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A great week for Arsenal and there could be more to come.

By Walter Broeckx

It sure was an interesting week of football. With most of the PL having a nice rest we were one of the few PL teams that had to play a match last weekend. Or last Monday. And what for a match. Going to Old Trafford is one of the most difficult places to go to in any competition. But the boys did great and produced a performance that warranted and gave us a deserved win. Good attacking, good defending, bossing midfield for most of the match. It felt like a repeat of our PL match at Manchester City. Coquelin with or without a mask being a big factor once again. But I am hesitant in picking out a player in particular as it was a great team performance.

Next nice surprise was that the tactical genius also called Moaninho messed up against 10-man PSG. These being two teams fabricated on money from outside football I don’t like them at all. But at least their manager doesn’t poke other coaches in the eye or is constantly having cheap shots at other people so he is a bit more likeable.

The way the Chelsea players behaved was nicely highlighted and the way Mourinho chose to defend the 1-1 from the first leg against a team that had to play 90 minutes with 10 men was amazing. Well not that amazing if you know Mourinho. But that it backfired in such a way is not something that happens everyday. Because of other obligations I only saw the last 20 minutes of extra time and I didn’t know PSG were a man down until they scored the equaliser and the reporter mentioned it. I couldn’t tell that they were a man down and that made them and their performance even more impressive.

As a result if we and Manchester City cannot turn around our first leg deficit, once again no PL team will be in the last eight of the Champions League.

It really is time that people in England need to think about that and go looking for the reasons. Yes reasons. And let me give a clue about one reason that has nothing to do with it: too many foreigners. But maybe people could look at other things. Like getting PL to overplay in some periods when other leagues take a short but welcome rest.

And what about the difference in refereeing between the PL and the rest of Europe and the world? Something the Chelsea players tried to exploit in the Ibrahimovic incident. But then failed to capitalise on.

Anyway, the weekend brought again a few nice results. I remember in the last weeks of 2014,  the you-know-who part of our fans was suggesting that we should get rid of Wenger and get Fat Sam to replace him. Honestly people who claimed to be Arsenal supporters were saying this! Think of that for one moment. Can you imagine Özil and Alexis waking up one day, go to training and see Fat Sam there and no longer Wenger???? Neither could they, I think. But as usual the owners of a 30 minute memory only had an eye for the now (in those days) and didn’t see the bigger picture.

A picture that showed that when we went to West Ham United around Christmas we were one point behind them.  The moaners moaning about how far Sam Allardyce took West Ham and how they even were going to end up in front of us. They had 31 points we had 30. Now we have 57 points and are in third place one point behind second place. And West Ham led by the ‘much better Sam Allardyce’? They have 39 points. As usual it isn’t bad to trust the manager and the players and give them time to recover from the injuries and ref shit that has happened in the first part of the season. I don’t think there will be one of those “Fat Sam in” shouters left that wants to remember what they shouted for.

Manchester City do seem to struggle at the moment. Going to Burnley and losing is not really champions stuff. When we won there in January in an attempt to write down our performance they trotted out the excuse that Touré was in the Africa cup.  Well he was there in Burnley.

The same can be said about Manchester United. Even when we won last Monday some said it was just because they were a weak team and a weak side. They just won 3-0 against the Tiny Totts yesterday and are still in our slipstream. In fact only 2 points difference between 2nd and 4th place.

If you look at the form guide in the last 8 matches we have Liverpool with 22 points, Arsenal with 21 points and then Manchester United with 19 points. So we did go to a team that was on a rather good run till we beat them. And continued their good run in the PL this weekend. So, please do us a favour and stop writing down our performances. If Liverpool doesn’t win today it will be Arsenal who lead the form table by the way. Liverpool not winning would mean that there will be a top four that has made a bit of a gap between them and the res. And who is in the top four now? Yes, the usual suspects of the last 3 or 4 seasons.

And league leaders and winners of the quadruple, oh sorry. Chelsea winners of the triple oops sorry again. What they did win was the league cup of course. And that is interesting because I have seen a few winners of the league cup suddenly slipping up in the league. Slipping up is even putting it mildly. Collapsing might be a better word. Birmingham was the major example of course because when they won the final against us they had 30 points in the table and at the end of the season after 12 more matches they only had 39 and were relegated. Not saying Chelsea can still go down but we have seen league cup winners losing their grip on things in the past. A bit of decompression I think.

All in all a not too bad week for Arsenal. Some great results for ourselves and some nice results with other teams stumbling a bit. Lets hope we can continue our form in the league and even improve on it.

—————————

The anniversaries: the unexpected, the mysterious, the desperate, and the beautiful

THE UNEXPECTED: 16 March 1896: Arsenal Reserves played Thames Ironworks at Canning Town in what is believed to have been Arsenal’s first floodlit game. Arsenal won 5-3.  Gas lamps were strung over the pitch to provide light.

