Arsenal Rue Missed Chances As Defensive Blunders Are Punished

Fulham 2 – 1 Arsenal

0 – 1 Koscielny (21)
1 – 1 Sidwell (84)
2 – 1 Zamora (90)

Arsenal aimed at third place and shot themselves in the foot at Craven Cottage yesterday evening. Defensive errors, profligacy in front of goal and poor refereeing, combined with Johan Djourou’s red card, meant Arsenal left the banks of the Thames disappointed.

And yet this morning we could be talking so differently with familiar failings causing the downfall. Arsène did not shirk from blaming the side for their own errors, he is entirely correct that Lee Probert made a massive error in not awarding a penalty for the foul by Senderos on Gervinho, compounded by the dismissal of Djourou with Zamora conning the hapless official into believing that the Swiss defender had pulled his shirt.

Even so, Arsenal should have been two or more goals to the good without Probert’s intervention. Gervinho cleared the crossbar with a shot and Ramsey brought a comfortable save from Stockdale in the opening five minutes before the soon-to-be-departing Ivorian tormented the crowd with a volley that had no inkling of where the net was.

It was a lively opening and one that should have been rewarded when Senderos felled Gervinho in the area. Probert in his lacked sagacity in his application of the Laws of the Game, hardly surprising with current officiating standards plummeting from their already low perch.

The opening goal came from an unexpected source, more so because it was not Robin van Persie. Ramsey’s cross deflected into path of Laurent Koscielny displayed a ruthlessness in front of goal that is the envy of many of Arsenal’s strikers, his header thumping into the back of the net.

There can have been no complaints from Fulham. Despite Ruiz exploiting Coquelin’s inexperience at left back earlier in the half, it was all Arsenal and that lead should have been doubled within minutes. Walcott drilled in a low cross that Ramsey forced goalwards, Stockdale blocked and from Sidwell’s rebound, the Fulham ‘keeper prevented an own goal being scored by diverting the ball onto the post and to safety.

Shortly after Ruiz shot wide, van Persie was denied by Stockdale. It was not hard to see how Fulham had shipped five goals against Manchester United but Arsenal lacked ruthlessness in front of goal and were to suffer at the final whistle as a result.

Fulham were much livelier in the second half which was as much a result of the words of Martin Jol during the interval as Arsenal’s levels of effort and application dropping. Having been a virtual spectator in the first half, Szczesny was brought into action early in the second to save Ruiz’s flamboyant effort whilst Coquelin, growing in confidence in the unfamiliarity of the his left back role, diverted a Sidwell effort to safety.

The former Arsenal players in the Fulham ranks were determined not to lose to their alma mata. Senderos headed wide whilst Sidwell tested Szczesny’s judgement with a free-kick and brought an outstanding save from close range from the young Pole.

Johan Djourou was about to become a pivotal force in the game. Rightly booked for a foul, Mertesacker misjudged a clearance and the ball came through to enable a battle between Zamora and Djourou for possession. Shoulder to shoulder, the duo tussled all but briefly when the Fulham striker crumpled to the ground, insinuating that Djourou had wrestled him there. It was a collapse that an infant in a playground would have been embarrassed yet Lee Probert displayed naivety that is more associated with a referee officiating at his first match.

It was a night where the referee was noticed for all the wrong reasons.

With a quarter of an hour remaining, Wenger sought to bring on fresh legs in the shape of Tomas Rosicky in the midfield whilst Sebastien Squillaci came on in the defence.

Ten minutes later, the first defensive error came as Szczesny misjudged the flight of the ball and pawed Ruiz’s corner into the path of Senderos. He headed back across goal for Sidwell to equalise.

Arsenal sought to stifle the life from the game but failed as Squillaci enhanced his reputation with another wayward header into the path of Zamora who for once was unerring in his finish as the clock ran down.

It is hard not to be embittered by such a defeat. So much was in Arsenal’s hands after the first forty-five minutes yet they come away with nothing. Probert missed numerous fouls for which there was a reasonable expectation of punishment; van Persie would probably have been awarded a free kick had the push on him been outside the area. Inside? No chance of a foul being awarded. Riise was equally physical on Walcott yet the match continued unhindered.

Criticising officials is easy; we have the benefit of numerous camera angles and none of the pressure that they suffer on matchdays. It is too generic to say that they are all useless and get everything wrong. They don’t and are often proven right in dismissals or contentious fouls. Yet habitually making the wrong choice in a game such as those missed by Probert yesterday is becoming too commonplace. Sepp Blatter believes it to be part of the game’s charm. It isn’t, not when matches are decided by ineptitude.

Yet this defeat was as much of Arsenal’s making as anything else. Wasteful finishing has long been a squad failing, not just in this season but before as well. Gervinho and Walcott need to improve in this department, scoring a dozen or more Premier League goals should surely be a realistic target. Equally though, the midfield must chip in with more. In games such as this, one from Ramsey, Song or Arteta might have made all the difference.

There is plenty for Arsène to ponder from this. He cannot go and buy a defender just in case, yet more ill-fortune may necessitate that. As it is, his next Premier League match might see Coquelin and Miquel as his full-backs, a situation that highlights his plight. As for the forward line, Wenger does not believe in Chamakh whilst what he thinks of Park is open to conjecture. The adaptation period has run its course as an excuse.

With the hectic nature of the Christmas period for fixtures, I found it baffling and telling that neither the Korean or Moroccan featured beyond a substitute cameo. Henry’s arrival strengthens the forward line in the short-term but beyond that, surely Arsenal cannot go on without a viable replacement for van Persie?

A busy month may be ahead. ’til Tomorrow.

Posted on January 3, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 297 Comments.

  1. mattgoonerknight

    First? 2nd?

  2. mattgoonerknight

    First! What’s going on BB?

  3. I am not sure Lee Probert likes Arsene Wenger and his team. He has previous, sending Wenger to the stands at Old Trafford, after which the Referees Association apologised to Wenger about his behaviour.

  4. OK, Blackburn meet-up. Can all those who are interested let us know so arrangements can be made?


  5. last six games …2 victories..2 draws..2 losses…and 5 stonewallpenalties denied. yes we were poor 2nd half, yes we were wasteful in first half, and yes wenger made a crime putting both rosicky and squilashi, BUT ivan gazidis has to pull a finger out and start making some noise to the f.a. arsenal is not respected by them little englanders tw@t refs. our right to equal competition gets mocked by proberts deans and dowds. f*ck the english refs. bring in the foreigners. also the next time we are denied a penalty i expect all 11 of our players to grab the ref by the neck and beat him in front of the whole stadium, the nation and the world. i wont complain to my team about discipline neither call them immature.

  6. Fucked by Probert. What a wank referee. Looks like a fat fucking ballet dancer.

  7. By the way, Kieran Richardson? It makes a little bit of sense because he is English and can play in several positions, although I am not sure if he can play at a top club.

  8. Not all abusive comments end in moderation it seems. Good-o. Civilisation continues.

  9. I think you have got special privilege because of your avatar.

  10. Lee Probert.

  11. Ah. And Rightly so. Happy bloody New Year, Keysersoze.

  12. Happy New Year to you too friend!

  13. mattgoonerknight


    I think it depends on who’s using the abusive language and who it is aimed at….did you read any of PG’s eloquent postulations yesterday?

  14. cant the club see that the establishment here doesnt like arsenal? are they not going to put up a fight ? our manager and players get hard done by refs…where is the ownership to set things straight? where is a dein type figure to enter the offices of the f.a and say ” listen up you fkn muppets,we are arsenal and what we give to this league in terms of value entertainment and MONEY (selling the epl product worldwide with arsenal;s football) should be respected ” the club needs a tough mother to intimidate f.a and make them take us seriously or at least not f*ck us in the ass everytime. 5 fkn penalties in last games nothing given…djourou vermellen and per see yellows with their first tackles ffs….wenger cant make that noise…they will fuck him even more.. the ownership/ceo/whichever mug is up there handling these affairs needs to start working !

  15. You could tell Probert was going to fuck it up. Last game he had Swansea v QPR he ended up getting an earful from BOTH managers. Don’t often get that. Doff of the cap to you, Lee, you absolute mug. He didn’t know where to stand, kept getting in the way… mincing about the place… Grrr.

  16. No. I wasn’t really up for any eloquent postulations yesterday.

  17. We should have put this one to bed before half-time, but the ref didn’t exactly help. Oh well. Several of our players look in desperate need of a rest – Theo and Robin in particular – which is what happens when we have to play essentially the same 11 every game. The FA Cup could not have come at a better time, and if we get knocked out with a weakened side, so be it. It is time to recharge and regroup, as our form in recent weeks has noticeably dipped. This side remains good enough to get at least fourth, but we need some help from returning injured players and hopefully a new signing or two.

    Terribly disappointing – but we have to remember that we are not the only top side to have slipped up over the festive period. All to play for.

  18. mattgoonerknight

    Well, he called several contributors on here cunts and the like, so I think you’ll be safe regarding the moderation!

  19. Franny Coquelin’s performance was a massive positive for me. Having a midfielder cover an Arsenal fullback makes a lot more sense. He has the engine to get beyond his forward and back again. Our centrebacks have done heroically well in an alien position at times but it really screws up our game for balance/support down the wings. Also less likely to pick up an injury trying to do something he’s not used to like ALL our poor centrebacks have done whilst filling in.

    FC is really fun to watch too – a swashbuckler. Not unlike my own style…

  20. When will the Four Fullbacks of the Apocalypse come charging into view I wonder? CJ, KG, BS, AS… mount up!

  21. Agree with the assessment of Coquelin. If not for our specialist Left Backs and Vermaelen being injured, I think he would have started in place of Arteta yesterday and helped us control the midfield. Arteta looked busted in the second half, not surprising since he has virtually played every minute of our campaign.

  22. mattgoonerknight

    Kieran Richardson….well it’s being reported today, albeit in The Mirror and The Mail.

    I suppose the problem would be what happen’s when (if) we have both Santos and Gibbs back, as I can’t see how he would get many games further up to pitch – would he be ahead of Rosicky, Arshavin, Ox, Ryo, Benayoun etc on the bench.

    A loan would be great, but why would Sunderland loan him out?

    He’s an interesting shout, though.

  23. matt, in fairness to PG, I didn’t see them all but those I did were directed at people who were intent on winding others up. So fair play to him.

  24. Yeah, all change for Leeds I hope. 3 games in 5 days always produces some upsets. Hence all the big 4 going down to bottom half teams over that period. Still thought we did enough had it not been for Probert but we move on…

  25. mattgoonerknight


    It’s your house and I love visiting – the write ups are superb and the discussions are always informed and insightful – so if it appears as if I was whining – sorry, I wasn’t – just found the subject of moderation amusing!

    If people are intentionally acting as wind up merchants then fair enough…

  26. Why does Bobby Zamora only play well against us – it’s infuriating.

    Agree that Coquelin was the big positive from the game. The whole midfield looked off the pace in H2 – but Fulham’s midfield did a passble (and passing) impression of ours after half-time with some excellent ball control and slick passing.

    A bit worried that we dont have a second XI to play Leeds next week. By the way, does anyone know what has happened to Afobe

  27. i love reading this site, you dont see so many clueless people convergd in one place.

  28. “mattgoonerknight | January 3, 2012 at 10:18 am
    Well, he called several contributors on here cunts and the like, so I think you’ll be safe regarding the moderation!”

    “CONTRIBUTORS” You call them ! Well as you noticed I call them something entirely different.

