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Arsenal: Quality Is Not An Act, It Is A Habit

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Good morning Positivistas from a dark Norfolk at a little after 6 this morning.

An early start to Wednesday and just the vaguest lightening in eastern sky as I ponder last night’s events and how to describe and interpret them.

A howl of frustration and a shriek of disappointment would be appropriate to clear the system. With that important emotional ablution performed so to the game.

After the sumptuous enjoyment of the Leicester game I quipped that last night was all about the result and sod the quality of the football. And so the evening turned out. 94 minutes in which for long periods Arsenal dominated possession at above 70%, played attractive football, 654 passes, and had 18 shots, 13 on target. For long periods of the second half the visitors were penned up in the final third of the pitch and with all eleven men behind the ball. And yet the evening ended in defeat for us and triumph for the men in blue.

The events of the game I am reasonably sure are vivid in all our minds hence to repeat the sequence of events again does not seem sensible. A couple of the incidents will linger longer in the mind than I might wish.

Let me attempt to say what went right last night.

Alexis ran his arse off and was a constant threat to the Greeks every time he was on the ball. His second headed goal in a week, this time from a lovely chip from Theo was of the best quality. Theo finished his chance well and looked full of confidence in the first half. In the second, as space reduced and the Greeks were packed back around their box he was less able to contribute. Another useful learning night, and a goal to show for it. The introduction of Ramsey appeared to have been the key to breaking Olympiakos’s resolute defence and he was superb for the 30 minutes he was on. Ox’s performance came in for some ‘stick’ last night and I thought that was unfair. Being blamed for the own goal was ludicrous as the shot hitting the outside of his boot was unavoidable. He worked hard, won the ball and like Sanchez was a persistent thorn. Our attacking play and two goals were enough to have won that game.

What went less well was the defence. Clearly the finger of doom must point at our Colombian stopper for a moment of pure madness but from the outset the back five looked nervy, as though they had never come across opposition who wanted to take them on. Most uncharacteristic of Kosc and, from the times I have seen him, Gabriel. Kieran was uncomfortable all evening. Very little was smooth at the back, players showed almost no composure and that edginess encouraged the Greeks.

And to concede a soft third when we had battled so hard to score our equalizer ……….

That is one of the incidents that will stick in my mind, for all the wrong reasons.

There are lessons to be learned from last night, and mainly I think they are lessons about the players’ approach to the game. It may be that like me the players were too focussed on the ‘result’, not concentrating on their own football. I have in mind also preparing insufficiently for opponents they do not know well. And concentration – ah yes concentration – for every single one of those 94 minutes.

And our opponents ?

A really competent display from every man in blue. They came with a reputation for solid defending but having seen Olympiakos before I took that with a pinch of salt but that proved foolish on my part; Siovas and Costa were rock like, the clever Elabdeloui a top quality full back. At times they were severely stretched and twice broken open by Arsenal goals. They regrouped and stuck to their plan though. Their coach Marco Silva must be delighted.

So what next?

As with our previous recent defeats we have the benefit of no time to dwell on our disappointment with the red Mancs due on Sunday. Indeed the table-topping Mancs due, and the proverbial “six pointer” for both clubs’ PL hopes. No time for regrets or for hiding. We have hills to climb together on Sunday. Bavaria can wait, for now.

And as I draw this epistle to an end the sun is up, the day is begun, enjoy yourselves!

About anicoll5

Arsenal supporter, 58, Dad, harmless and humourless, political militant moderate, school governor and worker bee

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138 comments on “Arsenal: Quality Is Not An Act, It Is A Habit

  1. I don’t know why Gazidas keeps ignoring me when I shout, spittle and froth at him from the opposite side of the ground? Can’t understand it.

    If only the hopeless chances would listen to me and hire Nigel Pearson to do the pressers. Him or LVG (think Nige might be cheaper?). Let us be fair. It’s all the hacky slappers deserve.

    Keep the old gaffer for the .com. Boycotting the press that was the only thing that Ferguson ever did that I admired: to expose the English football hack for the craven coward that he or she is. And can be seen to be.

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  2. < chancer

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  3. why are football writers not interested in the football

    http://www.arsenal.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=557397#yoursay

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  4. David Ospina is on the Ballon d’OR list

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “David Ospina is on the Ballon d’OR list”

    He may have made a mistake on Tuesday, but he is a top quality goal keeper. I seem to recall our other goalkeeper making 2 massive errors leading directly to goals for West Ham on the first day of the season. He managed to recover from that.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Its traditional among the ‘ entitled’ Arsenal fans Pass- if a keeper makes a mistake crucify him
    Lucky it’s not coming up to Easter

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  7. End of last season of course they had Szcz to jab there sharp little sticks into – now they need a new victim

    If we had Gordon Banks in his prime and Squiddley Diddley between the posts the whining miserable bastards would be moaning at one or the other as not fit to wear the shirt.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Give it to Thomas Muller – he’s been brilliant

    As for Rooooney as a Balon d’or candidate that is insane

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wenger asked if Arsenal could’ve signed Scheniderlin: “I have information I can not tell you.”

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  10. an interesting article on ticket prices at Highbury and the Emirates, and Arsenal’s wage bill – from 1980 till now.

    one quote from the article

    “Technically, it is cheaper to watch Arsenal at The Emirates than it was at Highbury.

