One of Us Speaks: Do We Make Monsters?

As much as I love the smell of Napalm in the mornings, I do like a Friday when I get a lie-in. Here’s Big Al weaving his lyrical magic…

Other than the victory itself, two remarkable things happened during the win over Sunderland. Tomas Rosicky transported us back to late-2007 with a heartening display of subtle passing, balance, close control and pace that had been conspicuous in its’ absence.

Likewise Andrei Arshavin’s performance, the like of which we haven’t seen for two years. I know his contribution last season was much overlooked but on Sunday he played as if he knew he was miles better than everyone else on the pitch.

31 and 30 respectively, the pair are at an age when they should be leading by example. Perhaps it’s unrealistic but I’ve often hoped our younger players would look to Rosicky and Arshavin for some degree of guidance, but when things started to turn last season they were fumbling for form just like everyone else. In fact, Arshavin had been playing far below his level for quite some time.

In all this time their talent has never been in doubt, which is why their performances last weekend got me thinking about the importance of motivation and player psychology, along with the various complicated dynamics involved. It’s stuff that I can’t hope to grasp in a year, let alone one afternoon.

It’s all new to me but that won’t stop me from jotting down some stolen random thoughts:

While it obviously works wonders for the mental shape of a team to be doing well, a run of wins brings its own demands; coaches will have to work hard to keep their players focused and humble. That’s because of the inevitability of defeat in sport. After all, there are only four trophies worth winning for any club so even the very best sides will taste bitter disappointment each year, every player will have bad days.

Needless to say, there’s more to a pro than just having the right physique and talent. A player has to be ready to face the various strange hands they can be dealt in an unpredictable environment. Confidence is vital but just as important is the source from which players draw on their assurance.

It’s dangerous for a player to base his confidence on a team’s results, and tell himself, “we’ve been winning games and I’m playing well, so I’m a good player.” Because, what does he tell himself when the team starts losing?

For all the negative references to “cosseting”, I think managers actively strive to build individual’s egos to counter the danger of a team crash. If these guys are too reliant on the performance of the team, or any external factor like crowd response or bad press, to reinforce self-belief, when the collapse happens it could be disastrous for them.

On the contrary they need to be drawing more on something from within. For a few years it looked like we either encouraged or cultivated a certain trait amongst some of our players. Motivation founded on ego.

This way a young team could more easily recover from a setback – our players could extricate themselves from the morale-sapping baggage that accompanies defeat by making themselves feel that they weren’t responsible. Team victories wouldn’t make too much difference to a player’s sense of self-worth; rather they’d have a constant stream of confidence based on their faith in them, irrespective of short-term form.

But here’s the thing; we went to pieces eight months ago and have only recently shown signs of recovering. There’s no way we’d encourage our individual players to define their capabilities by team results, but is it possible that we went too far the other way, and developed a team of egos unable to trust each other?

One of the most exasperating things last summer was reading our players, from Cesc to Nasri to Bendtner bemoan the lack of trophies at Arsenal, as if they had no role in that same absence of team achievement.

This was Wenger this week:

It was a very difficult summer because half the dressing room wanted to leave. You’re preparing for a season where you don’t know who’s going to come in, the players who are staying are asking themselves what’s going on at the club, you’ve got a pre-season tour of Asia. It was extraordinarily difficult.

Denilson in May:

This has been the worst season of my life and I am so upset, so frustrated.

I am a winner and I came here to win trophies but I’ve been here for five years and won nothing (…) this is not a sudden decision. I made up my mind eight months ago.

I always thought he was underrated, but come on – those comments made it seem like he wasn’t living in the real world, enough to make me want to get to the bottom of them. Arsène Wenger’s often painted as an indulging kind of guy, but Denilson and Bendtner displayed a complete absence of self-awareness.

So we had relative youngsters in the side that had made up their mind the season wasn’t going to be a success and that Arsenal wasn’t the club for them, even while we were still in four competitions. Nasri started forcing a move the same month we beat Barcelona at home. And it’s little wonder Denilson and Bendtner offered us little when they did make an appearance last season.

So over the past five years or so I feel we’ve inadvertently encouraged our young players to aspire beyond Arsenal, which has helped them to a certain amount of short term success, but might have harmed the club in the long run.

Still, as an awkward afterthought, and on the topic of motivation, I’d like to think that Arshavin and Rosicky may yet shine for us this season with the prospect of what could be their last international tournament on the horizon next summer.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on October 21, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 289 Comments.

  1. Just Another Luke

    I’m a spoiler. I’m #1

  2. Morning all,

    Stoke are topping their group in Europe and looking as (physically) strong as ever. Sunday wont be easy but it is doable. A lot will come down (IMO) to the Per, Kos, Song axis and their ability to withstand the attributes of this big team and to our mobility and clinical accuracy in their half.

    COYG

  3. Mohamed Zubairu

    I am agreement with this article. Too many Arsenal players think that they are so good that they could not be faulted for any disappointing results. Dennilson goes back to Brazil only to be making the headlines for the wrong reasons. He and Bentner who had vowed never to come back to Arsenal have changed their minds so quickly. Dennilson has expressed the desire to return claiming to be missing London already.
    I think that the method Sir Alex Fergusson uses to motivate his players is producing better results that Wenger’s. Everyone there seem to realize that he needs the team more than the team need him. Hardly do you find their players wanting to jump ship. Their performances last season was far higher than the sum total of their collective abilities. I think it will do Wenger good to borrow a leaf from SAF’s motivational skills. Those who are performing below expectations like Walcott and Arshavin should be made to spend a long time on the bench to jolt them to reality. Let Gervinho and AOC play on the wings and Miyaichi and Benayoun substitute them.

  4. Interesting stuff Big Al.

    Taking the point above, how do you think manu’s approach compares with that of Arsenal?

  5. It wont be adisaster if JD plays against Stoke another 6’4″ defender against the Rugby team wont go amiss and they have got where they are playing a formula that cant change,the game will be won by getting at there defenders + stopping there physical presance up front.

  6. Interesting read. It seems like we had too many players who took things for granted. Who abdicated their responsiblity to ensure AFC wins at all costs. I think that in 2008 when we had Cesc, Hleb, Flamini, Rosicky, Adebayor and Dudu, we had winners but got derailed by the Eduardo trauma. We often played for 90minutes.

    The carling cup final against Birmingham was the most frustrating of them all. It seemed like players don’t want to take responsibility. I don’t know what the home game against Barca did to our players but something did happen. I also think AW knows what happened and how to solve the problem. He did well to move Eboue, Clichy, Bendtner, Almunia, Denilson and Vela. I believe Vela and Denilson will prove us wrong in the future but at the time they had to be removed from the environment.

    Bringing on Per was good because though he is slow, he is stable, reads the game well and seems like a guy who doesn’t take risks. I don’t think its long before we start keeping clean sheets. We just need to improve our performances in the final 3rd and will be smashing.

  7. likely deni was more frustrated abt missing out his 1st team place thru injury. he didnt play much at all last season. i always got d impression he would be back. maybe his comments abt leadership had more effect than we would ever know. injuries and d refs did us no favours at all. after dat rvp sending off, players may actually wonder whether afc will be ‘allowed’ to win anything. in all though, i agree wt d general sense dat players did not take enough responsibility for d lack of trophies. however i dont agree dat saf motivates more or better than aw. manu like barca ave much assistance frm refs. its more glaring in recent yrs cos d present man u teams are not as good as thier previous ones

  8. We have a Stoke beating squad. Even with injuries.

    Last year in Feb we moved within a point of united with a win in this fixture. Lets remember that.

    That match was also the beginning of the end for Fab at the Arsenal with his ‘hamstrung’ issue. It was also the point that Samir Nasri had to take control of his destiny at the club. He could have shone and taken a club at the absolute peak forward. The fact that he was unwilling or unable to do this showed both his limitations as a player and his capacity to blame others for that failure.

    This failure is ultimately what leads players to wrap themselves in an absolute blanket of cash to compensate for their obvious shortfallings. The real quality paid to join real quality and Samir got a bumper harvest to go join the wannabees. It made him feel better for failing.

    As a fitting tribute to a new beginning, an end to era, to the celebration of real quality over the pretenders:

    Arsenal v Stoke 2011 round 2.

    ………………..and Rory DeFlap will be a nice test of our set piece progress.

  9. TBH, CB – I don’t know about other clubs – and I barely know about Arsenal! I was just trying to compare players’ comments to some stuff I’d read during the relatively small window to research – and throwing this idea out there, not with too much conviction, but maybe to stimulate some (hopefully measured) debate.

    Really, I’d love to know a bit more about why we fell apart, and why so many of our players turn out like they do. It’s a bunch of different factors I’m sure, and some are probably less easy to palate than others.

  10. Palate isn’t even a verb! Thought that didn’t sound right…

  11. Didn’t both Rooney and Ronaldo want out and Fergie kept them? if he is so cut throat why didn’t he just let them go when they first wanted out? He didn’t bench either of them did he? Lets not go overboard.

    What United have is more belief that they will win because they have had good continuity while we had to do things a bit different with youth. I also agree with TS that they get help from the refs. If they didn’t they wouldn’t win as much IMO.

    Certain players didn’t take responsibility because they were soft (Nasri and Cesc). RVP took responsibility every step of the way, even young Wilshere. Nasri and Cesc wanted out, so they talked as if they were not at fault. Denilson and NB were just bitter or hurt, I wouldn’t read into that too much.

    I believe we have a team now that will fight and look at themselves when things are not going well.

  12. Where Wenger got it wrong was giving the armband to Cesc. It cannot be a good idea to give it to a player who wanted out as soon as he signed a new contract. How is that a good example for the rest of the team? IN Cesc and Nasri, I believe we had some toxic attitudes in the club, not good for team building.

    This current team, is really a team and RVP is a true leader. I do hope that the other mature players step up as far leading the youngsters.

  13. I think Denilson’s comments were borne out of frustration that he could not seem to recapture his best form after his injury and he had lost his place in the team and could not see a way back in. His Sao Paulo experience to date suggests a player who has lost his way. C and N, I would totally agree as key players in the team Arsenal’s failure was also their failure but they took no responsibility for their part in it. They are cowards and took the cowards way out. I really wish we could stop talking about them and move forward.

  14. OOU – Excellent article. Interesting thoughts on the mental make up’s of the players as well.

    It is no suprise that of the summer departures, only Cesc and Nasri are making impacts of their new clubs. Maybe the other players that left simply were not as good as some (and themselves) thought?

  15. “His Sao Paulo experience to date suggests……..”

    ……suggests that he is now playing in an average lge, and is putting in average performences. He is now at his level. It speaks volumes that no other decent European clubs came in for him.

  16. I know people will accuse me of looking for excuses but….
    United do not have to cope with the constant disappointment of horrendous refereeing decisions.
    I really must grind them down(it certainly does me)
    We are 7 points short this season already.Yes 7.That would put us on 17 points comfortably 4th any yet to gel.Surly players would be preforming better and be more confident if we were in the position that we would have been if justice had been done.
    Also in sport when luck is on your side you don’t really notice it.You think you have made your own luck(absolute bollocks of course,spouted by lucky bastards to justify their fortune),But when it goes against you it weight heavy and drags you down.

  17. So Andy.looks right you were right all along.What a surprise that you think so.

  18. George – All sides have bad decisions made against them. It makes us sound pathetic when we cite that as one of the main reasons for our results. It is embarrasing. We simply notice things that go against us more, as we are wactching all of our games.

