There will be sunshine after rain, these things have always been the same

By Walter Broeckx

Sometimes you wake up in the morning and feel: this is going to be a bad day. And you cannot get rid of that feeling.  And when you think: what could go wrong? You can only think of Arsenal.

In fact last weekend the first bad feelings started on Saturday when I came on Untold. Someone mentioned the fact that Utd got away with another penalty decision. Again. And then someone else told me that there had been two decisions going for United. And at that moment the thought suddenly hit me: “What is the meaning of fighting against something like that?”.

You can try to fight with other teams, on a basically level playing field. But if one team gets all the decisions and you are hit by a big number of decisions going against you it hit even me on the nose. At that moment I realised one again deep inside of me that Arsenal is not just fighting against 11 man on the pitch but also against something else. And at that moment I lost faith in the cause.  I really asked myself: why do I bother believing in something that cannot be won?

And then my thoughts went to the players. And I was thinking: how would this influence you as a player. You see penalties given against you for nothing and then the team you are fighting with for the title can do things in their penalty area that are 10 if not 100 times worse than the things  you do and nothing is given. If you just look at the two almost similar penalty incidents. Djourou-Sturridge and Ferdinand-Anicheke. Almost copies of each other. The one when there was no contact was easily given by the ref and the one at Old Trafford where Ferdinand was pushing with his arm was not given.

Our players are not blind. Our players are not stupid. Some tweets in the past have mentioned the refs. But in a very mild way. A bit of sarcasm sometimes. So the players notice this. The players see that they are only allowed half the things that other teams are allowed.

I must also mention the match reporter in my country who said  that we are first in a few league tables. We are first in hitting the woodwork. 21 times this season we have gone close but the woodwork denied us a goal. So this points at some bad luck.  Maybe the football gods didn’t want us to win it.  But this is something we just have to accept. The woodwork is there to shoot the ball between and when you hit it … well sometimes they go in and sometimes not. In our case it usually didn’t go in.

Another league table in which we are first is penalties against us. And when you look at two of those penalties in the last weeks… I feel another sentiment coming up. Maybe apart from the (non existing) football gods I mentioned there could be some other people involved in football.

People who certainly when it comes to money can have an influence on even good refs to not give a clear penalty for Arsenal but can give a non existing penalty against Arsenal. Twice in a week.  It doesn’t matter if our keepers saves it or not. No just the fact that the one has been given and the other one for us not must be a bitter blow for the players. It is a bitter blow for me,  just imagine being a player out there. How hard to take are all those accumulating bad decisions? For me as a supporter they are hard to take, but I’m not even on the field and have to live with them and feel the pain during and after a game.

But nothing can be done about it, except take note, mention it in my ref reviews and feel bitter about it.

So when in the last minute last weekend the bitter moment came of swallowing a bitter and in my opinion an undeserved defeat  I knew that the feeling I had all day was right. That day was the final blow for all who love Arsenal, the players and the manager.

People are out at Wenger again. If he doesn’t show emotions they say: he doesn’t care like he did before. And if he does show emotions they say:  he makes a fool of himself. Sorry guys but make up your mind: if you dislike him for whatever he does, just say it but don’t hide and pretend.

So the title race is now virtually over for Arsenal. And this leads to some looking back. Of course we are all down and sad. But this is the end of April. The last game we played in April and we lost our final hope in a cruel way.

But, for those who are now calling for heads of manager and player  ask yourself the question: how many of you would have believed we would be in this position let us say at the start of the season? Of would have believed we would be in this position after our defeat against Chelsea?  Or after our defeat at home against WBA? Or after our defeat against Manchester United? All moments in time when some of our fans declared the season over and done.

Some of you declared the things you are saying now. And yet you feel angry and want the manager and the team to be shot at first sight? Again? Because it is the same manager that has kept us in the race until now. It are the same players that have kept us in the race until now.

With some better finishing, a bit of luck when hitting the goalposts, a bit of better refereeing and yes a bit of better defending,  we could have and should have 7 points more right now. Just from this week alone.

They have finally got what they wanted: Arsenal out of the title race. And as disappointed as we all are I still believe that this team is very near to being there.  Because when you are in it when the last games in April are played it just means that you are not that far away from being there. Because if we wouldn’t have been good enough we would have been out of it  after our defeat against Chelsea, or WBA or MU in December.

Remember the fact that we were in it till last weekend. We couldn’t beat all of them but our time will come. There will come a moment when even the combined forces will not be able to kick us out again. I’m sure of that.

Now let us take a deep breath, back the players who did their best to win this game and support them for the next weeks. Come on you Gunners!

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87 Replies to “There will be sunshine after rain, these things have always been the same”

  1. I reckon there will be a big, vocal show of support for Wenger on Sunday. The eyes of the world (well, those who can still be bothered) will be on us, with many fully expecting Man U to grind our faces into the lush turf. With the media spotlight on the Mancs’ procession to the title, it would be the perfect time for the embattled pro-Wenger brigade to dust off the old moronic chant one more time. They no doubt feel a bit battered abnd bruised with all that’s gone on recently. They no doubt feel under seige and threatened by the winds of change. They may even feel sorry for Wenger having to carry the can for his lazy lightweights. They no doubt still feel a sense of misplaced loyalty to someone who was once peerless. And they no doubt feel the evil media has helped engender an “us and them” divide between those who want to maintain the cosy, cringeing “winning isn’t everything” status quo and those who believe the need for a new broom is long overdue. So I reckon the air will be filled with beery pro-Wenger bellowing whatever the result on Sunday, if only to prove that though we may no longer be a real PL force, we’re still a force on the terraces (as was). But let’s get it in perspective – Wenger has just about had his day. You can almost smell it.

  2. Despite Wenger’s protestations that we wont be selling our stars I dont think he can do much to stop it. Cesc and Nasri will want to go to Spain at some point – its where most Mediterraneans want to end up anyway. I suspect we will have another cat and mouse summer with these two. Either way on Cesc I believe the Captaincy should be taken away from him. Wenger has made a mess of this since Viera left. He should have made Gilberto captain but didnt – then he should have made Toure not Gallas captain. We have two options – if Vermaelen returns fully fit I would make him captain. The other option is to make a bid for Scott Parker. WHU look doomed and we could pick him up and make him captain. We need some focused leadership in the team and Cesc is clearly not mature enough to be a captain. His whole body language against Bolton was an example of that. Will Wenger be brave enough to do this – of course he wont!

  3. I think the problem is that the stench of “near enough is good enough” permeates our club from top to bottom, nors general. Change is long overdue and I don’t believe that, after spending so long insinuating himself into the fabric of our club, Wenger will listen to anyone else or appoint a No.2 with the necessary cojones to be Mr Nasty and shake things up. There’s also no way he will hold his hands up, admit he’s been wrong and trash the amount of players we need to axe. We need far more than a bit of tinkering because everyone is in the dozy, CL comfort zone and no one can rouse themselves to take the steps needed to progress and become WINNERS. As for players going elsewhere if Wenger goes, er, big deal. I doubt it would happen but even if it did, is that really enough reason to stick with our busted flush manager? And what do such thoughts say about our overpaid, underperforming mercenaries?

  4. what people forget is that the number of times united have gone “lucky” with the ref stuff… i mean 5-6 red cards. all mostly in the 1st 10-15mins. i am not saying they would have lost. but they managed to win.. not even a draw!

    each win adds to momentum. on the other hand our momemtum was getting sucked out of us. newcastle. i mean that 2nd penalty was the most scandalous penalty i have ever seen in my life. then the free kick which lead to the 4th goal.. the sunderland arshavin penalty not give.

    then last month united came up with a new loop hole. lets score some offside goals. on the other hand arsenals onside goals are not given.

    the refs are clearly told this season. any 50-50 go against arsenal. for united go with united. its just insane this season.

    and this has all been forgotten.. wenger out shit has started. just 2-3 weeks back we had a better defensive record than united. and in the goals we have conceded 50% were our own cockup, 25% legit goals.. cant be saved. and 25% refs given…

    what the fuck is wenger supposed to do when week in and out refs fuck with us… cost us momentum. its all one scam.

  5. On Arsene and Arsenal’s evolving futures: there’s something in Morono’s rant last night that I think worth pondering, and that is relevant to the side’s overall plight and the ongoing work of this website: Yes, the Dark Lord may be a hypocrite, but he does name 4 bent refs – yes NAMES them – and that takes courage for a coach. Is it a distraction from his team’s piss-poor display? Yes. But I’d still call it a double-edged sword. Is he wrong when he rattles off Barca’s massive advantages? I say no. (Whoever “started it,” Alves & Co, make Dive-Master Rooney a choir boy.) Is Morono one-sided and a hypocrite? Yes. But even paranoids (and hypocrites) have enemies. Have a peek at his entire rant, as there are kernels of truth sprinkled throughout, including mentions of where Arsenal/van Persie/Wenger/Nasi has been stiffed by the UEFA/Referee cabal. NOT at all unlike the FA/Referee cabal that Walter/Dogface have convincingly nailed. (Any of that dent your radar, Merakis?) Now, comrades, the CL has its predictable “dream match”. I submit, while the sides are both very good, they are also VERY advantaged by (trumpets) bent refereeing. (Has Arsene not indirectly so affirmed?, Merakis) Do have a read mates and analyze for yourselves. Up the Shire! Down with Kastle Fergus! Nothing to lose on Sunday – let fly the dogs of war!

  6. The problem is the so-called fans we’ve picked up recently appear to be Arsene fans, not necessarily Arsenal fans. They don’t really seem to care if we win or lose… as long as Arsene’s running the show. Oh, and they also spend an inordinate amount of time NOT talking about football!

  7. Our last two title winning teams broke modern records. Firstly by staying unbeaten away from home all season 2001/2, secondly by staying totally unbeaten all season long 2003/4.

    I fear that Arsene Wenger and Arsenal may have to produce record breaking teams in order to overcome all the obstacles put in our path. It would appear that the only way to beat the obvious bias is by producing a team of “invincibles”.

    The playing field is anything but level, the bias is so blatantly clear, week after week decisions have been made in favour of one team, both on and off the field. The whole ethos of the sport should be under serious scrutiny and yet the media fail to raise any relevant questions on the matter.

  8. @bob Well u see this is exactly the problem, the following season always holds promise, and arsenal always start the season well, its this time of the year every year, from feb onwards where we start to fade out, consistency is key, look at utd inspite of having players like carrick, anderson etc in the squad still manage to win because of Ryan Giggs, i am sure our players in the form of song, denilison, diaby are far better than their carricks, andersons, obertans..

    Well we thought we did win PL and CL, when fab, helb, flamini,adebayor were around lost our way again in Feb, from being on top we ended up 3rd, and got cheated out of the CL QF against liverpool inspite of beating Milan at their ground (which no Englsh team had done till then) and we def had promise we would win. The last season the opening day started with a barrage of goals 6-1 to arsenal and against everton, Fab was fabolous and people like Bendtner etc stepped up and we thought we could win again we ended up 3rd. This season having a better squad than utd and Chelsea again we seem to fade out and seem to be ending up 3rd.

    The problem isnt from def, or striking or GK. People are just finding scapegoats here than looking at the real problem at hand because that’s the easier option. More than anything the management needs to look as to why this happens, utd seem to get stronger towards the end of the season, they always have a bad start to the season, also chelsea seem to putting up a few wins, inspite of having a bad mid season, thats where the problem lies, players seem to fading out, and something needs to change there IMO.

  9. In sum, going forward, we face the inside challenge/crisis of righting the ship; and the outside challenge/crisis of the pro-Barca FIX at UEFA/CL and the pro-Fergus FIX at FA/EPL. If we value staying in the CL, which has prestige and, face it, is part of the business model, then Morono’s current plight with UEFA has something to think about as it is not that far from what it would look like if Arsene spoke his mind. (It is interesting that, just the other day, he did seem neither to confirm, nor deny, that Morono may well have had a point.) Merakis here is willfully blind to the external threat. Many of us fixate on the external threat and sidestep our internal problems. My point is we need to analyze on both fronts and to pressure for positive, constructive change on both fronts. For the Mother of All Victories on Sunday!

  10. @fhint, not sure what/who you mean by “not talking about football” But…perhaps (as one of them stray dogs that fairly recently got turned on by this amazing UA website) you think that what happens on the pitch occurs in some tidy little bubble that’s protected from what happens outside the bubble and off the pitch. Sorry, but it’s all interconnected and if you can’t wrap your brain around that, well, at least have some respect for those who love our side enough to think about correcting the big picture in order to achieve a better outcome on tour/our beloved pitch.

  11. regardless of the variables that have cost us success. for me the disappointment comes from the lax attitude that rears its lazy ass head at vital moments. id feel more sorry for the players but i cant.
    add to this the probability of this being the strongest squad in the league. i believed we could overcome the odds this time. its hard not to be a frustrated fan. not to mention most fans even arsenal ones have no idea or refuse to believe the level of corruption in football that clearly has its favorites. i cant even banter with friends cos its like im talking to the media directly. actually feels kinda creepy knowing how a seemingly normal human being is almost robot-like in their response.
    wengers body language to me suggests a new era will start this summer. i honestly believe the last 5 yrs were about foundation. and now the project really starts.

    little off topic but i thought peps response to the ref decisions was interesting. think thats one of the reasons he’s quitting in 12?

  12. It will excellent when this black scarf movement happens – it will show the arrogant one that he can no longer continue his fantasy project and hopefully he will be given the boot by Stan. I cannot believe we are looking to blame every tom dick and harry but not the manager when the mistakes are so obvious and countless to name.

  13. I have watched Wenger throughout the years and the more I think about it the more I believe he suffers from a narcissistic personality disorder.

    From kicking the ball back to players when he is on the sideline ( when other managers throw it back or don’t bother) to getting involved in an extra-marital affair the evidence is building up.

    Add to the fact that no big player( Henry, Vieira, Bergkamp etc, etc) can remain at the club after a certain time or be on the coaching staff then things start to add up. The expulsion of Keown when he started being successful with the defence, bringing back players such as Sol, Aliadiere and Lehmann ( and letting Henry, Beckham and Pires train with the club) when they were past their sell by dates therefore making Wenger altruistic and on a higher plain. Throw in the current squad and the release of Gallas and look at the weakness of the current team (without any leaders) -it becomes even more apparent. Look at the fact that the board and the club has been completely taken in by Wenger – it is close to megalomania!

