Back from the palace and its the same old same old: Knock, knock, knock, kncko, konck

by Tony Attwood

Jack’s pass to Alexis last night was a moment to behold; a moment of sublime football which can be viewed over and over again (at least by me, even if by no one else); an utter delight.  To my mind (and of course it is just my view) it is the sort of moment to savour and enjoy, and if you have a recording of the match, you too might care to go back and watch a few times.

Indeed the sort of moment in football to remember, rather like that amazing quick pass-pass-pass goal that Jack was involved in at the Clock End, before his injury and time in Bournemouth; the sort of thing on this occasion one might take away from a cold night and relive while wondering how delightful life could be if Wilshere and Ramsey can be fitted into the side together.

And it did get savoured on TV, and mentioned a bit in the newspapers and on the websites – but not that much of a mention, because these days, exquisite passes and beautifully executed goals are not what the football reporting of Arsenal is all about.   Indeed Arsenal, in the eyes of the media, is not a football team Which is one reason why it seems to me worthwhile endlessly running a blog.

Walter, writing a commentary on the game as it progresses and without time to ponder and contemplate as the professional journalists do, wrote “Wilshere with an amazing ball to Alexis who controls it on his thigh and pushes it next to the keeper. GOAL!!! 1-3 To The Arsenal after 66 minutes.”  That’s a perfect description, perfectly written on the spur (if you’ll excuse the word) of the moment.

But the Guardian felt the need to move away from that lovely piece of football quickly to tell us “The problem is observers will continue to scrutinise the body language…” which at least is honest, that is what the journalists and bloggettas do.  They could have added that body language is the least reliable way of all to understand a person’s motivations, not least because it is so individual.  Yet people make a living out of pretending they can interpret body language, while ignoring any opportunity to ask the individual involved what he/she was thinking at that moment. Fortune telling in the fairground can be more reliable.

For the Independent this morning however the main issue is “Wenger’s tactical indecision a concern,” and here they have moved on from body language to telepathy.

In the build-up to the match Arsene Wenger said he was ready to return to a more ‘attacking’ back-four, yet proceeded to start the game with three defenders and two wing-backs. It is not as though he has a reputation to uphold as a tactical maestro in modern management, but Wenger’s indecision and inability to clearly explain his tactical choices is a worrying trend.

And this is the newspaper journalists’ problem – they can’t admit that some managers (and Mr Wenger is one such) wind them and the opposition up.  He gave them the reality at the start of the season – that the club would keep practising 4-3-3 and would occasionally go back to that.  Indeed he even said in a recent interview that he preferred 4-3-3 but that three at the back sometimes was necessary.

To the journos, deeply trained with rewards of alcohol to follow the party line, this is “dithering”.  To anyone with five seconds to think about it, this is keeping the opposition off balance – getting them to prepare for one line up and playing another.  Clubs do it by suddenly dropping one player unexpectedly, and by changing positions.  Now Arsenal are doing it by changing the format too.

Clubs exchange team sheets one hour before kick off, by which time it is too late for either team to change to accommodate the other. Palace I suspect expected 4-3-3 and got five across the back, and it caused them to reshuffle uncomfortably.

Trying to find another downer on the whole affair the Telegraph led with  “Debate over Sanchez celebration takes shine off Wenger’s milestone” which of course it didn’t for those of us who were happy to celebrate Arsenal’s lead. Only a minority of fans would have bothered with that “debate” (although actually “debate” is stretching the dictionary definition of the word, but it was ever thus in football journalism).

But in case we didn’t get it, the Telegraph gave us another: “Alexis Sanchez goal celebration proves ‘divided dressing room’ at Arsenal, says Graeme Souness”.  Sky seem to like to ignore that Souness was named as the worst football manager of all time in the Observer in May 2008.  He was criticised in the Stevens enquiry in 2007 into football corruption, he did win the Scottish title with Rangers three times (but I suspect my cat could have done that) and since then he has won the FA Cup (an achievement certainly), the Turkish Cup, and the League Cup.  And here he is pontificating over the team of a man who has won the FA Cup more than any other many in the 4.6 billion year history of the planet.

Of course the little bloggettas go for negativity too.  One for example runs with runs with “‘Rubbish, Not good enough’ – Fans are bashing this Arsenal star after Palace game.”  They are speaking of Bellerin but I am not sure why because a little while ago they told us that he had transferred to Barcelona and bought a house for his family in Spain and that Mr Wenger was a dolt for letting him go.

So it goes.

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29 Replies to “Back from the palace and its the same old same old: Knock, knock, knock, kncko, konck”

  1. It’s a shame the Guardian article you refer to didn’t make a comment or caveat before the quote you give, I don t know something on the difficulty of interpreting body language like

    “it is easy to read too much into apparent splits when, in reality, raw emotion at a lead restored had probably taken over”

    Or have a description like Tony’s in their live minute by minute commentary, perhaps they could have said

    “1-3 Wilshere has time on the half-way line and drops a sumptuous pass on a dime for Sanchez, who breaks the offside trap, takes the ball down on his thigh and rolls the ball past Speroni with his second touch. Three simple wonderful touches from Arsenal there. What a pass from Wilshere, Sanchez didn’t have to break stride. I would say the Englishman has been Arsenal’s best player tonight.”