    Additionally if things do go against us, I want our players to be riled by it and up their perfornce in defience almost. Do you remember when we went down to ten men (years ago) against Liverpool. The game where Pires left Gerrard on his backside and Freddie finished at the near post? Well, when we went down to 10 men you could see the players stand up to be counted. I would rather that, than us feel sorry for ourselves and sulk.

  19. Both Fabregas and Gallas were given the captaincy for the wrong reasons – most fans knew they were the wrong choice. RVP is a reasonable captain but, were he fit, I’d choose Vermy in a heartbeat.
    One of the thing’s Wenger is wrong about, is the art and the importance of captaincy – he inherited the best example of it in Tony Adams and then found the same gold in Viera. Its odd when you think what those players brought in terms of hunger, desire and charisma that Wenger would go on to completely dismiss the value of leadership.
    As for psychology – I have said on here a few times before of Bendtner, it must be very hard to improve your flaws when you don’t think you’ve got any. Bendtner should have been sent to the equivalent of ‘football military school’, where they break you down “You fucking, useless maggot!”, and then glue you back together as a stronger more team orientated cog in the unit collective.
    Would have done him the world of good. He’s got talent but I don’t miss that preening twat one iota as he was not good for the team and was frequently an embarrassment on and off the pitch.

  20. George – Yup 😉

    Seriously though it gives no no pleasure at all. I would have much preffred him to become a really good player (for us) and make me re-evaluate my opinion of him. As it stands it just leaves me frustrated that such an average player played so many games for the club, in what could have been such a fruitful time for that particular group of players.

  21. it’s a fascinating read. i do think you may be on to something with the thoughts about building individual confidence (and hence, ego) and the relationship to team confidence and the correlary shirking of individual responsibility for team failure. by far the most depressing part of this recent run has been the inability of players to acknowledge their own part in the failures.

    cheers, mark

  22. Jonny – Agreed with all of that. Especially the Bendtner bit.

  23. Interesting readings. Makes me think about the reasons some player suddenly became dissillusioned. More and more I think the guys who threw their toys out were secretly hoping that Usmanov would come in and we’d buy the trophies they crave, as well as see their wages skyrocket.

    To them I’d say take some goddam responsibility and make things happen for yourself. Arsenal have done it before without a sugar daddy and we’ll do it again. With 11 players playing for the team and not themselves we can be unstoppable. I saw a lot of evidence of that on Wednesday and I felt a lot of pride.

  24. Andy,I think you will find that compared to United thing are not equal.
    But you believe what you want.You will anyway,No matter what the evidence is.

  25. George – OK.

  26. Andy, 🙂 ,to be fair so do I .Evidence ???? pffft only if it suits my argument

  27. Heh 🙂

  28. Goonerandy is so full of it. So you always knew Denilson was an average player who is playing at his level in an average league. So what of Walcott, in particular, Koscielny, Song and Jenkinson about whom you expressed grave doubts in your usual fence sitting manner.
    Hindsight makes perfect 20:20 vision thus making you a genius, sir.

  29. Arshavin…. The same guy I see refusing to chase back, make a challenge when he loses the ball? Are we serious?

    Turning a blind eye is rife around sometimes. Rosicky, has come on and shown up players like Arshavin and Theo. He’s miles off the fitness level that he would like but, he’s putting it in like a true gooner in his last few games.

    Theo, should be dropped for Oxo post haste.

  30. Shotta –

    Walcott – I am still to be convinced by him at this level. His stats from last year were encouraging though.

    Kos – He is looking an excellent player. Good compitition for the CB’s berth.

    Song – I like Song. Don’t know where you get that from.

    Jenkinson – I don’t think anybody doubts he is out of his depth at the moment. He gives 100% though, and I do like him.

    And yes, I always thought Denilson was an average player. So what?

  31. I think there are a couple of interesting points here.
    Man u certainly have a much different culture in general. You rarely see any of their players speaking publicly, with the exception of the captain. When they do, it is normally negative comments (a la Nani), and then they are publicly reprimanded by Ferguson. I think the players are treated in a more old fashioned team structure, and there are strong leaders who keep everyone in line. Arsenal, under Wenger, have pursued a different line, employing players that they allow to have a voice with the media, guiding them in what to say, but letting them speak. I think that this is reflected on the pitch, with a much less rigid tactical set up than at Manu. I think that the result of this is that there is much less strict “roles” at Arsenal. When the team does not win, players can much easily disassociate themselves from the result if they, with their confidence, feel good about their performance. Were their role more rigidly defined, and the team more tightly controlled, perhaps there would be a more tangible way to identify their failings?
    Sport psychology is huge, and a player’s mental approach can be the difference between a talented youngster becoming a professional footballer, and a talented professional footballer becoming world class.

  32. JB – “Sport psychology is huge, and a player’s mental approach can be the difference between a talented youngster becoming a professional footballer, and a talented professional footballer becoming world class.”

    So true.

  33. Goonerton, can’t agree with dropping Theo for anyone, let alone a rookie. His performance on Wednesday night shows how far he has come. Playing almost as a left midfielder to support Jenks, despite his desire to be a striker. Real team player, defended with the rest of them and also found time to run the defence ragged and at one point was playing as a left-back. Showed some great maturity on Wednesday. Proud of him.

  34. Read Untold’s ref review. Dont believe Fregie apologists like GA. He thinks he’s clever because he opposes the general view here. It isn’t clever it’s childish attention seeking.

  35. Arshavin was a disgrace on wednesday.Just look at Jenkinson he will never have half the talent of Arshavin but he will always put in 100%.Arshavins attitude stinks.He played no part on that great victory and the sooner he is out the door the better

  36. “He thinks he’s clever because he opposes the general view here. It isn’t clever it’s childish attention seeking.”

    Heh, damnm me for having my own opinion eh? Keep on following the flock Steww. Your post says more about you than me.

  37. Can we please not bring up Denilson? I am loving his absence.

    How do PG?! Still fighting the good fight! I see…….

    I do agree with you that bad decisions can make the players feel the world is against them, and because of how brittle we are, it effects us more than other clubs. Our fans moan more about decisions than other clubs too, so its a collective complaining that encourages less accountability. Something I am not a fan of.

    We were lucky not to a give away a peno against Marsielle. If that decision was made correctly, who knows what tangent the game would have taken before our nailed on peno was turned down.

    Swings in roundabouts I feel. Much like the media perception (an akb myth) everything is starting to look more positive at the club, results and performances – is anyone shocked that this how we are being percieved in the media?

  38. Gooner Andy

    I have always been one for picking players on form.Walcott is out of form.To be truthful he has been poor.Yet Chamberlain has been on fire.For Arsenal and Engerland he has scored 5 goals in his last 3 games yet he doesnt even make the bench.Walcott needs a kick up the arse.If he isnt playing well drop him.Ferguson is not afraid to drop the likes of Rio Berbatov and Rooney

    Shoota

    What has Denilson done since he went back to Brazil.Is he even playing?

  39. Luke – Good points. Especially about the accontibility.

    Nobody is denying that things go against us (as is the same for other clubs). But most who cling to this as an excuse, conviniently forget the stuff that goes in our favour.

  40. Ron – I agree with you mate. I don’t think he is playing well at the moment at all. Competition for his place may make him up his game.

  41. Have to agree with goonerton & ron on this.
    Thought Arshavin was a disgrace on Wednesday. I was amazed that he was left on the pitch for so long. Over the last year and half he has played well for Russia and but not for us? Considering how well he’s paid etc. Very frustrating when you know he has the tatent.

    On Wednesday, Walcott wasn’t much better. He has no consistency, still headless. Some days looks like a world beater, another, like Wednesday, when he looks more like a school boy player.

  42. Ron Jeremy

    What on earth are you talking about, I am sick of the ‘Arshavin is lazy’ crap everyone seems to believe.

    Distance Covered: Arteta 11455, Rosicky 10851, Song 9795, RvP 10418, Arshavin 8150, Walcott 7535

    Considering Arshavin got subbed at what 70 mins…?? shows how fucking little you and a whole load of other sheep-like supporters know.

  43. Two really perceptive posts, Paul-N.

    Agree with Passenal as well about Denilson – he is a gooner.

    ***
    Very interesting article, OOU.
    I’ve always said it’s too simplistic to say they lacked mental strength. A team with the best away record, a team that could beat Barca and Chelsea and Man City is not a mentally weak team. so you are right to approach the question of what the hell happened from a different standpoint.

    My take about why the season fell apart is that there were several factors which came into play. There was a definitely a failure to take responsibility – not just from some of the top players.

    But there was also a fear factor – parallels can be drawn here with the “defensive pessimism” exhibited by some commenters. I was very struck by AA, one of the older, more experienced players, saying around the end of the season that they felt that whatever they did they could not win. This is where the psychological effect that George is talking about comes in. (Leaving aside anyone’s views on the motivation of match officials, we had some outrageously bad decisions go against us, some outrageously bad luck as well. I mean, ALL four GKs injured at the same time?) It also ties in with what we have heard from other sources about the poisonous legacy of the CC final defeat. Underlying the poor performances there may have been an unwillingness to try harder because it was bound to be in vain. Not affecting all players, but enough to prevent the team from functioning.

    The Carling Cup run was also very expensive in terms of player resources. Because our “squad” players (on the whole) could not put away the teams they played, the star players had to be overused. Tiredness played a role for Nasri and Cesc in the second half of the season, undermining their commitment further. Jack’s commitment was as fierce as ever, but there was less and less in the tank each time.

    ***
    @ JB
    Your general point about the importance of psychology in sport is valid, and of course a team is always the creature of its manager. However, given how much the players emphasise the importance of the team in interviews, and the evidence we saw about their psychological training (remember that crib sheet that was left in a hotel room?), I don’t think that we are not sufficiently team oriented in our psychological approach.

    ****
    @ Luke
    Their handball in the box was a deliberate punch by a defender. Jenkinson was trying to get his arm out of the way. Those incidents are sometimes given, but if we got lucky, they were even luckier. Very uneven ref performance again.

  44. I have faith In Walcott. He is still not the finished article, but I can’t remember a match where he didn’t get through an opposition defense, and put himself in a goal scoring position. Plus, he is defensively very good. I have lost faith in Arshavin, however, Although we got a glimmer of what he can do last weekend, I think he is finished as player.

  45. NIce one OOU

    Just thought I’d add that the rapid progression of our young players and early rise to fame can be self-destructive if a player doesn’t remain level headed. Bendtner is a perfect example. He is a good player that produces the goods at international level and he did for Arsenal in patches too, but as soon as the going got tough, he couldn’t focus and apply himself. Its not that Bendtner or any young player has a bad attitude as such, but growing up at Arsenal with all the expectancy and following on from such great teams, you are completely focused towards emulating that – this mentality can apply to 70% of our squad. I believe this is one of the key reasons as to why we couldn’t deal with a disappointment over the last 6 years. We have had the ability all along.

  46. Chris – Interesting stat there. I think that people stick the “lazy” tag on him mainly as often we he loses the ball he just stands there. I would bet that many of he KM’s he clocks up are runs off the ball which are often not spotted by the camera. It is his apparant lack of interest when we don’t have the ball where the lazy tag has come from.

    All that said, I have seen him bust his gut (I will make no pun here) to cover for th LB on more than a couple of occasions this year.

  47. Markus,

    Do we overlook the fact that during Theo’s last few games he has had the invitation to hit the ball into space and run on to it like he started to do last season but, now when faced up by a defender he turns around back towards our goal.

    Alex is a rookie indeed but, he is fearless and very direct rookie. Cab you mention the words ‘direct’ or ‘fearless’ regarding Theo right now? Don’t lie to yourself.