    In case any of our irregular gloating contributors missed it ,City totally dominated Sunderland ,missing countless chances ,and were robbed in the end by poor officiating.It is not something that is exclusive to Arsenal.

    But if Gervinho and Walcot are not going to score ,we are going to struggle.Of course assists and direct running are important,but someone has to score.
    You would back Arshavin and Ox to hit the back of the net with far more regularity than the other two,But that would give us a whole load of new problems.
    I am convinced that the return of our fullbacks and Diaby with Jack will see us push on.

  29. And bang on cue,Boozy the cunt tips up.

  30. Good summing up of last night`s action there YW

    Well, Probert was laughing & joking with RVP prior to the game – then proceeded to give us Coq all for 90 (+3) minutes.

    I also agree that D’jourou`s second booking was harsh but no worse a decision than the one we got against Wolves last week. Both goals conceded were preventable (nice assist from Squillaci) but the game should have been ours long before then.

    It seems as if yesterday brought back all the old gremlins we thought had gone – over elaboration & profligacy up front & frailty under pressure at the back.

    Let`s hope it was a case of a game too far for most of the lads. It certainly looked as if energy levels were low after half time & that must have contributed. Add to that the joker in black & the writing was on the wall.

    Stand outs for me were Kos & Coquelin. The week off will do us the world of good. .

  31. We love you coming here boozy. It makes us feel all clever.

  32. Happy New Yr YW an excellent et succint post as comme habitude..Yes The Ref was SHITE. Yet once again as you have clearly statedprofligacy rears it head n bites…. When we going to learn ?

  33. The most baffling decision the ref made yesterday was when Risse blatantly gave Theo a 2 handed shove in the back on the tou0chline. The ref had a perfect view and waved play on. Bizarre.

  34. Ah well, the decisions from the referee may not even out over time but at least the deflected goals do! (Fletcher<Koscielny)
    Deflections are more reliable then the officals during Arsenal games in the PL.

  35. someone mentioned that kieron richardson might not be able to play for a top club so he should be ok for us then, half joking only. But blaming refs is a sure sign that we are in trouble. The manager is waiting and hoping but has no plans. What we need is a proper midfield, Jack back soonish but we need a cesce replacement bad and some competition for song. We have to take it that we have no numbers at the back, thats just bad luck but there needs to be a clear out, too many over thirties . And thats that, otherwise we wont be in champs leage next year. y

  36. Hey Yogi, please make flying arrangements from India (& back). I would certainly be interested… 😛

  37. Not deflected shots but in the build up, you know what I mean.

  38. Wenger always blames officals when we lose.He never blames himself.The tactics in the 2nd half were football suicide.We barely got into Fulhams half.The Fulham midfied steamrolled us.We havent got a good enough defemce to sit back and defend for the whole of the 2nd half.Fulham beat us playing football.

    Yogi you say Gervinho and Walcott need to improve but being able to cross the ball is a basic skill of a winger.Walcott is not a kid anymore he has been at our club for 6 years now.The two home games were a perfect opportunity to bring on Chamberlain but he was nowhere to be see.

    We are in 5th place now with a fit RVP can you imagine where we will be if he gets injured.We are stuck with Henry for 2 months and the invisible man from Korean.To me the Henry loan signing is just a smokescreen by Wenger

  39. Jaakko Kankaanpää

    Strange as it may feel, it think we are seeing that it all comes down to the right full back. The start of season mess aside, games have been a struggle ever since Sagna had his leg broke. So get well soon, Bacary!

  40. Yogi you say Gervinho and Walcott need to improve but being able to cross the ball is a basic skill of a winger.

    They are not wingers. Normally the full backs to the crossing for Arsenal, Walcott and gervinho play as side forwards in a 4-3-3, who mainly cut inside to build up the attack. In the absence of our specialist wing backs, they are having to do the wing play, which is to the detriment of our overall attacking play.

  41. Lenny comes on an criticises Arsense’s tactics.
    He then displays his total lack of football knowledge by calling Gervinho and Walcott “wingers”
    Enough said?
    I think so.
    Dont fancy a new years trip to moderation.

  42. Strange as it may feel, it think we are seeing that it all comes down to the right full back.

    Not strange at all, an attacking full back like Sagna occupies the opposition full back with his dummy runs, and also interplays with Walcott. It is not a coincidence that Walcott has suffered a drop in effectiveness since we lost our specialist full backs. They say in a 4-3-3 the full backs are the most important players, we are seeing a live demosntration of that at the moment. The attacking full backs make the whole attack tick.

  43. Keysersoze ,Snap.
    He wont understand.He is a thick c……. oops,nearly.

  44. Pedantic George, but they are wingers arent they?

  45. Chairman Gallant

    Any time Squillaci plays,it is a fair bet that Arsenal loses,what a shame,That guy should be sold this very January,even if free to any club.Yesterday game was another proof that we are paper thin in terms of quality bench-the coming on of Benayon,Rosicky,etc was a complete setback as none of them proved nothing positive.
    AW should get out his cheque book fast and do some players’ shopping,or else finishing fourth will be an illusion to be pursued but never attained(apology to late Robert Nesta Marley)
    However kudos to Coquelin and Coscieny,they really,really impressed.As for the referee,his best i think was not good enough.

  46. Pedantic George

    That was a response to Jaakko Kankaanpää who I think made a very fair comment. Lenny on the other hand…

  47. Yogi,cant do Blackburn,the early start has fuck the job up.(gutted)

  48. And Colin ,another occasional contributed (shall we calll him?) displays a similar level of understanding .
    Is there a pattern emerging?

  49. wouldnt call them wingers either nor strikers per se …more like left and right forwards

  50. Chairman Gallant If you don’t think TR7 and Benny are ” paper thin in terms of quality”
    Get line the line with the other “occasional contributors”

  51. Sorry should have read

    “Chairman Gallant If you think TR7 and Benny are ” paper thin in terms of quality”
    Get line the line with the other “occasional contributors”

  52. Is it not typical Bale the media’s darling has a couple of quiet games- nothing said
    Yet Theo has the same and they go into assassin mode, I grant he could score more but overall puts in a much better shift then monkey boy

  53. and stop blaming our players. the f.a has been mocking us right in our faces the last 6-7 years. legitimate goals get cancelled, stonewall penalties are being denied, arsenal players get booked way too easily in comparison to the violence of our rivals. refs allow our opponents to kick us but should one of our player kicks back we get punished the maximum. wenger cant take on the f.a , he is a foreigner and the establishment loves it when they make life difficult for him. like fuck if they ever allow a foreign power own them in their national sport!! so what is the ownership doing? where are the people above wenger to protect our interests on the pitch? thats what should be worrying us and not whether walcott at 22 hasnt found consistency yet.

  54. George, So what position do Wallcot and Gervinho play? Please educate me

  55. Keysersoze
    Do you want to tell him ?I cant be arsed with him and his ignorant ilk.
    Plus you are better at it than me.

  56. Not really sure what can be done about the goal-shy collective.

    I’d like to see –

    * Players shooting earlier. Too often we prefer to take an extra touch, or three, before shooting. I’d like to see more balls hit first time – even if just to mix it up a bit. RVP nearly got a cracker like this, nipping in front of Senderos against Fulham.
    * Players taking just a few more efforts from distance (encouraging to see Arteta doing this recently).
    * More of the Ox as an impact sub – for me he brings a more genuine goal threat than Theo or Gerv. I know it’s difficult when our fullbacks are out, but Wenger himself said he was now ready and then dropped him from the bench. Mixed messages.
    * More of Yossi – he’s looked good when he has come on but has been woefully underused.
    * Theo to not always try and place it – sometimes putting your foot through the damn thing is more effective.
    * Gerv – what to say? I can’t think of a player who has missed more really decent chances for the team in such a short time. At least he is getting into those positions, however, there are signs he is now so lacking in confidence that he is also avoiding taking some shots on and that is, in some ways, an even bigger worry.
    * Wenger told us we would see much more of Park in the 2nd half of the season – that needs to become a reality. We have used up nearly a quarter of his allotted time with the club already and not even trusted him with so much as a cameo in the league. Given that Chamakh seems to be persona non grata, if one stops to think what this season would have brought us if RVP had been out for any significant length of time, one can but shudder.

    Anyone any news on Afobe’s road to fitness? I’ve not heard of him playing in the reserves recently. I’d have rather liked to see a front three of Henry, Afobe & Oxtail.

  57. George, Please can you educate me on what position they play.

  58. Keysersoze – “They say in a 4-3-3 the full backs are the most important players, we are seeing a live demosntration of that at the moment. The attacking full backs make the whole attack tick.”

    I concur – it does beggar the question, why have we persisted with playing this formation? Would it not make more sense to have added more width to the midfield?

  59. George, what position does Almunia play? I’ve always thought he was a goalkeeper, what are your views?

  60. Jonny

    Good point. But there is a method to how a team plans. I believe throughout the pre season the team practised playing 4-3-3 with a view to using the system for the whole season. It is probably not that easy to get the entire team used to playing a new system in the middle of the season. There are probably too many minor variables the manager needs to take care of in training, where particular players will make runs, who will cover for whome in different situations, how playesr will interchange. You are right in saying that a different system, say a 4-4-2, could be better suited in the current extraordinary situation where all our full backs are injured. But I don’t think it will be as easy to make it work, especially with games coming thick and fast which leaves very little time for the players to get used to a new system in training.

  61. Is Arsene Wenger our manager or is he Head Coach?

    Can somebody please confirm this. Its very important we reference him using the correct term.

  62. Who the Rassss is this Colin? Some moron that has appeared from the other side of The Moon…

  63. Billy’s Boots

    YW, re Blackburn meet-up, I’m interested.

  64. Jonny,

    Agree with your last two posts almost word for word

  65. Hoping that the main thing we get from Henry’s loan spell is his experience rubbing off a bit on Gervinho and Walcott. Both got into fantastic positions time after time yesterday (as Walcott did against QPR at the weekend), but they seem to lack that touch of composure. TH12 (?) could really help the cause by spending most of his time working with them in training. He will have two months with Walcott and one with Gervinho so lets get the best out of him for the short time he is available to the team. If he bangs in two or three goals on the pitch as well, even better.

  66. Colin – you’ve opened yourself up for a very obvious joke at your expense. I wont bother though…

    energy and poor refereeing, that’s all we can put it down to this time. We’ve been unlucky, but so have other teams, unfortunately it was Wolves and not the Chavs this time. Lampard should and Cole should have been sent off too, and of course went on to provide and score the winning goal for them. Oh well, luck of the drawer. We’re right amongst it now and will be for the rest of the season. A signing or 2 as soon as poss could be the boost we need. That, along with some of our best players to return from injury, and we’re all good. We still have better fixture lists than the rest of the teams above us.

    Happy 2012 all. Quitting smoking is the hardest thing I’ve ever done 😦

  67. Sorry – “all we can put it down to this time” – and some sloppy defending of course.

  68. Chairman Gallant/Lenny – same person, been on here donkey’s years. Spot s/he by lack of spaces between words and ‘grammar’. i.e. hastily typed, poorly thought-out, anti-arsenal copy and paste cliché bollocks. Pretty boring.

    Colin – is James! Actually quite fun, but definitely, terminally, dreadfully, irredeemably rotten to the core Tottenham. Spot by woeful sartorial/personal hygiene standards – as per all Tottenham fans.


