Arsenal win again; the village fails to stir itself

By Tony Attwood

It is not exactly my first choice for watching Arsenal, nor indeed my second, but as an option it will do.  A ten minute drive from my village to the neighbouring (and at night, sleepy) settlement of Rothwell – a place where during the Bronze Age mourners buried their dead alongside offerings of food in vessels.

The modern settlement started up around 2000 years ago as a Danish encampment and people have been watching Arsenal on TV ever since.  (Actually my reading of history may be slightly out at that point, but the whole of the area retains reminders of its Danish history.  But once they were kicked out, King John gave Rothwell its charter in 1204 which gave the town a weekly market and annual fair, both of which continue to today).

These days I have to phone up in advance to reserve a seat in the pub, but in essence other than when Arsenal play Manchester United, (the town now having been taken over by settlers who somehow claim an attachment to the north) not too many people turn up to watch the games.

There were ten of us spread across the three interlocking bars last night, and I was the only one watching the TV.   It cost me £7.00 for a pint of lager and a cappuccino (not taken simultaneously I hasten to add).  Compare that with £14.95 to watch it at home, and I’d have to make my own coffee, and remember to put the beer in the fridge before hand.

That is one of the many reasons why the whole nonsense of £14.95 to watch a single match is indeed utter nonsense, and that’s before I get onto the notion of exploitation by a monopoly supplier.  (What on earth is the government doing these days, letting such monopolistic practices happen?)

And as an experience it was fine.  OK I didn’t have anyone to chat with about the game, but that would have been the same if sitting at home.  And that’s one of the things I miss about not going to the Arsenal – the chat with the people around me, plus on the journey in, and in the pub before hand.   Of course that lot costs me a lot more for a day out – but that’s what it is, a day out.  A welcome break, fun with my pals, good conversation, complaining about VAR.

Anyway, it was very enjoyable.  Dundalk was the first ever team not to commit a single foul in a Europa League game, and they put up a decent show considering the tiny budget they work on.  Their manager said of their team, “they are such gentlemen.”  I rather liked that.

Plus it was good to be reminded of just how much talent the younger players have.  They must have remembered what football is meant to be about… going out to play and not being kicked off the park while a referee just looks on and tells them to get up and get on with it.   Ah… the old days; how football used to be.  (Actually it didn’t, but I think that is what one is supposed to say when one gets to my age, and sits in a near empty pub, on one’s own).

It was good to see Mustafi again – I’ve never been part of the crowd claiming he was useless, and to watch Alex Runarsson, who had all those crazy negative stories about him invented when it was first whispered that Arsenal were going to sign him.  Plus I still think there is plenty of time for Pépé to reveal the talent he has which made us spend a record amount on him.

Oh yes and a look at Folarin Balogun of whom everyone who has seen him, has amazing things to say.

And then, and then, to top it all, on the short drive home across the deserted countryside, the news of Tottenham.  Ah it is enough to warm the heart of any fair-minded supporter.

Group B

Team GP W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 2 2 0 0 5 1 4 6
2 Molde 2 2 0 0 3 1 2 6
3 Rapid Vienna 2 0 0 2 1 3 -2 0
4 Dundalk 2 0 0 2 1 5 -4 0

Group J

13 Replies to “Arsenal win again; the village fails to stir itself”

  1. I think Dundalk only ended the game without their fouls being given by a quite bizarre referee. I felt the challenge on Nelson and the shirt pull on Tierney were very obvious fouls which had VAR been in use would have resulted in free kicks. I think it is also worth wondering if the players were in fact Irish as they fell to the ground at the slightest of breezes. Minor complaints because as you say for once we were not exposed to the assaults that the Pigmob deem to be acceptable challenges in the Prem.

  2. The zero fouls is a fallacy. Zero fouls awarded is different to zero fouls committed. My gripe is with a myopic referee as opposed to the opposition. It was obvious from the start that the referee was going to referee this match in a very sympathetic way as far as our opposition were concerned. The gulf in class negated this ‘quirk’, as it quite patently should of done, but none the less that doesn’t make his performance any more acceptable.

