Arsenal – It is as it is on Wearside


Good morning Positivistas,

Not quite the match review that I anticipated writing, with three points safely loaded onto the bus and resumption of third place in the Premier League, but instead the sharing of the spoils with our feline friends from Wearside. It is as it is. The home side and their supporters understandably delighted ( see above).

Like the manager said Arsenal had a good first half, plenty of inventive, speedy play which left Sunlun a bit dizzy, but we did not translate out dominance on the pitch to goals. Inevitably, having survived the storm, the home side gained some confidence after half time and came back into the contest. We knew they would be a nut that needed cracking. For a few minutes toward the end it was us clinging on and me feeling a bit dizzy as Jermain Defoe peppered the Arsenal goal with some very decent finishing. He is now 33 years old and the man can still cause defences a quiver with the ball at his feet. ( I know a nasty moment for all of us when that lob arced over Cech and toward the empty goal). Were we struck down with a collective tiredness after Thursday during that phase when we could have lost the game? It seems doubtful as going into the final few minutes of the game we were strong and on the front foot. Concentration went though, for sure.

If I cannot gurgle about the result then what of the Arsenal players ? As I said yesterday another impressive display from Elneny who worked hard all afternoon and was intelligent in his use of the ball. A total of 87 passes and a 94.3% success rate from the hairy Egyptian according to the men with pointy heads, and our most impressive performer on the day. Petr Cech was also crucial in the second half, where for five minutes Sunlun had transformed themselves into a fearsome attacking force, with the Czech fighting them off almost single handed. Having had an opportunity to reflect over night on the game I also have to say the full backs both put in decent display, and Alex Iwobi also had an excellent first half. And Jack of course ………Welcome home son. Just ten minutes but ten good minutes.

To leave the Stadium of Light with just a point is therefore less than I hoped for, to have that point is however the least we earned. A set back then but no severe injury.

I look onward, as we all must, toward Norwich and Saturday late afternoon. I shall be there. A useful fixture that, subject to victory, would bring us three points ahead of Citeh, who have a tricky game at St Mary’s on Sunday, and eight points ahead of the red Mancs who entertain the Champions elect at Trafford Park, again on Sunday. The red Mancs have game(s) in hand but eight points and a ++goal difference gap is a hell of a gulf this late in the year.

I have no idea if Arsene will go with Danny or Olivier up front on Saturday, or maybe both or neither, as scoring goals is the rock on which our PL and FA Cup prospects were sunk since January. What is galling is the apparent ease with which other clubs seems to rattle in 3-4 goals. It’s Norwich though – come on.

Even more important than cementing CL football next season Shotta is in town for the game. We shall have to ensure he enjoys his weekend at the finest football ground in the world and watching our team.

I therefore usher you gently into the new week. Work hard.





44 comments on “Arsenal – It is as it is on Wearside

  1. an unbeaten run of 7 league games, but 4 have been draws.

    With our lack of goals of late, I find Wenger’s selection of Giroud and the use of Walcott over Campbell a wee bit odd, now I’m not saying either Giroud or Walcott are not good players, but Wenger has talked a couple of times in the last week about how both players are off form, struggling for goals and having low confidence. should the Arsenal first team be the place to be trying to give a player confidence at this stage of the season. Is Wenger more concerned about helping these two players make it to the Euros than he is about getting the win for Arsenal, or is it merely his hierarchy of selection kicking in.
    an interesting side note on Walcott, when asked pre sunderland if Walcott would be sold in the summer, Wenger unusually did not rule it out, he basically said he hadn’t made that decision yet. maybe Walcott’s selection ahead of Campbell is Wenger giving Theo one last chance to persuade him to keep the lad for another season.


  2. The old fart’s thoughts;
    The most interesting thing about this game was seeing Jack (on the field that is) for the first time in almost a year. Admittedly it was only for 10 minutes or so but he showed that he still knew how to play. Which is more than we can say about four of our side today.
    It was a game that made that against Palace look positively exciting and unlike Thursday, when we showed touches of brilliance, this was such a reversal it was close on unbelievable.