  69. Limestonegunner

    Excellent post, YW. Very sober and fair. The ref wasn’t good but we have to take responsibility for not taking chances in the first half, which is becoming a regular problem for our attack. But I don’t think it a bad idea to have Gazidis talk to the FA about the poor refereeing of our last several matches, especially in terms of penalties.

    I have to credit Fulham– they played pretty well the whole game but especially overran in in the 2nd half.

    As I mentioned before the game and after, I’ve been concerned about fatigue and the failure to rotate occasionally, especially after securing tip spot in our CL group. The fixture congestion could have been handled better By preparing to rotate earlier. I understand we were desperate for points while clawing ourselves back to the top quarter of the table. What can you do?

    I think we could really use some reinforcing. The team has fought hard and need a lift. U think the ManU match is very important for morale. Hopefully we’ll be rested and in form with Henry, a LB, and maybe one real talent in attack to give us a boost.


    Sorry, but this is pretty hilarious. I am in fact carrying one of these packs with me at this moment.

  71. I agree Keyser – nonetheless an ability to adapt your play to what you have at your disposal – to play to the strengths of your players is a valuable asset. Very few teams stick rigidly to one formation regardless of opposition and players at their disposal. This was a criticism levelled at Wenger from a number of quarters last season – that we were unable to adapt from one method of play.

    I don’t know how completely I agree with the assertion. I guess you are right, if we haven’t prepared for this flexibility already then it is perhaps difficult to be tinkering now. Still it’s a reasonable to wonder if we should have had more flexibility from the start.

  72. Limestonegunner

    Several good points, Jonny. I’ve mentioned shots from distance myself since we don’t have as much width while FB’s are out and need more space through the centre. Gervinho does seem to be hesitating in front of goal now, but he is off to ACN and hopefully will get back his shooting confidence.

  73. Jonny

    But how many variables would you take care of? We have all full backs injured, that is one scenario. We could have all strikers injured, all defensive midfielders injured, all centre backs injured, all side forwards injured. It is just not possible to plan for these extraordinary circumstances. What can be planned, and probably has been taken care of, is to work with variations of the same system. But isn’t it too much to expect a manager to cover an entirely different system, which apart from planning, also required different kind of players like out and out wingers in case of 4-4-2?

  74. mattgoonerknight

    Colin, you’re only “allowed” to refer to them wide forwards (I think) as we play with three up front, RVP being the central striker (I think I’m ok with calling that) of the three.

    Regardless of winger or wide forward, surely the crux of the matter is that when in good wider positions, better deliveries / crosses / cut backs / final balls (select as deemed appropriate) are needed from players who occupy the wider positions on the field.

    For me, for various reasons, I am pleased when both Theo and Gervinho start – this doesn’t mean however that I do not get frustrated when they make heavy work out of delivery / crossing/ cut back / final ball opportunities that for players of their ability should be executing with precision on a far more regular basis.

    Again, I really rate Theo and like a lot of what he does on the pitch – but I’m still hoping he will develop this area of his game further as I feel it somewhat lets him and the team down.

  75. @Geo – Good luck with quitting the tabs – I went through that unpleasant process many moons back. There is no great secret to it – just if & when you fall off, dust yourself off and go again. Usually I failed when I was drunk and would hate myself the next morning. I’d throw the fags in the bin and go for a run as punishment – the pain of trying to breathe, after a couple of minutes of running, was a valuable reminder of why I was quitting in the first place!
    Stick with it – it’s worth the graft.

  76. Geo,I found it was easier to give up fags when I stopped going to the pub drinking and taking shed loads of recreational drugs.

    Matt.your sarcasm was noted.
    Call them what you want mate,wingers if you like.But if you do ,expect to be classed with the clueless Colin and his like.

  77. Thanks Jonny 🙂 for the first time, I am determined t do it, and am doing it for my own reasons rather than having my arm twisted! First day back at work today though, it’s been a killer… hoping to keep my hands and brain occupied all day. Arrg…!

  78. PG – haha! Well i dont drink that much, but every time i do i instantly want to smoke. Recreational drugs are another thing i am cutting out of my life, although there are special occasions that i feel warrant these treats, they’ll be a true test of will-power!

    Anyway i need to stop thinking about it now!

    Looking forward to seeing Henry back with us. I just hope that he doesn’t try to take on too much, and hope that the others in the team don’t expect too much from him.

  79. Who do you think Arsenal will buy in the transfer window? Or for that matter what position?

    Post your thoughts –

  80. mattgoonerknight

    Good – glad it was noted.

    No, I’ll be referring to them as wide forwards as that’s what I believe them to be in this current formation but God forbid if we ever play 4-4-2, I may need to re-think things. I had also better be careful once Sagna et al return, as I usual refer to them as full backs (right and left respectively, of course) but as we do not have wingers and Sagna and co. are responsible for providing our wing play, I might consider them to be wing backs – or is that only possible with a back 5?

    Help me PG, I like this blog, football and love Arsenal so I feel I should be able to contrib..oh, sorry, write a post, but I fear I may become confused and I don’t want to be bullied in the future for being either clueless or unintentionally being a cunt…

  81. Thierry Henry spent his entire career with Barcelona playing in what some Arsenal fans are now calling the ‘winger’ position.

  82. mattgoonerknight

    It is not just about nomenclature. The original post on this winger vs wing forward was from me, so let me clarify.

    I was responding to a post where it was mentioned

    Yogi you say Gervinho and Walcott need to improve but being able to cross the ball is a basic skill of a winger.

    Hence it was not about just the terminology, my point was that Walcott doesn’t play as a classic winger whose primary responsibility should be to put in good crosses. Call them winger, side forward, wing forward, wide man, anything you want, if you agree that Walcott or Gervinho in our current formation are not the ones to put in crosses, we are in agreement. Pedantry about position names was not my intention.

  83. Matt, have you been called a cunt?
    Your willingness to call cunts ,”contributors” is I suppose understandable under the circumstance,at a stretch.
    If you don’t like me ,or my attitude,join the back of the queue.
    But please ,contribute away.

  84. Exactly Matt. Winger, wide forward (funny one), left midfielder, who gives a fuck?

    The fact is they cant cross for shit

  85. Limpar, sorry I didnt see your earlier comment. How the hell did you spot me just from that?

    I had George on the ropes then

  86. Exactly, Keysersoze. Also agree with you on the 4-3-3. Drastic and dangerous to change a starting formation that’s 2 and a half years in the making and coached at every level through the club. It’s a long-term strategy that’s wavering due to us having 6 defenders out at once. We still should have been 3 nil up at half time on chances created. Persevere! Let’s not forget the same formation has seen us win 35 points since Sept 1st. City and Utd have won 36 pts in the same period respectively. A couple of fullbacks, any fullbacks, will see us right.

  87. Last season there was not the absence of our starting RB/Sagna and LB/Clichy, yet both Nasri and Theo goal productions dried up in the2nd half of the season…… fact it was repeatedly remarked on this sight that RvP was carrying the team.

    Last season, even when our fullbacks were making runs and crosses into the box……in many cases, Arsenal were lacking sufficient bodies in the box.

    This season, in many of our matches, Theo and Gervinho have been effective in breaking down the opposition and creating chances without the support of the fullbacks.

    Poor finishing technique – wrong choices…….all part of the learning curve for a new or young players.

    We will have to take the ‘wait and see’ approach with how our manager intends to use Henry.

    Our manager has quite a challenge in front of him; we should exhibit some patience.

    We had our chance to put the match away early, but didn’t. We left the door of opportunity open for Fulham and the official.

    This has been a recurring problem for Arsenal over the past 4-5 seasons.

  88. James you are easy to spot. It’s the smell

  89. I tell you something, his hold-up play is brilliant, but Adebeyor doesnt half miss a few chances dont he?

  90. There is a tell-tale mocking build to your syntax, Jimbo, old salt. As if you are talking through a sock-puppet. The sad part is that a lot of it rings true – but not enough for me. Avast!

  91. We did warn you about that, James. I also see that he is in the top 5 for offsides in all of Europe’s top 5 leagues. He’s well up there for being dispossessed too. Wonderful player, scholar and gent. Enjoy!

  92. “We had our chance to put the match away early, but didn’t. We left the door of opportunity open for Fulham and the official. ”

    i understand the comment of leaving the door open for fulham …not the one about the ref though … it is only in england where the refs are blatantly waiting for occasions to PUNISH arsenal. so what arsenal gave the initiative to fulham in second half..that dotn give any ref the right to assist the underdog. last year the minute dowd saw arsenal tearing newcastle apart and sensed a bit of insecurity in the gunners he raped us with two non existatnt penalties and a sending off which should have gone the other way. when the refs see arsenal in trouble they do their best so that arsenal gets fucked. and all the cleuless muppets down the years have been blaming the players and the manager. NO! it is in front of everyone to see. the department where we are really TOOTHLESS is in the higher echelons. the office of that southafrican slaphead who only knows how to talk about budgets. until we have a backscene person the f.a respects and fears dont expect trophies. they wont let wenger dominate. if they can screw him up they will. you can bet your house on it.

  93. Dont worry, our bubble will burst soon enough. A couple of injurys at centre back and were screwed.

    I honestly hope chelsea miss out on the champions league. Not only would it be funny to see Terrys face, but hopefully it’d give us another year with modric, only untill ferguson come knocking I suppose

  94. mattgoonerknight


    I agree that Theo’s and Gervinho primary jobs are not to whip crosses in from the wide areas.

    However, if you replace ‘winger’ with any of the terms you have list above and “crossing” with final ball, cut back, assist etc, then I think the point is valid that this is an area for improvement, and Theo and Gervinho need to be more accurate and consistent with the provision.

    I just feel there’s a lot of clamour to castigate people for people who, on the face of it at least, simply just want to join in.

    Take Colin for example. I don’t know, he might have some hidden “wind up agenda” but I just read it as asking a simple question “what position do you call them?”

    I’ve since been told that I can “join the likes of Colin” if my terminology isn’t rubber stamped – a ridiculous example of how nomenclature for some is very important.

    I fully understand that pedantry was not your intention, unfortunately for he who displays such a trait in his username, it seems more often or not it is.

    Anyway, anyone got some transfer news?” Left back”, permanent “centre forward” ; )

  95. James, we have a spare centre back you can have. French fella called squillachi.

  96. Matt, I can confirm that colin has no hidden wind up agenda. None whatsoever. In fact, he is the victim here.

  97. we develop youngsters for the game and for england, we dont have bums in ur squad like barton etc , we play a fair and technical game with speed that entertains, the brandname “epl” benefits greatly with its export of “arsenal’s sexy football” ..we do far too many goofd things when it comes to the football of this country to get treated like that from the english f.a and the referees. instead of calling for managers and our players heads and demand 50 million transfers just demand one thing …. a BOSS to deal with the f.a…. if the ownership dont want the title then how the hell will the menagement and players get it
    ? by will alone? where are the owners to protect club’s interests on the pitch ? im sick of it..7 years now theyve been fucking arsenal and we never hit back………

  98. Bradys right foot

    i’ve watched the game four times. I have watched every tackle, every foul and looked at the descisions given. Lee Proberts performance is clearly and obviously bias and hugely in favour of Fulham. If I was at the club I’d be hiring someone to look at the Asian betting markets and our results. I’m being asked to swallow a narrative that a guy who has reached the top of his profession is simply this poor and his performance is an anomoly however I remember the penalty he denied us last year away to Wigan infact his performance in that game was equally disturbing. Nasri’s freekick was “caught” by a Wigan player in the wall. It was unexplainable under the laws of association football why a penalty was not given. His performance last night for me is proof that something is incredibly wrong.

