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The weekend preview: Tots, Chelsea, Newcastle, Manchester…

By Arun

The Untold Preview: Week 34

We had a very good Easter unlike our noisy neighbours.  Both Tottenham and Chelsea added to our joy by dropping points at their rivals.

Newcastle also find themselves level on 4th with the Totts trailing only on the goal difference and are 2 clear of Chelsea who find themselves in 6th.   Indeed Chelsea face quite a battle with  Tottenham, Barcelona, Arsenal and then Barcelona again in next 4 matches.

Newcastle face Chelsea, Man C and end the season with a trip to Everton. It looks like a more difficult fixture list than Tottenham but they have got the momentum on their side and it can be very crucial in their remaining fixtures.

Tottenham are suffering at the moment but now meet another team which is also in a bad state, in the cup tie at Wembley. None of these three will be in league action at this weekend giving us a chance for opening the gap to 8 points by taking the initiative and putting the pressure back on the chasing pack.

Elsewhere, Liverpool won through a Carroll stoppage-time header but also lost their backup keeper for their cup derby with Everton at Wembley.   As a result they have had to recall their on loan goalie as backup Just in case their 3rd goalkeeper sees the antics of the top two keepers as a blueprint, rather than a warning.

Man U lost to Wigan and despite having a goal for Wigan disallowed, their coach blamed it on Dowd for missing a penalty appeal. Where did everything evens out stories vanish to?  It would be interesting to hear the views of Giggs on this.  [No it wouldn’t – Tony]

The FA yet again showed what a bunch of idiots they are after admitting that they ‘apparently’ couldn’t take action against Ballotelli as one of the officials had actually seen the incident during the game and retrospective action can be taken only when the officials didn’t see it.

Which official saw the challenge and thought it was perfectly ok has not been revealed, nor has it been said if he will be punished for this error.  Fifa meanwhile said that it is the FA that makes these rules, not Fifa.

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Another comical decision preceded this one where they refused to turn down the red card of Derry, because there was a foul and Young did NOT dive. They must have been living in a parallel universe where officials don’t give fouls for career threatening tackles and Man U players don’t dive.

It seemed to me that our game against Wolves ran for 11 minutes and after that we took the foot off the throttle and nearly paid for it until Szczęsny produced a memorable save from 3 yards.  After that Arsenal scored another to remind Wolves that we were also there.

According to Toro, Wolverhampton are the most harshly treated team in the league on relevant important decisions. It’s a very good measure as it only includes game changing decisions. So the not given Ramsey penalty won’t go in favour of Wolverhampton as they were already losing the match 3-0 and a penalty would not have changed the outcome.

Unsurprisingly, the ‘Manchester manipulators’ are on top and Fulham are 2nd (and they still complain about the referees, seems like they believe in fair play and deserve praise for this effort). Arsenal is just above the drop zone in 16th.

This weekend will only witness 6 league matches as 4 matches will be played later due to the cup semifinals but let’s see what we have got :

1)      Norwich v Manchester City (Saturday – 12:45)

Despite the results of last week, it is still a big possibility for Man C to lose the title at home. To keep avoiding this nightmare scenario, they visit Norwich whose home record is very good for a team at the bottom of the top half. Only 4 teams have walked out of the Carrow Road with all the 3 points so far this season. That’s also quite an achievement for a team which is having its first season in the top flight after promotion.

Both teams are going through a bad phase in terms of results with each having a result sheet of 2W-2D-2L in their last 6 games.  Norwich has lost only 1 of their last 7 home games in the league. But 3 of their 4 home defeats have come against the teams in top 4 at the moment, and this is a fact which Man C can look forward to while visiting this town.

Man C hammered Norwich 5-1 in the reverse fixture but that was Man C at its prime.  Confidence in the Norwich camp will be high after beating Tottenham last Monday despite being denied 2 clear penalties. Those 2 penalties would have given the score line an emphatic look of 4-1 victory at the WHL.

It’s going to be a highly exposed fixture to the Asian betting markets due to the early kickoff time. With Foy in charge of the game, Man U losing at Wigan and decisions going against Norwich at Tottenham may be needed to even out; if all these factors start to dominate Man C is going to have a hard time at Norwich.

 

2)      Manchester United v Aston Villa (Sunday – 16:00)

A clear good disallowed goal for Wigan was a 50-50 call but their penalty was 100% a penalty, in the ‘great mind’ of the Lord of the Football. It was yet another poor performance by Man U and despite getting reasonable help from Dowd, they couldn’t avoid a defeat.

