Arsenal always know how to disappoint, and Sky how to say something odd

By Tony Attwood

I was just contemplating if to write a piece this evening, and if so, how to encapsulate my feelings, when I saw a message come in, in response to the morning’s post previewing the game.   In essence the writer said something along the lines of “Arsenal, what a team, always know how to disappoint”.

And it reminded me of something I have been meaning to write about for some time – that for many supporters of a negative frame of mind, there is a sort of inbuilt assumption that Arsenal are the only team that get things wrong, and that everyone else gets things right.

Because most Arsenal fans don’t read Man U blogs (and why should they?) they tend to ignore the fact that last season quite a few Man U fans were highly critical of some of their team’s performances.  So were the Chelsea blogs – and although they managed to do something we haven’t done – as in winning the Champions League – their league performance was often poor compared to the standard of the recent past.

The fact is that not every team near the top always beats teams near the bottom.  In fact I can remember early on in the Unbeaten Season a 2-2 draw with Bolton under the Allerdyce Manifestation in which the visitors used every technique legal and illegal to frustrate Arsenal.  We got a point from a match at home against a very low grade team.  It didn’t actually mean anything, but at the time, it caused a lot of teeth gnashing and worry about the rest of the season.

I wrote earlier about the fact that on the History Site there is a commemoration of the 5-0 thrashing of Tottenham at WHL in 1978, and how after that magnificent performance we went on to lose at home to WBA in the next game.   Such things happen.  Especially at this time of year.

It is doubly frustrating that a good run has come to an end, while our rivals crept further away from us, but matters will change again, and we’re a long way from deciding anything except the fact that we are not going to win the League Cup.

Indeed matters change in the short and the long term.  Remember that season when Villa were heading for fourth and we were miles behind them.   They went off to Russia in a Europa League match with a reserve side, and duly got knocked out.  Clearly they were saving themselves for the push for a Champions League place.

O’Neils ploy failed, Arsenal surged, Villa dropped back.  And today Villa are…

But there is one other point that struck me from the match, which I watched on Sky.  I had the volume turned down low, but a couple of times I am sure I heard the commentator talk about the postponed WHU game and question why it was called off.   There was a moment in the second half when there was talk of it being all right to call off games for acts of God* (such as rain) but not acts of striking underground workers.

If you heard this, and can recall exactly what was said, it would be interesting to know.   The WHU match was called off because of the impossibility of getting officials, staff and supporters to the ground on a day when the overground was shut and the underground on strike.  If you have ever been to the Ems you will know there are parking restrictions for miles around, and quite simply most of us would never have been able to get to the ground.

Now that is a concern, not just because I would have gone – but because I, like everyone else, had already paid for my ticket.  My payment was through my season ticket purchase. Others will have done so through Silver and Red memberships.

So had the game been played, but most people not been able to attend, that would have been extremely annoying and could have resulted in many claims for a return of money given that Arsenal were playing on a day when most of us could not have got to the game for which we had already paid up.

I really can’t see what Sky were trying to argue, and it seems like another Sky attempt to suggest that all is not right within Arsenal’s administration.  Let me know if you heard it

* Since most of our climate is now a result of climate change as a result of human activities on the planet, calling rain or snow an Act of God seems inaccurate in itself.


The books…

The sites…

48 Replies to “Arsenal always know how to disappoint, and Sky how to say something odd”

  1. Arsenal really can disappoint.
    Sagna’s form ( of Mr Realiable@Consisted) has flushed down the toilet a couple games ago.
    So many displaced passes… Have many of players drunk heavily or what?

  2. Such is live I guess.
    For those who have been asking for it: I think we got our Arsenal back. A brilliant performance and then a flat one.
    This sounds familiar for Arsenal as long as I have followed them and just when you think maybe now they will not do it…they just do it.

  3. Lack lustre and uninterested , and Sagna was way off the pace is his mind on something else? Won’t be surprised if he leaves

  4. @strus i reckon Sagna is on his way he has this sorta ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude recently and Sagna has always been a professional type of player but recentl he has not been putting in the performances we know he can do, and it is not that he is tired he just has a bad attitude now and it is costing us…….Wenger is playing him because he wants to keep him but he has already made his mind up i think. We should have kept on using Jenkinson because he was looking pretty good and was giving everything on the pitch!