    As a percentage of the average UK wage, it is as cheap to watch Arsenal in 2015-16 as it was in 2004-05.”

    http://thearsenalhistory.com/?p=8148

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  11. Arsenal Fixture News ‏@AFCFixtureNews 11h11 hours ago
    Unfortunately Arsenal are unable to put on any trains for Sheff Wed due to overnight engineering works meaning there is no way to get back.
    Arsenal are laying on heavily subsidised coaches to Sheffield at only £10 return! http://www.arsenal.com/match/report/1516/travel/first-team/sheffield-wednesday-v-arsenal-travel

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Quite brave of the boss to give it to the press corps like that, especially knowing that they were sure to misquote him. Good on him.
    And I see that the FA produced their report on JM’s conduct vis-a-vis his earlier team doctor without directly asking the principal witness for her side of the story. You really couldn’t make it up (although the FA seems to have done just that). The FA committee says one thing and its chairman says the exact opposite.

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  13. amazing as soon as the press makes a big thing about one Arsenal goalkeeping mistake then keepers from other clubs start auditioning for the football bloopers show. The slow lloris proving that actually the spuds should have had their no 2 in goal. I think thats how it works when someone makes a mistake then its logical that someone else should of been playing.

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  14. Why are football writers not interested in the football?
    It’s not just the clicks an hits but also its the same answer that people were discussing for the last few decades: agents, agents and super or special agents. And the specialists in signing their clients of course.

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  15. Aguero
    City’s redeemer.

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  16. Will Steve McLaren and English managers finally bury the 4-4-2 at the top level? That formation was cruelly exposed today. Looked promising at the start but Silva picked them apart in the 2nd half.

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  17. Joe Willock has finally signed his scholarship forms, he was offered terms at end of last season, but had offers from many others clubs, and has now finally decided hos future is at Arsenal. His older brother Chris is a star of our U21 side, and the oldest of the Willock lads is a pro at Man utd, after being released by Arsenal when he was 16

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  18. Jenkinson scored for WHU today and Wellinton scored for Bolton

    Liked by 1 person

  19. FT: chelsea 1-3 Southampton

    Liked by 2 people

  20. so happy about the Chelsea result cos JM was a ref point of how to be a great manager an how he strengthened in the summer and all that even though he won the league so now lets see the narrative they will formulate from this….

    What would complete the weekend is a win tomorrow that takes us above man u on goal diff.. maybe some people will get some perspective that is a 38 game league and not about losing the first game to west ham… some persons that won their first games are presently below us on the table.

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  21. I am so happy about the Chelsea result cos JM was a ref point of how to be a great manager an how he strengthened in the summer and all that even though he won the league so now lets see the narrative they will formulate from this….

    What would complete the weekend is a win tomorrow that takes us above man u on goal diff.. maybe some people will get some perspective that is a 38 game league and not about losing the first game to west ham… some persons that won their first games are presently below us on the table.

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  22. Ed, Chris was poached and ARSENAL have had to work very hard to first aquire the other brothers and then keep them. Unfortunately there are scouts from other clubs constantly in touch with the parents such is today’s money orientated world even at youth level.

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  23. a_o_b its Matthew Willock who is at Man Utd, Chris is in our U21 team.

    yes clubs are tapping up youths all the time, Chelsea are paying many of their youth team players £20K+ a week. guys who are, if ever, years away from their first team.

    Parents are looking to make a fast buck, its rumored that the whole trouble AFC had with Maitland-Niles mother was over here wanting AFC to give her son a big pay rise, only 2 or 3 months after he had signed his pro contract. I really do hope that his loan is not just a stepping stone to him being sold, due to his interfering mother.

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  24. you have to love the WOB, I have seen tonight after CFC lost, praising Koeman, and despite saying the Dean screwed us over, it was still all Wenger’s fault, not only for the defeat, but for Gabriel being wrongly sent off, and Costa not getting sent off. You really have to worry about their sanity.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Miguel Delaney ‏@MiguelDelaney 2h2 hours ago
    Koeman asked about Mourinho on penalty decisions: “Maybe so. It would have been 5-2, then, even worse for them.”

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Mourinho publicly criticises his player Matic: “He was in trouble. He can’t pass the ball in defensive situations. He’s clumsy.”

    but, but, but, but, but, but the WOB say Matic is world class, everything we need in a DM

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Daniel Cowan ‏@thedanielcowan 3h3 hours ago
    Chelsea spent £67m on 7 players (inc 6 outfield) this summer to add to their EPL winning team proving signings guarantee sweet fuck all

    Liked by 1 person

  28. my sentiments exactly.. sign messi. if he has an off day and doesn’t play well, that’s it! the team out there on tues could have won their game… the loss was not to say they were bad players, just didn’t play well

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  29. what the interviewer should have said to Mourinho after his post match rant

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  30. so will the FA charge mourinho over his rant, after all he basically said refs are cheating them.

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  31. keisha wood ‏@keishawd10 10h10 hours ago Jamaica
    Someone explain to me how Wenger can be the only manager in the league not under pressure but simultaneously ‘showing the pressure’

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  32. Maybe it’s that he’s under no pressure from the board to do any more than he’s currently doing but that when facing direct questions on his decisions and his team’s performance from the press and the supporters then he does feel defensive and under pressure? How about that?

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  33. DC ‏@DeanLDN22 5h5 hours ago
    Wenger & Mourinho are actual polar opposites. Wenger defends his player to the hilt, & Mourinho hangs them out to dry at any opportunity.

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  34. “Maybe it’s that he’s under no pressure from the board to do any more than he’s currently doing”

    What? You mean, like competing with the petro-clubs whilst winning baubles these past few seasons. Sounds about right to me. Some would say over-ambitious and that we should happy with our lot amidst the likes of Liverpool and Tootenham.

    But you all know what they say: no guts, no glory (please refer to Wembley in May, the greatest FA Cup final performance that many will remember, or have ever seen).

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