    Some may say that the grass was too long; others that we were tired after Thursday…these ignoring AW’s comment that “a UEFA study has been made in all the five best leagues in Europe. Nobody has proven that it is a disadvantage to have only three days rest. The points on average are better than after four or five days.”

    So no real excuses, we no more deserved to score than Sunderland did. Perhaps we should be grateful for the one point we did take…though it may be insufficient to prevent St Tott going into hibernation for a temporary rest.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like most kneejerkers,only remembered the poor second half. Thanks for reminding me to look at the entire game Andy.


  4. Yup, I will be in town for Norwich Andy. Hoping our guys will be rested and would have rediscovered their shooting boots plus at least a little cameo by Santi. How we miss him. I look forward to the day we see him operating from deep with Elneny helping Ozil in the creative department.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Yes eddy after Joel’s short but very useful contribution on Thursday I was a bit surprised to see Theo on rather than the Costa Rican. TW attracted some severe ( but probably deserved ahem) abuse for jumping out of a challenge after Don Vito’s error but he then put in the sweetest cross of the afternoon which begged to be put away. The enigma that is is Theo Walcott.

    I think Wenger’s selection of Olivier yesterday was just turning over cards – between him and Danny at the moment there is not much different in front of goal (unfortunately). His choice of the Frenchman yesterday may have been for his height which is useful defending corners and free kicks against a side with large/tall defenders and midfielders like the Black Cats.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I listened to the first half on the radio and relied on updates here for the second half so thanks Andy for painting such a good picture of what sounds like an afternoon that started brightly but ended up as a disappointment. It was hard not to feel a slight end of season quietness about it all, and although we clearly have much of importance left to do in our final three games I find myself looking forward to a fresh start come August. The players are disappointed with the way things have turned out, the manager even more so I sense. Injuries have cost us dear this season, not only denying us key personnel but also synchronicity and the instinctive confidence built from playing week in week out with the all of the right players crucially in the right places.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good write up on a difficult match to summarise and make too much sense of. It was never going to be a walk in the park given Sunderland’s parlous league position and the notoriety of their Arsene-baiting manager.

    Can’t claim to be pleased with the point though and this has turned into the season that ‘got away’, which is a great pity. The squad is a decent one but has clearly underperformed at least in terms of the points gained if not the style of play often offered.

    But this is of no consequence compared with the collapse of sections of the Arsenal following.

    One can only hope these jokers make the ultimate in supporting sacrifice and abandon their underserved season tickets so some proper supporters get the chance to transform the atmosphere at our home games and we see a long overdue return of the ’12th man’.

    Got to be worth a dozen points or so per season, I’d say.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. could this be the news arteta has been waiting for

    Jeorge Bird ‏@jeorgebird 47m47 minutes ago
    Arsenal U18 coach Frans De Kat will leave the club at the end of the season to take up a position with the Dutch FA.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The team played like their hearts are no longer in it and don’t want to get injured and spoil their summer vacations. We all saw Theo avoid a tackle that if he had won could well have won us the game that sort of risk/injury avoidance costs us points.

    If we lose to Man C then we are highly likely to miss out on a CL spot, who would have guessed that at Christmas. To bad to see a season that held such high hope for us all just fizzle away 😦 😦 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Arsenal FC ‏@Arsenal 6h6 hours ago
    Vlad Dragomir agrees to a new deal with @Arsenal after impressing for the under-18s: http://arsn.al/cv6MbF


  11. A lot of common sense from one of our old guard.


    Arsene Wenger should not be sacked without Arsenal succession plan, says Ray Parlour

    By Mark Ashenden – on Sky Sports

    Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger should not be replaced unless the board has a decent alternative in place, says Ray Parlour.

    The Gunners’ title push has wilted in recent weeks with the 0-0 draw at Sunderland at the weekend meaning a top-four spot is their final ambition for the season run-in.

