Arsenal supporters on the verge of a nervous breakdown

By Dr Billy “the dog” McGuire, senior psychologist, University Hospital of the North Circular Road

I have been asked to write to you today as a matter of considerable urgency, for it seems that the psychological well-being of many of our friends of the “aaa” persuasion is now an issue of a certain amount of concern to the NHS, who fear they will not be able to cope with the fall out of further Arsenal success.

The “aaa” you will recall, are the “Anti-Arsenal Arsenal” – those funny fella-me-lads who roam the countryside (and occasionally get inside Stadium Wenger) demanding the sacking of the manager, the board, and most of the players.  T-shirts bearing the slogan “enough is enough” are the modus operandi of their dress code.  You’ve probably seen the young scallywags slouching their way across the countryside from time to time.

It appears that of late, these strange manifestations of the human condition have been in a spot of a pickle, as they have been forced to drag up ever more dubious debating points to support their contention that all is far from well within the body and soul of the club.

I therefore thought that if I went through a few of these contentions, and helped them reduce the points to rubbish, it would actually be rather amusing.

1.  The start to the season was rubbish

It was argued that this was the worst start of the season in 30 years, although quite how long “start” was, was not revealed.  (That is a very common issue with aaa debating points – a lack of clarity in the proposition, so they can always duck and weave around any us of silly enough to engage them in debate, but one can only work with the data they provide).  I’m going to take the first 10 games.  It is a round number and as good as any.

This season we got four wins, five draws and one defeat. 17 points.

30 years takes us back to 1984/5.   We got 17 points in 1985/6, 13 in 1986/7, 17 in 1989/90 (the Graham year in between his 2 championships), 17 in 1991/92,  14 in 1992/3, 15 in 1994/5…

That’s three seasons worse, and three equals.

I won’t go on but I’d add that in 1997/8 we got 20 points in the first 10 games – and went on to win the league.  Rather than saying “worst start in 30 years” we could say, “we are within 3 points of league winning form.”

And that’s my point: it is how you see the world that affects your vision, not the way the world is.

2.  Champs League was rubbish

Yes we went out in the round that we often go out in.  That makes us rubbish.

Except we are the most successful team in Europe never to win the Champions League.  Not much of a claim?  Well, consider that during this 17 year run of consecutive campaigns we have paid for most of the Emirates Stadium.   Without that we would not have the continuity of the campaigns because we would not have enough money or decent enough facilities to attract the top players.

This year we went out at the same time as most of the rest – although Liverpool who came second in the league last year managed to beat our departure date somewhat.  So at the moment we are not too far behind the pack.

But if you want to be negative about this failure, do so.  If you want to be positive you can say that it paid for the new stadium, which allowed us to attract Ozil and Alexis, and whoever we choose to bring in this summer.  One could say we are now building the team for the future.

3.  The FA cup is meaningless

This is the new big news, and is introduced because not only are we in the semi-finals again, we are also now the most successful team in the history of the FA cup (founded 1871, although we didn’t start playing in it until 1889).

Arsene Wenger is the most successful manager in the history of the FA cup excluding the guys who managed 19th century teams, when the competition was pretty micky mouse.  For example six of the semi-finals in the first eight seasons of the FA Cup were never even played, because one team or the other withdrew or was kicked out.  So 20th century onwards is a fair measure.

Simply taking something that has been a matter of significance and pride in the past and denigrating it because Arsenal do well in it is a sign of a certain level of mental disturbance I would argue.  But of course, each to his own.

4.  How many years since we won the league

Following on from the decision to consider the FA Cup silly, pointless and irrelevant, is the decision to focus totally on league wins.

In the total list of things, we are third.  Man U have won it 20 times (as they tell us in their amusing little ditty), Liverpool 18 and Arsenal 13.  So we are up there but not at the top.

Of course we were slightly held back because we didn’t really start doing much until 1930, when Arsenal won its first trophy, by which time Man U and Liverpool had been collecting stuff for a while (Liverpool winning it in 1901, Man U in 1908.)

So we were late starters, and we haven’t coped with Man U’s run from 1993, nor Liverpool’s from 1976 to 1990.   I would argue that had we not built the Emirates stadium, we’d have continued our run from 1998 to 2004 when we won it three times in six years.

But the point is we’ve won it 13 times in 121 years, so what gives us the right to win it year after year?

In the minds of the aaa, everything, but in truth, nothing.  We have to build the stadium to get the money which Man U get from their worldwide marketing, and Chelsea and Man C get from oil sponsors.

It’s not that hard a concept to grasp, but for any aaa reader still struggling, try this.  Liverpool haven’t won the league for 25 years. Tottenham for 54 years.  Yes, we want to win it, of course we do.  The feeling of joy we all get from being there, at the moment when it is won, is just overwhelming.  But it is not an automatic right.

5.  Using Coquelin was a sign of our disorganisation and  desperation

No one knows how the kids are going to develop.  Some make it, some don’t.  Some seem to make it and then have problems.  Look at Fabregas – that odd fade that he can experience part way through a season.  Great player but…

People of a positive mindset see Coquelin as an almighty triumph.  Despite a poor loan to Freiburg he came back, worked hard, took his loan spell and then his opportunity.  He cost nothing in transfer fees and is now lauded as one of the best defensive midfielders in the league at a time when there is a world shortage of defensive midfielders of his quality.

