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Arsenal Versus Watford: Candles In The Wind

What a weekend this could turn into. Shotta said he experienced the kind of disturbance in his waters which set off a rumbling in his tail bone causing him to wonder if the stars might align in our favour in one giant, glorious three day festival of sporting joy. Could Rafa sprinkle magic onto the King Power turf and inspire a Newcastle miracle? If so would it be the bookend to a weekend which saw City squander two of their three points in hand, England overcome their Welsh bogey, Chelsea get knocked out of the cup and the longest awaited most deserved red card ever being shown to that nasty little Chelsea player with who’s name I shall not sully the clean sheets of our pristine blog.

I am not one to question the strange spirits which so moved the vitals of one of our finest fans but Shotta knows, and so do you and I, that all of these events both past and in a hopeful, longed for future will mean little if we cannot do our bit and overcome The ‘Orns in our lunchtime FA Cup quarter final. The league results could still turn out in a manner helpful to our cause but Chelsea’s exit from our cup would be like ashes in the mouth if we fail to progress to our third successive semi final.

There is a lot of talk about prioritising this competition over that. This kind of cheap chat is of course the prerogative of the fans; people like us who have nothing to lose and who’s ideas and opinions will never be tested. We can spout any old baloney and deride as clichéd and empty the talk of dealing with the next match as it comes and focussing only on that game. Surely though, Arsène Wenger is quite correct to never give up on any of the competitions in which his team has a chance of success no matter how slight that might appear to be.

Imagine the opposite. Imagine a manager throwing everything at the FA Cup and writing off the Champions League because it looks an unlikely bet or the league because his team must rely on the mistakes of others. What kind of manager would that be? Not the kind I want running the side I support. Not the kind ever likely to inspire his players to success.

If our lads think about Barcelona while on the pitch against Watford they will surely come a cropper. We can indulge in such idle luxuries because it isn’t our careers on the line.  We can miss a goal because we’re composing a pithy tweet, or trying to favourite a post on Positively Arsenal, but if a player misses one because his mind isn’t fully on the job in hand, he jeopardises his place in the starting line up.

I think it is important to understand the distinction between those of us for whom football is a passionate distraction and those who actually build their careers upon it. There seems to be a trend among some supporters to imagine their club owes them something. Their argument runs along the following lines. I’ve paid so much money following this team that I have earned the right to demand this or that from the club. Phooey. Yes you heard me, phooey I say. What utter garbage.

If I went to see every gig during the Burning Hell’s upcoming tour of Britain and Continental Europe it would bankrupt me. Would that give me the right to demand their next album contain songs written in a style of my choosing? No. Of course not. The price of admission  would buy me the right to watch the band. It wouldn’t buy me the right to watch them play well nor to watch them play the songs I like best. They could play two hours of Lighthouse Family covers, and as long as they hadn’t promised otherwise I would have no grounds to complain, would I?

It is no different with football. If you buy a ticket to the match and lose half a days pay and spend thirty quid on petrol getting to the game, all that ticket entitles you to is to see a football match. Not to see a good one, not to see a side composed in line with your personal fancy and certainly not to see a victory. You pay to rent a seat for a couple of hours inside a stadium where a match will take place and that is all you can actually expect for your hard earned.

Do you have the right to moan and grumble if the team was shit and the match dull? Certainly you do. You can also moan that your mum never cut the crust off your sandwiches and that it rained when you went to Bognor for that week back in the long hot summer of seventy six. You can complain about anything you want to but if you choose to do it repeatedly and noisily and publicly and to the detriment of the atmosphere in the ground you will almost certainly make it harder for the team you support to win.

If you really, really don’t like the style of play and are really and truly dissatisfied with the results achieved by the team, I’m going to let you into a secret. You don’t actually have to go to the game at all. If the Burning Hell start sounding like the Lighthouse Family I’ll stop listening to them eventually. Not straight away. I really love the band and would of course give them a chance to mend their ways but I don’t think I’d bother spoiling the gig for the musicians and those who were enjoying it just because it wasn’t my cup of tea. After all that would make me a special kind of arse wouldn’t it?

Today’s opponents have lost three of their last six and only scored one goal in those six matches. They’ve also only conceded five and so while they appear to carry little threat in attack their are not exactly porous at the back. If we come at them in the same way we did against Hull we should be fine. Should be. I don’t take any side visiting the Emirates lightly so don’t read that as over confidence. I simply believe that when we cut loose and play with freedom and élan, we are good enough to beat anybody.

