani’s cross into his own net? Well rooney also scored a breakaway goal in that game. When our attack broke down just outside their box and rooney started to make his run I panicked for a second then thought “it’s all good as Denilson is running behind him and the ref was about 4/5 feet behind him”. I then watched the 30-something ref run past Denilson, trying to keep up with play as Denilson had a stroll back watching rooney score.

    That’s just one of many examples that this was a mistake in the first place. Showed early promise but, if you think he’s Arsenal standard then dread to think who else warrants a place at our club. Their doing nothing but, sucking money out the club and taking up space which could be occupied by another player with legs and who gives a shit.

  71. “(Our inimitable 3-goal-lead achilles heel may yet come into play at this point. …………Hopefully we don’t prang out.)”

    Heh, that would be even funnier if it wasn’t a genuine worry.

  72. ChrisGoona,

    Top post.

  73. jose is mental coming out with statements like that. What game was he watching? Both teams were acting up but, the difference was that heartbreaker bastard Messi. What a players.

  74. And a little analysis of it! Nice.

  75. LimparAssist | April 28, 2011 at 2:53 pm |

    hahaha top form..

  76. I agree with Arsene goonerandy..

  77. And me.

  78. It’s very interesting how Arsene puts it (emph. mine):

    “I refuse to believe that because the day I believe that, it is impossible to manage. ‘This season, they [Barcelona] certainly had some advantages. I feel that they were accidental.’

    Wenger added: ‘When a manager comes out of a big game like that, and you have a disappointment, you have to accept that you can sometimes that you go a bit too far, but I refuse to believe that there is, let’s say, a script behind the stage and that Barcelona is advantaged.

  79. Its going to be tough to watch the game this Sunday.

    A seventh straight united win over Arsenal will rub painful salt into every supporters wounds cut open from past weeks!

    While a great performance and a win would lift our slumped players for the final breath of the season…but at the same time would strike burning anger of frustration at whys and if only’s over the wasteful games against Sunderland, Blackburn, Liverpool, Spurs and Bolton!!!

    Yes we are still fighting for 3rd place, and maybe 2nd, but its a bitter pill to take when you think of the start of 2011 and the promise which laid ahead. Hey at least we have come acustomed to it!

    Personally I’d like Wenger to take all the pressure off the players and just say “we fucked up, we know where, we know what we need to change, juts go out and play football, enjoy the rest of the season game by game. Forget the stress, forget the pressure, we will re group, we will return stronger”.

  80. I dont see anything in Wengers statement apart from for him he cannot believe in order to remain effective.

    What kind of football are Mardrid playing that they go down a man each time they play Barclona? Do they foul that much?

  81. Most significant is that AW chose to speak of the Barcelona syndrome at all. In a sense it is a warning.

  82. longblackcloud

    Paul – N do they foul that much? yes
    They are cynical and dirty like all Mourtinho sides, stick 7 – 9 men behind the ball and whack it early to an exceptional forward player (re: Drogba, Eto, Ronaldo) and see what they can produce. They reply on quality set pieces or individual brilliance to score. The defending is in numbers and by disruption of oppositions flow with niggly fouls.
    Just like Sam Alladyce except with better players.

  83. Limestonegunner

    The headline totally mischaracterizes Wenger’s comments. No manager will say that there is a conspiracy, as Arsene put it “a script”. Even Mourinho didn’t say that. But Wenger did suggest that they overreact.

    His point is simply that positing that the competition is fixed means there is no point to managing/playing, so it doesn’t help to do this.

    I am sure he was asked specifically about it because Mourinho mentioned RvP’s sending off and the punishment of Wenger and Nasri with bans for questioning the ref’s performance. Our’s was more blatantly a crazy sending off. Mourinho runs the risk because of how he coaches his team to play, and in La Liga and in Europe, it is much riskier.

    Note that Wenger did mention that Barca “overreact.” And to my mind that is what really tarnishes their legacy, because this is also a form of anti-football that undermines the game and it has become a systematic part of their tactical and strategic setup. It influences the game if the refs don’t punish it appropriately for what it is: an attempt to deceive the referee. It also wastes a huge amount of time.

  84. Niggly fouls dont produce red cards though do they?

    I guess a question would be do they go down to ten men in most matches.

    To play a team 4 times and be down to 10 men 3 times is confusing.

  85. Paul N another way of seeing it, could be that Madrido have realised they can’t deal with their adversary by playing their usual attacking game and have recently decided to use overly agressive tactics in order to try get results against barca (morheens history of tactics and choice of players benching kaka benzema higuin and only bring adebayor on the second would suggest that) which is perhaps why recently it has resulted in them losing players against them, in a league and stage where reckless agression is more frowned upon then the premier league for example..

