Professional Performance Gives Arsenal Three Points

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 – 3 Arsenal

0 – 1 van Persie (8 pen)
0 – 2 Walcott (11)
0 – 3 Benayoun (69)

The win that was needed to solidify Arsenal’s grip on third place was delivered with the minimum of fuss at Molineux last night. Two up inside ten minutes with Wolves down to ten men might well have ended the spectacle for the non-partisan onlooker but I do not care of their views; all that mattered was Arsenal taking three points.

Pre-weekend jitters have been put into a box and consigned to the dustbin, the nuclear scenario that brought about panic attacks looks more of a problem for Chelsea, seven points adrift in sixth place, than for Arsenal, five points clear of fourth placed Tottenham. Nothing is settled but the rays of sunlight this morning dissecting the cloud reflect on an improved situation.

Arsenal’s good form in the Premier League – nine wins out of the last ten – was continued in the West Midlands. From the kick-off, the visitors were quickly down to business, harrassing their hosts out of possession, cajoling each other into creating openings. A two minute spell ended the contest. Neat passing found van Persie who found Walcott on the edge Bassong and the ensuing contact left the England international sprawling on the ground with the Wolves defender heading for the tunnel. For a man who had not found the net in four games, van Persie’s confidence is not damaged as his coolly clipped penalty proved. Instead of being compared to Paneka’s winner in the 1976 European Championships final, a wrong move would have left it compared to Lineker’s embarrassment against Brazil at Wembley.

Minutes later the same pair combined to the same end product: an Arsenal goal. This time Walcott was allowed to finish emphatically past Hennessey although Zubar can consider himself lucky to have remained on the pitch, clattering the Arsenal winger late after the ball had gone. Arguably he was committed to the challenge but it was very late.

Arsenal then turned to professional mode and killed the game. Wolves re-organised but had to retrieve the two goal deficit at the same time; it ought to have left gaps but in fairness to them, the players held their shape well. The points were already heading back to north London and with no urgency required, the energy levels dropped to the minimum required. This has brought some criticism but I question why did they need to do more? Some, it seems, are prone to panic or complaint too quickly.

Few chances were created in the ensuing eighty minutes. Szczesny made two excellent saves, the second from Doyle’s header was simply outstanding. Around them Arsenal had openings but wayward finishing from Benayoun, van Persie and Ramsey left the score at 2-0 until the sixty-ninth minute when given the freedom of Wolverhampton, the Israeli drilled the ball past Hennessey. It has been no less than Benayoun has deserved for his performances in recent games. His presence on the left has added a balance to the midfield that is sometimes missing with more attack-minded players in the side. Whether it is enough for Arsenal to pursue a deal on a permanent basis remains to be seen. As of course does the price.

This was the right fixture for Arsenal following the intensity of Sunday’s effort to win against Manchester City. Predicting a red card that early in the game is impossible but the impact of two early goals let the players build their confidence. The defensive performance is hard to assess given the lack of threat from the home side but frankly a clean sheet means that everyone carried out their duties professionally and that is all that you can ask for.

Third place is definitely Arsenal’s to lose now. No games in hand to be caught up; Arsenal are five points better than Tottenham and Newcastle at this stage of the season. To put matters into context, by the time Newcastle and Spurs play their next league match, the gap to fourth could be eleven points albeit having played two games more. That would be a crushing gap, especially if either failed to win.

Post-match, Arsène looked to keep such matters in perspective,

I am very happy that we are in this position but I am also very cautious because some teams have been in that position before. We want to win our next game because where we have come from this season we must be focused. We have come from very deep and to stay in this position we have to focus on our next game.

His caution is understandable; not just in football but any walk of life, complacency precedes failure. The experienced players in the squad know this and have not been carried away, publicly at least. Continued concentration is required and there is no reason to believe it will not be delivered. With that, third place will surely come as well.

’til Tomorrow.

 

Posted on April 12, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 207 Comments.

  1. Nothing to add, you hit the nail on the spot as usual

  2. Great report as usual

  3. pretty much cock on..

  4. Hopefully this season can still allow us to miraculously replicate my heroic effort and we can finish second πŸ˜€

  5. So it was Zubar, YW. Yeah, he was lucky Walcott scored.

  6. I agree, the game last night was very professional. We now need to focus on a resurgent Wigan Athletic as I think playing them will even be more difficult than playing Man City. Wigan have nothing to lose and that makes them very dangerous.

    Djourou played really well yesterday, but so did the whole team. There was absolutely no reason to crank up the gears as the job didn’tre us to do so.

  7. i like the benny/rambo combo better

    the boy still looks rusty but hes showing no fear and still wanting the ball..which is a good sign..

    bennys versitility is better for the balance and shape of the team..it looks more natural than going with rambo/rosicky..

  8. Game won without too much strain on the ol muscles. We will need to be as switched on against Wigan. They are playing really well at the moment.

    Our good friend Mr Robson apparently couldnt believe the decision to send of Bassong, it was an unbelievable decision according to him! Quoting the fa cup final of 1981 as how it should be used, for professional foul!

  9. Deise

    If he quoted 1981, he needs to be dismissed straight away. It was 1980 when Willie Young tripped Paul Allen. You’d have thought that even a twat like Robson would have known that, him having played for Arsenal and West Ham.

  10. Oh and good on Song for having a word with Steerman when he bodychecked RVP in the first half.

  11. Later on in the commentary Robson says Theo was falling over when he was controlling the ball and he isnt sure there was much contact!! Sure he shouldnt be partisan but he really does go the opposite way with what he sees. Is he saying the stuff he says to be a cunt or does it come natural

  12. once we went 2-1 up we were comfortable. good to see us mix it up, we need some proffessional performances here and there

  13. 2-1????????

    Anyway, happy days now, happy days then. Who was The Fonz for Arsenal On This Day in 1994? http://afchistory.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/european-glory-for-arsenal-on-this-day-12th-april-1994/

  14. YW – very to the point summary.

    Deise – an excellent take about Song confronting Stearman over his deliberate body block of RvP.

    3 points, clean sheet, no injuries.

    After 15 minutes, there was really nothing more to archive for future commentary.

  15. Delighted to see Chel$ki’s best player nail our third last night; makes you wonder who else they have hidden away dahn the Fulham bus stop! And what are they doing with them?

    Amazing to think we have some kind of safety cushion for the first time this season although I think there may be more ups and downs to come. Wigan will play Monday as a cup final, have no doubt but I’m equally confident the Chavs will go the same way as the 5pud2, Scousers, and Arsenal North when we play them next.

    Down the pan.

  16. Great result, great post. Time for some more crapalysis.

    Between Arsenal and the Hottentots, Arsenal now have to play the higher placed teams in the league and Arsenal have to play the Chav-nots which is the highest placed team either side will face. Arsenal’s opponent’s position in the league currently add up to 60 while Spud opposition adds up to 75. (the lower the number the harder the matches)

    Newcastle will have to face the same teams as Arsenal, except they face City and Everton to our Norwich and WBA. I have not done home and away adv, but that is certainly a much harder finish for them – it is worth a reduction to their opposition value in the league of 16 points to 44 total. Ouch!

    The good news about the Tottenhots is, their high numbered opponents mean that they have to face number 15, 16, 17 and 18 in the league, all of whom will be fighting for their continued existence in the EPL while Arsenal only face Wigan who are fighting for survival.

    In summary we would have to lose two matches out of five of the remaining ones and the Spuds and Newcastle would both have to win all of theirs in order for us to finish out of the top four.

    Chelsea would have to beat us as well as us losing the other two matches if they want anything from the AWB season. They stand little chance in the CL.

