Positives For Arsenal In Defeat But Still Things To Work On

Manchester City 1 – 0 Arsenal

1 – 0 Silva (52)

Roberto Mancini’s first managerial win over Arsenal came in a pulsating clash at Eastlands yesterday. Having spoken beforehand of his teams chances of re-entering the title race with a win, Arsène Wenger was forced to admit that the defeat ended such hopes. It might be that the pressure being off in that respect ensures that the team remains focussed and applies itself to retaining Champions League status this season.

Having succumbed to defeat at Stamford Bridge, City were in no mood to roll over perhaps displaying the steeliness a title-winning side needs having been usurped from top place by the local rivals. They started brightly with Aguero offering the first salvo, his shot over the bar as the Arsenal defence closed in.

Despite being on the backfoot, there was a reassuring resilience in the visitors, a desire not to be quelled or beaten, weathering the storm and then turning proceedings in their favour. The first part of that task was achieved; the second threatened but never emerged. Gervinho offered the first counterpunch which Hart fumbled around the post before Ramsey shot narrowly wide with the England ‘keeper floundering.

City were enjoying their possession but not creating clear openings, a mixture of the lacksadasical and strong defensive desire by The Arsenal. It was not pretty, and at times ineffective, but when the defence was beaten Szczesny would stand tall or at least big, as Balotelli found out following indecision between Djourou and Mertesacker.

An attacking light briefly flickered before Kolo Toure snuffed out Ramsey’s opening before the normally reliable Alex Song was dispossessed by Aguero, whose snappy shot was well-saved by Szczesny. Silva was prompting City but Arsenal were holding their own.

Matters were to swing in City’s favour for the second half. Johan Djourou suffered a groin strain and was replaced by Ignasi Miquel, necessitating defensive changes with Koscielny and Vermaelen changing to the right and centre to accommodate the young Spaniard on the left.

Six minutes into the second half, Balotelli exploited space on the Arsenal right. Song covered ground to get there but the Italian rifled a low shot across Szczesny. The Pole blocked, Vermaelen flicked the ball away from Aguero but Silva reacted quickest, his sliding shot breaking the deadlock.

Having seen the advantage swing their way, City were thankful to the officials for it remaining so when van Persie was ruled offside having beaten Hart with a lob. It was a marginal call and one that the Assistant would have been relieved to see on a replay, the decision was just about right.

van Persie had a couple of efforts saved by Hart past the hour mark whilst Zabaleta struck the upright to warn Arsenal of the dangers of faffing around with the ball near your box. The introduction of Arshavin and Chamakh notionally meant that Arsenal ended with four forwards on the pitch. It was a pair of substitutions which only served to remind us how low their respective confidence is.

Inevitably Phil Dowd would have his input on the proceedings, Micah Richards handball went unpunished when a penalty was surely inevitable? Ball to hand, hand to ball; neither matters surely if the offending team garners an advantage they would not have gained had there not been an unwelcome intervention. It is this type of officiating which causes so much ire; no consistency in application.

As it was Vermaelen almost retrieved the point with two late efforts but it never came.

For all of the positives out of yesterday, there are areas of concern which the manager is going to have to address in the coming weeks. If Kieran Gibbs is able to make a comeback for any sustained period time, that will allieviate some pressure on the defence. If not, it means his alternatives are Miquel or Squillaci. The former has immense promise but the latter, well…

Of more concern is the continued poor form of Arshavin and Chamakh. The Russian is a far better player than his recent displays suggest, you have to hope that his a temporary drop. Yet the club has a history of highly-rated attackers who have to be cut loose as their form plateaus or worse, drops.

Certainly with Chamakh, I would have to suggest that is the case. He works hard but is so desperately short of form that Wenger must surely be seriously looking for a replacement in January? In both cases, they probably need a long run in the team to ‘play‘ themselves back into form yet Arsenal cannot afford that luxury; the footballing chicken and egg.

Defeat is always disappointing yet there was much that was strong about the performance, a sure sign of the squad coming together as a unit. Despondency is natural but the players have shown that the early season misery is a thing of the past.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on December 19, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 337 Comments.

  1. I just want to say, before reading the post, that ACLF arrived 30 seconds ago but, at its foot, bigbrovar is claiming to be first 6 minutes earlier. I think that a handicapping process should be applied.

  2. Nice write up YW. The Chamakh/AA thing is a worry. As things stand we don’t really have an options on the bench which can change a game. AA and Chamakh had not being in form the the best part of a clender year now. Torres is the same at Chelsea and we are all happy to laugh how “shit” he is. How long before a dip is considered the norm?

  3. Terribly disappointed with the result. Felt we at least deserved a draw. Giving the MOM award to Na$ri was a joke.

  4. from earlier

    “Marginal calls are made every week and affect every team. I haven’t seen us suffer more than our share this season.”

    At home against Liverpool.Both their goals were off side.
    Away at Blackburn ,The Yak was off side.
    Yesterday RVP on side.

    I cant recall one occasion where we have been allowed an off side goal.(I could be wrong though)

  5. There were a number of players on the pitch who could lay claim to have been MotM. Nasri was OK, but not one of them.

  6. 2nd, was a resilient performance by the gunners yesterday and we were unfortunate not to gain anything out of the game and It should have been a draw.
    Still have a few burning questions, why does Wenger continue to pick ramsey ahead of rosiscky. I mean dont get me wrong, Ramsey clearly has bags of potential but he clearly isnt ready for a starting position in a 3 man arsenal midfield for which Rosicky would be much better suited?
    The same can also be said for walcott, with pace in abudance, he still is unconvincing in getting behind a good back 4 (gervinho is a good example of how things should be done). Can anyone explain why arshavin hasnt layed claim to walcotts position or is he really counting down time at arsenal. With Gervinho off to african nations, I think it is about time he steps up,…lets hope!
    Still love the AFC though!

  7. YW. Having now read today’s blog I hope that you have confused latter with former when commenting on Miquel and Squillaci.

    I was disappointed with the result, yesterday, but I didn’t have that feeling of complete misery, mixed with anger directed at some of our players, that I have had at a series of performances and results starting with the defeat in the Carling Cup final. Our start to the season has made it difficult to win the league, and even to finish in the top three, but I am again confident that we can compete on level terms on the pitch with any team, including BBB.

    Onwards and upwards, including up the arse.

  8. From earlier i posted.Sorry Yogi
    “Its not up for discussion,the RVP disallowed goal was on side.MOTD showed it (still frame and line drawn)
    The hand ball? well I would have been upset if it had been given against us,So although it could have been given we should not complain.
    Playing like that City destroyed United and Spurs away from home.Yet we matched them and but for an injustice it was one one.
    But instead of hailing it as a great game and performance,which it was both,some would rather finger point and scapegoat.
    Imagine the difference Sagna,and Santos would have made.
    Anyone complaining should be taken out into the steet and have the shit kicked out of them by an unruly mob of AKB’ers”

  9. PG – What about calls made in our favor when we don’t make it count?

    I know that is a question to big to answer, but it still highlights that you can’t simply say that we get more decisions against us than for. If a ref misses an offside and we miss the chance, it is still a decision in our favor no? I am pretty sure nobody (with a life) keeps track of things like that.

    Some games things go in our favor, sometimes they don’t. The same as every other team. When you have human beings in charge of games that is what you get. And always have done. It is human nature to only remember the events where we feel to have been “wronged”. I bet the majority of fans for other teams always moan that things don’t go their way as well.

  10. Andy what if my Auntie had pair of bollocks?
    I don#t give a fuck what other teams fans think .And I am not asking for anything other than our good goals stand and their off side goals don’t.
    How the fuck can you have a problem with that?

  11. PG

    I don’t think both Looneypool goals were offside. Not sure either were.

  12. i wish people would stop looking for excuses, by blaming refs. dowd had a surprising ok game.

    arsenal would always be at least 3 quality players short of winning trophies every season now.

    its time we accepted it.

  13. fair assessment yogi..
    the offside was close..havent really seen the replay over and over like others have but the replay i did see at the time i thought it was offside..it was very close, i always prefer the ‘you gotta see daylight rule’ myself, abit like ‘the whole of the ball must be over the line’ rule..
    but nowadays it seems that its the ‘any part of the body a player can score with rule’ and i thought although robins feet were in line, his head wasnt…

    the handball…again close…at the time i would have swore blind it was a penalty, but the distance was minimal it was ball to hand and i think if we;d have had an attacker behind richards waiting for it then we would have been inclined to scream whole heartedley for a pen as it would have stoppped a goal scoring chance..but it wasnt the case, which is why it wasnt given, although ive seen them given i dont think we can complain to much..shit happens..maybe if we’d have been at home we’d have got both calls?

    aside from that we showed immence character and true grit..we deserved a draw but our defensive injurys are beginning to worry us, but i do think we can cope short term..i have heard we could see sagna back as early as jan so fingers crossed we get at least him and gibbo back soon… our attacking options have worried us all season however and there are no injuries..its a long term problem and with jan almost here i expect wenger to act early..

  14. Slightly disappointed coz i thought we could have won the game. I am not sure about our midfield these days, not finger pointing but i think Ramsey didn’t offer much going forward and in the final third we tended to use the wrong option but over all it was a good perfomance.

  15. PG – I don’t care either mate. Just highlighting that most people think that they don’t get the decisions. I don’t have a problem, but what you are asking is unlrealistic. i.e., that miskatkes are not made by officials.

    My point is that we are no worse off than anybody else. At least not significantly so anyway. Most of the examples you throw out are open to judgement so only bad calls in your opinion.

  16. arsene summed it up best: we need the encouragement and the points, but we only got the encouragement.

    personally, i don’t think our title hopes are over. 12 points behind in december. united came back from that before. what is important is that we win all the big games(which are at home except liverpool). that will really mess things up at the top.

    of course, the 4 games over the festive season will be crucial. win them all, and we will be right in it.

    i think when gervinho goes to the ANC, we can consider playing ox and walcott together.

  17. i still can’t get my head over the fact that zabelleta completely neutered theo.i never rated him(zaballeta) much.it’sreally depressing the shabby way he treated theo.

  18. Our boys can hold their heads high after yesterday’s game. I am so proud of them, we are one team that really gave city a game even though we lost.

  19. Thanks for this post Yogi.Been waiting since 0700 hrs.I didn’t wake up despondent this morning.City and their fans were praying for the whistle yesterday,they were on the ropes towards the end.Basically,we are now having a team which will be hard to beat and can compete with the strongest sides in the league.
    A few thoughts though;
    1. Phil Dowd again! Its a feeling of trepidation whenever he refs our games.
    2.I beg to disagree about the offside call for RVP’s goal.As already mentioned by some here,replays on MOTD show Kompany was level with him.
    3. Richard’s handball,whether intentional or not,I have seen those given.
    4.We are thin on the ground.We have a solid first eleven but that’s it.We don’t have a game changer we can bring off the bench.If this is not rectified,It may cost us dearly this season.
    5.Miguel,I think he’s ready for first team action.He’s going to be solid for us.He showed no jitters in such a big game.

    All in all events conspired against us yesterday.It was a terrific game.And credit to City,they are a good team and they have a decent manager.For us,I think there is much to be hopeful about.

  20. Sorry Yogi you are wrong this time.
    They both were off sid against Liverpool although on was in the build up.
    Yesterday RVP was on side,proven,and not open to debate.Unless photographic evidence in inadmissible.

    No Andy.its fact not opinion.again,Unless photographic evidence in inadmissible.

  21. Ace @ 10:33; I guess the question is ; did Zabaletta neuter Theo or was Theo having a completely off day?? I think the answer is the latter.

  22. Today, I am clutching at straws. We earned at least a point and I am still fooking angry.
    Today I am more convinced; the Richards handball was a fooking pen. The Oilers got an unfair advantage. Hands at his side, yes, but he fooking twisted his body in the way to, er, “block” the shot. I have seen them given. Fooking pen.

    I know we played well, very well, to match the gazillionaires, stride for stride but we needed points, not moral victories and that is why I am so pissed off. Because, deep inside, I know yesterday’s results ended our outside chance at going for the title.

