46 Comments

Arsenal: Saturday Night Fever

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Good morning Positive Gooners,

What a phenomenal game of football ! 95 minutes of unrelenting battle, waged by 22, and later 21, warriors, the classic ‘end-to-end battle. Talking points – pivotal moments? There were at least dozen. The stadium absolutely rocking. What more could any fan want ?

Well…. I know , I know what we wanted. After all that effort, after dominating three quarters of possession, 33 shots, 14 (fourteen corners!) and drawing as good a goal-keeping display out of David De Gea as I have seen, we wanted a tangible reward. Three points, one point, half a bloody point would have done. But no. The goddess that is in charge of football smote us down.

Of the game itself I would guess that most of you reading this saw far more of the detail of the incidents than I did in the upper tier. We knew what to expect. Jose would defend in depth and hope to nick a breakaway. And we were absolutely correct.

The first two goals or the visitors looked to be individual errors from first Kosc and then Shkodran, inexplicable that early in the game when we knew that the United tactic would be. To make one error is careless, to make two very similar errors indicates a collective lack of concentration. I have no idea if the German was injured before his tussle with Lingard or after. His crest was definitely fallen. Fair play to the visitors. They took both chances faultlessly.

Nevertheless with just 11 minutes gone there was not the slightest doubt in my mind, nor I think anyone around me, that we would recover. The roar went up. We have far too many good players, as well as at least one world class player, to allow 80 minutes to pass without tearing at the Mancs with our sharp claws and monstrous jaws.

And so it transpired. We absolutely battered them. Time and time again, wave after wave, short sharp passing around the edge of he box and into the area, blocked shots, crosses whipped in, shots tricking juuuuuuust wide, even Lukaku had a go at beating De Gea (his only notable contribution all afternoon). Much as I Loathe Jose, and there is much to loathe, he set up his side to defend and by Gawd did they did that job well. Massed ranks of men in black shirts, always a boot in the way, or a head, and if all that failed there was still the man in shy blue/green to keep us out.

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How we went in at half time at 0-2 I shall never, ever know. There was however still no doubt hat tis game was not just the to recover and draw, but to win.

And then the breakthrough !!! What seemed to be a failed offside trap let us in – how bloody ironic that the Mancs let themselves down by trying to be too clever. 40+ minutes to go – we flooded forward – the result was surely in our hands now.

As so it proved – a sequence of small individual errors that started with losing possession, failing to intercept or put in a solid challenge, failing to pick up the single United attacker, led to Lingard tapping in a deadly third. Talk about popping our balloon. Mayhem broke out around me as the man in the row in front was hit with a coin thrown from a few rows back, just missed his eye but still a nasty cut. The perpetrator was hauled out by stewards with the victim in hot pursuit (I hope the idiot is banned for life).

After that we pressed again, we pushed, we flung on Danny and then Oli, but I don’t think we looked as likely to score as we had with just Laca as the tip of the spear. As we threw on attackers, Jose threw on defenders. Who would have guessed? The quality of our attacking in the last 20 minutes was just not as sharp as it had been.

Even the dismissal of Pogba, another idiot who deserves a lengthier ban than he will get, did not quite produce the midfield dividend that I hoped for. And errr yes Paul – it was a red card.

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How the 4th official came up with 5 minutes additional time I have no idea. Even had he put up the 10-12 I was expecting I don’t it would have been enough. We did not give up physically, mentally I think we ‘knew’ though.

A game that will stick long in the memory, and that is what good football is about.

So Bate Borisov next, and St Mary’s to follow. Enjoy your Sunday.