  17. Chelsea won’t beat us.

  18. Have you chaps viewed any of Stewart Robson’s ‘Talking Tactics’ clips on Arsenal TV online? I would say he is effusive in his praise of Arsenal. Strange. I haven’t heard any of his live commentary lately but I wouldn’t have thought of him as poisonous toward Arsenal. A bit harsh at times but generally fair. I do recall him suggesting on Talk Sport that Arsene Wenger has lost it!

  19. It was a foul it was a penalty. I don’t think there was intent in the challenge so therefore in my opinion not a professional foul Bassong would have been better leaving it alone and take a chance on what might happen but instinct takers over. The punishment in these cases seems harsh sending off, a ban, for a foul when you see what others get away with.

    I would like to know what the referee’s assessor wrote in his report about the penalty not given for the foul on Rambo in the box. Did he report that Ref felt sorry for Wolves or did he mention it at all?

    Job well done. Looking forward to the Wigan game

  20. chelsea are going to get smashed like city did..

    wigan first though…smash them..then we concentrate on chelsea..

  21. YW – Nice post as always.

    In answer to your point on yesterdays post, I do agree. Implementing technology would be difficult. So many variables to consider. That is not to say that it should not be investigated though.

  22. Great performance that was. 4 more wins and we are mathematically home and dry.

  23. Brilliant, brilliant result and performance!

    Its all been said already. All that is left to say is… I am sorry, yep, sorry I predicted 4 nil to the Arsenal!

    My bad 😦

  24. Georakos

    That is interesting man, given Robson’s seeming utter contempt for the club when commentating. Maybe he is bi-polar?

  25. mattgoonerknight

    5 points clear, 5 games remaining.

    By my dodgy maths, that means we basically need 10points from a possible 15 to secure 3rd.

    10 points would mean Spuds / Toon would need to win every game and have a better goal difference to challenge 3rd spot. In fact, Toons goal difference is so inferior that level points would be of no use to them.

    Oh, and Chelsea and Newcastle will potentially put either on or each other out of the race for 3rd when they meet (and we can do the same to Chelsea next Saturday)

    So, 3 wins and a draw to guarantee 3rd, if our closest rivals win every game that is, which surely they wont.

    I’m going to the Norwich game. I’d love for us to have secured 3rd by then but I would equally love to be at The Emirate while celebrating St.totts while claiming 3rd in then process; that would be pretty special considering how the season started.

    If, buts and maybes but I can only hope!

    OTBAG!!!!!!!!!!

  26. buckagh

    How do you know there wasn’t intent? And more to the point, if there wasn’t intent, it isn’t a penalty. The red card was deserved as the key to it is denying a goalscoring opportunity which Bassong did.

    This is one of the bug bears I have – along with if that happened anywhere else on the pitch it would’ve been a foul. This triple punishment theory is a red herring, a farce that started with losing managers looking to pin the blame on anyone but themselves or the players.

  27. or maybe hes just a cockhead??

  28. It was a clumsy challenge as Theo had got the wrong side of him. It was definatetly a penalty, I really can’t see any argument against it. Sending off?, probably. Theo’s next touch of the ball would have been a shot so it was a clear goalscoring opportunity. There was another defender level with play, but he was not getting there.

  29. And RVP seemed to be having some difficulties towards the end of the match. Is if ok?

  30. mattgoonerknight

    Georgakos

    That maybe true, but Talking Tactics is the epitome of having the benefit of hindsight. Given that we’ve won 9 out of the last 10 it would be difficult even for him to be ultimately derisive in the face of a our victories. It would be a new low to focus on all of our so called flaws after a winning performance.

    Did anyone listen to Talking Tactics following QPR? I didn’t (I stopped listening a long time ago), but I would hazard a guess that Robson’s comments were less than effusive.

  31. A bipolar cockhead then?

  32. Was Theo through on goal? – Yes
    Could he have scored? – Yes
    Did Bassong stop him legally? – No
    Did he mean to foul him? – A moot point, the fact is he did foul him.
    Did Bassong foul Theo in the area? Yes

    Result = Penalty
    Rules say if foul denied a goalscoring opportunity then its a red card.

    There was no other outcome to this other than what happened.

  33. Bassong’s challenge was definitely a penalty, but far less malicious than the challenge on vP against Man-Sour, which wasn’t.

    Therein lies a pretty heavy injustice.

  34. RVP was limping about for a bit late on alright. Kinda shocking situation for Chamakh and Park if they cant even get on after Benny scored to settle the game.

  35. @Darius. Too bad Ramsey didn’t score!
    Very happy that RVP got his scoring boots back. I was beginning to fear that Rooney was getting too close.

  36. YW @ 11:05, yes, I agree that the penalty and sending off was the correct decision. The real problems in this area are the problems referees give themselves with the inconsistent application of the laws. I mean, Brad Jones should have gone when he took down Yakubu on Tuesday, yes he was moving slightly away from goal, but he had beaten the keeper and his next action would have been to tap the ball into an unguarded goal. The referee used the fact that Yakubu wasn’t running directly at the goal as a get out and only issued a yellow card. If the referees don’t apply the laws of the game strictly then it gives everyone else a bandwagon to jump on. There is of course an added complication which is that it appears that a large proportion of the managers, players and commentators within the game either don’t know or pretend not to know what the laws of the game actually are.

    As for the performance, from what I’ve seen (MOTD) and heard it was thoroughly professional. We need to keep the run going against Wigan, in my opinion it will be enough for us to just win our three remaining home games to secure third. Not that it wouldn’t be nice to go out having won all five of course! πŸ™‚

  37. mattgoonerknight

    Deise

    Yeah, I was surprised too after the 3rd went in. The boss must have his reasons, and I’m not arguing or second guessing them, but as soon as the 3rd went in I did think to myself “lovely, now get RVP off”.

  38. Kenyan – Lucky that Bob Mugabe fella.

    I’m sure his minders will be looking out for the Arsenal team sheet next Monday night to see if Ramsey is playing.

  39. Another assist for Song. Come on son, lets make it 20 for the season!

    Defensive midfielder my hairy arse.

  40. it was a penalty. it was a red card. wolves wee lucky theo scored or they would have been down to 9 two minutes later.

    as for the rest of the performance, it suited both teams. arsenal certainly are not going to open up – wolves were at home and down two….up to them to chase. wolves did not want to chase, for fear of the gol difference. so be it…

  41. Wolves being down to 10 really allowed Song, Arteta and Ramsey to spend quite a lot of time further forward than usual. Was still glad to see Song and Arteta fill in at the back when needed too though. Musnt forget the defensive duties no matter how much fun you have breaking forward!

  42. By the letter of the law it was a sending off and a penalty. However the law is an ass – which gives the referee minimal allowance to appraise each incident on its individual merits. I’d prefer to have seen a yellow.

    A red card, for me, should only be issued when the player has decided not to go for the ball and has deliberately brought down the man in the box.

    Assuming it’s not a dangerous challenge, then a tackle, which attempts to win the ball but fails (in the box) and brings down the opposing player preventing a goalscoring opp, should be a yellow and a penalty – REGARDLESS of whether he is the last man.

    To further cloud the issue (and this was well documented on F365 during the early part of of the season) it seems that referees have decided to start to apply leniency and room for interpretation into their decisions this season. F365 suggested that it actually seemed as though they had chatted about it and come to an consensus.

    This has meant that this season we have seen a mixture of ‘uncarded fouls’, yellows and reds dished out for these penalty incidences, where in the previous years since the (fucking stupid) law first came into effect, they would have been automatic reds with no room for leniency or individual interpretation.

    I am happy of the refs to do this – in a way they are saying they don;t agree with the law but the problem now is that everyone is left in a state of confusion and sometimes, like last night, the law is applied to the letter and others it is not. It creates antagonism at every level and the refs look like they are asses.

