Atletico Madrid v Arsenal: strange tales amidst the negatives

By Bulldog Drummond

And so the negativity and the put downs continue as the media seem to be going on an all out binge to tell anyone who will listen that Arsenal are in terminal decline:

“A year long absence can happen to all the giants but a second season would begin to look like a trend and could conceivably have a direct impact not just on the players who Arsenal might attract but also the identity of the next manager. Would the likes of Max Allegri or Luis Enrique, who have respectively managed in Champions League finals for Juventus and Barcelona, really be drawn to a season in the Europa League?”

So questions the Telegraph, perhaps forgetting that in a four year spell Manchester United from 2014 to 2017 ended the seasons 7th, 4th, 5th and 6th, in one season not playing in Europe at all, and in another going into the Champs league, getting knocked out in the group stage into the Europa league and then going out in the Round of 16.

Or from 2010 to 2017 Liverpool were 7th, 6th, 8th, 7th, 2nd, 6th, 8th, 4th, and won the league cup.

My point is that the bigger teams go through lean times.  Tottenham’s lean spell seems to have lasted a little longer than others, but no club goes on and on at the top.  Arsenal have achieved the second longest run in the Champions League in the entire history of the competition, and now are indeed having a leaner couple of years but what is it, in the minds of these scribblers, that makes Arsenal’s case so different from those other clubs?  Oh yes, of course, it’s Arsenal.

Back in reality, Simeone won’t be directing traffic from the side of the pitch tonight but he had the sort of grace long ago abandoned by commentators in this country in pointing out that Mesut Ozil is the genius within the team who links the defence and the midfield and then moves forward.  He said, “Maybe they will have more anxiety as they need to score – we need the stadium to explode with passion and positive energy. We will try to be very blunt, direct and live every second to the maximum intensity – that is what we are about.”

Many of the comparisons with the past are negative such as the fact that we have not won in the last six visits to Spain – the last being that wonderful victory over Real Madrid in the Champions League.  But on the other hand on the two occasions we have drawn the first leg of a European semi-final, we’ve gone through to the final.

If we get there it will be our sixth major Euro final and the third under Mr Wenger.   And we do have Alexandre Lacazette who in his last 13 Europa League starts has scored 11 and assisted in two goals.   Plus we had 28 shots in game last week against this team.  Not a record but fairly close.

And here’s a final funny snippet that turned up.   If we do go through it will be the first time two English sides have made the final of two major Euro competitions since 2005/6.   And I wonder if, without looking it up you know both of them.

One of course was Arsenal in the Champs League but the other?

Middlesbrough in the Uefa Cup.

Where are they now?



90 Replies to “Atletico Madrid v Arsenal: strange tales amidst the negatives”

  1. Hi Bulldog … it would be the 7th … 1970, 1980, 1994, 1995, 2000 and 2006, (not sure which of those you blanked from your memory, there are some deserving candidates !!!) … here’s hoping …

  2. Well well…. let’s just analyse the first phrase coming from those morons :

    “A year long absence can happen to all the giants but a second season would begin to look like a trend”

    How long was Pool!! out of the CL places in the past 10 years…

    They won’t stop, the more so that now they now that they are ‘actors’ : they have an effect on results in the boardroom, in the stands, on the field…

  3. Looks like we bought a CB, Turkish, hos former club let bit slip, involved due to development compensation.

    Oh yeah, win Europa in 13 days, sign more.

    May he Rest In Peace, and she wore a yellow!

  4. Let’s ignore the negative write-ups the scribblers are writing about Arsenal for the time being and concentrate on how Arsenal will beat Atletico Madrid tonight at Vincente Calderon to knock them out of this season’s ELC competition to qualify for the final match to win the Cup.

    Let us not castigate Liverpool and Man Utd too much. For, speaking from the point of success in European football competitions, both clubs have had numerous successes in Europe as Liverpool have won the old version of the Champions League, the European Cup on 6 occasions as Champions of the English first division I suppose. And are now attempting to win the new version called the Champions League this season having reached the final yesterday night by knocking out AS Roma in the semi-final match. I wish them success in the final match over Real Madrid.

    Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United did wiin the Champions League twice and reached the final once at Wembley. But Lionel Messi’s Barcelona denied him a 3rd win before his retirement as Man Utd manager.

    So what are we talking about here condemning the 2 clubs who have tasted success in Europe’s topmost competition many times as against our dear Arsenal who have not had a single success in European competitions under Le Boss as manage except when Arsenal reached the UCL final in 2006 but lost.

