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We’re bottom of the league (if you hold the league table upside down)

By Walter Broeckx

So here we are where the doom and gloomers never expected us to be: top of the league in January. They will point at the fact we played one game more now and (having done my sums) I wouldn’t disagree on this. But we are in it and by the look of it we will fight like mad to stay there.

We scored 59 goals in 22 games so far. In yesterdays game once again four different goal scorers. All our players apart from Almunia, Sagna and Clichy look capable of scoring goals at any time. The 100 goals mark is still realistic if we keep this tempo up like we have been doing for 22 games now.

59 goals scored and our main striker Robin Van Persie, is out since the beginning of November and our second main striker Bendtner from the end of October – although he should be back soon now.

For the rest we have almost every week a total team out with injuries or players unavailable for all kinds of reasons. And despite all this we keep on scoring as if it is nothing.

Another strange thing is that from those 59 goals not a single one came from a penalty. We all know by now that we don’t get any penalty decisions our way from any ref in the EPL since the Eduardo incident in the CL.

The silent ruling is there to see for everyone who wants to see it. 3 clear penalty’s in our last two games against Bolton and we don’t get the decisions. One clear penalty when we make a foul and the ref puts the ball on the spot.

I’m not complaining on the Denilson penalty as it was a clear penalty but please also give us penalty’s when we are entitled to have one.  I’m not asking to give us soft penalties but the ones that are clear, the least we could ask is to get those decisions.

Another thing I would like to ask the refs is if they please could do what FIFA has asked refs to do: “protect the technical players”.

The last two games I have been pulling out my already thin hair on my head and getting very frustrated with the amount of violence that some players can do without the ref doing anything about it. The fact that Knight in the first game could grab Vela’s shirt in an aggressive way without getting a yellow card is something I can not understand.

The way Cesc was pushed in to the ground with a knee on the back of his neck and the hair pulling without a red card is unbelievable. Wake up you refs, these are the things that we are suppose to ban from football. Now all the ref did was lecture the one that was treated in a violent way and the offender got a smile, a laugh and shared a joke with his team mates.

The last season when a team came out to kick us, we almost certainly lost points. But those days seem to be gone. Yes we still suffer the injuries that come with the kicking we get, but during the game we can respond to it. We never start a game with the intention to kick the others.

No, we always start the game with the intention to play football in the proper way that is by kicking the ball and not the ankles or the legs of the opponents.

But if the other team comes out to kick us we now have some players who respond to it. Players like Rosicky and Nasri have let opponents know in recent games that they will hit back if needed. Gallas has done it before in his career and with Vermaelen next to him we have got another player who is not afraid to put in his foot.

The way we scored our equaliser is symptomatic of that. After over two hours of kicking our legs Gallas stepped in and committed a foul and I think the ref was still a bit confused after half time and didn’t realised that it was in fact Arsenal that made the strong challenge this time!

But if you let players from one team commit foul after foul without punishment you get the tendency of letting more pass. So Bolton only got what they were trying to do to us.  If you want to play “kick-im” don’t complain when it goes against you. Maybe next time learn from it and start playing football like it is mend to be by playing “kick-it”.

So here we are top of the league in the middle of January.  Like Wenger said this week: could you imagine where we would have been without all these injuries ?

The one thing we now must hope for is that we can keep fit the players that we have left standing. We must hope that the injured players come back as quick as possible.

And if there is one thing that I also hope for and I am really sorry for you personally Alex, is that Cameroon lose today against Tunisia and are out of the ANC. This would make his day miserable maybe, but it would make my day complete.

Once again sorry Alex but I think you can understand that I am first off all an Arsenal fan and I really don’t care about other teams.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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23 comments to We’re bottom of the league (if you hold the league table upside down)

  • Nick of kenya

    Tunisia are leading by a goal and i hope the hold on or score another..sory to song,but this is the most important time 4arsenal and 4him as wel..i would rather he had a good world cup than acn..

