Sunderland – Arsenal 0-0 scoring boots stayed in London

By Walter Broeckx

No changes in the starting line up from Arsenal but one change on the bench. The return of Jack Wilshere on the bench for the first time this season after his injury sustained in August on the training ground.

Arsenal team: Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Elneny, Ramsey, Iwobi, Ozil,Alexis, Giroud

On the bench: Ospina, Gabriel, Coquelin, Wilshere, Campbell, Walcott, Welbeck

Iwobi with an early shot that just went wide of the post. At the other end Cech had to rush off his line to prevent Defoe from getting on the end of a long ball. Dean being Dean and allowing Monreal nothing when cleanly jumping in the air… A Sunderland player jumping in the same way against Alexis… no foul of course. Giroud from a difficult angle forcing a corner that was headed by Mertsacker in the hands of Manone. Monreal with a cross but Manone first on the ball. Ramsey losing the ball leading to two shots from Sunderland that go wide. Arsenal dominating the opening minutes but still 0-0 after 15 minutes.


Elneny with a shot but too easy for Manone after a few minutes with not much history. Defoe sticking out his leg to win a free kick and of course Dean gives it as we predicted he would. Van Aanhold kicks the free kick against the crossbar. Almost a goal for Dean. Giroud at the end of a low cross from Monreal but he could only poke it wide. Arsenal with most of the ball but Sunderland defending in numbers and hoping for the lucky break. Iwobi working very hard but his final ball not good enough. Still 0-0 after 30 minutes.


A good attack on the right flank is finished with a shot from Özil but no problem for Manone. Arsenal with a free kick from Alexis but Manone with a good save and a defender blocking the rebound. Leading to a corner and a header from Alexis that is saved on the line and Sunderland can clear. Sunderland with a rare counter and Bellerin heads the ball in the path of Defoe whose shot hits the arm of Per from half a meter out, no handball judges Dean. A real surprise het let that go.


Sunderland now battling even harder in the duels but not much end product because of some real poor passing. Ramsey picking up a yellow card for a pull foul that Dean gave an advantage for. Iwobi then with a shot and now a Sunderland defender using his hands but Dean lets it all go. Maybe they changed the laws that I didn’t know. Iwobi with a cross but Giroud cannot make contact. Defoe pulling but no card this time. No goals in a first half dominated by Arsenal so 0-0 after 45 minutes.


Sunderland can just deny Özil at the start of the second half and hen Bellerin goes in the book for a late tackle. Defoe on a long ball but two good saves from Cech to stop Sunderland from scoring. Sunderland countering better now and Cech has to go down again on a shot from distance. Alexis with a boog ball to Giroud who crosses it in front of goal but Iwobi completely misses his shot. Arsenal again with a promising attack but this time Alexis overdoes it and the chance goes begging. Borini gets a yellow card for putting his studs on the calf of Iwobi. Alexis then again in a promising situation but he can’t find a good pass to his teammates. Ramsey shoots wild over after the corner. Still 0-0 after 60 minutes.


Arsenal trying but sometimes choosing the difficult solution too much on occasions. Defoe chasing a long ball and with a lob but Cech saw it going wide from the start. Ramsey then had to come back to defend. Dean sensing the moment and letting a few fouls on Arsenal players go. Defoe escapes again but Koscielny can stop his cross and the corner goes past everyone. Arsenal then at the other end after a free kick but Sunderland can clear. After 70 minutes Walcott comes on for Iwobi and Welbeck comes on for Giroud. Still 0-0 after 75 minutes.


Elneny goes in the book for a light pull. Manone then misses the ball but Welbeck being bundled over and Dean doing nothing ends the chance for Arsenal. Welbeck then with a shot but straight at Manone. After 83 minutes Özil is taken off and Jack Wilshere comes on.


Alexis with a low shot but Manone with the save. Arsenal trying to get the winning goal in the final minutes and Sunderland hanging on in their penalty area. But they get out of it and get a few corners in extra time. But the effort from Kone goes over. Koscielny goes in the book for a foul on Larson. Again 4 yellow cards against Arsenal players. Adn then Khazari also gets a yellow for stopping a possible Arsenal attack.


A rather typical Arsenal match since the start of the year. No finishing and so no win. We tried to win this match but if you don’t put the ball over the goal line then you cannot win the match.  The best thing was to see Jack back on the field.




77 Replies to “Sunderland – Arsenal 0-0 scoring boots stayed in London”

  1. Good review. Great to see Jack but we we lacked that touch in the final third. No excuses.

  2. Elneny went in the book for a dive by his opponent. Elneny didn’t touch the cheat. The officiating cheat ddn’t see f*ck all but booked Elneny for …… exactly that. Sweet FA.

  3. Hopefully Mr Wenger still has Zlatan’s number. Giroud has now gone through three-and-half months without a league goal and through his fourth season without 20 league goals. Totally unacceptable for a striker who has played with providers such as Ozil and Cazorla.

    Wilshere is as rusty as Andrew had written but will mean a lot for this team.

  4. Frustrating match. I wish we shoot more when there’s an opening instead of looking for a final pass.

  5. another bad game for ozil, we’ve been much more fluid since wilshere introduction
    wish it happened earlier
    another stinker for dean, but that was expected

  6. Let me make an bold yet unfortunate prediction.

    We can sign who we want, nothing will change until Mr Wenger moves on. Great man, but unfortunately is not good enough to get the big titles anymore. FA Cup/League Cup is probably his best bet until he leaves.

  7. “Defoe sticking out his leg to win a free kick and of course Dean gives it as we predicted he would.”

    And Koscielny didn’t stick his leg out, you reckon? Are you absolutely positive your rendition of the incident is totally unbiased?

    Remember – you are the self-confessed ref and therefore more accountable than most of us. But now it looks a bit like the end justifies the means.

  8. The team gave it a good try, from the little the deer and kitchen allowed me to watch. We had all our W’s out there at the end (Walcott, Welbeck and Wilshere, and if you turn them upside down, Mertesacker and Monreal). Who else can put 5 W’s on the field?

  9. Can anyone tell me why Arsenal can only make changes to the team on 71st minute, when clearly the game plan isn’t working?

    When was the last time AW made a substitution pro-actively?

    Anybody finding the current Arsenal a bit boring?

  10. @ SA Gunner, ‘We can sign who we want,’ sure if we hire some mobsters to kidnap the said club’s chairman/owner’s family and force them to sell the target player otherwise in the real world if a club don’t sell you can’t buy.

  11. @Polo

    Not sure if serious mate. By legal means of course, whoever we buy will make no difference to the fortunes of this team. I believe Arsene Wenger is simply not interested in preparing his team for all scenarios European football has to offer. We are seeing the same outcomes now, season after season. Players have changed, however there remains one consistent presence.

    Mr Wenger needs to wrap up at the end of next season, and pass on the reigns to someone who will make the necessary changes when and where required. And for those who will ask me, these changes include tactical on the field of play, tactical before the match begins, and getting in players who will fit the requirement at hand.

  12. The Boss was apparently carried away with the 2-0 victory his last starts before today’s ones got against WBA at the Ems. Those starts weren’t commanding in their performance against WBA. But managed to win the match on luck as West Brom played poorly.

    I thought the Boss will start a vibrant starts for the Sunderland game. But to my surprise, he repeated the same last WBA match starts for this Sunderland game. The goalless scoreline outcome of the match was a direct result of the lame duck offense team starts the Boss had started for match.

    Only a very late twists and turns in the table now can make us to get a 3rd or still that now dream a 2nd spot in the table. But even if such opportunity does present itself on a blatter, would Arsenal seize it to capitalise? Can the Boss’ favouritism starts be trusted to take any advantage of a slipup behind & above them in the table?

    I ask myself, why has the Boss decided to play some Gunners back to fitness & form to enable them play for their countries in the European Cup of nations which is coming up as from June this year? And ignored to start players like Walcott to lead the line for Arsenal for a change to see? Also start Campbell instead of constantly starting Iwobi who has gone stale. And why didn’t the Boss start Coquelin for this match? I beg for the answers from him.

    Let it be known, just 1 faulty start in a match can cause a problem talkless of to have more than 1 in the starts. And a correct 1 or 2 starts in a team will strongly enhanced the team’s chance to win the match.