    This lack of success in European football competitions by Arsenal is making tonight’s 2nd leg semifinal match away to Atletico Madrid all important match for the Gunners to execute successfully for Arsenal this season. As knocking out Atletico tonight to reach the final and win the Cup will go a long way to define Arsenal season as relatively successful as us will not only win a big Title this season but also have the added advantage to play in the CL next season as we all know.

    My tonight Arsenal 4-2-3-1 starts and 7 on the bench Gunners for Atletico.

    —-Bellerin Koscielny Mustafi Monreal—-

    Chambers Holding Maitland Nelson Willock Iwobi Nketiah.

  5. Hallo 13.

    Cheer for me too. I’ve got some errands to run. Spring has arrived, and farming coming first.

  6. Of-fucking-course we lose a player before it’s even been 10 minutes.

  7. Hahhahahaha

    Wilshere gets a yellow….this guy let’s them manhandle us…and then cards us

  8. Naive defending yet again. With Koz off we lost the only leader we have on the pitch.
    COYG. We can still do this!!!

  9. Sorry but what was Bellerin doing we’re defending and he’s completely wrong side. Naive

  10. We looked like the home side
    But when you turn off for just one second . Costa shit happens
    Score one its all square
    Truly believe we have a good chance of winning this

  11. Of course Bellerin is to blame, but I actually would blame Xhaka more. How on earth can a holding midfielder leave that much space which gives them a easy pass. Once again, his total lack of defensive awareness cost us a lot, if he is correctly positioned in the axis between the passer and Costa, then never this goal happens…

  12. The goal hasn’t changed much, we needed a goal before the game. Just have to wonder what the hell Bould does at the club, think it’s safe to say if it wasn’t for schoolboy defensive mistakes we’d be in the top 3 at the very least!

  13. Never been a big fan of Chambers but I have to say lately given the choice between him and Mustafi it’s Chambers all the way!

  14. We need Miki on and take Wiltshire off. Jack is showing why he’s not worth a big contract – prone to injuries, bundled off the ball too easily and a bit of a temper.

  15. One thing I wont miss about Wenger is the 67 minute BS before making a tactical substitution.

  16. As much as I love Wenger, I can’t wait for the new manager to come in and hopefully sort this awful defence out.

  17. Have to agree, the philosophy of a good defence is a great offence is tired and only works if you actually have a front-line that free-scores. Not since Henry & Bergkamp have we seen that! Not surprising that Wenger’s best years were on the back of THE back four of the PL.

  18. Didn’t even make their keeper work, wasteful same old Arsenal, just a poor season. END of SEASON!!!!

  19. If you dont believe, you have no chance!

    It was a semi final… This is not my Arsenal

  20. It’s not just the defence.. Liverpool let in 6 and went through to the final.

  21. They tried but alas after the draw at home it was always going to be an almighty uphill battle

  22. “this awful defense” that conceded only 2 goals against one the best european team, including one gifted by the referee…

    I wonder how you would call Liverpool defense…

  23. Wiltshire, Wellbeck are not big players!!! What is the point of all that possession with only one shot at target. Arsene Wengers philosophy is tired.

  24. After Burnley can we just end the season this weekend? Before Tony goes on with some waffle of ancient history that is totally irrelevant on todays game can I just point out that this is the worst season in over 20 years!

  25. Playing the dangerous passes in the back, but safe passea upfront….this is what we are doing wrong…our mentality.

    Yellow cards, not for fouls, but for fights, foul someone instead on the counter.

    And no more outlets from the back without Giroud.
    Our bench not that good, where are all our players?

  26. So that’s it, then.

    Awful injury for Kos, I’m so gutted for him. It was his last chance to play World Cup and probably to play a European final. Who knows when and if he’ll be back.

    As for players tonight, they were outplayed by a better TEAM and by players that are better coached. Bellerin can make sarcastic jokes about his crossing as much as he wants but he can’t hit a barn door with his crosses. Same goes for Nacho.

    We missed the chance in the first leg. Having an extra player for 80 minutes and failing to get any advantage of it is unacceptable.

    On a positive note, Chambers was excellent tonight.

  27. Vince – Liverpool can score goals at will so having a leaky defence really doesn’t matter – Wenger’s philosophy I might add!

  28. To me that game summed up our season , just short in too many positions , did we have a chance in the game where should have scored ? There keeper made one save and not sure it was going in our season has fizzled out

  29. Vince

    Yes awful, accept it, we played against 10 minus the manager scoring 1.

