Is The Squad Mentally Tough Enough To Put That In Their Pipe And Smoke It

The drawback of European football’s absence from the remainder of Arsenal’s fixture list is that there is no immediate focus to divert attention from QPRs victory at the weekend. We have to amuse ourselves until the visit of Manchester City on Sunday takes over. Of course, it is starting to already with the lessons of Saturday to be learned and mentally consumed. It is that which provides one lesson that is seemingly never learned; overconfidence.

That was not unique to Arsenal; footballers at all levels become over-confident at some point, avert their gaze from the matter at hand and lose when they should win. It is an enduring theme through the history of the game, the shock result and one of the reasons that football is universally loved; that one moment in time, in a season when the bigger fish are slapped across the face by a smaller fish’s tail. Unless you are the big fish.

Arsenal found that out on Saturday and Le Boss will be no nearer to understanding why it happened than he has been at any point in his managerial career. EvenThe Invincibles were guilty of that; the defeat at home to Chelsea in what turned out to be a weak Champions League must surely gall the manager as much as Paris. They thought they had done the hard work in getting a scoring draw at Stamford Bridge but were undone at Highbury.

Arsène observed,

It is difficult to explain because we prepared as usual. Maybe we sensed it would be easier than usual and once you have that in your heads it is difficult to come back to reality. We got a reality check. I just believe that our performance was not at the level we have recently produced.

The impact is going to be interesting to measure. History this season favours the squad to respond positively; only once have they succumbed to consecutive League defeats when Swansea City and Manchester United emerged victorious in what was the poorest January return of Wenger’s tenure. To underline that history, every away defeat this season has been followed by a win in the next home game. The players have shown the ability to respond positively to their adversity.

There is a danger of taking that granted, that the win will come which would be dangerously over-confident. The spiral is there to engulf the squad and this must be guarded against. I am sure that this will be the case. City provide an interesting opponent, not just for their squad and the contrast in money spent. There can be no argument that they have underachieved this season. The investment demanded at least some silverware and they are going to end with nothing in all likelihood. That casts telling judgements about their manager, their organisation and the players. Collectively, it is the most talented squad that could be mustered in the Summer yet there remain question marks over their mentality along with the abilities of the manager and staff to motivate them.

By the time kick-off comes on Sunday, they may require a win to keep their faint title hopes flickering. Even then it is case of prolonging the mathematical agonies. City thought that their derby encounter with United on April 30th would decide the title. Defeat for them this weekend coupled with a United win makes it more likely that they will be giving their city rivals a Guard of Honour onto the pitch. That said, I would not expect them to provide such recognition given their utter lack of anything resembling class.

Arsenal have their own pressures to deal with, not least of which is finishing third. The squad is capable of doing that, mentally and physically. It is interesting the perception change in the media, underlining the fickleness of their views, that Spurs are now being proclaimed as a great team with five points out of the last nine, compared to Arsenal’s six from the same three game period. You would have thought that the public utterances of Bale and van der Vaart would be enough to ensure Arsenal players are fully motivated and focussed; it also misses the point that Sunderland are tougher opponents than they are being given credit for. Whilst Tottenham appear to have the kinder run-in on paper, their recent failures highlight that football is not played on paper.

Elsewhere, Yann MVila stoked up the transfer auction by claiming that he wants to go where the fun is. Puritanical England may not be his best option where Marouane Chamakh‘s failure to indulge in self-flagellation following the defeat at Loftus Road is apparently big news. Let’s be honest, the only reason that Arsène is going to be annoyed is that he was not invited.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on April 3, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 112 Comments.

  1. Like we have been saying, the next few matches will tell us an awful lot.

    Interesting times.

  2. Cbob,

    Not even the next few: just the next one. Beat Citeh and silence will reign regarding any fickleness. As Yogi says, the Spuds’ are very vocal at present. Thier barking needs to be shown to be mad.


  3. YW,

    I wonder how Maureen will be feeling given M’Vila’s preference of little old us over mega bucks Real?

