Arsenal v the Zebras; just like when we won the Double.

Bulldog Drummond

There are some interesting historical perspectives for Arsenal against the Newcastle zebras, like for example 6 December 1997 [sorry there was a misprint when this was first published and it said 1987] when Arsenal beat Newcastle U away 1-0 in a sequence in which we won just two out of eight, but still went on to win the Double.  (That is true, look it up if you don’t believe me).

By Boxing Day that season the table looked like this… (and this is 1997/8 – it was that one slip of the keys above that got one correspondent – see below – so excited)

Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester United 20 14 4 2 47 13 +34 46
2 Blackburn Rovers 20 11 7 2 36 19 +17 40
3 Chelsea 20 12 3 5 46 20 +26 39
4 Liverpool 19 10 4 5 34 18 +16 34
5 Leeds United 20 10 4 6 29 22 +7 34
6 Arsenal 19 9 6 4 34 22 +12 33
7 Derby County 20 9 5 6 34 27 +7 32
8 West Ham United 20 9 1 10 26 31 -5 28
9 Leicester City 20 7 6 7 24 20 +4 27
10 Newcastle United 19 7 5 7 20 23 -3 26

We hovered around sixth place all through December, no one talked about us as champions, let alone Double winners, and with Man U 13 points above us, that seemed to be that.

What is interesting is looking at that top ten, we see that Blackburn and Leeds are there, both of which are clubs who have responded to the demand for instant success no matter what the price, and have paid the penalty with decline and further decline.  Derby are also no longer in the top division.

Here’s the current table for direct comparison = the leaders you may wish to note are 13 points ahead of us.

Pld W D L F A G.D. Pts
1 Chelsea 15 11 3 1 34 13 +21 36
2 Manchester City 15 10 3 2 32 14 +18 33
3 Manchester United 15 8 4 3 26 17 +9 28
4 West Ham United 15 8 3 4 26 18 +8 27
5 Southampton 15 8 2 5 25 12 +13 26
6 Arsenal 15 6 5 4 24 18 +6 23
7 Newcastle United 15 6 5 4 17 18 -1 23
8 Swansea City 15 6 4 5 20 17 +3 22
9 Liverpool 15 6 3 6 19 19 0 21
10 Tottenham Hotspur 15 6 3 6 18 21 -3 21

Oh and only half the teams in the top ten around Xmas 1997 are there now.  Stability is, I think, underrated.

And here’s one anniversary from 1998/9 taken from the Anniversary List that appears each day on our home page

  • 13 December 1998: Arsenal lose 3-2 away to table topping Aston Villa.  Having taken a 2–0 lead, through two goals scored by Bergkamp, Arsenal let in three goals in the second half to lose the match.  This debacle is followed by a 19 match unbeaten run, and takes Arsenal to the edge of winning the championship themselves.

But back to today, it gets boring if for every match I just write that everyone is injured so this week I won’t say it.   But what is a surprising to me is that Francis Coquelin has been recalled from loan at Charlton.  Not because I don’t rate the player, actually I do, but because we were thinking at first that his return in the summer meant that Mr Wenger still rated him.  Then that loan suggested maybe not, but now, maybe so.

In other facts we could consider the fact that it is Wenger 18 Pardew 4 – that is years in the job.  And probably the number of “supporters” of each team who want their manager out.  Pardew is Barclays Manager of the Month.

Actually there are two league managers who exceed Pardew’s time as manager – Paul Tisdale at Exeter who has been there eight years, and Karl Robinson at MK Dons (soon to be home of Tottenham Dons) who has been in the job six months longer than Pardew.

In the Premier League after Wenger and Pardew you get Fat Sam at West Ham and Nigel Pearson at Leicester on 3 seasons each, and then Brendan Rodgers and others on two.

Meanwhile the injury list goes on and on.  The dates back are rough guesses but nevertheless interesting….

  1. Rosicky (maybe ok, or out for a day or two)
  2. Arteta (20 December),
  3. Koscielny (20 December),
  4. Monreal (20 December),
  5. Ospina (20 December although I thought he would be back as sub this week),
  6. Theo (20 December)
  7. Özil (10 January),
  8. Rasmey (10 January)
  9. Wilshere (March)

Calum Chambers is banned for one game.

Anyway what this means is that the sappers have been called in to blow up the Arsene Wenger Stadium (just a bit, and with no one inside) so the game is postponed until we have our entire team back next week.