  30. Just a reminder om the home game, if that foul was called, and their goal didmt stand, we would be 1 1 now.

    Just saying!

  31. Think this could be Liverpool’s 3rd CL cup should they win since Wenger took over at Arsenal? Seriously guys not since George Graham have we won a European cup. Our defence (loose term I know) has been all but non-existent since 2006 which is probably why we have not really achieved much since.

  32. Like I said yesterday, 3 of the 7 goals scored by Liverpool were gifted by the referees with missed foul and offside…

    Furthermore, I doubt they would have scored a lot of goals against the Atletico defense that played with 9 or 10 man in their half and are allowed to get always with everything.

    I mean just watch Gabi deliberately kicking Lacazette leg with a obvious intention to hurt him. That alone could justify a red card, like a elbow in the face it was a deliberate use of excessive force, and yet not a yellow. 30 seconds later, Wilshere got one for a shove in the back

  33. Yassine
    it wasn’t a foul, seen replays on YouTube!
    How many times have we been wasteful!

    The only good news, their will be a change.

  34. At home against 10 men for 80 minutes without a manager and the best we can muster is a 1-1 draw highlights our problems.

  35. What is left for Le Boss now to do at Arsenal after overseen Arsenal season come to an abject end at Atletico Madrid tonight? To manage Arsenal in their last 3 remaining games left to play this season in the PL? Ah! No! Let him respect himself and hand over to Steve Bould, his assistant to manage the Gunners in the last 3 games left for them to play this season. To keep hanging on at Arsenal by Le Boss after this Atletico lose tonight will not earn him any acolades but likely get more abuses from the anti-Wenger Arsenal supporters in the next Arsenal home match at the Ems.

  36. And i think since that red card, we were not given any foul, yellow cards were not raised to atletico, over both matches.
    Time wasting, no yellow, fouls , no yellow except for that counter which might have been a big chance. And go on.

    Are we that good, no.
    Does that make it fair to do this to us, no as well.

  37. Compared to all the “fouls” that Atletico were gifted during those 180 minutes, I can’t see how anyone could argue it wasn’t a foul against Welbeck….

    Once again, and totally independently of how good or bad Arsenal played, we saw a totally partial refereeing performance (except the first 10 minutes of the first leg), that did not give equal chance to both teams. And once again, I will repeat myself, it would make a uphill battle for any team

  38. Yassin

    What ever makes you happy, I’m praying we get a competitive manager.

    If you feel the ref was so bad last week,then get a time machine to last Thursday.

  39. Jet,
    Oh we will dont worry, an amazing manager, who will be destroyed by the PGMOl cheating, media bias, and our own fans booing.
    And guess what, we will be asking for another one again.

  40. Yassin

    Not so soon, their is a lot that needs to done, and many changes, the whole back staff, Recruiting, director of football has been changed and implemented.

  41. You can blame the refereeing all you want but the facts speak for themselves: Schoolboy defending = no success!

  42. I have to say I’m not happy with streamers criticising fans who pay good money to go to games venting their frustrations. Shame on you guys, you know who you are!

  43. Vince – Considering both of those goals were a direct result of completely unnecessary and amateurish mistakes, that’s hardly a good argument to say otherwise. Considering the amount of times we see Mustafi go recklessly flying in and leaving a clear run for the striker through to goal, considering the amount of times we simply pass the ball to the opposition in extremely dangerous positions, considering we have conceded more than any other team due to individual errors, considering the amount of times we see gaping holes in our defence being expolited, considering the easiest way to score against us is hoof the ball up the pitch and run at our defence, considering the amount of critical mistakes that we see Koscielny make, yeah, considering all of that I would say our defence is very poor.

    You can’t honestly tell me that you feel at ease whenever our defence is required to be in action.

    I genuinely have no idea why you’re bringing Liverpools defence into it, unless you dreamt me praising it at some point. Seems like just an attempt to deflect the argument to me.

  44. When do you will realize that 90% of what you call “schoolboy defending” is the direct consequence of the referring bias. Two quick exemples

    – When the opponents can get away with clear fouls to dispossess us in midfield, the referee gifted them counter-attack opportunities and put the Arsenal defense in a vulnerable spot. Exactly what happened with their goal in the first leg

    – When the referee doesn’t allow the same level of intensity from both teams, it becomes harder for defenders to fully engage themselves in duels, when they know they will get a card at any occasion. For exemple, tonight on a counter-attack from Costa, Wilshere was running alongside him, but never tried to make a challenge. Why? Because he was already on a yellow (for a foul that was nowhere close to deserving a card…)

    Put away the biased refereeing, you will put away most of the defensive “errors”.Actually, if I have time in the next weeks, I will review all goals conceded by Arsenal this season (at least in the PL). I’m 100% convinced that all least 25% of those goals came directly from referring mistakes.