    That aside Dundalk do indeed deserve high praise for their approach to the match, as well as their performance.

    They were true to their principles and tried to play their football. At no time did they resort to anything remotely resembling the thuggery much better teams than they so often do when playing Arsenal, and massive credit must be given to them for that.

    As for us, I’m as confused as ever. We have lots of players with enormous talent but they all seem to only reveal it in patches. As a team we have spells where we look like we could be the real deal, but at the moment those ‘spells’ are too few and far between.

    A work in progress perhaps best describes this current situation. Lets hope the progress is sooner rather than later.

  3. I was pleased to see Willock perform so well, he reminded me of Ramsey. His willingness to take opposition players on with his dribbling skills rather than turn and pass backwards like so many of our players are prone to do was refreshing. And of course he turned up at just the right moment in the box to score the second goal. Just like Ramsey used to do.
    I would rather see him in the team than Ceballos on current performances.

  4. Mikey

    As much as it was fun to see Spursey lose I wasn’t so sure their group is easier than ours so I thought I’d have a look. The only way I could see to do it was to use FIFA World rankings and it was quite surprising.

    This is the list of all 6 of our opponents in order of rankings and their respective points, with Arsenals in bold.

    66th……Ludogorets 1657 Points

    103rd…..DUNDALK 1610 Points

    155th…..MOLDE 1565 Points

    214th…..Antwerp 1534 Points

    225th…..Lask 1531 Points

    263rd…..RAPID VIENNA Points

    Arsenals opponents total = 4689 Points

    Spurs opponents total = 4722 Points

    So actually Spurs total just exceeds ours by a meagre 33 Points, which means, on FIFA rankings at least. that Spurs’ group is just slightly tougher than ours, but there are a couple of surprises.

    Firstly that Dundalk are actually the highest ranked of our opponents and Vienna, our supposed toughest opponents are the lowest ranked team in our group.

    Whichever way you look at it neither of use should be losing any of our matches.

    But honestly how much stock you can put in these ratings I’m not so sure as at 103 Dundalk are 17 places above Crystal Palace in 123rd, and 34 places above Aston Villa in 140th. Hmmm!!

  5. @Nitram how the hell does fIFA work our their rankings… Seems to be like their world Cup locations…

  6. Les Williams

    I know, mad aren’t they.

    I can only think it has something to do with CL/EL qualification.

    Simply qualifying for a European competition via victory in the League of Ireland for example (which equated to the 5th tier of English football) must be worth a disproportionately high amount of points compared to a bottom half finish in the English Premier League, which would obviously be ridiculous, but that’s all I can think it can be.

  7. Les Williams

    In fact on current FIFA rankings, if Dundalk played in the Premier League they would finish in 13th place, above Crystal palace, Newcastle, Aston Villa, Brighton, Leeds Utd, Watford, Sheffield Utd and Fulham.

    As much as I Thought Dundalk did themselves proud last night I’m not sure about that to be honest 😉

  8. @ Nitram

    I nice analysis but you forgot one key factor in your calculations.

    The media are always telling us how much better the Spuds are than Arsenal and “apparently” Kane and Son are now better than Messi and Ronaldo! When you factor that in, relatively speaking they are infinitely better than the rest of their group.

    By contrast Arsenal, as a pathetic, inept, can’t defend, can’t score team who need to replace every player in the club, are probably considered the weakest club in our group by much of the media lol………………hence our opposition is relatively much stronger…………….

  9. @Nitram

    really didn’t realise that Dundalk were that good. Still what do we know about football much like avast number of referees….

  10. @Nitram repost corrected

    really didn’t realise that Dundalk were that good. Still what do we know about football – much like a vast number of referees….

  11. Mikey

    Indeed they do but still it’s us that have won 4 trophies in the last 10 years and Spurs that have won zip!

    As you say Spurs have better players a better manager a better owner a better stadium better scouts better negotiators in fact there isn’t a thing about Spurs that isn’t better or bigger than us, except of course there trophy cabinet.

    To be honest Mikey as far as I can tell even most Spurs fans find it all a little embarrassing.

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