Stone Cold Friday: Making Lemonade From Bitter Lemons

Is he a man or is he a mouse? Let’s put a piece of cheese on the floor and find out. ….here’s Darius.

If ever there was a necessary destruction to the anti-climax of the season, the circus in town today must surely be a bemusing antidote to a very painful week. Anything that talks about how an unsuspecting Catherine is about to sign her date with destiny has to be better than listening to the untold bollocks being spewed about Arsenal left, right and centre.

I’ve struggled somewhat to make sense of the fallout from last Sunday, with the conclusion that the doctrine of equal opportunity forces us to live and work alongside cretins and imbeciles. I can actually rationalise the disappointment of the collapse of the title run in; for the simple reason that we can chew the fat over what needs to happen and look forward to the changes abound. It’s part and parcel of football.

What is baffling is the abuse and sheer vitriol being unleashed to Arsenal fans in some quarters by all and sundry. It’s open season on Arsenal. Even a taxi driver, who has never spoken to me on any topic more exciting than the weather, has the balls to tell me to get rid of my Arsenal shirt as it’s pretty much useless. This, of course, after professing that he’s a Swindon Town supporter.

Another ACLF regular I spoke to during the week described how he was abused for the misfortune of watching Sunday’s game at a family function, where he was outnumbered by fans of teams not on Arsenal’s Christmas card list. It’s almost like there’s a divine right to take the piss out of Arsenal right on cue from the nonsense spouted by the media.

So what are you going to do – it’s been 7 years”, I was asked at work.

What do you mean, what am I going to do. I’ll watch and support my team every week until the end of the season, dust myself off and start supporting them again next season. What the hell do you expect me to do?

That “haven’t won a trophy in x years” nonsense is just bang out of order now. No-one bitches about Liverpool who not only have not won anything for going 6 years now; they have never won the premier league or any title in 2 decades. Apart from Chelsea and United who have collectively spent more than the GDP of some developing countries, no one else has won the damn title since.

Our team has issues to deal with, and addressing what needs sorting out is a matter that must be given serious attention. Aside from that, we as fans can debate and pontificate about what needs to happen until the cows come home. It’s what makes us all love Arsenal, whether we vent our spleens in anger, or enjoy the magnificent football that we’ve come to expect.

Arsène’s shopping list has already been created for him and it makes comical reading for most part. The usual suspects like Shay Given, Gary Cahill and Scottie Parker are bandied about as players that Wenger must sign to guarantee that Arsenal win a trophy. Frankly speaking if any of these guys were as good as they’re trumped up to be, Given would be in goal for City every week, Cahill would have been snapped up by now, and Parker the Hammer’s Superman would have got his team well out of the relegation zone. These guys are not as good as they’re made to be.

The nonsense smirks of “Arsène – get some goddamn British grit”, an implied suggestion that Arsenal’s dilemma can be solved by getting ‘ard men, who have never come close to winning something themselves.

My take has always been that our deficiencies are not on the physical or the technical aspects of the game. The team is very capable of giving as good as it gets – classic examples being the home and return legs against Everton and Birmingham this season. The question mark has been that of the mental aptitude to cross to the next level and complete that last mile.

But it’s déjà vu talking about this and knowing that the longer it goes on, the harder it will get. From a strategy point of view, Arsenal doesn’t even have to win the games against our closest title challengers in the season. The games that cost us are the ones we drop points against lower opposition that we can and should be better than.

The job for this season is not yet over, and when done, I do look forward to seeing what changes are abound for the new campaign. It’s simplistic just to suggest that if we brought in new players, then our issues will be resolved. I think it has to be a combination of a few new faces and an almost regimental drilling on the training ground.

When we talk of maturity, I’d like to see the team know when to call it a day and close a game out and how to be calm about it. I’d like to see them know when it’s better to play for a draw or change tact to slow the game and wind things down. I’d like them to surprise opponents and flummox them with the unconventional to deal with those who don’t come to play football.

We have players who can rival the best crooks in the world when it comes to unpicking locked doors – and we need to get better at dealing with those who come to park the company tractor and pull down the hatches.

It’s all to look forward to – and until then, the team must make the best out of what is left of the season. At the least, they owe us some good football.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on April 29, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 206 Comments.

  1. An excellent post from an entire season of great blogs on this site. An oasis of sanity in an increasingly bizarre world; I take my hat off to you guys and the regular commentators. Like many I rarely have time to contribute but I always read and would like to say thanks to you all. Better luck next season, eh?

  2. Let me start, before reading the post, on congratulating all Britons on the Royal wedding. I’m staunchly republican myself but I’m not British anyway. And isn’t Prince Harry a closet gooner?

  3. Bollocks Darius!

    Sitting here with a cup of tea perusing ACLF and I discover that you have somehow purloined my end of season review.

    You bastard.

    Doom it will have to be then. Your fault entirely.

  4. Great post as usual Darius. Like the one with the Swindon fan. What utter tosh!

  5. Nice to see some sense being talked amidst all the hysterical bollocks with which we’re being bombarded in the papers and (most) Arsenal blogs…

    It will just make it that little bit sweeter when we do eventually win something (soon I hope!)

  6. Colonel Mustard

    “Frankly speaking if any of these guys were as good as they’re trumped up to be, Given would be in goal for City every week, Cahill would have been snapped up by now, and Parker the Hammer’s Superman would have got his team well out of the relegation zone”

    Given – is unfortunate to be behind Hart – a super keeper, he would have saved us countless points

    Cahill – Excellent player – WILL be snapped but not by us fools

    Parker – Parlouresque is his endeavour with more heart and commitment then all our midfield combined. to say its his sole responsibility to get hammers out of trouble is glib

    I laugh at bloggers these days, it now the trend to defend Wegner same with a few journos. Trying to make out they are rising above it all. get real, there is huge problems at Arsenal. The team is in a bad lull. It fails this time of year consisentently in dramtic fashion. Why? The manager? players? tactics? commitment? All need answering.I agree no personal abuse regarding Wegner is acceptable but serious questions need to be answered to stop this cycle of collapse annually. If we lose all guns blazing I dont care but lack of fight is unacceptable. Some of these players are clearly collecting a paycheck and we all know who they are and there are many sadly.

    To get back on point Id gladly have those three player as they clearly have heart and hunger for battle. Its what we need.

  7. Curiously enough, Darius’ Swindon story merely proves that each club has its far share of morons. My dad is a Swindon season ticket holder and didn’t mention the Bolton result as he knew it was 24 hours before their relegation to League 2 was confirmed.

  8. A touch of sanity in a mad mad world, The seson has not been the greatest success but its hardly a disaster ,a cup final, Currently third in the league and some great games in going deep in the other two competions. It does seem that the extreme knee jerk reactions following Liverpool and Bolton have subcided and maybe a short time on reflection should be taken by all that post replys (or even create blogs),
    I think watching the pathetic performance of Real Madrid who without doubt have the access to the worlds best player and arguably the most sought after manager ,The way they set up to ‘Compete’ huh !!!!
    Plus the after game ranting and raving should make us all appreciate more of what we have got at our great club.
    We are the only team to have beaten Barca in the CL this year,that does not make us the worlds best but it makes us pretty damn decent,we cant always win but we can always compete with style and class.

  9. Excellent post as usual Darius. I think you are spot on as I have also been wondering whether Arsene will go for tactical rather than personnel changes. The 4-3-3 works well offensively, but I wonder if that is the cause of our defensive weaknesses?

  10. Passenal, you may have a valid point there!

  11. Joe Hart,an excellent keeper! Why not watch him and make your own mind up rather than print lazy opinions from News Of the World.He has had some very sticky moments and has made more direct mistakes than our 3 combined. Reina wanted to come last year (apparently)and probably will this time.

  12. Good post Darius.

    Waiting to see what Joshua has to say about this sentence of yours;

    I think it has to be a combination of a few new faces and an almost regimental drilling on the training ground.

  13. Darius,

    there is just one thing you are missing here: the number of top four (if not title to some extent) challengers is on the rise, hence the argument about the necessity to win only against the ‘lesser’ teams does not really hold water…

    plus, if you win the title and get dicked by ManYoo, Chavs, City, Sp*ds and Pool in the process, it will not feel deserved, say what you want…

  14. Passenal,
    I don’t know that its the system itself that is the problem, as opposed to our implementation of it.
    4-3-3, is meant to become a 4-5-1 when we have to defend (which you’d agree is a fairly defensive formation), but it sometimes feels like the players aren’t able to make the mental switch when we lose the ball and we have to transition from attack to defence. They seemingly get confused and don’t position themselves effectively to mark the right person or space, or don’t tackle cleanly and aggressively enough.
    Its almost like we are so used to having the ball that we forget momentarily what to do without it. It doesn’t have to be this way as those Barca cunts have shown. They keep the ball better than we do and yet are able to press more effectively when the ball is lost.
    Another thing is that, Barca didn’t always press like that. Sure they were always good at possession football but the pressing aspect to their game is a recent phenomenon. Which means its not something that takes years to develop.
    This gives me hope because it means that if we get our act together over the summer and pre-season, we can improve that aspect of our game IF Wenger focuses on it enough. That improvement alone will count for more than a few signings I reckon.

