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Arsenal Versus Swansea: Listen Very Carefully, I Shall Say This Only Once

'Allo 'Allo

I grew up immersed in radio. Probably as a result of being brought up by parents who in their turn were raised during the medium’s golden age. As with many people of my generation I swiftly tired of the feeble and inane antics of the gormless, coiffured imbeciles who polluted the airwaves from the studios of Radio 1. It wasn’t so much their crushing insincerity which so turned me off as their obvious lack of discernment, knowledge of and love for music. The very stuff on which their careers depended.

There were always exceptions, usually shunted to the graveyard shifts and all of whom no matter how dedicated and worthy slid into the shadow of one truly remarkable man. John Peel wasn’t just ahead of the curve, John Peel often decided what shape the curve ought to be. He was also honest, unfeigned in his enthusiasms and scathing in his dismissal of the worst excesses of the industry he had graced with his presence long before I became aware of his work.

I am in fact listening to one of his broadcasts from 1981 as I write this and he has just effortlessly and with delicious, well judged perversity segued from Scientist Meets Roots Radics into The Birthday Party as only he could. This is courtesy of a rather splendid blog called The Perfumed Garden and if you’re a fan I suggest you have a gander.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit this but I often didn’t bother to listen to his shows in the later years. I would sometimes catch him on Radio 4 on a Saturday morning when he presented  Home Truths but oftentimes was stupidly casual where his music show was concerned. I assumed, well, I suppose I just assumed he’d always be around and I could dip in and out like a kleptomaniac at a Wilko’s pick ‘n’ mix stand.

Of course Peely upped and died on us in October 2004 and I was bereft in a way no ‘celebrity’ death has affected me before or since. It was a salutary lesson. Nothing is forever, no one will be a permanent fixture in our lives. That which we enjoy today will soon be the stuff of fading memory. Much, much sooner than we ever imagine. Who, for example, could have envisaged that watching Tomáš Rosický as he pirouetted through and around a hapless opposition midfield and defence would already be just so much nostalgia?

Football is an especially transient business with individuals and indeed entire squads seeming to evaporate into the ether. Given that we have all experienced this time and again and given that we have therefore a sense of the impermanence of the component elements of that which gives us so much joy, doesn’t it strike you as crazy that we spend so much of our precious time arguing, haranguing one another and worrying about what the irredeemably irrelevant such as Piers Morgan might or might not have been saying lately?

Just because Arsène Wenger has been around since the Pleistocene I fear that many people may make the mistake I made with John Peel and simply take the great man for granted. Those of us who revere him, those who for their own tangled, deranged and unhappy reasons detest him, both like to indulge in heated debate about what will happen when he’s gone. This and most other silly disputes are simply distractions and if we spend too long down such rabbit holes we may pop our bewildered heads back above ground one day to find the Wenger era is suddenly no more and instead of enjoying every single last second of it we were down the pub when we might have been sitting at home with the radio on.

The current Arsenal squad is a case in point. Already we have witnessed passages of play and goals to rank with the very best that Wengerball has had to offer. That we might be witnessing something special is transparently obvious and worrying about whether the run can last or whether Aaron can regain his place or if Jack’s loan is a precursor to his exit or if Hector will ‘do a Cesc’ is the most idiotic waste of the moment I can image.

Now don’t panic I’m not going to give you any Mindfulness psychobabble about ‘living in the now’ I’ll leave that to the next David Brent impersonator you end up trapped with on a professional development seminar at work. I’m simply aware that we live in age of multiple distractions and it is all too easy to spread the jam a little too thinly. Often I hear people say they can’t enjoy the game for fear of losing and the resultant fall out with mates and colleagues. I myself have missed goals while furiously typing to nobody at all my thoughts on some irrelevant detail during the build up.

If we don’t enjoy every single second of Mesut Özil, every moment of a resurgent Theo Walcott because we’re too busy fuming at the brainless questions some semi literate hack spewed at Arsène in the recent presser then we will regret it. Trust me.

And so to today’s feast of football fun. Swansea have, lately, been like the head of a Playmobil figure trodden on by the bare foot of a hungover divorcee the day after his kids went back to their mother and Brian. In our last five meetings we’ve only beaten them once and in the last three home fixtures they’ve beaten us twice and drawn once. If you want to go right back to our first Premier league encounter with the chaps from Dylan’s ‘ugly, lovely town’ the stats show an absolute balance. A perfect tie, with both sides winning and losing seven and drawing two.