  13. We looked very tired, we could of played for another hour and wouldn’t find the back of the net.

  14. Furthermore, let us look at our situation with player fitness. Why do we consistently have to deal with players breaking down when we most need them. Also, why are we caught with our pants down when we have the funds to reinforce. I’m not talking major expendature, I mean look at Elneny and his value to the side for example.

    Yes, there are external factors at play, like the much maligned PGMOL and issues around doping in football. Regardless though, why does Wenger not adjust accordingly. He is a very intelligent man yet seems to make the same mistakes over and over. This does not signal someone who is interested in getting the best out of this squad for the sake of club.

    I have given up on Mr Wenger making the needed adjustments to bring us glory once again. He will always have my respect, but we need to part ways now.

  15. the thing is that we just need to be a little more direct infront of goal. Min 69-70 Giroud with a header that he could have gone for goal but instead chose to head into someone else’s path.

  16. The only good thing about today was seeing Jack back.
    Sadly, this season has “can do better “marked all over it, for all the shite refs.
    Let’s just hope we get over the line and back the boys to do so, because we need to be doing better than this, and I am not referring to just today. We know what tactics will be employed against this team.
    We all know where the problems lie, I am not going to call out individuals as there are collective things going on here. But a Wenger team needs better finishing to flourish, I hope these issues are remedied, either on the training field, via the transfer market, or with someone coming through.

  17. @ SA Gunner, if tactics is the problem why a lot of the time we have the most goal attempts and most shot on goal? Surely, if you don’t have tactics you wouldn’t have high stats for that area? I don’t believe it’s the tactics that is the problem, it’s not being clinical in front of goal. If we were more clinical with the chances I’m sure we wouldn’t be here talking about tactics.

    The frustrating thing about the team is the inconsistency in being clinical in front of goal, most of our players can score goals but why they lack inconsistency or form, that’s something the team need to address next season.

  18. Dieter

    If you move stick out your leg or move towards a player but don’t impede them, it’s not a foul.

    If you stick out your leg and the other guy deliberately flings his leg to the side to make contact with you when otherwise there’s be none, or not enough to impede you, it shouldn’t be a foul either.

    there’s a possibility Kos would have made contact even if Defoe had been concentrating on the ball and trying to do something with it, but it was impossible to tell from the television pictures, and seems unlikely.

    All you could tell from them was that Defoe latched on the opportunity presented by Kos moving his leg to throw his own into it. Ref had a great view and can’t possibly have not seen what defoe was up to.

    Anyway, Dean was far from his terrible worst today and clearly was not intent to screw us (turning down an easy chance for a pen against us seems to prove that)

    After a good start, our performance dropped a lot.

    Still, it seems to me like you’d have to actually work hard not to see Defoe almost certainly wouldn’t have got a free kick there if he’d been playing the game cleanly.

    I don’t know how it comes to be that a fan works hard to defend another team’s players but not their own, but it’s far from uncommon and maybe there’s no mystery to it: when rooting for managerial or any big structural change at your club, perhaps that reversal is the norm.

  19. Gord – the PGMO got all Ws. Wankers (if you don’t understand, Masturbaters).

  20. Sammy The Snake

    Yes i’m glad someone else sees that.

    Arsenal is not Arsenal anymore. We are playing “patterns” on the field almost like painting by numbers. And when the patterns do not work(mostly because oppositions checked out the patterns) we are lost because there is seldom any spark of innovation or creativity.

    The will to try something new, anything, is missing. This must come from the players. A few of them do but the majority just stick with the ingrained way of playing even though it yields no fruit.

    Imagine the way we play just had this ability to create and to veer off from the pattern, what a team we would have.
    Now to the ref.
    Dean was not really bad today, and in fact he seemed to just make the “normal” mistakes a ref might make today, i was surprised, he could have been so much worse.

    I suggest those who think the ref was baised today, should watch the game again, this time without your bias, and really watch the decisions and how he performed.

    Though i suspect that if Arsenal had scored we would have probably seen a much different side of him.

  21. Sammy the Snake
    There might be a couple of reasons for Wenger’s substitution patterns.
    One, he trusts his starters to come through eventually.
    Two, he tries to stay away from creating controversy by removing a player early on, even though it is sometimes blatantly obvious the starting eleven isn’t doing the job.

    Yanking a player early in the second half or even before, suggests the player was underperforming, or the manager got his selection wrong.
    Wenger is known for avoiding confrontation at all cost( his former players’ testimony) and admitting to getting things wrong.

    Adjusting tactics and line up changes early during games is a sign of a strong leadership and that is not one of Wenger’s stronger suit.

  22. SA Gunner -The one consistent thing may be you! You ever thought about supporting rather than assumeing. There are so many armchair geniuses. The game is being polluted by greed & corruption yet you look at alternatives to honesty.

    How can we out think Wenger. The truth is no one can. What can be done is cheat him out of glory. Use PGMOL to disrupt the flow of passing football or pretend to be fair by not stopping the game when opponents foul. Booking Arsenal players & ignoring the fouls on Arsenal players. If you watched todays game, you would see Alexis fouled several times without any protection by the PGMO cheat.

    I watched some of the Leicester game & was surprised by the ‘rushing goalie’ 5 yards from the opponents box. Truly amazing human error.

  23. @Polo

    Tactics, as the other issues I have mentioned, combine to the problem. There are enough examples throughout our season of us being crippled as a result of poor tactical work on the pitch, and subsequently the same issues which have plagued us in seasons before, plaguing us again.

    Personnel is the problem as well yes, we have poor finishing at the club as you mention and that is indicative of poor quality forwards, who cannot put chances away when they need to.

    Ultimately however all these issues are managed and remain, all under Wenger’s watch. I believe he remains in his position due to our favourable cash balances and us maintaining consistency in competitions which are lucrative. From a supporters perspective however we continue to underachieve season upon season. And its our loyalty and love for the club, we have a supporters, which gives the club decision makers a loophole to exploit.

    Its unfortunate that we are in this position, and I do not believe it will change until we see some serious changes at the top.

  24. “Arsenal with a free kick from Alexis but Manone with a good save and a defender blocking the rebound.”

    In the paragraphs preceding this you give far more context and analysis to some relatively and comparatively mundane incidents in the match that you don’t think were called in our favour. Yet all you have here is “arsenal with a free kick”? Why no mention of how the freekick was won? With a frankly embarrassing dive by Elneny, throwing himself to the floor before any contact.


    “Sunderland with a rare counter and Bellerin heads the ball in the path of Defoe whose shot hits the arm of Per from half a meter out, no handball judges Dean. A real surprise het let that go.”


    “Iwobi then with a shot and now a Sunderland defender using his hands but Dean lets it all go. Maybe they changed the laws that I didn’t know”

    Why the difference in portrayal of these incidents? You make Per’s seem completely innocent, versus giving the impression that Yedlin’s was deliberate: “hits the arm of Per” vs “using his hands”. You add the short distance in Per’s incident but give no context of distance in Yedlin’s, why?

    You omit the context of Per’s incident that he was turning away (notice how its common in modern football that players are trained have their hands behind their back even when turning away from a shot – there’s a reason) and leaving his hands up (so less argument that it was a natural position ) versus Yedlin; in a more natural football move where he’s throwing himself legs first, to try to block a shot and a ball deflects (also omitted) onto his arm.

    Out of the two incidents, there’s more a case to be made that Per’s was a penalty, imo. But I’m fine with both not being called, as it’s difficult to say either was deliberate/intentional. And in judging intent of another person’s split second actions , there will always be interpretation…and perhaps instead thinly veiled code that Riley got Yedlin’s wrong and Per’s right, why not laud him for being consistent in how he judged these incidents one after the other? After all, a lack of consistency on how similar incidents are called during games is perhaps the football public’s biggest gripes with refs.

    Respectfully, It’s really difficult to see how ref reviews (from a distance ) can be applied without bias when there’s analysis like this. And yes I’ve been pointed to the methodology etc before, but no matter what one cannot eliminate interpretation from such a review (it’s impossible), and once that door is open, so is the door for error and/or, more importantly, bias.

