Arsenal : the Art of Execution

eu-vote-bullfightingGood morning Positives,

And a fine morning again in Norfolk, and a Bank holiday to boot – a rare combination.

A top game yesterday that had me on the edge of the technical area until the 94th minute. A commendable performance from our lads, one and all. No hint of any panic or fright as we played smooth, patient football all afternoon, always on the front foot, passing, passing, passing and gradually driving the Baggies back. I heard/read some frustration that we were “passing too much” and had “too much possession”. I am afraid that to finally crack open the visiting side yesterday that the game we played was required, totally dominant in possession, pass after pass after pass, before finally putting them to the sword. The bullfighting metaphor struck me as apt. Mesut the torero with the cape and hook, Olivier with the sword as matador, the panting beast stumbled to its knees before its lights, finally, went out.

As I say I was pleased with all our players yesterday. Because WBA were not remotely interested in attacking from open play the pitch was open for our unrestricted use. All three of our full backs had excellent games. Hector put in his most attacking performance that I can remember, very effective and deserving of a goal. Gibbs was excellent and his constant pressing on the wing worked well with Sanchez, and Monreal stepped in to keep the pressure on the by then wilting visitors.

Further forward the Coq and Granit combination worked well against the Albion midfield. Both players have bags of energy and are fast over the ground which is about 90% of midfield work in the PL nowadays. Win the ball, then pass it swiftly to the players who don’t waste it. Granit – the shooting from 25 yards son – leave it for now eh?

And finally the men at the tip of the spear, Alexis and Larry, both of whom carved chances out against Albion that on another day, and with a keeper less awake than Ben Foster, would have brought a 2 or 3 goal margin of victory rather than the single goal win.

Against us was arrayed a visiting side who played their part exceptionally well also, resolute defenders to the death, throwing their bodies and heads in until finally they were skewered. Pulis did what he does best, scrape a gang of modestly talented journeymen into a defensive wall of greater quality than its constituent parts. Tony knows when he is beaten at his own game though. To quote the defeated manager on our winner;

“He put his hand across him early and outmuscled him,” said the West Brom manager, Tony Pulis, almost in admiration. “I think if Gareth takes a step forward, then he stops Giroud pinning him. Once he pinned him he is so strong and overpowers him. I’ve got no complaints.”

A defeated manager with “no complaints” Pffft –As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods. They kill us for their sport.

Of other aspects of the game ? Bad luck for young Kieran to go off after a clash in which both players could have been seriously injured. Hopefully for our full back he just has a badly bruised knee and will be fit for Palace. No gripes with referee Swarbrick yesterday. Not one of my favourite whistlers but a workmanlike performance with no errors I saw. One minor negative; Giroud needs to control the ‘dissent’ business. A pointless yellow card that early and you are one clumsy challenge or stray arm away from reducing us to ten men. And that would have ruined everyone’s afternoon!

That is me for this year – thank you for reading !


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91 comments on “Arsenal : the Art of Execution

  1. Top notch opening from our “closest” rivals as the media, with a stronger grasp of geography than sport, describe them.,


  2. TikiTakaConnor ‏@TikiTakaConnor 8m8 minutes ago
    Fraser Forster against Arsenal = Prime Gordon Banks.

    Fraser Forster against anyone else = Prime Almunia.


  3. Tad Swar ‏@tadswar 17m17 minutes ago
    Mike Dean’s third Spurs game of the season tonight. He’s issued a red card to the opposition in all 3 games and penalties in 2 of the games.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mike Dean always did have a fondness for Spurs…..remember the Bale dives against us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lucky, lucky Tottingham

    Liked by 1 person

  6. anyone see the big managerial rumors today, Juve boss Allegri wants to be our next manager, it would mean all the WOB becoming AKB’s

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Finally, this weekend, at least one or two ….supposed….rivals has to drop points……has seemed a long time

    Liked by 1 person

  8. TikiTakaConnor ‏@TikiTakaConnor 33m33 minutes ago
    “Thanks for the help once again.”


  9. WozTheGooner ‏@wozthegooner 13m13 minutes ago
    Mike Deans last 7 Spurs games.

    6 Wins
    1 draw
    0 losses

    5 penalties awarded for Spurs
    3 red cards given to opposition

    In Top Form

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Amazing Ed, but as its Spurs, won’t hear any media outrage or even questioning

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Celtic gone 16pts clear at top of scottish league, with a game in hand, unbeaten so far in 19 games, in fact 18 wins, now Brendan Rodgers, that is what the WOB would call a modern manager.


