The sad thing is I’d been having a nice Christmas up until then. Shan’t be sending Mr Moss a card next year that’s for sure. Some people have tried to claim that as he missed a couple of other offences we shouldn’t be cross with him for gifting Southampton the game. Fascinating logic. That’s as polite as I can be on that particular theory.
The great thing about Saturday night is that I got to spend some quality time with Liz. After turning off the match and thereby saving myself the sting of the final goal and not having to see the faces of my sporting heroes in their degradation I wandered into her majesty’s throne room and watched the TV instead. Had I been at the game I’d have stayed and sung to the last of course, but having the luxury of watching from my Parker Knoll Albany Manual I was able to switch off the computer and walk away without the least stain on my character.
Public shows of solidarity are one thing, blatant masochism is another entirely. All that might have improved matters is if we’d watched something better than the frankly disappointing second episode of Luther. I wanted True Detective but was out voted. In fact, where my marriage is concerned I’m not entirely sure I have a vote. Or if I do I suspect my wife has the power of veto and can, like certain countries at the United Nations, ensure the will of the powerful prevails at all times.
Enough of my domestic cold war. On into Sunday and that strange disconnected feeling I always get when Arsenal lose a game. It comes, I suppose, from the effort of trying to whistle through the day with my hat at a jaunty angle all the time knowing that no matter how much I might convince the neighbours, their cats and the milkman I cannot entirely fool myself. There were some high points, moments where the wound felt less keen. My mountain biking took my mind of the football for a few wet and gloriously muddy hours, but in general there was a constant undercurrent not unlike a hangover dragging my day into deep and unpleasant waters.
When taken in the context of this crazy season, the result was actually perfectly in keeping in many ways.
Opponents in poor form? Check.
Opportunity to overtake nearest rivals? Check.
Top of the table unaltered? Check.
Still in contention despite crushing disappointment? Check.
There is definitely a pattern here and while I fully understand the frustration of not taking the chance to leapfrog the Foxes I am consoled by the fact that whenever we fuck up we seem somehow to remain in a strong position.The trick is of course not to fuck up again.
My concern is that while anyone with the power of sight knows full well that Jon Moss was the single biggest factor in the result at St Mary’s there were other ingredients in our humble pie. Chief among these was what looked from the outside like mental tiredness. It may have been physical – who knows? May have been the debilitating effect of too much pud. I doubt that in the modern age of highly tuned athletes but I know we’ve had to flog this same horse a little too often for comfort lately and I fear for their ability to find the strength to return to the fray so soon.
Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the quick turn around is just what they need. Perhaps they weren’t tired at all just overwhelmed by the circumstances and the impossibility of beating a side allowed, if not actively encouraged, to play by different rules. Oh and while we’re at it spare me the guff about ‘did the ref stop us scoring?’. This is Flying Spaghetti Monster stuff. We can all write a fantasy list of things the ref didn’t do. The only relevant thing is that which he did do and that was to gift the home side the game. Highly laudable and festive of him perhaps but an unwelcome example of seasonal altruism if you happen to be on the side of the good guys.
I’m really glad I don’t make predictions in these pre match meanderings. I shy away from them not just because they’re so tedious nor because they’re such an utter waste of everybody’s time. I can’t be arsed making up the future where my own life is concerned never mind trying to see into the tea leaves when I have no control over the outcome. In this season of bizarre results and ever changing fortunes the task of the football oracle becomes even more difficult. Did anyone think Chelsea would be lucky to snatch a draw at home to Watford now the Classless One has gone? Who of you saw Palace and Leicester doing so well for so long? Did any of us honestly imagine Mark Hughes and Stoke City would be playing with the artistry of Barcelona? How, if Van Gaal is so awful and Man United in such a mess are they only three points off the top four? Just what the hell is happening in the Premier League this season? I’ve put five quid on the game being stopped because of an Aardvark on the pitch later. Why not? It seems anything can happen right now.
The whole improbable mess is providing wonderful entertainment, I’ll say that for it. Anyone, it seems, can beat anyone, and everyone can beat Villa. The entertainment stops when it is us being drubbed by an out of sorts Southampton of course but we cannot expect our side to be exempt from the curious magical miasma which has descended over top flight football this season. The simple fact is we have to believe the boys can rise from the ashes, overcome their understandable disappointment and turn on the style against Bournemouth tonight.
