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October 2020

Agricultural Bournemouth, agricultural refereeing, psychosis at Old Trafford, we’re top.

By Tony Attwood

It is not something I dwell on much on this site, because I know that just because you share my interest in Arsenal, it doesn’t mean you share my interest in music – but there is a second Untold site – Untold Dylan.  While this site focuses on “Football news from an Arsenal perspective” so that site’s top phrase is “Dylan: the meaning of the music and the lyrics”

I mention it this morning because one of Dylan’s most famous compositions, “Desolation Row” starts with the line, “They’re selling postcards of the hanging” – an event which happened in the south of the US after a black citizen was strung up by white racists in the 1950s.

Although there is no comparison of course to that reality, I was reminded of that line on seeing the headline this morning “Manchester United selling Jose Mourinho scarves outside Old Trafford ahead of Chelsea visit”.   While Dylan’s opening line is dramatic, arresting, and heart-stopping in its simple portrayal of awfulness, that newspaper headline reflects the cynicism of clothing manufacturers and the sheer stupidity of some football fans who think the Mourinho is someone to be sought after rather than a man who will give three years of triumph and then leave a club bereft and destroyed.  I am not sure I can even begin to explain how dumb I think that scarf is.

The Independent called Man U and Chelsea the “big beasts of the Premier League; desperately lacking a serviceable striker in their quest…; both enjoying the luxury of world-class goalkeepers,” which more of less sums it up.

But that’s interesting, because at Arsenal we have a number of people who can score goals – Giroud, Alexis, Theo… and last night Özil.  Having one striker of the likes of Henry is great, having several is greater.

Arsene Wenger compared Mesut Özil with Dennis Bergkamp last night not just for his stunning goal but also for the assist from the corner Gabriel’s goal.  He went on, “Yes he reminds me of Bergkamp. Bergkamp was more of a goalscorer than him and Özil is more about assists, but now Özil is becoming more of a goalscorer, so they are really comparable.

“I have seen a few good games from Özil. What’s important is that he’s convincing everyone that he’s not just a very talented player, but someone who is ready to work very hard for the team.

“Overall he is the complete player. I’ve not seen many players of his quality. He’s an exceptional player and you have to give me credit – I always defended that point of view even when people were sceptical.” [I think Mr Wenger was having a little smile at that one – he knows as well as we do that the media will NEVER give him credit for anything other than an own goal]

“What’s important is that he becomes as good as he can be, and he is on the way to doing that. At the moment he’s absolutely fantastic.   Mesut was the focal point of our team against Bournemouth because we had a new midfield again. He was the guy who gave reassurance with his technical security and fluidity. He gives the team confidence.”

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What more can one say about Arsenal, except that like Man U and Chelsea we have a jolly good keeper, and one who now holds the Premier League record for clean sheets of 170 games.   (And we also had a comparison between Cech and Seaman from Mr Wenger.)

In the ground most of us were still recovering from Christmas and/or contemplating how the hell we were going to get the energy to make it to midnight on the 31st to whip up a storm – although the cheering that greeted the second goal was profound – and long.  But Bournemouth fans proved some amusement largely confining themselves to chants and songs that we haven’t heard for years.  It was like being in a time warp.  We even had a rendition of “This is a library” which was most amusing, and I began to wonder if the spreading of news was so slow in Dorset that some of them actually thought they were at Highbury, which although never a library, at least rhymes, which is why the Sun made the insult up.

Anyway Mr Özil now has 16 assists this season, (four more to equal Thierry Henry’s record) and Giroud, who to be fair was not at his very best, earned his corn with the most magnificent flick to give Özil his fifth goal of the season.  Next week Özil will start his attempt on the Premier League shut-out record for a goalkeeper, following which he will be manager before trotting off to advise the Almighty on how to bring peace to the middle east while telling David Cameron on how to stop telling fibs and actually organise proper flood defences.

Indeed as the Telegraph said, “We’re running out of superlatives for Mesut Özil,” although they still can’t bring themselves to do anything as UnBritish as use an accent.

According to the paper of the old colonels Özil “dominated the game with his subtle movement and ability to find space between the lines … Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy have been outstanding this season, but surely there’s been no better player in the league than the magnificent Özil”. (with a diæresis) (that’s two dots over the vowel, in case you wondered).

Actually he made 50 passes in the opposition’s half and 11 crosses from both left and right.   Where are the “nicking a living” people now?

