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Third Place Reeled In

Phil-Jones-v2

Morning Positive people and it is raining heavily in Norfolk this Monday morning.

Despite that damp start to the week a satisfactory footballing start to the week with our CL qualification to the group stages all but* confirmed by Mr Dean’s final whistle and two games to scrape the point that will place our name in the pot in Nyon on the 5th August.

The game yesterday ? Well having emphasised the ‘special’ nature of the Manc fixture in my comment on Stew’s excellent piece yesterday I sat glumly through the first half, watching what was a long way away from a good game of football. The home side defended deep and solidly, our passing was off target, our threat on De Gea’s goal totally missing. It just seemed our players not communicating as you would expect of a group have played together game after game in recent weeks. I can’t recall Santi knocking so many wrong passes in one half of football. I suspect after all the football he has played this season the man from the Asturias requires a rest.

My congratulations though to Phil Jones for the highlight of the first half pictured above, and provided by the Indy this morning. The boy has a talent for the ridiculous.

Manyoo were not any better during these exchanges  and it was surprising that they actually managed to hit the target after half an hour. Not even a bad tackle to spark things up and get the crowd roaring. Barely noticed Dean all afternoon.

Half time came and went and in the opening of the second period the torpor continued, Manyoo hesitant to chase a second, and us not still not clicking into gear.

And then, as so often happens in the mystery that is football, Robin came on at 61 minutes, Radamael waved a wistful paw at the unimpressed Trafford Park tourists for the final time, and we finally came to life. The passes found their target, the Mancs missed tackles and spilled possession. They weakened and we became stronger and more confident. Co-incidence ? The mechanism of cosmic balance for man’s wrongs to be expiated ? The sinister influence of Malaysian gambling interests perhaps ? No idea.

And in that final half hour I thought we were pretty damn good. I sensed a certain tension when RvP arrived and fear among even some stout hearted Positivatas that the bastard would score a second. In truth he was shockingly feeble, barely touched the ball. For us Mesut had been very quiet but was now in space and picking out passes and crosses. Giroud’s battering of the centre backs had drawn blood, Roja and De Gea departed, and we controlled the game as we have not done in a while at their place. For all you Aaron fans out there it was Christmas Day in that final 30 minutes.

The equalizer was inevitable although the part Blackett played was unlucky for the boy, though slightly less unlucky that Kieran Gibbs similar deflection that upset the Ems match for us in November.

Those final 12 minutes or so we pressed, the Mancs covered up and clung on. Flamini arrived and we knew it was a single point rather than the three that would be our reward for the afternoon’s work. Herrera finally got Dean to wave his card in the 94th minute just prior to the final whistle.

And that was that. Some second half quality, not much incident or controversy. A professional performance.

It is just a short step to the Black Cats so enjoy the week.

* touches wood

About anicoll5

Arsenal supporter, 59, Dad, harmless and humourless, political militant moderate, school governor and worker bee

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90 comments on “Third Place Reeled In

  1. a.Lawrence on 5Live

    “I don’t think people realise how hard it’s been for Liverpool having replaced Suarez and Sturridge with Lambert and Balotelli”

    A. Proper. Charlatan.
    It’s embarrassing. Not for me!

    Please don’t buy this parasite’s book.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Didn’t understand NOTH’s comment above but that didn’t stop me liking it!

    How’s that for confirmation bias?

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  3. It was only a couple of years ago that most of the experts were rubbishing De Gea and suggesting that he would never make it in the PL. I think he even let in a real soft one which saw United knocked out of a cup last season. He has proved very good since then. Cech used to be brilliant but isn’t so special now, so I would be surprised if he was our manager’s choice: time will tell but I can’t see it. I don’t think it is being particularly contrarian to suggest Ospina stays at number one, Shotta: he looks OK to me, and I do like the look of Martnez too. However, the thing that would most please me would be to see Szczesny rise to the heights he is surely capable of: I just have a horrible feeling he might want to go and do it somewhere else now.

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  4. but almunia was a bad keeper..it was just not worth spending for a keeper in those days..especially when fulham was asking like 4 million for schwarz…. in hindsight van de sar didnt do too bad for manu. i have no problem with ospina..maybe he grows to be tafarel ..although if he were of that standard others would have known sooner and pinch him. however i would welcome a casillas as number one and ospina number two and schezney number 3…looks like a more reasonable line up/ progression too. casillas is only 33. cech ok its difficult dealing with chelsea and mourinho plus that silly head gear…

    lets not forget wenger is also a specialist in reviving careers of those who feel finished or those who feel they need a change…….. the problem is the wages…top keepers demand top dollar…

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  5. Arsenal U21’s now 3 up, Pleguezuelo with the latest goal.

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  6. De Gea needed the time, minutes on the pitch, to adapt and to grow.