    Narcissistic Personality Disorder – The definition – characterised by an exaggerated sense of self importance, a tendency to overvalue one’s actual accomplishments, an exhibitionistic need for attention and admiration, a preoccupation with fantasies of success, wealth, power, esteem or ideal love, and inappropriate emotional reactions to the criticism of others. NEED I SAY MORE!

  14. Most will be well aware of arsenalfcnotplc

    Please take part in our first campaign, which is for club members and other fans to write to Mr Wenger expressing our frustration.
    All postal letters to the club have to be logged by club staff, so in conjunction with the up coming march, the club staff will notice an increase in fan complaints.

    A template letter is below, and please send it to Arsene Wenger.

    The address is:

    Arsenal Football Club
    Highbury House
    75, Drayton Park
    N5 1BU

    “Dear Mr Wenger,

    I have been an Arsenal fan for many years, and am a platinum/gold/silver/red member. I respect your past achievements and consider you an all time legend. But the past few seasons have been painful. It is almost essential to finish in the top four, but hand on heart, I do not feel we have been seriously challenging for the title.
    We are not far off, but we a definite distance away.
    I feel as if we are stuck in a repeating pattern of being “nearly men”.

    We have a lot of youth players coming through the ranks, but I cannot see how we can progress without spending on more experienced players.

    I also worry about the defence, who have not been good enough at set pieces for a while now.

    Please, for the good of the club, spend some of our cash reserves to push us that extra bit further to the title. It is disheartening to know cash is available but not being spent.


    Mr A Gooner.”

  15. ok, merakis, who’s your replacement-savior and what’s the vision? C’mon now, out of hiding – what’s your SPECIFIC solution? Come on out and play with your specific fixes and vision. You like to shine a flashlight on roaches… so it’s due time you step into the light and offer up some constructive answers to go along with your A-bombs. Then we can all move forward with a good mind, as the Iroquois say, and lay the foundation for the next seven generations. You seem to have time – so go for it!

  16. WEll its not rocket scienece is it – get rid of this tit and bring in someone who is willing to show some balls in the dressing room and boot some life into these mercenaries! Mourinho is my no1 for that.

  17. Mourinho??

    Yep, lets sell our soul to the devil himself.

    Personally I’d rather lose under Wenger than win under Mourinho’s anti-football cheating methods.

  18. Sorry I’ve been so dense, Merakis. I thought it was more complicated that bring in Morono. Now that is a fix if I ever heard one. But you know what, he just said that UEFA and its refs are fixed. That would be like blaming the outside forces — your Toms, Dicks and Harry’s — that you don’t like, wouldn’t it? Yeah, kick butt, shed blood, skewer the (foreign – you mean, don’t you?) mercenaries – yep, that’ll really play well with this generation of footballers. That’ll keep ’em from leaving. Attract ’em to sign on. I’m with you: Bring back the hangman, I say! You’re soooo right, Merakis. It all comes down to brute disciplines, doesn’t it. Thanks for your ray of light in dark times. And the road to this paradise starts with… sacking Arsene? Alright, then. I feel so much better now that I see where you’re coming from. Nope, it’s not rocket science, putting together a championship side… Sorry, I thought it was complex. Bless you.(And thanks for the psychoanalysis lesson – you seem to be quite good at spotting narcissism, after how many postings so far today? — not that I should talk on that score!, ha!)

  19. Why do people keep mentioning Rocket science? When you think about it, rocket science is probably more difficult in theory than in practice, while football is just the opposite. For all the variables involved in building a rocket, and sending it up and above into the heavens, I’d still say that they are probably less complex to compute than any ‘formula’ for a successful football team would be.

  20. Why do the Wengerites keep saying real Arsenal fans want Wenger to spend £200m or whatever fantasy number they come up with to try and support their flawed arguments? Also all this nonsense of balancing the books. None of it stacks up when we see the money Wenger wastes on wages with players like Almunia, Eboue, Diaby, Denilson, Rosicky, Squashy etc. All Realists have wanted is for Wenger to spend the money he already has more effectively. Basically Wenger has failed overall in the market over the last 6 years – from Silvestre to Shaban, Hleb to Squashy. Nasri and Vermaellen are the only gems in a list of mediocre he has bought. At the end of the day Wenger has imense resources at his disposal but has used them badly. If were an active fan base we criticise the board over their inactivity over the last few years. All of them have been playing a money speculating game on a big pay day. They have all made millions but none of them invested any personal money in the club in that period. Most clubs have owners who are genuine patrons – from Spurs’ Joe Lewis, the Sunderland, Everton and Villa owners right through to humble Norwich and Delia Smith, club owners have shown commitment to the fans and club. If there are any protests tomorrow it should be directed at the board. PS As much as I am tired of Wenger I dont like the sick abuse he gets from other fans esp Manure. Tomorrow we need some songs about the vile Rooney and Fergie. Lets show some wicked wit tomorrow if nothing else!

  21. mr wenger makes me like football.I’m very greatfull for him.however he has been unluky for these six years.
    mind you?the sun will shine again in the next

  22. fhint

    “Despite the supporters’ concerns, this will be the first time the club have raised their prices since they moved to Emirates Stadium from Highbury in 2007”.

    Everything goes up in price eventually. Whilst other clubs have annually increased their season ticket prices Arsenal have stood firm for four years, no-one should expect that commendable stance to last forever. A little perspective is needed here.

  23. my dream:ARSENAL SQUADE should be like a familly.WHEN I Watche MAN UTD on tv,It seems that the are like a familly.Every single player is concerned by their goals.just see the attitude of players and staff when te score goals.MAN UTD squade are fantastique.I’m not a fan of MAN UTD,but I admire them for that.ARSENAL need an atmosphere of familly,a little bit of determination,strong mental.please the ARSENAL’s players should hearty love their club instead of dreaming of playing in another club.

  24. And why does anyone think for one second that The Dark Lord would want a job with Arsenal?

  25. @Merakis,
    Wow you really do have all the answers. It must be easy sitting in your Ivory tower. Seeing everything that’s wrong at Arsenal and fixing it. At least in your mind. and your opinion Now I have never heard of you before so I’m betting that you’re not actually a professional football manager? I’m going to assume that you are in fact a disgruntled Arsenal fan? There are lots of them about. Me I am an Arsenal fan. I am also an Arsene Wenger ( a real professional football manager ) fan but firstly I am an ARSENAL FAN.
    You sit there and slate the best Manager this club has had in decades and your best candidate to replace him is Jose? Right because he would be better. Of course he’s not interested in running a regime, he’s not a megalomaniac at all is he? He would get us winning again. he would bring us silverware. He would be perfect for US? Is that all you’re interested in is trophies? The best teams at the end of the season win the trophies. I’m a realist. We haven’t been good enough over the whole season so we have fallen at almost the final hurdle. Roll on next season and hopefully we will be stronger.
    See I am an Arsenal supporter not an ARSE!

