Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Tactics and stats at Blackburn

By Walter Broeckx

A tactical and statistical view on the Blackburn game.

As a Dutch speaking person I have had the pleasure many times to listen to Johan Cruijff when he was talking about football and tactics at half time or at the end of a game. It is not that one has to agree with all he says but when a world class player of his calibre and also a world class trainer who has been managing successful at Barcelona for many years is talking it is always interesting to listen.

So once Cruijff said that the most important thing to not concede a goal is to keep the ball out of reach of the opposing team. You can do this by keeping the ball and so the other team cannot have the ball and cannot score.  This is the way that Arsenal is doing it.  But to do this you need players with some skill and technical ability.  Like we have. You need to train your players to do this. Like we do. You must have a manager who believes in bringing something for the people who pay a lot of money to see the games. Like we do.

Now Blackburn has a manager who doesn’t believe in that fancy playing stuff. And we can have a laugh with his approach but in fact he is just doing what Cruijff has said. How can you prevent Arsenal scoring a lot of goals? You just use some tactics like they do.

You have the towel tactic. Which is copied from Stoke but I think Allardyce isn’t going to claim it as his invention. By using the towel tactic he can take away some 15 minutes from the clock. So we can introduce the first statistic: Towel possession: 17%. And this means that for 17 % of the time Arsenal cannot score. Just brilliant isn’t it?

Next you have the corner tactic. Where you take all your time and waste at least one minute before taking it because you have to put some man in front of the goalkeeper who has to come from your own defence. But as they only got 3 corners it only got them 3 minutes.  So the second statistic is: Corner possession: 3 %. Not much this time but you can’t have it all.

But now we come to the most brilliant plan from Allardyce. This is where the grandmaster Cruijff, our Lord Wenger and many more must take a bow for Big Sam and admit that he just is a genius in disguise. Remember you must take care that the other team (Arsenal) is not in possession of the ball. So you just must keep the ball out of reach. And how does Big Sam does this? He lets his team hoof the ball as high in the air as possible. So when the ball is travelling in the atmosphere Arsenal cannot have the ball and cannot score.

At times it reminded me of American Football where Robinson was the punter of the team and he was doing all day long just putting the ball up field and kick it as high as possible so his attackers could attack the ball. I have seen some American Football in my life so I know what I am talking about. It is a very simple tactic and you only need a goalkeeper who can kick the ball high and far. I think Robinson would be a sensation in American football. So the comparison that Wenger made with rugby (as American football is some kind of rugby) was not that far-fetched.

And the main thing about this is the fact that  when the ball is flying in the atmosphere is not in the feet of the Arsenal players. If we have to believe the official statistics of possession Blackburn had some 42% of the ball in this game. But of that 42% if I make an estimation the ball was somewhere between 100 and 10.000 feet in the air for some 99% of the time. So this gives us as statistic: Air travel possession: 41 %.

If we add this means that the ball was out of play or out of reach for some 61% of the game. I think this is utterly brilliant from Blackburn and Allardyce. We were all thinking that we were watching a game of football but for almost 60 % of the time we played without the ball anywhere near the football field.

So one can only be amazed by the fact that Sam Allardyce just is doing what Johan Cruijff once said you should do to prevent the opposition to score: keep the ball away from their feet. I’m sure Cruijff had other things in mind on and I really would like to hear his spicy comments if he ever sees such a game plan with his own eyes.

But to know Cruijff and if he would be sitting in the tv studio and would have to give his opinion at half time he just would tell the guys from TV that he thought he had been invited to see a game of football.  But what he found himself looking at was one team that was attempting to play football and another team that was doing some sport he has never seen before but that should be called: kicking high and far. And then he would get up from his chair and tell them he would come back if they had a real game of football on show with two teams trying to  play the game.