    “Asked about his future, M’Vila told Canal+ he would be particularly interested in linking up with a fellow Frenchman, and said: “Inter, Arsenal, Real… I will take the fun everywhere!”

    “These are great clubs. If the coach calls you and tells you he wants you to make you play, especially a French coach, it changes everything.

    “The important thing for me is getting playing time for the France team.”

  4. I love the title, but please do not add to the gossip … we haven’t even got the player we are supposed to have already agreed to sign .. allegedly.

  5. Jermaine Pedant

    Can’t fault the Prem for entertainment, which utd certainly haven’t provided this season – they’ve just ground out results. Sickening but there are lessons to be learnt there. We need to build on recent successes – learn to win before putting a foot on the pitch.

    Nothing again for us this year but still very optimistic.

  6. Michael Gregory

    I still have doubts about the defence.You look at the Inter Barcelona game.Whenever Messi had the ball,at least two to three players would be on him.It doesn’t take a great defence expert to nullify a dangerous player.
    For the game with MC,defence must be a team job and not just for defenders only.If the players do not slacken there is no reason why the gunners can’t win.

  7. M City will have to go all out against us on Sunday. They will be desperate for a win, and anything but that would surely see their hope of the title disapear. That could suit us actually, they will heopfully commit quite a few bodies and we can pick them off.

    We are a better team than them, but they have more match winners. I reckon 2-1 to the Arsenal.

  8. I don’t see them coming out all guns blazing GA, this is Mancini we’re talking about. 0-0 at half-time will suit him just fine, I would only expect them to start piling men forward if they’re not in the lead in thelast quarter. Of course, if we can get one before that they will have to step it up a bit.

  9. Yeah true, he is a cautious type.

  10. The man c game is going to be tough whatever mindset they are currently in, teams always raise their game against Arsenal. Contrary to the belief of your average doomer, beating Arsenal especially at the home of football is still considered a prize, even for the nouveau riche.

  11. YW,
    Nothing to do with football, but on behalf of all former pipe smokers who still miss St Bruno and the like, there was absolutely no need for that headline of yours. It all brings back the torture of giving up all those years ago… though it was yesterday.
    As a result, I haven’t yet read your post! 😳

  12. Hahaha Nicky..
    Morning everyone. Still a bit down do to the fact we didn’t close the deal over the weekend and consolidate third place. I think we have a good enough team to get past a relegation bound team but we were slower than usual. Both physically and mentally. Even the ball was moving at a slower pitch. I agree with OOU AND GEORGE on this. The pitch was not up to code. That’s all we ask. It slowed us down for one thing. And many of the players had difficulty keeping their footing including TV. just saying. If two land armies were going to war and only one side was aware of where the land mines are hidden, then that army clearly has an advantage.
    I think from here on we will be witnessing two separate. Horse races. One for first place ,the other for third. I do hope we have what it takes to wrestle third place from the spudniks. As for the game against shitty ,I think it might end in a draw. 1-1 maybe….
    Up the GUNS!!!!!!!

  13. So, what was in Chamakh’s pipe? I bet you after that game, most of our players wish they had a pipe to smoke.

  14. Let’s face it no one really gives a fuck about entertaiment if the results are right and there are trophies in the cuppard, entertainment is for the games where your worried about the result, it’s a bonus but 1- 0 to the Arsenal will do me anyday. Take last nights game it had no goals for 80 mins but was still a decent game in my opinion and Blackburn played there part in this. I would take a five point lead with 7 games to go over entertainment

  15. Over the last 2 days, I’ve been so disappointed about losing to QPR. I think it was because it was a Mark Hughes team peppered with a platinum cunt here or there. I asked myself for example, would I have been more pissed if we lost to Everton? Probably not.

    However, I’ve resolved to stop letting Sparky and his ilk live in my head rent free. fuck ’em and bring on Man City. I feel good about Sunday’s game albeit knowing it will be a very tough game. I’d be happy to settle for a Milan-esque performance that was all so enjoyable.

