As the entity behind shouted “You’re useless Walcott” a dark despair overwhelmed me

By Tony Attwood

Theo Walcott has scored 12 goals in his last 13 Premier League starts.  It is the sort of scoring that takes the mind back to someone like the incredible Jack Lambert who in Arsenal’s first ever league winning season scored 38 league goals in 34 games.

That was in 1930/31, and I am not sure if anyone has exceeded that record since.  I don’t think so.

I mention that because last night the person who sits a row or two behind me in the upper east stand started called Theo names, and did at one point call him useless.

Now I was my usual calm self, and I didn’t rise up, seek him out, and smash his face to a pulp.  After all he may only be a child – I’ve never looked to see.  But the shout – one of a torrent of criticism that poured out of this person against the team – made me ponder exactly where we have got to in football.

Arsenal are having a curious up and down season – two superb away wins against the Tiny Totts and at the time unbeaten Leicester, followed this most disappointing defeat.  It is very frustrating but it happens most seasons, even when we win the league.

The moaning, groaning and the like at the Emirates was something to behold, but in the chit chat I picked up what I didn’t hear was much grown-up talk.  The essence of it seemed to be that

a) I was there so I expect Arsenal to win

b) If we can’t beat this team of time wasters then Arsenal are useless.

Both of which to my mind seem rather silly, although not as silly as calling Theo useless because he missed a shot.

But what is interesting in relation to the incredible Jack Lambert is that there are plenty of stories around about him that say that despite his amazing goalscoring he was regularly booed by the Highbury crowd, and it was this activity that led Herbert Chapman to start his campaign against the “boo-boys” as he called them.  A campaign that lasted until his death.

This booing of Jack Lambert was particularly appalling not just because he was so brilliant, but because he was a particularly nervous player, and most prone to feeling the pressure of the crowd.  But these days it seems managers are less likely to criticise their own team’s supporters.

But back to last night.   The sensible question, the question that the grown-ups might ask, is one that runs something like this:

  • Why are we having problems in home games?

with the variant

  • Why are we having problems in the Champions League?

Of course there might be no answers to this – or rather no consistent answers.  Maybe it just is what it is, without explanation.  But before adopting that view, it is worth considering a few points.

At home this season we have played 3 league games, won one, lost one and drawn one.  Plus we’ve played one cup match which of course we lost.  It does suggest there might be a problem developing at the Emirates, and so we can ask, what is it?   The only answer I can see is the crowd, unless last night’s defeat is a Champions League problem.

Much was made last season of our defeat to Monaco, and far less was made of our victory over the same team in the return match.  Much was made of the fact that Arsenal go out fairly soon after the group stages are done and dusted.

But then so do most English teams.  As of last night English teams have played six and lost five in the Champs League.   And as the Guardian makes clear in an article today, the two English teams playing last night were the champions of England and the team with the most points in the Premier League this calender year.

Now perhaps England teams do badly in Europe because we are not used to the instant return of the ball, or the different way in which European referees run games from the way in which English refs run games.  Maybe we aren’t used to playing teams mired in criminal investigations, as our last two opponents are. Maybe it is because we play lots of other high-intensity games in league and cups.  Maybe it is because English teams don’t spend enough money in the transfer windows.

Or maybe not that last one.

Of course it is not as if we haven’t been here before.  If you check your memory, or the record books, you will see that in the early years of Wenger’s reign we really didn’t do very well in Europe.  Indeed by and large Arsenal don’t do very well in Europe.  We’ve won the Fairs Cup and the Cup Winners Cup, and that’s about it.  So expecting a big run is a bit against history.  It would be nice, but unusual.

Still, maybe we can blame Ooooooospina.  Except, maybe not.  He was superb in the second half of last season when he came into the team.  Sure he has made mistakes, but like calling Theo useless, it is pointless to put the blame on him.  Pointless because every player has off days.  We wish they wouldn’t but they do.

And since I have been around for a while I can remember the off days on Pat Jennings, David Seaman, Bob Wilson and Jens Lehmann.   And if you wonder about the inclusion of the last of those names, I would add he is the only player in the history of the English league to play unbeaten in every game in a season.

As it turns out there was a fitness concern about Cech before the Leicester game.  He came through that ok, but Wenger didn’t want to take any chances so rested him today, using the man who had served us so well in the second half of last season.

Had he acted the other way and Cech been injured, and out for a while, there would have been cries of derision all round that Wenger “took a gamble”.  One thing you can’t ever do as a manager is get all the decisions right.

And certainly against Tottenham I thought Oooooospina was fine.  No problems at all.  But maybe I am not as good a futurologist as the rest of the crowd.  Maybe the turnip behind me knows that Theo is about to stop scoring goals and won’t become Jack Lambert at all, but will be Peter Marinello instead.

Or as Mr Wenger said Arsenal gave away easy goals and lacked concentration and that is undoubtedly true – and quite different from saying Theo is useless.

But what is also interesting is that in the team (including subs) last night we had Koscielny who was described as useless in his first season, Ramsey who was utterly derided in his early years at Arsenal and remorselessly attacked (in the same style as Jack Lambert in fact), Bellerin, whose arrival into the team in the Champions League last season was sneered at, Cazorla whose purchase was laughed at with a load of “he’s too short to play football”, and Coquelin who was said by some to be unable to hold down a place in the Charlton team, and was shown to be useless when on loan.

So maybe the crowd don’t know so much after all.

Interestingly José Mourinho seems to have had less of a hard time of it than Mr Wenger despite losing to the almighty Porto, and leaving Oscar, Loïc Rémy and Radamel Falcao in England.  But that I suppose is football.

One thing is certain for me, being critical of your team in their home games rarely gets victories.  It can do, but it is rare.  With a home-crowd attitude like this, I think we’re going to find it very tough.

From the anniversary files…

  • 30 September 1996: Arsène Wenger appointed as Arsenal manager (although some sources quote 28th and others 29th).
  • 30 September 1997: Arsenal 1 PAOK 1.  Arsenal exited the Uefa cup in the first round losing 2-1 on aggregate.  However in the long term the defeat was forgotten as Arsenal went on to the semi-final of the League Cup, and to win the FA Cup and League Double for the second time.



83 Replies to “As the entity behind shouted “You’re useless Walcott” a dark despair overwhelmed me”

  1. Tony,
    I’m not at all surprised at the moron sitting behind you. He only goes to emphasise the inate fickleness of many who attend the Emirates.
    On the subject of Arsenal goal scorers, in 1934/5 the hero of my youth, Ted Drake, scored 42 in 41 League games. He also scored an additional 3 in Cup games making a record breaking 44 in all….. beating Jack Lambert and this achievement still stands today. 😉

  2. We’ll one reason we have not won in the champions league this time round is not playing your strongest eleven. That’s buck stops with the manager. Excuses on a post card please.

  3. Tony, I admire your positive thinking ? but even you have to admitBright spots are few and far between. Th­e two goal scorers stood out from too ma­ny distinctly average performances. Both­ Arsenal goals had something to admire i­n their creativity, in the simplicity o­f the passing and movement. Both were ta­ken with aplomb but both are dulled by t­he defensive shadows cast.

    Roberto in the Olympiakos goal made seve­ral superb second half saves but it felt­ too little, too late. For about twenty ­minutes in the first half, Arsenal didn’­t manage a shot on target. You can’t wi­n home games with that little attacking ­guile. When the match begged for sparkle­, Arsenal’s key players couldn’t make th­e difference.