    Going forward, I hope the team does not suffer another let down as happened after last year’s CC finals’ defeat. We still have a lot to play for. Top four, Champions league and FA cup. Like Cbob said, we need a little strengthening especially with Andrei and Chamakh in such terrible form. Who knows what the boss will do but I trust him implicitly.
    Come On you fookin Gunners!

  23. They both were off side against Liverpool although one was in the build up.

    (that’s what you get when you rush,sorry)

  24. PG,

    do you have the photos? i would love to take a look again. because when i first saw the replay during the game, i thought rvp was offside. so i would love to see that i was wrong. the ref was wrong. and basically everyone was wrong.

  25. there was another clumsy challenge by their player. got the ball, but got ramsey(i think)
    as well.

  26. korihage i agree at this minute in time my choice would be theo and oxo off robin

    and i agree with wenger..were out of the title..we were never really in it anyway we left ourselves too much to do with a horrible start but theres too many teams to catch now..if we were second and 10 points behind with half a season still to go id of said yea its on but were 5th…and depending on spurs game in hand we could be playing catchup to them as well..its simply too much to ask now..theres too many teams to catch its highly improbable all of them will have a shit 2 months and let us back in…

    we can still make top 4 though..

  27. korihikage
    Yes I do thanks for asking.
    Simply download MOTD2 on BBCi player and you too will have it 🙂

  28. I think I am the only one who thought Arshavin didnt do too badly when he came on. I will go as far as to say it is one of his games where he put on more effort.

  29. PG, I’ll have to copy you and re-post my comment!

    The focus on the offside against RVP is born from the forlorn hope that such decisions ‘even themselves out over time’.Of course, Silva was inches, maybe half an inch at most, closer to being ‘onside’ then RVP as the linesman called it. If the advantage is given to the attacker then both were onside.

    ‘the ref was wrong. and basically everyone was wrong.’
    Didn’t MOTD2 not clear that one up?

    PG. We’ll just have to gr*t our teeth and wade our way through the crap.

  30. ramsey works very hard for the team.he is all over the pitch. always matching the best for yards covered. i love him.i cant imagine our midfield without him.however,last night showed clearly why we need a player with more guile in matches like that. yaya toure had a ridiculously easy time dealing with him.but when toure got tired ramsey took over.by then we were already a goal down.

  31. PG – If it is that blatent a fact, why are so many people debating it?

  32. if wenger goes 10years without winning the league or champions league, would that be enough ground to get him sacked?

    if he wins just one of these major trophy ( highly unlikely) in 10 years would that be enough to keep him?

  33. Firstlady.
    I have watched it back this morning and he attempted 14 passes and 11 completed.
    He constantly found space and had his hand in the air asking for the ball.Had his 2of his misplaced passes reached there target the clear goal scoring opportunities would have appeared.He gave the ball away once when he tried a first time pass.
    So did he play a blinder? No!
    Was he useless?No!

    I of course have been reluctant to mention him though ,for obvious reasons.

  34. Gunman@10:37,i want to agree with you because theo has being one of our most dangerous players.

  35. “PG – If it is that blatent a fact, why are so many people debating it?”

    Because they are fucking idiots,perhaps?

  36. Firstlady – “I think I am the only one who thought Arshavin didnt do too badly when he came on. I will go as far as to say it is one of his games where he put on more effort.

    Do you mean apart from fluffing a fairly easy cross when we was in a good position and had strikers in great positions? And apart from giving the ball away quite often? And apart from really badly mishitting a shot from a very good position? I saw him chase back on one occasion after giving hte ball away though, so props to him for that.

    If that was one of his best games it really is a worry how far he has fallen.

  37. Boozy ,fuck off you insufferable moron.

  38. PG – That maybe so. But the people I have seen who say that it was probably the right decision don’t normally fall into that category. Have you considered that you may actually be in the wrong about this?

  39. A very disappointing result, and we certainly didn’t get the rub of the green with the decisions, but considering we didn’t have a single fit full back available, I thought we played exceptionally well.

    The stat’s back up that we more than matched the ‘champion’s elect’, we had more possesion, as many shots, and certainly gave as good as we got.

    I don’t think you could come away from yesterday being anything other than proud of the way the team have turned the season around.

    How good was Arteta by the way?

    Panic signing? The guy is a class act, and is getting better by the game.

  40. We will lose games like this every season.

    No point in analysing the juice out of it. Leave that to those who get paid for making up controversy.

    ‘Tight game lost by one goal’.

    Summary of plenty of games every year. The best games too quite often.

    Loved it. Didn’t hurt too much to lose that one.

    On the matter of juice, off to barrel 60 gallons of cider. Anyone want to help?

    Or, if that doesn’t appeal, how about minding two grandsons while I work. Consolslel is off at her knitting circle?

  41. Matt – Yeah, Arteta was very good yesterday. It just shows how the team has evolved. We used 4 different full backs yesterday and the central defence changed twice. Yet we still looked pretty tight and compact.

  42. Andy .Look on the iplayer and see for yourself.I am not wrong ,if it was in doubt I would not be so adamant.How fucking stupid do you think I am?

  43. PG – I will have a look when I get home mate. But on seeing the replay yesterday on Sky I was satisfied that the ref got it right. I don’t think you are stupid by the way.

  44. A draw would have been a fair result. Walcott was absent most of the time that he was on the pitch. I wonder what happened to him yesterday? Gervinho gave his all and had Walcott also been on form we would have beaten them. But, unfortunately, footballers are only human and will have their bad days. As for that solitary goal I blame it on Mertersacker and young Miquel. Vermaelen found himself between two opponents. He picked one. Nobody was available to pick the other. Now to beat Villa!

  45. Andy I too was of that opinion,until I was proven wrong.I would only leave myself open to ridicule if there was any doubt.

  46. George is right – RVP was onside, they clearly showed it on MOTD2 last night.

  47. Are Song and Arteta suspended for the Vila game?

  48. boozy are you ready to invest 1 Bn in arsenal

  49. I will check MoTD2 later then. It looked to be as it were one of those ridiculous calls where the feet were level, but the forward was “leaning” ahead of the defender. By the rules, that is offside. I think it is a stupid rule mind.

  50. ”Forget the poor pass when he first came
    on, ignore the decent chance he
    skewed wide, it was when he let a good
    Gervinho pass in the box squirt under his
    foot that summed up where he is right
    now. Even the basics are beyond him. I can understand why Arsene put him on,
    we know that he’s got more quality than
    he’s shown in recent times and maybe
    one moment might boost his confidence,
    but he looks like a busted flush, sadly.
    He’s gone from being a player who could make something out of nothing to a guy
    who makes nothing out of something.”
    arseblog on arshavin

  51. Arteta/Frimpong/Ramsey

    Arteta/Le Coq/Ramsey


    All work, but I would actually like to see:

    Arteta/Le Coq/Rosicky for the villa game.

  52. Le coq it is then for villa

  53. this just gets better and better

    le coq or frimmers for villa then?

    maybe both…

  54. im dusting my boots down…
    my holiday from work kicks in weds..i’ll be available to play over xmas period if your reading AW..i dont have an agent and i’ll do it for free….

  55. normally reliable Alex Song . you need to have another look mate

    aside from your tom foolery young man, I thought it was a good try, imagine that team with jack diabi and two full backs, the future is bright, the difference between them and us isnt that much, wenger knows this and will get rid of some who cant cut it and bring in quality, two years from now and we will be back proper, 3 points on wednesday

  56. hang on wont diaby be back as well as gibbs?

  57. What back from the doctors.

  58. Thankfully our season will not be defined by a narrow away loss at City.

    Djourou groin strain then? That could mean anything in terms of time out.

    Loved the corner near the end where Vermaelen had a pop at goal. To say we don’t score enough from corners is an understatement so I always like to see us mixing it up a bit.

  59. In all fairness we didn’t deserve a win yesterday but I do think we earned a draw. Considering what city did to united and what united did to us, combined with Dowd calling the match (always makes me think we’re gonna lose a man to a red card) , I think we played well with a little luck keeping the score down. We should’ve netted 2 via RVP being onside (if barely, but too close to call) and Richards handball.

    My biggest problem with the game was the completely useless effort (if you’d even call it that) by AA and Chamakh. Both have to go or be dropped from the first team and replaced with players who look lik they care. The Ox should’ve been on instead of AA. He gives 110% and is always good at creating chances. RVP would’ve buried that chance AA had late in the match close to time. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. By that I must conclude that when it comes to those two Arsene is clearly insane.

  60. Those were the games we used to sneak 1 nil not too long ago, so it kinda hurts to be on the receiving end of it now, especially to the monied up mancs. But we have an immediate chance to bounce back against Villa. We really need 3 points there. And the same again all through December – all winable games too.

    consolsbob off for the crimbo cider are ya – you had better have a right set of mutton chops on ya fella 😉

    I reckon we will see Rosicky in place of Song against Villa. We might even see Benny too. With neither coming on yesterday you would have to assume a significant part for both guys. Might be worth givin Le Coq a run at right back leaving the other 3 starting where they started against City. Minimal changes to the back 4 and all that.

    Lets also hope when Gibbs comes back hes back for good and doesnt break down again. Our game is somewhat stifled without proper full backs, yeah the centrehalves do a good job, but it just isnt the same is it?

    Chamakh and AA23 for worries me. Well AA23s form does – Chamakhs ability at this level worries me. I think hes out of his depth if im honest. And what was the point of signing Park, please tell me that? If hes not even on the bench then why did he come here?


    I feel they were there for the taking… hope the injured are back to take their place when next we meet them, we will beat them. i

  62. Arshavin is playing like a man who doesnt want to be at the club.Chamakh is just not good enough.Both should be sold in january.And to think Park is on the missing persons list.
    To have Chamberlain who is hungry and not even on the bench is very dissapointing

    On yesterdays game we fell short because our front 3 didnt work.RVP had no service.And the two wing men were poor.Theo had a shocker while Gervinho once again failed to deliver with his final ball.

    Szczesny Kos(in the middle) and TV were excellent

    But the target is still 4th place no more than that

  63. if i were arsene id go all out to have part 2 of the clear out this jan..and add quality reinforcements

    dont wait until the summer..6 months of faith havent paid off…

    4th place is at stake as well as the cl and fa cup and rvp contract..

    i think we should go for it in january…i

  64. yeah and i also think per should have tried to move to block the shot, or were they attempting to lay an off side trap, when song was already standing alongside balotelli?

  65. Doomers, this is why you fail so hard. A narrow loss away at the strongest team in the league and you would change half the team up. Reactionary bullshit merchants.

  66. all those wanting a clear out should also calm down… deciding the sales or otherwise of AA and chamarck becos of this Man city game? Sell RVP, Gervinho and the others as well, after all they all didn’t score and were n the field longer. i think we actually put them under pressure in the final minutes of the game and could have gotten one or too!

  67. Markus – where are the doomers? Everyone on here seems to feel we did well yesterday and deserved a draw.

    Come on now team spirit – its now just the last game for AA23 and Chamakh is it – be honest now 😉

  68. weve still got 2-3 players that we tried to get rid of in the summer…
    and going on the form of a couple more we should have tried to sell them as well in summer..

    chamakhs been woeful for over a year this has got nothing to do with a narrow loss at city this has got more to do with the fact hes just not good enough..

    but thats just me,,if your happy with the attacking options then whatever…but i think the majority of gooners know we are short and if we need to raise the funds to get what we need ive got no problem in players leaving in jan..none at all…

  69. What I really want to know is how Yaya Toure was not suspended by the FA for his antics at Chelsea?

    Anyway Fullbacks may or may not have been the difference yesterday. It was a brilliant match, and Nasri can fuck off

  70. Deise, just a collection of the crap I’ve heard today and it’s only lunch time:

    -The Ox is a better option than Theo on the right.

    -Chamakh doesn’t have the quality to play in this league.

    -AA didn’t try at all.

    -Song is not reliable.

    -Arsene needs a clear out in January. What, another one?

  71. I thought Ramsey did well yesterday, considering the size of those he was up against.

  72. does anyone realise that its been 7 years since arsenal won the league?

    yet we still blame refs, fans, and the media for 7 years.

