Arsenal: Bound upon a wheel of Fire


Good morning Positivistas,

Our second defeat in 16 PL games came as something of a surprise, and needless to say a disappointment. I admit that coming into the game against our favourite opponents, and watching the hapless Toffees fumble around for the opening 20 minutes, there seemed very little chance indeed that we would not speed home with not only the points safely in hand but a probable boost to our goal difference.

Oh Andrew, thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.

With the home crowd groaning in justifiable apprehension, from being battered and clueless, somewhere our hosts managed to find a spark of resistance midway through the first half. That smouldering heap of discarded blue rags grew into a small bonfire of hope with Coleman’s neatly taken goal. The home crowd awoke, a quiver of expectation. Despite our efforts at fighting the blaze early in the second half Everton piled the tinder on, and by the time Williams headed their winner we were opposed by a conflagration across the horizon that scorched our title ambitions and left us breathless and smudged. The home crowd went mental.

As Arsene rightly said they were aggressive, physical, and they knocked us out of our stride. Clearly they were never going to out-football us, or even out-football us, but they did what the had to do, and earned their reward. Our defects last night were that having controlled the game for the opening half hour, and made chances before half time, that we did not score more than one goal. In truth the goal we did get was hardly a classic. At 1-1 we created just one really good chance and even that was far from a tap in for Ozil. How unusual it was to lose to two goals, both headers, scored by opposition defenders? A full back heading in a goal from the edge of the 6 yard box from open play – most, most odd. There is clearly a message there both for our defensive organisation, and from the goals themselves which I suspect we could learn a little when trying to break open the packed defences at the Ems.

Of our lads last night I thought Koscielny was absolutely magnificent and that was as good a game as I have seen him play, a real captain’s performance. To come off the pitch having lost a game into which you have put so much must be sickening. Gabriel and Monreal, Le Coq and Xhaka also deserve a mention for their unstinting hard work and self control against an hour of physical mauling.

Of the opposition I thought their full backs, both of whom have been on the end of stick from EFC fans all season I read, were top notch. I cannot recall Hector having such a quiet evening for a long while as he was pinned back.

Having dissected, reviewed, learned and discarded we move on to the Etihad on Sunday. A four day break much appreciated and, I suspect, needed by our players who had as physically hard a game last night as they have had all season. I did not see any injuries last night which was a small but welcome relief.

In the course of a 38 game season two defeats is of little or no significance as it is resilience that brings success. A first defeat away from home for nine months is hardly calamity. We shall see what we learned.

Enjoy your week.

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87 comments on “Arsenal: Bound upon a wheel of Fire

  1. The old fart’s thoughts.
    Andrew, you are too nice a person! I saw it slightly different.
    “At the weekend a story emerged about how Arsenal have been using a forensic psychiatrist, Ceri Evans, to provide a bit of edge.”
    And for our next lesson we will see what can be done mentally about the opposition kicking the shit out of you and a referee that lets it go on. This will be our priority until the end of the season.
    That to a large degree sums up last night. We were playing well, very well in fact but having taken the lead with Alexis’ free kick that took a pleasant diversion, there was a definite sea change as Everton took up the pace, took up the myriad of misplaced passes and took up the offensive in more ways than one. In many ways it reminded one of days at Bolton. Not surprising then that by half time after an equalizer the guys were not looking at all happy. If we did anything resembling a tackle, we were getting penalized. Clattenberg used to be one of the best in the business but with the poison dwarf as 4th official to help, this performance should have him dropping to the Southern League.
    It was no pleasure to watch and really we can’t begrudge Everton taking the points as they coped better than we did. As indeed they should have done given the circumstances. It was sad watching Oz having his worst performance for years and to be fair, he should have been substituted long before either Theo or the Ox. Not that they did a great deal either but…
    The last few minutes were exciting though. Petr up in their area, goal line clearances and a clear penalty turned down (Did you really expect anything else?) as we at last went all out to equalize. It was not to be though and we missed out on returning to top spot. So City on Sunday and hopefully a return to the sort of form we enjoy. Presumably we’ll have a ref from the poison dwarf, Atkinson, Taylor clique to cope with so get those psycho lessons in quick. Keep the faith difficult though it may be at times.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. An option could have been to bring on Elneny for Ozil gf or instead of Iwobi as a stronger taller player could have made a difference. Conjecture though and based on hindsight. We have pulled out late goals this season time after time so it would have been a speculative call.


