47 Comments

Arsenal – Nothing rhymes with Etihad

Wenger-Pellegrini

 

God morgen Positivistas,

A fine Monday morning to be alive, “the Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high” as we often say in North West Norfolk.

I had the enormous good fortune to watch a recording of yesterday’s game, having managed to avoid the broadcast or any hint at the result until the evening. I recommend the experience. Total digital silence, no clamouring for my attention from banner waving Scarfists nor their opponents. The opportunity to focus on the football was as welcome as it was, in recent weeks at least, unusual.

Of the game itself I thought it was a good ‘un. Technically not brilliant I grant you but in terms of two sides fighting for the ball and to seize control of the game it was 90+ minutes of entertainment, with both clubs looking able to seize the three points right up to the final whistle.

Citeh started a lot harder and faster than I expected and in that first ten minutes reminded me that they are actually a very good football team. Aguero was almost unplayable in the opening phase. As good an opening goal as I have seen in a long time. How frustrating it must be for the manager, the fans and even the players themselves to have produced that quality so rarely this season?

Having got the initiative Citeh then cocked-it-up, to use the technical footballing term, as we all saw. Clichy and Hart contrived to give away a silly corner. Olivier span away from the leaden-footed Managala to run on to the cross and bury it. If you keep working hard and looking for the ball then your luck will change. The occasional decent cross helps (coughs). All strikers of any ability know this.

The rest of the first half I thought Citeh probably were the better side with their passing game clicking better than ours. We rarely managed to get three passes strung together. Jack’s introduction was crucial in stabilising the middle of the park. Elneny and Aaron had a bit of muscular support against the pitbull approach of Fernando and Fernandinho, stalemate was established.

Interestingly I saw in the stats this morning that Jack went into 23 challenges in his 70 minutes of action, 10 before half time of which he won just one, 13 in the second half of which he won 8. My impression was that Jack was getting stronger and more confident, and imposing himself the longer the game went on. It may be wishful thinking on my part but it was great to see him back yesterday. We do not have another player who runs straight and hard at an opponent like him. Arsenal Man of the Match yesterday ? Probably.

Of the second half we were again jolted by a second impressive goal from De Bruyne who is also a class performer. There then followed 15-20 minutes of our best football in the match, where we controlled the ball, opened up Citeh and tested Hart. For about ten of those minutes young Theo again showed us a glimpse of what he can do, on the right day. Oh Theo why do you do this to us ? To yourself ?

In any event after being pulled about the home side’s defence cracked and we are in, Alexis slotting the third good goal of the game. It was coming, inevitable.

The final 20 off minutes were, more or less, a text book display from our defenders. Citeh threw on more attackers to no avail. We soaked up the pressure, and took no chances. Other than a Bony strike to the bar that Petr had covered, they caused us few problems I thought. It was tense but well managed by Kosc and Gabby. We probed them with gaps appearing in the light blue defence but nothing decisive, referee Taylor busier with his yellow cards in the last few minutes than at any other time as challenges became a bit ragged.

Points shared. Fair result. Disappointing lack of respect from the home fans for Pellegrini. He has been a class act at the Etihad, an adult in a business of petulant toddlers.

And for us the tantalising prospect of Tottingham’s game at SJP and our own game against Villa on the final day. Let’s just do what we need to do on Sunday, and take nothing for granted.

 

 

 

 

 

About anicoll5

Arsenal supporter, 59, Dad, harmless and humourless, political militant moderate, school governor and worker bee

47 comments on “Arsenal – Nothing rhymes with Etihad

  1. Spot on. Absolutely excellent review. Jack reminded us all of what he brings to the team. Only Santi guards the ball as jealously and few have his directness.

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  2. Jack could be as close to Tomas as we are going to get.
    Wonderful review btw.
    Now, about this corruption thing…………….!?!?

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  3. As I said the other night George if you think football is corrupt why watch it ? I wouldn’t.

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  4. Well done Andrew – on both the successful execution of a ‘Likely Lads’ and another excellent review.

    Steww’s article yesterday also brought a smile to the face; I spent much of the day trying to think of something even drier than the non-footie subjects suggested by some that I would happily read if only Stew would write about it.

    I thought it was a really good away point earned yesterday and here’s the rub; it was a point won through playing exciting combative football with no sign of bus-like structures strewn across the front of our goal. Yes, the lack of said bus occasionally exposes Cech but that, my friends, is the price we pay for taking on every team we face.