  12. Allegri…..interesting, guess the club would be nothing short of irresponsible if they weren’t at least sounding out candidates at this stage. But, just get the very strong feeling this squad are about to take an evolutionary jump in the second half of the season, as players come back from injury, and others gain more experience in how this team operates. I am hoping this will give Wenger a solid platform to stay…..assuming this is what he wishes of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. poor old Nasri…..good player, but does seem to attract trouble. Wonder how widespread these “drip doctors” are?


  14. The darling media seem to think Arsenal will sell Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain to Liverpool for a paltry £25m.
    Oh dear oh dear oh dear, they seem to forget which is the poverty club nowadays.


  15. Wonder if the media will highlight Verthongen deliberately catching a Soton player in the face in his own pen area last night?


  16. Someone needs to do a bit of deep analysis as to why every no mark team in the PL turn into Spartan warriors every time they meet Arsenal in a fixture, rather than the bunch of Thespian flower arrangers they provide as opposition to our rivals.
    May I suggest it is because they feel they have a better than average chance as the underdog, given the leeway PGMOL will provide for them against us.

    Liked by 5 people

  17. I am sure that is a very valid point DC. Teams are allowed to get away with a lot against our players, certainly in the first half of most games, and they know it. They also know excessive time wasting will be punished, at most, by a yellow in the 80th plus minute.
    And when you look at our penalties conceded this year, including, from what I can remember, an extremely rare three in a row at home games, opposing teams know diving can be profitable….well Spurs know that anyway…as can putting the ball in the net from offside positions.
    I believe other clubs would make more fuss, have never been sure why we don’t, I suspect it is a combination of a born romantic, optimistic manager, who may have been silenced to a degree from above, yet sees what we do and believes he can overcome……and an owner/execs who probably know more than we do, and seem extremely wary of rocking the boat.
    Myself and others have speculated as to whether this will stop when Wenger leaves, the general consensus, is that it may not, which is a worrying state of affairs in the likely event we end up with a man who at least starts as a lesser manager than Wenger.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Double Canister

    Think there are two reasons for it:

    (1)Teams surely build themselves up to be extra aggressive before playing us. Any smart manager knows why. Any dumb one could just take their cues from the tabloids.

    (2) The ref on the day exerts a horribly high level of control over what type of game it will be. If they are strict with smaller pushes and fouls, it makes it difficult for one or both teams to get momentum and discourages greater aggression.

    Clattenberg was masterful the other week in letting Everton build up their full head of steam. Contrast that with the last 10-15 minutes at City. Admittedly, we were struggling badly, but it was a killer for our chances of a late surge that they could buy cheap free kicks at will. Get between us and the ball, fall at any contact, free kick.

    I remember how badly shaken and despondent Villa’s players looked when they got a deserved early booking at their place a couple of years back. While they were wondering what to do without a lenient ref against us, we played some lovely slick football and scored a couple.

    Ironically, even on that day we ended up with a broken nose for an unpunished elbow, but it was nice, and instructive, while it lasted.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi Guys,

    Interesting Post, and some well thought thru comments, si this might seem a bit lightweight – still never mind.

    It is inarguable that other managers have no compunction in announcing both before and after a game that they wanted to ‘be in the faces of the Arsenal players’ and that in itself is provocative if not to say downright confrontational. Sadly it is often far more successful than one would like, as an Arsenal fan, to be successful, and as many have said above, the referees seem to take a laissez-faire attitude to it.

    So my question is — why has Arsene switched away from the mighty physical specimens of the Invincible years and bought equally skilful but physically much smaller players since that era?
    How often have we read in the memoirs of other club’s players in retirement, that they were intimidated, in the tunnel before the game, by the sheer size of our team in the late 90s and the early 21st Century while in the current eras the opposite seems to be the case?

    I do not know the answer to that – and if the refs did their jobs, I would not care – but they do not do their jobs properly – and as a result I do care – and think we should match the others physically when new players are recruited in the future.

    Lightweight – yes – because it seems such an obvious solution – but that is why I would never make a manager. [lol]

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Yes it is puzzling DC – repeatedly since mid October we have played sides who have been in the direst of form. Boro had not picked up a point for 6-7 games yet made off with a point from the Ems, Saints were a shambles but dumped us out of the LC, then Everton decided to end their eight game winless streak much to our discomfort, and finally coughed up the points to the under-pressure Pep after a 2nd half that will go down in the annals of Arsenal folklore.

    I suspect the opposition reckon we are a bit soft, a bit “show pony”, and decide to knock us off our perch. I think that was Arsene’s view after the Goodison disappointment, something about “aggression” I think he said.

    Either than or it is a conspiracy among referees obviously.

    If it is a conspiracy among referees though why did we get the last minute handball goal at Burnley, or the last minute penalty at home in the PL to Saints, or why did Clattenburg ignore the blatant Leicester penalty at the King Power ? And what about PSG – what is all that “Arsenal finishing top of their CL group” about – what cunning scheme have they in mind here?

    This conspiracy is all very, very, very sinister. Very difficult to read. Luckily we have a manager who is more than capable of understanding the puzzle, as he always does.


  21. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Italian_football_scandal

    Fortunately this kind of thing could never happen in Blighty as we’re just a higher grade of civilisation then the degenerate Italians?


  22. And their degenerate “conspiracies”.

    We’ve got no time for conspiracies in the hardest working most popular league in the world. Italian Footy never held that lofty status…


  23. …not forgetting what happened in the cricket which involved the English Cricket Board, and their officials but not the good ones that everyone liked! Crikey.

    Almost as if a binary argument against criticism of the current state of the pgMOB makes no sense at all. And is not worth the effort!


  24. That is the point though Fins, and the point that drives Italian fans into paroxysms of writhing pain and doubt – “why do they let us win sometimes – and why do those orchestrating the conspiracy, the Juves, the Inters and the Milans, sometimes fail badly” ? How warped are the minds controlling the labyrinth – Is it even human ?

    “Cospirazione” lovely word.


  25. The FA will take no retrospective action against Verthongen despite him raising his hand into the face of an opponent, in his area…..Spurs get away with it , again.
    Always near the top of the table for committing fouls u dear Poch, yet Santi Cazorla has more red cards given out on the field of play than the entire Spurs first team covering this season and last.
    There are times when our players maybe could show a bit more aggression, as some of Wengers former players did, but just cannot see the likes of Coq or Xhaka getting away with fouls that the likes of Wanyama, Dier, Rose, Walker, Alli,Sissoko get away with . Coq is regularly carded on his first or second challenge, Kos can be harshly dealt with as well. We all apsaw what happened to Xhaka earlier in the season. This maybe why Wenger goes away from an aggressive approach, as he wants to keep the majority of the team on the pitch

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Hmm – a bit dinosaur though it might be on my part I would not mind Le Coq or Xhaka burying their boot in Hazard’s bollocks and lifting the little blue runt into row four of the lower tier thereafter – give him, and the referee, something real to complain about instead of his usual dishonest squealing.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Play up, play up and play the game!

    WBA, according to whoscored, NO red cards.

    The Arsenal, on the other hand, are a dirty lot of aggressive and ill-disciplined scoundrels?

    That Wenger chappie, is worse than Sam Allardyce!

    Stats cannot lie, can they?



    We’ve got mixed news on the fitness front ahead of our first game of 2017.

    Arsène Wenger welcomes at least one player back to the squad for the visit of Crystal Palace – but there is one new absentee.
    Watch our best goals against the Eagles
    Scouting Report: Arsenal v Crystal Palace
    Make sure you listen LIVE on New Year’s Day

    Here’s the very latest from the training ground:

    on the Ox, Gibbs, Walcott and Welbeck…
    Alex looks like he could join in normal training on Saturday. From the last game, I think we lose Kieran Gibbs. It’s not big damage to his knee but he has inflammation and I don’t think he will be available. Danny Welbeck is doing well in training, so we have plenty of options. Theo Walcott will still be short.

    on Mustafi…
    Shkodran is back in normal training and he will be back in the squad.

    on Gibbs’ scan…
    On Wednesday he had a scan, but it just showed inflammation. Hopefully it’s a short-term injury.

    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/20161229/team-news-who-s-back-to-face-palace-#OPEy3KbjkX47uGuy.99


  29. I see Debuchy had a bit of a whinge about life at Arsenal


  30. I saw that too Eduardo. I don’t know what he’s got to whinge about. He has spent most of his time with us injured. He was allowed to go to Bordeaux for a chance to get into the France WC squad, yet he does not seem to understand why the club would not be in a hurry to strengthen a direct rival as soon as he finally opens one of those rare fitness windows?

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Orbinho@Orbinho
    Arsenal have seen more opposition goalkeepers booked for time wasting in the last four seasons than any other PL team (6)


  32. Think Debuchy is certainly entitled to whinge about how opponents invariably choose to play against Arsenal…..which certainly hasn’t done him any favours, but not the club itself

    Liked by 1 person

  33. you really have to love the ignorance and stupidity of a certain section of the arsenal fan base, Arsenal.com ran this charity appeal


    and you should see the replies to it on the official Arsenal twitter feed, the wob’s and malcontents are certainly nothing more than a shower of cunts.


  34. Some very angry people out there Ed, the WOB are part of a wider problem and psychological state…..media induced in some cases….. is it wrong to say they deserve the misery they clearly inflict on their own lives?…..because that’s pretty much what I believe

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I see Ronaldo’s agent claim Real Madrid have turned down a €300M from a Chinese club, they also offered Ronaldo wages of €100M a year.

    In the same day that an over the hill Tevez just became the highest paid player in the world, we might very well be on the cusp of seeing the downfall of the BPL and other European leagues.
    If it ends up that China do actually have the money to go with the will, then we could see an exodus of all the better players, it will be Italy of the early 80’s and Rangers of the late 80’s early 90’s and the BPL explosion all rolled into one, and then some.
    We could be left with a league with all the top players gone to china, and the top managers too. I think the big question is, will the oil owners go too. I see my Arsenal on the way back, Terry Mancini, David Price, John Devine, John Hawley et al.


  36. Not just the players the Chinese are after, reports suggesting they want Clattenberg to referee in their league.
    Can think of a few in the PGMOL I would recommend they recruit…….starting with Mr Riley


    Liked by 2 people

  37. well Mandy, as I said, if they have the money and the will, and they get it right, China can dominate the football landscape, they have a massive potential audience within thier own country alone, then add in the rest of the Asian market, and if they get in the very best players, the south american and african markets could follow.
    What will be the incentive for SKY and co, to bankroll the English game, to rival them, could they even come close to competing at the talked about China levels.

    it all boils down to the big question, do China have the money to make a real go at trying a football takeover.


  38. also Mandy, on the Clattenburg rumors, China are with this, already showing more foresight than the BPL ever have, bringing in overseas refs has long been needed in England, but has never been properly considered, let alone tried. I do wonder why.


  39. Wouldn’t it just be cheaper, and a lot less bother, for the Chinese to buy the broadcasters? In a gold rush be the man who sells the shovels rather than the bloke digging the hole.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. New post up


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