    In reality, Arsenal are bottom of the ta­ble and face the very real prospect of b­eing eliminated from the Champions Leagu­e by the time Dinamo Zagreb roll into to­wn in late-November. Two defeats at the­ hands – or feet – of Bayern Munich leav­e elimination from Europe as inevitable.­ At least it will spare us supporters th­e ignominy of taunts about Thursday Nigh­t Football. Every cloud, etc.

  4. I’ve posted this on Positively Arsenal today and on the previous thread. Was a bit late, so, felt I should post it on a new thread so that I can gather some thoughts on it.
    After all the elation and promise Saturday gave us.. To loose like this is numbing. I’d like to highlight a few things abt wat I’ve noticed 4 a while on days when we play teams dt defend in numbers and give away little space.

    1. I think it’d help if Sanchez tries to make off the ball runs instead of coming to receive the ball to dribble inside or looking for a pass when he is our most dangerous attacker. He needs to be in the box when we are faced with dis kind of challenge.
    2. Ozil can do better than he does. As our playmaker, I feel he has to take more responsibility in d sense that he can’t just keep doing the simple thing he does all the time like the one touch passes n coming to the left wing to look for a cross when d tallest person in our d box is Theo. Perhaps it would be better to try and playmake 4rm the right which I think will help him to penetrate better and have the option of a defense splitting pass of which Theo, Alexis, and bellerin can benefit from.
    3. Gibbs’ is a long way off of challenging Monreal for that leftback spot. Just like The Ox, He seems not to av conviction in both his attacking n defending. Both the Ox and Gibbs look way too predictable and soft mentally.
    4. They must cut out the habit of feeling sorry for themselves, embarrassed and downtrodden when it’s not going according to plan. That’s not wat men do. They need to look hard at themselves in situations like this, talk to themselves, readjust and step up their game instead of just trying to rush the ball inside the net. It seems we forget our game plan once we r in an awkward situation even with much time . It hasn’t bn a successful approach as far as I can tell. A game is not over until after 90 mins.
    5. I believe the boss has to be frank with the team. They put him in an uncomfortable position more often than not with their shallow performance and that’s considering the faith he has put in them. I hope they can respond and kick on from here.
    6. To all AKBs, unashamedly, we cannot allow ourselves to be sucked into the negativity n irritating emotional rambling. The storm will pass. For me, I’ve av decided to ignore all the other social media outlets… Can’t live with the meltdown. There is already much to deal with in my life than letting myself made uncomfortable by some madmen’s incessant grumbling. There was a lot to learn about football yesterday and if we cannot see this even when we loose, y do we watch football games.

    Like George said on Positively Arsenal, Nothing left but to “keep the faith” . Onwards and upwards people, onwards and upwards.

  5. Laen

    Your post might have been interesting if it hadn’t been completely lifted from A Cultured Left Foot’s article this morning.

  6. For some reason our team this season is capable of producing excellent performances and dire performances from game to game. Yestermatchs hero is todays useless player and the other way round.

    Some days we click and some days nothing works. But this seems to be a PL trend one could say. As we also see this at Man City and Chelsea. Remember Man City being top of the league after 3 matches, spending all that money on De Bruyne and being declared PL winners at that moment. And suddenly they lose 2 PL matches in a row.

  7. In all honesty ­It was arrogant to select Ospina ahead o­f Cech for starters, but also arrogant f­or a team in European competition not to­ be defensively prepared and drilled to ­minimise danger. In Europe, Wenger pass­es up the opportunity to train in the op­position stadium and become accustomed t­o the pitch and the environment the even­ing before an away fixture. That is lack­ of preparation of the first order. No o­ther team does it. And come the day Wen­ger finally hands Arsenal Football Club ­back (because trust me, he treats it lik­e he owns it), I am damn sure his succes­sor will get rid of this lunatic policy ­at the first opportunity, assuming Arsen­al are still even in Europe at that time­.

    Olympiacos were more prepared, more swit­ched on, more tactically astute and more­ determined. They deserved their win bec­ause they defended better and took more ­of their chances. The final two Arsenal­ matches of this group might prove inter­esting. Wenger will not want Europa Leag­ue and attempt to ensure fourth place wi­th his team selections. As the master of­ throwing competitions he has no interes­t in (the 2007 League Cup final, the 200­9 FA Cup semi-final) that should not be­ too difficult.

    Perhaps, now, more of the loyalists who ­have remained convinced that Arsene is t­he best man for the job might have secon­d thoughts. “I do not have to sit here a­nd give you an explanation about every ­decision I make,” he told journalists af­ter the game. In fact, he should, as the­ media is the source of information for ­the paying customers, the fans, who dese­rve an explanation. Yet Wenger treats fa­ns with utter contempt, rather than expl­ain himself. I challenged him after 201­4 AGM on why he would not re-instate the­ end of season Q&A event with shareholde­rs. He said it was because people are di­srespectful, simply because one question­er used the phrase “geriatric” to descri­be Mikel Silvestre back in 2009. And yo­u have to ask if the manager is accounta­ble to anyone at the club. Is he going t­o be in Ivan Gazidis’ office this mornin­g explaining his match preparation and t­eam selection? No. And the reason why? B­ecause Arsene Wenger is delivering exact­ly what Stan Kroenke wants. A profitabl­e business with minimal risk. There is n­o longer any genuine sporting ambition a­t the club. Why else would they not use ­all the available resources to achieve s­uccess?

    The team has not even played the stronge­st team in the group and there are zero ­points from two matches. Will the stadiu­m actually have the temerity to turn on ­the manager if the team play as naively­ against Manchester United? That is abou­t the only way one feels he would move o­n. Carlo Ancelotti is available, but wou­ld he take a job under an owner like Sta­n Kroenke? And of course, there is alway­s Jurgen Klopp. Certainly with the amoun­t of cash they have, the club could mat­ch the wage demands of some very high qu­ality candidates.

  8. Tony could you please care to explain why in the last 4 home CL games.we conceded 3 v Anderlecht 3 v Monaco 3 v Olympiacos – Nothing short of a disgrace.But just wait for the apologists to come on and say we will get 6 points off Bayern.

    At any other club Wenger would be collecting his P45 this morning.
    We are a joke club.Dropping Cech and Monreal for Ospina and Gibbs beggars belief.Europa league here we come

  9. Walter,
    A fair summing up of Arsenal’s inconsistency.
    When you consider that it’s been 80 odd years since we retained a League Championship title. 😉

  10. Laen. Notice you have posted a big chunk of this morning’s Online Gooner blog written by Kevin Whitcher. Tony and Kevin, both staunch Arsenal fans, do tend to take opposite views on Mr Wenger. Tony, to his credit, seeks to support him and defend him. Kevin, his patience long gone, seeks to challenge Mr Wenger. That, in my view, is as legitimate a position to take as Tony’s, especially as no-one in the club itself challenges the Manager (or at least any such challenges appear to have no impact on how the Manager does his job) . Last night was another home Champion’s League defeat in which Arsene’s team were not able to do the business. Mr Wenger has had many many many attempts at winning this trophy and apart from one or two seasons has not really come close. I think its fair to say Arsene has demonstrated time and time and time again, he doesn’t know how to do it. If we aspire to winning such a trophy, all the evidence suggests we don’t have the right manager to do it.