    And always especially fitting when two of our much-maligned assets crop up to score and assist in that oh-so-inconvenient way they do, time and again, to confound the doubters, the haters, the myriad mischief makers. Well played Olivier and Alexis.

    There are two big mysteries for me after yesterday.

    The first centres on the age-old conundrum of why Theo is consistently consistent in the role of super-sub yet generally less effective when starting games. I’ve often wondered if he is conserving energy when due to play 90, whereas coming on with 20 to go he just goes for it and the end product is a nightmare for the legs of tiring defenders and an immediate dilemma in the minds of midfielders pegged back at a time when they would most prefer to push forward. He played well despite having already been sold off to the nearest bidder – any bidder – in the minds of some.

    The other mystery – perhaps a surprise as much as anything – was the vanishing act of the Citeh fans who, when invited to stay behind to say farewell to the departing Pelegrini, a man who won them a Championship, no less, elected to do a very passable impression of an extremely efficiently conducted fire drill instead.

    Strange stuff, strange club, strange times.

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  5. Old fart’s thoughts:
    After a highly entertaining early afternoon at WHL, we started the proper game of the day with the chance of drowning out the fat lady’s singing. Will Newcastle do the honours? That would be fun. Even better would be the fact that it would save the league from having not one but two unrated sides leading the pack.
    Our game saw plenty of peaks and valleys from both sides. Strange how we had less possession AND our passing leaving much to be desired in the same game. Yet, the team showed a great deal of grit and talent second to none on occasion. And, to see both Olly and Alexis regain the scoring touch, bliss. Wasn’t our second goal a beauty? Fair enough, all our goals are beauties even an in- off the back of somebody in the wall…but the interplay between the two for that goal must make it a candidate for goal of the season.
    It was a trifle disturbing to see City starting so quickly and thanks to some not very good defending taking the lead. Very heartening (or should that be Hartening?) to see Clichy coming close to equalizing for us some two minutes later but from the resultant corner, Olly did just that with a fine header having confused his marker to run where he wasn’t! Then an unfortunate accident for Welbz meant a Jack coming on a great deal earlier than expected. Like the rest of the side, but understandably in his case, he was blowing hot and cold. It’s good to see him back and when needed, putting in the tackles with no fear. And also providing the occasional bit of “How we could have used you in Jan and Feb”
    1-1 at half time seemed a trifle fortunate for us, not that City really threatened, as the back line and Rambo and Mo got more into the game.
    Just as we started to look threatening at the start of the half, another defensive lapse let City regain the lead. Too many people waved De Bruyne through and Petr seemed to be late on a shot that just skimmed inside the near post. Yeuch.
    Theo came on for a disappointing Iwobi, and in fairness looked better than he has so far this year. Sure he missed a few, but his presence definitely shifted the pressure and the grit appeared. Rambo put through a stunning pass that could well have resulted in a goal but for the speed of a City defender, and then the equaliser. A goal to remember.
    Bony did hit the bar as City fought back but it seemed more likely that we might snatch a late winner. Not to be though and a draw probably the fairest result.

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  6. Lovely stuff Andrew,be great to see Little Mozart on Sunday..

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  7. I think the difference between Alexis and Theo is that the former, even if he is having a crap game, will keep going and push himself into positions where he just might score. Yesterday and against Spuds he pulled out late goals after not much earlier. With Theo if it ain’t going right then he fades. For a player of Theo’s experience it should not happen but still does.

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  8. You did it again, Andrew. You did it again. Unlike the neighbours top, top quality.

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  9. It was only after the game had ended that I realized how much I enjoyed it or was it just relief? We did play very well at times. I think a fit Wilshere is a world class treat to savor.

    Giroud is such a class act. No target man can bring the ball down and set up a team mate like Olivier. That flick for Alexis’s goal was genious…..

    I expect us to deal with Aston Villa with ease (he says with a small sense of trepidation!) and is looking forward to the battle for 4th spot being academic. What happens is Liverpool win the EAFA cup? Doesn’t that mean that 4th spot loses out?

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  10. GP – my understanding is that 4th place only loses out if a team not in the top three wins the CL AND another team not in the top three wins the UEFA cup. So as Citeh failed to turn up last week, 4th place is a safe place. A maximum of five teams per country allowed in CL.

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  11. So, just read that should LFC win the Europa League the EPL will have 5 teams in the CL..

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  12. I’ve always defended Theo – perhaps not with the gusto of Kelly covering Ramsey’s back – but I’ve always argued his case. But this season Theo hasn’t always been at the races and whether it’s related to where he (and le boss) thinks his best position is or his attitude to the game in more general terms, it’s hard to judge.