At the end of the game we won as in the 39 % of the time that the ball was on the ground we were the better team. And if Allardyce is feeling hard done by, well that is a nice chance to hear. I think it is great to know that he feels hard done by. It only adds to the fun that I get from winning this game.

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51 Replies to “Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Tactics and stats at Blackburn”

  1. Hahaha… This article was hilarious… Really made my day… Take that, you fat smug face who cant stop on chewing gums…

  2. Walter

    I’m afraid you’re being a bit thick here. Allardyce is actually a sophisticated tactician who knows he can’t beat Arsenal at their own game with the squad he’s got, so he looks for a way he CAN win. Which in this case was route 1 football.

    His Bolton teams, which finished ridiculously high for the size of the club, played some good stuff once they got established in the EPL and could buy some decent players. He had 2 from Real Madrid, so don’t tell me he’s a thick twat who can’t man manage or produce game plans. Just because he’s a gruff Northern Englishman who played centre half doesn’t mean he doesn’t possess a fine football brain: he does. Better than yours, I might add……..

    It’s all so terribly easy to come out with this ‘the only way you’re allowed to play football is Arsenal’s way, because then, Arsenal will win’. What sort of competition is that, eh????

    That is disrespectful to the opposition and betrays a lack of confidence that you can win no matter what the opposition try.

    Can I suggest you grow up a bit, like the Arsenal team SEEM to be doing and accept that, to be worthy champions, Arsenal must win mixing it, passing it, hitting teams on the counter or plain hoofing it up to a really tall number 9 who can score goals aplenty with his head………..

    I happen to think the team are pretty close to be able to do precisely that, but it might help if some supporters could grow into that concept too…………

  3. Nice one Walter. 😮 Just a thought, shouldn’t Delap and Pedersen get yellows for time wasting?

  4. @Rhys. Sure the Walrus is a good tactician, just ask Newcastle. And he’s also not done badly with his signings of “over the hill” players. But,have you ever enjoyed watching one of his teams play? It’s like watching his never ending gum chewing mouth…incredibly boring.

  5. Next Rhys will be suggesting transplanting Fat Sam’s footballing brain into Theo walcott to make him a more complete player!.
    Allardys is a mediocre manager. I say this because he because he DOESN’T mix it up. His teams know only the physical overpowering game aided by time wasting and rotational fouling. The clubs he has managed have never shown any form of ambition other than premiership survival.
    In a sense that is fine as premiership survival is crucially important. A club like Blackburn would not yo-yo back up if they were relegated so at all costs they should avoid relegation. However there should be at least some token appraisal of their weaknesses within the football sphere and a tacit attempt to improve on them.
    Once the novelty of long throws runs out as it will and the authorities deal with the towel/time wasting situation as they surely must at some point, Blackburn, Stoke and their ilk will find it very difficult to compete because they will have to rely on more skill based attributes to get them through the season.
    Blackburn used be a decent passing side that were also strong physically. Now a serious imbalance exists where that passing skillset has diminished to the point where it is no longer an option for them. They play a style of football that one would expect to see in the lower divisions and that is their choice. Is it a bad advert for the premiership? Most likely. Does it bring an interesting variant to the title race? Probably.
    Will it eventually lead them down a decreasing points returns spiral and eventual relegation? Highly likely.
    If Allardys moves on to another club his replacement will find a squad devoid of skill and gears to switch without a sufficient budget to import change.
    It is Allardys that can’t “Mix it up” not Arsene Wenger.

  6. I have always wondered what would happen if the away team get to the touch line for a throw in and start asking around for a towel(especially since the home team is using one)? Can they be told, “Sorry, for the home team only”? Might be an interesting way to eat up time for visiting teams at Blackburn, Stoke and the like.

  7. @Rhys I personally feel that, Walter as Wenger does respect their kind of play. It is essentially true and does exactly what Cruijff says. And I dont see anyone saying that the only way to play football is Arsenal’s way. Further to that, the last bit over there is just what Walter thinks Cruijff would do if he were to see the game, that is Walter’s opinion of course. But he never said he agrees with him now.