  86. I missed the red card, but prior to that, Maureen’s masterplan of playing someone who’s had a long run at CB as some kind of D**Mer didn’t look so smart. A little like asking Koscielny to play further forward. Doh!
    Kosicelny likes/loves to attack the Tevez’s and Messi’s of this world from CB.

  87. Limestonegunner

    Kitchen, it doesn’t explain why we went down to 10 men recently and why Chelsea did in the past. Perhaps nothing really explains it and it is just good fortune. After all in 2006 we went down to 10 men in the final against them but Lehmann did foul Eto’o. Just a wonderful knack for getting to play v. 10 men.

    Finsbury, it worked in the Copa del Rey final. I agree it is cowardly. he should have gone after them with Iniesta out and Puyol playing left back. Soon the only place Mourinho will be welcome is England.

  88. for me limestone us going 10 down against barca, has nothing to do with the statistical example Paul N gave of the recent games between barca a madrid (with morheen in charge)

  89. Limestone:

    Fergies choices will be interesting. He said after the Schalke game there would be several changes.

    I have not looked at the Blue Manc’s run in. I doubt they win all 5 but we need to play like they will.


    I completely agree about Theo, but occasionally something you would never expect to work actually turns out well. Many believe it would work so not discounting it totally. His finishing has improved and potentially he could latch onto through balls and create havoc in the box and may be some rebounds rather to compensate for inability to hold up play. I have never seen him head a ball at goal and that seems like a bigger problem. If not this year perhaps worth a try in preseason or in early CC games next year.

  90. @Boyd
    Arsene left France after it was revealed a team within the league was bribing officials. He seems to be a man of principle on the subject.

    Playing Pepe in this role was a good move in the earlier match (final of the copa del rey) where Real madrid won by a goal to nil. I thought it was working well enough. Last time he tried to play them conventionally he got humiliated 5 – 0. I would call him mad if he tried that again. To be fair they were still in the match and were looking dangerous in occasions.

  91. Yeah. but that is even more stupid. To reveal some kind of tactical adjustment so early into a compact four game mini-series. In the least important of those games (the first two). Doh!
    If Maureen has a new cunning plan for the away leg, I’ll take it all back.
    I doubt he will.

  92. Paulie Walnuts

    Pat Rice – true Arsenal legend

  93. Its hard for me to reason out a team having 3 red cards against the same team. I cannot buy that when Barca chose our players and dont even get a yellow. My conclusion is there is something going on, whether it be in the ref’s heads or something bigger I dont know but to me it seems obvious.

  94. In these tense turbulent times something to sit back and enjoy

  95. choke our players…

  96. Pepe red card. There was no contact

  97. No contact huh? and the man was rolling around as if he had been shot to blow wow!

    You could see that all the young man was trying to do was shield the ball.

  98. On reflection, ducking or diving past the antics being discussed above, I think it is fair to say it was a right royal **** up by Mourinho.
    As limestone mentioned BBB were down Iniesta.
    Surely RM needed some kind of lead to take to the Camp Gnu. And then hope and play for a better result then 5-0. Starting an extra quasi-D**Mer meant that he was not quite mimicking Arsenal’s home tactics from earlier on. I don’t know much, but these two selections below do not match up in terms of balance for me:

    Arsenal’s team for that first leg:
    Wojciech Szczesny, Laurent Koscielny, Gaël Clichy, Johan Djourou, Francesc Fabregas, Alexandre Song (Andrey Arshavin, 69), Theo Walcott (Nicklas Bendtner, 77), Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Eboué, Jack Wilshere, Robin van Persie

    Mourinho’s motley crew:
    Iker Casillas, Pepe, Raúl Albiol, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Álvaro Arbeloa, Ángel Di María, Lass Diarra, Xabi Alonso, Mesut Özil, Cristiano Ronaldo

  99. Any one can say whatever they want but Barca does get special treatment, it comes with the label “The best team in the world”.

    Manchester United gets it in the Premier League and to a lesser extent in Europe.

    To say it’s a Uefa mandate is probably a stretch, but the perception of referees is that Barca is the best team in the world, therefore everything they do is good. Cheating, tumbling, and falling over becomes easy and even if they couldn’t pull the stunt off, they get away with the try.

  100. Yes…for example it will take a referee with immense balls to show Messi even a deserved red card. Same with Xavi and Iniesta these days.

  101. I just seen a clip of Messi smashing the ball into a fan in La Liga game a few weeks ago and he didn’t even get a yellow card, I don’t think.

    It was shameful from a player who is supposed to be the best.

  102. I agree with that G4E and would add madrid dive and play act to get decisions just as much barca do (perhaps with out the same results).. it was a shite match from two teams with great technical ability..

