Which Transfer Policy Will Prevail?

The fallout (and fallings out) from the weekend continue unabated. Nerves are raw and more tension is in the air than on the morning of a cup final or title decider. Thus will it be for some time, I suspect.

Players such as Vermaelen, van Persie and Szczesny have all had their say. And to be honest, their words are correct but it is beyond that point for this season. Platitudes do not work anymore, time to win at Fulham to bring some small crumb of comfort, rest and then be back at work on time for next season.

I have a lot of time for the three of them and did not agree with the criticism of the young Pole for his observations post-Villa. For once Arsenal got the PR right in that they are three who have performed to a consistently high level or produced a mini-boost by returning to the team, even in defeat.

Elsewhere rumours of a Champions League qualifier against a top notch side were scotched when it emerged that the 4th Qualifying Round is seeded and as a club with one of the higher co-efficients, Arsenal will be amongst them. It means that Arsenal are likely to face Udinese/Lazio, Dinamo Kyiv rather than potentially of Villarreal or Bayern.

Nothing indicates more the fall from grace than we the certainty of finishing fourth is now accepted rather than fighting for third. Realism strikes.

Summer signings are dominant with the end of season collapse. Scott Parker is the media favourite with a transfer fee anywhere between £6m – £18m (no, seriously, according to the media that is how much West Ham want). Surprisingly, there seemed to some support for Arsenal’s lower valuation which must go against the grain somewhat.

It has been the chance that some have been waiting for. Reports are emerging that the Board this time around will be more involved in transfers and that Wenger is being told no more ‘foreign johnnies‘ by Peter Hill-Wood’s pet newspaper whilst they have sought to boost Britain’s ailing economy by suggesting that transfer business be conducted domestically.

So who is on this list of British-based players then? Well, there’s Scott Parker for starters. And…well, come on, we’re waiting. We haven’t got all day you know. Oh for God’s sake, if you’re going to come up with a fanciful transfer notion, at least have the names ready.

The question is whether KSE will interfere with Wenger’s transfer policy. Having been accepted into the Establishment and been viewed as the lesser of two evils – if you believe Alisher Usmanov’s Sunday Times interview – the Daily Star‘s belief that direction is being given by the board does not sit well with past events.

Are we really expected to believe that they are the wolf in sheep’s clothing? Not unbelievable but not likely.

KSE will not fund a massive spending spree this summer for two reasons. Firstly, it goes against the self-sustaining model. The two are mutually exclusive. Arsenal do not have the pot of gold that everyone seems to think, the most common manifestation being talk of money in the bank. That is not just for transfers and more importantly, with all of the activity being bandied around, is totally insufficient.

Secondly, they do not have a history of such interference in their US ventures immediately nor do they have the footballing expertise. Had they brought along a ‘football advisor’ or Director of Football, then such micro-management might well have been achievable although the question is how people involved in football could credibly carry out such a role with Wenger in charge.

As it is, the likelihood is of Wenger naming his targets and they either sign a new contract with their current employers or join. I doubt that a missed transfer because of £200k will arise this summer; KSE will not want to preside over inactivity, perceived as disastrous and displaying a lack of vision.

Yet there are contradictory messages. Calls for summer signings as well as investing in finding the next Cesc or Jack Wilshere. Ian Wright demands new signings today as well as giving youngsters a chance despite a lot of them not being good enough. All in the space of one paragraph which is as impressive as his scoring record was.

This summer is unlikely to see the huge volume of signings. Wenger’s previous record indicates this and there is a credible argument that too many – more than five or six – is as disruptive as it is refreshing. More likely two or three for contention in the starting line-up with the rest of the squad unchanged except for departures.

Whatever the plan is, decisive action quickly and early in the transfer window is going to be necessary. There is a full fixture list next season, internationals in the week preceding the Premier League kick-off on August 13th with the Champions League Qualifiers the following week. Integration with the squad is difficult when matches are in continuous flow. Let’s be done and dusted before pre-season please.

’til Tomorrow

Posted on May 17, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 466 Comments.

  1. Mj (from previous thread) – mj – No, not at you directly mate. Plenty of people come up with that on a regular basis. It is true the ref’s have had an impact on some of our games. But what we don’t focus on is the decisions that have gone our way, and their were plently over the course of the season. Have a look at our form guide since the CC final. Do you believe that referee’s have influenced that to that extent? If is a horrible sight I can tell you (2 wins in 15 I think).

    Ref’s can infulence things, but all too often we are the masters of our own downfall. Of that, there can be no denying unfortunatly.

    YW – Nice post

  2. If Arsenal fans don’t fight their corner, who will, GA?

    Do you actually think other teams’ fans don’t realize that they’re being totally biased when they talk about refereeing decisions etc?

    I know some of it might sound far fetched to a neutral like you, but nobody else is going to defend this club when all the world is trying to knock it. It’s up to you how you want to be counted.

  3. good post
    we wont sign top quality which is needed
    for example if we bid 8mil for parker they ask 9.5 mil i think arsenal completely dishout n then aw will say wait
    a french player for eg afamalito is for 4mil so why dont we get him who is not up to the quality while parker who has played in the epl is ignored so
    4mil saved n into the bank

  4. Anthony Timothy

    I agree that five signings will be disruptive. Three at the most will. The thing is will Wenger finally sign the experienced players the team needs.If
    not if the gunners fail to challenge,he should leave.

  5. i think if they buy parter they will shut up a large part of the Arsenal fans. ALl they want is parker. 15m to shut them up is probably good buisness. then they can always buy a cheaper and better foregin DM that can play in Songs role and just use parker as a posterby to satisfy the fans.

  6. Morgan Amalfitano is on a free, so count on Wenger going for him. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind as he is an attack midfielder, just as long as we get that midfield enforcer.

  7. I really hope that he sells almunia, knowing wenger there’s a chance he might not. I will sigle handedly lose faith in him if almunia is still there, whether hes 3rd choice it not, I will see wenger as insane

  8. Sorry to burst your bubble Poodle, Scottie Parker is not good enough to be a starter for Arsenal, He cant get a place in front of Cesc,Jack,Alex Aaron or Samir,He has not cut it at Cl,international level, all his career and I doubt at his age that he can now, he has looked decent in a relagation side but the team revolved around him, it would be far different with us, he would be a substitute used sparingly,(just like he was at Chelsea and England), Scotties a good pro but not the type of player to take us up a grade.

  9. Wenger inherited a decades-long ‘grow your own’ policy when he came to the Club and (amongst other improvements) extended it to a global level. It always has been at the root of a self-sufficiency policy which has become almost unique in recent years but which will become much more evident as Financial Fair Play begins to take effect.

  10. Thanks YW.

    Havent been posting much recently but have had a good read of what’s been discussed. The ref thing, is obvious to see that there has been a lot of bias this year, more than i’ve ever seen (apart from the inevitable Manure bias year in year out). But this cannot be used as an excuse. We have the players who can overcome such bullshit, and use our skill to kill off games. We haven’t been up to scratch in attack or defence recently, a problem only made worse by coming up against Dowd etc.

    All the doom and gloom though can be very destructive, and rarely helpful. People who think that booing the players will get the club to spend loads of money are fools. They are more than aware of the disappointments this season, and the true Gooners in the club and squad will want to prove their love for the club, their ambitions and repay our faith in them.

    An interesting summer ahead, that’s for sure. But keep the damn faith people. The lack of support recently has been pathetic. We are all Arsenal, not just the players and staff.

  11. @Philbet my point exactly. He is a bit like J Cole was last summer. ” the next great thing over 30!”

  12. and why exactly is the press still talking about Liverpool as if they were a “big club?” they have not won anything for 5 years they are not a CL team and does not look like they will enter the CL for a long time to come. They also have not won the LEAUGE for 21 years!!!

    its a small club living on its history. Its like saying Spain is an important country in world politics because they discovered America back in the day.

  13. I would agree with those saying that Scott Parker isn’t good enough.

    It will be an interesting summer if Cesc is off – I would suspect that we may change formation, especially if Nasri leaves as well.

  14. OOU – I don’t see it as defending the club. I do that when speaking to other supporters. When speaking with other Arsenal fans it is about being realistic and not being blind to what is glaringly obvious.

    Listen to what a number of the palyers have said this week. Word to the effect of “this is not good enough, we have not been good enough”. I am glad they are looking at the real issues and not concewntrating on refereeing decisions that have gone against them. If they are not, then why are the fans?

    The truth is that despite injuries and bad decsions not going in our favor, we have not been good enough. We played well, and got ourselves into a good position but collopased (again) in quite remarkable fashion. There is nowhere else to look but inwards for those reasons. And if (as I have hard some on here say) that the confidence has gone because we have been so hard done by, then there really is a problem in the squad. We should be bigfer than that.

    Decisions go for and against every club. Ours are more obvious because we watch every game (we tend to ignore the ones that go in our favor though eh?). There are plenty of clubs that will also feel hard done by due to a dodgy ref. And when I say dodgy, I mean poor, not biased. There is no consipercy against as as some believe. That is a very paranoid and desperate way of thinking, and just smacks of somebody who cannot accept the truth.

  15. I think Cesc and Nasri will still be here next year. But am prepared for life after Cesc now. It will happen at some point, so we may as well be ready for it. Parker the solution to our problems? Give me a break. Relegation team ‘winner’, not much more imo. Some players thrive on being the big fish in a small pond, and he’s one i think.

  16. GoonerAndy – the refs seem like they are biased against us because we are underachieving against the so-called lesser lights of the league, so we, as fans, are looking at these decisions (Wenger as well) as game changers when we shouldn’t be discussing these at all because we should be beating these teams without the decision.

  17. Before we get over-excited on possible new signings in the Summer Window, it would be nice to know how many of our current crop of youngsters does Wenger intend promoting next season.

  18. If Cesc and Nasri both stay, they I would be delighted, but we really need to clear from players out and come up with a couple of scorching wingers to play on the flank.

    I would love to see both Cesc and Nasri in the middle of the park and really don’t understand why this hasn’t been toyed with yet. With Cesc sitting deep and Nasri sitting behing the striker, it would be a joy to behold.

  19. On the subject of players not being “good enough” I would ask by what measure. Technically?

    Sure, some of the players can’t do as many keepy ups as some of the players we already have, but I feel we are being to conreisted my our measurements of what is a good player. We have plenty of technically gifted players, but that does not bring sucess. We need more of a mix throughought the squad. If that means getting some players who are slightly more limited technically, but bring other assets to the table so be it.

    I am not saying Parker should be one of our transfer targets, but he could easily slip into this squad. He would provide Song with some real competition for his place for sure (he has none at this moment in time). And he would definately a player who you could rely on when our backs against the wall (which is when we tend to go tits up).

    The first sign of madness is doing the same thing, and expecting a diffierent result. We need a tweak in our mix of players IMO. Just a few small one’s.

  20. LimparAssist

    I agree with MJ, and OOU. Penalty decisions against Sunderland and Liverpool came at crippling times for us. You can’t underestimate the effect of momentum and confidence on a football team. We were robbed of that on a number of occasions. Meanwhile Utd have been gifted it on a number of occasions. The poor form has spiralled and the rot should’ve been stopped, but that’s a piece of piss to say isn’t it.

    Thanks for the posts, as ever, YW. All the Arsenal news worth talking about in one place.

  21. LimparAssist

    Oh God, Einstein’s back.

  22. Einstein?

  23. But we have to note that even though many refs make bad decisions those against arsenal are mostly when arsenal is in contention for some form of a position. Against liverpool we would have been top. Vidic sent off Manu would be with Arsenal. against Bolton ridiculous penalty. I think Sky and BBC are doing EPL more harm

  24. Why isn’t Scott Parker good enough?

    I haven’t watched him much at all really, but is his technique that poor? Worse than Songs, Lassana Diarra, Eastmond, Lansbury, Flamini, Denilson, etc?
    If that’s the case I can understand why he is so easily dismissed, but it seems the main reason for some disliking him seems to be because he plays for relegation team. Why should that matter? Kos was playing for a lower division french team only a few seasons ago. A good player is a good player, imo.

  25. Andy, as I said, nobody is denying the railities in our defence, but where we lie in the table does not show the true picture. If not for some ridiculous refereeing, we would be sitting AT LEAST 2nd in the table. Inspite of some shambolic defeats.

  26. frailities*

  27. ” But what we don’t focus on is the decisions that have gone our way, and their were plently over the course of the season ”

    Please shed some light, Andy

  28. Maybe Parker would be a good signing, if he was prepared to be in and out of the first team. But from the time he was at the Chavs, he played poorly when called upon, and and was an unhappy squad player. I would rather have Song in that position personally. If we are to sign a combative midfielder like that, they need to be better than Song, if not, I think there are other areas that should take priority.

  29. Begeegs, you are not talking the truth at all. We have bee beaten this season and no one said anything because we deservedly lost.
    Stoke, Birmingham, WBA have all beaten us and there was no complaints so dont lie and make it look like Arsenal always have a go at the ref. When it is warrented it is warrented and for Sunday it was and is.

    I agree with MJ. The team must take full responsibility for their part in our downfall but that doesnt make bogus calls any less bogus. I dont see why that is so difficult to understand.

  30. Henristic – him playing for a relegation team isn’t the reason not to like him, it’s just that good players always look better in a team with lesser players around them. If he was playing for Stoke or Fulham, I’d have the same opinion of him.

    Paul N – “The team must take full responsibility for their part in our downfall but that doesnt make bogus calls any less bogus.” Well said.

  31. @mj_gunner . Some decisions go your when they don’t impact your season. But there are some which are deliberately made to impact your season and these are endless against arsenal and for manu and that is what we talking about. If Arsenal is 6th and they are 8points away from 5th we would get decisions. Like whenever manu draws we get lousy decisions against Arse and it is a fact

  32. We would have to pay top, top dollar to find a DM better than Song, Geo. Not many around…

  33. mj – I can’t agree with that mate. Over the course of a season the leg table does not lie.

  34. Sorry for my scornful tone earlier, GA. What I want to say is that you shouldn’t chide people for being partisan. Nobody has all the facts in front of them, so not a single person can speak with any conviction about the players’ mentality and the decisions taken by AW (everybody’s favourite topics).

    Of course the players are going to be self-critical; alongside the manager, they’re the only ones in this relationship with any liability, and really they’re just saying what they think everyone wants to hear. We’re not in the same situation as them and shouldn’t – in my view – take the same stance.

  35. Yes GA, lets see how the calls balanced out because in one match 3 calls went against us.

  36. Watched the villa match last night.we played one of our best games of the season against villa.though i knew the score,i found myself holding my breath. Tv5 was awesome.winning almost all aerial battles and going forward with spine tingling confidence.
    Wenger has a problem with the ramsey/wilshere combo in midfield akin to the lampard/gerrad situation in the england team.both of them are too similar in style to be effective in the midfield.also cesc/ramsey isn’t good for the same reason.
    The walcott situation is becoming more glaring.if walcott can’t get behind his marker he offers nothing else to the team.wit arshavin on the left looking only half interested,our attack was nulified on both wings.and gibbs?so good going forward but shite in defending.
    The subs,bendtner and chamakh,showed glimpses of how good they can be.was really impressed with b52 on the left wing.

  37. But we do need cover for that position, as Song will be leaving for ACN at some point.
    We have some promising tenacious youngters with that can play DM and promoting from within would be nice, but the position is unique and getting someone of experience and energy there might work out better.