    Anyways, good article Walter. Now that you posted this, I actually believe that this is a good tactic actually. And it actually does the job, just look at their home record last season. So yeah, agreeing to what Wenger said, Allardyce is doing what best could be done to win, with the players that he actually has.

  8. @Adi, good question, remind me to watch the match between Blackburn and Stoke in the near future, ahaha

  9. Walter while it is fresh in my mind you might enlighten me on 2 issues.
    Yesterday, during an Arsenal attack a Blackburn defender was guilty of a blatant handball which broke to THEO who converted from what appeared to be an offside position. The offside was deemed to be the dominant offence and it resulted in a free out even though Blackburn were guilty of a blatant hand ball on the edge of their box. How does that work exactly?

    The second issue is something that has been bothering me since the CL draw in Monaco. As we were getting towars the end of proceedings FC Twente were drawn out and the compere announced that there was only one group that they could go into which was Spurs’ group. We then were automatically allotted Partisan Belgrade. There were no other dutch teams in either group so how was it deemed that Twente were unable to go into our group and were automatically selected for the other one.
    I am not upset by the draw in any way, rather I am curious as to the reason this happened . Cheers!

  10. @Rhys – agree with you on Big Sam being a good tactician and he has delivered results with limited talent at his disposal. I guess it is a matter of perspective. If results and only results are what matter, then he has been successful but to be honest I would not watch a blackburn game if it were the only football game playing on the teli coz it does not excite me at all (well except for when they play Arsenal of course) and I honestly believe that Owen Coyle has gotten more out of the same players that were managed by Big Sam while also doing justice to beautiful game that is football.

  11. Sam,s tactics were very good at ensureing there were plenty of empty seats in the stadium.Some think tactics are far more important than entertainment………..Arsene respects the game and would never do that.

  12. Terrence, the first question will be answered in the referee review in the next days.

    The second question had to do with the group Ajax was in, I think.
    If 2 teams of the same country (Ajax and Twente) are in the draw then there was some kind of mechanisme that prevents that both teams would play at the same day (for various reasons security, bla bla bla : read money)
    So I guess (don’t know for sure) that Ajax was already drawn in the red groups and therefore Twente would have had to play in the blue groups. (or other way round)

    I think the English teams were also linked that way, like the Spanish etc..

  13. Rhys, are you drunk? “His Bolton teams, which finished ridiculously high for the size of the club, played some good stuff once they got established in the EPL and could buy some decent players.” The same Bolton who, despite J.J. Ochoa and Ivan Campo, were the poster boys for anti-football towards the end of Fat Sam’s reign, relying on set pieces and aerial balls for results. It is a legacy that haunts Bolton to this day with falling attendance as fans vote with their feet. No wonder the owner himself is demanding the club play football to entertain the fans so the crowds will return.
    This pseudo-contrarian pov based on a slanting of the facts to fit a certain conclusion is driving me crazy.

  14. @GoonerGaz – excellent point re empty seats at Blackburn. Yes, it was on TV but Fat Sam hasn’t even got the excuse that his ‘up and at them’ tactics are employed (as the are at Stoke) to engender a rousing atmosphere in the stadium which intimidates the opposition.There’s no one there to shout!
    I wonder what their potential new buyers thought about the whole sorry charade?
    Also, on Sky this morning – significant support for Wengers views on blocking tactics used against goalkeepers – especially from the admirable Patrick Barclay of The Times who said that he ‘would rather have football run under Wengers rules than anybody else’s’. Generally, English refereees were held to blame and I have to agree.

