Win The Title Arsène? You Can’t Even Win A Sack Race & Seeking Per-fection

The talk of Arsène’s departure was fleeting, the Frenchman’s head shoved effortlessly aside from the high block by Andre Villas-Boas. Not that either of them are in any danger of losing their jobs. Immediately, at least. The Portuguese whippersnapper would be a horrendously expensive mistake even by Abramovich’s standards; a managerial Bogarde. As for Wenger, Stan Kroenke has been swift to let it be known that the plan is to retain his services, not dispense with them. Win the title Arsène? You can’t even win a sack race.

All this focus away from his future means that the match against Dortmund takes place in as serene an atmosphere around the club as has been possible this season. The players can walk tall, even the Igor Stepanovs lookalike, Per Mertesacker, whom Steve Howard did a favour to this morning by calling him a ‘dud’. Anything Howard believes about the club is invariably wrong but he was supportive of Arsène so that means which ever pompous prancer said that the media were more supportive of Arsène must have been right. Mustn’t he?

That is not to say the German is without flaws, something his manager has been identified,

In every second of the game you are really tested with full commitment, and it takes some time to adapt. We have seen that with [Laurent] Koscielny, who played at right-back and was exceptional. Last year he would not have delivered this kind of performance because you learn that from fighting in every game. That is why it is so difficult to buy defenders from abroad.

It is incredible how quickly judgements are reached over a player, especially one with the experience of Mertesacker. His reaction to the goal showed he knew he had dropped a ricket but he got up and got on with the game, the defence kept Norwich at bay for seventy five minutes or so to ensure that the lead, once obtained, was never lost. Koscielny is the right example to use as a comparator in that it took time to adapt but the wait has been worth it, I am sure most agree.

The most pressing thought is whether the German plays against Dortmund or not. His place can be accommodated with Koscielny playing centrally and Djourou on the right but I wonder if that is already planned for? The German Champions made use of the flanks in the home match and requires a mobile defender which for Djourou’s strengths is something of a weakness. He was positionally exposed by Chelsea. Is Jenkinson going to be used instead. His injury we were told, required rest but does that mean he can be used sparingly?

This pre-supposes Wenger is inclined to remove Mertesacker from the firing line. I am not sure that this is a necessary step. The German has the experience to deal with criticism and having played at the highest level for a number of years, the nous to know that taking notice of your critics is the fastest way out of the side. He is not an 18 year-old who needs protecting, after all.

That’s it for today, back with a preview for the Champions League in the morning. ’til Tomorrow.

Posted on November 21, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 171 Comments.

  1. suck it big brovar 😛

  2. Honestly some of the editorial from scum press and blogs alike regarding Mertesacker has been hysterical. He made a rick. He has been fantastic barring that one error. We’re in danger of disappearing up our own fundament if we can’t show the least bit of perspective….

  3. It was a tidy result, a decent performance. Per’s mistake was a mistake, faced with options like that, use yer muscle and boot it fella, anywhere; but show me a defender who has never made that exact mistake, and I’ll show you a young man with so many reasons why, there but for fortune goes you or I. If he repeats it, that’s another story. I betcha he won’t, his response both sickened (immediate) and in the game said it all. I was surprised and pleased we dominated to the extent we did, thanks largely to Theo and Gervinho, and Kos, and RvP, although I felt we gave a little too much respect in the middle.

  4. Don’t see what the big deal about Mertesacker mistake is. Everybody makes mistakes at some time or other. As long as he does not start making them on a regular basis there is no drama. He is an excellent defender who brings a bit of calmness to our defensive line. Any of Mertesacker/Kos/TV5 as a pairing is fine by me. TV5 will always start as he is far and away our best defender though.

  5. A defender makes a mistake, a goal is the result.
    Our attackers made quite a few,but just lined up for the next chance……yeah,thats fair!
    Anyone bagging Mertesacker knows absolutely nothing about football.
    A year ago,nobody wanted to know about Koscielny…….I would get verbally bashed every time I suggested he was potentially world class.
    Ok,he’s not there yet,but he’s a thousand times closer now than he was then.
    My point,or question,is why cant people see obvious quality in a player,instead preferring to focus on any negative they scrape up?

  6. Spot on GA, vermalen is too important a player to be rotated in an important match like the champions leaque.i consider him our most influential player.but for walcot’s performance on saturday,he would be my motm.

  7. More importantly of course is that positions 3-7 are now totally up for grabs to the most consistent of the teams, Spurs with a head-start, and Arsenal with a narrow disadvantage (goal difference). And it’s still November and only one third of the season completed.

    Chelsea usually re-group and have quality to do so, but are clearly a weakening side, their old guard tiring. Newcastle don’t have the depth to sustain this fine run, but their first choice team is effective. Spurs will be stung if Bale heads off, but for now look to be the most serious opposition to Arsenal, who for the present have momentum (form) on their side, while Liverpool are missing their talisman terribly.

    What we should be saying, loud and clear, is “well done lads, so far so good”.

    Beyond that, well who knows?

  8. The critiscism (spelt incorrectly but its early!) of Per is absurd.He made a mistake.RVP admitted he had 5 chances and 2 goals so he made 3 mistakes! 75 caps for Germany is all i need to know and any defender who plays in a 4 nil destruction of Argentina keeping Messi,Tevez et al quiet is good enough for me!

  9. Were I a betting guy, I am not, I would look at the odds of Arsenal finishing second and place a little bet. Should be about 10-1. For me, at this moment, they are the second best side, just, on current form.

  10. Was it a mistake or he was foul? I think we are all seeing it the way we want to. I feel he was foul from behind. I have watched that scene over and over and that is the only conclusion that comes to my mind. What makes a manager either in the office or any where is to defend their staff and to me this is what makes Wenger a great manager. Never ever criticize your family, spouse, staff, friends, etc in the public. Do it one to one in close doors. Asene Wenger is spot on!!!

  11. I’d imagine we’ll go with the same back four as on Saturday. If anything I’d bring Djourou into the middle and keep Kozza at RB.

    Don’t think they’ll play Jenks because as I understand it, he has a slight stress fracture and playing would pose a massive risk of it getting worse, especially given his all-action game.

  12. Zim@7.56

    We are not in danger of anything except resurrecting this season big style, don’t mistake what the press, or even agitated supporters say, for what the team will actually do. Which is carry on. (If I know this website, Per has got about fifty mistakes to make and titles to be lost until we really call for his boots)

    The team have proved most of us wrong on at least one point or another and in a completely positive way. No complaints here.

    The Verminator has to start, I would like to see Kozzer and the Meatsack rotate – rests competitions, injuries etc. While Kozzer has shown he is the replacement left side if required, Jenks has got to start until Lasagna is back. He grows and grows, just add fertiliser.

    Who is going to start chipping in with vP, that is the big question. What season’s we could have had if he had been able to stay fit for just a couple of them.

    All in all it is a grind out period and with the dominant form we were in it looked good.