  26. Tasos posts, ”The whole ethos of the sport should be under serious scrutiny and yet the media fail to raise any relevant questions on the matter.”
    There is only one relevant question – when do you get a full public inquiry into how referees are appointed in football?
    It’s moved on from the demand for technology – now it is obvious to anyone, from whatever team, that the bias of a referee, towards one team or the other, can swing a result, and there are no explanations given.

  27. Oh! I know Tony slightly off topic but it is mentioned in a post above.
    Ticket prices for next season.
    It’s like watching TV. If you don’t like what’s on then don’t watch it. Don’t just sit there moaning and crying about it.
    Are we turning into a nation of moaners?
    I’m confident that for every fan that doesn’t take up a ticket there will be at least ten that will.
    I’m sure MerakissAss is a season ticket holder? He’s bought this season’s ticket and now has nothing to show for it.
    BOO HOO!

  28. Walter- to be frank, its not good to be optimistic and trying to build an illusion again in the minds of the readers, bcoz you’re only hitting the hammer on your own feet by doing this as Arsenal might not live up to the expectations. And when this happens again, all the heartbroken fans will turn against the manager and the players.

    This has been one of the mistake Wenger has made, he always raises expectations of the fans every year at the start of the season by saying that the current players wil win a trophy. And our team fails to be even close to achieving it, it really disappoints the fans. So its better that Wenger had said that his team will try to achieve the champions league qualification spot at the start of the season, hence howmuch ever better we come in the end, will become a bonus.
    In the same way, i’d suggest you too dont raise expectations unnecessarily bcoz If our team doesn’t perform then there will be backlash.

  29. Thats the difference why teams like City, Spurs are said to be supposedly having a fantastic season even though they are behind Arsenal. Its bcoz their managers didn’t come out and aimed so high that if they dont achieve it, then the players collapse under lack of confidence.
    When our squad was completely transformed into a young squad, Wenger should not had raised the bar for them so much. They’re still a young bunch of players.

  30. Paul
    Until last season I had a season ticket every season since the mid-80s.
    I don’t have one no for one reason only. It just too expensive and I can’t afford it with a young family.
    I’m not moaning about it – but football is too expensive and many many fans have been priced out.

  31. The authors of this site are old enough to know that when you do not take responsibility and blame everything else like Wenger does, it is called a losing mentality.This is the problem with our players. They are good enough to win the title but they lack steel. They need to look at themselves in the mirror and be responsible. They must shout at each other, fight for each other and not accept mistakes. You do not see that enough from them.Their heads drop very quickly after a disappointment. Wenger does not recognize it and it keeps repeating itself every season. Next March, they will become nervous again and everything will fall apart. It is all mental. It is not the referees. Losing points against Bolton,Newcastle,West Brom,Liverpool, Sunderland,Wigan,etc the way we did proves my point. Wenger must stop blaming everyone.

  32. DP

    “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence”.

    Not My words but certainly My beliefs. Arsene Wenger aims high, he has raised expectations and although we have once again failed to deliver and win a trophy, I disagree with your assumption that we failed to even come close. We came close, we came very close this season and that, for Me, has been the most frustrating thing.

  33. Totally agree with munawwar, United have gotten alot of momentum from winning games after getting “lucky” breaks from referee’s, if Blackpool had gotten that 100% CLEAR CUT penalty when leading united 2-0 Man Utd would have lost at BLACKPOOL !!! U never know how that would effect their confidence… And on the other hand if RVP’s 98th minute penalty had given us a win, we would be on a high and would have a much greater chance to win againts spurs and bolton (which we almost managed anyways). I am very proud of the effort the team has put in, and if its true like they say that referee decisions even them self out over time… then we really have a bright future ahead!

  34. Well it is open season on Arsenal right now. A lot of people are saying ‘I told you so’…And if they are supporters of another club…well let them have their fun. The fact is we didn’t win and most of them shan’t either.

    What is bothersome is the number of purported Arsenal supporters with the DTs (delirium tremens). So many of them have gotten ADDICTED to the winning and not addicted to the club. Pity, that. They still haven’t got over the fact that we won’t win the Premiership every year (especially while building a new stadium). It is difficult to find, build or sign a Thierry Henrys and Dennis Bergkamps every year and difficult to beat teams that have more money than you.

    It would be nice to win more often but it reminds me of the time I was playing in a youth side that won 15 games on the trot. We we finally lost we did it with a side that had no spares because some players had gotten bored with thumping the other teams. I am glad we don’t play in the Spanish or Scottish league where no teams can realistically challenge the top two. But there is risk associated with that…we might lose. Suck it up and get better I say.

  35. GP
    How can u say that our players lack steel and their head drop quickly after a dissapointment ? U think the players were dissapointed after getting robbed in the 102nd minute in the Liverpool game ? How can it be that we then traveled to WHL later and produced one of the greatest games of football in this years premier league ??? If their head drops quickly they would have given up a long time ago. NEVER in the 30 years i have followed english football have a team suffered so much bad luck (and bad refereeing), and still they fought on and almost won the Premier League. If we can keep on going and secure a top 3 this year it will be a VERY good achievement for this team!

  36. Tasos-

    ‘The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.’

    Not My words but certainly My beliefs. If Wenger really sets the bar so high then he needs to realise that he’s raising the expectations of the fans as high. And when they are not met then the disappointment and resentment would be as high as well. And to answer whether we’re getting closer to the title, then look at our league position. We’re again trying to survive for the 3rd spot which we’re doing last season as well.

  37. Dark Prince
    I have seen an interview with Harry Redknap where he said they were in the title race (some months ago). And its kinda strange that after the media gave spurs so much praise after beating 2 mediocre italian teams they didnt even take notice that spurs were thrashed by the 2nd best team in spain. And still we got alot of bad press after getting very close to beating the best team in the world, i fell its very strange!

  38. @ Ian.
    That’s a fair comment and I appreciate that your priorities have changed. you’re not going to let your family suffer for the sake of you buying a ticket but my point to Merakis is having a boycott or encouraging people to not buy a season ticket will just ultimately hurt the club.
    Football although expensive isn’t the most expensive hobby. Do you ever hear of people complaining about the price of going to the Opera? No, they go if they can afford to if not they don’t. At least we get to watch Arsenal on the TV whether it being live or highlights.
    GOONER for life!

  39. Edda- its a difference of perception. Who expected Spurs to reach the quarter finals?? I can guarantee you that neither did you expect it. At the end of last season, most of us were thinking the Spurs might not even win through the qualifying rounds of the champions league and will not make it into the group stages. But they overachieved. Now tell me, till what round did we all expect Arsenal to come in the Champions league?? I atleast expected Arsenal to reach the semis. Though it was Barca whom we went out against, but still you fail to see that we had to face them bcoz we couldn’t qualify 1st in our group. What about Spurs?? They topped their group by beating last year’s champions!! They went on to beat the current best team in Italy. Howmuch ever i hate Spurs, i have to say that they did some incredible things this season. Till last year they just qualified 4th in the league. This year though, they topped their champions league group, they beat AC Milan, they reached the quarters and had the luxury to face Madrid. That for me is a good european season for a team which never played in champions league. The fact that Madrid thrashed them doesn’t count as much bcoz Spurs had already overachieved in europe.