  73. Ramsey tried to many flicks for me. But City do have an intimidating side, size wise. Other than that he was good.

  74. Boozy – Do one will you!

  75. Markus – we hear that EVERY day. Theo is obviously a starter, deservedly so. Ox is his underling, 2 places away from being a starter, deservedly so, hes just 17.

    I have to agree to a certain degree about Chamakh though. Hes not good enough to even come close to giving le boss the option of playing him in place of RVP. And thats what we need.

    AA23 does look out of sorts and has done for quite a while. His quality is not in doubt so whats the problem? Effort??

    Song has been mr reliable this season, so thats a pile of horseshit.

    Clearout in Jan – well no but a change of one or 2 players will most likely happen. Some of those already out on loan might make it permanent. And we might see some more loans out too. And if we are to buy in a player or 2 we might see 1 or 2 of the fringe players sold off.

    So while some of it is rubbish some are valid points – no?

  76. @ Bozozy So?

    We do blame the refs and all others for their various roles…
    injuries have played their part,
    unexpected and unplanned changes in squads have contributed, (combination of injuries and sales)

    we will start to win again never fear! it is not necessarily a factor of change on managers, ask liverpool among others

  77. As a Blue I always admired watching Arsenal they were amazing it was fantasy football.So for me sat in the stands yesterday it was interesting to see how far we at City have come.Arsenal are still a great team although wenger needs to spend,you can say what you want but City were the better team yesterday and why because they play football like the mighty Invicibles once did.

  78. Actually City remind me more the 1990-91 Arsenal…

  79. Fair play, Gorton Blue. The return should be good one.

  80. We were worth a draw just about and it was a far cry from early season misery,
    The injuries to all the full backs is a freak, but I think there are decisions to be made regarding players, Diaby, Gibbs, Djourou get injured at the first sight of a football pitch its time to cut the losses on them as they are unavailable for so much of the season,
    I know you could say the same about Van Piersi in past seasons and, I think this illustrates the point what if Van Piersi had been fit and even in 70% of his current form and we had a quality experienced midfielder aka Alonso/ Artetea instead of Denilson and the injury prone Diaby and I am taking his fracture into account would it have made a difference to Cesc staying for a couple more seasons. AA stills shows what he is capable of when playing in the Russian team and either cant or wont in an Arsenal shirt, time to give Ox his chance,
    Chamaks form has disappeared and he is not showing any signs that he wants it back but he wont go before the summer. AW comments that Park is ready and we will see more of him in 2012 beggars belief. If Bentder can be recalled it should not be ruled out

  81. JJ – Don’t do my head in. Major clear out this January? Are u fookin crazy? This very team took the gazillionaires on toe-to-toe and u want to disrupt this growth and maturation. A little strengthening is in order but it must be the right player(s) at the right price. We are not the “project” of some oil-rich sheik for heavens sake.
    Please don’t get me started.

  82. @ DeiseGooner. LOL

    well, maybe its not just about the one game, but really, it was not easy for anyone to score in that particular game including Aguero, so am just saying the cn get a pass and another chance. how many games exactly have they played? and its not like AA has not scored or assisted a match winner this season? Am not too sure of charmacks record for the season, but please do allow them to bounce back… its not like they have not shown themselves good in the past, can they have just gotten so bad?

    Is Rosicky still injured? hope he can come in for song?

  83. A fucking City fan comes on and tell us “Arsene needs to spend some money” and we say “fair play???
    I say .fuck off of you Oily cunt.City are everything that is wrong with the world .Never mind football.

  84. Would love to help you out, Bob.

    They’re *outrageous*, them rules!

    MR. ROSE
    Who *live* here in this cider house,
    Peaches? Who grind them apples, who
    press that cider, who clean up the
    mess, and who just plain *live*
    here… just breathin’ in the vinegar?
    (he pauses)
    Somebody who *don’t* live here made
    them rules. Them rules ain’t for
    *us*. *We* the ones who make up them
    rules. We makin’ our *own* rules,
    every day. Ain’t that right, Homer?


  85. Overall we played well yesterday. Unfortunately the game probably stamped an end to our faint title hopes. Still a lot to play for. 4th place not assured although i do feel we will get one of the CL spots.

    Quite clear that we need to add another goal threat. Yesterday TV5 was our most likely player to score after RVP. That’s not going to work over the long term. In this calender year including the last 1/2 of last season and this season how many goals have we scored from our attacking players other then RVP? Jack W will be back sometime next year byt how long before he gets up to speed and even at his best last year he scored a grand total of 1 league goal We don’t have to give up on anyone or jettison anyone but we there is no reason for us not to use the money we have to improve our squad. It’s been almost a full year since we had any real goal threat other then RVP. waiting for someone to come good may be great for that player but the teams needs have to come first.

    Close Offsides calls are basically impossible for the linesman. . At best 50/50. We have benefitted several times. Newcastle score a perfectly good goal in the 4-4 game last year that was disallowed and Birmingham would have had a penalty and Wojo sent off in the first few minutes of the CC final last year if the ref had gotten it correct. That’s just a couple I can remember. United went out of the CC this year on a bad offsides call and they were denied the winner against Newcastle by a very borderline call. Spuds were clearly hosed at stoke. Not a game goes by when there is at least one reasonable penalty shout. It’s part of life in the PL.

  86. That’s from one of the harder hitting episodes of the Simpsons.

  87. I definitely don’t think we need a clear out but we do need a massive intervention on those who don’t seem to give a damn. Realizing it’s hard to come on as a threat with only 10 minutes to go (Chamakh) but he’s been absolutely lacking for almost a year now. AA is the same. He goes in spurts, even during a game, where at times he looks squirly and ready to run at defenders and other times like he can’t even be bothered to pass the ball to his teammates. All I think is that questions need to be asked. You can’t mollycoddle these people and expect results. You say show me results and drive or I show you the door. It’s not like their form is gonna earn them increased offers of wages if they sign for someone else. If they want out of Arsenal then they should at least be trying to attract suitors with impressive play. Don’t you think?

    I really think we need to see more of the Ox and Park. Theo is still #1 in his spot, and the Ox his understudy. He needs a few more years. Ramsey is still 2 years away, I think, from being our new Cesc and I think the influence of Arteta will benefit his game. I think Djouru is just not good enough. He tries I’ll give him that but he just always looks lost at key moments. Can’t wait to have Sagna and Gibbs back. Adding Jack back with definitely increase our attacking options too so I definitely don’t think it’s clear out time.

    One question for everyone… how scared were you when RVP got taken down? Given his history and the back-ups we’ve got for him?

  88. I thought Gervinho was our second biggest goal threat yesterday. Then Ramsey, then maybe Vermaelen. Just because he had a couple of shots doesn’t mean he’s our most likely player to score after RvP – you’re discounting a whole games worth of runs and movement by thinking that. No real goal threat other than RVP… tsk tsk tsk. Do you watch the games, Bilbo?

    You really oughtn’t worry yourself so. We had 4 different scorers at Wigan. Wigan held Chelsea – and they’ve spent half Russia’s deficit on their attack. Spunking money is no guarantee of anything me old mucker. Chill your boots.

  89. It weas a great effort by the team yesterday, we could easily have had a draw.

    Chamakh and Arshavin have been piss poor for ages now, it’s about time the manager identified some replacements for them. I can’t see it happening in January, but there should be some movement in the Summer.

  90. No Bill that’s the only two you can remember and you keep bringing them up to try and justify your stance.
    Rvp also had a goal ruled out against Newcastle as I recall.two non penalties and two non sendings off as well.So hardly balancing itself out is it FFS?

  91. Chamackh and Arshavin got 30 minutes between them .So us not scoring(despite the fact that we did) is clearly down to them.
    I mean fuck me ,every one else was banging them in right left and centre until those two lazy useless want away bastards came on.

  92. Limpar

    Do you watch the games? Take away that good patch we had in jan and feb how many goals have been scored by our attacking players other then RVP this calender year? . Good movement and runs has not equaled goals. Take away the wigan game and we have scored 2 goals in the last 3 games.

    Spunking money is no guarantee but it certainly can’t hurt and there is no downside at this point., so why not? You have told me for years that we would spend the money if we had it. We have lots of money now. You have been arguing with doomers for so long now that this whole anti-spend thing has taken on a life of its own.

  93. Bill ,there are companies going out of business right and left at the moment.It is nice to hold a bit in reserve don’t you think.
    Well I suppose it doesn’t matter a jot when its not your money.

    So yes ,fuck it Torres, Drogba and Anelka it is then .£150k per week should keep them happy.

  94. Bit sad really because if Arshavin hits one of his first time efforts like we know he can – like he did vs Barca and a dozen other times last year – he could well have saved/won us the match. He shanked it and now we’re all talking about getting rid of him.

    There must come a point where you give up on someone in poor form, but I would hope/think that we’re a long way off that with these two players. It’s not like they’re playing every week and still can’t get their heads right – like Torres. They’re coming on for 10 minutes at the end of a game to try and win us the game. Lovely if it happens, but harsh to condemn them when it doesn’t.

  95. George:

    Getting the offsides correct on close calles is basically, impossible. The replays I saw during the game looked like he was clearly offside. If you have to draw lines and run it in super slo mo from different angles to show he was not offside then what chance does a linesman have? The answer is he has 50/50 chance to get it right. every team in the league has to deal with the same inconsistency.

  96. Yes Bill ,but it was us they got it wrong for and them they got it right for .Again.
    It should not be a 50/50 thing its their primary concern as a linesman.
    The fact is we scored as many legitimate goals as them yet they got 3 points and we got shafted.

  97. Limpar:

    We don’t have to get rid of AA or chamakh to add a couple of new players. If they come good thats fine, but counting on them at this point is a risk that we don’t have to take. If you are right and they come good then we have a lot more depth. If they continue to struggle and we do nothing then the whole team suffers. I just don’t understand why anyone would want to stand pat and keep our fingers crossed when we have more then enough resources to cover our bases. That makes no sense.

  98. How can they come good if you buy someone and play them instead?
    Do you understand something about physics that I have missed ?

  99. So I have to take away a good patch of goalscoring, take away the Wigan game – and then your point works? Jog on.

    I’m not ‘anti-spend’ at all and I don’t use the word ‘doomers’ either, as it happens.

    We may well add in January. Wouldn’t be surprised by that at all. Equally – if the asking prices are too high, as they were for a few of our targets this summer, it won’t come as a shock if we go with what we have.

    Until playing a new signing is even option we have 4 games in 12 days coming up. RVP will have to be rested. One of Chamakh or Park is going to have to step up. Yossi and Arshavin will have a chance when Gervinho goes to the ACN. In light of this I am choosing to keep faith in the players already at the club and not talk fucking drivel about RVP being our only goal threat. Walcott, Gervinho, Ramsey, Vermaelen – they all had chances to score yesterday. It just so happens we also have the best form striker in the world up top so forgive him if he makes the others look bad sometimes.

    Talk about creating problems for yourself. How Daily Mail of you. I mean really…

  100. PG – “So yes ,fuck it Torres, Drogba and Anelka it is then .£150k per week should keep them happy”

    Just check back through the posts………nope nobody has suggested this. All people want another forward player who will score his fair share. Importantly one that can come into the side and do so should RvP not be available. It does not have to be nothing or a £100M players as you quite often make out you know.

    And nobody has said that us not scoring is down to AA/Chamakh either. What people are saying is that neither (especially Chamakh) are currently good options from the bench when we need a goal or to change the game.

  101. We played shit against Man-ure

    but we played sweet against Man-sour

    Fantastic effort by the lads yesterday. There was nothing in it between the teams….. except maybe home advantage.

  102. I guess the rub here is that you say ‘we have more than enough money’ and the market and the selling clubs dictate differently. We have money to spend but we don’t have 30-40 mill to spend on one player. We are more on the 10-20 mill table (O! the shame of it) Better get used to it…

  103. Just watched the RvP disallowed goal again. Ever so slight, but he is offside. Ridiculous rules that judge it to be offside, but offside none the less.

  104. Andy .I use poetic licence.
    Ole Gunnar Solskjær is the only such player I can think of in recent history.
    Or perhaps you can tell me of better.Like perhaps Carrol or Torres ?

  105. PG – There are loads of players that come on and make an impact on a game. I am not demanding that they come on a score 3 goals. Just make an impact. They currently (and for the best part of a year) are not doing that.