About anicoll5

Arsenal supporter, 59, Dad, harmless and humourless, political militant moderate, school governor and worker bee

46 comments on “Arsenal: Saturday Night Fever

  1. Some fantastic play, certainly a game for the neutral, but those errors are frustrating, I really wish we could at least reduce them, especially this season against North west Giants. We have been keeping clean sheets lately, but I guess that ultimately, we are not a team primarily focussed on defence, I do not think that will change under Wenger either, but there are days when this approach costs, and yesterday was one of them. And, unfortunately, the likes of Jose and his tactics are well placed to take advantage of our errors at the back
    Still, on the plus side, some of our play was impressive to say the least, our MF and attacking play was sublime, only to be thwarted by that visiting keeper thing we seem to have going on. On another day, could have been four or five. Great to see Ramsey doing so well
    The overall way we are playing, just cannot help but look forward to the next game
    Hope Mustaphi, and Bellerin, a player on the end of more than his share of vicious fouls, are ok. Pogba should be getting more than three games with what he did , and his reaction afterwards, but we all know how things work.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Possibly your best ever report Andy. What a hell of a pity it was for a loss. To have our two ‘Mr Reliables’ make such grevious errors really hurt but what a response from the lads. On the day, simply no justice.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Excellent Andy and considering you didn’t get home untill this morning this was an even better effort. It was great to see you, DC and Steve before the game yesterday even if I did get covered by the mysterious sliding pint of guiness.
    What a game, what a game, everything happened and yet it was that first 10 minutes of errors that shaped the game and perversly even the breakaway third goal.
    We may have learnt that getting rid of the ball early counts, not playing the ball accross the whole pitch counts and even when our back three have the ball other players need to show for them to give them options after all its the midfielders who should take responsability for holding the ball and distribution.
    After watching the highlights again Laca should have had a pen in the first half when he just failed to get on the end on the ball in front of De Gea and he was pulled back round his neck by rojo i think. Welbeck first shout was a blatent pen and they didnt even show the second pen shout.
    its also strange how we all agree manure defended well throwing bodies left right and centre, yet the stats show 33 shots on goal and their keeper saving a record amount of saves. The outfield players must of been shit surely.
    All in all to play that well against a side second in the league and who have spent nearly half a billion constructing their squad means we have something special in this side, Improving the product slightly better at both ends will see us unbeatable.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Good one Andrew.

    What happened in those opening 10 minutes was not down to any tactical set-up, or the lack thereof. That was solely on the 2 defenders who were just being too sloppy and too unaware.

    The 80 minutes thereafter was Arsenal as good as we want them to be, but it was never going to be easy against a team of Manutd’s quality. De Gea was simply too good and Marriner blatantly ignoring the rules of the game certainly didn’t help either.

    We play like we did in the last 80 minutes on any other day, and we will get joy.

    Probably good that the sloppiness happened against a top 4 team and not any of those whom we simply can’t afford to drop any points to. May we use that as a wake-up call to keep our shit together at the back.

    Roll on December. Might have lost yesterday but there were enough for me to be positive about us going on a good run till at least the new year.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. There is nothing left to say. We all saw what happened. My hope is that the players won’t be hit too hard by this loss, as it was our most dominant attacking display (against any team) for a long long time, the 3-0 vs. ManU and Chealsea in the last few years included. Even with the two early blunders, I was sure we would at least draw the game.

    But then we gave away the third, and boy, was it a cheap one. I hope I do not sound too entitled when I say I felt absolutely let down by Koscielny. Easily my favorite ever defender, but his defending for the third goal was nigh on inexplicable. And I know that him being the most experienced player on the pitch, there won’t be a person in the world as gutted as he is likely to be today.

    We march on.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Only speculation, but I wonder if the usually reliable Kos was playing in a bit of pain, three tough games in a week with his well documented Achilles issues may be a tough ask

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Paul Pogba is a ‘World’ class player the skill he produced to beat Kos is what ‘World class players do, it was more to do with Xhaka’s awareness and positioning in recovery with that goal.
    Kos and Kola on the first goal is so disappointing,Kos pass and Kola reaction in recovery.

    Like

  8. There was nothing World class about what Pogba did to get past Koscielny. We had 5 players back against their 2 – if Kos had literally just stood still and not commited, Pogba has to go back and the counter is over.

    Xhaka didn’t exactly cover himself in glory for the third, but I think he can be forgiven for expecting more from Koscielny.