  38. mj @ 9:57 – I can’t think of any of the top of my head, but I remember on a number of occaions (especially earlier in the season) whe we have had decisions go in our favor. Whilst we gloss over it, the opposition fans will no doubt be going mad saying the ref is bisaed towards us. Swings and roundabouts.

    Like I say, I can’t remember specifics but things like Kos booting somebody in the area (no pen given). Chamakh going over very easy for a pen (when the same happended against us it was a dive).

    People focus too much on the ref. You have to dig out a result depite the ref and opposition. That is what top title winning sides do. The Newcastle game was a greta example. Some dodgy decisions, one pen for certain which should not have been given. But we let a 4 goal lead slip in 20mins. That really is unacceptable, and whilst the ref did not making easy for us, to 100% blame him is really missing the main point. We should have still won the game; I bet Manure (I hate to say it) would have, and that is the difference.

  39. GA, it only takes one ref with an agenda or bias for the table to lie. I can see Dowd alone warping the PL table.
    After the season we forget the fortune some teams get above others and only focus on the numbers.

    What about Barcelona going to the CL Final – something is warped about it as they got their by fortuitous calls in vital matches. Maybe they wouldve got there regardless but as it stands the ref helped them out big time and blurred the whole thing.

  40. OOU – You are right mate; none of us know what goes on, nor what the players/managment are thinking. My thoughts are based soley on what I see on the pitch. No apologies neededed either, all is good 🙂

  41. That’s true Henrisitc. He would provide excellent cover, if he was up for that! To be fair, having him and Song together in some of the tougher matches, we’d have a damn solid midfield, with Cesc/Jack/Ramsey being given more freedom to attack… And yeah, to get someone in better than Song on a budget is pretty unrealistic.

  42. So Parker is not good enough although he won Player of the year yet last summer Gooners on here were saying Squillaci was a good signing!!!!!
    Funny old world

  43. But signing Parker would kill Frimpong like signing Alonso would have killed Denilson and Diaby!!!!
    Funny old world

  44. GA, why are you saying that people glossed over Arsenals good fortune? if they stand out that much you should be able to come with it. Surely against Blackpool we got a break, Barcelona coudve had a penalty as well as they shouldve had 3 players red carded.

    In guess not even corruption would affect the table. If the ref gives bad calls on 3 goal scoring chances just dig deeper and carve out more. Afer all its easyto get 4 clear goals scoring chances when a team is parking the bus.

  45. Paul – It is easier to look at blaming others (the ref’s) than look at our club. But that is what we should be doing. It is desperate blaming others.

    Do you honestly believe that there is some sort of referrring bias against Arsenal? Do the ref’s meet secretly on a weekely basis to co-ordinate this? Do you realise how ridiculous this sounds? Ref’s make mistakes, and some of them simply are not very good. For all teams. We notice things in our games more, simply because it is against our club.

    If you ask other fans of other clubs, plenty will tell you that ref go against them. Many of the lower clubs think that “the top sides get all the decisions”. So if most clubs (fans) think the ref is biased against them…..what does that tell you?

  46. Geo,
    I’ve said it before that I personally don’t think Parker is a good idea because of his injury record, unless he comes cheap or free.

    But I’m pretty sure if we get him, he’ll know that he can’t play week in week out (in the unlikely event he remains injury free).

    But any player who does well in the Premiership is good enough imo. You can’t play for years at this level and not be.

  47. Martin – Squillachi came to the club with a good record, unfortunately he didn’t turn out to be as good as hoped – that happens all the time. If Parker was in a top 6 team, and not looking like the best player by miles in that team, I doubt he would have received that award. Had a great season, don’t get me wrong. But his ability and relative form was exacerbated by those around him, and the fact that he had to carry a poor West Ham team.

    All around me are familiar faces, worn out places….

  48. Paul – Because they do not stick in the memory as much. Barca could have easily had a penalty against us as well (they should have), plus they had a goal disallowed for offside (which it wasn’t) if I remember rightly.

    You had probably forgotten about those, which just illistrates my point. Things that go against our team we tend to remeber easier.

  49. Fair one Henristic, and tbh I’d forgotten his relatively poor injury record. Sign him up! 😉 Seriously though, you’re right, if he’s real cheap, why not get him in.

  50. People probably don’t want to hear it, but Francis Coquelin has just had a successful season at Lorient, and should offer useful cover for Song in that holding role.

    Just because one or two of the younger players haven’t quite worked out, it would be crazy to ignore all the others coming through. It’s been sad to see how cynical some fans have become about youngsters on the basis of a couple of guys.

    I do agree that there could be a little more experience in the side, and I’ll be interested to see how it’s incorporated.

  51. Jabba's delights

    Poodle/ Philbet

    Arsenal fans dont want Parker because he is goign to better the quality level of our midfield, we want him as he will improve the attitude level of the team completely.

    Nobody questions the talent we have, people contest that our attitude stinks. A brilliant pro like parker will ruffle a few feathers and give certain players a kick up the backside. Chels have lots of good pro’s hence parker wasnt needed, we have about 5 in the whole squad

  52. OOU – haven’t seen much of him at all this year, looking good then? Liked what i saw a couple of years ago… And how’s the Frimp been looking?

  53. Having young players come through is great. You could argue though that if they came into a side with more experience it would actually bring them on in their development more.

    For example, as many will know on here I don’t really rate Denilson. That said, he was thrown into a very experienced side and expected to swim. When Cesc and Cole made the first team it was packed with experience and quality to help them through the games. Maybe it is no coincidence how they developed? We don’t have that luxury at the moment.

  54. Geo, the reverse to your argument also applies. A player who stands out in poor team, is also special. Parker probably isn’t the most skillful in that West ham team, but it was his other non-technical abilities that makes him stand out, as far as I know.
    And you can argue that its precisely those non-technical attributes that we lack.

  55. Jabba's delights

    yogi why the moderation

  56. The tweaking arsenal needs is another dm to play alongside song, NOT as a cover for song.players that fit that bill include sandro of spurs, fellaini of everton, juve’s melo.tiote is damn good,but he’s african and going away for the african championship counts against him.thing is,we already have a very good box to box midfielder to play alongside song:diaby. He has everything but sadly,too injury prone.

  57. Parker has caught the eye with lots of tackling (same tackles won % as Alex Song), and a handful of goals in important games (one more than Song). I think he could certainly come in and share some of the load with AS and JW. Problem is he is 30, so we pay £12 million for a couple of seasons worth of back-up midfielder. We have Frimpong and Coquelin who will be in contention next season certainly, and if not before (interested to watch their pre-season tussle). If we could get Parker at the lower end of that price bracket then I can see it working, and he’s certainly a dynamic presence on the pitch – but with (you’d imagine) Tottenham, Liverpool etc going in for him – the price will balloon and a stop-gap solution at over £10 million becomes untenable, doesn’t it?

  58. Players should be brought in and also youth players should be promoted and given a real go.I think the media and many arsenal fans underestimate van Persie’s quality and contribution.
    Suarez came and had a good 10-15 games for liverpool and the media was all over him,but van persie who’s been the best player in the 2nd half of the season for me is given very little credit.This is also the same with Chamakh.He also scored 10-15 goals in the 1st half and as soon as his form dipped, fans turned against him.Chamakh along with van Persie are the only two great strikers we have(van persie being the better one of course!) and we shouldn’t think of even selling either of them.Van Persie’s record has been great and better than suarez,caroll,bent(obviously),dzeko and torress.Only David Villa is a better player than him as far as I’m concerned.Besides,I still think we need a poacher at arsenal cuz at the moment, we have very few options up front.Bendtner should be sold as soon as possible.

  59. Henristic – Agreed. We need different types of player to compliment the player we have. At the moment we have good players, but not a mix mix of players.

  60. I meant a good mix of players.

  61. There are a few performance videos around, Geo. He’s spent a lot of time out on the right, but played in the centre for a lot of the game against Marseille on the weekend and acquitted himself well, by all accounts.

    Their manager’s been raving about him this season – he said he started out quite raw, but his decision making has improved, which was the only doubt I ever had about him. It shows as well, because he didn’t get many minutes at first, but has been a regular for the last three months.

    Frimpong looked like he’d be in the side this season, didn’t he – since he got back I think he went to America for that reserve tournament and has even been playing in the u18s. Not sure how he did though. He’s probably lost a very crucial year, unfortunately, but if he has a preseason as good as the last one he’s got to be in contention.

  62. Next next season if not before for Franny & Frim I mean. My head’s already in the close-season.

  63. Limpar – I think that sums him (and our chances of getting him if interested) pretty well. Although if we do pay more for him it may not seem value for money, it could prove to be so if he is a catalyst for the side. Even if it is only short term. Not saying he is the answer, but I do think it is the type of players that we lack and need.

  64. All right Andy, that makes it 2 or 3 decisions in our favour! I am not even includingdiving here, I mean why in the world was Chamakh’s goal disallowed on Sunday?
    The statement, the we ‘should’ win despite of the refs, is what I call media driven. As I mentoned earlier, there have been games where Manure were trailing, but atleast they given a chance to bounce back (& sometimes even helped). Its plain common sense really, you can’t win all the games convincingly, you need to scrape past opponents sometimes as well. The standard of officiating does not help.

  65. I think if we can get a Defensive Midfielder who is around the age of 30 it will serve several purposes. First Song is going off for the ACN, we will need an experienced presence in his position during that time. Also it will help us rotate Song more effectively and keep him fresh throughout the season. At this moment I don’t think the squad has a back up for Song, Diaby, Denilson and Wilshere back him up nominally but they aren’t the same kind of players.

    Also getting in someone around the age of 30 will help provide good guidance to Frimpong, Eastmond and Coquelin. And he will not block their ascent to the first team as I think they will need 2-3 years to be absolutely ready to start week in week out.

    So let us sign Angelo Palombo from Sampdoria, the guy is class.

  66. I wouldn’t disagree with that, ga. I’ve always kind of liked him. Particularly now with his side-parting. We’ve been lacking a Battle of Britain type.

  67. What do you guys think of Clint Dempsey? Hard working, skillful & can play out wide, just what we need..

  68. What about Gutierrez?

  69. Its football manager time, folks!

  70. MJ – “The statement, the we ‘should’ win despite of the refs, is what I call media driven”

    Well that is where you are 100% wrong. My opinions are my own that you very much. And my point about the decesions in our favour was not to give you an exhaustive list, just some examples. So over the season it will be more than “2 or 3”. We are no different from any other club in that respect, we just notice it more. As will fans of other clubs with their side.

  71. OOU,
    I was thinking about Coquelin in my 10.15 post, but like Andy hinted, it might actually turn out to be counterproductive (for the team and for the player) to put so much expectation on such a young head, especially in that position.

    If you think the pressure to deliver silverware was high this season. Wait until the next one. In stadium support will be even worse, players performances will be analysed in even more detail, criticism from media/pundits/former players, etc will be even more vociferous.

    That’s not the sort of environment to throw a young player with promise into. He might have a chance if he was English like Wilshere, but another french kid? imagine the venom if he makes mistakes?

  72. Limpar – Heh, quite. He looks like a 50’s film star. That would sort out the men from the boys.

  73. I think Palombo is much better than Sott Parker. He has around 30 caps for Italy, and if not for Messrs Gattuso and Pirlo he would have had about double that number. He ticks all the boxes, combative, tough tackler, good engine, can pick a pass and captain to boot. His team has also been relegated like West Ham.

  74. Haha, here we go! I’ll say these names now, and never again: Fellaini, Santi Cazorla and perhaps another striker – and the rest depends on any departures we have.

    Henristic – yeah, I do think the climate might make it difficult. Although he would just be cover at first. And I don’t think the expectation would be too high.

    The other thing about Coquelin is that he’s a real scrapper – he’d win a crowd over very quickly.

  75. I completely disagree Andy. I you do happen to make an exhaustiv list, you would find the unfair decisions ‘against’ us are much higher than those ‘for’ us.
    I have not even started on the bias Manure get from the refs. ‘The table does not lie’ is complete nonsense if you ask me; Manure would not be 6 points clear under fair circumstaces.

  76. I also hear good things about Coquelin. I must admit though, I really would like to see somebody come and challenge Song for his place. He has no real competition for his spot in the starting 11. Also in games where we need to be a bit stronger it would give us the option of playing both of them.

    Song Parker (for example)

  77. mj – Then we will have to disagree mate. You believe we have been cheated due to refereeing bias, where I believe that there are fundemental flaws with this current side. You say the lge does lie, where I say it doesn’t.

    Interesting the players don’t seem to be taking your line in recent comments, but there you go. 😉

    No point continuing the discussion as I don’t think either of us are going to budge on the issue eh?

  78. GA. If the last kick of a game is a dubious penalty when you are a goal ahead. Can any super team or super player like Rooney grind out a win?
    Compare the number of red card Kos got with less offense than Vidic and Rio who get no card in epl but get them in CL and National team. You cant fight week in weekout against refs , fa (Wenger can get a card for kicking the bottle), shove from Spurs assistant coach, Skyports and BBC and the teams on the pitch

  79. Guys we have Ramsey, Song, Cesc, Nasri, Walcott, Wilshere, Arshavin and the supposedly new DM we going to sign all vying for 5 positions in the theam (if we continue with the 4-3-3). Looking at the above i dont see a winger at all, our problem this season and the seasons past has been lack of goals from the middle Nasri is the only player ther who scored 10 league goals from the middle. So from my little knwoledge of football i would rather we sign someone who will chip in with another 10 goals or so

  80. I recent quote from Walter Smith talking about Celtic/Rangers:

    “‘I hope Celtic realise that, if their team is good enough, they will win. If they’re not good enough, they’ll not win – and they can’t look at anybody else, whether it is referees or any other influence”

    The same applies to us, and he is right.

  81. No, I don’t think it’s that simple, andy. We are not like other clubs, are we? We play football in a completely different way and it does have an impact on how a game is refereed. We have conceded more penalties than anyone else. Does that strike you as strange? Why with all the grit and desire and fight we’re supposedly lacking do we foul more people in the box than anyone else?

    I think teams dive against us ten-fold more than they’d dive playing any other team – because they know they’re not going to get their chances from open play with us dominating possession. So they take their chances and go down in the box. Over and over it’s happend these last two seasons. Big guys tumbling like lemmings under the brush of a shirt. Don’t do it when they’re up at Bolton though.

    Arsenal games are refereed in a different way. With so much possession going to one side, there will always be a ‘levelling of the playing field’. Happens all the time in football – referees playing God and taking pity on ‘weaker’ teams.

    At the other end, why is it that we have seen so many clear penalties denied against us this season? We seem to need to be kicked three times for any other team’s once before we get a decision. Again, no conspiracy, just pointing out that due to the nature of our football, decisions will often go against us.

  82. Kofi – May as well give up then eh? After all if the ref’s have an organised conspiracy against us we have no chance do we? Ho hum.

    If only we could break their web of lies.

  83. Limpar – To play devils advocte (and that is all I am doing), maybe we have conceeded more pens than anybody as we are not very good at tackling, and make stupid decsions to try and get the ball when we should just stand up. We make it easy for a ref to give decisions against us. Nothing to do with grit, and everything to do with decision making.

