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Still a lot to play for on many fronts

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By Walter Broeckx

 

We are nearing the end of one of the strangest seasons in our recent history.

If ever the expression the season was like a rollercoaster was applicable it must be for this season. But don’t we say this about every season at some part of the season?

 

At the start the uncertainty about who wanted to stay and who wanted out at all cost threw a large shadow over the start of our season. If Wenger would ever publish his memoires I think I will skip the rest and go straight to what he has to say about last summer. Who forced the departure of Nasri and Fabregas at the end of the day. How did the players behave and did the board decided what was going to happen to them? Only a few insiders know but I can imagine lots of us want to know. I would love to know.

 

I’m not going to review the whole season but we came from the very low to now finding us in third place. One point in front of Tottenham, two points in front of Newcastle. Who would have thought that after 25 minutes in the last North London derby? We managed to get there despite no full backs for months, without the best young English player, lots of injuries all over the field. Referees who  gave us nothing at all. One could say that it is pure on our own merit that we are where we are. We got nothing for free all season long.

 

The situation now is clear. We must get at least the same result as the two teams who are behind us to secure third place. On paper we all could lose our games and still come third.  The safest thing to do is of course just win our final game and then we don’t have to look at what the others will do. But we have to look at the possibilities.

 

If we draw and the other two win we would end up in 4th place. Unless Newcastle can win at Everton with some 15 goals difference. A bit unlikely one could say.

 

If we would lose than any team of the two behind that wins their last game would overtake us. And then we could be in 5th if both of them win.

 

If we lose 1-0 and Tottenham draw 0 -0 then it could be that we end up with the same number of points and goal difference. If Newcastle then would not win we would be both on third. I just was thinking how it would be decided then? Won games?  Scored goals? Ooh, this could get tight. So let us just try to win our game and stay away from that speculation.

 

Anyhow what the result will be at the end of next Sunday we will go in to a European competition. It’s not yet  decided which one.  Not that bad for a team that would be fighting relegation as was predicted by some.

 

But there is not just the battle for third place this season that still is wide  open.  The title race is still not completely over. And the relegation battle for the 3rd team going down is also still an open race. And both battles meet each other this weekend.

 

If Manchester City win their game against QPR it will mean that Manchester City has won the title but it could also mean that QPR goes back down again. That is if Bolton manage to win their last game of the season. Bolton have to travel to Stoke and that is not the nicest place to travel to. But no matter the QPR result Bolton just has to win their game to make any chance of survival. Who should go down of those two? Maybe both of them as they are not really adding a lot to the PL.

 

So it will be an interesting final day of the season. The teams who chase 3rd place are not in the best form of the season one could say. Arsenal has had some massive injuries to deal with in the last weeks and this surely hasn’t help us to get the points we should have had by now.  We have lost a few players that have been vital for our season. Mertesacker, Sagna, Arteta, Walcott… just a few that we could have used for this game.

 

I sure would have loved to have a fit Wilshere or Diaby involved in this game but as they have missed the whole season because of injuries we did get to third without them so we cannot complain about them too much. But the 4 other I mentioned are harder to replace. For such a game you would love to have your best and very experienced  players available to pick your team. This surely is not the case for Arsenal.

 

Manchester City look the strongest team of the Manchester teams for the moment and they have on paper the easiest game. Howard Webb will do his best at Sunderland to make up with SAF for the things he couldn’t do at Newcastle this season. A United loss and a City win under Webb this season at Newcastle. Will he be sold this summer?

 

Whatever will happen on Sunday will happen. But no matter what happens we will stay Gooners and will be back next season. Hopefully  a next season with less injuries, less bad referees and a stronger Arsenal.

