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August 2021

Nerves, smoke bombs, time wasting, Everton and upcoming games.


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Sometimes it has to be admitted – football can be very bad for one’s health.

For this game I had nerves, not so much nerves about what would happen against Everton, but rather nerves in terms of what might happen thereafter if we lost.  The shadow of Man City and Chelsea hangs over me, and I dreaded the collapse.  It is not that I don’t have faith, it is just that for some reason on 8 December 2013 I started  to feel a trifle fatalistic.

I suppose it is the memory of the end of the 49 match run (where truly we were unbeatable), on 24 October 2004.   We lost to Man U (as of course you know) to end the run that day, and then only won one game in the next five.  One win in six (including the Man U defeat) was not championship form even if that win was a 5-4 away victory over Tottenham.  The season was lost at that point.

So it was that I found myself thinking, surely this couldn’t happen again.  OK we have not been on an invincible run, but it has been a very good run, and a four point lead at the top is not to be taken lightly.     But a defeat to Everton, I feared, might lead to a defeat to Man City and Chelsea, and it would be hard then to pick up the momentum in the event of such a set of disasters.

As it was it looked, from my position in the north bank upper, a very different sort of game from those which we have been seeing.  Everton played at a high tempo indeed, but I couldn’t believe they would be able to keep it up – and indeed their record as the arch-draw-specialist in the league suggests just that.    (Strange isn’t it that the papers are still pointing out that they have only lost once all season, whereas the more telling point is just how many times they draw.   That’s the factor that keeps them down in fifth place and not fighting with the big boys.)

What I did like however was Wenger’s willingness to do a triple substitution – not something we see too often.   It gave a sense of extra drama not just to this match, but to the whole concept of the new top-of-the-league Arsenal.  We have invented a new style of rotational play in midfield which clearly many clubs can’t cope with.  And now we get rotation of the team by changing 30% of it part way through a game.

But it was sad, given what Everton threw into the game, to see them returning to the old Bolton Wanderers approach of time wasting.  The ref flourished a card at Howard but it was more a rap on the knuckles for a silly child.  The ref knew, Howard knew, we knew that there could never be red to follow it for further time wasting, so he carried on as before.

So where does it leave us?   Ready for Napoli in a much better frame of mind than had we lost.   Mentally I suspect everyone will be able to pick themselves up, Mr Wenger will be able to make the right selection of players, and we’ll bamboozle Naples.

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Given the choice of course I would have chosen a win yesterday, but given another choice I’d sooner have a draw here against Everton and a draw or a win against  Napoli to secure an easier game in the first knock out round of the Champions’ League.Indeed, having lived through the Unbeaten Season, its precursors and its aftermath, I really do find myself full of the same excitement and nervousness as during that era.   Draws, I’m feeling, are not only better than defeats in terms of getting one point, they are so much better than defeat psychologically.

So what if we got draws against Napoli, Man City and Chelsea – we would be top of our Champions League group, and top of the premier league, and ready to march forward into the new year to see off the Tiny Totts in the FA Cup.  Yes our lead of five points would be slipping, but we’d still be there and ready to race forwards I feel.

Of course wins would be nicer, especially in the Premier League, but I’m willing to have a bit of consolidation this Christmas, if it leaves us ready to march forward again in the New Year.Just a final thought on the blue smoke bomb.

That’s two matches we have these go off at the Emirates this season, which suggests that the stewards have not got a clue how to stop them getting in. Will Arsenal do anything about it, or will it be just a lot worry, telling us all how bad and dangerous it is (as if we didn’t know)?   A third smoke bomb this season will make the Emirates look like a soft touch – unless Arsenal acts now against the visiting clubs.   Punishing all supporters of a club for ten people’s stupidity is not nice, but sometimes is the only way if everything else fails.

Here’s the league table.   Sorry, there doesn’t seem to be a place for Tottenham in it.

Man City

38 comments to Nerves, smoke bombs, time wasting, Everton and upcoming games.

  • Big Dunc

    You were lucky to get a draw against us you deluded fool.

    You were outplayed on your own patch

  • My sentiment exactly. We added 1 point to our lead against a team that had robbed Chelsea and Man Yoo of 3. Also, this was point neutral as we also drew them 0-0 at the Emirates during our fantastic end of season run.

