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Barcelona v Arsenal; all the news you never knew you needed and probably didn’t

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By Tony Attwood

In 1975/6 we went six matches without a win under Bertie Mee.   In 1976/7 we went 11 without a win including seven consecutive defeats under Terry Neill.  In 1986/7 we went 10 leagues games without a win in which we scored a total of two goals, with Graham in charge.  In 1995 before he was sacked Graham won two of his last seven games as manager.  In his season as manager Rioch had a run of one win in eight.

These of the sort of numbers that are unimaginable today, because of what Wenger has done to the club.  But that’s how it goes.  Having lost two, won one and drawn one the end is nigh.  Except by and large not for most of the guys who write for Untold, because we manage to live lives that are by and large fairly enjoyable.  We love Arsenal to win and celebrate as loud as anyone when they do, but when we have a bad run like now, we live through it.  Maybe because most of us remember our previous four managers, Mee, Neill, Graham and Rioch.   Some trophies and some gruel.

And anyway, one of my daughters told me today she is expecting a child.  What else does an old man need?

So there is no mourning, there are no cries of resign, or wringing hands in despair.   We carry on supporting Arsenal, knowing that unlike the old days when terrible runs could mean really, really, really, really terrible runs, something will happen sometime soon.  Those who don’t believe that are of course entitled to their opinion, but by and large they are a lot unhappier than most of the Untold writers.

The insults pour in – the Guardian compared Arsenal to a bunch of 10 year olds who had sneaked under the fence to get into the game.  So the enemy these days isn’t so much the opposition as a toxic mix of the media, the bloggettas and the people who call themselves Arsenal supporters.   As the Swansea player said, the crowd at the Ems helped them win.

But each to their own – if that’s what people want, then fair enough.

Of all the games of the season this is the one I least expect us to win, and a win would give me the greatest joy.  The awful way Barcelona and the Spanish FA behaved over the children they allowed to be imported from outside the EU just so they could pick the occasional one or two, still annoys me deeply, so I still dislike the club.  The one year sentence and the little fine seem pathetic, and the endless denials on the ground that “we are Barcelona we don’t do that” stick in the throat.  The way the media never mention the issue in their desperation to grovel is, well, what the media do.  The only light relief is the long queue of players outside the court waiting to find out what the sentence is for gross tax evasion.

According to the Telegraph today, “There have been embarrassments, humiliations, near misses, misfortune and mess-ups for Wenger to contend with,” and yet that could easily be written about Barcelona over the ejection of their proclamation of the sacred shirt, their claims that they pay more of their income in tax than any other club in Europe, their protestations that they are protected from the child trafficking laws by EU regulations… but of course the media won’t consider that.

As befits the new mood of the media there is no proper preview of the game anywhere, no clues about the team just page after page of attacks on Wenger.   So here’s the best I can do.  Koscielny is back but the usual group are out… Cech, Wilshere, Rosicky, Cazorla, Ox

And I found a nice factoid too.   Arsenal are unbeaten in their last three away games in the knockout stages of the Champions League (W2 D1)

A team tonight could look like this…

Oooooooooospina

Bellerin Koscielny Gabriel Monreal

Coquelin Elneny

Walcott Ozil Alexis

Giroud

 The subs on the beach will be Macey, Chambers, Gibbs, Flamini, Arteta, Welbeck, Campbell.

Here’s the Spanish league... only the top six are closer to winning the league than to relegation and for the last of them its just a matter of a couple of points.  It’s, as always that sort of silly league.  Incidentally note how far Real Mad are behind Barce.  Now Real Mad can afford any manager in the world, and yet they can’t find one (having changed part way through the season) who can get them any closer than 12 points behind Barcelona.

So how are Arsenal supposed to just walk out and find a suitable manager – and one who is ready and willing to come and do the job with our sort of “fans” when Real Mad can’t get one?   No more comments on “Wenger out” unless a truly credible replacement is nominated please.

98 comments to Barcelona v Arsenal; all the news you never knew you needed and probably didn’t

  • Jerry

    Excellent write up Tony and Congratulations for the upcoming grandchild!

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Congrats Tony. COYG!

  • bigden

    Most of today’s so-called supporters are too young to remember going from 1953 to 1971 without any sort of trophy. I wonder how they would react now if we were on that sort of run. Look up the word supporter in the dictionary and then revert to calling yourselves followers of Arsenal.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Tony,please pass on my congratulations to your daughter, I too am expecting another grandchild at the end of August. As you say puts other things into perspective.

    For tonight I think we could just see a surprise, at least in terms of performance from Arsenal.

    COYG

  • Josif

    Congratulations Tony!

    A few stats about Barcelona, Arsenal and Champions League:

    -Arsenal have played three matches at Nou Camp since Wenger’s been in charge – 1:1 in 1999-2000 remains the only match Arsenal didn’t lose despite falling behind after Luis Enrique’s goal – he seized the opportunity after Vieira’s awful mistake – and Grimandi’s red card for a violent conduct on Guardiola; Kanu got as a point but poor Wembley performances knocked us out at Group Stage for the second season running;

    -Leo Messi has scored six goals in his two matches against Arsenal at Nou Camp including four in a 4:1 victory in 2009-10 that forced Wenger to compare Messi’s football with Playstation;

    -Barcelona have given a solid contribution in paying our stadium debt through fees of Hleb, Henry, Fabregas, Vermaelen and Song;

    -Theo Walcott is the only current Arsenal player and one of two both teams included who has scored for Arsenal against Barcelona; the other one is Sergio Busquets who scored an own goal in Busacca’s 3:1 victory in 2011.

  • Jalan

    Congratulations 🎊 Tony. Just hope the boys put up a good fight tonight.

  • Congrats on the grandchild
    It’s my birthday so I’m hoping for a good performance but win lose or draw it won’t change how I feel about AW or Arsenal. The boys are the underdogs so I hope they just go out and play the way we all no they can and if they do then we can win this game
    Good luck to Arsene and the boy’s.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Confirmed team

    Ospina, Monreal, Gabriel, kos ielny, Bellerin, Flamini, Elneny, Iwobi, Özil, Alexis and Wellbeck

    A couple of surprises there – Flamini rather than Coquelin, Gabriel instead of Per and Iwobi instead of either Theo or Campbell.

    COYG

  • Saadman

    Hey tony, I was thinking about those runs that we had during our previous managers’ tenures. What were the reasons that we had such long succession of bad form? Were injuries at least partially responsible for those runs, or were it just that the players were either lacking motivation, or they just lost complete interest in playing football? Could it also be what most people accuse Wenger of doing, just simply bad management?

  • colario

    According to the ‘experts’ on BBC radio 5 we are going into the Barca game knowing we are beaten and have already given them the game.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Feeling very confident today…..

    Come on gunners…

  • Saadman

    @ colario
    How are they experts if they never had a proper education in sports analytical science? Some of them were former players so people take their opinion seriously because they think since these people have experience in the field, they know more than you and I and are hence qualified enough to be called experts.
    But every player gets a different experience from other players and hence judge what they see from their own lenses which doesn’t give us the most objective view of things.
    IMO there should be sports analytical personnel with degrees in sports science up there giving their evidence based viewpoints and not a bunch of working class folk that didn’t even study past high school.

  • Matt Clarke

    Congratulations on that news Tony.

    A good chance for an historic night.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Character building exercise for Iwobi??

    Gets picked to play against Barcelona at camp nou

  • Mick

    Being a so called expert hasn’t done G Neville much good so far in his managerial career.
    Not so easy as it looks is it Gary.

  • col

    ” In 1995 before he was sacked Graham won two of his last seven games as manager. In his season as manager Rioch had a run of one win in eight … These of the sort of numbers that are unimaginable today” erm …not that unimaginable. Currently Arsenal are on 1 win in 7 (and after tonight, probably 8).

    You make a good point and I don’t think Wenger should go, but quoting making nonsense assertions doesn’t help the argument. One might equally say, how many time did Graham teams concede 5 or more goals in a match? Did he ever concede 8, for example?

  • ARSENAL 13

    Why are our fans placed so high in the sky???

  • ARSENAL 13

    Got a corner out of nothing!!!!!….. Hope this is not the only thing we get in our favor all day….

  • ARSENAL 13

    Wow….massive offside not given!!!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Come on Ozil….

  • gouresh

    I really wish Alexis does not run with the ball unnecessarily. Already many miss passes. Just hope no sully mistakes.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Come on gunners…

  • gouresh

    We need to come into the 1/2 at least 0-0

  • ARSENAL 13

    Ooooooooooossspinaaaa

  • gouresh

    Fucking silly mistake again. When the fuck will be learn. Do bloody be clever, play it simple.

