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Midweek preview: Wolves versus Arsenal

By Phil Gregory

After  a barnstorming performance against Manchester City left Arsenal fans asking how the side didn’t score four versus our supposed league superiors, Wolves fans may be looking on a little concernedly. Indeed Wolverhampton Wanderers are rooted to the bottom of the form table with a single point in their last eight games, an honour that manages to keep them placed below even dire Liverpool. Arsenal, of course, inhabit the opposite end of the form table with seven wins in eight putting us only below the surely Champions Manchester United.

On the subject of United, the FA has come out with their shambolic decision not to overturn Shaun Derry’s ban when the QPR man was sent off versus Mike Riley’s Manchester United side. I challenge the FA to tell me what offence the defender committed, forgetting even Ashley Young being initially offside! I can only imagine the bafflement of our resident referee Walter, I was fuming at the incompetence and I’ve only reffed ten games! The Young shambles however, was topped by the decision not to charge Mario Balotelli for his diabolical tackle on Alex Song, a decision which surely confirms the FA would be unable to organise any sort of drinking session whatsoever in a brewery. The comment that action cannot be taken as an official actually saw the incident leads me to pose a couple of questions:

Which pillock saw that tackle and didn’t deem it a foul and who hired said pillock? Being slightly more serious for the moment, why can the FA not take action? FIFA can overturn referee decisions if they are “rectifying obvious errors in the referee’s disciplinary decisions” (article 77), do the FA not have similar powers? If not, why not? Will FIFA in that case take action? Don’t hold your breath!

*Aaaand breathe Phil*

Really though, how did we not absolutely paste City? We hit the bar at least twice, and Ramsey’s miss was nearly as bad as Vermaelen’s, which in turn wasn’t quite as bad as Benayoun’s  miss from about half a yard out. Thankfully Mikel secured us the points, but the profligacy from a few players who you would expect to score is bizarre to say the least.

The only other points I would make on the game is Arsenal TV’s highlights. While the editing is great, they do leave some stuff out which can mean that a viewer doesn’t quite get the right impression of the game if they only saw Arsenal TV’s highlights and no other commentary etc. Van Persie’s goal – rightly given offside, but an outstanding finish – didn’t make the cut but more importantly Balotelli’s poleaxing of Song’s leg was completely missed off. While I can understand Arsenal can’t champion Walter and co’s fantastic work on the referees, but surely just putting incidents like that into the commentary is vital, as they are huge talking points. Even Match of the Day had it, and they often miss things like that!

Stewart Robson also came in for some criticism in Untold’s comments for his matchday commentary versus City. I can’t comment as I didn’t listen to the commentary of the game, but he’s normally pretty depressing and he gives opponents a free ride with bad tackles too much. He sounds like an old-school player, talking from a time when scything a man in two was fine; which I suppose he is. With the injuries that Arsenal have had over the years, it’s foolish on the part of Arsenal to have someone inside the club peddling those views that are all too prevalent in the wider football world. That said, I like his Talking Tactics feature so keep that – unless you can get Michael Cox of Zonal Marking! – and tell him to book his act up, or find a new gig.

Looking at injuries, Gibbs is out with a minor groin issue so the now-fit Santos will certainly be involved in defence. Gervinho missed out on Sunday with a slight injury but should be available for the midweek. Rumours of Mertesacker’s return to training were proved to be unfounded, with the German not expected to be available again this year.

Szcznesy

Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Santos

Song Arteta

Rosicky

Walcott Van Persie Gervinho

                This game could well contain goals, with Wolves looking a shadow of the gritty side that Mick McCarthy put together. It basically seems a case of a manager being fired, no replacement wanting the job and then an inexperienced coach being over-promoted, for lack of other options. A shambles by the Wolves hierarchy, to put it succinctly.

The team I expect to see will just be a slight adjustment of the City side, taking account of injuries aside from Benayoun’s surprise inclusion leading to a swap for the now-fit, but I expect the experienced Israeli to lose out to Gervinho.

While Arsenal’s players shouldn’t be overconfident, I don’t think I’ll be the only Arsenal fan who expects plenty of goals in this one. Van Persie’s four match dry spell will surely, surely end against Wolves, while a win would put a tidy five points between ourselves and a half-baked outfit in third place. I’ll certainly be glad of that breathing space, as that fight for the last Champions League place is just too close for comfort. If “title-challenging” Spurs miss out come May… amazing.

We’ve already got three goal difference on Spurs, and much, much more on fourth placed Newcastle, so a big win would make that five point gap effectively six.

Meanwhile, the Liverpool game is hilarious. The Reds stormed into a 2-0 lead away at Ewood Park despite a worryingly weakened side and then managed to get another keeper sent off, so a third choice will be in net for their semi final at the weekend. There surely can’t be any more drama before fulltime of this one?

Untold Arsenal

22 comments to Midweek preview: Wolves versus Arsenal

  • bjtgooner

    @Phil. Good post, but surely Kos is suspended for the next 2 matches, or have I missed something?

  • Wooby

    Here is the word taken from the team’s website: http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/team-news-gibbs-gervinho-and-mertesacker

    Looks like Kos, Gibbs and Gervinho are out. Suspect Djourou will start with Squillaci on the bench. I expect Rambo to start on the wing (in place of Gervinho).