    P.S. El Neny pulled back a Sunderland player who was on a counter, not long after being booked for similar holding. Riley acknowledged the foul with a waving play on signal, but didn’t come back to book him, which if he acknowledged the foul should have been a clear second yellow , by the letter, and especially imo, as he booked him for something similar earlier ..That didn’t make the report.

  25. We drew away at Sunderland. Is that really a good enough reason for a whole load of Wenger Out comments? No, not a good enough reason, but thoroughly predictable. Ever thought of the 101 reasons WHY our team sometimes may look tired?

    Strong leadership is not one of Wenger’s strongest suits, someone says above. For 19 years regardless of the odds Wenger has led a series of teams with different players to the Champions League competition. I do call that leadership.

  26. @Menace

    Its like I said earlier, I am not disputing the corruption in the game. However for us to sit here and point fingers and not look at ourselves is not helpful.

    I urge you to look into analysis into our performances, both by professionals and those who study our game. Im not speaking about punditry, or people who are paid to say something outrageous for clicks, retweets,etc. But rather sober analysts who look at our game and identify where we got it right and where we got it wrong.

    The consistent failings of the team are not unique, but rather as a result of seeing the same mistakes present themselves over the years. From poor finishing, poor defending, being easily rattled. To fouls against us going unpunished and decisions not being given our way. Despite these examples presenting themselves over and over do we not seem to learn to adapt our game to counter this, as many other managers in the world look to do.

    If you look at Simeone’s performances against Barcelona in the Champions League, he ensured that despite the obvious bias towards Barcelona, he adjusted his team tactical work and preparation for that and ultimately manufactured a win against all odds.

    Mr Wenger, will all his experience and expertise in the game, cannot do that anymore. The question is why?

    I have hoped Wenger would turn the ship around, I think this season has shown me that he is incapable of doing so. He knows how to secure top 4 yes, and will bend his rules to do that. Beyond that however he plays his way and his way alone.

  27. Hello SA Gooner.

    I seem to have missed your contributions before.

    So Wenger plays his way and his way alone. True – skilful passing football. Leading a coaching team that gets a whole range of players to play that way.

    How would you like Arsenal to play? A long ball game where we lob it up the field and hope to catch the opponent on the break? Why don’t you go and support some other team, then? Or maybe you already do.

    Apart from having the refs against us, which makes it particularly hard to play a passing game, we have been unlucky enough this season to miss some crucial players due to injury, some for very long periods. Danny Welbeck, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, to name but three. As Arsene Wenger said in a recent interview, we were lucky that we got Elneny and young Alex Iwobi matured at the right time. But we still missed the others.

    Arsene Wenger sees this team as one that he thinks will deliver top things very soon. Maybe we the fans can give him credit for knowing more than us, and just be a tiny bit patient.

  28. @Pat

    Its great when we counter an argument with a completely distorted and unwanted alternative. Mr Wenger has done that as well in the past by speaking of 150 million spent for 2 extra points.

    Let me clarify, I did not say anything about hoofing the ball long, so I’m not sure why you would assume this is what I meant.

    If you look at the great teams out there, you will see a distinct style of football. Under Pep, Barcelona played a very high pressured pressing game, with good shape and structure in their team. Granted their were other factors at play, like doping and such, but it doesnt take away from the style of football at play, which went on to dominate the world of football.

    Looking back to our own style of football prior to the Emirates move, we saw something Invincible. Quick passing counter attacking football, with pressing that began from the front of the team. Tall, strong players who could win challenges and dominate dead ball situations. Funny that that style of team, which I believe was the best in the world from 2001 to 2004, was copied and replicated by so many teams thereafter. Arsene Wenger was a pioneer in the game back then and the world was playing catch up.

    What do we have today, slow, laborious, boring football, where players are sometimes dropped down to a stroll, waiting and waiting for some opening from a team determined to sit back. We have seen it today against Sunderland, we saw it against West Brom, we saw it against Palace before that and many other teams this season.

    The evidence is just too overwhelming for me. We have been almost completely neutralised under Mr Wenger’s watch, and he has no solution for it. Yes we will see the great wins come, but equally we will see the same great losses. And that is why Im almost confident, Wenger will win us nothing substantial again, no matter what he does.

    Because what he should do, he refuses to do.

  29. jojo – if you cant get the PGMO dud right or maybe you morphed one cheat into the other, how can you get anything right?

  30. You really don’t like or respect Arsene Wenger, do you, SA Gunner? Your first paragraph gives that away.

    Many things have happened since the Invincibles. Big money entered the premiership with Chelsea and then Manchester City. Arsenal were financially disadvantaged while the new stadium was being built. We even had to sell some of our best players.

    Manchester United regained their advantage at that time with some help from the refs. Even so we were close to winning the premiership on more than one occasion.

    And during all this period we remained in the Champions League year after year. No other premiership team has done that.

    LgLast year and the year before we won the FA Cup, in 2014 despite the fact we were denied three clear penalties in the final.

    This is only a summary of the past few years. Many other things could be said. I personally can’t imagine any other manager having achieved that. So we’re very lucky to have him.

  31. @Pat

    Respect is a two way street, and to be honest I believe Arsene Wenger has not always respected the supporters, with utterances like I mentioned above.

    You need to understand, that you dont just get away with saying anything and being dismissive of people who pay a lot of money to support club. Mr Wenger sometimes seems to forget why he is in his position. What the club has built the Emirates Stadium ultimately for.

    You mention many factors that have hampered our rise to the top of the league. Whereas they are valid, we seem to encounter a road block this season. Namely Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

    Both clubs are inferior to Arsenal in terms of quality and resources available, yet they are about to finish higher than us in the Premier League. How do we explain this?

    I think we need to take stock of the situation. The facts are pointing towards a decline in performances on the field. We contrast that on field decline with our financial situation being at an all time high.

    I end by asking you… if you go to a high end restaurant in town, pay the highest price for a meal and you are fed with a quality which is more in line with Nandos around the corner, how would you feel after that?

  32. @Pat

    If I had to guess, it would probably be the fault of the restaurant suppliers, and the fact that the restaurant has received poor, unfair reviews from the newspaper.

    Nothing to do with the chef of course, he has been the greatest chef the restaurant has ever had after all. We are lucky to have him.

  33. Yes but, SA Gunner, the fact is I don’t think I can go round the corner and get better football than I get at Arsenal. What you do is up to you.

  34. Jojo
    Welcome to the club.
    I have been telling Walter, who seems like an all around good guy, that he couldn’t in good faith do a match report in a manner that it totally biased and then a week or so later put his referee’s hat on and present a totally unbiased( according to his own statements) ref review.

    It doesn’t work like that, not in the real World anyways 🙂

  35. Dwain Kaye….i.a very impressive post this morning on the other thread……any thoughts on this game?

  36. @Pat

    The fact is you say. I’d argue that this is your opinion.

    My opinion is that we are looking stale. We have poor players who are starting at this club, and we have bizarre decisions being made as to who plays, who doesnt play and who is substituted.

    What I am willing to bet is that it could very well be a fact that the decision makers at the club do not care about winning, they care about money. They say they care about winning so that they secure your and my money during season ticket renewal season. Once that is done, they re-prioritise the money to be made and allow Mr Wenger do things his way.

    Wenger is a winner, but on his terms. I feel that his way is no longer good enough, and I say so because we have seen 12 years, 4 trophies available a year, multiplied by 12. That’s forty-eight available, with two won. And for the record I dont count community shields.

    Call me AAA, anti-Wenger, et al. I’m merely commenting on what I have seen under Mr Wenger of late. And it frankly isnt good enough, it hasnt been good enough for years now.