    Madness.

  43. Block4 @ 11:37 am

    Yes, the inconsistency in the application of the rules seem to be the problem. On Tuesday, the game between ‘pool and b’burn, what actually saved Brad Jones was that Yakubu headed the ball forward into the path of Coates, hence is wasn’t immediately a goalscoring chance.

  44. Only reason for leaving VP on after the game was wrapped up is that VP himself has requested that he play every minute. Otherwise it’s a gamble by the manager, and one that I do not agree with at that.

  45. I should be clear; when I say ‘in their decisions’ am I am referring SOLELY to the issuing of an automatic red for being the last man and denying a goalscoring opp.

  46. YW No I don’t for sure there was no intent, as I said it was a foul, it was a penalty. For me Bassong didn’t do something intentionally that’s warrants a red card, and a ban. I think the rule in this case is harsh considering what Ballotelli got away with for most of the match last Sunday also last night Kevin Doyle got away with a caution for a two footed out of control lunge.
    Milijas foul on Ramesy in the box was a deliberate trip and a penalty did the ref deem this foul wasn’t intentional therefore it was ok

  47. The sending off was harsh, but correct according to the laws of the game. Having said that it wouldn’t have happened to a bigger team at home. It would have been a penalty and maybe a yellow, if even that in some cases (*cough* Old Trafford *cough*).

    Theo has been pulled down/back by the last defender many times this season. I can’t remember too many ending in a red.

  48. Limestonegunner

    Markus, incredible record Song has this season for assists–Fabregas levels of assists. It is going to cost quite a lot to re-sign him. Will be worth it.

  49. jonny

    The problem with your ‘loose’ application would be identifying intent. A late challenge can be intentional or mistimed; they have the same result. No-one other than the perpetrator is able to define intent in those circumstances. For a tug, push or pull, intent is easily identifiable. However it was the greyness of the challenges ‘area’ that led to the automatic red card.

    There is leeway; the referee could have decided that the two CBs were close enough together or a FB was near enough. It would have been loose but I suppose plausible. Whatever he did last night, there were going to be complaints over severity or non-application of the rules.

    The problem with chats is that they lead to inconsistency; they are no different to rules or laws. If they are having chats then these need to become public knowledge otherwise we end up having these debates / conversations because we don’t know about them.

    Your phrase underlines the fundamental problem with officiating: “individual interpretation”.

    We’re moaning about inconsistencies in decision-making. “individual interpretation” adds another level of inconsistency and is that what you really want?

  50. Shoutout for Scz – marvellous 2nd half save.
    Ramsey needs to start shooting first time – the boy has a hat-full of goals inside him bursting to get out. Just a confidence issue.
    JD was solid – a poke in the eye for his recent detractors.
    Good to see Benny getting some playing time – arguably a tad underused this season. I think he would be worth retaining if he is happy to be a bit-part contributor.
    Man Utd were rotten yesterday but were also on the wrong end of some woeful decisions, including a disallowed penalty – another one for the conspiracy theorists to airbrush from their memories. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜›
    I cannot see us losing third from here (yeah I said it).
    What a season! πŸ˜€

  51. I’m not explaining it perfectly Yogi (it’s so much easier through verbal discussion!) but when the law tries to paint every incident seemingly similar incident into one severe outcome it creates problems. This is a recently introduced law and to my mind has made the decisions more difficult and the job harder. I prefer every incident to be judged on merits with guidelines rather than black and white strictures.
    Basically the law was better before they changed it IMHO – the fact the refs are clearly not applying it as consistently as before shows that they also feel there is a problem with the law.
    Not much different to the 6 second law which seems to be resolutely ignored in spite of never being (to my knowledge) redacted.

  52. I have a soft spot for Wigan (yes, We Gan) and I like their manager. I see they are just out of relegation now, and bursting with good vices, sorry vibes, so a challenging encounter awaits. I hope they make it post-Arsenal, and we win 4-0, they are good enough.

  53. pedantic george

    Wigan will come to the home of football and play football.
    That will result in us winning well.
    It matters not how well they are playing ,if the play an attacking game ,as they do ,at the Emirates, the result should not be in question.No banana skins here ,me thinks.
    YW, it really is a pleasure to read your stuff, both posts and comments.

  54. You are not alone with that, ZimPaul. It would be a shame if by beating them, we helped them on their journey down to the Championship. Makes our loss at QPR even more frustrating. I hope they stay up, but only ‘cos Martinez is a good manager (and a good man). If they do go down, Martinez will move on anyway. So no distractions in our WLWWWWW end to the season.

    Aaron looked sharp with his link-up play last night. Some van Persie-esque twists and turns. On the stream I was watching, Tony Gale was worse than Stewart Robson. Keown on MOTD was a credit to himself and the club.

    Loving this season.

  55. Great summary Yogi:

    Very professional performance yesterday. The thing I liked best about yesterday is the fact that we won without much fuss or emotion. During the course of a season you have emotional highs and lows but in order to be consistent you have to be able to take advantage of the highs and limit the number of lows but by necessity you spend most of the season is somewhere in the middle. You have to be able to play well and win games like yesterday with minimum of fuss. Its fun to win with great flair but most games (especially against teams lower in the table) are going to be won with professional performances like yesterday. I hope that made sense.

  56. jonnyneale at 12:50 pm

    ‘JD was solid – a poke in the eye for his recent detractors.’

    Argued like a true desperate.

    OK, Ow! Blunt stick or sharp object?

  57. Yesterday, someone referred us to a 9 minute cameo of the disgraceful Manure conduct in the game that ended the invincible’s run, to show the incompetance of Mike Riley. Although I watched the game at the time, I was, frankly, shocked to see how many times Manure got away with tackles that, in most occasions now, would result in a sending off, let alone a yellow, and yet on so many occasions he did not even give a yellow.

    If one forgets the bias angle, what is clear is that refs are now as incompetant as they were then. Fergie, cleverly, said yesterday that it evens itself out, but I wonder if it does. Perhaps Al-Fayed is right that certain clubs seem to benefit more than others (no doubt he included us within the “certain” group, although it seems to me that we are not).

    Are refs influenced by what happens or is said?

    I believe yes.

    What about the no penalty zone we were in after the Eduardo incident?

    What about the 2 non-penalties awarded to Newcastle, a few days after AW critisized the refs.

    I do not need to go on.

    Manure have had 10 penalties this season. Do they play as much as we do in the penalty area, and yet we have had only 4.

    What is clear is that the FA are not interested in remedying the problem, as can beween from their decisions this week. Maybe they think it is the ref lottery that makes our league so attractive to foriegn viewers.

  58. Jonny @ 12:44:

    “Man Utd were rotten yesterday but were also on the wrong end of some woeful decisions, including a disallowed penalty – another one for the conspiracy theorists to airbrush from their memories.

    Didn’t you get the group e-mail. Fergie the refs and the FA did that on purpose to put the conspiracy theorists off the scent.

  59. Heh.

  60. Amazing the way we have turned our season around.

  61. And Theo had a good game. He took his goal really well. I could be wrong, but was that the first time he’s been boo’d by any opposition? I somehow feel it can only help his self-image. In a good way. It’ll prove to be another step in the making of the man.

  62. pedantic george

    Some people are in danger of becoming cunts.

  63. Mingus – He did, it was an excellent finish.

  64. George – Plenty of people already are, what’s a few more?

  65. ***
    AA wrote:
    ‘Evil/Stew – I worked with someone who thinks he’s good at arguing but he’s not. He constantly undermines himself by firstly putting words into people’s mouths (or changing/exagerating them) and secondly changing the argument if it’s going badly (for him!).