What some people see is a total triumph – the ability to see the potential, and to hold on and on, waiting for the moment when it comes through – others see as chaos.

6.  Throwing in kids like Bellerin is pathetic

Quite how youngsters are supposed to develop under the aaa approach to life is hard to know.  Perhaps they think we shouldn’t use young players at all.  A bit like Man City in fact, who have ended up with an aging team that they are now apparently about to throw out.

In fact the aaa have a problem with any concept of development.  For them there is only “now”.  Nothing else is real.   Indeed so interesting is this concept that I am even as I write this desperately trying to think up a word to signify a mindset in which there is nothing but “now.”   “Pigeon brained” comes to mind, but that is a bit cruel on pigeons.

Remember the abuse against Ramsey when, in order to develop his understanding in the game he was asked to play wide?  His brilliance now, his sensational passes and goals, comes in part from that experience.  But the aaa can’t remember what they said about Ramsey.

Bellerin was ready, and has come through, and like many before him will become an Arsenal player of the highest quality.  But what did Wenger get for this?   Well, its in the next heading…

7.  Starting with only four defenders is indefensible

We did struggle with the defence because we had so many injuries in the defence.  But had we bought all the players the aaa suggested we’d have had no chance of bringing Bellerin through, or of seeing Monreal mature.  Or of developing Coquelin.

But of course this is the now culture.  He’s no good in one game so he should go.  Or maybe, he’s no good for ten minutes so he should go.

And there is a strange assumption here – that just because Arsenal want a player that player will just come to Arsenal, ignoring his contract, the wishes of his family, the wishes of his club, his own desires… the player just comes to Arsenal because we say so.

This is not how the world works.  Clicking fingers to say “come here do this” doesn’t work is three year old children, teenagers, beggars on the street, multi-millionaires, footballers, the PGMO or retailers of dubious footwear.

Indeed it doesn’t work with the aaa either.  The number of times I have approached an aaa and said, “stop that, support your team” and he hasn’t is overwhelming.  Why this is so is beyond me.  Can’t they see it is good for them?

8.  Ozil is awful;  Giroud is an embarrassment.

I loved the aaa comment the other day to the effect that Untold was becoming embarrassing because it kept comparing Giroud with Henry.   OK, let’s assume that is so, surely the answer is “stop reading Untold”.

Those of us who choose to write things for Untold do so because we enjoy it, and we like to think we have lots of readers.  But no one is forcing anyone to read.  If we are a bunch of nutters, let us mumble to each other down the pub and put on our tin hats.

Of course the fact is that all the stats we can see show that Ozil is a staggering brilliant player, as is Giroud.  Both however (unlike it seems some of the aaa) are human and have off days.  (That is a point about the aaa – they never slip, they never stumble, they are always on their game.)

So the TV can show over and over again the moment when Ozil did not shoot but instead passed.  So what?   What they could do, and what everyone could remember, are all the amazing passes and shots he has made.

Why not choose the positive?  Ah, now that’s the question.

9.  The transfer policy is rubbish.

Sagna was allowed to walk away.  Danny Welbeck was a dreadful transfer in which came from desperation.  Alexis has been a real disappointment.  Ozil is rubbish (oh we’ve had that one).  Giroud can’t…


132% of all transfer rumours are invented and are never on the cards.  Players can choose where they go, that’s up to them.

Do you think Sagna is now happy with the choice he made?  Probably not, but that was his fault.  He’s made quite a few million pounds out of it, but I suspect he’d have been happier staying in London.

The fact is we got Ozil and Alexis and the rest of them.   The aaa may hate Wenger, but an awful lot of footballers admire him above all other managers.


I’m stopping at nine, so you can put in your tenth (or 11th or 12th) if you wish.   The fact remains the same however.  All these points can be seen as positives, but are turned into negatives by the aaa.  That’s their choice, and their depression and their anxiety about the next game and the next game.

Oh, and to the guy who writes in at the start of each season and says, “what you don’t understand is that this season Arsenal are going to sink into mid-table oblivion” I’d say, “cheer up”.

In the end that is what it comes down to.  Just fucking cheer up.


61 Replies to “Arsenal supporters on the verge of a nervous breakdown”

  1. I agree with all you have written, apart from the headline. These people are not Arsenal supporters. I have supported the team through thick and thin and there has been a lot more thin than thick. remember the Billy Wright era not a good time, but still my team.

  2. these AAA types are losers. it’s so easy for them to transfer players that we “should” have when they don’t know crap about how the transfer process works. likewise, it’s easy to make decisions about which players should play and what’s causing our injuries by driving by the hedgerow during a morning training session. these guys find it easy to pull down what they can’t build up, and are probably not worth considering.

    on a far more interesting note, i have witnessed an uptick in the number of stories regarding refs over the course of this season. if you bang that drum long enough, some of the hypocritical journalists may start to notice. nbc’s commentor, pale robbie, said on match-of-the-day that refs need help although he did not think video replay was the answer since it hasn’t, i guess, worked for tennis and cricket since the last century perhaps? he wasn’t brave enough to suggest that maybe we need more refs, perhaps with better training and a relegation system as I proposed in 2010. maybe the AAA have gotten to him.

  3. Arsenal is becoming a more balanced club. After having to depend more on youth for many seasons we now can address that by being able to buy better or more established players to bring to the mix and balance us out.