    I was carrying the candle for Theo all last season in the face of pure abuse from fellow Gooners but, something isn’t quite right with him at the moment and our club isn’t a some sort of charity for players who are not putting it in no matter how much we love them.

    Your playing with bad form then you should be dropped after a few games and let somebody else have a chance. During this time one should of found some sort of form in training and the try to break back into the team. I think that’s how most football teams around the world work. And this is a fact that crap like bendtner will learn when he continually churns out shit season after season but, still has a squad number. Won’t happen anywhere else.

  48. Don;t confuse not scoring for not playing well.

  49. So who would you all sell and replace AA & Theo with? Who is available, would come and who is so good that no matter who we’re playing they will seemingly walk on water?

    Sometimes it’s not just the player’s attitude (and yes some of our players are lazy at times) but it’s the tactics they are told to adhere to and how the opposition are set-up to play. Even Messy looked average against Inter with 2 experienced dm’s man marking him out the game.

    Real Madrid and all their stars can be made to look average with the right opposition tactics. I’m all for constructively criticising our players and rightly so on occasion but as long as we consider the context. Theo was definitely told to give more defensive cover to Jenks on Weds.

    In fact the whole team were more cautious, how headless can you be when you’ve got noone in the box, little offensive movement and one eye on protecting against the counter?

    To be fair most of our attackers (Gervinho, AA, Theo) could do with improving their final ball, decision making and shooting but is that application, confidence or tactics?

  50. Chris @ 11:34 – Interesting thoughts there too. Peronsally I think that in certain games some of the players simply just “expected to win”. This without realising that they needed to take responsibility to make it happen. Hence, against better sides when the players knew they had to put in a shift, we often played very well. Against lesser sides we looked stuck in 2nd gear.

  51. @ chrisgoona | October 21, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Good point. Again tying in with what OOU said – perhaps the expectation in one or two that as AW had faith in them, it would just “happen” for them, without really embracing the hard work which is also required?

  52. ‘Do we overlook the fact that during Theo’s last few games he has had the invitation to hit the ball into space and run on to it like he started to do last season but, now when faced up by a defender he turns around back towards our goal.’

    Maybe he’s been told not to lose the ball cheaply?

  53. Making hansen and twaddle look like the were correct in what they said about him is the hardest thing for me to digest.

    Jenkinson, does look out of his depth but, I have to admit that with every game I see him play he is improving. I don’t think any other player could come up from where he did and even think about playing at this level.

    Very smart buy by Mr Wenger.

  54. goonerton ” Can you mention the words ‘direct’ or ‘fearless’ regarding Theo right now?”

    No, but there is a very good reason for that. He has been asked to help ease Jenks in and if he played the way you guys are expecting him to we would be getting absolutely raped down the right flank.

  55. george,

    Stop making excuses.

  56. Markus – Come off it mate. Yes, he is proving cover to Jenksinson (as he should be doing anyway), but that does not cover up his recent poor performances. Dribbling the ball out of play has nothnig to do with covering your right back does it?

    I don’t understand why so many people are seemingly scared to admit when a player (or the team) and not performing as well as they could. It is not some sort of henious crime.

  57. Fun @ 11:41 – I think that could well be the case.

  58. Gervinho, can’t be slated about his final ball into the box because he’s just got here unlike players like Arshavin and Theo. What’s their excuse again? There seems to be a shit load of them.

    From a purely football point of view if Theo and Alex were under the wings of fergie Theo would of been dropped weeks ago. That’s the difference that ends up hurting us in the long run. It’s like Wenger doesn’t feelings and such.

    Alex, should get his chance now because the player in his position isn’t playing well. Simple as that.

  59. FG

    How so? Marseille, by the letter of law, where denied a penalty. It is simply not debatable. As where we. Its football, mistakes, human error wrong decision are made in favour and against every signle team, in every single league at every single age group. I dont understand why a huge proportion of Arsenal fans constantly moan about it.

  60. It does not have to be a streight choice between Theo and AOC though. Benayoun, Rosicky, Park, Gervinho, AA are all suited to playing the wide right role. I feel that Arsene persists with Theo simply because of his pace.

  61. chrisgoona | October 21, 2011 at 11:26 am
    Ron Jeremy

    “What on earth are you talking about, I am sick of the ‘Arshavin is lazy’ crap everyone seems to believe.

    Distance Covered: Arteta 11455, Rosicky 10851, Song 9795, RvP 10418, Arshavin 8150, Walcott 7535

    Considering Arshavin got subbed at what 70 mins…?? shows how fucking little you and a whole load of other sheep-like supporters know.”

    So Andrei was averaging more yards per minute than everyone bar Artetta!!!
    So lazy egh?
    Stupid uninformed imbeciles who just repeat the view they hear dumbfuck commentators spouting on Sky .
    People have no grasp of what a player is giving except that given to them by like minded halfwits.

    The Ox? on fire? ready for the Premiership before Theo and Andrei?
    Do me a favour and stop posting such shit,You are giving me indigestion FFS.
    Ron Jeremy is as repulsive as his name sake.

    Luke, good morning,It is not swings and roundabouts ,if the correct decisions had been given for both sides(not just us)we would be 7 points better off.And still not a roundabout in sight.

  62. Goonerandy

    I agree, we never seemed to be able to step as frequently as United for instance on the smaller occasions. We may be a bit biased at times, as any supporter is, but we had the quality in our ranks over the last 6 years to push the champions each season further than what we managed to. It is a mental problem that instantly comes about from following on from such a great team, being brought up in a surrounding that doesn’t know how to deal with defeat, whilst not even experiencing success at the top level yet.

    It could have been so different, or perhaps worse if we managed to take a title… How much would some of our players egos been amplified had that been that case is anyone’s guess.

  63. @ Luke
    You mean that not being penalised for deliberately punching the ball in your penalty box is not lucky? And that being penalised for the ball striking the hand which you are attempting to move out of its path would be unlucky? Is that what you are saying?

  64. latest in tottenhams desperate search to build a new ground.apparently spurs have spoken to basildon council and put in an offer for the dale farm site. Citing that they have a big following in the area.

  65. George – You can’t simply say we would be better off it certain decisions had gone our way.

    What sort of desicions? Offsides?, disallowed goals?, penalties? All obvious one fair enough. What about fouls that were made during the build up? They may have led to goalscoring opportunities, they may not? Where those type’s of instances considered for all teams in your argument?

    There are way too many variables for all teams in the lge to simply pick out a few instances and proclaim that we would be better off if x, y, and z happened.

  66. “would not be unlucky”, I meant.

  67. Gah. Repost with correction:

    @ Luke
    You mean that not being penalised for deliberately punching the ball in your penalty box is not lucky? And that being penalised for the ball striking the hand which you are attempting to move out of its path would NOT be unlucky? Is that what you are saying?

  68. 7 points better off? How so?

    We have lost every game we deserved to lose bar Liverpool. The reason being shambolic defending and an inability to create goal scoring opportunities (sound familar)

    It is impossible to so stauntly sprout 7 points as a direct impact of referring decisions – especially as you nailed me for saying personal mistakes from Alumina have cost us close to 20 points over the last 3 years.

    To make such a claim you would have to have watched every game again assessing each tackle, contact area in slow mow, whilst referring to the rule book you dont have or know fully, whilst understanding the tangent impact each decision would have had. Ergo, its impossible. Also, you are (by a fans right) outrageously biased, so every 50/50 would turn into a 60/40 in our favour.

    Saying the refs have cost us 7 points is as futile, and inherently flawed as saying wolves beat totteham, tottenham beat Arsenal, so wolves are better than Arsenal.

  69. FunGunner

    I agree completely. Arsene’s faith could have been a telling factor. I don’t think Wenger was as happy with some of them than he made out in the media. Wenger notoriously louds and backs his players in public and understandably, thats his way of doing things to protect his players.

  70. I feel that Arsene persists with Theo simply because he is more informed and smarter than people who are calling for Theo to be dropped .Not that that would be hard..

  71. Luke… I disagree, the 8 we conceded at United were all due to the ‘rub of the green’

  72. FG – if you ever cared to read my posts without trying to pick a fight, I said that both sides were denied clear cut penalties.

    I also said we dont know what tangent the game would have gone on if they got the peno and scored – how do we even know that we would have a penalty appeal??

    But I understand in your world it was 100% categorically the right decision not giving Marseille penalty, where it was verging on a crime against humanity to not award our stone wall shout.

    I wont be offended if you dont bother to reply.

  73. pedantic george

    Theo is deadly on the break, and has had some great performances in the champions league where he has been given space. Against Marseille, that was as tight as its ever going to get, even Van Persie found it hard to find space and impress ..

  74. Luke ,Ok I am only looking at clear off side goals allowed against us ,clear penalties an goals that should clearly have been disallowed.And none of them open for debate with video evidence.

  75. I feel that Arsene persists with Theo simply because he is more informed and smarter than people who are calling for Theo to be dropped .Not that that would be hard..

    ——————–

    I can’t stand insulting, ass licking comments like the above.

    Wenger can make mistakes. Mistakes that people who are not Arsene Wenger were quick to recognise. I feel sick that there are grown men who treat AW like some form of demi-god, a superior being who is enlightening the idiot masses.

    Wenger didint replace lehman. I suppose that was some stroke of genius that idiots outside of football, or outside of Wengerland have no idea about.

    I like you George, but I cant stand the comment above.

  76. Ok George, so games and points please. Also minute of offence would be helpful.

    Very interested to see how these 7 points have been robbed off us.

  77. OOU good post, hit the nail on the head wit this post

    Denilson player with talent but has succeeded in letting his ego & frustration get the better of him at a young age & carreer, I wonder what was goin throUgh his mind when he said the team was not winning trophies, to me looked like he had forgotten that he was a member of arsenal football club, he was given a chance in preseason but his last contribution for the club was storming off the pitch in malaysia, now in brazil he is having disciplinary problems, if he ever returns I guess he should do some soul searching, drop his inflated ego & remember that he is an ARSENAL football player, he plays for the team not himself.

    As for the current team happy we are grinding out results, better to work your way to the top, remmebering how hard it took to get there than be up there & drop.

  78. RVP was no more effective against Marseilles than Theo or Andrei.He must be fat and lazy with no football brain then ,egh?Best to sell him before he jumps the sinking stinking ship.
    There are some real tits on this site today.

  79. @ Luke,

    I was responding to this:

    “We were lucky not to a give away a peno against Marsielle.”

    My point is that we were not lucky – we would have been UNlucky to have been penalised as it was not an intentional handball. Diawara deliberately punched the ball. They are not comparable incidents.

    My world is the real world.

    ***
    Wenger did attempt to replace Lehmann. £20 million bid for Reina.

  80. Liverpool, both goals were off side .=1 point
    Blackburn ,off side goal and stone wall pen against Theo in dying minutes=3 points
    Scum ,VDV handled when scoring=1point
    Newcastle penalty for Gervinho not given,had it been he would not have gotten sent off =2 points

    Assuming the 2 penalty’s were converted that is 7 points.(we may have missed I concede that)

  81. Wenger did attempt to replace Lehmann. £20 million bid for Reina.

    No that is to be ignored because it does not suit the “Arsene is a tight wad who did not know we needed a goalkeeper ” mantra that some people want to believe

  82. goonerandy,

    It was always the case that Wenger possibly uses him for his pace but the issue not is that he’s not using his pace. He prefers to turn around and go backward when confronted.