    Shame about the scousers I wanted the Chavs to put them in their place, but Villas Boas is off, expensive or not, things do not look good there, they just looked out of ideas and how far will they have to drop?

  13. I don’t think it was a foul. And if it was it was borderline. Imagine if RvP was the striker and had the goal ruled out for a foul, I don’t think many would see it as a foul then.

    It was a mistake, but not as big as it initially looks. The ball bounces quite high and makes it difficult for him to clear. His only “sin” was not getting his body inbetween the ball and their striker strongly enough. He was good for the rest of the game though.

  14. Ae error on Merrtsacker’s part but, after grimacing dramatically for ten seconds he got his concentration back and played well for the rest of the game. Now that is what an experienced professional footballer does.

  15. ga@8.56

    I think Per was really guilty of not just getting rid of it when he could, so the error was not seeing where the danger was going to come from if he let it run. You could see he expected to get it under control and a tug may have been the reason he was not able to do that, but really the striker was too close and there was an instance where he could have cleared. Nothing as bad Luiz’s though if you saw that!

    Going back to the AA/Gerv topic yesterday. Are we not seeing AW challenge the little Ruskey? Make it happen when you get the chance or sit on the bench till you want to go?

    Having said that I noticed from the Ivory coast match – which seemed to spill into saturday – that Gerv was suffering from a loss of touch, the sort that usually comes from doing too much.

    Just a thought.

  16. Just Another Luke

    Off-topic

    AVB: The owner did not spend millions bringing me here, just to pay another fortune to get me out…

    AVB could be underestimating the Russian Oligarch? What a way to justify his tenure at Chelski.

  17. The irony is that if Sideshow Bob had made the mistake Mertesacker did, we would all be told that he’s getting accustomed to the Premier league.

    Is it just me or do you guys find the media particularly nauseating yesterday and today? These folks are lower than a snake’s belly when it comes to how sinister and dodgy they are when they are hell bent on maintaining any headline that will sell the “Arsenal in crisis” story.

    What is ironic is that for Chelsea, their title hopes are said to be slightly fading, for Liverpool we’re told that they are a club on the rise with serious momentual having won 9 of their last 12 games or something, and for Arsenal, we’re told that there’s absolutely no chance of winning the title, and slim to no chance whatsoever of making the top 4. Yet we all have 22 points with the same number of games.

  18. It’s great to see us come back so strongly from an admittedly poor start to the season, which was caused by a number of factors.

    A great deal of credit for this is due to the team, but the most credit has to be given to Arsene. He takes all the stick when we are having a rough time, so deserves credit in equal measure when things go well.

    CBs and Goalkeepers make one mistake resulting in a goal and get lambasted for it – while, as stated above, forwards can make mistakes but recover by scoring a goal, and end up as heroes.

    Did Mertesacker make a mistake? Well take your pick. Who cares? We won. End of discussion.

  19. Darius,

    You are certainly not alone in your dislike for the ‘media’. On almost every blog I read similar views about bias or incompetence.

    Given that most of the sports journos are also fans who support their own particular teams, including Arsenal, in the Premier League, there must be a degree of bias or glee when things go wrong for a rival team.

    For myself, I like to thing I can read the papers and sort the wheat from the chaff, the good stuff from the rubbish, and to be honest I like to read the papers to see what is being written.

    Just like everyone else who complains about the media, but still avidly read the papers — else how would they know they are biased or crap? 🙂

  20. As I never watch MOTD nor read papers I amazed coming here to find the talk is about Per being fouled as if it were his fault. Surreal alternative universe the rest seem to inhabit. The only story on Saturday was the miraculous escape from a hiding which Norwich somehow managed.
    8 nil would have been fair.
    Per’s only error was assuming he played in a league where the rules are applied like the in Germany.

  21. On the subject of the media, I see Luiz getting plenty this morning from the reports I’ve read. Mertesacker made a mistake, it’s been reported as such, people are much too touchy.

    Until Saga and/or Jenkinson and Gibbs gets fit I think the back four we had out on Saturday is the best we have and should be kept for the European Cup and League games. We definitely need our strongest lineup to start against Dortmund. They can (and I’m sure will) all have a rest next week for the League Cup game.

  22. WELL DONE LADS. WE ARE PROUD OF YOU EACH AND EVERYONE. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK AND WELL DONE TO THE GAFFER AS WELL.

    UP THE GUNS!!!!! bring on the germans.

    second place in the EPL?? DEFINATLY within reach.
    win the EPL?? depends on when and if shitty start imploding, as for us , one game at a time. must win games each and everyone. & keep fingers crossed firmly for the others to slip.
    i will see the dimwits in the media eat crow by the end of the season.

  23. @Steww – I loved Wenger’s response when he was asked about the Mertesacker inciddent. While smiling and almost chuckling, he did point out as if frame by frame that it was a foul, but it was clear that he was taking the Michael. But he also said that he had a word with Mertesacker and explained to him that in England, you’re not safe with that position as strikers are aggressive and that he’s confident that such an incident will never happen again.

    It was nice to see how Koscielny and Theo in particular took their time in reassuring Mertesacker and giving him that “you’ll live my bruv – get on with it” chat. But Mertesacker is experienced enough to learn from that and recover solidly.

  24. YW – You are in a waspish mood today and I love it. The media, especially the so-called big-hitters (Lawton, Samuel, McCarra) really went into emotional overdrive after their once favorite big-spender looks like they have hit the buffers. They feel Villas Boas is in troble and are really stirring the pot.

    steww at 9:43 am
    Damn right we should have been out of sight by half time. We are still a work-in-progress which is scary.

    ZimPaul at 8:43 am
    A punt on second for the Gunners is really not that outlandish, the way ManUtd has been playing. Their midfield is simply not up to championship level.

  25. Didnt get time to give my thoughts on the game over the weekend. First we won a game away,coming back from international duty (last season we barely registered a good result immediately after) and we came from behind (I love this new arsenal with their never say never die attitude, if it was last year we probably could have crumbled and even if we had managed to come back in the game i doubt we would have held on to our slim win) Something else norwich werent pushovers we almost had equal possession, this i attribute to our midfield which i thought was run over by norwich afew times.

    We had plenty of chances to win the game by a bigger margin, in the first quarter of the game i thought maybe we’d end up ruing our chances and it would end up being one of those days where we create a ton of chances but end up losing to a team that only gets a couple.Thank God for Van persie because despite his early misses he saved the day. One of norwich’s defenders must have woken up on the right side of the bed, how else can one explain the three times he was able to save their team from conceding? each time their gk was beaten and if it hadnt been for the defender those shots would have surely resulted in goals.

    I was also impressed by Walcott and Gerv despite the latter’s miss. Another standout was Verm with his forward runs which i noticed a couple of times. Koscielny was also very good at right back coz i cant remember anything he did wrong during the game. Mert could have done better in clearing that ball but i also felt he was fouled, credit to him he didnt drop his head/game after the mistake. I am loving Santos more and more every game, anyone else notice he looks like he is slimming down? When Benayoun came on we held on to the ball better (he is one player I wouldnt mind us buying since he is a hard worker). Overall the team did very well so good for them and may this upward trend continue.

