29 Comments

Sunderland Was Not A Bad Performance !

A guest post from Double Canister.
Sunderland came and earned the point that makes them safe, Arsenal, despite numerous efforts to do more, managed to earn the point that should deliver 3rd place – leaving any chance of closing in on City for second place impossible now on the final day of the season. Wenger made a couple of changes to the team that didn’t weaken it at all, Jack gave a very lively hour of work showing us once again that he still has so much more to give to this club.
We have seen many times before teams who believe they have cracked a system on how to get out of the Emirates with at least a point; frustrate Arsenal: break up attacks, mess around on throw-ins and goal kicks, foul rotationally under the watching eye of a ref who has convinced himself the pitch always needs a slight tilting in the plucky northern underdogs favour (never ever, for the home team!) deep defending in numbers – all that sort of thing.
Sunderland did all of the above, and none very well. I can’t imagine ever seeing a team defending so deep, they were practically lining up the defensive back 6 on the goal line – which explains why some of our shots didn’t go in. Some will criticise the Arsenal team sent out for failing to crack this difficult Makem nut, but I can’t really do so – and neither should any reasonably rational Arsenal supporter. The only realistic way to counter this tactic from away teams at the emirates is to be as patient as hell and keep redoing and redoing the drills and patterns until the bus parking side cracks under the pressure, usually by conceding a penalty or a free kick.
Gibbs and Bellerin could not have had easier days out, both were always right up the top of the pitch acting as auxiliary wingers, and very rarely had to drift back to help out a very comfortable centreback pairing, such was the lack of desire by the visitors to risk leaving their own half of the pitch. When Gibbs or Bellerin had to provide protection their speed made cover for the defence quite easy to deliver. There was no way to counter attack a team who didn’t want to expose their own defensive weaknesses, they had an extra 2 or 3 men between the Arsenal player on the ball and their own overcrowded penalty box, there were no pathways in behind that could be prised opened until the arrival of a very effervescent Theo Walcott. Rosicky’s magic touch for the final 10 minutes could do it either. Perhaps if the Ox was fit something different could have been applied, of one of Arteta imperious quarterback passes over the top.
Were Santi, Ramsey, Alexis and Özil a tad jaded?  perhaps so, Old Trafford is aways a hard away match. Giroud wasn’t delivering but he was living on scraps, as as far as I could see John O’Shea was virtually wearing the same shorts as him. Arsene may be a modern manager but the joys of rotation a squad are alien to him at times, perhaps he really does think the players coming back from injury are not really as match ready as us Gooners down the pub have told ourselves? The same old patterns of disgruntlement could be heard upon leaving the Clockend last night after the game from the never-will-be-happy-ever-again-since-we-left-Highbury gang. Certainly none of the long distance shots came anywhere near the target for us either. near post runs were not being made, the best use of the effective width wasn’t being used. Some days it just doesn’t go to plan for you.
All in all a hard worked draw, plenty of opportunities were there to make it a 1-0 night to the Arsenal, none were forthcoming thanks to the luck and lately found tenacity of the opposition. By the way, by my count that’s the 5th time Arsenal have been inflicted with the presence of Mr. Anthony Taylor of South Manchester this season, a statistical anomaly. He must be pleasing his masters mightily with his performances, but he isn’t making too many friends in the Emirates stands. Some decisions were quite inexplicably given against us, and I think when he booked Ramsey for a nothing challenge the rest of the team got the message and just eased-off a little – no one wants to miss a cup final due to a mendacious PGMOL official’s whimsy. He did however equally miss Koscielny using some part of his upper arm (accidentally?) which deflected a rare Makem shot away from our goal.
From what we can see, there is a fair amount of work still to do to prepare for the cup final, but at least we can sleep easier knowing Darth Pulis can’t cause us too much anguish on the last day of the season. Arsenal had effective control of the whole game last night from minutes 1 to 93, however it does look like goal chances have dried up over the last few weeks, is there something lacking with the team like a killer bite or raw aggression? (Courtesy of Hunter’s recent comments) or is it just tiredness? I say the latter.
Is this progress over the last fee seasons, is the team and squad really moving towards a title challenge and a longer stay in the Champion’s League next season?
I really believe so, but a little bit depends on what Arsenal PLC will do during the summer, a few small adjustments might happen to the squad, more emphasis in rest and medial attention to the team will be one of the best benefits of a longer summer break from the Premier (oh do stop that crap for once and for all will you please, Skysports, BT and BBC) League. The unknowable is what our rivals will do, Man Utd. still have hundreds of millions of US taxpayers money to throw away like they did last Summer, Chelsea will look at ways of making Jose’s team even more mean with the ball, City will be desperate to be back on the glory hunting trail and whoever replaces Brendan Rodgers has a massive headache to content with at Anfield.
I reackon Arsène has the nicest job this summer.