  16. That should read ( not worried about the result)

  17. I’ll take a milanesq, second leg offcourse. .

  18. I want Barton broken un half, so bad.
    Is that soo wrong??

  19. i had nearly forgotten about that game at highbury,,thanks for making my day miserable,lehmann should have done better with the original shot instead of palming it to lampard,and that god awful lucky wayne bridge goal,that was a sickening wednesday night,worse than paris indeed,thanks for making me miserable for the day,i nearly forgot about that,thats why i hate chelski so much,that game at highbury,thanks for reminding me.

  20. I’m still kinda hoping we can finish 2nd. Imagine the utter confusion and embarrassment of the pundits and experts. Arsenal finishing above City. A victory on Sunday would cut the gap to 10 points and probably break what is left of City’s spirit. I’ve seen us close 10 point gaps in less time.

  21. Clerkenwell Gooner

    Let’s be honest, the only reason that Arsène is going to be annoyed is that he was not invited.

    Spot on. The Daily Heil even goes so far as to impart the good news that “shisha is legal in the UK.”

    Good god, these are grown men, compatriots, socialising after a match. What is the point, if you can’t even do that? What do we want them to do, go home and stare at their piles of money all evening?

    Football is becoming a recipe for sending young men mad.

  22. 3rd is within grasp. 2nd is not very probable. Shitty and manure will drop some points but no where near ten points. Good morning Irish, how goes it.

  23. Some might recall I posted about this a few months back – I then heard nothing but it was true – yet another match fixing scandal is unravelling in Serie A.

  24. Personally I think Vermaelen is being scapegoated (undeservedly of course) but he hasnt gotten it as bad. Imagine what the situation would have been if that had been Djourou or Squillacci.

    Well, as a team we could have done better but obviously we didnt even though there were other mitigating factors to our loss. All water under the bridge now, we have mancity to look forward to and hopefully we will return to our winning ways.

    I agree with Passenal, even teams that seem to be at the lowest of their lowest point ALWAYS raise their game when they play us, it will be up to the team to stay focused and deliver irrespective.


  25. Jonny – interesting that the Italians are still indulging in the dark financial arts.

    I bet you if I was to say the money involved in the English game is an incentive for such a case, the usual suspects would quickly come out with “never, never in our honest game”.

  26. Yogi, Arsene with a pipe?

  27. I expect Mancini is go for a real ugly special on Sunday. He’ll be looking for the one goal then defend like hell!

  28. It’s not very surprising though Darius – Italy is a country where corruption is rife in every walk of life. Many local councils are openly mafia run. Their own prime minister is currently on trial and not for the first time. Corruption amongst politicians is taken for granted and safeguards to prevent it are famously non-existent.
    In football, clubs are frequently beholden to the Ultras who can make extraordinary demands and threats.
    A corruption scandal could happen here but, without evidence, all we can do is look for correlation with unusual betting patterns (which we do monitor and is monitored closest of all by the betting companies who have a vested interest) and to be careful that we have safeguards in place to make corruption unlikely (this is something that I know is also looked at both as a country and within specific areas).
    There is a corruption index published every year and England are consistently in the top 20 (16th last year).
    Italy are down at around 70 mark.
    All of which proves nothing – but then absence of proof is the issue here – until a sniff of it is uncovered it is reasonable for us to be mindful of suspicious performances but nothing further.
    I remain convinced that we are doing a damn sight more to prevent it in England then happens in many other countries.

  29. As if by magic, this is from last Friday –

  30. Jonny – I agree that the correlation between football and corruption in the general population is a factor.

    It still happens though, even if its called by another name – a classic example being the Conservaties selling access to the Prime Minister. I really can’t see how Cameron, or his advisors would be stupid enough to think that if someone gifted them quarter of a million pounds, they’d want something in return. There’s many other high profile cases frim the Jonathan Aitken drama to Tony Blair’s cash for peerages scandal, but the general consensus is that these are isolated incidents – not normally called corrpution that need to be kept away from the straight and narrow mainstream.

    If we then take it that there’s a correlation of some sort, and in particular because of the fact that its a billion dollar industry in football, the law of averages dictates that match fixing does happen, but the establishment has done well to keep it at arms length. I think its amost impossible to entirely eliminate it though.