  15. oops! Was it me that caused the italics thingy? Sorry!

  16. Liverpool FA Cup winners in 2006.By my maths that makes it 5 years without a trophy

  17. With players of the quality of Messi, Xavi and Iniesta Barca appear able to handle the pressure that comes with the 4-3-3 system. It is a frustrating system as the goals in proportion to shots on target can appear low. Even with all the dominance of possession that Barca, Arsenal and Ajax (in the ’90s) there’s always a feeling that we could score more. Even Barcelona would struggle big time without Messi.

  18. kenyan,

    the problem is that they DO have Messi and no amount of speculations and ‘what if’ kind of arguments will change that…

  19. What would you suggest Suga3, a return to 4-4-2? The big if is that if Cesc, Nasri, Wilshere, Ramsey and Diaby can develop into true maestros then we can keep at 4-3-3. Cesc is possibly closest to that, but now his desire to stay with us is in question. Nasri also appeared to be developing into a maestro but slipped in the second half of the season. Also his desire to stay is in question. Diaby? You’d never know. Wilshere and Ramsey? Times still on their side. I really don’t have the answer!

  20. not necessarily returning to 4-4-2 as the ONLY formation, but it has to be said that there were occasions this season when we did not have the personnel to play the 4-3-3, 4-5-1 or whatever you may wanna call it and the situation simply begged for a change of approach…

    to be honest, RvP is not really a striker to play upfront on his own, which is what he is effectively being asked to do!

    yes, his goal tally and goals to games ratio is nothing short of impressive, but there were games where putting him in Bergy-like role withTheo doing a Roadrunner impression slightly in front of him would yield better overall results, entertainment and results wise…

  21. You may well be right Henristic. I think the problem is that our front players do not contribute enough or consistently enough to our defensive efforts.

  22. Paulie Walnuts

    Good post Darius,

    I think p*ss taking has played a large part in some of the reaction from our fans of late. When the media think it`s OK to lay into Arsenal for 60 trophy less years anyone & everyone else thinks they can follow suit.

    I`ve had people who have never spoken to me about football previously let rip – & it`s not nice.

    On the playing side right now it would seem we`ll need a huge reversal of fortune to get anything on Sunday – but football`s a funny old game , so expect a home win.

    I don`t see Given , Cahill or Parker playing for us next season. Unless Fat Sam`s in charge that is.

  23. Great post Yogi. This stupid bollocks about ‘no trophy in X years’ could be attributed to an absurd amount of teams, it really pisses me off. I want us to win the league more than ever just to shut these morons up. Unfortunately I think there are many Arsenal fans who think similarly to the taxi driver who supports 8 time European champions Swindon Town: ‘we’re not winning so eff this team and the manager blah blah blah’. Morons.

    Some great pics of Arsenal-United battles from years gone by on my website today for anybody who wants to remember some happier times!

  24. I have been abused, tongue lashed and disappointed. When a person hits the ground, then he has something to stand on. I hope arsenal can do this next season. Love to Arsenal Football Club

  25. What is it with the Gary Cahill ‘love in’? Gave away 2 goals at Wembley in the semi & was mugged by 37 year old Kevin Phillips in an earlier round. Just because a player is English it doesn’t make him worth buying. If our centre-backs had done the same they would be getting even more abuse than they are now. Also hear Samba bandied about but teams like Blackburn defend deep with 9 players and all these big lumps have to do is head and hoof the ball clear. Totally different to playing for AFC when you spend 90% of the game on the attack and defending the halfway line. Yes he might stop a few set pieces from going in but would be shown up in other ways which would be just as costly.

  26. Its funny how footbalfanns visibley jizz over Cahill, Given and Parker. they are “the best players” in england nowadays. especially parker “would start in any top 6 teams first 11″. thats what i hear.. And rest assured ” if we dont snap up Cahill gloroious United or Chelsea or City will. ”
    It amuses me that people really want Cahill and at the same time sasy we need experience and proven winners at the back….

  27. Limestonegunner

    Henristic, Joshua is too busy boiling over about those daring to decry Barca’s playacting, diving and harassment of the ref!

  28. Ahhh. At least Yogi and Darius still base their opinions in reality. Nice one.

    Good point about Liverpool. They look set to finish 6th this season and everyone seems fine with that, including the media and the few fans I’ve spoken with. The attitude seems to be ‘We’re headed in the right direction’. Pity more of our camp couldn’t share that outlook.

    Relatively balanced (for him anyway) piece on Arsenal vs United from Alan Hansen on BBC Sport. This paragraph caught my eye:

    “They [United] should have had penalties given against them at West Bromwich Albion and Blackpool that could have proved crucial, Wayne Rooney’s elbow was missed early on at Wigan and Nemanja Vidic should have been sent off when they were losing at West Ham United.”

    Arguably at least three matches that could have had different results had the ref not been afraid of an ass-raping by Fergie.

  29. Scott Parker’s had a gala season. And a gal a season is enough for any man.

    He’s actually one of the few media suggestions I like. Aesthetically, a lank side parting and a grimace would do our ‘look’ the world of good. Seems like a decent enough cove, what?

    5 goals and 3 assists is admirable return for a midfielder at a club in the bottom three. Considering he’s only had 9 shots on target, his conversion rate would be welcome this side of town. His tackling, stats wise, has been excellent – and that’s where he’d be useful. Though his team has shipped 49 goals. But his passing isn’t a patch on any of our midfielders. Not even close. Would he cope with our game? Not sure. To summarise: useful, ‘classic-looking’ cover for Song and Wilshere. Will he come? £15 – £20 million on midfield cover? *shakes magic eight-ball* ‘Outlook not so good’.

  30. But please please please don’t sign Gary Cahill! I can’t stand the cunt. Arsene, do you hear me? Can’t stand the cunt.

  31. Rubbish hair too. So obvious.

  32. If there’s one thing I’ll give the British Royal establishment, is the knack for pomp and ceremony…

    Amazing how you can send your girl to university and today she ends up as Her Royal Highness.

    The odds of falling asleep during that ceremony were 8 to 1. I wonder what the odds are before the Princess gets paged.

  33. Vermaelen played 90 minutes for the reserves against United. Clean sheet.

  34. Do you think that Wenger would ever contemplate playing Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny and Vermaelen as the back 4?

  35. Suga3,

    “to be honest, RvP is not really a striker to play upfront on his own, which is what he is effectively being asked to do!”

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha……………………………………….Ha ha ha haahahahahahahahahaha……’re crazzyyyyy sugggaaaa ma man!

  36. parker pisses all over some of our midfielders

    he may not be as technically gifted..but you ask yourselves the question..
    would some of our midfiedlers have stood out in a team like west ham??
    not a chance…not one bit..
    west ham have been falling apart for ages and we are all aware of how some of our players react when the team falls apart..
    some of our players do not stand up to be counted when it really counts…they get drawn in with the sinking ship mentality and dont have the balls to get themselves out of it..theyd have sank with most of the other west ham players…
    the call for scot parker has nothing to do with him being english..the call for scot parker is becuase in the teams time of need he rolls up his sleeves and for all his lack of passing or whatever he refuses to lie down and hes prepared to carry the team if he has to…its not something new he did it at charlton and he did it at newcastle…
    thats what we miss…thats the mentality we are severly lacking…he may not have it in him to save west ham by himself but you get a couple of players with scots mentality in this team of talent weve got and you’ll notice the difference..
    it seems his nationality immediately makes him negligable to a move to arsenal, which is sad, but as far as im aware we shouldnt look at passports when it comes to players who will improve the team..

    just remember..sol campbell was english, he was a hard man, and he hadnt won a thing…look how he turned out…

  37. er, care to elaborate why?

    you need presence to play upfront on your own, RvP would be MUCH better if used as a classic no.10…

    but hey, each to his own, eh?

  38. Interesting idea Darius. No doubt TV could play left back. Cutting in with that lethal left peg of his.

    I’ll be interested to see who makes way for TV when he gets back into the team. I’d hate to be making that decision. Djourou and Koscielny are both fantastic. Maybe a bit of healthy rotaiton will be called for. Although the centre-back pairing usually isn’t messed with too often if it can be helped.

  39. second that, JJ…

  40. So you want him for his balls?

    That’s true though. Wilshere, Song, Fabregas, Nasri… they wouldn’t stand out at all at West Ham. They’d just fade right into the background there.

  41. no but denilson and diaby would..

  42. Yup.

    In that blissful alternative reality, Diaby & Denilson would be on the bench every game behind Boa Morte (remember him?) Junior Stanislas and Jonathan Spector.