  • Al

    I’m liking the shape of our team today. Ok, we just conceded but up to that point we had matched Barca, really penetrating them and had taken pot shots from the distance…

  • Al

    Calm down gouresh, they’re playing in terrible conditions and Barcelona will make mistakes too..

  • ARSENAL 13

    Come on gunners…..

  • Al

    Not sure who’s commentating on BT sport, mcmanaman? He’s starting to make me sick, looking for negatives all the time. This is an open game, swinging from end to end, but all he can do is criticise Arsenal. He even said Ospina’s top class save was nothing as the ball just hit him?! Unbelievable.

  • gouresh

    If u slip I can understand not not bloody give the ball away cheaply

  • Vinnie Losada

    Cech, Wilshere, Rosicky, Cazorla and the Ox. I must say, our injured players would make a serious 5-a-side team!
    On all the ‘Wenger out’ nonsense, I’ve heard so many of these pungits say stuff like “nobody likes to see a manager lose their job” and comment on how certain speculation is unfair, yet when it comes to Arséne Wenger that’s irrelevant. They don’t appear to be able to hide their dislike for the man, to the point they would actively use their positions in the media to try and get him fired!

  • dan

    Barca zipping the ball around, shame another mistake kills us.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Penalty…. Penalty penalty

  • Al

    No penalty??

  • ARSENAL 13

    Iwobi…..welcome to camp nou

  • dan

    Defo pen, ref another Cunt in black.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Oooooo come on….

  • ARSENAL 13

    Alexieeeee…. Come on

  • dan

    Won’t go in, what is wrong with our finishing

  • Al

    Gouresh, i repeat, these are terrible terrible conditions; passes are falling short, players are slipping, it’s difficult to weight the ball perfectly. Barcelona made a few similar mistakes early on, but luckily for them it was near the halfway line.

  • dan

    We’ve had our chances, extra touch, shooting, come on boys.

  • Al

    Screw the ref, we know not to expect anything from them anyway.

    If you’re not enjoying this match, despite the score, then I’m sorry you know nothing about football. This is quite an exciting contest, despite the conditions.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Oh dear!!!!….one more injury!!!!!

  • dan

    Juve 2 nil up in Munich

  • WalterBroeckx

    Wasn’t there an offside in the build up to their goal? No replay shown so can’t really judge but the way this assistant was slow to wave Suarez offside when he was clearly meters offside made me suspicisous.

  • ARSENAL 13

    This is a weird weird ARSENAL season. Goals are the only thing missing…. Come on gunners.

    Should relax a bit infront of goal. We look liek we are snatching at every chance we get…..

  • ARSENAL 13

    Suarez looks offside in the build up……

    Was it???

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    The commentators thought there was an offside but no proper replay and Webb said penalty so probably wasn’t. Iwobi looking comfortable

  • Rodelero

    The one bad quality image I could find of the offside decision suggested it wasn’t offside, https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CdshYgoXEAACDoW.jpg:large, but it’s a terrible angle.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Iwobi was a clear foul….if it wasn’t… Then therz something seriously wrong with Iwobis legs….

  • Jerry

    On the replay (FS1), it looked like Iwobi got his legs tangled so not a penalty, Barcelona capitalized on the 1 mistake. The team is playing well though and getting themselves in good positions. The linesman seems to be asleep for offsides, hopefully he’ll continue that pattern now that we’re attacking on that end!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Iwobi looks more and more a player by the day……

    But I want to know the secret behind those small socks he wears…

  • Jerry

    I also thought it was a clear penalty initially though, until I saw the replay.

  • Gord

    Congratulations Tony (and daughter and family).

    Walter, I thought you were saying your report was up already!

    COYG!

  • ARSENAL 13

    All I want is one Iwobi goal….come on gunners

  • dan

    Goallllllllllll

  • ARSENAL 13

    Elneny

    Yyyeeeeaaahhhhh… Come on

    Fight gunners fight

  • Josif

    EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELNEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEENYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

  • Al

    Elneny!!!!!!!

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Yes

  • colario

    I came hear to write something and from the telly comes ‘O what a great goal for Arsenal’.

    My sight was on Untold Arsenal and not told ‘Arsenal’, Just my luck!

  • ARSENAL 13

    Come on gunners
    Come on gunners

  • ARSENAL 13

    Oooo Danny

  • ARSENAL 13

    You know how tough it is to go through, when Messi has a wild swing…

  • ARSENAL 13

    Noooooooo….. That’s one lucky goal there.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    When your luck is out its out. A miskick from the bites one goes in the top corner, a shot from Wellbeck hits the bar.