    We need to tear stoke a new arsehole so I would prefer to see players who are going to go for it without fear or any mind issues.

  83. @Fungunner

    I was more posing a question than providing a clear cut proposition. I do certainly believe that last season, the roles of many players were a lot more free ranging than they have been of late, and when that is the case, it is much easier to blame others. “I was up forward attacking, therefore you should have been tracking that runner” could be peddled, for instance, regardless of whether or not the forward run was an intelligent one.
    in regards to team unity, I am not sure whether Arsenal or Manu have/had better team unity. I’m not close enough. I would suggest right in this moment, it would be comparable. Towards the end of last season, when things were falling apart, I would guess it would be in Manu’s favour. That is a difficult thing to cultivate, and I believe a large part of the Managers job.
    As a general comment, I believe that Arsene can pick and play whoever he likes. If the results don’t fall his way, it is his balls on the line. He is far more informed than any of us, which is why he is in the hot seat, and we are commenting on blogs. And, he has a pretty good track record in identifying talent, and producing results. It is still fun debating it all though.

  84. If Wenger bid £20 million for Reina which we all accept, then why:

    a) did we not land our primary target again? Is Reina only worth 20mill and not 25mill say? Would we have won the league with Pepe between the sticks last year?

    b) was Reina the only goalkeeper in world football we identified as an improvement? If so, why? Is that not a massive fail on our extensive scouting networks part?

    Failing to buy a keeper cost us points last season, and the season before, and the season before that, and the season before that. Which is a real shame.

  85. @ JB

    No worries, I know you were just throwing it out there, so was I.
    And clearly it is easier to be united when you are winning and things are going for you.

  86. Post of the day:
    “The Ox? on fire? ready for the Premiership before Theo and Andrei?
    Do me a favour and stop posting such shit,You are giving me indigestion FFS.”
    – pedantic george at 11:57 am

    Do some of our posters ever learn? The very same people who hyped Theo to high heavens long before he was ready. Even now demanding that he play as a central striker.
    Broadly speaking, have they read and reflected on OOU’s excellent blog. which to my mind is all about the risks and rewards of a youth-based policy. When I see such hype about our youth I literally throw up my arms in despair. No wonder so many veterans of this blog now keep a low profile allowing the know-alls and blow-hards from giving them indigestion.

  87. Correction:
    “….preventing the know-alls and blow-hards from giving them indigestion.”

  88. @Fungunner

    It is easier being a manu bandwagon supporter when they are winning too…I seem to be surrounded by them…

  89. Ok FG. Like I said. Huge injustice if we conceded a penalty, and that we didnt get one.

    George – I’m not ignoring your post, I just cant think of anything to say in response. It is, quite possibly one of the most basic comments Ive ever read (no offence) so will choose not to go down that path.

    For that reason, I’m out.

  90. @ Luke

    £20 million is a huge amount for a goalkeeper and would have smashed our transfer record to smithereens. But offering a higher fee would have made no difference. Reina was interested but Liverpool were not prepared to sell him however much was offered. Sometimes a star proven performer is worth any amount of money in the bank partly because of the difficulty or replacing him. If they had had a Chesney or a Joe Hart waiting in the wings, they might have gone for the deal. But they didn’t have a replacement.

    Of course he is not the only top class GK in the world. But there are not many in his class – six, maybe? – and scouting a player is not the same as that player being for sale. It’s not a failure from the scouting network if there are no world class keepers available. And as time went on, AW would also have become more convinced of the potential of Chesney.

  91. Big Al –
    another intelligent take on the team…..

    each manager has their own style / approach with his players…..the effectiveness of this styles translates to the team’s results.

    Any manager looks great when things are going well, but a true test of their leadership and qualities are when there is adversity.

    Just my thoughts, but I respect how SAF handled the loss of Tevez and Ronaldo……and Rooney’s personal frailties last season.

    For me, this is the season that Arsene’s is put to the real test.

  92. Yes Luke, you are out of words. It’s turds like you who refuse to see the blunderous decisions made against us & just believe the media.
    Going by George’s logic, we would have been 2nd last year. Apart from knocking out ‘the best team in the world’.
    This team does not ever get credit it deserves, shame that ‘fans’ like your overlook facts & slate your own team

  93. Oh & yes, I remember how people wanted a certain Samir Nasri to be sold in the summer of 2010..

  94. JB | October 21, 2011 at 10:58 am

    “Man u certainly have a much different culture in general. You rarely see any of their players speaking publicly, with the exception of the captain” You do realise the one Mr P Evra is in the United team and he always has something to say about someone or something.

  95. MJ more than that had we been where we should have been and getting the results our play deserved(remember Andrei V Sunderland?)our confidence would have returned and i believe the end of season debacle would not have come to pass.
    Now I don’t understand how people do not want to believe that and would rather blame players and managers?
    Whether I am right or wrong is unimportant it must be better to want to think along my lines .It offers some comfort at very least.

  96. George – “Liverpool, both goals were off side .=1 point
    Blackburn ,off side goal and stone wall pen against Theo in dying minutes=3 points
    Scum ,VDV handled when scoring=1point
    Newcastle penalty for Gervinho not given,had it been he would not have gotten sent off =2 points

    Assuming the 2 penalty’s were converted that is 7 points.(we may have missed I concede that)”

    All well and good mate. But what about other desicions in the game? What about the fouls (for both sides) all over the pitch? There is no way to know what would have happened if loads of right/wrong decisions are given all over the park. That is why it is not really possible to summerise like you have done above.

    Also some of your examples are not “fact” as you put them. For example; the VdV handball is difficult to confirm even now after watching replays. Against Newcastle; who is to say we would have scored the pen? And even if we did, you cannot possibley know what impact that would have had on the match. We still could have lost. So your 7 points, are not “fact” at all. They are a possible outcome.

  97. When City start to get more help from Referees than United (and they soon will)wait to hear the commotion Fergie kicks up then.

  98. But why will they? They are full of all those horrible dirty foreign types like us.

  99. Andy,please don’t state the obvious as if you have worked it out in some cleaver way.
    The VDV handball was handball and if you could not see that then I suggest a trip to specksavers.
    I said there was a chance we might have missed the penalty’s and that I was only counting major incidents like off side goals and pen’s.
    Yes 7 points are not facts but i would say probability rather than possibility as you do.

  100. When you grease the cogs with a billion £ that is what happens in the real world Andy.
    And history has proven that to be fact

  101. We cannot unfortunately lament the decisions that did not go our way in games in past, to do so is living in the past and the team needs to stand up for the present.

    I wouldn’t call either AA or Theo lazy, to do so is being blind to their respective contributions when they are on the pitch. The question we have to ask ourselves is whether the contributions by all players in the team on any given day is where we expect them to be. The question of experience over youth is a tired agrument, hased and rehased all the time. As a fan and supporter of the team I want them to win, to that end I want players playing who are in form. I don’t think we can question that the consistenty of some of the team has not been at a level we have come to expect from Arsenal. I will say for the record that my personal belief is that both AA & Theo are being asked to do a lot for defensive duties which is making them both appear more as wide midfielders as opposed to wingers.

    I am an advocate for the introduction of AOC, but I also acknowledge that Arsene see’s facets of his game as not being good enough for Arsenal at this moment in time. I would like to say his form should dictate his introduction, but the boss knows best. I think an agrument could be made for Park, his international form as been sparkling but in a formation like ours with one actual striker, he’ll never make the pitch unless there is an injury or we are 5-0 to the good.

  102. George – But that is the point; there are far to many variables in our matches alone to say “we should have had this many points”. When you take into account all of the other matches that type of thinking decends in farce. You can’t simply take the incicents that suit your argument.

    Well, you can I suppose, but it undermines what you are saying.

  103. George – “When you grease the cogs with a billion £ that is what happens in the real world Andy”

    Just as well City won’t be greasing the cogs that are relevant to the referee’s then eh? Or are you now suggesting that they will start bribing the officals?

  104. We like to think we get people to take accountability for their actions in all facets of their lives, but to do so is like wishing upon a star. The accountability is soon to be used only in terms of legal text, people are no longer accountable for anything. Everyone is now a victim.

    I would love to get some clarity in to the referee associations reviews on their personal, but alas it shall never happen. When a referee is not required to offer an explanation as to the reasoning behind a call then they are shielded from accountability.

  105. Miami – “When a referee is not required to offer an explanation as to the reasoning behind a call then they are shielded from accountability.”

    very true.

    Given that players and managers are mandated to give interviews directly after the match finishes, I would like to see refs do the same. I honestly think if a ref was confronted with a wrong call he had made and said “fair enough, I got that wrong” they would get much more respect from players, managers, and fans alike. As that never happens they come across as aloof.

  106. Sorry to change the focus, but has anyone noticed that the Tottenham attendance yesterday in the Europa Cup, a colossal 24,058 no less, has merited not a single word whereas our attendance of 46,539 against Shrewsbury brought the customary media banshees crawling from their holes.

  107. Referees will benefit from the cash injection as will every other official with their snout in the trough.

    Andy ,do you think English football is the one thing in the world that if immune to bribery and corruption?
    I mean really? what is the chance that God did that for us.(dont start the god debate again I was kidding)

  108. George – What cash injection? City are not some beneficiary for the PL. Their money goes into their club.

    Corruption? It is possible I suppose, and as far as betting goes I have doubt it will have happened in the past. But I have no reason to think that any type of match fixing is going on, or that refs are taking bungs.

  109. And you are right, we should leave the God debate alone :).

  110. ClockEndRider,now you are not surprised are you?
    But hey,no media bias against Arsenal.That is just us looking for excuses isn’t it?

  111. I don`t see either Walcott or Arshavin as lazy.

    In their defence, I believe neither is a natural wide player or defensive minded. They`re both having to think their way through games even now.

    I actually thought Theo was OK on Wednesday. Just. It was certainly an improvement on his Sunderland performance.

    AA, on the other hand, gave an atrocious performance & looked relieved to be subbed.

  112. I find it beyond belief that there is no corruption.
    Just strikes me as odd that City were the team 9 points to the good from bad Refereeing last season,I am sure it is just a coincidence(like fuck it is)

  113. Clockendrider 🙂

    The observations of the attendance for the Spuds match is pretty much standard fair across European matches this term. I note with something of giggle that Chelsea had to give tickets away to get their attendance up for the game against Genk. In a time where people are struggling to make ends meat, the fact Chelsea have increased CL ticket prices by 66% in 2 years is having a dire effect upon their fan base. Chelsea may hearld from the ‘expensive’ side of town, but there fan base are not millionaires.

  114. GG,
    Not surprised. In my naivety I was looking for the same standards applied to us to be applied to all. I guess I need to just roll over and accept the way things are….
    I fairness, I guess a lot of the crowd were probably too busy protesting down at Dale Farm…..

  115. Miami,
    Standard fare it may be, it’s just the selective focus I find so abhorrent.

  116. George – I have already outlined my thoughts on how it is not balck and white to tally points from refereeing calls, so I won’t go back into that.

  117. Clock, I agree 110% but we know that the rules do not apply to all teams equally. I have long since stopped reading artciles from the press, unless someone on here directs me to something interesting.

  118. Andy,I suppose if you cant see VDV is handball why should I expect you to be able to see anything at all.

  119. You thinking back, I was living in London (Leytonstone) when Chelsea were taken over by Mr Roman. The investment was huge and you knew even then that eventually they would drive a wedge in the established pecking order of the EPL. I was also of the opinion that Chelsea were a toy and one that would be throw away in time, this never happened but things are not all roses for Chelski.