  99. mattgoonerknight


    No, you haven’t called me a cunt, yet, so thank you.

    My previous post was written in response to Keyser before reading yours, so sorry if you read above as if I’m going over old cuntish ground.

    I will post more easy now – thank you.

  100. mattgoonerknight

    Of course, Gervinho and Walcott can improve their delivery, I think everyone in the team can improve. This team is not the finished article, most of the players in the first team are young and have scope to learn and fine tune their games. However, although I don’t have the exact numbers, I have a feeling that Walcott and Gervinho were doing better with their creation till we ran out of full backs. I think Gervinho has 5 assists in the league and Walcott 4, and they have a few in Europe as well. I suspect most of them came before the full back injury crisis. The full backs occupying the wide position and making dummy runs creates more space for the wide forwards to operate. With Vermaelen and Djourou that support was not available to them and their performance tailed off a bit. Also I wouldn;t be surprised if our central midfielders have started getting more assists after we lost the full backs.

  101. mattgoonerknight

    James, Colin, whoever your are…..I’ve just realise what I’ve done… you sneaky spud : )

    I hope you’re right about your bubble, although at the moment I’m more worried about trying to stay with (and overtake again after yesterday) Chelsea and move away from Liverpool.

    If we’re both above Liverpool and Chelsea, we both play champions league….but we still must finish above you as well 🙂

  102. well said brady;s right foot !!!!

  103. and to the spud troll…whats the matter you cunt…were you as vocal the previous 15 years when wenger and arsenal were raping your sorry arses home and away ? thought not ……

  104. I have posted a video of Lee Probert sending Wenger off to the stands at OT. If you look at his demanour during that incident it is obvious that he doesn’t like Wenger a lot. I am not sure whether it is to do with betting markets, I just think there is a sub conscious bias with Lee Probert against Arsene Wenger which probably translates to how he officiates Arsenal matches.

  105. BRF you are wrong there is no hidden agenda or betting coup to put Arsenal down, get over it we should have won the game outer sight first half, second half panic set in, history

  106. cesc_ara | January 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm
    “that dotn give any ref the right to assist the underdog.”
    yet another can of worms in regards to officiating in the pl. (but unfortunately there are examples of poor or unbalanced calls every week end.)

    excellent Newcastle example…….

  107. cesc, thats exatly what I say to gooners who get annoyed with the table this season.

    We’ve had it for 15 years. Surely you wont begrudge us one season of finishing above you?

  108. Matt ,now you realise what James/colin the Spud has done.Perhaps you should rethink your complaints about me abusing him for simply asking reasonable question(as you put it).
    Am I to be blamed for recognising a wind up merchant before you do?

  109. Bradys right foot

    The reason I mentioned the Asian markets was that it would be very interesting to see how the odds and monies move in relation to Arsenal. It would be interesting to see any notable trends when certain officials ref our games. Track that over a season or two and i’m pretty sure you’d find more money going against Arsenal when certain refs were involved. You’d peversely get a much more honest assessment and look at our games. For me having a clear bias is corruption and just because it mightn’t be part of an overall conspiracy doesn’t mitigate the fact that refs our costing us. I’ve no problem getting beat I do however deeply resent the fact that Lee Probert is the reason why, yet again. And just incase anyone feels the need to type the words “even out” and “season” in the same sentance its a mythstistical fairytale.

  110. Well written and accurate post Yogi:

    Dropping points at Craven Cottage is not unexpected but I really thought we would hold on when we had a 1 – 0 lead in the 80th minute Disappointed that we let 2 late goals. Thought we had broken that habit but the defensive has been so good most of this season and I suspect that was just an aberration rather then a return to the bad old days.

    The lack of fullbacks has hurt the team in the last few weeks but our problems with scoring (other then RVP) started long before the fullbacks were injured. Our 2nd leading scorer after RVP in 2011 is Theo with 6 goals. This season when RVP scores we have taken 30 out of 33 points. When he does not score we have taken 6 out of 27points. RVP has been on an historically great run of form but even he can’t maintain that sort of form when the all the pressure to score is on him. Right now we are a good team that will fight for 3rd or 4th place because of our defense. Its gotten to the point that we rarely get 3 points without a clean sheet. Add another goal scorer to take the pressure off RVP and we could quickly become a great team that next season could easily fight for the title.

    The referee problem seems to get worse every year. The whole offsides issue is ridiculous. A reasonably close offside call is basically a 50/50 guess by the linesman. Every game there seem to be 2 – 3 controversial penalty decisions. We see the ones that happen to Arsenal but bad calls have hurt every team this season. Video replay and some sort of challenge system please!!!

  111. James at least has a sense of humour.

  112. Anyone else think both our makeshift full-backs gave great performances?

    I thought Coquelin was great and Djourou also until his sending off. Even for the sending off he wasn’t at fault and in fact made the best out of a difficult situation. Mert was robbed and Djourou did well not to give away a penalty. Very harsh free-kick. He can’t help being stronger and faster than most forwards.

  113. Markus,I though JD got pulled inside to often.I really felt he was going to cost us dearly.And he did.
    But what else can we expect from an out of sorts CB?He did his best,that is for sure.I don’t blame him,he is just not a fullback

  114. Bradys right foot

    Spy | January 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    BRF you are wrong there is no hidden agenda or betting coup to put Arsenal down, get over it we should have won the game outer sight first half, second half panic set in, history

    No Im not saying that, im saying we are more likely to loose points when certain officials are in charge. I’ve no doubt that the football statisticians know this and i’ve no doubt that a ref bias could be tracked on the Asian markets and possibly on the online exchanges.

  115. Happy New Year to you all.

    I would be up for the meet up again YW, so keep me updated.

    I thought the same about Chamakh and Park YW, RVP looked shattered last week against QPR, so was very suprised to see him start.

    Chamakh’s confidence is not going to be helped by not playing him, and to be totally honest, RVP’s performance didn’t really warrant a starting place, he looked knackered.

    I think AW certainly got the starting line up wrong yesterday.

    Our injury problems caught up with us over Xmas as well, full back is one of the most tiring positions on the pitch, and to have 4 out at once is a real problem.

    JD and TV are both more defensive minded than your average FB too, so that inevitably leads to more running for the midfield, compounding the tiredness problem.

    Yes, the Ref. didn’d do us any favours, but we should of won that game yesterday, our second half performance really let us down, and Fulham deserved at least a point.

  116. Markus……agree with you about our fullback play.

    Many others, playing their usual positions, that played below their standard performance.

  117. shame on all those who believe tthere is no referee conspiracy against arsenal.or that bad calls even out.i saw how the ref made sure spurs won against fulham at the started in 2007.we were called all sorts of names,the least being paranoid,when we drew attention to it.its good thing fans have now seen the light.but the fact is,we lost to a very good team.and we played poorly.btw,djorou is eligible to play in our next leaque match.

  118. There was that double save by the fulham keeper, the second one he knew nothing about which then hit the post. That goes in and you’d of had the three points. The fine margins in the premiership is crazy.

  119. How we would have appreciated one assist yesterday,eh?

  120. Admit it James u have a soft spot for the Arsenal doncha

  121. I understand why AW has not rotated RVP. Our back up strikers have a grand total of 1 goal in the calendar year 2011. If RVP does not score we have almost no chance to win. Chamakh has played in the CC and the CL games after we qualified and he has had a few sub appearances and it has not restored his confidence. There is no way he can get a run of games when we play the 433. If playing a game or 2 here and there is not good enough to keep him sharp then we are in trouble because he will never get more playing time as long as RVP is healthy.

    I don’t understand why he has not used TR and YB more. Either of them could play in the wide forward spots or give Arteta or Ramsey a rest without that much of a loss.

  122. Things patently do not even out over the course of a season and yes, we have been on the wrong end of some absolute stinkers over the last few years. These are clear facts.

    Making the leap from there to imagining a collusion between premier league referees and Asian betting markets which deliberately targets The Arsenal is madness.

    I can concede that some referees might let their bias subconsciously affect their decision-making but I cannot accept that some shadowy cabal has gripped the premiership, as notoriously happened in Italy.

    I stopped reading Untold Arsenal because they got so hung up on the idea that we were being targeted. Sometimes we have to accept there is not a pattern to everything – even if it makes us feel better to assume there is.

    Probert was incompetent I have seen little to convince me of more than that. We were already being outplayed when Djorou was sent off. I thought the sending off was a little harsh but entirely understandable – it was a tough one to call and Djorou made it tough by putting his hand on his shoulder – silly boy.

  123. Happy new year all – guess it could have been better under circumstances.

    Shit result last night. Cannot believe that for all our endeavours against Wolves, City and Fulham, we come away with 1 point. An absolute joke. I’ve seen some teams enjoy a quarter of the chances we have and half the possession come away and say they “deserved it”, after notching up a jammy win or draw. Yet unless I am of a particularly strong hue of red tinted complexion, we deserved at least 5 points from those 3 games. Instead we get 1 and more injuries. Fuck fuck fuck.

    Coquelin played well and showed clearly he is a class player that we need to hold on to. Otherwise not a lot of positives. The only thing we can hold on to is that we don’t have a crippling schedule and players will come back from injury.

  124. mattgoonerknight

    pedantic george | January 3, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    “Matt ,now you realise what James/colin the Spud has done.Perhaps you should rethink your complaints about me abusing him for simply asking reasonable question(as you put it).
    Am I to be blamed for recognising a wind up merchant before you do?”

    PG, you are funny.

    If that were the case, then no, you would not be to blame. However, are you seriously suggesting that you was aware that “Colin” was James the spud / someone trying to “wind you up”.

    Look at you’re previous comments regarding “Colin”; his wind-up-merchantry wasn’t in question, just his perceived lack of knowledge which all too easily wound you up. Are the rest of his like (occasional contributors) as you put it, all incognito spuds trying to wind you up? Am I?

    How long is that queue by the way?

    For the record – I am embarrassed that my good nature has been exposed as naivety and for that PG, I apologise. I feel my contributing skills have been put the sword.

    James / Colin

    Your a cunt : )

  125. To be fair Jonny – the Refereeing standard this season has been shit in pretty much every game with every team, not just us, so talk of a conspiracy theory is a bit fanciful.

    The game has never been faster, and referee’s do struggle to keep up and do only get one look at every decision point, so you can understand certain mistakes that are made.

    The bigger problem is the FA promoting referee’s who have never played the game.

    You can tell who they are, as some of the general decision making is ludicrous, and anyone who had ever played the game would apply more common sense.

    The problem is that the incentive for any decent ex-player to go into refereeing is zero.

    They should make all ref’s and linesman 100% professional with a very attractive wage – and fast track ex-players from lower leagues or the conference.

    Instead of promoting people like Stuart Atwell – who is a total joke and probably the owrst referee I have seen at this level.

  126. mattgoonerknight

    your not you’re…oops

  127. Matt,

    ‘Are the rest of his like (occasional contributors) as you put it, all incognito spuds trying to wind you up? Am I?’

    The funny thing is, they probably are.

    They might suppport chelsea though.

  128. Johnnie@
    Shadowy Cabal, I like it.
    Great name for a band as well

  129. Matt,
    I am indeed telling you that I recognised James /colin for either an idiot or a Wind up merchant.
    As my reply’s to him clearly show.And I care not a jot to differentiate between the two.
    By ,”occasional contributors” I mean the cunts who only come on here after a reverse.
    And I make no apologies for calling them out.
    As for how disliked I am on this board you will have to ask the others as I am of course bias.But I hope the queue is a healthy length.Otherwise I will be disappointed.