  3. That loss is hard to take. Hate talking about refs but its getting silly now. If that foul on Alexis at the end is done by an Arsenal player in the opposite box, its given as a penalty, we have seen it this season, and by the same ref as last night. (Spurs anyone?) And how was the time added on only 4 minutes when their keeper was down for over 2 minutes getting treatment?
    The defeat in itself I don’t mind too much, but under such circumstances, I felt cheated. However, we get up, dust ourselves off and go again.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Started really well and no lack of effort.
    But, Koeman, like a few others know the best way to beat Arsenal is to turn his players into a bunch of cloggers, kick the whatever out of the more skilled opponents, and hope for a certain type of refereeing performance. Certainly worked last night. we have to be at our best to overcome such things, and over the whole game, we probably were not.
    Sadly, I find it impossible to look at games in the last couple of months and believe we are getting an even hand with the refs. If our players try and match physicality, they get carded. Can anyone honestly tell me we are getting a fair deal with penalties these days…for or against? I can think of one team not too far away, if they had been challenged in the way Alexis was at the end, well, the ref would have probably injured himself in his haste to sprint towards the penalty spot
    Wenger is a romantic, an optimist, and I am sure he believes, as he has done before, he can overcome the various vested interests that want to maintain the limitations of the English game. Last night may have been a hard lesson in what he is up against, other lesser teams will be buoyed by Evertons performance, and the refereeing.
    Our next opponent is a manager with some similar ideals to Wenger, though of course his Barca were no strangers to the dark arts, as we know. But hopefully he will try and play football against us this weekend, and the game will be decided accordingly, rather than by a team who kicked harder and a referee, a highly decorated referee, but one, who for whatever reason, did not do his job on the night

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I don’t imagine Sunlun will play ‘nice’ tonight Mandy any more than Pulis’ Baggies did a n Sunday. If sides rough you up no referee will do anything about it. They never have done. Arsene knows this.


  6. Well done Andy – I envy your job not one bit on the morning after a defeat. Especially as I have no desire to indulge in a post mortem.
    My attitude / coping strategy is as follows: We lost. End of story. Move on.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. To be perfectly honest, I’m crushed.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Crushed is the 1000th game, crushed is to lose to Swindon at Wembley, or Eduardo’s destruction at St Andrews. A little light bruising. Educative rather than disabling.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. very true I guess Anicoll5.
    Agree on your point on it being educative as well.
    Just not sure what Wenger does about this though, he has some physical players that can match these tactics, but they are just not allowed to, just seems double standards in refereeing


  10. The thing is Andy, I’m ill prepared for this setback. I’ve become lazy and complacent.


  11. Ach, that was painful.

    The plus : again it was a case of our bad nights/games being very different to how they used to be. A 1-goal defeat instead of a hammering; a good reaction after half time and again a good reaction after going behind. That can’t yield reward every time but if you can do it often enough it might do often enough to succeed.

    I’ll try keep my ref moaning to a minimum, Mandy has covered most of my thoughts anyway, but Everton’s comeback and momentum there relied extremely heavily on the ref being…intensely relaxed about the physical stuff.

    The power they have in that situation to kill momentum or help it burn depresses the hell out of me but, arguably, that’s just England * and therefore to be expected and not worthy of much thought.

    I’m with the fellow who thinks we play against a ref handicap and that, alas, it’ll prove a bit too much for us to overcome. Or at least last night I firmly was. Just the pen issue could be enough- cheap ones against, extremely unlikely to get one when the chips are down- but that is only the most obvious aspect of it.

    Today, I’ll try get back to hopefulness. We’re a good team, the squad is improved,etc.

    If Chelsea weren’t on this run things would feel better, so fingers crossed it ends soon and we can bounce back quickly.

    *except it isn’t always, not even in the same game.