    Arsenal will not change their ways and jettison youth as that will unbalance us in the other direction, much like ManC, mentioned above.

    So we can expect one or two Oezil’s or Alesis’ but i suspect that our Academy will continue to nurture the type of player Arsenal loves to have.

  4. Off topic, but I watched most of the Liverpool – MU game. Observations:

    – This was a poor quality match. The number of possession turnovers was staggering.
    – Neither team are as good as Arsenal (famous last words!).
    – Gerrard will be suspended for Arsenal (nasty stamp – red card) and possibly Skrtel (another nasty stamp – missed by ref but may get retrospective action.
    – Lallana is apparently injured.

  5. I’d go along with all that apart from the fact we did struggle due to not replacing Vermealen until January and not having a decent DM until Coquelin was utilised. Who knows if these decisions cost us points? But it wasn’t the best preparation for the start of a season.

  6. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone suggesting that throwing Bellerin in is anything other than good, allowing him to develop; then again, I don’t go on Twitter.

    Going into this season with only two CBs out of puberty IS a very bad idea, now we have Gabriel so it’s easy to just think that we’re past it and to look forward (something which we should be doing) but it was the most idiotic thing I ever remember us doing. Everything else, I can understand why we did it, but even if it was 10m on Reid, 15m on Jagielka (he may have started the season injured, but he was back quickly enough), hell even 20m on some half competent German would have been worth it. We lost valuable points because of an insistence that Monreal is a competent CB, I can’t get behind that.

  7. I don’t share the view that we should have bought centre-backs as extra cover, even if the injuries could have been foreseen. I don’t recall Monreal playing centre back causing us to lose points. ( I do recall referee decisions which did.)

    Even if Reid, Jagielka or a “half competent German” were of sufficient quality (and I doubt that they are), there is absolutely no reason to believe that they would have been available to buy, even at the the ridiculous figures of 10, 15 or 20 million referred to.

  8. There is reason to believe you can get a half competent CB for between 10 and 20m, mostly because we’ve bought 3 of them in the last 5 years. Now, the perfect guy might not have been out there, which was why I suggested someone like Reid/Jagielka and I guess Howedes was in my mind with the German comment, probably not normal targets (Jagielka is pretty old, despite how well suited he is to us, and taking Reid up a level would be a risk) but the risk of going into the season with no real cover for two guys who had played a World Cup and were pretty much everpresent the previous season, was too big. Usually I like the fact that Wenger takes a gamble, and allows youngsters to come in but that was too big imo.

    Well, I remember those games and Monreal was often in the wrong place, and his inability to cover his fellow CB or simply repel the usual balls in the box that a trained CB does in his sleep. If you’re looking for specifc examples, I can’t be arsed to find them but the extra pressure on a backline that wasn’t getting a lot of protection from the reest of the team seriously exacerbated our issues.

  9. Lisa
    So pointing out how well the team is doing at the moment is gloating would you rather the author put down the club.

  10. Dr
    If you want to make a point on here you should not just say it’s so because you will be asked for prove it.

  11. Well said about Sagna, if he was to choose right now, whether to remain at ManC or come back to Arsenal, i think we know what his response would be. I’m also praying that Isaac Hayden breaks through next season. That would save us a bit of money just like Bellerin and Coquelin have done.

  12. I was hoping the reasoning would stand on it’s own without examples (I tend to think merely citing examples is open to misappropriation, much like statistics), we all watched the matches and saw our defence struggling to keep the ball out, for more reasons than only playing one CB but it was a substantial contributing factor.

  13. Gotta shoehorn this in here. Anyone who hasn’t seen it, be prepared for Viggo Mortensen from Lord o Rings to rise in your estimations :

    He told Grantland: ‘There’s a real character whom I loathe but find entertaining — Jose Mourinho, the coach of Chelsea.

    ‘I like Real Madrid, and when Mourinho coached them, he basically destroyed the team psychologically.

    ‘The damage he did to the fan base and the whole structure of the club will last for a while.’

    Spot on in my opinion. I see Chelsea fans making their arguments now and think , ‘you were always c****, but that man is doing extra damage to your minds and characters that could be with you, and those around you, for life’

    That last bit’s me, not my new pal Viggo, in case that’s unclear.

  14. Off topic, but the reference to Chelsea prompts the mention that Hull have given them a bit of a lesson and could be winning if they had a bit more composure, when in good attacking positions. Also Cahill is on a yellow and being given a bit of a run-around, so let’s hope he gets another. (we know that this ref is prepared to issue one).

  15. John

    I think Monreal has been excellent since he joined us and has been even better this season. Perhaps the fact he was deployed in central defence has improved him, but he ain’t a CB and playing him there did cost us points, Swansea away springs to mind.

    Unfortunately Debuchy was injured and he could have played there instead, as I feel he is more capable in that position.

  16. DR

    OOH-er, this article seems to have got your goat. I’m not sure how, as you don’t appear to have read it. (Poor comprehension, maybe). I can’t believe you’ve checked articles here through this season.

    In other articles it has been noted that Arsenal try not to buy expensive stop-gap players. And I’m sure you’d be the first to complain if Sylvester or Schillaci came in.
    You deride the contributions made by Monreal. You forget that Jenkinson was loaned out in order to give him much needed experience, and that Chambers came in, essentially to learn centre back and DM. It matters not that Debuchy has had his leg broken TWICE this season (both times without punishment for the offender). Debuchy has played at centre back you know?