  130. George, my bredrin. I am surprised you are overlooking the ref with such ease. You are one the main people who usually have a problem with bad calls. We have been messed up by many offside goals, big deal if City get one bad call.

    Teams have played poorly and won matches since the beginning of football, so our lack of finisihing (though woeful) is no excuse for what we saw yesterday from the ref.

    I am with you Brf, yesterday’s match is not sitting well with me at all. As I said yesterday, you could tell that the ref had a made up mind. No wonder Wenger was so vex to blow wow!

  131. George,

    ‘I am indeed telling you that I recognised James /colin for either an idiot or a Wind up merchant.’

    Or maybe both?

  132. James.
    Despite what others might say.I always feel your brand of stupidity,brightens the place up.

  133. Paul ,which post are you referring too?
    It was hugely down to the ref.that we did not win.Have I said different?

  134. My bad then George.

  135. Referees need help its as simple as that. I agree with Jonny @ 3:19 for the most part. Things happen in millisecond and if the ref is not in correct position or if they only see something out of the corner of their eye or they are partially screened they will often make the wrong call. Almost every game (not just Arsenal) has at least 2 -3 penalty controversies. If the refs are not completely sure of what happened I think their natural tendency is to not give a penalty because giving a penalty has such a great effect on the game.The refs would rather see the players decide the game rather then have a ref decide the game. The 2nd yellow on JD was a dive but if you are watching it from straight behind and not from the side it would look like JD pushed him. How that play looks depends completely on the angle you see it from. Video replay would solve that problem because you can look at it from different angles in a short time.

    All that said the refs are remarkably inconsistent and every year it seems to be worse. Some type of video replay and challenge system is such a complete no brainer.

  136. Thanks George, And can I just say that of all the football blogs i’ve wasted time on over the years, this blog has always boasted the most interesting characters & conversation, by a country mile.

    …….Except all the stuff about refereeing conspiracys. Trust me, if theres a conspiracy, its against spurs………….

  137. Happy NY, Matt & Muppet,

    Agreed Matt – the standard is too low and yes it’s also a very difficult job. I’m glad I don’t have to do it!

    Muppet good to hear from you, yeah 5 points was the bare minimum we deserved but we must still be pleased with the season overall and try not to get too disheartened. Adversity is there to be overcome.

    TH12 to look forward to and then the return of our Jack.

  138. @ george

    I guess the “more experienced” doomers are waiting for a sustained spell of reversals before they come out in force..

  139. Is there an official channel through which a club can complain about a referee? If not, then I believe nothing can be done about refereeing inconsistencies other than trying to make your case through the media, which Arsene has done yesterday within the limits that he is allowed to go.

  140. @ Paul -N

    Did you catch the look of disbelief on Fergies face when the ref actually awarded blackburn a pen at OT??? Even though it 100% was a pen..

  141. Bill @ 2:39 & Jonny @ 3:14

    Excellent posts.

  142. @ James

    And a media conspiracy against bale too i suppose 😀

  143. I agree that refs need help but when a host of calls are going one way, the ref should be investigated. This crap is getting out of hand. Turning me off big time!

  144. mattgoonerknight


    I knew you meant cunts, hence the inverted commas, but I do now see how some may only visit given certain circumstances, which hands up on my part is a newbie lesson now learnt!

    On another, completely unrelated note, have you read The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro? You remind of the lead protagonist. That’s not an insult, just came to me while reading your previous retorts.

    I’m sure the queue will get increasingly healthier as the weeks go by – how could it not?

    James / Colin

    The brief cordiality between us is over – look at the embarrassment you’ve caused me you stupid spud troll cunt!!! ; )

  145. I think one problem we have in home games is that the atmosphere is not intimidating enough. Anfield or Old Trafford can intimidate a referee, whereas Emirates can’t, whatever Mick McCarthy might say, at least not to the same extent. That is probably why mistakes don’t even out for us, other teams, especially Man Utd and Liverpool get a bit of leeway at home.

  146. Totally agree with you on that one fact sometimes the trepidation around the place makes referees point to the spot against us IMO

  147. I am still angry as i was last night. So we were poor during the second half and the ref helping fulham all he could made things even worse.

    Time to move on, hope we dont let these opportunities slip everytime we get them.It is like making one step forward and one backwards.

  148. Well said Bill – the other thing is that JD had made a stupid challenge just seconds before for which the ref gave a foul and could have opted for a second yellow. Correctly, I feel, he opted to have a word with him instead.

    It was a dive but when a player feels you put a hand on his shoulder then it’s never a surprise to see them go down. JD should have known better than to invite the dive – it’s difficult for the ref to know if you are pulling the person back – better by far to not have him forced into making a decision.

    One thing that hasn’t been mentioned much was that Chesney had a bit of a shocker by his standards. I suppose it’s not too relevant as he is still honing his craft and is generally ace but it was a factor – especially for the first goal.

  149. But Keysersoze, it is said that Pool were messed up by the refs last season?

  150. Someone actually did the maths on all the important bad decisions in the Prem (just for the top clubs I think) last season. I can’t remember the exact details of how they decided to do it but it did support the contention that The Arsenal were hard done to last season. After adjustments we were placed in 2nd and only a few points off the top…

  151. occasional contributor and a cunt.

    theo should be given time to develope his skills.

  152. I can’t find the details for last season but here’s some reading on what I could find –

  153. Fulham were the Liverpool of the bottom half last night.

    Work the refs, attack Djourou…who was clearly the weakest link – You have to give credit. Clever game plan to shift to this after half-time. Frustrating that we don’t yet have the savvy to see this stuff coming. Djourou had to know that Zamora was going to take a dive on him, just like Eboue should have known it against Liverpool last year, like the whole team should have known it would happen twice against Newcastle last season. Barton and Diaby. Barton and Eveyone. The list of times this has been used against us is pretty long. We sit in the stands and watch on tv and we know they are going to do it. Why are our players so naive?

    As fans we hate it and as players it must be really annoying, but we should at least understand that within the rules this kind of ‘gamesmanship’ is par for the course. Our players are experienced enough to know the game within the game. Do they discuss these things before games? Spec the players they are going up against? Their tricks, their tendencies? I think it’s pretty common knowledge that Zamora will first play, then bully then flop. Liverpool watch Gerrard, Maxi, Suarez…Man U…Rooney in the box, Nani if he loses the ball or if the wind blows…etc, etc. I guess I just hate saying out loud, “Wenger take him off…take him off before they get him.” – and then watching Zamora try to hide his glee. If I can see it, I can only assume that it is only a stubborn refusal to accept that these things are part of the game.

    Am I seeing this wrong?

  154. Remember the time that fourth official challenged Fergie for doing something as harmless as kicking a water bottle a few feet?

    Me neither.

  155. axis

    i think ur seeing this spot on.

  156. BRF – check this out

    And there is a back catalogue of reviews and not just for Arsenal games. It is getting beyond a joke now. Sometimes players are tired or profligate, games are tight and one goal can be enough, but a bent or incompetent official can sway the outcome by his decisions. Given the history between Probert and Wenger, questions should be asked, but they wont be.

    What the Arsenal players need to learn is to take their chances when they get them thus leaving no room for the corrupt, bitter or incompetent men in black to rob us time and again.

  157. Gamesmanship? Can three fouls in a row within a few seconds on JD not given can be described as gamesmanship? That is very generous of you.
    Sergio Biscuits rolling about = gamesmanship. Three kicks in a row not called when they would be for the opponents equals generous refereeing. At best.

  158. Passenal@
    Incompetent yes, Bent no

  159. Jonny we would have been second losing on G/D.
    And I contend that our spirits would have been raised,and we would in fact have won at the end.

  160. Axis, if you are aware of these tendencies why don’t the ref’s know?

  161. ‘The Whinging Wenger syndrome’: (see above)

    Brilliant post. Saves you having to read my gr*tdamn awful typos.

  162. Axis,Wenger took Song off the other day for that very reason.
    He might have replaced JD but we are a bit thin on the ground for fullbacks,Who would have come on?
    I think this is what you are saying.If not.Sorry.

  163. Or how about a look at the meedjah coverage:

    Arsene sure does like a whinge, doesn’t he?

  164. pendantic point the missed george.

    arrange as u like,

  165. Paul N

    But Keysersoze, it is said that Pool were messed up by the refs last season?

    Been messed up to what extent? I am not aware of minute details around Liverpool games.

  166. I agree with Passenal!

    The refs are bent. There cannot be this amount of incompetence and it is getting worse, at the very least refs should be improving. It only takes one of two refs to mess the thing up. There does’nt have to be a a whole sale conspiracy going.

    Finsbury, the push in the back on Walcott said it all for me. It was so obvious but that idiot had his mind made up that Arsenal will not get many calls. RVP was fouled more than once and I guess he dived. The question is, if RVP, Theo and Gervinho all dived, why no yellow cards?

    The match should be looked into. Blasted joke!

  167. James is the Spud who wrote that article praising Wenger.

    I think Probert’s worst decision was Johan’s first yellow. He allowed the Fulham player to con him.

  168. Hey fins…you know what side I’m on. I don’t care if the refs are doing it, the other team is doing it…makes no difference. Being wasteful in front of goal gives the opponent, the ref…the opportunity to conspire against us. We all know the script, the ref is going to react to the crowd this way, he will resist giving calls because of this, The opposing manager will portray Wenger this way, the other team will try to take advantage of us this way…it’s like watching a Hollywood movie – we all know the end. I don’t care that it’s wrong….I don’t care that it’s against the rules…I want Arsenal to WIN, period. If that means that we practice how to jump away from strikers at the last second so that their dives are obvious then that’s what we do – hour a day practice lads, anti-cheating class – let’s go! If it means Wenger pulls Djourou and Song back there and puts TR7 in the middle so be it…but I just sense this foot-stomping-“it’s not fair”-stubbornness from our manager and squad and it pisses me off. I don’t want to be the cheating team, but I don’t really care to be the champion of football purity either. Even though players are not meant to foul each other, you still put on your shin-guards don’t you? Well, players and refs and all are meant to be fair…and guess what? They aren’t. Put on your anti-cheat shin-guards.

  169. Whizz.I thought”I think this is what you are saying.If not.Sorry.” might have given a clue that I was not sure if that was his point.
    Still “off fuck” arrange those two monkeys anyway you want.

  170. calm down george

  171. I understood you both…it’s cool. I just don’t get why we ALWAYS get caught like this.

  172. axis

    ur talking a lot of sense. i’d write more but i’m lazy.

  173. Put Rosicky back at full back…it’s 15 min…God for an Eboue – do a job anywhere type player…

  174. I agree.
    We should accept being cheated .Why not?
    We are going to be cheated anyway ,so why not just bend over and take it.
    Or better still, lets blame the players or manager.

  175. Eboue got hounded out of the club by fans who insisted he was not good enough.
    But yes,Oh for Eboue now,he actually could play LB and if pressed RB

  176. eboue waz a good player

  177. AW,you can see what you have caused the team,you replace Eboue with carl jenkinson who is he? No LB and RB for simple.we should deal about not looking around for strikers,remember days of pires,and the rest all the players can score no now,things have change. AW stop supporting those players they are not spectacular at all.

  178. Bad day at the office yesterday. Still brooding.

  179. olat

    baits a bit passed its sell by………. seeya folks

  180. And George, Eboue is scoring also.

    He was one of the players who would run at teams if they parked the bus. I would love to have him back!