    I’m happiest that we have no injuries from the rather physical encounter.

    Onward to Naples!

  • tamilgooner

    Hi ,
    was it just me or were Everton getting away with a lot of fouls in the first half ?
    Even wilshere got hit badly once IIRC …
    Everton are not positive – they waste time , foul , and then play for draws more often than not . This is definitely not a title-contender team IMO .
    Fair play to our lads for a draw .

    PS: problem with loan players is that they are a short term boost . You develop players for some other team . Next year Everton will go back to mid table without them and without developing their own youth players .

  • nicky

    A host of subs brought on by both sides in the second half, time wasting by Howard booked by Webb and ONLY 3 MINUTES TIME ADDED ON!!

  • menace

    Corrupt practices in football.

    The rules in The Premier League limit the number of players in each teams squad. If you have more than the declared number of players, it is an offence and can have an adverse effect on the club in the League.

    Players on loan that are contractually bound not to play against their parent club must be seen as part of the parent clubs squad. The loaning clubs have in effect additional players that can impact the League results. For example, by fouling ‘with intent’ to injure protagonist players prior to the protagonist playing against the parent club(s). This is unacceptable in any fair system. The loaning of players must be made to other leagues and must be allowed to play as a fully fledged squad member in cup competitions. Loaning of players within the same league must count as bona fide members of the parent (loaning) club.

    In the recent game Everton had at least 3 loanees (Lukaku, Barry & Delofeu). Barry fouled Ozil with intent on a few occassions and was eventually booked. What his intentions were are a matter of concience, but should not be given the opportunity to occur. Lukaku might have escaped a similar fate even though he was off side leading up to the Everton equaliser. In each case the parent clubs are in direct competition with Arsenal and could benefit from any injury or ‘discomfort’ caused by their loaned players.

    The system allows wealthy clubs to ‘own’ excess players and have them representing a false truth by wearing another clubs shirt. In effect with the 15 players available on match days plus the 5 or more players on loan, a club could actually be represented by 20 or more players weekly in the Premier League……….and we go looking for players that throw games and call them corrupt?

  • Oliver

    Everton were impressive on the ball but, yes, there was persistent fowling from them. MOTD didn’t other to pick any of it up.

  • JohnW

    Its called rotational fouling, a system which a few years ago was being used by ManU whenever they played against Arsenal. I have a feeling that Theo should have started upfront, he would have been more of a threat against Howard. Not complaining about the point, it proved me right, that we will have a positive result against manC. I hope Arsene tests Ramsey, Wilshire, Arteta and ozil on Wednesday and unleash them on saturday lunchtime.

  • Yes, it was an exciting match for any neutral football fans like me. But what really interest me is the way Roberto Martinez interprets the outcome of the game.

    Just minutes before kick off Roberto Martinez was questioned how he has set up his team following the win against Man Utd.
    And what he told quite astonishing.

    He told that he expects an open game with end to end football and that substitutes are really important for the end score.

    90 minutes later, everything he said materialized. I really expect Roberto Martinez to take Everton to the next level. Champions League football next season? Nobody can rule them out.

  • Jax

    Time wasting isn’t really a big issue is it. OK, it’s a negative tactic, but when we scored with ten minutes to go Howard’s slow goal kicks etc. looked a bit like a bonus. I remember Tim Krull doing this for the whole of one match until we scored right near the end and RvP got into his face and said “Time waste now”. I think they were good value and had the best player on the pitch in Barkley who made Wilshire look rather pedestrian. Not a bad result and the first of four testing matches. We are in excellent health and looking good to go all the way with the leading pack (probably as leader) for a change.

  • Big Dunc – thank you for your detailed and well researched analysis, full of interesting examples and resounding logic.

  • bob

    really interesting, out of the box thinking.

  • AL

    seconded, very good analysis. Looking at who we play next, Barry’s persistent fouling of Ozil suddenly makes sense.

  • nicky

    I can’t make up my mind about Giroud. On the one hand he is good in the air, holds the ball up well, is industrias and not afraid to track back and help the defence.
    It’s when the ball is at his feet and there’s little space around him that my heart sinks. He is just not very good in that position…a bit like Gervinho was, a fumbler.
    Or am I over-critical?

  • nicky

    “industrias” should read “industrious”. Sorry.

  • Va Cong

    Nicky your being picky he keeps get barged into most of the time. If that last attempt on goal went it you’d be say by eck son that’s amazeballs! And wet yourself!

  • Va Cong

    Big dunc you are amazeballs with that analysis

  • nicky,

    As the resident honourary president of the Untold Arsenal Giroud fans’ club, yes you are being over-critical.

    Giroud is great at what he does and his selflessness is probably is best attribute.

    And how did you miss that last minute shot that hit the top right corner of the post? I have always felt good about Giroud; I continue to do so.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Slightly off-topic: a Scottish newspaper comment somewhere that UK was treated to a sumptuous continent and high grade tactical football in our game against Everton. I totally agree.

    Upon checking the league table today, I found that only one team, Liverpool, among the top 6 EPL teams is being coached by a Briton. The rest all have continental coaches.

    Is success driven capitalist money trying to tell English football something that it has consistently refused to notice, acknowledge or take to heart?

  • nicky

    I didn’t miss his woodwork shot near the end and you feel I’m being over-critical. OK, point taken. I’m always open to correction.

  • TommieGun

    Off-Topic II (not even slightly) –

    I posted here a week ago about Arik Einstein, Israel’s no. 1 singer who passed away and was a die hard Arsenal fan since he was 10 (which was 1949).

    Today I read that the club will honor his memory and he will mentioned in the program for the Crystal Palace match on 2.1.2014.


  • Unfortunate, we had to draw against everton, Manchester city , Chelsea and Barcelona all in the same match.

    Watford was crapped on a lot last season because they had a high number of loaded players 10+ for a championship side then what about the premier league ? Where will be the cap ? What if everton make it to CL this yr and then find next yr they cant retain the same loan players or cant buy – like they cant because of their british owner whom none of the papers throw mud at for not spending on the team , which the papaers do to foreign owners- and they cant make it out of the CL group phase or worse the play offs (loan deals are decided during end of TW and qualifier is over by then)??? wont that reduce English teams UEFA country coefficient leading to unfavourable draws for all EPl teams ?? wouldn’t the FA care then ?

    Yes, I am sick to the back tooth that a Barcelona player equalised from a Chelsea players overhead miss kick in an Arsenal vs Everton game.

  • morrisefc

    Sorry lads but you made 13 fouls to our 11. So your cry of persistent fouling does not stand up! And you got away with a lot as well thanks to Webb! So come on take off those wenger tinted glasses, it was a great game between what i think are the two of the best sides in the league.

  • gouresh

    i could not watch the game for the 1st 60 mins as i was driving back with my family from Reading after a Christmas party. listining to bbc radio channel 909, they kept repeating that Everton has 60% possession but they cannot make the final pass + we have this idiot Big Dunc saying the same. my wife also asked me why is this? i gave her my explainaltion which is, we have a Wednesday game where we HAVE to top the group and plus if we press up high, that takes a lot of energy and also, since they have Lukaku, he can easily out muscle and out both our CB’s.

  • gouresh

    sorry my remaining comment: hence we allowed them to play and have possession. having said that Everton played well it was a good game overall. i wonder what will happen next yr when these loaned players move back to their parent club.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    I thought our best player was Koscielny.
    The midfielders should have tried to keep possession at times, but both “wingers” (Cazorla, who did a lot of defensive work), and Wilshere) could not pin the opposing fullbacks at bay.
    Lukaku should have gotten a yellow, as he is a bad actor, and he did trip Laurent K.
    The key moments of the game were the last five minutes of the first half, whereby we wasted golden opportunities when we outpaced the high tempo of the Toughies or Toffees.
    As to Martinez, he is a better coach than Moyes, but without loanees, he could be coaching another Wigan. The commentators were fawning about Gareth Barry, but he was mostly conspicuous for massaging Ozil’s ankles repeatedly, so I am happy we did not go for him, as Flamini is a far better footballer.

  • WalterBroeckx


    PENALISED fouls that is of course. That is not the same as fouls 😉 If you understand what I am saying.

  • Thanks for that piece, did you copy from me?? Ha ha ha ha ha just joking but if you look into the archives Everton murinho/Ghana I mentioned the same thing. if we get the draws in our three games we will be right in there. Fingers crossed

  • rantetta

    Good point, Menace.

    ​I’m glad to note that Arsène actually mentioned Everton’s constant fouling, unpunished:

  • WalterBroeckx

    By the way did you guys started singing: Özil lalalalalalala 😉

  • AL

    Wenger has been refusing to comment about refs and other teams lately, choosing to focus on our team’s performance only. But yesterday he came out and mentioned the constant fouling by Everton, and how it helped them when they were not punished. And you hear some try to argue Webb had a superb game.

  • double canister

    I guess Wenger said it because it has become quite common for teams to do this tactic against us. ManU are the ultimate masters of it.

    He has to make a stand and even the bloody media will notice it eventually, but MOTD had the Kleenex out for the Toffees game plan.

  • stekito

    Forget about this week, Arsenal’s real test this season will come in two tough months that will determine whether they win the league or finish outside the top four. February and March are looking like months from hell given arsenal’s small squad. Facing bogey teams and title contenders in quick succession, it will be interesting to see where Arsenal end up after these fixtures…..especially with Champions league and probably FA cup fixtures in between these games.

    FEBRUARY 2014
    Arsenal v Crystal Palace
    Liverpool v Arsenal
    Arsenal v Man Utd
    Arsenal v Sunderland

    MARCH 2014
    Stoke v Arsenal
    Arsenal v Swansea
    Tottenham v Arsenal
    Chelsea v Arsenal
    Arsenal v Man City

    APRIL 2014
    Everton v Arsenal

    So without a good lead heading into these fixtures, will Arsenal make the top four this season? Can Arsenal avoid the similar slump they had in 2008 and win the title? Time to stop celebrating half way and really think if Arsenal can make it to the end. Let’s wait for Feb and March and see if you guys are real contenders. You might just get knocked out of all competitions at that point and go another year without a trophy. We’ll see. But speaking as a neutral i hope Arsenal can win something this year. Eight years and that goal at Norwich deserve to end with a trophy.

  • OMGArsenal

    Big Dunc…..where are you? I think I hear your mommy calling you because its time for your hourly enema. But as Tony already said, your insightful analysis and erudite arguments have contributed so much to UA’s blog that we will invite you back when you are out of your diapers and able to actually display rational thought…maybe in another 50 years?
    Morrisefc… was a great game, end-to-end and hotly contested….thank God Everton will likely take more points off Cheatski,United,Shitty, Liverpool and the Spuds before this season is over….from what I saw, they could be the dark horse slipping into a Top 4 place in 2013-14!

  • para

    @Big Dunc
    Yes we were outplayed in the first half of the first half, no need to be disrespectful to drive home a point that is true, or are you not really that sure?
    But the rest of the game was not Everton’s by any means. I respect and like Everton and their new manager, and wish them to get Europe this season.

  • para

    I do agree with you about Giroud, and there is no such thing as over criticizing. This is indeed a part of Giroud, and no doubt he and AW is working on that in training. This does not make him a bad player, neither does this make you a bad supporter. It would be really sad if we cannot criticize our beloved players, after all they are capable of “not being perfect” just like the rest of us.

  • AL

    Thank you for highlighting the injustices of the fixtures list in February and March,and wishing us good luck this season. you’ll also find it interesting to note that Arsenal are the only team that will be facing teams in title contention back to back like that(obviously we will be facing tougher teams in the CL too in between those games). Throw in the encounter with Spurs in the FA cup and January, which was the only month that was looking a bit easy, is now starting to look like another do or die month. So in short, from this past weekend till April, Arsenal will be facing do or die games almost every week. Thank you very much to whoever arranges these fixtures.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Have we forgotten that we struggle with Everton for many years at home? Last year a 0-0, the season before a wonder goal from the traitor to win it with 1-0, another draw the season before if I remember correct, so they do tend to make it difficult for us @the Emirates

  • jay

    Wow sounds like Arsenal we’rent even playing anyone here? Most one-sided report ive ever read!

    Arsenal played very well but so did Everton, draw a fair result. Dont be so biased.

    Ps Fouls happen in every match, just ask Barkley, who was fouled more than a few times. Flamini and Arteta tried and failed to hack down Barkley and Lukaku but couldne get near them!