    I’d certainly like to hear his own views on this.

    That he models his game on Henry’s is hardly a secret, but, as you say, Andrew, he doesn’t tend to impose himself on the game if things are not going his way unlike, for example, Sanchez – or even Henry himself, back in the day.

    Is that a confidence thing? Is it connected, this season in particular, to a number of players staying out of form having returned from injury with a resultant ‘flattening’ impact on the team? We were supposedly short of strikers this season – this should have been his platform. Another ten goals from Theo – even five! – would unquestionably have had a dramatic effect on Arsenal’s results.

    It just seems extraordinary that this enigmatic bundle of pacy potential is, according to some, currently not considered an automatic selection for the Euros.

    I guess at the age of 27, it’s now or never for not-so-young Theo? I can’t see him being sold off by Arsene this summer but equally, I wonder whether not going to France might be the making of him. As wake-up calls go, it would be an admittedly brutal end to a thoroughly disappointing season.

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  13. Er, GP – hello?

    *waves arms around*

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  14. Theo was not chosen by Hodgson for the Brazil World Cup and that probably gave him a shock. I am not sure why the man can’t get a bit more angry, on and off the pitch. No need to go the full Joey Barton but even so.

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  15. Is it just me that thinks Theo is given more grief that he deserves?

    He was put on to play as a winger yesterday – and I thought he did OK at it.
    All strikers have form dips and need a bit of loving to bring back their mojo.
    Look at Giroud and Alexis.

    I’m all for this magic World Class Striker TM joining The Arsenal, but let’s not go overboard.

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  16. looks like I can escape Canister Hall for the weekend and make it to That London.

    Will be around on the Saturday too if anyone else is thinking of supporting the Ladies at Wembley.

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  17. DC – it’s only an impression but I’d say overall Theo usually does okay or very well when coming on as a sub but seems to make less of an impact when playing the full 90. That’s not a dip in form per se, just how he seems to have been over the years, but I could be wrong. Personally I’d always have him in the squad but I’m not certain I’d always start him.

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  18. Wenger said something telling in a pre-City comment to the effect that the Ox is an impact player. What does that make Theo? A bread and butter winger who starts games or an impact sub?

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  19. Definite glimmers from Theo yesterday, but he’s had a wretched time since Christmas. It seems to me that all the time we are facing massed defences and teams who are all too happy to give us the ball and sit back he is unable to utilise his most potent attributes. I thought at the end of last season and the beginning of this that his quick and intelligent movement through the middle would pull defences all over the place, but it just hasn’t quite worked out and I doubt he’ll get a chance to play for us like that again. I hope I’m wrong.

    I’m talking second half only (and a TV view at that) but Alexis looked sharper and more assured than he has since being bundled into the camera pit back in November, a game that cost us more dear than even seemed likely at the time . And I think too that there are only so many kickings that a skilful player can take before he decides not to show for the ball or to get rid off it before he becomes a target. A league that should be Eden like is allowed to become all too Hazardous in the name of managing rather than officiating the robust version that we are told makes such compelling box-office. If I was Jack Wilshere I’d be off to sunny Spain like a shot if I was offered the chance to play for a team that received cotton wool protection for its skilful players. I remain convinced that all it would take for this Arsenal side (with no additions) to win the League in a canter would be the proper and even-handed application of the rules. I don’t believe it is corrupt, but I do believe that officials are encouraged to preside over matches in a way that favours paper underdogs.

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  20. ” I remain convinced that all it would take for this Arsenal side (with no additions) to win the League in a canter would be the proper and even-handed application of the rules. I don’t believe it is corrupt, but I do believe that officials are encouraged to preside over matches in a way that favours paper underdogs.”
    This this this

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  21. Wasn’t Theo injured for the Brazil WC? Or am I misremembering that? I’m with DC on Theo (which will surprise no one). I think he gets a bit of a rough ride which he perhaps doesn’t completely deserve.

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  22. Quite right Kelly injured for Brazil, dropped for the South African World Cup, and never played in Germany

    If the boy is ever to play in the WC finals a tense couple of years coming up

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  23. Theo’s always had more than his fair share of critics Kelly. Mainly from people who think AFC should be out spending £50m on players several times a season. In some ways, Theo’s a victim of the fear of most of our opponents who tend to shut up shop against Arsenal, defend deep and deny him the space which makes his pace so deadly.

