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Arsenal Versus Man City: Secrets and Lies

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I made good use of a football free weekend. Or at least I tried to. Mother wanted a lift over the bridge to the land of dragons and close harmony singing, the home of Newport County and a world famous dyke. I thought to myself this sounds like a chance to walk abroad with my trusty Fujifilm and capture the beauty of the Angiddy Valley. A place once full of fire and steam and the toiling of men making wire from iron bars. By hand. Sat, if the helpful information plaque on the wall of the car park is to be believed, on swings.

That my plans went awry was largely due to the weather. No sooner had I slithered down a leaf strewn slope and set my tripod on the banks of the fast flowing river than the heavens opened and I was obliged to scamper for cover. The only place of shelter near at hand being the car, I sat and steamed and for want of a better distraction tuned in the radio to the good old BBC.

The first thing to issue forth from the speakers was news of the death of Jimmy Hill. A difficult man to warm to he was nonetheless a big fixture in my childhood football world. I suppose people told me about his work in scrapping the maximum wage and his career as a wing-half but I won’t pretend to you that I knew anything about these things. He was simply a face on the television. It seems from the eulogies flowing since Saturday that he did an awful lot for and to the game we all love but there is one aspect with which he is credited that should see people dancing on his grave with burning pitchforks.

Jimmy Hill, we are led to believe, invented the ‘panel of experts’. The television punditry which so blights the game and ruins our enjoyment of televised matches started with this man. May Satan have some suitable punishment lined up for him. Personally I always struggled not to slip into Bruce Forsyth while doing my Jimmy Hill in the playground and similarly confused him with the king who lost his head to Cromwell in history lessons. Otherwise he was, along with Moore, Coleman, Davis and the radio giants Butler and Jones, the voice of football during my younger years and a little piece of my past just died with him.

The other big talking point on Radio 5 as I listened to the Welsh rain battering the lid of the Skoda was the odious ex-manager of a west London club. I seldom ever listen to or watch any football related broadcast in English any more. The ill informed, illiterate, moronic and crowd bating level to which the journalism has sunken usually has me lunging for the off switch before my blood pressure reaches dangerous levels. Leaving the prating to filter through the door speakers and do battle with the rain turned out to be an instructive exercise.

I’d often wondered why fans feel the need to talk with such faux authority about situations, the facts of which they cannot possibly possess. Why people queue up to pontificate about what this player said or did to his team mates and manager in the changing room or on the training ground. Who is the unsettling, malicious influence in the squad and who the manager favours, who he dislikes.

No supporter is privy to such private conversations and thoughts and yet people cannot wait to share their wisdom on these facts despite there being no facts and precious little wisdom. Well now I know. They are aping the ill informed gibberish vomited into their cars and homes by broadcasters most of whom seemed to me to be doing a passable impression of Alan Partridge. Worse, they appear to believe they are taking part in some meaningful national debate when they tell us who said and did what to who and why it means they should be dropped or the board should resign or the technical director never be allowed to negotiate a transfer fee ever again.

The inarticulate buffoon presenting the segment to which I subjected myself was almost shouting with childish and transparently false emotion on the subject of the ex-manager of the west London club, “Show the man some respect!” he cawed, stupidly and repeatedly, apparently suffused with rage at some apparatchik on the club’s in house TV channel not mentioning the individual by name. Which is odd really when you think about it as the only thing anyone knows for an absolute certainty is the individual in question deserved no respect having so often acted with none of it himself.

Nobody has a clue whether the players wanted him gone or were trying or not. No one can see into their hearts or their minds and anything you read or write on the subject is guesswork, speculation and fantasy. Whereas we all know for a fact that the man was a graceless oaf with no respect for his betters and a complete inability to manage a football club unless everything was going his way. We know these things because we’d seen the evidence with our own eyes time and again. Yet some poor souls in replica blue kits ruined the family’s only decent bed sheet, took time out from their week to learn to write and scrawled messages of hatred towards their own players. These they took to the match so they could wave them in the face of a hungry media and all because of the swirl of lies and speculation with which the modern fan surrounds him and herself.