    Now compare this to Arsenal’s european season. We came 2nd in a compartively easy group, hence had to face Barca. Yes we beat them at home. And we got the deserved praise for it everywhere. It was a proud moment to be a Gooner. But eventually we couldn’t get past them. So clearly our European Season was not as good as compared to Spurs.

  40. DP

    If Arsene Wenger told us at the start of season that Arsenal were aiming for a top four spot only, I fear the pessimists amongst us would complain, the optimists would start to lose faith and the realists would wonder why he doesn’t at least aim for the top.

    Mr Wenger, he’s damned if does and damned if he doesn’t.

    However I do agree with you that the present squad of players are still young and it seems still unable to full-fill said expectations, yet.

    Spurs lost 4-1 at home to Arsenal in the CC
    Spurs lost 4-0 away to Fulham in the FA Cup
    Spurs lost 5-0 (AGG) to R Madrid in the CL

    And yet were persistently told that Arry and Spurs have had a good campaign. Sounds very unrealistic to Me.

  41. Dark Prince
    I agree that Spurs has overachived, but even so, many pundits predicted then to finnish higher than us in the premier league because they have “more depth in the squad”. I also agree that we should have won our group, but i dont agree that this was an easy group. Shaktar is a very decent team and against any other than barca they would have a chance to go to the semi’s. And braga has a good chance of reaching the Europa League final. But anyway we have to use this a lesson and win our group next year, but lets not forget, not many teams have even progressed from the group stage 10 years in a row as we have now done…

  42. Tasos- Wenger cant rectify the problem now. When i said he needed to lower the expectation, i said it for the start of our youth team. Thats from the 2006-07 period. Now its too late to take that approach. Though i hope he starts managing like he used to do during his early years bcoz now there isn’t any restriction of the debt of the stadium. Wenger as well as Gazidis has said since the start of this year that the funds are available to make the big signings.

  43. I can only feel for the coach and the players at such a time like this. Can you imagine that three of the nine PK awarded against Arsenal came in the last three matches??? Coincidence? Never. The second penalty kick against Newcastle even surprised the Newcastle player that challenged for the ball. A situation where some fans cannot see beyond all these orchestrated sabotage against Arsenal is really pathetic (I got Dark Prince in mind or did I make a mistake to have assumed him to be an Arsenal fan?). Compare what Pepe got a red card for against Alves in the CL S/F with what Ferdinand did to Sagna that was not even cautioned. What of Neville both against Stoke and W/Brom? Vidic against WHU when they were 2 goals down? All these sum up the destination of the title. If a team gets away with 2 or 3 such decisions in a season, it may well be termed an oversight but to get away with up to 10 and still counting is something difficult to grasp. How come the replays of malicious tackles by Manchester United players are never shown during the review of the games?
    I see the systematic decimation of the psyche of Arsenal players to make them think they are just not good enough. Remember the Eduardo incidence and the freak PK awarded to Birmingham in that match?
    Also the same press that went to the farthest extent to ensure that Cristiano Ronaldo did not leave Manchester United are the same one pushing Fabregas back to Spain. Let the neutrals consider that. If Fabregas were to be playing for United would the press have been that glad to see him leave? Such is the debacle faced by Arsene Wenger and Arsenal. When Rooney emerged as the next British hope, all hands were on deck to ensure that he did not lose it as he was playing for Arsenal. When Walcott emerged from Arsenal, the clamour was that he should play for both the National team snd the U-21. The effect, he lost almost a whole season as a result of fatigue snd eventually could not make it to the WC in SA. Now Wiltshere is been propped to follow suit. Would the same have happened if they were playing for Manchester United? Questions and questions and questions that beggar for answers but where will the answers come from? It will take an approach different from what is currently employed by Wenger for Arsenal to win the EPL again. That is my honest submission.

  44. Edda- if you look closely then u’ll realise its ironic that what media and some of the pessimistic fans had predicted early in the season has started for Arsenal has almost come true. Many of the fans (including me) had predicted an Arsenal collapse during the feb/march period. Also it had been predicted Arsenal’s season will be lost bcoz of Defence and Gk issues. It was also predicted that Arsenal will have to fight to survive for top 4 spot.

    Look closely Edda, City are just 2 points away from us if they win their game in hand. Spurs are just 6 points away from us if they win their game in hand. The difference between Spurs and Arsenal is less than Arsenal and ManU. Can u believe that??

  45. Also i think we have to stop being too much paranoid about what the refs do in our game. (Yommex definately in my mind) Surely there has been some bad decisions against us but were the ref the culprits for our loss against Braga? Or Shakhtar? Or Newcastle at home? Or West Brom home and away? Or Blackburn or Bolton? Or ManU and Chelsea in the early part of the season? Or ManU in FA cup semis? Or the City at home?

    The answer is plain simple NO!!!

    Though as Arsenal fans we tend to see only the decisions against us, we have to realise there have been times when we were favoured for certain important decisions. We fail to see that even ManU were at the recieving end of some bad decisions. We fail to see that some overly optimistic fans will only look at others failures and our own limited success (‘success’ not in real sense) rather than rectifying our own failures and learning from other’s success.

  46. Dark Prince
    There are no guarantees in football, if we lose all our remaining matches we might end up 5th, but alot of strange results have to happen then. One little note though, Spurs and City cannot both win their game in hand because they play eachother. But ending in 5th can happen if everything goes against us, and THAT would be a crisis!
    BUT, talking about unlikey scenarios. What if… What if we beat Man Utd 2-0, Chelsea beat Man Utd 2-0 (after getting 3 points against spurs), then Chelsea are 1st in the Premier League on goal difference, and if we beat stoke who is thinking FA-cup by that time, then we are 3 points behind with 2 games to play. With Man Utd going away to a desperate Blackburn and Chelsea going to Goodison Park in the last game… Then its game on! This is a far more likely scenario than us finnishing 5th! Keep the faith!

  47. Just reading how Man Utd will approach this game – go not to lose and win the title. Just illustrates what a total failure this season has been. If Wenger had shown some initiative in January instead of thinking Squillaci and Koscelny were good enough. If Wenger had shown some managerial leadership. If the players had shown some pride and the will to fight to be the best. Of all the disappointing seasons under Wenger this is by far and away the worst – Aside from the success of Wilshere which is down to his own skill, hard work and desire to do well there is little good to say about this team. Congratulations on the healthy bank balance though – it is obviously more important to some on here than being successful. How do you market a team that year after year fails in everything ?

  48. Yommex
    I totally agree with u and i have to say I admire AW for still trying to compete with all the strange things that have gone against us the last couple of years. Some of our failures might have been down to the boys beeing young and lacking experience, but even an experienced team could not have overcome all of it.
    As I am from norway i remember a certain Champions League game where an norwegian ref had a poor game and didnt give Chelsea (and Mourinho) a penalty against Barcelona, and he still talks about this many years later. This is one incident and there were made a lot of fuss about it, but u NEVER hear anything in the media if we dont get decisions our way, we always hear the same old boring theme, that we lack mental strength bullshit! Is amazing that we came as close as we did this season.

