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Another fine victory for the anti-Arsenal Arsenal. But sadly it seems, they never learn.

By Dr Billy “the dog” McGraw.

On the A52 road in Derbyshire there is a sign that says “Street lights not working”.

Most people just drive past it, seemingly without giving the sign much thought.  However those people who have the more inquisitive brains tend at this point to ask the question, “why?”  In fact the most inquisitive of people ask “why?” twice.

The first “why?” is asked about why the sign is there at all.  “If the street lights are not working,” they say, “it doesn’t really matter in the daytime because there is the natural light in the sky so we don’t need a sign.  If it is dark, it is patently obvious that the street lights are not working because there is no light shining on the road.   So again, why have the sign?

“Yes indeed,” say the most enquiring of minds. “And there is a second question.  Why, if we do need the sign, is the sign saying ‘Street lights not working’ not illuminated?  Because surely the main time when it is needed is when it is dark, and since the street lights are not working, the sign telling us the street lights are not working, needs to have light shone on it.”

“Ah yes,” says the man at the Highways Agency with a nervous giggle, “that old thing. Well you don’t need the ‘Street lights not working’ sign illuminated, because it is patently obvious that the street lights are not working, as it is pitch black,” and he walks away with a knowing smile.

That’s really how it is with Arsenal at the moment.  We can all see that the club is not performing as well as we would like and hope.  Clearly given the 19 consecutive years in the Champions League, seven FA Cup wins, and three League titles – an average of one trophy every two years – this season is indeed not up to standard.  The average attainment of one trophy every two years is in danger of slipping.

Likewise everyone can see that last night Arsenal did play well.  It is a bit like the A52. If  you drive down it at night and it is dark, you can be pretty sure it is because the lights are not working.  If Arsenal lose a game like last night’s it’s fairly clear the team did not play well.

But now the question pops in?  Why go on mentioning it over and over when it is totally obvious?  Why make a big fuss and call for the manager and the board and a number of members of the team to be removed?

Is it because that will do any good?   Presumably not, because it has been tried for at least 10 years – the length of time Untold Arsenal has been running, and it patently hasn’t worked.   Untold was started at a time of remorseless criticism of Arsenal, the players and the manager ten years back, and that criticism has increased with the subsequent huge increase in the number of anti-Arsenal-Arsenal blogs, and of course ArsenalFanTV.

So, rather like the Highways Agency that goes around putting up signs telling us that street lights are not working, the question still is why?  Why criticise and criticise when year after year it is clear that at best it makes no difference and at worst it could be making things worse.

And by making things worse I mean making the players ever more nervous, making players who might previously have wanted to play for Arsenal now shy away, while encouraging the mass media that had quoted Arsenal fans during the unbeaten season as saying “this is the worst Arsenal team we’ve ever seen” to increase their relentless and ceaseless attack.

In psychology when we ask why people do things that clearly are not in their interest we get interesting answers.  We ask that sort of question, for example, about a man who desperately wants his wife to love and respect him, and when she doesn’t he shouts at her, abuses her, drinks too much, falls asleep on the sofa, and then in the morning leaves the house without saying goodbye and slams the door as he goes waking the baby who was sleeping peacefully.

We find the answer to that question in various areas of human behaviour.  Personal habit is one – it is what the guy has done for ever and he just slips into that behaviour.  Stupidity is another – he really can’t see the connection between his behaviour and hers.  Self-denial is another – he wouldn’t shout at and abuse his wife if only she loved him more.  But ultimately we come back to a complete inability to connect the results of behaviour with the behaviour that caused it.

“She is the one who is causing me to behave badly so it is her fault,” the abusive husband says.

“It’s up to the players to perform, then I’ll give them my support,” says the anti-Arsenal-Arsenal “supporter”.

And the writing of all these non-supportive blogs and the running of the little video show?  Why do that?  Basically it becomes a case of self-gratification.  Of feeling good because one is part of the gang of abusers.   It’s a bit like the youngsters in a playground who gather around two kids having an argument and encourage the fight to take place.  They were part of it by chanting “Fight” and kicking the loser when he is down.

Of course the aAA will say that they are pointing out the problems at Arsenal so that things will get better.  But this has been going on for well over ten years, and things haven’t got better.  Indeed I’m reminded of that fake Albert Einstein quote that says the definition of madness is failing, and then doing again the same thing as was done last time around, in the hope that this time it will work.

Criticising Arsenal, the players, the manager, the board etc hasn’t helped improve the club for over 10 seasons, so why would anyone think it would help now?  It’s a bit like putting up a sign that says “street lights aren’t working.”  If it is day time we don’t need to know.  If it is night time it is patently obvious.  And anyway, the sign isn’t illuminated.

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44 comments to Another fine victory for the anti-Arsenal Arsenal. But sadly it seems, they never learn.

  • Goonermay68

    You morons. Should be commited. Last nights game said it all. The manager is a dead man walking. And i hope to see you mugs. Sunday.

  • Gooner Sam

    Ah I see so the answer is to not care and bury your head in the sand. It’s not Wengers fault after all he only bought the players who aren’t good enough or can’t be motivated by him.

    No proper Arsenal fan will forget what Arsene has done for the club but none (or should I say few), have the faith he is the man for us moving forward. This is not knee-jerk this is over a long period of time. Consistency is surely the name here and pointing to the cup wins, whilst excellent ignores the erratic league form and losses at the knockout stages of the Champions League for the past 8 years.

    Many clubs would be proud of that but we are not many clubs, we are the Arsenal. To often we are out thought and out fought and that can not always be the players fault.

    For us and as importantly for him I hope he leaves with some of his respect and legacy intact.

  • Stefan

    I would love to see a psychological analysis of your behaviour too. Entrenched opinion, difficult/unlikely to change whatever the facts, looking for any argument to justify position…

    And hey, you’re writing on a blog that 100% supports your position, so don’t knock so hard others that do the same on other blogs. Those ‘non-supportive’ writers aren’t all sub-human thugs, lots of them care about the club and hate what they now see.

    I was very fond of our current manager, but changed my mind a few years ago now. Based on what I saw, not on what the media told me, or anyone else. They did influence me, but so did the people that still backed him. I was one of them.

    Please just try to set aside your position and re-consider objectively how we have performed over the period of the last few years.

    Even if there are outside factors like financial doping, refs, lady luck, non-supportive fans etc a balanced argument that looks at internal factors (club ownership/team/manager) would be welcome.

    Your position would carry more weight if you did.

    COYG

  • Arsenal_62

    On similar lines, I don’t understand why this site keeps on writing about PGMOL “conspiracies”, media “bias” against arsenal , etc etc. After all , situation hasn’t changed one bit, as per the writers here . Will like to know the psychology behind this hypocrisy.

  • Arsenal_62

    Also, we can clearly see how the top players are shying away from real Madrid, trembling in fear of the vocal fans

  • Goonermikey

    “Also, we can clearly see how the top players are shying away from real Madrid, trembling in fear of the vocal fans”.

    What on earth does that mean? Who are the players? How do you know who it is? How do you know if they are “shying away”? How do you know they are “shying away”? What the hell does “shying away” actually mean? Have you seen them “trembling”? How does this “trembling” manifest itself? How do you know any such “trembling” is connected to their “shying away”? If there is trembling, have they said it’s fear rather than cold? Are you suggesting that they’ll go to clubs that don’t have “vocal fans”? Which clubs don’t have “vocal fans”?

    I’m intrigued by this type of analysis. Please tell us more……..with links to evidence.

  • jet

    Keeping quiet helps?

    Sorry, yesterdays performance was a shambles, the anti Arsenal and the pro Wengers can keep going at each other, I see a club in decline, especially on the pitch.

  • goures

    The players and manager should be ashamed of themselves. The players don’t care anymore as they have it too easy. The manager does not care anymore as he is untouchable. Didn’t know who wad the pub side and who was the professional. JW comments about underestimating the opponents tells you all there is to know about the pathetic state of mind we have become. Heho, but this defeat is another feather in AWs hat. Now looking forward to how the refs screwed us over

  • Pat

    The above comments are typical of what Tony is talking about. One poor performance, for whatever reason, and these people shout for the manager’s head.