  37. Pat
    Totally agree. How lucky we really are to have had this man in charge through out those years and especially when moving to the Ems. He is a human being who makes mistakes just like the rest of us but I know that he loves this club and only wants what is best for her. I believe that next season will be his last and if that is so then we should all be behind him and giving him the support that he so richly deserves after all the fantastic football that has been a privilege to watch.
    I’m sick and tired reading these anti Wenger posts. Bill my eldest brother was asking me did they still come on here to moan and whinge about Arsenal and AW and I showed him some posts from different topics on Arsenal, now my bro is a Spurs man and after reading these posts he turned to me and said”why the hell do they moan when they have a great manager beautiful stadium and it’s not like you have ever been out of the top four in years and yet here it is, don’t they ever stop to think just how bloody lucky they are”.
    I told him no that I felt even if we won the league it would still not be enough but I thought that the Boss had earned the right to the Fans full support the next season to come.
    He said that he and many Spurs men and women would have bitten of their hands to have had AW as there manager especially now with a move in the future to a new stadium and all that that entails.
    I’m dreading the day he goes but I know it’s coming and whoever takes over I will support except The Moaning One. I really dislike this man and all he stands for in football.
    Judging by the reaction here today you could have been forgiven for thinking we are sitting near the bottom on the league. Sunderland are fighting to stay up so it was always going to be difficult and throw Dean into the mix and the draw was not that bad. I would have loved to have won but this is football and this is what happens sometimes. They have to take their chances in front of the goals but at least we are creating chances and our luck has to change sometime. Onward’s and upwards no point in looking back now so onto the next game.

  38. Toothless and almost pedestrian in our play, for the umpteenth time this season. Something is wrong and has been for months. Surely even the most ardent Arsene Wenger supporter can see that our performances have been woeful for a while now. Our football is no longer easy on the eye, its predictable, languid and boring.
    I’d love Arsene to splash the cash and give the supporters something to cheer about. I just fear now that whoever we bring in will fall victim to this mental weakness/inferiority complex running through the club. We need change of some kind, we cannot go on with a fanbase so divided.

  39. Well Jojo and Tom if you don’t like my supporters take in the heat of the match then fine.
    Once the dust has settled down I review each incident in a calm environment and sometimes come to different conclusions.
    That is why one article is called a match report (typed live when the action unfolds – and thus makes me miss things when I type and cannot watch replays). But when doing reviews I can stop – pause – rewind – stop – rewind again – look again.. And then I can come to other conclusions.

    For the Defoe foul it was my unbiased match reporter who said that it was Defoe who stuck out a leg in order to make contact with Koscielny. As I agreed with him I wrote it that way.
    The Elneny foul was more the Sunderland player blocking the path of Elneny and Elneny went down in what could be said a soft way. But the Sunderland player didn’t play the ball but went in to the running line of Elneny. Not a foot foul but more an obstruction foul.

    Now when writing a match report I also have to keep in mind that I use a maximum of words. So I cannot describe each situation in hundred words in order to keep the match report condensed. So I sometimes add or remove things near the end of the match to get to a kind of standard match report length.

    Now I don’t go and look back when I do the ref reviews in co-operation with Usama to see what I wrote in the match reports, nor do I come back to the match reports and change them to be in line with the ref review. In fact I couldn’t really care if they match or not. As for me they are completely different worlds.

    On the rare occasions I go to my local team to support them I can confirm that I swear on the ref as much as my friends do when they see him making a mistake against our team. Because on that moment I am a supporter. When I do my match as a ref I don’t shout to the ref even he makes a mistake 😉 Because then I am in a other manner working and doing my job.

    A match report is written with my heart, a referee review is written by using our eyes and brains to check if the laws of the game have been followed.

    It does seem to work in my world….

  40. @Pat

    To be fair to Arsene Wenger, I will waver eight of the twelve years as years we simply couldn’t compete in. Due to the financial shackles of the stadium and related debt.

    That leaves four years and four trophies a year available. Two won out of sixteen. If we cut out the Champions League due to the quality of teams there, its two won out of twelve available.

    This year we losing out on one of Europe’s biggest trophies to a team who was almost relegated last year, and to top it off we finish behind our neighbours as an added bonus.

    There is no way I can paint the last years in a positive light I’m afraid. The only beacon of hope is that the manager has brought us out of the desert. He however cannot do anything more for us, except leaving I feel.

  41. Hear Hear Walter. Well put. Passion must never be sunmerged by others views. You are passionate about our Arsenal & don’t give a damn for those that only love silver.

  42. Splash the cash. That’s some people’s answer to everything.

    When an excellent player has been available – say Ozil or Sanchez – we have ‘splashed the cash’. But our team is not built solely on that basis.

    We also have young players who come up through the ranks, like Iwobi, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Coquelin, Wilshere and others. And we have the great finds our scouting team have made, or that Arsene Wenger and his assistants have been tracking for years, like Elneny. There’s plenty of other examples of each category but it’s late at night and I can’t think of them.

    The fact is, the amount of money paid is not the sure fire guarantee of how well a player will fit into the team or play in the premier league.

    And finally, you can have as much cash as you like, but if the player is not available you won’t get him. For example, this striker everyone keeps talking about who is going to score us 30 goals a season.

    You can be sure that if he is available in the summer, Arsene will be buying him. If he’s not, he won’t.

    And now, good night!

  43. Jojo

    You seem to be one of a number of posters on here who are highly motivated to find flaws or instances of bias in the match or referees report.

    I suppose it is healthy for the site to have people who behave that way, but it’s the degree of it which I struggle to understand.

    I find it extremely rare to see one of these posters explicitly state, say, ‘now there’s an instance where the refereeing was poor/ bad/ awful against us’, or even, ‘their player or their team was lucky with that decision’, and yet they seem to patrol the games and reports with a very keen eye, looking out for any instance where a ref showed something resembling leniency
    towards us or missed a possible chance to punish something we did.

    I’d like to understand that phenomenon better. What is the deal here?

    Is it that, to you, the site’s general belief that we suffer a lot from bad refereeing, which has a serious negative impact on results, is false?

    And that, in turn, this false belief leads to an incorrect appraisal of the team’s and, in particular, manager’s performance and abilities?

    I’d understand being annoyed with that, and determinedly looking to prove it’s a false belief if you were either : (a) fairly new to the site, or (b) were forced to keep revisiting it, or (c) believed that these false views were ultimately damaging somehow to the club and worked against its best interest, specifically that it helped keep the wrong man in the job.

    I’d love to know if it’s something like that, or something entirely different.

    I suppose it only applies to those who regularly visit the site, but I’ve never seen a hint of an answer about why someone would be so keen on the website should they strongly disagree with the views here (especially about referees).

    Does it release frustration; are we the living, typing embodiments of an ill ( an incorrect assessment of and level of support for Wenger) which is costing the club?

    Some answers might take us beyond the same old dance we go over time and again here and lead to some new thoughts and debate.

    The answers might not be pretty (we might have to get on to why I visit the site so much and what I get from it!) but it seems worthwhile to me.

  44. Wise words Pat. We have had our share of thirty goals a season strikers, but they always leave us!
    Wenger has indicated …or maybe hinted we have not been clinical enough, he mentioned nobody got twenty goals, to me , that means someone coming in, and perhaps someone going out, but unlike the media, no idea who.
    The calendar year of 2015 , we were excellent, in 2016, we have been poor. Wenger has hinted at the cumulative effect of injuries. And I would not make him far wrong, last autumn, tho there was a delayed reaction, was devastating.
    I still believe the key to our problems was losing so many ball players, Caz, Jack, TR at once. Transition is everything for arsenal, and these type of players are vital.
    Some players appear to have massively lost confidence….do they know something we don’t about futures, just a loss of form, the Caz effect?
    What is clear, Wenger needs to act on this 2016 slump….in relative terms of course.
    Linda, you believe next year will be wengers last, yet rumours are rife that they are closing in on a three year extension. In a strange and contradictory way, I hope you and the rumours are wrong. Would love to see Wenger sign an extension as opposed to leave after next season, but he would perhaps be ill advised to do so now or this summer until he conspicuously arrests the mini slump of 2016.
    Would like to see him do something next season to make an extension a formality, and remove accusations of a formality new deal because Stan loves him

  45. The thing is, there are lots of fans like me who understood the years of austerity, understood the huge financial disadvantage we were at. I appreciate Arsene Wenger and have massive respect for his work at Arsenal. I wouldn’t be against Arsene staying as long as some funds are invested in the squad.
    There is a massive grey area between spending what we do and emptying the coffers. I’m all for keeping some powder dry, but we are a massive club. When a massive club have a hole in the squad (striker) and they have huge amounts of cash, they find the player they want and go after him.
    We spent years selling our best players trying to straighten ourselves up financially – now that we have, we seem afraid to act like a big club.
    Give young players a chance? Great. Bellerin has been great, Iwobi looks promising, wonderful. Elneny looks a good addition, no argument. But we went into the season without a top striker and may very well have been champions had we addressed that.
    No players available, but only for Arsenal it seems. No players available for the right price more like.