 

60 comments to Still a lot to play for on many fronts

  • richard M

    I am not sure i agree that we got where we are on our own merits, more that newcastle chelsea and tottenham failed to sustain a consistent run. we did gain some consistency and that helped. However, ever since gaining the advantage we have tried to chuck it away and we go into a difficult last away game to west brom. Usually this i would say would be an easy win for us but with it being Hodgson’s last game in charge the players will be right up for it and it is going to be tough. Hopefully players like Gibbs and chamberlain will be out to impress him and have absolutely storming games. I think we have missed Arteta’s bite and guile in midfield not so convinced about Walcott but Sagna is a shame though Coquelin will do well there. Let’s hope Wenger drops Ramsey to the bench in favour of benayoun in centre gervinho on left and chamberlain on right quite easy really isn’t it then if you need to change things bring ramsey on for chamberlain move benayoun to left and gervinho to right. then bring santo on as left sided midfielder

  • After the nightmare start to the season coming third seems quite unbelieveable but now within grasp, WBA like most games not easy but we must remain positive till the end. I myself will be there in box with 7 of them, nice words from AW regards Pat Rice”s departure, sure has been a hell of a season.

  • iniez

    Richard, but you’re somewhat stating the obvious, that’s how a league works. If you aren’t consistent and can’t keep up then you fall back. We had a shaky start and therefore started far behind anyone else. We played hard and went on some fantastic runs and caught up to them. By your logic you’re saying blackburn is only getting relegated because everyone else played well

  • I’m betting my money that we will be third come what may.Next season will be harder than this because all the so called oil rich guys will be in play and want to show who is who. GOD forbid but i hope this is the end of MANURE after what they have done of which even a blind man can see. Refs,Penalties and untouchable players, i wonder how a player who plays rugby on a soccer pitch goes a whole season with out a yellow card??? @ Walter could you gets us some ten best goal in the premiership because i also have mine but i know you are not biased and you will get me what i want.
    Cheers all Gunners and don’t you worry everything is gonna be okay

  • Damien Luu

    I really hope Theo can play in the final game, we need him badly. Without Theo, RvP lost quite a bit part of his magic. And if we had The Big German in recent games, we would have secured the third place by now. But of course this is not the time for moaning, everyone in the team and every gooner has to prove our fighting and winning spirit one last time in this season. We MUST do it. We MUST secure the third place.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Hope Theo plays too, he can be inconsistant, but keeps opposing defenders on their toes, which can leave gaps for others, not to even mention his goals/assists this season.
    We know what we will get from West Brom, hard working, organised, ususally motivated, and would be foolish to think this weekend will be any different. Their wide players can be effective, again a warning. In short, the sort of team we have struggled against this season. Time to send Pat out on a high.
    Anyone know who the ref is?

  • iniez

    Mandy, we have mike jones for our game, http://www.premierleague.com/en-gb/news/news/match-officials-appointments-may-13.html

    Interesting article you posted, someone sounds bitter. I don’t see any reason why someone would be so threatened by this blog

  • Tram

    Don’t worry about WBA. We’re going to win 47-nil, all on penalties. I have it from an unimpeachable source that “it all balances out in the end”, and this, of course, is the end.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Thanks Iniez, think that is all year without Clattenberg? who incidently usually seems to ref us in a fair manner.

    Yes, that is quite a rant, think he is a secret fan of this site!

  • Arvind

    I stopped reading ANR a long time ago after I understood what rubbish he talked. So I am not clicking on that article.

    On another note, lets play Devil’s advocate. Assuming the whole of Untold Arsenal is on AFC payroll. What’s so horrible about it? Every single thing that Untold has put out (AFAIK) is public knowledge. All the scam info, all the ref info, all the injury info, all the media info..everything. Anyone who is for OR anti AFC is perfectly at liberty to check facts and reply. A great example would be the Norwich City thread (was that the largest ever?: ) ).

    So worst case…even IF they are on payroll there is nothing wrong about it as it is all open. On second thoughts..I shouldn’t even say ‘worst case’ ; )

  • @Mandy – we know, it’s our old ‘pal’ Rhys Jaggar… we had a quorum on him remaining able to post his increasingly erratic comments.

    I wouldn’t say it was a close margin when he was blackballed as the contents of the sack did rather resemble the scrapings off the bottom of a rabbit hutch when upturned upon the shiny oak table at Untold Towers.

    He’s still a little bitter it seems and has written a snotty post for Myles Palmer to publish on his ANR site.

  • BTW – I can confirm that I am not on the payroll, Tony keeps me in the basement and feeds me only vague promises that I may see my family again… someday.