  5. very disapointed. players didnt look like they knew what was is never easy in pl. sagna is past it and should leave.
    i also think that mikel arteta is more a liability these days as he just cant much as i like him but he is not getting faster past 30. would like to share views on that.

    btw, for me untold is one of the few blogs worth reading and put in a post.

  6. A disappointing result for sure but put into total persepctive Tony. The moaners are out on other blogs already and we’ve jsu dropped points for the first time in five league games. Amazing.

    keep up the fantastic work ‘Untold’,

  7. I agree with you Tony re Sky’s comments on the postponed W Ham game. Like you I cannot remember the exact words but there was a sort of insinuation that Arsenal manipulated the cancellation for their own benefit when the game could and should have been played. Our very good friends on Talksport have been carping on about the same for days on end. Of course when we have to play the rearranged game, more than likely mid week, any advantage we craftily ‘gained’ last week will be cancelled out and maybe the following Saturday the media will excuse us a possible under par performance for tiredness due to our extra game more than our opponents that particular week. I expect the Sky and Talkshit experts will say serves you right though.
    Agree re Sagna, he was very, very poor today

  8. Tony please correct me if im wrong but to me it seems like Mikel Arteta could be Arsenals weak link in midfield. He seems to be very cautious moving the ball up the field, instead passing it back to defence too often. Its not the arsenal way to be so negative with the ball. It removes all fluidity from the game and less space for creativity. Your thoughts please?

  9. As disappointing a result as this was for a lot of fans myself included, it’s closer to reality where this Arsenal squad is at the moment. The trashing of New Castle who were missing half the starters, and just came off a devastating loss at Man U ,as exciting to watch as it was , was definitely an outlier rather than the norm. Take away the fortuitous penalty decisions(dives) against Wigan and West Brom and Arsenal might’ve been ten points behind Tottenham not five. Getting a reality check at a start of the transfer window is exactly what Wenger needed, and if funds are truly available to him as he and the board have been claiming, although selling Song to Barca might prove otherwise, then he should go out there and get the reinforcement that he clearly requires. Arsenal need to get proven winners , ready made starters who can improve the squad immediately , and if funds aren’t available then say so and we will get off Wenger’s back , forget about winning trophies and hope that another injury crippled side come to Emirates to make Arsenal look like the world beaters.

  10. I don’t think sagna is past it or was any more guilty today than anyone else. They were all pretty bad!

    I really hate to say it, but gervinho is starting to be quite hilarious, and not in a good way. He’s very fast and is a worker but he looks scared of the ball!

    Would have loved to see rosicky come on to inject some much needed incision. Sadly Ramsey is struggling with confidence and those 2 subs quite possibly made us even worse than we had been before.

    Ah well, not looking forward to the swansea game.

  11. I support everything arsenal but tonight’s performance was the worst. Ever clueless comes to mind along the lines of Bradford mk2 Santi is lazy off the ball and needs to be told sagna is not even 25% of his peak bring back jenks the fans that are need more effort from the team when we are not playing well

  12. As our goaly said when he was interviewed, we had four wins and now we have a draw. Yes it wasn’t a very enjoyable match to watch – I was mainly disappointed that we seemed to keep losing the ball – but it was still a draw.

    @Tony – I noticed those comments by the sky commentator as well, about the postponed match. He did it in the first half, and that not being enough for him, he did it in the second half as well. The implication was that Arsenal were somehow cheating. Absolutely ridiculous! I remember Arsene Wenger saying at the time he would rather have played the match.

  13. Yes, I heard the sky comments.

    I thought the game was cancelled because the police and safety authorities didn’t think it would be safe to have 60,000 fans + others there with no public transport. Totally out of Arsenals hands

  14. I don’t think you can excuse that performance today or write it off as a bad day at the office. It was pretty appalling from start to finish. It’s not the losing that is the problem, it is the wild inconsistency in the apparent effort the players put in.