    Being at the match, it was certainly a gruelling experience. Nerve racking and to make matters worse, in freezing temperatures. But I was still shocked at the booing at half time. Maybe I was naive to be shocked. Of course the mood changed when Kolasinac scored the goal but it was still tense throughout.

    In his press conference Arsene Wenger said it is better not to talk too much about this match, we have another match on Sunday. I agree. I liked that he said the whole team was not at the races in the first half and refused to home in on our young defenders, as the journalist was clearly inviting him to do. As Tony says, that kind of talk only reduces people’s confidence still further.

    On to Sunday. Good luck lads!

  • jet

    @pat

    The above comments are typical of what Tony is talking about. One poor performance, for whatever reason, and these people shout for the manager’s head.

    One poor performance!!!

  • Pat

    jet

    Didn’t you notice any of our good performances, then?

  • Polo

    So clubs that haven’t won any major silverware in years are called ‘progressing’ but a club that won a major silverware last season is called ‘declining’, hard to believe some people’s state of mind.

    The team played badly last night there’s no doubt but the team is through to the next round, objective achieved, isn’t that the main thing? Why so much hysteria? Funny how when Arsenal win the team hardly get any credits especially by people above who criticized the team but when the team lose these folks are quick to judge. Sad really.

  • jet

    @pat

    Just the Spurs game at the Emirates.

  • jet

    CL>league>fa cup>league cup

  • Jimbo

    Another great article,these moronic fans make me sick,though I think that it’s more about the society we live in nowadays,where everything is criticised and if you have something to beef about there’s always dimwits ready to loaf about and listen.I wish all these so called fans would disappear yet they have become too important to the media,true supporters certainly not just knee-jerking fools without the ability to construct meaningful thought..

  • jet

    Ostrich, thought just flashed.

  • Chris

    I rememeber an time when Rambo could not touch a ball without the crowd booing….
    Definitely this behaviour is what encouraged hi, to become who he is and score (among others) the 2 winners in 2 FA cups.
    So one could say that this tough love approach works…..

    The funny thing is all these so-called fans would be going to court if at work their bosses and colleagues would be behaving as they are when they mistype a name, erase a file, make a pricing mistake…..

    Apart from that, yep, last night was a bad night, nothing clicked and the result was poor. On the other hand, how are young players ever going to get experience if not allowed a mistake or even a bad game ?!?! We ought to pray for Sultan of Brunei or one of his oil-country-ruler-colleagues to put 20 billion on the table and just compete with City by building a team from scratch like City did. Just put 100 million on the table for each player and a coach, and you have a team of WC level without having to train young players.

  • Dom

    I was sick as a parrot watching our performance last night. However one thing is certain, we didn’t play a pub side, we played a very well motivated, well organised and skilful side who would have given any of the top 5 a run for their money.
    My analysis of our performance is not based on statistical analysis but rather on the ineptness of certain players to do their jobs. AFC posted a response to my query last week regarding the reason that we parted company with Giroud and kept Iwobi and Welbeck. This made sense to him as Giroud was 31 and we needed young blood to take over. SORRY but our youngsters are not ready and certainly are not of a calibre to play in the premiership or any serious cup competition. Although I have no proof one way or the other I don’t believe that any of the top 5 would spend any serious money to attract Iwobi, Welbeck, Chambers, Holding and Elneny. We really do not have quality players in quantity, but two of our best ones have gone to our competitors.I think I shall do a Rip Van Winkle and wake up in a few years to see if someone at Arsenal has finally been successful in bringing in some ‘quality’ players who are prepared to wet their shirts for the club.

  • knobby

    The Europa League has just got a bit more interesting…. AC Milan it is then.

  • arsenal_62

    @goonermickey: you need professional help, mate. Your post is the evidence, before you ask.

  • Josif

    We play AC Milan in Ro16.

    It could have been worse even if Milan have overcome their problems and found stability with Gennaro Gattuso at helm. They haven’t lost in league for seven games, since the home defeat to Atalanta on 23rd December. They’ve had a rather appalling record against teams above them in the league but they have managed to beat Lazio and Sampdoria respectively, both at home.