  181. olat. and who new Eboue before we signed him? Jenks is a good player, we could sure use him in the team now.

  182. Hey Axis, hope you enjoyed that link to the 7am post, he writes the same as you more or less.

    My twopence worth is that you can beat fourteen opponents sometimes* but you can’t beat fourteen opponents all the time**.

    *last season Everton Home, this season take your pick
    **last season Newcastle Away, this season Fulham Away

    People queried my thoughts on video replay when I first raised it here on ACLF. I wasn’t distraught at the ‘uncivil’ reception. Because as we know according to reliable sources there is never any ‘give’ or ‘debate’ upon ACLF. I understood that most people would come to accept the need as they now do. Progress is slow.
    I just hope the SPL don’t get to trial replay. That will stink.

  183. we need another striker

  184. I don’t think so.

  185. We need our other attacking players to contribute to the goals. And we need a break!

  186. I agree with George and Passenal.

    Good stuff from untold Arsenal. That match should be looked into, something is fishy about it.

  187. We need Jack Wilshere, Bakary Sagna, Tom Vermaelen and Andre Samba Santos!

  188. Paul – how do you envisage we would cope if RVP was ruled out (heaven forfend) for the rest of the season?

    Are you confident Chamakh, Park and others would get us enough goals to get us into the top 4? If so why? Wenger does not seem to be thus far…

    I agree we should only buy if we can find a player who will improve on what we have – but I do not think this should be beyond us.

    I just think it makes sense to prepare for the worst eventuality – I think most are worried about how thin the squad looks in this area. It’s well documented but |I remain unclear as to why you think we are well enough stocked in this area.

    Genuine questions.

  189. John Terry – Smoking Kills –

  190. trust me JJ, I know.

  191. Yes, but we wouldn’t need a break so badly if we had greater faith in the supporting cast!

    I totally agree that the lack of FBs has been huge but the lack of trust and belief in our secondary strikers has also been an issue.

  192. i agree with wenger not trusting anyone else but robin..

  193. Jonny, I am not against buying. If Wenger buy’s then so be it, but he said he isn’t.

    I am going to support the players at the team and trust that if given the chance they will get it done as they have done previously. They may not be as prolific but they have scored goals. That’s why I am confident.

    Passenal is right, we need goals from Song, Gervs, Walcott, Arteta and Ramsey. That has always been a strong point of the team. The goals came from all over, for the most part.

    I also agree with LA, lets get players back.

  194. I don’t think there is an anti-Arsenal ‘conspiracy’. It’s just that our referees are fucking idiots seemingly very impressionable to a thinly veiled, inherently racist media narrative where every team is given a little hat and the little media hats are somehow allowed to be taken into a referee’s decision-making. It would be farcical if the hats weren’t based on xenophobic myth – but instead it’s sad and embarrassing.

    Starkest example: compare the contact that constitutes a foul in a game at the Britannia stadium compared to the contact required for a referee to blow up at the Emirates, at Fulham or at Tottenham. The amount of foul tackles that team get away with in name of being physical is laughable. That’s one end of the spectrum. We’re at the other end getting pinged for every glimpse of contact going as though we were Real Sociedad. These two teams literally play to a different set of rules every Saturday.

    It seems like a pretty obvious fix to me – don’t employ fat old muppets to referee the games. Cast the net a bit further than a bunch of impressionable idiots intent on levelling the playing field. Testing should be about complete neutrality – they shouldn’t even be from footballing families I don’t think. You’re not allowed to be a football ‘fan’. That should be the first rule. Outsource to some big sports science businesses – maybe a few law firms can consult – let them compete for the contract year on year. Referees would be picked for fitness, clear-thinking, complete neutrality and impartiality above all else. The laws of the game can be taught – unteaching staid old bigotry and football bias is much harder.

  195. Dups, thank you for posting that article about Joey Barton’s desire to sue refs who fall for playacting. The boy has no sense of irony and has a shorter memory than a child with ADD.

    Luis Suarez is full of crap. While true that Hispanics don’t use the word “negro” pejoritavely in some contexts, my dad calls my mom “negra” as a term of endearment eventhough she’s whiter than milk, it is also used to offend. Luis Aragones telling Reyes that he was better than that “negro de mierda” when refering to Henry is an example of that. I don’t buy for a second that he was trying to be endearing to Patrice Evra.

  196. Limestonegunner

    7amkickoff’s post today was excellent not only on the ref Probert but also on the state of our squad.

    I’ve posted the statistical analysis of Zach Slaton at “A Beautiful Numbers Game” on several referees once last month and when these same sorts of debates were raging last winter/spring. We have the same uninformed discussions, so perhaps this time it is worth reading up on the Untold Arsenal archive and Slaton’s statistical studies. What he comes up with, which strikes me as quite credible, is that there is clear bias, but it isn’t only in one direction. There are a couple of refs who are somewhat favourable to Arsenal as well, though the pro-ManU bias is most evident and pronounced. Perhaps the best thing to do is to have the club advocate (not the manager) and to support reform of refereeing practices and administration, as well as officials the necessary tools to insure decisions are the best they can be or manager’s the opportunity to challenge a crucial call in some format.

  197. Limestonegunner

    The other point I’d offer up (again) for discussion and reflection is that relating to studies of referee intimidation. The real home advantage comes not, it seems, in inspiring players to perform better because of the enthusiastic support of home fans but rather in intimidating referees to encourage them to favor the home team in their decisions. They are the ones most affected psychologically by the loud and intimidating environment.

    If we really want to improve our club’s advantage, we should be looking into how we can put pressure on the referees at the Emirates.

  198. Limpar, I totally agree with you. It seems like in Holland, Germany and France, referees are selected based on how they perform while in England refs are selected because of their seniority as is the case in the other big leagues.

    With regards to the overt violence at the Brittania, there seems to be a cultural component behind that, isn’t there? Are Stoke supporters the torch barers of the macho morons in England? That would explain so much.

    Promising English referees:

    Michael Oliver.

    Marc Clattenburg

    Neil Swarbrick.

  199. Thanks for that link fins…agree with Limpar as well

  200. Limestonegunner

    George, Where’s the genuine evidence that Eboue was hounded out of the team by supporters? Just because there was a lot of supporter ire and vitriol (all of which I thought unfair) doesn’t mean that was the cause of his departure. A number of folks, myself included, have always valued Eboue as a versatile squad player. He, however, might have wanted to play more regularly as a starter and to make more money. AW may have decided to trim him for footballing or financial reasons.

    It is enjoyable and an ACLF stalwart move to blame “bad” supporters as much as possible, I suppose. Denilson and Almunia have been here years beyond the high tide of supporter disfavour. You and I back Arshavin, but if it was up to the hounding of supporters he should have been packed off at least a year ago, much to our chagrin. Instead we both are looking forward to a run of games in which he has a chance to prove wrong all the doubters.

    I don’t think that claim stands up.

  201. Limestonegunner

    I like Mike Oliver as well. He had a great game last time he officiated us. I’d like to have him more often.

  202. Favouritism exists in any football league in the world but that doesn’t stop any team participating in the games. If reform has to be done, it’s from all the clubs together, as suggested.

    I don’t see why Arsene would buy now if 3rd or 4th is his goal in mind this season. Arsenal should be able to accomplish that when all injured players are back into the team. Problem is does Arsenal has the luxury to wait and get the result before that happens ( that’s between now and end Feb/March.) If not, by the time when we do have adequate players to really play as a cohesive unit it might be too late. A huge gamble I think.

  203. No probs axis, it was a good post.

    It must be hard to referee these games. I can’t understand the lack of aid for the officials, it will happen sooner or later. Even if the referees were respected former pros as in test cricket I believe that it’s fair to speculate they’d benefit from the help. As we’ve seen in cricket (Not perfect, improving).

    But anyway, having the samba king back and others mentioned above would be nice. My useless guess is that the odds are in favour of something else happening in this window.

  204. Nasri back on the bench. 😀

  205. “And the more we internalize other people’s criticisms of our team the less willing we seem to accept Truth.

    So, for example, it’s become de rigeur for Arsenal supporters to not only absolve the referee of any blame in every match but to go one step further and criticize anyone who dares to question the referee’s performance. I call this the “Whinging Wenger Syndrome”.

    It doesn’t matter if a referee awards the opposition two penalties in a game, we are supposed to “play through it.” I doesn’t matter if the referee fails to award Arsenal three clear penalties in a game, it’s the players fault for not “putting away the chances” or the manager’s fault for not getting the team properly “geed up.” Sometimes I wonder what people would say if Lee Probert dropped trousers, shit on the football, kicked it at the Arsenal goal and when it didn’t go in, awarded the opposition a goal anyway?

    “Shit happens,” they would say “get over it.”

    This is the internalization of external criticism. Specifically the external criticism that Arsene is a whinging, myopic, Frenchman.”

    Sounds like some here. Very good article.

  206. Did everyone watch the vids on untold Arsenal? shocking to blow wow!

  207. I just read that Theo was denied a pay rise. Is this true and could it be affecting his form?

  208. Limestonegunner

    Gains, does the article say he is denied a pay rise or the pay rise he wanted?

  209. Gains did you not notice a large part of that article was the author pointing out that the far left and the far right were ostensibly the same? Sounds like some on here indeed!


  210. Truth? What, exactly is ‘truth’?

    Di I think that the FA, referees and the whole football establishment is corrupt and incompetent? Yes.

    Do I think that there is bias in the game that works against us? Yes.

    Do I want to blame our defeats on that bias? No.

    Do I think it’s the reason we are not going to challenge for the Title this season? No.

    It’s just the world. It’s not fair. It never has been. No revolution has ever changed that and there is not going to be a revolution at the FA because a few thousand Arsenal fans think that refs are bent.

  211. Limestonegunner

    Gains, As I have maintained since 2010 WC, Suarez is a classless cheating, diving, dirty provocateur who has even bitten an opposing player. When it comes to the racism charge, he deserves some punishment and should apologize but I don’t think Evra’s claims about how often he used the word in question are any more reliable than Suarez’s testimony. His explanation for the one time he acknowledges using the word can be doubted, as you do, given the context and the resonances of the word.

    What I object to is the way English footballing public is congratulating itself for not tolerating racism and imagining itself so superior to the rest of the world. Uruguay had an integrated team with black players decades before England did and racial bigots like “Sir” Stanley Rous who supported South African apartheid during his term as head of FIFA are still revered historical figures of English football.

    I think Tim Vickery had a perceptive and reasonable take on the subject.

    I will certainly be holding off any praise for the FA until I see what it does about John Terry. I can see that the disputed number of times (Evra says 7, Suarez says 1) Suarez called him “negro” is being used as the main basis for the large number of games may serve as a convenient rationale for giving JT a two game ban or something in the best case scenario that they hold him to the same standard they have Johnny Foreigner, as disreputable as he happens to be. In fact, his other behaviour is being conveniently forgotten in the effort to demonstrate that this is only about how moral and intolerant of racism England is–so we here what a great and exciting footballer he is and how much he is appreciated for his football–hogwash! He is a diving, biting cheat while being a skilled player.

  212. Limestonegunner

    Everyone seems to be forgetting the part of the article that deals with the internal Truth about our squad.

  213. Limestonegunner

    …being used to justify the large number of games Suarez is banned and may serve as a convenient rationale…

    Just to clarify the sentence’s meaning.