    Like

  9. I am pleased to see we are on the same page;

    Liked by 2 people

  10. “To make one error is careless, to make two very similar errors indicates a collective lack of concentration.”

    a story we have seen too often, our old failing of major mistakes leading to a goal, followed by another leading to another goal soon after, brain freeze, lack of concentration, unable to handle the pressure, whatever the cause, its been going on for several years, different players, same collective problem. the club has even tried a head shrink for the squad, but it still turns up like a bad smell way too often.
    We compounded the defensive errors by a failure to take some very good chances. Dominated the game, let in 3 of 4 shots, and scored with 1 of 34. And of course after the media narrative over the correctly awarded penalty v Burnley last week, there was not a cat in hells chance of us getting any of the 2 stone wall ones yesterday or the other shout either. We’ve had our quota of penalties, so don’t expect another one any time soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. santi_cazorler
    We can disagree about the piece of skill, but Pogba is a ‘World’ class talent, if you think all Kos had to do was stand still to stop the attack , I think you need to re-watch the attack again to see how it unfolded. Also take in to account that Kos is not a bad defender and he has trained with Pogba for a number of years.
    Xaka for all his talent , so far he has not shown he is a very smart defender in either reading defensive situations in open or broken field actions.

    Kos and Mustafi probably played with injuries but once you cross the line that cannot be used as an excuse.

    The team created 5 big chances against one of the storied defensive strategist of modern times.
    The team failed, but it failed being true to itself
    So I am sad but not mad, this was not anyting likeLiverpool
    In all honesty, the next game (v Southampton) was always going to be bigger for continuity after a big game.

    Like

  12. One odd thing yesterday was the number of corners we got, and which (unusually) we took well and put right into the mid goal danger area. Every time though a Manyoo head got to it first or there was such a tangle of heads there was no clear contract toward the visitors goal.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Btw Sterling is a serial diver.Again he tried to fool Dean against City in first half.

    FA shud take some action on this serial cheat Sterling.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Yes sir, like you I felt fulfilled with our display. Some sumptuous football and tough luck. PA is just about the only place I would dare admit as much. Football first, tribal loyalties second. But then I know I have no “ambishun”. I need to express negativity all over Twitter because if enough of us do it will trickle over to the Arsenal management and affect their thinking.

    Yes we lost, as we have lost every game so far. As far as I can observe it looked like casual play, over confidence and avoidable mistakes. Frustrating if true because we would be much closer to the leaders.

    Anyway, maybe we will witness a freak result today. I’ve had to leave the room as I’m watching the game with my ManCity supporting neighbours and West Ham are one nil up…

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I’m still so upset and frustrated. This team has so much potential and until yesterday our defence was solid. We should have crushed that lot based on our attacking quality, but our defending let us down. Whilst it’s true there were individual defensive errors, I feel it was the whole team that failed to defend. No one tracked the runners for all 3 goals. Where were the wing-backs and the midfield? When we were attacking every single man u player was behind the ball throwing themselves in the way to stop us having a clear sight on goal, but all 3 scorers for man u had time and space in which to choose where to place the ball, which is why they were able to be so efficient while we were forced into snatching at half chances.

    I live in hope that we will get it altogether and deliver on our potential before the season gets away from us.

    Like

  16. City are certainly using up their late winning goal account.
    As for our defending, sometimes we are good, but just don’t think we are set up to prioritise defending as a team, especially when we go behind.
    Don’t think we are bad as some suggest at defending, and we certainly have some excellent defenders,perhaps the team just don’t work on it to the level of some teams. They can certainly self destruct when chasing games, three unforced errors certainly needs looking at ,but I suspect the managers solution is to do what they did yesterday, attack. Sometimes it works, sometimes, especially against the better , counter attacking teams, seems it doesn’t. But we really should not have lost that game.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. What the defensive performances have shown us this year that Nacho Monreal is football levels better than any other defender that Arsenal has. His choice when to hold,dribble, pass or just whack and concentration levels are much closer to ‘World’ class defender than any other player.
    His footbal I.Q is higher than pretty much every other player the team , the challenge is to use the last few years of Monreal’s career with Arsenal to mature the players coming through and players being brought in.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. passenal I was disappointed, not for the first time this season, with our 2 fullbacks, when it came to tracking back, SK does seem slow to track back, and HB too often seems to put in a token track back, and by that I mean he gets back into our area, but too often does not mark anyone or put in a challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Oh dear! Ian Wright has gone off deep end.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I’ve been disappointed before – I’ll be disappointed again

