The centre half problem and the need for fan fury.

By Tony Attwood

We all like to be talked about and of course being talked about is what spectator sports thrive on.  If people are not talking about football then the level of interest declines, and the number of people attending matches declines.  So people talk less and round and around we go.

As a result of this reality clubs have a vested interest in all this chatter, chatter, chatter, but there are signs that even some of the clubs are getting a bit fed up with the way the media is manipulating the chatter.

The insanity of the transfer rumours of players coming to the club is one thing – we all know most won’t happen and many can’t happen because of the “25” and “Home Grown” regulations, but that’s ok it seems.  The rumours can be made up and make players excited no matter the reality.

But talking up players who are leaving because they are fed up, or should leave because they are useless is less helpful to clubs, especially when, as with Arsenal, every single senior player is declared hopeless before the season begins, as happened to Arsenal during the summer.

All this has been bad enough for some time – but it was made worse (as I tried to point out the other day) by the way the newspapers such as the Telegraph encouraged Stoke fans to get ever more frenzied against Arsenal, mostly through claiming that the booing of Ramsey was ok, that Shawcross “wasn’t that kind of player” and that their manager was actually quite a decent bloke.

Of course not every paper will descend to the depths of the Telegraph, but there are clear signs that others are getting desperate in their attempt to find negative knocking stories.   Take for example

Manchester United are crumbling, so why the lack of fan fury?”

from Jonathan Wilson in the Guardian.   He wants, it seems, “fan fury”.   And why is this?  “A drip, drip of low-grade antagonistic mediocrity under José Mourinho is slowly eroding everything United have been.”   Presumably meaning a club with a manager who could and indeed would bully referees.

I am not quite sure how to define “antagonistic mediocrity” but either way, when has “fan fury” ever helped make anything better?  

The Telegraph has gone on a different journey today, saying that Arsenal’s failure yesterday (I thought we drew but it seems like it was a failure from the way they write) was caused by the fact that Xhaka was not playing.  Immediately out come the graphics showing that he does more passes than anyone else in the PL which I think most of us knew, but many refused to believe.

Interestingly, one reason for this draw being called failure is because “Manchester United away does not fall into that category just now,” – that category being “‘Big Six’ away assignments.”   Which surely raises the question, who is in the Big Six then?

Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham Hots, Chelsea, Arsenal and…   Well looking at the league table that now seems to include Everton.  I am sure Merseyside will be happy about that.

As for Arsenal, what we do have is a centre back problem with Holding now being out injured.  The options we have are

Mavropanos: he’s been out for a long while, and we have only seen him briefly.  Seems unlikely

Monreal: his return has been put back week after week, but if he is fit we know he can play in the centre of defence.

Maitland-Niles: he seems to be able to play anywhere

Elneny: we have seen him play at the centre of defence and I thought he did well in that position although it seems many commentators have a real downer on him.

Koscielny: played 85 minutes of the under 21 game in the Checkatrade Trophy, but may need another under 23 match before really being ready to return.   Interestingly some bloggettas have been calling for him to released from the club as he is no good at all.  Ah well.

Elsewhere on the pitch within a week of telling us how awful he is, Mkhitaryan is now apparently beloved of the five or six twitter users who the websites always quote to tell us what is going on vis a vis Arsenal players.   

So Xhaka has been rehabilitated, and if he can be retrieved then apparently so can Mkhitaryan.   Mind you, anything less than a wholesale win over Huddersfield will result in this being a fullblown Arsenal crisis.

It was ever thus.


10 Replies to “The centre half problem and the need for fan fury.”

  1. I would think that Kos will probably be OK to play in the Europa League match on Thursday, Saturday is probably one match too soon. It is possible that Pleguezuelo may be called up to the team for Sat and certainly for next Thursday when Zech Medley could also be called up to the squad as defensive cover.

  2. Of course a reversion to a back four with two centre backs protected by two relatively defensive central midfielders would solve the problem of defensive availability at least for the next couple of games. The fact that both these games are at home against teams that will probably ‘sit back’ will make that decision even easier to make. A promotion or two from the reserves for the Europa League dead rubber is also most likely. By that time Kos will be back and maybe Monreal too.
    I wouldn’t want to underplay the loss of Holding who has been just about our most consistent defender this season but we do have strength in depth.
    Just to remind everyone who was sitting alongside The Special One last night. Carrick learned how to play against Arsenal under Ferguson and my bet is that he had significant influence over team selection and tactics last night.

  3. Twitter, who gives a fig what a few airheads post on bloody Twitter, these ‘newspaper websites’ – it’s all about the ads, the whole thing is just boring…

  4. OT: PGMO “accuracy”

    96% accuracy, eh?

    There were 25 treatments needed on Game Day 15, with 10 of those requiring the substitution of a player. There are at least 2 of those substitutions that come from long term injuries to players (Holding and Gomez).

    How many cards were issued from those inflictions of treatment? NONE!

    Of the 10 substitutions we have 2 incidents that should have been cards (serious injury resulted). Of the 8 left, let’s guess than half should have been a card as well. Just from that, PGMO officials made _at least_ 6 errors on Game Day 15.

  5. OT: Images for Untold Arsenal

    I am going through my data for this year using R (and packages for R). The particular package I am playing with at the moment is “plotly”, which is available outside of R as well (for example: you could call it from Python or Javascript).