  31. Lobbying is the modern word for corruption.

  32. Goonerkam – Good morning buddy 🙂 Managed to catch the QPR game, now wish I hadn’t! Spurs fans have come back out of the woodwork, I think it is time we finally shut them up with victory over City. The 2 times we played them this season we lost but only 1-0 each time. The CC game was pretty even but in the League they had one shot which they scored from, we were well and truly robbed that game!

    Anyways, after spending a few nights in New Orleans (wonderful city by the way but stay off Bourbon Street, there is so much more to it than that!) we spent a night with my cousin in Long Beach, Mississippi and then moved on to Tallahassee, Florida for a weekend with some friends. Just got into Savannah, Georgia last night. Took in one of the local Ghost Tours, a lot of fun. Had a couple of beers in a local tavern but was in bed early (C’bob would be so proud!) now it is off to breakfast and then a few hours walking around sightseeing/shopping, followed by lunch and drinks with some friends who are in town for the day also. What happens after that will depend on how many drinks we have at lunch 🙂

  33. Yogi:

    Another top post. Thanks again.

    This weekend was an unexpected result but I really believe it was a one off. We have played very well at home this season and I think we will be back on track against City. Winning is not a mathematical necessity but we need at least a draw and I am confident we can get it. We need the defense to go back to the form they had showed in the 2 games before last Saturday. Clean sheet would basically gaurantee a win but we can’t afford to concede more then 1 if we want at least a draw. .

    I really hope RVP scores a couple. I would hate to see Wayne Rooney catch him for the golden boot. A small item I know, but I think RVP deserves player of the season in England and may be all of Europe.

  34. Darius safi kabisa.

  35. Jonny:

    I would not be shocked if we found out that Man City or Chelsea had tried to buy off a ref or even 2 to fix a match in their own favor. I doubt its happened but that scenario would not be beyond belief even in England. However when you try to postulate a complex conspiracy involving multiple entities with the goal of hurting one team when there would be no financial gain that it becomes hard to believe even in Italy or Russia, much less in England.

  36. Just to keep everyone up-to-date on the site. Domains are currently being registered and a transfer of the site to a new home is being made shortly. Someone else has registered the domain so I won’t be using that one. It has nothing to do with me nor do I endorse it.

  37. The team will bounce back.

    A lot of traveling there Irish! if you are ever close to houston, let me know!

  38. Nope it’s certainly not beyond belief Bill but, when evaluating the likelihood you’d have to ask is it worth the risk? These are clubs which are buying up the best players in the world – to risk bribing a referee seems an unnecessarily large one to take. The ramifications of such an action outweigh the benefit.
    It could happen but, as I was saying, without evidence that it has, there is no point in assuming it is the case.
    It is far more likely to be a betting scandal, than one where a team tries to bribe a referee in order win. Also, as we saw with Bragia, more commonly affects a team/individuals with a lot to lose rather than something to gain.

  39. Jonny, people usually don’t think they will get caught.

  40. Jonny:

    I agree completely with your thoughts. Thanks for the links but lets not start another round of conspiracy debates today. We will have plenty of chances to revisit this issue the next time a bad call goes against us. 🙂

  41. I have found the M’Vila links interesting this week, mainly as everyone assumes it would be to compete with or replace Alex Song.

    I am not suggesting Song is left out, but he is not a truly defensive midfield player and one area we could improve on this season is the number of goals we have conceded, which suggest’s we are not as strong defensively as some of our rivals.

    In day’s gone by, we have had Petit or Gilberto covering Vieira, both much more defensively minded than Song, albeit in a slightly different formation, but perhaps M’Vila and Song in the same team would provide greater defensive strength in certain games where required.

  42. Thanks for the links but lets not start another round of conspiracy debates today.

    this. 😉

  43. Jens has been talking up Polanski in the press this morning…

    says he has a ‘good shot’ and ‘likes to have fun’…

    surprised prison hasn’t cured the fun part…

    but a good shot he always had – his close ups were famous…

  44. This team has much pride (in the good sense) and this remains an excellent run, with one loss, so I expect a cracking match; it has the hallmarks of an epic, nerves on both sides, for them it’s realistically the last chance, so let’s just see.

