By Tony Attwood
Yes we sure did our bit. As of saturday morning over 102,000 people had signed the petition demanding that Dean never again can do an Arsenal game. Now we shall see what PGMO does. If you still haven’t signed the petition is still there. Follow the link from the home page.
The FA has banned Gabriel for not leaving the pitch after he was wrongly sent off, and so he misses out today. He was also fined £10,000 as punishment for “improper conduct.”
Now we wait to hear what Dean’s punishment is for wrongly sending a player off, wrongly not sending a player of, and making so many errors in refereeing the game it has taken us a week to get them all written down. I hope to publish the data tomorrow. Meanwhile I suspect they will fine Arsène Wenger for bringing the game into disrepute by pointing out the errors, and give a medal to the Chelsea manager.
In contrast to the bitter twistedness of Mourinho we now have the jolly chappie Claudio Ranieri, who our Arsène described as a “great manager and great man”. Indeed it is Mr Wenger’s regular insistence that it was Ranieri who built up Chelsea’s success that has so annoyed Mourinho all these years.
On the other hand maybe it is because the Portuguese have never forgiven the French for invading the country in 1807. It took under two weeks for the Portuguese to surrender, and indeed it only took that long because the French forgot their road maps.
The government packed up and headed for Brazil, and I suspect there was more fighting in White Hart Lane midweek than in Portugal in November 1807. Anyway its all over now after the English forces went in to sort out the mess and liberate the country. I suspect Mourinho doesn’t like that bit either.
I don’t think Napoleon ever invaded Leicester although I do remember that Mourinho started off as he meant to go on by claiming “Ranieri had been in England for five years and he still struggled to say ‘good morning’.” He hadn’t and he didn’t. But truth is a withering flower in SW3.
Mr Wenger also followed on the view we have been developing for the past couple of years that we have moved in football journalism over to a vision that the result is the only thing that matters in football.
“Because the very thing that makes sport beautiful is winning while respecting the rules,” he said. “If you can do whatever you feel like, it’s no longer a sport, it’s just a street fight. There is an increasing view that only the result counts and it doesn’t matter how you get it. That’s a stance that sometimes puts you in a situation that can be difficult to maintain. It’s important that the spirit of sport wins out too.”
“Football”, as our new banner now on display at the clock end of the Emirates say, “is an art”. Did someone tell Mr Wenger that the banner is there?
Here’s something else worth noting in the small print. On the Guardian’s web site today it says this
“Some Arsenal supporters have criticised Wenger for not recruiting a specialist striker during the summer and leaving the club excessively reliant on Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott.”
Notice “some” – the lack of which word we’ve been beefing about for years. None of the lunatic assumption that they can measure the behaviour of all Arsenal fans, nor that they know how the minds of Arsenal fans. Not just on that issue, but on many others of late, I think the Guardian has decided to stand alone against the drivel, and full praise to it for that.
On Alexis Sánchez’ slower than expected start, that is down to his involvement in the Copa América with Chile, according to Arsène Wenger. What is forgotten is that Chile did not just win the Copa but they won it for the first time and Alexis was the star of the show.
And now he’s playing in Leicester.
Over the last six games, Leicester have won three and drawn three, while Arsenal have lost two, won three and drawn one. We also usually draw 1-1 there. We did last time around and we did in the Unbeaten Season. That’s how it seems to go.
Although judging by the way Leicester play we’ll probably go into a 6-0 lead and then they will score six in time added on. Certainly they don’t beat us much. Actually they don’t beat us at all – at least not in the last 10. And for the very last match of the unbeaten season we beat them (although that time we went 1-0 down at Highbury).
“Coming back from behind might be exciting, but it is not good. I would prefer to get in front and try to stay there,” said Ranieiri. “It’s not easy to score goals when you go behind in matches. We must concentrate and be more careful because I think to beat Arsenal we must play the perfect match, and also have some very good luck.
“Arsene Wenger can put Alexis Sanchez in goal and Petr Cech up front and Arsenal will still have a great team.”
Nathan Dyer and Matty James are out for Leicester. We’ve lost Gabriel and Coquelin is still out but Santi Cazorla is back.
On Coquelin Mr W said “He is progressing well, but he will not be available for Leicester. He has a scan today but the evolution is quite positive. He might start practice tomorrow. He has a little chance for Tuesday, and a bigger chance for Man United. It is very difficult to be definite today.”
Injured: Coquelin (Oct), Wilshere (Dec), Welbeck (Feb), Rosicky (no date reported).
We printed the injury table for the Tottenham game so I won’t do it all again. Here are our relative positions
- Swansea – 0
- Leicester – 2
- Arsenal 4
- Newcastle 12
I said Leicester haven’t won in the last ten against Arsenal above, actually it is 17 in the league. Their last win was in November 1994 since when they have drawn six and lost 11. Their worst record against any team in the Prem.
But they are still unbeaten, and in 2000/1 they went the first eight unbeaten. This season they are top scorers with West Ham overall (13) and top scorers at home with eight. Vardy has scored in three successive Premier League games.
Our position is the same as last season at this point, and as everyone has announced we have to take more shots per goal than anyone. But I see that as a positive. The difference between a goal and a miss is often narrow – just a boot getting in the way – and so it is far better to have this position than the opposite in which you are not getting shots on target.
Alexis Sanchez has had 31 attempts on goal this season but is yet to score. We all know he will eventually and when he does the gates of paradise will open (or something like that).
Monreal Mertesacker Koscielny Bellerín
Alexis Özil The Ox
Lurking on the Leicester Sands: Ospina, Debuchy, Gibbs, Arteta, Flamini, Chambers, Campbell, Iwobi
Please note: My apologies I missed Giroud off the beach in the first edition – I think he was having a swim at the time, or hiding under a towel. My mistake – thanks to everyone who pointed this out in correspondence (below). I certainly should have put Giroud on the bench and had him to come on after 70 minutes.
That is curious I know, and you might want to go with Ramsey instead of the Ox and Arteta next to Santi Caz. Certainly the fact that Leicester have scored at least two goals in five of their last six home matches in the Premier League needs to be remembered.
So Arteta is the sensible option, but sense was never my style. You could also say that Flamini needs to be rewarded for Wednesday. We’ll see.
The rest of the day
We’re all off to Leicester to watch the game, and then after that I’m doing a quick change act before driving into Nottinghamshire for a dance. (Tie them up in Notts and other phrases spring to mind). Walter is at the happy occasion of a family wedding.
So no further articles today I am sorry to say, and probably little chance of clearing anything held in moderation. My apologies. We’ll try harder next time. Back to normal tomorrow.
Three moments from history
26 September 1970. Stoke City 5 Arsenal 0. League match 10 of the first Double season. Arsenal in 4th, but the away record reads won 1 drawn 2 lost 2, five goals for, 10 against. Arsenal were unbeaten in the next 14. (So we are not only as good as the last game)
26 September 2002: Arsenal beat Leeds away 4–1 to create record for scoring in 47 consecutive games, and for 22 away league games without defeat. (Oh yes we are)
26 September 2010: The day it became clear that there was something seriously wrong with the official versions of Arsenal’s history as it was revealed that the story of Bobby Buist causing Arsenal to become professional could not possibly have happened. (Weren’t we clever to spot that).