  106. I thought it was onside. Hansen thought it was onside. PG swears blind it was onside! Just goes to show it was a close call.

  107. George:

    In real time and on the TV replays they showed during the game it looked like he was off side. That’s the only chance the linesman has. I have not seen the replays you described.

  108. Jesus ,even Hanson said it is on side and he always take the side of defenders

  109. Anyway, I feel as though I have been talking to Bill about Chelsea… I mean Arsenal spending money for the last decade so I am politely going to step out away from the comments board. Enjoy….

  110. Limpar – “I guess the rub here is that you say ‘we have more than enough money’ and the market and the selling clubs dictate differently. We have money to spend but we don’t have 30-40 mill to spend on one player. We are more on the 10-20 mill table (O! the shame of it)

    Pretty much sums it up. Arsene has a good record in that price range, so hopefully he can find something.

  111. Limpar – “I thought it was onside. Hansen thought it was onside. PG swears blind it was onside! Just goes to show it was a close call.

    Exactly. I have as many people say it was onside as I have offiside. As Bill mentioned, what chance does a ref/lino have if people still are not sure after a replay. It was as borderline as borderline gets. The striker really should have the advantage in those situation.

  112. Limpar.That is because it was on side.You are right ,Lee Dixon is right, Hanson is right and so am (as ever)I.
    Close? yes, even level.but that is onside .Fuck my old boots

  113. * have heard

  114. Andy the rules say the striker does have the advantage.So .On side.

  115. PG – You don’t see the irony that if it was City that would have scored that goal and it had stood, you would be screaming how everything goes against us, and as close as it was, it was definitely offside?

    You may deny this, but you know its true 😉

  116. Call it what you will chaps but
    “The fact is we scored as many legitimate goals as them yet they got 3 points and we got shafted.”
    I don’t care how close it was.

  117. Andy ,it was on side .
    I said first thing that if the handball had been given against us I would have been upset.
    That is because I am not a hypocrite.But the goal should have stood.

  118. PG – “Andy the rules say the striker does have the advantage.So .On side”

    You sure about that?

  119. Yes ,If they are level the striker is deemed to be on side.

  120. PG – No point keeping going over this. Some think it was, some think it wasn’t. The important fact is that the lino didn’t think it was.

  121. Tennessee Arsenal


    Happy Birthday month, Arsenal!

  122. PG – “Yes ,If they are level the striker is deemed to be on side.”

    I know that. And here is the important point. Was he level? To me it looks like RvP is fractionally ahead of the last defender. And I mean a fraction.

  123. Limpar:

    According the the boss and IG we have a lot more then that. We had plenty before last summer and made a big profit. I agree that we won’t spend more then 10 – 20 but that has nothing to do with how much we could spend. Hard to understand and frustrating but as you say that’s something we have to live with. Fingers crossed that theo gervinho ramsey AA chamakh somehow find their shooting boots. We finally have a really solid defense. One or 2 good players up front might make a huge difference, but we will probably never know.

  124. So what about the city goal then? Offside or oinside? If one is a goal then so is the other.

    I wonder why they have so many line judges in a sport like tennis, played on a rectangle a teenth the size of a football pitch, yet still need Hawkeye (TM!).

    I guess Tennis officiados are not fans of human beings and human errors. The evil bastards.

  125. Coming on as sub doesn’t mean that they have to or are even expected to actually score, but they are put on the pitch to have an impact. When they both get out there and produce no quality chances then there’s the problem. If you change tactics or need to protect a lead or have to replace a player lost to a card (which always results in a change in tactics) then most likely you’re not expected to score. But if you’re a winger or a forward being brought on with fresh legs and 10-20 minutes left in the game you should at least be running your ass off and trying to get into position, steal the ball back if you lose it, etc. I just don’t see that effort from AA and Chamack’s positional awareness seems like that of a blind man.

  126. “The important fact is that the lino didn’t think it was.”
    Oh well Andy,let that be an end to it .So from now on no matter how bad the decision ,as long as the lino gives it we should just accept it.
    Is that honestly how you see it? Good man.

  127. I like your style George.

  128. ahem.

    My own querie is answered in Walter’s ref review:

    “Despite the fact that Silva looked offside when the first shot came in, he only became active when Aguero headed the ball and then he was on side. So a valid goal”
    Boo. Hiss.

    “RVP was onside
    The goal is cancelled but the replay on MOTD clearly showed RVP was on side when the ball was played to him”. Well, if MOTD2 can get it right…what with the aid of a graphic and other such artsy fartsy girly bollocks.

    Think I’ll trust the qualifired refs report on this one.

  129. lol. Qualifired = A referee who is a Gunners fan.

  130. PG.

    I’m impressed with your wading technique.
    Must be something to do with that ninjai balance one learns in the art of Kung-Fu.

    You ever seen this open source Flash animation, the Little Ninja?


  131. What George is pointing out is that this saying that “calls even themselves out” is nonsense. I am not sure why anyone still says that to be honest.

    Football needs to get going and do what it takes to get as many decisions as possible right. In almost every match I watch, the offside call is gotten wrong. Thats really stupid is this day and age.

  132. I also dont believe we should concede the title. Each match should be our focus but as far as giving up on the big prize, heck no!

  133. Good game, disappointing loss, but it could have gone either way. What worries me most is that our biggest goal threat after RVP was Vermealen, a central defender. That is a problem, we are very much missing a good goal scoring midfielder. The RVP off side looked off side to me during the match and I havent gone back and seen a replay but those can go either way and have worked on our favour many times before. This time it went against us. In real time down on the pitch its a hard job for the lino.

  134. Paul-N, I’m intrigued as to how you think things can be improved to get offside decisions correct? Ball over the goal-line, easy, electronic sensors, no problem. But something to help the linesman get offside decisions right is a bit more difficult, no? Simplifying the rule back to it’s original implementation would be a start, but that wouldn’t havbe helped yesterday. It’s surely unworkable to review every offside decision on a TV screen?

  135. I have a problem with micro analyzing each match.

    TV has not been our biggest goal threat after RVP in every match but it has gotten so much attention after this loss, why not before?. I remember Sol Campbell scoring our only goal to keep the unbeaten run going.

  136. Right. Cider barrelled, shoulk be a good vintage, very dry already. I’ll pull a pint at Christmas for a taster.

    What? Still arguing? The result was 1-0.

  137. Paul @ 3:12

    The only answer is to stop the game and review every call which is not realistic. The way the rule is written makes it completely impossible for the linesman. I really think there should be some sort of challenge mechanism such as they have in tennis or American football.

    Obviously the calls are not going to even out exactly. That’s a statistical impossibility but clearly the last few weeks have proved that every team gets hurt by bad calls even the so called media darlings the red Manc and the spuds. I have been following sports for a long time and I don’t think I have ever heard a fan who didn’t think his tem got more bad calls against them then for them.

  138. Block4, I am not sure how you can come to any conclusion that it would be unworkable. It is not.

    When goals are even given or chalked off due to an offside, review it.

    I say get it right, even if it goes against Arsenal. If you have to simplify the rule then so be it, but the sport should do what it takes.

  139. It has gotten attention Paul, just not the Vermaealen part. No one said he was our main goal threat other than yesterday. But im sure if you check yesterdays stats he probably had the most shots on target than any one else. I may be wrong but watching the game it seemed that way. Its really not about him being our second biggest goal threat its that we should be seeing more attempts from players higher up the pitch.

  140. As for getting the calls right, I am all in favour of replays for offside, it would take less time than it does to calm the players down after a dodgy call. A vidio ref could be analyzing the call before the ball has been picked out the net. The ref blows offside, the lino whispers in his ear , no mate that was actually onside, ref says ok boys I got it wrong and awards the goal. Or disallows it. Seems simple to me.

  141. I see, so the decision is only reviewed if a goal results from directly from it. What about a negative offside decision, i.e., an offside that isn’t given by the linesman? Would it be up to the defending team to appeal? That would make for some interesting interation between players/managers and officials! And for the one yesterday, they may well still be arguing even after seeing the video replay.

  142. Can you link to some quotes, Bill?

    I’m just going on us reportedly dropping discussions on Goetze in the summer when the asking price didn’t come down from 25 million euros, same again with Mata, and same again with M’Vila. It just seemed as though there was a pretty tangible glass ceiling there to me. Of course I have no idea really and interested to hear more if you do.

    I don’t know whether that – seeming – ceiling is board-imposed and tied in with our projected business plan moving forward into the next 5 – 10 years – that says we can’t spend more than a certain percentage of our turnover on players, or whether it’s to do with not paying a certain percentage over our own valuation – i.e. not paying over-inflated prices. Because we don’t have a benefactor and the money is actually ours and real – it means we have to be a bit more careful about spending it than some of our rivals who effectively have carte blanche. You do understand that, don’t you?

    You understand that by their very presence on the market the prices of our targets go up? And often out of our reach? Why sell to Arsenal now, when next summer City might buy for an extra 20 million?

    It means we have to be clever. As with the signings of Arteta and Per. Most Arsenal fans I know are very proud of how clever we are in the transfer market and wouldn’t have it any other way. While Spurs and City and Chelsea spend 100s of millions, we compete at the same level and make a profit. That is one of the coolest things about our club – you should be proud of that and not wish your life away trying to make us one of the plastic clubs.

  143. Said I wouldn’t get sucked in… bloody ACLF. Right, I’m really going now…

  144. Gunnerjones, sounds unworkable. Linesman puts up his flag, referee blows his whistle, defenders stop. An unfair advantage for the attacking team, no?

  145. Bill, in any give match you dont have 100 questionable offside calls but there are some, so no you dont have to review every call at all. When goals are included, get it right.

    I dont care about who feels who is getting a raw deal. I care about getting it right.

  146. Bill “The only answer is to stop the game and review every call which is not realistic.”

    Not the only answer. Why not do like the NFL and each manager gets 2 opportunities to contest a decision via video replay. Coaches are allowed two challenges per game and are granted a third if their first two are successful. Works fine.

  147. Block4, other sports have managed to work it out Im sure with a few people with above average intelligence could figure a way to make it work. My suggestion was very flawed but there are ways to make it work, Im sure of that. Well sort of !

  148. Markus, what if a forward is given offside just inside the opposition half? Does he then play on and attempt to score and await a decision? Challenging that decision gets you nothing, a free-kick in the centre circle possibly and even that’s a little unfair on the defending side. American football, cricket and tennis have natural breaks in play to do this kind fo stuff, football often doesn’t in these passages of play.

  149. Block4, If a goal comes from the play, it should be able to be looked at. I would like for managers to have the right to appeal, maybe a couple of times per half.

    To be honest there shouldnt be this ever lasting arguments with players and officials. The problem with football is that it hasnt moved with the times as far as replay and players don’t have respect for the officials. The official review is final, any arguing after that and players get carded or whatever.

  150. The game is exciting because it flows. To have too many stop/starts would ruin the games. I am all for video replays being used, but with offisides it would be difficult to implement. That said, I don’t see why when a goal is given/disallowed somebody up in the stands could not have contact with the ref within seconds after watching a replay. There is a natural pause in the game anyway once the ball is in the net.

  151. Paul-N, I think for a decision like yesterday’s then I think what you’re saying will work. But for decisions like I outlined in my previous post (attacker clear of the defence and given offside just inside the opposition half) it’s much more difficult.

  152. Block4, well lets start there at the very least.

  153. Limpar:

    The figure that IG mentioned is $50M. we had several discussions about why anyone would make a number like that public Swiss ramble indicated that was how much we had before last summers windfall profit. It’s frustrating to me that we built the stadium to give us money to spend. No matter how you slice it we are spending a lot less then we could be. Perhaps its just the curmudgeon in me but it feels like the “anti-spend” and ” big name signing phobia” has morphed from a necessary evil to something that now defines us as a club. No one would care what we spent if we were winning things but it’s hard to understand transfer profits every year when our best finish in 5 years has been 3rd place

  154. Perhaps if there was a video ref for all offside discussions and the refs were instructed to let play run till it was confirmed. With todays technology they could surely write some soft ware that would instantly confirm if a player was on or off side, the video ref could send a signal to the ref in his ear piece and the call could be made.