As always, he was too eager to point out the mistakes of Dowd. But now revenge will be on his mind and it seems like Villa are going to pay the prize of that defeat.

The winning streak of Man U came to halt at Wigan but it’s very likely that they are going to beat Villa at home. Villa have lost 4 of their last 5 visits to Man U. Villa are the king of draws in the league so far with their 14 games ended in draw, which is 4 more than the 4 second placed teams in the race for the most draws.

I think there should be an award for the team which plays most draws in the league as it will give teams like Villa etc. to compete for something in the last phases of the season. Due to this large no. of draws, Villa’s away record consists of only 4 defeats compared with 7 home defeats. Villa also badly needs some points as they might not want to get involved in a dogfight for survival at the end of the season. Lose this one and they may find themselves only 3 clear of the drop zone.

However, their much better goal difference than the teams which are below them might come to their rescue if they continue to drop points like they are doing at the moment by winning only 1 of their last 6 games. Still, Man U looks too difficult a task for them.

Halsey will take the whistle with Probert on the side lines.  If Man C wins their early kickoff on Saturday, you can safely bet on Man U winning this one.

 

3)      Arsenal v Wigan (Monday – 20:00)

Wigan has somehow mastered the art of surviving in the league and their last 2 performances showed their Midas touch which they seem to find when they are in the drop zone and games are running out for them. They should have won both of their last 2 games but won only 1 and are just outside of the drop zone. In fact, their defeat at Chelsea is their only defeat in last 6 games which include victories against Stoke, Liverpool and now Man U.

As I have said in my previous article that it’s not a good idea to face relegation threatened teams in the run up to the season finale, and I have a feeling that this is going to be a tricky tie for us until we get an early goal.

But history favours us in this tie with us winning all 5 league meetings at home conceding only 1 goal. Yet their victory against Man U was also their first ever against Man U.

Confidence will be sky-high in both camps after recent performances. I had really expected a Blackburn like drubbing of Wolves after 11 minutes and thought that RVP will score a hat-trick to confirm the golden boot. However, he should still win it comfortably.

This type of ‘relaxation’ can’t be done against a battling Wigan side although I think our easing up against Wolverhampton was much down to our game against Man C. as anything else.

Wigan have lost 9 games on the road and this season and I will enjoy watching that number go into double figures.

We have won 9 games out of last 10; the only defeat had Dean written all over it. We will have Marriner for this game and despite whatever the referee is up to, we should win it comfortably. Our quota of penalties for the season is definitely over when the 3rd penalty of the season was awarded to us at Wolves. Only QPR, Norwich and Sunderland have a lower number of penalties than us.

If the penalties were to be based on the possession, then we should have had the most  penalties but I would be pretty much interested in the number of penalties that have not been given to us so far. Definitely, the ref reviewers are surely going to point it out at the end of the season.

With none of the chasing pack playing this week, it’s a great chance for us to cement the third place with a win over Wigan. Let’s beat Wigan and then Chelsea next weekend, so that the Totts will find themselves trailing by 11 (though they will have 2 games in hand) the next time they play in the league.  Mind the gap.

 ————————————————————–

New update on Woolwich Arsenal’s definitive history

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We’re on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

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Latest Untold Ref Reviews…

Man City 2 Chelsea 1 – another poor show from Dean

Blackburn 0 Manchester United 2

Manchester City 3 Sunderland 3

———————————

Wolverhampton reflections: Wolves beaten before the game really started

Wolverhampton reflections: The rise and rise of a brilliant goalkeeper

———————————-

On the Arsenal History site: the Bertie Mee decade – latest stories

Peter Storey – the man to whom I would most like to say thank you.

 

39 comments to The weekend preview: Tots, Chelsea, Newcastle, Manchester…

  • novicegooner

    A very enjoyable read, Arun.

    Love the scenarios you’re writing about Man U and Man C. Should it really happen this weekend, PL will be getting near to a total collapse due to its corruption.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks Arun looking forward to the games. As usual in fact 🙂

    I was surprised by the quality of the performance of Wigan at Chelsea so it will not be an easy ride. Does an easy ride exist in the PL?
    I think if we could score an early goal we could be in for a high scoring one if Wigan is forced to open up. Oh well the usual platitudes… LOL (with myself…)

  • craig

    I’d never seen the “Toro” site before, but it is interesting how different their results are from “Debatable Decisions”, especially with regard to ManU and Wolves. Arsenal of course have been screwed no matter which site you look at.