    One of players that we should take a special care of is a young striker Patrick Cutrone who has emerged as a surprise package after hundreds of millions Milan have spent to reinforce their team.

    Mind you, Milan are as far from the Champions League place as we are – they are eight points behind fourth-placed Lazio. They need money as there are various reports about their financial situation and the situation of their owner and only Champions League could generate money they need. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a few dodgy decisions at San Siro in the first leg but truth to be told, if we play like shit on a stick like we did last night and keep defending like we have never heard of organized defending before, Milan won’t need the referees to beat us.

    Arsenal and Milan have faced each other in Europe six times since 1990s.

    George Graham’s Arsenal lost to superb Milan team in European Supercup 1994 (0:0, 0:2).

    Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal knocked out reigning European champions Milan of Carlo Ancelotti in Ro16 of Champions League 2007-08. The game at the Emirates ended 0:0 but in the second leg late goals from loyalty role models Fabregas and Adebayor sealed our big victory, one that should have been rated higher than the one over Real in 2005-06.

    Our last encounter was in CL Ro16 2011-12. We lost the first leg 4:0 in the last ever Arsenal game for Thierry Henry. In the second leg, we came close to magnificent come-back after Rosicky, Koscielny and Van Persie gave us a 3:0 lead. Then Van Persie missed the easiest sitter to make it 4:0 and Milan didn’t come so close to conceding until the end of the game.

    If we’ll play in our blue away kit at San Siro…

  • Ferg

    @Dom, I agree with your assessment of Ostersunds quality, offensively at least. Our offensive dysfunction was so appalling that it’s hard to say how good their defence was. The few times we managed to find our man, ahead of us, more than 3 times in succession, we made chances…… Giroud would have taken the ball home I think.
    IWOBI . Put a shift in tbf, but still makes me cry. And Xhaka made a difference, and it wasn’t by losing the ball.
    Not going to say anything negative. So I’d better stop.

    Not before Sunday.

  • Ferg

    @Josif.
    Thanks.
    So the plan is to go there and park the bus.
    Except we’ve lost the keys. And even if we find them, it s brakes have seized, and someone filled it with unleaded on the way to Munich.

  • Jimbo

    I hope they make this game (Milan) a category A that should keep away the plastic WOB..

  • jjgsol

    AW took a risk based on the fact that we were at home and 3 0 up.

    I think we all agree that in normal circumstances our B team has shown in their last few games, especially at Forest, that they are no match for the full first team of even a championship side.

    When playing individually in a 1st team context, I think most, if not all, of the players we saw last night would up their game and play well.

    However, putting them all together with only one or 2 first-team players, in this case, Wilshire and Bellerin, (indeed Wilshire looked out of sorts right from the start; perhaps he was unhappy at getting the short straw) it is too much to expect that they will gel into a team that can beat, albeit a minor, Swedish team, who play together every week and who are well-established and understand each other and know each other well.

    It did not help in that we have no real reserve striker, having sold Walcott and Giroud.

    Had it not been for the goal at the beginning of the 2nd half, I think we would have really been at risk of going out.

    We took the risk in order to protect our first-team players for the game on Sunday.

    It does not take a PhD to realise that what happened was likely to happen.

    Anyone who sat through that in the freezing cold might be entitled to be disgruntled but then, when one thinks about it, the above is correct and perhaps we had too much expectation.

    We are through to the next round, which is the minimum that we could have asked for we got, so, time to move on.

  • Goonermikey

    @arsenal_62

    I merely posed a whole range of questions to expose the absurdity of your proposition. One can only assume that the fact that your reply consisted merely of an insult rather than any rational attempt to justify your ‘hypothesis’ is a clear admission that you can’t. Indeed, you couldn’t even manage to spell my name correctly………..

    I’m happy to debate on the basis of evidence (or even individual opinions provided it is recognised as such) but if insults are all you’ve got, don’t bother as I’m not so small minded as to indulge in a dialogue on that basis.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    I agree with with Jigsol.