    5 time european cup winning madrid god di stefano has spoken out against mourhinos sam allerdyce tactics and his seat is getting a bit hot for him, which has him claiming conspiracy, as he protests he maybe looking for an escape pod to the prem league where he is worshiped.

  103. KS, there is no way that RM people are going to accept this type of football. Isnt that why the got rid of Capello in the first place?

  104. I think football loses when games like last night are played. It was a shit game with the worst aspects of football on display. The cowardly antics and constant attempts at cheating are a huge reason why the sport has not gained as much momentum here in the US as it might have otherwise.

    It is a shame these teams billed as the World’s greatest bring out all of the worst aspects of the sport.

    Arsenal needs to pick up the torch and carry football forward, because these teams are extinguishing the flame.

  105. I wonder if anyone remembers the red card Ratin got in the 1966 world cup. The ref said he was influenced by the look in Ratin’s eyes!

  106. Viceologist, can’t fault Messi and Villa. Even Xavi was quite good.

  107. Hey guys it has been a while since I posted but have been on a roadtrip across the U.S. for the last 6 weeks, spending the last few days in Baltimore before going home to Manhattan. Anyways have read as many postings as I could so a big THANK YOU to Yogi and Darius and all of you for your opinions. As has been the case these last few years close but not close enough as they say. It is not over yet but does not look good.

    A silly mix up against Birmingham cost us dearly but must admit we had so many chances. What if NB52 had scored with that chance against BBB? Would they have scored again? What if RVP’s goal had stood against the Spuds? On such moments our season was decided. I reject anyone who would dare blame Pat Rice. Jens sounding like an A.M? Sounds more like Jack Wilshire coming face to face with a truly experienced player at half time, for the first time, to me. no slight on any other player of ours but he is experienced.

    I have only one real regret this season and that is the second game against BBB. I am not a fan of stats as they by their very nature ignore tactics but it was the only game where I was truly disappointed in our boys. Trust me, as much as you hate reading that it hurts me more to say it. I do not blame them but our own boss for the tactics he used. Zonal marking against a team that is trained to play around zones? Have yet to see anyone beat BBB playing that way. It all goes back to not winning our group when we should have. Again bad tactics. Yes by all means blood the younger players but do so in a way that does not change the shape of the team. The Carling Cup is there for that. Maybe that is where a new face other than Pat Rice will come to play a major role, we can only hope. As for Pat Rice, thank you sir, we could not have done it without you and I for one know how high a standard you have set for your replacement.

  108. Agreed KS, they all do it with different degrees. Barca just does it on a very large scale.

    You can even say it’s their tactic when they’re closely marked, they fall over, get many of the opponent team players booked, then they will have the space they need to play their passing game uncontested. Once they have the ball and the space, it’s true, no one will beat them.

  109. Irish, nice to have you back. Missed your posts! And how’s the girlfriend?

  110. Messi’s individual brilliance was the only redeeming factor for last night’s game…otherwise I would like that 2 hours of my life back.

  111. Hey KG! Thank you 🙂 She is great but had to take a train back to NY for a meeting and will be back in 6-7 hours so am getting in some well earned beer time at my favorite bar in Baltimore!!

  112. Viceologist – BBB hammered RM earlier on in the season, did you really expect Mourhino to go for it again? For all his arrogance he is a great tactician, admittedly it is a dire spectacle to watch but does work. Have to admit would rather watch our boys play the way we love and lose than play his style.

  113. Irish nice to have you back. Are you going to be taking another sabbatical when the girlfriend arrives? 😀

  114. My line up for the united game..a follow up from my tactical masters stroke previous suggestion 😛

    The same back 5 (Scz, Sagna, Kos, Djor, Clichy)

    Midfield 3 – Song, Jack, RVP (cesc role)

    Wide – Nasri Arshavin

    Up front – Theo

    We can catch united out this time….

    up the arsenal !!!

  115. whats worse paul is that there are reports from the gaurdian that mourheen has his own tony pulis tactic (pulis makes the pitch as small as rules allow) where as apparently mourheen told his grounds men to let the pitch grass, to slow down barcas passing game..

  116. haha “let the pitch grass grow longer”

  117. Colney – LMFAO!!!! No but will not be posting every day as reality (work) is about to intrude in the most intrusive of ways. hell can’t a man take 6 weeks off and not have to make up for it!!!

  118. well tbh Barcelonas method works. It wins them cups. Fair or not, cheat or not the silverware keeps piling up inside the barca club house.

    In this day and age where trophies is everything, one uses all means possible to achieve them.
    Just look at the arsena fans. Arsenal is one of the few big clubs ran the “right” way. The club got everything except trophies. And the fans moan.
    Barca, tons of debts, cheating players but they deliver every year, and the fans love them.