  49. Edda- thats what i’m sayin, we cant predict our future. But what we can analyize is our present. And at present, we’re more near to 5th position than 1st position, so its common sense to understand what we wil be fighting for the rest of our games. Thats why i say, we haven’t improved much from our last season.

  50. Its eventually the different mentality of different fans.
    An optimistic fan wil only look that Arsenal are more close to the top in terms of points as compared to last season. While a pessimistic fan will look that Arsenal are more close to the relegation zone in terms of points as compared to last season.

    But a realist fan will look at all the aspects and realise that this year has been no different from last year for the club. I, for one, am a realist.

  51. Character is destiny and we have seen what has happened to this team which can only reflect on the manager’s.

    In the last few minutes in the Carling Cup final they didn’t have the charater to hold on.

    Away at Newcastle the character was missing to protect a four goal lead.

    At home to Liverpool the character to stand up in the last few minutes was absent.

    Now comes the true test for AW. Is he really intelligent and able to admit his mistakes, learn from them and adapt his approach, blend old and new and make transitions smoother and more seamless?

    Or is he a flawed genius who in the face of mountains of irrefutable evidence still believes his way is the only way?

    My ideal scenario would be for AW to stay but with a team of people who are independent thinkers with the same goal.

    The best of AW is undoubtedly world class in my opinion but he needs other people around him to bring out the best in him.

    Behind all great personal success there is a supporting cast with a sovereigh voice, no one can do it on their own.

  52. Well, we would have won the CC if Arshavin’s hadn’t been wrongly deemed offside or when Arshavin didn’t get the penalty when he should have.

  53. @DP

    you are correct cant see no difference from this season to last except last year we had more injuries and this year we have managed to beat Barca and chelsea, but nothing that I would call substantial. However if we did manage to get second spot that would be progress IMO

  54. since losing the carling cup final our prem lge form has been dreadful and thats why that trophy meant so much to me.i strongly believe it would have been a catalyst for the team to push for further trophies but it wasn’t meant to be.our prem lge record of p7,w1,d5,L1,f10,a9,pts8 was the biggest thing that i feared at the time and unfortunately my fears came true.the player’s weren’t good enough when it mattered most(business end of the season) and wenger to his credit takes full responsibility for the end of the day no matter what any of us think or believe,there is only one person who can make it right and that’s wenger himself.the frustration fans on here feel is understandable and right and i always read the posts with alot of interest and take alot of good points that posters make.but what i don’t agree with is having disrespect for wenger and calling him this and that,that is out of order for may not agree with him anymore or want him out,but what he’s done for this football club as been fantastic and the legacy that he will leave for future manager’s at arsenal will be on a footing that we have never tread before.there will come a time when an arsenal manager might be able to break the british transfer record or even spend 40/50/60m in one summer.wenger has manager made the ultimate sacrafice by wanting a new 60,000 seated stadium knowing that he would suffer in terms of transfers and had to go a route that may’be he didn’t want to go but had to.if there comes a day when i want a new manager(and i’ll reserve judgement untill next season starts)then there is no way i would disrespect him for what he’s done for can take this anyway you want,arsenal were always a big football club,but in wenger’s time we have become even bigger and while there’s a number of reasons for that, he has been the main man for afc.

  55. Why do the players you haven’t got always seem preferable to those you have? If only we could could all live our lives based on “if only’s”. Why is a team that beat Barcelona not good enough to beat a very poor team like Bolton or West Brom. How can a team that destroyed Chelsea let a two goal lead slip against a long ball team like Spurs – twice. If only we had a lot of players that we don’t have perhaps these things wouldn’t happen. If only we had some of the Real Madrid team that have been destroyed by the Barcelona team we beat fairly and squarely and without cheating then perhaps we could have beaten Spurs like they did, by wiping the floor with them and making them look like mugs. Why can’t we have a manager that isn’t the one we’ve got and players that we don’t have? Surely that’s the answer. Ah, if only.

  56. DP you are right. There are cases where Arsenal were favoured – according to Walter’s analysis usually 10% to 15% of the Ref “errors” favour Arsenal. 85 to 90% favour the opposition.
    And some of the games you mention you are correct – Arsenal deserved to lose or draw.
    But consider these:

    Sunderland away Dowd plays on into the 95th min when 94 are indicated (no subs or goals) and they score a 95.5 min equaliser (2 points)
    Wigan away Probert refuses to award a last min penalty for Arsenal (same as the Cesc one awarded to Spurs – hand in the wall) (2 points)
    Newcastle away – any number of embarrassingly ridiculous decisions including two blatant non penalties in the last 15 mins (2 points)
    Sunderland at home – no penalty award in the last 5 mins for blatant push on Arshavin, and perfectly good goal not awarded for offside (2 points)
    Liverpool home – ridiculous dive penalty to Liverpool in the 111th min of 98 min game (2 points)

    So (just with) final minutes blatant decisions to take away 10 points

    Against that:
    MU concede a non-goal (hand ball and foul) Birmingham away in the last minute (2 points)
    But there were many favourable decisions such as stopping extra time exactly on time despite 2 extra time goals by Everton, and Everton bearing down on goal.

    So 10 -2 = 8 points (using just the above blatant wrong decisions) means it would have been an interesting final few games in the title race.

  57. Perhaps it was meant to be this way. A team that has been so close so often at such a young age will never really believe in themselves until they win something. A perfectionist manager that has tried so hard without achieving anything for a few years will try harder every year until he finds the perfect formula. You can be sure that Wenger will spend many sleepless nights over the summer thinking about how he can best improve this squad and that, in a way, can only be a good thing. What we have is a team that is becoming one mans’ obsession that really only needs one trophy to push on and become a dominant force. Of course there is also the possibility that Arsene won’t make many changes this summer, i hope he will and i strongly believe that he will.

  58. @gooner80 – yes, if we finish 2nd it would be progress and it would give a psychological confidence to both the player and manager that They’re getting closer.

  59. jbh- i agree that we have lost points bcoz of bad referee decisions. But we cant comment on how many points did ManU lose bcoz of bad referee decisions bcoz Walter doesn’t analyize all their games. I can remember the Birmingham goal, the Chelsea penalty disallowed, the red card for Carraghar which was not given, etc. So you can see that there has been instances where ManU too have lost points bcoz of the ref. And as i said, we as Arsenal fans will find all the other excuses for our own failures. The loss against Chelsea and Manu in early season wasn’t bcoz of bad ref decisions, the loss to Newcastle and West brom or Bolton wasn’t bcoz of bad refs, the Blackburn and City draw wasn’t bcoz of bad refs. If you look closely, we have lost more points bcoz of underperforming as compared to bad ref decisions.

    Also, if the refs and everyone in FA was really against Wenger so much then Wenger would have never won the Epl ever, he would not have been allowed to go an entire season unbeaten, he would not have won so many Fa cups and Charity Shields.

    I admit that media is quite biased, but eventually they should not be influencing our performances. When you’re playing for Arsenal at the top of the English league then its obvious that the media scrutiny will be there a lot. Look at Chelsea, they were not spared in the media few months back bcoz of their bad performances. Its easy to realise that media wants something to talk about, its either how good a team is on the top or what problems are faced by a team in 2nd or 3rd place. ManU, Rooney were criticised heavily in their latter part of last season. The point i’m tryin to make is that when a team is performing well then it will get the support from the media, but if its not then it will not be spared by the same journalists, whether its ManU or Chelsea or Arsenal.