Should I even bother looking at the form of our visitors? Given the utter unpredictability of the Prem at the moment I wonder. Taken over their previous six results they are doing better than us. In fact they are third in the form table right now behind only Leicester and Watford. Unbeaten in their last three away games they’ve won the last two on the road beating mid table West Brom and lowly strugglers Chelsea. Not happy reading for Arsenal fans right now and you can bet the boys from the south coast will be well up for it this evening. I just hope the complexity and speed of our passing will be beyond them and we can score early enough to hit the cruise control switch and see out the game without too much charging about.
Looking on the bright side we could go top tonight and Leicester and Man City cannot both win tomorrow. Watford are more than capable of shoving Spurs back down where they belong and Palace ought to be able to take advantage of this and ease them out of the top four. This time tomorrow everything might look a little rosier, so chin up Positivistas we live to fight another day and whatever happens there will, I suspect, be many a slip twixt cup and lip for all the teams chasing glory this season. As I’ve said many times it’s just a ride, and the ride sometimes goes down as well as up. Just hang on, smile for the cameras and try to look as if you’re enjoying it.
no wonder there are always empty seats at the Emirates, with stats like these
afcstuff @afcstuff 29m29 minutes ago
Arsenal 2015 PL record at the Emirates:
38 goals scored
10 goals conceded
Pep’s plans revealed
Pep Guardiola’s agent says that the Premier League is likely to be the Spaniard’s next destination.
Josep Maria Orobitg admitted that the interest from the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea is tempting.
“He hasn’t said anything to me,” said Orobitg. “In any case, it’s not something that we are considering at the moment.
“The Premier League is a big possibility. Pep will make a decision in two or three months’ time. Everything remains a possibility, including a sabbatical year.”
Orobitg also says that a move to Paris Saint-Germain is not in the pipeline after recent speculation.
“I have never spoken to the president of PSG, not recently or at any time in the past,” said Orobitg.
“I have had contact with their sporting director, but that was to speak about one of my players.
“We have never discussed Pep’s situation and PSG have not asked me anything about his plans.”
Ryan Tomes @RyanTomes 52m52 minutes ago
Özil absolutely far and away the Premier League’s best player. He won’t win POTY though because, ya know, agenda.
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WENGER ON THE VICTORY, OZIL AND CECH
Arsène Wenger spoke to the media following Arsenal’s 2-0 win against Bournemouth on Monday evening. This is what he had to say:
on the win…
It was nervy at the start because we had to swallow the 4-0 [at Southampton] and it didn’t go well and I think we were focused at the start not to concede a stupid goal and got slowly into the game. I changed a few players and put Calum Chambers at the centre of the park so it took us a while to get going but I think in the last 70 minutes we were in control of the game and did very well.
on if Southampton was in the players’ minds…
You can’t go from the start of the season to the end of the season without disappointment at some stage. This was a big one. After that it is down to how well you respond and that what was at stake today.
on the importance of confidence…
For me it is more to win the game. If we are one point ahead or one point behind it is not too important, it is more the consistency of the results and the feeling that we go on stronger and we play in a very efficient way like we did today.
on Mesut Ozil…
Mesut was the focal point of our team because we had a new midfield today and he gives reassurance with his technical security and ability. When we had problems in the first part of the game it went always through him and it gives you confidence and security.
on if it was one of his best performances…
I have seen a few good games from Ozil but what is important is that he convinces everybody that he is not only a talented player but a player that is always willing to work for the team and work hard. He has added scoring goals to his assists and overall he is a complete player.
on if he has had a player like him before…
I have not seen many of that quality but I was quite lucky in my career. For me I don’t like to compare players and he is an exceptional player. I think you have to give me credit that I defended that point of view even when you were sceptical about it. What is very important is that he comes as good as he can be and he is on his way. Is there a lot left? I don’t know, but what he is doing at the moment is fantastic.
on if he is the best player in the Premier League…
Look at the numbers and assists and they speak for him.