29 comments on “Sunderland Was Not A Bad Performance !

  1. I was expecting Anthony to come up with the goods last night after his two great performances at the Grove this season ( Villa and the red Scousers) but it was not to be.

    Like Arsenal I think he was put off by Sunlun’s approach – I mean who in earth would ever believe that serial headcase Lee Cattermole would not do enough to be booked or red-carded in a game as crucial as last night?

    Its a result’s game though Anthony and I fear we shall have to put our funds into other official investments if you fail to show up with your whistle when required.

    Like

  2. Nice one DC. Agree totally (although not too sure why Arteta’s quarterback passes are “imperilled”) – games like last night’s are usually decided by a lucky break, like when that shot rebounded off two Sunderland players but hit the post and came out. And when Panti got a hand to Theo’s cross-shot and the rebound bounced just behind the inrushing Arsenal player (Santi? Aaron?). If one of those had gone our way, they would have been forced to come out and play and then we would have got more. But yes, they are looking a bit jaded. Despite edy’s fears, I just can’t see Manure making up a 7 goal GD margin against a team still fighting for their PL lives.
    Personally, I can’t wait for the season to finish so the transfer window can open – always much more interesting than the football, imho (banned sly smiley).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Going on from Ian earlier a problem with TAO is that it is not a system that is applied universally or consistently.
    One 4th official’s reasonable/natural break in play is another man’s time wasting. There is no “30 seconds must be allowed per substitution” rule. It seems to be purely at the discretion of the official on the day.

    The alternative would be to have a real CLOCK, NFL style. everyone could see where we were then. God knows how long games would lost though.

    I suspect, based upon a careful review of my shakey memory, that time added on in evening games is always shorter than a weekend afternoon.

    Like

  4. Thanks for this post DC. I quite enjoyed watching the game though shared the players’ frustration, and was genuinely surprised to find how angry some were about the performance. I have noticed that there is a strict formula applied to Time Added On. Three Minutes is the standard starting point but extra are only added on if the Arsenal is in the process of defending a slender lead.

    I have been a keen critic of Mr Taylor since August 2013, but whilst not perfect thought he was OK last night: he could easily have found another card for Aaron, and Kos could have seen Red for his handball.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks folks for comments, apologies about the proof reading – hard to do while drinking a G & T in a Soho pub on a lazy Thursday afternoon.
    I really have grown a fresh admiration for all the professional hacks who can manage it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m sure I meant to type ‘imperious’,

    ……..bloody iPad.

    Like

  7. Fixed it. Imperious work I do here.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m not sure it’s possible to defend the actions of an individual who is paid to operate a stopwatch, who proves to be incapable of operating a stopwatch. It’s not that hard, is it?

    If you want to defend this official my best advice would be to carry on the thread elsewhere, where the officials themselves go to read and where people appreciate the difficult job they have. You know where. The Sunderland Arshavin game is one that George will remember. Taylor is an arse, there is no defence.

    The arsenal fans like to sing a song about the 49tu game, which in itself is a constant reminder that not even the Invincibles could win a game upon a tilted pitch against strong opponents.

    Please don’t waste your good time.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. The bungler couldn’t show Aaron a second yellow as that would’ve shown up the poor non-call the other way a micro-second before. He bottled that call! Because, he is a bungler!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A poor official on every level. He’s not very good. At best.

    But he got the nod for the CL final ahead of Clattenburg.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/arsene-wenger-qa-full-transcript-5736938

    I’d put money on it that a full stop has been moved in this paragraph to totally change the meaning of what Wenger said,

    Q: Are you focused on signing on Petr Cech this summer?
    A: “We are not (focused) on Petr Cech at the moment. We are focused on finishing well this season and therefore it is very important not to talk too much about what we do after. I’m focused on tomorrow. The quality of our season is decided now. We are not directly qualified in the Champions League. We have a FA Cup final to play and after that we see where we stand and what we do after that.

    just consider how moving the full stop changes it to

    “We are not (focused) on Petr Cech. At the moment we are focused on finishing well this season

    which by the way is what and how he said it in the press call shown on Arsenal.com earlier in the week.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Matt Spiro @mattspiro · 9h 9 hours ago
    Arsenal’s promise to pay €4m for striker Yassin Fortune (16) and midfielder Reine Adelaide (17) could save Lens from bankruptcy (L’Equipe)

    Like

  13. I have slowly come around to Andrew Nicoll’s position that we win in spite of the refs and it is counter productive for the club to publicly expose their bias as they will shaft us even more (correct Andrew?). But I agree wholeheartedly with Fins that Taylor is bungler and a disgrace to the profession and his promotion to big games despite his flagrant ineptitude in games with and without Arsenal is a clear indicator of the PGMOL needing him for political reasons over the transparent independence of Clattenberg and Oliver who have a tendency to make the big calls against the big moneyed teams no matter what.