  11. Playing Gibbs and Ospina instead of Monreal and Cech appears to have upset some fans.
    These players are all in the first team squad and rotation is necessary and should be easy.
    We have a big EPL game at the weekend and we are simply not privy to the stresses and strains CL matches take out of players.
    By the way, apart from Ospina’s mistake, he could not be faulted about the other two goals. Cech might have given us a draw, nothing better. 😉

  12. I think there is a pattern that allows the opposition to exploit Arsenal. To me it is very simple. Arsenal have become very predictable. Even the teams that we beat try to use that template. I would like to use our last eight home games to illustrate this. Olympiacos (2-3); Stoke (2-0); Liverpool (0-0); West Ham (0-2); West Brom (4-0); Sunderland (0-0); Swansea (0-1) Chelsea (0-0). All the teams were very compact defensively with the exception of West Brom. Stoke tried it but were just not good enough. Chelsea could easily have nicked it. We never posed a serious goal threat all day. Swansea succeeded with perhaps their only notable attempt on goal from nowhere. Sunderland had enough chances on the counter to win if it were not for some profligate finishing and a good save from Ospina when Fletcher was through on goal. West Ham pulled it off. Before the Liverpool game Lallana had the temerity to say Arsenal will not score against us and he was proved right. So the pattern is there for all to see. Even Dinamo Zagreb used it against us howbeit away from the Emirates. I will not fault the manager’s selection in both games. Before both matches when I saw the line ups I agreed with the manager. The teams he fielded were strong enough to win the matches and they betrayed a desire to do well in all competitions. The Zagreb match was with the Chelsea match in mind. The Olympiacos match was with Man U in mind. And frankly, with a match every three days it was imperative to rotate. So where is the problem. 1. Overconfidence-in most if not all these matches we started slowly and knocked the ball around with little purpose. In all these matches we played with great intensity and purpose for much of the second half. In all these matches it was evident in the last five minutes that the heads had dropped and we were waiting for the final whistle. In short we had given up. 2. We have become too predictable; and therefore teams can prepare well against us. Sanchez takes too many touches. Often we lack speed in our passing and movement in the final third. We lack penetration when that box is congested. We do not put enough men in the box. The centre striker is often isolated. Often in these games you see seven defenders against three attackers. We dominate possession but lack real penetration. 3. As we chase games and try to force issues we lose defensive discipline and concentration. Individual mistakes kick in. 4. We lack fighters, grafters, lions that are prepared to die on the pitch for the team. The simple truth is that the teams that beat us seemed to want it more than us and were prepared to sweat more than us. The passion in the Zagreb team and in Olympiacos was evident. Could it be that the manager is too soft on his players?
    Are these the only observations? Hell no. Do I have the solutions? Not at all. If I had them I would be a world class manager. However, I would make some suggestions-a) attack with intend form the first whistle-as we did at Crystal Palace and at Monaco to mention just two. b) When we are chasing games play both Theo and Giroud not substitute one for the other. Rather sacrifice Carzola or Ozil, because they are less of goal threats. Of late we have tended to sacrifice Coqueline and much later in the game one of the wing backs (By the way where was Gibbs on the third goal?). This has left us vulnerable defensively.
    I still believe we have one the best teams in Europe in terms of raw talent. Last night’s attack was my dream team-the pace of Theo, Sanchez and Oxlade is frightening. I have been longing to see that combination. I saw enough to be encouraged. Those two lightining breaks early in the first half should have given us a two goal cushion-unfortunately the finishing was poor on both occasions. At the moment the team is bottom in the group, and we all know what is needed. Is the team capable? Yes. Will the team do it? No one knows. What I do know is that elimination from this group will (and should) attract criticism. As for the expletives coming from the fans all I can say is that not all among us have the emotional maturity to take these painful losses on the chin.Are the players useless? Not at all. Was the performance poor? Surely, few will argue that we had some poor moments in all these games.

  13. I am equally quilty, but the Boss is more guiltier than I. I too started Ospina in my late starts that I posted late on I used our Capital One Cup game starts away to Spurs as the basis to do rotation for my starts having in mind our big home game against Man Utd. That my starts were: Ospina. DebuchyRhino’ChambersGibbs. CazorlaRamsey. CampbellOzilSanchez. Walcott. My bench: BellerinMonrealKoscielnyCechKamaraIwobiOxlade. Yes, that was my late start and bench the Olympiakos game. I was supervising the rebuilding of the of my neighbour’s fence which partitioned our 2 houses that the rain storm fell last Friday’s early morning. Hence, I hadn’t the time to browse on the internet. But I don’t know even if I had posted my starts in time, I would have influenced the Boss starts a bit, would I?. When I saw the Boss’ starts for Olympiakos, I didn’t worry because it was a strong starts that should beat Olympiakos despite the Boss making 5 changes to his starts that beat Leicester. Where I fault the Boss is, I expected him to sub Ospina with Cech at least immediately at the start of 2nd half. Ospina fidgeted and dropped the ball into his net. He was not stable on the night and he could commit another error that can cost us the game which he did by conceding the 3rd goal so quickly. And Oxlade was having a dismall performance 1st half as he was wasting his chances by skying his shots. I expected the Boss to bring on Ramsey for him immediately at 2nd half. But the Boss instead removed Bellerin for Campbell and also Coquelin for Ramsey. Which to me it should be Cech for Ospina and Ramsey for Oxlade. I didn’t even know Coquelin has recovered from his injury to play. Anyway, no disrespect to the Boss changes. I just want the Boss to be doing his substitutions whenever it is glaring a particular Gunner or Gunners is or are having a bad starting game. And not to go too far with him or them in the game until his Substitution becomes late to be effective and have any impact on the match. Oxlade can’t play right wing effectively IMO, and that’s the position we’ve been struggling to hold down properly since Jack Wilshere has not been available to be playing there. Meanwhile, we are concentrating now on how we are going to collect all the 3 points that will be at stake in our home game against Man Utd on Sunday.

  14. Fishpie, Wenger came close once, but yes, you could argue that he has not always been impressive in the latter stages with Arsenal. But, he has got us there over a long period of time, and overall, has done better than any manager in Arsenals history in Europe.
    Maybe it is the club that is just not set up to compete regularly to actually win this competition? We are a well run club, and are now getting domestic success, but have ever been considered a European giant? We have been paying for a stadium, to win this trophy, we have to compete with the oligarchs, the oilers, the national institutions, the state run, and at times, even the cheats. That would take some doing. Maybe, if guilty of anything, Wenger has at times allowed raised expectations in his clear desire for this trophy. The depressing fact, and the historians on this site may be able to correct me, but Arsenal have not been a historically ambitious club, Wenger has raised the bar, and I am sure we all hope his actions will enable his eventual successor to raise the bar as well.
    But on Europe, Wenger recently said something to the effect of “We have big ambitions, but we are not dreamers” – that is the first time I remember him deliberately dampening expectations.
    That is no excuse should we go out of this group mind you. and no excuse for that performance
    Many say he is not challenged at the club, have no idea if this is true, but the revamping of the academy, medical staff and facilities, data and scouting analysis does suggest that things have been put in place that many critics have said Wenger would resist.

  15. @Marcus

    ‘Dropping Cech and Monreal for Ospina and Gibbs beggars belief.Europa league here we come’

    I would bet a pound to a pinch of s**t that a few months ago you were slating Monreal off as not good enough along with all the other AAA’s.

  16. Gibbs is a good player. very attacking, has done some pretty important things for this club as well. Think he is a bit like Ox, Jack and Theo, needs a run of four or five games to get to his best, which is tough when up against an exceptional player like Monreal, who unfortunately will probably soon be back on Spains radar.