    I do agree about the diving, it is disgusting and embarrasing really. My point is, don’t give them the opportunity. You say players dive more against us?……OK, fair enough. Why don’t they do it against other teams? If you can get a pen by diving, surely these players will do it whoever they are playing (given the chance).

  84. Coquelin is good, but you never quite know how a young player will react to pressure. In fact from recent experience, we can guess they don’t react too positively..

  85. Our dip in form coincided with Kroenke’s majority shareholding. Maybe some of the players who don’t believe in Arsenal’s business model got disillusioned that things would remain the same for the forseeable (i.e. not going crazy with signings). To be honest if there are players who aren’t on board with that vision they should be cut loose.

    As for the referee bias GA, OOU and LA. I genuinely believe having been watching carefully all season that there is a case to be made. For most ‘big’ teams the ref looks for a reason not to give the foul, whereas for us it seems they look for any reason to give fouls against us, especially inside the boxes.

  86. Because Carlton Cole sent out to play against Birmingham has a set of instructions pertaining to his team having the ball. Carlton Cole sent out at Arsenal is prepared to win the game without the ball. ‘Look for contact’ will be high up his list of things to do.

    And if you’ve watched these players for any length of time you will know that ‘not very good at tackling’ isn’t really a valid argument. They are some of the cleanest tacklers in the league.

    If you look at some of the penalties that have gone against us and imagine the exact same contact in a Blackburn v Bolton game – you’ll see the difference in how we’re refereed. I don’t undertand exactly why, lots of reasons I suppose, but the games are refereed differently.

  87. I dunno, I’d suggest it was our more experienced players who failed to produce the performances needed when it really mattered towards the end of the season. A lot of established first-team players lost form at exactly the wrong time.

  88. Limpar – We have also conceded more goals from set pieces than anybody else. That does not seem strange, is simply highlights that we are not very good at defending them Similar to penalties, we concede as we don’t defend well in our own area.

    The frustrating thing to all of this of course, is that these are two area’s that can be worked on. It means the majority of goals we have conceded are not through teams cutting us open, but from area’s which are partly of our own design. Hopefully we will be working on these area’s hard in the summer.

  89. I’ve always admired Cambiasso from a far. If we’re looking at 30 year old midfielders. At the other end of the age spectrum, I like Stuart Holden at Bolton. But he is about where Frimpong was with his injury at Christmas. I quite like the idea of Dempsey too y’know, speaking of yanks. …God I love Football Manager.

  90. Limpar – I taake your point about the “good tacking bit”, I do agree. I suppose what i meant is decisions making when it comes to tackling.

    A good example of this is the pen Kos gave away against Newcastle. He tried to nick it through a players legs who was going away from goal. Now, there is no doubt it was soft as the players (as you rightly say) went over to easily. But the point is that Kos should really have just stood his ground, there was no danger at that moment. It was a bad decsiion to try and get the ball and made it easy for the player to go ober, and gave the ref a chance to award a pen.

    I don’t buy into that players dive more against us. If a players has a chance to dive and win a pen, he will take it regardless of who he is playing against. It just seems that we present more of these opportunites to players than others. It stands to reason.

  91. Next season Wenger will have a huge headache if he doesn’t release a few squad players. We need to allow the likes of Coquelin, Lansbury and Frimpong a passage through to the 1st team but we need to demonstrate in the transfer market we mean business. Its going to be a tricky task this summer as Wenger has so many quality players in the squad. If anything this has proved to be a problem for Wenger over the course of the season. We have had Chamakh and Bendtner sharing sub appearance minutes, had it been only 1 of them they would have been more prepared when coming into the team.

    The players need new hope, new life and new confidence. A couple experienced winners will do the trick. I don’t think we needed them that much this season until the CC final. Confidence, form and everything else went missing after that. We can’t crumble so easily when things don’t go to plan. I always thought this team were very as strong as any mentally, I still stand by that as the likes of Cesc, Veramelen, Wilshire, Sagna, Szeznhy and Van persie are all born winners. Clearly though the squad lacked something to cross the finish line.

    We need to find a few players to compliment our talent who we can rely on when it comes to the run in. As much as the media and our fans are making our players out to be useless and lazy, they all put a 1000% effort in when they get on the pitch. Some players may appear lazy and not interested, but I am pretty certain Wenger wouldn’t play or have such a player in his team every week.

    I have faith for next season, lets all move on and support the team. We can all agree major changes are not needed, just the right changes.

  92. Good point GA,
    We can sometimes be naive in our tackling no doubt. It doesn’t explain everything, but its somewhat consistent with our tendency to panic under pressure. See how in the second half against stoke we started fouling more than even the stoke players.

    Players dive whenever they have a chance. I don’t feel they do it more against us. Most players, including ours, will almost always seek to take advantage of opportunities to win a free kicks and penos.
    It certainly doesn’t help our cause that we are reputed to be poor at set pieces. It gives opposing players more incentive to dive, but thats not really evidence of ref bias.

    In short, I don’t agree that generally speaking refs are biased against us. I do however agree that they are very likely biased in favour of manu. all in all, its means little. Manu will very likely still be champions with or without that bias. Same scenario for Barca in Spain. Both sides are meeting in the CL final and on the balance of probabilities that would have been the case with or without ref bias (even if RvP wasn’t sent of at the Camp Nou)

  93. @ GA Becos Arsenal is the odd team. No english grit, Lack winning mentality, french coach, do not spend,play most attractive football, weak “short” defenders, not liked by the media, full of foreigners, can have their coach bullied and board sees nothing wrong etc

  94. That was a response to Hentristic btw.

    Still, I think he’s probably right that people wouldn’t give Coquelin much of a chance, simply due him to being young and French.

    It’s incredible when you think about it.

  95. Chris – Decent post.

  96. Oh one other – Lee Chung-Yong at Bolton.

  97. One signing I absolutely don’t want is Hargreaves. There have been some noises about him in the media, I think if Fergie lets him go we should be very wary of taking him.

  98. Yes, set-pieces are interesting because last season we actually conceded fewer goals from set-pieces than almost any other team, didn’t we? So it’s strange that we should have swung so far the other way. I suppose two new centrebacks (three with a rejuvenated Djourou) and a new goalkeeper has fucked with our organisation.

    Kos vs. Newcastle – for me, was never a penalty. There’s only so much standing your ground you can do in your own penalty area before the ball ends up in the back of the net. Other teams fight tooth and nail in front of goal. Why should we have to handcuff ourselves? Double standards.

  99. Limpar – Against Newcastle the guy was going away from goal, and there was really no goal threat at the time. It was a bad decision by Kos to try and win the ball. Soft yes. But the point is that we made it easy for him and gave the ref a decision to make.

    It is a good example. It is not handcuffing ourselves, it is defending properly and not panicing.

  100. Yeah, it’s half to do with a player being more opportunistic in our penalty area in the knowledge that they’ll be fewer opportunities with the ball at their feet than against other teams…. and it’s half referees being similarly opportunistic for them, wanting to aid the team that’s getting a pasting and knowing there won’t be too many chances to do it.

  101. Thing is, ga, I think he did win the ball and the player dived – so soft doesn’t really come into it. It wasn’t a penalty and it should’ve been a booking. I don’t think he panicked, he was just doing his job. Unfortunately he got shafted by a cheat.

    Like you though I do think we should work hard to find ways of not being shafted. Kid gloves and dulcet tones perhaps.

  102. Got it OOU

  103. Some good points. The one thing Wenger won’t do is go into panic mode. We don’t need to change our policies, we don’t need to massively change our tactics, and we don’t need a massive change in personnel.

    Some may not be happy to hear that but the truth is a lot of these players are good enough and are better than what we can find elsewhere. The problem is mentally, how many times has Clichy come out this season and stressed about the need to win something? This whole 4 years, 5 years, 6 years is having more and more or a negative affect on the players. There is little surprise to how we just collapsed after losing the CC final in the last minute.

    Finding the right players to help us deal with these issues will be crucial. What will be more crucial is working on our plan A and some kind of plan B or alternative tactics. Take our build-up play for example, we pass the ball about 20 times while our opponents get more and more organized until we concede possession. We need to be quicker and show a bit more drive in our play. Its something every team of Wengers has had, it just went missing for large chunks of this season. We need to find that purpose and not rely on the Cesc or Van Persie to pull a rabbit out the hat every game.

    Chamakh showed that purpose on Sunday despite the defeat. There was one instance where he took the ball, wiggles past two players and gave it out wide to Theo. He didn’t stop and dwell, he raced into the box for the header. We need a bit more of that. Wilshire shows it at times but its not enough. We need to get out of the drowsy passing state we find ourselves in at times. It is what seperates Barcelona from us right now. They can turn it on when they need to. We more often than not have to wait til the 80th minute when we are losing 2-0.

  104. Also, our keepers tend to give a lot more pens from one v one situations than neccesary I feel.
    I recall the Eduardo dive brouhaha against Celtic. I remember Borus pulled away at the last minute to avoid contact (although some contact still occurred, I think). It shows quick thinking and reflexes. I’ve rarely seen our keepers do that. In fact not long after Almunia gave away a pen to Rooney when he could have done what Boruc did and given the ref less ammunition to make the decision with. I hope Chezzney adds that part to his game.

    Robinsons, foul on Hernandanz this last weekend was like that too. the ball was going no where, and he could have pulled back from tackling the forward if he had the presence of mind to do so.

  105. The one change we need is in the board room. One who can challenge the FA in the mold of David Dein. I think Hill-Wood does not understand the politics

  106. Apologies for stray comma in my last post.

  107. Is there any chance of Flamini coming back – he is much better than SOng (above averae no more imo).
    ppl bang on about Frimpong – still learning not good enough yet – time will tell.
    Cesc- I think he will be leaving us this season had an average season and the constant speculation is doing our no good.
    we need a good strong DM at the very least.

  108. Completely agree, Chris. Chamakh played out of his skin second half. He was everywhere. Great effort. Showed for every ball. Bit like Kos at Stoke. If we’d had eleven playing with that energy we’d have won both games. I don’t think Chamakh’s efforts were lost on even our crowd – as thick as most of them are.

  109. Henristic, At the weekend Hernandez booted the ball out of play and allowed the keeper to take him out for the penalty. Not a word was said, whereas Eduardo was lynched.

    If people don’t think there is a bias against our team in this country ask yourself why Liverpool don’t get stick for not having won anything in 6 years.

  110. Borges Spinelli

    I’ve held the view, since November, that Arsenal are 3-4 high-quality players short of being a dominant force in all competition. Six months on, I have yet to see much to alter my viewpoint. 3 wins in 14 games since the 27th of February is WOEFUL. Mental frailty or not. Players need to reflect on their role (more aptly, lack of) in our season’s pusillanimous collapse.

    On the subject of a Defensive Midfielder, one is URGENTLY needed, preferably also capable of providing cover in a number of positions. As we have four players likely to partake in the African Cup of Nations; fans have erroneously been led to believe only Song, Chamakh and Eboue will be involved. Not so.

  111. Jabba @10.36

    Drop me an email from the contact page & I’ll enlighten you.


  112. I really enjoyed Anthony Annan’s D**Ming in the World Cup. Just 24. But only just moved to Schalke in January… and wouldn’t cover Song (or Frimpong!) in the ACN. So maybe not…

  113. If we must buy Scottie Parker me thinks that we might just as well include Carlton Cole in the package. He is a nuisance – when fit!

  114. Markus – But there was a huge difference with the Eduardo incident. The keeper did not really touch him. Hernandez played for the pen all right, but Robinson the big oaf got plenty of Hernandez to make it a pen. Eduadro hardly got touched.

    That said, the way Eduardo was portrayed was ridiculous. He dived to win a pen……..so what? it happens in numerous games in all lge’s everywhere all the time. It’s not nice, but he was hardly a serial diver.

  115. Ha, I was wondering why the conversation was so peaceful today. It’s like happy holiday-makers splashing around in the surf, protected by a shark net – only these sharks bore you to death.

  116. Borges Spinelli

    Carlton Cole, kenyan gunner? Give me a break!!!! Dude’s worse than Bendtner. And that speaks volumes.

  117. Carlton Cole = Chamakh – Consistency

  118. Markus,

    I agree with Ga’s response, but my point was the difference in goalkeeping. For Boruc to withdraw from the challenge in that split second struck me as really impressive.

    It probably also had something to with the prevalent belief that Eduardo dived. If Boruc hadn’t pulled pack, and charged into Eduardo just like Almunia and Robinson did (to mention my last two examples), hardly anyone will be saying Eduardo dived, except maybe for a small collection of Celtic fans.

  119. How can anyone argue against Carlton Cole’s consistency? If there is anything the guy has, its his consistent ability to bang in goals everywhere he goes. Except maybe you referring to his injury record?

  120. Oneofus- you are on a roll today. great comments which i agree with.

  121. Hey YW,

    Did you notice someone managed to copy my name and Avatar on yesterdays post, 4.57 I think it was?

    Any idea’s how that happened?

  122. As much as I admire Scotty Parker, I just couldn’t get behind buying him given his injury record. Do we really want to subject ourselves to more injury-related frustration? He gets hurt more than RvP.

    But as for bringing in 5 or 6 new players, the word “disruption” was used here as if it’s a bad thing. Disruption is exactly what is needed, is it not? Whatever you call the prevailing attitude (complacency, ambivalence, fear, etc), it needs to be disrupted and displaced. What are we afraid bringing 5 new players in would do, make things worse? Obviously not finishing in the top 4 would be worse, but our form the last third of the season wouldn’t keep us out of relegation for an entire season. Quite frankly, I have a hard time believing guys like RvP and Cesc would be discouraging Arsene to make that kind of splash this offseason. Those guys have had subtle quotes in each of the last 3 seasons talking about how the squad needs to be strengthened and the squad needs a tougher mentality. Time for a facelift.

  123. And Markus,
    Re Liverpool;
    A few years ago, I used to hear a lot about how Liverpool fans always think the next year is theirs. They certainly used to get more stick than they do these days and I think that is mostly down to expectation. They rarely challenged except for that one flukey season when the almost won the thing. It also helps their case that they managed a CL and FA cup not too long ago.

    In some ways you could say the media have found in us a new target for that sort of derision. Partly because we were competing quite well with the mancs until very recently. And partly because expectations have been kept high by the club and manager. For the sort of financial muscle we have, people certainly expect us to win things.

  124. Scott Parker at Arsenal? Is anyone here actually serious. I doubt he could seriously contend with Wilshire, Cesc, Song and Ramsey for a CM spot.

  125. Henristic

    I can’t say I agree with you there. A large part of the media and public don’t believe we have it in us and dont expect us to win things. We will see come August that Arsenal will be tipped as the team to drop out of the Champions League spots as usual.

  126. He wouldn’t be competing with all those players though Chris, only Song.

    There is no doubt as a player Parker has improved over the last few years, and has proved he can lead a team when times are tough.

    At the right price he could be a good addition to the squad, and someone that the likes of Coquelin, Lansbury and Frimpong could learn from.

    There aren’t too many other proven Premier League Central Midfielders available at a sensible price.

  127. Boruc did not withdraw from the challenge on Eduardo he went in knees first at full speed and Eduardo jumped clear.

  128. Limited horizons, small hinterland

  129. ChrisGoona, putting aside Scott Parker, I think what became obvious towards the end of the season, at least to me, was that guys like Wilshere and Song were gassed. We had to rely on both of those players far too much. I think, too, that folks are eyeing guys like Parker for experience and football intelligence, two things we seem to be bereft of at the most inopportune times.