  155. GA, I agree with you but as far as the game flowing, how much time does it take when players are hounding the ref all over the pitch. Sometimes they go from the linesman to the ref and sometimes players are around both. If the call is that questionable, get a review and it is done in less time, I think.

  156. Not sure about the offside, tight and difficult for the linesman, but the handball was simply unfair to Arsenal. 90% of similar incidents would be a penalty and no arguments from the defending side. The game was even. I was surprised how easily we got into shooting position when we got past their midfield. Walcott was bagged, but otherwise it was a decent performance between two evidently well-matched sides. Arsenal.

  157. Onside. RvP was onside.

  158. How I wish I could sample CBob’s 2011/12 cider vintage over Xmas.

  159. Definitely handball. A penalty.

  160. Ill tell you what would be good for the game 90 minutes of the ball in play.
    Therefore you could stop and check and time wasting like Stoke do when the ball is in play for less than an hour would be a thing of the past.
    Skill and the ability to keep the ball would become paramount.
    If the whole possess takes 3 hours ,good oh 3 hours of The Arsenal will do for me.
    And fuck the grass roots stuff .Top level conditions are available to top level players .
    If you go for a game of snooker at your local hall ,you don’t get to play on a dead level table with a brand new cloth and a professional referee.

  161. I know it Frank. Just saying tight onside-offside decisions are often wrong, a hundred times a season one way or the other, and/or could almost legitimately go either way in such a situation. So I wouldn’t blame the linesman 100% in a close call. If we had that goal, I am certain we would have gone on and won the match. Such is football.

  162. You can understand why the linesman may of given offside, as it was very close, and Kompany was behind RVP so he may not of seen him.

    But the fact is, as proven by technology on MOTD2, is that RVP was onside.

    There is no argument – he was – it is fact, proven.

    The other fact is that the Lino didn’t give it, and we lost 1-0 – so the point that we now know he was onside doesn’t really matter, apart from adding to the disappointment.

    I also agree with Frank that is should of been a penalty.

    A clear advantage to City by Richards blocking it, so a penalty should of been awarded.

  163. GA,

    On ‘natural flows’. As many players enjoy spending a few minutes swinging handbags etc at every oppertunity, rolling about (see Yaya) etc. I’m not sure we’d see many such interruptions violating the purity and flow of our beloved game as there are plenty of, er, natural pauses anyway.

    In fact I believe that is probably one reason why Arsenal FC were so keen to try out goal line/touch line tech during the pre-season tournament. Before they had their knuckles rapped.

    Would you be against a trial like that?

  164. I agree, ZP. Of course we just have to get on with it. Great performance from us though. We will beat them at home in the EPL. Maybe even have some full backs on the pitch.

  165. Video footage could be used to review decisions in the game during long throw preparations. Delap receives the ball for a throwin, Stoke are 3-0 up. By the time he throws it they are 2-1 down.

  166. Absolutely Frank – If you look at all of the stat’s we more than matched the so called greatest ever Premier League team.

    We have nothing to fear for the rest of the season if we play like that every week.

  167. I think this game can be placed within the pantheon of infamous Arsenal games whose negative outcomes for us proceeded by and large from poor decisions of a ref or linesman. Rather fewer have gone the other way, the odd one admittedly, but we do tend to be on the receiving end, and all too often in important matches.

  168. It was a mistake by the officials I accept that.Shit happens.
    What I cant accept is that people dismiss that mistake as if it didn’t effect the result .Well guess what ? It fucking did effect the result and it does matter.

  169. It did affect the result George, very much so. But I think what people are saying is we played very well, could have won, but for a bad call that was in all fairness very tight and almost impossible for the lino to get right one way or the other. Unfortunately it went the other. I dont feel as aggrieved as i usually do when we get fucked by the officials.

  170. Absolutely right GJ – it was very tight – and at pace, and the man playing RVP onside was the opposite side of the pitch to the Lino.

    He could of easily given it either way.

    It is not that clear cut to put too much blame on the Lino, so no point feeling too aggrieved.

  171. No point saying it doesn’t fucking matter either!

  172. A pity we started our season with such a wretched string of results, because a 1-0 away in such a game is usually just the way it might go on any given day, and it gets reversed in the home return as the top 5 or 6 teams swop points to some degree, because they are in fact all very close. And that’s the point, we are not 12 points adrift from billion dollar city, but very close, and closing in on them fast. To match them on their home turf, one would say we are already on par, but their depth is greater, we know this, fuelled by their tawdry money.

  173. It does matter George, but nothing can change it now. I was seething for weeks after the Newcastle game last season. But this one I was over pretty much right away. We played well, very proud of our team. Bad call in a tight game.

  174. Just saw the Richards hand ball on the sports news and it looked a clear cut penalty. Let’s just say that a referee with character and bollocks would’ve given it. Unfortunately Dowd has neither.

    With regards to the offside, I don’t think RVP’s goal was offside nor was he offside in that chance where he and Ramsey ended up alone infront of goal which Hart paried for a corner.

    The difference between the teams? Mere millimeters on the pitch despite them spending the external debt of many developing countries around the world.

    Bill, you seem to think that the club deals in monopoly money. It doesn’t. Also, the reason why we don’t buy players in the thirty or forty million pound range is because we can’t afford that big a gamble. Further, if we jump on the buy expensive bandwagon, even the clubs where we get our players on the cheap from will start demanding more when we come knocking on their door. As it stands, Wenger gets players whose quality is unknown to even the clubs we’re buying them from. Just look at the players we have, who came on the cheap, and today are worth more than the likes of David Luiz, Nasri and Torres. Certainly you can’t argue about spending when we get someone like Koscielny for seven or eight million pounds and he ends up being miles better than David Luiz who is worth upwards of twenty million pounds.

  175. City had an almost full squad to choose from .We were decimated.So our depth cant be that bad .Can it?

  176. Finsbury – I would actually go one further. I would like to see the physio allowed access to the pitch (4th offical could control this) without the game been stopped (like Rugby). Initial thoughts are that the physio would be on the pitch constantly, but I suspect we would see a huge reduction in players staying down if they knew he game was not going to be stopped.

  177. In any event, it was hardly any kind of shameful result, and the team might have done it. They lost a bit of concentration at key moments, as often happens after the bad decisions. I feel for them. But you move on. It’s a season, and we are not half way, 40% of games done, 60% to go, fifth now, and everything to play for.

  178. PG could be right in that our depth is reasonable. Missing: Sagna and Jenks, Santos and Gibbs, Wilshere and Diaby. A little short up front as we know.

  179. George, can you imagine our team without so many injuries. I really like our team!

  180. Isn’t Miquel something else as a third choice LB? He had another good game.

  181. Question for anyone: Do you think City would have scored on us, if we didnt have to change the defense?

  182. Anyway folks, count yourselves lucky that you didn’t, by some fickle quirk of fate and connection, end up as a ManCity supporter. Now that would be cruel. Keeping it real, The Arsenal.

  183. Aaron Ramsey needs to work on his first touch and decision making.

  184. Bill: “No one would care what we spent if we were winning things but it’s hard to understand transfer profits every year when our best finish in 5 years has been 3rd place.”

    No one would care? Most of our fans and most neutrals who watch the league loathe City and Chelsea for buying titles. For an American sports fan, where most sports abide by a downright Marxist set of regulations, it is kind of funny that you’re unconcerned about spending on players.

  185. colney needs to work on his first post and timing.

  186. Colney, I think Ramsey’s decision making, much like most of his game, is just fine.

  187. GA @4.33

    Hadn’t thought of that, but it is interesting. Don’t watch a lot of Rugby so I haven’t seen that.
    As for things like Hawkeye, I’d imagine when not if they are applied it’ll be to a similar system to that in other sports.
    I’d also like to see independent time keepers used, like in every other sport which would stop the Stokish time wasting in the game (as opposed to slowing the pace etc. which is all good fun). It’s give that fourth official something to do other then hold up those really heavy digital sign boards.

    For me this has nothing to do with yesterday or yesteryear’s results. Like many I’d just like to see the best players who’ve spent a lifetime practising how score goals, get the credits their skills and efforts deserve. So that when someone scores a good, legit, goal, it is allowed.

  188. I beg to differ, Ramsey needs to work on his first touch and decision making.

    When he was played in by Van Persie, had his touch been better he would have scored.

    Twice we had a chance to counter and he took too long to make a pass. He dithered and that’s not a good trait you want your creative midfielder to have.

    I forget what minute it was, instead of just passing the ball to a teammate, he decided to do a turn in his own penalty box, with 4 blue shirts around him, almost cost us, in the end the ball was kicked out for a throw-in to City.

  189. Gains:

    We did not build a new stadium to get to the point where we have to make a transfer profit every year to remain self sufficient. We can’t spend man city type money but, no matter how you spin it we could be doing more then we have to strengthen the team.

  190. Also why do people insist on calling Ignasi Miquel : Miguel?

  191. Re: Ramsey

    Watch past Arsenal games and you will see what I mean by his first touch needs work. It often means he has to chase after the ball.

  192. Oh well we should sell him with the other deadwood in the January sales.
    Perhaps Ramsey, Arshavin, Rosicky and Chamakh would get us a plodoffski or a goatibeard

  193. Bill,that is just your opinion.We dont know the facts now do we?

  194. Skywatchingmug | December 19, 2011 at 11:49 am
    What back from the doctors.
    I larfed and spat coffee over te keyboard, again.

  195. Who said anything about selling him?

  196. Block4, in the example I gave the managers only get to contest twice in a game, so it’s very unlikely they’d waste one on a decision unless it actually resulted in a goal or pelanty.

  197. Watching the highlights. That is a straight pen on Richards and RVP was even when he scored. There was also the RVP header that was called offside and he was onside again. It is possible that a rebound couldve been put in.

  198. offsides and handballs. can someone admit we lost to a better team.

    it could be worse you know, like having one of our defenders out because of ruptured testicles – OMG

  199. What kind of a result is everyone hoping for in Tottenham v Chelsea Thursday night, 0-0?

  200. Anyway, the fact is that is 3 calls gone against us in one match. No evening out took place and that is a at least a point gone to rahtid!

  201. “offsides and handballs. can someone admit we lost to a better team.”
    Yes ,but not an Arsenal fan who understands the game.
    That will be you then boozy.Take a bow son

  202. Markus – “What kind of a result is everyone hoping for in Tottenham v Chelsea Thursday night,

    The stadium to explode would be nice. As it is, I will settle for something horrendous happening to Terry.

  203. I don’t think I have ever seen us lose a match, and somebody on here has not blamed the referee in some way, shape or form. Think about that.

    We are either the best team ever to play football in the history of football, which simply happens to simply be hampered by those evil match officials (colluding together no doubt),


    We are a good team that in the past has had a nasty habit of shooting itself in the foot despite the attractive football that we have produced.

    Hmmm, I wonder which could be closer to the truth? 😉

  204. Or you are a sarcastic twat? That must be an option,Surly? 😉

  205. 🙂 I already know this, so didn’t think I needed to put is as an option.

    And don’t call me Shirley.

  206. GA, we know that there is nothing called corruption in your world but no one was saying anything of the sort. No one is “blaming” the ref per say. We are simply stating the facts of the game, wrong calls went against us and stopped us from getting atleast a point. MOTD agrees with that, even.

  207. I haven’t seen much wrong with Ramsey in the last few games. He is a live-wire. The chance he had was not exactly set up by RVP…it rebound off a City player….

  208. You can bet your life that Richards` heart was in his mouth for a second when that ball struck him. Could have gone either way – same with the RVP `offside`. I`m not a fat Phil fan but he sussed the City tactic of trying to get Song in particular sent off so I was grateful for small mercies.

    I`ve seen City a few times this season & that`s the best they`ve played (including the hammerings of Man U & Spurs) & yet they only just overcame us.

    My main concern would be any sort of physical or mental hangover at Villa, particularly early on. Maybe a couple of changes are needed apart from the D’jourou & Song replacements. Personally I`d bring Rosicky in for Ramsey & Benayoon for Gervinho.

