Arsenal v team whose supporters think it is cool to boo a player their man crippled

By Bulldog Drummond

Arsène Wenger perhaps mindful of the contract negotiations with Alexis decided to make Alexis the key part to his interviews yesterday – particularly speaking about converting Alexis from a winger to a forward and how long it has taken.

“I think he has found a good mixture,” Mr Wenger said.  “He knows when to come off and when to go in behind. He has more freedom and he takes advantage of his technique much more. He was happy out wide because in his head he was a wide player. But I had to persuade Thierry Henry as well.

“You see that the guy who plays wide and can score goals can score even more goals in the centre. I always saw that in Sánchez. But I must honestly say that there were many times when I played him, last year or two years ago, that I thought I was wrong. The few experiences I attempted with him through the middle were not convincing and I remember even in one game I changed it at half-time.

He then added, “I had to persuade Thierry. I don’t know if it’s my greatest achievement. You see the guy who plays wide can score goals that he can in the centre score even more goals.

“I saw always in Sánchez and I must honestly say I thought many times when I played him last year, or two years ago, I was wrong.”

That main game relating to “thinking I was wrong” was at Everton when we were 2-0 down, Alexis went off and Giroud came on and Giroud got the equaliser.  Henry, you may remember, didn’t take so long, having a lean spell at the start of his first season when (as a centre forward) he continued to play on the left, but then he suddenly started scoring in his eighth game.

Away to Southampton, Henry came on as a sub got the ball from Tony Adams and with his back to goal about 20 yards out, turned and curled the ball perfectly past the keeper all in one movement.  The film of that moment is a classic.

Thierry Henry later said his failure to score for Arsenal up to that point had been getting him down, and I must admit sitting in the north bank each home game I was bemused as to why Wenger continued to play him as a nominal centre forward.   In an interview after the game Thierry said, “My goal today was very important for me. I have missed at least 14 or 15 chances for Arsenal and my confidence was low.”  I seem to recalling saying to my mate Roger, “Oh, so he can score after all”.

Mr Wenger continued…

“At the start of the season when Sánchez came back he took advantage of the fact Giroud was not here and not ready so I could give him more games.  Sometimes when you have too many people an experience that is not immediately conclusive cannot go on for too long because you are under pressure. If it doesn’t work over one or two games and you have a top player on the bench, you’re tempted to change it.

“I want Giroud to stay, I want Giroud to extend his contract. He is a very important player at the club, on the pitch and off the pitch. I want him to stay but, if he signs, he has to live with the competition. He has to decide if he can live with what is going on.”

As for Alexis he said, “He has developed very well as a centre-forward because he has found a good mixture between being coming off and going in behind and he has more freedom as well and he takes advantage of his short technique in the middle much more.

“We also have Lucas Pérez and Welbeck coming back. How do we keep them all happy? Honestly I don’t know. But we did have Kanu,  Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, a young Van Persie. it’s never easy.

“You cannot keep them all happy but our job is we produce every weekend unhappy people. It’s part of the job at every club. Look at every squad in the Premier League, everybody has internationals on the bench. The dangers in our job, the real danger, is players who are just happy to be there.”

So what of the game today against the Infamous Entity known as Stoke?

Arsenal as we have heard so many times now are unbeaten since the first game of the season. The last six in the league have three wins and three draws.  For Stoke it is four wins a draw and a defeat, which is very decent form indeed so they need to be considered a serious threat both from football as well as the physical violence.

Their achievements are matched home and away with equal numbers of wins and defeats in both sections of the table.  Away they have scored seven and let in eight.

Arsenal are still better away from home than at the Ems, but the gap has narrowed, and is now just one more win away.  But still the home record is decent – four wins two draws one defeat.  15 goals scored nine conceded.  Like Man City we’ve scored more away than at home.

Changing the subject, one thing that I’ve noted is that while there are already quite a few fair play charts around, each awarding points in different ways (1 for a yellow, 2 for a red, 3 for two yellows meaning a red etc etc) a new one has appeared.

Now in these charts, quite often some of the rules of the “league” are fairly obscure, and this is the case with the Telegraph’s venture into this field for the first time.   Probably best to call it “Fair play with a twist” as they have introduced several new categories.

Here we get 1 point for a yellow, 3 for a red, 4 for a misconduct charge, 5 for a retrospective charge (although why it should get more points just because the ref missed it I am not at all sure,) 5 for a management touchline ban – obviously the flavour of the month.