    That’s why the Cassillas rumours don’t or won’t make any sense. He’d need to adapt after playing for a protected team in la liga his whole career, by which time…

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  7. an OG makes it 4-0 to Arsenal U21’s

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  8. First, thanks to Steww for the preview, which as always, was excellent.

    Thanks for this review, anicol.
    I wasn’t gonna write anything because – as well as we played, or not, I thought Dean done his usual stuff by allowing them to kick and pull and tug – without punishment.
    “Barely noticed Dean all afternoon.” – was not the case for me. But should I note things like that on here, a Positive Arsenal blog?

    It’s probably negative for me to think the powers that be will do all they can to get ManU higher, and Arsenal lower. I only reach that conclusion through watching the last 10 years of Ars games (and watching during that time made me suspicious of games played prior to the last decade, particularly between Ars and ManU).

    The reason I have written is because of eduardo’s post at 6:00pm.
    BBC: Abbey Holmes seeks legal advice.

    Seeks legal advice for what? Shouldn’t Kelly seek legal advice, for “had an accident at work?”
    And there’s the thing: FA, BBC, SKY, etc, appear to insist they alone must decide what’s a bad tackle and on whom. These bastions always tell me summat that’s different to what I see. (I didn’t notice Giroud’s shirt being tugged off him in the MOTD2 highlights, or the two footer on Alexis, did you?)

    I suppose it’d open a can of worms if the above named org’s didn’t fight to ensure that Arsenal players (of either gender) will not speak out about being deliberately injured.
    And I stress Arsenal players because the financially doping one gets a 45 min. slot to talk about being hard done by, on Sky. (Where, when he asks what decisions has his team gotten, the “journos” don’t mention Chelski’s assaults on Ars players, like the 2footer on Alexis or the punch to Özil).

    anicol, I can’t decide if you’re being ironic or jokey about the magnificent appointment of the English refs?

    And I’m still worried about the level of kicking that’ll be allowed from Sunderland and WBA. Consider the plethora of uncalled decisions in last years cup final. Kinda looks like Arsenal were never meant to win it. Any other team must be given incredible chances to progress, finish higher, or take the trophy, etc.

    Having said all of that, I remain positive about The Arsenal. Well done for getting a point at OT. Good luck on Weds (I’ll be there), and for the two remaining matches.

    And thanks again to PA and its commentators.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. the whole Casillas and Cech thing does not make sense at all, both are on the way down, Casillas would most likely need lots of time to adapt to the English game, and Arsenal would have to change their way of defending or Cech would have to change his game big time if he was to be a success here. Just like with the Given rumors for all those years, what does writing them, fail to understand is, that Cech like Given, is a top shot stopper, but they do not command their area, they do not collect crosses, they do not sweep(Cech certainly stopped what little he did of this after his injury), and an Arsenal goalie is required by the way we set out to defend to both command his area and sweep up behind the defense.
    Why would we alter our whole way of defending just so we could bring in a goalie, when there is nothing to suggest that the guys we have would not be just as good if we took the responsibility of commanding the area and sweeping up from them.

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  10. Heady @ 8:09pm – As a former pro, you know there is more to sporting success than the physical tools, all of which Szczesny possesses. The problem it seems lies between his 2 ears. There appears to be a certain arrogance and lack of in-game concentration that makes me nervy when the ball is in his vicinity. Example the rush to throw out the ball into players under pressure or to play with the ball at his feet in the face of onrushing attackers. To me Wenger has lost trust in him, not totally, and it is up to him to regain it.

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  11. Seems Cesc wanted an early bath, else why did he do that?

    And those rumours of a new keeper are annoying… nothing wring with the ones we have. if OSpina is on Copa duty, then WS1 is first choice come start of season… Onus is on him to keep clean sheet after clean sheet and retain his spot… he is after all the one wearing 1

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  12. I think I am being somewhere between ironic, jokey and sincere Ranty about EPL refs.

    As I have always always said I am amazed at the number of calls they get right, not the ones they get wrong.

    As for Atkinson while I reckon he is well behind Oliver, Clatteburg and Deano he has been chosen for big CL games and the Europa final. His fellow officials apparently reckon he is good.

    And right on cue I turn over to the Hawthorns to see Mike Jones whip out the red card on our former captain. A bit of gross stupidity on Cesc’s part but entirely the correct decision by the official.

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  13. Also a vote going on about who would challenge Chelsea next season… i see Man U leading so far? I can only imagine it is because more Man U fans have voted before now?

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  14. You can see Costa’s blue touch paper is smouldering nicely – another red card candidate I hope

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  15. the refs are mt so bad which is what makes their arsenal bias obvious cos in many other games the take a different decision than in arsenal games!

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  16. Someone might take the trouble to tell Diego it is against the law to scratch the defender’s neck with his nails.