    Rumours this evening that West Ham are bidding £24m for the lad, funnily enough. Can’t see him going – unless he’s in favour of the move?

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  24. good review Andrew,
    How many talking points are there?
    Corruption,
    there has been corruption in some form in every major league throughout football at a greater or lesser extent. Its not total and so people all over the world will still watch the elements of skill and the chance defy the crooks.
    Theo,
    I was always told when having a bad game to go back to basics, track back, pass simple, go box to box to make sure your involved in the action area’s. Unfortunatley Theo doesn’t do this, we all know when Theo’s on fire he can be devestating but if its not going his way he just fades out of the game. When Evra scored against us because Theo didnt track back everbody (including myself) said he’s young he’ll learn, however he still makes mistakes defensively, he still trys too hard to be the wonderboy we know he can be. Against the spuds ” 2-0″ Theo looked a world beater but he hasn’t refound that form since coming back from injury. He needs to learn how to perform when he’s having a bad game and he will still be useful to the team.
    On the game,
    Classic game of where two teams struggling for form play a match bigger than their recent performances. loads of errors, the ball bouncing around like a pin ball but the occassional sublime bits of skill.
    It proved that 2-2 is always better than 0-0 whatever maureen and his media will tell you. It also proved this team does care and does have loads of charactor or spunk as we used to call it.
    Of course nobody mentions that special team down the road have lost more points from winning positions than any other team in the league.

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  25. The Nigeria Football Federation are taking official steps to get Chuba Akpom to declare for Nigeria in time to play in October’s World Cup qualifiers.

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  26. David Sullivan of West Ham said today that they have bid €30M for a player(reports suggests it lacazette of lyon), and that they will bid similar amount for a BPL player, with reports suggesting that its Walcott,
    Sullivan said they want to sign one of the two players. He also said West Ham will only make £12M more a season at their new stadium, the other increase in revenue is the new tv deal, but that this will not allow west ham to go on a spending spree

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  27. I find it formidably unlikely that there is no corruption in football, the same as in every/almost every human activity in which money and power are in flux and in which the opportunity is available to tilt the balance. The difficulty I have is establishing whether Arsenal football club are a beneficiary of the corruption on the occasions it may occur, or a victim club. Our exceptional record over the past 100 years suggest the former. I am sure it is all corrupt swings and dishonest roundabouts.

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  28. Good grief – Tuesday night at Upton Park – the Appy Ammers final home game, Europa League place probably not the thing most home fans worried about but they must be desperate for a victory to see 120 years of football at the stadium off in proper style.
    The red Manc visitors equally desperate to win and secure for such a crap side a CL place.

    It will be a hell of an evening.

    The man in the middle ?

    It’s Deano

    And you claim no one at the FA has a sense of humour.

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  29. so which of the manchester clubs do we want to see take the 4th CL spot,

    do we want to see Pep start off at city in the CL or EL

    would getting CL spot keep LVG at Utd, if not do we want to see jose start off at utd in EL

    isn’t it funny utd fans who so liked to tell us 4th was failure, now so eager to see utd get 4th

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  30. I think Pellegrini was treated with no respect at Citeh and the ridiculously early announcement of Pep’s appointment deserves the full shit-fest of Europa League football as a punishment.

    WE however still have to beat Villa – i see relegated Levante stuffed the finest club in World Football last night and embarrassed the finest manager in World Football. Careful Now.

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  31. If we check our history we know both Liverpool and manure both brought the league in the early 1900s. Teams from the south weren’t looked upon favourably when entering the top division and were often blackballed.
    One of the reasons given for why the spuds were unable to gain enough votes gain promotion above us was because of their unpopularness due to offering bribes.
    Even good old Sir Henry Norris was accused of some dogey dealing at the time.
    The stakes are now 100 times higher and although clubs may have to be more subtle I’m sure jiggery Pokery goes on.

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  32. reports that it looks like Welbeck will be out for six months, full extent of injury will not be known till Wednesday, after scans.

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  33. GoonerViews ‏@GoonerViews 4m4 minutes ago
    Jon Toral on loan from Arsenal, has won Supporters player of the year award and Players player of the year. #BCFC

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  34. Birmingham City FC ‏@BCFC 1h1 hour ago
    And the 2015/16 Goal of the Season goes to Jon Toral’s incredible volley against Ipswich Town #BCFCAWARDS16

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  35. Of course we’re not sure to beat Villa. Absolutely no room for complacency.

    On the other hand a 14-0 win might turn out to be handy.