    In this day and age, playing like barca and cheating your way to a trophe.. well aslong as you win you fans love you.
    Play fair and loose and your fans hate you. simple as.

  119. Kitchen sink

    Messi would probably score even in the savannah!! He is that good..for all Barcas antics..he truly is the saving grace. Just pure, glorious football nothing else.

  120. I agree Anirudh 52 goals and 23 assists in 50 appearances tells you all you need to know.. when he doesn’t play they do look toothless though, but he’s never injured and never subbed, what are they feeding him??

  121. have to admit to an endless feeling of FFFFFFFFFFFFFFUCK!! No trophies again!!! But at the same time would seriously consider my allegiance if someone like Maureen(love that!!) showed up at the Emirates. Not saying I would not still bleed Arsenal colours but you guys get my meaning.

  122. Anirudh | April 28, 2011 at 8:12 pm |

    He is certainly a talented player and scores and assists a lot of goals, but he’s no better than the rest of them when it comes to the cheating and diving. He benefits from the dubious gamesmanship and playing in a two team league. He’s not as effective for Argentina or outside of Spain interestingly enough.

  123. the ball basically sticks to messi’s feet but that doesn’t stop him from falling to the floor when a defender puts a body on him. It seems like that team is trained to fall whenever the defense gets tight. once cuntalona have established the fact that the ref will blow a whistle and even give yellow cards for very very physically soft challenges, they can play one touch around any defense. The arsenal will beat them very soon. We already did beat them actually.j

  124. william, if messi played in the PL, he would not have anywhere near the same stats and some clogger would have stopped him in his tracks before now.

  125. also if you have veetle go here and catch some of the reserve match. http://www.silversportz.co.uk/

  126. Meanwhile, our recent form clearly has United worried. Rattled even. Patrice Evra, a man whose talking is generally the equivalent of Alves’ diving, is cautious, saying:

    You have to fear the wounded animal. It is all or nothing for Arsenal so that is a danger. They will want to show they can still win the title.
    This from our friends at Arseblog, gotta love it!!!

    “Cunning stuff indeed by Arsene. Deliberately lulling United into a false sense of security, throwing the Bolton game on purpose, and banking on beating them this weekend which will send them into a spiral of doom and negativity, culminating in a Vidic OG hat-trick on the final day of the season to hand us the league. Those of you who doubt the manager will have to eat some portion of humble pie then, let me tell you.”

  127. @william, who is screening that? is it MUTV or something? Or does arsenal screen reserve games again?

  128. that maybe true passenal

    its not often wenger garners such praise on a player..

    Messi has qualities that are mental: humility, desire to play, happiness to help the team, always desire, you never see any bad reaction despite all the kicks he gets,’ said Wenger.

    ‘When you look at the numbers, you have to kneel down and say they are fantastic.

    ‘When a guy scores 52 goals in modern football and 25 assists, when you see how difficult it is to score a goal, you just have to say it is absolutely exceptional what this player is delivering.’

    he’s no angel but he’s definately better than most players at his level..

  129. Howe come we dont play players like Denilson in reserve games? Its not like hes that old. Obertan plays reserve games for United…

  130. “let the grass grow”has been used against us at least 3 times this year

  131. Fact is though that Messi failed to score against 11 men and didnt do anything of note until the sending off. Sure he has his moments of magic but wouldnt it be nice to see it against 11 men?

  132. If they were smoking grass it wouldve been a big problem!

  133. Passenal

    Agreed he does engage in gamesmanship..but in modern football who doesnt? He’s definitely not as bad as dani alves, busquests, and mascherano who take it to another level. Another thing I like is he is rarely part of the “collective bargaining” tactic of Barca..unlike Xavi whose “victory for football” smacks of arrogance..

    I really think Guardiola let out a major sigh of relief when the ref intervened against us and won them the tie..we certainly were the biggest threat to Barca

  134. do you have something against grass smokers Paul N

  135. Finsbury@7.01pm

    Excellent post. you hit the nail on the head. What Mourinho did yesterday wasn’t any sign of tactical genius IMHO… I’m no coach but to try to play the way he did with Inter, (who had some awesome defenders who could also attack) with a team like Real (a team loaded with attacking talent and some so, so defenders) is just a nonsense to me. The myth about Mourinho is that he is this tactically flexible maestro when in fact his struggles with Real are showing that he’s not Flexible at all. A flexible man would look at Real, see that their strength lies in attack and then devise a system to get the best out of the best players at the club.