  • dan

    Lady luck is a bitch

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    We need some fresh legs on

  • ARSENAL 13

    Iwobi gets nothing!!!!!

  • Gianni Dioro

    Mascherano ran behind Iwobi, made contact with Iwobi’s boot causing Iwobi’s legs to tangle up and trip. Clear penalty and red card!
    Screwed by the ref once again against Barcelona

  • ARSENAL 13

    Finally he gets a call in his favor..

  • dan

    Walcott another poor effort

  • ARSENAL 13

    Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    Come on.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Is that even a foul!!!!

  • Al

    Good performance from the team today. Even if we go on to lose today there’s no shame to losing to a team who, if football wasn’t politicised, have the best 3 players in the world. We have to admit this team will provide 1st, 3nd and 3rd in the ballon d’or come December. I can’t see anyone getting in there

  • dan

    A real shame, we’ve played well, created so many chances, we just don’t have the quality upfront, and we love making costly mistakes.

  • Al

    Meant 1,2 and 3…

  • Josif

    @Andrew

    I think it’s a bit far-fetched to call Vampire’s shot a mis-kick. He has been banging goals for fun, half-volleys and volleys are his second thing. On the other hand, Welbeck is hardly a goal-machine himself.

    All-in-all, boys gave a fine effort tonight. Barcelona are better than us only because we don’t have any of their front three.

  • gouresh

    When we get a match review I would like to know how many times did we loose the ball with a stupid pass. Really shambolic.

  • ARSENAL 13

    What have we got to score!!!!!!…

    Awesome Hector…

  • dan

    It’s like a watching the replay of the same video this time of year. No shame going out, heard it all before!!!!

  • Al

    Josif
    That was a mishit, he caught it with his shin. But when it’s going for its going for you. But I agree their front three make all the difference. These guys are at another level, there’s just no stopping them. However with a little bit of luck today we should have got more than a single goal, which I feel would nerrit our performance tonight.

  • dan

    Barca or Bayern to time next year.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Whats happening there in Munich…

    Its level again.

  • Al

    Dan
    What do u want us to say??? That was as good a performance against Barcelona as I’ve seen from anyone on the last 12 months! I’ve to be honest and say anyone who thinks tonight’s performance was mediocre is a moron.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Match report looking on 2 -3 different stream is up now

  • ARSENAL 13

    We had 20 shots with only 40% possession.. But only 3 on target. That’s where we got to get better. Its been the theme this season. We are fluffing a lots of chances…

    Hope we tighten up for the reminder of the season

  • Josif

    @AI

    I agree with you about our performance. We deserved at least a draw. Unfortunately, it seems that we have spent our goals during Emirates Cup match against Lyon and during our purple patch in October.

  • Al

    Two players I think laid down the markers on that game today; Elneny and Iwobi. If some of these first team starters think it’s a given they’ll be starting every match for much longer they should have another think.

  • dan

    Al

    I did state we played well, watching the game our finishing is not good enough at this level, less adventurous teams would make some these countries. Creating 14 chances and only taking one is not good.

  • ARSENAL 13

    To put things into perspective… They had 17 shots and 8 on target.

  • Jerry

    Good performance by the team today. A little more luck and things could have been different. Keep their heads up and let’s finish strong in the league.

  • Josif

    @AI

    I agree on both players. Elneny’s intelligence is fascinating and so is Iwobi’s touch. My first thought about Iwobi is: what kind of idiots at English FA let him slip through their fingers?! He doesn’t fit into “SMASH THEM!”-policy, I guess.

  • Walter’s review of the match is now available as the next article.

    If you have sent in a comment and it hasn’t been published it is most likely because it is a personal opinion without any backup of evidence. Sorry if you have missed out because of that.

  • Jalan

    Not a bad performance but the ugly head of poor finishing rises again. So many half chances and maybe some we could have put away. Either way we didn’t embarrass ourselves which was the priority.

    Just hope we can go to Everton and get the three points.

  • The team played well and all we needed was that piece of luck that at the moment is just not there.
    Finishing is what is really letting us down at the moment but I really think we can come through this.
    It was great to see the spirt was back and if we had that touch of luck that is alluding us that score line would have been so different.
    I was proud of them tonight as I’m proud also to be a Gooner.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Congrats Tony , and belated birthday greetings , Linda . I too would have loved it that you would have got your birthday wish !

  • WalterBroeckx

    Only now had time to read the article: congratulations Tony!!! 🙂