    It eventually comes down to the character of the team, players like Viera or Henry or Campbell dont get bogged down by bad ref decisions or getting criticised by media, they infact rise up when the occasion requires. That is what has been missing in our team. All the negativity we see now in media or any other place has always been there and will always be there if Arsenal perform badly. Thats where the attitude of champions rise. They channelise all that negativity into good performances.

  60. Dark Prince
    April 29th, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I think that the game against Braga was the most obvious example of a bent referee I have ever seen. I always use that game and Newcastle to point out the most obvious examples of referee bias. Now I add ManU vs Everton. Walter, can you give a link to your Braga review?

  61. Dark Prince: “Thats where the attitude of champions rise. They channelise all that negativity into good performances.”

    Up until the point where you give up. Nasri and Wilshere both got yellow cards for dissent against Sunderland – and that was before the final two big decisions costing a goal and a penalty!

    I believe that you must get to the point where you give up. I think it is amazing that AW isn’t at that point. I think that any Arsenal player who doesn’t look to leave is a bit thick.

    I see no point in taking the analysis past the obvious. Against Bolton we were denied a 100% penalty, they got one for a clear dive; they had three players who should have received two yellows. To try and overcome these odds against EPL professionals is an enormous amount to ask of young men; too much in my opinion. It is not impossible to achieve, but it is too much to expect.

  62. Tone: The trouble with your approach is that it starts from an unproven premise: character is destiny.

    I can say, “character isn’t destiny”. It is an equally valid statement, and neither statement gets us anywhere – so there rest of your argument falls.

  63. DP

    You’re either fishing for a response, in which case I’ve been hooked or you’re very naive to believe officials cannot influence the outcome of any game.

    Personally I think you’re being disrespectful. After all the hard work put in by the many people on this website, given all the scientific methodology and evidence these people have painstakingly produced, you still openly refuse to accept the damage these obstacles can have on the outcome of any game, and therefore final League position for Arsenal.

    After Chelsea’s controversial defeat of Man Utd in March of this year, Alex Ferguson said “the penalty kick was so soft. We didn’t deserve that,that’s three years in a row referees’ decisions have changed the game” (at Stamford Bridge)..Ferguson was then asked if the Blues were back in the title race, he replied: “If they get decisions like tonight then it can change everything”

  64. Cape Gooner- when you say, its too much to expect from our players, then you have to justify where exactly should our expectations end. Wenger says at the start of every season that our team is good enough to win the league. So where does the expectation end? Should it end when we win a trophy? Should it end if we’re in top 4? Should it end that we should just qualify for Champions league every year? Should it end knowing that we have a young team which will become better every year?

  65. Tasos- if you read what i’ve said earlier, i’ve never denied that refs has cost us points. There have been games where decisions were made against us. But you cant say that we lost the entire season bcoz of the refs, thats disrespectful as you’re taking the credit away from teams who played well against us and also you’re not making the failures and issues in our team accountable for.

    The point i’m tryin to make is that, yes, refs have been our lucky charm in few matches this year. But you cant blame them for the loss of our season. Our season, as Wenger himself said, has come down due too one defensive mistake in the last min of the Carling Cup final. As Wenger said himself, its bcoz of lack of ‘maturity’, ‘calmness’, or you can say our players just didn’t have enough of belief as they had against when they played against Chelsea in december.

    Also, just tell me how many games have we played and won since that Carling Cup. Would you believe that the only premier league win we had since then (against blackpool) was bcoz of ref who actually made a penalty decision in favour for us??

  66. DP

    Refereeing decisions influence games, no doubt about it. However, a teams performance is a totally different aspect of the game. A very good example of this is found in the game at St James’s Park this season. In the first half Arsenals performance against Newcastle was one of high quality and goals, you could say an untouchable, almost an invincible display. And yet the second half of that match was one influenced by a very biased display from the referee, our dear friend Mr Dowd. His second half display having an enormous impact on the momentum of the game, single handedly he helped Newcastle with any number of advantageous decisions, his performance influencing the game and thus the result.

    Ultimately its not possible to scientifically quantify exactly how much a referee can influence the result against a teams overall performance, and individually you can make a case for or against refereeing decisions having an impact on that single game but collectively, over numerous games it has become just too big an obstacle to have to overcome. Its unjust, its not fair and IMO it unquestionably goes against the whole ethos of what sport is, or should be about.

  67. Dark Prince

    Our expectations must end before we expect our players to become supermen. If you think you can do nothing about a blatantly biased performance from a referee, and you think it will probably happen again next week, or more importantly, next season, then to expect our players not to walk away, either literally or figuratively, is an unreasonable expectation.

    We should expect someone to behave more like Mourinho. I’m sure that AW will do this when he retires. However, we need it now.

    Tasos & I are singing from the same hymn book – it is ridiculous to expect to win when the referees don’t want you to win. You, DP, sound as though you see, to some extent, what the refs are doing. If you have an expectation of winning titles then you must be suffering from cognitive dissonance, because the expectation and the facts on the ground are in clear conflict.

  68. Tasos- let me tell you something about that newcastle game that normally goes unnoticed.
    Yes, Phil Dowd made 2 incorrect decisions in that game, but where did it all start from?? It started with one of our players being behaving very immaturely in that game. That day Arsenal fans were as much disappointed with Diaby as they were with Dowd. The other thing that goes unnoticed is the horrible defending we did. Bar those 2 penalty decisions, we conceded 2 goals due to horrible defence. Plus there was another goal which was completly genuine but was wrongly disallowed for offside.
    Thats 3 goals which we conceded in half an hour due to poor defending. That just shows how much we can handle pressure. And in how many games have we not able of keep our composure during the last 10 min?? I’ll say many, many games. You cant blame the refs for our own lack of confidence.

  69. Cape Gooner- hmmmm, if you think only supermen can win the league then i’d surely stop expecting our team to win any title.

    The problem is that many optimistic fans dont want to look the real issues. Yes, as i’ve said earlier, refs hav made wrong decisions, but to say that all the refs are out there going against us or saying that refs are the reason our team didn’t win anything this year would be very ridiculous.

    If refs were really out against us, then we wouldn’t be even there in top 3, we would not have reached the finals of Carling Cup, the fa cup quarters.

  70. DP

    I can’t honestly say Arsenal deserved to win the league but I can honestly say I will never know for sure, one way or the other because they have played with restrictions applied to them, restrictions that are not part of the rules of the game, restrictions that have impacted on the progression of this team.

    Should the team have defended better against Newcastle, yes without doubt but why should this team be subject to such biased officiating, where does it state in the rules that Arsenal have to overcome all of these things on order to become successful, why aren’t the same unjust rules applied to other teams and why should Man Utd be the recipients of the opposite approach from officials on such a regular bases?

    Arsenal have performed poorly on occasions and deservedly lost some games, I have no complaints with several of these results. I think its healthy for the league in general that the opposition have been good enough to exploit our inept displays, its shows the competitive nature of the league is strong.