    The funny thing is that this is what Wenger did when he inherited Graham’s team. He didn’t try to get Adams and co to play like Beckenbauer instead he used their strengths and adapted his system to suit the players he had at the time. That is what a tactically flexible coach does… Some of the tactical gurus of the internet get their knickers all twisted because Mourinho told Pepe to shadow Messi… here’s the problem though, when Pepe got the ball he didn’t know what to do with it that high up the pitch! So what was the point? And what so brilliant about any way.. didn’t GG use to play the likes of Andy Linigan and Steve Morrow in Midfield in his later years? I wasn’t much impressed then and I ain’t all that impressed now either. But that’s me.

    Mourinho is terrified to play Barca at football and he probably believes that they can’t be beaten if you actually go out there and try to take them on at football… the sad thing is that mourinho is probably in charge of the one team that can take on barca at football and win. Real have the talent at their disposal. I am convinced that if you give Wenger this Real team he’d give Barca a run for their money by playing them at football.

    Genius my backside 🙂

  136. Kitchen Sink | April 28, 2011 at 8:40 pm |

    KS, I don’t know if you subscribe to ATVO, but Arsene’s interview comments about BBB are interesting, the hesitation and struggle to find the right words to answer what he thought of last night’s game, said more than what he actually said IMO. He was very diplomatic. He said what he needed to say, rather than what he wanted to say. Personally, despite the numbers messi is not a patch on some of the past greats like Maradona or Pele as he enjoys advantages those players never had.

  137. Anirudh | April 28, 2011 at 9:10 pm |

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one as I just don’t like him or his team, never have and never will. I think he is as bad as the others, just not as obvious and he certainly benefits from their dubious ‘tactics’, which make it easier for him to do what he does.

  138. KS, dont think its good if you are going to play football.

    When you say against, what do you mean?

  139. Evil…

    Sorry I missed your question on the yesterday’s blog.
    My answer to you is that I would never, ever send off Fabregas… or any Arsenal player for that matter, I’m an Arsenal fan.

    TBH I can’t get your video link to work but your question seems to me to miss the point entirely. Even if Cesc committed a sending off offence that he wasn’t sent off for why should the fact that he escaped punishment mean that everyone else should as well. To me that doesn’t make sense.

    It’s like saying that because Joey Barton wasn’t sent off for his tackle on Diaby (did he even get a card) and because Fans of other clubs and twattish pundits like Townsend said it was fair tackle… that if someone is then subsequently sent off for a tackle like Barton’s, which most Arsenal fans knew could easily have broken Diaby leg… AGAIN…we should use Barton as the yard stick. That doesn’t make sense to me at all.

    Me, I wish we had Mr Wolfgang Stirk when we played Barca… what we needed that day was a ref who could referee the game without being intimidated by the home fans. The referee yesterday had a very good game in a match made shitty by two idiotically infantile teams. To suggest that he was doing UEFA’s bidding is loopy in the extreme and quite honestly does the people pushing the Madrid victim card no credit at all.

  140. Passenal

    Agree to disagree it is 🙂

    Lets hope we get a decent ref against united..A non fergie ref..Oh sorry thats not possible..my bad

  141. Maybe the ref had a good game but he sent of a man that didnt even touch a player. Thats a shame!

  142. Porto murdering Villareal!

  143. Paul N exactly that, you said “If they were smoking grass it wouldve been a big problem!” so I asked if you are against grass smokers, we were talking about letting the grass grow anyhoo I understand what you mean if youre talking about professional players using, as drugs in professional futbol are a no no.. apparently bob marley was quite a good player and I know a few rastas who smoke who a very competant amature footballers..

    Passenal Wenger generally says nice things when asked about players even if he doesn’t particularly like them ie: what he said about Neville.. but the praise he gives Messi is tremendous, as you say, you feel he hasnt got a patch on those other greats.. although coincedently a while back when Wenger was asked how he feels messi compares with Maradona he said he has a chance of bieng even better than maradona was if he can keep it up, since he is already more consistant than mara was at this age..

  144. Got you KS, I am not against people who smoke weed but I wouldnt encourage it. To many it seems as if it gives people righteousness and knowledge when in truth it makes many people foolish and lazy.
    I believe you build an immunity to smoking weed, I had a friend (many friends actually) who it seemed could never get high and too would play ball.

  145. hehe Robin has scored 15 times in the PL this year. if he scores 5 more times before the end he will be a 20 goal a year player. Currently Berbatov is Pl topscorer with 21 goals and Tevez has 19, non of them play alot nowadays That means if Rvp scores 7 more goals before end of season he will be top scorer. that would be awesome! and really he scored 15 so far, so why not 7 more? he has scored 19 in all competitions so if he he does score 6 more we got an 25 goal a year striker, except ours did it in half a season.