    Chelsea know that they are in real danger of sanctions under FPP, they need a larger ground and more match day revenue to help pay costs. The issue for Chelsea is their fan base is not as large as Arsenal or Spurs and yet they are sharing a very similar geographical location with little room to expand. Chelsea want to be able to build a new stadium but with FPP on the door step they cannot use Roman’s billions to sanction it as a gift and even then where the hell could they move to? As I understand it the ground is not owned by Chelsea but rather a supporters trust or such like where 1,000’s own shares and they are digging their heels in because of the increasing ticket proices. The future is what you make it of course, but for Chelsea at the moment there are very real issues going forward and precious few solutions. Makes me glad Arsenal were able to make the move with a wonderous fan base and sound economics, even if those economics are making somethings more difficult than we would like.

  120. opps… “you know thinking back…”

  121. George – It was definately a debatable point. I have seen it from a number of angles now and are still not 100% sure. I do lean towards a handball mind, I was just pointing out that it was a debatable point. And again, you cannot point to that and state due to that we are 2 points worse off. If it had been disallowed we could have still gone on to lose the game.

    You are right to highlight the point, but wrong to give it as a reason to why we as “fact” dropped 2 points. A more relevant discussion point is why despite our 1st half dominance did we not make the most of it, and why in the 2nd half their keeper did not have to make one sigle save (things that we could have actually affected).

  122. PG I am agreeing with GA on the handball issue, have seen it numerous times and I’m not convinced either way which makes it even harder for the referee to make the call.

  123. I don’t think there is an adherent biase towards any team, but I do believe that referee’s are overly simulated by home fans with there bleating following a foul or whatnot. I think this is best seen at Old Trafford where the fans have won more penalties for the team than any other. It is also why you cannot buy one there.

  124. Miami,
    Nice to see that Chelsea will still end up having to conform to the laws of economics. At the end of the day, even Abramovich’s wallet isn’t a bottomless pit.
    And Tottenham will still end up having to finance a huge stadium in an area which will never attract corporate daytime traffic at a time when the banks are less likely than ever to lend to a football club. Couldn’t happen to two nicer clubs.

  125. Clock… ya, now down with them Manc’s

  126. It is quite puzzling that GA and Luke can believe United dont get calls going there way more than the average team when even their own supporters admit it. It is almost a consensus amongst managers of other teams. I cannot count the times people have said that United get favored by the ref. All you have to do is look at penalties against them, with a walking red card (on any other team) in Vidic and you will see that something doesnt add up. It would seem that everyone else is wrong.

    Untold Arsenal ran their articles and no one came out and said that they were wrong, in fact that were commended for their work. Now, if it was just some sort of mud slinging, they wouldve been taken to task big time.

    So calls even out do they? Barca got to the CL finals by having the luxury of playing against 10 men numerous times. Did that even out, when they never had any players sent off, even when they were grabbing our players by the neck and feigning injuries to get people carded? did it?!

    I dont use that to take away the responsibility of the players but we need to get real however the refs play a huge page in who wins or loses many times. Suggesting otherwise is naive.

  127. OOU:

    Very very interesting post. The mental part of what has happened to the club is hard to get a handle on. You imply that many of the players never took responsibility for the results. I know you would never say this but I think the problem started with the manager. His goal was to maintain the confidence of his young squad by not blaming them when things went wrong. It made perfect sense prospectively but as time went on a culture of complacency, excuse making and diverting responsibility slowly oozed into our teams collective psyche. I don’t think Wenger really lost the dressing room but I think he certainly had trouble motivating some of the players and some the tepid performances and mental capitulation we saw were the results.

    Oh Well whats done is done. If there is anything good that can be said about the last 1/2 year is that is seems to have given the team a bit of humble pie to chew on. The easy going freedom that our coaching staff gave to the invincibles worked fine for them but they were much more experienced and had already tasted success. Conventional wisdom says that young players respond better to much more regimented routines and the flameout of the last golden generation adds credibility to the conventional wisdom. I remain convinced that our less regimented/ more organic methods of coaching defense is the single biggest reason we have struggled despite all the talented defenders we have had. That method worked well for Tony Adams and the invincibles. Prospectively there was no reason to think the same would not work as we moved to the Emirates. I hope the boss has learned a lesson and treats the next golden generation differently then the last.

  128. Of course we all know that in its present state FFP has loopholes associated with infrastructure development. This is the largest loophole by far and Man City, Tottenham and now Chelsea are determined to expect it with what they are deeming as “development” costs. Machester City of course have taken 1 step further than that with the “my cousin gave me a sweet deal” commerical sponsorship package.

  129. A bit off-topic, but Stoke are not even a real ‘city’ – the filthy place was given that title in 1925 for some reason, but a City is defined by having a cathedral.
    I really hope we thrash those dirty, evil, town-dwelling ba*tards!

  130. Paul – “It is quite puzzling that GA and Luke can believe United dont get calls going there way more than the average team when even their own supporters admit it. It is almost a consensus amongst managers of other teams. I cannot count the times people have said that United get favored by the ref.”

    So when loads of people say things negative things about Manure it must be true. But when loads of people say negative things about Arsenal, it is just a load of crap and they don’t know what they are talking about.

    OK then.

  131. Ponyboy – “A bit off-topic, but Stoke are not even a real ‘city’ – the filthy place was given that title in 1925 for some reason, but a City is defined by having a cathedral”

    Believe or not, that is an old wives tale (I thought it true for many years too). Apparently the title of “City” is one that is simply bestowed by Royalty, and there is no critieria for this although traditionally they will have a cathedral. It is most certainly a filthy place though.

  132. GA, nice how you pick out what you want BUT what does negativity have to do with a team getting the majority of the calls going their way? NOT ONE BLOW WOW!

    So was I negative in saying that Barca got to play against 10 men on their way to the CL title? was I negative in saying that United hardly get pens called against them? Is Untold Arsenal being negative when they work out their stats, that had Pool being hard done by even more than us?

    Also, are you saying that United supporters are being negative against their own team?

  133. *Sighs*

    Paul, I honestly cannot be bothered to pick through all of your badly made arguments.

    Are you suprised pepople get sent of against Barca? We they the ball most of the time and invite challeneges. Plenty of people get sent off against us as well. It does not prove some sort of bias.

    My point was that plenty of people say Manure get more decisions than anybody else. You say….yes, look how many people are saying it. It is true.

    Then…lots of people starting pointing our the current (and past) failings of Arsenal (mainly defesnive points). You say….don’t know what you are talking about.

  134. We they = They have.

    Madness.

  135. Every non top 4 team has been complaining for years about how the big teams get all the calls. I have never met a sports fan in my life who does not think his team gets the short straw with refs and bad luck. Its part of the “culture of excuses” and diverting responsibilty. Its gives us a reason to say that its not our fault but doing that is counterproductive IMO.

    Last season I copied and pasted some data that showed over the last 10 years that none of ManU Chelsea Liverpool and Arsenal they have gotten significant advantage from penalties compared with each other. ManU conceded less penalties then us but also are awarded less. The difference in total number of penalties for and against favored them by a total of 8 over a 10 year period. Hardly a significant advantage.

  136. The untold Arsneal article, whilst informative, was misleading. It only took into account certain decisions. See my earlier points to George as to why it only paints part of the picture. Even if the correct decision was made, you still cannot predict the outcome of the game.

  137. The best way to deal with poor calls is to make them irrelevant in a game… pick up the performance and take the game out of the hands of the referee making a poor adjustment call.

  138. You should really read your comments before you post them. To suggest that my arguments are bad and to say something like this (below) is a joke.

    “Are you suprised pepople get sent of against Barca? We they the ball most of the time and invite challeneges. Plenty of people get sent off against us as well. It does not prove some sort of bias.”

    That just shows that you choose to take a naive stance. Are you saying that RVP got red carded because of a bad challenge and are you saying that their players were not grabbing our players by the neck? Did RM’s player even touch the guy who dropped as if he had been shot? what does them having the ball a lot have to do with wrong calls?

    Bias isnt even my main point of contention right now, it is that some teams get more calls going their way than others and it helps them in their quest for winning silverware.

    No need to respond because you dont want to see the reality of the situation.

    Stoke on Sunday!

  139. 56. Nicholas Yennaris, one to watch over the next 2 years and a great candidate to replace Sagna.

  140. Theo gives cover to the full back on his flank..gets slated for not offering enough for not offering enough in forward positions..

    Arshavin tries his best to create and support RVP ..gets slated for being lazy and not offering defensive cover..

    ways of the world I guess..at least for a goooner!!

  141. Paul – You do realise that not all teams get the exacty amount of decisions over a season don’t you? I am just checking, because that seems to be what you are saying.

  142. why do we even care what other calls teams get? there’ll be games won with poor calls and games lost, it happens… lets focus on Arsenal getting to a state where poor calls are rendered irrelevant in our 3 goal wins.

  143. And I agree that RvP’s red against Barca was ridiculous. I wasn’t really commenting on our match though; it was just a general observation.

  144. Miami – “why do we even care what other calls teams get? there’ll be games won with poor calls and games lost, it happens… lets focus on Arsenal getting to a state where poor calls are rendered irrelevant in our 3 goal wins”

    I could not have put it better myself. This with bells on.

  145. Bill, living in America I am surprised that you would say what you said. How many times in Basketball have you heard even the top players say that the star players get calls that other players wouldnt get?

    Bigger teams getting calls is a fact of life and some more than others, ie Barca and United. That is not a culture of excuses, it is a culture of bias towards those who are more famous and popular. It happens in every walk of life mind you.

    What you need is instant replay Miami, to suggest that a team can play in a way, at all times, to make the ref void, isnt realistic. Refs influence all team sports.

  146. @goonerandy

    My whole take on this decisions issue is that no one including the ref’s are above mass opinion or general perception about a team..and I feel we suffer the effects of this..

    The sunderland game for example..just compare the yellow cards dished out to us viz. them..i.e the number of bad tackles unpunished versus the number of offences before a yellow card to us..

    This I feel stems from the general perception that arsenal dont like “physical” and that our challenges are seen as retaliatory and worthy of a caution..

    And this extends to fouls and pens..

  147. Paul – I just hope our players and backroom staff don’t have your outlook. Poor us. If so, it would be difficult for them to rectify our issues. You are obvisouly the type of bloke who always looks for an excuse. Always somebody elses’s fault. I prefer to sort any issues myself, despite any hinderences. Have you ever heard the saying “adapt and overcome”. We should be focusing on what we can put right, not bleating about the horrible corrupt ref picking on us again.

    And as it goes, the team are showing signs of that right now.

    Each to their own I suppose.

  148. Paul, I understand mate that referee’s influence the game, hell I watch the Jets v Cowboys in a very physical game of football and not 1 penalty was awarded to the Jets over the entire game. Do I think there are poor decisions in sports, Yes of course I do but I also understand that it is not going to stop just because I want it to. All sports are not perfect, the human element has to be considered.

    I am seriously not a fan of television intervention, not even for goal line technology because once you halt the game for a nano second, you’ll have commerical issues demanding commerical time. When I watch a 60 minute game of the NFL take almost 4 hours to play out I realise how lucky we are in soccer to not have the same capitalism at play.

  149. Ok goonerandy – fair enough, but as you say, filthy! With Shawcross as captain and Pubis as manager, they are a despicable team. The trouble is, they’re also quite good at winning – it’s going to be a nervy sunday.

  150. No GA, it is you who believe that all things even out. I know that that isnt true and that some teams are helped out way more than others.