  45. It would be strange to pay so much for a player (M’Vila) that we don’t actually need, but if he would improve the squad he would be a welcome addition.

  46. But maybe AW thinks we do need him Andy?

    He has changed formation’s before during his reign, so maybe he is thinking about playing M’Vila and Song?

    Maybe AW thinks that that would improve the team?

  47. Matt – Didn’t quite mean it like that. I would say that we needed a better back up option to RvP (as we don’t really have a stand out option). We have a number of players who could parnter Song regardless of formation. plus we have the likes of Frimpong and Le Coq in the wings.

    That said, I am all for buying players that improve the team. Even if that does mean it “kills” a lesser players time with us. Team improvement is paramount.

    What I was getting at I suppose is that if we are to spend such a large amount of cash, do we not have more pressing areas to strengthen first? I would be more than happy if he does sign though.

  48. Matt, our goals against is skewed by a few matches and wholesale injuries to our fullbacks. We have doing quite well at the back. Song is tops and he takes care of his defensive duties.

  49. Matt @ 3:36:

    I like the way you think. 🙂 :).

    Zimpaul @ 3:39.

    Should be a great game. Wish we did not have to wait until Sunday. Always thought it was bad for the team when the fixtures were so congested, but now I find the waiting for 8 days between games is frustrating.

  50. Bill, I thought Per answered all of our problems at the back?

  51. @Bill
    But when will you learn that defences don’t win you titles in a league environment? 😉 It can work in a short cup run, but you’ll have to go mighty far back to find a team that was way below par offensively that has won the championship in any of the major leagues while it almost happens on a regular basis that the team that scores the most goals also wins the league in the end, even if their defensive record would only place them 2nd or worse.

  52. Evil – Heh, 1989?

  53. The momentum issue, that you raised a week or two ago, Yogi, does seem retrospectively relevant. It’s possible that one game a week, rather than being beneficial for resting and totally focusing on one target, is having a detrimental effect. It’s taken the intensity out of the season, for f*** sake! The same could be said for City’s season. I’ve no idea what the answer is. But I can’t wait for the weekend’s match. It’ll be fascinating.

  54. @GA
    We scored the most goals in the league and our defensive record was worse than Liverpools.

  55. In fact, I just checked, it was even worse than ManU’s in that season. And they finished 11th.

  56. Of course! The answer is to stay in the CL and use the squad.

  57. There is this gross misconception that we were only playing boring ultra-defensive football under Graham. We didn’t. We were quite the attacking team in the first half of his tenure. Only after changes made after 91 we turned into boring, boring Arsenal.

  58. And with all the time between games, we get articles on the official website of Robin and his “Element Of Surprise”. Just don’t tell them about it, Robin. Just don’t tell them!

  59. Evil – It was tongue in cheek. I should have added a smily winky thing 🙂

  60. Even if you take out the 8 conceded at OT we have still conceded more than Man U and Man City, so if you were analysing area’s where we could improve, maybe that is one, and maybe playing a more defensive system in midfield in certain games would address that issue.

    I would agree that back up / competition for RVP is the most obvious area for improvement, but it does seem that Podolski is pretty much a done deal.

    If AW was thinking about a more defensive approach, maybe Central Midfield is where his second priority is?

  61. @GA
    Damned internet! One day someone will invent an alternative to all this that allows sarcasm, irony and all that to transmit properly.

  62. Paul:

    I hope that our goal for next year is to challenge for a title. During the 12 games in 2012 the Red Mancs they have taken control of the title race and they have conceded 7 league goals and that includes the 3 at Stamford Bridge. No secret why they are probably going to win the league again.

    During the last 8 games we have had all of our best defenders together and playing well. Even during that run we still conceded 8 goals in 8 games. We have put together a run of great results but history tells us that great form is not sustainable over the course of a full season with that sort of defensive record. Not much realistic chance of a title challenge when you concede a goal or more per game. We are a better defensive team this season but we still have to improve. If we can do that by bringing in another player then I would think we should all be for that.