  214. Come on City! (throws up).

  215. Limestonegunner

    So Suarez isn’t playing today v. ManCity. If he had played today his return would have been at Old Trafford! That would have been combustible.

    Hopefully this helps us since they could knock us down to 6th with an away win.

  216. Well said Consols. However as cruel and unfair as the world undoubtedly is, I think mankind should always strive towards fairness. We Brits are noted by many in the rest of the world for having a keen belief in the ‘idea’ of fairness and I feel that is something we should be proud of and strive to increase.

    Football in this country should not be held back by the dinosaurs – I’m all for the implementation of technology and for other methods of producing better referees and a higher ratio of correct decisions.

  217. Mr. Bob, if the ref is no good and it is obvious, why should we just accept it as unfair? I agree the world is unfair but where possible do we not do something about it? surely the refs can be investigated and dealt with accordingly, surely we can use video evidence in some manner.

  218. Right on time Jonny!

  219. Ah now. Paul, Jonny, technology.

    I agree with that. I have no problemn with anything that does make the game less dependent on the abilities and whims of FA time servers. I didn’t say that i don’t being in striving to be fair.

    I thought the argument was actually about corruption not ability. If the game is hopelessly corrupt, as some think, then the problem won’t be solved by a few replays.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    Either that or a sense of Arsenal ‘righteousness’. The world against us.

    For all that, yes, bring on the technology. Retrospective punishments for cheats on the field would be an excellent start.

  220. On the same page there Bob. The corruption thing irks me – I just can’t see any more than I think the moon landings were faked or 9/11 was organised by the CIA.

    Retrospective punishment is one of my personal crusades – I’ve been making noises about this for years. It’s so simple, so logical and so easy to implement. Cheats try to con the ref because they know they will prosper by doing so – a deterrent for clear-cut cases of trying to take advantage of the referee (and I’d be quite draconian here) could only be good for the game.

    I imagine instances of players who haven’t been touched throwing themselves to the floor and writhing in agony would be all but eradicated in no time. How could that not be desirable?

  221. we never depended on henry for goals as much as we do robin..


  222. Cbob, it’s corrupt in the sense that someone who clearly has a problem with our manager, can use his position of authority to dole out decisions based on his agenda. I have a problem with that. I also have a problem with the establishment that refuses to recognise the possibility of bias and favouritism. It’s hardly an ‘excuse’ for defeat, but when games are tight, as they sometimes can be, blatantly one sided refereeing should not just be swept under the carpet for fear of shining a light on things which some would rather pretend is not part of the game.. Sport is supposed to be about fair play after all.

  223. Jonny, I am not sure why corruption (not that I am saying it is so) is seen as such a big deal to you. It is in every single walk of life and we know it has been in football big time.

  224. I agree with all that too Passenal.

    That;s where it gets difficult. How do you stop it? It really isn’t just us.

    I’ve just watched Liverpool get away with a blatant handball in the box. Incompetence or bias? I don’t know.

    What we can stop, as with a retrospective analysis of matches, we should do. That is far less open to ‘misinterpretation’.

    How about an independent body for referee assessment and training? Seems to me the only possible solution is to take officiating out of the hands of the FA but the ‘turkeys and Christmas’ analogy would seem pertinent!

  225. Mr. Bob, refs will get things wrong, but it should be from time to time. When 3,4… decisions are going against you regularly, something is up. That guy was a disgrace.

  226. He was very poor Paul, for whatever reason.

    We could still have won though if we had done our job.

  227. if the FA hated wenger that much and its a corrupt masterplan to stop us then how the hell have we been allowed to win 7 trophies..

    going a whole season unbeaten in the process?? if wenger thinks its corrupt then why hasnt he jacked it all in by now?? whats the point in playing if you cant win and everyone cheats to beat you and everyones in on it together…such is morals and principles and all..surely a man of wengers elegance would not accept such a theory and surely tell them to stick it..

    the way its run is corrupt, the money involved makes it corrupt, the off feild decisions make it corrupt but thats all the politics… the actual game is not…when those 22 men take to the field the politics stop…the refs are just a bag of shit cos theres too many silly rules to enforce every season and they dont understand half of them and they aint fit enough to keep up with 20 professional atheletes half their age tearing up and down the pitch for 90mins..
    most of these guys can run 10k and do the 100metres in ten seconds nowadays and the fa have fat bastards like dowd and the piss ant who was in charge last night running around trying to keep up with them…attwell was fast tracked as the next great hope and hes the blind mother fucker who sees goals nobody else sees i swear they get them from the same place we sign our strikers from…

    our shots at goal in the last 6 games have far outnumbered the bad calls the refs have made..

    maybe if we could actually shoot properly and had a bit of depth in the squad in certain postions then we wouldnt be clutching at straws and blaming the whole wide world…

  228. thats a blatant handball, oh the ref didn’t see it. Like yesterday, RVP got sandwiched and brought down between two Fulham players, if that’s not a foul I don’t know what is.

  229. nasri was a starter for shittys last few (poor)games , he gets dropped and they are winning again.. how lovely is that and would’ nt it be good to see that pilchard spend some well earned time on the judy dench.

  230. That independent assessment would be a great idea cbob, hence it will never happen. I also think they need more referees. When you keep seeing the same faces week in week out, things can become too incestuous and there is opportunity for likes and dislikes to grow. It would also give more opportunities to drop refs for a while when they have messed up.

  231. I think you are pretty close to the real problem there Passenal.

    Too cosy, too incestuous. All these ‘mates’.

    I didn’t like it when RVP was joking with the ref before the game. Keep a professional distance.

    Actually, that incident alone showed that referees are not professional.

  232. Limestonegunner

    Looks like 5th will stay safe for the time being.

  233. We never hear Wenger mention the ref when we win.In the 2004 season name one really bad decision in the league?

  234. Limestonegunner

    The real issue is why should AW be investigated by the FA after his post-match comments about ImProbert when the previous critics of his performances who also were severe about how bad he was in their matches have not been? That is where you can see real unfair treatment. The same with UEFA, where AW gets a 2 match ban and has this added to when he is wrongly advised by a UEFA official about the contact he can have with the team. AW is too much of a maverick for the bureaucrats and powers that be, I think.

  235. I really don’t think most people stop to think just how hard it must be to be a professional referee. I’d love to see some of the people who make accusations about institutional bias, outright favouritism and endemic corruption have a go at actually being a ref for an afternoon and see how they get on. The game has moved on and mistakes on all fronts are so commonplace (or at least highlighted as such by increased technology) and ubiquitous that it makes sense that we get games where one team is occasionally on the receiving end of a proliferation of poor decisions. I have heard similar complaints from fans of other clubs – I think everyone has a innate tendency to think they get it the worst.

    None of which is not to say I don’t think we have been extremely hard-done to this season and last, I guess I’m just loathe to ascribe it to much more than incompetence. I have no doubt that some bias creeps in – that’s human nature sadly – but until there is real evidence I prefer to discount the outright conspiracy theories.

  236. Jonny, so we should feel sorry for the guy yesterday? Come on bro. That guy was blatant and alarm should be sounded.

    Something is terribly wrong in the PL as far as officials. They are awful for the most part.

  237. We missed a trick not signing Yaya back when Kolo said we should. Been a box-to-box monster this evening.

    Spurs have won 1-0. Boo.

    Sunderland get 4 but Bendtner still fails to get on the score sheet – not doing much to help his sell on value. I wouldn’t want to pay his wages plus a signing fee if I were one of the clubs at which he is likely to end up…

  238. Not quite what I was saying Paul…

  239. As far as what’s really happening with the refs, I think cbob and pass are onto the truth of it…close personal relationships allow for manipulation that cross the boundary between the refs and the game itself.

    …JonJon, trust me…there is very little love for Arsene anywhere outside the Arsenal and the small crowd of football purists. He is a perpetual thorn in the side. English football has been a closed society for a very long time with its character more influenced by the social relationships of England itself, rather than the play of the game. As such there is a socio-cultural script to which these things play. Just as Spanish football (Real vs Barcelona) is a description of the greater social interplay of Spain, the same goes for the EPL…trust me if that 2004 had done any less than it did, someone would have found a way for them to lose. It’s part of the reason SO much id made of that last penalty awarded to Pires. No one wanted that team to go undefeated but us. (this is all my opinion of course, so if you know better please correct me but, I saw it this way.) [Which in a way hearkens back to what I was saying earlier, because lots of teams flopped and tried to get us sent off then too – but that team was ruthless in front of goal, and hella savvy at the back. That team was brutally savvy front to back…Henry, Berkamp, Gilberto, Pires Lauren, Sol…c’mon man…they rarely got caught on some old okey doke bullsh!t. Our boys are still green in this way, they still think the world will love them for their great skill and flair. The 2004 team had a siege mentality that few other teams have matched. It’s what we are missing, i think. One would imagine we’d been through this enough times to not get lulled into relaxing in games, but we do.

  240. Your defence of the poor ref is admirable Jonny. But it would be nice if you could occasionally extend that degree of empathy and understanding of how hard things must be at times towards a player or the manager of the team you claim to support.

  241. Limestonegunner

    How is institutional bias, like that I am suggesting in the unequal FA approach to AW, related to the difficulties of officiating, Jonny?

    Incompetence is a neutral factor and should over the course of a career of officiating in the the PL even out. Bias is hardly a conspiracy theory. That’s why I suggest you read Slaton’s analysis (one article on Dowd and another on the 7 or 8 refs who have officiated Arsenal matches over a period of about a decade). Here, I’ll even post the link this time.

    My point is just that there is a better way to do this and I agree with yours and other suggestions for reform, use of technology and the like. I also think harping on about referees every loss is an unhelpful mentality and culture to foster and certainly hope the players and team don’t use referees as an escape from concentrating with full determination on the matters we do control. And I hope the club recognizes that there are things that need to be addressed in the squad, including strengthening in the transfer window if possible. But it hardly means we should ignore genuine evidence of bias or relieve the FA from pressure against the mistakes and unfairness that exists. Sport requires credibility and fair competition. This is eroding to some extent.

  242. Sorry, if I have you wrong there Jonny.

    I have heard there is a grading system in other countries. If the ref falls below a certain grade, they are relegated, fired or whatever.

  243. Limestonegunner

    Btw, I am sure refereeing is a very difficult job. It is made much worse if you don’t actively try to overcome biases, put in place review and continuing development programs that are effective and accountable, and assist referees through the use of the latest developments in technology and technique. The FA has dropped the ball on this to the detriment of the game.

    As far as feeling empathy for the ref. I say pay them well and give them support. Other than that they are just one dimension of the game that needs to be converted to an advantage for Arsenal.

    So I for one am more interested in supporters talking and organizing to make sure that we can create a suitably intimidating atmosphere in the ground that sways refs to help Arsenal instead of hurt us at least at home. I don’t think we are getting the benefit of home advantage as a big club as much as we should. Those who say we just need to get behind the players have it partly wrong. We need to get on the case of referees and make them feel like they should favour Arsenal. That is the job of the supporter in the ground.

  244. I agree with Jonny, this anti ref rant is reaching fever pitch now( no pun intended)
    Is this deflecting from some of our shortcomings

  245. I have heard there is a grading system in other countries. If the ref falls below a certain grade, they are relegated, fired or whatever

    spot on…

  246. There is no deflcting going on. We have said that the team didn’t play well, people have been saying for ages what they think we need. We have heard more of that than talking about refs on here.

    It is not an Anti ref thing either, it is the truth.