Can we tilt the see-saw our way this afternoon? Hell yes. Of course we can. Can they frustrate us once again? Well, it’s sport, everything is possible, no matter how apparently unlikely. I say unlikely simply because no matter how well Swansea have faired against us historically, this season they are on a dismal run of form. Taken over the previous six matches the form table shows us at the top and our visitors anchored to the bottom.

I have no clue what to expect from Swansea today. Their manager is untested in the Premier League but early indications suggest that he feels a lack of fitness to be at the root of their travails thus far. If so it seems unlikely such a concern can have already been addressed – these things take time. Also a side like Arsenal which often increases the intensity of their game the longer the match goes on is probably the last opponent Bob Bradley would have chosen to meet.

Performances following the hated international break can be patchy but are usually successful.  Either way I intend to enjoy every moment. Each beautifully timed interception from Kos or Mustafi, each rapier thrust from Hector, every astonishing piece of control from Santi or Mesut. All of it, I will be watching as if it’s my last match, I refuse to be that guy who looks around in astonishment one day as he realises that the Wenger era passed him by. As good and as inspirational as this vintage John Peel show might be, watching highlights of an old game is no substitute for the visceral thrill of the real thing.

About steww

Arsenal, books, photography, bass guitar, dog walking, mountain biking, being on the radio, writing, talking too much, failing, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

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229 comments on “Arsenal Versus Swansea: Listen Very Carefully, I Shall Say This Only Once

  1. Just watch and see if the media support the decision. I just bet they do.

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  2. Xhaka red reported as being for “serious foul play”, so begs the question as to why Taylor only got a yellow for his more dangerous foul on Ozil

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  3. WENGER: ‘IT LOOKED A DARK YELLOW TO ME’

    Arsène Wenger addressed the big talking points after our 3-2 win over Swansea City – including holding on for the three points with 10 men.
    Read on for some of the key quotes:

    on the win coming at a cost…
    Yes, what looked to become a comfortable afternoon finished in a very uncomfortable way. But we just got over the line. I thought we played some fantastic football in patches but at 2-0 maybe we lost our focus a bit. After that, at 3-1, [it happened] again. When we were down to 10 men at 3-2, we could have scored the fourth goal but we could have conceded as well. In the end we just got over the line. We played together, with spirit until the end. It was difficult at the end.

    on if the spirit carried Arsenal through…
    Yeah, I felt so. We strengthened our defensive shape with 10 men as well, and I feel that what makes a difference is that everybody who comes on is completely focused to do well. That helps.

    on Xhaka’s red card…
    It looked harsh to me. But it was a deliberate foul. It looked a dark yellow – and the referee went for a bright red.

    on if Xhaka will learn from it…
    I think intelligence means you don’t make the same mistake twice, and I hope he learns from that.

    on if he’ll appeal the red card…
    No.

    on if he’s spoken to Xhaka about discipline…
    Not yet, no. Before, in Germany, he had some [red cards] but I don’t think he’s a dirty player at all. Sometimes there have been some clumsy tackles, because he’s not a natural defender, he’s a guy who likes to play forward. I will speak to him. I think Barrow made a lot of it as well, because he could go on. But the referee saw a bad tackle and you have to respect that. It is what it is, and he has to learn from it.

    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/20161015/wenger-it-looked-a-dark-yellow-to-me-#OSfJJIguWMHHWJDl.99

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  4. so was moss the ref who made the 3 big mistakes in the away game to southampton last season

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  5. Throwback Arsenal ‏@ThrowbackAFC 1h1 hour ago
    Arsenal are the only side in the Premier League era to win more games [30] than they’ve lost when a man down #AFC

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Ryan ‏@RyanTomes 3h3 hours ago
    Keith Hackett was on @talkSPORT last week saying a Jon Moss isn’t good enough to be a PL referee, I think he’s right.

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  7. Let’s be clear about the foul, it was tap tackle where you hit one leg against the other to cause the player to come down. Millions of similar fouls in football and never a red. We are talking about something remarkable here. There is no chance of incompetence it’s that far removed from a mistake it really needs to be investigated for the sake of football in this country

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Will believe that is a red card offence when Dier, Alli, Dembele, Wanyama, and countless others who do that to our players week in week out receive the same punishment dished out,to Xhaka today.
    The WOB are a strange bunch, up in arms in righteous indignation against Xhaka, but have been moaning for years we needed to sort of player to get stuck in and take one for the team

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Well I don’t want to see our players doing that.Its cheating in my book.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. wenger said we will not appeal the red card, can only assume that its so we can point out when teams get away without even a yellow for the same sort of foul against us, not that it will make one iota of difference to how refs will screw us over again and again

