Arsenal Versus City: The Needle And The Damage Done


Feel like a bear this morning. Like a big fat hairy bear waking up from a pleasant, dreamless few months at the back of a cosy cave. Hope your break from all things football was equally refreshing and that you found plenty of diverting, and above all interesting ways to spend the languid, lazy, stress free days.

Well you can forget all that because it’s time to take the belt into your teeth, tighten it around your arm and push the needle in. Yep, we’re back on the smack as of four pm this afternoon. Pretending it makes us happy while we sink ever further into the misery of addiction, delusion, repetition and despair.

Of course we experience the occasional high, all junkies do, it keeps us coming back for more. The underlying hope is to rediscover the joy we experienced when we did it for the first time. Today might well be one of those days. Might not be but it won’t make any difference to you and I because we’re pathetically addicted to keep coming back for more regardless of the result, performance or fall out.

Neither of today’s teams has enjoyed a particularly consistent season, both will be hoping a convincing win over a rival will divert the criticism for a week. Who is in the better form? I suppose it’s City based on results and anything but the most partisan view of our recent performances. Taken over the last ten matches there is, in fact, barely anything between the two sides, a mere two points in fact. However when we look at the Premier League form table over the most recent six matches the picture is horribly different.

Spurs are at the top with City second and Arsenal so far down I got a crick in my neck looking for us. So if current form is a guide we will probably lose today. Of course football is a game of numbers but they are only relevant after the event. The stats can’t be used to predict anything because there are way too many variables in a game with twenty two fallible human beings and three officials any one of whom can influence the result with a moment of madness or a flash of brilliance.

Those of you in your first ever season watching the game and supporting Arsenal may find the team’s current plight too much to bear. The rest of us, having been around the block a few times, have seen more ups and downs than a bi-polar lift attendant and can breezily take a few defeats in our stride. We know that a seemingly devastated side, shorn of confidence and steering wildly towards a rocky shore, can suddenly right itself and win in a most unexpectedly comfortable fashion.

Look at Liverpool. In January they couldn’t win a game and everyone was making jokes at Herr Klopp’s expense. Now, a few weeks later, they are world beaters, set to cement their top four place and take Europe by storm next season. It’s this fickle, feckless fly by night attitude, so prevalent among football fans, which puts me off the whole thing.

The sport can be a complex blend of tactics, egos, form and confidence. It can bewilder and confuse, thrill and frustrate in equal or unequal measures. However this is only for the manager and players. When, like us, all you have to do is watch the game, it is actually very simple.

You only really have two things to do – celebrate if your team wins, get over it if they lose. Oh, and you could try to enjoy as much of the stuff that takes place on the pitch before either result comes about. Everything else, the arguments, the opinions, the discussions, is just froth. Ephemeral, chimerical codswallop which, if you let it, will strangle any joy you might once have taken from watching a match.

Before you point it out to me, can I say I do get the irony of using the platform of a football blog to rail against the peripheral flim-flam gushing from opinionated amateur windbags like me. I get it and I still do it. Like I said, tighten the belt until the vein bulges and sink the needle in. I don’t have a problem. Honest. I can quit football any time I like.

About steww

bass guitar, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

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84 comments on “Arsenal Versus City: The Needle And The Damage Done

  1. FT: 2-2

    poor first half, a better second half, done well to come back twice, but team not flowing, passing off that bit, too many moves breaking down needlessly, defending often all over the place, confidence is low, badly need a few wins

    a result that will only add to Ivan Gazidis ‘s “a catalyst for change”, whatever that change will be, only time will tell.


  2. God that was a bit tense

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Interesting how people can feel different things about the same thing anicoll. I actually really enjoyed that. It was a good football match and despite all the pundits telling me that ManCity were much the better side, I didn’t think so. I thought it was a fair result overall.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. What did Gazidis say?