    In the article there’s mention of the fact that other clubs have to be willing to give up their players, and the player and his family must want to come to Arsenal. Do you ever look at players like Newcy’s defenders, and wonder if they’d get away with their constant assaults on Arsenal’s players? What point would there be in players like that being at Arsenal?

    Danny Rose, a player I’d assume would be right up your street, yesterday threw himself into a player and won a penalty. Totty’s Right back pushed a player and that ended up with another player colliding with Lloris, who had to be stretchered off! Vertongen looked fabulous through the match, didn’t he? Bet you were screaming for him, eh? How many goals would Totty have lost by if the ref wasn’t our friend Mikey?

    What would you be saying if Tommy V hadn’t gone to Barca? Would you be screaming, Why him no play? Dat Wenngggaaarrrr! Innit?

    It takes special players to come to Arsenal. They need to know, understand and deal with the odd things that happen to Arsenal’s players, like Distin smashing Giroud’s tibia (unpunished), and Rose finishing off Theo, after Chablis stamped on his Achilles, (both unpunished, but let’s talk instead about the outrage of Theo holding up a 2-0 sign with his fingers, whilst forgetting to admonish and punish the Totty fans who threw coins at the stretcher bearers and the injured).
    Arsenal need to check the calibre of player coming in. Can they take all that? Can they cope with disappointment? Can they grow with their teammates?
    Can they deal with Anti Arsenal?

    Ah well.

    You remind me of the taller guy on the left in this video:

  17. Gord,

    Was at the match, a great performance from out ladies, seven nil at the end, four or five came back off the woodwork and the Millwall keeper their best player with a further five or six really good saves. Will do a fuller report later.

  18. I just started looking at news articles about Rotherham playing Sheffield Wednesday. I was surprised that Martinez started a game just 24 hours after being loaned, he hardly had time to get to know any of the team. But most of the news reports (and twits about his play) seem very positive.

  19. Point 10: The aaa will retreat with their tails firmly wedged up their collective arses once they are confronted by our UA stalwarts and will remain huddled in their hovels until the next AFC letdown. Then they will come screaming out of their feces-ridden dens and write one post that denigrates everything Arsenal and quickly scurry back into their holes fearing intelligent argument. They are scurrilous snipers whose sole joy comes in throwing the fox in among the poultry and their disappointment in finding that the UA birds are in fact eagles, who talons tear them apart at will.

  20. I desegree with some of your points. AW, some tomes go by fans/media openion. I do remember Coquelin playing well 2 seasons ego and was surprised to note that he was omitted and loaned. For most of the plays I have watched prior to his joining again in january,I found him asa committed hard working man. Same applies to Monreal. From the first game onwards it was well clear he is the better one. Sangna was horrible in many of the matches and our attack through left always slowed his holding of the ball at last minute or so predictable movements. Still AW allowed him 2 yrs more than he deserved and tried to get new contract. By the choice or situation created by Sangna, we now have a far better right back in Debuchi and an equally well deputy in Bellerin. Another example was TV. Before his joining we had a horrible era of Gallas/ Djourou . TV was victim of going by media or fans. He was accused of self goal/ slipping where in reality he was trying to save from the last position. Now in my view Mertesacker is not good enough and it was my view ever since I watched him playing at emirates. But AW will seeit only when some miserable failures occures. Think if we had Paulista or some body of his calibre & commitment from the start of the season?
    My point is don’t blame every thing on stadium building alone.
    Aging of AW is a factor.
    In yesterday’s match ,once New Castle scored all our player’s fluency has gone and they no longer tries harder and not confident of passing and building and attack. Only 1 player showed that and it is Bellerin . But he was introduced much later than he actually should be. Throuh put the whole matchour lack of strongth at RB is seen and was proving costly. Calum Chambers was failing and failing.
    More than all these, AW had no clear instruction for player when New Castle was threatening much.
    These things were happening for quite some time.
    Like Wenger , every Arsenal fan knows what Fabergas can offer and we don’t want him.
    But look at some good thing happened ( calling back Coquelin , signing Paulista, upgrading Bellerin.. ). I am sure many of them were resulted from compulsion/criticisam AW recieved. See the result Ospina at poles. 3 points.
    How we are going to cope MANU, CHELSEA matches.
    AW is not above criticisam as long as he he transfers his panicking to the team too.

  21. Alluded to above, but I thought Hayden looked excellent in the game he played. Sadly, he got injured too and missed his chance. On such fine margins are careers at the top level made (or not).

    Anyway, Mert, Kos, Chambers and Hayden is 4 centre backs. I thought both Monreal and Debuchy filled in excellently when called upon.

    We have conceded 31 League goals this season. Not spectacular, but not a disaster. Injuries and instability clearly contributed to this. Debuchy and Hayden both missed many games, Monreal, Gibbs and Koscielny missed quite a few as well.

  22. Vinod, like the rest of the dimwitted aaa who constantly criticize Wenger over not getting back Fabregas, you have absolutely no idea what went on behind the scenes with that particular transfer. Or are we just putting it down to Wengers ‘old age’ now? Was the player available for a decent price and all parties happy to complete the transfer to Arsenal, but the early stages of dementia/alzheimers made Wenger pass up on the opportunity?

  23. Rantetta, I’m pretty sure I read it right. Okay, so I paraphrased it in my brain into ‘starting wioth only two CBs is indefensible, as we had 6 defenders, plus Bellerin available as we had more than 4 defenders, and plenty of cover at full-back. I addressed the fact that I thought it was pretty indefensible, and covered why.

    I inflated the fees, for the very reasons you mentioned, teams don’t like to let players go and players want a nice wage, but that is the case for every transfer. I think the options were there, yet Wenger took a risk I don’t think was worth it, it’s as simple as that. Very happy that we fixed it with Gabriel, who looks like a cracking defender, but it was a major gamble to think that we’d get through with very few injuries. We should have had cover, we didn’t, and it cost us, that is the crux of what I’m saying. Sure, our defenders get it hard with the brute force used against us, but wouldn’t that be an even bigger incentive to make sure we had more than 2 CBs out of their teens?

    I would address the rest of your post, but I’m not quite sure what Danny Rose or even Vermaelen has to do with anything, so I’ll plead ignorance. I wouldn’t say it got my goat, I just had an opinion, and I felt the writer might like some feedback, or discussion.

  24. Vinod
    I have an opinion to and that is Per is a very good cb and guess what Wenger agrees with me only a very ill informed group agrees with you.
    As for Wenger’s age what has that got to do with the way he manages our club which currently the most consistent in the PL and still in the FA cup and we are the current holders.
    By the way ageism is just as bad as any other ism you are judging a person on a physical trait.

  25. Dr
    The was a couple of CB’s came out and said that they had turned down Arsenal and moved to other clubs or stayed at their current clubs during the summer transfer window.
    Because it’s you I won’t give you their names cause I can’t remember them so I won’t go looking for their names.

  26. While Andrew is working on a summary of the Ladies game, here is what else happened in FA Cup 5th round for the Ladies. Six other games (for 8 total in this round) have been played. Everton versus Bristol Academy is to be played on Tuesday.

    Birmingham beat Liverpool 3-1.
    Chelsea beat Watford 6-0.
    ManCity beat Doncaster 3-1.
    Notts County beat Tottenham 4-0.
    Aston Villa beat Sheffield 2-0.
    Charlton beat Conventry 2-1.

    Unfortunately, Birmingham had one player seriously injured in their game, who looks to be out for about 1 year with an ACL rupture.

  27. @vinod

    i dont see how wenger acted due to fans criticism. Recalling le coq and not buying a mystical beasty dm pretty much attracted tons of criticism… so he bothered about the criticism he would have ditch all the dm we have and go out and buy one? And look at our squad, we have players who can play in cesc position and they are cazorla and ozil who have been our best players for the past couple of month.

    sorry to burst your bubble, wenger dont act the way the fans or media wants, he do want he thinks is best for the club 😀

  28. May I enquire as to the authenticity of this guy Doc McGuire who apparently has usurped the well-respected Doc McGraw and is assailing we loyal followers of Untold with his somewhat radical views.
    Is he qualified?
    Or is he like me, entitled to use MD (Bombay)(Failed) after his name?
    What does he know about football? Does he understand the LBW rule?
    Tony, I think we should be told.

  29. I’m not an aaa as you put it, I love when winger brings in young players and for the past few seasons I always said Ramsey & giroud would make it.All we want is to not get knocked out in the last 16 of CL every year(most consistent team in Europe but never win,is not my idea of a successful team in Europe.let dream of the day we win it.something must change at the club because we can’t keep just winning a domestic cup and say we are great.I love winning the fact cup but we are arsenal we deserve more. COYG

  30. @Gord,
    Sorry about yesterday’s mistake. “ural” was all I had left from “natural”. The rest of my comment was also lost. 😉

  31. A few things on Monreal.

    Nacho has Spanish football education and that means he has a huge advantage ahead of any English full-back. The way he immediately ran back after we lost possession against Monaco was a good example of his tactical maturity. Something that Kieran, who has better pace and looks like a real deal, should take from Nacho’s book.

    Secondly, Nacho was a victim of no left winger who would apply pressure on the opponents’ right full-back. If you don’t believe me, believe the stats or, for that matter, check the games against Martin Atkinson City last term or Everton away when he was constantly left alone to battle both opponents’ full-backs (both Zabaleta and Coleman are extremely dangerous in overlaps) and wingers (whether it was Mirallas or Lukaku drifted to the right – doesn’t matter). That’s why Podolski, Cazorla and Özil were wrong choices for that position which, thankfully, Wenger admitted by moving Podolski on loan and two midfield geniuses in the middle.

    Which leads me to Alexis. People moan about his lack of goals but I wouldn’t put him out of starting eleven because there is no full-back in the league that feels comfortable going forward knowing that the Chilean genius is around. To the certain extent, Danny Welbeck’s presence has similar effect.

    And, that’s why I’ve been telling since Alexis’ arrival that he is our best defensive reinforcement. He doesn’t need to score a single goal until the end of the season as long as he does what he does week in and out.

  32. @Josif,
    Not only that, but Monreal can use his right boot, which Gibbs firmly refuses to do (except climbing stairs). 😉

  33. Nicky

    I am going to guess, that you were writing something about Gerrard being a natural at cheating.