  130. Won’t it be nice to get a DM who can also play at the back. Someone like Kompany or Vertoghen. Or maybe we can try Kos in midfield? He isn’t bad with keeping the ball under pressure and he does have an eye for a pass.

  131. Agree, it’d be ideal to get two things (CB, DM) in just one player. There’d be more than enough opportunities for that guy to get on the pitch.

  132. Matt

    You could say Ramsey is competing for that position too. I do believe we need to add a few players, I am just not so sure Parker is the right player for us. He ain’t as great as the media make him out to be. Plus he has massive injury problems. A player we don’t need in my eyes.

    The idea of an enforcer to come in and have the vision of a Cesc and power of a Vieira is stupid too. Fans actually expect Wenger to find this kind of player. You either get an Iniesta or Nasri type, small technical and creative or you get a big lump. I don’t think we need the midfield enforcer, we need to sort our tactics and game plan out more importantly. We are getting beaten by inferior teams, man for man we are 10 times better than most of the teams we come up against.

  133. scott parker is not a step forward, i hope we dont sign him

  134. ArseChicago

    I agree, Ramsey tried but obviously lacked the pre-season. You can’t expect much from a player coming back from such a lengthy lay off too. His performance against Man Utd demonstrated why hes firmly in Wenger’s plans and why he and Wilshire is the way forward.

    The setup in our team is what is bugging me. I don’t think the 4-3-3 is working as well as it started to. Is it personnel, tactics, speed of our passing? I don’t know but something aint working. We dropped too many points with near enough our 1st team out for it to be right.

  135. Dups,
    Old argument, but Boruc pulled back, check out the link below.
    He knees touched Eduardo, but that clearly wasn’t intentional as his eyes were following the ball. Besides why would he pull back his hands and then kick with his knees from behind almost?

  136. ChrisG,
    Many pundits don’t believe in this squad, true, but they expect us as a club to do much better by spending more of the cash they think we have. Key difference.

  137. ChrisGoona, I keep coming back to 07-08 when we had Ade and RvP upfront, Eduardo as well until he got hurt. That was our best team in the last 5 seasons. If you go back and watch the highlights from that season, we had Hleb on the left creating opportunities and an in form Rosicky keeping the ball moving quickly, setting others up. It was sublime football. Guess my point is that I’d like to see more of a 442 with more of a true left winger (Nasri, to me, still favors playing more centrally).

  138. Excellent, dupsffokcuf

  139. Jesus, Henristic, that was a terrible reply….and linking to the worst football rag in England. You ought to be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

  140. george rodger

    LA is on the money once again.
    The Refs do try to even up the contests when we play .Perhaps its to keep up the idea that the EPL is so competitive.
    There can be little doubt that this is exactly what happened at Newcastle.He stepped to stop the home team from further embarrassment.It was then,not the CC final, when the wheels fell of.The team,fans and especially the media blamed the team and a lack of grit.Unfortunately the team bought into this explanation and for some reason never recovered .This single event was a bigger turning point than the Eduardo leg brake.
    Now perhaps in fact surely, ,Arsene and the team should have found a way back,But the truth is that if not for the ref they would not have had to look for a response.At half time at Newcastle 2 or 3 trophies looked very likely.

  141. It’s obvious that referee’s can’t be blamed for all our failings … and no one on here has done that. No one came here to complain against the ref when we failed miserably at our own stadium of all places against Spurs. No one talked about the ref when Stoke beat us comfortably at 3 – 1. No one talked about the referee when Chelsea beat us 2 – 0. But on the other hand, if you are trailing a game and suddenly, every single decision keeps going against you, to the point that a clear penalty is not given and a legal goal is chalked off, I find it hard to see anybody else in the role of the culprit other than the ref. Which is not to shift the blame from the team that played awful in the first 20 minutes, but then they came back and showed the fighting spirit needed to turn around these games. Unfortunately the ref was not having any of it. Sometimes you play badly and win, sometimes you play well and still lose … and some times you should be 3 – 2 up if it were not outside intervention.

    I don’t think that mj is talking about small decisions. I think he is talking about the refereeing that was on display against Villa and against Newcastle, where it seemed to be evident that there were two standards being applied. One for Arsenal fouls and one for opposition fouls. I think you can scratch your head all you want but you just won’t find a game in recent times where the opposition playing against us was so unfairly penalised like we were in those two games. Which is not saying that we did not have decisions go our away (CC final, for example) at times, but never to such an extent as evident in those two games.

    It’s always easy saying “Whatever, decisions even themselves out and if we get 2 good goals chalked off, then the team needs to score 5 or else they are simply not good enough.”

  142. Dups,

    Keep in mind I’m not blaming Eduardo at all. He anticipated Boruc barging into him and tried for a peno. That’s what every forward should do in that situation (which is why I think the fuss that followed it was ridiculous).
    But Boruc didn’t follow through with the challenge. He pulled back and consequently ‘dummied’ Eduardo.
    It’s not uncommon outside the penalty area. A tackler makes as if he’s going for the ball but stops himself at last minute. The guy in possession anticipates the tackle and tries to avoid it, sometimes exaggerating his fall. But the tackle never comes and the guy who falls looks like a muppet in video replays. Sometimes refs fall for it, sometimes they don’t.

  143. Sorry, I meant ‘Scotland’.

    As an aside most Scots seem to be unaware that any referendum on Scottish independence is only valid if it involves the entire union. Of course Scottish nationalists need not worry. England would have voted unanimously for an independent Scotland years ago.

  144. Boruc did not pull back, and his intention in itself was a penalty offence. As it happens he did make contact.

  145. Frank,

    Rag? I just googled “Eduardo Celtic penalty” and posted the first link I got. You don’t have click on it if it upsets you so much. Easy, tiger…

  146. Frank,
    And I’m gutted you think my reply was terrible..

  147. You seem a little mean-spirited when it comes to Arsenal, Henristic. Don’t worry, on blogsites it is quite common. Trouble is some Arsenal supporters are stupid enough to let it govern their actions. This article is not without its merits…


  148. Frank,
    Intention is a penalty offence?
    Isn’t that what UEFA tried to argue in that incident? That Eduardo intended to dive?

    Besides, Boruc pulled back. Clear as day.

  149. Henristic

    Boruc did not pull out. As the reporters said on the SS there was a different video showing the contact. Unsurprisingly slysports did not believe it was important enough to show.

  150. Thank goodness the squad aren’t as touchy as you are Frank. We wouldn’t win a single game!

  151. Dups,

    did you see the video i just posted/ Just because there was contact with his knees does not mean the didn’t pull back his hands, and he clearly did. He could have gone for the ball but cleverly didn’t. Of course that didn’t really matter to Celtic as he still conceded the penalty.

    Anyone, enough of this. I think my point has been made, which is about goalkeepers and their reflexes.

  152. *Anyhow, enough of this…

  153. Gorilla Warfare

    I reckon the squad needs an overhaul.
    ATM were shit, cant even be confident that were gonna win wen we’re 4 goals up…
    New players in, new ideas wenger can finally work with quality again not this bunch of overpaid, Superficial, primadonas

  154. Blackpool are fined £25000 by the Premier League for fielding a weakened team in a league game against Aston Villa on 10 November.

    If Slur Alex fields a weakened side against Blackpool do you think manure will be fined?

  155. dupsffokcuf

    Doesn’t matter, the fine amount is chicken feed for Man Utd. Anyway I hope they play a weakened team and get stuffed, Blackpool is needed in teh premier league.

  156. george rodger

    I am sure Blackpool will insist he field a full strength team.Otherwise they should get their £25 grand back

  157. Yogi:

    Nice post again.

    This summer I would like to see keep our first 11 together if possible. I realize they have played like garbage the last 2 1/2 months (excepting RVP)and have shown no real urgency or drive however, they are still the best players we have and I guess they should be given 1 more chance. The idea that we need to buy English players is dumb and unrealistic.

    I think we should move out several of the non first 11. The only ones I would keep are Chamakh, Ramsey and Fabianski. Pick who you want out of the rest and move at least 5 – 7. Almunia, Denilson, Rosicky, Squillaci and probably NB52 definite outs IMO. Arshavin debatable but if we can get good money then he is also an out. I don’t think Squillaci is a bad player but he will have to be sacrificed to bring in a better more physical first choice CB. Moving out players is not really an indictment of them but is necessary to make some changes in the squad.

    I would like to see us bring in 3 – 4 players who are legitimate first 11 players to rotate with or take over for some of the incumbent first 11. A CB and DM, and a goal scorer who can play along the front with RVP and perhaps someone who is a winger need to arrive. I agree that it would be difficult to integrate and unrealistic to ask for more arrivals. Myself I would still love to see us take another run at Schwarzer for many reasons but that is probably a lower priority. Fill out the squad with a couple of academy grads.

    This all assumes that Fab, Nasri and Clichy stay. If not we need to replace them seperate from the above. If we can get good money for Clichy I think we will actually improve if Baines replaces him. Fabregas and Nasri much tougher to replace easily. Agree completely that the work needs to be done ASAP and the silly idea that we need English players is as much rubbish as it is unrealistic.

  158. Yeah, bring on Bebe and Obertan!

  159. 2 Eskimos sitting in a kayak were cold. They lit a fire, it sank, proving that you can’t have your kayak and heat it too.

    Tommy Cooper

  160. Police arrested two kids yesterday. One was drinking battery acid the other was eating fireworks.They charged one and let the other one off.

  161. Arsenal fans……Scott Parker – really?????
    Think about Scott’s attributes…..
    We have a young version in Jack Wilshere.

  162. I’m not buying this ‘shattered confidence’ theory. The defeats to Stoke and Aston Villa are entirely due to the end of season attitude. Our season was over after the ManU victory, the manager started his usual squad experiments with the fringe players having playing time, some senior players were set on the bench. Would you ever play two centre backs for the first time in a game where result counts?

    The third place is in danger now, but it was to late. You can not switch the team on and off like a bulb. This end of season story repeats itself every year. Remember 3:2 against Wigan last year with players having a laugh and running around like in training? So, the question ‘why can’t we keep running the entire season’ should actually be ‘Have we ever tried to?’ Wenger’s fault.

  163. Do we give a fuck what you ‘buy’, sv?

  164. Lassana Diarra ?????

    Don’t we have a younger version in Jack Wilshere?

    If Jack had Ramsey’s scoring ability, we’d have an upgrade of Cesc.

    Jack and Aaron are 3+ years from running an Arsenal midfield to ‘fan’ expectation. During this time, we’d be experiencing more Villa type results.

  165. It would help Blackpool if Utd play their strongest 11(they wont of course) because not one of Uniteds first team would put in a tackle for fear of getting injured

    Come on Blackpool Come on Spurs

  166. Henristic, Cole may have had his share of injuries but from roughly 30 or so appearances a season for the last 4 years his best return has been 12 goals in 08/09. I don’t think that could be considered consistent for a striker.

    Besides I don’t think that is an area we need to strengthen. Nor do I think we need worry about DM. We have enough cover in that position and if it came to it I’d be satisfied that any of Koscielny, Djourou or Vermaelen could play there no problem.

    If anything it’s in the creative midfield department we’ve been found wanting the last few months. But are signings the answer? Who is there out there. The last player I saw that I though could add something to our team was Mesut Ozil at the world cup. But then Nasri’s form has improved this season.

  167. skywatchingmug

    I’d love to see two hard working wingers. Ashley Young and A.Nother would be good.

  168. Arsene is not going to sign another DM – nor does he need .

    I can see our top CB pairing as Kos / Ver

    Back up for Song – Djourou / Frimpong / Wilshere /Diaby

    A small amount of tweaking is all that is needed. I agree with a comment above – our wingers were too inconsistent.

  169. I know we had a bad seson and i know people keep moaning about us needing a 20 pluss goal scorer to win anything.
    But the fact that RvP has actually scored 21 goals in all competitions this season is sick! hes only been with us since xmas.

  170. ArseChicago

    We were advancing into the opposition box at a much faster rate in that season. In the 4-3-3 this season we seem to be looking to go sideways before forward. Positionally it forces us to do so.

    There is no doubt in my mind you can make the 4-3-3 work. But in many games where teams refuse to attack and we are lacking in creativity it back fires.

    We need a plan B or an adjustment/change to the formation.

  171. We need a wingman and a defensive lump. If Lehmann and Almunia wont be here next season we need a backup experienced keeper.

    3 signings coming in is the most we should look for. Thats if our first 11 all desire to play in front of a booing crowd. Somehow I doubt we will be pleased with all the outgoings this summer.

  172. Chris, it’s a good point. Plan B should be a change in formation, not just different players in the same roles.

    Having a team built around one individual to the extent we have is not healthy. Full stop. Our formation is made to suit him and when he isn’t there we should revert back to 4-2-2-1-1 with VP playing behind a striker for the creativity through the middle he offers. Two central midfielders and two wide attacking midfielders.

  173. Its a shame Nasri, Arshavin and Theo all dipped at about the same time. Its those guys who should have been helping with the goal burden.
    It was around the time when our defending tanked as well. Up till a few months ago, we were second lowest in goal conceded stats.

  174. GR – “The Refs do try to even up the contests when we play .Perhaps its to keep up the idea that the EPL is so competitive.
    There can be little doubt that this is exactly what happened at Newcastle.He stepped to stop the home team from further embarrassment”

    Wow, just wow. I especially like the fact that you state “there can be little doubt” as if it were fact.

    We blew a 4 goal lead in 20mins. The ref had a bad game, but we can only look at ourselves for that result. We should have still had enough about us to see out that game, but that is old news and frankly boring to keep going over.

  175. Why can we not look at ourselves AND look at the ref?

  176. Agree Markus,

    Never a good thing to do that, especially around a player like Cesc who’s love for Barca must have always been known.
    Perhaps if we bought Ozil, like someone said, it might have given Cesc some perspective.

  177. Frank

    We should do both but never blaming the latter as an excuse for the former.


  178. Frank – Of course we can. Nobody is disputing that we have been the victim (and have benifitted from) of some bad refereeing decsions this season. But some people seem to focus on this a little too much and miss the fact that the team have to foot the majority of blame for bad results.

  179. That would be the hard line, YW, but maybe sometimes the relationship between group psychology and events is difficult to disentangle. The Newcastle game was strange in a number of ways.

  180. Seems to me that there is no doubt that the team DO accept responsibility for bad results.

  181. Frank – I agree, I think the team do. It is some fans that don’t.

    The strange thing with the Newcastle game was that as soon as they scored what should have been a consalation goal, panic set in. You could feel that we we going to throw it away.

  182. I am usually a referee apologist but they have been absolutely terrible this season. Inconsistency has been remarkable. When that happens everyone feels they are getting the worst end of the stick. As an Arsenal fan obviously I remember the ones that went against me and tend to forget the other way around. Birmingham lost a good goal and we should have been down to 10 men early in the CC final. Barca was denied a definite pen. Newcastle lost a good goal in the 4 – 4 game when there player was over a yard on side. There was a stretch of games where we got the benefit of bad offsides calls for 2 – 3 straight games. etc etc. Over the course of the season I really believe we have had more go against us then for us, but I guarantee fans of every team are saying the exact same thing this season.