  12. I still haven’t seen the game. My old lady has priority on the telly at nights so I won’t get to the DVR until Thursday as am about to go on a trip. But as most of us intuitively recognize that while the result was certainly a setback, it was by no means a disaster. 2 losses in the 1st half of the season is the 20 year average for the title-winning teams. The maximum number of losses over that period is as much as 4; City in 2013-14, United in 02-03 and our own Arsenal in 97-98.
    As Andy emphasized the most important thing is how the team reacts to the setback. Titles are not won in the 1st half of the season; it is how hard you finish that really matters.


  13. Mesut looked a bit jaded last night. Even the greats have off nights. On to the next game.


  14. anicol it is true to say that refs will not stop teams roughing Arsenal up, but they certainly do stop teams roughing up other top sides. They will award frees for the sort of challenge that was put in on xhaka only seconds into the game, or the one on ozil only minutes later, and they will quickly book an opponent and this then puts them on a warning that the rough stuff will not be allowed, but when it comes to Arsenal refs seem to have bought into the soundbite that the only way to stop Arsenal is to get in their faces or to call it what it is, kick them, and they see it as a legit tactic. We see time and again refs let it go in arsenal games, well until xhaka or coquelin or kos put in a challenge, then its not the first, second, third or last warning the ref hands out, but a booking.

    As gf60 said on the penalty “did anyone expect it to be given”, and he is correct, but that begs the question why, how big an indictment of the refs in the English game that us Arsenal fans are not the least bit surprised that once again no penalty given for the clearest of fouls. To tell the truth last night was nearly the straw that broke this camels back, the performance of clatenburg came very close to seeing me turn my back on the English game. On its own clattenburg’s performance was not overly bad, it did not even come close to the same level of awful as most of Anthony Taylor’s and lots of Mike Dean’s and Lee Mason and several others I could mention. But the cumulative effect of once again seeing a ref influence not only the result but how the game was played sickened me to the point where I really have considered turning my back on it all. This gnawing feeling that we have to overcome the refs, should not be a thing, it should not be something any of us should have to give a second thought to, the game and the refs should be above that, but it is not, they are not, and to me there is a real doubt as to the integrity of the game.
    I played and coached in other sports, where one could often question the actions and integrity of the players, but not the neutral officials, and mostly not even the non-neutral officials, but sadly football seems to lack any such level of honesty and integrity.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. now on to the game last night, it was for me the good the bad and the ugly

    the good
    Arsenal played some wonderful football, I feel due to the defeat that many have rewritten history a bit, with many ignoring how good some of the football produced by afc last night. The passing out from the back, even in the tightest of spaces was of the highest caliber. Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Coquelin were all outstanding, I really don’t know where all the hate for Xhaka and Coquelin is coming form, maybe its just the Ramsey haters needing someone, anyone to target.

    the bad
    11 games without a clean sheet, yes several of them due to dodgy penalty awards, but stats like this really do give opposing teams hope, even when they are behind. both goals good from an everton point of view, totally avoidable from an arsenal point of view. Coleman free six yards out to head home – ox tracked him a bit of they way but then stopped and so left him free. Theo unlike in most games this season was not sharp in his defensive duties, all season we have seen him alert to the danger, nipping in and stealing the ball off an attacker, or failing that, getting back to block the possibility of a cross, last night, not only on that goal, but all game, he was not up to speed in his defending duties, maybe, just maybe, Mustafi not being there was part of it, as Theo has said on several occasions that Mustafi talks alot during games, telling others where to be and who to mark etc, Gabriel can’t do this aspect as he still barely speaks english.
    the second goal, Ozil and Xhaka both failed to block the run of Williams.
    One other bad from the game was that despite how well our passing was at the back and in some areas of the pitch, up top it was that little bit off, Ozil has rarely had such an off day with his final ball, on several occasions it was downright awful. We had several long periods of domination but did not even come close to testing their keeper.

    the ugly
    Clattenburg, plain and simple, he was awful. Right from the first few seconds where he allowed Mccarthy to leave one on Xhaka, quickly followed up by one being left on Ozil, it was clear he would allow Everton to engage in these tactics. We also had several incidents where a nasty dig had been left on an Arsenal player but as we had possession it looked like he had allowed play to continue and would deal with it when play broke down, but he never went back and dealt with it, Everton grew into the game as they realized that they were seeing a homer performance, that they had a 12th man.
    The goals – ours first, I still question two things on the freekick –
    1. should the everton defender not have been sent off as Coquelin was in on goal but for the foul, so a sending off for a clear goal scoring offence
    2. williams should at the very least have been booked for his wild lung that hurt his own team mate, nothing sums up excessive force and being out of control of a challenge than actually taking out one of your own men.

