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Perfectly perfect: Bolton, Arsenal, the crowd, Billy the Dog

To begin a few days ago.  Billy the Dog predicted on this very site that Bolton would score first and the goal would be scored with the left foot.   I haven’t seen the TV of the game, but from where I sat, it looked pretty much like that.

Now I admit that this was a prediction for the first game against Bolton played in the far north, and not last night’s game, but still, not a bad shout.  Better to predict three days ahead rather than three days late I always say.

It was one of those games where everyone did their bit, except for Theo who went beyond his remit.  (More on him in a mo).

Bolton played rotational fouling to perfection, and the ref did his bit by making it quite clear from the off that the push from behind is not now considered to be foul play.   Personally I would sooner go back to allowing a tackle from behind than allow a push from behind, but that’s how the rules have gone.

We don’t get replays of controversial events in the stadium, so I have no idea if the penalty was a penalty – but no one seemed to protest too much, so I imagine it was although personally I don’t believe Denilson ever committed a foul in his life.   (That is an example of self-deprecating irony).

I took John (a young doctor) with me to this game (Jane not being able to make it and what with me being the age I am one can’t be too careful in potentially exciting situations).  We were two nil down and I turned to him and gave him the benefit of my sagacity.

I spoke of being 2-0 down after three seconds against Liege.

I then turned to Arsenal 5 Middlesboro 3.  We were on the edge of equalling the long standing Nottingham F record of 42 games without defeat, and this looked like a stroll, when Henry put us one up.   But then boro scored three, and it looked like we would fall at the last hurdle – until we got it together and strolled through 5-3.

As the young lad cringed in his seat at this onslaught of historic insight, I spoke of the last game of the unbeaten season, when we were all there to celebrate the event, having already won the league, and were playing Leicester who were already relegated.   Half time: Arsenal 0 Leicester 1.

“We’ll do it,” I said, with more positiveness in my voice than I really felt.

And everyone played their part.

From the moment Rosicky scored by putting the ball through 1 cubic cm of space (a physical impossibility) the crowd rose and made the noise normally associated with games against the Tiny Totts.  And when the second went in you might have thought we had won the league, instead of just drawing level.

But there was a feeling in the air – a real feeling that yes of course we can do comebacks.   We score goals from here, there and everywhere no matter how many players are injured.

Of course we are helped if you have someone as painfully silly as Jussi Jaaskelainen in goal for the opposition.  If you are going to start time wasting as a goal keeper from the tenth minute onwards then you are going to annoy the fans of the other team.  That’s how it goes.

But then to react to the opposition fans by doing things like putting your fingers in your ears and making derogatory jestures, as he did in the second half, you are just asking for trouble.

I suspect it was his silly display that led to Arsenal playing on during the injury rather than kicking the ball out.  The ref did not blow for a foul but there was a real moment’s pause before Arsenal decided to keep going.  I believe that had Jaaskelainen not been winding up the players and the fans so much, Arsenal would indeed have stopped the game, and thus not got the goal.

First rule of playing: don’t react to the crowd.

Second rule of playing: if you do react to the crowd don’t taunt them – especially when playing the top scoring team in the league.

However perhaps a final word is due to Theo who came on for about 14 seconds at the end.    Arshavin was through, and Theo was on his right, unmarked and facing an open goal.  And Arshavin doddled around a bit and screwed it up.

Theo went bananas.  He screamed.  He shouted.  He even ran towards Arshavin waving his hands around a lot.

What has happened to our baby-faced boy?  Where is the kiddiewink we used to know and love?  Has he turned into….

(dare I say it?)

A Man?

Finally, you may have read in the comments yesterday a complaint that I lacked dignity in the shameless way that I repeatedly promoted my book.  So, just to show that I am as sane and sensible as the next Arsenal supporter, I won’t be mentioning Making the Arsenal today at all.

Oh bugger.

(c) Tony Attwood 2019 (sent backwards through time via my Greenberry)

22 comments to Perfectly perfect: Bolton, Arsenal, the crowd, Billy the Dog

  • walter

    The goal was with the left foot and it was a clear penalty as you might have seen by now.
    But it was also a clear penalty on Cesc, no 3 clear penalty’s on Cesc in 2 games and not given. And I don’t mean Shay. Oh what a surprise. NOT.

    As I had to see on a slow and not always clear internet link, that stopped at the moment the penalty was to be taken…. I didn’t get the best view of it all at times but must say that it was not Bolton that played that good as the commentators were trying to make us believe, it was our own foult of gifting them 2 goals.
    Clichy’s clearence was not the best and I think he still needs a few games to be on his best again. How many times we use this phrase as Arsenal fan ? Every week ?