  209. I started the day thinking we were hard done by but they were two close calls so no use crying over spilt milk. That’s still how I see it but George here, by shouting ‘ONSIDE’ from the touchlines all day has made me remember that you need someone to do that – because at the end of the season you will have the inevitable parade of cunts who forget about actual events in a game and say ‘we lost to both the mancs, and tottenham – it’s not good enough – wenger out.’ So I guess sometimes there is a use in crying over spilt milk because it gets it on the record – and for that, George, I salute you. (After all, he was onside – and it was a penalty 🙂 ). Too many Arsenal fans are too quick to think ‘we lost because we’re not good enough’ – even when we’ve had decisions go clearly against us that would’ve won us the game. Itsa wotchamacallit…. Imposter Syndrome.

    Keep crying for all of us, G.

  210. Limpar,

    I agree with you there in that there are more shades of grey than the black or white most people tend to see.

    One of the occasions were WERE robbed blind was Newcastle away last season & yet the world & his wife went on forever about how unforgiveable it was that we chucked away a four goal lead.

    On the other hand, we tend to gloss over the ones that go our way (Clichy on Owen v Man Poo last season springs to mind) when it suits us.

    Maybe it`s time someone on here did a tally of iffy ones going either way throughout the season just to see exactly where we stand. Oh, & I`m not volunteering.

  211. HAVE WE EVER WONA GAME THAT PHIL DOWD REFFED? likely an end of the season clash when we had already won the league or else too far away for it to matter?

  212. ivanputthepricesup

    We didn’t get the rub of the green but a performance we can all be proud of. We deserved a point but thats football.

    Regarding the window, yes we do need a striker. It would be too much to ask Park to ‘do the business’ but we all know Arsene is not going to spend big, more likely to get a useful player from a club who needs the money a bit Arteta Everton like.

    As for Arshavin, i would of thought with all the money in Russia at the moment and being that he is a ‘superstar’ over there we could get serious money for him at present.

  213. I rather enjoy seeing Koscielney going against these 30million pound strikers. They get this look like “who the fuck is this guy? Why is he always running in front of me and stealing the ball?”

    take that Koont Aguero. Even though the Arsenal lost, I get immense pleasure from watching the likes of Vermalean and Koscielney. I recall Koscielney dancing his way through about 4 city players and then playing a through ball across half the pitch to Gervinho. Classy….

  214. It’s all about bouncing back now. Win the next game. That’s where the test lies. Tottenham has bale and Lennon out. They are also meeting chelsea this week. Means of we win we wil climb somehow.
    Maybe we won’t win the pl this year. But I’m sure we will reach the final of the two remaning cups we are in ( avoiding the Spanish teams we can go all the way to the final I’m sure of it) and get top4. Exciting times indeed!

  215. If we aren’t going to win the league, we can still spoil other teams’ chances.

  216. All teams? So nobody wins the lge? I like your thinking.

  217. Bradys right foot

    For some reason i’m less philosophical today and more annoyed. We were robbed of a perfectly good goal. We had to suffer the insufferable Phil Dowd, all this Song was lucky to be on the pitch, really? Song was booked initially for nothing, it wasn’t even a tackle never mind a foul. The worst tackle in the game was Barrys meaty lunge on Song he won the ball but his follow through was a studs up bona fide leg breaker on Songs standing leg he’d already been booked.

    Phil Dowd is a corrupt official, people may choose to believe that his consistent levels of incompetance when he refs our games is just bad luck. Think about it were being asked to believe that a top flight official really is consistently this poor, that presupposes he reached the top of his profession by being unfit for the job. The truth is much more logical he simply has it in for us. The phantom penalty he awarded against Rosicky at Newcastle last year is the first time i’ve ever seen something that has made me question the integrity of the official, Dowd at the very least is continously at the centre of some of our most contentious descisions every year I simply don’t trust him as an official. The final arbitars of yesterdays game were the officials, an incorrect call from the lino and Dowds descision on the handball. Whatever your individual opinion on the handball is ask yourself this, if that had have been Kozzer handling the ball yesterday instead of Richards what do you think Dowd would have done? Im pretty sure he’d have given city a pen infact i’m certain.

  218. ivanputthepricesup, the thing is Arshavin’s star has been fading in his own home country. It’s not just Arsenal fans that have been showing concern about his lack of form.

  219. Bradys right foot

    Alot of man love for Kozzer in the goonerverse and about time. The guy is immense.

  220. I made that comment with you in mind Andy. I know your passion for equality!

  221. I agree BRF. watching Kozzer do his thing is beautiful. He has strength to hold off the big lumps. He has pace to cover his entire side of the pitch. I recall a few occasions yesterday where the ball was played into space on the right flank. It was a foot race between Koont Aguero and Kos. Not until did Kos get there first, he controlled the ball with one touch, shimmied his way around the defender, and kept possession.

  222. Will – Heh 🙂

  223. So, just to recap, a side decimated by injuries featuring a largely makeshift defence, a criminally fraudulent individual posing as a match referee and all the top names oil money can buy PLUS a home advantage and STILL Shitty can only just scrape a 1 – 0 win.

    It defies belief there are people – supposedly our own fans (wtf) pointing fingers at our own players – the City players celebrated that result as if it was a cup final victory. Get a grip, for Christ’s sake; Shitty should have destroyed us, they knew it and they fell well short of the mark.

    Fat O’Dowd is evidently the worst referee since Blimey O’Riley; I have no doubt he is corrupt and working for a gambling syndicate somewhere – NO-ONE could be that consistently inept without a reason. His fat gut betrays the fact he’s not planning on being around much longer so he’s obviously done pretty well out of it. Cunt.

  224. BRF @ 8:09:

    “if that had have been Kozzer handling the ball yesterday instead of Richards what do you think Dowd would have done?”

    The fact that there is no way to know what Dowd of any ref would have done is the whole problem. The system is consistently inconsistent. Debatable calls like that happen every game. Every one forgets the ones that go your way but remembers all the ones that went against you. In the end everyone feels like they get shafted.

  225. Bill what you say is true. I know it is difficult to ref a game, decisions are made in tenths of a second.

    Still, i recall the incident clearly. Dowd is 15-20 meters away from the scene of the crime. He is starting straight at Richards. I just wonder what went through his head at that instant.

    Or maybe it was what Dowd heard in his mic =)

    “Phil! do not blow your whistle! this is arsenal we are playing against!!!”

  226. Oh well ACLFers, off tomorrow evening on a 1,000 mile drive to the Ozarks, the wilds of Missouri, where a man loves his gun, his Ford F-150, his dog, his church and his wife, in that order. The only place where Wal-Marts are outnumbered by Baptist Churches. It makes CBob and Devon look positively urban.

    If we can tap into someone’s cable I might even catch one of our games, though it might clash with the annual trip to Dolly Parton’s ‘Dixie Stampede’. Internet connection? There might be one at ‘Bass Pro’ – next to the live ammunition counter.

    Merry Christmas and COYG.

  227. Oh before I go, nominations for ACLF end of the year awards:

    For Frank’s “The Person I would rather be in a trench with when the shit hits the fan” award – Pedantic George

    For the “Missing in action for eight unbeaten games run” – Suga 3, Alex Ice Cream and Jabba’s Dangly Bits

    For the most scrumptious pasty…

  228. Will:

    Richards arms were at his side. There was clearly no intent. The ball deflected off someones head and he had no time to react and there were no attacking players that would have had a chance to make a play on the ball even if he had not touched it. I don’t know if that one was a pen but I know that I have seen alot of things like that not called. Everybody on every man City blog is saying it wasn’t a pen and believing it just as much as we believe it was.

    The only way to standardize would be to say that every time the ball touches an arm no matter what the intent or the situation that its a pen. Otherwise you leave up to the ref to guess intent and factor all the other variables into the equation in a less then a heart beat.

  229. These calls are not just up in the air as if they cannot be tracked. I think it was Big Al who stated the fact that had the offside goals not been awarded against us we would be in 2nd place, that was a while a go.

    We can gauge these things, they are not subjective. So I think it is a little bit demeaning to act as if people are just picking numbers out of the air and moaning about them.

    How many goals that we have scored been offside, or have been wrongly dissallowed and how many have gone in against taht shouldve been offside.

    Big Al, showed that something is out of wack.

  230. judge for yourself

    my vote. penalty. RVP slots it home in the bottom right corner. nuff said.

  231. Bill,you say “we believe ” as if all of us are saying penny.
    I have never said that ,indeed I said I would have been upset if it was given against us.I stand by that .However I also believe BRF when he says it would have been given against us.(more often than not at very least)
    My gripe is the on side goal which was disallowed. 🙂

  232. Paul,stop crediting Big Al with my work.It upsets me.

  233. George, my bad, you did call it today. Big Al said it in one of his writes ups a few weeks bad.

    But big ups to you for sticking to your guns. Good stuff today!

  234. few weeks “back”, even!

  235. He did Paul ,but after I had called it following the VDV drop goal incident.
    Andy and I made quite a meal of it as I recall.

  236. i fink arsenal need a winger/striker and a defender and my candidates will be suarez from anderlecht and also vertoghen and if possible a midfielder either rheus,eriksen or anandize

  237. nas,at least one of them has agreed terms somewhere else i fear.

  238. Will:

    The fact that the ref has to “judge for himself” means the calls will always be inconsistent. Richards was coming to play the ball and when it deflected he moved his arm back to try to get it out of the way but did not have time. Ball to arm. Is that a pen. Perhaps I don’t know. I know there are many times that would not be called and other times it would. Clearly it did not alter a scoring chance for us and I think the refs don’t want to influence the results of a big game on a +/- pen when the contact did not take away an obvious scoring chance. Thats my guess but who really knows.


    I think getting those close off side calls correct is almost impossible. I know that does not make you feel any better but I am 100% confident that we will see a lot more missed offside calls the rest of the season {that go both ways) so have your valium ready.

  239. Bill – “Richards arms were at his side. There was clearly no intent. The ball deflected off someones head and he had no time to react and there were no attacking players that would have had a chance to make a play on the ball even if he had not touched it.

    Sums it up nicely. If you got pens for that type of thing all you would have to do in the box is boot the ball at people’s arms. Lescotts the other week (for example) was completely different; it was accidental, but the crucial thing is that his arms were away from his body and stopped a goal bound shot.

  240. They havent gone both ways so far Bill and we have played quite a few matches already. It doesnt look good for the rest of the season for things to even out as I am sure we will get shafted again.

  241. The stats that showed where we would be were certain decisions given (offside goals), do exactly what stats always do; tell only part of the story. Did they include play where a striker was wrongly pulled back before taking his shot? Probably not; and if they were included it is likely the results would be completely different again. Where does it end? Stats can be made to suit arguments either way, therefore whilst handy sometimes, are not reliable for such debates.

  242. This calendar year we played City three times. We did not manage to score once in 270 minutes. For an attacking side it’s worrying.

  243. His arm was away from his body, though not much. Also, Intent is not the end all of handballs. If the player is deemed to have enough time to move his hand and does not, it is a pen also.

  244. Well my view on the penalty is that it should have been awarded as Richards accrued an advantage that enabled him to complete the clearance.

  245. Paul – I agree intent is not the deciding factor. But if the arms are down by the body and it hits him, it can’t be a pen. With the inconsistent refereeing we are seeing this season though, the exact same incident could easily bring about a pen next week. Dowd had a great look at it, and I would imagine from his position he won’t have even noticed that the arm was slightly away from the body (which may have made a difference).

    Sometimes you get them and sometimes you don’t. It is certainly to borderline to whinge about (not saying you are by the way).

  246. sv this calendar year Real Madrid has failed to score a single goal against us .
    I other words “fuck of looking for reasons to moan about the team”you tedious weasel.

  247. Was there anybody behind Richards out of interest?

  248. Being pantomine season and all that 😉

  249. GA, what are you saying.

    So if one team has 50 wrong offside calls go against them and another team has none, those stats are not reliable?

  250. No, the example I am (badly) trying to illustrate is:

    Some stats were pushed out saying if all our wrongly called disallowed goals had stood, we would have finished second. Correct me if I am wrong?

    My point is then; what if another team(say Liverpool) could produce stats proving that their strikers had been called back incorrectly when clean through on goal (before getting the shot away) more than any other side. And if they had finished onlf half of those chances, then they would have finished above us.