    Tonight the Southampton midfielders had so much space and found it easy to get at our back four. We were lucky to get a point. In other games, we have really worked hard to deny space. The variable approach to each game in terms of work rate is killing us and we will continue to get bad results unless we learn to be consistent and work hard every game. Fatigue, so often an excuse, can not be used now. We had more of a rest than Southampton.

    In the grand scheme of things it is only one result, but the performance was just so bad.

    Two things really are baffling – why was Mertesacker on the bench? If he is too ill to play then leave him out, if he is OK then surely he has to start.

    Also just what does Rosicky have to do to get a game? It was the ideal time to bring him on today (not Ramsey). We needed some creative spark.

    Arsenal certainly are a team that knows how to disappoint.

    Not sure about the comments on the WHU game…

  15. The Skysports report is because our manager is non English. At least we can now know that Britons also do things irrationally. The performance was poor generally, even Wilshere was guilty of being too much in haste. Sagna was very poor, Carxola was lazy, Walcott was selfish and Gervinho was very hapless

  16. I heard it too but cannot remember it word for word but the inference was that we would have a distinct advantage towards the end of the game because we will have played only 3 games instead of Saints’ 4 games. Funny how we are never allowed to use such a lame “excuse” when we have all thos midweek Champion’s League games.
    As for today, pretty woeful. Sagna is looking very ordinary & doesn’t give us anything going forward & surely Rosicky would have provided some much needed penetration.
    And why the next to useless Gervinho for the Ox?

  17. Well I am really frustrated by Wenger, he always put the players in bad spot by playing them when they are not performing well. He did that to Ashervin until the fans could not take any more the same happened to Gervinho, and know it is Sagna. He has almost the whole team fit why not rest Sagna, Carzola and Arteta. All the other big team are doing it and giving it try and working for them. He is helpless and stubborn. There is no problem with team and can do well under another coach a believe, as for Gervinho he needs to tell him work on his shooting and until then he can be in first team. Everything else is good

  18. “At the moment we are not on that case. But I will be active [in the January window] yes. We are looking everywhere. We are open-minded. We want to strengthen the squad everywhere”.

    I think Arsene is beyond pissed off but trying hard not to show it. The problem I have with this statement is; This is his squad he brought all the players together what is lacking that he now feels the need to strengthen everywhere?

    He also stated today’s draw was more down to mentality than anything else? Yet all these players are of his choosing.

    So does Arsene feel like his players are letting him down? And how do you go about getting multi millionaire under 30s to perform as you want them too?

  19. It was a poor result after a good run of wins .Hope we buck up and go on another unbeaten run this month with many tough games coming .
    And ,Tony ,no matter what you and the others say ,I still believe that the West Ham game was called off due the imminent presence of millions of protesting ” fans” at the roundabout !
    And many were to adorn themselves with black scarves !I did notice that at the Newcastle games there were many black scarves being waved . Hold on… ,don’t they play in black and white ?
    Damn ! Got it wrong again !

  20. Mr. Attwood,
    After mustering all of two shots (maybe) on goal yesterday, would you still have to ask (as you did the other day) “Do we really need to buy anyone in January?”

  21. @Adam

    “This is his squad he brought all the players together what is lacking that he now feels the need to strengthen everywhere?”

    I think nothing needs to be ‘lacking’ for the ‘desire of strengthening everywhere’ to be present in any Manager. If the question is put to Barca’s manager – “Would you like to strengthen your squad everywhere?”. I believe his answer would be “Yes!!” That does not mean that Barca’s current squad is ‘lacking’ everywhere/anywhere.

  22. @Mahesh, very true that all managers would probably like to strengthen everywhere but at Barca it isn’t so urgent as they actually win things.

    @Adam, I do find these comments from Wenger mystifying. He bought these players and then he talks about strengthening everywhere. Surely he should have done that in the summer. I assume that’s why he bought Podolski, Cazorla and Giroud. All three have done quite well though they have all been a little inconsistent at times.

    He wants to improve the squad everywhere. What does he intend to do, buy a whole new team? Isn’t he satisfied with Ramsey, Gervinho and Santos? I hope not because they have all been fairly invisible this season.