    Untold Arsenal is the most exhaustive info to date. Many times the ref was rated higher when we lost the game, so biased or misleading they are not.

  151. I thought that both Song & Santos rode their lucky v Om, both could and arguably should have been dismissed. I am certain Song was the last defender when he was booked, if the shoe was on the other foot I would have been baying for a dismissal.

  152. Anirudh | October 21, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    “The sunderland game for example..just compare the yellow cards dished out to us viz. them..i.e the number of bad tackles unpunished versus the number of offences before a yellow card to us..

    This I feel stems from the general perception that arsenal dont like “physical” and that our challenges are seen as retaliatory and worthy of a caution..”

    I do think there is some truth in this. And I actually believe it comes down to ref not wanting to look biased. Normally after a spate of yellow cards for the opposition for fouls on our players, the next foul we make often results in a yellow. The ref is sort of saying “look I am being fair, and not picking on either side”. It is wrong obviously, and bad refereeing, but I do think it happens.

  153. Paul:

    Untold Arsenal is the most biased pro-Arsenal blog of any I have ever seen. Nothing wrong with their bias but it makes the results of their statistics completely unreliable. You know as well as I that supporters of 2 different teams will see the exact same play in a completely different way. The person who grades the refs is clearly biased and he is going to look at every call with an that bias. They started this whole project with an agenda that they wanted to prove. How many researchers would be willing to prove themselves wrong? Their data is interesting but completely predictable and useless in any realistic sense.

  154. I don’t think anyone can deny that some of the decisions that go against us would never in a million years be given against United. Shit, even United fans I know would admit to that much.

  155. Ponyboy – Yup, agreed.

    Paul – “No GA, it is you who believe that all things even out. I know that that isnt true and that some teams are helped out way more than others”

    Nah, I would not go as far to say as everything is evened out. I don’t think teams are deliberatly helped or hindered though.

    “Untold Arsenal is the most exhaustive info to date. Many times the ref was rated higher when we lost the game, so biased or misleading they are not”

    So what? That does not make it accurate though does it?

    I can’t be bothered carrying this on mate. You carry on looking for excuses and somebody to blame, and I will carry hoping that the team sort their own problems out.

  156. Bill – You explained that better than I.

  157. GA, what is my outlook?

    I am looking for no excuses as far as the team play. We had no right to lose the PL last season inspite of. However, didnt you hear RVP have words to say about the ref after the CL loss, do you think the players are blind to the facts?

    Even great United, didnt you hear all of their supporters, players and their manager complaining about how they were being treated unfairly last season, especially when Rooney cursed into the camera? they couldnt stop moaning. (It was nonsense but they complained, none the less)

    Anwyay, my point about you is that you are living in a dream world.

  158. Referee decisions are less of a blight on the game than players cheating with diving, face grabbing etc so were I have something to complain about it would be the acting. I really want to know why the FA does not impose post game bans for this type cheating.

    I think about of people would be happier were the referee and lineman made available via a press conference at the end of the the game.

    Technology is not the way forward for football, I would rather we stayed with the human element.

  159. Give me a break Bill, the blog was commended for the work they did and many people admitted that it was good work. If it is as terrible as both you and GA claim, they wouldve been taken to task, I can bet you on that.

    Again, many times when the team lost that ref had the best rating.

    You have done no work, you havent reviewed all of their stuff but you can say with such assurance that they are biased and the ref is biased? no it is you who are biased, actually.

  160. I just want to be sure about what you two are arguing about? In effect we lost the EPL last term because there is a biase against Arsenal FC by the referee association? and you are both one side or the other?

  161. Paul – “I am looking for no excuses as far as the team play. We had no right to lose the PL last season inspite of. However, didnt you hear RVP have words to say about the ref after the CL loss, do you think the players are blind to the facts?”

    We had no right to lose the PL? I don’t get what you are saying? Please tell me you are not suggesting that we deserved to win the lge. Of course RvP was pissed after the CL loss. He was wrongly sent off. That proves what exactly?

    “Even great United, didnt you hear all of their supporters, players and their manager complaining about how they were being treated unfairly last season, especially when Rooney cursed into the camera? they couldnt stop moaning. (It was nonsense but they complained, none the less)”

    “GA, what is my outlook”

    Ah, so all fans think they are hard done by…….is it sinking in yet?

    “GA, what is my outlook”

    I have no idea as I don’t know you. But purely judging on your posts on here, it is somethat that alwys looks for someone else to blame instead of facing upto the obvious issues than lie within (I am talking football here Paul, this is nothing to do with your personal values).

  162. Paul – “Give me a break Bill, the blog was commended for the work they did and many people admitted that it was good work. If it is as terrible as both you and GA claim, they wouldve been taken to task, I can bet you on that.”

    Yes. By Arsenal fans. People who was quite happy to believe what was put in front of them. I bet most clubs could come up with similar data.

  163. Miami, so you would rather the refs get the calls wrong and teams be rewarded or not in an unfair manner.

    When the ball crosses the line like England VS Germany, you are ok with it not being a goal?

    I am not suggesting to review everything but vid replay is in almost every sport and made them better because the correct calls are made. I dont think it is ever wrong to get it right.

  164. Miami – I think we blew our chances of the lge last year due to 2 horendous runs of form. One before Xmas, and one after the CC Final. During that time we displayed a worrying tendancy to throw away results from very good positions. End of story, we were not consistant enough.

    I have no idea what bizzare theory Paul will have, although I could hazard a guess.

  165. I loved the quote from Fergie last year when Wayne Rooney ran full speed at James McCarthy and elbowed him in the face in an off the ball incident and he didn’t even get carded. Conceeded the free like, but obviously not a punishable offence in the refs eyes.

    “There’s nothing in it… [but] as it is Wayne the press will raise a campaign to get him hung or electrocuted, something like that.” – Ferguson

    No, Fergie. No the will not. Refs are shit-scared of United and there is no denying it.

  166. ponyboy – aw did you not hear the cries of NOT bringing God into it?!

    The RDV incident was a definite bona-fide handball but it was an almost impossible one to award. Hard to blame anyone other than RDV.

    This is why we should, after the game, punish any and all players who con or attempt to con refs. It’s so part of the game now we blithely accept that every player will lie about every decisions he thinks he can influence.

    It doesn’t have to be this way.

  167. GA, when the Article was run on the BBC site, it was only Arsenal supporters who commended it and all the people who commented in the actual article were all Arsenal supporters? Go it.

    You crack me up for real.

    Anyway, Stoke on Sunday? looking for us to continuing our little winning streak. Hopefully our offense can run a little smoother.

  168. Yup, I quite fancy us for a win. It will big a big test for the team, but I still think we will be too good for them. Mertesacker and Koscienly will have to be on the top of their game. I do think the emergence of Szchezny could be a deciding factor thouhg. In season past, our keepers have been bullied there on set pieces. I don’t think he will be.

  169. GA, dont act like a little child and make immature comments now.

  170. Simply put Paul, yes. I would rather have human error if the alternative is commerical intrusion on the game. It is not about a simple black and white answer, would technology make goal line technology better? Yes, it would. Would the introduction of technology slow the game down and allow for commerical slots? Yes, it would. If we introduce goal line technology, then why not for corners, handballs, tackles or even fouls. I think we need to understand why technology can also be detrimental to the game we love.

    “I am not suggesting to review everything but vid replay is in almost every sport and made them better because the correct calls are made” mate, I know what you mean because you are looking at it with the view that it’ll be a small element not even in use much. I am not arguing that technology cannot be beneficial but lets be honest here, it won’t stop at one thing it would be expanded and expanded upon. It is the nature of the beast, sport is now heavily commerical and any opportunity to add an advertisement etc will be looked upon with glee by sponsors.

    I guess my question to you is would you be willing to have reviews for fouls, goals, corners etc and still feel the game has integrity?

  171. I hate it when teams wear orange, it’s a bit like disembodied heads bouncing around the pitch for me. No joke!

  172. Bollocks… “This video contains content from UMG, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds”

  173. Did anyone watch the world series game last night? True to my negative nature I gave up after the 8th inning but I was sure wrong. What a series. Goooooo Rangers.

    Big big game this week for Arsenal. We have started to gain some momentum and need to keep it. Beating the bullies from Stoke would be a huge confidence boost.

    Paul:

    I don’t know if you have any experience with scientific research but Untold’s methods and their obvious bias make the results from a practical standpoint. If they hired a panel of truly unbiased experts who graded every PL game, then there might be some real value. It does make the authors of the blog and Arsenal fans feel better. Human nature means most people love to say I told you so. Unfortunately it adds to the whole “poor us, the whole world hates us” culture that we currently see in the clubs fans which is a bad thing. The possible good thing about what they have done is to hopefully bring the issue of referee inconsistency into a little more spotlight and perhaps bring some more pressure for video replays.

  174. Every foul shouldnt be reviewed but lets take the RM/Barca tie for example. When a player was sent off with a red when he didnt even touch the player? cant someone in a both say that he didnt touch the guy and give the playing acting a fool a yellow? Big decisions and big game changers should be reviewed. As far as goals, use goal line Techonology as the Cyclops in Tennis.

    The use of techonology is to enhance the integrity of the game. Many refs have been shown to lack intergrity, this would cut some of that out.

  175. OOU, is that like a red/green colour blind thing? My brother has that. The most common kind apparenty. Must make traffic lights fun.

  176. As it stands, at least in my mind most sports outside the US still maintain a certain level of integrity when it comes to the game. Unfortunately, within the UDS the sports industry is now dictated to by TV providers, who determine the day and time a game is to be played. I just don’t want soccer to be further dragged down.

  177. I think there is definatly a place for technology. As Paul mentioned cyclops for the ball crossing the line should really be a no brainer. I think he 4th offical (or even a 5th) with direct comms to the ref would be a huge help. Especially for stuff like diving and off the ball incidents.

  178. I am not for the game being stopped for the ref to consult with the 4th official, but for the relay of info to be done “in game”. It would take seconds. Of course that presents its own problems, but it would be a start.

  179. Andy @ 4:01:

    Spot on. What do you think the results of a referee survey run by a blog of radical King Kenny and Liverpool supporters would show? Not to hard to guess the right answer.

  180. Paul-N | October 21, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    “Every foul shouldnt be reviewed but lets take the RM/Barca tie for example. When a player was sent off with a red when he didnt even touch the player? cant someone in a both say that he didnt touch the guy and give the playing acting a fool a yellow?”

    I’m not sure how you can dictate 1 foul as being reviewed whilst another is not? If a player fouls someone and is yellow carded for a challenge that was actually fair, then makes a stupid challenge later and receives another yellow and is sent off. A decision is made to review the challenge because the player was dimissed so they do, the challenge was bad and deserved a yellow. That player is now gone, did he deserve to be sent off?

    Like I mentioned above it is not that I am not mindful of the good technology could do, rather it is my experience that determines what I know of the harm it can do.

  181. A player being sent off where someone has cheated goes back to my view of post game sanctions being a good step to stamp out cheating.

  182. Bill, fact is you are making an assumption that they cannot review the matches in an unbiased way. You came out as if you knew the deal and you obviously dont.

    One more time, the ref has gotten a good rating many times when we lost. So that in and of itself means they are safegaurding against bias and also their stuff has been reviewed and commended by outsiders.

    We are having a discussion, the poor us thing is far from my mind.

  183. I like simulated debates… makes us all think, or it should do

  184. Yeah, Markus – something like one in ten. Orange kits are the only time it bothers me with football. I did clothesline myself by running face first into a horizontal red bar at a playground when I was trying to act cool as a teenager once though. Traffic lights aren’t a problem because of the spacing and contrast.