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  36. @ Merlot .. a THEO, Giroud, Campbell and Sanchez hattrick wth 8 assists from Ozil….

    I would be hard pressed to believe Villa did not collect some brown envelops…

    If that helps us finish above spurs… LOL… the backlash.

    Anyway all Newcastle need t do is win and even a 1 nill win for us will sort that out!

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  37. On Theo, I think people are down playing the impact of that long term injury he suffered about a year or so back. This was his first full season back, and then he got injured again. I think what we have been seeing is the psychological impact such injuries can have on players; look at the Sunderland incident when he jumped away from a 50:50 challenge in fear of getting re-injured probably.
    Theo is an excellent player, and he was starting to show that consistently when that injury against Spurs came, then as he was starting to get that groove back, he got injured again, and I think that injury got into his head and affected him. I think Sanchez too had a similar affect after he came back from injury around the same time. Theo is a key player for us and letting him go would be a huge mistake IMO.

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  38. The dog fight between City and United for that fabled 4th Place Trophy now has the usual gaggle of Arsenal bloggers and podcasters, who regularly sneered and downplayed Wenger’s achievements, in a pickle of their own making. Whether to downplay the importance of Sunday’s match vs Villa or to demand a rousing performance and to be the first in the queue of appreciative fans during the lap of honour to mark our final home game. I bet they will do neither; miserably pursuing mission-impossible to have Wenger fired instead of supporting the club through the highs and lows in what could possibly be a historic snatching of 2nd Place from the Spuds on the very last game of the season. Happily we at Positively Arsenal never lost sight of the fact we are a supporters blog, not a blogger’s blog in the hunt for clicks to stoke our ego or to maximize commercial opportunities.

    PS: I am looking forward to West Ham vs United with bated breadth.

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  39. A general theme among the Scarfists is how fatigued and bored they are with watching Arsenal Shotts. Bless.

    Hopefully that might encourage a few of them to fuck off and find something useful to do with their lives that makes them just a little bit happy rather than perpetually miserable.

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  40. Well, well, well. All good things must come to an end. I am saddling up and in a few hours time to take a ride on the Iron Bird away from these fair isles. Thanks to all the Positivistas who made my trip to the Emirates such a memorable event. As usual I will be as close as I can via this treasured blog (and on twitter) Hopefully I will be back sooner rather than later. Big up yourselves. Respect.

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  41. Foreverheady

    Love that post of yours. The increasing use of the full bus against us has been rotten news for Theo.

    It’s not like he can’t have any good moments against it- he might just, if confidence is high, lash in a beauty like his first vs West Brom last year- but it alters what he can do more radically than any player i can think of.

    In space, behind a defence, an utterly devastating weapon; with no space, he will often struggle conspicuously.

    The weekend highlighted what a different beast City are than any other team in the league. We’d be lucky to get the space for that 2nd goal, or for Theo’s trademark run on the right after Ramsey’s pass, when a goal or two ahead. City were leading!

    Leicester’s success this year will doubtless inspire yet more commitment to the bus and counter-attacking in the league next year, especially when playing us.

    I agree with your Wilshere and refereeing comment also. I can’t even dream about the prospect of Wilshere remaining injury free. The ref let Fernandinho leave a little on him every single time they came into contact, which was often; nothing looked dangerous but it’s what it means to provide such encouragement to always challenge him even when there’s no hope of getting the ball. Then there’s that he still won’t help himself by not throwing himself into dangerous situations where he can’t control the contact. After a year out and with the past he has!

    A part of me would love to see him massively improve his chances of a full career and reaching his potential in a foreign, safer league (but I’m too selfish to actually wish for it)

    Finally, these refs, eh. I’m intrigued to see the tension here between people I like whose opinions differ on it.

    I despise the refs personally for the harm they do to us, and have zero trust in the majority of them. To answer the question of how I can persist watching in that case ; well, naturally (they can’t exactly grab the ball and throw it in the net, not even Atkinson) there’s enough scope, just enough sometimes, to always hope we can triumph in any game; and there’s also my hopeless addiction to the sport and the team.