    What I am saying is that the picture you are painting with the offside stats are not as black and white as you are making out. We would have finished 2nd? Was every other wrongly disallowed goal in the PL season for every team taken into account with that? Because they would also have had an affect.

  251. Good call there Yogi.

    I agree GA, you get some, some you dont. But as far as close handballs go, that should be on the side of a handball. My opinion for various reasons.

  252. Bill you raise some valid points. Part of my judgement is baised because of my dislike of Oil City.

    SV- I raise a question to you. Which situation is more worrying. Losing away to City 1-0 by means of a scrappy goal or losing 6 to 1 on your home turf.

  253. Yogi @ 9:55:

    You are probably right but it is a debatable call and when there is room for debate the results of the calls are going to be inconsistent. No way around that.


    What do really beleive? Do you believe that there is an active conspiracy against us or that the several of the refs are biased individually so they make bad calls without a organized conspiracy or are we just chronically unlucky?

  254. GA, As far as I see it you couldn’t tell that a team would be in a certain position If all teams are not taken into account.

    I do remember reading Untold Arsenal as far as last season and it was Liverpool who the most hard done by. I figure they did their homework on other matches also.

  255. GA

    That doesn’t matter, in the same way that the ball doesn’t have to be under a player’s control for a foul to be given in the area. It’s all to do with advantage being gained.

  256. Paul – Agreed.

    YW – Fair point. Still think it would have been harsh, and I would have gone mental if it had been given against one of our players.

  257. Paulie Walnuts @ December 19, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Thankfully the statiistics geek Dogface has been chewing on that bone for a while.
    Follow the links to last seasons synopsis and to a reading of results this season so far.
    Last season Arsenal gamnes only, this season, they’ve upped their game. OF course, no really much point comparing a settled squads results to the early get to know you peroid of a re-built one, but it’s out there.


    Wrong calls Against MC 2 11,76%
    Against Arsenal 15 88,24%

    54% accuracy for a top flight offcial is, well, it is indefensible.

    p.s. I really enjoyed the game, and don’t care for Dowd. Reading the attempted defence for such an unprofessional display is amusing.

  258. @ will the thrill

    SV- I raise a question to you. Which situation is more worrying. Losing away to City 1-0 by means of a scrappy goal or losing 6 to 1 on your home turf.

    I’m not bothered what the ManU are worried about. There is no team I hate more that them.

    We played well and did not get the result. It’s easier to accept a defeat when you play badly. When you did your best and it still was not enough, it’s dispiriting.

  259. The only point I am intent on making (at this point)is that it doesnt even up in the end, as we are told.

    Yesterday RVP was called offside twice when he was not and because of said bad calls, points are lost for good.

    If we get the point we are nicely in the title challenge, but the title challenge looks very bleak right now.

  260. Yogi’s Warrior | December 19, 2011 at 9:55 pm
    Well my view on the penalty is that it should have been awarded as Richards accrued an advantage that enabled him to complete the clearance.

    See that’s why Yogi is a well respected blogger and I am just an argumentative old git!
    Insight and more.

  261. tbf that percentage above includes decisions of both linesman and the referee.

  262. I want replay Bill. Lets get the calls right. Football generates way too much money to be dealing with a system that gets it wrong about as many times as right. Something is wrong with that. We dont want penalties given that are not penalties. Players diving, feigning injury to get pens and players sent off.

    You have to wonder if the powers that be have something to gain from not wanting a replay system.

  263. SV- I do care about what the Manure are worrying about. I will be much more happy if Man U are worrying about a relegation battle compared to Manure worrying about which players to rest because they are 10 pts clear of the opposition.

    The loss was really disheartening. How many times have we seen Gervinho get to the byline, and pull it back for RVP to smash in? That same thing happened this game and RVP shot it straight at Joe Hart….

    My point is this:The teams looked evenly matched. Both sides were wasteful in front of goal.

  264. Bradys right foot

    Bill | December 19, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    The fact that there is no way to know what Dowd of any ref would have done is the whole problem. The system is consistently inconsistent. Debatable calls like that happen every game. Every one forgets the ones that go your way but remembers all the ones that went against you. In the end everyone feels like they get shafted.

    I think you’ve misunderstood me Bill, what your saying is perfectly acceptable for a referee, someone simply trying to ref the game within the rules without an agenda. What I am saying and I want tp be clear about this is that I firmly believe that Dowd has a clear bias against us it is borne out over years of descisions and results. I believe that if the incident had of been Kozzer instead of Richards Im certain he would have awarded city a penalty.

  265. I agree with you Brf.

  266. I think I read somewhere that in betting circles if we have Dowd as a referee they consider it more or less a one goal advantage for the other team. Can somebody confirm that?

  267. Paul @ 10:22:

    If the recent bad calls were reversed the red mancs would have 2 more points against Newcastle and we would still be 12 points out in no better position then we are now. Spurs would have at least 1 more point and possibly 3 from the Stoke game so we might actually be worse off. Who knows.

    I agree completely about your points with instant replay. Absolute crime that it we don’t have it now.


    My baseline is to believe that no ref has an “agenda” No way to prove it either way. Believe what you want because I am not going to convince you that he doesn’t no matter what anyone says. .

  268. Omg I just saw the picture on Untold. Well, in fact RVP is an inch or so ONSIDE (see where Micah Richards left leg is). Dowd really IS the worst.

  269. I feel like Shotta expressed. This is to me a very painful defeat because we played fantastically well and with extraordinary fight and spirit. There is no question that we deserved a point. We missed good chances as did they but the goal we gave up just wasn’t a good one. We had many more defenders back but were disorganized by the re-jigging. Moral victories are tough to take when we have battled so hard and from so far back. I really hope we can strengthen a bit because this group is giving everything but we are a bit short due to injuries and some lack of form/quality right now in our attacking options.

    If we can play that strongly in other games and at home against the teams ahead of us, I think we will get 4th or 3rd without a problem but it will be a fight and any further injuries will really stretch this squad. We have to bounce back against Villa, though. If we drop points there we will let Liverpool back in and fail to seize the advantage of Chelsea playing Spuds. We should be making up ground on one or both of those teams.

    I am very proud of this team but feel very pained about just falling short. The idea that we were a whisker away from cutting our deficit to 6 is just hard to take. Yes, that’s football, and I don’t go in for constantly blaming the refs even though I am not so sure it evens out at all. Last year an independent review believed that we would have finished 2nd and lost on goal difference if all the refereeing decisions were made correctly. It is an imperfect system. What I find very frustrating is how bravely and well we are fighting yet we are mired in a dogfight on the margins of the CL places. I desperately want us to try to improve this team during the window. They deserve a boost. We can’t do anything about how the games are refereed but we can try to get an attacker to add to our threat. I did find it troubling that our best chances in the last 20 minutes were Vermaelen shooting from beyond the box.

  270. Bill, recent bad calls?

    Newcastle, Blackburn, Spurs, Liverpool, City?

  271. If fans fear having a certain ref, wouldn’t you say that something is wrong. If you have a team that usually wins but somehow everytime this ref does the match they usually lose. Shouldn’t that be something that sounds an alarm? In fact, that is the only sensible way of seeing it. Something is wrong.

  272. Saying that “decisions even out”, that’s absolute and pure bullshit. There is no statistical basis for it and it’s one of those phrases especially hacks like to throw around a lot. Anyone who repeats it should seriously check themselves and contemplate the possibility of starting to actually use their brain instead of repeating what the media is saying. If decisions do even themselves out, I do wonder when that will happen for us. Or did we have to enter some weird back room deal for our 49 games unbeaten run and these atrocious decisions going against us is the price we have to pay for it now?

    However that table showing us becoming 2nd if all the wrong decisions for all teams were overturned has also to be taken with a pinch of salt. After all, you never know how a game might develop. You can’t just say that yesterdays match should’ve been a draw because a perfectly good goal for us was taken away for a phantom offside because you do not know how the last 30 minutes after that would’ve played out. With a draw City would’ve maybe tried to win it and nicked another goal, maybe we would’ve scored on the counter and won, etc.

  273. What refs do you fear having?

    Actually, what refs don’t you fear having (probably quicker to answer)?

  274. Evil, I agree completely. I only cited that review to show that we had more important calls against us last year and ManU had more in their favor. They don’t even out necessarily. But as far as adjusting the results, every game has a dynamic and so many variable that it is not possible to determine the precise difference that a reversal of a bad call would be.

  275. “Things even themselves out” is not a literal saying. It just means that all teams have number of deciions that go for/against them throughout the season.

    Before you hammer your keyboards into the desk saying how we get so many more things that go against us, I would argue it is human nature to remember stuff that goes against us opposed to decisions that go our way. We get plenty of decnt calls as well. The same as every other team.

  276. Webb and Dowd have the worst records of bias against Arsenal, however there are a couple other bad offenders according to Zach Slaton’s statistical analysis at “The Beautiful Numbers Game”. He does find that there are a few who seem to be pro-Arsenal, though not quite as many or as intensely.


  277. Linmestone – “But as far as adjusting the results, every game has a dynamic and so many variable that it is not possible to determine the precise difference that a reversal of a bad call would be

    Explained better than I could manage earlier. PG, read the above.

  278. GA, when people say things even themselves out they mean to dismiss the notion that there might be skewed results. Because refs are humans they obviously make simple mistakes but that doesn’t mean there is no bias.

  279. I am really getting to love that old git. p-g. Talk about giving them hell.

    I agree with YW, fookin pelanty. Always, always Phil Dowd screws us on the key decisions.

    But according to g-a and Bill things even themselves out. You guys really need to check in with the monks.

  280. @goonerandy
    And that’s where you are wrong. How do you want to prove that we get the same amount of good calls? I am not arguing that we did have occasionally things going our way, the most prominent example in the CC final where we should’ve had our keeper sent off in the first few minutes. But I sincerely doubt that it goes even anywhere near to evening itself out. And the statistical analyses of referee decisions are in my favour.

  281. It is possible of course, although you would like to think that would not be the case. It is by no means as certain as some like to make out though.

    As an alternative take on things (playing devils advocate here). “Maybe Fabianski was on the take when he went through that period of making all the mistakes. It can’t be that he was that inept”.

    I obiously don’t think that, but it is not a world away from what people are leveling at the refs. I just happen to think that some are a bit crap.

  282. I am less upset about the handball because while it helped Richards control and clear the ball, whether intentionally or not, I don’t think any Arsenal player was in a position to take advantage or gain possession of the ball. I don’t know but that is how it looked.

    The disallowed goal really gets me because the benefit of the doubt when it is that close should really go to the attacker. And that would have been a fantastic, quality goal. Much, much better than the crappy goal City bundled in during a moment of disorganization.

  283. “As an alternative take on things (playing devils advocate here). “Maybe Fabianski was on the take when he went through that period of making all the mistakes. It can’t be that he was that inept”.”

    What an absolute pile of crap. On the one hand Fabianski is a young keeper learning his trade on the other are pro refs at the top of their trade.

  284. I fully disagree with the notion that there might be a massive hidden conspiracy against us. But at the same time — referees are humans, after all — and I think that that can be seen at times on the pitch. For example I often notice that when a ref gives an early booking to a player, he will be reluctant to send him off (seen yesterday with Song, just as an example. It probably played a bit of a role that Song’s booking was harsh as it was his very first foul and not a that bad tackle either to warrant a straight yellow). Maybe doubt is creeping in in those instances? And how do refs react to abuse? Was Dowd’s head turned on that faithful night in Newcastle, with the ref smelling the spirit of the Newcastle fans and players that were looking at the serious possibility of a minor sensation? How was Dowd impacted yesterday by the fact that Robin beat his hand away when he was trying to help him up? etc. etc. etc.
    There are way too many factors here that make it rather naive to say that referees can’t have biases. A ref is like any other human being. he will remember, he will be emotional at tims and no matter how hard he tries to be neutral, especially when we are talking close decisions doubt will creep in and they will be prone to making a wrong decision.

  285. The only thing Dowd is at the top of, is the all the top ten customers at Greggs.

  286. Evil – That is a quite excellent post. I agree with that 100% but it is worth pointing out that this will apply to all teams in each match. Each match has unique circumstances.