  15. Walter is right in that Blackburn did deliberately restrict the amount of time the ball was in play as a tactic to restrict our use of the ball. Surely Adi is right- the towel provides an unfair advantage to the home team.
    I don’t like Sam or some of the tactics he employs- one dimensional, reducing the game to the lowest level- just lobbing the ball into the box at every opportunity. Its an inherently negative game plan relying on defensive mistakes rather than creative play to open a team up- sure enough the goal they scored was the one time they attacked us behind our full backs down the flanks. The reason we won is that Blackburn were- far more effective in stopping a footballing team playing than creating anything themselves- and I think they deserve some credit for not simply relying on rotational fouling this time.

  16. It is always possible, when writing an insightful piece with an element of humour within it, to know if one has hit the mark, because someone will write in and tell you to “grow up”. Personally I get very concerned when such comments don’t appear.

    Approximately 5% of the population has had a humour by-passectamy and they have all found that one of the most unfortunate side-effects of the operation is a need to tell others to “grow up”.

    Why they do this I have no idea. Telling someone to “grow up” is a vague insult that has no effect, no benefit, and offers no insult.

    But it is the inevitable consequence of the humour by-passectomy op and always a good measure of how close to the bull’s eye one is getting.

    (Sorry this post is a bit late – in my street there are 3 couples who do combined dinner parties every now and then with each of us doing one or two of the courses. Tonight we’re doing the starter and the cheese, so I had to go the shops. Bogus insisted on coming along, and well, I can tell you, that’s a bloody disaster. So only just got back to the computer and am just catching up on Rhys’ earlier chit-chat.

  17. The plan backfired when it started to rain because they didnt water the pitch. Sam shouldn’t stop there he should make it like a public pitch and strategically place dog shit that will stop theo.

    there was a spell for about a minute when the ball didnt touch the ground.

    I was pleasantly surprised at how well arsenal stiffled Big Sam, our attaCKS AWAY FROM HOME ARE BECOMING MUCH MORE CONTROLLED AND Calculated without everyone bombing fwd IO dont even think we got out of second gear and we were comfortable

  18. Slightly OT (although personally I consider “17% towel possession” and ball-polishing to be not in the spirit of the game, aka cheating, if you will), but the alleged match-fixing scandal in the cricket at Lord’s seems to have a football element to it, viz.

    In a meeting with our investigators puppet-master Majeed: […]
    * ADMITTED he abuses his position as owner of non-league Croydon Athletic FC to launder his illicit gains.

    Can UEFA/Platini start looking at this, please? “Fair play” surely extends to this kind of practice too, yes?

  19. Sam Allardyce learned how to use every allowed and semi-allowed aspect of game to gain results. And of course it mean making his teams play less attractive.
    Now question is, should football be entertaining? Well as we all pay to see it (one way or another), I presume it must be.
    Arsene vs Sam…its like Ferrari vs lorry. Will lorry take you from point A to point B? Of course it will. But would you pay to drive in back of the lorry if there is choice ?

  20. haha… Rhys Jaggar has become famous here.
    1stly these tactics are not wrong. its just stupid and boring as shit.

    what i have realized now is that i just cant watch any other team play now. this was not the case before. somehow these days i cant watch other teams play. jose might win the champions league for more 1000 years… but i cant watch the match. i watch it on mute. and watch something else on my laptop.

    i mean how boring was the chelsea stoke match? and watching citeh play with 3-4 defensive midfielders and have 100 strikers on the bench. i mean the liverpool citeh game was ridiculous. its boring as shit. sure its effective. wenger knows it. he said in his interview i respect different styles of play. but the rules should be followed. and i agree…

    this is a new team. they are maturing. sam has been around for many years. we did have a 49 when he was around. when everyone was around. its amazing arsenal dont compromise on their beliefs. we like them because of that. and we managed to be physical. watching abu diaby stand ground and watching those baffoons go down was classic. and we did pass. we played our one touch football.. and we finally won. our way. thankyou wenger. go fuck yourself AAA.