    But given their anti Arsenal bias (which includes employing that well known Spurs fan Amy Lawrence) neither could be expected bn

  2. Unfortunately for the pundits (‘professional’ or otherwise) the plucky underdog managed by a proper Englishman lost the game – having won the equivalent meeting by a decent margin last time round.
    It just doesn’t fit the narrative agenda to have Arsenal turn it around – especially if it’s achieved by pre-match mind games from Wenger and features great performances from players who are in contract negotiation. The latter, by the way, doesn’t come up if they play for other clubs who have, on average, more such players than do Arsenal.
    Well played Arsene and well played Arsenal.

  3. A good article Tony, however, I have to disagree with you regarding Sanchez.He does not appear to celebrate with others when they score, or put it this way, he is always the last to join in.
    Last night, after scoring to make it 2-1, you did expect everyone to join in, but it did not happen.
    Clearly, I have always felt, there have been problems with Sanchez this season.He will go to the Club that pays him the most.
    We all know it is a gamble this year to keep two players, who command the best part of 400k a week and could have been sold for 100million in the summer, on a gamble of a top 4 finish that will bring in alot of dosh.
    Regarding the goal celebrations, I am not saying we do a Man City and go totally overboard, something I find that is clearly manufactured.

  4. Excellent article

    As for the comment above that Amy Lawrence is a spurs fans, its absolute tosh as she is a BIG Arsenal fan

  5. Whatever happened with sanchez it was all forgotten a few minutes later. Didn’t almost the entire team celebrate the second time.

  6. I noticed that Peter Cech did not run the length of the field to join in the goal celebrations;- clear evidence that he has fallen out with all his team mates.

  7. It’s rather odd that Henry & Souness should get so animated over a goal celebration. I come from an era when a handshake & back slap was as good as it got.
    No secret that Sanchez does not currently fit in with the rest of the team (if he did in the first place), and the quicker he moves on the better for all concerned.

  8. To be fair to Souness he was responsible for dismantelling Liverpool FC as a Big Club, for good it seems.

    But I’m sure he did well out of the process.

    Which is one reason why he’s been rewarded with a gig alongside such respected names in football such as Savage and Barton. Nuff said!

    Please remember our business partners, friendly bookies and super agents and for pities sake whateever you do, whenever you do it, just don’t mention how many years Liverpool have gone without a title, or any other trophy of note – a reasonable and a fair bit longer then 2014 now… or 2017 if you’re counting AFCs record breaking Cup final victory over the champions the biggest Cup victory for AFC since ’79 odd.
    You won’t hear any of that in the unreasonable and far from fair press owned by people who throroughly dissaprove of Arsenal FCs mode of business and politics, including dear old Aunty Bleeb. The shower that they are! 🙂

  9. “The Goooner” Liars and Vampires can evidentially be observed to not be supporters of Arsenal Football Club.

    In their own words.

  10. I saw the 1989 film yesterday, finishing in time to watch the second half of our match.
    Both very satisfactory outcomes!

  11. Arsenal got it right last night, just about. A top four team doesn’t concede goals like that (I know Liverpool do, but they won’t be there for much longer). Most journalists don’t really understand football or the reasons people make the decisions they do. A few years ago Mourinho was the ‘greatest manager in the history of football’, now with Pep having won the league by Christmas, Mourinho is ‘past his best’.
    They hero-worshipped Sir F as well, despite him only ever winnning the league when he outspent his rivals.
    Man IOU also won the champions league when their main rivals were largely out of sorts.
    Arsenal, with better tactics and management could win more trophies and leave the journalists to explain how it happened.

  12. 85% communication is non verbal and often a more clear intimation of Someone’s demeanour than their words, only surpassesed when in consideration of the evidence of their actions.

    One thing o picked up on was nobody being quite sure of how to approach Alexis after each goal. Jack summed it up best, he played that Wilshere l, reminiscent of Joe Cole type ball, nobody sees this but me!? And keeps walking expecting the finish, then gathers himself and goes over to celebrate with the lads.

    Kos is clearly like are you going to blame me when I have died for this club so many times and I know I’ve not been on it.

    Alexis celebrated the eventual winner by pointing at himself not the badge or looking to any of his teammates, including the customary accusatory pointing at the provider of such goals.

    He needs love, he has plans and wants his pay to reflect that quality and intent. I know exactly how he feels. You score because you are too good to miss, but everything that motivates you is missing: it’s F1 you are in Canada and have He long straights and you’re missing 3 too end gears.

    On Jack I have nothing to say, he’s out best player, yes Inhave but affinity with Alexis, Mesut is always making you cry for more. But Jack has a complete football brain, it’s something like Gazza!

    The problem in defence is a DM, has been for years but its glaring now, the 2 is being split because no th wing backs advance so high and it’s part of their DNA and identity of the club.

    The 3 is killing our build from the back policy, because no one wants to step out with the ball and only Jack is showing with Mesut and Alexis needing more direct
    And Jack accurate passes to latch onto.