  43. lmao.

  44. LA,

    as much as I agree with you RE: Cahill, I need to say that I am not sure if these players have the stomach for the relegation fight, bar maybe Wilshere and Nasri…

    quite frankly, Song was pretty damn average this season, but his recent poor performances can be excused by the fatigue, as he does not really have a player to be rotated with…

    as for Cesc, agreed, great player!

    but then you have Diaby, No.15 and Rosicky and they would not get a game @ WHU, let alone stand out there!

  45. I fully agree that neither Diaby, nor Rosicky, nor Denilson would get a game at WHU. They just wouldn’t be able to play the long ball game, and would too often be left on their own in midfield. It would all be a bit like Ramsey in the Wales/England game where it was obvious that everyone else was on a different wave length. Nasri and Jack would get games, as you can stick them out on the flanks while Fabregas would get games because no one in their sane mind would leave Fab on the bench.

  46. I feel if we had snapped up Given, and he was in goal from the start he would of saved us at least 9 points. He was unlucky to get the injury that opened the door for Hart.

    Cahill – I would put my life on it that if he was in an Arsenal shirt at Wembley that fuck up would never of happened.

    Parker – fantastic player and a real boss who would of bossed games for us surrounded by so much talent but, if he did come in we wouldn’t of seen Jack so that worked ok.

    I strongly believe that just need a player who will boss things whatever language he speaks. He doesn’t even have to be blessed with quality because he will surrounded by players at Arsenal who are blessed with it.

  47. Evil,

    long ball game? I take you did not watch WHU play a whole lot then…

  48. The subject of referee favoritism is often debated on ACLF and the penalties awarded at old Trafford is considered evidence of a conspiracy. I googled the subject and found these numbers for a 10 year period up to Feb of this season 2011.

    Total penalties for:
    Arsenal 60: Home 72%/Away 28%
    Chelsea 56: Home 68%/Away 32%
    ManU 49: Home 63%/Away 37%
    LPool 49: Home 55%/Away 45%
    Man City 41: Home 70%/Away 30%

    Arsenal gets the most penalties awarded. Perhaps because we have more of the ball and conventional wisdom has been the way to beat Arsenal is with systematic hard fouling?

    Penalties Against:
    Arsenal: 40: Home 37%/Away 63%
    Man City: 36: Home 41%/Away 59%
    LPOOL: 32: Home 34%/Away 66%
    Chelsea 27: Home 33%/Away 67%
    ManU 20: Home 35%/Away 65%

    ManU and Chelsea concede the fewest perhaps because they are the best organized and disciplined defenders and may be their reputation gives them more a little more of the benefit of the doubt?

    The net difference between penalties award to penalties conceded for 10 years.
    Man U +29, Chelsea +29, Arsenal +20, LPool +17, City +5.

    Penalties this season up to Feb: Arsenal: 6 for/6 against. ManU: 3 for/3 against. Chelsea: 6 for/ 2 against. Lpool: 5 for/ 3 against. ManC: 8 for/ 4 against.

    ManU and Chelsea both had a net + 29 penalties awarded compared with penalties against over a 10 year period while Arsenal had a net of +20. United and Chelsea get a net of less then 1 more penalty per year.

    Howard Webb awarded ManU 5 penalties vs. only 1 each for Arsenal and Chelsea in 10 years. So there may be something to the Howard Webb theory.

    Draw your own conclusions. The refs are terribly inconsistent everywhere and slow motion replays have made the mistakes easy to pinpoint and everyone thinks they get the worst of the calls. Some really terrible calls like the 2nd pen at Newcastle stick in your mind. There is a penalty controversy or a blown offside call in nearly every game. IMO there is no evidence that any one team in the “big 4” is given a significant advantage and certainly no evidence of a global conspiracy at least with regard to penalties.

  49. Ah, a trollish effort. Nice try, try again:

    ‘based on the official data as recorded by the referee’s log book and the betting line odds posted by the major bookmakers…a platform for further study and an introduction to where we are hoping to go with the numbers… better data is coming as are further studies’

  50. Fresh lemonade? Sounds good to me.

  51. Skywatchingmug

    West Ham fans I know call the team Arsenal lite.

  52. @Suga3
    I watched their game against ManU and the games against us and as far as I could see, their main strategy consisted of playing the ball long to Cole. A bit like Aston Villa and Heskey.

  53. Can’t bring in replays, Bill. That’d be the end of corruption and we can’t have that.

  54. And I just checked the stats and even teams like Wolves or Birmingham have more possession when they play against West Ham. So whatever brand of football people can see at Upton Park, I am quite sure it’s not possession football.

  55. Evil,

    then again, can you seriously, with a straight face, say that these three have the qualities required to play quality the so-called possession football?

    I thought the idea behind it was to maintain possession, which neither of them do particularly well?

  56. Evil,
    I wouldn’t class West Ham as a long ball team. Sure they use longs balls sometimes, but so do we when we’re chasing a game (to little effect mostly).
    They certainly aren’t anywhere in the league of Stoke, Blackburn etc.

  57. Skywatchingmug

    Stats in football, get on my nerves.
    The only one that counts is the score.

  58. Limestonegunner

    Finsbury, doesn’t mean that Bill’s contribution has no value or that the net difference in penalties, as the data shows, isn’t relatively negligible. Hardly trollish to suggest this. More thorough and nuanced studies may demonstrate the manifold, more subtle ways a bias can or has appeared over the last several seasons. In fact, Zach Slaton did a very thorough analysis of a handful of referees who get a lot of big games including Arsenal games and found Phil Dowd and Howard Webb did have a statistical bias against, but he also found two refs who have a nearly comparable bias in favor. The second of his two part study is here with a link to the first (which is a collaboration with the contributors at Untold Arsenal):

    I believe there is something at work, and hopefully these studies will clarify what it is. However, as a big club, I imagine we also get the benefit of calls (remember Blackpool) more than our fair share. The only question is how this compares versus our competitors at the top end. We all suspect ManU gets the greatest benefit, but they aren’t the only ones to have won the league the last 6 years. If it is proven, what can be done about it if it isn’t a matter of organized corruption but functions and operates more subtly? Should we just give up or should we plan a counter strategy and/or attempt to overcome it? Did this bias, if it exists, just begin? Unlikely. If it existed between 1996-2004, how did we win all those titles? So there must be a way and hopefully Arsenal will discover it again soon. In the meantime, until conclusive studies are available, what benefit does it do for us to focus much attention on this (of course it is normal to react to bad calls during/immediately after a game–I am talking about a persistent focus and belief in the deck being stacked against Arsenal). I can see it might console us after losses a bit but otherwise it is more likely to have negative consequences, don’t you think? I’d certainly rather our players think, like Bill, that they have a more or less fair crack at winning if they play well–even if this is a necessary illusion.

  59. Well done Bill,

    However, your stats do not contradict my belief that United get more favourable calls than the other top teams.
    It doesn’t of course mean that I think ( like some do) that bad ref calls is a major factor in our lack of silverware in recent years.

  60. Against Liverpool, Blackpool and Tottenham Diaby played and had in all matches pass completition rates around the 90% mark. Against Blackpool he won 17 tackles, lost 4, against Liverpool he won 7 and lost 1, against Tottenham he won 5 and lost 4. So, whatever he is doing out on the pitch, to me it looks like he is actually doing quite well in the keep possession department.

  61. @Henristic
    To me it looks like they try to use old fashioned wing play most of the time, mixed in with long balls. They however do not rely on possession football or the pass & move as we do.

  62. A statistical study over such a small selection of data is neglible.
    That is why it was highlighted above that Zach and Dogface have planned well into the future a whole series.

    Why talk of illusions. Or even other sports.
    I know plenty of people whose families come from Italy, or are from Italy. They still love and watch Serie A, in spite of Calciopoli.
    The league over there has made some kind of recovery. I like Udinese!

  63. Darius:

    Great post as always. The statement that Henristic highlighted: “I think it has to be a combination of a few new faces and an almost regimental drilling on the training ground.” is absolutely spot on especially with regard to the drilling. I doubt we will see any of Cahill, Given or Parker although of the 3 I would give Parker the best chance. Although I have never seen them play, based on what I heard I would like to see us get a physically dominating CB like Sakho (?sp) a DM to challenge Song and we need another consistent goal scorer, hopefully someone who can play across the front 3 with RVP. I know its hard to identify someone who will fill the bill in each of those positions and there is the possibility of mistakes and no guarantee of success but I think its time to try. We certainly do not need to make wholesale changes.

    I agree that the problem is not as much physical as mental, however changing that mentallity is obviously much harder then we would imagine and adding some new players would be a great start for the team and the fans.

  64. ****
    < negligible.

  65. Its interesting how many more penalties we concede compared to the other top teams.
    The ‘easy’ explanation is that refs hate us more than the others, and some of the soft penalties we conceded seem to back that view. But I also think it is partly an indication of how easy it is to put us under pressure. One gets the feeling that our more forward players don’t do enough to protect the back 5.
    Too many times in a game you find even the weakest teams having a few very GOOD chances against us.