  21. Morning Gents! Nice piece and analysis Walter!
    Good performance from the boys yesterday and not surprisingly, after 2 tough away games in the first 3 matches returning 7 out of 9 points, the result doesn’t seem to have appeased the D&G and AA brigade. As usual, the 2 main post-match talking points making our inept media (particularly radio “Talkshite”) wet and excited are of:
    1. How (a clearly unfit and possibly injured) Cesc Fabregas was apparently sulking throughout the entire match implying that he’d rather be playing in Spain and we should resolve the issue asap and sell him for our own good this season. And
    2. Pulis’ letter of complaint to Arsenal and the premier league about Arsene’s pre-match comments on thuggery football by Stoke and Blackburn.
    The first talking-point is not worthy of discussion and has already been confined to our dustbin several weeks ago, However, talking-point number 2 worries me much more for several reasons. Following the England world-cup debacle, the short-sightedness that the media continue to possess, and you too Rhys, of just how seriously damaging the tactics of your Allardyce’s and Pulis’ have on English football development should have well and truly hit home to you all by now! If you continue to encourage physicality to the very edge of illegality, then as soon as these players enter the international sphere, and UEFA/FIFA continue to evolve the on-pitch rules as they are doing, these players and teams will abruptly be left in the cold with an inability to compete fairly. In my eyes, the best young British managers in the EPL at the moment are Moyes, Coyle and Holloway who understand and see these changes. The likes of your Allardyce’s and Pulis’ will never understand why what they do is ultimately counter-productive and is destined for obscurity while they are still encouraged to do so! Allardyce’s sacking by Newcastle and non-appointment for the England job speak for themselves!

  22. As long as it follows the rules of the game….

    Two articles have appeared on this site recently. This one and another about Kos physical attribute/s…
    My view on ‘negative’ tactics – they are tactics. There is nothing within the rules of the game to sugest that long balls hoofed down the field are not within the rules of the game. So called ‘lesser’ teams need to employ these tactics in order to achieve a result.
    Mourinho being one of,if not, the most popular tactician in world football atm. Having achieved great success with ‘technically inferior’ teams. Porto, inter(champs), chelsea(ok,he spent a quid or two).
    Just because other teams chose not to use the same sexy style as us doesn’t mean they’re wrong.
    At the end of the day we won! ! ! At Blackburn! Despite long balls hoofed upfield all the time!!! We couldn’t cope last season and so far(1 game) we have 🙂 I also thought Almunia was decent…
    Anyway, the goal Blackburn scored, Diouf easily outmuscled Kos down our rightleading up to their goal. I like Kos, n I think he’ll be good for us. He’s quick and seems to read the game well but he doesn’t have that physical presence about him…suppose only time will tell if that matters or not…it seemed to in the past.

  23. May I add that it would be great to have Stoke or an Allardyce team in Europe at some time.
    It would be interesting to see how FIFA and UEFA refs get along with this towel cleaning of the ball. I will be asking the first class referees in my country about it next wednesday on training how they would react to this nonsens.

    In the countries where I see football and where you have players who throw the long ball, they take their shirts for a quick clean and then throw it and not the polishing we see in Stoke and Blackburn and which you can also see in bowling. Mmmm and it looks like bowling with the fact that the Stoke and Blackburn players are only there to push the defenders and the keeper on the floor.

  24. As ever Walter, a wonderfully crafted article.

    DC – with reference to you post above, please see below link to a Stoke forum I stumbled across.

    I am left dumbfounded and infuriated by this guys sheer lack of class and respect. I had considered leaving a comment but would find it difficult to calm myself to a level where my response would not be littered with typically anglo-saxon four letter words. Would it be possible for one of the literary genius’ that contribute to this fine site to formulate a response?

    Keep up the good work chaps.

    We got the jack, jack, jack.

  25. although i agree with the sentiment of this piece, and detest fat sams style (at one point i thought his team should have been re-named ‘set piece-burn’ due to their ability of turning every possible action into a set piece) i thought that the goal they scored was rather well executed and must have been a moment of madness because it really didnt conform to their stereotype at all.

