Arsenal and the Absurd

Morning Positive people,

In contrast to yesterday’s blazing sunshine a still day with patches of brightness this morning. An apt metaphor for my mood over the past 24 hours in relation to football.

First, the game itself I think, because that is what football is about. I often barely mention the content of the game but today, I find it helpful to remind myself at least what took place, on the pitch, with the ball.

An early start at the Bridge but the concerns that some had voiced in relation to tiredness after our return from Zagreb did not appear to trouble us in a bright opening 15 minutes when the home side were forced back. Sanchez was pressing Ivanovic hard. Theo put in a couple of good runs from deep with balls played in behind the Chelsea centre back which caught them both momentarily flat footed and required a quick recovery in one instance and Begovic’s help in the other.

After that opening quarter Chelsea came back into it a bit more, Hazard was involved on their left and Fabregas was knocking some useful one-twos around the edge of the box. Kosc and Gabriel solid, Bellerin busy but in control. Aaron working nicely and the source of our one good first half shot. A stoppage for a knee injury to le Coq was worrying especially having seen the replays but, surprisingly perhaps, he was up and trotting after a sit down. Tough boy and his contest with Matic was a real pleasure to watch as both tackle hard and neither has a propensity for theatrics. For the remainder of the half the sides traded punches. No alarms at either end for the keepers. It appeared the first half would close at 0-0 with both probably neither surprised nor disappointed at the stalemate.

And then there was an incident, more of which I shall come to in due course below.

The second half commenced in an entirely different mood, ten men, a sense of outrage, and also the withdrawal of our midfield enforcer, with the relief of his earlier apparent recovery erased. A much harder task, but do-able against a side who in the opening 45 minutes had not demonstrated much in terms of attacking quality or threat on our goal. PSG had shown how to tame these blue “babies”, and surely we could do the same. My horizon for the game’s result had reduced, I admit, from the three point win to the hard earned but entirely deserved draw.

And then the Zouma goal !! Like you I watched it then, and I have watched it since. I could point the finger at Sanchez and/or Monreal so far as trying to stop the Chelsea player, or Kosc for playing the Chelsea line onside but getting underneath the ball. I There was a collective ‘switching’-off’ which the home side took advantage off. No one player was culpable. I know, I KNOW ( and you probably do too) it was a move they have practised and practised on the training ground, and you know we have practised defending against on our training ground. And yet there we were, a goal down just eight minutes into the second half and with the hill having risen in gradient appreciably.

Nevertheless, and to the credit of every player in an Arsenal shirt we did press forward at 0-1, we did take the game to Chelsea, we pushed them back and made one great chance on the hour with Zouma and Cahill floundering that Alexis put over the top from four yards out. It was no easy chance, and Begovic was well positioned to frustrate the Chilean, but the miss a symptom of our current goal scoring malaise. In its way the miss was as crucial a moment in the game as many other more vividly remembered ones. The game went to and fro. The Ox and Giroud appeared, and even with ten men the handbrake was definitely off.

Chelsea seemed to pull themselves together again and began to press us. Santi’s second yellow compounded our misery and Chelsea’s comfort. After that we rather lost momentum though not our organisation. I noticed a couple of minutes before his exit he had failed to keep up in midfield when chasing a Chelsea player so I think with so much work to do his day was done anyway. Pity because he had led from the front as a captain of the side should.

I can’t be arsed to describe the second Chelsea goal. We all saw it and it is not worth further reference.

Moving on, inevitably, from the football we have the controversies of the afternoon. Or strictly speaking just two controversies. First is the Spanish Brazilian Diego Costa who is, it appears widely agreed (save for one deluded Portuguese) a nasty piece of work, with no interest in playing football and, judging from yesterday’s and his recent displays, not much talent for it. I do not want to watch his shit. If his performance is what football is about then stadiums would be empty and television cameras elsewhere. The disappointing thing yesterday was, as Arsene correctly pointed out, Costa behaves like that game after game, week after week. And yet we, and particularly Gabriel, and the referee fell for it. As With the Zouma goal I have no doubt at all that the squad, every single one of them was fully aware and carefully briefed about Costa and yet ……..

If you want evidence the headline of the match report this morning on Arsenal.com it has us beaten by goals from Hazard and Costa ! Or is that headline humour?

Which brings me to Mr Dean and despite my general respectful support and effort to understand the difficulty of refereeing a game of professional football his performance yesterday was poor. I thought the performance of both assistant referees and of Mr Oliver as 4th official left a lot to be desired also.

I have no dispute in Dean or any damn referee pulling out cards and sending off players. There are rules in football, despite what Mourinho would have you believe, and if those rules are broken then punishments, even the red card sanction will follow. What I object to was his failure to apply those cards and those punishments evenly and to despatch the prime source of violence and bad behaviour to the dressing room when he should have done so (see above). Dean was guilty of lamentable inconsistency yesterday.

Onward we struggle towards the Lane on Wednesday, another hard contest and no time for self pity.

Enjoy your Sunday.

