130 Comments

Can Arsenal Fans Answer The Question Of Belief?

Belief.

We live in a world where every aspect of our lives is controlled by belief.

This most intriguing of psychological states is perhaps responsible for the shaping of our world more than anything else. The romantics may argue love and the cynics may argue greed is equally responsible, yet nothing is more dangerous than a man with either a lack of or an abundance of faith. From the dawn of civilisation, belief has elevated men to the heavens and dragged them to the depths of hell. Alexander The Great conquered the known world not because of his troops or unprecedented strategic mind but because he believed he could. Yet the excessive nature of his beliefs led to his downfall as his men mutinied against an invasion of India after years at war. Gaius Juluis Caesar’s belief in his abilities led him to conquer France with his faith in his political nous helped him dispatch his rivals in Rome. Yet his convictions that he should introduce reform and that he should be held accountable to no man lead to his rather bloody end.

While remarkable individuals such as these exuded faith in themselves others have displayed trust in existential beliefs. In 1095 Pope Urban II decreed that the Holy Land should be liberated from those of other religious faiths that held it due to his beliefs. Thus began almost 200 years of unabridged violence and hatred in the Middle East, the aftermath of which can still be felt today. Countless wars have been fought due to beliefs about war, land, rights and the belief in the sanctity of freedom. It has enabled our species to take to the skies, touch the highest peak on our world and even walk on the moon. It has also caused the extermination of 6 million Jews, ingrained prejudice and terrorist attacks. A sombre and most probably inappropriate time for me to finally start talking about Arsenal then you may think.

The Gunners are at yet another pivotal moment in our season and it’s safe to say that the fans have gone well and truly mental this season. I would suggest that the increased expectation this season due to our first truly world class signing in years has altered the chemical balance of several Gooner’s brains. It’s certainly more polite than hypothesising that they may in fact, just be idiots. This article is being penned on the night of our victory over Liverpool and the idea of a blog on belief occurred to me during the build-up to the game. Various degrees of belief were on show, from the belief that “Arsene has went mental” spiel from renowned doom-monger LeGrove to the belief that “We should support the team” from neutrals to the belief that” Everything will be absolutely fantastic” from the almost nauseatingly optimistic Blackburn George. I of course retained my belief that James ‘Raul’ Stokes is a filthy harlot with such perverted desires even Giroud’s mistress couldn’t fulfil them. While observers of the Arsenal online community will no doubt find that these individuals expressing said opinions hardly ground-breaking, it did intrigue me.

We are all perfectly aware that LeGrove and his cluster of likeminded individuals will spew forth negativity and general discontent until the club succumbs to their poisonous bile and eventually relents, allowing them places as Manager, Fitness Coach and CEO of our beloved club. Equally certain is that Blackburn George shall beam forth positivity, mowing down those that dare question the will of his God on his motorcycle of delusion. If one said the sky was blue the other would say green. We know they will never convince each other that their beliefs are correct.

Yet the notion that our chances should be dismissed so readily before the game is even played is incomprehensible and it shows a fundamental lack of understanding of how football is actually played. Using such warped logic surely Fulham fans shouldn’t bother existing as on paper, they are the worst team in the league and must therefore be destined to lose every game? Such fervent belief that our team do not have the capability to win is laughable, never mind that they may not even be able to compete. As a side note, what alarms me more than that belief though, is the outpouring of bile that seems to accompany it. If an opinion is posted it will typically be followed with several people posting insults to Wenger, the players, the board or anyone that crosses their path. It is shameful to see and lets all our fanbase down.

It seems strange to me that even during the good times, when we have beat Liverpool twice, Spurs twice, topped the league and progressed from the Champions League Group of Death that certain individuals have displayed a complete lack of faith in our team. To examine our players, the conviction and abilities they possess and yet still determine that they are unable to compete shows, for me, someone who struggles to comprehend that we have progressed from the team of pretty passers to a team worthy of the club. A desire to see Arsenal fail so that changes are implemented is equally as disgusting.

Our manager and players have spoken several times of their trust in each other and belief that they can end our wait for a trophy.  I retain the belief that Arsenal can win the league this year. More than that, I have faith that we can win the double of the League and FA cup. Whilst others will disagree, as is their right, I shall remain convinced of our team’s qualities, although perhaps not to the radical degree of Blackburn George and his ilk.

Since I have harped on about belief so much I thought I’d leave you with a 2500 year old quote that remains relevant that we can all appreciate:

“Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.”