  185. Paul – When you say the ref’s rating; where are you getting this “rating” from?

    Another thing to consider is that quite often a foul (for example) is subjective. You might think a tackle was a foul, whereas the guy sat next to might not. How then can somebody decide what was right/wrong and include it in a stat?

  186. I also happen to believe that cheating should be a 4-5 game ban

  187. OOU – You must have loved the Tango adverts.

  188. Miami, I understand what you are saying but surely players shouldnt get sent off for nothing.
    Many times before sending offs the officials consult eachother, why couldnt they consult another ref in a booth?

  189. Nice chatting guys/gals.

    Off home, have a good weekend.

  190. Paul, in a perfect world I agree but we don’t live in a perfect world. I have laid out my reasoning for my lack of desire for technology. I dispair at injustice, but the game is built on human performances, whether they are good or bad.

  191. GA, the man who does it was a ref, you know that. They are trained to know what a foul is. It is one thing to make a decision in the heat of the moment but you would think that they can review a vid and get it correct. Come on bro!

  192. I dont follow that logic Miami, but to each his own.

  193. Some more good news…

    http://www.skysports.com/story/0,,11670_7256947,00.html

  194. hope that didnt come off poorly, sorry if it did.

  195. goonerandy both your grammar and spelling leaves you in disrepute.

  196. Ponyboy, you don’t have to have a cathedral anymore to be a city, there’s some of annual lottery, but yes in Stoke’s case a groundfil tip would be a better choice

  197. Fair call Paul, all I am saying is that experience tells me that an intrusion whether noble in principle or not is bound to be exploited. The introduction of technology will indeed open many more questions about where it can be used elsewhere… look at baseball currently, introduced with foul balls, then home runs and now they want it to determine close strike calls… it doesn’t stop. This is my logic 🙂

  198. Paul, “hope that didnt come off poorly, sorry if it did”

    If that was meant for me, never fear mate you have not be rude or anything approaching it. We are both at least open to the discussion regardless of whether we agree or not.

  199. @ miami

    The point is the season usually hinges on the tight games not the games we canter to 3-0 victories..and in these types of games decisions play a huge part

    The sunderland game at home last season..the arshavin offside and of course the famous barca sending off..they sort of defined our season in the end

    Over the last few seasons these have consistently gone against us..maybe it will even itself out over 15 years who knows..but when 7 years is seen as an eternity, 4 seasons of this on the bounce is a significant amount of time

  200. Thankyou for the article Big Al. This teams collective psychology has indeed been very fragile over the past few seasons. Unfortunately, the team has been without a Tony Adams, Martin Keown, or Dennis Berkamp for quite some time. Senior players of this stature are absolutely essential for a team. Players not performing were accountable to these senior players. That is the culture of a winning team! Players are accountable to each other.

    With a Tony Adams in the dressing room someone who was not putting in the effort would have be chided and told to buck up. I doubt that any of these former players would put up with AA’s efforts over the past few seasons. His lack of defensive interest is frankly completely shocking. There would have been hell to pay in the dressing room with a Tony Adams or Martin Keown. With these senior players nothing less than thunder was acceptable!

    Cesc or William Gallas were not the type of players who would take the bull by the horns in terms of making players accountable. Both were the wrong choice and seemed like a desperate gesture at maintaining these players interest in staying at Arsenal.

    To be completely honest I am not even sure that Van Persie is the solution. He is a wonderful player but I am unsure of his ability to take charge of the dressing room. To be sure Arsene is not the type of coach who would kick a football boot at a player like David Beckam and inflict a cut on his head in the manner of Ferguson. Also to be sure Ferguson has never been one to tickle the Ego’s of players such as many excellent players he has sent down the road. This seems to be an immense dimension to the functioning of a successful team.

    All of this is not to be critical of Arsene Wenger since he has many strengths not possessed by any coach in the world in my opinion.

  201. Anirudh, I have been right where you are in thinking. There have been some perplexing decisions that have gone against us as you have pointed out. But we have also had decisions, maybe they don’t even out maybe they do. The human element is what it is, as fans we are always going to see decisions against us as being more important than those for us.

    Look at Blackburn, a penalty denigned and an off side goal awarded. It happens, It is frustrating but the question is as a team why did we concede 4 goals in the game? We can explain 1 goal perhaps as being the deciding factor because we lost by one but we conceded 4 goals in the game and they were not all due to the referee.

  202. @ two owls

    Please do take a look at the distances covered stats for Arshavin..I know this issue has been debated endlessly, but I feel that he really does get undue stick just based on the perception of a few people..and that is very very unfair to one of our own players..

  203. The hand ball at Spurs, it could have been called. The game itself was decided on a long range shot from a right back, a great goal from there point of view for sure. The thing is we had chances, none better than the poor effort from Gervinho where he should have scored. All I am saying is that we have opportunities to make poor decisions less relevant, we need to be better at taking them, especially in close games.

  204. @ Miami

    I am not saying that the entire game boils down to one decision..but all im saying is that the games where we do play badly or are not at our best either offensively, defensively or both are games which ultimately are the difference between first and fourth, semi-finalists or champions..The blackburn game would be a typical example..add to the earlier list newcastle away last season which was another crucial game and I guess u get my drift..

    They have consistently gone against us..granted a few in our favor..the bowyer offside in the CC final for example but certainly nowhere near enough to even start mentioning “evening-out” in the last few seasons..

    Of course in an ideal situation we would play so well that we really never are in the situation where a singly moment could be so monumental but that is far from reality in any sport for any team..and the worrying thing is the “evening-out” is becoming less with each season..

  205. @ miami

    and also I have noticed the reverse for Manchester united for some reason..not for chelsea or liverpool but them alone for some reason..of course I watch far less of them than us so maybe its a bit unreasonable or co-incidental..but still some of it certainly beggars belief and is a bit “jaw-dropping”

  206. Anirudh, I like to think evening out does apply but you are right of course that in big games where a poor decision is made it can cost the game and no amount of evening out is going to provide solace. I would like to think that what we are seeing is more to do with 50-50 calls. We all know that if we toss a coin in the air 100 times then chance dictates we should get 50% heads and tails, but that isn’t true. I can fathom that there is a real biase against Arsenal, if something comes out to prove otherwise then I can certainly hope it is dealt with but I don’t think there is. I am of course talking in a game sense, there is an obvious media biase… that is not hard to see.

  207. Two owls, if you dont mind, what is your reservation about RVP as Captian?

  208. What have you observed?

  209. Paul:

    We have beat this to death but realistically how much credibility would you give a ref survey if a strongly pro-Kenny Liverpool blog said that they have found systematic consistent anti-liverpool bias from the referees. I would not and I am confident that no one outside of Liverpool club would take it seriously. Thats the problem with what Untold did. Their survey is constructed in a way that it is impossible not to have a strong bias in the results.

  210. @ miami

    Thats what I was telling GA earlier..that the media indirectly does affect the ref..he is after all human and not above being affected by a mass opinion or perception..and yes that is one of the things (human error) which adds spice to any sport, so in that sense I agree with you completely..but the non-cancellation of errors or uni-directionality of the error due to perception is the worrying aspect, cos it will not change until the perception changes..

  211. Anirudh, I do think United get a wee bit more rub of the green (a personal opinion) and probably due to the fact they are the flag ship of English Football. I don’t think it is over whelming by any stretch of the imagination but Old Trafford has certainly seen its share of non penalty calls.

    The thing is it is like the fact that England players get better treatment. If you watch Rooney, he’ll swear black ad blue in the face of a referee and they seem to not care. I have seen other players do the same and been both warned or booked. The fact Wayne was in hot water for his camera rant was something the FA could not hide from nor ignore because it is candidly in your face. I remember when Shearer ran across the pitch to deliberately stand on a player, we was never sanctioned either.

    I do understand the under current of the feelings for some of the decisions, I just don’t think they lead to a deliberate biase.

  212. Miami, its hard to prove that a bias exists but why is it that Liverpool get a free ride?

  213. Im also of the opinion that it is not a conscious bias against arsenal, but rather something more complicated and sub-conscious….

  214. Anirudh, perceptions won’t change in regard to Arsenal because remember England is an Island independant of Europe. I live in England long enough to know that the English pride themselves on being just that English. I think that mentality plays out in the press with xenophobic hacks add their myopic views to the mix.

  215. Paul, a free ride from what?

  216. Anirudh | October 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    “Im also of the opinion that it is not a conscious bias against arsenal, but rather something more complicated and sub-conscious….”

    I happen to think you are bang on with that statement.

  217. anyway im off guys..have a good weekend..I cant watch the game 😦

    Hope for a 3-0 though ..arshavin hat-trick would make my weekend..

  218. Bill, do you know that Liverpool was noted as to have suffered the most by the refs on that same site?

    Again, what is important is that outside sources and individuals have commended the work. That puts a hole in your being biased theory. The fact that you percieve it as biased, doesnt mean that it is, does it?

    Arsenal are not a loved club by many, so I see no reason why this site would be commended. It is because they have done some stellar work that is hard to deny.

  219. @Miami – From the press, the Pundits etc. Even though they havent won anything in years, the press isnt all over them the way they are with Arsenal. Call it what we want but the British Media seem to love to talk crap about Arsenal.

  220. It’s funny, I live here in Miami and people here think Miami is a melting pot of nationalities. The thing is, it isn’t. If you travel to New York you see people from all over the world and yet they identify themselves as New Yorkers before their respective nationalities. Here in Miami, the people are Cuban, Haitian, South American etc but they are always something else before they are Miamian.

    You may think I have taken this in an unexpected direction, but my point is that Englishman see themselves as English first and foremost then whatever. Arsenal has been a revolution in English footballing terms, they were successful without Englishman in the team and that flouted the rules for many. I think this legacy persists in some people’s minds, especially when you see papers condoning poor tackles as teams just having a go.

  221. “Im also of the opinion that it is not a conscious bias against arsenal, but rather something more complicated and sub-conscious….”

    I also agree with that.

  222. Because Liverpool are still considered English, Paul. If I were to ask you the first to players names to come to mind when you talk about Liverpool what would they be? For me it is J Carragher and S Gerrard, Englishman because they are the two most talked about in recent years. The manager is Daglish, British.

    If I was to ask you about Arsenal, who would the names be? Henry, Berkhamp, RvP, Cesc? The manager is also not British.

  223. Miami, remember the Eduardo “dive”, the ridiculous uproar it caused? Rooney has dived atleast twice againts us to win pens and he is seen as being intelligent by the same clowns who lambasted Eduardo.

  224. Yup and the difference is what? One is English the other is not.

  225. I would actually say Wilshere, Gibbs, Walcott and Ramsey! ha ha!

  226. Paul-N, I am not sure that I have any reservations about Robin as Captain. I guess that I have a model of captains in my head. That model is one of a large, tough, defender type of player. This is an older model to be sure. This includes a player who will take no shite from opposing players attempting to abuse our players which, more frequently than not, happens to Arsenal football players.

    Anirudh, I guess the distance covered by a player like Arshavin is absolutely without fault in the forward areas of the pitch. However, I have always bit my lip when the ball moves into our defensive third when Arshavin is on the pitch. He provides little if any effective cover to opposing players. The midfield must at all times be willing to get back and help the fullback. This is a major shortcoming of Arshavin…that he does not provide effective cover for the fullback. Otherwise, he is a pleasant little fellow who, if I were coach, would have sent down the road to the Russian Tundra quite some time ago.