Some thought we started badly in the replay on Tuesday and while it is true we played with more verve, more dash and danger once we’d scored, I thought we were simply cautious, feeling our way into the game and not taking chances. Once we had the opposition on the back foot we went in for the kill. It was a similar story against Spurs in our last league game and had the pressure born fruit before half time when they were on the ropes I’m sure we’d have seen a different outcome.

Today is a chance for the manager and the players to get us to Wembley yet again, if only for a semi final. A chance for someone to be add their name to a long list of Arsenal FA Cup stars and a chance for the supporters to get more for their money than just a seat in the stands. Fortunately the overwhelming majority understand that and I’m sure will give their all to help carry the team. If you have the great good fortune to be at the match I hope you are in good voice. After all, as Shotta said, this could end up being a very good weekend indeed.

 

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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141 comments on “Arsenal Versus Watford: Candles In The Wind

  1. Arsène did his best at the Press Con.

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  2. WENGER ON DEFEAT, WATFORD AND GABRIEL

    Arsène Wenger faced the media after Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat in the FA Cup quarter-final against Watford. You can read a full transcript below:

    on the defeat…
    Our long, long run has come to an end in a very sad way because I don’t think that we deserved to lose. We have to look at ourselves for the first goal. The second goal was a fantastic shot. I felt that it was a real cup game where they defended very well and took their chances on the break, the few chances they had. As long as we didn’t score the first goal they kept their belief. They were physically very strong but we had enough chances to win the game.

    on whether their physical strength had an impact on the result…
    We knew that before the game. We had enough technical superiority to win the game and to score goals. It was down to not making a mistake and keeping it 0-0 until the last 20 minutes. If we would have done that then we might have won the game. Unfortunately we made one. It is sad. We’ve come out of a very long run in the FA Cup. The FA Cup is the FA Cup, you cannot guarantee you will win it.

    on how difficult it will be to pick the players up…
    It’s always difficult but it’s our job to prepare for the next game.

    on confidence…
    This had nothing to do with confidence. Of course there is confidence in the team. The recent results haven’t shown that but we’ve played against good teams and the recent results were 2-2 at Tottenham with 10 men and a 4-0 win at Hull. I don’t see why we shouldn’t have any confidence.

    on Welbeck’s chance at the end…
    It was difficult to understand how we didn’t score. I want to watch it again. It was a typical cup game against a team who comes here to fight and take their chances, with us trying to score. It was just like that, there’s not a lot more to say
    .
    on how disappointing it is to be out of the FA Cup…
    When we’re in it you [the media] say it’s only the FA Cup. You cannot say that it’s a disaster on the other end of the scale.

    on whether he is concerned about Arsenal’s home form…
    A little bit, yes. I agree with you that we do not make enough of our domination, of our possession in the final third.

    on the impact it will have on the Barcelona game…
    We have shown that we can always respond. This team has a great spirit and a very strong attitude. They play at the moment with the idea that you cannot afford any negative results. We can deal with that and we will deal with the fact that we have a good opportunity to show on Wednesday that we are up for it.

    on Gabriel’s tackle…
    It didn’t look [like a red card to me], I have to see it again. He won the ball. It looked to me like Deeney was [off the ground] as well. Gabriel was first to the ball. That’s how it looked. If his feet were off the ground then I will have to look at it again.

    on whether he will take a full-strength squad to Barcelona…
    We want to make the impossible possible. Barcelona are a very, very strong side and it’s very important that we go there, focus and show a good response.

    on the triple substitution…
    I wanted to give a bit more penetration because I felt that we were lacking a bit and were passing a bit sideways. We lacked penetration and an incisive game. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to make a substitution before they scored the second goal. I wanted to do it at 1-0 but then they broke and it was 2-0. It was much more difficult.

    on Arsenal’s defending…
    I don’t think we suffered a lot defensively. Watford are a team who are good on the break. They depend on Ighalo and Deeney and they are a handful to cope with. They were good and the rest work very hard. Overall we didn’t give many chances away in that game.