    Biting or stamping next ?

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  17. Does that mean Fabregas is banned for the first two games of next season or are slates wiped clean at the end of each season?

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  18. Don’t think so Dk

    2-0 and Terry could have gone for that clumsy challenge

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  19. nice for it to carry over, I know these are carried from world cup and even preseason games so likely carried over

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  20. Don’t think what, andrew?

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  21. Sorry – I mean I do not think Cesc’s ban will be carried over to next season

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  22. I think it will. So there .

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  23. anicoll, Thanks.

    So, Cesc’s off. Would he or others be sent off against us though?
    I noted with interest that Deano didn’t book a Utd player until the end of the game. To me this indicates an handbrake applied by our English refs. I noticed le Coq pulled up for a couple of ghost fouls. Coq was frustrated. (Fellelbow, elated). I don’t know which players are on 3 or 4 yellows, but the refs always do. It’s part of their pre match research. Our players at risk have to be especially careful. They don’t want to miss the final, or any match.

    Chelsea v us last two seasons, has seen them establish they can do whatever they like, and if they’d been properly carded during the match this season, they’d not have forged ahead or won the league!

    I’d prefer not to see either Cas or Chec (cash or cheque).
    Team Spirit, your assertion re Ospina and WS1 is insightful.

    There’s no end of desperation for certain people to promote the idea that Arsenal must buy whomever has-beens or top-players they say. They want this club to join in the illegal stuff. You know what I mean.

    The Arsenal Way

    Liked by 1 person

  24. our awful keepers who need replacing have conceded only 4 more than the world beaters at CFC, and 2 less than the world beaters at utd, 3 less than the world beaters at city, and 18 less than the world beaters at our neighbors

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  25. wont cesc now be suspended for their game on sunday meaning he can not pass Henry’s assist record.

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  26. reports tonight that Sterling has put in a transfer request

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  27. Ed: if he has then I hope he might come our way. Shotta: if AW has really lost faith in Sczcesny then he surely wouldn’t have kept him so close to the first team?

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  28. I see young Cesc’s three match ban will extend to next season meaning no Community Shield and the opening PL game. As you said BG.

    A Community Shield against Chelsea, Cesc or not, does not seem a bad way to kick off the season, subject to our performing on 30/5 ?

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  29. yeah i think reds in particular extend even if yellows are rescinded

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  30. I enjoyed listening to the Chelsea game last evening. Who is this player Drado? Even though he clearly wasn’t playing well I thought it was a bit harsh that the commentators kept referring to him as a wanker.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. It took me a moment ….

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Pulis and Jose hugging on the sidelines has to be one of the most sickening sights in world football.

    If a few more teams like West Brom had actually put it up to the Chavs, who knows what might have happened.

    Cesc has been riding his luck for a few weeks with dodging a red card – he must be so used to getting longer holidays he was desperate to get out of the 1st team early.

    Dradowanker, hmmmm?. I don’t get it.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. “Pulis and Jose hugging on the sidelines has to be one of the most sickening sights in world football.”

    Better on the sidelines than in the shower DC.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Not concerned about Mike Reily’s little cabal of gimps?

    How come we get Anthony Taylor and Mike Dean so many times and so few games with Mark Clattenberg?

    Liked by 2 people

  35. A love that dare not speak it’s name.

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  36. I’ll have to watch parts of the Old Trafford game tonight on the player, I am certain during the game Dean was calling fouls on every Arsenal tackle, yet allowing Utd. to hack away for fun. Then there is the usual trickery to break up any momentum in Arsenal’s possession: calling back for non existent fouls, not giving advantage, stopping or slowing down play when we have the ball, giving Utd. throw-in’s and goal kicks that clearly came off their own players.

    All these little percentages always give Utd. and Chelsea just that tilt of an extra advantage.

    Arsenal need to beat Sunderland by 14 clear goals tomorrow and 2nd place is ours!
    I’m looking forward to it already.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Cesc get’s himself a weekend off, with the Monaco grand prix coming up?

    Nicely done, Mr. Soler-Fabregas, …………….nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Perhaps Charlie Adam isn’t all bad?

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  39. So Mr Durham suggests that United have had a much better season than Arsenal. Phil McNulty says we were lame on Sunday and then praises John Henry for standing up to the Suarez transfer request, never missing an opportunity to do The Arsenal down. The entire College of Chiropractors suggests we need a new spine, but Sky confirms that the club is unlikely to spend any money. The massed ranks of the AAA twiterattti are seen beginning to twitch uncontrollably at the thought of all those targets that will be ditheringly missed.

    Meanwhile at Colney, Arsene Wenger calmly goes about preparing his squad to finish the League campaign in style before heading off to Wembley for the fifth time in little more than a calendar year.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. New Post is up >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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