No prizes for guessing that Manchester Mourinho are top of the league for naughty things but you might be a bit surprised at just how naughty they have been.  Here’s the table with a few explanations en route…

  1. Liverpool 22 points
  2. Southampton 22
  3. Swansea 25
  4.  Hull 25
  5. Arsenal 26
  6. Burnley 26
  7. Bournemouth 27
  8. Leiceter 28
  9. Palace 29
  10. Middlesbrough 30
  11. Chelsea 31+
  12. Tottenham 32
  13. Everton 33
  14. West Brom 33
  15. Stoke 34 (29 yellows 1 FA Charge)
  16. West Ham 42
  17. Watford 43
  18. Man City 43 + (29 yellow, 2 FA Charges)
  19. Sunderland 45
  20. Man U 51 (1 red, 33 yellows, 3 FA Charges)

Thus Man United are within one point as have twice as many negatives (51) as we do (26).   Two clubs (Man City and Chelsea)  have + signs because they are pending extra charges.  But meanwhile Man U are completely out on their own for sheer dirty play.  Stoke are the sixth worst club at the moment for dirty play and obviously will be keen to catch Man U up in the only league they can win.

On the top goal scorers chart Alexis is second with 11 goals and four assists.  Costa has 11 goals and five assists.  In all competitions Alexis has 18 goals and seven assists.

And so to today, the team could look something like this


Gabriel  Mustafi   Koscielny  Monreal

Coquelin Xhaka

Walcott  Ozil  The Ox


Playing on the beach we might have
Ospina, Gibbs, Holding, Elneny, Ramsey, Giroud, Pérez
The utterly appalling and disgraceful Shawcross  is out with a calf injury, so is Bardsley, Carmeron, Afellay, Buytland and Ireland.  Indeed Stoke are top of the injury table with eight all told.  Arsenal have six, of whom one, (Bellerin) is noted as coming out of the injury lists today although I doubt he will make the beach.   Everyone else is scheduled for recovery in January, starting with Danny Welbeck on 1 January with Per Mert back the following week.

And so to the usual factoids to round things up:

Arsenal have won their last 14 home matches against Stoke in all competitions including eight PL games.

Arsenal have not let in a goal in 5 of their last 7 home matches against Stoke in all competitions.

The Evil Entity has conceded 19 goals and scored three in their eight league matches at the Emirates Stadium.

The last time Stoke won at Arsenal was by a typical Stokearian score of 1-0 at Highbury in the First Division in August 1981, with Lee Chapman scoring.

If we at least draw today it will be the first time we have gone 14 games without losing in the Premier League since December to April 2011 when we went 16 games without defeat.

And just in case Alexis doesn’t get all the goals today…

70 Replies to “Arsenal v team whose supporters think it is cool to boo a player their man crippled”

  1. A win for us today will be a welcomed encouragement to steadily face the on coming festive fixtures congestion.

    Come On You Gunners!

  2. Mr Drummond, you’ve said the sayable well and done. Therefore, my kudos go to you for this article posting.

    However, while I agree with your starts for this our home PL game against Stoke City today in their entireties, I’ve noticed you have no rightback cover on your bench. Therefore, I suggest one of Elneny and Ramsey drop out from the 18 man match day squad for one of, Jenkinson? or Maitland-Niles to come in into the squad. But who drops out? And who comes in? Elneny out? And Niles in? Let’s leave the final decision on that to Le Prof make.

    Needless to say Arsenal will beat Stoke City today at the Ems, Right? The rumours in the grapevine have heard it reported that the Porters will be coming to the Ems with 5 porteries full of their victuals to refill and sustain their energy in the dressing room at the half-time of the game. But what the Porters have not recond with is, the Gunners have plotted a plot among themselves to break into pieces all the 5 porteries the Porters will be bringing along with them to pour on the floor all the foods and drinks contained in the 5 porteries to leave the Porters in hunger and thirsting in the dressing at half–time.

    Consequently, the Gunners have planned to make a mismeat of the Porters on the field of play during the 2nd half of the match as the Porters without food & water at half-time to renewe their strengths will become fragile and looking haggard on the field.

    At the blow of the final whistle for this game by referee Lee Mason, the score board reads Arsenal 5-0 Stoke City.

  3. @blacksheep63.
    I’ve been drinking Arsenal totally molding the Porters to the shapes they like today at the Ems.
    But the devil’s printer is at work again. UA readers, please substitute the word ‘potteries’ for porteries in my just posted article comment.

  4. And speaking of drinking….

    A wife calls her scientist husband , ” Honey , its Saturday night,…and you are late !”
    ” I’m busy with my team in an experiment .”
    ” And what’s that ?”
    “We’ve just added a derivative of C2H5OH (Whiskey) with ambient temperature H2O(Water) and aqueous CO2 (Soda ) . To cool this mixture we added some super low temperature , solidified H2O (Ice) , and now while waiting for some protein (Chicken tikka), we are fumigating (Smoking) the lab with vapours of nicotine (Or Cuban cigars or some fine medicinal ‘stuff’).
    It’s 4 or 5 rounds of experiments. So I ‘ll probably be late .”

    And you thought that scientists were unimaginative and boring !

  5. good luck to all the Gunners on duty today, lets hope they can stretch the PL unbeaten run for 1 more game. com’on Arsenal

  6. From (Tony doesn’t seem to be posting it, jiving in Morocco?).

    > Arsenal team: Cech, Gabriel, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Xhaka, Walcott, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexis

    > Arsenal substitutes: Ospina, Bellerin, Gibbs, Elneny, Iwobi, Lucas, Giroud


  7. Leon, maybe think Shaquille O’Neal (basketball) or Jonah Lomu. Big doesn’t necessarily mean immobile. On the flip side, being small isn’t necessarily a problem.