  45. Press – ‘Team let Arsene down!’ FFS they let the fans down the only ones who matter! Arsene’s departure was a romance novel, lets get back to what really matters eh?

  46. Sick and tired of every game we lose is because of the refereeing (funny West Ham, Everton, Stoke, Newcastle…. all make the same claim – go check their supporters blogs) . Let’s grow a pair and look forward to the future under new management!

  47. Vince,
    -Add that the number of players commited forward by the other team can be increased if they can stop any attack with a no yellow foul.
    -Add as well, our defenders cannot do the hugs and shirt pulling allowed by others, making the attacker life much easier.

  48. Correct me if I’m wrong but if Chelsea fail to win the FA cup and we lose to Burnley this weekend we will not be in Europe next season?

  49. Like I said last week (you can check), 3 factors

    – The referee that for 80 minutes tried to compensate the correct sending off, and allowed Atletico to get away with everything
    – An world class performance from Oblak
    – The absence of Elneny and his passes between the lines that were missed a lot. When Xhaka and Wilshere basically never managed to break the first Atletico line, even against 10 men.

    Only one of those factors is due to Arsenal, and actually it came from an injury after a challenge from Noble what wasn’t even called as a foul.

    I could also add that Griezmann goal, even without mentioning the foul, is the most lucky you will see with two favorable deflection and a slip

  50. I dont know 5th gen gooner, but Burnley played an 36 games while we played 35. Liecester game i guess.

  51. Vince

    Rocchi was awful tonight but he didn’t cross the ball poorly million times in a way Bellerin and Monreal did. He didn’t fail to close Griezmann before the pass for Costa (Xhaka did). He didn’t let Costa going behind his back – Bellerin did. Rocchi wasn’t thrown to the ground with a feint – Mustafi was.

    This was an awful season. Every time players had to show character and told they would, they would simply disappoint. One exception might be the game v Milan away when we played really well. Our record in the league v clubs above us – W1D3L6, GD 10-21 – proves that.

    Sadly, Arsene signed his own premature exit on a day he was convinced by someone that Mustafi and Xhaka would make a great defensive spine. A new manager will need all support, luck and patience to get rid of players who are not good enough to play for Arsenal and to find those who want to come to a non-CL club and are good enough to improve us.

  52. @Josif

    You do realize that you are actually kind of proving my point. Yes Arsenal are not fault-free, I never said it, and I don’t think anyone said or even thought it. And yet despite our mistakes, our lack of character, our not-good-enough players, the difference over 180 minutes was only a goal. We can only imagine what would have happened if Arsenal didn’t have to face a biased referring 170 of those minutes…

  53. The same refs that gave them 2red cards against none for you? You sir, are a legend of excuses

  54. And even you take out the referring factor, the bigger contributor to Atletico qualification is their keeper. That tells a lot

  55. So are you pretending that the two red cards (I supposed Simeone is the second) were not justified? Funny, I haven’t seen a single person contesting it. And guess what, they happened in the only 10 minutes that the referring was correct.
    Now on the other hand if you have an explanation on why Gabi or Costa (who actually received two yellows…) were not send off tonight, I’m listening…

  56. And arsenal were banned from using a goalkeeper??? Your excuses are like “God’s mercies”. They are new every minute

  57. Did I contest it? You don’t contest them either, but you contest the remaining 170minutes, because the ref didn’t help you score a goal?


  59. “you contest the remaining 170minutes, because the ref didn’t help you score a goal”. I don’t remember to have ever said that the referees jobs was to help to score a goal. I thought it was to apply the laws of the games, and to ensure an equal playing field for both teams.

    If you think that was the case during those 170 minutes, then I strongly advise you to stop watching football, because you clearly don’t have a clue. But that isn’t really surprising as every single post from you is lacking from anything looking merely close to an argument, and sounds more like a drunk person on a bar.