  63. Michael Gregory

    The last few seasons have seen the gunners falter when the finishing line was so close.If there is another hiccup,Wenger is to be blamed.That shows lessons have not been learned and if the same scenario happens,it is unacceptable.
    That means there must be a change in approach.MC fighting for the title will be perked up and if the gunners don’ t show the desire and capacity to fight,don’t be surprised they could be overtaken by Chelsea and NU,
    What then?Of course this is the worst scenario but it can happen.,

  64. Matt, there is more to this season that one match, however even if we are not as good at the back as City and United that does not mean that we have not improved and that we need another DM, we don’t. We have seen what we can do when we have most of our players.

    Bill, lets us look at some of the goal we conceded. A dive to win a pen, a fluke deflection and unfortunate slip by TV. Now it is easy to just come up with stats, but football is not so straight forward.

    The league is 38 games, are you saying that if we concede 38 goals we could not win the PL?

  65. What kind of “change in approach” do you have in mind? (were it anything to do with you).

  66. Paul N. @ 5:11:

    “The league is 38 games, are you saying that if we concede 38 goals we could not win the PL?”

    ManU won last year conceding 37 but that was very unusual. Look at the league tables for the last 12 years to get your answer. Anything can happen but the chances of winning with that sort of defensive record is very slim. Despite the number of goals we have conceded, I think we are as good as anyone outside the top 2. This season gives more hope then any in several years from that standpoint, but we still to get better to have a realistic chance to challenge the Manc teams next year.

  67. In our 7 game win streak we conceded 6 goals. You have the dive and the fluke goal by the Spurs and the own goal by Kos in those matches.

    United are defending well now, but prior to that there was a span of 9 games in which they conceded 12 goals.

    So to me, give us this team for a whole season and lets see where they can take us. If we have shown this improvement just getting our back 4 in order, imagine what we could do with a healthy set for a whole season. More clean sheets, I think.

  68. The Real Stew Black

    I’m too depressed to even write this post. So I won’t.

  69. Bill, you always have to get better but that is mostly down to having our players available and contuing to fight for eachother the way we have been. We are not a Mourihno type team though and it seems that if we had it your way, we just may be.

  70. Steww, what’s up man!

    Long time mi bredrin!

  71. Chamakh: “My agents have been ordered to reject bids that come from other clubs because I want to prove I can be useful for Arsenal.”

    I wonder if AW knows?

  72. Paul:

    Whats the probability of having a healthy set for a whole season?. No team in the PL has done that in the last several years.

    I think our priority this summer is to add another striker that can back up or play with RVP. I just hope we don’t fall into the trap of being “satisfied” with our team defense. That part of our game still needs to improve.

  73. Bill

    There is not a lot wrong with our defense. Our main problem is pressing the opposition quicker when we don’t have the ball.

  74. Bill, I am not just talking about injuries (that will happen) but having injuries to players in the same position. We had 4 fullbacks out and our play showed it, both defending and going forward. I really believe had we had most of our players for the whole season, we would be in the running for the PL title.

  75. Dupps:

    That has proven to be very hard to do consistently. This team has more energy, determination and grit then any Arsenal team for the last several years. Counting on us being able to improve by pressing harder consistently would be a very big ask for any team and can backfire.

  76. dupsffokcuf

    Don’t you know that not having signed Cahill and Samba, and all of the other short-listed players the punditocracy suggested to Wenger, the view is that there’s something fundamentally wrong with our defence.

    But then again if you asked the same lot, they’ll tell you King Kenny hasn’t done much wrong, it’s just his players who’ve let him down.

  77. DS

    Letting players of the calibre of Cahill & Samba move to other clubs (for the sake of a few extra millions) must keep the boss awake nights. 😆

  78. Darius:

    I has nothing to do with what the media and the punditocracy. We are as good as any of the teams who are fighting for the last 2 CL spots, but no matter how you slice the stats we are still not yet championship caliber and isn’t that where you want us to be next season?