  • Damien Luu

    Well, if those penalties have been awarded to us, Arun, we could be nothing else but the champions. Indeed, if those f*cking dancers with whistles in their hands didn’t cheat THAT much, we definitely should be at the top of the table right now with a few points to spare.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Craig,
    I think the Arsenal is being screwed is the constant in all the sites who are reviewing the refs and their decisions in the EPL.
    Be them Arsenal supporting or not they all see that we are being screwed

  • SouthernGunner

    Thanks for the preview. Love the work you all do here at Untold.

    Hopefully another 3 points for the Arsenal. We’re showing our character right now, but at the same time am not taking Wigan for granted.

    Been interesting to see how the race to steal the league this season has panned out (bit of an insult to say it’s “winning”). City are learning the hard and expensive way that it’s not just down to your players that get you maximum points. More people are finally coming round to the fact that, yes, officials do influence how a game turns out, and no, these things don’t even themselves out.

    But all I’m concerned about is our game on Monday. COYG!

  • iniez

    Nice write up Arun, I thought I’d throw this out there seeing as it could support what we already know. Talksport decided to take up the challenege of finding the “dirtiest” teams in the league, and no surprise, manu sit in 19th place with the second least number of cards conceded (wonder why), and arsenal way up in 5th, and while I’ll concede arsenal have become a little more rowdy lately, thanks to untold and the power of common sense we know half those calls were complete tosh. So with all the work untold is doing, coupled with a few other sources, slowly this “webb” of conspiracy is being unraveled (I hope..)

  • iniez

    Sorry I forgot where the link was for a second, here it is if you want to look for yourself:
    http://www.talksport.co.uk/magazine/features/120413/revealed-premier-leagues-dirtiest-teams-get-stuck-169636

  • bob

    Arun, (All!)
    Many Thanks, Arun, for the needed recap of the past weekend’s extra-ordinary amount of refshite. Based on what has occurred, Arsene has been asked in the pre-match press conference today for his views. They are is featured at the top of the official AFC home page at Arsenal(dot)com. And he gives these on Arsenal Player (in the interval between 7:00 and 9:24). The upshot is his open call for world football: INSTANT ON DEMAND VIDEO TECHNOLOGY.

    Perhaps it’s a good time for us to back Arsene and to echo the call. It’s easy to say it in our nearly 40 languages that we came up with in yesterday’s Joyful celebration of our Great Turnaround. Well, could we stand a bit more joy, ongoing, with fair play and a level pitch. Arsene has taken another bold step; and he takes joy in calling for this for all sides, worldwide.

    So please have a peek and please consider (at any time) writing “Video Replay Now” in the language(s) of your choice! Here’s mine: Video Replay Now!

    Arsene’s words are on the AFC home page and on Arsenal Player (7:00 thru 9:24 or so): http://player.arsenal.com/player/1899-press-conference

    And you can check them out from several (partial) articles on goonernews(dot)com, including a big online article on (gasp) Sky Sports and a nearly-buried link on the Guardian’s online football page. (those links below)

    Enjoy!

  • bob

    Guardian’s link to Arsene’s call: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/apr/13/arsene-wenger-technology-premier-league

    Can we call for “Video Replay Now” in our own languages? (anytime, sometime, just go for it!)

  • Gord

    @bob

    I think I should decline. Anybody can use FreeTranslation, Babelfish or InterTran. Links to those sites are in the other thread. While some of the dialects I looked up (like leet, sometimes spelled 1337) are fun, nobody really speaks them. The only human language I speak is English. I recognize some French and German. I once said the only language I speak that starts with “F”, is FORTRAN. These days, Perl, C and some others as well.

  • bob

    Hey Gord,
    That’s cool. Just click on a link and listen to what Arsene’s saying. Maybe English will work after all!

  • Stevie E

    Bob, All
    It would seem that old red nose himself reads untold these days and has been inspired by yesterday’s amazing 40 language “turnaround”. Have a look at this where he has the audacity to claim it is, in fact Man U who deserve credit for turning around their season –

    http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/2896/premier-league/2012/04/13/3034231/sir-alex-manchester-united-deserve-credit-for-turning-season

    What a twat

  • Gord

    @bob

    I am usually pretty cautious in web surfing. NoScript tight, things to block flash and ads, …. And I use Linux. A couple of times I’ve hit URLs at Arsenal.com which have some kind of video media data type, and what happens is that Arsenal.com informs me they do not support Linux. I presume this is true of auditory links as well.