    I’ve been elated before etc

    But thank the Lord I’ve never been a tottingham fan

    Liked by 4 people

  21. On the razor blade of footballing balance the goalscoring is still the big question mark – we have never been (in 20 seasons) that formidable at the back – going forward we have usually killed that weakness by stealing goals.

    I was having a vague Kanu against Chelsea with Oli and Danny on and effectively 5 attackers last night – fool that I am

    Liked by 1 person

  22. couple of disgraceful tweets from ian wright today, and some still call him an Arsenal legend

    here is one of them

    Ian Wright‏Verified account @IanWright0
    Replying to @OldBaldGooner

    Great dedication! Seems like a bit of a waste of time though to get up at 3:30 in the morning to watch a game you don’t understand 😎

    Like

  23. Wright has always been about Wright, not very Bright Wright, never a team player. Great goal poacher.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Wright put out a couple of insulting tweets today – another to a Canadian Arsenal fan with about 15 followers who he told to shut up as he was a “million miles away” and “go back to watching Fargo” (?)

    If I was not blocked I may have pointed out to
    arrogant c*** that overseas PL TV rights bring in a £1 billion so that legends like Ian had s very comfortable life. It won’t last though son – trust me

    Liked by 3 people

  25. I wonder what time of the day does ian wright get up to watch a game he doesn’t understand either, but gets paid for his views on

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I seen some headline about the Jesse Lingard goal celebration – Jesse Lingard’s Milly Rock dance- and I swear I thought it said – Jesse Lingard’s Mike Riley Dance

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Patrick Timmons‏ @PatrickTimmons1
    Dec 1

    Ramsey is the first Arsenal midfielder to reach 50 non-penalty goals along with 50 assists since Robert Pires. Criminally underappreciated

    Liked by 4 people

  28. Just a thought on pen we didn’t get late on.

    Nearly all the big comebacks I remember in recent years have featured at least one pen as part of the comeback.

    Liverpool Milan (1); Barca PSG (2); Newcastle Arsenal (2); Chelsea 3 Utd 3 (2); Tottenham 3- Utd 5 (1)

    The least dubious of all those, Gerrard’s, was very much a case of a player ‘winning’ a pen, many of the others were pure garbage.

    In a way it’s natural in those situations that there will be more claims for pens than normal- team committing full out to attack and playing with desperation, opposition tiring and stretched- but whatever, in all those comebacks ultimately refs played a big part and awarded extremely soft pens.

    Plays a part in why I hate going behind so much, especially hate going more than one behind, and especially especially hate it in big games.

    In a prem game, genuinely think a Newcastle or similar have a slightly better chance of turning around 3 or 4 against us than we do them, purely because of ref input, especially on pens.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Think there are inherent problems here.
    Firstly, some refs seem to have a problem giving us penalties
    Secondly, some of our players, either through instruction, or freeform play seem to neglect defensive duties at times, especially when we go behind.
    And, not pointing fingers at individuals, we can lose possession / give the ball away up front at an alarming rate, especially this weekend
    The fact is, we play two attack minded CMFs, many others play one,or even two defensive CMFs. Perhaps not helped yesterday by injured CDs?
    We are an adventurous team, sometimes it works, other times, it goes horribly wrong, unfortunately this season against north west teams it would be nice to beat.
    Don’t think Wenger is going to change this philosophy, enjoy the roller coaster!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I think if ever the system was NOT to blame for a loss, or perceived defensive frailty, then it has to be this game. Two individual errors (schoolboy stuff if we’re honest) and two devastating counter-attacks. We shifted to a back 4 (even less protection) and we suffered a total of 3 chances for the remainder of the game:

    1) dealt with by Kolasinac, but we had the numbers to deal with it with less fuss
    2) amazing save by Petr Cech and then by Nacho Monreal – the only time in the game apart from the goals when we were actually stretched
    3) the third goal – if you look again, you will see that we had 5 (if memory serves) players back in our box, with Kos covering Pogba, and Lingard the only other outlet.