    Abit miffed that despite our form we still remain no. 7. hope the teams above us drop more points. But on the positive we are level on points with the three above us, if only the spurs could lose or draw tonight, their two games in hand puts them at an advantage.

  26. It was indeed a bit of naivete by Per, whether or not he was fouled. But not one to dwell about. TV has made a few similar and every CB everywhere. Maybe something specific to EPL and its refs, maybe not, but you can’t allow the ball to bounce or run towards your own goal, so it’s a little naive, nothing more. Had that been Vidic, or Puyol, for example, he would have positioned his body in front as Per did, ready to whack it, and the second the striker touched him he would have been cart-wheeling in a most desperate agony, possibly over the ball, with a suspected spinal injury. A foul would have resulted and life would go on. We don’t really specialise in the ‘dark arts’ at Arsenal. At ManU you can’t get near the team without a degree in ‘dark arts’.

  27. Darius

    Well put about Wenger’s comments. You cannot expect strikers to give the last man any quarter and our own experience of German’s shows us that they will take every advantage too! Diving, tugging and hustling they are not gentlemen and Per knows this.

    Just get it away man! Enough said, no harm done.

  28. Darius/Zim P at half time the analysts on supersport’s match day went on and on about Mert’s mistake . I dont remember them doing the same a few wks ago when Terry did his slip. One of those Analysts was winterburn and it annoyed me he still thought despite our acquisitions our defense looks shaky. Personally I cant remember having this much confidence in the defence in the last two years.

  29. I thought Kos was a great success at RB by the way, so confident. Better than my judgement which would have been Djourou at RB and Per on the bench. And yet another word for Aaron Ramsey, who so far is my player of players at Arsenal this season. He’s really got it all; works like a dog, tracks back madly, has smarts, keeps his head held high, always wants the ball and positions himself for Arteta and Song, frequently turns creator, often almost scores too and has the single best smirk (oooh … now that was close you lucky bastards) in the EPL.

  30. @Firstlady – you’re better off not watching that shit. At least here the platinum idiots are original, Super Sport folks just recycle the same faecal matter as if it was gospel.

    This is amusing, a certain radio station has someone on the payroll to read what footballers say on twitter. I’m definitely getting too old for this shit.

  31. The analysts, including Winterburn, a nice enough fellow but a very ordinary analyst, are simply dancing to the piper’s tune.

  32. First Lad

    The Tottenhots have a relatively easy time until the period from the end of Jan to end of March which will be stinky for them – especially if they have lots of other tournaments still on, but don’t expect them to drop too many till then unless ‘Arry’s ‘art’ thing starts to tell. V. Easy fixtures.

    No harm hoping, but our next realistic targets to overtake are Liverpool and Newcastle, with Chelsea doing everything to join the queue.

    I expect Newcastle not to get a single point out of their next two. $hiite-y and then Chelsea. Which should put us ahead of them by early December. We just need to keep winning ours which are pretty good all the way in.

  33. Zim @ 8.43 – I went that route a couple of weeks back –

    Top 2 finish £5 at 20-1
    Top 3 finish £15 at 7-1
    Top 4 finish £25 at 3-1

  34. Chelsea-Pool was boring, a litany of mistakes and lack of focus on both sides, but a nice final goal. Torres was as awful as ever, a poodle of a striker when he came on. Drogba looks bored. Terry looks weary. Malouda looks insignificant. Cole is fast disappearing. Liverpool as a whole look anonymous except Suarez who always tries something stylish or outlandish and Reina always immaculate. A good result for us too, because chelsea is the more dangerous of the two for us, they still have a crisp passing-attacking game into the final third.

  35. I have to say I’ve grown rather weary of Alan Smith over-compensating in his efforts to sound as though he is absolutely impartial and not ex-Arsenal at all. He’s not a particularly insightful or interesting voice anyway but his determination is such that he frequently leans slightly in favour of whomever Arsenal are playing.

    For me it would be better if ex-players didn’t commentate on games involving their old club. Sky, it seems, prefer to do the exact opposite.

  36. @Consols – on the discussion yesterday about Alan hansen being paid £40,000 per show for MOTD. It was also claimed that a ghost writer puts together his Telegraph column and he just appends his name to it. Priceless.

  37. Chelsea are always going to struggle with Luiz and Terry in the first team – they are Laurel & Hardyesque. Fucking delightful to watch.

    Wonder how much AVB’s severance payout is (not that getting rid of him would solve their issues)?

    *Evil Cackle*

  38. Last year the media told us Arsens was at fault for buying a second rate French defender where as Chelsea showed us what a class act £24 million buys with Side Show Bob.

    Once again”ARSENE KNOWS BEST” No wonder they don’t like him .He consistently make Monkey’ out of them

  39. Anicoll5 @ 9:12, excellent point. True pro that Mert.

    Darius @ 9:22 & Block4 @ 9:51, Chelsea have been showing with their recent failings how difficult it is for defenders to play a high line. Especially when they’re not as… mobile as our lads. JT on his arse as the ball rests in the back of the net is getting to be routine. Not a fan of the daily rags but I’ll bet Terry hasn’t had much criticism in the press. From what I heard on MOTD they were blaming Luiz for putting Terry in difficult situations. Bloody foreigner!

  40. @George – did you know that Sagna, Koscielny and Vermalen cost less combined in transfer fees than Sideshow Bob.

  41. Funny comment from Neville about Luiz “he look like a playstation player ebing controlled by a ten year old”.

    If we were given the choice of any of Chelsea’s CB’s I would take Ivanovic. He is pretty good and underrated there as he is not “a big name”. He is their best CB IMO.

  42. Great writeup, YW. I think we should stick with the same defence for Dortmund. And I still think Mertesacker was fouled, but the hesitation didn’t help his case.

    The best thing Chelsea could do is write this season off and resist evaluating their manager until something like May 2013. They should let him try to build a team, but they probably won’t, and that’s why they’re so much fun.

    Anyone keeping an eye on Bilbao this season? Three-man defence – average age of about 22 throughout the side, and they just won away at Sevilla. Wellington also made the bench for Levante at the weekend. It’s a step in the right direction at least!

  43. Markus, Terry is getting some mild criticism, mainly that he’s not what he used to be. I think that’s code for “he doesn’t have Ricky Carvalho next to him to bail his lack of pace out any more”. Chelsea definitiely look more solid when Alex plays, more epxerience and clamness back there, Luiz is an indisicplined clown. Terry (he’s 31 or so?) looks like a centre back who is in the last throws of his career, no pace, poor touches, poor positioning, it seems like he can’t even galvanise those around him any more.

  44. George @ 11:00 “No wonder they don’t like him .He consistently makes Monkey out of them”

    Spot on lad. Wenger has been proving them wrong from day one. You’d think they’d catch on by now and STFU.

  45. andy, that is a belter of a quote. Even if it does come from Red Nev.

  46. Folks – watch the anatomy of a tabloid story.

    The next major headline will be “PSG battle for Ancellotti or Wenger”

    Speaking of managers, can someone tell Sir Jeff Hurst that the FA will be ill advised to appoint a tax dodger as the England manager, especially if the said manager is being hosted as a guest of Her Majesty at one of the local hospitality suites managed by Her Majesty’s Prison services.

  47. BTW – that Ancellotti to PSG story was given as a reason why Wenger is not on the PSG radar considering he is most definitely leaving Arsenal this summer….

    Did I mention that Wenger is apparently leaving? That seems to be a better story than Diaby being back in traning.

  48. Off away till Friday .Play nice ACLF’ers

    COYG

  49. “@Firstlady – you’re better off not watching that shit. At least here the platinum idiots are original, Super Sport folks just recycle the same faecal matter as if it was gospel.”

    Darius I dont usually listen to any analysts (i had no choice in this game) as I find most of them biased against us. If there is anything good about supersport nowadays it is they dont let their inhouse pundits do the analysis as they used to. The culprits this weekend were the idiots on your end. Winterburn, the former southampton coach whose name escapes me and the third one (host) dont know who, Kenyan G or anyone else who was watching from supersport might know him.

  50. Tricky match with Dortmund, they’ll on a bit of a roll having undone Bayern. Ideally, we want to win this and be done with CL last game uncertainties. They have to win, no choice. So, it’s a very big match.

  51. Be fair, Darius, how could Hansen be expected to write a weekly column?

    He hasn’t said anything new for 20 years.

  52. I thought Gervinho had a decent game overall, but really didn’t have his shooting boots on yesterday. He was lucky RvP was behind him after he missed his attempted back-heel for our equaliser. I think le boss might have given him a rocket for trying that.

  53. L’Equipe: Does the current team have what it takes to resist, to shoulder the pressure?

    Wenger: I don’t know. Paradoxically, our bad start to the season has lowered the pressure. People are saying: ‘Arsenal are going to battle against relegation,
    they’ll do nothing’. That’s why our victory at Chelsea had such a resounding effect. Nobody believed we were capable of that. People had downplayed our
    wins so much up until then, it was a clap of thunder in the English sky.

    Priceless.

  54. i have a worry about wednesday cause they played us off the park over there. We were at our worst that night and i dont expect us to be that bad ever again but this is not a gimme gimme gimme. Merk the burk nothing more nothing less. he made a mistake but knew the defender was there so no excuses just dont do it again. should be ok wednesday though cause according to the boss only english teams press at the edge of the box

  55. Steww @ 9:43
    “Per’s only error was assuming he played in a league where the rules are applied like the in Germany.”

    excellent summary!

  56. hhahaha Consol at 12.22

  57. Andy – Gervinho doesn’t often have his shooting boots on – if there is one area he really needs to focus on it’s this. Still he brings a lot to the side and he’s far from being alone in the wasteful in front of goal stakes.

    Saturday was a great result but for all the chances we created we missed far too many.

  58. Arsesession – Trust me mate, the German lge has plenty of rough and tumble in it.

  59. Nice read.

    I thought we were great at the weekend. Could have been out of sight by half time. The most pleasing part for me was, once in front, we didnt have the nervous, jittery, mistake ridden finale that was all too apparent last season.

    No players will never make mistakes, I think Mert has settled well, and was big enough to move on mentally. No qualms for him starting on Wed.

    Thought Gervinho didnt have his best game, but he is learning the league and his team mates – what is very promising is the positions in constantly gets himself in. He will be critical to our success moving into the second half of the season.

    He will be contributing with c. 15 goals and 15 assists in all comps at this rate. Will Gervinho be a very good player or an exceptional player? Only time will tell, but the early signs are positive.

  60. GA – I know re: Gervinhos reverse flick for the second. He was MILES off too……..

    Dortmund just beat Bayern at home yesterday – to win on Wed, we need our best team and one of our best, if not the best performance of the season…..

    Dortmund will not fear us after the first leg.

  61. Nice read Yogi as always.

    No one wants Mert to succeed more then me after my 2 years of banging on about how we need a lump of a CB. He made a rather stupid error on that goal and hopefully he has learned his lesson. No matter who we have in the back 4 the key will be our organization and our concentration. Wenger said it a couple weeks ago that we are playing differently this year with more control. Thats really the key thing no matter who is back there. Why we could not have done this for the last several years I guess only wenger knows.

    Chelsea still has a lot of talent but with JT and Cashley getting older and Essien no longer a factor their defense is just not good enough. You can’t win consistently in this league without solid defense. I think we have a real chance to make it all the way to 3rd. Thinking back to 2 months ago its hard to believe I am saying that. All credit to Wenger and the squad.

  62. Those who believe that a foul should have been called on the goal that Norwich scored are the same people who start the conspiracy rumours. Misguided souls. Love for the club overrules reason. Nothing wrong with that I guess but its easy to understand where the conspiracy theories start when there is actually debate about a play like that.

  63. Amazing how much better the refs are when we are playing well. Dowd did a good job yesterday. Have not heard anything about a bad pitch in a while. (little smiley face).

  64. http://www.101greatgoals.com/videodisplay/steve-morison-arsenal-15711186/

    You don’t need me to tell you that he puts his arm around Mertesacker’s neck. Why do Arsenal fans need to be convinced of this? Now, that’s not to say Mertesacker didn’t dally, but it’s still.

  65. …a foul!

    (whoops)

  66. And yes, it would be labelled as controversial and analysed frame by frame on MOTD if we scored a goal like that. I don’t doubt it.

  67. That video has been edited. It can’t be the true, the Norwich didn’t use his hands, he just gr*tted his teeth and out-strengthed* his opponent. That video must be a conspiracy.

    Per’ll get over it.

    * whatever that means. Obviously strength, posture and balance have no relation.
    Makes sense to me.

  68. OOU:

    Not saying that by the strict letter of the law that it was not a foul if you run it frame by frame in slow motion, but the English game is just not called like that and never has been. Watch the slow motion of some of DB10 great goals. He frequently pushes the defender away with his elbow. There would be fouls on most plays if they are run frame by frame in slow motion.

  69. Shoulder to shoulder, yes, Bill. Players can use their arms to get an advantage. Bergkamp did it against Dabizas, Pires vs Villa.

    But this isn’t shoulder to shoulder; Mertesacker is shielding the ball, and he gets pulled back.

  70. Apart from the odd emphatic elbow, those were in the main what we call a ‘barge’.
    Which is different to a grapple.

  71. Good point. When DB scored that goal against Newcastle, he blatently handed off Dabispaz. Still one of the best goals I have ever seen though.