Don’t think I’m avoiding the subject of this evening’s match. Everything I’ve said about the fans and their take on the tale of the ex-manager of the west London club applies to our great club. Just because we have a more illustrious history and are led by a man of class, style, grace and intelligence doesn’t mean our fan base doesn’t also pick over the bones of the graveyard of common sense that is the British sports media. Our fans too regurgitate the entirely fictitious or perhaps occasionally purely coincidentally true nonsense they hear and read as if it was known fact and then pontificate upon it.

I think the lesson we can all take from the debacle at the west London club and the runaway success of Leicester City is just how fragile and elusive a sprite is confidence. You may recall me telling you of an injury I suffered falling from my mountain bike. I am only now getting back into my stride and just yesterday morning approached a simple jump with such a tense lack of confidence that I fluffed my lines and nearly came a cropper again. Two minutes later I took the same obstacle at a canter and flew over it with ease. My technique was the same in every respect, physically I approached the jump in identical fashion the only difference was I was relaxed and confident the second time. Why? How did it happen? I have no clue.

Remember how the Invincible’s form fell away after being dethroned by the machinations of Mike Riley and his master Ferguson in that travesty at Old Trafford? Once their intangible sense of invulnerability had gone the players seemed to lose their way. I would suggest the same thing has probably happened to a certain west London club and once the playing staff finds its mojo again their results and performances will improve. I accept this almost certainly factual answer lacks drama and intrigue and as such is less appealing to the masses, but there you go.

Will our players have the relaxed ease and confidence in their own and each other’s abilities tonight? Even if they do will Man City allow them to express themselves? Both sides have shown vulnerability at times this season and both have shown strength and ability too. Separated by the most slender of margins it is a moot point who is in the better form. Taken over the last six games there’s only one point in it with both sides firing and misfiring in a very similar pattern. The possible significance is our home form is much better than their away form. However there is so much at stake for both sides one must imagine that Leicester’s favoured outcome of a draw has to be a distinct possibility.

It’s a massive game. The first biggy of the campaign really with the chance to establish ourselves and the Foxes in a small breakaway from the pack. Very small I know but in such an unpredictable topsy turvy season the team or teams who put the first decent run together and genuine daylight between themselves and the herd will fancy their chances of making that advantage stick.

A resurgence from the team from west London could easily rock the boat if they start taking points from those in and around the Europa league positions – they play the fifth, sixth and seventh placed teams over the Christmas and New Year period and might just help to create a gap between the leading clubs and those chasing.

Much will be revealed through the outcome of the frantic festive fixture fiasco. Talking of festivities, I am off out to the shops now to buy my wife a small token of my esteem. So wish me luck as I battle through the consumer hell that is the Shires Shopping Centre, Trowbridge. Last time I was there it was evacuated for a bomb scare but hopefully I’ll be back in one piece in time for kick off. If not enjoy the game without me and try not to get too nervous won’t you?

About steww

Arsenal, books, photography, bass guitar, dog walking, mountain biking, being on the radio, writing, talking too much, failing, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

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189 comments on “Arsenal Versus Man City: Secrets and Lies

  1. Just ever so slightly edgy at the end – but I expected that

    Like

  2. only Leicester City and Arsenal have the title chase in their own hands. but I’m sure the media will continue with the line that only Leicester are trying to win the league.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Flippin heck Tucker! A nightmare for the nerves!!! AFC always love testing the nerves!
    But who cares, its JINGLE BALLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Happy Christmas!!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I love the Arsenal

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cech pointing to Larry as the players walk around the pitch.
    Cech knows.

    Walcott and Giroud rekindle their partnership but this time with Walcott on the left for the most part

    Like

  6. well that industrial container Mertesacker was really shown up by the fleet footed city players, was he not,

    ozil shown up by silva

    diving foreign cunts shown up by Sterling

    Liked by 3 people

  7. afcstuff ‏@afcstuff 4m4 minutes ago
    Mathieu Flamini has never lost a Premier League game at the Emirates Stadium. [P52 W36 D16 L0] #afc

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ozil given Man of the Match award by SKY

    Liked by 1 person

  9. fack Im wired after that. Great night though. Especially as on another night we could have has four.
    Whoooooo.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Carragher doing his best to discredit Arsenal’s performance, this season.