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72 comments on “Arsenal and the Absurd

  1. 57,000 signatures on change.org to get mike dean banned from the Emirtates.

    Let’s get it to 60,000! Nothing will happen of course, but at least it send’s out a statement that the whole of the Emirates crowd know what is going on and we’re fed up with it.

    PGMOL will only keep on sending Atkinson and Taylor to ref our games, while Clattenburg is still being sent to Coventry by Riley.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lucky he showed such “emotional control” or Lord knows what he might have been charged with.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As expected Gabriel has been charged by the FA with improper conduct, probably for him not leaving the pitch in a proper and timely manner. Likely the FA will give him an extra game or two ban for that.


  4. Jeff Reine-Adelaide out for two months


  5. St. Cazorla’s little legs may be a little older but he’s still a hero for me


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jeremy Wilson ‏@JWTelegraph 10h10 hours ago
    Mourinho obv meant it as a dig but to have title-winning squad every yr with 4th most money must at least make Wenger a genius at transfers


  7. I will not be surprised if Gabriel and Santi receive further sanctions from the FA….why? because they didn’t deserve any in the first place…..can anyone explain this logic or lack of? Or am I suffering from psychological dissonance? Have I really lost any faith I had in justice? Fucking hell……

    Pedro’s tweets are characteristically opportunistic. He never misses an opportunity to blame everything on Wenger. He really is behaving like a leader of a cult…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. At the moment those aspects I despise about our current times are just far too prominent. Nothing exemplifies this more than Piers Morgan, the most despicable wind-up merchant around….

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I see lots of fans, plundits and journos are suggesting that Costa’s actions on Saturday will cost Chelsea big time from now on, but I just don’t see how they come to this conclusion. Its not like everyone did not already know he does this sort of thing game after game after game. He had a reputation for it when in Spain, he has got away with it time and again all last season, if anything Chelsea will get even more favorable treatment from refs, as CFC and the nasty midget will whinge and whine to the media about being victims and their arselicking journos will back them up on it, and low and behold refs will let them off again and again.

    If anything it will be Arsenal who will suffer from the fallout of all this. The PGMOL have, by giving Dean a game this Saturday, given a big fuck you sign to Arsenal. And the next part will be more bookings and red cards for AFC players, it will be payback from the PGMOL for Arsenal highlighting how inept they are. It will be how dare AFC show us up, we will show them. We can also expect to have Dean in charge of four or five more of our games this season, that will be a direct response to the petition to have him off AFC games, wait and see.

    Every time Arsenal have trouble with a ref and the media have highlighted it, Arsenal get the shitty end of the stick from the PGMOL, I expect all of you could list off a whole series of refs who have screwed Arsenal over, last season, two seasons ago, ten seasons or more ago, has it made one iota of a difference in a good way to how refs perform in Arsenal matches,

    I would say no, we still get players booked for the lowest ratio of fouls, we get a very high number of players sent off(despite the fact that not even a spurs fan would say Arsenal are a dirty or nasty type of team), we have an outrageous amount of penalty calls turned down for us and some very soft one given against us.

    And on the subject of refs(including 4th officials) who have screwed us over, what has the PGMOL’s response been, did they keep them away from AFC games, did they fuck, we have had refs dropped from BPL duty due to their inept performances in Arsenal games, but then in a matter of weeks are back reffing Arsenal games, we have had officials deemed to have lied about incidents with Wenger, but again too they are back on duty in Arsenal games,

    The PGMOL and the FA will have their revenge on Arsenal, just you wait and see, the fact Costa is only being charged with one “alleged” (the use of this word alone shows the FA stance) count of violent conduct, and not the two or three counts he should have been charged with, aligned with Cazorla getting warned about his future conduct, Arsenal getting charged with failing to control their players and Gabriel getting a misconduct charge, is for me the FA starting open season on Arsenal. The PGMOL will oblige them with glee.


  10. seemingly Arsenal’s accounts report will be out today and reports suggest that there will be outrage amount Arsenal fans as it seems KSE the company owned by Stan Kroenke have received a £3M payment, same as last year, for advisory services.

    I like many others could understand last years payment or accept that is was a legit payment for a legit service, but if there is now a second £3M payment, I would suggest that it gives credence to those who say that its nothing more than Stan paying himself a dividend, without going to the expense of giving all shareholders a dividend.
    If KSE have indeed given a legit service to AFC, then unlike last year, the Chairman has to explain in detail to shareholders what the advice was, and what profit if any, did it earn AFC, and if it did not make us a profit then why the hell are we paying £3M for it.

    I do wonder at times why Arsenal make so many poor PR decisions, are they really so keen to feed the AAA/WOB, do they want the bad publicity this will bring from the uproar it will get at the upcoming AGM. We must have one of the worst PR advisers of any big football club, we shoot ourselves in the foot so often.


  11. Arseblog nailed it this morning.


  12. I have noticed this morning’s AFC social media, or the bit I have have left at least, seems somewhat preoccupied with club’s accounts with the financially enthusiastic but perhaps challenged locked in debate about the finer points of the net income of Arsenal Holdings Plc with interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation added to it, and the significance of Stan and KSE to this figure.