Thanks for reading and to George for hosting this on his wonderful site. I’ve been Dyllan Munro and feel free to drop a comment and let me know what you think of the article. You can also reach me on twitter @goonerdyllan. Thanks everyone.

130 comments on “Can Arsenal Fans Answer The Question Of Belief?

  1. nicely written piece dyllan, tho like zimpaul I to lack faith but I do believe in arsene and his team to deliver. I also agree with finsbury when he points out that a certain cartel of agents are probably behind many of the ridiculous transfer stories we are treated to & I think/believe as well the negative articles and such that then attack the club as failing to sign such and such, showing our lack of ambition because we refuse to eat with them at their feast of mammon, it filters into the media basically because editors & journalists are to overworked/lazy to do anything but put out almost word for word any PR junk that crosses their desk, you can see there is no research in most media output not just sports journalism, analysis seems to come from the desks of ministers and thinktanks, agents or oligarchs.

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  2. Whoosh
    And Citeh were out the CL
    Horribly one sided first leg
    Messi barely out of second gear

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  3. But, but Aguero was out.

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  4. “Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.”

    Really excellent article and this quote resonates with a long held belief of mine and is why I hate the negativity because I believe it breeds more negativity unnecessarily.

    Arsene deserves a medal, never mind about £6/7 m a year for allowing himself to be the fall guy for the club’s smoke and mirrors game. This is why he really deserves to win something soon.

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  5. Cesc telling Maureen to shut up excellent. Its funny he doesn’t seem so special and making himself look a dick every week certainly makes me a happy one

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  6. I’ve just read Pellegrini’s post match comments. It will be interesting to see how UEFA treat him. I didn’t see the incidents, but knowing how broke back barca are the favoured team of the establishment, it wouldn’t surprise me that they have had their usual helping hand on their way to the final once again.

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  7. SA

    I have realised that the concourse around the stadium must be tarmac to allow access for emergency vehicles etc. *coughs*
    That left the gigantic bare concrete monolith with a sponsors logo and some glass. I prefer the simple ‘Arsenalisation’ curtains that were added later to the flashing Philips advert that surrounds the Alliance Arena (arena? The home of Munich).

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  8. One point not sufficiently made, is how drastically the competitive environment changed after the stadium move. First up, we had a Russian oligarch engage in an unprecedented spending spree of over £1 Billion in less than a decade enabling Chelsea to win 3 League titles, 1 Champions League, 1 Europa League, and 2 League cups. Joining the party 4 years ago was the the rulers of a Gulf Emirate who in four years virtually matched in spending what it took Roman 10 years to achieve. No wonder City was able to leverage its its way to a title two years ago. Yet Arsene

    Wenger has been able to adapt and sustain competitive excellence by keeping us in the champions for 16 years in succession despite having a relative fraction of the resources of his chief rivals. Is it too much to ask for any well-thinking person, who is not blinded by idiotic idea that AFC could have gone head-to-head with CFC and MCFC, to have belief that the the club is built for long term success?

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  9. Shotta,
    What is remarkable is how little reference the English football hacks give to those numbers. As Rafa Benitez observed they never asked him about tactics. They don’t talk about form or how players actually play (goal scorer = MOTM). They certainly will not talk about budgets. But they do like to talk about transfers!

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  10. Ok. Getting a little bit nervous now. Big match butterflies.
    I can’t wait!

    Come on Arsenal!

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  11. Steady Fins !

    I have to admit a certain pleasurable tingling in the my mood today as the clock crawls towards kick off time.

    Brilliant evening in prospect. While in theory it is a disadvantage to take them on in the first leg at home think tonight it will be to our benefit. We require a big push to get our boat afloat in this contest and the Ems can give us that heave.

    We take on the best team in Europe, with a pedigree proven in their domestic and European games, over the past two years. They do not just have individual players who rank among the best in football but play as a team. Ten years on, twenty years on there are names who will be remembered or their craft. And they have a very classy manager.

    And we, us, our club, have he opportunity to play them and beat them.

    And we have the footballing ability to do it, we have the character to do it. As i say we have the crowd and the resources to do it.

    So no excuses, let’s just get on with it.

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  12. finsbury, of course. The club was not going to leave the stadium structurally unsound. The fact that the finishing touches were not done and only incrementally done tells you how close things were.

    Regarding tonight, the excitement has been building up! Our attitude in the 90 minutes is going to matter a lot. If we let them boss us, it is going to be a tough tough match, but if we believe, if we impose our game, Bayern have something coming for them.