  17. Hi Mandy
    I agree Arsenal, at different points in its history, has not always shown great ambition. It has seemingly settled for quite long periods for participating rather than winning. I personally don’t like that about Arsenal. Because Arsenal is a club that is at a size (support wise, reputation, finances) where it is on the cusp of being able to do bigger things. It has the potential to be more than it has been (and what it has been of course is pretty substantial). I believe with the right amount of vision, determination, sensible investment and ambition the club can move up to match Bayern Munich. Building the Emirates and doing all the other things you mention are modern indicators the club has ambition now. Maybe the club feels in the immediate future that Wenger’s steady hand is more important than pushing for success it isn’t quite yet ready to push for. I get that. But I also firmly believe that Wenger hasn’t maximised his own chances of success. If a team like Olympiacos with their resources can play like they did against us last night why can’t Wenger get that kind of performance from his team? Organised, disciplined, determined, efficient. I really believe the evidence shows us that he doesn’t know what it takes. Yes we’ve been beaten by bigger, richer, state-run clubs but we’ve also been beaten by clubs with less advantages than we’ve had. Regardless of who we’ve played, what squad of players we’ve had, which referees we’ve had, etc etc, we nearly always don’t make the QF’s and somewhere along the line shoot ourselves in the foot. The one constant is Mr Wenger. Was there any evidence at all that his team had learned any lessons from previous campaigns? No and that is damming. WE DO HAVE TO ASK WHY.

  18. Laen – you are an arrogant twat considering you never have to select from a squad of players that you have coached. Arrogance is knowing better after a defeat. Calling Wenger’s decisions arrogant is typical of an idiot. I was pleased with his selection & the team played an excellent game but once again had to accept poor officiating.

    It is unusual for Dutch officials to be poor, but this lot were a sham. The 2nd goal never crossed the line. The referee allowed Olympiakos to get away with several fouls while calling pseudo fouls against Arsenal. Their playacting was not punished but in fact exacerbated by the referee.

    I am not surprised by the result, only surprised by the idiots who think they know better than Wenger & that Wenger reports to them. Wenger reports to the board & no one else.

  19. Mandy, it is good to hear another voice of reason. I am personally not too bothered about the Champions League just now. If we were out of that and NOT in the Europa League, we are certainly capable of mounting a very strong title challenge. Will we be able to attract another one or two world class players in January? We hope so, the money is there and the will from Wenger is there. If not, a couple of top level, strong fighters would not go amiss in this team. The hope of all of us is that the type of game we had on Saturday will become the norm this season. No other team matches us technically, even City imo, who are closest. Will Wenger be able to get that level of play and effectiveness in all our games, even against those teams that park the bus? He needs to and anyone who is not prepared to scrap and wear the badge with pride should go. As Arsenalfy said, we need the players to man up. Above all, as last night’s match p[roves, we need our luck to change. We could play Zagreb and Olympiakos 10 times and beat them 9 times. What is happening? Hopefully it is the birth pangs and ups and downs in the making of an epic team. Many of us still have faith that we almost have one and that Wenger is the man to make it happen again. I will say, that when you look at the team, it is more than capable of winning the Premier League, all things being equal (referees especially).

  20. One more point. The yellow card to the Goalkeeper for time wasting must be followed by an indirect free kick to the opponents. It is what the Laws state.

  21. Tony “The moaning, groaning and the like at the Emirates was something to behold, but in the chit chat I picked up what I didn’t hear was much grown-up talk”.

    This behaviour infuriates me because it creates nervousness for the players. The big problem we have at the Emirates is this sighing and name calling. Not many do it but there are a few. I call them the Fantasy Football fans. Those fans who think managing a football team is a case of picking 11 players from a list, like they do on their Xboxes or Playstations or some Dream Team competition. The media feed them the same narrative, a narrative they don’t actually have the understanding of football to realise is bollocks. The ‘fans’ attracted to this ‘narrative’ tend to be those who also have a vocabulary that is far from expansive.

    BUT. It’s no good us trying to deny what we can see with our own eyes. I mentioned this on the earlier comment section. Unless our players stick to their responsibilities and improve their in game managment, these type of results are going to continue. I blame the players. They know their roles and responsibilities. To switch when you score is a cardinal sin in football. You dont have to be an experieinces International with 50 caps to know that. Kids in academies are taught this, it is a basic. Yet not for the first time our players are caught napping.

    I was so dissappointed. This is a great group of players, the best squad we have had for a while. Yet we dont learn our lessons from games like Monaco last season. Once bitten, twice shy but not with us. Bloody frustrating because I beleive in this squad of players. And even more frustrating because these players know what they are doing wrong and need to take responsibility.

    And when I hurt like this, I find myself wanting to get hold of every idiot who crawls out of his hole to heap shit on the club and beat him to death with Adrian Durhams over sized ego. Because make no mistake, the moaners and groaners will be milking this for all its worth.

  22. think we should not underestimate the opposition and play like we did at the start of the second half of last match from the start. Also somehow we need to up the shot conversion rate. Don’t think any top team in Europe has such a poor shot conversion rate. This is evident in the wake of last two defeats in the CL. We could be leading both PL and CL had it been any better.

  23. Proudkev

    “Because make no mistake, the moaners and groaners will be milking this for all its worth”

    Yes they will be , but interestingly enough, is any of this Arsene Wenger’s fault, maybe?
    I mean, if something repeats itself again and again, is it just the players who should be held accountable?

    The way I see it , all this talk about bad luck is just deflecting the cold reality and facts.

    You want bad lack? Sure , I will admit the second goal was questionable at best. Never mind Ospina’s blunder on the play.
    The most common mistake in football that takes place on the byline, is the linesman calling the ball out for a goal kick or a corner when the whole of the ball didn’t cross the whole of the line.

    They see a patch of green between the ball and the line and right away their instinct is to give it , when in fact that type of play can only be judged accurately directly from above. You can have green grass between the ball and the line , and the whole ball not be out when looking at it from the side.

    For tha goal, the fifth official is looking around the post and in through the goal mouth, so his angle alone prohibits him from making this call.
    If only there was some sort of technology that could accurately deal with this, oh never mind.

    That aside , everything else was Arsenals own doing, so when the manager talks about bad luck , in effect he allows his players and himself be absolved of any responsibility.

  24. Our team played well really, focused and concentraed for the most part of the game. Mount Olymp was playing good too, not letting us settle but we did the same to them. Hope we can play like this v Manu.

    Face it, CL was always going to be tough this season and every season, and PL is a little more important at this time yes?

    Want to beat Manu properly.

  25. Proudkev
    So when we fail to achieve a desired result we usually start the blame game with referees, then the fans, opposing players and managers, lastly our players.

    Here’s a question , is it possible to support the manager and not want him out , but have some criticism aimed at him ?

  26. @Proudkev: ­I really try not to write in straight af­ter an Arsenal defeat, I try to let the ­emotions I am feeling settle down before­ writing my views down but tonight I jus­t thought sod it ill let it out.

    For starts Steve Bould should go, either­ it is Wenger not listening to him on de­fensive advice or he has input into the ­way we defend and we still cannot defend­, either way its a lost cause.