    Absolutely fascinating if I had the remotest idea what they were on about and why they imagine it has anything to do with anything.

    And as I believe I mentioned when it was discussed last Autumn when, as I recall, Tim Stillman announced that it was all over between him and his lifelong love AFC Stan Kroenke owns Arsenal football club. If Stan wants to take £3 million , or £10 million, or £30 million out of the club, in the form of a payment to a US subsidiary, chocolate buttons or gold bars, he can do exactly that, and there is fuck all that anyone can do about it.

    Other than start a socialist revolution I suppose.

    Given that the value of the club is North of a £billion taking 0.03% out of the enterprise is remarkably restrained, remarkable modest. If it was me I would expect a proper return on my investment each year as well as capital growth.


  13. george if the advice KSE has given AFC has been the reason our EBITDA jumps from £25m to £64m, then Sir Chips needs to tell this to the Shareholders at the upcoming AGM, and not fob them off like he did last year. this is what I’m talking about when I say we shoot ourselves in the foot on a PR level. There is no need for ambiguity from the club, it only serves to feed the AAA and we don’t need that.


  14. Shareholders ?

    Stan and Alisher own 97%+ of the club. Whatever happened to Fanshare ?


  15. yes anicol the shareholders, there is an AGM with shareholders, that is what the whole revealing of the accounts is for, if there was only stan he would not have to bother, but as long as their is shareholders then they have the right to ask what the £3M is for or at the very least be told if the service provided was worth it. yes KSE and R&W own 97% of the shares, and R&W will have a rep at the AGM, and will want to know as an owner of 30% of the shares of AFC, what the £3M got AFC, last year Sir Chips did not tell them.


  16. Fanshare it seems is dead, they could not afford to keep running, they seem to claim the biggest problem was not enough shares for them to buy, as both KSE and R&W were buying nearly all the shares that came on the market. What is odd though is that since Fanshare folded, they have it seems sold some of the shares to KSE and R&W.
    But for a simpler answer, Tim Payton happend to Fanshare.


  17. Just like he did last year eddy ? Um- er …..

    If R&W or any other shareholder were concerned they are free to take it up before the AGM, at the AGM or after the A – G- M. Since the last little flurry of huffing and puffing in the Autumn by the usual professional ‘victims’ who claim to support Arsenal football club I have heard no more – have you ?

    If you want to beat yourself up about the topic feel free – nothing to do with football


  18. I suppose the arguments boils down to those that feel the club is ripping them off on ticket prices, despite the prices actually falling IN REAL TERMS since the move to the Emirates.

    No one want’s to mention that there are more cheap tickets and more cheap yooff tickets.

    Next argument is that Stan’s advisory services (coughs) payment of £3m is money that could/should have been reinvested into the transfer kitty or elsewhere.

    There’s two footballing reasons to argue about Andy.

    Now a third argument is, does Stan’s own KSE actually merit the payment? No one askes that. From my ignorant viewport, the club’s turnover has increased by £100m in a few years, and the club is paying better wages to keep star players and can get star players to North London. Should Stan get some paypack for that, after all it’s his business?


  19. Fro what I can see DC everyone asks what the £3 million is for, with most dismissing Stan as a rogue – the points I am labouring to get across is; a) that it is nothing to do wit anyone but the owners of the businesses and the pitchfork mob who march from subject to subject each day being “gravely offended” are deluding themselves if they think they have a right to know, or in fact will get to know. They haven’t and they wont. It is entirely up to Stan. b) £3 million is bugger all for a business with a turnover of almost £400 million, a notional market value of a £billion+. As you say it may be the £3 million is for strategic business advice that has been worth it ?

    The pitchfork mob have spent the entire Summer telling me that we have £100 million or £200 million in the transfer chest, and it is that bastard Wenger who wont spend it. Today however it is not that bastard Wenger failing to spend the massive piles of cash who is guilty, but Stan for scooping £3 million in small change out of the petty cash drawer.


  20. It is clearer than ever that being an accountant/financial analyst is no qualification for being a General Manager or CEO as is apparent in the following quote from Swiss Ramble:
    There is substantial money available to spend. It’s clearly not as much as the £228 million in the books, but we can say with some conviction that there would be enough available in the January transfer window to safely cover some of the glaring weaknesses in the squad: let’s say £70-80 million (with the usual caveats).
    In other words it is ok to overspend if you have the money in the bank. Like Chelsea who have made multiple expensive signings in the past two years and promptly sold or loaned them after 6 months-year (Schurrle, Salah, Cuadrado, deBruyne et al). They were all made to cover glaring weaknesses at the time. Manchester City is not far behind; signing and moving on Negredo, Dzeko and Jovetic and currently playing a virtual cardboad cutout in the form of Bony, who cost a cool £26 million. Manchester United can pay £60 million for a failed DiMaria, shrug their shoulders and gamble £58 million on Martial.
    It is easy to justify a poor signing as addressing a glaring weakness but sooner or later someone must pay the piper for the tune.


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