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. Paul Hirst ‏@hirstclass 5m5 minutes ago
    Pep says Gundogan out for “several months”. Suspected ligament damage
    “We are going to miss him for a long time. This is the worst news.”


  2. One for our enthusiasts about history but I’m watching “I believe in miracles” on BtSport

    Clough, Forest, Clough, philosophy, Clough world view, and Taylor -and Clough

    As it says on the film the most charismatic man in 20th century football

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve got the DVD excellent for all those who really love football

    Liked by 2 people

  4. @Anicol Your 7.11 yesterday. But which “really bad one”? Too many candidates

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I can pick referees I think are good easily enough, Oliver, Taylor and Clattenburg gf

    I think Dean is nuts and on one day can be exceptionally good, and another exceptionally poor. I accept the criticism of him that he enjoys the limelight a little too much for a top referee.

    The whistlers I think are probably the least I look forward to on the programme are Roger East and Mike Jones. Both are competent enough but seem to lack something in coping with big decisions. A bit like Dean you never quite know if it is a red card likely to come out or play will be waved on. Unlike Dean I have never seen ( as far as I can remember) either control a tough game well.


  6. Andy, the problem is you can only name a few good refs and even then they leave a lot to be desired in many areas. I like clatts but take his performance the other night, in the first ten minutes he allowed our opponents to go through the back of our players twice. This then set the tone for ref rest of the game and generally he ignored it all night. I far as I am aware the tackle from behind with contact is outlawed and is punishable with a booking. So we’re not talking about a error of judgement or something he didn’t see but basic negligence.
    Another problem I have is time keeping, the rugby style is long overdue as refs simply consistently fail to get this right.
    If you look at injuries, subs and goals there was no way only four minutes should have been added plus the sending off in the four minutes made the final whistle even later. If our better refs can not even get the basics right we need to change the system.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. Judging by MOTD, other not great ref performances yesterday, they reckoned the ref in the Palace Utd game had a bit of a shocker, though mentioned little about the Arsenal game except the non corner.
    And, horror of horrors…or karma, Spurs MAY have been denied a valid penalty, not that it would have done much to their result. Would take a brave man to risk giving Spurs a pen after recent weeks

    I think at very least, these boys need help in the form of technology asap

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “the problem is you can only name a few good refs”

    the problem is I dare only name a few good refs !! (banned winkey thing)

    I could have put Jonny Moss in as his record in charge of us is excellent – title winning form in his chubby little form, but I don’t think he is a patch on Oliver, Taylor or MC.


  9. absolutely right about technology and timekeeping btw

    Surely after so many seasons wandering about on the touchline they could find the almost totally unemployed 4th official a real job to do ?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. afcstuff ‏@afcstuff 7h7 hours ago
    Graphic: Arsenal have the highest average stadium occupancy in the PL and the 3rd highest in Europe’s top 5 leagues. [@DeporFinanzas] #afc

    but didn’t the AST claim their was 10,000 empty seats at a recent home game


  11. Eddy,, you silly billy!

    Those stats must be based on tickets sold, not bums on seats.

    The empty seats, are toilets, queuing for a coffee, watching the game on TV in the restaurant, with a beer in a glass at hand, avoiding the stampede to the tube etc., etc.,


  12. notoverthehill I thought the empty seats were nothing more than the ast trying to be relevant, you know like how they keep banging the drum about a whole generation of fans being priced out of the ground, but at the same time ignoring that our cat c games and our family/youth enclosure rarely sell out, but you can’t get a cat a ticket for love nor money, well you can for money, silly money.


  13. We do have a small cabal of bums in some of the seats.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. dc,

    I love your reference to a cabal or clique, but I sense there may be a claque involved too.

    Imagine thousands of fans forming a cabal with cliquey, claquey bums — so let’s hope they also have rhythm too, and we could have a great combo sound! (lol)



    Arsène Wenger’s press conference covered, among other topics, the financial gap between us and Manchester City, the use of video replays – and player contracts.