  46. Mandy

    You reliably strike right tone, I think, and have done again here.

    So…any thoughts on why we have been so reliant on early goals since the turn of the year? I think Cazorla offers good partial explanation, but not enough.

    After today’s game, i had a look at our results for the season and the pattern is striking.

    In 2016, We are pretty good, maybe a little better than that, at getting early goals, and are quite good at then converting that advantage into a win; but if we don’t get that early goal…sheesh, things do not go well for us.

    This year, Newcastle, on Jan 2nd, and Leicester in Feb are the only times we have won games when not leading at half time. They are also the only two wins we have in that period in games where we were not ahead by the 30th minute.

    Leicester is the sole occasion we have turned a losing position into a win, though we did come back from behind to get draws with Liverpool, Spurs and West Ham. (6 pts)

    Conversely, we’ve dropped eleven from winning positions (Palace, West Ham, Spurs, Swansea, Liverpool)

    Probably a host of things have contributed to it, yet it is nevertheless alarming to be so reliant on a good start and capitalising with a goal. That doesn’t fit my idea of a great side at all.

    I always figured if we could radically improve in our ability to go toe to toe with the best sides, this would go hand in hand with a big jump in our ability to deal with setbacks and challenges within any games. Hasn’t happened.

    That’s when I’ll feel we’re back exactly where I’ve been dying to see us get over the years.

    What is it that makes us good at doing damage early on but sees us struggle if we can’t?

  47. Wish I knew Rich. Think there is a lack of confidence in some areas.
    I also wonder if there is some friction…..the most creative player in Europe…vs misfiring strikers?
    I know this is verging on the controversial, but wonder if a fresh coach might help matters…..not , fresh coach, not manager.
    this 2016 do not seem as attacking as some, recent teams would blitz the opposition in the last few minutes if behind, or equal…or even if winning, sometimes to our cost!
    2016 is strange, not what I would expect from a Wenger team.
    food for thought for the manager this summer. I expect him to prevail, but suspect he may need to go outside recent years comfort zones and certainties. And this could perhaps bring out the very best in a naturally creative, attacking and innovative manager.

  48. That’s my hope, Mandy- that he’ll do something bold.

    Think 2016 is a combo of injuries, increased tactical sophistication from opposition (mostly in the form of bus-parking and similar), lack of deadliness in front of goal…and some serious confidence issues (it’s as though they do a good job in working up belief for the start of a game, but if that doesn’t work out the belief dissipates). The refereeing is a constant and so must have been taken into account long ago.

    I think it would be an almighty risk to look towards the individual quality of the players- is he good? do i like this one? how good can he become?; how many good players do we have here? Can I keep all these players i like happy?- and hope the fitness luck will finally improve and the existing players will find the necessary improvement together.

    Only trying to take individuals out of it to an extent, and concentrating on how the team is functioning, seems likely to provide the spur to action to do something bold.

    It might be risky, difficult and even painful (Th..), but I think it has to happen. For one, I think the existing players might be struggling to believe they really have it in them.

    That might be me doing what’s it called though, ‘projecting’ my feelings onto them

  49. Yes I think next season may be his last but that does not mean for one minute that I want him to go. Somethings are just not right in this team at the minute but he will be doing his damness to put it right.
    We need at the very least 2-3 new players in the squad and if the best is available he will get them.
    Yes there is talk of an extension but he has not put pen to paper yet and he may well wait to see how things go in the summer and how well we preform in the opening months of the new season before he committees to a new contract. I hope it all works out for him because he deserves it to but with football you never can be sure and after the way he has been treated this season by some of the Arsenal fan base who could blame him if he does go. i hope he has the season of his life and things click into place but I fear for him if it does not.

  50. Despite my regular reminders about comments having to fit in with the notes on what is rather reasonably called the “Comments” page, lots of people are still sending in comments which are so far beyond our guidelines I only have to read the first line or two before deciding not to publish them.

    Sorry if your comment has not been published, but most sites do have a set of rules in order to keep the place in some sort of order and make it readable for those who support the aim of the site. We’re no different.

  51. There were many disappointing aspects of the game, but for once yesterday the manager should have changed the team earlier and replaced Ramsey with Wilshere, and Welbeck for Giroud say with 30 minutes to go rather than 10 and 15. Why take off Ozil, who can create something out of nothing? Our first touch and passing as the game wore on became worse. Tiredness? Constant Sunderlad fouling/pressing/tackling?
    I am a huge supporter of this club and the manager and have followed them everywhere for more than fifty years and find this season a huge frustration because for the most part we have the players but the inconsistency is so hard to understand. We miss a driving, running with the ball player. One moment from Jack, when he received the ball and immediately turned his marker was what we have been missing. Rosicky is the same. A burst of forward pace with the ball instead of always looking for the perfect eye of a needle pass. Santi is another who turns players and goes forward. The common denominator is all three have been injured for major parts of the season and our replacements are all the same. I think Elneny has that in his game and tries to look forward or runs powerfully with the ball. Great signing for the money, Shame we didn’t get him sooner. At least Leicester won yesterday but that is scant consolation as if we had turned some of our recent draws into wins we should have been in their position. Anyways, we must finish third or this summer might be interesting with the Euros and Copa America going on and a potential fourth place CL game to plan for in July/ early August.

  52. Walter – when grabbing in the penalty area is given as a foul & penalty there are several pundits that scream out. I’ve noticed that zonal marked defences do not have much grabbing whereas man marked defences hang on to the player. I feel that any foul in the box should be called & result in a penalty.

    Too many excuses are made to suit the favoured teams like it will spoil the spectacle/game. There is nothing in the Laws that says entertainment is above the law.

  53. Rich – you say refereeing is a constant so must have been taken into account long ago. I think in so saying you underestimate the destructive effect of this constant and the difficulty of catering for it.

    How is a creative player to feel free to play if every time he gets the ball he is fouled without punishment? It must be extremely hard to concentrate on playing your best in these circumstances. It must be physically and mentally debilitating. Your whole team has to be constantly at the top of their game, which is pretty well superhuman.

    Menace, you make an interesting point about the English referees’ argument for ‘letting the game flow’, that it makes a better spectacle. In my view the better spectacle is from applying the rules of football properly so that we can have the pleasure of watching very skilled players in action, and not the frustration of seeing them constantly fouled and prevented from playing properly.

  54. If the “missing” 27 points, missing due to ref “errors”, were added to our present total, we would have had the league clearly won by now. The verbal diarrhea spouted by the aaaa and the disingenuous “supporters” would be baseless. Lets not forget that.

    At present the team does look short of confidence – the horrendous screwing of the team post Christmas by the incompetent men in black has really wrecked the team. The confidence will return, but I am not sure that it will return this season.

  55. Pat

    Fair point. I know I shouldn’t be blasé about how damaging it is to our chances.

    It’s surely true though that if things are as bad with them as we think , Wenger is acutely conscious of it.

    Also, I was mainly concentrating on the second half of this season and trying to look for reasons behind why it is different to the first half. That’s why I wasn’t sure about mentioning referees. I don’t think their performances explain why we are struggling now if we’re unable to score in the opening period of a game.