    I don’t know what he hopes to achieve in the January window as it is difficult to get bargains but Ba seems a cheap prospect and we do need another striker. Where’s this Park fellow we bought last year? Or Chamakh? Where is the top top quality Wenger says we only buy (sell, would be more appropriate).

  23. As I couldn’t see the game life I didn’t who the ref was. And now I know and blimey I suddenly feel much better.
    We have a few refs and when we have them we suddenly turn in to a bad team and Probert is one of those refs. So we kind of survived our annual Probert defeat this time. Last year he cost us at Fulham.
    We rarely win a game under Probert. Most of the times because he is extremely biased against us. And the players know this all too well so I can imagine when they see him it affects them mentally.

    Now I don’t know how he has been as I still haven’t find the time to look at the game but he is one of those refs that whenever I see his name as the ref I suddenly lose my confidence in us winning the game. I wonder if this would apply for the players also?

    Btw: on many occasions Dean has the same effect but not always.

  24. @Walter, the players affected mentally by a ref? That’s a poor reason for a dismal display. If we have such mentally weak players we should get rid of the lot of them. These days any old nonsensical excuse will be trotted out when we play poorly.

  25. Odd that both Fulham and QPR were able to stage their home fixtures on Boxing Day ,presumably
    public transport doesn’t extend out to south west London . Or perhaps those two clubs were not so afraid of missing the opportunity of selling their club shop tat to circa 60,000 mugs .

  26. Walter:

    You might be a ref & know more about the laws than I ever will,but you don’t do yourself any favours using Probert as mitigating circumstances for our performance.

    I was there yesterday. Other than the first 10 minutes, we were clueless.

    It had absolutely nothing to do with the ref. I actually thought he had a good game. He allowed the game to flow & I’m not aware of any decision he made that was to our detriment.

  27. Remeber the call agaist Ba when he pushed Koscielny on our prevoius match?
    Probert gave S’oton players have the right to push(particullary in attack) to the point be really hilarious.
    Or the situation before Schneiderlin yellow: little foul -no call , bigger foul -still no call, so a nasty one followed- and he had to give the foul and yellow.

  28. 2 points dropped. Well we start the season behind those s@#$*.

    I thought we missed Giroud yesterday. His presence would have helped, BUT you never know.

  29. What annoyed me was the the Sky bloke pontificating on the postponement, easy to do when you’ll get picked up from home in a chaffeur driven car, and then dropped off at home again afterwards, it shows a total lack of respect to the fans that do attend,(and workers) some of whom would have had to make long difficult journeys, maybe he should of offered to pay for unused tickets and unpaid wages for those that couldn’t make it !
    Also, Probert (or Poorbert) is a money making machine, just back Arsenal not to win when he’s in charge away from home and Bingo Bango, Xmas debt wiped out !!!

  30. Tony,

    The WHU game being called off was put down in the broadcast to being a Health and Safety decision and this was said by Martin Tyler. The same Martin Tyler who was a co-author for the Official Club history.

    I need say no more.


  31. Maybe it wad postponed as 60000 people wouldn’t be able to get there and spend further money on food, beer etc…
    I for one would not have bothered and many more must have a harder journey than i

  32. Regarding the ref, he arguably let a penalty go when Verm kicked someone in the arse, and he (well the linesman really) waved offside for an onside goal that would have let Soton go 2-1 up.

    The ref generally let the play flow, there wasn’t any dirty play, and if anything the controversial decisions went our way. The refs had nothing to do with the result (well for our benefit) nor the performance. And if these players are truly “mentally affected” by a ref before the match starts, then that shows how mentally weak they are. Personally I give the players more credit than that.

    Further, while we’ve gone on a recent winning streak against some generally lowly opposition (or in the case of Newcastle, far more tired and far more key players injured)..we’ve had some pretty average performances in that streak, and have benefited from some borderline decisions called in our favour for penalties, and decisions not called that favoured us (various handballs that on another day could be called).

    Performances have been pretty average in some cases, and refs have helped us far more than hurt us in our recent streak (but that doesn’t get much mention).

    The reality is, this squad is good enought to challenge for 4th and not much more.