    no complaint about the ref for Everton’s first goal.

    the winner – it all came about from a phantom corner, an everton player headed it wide, but a corner was given, also I think it was on this first corner that Koscielny was elbowed in the face, Cech made a great save and they got the corner they scored from.

    and that leaves us with what was for me the worst incident of all, the non award of a penalty for the foul on Alexis, I’ve seen some try and make excuses for him like the Everton player got the slightest of touches on the ball, so what, that is not how the rules on these things are written, getting a touch of the ball does not mean its not a foul, you can get the ball everytime but as long as you take the opponent out of it too, its a foul, all day every day, well as long as the player is not an arsenal player. As someone said yesterday, if that was a spurs player they would have got two penalties for it.


  16. Ed, agree, it can be hard to watch some games where poor refereeing can have such an effect.. But, despite what they appear to be up against at times, worth persisting with Wenger and his team, and they need us to back them.
    Perhaps like Wenger, I believe there is hope. we NOW have a couple very high profile managers in now, both foreigners incidentally, who I hope will at least try to play the game in the right way, and maybe show a few up in the process. I do not like everything about Pep and Klopp, but when it comes to the some aspects of the game, they are a bit of a force for good. Guess Eddie Howe is another…..maybe Wenger is no longer completely out on his own.
    My biggest frustration over all this is that nobody at the club appears to want to do much about it, Wenger certainly lets off steam, but I am sure someone as influential in the game as Ivan could have a word….unless, as I at least suspect, perhaps he knows there are about £40 million good reasons per season for not rocking the boat too much.
    Was reading the other day, that unlike the Scots,…… the EPL, AND the PGMOB vetoed an attempt by our FA to bring in retrospective action against players who dive. They might even have some good reasons for this, but it just seems powerful forces want to keep things just as they are, leading to an environment where it is easy, and profitable to cheat and push the rules of the game. The PGMOL surprise me on this, some of these divers make absolute fools of their refs on a regular basis, yet they clearly dont want to do anything about it

    Liked by 5 people

  17. Theo certainly didnt have a great game, he seems to have lost his hunger since he was rewarded with a coffee machine from his wife on scoring his 10th goal this season. Material spoils can ruin good players


  18. Stuart MacFarlane ‏@Stuart_PhotoAFC 12h12 hours ago
    If you’re an Arsenal fan and you’re abusing Alex Iwobi you should be ashamed of yourself. #rememberwhoyouarewhatyouareandwhoyourepresent

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Ryan ‏@RyanTomes 1h1 hour ago
    Funny how it’s only the WOB abusing Iwobi, it’s only the WOB who want Mesut Özil sold & it’s only the WOB who fucking love it when we lose.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. This is what refs need

    Watch the refs and EPL try and resist it in this league for all they are worth though


  21. you really have to laugh at how skewed the arsenal fan base is, we have iwobi, ramey, ozil and theo among others getting abused by so called arsenal fans, and we have a crowd fund page set up for one of the mad bastards on aftv to stop him becoming homeless, and him being pictured at arsenal home and away games, and fucking idiots paying to it.


  22. The extreme elements of the WOB are generally needy, angry and thick with a capital F.
    They dont deserve any oxygen of publicity, leave them to their blogs and forums they share happily with fans of Chelsea, Tottenham and Utd

    Liked by 1 person

  23. mandy of course they will try and resist it, cos if its brought in it will make them less of a star, look at the actions, poses, mannerisms, haircuts, from the BPL officials now, I’ve no doubt that they think the crowd has only come to see them. Too many of them are there to affect the game, not enforce the rules.