    He assumes no one can see him do this.’
    Reminds me of someone who went one further, deliberately mis quoting other writers and bloggers in aid of the above. I suppose that is one description of a model poster.

  66. George @ 2:02:

    I promise I won’t say anything more about it today.

    Said while crossing fingers on both hands behind my back. πŸ™‚

    Mingus:

    Theo has been awesome. Full credit to him. Hopefully he can carry this form the rest of the season and into next.

  67. There are only 3 teams who can catch us now. Assuming they all win their 5 games (unlikely), we need 10 points from our 5. AW says he hasn’t set a points target, but we all know he can do arithmetic.

  68. One thing that might get rid of Mr Robson is withhold Arsenal Player subscription and let Arsenal.com know why

  69. One thing I noticed about about young Walcott is that he tends to improve every season, in bursts, between illusory fallow periods, like someone almost growing up in football. Odd that, in a young footballer, with some striking attributes, under Le Boss, in a team noted for youth development, amongst a few older heads, in a strong league.

    The thing about over-analysing the mathemetics of league position/risk is that it changes every damn week, with lots of permutations each time. Older heads insist: the only game that really counts is the next.

    Win that and you are a step closer. Lose and you are a step back. Draw and get the calculator (pronounced kerikoorayta in Zimblish) out.

  70. yw .sorry i didnt think we were profesional last night between the 2nd and 3rd goals we were careless and allowed wolves to have chances they shouldnt have been allowed, im no doomer and I dont like to critisize unduly however I was frustrated at our lack of control

  71. Here’s a question for statisticians and record keepers. Taking Arsenal’s lowest league position in the season (17th?) as the start point, what would be the theoretical league points of the top 5 as of now, with all teams on zero then? Or how have we done, really, if we were to discount the jarring early fumbles and stumbles and injuries?

  72. I ask out of sheer laziness plus I’m too busy, but with keen interest, as an indication of relative strengths of the top teams now, and since Arsenal’s season kicked in. Of course we cannot discount the early period, but we can, knowing that a new team was still being strung together, finding each other, amidst injuries and sendings off.

  73. I feel not a bit sorry for Nasri, but did no one tell him of the Arsenal curse?

  74. From decent points from the mixed bag that is F365 –

    The FA & Retrospective Action
    The case of Redknapp in 2004 brings up another pertinent issue in the FA’s handling of the Balotelli tackle. The details of the incident are as such: Redknapp’s studs-led challenge was seen by Graham Poll, yet only deemed worthy of a yellow card. However, under the then E3 rule, it was possible for further punishment to be dispensed should the referee, upon review, decide that the challenge merited a more severe sanction. Article 6a of the FA’s Disciplinary Code stated:

    “Where a referee has reported that he has administered a caution to a player but the Association (The FA) is satisfied that the incident for which the player was cautioned should have resulted in his dismissal from the field of play, the Association may formulate and send to the secretary of the player’s club and the player a charge of misconduct under FA Rule E3.”

    Of course, there is a variance in that this rule relates to cases where a yellow card has already been awarded, but the principle stands as a contravening logic to the current position. Retrospective action was allowed even if the official had seen the challenge and initially viewed it in a more lenient way.

    While the transition to the status quo has been imposed by FIFA – alluded to by the FA in a ‘It’s not our fault’ plea in the Balotelli statement – surely the Premier League’s governing body should have fought tooth and nail to retain the common-sense approach. And as a departure from this argument, Mediawatch has already covered in compelling depth the examples of cases in which the FIFA ruling has been temporarily superseded. The one thing everyone would agree on is that it should not require serious injury to provoke the logical punitive measures, yet that’s what is implied by the FA’s inaction in this case as opposed to the hands-on approach taken in response to Ben Thatcher’s elbow on Pedro Mendes. Even Roberto Mancini said that he ‘hoped’ Balotelli would be punished for his misdeed. How can the FA remain so frustratingly impotent?

    A quick point on the challenge and subsequent ruling: although the officials have been criticised for the admission that one of them saw the tackle but failed to act, the real problem is the ambiguity over what was ‘seen’ or ‘not seen’. Herein lies the loophole; one official witnessed a coming together, but not in the evident manner it was captured by the television cameras. So, should they lie and say nothing, bringing their integrity into question; or is it right to tell the truth, knowing that it will grant an unjust reprieve? It’s obvious that the opportunity to escape punishment on a technicality should be removed.

    The Standard Of Officiating
    At least there was consistency in how awful the Premier League’s officials performed over Easter. When Mike Riley is forced to apologise to a manager for costly poor decisions, you know the mistakes were severe. Indeed, in terms of missing the big calls the Branislav Ivanovic offside (for which Riley apologised) was the worst incident of the weekend. The Serbian was so far in front of the Wigan back-line that one wonders where on earth assistant referee Dave Bryan was looking.

    It’s one thing to give the big clubs the benefit of the doubt at home, but to award advantages through such startling negligence is worrying.

  75. Write up is on target, yet again!

    A great win yesterday!

    2 excellent passes from RVP to set up my boy Walcott, and didn’t the young man compose himself and slot the ball home?

    Djourou was impressive also.

    God bless, everyone!

  76. And this is the ‘mediawatch’ piece they did – which I think is actually rather excellent, not least because it lucidly explains the idiocy and backs it up with examples but also because concurs with my contention on the subject. ;-P

    The Ludicrous Position Of The FA

    And so, Mario Balotelli gets away with it.

    It’s slightly difficult to imagine why The FA seem so very keen to preserve their officials to such a ridiculous extent, by claiming that no action can be taken against a player for an offence witnessed by one of the men in black.

    As much as anything, this simply exposes their incompetence. It would have been more understandable if all four officials at Arsenal on Sunday had claimed they missed Balotelli’s assault on Alex Song, rather than at least one of them admitting they saw it but thought it was a perfectly legitimate stud to the knee. The FA announcing this merely highlights the incompetence of the official, rather than protecting their authority.

    In announcing their non-decision about Balotelli, the FA said: ‘Retrospective action was introduced for off the ball incidents where there was no contest for possession and could not be deemed to be re-refereeing an incident.

    ‘In agreement with FIFA, this is how ‘not seen’ incidents are dealt with retrospectively in England. It is a policy that is agreed with all football stakeholders.’

    The first thing to note is that, if the FA have made this arrangement with FIFA, they are the only ones to have done. To pick just one example, Hamburg’s Paolo Guerrero was banned for an additional five matches for his frankly insane lunge on Stuttgart’s Sven Ulreich. The circumstances are different, and this was technically ‘a contest for possession’, but the principle remains the same.

    Secondly, even the FA have form in this area. The guidelines have been tweaked since then, but they banned Ben Thatcher for eight games following his elbow/Pedro Mendes’s face interaction back in 2006. This wasn’t off the ball, and referee Dermot Gallagher only gave a yellow card at the time. Gallagher’s authority wasn’t undermined by any ‘re-refereeing’ of the incident, but by his failure to take appropriate action at the time.

    Perhaps in that case the FA only took action because Mendes was knocked out. So perhaps if Balotelli had left Song’s leg in bits, he might’ve been punished. So all we have to do is wait for someone’s career to be wrecked before appropriate action is taken.

  77. Jonny/Bill/whoever else fancies a pop! πŸ™‚

    I see your non penalty for Mike Riley’s ManU and raise you one Jonny (pfft) Evans! Should have been sent off at least twice, while Wigan had a perfectly good goal chalked off.

    Shall we leave it there?

  78. arse or brain

    >I dont like to critisize unduly however I was frustrated at our lack of control

    But you are. There seems to be some utopian ideal that surrounds Arsenal that we never give opportunities to the home side. It’s unrealistic to have such expectations and to be honest, a bit churlish to complain!