  56. @Pat @Linda

    You are making me feel cringe and awkward really with all your comments and logics

    …….Damn i cant believe there are people like you guys in this world that can happily denied all the facts and information that presented and showing the only one and same answer year in year out (Wenger is done) for the sake of persisting with him,,,, and then go on to stick with your blind faith that someday wenger can bring back glory

    and praise the man wenger no matter what blatantly,

    i will tell you something

    sorry for my bad english as im from thailand

    i am arsenal fan who are from new generation as i just started watching them in 1998 and impressed by thier doubles
    and beautiful football that wenger brought,,,,,, damn i even went on to argue with my united friend that wenger is better than alex ferguson and even sent email to argue with sport newspaaper writer who are united fan

    but after bergkamp era, i kept hoping and watching what wenger will do to rebuild ,

    i wait and wait and wait through all factors both stadium or arab money era played a part

    i try to understand what wenger think so i observed and analyzed all his interview his activies in trasfer market
    and his body langauges or reading all arsenal blog for insight and people from london to see big picture

    then i know that the problem is wenger himself, HE HAS NOT BEEN THE SAME MAN HE WAS….

    something happened to him through those years and it changed him, his mind, his emotion, his expressino and damn his brain even

    his failure each year also make me believe that he dont even care for the fan and especiall you guys who defend him

    he is so content with the top four like he live in his own world (it make my hair rise thinking about how delusional he is)

    its hard to explain but now today i HATE this man, i believe his previous success was not down to him alone

    damn i even changed my mind and i now i think that BERGKAMP is the sole reason we were so great

    I play soccer as Centerback and in all defensive position

    and i kept analyzing our way of defending for YEARSSSS , i come reealized that WENGER does not know anything about
    defend or presssing or TACTICs he kept making the same tactic error, his defenders kept making stupid defending no matter who he bought its funny

    last thing ill tell you i come from thailand where most teenagers started loving arsenal as the same generation with me

    and now i look everywhere alsmost all of them my pals or in internet now turning on Wenger

    so keep my post in mind ,,,, as a messages from far away

    you can pretend to be on the right side all you want

    but things around your world is not and soon mark my word soon

    wenger will face his end with agony and he must pay back what he robbed from the fan

    and he deserve all those for a man like him

  57. The park the bus tactics have got worse this season. Prior to this season when we scored the first goal the park the bus team were inclined to abandon their park the bus tactic and become more adventurous in an attempt to get back in the game, which allowed more space for us thus giving us a better chance of adding further goals.
    This season that hasn’t happened. When we have scored the first goal the park the bus team has carried on with the PTB tactic and made it very difficult for us to add a second, particularly as our chance conversion rate has been so poor this season. Our players have collectively lost their shooting ability for some reason. Because of this our opponents are now confident in their ability to prevent us from scoring again by carrying on with their PTB tactic. As a result we get more and more frustrated as the game goes on and our opponents know that at some point they will get a chance to capitalize on a possible defensive lapse on our part or score by way of a fluke shot going in. The Palace game was a good example of this.
    The only answer is that our finishing simply has to improve, whether that is by personnel change, traing or whatever other means.

  58. The 1st half was good I thought. But then its the same old same old. Cannot finish. It was obvious that they will hit us in the 2nd half and we were at receiving end with some direct football. What was surprising was that Oliver was starting when he hasn’t scored 3 months? At this stage of the season, you want players in top form with high confidence to see off the opponents and not someone struggling. If that players is suffering, deal with it in the preseason, not put him and HOPE he scores. Its not a trial-and-error time. Would we do the same if we were say a point behind in the title race? Of course not. You need your best players to take you over that line. How many crosses did he get anyway? Again that 70th min change. The stats on the players fitness is just a guideline cannot be followed to the second. If your game plan is not working, make the changes, whatever the time. As much as I hate the “sacked one”, he makes the changes whenever required. In one the comments, a fan said that it might hurt the player…are we in the business of winning football matches or pleasing players? If that player feels bad, then he needs to take his finger out and do the business.
    I lost hope in this season when we were torn to shreds at manure by their team who was depleted this season. We all remember that 8-2 thrashing like it was yesterday. Our team was depleted as well and see what happened. but what did we do? Didn’t show up and lost…that’s been our season. One match we are brilliant and then the next? Since January you can see that we have just not been consistent. Going for the title to struggling to finishing 4th, all this in a matter 4 months. The decline is horrific. Same thing with the CL, we are just to make the money and numbers apart from that, does anyone think we have the slightest chance? Hell we could not win with Henry with that lot, so what hope have we got with these boys?
    What Jamie Rednap said is so true…all of them, the players, CEO including the board member are in a comfort zone…..why? because the all-powerful manager is. No one is accountable, it’s a status quo and no one wants to upset it, as long as the season tickets sell, the waiting list increase and we are in the CL, it doesn’t really matter. What really shocked me was AW’s response on the fans not turning up…he said that that its not his concern what the fans to with their tickets…..really? how far have the club fallen. There is no connection with reality anymore…no concern for the fans anger, frustration etc. its like “I don’t give a fuck about you and u cannot do anything about it”.
    What we have been saying for a long time is that we seem to be doing the same thing time and time again hoping that the others don’t figure it out.
    Our game plan is simple, pass the ball around and hope that the opponent break down. hurt to say this, but we have been sussed out about 10 yrs ago but we think we haven’t. they will sit back and hit us on the break like we do to stronger teams. We rely on that 70th min word of god that the players tire, but that is a pile of crap we keep stepping into, because the teams are tactically more savvy, more fitter. When a technician goes to work, he/she has a tool box full of different type of tools to do the job faster, easier, better etc. we have this really fancy gold covered box with all the jewels studded and suede lined compartments inside with just one screwdriver, which we manage screw ourselves with.

  59. I read a lot of wenger out comments and shake my head, but I have to say Labanoob comment above has to be up there as one of the most ridiculous of them all.

  60. Mick, and Mandy,
    The finishing was a gamble that M. Plan B had finally left his chronic inconsistency behind and evolved into the world class striker that his supporters hereabouts had asserted like it was heresy to think otherwise. Well it was no heresy and his lack of confidence is not the fault of those who called attention to his mostly lack of being clinical. His hold up play, while good, has not finally compensated for his consistently poor conversion rate. It’s really poor. And Welbeck’s welcome mobility also has always lacked (as Man U knew) the clinical finish. That too hasn’t changed. It seems that the clinical edge usually can’t be taught. I’d love to have it otherwise, but neither Giroud nor Welbeck have it, nor have they had it. Ozil now has the most chances in the league and we probably have the lowest goal record in the top four. When Ozil is blamed for looking disinterested, perhaps his expectations have been lowered by the blunt edges. I continue to detest the traitorous RVP; but his clinicality has not yet been replaced, except by a desire to find it in a low-cost “out of the bleu” signing and the wish to say I told you so. Yes, money guarantees nothing; but bargain finding also guarantees nothing. Let’s have a thought experiment: would it not have been possible to fork up another “X” million for Suarez? Maybe I’m off here and the Liverpudlian ownership genuinely blew the toxic smoke that blinded AW/AFC into giving up that effort. But we did want him, did we not? Should we have not persisted and called their bluff – instead of getting conned by their fraudulence? I know this is crying or raging over spilt milk, but the romanticized bargain-hunting that would drive out the plutocratic cash-splashing we detest is equally culpable in producing our luke warm situation. It’s hard to watch AW being tortured by the continual near missing that has characterized our play since January. I think the missing link has been Santi Cazorla, and we have not found an answer for his loss. That said, I’m definitely into ridding ourselves of Theo and Giroud, as this divorce seems to me to at least clear some air for a summer renewal which will cost us dearly, as the detested one, klopp, pep, pochettino, and ranieri will be driving up the ante. Will will play in that sandbox, or retreat into the magical expectation that the good bargain will always raise us to the top? Perhaps Zelalem or Ibuwi will emerge and save the next season against all odds? Quelle fromage, Arsene. In any case, it’s all good theatre, as, to put it in proper perspective, the world needs far more earnest attention than the escapist compensations of the EPL.

  61. Linda at April 24, 2016 at 10:25 pm:

    “He said that he and many Spurs men and women would have bitten of their hands to have had AW as there manager especially now with a move in the future to a new stadium and all that that entails.”

    I find this very, very hard to believe. That Spurs fans dying to see Pochettino replaced by Wenger actually exist? And “ESPECIALLY NOW” as You stated?


    You’re seemingly annoyed that there are people here who think that integrity (or honesty, justice, whatever you like…) is NOT supposed to be a one-way street. So do You mutually condemn those hitting the roof every single time we’re getting “screwed” while completely ignoring the fouls committed by us? Since when have double standards been a proof of decency?


    Naturally enough it’s a tall order trying to be the fan and the ref simultaneously. But since you’ve managed to make some “painfully” correct calls all along (f.ex. Per’s red vs Chelski) it looks like you’re capable of dealing with the task.

    Only maybe – if I may suggest – it could be worthwhile to keep the match reports as neutral as possible to not contradict the ref reviews. And I certainly hope you don’t feel offended should any of us SCFs dispute your verdicts. While objections can get a little shy of diplomacy I very much doubt there’s any spite involved.