  67. Limestone,

    In the end, as described by better writes eleswhere, as Bill ducks and dives past Markus’ comment at 2:01 we just want our sport to enter the 21st centuary. That is all. Not too much to ask. I’d like an FA to give FUFA a scare and introduce such things by themselves. Might happen, might not.

    For me, if the Blackpool pelanty is all you can come up with as having been a favourable decision, it is not that useful a stat/figure. Negligible.

  68. Easy there Timmy T.
    You had some trouble with a replay there I see. Ah well.

  69. Henristic @ 2:23:

    “However, your stats do not contradict my belief that United get more favourable calls than the other top teams.”

    No way to prove of disprove your theory. I suspect it is true since historically in all sports the best teams tend to get a little more benefit of the doubt. I am a fan of the LA Lakers in basketball and I have no doubt that Kobe Bryant gets a few more calls in his favor. Even worse was Micheal Jordan and Muhammed Ali etc etc. I guess its human nature. All things being equal we probably will have to play slightly better then United to beat them but the difference is certainly not significant and in no way insurmountable. Despite everything we would have easily won this year if we had taken care of the things we can control. Once we start to win then we get the advantages. Hope we can play well this Sunday and finish strong.

  70. Timmy T,

    If you can find any reference let alone multiple examples in the archives of me lying or distroting the words of other commentators and bloggers, I will gladly accept your accusation of being a troll.


  71. And on that subject, there’s another nice/interesting post on the Bolton game by The Brain up on Arsenal Column.

  72. Evil@2.28,
    Can’t disagree.

  73. Although I agree a fresh face could ‘freshen up’ the squad a bit, I still cannot think of any position in which we are not strong, except for maybe left full back (& for that we have an option of TV5).
    As mentioned by many, its the collective effort we lack; that all out pressing game is needed to make this formation work.
    Bring on Vermaelen, Vela, Ramsey, Frimpong, Lukasz & Ryo; & we have a much stronger team next season.

  74. finsbury,

    Bill has been calling for video replays more than anyone else on this blog!

  75. Limestone @2:23:

    Spot on as always. As the boss said. (Paraphrased) If you believe there is really a script then whats the use of managing. It is counterproductive to focus on that certainly for the players. It may help console us in losses but as you point out any bias could certainly be overcome with good play on the pitch. I hope so anyway.

    Henristic @ 2:37:

    I also suspect there is some even things up mentality. Not purposeful but subconscious. Arsenal is awarded more penalties and concedes more. United is the converse.

    I think United concedes fewer because they are in reality a better more organized and disciplined defenders and the reputation they have earned gives them a little more of the benefit of the doubt. The latter part not completely fair but impossible to avoid.

    The bottom line is that replays are needed ASAP. The controversies really take away from the game.

  76. I think Arsenal need to win more than United cuz if we lose, 2nd place will be gone and we might even finish 4th. But a win would certainly improve our chances of finishing 2nd which btw we haven’t in many years.
    I would suggest you to think about my latest article(especially if are going to the Emirates on Sunday)

  77. Well truth to be told, uniteds defenders are clean and effective. They know how to avoid penatlys and at the same time get the job done.

  78. Henristic,

    Please copy and paste an example for me, as I must have missed out on that one. As someone who raised the issue of video replays on this forum along time ago, without many positive responses back then, I would have hoped that I might have noticed.

  79. just out of curiosity. How much would you be willing to spend on a “backup” player? I mean, buy Parker and he wont be first choice. What is a reasonable amount to spend on a backup? 15/20M? or 10M? Squillachi for example is a typical backup player.
    Do you think a 20M or even a 15M player would join arsenal to be a squad or backup player?

  80. Darius:

    I read the other day that our first 2 transfers will be Alex Oxalade-Chamberlain (?sp) ($10M) and a RB named Jenkins. Both are in their late teens. If money is limited shouldn’t we use the cash for players who could help the team next year and not on more potential. We have cornered the market on potential.

  81. Goonerholic’s most recent post mentions video tech.
    A most excellent post too. As usual.

    I noticed that.

  82. Bill,
    Thanks for expending the effort to compile those stats. Untold Arsenal and the Untold Referee Walter have done a great job carrying this flag for some time now. I don’t believe for a minute that Arsenal concede what seems to me to be an abnormally high number of penalties because we are unorganized at the back and easy to panic if put under pressure. Simply put I believe that the majority of referees in the EPL are just like the majority of people who care about the EPL; they love to see Arsenal lose. It is unrealistic to expect referees to be different or better people just because they are entrusted with the most vital part of keeping the sport alive. They are normal people with all the hangups that normal people have.

  83. Limestonegunner

    Exactly, Henristic. That’s why I didn’t understand Finsbury’s odd response to my post.

    Finsbury, football (like other sports) is slightly different than theatre, rock concerts and other forms of entertainment, as you know of course. An intrinsic part of the entertainment value is the competitive character of the contest. It can still be enjoyed in some fashion and appreciated in many dimensions, but without confidence in matches as competitive contests some of its unique value is lost. If somebody likes to have a day out in a crowd and see athletic young men in shorts and colorful shirts running about kicking a ball to each other and a box at either end, that’s wonderful. For some reason, I also like that to some genuine extent. They tend to run faster and play with more intensity though because they are contesting a result that is thought to have some meaning and consequence in a ranked system. If they don’t believe in the genuinely competitive aspect of their play, they and many of us will be somewhat less interested, I imagine.

    Btw, Blackpool reference was a mere reminder/example that it happens on some occasions in favor of Arsenal–don’t mistake that for an attempt at a substantial general claim since that was a footnote to the main issue I identified that we might agree would indeed be significant: statistical bias among the top teams where it would have a competitive effect on titles. We await the research and good on Slaton et. al. for doing it.

    I think Markus’ point was right on and frankly Bill has posted many many times in favor of video review (no ducking there), which you probably have noticed. So what then is your issue with his post? What is so troll-like about it, honestly? That’s all I am saying. I happen to feel ManU gets an advantage, but I think it can (as it has in the past) be overcome and would appreciate the authorities, like you, instituting measures to insure greater confidence in the refereeing. But if I focused on it as a principle, I would enjoy following Arsenal’s game less or in a significantly more morbid manner (how are they going to screw us over this time?!). To each his own. And cheers for The Brain’s Arsenal column tip.

  84. Limestonegunner

    I thought Goonerholic’s post was terrific too, Finsbury.

  85. You must be joking poodle. I’ve seen both Ferdinand and Vidic wrestle opponents to the ground in the penalty area and get away with it on a regular basis.

  86. Limestonegunner

    Getting back to Darius’ post (and thanks again for a thought provoking post), why is Arsenal the subject of so much opinionated ire? Untold Arsenal had a post about someone at a dinner where even folks who claimed not to be interested in or follow football all had strong (and in this case the typical media conventional “wisdom” and views) opinions about Arsenal!

    I think some of it must have to do with the media narrative around Wenger? Or is it more generally about the team? In any case, we used to be, quite recently I thought, the neutral’s team. Appreciated for our play and for doing things our own more responsible way. I know the Arsenal way seems to threaten English footballing culture in many respects but generally we were appreciated for playing good football and trying to develop rather than purchase a team.

  87. We conceede for brushing against someone.

  88. Limestonegunner

    Markus, Paddy Barclay, I think, made a good point on a podcast recently that Vidic could be thrown out of almost every game he plays.

  89. Limestonegunner

    Elsewhere it has been commented that Ferdinand is almost never called for a foul and, though absent due to injury for lots of this season, was called for committing his first foul in the PL in something like December or January!!

  90. Limestonegunner

    Finsbury, I meant “like you” as in you seem to agree not as in you are one of those “authorities”! (if only, right?!) –poorly written, sorry, in my response further above.

  91. Limestone @ 3:38

    Yes it was,
    Nothing morbid about it.

  92. I wonder if Ryo would be available for next season. Are six months in Netherlands enough for the work permit? I believe he’ll be called for Copa America, so that’s 3-7 caps for him, is that enough?

    I think he’d be very useful as an option to stretch our play from the left flank, as both Nasri and Arshavin cut inside too often and Clichy doesn’t overlap as well as Sagna.

  93. Limestonegunner

    Sorry, yes what was?

  94. Gris Gris:

    I completely agree with what you say. There seems to have been a shift in the neutral football fans. 2 or 3 years ago I sensed much less antipathy towards Arsenal. It felt like everyone wanted us to win in 07/08 before Eduardo got injured and the defense collapsed. Even after that it felt like most believed we played great football and the many of the neutrals favored us vs. Chelsea and ManU. Now we seem to be percieved in a much worse light. Darius wrote in a previous blog that we are percieved as have self righteous whinging players and manager and spoiled fans. Although not quantifiable certainly has some negative effect.