    How does a club that apparently wants to­ win major trophies have just one striki­ng option on the bench with 5 minutes to­ go, did I mention this striking option ­has spent most of his time on loan aroun­d Europe because clearly Wenger has dec­ided he is not good enough for us. Maybe­ Wenger thinks ill keep Joel Campbell ar­ound, f**k it ill send him to Charlton a­nd then call him back in when Walcott an­d Giroud get injured in December and he ­will be a revelation like Coquelin.

    Kieran Gibbs is the worst left back ive ­ever seen, your job is to be in position­ when teams are attacking not at the oth­er end of the field wondering why your l­atest attempt at a cross failed. Only a­t Arsenal is crap kept around, he is not­ a vintage Cabernet Arsene that will be ­great in five years he is awful and alwa­ys will be.

    I don’t care if he sets up the occasiona­l goal, has a good pass accuracy rating ­or a World Cup Winners medal Mesut Ozil ­is sh*te. How many games do you get to b­e totally ineffective and still make th­e side, I also don’t understand how some­one who does not run in the first place ­can ever be offside.

    Arsene, we need to win big games so why ­not play your best players eh? ­If Cech was injured why is he on the be­nch? We bought him because he was better­ than what we had, PLAY HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Our midfield was schooled by a once grea­t player now in his twilight years and a­ guy who could not get in the Fulham tea­m, how does this happen? Oh yeah I know ­we play Santi Cazorla out of position i­nstead of buying a holding midfielder.

    What is Carlo Ancelotti’s number? Please­ take the job, we might get far in Europ­e with you instead of a guy who is blind­ed by his own stubbornness.

    Best regards,­


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  27. A disappointing night, yes but to go and blame individuals (Ospina) will get us nowhere. The look on his face said it all, I don’t suppose he got much sleep last night. We have two brilliant goalkeepers and everybody makes mistakes, it’s part of being human. I thought the ref was a bit on their side, a couple of bad challenges on Sanchez went unpunished and did anybody else think their 3rd goal was offside? Who knows we might still qualify and if not so be it, we can then concentrate on the PL.

  28. Menace

    “One more point. The yellow card to the Goalkeeper for time wasting must be followed by an indirect free kick to the opponents. It is what the Laws state.

    Not necessarily. The referee often waits for a break in play before issuing cards for offenses like time wasting, diving, unsporting behaviour etc. And a free kick isn’t usually awarded.
    Also I’ve seen two photos in the Mail which shows clearly that the ball crossed the line when dropped by Ospina.

    Laen, who you justifiably criticise has cut & pasted both his comments this morning, so probably always does it.

  29. Kieran Gibbs is the worst left back youve ever seen? Özil is shit? Then I’d say you havent seen much or know very much about actually playing football rather than watching it. Steve Bould should go? What in September, after the defensive record of the team in 2014? To what level have you played?

    Heres Ancelottis number: ­+44 (0) 330 41 40077­

  30. I watched the game in pay per view mode in Switzerland. The game was without comments, that is they are just showing the match with stadium sound
    Mikes must have been ok As I could hear the oooooooospina chant.

    What struck me and saddened me was that from the sound coming from the TV, I could not really hea any croud supporting the team. Not that many chants, rather whissling (from Arsenal supporters or greek supporters I could not tell.

    Considering the remark in another piece that the away fans from Arsenal are extraordinary, either the broadcaster has voluntarily transformed a hot cauldron which the Emirates should be in a cold venue via technical means, or away fans can’t come to home games and home fans themselves are not fans but mere spectators.

    At the beginning of the game I even commented that it sure looked the players were nervous and was wondering where the famous 12th man was ?

    What gives ?


  31. After every defeat we get a lot of people on here commenting who don’t ever bother when we win.
    They are more often than not full of advice and opinion on what Wenger did wrong, telling us what he should or shouldn’t have done. He should have picked X, he played Y out of position, Z is crap everyone knows that, zonal marking is stupid, etc etc.
    It would be a lot more helpful if you were to tell us, and especially Wenger, all this before the game, then we could eradicate all these silly losses and win every game.
    All this knowledge going to waste, it really is a crime.

  32. The press is as up and down as a yoyo. On Saturday and Sunday, there was huge praise for Arsenal and a belief that we had turned a corner and are now serious title contenders. This morning and last night, we are on the edge of an abyss, Wenger is clueless and the club is doomed. The press is increasingly pandering to the awful brand of supporter – the kind that wants instant gratification, is always quick to open their foul mouth and wants a manager sacked above all else, should we not win every single week, without fail.

    And all that after an exceptionally lucky win for Olympiakos. The main stupidity revolves around Wenger not playing Cech. That argument becomes irrelevant if anyone bothers to listen to him when he says that Cech has a knock and we don’t want to risk him being sidelined for weeks, instead of one month. All the pundits know best, the Wenger haters are out in force and the entire football world seems utterly farcical.

    It is days like these that make rational and calm supporters wonder if it is worth it, not because the club isn’t great, without a great manager and on the up, but because the club has so many hideous imbeciles as supporters. At least, they are the ones making the most noise. Could they please take a boat to fantasy island, with the dregs of the gutter press as shipmates. Ring Ancelloti, he would probably pay for you to get out of everyone else’s faces. B0ll0cks to the lot of you, you have no clue about football, you fill most Arsenal sites with total rubbish and vitriol and you have no right to call yourselves supporters.

  33. @ Menace
    The ball was very, very over the line for the 2nd goal. At least a couple of feet. Sadly.

  34. @ Menace
    Sorry looked at it again, more like a foot. But point well taken about poor refereeing. Again. Not sure how much difference it actually made on the day but it seemed like the officials were constantly getting calls wrong. especially corners v goal kicks and giving fouls for dives.

  35. If as in Gibbs positioning he has gone forward its the duty of another player to drop in and cover. We tend to go forward mob handed and frequently have too many players in a small space, hence the number of short often pointless passes which slow our progress.
    We do overpass and we do over indulge ourselves and suck players forward to join in and in doing so leave ourselves open to the counter. We have pace but lack directness, we go forward but having lost the ball don’t get back goalside. Too many ball watch. Very talented but not disciplined enough to beat continental more organised sides.

  36. Serge – thanks. Laen seems to have cut & pasted all his details including his phone number or that of a business colleague. I will look at the online Mail.

  37. Serge the photos in the Mail do not prove anything. My view in the stadium was better than the photos. Photographs are 2 dimentional. The official is not viewing the ball from behind the goal post so he is in the wrong position to see the whole ball ‘in the goal’.

  38. For whatever this my piece is worth, let us man-up and move on. The match is done and dusted Olympiakos won and got their 3 points; it does not matter any more if it was goodluck or bad luck. What matters now is: will AFC learn from all these down right poorly managed must-win-matches that end up being lost? Do our players have the Desire and Passion to win? It was not evident for large swathes of the time in most of the matches we have lost or drawn. How do we ignite their passion and desire to win?

    The teams we have lost to always seem to have goal-keepers that are very good at goal-keeping. Of course no goal-keeper is so good that no team can score against him it is only less frequent. They all seem inspired when it is AFC on the other side. Collectively, those teams have shown a far higher amount of cohesion, passion and discipline than our own team. Has this anything to do with the number of games we play per week?

    Teams win and lose all the time, even the most winnable match can be lost by the best sides. At the end of it all if the members of the team lack any faith in their own abilities we the supporters will continue to shout ourselves hoarse and yet get no good results from their on-field performances. The AFC senior team has very capable and good quality members who can win a place in most top teams in Europe and elsewhere. Why are they not performing well, especially at home? It is my view that our team members are their own worst enemies, therefore they should look inwards for the solution to the poor results they are returning. Man U FC up next, let us at them!