THE MYSTERIOUS: 16 March 1936: George Marks joined as an amateur from Salisbury Corinthians.  He only played two league games and eventually moved onto Blackburn in 1946 – but he was the keeper in the “Arsenal Stadium Mystery” movie.

THE DESPERATE: 16 March 1962: Billy Wright named as Arsenal manager.  His signing ended the tradition which started with Joe Shaw, of Arsenal appointing managers who had already served the club.  It turned out to be a poor decision.

THE BEAUTIFUL: 16 March 2014: Tottenham 0 Arsenal 1 with a Rosicky screamer in 72 seconds being the only goal of the match.

 

 

19 comments to A great week for Arsenal and there could be more to come.

  • franck

    Nice write up Walter.Talikin about the decline in form of English teams in Europe there could be so many reasons for that but the break they do not have during the winter has always been there even when they were doing well.i do not think its the problem as it has always been part of the English game.The standard of performance dropped just around the time the home grown quota was introduced into English football.that to me is the reason for their drop in performance in european tournaments.i might be wrong but it has not got better since then…only worse.

  • Antarry

    we will reap the fruits of arsen wenger hard work soon, ..a miracle is on the cards come the month of april.

  • nicky

    As I enjoy my breakfast of burgoo
    (ex-squaddies will know what I mean), I spare a thought for our task tomorrow night.
    Our target must be two early goals without reply. The tension then will be so great that ANY southern continental side will start to crumble. It’s all that balmy weather, olive oil and fishy diet. Folk living on the shores of the Med simply cannot cope with inspired English/Welsh pressure.

  • bob mac

    Likely or probable are words not to be associated with the Monaco game.

    But POSSIBLE certainly is.

    Arsenal, when playing well, are capable of a win by 3-0.

    C’mon.

  • Pat

    Walter, this article is the biggest laugh I have had in a while. The picture of Ozil and Alexis coming down one morning and finding Fat Sam instead of Arsene! Chelsea winners of the quadruple – oops – treble – oops – league cup! And even the delicious notion of Chelsea going down – obviously one for the imagination but still fun!

    Onward and upward the Arsenal!

  • soglorious

    Walter, great article as usual.
    Just want to point your attention to the incident of a referee killed by a player’s punch as written on BBC.com. I know that that in itself is not acceptable but then, could it be that the punch was as a result of the player’s frustration regarding the officiating as we experience in the EPL? Just curious. Anybody in the US should please help my curiosity.
    Though the player has been sentenced to 8 years in prison, yet I fear for a repeat if the action is born out of frustration regarding the officiating. And if it is, heaven help the EPL referees if there isn’t a change of attitude.

  • Al

    Good write up. Has anyone also noticed how it’s only City who can challenge chelski for the title, despite the fact we’re only a point behind City? Strange, how the minds of those in the media work.

  • Damilare

    Nice write up Walter,

    Seems you are in top form again now as Gunnersaurus goes back to the bench (beach). We expect the great week to extend beyond Tuesday night in Monaco.

    I don’t think English teams are declining in Europe because of winter break (lack of). 3 English teams were in the semis some seasons back (2006/2007 I think) and non had winter break then. Add that to difference in refereeing between the PL and the rest of Europe and the world as you have already highlighted and probably the home grown quota as alluded to by franck are more like probable reasons.

    OT: According to Mou(thed one), 5 consecutive PL wins for Arsenal is not a momentum. According to him, ‘3-0 Westham or 1-3 Monaco’ is his emphasis. And the ‘stupid ones’ are lapping it up already.

    0-3 in Monaco is POSSIBLE!

    Let’s do it Gunners

  • Gord

    Looking just at USA news sources, none of the articles I could find (I am in Canada) mention anything about the quality of the officiating. I did not look at any news articles from Fox (waste of time). It was an Over 30 league, so not the highest level of competition. The wife of the referee apparently wanted to see the player get the electric chair for this. It is possible he will be sent back to Lebanon.

  • Menace

    Walter – a good summary of the state of EPL.

    What is missing is the fact that Chelsea were fortunate to have PGMOb selective vision because there was a shot at goal stopped by an arm that should have resulted in a penalty & red card. They would not have had the point & Maureen would have been in tears a little earlier than he will be.

    soglorious – PGMOL are truly blessed in that their shenanigans occur in a country where guns are banned. As passionate as I am about the game I would not wish death on these cheats. A few days detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure would suffice if the fraud squad find reason.

    Belief is what Wenger has in buckets for his methods. I have similar belief for him & Him.

    We are living in a most incredible period of Arsenal History. Just enjoy the ride because this doesn’t happen often.