  34. Fabregas is still a good player, but is probably past his best.

    If Arsene Wenger decided not to re-sign him, that is good enough for me.

    We have creative midfield players in abundance and I would not choose Fabregas to replace any of them. We can only speculate as to whether he took us for granted in assuming he could walk back into Arsenal, but I would bet that life at Chelsea will never be as fulfilling for him, regardless of how many trophies they win, with their appalling tactics.

    He chose to leave Arsenal. We can survive and succeed without him.

  35. omgarsenal

    Point 10: succinct and accurate. Thanks.

    Gord: thanks for the ladies info and scores. I do take notice.

    Does anyone remember Germany playing England at Wenbley during the last couple of years? PM4 lead a team of kids to victory. He. Was. Magnificent.

    Le Coq was targeted and injured by Ramires at the Ems. Having stamped on his ankle we didn’t see le Coq for some months. Mr Wenger made some comments about le Coq realising he could defend (rather than trying box to box), and I think the loan spell in Germany, where he was played ‘all over the shop’ would have helped with many “positioning issues”, especially the one where he wants to be CM. I fancy that focused his mind a tad more.

    I saw Francis live in a match against Dortmund. He came on as sub at left back. To me he already looked class back then, but there’s nowt like experience. Now our opponents are targeting him, he gets up and carries on. He’s Arsenal all right.

  36. @nicky

    Yes, that’s a good point. 🙂 I should have added that Spanish players have better tactical and technical education comparing to their English peers. Just compare Jenko or Chambers with Bellerin.

    The main problem is, there is a very dangerous word out there that is killing English football. And, Arsenal are part of that football so that’s why we should be heavily interested in that issue.

    That word is: INTENSITY.

    What the hell that word mean? I mean, when Özil was under fire a few weeks ago and stats – like the one Walter put here to prove how stupid those attacks were – came up about how Özil actually runs more than anyone else in our team, his doubters and haters switched the topic. Suddenly, it wasn’t about the mileage, it was about…intensity. That’s why Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – who is a great talent and a player that I expect to lead Arsenal to many trophies in the future – didn’t get so much criticism for having one assist in twenty-two games while Özil – who had two assists against Everton – was under fire. That’s why Giroud was crucified for his misses and Welbeck didn’t even if his misses against Borussia in Dortmund had been worse than Giroud’s against Monaco (if you don’t believe me, check the highlights from both games).

    Of course, there is another reason why Welbeck and Ox don’t get as many critics as Özil and Giroud do but that would lead us to another disease of English football: xenophobia in white gloves. Just before the end of the last season Greg Dyke said that he would like Liverpool to win the title because of all those English players they have. If City had lost the title due to referees’ decisions…

  37. @Gord,
    I’m still waiting for Tony to answer the “error” in today’s post. If there was one. 🙂

  38. About Le Coq…

    I don’t think that there has been a single player in Wenger’s history that had more difficult development than Le Coq.

    Firstly, his debut came as a huge surprise and only as a result of difficult circumstances. We were decimated in the midfield – we had two defensive midfielders suspended (Song and Frimpong), Wilshere was injured, Fabregas betrayed us for Barcelona and Nasri wanted a lot of oil money in his hands. And, we had to go visit Old Trafford.

    So, a 20-year-old got his debut against the reigning champions surrounded with not-much-older Aaron Ramsey and players like Jenkinson, Djourou and Traore – none of those players were good enough for that level (in Jenko’s case I should add – at the time). So, Coquelin played his first game and we lost 8:2. What that sort of thing can do to one’s confidence?

    Then, he was used as a make-shift full-back as we had all our full-backs injured. He played on either side of the defence. You are 20, you play your first season at the top level and you have to play in three different positions in three different parts of the pitch – right side, middle of the pitch, left side.

    Then, he was one of rare players that came out with any credit in that shameful defeat against Bradford in League Cup. He hit the post with a low shot after making a good run dribbling before firing the shot. He was, actually, trying to do something.

    Then, Ramires injured him and created a goal from that attack thanks to the presence of Martin Atkinson.

    Then, he went on loan after loan and nobody thought he would be good enough. Even Untold Arsenal gave up on him, if I remember well (and I think I do).

    Then, we had an injury crisis and lack of bodies so Arsene Wenger recalled him. Coquelin got his chance and now he doesn’t want to lose it.

    There were examples of players who weren’t considered good enough for the second-rate teams like Charlton only to shine at the bigger stage. For instance, Fabio Capello had found Amantino Mancini, his great right full-back/winger, in Venezia B (which is a B-side of Venezia, a club from Venice) and Mancini turned out to be brilliant. I guess only world-class managers can recognize quality somewhere where nobody else would have searched at the first place.

  39. I wonder will retrospective action be taken on Skirtel for his stamp on de Gea? Or will the PGMO have a temporary “blind” moment?

  40. Mandy

    I am not much on fashion, but I had heard that horizontal stripes on suits were bad. I would have assumed horizontal stripes on ties (especially wider ties) would also be frowned upon (Liverpool pictures).

    No, Scholes will not say anything.


    It is always possible that injuries or sickness, or both, can decimate a team. And forcing a team to play can be beyond the resources of the biggest clubs.