  5. Shard, I think their reactions do hint at who they may have had a wager on and missed out on the pay out. I do think that the betting habits of the in Studio Muppetry should be investigated as it probably colours their judgement.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. markyb

    That’s quite a good suggestion actually. It does amaze me that the fact that Sky, despite being a broadcaster also runs a betting service, doesn’t set off any alarm bells. It seems to me as a clear conflict of interest. But then I am naive and assume a broadcaster has a responsibility to be neutral.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I first heard of it from the match commentators, but so far, the only news about Gazidis I can find is in the Mirror, which contains a whole lot of speculation and narrating a backdrop to two quotes from Gazidis. “catalyst for change” and “disappointing”

    So I still don’t know what he said.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. More important that we didn’t lose today. I thought we matched City both halves and but for our game being slightly off, we could have won easily.
    Our passing and combination play was always off, passes and movements off by milliseconds. A bit of fine tuning and we could see a return of the flowing Arsenal.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. A profound piece master Steww…

    I have discovered something close to peace and serenity by avoiding football news this last fortnight. I have unfollowed some well known WOBs, no longer view Arsenal fan TV and concentrated on other things. It’s been good.

    Maybe I should take stock. Is it the team that makes me anxious? No, I just want a just reward for Arséne so that he can sign off in glory. It’s my sense of justice and fairness in all things including football. But then again I’m famously naive…..

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Glad we didn’t lose… first step to stopping the series of loss…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yeah it was certainly hard to watch the football match between two of the best football managers with two attacking teams amidst the mountains of bullshit exploding out of the orifices (sorry Andrew) of so many experts and plundits, but I found a happy medium: the mute button and a concurrent kickabout with the under sevens XI, that’s one successful method for avoiding the memes.

    It looked like both teams were tense at times in that second half, city in the better form of late and that shows more obviously in the football then other sports but we saw that this Gunners team can fight earlier on in the season and fight they did.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I haven’t seen the game, so I can’t say much except thank god we didn’t lose. That was the only requirement today, IMO. We often right the ship in this way. First, don’t lose. Winning comes next. It’s actually one of my favorite things about this game that there’s a third option.

    I know I’m a broken record, but was there word on Aaron after the game? Or Ox? I did notice they were both missing from training pics yesterday, but since it wasn’t mentioned in the press conference, I assumed it was no big deal. Could have been strategy on AW’s part not to mention it, I suppose. No need to tip your hand if you don’t have to. Maybe holding them out for Wednesday?

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Wenger – That will help us restart

    One-nil down and two-one down, but strong responses on both occasions.

    We weren’t at our free-flowing best against Manchester City but the tenacity and character shown to get back into the game – twice – bodes well.

    Here’s what Arsène Wenger thought of Sunday’s game:

    on Koscielny, Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injuries…

    I don’t know how long Koscielny will be out for. He came off at half-time with an Achilles problem. How long will that last? I don’t know. Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain have a chance of being available on Wednesday.

    on whether he thinks the mood will be better on Wednesday…
    I must say, despite all what happens on the fans front, I felt out fans were fantastic today. In very difficult moments in the game I felt that our fans – at 1-0 down, at 2-1 down – could have turned against us. I think they were absolutely sensational and helped the team to get through those difficult moments.

    on incidents involving fans inside and outside the ground…
    I’m not aware of what happened outside. I think what is important in football is what happens inside the pitch and inside the stadium. I feel the fans were absolutely outstanding today.

    on how he can improve Alexis’ body language…
    I felt that he gave everything today. He came back from South America, I did not see any negative body language. It’s the way he is.

    on the result…
    Overall, we started with quite a high level of anxiety. We were punished straight away, so it was a mental test. You could see that the team were touched on the confidence front and that the fluency in our game suffered. We have shown great mental resources because we went a goal down twice and one time it was at the worst moment in a game, just before half-time. On top of that, we lost Koscielny at half-time. In the second half we came back to 2-2, so it will help us to rebuild confidence because we have certainly shown some mental strength. That will help us to come back to our natural fluency. Mathematically, for both teams it’s not the best operation, not for City, not for us. We can think about mathematics when the confidence is there again, but hopefully that will help us restart now.