  • Damilare

    Re English teams decline in Europe:

    I think the standard of football in Europe has increased significantly of recent too. As long as the English media/FA/PGMOB see nothing wrong about ‘rugby’ type of football which has portrayed thugs like Shawcross, Neville, etc as ‘stars’, the PL teams in Europe and the 3 Lions will continue to slide down against teams with football creativity, flair and techniques. Modern football is no longer ‘eat mud and sweat blood’

    Don’t also forget that uefa like fufa are not free from corruption. You never can tell how many decisions are cash based and how resistant the CL ‘king-makers’ are.

  • Gord

    OT:

    Somebody a few days ago asked if Bendtner was really a Lord. Apparently, he was recently given 1 square foot of Land in Glencoe Wood, which now makes him a Lord.

    http://www.sportsmole.co.uk/off-the-pitch/arsenal/news/bendtner-becomes-lord-after-land-purchase_211591.html

    —-

    Come on Gunners, do it in Monaco!

  • Vintage Gooner

    In my nervous moments I say we should be careful about laughing at English early exits from CL because I fear the time is fast approaching when the fourth place for EPL will be lost.

    But then my natural optimism returns and our constantly improving squad means that Arsenal will be competing for 1st and so even third will be no problem.

    However perhaps the Tiny Totts will have yet another cause to sigh whilst I can look forward to excursions such as those to Milan and Munich!

    PS What a welcome return for our dynamic duo to the header – long may dinosaurus rust on the beach.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Ah, Gunnersaurus is gone and another ugly head turns up instead of our very likeable mascot 😉 I hadn’t seen it yet 🙂

    That picture however will remain one of the highlights in my life. About a day that I will tell about when my grandchildren sit on my lap when I will watch with them to an Arsenal match…. 🙂

  • soglorious

    Gord and Menace, thanks. Just hope it won’t get to that stage in the EPL. Don’t forget Ibrahimovic’s comments on the referee yesterday. How the standard of refereeing is now falling like a stone obeying the law of gravity is alarming across the globe.
    Though with all sincerity, sometimes I wish one of our players slap the bias out of some referees. Apologies

  • Gord

    It kind of looks like Bradford aren’t interested in going to Wembley to play us.

    > Nathaniel Chalaboah wins an innocuous header and Filipe Morais does his best Nigel de Jong on Xabi Alonso impression, studding the Reading midfielder heftily in the stomach and leaving him in quite some pain.

    Reading are up 2-0, less than 30 minutes to go. And Bradford are down a man. Oops, 3-0 with 20 minutes to go.

    I believe Liverpool at Swansea is in the second half.

    And the U21 got a 0-0 draw with Blackburn.

    There are 2 new interviews with Per up on Arsenal.com

  • Gord

    Jambug has been waiting for FA semi-final scheduling. I believe it is the BBC that will be televising the semi-finals, and I don’t think they will decide until Liverpool is away to Blackburn. If Liverpool wins, it will probably be 0-1, or possibly in penalties. But the BBC loves the Mersie, and they will insist the Saturday game be Liverpool, if Liverpool is going to be there. And like the game against Blackburn, I will guess 1-0 or 0-1 as the final score, or it goes to penalties. It is entirely possible that the more exciting game will be Reading and Arsenal, but as neither Arsenal or Reading are within a stones throw of the Mersie, the BBC won’t be interested in having that game on the Saturday.

  • para

    @franck

    “The standard of performance dropped just around the time the home grown quota was introduced into English football”.

    That would make much more sense if as we know the standard of UK players (besides the few) are well below European players.

    @Antarry
    glad i’m not alone in that.

    Yes, we are on the way, a stronger team, getting stronger and better every day.

    I see no reason for Arsenal not to win tonight(excepting Monaco of course but i get this feeling that they(monaco) will crumble after a while).

  • jayramfootball

    I will tell you why English clubs fail in the EPL. It is because playing in the PL is almost like a different sport for the likes of Chelsea, Utd and City. Week in week out in the PL the referees give them favour. Fouls not given, dodgy penalties, free kicks awarded against opponents for the same things being ignored by the favoured clubs. Basically the players have no clue how to adapt to a fair game. They have it easy. Comfortable in their on and off pitch pampered lifestyles.

    Now you might be asking how come Arsenal, who certainly don’t get decisions go their way in the PL can’t win – in fact you could say that Asrenal are actually advantaged vs the norm playing with fair refs. Thats simply because Arsenal won’t play the way they need to win the more difficult matches in the UCL. We will go toe to toe with Barca, Real, Bayern – whoever. The chances are that when you do that you will eventually lose. Its pretty hard to play the way Arsenal do and go through a group and another 4 knockout matches without coming unstuck.