    Denilsons’ tackle wasn’t the best but in between we had some chances and we could and should have been ahead before they scored their second.

    I also felt it was the same as in Liège. The moment of our first goal was almost the same and from that moment on I really was convinced, altough I looked for help from abouve and it worked, that we would turn this game around.

    Now please let us all give our support to Tunisia today so that Song can come back ASAP.

    Oh and if a players makes gestures to the crowd he should get a yellow card and even a red one is possible if the gestures are obscene or starting to cause trouble.

  • Goonerman

    I don’t know who Billy the Dog is but can he tell us who will win the league?

  • Goonergerry

    Enjoyed this one– as my dad-an Arsenal fanatic all his life once said ” cut his hands off and he couldn’t play- also true of MAN U. We were fired up for this one- perhaps a perplexing emotion for a Russian.

  • Denilsons’ tackle wasn’t the best but in between we had some chances and we could and should have been ahead before they scored their second.

    I also felt it was the same as in Liège.http://profifaworldcup2010.blogspot.com/ The moment of our first goal was almost the same and from that moment on I really was convinced, altough I looked for help from abouve and it worked, that we would turn this game around.

    Now please let us all give our support to Tunisia today so that Song can come back ASAP.

    Oh and if a players makes gestures to the crowd he should get a yellow card and even a red one is possible if the gestures are obscene or starting to cause trouble.

  • IndianGooner

    Tony, the entire team wants to win the league and prove Arsene right. As Cesc said few days back “We want to win it more than anyone else”. They are no longer boys but MEN who knows what it takes to win matches. They know how to dig deep even when things don’t go their day. They know they cant be complacent and take any match lightly. They have become Champions-material and they want to prove it.

    Walter, we aren’t entitled for penalties after the Eduardo-gate. I stopped the count couple of months back and back then it was around 6 or 7. I’m sure it would have crossed double figures by now.. Even then we’ve scored 59 goals in 22 league games..

  • Abhishek

    Did anyone read the article in telegraph. Gallas gets more coverage than our 4 goals.

    great game and a cherry on cake. Man IOU has 700 million in debt and the owners have distributed 1.67 million each to their 6 sons in loan. what is that????

  • SharkeySure

    Yeah Abhi …I just read it…disgraceful ‘journalism’ !!

    Wot a game last night !!!

  • Completely agree about Bolton’s “rotational fouling” – it’s so frustrating. It was the most enjoyable game since spurs!

  • AGS

    Great win last night. I couldn’t believe it when we went 2-0 down, but I was always confident that we would at least get 2 goals back anyway. We have averaged 3 goals per game at the Emirates so it was always likely. Its a testament to the undoubted ability of this team that they have pushed on so well after that 3-0 defeat to the KGB at Fulham, despite a crippling injury list as well (take note Rafa, with your 5 poxy players missing. To have only 5 players missing for Arsenal would be a dream come true and just shows how much better our depth of squad is than the likes of Liverpool etc). Its funny how 3-0 defeats seem to spur us on. Last seasons 21 game unbeaten run came directly after a 3-0 loss (to Sheikh Citteh) so lets hope for more of the same again.
    Its a shame that William Gallas will get the flak flying his way from the press, after last nights tackle, but its what we should expect. I can’t remember any other bad tackle that Gallas has made in all the years I have watched him play, I can’t even remember him fouling another player if I’m honest. If anyone can help with this I’d be grateful but I seriously think we will all struggle. He’s a top defender.
    Nice to see again this morning how much debt the ManUSA are really in. £716m with interest payments of £68m. Thats just staggering. They are so in the s**t its laughable. Go on Arsene, offer them 50 quid for Rooney, they need all the help they can get.

  • Abhishek

    And just what I feared… the main news in BBC premier league section is not about Arsenal fightback but Gallas angers Owen coyle…

    Well on the other side Rafa hails liverpool character.. YA COZ THEY WON A MATCH…

    STUPID JOURNALISTS

  • Pat

    Wohoo baby TOP OF THE LEAGUE!

    The commentating is just getting more and more sickening, throw-up kind of stuff now! I wonder how far off the tipping point is…

  • Brett

    I was glad to see Theo be vocal (although I can’t help but think Theo would have messed it up). He knows he has it all to prove in this final stretch of the season after missing so much and a goal there (and I must say, it was quite terrifying how quickly he caught up with play, such a speedster) would have made Fabio pay attention. Especially with it being such a tiny cameo.

    As for Gallas, it was a dodgy tackle but I’ve seen worse… especially from Bolton. I love how a big deal is being made of this but they swept of Fabregas being knee dropped and hair pulled on Sunday.

    *sigh*.

  • Wilsheres dad

    A fantastic comeback & for once the crowd at the Emirates played their part as our “12th” man..lets have more of that please!!!

    Davies “comming together” (the refs words) with Gallas was certainly unfortunate (for Davies & Bolton) but not the match changing event that Coyle claims. But then…you can hardly blame him for being delusional, having just taken on a team that not only can’t hold on to a 2 goal advantage but also falls to pieces when the game gets a bit physical.

  • Jonny

    Tony given the hours and hours and hours and hours of time spent bringing that book into the world, coupled with what I am sure would have been a soul-breaking editing process.

    Given the stresses and strains that you must have had to incur throughout all of that.

    Given the fact that this is at the end of the day your chuffing website (though we do feel very much a community now, thanks very much) and that many here are just grateful for the existence of the book and both websites…

    Any twat who dares to suggest you that you lack dignity for daring to promote it on your own website can fuck off. Sorry for not being more creative in my put down, but really:

    Just.

    Fuck.

    Off.

  • The Law

    Boy, was that fun or what?! I went bonkers when Arsh hammered in the 4th, and tormented my Chelski supporting flatmate by going “TOP OF THE LEAGUE!” for about 15 minutes after the end.

    A brilliant fightback from the boys, and I’m really proud of them.

    Now, onto the “assault” on Davies. First of all, it was a 50/50 challenge, and he got the ball a split second before Willy. Was it a foul? Yes it was. Could it have been a booking? Sure. Did the referee blow the whistle? No. Isn’t playing to the whistle one of the first things professional footballers learn? After the incident, Notlob had several chances to clear the ball, and they blew each one, so they shouldn’t blame us for being more professional than they are. As for Coyle’s claim that Willy “assaulted” his player, where was his outrage when Cesc’s neck was being knelt on and his hair pulled by Matt Taylor? Where was the press coverage of that incident? Yes, there was none.

    Notlob are the club who gave us the reputation for not liking it oop norf, and now that we have adapted (like the Borg) they’re whining about it? That is priceless!

  • Jonny

    hahahhahah ahhhha hhhahahahahahah a ah a ha ah hahahhah hheeeee hhheee.

    ooo it’s sooo funny it hurts.

    its’ just that

    he hehhhe .

    ehhhe hhehh – haaaa hoooo – hoooo

    over on ‘Le Moan’ they have started to ah hahhha hha hahahhahha

    lament the fact that

    he hheheehehe hoooooo – hooooo – hoooo

    Diaby is out injured!

    Just how wil they cope without their favourite warhorse? Especially with the other player they love away in Africa. Gosh it must be worrying for them.

    Honestly those boys should have their own comedy show.

    Next thing you know they’ll decide Denilson is a good player too and Wenger ISN’T ruining their club and I’ll bally well have to just die of laughter.

    *wipes tears from eyes and marvels at the wonder of the world*

  • Tee Song

    Gallas’ tackle was a foul and borderline dangerous. He goes in studs first, coming down over the top of the ball. As the aftermath of the play displayed, it is the type of tackle which can injure an opposing player on the followthrough. On the other hand, it seems to be an accepted part of the game, despite it’s injury causing potential. It’s not the same as diving in with both feet, studs up. The thing is, Davies was going in EXACTLY the same way. If Gallas had actually gotten there first, he would have been the injured player. If that had happened, would Coyle have apologised as Wenger has? Would he admit that Gallas’ injury, like Merida’s and Diaby’s, were a direct result of a deliberate plan on Bolton’s part to “get in their (Arsenal’s) faces?” I doubt it. The injury count over the two games is Arsenal 2, Bolton 1. And yet the press can only write about Gallas and Arsenal? While I sympathise with any injured player, it seems a bit rich for Bolton to be complaining about Arsenal fouls against them.

