Peterborough United v Arsenal this evening: the match preview

By Tony Attwood

Tonight we play the second game of the trophy in which Arsenal play their under 21 team (with the option of a couple of older players in the side) away to Peterborough United.

It is a desperately sad reflection on the state of management of that as I write this at 10.40 in the morning of the game the Arsenal webpage on the match is utterly blank, except for noting who we are playing.

And yet in the previous game in this competition there were at least 500 Arsenal supporters occupying one end of the ground at Northampton.  How can the club not even have details of the squad, the ground, where to park … anything?   (It is at the Weston Homes Stadium kick off  7.30pm if you want to know).

Interestingly Peterborough are not putting out their full first team but, according to their publicity, will include in the starting line-up “a number of youngsters looking to impress.”   Having seen a number of these games, I welcome that – some of the old timers  from the lower league teams do tend to go out and want to show the Arsenal kids what it is all about in terms of kicks, hair pulls, elbows and the like.  Referees seem to think that is ok too.  Part of the official PGMO Toughen The Kids UP programme I suspect.

In the opening round of games Peterborough won at Northampton Town 2-0, while Arsenal drew there 1-1, going down on the penalty shoot out.  Here’s the table…


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Northampton Town 3 1 1 1 5 6 -1 4*
2 Peterborough United 1 1 0 0 2 0 2 3
3 Arsenal U21 2 0 1 1 4 5 -1 1
4 Cambridge United 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Northampton also have a bonus point for winning the penalty shoot out against Arsenal.

We know we won’t have Emile Smith-Rowe due to the injury he sustained in the Carabao Cup game against Nottingham Forest.

And if you are tempted by the match, even the cost of entry is reasonable – as it generally is for these games:

  • Adults: £5
  • Under 18s: £1

We have incidentally played Peterborough once in a competitive game – 30 January 1965 which was part of the utterly dead and dreadful period described in Jon Sowman’s wonderful book “The Long Sleep”.   Arsenal lost 2-1.  Here’s the only movie clip I can find of that day…



But I have actually seen Arsenal at Peterborough United – and I do believe my pal Ian who will also be going along this evening was also there.   (This is part of what I love about football, all the memories of some many games in days gone by.)

It was 11 July 2003, in the first of the pre-season games. There had been one of those stupid summer international tournaments that year and so most of our top players were not available, and we used a few old timers and a lot of youngsters.

We had finished the previous season second but were feeling that maybe we could climb back above Manchester United despite the gap at the end of the 2002/3 season…

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Manchester United 38 25 8 5 74 34 40 83
2 Arsenal 38 23 9 6 85 42 43 78
3 Newcastle United 38 21 6 11 63 48 15 69
4 Chelsea 38 19 10 9 68 38 30 67
5 Liverpool 38 18 10 10 61 41 20 64

There was talk that although our attack was the finest there was to be found, our defence was still not as tight as it could be.

And why shouldn’t we feel confident?  We have just won the FA Cup with a lineup that read

David Seaman
Oleg Luzhny
Martin Keown
Ashley Cole
Gilberto Silva
Freddie Ljungberg
Ray Parlour
Robert Pires
Dennis Bergkamp
Theirry Henry

And we had a new keeper Jens Lehmann, a certain centre back in Sol Campbell, Kolo Toure, Patrick Vieira, and Sylvain Wiltord to add to the mix.

OK so those guys were not going to be playing in the first pre-season match, but even so we were the Arsenal, we’d come second in the league and won the cup and we were playing Peterborough.

And we lost 1-0.  A week later played out a goalless draw with Barnet.

Then we went unbeaten in the league all season.

It is, as I believe has been mentioned before, a funny old game.

Anyway I hope we might muster another 500 there tonight – but it does raise the question of who will be saved to be part of the game on Thursday.  I suspect this could be very much an under 21 squad without any extras.



34 Replies to “Peterborough United v Arsenal this evening: the match preview”

  1. My desktop machine is on strike, so to speak. I normally use “seamonkey” to visit the web site. This other computer I am temporarily using, doesn’t seem to work with using firefox or seamonkey. For example, there is no “News” link near the top of the page from which to find things, like links to coverage of the U21 team for the game mentioned in this article.

    If people could post URLs, that would be wonderful.


  2. Spurs 2 – 7 Bayern Munich

    Gnabry scoring 5. Just thought I’d mention it…… again

  3. And while I’m chatting away to my self one of Spurs goals was a pen that never was which VAR and the BT ref somehow confirmed was a pen.