    Something does need to be done about the referees. Disallowing Chamakh’s goal last game was ridiculous and if Wenger could have protested that call and they had reviewed it with different video angles there’s no doubt it would have been given as a goal. Video replays ASAP please. It would also help to calm all of the hysteria about bias that swirls around.

  183. what do you think of booing the team off? Can this ever be constructive.

  184. One goal was not the reason for the upset though, goonerandy. There was something very bad going on on that pitch in the second half and I suspect you would have had to be on it to understand it.

  185. george rodger

    Andy,two non penalty’s and a once in a life time strike .3 of the 4 goals out of their hands .

  186. Football governance has never beeen as deeply flawed as this and it would be a criminal act to ignore it.

  187. George – One non penalty for me (the last one). It is the fact we lost control of the game. We are the best side in the lge at retaining the ball (even with 10 men), but the panic set in and we lost control. We blew it. 4-0 up with 20mins left. Think about that.

  188. Frank – The pressure was on no doubt about it. I we did not handle it very well.

  189. Anyway, can’t be bothered to go over that old ground again. Going home to do some much needed guitar practice.


  190. ‘pressure’? I said ‘bad’.

  191. I suspect that you are being deliberately obtuse, goonerandy.

  192. The other point about the refs was best said by Gunner 4 Ever last Thursday. I copied and posted his comment below.

    “There is a thin line between the feeling “Me against the world” and feeling “Victimized”. I think PV4 was referring to the former, and I think the current team is doing the latter.
    It is the responsibility of every one now (including me) to stop whining about referees, excessive physical approaches, injuries, etc. We know all these things are there, they are real, but harping on them gives the team the excuse and the sense of victimization, plus it actually increases the abuse towards the team.
    It’s not about Denilson or Diaby, it’s about the mentality of the whole team. We are strong when things are going our way, but then we fold when they’re not. They need to learn to do it both ways.”

    Even if all the stuff about the refs is true the worst thing we can do is to constantly focus on it or use it as an excuse. I agree completely with G4E that our clubs complaining about the refs, bad pitches, defensive tactics, physical play comes off as sour grapes and self righteousness to the rest of the world and thats a big part of the reason we get abuse from the media and other fans. I understand that the idea that we should “stick up for our team” but far from defending our team what we do in this case is counterproductive. Focusing on things we can not control just distracts us from fixing the things we can control. If we fix the things we can not control the rest will take care of itself or at least we will be able to overcome any adversity. If not then we might as well resign ourselves to never winning trophies again

  193. george rodger

    Andy,if you want to blame the team for that particular disaster ,than feel free.I just dont .I blame them for buying into the very same negativity that you have.And for not being strong enough to recover.And for many other shortcomings since.
    But for me ,the Ref. on that day changed our season.

  194. On that basis, if you believed that referees were corrupt or biased, Bill, you would just ignore it? Never speak of it in case it gets in the way of a good bitch about the squad and manager?

  195. Is Frank and dupsffokcuf the same person?

  196. george rodger

    Frank,I can not put into words how much I admire you and your attitude.You are an inspiration.

  197. Frank

    Accepting responsibility for the results – good and bad – is a good thing. Not being able to learn from them is not a good thing.


  198. george rodger

    Assuming that “results”are always your fault (when bad)
    What is there to learn from a result that has been corrupted by an outside influence?

  199. Frank:

    1) The refs are incompetent and inconsistent but not corrupt or intentionally biased. Think of how many people it would take to have a conspiracy. The FA and all the refs would need to be in on it. Think how much money someone could make by selling the story to the Sun. Even if someone wanted to do it there is no realistic way to pull off something that sinister and far reaching over a long period of time without the world finding out.

    2) If we can not offer at least some shred of evidence other then our own interpretation of the events then banging on about it is useless and counterproductive other then making you feel better. Ultimately, you can believe whatever you want and say whatever you want. That is what blogging is about.

    Arsene said himself, if you believe everything is scripted then whats the use. He probably feels we got more bad calls then usual this year and may be he is correct. Every manager in the league feels the same. Like Arsene I refuse to believe it is intentional or scripted that way.

  200. George

    There is something to learn in every situation. Every match can be won if a chance is converted or a defensive error not made, irrespective of the impact of ‘outside influences’.


  201. YW – Bang on. Exactly.

  202. george rodger

    It has been said before that in order to effect the outcome,corruption is not necessary, all that it takes over a season is a slight bias.

  203. george rodger

    Yes Yogi,I accept that.
    But the closer the contest then the more decisive the outside influences are.
    And despite what a lot of people currently think,the top of the EPL is close.

  204. I think there is institutional bias being exhibited on a large scale in the refereeing fraternity. In fact if it was a sorority I suspect it might be different. That bias is getting worse because it is unchallenged.

    Who is denying that we learn from our mistakes? Arsenal players are having to do just that. It seems that there is no requirement for referees to do the same.

    Incidentally as I was preoccupied in the stadium watching the game as intently as possible, could someone please tell me why Marouane’s goal was disallowed on Sunday?

  205. Of course the problem is that unless you get rid of the background feeling that something very odd is happening, it is impossible to assess the causes of failure, and very difficult to learn from them. Unfairness and injustice eat away at the soul in a way that nothing else can.

  206. I agree with George Rodger

  207. George

    With Mike (I luv man u) Riley in charge of the refs it is no wonder there is a bias. As an unashamed biased Arsenal supporter I think some of the refs are bent.

  208. I too found the refereeing in the Villa game very very odd. But to think of a conspiracy one needs to find a motive. What could be it? Man City paid him off? This seems too outlandish.

  209. george rodger

    Currently it is open season on Arsenal,in as much as any dreadful decisions the Ref’s are making,whether intentional or not,are ignored in favour of blaming the team for its weaknesses,whether real or perceived.
    And our fans are buying it.
    You also have to accept that the team is massively contributing to the problems with recent poor on field performances,again whether real or perceived.

  210. You cannot just overcome outside influences and I am sorry but I think its a joke to make it sound so simple. If that was the case corruption wouldnt work and the Italian League wouldnt have been put to shame a few years ago. It takes one idiot with an agenda or incompetence to change things.

    GA, the goal by Barca was said to be offside, only the Spanish Media, Barcelona supporters and you think otherwise.

    I gave you the penalty, come with something else. RVP goes off for foolishness and none of their players even get a yellow card while they a choking our players. Come again mi bredrin!

    The reason you cannot come up with all of these calls you claim we had is because they didnt take place with the frequency you claim.

  211. Frank:

    What you and many on here believe is the same thing that gazillions of fans of every professional sports team in history that finished 2nd or 3rd believes. That will never change.


    With decent performances this year we still would have won. If we control the things we can control we will over come whatever slight disadvantage we might have been given. Focusing on things we can not control limits our ability to control the things we can.

  212. I have no idea what is going on because the cunts who are paid to find out are in it for the easy ride. There is no such thing as an investigative reporter in the football world.

    Why was Marouane Chamakh’s goal disallowed on Sunday? I watched it again on telly. Still don’t know. When RvP turned Dunne brilliantly why was the ref so quick to blow the whistle. Why no penalties? Since when has pushing a player in the chest with both hands in lieiu of a shoulder charge been allowed in the rules? If it happened once it happened a dozen times…in the box, and yet Eboue the other week was castigated for his naivety for just touching a player and giving away a pen.

    Of course we were poor for the first part of the first half, both players and fans alike were diabolical. We have to look at the reasons for that and learn from them. But in the second half the players changed. They won the game. Only they didn’t.

  213. george rodger

    Keysersoze ,most of us are not claiming a conspiracy.Just a slight bias.Apart from Dups of course

  214. George , you are talking sense!

  215. Frankly, Bill, that was a very lazy response. We deserve better than that. Bit more commitment from you please.

  216. I think we need a player who can work the referee. van Bommel is a master at it. Come to think of it all the talk about English grit, leadership, strong characters may be a lot of fluff, what we need are a few street smart players. We don’t have enough at this moment, probably we have none.

  217. george rodger

    Frank,spot on mate(Andy see how annoying that is)
    We,despite a pathetic first 20,would have won the game except the Ref decided it could not happen.
    How can that be a weakness?
    Not saying we have none,But that was not one of them.

  218. You need to be more resourceful, Bill. It is possible to fight several battles and/or solve several problems at once. The fact that our squad need to learn from their mistakes, and let us face it who doesn’t, does not mean that referees should get away with wrecking games scot-free. Though being Scot free is something I have dreamed of for years, and I hope Arsenal will remain so, in all senses.

  219. Come to think of it, Wenger too lacks a bit of street smartness. He is too nice a person, too honest. That is obviously not a bad thing, but you lose out when you are dealing with people like Alex Ferguson. May be we need someone in the backroom who is a cannier manipulator of the media.

  220. One other thing. Why are so many refs from the north and northwest of England and very few (maybe 2) from the south. Surely there are refs from this area.

  221. george rodger

    Keysersoze.Are you saying we need to sign a horrible cheating ,manipulating twat like Rooney or Terry?

  222. I am just saying that having a few shady characters can work towards the bias that you speak of. I am not talking about Rooney though, he is not street smart, he is just thick.

  223. Keysersoze

    Put van Bommel in an Arsenal shirt and he would be carded more often, same goes for Vidic

  224. *work towards negating the bias

  225. george rodger

    Remember this,If the league was to follow the Arsenal model,there would be lots of empty pockets.
    Who would that benefit?

  226. george rodger

    Vidic would never see 90 minutes for us.

  227. No replays or video technology and referee’s don’t have to justify decisions. At all. They are in no way accountable after games. How can that be the basis for a fair system? How can bias fail to play a part when there is nothing in place to prevent it?

    If most teams in this league are hard done by you can bet your arse the media are all over it. We just do not get the same treatment and refs know it. No one speaks up for Arsenal. It can’t be denied. But it must be overcome.

  228. Vidic might be carded, but I doubt about van Bommel. He will start talking to the referee from the first minute. This things influence refs sub consciously, they too are human. Imagine how many cards van Bommel got away with during the world cup? I believe he didn’t see a single card until the final if my memory serves me right.

  229. The other alternative is to build up a reputation like Barca so that most refs enter the field with a hard on. But that takes time and a lot of institutional hypocrisy. It is easier to do it at the level of a few individuals.

  230. It seems I have scandalised everyone into not sharing the same blog with me.

  231. Oh the Barcelona thing is easy. That is just corruption plain and simple.

  232. Corruption to me is a bit of a long shot. If not anything, Madrid would have by now paid someone enough to spill the beans if that was the case.

  233. Bill response wasnt just lazy but not true at all.

    Markus, you are correct that Arsenal get no love in England. I thought there wouldve been an uproar regarding the RVP sending off but instead all of England were saying how great Barcelona were. What a shame!

  234. If not corruption Keyseroze how do you explain Tom Henning Ovrebo in the chelsea v barca tie 2009.

  235. I’ll tell you this: I love this team, but I’ll be thinking seriously about whether to follow them. I’ve only followed at all since they got Bergkamp, and only seriously since there were streams. So I’m not a lifer.

    It has nothing to do with Arsenal. I love Wenger and his vision, and can even accept his tactical stubbornness. What I can’t abide is the state of the sport itself.

    The officiating is so corrupt and without mechanisms for correction. I’ve followed the 4 major sports in North America (NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB) all my life, and never once have I seen this level of incompetence (NBA is closest). And the reason for that is there is accountability. The level of press deference to the officials is simply remarkable. Dunne on Ramsay, Arshavin v Sunderland, RVP v Barca, Eboue v Pool, Vidic handball…these decisions would never be allowed to stand without explanation in any other major sport. The media would eat them alive.

    You watch the Arsenal players’ body language, and they play like players that don’t think they’re going to get a break. You watch the ManU players’ body language, and they expect to get that break. And they do.

    People say that every team’s supporters feel hard done by, but frankly, I’ve followed too many teams through too many sports without ever/ feeling like my team was cursed. I feel like I’m looking at Dunne taking out Ramsay followed by Chamakh’s goal ruled out every other week. This team is cursed, and it’s battered them mentally to the point where they play like they’re cursed.

  236. Lots of interesting, level headed conversation today…
    Well done people!

  237. Keysersoze, it hard to believe that someting isnt wrong when a team plays against ten men all the time.

    I too believe UEFA is corrupt and our match against them was evidence of it.

  238. Ovrebo must have been a fan…entered the field with a hard on. Much like if one of us entered the field to ref an Arsenal game.

  239. No it is not a long shot. The referee in the Arsenal game in Gnu Camp was never going to allow Arsenal to win. He was very confident in his approach because he knew that he was doing the bidding of his masters. I don’t know if there was any money involved but his intentions were clear to see.

  240. Paul N

    I get what you are saying, but if it was a clear cut case of corruption in last year’s Inter game the ref would have allowed the Barca goal put them through to the final. Although I do believe that a few refs like Busacca and Ovrebo are massive Barcelona fans. It is nothing extraordinary, Barcelona has a huge global fan following, and Messi, Xavi and Iniesta have a great reputation.

  241. Frank

    That ref has never been in charge of a CL game in which a Spanish team has lost. Suspicious?

  242. Frank
    I am not disagreeing about the bias, I just think that it is sub conscious rather than conscious. Both work equally well.

  243. You seem to have low standards, Keysersoze.

  244. Dups,
    Surely if corruption is a possible explanation for that event, Roman could have since gone on to buy his own collection of refs to ensure Chelsea win the damned thing too?

    Everyone agrees pretty much that the CL trophy is one thing Abramovich wants the most. Why would a man as rich as that continue pouring millions in search of a trophy he can never get by merit, as you seem to be hinting? Its not like he is averse to using corrupt means to achieve his aims?

  245. What low standards?

  246. You seem to find it understandable that a referee is biased.

  247. I did not mention financial corruption or at least direct financial corruption

  248. I think the two of us agree on the bias. We just disagree on the reason behind it.

  249. I treat corruption as voluntary, bias though can be voluntary or sub conscious.

  250. I agree with Keysersoze. Its hard to argue that its a conspiracy or corruption. It makes way more sense that these biased refs just happen to be secret Barca (in the CL) or Manu (in the PL) fans.

  251. At the highest level there is no visibility of referee recruitment, training, monitoring, selection etc etc

  252. You need look no further than FIFA to see that corruption exists in football.

  253. On what basis do you trust referees to not be corrupt, Henristic? The evidence of your own eyes demonstrates that very strange decisions are made. You have no idea of the checks and balances. Why would you conclude that they are not corrupt?

  254. If we had a Vidic type player and he was carded regularly, it’s not such a bad thing imo. We didn’t miss out on the title this season because we conceded too many pens. Our problems lie elsewhere.
    Viera was carded a lot too while playing for us and we still managed to win a few things.

    My point being, its better to be aggressive and risk the cards, than continually play with fear. Eventually, there will even be grudging respect for us as the English like nothing better than grit and aggression.
    We would have to stop complaining about other teams overphysical tactics for that to work though. Or people will just hate us the more for being hypocrites

  255. Can we focus on Fulham instead of thinking about transfer targets.

  256. Frank,
    On the basis that there are richer teams than the two who seem to benefit the most from bias.
    In Madrid’s case, they are not only richer than Barca, but also have ‘history’ that should tilt any institutionalized bias their way.

  257. We can expect an easy ride in terms of physicality against Fulham. They are in line to clinch a Europa spot based on the fair play table. They would want to ruin their chances.