  8. lexis queries the fact that Mason allows Diouf freedom to foul, First on Monreal & now the Ox

  9. Watching BT sports news updates, and everyone including Webb concluded that was never a penalty. This rigged league is a farce…

  10. I am not seeing any medja questioning the Xhaka elbow. Some supposition that Mustafi is a hamstring problem.


  11. Their keeper is taking about 30 seconds per goalkick, but according to the commentator, that’s perfectly acceptable. With regards to the penalty, all he could say is that Xhaka should have gotten out of the way and it was stupid of him not do to so and it was definitely a penalty. This is a completely ridiculous thing to say of course, because if Xhaka had quickly jumped out of the way, in the fear that a player might run into his elbow, then someone could have easily nicked the ball off him and been through on goal.

    It’s the double standards that annoy me the most. I just hate almost every single aspect about this league and I don’t know how much longer I can stomach it.

  12. Unfortunate it was tiny Joe Allen in the challenge with Xhaka, anyone taller would have been caught on the chest rather than the face and probably no penalty given. Annoying though it was I think Mason had to give the penalty.
    It would be nice if we were given a spot kick occasionally though.

  13. Pundits Petit & Schmichael say it should have been a red for Xhaka for a deliberate elbow!! Allen deliberately head butts Xhaka’s elbow, followed by pretence that there was damage!! The pundits then repeat media b/s to cover their arses as evidence. Look at the knee in Monreals thigh & then see ‘deliberate’! Nothing done by Mason.

  14. I would hardly say that Allen deliberately head butted Xhakas elbow. That’s just taking a bit too far..

  15. Interesting fact : 5 of the last 6 Premier League goals conceded by Arsenal came from a penalty or free kick…

  16. Possession stats so far Arsenal 70% Stoke 30%, Mustafi was holding his hammie when he walked off. MickHazel’s got it about right on the pen. Watch Sanchez’ ball to set up the goal..

  17. Now there is a penalty for a professional time wasting foul. Elbow by Pieters on Bellerin’s neck – no foul!!!

  18. Now there is a penalty for a professional time wasting foul. Elbow by Pieters on Bellerin’s neck – no foul!!!

    WE’ve got Ozil!!!

  19. IMO there’s no doubt about the penalty. Joe Allen had a bump as big as a golf ball.If there’s any controversy it might be whether the elbow was deliberate or not.

  20. Wtf, gunners thinking it was a penalty!? Howard Webb, Jermaine Jenas and rest of ‘pundits’ on BT sport agreed it was never a penalty, and those are the last people to ever call a decision in our favour.

  21. I went for a pee & missed the goal. Seen the replay now. Terrific. Masson played good advantage

  22. How to go Iwobi! I see Alexis assisted, wonderful!

    What’s up with this?

    > Bruno Martins Indi from Stoke City commits a foul on Alexis Sanchez but the referee waves play on.

    Is this Stoke player receiving a yellow? That’s the way it is worded, scoring shouldn’t matter.


  23. Sure, post comment, and then see comments addressing issue. Foul on Alexis was “trivial”?


  24. Arsenal 3 Mason 1 & some midget who headed Xhaka’s elbow for a penalty. His face swelled up because he didn’t realise how hard Granit is!!!! 😉 😉 😉

  25. How to go Gunners!

    Arsenal possession
    _5 69
    10 56
    15 60
    20 68
    25 62
    30 57
    35 60
    40 63
    45 62

    50 69
    55 70
    60 68
    65 69
    70 65
    75 64
    80 63
    85 66
    90 65
    overall 64 (I think)
    6 shots off target, 6 on target
    9 fouls committed, 6 fouls suffered
    2 players treated, stoke had 7 players treated

  26. @ finsbury,
    It certainly looked that way from inside the ground. At the very least one of the more bizarre exhibitions of refereeing we will see this year. At nil all and one all Mr Mason did everything possible to tilt the pitch and it was only with a two goal cushion Thai I felt we were out of range of his cheating. He should be demoted to the lower reaches of the Football League for such an awful performance, I expect that he will get promoted as a reward from his masters for his sterling efforts.

  27. @Gord,
    Hope our late first half and second half performance was enough to keep you warm. At the least watching that referee was enough to raise the temperature by a degree or two!

  28. I had to read commentary today, no chance to watch game. So, I was a little unsure as to what was happening.

    Our cold spell is supposed to break tomorrow, which will be nice.

    I see medja mentioning that Wenger was unhappy with penalty, I don’t see medja saying there was anything wrong;tilted about the game. Mutter.

  29. But Leon the Troll does not agree with you, he’s sending flowers to poor ickle Joey with an apology.

  30. Honestly what is the point of this unjustified state funded illegal entity known as the BBC, having witnessed MOTD puppets claiming these refs have been exceptional with decisions officiating these games!

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