But if they fail, the line up is going to be something  like this…


Bellerin Debuchy Mertersacker Gibbs


The Ox, Cazorla

Sanchez Giroud Welbeck

On the beach, in the sun…

Martínez, Hayden, Zelalem, Podolski, Campbell, Akpom, Sanogo, Rosicky?

Normally we do quite well against the Zebras, having won the last five games against them and the Zebras have won 2 in the last 28.   And we tend to score quite a few against them, 12 goals in the last three.

So far this season, as we know, the Arsene Wenger Stadium hasn’t been a complete fortress (won 3, drawn 3 lost 1 in the league) but we could do with scoring in the first half a bit more (not once in the last six games).  But then the zebras don’t score in the first half hour at all, so an extra pint in the pub is in order for this match – you can arrive late.  Unless of course you are sitting in the same row as me, in which case you can’t.

And just in case you missed it, Alexis has scored seven in the last 13 games,,, and the zebras have won six in the last eight, which is top four form.

But here is something in the light of recent articles on Untold: This season the zebras have had nine red cards, making that more sending offs than anyone else.  But against Arsenal such action as sending a visiting player off for dangerous play by a ref such as we’ve got seems unlikely.

What we do owe to the Zebras is that they stopped Chelsea having an unbeaten run – our record stays in tact.  But that doesn’t mean we should be saying thank you on the pitch.

And assuming that the sappers don’t do their job what I think we will see is a real upsurge in support for Mr Wenger.  That would certainly help the team.

The books

122 Replies to “Arsenal v the Zebras; just like when we won the Double.”

  1. So if we win 1-0 then we can look forward to the double.

    Seriously, I do think we are all going to be surprised at the end of the season. Arsenal has only shown glimpses of what they can do up to now.

  2. Two months ago, Alan Pardew was a clueless manager who must go, according to some Newcastle fans.

    The team owner didn’t think so. As Pardew’s ACTUAL employer, he still believed in the man just like he did a few seasons ago.

    But just as it happened in 2011/12 season, here is Pardew once again making the idiotic fans eat their words and looking like the morons they are.

    I am not a fan of Pardew but I respect him as a professional. Football management is his job and his longevity is not just because Mike Ashley likes his looks. While I am wishing him a miserable evening today, I applaud him for showing up his abusers amongst the Newcastle fans for the mugs they are.

    There was a time that when teams are struggling, the fans cheer even louder and more passionately. Now as soon as there is a dip in form of the team or individual players, fans start asking for players to be dropped and managers to be sacked. As soon as a team trails the opposition, the TV camera pans to fans biting their fingers in anxiety like a loved one is undergoing a life and death surgery. It is a game for fuck sake and if you can’t bear watching your team trail (a 1 in 3 probability) then sit your ass home and moan at your TV.

    I am really starting to develop a loathing for the whiny football fans. They are giving those of us who just want to support our teams in good and bad times a bad name.

  3. We did not win the double in 1987 – but if your suggesting we are going to win the double this year I will have a pint of what your drinking – when we won the double in 1997/98 season we had a squad we top class seasoned winners throughout it is not fair on the current squad of talented but comparatively inexperienced players – however despite our crazy and inexplicable injury list we should have enough to beat Newcastle at Home . COYG

  4. Thanks Bulldog Drummond for your interesting article. It proves further that instant gratification could lead to instant death.

    Another line that rested perfectly well with me from your article is ‘The Arsene Wenger Stadium’ 😉

    And that line-up of yours (or any 11 in red and white) should be able to take all 3 points against the ‘Zebras’ today.


  5. One of the more interesting football books is Left Foot Forward by Gary Nelson.

    It’s the diary of a season when he was a senior pro at Charlton. Pardew was playing at the time, and its interesting to see the way he is described back then. I wish all football fans would read it, as it gives a real insight into the life and thoughts of a professional sportsman. It rings very true, and I can vouch for that.

  6. Ala line up: Le Coq recalled from loan could start so also is Poldi and Cambell. I trust AW to throw in the right mix though.

  7. As I say with every game, we need to start fast with pace and passion and get the Toon on the back foot from the start.

  8. …good point Will,certainly we put a lot of teams on the rack last year by coming out at full force and it sure worked fine against Gala!

  9. Sad to see the table standing. I think our i doings were not the loses but the draws, with 3 draws at home. Of course as usual year after year the ref will fuck us up big time. I wish our players the chestbeat to go on to prove every sucker out there Arsene was right about them after all. Simple note, Alan Pardew is doing a great job at the northern club, just tell your players to play football at Ems, ok? Go Gunners!