    I still don’t understand why Kos overcommitted on Pogba, as the latter was literally going nowhere. Perhaps Kos wasn’t aware of our numerical superiority? Or perhaps he is human, after all.

    Point I’m trying to make is the following:

    Against the best attacking/counter-attacking team in the world of Alan Shearer, we conceded a total of 3 counter-attacks over 80 odd minutes, of which only 1 was a situation out of our control (the brilliant save by Cech).

    Believe in this team. That was a magnificent performance. I’m sure the lads will go on a winning streak and put this right against Liverpool come Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. My feelings very mixed on the game still.

    We put in extraordinary efforts after 2-0, and demonstrated superb skill, attacking potential and heart, but the context of that was as an all out desperate effort dictated by the scoreline, and one which left us extremely vulnerable to the counter. Playing like that would not be right for instance if we were level or ahead.

    I didn’t watch a replay of their third so don’t know what exactly happened there. I know that ideally getting one back with that amount of time left should have led to a readjustment, dialling back the attack slightly in terms of numbers committed to try lessen likelihood of counter, but that’s probably a big ask with all the effort they’d already put in.

    Now for the pitchforks bit (towards me) : the context of Kos’ error. It’s absolutely not the same mistake as if he made it against a non-top-six team, especially Utd. They are the strongest defend and counter team in the league, showcasing just that for the umpteenth time already in their previous game.

    In addition to that, big game dynamics mean not conceding first is far more important than in a normal game.

    Also the understanding that counter-attack chances are generally much better chances than those vs a deep, set defence.

    Then finally we have the season to date for us and our recent form in particular. We entered the game in a very good moment, as the coaches say. On a high, with our great home record, strongest team out there, and with the tantalising prospect of reaching a higher point yet.

    In the early minutes, Utd gave a strong warning of how intensely they were going to press early on, and I’m not sure we made any reaction to that by either dropping a little deeper or playing a little safer from the back.

    Kos’ might actually have been the first moment a defender was faced with the split second decision of tricky pass with no easy one available- midfield two were either cut off or had pushed forward with optimism- or clear lines. It was an epic misjudgement and one in a totally different category to,say, a keeper woefully misjudging the flight of a ball or letting a tame shot through him. To some extent, other members of team must share some of blame with Kos for it as I’m pretty sure no one was alert at that moment to danger of losing ball in our half.

    I know we are not a defensive team and I accept that will sometimes lead to negative moments you are unlikely to get with defensive teams. I’m totally ok with that, but it seems reasonable to expect adjustments for particular games, so that first ten were a spectacular failure as a team for me.

    Then another almost as bad error when pressed minutes later.

    We can rightly take big positives in our skills and efforts afterwards, which made it pretty clear there should be excellent things ahead from an attacking perspective and that, at home, where refs are much less willing to let the opposition kick us freely or break up momentum with piss weak free kicks for them, we can be a tremendous force for the rest of the season.

    At the same time, we have to go again from a nasty setback, and try prove the early defending was a freak aberration and nothing else.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Is something going on by the way, with us seemingly rattling the punditry classes?

    Seems Shearer, Wright and even Lineker have all been stirred, and this soon after us fighting back strongly against media shite after Spurs game?

    Liked by 1 person

  33. This is worrying, a ref admitting to erm- his own brand of game management. He admits he could easily have sent 3 Spuds players off in the infamous Chelsea Spurs game, but didnt , as he didnt want to be blamed for costing Spurs the title. At the very best, this is cowardice plus dereliction of duty
    https://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/mark-clattenburg-i-let-tottenham-selfdestruct-in-2016-chelsea-draw-that-handed-leicester-title-a3709361.html

    He says everyone is part of the theatre, including the refs, correct me if I am wrong, but a refs job is not being part of the theatre. Was it as he says, or was he conscious that Tottenham are generally treated rather well by the media, and PGMOL- almost two seasons without an on the field red card in the league, covering this said time for starters.
    I am quite shocked at this, but sadly, not surprised. A ref shouldnt give a flying about costing a team the title if they are breaking the games rules

    Liked by 2 people

  34. My positive friends, Shotta is back, just about. I recently acquired and installed a generator after numerous disappointments despite my earnest efforts since I was in the States between Aug-Oct. Internet service has been restored.