    I have not followed the Untold Arsenal ref index. What they are doing is Herculean. Correct me if I am wrong but they evaluate individual plays in only Arsenal games and judge the calls with a retired ref working with a strongly Arsenal supporting blogger. As we all know an Arsenal supporter will interpret the exact same play in a completely different way then a neutral might so the data will be called into question. There is also the well documented phenominon in all scientific research that you tend to get the results which prove the thesis you started the study with. No one wants to prove their own theory wrong. I hope their research comes into the debate but I wish it was being done by a neutral agency.

  95. ‘I thought Goonerholic’s post was terrific too, Finsbury.’

    Yes it was.
    Nothing morbid about it (a thread on referees and video replays).

  96. …‘based on the official data as recorded by the referee’s log book and the betting line odds posted by the major bookmakers…a platform for further study and an introduction to where we are hoping to go with the numbers… better data is coming as are further studies’…

    Nice try!

  97. Limestone, regarding the anti-Arsenal phenomenon. There are many reasons, but I guess what my feeling boils down to is that I genuinely just believe that assholes shout louder.

  98. Finsbury @ 4:00:

    Certainly more studies needed.

    I do not see how anyone could disagree with Goonerholic’s post.

  99. sagna(RB)–djourou—-Vermaelen (LB)
    Cesc— koscielny(DM)—Wishere
    Nasri—RVP— Walcott
    guys, your ideas on this formation????

  100. sagna(RB)–djourou–new defender–Vermaelen (LB)
    Cesc— koscielny(DM)—Wishere
    Nasri—RVP— Walcott
    guys, your ideas on this formation????

  101. for all the shite english players get for their ‘grit’
    id rather watch a game of 22 players kicking the crap out of eachother than the shit i watched the other night..

    22 players, with a combined total of close enough to a billion quid in value, technical gods, spent 90mins having a pillow fight and rolling round on the floor trying to get eachother sent off…

    now you can say what you want about the english mentality but that freak show on weds was a real embarrasment to football…

  102. I have to say that Bill’s post @1:51 represent’s the kind of statistical idiocy that gives Statistics itself a bad name… when it is the unintelligent use of stats that is the problem. For an issue like penalties awarded for and against different teams a mere rote listing of the number of penalties tells you sod all in the context of discussing bias. The issue with penalties in this case isn’t the raw number but the correctness of each decision… or to be more precise it is the proportion of contentious (wrong) decisions, either way, within the larger number that is of interest.

    We play an intricate passing game in the penalty area that often means that the opposition players are lured into errors and give away penalties…. We are also fairly deadly on the break- away which means that teams are often making last ditch tackles against us which may mean that a referee has a big decision to make and the bigger the decision the more likely the ref is to think twice about making it. So the question isn’t whether we get more penalties given for us that United… that’s not issue, the issue is are we getting as many as we should given the fouls committed against us… having allowed for everything else.

    Even more important in our case is the issue of penalties awarded against us. We know that we have conceded the most penalties… now if referees are subconsciously or consciously penalising us for Penalties we rightfully won that again is a problem for us in a league where goals are incredibly difficult to score. If a referee thinks that because he awarded us a penalty therefore he is under some obligation to do the same for the opposition then he is clearly disadvantaging us. In that case the issue becomes why a referee or referees should feel that way in our particular case… So suffice to say that Bill should go away and do some serious work on his stats before dumping them on the forum. In their present state they tell us nothing of what we need to know… and in fact only obfuscate and muddle the issue.

    On the issue of Bias let me actually use a clear example to tell you how it works in other cases and then we can try to extrapolate what it might mean for us at Arsenal. Let’s be clear there’s a bias against Arsenal in the media and within football… the evidence is everywhere if you care to look.. don’t take my word for it read Barney Ronay’s recent article in the Guardian, a paper where the likes of Richard Williams spews idiocy under-girded with stupidity. So anyone wishing to debate the existence of the bias is either blind and deaf or is lying to themselves.

    Now to how bias works… take the example of America’s first Black President who recently had to stoop to producing the full length version of his Birth certificate to prove that he was… get this… a citizen of the country of which he is President. Bear in mind that his birth in Hawaii was reported in two Newspapers at the time as part of the normal births and deaths reporting. Now ask yourself how and why this has come about… no one asked Bush for his birth certificate, no one asked Clinton or Gore or Reagan but they ask the Black guy who is other… not only that but they say that his academic record isn’t his own and he didn’t write his books etc, etc. All of this done because Obama is seen by some people as “other”. Not everyone but a sizeable minority feel this way and because of their ability to shape the narrative and national discourse Obama had to do this, IMHO, humiliating thing. in other words Obama is having to jump higher obstacles just because of who and what he is…

    The analogy with Arsenal’s situation is quite strong, albeit admittedly less serious as football is only a great distraction not the matter of great import that is the running of a country. The criticism of Arsenal and Arsene Wenger in the press is demented and loopy in it’s lack of balance, it’s sheer vitriol, its utter hypocrisy in twisting what he says to the media in press conferences that none of his rival either give with the same regularity nor with his politeness, patience and charm. And the reason for it is that Arsenal are seen as “other” to a significant number of football fans

    Now this media attitude creates a narrative that everyone buys into , especially those who aren’t an Arsenal fans and don’t watch things to do with Arsenal closely… and because of this narrative people behave towards both Arsenal and the manager in a particular way… look at the way Clive Allen barged into Wenger at White Hart Lane for instance, would he do this to any other manager in the league let alone one of Wenger’s distinction, ask yourself why?… this act was then reported by the media which encourages more people to do the thing that the media have made possible in the first place. To me it is fairly self evident that Arsenal get shafted with decisions in a way that makes things more difficult for us. Get me a penalty awarded against united this season as soft as any of the two we conceded at Newcastle. Get me a penalty and sending- off not given against us to match United’s by Gary Neville against Blackpool. Show me a piece of foul play by one of our players as egregious as Ferdinand’s on Sagna that wasn’t punished… I could go on. Get me examples to match the United ones then we can talk. The sad thing is that a load of Arsenal fans have internalised the bias to an extent that a crazy penalty like the one against Eboue in the home match against Liverpool is blamed on Eboue and not the referee’s incompetence. That is the real shame in all this. To be blunt a stupid and moronic site like Le Grove wouldn’t exist but for the biased and xenophobic media narrative.

  103. People are sheeplike in the main. If enough commentators and writers say that we are ‘weak’, ‘losers’ and that Wenger has ‘lost it’, then they will flock to these views.

    Everyone wants to be on the winning side and if it looks like it’s not going to be Arsenal, then join in with those shoveling the dirt. Quckly before anone sees you move.

    You are then part of ‘conventional wisdom’ and you don’t even have to think for yourself or stand out in the crowd by having opinions out of the ‘mainstream’.

    Smug and safe – until we win.

  104. Very well put Joshua.

  105. Good read Joshua.

  106. The reason for a shift in the antipathy towards Arsenal is because of the nature of the media coverage our manager and team get from the Press, which has become more unhinged and unfair in the last 5 or six years. It ain’t rocket science. If I wasn’t an Arsenal fan I’d hate Arsenal too… if my impression of Arsenal was of a team of underachieving foreign Nancy boys led by a whinging manager who refuses to spend money because he arrogantly thinks that he is better than everyone else … then what’s not to hate? If you add in the kind of accusations about diving, cheating and general un-Britishness into the mix, the kind of accusations that some on here level at Barca with nary a thought… then it is only natural that Arsenal will be hated. And to expect that hatred and antipathy to play no part at all in our results and matches is beyond naive.

  107. cbob,

    what about these who are not really that bothered by the media but they see our team implode at the slightest pressure?

    what about these who know more often than not what the time of the substitutions will be and who will get replaced with whom?

    what about the people who know exactly where the ball is going to go next?

    all that without telling them to think that way or even too strong to be told that black is white?

    are these people sheep too?

  108. Joshua:

    Some of what you say makes sense but I have no idea how to obtain the data you ask for since all your examples are anecdotal and the actual numbers are the best that can be done. Hopefully Finsbury is correct and more studies on the way. The Untold Arsenal study should at least generate some debate.

    I am glad to have a brother in monotone so I no longer feel quite so lonesome. Thanks.

  109. Joshua | April 29, 2011 at 4:54 pm |

    Spot on, but your average footy fan is too dumb to see it and just swallows the easy half-truths spouted by the media.

  110. Suga?

    See Passenal’s post above.

    There are plenty of teams who do a lot worse than we do and aren’t so despised by anyone with an opinion.

  111. Suga3..

    Spoken like a true Le Grove dimwit. The media coverage affects everything whether you follow it or not. There are people on this very forum, smart and intelligent people, who use the sort of media bullshit as the basis for their posts without even being aware of it… the “implode at the slightest pressure” thing you spout is another media narrative. The idea that Wenger should make substitions just because you want to see a substitution is the kind of idiocy for which Le Grove is now infamous… You idiots imagine that you know where the next ball is going… really? Is there a more unpredictable team than Arsenal in the league, is there a team that can match our variation and change of pace? but you know where the next ball is going… how come you know but the likes of Dawson, Kompany, Even John Terry don’t know… otherwise how did we ever score against them. Go away and try and do some actual thinking and then come back… your Le Grove bullshit is just that… Bullshit.

  112. we get unfiar press because the media say you cant win anything with kids and wenger says i can
    the mdeia says you’ll fall apart without any leaders and wenger says i wont
    the media says you need to spend some money and wenger says i dont
    then when the media laugh there bollox off over being right for 6 years on the bounce its somehow the medias fualt??

    wenger said he didnt beleive in conspiracys..he said if he did he wouldnt bother…so as far as bias goes in the game there is none..according to the manager..

    as regards to the media its just a load of i told you so’s…

  113. Those are mostly fair points Joshua, and well put too.

  114. the media have had a meal with us dropping out of all the cups. Especially because Arsene said that we had a chance to win the quadruple. seriously Arsene gets made fun of for that comment. what the fuck is he supposed to say?? “Arsene, you have made it deeper in all the competitions this year than your close rivals, how do you feel about this?” “well mr. reporter, being Arsene Wenger, i don’t actually care about winning things, so i predict we will drop out of all 4 competitions.” <<<<< truth

  115. William, I recall Wenger was also laughed at and derided for once suggesting his team could go a full season unbeaten.

  116. cbob,

    thing is that bias is one, but no smoke without fire thing is another…

    the other teams doing a lot worse do not come up with the same set of tired excuses, do they?

    pitch, defensive tactics and playing with hanbrake on are just a few that are not fed to us by the media, but by Our Glorious Leader and…


    mate, seriously, you are not in position to look down on anybody or to call anybody a dimwit…

    you think you are oh so clever berating me? you think you can lecture me on how the media influence people’s thinking?

    I have a degree in that field, you know?

  117. as for the ‘media influencing people’s thinking’, well, you may not see the irony, but I do and I am finding it pretty amusing 😆

    next time you try to put your point across, I suggest you curb your ‘enthusiasm’ a little bit, there is no need to call people names, unless you don’t really have an argument, it’s as simple as that…

  118. Suga3…

    It’s not that I’m looking down on you … to say I “look down” on you suggests some kind of effort. If you feel you’re being spoken down to that’s your problem and it isn’t me looking down but rather dealing with your pathetic reasoning as it deserves to be dealt with… nothing more and nothing less. So you can raise your game or you can STFU… I couldn’t care less. I’m just really saddened that there are people like you who ask about those who don’t read the media whilst spouting media gibberish. It takes a rare kind of idiocy to achieve that bit of muppetry. Take a bow Suga3 you’ve out done yourself.

    My advice is that you should go back to the paddling pool of Le Grove and engage with the other morons there. The water is too deep for you here and you are quite clearly drowning. I’d love to stay and show you up for the clown you are but fortunately I have a life.

    Good day.

  119. Joshua,
    Like I said, you make some very good points, but my problem with your writing is that in trying to prove your point you very often make such sweeping – and in my opinion – unnecessary generalizations, exaggerations, bent truths. Its a very common trait among the doomers you dislike so such, and you’d do well to cut it out.

    Also, just because somethings is a common media narrative, doesn’t mean its not true. Case in point is the Arsenal “implode at the slightest pressure”. Your choice of words is instructive. Of course its not true that Arsenal fold under the slightest of pressures. That would be a ridiculous claim that few reasonable people can say with a straight face.
    But the evidence does point to the fact that over the last 6 or so years, we’ve performed worse than our fellow title contenders in the biggest games of the season. Even the players and the manager have acknowledged this repeatedly. Are they influenced by the media too? Why aren’t you abusing them then?

  120. oh, poor Joshua, why so much hate?

    who hurt you?

    I’m just really saddened that there are people like you who ask about those who don’t read the media whilst spouting media gibberish. It takes a rare kind of idiocy to achieve that bit of muppetry. Take a bow Suga3 you’ve out done yourself.

    please mate, I think you may find that I was referring to myself…

    but that would require engaging the uncharted parts of your brain that are responsible for things other than mindless abuse…

    once again, who hurt you?

    I don’t give a fuck what is being said by idiots like Collymore or Durham as well as what you can read in your average red top, you know?

    and no, I don’t feel being spoken down or looked down upon by you – my floor is your ceiling matey!

    and yes, good day to you too…

  121. Joshua:

    The stuff you say is mostly true I think. Gris Gris and Limestone made similar points in earlier posts. Bias probably does affect our performance but it is not something that we can control. Blaming our problems on refs and bias and the condition of the pitch, long balls, defensive football etc. etc. comes off as whinging to the rest of the non-arsenal world and feeds back into everything you complain about in your post. As Limestone said in an earlier post, focusing on this is counterproductive and although we have a small extra layer of difficultly we could have overcome with better play on the pitch this season. If we really believe all this stuff is whats holding us back then our situation is completely hopeless under the current management. I don’t believe that for a second.

  122. Henristic…

    I disagree most strongly with your characterisation of my posts. Where is a sweeping generalisation in what I wrote today? Give me an example and I’d deal with it later. And if you want to defend the media coverage on the basis that some of it has the ring of truth be my guest but to say that we fail at the season’s end without looking at the reasons why, is nonsense in my view. This season is nothing like last season or even the season before… no rational person would come that conclusion after looking at those seasons… Yet I’m the one making generalisations? This season we genuinely collapsed… last season and the season before?..,give me a break!

    as for you latest peeve… here’s a quote that I was referring to from our friend Suga3…


    what about these who are not really that bothered by the media but they see our team implode at the slightest pressure?”….

    Don’t hassle me hassle the idiotic doomer who used the phrase. I have every right to pick out an idiotic comment and show it’s idiocy. Even you say that we don’t implode at the slightest pressure but said nothing about Suga3’s comment but you choose to call me out for a phrase that someone else used.

    Makes no sense to me mate,

  123. Seems to be the way on here to markus, many regulars on here think by insulting people with opinions other than theirs and making a whole lot of noise with out actually saying anything they can , actully forget it they are just being asshols . Some one ask a question the other day about wheather Bendner was playing to his strengths on the right , can’t remember who it was but they refused to answer because it did not support their argument. The one they started! WAs actually pretty funny

  124. Suga3 its funny reading your post where you say theres no need for name calling , perhaps you should go back and review some of your own posts on Le grove and see the various names you have used when referring to Wenger, is that because you dont have an argument really?

  125. Sorry Bill but i have to go out now… If I’m in a fit state 🙂 when I get back I’ll tackle you on the issues you raise. otherwise it might have to be some other time.


    You and the muppets on Le Grove are mostly lying, moronic, xenophobic and ill-informed slime. You are a major enabler of lies and downright slander against a club you claim to support so don’t be surprised that some would find you a detestable character. You may well be great bloke elsewhere but online you are slime. And please don’t come at me that “I’m Polsih” crap.

  126. what were these names then?

    I tend to use the acronym OGL, which stands for ‘Our Glorious Leader’, but that’s about it…

    and it’s different if you call your interlocutor names, you know?

  127. why not? I am Polish and it’s a fact…

    and what is this slander then? it’s easy to throw unsubstantiated accusations, you know?

    I dare you to point out MY posts that would be in that category – can’t wait!

    as for the ‘xenophobic’ bit, I think you will find that whilst I don’t throw a hissy fit when someone goes into that mode, there are numerous examples of me saying that it’s not really that clever…

  128. suga3 if you cant remember the name calling perhaps you should go for a check up and its no different calling you interlocutor names just makes you look stupid

  129. Seriously Joshua you are becoming a bore now.

  130. true,

    no mate, if anyone needs a checkup, it’s you as you are seeing things…

  131. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    My goodness. Bill arguing the side of his beloved Arsenal once again. What a piece of shit posting that crap on an Arsenal blog. You have absolutely lost the plot if you think we are on a level playing field with ManUre. They definitely play by a different set of rules and get a lot more leeway than we get. I don’t believe they have better defenders for one second either. They just get more freedom.

  132. Delia--Block 112

    Gentlemen, some of us need to toughen up. Someone of my age , who has seen it all since the 50s, has acquired a crocodile skin when it comes to the media, the doomers , hostile opposing fans and the anti Wenger brigade on sites like Le Grove. Being a fan means taking the good with the bad and holding ones nerve when confronted with those who do not appreciate the values and history of the Arsenal.
    I am just in from a great Wedding Day lunch ,hosted by two avid United supporters. They are just envious that I get to see my beloved team every home game, they rarely manage to get to OT to support their side ,from here in North Norfolk.
    As always COYRs

  133. Suga3 you come on here to wind people up and give you something to brag about on le grove

  134. and oh, Joshua, if you don’t believe me, check this out:

    if you click on the pic at the top, you get to see the source, surely, I have to be Polish to translate a 5,000 word long text, no?

  135. bollocks I do – I like a look debate with different kinds of people to get the spectrum of views, that’s all…

    you should try that every now and then, it really helps 😆

    not really my fault that some get wound up easily and make themselves look silly in the process, is it?

  136. @Darius
    That Kate girl doesn’t have very big tits does she?

  137. Wow suga only poles can translate polish!

  138. it’s spelt with a capital ‘P’…

    but I will take it as a compliment, my English must be good 😉

  139. Surely is no the reasion why we get more penalties than anyone else is because e play so much inside the penalty area, against, usually, massed defences, who will invariably do something that should be regarded as a penalty.

    I suspect that the refs (other than Dowd) just do not like giving numerous penalties to one side. It may look like they are eing bisaed, even thought the penalties are actually deserved.

    Imagine the outsry if we got 3 penalties every game.

    Have a good weekend friends.

  140. Good post.

  141. not true about the only poles translating polish. i can do it with the help of the thing that computes.

  142. Check this out from the FFF. Quota on how many non-white players make it to the NT.

    That’s all ours back, thank you. Assholes

    On Blanc the Manc you can take the man out the scum…

  143. er, I suggest you give it a go, and see if it makes sense – you may want to put another random interview from that source site into that ‘thing that computes’, the results are pretty hilarious…

    but you have to be bilingual to appreciate that 😉

  144. SUGA3,

    There is so much hate because people tend not to like it when their favourite team is slaughtered on a regular basis by a group of people who claim to be arsenal fans. Sure, you can come on here and attack the enthusiasm and optimism, which you interpret as delusion, but the truth is there is always going to be a spectrum of opinion about how good the club is, even amongst those who are the least cynical.

    The worst excesses of Le Grove include calling the manager a C**t, any player a C**t, who has underperformed, PHW a C**t (which may be deserved). Everybody has a right to an opinion, but very often, the contra-opinion goes unchallenged on your site. But still, you are entitled to your opinion. Le Grove I suspect feels a bit smug that no trophies have been forthcoming this season. This is disappointing. And one has to say, I guess we are all disappointed, no matter what side of the debate you come down on.

    For myself, I’ve always believed that Wenger has overachieved, and does not deserved the abuse he receives on your site. Which is totally disgraceful. In any case, if there is one criticism, I would say that Wenger has overestimated the abilities of the squad, which has led to us falling short. But that does not mean he should be vilified, because if there have been misjudgements, we still believe he is the man to put things to rights. There has been some bad luck, the absence of Vermaelen, the continued injury problems – Diaby, Fabianski, Cesc (which has led him to not finding his best form), and Arshavin has not performed to his best.

    But there is another argument, that Le Grove seems to be totally incapable of making. And that is that we have no divine right to win the premiership or champions league, and certainly, given our transfer expenditure, we are lucky enough to be 3rd in the table.

    You can poor scorn on that. I’ve heard the usual arguments. Some say that we could have signed this player or that player pre season. For example, Samba or Schwarzer. To me, this is pissing in the wind. Wenger has assembled a 25 man squad, and the inclusion of just one or two more players that will finally unlock the door, to me, is a fanciful belief. You can argue that we have the money and we are raking it through our gate receipts and commercial dealings. Yep, I can hear that argument. £40 million is the amount apparently in the coffers. So, this is the scenario. Pre season, Wenger is sitting there with £40 million, he knows of 2 players, both £20 million each, who will secure us the title, but he doesn’t sign them because he is a tight fisted Le Frenchman. Really ? If you believe that, then you will believe every bit of prejudice ever uttered about him.

    You can criticise his style, and you can question the strategy. This is fair enough. But the moment you come out with unsubstantiated dross, swear words, examples of playing championship manager, where you claim with certainty that this player was available for x, and Wenger didn’t sign him, and therefore he’s a moron.. yadda yadda…, is the moment that you lose credibility. It’s the moment that you’ve lost the argument. You, Pedro, Geoff, and some others, who claim to be in anti-wenger camp, have yet to come up with a set of reasons as to why we should reasonably expect to win the champions league and/or premiership in light of our history. We have never won the european cup, and on average we have won the premiership every 9 years (4 years is the average under Wenger).

    Yes, we should win the Carling Cup, or the FA Cup, and our run-in has been disappointing. But football is a tough game. Slagging everbody under the sun does nobody any favours. You want to hurl abuse at Denilson and co, then go ahead. But after a while, it becomes boring. And you end up slagging people for no reason, or the wrong reasons.

  145. Muppet,

    the ‘divine right’ thing is a common misconception: only idiots will speak about anything different than just ‘using the resources available towards improving the odds’

    believe me or not, I have never played CM in my life, yet another generalisation some people like to make 😉

    IMO, there are players in this squad that should not be allowed into the stadium without buying a ticket first, let alone play for AFC, but that’s just me…

    and it’s not a smug kind of ‘We told you so’, at least not in my case, trust me!

  146. Maria that is shocking if true and would not surprise me one bit if it was.

  147. and oh, william, since I recall you not knowing who DD was, you may find this video interesting:

  148. Nasir @ 6:39:

    I prefer to think of myself as being on the positive side of this discussion. The raw numbers show that Arsenal is getting about the same treatment regarding penalties as the other big 4 clubs, meaning our destiny from at least that standpoint is in our owns hands. As the boss said, if everything is scripted then whats the use. Great way that he handled that one with the media don’t you think.

  149. Btw. this must be the first time I’ve seen Suga3 post on here not directly after a loss.

  150. damned if I do, damned if I don’t 😆

  151. Pass,

    How disgusting is that? I’m glad someone blew the whistle on them. It helps explain allot of the summer problems with Ribery, the bullying of Yoan and the Anelka mutiny.

    Ban on Burka the sign of things to come from France, I suspect.

  152. Limestonegunner

    Quick corrections for Joshua on his generally well considered post: 1) the birth certificate was needed not to establish that Obama is a citizen but that he was born in the US so as to fulfill the constitutional requirements for eligibility to be President; many US citizens do not fit this criterion, which is somewhat unique to the US. 2) the issue is not only because Obama is “black” but has a foreign “Muslim” father from Kenya, so this is as well anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim in nature and draws from these prejudices as well.

  153. Limestonegunner

    Joshua, your explanation of why the general public view about Arsenal has changed so dramatically in the last several years, reaching such a crescendo now, is really just an explanation of how (and that is somewhat obvious to us all–the media portrayal has shifted, we understand this, though I wouldn’t put the shift at 5-6 years ago but more like 3 years ago, since our collapse after Eduardo’s leg was broken at Birmingham in 08, perhaps 4 at the outside).

    It begs the question of why the media have shifted in its portrayal recently. As I pointed out, we were liked for our style of play and admired for our approach to building at team until fairly recently. There is also something quite specific going on that has raised the intensity of this negative view and criticism in this season. That too requires some explanation for why (not just how). Tentatively, I am tempted to claim that the “meteoric” rise of Tottenham and the love-fest that has surrounded them and their little adventure in Europe plays some role. But I haven’t worked out quite how the dynamic has worked.

  154. So are you TimmyT. If you have nothing to say, say nothing.

  155. Limestonegunner

    I am thinking the England B players and English manager in the top four, the “best player in the world” being a Briton, the supposedly glorious attacking and open play of their team (a real myth as any tactical analysis shows–long ball and crossing to the Crouch in the middle is all there is to it), etc…. has somehow intensified and focused the xenophobic anxieties more squarely on sophisticated possession Arsenal and its foreign manager/players by some short circuiting and contrast. Perhaps. Probably much more behind this.

  156. Maria
    What is the difference between that and the racial Quotas in South African sports? Why do you think there are so many South African players in the England team.. Peterson was told he was the wrong color !
    I think its disgusting either way , but this is nothing new.

  157. Limestone,

    I reckon it has something to do with precious little success in games against the top teams, and our playing style losing quite a lot of ‘oomph’…

    AW complaining about stuff left, right and centre and sticking up for him players no matter what is a minor PR disaster in itself: think of a ‘failing’ company with shit customer service and all the other flaws in the world…

    take BT for example: to be honest, apart from the most recent house move and them trying to charge me undue £130 (well, it was due, but I told them that they will either waive that or can go fuck themselves before I made a deal), I don’t really have a bad word to say about them…

    but their overall image is less than perfect, non?

    it works like this: if you are a top ‘business’, you are expected to give top performance, that’s what you charge premium for, besides, good news don’t sell 😉

  158. Amazing how so few people realise that the spuds limping gimping diving exit from the cl produced the worse aggregate goal difference by an english team ever in the comp. media chose to ignore that fact.