    Mind you, I’ve never had a virus, trojan or anything else. My habits tend to keep me problem free.

  • akasuna

    Love it when Le Prof said in the interview about video technology, “I don’t think referees are bad. I just think the game is so quick. It is impossible for a human being to see everything no matter how good you are. Out of 100 situations [with instant videos] you would be less wrong than you would be today because you would have help”.

    Really humble and straight to the point. Great man..

  • WalterBroeckx

    Bob,
    I’m angry at Wenger right now. WENGER OUT!!!! For F*cks Sake.. WENGER OUT!!!!

    😉

    okay calm down, don’t worry 😉

    I have been asking for video replays on Untold on numerous occasions. But now I was holding myself back for a few weeks and then I could come out with lots of data, with all kind of numbers that could prove that the refs are not up to it any more and that video replay is ONE of the solutions.

    So I am a bit pissed off that he is ruining my series by coming out now with this idea. 😉

  • bob

    Stevie E,
    Yeah, great catch, Stevie!

    THE STORY of the Rednose XX is now officially laid out in marching orders to those of his stenographers: (trumpets) the incredible, remarkable “turnaround” of the season – its inner meaning – is the 5-point differential that ManUre overcame and now commands over ManShitty! Yep, that’s the real turnaround!, says Don Fungus

    Stevie, Lord Football may well be trying tried to snare and poach Our Title, claim it as his own. He has sent forth a signal. Let’s watch to see if the media pick it up and run with it as his motto. If so, we will have demonstrably struck deep into The Rednose XX and reigned on their intended parade. If our Great Turnaround is folded into the rhetoric that serves Rednose XX, we can expose the slime-bearers’ stealth movement and re-energize our beautiful worldwide Arsenal of Languages and reclaim it – dating from yesterday – as our very own. Kudos, Stevie. Vigilance! 🙂

  • Damien Luu

    @akasuna: He had to say that because he knows that if he say anything else, anything, why did the ref do this, why did the ref not do that, WHY DID HE HAVE BEEN CHOSEN FOR THIS MATCH, he will be banned for criticizing the refs. Oh yeah, the ONLY one who can do that is the one with the RED NOSE, you know, and Arsene’s nose is sadly not red.

  • bob

    Walter!,
    Yes, the sheer nerve of the man. First he Loses the Plot – now he Steals the Plot! Surely we cannot anyone who is ahead of the curve!
    Quelle fromage! What is to be done? Surely the PGMOL will now give us all perfect match-calls in order to show that Le Prof is a Conspiracy Nut (- like UA!) Or, perhaps they will wink-wink Wigan to go ahead and grind our lads to bits for Arsene’s having stepped out like this (using their Weekend from Hell as a foundation to re-new his [recent, and not well-covered] call for video replay. [aside to the readers: What a fucking brilliant move!] (Of course, Walter, nothing is more unforgivable than for Mr. Wenger to have scooped your mother of all series!!!) 🙂

  • bob

    p.s. sorry! Walter, meant to write: “Surely we cannot trust anyone who is ahead of the curve!”

  • bob

    Damien Luu,
    Oh please tell us how to say “The One with the Red Nose” in your home language. That would be sooo great going forward!

  • bob

    akasuna,
    Isn’t humility a beautiful force when it’s so well timed?

  • Sammy The Snake

    Hoping that lightning can’t strike twice, and Wigan will fall at Arsenal. We’ve been pretty great at home for a long time, but let’s not take any thing for granted.

    Speaking of draws; Bolton have the lowest number of draws (only 2) with Arsenal 2nd with just 4 draws! I think that’s one of the reasons for us reaching 3rd in the table.

  • Gord

    Off topic – Hold the Presses!

    Now running at Arsenal.com is “North Bank Terrace stones installed”.
    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/north-bank-terrace

    There is nothing in that article to suggest that Untold Arsenal has a stone.

    ====

    @Sammy the Snake

    Part of Arsenal’s lack of draws has to come from aggressive player selection. I don’t know where I would looking for confirmation, but I suspect Arsenal has been the most aggressive club in terms of number of strikers on the pitch at the end of time. I’m not sure, but I think we have a couple of games where we had 5 or 6 strikers on the pitch at the end of the game. And Wenger was talking (joking?) for that one Milan game, that he might start the game with 6 strikers (too many injuries in other positions).