    Copyright 2016 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/20160313/wenger-on-defeat-watford-and-gabriel#UCO1KKkcoxiQI36s.99

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  3. Eduardo @ 3:28 pm:
    “….sorry to say it but I do feel Wenger will be gone in the summer.”
    Hmmmm: That was a well considered reaction.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. spurs going 6 pts clear of Arsenal, with AFC having a game in hand.

    we very well may be into the last 10 games of the Arsene Wenger era, the game v Everton next Saturday is massive for AFC and how this season may work out. lose and we could be as much as 14 pts behind LCFC, win and we could be as little as 5 pts with a game in hand, a very big week in our season this, and there is an interlull coming up next.

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  5. Shotta I think Wenger may decide he has taken this squad as far as he can, and with Arteta, Rosicky, Flamini, Debuchy all likely leaving, and a few more too, he might feel the time is right for someone else to take on the task.
    I really have some concerns as to the reasons why our squad was not strengthened more last summer, and as to why we have been so unable to put any sort of winning run together at any time this season. We know the talent is there, but for some reason so many of our players have been miles off their best for long spell this season, Alexis, Giroud, Ramsey, Oxlade-chamberlain, Walcott to name but a few.

    for me the players have let the Club and Wenger down big time this season and it is for this reason I say Wenger might call it a day, he might just feel that he has had enough. Now of course he could go the other way and do a massive overhaul of the squad and get rid of most of those that have let him down, or who have not been good enough to step up, we might see a spending spree like never seen before at Arsenal, but if I was a betting man, I would have my money on Wenger walking away.

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  6. ~Wilshere~@laurenx_afc
    Walking past AFTV and they’re all fucking fighting. Physically fighting. Everyone standing around cheering it on. Fucking embarrassment !

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  7. Eddy all those players you list have been injured bar Giroud who therefore hasn’t been rested.

    Not the place for WOBism. Cheers.

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  8. Good second goal for Watford, be interested to hear FH’s thoughts on that one.

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  9. its not WOBism, what I’m actually saying is that the players have let the manager down, there has been far too many games this season like today, loads of possession with too slow a tempo, too many sideways passes (wenger once again stated this), too many players passing the buck, couple this with mistakes in defense, where opponents with only 2 shots on goal but score 2 goals, and then we only see what looks like our full game when time is running out. Why is it that we so often only see this sort of energy and industry from the players when behind, the last ten minutes today you would think a switch had been turned on, there was a stark contrast to the energy levels on display from our players compared to the 80 minutes before that.
    It actually feels like we have missed more gilt edge chances than total goals scored (all our expected scorers have had too poor of a return, too many games where they are all off form), again I state that the players are letting the club and manager down. Is it lack of confidence, lack of belief, lack of proper attitude, lack of effort, lack of composure, unable to deal with the expectations, is the formation wrong, is the fitness levels not right, are the tactics wrong, is it a combo of all those things, I don’t know.

    We have lost 13 games this season, drawn 8 and won 22, that is basically a 50% win ratio, if we don’t improve that massively we may not even get top 4 this season,

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  10. Bigger,
    We deserved an equaliser.

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  11. fins the shot for the goal was incredibly powerful, but our defending was not what it should have been, the lad who scored was not tracked, the watford striker who laid it off to him was not challenged despite us having four or five players in and around him, it was as if our players thought “its ok we have bodies back, noting will happen here, everything will be all right” instead of a real effort to make sure nothing happened. Once we let in the first goal, our defense wobbled a little,(not that it had been rock solid before the goal, Gabriel had a poor game) not helped by the lack of reaction by the rest of the team.

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  12. DC we had our chances, bit unlucky with Iwobi hitting the post, but we should have been able to take one of the other good chances, Gibbs header, Welbeck from the Iwobi rebound, if luck had been with us the Iwobi shot would have rebounded in off the keeper. I’ve never known a season where we miss so many good chances and I’m nearly 50 years watching Arsenal.

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  13. You see Eddy,
    It’s difficult to flail Wenger over the fact the ball just won’t Bloody well go in when we want it too. All these chances and still not scoring enough goals.

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  14. Eddy @ 5:29& 5:38pm – I know you have couched this in IFs but those were were quite pessimistic posts. Today was disappointing but to be fair rhe margins were small margins. Despite our failings we coulda, shoulda equalized and force a replay. As for the PL, there are 8 weeks to go. Points will be dropped by Leicester and Spurs. If we drop the fewest we could win the whole enchilada. It is tough but not impossible. Buck up my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. its not me shotta that needs to buck up, its the players, for us to win the title from this position we will have to do something that we have not even come close to doing all season, and that is put a long winning run together, only once this season have we gone on a winning BPL run of more than 3 games(we managed one 3 BPL game winning run), that was 5 game BPL winning run back in 26th Sept to 31st Oct, and we lost 2 cup games during that run. And our longest unbeaten run of games is also 5.

    We be brilliant if we do go on to win the league this season, but we will have to turn results on their head, I’m just not convinced we will or can, I’ve not seen anything this season to suggest its about to happen. I do not doubt that the talent is there to make it happen, but I need convincing it will. Maybe put in the mother of all comebacks v Barca and go through in CL, might stir the team to achieve greatness.

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  16. Disappointing, but yet again…..absolutely nothing at all went for us. A borderline offside goal disallowed, yet again, an opponent scores a couple in their first two or three chances, Ozil could easily have had a penalty….ok Gab could have been sent off too….but missed the usual sitters, but ultimately, should have done enough to win.
    That is not to say that there aren’t things that need working on…..defence clearly being one issue. But I sincerely doubt Wenger is going anywhere before his contract ends, there is no reason for him too. If it all goes wrong, he may have to look a bit further at how he can prevent the level on injuries we get…..as if he hasn’t already of course…perhaps recruit Leicester’s medics…..maybe have more backup for key players..perhaps freshen up aspects of coaching so we do not fall into these ruts the players seem to have difficulty getting out of….And I am sure recruit as well.
    But , we will soon, barring a miracle be fighting on just one front..and .there is still plenty to play for . It does not look good at the moment , granted, but no need to over react at this stage.
    Don’t know why the AAA and their media allies are getting so upset over this…..as they had long degraded the FA Cup as a non trophy, rendering this game meaningless in their eyes. So shut it Piers.
    A final point…….are some of our players trying too hard..especially at home?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. The time to judge will be at the end of the season, however it’s not looking good. It’s good that most on here are still optimistic and there were fine lines today but our performance in critical areas was not good enough today. I think the final ten minutes proved that a high tempo and early crosses will always undo a deep lying defence.
    Gabs and Per were left two on two many times
    Even though we had two defensive midfielders playing today. As for Sanchez I know he can be brilliant but I think Arsene made a major mistake leaving him on today. When your two down you really don’t need a player who is so wasteful. He comes inside evertime which makes him predictable and reduces the effectiveness of the fullback as he doesn’t want to pass.
    There was civil war outside the stadium today with fans fighting fans, I hate to say it but we could be seeing an end of an era. Pray for a miricale

    Liked by 2 people

  18. yes Ian we could be seeing the end of an era, for me I see so many of the same aspects in the players performances that I seen in the last seasons of Bertie Mee, Terry Neill and George Graham. Too often the feeling that the players had so much more to give, playing within themselves, showing flashes of the quality they can produce, Little spells in games where you start to think everything has clicked again, then its not there, gone, to use a Wengerism, the handbrake is on. The bounce of the ball or the call of the ref goes against us, small margins. Small margins yes, but small margins we are on the wrong side of too many times and too often seem unable to do anything about them.

    Ozil has been outstanding for most of the season, Cech has been in fine form too, Monreal has been a real steady eddie, Bellerin has done well too, after that I struggle to think of any player who has performed consistently well or to the best of their ability all season.

    I must praise Welbeck for how well he has played since his return form injury, 3 games + 4 as sub, and he has scored 3 goals, and put in high energy performances. Some say he is playing like he was never away, but for me he looks better than he did before his injury. Whatever he is eating I hope he throws a dinner party for Alexis, giroud, Ramsey, Walcott, Ox and a few more and gives them some of it.

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  19. It looks grim .
    Carmon ARSENE

    Liked by 2 people

  20. ianspace2014 @ 7:48 pm:
    I quite believe your reports of divisions leaving to fisticuffs outside the stadium. It is not pleasant news for those who support Wenger but whether you are for against, doesn’t change reality:
    * The same mob who said winning the FA cup doesn’t count are the same mob who believes losing to Watford is a disaster. Doesn’t change the fact that we had a magnificent run.
    * The same people who said the team is good enough to beat Watford are the same now say the loss is down to not making transfers (even Eddy is on this bandwagon). Doesn’t change the fact after being two down we had big chances to equalize (Welbeck!).

    The reality is we are in a competitive league where Arsenal have no god-given right to dominate, no matter the amount of money the club is willing to spend. Leicester is not going to sell us Mahrez, West Ham is not going to sell us Payet. Chelsea spent infinitely more than us and were embarrassed by Everton, Manchester City went to Norwich and couldn’t score a goal, United could barely scramble a draw at home in the FA cup vs West Ham. Today’s game and those in the League reaffirmed in today’s competitive environment you pay for your mistakes especially if you don’t take your chances.

    Unfortunately everybody is looking for a talisman to bail them out when the going is rough. Despite all their spending neither Aguero, Costa nor Martial have bailed out their clubs, all of whom are behind us in the League. With the big television money coming into the League next year it will be even more difficult to exert any financial advantage over lesser PL clubs to sign their best talent; not counting the fact that there are 3 clubs who will always out-spend Arsenal. The owner has made it clear, recently, the club must depend on its own resources and not expect a sugar daddy. From his words and action it is clear this owner is going nowhere.

    So fans can malign Wenger as much as they like, get him sacked, it will not change the competitive landscape. To the contrary it will simply place us into the unknown when it comes to a proven manager at the helm. Fat lot of good the fighting and screaming at the stadium and online will do to change the competitive environment.

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  21. Great points Shotta. True insiders, like Dein and Bob Wilson tell us we will seriously miss Wenger when he is gone…..perhaps implying he is punching above his weight in the environment of the clubs clearly stated ownership model. Yes, Spurs and Leicester have spent less money than us, but they haven’t finished above us yet…..and if they do, let’s see if they can match Wengers consistency over the years…..good luck to them on that one.
    There are some I regard as pretty sensible voices who believe Wenger may just get fed up and call it a day. Not my take…..but if it happens, the next manager could be resourced and turn out a great…..but I worry they might make what they see as a crowd pleasing ex player as the new man….I am not sure that will work.
    But still, just speculation , for now there is the small matter of Barca….then a league title to fight for.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. shotta you are correct of course that the unknown may have dire consequences. However I do believe we have overperformed in previous years but this was a pivital year for Arsene and wheather he has got things wrong or wheather the team has let him down I think the club has underperformed and the AAA will put so much pressure on the club that he may have to walk.
    We have now reached a situation where the discord is affecting the players at home, fans are fighting in the street and even the ex-ARSENAL pundits dont know who to have a go at any more. When they start defending Arsene you sort of suspect the end is nigh.
    Yes we could still win the league but the chances are not good and even then I wonder if the knives in Arsenes back can be removed in time to save him.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. the official tickets sold figure for today game was 58436, the Boycott went well then.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Prams and toys, prams and toys.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Shotta:

    Your spin is remarkable …

    “I quite believe your reports of divisions leaving to fisticuffs outside the stadium. It is not pleasant news for those who support Wenger but whether you are for against, doesn’t change reality:”

    Arsene note, not Arsenal. People are genuinely unhappy with recent results.

    “* The same mob who said winning the FA cup doesn’t count are the same mob who believes losing to Watford is a disaster. Doesn’t change the fact that we had a magnificent run.”

    So you say. What mob is this that ever said winning a trophy doesn’t matter? The one in your head? Magnificent? Sunderland (H), Burnley (H), Hull (H) (after replay).

    “* The same people who said the team is good enough to beat Watford are the same now say the loss is down to not making transfers (even Eddy is on this bandwagon). Doesn’t change the fact after being two down we had big chances to equalize (Welbeck!).”

    It’s Watford at home FFS. Not Barcelona. Chance to equalise? Maybe if we’d had a clinical striker in the side or a better defensive set-up we wouldn’t need to equalise.

    “The reality is we are in a competitive league where Arsenal have no god-given right to dominate, no matter the amount of money the club is willing to spend. Leicester is not going to sell us Mahrez, West Ham is not going to sell us Payet.”

    Big spenders – Leicester and West Ham? Please.

    “Chelsea spent infinitely more than us and were embarrassed by Everton, Manchester City went to Norwich and couldn’t score a goal, United could barely scramble a draw at home in the FA cup vs West Ham. Today’s game and those in the League reaffirmed in today’s competitive environment you pay for your mistakes especially if you don’t take your chances.”

    So what? We’re talking about losing or drawing a sequence of winnable matches. What’s that got to do with what anyone else does?

    “Unfortunately everybody is looking for a talisman to bail them out when the going is rough. Despite all their spending neither Aguero, Costa nor Martial have bailed out their clubs, all of whom are behind us in the League.”

    Do you really not think that an Aguero or Suarez or Costa in the side would have helped us this year?

    “With the big television money coming into the League next year it will be even more difficult to exert any financial advantage over lesser PL clubs to sign their best talent; not counting the fact that there are 3 clubs who will always out-spend Arsenal. ”

    But spending money makes no difference does it?

    “The owner has made it clear, recently, the club must depend on its own resources and not expect a sugar daddy. From his words and action it is clear this owner is going nowhere.”

    And, from his words, neither is the club because that’s not a priority for him.

    “So fans can malign Wenger as much as they like, get him sacked, it will not change the competitive landscape.”

    It might change the competitive nature of the club.

    “To the contrary it will simply place us into the unknown when it comes to a proven manager at the helm. Fat lot of good the fighting and screaming at the stadium and online will do to change the competitive environment.”

    Absolutely right. A different approach might though.

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  26. Gosh. Didn’t think I’d slip through.

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  27. Not only not the place for WOBism but not the place for EndofAnEra bollocks either

    George?

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  28. Exactly Andrew.

    not the place for it. This manager will see out his contract as agreed with his employers and if anyone thinks that after the krunks recent comments that the same media that failed to get aw sacked previously will succeed after two FA cup wins then they are chatting proper Arse. On these pages no less.

    It’s not the place for it G.

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  29. More importantly neither is it the time. The timing of these groans says more then I could.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. afcstuff ‏@afcstuff 4h4 hours ago
    Arsenal’s last 8 games in all competitions:

    147 shots
    6 goals

    Last 8 home games in all comps:

    Olivier Giroud – 29 shots, 0 goals
    Alexis Sanchez – 27 shots, 1 goal

    [@Orbinho] #afc

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  31. Only won two out of the last three FA Cups. Any club worth their salt would surely sack a manager for that

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Interesting stats Eduardo. Everything smacks to me at least of players nervous especially in home games and maybe trying too hard. Certainly creating the chances.
    That, and key players being injured.
    Things not going well at the moment, combined with finishing issues……as Wenger said, every mistake made is being punished…..i can see an upturn in fortunes, but unfortunately not mid week.

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  33. Umm…who left the gate open? And why in the hell would you write such a diatribe if you didn’t think you were going to get through. Who did you write that for?

    And some of our regulars need a good night’s sleep. The blame game is tiresome. Doesn’t matter whether you blame AW or the players. It’s still blaming and it’s still getting on my last nerve. I don’t know what’s going on any more than you do. But this “players letting AW down” crap doesn’t play with me. I imagine players and manager believe they are in this together. This isn’t fucking Chelsea.

    Sorry…maybe I need a good night’s sleep too. Just as well no one will see this anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Quite suggestive that DFB thinks of himself as slipping through as if he hasn’t been free to post. George’s policy is once you are in, you are in. But somehow you think you are an outsider, slipping in. That is certainly the definition of a Freudian slip.

    I have no issue with us having a different pov. In time we will see whose is most most valid, whose is most fact based. Time has a funny way of exposing falsehoods, sooner or later.

    One of your falsehoods was to conflate my comment about our FA cup run with the League. But hey-ho it is easy to do since we are in a rut in both competitions.

    Yes, we have lost a series of winnable matches but so have our our peers with infinitely more spending. DFB tries to slink (as in slip) away from this fact but facts are quite stubborn. DFB’s point being that somehow Arsenal’s lack of spending is the root cause. Seems DFB is too caught up in his self proclaimed anti-spin to recognize that so far this year there is no significant correlation between spending and results. Doesn’t logic suggest that something more is at work.

    It is not my fault that DFB cannot grasp a simple statement of fact: Arsenal lacks of a talisman. DFB’s response is to simply engage in wishful thinking, to the effect:
    “Do you really not think that an Aguero or Suarez or Costa in the side would have helped us this year?”
    Apart from the fact that we stood absolutely no chance of landing either of those players this year, even if we were interested (as was the case of Suarez two years ago), your suggestion that somehow Aguero or Costa would make a difference is not supported by their team’s performance in the PL, both of which are languishing behind AFC. Clearly this is an inconvenient truth to be glossed over.

    DFB then dismisses Kroenke as not wanting the club to be competitive. But the majority owner made several profound statements in that recent sports conference which was treated with the usual infantilism by many in the fanbase. Among them are the following:
    He won’t be a a sugar daddy.
    He is in it for the long haul unlike the oil-based investors.
    He expects that the club will successfully compete while watching the bottomline (He especially likes that Wenger, with an economics degree,understands this necessity.)
    He will make the investments such as StaDNA which will make the club better able to compete.
    Too many people fail to learn the lessons of history. All that money coming into the PL will soon be consumed by overpriced transfers, overpaid players and other predictable excesses. We have seen that movie before; this sequel is about to be released. Obviously Kroenke won’t fall for the rerun.

    None of the above changes the fact that we played a very competitive Watford team, who by the way this season acquired 16 players on transfers, spending £26.5 million, which is 26.5 times what they spent one year earlier. Some of these transfers were from two sister clubs so I take the transfer figures with a grain of salt. We made at least one major defensive error and a wonder strike by a journeyman led to two goals. Whether we like it or not it is a very competitive league and our mistakes were punished. A new manager wont change that fact; ask Van Gaal, ask Klopp, ask dear departed Mourinho.

    Postscript: Predictably, it is when the fans most give up on the players that they rally back; whether it be Olympiacos, Bayern, or Spurs this season. It is at dawn when it is most dark.

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  35. Good post Shotta.

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  36. Excellent again Shotta.
    Some critics being way too simplistic…..especially as we are still in with a shout at the title.
    two teams ahead of us, neither of who have of course beaten Arsenal this season both seem to have one thing conspicuously in their favour, settled sides, and a freakish lack of injuries to key players. It is surely no coincidence our form has dipped and not fully recovered since the devastating injury spell last autumn, since then we have patched up formations not all suited to all players…..which have not fully worked. No team could sustain our level of injuries without form being affected, especially when playing three games a week. There have been times when this team seems to have lost its flow. And when that happens, because of the complexity of our game, our players struggle and mistakes seem amplified.
    The causes and what should be done about the injuries is another debate.
    I would also say that two teams above us seem to use some tactics, and indeed ways of playing Wenger and his teams would generally consider beneath them? Again, lofty principles or just getting the job done by whatever means, the merits are up for debate, especially as we can catch both even with our injury woes.
    If we are to learn anything from Spurs and Leicester…..and for that matter teams like Watford this season, it is perhaps in the medical, fitness, recovery areas of the game rather than spending or tactics. unless their luck with injuries are anomalies……sadly, our bad fortune in this area seems anything but. But the same would apply to a couple of teams with far more money than us.

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  37. “George’s policy is once you are in”
    For now.

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  38. I think that one of the mistakes people make is thinking that positive supporters (of the type most often found here) are away with the fairies and do not see problems with the team – that in short they are not realists. I would gently suggest (as indeed Shotta does) that it is pretty much the other way round.

    I see plenty of things happen in a game that make me irritated – and there are one or two players who I don’t rate as highly as I do others. And I often think that if I was the manager I might have done something a bit different – or at least I wonder why player x is favoured in a particular role, when to my eyes he looks like a duck out of water. But I choose to keep those details to myself, partly because I know I don’t know the whole story, partly because although I know sport pretty well I have not played or coached football at a high enough level to confidently back my ideas – but mainly because I can’t see how constant sniping criticism helps anyone at all.

    What I would say though (and this is in defence of clubs other than just us) is that the challenge of breaking down a well-coached side that consistently has nine men behind the ball is a relatively recent phenomena, and one that often relies on a bit of fortune and a bit of even-handedness from the refs and assistants.

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  39. Fins: I didn’t see the second goal so I don’t have any thoughts. But now I want to see it to see why you thought I might have had thoughts.

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  40. We’ve got to get up now and not lick our wounds,too much. Barcas a mountain but not impossible and Everton is now been Bunyanised as if they too are Barca. The club needs us more than ever. The team and manager need us more than ever.
    If theres anything to work on its the psychology of all us at the club. You could feel the team were unable to cope with the pressure of going 1-0 down yesterday and the tension growing then dealing with the second goal was desperation. You cant win games like that schnuffling around in the poop.But we nearly did scrape that draw.But how many in the stadium/watching still believed that? The team picked up on that too.
    Without belief and intention what is there?To achieve anything you cannot look to the moment but project into the future.
    COYG!!!

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  41. New Post Up

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