So, what did we learn?   (As you will know it is obligatory to have a “five things we learned from…” for every game, otherwise the state will fine me and use that money to put a pile of sand in the middle of York as a flood defence).

Thus I offer…

  1.  Gabriel hasn’t quite worked out how to celebrate yet.  Leaping up and down and nodding the head doesn’t quite do it.
  2. If you want to score against Bournemouth then it is a good idea to get a corner or two.   Every time the man with the diæresis plonked one in, there was utter chaos.
  3. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has still got it all and just needs a couple of games to show it. Some of his passes were sublime, he can accelerate and hold the ball, and he gave every ounce of effort.  It’s been said he lacks self-belief, and I think those of us in the ground really need to do everything possible to give him some back.
  4. We are the best team in the league for 2015, and top of the league for 2015/16.  A 0-0 draw between Leicester and Man City should do us nicely.
  5. If Man C win that game then the press will immediately hit the “the only way is down” button for Leicester who will have lost two games in quick succession.  I wonder if they are ready to cope with that.
  6. (Bonus point).  The number of fouls conceded by Bournemouth is shown as eight.  Those were the punished ones.   The “agricultural” reference in the headline refers to the rest – let’s see if the referee review finds them.

So a jolly time was had by all – but I await with much interest Walter’s ref review on this one.  I noted before the game that we only get northern refs normally at Arsenal, and the one time they give us a southern ref, they give us the man from Wiltshire, the county bordering Dorset, wherein resides Bournemouth.

Odd that, don’t you think?

From the Anniversaries File – full list on the home page

29 December 2007: Everton 1 Arsenal 4 – Arsenal moved to the top of the league.  Eduardo (2), Adebayor and Rosicky scored.

29 December 2012: Arsenal 7 Newcastle 3. A Walcott hat trick helped Arsenal to  four straight wins after the Swansea defeat.  The Ox, Podolski and Giroud got the other goals.

Also available…

the 12th instalment of Arsenal in the 70s: Jan to June 74. Farewell Bob, hello Liam.

30 comments to Agricultural Bournemouth, agricultural refereeing, psychosis at Old Trafford, we’re top.

  • Barry L

    Last night was another Ozil masterclass – but of course the jury is still out on him (eh Mr Moyes).

    Actually I loved Gabriel’s celebration, it showed just how much he cares. Also thought he played outstandingly.
    Theo should have scored a hat-trick, and Ollie battled all evening. Calum Chambers had a solid first start in midfield, but thought Rambo still looks out of sorts. But Cech got his record!! What a great buy, Mr W

    We could have scored 5, but satisfied with a solid win that takes us top.

    Agree with you that Mr East’s refereeing was pretty poor. How the only two bookings were for Arsenal players beggars belief.

  • ClockEndRider

    Arsenal – fouls committed 7. Bookings – 2
    Bournemouth – fouls committed 8. Bookings – 0.

    Good to see the PGMO instructions being followed in deepest, darkest Wiltshire.

  • Pat

    Didn’t see the whole game only the highlights, so interesting to hear that in this game like the previous one repeated fouling by our opponents was allowed by the referee. All the more credit to Arsenal for getting the win on this occasion. Just shows we need to be at the top of our game every time to beat the referees. It’s a big ask, and it shows how exceptional our team and manager are that we do it so often.

  • Sam Sayyed

    Have you noticed that Wenger often arrives late for his pre-match pres conferences and the Telegraph always moans in their live coverage of Arsenal’s pre match conferences about Wenger keeping them waiting?

    Isn’t that an odd behaviour from Wenger given that he once said that the thing he is afraid most is being late (though I don’t know if he said it figuratively or literally)? Also I remember reading that in the tournaments where Wenger works as a pundit/commentator for French TV, he is renowned for starting early from his hotel because he knows he would be stopped by many fans on his way and always tries to oblige and answer their questions as much as he can.

    For me, his tardiness for the press conferences shows the low opinion Wenger holds for the reporters. And rightly so given the despicable manner he has been treated by the media who are busy idol worshipping the specialist at getting fired.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Barry L, if out of sorts Rambo can put in such a shift. Somebody save the league when he starts firing!!

    I thought Rambo had a decent game. With a new partner. Its not easy to be on same wavelength all the time in a new born partnership. Having said that Chambers had an outstanding game there. And for that we will have to thank Rambo too.