    That is a realistic target as they are currently five points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United, but calls for change at the helm have grown louder with some fans at recent matches demanding Wenger should go.

    Parlour, who played under Wenger the last time Arsenal won the title in 2004, believes the Frenchman will still be in charge next season – but it could be his last.

    “I don’t think he’ll leave, I think he’ll be there next season,” he said. “It’s a situation where Wenger will decide when he leaves, and he’s been there so long he probably deserves that.

    It’s a situation where Wenger will decide when he leaves, and he’s been there so long he probably deserves that.

    But it might be his last season next year, at the end of his contract. At the moment it’s going to be difficult for the board to get rid of Arsene.

    “You always worry about which manager comes in next. Who would you have? Jurgen Klopp’s gone to Liverpool, Pep Guardiola to Man City. There aren’t a huge amount of managers out there.

    “It’s a big decision they’ve got to make. If you’re going to sack a manager you’ve got to have a plan. And if they don’t have a plan then they’ve got to keep him.”

    Disgruntled Arsenal supporters believe they have missed a golden chance to end their title drought this season, with Leicester on the brink of an extraordinary triumph and Arsenal’s derby rivals Tottenham their only challengers.

    But Parlour puts Arsenal’s failure down to the players Wenger has put his faith in and a lack of leadership on the pitch.

    “They had the chance to win the league this year, but then so did a lot of clubs,” he added.

    “Every year the discontent will grow. It probably doesn’t help that Leicester and Tottenham are above them.

    “Sometimes you have to look at the players and whether they’re strong enough mentally. Maybe it’s not the little tricky players you want to get, but those strong players like Tony Adams at the back.

    “When you’re up against it it’s down to the players to sort out what’s wrong. We did that when we played. There are not enough characters like that on the pitch at the moment.

    “They need a top-quality centre-half and they need another striker. Mesut Ozil has created the most chances of any midfielder in the Premier League, but they still haven’t scored enough goals.

    “I know top strikers are hard to find but they nearly got Luis Suarez and that’s the calibre of player they’ve got to look at.”


  12. I love all these old players earning a living GN5 – keeps them off the streets – pity none of them can find a proper second career.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. AA
    Given the collapse witnessed when AW signed Alexis inbetween playing volleyball on a beach in Brazil I don’t think most here, were not surprised at the premeditated campaign unleashed by the same people from 2013/14 the moment they felt like AFC were not going to win a trophy this season (whoops they forgot the special one’s special trophy! I haven’t. Neither will Jose).

    After that failure how else could they act?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Minus ‘not’!

    Welbeck is still being looked after following his injury. Hence the rotation on the Sunday following the Thursday evening fixture.


  15. It is bizarre none of them ever seem to come up with any original ideas ? You would think that someone who had played professional football might have some sort of insight/knowledge that us mere mortals could only shake our heads at.

    Same old hindsight laden dull nonsense unfortunately “should have done X” “should have done y” and yet has any one of them ever had a bash at managing a football club ?

    The Merson half wit lasted a dozen games as the supremo of the mighty Walsall. Parlour nothing – Wrighty nothing – Smitheeee nothing – Keown nothing – Henry nothing – Stewart Robson ? Adams you say ! The notion of Tony Adams offering advice to any manager on football matters is risible.

    Have I missed anyone – I would not wish to be unfair ?

    Liked by 2 people

  16. anicoll5,

    Parlour was one of my favourite players, although he was more of a journeyman his contribution to the team was most under rated.

    His goal against Chelsea in the 2002 FA Cup Final remains a fixture in my memory as does Ljungberg’s – both beautifully executed goals of the highest caliber.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Most definitely the article or post thanking red action was a little premature considering their abject behaviour for the home tie with Watford.

    Not just disappointing but all things considered (won the cup years two on in the bounce going for a third), actually disgusting. No two ways about it.