  146. Did i mention he is currently the third highest sccorer in PL this year? only Berba and Tevez before him. Him and Bent are both 15 each. Screw you people that moan about Robin…

  147. Play ball quite well, that is.

  148. And Cesc has not had that bad a season. he has second most assists in PL just Nani has more. 9 goals in all competitions….. and then there is Arsharvin at 4th place with 11 assists. hmm maybe we aint got so bad players after all….

  149. poodle, I would never moan about Robin. He is a fantastic player. If we can keep him fit all season and find a player to cover for him from time to time, it will be great for us. He is more important to us than Fab4 IMO.

  150. lets hope Vp can do that poodle, it would do wonders for his confidence although he already is the best striker in the premier league..

  151. If we receive the same protection Barca receives, no one will ever beat us.

    IN fact English referees apply the opposite strategy on us by allowing the lesser teams to kick us about with no limits…. In England, they call it the “Get in their faces” tactic. You can’t do that with Barca because referees won’t allow you too.

    If Barca plays in England and get the same treatment Arsenal gets from opponents & referees…they won’t do too good.

  152. regarding barca, someone made “handbook for cheating” on youtube. a good watch before bed that is 🙂 I especially did like the Gerrard imitation…


  153. G4E if manure played in england and recieved the same treatment we get they’d be no where..

  154. UnbiasedTobias

    Its wen I watch barca games, and then I watch classic FA prem games, and then I watch Super Rugby, that I realise how much football players are becoming pussies now.
    Its a joke.
    Remember the days of Vinnie Jones, John Fashanu, Duncan Ferguson, and robbie savage, and then you watch messi, alves, nani, eboue, iniesta pedro, ronaldo falling all over the place you just wonder if its the same sport
    I don’t condone rough football, I love watching and playing tough football, but I want to know footy has turned from warfare to ballet in not even two decades.
    Where has the bravery gone, why is there no longer that thrill of getting up after getting knocked down, or the rush you get from riding those bullish challenges.
    I hope this ballet is just a phase and footy goes back to 11 men vs 11 men.
    I miss that fire, mixed with flair, and pure guts in football

  155. lol.
    A top save from Shea earlier.

  156. Jumpers for goalposts?

  157. I agree with Passenal

  158. Poodle that video had tears running down my cheeks. Bloody hilarious.

  159. Two games* this season against top teams for BBB, where the opponents have retained their players for ninety minutes:

    Arsenal 2 -1 BBB

    BBB 5 – 0 Real Madrid**

    **Ramos sent off in stoppage time after the fifth goal.

    *there may be more I don’t know of, Valencia? Maybe, but I’ll just focus on the special one.

  160. Arsenal played football!

  161. Limestonegunner

    I don’t see where the debate is. Both teams were disgraceful in their various ways: RM for their tactics and Barca for their behavior. Ultimately Barca is more pernicious because they are the darlings of football but actually are arrogant hypocrites whom we are supposed to love. That includes Messi whose behavior has been as disgraceful as his teammates. I am sorry, Xavi, it was not a victory for football. A victory for football would gave been Arsenal dumping you out of the competition rather than having a man sent off and then crushing Mourinho’s negativity to meet ManU in the final.

  162. @ Boyd | April 28, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    I was struck by that, too!
    Limestonegunner | April 28, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    Very much how I saw it.
    And totally agree with your last post as well

    @ Gunner4Ever | April 28, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    Got it. That is the process that I see it at work as well.

    @ viceologist | April 28, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    great post.

  163. Here is an idea. Diving to win a goal scoring opportunity(35 yds or closer, if they complain they must really suck!!) retroactive red card but make it mandatory i.e. a manager can question it and then it must be looked at.

    yea like you I too have many good ideas that will go ignored!!!!!

  164. @ poodle
    That is the funniest football clip I have ever seen. thank you.

  165. I highly recommend watching that clip, it’s cathartic.

  166. What a star you are, Poodle. Fucking disgrace.

  167. Limestonegunner

    Joshua, Pepe no toca Alves. You can look it up.

  168. I agree with Passenal and Frank, regarding Arsene’s comments. Very diplomatic and said things he wanted to say in the safest manner possible. Come on, no one’s a fool. Every year the ‘advantage’ goes to Barcelona? What a fucking joke? Screw their style of football, they lost to us when we played our game, and would have surely lost the home game, had RVP stayed on. Even down to 10, we were almost one good Bendtner shot away, from dumping them from the competition. That team is the most over rated team in Europe at the moment. Playing in a crap league, and needing ‘advantages’ to beat teams in Europe. Fuck those diving cheats.