  • colario

    The difference between, the media and ‘aaa’ Arsenal supporters and WOB and a true Arsenal supporter

    These ‘demanded Arsene buy big – splash the cash. Accused Arsene of being stubborn because he doesn’t listen to them.

    Arsene spent 42 on Özil not one of the the media and ‘aaa’ Arsenal supporters and WOB suggested Arsene should buy this player.

    To a parrot mouth they all called Özil – lazy not up to the Premier league etc. Despite the fact that he was making his mark in his first season.

    The true Arsenal fan welcomed Özil to the team and got behind him and defended him against the media and ‘aaa’ Arsenal supporters and WOB.

    Then there is the fact that the true Arsenal fan has seen season after season unmerited and unknown in England players chosen by Arsene come to Arsenal prove to be great players.

    In Özil Arsene bought a ready made international world cup winner but this was good enough for the anties?

    Of course not.

    He is now.

    Do we here acknowledgement by them of this?

    Of course not.

    Will any of them admit they were wrong?

    Of course not.

    They will just go on and on and on and saying how we must buy this player or that player.

    Are they pathetic?

    Of course they are?

  • colario

    ‘Do we here?’ Ooch! Sorry.

    Do we hear?

  • Menace

    Watching the Southampton game was really painful because we were pushed into an unwinnable fight by Moss. Despite all that, we managed to rise above it but were unable to reverse the score because we were stopped by challenges that were not officiated against.

    The Bournemouth game was not as bad because home advantage allowed us early momentum. The card distribution was typical of PGMO education system. If there is one thing I wish for in 2016 is the death of PGMO as an organisation. I also hope for a reorganisation of the FA & FIFA to allow the game to flourish in a sporting manner with heavy penalties on private over funding of loss making clubs.

    I also hope that foreign ownership is legislated against by high taxation of profits & dividends. Charges for advice & admin should also be carefully vetted to ensure no back door syphoning of funds occur.

    International multi club ownership should also be impacted by law so that the playing field remains even.

    Flying pigs are more likely.

  • apo Armani

    PiGMOB still out there strong as ever!!!

    Should we go on and win the PL this season – will we get extra bonus money for having to fight them as well as the league opponents?

  • apo Armani

    Despicable performance in the last two games by the Ltd ref company – its a disgrace of gigantic proportions!

  • dan

    Well done to all. Just watching ref watch ing Dermott Gallagher talking shit an absolute garabe fest, changing the rules to suit own opinion.

  • Andy Mack

    We can’t get away from the fact that Ollie G doesn’t score as many as he should, but he does allow others to score much more than some of the other so-called ‘world class’ forwards. Not just the assist for Ozil, but in pretty much every game he creates space or passes to the ‘assist’ who’s in space, rather than making a speculative attempt himself. The fact that his numbers are actually very good as well shows that he’s not the clod that some make him out to be.

    Concerning the officials, it’s interesting that you’d have a lower number of games which didn’t have an incorrect penalty call than correct penalty calls yesterday…. The PL referees really are hitting a new low quality-wise.

    Also it’s nice to see chambers doing well in the middle. I guess the manager and coaches watching him in training means that they have a better understanding of his abilities and quality than some idiot who plays FFM and listens to the dim-wit pundits….

  • bjtgooner


    Fully agree with the points you made.

    I note Anthony Taylor ensured three undeserved points for the cheating spuddies – Taylor has already established himself as one of the worst of the worst and clearly added to his reputation of imcompetence last night.

    I missed Dermot Gallagher (PGMO apologist) – it would have been interesting to have heard his version of the Rooney non send off and the offside goal awarded to the spuds. Poor Watford – technology was used to deny them a goal (non sure on this one, only one camera angle shown), yet there was no technology available to deny the spuds an offside goal – Riley the Incompetent strikes again!

  • Goonermikey

    I know this is too simplistic by far and I definitely prescribe to the concept of an anti-Arsenal bias by the PIGMOB but it could be (and has been) a lot worse. A cursory look at some stats (which are not everything I accept) shows that we have committed the most fouls in 6 of our prem games this season and have only received the most cards in one of those games. By contrast, we have committed the fewest fouls on 13 occasions and received the most cards on 2 occasions. So roughly about the same and given one of the two occasions was at Chelski, once retrospectively corrected, it actually means only once did we receive the most cards for the fewest fouls.