  287. The biggest problem is inconsistency with referees. Just take Busacca’s second yellow for Robin. It was the first time I’ve seen a yellow card given for taking the shot after the whistle has blown. Are there no guidelines for cases like that?

    I believe that many things are wrong with refereeing in this country (and in football in general) and we need change. Referees dont need more protection, far from it, I feel it would be important that they are put under closer scrutiny. Force them to explain their decisions, make sure that those people will think twice when they are making a bad call. Ensure that they have to answer to someone and that bad performances are punished — and punished publicly. At present the whole referee organisation is clearly not open enough.

    Either that, or bring in more technology. Giving each manager the opportunity to challenge one or two decisions each match, similar to the way it’s done in Cricket or American Football, wouldn’t hurt the flow of the game and it would help to make everything better.

    In all honesty, if I had to choose between the human part of football, i.e. ref inconsistencies, mistakes etc. or RoboRef 3000 who gets all the decisions 100% correct all the time. Well … let the machines take reign!

  288. @gonnerandy
    Maybe it’s just more frustrating for Arsenal fans because we so often go close and sometimes it’s our own inability .. and then you get the odd wrong decision by the ref thrown in and everything turns to shit, more or less.
    I am still not over Busacca, so I am rather prone to keeping grudges against referees.

  289. I have thought for a long while that ref’s should have to give after match interviews. Players and managers have to, why not a ref? I think they would get more respect from clubs and fans alike if they would come out and explain contreversial decisions, and if need be holld their hands up and say they got it wrong. Plus if there were any concious bias, it would make them less likely to act upon it.

  290. Dowd’s a fat useless twat of a ref! Was at the game and it was a great atmos in the away end! Brilliant. We didnt deserve to lose and yet we did, thanks to thed ref. Mike Riley earned his corn this weekend! 😀

  291. Evil @ 11:46 – I could not agree more mate.

  292. Bringing up Busacca’s name reminded me of more crooked decisions. Wenger and Busacca had a slanging match after that game and Wenger was banned for the next CL game. Busacca was prompted.

  293. Busacca was prompted

    Heh, of course he was. We are unlucky really, all these different organisations out to get us. I do wonder about some people’s mental state on here sometimes. It would not suprise me if some are typing from a room decorated in their own shite smeared all over the walls.

  294. Think Dupsf meant promoted actually oh wise fence sitter. 🙂

  295. Just because you are an apologist GA some of are not. You are one of those people who would see no wrong doing in any sport even when evidence is in front of you.

  296. :), Ha, my bad.

  297. I did Dex but then I thought GA would know it was a typo.

  298. dups – So far nobody has shown any evidence. If they do I will happily reasess my view if need be. I am more than happy to admit when I am wrong.

  299. dups – I just assumed you was just buying into the consipery theories a little too far.

  300. To be honest I think Busacca was promoted to get him off the pitch and prevent him from making bullshit decisions like that. I am seldom a believer but every atom in my body sincerely believes that if it wasn’t for Busacca fucking up like that we would’ve gone through that night. They just could not break us down 11 vs. 11.

  301. So you see no problems with any refereeing apart from simple mistakes?

    You only have to look at some of the refereeing in the CL when Barca are playing to see different. ANd I do not only mean against us. Chelsea were robbed a couple of seasons ago.

  302. Evil I can see where you are coming from but the simple dismissal of Busacca as a CL ref would do the same.

  303. There have been match fising in leagues all over the world, so to assume it doesnt happen in England is pretty naive really. It has probably happened a few times and seeing as how refs and linesment are the lowest paid of those involved in the games and their potential outcomes, it would make sense to target them.

    Oh and Mike Riley is a ManU fan! 🙂

  304. Dups – No, quite the opposite. I do think there are many problems with refereeing, they are horribly inconsistent for a start (I could go on). I just don’t think that we are particularly worse of than other teams and I certainly don’t believe that there is some sort of conspiracy against our club.

  305. Dex

    Maybe Dowd is after Riley’s job. 🙂

  306. Dexter – To rule it our completely would be naive I agree. But it is highly unlikely. In an age where every single decision is scrutinized a referee would be stupid to get caught up in something like that.

  307. Anyway, enough of this for me.

    To bed!

  308. fecking hell..
    are we still banging on about dodgy calls..
    i think the pen was more clear cut than the offside…but i can see why dowd didnt give it..it was ball to hand, and hes only gaining an advantage if we have an attacker ready to pounce..we didnt..so it made dowds job easy..if it was hand to ball however then thats a different story..attacker present or not..so maybe that should be the debate?? ball to hand or hand to ball??
    i can also see why the linesman didnt flag..if robin was 5 yards onside i could understand all the complaints.but we are talking in terms of toenails on that one….so theres no point complaining about conspiracies or whatever..neither decision was a nailed on one so…..

    oh and shotta..i never said major clearout..i specifically stated ‘part 2 of the clear out’..you know?? the clear out we started in summer but never got round to finishing…

  309. Ha, yeah could be Dupsf. I think he is a complete bottler and gives nothing to away teams. Webb is more likely to be bent than Dowd, IMO, he’s just shite.

  310. @ George: “an unruly mob of AKB’ers” is surely an oxymoron!

  311. I never said anything about a conspiracy against our club GA. All I referred to was dodgy refs.

    I am sure that most refs are trying their best (in all leagues) but I am also sure some are biased and others cheats (or even crooked).

  312. As GA said he was off to bed I read this on twitter

    “The female bedbug has no sexual opening – So, the male uses his curved penis to drill a vagina into the female.”

    Twitter is so educational.

  313. Pissed that we could not salvage a point……as we deserved better.

    Deja Vu; over the past 5 seasons, every time we have a big match with a rival top 4 opponent – we are “ALWAYS” missing key players……it sucks.

    Liked what I saw from our defensive back line, Szcz, and Song. For the 1st time in recent seasons we have a solid group of defenders and a goal keeper that can make big- time saves……consistently.

    In 16 league games City has scored 50 goals…..and they had to Stoke it in to get their lone goal. This is the City team that beat ManU 1-6 at Old Trafford.

    I can’t understand why fans want to find a scape goat in Arshavin and Chamakh. Arshavin came on with 20 minutes to play and Chamakh at the 86th minute. WTF. Neither has seen sufficient playing time to hone their game……especially for a late cameo.

    Practicing is not the same animal.

    Lets talk about the first 70 minutes where Theo had a no show…….and Ramsey’s effort was just as poor for 80+ minutes!

    Since our outside backs weren’t a threat down the flanks……that mean’t that 1/3 of our offense (Theo and Ramsey) were uncreative and / or integral in play breaking down.

    Please stop referencing how many meters a player runs in a match – it has nothing to do with performance and effectiveness. It only moves the goal posts of discussion. Most of us can watch a match & see the players that are making plays that produce results.

    Hindsight – Ox might have been a better option in this match over Theo……and Benayoun or Rosicky for Ramsey.

    In 70 minutes I don’t remember Theo winning any loose balls, or pressurizing opponents – creating turnovers (which he’s shown recently). His match was reminiscent of earlier Theo years; he seemed totally intimidated by the aggressive play of City.

    (Paul N – this is not the Theo we’ve been seeing most of the season……and I hope this performance is quickly forgotten by all.)

    Ramsey – in 90 minutes he only beat his opponent with the dribble maybe once……never won any 50/50 balls……made one nice killer pass to RvP at the tail end of the match when Arsenal were pressing to tie.

    Ramsey is 20 years old and played like one.

    I loved the prospect of this player 2 seasons ago – b4 his injury…….but his linking play is unArsenal…..which I don’t understand. (I don’t consider back passes and lateral passes being instrumental in breaking down the opponent……and as the attacking midfielder this match only mirrored his recent form……over the past month.)

    If we are playing any top caliber team, and the priority is for Arsenal to win, then we can’t afford starters that fail to make their mark on the match…..either in attack and/or with their defense.

    Prior seasons we could and would point the finger at the goal keeper and/or defender lapses………..now is the time to stop giving midfielders and strikers a pass.

    After watching the midfield of Arteta, Ramsey, Song for the past 10-15 matches…….I don’t see this combination taking us to glory. IMO.

  314. Arsenal is at a very interesting point in its transition and season. It’s been an extraordinary turnaround. There were always going to be setbacks. I see only marginal difference at the moment between relative strengths and weaknesses of starting main 14-15 players of the top 5, so it will come down to stamina and depth, injuries and luck. In the latter department, United will get “luck”, you know it. This is the moment for Arsenal. Do we push on or stagnate somewhat? We’ve played top teams away by now (losing 3), and that’s a factor, we have home games to come. We have a pretty decent run in for the “home stretch”. We have important players coming back one after the other. So momentum, despite this particular loss, should remain our way. We have CL and FA football competitions to come, thick and fast. We ‘may’ have lost the EPL race, but I see no reason why we wouldn’t push on and attempt a thrilling second, or must do third, or 4th. We have Jack’s bet to consider anyway. I’m keen to see Wenger’s thinking for transfers and our somewhat bleak striker outlook, or a return to form of … ?

  315. Arsesession,

    That’s one of your most ridiculous posts. I’ll keep it as short as possible. You don’t see the midfield working, that earned around 22 out of potentially 27 points?

    As for Ramsey, I think he is turning out to be a great midfielder. His passes are good, but more importantly he’s getting into good positions to score, in almost every match. He might not be converting them yet, but he will be a very good goal scoring midfielder.

  316. Arsesesion @6:30am,
    I’m digging your views.
    Especially on Ramsey
    Against the better teams I’d play TR7. No question.
    Especially against a Man Shitty.
    Aside from Silva, their central midfielders do not handle players that swiftly change direction at will.
    Rosicky is the best we’ve got.
    Play him for 69mins then bring on Ramsey.

    AW is sometimes too insecure about changing a functioning combo
    Sometimes one just has to do it, alter things
    Especially when there’s much at stake.

    Also, I’d have switched AA for Theo
    No point hoping he’d make some killer assist on an off-day
    AA @ least keeps trying different things

    We could have stolen their mojo!

    @20, Ramsey’s got eons to be great.
    We just needed to smack Shitty.
    Alas….we didn’t.

  317. I agree with ZimPaul

  318. So do I.

  319. Joining the chorus; amen ZP.

  320. Aye.

  321. i disagree wholeheartedly on rambo..
    the rambo song arteta combo is the dog of war midfield that has got us where we are from where we were..
    hes been asked to fill the void cesc left and that was never going to be easy and hes doing it is in own way…which he has to…hes not cesc…although it will be interesting so see at the end of the season what his averages are..
    at the minute hes lacking a little something in the final third and a tad inconsistent, but it will come…. but song, gervinho and theo are sharing the burden of creativity too..the most important thing is that we are playing as a team…
    i wouldnt put rosicky over rambo..not for the big or little games..rosickys games changed..hes no longer a scorer or an assister against anyone so it would have little impact..hes better suited to backup for arteta now..
    i would however put jack there..but hes injured..so for now its all rambo…
    he did need to impose himself more against city but he didnt let us down at all, he battled well..

  322. Interesting to see if any of the front three are rotated tomorrow night. Rosicky, Arshavin, Chamakh, Park, Benayoun, The Ox – they’re all right in there with a starting chance I reckon. One, maybe two of them will get it.

    I quite like the look of:

    Benayoun RVP Walcott
    – – – – – Rosicky – – – – –
    – – -EF/FC – – Arteta
    Iggy – Verm Per – Kos
    – – – – -Szceszzer – – – –

    On the other hand Arshavin ripped up Villa Park this sort of time last year.

    Ramsey is getting hard to drop too.

  323. yayas one big machine..and he was fucked after 75mins..we got to em…

    we do need more depth upfront but when you consider jack and diaby are out, rambo is proving to be the depth in midfield..hes a huge player for us…

  324. Limpar – That is the team I would go with as well, only I would play Benayoun instead of Walcott. In Gervinho’s upcoming absence he won’t get much chance for a rest so we could make use of tomorrow night?

    Subs: Almunia/Squillachi/Ramsey/AOC/Park/Gervinho/FC or EF.

  325. Argh, just contradicted myself. Swap Gervinho/Theo on the bench.

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