    What Tony does do though is write “Arsenal Uncovered” history column in the match day programme – this, as I recall, he told us many times on this site with more than a slight whiff of smugness, could be what Rhys is refering to in his… well – whatever that was?

    This is more related to the http://www.blog.woolwicharsenal.co.uk/ site he runs though and has no relation to Untold Arsenal…

    …But – IF Wenger is feeding Tony brown envelopes full of cash to run this blog then I have one question!

    Where the fuck is my cut sunshine? Eh?

  • iniez

    Mandy, I can’t say I recall but I think we had him once or twice, not too sure. I think the PGMO just wants to keep things spicy for us you know, secretly they just want to toughen us up to deal with anything :p

    Arvind, I agree, I realised a long time ago ANR was nonsense and stopped clicking on it. And you’re right, how exactly could Untold do any harm? There is absolutely nothing to lose having this blog around, as opposed to having sites that talk shit about our club and manager and spread hate and anger. We want to support our club, the nerve

  • If anyone wants a window into the mind of the author of that post they can find it here:

    http://ifyoulikeitsomuchwhydontyougolivethere.com/?s=jaggar&submit=Search

    Fruit and nut cake!

    Also – there is an amusing article on Myles Palmer (the guy who published it) here:

    http://anotherarsenalblog.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/myles-palmer-henry-will-not-make-it-as.html

    We at Untold Arsenal rest our case.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Most amusing Dogface!

  • Gf60

    How strange that it took the two biggest vertical smiles masquerading as Gooners so long to find each other.

  • nicky

    If we are to cement our position of 3rd place in the EPL on Sunday, we must turn up with our secret weapon, namely, our away fans. They have been fantastic throughout the season and could teach the Emirates crowd quite a bit about what 100% support is all about.
    The gods smiled on us over last weekend and now we have our destiny, once again, firmly in our own hands (or rather “feet”).
    I don’t think we will miss our chance a second time.

  • That article is embarrassing for ANR, though I know they aren’t the most high class of websites.

  • Wooby

    @Richard, I do share some of your trepidation about this last game due to it being Hodgson’s last one at WBA; their lads will certainly be up for it.

    I believe though, we have enough hunger to secure a win and 3rd in the league. We have been a little spotty lately but I think the squad realizes how close they are to completing the great turnaround. So I say a 3-2 victory with RVP scoring another brace and setting a new record for most goals in a 38 game season (32).

  • meditation

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjQm5dUUyXM&feature=related interesting refereee performance from graham poll. croatia vs italy world cup 2002. I dont know if these refs are corrupt or crap.

  • GodWoreTen

    Top links to anr dogface! Says it all

  • Goona Gal

    Ha Ha, I just read the ANR article by Rhys, seriously I have had tears in my eyes from laughing so much! There was I thinking that Rhys had been holding down the fort, keeping Tony and particularly Walter in their place, in my absence!

    You can just imagine him sitting there with his tin foil hat and super stained underpants tapping away like a madman, once the plonker Palmer said he would publish him! Wow – Untold has just hit the big time now…as I am of course assuming that ANR has an audience…

    So the big news today is that Rhys is banned and not about Pat Rice. I wonder if I’m next. The Arsenal blogasphere is so prissy!

    @ Mandy Dodd – thanks for the link.

  • Goona Gal

    Can I just say a massive thank you to Pat Rice anyway for his services to the club. In a age where it sometimes appears that little value is placed on respect, loyalty, honesty and decency, I would like to articulate my appreciation. His contribution will not be forgotten.

    It’s a disservice to underestimate or dismiss his contribution on the pitch as a player and as an employee. Anyone that has served the club without scandal for so many years and is so highly thought of, has done something right in their life.

    Pat Rice = Arsenal legend.

  • Goona Gal

    Also Steve Bould was my first choice for No.2. so I am very glad that he was chosen.

    I think that if Lee Clark (former Huddersfield Manager) isn’t snapped up by a Championship team, we should offer him a role in the youth set up.