  33. The fixture list in January was always going to tell us much more about this squad that December’s relatively easy in comparion (and made even easier by the missed game against WHU) fixture list. City, Chelsea, Livepool, cup away to Swansea etc will really show us where we are. Let’s see if they are up to it. Luckily it comes at a good time for Wenger to make an assessment and have the ability to change things if needed (I hope so) with the transfer window open.

  34. Ref the postponed WHU match. A similar comment was made by the commentator during the Newcastle match when he said that people would be travelling to the sales on Boxing Day so why was the match called off. He suggested it was a cop out then said perhaps it was a “cops” out.

  35. A.Stewart
    There was a push on a player just before the non-penalty call if I remember right

  36. Stevo433
    There is little underground network south of the river do they rely on other forms of transport normally anyway. The th e network is very extensive in the north and is therefore the main method of transport

  37. @ Stuart, I don’t recall that, but say that’s true, that’s even more proof that Probert didn’t negatively call the game from our perspective.

  38. Alex did you read this:
    “Robin van Persie is a very important player for United,” said Mancini. “He has changed their situation. He is the difference between us. “We were very close three or four months before he joined United.”

    So while still pretending to be Mr. Arsenal he was wanting away even to City at that moment. I think he went to United because he knew the refs help them more than they did help City 😉

  39. So er… after having bought millions, having sacked a manager and still Chelsea manages to lose against QPR at home….

    So our way of working is not perfect, but so is Chelsea’s way of working not perfect.

    Maybe we should accept a bit more that shit happens in football before we go overboard ?

  40. @WalterBroeckx

    While i do not take easy at the money grabbing thing but when it come to RVP something is telling me it is not about money for EVP,

    The fact that man city where in it gives more weight to the argument as you know they can pay what ever.

    He is banging goal at will at will and look where we are…Grrrrrrrrrr.

  41. Saw that as well on rvp Walter, have a strange feeling he was hoping one of the Spanish two would come forward, but they never did. Mancini suggests a secret reason why he did not finally end up at citeh. So that left Utd, or wenger threatening to make him play a final year, hence the statement that forever damn him at this club, and has put his ex manager under serious pressure with some fans and the media.
    One thing I do not get, why did we not have city charged for tapping on this, surely we were not allowing him to speak to city, or anyone else at that time?

  42. I wish he went to mancity.

    I hate that red nose that every thing he does is so surrounded by irregularity and no one could come with something.

    They past Wigan with four goals at ease and the next day …..Good job Martinez here is Angelo for you.Red stops the player from joining to his country and force him to go Wigan.

  43. For all the obvious merits of vps goals for us last season, despite all the…at times merited gloom around now, he have actually this year scored four more goals without him than compared to this day, same amount of games last year. Unfortunately, this year, we have two points less than same time last year, when we,had just lost to Fulham.
    It could be argued that in overall terms, this goal sharing,is not going too badly, we are certainly now less dependant on one player. And no, I am not denying some issues need addressing.
    Stats do not always tell the whole story but can serve as a useful reference

  44. I watched the replay on Arsenal player and my impression is that if you work really really hard and blanket the midfield with help from strikers and press like mad Arsenal will find it difficult to pass and move their way through.
    I am surprised by the criticism of Carzola and Podolski in some quaters. The 2 were responsible for some of our most incisive moves.
    We badly missed Diaby’s physical presence in this one. Southampton have big guys all over the pitch and their work rate was on top all the way till the end.

  45. @Black Hei. That’s why it was very surprising that he left Giroud on the bench despite the team’s tactics of pumping the ball up field to a short Walcott. My take is that Wenger has been a bit stiff and highly predictable when it comes to tactics. Playing a team that has largely tall players and leaving your tall players in Mertesacker and Giroud on the bench wasn’t wise in my own eyes. Walcott was isolated upfront and couldn’t win a single aerial battle throughout the game basically not due to a fault of his. A better formation would have been to either start Walcott on the bench or making him start on the wings with Giroud as the arrow head of the attack. He has proved himself as an attacking option as such the greater cause of the team should not be sacrificed to make him happy. For all one cares, if he wants to leave, he’d still do.

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