    Read on for some of the key quotes from Friday’s media briefing:

    on the financial gap between Arsenal and City…
    It has reduced but it is still there. I believe we have the needed quality not to look at the financial differences as the reason why we should not win the game.

    on selling players to City in the past…
    Yes, they are good clients!

    on being not as vulnerable now to selling players…
    Yes, because today I feel we can give financial satisfaction and support ambitions and values that can make the players happy at this club. Before, perhaps the financial gap was too big a difference to keep our players. We could not compete, we had to sell players.

    on whether he has an update on Alexis’ future…

    on whether there being no financial fair play in China creates a disadvantage for European clubs…
    I don’t know. If people want to go to China, they go to China. You can understand that I have completely different worries than China today ahead of the Manchester City game.

    on whether a player would use an offer from China as a negotiation tool…
    Look, I think I closed that subject. I believe that there is nothing more to add to that.

    on Giroud and Coquelin’s contracts…
    As soon as we have some news, we will inform you.

    on Kieran Gibbs’ future…
    It’s the same case. We cannot make a case of every single contract negotiation. Personally I think that Gibbs should stay here.

    on video replays being used in the Club World Cup…
    I’m a long-time fan of it and, looking at the referees, their quality and the speed of the game, I think they need help and that video can be of a very good assistance.

    on whether he’d like to see it next season…
    I would like to see it tomorrow morning.

    on whether contract talks could affect players’ form…
    There is no concern, not at all.

    on why he is confident about that…
    You waste your time because these players have 18 months on their contracts and I don’t see why there is any urgency in every press conference to have that question. Maybe you lack a bit of creativity in the newspapers and you always come up with the same subject. I don’t see why that should turn up in every press conference

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20161216/wenger-on-contracts-and-video-replays#k2oS2WYdHWWJCb7I.99


  16. wenger said we will basically have the same squad for the man city game as we did for the everton game, ramsey the closest to returning, should be ok next week, and that welbeck should be back in full training in a week, but will take some time before he is ready for selection


  17. Entirely off Arsenal but I was intrigued to read this piece in the Baltimore Sun about Ravens fans falling over themselves to sign up to watch their team play in London next season;


    Where are the righteous protests eh ? Where are the “I want my Ravens back” ” Why are they not laying on flights free of charge” and “NFL is pricing true fans out of the following their team” et cetera?

    They have NO IDEA – It must be a nationality thaaaang


  18. AFCU18 to face Blackburn Rovers in FAYC: Virginia, Osei-Tutu, Dasilva, Olowu, T. Bola, McGuane, Dragomir, Smith-Rowe, Nelson, Malen, Nketiah
    substitutes: Barden, Pileas, Tella, Willock, Coyle


  19. Blackburn Rovers ‏@Rovers 4m4 minutes ago
    22: A spot of pushing and shoving on the touchline results in Reiss Nelson being red carded for Arsenal and Rankin-Costello booked. 0-0


  20. Blackburn Rovers ‏@Rovers 10s11 seconds ago
    #FAYouthCup half-time: Arsenal 0 Rovers 0. A feisty first half in which the Gunners were reduced to ten men. Rovers unable to take advantage


  21. Blackburn Rovers ‏@Rovers 2m2 minutes ago
    78 GOAL!! Rovers take the lead! Daniel Butterworth with the finishing touch from a Lewis Thompson cross. 0-1


  22. Arsenal FC ‏@Arsenal 49s50 seconds ago
    Full-time at Meadow Park – it simply wasn’t to be for #AFCU18

    Blackburn claim a 1-0 victory and progress courtesy of a 79th minute winner

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Its been a busy last few days for me so I haven’t been quite as up to date with all things Arsenal since Tuesday’s game – although I have been aware of a fair amount of discontent among sections of the fanbase. So much so, in fact, that I was genuinely surprised to see this morning we were actually third in the table, which doesn’t strike me as the sort of positioning you would expect from a club supposedly in crisis. It also strikes me that one way or another we have pretty much been playing without a fully fit Aaron Ramsey this season, and I think that should he return to proper fitness he will make a significant difference to the second half of the season, as indeed might the return of Danny Welbeck, who I still harbour great hopes for.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. The beauty of this club, There’s always a crisis to be had. Don’t let a lofty league position fool us.
    What was this season, a rare defeat midweek, star players not having signed, media friendly….and these days, it seems referee friendly neighbours creeping up on us to shift balances of power, our star striker not being at the teams theatre outing this week, the possibility his dogs may not have settled in London preferring China, all these things point to a spiral of negativity.

    Liked by 4 people

  25. Arshavin for Arsenal:

    8709 minutes
    31 goals
    46 assists

    Ozil for Arsenal:

    11650 minutes
    29 goals
    49 assists

    I knew I was right about Arshavin all along.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Mandy you’re forgetting the entirely sincere and sane “November crisis” (no defeats in league or CL) from your list!


  27. not been a good week for Arsenal

    Monday – get Bayern in the CL draw and our U23’s lost to lfc 3-2

    Tuesday – lose to Everton after being ahead

    Wednesday – all bpl results go against us

    Friday – U18’s exit FA Youth cup at home to Blackburn.


  28. Chelse grind out 1-0’s like Leicester did last season.
    Arsenal play much better football but are vulnerable.


  29. He has a lot of pashun does Jamie Vardy


  30. 48 minutes gone, seven yellows and one red – Pawson is on fire – it could be a WORLD record


  31. i listened to radio commentary on the stoke v leicester game today and mark lawrenson was the “expert” pundit, and he kept going on about how the Vardy red card barely warranted even a yellow, you know cos “he got the ball”, and despite him also adding that he got the ball a good foot or two away from the stoke player, he was adamant that no foul committed,(it was vardy’s momentum that seen him make contact with the stoke player) and throughout the game he compared challenge after challenge and each booking in the game(and there was loads of them, something like 9, the commentator agreed with him, so I was wondering just how bad a call this was from Pawson, ML reminded us over and over too, that this was the ref that let Rojo away with a nasty one midweek,
    so imagine my surprise when I finally got to see the Vardy lung (have I given it away by referring to it as a lung), and its as clear a red as you will see any day of the week, If diouf had not got his feet off the ground then I think we could be talking about a serious injury for the lad, of course we would also be talking about how Vardy is “not that sort of player”.

    it never ceases to amaze me that these pundits hired to give “expert” views of the game, keep getting hired over and over, despite like ML today, clearly showing that they don’t have a clue about the actual rules of the game. Now this is going to be controversial but isn’t it time that until these ex players actually learn the rules of the game, that they get replaced by former refs, or at least have a ref available to put them straight about the rules. We have seen this season BBC MOTD and 606, SKY and BT, all get the rules massively wrong when discussing incidents in games, and for years they all have been getting the “but he got the ball so no foul”, thing completely wrong. Just as a player does not actually have to make contact to commit a foul, even a red card foul.


  32. Nailed on red for Vardy – ridiculously stupid dangerous pointless foul – dropped his team mates right in the shite. Great effort from the ten men to get a point.

    Ranieri must wonder whether he would not have done better to get rid of the half wit in the Summer

    Liked by 3 people

  33. Seems some of the WOB have forgotten what Wenger and his team did to their beloved Chelsea not so long ago

    Liked by 2 people

  34. ha ha ha, some of the black scarfists and aftv idiots have fallen out on twitter, the wob can’t even get along with each other, no wonder they keep asking for a truce when we are on a good run.


  35. some of the arsenal stories in the sunday papers

    Alexis and Ozil to both be offered £200k a week contracts by Arsenal – £10.4M a year each, if that is not enough then little more Arsenal can do.

    Holding and Jenkinson to go on loan to Championship clubs in January – Mertesacker and Debuchy both expected to be back fit by then, and both Noddy and Jenks need games if they are to progress


  36. the tale of two of last season’s league winners – PSG and Leicester City

    last season PSG lost 2 league games and LCFC lost 3

    less than half way through this season and PSG have lost 4 and LCFC have lost 8


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