  • IndianGooner

    Walter, The best thing I like about this team is the understanding between each other and the adjustability of the players.. If I’m not wrong, we wouldnt have put the same starting 11 for 3 consecutive games. Every player has slotted in well. Some instantly, while others took a bit of time to reach the potential. Just take the latest example of Eastmond. He has slotted into the first team exceptionally well. This is the culture that runs through the club from the youngest of the young guns to the first team. Also, the way we celebrate the goals this season has taken a new step forward… Coq and Vela coming to celebrate Merida’s goal the latest example..

    Also, players like Rosicky and Nasri taking responibility in letting the opposition know that we are not going to let you bully us bring the musketeer’s motto in my mind: “All for One and One for All!”.

  • Paul C.

    Interesting to see the reports this morning confirming Davies is not injured. Watching last night I could not see how such an innocuous tackle could have caused the damage that the TV folks were trying to claim it did. And all this talk about “what will Wenger make of that?” is hilarious. As if Wenger has ever criticized hard challenges. He criticizes constant fouling and in that respect Bolton were guilty as charged last night. Yes it was a foul, probably a yellow card. But after that, well this hysteria is almost as bad as for the Eduardo incident.

  • LRV

    The way Sky, who edited out the Taylor assault on Fabregas and many others from the first match, now go on about the Gallas tackle makes me very defiant. I don’t care what two faced Coyle says or whatever any other ‘iZombie’ (i.e p(l)undits & media hacks) thinks either. To hell with the lot of them.

    We have witnessed our boys become MEN. They deserve their respect. Our experienced guys are showing the way to stand up to the bullies. If the sluggers cannot hack it, now is the time for them to start learning to play football and abandon their sluggery.

    I concur with and echo your desire to see Song back.

  • Kevin

    I had a reasonable amount of respect for Owen Coyle from his days at Burnley but that dropped after Sunday’s game when he came out with a classic Spam Allardyce comment on the possibility of Eduardo being offside – “you don’t get these decisions when you’re playing against the big clubs”. The Bolton way of thinking has obviously come back to him very quickly. Coyle spent the days between the two games telling the world that his gameplan would be to “put the foot in”. Substitute boot for foot and you have the truth. The funny thing is that none of these teams like it when the proverbial boot is on the other foot!

  • walter

    I’m sorry to let you know that Cameroon has managed to go to the next round of the ANC.

  • I really prayed that Cameroun will be ousted from the Nations cup so that he will be back to help our cause.But well it didnt happen. we wish him the best.We will manage as much as we can.Up Gunners

  • jbh

    Walter, well written as usual. Why don’t you write to some of these ref’s as a ref. At least some of them (Webb, Clattenburg, others?) will have ambitions to make the World cup this year and will not like to be seen as biased or not meeting the proper standards.
    Several of them have been showing blatant bias, and as you say fail to protect the technical players.

  • Wonderinggoon

    Sorry, off topic but the guardian’s poll needs a mention: “Is Gary Neville a ‘boot-licking moron’?” Lmao, I don’t need to actually see the result to know how the votes would turn out for that one.

    Tough, tough weeks ahead. Dropping some points should be expected. I just hope overall we’ll do better and can collect at least 4 more points than the other teams after this, that’s all I’m wishing for 🙂

  • Getty

    Great insight Walter. It feels really good to score more goals and sit at the top of the summit in January. I like the fact that now we can actually come back and win it when it counts. I don’t know if there is any other team that loses an important player every other game and still manages to top the league. Oh, that tiny kid Eastmond looks the real deal. Tomas seems to be happy to play a few games in the row for a change. Fab & Verm looked really determined. Edwardo, Denilson, Diaby are doing really well, even Gallas spent most of the time attacking. I like it when Arshavin and Tomas were smiling, I’m sure somebody was cracking a joke about Zat Knight’s height.