    Of course, this takes absolutely no account of the fouls that should have been called in our favour which were not. And given we commit 37% fewer fouls than the average why do we only get 20% fewer cards. In the meantime, Mike Riley’s beloved Man U commit 15% MORE fouls than the average yet receive 11% fewer cards than the average. Funny that……

    NB How can you tell I’m not at work today 🙂

  • Al

    I never thought Ozil was poor at anytime in England. His first 10 or 11 games were terrific that one could say he hit the ground running. Then he started getting kicked off the pitch with the referees mere bystanders, resulting in him missing 3 months out with injury (the same thing Alexis was exposed to).

    When he came back he had slightly changed his style to avoid injury. Yes he has got better, but he was never poor. At the time he was accused of all sorts of things here his performances for Germany were top drawer each time, culminating in a deserved world cup medal. Even when they bashed him continuously here, his stats for Arsenal were very impressive and usually second to none, as pointed out several times by Walter et al. The only people who were poor were the pundits imo who couldn’t understand his languid style.

    There’s a thing about English football that a player is deemed passionate, and in turn good, if he goes snarling in the opponents’ face a la rooney, veins sticking out his forehead… Anyone that doesn’t do that isn’t good enough. I know one player that I used to enjoy watching for his skill alone was Robinho, but his time here is described as a flop(don’t agree). Imo he should be credited for opening the doors for bigger players to join city, as he was the first real star to play for them. Asked about his time in England this is what Baptista had to say, “They cheer a corner more than a good pass over there…”. And just to be clear he wasn’t talking about Arsenal fans, but what he saw at different grounds he visited. Football here is still in the previous century, and I think that is why many players with lots of flair, esp south Americans, find it hard here but thrive in other leagues, such as la liga.

    Going to be guilty of copy and paste here, but saw this comment from somewhere on the Internet and thought it summed up Ozil’s style of play nicely;
    “….his final ball is invariably played with the perfect weight on it for the recipient to finish first time if he so chooses. To do this as consistently as he does takes not outstanding vision and timing but high levels of composure, which probably comes from his relaxed playing style.”

  • Andy Mack

    Al, I completely agree that Ozil has always been good at the very least. What impressed me from his first game was his availability. He covers some serious ground in a game, just to get to the ball carrier and make himself available. And because he covers ground so effortlessly he doesn’t attract people to follow him like many others do (when you see an opponent sprinting to get somewhere then a defender usually follows).

  • Sammy The Snake

    Best players for each position in Bournemouth game:

    Gabriel Gabriel Gabriel Gabriel
    Ramsey Ramsey
    Ozil Ozil Ozil

    Point: Gabriel & Ozil were covering the entire pitch!

  • dieter

    Moss is probably the crappiest ref. But Menace, could it be possible that two of the three debatable calls were down to his assistants? On the other hand as a heretic not fully unreserved about these PIGMOB conspiracy theories my perceptions are merely imaginary. Worse than that, I honestly couldn’t see Roger East “following PIGMOB instructions” yesterday, so luckily ClockEndRider was sharp enough not getting misguided like me.

    Btw a great team performance from us. The guys made Bournemouth look like a very average team, which they probably are not as they defended as solidly as any under-14 side. Furthermore, it’s the most perfect time to sing Özil’s praises. Despite being tightly marked and kicked out the lumps off him he put up one more miracle show. I just can’t wait to see Mesut’s domination over the over-rated Barca prima donnas!

    And now it’s back into the sewers for me.

  • Andy Mack

    Sammy The Snake, you’re being unfair on the rest of the team and it is a team sport.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    One other great thing about last night’s win was that we don’t have to listen to a whole week of doom and gloom from the dark side of the Arsenal fan base.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Good point. I was just trying to give some extra credit to Gabriel who was outstanding in that game. 🙂

  • Tom

    Bournemouth wage bill as of time of their promotion to PL was less than 1/10 th of Arsenal’s, so you sort of expect them to be a bit agricultural in their play.

    Any criticism Ozil gets from media and pundits I welcome, especially the ones from abroad like Spain and Germany. It should help keeping him grounded ( not sure he needs it) and his wage demands down at a level Arsenal can afford.

    But if you are an Arsenal fan and you can’t appreciate his genius or give Wenger credit for getting him, then I suggest you stop watching Arsenal play until Wenger leaves. Why do you even bother.

    For me, Ozil has been the best performer in all of Europe this term and he could walk into any top side and start for them in the next game.