  10. It really only rarely matters when you score first, what matters is concentration, focus for 45 mins, then relax for 15, then again for 45 mins, focus on being better than the rest and work to backup that focus.

    Maybe some “fans” may feel that football is running away from them, prices, wages, and all that surrounds football today, and do not know where to put that frustration, so they lash out where they can(Of course it’s not an excuse).

  11. Interestingly, some fans kept asking for blood whenever our team does not win. They kept posting or hoping that arsenal is heading for doomsday.. It’s unique since it us news from British media or blogs.

    Am I missing something ? i (foreign gunner) cannot comprehend why there is so much negatively among fans in UK.

  12. @Bootoomee very well said, i totally agree. It’s crazy because the game against Stoke last week (ref aside) was actually a great game of football and had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Isn’ t that was football is supposed to be about?

  13. KampalaGun
    thats what pissing me off the most.
    this f..king eggface don give a about what we think
    nobody ever tell mason anything about how bad he is…
    oh…russian commentator 100% sure that it was a penalty with welbek hand

  14. That foul on Sanchez on the edge of the box wasn’t even deemed worthy a yellow card offence????? Lord help us.

  15. Anyone else scared that Mason is going to make one almighty wrong decision in Newcastle’s favour?

  16. Sky reminding us, for the umpteenth time, this is the first time we have led at half time at home this season. What does that matter???? Sickening.

  17. When Lee Dixon said “us”, he was referring at Newcastle. What on Earth is going on with these people?

  18. we need to shoot at goal lets not walk into goal,looks like the team doesn’t know who is officiating if only Arsene could tell them that the devil is in the middle and he can do anything. Im scared for berelin he might give him a second yellow card.

  19. rus commentator said that it is mason who kept arsenal’s goal safe by not giving a penalty on welbek….

    but with disallowed arsenal’s goal mason was 100% right

  20. First half by Lee Mason:

    3 Wrong Major Decisions.
    1. Red card not given to Tiote for stamp on Sanchez.
    2. Penalty not given for foul on Giroud by Tiote.
    3. Wrongly disallowed Welbeck’s goal.

    1 wrong offside.
    1 incorrect yellow card to Bellerin (Dummett was already leaning towards the ground)
    7 wrong fouls in total in first half against Arsenal (with possession and without possession).

  21. Will
    He already did, the muppet. Of course I know what you’re saying, and afraid he will most likely do so.

  22. I think listening to any commentary of an Arsenal match, whatever language that may be in, is bad for one’s health.

    Nice stats. May I add the shove on Sanchez inside the box was more deserving of a penalty shout and yellow card offence for me. Sky didn’t even show that, rather, all the muppets agreed that Welbeck should have conceded a penalty. Despite the fact he had his eyes closed.

  23. We’re leading but my blood is boiling right now. We should not have to be put through this. And then you’ll hear some tw*ts blame Wenger….

  24. Mason is as useless as predicted. Tiote and Ameobi are getting away with murder.

    Mason’s gonna make this match a tough one for Arsenal to win.

  25. I can honestly see Newcastle getting a highly dodgy penalty.

    We need to push up and take it out of his hands.

  26. And, before me saying that Mason is at it again, let’s welcome a candidate for the Goal of the week nominee!

  27. So let me get this right.

    Newcastle player can foul as much as he wants without a booking.

    Arsenal player – 1 foul one booking.

    watch Mason give Newcastle lots of strange free kicks around our box now.

  28. What a pr*t this Dixon turned into. The moment we shipped that goal he turned all guns against Arsenal, nothing is good enough fir him any more.

  29. @kampalagun,

    The first time I thought Mason tackled colback.
    Then the replay I again thought Mason tackled colback.
    Even now I think Mason tackled colback

    He tackles Newcastle players and then calls it against ARSENAL.

    I only hope Mason doesn’t enter penalty area.

  30. Isn’t it weird that even a foul leading to a penalty (which mason had no choice but to give) didn’t even warrant a yellow card? To answer my own questions, it’d be weird if this wasn’t the pgmob at work.

  31. I can’t believe what i am seeing, a fairly reffed game for the Arsenal? WOW.

    Well played the team.
    It’s really good that with all the injuries we have, our youth get a chance to integrate with the team.
    With the xmas period and the latest injuries(wink, wink) we need them to have game experience for that gruelling time.