    on whether we have to win our last 10 games to finish in the top four…
    I don’t know. If you look at yesterday’s results, it’s very difficult to predict what will happen in the last 10 games. What we want is to come back to win our games. How many do we need to win to finish in the top four? I don’t know.

    on whether he was feeling anxious as well…
    I care about my team. When you have the experience I have, you have a good measure of the level of the anxiety in the team. We were under pressure. It’s difficult because you are more mentally tested than anything else, and I think we coped with that in a united and strong way.

    on whether Manchester City should have had a penalty…
    Honestly, I don’t know. I haven’t seen a handball. Their bench complained, but was it handball or not? I don’t know.

    on whether multiple games in a short space of time is a good thing…
    Yes, we need now to prepare well and focus on Wednesday. We are professional and at our level you want to perform in the next game. Hopefully a point today, I am confident that will help us to rebuild confidence.

    on whether it can help to build momentum…
    It depends, we cannot lose many more players now.

    Copyright 2017 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/20170402/wenger-that-will-help-us-restart#UT2kb5MfQJMrOZlF.99


  14. Bama both players have had midwinter hamstring strains and both played for their international teams last week and travelled, and with the midweek derby game coming up I hope that this one is straightforward

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Squawka Football‏Verified account @Squawka 4h4 hours ago

    Mesut Özil has registered 38 Premier League assists since joining Arsenal; more than any other player in that time. 👀

    but but but his body language, what about his body language, that is the important thing, not his stats.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I wonder how much of the content out there following this football match will actually be about the football?

    For those who find such things of interest Young Pep has now come to N5 with three moneyed up clubs and squads yet AWs home record against the Barca kid is still pretty damn good. One can understand why the sports broadcasters would want to avoid any substantial discussion on the boring stuff such as the football…

    On reflection if you want to discuss the Football then this is one haven where you can do so.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Szczesny leading the serie a golden glove race, with 13 clean sheets, with several rivals back on 10 clean sheets.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. afcstuff‏ @afcstuff 2h2 hours ago

    Arsenal’s next 6 fixtures:

    West Ham H
    Crystal Palace A
    Middlesbrough A
    Man City N
    Leicester H
    Spurs A


  19. ha ha ha, the wenger out mob looking got donations to “pay off their creditors”


  20. I’m ok with a draw. Difficult times at minute and I’m relieved not to lose.

    Fitting Mustafi got the equaliser, as I thought he was impressive and our best player today.

    Leaves us close to last chance saloon for 4th spot, but at minute I just want to see us get some form and confidence back and do the business in the cup semi.

    I bang on about them enough, so today I’ve got to say I thought ref was fine.

    Cheers Deschamps for playing Kos- who you know everything about already, gives absolutely everything when he plays, and who has an existing achilles complaint which flares up if he plays too much- in that friendly! Nice one.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I thought Ozil was very good today, but he took the place of the absent Ramsey with the boo boys


  22. Not seen any transcripts , but it seems from Ivan’s meeting today that the club are involved in a lot of planning for the future…..new structures, upgraded sports science, and I would imagine succession planning, either for this summer, or maybe in a few years time. Sounds like good news, there are always things that can be improved.
    If reports correct, also hinting at big changes this summer, personally, I hope with the manager in place.
    Of course he could be telling a bunch of porkies, a much better narrative for some that everyone at the club sits around doing nothing, keeping everything the same …until Wenger allows them to change something, but I suspect this assumption is a long way from reality.


  23. well mandy a few journos are, after Ivan’s meeting today, claiming that Arsenal are delaying the announcement of a new contract for Wenger till they have put in place the agreements with a Director of Football, and addition(s) to the coaching staff, and maybe even additions to the scouting team and a new head of the Academy. In other words they want to announce all the off field changes at the same time so at to show real changes in approach.