    The first thing that needs to be done is at least triple the number of BPL refs, London and southern refs need to be added to the list as a matter of urgency. We really should not have the same couple of “star” refs getting the same big fixtures year after year. God be with the days when no one passed a second thought on who the refs was, as in most cases we only knew the names of about two refs on the list, most years you would not even be able to pick the FA Cup final ref out of a line up. All we are missing now is for the refs to get advertising deals, or to put out a christmas song. We are in the age of celebrity refs and I say fuck that for a game of soldiers.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Positively Arsenal ‏@Blackburngeorge 12m12 minutes ago
    From now on when I see people being critical of our best players or Arsene, I’ll simply reply with “Stan Collymore?”
    Thank you Pep.


  25. Each referee more awful than the one in the preceding game – at this rate we shall be relegated by Easter !

    Liked by 1 person

  26. A couple of Sundays ago I watched Bournemouth get right in Liverpool’s face, and knock them right off their perch. I did not even notice the referee.

    Anyone else watch that match ?

    Liked by 1 person

  27. As soon as I saw Everton’s starting line up I knew they weren’t going to be the same pushovers we’d seen all of November. This is something the haters who are losing their minds over this loss don’t even acknowledge. This is a tough league and no top club is immune from losing to a smaller team who is more motivated and inclined to beat them.


  28. ** a big ole ref moan. Skip if that’s not your thing

    Eduardo, Mandy. Ultimately, the bosses of Pgmol are the premier league, literally. I’m not sure if I quite realised that until it was spelled out clearly in Halsey’s book.

    He mentions a few times that they are the ones in charge and Pgmol report to them. The previous head of Pgmol, Hackett, was removed from his post in a decision taken by the premier league. Apparently, influential managers from the North West were unhappy with him, and soon after he was gone. Ferguson and Allardyce were mentioned and perhaps Moyes also.

    Worse, there is almost zero hope of the ridiculous North South imbalance with referees being addressed. I believe the picture is that it is the FA who originally fund and train all refs up until the point PGMOL might select them. An FA who are apparently strapped for cash and could not spare the 5 or 10 million (?) perhaps needed to push intensively for more referees, especially from the South.

    Meanwhile, at every step of the way we have assessors, presumably predominantly good northern lads, guiding all referees into a particular style, directed from the top it is reasonable to assume.

    All while the premier league swims in oceans of money and there is not a single good reason why they would not, in the interests of the game, want to drastically increase the numbers of top refs, and finally do something about that ridiculous imbalance. It crushes the hope of a loose cannon or two making it through, as they’ll be blocked on the way, or hammered into shape when they get there.

    Scudamore (original pgmol board member. Finally gone but now, yippee, Riley is on there) and the Premier league are perfectly happy with things as they are. The money is fantastic, and the rule just might be : so long as two or three of the big guns don’t, over an extended period, feel badly treated or that something is fundamentally wrong, jobs a good un.

    It’s a grim picture. Last night I ruefully thought, to win the league as it is we perhaps need another two or even three players of Sanchez’s quality and reliability. We have Kos,for sure. Bellerin is close. Ozil is there, but is very vulnerable to poor officiating. We have many other good or very good players, but my fear is that we need to be about 10% better than any other team in order to win the league.

    I think we’re at least equal to anyone. In terms of first 11, squad depth, star quality, anything. So with the points as they are, with so many to play for, I should be confident, stoical, upbeat.

    It’s a case of if you can’t beat em, join em (Mourinho, Pochettino, Koeman), or be extraordinarily good- Bergkamp, Petit, Overmars, Pires, Viera, Henry, Adams, Gilberto, Cole, Campbell, Ljungberg good. 5 or so truly world class (damn it, no other phrase seems to do) players at the same time, with a very good supporting cast. Others don’t need that to triumph, but I think we do.

    Anyway, apologies to the others who feel differently, for rabbiting on.

    In the years after Wenger, I hope to be a lot cooler about it all- refs, other shite et al- but while he’s here and while it’s bloody unbearable to me for us not to get another title with him in charge, I can’t seem to stop taking it about 200% (ok, 2000%) more seriously than is right and healthy.