    But, there is something infuriating about the Arsenal that really tick people off. I couldn’t put my finger on it. Otherwise how can you explain people from all walks of life and too many to count have such a negative opinion. Is it may be they were damaged by their own negativity and sound like a broken record? As to the refs, are they really that incompetent, or slowmo is highlighting human limitations, or just outright bias? It seems like every weekend it has become inevitable that a major call(s) is/are missed.

  • walter

    Well Getty I really cant understand what is wrong with some refs.
    I tell you what happened during the first game. I have 2 sons who are also refs. The one comes with me to the Arsenal so I could say he is a bit biased but my other son all he cares about for the moment are his studys. As he has exams at University he is studying at home and so he came down when we were watching the first game.
    He took a look at the TV and at that moment Steinson lounched himself with two foots towards Traore who, luckily, jumped up to avoid Steinson breaking his legs in two. Because of that jump Steinson could play the ball out for a throw.
    My son was disgusted by the tackle and even more by the fact that the ref didn’t gave a foul or a card to Steinson.
    It was a two footed frontal tackle towards another player and this is always dangerous and always should be penalised with foul and a card (minimum yellow card) and the ref did nothing.

    No pundit has noticed it. I can hear them thinking : he got the ball, it was a fair tackle and other rubbish excuses. No it was a vilain and dangerous tackle and because Traore jumped nothing serious happened but the ref doesn’t have to see how smart Traore was at that moment to do nothing about it. He has to make clear those dangerous two footed tackles are banned from the football fields.

    And this really is a basic thing for a ref and a point that I always try to focus on and that every season is talked about in preseason in my country to ban those tackles.

    No, say the pundits, lets focus on Gallas and his mistimed challenge, which was a foul but not the manslaughter the pundits are trying to make of it.

  • Ian Trevett

    Imagine if Fabregas had deliberately knelt on an opponent’s neck. It would be on SKY Sports news every day for the rest of the year and every Arsenal-hating pundit would have had a field day. Can’t believe they haven’t even shown it once.

    On to Sunday. Who do we pay in midfield? With four HUGE Premiership games on the way, I’d rather leave Fabregas at home. But we are missing Song, Diaby, Nasri, Ramsey, Merida and possibly Wilshere.

    The only midfielders players left who have played in the Premiership are Eastmond, Denilson and Rosicky, with possible call-ups for Emmanuel Thomas, Coquelin or maybe Frimpong.

    As much as I have faith in the boys, I’m not looking forward to Stoke at all. If we get a result up there it will be an amazing feat.

  • AGS

    Sky Sports news this morning 7:30. – for the benefit of overseas readers here who may not know – they have a newspaper journalist (say that in the loosest sense!!) in every morning to give a round up of the mornings sports pages in national newspapers. This morning was Darren somebody, a poxy reporter with the rubbish daily mirror. The way he was talking about Gallas’ tackle was an absolute joke. It really is as if William has murdered someone. He was basically demanding that the FA look at this again and take action and he cited a tackle by Steven Gerrard in the last Merseyside Derby to prove his case as the FA looked at this after the match and gave him a retrospective 3 game ban. The only problem is that 1. Steven Gerrard deliberately tried to harm an opponent and 2. Steven Gerrard is a very cynical and sly player who tries to dive and cheat at every opportunity and 3. Gallas was definitely playing the ball as after the tackle he immediately turned (like a dog chasing a ball) and ran to recover the loose ball and played on. This is not the action of someone who deliberately left his foot in to hurt an opponent. Arsene needs to bring up Sailor boys assault on Cesc today and demand an apology for that as well.

  • SharkeySure

    Well said AGS….

    Great article Walter

  • Armin

    Thanks Walter for another great article..

    There is one thing in this game which is bigger boost for me than first place (on which we will only be till Saturday Manure game anyway) and that is ability to hit back. We were to silky last year or two, and finally as you mentioned we became “big guys” who know to defend our selves what makes us less exposed to good will of reff. And to win league that is something we have to achieve.