  258. Borges Spinelli

    Loved Bill’s comment at 2:29 pm; Markus’at 3:28 pm

    @Henristic at 3:29 pm – Nasri’s hamstring injury in late January was a significant, contributory factor to his loss of form. Wenger rushing him back, 17 days later, to face Barcelona, certainly didn’t help, either.

    @Bill I have no doubt that Nasri will stay. Fabregas & Clichy, I’m not so sure of. Arshavin is a dead certainty.

    Someone, earlier, said, that they weren’t aware of quality players available, better than what we already have to improve our squad. Well, I can think of several. ACLF troopers, how does Michel Bastos sound as a replacement for Arshavin/ to you? Word has it, he’s unsettled at Lyon; won’t decide his future ’til the French League’s closure on May 29.

  259. * would not want

  260. Michel Bastos didn’t look too clever in the world cup though. Haven’t watched Lyon enough.

  261. Corruption doesnt have to mean that everyone can just buy off whom they please.

  262. What the fuck has it got to do with Madrid? My example involved Barcelona and Arsenal. The referee may have just hated English clubs. The point is that I have no idea. But I SEE very strange behaviour which is uncensured by the ‘authorities’.

  263. Dups,
    With Fifa, you can see how the money flows. Its pretty obvious who the parties to corruption are, and in what sphere they operate

    I never heard anyone argue that matches during the WC finals are rigged, for fixed in anyway.
    Yet, everyone knows Qatar and Russia bought the right to host the WCs. These countries happen to be cash rich with little accountability for how their money is spent.
    South Africa got the hosting rights as part of Blatter’s PR.

  264. Henristic but Chelsea are not one of the darling clubs and do not influence football internationally the way United and Barcelona do. More money will be made overall with these two teams.

    Again, corruption doesnt only happen one way.

  265. Really Paul N?
    What does it mean then?

  266. Seems AA has renewed the lease on his UK property.

    Going to be hard supporting Stoke (spit) tonight.

  267. By the way, the discussion is so much more interesting when we move away from what are the weaknesses in the squad, who to buy, who to sell. Anyone else thinks that the squad discussion has become slightly stale with the same points being repeated everyday by people on both sides of the spectrum?

  268. Seems AA has renewed the lease on his UK property.
    Don’t rule out Chelsea though.

  269. Paul,

    Henristic but Chelsea are not one of the darling clubs and do not influence football internationally the way United and Barcelona do. More money will be made overall with these two teams.

    Barca make more money than Madrid? No ways….

  270. Agree Keyser.
    Its gonna be a looong summer. YW will have to be at his innovative best to find stuff to post about.

  271. Gainsbourg69

    Limpar assist: “I’ve always admired Cambiasso from a far. If we’re looking at 30 year old midfielders. At the other end of the age spectrum, I like Stuart Holden at Bolton. But he is about where Frimpong was with his injury at Christmas. I quite like the idea of Dempsey too y’know, speaking of yanks. …God I love Football Manager.”

    You know who else I’d have a look at? Michael Bradley. I think he’s at Villa on loan from a German club. He’s a very good player and he’s only 22 or 23. He lit up the Eredivisie a few years back and he did really well in South Africa 2010. I think he’s even better than Stuart Holden. He is the type to take over a game single handedly. Also, given his Eredivisie upbringing, he’d have an easy time adapting to Wenger ball.

  272. Nasir Jones-Nasri

    Goonerandy and Henristic into the undercover Manc bin with Bill, please.

  273. Henristic,

    So corruption means that anyone can buy off anyone? show me that and then I will shut up.

  274. I believe barca are the now team, not Madrid.

  275. NJN,
    lol, if only you knew….

    Anyway, thanks for such a profound contribution to the discussions. You are obviously by far the best Arsenal supporter that ever lived.

  276. Just read on twitter.

    “2 Arsenal season tkts for lease on a season by season+ N. Bank Upper Tier, behind goal. Blk 104, Row 11, Seats 363 & 364. cost £1,395 each.”

  277. YW @4:46 pm

    What happens when the ‘outside influences’ do not exist or work the other way round for our rivals?

  278. Paul N | May 17, 2011 at 6:55 pm |


    So corruption means that anyone can buy off anyone? show me that and then I will shut up.

    Show you how?
    Ok, going by the popular use of the term, corruption is mainly financially induced, right? As opposed to say, favoritism or nepotism which have other non-financial drivers.

    You agree to that at least?

  279. As classy as his brother

  280. Some of you lot read to much Dan Brown 😉

    As an aside, I would like to see referee’s interviewed directly after the game much in the same way that managers and players are obliged to give interviews.

  281. What an utterly stupid comment, goonerandy. Really, really stupid.

  282. No corruption is not necessarily financially induced. Racism is an extreme form of corruption and so is sexism. Nepotism is most definitely a form of corruption.

  283. george rodger

    Barca make more money for people outside the club than any other team at the moment.They are the current Harlem Globetrotters.Flavour of the month,call it what you want.
    Lots of snouts in their trough.

  284. Henristic, even if it was only about money, you cannot take that for granted that everyone is in the loop.

    No it isnt only about money. If a politician does favors for sex in return wouldnt that be corruption?

  285. Gainsbourg69

    People who call the 4-4 at Newcastle capitulation tend to forget why that game started going to shit for us. We were down to ten men after a play where it should’ve been them who got a player sent off. Then a few phantom penalties and free kicks later they were down by only one. Dowd no doubt refereed the worst game of his career that day. If anyone believes that our players could’ve held on under those circumstances, then they’re just being pricks.

  286. The point is that you become corrupt if have a position of power or adjudication and you dishonestly influence outcomes or events, or demonstrate partiality. The source or motive for that dishonesty or partiality is irrelevant. It is corruption.

  287. Frank – Don’t be such an old grump. It was obviously a tongue in cheek comment (hence the smiley thing). Lighten up.

    Unless of course you mean the interview bit?


    Maybe the refs all members of some weird cult and have strange handshakes. That may explain it I suppose.

  288. I really can’t believe that you are seriously debating if the ref’s are all corrupt and have some sort of vendetta against Arsenal. Get a grip on reality guys. Jesus.

  289. You really do like to reinvent conversations, goonerandy. Either that or you don’t read. ‘All refs’? ‘Vendetta’ ? You invented those terms for effect, same as you did ‘Dan Brown’.

  290. ‘Every match can be won if a chance is converted or a defensive error not made, irrespective of the impact of ‘outside influences’.

    I’d like to agree, but FC Start were the exception, not the rule(s!).

    Juve have had their titles stripped. There was no stopping them at the time, I’m afraid to report. Rumours were in the ether a little while ago stating that Juve want to go and play in the south of France. Near Marseille of all places? Seems appropriate.

    FC Start were a remarkable team by every account, even Sly Stallone’s. They really had it bad. But then, they were playing for everything and nothing in a way that no footballers have done since. Well, maybe there were some in Argentina ’78. Allegedly.

  291. Thought long and hard about the argument which runs: “The ref can never be an excuse for losing. It doesn’t matter if the team gets tough calls from the ref: they should be able to rise above that and still win.”

    On reflection, I think it’s the Barca game which undermines this argument. If you’re winning by one goal against “the best team in the world” and the ref arbitrarily sends off one of your players, it’s surely quite unreasonable to argue that you should be perfectly capable of going on to beat them with ten men.

  292. Thing is when you comment like that it sheds everything you write in a different light. Reduces your credibility a little. See what I mean?

  293. Sacre bleu, mange tout. Un excellent point, Merlot.

  294. Dups,
    he’s got terrible teeth!!

  295. GA does love to make stuff up doesnt he?

    Perfectly said Merlot and it cannot be argued with.

  296. Frank – Not really. I am just a bit gobsmacked that otherwise seemingly intelligent people actually think that there is some sort of conspiracy against our club.

    Unless you watch every game played (for all teams) all season, how can you possibly say that we are more hard done by than other teams? The answer is you can’t. All teams have decision go for and against them. I take it the ref in the CC final (for example) is not in the clique of refs which do their utmost to make sure we don’t succeed. Poor guy, I wonder if he is an outcast in ref circles?

  297. That young man will have dentures before long. Mark my words.

  298. There you go again, goonerandy.

  299. Frank – So if I make a joke, it reduces my credibility. OK then.

    That said, I am sure my credibility with you is rock bottom anyway, so as Bob once said “when you ain’t got nuthin, you got nuthin to lose”. I am sure I will recover.

  300. I am sure you will too, goonerandy.Thats the spirit.

  301. Gainsbourg69

    The Wembley final would’ve been Arsenal v United had Bussaca not given RVP his marching orders. Apparently an all English final at Wembley would’ve been too much for some.

  302. Frank – To answer your earlier question, I think Chamakh was pulled up (wrongly in my view) for a push in the back of the defender. Somebody (Bendtner?) got booked for protesting as well.

  303. You would have to really want to make a decision like that to make a decision like that, and that is the nub of it.

  304. That does not follow at all Frank. Chamakh did have his hands up (as you do when you are attacking the ball with somebody in front of you). The ref just made a bad call, there is nothing sinister about it.

  305. GA, United almost never get penalties called against them, at home usually none.
    I dont have to watch every United game to see that.
    Even some United supporters agree they get the calls and managers of other teams have commented about it.
    The commentators last Saturday said that calls like the penalty United got lend to the conspiracy theories.

    Fergie time, anyone?

    Sorry but it is documented and well believed that United get the breaks.

  306. Now you have gone and spoiled it. Did you see the way the defenders handled the Arsenal forwards in the penalty area?

  307. @GA ~ no conspiracies, just a few biases in addition to our own inconsistencies, which in the end cost us dearly.

  308. How many bad calls does a ref need to make before he is seen to be biased?

  309. george rodger

    “If you’re winning by one goal against “the best team in the world” and the ref arbitrarily sends off one of your players, it’s surely quite unreasonable to argue that you should be perfectly capable of going on to beat them with ten men.”
    Yet we are expected to learn from this and not be so weak next time.
    Like we should have learned from the Newcastle theft.
    The two Sunderland thefts
    The Liverpool theft
    The Spurs away theft(RVP goal chalked off)
    But hey,lets knuckle down,bend over,and take it all over again next year shall we?

  310. Frank @ 5:25:

    “Frankly, Bill, that was a very lazy response. We deserve better than that. Bit more commitment from you please.”

    Your right, I accept you criticism of that comment. Indulge me for a longer post.

    I honestly believe that over the course of this year we have probably gotten a couple more bad calls then we should have mostly during the last couple months. I don’t believe that is is related to an overwhelming bias against us. I think that like all humans the refs sense defeatism and they sense when a team loses focus and interest and subconsciously they believe we are going to screw up and it becomes a self fullfilling prophecy. Fans tend to look for reasons why the club is failing so we watch more closely for things like this to happen which also becomes a self fullfilling prophecy. We almost never complained about the refs during that good run of form we had at the beginning of this year. I really believe that if we put in good performances and gave 100% effort on the pitch that more of those calls would go our way. Not because the refs are biased but because they have the same human nature as everyone else. I believe that whatever disadvantage we might get from the refs could be overcome if we put in the effort and play decent football.

    I dislike all the talk about refs, and other “excuses” because I think one of the reasons for the mental breakdown that we have seen this season is related to the fact that this core group of players has never been made to look in the mirror and acknowledge that they are responsible for the results on the pitch. These players have totally bottled the business end of the season 4 years in a row and the boss has never once said that its time for his players to “man up” . I understand he was trying to insulate his young players from criticism and maintain their confidence but in doing so he has allowed them to mentaly avoid responsibility. This year it almost appears as if they don’t care anymore. Bad as it sounds, its hard not to conclude that the boss has lost control of the squad. They are clearly not giving him the effort that he hopefully demands and certainly deserves. This squad deserves a huge bollocking for their lack of effort and lack of committment in the last few months, and some significant changes this summer are needed and not more excuse making.

    Hope that was not so lazy. I am sure that everyone has an opinion about what has happened and the real reasons are probably more complicated.

  311. Case in point, Phil Dowd’s obsession with Alex Song! He tries to send him off everytime he referees an Arsenal game.

  312. Frank at 6.37pm

    If you reread the posts (or comments) around the time of the 2nd leg, I did point out how well Spanish teams at all levels did very well when Bussacca was involved. Home and away, irrespective of the team, nation or anything else. Their avoiding defeat % is very high. Perhaps exceptionally so.


  313. dups – Do you mean biased or inept?

    Frank – Yeah, and I am sure that when we defend a corner our defenders don’t touch their players. Chamnakh had his hands on the guys back and the ref thought he had pushed him. Not convinced myself, but that is why.

  314. Colney @6.28

    If the team do, we will.


  315. Henristic @6.44

    You have no idea how inventive I can be. Neither do I so we will have to wait and see, won’t we.


  316. GA, I mean biased. As in the Mike Riley way.

  317. colny – I am sure he will get there one day mate. The he can tick it off his “100 things to do before I die” list.

  318. Henristic at 7.01pm

    If you want to see corruption in action at the highest level, type “Anderlecht, Nottingham Forest, Referee Corruption” into Google and see what comes up.


  319. I remember your comments, YW

  320. Gainsbourg69 @7.16pm

    Which conveniently excuses Diaby for rank stupidity. And the team for inexcusable naivety.


  321. dups – Then it would depend if it is only us he does it to. Unless of course his is biased against other teams. And if there is enough of them, and he keeps making questionable decisions……maybe he is just a bit rubbish.

  322. Gainsbourg69

    Great point, Merlot. It’s funny how Robin’s red card came just as we’d been given a goal by Busquets, for something that no one ever gets red carded over. If Van Perise kicked the ball away at the seventy fifth minute, then, sure, give him his second yellow. But in the fifty fifth minute, with virtually everything to play for?

    Mourinho even referenced this questionable double yellow at a press conference when he brought up the Pepe sending off and how referees favor Barcelona. There may have not been a lot of press about the Van Persie sending off in England but the Madridistas went absolutely nuts over it. I believe that our season came apart after that decision.

  323. YW – Go careful my friend, if you don’t acknowledge that games such as the Newcastle game was solely the fault of the referee you may come in for some stick.

  324. Gains – “If Van Perise kicked the ball away at the seventy fifth minute, then, sure, give him his second yellow. But in the fifty fifth minute, with virtually everything to play for?”

    That makes no sense whatsoever. It was either a yellow card offence or it wasn’t. It does not matter how far into the match it was. In this case it was no way a yellow card; be that the 1st min or the 90th min.

  325. george rodger

    Andy,not “like” rather “specifically”

  326. In general, “100 things to do before I die” lists are pointless. I mean, mine includes watching an English Premier League match where the referee doesn’t get a decision horrendously wrong.

  327. GA at 7.54pm

    Bring it on.


  328. george rodger

    He means that as it was deemed “time wasting”then after 75 minutes might be more understandable.
    I think !!!

  329. Gainsbourg69

    Yogi’s warrior:
    “Which conveniently excuses Diaby for rank stupidity. And the team for inexcusable naivety.”

    I’m not excusing Diaby. If the ref had done his job the way he was supposed to they both would’ve been sent off.

    How was the team naive again?

  330. Come on, in the Newcastle match we saw Arshavin flattened and nothing, Diaby almost gets his legs broken and nothing. Kos breathes down a man neck too closely and its a pen and all of this is the same blasted match. Lets not even mention the call on Rosicky.