    Good win Arsenal, score a few more please, our goal diff needs working on.

  32. para, that wasn’t a fairly reffed match. We should have won it 6-2 at least (counting the ball that hit Danny’s arm in the first half as a pen). Not to mention the countless fouls worthy of a booking, the red card for Tiote, and that wrong offside against Alexis.

  33. COYG! Difficult to pick motm in this one, two many outstanding performances for me, even guys that didn’t score like Welbeck and Sanchez were full of running and were involved in the goals. Nice work, shame about the refereeing though.

  34. Did we get a penalty? Or am I dreaming? Two penalties in two consecutive matches? WTF?

    Still Mason is useless

  35. First half by Lee Mason:

    3 Wrong Major Decisions.
    1. Red card not given to Tiote for stamp on Sanchez.
    2. Penalty not given for foul on Giroud by Tiote.
    3. Wrongly disallowed Welbeck’s goal.

    1 wrong offside.
    1 incorrect yellow card to Bellerin (Dummett was already leaning towards the ground)
    7 wrong fouls in total in first half against Arsenal (with possession and without possession).

    Second Half by Lee Mason:

    1 yellow card not given for foul on Sanchez by Colback ( Shirt @ shoulder tug)
    1 yellow card not given for foul on Flamini by Ayoze Perez ( sliding tackle from behind)
    1 yellow card not given for penalty foul on Welbeck by Dummett

    1 wrong corner against Welbeck.
    1 wrong foul against Sanchez without possession
    1 wrong foul against Welbeck.
    1 wrong foul against Podolski

    in total 3 wrong fouls.

    and overall very bad positioning. There were several times during the game that he came close to blocking view of players receiving the ball and came close to the interception of through balls by Arsenal players around Newcastle’s box.

  36. Para
    Maybe the scoreline is making you feel like it wasn’t that bad, but two tackles on Sanchez should have been red cards in any other league, plus all the other incidents Florian mentioned. Mason had no choice but give that penalty, and even that stupid grin on his face as he gave it was saying to the Newcastle players ‘what do you want me to do’

  37. @AL talk about that devilish grin he had nothing to do @para looks like you watched another game for the prick came for us but we where up for it.

  38. Excellent performance by the boys today. Very impressed with Bellerins performance and Santi on target at last! Great boost for next weeks game!

  39. Jamie redknap whining again, slating our defence and trying to come up with Newcastle missing sissokho as their excuse.

  40. Happy overall but still fuming from the injustices that seem to be reserved for Arsenal only. Saw mason talk to Newcastle players on many occasions after they committed fouls, but think the ox and bellerini got yellows for their very first fouls, soft ones too. At halftime the sky pundits were saying Welbeck fouled the Newcastle defender, even though they couldn’t identify where or when contact was actually made. Their reasoning; when the Newcastle defender fell he immediately looks up to the ref, and according to them that’s a sign he’s saying I’ve been fouled! Really? They also went on to say why would he go down if he’d not been fouled, before finally saying it was a coming together and there was some contact of some sort, so ref got it right. But I recall when we played hull, Flamini was wrestled to the ground by mo diame who was coming from behind, as clear a foul as you’ll ever see, and that goal was allowed to stand. Surely can the double standards be any worse than this?

    Alexis was trod on, kicked, shoved, and in the end he ended up asking the ref when someone was going to get carded for this. And the commentators were saying we don’t like to see players waving the imaginary card, FFS he was being getting hacked at every turn with nothing given what was he supposed to do?! This isn’t right. And you hear people have a go at the manager in spite of all this….

  41. Mason kept talking to Newcasle players without issuing the cards but no warning for Arsenal players -just cards.

    He disallowed Welbeck’s goal for no reason, and that Tiote ended the match without a card when he actually deserved to be sent off is diabolic.

    Good goals from Giroud and birthday boy-Santi. Good win Arsenal and well done to the lads.


  42. First Monreal, now Debuchy. Masterful performance by both fullbacks when needed. Who says Arsenal don’t have defense? Debuchy had Cisse in his pockets. I still have no idea how our young rightback managed to neutralize a freek of nature like Ameobi and still played forward like the great Cafu. With Bellerin finally came out of the shell, our defense will be competitive once Kos (Bos) and Nacho are back. With birthday boy hitting top form as well as Alexis, Oliver and Danny boy complementing each other very well, things are looking wonderful especially if Ozil, Wilshere and Diaby comes back to the playground.

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