    Many leagues “hardwire” a score of 2-0 for forfeited games. If a person looks at all the games played “this season” that had the losing team score 0, and last year, and go back far enough that a person is sampling at least half a season (for the EPL, a season is 380 games, so at least 190). Finding the median scoreline (we know the one team scores 0, so it is just the winning team score which counts) at one time may show 1, another time 2. In any event, assign the score as 1 more than the median and 0. That keeps hardwiring things that don’t need to be hardwired out. Maybe 190 games is too many. I would say that 10 games is too few, the median doesn’t have enough power to be useful yet.

    The team hit by injuries and/or sickness can first approach the other team, and ask for rescheduling. And at the end of the season, there may be no alternative time, and a reschedule is impossible. If a reschedule is impossible, the team forfeits the game.

    If a team allows a reschedule, they should get some kind of credit.

    My recollection of that 8-2 game, was that Arsenal was stricken with injuries. At that time Sir F-Word would always take advantage, so if Arsene had of proposed a reschedule he would decline, and officially we would have lost 2-0 or 3-0. I agree with you, to lose 8-2 was a big hurt.

    Is there anything a young player can learn, going into a game like that, that the manager has decided to play regardless of a decimated squad? I don’t know.

    The Neville’s and Scholes are Neanderthals. If one of those idiots would have broken the leg of a young player like Ramsey was broken by that idiot Shawcross, I would like the league to allow the stricken team to leave the field and abandon the game, and discipline be meted out on the winning team. To be forced to field a weakened team is one thing, to have the other team take advantage and injure is unacceptable.

  41. Big Lebowski
    March 22, 2015 at 2:41 pm I just wondered how old you are? Billy Wright was a few years back so the thin sounds a bit thick. Then again the Wenger years can be thin depending how thick the viewer is. Club value following infrastructure enhancements might point you towards success that most clubs crave.

    If its only cups that make success then Joe Lyons is where you’ll find loads.

  42. PGMO cheat Atkinson still up to his level of officiating. Counts Fellaini’s fouls & then warns him. Next Fellaini foul? nothing. Now theres a story that tells you how that match went. No siiues with Gerrards red or with Skirtle to be referred, but Rooney should have been booked for his leg breaker on the GK.. The most amusing thing was Atko saying not handball when Di Maria caught the ball inside the pitch with both hands!! Deliberate? yes, Handball? yes, a foul? given! So why was the foul given if it was not handball? If it was sportsmanship then a card would be obvious. However, Atko was not for booking United players – must be something in getting them CL football next season.

  43. Also Jones’ dangerous assault on the shins of an opponent, which earned a yellow, really should have been a red card.

  44. I am one happy asshole who is delighted by us not signing Cesc back. @Vinod. Why do you want that sulking bastard back??

    People like last ditch defending dont they. Per Mertesacker is an excellent defender. One of the last of his kind. Excellent reading of the game. So what if he is slow. Media guided opinions will never let you appreciate what he brings to this team…

  45. @menace, Di maria catch was not even called a foul. Ref saw the light side of it!! BUT why??

  46. Atkinson…..yes. Sadly, doubt if we have seen the last of him. Also, expect Utd to get all the help they need from here on in. Still think that’s what the refs were doing to us early in the season when we couldn’t get a decision, apart from Atkinson, don’t think it was about Chelsea with them, more about the Manchester clubs, the refs have no reason……that we know of… have any love for Chelsea at all, but they have certainly opened the door for them this season.

  47. Menace,

    Hope that beach in Goa is treating you well.
    No doubt about the PGMO representatives bias in that game.
    No doubt about their bias overall:

    Certain players are allowed to stamp against certain opponents. For example, Sir Costalot has made several such stamps this season. Just imagine if an AFC player had been indulged by the tranparent PGMO bunglers and allowed to Carry On with such a charade. On the other hand we have Cahill’s stomp/stamp on Alexis. Ba on Arteta.
    Now that i think of it there is a thread connecting all these players who are allowed to stamp. I know Ba had moved on by the time he took the skipper out for the season!

    I’m looking forward to Untold’s response to Grandmaster Riley’s request for aid for his officials. A little bit late? In light of the PL’s reluctance to follow the Dutch FA’s trials, is Riley taking the berties with his comments or what? With these comments relative to what;’s happened in Holland does anybody need any further proof that this man doesn’t care about the integrity or interests of the game? Do these hopeless bunglers believe that they can stage manage the introduction of this technology whilst retaining their lost and non-existant credibility? Everyone in cycling and beyond already knew Armstrong was up to, years before the revaltions! He wasn’t fooling anyone either. So what have the PGMO been smoking? All those red cards not given to those Gazprom players for stomping etc. must be good for something i suppose.

    Good to see Sky showing also documentaries about how non-racist and progressive Gazprom too.

    In case there was any doubt, and there wasn’t, after a nod to Citeh last season it’s clear who is the new “Brand Leader” for Scudamore and the PGMO’s “product” is this season and going forwards. No surprise it’s a brand with special connections to special agents, the same agents the last brand leader was so friendly with. The same agents the much criticised AFC don’t seem to do buisness with. Now, why would that be? I wonder? 🙂

  48. Journalists doing statistics? Sort of like shooting the duck on average.

    First up, someone mathematical marvel analyzing the results of 6 players playing 1 game each, and then he forgets to include most of the data for one of the 6. I gather this prodigy was looking for data on pass interceptions, as all of the names (save 1) made pass interceptions. What was presented was 8,6,6,6,5. Well the median of that group is 6, and as we are counting we may be safe in assuming the variance is equal to 6 as well (Poisson statistics), which means our standard deviation is about 2.5. And both 5 and 8 interceptions are consistent with a median of 6. In other words, they all intercepted passes at the same rate over a single game.