  • The Colonel

    I am absolutely outraged that Mario the Clown has escaped further censure following his attempted leg break of Song. If the officials saw that and let it go, they have no business officiating. We might as well quit now, fella’s. We are marked men and short of taking a shotgun to the knees, it appears that it’s open season on Arsenal players. Karl ‘Hatchet’ Henry must be sharpening his studs for tomorrow…

  • rusty

    Looks like Pool will escape that one with a winner from Carroll — a player who makes me glad Arsenal don’t buy! buy! buy!! every time a washed-up former player or newspaper says they need to.

    It’s hard to call Carroll a bust, though, considering how few games he’d had in the Premier League (41, with a return of 11 goals) when he was sold on.

  • Tasos

    Wolves are doomed, relegation is a certainty and the players know it. Rumours of a dressing room bust-up have been denied although players squaring up to each other on the pitch in their last home game against Bolton do not paint the picture of a harmonious team.

    Wolves play open football at home and as a consequence they have conceded the most home goals, 38 in 16 games and a massive 21 goals in just their last 6 EPL games at Molineux Stadium.

    If Arsenal can produce the required performance then goals are there for the taking.

    Phil, Liverpool finally managed a win tonight. Whilst they are a long way from challenging for the EPL they are also not as bad as their recent form stats make out.

    BTW Thomas Eisfeld, remember him?
    Thomas played and scored the only goal for the reserves tonight.

    http://www.arsenal.com/match-menu/3424639/reserves/newcastle-res-v-arsenal-res?tab=report

  • AFCThick/Thin

    Apparently they CAN punish Balotelli, they just don’t want to.

    http://anotherarsenalblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/why-do-fa-continue-to-lie.html

  • bob

    AFC Legal Department should petition a magistrate for a restraining order out on Karl Henry, this in light of today’s so-called ruling by Farcical Associates.

  • ak47

    6 nil – rob, 8, 32, 67. ramsey, 20. walcott, 56. santos, 78.

  • mark

    The FA not taking action against Balotelli is stupid. They are hiding behind shallow legality instead of acting for the good of the game. The result is that more players will be injured by the reckless actions of fellow players. Football then becomes a gladiator sport rather then a sport of skill, teamwork, and mental quickness.

  • Gord

    Whether the FA thinks it has legality or not, bringing the game into disrepute, either during a game or outside of one, is illegal. Which is what I wrote the FA about; that the PGMOL was bringing the game into disrepute. My guess is that the current ManU team is not really any better than Liverpool. There was 36 points separating those two teams in the standings. Those 36 points came from somewhere, my guess they came from PGMOL. The FA can be handsoff for a long time, but if enough evidence comes to bare that PGMOL is not doing its job, the FA at some point has to act and take referring away from PGMOL.

    It would be nice if a single incident would wake the FA up, but I don’t think that is going to happen. It is going to take evidence covering an extended period of time to convince them.

  • bob

    Gord,
    With all due respect for your intention, I think your strategy is off base. Please demonstrate how the FA and PGMOL are actually the separate non-overlapping, non-entwined, non-networked institutions that (I think) you think they are, so that a PGMOL failure would actually lead a different entity known as the FA to remove refereeing from the PGMOL? And then what? What prevents the same referees from being rehired by the replacement institution? The problem is their common root and common intention; two sides of the same tarnished coin.

  • Gord

    Sorry Bob, I can’t. It seems easier to me to think they are two separate entities. Proof, none.

  • Dave Right

    The PGMOL does not have shareholders, their assets are guaranteed by its three members who comprise of:
    The Football Association Ltd
    The Football Association Premier League Ltd
    The Football League Limited
    These three members are the ultimate parent company and controlling party of the PGMOL.

  • legolas still trust Wenger

    @Tasos yea i saw this and good news for Eisfeld the guy is talented 😀 great to have him back .

  • bob

    Dave Right,
    yes….and, the PGMOL has publicly-known sponsors as well, right? Can you name any? (hint: QPR link)

  • bob

    Dave Right,
    and,…can you name the representative of each of the 3 entitites that are representatives on the PGMOL board which selects Micky R?

  • Just to return to tonight’s game – Kos is ruled out for 2 matches for reaching 10 cards – Mr Wenger said it was odd, because if he had had a red card in the game at the weekend, he would have been out only for one.

    So Djourou will play in the centre.

  • Phil Gregory

    Forgot all about Koscielny, thanks for the reminder Tony!

  • Here’s a thought. Arsenal secured their first ever home win in the first division on 24th September 1904 against Wolverhampton Wanderers, in front of 20,000 people. Charlie Satterthwaite had the honour of scoring the club’s first goal in the First Division.

    Just thought of that as I am reading through the forthcoming book “Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football”.

  • Jacobite gunner

    for those wanting to wanting to watch the game tonight, watch it at “first row sports” and follow the link to the arsenal game.

    The games are divided by the time so look for the kick off time on the left of the screen and click on the links. It takes 20/30 seconds for the advert to go away and then you can full screen the game on your laptop- I actually use my Playstation 3 and stream it wirelessly that way- i hope this helps as iv noticed the game is not televised- u need an adequate internet/wireless connection for it to work…

  • Jacobite gunner

    (this is not legal (well not yet) re-the female pub landlord last year who challenged skysports over streaming overseas live games onto her pub telly and won)

  • Jacobite gunner

    captain vantastic!