    In addition to that Bayern had a nailed on pen turned down by the ref and again somehow confirmed by VAR and the BT ref.

    Should of been 8 – 1

    I mean so often you have to ask what is the point of VAR

    Still, it was fun watching.

  4. @Nitram I watched some of this game – what a sublime performance from Spuds defence. Wonder how much criticism there will be in the media about such an abject performance! Yes Gnabry must have enjoyed that.

    I usually watch a bit of the goals show on BT sprout Not tonight with Don “the dickhead” Hutchinson on it. Did he actually win anything in his career? He certainly has NO idea about football – more like the pub drunk.

  5. This was reffed by one of the “best”. I named him “Dick Turpin” due to an abject performance a couple of years ago. Guess you can work out why?

  6. Les Williams

    Yep. 2 poor penalty calls but honestly it was VAR that was shocking.

    2 clear and obvious errors, at least to me. But as I said elsewhere on here, it is subjective and I suppose some will agree with the ref and VAR, but I’m definitely not one of them.

  7. @Nitram see what you mean about the non penalty for Bayern. It is hard to believe that UEFA want “RESPECT” for referees when they do not penalise tackles like that.

    I am beginning to believe that UEFA and PIGMOB want to discredit VAR so much they can scrap it.

  8. Les Williams

    The basic underlying problem is UEFA and PIGMOB’s absolute refusal to accept that their referees are anything other than perfect.

    In cricket they have absolutely no qualms in overturning bad calls from umpires. And Umpires seem to have absolutely no problem accepting they made a wrong call and moving on.

    The public seem to accept the umpires fallibilities but are just happy we get the correct decision in the end.

    That kind of acceptance of human fallibility is essential if VAR is going to work.

    Those bodies are clearly above accepting their employees are anything other than perfect, which they clearly are not, despite the PIGMOB’s 102% claim.

  9. On a more important note I am shocked at the errors being made at the top level with VAR. It seems every set of games – UCL, nations league etc where VAR is used the VAR are unable to show any consistent interpretation or adherence to the published laws of the game.

    I have got fed up with having to watch the game for a while to work out what the officials are going to do when foul play occurs. This makes watching a game very frustrating and also not caring about the result due to errors being made by officials. It mustn’t be that difficult to get it right. If I want to watch sports entertainment I will watch Wrestling – we all know that is fixed.

    I hope I am wrong but the more I see the less belief I have in Football being a fair sport

  10. “I hope I am wrong but the more I see the less belief I have in Football being a fair sport”

    I’ve felt that way for many years Les.

    The problem is I love Arsenal so much (not football, Arsenal) that I just cant stop supporting, and hence watching them.

    Just another point, and I had already said to Mrs Nitram this would happen when he’d only scored 1, and that is BT in general, and Michael Owen in particular, using Gnabry’s goals to have a pop at Arsenal and Wenger.

    This is the Gnabry that everyone said wasn’t good enough for Arsenal.

    Will someone please find me a comment from Owen suggesting how wonderful Gnabry was and how Arsenal should of kept him.

    I’ll be surprised if we’d find a single pundit, including Owen, telling us how wonderful Gnabry was or how we just had to keep him.

  11. I’m currently watching all the CL highlights and the lack of VAR turnovers for what are absolutely ‘Clear and Obvious errors’ is shocking.

  12. @Nitram, it’s quite refreshing how you can call it as it is when it involves Tottenham, but when it’s Socratis handling the ball in the penalty area, its a 50-50, neither here nor there. Don’t you think if you can’t be straight with the truth when it’s arsenal, then you can’t really insist that the refs do the same?

  13. What great news to wake up to. Thank you ,Serge Gnabry for your 4 goals against our nearest (By location at least !) rivals , and bringing them down to their knees.
    Just saw the highlights of the game.
    Again , well done and much thanks !

  14. Early in the Sp#rs v BM game Sp#rs RB Aurier I think jumped high to avoid a tackle but landed 2 footed on the BM player ( where was VAR ) he knew what he was doing and I’m sure he could have missed him , he was only booked , did the referee get help with this decision from VAR
    This comes back to what Nitram has said all along decisions are subjective

  15. @Tony I’m basing my statement actually on your dialogue with Ella. In Nitram’s defense, he was even better, probably not willing to go against popular opinion on the site, he decided to sit on the fence. In your own case however, despite Ella posting a link to the video of the incident, which clearly shows the ball hit to Sokratis right arm from 8yds out, you continued to debate the fact, quoting a commentator(without evidence), same ones you accuse everyday of bias against arsenal, when the video was there for you to see and say what you saw. So why should anyone rely on your analysis in your 160 game review?