    The ref has a job to do. If I didnt watch football I would be confused as to what they really is given some of the comments.

  331. GA at 7.55

    >It does not matter how far into the match it was. In this case it was no way a yellow card; be that the 1st min or the 90th min.

    It shouldn’t but it does. And where an offence happens on the pitch shouldn’t matter but it does.

    It’s called incompetence.


  332. Gainsbourg69

    Naive? Are you kidding? At 4-0 up, even allowing for crass refereeing decisions, surely they know how to defend. Surely they knew how to retain possession and take the sting out of the game?


  333. There is no doubt that the team made many mistakes but lets be honest the now Champions have a horrid away record, dropped many points while leading and were downright terrible at the start of the season. What put them over the top in my view is getting help. I would agree that they did perform better at seasons end but a season is won over the course, though it seems at the end.

  334. george rodger

    The Ref.took “naivety” out of the equation.

  335. Gainsbourg69

    Andy: “That makes no sense whatsoever. It was either a yellow card offence or it wasn’t. It does not matter how far into the match it was. In this case it was no way a yellow card; be that the 1st min or the 90th min.”

    It was a dubious, shitty call. If the referee wanted to mask his support for Barcelona he would’ve made that same call when time wasting would’ve made more sense and not ten minutes after kicking off the second half. That was my point. Besides, Van Persie wasn’t wasting time. He took a legitimate shot at goal and the referee decided that kicking the ball one second after he blew his whistle was time wasting.

  336. city up 1-0

  337. Yogi, sure the team didnt keep calm against Castle and should shoulder some of the blame but that doesnt take away from what the ref didnt help them out a huge bit.

    I doubt the team new what the heck was going on, the calls were as weird and it seems as if everything just compounded that day.

    My opinion is that the teams mistakes are not an opportunity or excuse for the ref to do is in.

  338. Paul N

    I’d suggest you have a look at United’s home record over a number of seasons. They are not invincible but they win a far higher proportion of home games than we do. That’s where Arsenal must improve – winning home games.

    Yes, they get a number of questionable decisions in their favour – perhaps disproportionately so – yet there is a fear instilled in visiting Old Trafford that does not exist in the same way when opponents visit The Emirates.


  339. Yogi, sure the team didnt keep calm against Castle and should shoulder some of the blame but that doesnt take away from what the ref did, he helped them out a huge bit.

  340. George R

    No he didn’t. 4-0 and getting a point is not purely down to the referee.


  341. Paul N

    That is correct. The argument appears to be that some believe that the refereeing mistakes excuse the team for their mistakes. It does not.


  342. Cardiff losing.

    I want JET to do well, but the PL would be a far more entertaining place with Swansea, Wigan and Blackpool in the PL.

  343. Er, well, you know…

  344. G69:

    In the 2nd leg of the Barca game we were ahead 1- 0 the ref was given a perfect opportunity to give a penalty against Diaby that we all agree was a call favorable to us. If he wanted to give the game to Barca why not call that pen. He had no idea how the rest of the game would go.

    In the Newcastle game they had a goal disallowed that was clearly a good goal when they were still 2 goals behind. If the officials wanted us to lose then why disallow a perfectly good goal for Newcastle?

    The refs are remarkably inconsistent and sometimes clearly imcompetent but claiming purposeful bias just does not fit.

  345. Yes Yogi I agree with you, but wouldnt you say that them not having pens called on them at home has something to do with it, if you get my drift?

    As far as making the Emirates a fortress, the supporters must do that I believe, but you have many who dont believe cheering on the team is that important.

  346. Gainsbourg69

    Yogi’s warrior: “Naive? Are you kidding? At 4-0 up, even allowing for crass refereeing decisions, surely they know how to defend. Surely they knew how to retain possession and take the sting out of the game?”

    I get it. You’re taking the piss. You had me going there for a second. But just in case you’re not taking the piss let me give you my opinion on that. The first phantom call was the sending off. Barton tagged Diaby and then threw himself on the floor when Diaby grabbed him by the neck. So not only did he kick the shit out of Diaby he dove to get him sent off. Those are the first signs on the horizon. Then they get the softest of penalties and are back in the game. Even at four three we had a chance to come away with the three points but Dowd decided to award them another phantom non- foul and they converted. Naive my dick.

  347. Paul N,Frank,
    We were talking about the financial type weren’t we, hence the reference to Barca’s ability to bring in higher income? And for that type of corruption the highest bidder, or the one most willing to bend or break rules, ‘wins’ by definition. If barca paid off the ref in one game, what’s stopping chelsea from doing so in the next?

    Other than isolated incidents of personal bias by certain refs, I find it hard to believe there is any other sort of institutionalized favouritism going on, especially against a colossus like Real Madrid.

    Those guys hired Mourihno and gave him power they never let coaches have, just to increase their chances of winning the CL. Yet, their top guns distanced themselves from Mourihno’s rant after their SF exit.

    That’s the total opposite of the behaviour you would expect if there was cheating at that level. Why would the other teams even bother competing if the whole thing was so blatantly rigged? Why?

  348. When all is said and done, I wouldve taken a win in which we played nervous towards the end. We dont need crappy refs interfering no matter what. Lets make the game be decided with fair play as much as possible and I am sorry that has fallen by the wayside this season. The refs are hindering the game and the crap thing is that they are not held accountable.
    Seriously, how in the world does Rooney get away with elbowing someone in the face intentionally? unless we are talking about the MMA or Ice Hockey, that is as ridiculous as it gets.

  349. Henristic @6.4
    You have no idea how inventive I can be. Neither do I so we will have to wait and see, won’t we.

    Indeed, Yogi.

  350. Bill
    The blame the ref brigade have forgotten that Newcastle have a perfectly good goal disallowed and that Barca had a stone wall penalty turned down when Diaby brought down Messi.They have a selective memory like Wenger
    You must feel as though you are talking to a brick wall. No team can blame the ref for losing a 4-0 lead

  351. Gainsbourg69

    You are deceiving yourself.

    1. Laws of the Game, Diaby used Violent Conduct and was rightly sent off. Barton should have been booked

    2. All of the goals came in a 20 minute spell. A club which is at the highest level should not concede that many goals, that quickly. An inability to defend properly on that occasion contributed in equal measure to soft penalties.

    3. At 4-1, Arsenal should have shut up shop. End of. To fail to do so is criminal. They know how to stop teams. They know how to retain possession and they did not.

    You cannot allow the players to believe it was not their fault. How the hell do they learn from that game if you tell them they made no mistakes.


  352. george rodger

    YW,At 4 0 the Ref.created the conditions for the collapse.The team did not.
    Arsene even brought Rosicky on to maintain possession,as you suggest would have been the answer.

  353. Paul @ 8:29:

    No doubt about that. Video replays with the ability of the manager to challenge 2 – 4 decisions during the game and some form of accountability are the only answer.

    Tougher and retrospective penalties and suspensions for things like the Rooney elbow and terrible tackles also needed.

  354. Paul N

    The problem is the laws of the game which permit national associations to hide behind the fact that the referee saw an incident and dealt with it.

    There needs to be a retrospective punishment, judging whether the referee dealt with the situation properly and if not, what the appropriate punishment is.


  355. George

    Tosh. The team did not respond to their circumstances. Newcastle got one back on 68, a second on 75, a third on 82, a fourth on 87. That is a regular pattern and a definite signal that the team did not adapt to their circumstances. No matter what the referee did in minutes 68 and 82, they should have been good enough to stop 75 and 87.

    They did not. The referee made mistakes, the team were naive and did not defend properly – why was Tiote not closed down, for example. To excuse them on the basis that the referee was a wrong ‘un, is simply delusional and indicative of why the defensive side of this team fell apart.

    Following that game, the team played 18 matches. They kept 6 clean sheets. In the 12 games they conceded two or more goals on 8 occasions. That is nowhere near good enough. Are you telling me that all of those matches were the fault of referees?


  356. Agreed Yogi and Bill!

  357. george rodger

    No Yogi,I am most certainly not telling you that.
    All I am saying is that due to the gross incompetence of the Ref on that occasion,the team lost confidence and never recovered.That was their fault.
    I am simply trying to explain where I think things went wrong ,and where ,at least some,of the blame lies.

  358. I give Micah Richards a ten for that dive!

  359. Lescott makes it 2 – 0. Guess we need 3 points against Fulham and Bolton to give Man City a spanking now.
    JET playing like an Arsenal forward, playing back across the goal when he should have shot for Cardiff.

  360. I guess we have to beat Fulham and hope for a Bolton win/draw against City.

  361. Maybe JET is just having a mare tonight, but he is getting all the chances and scoring none of them. Either won’t shoot when he should or scuffs them when he should bury them.

  362. Booed off in the end. It’s not his fault he’s been played out completely out of position. I think I’ve seen him play in every role at Arsenal, but never as a touchline-hugging left-midfielder.

  363. Gainsbourg69

    Bill, nine bad decisions against us and only one against them does’t strike you as a bit odd? In most games, when the referee is absolute shit, you see them even out the bad calls. In this game Dowd didn’t do that. Him and his assistants gave us bad calls after bad calls. They made about four bad decisions in a row on the Diaby sending off alone. Number one. He didn’t even yellow card Barton for a nasty foul. Number two he didn’t show restraint when it was clear that Barton embellished the severity of his physical encounter with Diaby by throwing himself on the floor like a kid struck by Polio. Number three he didn’t card Nolan for roughing up Diaby and then to top it all off Barton avoids a booking, once again, for embellishment. Then not five minutes later Szczesny is getting taken down by Nolan WWF style and he remains in the game, ensuring their numerical advantage, of course.

  364. @YW
    Players can now be penalised after the fact on video evidence if the ref didn’t take action during the game. Maybe the refs should also be judged after the fact on video evidence. Maybe refs should be asked to explain themselves in TV interview after the event with replays shown of their appalling cock-ups. Let the officials explain how they could have missed such an obvious hand ball from Vidic in the game at the Emirates. I was amused on seeing the highlights later when Jamie Redknapp said maybe the linesman didn’t see him touch it and Souness said how could he not when we could see it up here and we’re further away. And if the linesman thought Vidic didn’t touch it how could give a corner?
    On the question of players penalised by video evidence, what are the grounds for a player being penalised. Surely a video panel should have penalised Vidic with a ban after the match because it should have been a red card in it.

  365. JET won’t make it at Arsenal i don’t think.

  366. G69:

    Refs are remarkably inconsistent and clearly overall we got the worst of that game. I doubt it was really 9 against and 1 for but will not argue with you.

    Over the last couple months I think we probably have had a few more go against us then for us but I refuse to believe that is purposeful bias or corruption and I think we are doing the team no favors by constantly trying to move the blame for our problems away from the team. See my comment @ 7:44

  367. There are a few players out on loan who were even struggling to get games for their loan sides, Sanchez Watt and Mark Randall for example. Vela hardly got a look in at West Brom either, although he got three goals in four games.

  368. G69, Arshavin was fouled by Barton before the whole Diaby episode also.

    Wavey, yes the ref should be judges also. If someting is blatant and they cannot explain as to why it wasnt dealt with properly (Rooney Elbow) maybe they should miss out on a match or ref a lower level game.

  369. JET will end up at West Ham

  370. Reading goalie handles outside the box to deny Bothroyd. Ref completely oblivious to it, how can that be?

  371. Night, night Cardiff!

  372. Wavey:

    Plenty of poor referee decisions to go around for everyone to share.

  373. Gainsbourg69

    Yogi: “You cannot allow the players to believe it was not their fault. How the hell do they learn from that game if you tell them they made no mistakes.”

    What are the lessons in this refereeing debacle? I would love to know how you think any team could’ve worked around shit calls like the ones awarded against us.

  374. Wavey

    Video panel is the answer. The area to be decided is where the boundaries are. Vidic, for example, what is the point of the punishment post-match. You cannot change the outcome so are we then punishing through a sense of justice or vindictiveness? Where does it stop? If Player A trips Player B and it is a yellow card offence, do we look at that? You are then scruitinising every decision.


  375. Bill, whether it is bias or corruption is speculation but the outcome is what it is.

    I read your comment at 7:44 and you believe that it is human to give calls against a team because they are not playing well?

    The last time we won the FA Cup we were battered by United in every way apart from goals but the ref didnt give them any calls. Likewise we were all over City at home and the ref didnt give us a pen or any of these crazy calls to give us the win.

    That is made up stuff right there and shouldnt be used to justify poor reffing.

    You cannot say we shouldnt make excuses and then you go ahead and excuse the ref, lets be consistent.

  376. Gainsbourg

    >I would love to know how you think any team could’ve worked around shit calls like the ones awarded against us.

    If that attitude prevails at the club, that’s why they can’t defend. To blame everyone but themselves is ludicrous. Are you genuinely telling me that you do not attach any blame for the four goals conceded? Are you genuinely telling me that the players did not have the mental strength to rise above the challenge of poor officiating?

    If all of Newcastle’s goals were penalties, I could understand your point of view. But they weren’t. Two of them were avoidable. In fact three of them were, poor marking was the root cause of the situation which led to Koscielny being erroneously penalised.

    It defies belief, it honestly does, when people put the blame on others and not the players.


  377. I agree that refs appear to be bullet proof. How do officials learn if they are not publicly accountable? If the FA panel decides to penalise a ref by sending him down to the Championship for a weekend who notices? Unless you happen to notice when you spot a Prem ref in the League highlights you would never realise that a ref had been penalised.
    Why not publicly announce it? Circulate a list of refs for the weekend games 24 hours before with a list of those not selected for Prem games and why. Make refs suffer the stigma of being demoted. Managers are expected to come out for post-match interviews after appalling decisions have been made and are thenasked about those decisions. If they dare critisise the ref in the heat of the moment they are up on charges. Why not make the ref come out for a post-match interview, show him his cock-ups and ask him why he is such a prize c*nt? That will soon take that smug f*cking grin off their faces.

  378. Paul N

    I don’t recall any decisions going against United that day. Perhaps one penalty in extra time. Now there was a match in which a team defended properly.


  379. @YW
    If Vidic had been banned he would likely have missed the game against Chelsea. Whilst in the long run that didn’t matter, at the time it could have been important for us in the title race.

  380. Wavey

    The FA do publish the names of officials demoted, you just have to look for it. The press don’t generally bother and when they do, they get it wrong and have to apologise for claiming demotion when there wasn’t any, as the Daily Heil had to this week.

    Post match interviews? Bring it on but then the Premier League can’t make Alex Ferguson conduct them so how they expect to be able to force referees to is beyond me.


  381. The tight arse transfer policy will prevail yogi I bet you 5op!!

  382. Paul:

    The difference in the FA cup game is our players were totally outplayed but was not due to lack of effort on their own part to hold back United. I stand by what I said and think we would get a more calls with better effort on our part but obviously just my own speculation and no way to prove it.

    However your last sentence is a good point and there is no excuse for how poor the officiating has been this year.

  383. 50p??? Woah, thats too rich for me man…

    Actually, I just read we are after Owen hargreaves. Niw I know he makes Darren Anderton look like the duracell bunny, BUT, and its a big but, but I would go for him, he is top quality and on a pay as you play deal, that could be a bargain and we like bargains down at Costco Rovers..