    Liked by 1 person

  11. G: If Xhaka didn’t try to stop that breakaway by taking a yellow, he would be crucified as a wimp by our “non-cheating” self-righteous fans. I saw Denilson run out of town for trotting beside Rooney and not tackling. Theo was being bashed all summer for pulling out of a 50:50 tackle.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. what in depth analysis of the Xhaka red card incident by BBC Match of the Day panel, explained it all in detail, nothing left to be said.

    oh wait, that is what should have happened, not what did happen. What actually happened was as the coverage went to the studio panel, Lineker said a yellow would have sufficed, and that was it. Useless cunts, they decided to spend their time having digs at Theo Walcott. Of course no anti Arsenal agenda.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. well shotta it really is a case of damned if we do and damned if we don’t, for years a certain section of our fan base have blasted wenger and our players for not having someone who commits cynical fouls to stop the breakaway, and now that one of our players does it, and wrongly gets a red for it, its either the lad is clueless, or wenger needed to have warned him not to do it.

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  14. now many of our fans have voiced their annoyance at one thing or another about todays game,
    inept Moss
    Xhaka giving away the ball on their first goal
    Cech not trying harder to save it
    Xhaka getting sent off
    Monreal having a shaky game
    Alexis messing up so much – something I may even have mentioned during the game
    Theo hitting the wood work twice when in good positions

    but guess what, none of them was the biggest annoyance for me, that goes 100% to the hundred, if not thousands of our fans who walked out minutes before the game was over, with the team hanging on with 10 men to a one goal lead. I bet many of those who left early, are the sort who like to claim the team often let the fans down. If it was up to me, every last one of them would never be allowed inside the Emirates again.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. In fairness George, just been on Untold, and Walter Broeckx who has officiated at a pretty high level in the Belgian league agrees with you, he insists it was a red, potentially dangerous, and that even if opponents get away with it, time and time again, no excuse in his opinion.
    Still looked a yellow to these non ref eyes though.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. afcstuff ‏@afcstuff 3h3 hours ago
    Top scorers at the Emirates Stadium (all comps):

    Van Persie 64
    Walcott 47
    Giroud 43
    Fabregas 32
    Bendtner 28
    Adebayor 26
    Alexis 23

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  17. Mickey blue ‏@101Mickeyblue 43m43 minutes ago
    More @BBCMOTD bias.Full review of Cresswell red but NOT A WORD of Xhaka’s unprecedented straight red. #MOTD

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  18. Matt Webb ‏@Block5Gooner 7h7 hours ago
    After the sending off, we were pretty much playing 10 vs 13. Shocking refereeing, and the linesman was far too flag happy at times.

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  19. Dangerous play can be levelled at anything to be honest and would I prefer it to be banished from our game of course but the fact remains you have to referee within the context of the game not whats morally right. In the history of our game and from ive seen in foreign leagues and internationas I have never seen a tap tackle result in a sending off. Now if were clamping down on something bad in the game then, like the tugging of the shirts, you make that clear at the start of the season not just one ref, one game, against one team. If we are also including that as serios foul or dangerous play then within the context of the game there was three incidents where swansea players could have been sent off.
    The tap tackle and intential body check to try and stop teams breaking away are cheating, are wrong and would be best erradicated from the game but please dont anyone pretend that under the current way the game is officiated that they are red cards because they quite simply are not.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. MD ive been on untold and apart from a brief description of the game from a stream where it was descibed as a nasty tackle I can find no analysis of the tackle what heading is it under.

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  21. Was it a red card? Bollocks was it.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. once again Stewws prose provide the best analysis of the incident ive seen anywhere

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  23. If someone is running at 15 MPH and you trip them up, they hit the ground(a solid object) at 15 MPH, that is dangerous . Sorry folk, but it just is dangerous. Xhaka should not have been sent off , because no one else gets sent off for it, but they should be.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Andy is overplaying the dramatic effect this morning.

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  25. New Post up -apologies to my audience – Mrs N had a roofer booked in at 9.30 – and she brooks no discussion.

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  26. Makes you wonder if the whole game and its idea of infringement needs to be reviewed? More four lines men,video play back direct to ref etc, and a big mf clock that stops and starts when its out of play like in Americano football?

    Liked by 2 people

  27. i dont think anyone is saying its not dangerous, barrow went off injured later, but you cant change the rules half way through. As I said earlier in this game alone swansea had three players that could have gone. There are lots of improvements we want in our game but you cant make them up as you go along that in itself is corrupt

    Liked by 1 person

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