Back to the 1950s.

By Tony Attwood

As an experiment it was interesting, got the passions boiling, and provided for the sort of entertainment that took us back to the sort of games that used to feature in the Third Division North.  Workington v Barrow springs to mind.

But I’m not sure that the normal approach of players running through without being body checked, finding space, and quick fire passing isn’t actually better.

It was a game in which possession (which Arsenal dominated) counted for nothing.  Shoulder charging was experimented with from the first few seconds, and quickly moved into wholesale assaults on the upper body.   The occasional finger wagging by the ref didn’t really add anything to the occasion, and certainly didn’t slow down the adoption of a completely new set of rules.

Even Mirrallas grabbing a water bottle and emptying it over Wilshere at half time didn’t seem to matter too much.  The ref and his coterie of assistants once again did nothing.

So pulling players back, body checking, shoulder battering that could move players several feet away from where they started (if they were not languishing on the ground) were all signified as ok.

Some teams flourish in such conditions which the more modern interpretations of the rules tend to prohibit, some teams flourish under quick passing games within the modern interpretation of the rule book.  When the two meet, the former wins, and given that this game was televised, there can be little doubt that all of Arsenal’s opponents for the rest of the season will have taken note.  It’s going to be a rough ride.

Fluency has gone, physical brute force is in.

Gibson was a major culprit, but as Mr Wenger said, once the ref had showed that he would do nothing about the new version of football in which all physical contact was allowable, you can hardly blame Everton for taking up the challenge to play the new way.

David Moyes was candid in his review of the game rhetorically asking, “Do you mean when we were a little bit rough with the tackling?   Up north we do that quite often. That’s actually allowed in football. We weren’t going to come here and let Arsenal stroke the ball around and make 600 passes.”

Mr Moyes is to be congratulated for his honesty, and his pointing the finger at the key issue.  Some northern clubs do play in a different manner from some southern teams, and they are allowed to by the northern refs who officiate.  Since there are no southern refs in the Premier League that naturally means all refs.  And that’s the way that football is going under the guidance of PGMOL.

Perhaps the most annoying approach for the spectator though was the endless bodychecking, which seemed to be a fundamental of Everton’s game, and presumably from what their manager said, is now a fundamental part of the game “up north”.  I am sure Mr Moyes was telling the truth when he said that – which makes me rather glad I have a season ticket in London.

As for our players, Giroud seemed to be the one who simply could not get himself together in the face of this sort of physical approach.  I wonder what Podolski would have done.  Or perhaps the forward line is ok but we need Peter Storey in midfield.  And Steve Williams.

On the other hand, all players have little runs where they don’t quite get it right, and this is Giroud’s first season in English football.  Giroud probably hasn’t experienced a game like this before, or a ref who thinks this way of playing is ok, so maybe we should give him a longer time to adjust.

But it is sad to see Theo control the ball and start a run only to be stopped by yet another body-check and no booking to follow.  It stops the whole basis on which football has moved from the 1950s to the present day.

It’s football, but not as we know it.  Or perhaps I should say, knew it.  No criticism of Everton of course, for as Mr Moyes says, that’s how they play the game up north.  Maybe Rangers could have Arsenal’s place in the League and we could join the German league.
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143 Replies to “Back to the 1950s.”

  1. Moyes is yet another British manager stuck back in the dark ages. Were his upmarket Stoke side to get into the Champions league it would be instructive to see how they would change their game to cope with the refereeing style adopted by the officials from every other country in Europe bar our own. Or would this archetypal Little Britisher then play to the halfwit media by talking about poor refereeing when his sides physical approach is given the short shrift it deserves.
    Hopefully this is not a scenario which will actually play out. For Arsenals sake. And for that of English football

  2. @Big Al
    I think you would find that a high proportion of Vieras’s cards were for retaliation against precisely the sort of unpunished rough, heavy handed, aggressive treatment being meted out by Everton players on Arsenal players in last night match.

  3. Wonder what Moyes will say if he gets into the Europa league and finds his players being sent off for the sam kind of “tackles”?
    For Moyes’ information barging into a player to prevent him running past you is not tackling it is a foul.

  4. Tony, we used to have a pretty physical team under Wenger when Vieira was in the side or do you have selective amnesia? Then Wenger decided to buy a load of midgets and copy Barca and how well that’s worked! Admittedly we now have a few taller players but we still overpass far too much when close to the opposing goal.

    Yes it was physical in the first half and there was too much body checking but Everton were strangely subdued at the beginning of the second half and it was less physical until nearer the end when we were dominating.

  5. It was unbelievable perormance from the ‘referee’.

    He gave one yellow card in the second half after being told to by the crowd. This was very bizarre. Perhaps he thought he was being clever, keeping the crowd off of his back. Yet that one instance was obviously unprofessional and unconvincing to all who are watching. A further indication of his incompetence, at best.

    The post match comments from Moyes were fitting too, worthy of remembrance. Scottish football is in fine fettle eh? Almost too funny to be true. Thank you Moyes! We can see him for what he is, and can understand why no ‘big club’ has yet to offer this Son of Slurgus a job.

    Looking forward to the review of this ‘performance’.

  6. Great idea Tony.

    Lets up and move to the German Bundesliga. The EPL is a spent force and will continue its slide down the scale of European football if this type of overly physical game is allowed to continue to flourish above that of skill and technique.

    Shame really because Everton themselves could become a very good team if Moyes allowed himself to add some much needed quality up top in order to complement his hard working unit.

    Football around the globe has moved away from brute force towards one of skill and technique. Ultimately England’s national team will once again suffer but I doubt the Premier League’s moneymen give two hoots about that scenario.

    Finally a word for Aaron Ramsey. Patience and persistence is finally paying dividends for him and he is beginning to look like the player he promised to be before his leg break.

  7. @Florian, take it you never saw football in the 70’s then? Yes the ref was far too lenient and if teams play like that then we need to respond in kind.

    What with that damn Thatcher’s funeral all over the TV, just why is this awful woman getting virtually a state funeral?, and Arsenal’s dropping of two points it’s not been a great 24 hours.

  8. Rupert, in you comment you point at the deeper issue without knowing it I think.

    Wenger bought midgets to copy Barcelona and then you add how well that’s worked.

    Well how well did it work for Barcelona? They won all and more there is to win. And they won it in Europe, in Spain and all over the world. Why? Because refs in Europe and in Spain protect “those midgets” and make sure they can play the ball and play their game. (One could say that they got over protected at times 😉 ). But in the PL it didn’t work.

    So what could be the difference? Wenger? Nope. The midgets? Nope as some are/were the best players in the world. So what is the difference.

    The answer is in front of you if you want to see it: the refs.

    I know for sure that teams in Spain have tried to kick Barcelona off the field, as I have seen it with my own eyes. But then they get yellows and red cards and end up with 1, 2 or 3 players less on the field. The refs make sure that the kicking of the field tactics are stamped out of the game. As it happens in most countries in the world. But in England we still have the same “northern” refs who don’t officiate according to the worldwide agreed rules but implement some kind of “northern” rules.

    I am convinced that if the refs would have applied the rules that are used in the rest of Europe and the world in the PL in the last years we would have won more games and some more trophies.

    And don’t give me the crap “it is allowed to do it in the Northern way”. NO, it isn’t. Read the rules.

  9. Let me even give an example: the shoulder barge.

    It is allowed you might say. Yes but only when it is shoulder to shoulder. So barging with your shoulder in the back of someone is a foul. Anichebe did this some 12 times yesterday without being called back.

    And even when it is shoulder against shoulder it still is a foul when it is executed with excessive force. This means that using your shoulder to push your opponent is fine. But charging in like a raging bull and make sure your opponent is flying 5 meters further down the field even when you hit him shoulder to shoulder is not fine. It is a foul.

  10. @Walter, the difference is that the best players in the world play for Barca and have done for the last five years. Simple.

  11. We get used to seeing bad refereeing but even by the low standards at the Emirates last night was dreadful. The referee was either under orders or totally biased. Everton should have finished with eight players at most. Gibson’s not given second yellow on Theo effectively took him out of the game, Jack was assaulted with or without the ball all night with impunity. Giroud fouled in the back every time he went for the ball, Fellaini flattening everyone in sight. Oh why bother going on. Everton are a team without class from manager to supporters. If this is what the Premier League is then yes let’s decamp to the Bundesliga where, at least, we will get a better class of referee.

  12. I didn’t count how many times Anichebe shoulder charged people. Sort of difficult when you’re watching the game in a Brighton pub on a medium sized screen and you’re about thirty feet away.

    12 times. Maybe you’re right but I certainly didn’t see any of our players flying five metres down the field every time.

    As I said the ref was far too lenient and the worst offender was Fellaini who seemed to fail get booked at all.

    If you grew up watching the Leeds team of the 70’s this game was mild. Even Arsenal were extremely physical back in those days.

  13. Some players at Barcelona overt the last five years.


    Both Moyes and our friend above have made some wonderfully revealing comments. That Leeds team were as Brian Clough described them. Revie got the job over Cloughie from our esteemed FA and went on to great heights. Managing in , er Abu Dhabi, and er…

    “The real reason for Revie’s downfall”

    No further comment required!

  14. Hi Mick, 9.03am (and all)
    Thanks for reply. With respect, that’s pretty much the reply I was expecting from someone.

    How do you like stats?

    Overall YELLOW cards in Premier League history:
    Arsenal are the 20th worst offenders.
    1,165 yellow cards… 792 games… 1.47 card/game ratio
    However, Note – only 6 clubs CURRENTLY in the Premiership have a worse record: Stoke, Sunderland, Wigan, West Ham, Chelsea, Everton.
    Worst offenders: Derby County… 538 / 266 / 2.02
    Noticeable absentees from the top 20 listing – Manchester United, Manchester City, Spurs, Liverpool

    Overall RED cards in Premier League history:
    Arsenal are the 14th worst offenders.
    68 red cards… 793 games… 11.7 card/game ratio
    However, Note – only 6 clubs CURRENTLY in the Premiership have a worse record: QPR, Sunderland, Stoke, Everton, Wigan, Man City.
    Worst offenders: Hull City… 9 / 76 / 8.4
    Noticeable absentees from the top 20 listing – Manchester United, Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool

    BTW – I wonder how many of our team’s cards overall from the figures supplied were for retaliation?

    Does this have any relation to last night’s games and today’s comments?
    Well, let’s just say the stats provided might add a little perspective.

    Hope you can read them through your rose-tinted specs…

  15. To summarise that link above:
    The FA who appointed Revie over Clough then found themnselves banning Revie for 10 years for bringing the game into disrepute because he “walked out of his job”. Heh.

  16. Some other Barca players: Iniesta, Busquets, Toure, Ibrahimavic, Messi, shall I continue?

    That was a great Leeds side, their physical misbehaviour notwithstanding. The day they destroyed Southampton 7-0 was utterly brutal. They passed the ball about 40 times toying with Southampton, it was quite merciless. The crowd were cheering every pass.

  17. Rupert Cook,
    I understand the crowd at Nuremberg rallies also cheered a lot. Personally I don’t believe wholeheartedly in the wisdom of crowds.

  18. @ClockEndRider, I see there’s a huge crowd at Thatcher’s funeral so I take your point.

  19. I enjoyed it when Arsenal beat Everton 6-1 and 7 odd quite recently, both games were not far apart, if i remember. Getting beaten by six odd goals twice within about eighteen months is brutal. Some of those players who played in that game were airbrushed from the Barca squad until our friend was reminded, & some of those players played last night.
    I remember these things because i am an Arsenal fan. Apologies if that offends anyone.

  20. I don’t see what’s there to defend Everton about when their manager even accepted they roughed us up. The closest this can be compared to was the game we finished with 9 players at Stoke, such was the thuggery in this game I’m surprised noone was stretchered off. Wilshere was targeted a la Neville brothers on Reyes. I respected Everton but not anymore. Like Tony said, the tone has been set and its going to be a rough ride to the bitter end.

  21. Rupert Cook,
    Re: “we used to have a pretty physical team under Wenger when Vieira was in the side or do you have selective amnesia? Then Wenger decided to buy a load of midgets and copy Barca and how well that’s worked”.
    We had a physical team yes. It was allied with considerable skill. We received cards for exactly the same offences Everton made last night. Another difference is that the media undertook a fierce and frankly bizarre campaign against Arsenal, constantly pointing out the yellow and red cards. Eventually, and pre Guardiolas Barcelona incarnation, Wenger made the decision to change to a different style arguably bending under the weight of the media vitriol. At this point, equally curiously, the media focus changed to being proponents of physical football, praising the lumpen oafish football of managers such as Allardyce, Warnock, Brown and othe media savvy footballing nonentities as they followed a path of rotational fouling. Now, we were Southern softies in need of a core of British steel, ran the narrative.
    This amazing u-turn has enabled a generation of footballing dinosaurs to grow rich in their own age propagating their antediluvian methods while generating more and more quasi rugby league footballers and avoiding the production of Messis, Iniestas and other such “midgets” and encourages a newer generation of equally limited managers a blueprint for the future. Moyes is but one such.The bottom line is that if we dont follow the rest of the world in not allowing this kind of approach, it simply condemns the home countries, and especially England as the only one of the four with any chance of international success to continuing in the path of a lack of success.

  22. @Big Al
    Your hard work in providing those figures is very impressive, but can I ask you to explain what is the point you are making?
    My assertion that a good proportion of our cards was for retaliation still stands. If you can show otherwise fine. Viera was not a ‘dirty’ player as far as I can recall, yes he was tough and uncompromising but not a Stoke type Robert Huth thug.

  23. @Big Al – what would you expect from white English referees and a black French player? Gold medals for athleticism?

    Had Vieira been white he would have had fewer cards and several conversations with the officials.

    Racism is not name calling. It is the unfair advantage given to one over the other for the same action because of the individuals race.

  24. Rupert Cook,
    Don’t know about that. I have a job which I’m focusing in. Also I’m a football fan. I’m not really clear what point you are making introducing Thatchers funeral.

  25. Menace,
    I think a subtler point would be to point out that the referees and managers to whom they fawn are English. Vieira is a dirty foreigner and hence it only right and proper to put him in his place.
    While assisting talentless halfwits like Shawcross, Nolan and others to build careers safe in the knowledge that their Englishness will protect them from the full force of footballing law.

  26. In the recent Norwich match Sagna was booked and soon after a white Norwich player was spoken too for a similar offence. Gibson should have seen red yesterday but he had a wonderful conversation with the official. It is amazing how many grandmothers and sisters are enquired about by our fair PGMOL cheats.

    The cheating that went on yesterday was so annoying, but in spite of that, Arsenal kept their cool and played the game sportingly.

    Man United, Spurs, Liverpool are treated differently. Some have a religious connection with the FA and PGMOL others have a historical connection.

    The recent jump by Aguero and the subsequent non event by the FA beggars belief. I am sure the halftime water incident will go unpunished. That is because there were several body checks that were also not seen by the referee or his labradors.

  27. @ClockEndRider, point I’m making is that the wisdom of crowds is limited. Or perhaps one-sided. All these paying respects to a leader who welcomed Pinochet, a murderous thug who should have been in prison, would do well to remember the thousands who died under his regime and who Thatcher praised for bringing democracy to Chile. You couldn’t make it up.

    @Al, why is it going to be a rough ride? As far as I know Moyes doesn’t manage the other teams we’ve yet to play and that ref won’t manage us again. So what’s to worry about?

  28. hahah…Now you know Why England does so well in the world cup. They play the game like they play up north…..(I thought Polar bears are a protected species).

    If the over the roof discussion about the penalty last saturday was not an indicator then this is. Its ARSENAL vs the world.

  29. Because as I have said (and proven) a few times before that Foy wouldn’t recognise a bad tackle even it would chop of his right leg. Well 9 times out of 10 he doesn’t.

  30. I forgot. Wasn’t Mertesacker tugging on an Everton player in our penalty area last night? Seems like we got away with that.

  31. A tough game, nothing more and nothing less. Did anyone expect anything else?

    Doomers back online!!

    Not a bad point.

  32. After Fellainis 4th niggly tackle in the 1st 10 mins didn’t get punished it was obvious what was to come.

    Arsenal should have played out the game and then in the last min someone should have gone straight the the back of Fellaini studs up.

    That would send a message. Bully us if you like, try to hurt us, try to break our limbs, but if you do we’ll break your fucking leg.
    Then these bully boys would quickly wind their necks in. Sadly violence is the only things such folk understand

  33. The key issues in the game last night were flagged up by both managers in their interviews.

    Moyes made it very clear that he set up his team to disrupt our passing game. It is no sign that they are a bad side, is not necessarily a usual strategy for them, and you could see that they have the skill to play decent one-touch football.

    Wenger for his part went out of his way to make it clear he had no problem with Everton’s tactics. Moyes played a smart game.

    The key thing is that the ref is there to draw the line. Last night he either failed to or drew it in the wrong place. All it would have taken would have been a couple of early fouls or a yellow, and the Everton players get the message, and react accordingly.

    Gibson should have gone on 33 muns even by to the ref’s standards. Watched it again and there is no malice, but is a professional foul, taking Walcott out.

    Al– You’ve got me interested, going to have a look at those numbers– back later

    Rupert– can you imagine 70’s style tackling in the modern game? Admittedly guys like Chopper knew how to time them, but just be out a little and someone gets Shawcrossed.

    By the way, for those that don’t know why the 70’s are flagged up: the 1970 FA cup final replay (Chelsea VS Leeds) was pretty notorious even at the time, but only one yellow was given. A modern assessor looked back at it and according to modern guidelines, figured he’d have given 20 yellows and 6 reds

  34. Tony,
    I was reading your post, full of comfort and joy, when I shuddered at the name of Peter Storey. No rival team of Arsenal should be forced to encounter “our Peter”. And then I thought of a triumvirate with Patrick Vieira and Wilf Copping (going back a bit) and started to feel sorry for the folk up North.
    When Arsene decides to retire his waterbottle, I wonder if the Board will only accept applications from those hardy souls north of the Watdord Gap.

  35. About Giroud not coping with the physical approach, he was whistled for a very light foul early on (fifteen or twenty minutes) and rightly concluded there were double standards operating. It’s demoralizing to be called for less than your opponents are doing with impunity, and it does alter the way people play.

    And well done to Moyes, backing up his good old Northern bruisers. It’s easy to tackle hard if the ref lets you. It’s much harder for us Southern softies to tackle hard, since the whistle blows a lot faster. Brave thing, hitting people who aren’t allowed to hit you back.

    And also, it’s a good thing to see a brave Northern manager with the balls to try and win at the Emirates instead of having the keeper waste time and making, in a pants-wetting fit of cowardice, three injury times substitutions. Way to be brave, Moyes.

  36. Rupert Cook,
    The key word in your submission is ‘back in those days’. We are not back in those days! Yes, football is a contact sport but there’s a difference between football and rugby. Many people seem to think that England does not have the talent to play football, that’s why they have spent a long time without winning any major tournament. I differ, the problem is refereeing. Many England players go to these tournaments with a different sent of rules in their head, only to realise that they are being judged on a completely different set of rules.
    So, the ref yesterday was not only slowing down Arsenal, but the whole national team. Because players like Barkley ( will be a fine player I must say), The Ox or even Wilshire, will get sent off in the future, when it counts for England, because what they deem right ( by PL standards) is way short of what is expected at the international level. If Everton was to qualify for the CL next season and played like that, how many of their players would get sent off in a single match? I wonder.

  37. Talksport are predictably going down the “they don’t like it up’em” and “typical Wenger whinging” route.

  38. “Brave thing, hitting people who aren’t allowed to hit you back.”
    El Gringo,
    Very well put. I wonder why AW/AFC don’t go higher-profile with this accusation? Then again, I think sending someone like Squilacci out with a late in the match cruncher against Fellaini would go a very long way to articulating a response. And then AW could say, I didn’t see it. Yes, perhaps that is the way, or we may well go out victims to the NAC (northern aggression campaign), so to speak. The EPL is becoming a criminogenic environment (violent rules-breaking with impunity). This said, I advocate that EPL change its initials to WWF.

  39. I thought yesterday’s game was pretty clear: an over-physical Everton side sought to bully us off the field. They failed in this enterprise; we played our game (more so, in the second half)and with better luck, could have also won the day.

    However, reading our fans comments, one would think that it was ok for Everton to have been so brutish and that it was somehow Arsenal’s fault that they were. Indeed, that it would have served Arsenal right if Everton went home with all three points secured.

    In this light, I don’t think it is necessary to visit any pro-Everton blog: they couldn’t have defended their club better than some of our fans have done here. It seems to have something to do with some kind of spirit of, or solidarity with a “North England” predator/brutish football. The kind that has taken the nation nowhere in the last 40years.

    England is welded to nurturing this brutish approach to football, with the refs at the vanguard. Meanwhile, thanks to Neville and co, there is now a ready scape-goat for why the national team continues to do poorly in International football: too many foreigners in the league!

    How long will this blinkered approach persist – even with the example of French and Spanish football zipping past the English variety?

  40. bob,

    Fabulous idea, but why stop at Squilacci? Bring on Frimpong! That would put the fear of God onto the pitch.

    On a more serious note, I think Aguero jumped on Luiz because he snapped after being fouled one too many times.

    And an even more serious note, I don’t like the use of the word ‘protection’ when used for specific players. “Wilshire needs more protection”–it implies weakness on the un-protected player’s part, as if Wilshire and Walcott need to be mollycoddled, or else a sort of mafioso extortion scheme. What’s wrong with calling for fair enforcement of the Laws of the Game for all players? Then it’s justice for all, not special treatment for some. The real problem last night is that the ref was in dereliction of his duty to enforce the Laws of the Game. Protection has nothing to do with that.

  41. A few questions on the NAC (the Northern Aggression Campaign):
    – Conscious rule-breaking is fraud, potentially a crime (if violent).
    – Knowing in advance that you can do so is to recognize an Invitation to commit fraud with impunity.
    – To issue such an invitation is to abet a fraud; and, thereby, to commit a fraud of its own.
    – One way to issue an invitation to commit fraud is non-enforcement of the rules on one side, whilst enforcing the rules on another side, to the consistent advantage of the former.
    – Did this occur last night?
    – Can/should they be prosecuted for perpetrating a fraud against fans who pay to see a football game?
    – Should conscious fans advocate for mandatory season-long bannings for leg-breaking?
    – Would that not be a deterent to some players who might wittingly abet such an order?
    – Why isn’t such a ban on the books at the FA/EPL, etc.?
    – How about a whistle-blower (not refs) reward and protection for any player who goes public with having been pressured to commit such a breech of the rules; especially the border line to actual injury-inflicting sort.

  42. @Mick, 11.36
    The point I’m making should be perfectly clear.

    Our CARDS record throughout the history of the Premiership is not impressive.

    Please note my original comment:
    “I wonder how many of our TEAM’s cards overall from the figures supplied were for retaliation?”
    The “TEAM”, Mick, the “TEAM”. Not Vieira only.

    My obvious point/question(s) to you is:
    a) do you honestly believe ARSENAL’s total is down to a high proportion of acts of retaliation?
    If so, one can only summise that would also be the case for ALL teams – or is Vieira an exception, and ARSENAL also, as regards the act of retaliation. Only Vieira/Arsenal retaliate?
    b) Even if this were to be the case, players of Vieira’s experience should know better.

    Hang loose for the table to follow… perhaps it would have been better had I shown it sooner.

  43. MICK as promised – hope the TABS hold in place when I “Post Comment”

    Overall yellow cards in Premier League history

    Team Yellow Games YPG

    Derby County 538 266 2.02
    Hull City 135 76 1.78
    Stoke City 309 173 1.78
    Barnsley 66 38 1.74
    Sunderland 760 439 1.73
    Bolton Wanderers 845 494 1.71
    Leeds United 790 468 1.69
    Wolves 255 152 1.68
    Wigan Athletic 484 287 1.68
    Middlesbrough 897 536 1.67
    West Ham United 1029 636 1.62
    Birmingham City 428 266 1.61
    Blackburn Rovers 1110 696 1.59
    Chelsea 1252 792 1.58
    Everton 1203 793 1.52
    Watford 115 76 1.51
    Burnley 57 38 1.5
    Portsmouth 398 266 1.5
    Bradford City 113 76 1.49
    Arsenal 1165 792 1.47

  44. Rupert
    Moyes may not coach the rest of our rivals nor is it likely we will have this ref again till the end of the season, but our rivals will have noted how everton stopped us and will want to employ the same roughhouse tactics against us when we meet. The same way fools like Allardyce caught on after the tone was set at OT. Or, if you have issues with examples involving Arsenal, the way chelsea showed the world if you want to succeed against barcelona just park the bus.

    On a slightly different note, I have a burning question I have been meaning to ask you, but never got the chance as it appeared you had gone into hibernation over the last 7 or 8 weeks, and will you please give me your honest response. Why is it that you turn up here for the full 24 hours and more, to the point it could be argued you are resident here(sure if someone asked ‘has anyone seen Rupert?’, an answer such as ‘have you checked the UA blog? that’s where he is usually found after Arsenal don’t do well…’ wouldn’t be far from the truth:)), whenever we get a not so positive result, but disappear completely off the face of the earth(or internet) when the team does very well? To be fair your initial comments when you resurfaced after last night’s match were not so bad, but they’re getting worse & worse as the day progresses. Maybe you were testing the waters first?

  45. Big Al,

    We all know by this point that cards received is hardly an accurate indicator of unfair conduct on the pitch. So what if Arsenal have a lot of cards? That’s not a meaningful statistic, given that, as we know from the ref reviews, Arsenal’s opponents frequently do not receive the cards they deserve from their rough play, where Arsenal do. Once there’s a just system of refereeing in the PL, where all teams are treated equally, then your argument from number of cards has merit. Until then, it’s specious and founded on unreliable information.

  46. For MICK…
    Overall YELLOW cards in Premier League history

    Team…..Cards…..Games…..YPG ratio

    Derby County…..538…..266…..2.02
    Hull City…..135…..76……1.78
    Stoke City…..309 …..173…..1.78
    Bolton Wanderers…..845 494 1.71
    Leeds United …..790…..468…..1.69
    Wigan Athletic…..484…..287…..1.68
    West Ham United…..1029…..636…..1.62
    Birmingham City…..428…..266…..1.61
    Blackburn Rovers …..1110…..696…..1.59
    Bradford City…..113…..76…..1.49

    That’s an awful amount of cards. If some are due to retaliation that’s still not an excuse. All players/teams retaliate at times… for you to suggest Vieira (individual), and Arsenal (team) are any different to others (that is, exceptions to the rule) is a rather ridiculous and lamentable excuse.

    RED CARD table to follow…

  47. Big Al,
    The majority of our cards are from fouls that dont even get called if committed by the other team. With regards to your question about how many of these were due to retaliation, i can tell you of two reds from recent memory that are a direct result of retaliating to provocation. Both involve a once Newcastle player called barton, and were shown to Diaby & Gervinho. In both cases the culprit stayed on the pitch, even though he should have been clearly the one to go in both cases. Yet the stats show us as having the bad discipline in those two incidents alone

  48. For MICK…
    Overall RED cards in Premier League history

    Team…..Cards…..Games…..YPG ratio

    Hull City….9…..76…..8.4
    Blackburn Rovers…..76…..696…..9.2
    Queens Park Rangers…..22…..224…..10.2
    Birmingham City…..26…..266…..10.2
    Stoke City…..17…..174…..10.2
    Wigan Athletic…..27…..288…..10.7
    Leicester City…..28…..308…..11
    Manchester City…..54…..604…..1.2
    Bolton Wanderers…..43…..494…..11.5
    Arsenal …..68…..793…..11.7
    West Bromwich Albion…..21…..250…..11.9
    Newcastle United…..59…..714…..12.1
    West Ham United…..51…..637…..12.5

  49. But even that thing of brandishing card stats does not show the whole picture and therefore is not reliable. In a few years time, yesterday’s match will show that we drew Everton, they won’t show how the ref was lenient to a certain team.
    Secondly, I was a bit dissapointed with Arsenal players, for a bit. If someone tries to bully you, then you bully back. Someone should have given Everton a signal that you cannot bully Arsenal. I would like that part of the game to be worked upon because many teams engage in those tactics. in fact we will see more of the same on Saturday at Fulham, thanks to Everton re-introducing it. When we gave Stoke a dose of their own medicine, they have now learnt to leave us alone.

  50. El Gringo

    You play the “Unfair Refs” card.
    ‘Menace’ plays a “RACE” card, no less.
    ‘Mick’ plays the “Retaliation Card”

    And from 1992 to present day. WOW…That’s a long time.
    I’m honoured to be a fan of such a ‘different’ club, such an ‘exception to the rule’ club.

    Let me point something out… I’m an Arsenal fan since 7 years old, 1961. Saw my 1st LIVE game at Highbury 1963.
    Seen many, many LIVE since. And on TV too, of course.
    Old Division One, and Premiership too.

    I’ve seen every single Arsenal game for the last 12 years, albeit on TV. The same TV you watch as it’s English programming.
    How is it I miss the retaliation (pathetic excuse anyway) and bent refereeing?

    Simple. I’m an HONEST fan, not a HYPOCRITICAL fan.
    And I don’t wear rose-tinted specs myself. You know why…
    it’s ’cause they make me look a bit of a pratt.

    The stats are from 1992 to present day.

    793 games.
    1,189 hours of football.
    1,165 yellow cards
    68 red cards

    And you want to discuss 1 or 2 instances…
    Do you understand what “see the bigger picture” means?

    The stats are presented to show HYPOCRISY.
    We paint Everton as the baddies, and we’re the goodies.

    All clubs deserve their cards, but Arsenal don’t.

  51. In parts I thought the game was exciting and interesting, with the referee bamboozling me every few minutes.

    I like Everton and wish them luck, however as already pointed out, if they do qualify for a European tournament they will struggle to keep players on the field with those tactics or maybe not have players sent off but may have players missing games due to accumulated cards or players treading carefully for long durations of important games. All in all not a good idea.

    We know teams play this way, thankfully not all. We shall now see who the PGMOL role out for our remaining fixtures now teams know they can adopt these tactics against us AGAIN.

  52. Of the above, only Arsenal Chelsea and Everton have been ever present in the Premier League. Wouldn’t you expect the number of cards to reflect this? At the same time Arsenals average yellows per game is the lowest in this table. The number of reds is same as Chelsea and lower than Everton. the number if yellows is lower than Both. I’m struggling to understand what point is being made here.

  53. Adam,
    I’m loving your deployment of the word “bamboozling” – an oldie but greatie! Also, instead of having fans wait and “see” who they “role” out (a lovely misspelling if there ever was one!), why not planting the wee idea that fans bring their red cards to games and hold them up, in unison, when the expectable next egregious web-site induced call or non-call comes our way.

    Ladies and gentleman, roll up for the mystery tour: Card the Carders. Up the Arsenal!

  54. Big AL,

    Here’s the thing about ‘retaliation’. Yes, Arsenal retaliate more than most, because we don’t actually set out to kick other teams. When the referee allows the other teams to kick us, we respond (ie retaliate) and are punished for it.

    Being English has nothing to do with it either. Wilshere, recognised by the England manager,players, and media as the bright future of English football is the second most fouled player in the league. And those are just the fouls that get called.

    Hypocrisy indeed. Statistics about card make a certain point, but they are hardly conclusive as to the point you are trying to make. Which is actually not even relevant. Whether Arsenal were dirty or not in the late 90s should make no difference to the rights and wrongs of it here.

    As for the physicality, I thought we dealt with it just fine. I did feel we were wary of Everton though, especially because the referee was giving us nothing, but calling fouls for them falling over at the slightest of touches. egs. Mirallas when Wilshere won the ball near our corner flag. In stoppage time when (Anichebe) just fell over near the halfway line. Combined with no yellows for ‘professional fouls’ for Baines, Barkley, Fellaini and god knows who else, (and in some cases not even calling fouls) allowed Everton to keep breaking up the rhythm of the game, which suited them to a tee, since they didn’t really hope to win from anything other than a set play or a counter attack. It was a point well earned by Arsenal, with the frustration being that we had the chance to get all 3, but couldn’t take it.

  55. And by the way Big Al.. Watching football for longer doesn’t necessarily mean you see things clearer.

  56. Big Al,
    I only picked on two reds that are fairly recent that demonstrate that some of our cards are from retaliation. I dont think its feasible (well in theory it is but i have more important things to do with my time) for me to trawl the internet collecting data on what card was issued to which Arsenal over which offense. Somebody made the commented Viera and other arsenal players’ cards could not have been from being overly physical, but retaliation from bad tackles and you questioned that. So just to show that we indeed have received cards that had nothing to do with rough play from us, i picked on those two from recent matches I know most still remember, rather than go back to 1992(some of our fans weren’t even born then).

    Like someone said here, your stats dont really prove much as some teams have been out the league, nor do they dispel the view that most of these cards are unfairly issued to arsenal players. In fact, I could even argue your stats provide the proof that Arsenal are the team all refs are keen to punish, because I would expect to find sides like the Stokes or the Blackburns featuring at the top of that list due to their style of play. We play the most fluent and attacking football in the prem, this has been the case for over 15 years now, and there’s no logical reason a team playing such a brand of football should find itself at the top of the list of offenders. At least it doesn’t make sense to me, and I think it shouldn’t to many too.

  57. bob, it actually was a subconscious spelling mistake but seems very fitting. Oops.

    Marriner has the City Vs Wigan cup final, I had Dean penciled in for that one. Interestingly Wigan’s loss rate under Marriner takes one hell of a nose dive, extra time me thinks?

    Anyway Clears the way for Dean to officiate over us Vs Wigan or the Utd game.

    I have theory, if I keep trying to predict sh+t refs for our games Riley will keep proving me wrong. One can hope.

    And bob I’d say yellow and red cards, then we can see how the fans view certain challenges, biased or not.

  58. I don’t blame everton for playing the way they played yesterday. they weren’t going to let us pass fluently and the only way to stop this fluency is to play physically, which they did. but the blame should go to the ref for letting go blatant fouls. the mentality of the ref matched the mentality of everton players i.e. how to stop the arsenal rhythm. obviously our players coped well with the physicality but AW didn’t spare the blame on our own players and even ramsey concurred with the boss. the problem playing physically is a team can only do it for a limited period. after some time, esp during later stages, fatigue is bound to arrive. we were unable to take advantage of our freshness & their fatigue, as we squandered chances during the latter stages of the game.

  59. @Big Al
    To pontificate that it is unacceptable and hypocrisy to comment on Everton’s performance last night because Patrick Vieira once played for us is a faintly ludicrous assertion. Followed to its logical conclusion there would be little in the way of a meaningful forum here. Am I not allowed to say that bribery is wrong because George once played and managed here: am I not allowed to think that drink driving, driving while disqualified and with no insurance is wrong because Jermaine Pennant once played for us ……..?

    Four words for you and a question mark:
    Vieira…Everton…non sequitur?

  60. @Big Al, Koh Samui, Thailand
    April 17, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    I’m struggling to make sense of those stats? YPG, what does that stand for? Yellow’s per game? Or should the YPG, be games per red card?

    Either way, I don’t see what all the fuss is about. I noticed your other stats and 1.5 yellow cards per game aint bad going for a top competitive, ever present side, and if I’m correct in my interpretation of your later stats then 3.5 sending offs a season, I can live with that, as long as they’re all in the 89 minute, not like this season we are up to 4 reds already.

    Anyway hope you can clear this up for me.

  61. I didn’t write or invent the stats.
    If those who don’t like them or disagree with them take it up with a man by the name of Andy Kelly, an acquaintance I believe of Tony Attwood. Correct me by all means, Tony, if I’m wrong.

    And I simply copied and pasted them from, where Andy Kelly placed them for our perusal.

    I’m not forcing you to look at them or analyse them. Neither is Andy Kelly or

  62. Hi Adam
    Apologies for confusing you… I made a copy-and-paste error which has confused you.

    RED CARDS table : “YPG” should read “RPG” = Red per game.

    So, in the case of Arsenal…..68…..793…..11.7
    68 red cards … 793 games
    divide 68 into 793 = 11.7

    So, Arsenal picked up a red card every 11.7 games throughout the season (average)

    Hope that clarifies.
    And you obviously understand the rest as per your post.
    Sorry again for confusing you.

  63. Hi Mick, 6.22pm

    I’m not playing the stats card Mick. And I’m not out to prove anything.
    REFER TO MY POST, 9.56pm.

    Make of the stats what you will. I’m presenting them to you in the same way as

    Is playing the ‘stats card’ ?

  64. Hi AL
    you say : “…most of these cards are unfairly issued to arsenal players…”

    1,165 yellow cards
    68 red cards

    “most of these cards” ??
    1,233 cards in total, and you suggest (or think) that “most” of these cards are unfairly issued. That is a very large amount of unfair cards.

    I wish I could agree with you AL.
    I’m a Gooner, too.

  65. Cards issued, don’t necessarily indicate dirty play. Define dirty play. You’re comparing Everton’s tactics yesterday to ours. Yet Everton didn’t get the cards they deserved. Cards not issued also do not equate to ‘clean’ play. You are on a mission to protect the reputation of a manager who basically admitted he went about playing ‘northern’ tactics. (who incidentally also wanted more protection for Fellaini against Stoke, and who complains about 20 seconds played over extra time indicated) And you do this by saying Arsenal fans who saw some of the best football the league had ever seen by their team in the late 90s, early 2000s are hypocrites for complaining because that was a dirty team? And your basis is cards awarded. Sorry Big Al, but you’re really not making any sense.

  66. the big problem is as I have noticed: how many of those cards were correct?
    Our study from last season showed that only 62% of the yellow card decisions were correct in total.

    It’s getting complicated then… 😉

  67. @ Big Al
    In the context you are using the stats, and it matters not where they have come from, they are utterly worthless. Without some breakdown of what the cards were given for they do not mean anything. The fact remains that we were on the receiving end of rough tactics last night a common occurrence over the last few years, the Arsenal don’t like it up ’em approach. What happened a few years ago in Viera’s day is not relevant to what is happening now. Are we to assume you do not mind our players being kicked to bits on a weekly basis. You have accused a lot, if not most, of good people on this site of being hypocrites and that is not on.

  68. Hi Shard, 6:14 pm
    “And by the way Big Al.. Watching football for longer doesn’t necessarily mean you see things clearer.”

    Very true, Shard. And that applies to all on this website and every website, including both you and I.
    Giving some personal Arsenal-based history wasn’t intended as oneupmanship, Shard. That would be both unnecessary and arrogant of me.
    It was simply to illustrate that I have in fact watched many games. The more games one watches the more one understands the game, obviously. And the more games one watches the more incidents one witnesses.

  69. ARSENE WENGER on Everton’s tackling…

    [QUOTE} “That’s part of the game. We had to deal with that and the referee has to make the right decisions. Apart from that, it was a game of huge intensity, a fight for both teams. You have to respect the effort Everton put in. They decided to make it very physical for us to disturb our game and sometimes went a little bit over the edge, but the referee had to make the right decision. I don’t blame Everton for that. ‘Protecting’ is a big word, but they have to make the right decisions.” [UNQUOTE}

  70. A yellow card could be awarded for taking off the shirt, for leaving or entering the field of play without permission, hell, even for kicking a ball one second after the whistle. How exactly does it prove the ‘dirtiness’ of a team? And that’s supposing that the referees are fair and balanced in dishing out cards to all teams at all times. I seem to remember Vieira getting sent off for kicking the air near a man who kneed him in the back, after he had raked his studs down the shin of another player. Yet it is Vieira who gets branded ‘dirty’ and Van Nistelrooy has no such stigma attached to him. Basically, cards given, over a long period of time, only tell us how much Arsenal have been punished (whether rightly or wrongly) They do not tell us whether that punishment was justified, and even if it was, whether it was for dirty play or for something else. Your evidence is lacking Big Al.

    There is nothing hypocritical in complaining about Everton being allowed to get away with the sort of kicking and shoving and cynical fouling they did. It seems like you feel the only way to be ‘fair’ is to go against Arsenal. As if purposely countermanding subconscious bias isn’t a conscious bias in itself.

  71. True enough Big Al, but the distant past doesn’t always work as an accurate barometer to the present.

  72. @Big Al
    Well I am 70, quite a few years older than you and therefore by your own admission I have more understanding and have witnessed more incidents than you, obviously. Not that this is meant as one-upmanship, and I don’t intend to be arrogant.

  73. Shard,

    “the distant past”?
    1992 to present day is the distant past.?
    That is the history of the Premier League.
    If you wish to delete all years bar the last 2 or 3, then do so by all means. Up to you.

    Wipe out as much of Arsenal’s history as you like, mate.
    I revel in it all.

    “I seem to remember Vieira getting sent off…”
    You give one instance in 793 games… 1,189 hours of football… 1,165 yellow cards… 68 red cards.

    And once again…
    I simply copied-and-pasted the tables from, where Andy Kelly placed them for our perusal.

    If you don’t like them I couldn’t give a hoot.
    Ask Andy Kelly why he bothered to do the work on the tables, and ask why they bothered to publish them.

    What have you presented, Shard (and others).
    Opinion, and guesswork only.

  74. Mick
    Do you go to school at 5 years old, leave at 9 years old and expect to match a lad who leaves at 16.

    Knowledge comes from school and books. The more you read the more you learn.

    School, job, unemployed, girlfriend, marry, buy a house, have kids, kids grow and leave, divorce, retire, move abroad.

    This is Tony Attwood’s website. He writes books too. About Arsenal as it happens.
    How did Tony acquire his football knowledge, Mick?
    By watching a few games or lots of games and indulging himself, and immersing himself in all things Arsenal, perhaps.

    Or re-post your 11.04 sarcasm directly to Tony.

  75. Big Al,

    I have presented an illustration to show that your stats do not present the facts you claim they do. I am not questioning the stats’ veracity, hence I do not question Andy Kelly. I question the inference you draw from those stats, since they don’t go towards either proving or disproving your argument. The data you have is correct. The conclusion you choose to draw from them is unsubstantiated, and not possible to derive.

  76. No Mick.
    Once again…

    The more games one watches the more one understands the game, obviously. And the more games one watches the more incidents one witnesses.

    That’s not arrogance. That’s stating the obvious. Yet it still flew over your head.

    By the way, did you read Wenger’s quote?

  77. @Big Al
    “Where are you coming from?”

    Islington – but what has that got to do with anything?
    You set up a ridiculous straw man argument for the purpose of creating a dispute and when this is put to you, that is all you can manage? Am I a hypocrite for censuring a drunk driver……explain.

  78. HI SHARD

    1. Shard : “…to show that your stats do not present the facts you claim they do.”

    1. Big Al : I don’t claim the stats present facts, other than the stat is in itself a fact (obviously). Thatis, the actual number of cards and games.

    2. Shard : “I am not questioning the stats’ veracity, hence I do not question Andy Kelly.”

    2. Big Al : OK. Same for me.

    3. Shard : “I question the inference you draw from those stats, since they don’t go towards either proving or disproving your argument.”

    3. Big Al : I don’t actually have an “argument” as such. I’ve simply presented the stats tables which show yellow and red card statistics.
    If each club, in the table(s) of 20 clubs, were to be looked upon in an even-handed way then there can be little or no disagreement between us. That’s where we differ. In fact, after all the to-and-froing, that’s probably the only thing we actually disagree on.
    The problem for me is that you look upon Arsenal as a special case, an exception to the rule, different to the rest. I don’t.
    Out of 20 clubs you lump together 19 clubs and separate just one one from the pack. I don’t.

    4. Shard : “The data is correct.”

    4. Big Al : OK. Same for me.

    5. Shard : “The conclusion you choose to draw from them is unsubstantiated, and not possible to derive.”

    5. Big Al : I haven’t drawn a conclusion from the stats tables. You may think I have, but I haven’t.
    However, if your assumption or perception of said conclusion were to be true, then I would absolutely agree with you… they would be unsubstantiated, and not possible to derive.

  79. PERCY
    “Am I not allowed to say that bribery is wrong because George once played and managed here: am I not allowed to think that drink driving, driving while disqualified and with no insurance is wrong because Jermaine Pennant once played for us ……..?”

    You are allowed to do whatever you want to do, Percy. You can do analogies if you want, but you’ll get nowt in return from me.
    George, drink-driving, Pennant ?????

    “…for the purpose of creating a dispute…”
    I didn’t come here with a purpose of creating a dispute.
    Blogging is about disagreement as well as agreement, mate.
    If we all agreed on everything life would be boring.

  80. Come off it, Al; you’re telling folk on here who are passing comment on Everton’s strong-arm tactics, that they are hypocrites because they once had Patrick playing for them. But if I mention George or Pennant’s misdemeanours to knock down your straw man I’m doing analogies.
    It’s perfectly possible that Everton were baddies on Tuesday and we were goodies; as it is perfectly possible that Stoke and United were both goodies on Sunday, but probably unlikely. However, to call folk hypocrites for reporting facts on Tuesday because of something that happened at Highbury in 1992 is crass. As I said, your poor, poor blogging of this item is a non sequitur.

  81. Percy
    I posted about ARSENAL players (plural) rather than Vieira (individual; singular) four times I think.

    Why do I have to repeat again?
    Look AGAIN at these posts of mine in order:
    and look at the tables.

    You will see that 1,233 cards in total have been issued to Arsenal players from day one of the Premiership til now.
    (Not just to Vieira.)

    Why does it take 5 times for you to understand?
    Arsenal are not “whiter than white”, Percy. No team is.

    What the hell has George or Pennants’ misdemeanors have to do with yellow and red cards?
    Stick to the subject.


  82. I’m sorry I missed this discussion. I agree with alot of the points regarding Arsenal being hard done by.

    I particularly liked:
    April 17, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Because it is rascism. Rascism first and foremost against our French manager and this translates to the players – why else does Jack Wilshere, one of the best English players, get fouled with such impunity?

    Why is that Arsenal, even when not challenging for the title, get a more negative treatment by the referee establishment than Manchester City, who last season and this season were challenging the great and unholy one, Sir Alex.

  83. “Why is that Arsenal, even when not challenging for the title, get a more negative treatment by the referee establishment than Manchester City, who last season and this season were challenging the great and unholy one, Sir Alex.”

    Sav from Australia,
    Really well framed question.
    I think they want a two-team model provided that one is Manchester United and it wins 2/3 or 3/4 times, or so. They need the illusion of a competition to keep up interest, and it takes two to tango, hence City as a petro-club are doubly acceptable. But Arsene is Jean l’Etranger, ouis; and Arsene has been a vocal critic of many of the league’s unchallenged practices (including posing various models from self-sustaining to project youth to relative wage parity to bringing in full video technology to an open critique of the eternal lack of competitiveness and fiscal disproportionality in the EPL table (the latter in two interviews with the Times of London and the Daily Mail)–I.html

  84. Big Al

    SO you are simply giving a factual statistic to show that Arsenal have the highest number of cards. That’s it? On what basis then were your accusations of hypocrisy made to those who felt Everton played ‘dirty’ (or were allowed to play dirty)?

    No.I am not treating Arsenal as a special case in this instance at all. No club can be shown to be dirty or clean on the basis of the stats you put forward. My basis of calling Everton ‘dirty’ was not quantitative but qualitative. You may disagree, that’s fine, but the data you introduced into the discussion is irrelevant, and your seeming belief in your moral superiority over the ‘hypocrites’ as you brand us is illustrative in itself.

  85. @Al, actually I have been away quite a bit in the last few weeks. No access to a computer and hardly the time to post anyway if I had. I turn up here whether we win or lose, makes no difference to me.

    The Everton match was the first I’d watched without interruption for a while. Must say the first ten minutes we were timid and Everton were far too physical by modern football standards. I think they were testing the ref as well as the team to see how far they could go.

    A draw seemed a fair result. Maybe if we’d had a few more minutes we’d have won as we were very much in the ascendant at the final whistle.

    What I found strange was why Wenger played Wilshire when a few days before he said he’d brought him back too early and yet he’s playing him again. Rosicky should have played in his place I think.

  86. @Rufusstan, that kind of 70’s football, hit ’em hard, argue with the ref later, wouldn’t work these days.

    Thing is Leeds had a great team and didn’t need to use excessive violence.

    I think one poster misunderstood when I said they were brutal with Southampton. What I meant was they were clinically merciless, not rough in the tackle, they didn’t need to be in that game. They were showboating and their fans loved it. It was cruel to see a team so humbled, even worse than when we got thumped by Milan last year.

  87. from where i sat/stood I thought Everton were tough and a bit rough in the first half (it calmed down a little in the second) but I preferred their ‘northern’ approach to the likes of Norwich/Sunderland/Blackburn et al who just come to the Grove to ‘park the bus’. Moyes is a good tactician who sets his teams to match the opponent. Its not often pretty but it is effective. It was a competitive game and, i think, a good point. It doesn’t hurt us to have a physical challenge and crumble in the face of it once in a while. Hopefully it will serve us well for the last push to CL places.

  88. Racism directed against Wenger. Really? Why not against Mancini. He’s not English. Neither is Fergie for that matter. I think some people are way off the mark with this racism angle.

    Bad refereeing, sure. There’s plenty of it, in every game. It’s not just Arsenal that suffer, even Manu have had some dodgy decisions. In fact this happens in every game. Every time I go and watch Oxford the ref and his assistants seem to make about a dozen bad calls a game. Of course some of this could just stem from my bias, that is I want Oxford to win.

    Arsenal attempt to play a more thoughtful game than most English teams, that is they try to employ a more continental style. So it’s rather like trying to hang a painting in a gale force wind. Unfortunately the wind disturbs the process but that’s part of the challenge, not made easy by lenient refereeing on many occasion.

    Have Arsenal always played that way? I’d argue not. Our best team I’d say was the 98 team which had an exceptional blend of talent and steel. That was fluent attacking football. I see precious little of that with the current team. Often too slow in the build up and then too hesitant in the final third. There are too many “clumsy” type players like Gervinho, Giroud and Mertesacker. They all have some very good moments but they are prone to being sloppy.

    As for this debate about the amount of cards we have had since Alex James (not the guy from Blur for those who have no knowledge of our history) strutted his stuff it seems a bit pointless. We had plenty of players under Wenger who were capable of being dirty, Vieira, Petit and especially Bergkamp, much as I think he’s the greatest player I’ve seen at Arsenal since Liam Brady (not the moors murderer for those etc.), he was a bit of a cheat at times. There are 11 players in a team, it’s statistically impossible that they’re all going to possess the conscience of Mother Teresa.

  89. @Big Al

    “The more games one watches the more one understands the game, obviously”.

    Only up to a point. Simply watching lots football does not qualify you above someone who has watched fewer matches.

    Anyhow I personally find the noticeable absentee of Man Utd in those stats a more revealing aspect for debate.

  90. There is an inherent anti-French bias prevalent in England generally, and this is much more pronounced in the parochial football circle. An Italian man will not be associated with the same stereotypical ‘slurs’ cast on a Frenchman.

    That said, I do think the broad accusations of racism are off the mark. I think it is more to do with what Wenger has done/is doing. He challenged (and changed) the traditional ‘British’ way of doing things. And now he’s challenging the system where money conquers all. If Wenger had gone along with the spend till you drop brigade, he wouldn’t face the same level of censure. Even if he hadn’t won anything while doing it, regardless of how that would be a bigger failure.

    That is also the reason, I think Arsenal are targeted by referees. The league thrives on the hype it generates as the richest league, buying the biggest players. Arsenal go contrary to that image. If Arsenal succeed in winning without going down that route, the league loses it’s ‘identity’. (marketing potential) or at least will have to try and come up with a new identity. Which would be risky. So why risk it? Ensure Arsenal don’t win, and keep reminding everyone of that fact till you break their resistance to doing things another way. It’s just business.

  91. @Shard, interesting theory over the league losing its identity if a team doesn’t spend big and then succeeds. Have to say I think that’s nonsense, excuse my bluntness. To think that refs care about the league’s stature seems bizarre. The real stage for the big English teams is the CL. That’s when the rest of Europe really take notice. And despite the vast sums spent by Chelsea and City on players neither have shone in the CL this season. What happens in our league is being overshadowed anyway by the Spanish and German leagues this year. That’s where the exceptional talent is though I think Chelsea have the best set of young players in England.

    I think Wenger is becoming a footnote in modern football. I don’t think people are that fascinated with him anymore. Sure if he can win the league again with little financial outlay then he’ll be back in the public eye again. And contrary to your belief I think he’ll actually get more praise than opprobrium for doing so.

    As for the English disliking the French, bit of a broad statement. Yes there’s always been some dislike of the French but that happens with most neighbouring countries and just how serious is it? It’s a bit of a joke for many and hardly amounts to racism. In fact if there’s one race the English seem to have more dislike of it’s the Scots. Personally I find this sort of dislike abhorrent and extremely childish.

  92. @Shard

    Totally agree with your analysis.



    The refs don’t “care” about the league’s stature.

    But they do “care” about keeping their jobs, and/or climbing the ladder.

    I beleive Premier League Refs have become errand boys sent to carry out the orders from above. Both applying and ignoring the laws of the game when it suits that agenda.

  93. @Rupert


    You get on, as a Ref, if you apply the rules as set out by those in power.

    If you fail to apply those rules then relegation to the lower leagues, as has happened to some Refs, can be viewed as a form of punishment.

  94. @Tasos, Ok, seems a standard way of progressing in life. I’m not sure what you think those in power are instructing refs to do.

    Maybe you think they want Arsenal to lose. Strange then that we got awarded a penalty against Norwich which the ref needn’t have given or that Mertesacker got away with tugging an Everton player in our penalty area. Or maybe I’m misunderstanding what you’re inferring.

  95. If you watched the Norwich game you would’ve noticed it was the Refs assistant who gave the penalty.

    The Ref chose to ignore the incident even though it took place right in front of him.

  96. @Rupert

    Yes he can but ultimately the aim is for the officials to come to the correct decision, no matter who gives the decision.

    The real debate is why the ref failed to acknowledge the incident when it happened under his nose.

  97. Because he either didn’t see it, didn’t think it was obvious who started tugging first, has seen so many similar incidents he is loathe to give a penalty or he’s a bad ref. One of those four probably.

    If every ref was against us we would even have the points we have now. And if you want a successful campaign against us you’d have to make sure the assistants are on your side, you can’t have them doing what that one did in the Norwich game. It would have to be such a monumental conspiracy involving so many variables it would be far too risky to implement.

    Never mind the utter ridiculousness of somehow singling out Arsenal for victimization.

  98. @Rupert

    I’m not sure why I’m bothering to debate with your good self.

    I have formed an opinion based on witnessing something I consider untoward in the EPL over a period of time. The Referees are only one part of that untoward process.

    You obviously disagree and that’s fine.

    Although why you feel the need to be so completely contrary to everything posted on this site is beyond My comprehension.

  99. rupert

    The assistant referees are not full time employees of the PGMOL, and as such, are under less pressure to follow ‘instructions’ (although the more ‘ambitious’ in the lot will be open to control) The ref can overrule the linesman, but the refs also have to appear to be fair. To overrule a linesman on a correct call would generate more controversy, although the media plays cover-up in such situations. Besides, it’s one incident in many. And moreover, the league’s interest is only one among a wide range of interest groups.

    The league does not earn money from the CL. The league earns money from the mammoth TV deal that they just signed. How English clubs fare in the CL is of no major concern to them as long as they keep the hype and drama around the league going and the money keeps coming in. If they cared about the English clubs in CL, they’d get the TV companies to move matches of CL clubs to Friday before CL matches, like is done in European countries, and they’d push for a winter break. In fact, they’d even try and get referees to follow the rules of football as practiced the world over, rather than sticking to (and promoting) it as something unique and propagating the myth that whoever falls victim to violent excesses are just sissies and moaners.

    The league doesn’t care about the clubs, doesn’t care about the CL, doesn’t even care about the long term future of itself. All they care about is the money that is coming in now. Arsenal represent a threat to this established system. Of course, you can believe it’s nonsense. You can also believe in leprechauns and elves and pixies, all working to make the world a fair, happy, place.

    And no, it isn’t meant to be a definite conclusion as to why Arsenal are being discriminated against (note I did not say solely discriminated) But it makes sense, because it is essentially the flip side of being ManU. They represent the established order and hence they get the favours they do (Yes I know all big teams get decisions their way in all sports. What happens here is beyond that unconscious bias).

  100. @Tasos, I’m sorry I think you’re too wrapped up in conspiracy theories.

    No, not contrary, I just have a different opinion. Refreshing, some would call it. Or opinionated. Aren’t we all though?

    Why on earth would the whole EPL in all its myriad branches be interested in scuppering poor old Arsenal? Why? It beggars belief.

    The reason we don’t win anything is because we don’t have 30 million pound players. We are finishing roughly where we should, fourth.

    There may well be the odd ref who favours our opponents on match day but let’s not pretend the whole establishment is out to get us.

  101. @Tasos, I’m sorry I think you’re too wrapped up in conspiracy theories.

    No, not contrary, I just have a different opinion. Refreshing, some would call it. Or opinionated. Aren’t we all though?

    Why on earth would the whole EPL in all its myriad branches be interested in scuppering poor old Arsenal? Why? It beggars belief.

    The reason we don’t win anything is because we don’t have 30 million pound players. We are finishing roughly where we should, fourth.

    There may well be the odd ref who favours our opponents on match day but let’s not pretend the whole establishment is out to get us.

  102. “Sure if he can win the league again with little financial outlay then he’ll be back in the public eye again. And contrary to your belief I think he’ll actually get more praise than opprobrium for doing so.”

    You’re misrepresenting what I said. I said if he spent money and still didn’t win, he would get less abuse than he does now in the media. Spending satisfies them, regardless of results. Because they too, like the league, thrive on the hype huge transfer fees generate. And yes, if he wins on a low budget, Wenger and Arsenal will get the praise. As a corollary, the heavy spenders will have some questions asked of them, as to whether it is the best model to follow, especially with the risks inherent in it. Questions the league would rather not have to answer. So better to not let Arsenal win with their ‘cheap’ ways.

    And this does not mean that Arsenal would have won the title this year or last or any year. But we’ve never been given a fair chance since at least 2007-08.

  103. @Shard, not doubting the league only care about money but Arsenal being successful is hardly going to ruin their world. What threat? No other team will copy Arsenal. Why? Because teams like Chelsea and City and Manu want to win the CL and you can’t do that on the cheap. You also can’t win the league on the cheap as our manager proves every year.

  104. “Why on earth would the whole EPL in all its myriad branches be interested in scuppering poor old Arsenal? Why? It beggars belief.”

    Ummm. Hello. I gave you a motive. Whether you agree with it or not is different. But it certainly doesn’t beggar belief.

    By the way, I’m not completely convinced that the establishment is determined to see us out of the top 4 (although Usmanov’s warning rings loud in my ear this season) Because Arsenal fans too, are bringing the league some big money. To destroy a big club completely would harm their interests. So they only go so far, but no further. Could they have helped us in finishing 4th?Perhaps. There have been one or two instances, but not enough to suggest that is their policy.

  105. @Rupert

    TBH Rupert I’ve reached the point with your good-self whereby any justifiable opinion you may have has become lost in your quagmire for contrary debate.

    By you simply disagreeing with the original opinion, as you have done on so many occasions on this site, I now view that as adding further justification to that persons point.

    And like others, I had also noticed that you have been conspicuous by your absence during Arsenal good run of form recently. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

    Shame really because you are clearly capable of intellectual debate when it suits you.

  106. No other team will copy Arsenal. Yes they will. If Arsenal’s way proves succesful, they will. Because Arsenal’s way offers less risk than the Chelsea/ManCity model. At the moment, the only way to criticise Arsenal’s model is that it doesn’t bring success. Which is what you do as well right here. Which is actually what the point is.

  107. And while having a young (not so much anymore), free scoring (ditto), brilliant passing football team, which has been assembled without spending billions of pounds is actually not going to harm the reputation of the league if they are smart about it, the league aren’t really smart anyway. They just like the status quo. Any change is uncalled for and unwelcome.

  108. Rupert, I agree completely about the 70’s stuff; just threw it out there as it was amusing (and a little scary).

    On the ref and penalty thing there are 3 scenarios you could make out:
    1). Ref ‘s view is blocked, so he gives nothing. Linesman sees it, so he goes with that decision.

    2). He sees it, decides its not a clear penalty, but the linesman has a different angle and persuades him it is.

    3). He sees it, chooses not to give the penalty. Once the linesman flags it up he figures its now too high profile to ignore and gives the penalty.

    We have no idea if which or if any are true.

    3 of course is the conspiracy theory, anti-Arsenal version.

    The issue with all of the stuff about referees is that the assumption is that we are in a situation where the only two options are utterly fair and completely corrupt.

    We seem to be looking for this sort of thing because of the feeling that we have been on the wrong end of so many similar decisions. It certainly is not just Arsenal. West Ham fans are going nus this morning about a certain person’s offside equaliser was given last night.

    You can go into the whys of it happening. Perhaps the PL or the TV companies subtly pressure for certain clubs to be successful. Perhaps its actual corruption from betting, who knows?

    If something is happening it certainly isn’t overt, both in the control or the decisions themselves. The PGMOL is not going to openly say to any ref: make sure —– wins tonight, but by the way refs are treated they will get the idea of who is to be favoured and who is to be subtly hindered.

    The refs themselves are not going to be overt either. They both: are not inherently corrupt, so probably don’t like skewing calls, and have no intention of making what is happening obvious, if for nothing else for the sake of their careers. All it takes is a few close decisions a game, or a slightly different approach to dealing with each team (same tackle is a foul for one; let go for the other) to have the impact they need.

    Saturday could very easily been a mismatch between the agendas of 2 officials. The ref skewing subtly against Arsenal, and the linesman deciding the game didn’t matter and calling it cleanly. The different calls forcing (or allowing) the ref to make the right call.

    I hope that everything above is wrong and I am simply playing Devil’s advocate and laying out a fictitious scenario.

    The problem I have is that the only rational alternative to this is that the referees are not up to (or capable of) the job. If this is the case, as Walter has pointed out so many times, why doesn’t the PGMOL do something about it: more refs, better training, more openness about decisions.

    Equally, why have the authorities tried so hard to keep the ref the single inviolate controller of the game, effectively hanging them out to dry in an age where everyone can see their mistakes and KNOWS they get things wrong all the time. At the same time they have dug their feet in so deeply against any technology that could help the referee, the sort of stuff that is routinely used in every other professional sport I can think of.

  109. Interesting debate about the refs and the why. And believe it or not I have been working a few days on this matter. Articles are ready now and will come online in the next days.
    A different view on the PL thanks to Italian eyes. Very Untold I would say.

    Articles written to make you think about certain things that are happening around us in the PL.

  110. Good evening and come off it now, Big Al. I get precisely what you’re at and I’ve addressed specifically your rather silly notion that folk here are hypocrites for highlighting Everton’s strongarm tactics; it’s hardly contentious – Moyes is on the record. And despite your protestations I have acknowledged both of your evidence pieces, namely Patrick and the total record from 1992 – please read more carefully and don’t wriggle by making deceitful statements.

    You say “What the hell has George or Pennants’ misdemeanours have to do with yellow and red cards?” It has nothing to do with that; it has to do with you comparing Arsenal’s Premier League disciplinary record with people commenting on Everton’s and the referee’s behaviour on Tuesday. How many times do I have to repeat that? Let me make another observation to debunk your position – am I a hypocrite for being angry at Dan Smith, Shawcross, Martin Taylor and Bradley Johnson because The Arsenal have picked up 68 reds in the EPL? It would seem so in your lexicon – two of them, by the way did not see red. So much for stats.

    The truth is that your position, and the arguments made by incompetent old pros over and over again, concerning historic behaviour is an invalid viewpoint. Although The Laws have not been changed to any great degree, the interpretation of those Laws, as directed by the decisions of the IFAB has meant that the behaviour of players and the duty of care they are required to show to their opponents, has changed dramatically over the last 20/30 years. Hardly a season goes by without a tweak that, whilst allowing contact to remain, requires that there is no ambiguity when endangering an opponent or perverting the ideals of fair play.

    Ironically, Wenger has changed his teams and their behaviour to reflect these moves but the PGMOL still has a long way to go. A blind, stupid donkey would be aware that a Tuesday game at The Emirates refereed by a Spanish official, is played to a different set of Laws than a Saturday afternoon game with a Foy or Swarbrick in the middle. Surely if you have watched every game since the old king was on the throne you would have noticed this, also.

    If Everton do get a European place does anyone think Moyes will respond at the press conference by warning his opponents that they have to expect his brand of Northern Football? This dereliction by the PGMOL is the reason why some of our refs make such fools of themselves in international competitions – look no further than Webb and Poll.

  111. Al, it is interesting that you pick part of Wenger’s press conference to justify your position. I’d prefer this bit, about Gibson:

    ‘Yes [he should have been sent off]. I never speak to the referee. I don’t know why [he wasn’t], honestly. He should have had a yellow card already before the first one.’

    Considering how careful managers have to be when speaking about referees, that is a pretty straight answer: Gibson earned 3 yellows and was awarded one.

    This is at the core of most people’s disagreements. Red and Yellow cards could be an effective measure of discipline, if they were awarded consistently. They simply are not.

    From Tuesday: Monreal crosses Naismith in the 93rd minute, little if any contact. The Everton player goes down; yellow card. Mirallas bodychecks Wilshere in the 22nd minute; not even a foul called.

    This sort of thing happens all of the time. How many times have you seen one team commit a number of fouls, the ref warn that the next foul will be a card. Of course the other team commits the next foul and gets the card. Not particularly fair, or a measure of what has happened.

    So many factors come into it: some refs decide cards on a player’s reputation. It seems to be a given that strikers are cut more slack. More physical teams seem to set the bar at a different level for some referees for some reason (see Tuesday), home VS away team, and so many other things. That is before you even get to any potential bias (same tackle made by Swansea and United players; do both get a yellow?).

    Its a complex situation, that cannot be reduced to simple statistics.

    One final example: If anyone remembers back in ’02 when Andy D’Urso sent Vieira off for 2 yellows against Chelsea. Replays showed that both were shaky fouls at best (first one Paddy made no contact; second the player kicked his foot and dived over him). They stand simply because D’Urso refused to reconsider his decision (the same week, Reilly of all people rescinded a second yellow on looking at the incident again). So at least 1 of Paddy’s red cards is only there because the ref refused to own up to a mistake.

  112. Rupert
    “The reason we don’t win anything is because we don’t have 30 million pound players. We are finishing roughly where we should, fourth.”

    Wrong. So who are the £30m players? You mean players like Cesc, rvp, nasri, clichy, adebayor, who were all sold for amounts close to that figure? Well, I can tell you we have such players right now; Jack, Theo, Santi, just to name a few. The difference is when Wenger gets these players he buys them cheap, while the other teams will pay those ridiculous amounts to take them away from us. They’re still the same players, their quality doesn’t necessarily shoot up because they cost £25m. Many city, barca & utd paid those figures coz they wanted to. In my view Arsenal is full of players who command sale figures in excess of £20m easily(obviously depends on who is buying). There are probably less than 20 players in the whole wide world who can be said to be really worth £30m. Some whole squads are assembled for less that, but they still play in the top tiers of their national leagues & some even in UEFA leagues . Don’t equate the price of a player with output on the pitch, its simply not true. I know some of our fans just want to see Wenger spend 30m on one player, and they’ll be happy.

  113. @Al, unfortunately some of those players you call 30 million pound players were not consistent for us. I think we got about half a great season out of Nasri. Adebayor was notoriously inconsistent, Clichy was good but not worth anything near 30 million. RVP, one great season. Fabs is a great loss.

    As for Cazorla, very good player but still a little inconsistent. Theo is not worth 30 million, no one in their right mind would pay over 20 million for him so expect to see him at City one day. Wilshire is invaluable.

    We do not have proven successful players. World stars? You could argue Cazorla, Sagna, though he can’t cross, and Podolski are but even Pod rarely starts. Wilshire is not world class yet but he’s close.

    Teams that spend the most win things. Name one team that’s won the league without heavy investment since Leeds.

  114. @Rufusstan, a very measured response. Personally I think it’s easy to call mistakes when you’re sitting watching and not actually refereeing yourself. Would even Walter be infallible were he refereeing?

    And yes there may well be refs that favour certain teams. Bob was convincing in his argument about bias against us but I have to temper every opinion with the natural bias that most supporters have for their team.

    I find Shard’s argument weird. Why on earth would it matter if Arsenal won the league? Even if they did, and I assure you they won’t unless they spend a fair sum of money, does that mean that Chelsea and City are going to change their strategy? I doubt it. They’d just buy more expensive players because on the whole you get what you pay for. Everybody, even most hardened Arsenal fans, are well aware we’re not going to win the league so sabotaging are games is pointless.

    And imagine if Arsenal won the league with a tiny financial outlay, how would that model work? It would work because Arsenal had a manager of the equal to Ferguson. And how many managers are his equal? You’d be hard pushed to find a manager anywhere who’s good enough to win our league without heavy investment. It won’t happen. It certainly won’t happen under Wenger.

  115. Rupert,
    I’m interested to know who these consistent players are that you seem to be hinting at. You know, the ones who never falter!

    As for naming a team that’s won the league without heavy investment since Leeds, I’d say Arsenal.

  116. Rupert
    Some of those 30m players were inconsistent for us you say, maybe, but so has some 35m or 50m players for other clubs. But the point was these players we had are/were rated 30m players by other clubs, while we got them for next to nothing. It all depends on whose point of view it is; in Wenger’s eyes a player who is worth 5m could be worth 30m in City’s eyes. Yes, the very same player. Can think of a few examples; Chelsea probably paid £10m more would’ve paid for Mata, and he would’ve still been the same player he is for chelsea for us. Or had Arshavin gone to Barcelona instead of joining us they could’ve paid twice what we paid.

    So next time Wenger decides to signs someone for £7m lets not rush to think because he didn’t cost anywhere near 30m then he must be average or rubbish, City or PSG, or even Liverpool, could’ve paid 30m for him. If our players are that rubbish why then do these so-called big & ambitious clubs keep coming to raid us of those same rubbish players. If it was true our players are rubbish they would be leaving us to join the likes of Stoke, but how many times has that happened in recent memory.

    We don’t have average or rubbish players, no. The reasons we have not been as competitive as we could possibly have are many; chief of them being the instability caused by these constant departures leaving Wenger trying to gel together a team of strangers each new season(could partly explain why our form in second half of the season is always title winning form as we would’ve found our rhythm). And of course the shambolic refereeing as we saw v Everton.

  117. Stuart, yes I agree that Arsenal are the only team I know that won the league without any heavy investment. Up to now I still don’t think we have paid more than 15m for a player, a record that was broken by Blackburn in the 90s, and subsequently by almost any side that has finished in the top 10 at some point since 2000.

  118. Thanks to the “nothern” style of football dished out by Moyes and Everton we have 3 players who are doubtful for tomorrows game.

  119. And that prick from Norwich who clattered deliberate and needless in to Fabianski also can rot wherever he wants to rot. I was sitting just behind our goal when it happened and I sure would have given a yellow card for it. The ref saw it and just let it go.

    And to inform you about Fabianski after the game as some say he rushed off the pitch. Well first of all he stood there jumping like a mad man celebrating the win and I think deservedly enjoying his own contribution to the win.
    But then I think with the tension and adrenaline flowing out of his body he started feeling the impact of the clattering with said prick and I presume in anger and disbelief for this injury he ran inside not believing his bad luck for getting injured after such a good game from him. Instead of using this good performance as a stepping stone to cement his place in goal I think he knew it could be the end because of his injury.

    But don’t worry Fabianski celebrated the win in Szczesny style at the end of the game.

  120. Oh dear. That was always a worry after the Everton mugging, which players are these(those that are doubtful for our next match).

  121. Al,

    Santi, Jack and The Ox are doubtful. Rosicky also still having a test today to see if he can start.

  122. @Al I never said our players are rubbish. Just because we do not have a team groaning with exceptional talent does not mean we have a squad lodged at the other end of the spectrum.

    I don’t recall any of our players that you call being 30 million pound players being sold for anywhere near that with the exception of Cesc. Please refresh my memory for I maybe wrong. (When I say near that total I’m talking within 3 million of that price seeing as we quibble over a million when we buy someone I think I’m being reasonable).

    We’ll have to differ on why we don’t win anything. Refs don’t cost us 20pts a season, the gap between us and the champions which it seems is becoming a habit. Also we’ve lost a couple of players but those players were key I grant you but then we didn’t need to genuflect to the mighty Fergie and offer him RVP which virtually assured them the title and us our annual skirmish for fourth. Poor business by Arsenal.

    Whatever you think of this current squad, and I think it’s not too bad, it’s not going to win us the league or the CL. It can’t even win a minor competition like the League Cup.

    @Stuart, we invested fairly heavily at the time to win the league, no we didn’t buy 30 million players but then nobody did in England back then, that started a couple of years later. The sort of investment a team needs to win the league these days is astronomical and only Fergie is a good enough manager to do it slightly cheaper than City or Chelsea. And how I loathe admitting that.

  123. Rupert,
    Nasri, Ade, Rvp were all sold for around £25m not far from your 3m,+/. Theres not much difference there between 25 & 30 anyway, the price could start at 30 depending on the bargaining skills of the buyer that can go down to 25 or stay at 30.

    Regarding your comments about not costing us any points, well, I don’t really know what to say. No player was offered to noone, they’re all mercenaries who dumped the team that made them for teams they’re not even assured of a first team place. All of them except Fabregas. And its not Wenger’s fault they’re that way inclined.

  124. @Al, yes but they’re not 30 million pound players are they? And seeing as we are loathe to spend a few extra million for a decent player I think my point is valid. And judging by Nasri and Adebayor’s performances since leaving Arsenal 30 million would be way too much to pay for them.

    Most footballers are mercenaries. I’ve no idea why any player has to swear allegiance to a team that isn’t meeting his expectations. My wife will leave her company if they don’t match her ambition or wage demands, she’s done so once. People seem to forget that footballers are primarily employees, they’re not supporters.

    And I wouldn’t be so soft on Cesc, his behaviour was hardly exemplary when he wanted a move back to Barca.

    Certainly I imagine if we still had Nasri, Cesc, RVP and Song we’d be comfortably in the top three. And will we see the same exodus of high profile players again? Probably if we don’t start winning things.

  125. Rupert, the irony is that it’s those players who didn’t win things so it’s only them to blame really and looking at the sustained and repetitive periods of success they’ve all enjoyed since leaving us (that’s sarcasm by the way) you can see it definitely has something to do with them.

    Another irony in the comments above is the argument over player values. If someone could enlighten me as to what makes a player worth £30 Million that would be great.

  126. @Stuart, well seeing as I think footballers are vastly overpaid and transfer fees are ludicrous I can hardly argue that any player is worth 30 million. If you asked me who I’d spend that money on if I were manager of Arsenal with unlimited funds I’d say maybe Aguero and Tevez. There’d be very few I’d buy from the EPL. Lampard and Terry at their peaks even though I find them loathsome individuals.

    True those players never won anything with us but then perhaps without them we’d have not done as well as we did. Who can tell?

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