  39. Mick. Come on, really. No-one on this site knows what would be better or how to go about doing it. Least of all me. But that isn’t the point. The key thing that emerges from all of this is that once again the likes of you feels duty bound to defend the club/manager against the likes of me. I see a team that learned nothing. And I ask why is that. Whose responsibility is it to ensure his team has what it takes to win? Whose responsibility is it to select the players, prepare them and coach them to play to their best ability? And to ensure that past mistakes are not repeated? And if the players were at fault previously why are they still ignoring what their manager is telling them? why don’t they listen to him or do what he asks? And if he is asking them to do something beyond their collective capability, why is he asking them to do that? Ultimately, anyone who comes on this site to critizise (in whatever way they do it) is doing so because they feel the person at the club who is responsible for holding the Manager to account is not doing their job. Gazidis once said something like it would be the fans who would decide when Arsene left. Well, I don’t get paid to make that call, nor do I have anything like enough knowledge/experience to make it either BUT it has been a long and established tradition at our club and indeed every club that the Chairman or CEO or owner made that call. In the absence of any evidence that Mr Wenger faces any kind of internal judgement or appraisal or criticism, it falls to the fans. All of this noise which I am now contributing to comes out of not being listened to. And a lot of it is not pleasant. When people in power don’t listen, UKIP happens, Corbyn happens, the SNP happens. People protest and rightly so. That’s all this is. A man in power not listening, not hearing, not responding. It doesn’t make him a bad man. God knows Arsene works even harder. He becomes even more committed. He takes even more abuse and comes back even more entrenched. (A touch of the Blatters maybe) But it just makes him unreachable and out of touch. It is not healthy.

  40. As hopeful as I was that Arsenal can go far and possibly win CL, realistically this was going to be near impossible considering the teams Arsenal are competing with throughout Europe and also the loss of the top group seeding. I actually do not think it would be bad if Arsenal do not qualify out of the group stages and end up in Europa League. Perhaps competing in and winning the Europa League is what is needed to propel this team forward in the long run domestically and in Europe.

    Time for Arsenal to focus on the domestic competitions (remember only 3 points behind the current league leaders) so no reason why we can not compete and win this competition. As a supporter any lose is a big blow, but all supporters are needed to support and make noise for the team. The away team fans should never be allowed to be louder than the home fans at the the Emirates! No matter how good/bad they are playing.

    For an example, look at the Dortmund supporters when their club was closer to relegation than champions league.

  41. @Menace,
    Re your 12.44, from where would the free kick be taken?
    Time wasting could occur somewhere off the field of play.

  42. As far as the 2nd goal is concerned only a side on photo of the post with the ball behind it will be conclusive. Any other is a waste of time.

    Wenger is going nowhere. He is still the best in his business. He cannot be judged on one game or for that matter one competition. He has proved to be the most courageous of individuals because his teams have had to play on the most sloping pitches with the whole of UEFA & FA trying to reduce his quality because he is not open to corruption. You can buy many things & many people but you cannot buy Wenger. The media are all in it to satisfy their egos & prove their selection is the best. Trophies are not the measure of quality. It is the total club that he changed, from diets, to stadia, to systems. The club value is a huge multiple of what it was when Wenger arrived. The quality of football is one of the worlds biggest draws. The ungrateful fan is part of the media influence.

    I know the difference between where we were & where we are.

  43. @nicky 531,
    In FIFA Law 12, it says that is an indirect free kick from where the offence occurred.

    It’s rarely ever given though (not sure if it ever has), probably because refs do not want to make it that obvious that they are deciding the games, but if they actually started applying the rules, teams would probably stop advising their goalkeepers to waste time.

  44. The point is that we cannot change what happened. As fans what we can do is continue to support the club, manager and team that we love. After a bad result the team and manager need our support all the more – so lets get behind them all the way as they prepare for the next hurdle – the Manures and the PGMO on Sunday!

  45. It is the future that needs changing by picking up the errors of today. The time wasting is an unsporting aspect that needs to be eradicated so that we punters get value for money. PGMO will not change anything that impacts their control.

  46. As for refs giving the indirect free kick, I remember a decision against Arsenal for the keeper holing on to the ball for longer than the official thought was Lawful. It was a few years ago – probably when Jens was in goal.

  47. Tom.Laen

    I have criticiced the manager but to be fair it was in the earlier comment section.

    Personally, I am happy for constructive criticism and that has to be there. However, I support Arsenal football club, warts and all. I don’t turn on players, the manager, the coaches, the scouts or the caterers – just not my idea of support. As a fan since the start of the 1970’s, form a family of Gooners, I am able to recognise what we have acheived. Wenger ripped the club off its foundations and make no mistake, he is largely responsible for the huge off field development of this club. I will also credit Wenger for creating several legends and probably the most attractive football I have ever witnessed. In many ways he raised the bar so high, that people expected him to win trophies when the finacial picture suggested otherwise.Of course, never finishing below 4th is also unheard of in our history, if you look through the decades, we often finished mid table or below. So I wont be turnoing on the manager.

    I agree with a lot of what Porter has said.

    As i mentioned earlier, what has disturbed me more than anything is our in game management. Now the Manager absloutely has to accept some of the blame for this, along with the coaches. Thsi isnt the first time this has happened at home in a big game. This ball watching and switching off. BUT, these are experieinced players. They should not be making naive mistakes. Yes, Ospina had a mare and that hasnt helped us and as I said I thought Cesc should start. But this is hindsight, nobody expected Ospina to throw one in. Arguably, the bigger game is Sunday and if Cesc did half a claf strain it was the right decision. Anyone can be a hindsight specialist, we seem to have a lot of those whenever we lose. As we dont hear from them when we win, I can only suggest the hindsight app only works rarely?

    We cannot keep letting silly goals in and then expect our creative players to get us out of a hole. Until our in game management improves and Wenger and his coaches get hold of the players and make them take responsibility, this will happen again. Without the Giroud option, we end up passing the ball to death against teams that sit deep in numbers. Have teams worked us out, to a certain extent yes but we have quality players. What I am starting to question is whether or not the players have that in game tactical nous you need, I find it hard to accept that third goal. Just shut up shop for 5 minutes and take the sting out of the initial pressure that comes from a team that has just conceded.

    Need to win Sunday. However, we need our fans Sunday to make some noise and not sit there groaning at every misssed pass, while they comment on twitter. I often wonder whether the atmosphere at the stadium doesnt help in certain games.

    Big test of character Sunday.

  48. Fishpie
    Well constructed reply but I stand by what I said.
    All those with all the answers post match are remarkably quiet pre-match and rarely heard following a win. It really is that simple and it annoys the hell out of me.

  49. Micko it is very difficult to predict precisely prior to the match. However you can say what you anticipate will happen albeit not the outcome. If we could Paddy Power and his mates would be in Carey Street.
    What I can say is that I anticipate that on Sunday we will have a 55-45% possession advantage but we will build slower than they will and run the risk of getting caught by a sucker punch as we push forward. That is what I expect to see hopefully I am wrong.