    In using it, I do something in a command line session, and it put the result in a web browser. In the web browser, I believe the image is actually SVG and it is probably HTML-5 with CSS.

    I may or may not get it “looking nice”. But, in the browser if I move the mouse over a data point, I get a little “balloon” which pops up to tell me more about the data point in question.

    If I generate a PNG (JPEG, GIF, …) they won’t do that.

    If I generate a SVG, I can edit the image in Inkscape (or emacs) and make it look better yet.

    As far as I know, Microsoft browsers are kind of brain dead with respect to SVG.

    Would you like a SVG image (or 3), or do you want PNG? Size recommendations?

  6. Nitram
    Tks again for putting the facts straight but to be fair with Klopp he did take Liverpool to the CL final which should be acknowledged as an achievement. Should give credit where it is due.

    However I do completely agree with your post regarding the medias anti Arsenal and Anti Wenger agenda that they never acknowledged Wenger’s achievements over his 20 years Reign at Arsenal. Wenger kept us in the CL for 20 Years on limited spending and these idiots Mock Wenger for his works.

    I was wondering if Arsenal finish in top 4 this year will they celebrate? As finishing in top4 is not what these idiots wanted over the years.

    Let’s see when they start the Emery out campaign.

  7. While I always been a staunch Arsene Wenger/Arsenal supporter through all the ‘troubled years’, yet I still maintain that most of those who were most vocal against him and the club , were NOT Arsenal fans.

    Rather they were adolescent (true age and mental age wise)agent provocateurs who may or may not been fully aware of their actions and subsequent repercussions.

    I would loved to be proved wrong in my assumptions, and invite those involved to state their cases, and intentions.

    Yes , you – who paid for the banners , posters and plane rentals. We have already heard personally from the guy who had handed out those ‘AW OUT !’ posters with his daughter on these pages.

    So what about the rest . I would even love to hear from the Black Scarve Movement (one of whom had even threatened me personally!); as well as those involved in issuing Black Bin Bags .

    And whatever happened to those who burned their season tickets ? How are you guys doing ? Well, now that you have been successful in ousting AW from the club.

    Has you life been improved immensely ?

    Please do write in .

  8. In the meantime , here is a nice article titled, -LIFE.

    1. A guy met one of his classmates several years after school and he could not believe his eyes; his friend was driving one of the latest stylish Mercedes Benz cars. He returned home feeling awful and very disappointed with himself. He thought he was a failure. What he did not know was that his friend was a driver and had been sent on a mission with his boss’s car!

    2. Rosemary always harassed her husband for not being romantic. She accused him of not coming down to open the car door for her as her friend Jane’s husband did when he dropped her off at work. What Rosemary did not know was that Jane’s husband’s car had a broken door that could only be opened from the outside!

    3. Sampson’s wife went to visit one of her long-time friends and was very disturbed to see her friend’s three adorable children having fun. Her problem was that she had only one child and had struggled to conceive for the last five years. What she did not know was that one of those children who was her friend’s biological child had sickle cell disease and had only one year to live; the other two are adopted!

    4. Life does not have a universal measuring tool; so create your own and use it. Watching people and comparing yourself to them will not make you better but bitter. If you know the kind of load that the chameleon carries, you would not ask why he takes those careful strides. So, enjoy what you have and be grateful to God for that. Send to everyone on your list to learn from the mistakes of others!

    All that glitters is not gold, live and be happy with what you have, everyone goes through one thing or the other,
    Be blessed.

  9. At an Oxford men’s only English Language competition , 200 men were participating .
    The challenge was to express …..calmness, peacefulness and happiness in a single sentence .
    The person who won wrote : “My wife is sleeping.”

    He received a standing ovation from all the judges , and the audience .

    One of the judges stood up , ran over to him and hugged him with tears in his eyes and exclaimed , “You are a genius !”

    Was he right ?
    Try to repeat this joke to the womenfolk at home , or at work .
    Will they concur with the judge above ?

  10. Rosicky@Arsenal

    I think both those managers are very good managers.

    Although it might not seem like it I wasn’t really having a go at them but rather at the way they are percieved by the media, and certain Arsenal fans that keep turning up here like bad pennies, to be succesful, or ‘the future’ as one guy put it, and Wenger is portrayed as complete and utter shite, and all this despite their respective recent track records as reproduced above.

    Personally, given the limited budget he works on, I believe that over all Pochachino has done a very good job at Spurs, but never the less the bottom line is he has won nothing, and personally there are aspects of Spurs I don’t like at all.

    Their stye I find very dull and there propensity to dive and a kick players off the park I find rather irksome, but given the enthusiastic encouragement they get from both the media and referees alike on both these aspects it’s hardly surprising they continue with it.

    As for Klopp, I like his enthusiasm and the rather gung-ho attitude his teams often employ. At their best they remind me of Wengers Arsenal back at it’s peak. But he has spent at lot and despite reaching a few finals, including as you say a CL final, he still hasn’t won anything for quite a while, a could quite feasably be called a ‘serial loser’. His teams routinely bottle it.

    I think our manager will be, and possibly already is better than boith of them and I see him being a great success at our club. Will he match or even surpass Wenger ?

    Only time will tell.

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