  • Wonderman

    Great performance last night. Both of their goals were self inflicted as they both happened right infront of me. Clichy should have put the ball into touch for a throw, but inexplicably hooked high over his shoulder back into the danger zone. He then switched off to allow Cahill to still be onside and have enough time to finish bottom corner. For their second goal it was a penalty all day long and completely needless. BUT….we have a team of fighters my friends. The Rosicky goal was at the other end to where I sit, and it was only when I saw the replay on the screen that I realised how little space he had to play with. I am so glad that we are finally shooting from distance more regularly.I am personally repulsed by the attitude of the British media to our team. When we go to these clubs with banal players who take turns in kicking our players we are told that we lack grit and are softies. One mistimed tackle and all of a sudden we have committed assault !!! To make it worse we have ‘supporters’ who, despite being top scorers, top of the league scored more goals than at the same time last year, conceded less than at the same time ARE STILL NOT HAPPY.I heard someone say last night on the way home “we need to spend £30m on David Villa” incredible!!. Rosicky is coming to the boil, Eduardo is bubbling nicely ….lets see how we get on against Stoke

  • LRV

    Yes, 50/50 chances are always not easy to comment on. One either goes for it, may be gets it and gets an injury nick; or one bottles it, pulls out of the tackle and concede advantage to the opponent, which will anger your teammates, the fans and your manager; or you go for it, gets there fractionally late, nicking, albeit unintentionally, the ankle of the other player. In any scenario, bottling it is not an option, especially if you want to win.

    Whatever song and dance Sky cooks up about the Gallas/Davies incident, Arsene Wenger has quite aptly opened the line of defence already: “Let’s compile a video review of the two games and see which tackles are worse.” I think that is enough as official line of defence. I once said that there is such a thing as comeuppance. “What goes around comes around.” Yes, what happened to that young man Davies is sad; but it is a sort of comeuppance for playing for Notlob who adopt ‘Slugery’ as a footballing philosophy.

    I also once said that Arsenal fans are witnessing the maturity of our boys unfold right in front of us. Yet again yesterday, they demonstrated to us the extent of their maturity. They amply showed us that they can hold their own against any hard opponent, no matter the level of thuggery employed by such opponent. Congrats to our boys; they have now become MEN. Let them be respected as such.

    Oh come on Jonny, don’t tell me ‘le oop goov’ is actually bemoaning the loss of Diaby? Quick! Someone tell me; Is the world collapsing? Is there a world changing eclipse anywhere? Wonders shall never end.

  • zebidiah

    Tony! What a result! I saw the ghost of the invincibles!Finally a zeitgeist of victory through unity is evident at the Emirates!!

    Secondly, in response to your response:
    Because i read your (on the whole) excellent blog,that you provide to me free of charge… I somehow assumed I had the right to comment on how you attempt make your money.
    This is wrong.
    However I do feel that the constant flogging does cheapen the experience especially when your finest work is in exposing the financial meanderings of other clubs.Utd and Liverpool once fine institutions, stopped being about football and began being profit dedicated. I don’t want Untold Arsenal to become less about Arsenal and more about profit. I just hate advertising.It corrupts. I’m sure the negative press we constantly recieve from the Murdoch group (Times,Sun,Sky) is a direct result of vested interests in merchandising markets overseas that are dominated by Utd.
    In my annoyance I thought of you as a conglomerate who could be corrupted by the pursuit of money and I apologise.
    Buy Tony’s book.

  • Fem Dee

    Our boys stood up to every rough tactics from Bolton. They fought back with grit and gave as much as they got. Overall, they did best Bolton in that aspect of the game but they made sure Bolton left the field with the knowledge that they are no longer anybodoy’s wimps.

    The Arsenal response had always been the time-honored antidote to bullys: stand up to them and you’ll soon see that they are not as hard as they would have you believe and fear. It is interesting to note that when they become victims of the very tactic they initiate and champion, they are not averse to whinning!!

    Thumbs up to the boys now, the purveyors of kick em tactics will have to think twice before expecting that that it is all it takes to take points off Arsenal.

    Double thumbs up to Wenger. I have never read of ANY manager in EPL respond with the same compassion and eveness to the mishap of an opposing player as he did in the case of Davies.

  • Jim

    Guys,

    Why should you feel guilty about Gallas’ tackle. Knowing that Davies’ injury is not serious, I’d say “Good on ya, Willie”. We need more of this. Screw the media. In fact, we need more of the “Arsenal the bad guys” stuff from the press. The more, the better. I enjoy every word that I’ve read and heard. No complaint. Believe me, that’ll toughen the boys up.

    Our boys have to shake off the clean-boy image and grow up into the Vieras, the Roy Keans of Arsenal. I want our boys to kick the sh.. out off the Bolton cheats and the Blackburn thugs. It’s time pay back and kick them real real hard please. It’s time to stand up for the Arsenal FC.