  16. @Yilch – you obviously don’t have a clue when it comes to PGMOL decisons. If the ball hit Socratis on the arm & the ref &/or VAR saw it, it would have been a red card and 2 points deduction. …. and a DVD made by spuds.

    Incidentally, when is the Bayern Munich visit to the Fowl Run DVD coming out? Gnabry slotting in 4 past Doris must be a good reason to publish a DVD.

  17. @yilch, thank you. That’s the point I’ve trying to make. Continuing to argue in defense of the sokratis handball only serves to promote suspicion of interpretation of all the evidence untold has provided over time. It only serves to discredit work that ordinarily should have been admirable.

  18. As has been shown at the start of this season VAR is being used to cement the corrupt officiating in football. It makes most of the results, league positions etc completely meaningless.

    I find it hard to believe that anyone can say that there is anywhere near absolute fairness in the sport.

  19. Yilch

    This is what I said and I stand by every word:

    “I doubt we could point at a single yellow we have received and categorically say it wasn’t a yellow simply because so many are subjective.

    Some are 50/50, some 70/30 or 30/70 and so on. Some even 10/90 or 90/10 but even they cant unequivocally be called wrong because the pure nature of subjectivity means the decision
    will always be right in somebodies eyes.

    The problem we have is that 70 or 80% of our 50/50 calls go against us, when of course it should be 50%.”

    It is not sitting on the fence or going with popular opinion, it is a view I have maintained for many years now, way before VAR came to be, and posted on here about under the general headings of ‘cheating without cheating’ or ‘match tilting’.

    I have always accepted that due to the subjective nature of these decisions they will always be correct in some peoples eyes, be it as little as 10% or as much as 90%, by their nature very few invoke 100% agreement, so the fact we dont agree on Sokratis or last night is by and large irrelevant to my point.

    It is simply my opinion that Sokratis’s incident was 50/50 in which case, as I said I would of had no argument if a penalty had been called.

    So even if you think it was a clear penalty that’s up to you. That’s your opinion.

    But you seem to be missing my entire point, which is that, over all, way way more than 50% of the 50/50 calls go against us, and that that suggests a bias in refereeing against us.

    Now again that is just my opinion but the following stats produced my Mikey suggest that my supposition is credible.

    These are Mikeys stats:

    “We have committed the fewest fouls of any team so far this season but have still received the most cards.

    Arsenal have 19 cards from 55 fouls.

    Leicester have the lowest number of cards with just five despite committing 35% more fouls than us.

    Palace and the Spuds have both committed over 90+ fouls so far but still have fewer cards than us.”

    So rather than just accusing me if double standards why not put some effort in to justifying those lopsided statistics and providing some of your own to dispel mine, Mikeys and a few others concerns.

    As for last night, if you thought all was well with VAR, again that’s up to you, personally I thought it was terrible.

    It wasn’t just the Spurs game, in which is was all irrelevant anyway, it was across many matches.

  20. An interesting interpretation which would undermine many scientific investigations. I am not quite sure why evidence presented by Untold should be at a level higher than that demanded of most hard science studies.

  21. Tony

    I believe our problem here on untold is evidence.

    We always try to support our suppositions with evidence, be it statistical or visual.

    The problem with that is, not for us, for our detractors, that it takes time and effort, sometimes a lot of time and effort, to find, corelate, and present such evidence. We are prepared to do that, others are not.

    So how do they debunk a years hard work of gathering statistical and visual evidence that is presented on an open forum for anyone to see?

    Well they could present their own evidence that contradicts Untolds evidence but that takes a lot, a hell of a lot of time and effort. Time and effort our detractors seem unable, or unwilling to put in.

    So what happens?

    This is what happens:

    This from Ella:

    “Continuing to argue in defence of the sokratis handball only serves to promote suspicion of interpretation of all the evidence untold has provided over time.”

    Just read what that says again because frankly it is quite unbelievable:

    “serves to promote suspicion of interpretation of all the evidence untold has provided over time”


    “…all the evidence”

    So Ella’s argument is that all the hours and hours, in fact years and years of analysis undertaken by yourself, myself and many many others is fatally undermined on the basis of how ONE incident is interpreted.

    Honestly, how can you have reasoned debate with people like that?

  22. @Nitram I do understand your point and I appreciate the comment you made on the other thread about the subjectivity of ref calls. Indeed its still subjective and open to individual interpretation the quantity of such calls that go either in our favor or not, and I believe even you would appreciate that. For it can be said that in our last 2 matches, there have been 3uncalled hand balls against us.
    But the point I wanted to make was that in the case of the handball against us you clearly stated it was 50-50, and could have gone either way. But in the Tottenham case, this is your statement “2 clear and obvious errors, at least to me”. I understand it’s an opinion and you have no obligation to be objective, but then, even you can see the clear and obvious difference in the way you portrayed both incidents.


    @Nitram, just a point of note. If you are conversant with the laws of logic/debate/ argument, you may have come across the term falsifiability. It is a way of testing scientific/logical hypotheses or theories. This is how falsifiability works. If someone makes a statement “all swans are white”. It presupposes that the person making this statement has physically observed all swans in the world to come to such a conclusion. No doubt a painstaking job, probably taking years to complete. Now the law of falsifiability which is a test of scientific theory says that, the observation or sighting of one black swan, nullifies that theory that ” all swans are white”. In a nutshell Ella’s selection of one event which doesn’t tally is indeed a legitimate scientific methodology for analysis of hypotheses. However Nitram, stating that Ella has only one point of concern is what is not logical. There was never a point where that was debated and she claimed only the sokratis incident gave cause for concern. That was fully cooked up by you Nitram. In fact from previous thread I believe it was Ella who said in her circles, when an outrageous claim about arsenal is made, her friends laugh and say “untold is at it again”. This suggests that there have been several incidents in the past where she(I hope) was considered untold’s narrative as outrageous.
    But that doesn’t concern me, where I totally agree with her is that these continued defense of the indefensible can only hurt untolds reputation.
    1. I also have on more than one occasion, disagreed with Untold’s interpretation of events, to name a few, untold tried to tell us some years back, with evidently fake science that RVP’s letter to the fans didn’t emanate from him that his account was hacked, untold also ran series of articles with stats some years ago stating that arsenal disproportionate number of injuries and refs were the cause, interpretation of the events leading up to goals by Alonso for Chelsea and Swansea where Ozil was supposedly fouled. Of course the sokratis handball. Just to mention a few. So Nitram, please don’t accuse me of having just one issue and trying to discredit the full body of work by untold.
    2. Just to state for the records, I appreciate most of the work by untold. And as Ella says I don’t want such good body of work discredit by little issues like the handball. So I pray the authors keep it truthful, legit and fact based.

  24. Tony you are talking about evidence yet Ella just provided video evidence of an incident. You watched it, did it change anything? Instead you’re telling us hearsay that the commentator said it wasn’t handball. The same commentators you tell us know nothing about football (even though I doubt he said that)

  25. I’ll try and explain: referees and commentators and of course fans can make mistakes. That is inevitable. What we are looking for are situations in which there is a continuous set of errors either showing bias or a level of errors above that claimed by PGMO.
    We did that with thousands of incidents in 160 games in our analysis.
    In one particular case I might be wrong or right; that’s neither here nor there, given the thousands of decisions reviewed in the work we published.

  26. Yilch

    Look, perhaps that is a bit harsh as you did put a lot of effort into your reply, which I appreciate. I just think we are going round and round in circles, but as you did put such a coherent response together I will attempt to respond to a couple of points.

    Point 1

    “But the point I wanted to make was that in the case of the handball against us you clearly stated it was 50-50, and could have gone either way.”

    I saw the Sokratis incident as 50/50. If someone sees it as 60/40 or even 90/10 that’s up to them. I have not at anytime said just because somebody thinks it was a nailed on penalty that that means every other opinion they have is undermined by that opinion, yet Ella, and I felt in so much as you was so supportive of Ella yourself, clearly states that Tony’s/My assessment of that one decision undermines years of analysis.

    That is a ridiculous conclusion to draw from ONE event.

    Point 2

    “But in the Tottenham case, this is your statement “2 clear and obvious errors, at least to me”. I understand it’s an opinion and you have no obligation to be objective, but then, even you can see the clear and obvious difference in the way you portrayed both incidents.”

    I don’t see how the 2 are connected. What are you saying? Just because I saw the Sokratis incident as 50/50, to be objective I have to see both the Spurs incidents as 50/50? Well I didn’t.

    Let me qualify.

    Sokratis I saw as 50/50

    What I mean is I believe if that happened 10 times over a season, and given referees are utterly impartial that would be given 5 times out of 10. That’s how I saw it.

    Now the 2 Spurs ones last nigh I used the term nailed on. I will clarify.

    The Spurs penalty.

    I would say that was 20/80. In other words you may get that 2 out of 10 times.

    I saw at least 2 reasons that made it a very harsh call. Firstly both players feet were high. Both. So when both are committing an offence, 6 of 1 half a dozen of the other so to speak, play is usually allowed to continue.

    Point 2. Yes the Spurs player got his foot to the ball first, but it was a high foot and therefore he illegally got his foot to the ball first.

    Then the Bayern players foot kicked the sole of the already illegally high foot.

    It is far far more common for a foul to be called against the player who’s studs hit the top of the opposing players foot. I don’t ever recall kicking the bottom of an opponents foot being called a foul against you. Maybe you can point me in the direction of one.

    So okay, if you don’t like the term nailed on, I think it was an extremely harsh call.

    As for the Bayern claim.

    Ok if you don’t like nailed on, I think that was 90/10.In other words I think a penalty would normally be awarde 9 times out of 10, that’s how clear I thought that was.

    But as I keep saying it is subjective. It is just my opinion.

    Then I said there were other VAR mistakes, some of which I thought WERE terrible. If you think they were all correct fine. I disagree.

    But again, just to reiterate.

    It is Ella that is questioning Tony’s and MY credibility over many years on one call, not the other way round, you do realize that?

    And on a broader point it is how so many close calls go against us, hence the figures reproduced by Mikey for this season, that have been echoed and reproduced on here many time.

    Those figures are NOT subjective they are facts.

    Ella, nor yourself I believe, have attempted to explain why we are seeing such distorted statistics.

  27. @Nitram, I guess we will just have to agree to disagree. I am of the opinion that inasmuch as it’s not expected of fans to be fully objective, we should make every effort to not be seen as biased. I also haven’t seen how you can say Ella has only one instance and made a conclusion out of it. It’s like commenting on an article where Tony discusses an individual event and uses it to buttress his point that arsenal is treated unfairly. Then someone arguing that how can Tony say the press arsenal get is bad just because of that singular event. That would be wrong because that person never had a debate with Tony to get more background into that complaint. The same way if Ella comments on the subject of the article, she can add that as an instance to previous concerns, she doesn’t have to list all the instances where she feels untold has not done well. I’ll leave it at that.

    The main issue I want to comment on is that I feel there’s very little correlation between number of fouls and number of cards. The issuance or otherwise of a card is more a function of the “quality” of the foul. So, do we commit more grievous fouls than other clubs? Maybe yes, maybe no. I didn’t want to comment on this because I am eminently not sufficiently qualified to make the analysis, I depend on specialist analysis like that of mr Dermot Gallagher. However on several occasions you have called on me to comment on the issue. So for me, the issue is the quality and not the quality of the fouls, that is actually the question reviews like the 160game analysis actually seeks to answer, and my hope is that we keep that analysis free of bias and errors so it doesn’t attract the kind of disdain that untold associates with the pgmo 98% accuracy analysis. Thanks bro

  28. Yilch

    “The issuance or otherwise of a card is more a function of the “quality” of the foul. So, do we commit more grievous fouls than other clubs? Maybe yes, maybe no.”

    Given the agricultural qualities of many Premiership teams over the years I just cannot see how you can even suggest that those figures could be the result of us committing ‘more grievous’ types of fouls.

    Is that really what you are suggesting is behind those figures? Honestly?

    Name one other club that has had anything like the amount of ‘grievous’ injuries we have suffered.

    “I depend on specialist analysis like that of mr Dermot Gallagher.”

    Again, really?

    As you say, we’ll have to agree to disagree. Thanks.

  29. Yilch

    Thanks for that link, I didn’t know that had been done.

    Not a bad analysis but in all honestly that Riley performance wasn’t just bad it was one of the worst I have ever seen. It was shameful.

    In all honestly Gallagher could do nothing other than draw the conclusions he did, and even then I cannot agree with his analysis of either the Lumberg or Reyes incidents.

    He also doesn’t seem to of mentioned how Ashley Cole got booked for his first foul. Or that United didn’t get a single card in the entire first half.

    Now I appreciate he isn’t going to say it but I believe it was a pre meditated attempt by Riley to screw Arsenal. The most blatant example of a ref openly cheating I have ever seen.

    To be honest I cant say I feel better about it simply because Gallagher couldn’t defend the indefensible, well at least not all of it.

    Thanks again for the link though.

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