  50. Proud Kev 6.44, Some really valid points, very balanced and well made. Most of us on here back the team as you do, but , as you say, that has happened too often, and the coaches and players need to take a look at things. they are very good players, but sometimes do silly things… you say, the third goal. Game management is sometimes an issue, so are set pieces, and sometimes, defending full stop. Surely these things cannot be so hard to eradicate? Maybe they need to look at preparation, tactics, whether all players are listening to instructions…..maybe there are some that need more spoon feeding than previous Wenger players? Agree, the creative players cannot keep having to try and recover stupid mistakes, too much of that may cause cliques, resentment, squad disharmony.
    They need to look at this and act on it, fast, even if it means abandoning some, either temporarily, or permanently possible long held principles ?

  51. Seems I’m late to the party. Nevertheless, I would still be interested to get the take of the more tactically astute amongst you. I’ve been mulling over the idea that the Champion’s league and Premier League are on two ends of a see-saw; lately it seems to be a rare thing for a team to be successful in both competitions at the same time. Then, on this very blog (sorry, I know we don’t seem to like this word around here) I read a few pieces talking about the differences in officiating and the “instant ball replacement service”, the latter of which I deem less crucial but I don’t say this with much forethought, which could explain this trend. However, I find myself asking about the tactical set-up/technical quality of teams? In particular, how do the different skills, which I feel are emphasised by each league, affect performance in Europe? In this light, the effect of officiating seems much more obvious to me. According to every Tom, Dick and Harry, the English game is faster, a lot more physical, and relies on numerous quick transitions. I can’t think of a team that has won the league in recent years that hasn’t possessed a lot of physicality (and surprisingly less importantly, speed), even to the detriment of “technical tidiness”. This last point is where I feel our teams fall short in Europe.

    The way a typical flow of a league game, where both parties feel they would get a victory, seems to consist of a few bursts of activity where teams expose themselves and play forward thinking attacking football, haphazardly. Controlled chaos, if you will. And we love it, lots of goals, plenty of drama etc. but it seems that this may be exactly what is causing poor performances in Europe.

    If you are playing against a team that is

    1.) Wary of its opposition…

    1.1) …and is therefore more tactically prepared, targeting weaknesses in its opposition…

    1.2)….and comes with an overall match plan,


    2.) Plays in a slower and more technical league…

    2.1) …where there is a lot more thought going into every attack…

    2.2) …where 1-0 affairs are a lot more common…

    2.3)…and therefore defensive concentration is higher…

    Then it becomes very easy to despair when facing such an opponent. Let’s face it, it doesn’t take high technical quality to park the bus, but it does take a lot of defensive concentration. Other European teams seem to slow the game down when they need to, and just when our teams get used to the slow pace and become frantic (with less gaps to exploit than they are normally used to) they suddenly change speed. The rebirth of counter attacking football on the continent seems to also be the demise of our game, which seems counter-intuitive to me.

    Put simply, it’s like the rest of Europe are used to engaging in staring contests, and they get really good at noticing concentration lapses and pouncing to exploit them, while we are still stuck playing blow for blow. They have to concentrate and be technically tidy and we have to be able to keep running until the other guy gets tired. But if they played our game we would win, we complain. Yes, I think so too, but then again why should they?

    Perhaps I am way off (and something I can’t quite put my finger on seems wrong in my analysis) but it seems like when we (Arsenal) were less reliant on physical ability but were almost technically neat we (didn’t win but) did better in the Champs, and badly in the Prem in comparison.It’s almost as if building a team to excel in one competition compromises performance in the other. Ultimately, you will favour your league because you play a lot more of their games and so your style tends to lean there.

    It seems obvious as well that the other leagues in Europe have stepped up their game, and perhaps this is just a brief trough for England in the up-down trend of the game that has been exacerbated by the increase in quality in the European league. Perhaps the problem is not a tactical one but some other lesser known/understood variable (there are many of them), but I just feel like this should not be neglected.


    1.) No matter what t.v. pundits seems to suggest this Arsenal team is very different to the “Fabregas’ Arsenal” and we are a lot more suited to the English game, not just because of Coq and Alexis. Perhaps this is the influence of Bould?

    2.) I am not talking about winning the champions league, but general performance in Europe by all teams (e.g. Bilbao beating Man U: since I was an avid watcher of La Liga –and an Athletic supporter–at the time this didn’t surprise me in the least bit, at the time, the champions league so far, performances across the board last season etc.)

    3.) Having a few technical players does not mean the team is playing technically tidy i.e. David Silva, Mesut Ozil, Fabregas etc. are all players who play according to the style of the teams in which they play, and in all three cases an argument can be made that their teams are not optimised for them. Barcelona have gone with their front three, Arsenal seem to play for Alexis and 1 CF (who annoyingly doesn’t run off the ball enough in behind, I agree with a commenter above on this point), Hazard and Costa, Aguero.

    4.) An interesting (possibly historically accurate) point: it seems like whenever a new brand of football comes back into fashion it does so as a response and if it usurps the current dominating ideology it sticks, and its early adopters (or teams that happen to have the right players) profit.

    To be honest there is a lot more I could say and want to say, but if you have even read 1/4th of that I will spare you. I won’t push my luck this time. Hopefully, all English teams start pushing more strongly in Europe as of matchday 3.


  52. Chris as has been mentioned before the home crowd is entirely different to the away one.2500 like minded fans concentrated in one area make a lot of noise especially in a small stadium. The Emirates is an open high roofed building and sound escapes easily and as the number of noisy supporters are spread out concentrated noise is harder to build

  53. I am sure he did not want it to happen as it did but I think there may be aspects of that game that give us a clue where wengers true priorities lie this season. On that note I expect a very different performance against utd, ref permitting

  54. Just wondering where the hell do all these mices come from?? When we win you never see a single one of them,could you put your money where your mandibles are??? The Arsenal will go through, we are still in it. Im betting on that.

  55. Hey Karachi
    Thanks for a well considered and structured piece. Enjoyed your hypothesis. I do get a general sense that European teams are are more astute, more sophisticated and more adept at slowing the game and then turning up the volume. also I sense the players are more highly and finely tuned in terms of fitness and technical ability. Having said that the Manchester teams were able to impose their games on two technically good teams tonight. Unlike us last night. I hope Arsenal are keeping an eye on the shifts going on in football in terms of technic, fitness and coaching and they go for a coach who belongs in the modern football world when Mr Wenger finally goes.

  56. Let’s hear from the opposition as quoted in the Mirror and elsewhere:

    Alfred Finnbogason: “Yes, the first corner we trained on the training pitch because we know they have no man on the edge of the box…..And you know you’re going to have spaces because they don’t want to defend. So, our plan worked.”

    That’s not me, that’s the Olympiakos striker talking. So, enough of blaming the crowd or the referee or bad luck.


    This is a true story that happened in Japan.

    In order to renovate the house, someone in Japan breaks open the wall.

    Japanese houses normally have a hollow space between the wooden walls.

    When tearing down the walls, he found that there was a lizard stuck there because a nail from outside hammered into one of it’s feet.

    He sees this, feels pity, and at the same time curious, as when he checked the nail,
    it was nailed 5 years ago when the house was first built !!!

    What happened?

    The lizard has survived in such position for 5 years!!!!!!!!!!

    In a dark wall partition for 5 years without moving, it is impossible and mind-boggling.

    Then he wondered how this lizard survived for 5 years! without moving a single step–since it’s foot was nailed!

    So he stopped his work and observed the lizard, what it has been doing, and what and how it has been eating.

    Later, not knowing from where it came, appears another lizard, with food in it’s mouth.

    Ah! He was stunned and touched deeply.