  24. Interesting Ed…..if true, wonder what the man would really think of such changes, he is very loyal to backroom staff,and is…reportedly….not to big on DOFs..but I suppose if it can be sold to him as being in the interests of the clubs future, after all, the guy clearly loves the club. That’s if anything needs selling to him of course.
    Might all be PR spin of course…..but it seems like something is getting held up somewhere, and as the great Bob Wilson has suggested, it may not be helping the club and a team that still has things to fight for.
    Whatever is going on behind the scenes, sense a good win against West Ham coming up


  25. “poor first half, a better second half, done well to come back twice, but team not flowing, passing off that bit, too many moves breaking down needlessly, defending often all over the place, confidence is low, badly need a few wins”

    Interesting. We clearly watched different matches. I saw the game in the stadium without the benefit of some agenda driven negative nelly trying to tell me what I saw. What I saw was a team low on confidence trying to feel their way into the game up against quality opposition. First goal was a direct result of Mustafi trying an interception far up the pitch that left him out of position, which led to a well taken goal by Sane. Thankfully his karma allowed him to score the second equalizer to make up for his earlier mistake. I thought the draw was a fair result and it was a good game of football overall. I see as usual if your name is Xhaka you get a yellow card for your first foul, but if your name is Stones, you don’t even get a talking too.

    I enjoyed the match, the crowd were good and stuck with the team even through the difficult moments. Alexis is an interesting puzzle – give the ball away and then chase back and the crowd love you, but don’t give the ball away and not give the appearance of hard work and you get criticized? No wonder these idiots want Wenger out, they lack the brain capacity to actually analyse what is going on right in front of their noses. When Alexis shooting on site, missing by a mile and ceding possession is considered a good idea compared to others not going for a low percentage chance with the hope of recycling the ball to create a better angle of attack is not? PL football fans are being short-changed in relation to what passes for good football or analysis. What passes for football on Wansted Flats on a Sunday is not what these multi-millionaire players are paid to produce – get over it.

    Liked by 4 people

  26. And if Perry groves interview with the sage of Dublin is in anyway correct, there may be a very interesting addition to the coaching staff…..but I know said sage is not too popular on here!
    Watching the game again on MOTD…..they are slagged off for being disorganised, ill disciplined…….but I wonder if there is a bit of a mix of low confidence, fear of soft refs cards with some, and just trying to hard?


  27. 101 Great Goals‏ @101greatgoals 8h8 hours ago

    When the ref sees Xhaka and Coquelin in the same midfield

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Alexis….indeed a conundrum. Can be brilliant, can also be frustrating and selfish. Judged differently than others. But, for the most part, I have immensly enjoyed his contributions in the shirt and hope he stays. If he does not, life goes on, we may lose something with him should he go, but gain something else with another, even lesser player.
    He looks a lot better when the team do well…..but most do.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. I thought patches of our play wrer decent.
    some players do have problems, Xhaka’s concentration level is a worry.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I’m in Nashville, so haven’t seen the game but it sounds like a good game and the side are feeling their way back to form.
    Also sounds like the crap surrounding football is all the same, refs still irrattic, media still extremist and the wons still living under the same old black cloud.
    Good to see their is plenty of support for the team in a major game as opposed to those who just like to moan and grown.


  31. So the shoots of the resistance are starting to sprout, the star talking heads of AFTV were attacked and inconvinenced outside the stadium . I thought they were in their rights to voice the opinion they have,but this has only allowed the majority of them to feel entitled with the belief that is the mindset that prevails.
    Well that was shown to be a massive NO.The TV tough guys in the Wenger outs were met by a few people who are not scared by angry rhetoric and bluster.
    I suspect their will be the need for security guards outside the stadium.
    It’s all about the money


  32. New post up


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