    Ronaldo once said “the god of football sent me to this planet to teach people how to play and showcase my talent” Messi, when asked for his thoughts on the statement said “I dont remember sending anyone.”

  159. any company with british in the title are a money grabing enterprise who you cant trust.. british telecom, british gas, british rail(was), british airways…….. british home stores……shit the lot of em.

  160. Limestonegunner

    Maria, thanks for bringing to attention this article about the FFF. I didn’t understand what you meant by your statement: “It helps explain allot of the summer problems with Ribery, the bullying of Yoan and the Anelka mutiny.”

    How does it explain this? What explains the problems last summer in the French national team? Isn’t the article saying that some commentators (who presumably agree that there should be less black, arab, and Muslim players on the national team) were blaming players with these identities for the controversies and implosion of the national team, using race/ethnicity/religion as an explanation for their presumably bad, rebellious behavior and attitude against the white French coach (and players)? Do you mean that there was a “race war” going on?! Just wondering what you meant.

  161. many thanks to Joshua for taking time out from his life to contribute 17 paragraphs to today’s blog comments, each of them excellent in their own way. I particularly appreciate the insight that football is not as important as running a country, especially a large and powerful one like the US of A. I’m not sure I totally agree, but nevertheless his sense of perspective is commendable.

    On balance, however, I think I agree with Limestone that the pertinent issue vis a vis the casting of Arsenal as “other” in the narrative of England football is not so much the fact of it, as Joshua so eloquently articulated, but why this is happening. Why does the media need to create and perpetrate such a narrative in the first place? It seems to me that Rafa Benitez was subjected to the same sort of nativist derision when he tried to challenge SAF and call out the football establishment for what he thought was preferential treatment awarded to ManU. Is England just an insecure nation that can’t abide by having foreigners put it’s institutions to task?

  162. anyone think we are going to beat manu??
    i dont..
    i think we are going to get humiliated again..

  163. JJ

    DooM™ 😆

    but seriously, given how flat we are and how much they WANT it, well…

  164. it will be the same old same old suga

  165. oh well, what is the worst that can happen?

    copy and paste job for the match report?

  166. I acually think the players may come out with a nothing to lose mentality and surprise some folks. They may take that shot that they previously passed on, or try something audacious. Who knows, but I will be right there pulling for the victory!

  167. Some players could be trying to convince Wenger to keep them on for next season.

    I have a feeling we may see a more ruthless Wenger in the coming months.

  168. JJ:

    I think they will come in smug and over confident with their lead in the PL, our recent troubles and the results of the FA cup game, and their mid week game in Germany. They will play a weakened line up. I think we pick tomorrow to decide we have nothing to lose and win 2 – 1. They will go on and win the league but at least this will be a good way help us finish the season on a high note.

  169. Hurray!! Man Utd are putting out the reserves……no wait…

  170. it dont matter who fergie picks..
    its his tactics that do us..

  171. Here is what I would like to see from Wenger:


    I know it will probably not happen…but would love to see how it would work.

  172. Id like to see.

    sagna, squid,kos,clichy

    fukin give em nowt. all behind the ball.

  173. Paulie Walnuts

    I agree it would be interesting if AW changed tactics on Sunday.

    How about Song sweeping behind JD & Kos & our two full backs pressing their wide players as far back as possible. I`d also play Theo as close to Vidic as possible & get the ball to him as much as we can.

    I just feel a change of system would give us more chance in these games. Man Ure have worked us out & their personnel appears to make no difference

  174. Viceologist:

    Chamahk up top with RVP either behind him or on the wing. Doubt we will modify our usual formation in game 35. I would love to see him try Song/Cesc /Nasri in MF to do something different. TW, MC, and RVP as the front 3.

  175. Any one know if TV played in the reserve game yesterday and how did he do?

  176. Tv played full 90,clean sheet

  177. Coll…thanks George.

  178. that was supposed to be: Cool.

  179. Borges Spinelli

    I would prefer this line-up on Sunday.


  180. Borges…i actually like that line up…Eboue would definitely be more direct on the wing and provide.the defensive cover to make nani or park ji sung a non factor in the game.

  181. excellent interview with Djourou in the Guardian. After reading this I had to wonder why Johan is never mentioned as captain material. He’s the longest serving player currently in the squad, plays a deep position and is an intelligent, articulate individual. If he could just demonstrate that he can stay healthy, I’d certainly back him as captain.

  182. but does he have the leadership qualities required?


  183. I mean, there are a few people in the squad that do:

    – RvP, but giving the armband to a striker is not ideal
    – Wilshere, but he is 20, plus it’s not a good idea to add this kind of burden to being played out of position
    – Vermaelen: probably the best idea, strikes me as a natural leader of men)
    – Szczesny, but again, he is too young and stuck to the goal, hence not ideal
    – AA, but he does not seem to be mates with the team, plus, he is said to be a goner

    and there still a couple of players I would consider ahead of JD…

  184. good shout for JD as capatain of our sinking ship, but he has to stay fit so it has to be er…TV.

  185. captain of the sinking ship? yes.

    captain to lead the crew through the battle? no.

    so yeah, TV it is!

  186. I liked that Djourou interview. On building the team he said something that should resonate going into the summer – many of AW’s most successful signings were way off their games when we got them.

    Just go through the list – Overmars was just off the back of a career-threatening injury (£5 million!), Henry was having a nightmare in Turin, Pires had fallen out with Marseille, Vieira (£3.5 million) was a youngster who couldn’t get into the Milan team because of quotas on foreigners, while Petit (£2.5 million!) was a competent centre-back about to be reborn as a dynamic CM. Moving on, Kanu had barely played for Inter for three years because of heart issues and more recently, RvP had disciplinary problems (£2 million!).

    Meanwhile the recent work done bringing Djourou, Clichy, Wilshere, Song, Sczcesny, Theo etc through is just as impressive, but a little less glamourous.

    And when you consider that only three of current our team are among football’s 100 top earners – a significant portion of this supposed £40 million kitty would be chomped by one player’s wages – it’s pretty clear that we’re not going to be after household names this summer unless there are very special circumstances.

    Rather than expecting us to change it would be best to wait for the rest of the world to try to do what we’ve been doing for the last eight years. Financial Fairplay starts this summer btw.

  187. OOU,

    this financial fair play nonsense is just for the poor and the clubs that step out of the line and happen to be £3.99 in the red, just watch…

    this was introduced to protect the interests of the biggest clubs: they just did not like the idea of new Chelseas popping up left, right and centre…

  188. You come on here hoping for a bit of light relief .Only to find that some right miserable bastards have set up camp.
    As if we dont feel bad enough without them dragging us under.

  189. struggling to handle some bitter truth, are we?

  190. OneOfUs | April 30, 2011 at 9:32 am |

    Great points, the problem is that we live in a microwave society – people are far too impatient. They want everything to be instant so the idea of building step by step is too much for their tiny minds to conceptualize.

  191. OOU if Arsene brought in any of those players now ,he would be accused of being cheap and told he had lost it.£2 million for a striker ! wtf we meed a £50 million 1 .We should be buying the players who get the most inches in the red tops.
    On The Fansforum on atvo people were clamoring for Cahill,Parker and Reina.
    We should sack Wenger and just take a poll of the hacks about who to sell and buy.
    The problem is that people do believe the shit on Sky and in the papers.

  192. show me ONE person clamouring for a £50M signing that is older than 10, has the three figure IQ and does not happen to be sectioned!

    as for the suggestions on who to sign, there are some good shouts in there, the squad cannot remain as it is, that’s for sure…

  193. How many people in the world do we think know more about football and specifically Arsenal than Arsene Wenger?
    Yet the world is full of delusional halfwits who actually believe they do,and not only them but there intellectually challenged mates and every third rate journalist who like seeing his stupidity repeated by his uninformed readers.

  194. Good shouts? really?
    Enough said

  195. I don’t think that any of those players will be at Arsenal next year.

    I wonder if, in the manner of the signings Big Al has pointed out, if we will know much about them at all.

    Bargain buys are not necesarily bad buys are they?

    Just because a bit of gloss has come off an item doesn’t make it useless.

  196. By the way.By the time you pay the transfer fee ,wages and insurance and sundry costs Cahill alone would cost the club in the region of £50 million.

  197. cbob,

    sure it doesn’t, Sagna and Eduardo double signing is a prime example, IMO…

    however, I believe there is the need to buy a few good, solid players and maybe one signing like Benzema to show that we mean business…

  198. Cahill, £50M? first of all, I don’t think this is a particularly good shout out of the few (IMO, Parker is), besides, it’s £50M over how many years?

    plus, that’s how much it costs these days if you are interested in anything more than being an also ran with the occasional cup win…

    actuallly, scratch that, we had one served on a plate and spoon fed to this team in little bits, but guess what? somehow they managed to choke on that as well!

  199. Benzema, yeah he may as well warm our bench as theres .How much do you think we could get that particular failed striker for ?

%d bloggers like this: