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Beating an Angstgegner is difficult

By Walter Broeckx

In a way Manchester United is something that the Germans would call ‘ein Angstgegner’. I don’t really think there is an English equivalent for this word. Even in my mother language we use the German word to describe it. It means a team you love so much to beat that it gets difficult to beat and in the end you end up losing to them no matter how and what you try to do.

A bit like the English have with Germany. Loving to beat them. Desperate to beat them. But even before kick off you get that feeling: oh no, they will probably win at the end of the match. And when this settles in your mind you are already in trouble before kick off. It also happened for many years when we played that former Middlesex team. They just knew they wouldn’t win unless the unexpected would happen.

This is what happens when you play your ‘Angstgegner’. And maybe Manchester United is some kind of Angstgegner for Arsenal. Ever since game 50. Maybe since the three seasons of being runners up.  Maybe since the 70s when the unofficial London Branch of the Man U Supporters clubs created havoc at London games.

Certainly the feeling of being robbed that day at the end of the 49 still lingers on. No matter what you just know that you will get robbed on some stage. And so you go in to a game with already a not completely confident mindset.

And it can even get worse. When you play your Angstgegner when you have just had the worst performance of the season.  Then confidence is already on a very low of course.  And then playing a team that even without playing brilliant manages to beat you more than you like it is the worst case scenario.

That is why I said in my preview that things might get scrappy. And by scrappy I mean the final result of the match. A 0-0 is not what I had hoped for. I had hoped to win it 1-0. But feared the worst at the back of my head. This could have been a day that the old Angstgegner would come to put confidence to the lowest point possible.

So I knew it would be difficult before kick off. But in a way I thought the performance was not bad at all. If you look at the statistical side of things you can see that we had far more of the possession. We had more shots in total and on goal.  Apart from two times when we got caught in possession in a dangerous position we didn’t gave anything to Manchester United.

We did enough to win the game apart from scoring. That is the big regret I have and I think we all share. A win would have been so sweet but somehow we failed in front of goal.

But as this was our Angstgegner I just feel happy that we didn’t lose. Because that could have happened any other day.

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There were lots of positive things to take from this match. Certainly if you compare it with last weekend’s performance. Apart from the two mentioned mistakes the focus of the whole team was spot on. Each and every player was working really hard.

The media helped by the non-existing part of our fans have clearly started a new campaign. The “Özil is a flop” campaign. Now the media and the non-existing part of our fans have said for years that it all was because Wenger wouldn’t spend the money that we won nothing. So Arsenal buying Özil was a shock to their system.  The fact that Arsenal was top for 20 weeks or so was another shock to their system. We were supposed to be where Manchester United is now. According to their knowledge and insights.

The media and the non-existing part of our fans then tried to change their song and said that it was because of their pressure that Wenger bought Özil. Forgetting that for many years we didn’t have the money to buy such top top quality players and that this summer was the first summer that we finally had the money. And that such a top top quality player was available.

Apparently we tried to buy Suarez but it failed. Because Liverpool didn’t let him go. So it is not that much that we didn’t want to spend the money it was also the problem that you must have 3 involved parties to agree with a transfer. The same can be said about Draxler this winter transfer market. But the one thing that remains is that we will not pay over the odds and follow the route of the teams that are kept afloat by money from outside the game.

But now the media and the non-existing part are trying to undermine Özil. A player who before the season is over has already done better than a player like Silva in his first season. Scoring more goals and giving more assists. In fewer games. Nobody called Silva a flop. But in order to undermine Arsenal they do this with Özil.  And this is where it gets really stupid because after years of crying to spend the money and when we spend it they admit that it was bad spend money. Or try to give that impression of course. As long as we can bash Arsenal we will bash them seems to be the most important thing for some.

And the non-existing brainless part of our fans repeat the lines from the media without trying to look if the media have a point or not. In my opinion Özil has been immense in his first season and the biggest problem he has for the moment is that because of the injuries around him of Walcott and Ramsey in particular he doesn’t find the players who will make the runs at the right time.  The most important thing for me will be the return of Ramsey this season. He will be the man that will bring extra energy to this team. And I do admit that I am counting the days till he is back in the team.

Now we can forget about the PL for some 9 days. And when the PL comes back I will be there in London to support the Gunners. In the first game of the run in. Can’t wait to be there.

How Arsenal fans almost destroyed a wonderful player



18 comments to Beating an Angstgegner is difficult

  • HenryB

    A really super Post, Walter, and I totally agree with the sentiments expressed, 🙂

    The only thing I did not understand was the reference to ‘non-existing fans’ as in the sentence;

    ‘The media helped by the non-existing part of our fans have clearly started a new campaign.’

    Can you define what you mean by a non-existing fan is, please? 🙂

  • HenryB

    By the way, that other word ‘angstgegner’ sums up the phenomenon of ‘opponent fear’ very well. and I have never previously heard/seen it.

    In cricket, a batsman who gets out a lot to a particular bowler, is known as the bowler’s bunny. Not as ‘authoritative’ as the German word ‘angstgegner’ but a bunny is derived from the word ‘rabbit’ so they are very similar. 🙂

  • Brickfields Gunners


    a feeling of dread,anxiety, or anguish. acute but nonspecific sense of anxiety or remorse

    2.(in Existentialist philosophy) the dread caused by man’s awareness that his future is not determined but must be freely chosen .

    I do agree that the is some form of a mental block when we face ManUre , especially in the last 10 seasons or so.

    I await the day we overcome this and start whipping them regularly !

  • WalterBroeckx

    As they also say in some parts of the world: regnew emalb lliw emos


  • HenryB

    Some will always blame, Wenger, especially those ‘non-existing’ fans. Bit like the Walking Dead? 🙂

  • Rupert Cook

    I don’t think we’d have paid over the odds if Suarez had cost 50 million especially if Pool finish above us. Buy him and you seriously weaken your rivals whilst giving your team a much stronger shot at the title. I doubt he’d cost less than 60 million now so he would have been a great investment all round.

    As for Ozil he got criticism for his performance against Pool and rightly so. There’s hardly a campaign against him. He’s been one of our best players and yes he’s had the odd indifferent game but as you say he does need players to make runs and the two he appears to work most effectively with are injured. Also he used to be in a team absolutely packed with top quality and I think he didn’t need to work as hard so I imagine it’s a bit of a shock having to expend a bit more energy and to deal with a different style of football.

    I don’t think getting Ozil was Wenger’s priority though as I believe he thought the most pressing concern was for a top striker. AW didn’t want to pay the price for Higuain or Suarez and then turned his attention to Ozil as the next best thing. A very good next best thing indeed but unfortunately Ozil is not someone you go to for goals.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we sell either Giroud or Podolski in summer, most likely the latter, and then buy a striker. With the money we have we could buy Costa. That may depend of course whether we qualify for the CL which is not a given.

  • Mandy Dodd

    unfortunately, have a feeling Costa is already Chelsea bound, with Torres and Courtios part of the deal, think I also read on here (Tom??) that Costa also shares an agent with Jose, and we all know Jose likes cosy arrangements like that.
    I am sure we will buy another striker …or maybe someone we can make into a striker,it now seems Draxler doesnt want Bayern…perhaps surprisingly, and he will be allowed to leave Schalke I also fear Poldi could be on his way, a real shame really. We will also seriously need a CD or two, we only have 3, looks like Bac who can cover there may be off….and poor TV is increasingly injured – cannot really see any such players coming through
    As for the media, a long history, it was a Spud supporting journalist who set up that pic of Tony Adams as a donkey….and they have not really looked back. That is not even mentioning what went on before that. Still that donkey jibe backfired on that journalist somewhat.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Giroud….I think he is trying too hard to score goals. This happens as a sportsman, professional or amateur.
    Giroud knows his goals have dried up. He wants to change that side of his game. And he is trying over the top to get the goals in. And when a chance is presented in a platter he wastes it, but he does score from some difficult chances……
    I think he should relax a bit, not worry about his goal return and instead do what he does best… hard for the team. Goals will come…

  • Gf60

    Maybe the memory of Mesut’s debut at Sunderland and then at Home v Stoke is affecting people? Who could forget his sprint through to almost “catch” the ball on his foot and immediately square it to Olly for the first goal against Sunderland?
    In fairness, we’ve not seen much sprinting into space from Mesut in recent games. Quality player and no doubt, but perhaps he’s not being correctly deployed?

  • Gunner6

    Re Suarez, why do the pessimists think Liverpool will sell him if we raised the price? They make it sound so simple. Money may be a factor, but is Pool desperate to sell him? I don’t think so as they rely almost entirely on him and especially not to another Premiership rival.

    By the way, love the arguments put forth here always. This site is without doubt one of my favorite Arsenal sites.

  • Tom

    Good points all around , especially about Ozil not having anybody in the advanced position to pass the ball to.

    I have been saying this for a while now and have gotten ridiculed for it . Seems so obvious , doesn’t it.

    Perhaps some Untolders can’t accept it because that would suggest somebody else isn’t pulling their weight 🙂


    We have lots of rotational movement we have been trying to pull play to one side to slip opposite fullback in but since Ramsey and Walcots injuries we have had no player making a run beyond Giroud , if they did Ozil would pick them out nine times out of ten
    Giroud normally has two players near him so Ozil is having to play sideways or backwards making his game slightly ineffective

  • Pat

    I still find it hard to understand fans who would boo Arsenal after the match against Manchester United. We drew and could have won. We also had two penalties not awarded. And we had to endure the usual petty fouling without referee protection. We had to come back after the loss at Liverpool.

    I think sometimes people just don’t use their brains which is a pity. They desperately WANT Arsenal to beat Manchester United so they behave like spoilt children when they don’t get their wish.

    Let’s hope next match the supporters get back behind the team, like the away supporters at half time at Liverpool.

    About Ozil – even the press, as well as Arsene Wenger, pointed out how well he paid against Man U. Maybe supporters who are influenced by the press will get back behind him.

    I’ve got a ticket for the Swansea match in March and am looking forward to a chance to cheer the team in person again.

  • OMGArsenal

    Well to those who maintain that we should have bought Suarez (a wonderful idea nonetheless) the answer is very straightforward…..LFC weren’t selling….no discussion or counter-arguments can change that basic fact!
    As far as Ozil is concerned, it is his first season in the EPL and he is still adjusting, as well, his favourite targets are all injured, and finally, those who are replacing them are not yet used to his style and timing, nor do they have the same approach as Walcott, and Ramsey… evidently the more he plays with his alternate teammates, the more used to their style of play he will become….expect gradual improvement in his game.

  • Micheal Ram

    If Mourinho successfully installed the false ‘ we against world’ mentality at all the clubs he managed, then we should install it too with better range. ‘We against the world, the moon, the sun, the solar system and the entire galaxy’.

  • bob

    “he does score from some difficult chances……”
    Yes, but how many games ago? And we can spin it away, but missing the sitters is a big problem, especially when our other key scorers are injured. It seems that Overuse is burning out Giroud. And that is a burning issue. And, imo, he should not have lobbied (during the transfer window) against bringing in another striker to complement his talents. He has pride (a good thing), but while I rate him for his strengths (hold up, link up, work rate), his lobbying against a complementary asset at striker is not putting the team first. Imo he’s a keeper; but we’ve need a complement to him (not a replacement) since August. And ego shouldn’t go before we-go (as in team first).

  • rantetta

    Good article Walter,
    And I’ve learnt a new word too.