    It is a team game and AW wanted to rest most of our 1st team for Sunday. The team that was on the pitch didn’t play well as a team. The link up play going forward or back was not good. But, it was the team on the pitch…those 11… that didn’t play well together. As jigsol said, it was a risk taken to prioritise the League Cup over what was effectively a dead rubber.

    Of course, everybody knows the team didn’t play well. Let’s get over it and get on with the next match.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Arsenal poor performances at certain stage in last 10 seasons in all competions have become unacceptable to many Arsenal suppoerters to bear and as a result, the majority of the Gooners can no longer tolerate these poor performances. Hence, their crying louid by the day to have things reodered at the club to see if the club will make progress more that they’ve done in the last 5 seasons which saw them won the FA Cup 3 times in 4 season’s campaign.

    Why Arsenal didn’t beat Ostersunds FK last night at the Ems was because Le Boss has no reliable strikers to do the job for him. Le Boss keeps puting his faith on players like Welbeck and Iwobi who are not naturally gifted many goals scorers on a consistent basis but seldom goals scorers who but all profigate in front of goal for Arsenal. In fact, I was thinking Le Boss will bring on the Arsenal U23 regular goals scorer Nketiah for Welbeck late into the match in the 2nd half but he didn’t.

    The proven Arsenal quality kids of: Nelson, Nketiah, Willock and even Dragomir should no longer be ignored to the bench by Le Boss but play them in games to possibly get results for Arsenal with the latter, Dragomir promoted to the senior team. For, he has become a proven regular goals scorer like Nketiah for the Arsenal U23 squad which they can bring into the senior team squad.

    Maitland-Niles, Nelson, Nketiah, Willock and Dragomir are all Le Boss lastest successful Arsenal project as they’ve become proven quality for Arsenal at youth level which they can bring to the senior team level if Le Boss but his faith in them and start playing them regularly at senior team level including Iwobi to make them six in number with Nketiah and Dragomir being the natural goals getters in the nucleus of six as from next season campaign. If Le Boss reads this my comment, will he believe me?

    Meanwhile, to halt the descending in our season as we’ve missed out on the PL Title and the FA Cup Title this season but are still in the Europa League last 16. I have the belief in Arsenal that tells me that they will beat Man City on Sunday in the Carabao Cup final match at Wembley by whatever team selection Le Boss put out to play in the final. There is no doubt in my mind at all that Arsenal will not win the match. They will. Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal will at the 3rd attempts lift the Carabao Cup on Sunday at Wembley after beating Pep Guardiola’s Man City team in the final.

  • Gord

    I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a light work. I’ve seen shovels leaning up against lights, and a pile of dirt that obviously needs moving, and yet I have never seen the light start moving the shovel to distribute the dirt. I’ve seen lights overlooking lawns in need of mowing, and not once have I seen a light using a lawn mower to mow the lawn. Lights just do not work.

    Sort of like this aaa lot.

  • Ferg

    As opposed to Arsenal making light work of Ostersunds .

  • Mark Mywurdz

    Dr McGraw,
    There have been more than a few “constants” over the last 10 years. Negativity is certainly one, but that doesn’t explain why we seem to have saved our worst performance away from the Emirates, while our home form has been more or less ok. If our fan base is so toxic, then surely it would be the other way around? A fair assumption?
    As I said, there have been many, many other constants during the last 10 years. The management structure for one. The ownership for another. The manager himself, of course. The list is endless. None of these, neither you nor your colleagues would ever dream of questioning, let alone changing. Why is that? Surely the question must occur to you from time to time. Are you not allowed to voice that, or even suggest it? Is there a party line you have to toe?
    The nett result is that your ‘analysis’ becomes completely worthless. You just selectively gather evidence to confirm your entrenched view.
    You say in the piece that things need to “change”, but at the same time defeat your own argument.

  • Mark I am most sorry that you have not been able to follow the arguments that myself, Billy and others have tried to put forward. But let’s just acknowledge that we’re not talking the same language.
    To say, of the various items you list, “neither you nor your colleagues would ever dream of questioning, let alone changing.” is just so far from reality that there appears to be no common language we can use.

  • jet

    Tony

    All due respect, are you on the Arsenal pay roll?

    Any criticism or negative is being twisted.

    The continued spin on all footballing matters concerning our club, is there no fault on the regime, or just the fault of concerned fans?

  • Blacksheep

    I braved the game with Tony last night and he was far from happy or blind to the team’s weaknesses. In fact I think I even discerned a muted critique of the manager as we walked back to Finsbury Park. Tony also remembers (much better than me) the ‘long sleep’ of trophyless season after season before we won the Fairs Cup in 1970 and then the double in ’71.

    So he has great perspective (something sadly lacking in this age of social media and the soundbite). He also goes to virtually every home game and has an excellent view of this team and how they play (or don’t!) His perspective is very different to most of the blogettas out there who fall into line behind the same old same old ‘let’s kick the Arse(nal)’ rhetoric. That’s the easy line to be honest, as is the simplistic solution (bin Wenger, get a better, a new, any other, coach).

    This is a free blog (well free to you that reads it – it costs Tony to put it up each day) you don’t have to read it and you certainly don’t have to post abuse or snide comments to him or anyone else.
    You can start your blog and get your own readers if you don’t like what he writes.
    And no, he is not on the Arsenal payroll.

  • Pat

    Well said, Blacksheep.

  • Va Cong

    Superb Blacksheep I wonder how you cope Tony not as much as wenger copes but getting there!

  • Ray

    Supporting your team doesn’t mean it escapes from critique. Granted most Arsenal “fans” expectations are totally unrealistic. However the performance against Osterstunds was appalling and can’t be labelled as anything other than that for a club of Arsenal’s calibre. This isn’t just a bad day at the office. A great club like ours shouldn’t even be entertaining the thought of losing at home. What is even more worrying is that the team that lost wasn’t just another youth side. Somewhere somehow the manager’s message to his players seems to be lost in translation. We should have Been smashing the life out of a team like that to send out a statement of intent rather than “let’s TRY to win this boys”. The buck stops with the manager in that one. Teams which play must have Motivation to win must be constant regardless of the team we play. That’s what being professional is all about. Hopefully it will be a wake up call just before we smash city and bring back another trophy!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Thank you , Blacksheep , well put . Disappointing as it was , still it was after all a dead rubber .

    While it would have been great if our youngsters won or drew , but with two big coming up against Man City , there was always the risk that it may backfire by putting out an Arsenal 2 side.

    I see many are already feeling the loss of and are rather nostalgic about our former established reserve strikers , Walcott and OG ! What has it been , a month ?

    Up the Gunners !

  • Mike T

    Just so as you know the reason they put signs up saying the lights aren’t working is quite simply that without such signs individuals have a tendency to phone the Highways Agency and advise them the lights aren’t working. The reason the lights aren’t working can be for a variety of reasons from cost saving, to them be broken. From a circuit ( loop issue) to an up to date needs assessment the sign is merely advising that the powers that be are aware.Have you ever thought that some overthink the matter?
    Not all street signs are illuminated the expectation I guess that at night drivers have their head lights on so that would enable the sign to be read
    As for asking why my understanding which comes from the evolution of lean processing is that you don’t just stop asking why after two attempts.

  • Blacksheep I missed you!

    I love the negativity, but I feed off of that sh*t!

  • Oldham Gooner

    Blacksheep thank you, I was ready to hurl a load of vitriolic abuse at a bunch of pillocks disguised as Arsenal fans. Who falls in love with a woman then calls her a turd and compares her to other women ‘with the right curves’??? Anyway, constructive criticism can be positive, although unfortunately people tend to mistake their negativity as positive critique.

    Keep up the faith, every trophy is a treasure for our team, I occassionally get jealous over players at other clubs, but everything Arsenal is, was, and will be is something I love. One way to look at defeat is the foundation for a future victory – ergo, COYG! You’ll always be the winners for me.

  • Dexter

    That was pretty shocking defending. We were matching them and really didn’t need to gift City a goal.

  • Dexter

    Bloody media drugging our players before the big game…

    That’s the only explanation for how utterly terrible and symbolic they’ve been today.

  • Dexter

    *shambolic