  79. Dups and Darius

    You guys can take about Cahill and Samba all you want but the one which really keeps him awake is not getting Zinedine Parker 🙂

  80. Bill.

    I’m disappointed I wasn’t facecious enough for your Texan sense of humour. How you doing?

    Anirudh – Zenadine Parker really gives him nightmares. Especially since he was snapped up by that lot up the dodgy side of Seven Sisters.

  81. Darius:

    Your right, my bad. I tend to get a little carried away with this topic and with the conspiracy theories. Weather report say a tornado heading straight towards where I am so keep you fingers crossed. If you guys are lucky it will take me out. 🙂 Otherwise I am excellent.

  82. Bill – hehehe – “duck and dive?” – those tornados can be bastards.

    I’m just watching news of yet another person going postal in Oakland this time. Schools should be the next safest place for kids after home, and its always sad to see such news.

    Maybe the government there should heed Chris Rock’s advice and make it damn expensive to buy bullets. If bullets cost $1000 a round, folk would think twice about just shooting for the sake of shooting.

    I still can’t get my head round the fact that Walmart sells bullets like any other commodity in the supermarket and that its normal to buy bullets alongside the weekly groceries.

  83. Darius:

    Sad state of affairs in Oakland. I was way over the top with the tornado comment and I apologize. Lots of lost lives here in the last couple years. It missed me, but news reports say a big one touched down not that far from here in a populated area. No idea of the damage. Hope for miracles.

  84. “I still can’t get my head round the fact that Walmart sells bullets like any other commodity in the supermarket and that its normal to buy bullets alongside the weekly groceries.”

    “Murrica, F**k yeah”

  85. Let’s now see what Barcelona are made of.

  86. I’ve seen our players being held and all that about ten thousand times during corners this season, home and away, and how often have we gotten a penalty for that?

  87. What a farce. The moment Barcelona look in trouble, they get bailed out by the ref. This sickens me.

  88. I bet we would never get that 2nd pelanty in a CL game (or another come to that)

  89. In fact, after checking the rules, it should’ve been a corner retake at most, as the “foul” began before the ball was in play. It can’t be a penalty if the ball is not in play.

  90. Its just garbage if a game with this much on the line gets decided by a penalty like that. Its easy to hate Barcelona.

  91. Barca are the man utd of Europe. UEFA will always send a friendly referee to help them out when they are in trouble just like the FA do for Fergie and no one will convince me otherwise. It’s easy to play with confidence when you know you have the establishment on your side.

  92. I thought the ref was pretty good compared with the twat we had last season at Barca, Both penalty decisions were correct.

  93. As for a team that digs it’s pitch up to gain an advantage I am glad they are out.

  94. Can’t say that I’m unhappy that the cheating Milanese are out, but it’s just one bunch of cheats beating another. CL is not much of a competition these days, just a procession to the inevitable crowning of Uefalona.

  95. Passenal

    Everything is primed for a Barca v Madrid final. Just what Dr. Uefa ordered.

  96. Ibrahimovic: “You see Mourinho’s antics whenever he comes here. Now one understands more and more. They (Barca) shouldn’t need to cheat.”

    Pot, kettle, black?

  97. I am happy that Milan are out. If they had progressed, Chelsea would have a realistic chance of making it through to the final. This way, I’ll enjoy seeing Chelsea get skinned alive by Barca. Probably not with as much style as we did last year at the Bridge, but a joy nevertheless. It will once again be proven that there is only one English team good enough to play against the Catalans: Arsenal. Shouldn’t take away from the fact that Barca are still cheating c*nts and Platini has his head way up their arse.

  98. Milan should have sent in their groundskeepers to CNT NOEU ,UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS, to dig up the pitch in strategic locations. Maybe over water the damn pitch in some other location. Maybe then they would have a chance of winning a game or two. I wonder how many of their titles ,in the past , have been bought by cheating and bringing mercenaries from all over the continent. See you next year, fuckers.