on if Ozil has become better this season…
Yes. That is what it is about. His career no matter what he does is to be better every day. That focus, that consistency. Some cannot [do it] but he is consistently showing he is going upwards.
on if Ozil is like Dennis Bergkamp…
Yes. Bergkamp was more of a goalscorer and Mesut was more of an assist [player] but now he becomes more of a goalscorer. They are really comparable.
on what gave him faith in Mesut Ozil…
Remarkable technical quality. Something that I enjoy very much is the timing of his passes. It is never surprising. If you think in the stand he should give the ball now – it is now. By the time you have finished your thinking the ball has gone already. He is somebody whose song is always the right tone and that is something that is very difficult to achieve in the game because on the pitch the decisions you have to make are so quick and to get that always right is not easy.
on Cech’s record…
I think he can be very proud of that because it is a remarkable achievement and people once again don’t realise how much commitment is behind that, the focus and consistency in his attitude. On top of that he is a a remarkably gifted goalkeeper. The consistency is the most difficult to achieve for somebody.
on comparing him with David Seaman…
Yes of course. They are comparable as goalkeepers.
He might be alright. I could have pushed him but he was a little risk so I decided not to take it because it was an inflamed ankle. Gibbs is cramp on his calf.
on Gabriel’s header…
We didn’t speak about him because Ozil took the whole press conference. I think he was dangerous from set-pieces and defenced very well. He had good focus, was agile, quick and very strong in the challenge.
on if he will start Gabriel…
I don’t know yet. I rested one or two for the game because the players at the back have played many games there is a possibility.
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/20151228/wenger-on-the-victory-ozil-and-cech#0bZcAYvCbocwF3LO.99
afcstuff @afcstuff 16m16 minutes ago
Arsene Wenger has now been Arsenal manager for 265 games at The Emirates, the same number as at Highbury.
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I agree with the CC coments today he looked mature and assured. Arsene said when he bought him CM could be his position and today was the first real chance we got to see it.
Another player to add to the just found list.
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@ Eduardo…. hyper consistent!
Chambers was the signing that most pleased me last summer as it seemed such a statement of intent. Delighted to hear he played well today. What a top end to the first half of the season. Now for the serious business!
charlie nic must have had a bit too much mulled wine
Sam @samuelJayC 46m46 minutes ago
Charlie Nicholas says Arsenal should sign Carrick. “With Arteta, Flamini & Rosicky going they need a player 30-32.” Carrick is 35 in summer.
seemingly Sergi Guardiola set a world record today, the shortest stay by a player at a football club, he signed for Barcelona B, and just over 7 hours later they terminated his contract as tweets he made two years ago came to light, tweets such as “Hala Madrid puta cataluña”.
really have to love the expert fans, it seems that although Chambers was very good tonight, he would be out of his depth against a good team.
I wonder why Mark Hughes is not being touted as a possible Man Utd manager
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just seen it said that Man Utd under LVG have had 19 0-0 draws, in his 18 months in charge,
John Moss after his mare in the Southampton v Arsenal game was today officiating Bolton vs Blackburn in the championship.
Josh James @JoshJJames78 46m46 minutes ago
Arsenal in 2015: LWWWWWLWWWLWWWWWWWWWDWLDDWWWLWDWWLLWWLWWWWLWLDLWDWWWWLW
(P55 W37 D6 L12 F103 A52)
AFC have 6 more pts than at this stage last season, we have scored one less goal, but let in 5 less. 4 defeats each season. 3 more wins this time around.
Our 39 pts would have seen us in 3rd place last season. 4 behind city and 7 behind cfc.
Our 33 pts would see us in 5th this season, same position as it had us last season,
last season Man Utd were in 3rd with 36 pts, city need a point tomorrow to match that, a win would see lcfc in 3rd on 38 pts.
cfc had W14 D4 L1
AFC have W12 D3 L4
so last season’s invincibles CFC, had won only 2 games more than AFC have this season, by the way cfc won 12 games in the second 19 games of last season. so much for this years BPL being substandard compared to other years.
Squawka Football @Squawka 4h4 hours ago
@AbdulMoeez99 Gabriel Paulista’s game by numbers vs. Bournemouth:
100% tackles won
91% pass accuracy
New post up