    Like

  11. Mr.BlueGuy
    ‏@MrBIueGuy
    Other than a simple 3 yard pass to Giroud for the 2nd goal Mesut Ozil didn’t do anything, Has to be one of the biggest flops in PL history

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  12. Ozil’s ducking the Theo’s shot on the goal was very smart

    Liked by 1 person

  13. 17 games in and AFC have double the pts fo CFC

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Jeezus these commentators have a touch of the Mourinhitis. They are so timid and afraid. Great teams kill off their opponents. We had three glorious opportunities for the 3rd beforeYaya scored. That is how i fell in love with football via the great Brazil team of 1970. World Cup Finally and not afraid to go forward; Carlos Aberto overlapping with a thunderous right footer in the top corner. Game, Set and Match That is greatness boys and girls.

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  15. How good was that industrial container? Our Big Fucking German was huge.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. some reports that Wenger said tonight that Alexis will not be back in action till Jan 10th or so.

    Like

  17. arseblog ‏@arseblog 10m10 minutes ago
    Wenger: “Ozil has been sick all week”. He’s been sick all season m8

    Liked by 1 person

  18. steww – re Offa’s Dyke – yes, I know – been there etc. Just my little joke. Thought you’d maybe been to see a movie with this one:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katharine_Hepburn

    Like

  19. The trouble with players like Walcott, Özil, Giroud and Mertesacker is that they go missing in the big games.
    ***Banned winky thingy***

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  20. Mezut ill all week and plays like that amazing. when you look at city’s squad they still must be favourites for the league, which just shows you how well our second team done tonight. We seem to be running on fumes and so both christmas games are going to be tough and the lower echelons of the squad are going to be tested. So far they have all proved their worth so keep on keeping on you glorious Gunners.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Played all night as if it would be 3-0 or better. Nervy at the end. Totally magnificent

    Liked by 1 person

  22. The rumours about van Gaal – wouldn’t it be a bit odd to wait until AFTER the Stoke game, when they have another game two days later and then the New Year game?
    That, plus the fact that Man Utd fans hate Jose more than most.

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  23. Sorry dkg I should know the people who post here are too knowledgeable and would get every reference

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  24. losing Alexis for another 3 weeks is a massive blow to Arsenal. Our injury luck shows no sign of improving.

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  25. Fantastic from the lads tonight,looking forward to Andys write up tomorrow.

    Liked by 5 people

  26. And Joel Campbell – yes, I know he should have scored but dontcha just love him anyway. Even though he’s made me look foolish in my assessment of him. Remember, he’s still young, there is plenty more to come from this guy.

    Liked by 4 people

  27. Well, that was exciting! I could have lived without the extra tension of the last few minutes had we scored that 3rd goal our performance deserved and had Toure seen the second yellow his dive deserved according to the rules he would not have been on the pitch to get that flukey goal. We kept him quiet until our players started to feel tired then he started to come into the game. I was not impressed by City’s fouling and diving when things weren’t going their way, so glad that their attempts at cheating did not prosper tonight.

    Well done AFC, keep it up.

    P.S. sorry to hear your recovery is not going so well PG, hopefully tonight’s result will be a good little pick me up for you.

    Liked by 5 people

  28. Tim Stillman ‏@Stillberto 7m7 minutes ago
    Tim Stillman Retweeted Talking Arse(nal)
    Sagna booed. Fabregas applauded. I’m quite out of touch with the majority of the Emirates it seems.

    on the subject of that snake Cesc, reports today that he has started legal proceedings v Pat Nevin over the BBC pundit saying Cecs was the player who said he’d “rather lose than win for Mourinho”, Cesc must have missed Chris Sutton saying the same thing on Final Score on saturday.