  72. Ah. I think I’ll happily retire.
    Have a nice day all.

  73. Great post, YW. Feels good to be discussing wins all the time, doesn’t it?

    Scott, red arse, clockendrider, great points.

    @ firstlady
    Yes, I did notice that Santos is looking a little more svelte!
    And… “Personally I cant remember having this much confidence in the defence in the last two years.”
    I feel the same.

    Another difference I notice is that this squad can turn games around. Whether it’s that the listen to the half-time talk more, or AW is doing something different, or they’re just more motivated, they can come out in the second half and play differently to how they played in the first half, change gear, execute different tactics. Last season, especially towards the end, I always felt that AW struggled to get through to them or to get them to change anything – the odd flurry aside, they finished a game the way they started it. Is that fair, do you think?

    @ Markus | November 21, 2011 at 11:07 am
    Chelsea have been showing with their recent failings how difficult it is for defenders to play a high line. Especially when they’re not as… mobile as our lads.
    Spot on. Makes you appreciate our players. And our way is the future – the top defenders coming through – people like Phil Jones – are Arsenal-style players.

    @ Darius | November 21, 2011 at 12:46 pm
    Great quote from Arsene – he’s always more expansive when talking to the French press, isn’t he.?

  74. “It is incredible how quickly judgements are reached over a player, especially one with the experience of Mertesacker.”

    That is the crux of the matter. First season in English football, baptism of fire and all that. He has done very well indeed.

  75. OOU:

    If you analyze every play and call every foul there would never be a game. Dennis’ elbow clearly flew away from his body and pushed off the defender and it happened on at least a couple of the great goals he scored. By the letter of the law its a foul, but it should not and never will be called, same with that play in the game on Saturday, I doubt that any ref would have called that a foul in real time.

  76. I’ll contest that the Dabizas goal was perfectly legal, Bill. In that scenario, Bergkamp has possession and is protecting the ball. Unlike the red card he got for that fantastic forearm smash on Steve Lomas after he niggled at his ankles one too many times – which was only just a little less satisfying than that wonderful goal.

  77. Goonerandy……
    nothing surprises me when watching play in the premier league; the only consistency from officiating is the inconsistency.

    Venue and head official usually factor into most debatable decisions….

    Morison’s contact with Per – most of us have seen the calls go either way. It a moot point now.

    For Dortmund, I agree with OOU – same back 4.

  78. It was a foul no debate. Lets move on and not join the media bandwagon by pretending there is anything to discuss.
    Anyone like me feel Theo had his best game in the shirt on Saturday? Oh and also the single most remarkable even in the match was Dowd spotting the dive and actually punishing it.

  79. OOU:

    Obviously we will not agree on this but I think it is safe to say that we are playing in the English league and in most cases that would not be called a foul and if we would have had a goal like that disallowed we would be screaming bloody murder right now.

    Even if you are right and it was a foul that should have been called then that sort of stuff happens to every team in the league and you know as well as I that fans of every team in the league feel like their team gets the worst end of the ref calls. The difference is that now we are strong enough to shrug it off and go ahead and win the game. Thats what makes a good team.

  80. It didn’t look like a foul to me. I would have been disgusted if that was the other way round and we had a goal disallowed there… If it were a smaller defender involved in the incident it definitely wouldn’t have been called. It would have been merely stated that he was ‘out-muscled’. The fact that Mert is such a giant, it makes it look like more of a foul if he is out-muscled by someone smaller. If they start pulling up every one of these fouls, it would be a very stop-start game indeed.

    I always prefer it if the attacker is given the benefit of the doubt anyway, which i thought was the basis that refs were meant to work to…?

  81. Bill sorry for butting in but my only reason for being cross isn’t the goal being allowed or the foul not given; it’s Arsenal fans pretending that the Arsenal player was at fault. It was a foul by the letter of the law and never mind whether it was seen or given it was not our man’s fault.

  82. Steww – “It was a foul no debate

    Glad you are around to clear that matter up. Wrong of course, but hey.

    Anyone like me feel Theo had his best game in the shirt on Saturday

    I think you are bang on here though. He looked confident, his 1st touch was sure, and he tortured their full back all day. Another assist as well.

  83. Steww, he had an awesome game. Really looked like the player we all hoped he would become. And yes, Dowd’s officiating was a really pleasant surprise for once.

    That full interview with Wenger is quite a good read. Check it out if you haven’t already….
    http://news.arseblog.com/2011/11/wengers-interview-with-lequipe-full-transcript/?utm_source=feedburner.com%2Farseblognews&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+arseblognews+%28Arseblog+News+-+the+one+stop+Arsenal+news+site%29

  84. Did anyone notice that Santos is settling down and creating his own new style of being a left back. It was very noticeable btw that both Song and Arteta were quick to cover when he went walkabout. But I’m liking him more and more.

  85. OK then, check out the in-depth analysis of the Morison goal here on Friday. We’ll get to bottom of this one. I’m going to find every angle there is, research the official rules, detail precedents. It’s going to be wild.

  86. And here is what Wenger really said in that interview, in context and everything: http://news.arseblog.com/2011/11/wengers-interview-with-lequipe-full-transcript/

    What a class man he is!

  87. Just kidding.

  88. Steww, I’m always defending our players and will often get the Arse-tinted glasses out, but this incident was due to a lack of awareness and urgency by Mert imo. Not necessarily all his fault, a bigger shout from Chez/TV5 may have helped? Either way, a swift hoof out of play would have solved the problem. To rely on getting a foul in that position is very risky.

  89. Ergh, Geo beat me to it.

  90. Steww:

    Even Arsenal players screw up now and then. Even if it was a foul Per made a real hash of that play. I don’t think there is anything wrong with admitting the truth. I am a huge fan of Mert and what his role is with this club. He made a mistake and hopefully its a one off type of thing. The team is playing great right now and they deserve all the credit for shrugging it off and getting a solid win.

  91. Darius – Also Santos won virtually every header he challenged for. In the past our left backs have often been targeted for diaginal cross field balls. Teams will have to change tact in that repsect now. All of our back 4 a now good in the air. I like him too.

  92. If a defender in the box had done what Morisson did to Mert it would’ve been a penalty 9 times out of 10.

  93. OOU – “I’m going to find every angle there is, research the official rules, detail precedents. It’s going to be wild.

    Heh.

  94. What I like about Theo is that his presence is as much a threat as his actual attacking play, assists and goals. He doesn’t have to deliver 100% of the time, any attempt he makes is going to cause defenses to panic and buy time and space for our other players.

    Defenders don’t know how to cope with him in full flight even if they’ve decided to double team him and with Ramsey, Song, Arteta, RVP, Arshavin, Wilshere, Diaby et al feeding him first time, opposition defences are going to be constantly disrupted.

  95. I don’t think it is any suprise that Theo’s performences have improved now that we seem to be a little more direct. We still pass and retain the ball well, but we are moving the ball forward much quicker I have noticed. Our small quick triangles of last season really did not play to his strengths.

  96. Evil – “If a defender in the box had done what Morisson did to Mert it would’ve been a penalty 9 times out of 10.”

    Not sure about 9 out of 10 but it prob would get given a few times. That goes back to my point about attackers getting the benefit of the doubt. I have always been under the impression that this should be the case in all referee’s stances (free kicks/offsides etc etc). I suppose the only exception to this rule is when it comes to challenging GKs. But apart from that, if it means more goals and exciting games, sounds good to me. Unfortunately officiating is so inconsistent, we will never agree based on what we’ve seen in other matches.

  97. @Goonerandy. I don’t think you get to be the left back of Brazil with at least 22 cap if you aren’t good at your job. My sense is that he is acclamatizing but its also great to see Song and Arteta know that for what Santos gives us in attack, it’s the teams’ responsibility to cover him.

    What’s funny though is in at least 2 games now when we had to shut shop and pull the hatches down, both Wenger and Pat Rice have red Santos the riot act about staying back and holding shape.

  98. GA – our attacking transitions have been much faster this season, and think this is to do with playing a slightly less high line, and teams aren’t constantly trying to nullify us by parking the whole team on the edges of their box. It really does suit our new look speedy attacking team. Ryo & the Ox should have fun when given the chance…

  99. Darius – Yeah, he is very “brazilian” eh? For me I would rather see him in the side over Gibbs (once he returns).

    Geo – Yup. I don’t think we will see much of Ryo this season, but I am hoping that we see some more of AOC. From what I have seen he looks like a very good footballer. We have a very strong bench though, so he will need a couple of injuries for him to get his lucky break.

  100. Agree GA, what i meant by that is purely that they would fit in nicely to this slightly different style. Not advocating that they start getting into the first team now (although i did get a little over-excited about them both at the start of the season!).

  101. You’ve gotta love Jack Wilshere. Apparently, our Li’l Jack has more twitter followers than the official twitter accounts of Chelsea FC, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City combined.

  102. Thanks for the links, Evil and Geo.

    Liked this bit.
    “Our style is founded on a form of insouciance when it comes to risk-taking, and this is something that had disappeared. As a result, there was no longer spontaneity in our play and we were in difficulty. So we decided to try to get some ‘small’ wins. Confidence is something you lose quickly and regain slowly. You climb back up the slope step by step. But I never considered renouncing my playing philosophy. On the contrary, I told myself that if I also abandoned the playing habits that this club has been founded on until now, the team would become disorientated. If I tell the players tomorrow ‘hit the ball long towards the forwards’, they will be even more unsettled. I have kept faith in our style, knowing all along that it would be hard work and laborious.”

    Absolutely right attitude. When your confidence is shot you have to show courage.

    This is revealing, too:
    “L’Equipe: Did you not sense doubt creeping in to the dressing room, and the dressing room losing its faith?

    Wenger: No, and that’s what makes me optimistic, the fact the squad has remained positive, that they haven’t questioned the ideas. During the difficult period, something has maybe been forged; there has been a global evaluation that has taken time. I also needed this squad to give something back to me.”

    And another interesting bit:
    “L’Equipe: Why has your marriage with Arsenal worked so well?

    Wenger: The meeting came about at the right time. The club needed someone to take on a vast project and I have taken an active role. I like courage and this club is courageous. In 1996, for a club that represented the tradition of English football, going and getting an unknown Frenchman from Japan was a bit rash. So historically, Arsenal have been courageous, innovatory. They try to do things with class and style. That’s why I defend them with so much fierceness. Because of these values. They mean a lot to me and I like to defend them.”
    Good to hear such an unequivocal statement from Arsene. Successful organisations have this unity at the top. Bodes well for us in the future.

    ****
    @ Geo | November 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm
    Touch wood, we seem to have found the holy grail which has eluded us for a few seasons – the right balance between defence and attack. Plus we are more direct. But I also love the way that we can just hold on to the ball and be patient – when we have to.

  103. Geo – Yeah, I do agree with you. Pace and penetration in the wide area’s.

  104. It makes you proud to him Arsene as the manager of the club eh? What a man.

  105. Andy:

    “Santos won virtually every header he challenged for. In the past our left backs have often been targeted for diaginal cross field balls. Teams will have to change tact in that repsect now. All of our back 4 a now good in the air. I like him too.”

    I did not really notice this but will watch for it in the next few games. Agree with you and Darius about Santos. When he gets the balance right he is superb.

  106. Bill – I have noticed this in most of the games he has played so far. He seems pretty good in the air, which is a nice development for an Arsenal left back.

  107. The team started to play more ‘direct’ as some say, more varied as I would, last season. Many many examples. Short passing triangles were not just a fad that affected recent squads alone! Arsenal Column and Master Renoog were discussing this too, so, it was not just me! Of course, any development got thrown out with the bath water sometime during the spring.

    Which brings us nicely to this mid-week game. The most exciting game of footy in N.London since sometime earlier on this year.
    Oh, Dortmand will be practising the Dark Arts. Diving. This grappling stuff. Doity fouls. The works. Anyone who watched their game against Munchen should have no doubt about it.

  108. I’m a massive Biesla fan. To begin, Chile were great during the WC.

    Now that he’s back in club football, the dream of a game pitting a Biesla squad against a Wengerian team is still there!

  109. Goonerandy – nice try but as ever no cigar. You have already shown your true colours far too often to get any kind of rise out of me.

  110. @ finsbury | November 21, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    The team started to play more ‘direct’ as some say, more varied as I would, last season. Many many examples. Short passing triangles were not just a fad that affected recent squads alone!

    I’d agree we are adding more directness as an option. Overall, it just seems that we are doing everything quickly. Passing quickly (though there is room for improvement there) managing the transitions quickly, counter-attacking quickly. Last year it seemed as if we only counterattacked quickly when Theo was in the side – do you agree or is that my memory playing tricks?

  111. Steww – ?????. How bizzare

    I don’t post comments on here “to get a rise” out of anybody. That is really what children do. I post my opinion, simple as that. Sometimes it is wrong, sometimes it is right. Most often it is neither, as it is simply my opinion. My true colours are Arsenal red by the way. I think you are looking to deeply into things mate, you need to lighten up.

  112. Fun – No, you are probably right. Whilst we were accused of playing “tippy tappy” football that accusation did have some merit. I just think that last year we were so focused on ball retention, nobody seemed to want to take the responsibility to make any penetration. Maybe it was a confidence thing?

  113. ‘Last year it seemed as if we only counterattacked quickly when Theo was in the side’

    I’d agree with that Fun. It’s one reason why the anti-Theo football experts who’ve had season tickets since before football began confused the fcuk out of me.