  79. buckagh @2.47pm.

    Not too sure that you can do that now; it’s all rolled into the membership fee.

  80. Jonny

    Why did Mike Reilly apologise for the Ivanovic goal? It’s a hollow regret since nothing can be done about it. If he was genuinely remorseful, he would be out all guns blazing with a plan of action to raise standards. Been a bit quiet on that front really.

  81. Zimpaul

    Theo is a great player for us, he deserves a big new contract and soon! I have backed him so many times against the blind and infirm doomers and goonerandy! πŸ™‚ who simply dont get what he does, even in as you say, so called fallow periods. Course he can improve, almost every player can or should strive to be better.

    Maybe its because (Im a Londoner!) I have seen him many times in away matches in the flesh, up close and all that.

    Paul N

    Yes I man! πŸ™‚

  82. Yogi

    Its also gone well slient on how the refs get all the big decisions right!! How effin funny is that looking now? Not like WE actually believed their pony stats though.

  83. Ramble alert…
    So maybe head-cams for the assistants wouldn’t be such a bad shout. Then we could see how difficult it is to be looking at the point when the ball is stuck, and then in an instant turn to see at that very moment, whether a player is off-side or not. Of course they use their ears to hear the ball…but think about it, it is SO not an exact science. But the “pundits”with their tech make out that it should be. You can imagine the scene. “let’s take a look at it from the assistant’s point of view…wait a minute…what’s he looking at? Why can’t we see Adebayor (for example), He’s got his head-cam looking in the wrong effing place….Oh NOW he’s looking along the line! A bit late now, isn’t it!”
    I don’t know what the solution is except accepting the infallibility of our officials. Except that gives a carte-blanche to corruption, so we need to keep an eye on them.
    It’s a very British thing…challenging authority…which spawns many good things as well as many bad things. To trust them or to not trust them. To accept their good intentions or to not accept their intentions as being good in the first place.
    I was with some French colleagues once (I’m English) and we were checking into our hotel in SA and then exploring the facilities in the hotel. We had swipe cards as room keys and also to activate the lifts etc… We got to the top floor and found something called The Gentlemen’s Club. Using my swipe card, I tried the door to this club to see if we could have a snoop around. To my French colleagues, this action was “So British. SO punk”. Something they would not even think of doing. I was slightly baffled…but there you go. The upshot of this ramble is that we have a healthy disregard for the very institutions we built up. Why? we can only guess. But to trust them or to not trust them, that is the question.

  84. Jonny – I read mediawatch ever day without fail. Very entertaining piece.

  85. Yogi – guessing what refs actually think is, I’m afraid, a thankless study into extreme opacity!

    But, my finger-in-the-air guess, is he just wanted to hold his hands up – as you say, it is a meaningless gesture and does nothing to salve the frustration of fans who feel wronged.

    I agree with Andy (and in line with some of your own statements) that they should be answerable – interviewed at the end of games and asked to explain decisions – transparency is impossible whilst enshrouded collusion and back-covering seem the order of the day.

    Wouldn’t it be great to hear one of the refs break rank and file and call the Balotelli incident what it is – a FUCKING disgrace?

  86. yw, ok i was complaining after i would of been happy with a one -nil win before the start however we are capable of controlling a game and making a ten man team work alot harder.we often concede possesion by making szcz kick when by going forward down the flanks its easier to retain the ball. like i said I was frustrated we didnt control the game after the second goal

  87. I think that sometimes we suffer, because the style of the referee doesn’t suit us. You have to look at the two “best” English referees over the last 15 years (at least as decreed by the FA), Howard Webb and Mike Riley. They both have one thing in common: that they’d rather let the game flow, even if it means that the odd cynical yellow or red card worthy challenge won’t be punished. That’s why the FA sees them as the best, because they represent the way English Football has been for a long time. Fast paced, little breaks, lots of action. But at the same time, as we aren’t such a physical side, this can be to our deteriment, as evident by the Riley video posted yesterday and the recent examples of Webb missing red card challenges. I do not think that he purposefully missed them, just that he thought that there was little in them and that he therefore didn’t want to kill the WC final for example by sending De Jong off. Nevertheless, it was the wrong decision. But as long as someone like Webb is held up as the best referee, others will look up to the way he has been refereeing. There was a time when we were more physical as well and it didn’t hurt us so much, but now it’s different…

  88. Dexter – He certainly has been better during the past few months. Long may it continue.

  89. Dex – could not agree more – definite sending off material! I do love Evans – he’s a mixed bag of balls, but largely he’s just balls.

    Wasn’t one of the JD detractors citing Evans as an example of a better 4th choice CB?!

    SO, back to the point, when we add all this together, we can now agree that it suggests [the repeatedly cited] gross incompetence, rather than something Machiavellian?

    Yes?

    *smiles and shakes head*

  90. @GA
    I bet deep inside you still would’ve loved to see Theo benched yesterday and Ox played instead because it’s an away game and it will be two banks of four and a tight packed defence and not enough space out wide and countless other reasons that you usually find to explain why Theo shouldn’t start. But considering how much stick you’ve gotten on here for that and the way Theo has been performing, it’s better to keep quiet than make a fool out of yourself in public!

  91. Something like that, Jonny.

  92. arse or brain – I think we did control the game. We were just a little sloppy in our general play.

  93. Evil – Heh, you are so wrong. If I have an opinion I will say it; I honestly won’t let how much stick I will get from people dictate what I post. I don’t care if people agree with me or not. Theo has been in good form recently so I would be more than happy for him to start games as things stand.

    As it goes I do think AOC will be (is already maybe) a better all round footballer, and Theo has struggled in games when there is little space behind the defence in the past. As it was, Wolves left plenty of space for him to run onto as evidenced in the 1st 12 minutes.

  94. if you look at the stats ( i know there not everthing ) wolves actually created a reasonable amount.The third goal was after wolves had a really good spell so we definatly did not control the game. like I said I dont like complaining but you have to realistic in triumph and defeat

  95. I’m a cunt…and so is my wife.

  96. True Andy, I’m down with that.

  97. No SA technically she’s a saint.

    But she does have a cunt.

    Well, technically two by your own terms. πŸ˜‰

  98. Jonny

    Or…. You could say ManU STILL got the rub of the green 2 to 1.

  99. ares or brain – You are right, they did create some decent openings. But to be fair they have done that all season. You always had the feeling that we could have stepped up another level if we needed to. Like I said, we were just a bit sloppy.

  100. I’d loved to have seen Ox play as well – Theo is great (I have always back him) but there is no way to know how well The Ox would or would not have performed.

    Let’s not create something to row about out of thin air eh?!

  101. Fuck sake arse or brain (I am guessing the former today BTW) do you think it is conceivable that a home team might create a chance or 2 in 90 odd bleeding minutes? You are digging a hole my son. Cease this nonsense! πŸ™‚

  102. Holy Cow, I agree with Andy again! πŸ™‚

  103. Dex I make it at least 2-2 with the corner kick that never was and led to the goal!

    It’s still moot – if a ref wanted Man Utd to win he would have given the handball every time. But yeah probably just throwing us off the scent lol.

    They are SO damn sneaky this Cabal of Refs.