    For the lizard that was stuck by nail, another lizard has been feeding it for the past 5 years…

    Imagine? it has been doing that untiringly for 5 long years, without giving up hope on it’s partner.

    Imagine what a small creature can do that a creature blessed with a brilliant mind can’t.

    Please never abandon your loved ones

    Never Say you’re Busy When They Really Need You …

    You May Have The Entire World At Your Feet…..

    But You Might Be The Only World To Them….

    A Moment of negligence might break the very heart which loved you against all odds..

    Before you say something just takes a moment to break but an entire lifetime to make…

  58. ‘ If you can’t do anything about it , then let it go . Don’t be a prisoner to things you can’t change. ‘ – Tony Gaskins.

  59. That’s how you win games, Wenger would do well to look at United and learn a thing or two. Oh wait they’re coming this Sunday… Gulp

  60. Brickfields – The Lizard story is a nice one to start the day with – thanks!

  61. Laen.
    “Wenger would do well to look at United and learn a thing or two”

    I watched the game, I thought Man Utd got out of jail. At times they were a clear second best.

  62. You have to laugh at all the armchair managers blasting Wenger on his selection and preparation. If these people are so good, please go and get your manager badge and see if you can win at least the CL match. I say had we not play Chelsea and ManU after the CL game but play mid-table team I say Wenger would have played his full strength team in both CL games. I think he believe this team can truly win the PL this year and had prioritise his squad. In addition, it’s ridiculous playing a game every three days for PL teams. No wonder why they don’t do well playing against other top European teams.

  63. Hey Laen, after spending over £200 million and they just scrape through with a win. They should not be struggling with such investment and with all those “world class” players. But hey keep going with the Wenger bashing.

  64. Ridiculous or not Polo that’s the world he works in .As such ,if a game every 3 days is too much then perhaps a little judicious squad strengthening ( not necessarily world class)might have been in order.

  65. Been absent for a couple of days. Probably just as well.

    Some observations from the Olympiakos game.

    1. The attendance was poor. Seems that many fans were as complacent as the team (assuming they were).

    2. The support level in contrast with the away fans continues to diverge. To the disadvantage of Arsenal playing at home.

    3. We lost due to a combination of:
    – bad luck
    – lack of discipline
    – excellent Olympiakos defending.

    4. Desperately disappointing, but these things happen in football. The mark of a top sportsman/team is how to react to adversity.

    5. Subsequent to the game, the usual suspects (generally pretty invisible when we win) are out in force. Hindsight Henrys. It is no good slavering at the mouth if the team wasn’t what you had picked. If it is that important come on here BEFORE the match stating what team you would pick. You even have an hour between the publishing of the teams and the kick off time. Didn’t see much then.

    So I challenge all those who are poised to plunge in the knife should we lose on Sunday – you know who you are – to comment on the pre-match article stating which team you would pick (and even why you don’t like the selected team in the hour before kick off).

  66. Polo, I don’t agree with their spending ­but their on filed success has brought d­ividends and they can spend another 200 ­million comfortably and still have no pr­oblems. This is the power of Sir drinka­lot. They were successful because they w­on trophies on a global level whereas we­ win FA cups (only recently) and that to­o after shelling out on Ozil and Sanchez­. Again, I don’t disagree with that too ­– if you want to win big things then yo­u need to have quality players. People k­eep talking about the ‘silly mistakes’ w­hich seem to cost us but haven’t these s­illy mistakes been happening since the l­ast 3 seasons?

  67. Laen
    “Wenger would do well to look at United and learn a thing or two, Oh wait they’re coming this Sunday… Gulp”
    “Proud key, they may have got out of jail but please remind me who won the game?”

    Firstly, I would like to ‘remind’ you that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit mate.

    Secondly, Gulp meaning is: “To choke back by, or as if by, swallowing”. Not something I know much about to be honest.

    The fact you think Arsenal fans should ‘gulp’ or fear Man Utd on their performance Wednesday is actually very humerous. I watched the entire game and Man Utd were far from deserved winners. My mate is a season ticket holder at OT and he does not share your strangely high opinion of that team. They looked disjointed at times and Woflsburg outplayed them for periods but failed to take their chances. Just because they won does not mean they should be feared, not based on that performance anyway.

    What worries me more is that Anthony Taylor is walking to OT in order to get a lift down on the team coach.

  68. Laen, we don’t have many mega stars like other big teams but we do have plenty of quality players. My concern is our players get complacent when playing teams that the media say are not on our level, maybe they read/listen to much on social media or the pundits and become complacent. Like you I’m disappointed with the result but win or lose I will support the team. Opinions are good but a lot of the WOBs express outrageous personal abuse at our manager and players and that is just plain wrong. If you want change then start boycotting, as they say money talks. I personally like Wenger and the way he want his team to play football which is attacking football not park the bus crap. If every team plays park the bus, we all be falling asleep around 30 minutes of play.

  69. There appears to be a real apathy within the club at the moment. There is little direction and Wenger needs to shoulder some of the blame if not all. He sets the team up but the passion and tactics aren’t there. Reminds me of the mid-90s when we were drifting In the final years of GG, then under SH and BR until Wenger came in. He has done great things but I’m afraid things have gone full circle. FA cups in last two years a nice send off but enough is enough. A lot of people will have an aversion to change but given the quality of players at the club I’d wager a change of management would be a change for the good. Could be fun.

  70. Polo,nited’s recent financial results showed the impact of no European football. Swiss Ramble recently estimated that the club lost £46m in revenue in their season out of the Champions League. That’s more than Arsenal would lose but indicative of the size of the hole. The Europa League won’t fill that gap but it offers the opportunity of mitigation if it is taken seriously.

    There’s the rub. I don’t think Arsène would take the view. The board might but ultimately they are too weak to question the manager, to issue an edict which states he has to go all out to win the trophy. My suspicion is that Wenger would view the Europa League as little more than the League Cup.

    This season’s failed Champions League rotation policy underlines how he is struggling at the moment to manage the squad through playing two games a week. With more games to navigate through, there is ample evidence to suggest he would need to rotate significantly through the group stage in the Europa League as he focusses on his primary objective of a Premier League title challenge. If / When – delete as you feel appropriate – that falls apart, will he rue his team selection in Zagreb? Perhaps that will come earlier, if / when Arsenal exit the Champions League at the group stage.

    Failure, it seems, is an option

  71. Thanks for the response, Fishpie. I absolutely enjoy this side of the game. It is more fascinating to me than the fan cannibalism and reactionary support (or lack thereof) after every victory/defeat. I don’t understand why more publications don’t focus on very specific technical or tactical talk when there is so much to say about it. These days I try not to engage in pointless debates about things I know so little about (Wenger’s selection, his motives….blah blah blah). I think if more of us could perform even basic analysis and called “pundits” to account we would see less of this “We need to kick everyone out/Arsenal can win the world cup” dichotomy which seems to have developed. Of course, I think support for the team comes first!

  72. Laen, not sure what do you mean about the £46 million? Arsenal have qualified for 18 CL in a row, my understanding is you get a base payment for qualification hence why Wenger must get through the qualification round in the past but this season we didn’t need to as we were automatically qualified for coming third in PL, after the group stage more payments are made for each stage of the CL.

    I don’t understand why a lot of people hammering the squad selection, granted Wenger didn’t play Cech and the team is slightly weaker but Ospina is a good enough replacement, he made one bad error but it could happen to any keeper on a bad day. Our defensive players were way to complacent and it cost us.

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