    Also excited to see what tactic Wenger employs. I hope our sole aim is not a 0-0 as that can backfire.

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  13. Georgaki, if you are reading this, up for watching the game together tonight?

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  14. I hope our sole aim is not a 0-0 as that can backfire.

    no not our sole aim but our first priority

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  15. I hope our aim is x – 0 where x > 0

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  16. “If you look at the history of the Champions League, you will see that it’s always the big players that make the difference.

    “The main heroes are on the pitch, not on the bench.”

    and if youre given 100-200-300 million to get those players/heroes it makes it all the easier doesnt it jose? …but no…you still have to play with 11 defenders … oh the fear of failure….

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  17. Good stuff Anicoll. Hopefully people will get to the stadium before half seven as requested by Redaction

    The margins are so fine in these games. A faint deflection off the inside of Weidenfeller’s thigh in Dortmund resulted in this tie against Munchen.

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  18. SA
    An old English proverb:
    You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

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  19. Shotta, you know what else is never mentioned? How the mega spenders hoard talent and ruin footballers’ careers. A big problem I see these clubs having in the future is their failure to recruit young talent. One only has to point at Rodwell, McEachran and Lukaku as examples of how a youngster’s career may be derailed by a club which is quick to buy an expensive striker.

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  20. Let’s see what tonight brings.

    Wenger has proved incredibly adept on CL platform, punching above his team’s weight so to speak, and I think he loves the tactical challenge. I have no doubt he has attempted to win every single encounter every year, producing some astonishing wins, and sets up a team and tactics to do that, every time. He doesn’t do 0-0s. That is not to say a helter-skelter Liverpudlian affair either; it’s tactical, cautious, technical; how to gain advantage and score against a given opposition, how to control, and not concede.

    We have several factors in our advantage, and one to our disadvantage. We have European “pedigree”. 14 or 15 years at this level is not a joke, teams know this. Somehow we can play better, often, on the European stage, including some surprising away wins. I don’t know why. Domestic pressure on players is relieved in a way. We have often been the underdog. We play more freely. We raise our game, especially technically. We use our strengths better, or perhaps our strengths are not as easily negated as by English teams and refs. The level of our team this year is higher than last year and higher than many years previously, so we raise our game from that base. We have experienced players at this level. Mesut, Tomas if he starts, Flamini, Per, Kos, Bac, Santi, maybe Lukas if he plays all have a lot of European experience.

    Our biggest advantage is probably the surprise factor. They don’t know exactly what a player like Ox does, exactly how we can play. TV replays are no substitute.

    The disadvantage is playing Munich, 16 points clear in Bundesliga, umpteen games unbeaten in all competitions, the best team in the known universe yadayada, and all Wenger will say is, they are beatable. Every team is beatable. We have confidence.

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  21. I am a bit late to the Post – well, OK, I seem to have missed the bus altogether.

    The pleasurable tingly feeling Anicol mentions, regarding the anticipation of tonight’s game, may be akin to the pleasurable tingly feeling our man Giro experienced as the sexy strumpet approached his hotel room where he did NOT have carnal knowledge of her. [Well that is what he now claims and who am I to doubt him?] 🙂

    I hope Giro has recovered from his claimed non-exertions and also the tongue lashing his better half has no doubt given him for not doing what she thunk he did, and allow all of us to be titilated by his invigorated performance on the green sward of the Emirates pitch instead!

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  22. Although a belated reference to the Post, I found it interesting as a piece in which it revealed a lot about the author, and his dislike for certain other bloggers, two of whom I have never heard mention of previously.

    None the less it made for absorbing reading, although Gaius Julius Caesar to give him his correct name, must have held very strong beliefs, indeed, as he cavorted through Europe conquering La Belle France as it did not exist until 2,000 years after he was assassinated.

    Just shows what belief can do for you — hope our lads are of a similar persuasion tonight as we rout the Germanic tribes Caesar carelessly left behind. 🙂

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  23. I’ll get me coat then!

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  24. and now i will join henryb and fins ……fuck work…only one thing matters now….im off !!!!

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  25. Interesting to see the referee tonight – Nicola Rizzoli – he who presided over the past visit of a team managed by Guardiola to the stadium

    My impression that night is he let the players get on with it and was not impressed with the diving antics of Alves and Busquets

    Hopefully we shall see more of that tonight

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  26. Really good article, Dyllan, please contribute again!