    Too clever me – thank goodness you’re here to keep my eyes open! πŸ˜‰

  104. Dexter – Don’t worry my friend, soon you will wake up and it will all have been a terrible dream. A bit like Dallas πŸ˜‰

  105. dex , a home team will always create a chance or two but it was there closeness to ours that made me suggest we didnt control the game that was all. I do agree we should all be positive at this time so how about this being able to rest rosicky leave the ox on the bench and cope with our injuries was very encouraging, benni was good and ramsey grew as the game went on he will score plenty soon and when he does he will relax and shoot or pass correctly more often hows that

  106. Dex @ 3:36:

    You make the exact point that I have been trying to make thru all of this. There are so many bad calls during every game that the pattern is random and uninterpretable. Its like a Rorschach ink blot test and everyone sees something different depending on their own preconcieved notions. We all believe that the referees need help and something needs to be done.

  107. Ha ha ha! Can you imagine Wenger agreeing to do a photo-shoot like this? Or Ferguson, for that matter. Dalglish is the only other manager I can imagine agreeing to do this.

  108. The bloke is a buffoon. And is obviously runs in the family.

    Anyway, Laters, I’m off πŸ™‚

  109. I suppose sneaky things only happen in backward countries where meglamaniac politicians own football clubs. Not like, I dunno, at random say a $iteh or a Chel$ki.

    I think that I know how Mike Riley got his stats on referee calls. If you take every event, every occurance in a game of football over 90 minutes, that counts as a ‘call’.
    So, looking at the offisde call stats in a game involving me and my friends, every time I pass to my mate in D_Fence, that goes down as a good offside call because the lino had to figure out whether my teammate was offside or not (please ignore the fact that we are in our own half most of time). For every pass. Over the whole game. That’s how they get such high figures. And when they publish these figures, it is even more reassuring is it not?

  110. Or even megalomaniac politicians.

  111. If you really want to see incompetent officiating then last night’s Wigan vs Man Utd game is the perfect example. Not only should Evans have gone and Moses goal should have stood, but United should have had at least two penalties as well. At least no-one can say the officials were favouring one side or the other, they were equally bad for both.

  112. “I will never say we can’t win the league if there is still a chance. That is not my life, never” – Roberto Mancini, Tuesday 10 April before Manchester City face West Brom and Manchester United face Wigan

    “The title race is finished … five points is too much” – Roberto Mancini, Wednesday 11 April after Manchester City beat West Brom and Manchester United lose to Wigan

  113. Re: The United match and missed calls.

    If I am following this correctly, if a team does get favoured, that means that they cannot have ANY calls go against them and if they do have a few, that is proof that they dont get help most of the time? Let’s think that through a bit.

  114. One of the best ways to spend 10 spare minutes. Just bring some Kleenex.

  115. Proof, if proof were needed, that City are crumbling under the pressure. Mancini is either losing the plot…(possible) or he has realised that his team can now only play well with no pressure on them (very possible). Either way, doesn’t look good.

  116. Paul. The converse that a supposedly favored team has a bad call go for them and the only possible explanation could be a conspiracy has never been thought through πŸ™‚

  117. Isn’t Sunday Dennis Bergkamp day?

  118. pedantic george

    Paul-N | April 12, 2012 at 5:07 pm
    Re: The United match and missed calls.

    If I am following this correctly, if a team does get favoured, that means that they cannot have ANY calls go against them and if they do have a few, that is proof that they dont get help most of the time? Let’s think that through a bit.

    That’s about what I would have liked to say.
    Have you got your tinfoil hat on Paul? You must accept this premise otherwise you are in La La Land.Or so I am led to believe..

  119. Limestonegunner

    buckagh, in addition to what YW said, I don’t want to hurt the club, just to express dissatisfaction with Robson. How about we try this first.

  120. pedantic george

    Bill,seriously,why do you keep saying “conspiracy” when most of the people you are arguing with have not claimed this.
    It does you no favours to attempt to make people look foolish.And suggesting they are pedaling a conspiracy theory does just that.If you think the likes of Paul and I idiots,just say so ,rather than imply it!

  121. Limestonegunner

    Wigan is a dangerous fixture. We’ve had some uneven results playing them in recent seasons and this is the part of the season where they seem typically to go on a decent run to mount a survival campaign. With an excellent win v. United and very good performance v. Chelsea, we need to play better than we did away to Wolves unless we get a similar start and go up by a couple goals right away. Hopefully, the QPR result is still in everyone’s minds to counter any possible complacency and we remember the points dropped to them earlier in the season.

    This is one where the crowd has to stay strong. Of course the Ems support was up for a grudge match with City. But keeping up the pressure with loud, vocal and intimidating support may be the key vs. refs unconsciously wanting to make up for their bad fortune in the Chelsea match.

    I’d play the Ox–it is a home match and we can jump on top of them and then make a defensive switch on the left wing. With Santos not having many recent matches and just coming back into the side, some protection will be valuable but I’d rather start with a major attacking push at the outset. Plus Rosicky having rested should come back to central playmaker.

  122. Limestonegunner

    Funny one, GA–what is a few more; drops in the sea! πŸ™‚

  123. Limestonegunner

    Jonny, I think Mancini has really lost it. He doesn’t know how to handle the players or the media.

  124. It’s interesting how those who believe in significant bias against our club in particular are the ‘further left’, ‘AKB style’ supporters (for better or worse) whilst those who are arguably the more moderate minded are less convinced.

    Coincidence?

    Just an observation – before anyone gets their knickers in the twist!

  125. Bill, that would be a naive stance, because corruption or favouritism cannot be wholeseale. Corruption, bias or whatever you want to call it does not mean that a team wins every game and gets every call. Surely.

  126. Jeez jonny, I think you are in danger of disapearing up your own arse there man. πŸ™‚

    The fact your ‘argument’ is as full of holes as George’s best Y fronts is neither here nor there.

    The corner that never was? Fuck me, the ref would have needed to have been stood over the 2 players.

    I guess for you and your selective memory, yesterday makes up for all the decisions united get? The fact it has struck such a chord, suggests they usually get things their own way.

    Mike Riley is chief of refs, that for anyone should be enough to raise at least one eye brow! And that is my take on it; Riley a self confessed manc lover, who officiated THAT game, yet still ends up as the chief of officials….

    Smells worse than george’s bestest Y fronts.

  127. George,

    It is because using the “conspiracy” tag is a way to undermine the person before the argument even begins. It is just like referring to someone as a “terrorist” because they have opposing views to their current government. It is an attempt stop an argument before it starts so that the ideas don’t have to stand on their own merit.

    Anyhow, I think we can all agree that the quality of officiating is detiorating at an incredible rate. I am not one who seeks some magic solution that removes all problems with officiating. But, to refuse to try to improve on the current system because of a fear of the unknown is just plain cowardice.

  128. That Commoli dude gets the sack and SSN are saying it was HIM who spent all that money on the over rated, over priced grit and not K’nell Kenny.

  129. Seems to me that Comoli has been hung out to dry, definately a patsy!
    Not sure if anyone has posted this but some cracking stats from the wolves game.

    827 – Passes attempted by Arsenal
    745 – Passes completed by Arsenal

    103 – Passes attempted by Bacary Sagna
    95 – Passes completed by Bacary Sagna

    100 – Passes attempted by Alex Song
    90 – Passes completed by Alex Song

    98 – Passes attempted by Mikel Arteta
    92 – Passes completed by Mikel Arteta

    97 – Passes attempted by Andre Santos
    85 – Passes completed by Andre Santos

    48 – Percent of Arsenal’s passes attempted by Sagna, Santos, Song, and Arteta
    24 – Percent of Arsenal’s passes played by Santos and Sagna

    Who said we didnt miss proper fullbacks/wingbacks during that period…!!!