    Bolton cannot claim to have avoided draws through aggressive player selection.

  • Gord

    With respect to translations.

    Is there a need for Braille or text2speech?

    A few years ago, I went to help someone who was blind, with a Linux problem. I had to remind him to turn the monitor on. 🙂

    But, I have followed some issues in the use of computers for non-sighted people over the years. The LUG I belong to has a couple of people who are blind, or nearly so. And I’ve been passing things on in that direction. I have no idea what a blog might need in that regard.

  • Mandy Dodd

    A good read. Interesting choice of refs for some of these games….as always. Interesting Citeh have Foy, mentioned on some sites as one of the most pro Utd going. Remains to be seen, I think a Balotelliless City will have too much in this game.
    As for us, we are at home, ref or no ref, seems like home advantage has lately been a great thing. Recent ref reviews seem to have indicated refs performing much better in the second half in our games, even the refs that usually do us. Is this down to the reaction of the now unified fans….eg Dean vs the Spuds, is this down to our team playing well enough to overcome the PGMOL and some refs having enough shame to avoid looking completely stupid/ bias/ corrupt…eg Atkinson in the Citeh game (heard it was him who, through the FA let Super Mario off the hook), or is the recent publicity changing the way the refs operate?
    Wish I knew, but hopefully, as long as complacency does not set in against what is now a good team and manager, we will have 3 more points in the bag against Wigan. Lets hope the new found spirit at the Ems points the ref in the right way…should he start getting a bit silly….

  • Mahdain

    sorry to go offtopic but here is something to cheer any of you in a bad mood..found myself chuckling at this
    http://www.ja606.co.uk/articles/viewArticle/106797

  • Stuart

    Off topic but what do people think of the chances that Man City will score less than 5 points from the remainder of their games??

    Norwich (A)
    Wolves (A)
    Man Utd (H)
    Newcastle (A)
    QPR (H)

    Will we be able to nick second place off them with a perfect finish?

  • Stuart

    @ Bob,

    A while back I mentioned about seeing an interview with Sam Allardyce where he discussed the use of video replay during the match. You asked me to dig out a video if I could. Well, I’ve not managed to find a video but getting somewhere now. Check out this report where it mentions about it (paragraph 6)

    http://www.givemefootball.com/premier-league/is-smart-soccer-the-future-of-football-

  • Damien Luu

    @Bob: It’s “Lão Mũi Đỏ”. Normally I would use the word “Gã” instead of “Lão”, but because he is old (will I be banned by FA for saying that?), “Lão” is more suit.

    Cheers 🙂

  • bob

    All,

    With thanks to Damien Luu,

    It is now possible to announce the fake narrative that the big media prefer for this season:

    Lão Mũi Đỏ XX (The Rednose XX – in Vietnamese)

  • bob

    Stuart,
    Cheers for following through! 🙂
    On first inspection, there’s quite a bit to digest (especially) in that second link that you found for us all.

    I wonder what you found there. I’ll come up for air with some tidbits of my own as well.

  • Gord

    We have a couple of mathematical impossibilities now.

    It is (almost) impossible for Arsenal to finish first. We would need to win every game left, and get at least +25 in goal difference doing so. ManU would need to lose every game, and ManC would at most get 1 draw (the rest losses). With the team of ManU and PGMOL now certain to win the game at Villa tomorrow, that will put paid to that impossibility.

    It is impossible for either Everton or Liverpool to finish 3rd.

  • Stuart

    Bob,
    Just a shame I have been unable to locate a video copy of the Sam Allardyce feature. It was about 5 minutes long and I think it was on Sky Sports during the 3pm game which is not shown live.

  • Gord

    Bad news from Italy

    Ex-Italy under-21 footballer Piermario Morosini has died following a suspected heart attack on the pitch, football officials say.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17714715

    Apparently remaining games this weekend in Italy have been postponed.

  • Arun

    @ Iniez, Thanks for the link but making this kind of list is useless because of the horrendous errors that ref makes. It is still a mystery to me that Rooney is yet to be booked this season.

  • Arun

    @ Mahadain, thanks for the laugh.

  • Arun

    @ Stuart, thanks for the links. It is good to know more about prozone and what they ‘actually’ do.