    Next up in the table was shots blocked. Gabriel had 4 blocks, none of the other players had any. If one looked at a Poisson deviate with an average rate of 1, quite often one observes 0. It is not common to observe 4 for a distribution meant to have an average of 1. It’s possible that Gabriel is statistically blocking more shots than the other players for which data is presented. But, we can also notice that the other players presented (with data), are not defence, they are midfield and forwards. Just from the position they play on the field, they will not have the opportunities to block shots that a central defender does. Really, that is a wasted bit of data.

    Next up is clearances: 11,6,4,3,0. The median is 4. While 0, 3 and 6 are consistent with a median of 4, 11 is pushing things. Do you think this is the same problem as shots blocked, the other players are not defence players?

    Last column, total defensive actions: 28, 23, 11, 10, 9, 6. This was the only data point for Jagielka. The median is 10.5, and 6, 9, 10, 11 are all consistent with a median of 10.5. The other 2 data points? People that play defence.

    What this journalist has discovered, is an effective way to differentiate defenders from midfields and forwards.

    Besides, the standard deviation expected from a single observation (1 game) is meaningless.

    Another journalist figured out how to spell interception, and hence could search for interception data. He brought up interceptions by Welbeck: 6,3,3,2,2,2,2. That’s it, 7 data points. It looks like the median number of interceptions that Welbeck makes in a game is 2, and for 1 game he had an exceptionally good performance and intercepted 6. 6 is not often observe from a distribution centered on 2, it is possible.

    So, this journalist was taking us back to Sesame Street, and gave us an article all about the number 2.

    Coquelin had a bad day, might as well shoot him.

    Presents a bunch of numbers, most of which show Coquelin is doing well in this one particular game. One number doesn’t look so good, and one you can’t tell.

    In this game, Coquelin lost possession 12 times. Which is probably not a good thing for where he is playing. But a single game is not a useful sample size.

    On to to passing accuracy. The author feels 84% is too low for any Arsenal player. The problem is, we don’t know how many passes he attempted. As this particular problem involves counting as well as success and failure, the binomial distribution is an appropriate distribution to try. The mean is n times p (p is the probability), and the variance is n times p times (1-p). You can immediately observe, that the variance goes to 0, as the probability gets close to 0 or 1.

    If Coquelin attempted 25 passes and was successful with 21, we have the mean is 25*0.84=21. It turns out the variance is 3.36, and taking the square root we get 1.8. Or, the fractional standard deviation is 0.087.

    If Coquelin attempted 100 passes, and was successful with 84, we have the mean is 100*0.84=84. The variance is 13.44 and the standard deviation is 3.67 (fractional standard deviation is 0.044).

    If Coquelin attempted 25 passes, his 84% success rate is consistent with 92 or even 96% passing, which is certainly acceptable. If he attempted 100 passes, his success rate is consistent with 87 or 91%, which is also pretty good.

    But, because the author doesn’t find the correct information to present, the data is useless. Garbage In, Garbage Out. Besides, it is an observation on a single game, which isn’t very useful.

  49. I think I am misinterpreted. I am dead against taking back Cesc. What I was telling is we all know , what he can offer and don’t mention his not signing as a great decision of AW.
    My point is
    1. How many games Monreal might have missed by AW going by popular reading of Gibbs as better?
    2. How our season would have been , ‘ had a paulista’ in the starting?
    3. Isn’t the Coquelin a result of compulsion due to fierce criticisam of lack of quality mid fielder by the whole world?
    4. Had we been still with Sangna, how it will be and isn’t it Debuchi/ Bellerin a forced decision which resulted in betterment of quality?
    5. Wasn’t TV’s decision to leave emirates a result of disrespect of that man’s quality and past contribution? Wouldn’t a wiser manager have made more rotation and involved him more?
    AW was very stubborn in the past. Now , he is prone to hear more from fans/ media/ pundits and that resuled both positive and negative results.
    Like not using Monreal, TV are examples of negatives where as undrrstanding the need for a stronger DM and such things are positives.
    Any way the criticisam Wenger attracted from the fans who love the club was not warranted as Tony always preach.
    May be they are expecting Arsenal to be confident and competitive rnough to take on the likes of Chelsea. May be they are unrealistc.
    Unrealisic as long as AW is there’ is what they believe also. But they love this club to the core.
    I have been very sad in earlier times, when Arsenal is beaten. But no more to that extreme now. After recent game against Tottenham , I was really surprised why should I hope this team ever to win league?. Not the result. But the way we played.

  50. OT:

    Okay, wordpress is configured to eat netpbm. 🙂

    Searching wasn’t finding an answer, so trying was next.

  51. That saying from the Sound of Music – when God closes one door, somewhere he opens a window must be a factor to look out for. PGMO shutting Chelsea door must open Man U window!

    Let’s look forward to beating Liverpool first & then assess the remaining key games.

    ARSENAL 13 Free kick was given so it must have been called but he ‘mouthed’ not a handball with a smirk. Some Laws he’s been reading!!

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