  384. Thats it Yogi, I remember a ball hand that they may have wanted, that was about it.

    I am just laying to bed what Bill said, that Dowd gave calls against us subconsciously because we stopped playing well. If that was the case we would hardly lose with the amount of times we have had teams under pressure.
    Yo, If that was the case it shouldve been 10 nothing in the first half against Newcastle.

  385. Gainsbourg69

    Bill, it was more than nine. I just wanted to point out the obvious ones so you wouldn’t think I was being nit picky or conspiratorial. There’s even ones I missed like the foul on Arshavin, which Paul pointed out, that culminated in the Diaby sending off. I mean, what did Barton have to do to get a booking? Hit one of our players with a flying round house, perhaps? Oh wait, that was Nolan. He put a sleeper hold on Szczesny and strutted away, all smiles, because all he got was a booking for something more severe than Diaby’s neck grab. Where’s the consistency in that? When do we get some calls going our way, huh? It was all slaps on the wrists and benefits of doubt for the.

  386. Bill

    I was at that FA Cup game, now I realise you love United/chavs and are a millimetre away from revealing your true colours on a daily basis. BUT to suggest we were outplayed is bollocks.

  387. Sorry bill but you and I know that that is made up stuff. You cannot make any claim that would make that stick.

    Its the job of the ref to ref the game properly.

    Here is your claim – Its is Arsenals fault that Dowd gave so many calls against them because they started to play nervous. That is beyong absurd.

  388. @YW

    I agree, it was totally tongue in cheek, but as I said before refs are bullet proof.
    The best refs are those who let the game flow and handle the decisions that need to be made properly. Refs are now becoimg part of the game rather than facilitating it. That’s what the FA should be looking at.
    In the game against Man U at the Emirates the ref actually got in the way and diverted the ball away from an Arsenal player three times. Once is an accident, but three times is just taking the piss. I thought he was going to swap his shirt for a Man U one at one point.

  389. beyond even

  390. of course the team can still make the refereeing decisions not important..

    perfect eg is barca..the ref let barca grab our players by the throat and he sent rvp off for shooting, yet if bendnter doesnt have the first touch of a brick wall we still win the tie and nobody looks too deep into the refs performance..

    the refs are shit they are always going to make it harder for us but its the mistakes like bendtners we need to learn from..

    we are not always going to have it our own way theres going to be games where it seems like everything goes against us…but its games like those we need to dig in and fight and nip and scratch and bite and take the chances when we get them and cut out the mistakes..

    we are not learning this…

    same can be said of the villa game we can blame the ref all we want about the crap decisions but if we dont conceded those two sloppy goals we win 1-0..

    the refs our crap but its our own inabilitys that keep stopping us…nothing else

  391. Wavey

    But where do you stop? If Vidic should be red carded, who decides which incidents to review, that’s the issue. Which is why Uefa / Fifa / Ifab stay away from the issue.


  392. Then you were at the game with your eyes closed mate. They were the better side, and we won. Defended well, and rode our luck a bit. Ironic that the FA Cup was our last trophy and won in that fashion.

  393. Please don’t sell your shares fellow Arsenal fans. One man cannot own the club.

  394. Jon Jon

    Too true we didnt lose to Barcelona because of the referee but because the Worlds best striker couldnt control a football

  395. Yogi: “If that attitude prevails at the club, that’s why they can’t defend. To blame everyone but themselves is ludicrous. Are you genuinely telling me that you do not attach any blame for the four goals conceded? Are you genuinely telling me that the players did not have the mental strength to rise above the challenge of poor officiating? ”

    They did rise above the poor refereeing. You cite the time between goals. I’m glad you did that because it highlights the fact that Newcastle were getting spanked. The second half saw us dominate possession and we were even threatening their goal depsite our numerical disadvantage. The only time they got close to our goal from open play was the time they got called for offside on a very close decision. Other than that we went on for long spells where they couldn’t get out of their half. If you want to blame the players for not trying even harder than they did, then your expectations are artificially high.

  396. 4th fucking place, what a fucking disaster. I bet Stockport county fans are up in arms at our plight and ready to march on the Grove as we speak…

  397. Ha ha , you must have been well schindlers list dexter. That was one of the most one sided finals ever, we were battered. and then we mugged em.

  398. Goonerandy

    Are you talking to me and if so, are you chatting about the 2005 FA cup final? Shit,k I tohught you were on about this years game!

  399. YW
    there are clearly flash points in a game, some refs get right and some they get wrong. Shouldn’t the video panel be reviewing them again to see if the ref made the right decision? Especially as those incidents would likely already have been picked over by the media commentators. If Sky could draw attention to the Vidic handball incident why didn’t the FA review it? And its not just about being vindictive, if players are aware that they can be penalised after the fact maybe they will think a bit before they cheat. Of course that we suggest that footballers are clever enough to think.
    Webb gave Reading a pen tonight because the defender had a handful of shirt sleeve and he pulled the player to the ground. Webb had no choice, it was right in front of him. So many cases of shirt pulling in the penalty area are dismissed out of hand, for once the ref could not miss it, if he had failed to give it he would have been strung up.

  400. dexter cant be talking about the final
    must be talking about the game at OT this year..

  401. 1 loose cannon

    I did not expect the rugby team to fight for anything playing with a round ball and City really did not have to try hard. One more game to go and we still have a chance to finish 3rd. It has been a strange season maybe not strange, the same pattern every year, we seem to fade in the second part of the season. on the 4th of December we were 1 point ahead of united and things have never been the same after that.

  402. DukeG

    Hahaha! Shit, I thought you were on about the game this season! Ha! I saw that final in a pub full of mancs somewhere down south, deep down south in darkest shropshire or something. We were outplayed and that made the result even funnier! I laughed my knackers off for ages after, almost came to blows if I recall rightly!!

  403. I gave up the other day after trying about five times – has anyone else had trouble logging onto that Equiniti site?

  404. JJ

    You’re spot on mate! 😀

  405. JJ, sure a team “can” overcome bad decisions but to expect that to be the norm is not realistic, especially calls were players are sent off and where goals are given or not given wrongly.

    You didnt expect us to beat barcelona down a man, did you?

    The ref decision stiff had an impact of the game because barcelona scored two goals after RVP got sent off.

  406. So, we need to beat Fulham and Bolton have to do us a favour…. CL qualifiers here we come then. Our plkayers have been on summer holiday since the beginning of March.

  407. @Dexter

    Freddy heading the ball onto the bar to save a certain goal and playing Bergkamp up front as the loan striker. Poor Dennis, never endowed with great pace in his hey day and certainly not in the twilight of his career. A fantastic day out in Cardiff with Man U fans crying into their beer over the injustice in the Cardiff bars that evening just being the icing on the cake.

  408. Arshavin hasnt looked like himself lately.

    A guy of his talent should be making defenders look silly.

  409. Dupsff;

    Not sure that one is tool far off mate. I dont want him to go, but I think he could well be off. Him and Clichy. I think AW would be prepared to sell those 2, keep hold of Cesc and Nasri and buy with the proceeds and the “transfer warchest” Well, soon as someone manages to smash the piggy bank open.

  410. Funny that Dexter, how the further south you go the more the pubs are full of mancs.

  411. Dexter,

    he’ll never smash the piggy bank open.
    He’ll try to lever some coins out of the slot with a knife.

  412. Still remember Wenger’s demagoguery about the second place being a success? lol The shambles at the club is beyond believe.

  413. Dexter. yes we were chatting about he 05 FA cup game.

  414. Paul N

    Arshavin has played, or been involved in more games than any Arsenal player this season. Considering AW said, before signing him that he wasnt used to playing more than 30+ games a season. I think AA has done well. His form may have been patchy, but its still better than the player of the fucking year! And Theo’s stats absolutely piss on the monkey boys too!

  415. 1 loose cannon

    dupsffokcuf you think that is silly? I kid you not, I read an article few days ago suggeasting that Wenger is going to sell Nasri Arshavin and Fabregas and build a team around Scott Parker. this stuff you can’t even read in a comic books. It works for them because we are responsible for clicking on their shit. I try not to read but you simply can’t resist reading such crap and laugh afterwards

  416. Paul N
    What about the penalty not given for the foul by Diaby on Messi.You cant talk about bad decisions against us in the Camp Nou and completley blank that from your mind.

  417. DukeG; Truly mate.

    Wavey; Lol!

    SV; Look up perspective in a dictionary, then have a glance at the clubs that have been relegated this season, from every division, have a spliff and a bath, then come back.

  418. george rodger

    Arshavin should be used against the better teams ,and rested a lot.

  419. paul no i didnt..

    but we still could have won v barca if bentner takes that chance..his previous decisions would have had no bearing on the game if we would have won..nobody would care..maybe we would groan about rvp being suspended but thats it..the result would have been enough…

    when you play 70 games a season not all off them are going to be rosey, we are going to get the shit end of the stick at some point..no point complaining about it all the time just gotta learn to adapt to it..

  420. 1lc

    Now that is bloody silly.

  421. ok since you didnt why bring it up?

  422. Dexter,
    your calmness is admirable.
    I sometimes think having a PR representative in the press conferences instead of Wenger would be preferable. Whatever Wenger says now is counterproductive, and there is no return. The PR war is lost. I mean, the “second place” conclusions must have also influenced the players…

  423. george rodger

    I absolutely refuse to click on sites like Le Grove.
    What is there to be gained from reading drivel ,written by halfwits about subjects they clearly don’t understand.
    If these people stood next to you in a pub it would take monumental self control not to kick them in the bollocks.

  424. SV

    What is your point?

  425. Borges Spinelli

    That’s was because Dunga played Michel Bastos as a Left Back at the last World Cup; a position he seldomly plays in for Lyon.

    @Henristic LOL at your 6:58pm response to NJN.

  426. Borges Spinelli


  427. george rodger

    Qualifying for the Champions League is the “holly grail”for every team.
    Why do some people refuse to accept this reality?
    The CC and FA cups might be nice trinkets and a good day out ,but they are nothing in comparison to playing in Europe.
    When Arsene says it is a achievement he is stating a fact.
    He has never ever said it was a trophy.

  428. George

    Thats my point, Arshavin has been run ragged, no wonder his form (check his stats though!) has dipped. I would definiely pick and choose his games more next season. We need a Theo on the left wing. Maybe Vela, maybe not?

    SV; Not finishing at least 2nd is fucking terrible, dont get me wrong. Bit its the hand wringing and oh woe is us shit I find daft when you think of the big picture. And anyway, we cant stay mad for ever, even though some like to. So, worse case scenario, we have to play 2 extra games. Given the shite the players have dished up of late, its almost a penance for them!

    As for the PR bit? I dont get you. I think Wenger is hurting, probably like never before. This will be his most difficult season if you ask me. The guy is hardly a redknapp; ie doesnt give a shit about anything bar his own bank balance

  429. Borges Spinelli

    Michel Bastos

    Exhibit: A

  430. Borges Spinelli

    Michel Bastos

    Exhibit: B

  431. paul
    cos its relevant to what i was saying..the ref was a cock in that game yet if bendtner bangs that one in we still go through..
    doesnt matter if i beleived something at the time or not the fact remains thats what happened..

    as a whole over the season, if we were more clinical infront of goal as well as more composed defending our goal we would make it alot easier for ourselves and although the refs will still be cocks they wont seem as important…

    we picked up alot of red cards over the wenger era..
    alot of fuss was made about it at the start in the early years, papers always saying ‘oh look at wengers card count, dirty cunts’…
    so the reality is the refs and media have never made it easy for us..but it didnt stop us back then like its stopping us now did it??

  432. we should sign darren bent. 7 goals this campaign. theo scored more in the first half of the season. Chamakh scored 7 and cost 24 mill less. nuff said yall

  433. Dupsff;

    I would like someone at the club to take over some PR duties and try to add some positivity around the club in the media. Wenger can not do everything alone, and when he is forced to defend himself and the club, it only makes the matter worse.

  434. william
    bents hit 20 goals this season..
    he hit 11 for sunderland and 9 for villa,,,

  435. You know what really made our seaso go pearshaped was when we ended up no 2 in our qualifyer group and had to fac Barca as early as we did.
    That is probably the single most stupid thin we did all season imo.

    Not that it really matters if you go out in the first or second round but getting to the quarters atleast looks better.
    Also we would not have had to face barca so close to the CC cup final and United. Loosing everything in 1 month killed us.

  436. hes 27 and hes played almost 400 games scoring over 150 goals…
    hes strong as an ox and hes a reliable scorer…

    maybe 24 mil wasnt a bad price in the end when it comes to good strikers in the current market..he’s in his prime now as well..

    maybe im wrong but i wouldnt of minded seeing a rvp/bent duo..

  437. Borges Spinelli

    Bent is clinical and prolific. I’d have him any-day, in my squad, over renowned narcissist, Bendt-ner.

  438. george rodger

    How good was Bent at 22?

  439. george rodger

    He was not good enough for the Spuds.How the hell can he be good enough for us?

  440. Maybe Wenger would have liked to sign Bent at some stage but he was far to expensive for us.

  441. hes been a one in two man everywhere but spurs..
    harry treat him like a mug.

  442. george rodger


  443. dups
    if charlton, spurs, sunderland and villa can afford him we certainly can..
    we just chose not to i reckon..
    dont think wenger had much interest
    pity really
    hes a gooner as well

  444. JJ which one of those teams has built a new stadium?

  445. which one of those teams made a self sustained profit of 60mil last summer

  446. george rodger

    Seriously,if he is a Gooner ,that makes a difference.

  447. george rodger

    Which one had no need for another striker last summer?

  448. sticking with nikki and getting chamakh on a free ( who have never been a 20 goal a season striker) was the more profitable option

    even in janury there was rumours of teams wanting nikki..what was wrong with selling him on and hijacking the bent deal…

    im sure we could have got him…

  449. Borges Spinelli

    The Arsenal?

  450. george rodger

    Change of formation to accommodate him .I guess.
    Or perhaps Arsene does not think he is good enough.That would do it.

  451. or perhaps we didnt want to pay the money..

  452. george rodger

    We cant know that JJ.
    Thats doomer thinking.No place for that here.(smiley face)

  453. Borges Spinelli

    George, how good is Bojan at 20?

  454. george rodger

    BS,I dont know.
    But I know people who thought B52 was the best prospect they had seen at Arsenal.And if Arsene rates him then that will do for me.

  455. Borges Spinelli

    Wenger can be excused for making maladroit judgement calls from time-to-time, after-all, he’s human and no man is infallible. Bendtner, unfortunately, is least favored by me; and, moreover, on borrowed time. He might turn out to be the best thing to come out of Denmark after the Vikings, danish pastry, Christiansborg Castle, Michael Laudrup and Peter Schmeichel in, erm, say, 2015/16 season. This, however, is a mighty long time, for any reasonable fan to await his transformation into world class status.

  456. Bent has 20 goals but how many of those goals came in important games? I seem to remember that he went on a goal drought for the longest period.

  457. there are too many #10s at Arsenal we need a different kind of player, i will leave that to the boss.

  458. Such a small hinterland! Darren Bent? Because he played against us in the last game. Farkin hell.

  459. 1 loose cannon

    in terms of goal ratio RVP is the best striker in the league 17 goals in 18 games. If he played all season he would have at least 25 goals.

  460. Jack stop talking nonsense. There was no cry about Diaby it was Kos.

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