  • LRV

    I wasn’t even aware that Rhys Jaggar had been banned here. I kept wondering where he had disappeared to with his ramblings of discontent.

    Anyway, I wrote a reply to his disgruntled and fallacious views. I am not sure that they will use my comments though.

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Dogface, after reading RJagger’s contribution to that site you linked to, I was left pondering why his internet usage is not supervised.

    I must admit I don’t know to much about that Myles Palmer fella, but Rhys and this bloke were obviously like two passing ships in the night up until now. There must of been fireworks going off when they met, as it was meant to be, like when Laurel met Hardy. Comedy Gold.

  • Gord

    Who takes up the U-18 position? Thierry Henry is still playing in New York. Tony Adams has a men’s team he is managing. Dennis Bergkamp is an assistant at Ajax. Jens Lehman is involved in youth soccer, but doesn’t appear to be tied to anything. Goaltenders usually have good vision of the field, but it doesn’t mean they can coach.

    Assuming they have knowledge of training (sports physiology), I would lean towards goaltenders and centerbacks for coaching teams. I suppose something could be said for center midfield that is really good at ball distribution and comes back (for example, I think Arteta would make a good coach in the future).

  • HIGHAMSPARKGUNNER

    Find it strange that jaggar started writing for Arsenal News review a site well known for its knob of an owner who doesn’t even support Arsenal.
    LRV you will not see your comment published on the site because taht website never allows peoples comments after the articles (would think this is because its so shit everyone would just slate the writers off).if you are lucky and send a love letter to them or question agreing with them they may well publish that).i also commented just to have a go knowing that they will see the comments even if they don’t publish them.
    The last time I saw jaggar on UA I believe he was asking for help as he had lost quite a bit of money on betfair betting on
    computerised racing not knowing that the meetings were all made up.Seems a bit like his column then !

  • Black Hei

    Another point of reflection about our season is that we now have 67 points with 1 game to spare. Last season with Nasri and Fabregas we have 68 points over 38 games. I think Wenger has compensated very well with their departure

  • @GoonerGal – I know, especially at the Manchester United fans who beat Rhys up in a pub! It’s gold.

  • OMG – Rhys’ rant has been removed from ANR!!

    No doubt dark forces are involved…

  • @steve – JESUS!! Talk about disinformation on a grand scale!!

    We know for a fact (from the work done here) that this ‘study’ is total and utter bullshit.

  • Red-Man

    Interesting – that Rhys/AAA-NR collaboration now appears to be a page with no text…

  • Red-Man

    Apologies, Dogface – I see you’ve already mentioned it…

  • Telegraph study (commissioned by who-the-fuck knows): 674 selected decisions analysed in all matches.

    Untold Arsenal study: all 6219 decisions analysed in matches reviewed.

    Telegraph Study: closed book.

    Untold Arsenal study: Open source EVERY decision is documented and up for discussion.

  • iniez

    Steve, I’m about to headbutt my computer a la zinedine zidane. So justification for united not winning the title has begun. I’m sure this will be the first of many and before you know we’ll have united fans telling US they’ve been robbed

  • I’m sure Walter is tip-tapping away as we speak. I imagine that this shoddy pile of crap dressed up as research is the forerunner to Manchester City getting mugged blind by Dean against QPR and SAF then waving his copy of the telegraph claiming that “look, see – it really does all even out” – now back to sleep mugs.

    Which is a worry as also in that “study” – Arsenal should be behind the scum.

    Here’s another thing that doesn’t add up: “More than 200 hours has been spent analysing 674 decisions from all 370 games”

    (370×90)/60 = 555

    So what happened to the other 300 odd hours of match footage?

    And that estimate of 300 hours is a massive under estimate as we read further:

    “Each replay was watched repeatedly in slow and super-slow motion with effort made to side with the referee where possible – decisions were not changed unless there was clear evidence that they should be.”

    I’m willing to bet that this unique and groundbreaking ‘study’ was done off the MOTD highlights using Sky+.

  • Jacobite Gunner

    omg, i will never take the DT seriously again

  • Stevie E

    The most telling bit of that rubbish DT article is this – “Tim Long is a sports broadcaster and writer who has passed the basic referee course.” What a load of old bollocks

  • jayjay

    ROFLMAO at telegraph “study”, it suggests that at average LESS THAN TWO key decisions per game.