  227. lol, I am not taking anything away from Arsenal. It is just perceptions from certain people that need to change, their musings scream xenophobia and yet they are condoned. The worst part of it is that these people have a voice in the media and cannot see beyond their own nose.

  228. Paul N – You are made of sterner stufff than most of us. goonerandy is like an ostrich whose neck is firmly stuck in the sand and ass fully exposed in dream world. Go ask the Wolves fans about the rash of calls in favour of Liverpool after Daglish’s little visit to mother Riley to complain about poor refereeing. As George commented earlier there is hardly a roundabout for Wolves when they are inevitably in a relegation scrap by January.

  229. I think a lot of the flack directed at AA and Theo is more to do with the fact that they are both players capable of being game changers. The issue is whether they are playing with that in mind.

  230. Paul:

    I surrender.

    We have lost site of the fact that it was a great post by OOU and raised some interesting questions. Important game this weekend. Hopefully our defense will be up ready for the long ball and long throw barrage and we can keep a clean sheet and get a couple of goals.

  231. 2-0

    COYG

  232. For those of you wondering how Denilson is doing at Sao Paulo, let me just tell you that he’s doing quite alright. He is playing the exact same role that he was playing with us and looks to be bang on form. I just saw him the other night against Libertad in the copa sudamericana and he’s doing his usual. Keeping the ball moving around and linking the midfield to the strikers with simple passes. Since he basically grew up playing in England he is tougher than most on the pitch and is almost impossible to dispossess. His physicality has also gotten him a couple of red cards thus far this season. However, this is due to the softness of the south American game and the flagrant diving.

  233. Andy, god only knows why he wasn’t desired by other European clubs. My take is that he wanted to go home in order to gather himself and not because offers didn’t come in.

    As it stands right now his team is six points off the top after a horrible beginning to the season. Their season runs through the summer and was interrupted by the Copa America. They are also contenders for the copa sudamericana.

    So when you talk about mediocre leagues or whatever, let me just tell you that you have absolutely no idea how competitive south American football is. There’s a reason south American players go to Europe and usually become the best of the best. It has been this way for decades.

  234. Miami, not two years ago Liverpool had a Spanish manager and it’s most emblematic players were also from Spain. This didn’t stop the media favoring them over us. European football is no longer as nationalistic as it once was. Nowhere in Europe, with the exception of England, are there teams held up to such a traditional standard. Foreign managers and players are the norm everywhere and the xenophobia isn’t fueled by the media. I mean, can you imagine an Italian pundit pushing a xenophobic message? It would make things even worse than they ate now.

  235. G69 @ 6:14:

    “Miami, not two years ago Liverpool had a Spanish manager and it’s most emblematic players were also from Spain. This didn’t stop the media favoring them over us.”

    No way to prove it but I suspect that 98% of Liverpool fans would disagree with the last sentence of that statement.

  236. Paul, beware of Andy. He still thinks Pedro’s handball and dive, which would’ve implicated Koscielny in a non-existent foul and subsequent red card, was a dead on penalty. To see him say that Barcelona get players sent off because they invite challenges is denying that Barcelona is a team of con artists who enjoy the benefit of the doubt from most referees.

  237. G69 when was Gerrard not Liverpools most emblematic player? I realise they had Torres etc but Gerrard is Liverpool and thus there most emblematic player by a country mile. How much criticism did Benitez get in comparison to Dalgish?

    So xenophobia doesn’t exist… can you explain me then why Arsenal are held to separate standard?

  238. Limestonegunner

    Denilson also says he went home to get more consideration for Brazil’s WC in 2014. 3 red cards in 9 games and a campaign from fans to have him never play for the club again after twittering fan criticism of the club manager “very annoying.” He may find it a relief to come back to Arsenal!

  239. Xenophobic views are pushed by Human beings, some of which have a voice in the media thus they do whether consciously or not peddle their views. I actually think in England football is very Nationalistic, that is why foreign players are held to a different standard. I also don’t think it is confined to football which is why the BNP have re-emerged.

  240. No way to prove it, Bill? How many times were we supposed to get knocked off the top four by Liverpool despite their team being in disarray? Even this season we are supposed to be in a crisis and we’re only four points away from the in the table. Yet they are still running the Dalglish revolution nonsense they started running when Liverpool got a string of victories last season. If you look at their squad Carroll has been a fraud, they lack a decent right back and they let go of perhaps their best player last season in Meirelles. Let me ask you, have you heard anything about how stupid it was to let Meirelles go? No you haven’t because the English punditry have better targets to go after, us.

  241. When Torres was scoring like a mad man and Alonso was pulling the strings in their midfield.

    Benitez started to get criticized when he went after Fergie. They went after him for his rotation policy but that subsided when they won the CL against Milan in Istanbul. He started to get ridiculed when he piped up about the favorable refereeing decisions MU were getting.

  242. Lime, I don’t know about you, but I think we could use Denilson in the midfield until Jack gets back. If for nothing else than to give Arteta a break every now and again.

  243. G69, obviously we are not going to agree on the most emblematic player at Liverpool FC. I stand by my view that it is Gerrard and then Carragher by a country mile, you disagree and believe that Torres and Alonso were.

  244. Miami, New York is also a city that’s more than two hundred years old. While Miami was a swamp they’d been getting immigrants for a hundred or so years. Miami wasn’t an immigrant town until the sixties. It’s also in the south which means that they weren’t to keen on allowing black people out after dark or letting them drink from the same water fountains. I thought I’d mention that to you as you seem to be ignorant about my city’s history.

  245. G69, yeah I’m pretty clear on my view of Miami not being a melting pot. The city lacks identity and is plagued with illegal immigrants. The difference between Miami and New York is not time it is geography and culture, one seeks to be an american icon the other a south american one.

  246. Oh, and G69 whilst I am an immigrant I chose to do it the legal route.

  247. Gerrard is the most emblematic player at Liverpool if you live in an English bubble. For the modern football supporter he’s no longer their talisman. He’s a has been. That the media paint him as Liverpool’s hero is more of an indictment on English punditry than anything else.

    I think the problem with English punditry and, dare I say, England in general is that the English establishment is still stuck in the post wwII era. Like the US they have a problem letting go of their past and still think they’re the best. They’re not and they are fooling their countrymen by putting on this hypocritical facade that sweeps everything horrible under the rug.

  248. I was born a citizen so I have no idea what the fuck you’re talking about.

  249. So there aren’t any illegal immigrants in NY? I suggest you take a trip to that city if you haven’t already and keep your eyes open.

  250. Lived in New York 2 years hated it , now live in Miami and although I don’t love it it is a damn big improvement on New York . That is one miserable place and just reminds me of how sad humanity is in this day and age.

  251. Forgot to add, fuck off you xenophobic cunt.

  252. It is beyond anything that I can understand how Dennilson has achieved the notoriety of no less than THREE RED CARDS in Brazil. My guess is that the cards came as a result of falling to the ground without reason or feigning some other injury which, of course, he was famous for in the Premiership apart from passing sideways.

  253. You live in Miami, Jo? I thought you lived in some shit hole. How can you be such a dick while living in a place that has sunshine and warm temperatures year round?

  254. G69, thanks I really need that bout of laughter

  255. If you’ve ever seen Neymar play for Santos you’d know why Denilson got red carded. When he goes down he looks like he’s getting ejected from the windshield of a car.

  256. That why people like gains are so miserable, it makes sence now. Id also be permanently pissed and act like a cunt if I was stuck in New York.

  257. No probs, Miami. By the way, why do you live in a place with so many spics? Wouldn’t you be more comfortable in Alabama or Arizona?

  258. I’m not in NY. I’m in Miami. We’re practically neighbors.

  259. So Neymar had gotten Denilson sent off all those times? Wow. That is some stat Gains

  260. Gain, my wives family live in Miami. They came here after the Nicaraguan civil war and were displaced at gun point. They are all spread out in the area from Cooper City/Pembroke Pines to Kendall etc. I’m down town Brickell.

  261. I have lived in 4 countries now, nationalities don’t bother me 🙂 It would be better were English more of a staple but I am trying to learn Spanish. I have to say of all the countries I have lived in, the US (Miami) is the most foreign feeling in terms of culture and language.

  262. Ever been to Lauderhill, Miami? you would think you were in Kingston, JA.

  263. Yeah, Jo.

    Neymar is just an example of the diving that goes on in Brazil and how soft the referees call the game. That little move where the player stops running after they, not the referee, think a foul has been committed was invented in that league.

    Miami, this city is the way it is. Our immigrants, bad or good, have made the city what it is. And if we’re an icon of south America it is because we’re the closest city to that region. If it feels foreign to you, then tough shit. Move somewhere else if you don’t like it.

  264. Paul, me and my brother just bought a rental property over there.

  265. I agree with JO, I prefer Miami to NY. Upstate NY is a beautiful place though, from what I remember.

  266. Nice G69! so you know what I am talking about?

  267. Thanks G69 you make the point about it not being a melting pot wonderfully 🙂

  268. Limestonegunner

    I think Denilson is a pretty decent and experienced squad player for us and could have helped shore things up with Wilshere out. Arteta could have played more forward for example. I do think however that his attitude has suffered by sitting on the bench last year so I don’t know if he would have been willing to back up Arteta. Maybe he will come back and resolve himself to the situation, because he can contribute to this team.

  269. One thing I love about my part of South Florida is Mango season! blow wow!!

  270. Stoke City,

    It’s that time of the year upon us again so soon…

    I think this day should be celebrated with a show of the finest towels from all over the world.

    Bring your own towel, I’m not sharing mine…no way, don’t even ask!

  271. We just had mango and avocado season, Paul. I had my nephew and niece almost sick of eating mangos and drinking mango smoothies. We just had our first cold snap of the season so we’re done with coconuts for a while. Enjoyed drinking scotch with coconut water all summer long, though. Yummmm!!!

    Miami, I’m not the one complaining about the place. If you just let go of the idea that Miami should be more Americanized (meaning less scary to non-hispanics), then you’d probably have a good time too. Just look at what you said with regards to us being an icon of south america as if it was somehow a negative for the city. You’re married to a Nica for fuck’s sake. If that isn’t an example of the cultural diversity of this city, then I don’t know what is.

  272. Funny G69, I wish I was around to get tired of those mango’s.

    I would surely drink some of thet coconut water also, minus the hard stuff. ha!

  273. Mango’s , papaya’s, coconuts, Lychees,, I love summer in South Florida, I still havent been able to find Soursop, or Guanabana when I do I will be complete. Im not quite in Miami, Fort Lauderdale actually but I travel to Miami twice a week when I am here. Love the Latin markets, my missus is Venezuelan so I took the time to learn spanish and I am pretty much the only non latino on my Saturday social game. Dosent bother me the least. I like melting pots..

  274. You havent been able to find soursop in any market, Gunnerjones?

  275. I have guanabana quite often. I go to this market on bird rd and get a guanabana milkshake.

  276. I have found the frozen and canned soursop but not the fresh fruit . Bird road you say, Will have to check this out. o yes and Sugar cane too !

  277. Did anyone see the pic of Diaby in training on Arsenal.com? He looks like a giant! He seems to have really filled out in his absence (in a good way) and no longer looks like the thin, wirey specimen he was. It would be fantastic if he does an RVP and hits some fitness and form.

    G69 you’re probably right about Denilson – his reds have usually been 2 yellows rather than straight reds and his own assessment is that he needs time to adjust to the refereeing standard of a different league.

  278. Great line from Apocolypse Now. Great film. We need wins baby. The guys did good to win at our house. great score now its time to get back on track and save the season.

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