    Thank you all for your concern about my welfare during my prolonged absence from these pages. From a distance, on my hurricane ravaged island, you guys have been a beacon in a storm (pun intended) of MSM and twitter negativity, lies and Fake News. Iam so proud of this little community especially George and AndyNic, who are the two stalwarts.

    With my return, having electricity and internet again, I plan to undertake a massive data project on referees and penalties that somehow escapes the mainstream media. I wonder why.

    The only delay is am actively seeking to acquire the right software for this project. I have no idea what info the data will reveal but time will tell. Patience my fellow truth-seekers.

    Liked by 4 people

  35. Sven Mislintat – kicker interview transcript
    By Lewis Ambrose –
    December 4, 2017

    Arsenal’s new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat spoke to German publication kicker about his new role.

    Lewis Ambrose has translated the interview for us, see below.

    Note: If you’re a publication using this translation, please credit Arseblog News with a link back to the original article.

    On Friday you started your job at Arsenal, on Saturday there was already a game against Man Utd. Have you had time to realise what drastic changes there are in your life, Mr. Mislintat?

    I was already made aware the last time I walked through the Dortmund office – or my last home games against Tottenham and Schalke. It hurts to say goodbye, but I’m curios about what comes now. It’s a conflicting feeling.

    Why start at Arsenal in the middle of the season?

    You have to leave your old club cleanly and start at the new one with a bit of time. October, November, December are the best times. It’s the quietest time for transfers. You’re there to build a portfolio (of targets) and it isn’t yet (the time for) decision-making.

    The Premier League considers itself the strongest in the world. Rightly so?

    The chance to find out will be very interesting. I saw games in England where I wouldn’t recommend a player from either side to Dortmund. On the other hand, Arsenal dominated in Cologne for 70 minutes even though Arsene Wenger had rotated the entire eleven from the derby against Tottenham. It’s hard to say if the Premier League really is the league all others should be measured against. At the very top the Spanish clubs have won the important trophies in recent years, not the English ones.

    What do Arsenal expect from their new ‘head of recruitment’?

    When I check the press in England and Germany, people probably think I’ll find an (Ousmane) Dembele in every transfer window. I’ve been put on an inconceivably high pedestal.

    You’ve been billed as a ‘transfer-guru’. Are you under more pressure than at Borussia Dortmund?

    When I started at Dortmund, the most that was asked of me was whether I could do analysis or opposition analysis well enough. I was lucky to start at the beginning of a new era.

    In what way?

    I had ways to develop myself that wouldn’t have existed had I arrived at a club with an strong structure. I could establish myself and grow into my role. Today Arsenal have signed me with brutal expectations, it’s impossible not to be aware of that.

    So: With Mislintat, everything will just fall into place?

    Signing me isn’t a guarantee that you’ll make good transfers. That needs an outstanding team who are driven, hard-working and really really on top of the task to find the next Ousmane Dembele or Dan-Axel Zagadou.

    In future will you look at different markets than up until now?

    Definitely in England, where we haven’t closely looked at Dortmund, other than at youth level. The Premier League is my ‘local market’ now. Beyond that it depends on conversations with Arsene and the sporting needs of the club. Which qualities, characters should we sign? Which replacements are needed? Which contracts are expiring? Firstly I need to figure out how things currently stand and learn the philosophy to exactly deliver Arsene what is needed.

    Your reputation is for finding young, promising talents for Dortmund. Will your task change at a club as rich as Arsenal?

    I can’t completely assess that just yet. Arsenal are already a club that resembles the transfer approach of Dortmund.