    Also whats with all these “experts” claiming the tots will get third, their allowed their opinions, just really pissing me off

    St.Totteringhams Day – 13/05/2012

  • Idolx

    I’d rather Bolton stay up with Ryo scoring a farewell hattrick.

  • Micko

    Isn’t Tim Long an anagram of Molting.
    Maybe it’s just Mike Riley shedding his skin !

  • Stuart

    Micko,

    ‘Lit Mong’ is another one!

  • That telegraph study is hilarious.

    They list Man Utd as suffering the most, when even their own figures show that proportionally, Liverpool, Man City, Everton and Wigan all suffered more.

    Apparently if you want the ref to be really on your side – you need to be a Fulham fan…

    What a pile of tosh, and whilst I might not fully agree with some of the decisions in the ref reviews, they at least are far better thought out and approached than that shambles.

  • @Indy_Bones – it was Tim Long (sports broadcaster and writer who has passed the basic referee course) himself that conducted this rigorous scientific study – no doubt with the help of his living room, a HD TV and the ‘well balanced’ and representative highlights from MOTD on his Sky+ box.

    Beggars’ belief.

  • Wooby

    @DogFace et al, I suspect the one who commissioned the study by Tim Long is Mike Dean.

    I wonder how Tim Long plans to answer the question how Arsenal has managed to not receive one penalty at the Emirates all season? Surely to goodness, one of the 674 “KEY” decisions would have included activities opponents carried out in their box while playing at the Emirates?

  • @Wooby – if they weren’t covered on the MOTD highlights – they didn’t exist… obviously!

  • Mahdain

    when i saw that telegraph article i was just smh in disbelief..seriously who do they think they’ll lie to with that bs? Sorry Tim Long but we have untold to tell us who is benefitting from what

  • Look at the bottom of the article, the last paragraph. As I’m sure Walter will indicate, their methodology is all wrong – looking for “contact”. Hmm, perhaps it would be better to look for FOULS, perhaps? You know, as defined in the rulebook? trips, shoves, pulls, charges etc!

    The guy who did it probably has no experience, and simply has his badges (they say he is qualified, but do not mention experience of refereeing, so I think I’m right here). I wouldn’t feel good enough to be part of the ref review team, as I’ve only reffed ten games, yet those ten games have taught me absolutely loads (plus, from reading ref reviews, I would wager my understanding of the rules is better than most). So what chance does this random guy have of doing a good job, with just his ref badges?!

    Plus, only one reviewer – what is his alleigance? I know all the untold reviewers are Arsenal fans, but bias is partly checked by the collaborative system of having a team of reviewers, and the fact that the Untold data is open to the public – biased reviews would be exposed .

  • @Phil Gregory – I think the biggest question is how can yor review 555 hours of match footage (including each incident several times in super slow motion) in 200 hours?

  • That also is an excellent point. I would wager though that even if they went of highlights data, a competent referee would establish some form of pro-United bias (Young dives for one). So the flaws of a highlights package, plus the fact that this guy doesn’t seem to actually know how to judge a foul really undermines the legitimacy of this…

  • ATAF

    wba 0-1 arsenal

  • C4

    What was the gist of the RJ rant? By the time I tried to check it out, it had mysteriously vanished.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Well maybe Myles Palmer has taken notice of a few things I told him in a comment him about this RJ. Something RJ once said what should happen to me. Something about a baseball bat and my skull…

  • C4 – you can still see it on google – just search on:

    “Untold Arsenal’s propaganda and hypocrisy”

    Hover over the preview and click ‘cached’.

  • Goona Gal

    I’ve just got in and thinking about tomorrow. I meant to post this earlier.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tprDd93_W8Q&feature=related

  • Jacobite Gunner

    Walter,

    with such an eloquent vocabulary i’ve got no doubt that RJ would be able to spare the flight cost to pay you a visit, that, not being his only trouble, he may be stopped and cavity checked at customs (though he may enjoy this) and then refused entry.