  247. Lol Passenal – when it comes to defending Wenger of unfounded allegations – I’d be way more tenacious. I see the link you’re making ;-)! But don’t get me wrong, I think Probert had a fucking stinker – that doesn’t equal a sequitur that shows he’s corrupt.

  248. axis..

    socio-english-cultural what??

    bollox…whats that got to do with anything..

    when we were playing ultimate wengerball we were the best watched team in england..everyones second favorite team…

    it wasnt until wenger started the ‘i can win things with kids stuff’ and not winning nothing at all and teams falling apart in the last part of the season that the media have jumped on him..until they found out his contract was running low and they needed a new national coach and if they could get him over harry belive me they would..

  249. That guy had an agenda.

    Watch the blow wow vids Jonny.

    ha ha ha!

  250. I remember after the away ManU game in 2008 which we lost 2:1. Wenger said something like “We are not stupid, we understand everything”. For me, that’s as close to admitting a conspiracy against the club as it gets. Yesterday he said something similar like “We understand what is happening”.

    Sometimes you can guess with a very high precision in which game big decisions will go against us. It happens when we look like starting challenging, like yesterday.

  251. Limestonegunner

    It is starting to get really annoying seeing Spuds progressing and maintaining great results. West Brom is tough to beat, even at home, as we saw recently. If they defeat Everton, the game in hand, they’ll be level with the Mancs on points. Horror of horrors. The real test is a string of games over Jan and Feb against top teams away culminating with the derby on Feb 26 at the Emirates and then home to ManU the next week. The schedule has been pretty kind and that will determine their season, I think, since they aren’t dropping many points against teams in the bottom half of the table. Hopefully everyone around us draws against one another and loses to us when we get them at home and that we get a draw or victory away at Anfield on March 3rd. This is going to be a scrap. But that weekend and following midweek is probably the next big marker for the season. By then we’ll know whether Spuds are challenging for the title, are in a scrap with us for CL places or are fading. Liverpool sans Suarez will be over and we’ll know what effect the ban has had on their chances for CL places. We’ll have Chelsea and ManCity left but will have played ManU, Spuds and Liverpool and we’ll be completing our knockout tie with Milan. Chelsea has to meet most of the top teams a bit later, so if they are inconsistent during this period, we might be able to eclipse them. Will be interesting to see what happens the next two months.

  252. Grow up. The ref got some stuff wrong. We were overstretched through injury and ran out of steam. Shit happens. The squad, as a whole, needs improvement or we need to go injury free to challenge. There’s no conspiracy.

  253. SV, that’s you and Arsene then that believe in the Great Conspiracy

  254. @Spy
    I don’t believe in a conspiracy, but i see a bias. Whether this bias is established by a group of people or is a result of some gradual development, is irrelevant. In 2007-08 we were the best team in the league and should have won it. To prevent it, they decided to halve our goalscorer and made us villains. The same happened two years later. Do not tell me it’s all just a coincidence.

  255. the ref got some stuff wrong huh, thats all you saw. joke.

  256. “Grow up. The ref got some stuff wrong.”

    Some stuff wrong? He got nearly everything wrong.

  257. I’m not laughing. What else happened ? Bad penalty shout. A few not given free kicks (Walcott, VanP), what else ? Fulham killed us in the second half. Was that the refs fault ? Please be realistic here.

  258. dfb

    I suggest you go watch the game again if you think that. Pay particular attention to Riise’s tackles on JD & Theo. Then tell me why only JD got 2 yellows.

  259. get real man.

    go to Untold Arsenal and come again.

    what took place is serious as far as football is concerned.

  260. Also Senderos had made more than 3 yellow card tackles and got away with them all. That never happened when he wore the Arsenal kit.

  261. dupsffokcuf. If it makes you feel better that we’re the victim of a refereeing conspiracy then be my guest. Watch most Premier league games and you’ll see bad and inconsistent decisions. Until we bring in another official with video replays it won’t change. But we lost yesterday because we were down to the bare bones and had nothing in the tank to offer.

  262. I am not saying it was a conspiracy. Why do you jump to that all the time. Lee Probert is not fit to ref in the PL and the same goes for Foy, Atkinson, Atwell and a few others.

  263. No full backs. Ramsey overplayed. Van Persie overplayed. Song overplayed. Arteta overplayed. Walcott and Arshavin below par. No game changing subs. Ran out of puff. Maybe that had a little to do with it too ?

  264. Limestonegunner

    Credit should still be given to Fulham. They had more possession, narrowly, and more goal attempts, though not as many on target. We were stretched thin through injuries and lack of effective options that has exhausted our players. On top of that the ref had a shocker. No reason to deny it. He was absolutely terrible. This happens to other teams too, but again, there is no reason not to observe and analyze what happened in our game, since that is what we care about most. I don’t see anyone suggesting that we played well, weren’t tired, and outplayed Fulham from start to finish but were done in by the ref.

  265. god i miss the days when we could just blame denilson.

  266. Limestonegunner

    I really don’t understand why everything has to be discussed as if it is either/or. Is it the internet that polarizes discussion or everyone’s unwillingness to deal with complexity?

    How is pointing out how bad the ref was incompatible with observing the points you make dfb, that everyone acknowledges were factors? Why should we ignore the bad performance of the ref along with those other factors?

    PaulN and I have been talking about the need to rotate for some time to avoid fatigue. Obviously the players have been overplayed. But we also needed every point to claw our way up to the table and through the CL qualifiers and group stages. We rotated there as soon as we secured top position. The problem is that we weren’t able to make changes, apart from in the back where we have had incredible injury problems, in midfield and attack because AW felt players like Park, the Ox weren’t ready and Arsh and Chamakh weren’t in form.

    Beyond that only a few hardcores have rejected the idea that we could use some strengthening in attack.

    An article I linked last night about how Podolski’s agent suggests he doesn’t want to move to Arsenal right now indicates that despite denials of interest the club seems to have made contact with Koln, which means we are looking. Plus Henry is coming in. Maybe some others will be too though it won’t be easy.

  267. limestonegunner: absolutely agree, the ref was crap. We didn’t get the decisions but Fulham probably deserved the win, or at least the draw, from the second half performance alone. Let’s not pretend otherwise. That’s all I’m saying.

  268. Limestonegunner

    Ah those halcyon days of scapegoating! Isn’t there a weak target in the squad now for you, duke?

  269. Limestonegunner

    Ok, dfb.

  270. p.s. dukegoonem … I still do …

  271. or bendter, or eboue, or almunia,

    at least we can still blame squillaci..

  272. LG@10.51 – yes that’s pretty much a fair summation of how I see it.

    I have read a lot of Untold’s analysis in the past and had a look at today’s and I agree it looks bad – shockingly bad. But then their analysis, though it tries to be, just isn’t even-handed. In fact at times it’s not even remotely close. I stopped reading UA in part because I have little interest in seeing Arsenal fans do statistical reviews of games and then, from that, draw fantastic conclusions (and they do).

    In a similar way I ignore the climate change deniers, who cherry pick data and include non peer-reviewed data which was funded by energy companies – because impartiality when it comes to data is important.

  273. LG also – latest on Podolski is that he has stalled on a new contract – could be a lifeline for those who have decided he is ‘the answer’.

  274. This time last season
    P20 W12 D3 L5 F42 A22 Pts39

    This season
    P20 W11 D3 L6 F36 A28 Pts36

    Scored 6 less & let in 6 more. Seems attack & defence is worse. If you take away the goals 10 conceded (before the transfer window closed) it would look better.

  275. Tottenham fan died of a heart attack at WHL tonight. Sad, even if they are rivals.

  276. Bradys right foot

    Passenal | January 3, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Cbob, it’s corrupt in the sense that someone who clearly has a problem with our manager, can use his position of authority to dole out decisions based on his agenda. I have a problem with that. I also have a problem with the establishment that refuses to recognise the possibility of bias and favouritism. It’s hardly an ‘excuse’ for defeat, but when games are tight, as they sometimes can be, blatantly one sided refereeing should not just be swept under the carpet for fear of shining a light on things which some would rather pretend is not part of the game.. Sport is supposed to be about fair play after all.

    Nutshelled, take a bow Pass.

    I have done a number of content analysis studies looking at media coverage in print, radio and online professionally. Personally I think Arsenal and our manager are treated appallingly. If I was working at the club our press office and media department would be on a warfooting and i’d be calling out these mugs and their daily drivel highlighting their incredible hypocricy. Even just having a cursary glance through Fergusons comments on Foy and Arsenes on Probertt shows a clear editorial difference.Trust me if i got that job those freeloading parisites wouldn’t know what hit them.

  277. Jonny: “Gains did you not notice a large part of that article was the author pointing out that the far left and the far right were ostensibly the same? Sounds like some on here indeed.”

    No, he said it at the beginning and never mentioned it again. But thank you for gracing us with your stupidity. 😉

    By the way, I didn’t think last nights game was as fraught with refereeing mistakes as other people think. I think Fulham beat us in the middle of the park in the second half and deserved their win because they fought hard as they always do at home. I was merely pointing this out to people for whom refereeing mistakes are just par for the course and when someone speaks up they immediately charge them with harboring some type of conspiracy theory.

  278. Sense of humour failure? Truly I’m shocked. 🙂

  279. Sadly yes I thought they just about deserved it too – even though he looked out of sorts, taking Walcott off wasn’t the best of decisions for me.

  280. Potential return date for Lasagna is the Man Utd game on Jan 22 – that would be a HUGE boon.

  281. Bradys right foot

    Jonny hope Sagna can make it back in time. I have a theory that says were going to finish this campaign really strongly. I know I have nothing to base this on save for the fact that Sagna, Jenks, Santos, Wilshire, and you’ll laugh now Gibbs and Diaby will be fresh and be chomping at the bit. There all due to back in the next five to six weeks if were able to string a couple of good results together until then I think we could the season finish strongly instead of hitting the wall in March.

  282. I’d love to see them all back – and yes it’s good to have baseless optimism now and again.

    I still think at some point all the horrible luck of the last 6 years will come good for us. We’ve paid our dues now – surely?

    In previous years when we got one back we’d then lose two more – if we can get a few players back soon, just maybe this time we can have the luck to stay on top of the injuries. That’d be nice.

  283. Tennessee Arsenal


    I’ve just watched it for the tenth time. Thanks for putting up the link!

  284. SV – “In 2007-08 we were the best team in the league and should have won it. To prevent it, they decided to halve our goalscorer and made us villains. The same happened two years later. Do not tell me it’s all just a coincidence.”

    That is some serious paranoia there mate.

  285. hard to take the defeat……..but were were really blunt in the second half. hope we see some action in january, hope that we can bring in a player or two.

  286. In case people don’t see their emails, events overnight mean that I won’t be at the Blackburn game so the ACLF not-meeting-up will have to go ahead without me.

  287. cesc, thats exatly what I say to gooners who get annoyed with the table this season.

    We’ve had it for 15 years. Surely you wont begrudge us one season of finishing above you?

    stfu you moron. did you see me talking about the table ? or any other table? i talked about this new phenomenon of wankf@rts like you storming blogs trying to get in our faces as if you have won three champions leagues in the last decade. what do you toothless poor bas trads have on arsenal ? what is it that makes you think you can talk to arsenal about football? you are light years away, and you know it. 400k is your profit for 2011 you fkn mugs……lol……youll be making dvds for another fkn century bitches!!!! you remind me of the starving man who is thrown a cookie and treats it like a fillet steak while ive been having real fillet steaks using you as the table to rest my plate and feet once im over. tosspot.

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