  114. FG – I agree with that. The players seemed more happy taking the ball to the edge of their box, in the hope that Cesc/Nasri could squeeze through that all important pass after moving it around from side to side for a while. Now we know that Theo and Gervinho will beat anyone for pace and look for that counter attack key pass that sets them free much more often. We can still do ‘tippy tappy’ very well and can resort to the Cesc/Nasri style footie if teams are parked. We are less effective doing that now though, and more effective on the break due to the speedsters we now have. So basically, your memory serves you correctly! and you’re right, the speed in which we do everything has been upped it seems.

  115. Bill said ,, Those who believe that a foul should have been called on the goal that Norwich scored are the same people who start the conspiracy rumours. Misguided souls. Love for the club overrules reason. Nothing wrong with that I guess but its easy to understand where the conspiracy theories start when there is actually debate about a play like that.

    Love that comment Bill,, so fucking true isnt it. If that was a foul then we would have to stop the game every time some one used their body to win the ball. The whistle would blow ever 10 seconds and there would be no flow to the game. Thank God its not like that.

  116. In one moment, Morison is behind Per trying to wrap his leg round Per to kick the ball. Per has the ball covered.

    In the next Morison is alongside Per with his left arm round Per’s neck pulling him back and off balance. Per can no longer shield the ball.

    In the next he is in front of Per dragging his left arm away behind him as Per is cast to the floor.

    Of course it’s Per’s fault. He should know by now that the neck-brace tackle is routine in the EPL. Just as long as he doesn’t conclude that he’s allowed to use it himself.

    Anyway, I look forward to OOU dedicating several Friday posts to a more nuanced analysis.

  117. IfGawden Bennet, if these namby pamby types had their way we might as watch what the kids on the estates of Hackney do not describe as a girls game, Basketball.

  118. er, – 1 ‘if’!

  119. I watched the vid of Eboue being abused in Turkey, very sad! I wish we could get him back to Arsenal.

  120. Shocking behaviour from those Besitkas fans. Not a thing will be done tho.

    Come back Eboue!

  121. A crying shame Markus! to top it off, no one even helped the poor guy!

  122. Ah well Paul, at least he can just go up to those fans and shake their hands. That’ll solve everything.

  123. @ finsbury and Geo
    Thanks for the response – nice to know I’m not bonkers!

    ****
    @ Paul-N and Markus

    What happened? Is the link on this blog page?

  124. Despite the poor start I don’t remember that much excuse making from the boss or the players this season. I thinks part of mental toughness that we missed in the past. The 3rd goal by Chelsea should have been disallowed but we had the mental strength to come back and win that game despite that play. May be thats one of the reasons that this squad has been able to make this comeback. Certainly gives hope for more consistency throughout the rest of the season.

  125. FunGunner, he was pelted by ‘missiles’ and claimes he was racially abused too. Standard stuff for that league.

    Besitkas fans were reacting to his over-reaction from a tackle apparently.

  126. Anyone else notice, the amount of harrying and chasing ramsey does in our own half..that I feel is the big difference..

    Secondly with theo and gerv anyway there is not going to be too much by the way of overlapping by the opposing full backs..chelsea tried it and the result was there for all to see..

    These two reasons IMO are why we are now defensively “stable”, because there is pressure on the ball high up the pitch, and overlapping runs on the flanks have been stopped to a large extent by our attacking pace on both flanks as opposed to one.

    In total enabling us to play a high line, and be solid in the middle of midfield without song having to go cover on the flanks regularly…

  127. Alan Shearer – If van persie stays fit, Arsenal could break in to the top 4..but its a big if

    Did someone forget to tell him that we are already level on points???

  128. Well said GunnerJones.

    Andy you causing trouble again? I thought that was my remit. 😀

  129. If you want to go crazy, read ANR’s recent piece titled “Kroenke won’t call Wenger’s bluff/ Norwich verdict”. Myles is a such a broken record. ANR = Always Negative Rhetoric. I really need to stop reading his drivel.

  130. I’m still having trouble with the ‘RVP & Theo will never make a good partnership’ rant from my main man Myles.

    Comedy gold.

  131. No foul for me but next time I`m sure Per will either play it much earlier or get his elbows out to stop being dumped on the floor.

    Anyone noticed RVP`s amazing chest control these days ? More muscle on there than Fatima Whitbread`s.

  132. Paulie I have noticed. The team needs to get the ball near RVP as quickly as possible. He can control any pass that comes his way with one touch, and immediately gets on looking for the next pass. In short, he is magic. thank you Robin!!!

  133. @ Anirudh | November 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm
    v good points.

    @ Paul_N and Markus
    thanks

  134. Really interesting article on the crazy goings on in Spain and controversy over Real Madrid’s game on the weekend –
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2011/nov/21/la-liga-valencia-real-madrid-higuain?CMP=EMCFTBEML853
    Crazy stuff.

  135. Chesney needs to take voice production classes. He screams his instructions, with no proper support to his voice. He’ll need an operation on his vocal cords in a few years if he carries on like that.

  136. http://www.eplindex.com/norwich-city-1-2-arsenal-stats-match-analysis/

    More good stuff from desigunner.
    Because I always have to agree with every little thing he writes. And that is why I read his blog. Sometimes. It’s true.
    Hic.

  137. FunGunner, yep, when he was lining up his wall on Saturday he was screaming “PER!” (I think) until I thought he’d pass out. Luckily Per heard him before that happened.

  138. @Finsbury 5:26 pm.

    You do remember when Henry joined Arsenal from Juve it was Miles Palmer who famously said “Thierry Henry will never be a world class striker, he’s a winger through and through”. Boy did he eat those fucking words.

  139. Jonny @ 5:19 – I didn’t think so. Seemingly I was. All very strange.

  140. Darius,

    Myles Palmer is at the least consistant. We can’t take that away from him.

  141. Shouldn`t Myles bring himself into the 21st Century & call himself Kilometres Palmer.

    He`s just sooo old hat.

  142. here is hoping the TOTs drop some points today. come on villains.
    and EBOUE, come back. we need you. FUCK besiktas.

  143. “Overall, it just seems that we are doing everything quickly. Passing quickly (though there is room for improvement there) managing the transitions quickly, counter-attacking quickly. Last year it seemed as if we only counterattacked quickly when Theo was in the side – do you agree or is that my memory playing tricks?”

    I agree FG

  144. Adebayor scores for the spuds. Bummer.

  145. Heskey playing wide left! Never thought any manager could be that dumb.

  146. The game v Dortmund is going to be a cracking match. The way they pressed bayern was simply unbelievable. With stats showing their players ran 10k more than bayern it’s surprising they are in the position they are in the champions league. But I think this may work in our favour, as I don’t think they can sustain that kind of pressing against us at the grove. Especially with theo and gervs on the wings. I would favour a kos, vermalen pairing and put JD right back. This way we have pace across the back four and can play a high line. Pity wilshire is injured as such a game is tailor made for him and diabby, with their close control and ability to beat players it makes an absolute nightmare to play high tempo pressing game against such good ball players.

  147. The media go ape shit over arry saying what great manager he is for signing adebayor. He shouldn’t be allowed to player if city are subsidising his wages. It’s a rip off!