  62. @ Gouresh, as much as I hate to say and think this but in the real world Arsenal FC along with many other clubs are in the entertainment business, it’s no different to watching a performer at a concert. AFC offer a product and it’s up to the individual to decide whether to buy it or not. Now, until you and all the unhappy fans come up with the £billions to buy AFC or stop buying the product, I can’t see the change you and the others are after.

    I don’t see what is wrong with AW answer, how else should he answer? obviously he can’t tell the fans what to do with their tickets. What’s next should he personally drive each fans to the match?

    If a team ‘park the bus’ how else do you play but to pass the ball around to create space and use that space to create goal chance. Do you think Barca, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich play long balls as their gameplay?

  63. @ Polo; would u imagine if the season tickets are not sold? whom will the club blame? the fans! if they don’t make the sacrifices and buy the tickets, the club wont survive. its that simple. the club is because of the fans. as for AW’s answer…what made the fans take that action? why are they all so angry? and where does the buck stop? who in the end is responsible and who gets the boot? the players? the board members? no, its always the manager, weather one likes it or not. a diplomatic answer would have been a better one rather than just dismissing it. as for Barca, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich, do we have players of that calibre? we have all seen how they move the ball quickly, their movement, their finishing, its all on a another level, so don’t compare us with them. when did you see brilliant crosses from Nacho, or Hector in open play? its all through the centre. we have a brilliant header in Oliver, but does he get the service from the wings? all I am saying is that we have to mix our game. we are too easy for the opponents. we have seen since the last season and this, or maybe before that, how they set up against us. what have we done to counter this? nothing. as an ex CD myself, i will tell you, its very very easy when the opponent moves the ball from the left to right or visa versa, without penetration. all you is keep your shape. I am not saying that AW should be sacked, I am saying that we should have Plan A, B, C etc.

  64. Dieter

    I reckon I agree with about 90% of the calls being made in the referee review. That’s a high figure. Maybe I should be more forthcoming when I disagree, but I do quite regularly mention when I think a ref has not been as bad as some believe.

    What I find little short of berserk though is when people fasten upon that margin for error or disagreement and are utterly intent on using it as proof the belief we are badly treated by referees is completely invalid.

    now, it may be that you agree with way less than 90% or so of the calls, or that you think it tends to be very important calls that are wrongly made- there’s no way for me to know that. The criticism never seems to take that form.

    Instead, it’s ‘aha, look at you. Got you! You’ve worded that terribly or you’ve made a bad judgement there (and that proves your judgement is poor/ your bias is unmistakeable and undermines everything you do’, etc.

    That ,to me, is very bizarre. If you think the ref reviews are wildly inaccurate, out by, say, 20-25 per cent, that still leaves us being regularly shafted by referees.

    The way this ,to me, strange and inexplicable attitude best shows itself is when someone picks up on something as they did yesterday about Elneny committing a foul that could or perhaps should have been a yellow. I genuinely missed that incident. A fair guess, however, if it wasn’t an absolutely blatant yellow, is that it was for an offence which teams get away with against us on an incredibly regular basis. No doubt including yesterday.

    (I think part of my being more generous of late to referees than some here is in fact based on exactly this: I’m losing the ability to keep track of tactical fouls against us. I’ve stopped expecting anyone to be booked for two, three or even four obvious tactical fouls to stop us.)

    That seems to be the mindset which I am perplexed by ; watching with incredible keenness for something we might have been lucky with, while having little or no interest in where the other team were as lucky or much more lucky.

    If someone is onboard with paying close attention to a referee’s performance, surely the only thing to do is to pay equal attention to all of it, and then form an overall conclusion.

    If you want to critique the efforts of those paying attention to it, then you need to again look at the whole thing and judge that, not zoom in on one or two bits of it while neglecting the rest.

    It doesn’t show honesty, integrity, an interest in justice, or whatever you like, to behave like that. It shows an obsession with trying to rubbish this site’s general belief we receive awful treatment from referees, and a willingness to use a shoddy working methods to try achieve that aim.

    You also completely ignored what was probably my main point : what is the motivation behind visiting a site regularly when you have long ago established you disagree so fundamentally with its ways and general opinions?

    To vent frustration? to try right a wrong? A bit of ear-flicking or knuckle-rapping?

    Full disclosure: I did something similar years ago. For six months or so I wasted my time shouting back at Durham’s nonsense in the comments section of his articles. All the while, I was plagued by the realisation it was a waste of time and finally I showed the sense to ignore him.

    I don’t want to try drive anyone away here who enjoys the site, but from time to time it gets the better of me and I want to know what the appeal is of coming back here time and again to tell us we are wrong. A simple, direct question.

    Full full disclosure: I think there’s an element of a phony war to it all : if the prevailing view of the site is even nearly correct about referees, then the negative effects over the years have been staggering; should you want to criticise the manager severely, that amounts to an obstacle; and so I think that is the real motivation to find fault in the prevailing view about referees.

    That is not berserk, weird or anything like that- it makes perfect sense, and explains a lot- but I do find it dishonest and, simply, wrong.

  65. Rich,
    I have come to the conclusion that our ref reviews are a problem for the Wenger Out shouters. As it puts a big part of the blame somewhere else than where they want to put it: at Wengers door and alone at his door.
    I already know that if we get a favourable decision in a match they will be come to Untold to rub it in. Ignoring that we will cover it in our reviews and if we then agree we have been lucky they are not to be seen of course.

  66. Also asking for a neutral match report on an Arsenal website… LOL. 🙂

    I think the only neutral we try to bring is our referee review. And I have said it so many times: the biggest anti-Arsenal bias was found in the season when we used non-Arsenal supporting referee reviewers.

    so yes I do think and am convinced that we can keep our bias very much in control when doing the reviews.

  67. Bob
    You have been consistent in your call for a class striker for a while now and you have been proved right, our attempt at making do has not worked, our faith in Giroud and Walcott has been misplaced. It would appear they simply are not good enough.
    Our goal tally this season is a lot poorer than last year, I would guess the previous one as well, yet the players are the same, at least as far as our main goalscorers are concerned. They simply have not performed to the required level this season and the midfielders seem to have been equally profligate when scoring chances have come their way as well. Have they all got worse shooting wise or have other teams developed tactics/methods to prevent us scoring. In view of the fact that we still have plenty of scoring attempts, often in excess of twenty in a single game, it would appear to me that our general play is OK but the whole team, especially the strike force, have simply not been good enough at accepting the chances consistently being created for them. Giroud and Walcott who it was hoped would both improve on the previous campaigns have in fact got worse and that has increased the pressure on others to make up for their shortcomings, a challenge they have not been able to meet. I regret to say we cannot rely on either of them to score consistently so must make every endeavor to sign a top rate striker for next season.

  68. Walter
    It is strange that the doubters think refs are upstanding enough not to show any bias when officiating but are quite certain that you and the other review refs are capable of bias when doing your reviews. It doesn’t make sense, are refs capable of bias or not. They want it both ways.

  69. Dieter
    Let me assure you of one thing I DO NOT LIE. That conversation my brother and I had was as real as your loathing of A Wenger. My brother meets up with a set of friends when he goes to WHL and he repeated what was said. Now these set of Spurs fans are happy with their season so far but as Bill said they are waiting to see if it carries on into next season. Yes they do envy us Wenger and the Ems and only because we are siblings and pretty close is why he told me. Now when he said about the Arsenal fan base being the most fickle in the Premiership and never happy unless they had something to moan about I totally agreed. It was said and now I don’t give a rats ass if you believe it or not.
    I don’t know what planet you think you are living on but it’s sure as hell not earth, are you for real. Stupid remarks and I’m not going to dignify it with a reply because it’s surreal at best.

  70. Walter

    Ouch. I praise you and you return the compliment by LOLling at me. I’m devastated (not really).

    But, seriously, your message appears to indicate that you are expected to be biased ex officio in order to not let your followers down. As if it’s utterly unthinkable to cover a match without remarks such as “Dean being Dean” and “almost a goal for Dean”? Yes, this is UA, but if you see yourself as an entertainer rather than a plausible reporter you’ll always end up with a credibility problem.


    I don’t think I ignored your main point at all, let alone completely. You took quite a lot of trouble to tell me what many others here would’ve done in one sentence like “what part off f–k off did you not understand?”. Not that you tried very hard to hide your contempt – immediately striking a resemblance to a world-famous North London-based football manager being confronted by media or the fans…

    I’ll level with you anyway. I just happen to be sufficiently naive to think that segregating the fan base of a football club into two (or more) sections is NEVER a positive thing. We all root for Arsenal F.C., yet we are ready to fight each other over “religious” matters. And I’ve got zero interest in this civil war, which in my mind has been caused by my beloved club losing its sporting ambitions by reverting into a mere sub-division of a business enterprise whose owner has never seen a game of “soccer”.

    As a senior supporter I do feel I’ve seen most of it. I was a fan some 26 years before no-one had heard of a Frenchman called Arsene Wenger, for whom I had NOTHING but admiration during the first 10 years of his tenure. But as seasons passed by it gradually became crystal clear he thought – and still thinks – he is bigger than the club.

    For reasons mentioned I feel free to voice my opinions regardless of the forum as long as I’m able to justify my views. And I’m not bothered by the majority here slagging me off. I just don’t care. The rift between AKBs and WOBs must be the most ludicrous chapter in our entire history. Pity the former have yet to realize they’re fighting a losing battle.

    Being such an intelligent person, Rich, could you please answer a couple of questions:

    Is there a point having a comments section where all the posters think the same? What is it?

    Why do you think the amount of WOBs is increasing all over the world? Is it the media or the PiGMOB or the non-cheering fans or something else not made up yet?

    What is the reason for AKBs being much more hostile than WOBs on average? It couldn’t be the fact that the excuses are rapidly drying up and it’s taking its toll, could it?

    Does it ever puzzle you that there’s an international conspiracy against Arsenal and practically nobody outside this site is aware of it?

    Thank you so much for letting me vent frustration by trying wright wrongs and especially for telling there’s hope for me when I grow older. In all fairness I must admit you are the best imaginable spokesperson for this site.


    I never said You lied. But I still find it utterly unbelievable that a true Spurs fan would go for Arsene NOW when Poch is guiding them towards second place, which is something Wenger has failed to do for 11 years. And you can keep your rat’s ass to yourself, thank you.

  71. @Polo and @Linda

    So how was it after sunderland game

    who laugh last huh??

    you guys kept beaten and proved wrong season after season game after game

    i might not be the best poster but i and those who have the same opinion as me won again this time as this arsenal team and wenger proved again all of the points we made are valid

    im sure you watched this match and gutted to the bone hahaha

  72. @Linda

    and one more thing i want you to know that im laughing my ass off imaging you guys face while responding me while upsetting about the match and deep down you you know that it wont last long…

  73. Dieter

    You believe what you want. My brother has been a Spurs man for fifty years and my other brother for 48. They are true Spurs men who hold season tickets and fly over to London as I do for most home games. Bill was speaking of now just this year but years past when he rightly pointed out that not matter what Arsenal supporters always have something to moan about and he was spot on. I will tell you something else both said when we won the league at OT that they were glad Arsenal had won the league and not Utd. They always fone to congratulate me when we won something because that is the type of men they are and I have nothing but the utmost respect for them. I still don’t give a rats ass what you think.
    Seeking attention are we, what a sad person you really are. Go get mummy and daddy to tuck you up and tell you a story because you act like a child. Sad. I will not be answering you both again as I don’t like wasting my time on childish sad people. Goodbye and good luck in life because you are going to need it.

  74. Dieter

    You’re right that a comments section where everyone agreed with each other would have little appeal. I don’t know what the implications of that are (do we all need the opposing viewpoints to argue with here? Weird question. Don’t know the answer)

    Luckily ,perhaps, we’ll never find out!

    I think it’s only ever an illusion when fans are all supposedly united and happy together. Bit of a tweak of this principle: Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

    A united big-club fanbase is merely everyone enjoying some period of great success, beneath that they are all very different people, waiting for a bit of stress to expose this.

    Really don’t ever consider myself an AKB, by the way. More someone who thinks he has done superb work for the club and that at no point during his tenure would it have been best for the club for him to depart.

    I’ll stick with those terms (AKB and WOB) ,though. Pretty hard thing to quantify- average hostility levels among many thousands of people- but if ever they make the machine to do it, I’d bet the house WOB’s enjoy a crushing victory.

    If this is, as with me, your main outlet for Arsenal discussions, though, I can see why it might not feel like that. On many days, you are well-outnumbered here. I spent time (years, actually) previously posting where I was in the minority in the way I saw things and, well, it can get to you after a time.

    Your final question (conspiracy) is one I have stared down and tried to take on directly on countless occasions. It’s a fair and good question.

    How could it be? Why would we not only suffer terribly from referees, but also with the media, and why on earth would a vast majority of our own fans not see it that way?

    It can sound like wild improbability, piled on wild improbability, times the inexplicable.

    There are no definitive (or short) answers. If there were, and I knew them for sure, everyone would know them and it would be a different world (one where I had stopped or not even begun asking those questions)

    You can imagine my disappointment that Riley doesn’t seem to have been one of the thousands Murdoch was bugging! Players, managers, the PFA chief (and about ten people who knew him), but seemingly not referees. Some things are sacred, I guess, especially when they could harm the most profitable part of your business.

    Anyway, I’ve speculated upon how on earth such a strange situation could materialise countless times. My best guess is that it’s a dirty old business and our unwillingness to get dirty has been very costly.

    My belief is that it’s eminently possible to end up with something that produces the same results as corruption or even a full-on conspiracy without actually breaking any laws (though it would likely involve occasionally acting in ways that would lead to public disgrace and make your job untenable if someone recorded you).

    Human nature, self-interest, ruthlessness, immorality, cunning, weakness and greed could all accomplish the job, and even leave just enough room for you to preserve your own self-image and tell yourself you’ve not really done anything untoward.

    (well, I wrote some more about that, but the post was too long, and I’m not sure you are really interested in my speculation anyway)

    I thought it was worthwhile anyway trying to get to the roots of things, though I’m wary of making it too personal (in the end, and obsessed as I am by the game, it is just football)

    Don’t think I’d make a fitting spokesman for the site at all. I’m not positive enough about certain things and I think that probably leads to some distrust and disappointment. Makes me question myself, and feel a bit disloyal occasionally, but after weighing it up I can’t see the point of my saying anything unless I say what I think.

  75. Rich

    Thanks for replying. I really am interested in your speculation especially when the focus is on the game itself. But as I don’t spend that much time around here I miss out on most of the stuff anyway.

    You’re probably right about WOBs being the feistier mob in general. Like the majority of “us” I get pissed off and turn into a loose cannon ONLY when someone dares to tell me I’m not a real supporter. Because that’s precisely what I am: a devoted and worried die-hard who sees that a change in management is – not only long overdue but – inevitably in the best interests of the club and the supporters.

    You don’t consider yourself as an AKB and that’s exactly the impression I remember getting of you in the first place. I’m glad you confirmed it. In fact I’m envious of your neutral stance.

    The main difference is; where WOBsters like me do NOT think everything bad is Wenger’s fault AKBs are adamant Arsene is responsible for NOTHING whenever things go wrong. Personality cult, you see, don’t you?

    As for Walter; being a ref himself means he is automatically under scrutiny over his (and Usaka’s) referee reviews. They’re doing a great job and there’s little inconsistency involved. But I do have reservations if presenting differing views on occasional matters will be considered persecution leading to ill feelings.

    I’d really like to take Walter’s world for his total unbiasedness (and still can’t see why not extend it to match reports that are prejudiced as hell). But unfortunately it looks to me he’s not taking the credibility issue too seriously.

    F.ex. in our infamous very last defense of the FA Cup his interpretation of the Gabriel vs. Deeney clash was somewhat extraordinary, to say the least. Yet he made the willful choice to not correct himself at all. And I’m sensing he might be aggrieved should he happen to read this post. Hopefully not.

    Because in that case the next question would be: what if it was the other way round? To factor out a fractionally different conviction of the “200 % commitment” shown by both players? Maybe, but then again maybe not.

    Sorry for using such an outdated sample. Over & out. Have a nice day.

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