  26. Walter,

    So hilarious, not only the write up but the expected Rhys rant… Always taking the exact opposite view as you and then as Tony so eloquently stated throwing unsure insults…So predictable. By the way Robinson (Punter) & Fat-Head(Special Teams Coach) & Rhys(The water Boy)would be excellent in the NFL. Fat Sam already wears the earpieces and has his minions in the stands probably uses the Good Year Blimp to switch balls while in orbit on his punts. The only problem is he would need speech therapy because even he talks to proper for the NFL lads.

  27. I have heard that Blackburn fans asked a refund for all the games Allardyce has been in charge as by seeing their goal yesterday the Blackburn supporters suddenly found out that their team could play football if they only would try. 😉

    And I really think it is too late for me to grow up. My wife has given up on it already…

  28. Cosmoj,

    So that goes without saying… So because a team oh let’s just say it an organization.. Oh OK many EPL teams who have done nothing in regards to A)finances B) Player development C)over all success of the organization we should sympathize?
    I tell you this not only do I not sympathize but I question all who do?
    Don’t think for one moment the Dull-ap towel mimic wasn’t a fathead design to get our boys unsettled. But, the bigger point is the thuggery associated with these lower class teams.. So those who sympathize with fathead ask yourself this… If his organization were smart they would be more interested in fixing their problems than cheating and trying to unaturally win games.

  29. My problem with Fat Sam is he is a hypocrite who complained about Chamakh fouling Samba as corners while Samba was doing the same at the other end and to our keeper last season. Also he goes on about Arsenal being soft when his players were the ones diving while Diaby fought through 2 fouls to get a pass forward which led to our second goal. We fought, we played, we won

  30. Simon Bailey – Blackburn’s goal shows that, if Big Sam wasnt there, they could actually play decent football. Just as Bolton are suddenly playing decent football with Owen Coyle and the same players. Miraculous.

    Big Sam must have been furious at the way Blackburn scored. “Get the ball up in the air!!!!!” he must have screamed. “You f*****rs do that footballing stuff again and your on the bench!!!!”

  31. Agree Podge, and also the way Diaby was fighting in the final seconds of the game to get the ball out of our box, tackled, was brought down, stood up, brought down again and then passed the ball to Chamakh on the flank to start the counter attack which was missed by Wilshere at the end. That was the thing we wanted to see from our boys and that we see now: Not only skill but allso fighting spirit when it is needed.

  32. @Arsene ap


    I was only stating that there is nothing wrong with tactics in football. Their tactics, and similar, have outdone us aplenty over the last 3-4 seasons but I think we dealt with it well yesterday. I didn’t mention anything about youth development and finances. Why the hell do you have to point that out?

  33. Paul-That put a smile in my face Paul, ahaha

    There was another statement from

    that made me laugh,

    “It quickly became apparent that perpetually irritating midfielder Morten Gamst Pederson had taken a leaf out of another exasperating footballer’s book and now had his very own team of unhappy looking little towel-bearers trudging up and down the touchline for him. And so it came to pass that a crowd of over 25,000 football fans were treated to four whole minutes of a Norwegian man drying a football with a towel.”

  34. @ Stubbs 1985,
    thanks for the link – hilarious! No need for us to comment as many have already highlighted what a muppet that blogger is!
    @ JeromJ – very funny too!

  35. Cosmoj,

    Sorry…I guess I wasn’t just speaking to you… It was more rhetorical in nature. There is a sentiment out there who sympathize with the lower EPL teams as having nothing. So employing these shrewd/cheating tactics is becoming at first shocking. Then “Good for Them.” And, now normalcy. My point was these tactics are the reasons why the game has turned ugly in some parts of England. It’s even now widely accepted as this is the “English way.”My point with Fat Head is he is so good at being bad that if he just used an ounce of that negative energy for building he could be in the top four every year. Or maybe he is just bad and this is his only way he can be involved?