  130. Jonny @ 5.58

    Now you have convinced me you are on a wind up. Wasnt sure before, but now… Yep. πŸ™‚

  131. So true that Deise.

  132. Limestone I personally dont give a monkeys wether Robson stays or goes and as YW says its not possible to do anyway, but do you think the club would tolerate the threat of a finacial hit to protect Robson

  133. I would prefer to see Wigan relegated – they spend most of the season in the bottom three – a few wins towards the end of the season and they survive. They can come back after they prove themselves once more in theChampionship. I would like Bolton to stay on top because of the understanding we have wrt loaned players. Also Blackburn because Keane has taken the club in the right direction.

  134. “Beware of the leftist AKBs”. Always stops the critics of bias, incompetent refereeing dead in their tracks. Is it viceologist who likens this to the “terrorist” card?
    Why would an evidently intelligent man engage in such loaded, inflammatory languge to make a point?
    Shakes head and moves on.

  135. Because he is on a wind up? Well thats hopefully what it is, if he truely believes that hokum, then fuck me, thats another one bitten the dust shotta.

    You can ask PaulN, George, yourself probably, if I am a bloomin leftist AKB! πŸ™‚

    BTW I hate that term, such a lazy cop out

  136. Anyway, back to essay writing (plagiarising)

    Up the Guns!!!

  137. I’d imagine that Paul N is too busy upon a Sunday morning to be paddling about in a muddy field at a Technival somewhere in central Europe with all the other refugees from the The Baader Meinhof collective.
    Yes. I hope that was a wind up too.

  138. That is not me in the brown coat.
    But it is music Thursdays!

  139. Who me?

    *innocent face* πŸ™‚

  140. Peacefrog, totally disagree with you, except the bit about Bolton. I also hope they make it.

    Wigan are a classy club. Second only to us I’d say. They do things the right way. I hope they survive again.

  141. Paul N – Leftist christian in Arizona?

  142. Limestonegunner

    Markus, sort of. One major complaint I have about them is that they usually have a terrible, terrible pitch.

  143. Anyways the bloodletting at Liverpool currently interests me most. Cautionary tale for all those advocates of “spend some f**ckin money, Arsene.” Can’t spend $120 million-plus of the owner’s money and not even win a place in Europe. Takes an ex-Spud to cock-up in such striking fashion. 35 million for Andy Carroll was the first sign of insanity. 20 million for Stewar Downing was confirmation.
    So is King Kenny going to get off scot-free?

  144. Limestonegunner

    I’m more impressed with Swansea and Norwich.

  145. Not quite revolutionary marching music, but I have been listening to this again:

    My task, before the end of the year if I can find the time, is to try to learn how to play some of that on a Sitar without my fingers bleeding. I might manage a line or two if I’m lucky. And then wimp out. The lessons are expensive as well, which is a deterrent. But you can’t learn properly without a Guru. Ask Arsene.

  146. Limestonegunner

    Buckagh, if you don’t care whether he stays or goes, why did you comment on it at all?! Just wondering why I should continue the conversation? I’m interested in seeing him gone and have taken a small step to do so. Maybe it will work. If it did, I and thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands or even millions–I speculate on the basis of the comments I routinely see complaining about his commentary on many blogs, particularly overseas fans who get him on the tv feeds we watch pretty regularly) would be happier gooners.

  147. Limestonegunner

    I am wondering how the language of 19th and 20th century politics (left and right) makes any sense in the discussions and debates we are having.

  148. pedantic george

    Lg ,you are doing fine work .And I for one am grateful and fully supportive.
    And I will mention it on the Fans Forum next time I call in

  149. If they don;t win the F.A Cup Liverpool will have spent 150 million on the Carling Cup this season (transfers + loss of revenue for CL). Someone had to swing and it was never going to be the “King”.

  150. I wouldnt mind seeing Norwich, Swansea and Wigan stay up, they play football the right way and see the back of the likes of Blackburn, Villa, Stoke – 3 terrible teams there, none go beyond 3-4 passes without hoofing it long, all play football from the dark ages and are manages by shite hawks….

  151. Lg I signed the petition in the first few days and I wish you the best of luck with it. My suggestion if it was still possible might have brought about a speedier solution. If Robson departure makes for happier gooners overseas or wherever I will support that. I note your point on overseas fans who depend on such feeds,

  152. mattgoonerknight

    LG, petition signatories

    The petition has 284 signatures but is beginning to slow somewhat

    At what point would you like to send this off?

    I’m not sure what constitutes a decent number of signatures for something like this but if we can get 300 that seems pretty good, no?

    It won’t get him the chop but it should get people thinking.

  153. Summing up the recent Liverpool singings. their approach could be described as “go British” with Carrol, Adam, Henderson, Dowson. I doubt that the person responsible for choosing this approach was Comoli, and I doubt that Dalglish had no say in the transfer decisions.
    The sacking seems to me an instinctive command from a distance just to show the fans that the board are unhappy with the situation.
    I have to admit I overestimated the threat from Liverpool at the beginning of the season. I do not think the sackings of this kind will help them to improve.

    Back to our run in, I’m glad that the manager is very cautious in his interviews about the CL finish. We still have a lot of work to do and some tricky fixtures, and I could see the Tots putting together a decent run in the end which would make our job more difficult. Having said that, I have been too pessimistic in the past and have been proved wrong many times by this team. Long may it continue.

  154. It is just not about the money.

    Our manager makes a great team and suddenly Man-Sour or the Chav-nots think we have players that will make their teams.

    Are players are not to be knocked, but it is about the sum of the parts and for that you need Wenger.

    IWWT

  155. Wonderful result yesterday. Points are everything at this stage, and even though I understand the worry about playing with the handbrake on or the occasional bout of sloppiness, it all worked out and we saved some energy. JD and Santos got to work out some of the rustiness, and JD didn’t put a foot wrong – in fact he showed he is right back on his game. Chesney was fantastic and my BTG put in another great shift.

    Five more wins, we can do it!

  156. Or we could always sack him and appoint Terry Conner

  157. DeiseGooner, I’d also like to see the last of Stoke and Blackburn but Villa…?

  158. George @ 5:51: Paul.

    We have said the same thing 10,000 different ways and I was trying to make my point in as few words as possible. Sometimes the discussion less monotonous if it takes a less serious tone I thought. My sincere apologies if I offended, that was never my intent. You know how many different things I have been called over the years but I thought that was part of blogging and never meant to be taken seriously.

  159. “I’d also like to see the last of Stoke and Blackburn but Villa…?”

    Villa under Mcleish is a nightmare! And it’s a shame they can’t take Sunderland and their crappy pitch with them!

  160. With regard to poor refereeing decisions, it obviously doesn’t “even itself out over a season.” The Riley performance in the 2004 Man U game that ended our invincibles run effectively cost us the title that season, if I remember correctly our prolonged slump following the fixture. I don’t recall any referee gifting us a title in return.

    And to those scoffing at “conspiracy theories” – no-one is alleging match-fixing where a ref has been persuaded to deliberately engineer a scoreline or result. One is only suggesting that there appears to be a systemic bias working in favour of certain big-money or big-club teams. This includes the media, since their witch-hunts have a real-world influence; certainly regarding suspensions.

    I’m not sure this a Left-Right issue as mischievously framed above by jonnyneale. I think some people are more naturally obsequious than others, which can be seen by their fawning sycophancy when confronted by the powerful, with whom they seek to ingratiate themselves. Unfortunately such people are common to both the Left and Right.

  161. to mattgoonerknight,

    if you log on to the petition it says “284 out of 500” . So let’s get it to 500.

  162. “Leftist AKB”… I like it
    Wonder why its pissing off so many though πŸ˜‰ >=)

    Btw, who then are the conservative akb’s, or can akb’s only be leftish?

  163. I agree with the 500 number, If I am not mistaken it was at 200 just yesterday. It only takes one good contact to make it pick up again. Keep it going.