    Will the club go another way because Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea simply have more to spend?

    Or perhaps because Arsenal want to…

    Spending huge sums of money is up to the owner’s approach and Arsene Wenger’s.

    Will you assist Arsene Wenger directly?

    Of course, and gladly. Arsene and CEO Ivan Gazidis are the people I’ll report to.

    Wenger was divisive early in the year. Isn’t it inevitable a manager of 21 years will be worn out?

    Sir Alex Ferguson was in his job longer. At the end of May, Wenger won the cup. For the seventh time in 21 years. On top of his three league title wins. I find it really difficult to deny his success. I’m excited to work with him! I can only learn from someone who has proven his quality over decades.

    Jens Lehmann is part of the coaching team at Arsenal and Per Mertesacker will lead the youth academy from the summer. You’re head of recruitment. Why is German know-how so popular?

    I don’t know but I have nothing against it. The setup will definitely make communicating easier for me to begin with.

    Did you feel like a ‘secret boss’ at Dortmund, as Stern once wrote?

    That completely goes against my philosophy. If you ask anyone from my old team, nobody will say: Sven is the boss. I’m a clear advocate for open communication on an equal footing, complete honesty and hard analysis – that’s my behaviour. That’s what made my old department at Dortmund so good.

    The conflict with Thomas Tuchel incited your departure from Dortmund. With hindsight, are you thankful?

    There are a lot of things I’d have preferred not to happen. The same probably goes for Thomas Tuchel. Ultimately, it harmed all of us.

    In the statement about your move…

    …that topic has already become too big. I only said that that time instigated thoughts that I could still do something different. There was not one ‘bad’ reason to leave Dortmund. Only that I didn’t want to look back at 65 and wonder what could’ve happened with Arsenal and in London.

    Did Borussia Dortmund do everything to keep you?

    I think so. I’m not mad at anyone. The opposite: I find what Hans-Joachim Watzke said at the AGM incredibly bold. To take responsibility for this development during such a difficult phase for the club, he has my utmost respect. By allowing me to leave, Watzke and Michael Zorc gave my work over recent years the highest recognition.

    Watzke says letting you go is the result of his mistake that you were treated ‘like an outsider’ for 18 months. Was this acknowledged too late?

    Only too late in the public. Internally, there were talks between him and myself – also between Zorc and myself – quite a bit earlier. We all made our peace on this issue. There’s a strong understanding on both sides.

    Had you hoped for more support when Tuchel banned you from the training ground and refused you access to the team?

    That’s not possible in professional football.

    Why?

    Counter-question: what would come of it?

    A clash between Zorc/Watzke and Tuchel.

    Exactly, I shouldn’t be that important.

    So does this apply to you: No prophet is accepted in his own land?

    That’s too harsh, far too strongly worded. What is often true is this: the recognition comes later in the place you you grew up.

    In your 11 years there were a few dozen transfers you were involved in. Which players did you have to fight for the most?

    If we’re talking about the transfers I was most pigheadedly stubborn: Shinji Kagawa and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

    Why Kagawa?

    Thomas Kroth had tipped us off. Then there was Sven Mislintat, who hadn’t been in the job very long, advising his bosses: ‘there’s a Japanese guy in their second division, let’s sign him!’

    I had to do a lot of persuading. We were in Japan six times to watch him. Kagawa signed for just €350,000.

    And Aubameyang?

    We scouted him as Robert Lewandowski’s replacement but in our eyes he wasn’t that. He really didn’t embody Lewandowski’s strengths, because he’s a completely different type of striker. So it took longer to make the decision to sign him, initially to play out wide.

    Which transfers didn’t come to fruition and left you annoyed?

    The trouble between Tuchel and myself was ignited over Oliver Torres from Atletico Madrid. He’s a genius in possession and I wanted to sign him. For me he’s one of the best ‘numbers eights’ with the ball, he orientates himself excellently, albeit with small weaknesses. For me, with half a year to prepare, he was the perfect Ilkay Gundogan replacement.

    Critics say the current BVB squad hasn’t been put together in a very balanced manner. Do you leave Dortmund with a bad feeling that you were very involved building the squad?