  • Walter.

    The best part of your article is when you mention that maybe the referee didn’t give a foul because he was confused and thought that a Bolton player was the one who committed the foul…LMAO.

    Technically speaking, I don’t even think it was a tackle or foul because it was a 50-50 challenge that both had a right to go for. Unfortunately, Davies got crocked.

  • Wonderman

    Great positive post Walter
    @ Getty in my opinion there is an inherent dislike for Arsenal for several reasons

    1. It has never been a club that follows the herd, by definition anyone who has the balls to tread a different path to those in ‘the know’ are always initially ridiculed and outcast

    2.Xenophobia. The media are always quick to point out the number of foreigners in our team etc they are obsessed by it .However in Wilshere, Eastmond, Gibbs, JET,Lansbury, Watt,Bartley,Cruise, Simpson, and Randall we have potential future internationals all with first team experience . Which other team in the prem can boast that number of quality youth players who have actually been developed in house. It never gets a mention

    3. Pundits in particular are paid individuals who are ‘guided’ by the producers of whatever programme you may be watching therefore they tend to tow the line and repeat whatever the current paradigm is no matter how ludicrous…remember Rupert Murdoch initially tried to buy Manchester United but failed

    I for one have stopped paying attention to them as the facts speak for themself

  • The Law

    Darius, Davies isn’t “crocked”. He doesn’t have ankle ligament, or a fractured ankle as they were claiming. In fact, given who Notlob are and what they represent, I was reasonably sure at the time that Davies was faking it just to halt play.

    To hear Bolton players squealing in righteous indignation over a tackle is unbelievable. The pundits will no doubt continue to claim that Arsenal “don’t like it up ’em” even though it clearly no longer works, because they have nothing else to advice opponents to do.

  • Abhishek

    Unfortunately they have become successful in something in what they should not have been. They have forced us and all the others to talk of the Gallas’ tackle which I dont think is nice.

    Remember the last time they created fuss of Eduardo dive and we dont get penalties anymore. Now we might not get the fouls or we may start getting cards. Targeting Gallas can seriously affect his psyche and game like Eduardo.

    I just hope that it makes our team’s bonding even better.

  • walter

    Darius, it is a fact that for a ref the most difficult moments in a game are just after the interval. It has happened to any ref, I confess, that you screw up the first decisions because you forgot for a moment that the teams are playing the other way.
    You point the wrong way with a throw, you take the attacker for a defender with an offside decision… it all happens and the one that say: “never to me”, just lie.
    I’m not saying every game but when you lose concentration during the interval for some reason it can happen.
    Mostly you realise it in the same moment and you can adjust it by a throw in or so an nobody notices it but it can happen to any ref.
    I always try to focus just before starting each half on that for a few seconds to make sure I don’t make a fool of myself (and even then…. 😉

  • The Law

    Exactly Abhishek! Or can I call you Abhi? Since the Eduardo incident, Arsenal have been given exactly 1 penalty in the EPL. 1 penalty all season! Chelsea have been given 6, Man U 5. Notlob have gotten more penalties than we have!

    Doesn’t that just blow your mind? We already don’t get the calls the other teams do in terms of fouls, and it’s also clear that opponents are generally allowed 5-7 more fouls before a booking, while Arsenal players get booked on their first or even second offence. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if in our next game Stoke are given tacit license by the ref to foul at will.

  • Arsesession

    when teams play poorly, they grasp for any excuse to divert attention from players and coach
    performance.

  • From where I see things, we were top of the league back in the ’07 season around the same time as now, & one moment of madness changed everything. Just hope this time around, it is not the same. I believe the Gunners will stand up to the challenge and make it count this year. Next 4 games are the ones which decide our season. 9 out of the possible 12 points, should see us through. For the time being, lets enjoy our stay at the summit. Up the Arsenal..

    http://11gunners.com/opinion/boys-you-completely-deserve-the-top-spot/2973/