    So the youth thing well in my mind it is the clear path to future success. If you look into BB, Stoke, etc.. they have no influence in this league because they refuse to invest in that.

    So overall nothing to do with you per se other than your comments supporting tactics within the guidelines of the game.

  36. @DC,

    I just read your comments, brilliant… I have to say I almost missed them entirely because of the format. Whenever I see 1. and 2. By the time i leave point 1. I’m like why did I waste my time? But, I saw a couple of other’s write DC and DC so I read and have to say you are spot on…

  37. The Stoke City blog piece linked to in the comments above was apparently written by Mrs Shawcross, and I have invited her to do a complete article for Untold. Hopefully we should have an article from her shortly – and indeed I am hoping she will join our regular and growing series of commentators.

  38. Stubbs way ahead of you mate left a few stinging home truths on that blog.

    here is an idea! when all those pundit go on about fat Sam’s organisation and the great physical attributes of his team etc, somebodty should suggest him for the England job and watch them shut up lmao.

    Actually we should start a false internet campaign to get him the job and see if the mainstream media run with that ball(that’s what rugby balls are for after all.
    At the very least it would drive Rhys”country before club” Jagger nuts .
    At best he would get the job our quick and skillful players would get more time off during international breaks as Premiership stars like Peter Crouch and Joey barton lined out at Wembley.

    Note:Respect to Crouch as he scored a perfect hattrick against us I was making reference to his height. Barton would be picked because nobody plays thugby like a thug.

  39. @Arsene Ap

    I am under the impression that you miss read my comment.
    I do not support these type of tactics, I love watching, playing and studying the beautiful game. Which is one of the reasons I support Wenger. It is how I like to play and it is what I try to teach. I was just pointing out that it is a tactic well used within the game to achieve whatever goal.

    Youth-yes I agree, it is definately the way forward. There is a better sense of achievement(even though we are not directly involved). It makes me proud seeing the likes of Wiltshire, denilson and bentdner playing well for the team I am obsessed with.
    You also have to understand that the youth setup we have isn’t cheap and requires skilled coaches. Hence why other clubs would rather try and achieve instant success rather than our patient, non-club destroying, profitable, sustainable way.
    I DO NOT agree with how some other clubs/teams/organisations are run.

  40. Cosmoj,
    Right then same page!

    Yute’s….Money buys emptiness..Passions bring starlets…Pele’s first ball was made of rags…Denilson starred in the u-14 national set-up from 14 and on and was discovered by AW…Most of what the world purchases comes from no where does it come from? Passions and dreams….So again re-think where success comes from…

  41. I thought it might be interesting to look at Fat Sam’s record against Arsene as he tried to have a go at Arsenal’s disciplinary record. The two managers have come up against each other 22 times. Arsene has won 10, Fat Sam 7 and 5 draws. What makes interesting reading is the number of yellow and red cards in those games:
    Arsenal yellows – 36
    Arsenal reds – 0 (yes, zero)
    Sam’s teams yellows – 47
    Sam’s teams reds – 6 (SIX)

    One other thing, Fat Sam made a comment about Arsenal winning the title in 2001/2 with the worst disciplinary record ever and said it was hardly surprising with the likes of Keown, Petit (who left 2 years earlier), Vieira and Kevin Campbell (I assume he meant Sol) in the team. That season Arsenal had 6 players sent off, Fat Sam’s Bolton had 7. Dirty Sol Campbell picked up 2 bookings – nasty man.

    I guess some managers like to quote “facts” without any research just like your average lazy journo.

  42. Andy – I would also love for someone with a lot of time on their hands to do some research to determine how many of the yellows and reds of the Vieira era were for dissent/mistimed tackles/professional fouls etc and how many were for violent conduct. I would imagine the idea that some like to propogate about that team being “dirty” would fall apart. Fiercely competitive? Yes. Completely professional (even to the point of stretching the rules as far as possible)? Oh yes. Tough as nails? Absolutely.