  18. ” he should have bought a centre half”

    Yeah like Mangala ? Or Ottamendi ?
    How about Daveed Luiz ?

    Or maybe Ray was jumping up and down demanding Arsene put in a knock out bid in August for Huth and Morgan ? I don’t remember it tbh

    Liked by 2 people

  19. You’re being awfully tough – Gary Neville does an excellent job, but I can’t think of any ex Arsenal players who do.


  20. In his day Ray was a player who made the very best of the talents he had GN5 – fair play to him. I doubt very much he would get the chance today.

    And unless he has changed a lot I can’t really see that ever involved managing or coaching a top football club – or any football club.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Much as I hate the assassin of Reyes I recognise the sportsman in Neville to take on the Valencia job – doomed though he probably was


  22. Let’s face it their job is to analyze the results of a game that they watch and they do a very credible job on analysis. When they veer off of that and start giving retrospective advice on what should have been and who they should have purchased and sold is werte they lose credibility.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. I agree GN5 – sometimes Neville comes out with some good stuff on the game, positions, tactics – he puts some thought and effort in to the job unlike Shearer, Lawro and the rest of the deadbeat parasites


  24. I’m off out to pick my grand children up from school.


  25. Baggies have equalised


  26. Shame that there are 17 minutes for the Spuds to find a winner.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. did delli alli punch a west brom player and get away without even a booking


  28. lcfc 3pts from the title with 3 games to play


  29. if AFC beat Norwich we will be 2pts off thfc, who play cfc away on monday

    Liked by 1 person

  30. It’s happened again
    It’s happened again
    Tottingham Hotspurz
    It’s happened again

    Liked by 3 people

  31. Nice to see that it’s not just Arsenal that can bottle it.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. #OneTonyPulis


  33. THFC 1-1 WBA

    for fucks sake wenger

    Liked by 2 people

  34. You have to think Leicester might really be ‘at it’ on Sunday at Trafford Park


  35. best chance in 55 years to win the league
    all the top teams fucked up – CFC. AFC. MCFC, MUFC and LFC
    letting LCFC win the league

    yet not one article in the media, nor one pundit calling them bottlers, and to think some of our fans think their fans can laugh at us.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. jeez I know utd fans hate that AFC won the league at old trafford, I do wonder how it will sit with them if LCFC also do it.


  37. Arsenal Legend Gilberto Silva:”I want to be prepared if I decide to one day return to football as sporting director or in another role.” “If one day I get an invitation I will think carefully, because Arsenal are a team I really love.”


  38. just seen the delli alli punch of the WBA player, should certainly get at least a 3 game ban for that, but young player of the year, spurs player, english, so probably won’t even face a charge.


  39. Jamie Vardy given extra-game ban. Misses Man Utd on Sunday


  40. Peach of a write up A5,
    I’ve just got back from London Bridge at an A.I.S.A event launching Danny Karbassiyoon’s new book ” The ARSENAL Yankee”. It was an excellent night and it was really interesting how he was scouted by Paul Mariner and Bob McNab and how he made his way to scoring the winning goal at Man city in the league cup before having to retire very early and return to America. Fortunately Steve Rowley contacted him and asked him to be our American scout and his football career was relaunched.
    His book gives a good and extremely funny insight into how the differences of English football are from an American perspective. I should imagine all our overseas fans will find alot they can relate to in the book

    Liked by 3 people

  41. promotion semi final playoff result. swansea U21’s 1-2 aston villa U21’s

    villa will play the winners of next weeks other semi final, Arsenal U21’s v Blackburn U21’s, in the promotion playoff final.


  42. I’ve really been looking forward to Danny’s book. I follow him on Twitter and he seems like a stand up guy. We can’t get it here yet, but supposedly soon.

    Oh, and Spurs bottled it! (Banned laughing smileys of all sorts)


  43. How soon will we hear Spurs have no heart, no passion etc.


  44. NOW, when our entire squad is fully fit!!!!!


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