    The lynchpin is key, Spurs have mobile back 3 and can play it, Chelsea had the respect of Terry and mobility to cover him. Nobody else had been successful because you need tihe ingredients.

    Mustarfi and Kos give us balance but not height, Per will get focused on as soon as his name emerges on team sheet, same with Nacho even tho his foooyball intelligence is high, it is wasted by physical impairments.

    Mustarfi is Kos’s replacement. Callum and Rov are rotation and future. We need a first team quality CB. Just one.

    We need that destroyer in front of them, one who can spot a pass and cover both full backs when they abscond.

    Granit go work on that tech, I don’t mind the shots but my lord, hit the target.


  13. Dear Dwayne

    I believe that you will find that if you actually go back and watch the Football that for Terry:
    after the umpteenth cortisone injection only his mate Riley could keep him in the game(s). Confused? Please refer to terry outside of the PL, the massacre against an Ozil inspired Germany (over England!, not Brazil, that came later…) stands out He wasn’t on the pitch when Gazprom won the CL

    Tottenham don’t play out mate. For starters “Europe’s best FB” Danny Rose (didn’t make up the quote) can’t control, turn and pass the football in one motion which is qutite an important skill in this Football malarky – Please refer to the many many goals Rosicky scored by in particular targeting this carthorse. No mercy. (what happened to the LB….??? 🙂 )


    Keep yer eyes on the Football 😉

  14. Yes, the mass media – if anyone can take the shine off a fan’s enjoyment of the team’s victory, it’s them.

  15. Sorry if I’m going to get hate for this but Henry was putting the boot in as much as Souness …. as far as I’m concerned just another ex-player who’s taken the Sky paycheck and laying into our club … still blame him for missing the chance that would have won us the Champions League in Paris … I don’t expect ex-players to gloss over bad days, (like Liverpool away) … but I expect them to refrain from crass, clearly divisive and destructive criticism and point out when we are being unfairly attacked, (the injury stats spring to mind) … not interested in him anymore, people have to earn my respect and behave in a way that keeps it … he hasn’t

  16. Minesy

    Trying to trash the reputation of arsenal’s greatest ever striker isn’t going to work.
    Henry was absolutely right in his criticism. The situation arsenal finds itself in regarding sanchez and ozil is ridiculous and embarrassing.

  17. Minesy – you are right. Alexanderhenry – it’s not Henry as a striker that’s the problem, it’s Henry as a pundit. They’re all sheep except Martin Keown.

  18. @ Minesy -29/12/2017 at 9:25 pm – & Pat – Loved Henry the player that AW moulded into a world class great and truly deserving of a statue at the Ems.
    Don’t really admire the lapdog he’s become .

  19. And speaking of pussies , a woman was toweling her wet pussy , and as she enjoyed it so much she began to rub it vigorously until the pussy cried ,” Meow !” , and ran away.

    Lessons –
    1. Be kind to animals.
    2. Always keep your thoughts clean.

  20. Brick – always hilarious and lightening the mood.

    I never said Spurs play out from the back, if you keep your eye on the ball, ‘we’ are struggling to play out with the 3, the player responsible was Kos, but as any quality player knows, you adapt your game as the years advance and he is doing that and Mustarfi is lacking confidence and Rhythm after that injury that has seemed to niggle since that grandstand reintroduction to the league.

    Nobody else can even say they have that quality, with the exception of Callum who is a dab hand in possession. The beard, somebody is trying to grow up. Carl and Ox not being around probably helps, they were tight. A bit like sacrificing Aneke, Serge and Frimpong for Iwobi and Chuba!

    When Gasprom bought the CL Terry was integral, you don’t need to play to make the difference, if anyone tells me CR7 didn’t win the EC from the touch line, they can go buy a Scumthorpe scarf! Sorry if you are from there on both counts.

    Interesting that the guardian, mail, express and sky all inject new BS articles very fixedly based on these threads again.

    Jack is the right person to have a word, heap as much pressure on someone as possible when you care they will make the wrong decision.

    The questioning of the contract situation is a criticism of club policy, not management. But Ozil and Alexis are right to wait and the former is letting his football speak true to his word on twitter and instagram where he has become more vocal anf backwd words of commitment with action.

    Alexis is emotional, hot headed and South American Latin, when reading into something understanding the culture of a persona is vital, que?!

  21. alexanderhenry

    Highest scoring and greatest are different things … don’t care what he DID, I care about the damage he and others are doing to the club now … no respect for him anymore … he can **** off and enjoy his Sky money as far as I’m concerned … and if he’s our greatest, where were the goals in Cup Finals ??? or even semi-finals ??? Even Theo’s managed those !!!!

  22. Brickfields Gunners

    To be honest, I also think comments like those he made the other night are a slap in the face of Wenger … when you start off by saying you have no special knowledge of what’s going on BUT, you know it’s **** ….

  23. Oh and another thing alexanderhenry, I really don’t need to trash Henry’s reputation, he is clearly more than capable of doing that all by himself … maybe Kermit will give him a job now that Disney have bought Sky …

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