    Dirty? Well, that would define how you define dirty, and I dont remember our tackling ever causing much in the way of injury to the opposition, and I certainly dont remember us EVER setting out to kick the opposition off the field.

  43. iN DEFENCE OF sam they didnt do any really nasty tackles and you cant blame a team for playing to its strengths it is the only chance they have against us.

    they see the aerial threat as their best option, the more arsenal show these tactics dont work the less you will see them

  44. It was great to see that fat gum chewing walrus not really have any excuses for been beating yesterday.
    The way Arsenal pressed his players when they had the ball was great to see.
    We looked comfterable on the ball and it was a victory for how soccer should be played.
    I think stoke will be left scarred wondering what tactics to use now.

  45. Wasnt it a great Englishman who once said that
    “If God had wanted us to play football in the clouds, he’d have put grass up there.”

  46. @arsene ap

    Didn’t realise I was on a different page…
    I really do sujest that you re-read my comments.
    I’m under the impression that you think I’m a so called ‘AAA’ dude….

  47. The problem that Tony Pulis and the fat Walrus are experiencing is that their tactics are not working anymore. After a surprising first season, last year Stoke scored very few goals from long throw. They have been found out.
    By constantly talked about the amount of illegal tactics such as deliberatly blocking the goalkeeper, rotational fouling against main opponent player (even Joe barton had been the victim !!!), the media are actually exposing them and making the rest of the world (that include the FA and the referees) aware of their attempt to exercise dark arts of cheating.
    Either individual refere have wised up or they have been told by their paymaster to limit the amount of thuggery allowed. Chris Foy has obviously not yet received the memo.
    Despite the change by the refere, the main argument against that type of ineffective tactics is that they do not attract supporters. Supporters of Blackburn Rover are voting with their feet and their wallet by staying away from Ewood Park.
    Bolton have hired Owen Coyle instead of a Peter Reid like because they want to re-attract their local fans. Nobody at the age of 5 years old want to support a team of thugs.
    There is a couple of managers that are showing the right way: Moyes, Coyle, Martinez, Hodgson, Holloway, … I am afraid Peter Reid/Phil Brown/tony Pulis/Sam Allerdyce are not the future of England coaching.
    By showing that you can play moderatly successful football but still attractive football, football club chairmen are more likely to demand to that style of football.
    Regarding Allardyce result he keep repeating the lies that he did not spend a lot. The reality is that he spend a lot more in high wages that team around Bolton did. He got free players because he paid them more than they could get anywhere.
    Jay jay Okocha was one of the highest salary in PSG (a team in Europe) when he left paris for Bolton (near relegation at the time). Money talks.
    Djorkaeff, Campo joined Bolton because they were the biggest payers in team at the lower end of the league.
    The problem is that because he did not build anything, the same approach kept perpuating the same need to pay expensively mercenaries.
    That explained why when he left Bolton had to have a period of lowering the wage bill. A lot of the more experienced players were let go because of their high salary.

  48. @Valentin

    you have some good points, I have a feeling that either big sam or tony pulis is going to be relegated this year extinction takes a while; and while football is a results driven business if a team stays up that is all they care about

    it is no coincidence that England havent won anything in decades Direct Football doesnt work if sam wants to play defensive football he should look to the Maureen style of play but even he doesnt play direct football, I CANT believe there was a large portion of Journo’s/ pundits backing sam to become the england manager before steve mcclaren got it

    as long arsenal keep showing that this predictable football wont work and we have an answer to it I will be happy. The common tactic last year was to drive arsenal out wide and let them cross it because no one was in there to cross to with Chamkh they dont dare!!!!

    IMO there is only one way to beat arsenal now and that is to score first and put 10 men behind the ball for the rest of the match

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