    As for all the Messi love, I’d bet anyone anything, that the only reason he was allowed to score the 2nd ‘majestic’ goal, was because by that time every Madrid player was overly cautious of going into tackles because of the play acting that had been going on for the last 80 minutes. The Barca players were falling like a pack of cards. A man down already. And the way EVERY decision was going Barca’s way, I am sure Madrid’s defenders were scared shit of trying to tackle Messi. And hence, there never came one, and he was allowed to score that goal. Shit goal, in the context of the whole match.

  169. I’m no lover of Mourinho, but I’m honestly baffled my comments I am seeing everywhere about what a twat he is for keeping the cream of his attacking talent on the bench and daring to start the game with defensive-minded players on the park (and sacrilege of sacrileges, doing this at the Bernabau – he’s a witch, he’s a witch!!)

    He is the manager and he is entitled to pick the team as he sees fit. People should only be slating him today if it had stayed 11 versus 11 and he still came away with a loss or draw. However, we will never know if Mourinho’s tactics would have borne fruit because the ref put paid to that with a bullshit red card, and I’m sorry, anyone who reckons it was a deserved straight red card needs to examine the slow motion youtube clips to see that Pepe got the ball, not the player. They also need to witness the divine miracle that transformed Alves from ‘stretchered off in absolute agony’ to ‘sprinting up the wing’ in the space of 5 minutes.

    I can’t help but chuckle with amusement when I witness the diversion tactics being employed by the world’s media with their agendas, by persuading people not to focus on the disgusting play-acting antics of the likes of Alves, Busquets and Pedro, instead urging people to deify Messi instead, or banish to hell that evil goblin Mourinho who simply can not stand losing, always has an excuse up his sleeve, and how dare he suggest this noble game of ours is rotten to the core and that the officials might not be as pure as the driven snow.

    We are all Arsenal fans, right? We went through the despondency of the Nou Camp result, and I personally ended up simply biting my tongue when tempted to respond to all the sheep bleating about how utterly fucking wonderful Barca’s passing game is, and how we didn’t even get a single shot on target, and how dare we even feel aggrieved at getting knocked out the way we did. Even though the stats show that Barca only won the tie on a single goal; that for all their passing trickery and lovely little triangles, their penetration really wasn’t that great, and that of their 10 shots on target, seven or eight of these came in the final third of the game after van persie was sent off. If i responded, I would simply be smugly told I was nothing but a shit loser and that Messi was class and that if I thought we deserved more out of that tie I was simply stupid. I understand how people would come to that conclusion when watching us sit back and soak up waves and waves of Barca pressure, but that fact is that (deserved or not) we were ahead in the tiw heading for the quarter final until we were Bussaca’d. Barca needed help, and they got it.

    Exactly the same thing happened last night. Yes, Mourinho’s tactics were initially negative, but you simply can’t try to out-pass Barca or they will murder you. And until Pepe was sent off, Real were dealing with pretty much everything. Who is to say that grinding out a ninl-nil at home and then hoping to pinch an away goal at the Nou Camp and then shutting up shop isn’t the most effective way to win the tie.

    Mourinho’s error was to blab so fulsomely about the injustice and dark forces; he immediately set himself up as a window-licking conspiracy theorist nutter, a perfect taregt for the scornful press hoping (apparently successfully) to distract everyone’s attention away from the really burning issues – the complete injustice of the sending-off, and the cringeworthy theatrics of the Barcelona players.

  170. I hate Mournhio, but I loved the way he came out with his rant in his post match conference. Why should anyone keep his mouth shut, if such horrendous decisions are made, on a regular basis? I found his comments admirable to be honest, regardless of his approach to the game, his own Chelsea’s behavior on the pitch, e.t.c, those are separate discussions. But you got to admire him for showing the middle finger to UEFA. His winks and thumbs up to the official were priceless. Ha Ha.

  171. I agree with Bob, completely. Most of all aren’t a fan of parking the bus, it’s not what we would like our Arsenal to play, but fair enough if someone else believes they can get more points playing that way. And Mourinhio has every right to play whatever way he deems fit. The injustice was that he wasn’t allowed to do so.

    Never thought I’d be one day be defending Mourinhio, but that’s life.

  172. Limestonegunner

    I say a pox on both their houses. It is a cosmic injustice that Arsenal wasn’t in that semi-final showing the way to play good attacking football without resorting to depraved cheating. There is no need to defend Mourinho to call out the disgusting hypocrisy of Barcelona and the corruption of the beautiful game.

  173. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    I agree 100 percent, LG. It’s nice to see people are still pissed off after that sham of a game against Barca. Arsene Wenger is a fucking genius and had the ref not intervened we’d have been through comfortably. But that wasn’t the case and now Wenger has supposedly lost the plot. The only people that have lost the plot are the fucking media sheeps and Mancs in disguise like Bill calling for philosophical changes.