  • goonersince72

    I support everything Al, Andy Mack, Colario and others have said about Mesut Ozil. I can’t remember anyone reading the game as well. that’s what he does He sees the entire pitch, sees to know where the ball will and makes passes that are natural wonders. The kind where the all is traveling agonizingly slowly through defenders and you’re sure it’s going to be nicked and yet ends up on the foot of the targeted player. If the English media, players, managers etc. don’t want to recognise his talent I’ll leave it with this:
    When Real Madrid fans filled the Bernabeu for the introduction of Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo was asked his opinion on the matter. His answer? ‘Why did we sell Ozil? I was scoring 30 goals a year before he was here, and 50 with him.’

    Full disclosure: I posted the Ronaldo quote already on UA when the trolls first started slating Ozil after he arrived.

  • Gord

    Ipswich plays today, but Maitland-Niles is injured.

    Hoping for the big tie between Leicester and ManC, preferably low scoring. Hoping for Sunderland to win against Liverpool. Need to up the pressure on Chelsea.

    Looking at the news headlines at Google, I think a new article needs to be constructed:

    Reasons Why Metro Should Sign Cesc Fabregas

    1. He writes better English than any Metro sports writers.

  • Menace

    Mesut Özil is without doubt the best playmaker I have seen. He has a deft touch of the ball & measured passing like no other. He appears to glide with the ball & his goal against Bournemouth demonstrates all his technique.

    He returned from injury ‘beefed up’ & stronger. He was intimidated by a Southampton player & stood up to him. Moss didn’t do his job & allowed the whole episode without any recourse to the Laws. Mesut Özil is the outstanding player & when he has Alexis & Santi alongside, his art is exquisite.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    “There’s a sucker born every minute” is a phrase most likely spoken by David Hannum, in criticism of both P. T. Barnum, an American showman of the mid 19th century, and his customers. The phrase is often credited to Barnum himself. It means “People are foolish, and will always be fools.”

    Apparently now it has been updated for this generation to reflect the present intellect of the general populace . Due to the instant Google intelligence effect ( As opposed to the slower and apparently archaic reading of books intelligence.), there’s now one born every second , and very soon every nanoseconds . And they are very eagerly taking the bait and biting !

    This quote is often attributed to Special Agent Jorge Mendes , whose deals are so outrageous that only the very simple minded people don’t see the stupidity of it all. Have a look of his past exploits , as a starter from-

    This transfer window be prepared for another round of the Mendes musical chairs . Well it’ll be music to his ears ! Do the math yourselves by matching these following players from his stable to rich clubs that are ‘in turmoil ‘, their managers being booed and whose fans are already up in arms and are displaying ‘ wanted’ banners in stadiums .

    His ‘ …. clients including Diego Costa, Yacine Brahimi, José Mourinho, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Carlos Queiroz, Simão Sabrosa, Anderson, Fábio Coentrão, Pepe, Ángel Di María, Cristiano Ronaldo, Radamel Falcao, Ricardo Carvalho, Nani, Ricardo Quaresma, Burak Yılmaz, João Moutinho, James Rodríguez, David de Gea and Víctor Valdés.'( from Wikipedia , again.).

    Take the curious case of Radamel Falcao , who failed in his loan move to Man Utd last season , only for Chelsea to take him on this season as the greatest thing since the second coming of the Special one .

    Now Man Utd’s fans want the Moaning One as their saviour soon after him being sacked by Chelsea .

    As that super group ABBA once sang ,” Money , money , money – must be funny in a rich man’s world. ” , who’s to say that they weren’t wrong and that Mendes is not laughing his head off on his way to the bank ? And taking clubs to the cleaners .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    ” Gabriel hasn’t quite worked out how to celebrate yet. Leaping up and down and nodding the head doesn’t quite do it.”

    The is a rumour going around that having failed miserably as a Samba dancer in many of the famous ‘schools ‘ in Sao Paulo , he was adviced to stick to football as there was never going to be any future for him in dance and in the Brazilian Carnival. Unless as one of those giant mannequins !

  • ozil, The Emperor of Assistyland !

    Even the Gundabad Orcs applaud his guile

  • Genorm

    Apologies for the interruption – there’s a slight technical glitch and Tony and I are using this test post to check a couple of issues

  • Pedantrist

    pedantically . . . i think it is not a diæresis on özil but an umlaut . . . they are exactly the same symbol but indicate different things . . . a diæresis indicates separation of two vowels – eg nöel is noh-el . . . an umlaut ‘sharpens’ an individual sound – ie without the umlaut ozil would rhyme with mosel . . .