    I’m leaving with a worse feeling than when I first requested to leave. We were top of the league then.

    Can you imagine returning to Dortmund at some point?

    I was born in Dortmund, I’m a Dortmund kid, I studied here. Of course I won’t rule it out but I’m not leaving with the intention to return. I’m following my path to develop further and I want to keep learning. At Arsenal I want to do the very best job I can do. I’m excited for the challenge and can easily imagine myself at Arsenal, in London, for 10, 12 years as long as my family and I feel at home there.

    Is there an agreement, as Dortmund allowed you to leave, that you won’t sign any Dortmund players?

    No. I have the utmost respect for my old club. In all aspects. But, the fact is, we’re rivals now.

    In 2018 you could be returning in the Europa League. Will that turn into mixed emotions?

    Firstly, I’d be so excited to go to the stadium that was my living room for 11 years. But let’s be clear: after that, I’ll want my new club to win.

    What are you most afraid of as you start in London – driving on the left or football at Christmas as a father and family man?

    For my first year I’m lucky: we play on 22nd December against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and then not again until 28th December. Then Arsenal play on New Year’s Eve.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. What an excellent interview that was.

    For a guy some claim was brought in with little or no input from Wenger, he doesn’t half sound like a Wenger-type person- lucid, realistic, smart, honest, good sense of humour

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Mandy

    Quite funny. Everyone with a shred of sense and honesty knew Clattenberg made his decision, for whatever reason, not to enforce the rules.

    Now Clattenberg confirms that was the case, and gives his reason, but a stalwart of the refereeing community here, and former head of pgmol literally refuses to believe it.

    “I think it is a nonsense,” he said. “It is disappointing to hear him say that he avoided giving a red card for his own self-preservation. When I saw the comments, I thought, ‘What’s going on?’ And so have other referees I have spoken to. He is one of the top referees and it is not something I have ever seen in him.”

    Not something he- Hackett- has ever seen in him. So, supposing he watched that match, and I’m pretty sure he would have, presumably he failed to pick up on anything strange, and nor did the other refs he has spoken to.

    All a bit worrying ,really. Sounds like they may never have suspected nor been able to detect if anyone else pulled a Clattenberg over the years.

    We saw it; it was blatant; they had no clue, apparently.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Really is quite astounding Rich, as you say, we all saw what happened in that game.
    We now have a ref openly admitted he made extremely significant decisions based on a preset agenda.
    Makes you wonder if there are other agendas some refs have chosen to forsake the rules of the game for. Perhaps it suited some for Leicester to win the league that year, so Jamie Vardy was allowed to dive and get penalties at will. Other potential agendas may be more sinister, or include the chance to gain personal wealth or influence.
    How widespread is this? Why are the PGMOL and FA in denial?

    Liked by 2 people

  39. In fact, clattenberg has technically admitted to match fixing. No evidence he gained from it, but he certainly made an agenda based decision not to properly enforce the rules of the game.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Forrest away not bad

    Like

  41. One ref might’ve been seen as ‘significant’ in certain matters of a team avoiding relegation. Could same be said of some miracle a year later? Certain people get promotions/appointments incongruent to their deeds (politicians, bankers, refs, pundits. blah blah & blah blah’s)
    Certain peeps have, in my opinion, been well and truly taken in by …

    That’s a proper interview. Ta for posting, Edu.

    Thanks for update Shotta. Peace and good wishes.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. there you go, an admittance from clattenburg that the rules of the game are not enforced by Refs in England

    Liked by 1 person

  43. After Clattenburgs admittance of bent refreeing one should question Fergies United league titles also imo. How much was refs part in those so called title winning years?
    Howard Webb the 12th man at Old Trafford comes to mind as well as the frequent last minute spot kicks which were so common in those Fergie days.

    Infact Arsenal have been robbed by these refs as we should have been champions in 2015/16 .(and may be 2007/08 as well)?

    Liked by 3 people

  44. Is the Shottameister really back?

    Like

  45. New post up

    Like

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