    Fuck em all….Arsenal til the fucking casket drops

  174. “Remember the days of Vinnie Jones, John Fashanu, Duncan Ferguson, and robbie savage, and then you watch messi, alves, nani, eboue, iniesta pedro, ronaldo falling all over the place you just wonder if its the same sport”

    The quote above is just plainly ridiculous, I’m sorry to say….I am sorry but any body who is pining for the days of Neanderthal football by the likes of Fashanu, Vinnie Jones, Duncan Ferguson and especially the dyed blonde moron Robbie Savage, who dives, cheats and bleats as much as Alves or C. Ronaldo, is simply misguided. Footballers now are better behaved, more skillful, fitter, faster and bigger physically too and all of that is a good thing. Vinnie Jones was a thug and the fact that the likes of him are nowhere to be seen in the modern game is a good thing and it’s not even as if he would be good enough to play in modern premiership. And I would rather watch Iniesta C.Ronaldo, Eboue and especailly Messi than any of the idiots you mention. In fact IMHO it is quite insane to mention Messi and Robbie Savage in a sentence with Robbie Savage, much less a sentence that compares Messi unfavourably to that idiot. Messi has more moral fibre in one finger than Savage has in his entire body. Wenger is absolutely right when he talks of Messi’s selfless play despite his awesome talent, his humility despite the spectacular quality of his football, his willingness to get on with it despite clear attempts to kick him and put off his game. I’m sorry but this anti-Barca bullshit has just lost all connection with reality here. Messi is an outstanding talent and a role model in so many ways that to compare him unfavorably with Savage, Vinnie Jones and Fashanu is nothing short of deranged IMHO.

    So why all the lamenting for a below average and near enough talentless thug like Jones or a prime donna nitwit like Savage? Who in their right minds want to watch these clowns instead of Messi? The whole thing makes no sense… And please could people stop comparing football and Rugby. Football is at a limited contact sport unlike both Rugby codes and other sports like American football. You are not allowed to hit your opponent or go through them in order to win the ball in the way you are allowed to in Rugby.

    All this moaning about diving has just simply gone totally OTT. Barca play some sublime football, and yes they do dive and cheat and it isn’t to their credit but they also have some amazing footballers. You’d have to be blind to deny it.

  175. “He is the manager and he is entitled to pick the team as he sees fit. People should only be slating him today if it had stayed 11 versus 11 and he still came away with a loss or draw.”…

    Bob… you can love Mourinho if you want, it’s a free country. What I find baffling is that you think that pointing out that a manager who has some of world’s best attacking talent but clearly has no idea how to use them is unfair. Mourinho has every right to do whatever he chooses tactically with Real’s team and PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO COMMENT. If you can find a reasonable argument why he should play the way he did against a team that had Mascherano at CB and Puyol at LB and no Iniesta may be you ought to get around to actually making that case. And you are wrong to suggest that you can only judge the efficacy of a tactical ploy only if a match finishes 11 v 11. That’s a load of cobblers. An effective system would be there for all to see from the first minute. You just go around making excuses for Mourinho… you claim that he should be judged by how his team do when 11 v 11 but dismiss the 5-0 thrashing his team got at the Camp Nou on the grounds that it was a one-off… even more ridiculous is that you compare it to an Arsenal loss to ManU when we had Stepanovs and Luzhny as our two CBs. We had an injury ravaged team the day we lost to Manu… what is Mourinho’s excuse?

    TBH the sending-off saved him by giving him an excuse to latch on to… the bankruptcy of his system is being exposed by Barca. Mourinho has never had to manage in a country where his team did not only had the most resources but staggeringly more resources than anyone else. It was true at Porto, true at Chelsea and true at Inter… the only difference this time is that he is in a job where there’s another team with equal resources and a better philosophy of how to play… and he is floundering. Mourinho is great at marshalling superior resources in a bloodless, ruthless and conservative way over those with inferior resources and that is a skill but when it comes to compete toe to toe with a team that cam match his resources he appears lost. And his rant after losing to Barca this time was bloody embarrassing to watch. He sounded paranoid and unhinged… blaming Unicef sponsorship of the Barca shirt? Seriously??

  176. When did I tell you not to comment Joshua? All I’m saying is that criticising him for no other reason other than that he didn’t play the way you wanted him to is just irrelevant. But by all means continue to do so, it won;t make you any more right than you were the first time. Also, I’m no manager so I couldn’t tell you why he sets up his team that way. I assume the millions he makes must mean he knows a bit more about it than me and you though, eh?

    Your argument remains the same: ‘I expect eye candy’. Mourinho’s job is to win games, not play attractive football, and he’s rather good at it I’d say, as the trophy count suggests.

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