    However, I do have complaints about so many refereeing decisions this season, influential decisions that have had a damaging effect on our hopes of winning the title.

  71. DP (others), there’s an inside problem that you document; and an outside problem that Walter/Dogface and Yommex, Tasos and jbh document. BOTH can be true at the same time. It’s not either-or. We need internal reform and the EPL/UEFA urgently need Ref-Reform. Every time someone argues one without the other, I’m suggesting that the entire picture goes out of focus and we lose understanding. It’s a two-front battle at all times and I think we need to broaden our self-understanding to encompass both dimensions of the present critical moment we are in and to stop arguing one dimension against the other which will have to prove unproductive. This is complex and I think we fans should pressure for changes on both fronts. If people feel we can at least influence internal reform far sooner than external (Bent-Ref) reform, I can see that. But to act as if it’s ALL an internal problem is a nice lawyer’s summation, but is not enough to remedy our whole situation; and to argue it’s ALL an external (Bent-Ref) problem is also a nice (and demonstrable) summation, but is not sufficient to remedy our whole situation. It’s a two-front war that requires two-front strategy or we’ll be chasing fool’s goal forever. We, our side and football all deserve a good solution.

  72. Dark Prince, the Newcastl game changed in the last minuts of the first half.
    I have video evidence of Dowd doing what a ref should do when he sees a foul (bringing the whistle to his mouth). It was a foul from Barton who came in flying like madmen to Arshavin from behind. He took AA full from behind. Dowd wanted to blow a foul but then you can see on the images he changes his mind when he does see that Barton quickly stands up and runs for the ball.
    THAT moment is for me a picture telling more than a thousand word. This movement from the arm was a clear indication that he has seen the foul (and at least a yellow card!!) but that his reasoning took over and you almost could see him think: “I just give Newcastly everything from now on and I will not even blow the most dangerous tackles”.

    In the follow up Barton then jumped with his feet on Diaby who was trying to tackle the ball away. Barton made it look as if he had been kicked nd Dowd gave a free kick to Newcastle.

    At that moment I wrote in my live match report for the Benelux: “Is Dowd going to try to help Newcastle a bit?”

    It was a thing that as a ref you see through the incident and think: this is over the top, no proper and honest ref would do such a think.

    I was right. The second dangerous tackle on Diaby by Barton where again no foul was given, and which made Diaby do what he did was once again a blatant example of bent refereeing.

    Then all the other decisions like Nolan punching Szczesny when they wanted the ball back without a red card.

    I have said this before and it is a well spread truth and knowledge amongst refs: I ref can influence a game without anyone noticing it, except other refs.
    The Newcastle game was even visible for non-refs and for those who wanted to see it.

    And I think that result was more harming for the believe of the Arsenal players than the Birmingham loss.
    Because then the players realised: there are other forces trying to bring us out of the title race.

  73. @Tasos

    in a completely fair world Arsenal would be treated the same as Man U, the lesser teams would get more decisions but the world is very unfair. This world is ruled by money is it fair that scientist searching for cures for cancer get pitiful amounts compared to talentless celebrities that are just famous for the sake of being famous (people like Jordan) Everyone would be treated the same regardless of sex, religion, race, class. Unfortunately for Arsenal they are always going to face these obstacles, all arsenal can do is focus on their own performance. If you take racism as an example many black people use racism as their excuse why they cant get on, where as others will say you have to work twice as hard because the world is unfair, In life there is many things outside of ones control and these are obviously things that you cant do anything about, and you can obviously whine and complain about how life has treated you, or you can do something about it. After Walters reviews and others it has become clear to me Arsenal have to play exceptional well and consistently to win the league because they face probably a 10 point deduction each season.

    The refs are mere foot soldiers for something sinister that has a strangle hold on football and which probably involves the media because penalties that are debatable for man u are “stone wall” and stone wall penalties for Arsenal are “debatable” . I ask myself questions like if man u were a mid table side with all the man u supporters around the world how many sky subscriptions would sky lose? With the billions spent on gambling how many billions would people lose in betting syndicates if they failed, Even Nike how much money would they lose on kits if kids in china stopped buying Man U shirts, I think the numbers are staggering.

    With large amounts of money there IS ALWAYS CORRUPTION and I think only in UTOPIA will decisions be fair

  74. Gooner80

    There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.

  75. @Tasos and Bob

    both true points, all I was saying is there undeniable bias in this world the same reason that 1% of the world population own 40% of all the wealth.

    And Bob with the money involved in football I cant see there being any change they wont even bring in technology for god sake, probably because this will expose the bias even more

  76. Tasos- as i’ve said earlier, ManU too dont always have decisions goin in their favour. We too have sometimes got decisions in our favour.

    Yes, i too have complaints about many ref decisions. But i’m disappointed that our players are not strong mentally enough to improve their own performance rather than gettin bogged down by the misfortune of some decisions.

  77. bob- completly agree with you. Both have been the major problems for Arsenal this season.

  78. G80 and DP,
    I think we need to win in the court of public opinion, which means thinking outside the box enough to come up with how to get around the iron walls and reach people with saying Arsenal has two simultaneous vulnerabilites and here is evidence of both: DP, your analysis of where (match by match)there’s not enough resiliency and fight-back to adversity; AND Walter’s forthcoming end of season analysis plus his video compilation to be that proves his/Dogface’s points visually. I think that together these – 2 PDF’s and a video – could be powerful consensus-building tools that could get into the public arena and bring some wider pressures for reform. G80, I think we need to try for a broader challenge and this website has brainpower and passion and perhaps energy to try to bring attention to its emerging analysis: a) to the Boardroom; b) to potential presss allies like some Guardian writers (not others) and that BBC bloke who favorably cited UA recently, etc. and c) to fans on other teams to try and do the same with regard to the Bent-Ref plague that blights the League. The minimum MASS demand, G80, would be for in-game video replays to 2-4 challenges per match; and post-match accountability – a re press conference and a publicly available post-match report that they now file but which is not made public. What say you, mates? Tasos? Shard? Walter? Dogface? All?

  79. p.s. sorry, meant to write “a ref press conference” above.

    Also, it occurs that it is outrageous that the ref’s file required post-match reports and they are not open to the public or the press. Would any journalist that pressured for their availability be committing “professional suicide”? If so, we can all draw the proper conclusion about how the EPL relies on intimidation and unstated economic threats.

  80. @bob

    I am not as optimistic as you about swinging public opinion. Most people will respond cynically, or not respond at all. They all have their own problems and while we would be trying to get them to unite to fight a common enemy, that is a cause that is very hard to achieve. Especially when more powerful sources are seeking to divide and rule.. However, SOME things can most definitely be changed. The ref press conference is very easily doable, and the only reason trotted out against it is that refs face enough pressure anyway. What about the pressure they put on players and managers with their wrong decisions? I think this is a logical thing to demand that they explain their decisions. Admit if they made mistakes. Mistakes can be forgiven. And once we have refs saying they made mistakes, it will lead to a debate on how they can be helped to avoid them, and video replays would become part of the agenda in the mainstream.

    P.S. I still have doubts about the video replay system if it is say, Sky running the controls. They can claim unavailability of angles, camera malfunctions etc. But it would be a very good step nonetheless.

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