    As for DC’s review of the game, it is spot on, at least in the 2nd half which I saw. Their was only one team likely to win the game, creating chances and getting shots on goal; nearly 30 shots attempted, 7 or 9 on target. I can’t be arsed to check, but they are reasonably accurate stats. Giroud’s near post flick and Theo’s low hard shot to the keeper’s right were great shots but matched by an inspired goalie. The usual suspects ignore all of this and are trying to find scapegoats; managers team selection, stale tactics, players lacking quality etc. They give little credit to the effort of our players and insufficient recognition of the effective mass defending by Sunderland. As DC said, to breakdown a defence like Sunlun’s you have to patiently and repetitively work the ball for the openings and rely on the quality of the finishing. Maybe Giroud was stale and tired but without Danny Welbeck and Oxlade Chamberlain there were no reasonable subs. I read one of our “favorite” bloggers sputtering in righteous indignation that Walcott should have started despite the reasonable expectation that our right would have been less defended. It is not as if Sunderland did not have chances on breakaways.

    Anyways, so did Ospina shut up the armchair scouts and Managers who like to spout the cliche that your goalkeeper should keep you in the game? They are so quiet it is damning.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Arsenal Fixture News @AFCFixtureNews · 10h 10 hours ago
    Arsenal are taking 2 trialists from our Greek Academy to the @GenevaCup namely:

    Konstantinos Balagiannis

    and

    Marko Divkovic

    Like

  15. don’t sunderland have the most clean sheets in the league and also don’t they have the most 0-0 in the league this season

    Like

  16. sorry not most clean sheets, but most draws(17) and most 0-0 draws

    Like

  17. Fins: my point about Taylor was that I was expecting far worse. That I should think his performance last evening wasn’t too bad is just another way of saying that anytime he doesn’t totally harm us is a real surprise.
    Mid-afternoon gin and tonics in Soho bars? Almost very Jeffrey Bernard. Any sign of no-knickers Joyce?

    Like

  18. Saw last night exactly as you did DC,Soho pub eh?…..👀

    Like

  19. FH I don’t mean to be over zealous. In my limited and untutored experience A.Taylor is the poorest official I’ve ever seen.

    The club seems to be in tune with Shotta & Andrew/Anicoll

    When the PGMOB officials who tell the opposing players to applaud the away fans because they’ve paid a lot of money for their tickets show that they can’t use a stopwatch I just can’t help myself.

    Like

  20. as hunter said the BFG had a good game too. A massive influence since his arrival, the captain for most of the season and the likely skipper for the cup final.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Mel,
    I’m not sure a motorcyclists attire would usually include a pair of tight leather shorts, but the lounge boy insisted it was so. Lovely teacher he had tool reminded me of my great uncles . Must be the exceptionally hot weather you get down south in that London.

    Like

  22. The boys were asking after you too, Mel
    They haven’t seen you around in ages.
    Not since the Aqua closed down.

    Like

  23. My tuppence on the refs:
    The man who has unchallenged authority to run the PGMOL is the man who made sure the 49’rs were shanghaied in Old Trafford.
    He’s been grooming and encouraging his new generation of minions to take over.
    That’s not good news for Arsenal’s type of football.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. DC,don’t mention Aqua mate…it’s still too soon..

    Like

  25. A fair few were suggesting that more rotation should have taken place on Wednesday, but it always seemed likely to me that he would more or less go with his tried and tested formula, and use the game on Sunday to rest the likes of Alexis, Ozil, Giroud, Santi and Ramsey. That way the third place spot would have been secured and the cup final starters would have longer to recuperate and get ready for a fixture that has been curiously downplayed by many who claim to support the club. It didn’t quite work out, but I still expect to see a very different team on Sunday, with a few starting that haven’t done so recently.

    Like

  26. Getting slightly sick of the Liverpool inspired calls for loyalty over the Sterling affair. Most clubs show little loyalty if a player dips in form – they are out of the first team immediately and very soon surplus to requirements. By the same token It seems only reasonable that if a player peaks then he should move on to something better. Sterling has carried Liverpool for the last two seasons: small wonder he now wants to play with equals.

    Like

  27. Very emotional people Scousers – no doubt they will be planning some form of public demonstration to persuade him Sterling to stay, like burning an effigy of him on the roof of the cathedral

    Liked by 1 person

  28. dc

    Thanks. Excellent

    Like

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: