Arsenal – Distant Peaks Glimpsed


Wadi Rum

Bon dia Positivistas,

By no means the result we were looking for but a decent performance last night against FCB I thought. There was no timidity in our approach, we brought the game to the opposition from the first to the last whistle. To meet and beat that mob, a side requires a faultless performance in defence and in converting the handful of chances that will come your way. And if by some chance you do manage to get a result over the 90 minutes then you have to do it all again, at their place! Just at the moment we are not doing ‘faultless’. Another season passes with the Champions League trophy distant on the horizon, we can see the route, we have a guide but it remains at least a day’s trek away (see above).

I thought a number of our players deserve a special mention for their efforts last night. The two most obvious are Alex Iwobi and Mo Eleny both of whom did not just put in an excellent physical performance to wrestle ownership of the midfield back and forth, they passed well, tackled cleanly and behaved as ‘professionals’. A first and very good goal for Mo that, for a little while at least, rattled Barcelona. I thought Danny and Alexis both hammered away all night in an effort to get on the score sheet. Ospina has taken over smoothly from Cech to the extent that no one even mentioned his second choice status last night. In spite of the usual naming and shaming hysteria on social media I did not see any of our players who put in what you might call a poor or bad performance.

My God I even thought the referee did OK.

Onward to Merseyside on Saturday lunchtime. While there may be an argument that we will be at a disadvantage after just two days recuperation, I thought we looked as though we had plenty of energy last night, even in the final few minutes. Our record against Saturday’s opponents is a little erratic. Traditionally they were easy meat home and away but in recent years have put up more of a fight, especially on their home turf.

There is cause for some optimism though. While Everton had a good win against Chelsea in the Cup we arrive with their Premier League form at Goodison in poor shape. Checking their last nine home PL games shows just one win (against Newcastle) four draws, and five defeats. Their most recent setbacks a 2-0 lead against the ‘Appy ‘Ammers ending in a 2-3 defeat, and a loss to Pulis’ mighty West Brom. Clearly home form like that would be grounds for a very large banner indeed in certain parts of North London but Martinez, smooth-talking Spanish chappie that he is, has floated serenely past the flak with the FA Trophy a useful shield.

Hopefully we can dent Roberto’s bland confidence and regain a little of our momentum for the final Premier League run-in. There is still a prize to play for, be in no doubt.

Have fun, but don’t go mad.


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77 comments on “Arsenal – Distant Peaks Glimpsed

  1. Agree with your pithily excellent summary Andrew, I also thought we were pretty decent overall. Iwobi and Mo looking the real deal and the small matter if finishing aside, our numerous attacks presented real threat to an arrogant, over-confident but supremely talented Barca side.

    And an ‘over-rested’ side, too, at least compared to our boys. Barca always looked as if they had several additional gears to call upon if the ref did start granting penalties to Iwobi.

    And here lies the rub.

    Every game we play is a cup final, they are all so-called ‘must win’ matches. Throw in our consistently taxing injury record and you have a recipe for disparity. It is impossible to overstate the disruption caused by season-long injury crises. I understand Leicester in their Euro-lite charge to the top have only used 18 players this season – and well done to them, by the way.

    I seriously doubt AW will ever get to the bottom of our injury blight, a curse that has been with us at least as long as the Emirates has been open. For me, the correlation appears quite stark though I couldn’t possibly prove causality. But if you removed the injuries caused or exacerbated by the concrete-like Emirates pitch – and its training equivalent in London Colney – then we may start to get to the bottom of certain things injurious.

    Eddy is quite right to say finishing has been the death of us so far this season. But how many of those players currently squandering scoring opportunities have been coming back from injury at some point this season? Most? All?

    And the form of the player most wrecked by injury has to be Sanchez, a pale shadow of his first season when he single-handedly picked us up and took us to the summit of high expectation.

    I personally don’t think Arsene has ‘lost it’, or the dressing room or is remotely past it. But I’ve little doubt his future autobiography will lament the inability of the club to somehow get to grips with injuries without compromising the Wenger ‘brand’ of football, as being the main reason his latter years have proven more frustrating than his early ones.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thanks Andrew,nice calm and measured. Heres hoping at Everton. Certainly its a massive,strange and if we can divorce it all from your emotions, a fascinating time.Certainly our clubs history is in visible flux now,more than it has been in a long while.
    COYG! You can do it.


  3. I like your post too AA.Excellent.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. If Arsenal can play like that every week they would run away with the EPL.

    Iwobi is a great prospect. In fact, he is already good enough, but will get even better.

    Nice write up Anicoll…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The final margin was 5-1 on aggregate, and no one can dispute that the better team won, but I’m generally happy with how we played and believe the margins aren’t as big as they appear. Over both games we caused them problems, and could have won. I know could have makes no difference, but as a gauge for where we are, results aren’t always the best measure either.

    Barcelona were given credit in the first leg for letting us have more of the ball in the second half to draw us out. I suppose it shows confidence in their ability, but that was a real risky strategy because we could have scored at least once, if not twice, and their plans would be in ruins.

    Anyway, what it means for us in relation to climbing the European summit. I’d say apart from better finishing (and maybe finishers) we need better ball players in the middle. Elneny is a great example. He was brilliant yesterday, and brings the calmness on the ball along with the technique that we’ve lacked since Arteta, WIlshere and Cazorla have been injured. Coquelin and Ramsey for all they bring cannot offer that.

    Our defensive awareness needs some work too. Koscielny has a tendency to run off sometimes, and Gabriel seems to not sense danger early enough. Not saying either are bad defenders. But the goals we concede recently are generally avoidable.

    Special mentions also for Ospina, so unfairly tarnished by the media and a section of our own fans, and for Iwobi who apart from when he came on as a sub in the ManU game, has looked like making an effortless transition to the first team.

    As for this season, I believe we can go on and win all our games. It would need us to play well, to not have the referees screw us over, and to just put away our chances when they come. But we can do it. As for whether that’ll be enough for the title, right now, I don’t care. It’s out of our hands. Let’s do our bit and worry about that later.

    Liked by 7 people

  6. Good piece AA, I do agree with all your observations.
    That wasn’t a game to be ashamed of at all.
    I must admit though I was worried about the line-up but with the performances on show, AW does know.

    Everton will be tough but hey there’s no MSN to worry about.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. One other thing I thought yesterday when Monreal’s tackle on Messi was called a foul. We’ll never be as good as Barcelona at keeping the ball because the environment we play most of our games in is just not conducive to it. We won’t have game after game where we’re allowed to pass the ball around without being shoved or kicked. Barcelona’s players individually aren’t that much better than ours technically (even alexis said so) but we don’t get to practice at that in game situations every week. quite the opposite in fact. If we can merge the two though, like we did in the Invincibles era, then we can be a stronger force.

    By the way, I know Bayern won yesterday after getting away with a goal called offside when it wasn’t, and a last minute equaliser. But is anyone going to be blaming Guardiola for some shambolic defending on display to go down in the first half? Maybe that’s unfair, but I’m getting a bit sick of the Pep love in.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. There can be no old fart’s thoughts that do not duplicate your excellent report Andrew.
    Rather, I shall save myself the two finger typing exercise and copy and paste yours …obviously with all acknowledgments.
    A very promising game. Let’s hope it continues but with finishing and defensive mistakes cured.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. The shout has gone up in the past few weeks that our malaise is down to our inability to convert the volume of chances we have into goals, and it is a hard conclusion to avoid or dispute.

    I cannot recall the last time we really gave the opposition a really good 5-6-7 goal spanking ? It is seasons ago, I know that.

    Leading on though from that goal deficit I wonder whether that in itself may be a cause of our grim toll of injury, particularly it seems to me to midfield and forward players ?

    If a side scores goals, get themselves 2-0, 3-0, 4-0 up and they can take your foot off the gas, the opposition is broken, for the final 20 minutes of the game they can cycle easily toward the final whistle.

    With us we are flat out for 95 minutes every game, flinging ourselves forward to get the winner, an equalizer whatever.

    Liked by 6 people

  10. That’s a really good point Andrew.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ola Andrew and Positivistas.

    The Arsenal boys didn’t disgrace themselves and took even the DT’s of this world by surprise for taking the game to those dwarfs. Arsène’s game-plan worked and weren’t it for our few lapses in defence we could’ve beaten them, granted we made better use of those chances that came our way through Barça’s defensive lapses.

    The guys just need to work on their finishing man, that’s the only gripe I have. It’s not like they are useless, we’ve seen them done it countless times before. They just need something to get them out of this funk.

    Fingers crossed it’s Saturday lunch time.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Ticket to Palace safely gathered in – see you there !

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Greetings Positivistas. We owe Andrew Nic a debt of gratitude for consistently excellent work. His match reports are always balanced and fair and especially in this difficult period identify the optimistic elements that keep us looking upwards instead of being bogged down in mire of negativity and woe that afflict most other Arsenal blogs and podcasts.

    Speaking of positives, I have seen very little made of this, but Nacho Monreal was a monster yesterday. Against some of the best forwards and midfielders in the world his defending was absolutely top class finding the precise balance between getting tight and making the tackle vs when to back off and cover the man on the ball as well as the runner from deep. (Are you watching Kieran Gibbs?) That 3rd goal some people are blaming on Koscielny all started from Giroud trying to make a difficult one time pass to the left with Monreal bombing forward in search of the goal we needed. Once the pass was picked off, Monreal was out of position to cover the attackers leaving Koscielny and Gabriel in a 3 v 2 situation. If Monreal wasn’t forced to attack I doubt if Messi could have broken our lines. That marginally inaccurate pass simply illustrates the importance of consistency and quality at every position on the field.

    Liked by 5 people

  14. Bugger
    I can’t find my membership card – and tickets are selling fast.


  15. For which match d_c?


  16. Palace.
    I think I left my card at work.


  17. LCFC have used 19 players in the BPL this season, AFC have used 24, with 22 starting games

    as for injuries being the reason why our players are missing chances, I’m not sure that can be said to be the case, lets look at some of our players who are not scoring

    take Alexis for example, the consensus was that he was missing chances at the start of the season cos he was tired from his summer Internationals, but then he gets injured and so gets a mid season break(even if forced), and is out for 6-8 weeks, so we can assume he should come back rested and refreshed, and we can allow ring rustiness for him not scoring early on in his comeback, but he is back 3 months now,

    Cazorla, not scored and I think he also does not have an assist this season in his 20 games. That is staggering for a player of his ability.

    giroud – the case is made for him that he has been run into the ground due to Welbeck and Theo being out injured, but is that really the case, he has only started 33 games for us this season, 21 in the league, we have to remember that Theo had ousted him in the early part of the season. He has in all his seasons with AFC had these barren spells where he can not buy a goal, he is a hot and cold finisher, even in the same game, like the LFC away game, two goals, but also missed from a couple of feet out, I will say that one thing I find odd is that in many games this season when he was left out our wide men and fullbacks lumped in high ball to Theo, but then when we brought on Giroud, it was all played in to feet. Giroud scores all sort of goals, some of his goals are of the highest order, but he can also look so ordinary.

    Walcott – yeah injures again this season, but even when he got the strikers role at the start of the season and him playing well, he was not finishing well, something I would say has always been a strong point of his, but its let him down this season, he has only goals in 15+7 BPL games, 8 goals in 22+14 in total.

    Welbeck has come back from injury and done fairly well, 4+4 and he has 3 goals, but he has also missed a few good chances, he has never been a prolific striker, despite looking like he has everything needed to be one, maybe it will come yet, but he will be 26 later this year, so maybe not.

    Ramsey, in 2014 he was a one goal in two games scorer, in 2015 he was a one in four, and this season he is a one in six. Injures has played a part to the disruption to his game, as has his WR to CM to WR position in the starting 11.

    Is confidence the key to scoring for these guys, probably, but then we have the egg and chicken scenario, they need to be scoring goals to get confidence, but they need confidence for them to score the goals.
    The problem is that we’ve had two big issues with regards getting the scorers confident enough to score,
    1. we need one of them to be on a hot streak so that they others know they can get away with missing chances, so that they can relax enough to get scoring again. That all our better scorers are missing chances, means that they are all worried that no one will score, so they are more tense in their efforts as they think this is vital every time they shoot.
    2. our defense is not solid, the strikers are playing knowing with every miss that they are putting more pressure on our defense to keep a clean sheet, and that allied with the feeling that their is a brain fart in our defense, it all adds up to our attack struggling even more.

    now a little about our injuries.

    We have 3 times this season left players on the field after an injury, only to have it revealed afterwards that they had big injuries, and in Oxlade-Chamberlain’s case, we even had the 15 minute half time break to check him out, but still sent him back out – players fault, medics fault, either way a big mistake.
    Rosicky said he stayed on cos we had used our subs, this was not true, we still had one sub to use when he got injured, – so Rosicky’s fault.
    Cazorla also stayed on when we had subs to use, Wenger knew he was injured, Cazorla knew he was injured, the medics knew he was injured, so why leave him on.

    Some here have put forward the notion that we are getting these injuries cos with players out injured others are being ran into the ground till they too get injured – also put forward as to the reason why the likes of Giroud stops scoring – and there is little reason to dismiss this as a valid theory. So that begs the question as to why we left three or four spots unfilled in our 25 man squad. Especially considering that Rosicky, Welbeck and Wilshere all out with long term injures before end of the window, and in the case of Rosicky and Welbeck we knew their injuries for months.
    then we have to look at why with the injury records of Arteta, Rosicky, Wilshere, Ramsey over the last few seasons, that we took such a big gamble on leaving the squad at risk of being stripped to the bare bones by injuries.
    This has been going on for years, and we had for a few years the legit argument that we just could not afford to buy the extra players to have a safety net, but the Clubs financial results for the last couple of seasons now blows that argument out of the water. Our problems may have stayed the same, but we seem to be acting like we have the same financial restrictions we had, why I don’t know. Is Stan not allowing the money to be spent, is Wenger not willing to spend it, is Wenger too afraid to risk a waste of money on a player he is not sure about, or is Wenger just too loyal to the squad he has, or is it as simple as Wenger is just far too much of an optimist and he thinks “we won’t have injury issues this season and we will be fine”, is the Club after all the years of being skint, just too entrenched in being cautious and can’t get into a new frame of mind that embraces fully their new financial strength. I don’t know, none of us do, but there is something not quite right with how things are.


  18. The positives of yesterdays performance

    The overall performance, the team seemed to have belief, which is a good sign.
    As mentioned by Shotta, Monreal showed once again he is an outstanding left back, as he has all season.
    Elneny is growing into the team, he covered more ground than any other player yesterday, he is perpetual motion, also a one touch pass master, and boy did he score one of the best ever “first Arsenal goal”,
    Talking about growing into the team, what about Iwobi, he is starting to look like a guy who is forcing his way into being a first choice player, I would say he might really get lift off once he scores an important match winning goal for us. His passing is very good, not just in quality, but in choice, he is strong on the ball, is always looking to create, and is positive in his approach, and he is a tidy dribbler, massive potential is there, lets hope he fulfills it.
    Ozil started slowly but really grew into the game and is now forcing his way into games more, where he used to wait for others to give him the ball, now he demands it. His contribution is being overlooked cos of the wastefulness of our attack.
    Ospina, well for one of those players who should never play for my club again, he certainly has made some world class saves since his return to the team.

    but I’m sure some on twitter world will ignore all of the positives I list above, as Monreal is a sub standard cheap back up left back, Elneny is an average cheap foreigner, Iwobi is just another guy out of our awful academy, Ozil is stealing a living and Ospina is a dwarf who is not good enough for my club.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I haven’t seen the game yet, but I’m going to watch it tonight. This must be what it’s like for fans of teams that aren’t always expected to win and win handily. Enjoy the game, find the positives, the result is what it is. Imagine if every game weren’t a crisis waiting to happen…

    Tickets to Palace and West Brom sorted. But damn that online box office is hard to negotiate from this side of the pond. Credit card security features are so tight these days, they try to prevent you from making a purchase at all! I fully expect a phone call from the bank later: “We notice your card was used to make a purchase at some place in England called Arsenal? Was this you?”

    Liked by 2 people

  20. As a matter of interest Eddy why do you think if we had withdrawn the Ox early against FCB, or Santi at Norwich as examples that their underlying injury would have been any different, or the treatment they required and the period of their absence from first team any shorter ?

    I can’t recall reading or hearing anywhere that any player (or anyone else) has suggested that leaving a player on aggravated or seriously exacerbated an injury that if they had withdrawn would have been quickly resolved ?

    The other point may been in order to balance the issue, do you have any idea of the number of times an Arsenal player has taken what appears a nasty knock but has carried on and the injury has not caused any more than a temporary interruption ? It does seem to me that if a player was withdrawn as a precaution every time they went down with an apparently serious knock we would be down to 5 a side fairly quick !

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Sporting Anderlecht ‏@Sporting_AND 4h4 hours ago
    19 clubs will have scouts at Anderlecht v Shakhtar today


  22. well shotta if playing on with a serious injury is not a bad thing, then I don’t know why players ever miss a game, surely they should just play on regardless.


  23. sorry that should be anicol, not shotta.


  24. The performance was good last night which was positive and there were some fantastic individual performances as already been highlighted. Iwobi is so efficient, his passes are normally forward and positive and he rarely gives the ball away. Contrast that to Sanchez and you have to worry about his current form. I can understand why Barca let him go and the idea of trying to play him back to form is now hampering us. Last night again he was the most wasteful player on the park and his decision making was awful. This against a side where to give the ball away is the ultimate sin. I think it’s time to bench him for a few games.
    We used to be criticised for being shot shy but now we’re shooting without the onion bag bulging. Even when we’re shooting on target keepers are saving the ball without knowing about it. Last night was a case in point when Oli was foiled.


  25. Isaac Hayden has been called up for England under 21’s

    Liked by 1 person

  26. England U21 squad – 3 Arsenal players in it, Chambers, Hayden and Akpom

    Goalkeepers: Pickford (Sunderland), Walton (Brighton & Hove Albion), Wildsmith (Sheffield Wednesday).

    Defenders: Chambers (Arsenal), Chilwell (Leicester City), Galloway (Everton), Hause (Wolves), Iorfa (Wolves), Stephens (Coventry; on loan from Southampton), Targett (Southampton).

    Midfielders: Baker (Vitesse Arnhem; on loan from Chelsea), Grimes (Blackburn Rovers; on loan from Swansea City), Hayden (Hull City; on loan from Arsenal), Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), Swift (Brentford; on loan from Chelsea), Ward-Prowse (Southampton).

    Forwards: Aarons (Newcastle United), Akpom (Hull City; on loan from Arsenal), Gray (Leicester City), Ibe (Liverpool), Solanke (Vitesse Arnhem; on loan from Chelsea), Wilson (Brighton & Hove Albion; on loan from Manchester Utd)


  27. Walcott and Welbeck named in the England squad, Gibbs left out.

    Hodgson on Wilshere
    Hodgson said: “We’re monitoring Jack, who’s making very good progress, but I have to accept that, for these games in March, we won’t have him. Hopefully by May, when I really have to make a decision, he’ll be available for selection.”


  28. “but I’m sure some on twitter world will ignore all of the positives I list above, as Monreal is a sub standard cheap back up left back, Elneny is an average cheap foreigner, Iwobi is just another guy out of our awful academy, Ozil is stealing a living and Ospina is a dwarf who is not good enough for my club.”

    Ed, one thing Ive noticed about the “id*heads” is that is that everyone and everything at AFC is “shit”.A simplistic unexplained term that supposed to articulate the situation but really means “Im unhappy because Im missing the feeling of pseudo superiority through winning and the placebo of the orgasm-through-football-and I paid”.The bloke on AFC TV summed this up the other day when he announced that “going to a strip club would be better than going to Barca to watch afc”.
    Thats all they concentrate on,through the prism of neurological patterns they are stuck, re-enforced by the Bunyanisation of the Invincibles (as if any of them didnt ever make huge mistakes or the GG years- how those LC’s shine with pride in their eyes in hindsight/argument). This neurological pattern didnt even change a bit by a) AFC being the best team in the PL during the calendar year of 2015 and b) back to back FAC’s.Such are the entrenched thought patterns.
    But the patterns made between the neurons arent being changed,and infact are being reinforced,by soundbites,agendas of media and pundits( Craig Burley was a choice one the other day) and fellow Id-heads and have created a whole pattern which means all roads of thought lead to a)afc are shit b) Wengers fault and hes an xyz.
    It cant change with a massive shift of somekind,but this pattern is so strong that even if we won the league now it wouldn’t be enough, and thats more worrying.
    Repetition can either works for us or destroy us but football isnt playing concert piano.
    I wonder if for some reason the Southampton loss really snapped something in the team camp, since then is been potentially good but we all have seen whats going on.
    Our players too are stuck in similar neurological connections. The solution is trying to imagine your way out and not look at the relative terms around you.This actually unglues the linked neurons patterns and new ones can be formed.But to do this if you are not aware of the pattern is difficult, as humans are reacting to their current environment.and their environments are massively complex.Okay look how Wenger said: (I cant recall the actual words but) !I believe this team can go a whole season unbeaten”, they missed out at the first attempt but did it the second, but AW did it by installing something ahead, setting up a new system neurologically and its installed in the brains pattern of memory. Memory is bizarre as its active in the present, not past but is linked to neurons retaining previous experiences chemically filed by us as the “past”.Its the trick of thinking we have a past.
    Ranieri knows this too, he did it quietly and has kept building. And without a baying fan base of course they are already changing mentally…But the Id minds, are green eyed, of course. The world has been exploited by people who know darn well the Id within the human is insatiable (what the Buddhas call the hungry ghosts).
    Thing is neurological circuits can change in a moment,literally a moment, but its getting the human to do this,thats more difficult as the average player doesnt make time to reset things in the brain due to their complex lives.
    Something happened with everyone at Southampton, and has been building since then, thats why AW takes the positive building aspects of the game last night. Mo great goal Iwobi growing etc. Its speculation, but could Henry et al have survived in the vitriolic/screaming Id head world?
    If Larry’s goal would have stood v Twatford, then they would have to have attacked,and AFC would have destroyed them on the counter attack. But the systems Ive described above also show how partnerships and understanding occur,and how things can go wrong if its undeveloped.If you are aware that many hate you at the Emirates, then you will be aware of that and cant switch the fans out.Pers struggling with this as are a few others. Lifes so strange. We have to be conscious to make the unconscious work for us all in a state of flux but if you feel one way how can you become conscious when we are controlled by our emotion, which is set by patterns?
    So as you all know, shit thinking makes shit out comes. But its always trying to change the shit. So even when the change comes, so does the perspective of everything being shitty.And to live in a scatological world is pretty stinky.
    Southampton is the turd in the pool for me.

    I could well be wrong, this is just my take on things.But 2015 showed me that this team can beat anyone,and win things. If they can get the belief that was back at the time of the MC home game,then all is possible.

    *as in the Freudian term Id, not idiot.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Sam Cunningham ‏@samcunningham 2h2 hours ago
    Roy Hodgson says Arsene Wenger ‘informs me Jack Wilshere is making good progress and will be back in the near future.’


  30. ‘if playing on with a serious injury is not a bad thing, then I don’t know why players ever miss a game, surely they should just play on regardless.”

    I thought we were talking about whether playing on if a player has a knock, which is subsequently turns out to be a serious injury, exacerbates that original injury. You pointed out three examples of what you had identified as “mistakes” – I simply asked if you had any evidence that the player continuing to play made the original injury worse. I have not seen any.


  31. yes Mills, we are in the Catch 22 position of needing confidence to score the goals, but needing to score goals to get the confidence.


  32. about bloody time hayden as in the u21s. ridiculously number of caps but nothing new there.

    The day i start to worry about athletes not hauling themselves off the pitch when they have a knock is the day i might as well start to headbutt a concrete wall.

    Let’s not even talk about the extra hammy that alexis got trying to rush himself back from injury and which has taken some time for him to recover from.

    Likewise Walcott hasn’t had a run of games in about two seasons, that’s a long time! It’s not a surprise he has hit The Wall that so many players decribe when returning from injury though some wonder if his biggest issue of late has been his ruthlessness and desire to demand the ball. Then there’s been the use of him on the left, which must’ve been hard for him but needs must etc.

    In shot the football will be forgotten beneath the screed of online gibberish. Let’s stick to the footy!


  33. well anicol that determination can not be made without actually having all the scans and tests done on the injury and then letting the player play on and re-test, but the general consensus of medics is that playing on with a serious injury is very likely to increase the damage done and severity of the injury.

    a question for you anicol, what is it like in your world where no one is at fault for anything, does it ever rain there, or is it all sunshine and flowers, no crime, no deaths, no taxes,


  34. ElNennyM stats vs. Barcelona:

    100% take-ons
    92% pass acc
    3 shots
    3 interceptions
    2 tackles won
    1 goal



  35. I agree Ed, however if they can already just start to think as if the goals were in, then they would come therefore by passing the need to have the evidence ie looking/listening at what is all around rather than what could be.I think thats how Bayern do it and LCFC this season might do it.
    Ignore what is and concentrate on what could be. Thats the way out of the catch 22.All our lives we thought its so hard, but its just a case of imaging a point outside of the system and creating another (classic way of exploring dimensions). But we are hardwired to try and fight our way out of the catch 22-which is impossible as its a locked system. But whats hard-wiring the hard-wiring?Thought.Thats all we have to change.But the lads and club are stuck in a system of poor thinking ( mostly, but not all).
    Maybe the Barca game gives Mo and Iwobi major confidence to start leading, then the others remember other neurological circuits and remember they are the Arsenal, the best team of 2015 get in a flow, ignore the Id heads/press whoever and away it goes. Unless this is imagined then allowed it will only be a case of remembering systems of failure.
    Hence the fact that Swansea went to the press and said they knew they could tip the game by turning the crowd on the team. The others read the newspapers and follow suit.I said before the game that Twatford would be difficult.Just because a team loses it important to see how they lose, and Twatford are stubborn. But the crowd also helped will the team to victory against LCFC. So the whole club is struck in these systems!
    But it doesnt have to be so.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. koscielny and Giroud in the France squad. Elneny in the Egypt squad.


  37. No Ed, I want a world where everyone is judged on the evidence, not on half the story. If someone has made a mistake then they need to be called out and their error exposed. But an accusation or a claim that someone has made a mistake, or three mistakes, is just an accusation.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. well Mills I think this is the key point of how the crowd are affecting the players, the team can go into the game with all the positive thoughts, but it only takes a poor pass and there are loud groans or moans from thousands of our supporters, the players then doubts a little his positive outlook, then as more and more moans and groans appear as the game goes on, the more and more the doubt is fed. Now if only the crowd were as quick to applaud and praise the pass that does find its target, the piece of play that may not get a goal but was still good play, then the negative thoughts may not find it so easy to enter the players thoughts. but I suppose it not human nature to be overly positive about the little things


  39. well Wenger said both Rosicky and Cazorla should have come off. Is that not admitting a mistake was made in them staying on. Now that is claims of a mistake, but without naming names as to who exactly was to blame. Similar to what I did.



    Per Mertesacker says the fans can help Arsenal “raise the tension” inside stadiums for the run-in to the season.

    Arsène Wenger’s side are currently 11 points adrift of Leicester City in the Premier League title race, but have a game in hand against 11th-placed West Bromwich Albion.

    The Gunners travel to Everton next, but Mertesacker says the fans’ continued support can help the team return to their free-flowing best.
    “It helps us to get going when we warm up,” he told the Arsenal Weekly podcast. “We want to see how the fans are doing as well. It’s not only us, you need to feel that everyone is in the stands ready for the game.

    “They already want to prepare themselves as well to keep the tension or raise it in the stadium. That was a good feeling when we warmed up in front of the mosaic [against Barcelona] and it was a good idea.

    “We want to treat every opponent the same, which means to give them the same respect, so every single game will be a tough challenge. Let’s keep the tension for a proper fight, a proper challenge and that is to respect every opponent, no matter where they stand or their position in the league table. I think it’s the same for the fans.”

    Mertesacker has featured in many big games during his five years at Arsenal, but he says that nothing compares to Emirates Stadium’s atmosphere on north London derby day.

    “Any derby against Tottenham is a special moment for the fans and you can feel that,” he said. “Champions League night games are special as well but derbies against Tottenham, when you have great performances like the 5-2 games, the moments when I scored, are the most emotional moments for me at this club.
    “That moment was just unbelievable. When you feel everyone is really up for the challenge but also when you contribute with a goal as well, that makes you buzz from top to bottom. That was one of my most emotional moments at Arsenal.”

    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/20160315/arsenal-weekly-mertesacker-exclusive#SPZADp67Itj5Uz2h.99

    Liked by 1 person

  41. I too have just secured a ticket for the Palace game. Here’s hoping I meet up with the Alabamagooners. Anybody else going?


  42. I agree Ed, thats it and how its working(not working).Old Toilet was a cauldron of sweat for visiting teams, and could swing a match.Imagine being an Arsenal player back in the 90s/00’s there back in the days when it was a big match,it must have been pretty scary.The Emirates used to be fortress Emirates,now it just depends.
    I think it is in the nature of humans to be positive about little things, but they been educated(rewired) to think in different ways starting with Thatcher and moving on until know.Of course Thatcher didnt invent all this it was around before,but certainly things have changed.
    But the players can learn how to bypass picking up on the crowd/media in the manner I said above. But its not easy as we are taught from birth to have others think for us and to influence us by praise/criticism and we all want to be loved/liked.But it can be done.


  43. A Happy St. Paddy Viera/Jennings/Rice Day to all you Positivistas

    Liked by 3 people

  44. I’ll have ti try for a palace ticket on The exchange, assuming I can get a late flight back to Dublin on Sunday night.


  45. Thanks one and all. Barely saw the game last night but thought we looked good – as we do every time a team tries to play positively against us and don’t kick us to pieces with the refs permission. Working away this weekend so will hope to find a bar somewhere to see us put the Toffees to the sword. Which I think we will if the game is a fair one.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Well according to the Evertonian Supporters Trust the Scouse ‘blue in yet face’ Groaners, Martinez had been guilty of too much tippy tappy continental unmanly and down and dirty filfy Southern gibberish. Etc.

    Sounds just a little bit familiar.

    But unlike Moyes or your average clogging Neville-Neville or any Spawn of Slurgus (bar Big Bruce) when someone gave him a check book he managed to signs a footballer ( Lukaku ) and not Fellaini. Or Michu. Or Burger-vic. Etc.


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