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  29. WENGER ON THE WIN, OZIL AND BELIEF

    Arsène Wenger spoke to the media after Arsenal’s 2-1 win against Manchester City on Monday. This is what he said:

    on the message it sends to other teams…
    I’m not sure what sort of message that sends but for us it was a vital game. It is a game you come out very happy as we have shown all types of ingredients you need in these big games. Good organisation, strong solidarity, high work rate, moments of brilliance and moments where we needed to hang on because that is important as well and overall because we could kill the game and we had the chances to do it. When they came back to 2-1 we were a bit under pressure but I believe it was very intense for both teams. You had times where you had players on the ground at both sides of the pitch because of that total commitment.

    on belief this being the year…
    It is too early to say to we can win the league but it strengthens our belief. You come out and realise you have earned your right to win these games and for us it is important. We have to be ready to fight like that in every single game and you do that quite [often]. It is quite interesting on my side there is real life in the team, real togetherness and real solidarity, so let’s take care of that.

    on Mesut’s quality…
    Football, you need at the end of the day someone who gives the guy the ball who scores the goal. In our team most of the time Ozil is this player. When you look at this and the guys that see, make you win and he is that.

    on the difference in Ozil this year…
    He is much more mature and is much more keen to take on responsibility. I personally think he is built on his physical attributes and commitment. You see his desire to win, he plays to win the games and maybe this kind of talent is exceptional. He realises he can help us in every single game.

    on if he needs a rest…
    He had a chest infection for the week and was in bed. he had only one training session yesterday and for a guy who could not prepare well he has done very well physically. I’m a bit cautious because we have lost three or four players recently so I have to be cautious a little bit.

    on Alexis…
    I think he will be back January 10. Christmas period – you can’t count him.

    on if he has had a setback…
    He had had a slight one yet but he planned to be on the bench tonight but he is so keen he got a little bit of a pain and we didn’t take a gamble.

    on when Alexis had his setback…
    Two days ago.

    on the celebrations of the win
    I went in straight away. But it is a significant game because when you look at Manchester City and the quality they have on the pitch. We know at the end they will be there fighting for the championship and we know this kind of team in the big game strengths our belief and is needed.

    on playing Walcott out wide…
    I change it a little bit game by game and see where he can be efficient because Theo is a decisive player. At Aston Villa he did that and got a penalty and before the final pass he gave the ball to Ozil. Today he finished. One of his strengths is the quality of his movement and if you can get it to Ozil, he can find him and his quality of movement is exceptional. I think Theo Walcott had a very good, strong, fighting performance and his defensive performance was top level today.

    on a more comfortable side…
    We are more mature to defend. We have moments. Today we turned between playing very high and very deep. When we were playing very deep we were not too much in trouble. They have players who can tuck in like De Bruyne and Silva who you do not want to get on the ball in the last 30 yards and overall we did that tactically well.

    Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20151221/wenger-on-the-win-ozil-and-belief?#orrBFyRE988h3C6W.99

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  30. so Alexis due back for Liverpool (away)

    Like

  31. 1886 ‏@1886_blog 2h2 hours ago
    Beat City without Alexis, Santi, Coq, Welbeck, Wilshere, Arteta, Debuchy, Rosicky in the squad. We have some team.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Difference between Joel and the Ox?
    One has 10 times the talent, the other has 10 times the hunger to be there.

    Joel sometimes plays like he’s a fan let onto the pitch – but where is the harm in that?

    Like

  33. Eddy 1:26
    looks like AFC beat a City team without a Silva, Ageuro, Yaya, Hart, Sterling or De Bryun in evidence.

    How City pick themselves up off the floor after this, God Knows?

    They have Fat Sam’s merry men, then Leicester away, hohoho that will be fun.
    Then Watford away, then Everton away.

    Like

  34. I’m no Englishman*, but if I was…
    I’d have Gibbs, Wilshere and Theo in the core of my team.

    * Born in Reading and still pissed off about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. city took 15pts from first 5 games, and have taken 17pts from last 12 games

    a word of caution on Arsenal, we still have to play away at utd, city, liverpool, everton and spurs, in the second half of the season.

    Like

  36. Tosí ‏@OzilAssist 4h4 hours ago
    I leave you with this. No matter the result tonight, Arsenal would be the team people talked about. Goodnight.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Carl Bövis ‏@CarlBovis_AFC 5h5 hours ago
    ‘Arsenal haven’t improved, all the others have gone backwards.’
    – Jamie Carragher

    Typical from him… 😳😳

    Liked by 1 person

  38. New post up

    Like

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