    I definitely wouldn’t put PG and people like me at the opposite end of the spectrum to Le Grove nutters, because such folk are irrational. That’s the difference. Whatever the subject, intelligent, well-meaning people can look at the same set of facts and come to different conclusions, perhaps because they lay greater emphasis on some facts more than others. But the views of the Geoffs and Pedros of this world are not based on looking at all the available facts, you could even say they are often based on actual untruths. They are rooted purely on emotion – the anger and humiliation that they feel about Arsenal not having won a trophy since 2005 and their resentment at AW not spending like the Mancs or Chavs. No trophies, no money – these are the only facts that matter to them. They’re addicted to their anger and hatred – even if we were to embark on a golden age of trophy winning they would still want AW and the Board out because they consider that they have deliberately denied Arsenal (and therefore Geoff/Pedro) glory.

    @ ZimPaul
    I make you right about the media obsession with the narrative being too much for some fans to handle!

    @ hunter13 and Arsenal Andrew
    I think there is more to it than the Board sending mixed messages in order to maintain an illusion that there was money to spend. It is true that there has been more money, and all the money was available to Arsene, and he didn’t spend it all. However, apart from the obvious issues about player availability, being outbid by doped clubs etc etc, using it to buy and pay high salaries to new players might have been inefficient use of it. According to Geoff Arsenal, until recently many of the players had parity clauses in their contracts. (The last such contracts have now elapsed.) So if a top player had been lured in with a much higher salary, it would have cost several times as much because of Arsenal being contractually obliged to raise the salaries of other players. The club would have been paying much more for the same players while making little difference to the standard of the squad overall. Plus it would have been even harder to move them on if under-performing. And the transfer funds (from the same pot of money) would also have been hugely reduced.

    Taking all those factors into account, my feeling is that that tipped the balance even more towards favouring debt repayment (if it would save money in the long term) and building up the club’s reserves, and instead trying to find rough diamonds and prodigies. So there was an element of choice – that is the only concession I make to the Pedros and Geoffs, while emphasising that making the other choice (spending anyway) would have made little material difference to our results because we would not have been able to bring in enough mature top players until those parity contracts wound down.
    Short term pain, long term gain, etc once again. Is my theory. Have I convinced you?

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  27. And now looking forward to the important stuff…

    Everyone expects us to get slaughtered tonight, so we won’t be. No-one expects us to progress, so we will. No pressure on us, at home, a point to prove to ourselves… That said, I’ll take a boring 0-0 RIGHT NOW.

    Come on you glorious Gunners!

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  28. I wish I hadn’t said that now. I’d temporarily forgotten about my propensity for jinxing. I accept responsibility in advance if it’s a ‘mare tonight.

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  29. So many good contributions on here so
    COYG

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  30. Not knowing the ‘participants’ or where there views rank, I was interested in what FunGunner said.

    Cutting through the various beefs and blessings there is one incontrovertible fact that every pundit, however reluctantly, has come to openly accept.

    Money buys trophies.

    Stuff Ferguson and his band of acolytes, bollix to the narcissistic Moaning Maureen and his claque of crapulous media devotees, and shame on those who unfailingly heap opprobrium on Arsene Wenger.

    What makes a ‘great’ manager in the eyes of the credulous? It is trophies. And what buys trophies? It is money! [See above].

    Ferguson was the biggest beneficiary of Manure being the first club to become a public company, with the riches that brought to make him the reaper of the best available players during his Yoonited tenure, and the trophies that resulted.

    Apart from Porto, where did Maureen make his name? At intensely cash rich Chelsea and Inter Milan and Real Madrid and what did he do with all that cash? He bought players who were out of the reach of clubs like Arsenal, and that money bought him ……. trophies. Oh what a great manager! Bollix.

    If I were to race Sebastian Vettel while driving a Ferrari, that Abramovich bought me, and Vettel drove a Ford Escort I suspect I would win. Yaay!! What a great driver I would be!!! Yeah, right – bollix.

    Money buys trophies. End of,

    So, sit back and enjoy tonight’s game — we will never have as much money as the Oilers, but at least we are now able to splash some cash, and trophies will surely come our way.

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  31. Top post Dyllan which I enjoyed very much whilst on the move so apologies for late thanks.
    Henry B
    Top classical points , although routing the German tribes would be a little bit too much like fixing our canon against self-slaughter these days. Delighted to hear that no carnal knowledge took place, as the thought of our man embracing a side of beef is not nice.