  99. Wow. What a shocker. Barca bailed out by the refs once again I see. That penalty call from that corner was very Busaccaesque.

  100. Sensational Arsenal

    you guys are making me laugh with your comments abour barcelona and milan. I hope Bayern Munich spoils the party. only team left in the competition that i like. Imagine a CL final between Arsenal and Bayern Munich. Now, THAT is mouth watering. Hope it happens the next time.

  101. Hopefulyly Munich will beat them all. As it goes, I thought it was 100% penaltay from the corner kick. The only issue is that ref do not normally give those type of fouls, although they should do. Hopefully more refs will follow the lead. I am not holding my breath though.

  102. I stopped watching the match after the 2nd penalty was awarded. What was the point when the entire UEFA establishment and referees seem to be wearing Barcelona shirts.

  103. I hope Chelsea get through, beat Barca, and then get mauled in the final leaving Terry a crying broken wreck in the centre circle.

  104. Andy – I’d rather prefer Chelsea to be mauled by Lionel Messi. Nothing would be more enjoyable than a good old fashoned bitch slap. In the 2 years that Arsenal played Barca over 2 legs, a lot of shit was said about Arsenal, who lets not forget, didn’t actually lose to Barca at home in any of those ties, and we probably would have got through last time round if not for Busaka’s madness, Bendtner’s fluffed lines and Cesc Fabrigas gifting Iniesta a needless backpass to give Xavi an assist. The more I think about Cesc’s antics with Barca players in the tunnel and his general performance in that game, the more pissed I get about the fact that we played that game with 10 men in the first half and 10 in the second. Replacing Fabregas was overdue, but then Busaka made sure we went back to 10 men. But I digress – I want Chelsea to be bum fucked by Barca proper.

    I’ve already bought a new set of pillows for the sofa for those two nights as the dog house is inevitable for me I’m afraid.

  105. Heh, fair enough. And I am torn by that as well, it would be great to see. But if Chelsea beat Barca just think of he hope they will all have. It will be bubbling over. And as we know all too well as Arsenal fans, a big bag of hope and expectation being popped is the worst thing in football.

    I agree with you as well about antics with opposition players before the game being all pally with each other. The same for after games as well. When we get beat and I see our players laughing and joking with the opposition pisses me off no end. Remember hte games when our players would pick fights and harrang the ref because they had been beaten. I used to like that, and could not care less if we were branded as “bad losers”. Good; I want us to be.

  106. Andy – do you mean like this:

    I love it. Nothing like a bit of “see if I give a fuck” attitude to get the adrenaline going for the game.

  107. Gah, can’t see it at work mate.

  108. “Ibrahimovic: “You see Mourinho’s antics whenever he comes here. Now one understands more and more. They (Barca) shouldn’t need to cheat.”

    Pot, kettle, black?”

    True, but a bit rich coming from him! I don’t suppose he was complaining about it when he was benefitting from it 2 seasons ago.

  109. Ha ha fantastic.

    Anything but the classless Man-Sour – even Man-Ure. Can’t forget that sobbing $hiite-y fan…….. he knew back then.

    I hate to imagine the negative ramifications in the press of bad results this weekend at both the Emirates and Spud-U-Like Lane, but the result on the pitch is a big one for Arsenal if you consider that there will be no major changes – other than ‘ The Return of the Jack’ , a couple of other signings and plus one to the average age – for the squad’s title challenge next year.

    This is virtually our best team and their ability to cope on big matches will be tested.

    You would imagine that Man-Sour on the other hand will just change all the arguing bitching handbags for another bunch, but actually I doubt if they can.

    No team (that the top paid players at $hiite-y want to play for) can afford them, not Barca, not Milan, not anyone and sooner or later Man-Sour will have to stop funding surplus players like Adebayor, and soon to be Nasri, to play for their rivals as they are replaced by ‘better’ players.

    Then you have to consider the Tevez’s and the Ballotelli’s who think they have done enough to go anywhere they want – then they look at their remuneration package and the money their club want for them and have to pretend that it is great up North…….in blue.

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