  164. Bloody apostrophe kept popping up in my last post.

    Should have have been…”Btw, who then are the conservative AKBs, or can AKBs only be leftish?

  165. I signed up to the petition yesterday, and got the ‘thank you’ email from Matt today.

    Why does it say β€œ284 out of 500β€³. Does it mean 500 people have viewed the site and only 284 signed on?

  166. It might be 284 names displayed of 500 signed as you have the option to do either

  167. Yeah i hate Mcleish’s teams and its amazing how quickly hes turned Villa to dogshit football. His players seem to think so too from the lack of attention any of them paid to him what we whooped them recently. Just to see him sacked id have Villa relegated BUT they have a few decent players and look to have enough points that another win or 2 will see them safe.

  168. to Henristic – can only AKBs be leftish?

    One might say that the Doomers are intrinsically of the Right, given their hatred of Arsenal’s (relatively) egalitarian wage structure, and their penchant for the demonisation of whichever player seems weakest at any given moment.

    One might also offer that AKBs exhibit the characteristics of the Left, when they constantly defer to a benevolent, omniscient father figure and insist on the supremacy of fair play and a collective team ethos.

  169. pedantic george

    No Bill ,all is not forgiven.You have made me feel like this dude

    Shame on you

  170. Why does it say β€œ284 out of 500β€³

    If you log into other petitions it says “8,673 out of 10,000” or “166,356 out of 200,000” etc. Pehraps our petition will say “501 out of 1000” as soon as we reach our arbitrary target.

    It seems designed so that each new potential signatory will see that their own signature is valuable in working towards a target.

  171. ffshoot,
    Nice one, so where do you stand if I may ask, right of left? (Sorry, I haven’t seen too many of your posts)

  172. Correct, the 500 is the next milestone we need to reach.

  173. Haven’t posted very much; I’m a lurker by nature.
    Philosophically, I can see the merit both Left and Right, I was far-Left as a youngster who’s drifted Right through parenthood. Politically: a pox on both their houses.

  174. I’m in love with you A R S E N A L…

  175. mattgoonerknight

    ffsshoot

    Yep, it’s just a target. If it ever were to reach 500 signatures it would indeed say “500 out of 1000”.

    500 is not going to happen any time soon. I think if / when we reach 300 it’ll be time to send.

    Btw, I’m guessing you’ve been a touch more pleased with our recent shooting policy given your user name?

  176. Limestonegunner

    mattgooner, I thought we might continue it until Wed next week. What do you think? Too long? If we can have some folks posting it around each day early enough in comments sections of Arsenal blogs over the coming days and right before and after the Wigan game, we could grow.

    I’ve written to Arseblog to get a mention, have posted it to 7am, Goonerholic and Untold Arsenal (but not regularly on the latter two) and once to Le-Grove this morning. I also wrote to Mean Lean at Arsenal Vision, but if you frequent another site where you have a relationship with the blogger as a regular, we might get more traction.

    If this seems fruitless, I don’t have a problem with sending it after 300 just to get them thinking. If we had the petition up right after ManCity, I am sure we would have had more, because I saw so many people complaining about Robson.

  177. Don’t be pessimistic Matt, you’ve reached nearly 300 in only a couple of days. Give it time, prepare your next move. There is strength in numbers.

    I am delighted with our recent shooting BTW. Both Arteta’s and Benayoun’s recent strikes have been masterful.

  178. Limestonegunner

    Also, what about Facebook and twitter–I am hopeless with social media but it seems that it would strike a chord if more folks saw it. I don’t know if any major networks of Arsenal supporters has seen the petition apart from a handful of blogs.

  179. Well played getting it out there Limestonegunner, although I think you’re brave to the point of foolhardy posting it on Le Grove. I saw it described on there as “a bunch of AKBs up in arms about someone prepared to tell it as it is” or some such nonsense.

    A proper bunch of that lot are.

  180. pedantic george

    ffsshoot,fucking hey

  181. Long time admirer of you too PG

  182. Henristic

    The term ‘akb’ is one used by wankers who think by using that term, that in itself is an argument ender and its a lazy cover all usually used by proper miserable moaning twats.

    The fact you like the term, well. Kind of says it all really! πŸ™‚

  183. Yogi, perhaps you could tweet it to some of the most popular big Arsenal names on Twitter and ask the them to RT?

    I started on this route but they don’t know me from Adam really – with good reason, your name has much more gravity. ;0)

  184. Limestonegunner

    Yeah, I didn’t think the petition would be that popular with some of the hardcore there at Le-Grove, but there are some who might not appreciate his contributions.

  185. Tweet me nicely Jonny…& I’ll RT.

  186. George @ 9:17:

    You are still my favorite on line personna.

  187. Dexter,
    As usual you miss the point, in your hurry to score akb points πŸ™‚

  188. pedantic george

    Bill .and you are my favorite horse whisperer.

  189. Thanks YW – I actually meant tweeting it directly to a handful of the big Arsenal Twitter names like Little Dutch for example (as opposed to your retweeting to your followers) – though perhaps you understood that meaning and significant difference already?! πŸ˜‰
    Though I am happy to send a text with the material regardless..?

  190. Yea I signed the petition myself but really doubt it will lead to the dismissal of Robson. However, it may just be the kick in the ass he needs to rethink how he commentates. That I would happily settle for as like someone said earlier (sorry I forgot who!) living in the States he is more ofter than not the commentator we are stuck listening to.

    I did not get to see the Wolves game yet but FSC are showing it tonight, so will watch it then. I did however just catch the second half of Wigan’s victory over Utd. WOW! They could and indeed should have won by 3 or 4, they really did rip them a new one when charging forward. A lot of people are asking why Utd are top of the table with such an ordinary team, the answer IMO is simple. Reputation. When Wigan started running at them in numbers they were appalling in their defending. When they tied slower buildups, it alowed them to regroup and regain posession, which they very quickly turned into an attacking move, thereby pushing Wigan back again. It really is frustrating that we played them in January and not now. I could honestly see us knocking in a few against them, the way we are playing now.

  191. I find this conspiracy theory re: Robson rather interesting. So he’s supposed to be biased, systematically anti-Arsenal? Don’t you all think that his commentating is going to even itself out over the season and for every bad comment he makes about one of our players he is going to make a good one. I bet all the other fans teams think that their ex-players gone pundit are also anti-their club and biased.

  192. Evil – In as much as I want his commentary to at least change tone because it is very negative and harsh at times, and if he does not then he should go, I had a rethink and do not think it is bias. I simply think that he is such a twat, he believes as he is an ex-Arsenal player and is also employed by them, he has to be much more severe in his criticisms towards us in a vain attempt to show that he is not favoring us over the opposition. This might indeed be fine when he is commentating outside of Arsenal-Player but when in-house, so to speak, he should indeed be biased towards us as that is why we have an ex-player commentating in the first place. If he can’t figure that out then he should get out.

  193. Evil – you’re evil.

  194. Evil,
    Your 12.01am comment is a rather poor attempt at ‘muppetry’, but I suppose you score points for effort πŸ™‚

  195. pedantic george

    Actually it was rather good Muppetry,It sucked Irish in.

  196. PG – Not sucked in at all mate. Rather dived in head-first in the shallow end of a big pile of….wait a minute! WTF!? 😒

  197. Limestonegunner

    We are all Muppets now

  198. WACKA! WACKA! WACKA!

  199. Villa used to play some ok football. McLeish is a crap Midas, whatever he touches turns to ship.

  200. Ship? πŸ™‚ That’s one word for it Finn!

  201. That would be ‘shit’ πŸ™‚

  202. PG,
    Irish doesn’t count, everyone knows he’s gullible as fuck…. πŸ˜›

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