    Hard to have a debate when only one side is trying to debate…

  60. Quick questions

    – Gabi deliberately kicking Lacazette leg with absolutely no intention to play the ball? Yellow card offense or not?
    – Gabi stopping a very promising Welbeck counter-attack? Yellow card offense or not?
    – Costa delaying the restart of the game by throwing the ball away on an Arsenal free kick? Yellow card offense or not?
    – Then afterwards Costa trying to start a fight with Mustafi? Yellow card offense or not?

    I think at least 90% of football fans (not just Arsenal fans) will answer yes to all 4 questions…

  61. “– Then afterwards Costa trying to start a fight with Mustafi? Yellow card offense or not?”

    I hate Costa with all hate one can have but it was Mustafi who pushed Costa first.

    “You do realize that you are actually kind of proving my point. Yes Arsenal are not fault-free, I never said it, and I don’t think anyone said or even thought it. And yet despite our mistakes, our lack of character, our not-good-enough players, the difference over 180 minutes was only a goal. We can only imagine what would have happened if Arsenal didn’t have to face a biased referring 170 of those minutes…”

    Only a goal? Well, it’s a thing with Atletico. They are the Spanish reincarnation of Graham’s Arsenal enriched with class of Griezmann which means they usually win a game/tie by a single goal. That’s what they did to Sporting (except Sporting created more clear-cut chances than our playmakers could) – a 2-0 victory at home, a 1-0 defeat away. Also, Atletico were much closer to their second goal last night than we ever were to equalize. Had it not been for fantastic Chambers’ blocks and Ospina’s superb save of Torres’ shot, we could have conceded at least one more last night. On the other side of the pitch, Oblak really had to make one save – Xhaka’s long shot.

    Biased refereeing? Yes, the referee was poor – too much talking with players instead of waving yellow cards suited Atletico more than us – but no big calls in either tie went Atletico way. Even last night, Chambers caught Griezmann with an elbow and cut his head with it – firstly, Rocchi made a serious mistake there by not ordering Griezmann to leave the pitch but he could have also punished Chambers for that elbow. (If you think I’m wrong, just imagine your reaction if, say, Gimenez had done the same to Welbeck.)

    “And even you take out the referring factor, the bigger contributor to Atletico qualification is their keeper. That tells a lot.”

    In the first leg – yes. Oblak really gave a world-class performance. Last night, however, he was protected by both his team-mates and our own players.

    Then again, a goalkeeper is the part of the team and of course a goalkeeper is a contributor to either success or failure. Did you feel our 2005-06 CL campaign was less impressive because Lehmann’s heroic saves against Real Madrid and Villarreal (especially Villarreal away when we parked the bus for 90 minutes) were big part of it? Or when Bayern could have demolished as Emirates but thanks to Čech, it ended 2-0 for us in 2015-16?

    Oblak did what a world-class goalkeeper does. Godin did what a world-class central defender does. Griezmann did in both legs what a world-class attacker does. That’s why Atletico are in the final and we will play a Thursday football with a new manager next season.

  62. You’re trying to debate? Really? Looks more like you’re clutching at straws using the old and tired ref excuses

  63. I shouldn’t, but let me humor you with a reply
    1. How do you know Gabi deliberately kicked him? Are you in his thoughts? Its the refs job to judge contact, he did and his verdict was a non-cardworthy foul, you don’t like it, go become a ref
    2. Same goes for point 2.
    3. Costa delaying fast restart. Happens every time, not worth even discussing. You don’t like it don’t do it
    4. Costa starting a fight with mustafi? Both carded, for minor handbags, u don’t like it? Again, go become a ref and ref the way you want
    5. You mean 99% will just laugh at you and call you a sore loser?

  64. Apart from your calling the ref poor, everything you say is spot on. Add to that arsenals heroic 2005 fa cup win against man utd, is that any less important because man utd played us off the park?

  65. The game was well over when I got back. And to see sooooooooo much negative comments during the game (I couldn’t be bothered to read all the crap after the game was finished), I can’t see Arsenal as ever having _SUPPORTERS_ in the future. Mostly a bunch of complainers.


  66. The trolls are back!!!!!! AW doesn’t have to put up with their complaining, ever again. No perspective no context whatsoever but to blame AFC players. Even a regular poster here joins the bandwagon of grouchy ‘supporters’ to add a sentiment laden comment.

  67. Lol.He’s crossed over to the dark side. I don’t know why its so painful for some to hear other people’s thoughts. It has to be a conspiracy, a scheme, well orchestrated by the enemies, aimed at total annihilation of the arsenal, all working for the anti-arsenal Darth Vader

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