    Peace. And if you’re in decent enough shape to watch tonights action, enjoy. Don’t know if I’m quite there but will be for the weekend.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. From the perspective of a games player I thought the match really interesting. Good start for us, and then a period not long after our goal where it was clear that the balance was swinging and that they had won the midfield. I thought we had weathered the tide and would make it to half-time without conceding, but a bit of a sucker punch saw me wrong. (Failing to protect a lead going into halftime really irritates me!). Then again we seemed to be winning back control and we could have scored, but didn’t which set the stage for another barnstorming 10 minutes from Everton. Having gone down we then did everything but score and might well have done, but the way the game was going we’d have probably missed the penalty at the end even if it had been given! To my eyes although we didn’t always play well, we never gave up or shirked it, and in the end it was probably the right result. In a perverse sort of way I enjoyed watching it.

    However, it is true that the particular type of blood and thunder approach Everton adopted can only really happen with the acqueiscance of the officials – and as Arsene said, energy wise it is probably unsustainable every game.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Interesting Rich, arent the FA supposed to be the guardians and lawmakers of our game….so why on earth do they let the pgmol be run by the premier league? a conflict of interests?
    Have not read Halseys book, but have heard the home grown chapter of the LMA were pretty powerful, these managers did Fergies bidding and got a few rewards themselves…perhaps a later manager of Utd, and the ridiculous decision to make Allardyce England manager. Who can forget Pulis / Stoke playing Utd, often hardly putting a tackle in and losing one or two nil, yet compare and contrast when his teams played Arsenal.
    Quite amazing, even an article in the Daily Mail is saying we are not getting the rub of the green with refs these days, and that it is unusual that such an attacking side hasnt been awarded a penalty since 10th Sept, yet has conceded 5 in that time.
    Would be very interesting to see the comparative treatment of say…Eddie Howe…or heaven forbid, Simeone should they succeed Wenger
    Still, it is what it is, hopefully, playing a proper football team on sunday (unless Pep goes back to certain Barca dark arts), could be a good match to watch, and who knows, the game might even be decided by the better team on the day…hopefully us….and not by incorrect ref decisions, dodgy penalties, stonewallers not given, kicking, rotational fouling, diving, time wasting, harsh reds, and all the other joys we have witnessed in recent months, yet have, to the teams credit, usually managed to overcome.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Stop it, please.
    Our constant moaning about the referees make us seem like a bunch of losers.
    From the interviews with Arsene, he is not blaming the ref, he seems to be saying we didn’t match their physicality and we didn’t take advantage of the opportunities.

    We need to stop being little whingeing, whining snowflakes who can’t deal with adversity, can’t deal with opponents who are, if not more, dedicated to competing with and defeating us. This is the reality of the competitive world we live in.

    Have we learnt anything from the what is happening in the world around us?

    Liked by 2 people

  32. yeah lets put our fingers in our ears and go la la la la, everything is golden, lets just say nothing and hope that this is enough for us to all of a sudden get fair treatment from the refs.

    wenger did point out that the ref was wrong to award the corner that led to their winner, and that the ref was also wrong not to award us a penalty. So wenger is a little whingeing, whining snowflakes who can’t deal with adversity, can’t deal with opponents who are, if not more, dedicated to competing with and defeating us. Or maybe just like the rest of us he can see how refs are unfairly impacting on results. You decide.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. I must add, that I do not like bringing up about refs after a defeat cos there is always someone who puts in down as sour grapes, I actually think that pointing out the ref stuff after we win is far far better, but too many then come out with stuff like – we won just enjoy it and forget about the ref, he was unable to beat us. – this ignoring of their acts just cos we won is the reason why they can so easily keep doing it, as too many just pass it off as whinging when its pointed out after a defeat. Missing the whole point that it is happening in wins draws and defeats


  34. Mandy as for the shortage of southern based refs, it has nothing to do with lack of numbers, their are thousands of them, how else do you think all the football other than BPL and EFL that is played in the south of England has refs.

    I think it was last year that it was pointed out that the only thing stopping southern refs progressing up the league ladder was that they do not ref games the way the PGMOL want their refs to do so, Mike Dean, Mark Clattenburg, Lee Mason et all have no more qualification in reffing than any other fully qualified ref who has never been seen on TV or even in a EFL game. There is also nothing stopping the PGMOL having a 100 refs on their list if they so wished, but no, they would rather have a Manchester ref actually reffing games involving one of the Manchester clubs, which has happened twice so far this season, the odd thing is that they did not give him the Manchester derby.


