Four of the last seven games at the Ems between Arsenal and Sunderland have been 0-0. Bus parking anyone?
By Bulldog Drummond
Watching the Norwich game on TV I was amazed first at how flippant the commentary was about Alexis Sánchez being pushed into the TV camera pit and then amazed at myself at being amazed. After all you would not expect the TV coverage of an incident caused by the TV companies to be even-handed.
My view was that Ryan Bennett should not only have been sent off but also banned from football for life and Norwich ground closed until it is made safe. So I was glad to see Arsène Wenger said that the push “could have killed” Alexis. A horrific thought but it needs to be said. It brings back memories of Marko Arnautovic pushing Mathieu Debuchy and taking him out of the game for months, and suggests that lower level teams have found a new tactic to get a player seriously injured with no action from the ref.
The problem being of course, the ref takes note of the foul, not the outcome of the foul.
What makes me more convinced of the view that this sort of thing is now deliberate and a central part of the game is that Mesut Özil nearly fell into the photographers’ pit behind the goal and Aaron Ramsey went into the hoardings. Grounds do have regulations about the amount of space needed between the pitch and spectators, but I suspect these are being circumvented, and even when the distance is being maintained players are easily able to push the opposition deliberately to seriously injured them.
Mr Wenger also added another perspective: “Every injury gives you a bigger chance to be injured again. That’s the biggest problem in our sport. You lose confidence in your body. I had players who, after two or three injuries, refused to sprint. Subconsciously their body tells them to be careful and they don’t even notice. For a while Cesc Fàbregas was like that because he had a few hamstring problems.”
Of course PGMO, which could instruct refs to take the most serious action against players using artifacts around the pitch to cause injury and the FA which could also do it, but they do utterly nothing. It is a sign of the way the game in England is run.
So with all the talk all the time still about injuries, here’s a possible team
Bellerin Mertesacker Koscielny Monreal
The Ox Ozil Campbell
Incidentally VF Sam spoke a bit about Mr Wengerr and said, “I might have wound him up a time or two, but never disrespected him.” If ever there was a statement that was laughable it is that.
So to the match statistics…
Sunderland have never won at Arsenal in the Premier League and their last away win chez nous was November 1983. Indeed home and away they haven’t beaten us in 11. But, four of the last seven games at the Ems have been 0-0. Bus parking anyone?
It is also time for us to get some home goals – just eight in six so far this season so we need a moment when everything starts to flow. On the other hand Olivier Giroud has three goals and two assists in five games against Sunderland.
Sunderland have lost five of their last seven away league games getting four points out of 21 and the Very Fat One has lost seven League games in a row against us. Costel Pantilimon however makes lots of saves – 59 so far this season – the top amount.
We are undefeated in 35 of the last 38, have let in precisely zero in the last seven against Sunderland.
Finally, I was thinking back to past encounters with the Enormously Large Beast and remembered Arsenal 2 Bolton 2, 18 September 2004. It was the match that ended our 100% start to the season and ended with boos all round Highbury for the Bolton manager.
Henry and Pires scored but Bolton pulled everyone, and I mean everyone back, waiting for the occasional chance to break while focussing on every chance to stop us playing fluent football. At that time Bolton also had a keeper who was expert in the making of unexpected saves (just as now) Jussi Jaaskelainen.
The thing I particularly remember was the way Bolton used their subs to make themselves even more aggressive, and nick the game near the end. Just goes to show how careful we need to be against this fella.
For old times sake I looked up the team for that day…
Lehmann, Lauren, Toure, Cygan, Cole, Ljungberg, Vieira, Silva (Edu 67), Pires (Clichy 82), Reyes (Bergkamp 70), Henry.
Subs Not Used: Hoyte, Almunia.
Ah memories, memories….
- 5 December 1886: A likely date either for the setting up of Dial Square FC or a practice match ahead of the first game, or possibly both.
- 5 December 1904: Woolwich Arsenal 26 Parisian XI 1; one of Arsenal’s largest wins. It is reported that the French team were a man short and used an Arsenal reserve to make up the numbers.
- 5 December 1921 the FA cited opinions about football’s unsuitability for females and called on clubs belonging to the associations “to refuse the use of their grounds for such matches”. The ban destroyed women’s football and was not lifted until 1971. Even to this day, the FA has never apologised.
Latest from the Arsenal History Society
- Arsenal in the 70s part 8: The lessons learned and the lessons ignored 1967-73.