  148. Macleish plays awful football, I find it hard to explain how these people get away with managing at the highest level. They turn a resonably good side to a side that simply can’t put 3 or 4 passes together. All his teams play crap definsive football, it keeps them above the relegation they survive with a point then the year after they get relegated. Pulis is another, It was really embarassing watching them at the Emirates , it is hard to accept that these people get applauded for such herendous football.

  149. It’s one thing to have youngsters loaned out for experience, but to loan out a player and pay part of his wages for another PL club just does not sit right with me. What’s to stop them stockpiling players to stop other teams getting them and then strategically loaning them out knowing they can’t play against you, but could help take valuable points off your rivals?

  150. Spuds have won the title with agame in hand.

  151. OptaJoe Opta Sports
    3 – Aston Villa mustered just three shots against Spurs tonight, their fewest in a Premier League match in the last six seasons. Tepid

    The Alex McLeish effect?

  152. no goonerkam leave eboue where he is we dont need him
    one of the most over rated players ive seen in an arsenal shirt…useless

    gimme sagna and jenks anyday..

    big per just made a mistake..one mistake in an otherwise blemish free performance..
    it doesnt make him a flop hes one of europes finest its just hes still adjusting to the pace and the agressive nature of the league..the only thing id say thats really negative on the matter is that sometimes its better to sign players from within the league as they only have to adjust to the style of play of the team, they already know what the strikers in the league are like so theres no adjustment needed really in that respect..
    pers still adjusting to both aspects but hes still playing well and the good performances are outweighing the bad ones by a margin..

    no worries….he doesnt need protecting, totally agree with the point made in the post hes not a baby hes got the minerals..all 70+ of them

    has anyone picked up on the fact that when either TV or kozzer play with him they are putting in world class performances?? so that tells me he brings out the best in others..a solid centre back who brings confidence to his partners..

    id expect the same back four again for dortmund…

    oh and it wasnt a foul..

  153. “oh and it wasnt a foul..”

    Oh yes it was!

  154. Oh it was foul JJ mate! 🙂

    The bloke’s class, simple as that and the fact twats like Steven Howard think he’s a dud tells me all I need to know. Typical hacks with axes to grind, pencil’s to sharpen and bullshit to spew.

    We will beat Dortmund 4-1 and Goetze will see what his new team is all about! Not the out of sorts one that he faced earlier in the season.

    As for tonight’s game; Alex Mcleish should not be any where near a top flight team, he is a dinosaur, a very limited, unimaginative, dour, poor cynical manager at best. Villa will flirt with relegation with him in charge.

    Seeing as we missed out on Parker, we should go for Dazzer Bent instead! 😀

  155. Bradys right foot

    Whats with the Gerv bashing he has been immense this is his 4th month in English football ffs. I know he frustrates and should have scored at least once in every game he’s played but he does what very few can do, he runs dribbles and commits players. He’s got pace and gets in behind, the street footballer tendencys he has haven’t been coached out of him and he’s a much more effective player for it. This guy will be an assist machine a tactical cunnundrum for other teams and also puts in a shift. With the crazy dome, dreds and a hairline that starts at the back of his crown what is there not to like. At times he’s going to look terrible at other times immense, i’m a fully paid up member of the Gerv fan club,

  156. BRF

    He’s got 7 assists already man, no Gerv bashing this end dude.

  157. I agree BRF – his presence disrupts the opposition and creates space and opportunities for RVP. I’m very pleased with his contribution to date and I’m sure the goals will come as he settles and becomes more confident to take his chances.

  158. oh no it wasnt 😉

    i just think thats normal competitive play..per just wasnt strong enough to hold him off..
    if that happens to van persie id be spitting feathers if the whistle blows
    i just think the amount of divers in the modern game has made everything look like a foul these days..just gotta be stronger cos if you aint graceful in the art of oscar winning then you aint gonna get many calls in a situation like that..and to be honest at 6foot 6 hes not gonna be winning strictly come dancing any time soon..

    hes a top defender dex..

    i havent really read any negative about him but to be honest i havent looked but if pers mistake is making more headlines than what terrys performances are or what luiz’s are then they are looking in the wrong direction..

    it’ll be interesting to see the attacking line up for dortmund..wenger could rest robin again.
    is chamakh back???

  159. gervinhos doing nothing wrong either
    could do with a few more goals from him but at the minute everythings going thru robin so gervinhos playing sidekick and hes making a good job of it so far…

    totally agree about him getting round the back..
    over the years weve had nobody who can really do it everythings about the diagonal and cutting inside and sometimes that just compacts the play..

    more space can be created by hitting the touchline and pulling the defence apart and drilling it back and gervinho can do that..

  160. One of my favorite musicians from LA is playing in London the next three days. Shacklewell Arms, The Slaightered Lamb, and the Barfly. Go see Devon Williams

  161. How many times do attacking players get penalised when they try to get round a defender who is shielding the ball and trying to let it go out of play? They dod exactly what the Norwich player did, but they get pulled up for it. They pull the defender back to try and get round them and almost every time its a freekick. Now I dont like the way defenders do that, but thats not the point! I think it was the combination of the high boot, Per reacting to it by going back and then being pulled back that made him go down. next time he will know to expect that shit.

  162. if the striker goes thru the back of the defender and knocks em flying id expect the whistle..but per wasnt gone thru, he wasnt clattered it was a load of old handbags and he couldnt hold is ground..his balance went..if im that big and i go down as easy as that cos of someones hand on my shirt im gonna be more embarrased than owt else..there was nothing in it..

    its what makes song so good in midfield he just holds off all that shit and shuffles his feet and off he goes..and its what makes the likes of the barca players so good cos they do a triple back flip, roll half way across spain holding their faces and get ppl sent off..

    but yeah next time per will know to get rid of it or give it to ches..first time..and avoid the situation altogether..

  163. I am watching the Swansea v. Man Utd game. It reminds me of when we would play Utd, have almost 60% posession, chance after chance, only for a stupid mistake to gift them the goal that seals the win. It is at the 25 minute mark and so far it is all Swansea, well except that one mistake that gifted Utd their goal. If Swansea get relegated it will be a travesty, especially if Stoke stay up!!

  164. Gus Hiddink for Chelsea manager……. again! LOL

    It might not be Halal but it does seem that, in the ‘who’s got the biggest dick competition’ at the top of the Premier league, Shiite-y bosses have set the measure on the salami.

    Winter has set in at Stalingrad ARGH and the old Russian колбаса hasn’t just shrivelled, it is hibernating!

    Time for a good set of Thermals Roman or cough up the extra GBP 20 million to get rid AVB and show those oily pretenders that they are overextended!

  165. http://wp.me/p1aPg-1X1

    Morning all. Yea Gods, I didn’t know this time of day existed…

  166. Omogbotemi Adesola

    Sure don’t dig some of the contents from this page Yogi. What’s the fuss about on Per? Go on to better thangs!

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