  35. Positively Arsenal ‏@Blackburngeorge 3h3 hours ago
    @TelOdell Laws don’t work if they are not enforced.


  36. shotta

    Wenger uses restraint, because it is an absolute necessity for him.

    Even with that considerable restraint, he is ruthlessly mocked and pilloried, as a whinger and whiner, but that’s beside the point : what we might spend a thousand words complaining about he normally mentions only briefly, spending more time emphasising the elements within our control we could have done better on.

    All the same if he ,for instance, says ‘it was not a penalty’, it means much the same thing as us gnashing our teeth and getting mightily upset about it. Means the same in that he knows as we know that such a decision could have cost us the points; means the same in that if he is saying it after three home games in a row, then he is well aware that is highly unusual; means the same in that if that is symptomatic with how we are treated, then our task is made far harder than it should be.

    He must choose his words extremely carefully, we don’t have the same restrictions upon us. All the same, after all this time, and all the mockery, and knowing full well how his words are twisted and used against him, he still feels compelled to tell the truth.

    Every element that we complain about has been covered by Wenger in the past, typically with far greater precision and power than I could muster. He is admittedly more reluctant to go into detail these days (often he settles for ‘amazing’. if he is regularly saying and meaning ‘amazing’ decisions have gone against us…well?). At some point a few years ago, after the horror injuries, he seemed to make a conscious decision to try and say much less, while still being truthful.

    Nevertheless, it’s fair to assume he still feels the same about those matters relating to foul play and refereeing. Nothing has changed for the better.

    Here he is, having a good whinge and whine, the little snowflake.


    He sounds pretty damn sad about it, if you ask me. I believe it was not long after this that, I would guess, he must have decided that in order to do his job as well as possible, and on balance of probabilities make our players a tiny bit safer, he would have to make public peace of a kind with pgmol’s antics.

    He could not ignore what he saw-comments accurately on it every time- but he had to create some distance from it. Absorb it, then move on each time with optimism. He is one remarkable fellow.

    Would that I could keep it brief and restrained like him, but God knows what he actually feels. He certainly cannot tell it to the world or even to the players.

    Liked by 3 people

  37. We lost, so what? It is one game, at a time. Treat the referee, like the weather, we have no control over.

    There is a report, that the Arsenal will install a retractable sun-roof. No planning application that I could see, when I looked last week.

    The referee will let the first foul go unpunished, to keep the game “flowing”, according to Mike Riley’s rule book.

    The Arsenal players, will be too physical, in full view of the referee, especially if Mike Dean, is the fourth official!

    Was PV14 more robust, than Roy Keane? Of course, not! Who, received the most red and yellow cards? SO, one employs the “dark acts”, and studies how the referee responds to different “fouls”!

    Paul English

    49 Posted 14/12/2016 at 14:00:54

    Mike Dean? – this is one bad ref from the Wirral. He is the ref for the derby. He’s never done a team from Merseyside before, and was given the 4th official job last nite, to give him the taste of what to expect. He frequently sings You’ll Never Walk Alone. His son is a Red Shite season ticket holder… BE WARNED!!!

    Some are awful,, think’s the ref is bent?

    The fact of the matter, is and I quote from Toffeeweb again…

    “Barry has been and still is, a very good servant to Everton but you’ve got to have legs in the engine room, which is where this victory was engineered from.
    I thought the crowd’s response was absolutely brilliant tonight, when we finally stood-up to Arsenal, and Williams in particular went from being the most nervous man on the pitch, to the type of leader we have been looking for in the space of about twenty minutes.

    Let’s hope the players enjoyed it as much as the fans did, because as Koeman found out for himself last night, when your team fights for everything, Goodison responds, and the united efforts of both the players and the supporters, will always win Everton games!

    COTB against Liverpool


    Liked by 2 people

  38. Shotta, have you not learned anything from the world around us? If injustice is accepted as “that’s just how it is” justice will never prevail.

    Liked by 2 people

  39. My guess is Arsene saves his moaning for an event that he really thinks is worth moaning about – and so he should. It may be his opinion that there was a penalty not given last night – good luck to him. For once AW was focussed on an incident and saw it clearly. He may have seen it only on a recording – I’ve no idea.