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  32. As ever, interesting comments, Fungunner.

    I guess I’m on something of a mission to try to understand why some fans are so against so much of what is to our eyes now clearly going on at the club. I think where I’m at now is that there is a rump of followers who have found themselves (post-Highbury) disenfranchised and that group was joined by some who were miffed at the apparent nil spend whilst being told funds were available. I’d further hazard a guess that the media are successfully misleading a further group who simply can’t be bothered to look beyond the vacuuous and often downright poisonous headlines.

    That all said, following the defeat at Anfield, the speed at which so many seemed to again turn on the club was a thing of wonder. That they did so whilst we are still in firm contention for the EPL, the CL and the FA cup in many ways tells it’s own story about their lack of credibility. Nonetheless, we can doubtless expect them to start up again in the face of any future setbacks.

    Oh and yes, FG, let’s hope you’ve not jinxed anything!

    Enjoy the game everyone.

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  33. One reason why we have done well in Europe is the different way the matches are refereed from the way they are in the PL. Notice the anguish among the City players last night as their fouls were called fouls, and notice the outrage amongst our media that suddenly the City strong arm was outlawed. I am sure that should the unthinkable happen and we lose by two clear goals this evening we will be similarly sympathized with but reassured that although we aren’t quite there yet we are certainly on our way – and Arsene Wenger will be lauded should he call into question the neutrality of the ref, just as heroic Pellegroani was In some papers this morning.

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  34. foreverheady, @ 5:18

    I am in somewhat of a quandary, in that I want to reassure you as to the purity of Giro’s intentions towards the young lady in question, (as reported by his goodself) and yet, I do not comprehend your reference to a ‘side of beef’ in that particular context, as I did not mention it in my comment.

    To explain that ‘carnal knowledge’, as opposed to carnivore knowledge, merely means ‘copulation’ is rather too self explanatory perhaps, and maybe I am being far too impulsive, or seemingly judgemental, in traipsing into another person’s sexual predilections — in which case I apologise, and assure you that I have no prurient interest in whatever part a side of beef plays in your personal foreplay. 🙂

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  35. Henry B: “If I were to race Sebastian Vettel while driving a Ferrari, that Abramovich bought me, and Vettel drove a Ford Escort I suspect I would win. Yaay!! What a great driver I would be!!! Yeah, right – bollix.”

    I still fancy Vettel to win a few or come close to winning a few, which is exactly what Arsene Wenger did over these past trophyless years. This is why Mourinho’s comments fell so flat. In an age where people are struggling to put food on the table, bragging about being a rich man’s lackey is not as funny as it would have been a decade ago. Mourinho came off as a pedantic twat and a bully.

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  36. Henry B.

    Sorry: no predilection for forerib play. Thought you were quoting a bit of Arcadia. Still think you were, despite the fact that there is more than a bit of the rosbif about his game.

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  37. G69, Spot on! 🙂

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  38. fheady, 🙂

    COYG

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  39. Enough with the smiley faces already

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  40. Blimey! Sanogo starts. I did not see that one coming. Big vote of confidence in him.

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  41. ARSENAL TEAM: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Flamini, Wilshere, Ozil, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sanogo

    SUBS: Fabianski, Monreal, Jenkinson, Rosicky, Gnabry, Podolski, Giroud

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  42. Why of fucking why?..we have matched them….we have surpassed them…we could be two nil up…..why oh fucking why? It may well technically be a penalty….but is is harsh and it has spoiled such a spectacle…..

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  43. Very unfortunate…very.

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  44. Just what I was thinking, G69. The rule should be changed so you don’t red card the offending player if he is the keeper – yellow not red. We just have to hold out now. After such a great start as well.

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  45. Thank God for Fabianski, at least

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  46. I thought the ref was going to be lenient seeing that Wojo was trying to avoid Robben.

    On a different note, I really wish the play acting would be stamped out of football. Robben looked liked he had been shot.

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  47. This is the sort of situation in which we could really use Theo. (sigh)

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  48. And Aaron Ramsey. (double sigh)

    Gary Lineker, MOTD presenterArsenal 0-0 Bayern Munich:

    “Never understood why a player gets a red card for denying a goal scoring opportunity if it’s a penalty. A penalty is a goal scoring opp!”

    Good point. double punishment.

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  49. Özil is getting criticised by everyone…that’s that fad at the moment…

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