    But, yeah, logic is often against it. That’s very clear to me at times when my frustration and unhappiness and what not reaches a peak:

    (Chelsea game at the start of the season was perhaps the worst ever- it was about to happen, an incident with Costa had been spotted, and Dean, perhaps only because of a damn interfering linesman, could not ignore it; Unbelievable, but we, we were going to get to be the ones who got to play a key game with an extra man; then it became apparent Costa would get away with it; then somehow Dean allowed the situation to go on and on, like he’d decided his yellow could cover any amount of shit so long as he wasn’t stupid enough to throw a punch or something, with Costa getting away with tons more shit after the original incident; then somehow- wait, wait, let’s see if we can get a real bite…bingo- the officials contrived to reduce us to ten men.
    Nearly fecking killed me, and the irrationality and absurdity of continuing to watch when I was so convinced of the rottenness in ref Denmark was overwhelming)

    I’d also have us as favourites if the refereeing here was good enough let alone great, but it leaves the question of whether there’s anything we can do to better counter-act it. Hope-without-an-object style (nectar in a sieve), I have to believe there is.

    We have a great deal of information about how most of our players fare against the bus and against the ref challenge, which leads me to think it’s essential to introduce a new element or two. Fingers crossed

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  42. Rich @ 11:37am:
    Something has to change – Yes
    Foreign refs – Not a ghost of a chance
    A squad that is 50% better tan any in the League – Maybe. The owner will never do a Randy Lerner though and I don’t blame him.

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  43. Thanks A5. A good article plus a smattering of your own comments to follow.
    I LOL’d at your ‘sense of humour’ re the Deano appt.

    There are so many good comments and I’d like to particularly big up FH’s from 6:01 last night. Spot on, as so many others are too.

    I can imagine West Ham trying for Theo, esp. as he scored that hatrick against Croatia (was Slaven their manager already?), and £24m would be such a bargain, and any managers playing hoofball- Watford 80’s/Leceister would see Theo as a shoe in, no?

    But as far as I’m concerned they can all go swivel. Leave our Theo alone. Besides, would Walcott go to a team like WH, and would that club be happy to pay more than Theo’s earning?

    I’ve gotta go to committee meetings tonight meaning I miss academy Ars’s and the Prem game. I’m not happy. Can’t promise my full attention, fellow residents. (Which they’ll appreciate, perhaps.

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  44. Great comments Rich – will see if I can get George/Andy to repost in the next thread.

    New post is up.

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  45. Oh, Rich, I’ve just seen your post, and I’m so glad to see it cos I tend to hold back on the ref shenanigans. (I doubt many here believe that but the “stuff” that has seen us fail to win the league – eats away at me, and it’s NOT weak, useless players).

    Shotta, I thought you’d left already. Thanks for coming. Have a safe flight and yes, come back soon.

    PG, get yr ars down to London. You might need sun cream an stuff, though not today cos the rain that belongs to all of northern England is down ‘ere. Tut.

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  46. Shotta

    Agreed. It feels like we’d have to be overwhelmingly better than the rest in order to secure a title, and that is a very tall order when, obviously, we can’t be the biggest spenders and, rightly, we won’t spend what we don’t have.

    My hopes are therefore based on us clearly having a better deeper squad than we did for a long time, plus the end of the era of losing top players regularly.

    That is the base, a strong one. After that its this hope of finding one or two extra pieces.

    Adding a deadlier finisher will be very hard, but maybe we can do it. Something different in midfield or even central defence should be somewhat easier; so I’m more optimistic about that.
    First Coquelin’s impact, now Elneny’s. I don’t think either is a better player than Wilshere, Ramsey, Ozil, Cazorla, but I think our chances are greatly improved with one of them in the side. It even applies to our u21s. If we go for one or two too many of the skilful attacking midfielders in there, neglecting guys with good defensive capability, it never seems to end well. Even if we’re talking Wilshere and Rosicky against Swansea u21s!

    I mean, Arshavin and Rosicky, two wonderful players, were both in the team on that horrible day at old Trafford in 2011. A young Ramsey,too, Rvp up front. My old conception of the game was that it would hardly be possible for things to go that badly with players of that quality around.

    That’s been the long lesson of recent times for me. Balance, functionality ( not only the dirty part but the beautiful part) and complementary skillsets are key, or king in the heart of the team. That’s why I hope for something there even though it’ll apply a tremendous squeeze on our ability to keep those players happy if fit.

    Now, if we could become, say, 5% better at dealing with counters (or on those rare occasions when teams like Liverpool or City are attacking and pressing with manic gusto), and the same with converting chances or creating better ones (against the bus, really; we do fine on those fronts with space to work in), I think that would be enough to see us take it to the wire at least.

    Maybe I’m just another transfer window bozo, but it feels essential to my hoping.

    We also need to become just 5% less clean and get with the tactical fouls if not on a booking as we go deep into the game.

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  47. new post up

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