    I might have noticed earlier but other than Sanchez no Arsenal player was interested.

    At the time I did not even notice the alleged penalty. It was only when the hysteria broke out on Twitter I had a look at it about a dozen times.

    And you know what ? I can see why Clattenburg might have given it, I can see why he might not have given it.

    Matter of judgement – the referee’s judgement.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. A general observation about “doing something” about referees – or indeed about anything in Football;

    Instead of expressing incoherent outrage each and every week about the wickedness – total incompetence- corruption of apparently every single referee in the PL, in Europe, for FA and LC, why not pick on the really bad one, and concentrate on him?

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Focussing on the refs won’t win us the title. They are a variable we have no control over. The main variable in our control is our quality and our attitude. Constant moaning and whingeing is a sign of weakness. Should we make the refs the focus, teams will believe we are vulnerable to the Everton tactics and justifiably feel they have a psychological advantage over us pre-game.

    Complaining about an injustice never brought it to an end, never.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Go Ahead Eagles impressed by on trial Arsenal midfielder
    Posted By Admin On December 14th, 2016 05:52 PM | Eredivisie, News, Transfer News
    Go Ahead Eagles Technical Manager Dennis Bekking has admitted the club are impressed by Arsenal midfielder Daniel Crowley who has been on trial in Deventer.

    By Michael Bell
    Follow Michael on Twitter
    crawley-arsThe Eredivisie strugglers are in dire need of reinforcements for their midfield after the long-term injury suffered by Chris David.

    Arsenal midfielder Daniel Crowley joined up with Go Ahead last week on trial with a view to a possible loan deal. That move appears to be close with the clubs Technical Manager Dennis Bekking telling VI that they have been impressed by the youngster.

    Bekking said, “Crowley has made quite an impression.

    “He belongs in terms of technical skills among the better talents from Arsenal, but in England other things are also asked of you. He is strong on the ball and can play well between the lines. We see in him a number 10. ”

    The 19-year-old is available fafter having his loan with Oxford United ended early.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. If in the 2nd half at Goodison last night we had passed a little more accurately, if Ozil had not swept a chance over the bar he would normally hit the target with I have no doubt we would still have loads of complaints about Clattenburg Shotta

    We’d have won though


  44. Birmingham City news ‏@BCFC_News 46m46 minutes ago
    Gianfranco Zola confirmed as the new manager of Birmingham City


  45. Mutual desperation from Zola and Birmingham give it 3 months


  46. shotta, anicoll, swear this is me last go, and isn’t in the gloomy vein of my other stuff.

    The boys at Sky are with you (and have more humour and better taste in music than I would have thought possible) and/or want the people to be

    They just began their show with highlights of yesterday’s match…accompanied by the chorus , played twice, of the Radiohead song Just..

    You do it to yourself, you do
    And that’s what really hurts
    Is you do it to yourself, just you
    You and no-one else
    You do it to yourself
    You do it to yourself

    Cut to beaming Jeff Stelling. Cheeky. Fair play

    The amount of times I’ve daydreamed with my earphones in about the music I’d use for various montages if I was editing Motd or Sky Sports…

    ELO’s Living Thing was a favourite around the time of Mourinho’s descent

    Takin’ a dive [copious shots of Hazard and co diving about] ‘cos you can’t halt the slide
    Floating downstream,
    So let her go don’t start spoiling the show
    It’s a bad dream

    The shits won’t even have a gentle joke with any of the vast number of money-related songs they could play for City Chelsea games.

    Allright, not gentle enough, but some Abba at least!

    Ah, for the power. I can’t even control my own responses, but was sincere in wanting not to get into this stuff, and I’ll try harder.

    Liked by 2 people

  47. still thoroughly miffed about last night.
    Results are going as you’d expect tonight so it’s rubbing more salt into the wound.

    Clattenburg has a tattoo of the champions league cup on his leg, says all you need to know about the man.

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Still time to change, but things really not going our way in these midweek games


  49. With you there DC – a tattoo or a beard – unreliable verging toward criminal


  50. And so it finishes….results wise, the worst of possible midweek fixtures.
    Still, maybe a bit of a wake up call, a time to focus and hopefully move on very quickly

    Liked by 1 person

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