Arsenal: Drawing in Two Dimensions


Good morning Positive Arsenal fans,

It is a morning after the night before that I admit I have struggled to put pen to paper in respect of the post match review. Some games have too much action and incident to condense into a 600 word piece, and the result of other matches, either good or bad, carries the narrative along on the creative wing. I can gush with the best of them.

Last night’s game in contrast had almost no incident, and while I have attended a few excellent 0-0 draws last night was not among them.

In line with our mission I was able to identify a number of positive aspects in our play over the 90 minutes. First among then I thought Jack was most impressive, always hungry for the ball, winning the ball regularly and taking the ‘Ammers on across a crowded midfield. He managed to get into a position that could have won the game, but blazed over. Nevertheless JW was the only man who all second half really got into that goal scoring position. The second positive was Ainsley Maitland-Niles and a very solid PL debut against Antonio who, if anyone watched the Ammers bash Chelsea at the weekend, is no footballing mug. Because he has been around while I had the impression he was a developer but he is just turned 20. While young Ainsley and has his backers and detractors among AFC fans that was a good, professional left back job. Finally, I thought the back four collectively put in a much better performance and the home side hardly had a sight of our goal. Only a prize Charlie like Hoddle to award Arnautovic the MotM. On the defence though WTF happened in the 91st minute when we gifted Chicarito a chance to rattle the bar I don’t know.

Of what was less satisfactory last night I think a few posters last night had the correct analysis of a timidity around the edge of the box and an inability to translate overwhelming possession into goal chances or, even better, GOALS! And overwhelming it was, with the Ammers over long periods in the second half totally unable to do anything else than kick it away for us to start again. For all that ball possession Adrian spent a fairly comfortable evening. I had no expectations of Moyes at the London Stadium in arresting West Ham’s decline but a narrow defeat at the Etihad, a win against Chelsea and last night suggest I may have been wrong. They really did put in a determined defensive performance.

Where do we go from here ? Well the lack of goals away from home is spoiling what has been our good home form and last night was simply another chapter in the Stoke, Watford, Saints series of games we have dominated possession but not been decisive in the box. I doubt very much we will see or require much of a tactical revision for Toon on Saturday but at Selhurst Park it may be Arsene ponders a 442 with Giroud and Lacazette in tandem against the lumbering Palace central defenders.

There we are then, Thursday to enjoy and just 48 hours until the Geordies are in town. Newcastle is always a game I associate with floodlights, Winter weather and goals.

42 comments on “Arsenal: Drawing in Two Dimensions

  1. Fair write up Andrew, thanks.

    We looked distinctly flat-ish, but you know how the saying goes – No Ramsey and Little Lacazette = No party.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. sums it up all too well Andy.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I do think there is big, long-term significance in Jack’s display. I have always been a fan and believe he will become our player of the year, if not this season (although there’s still time) then the next couple at least.

    On last night I am with Andy re Naitland Miles too. Solid and competent first prem start for a young chap.

    Wasn’t a great team performance by any stretch of anyone’s imagination but by no means it wasnt as poor as some reactionary shouts may lead one to believe.

    Onward we go. Whilst even I might not risk ten bob on a prem league win this season, I most certainly have high hopes of top 3 and a cup final or 2 ( or 3) but then surely any fan of any team would have those hopes if their team is still in the mix… no?


    Liked by 3 people

  4. Dear me boys and girls – was it that bad !!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It was, but well summed up anyways.
    Think we will see a lot better against Newcastle

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Great read Andrew.

    The game wasn’t bad, for most glass half ful supporters I guess its more the 2/6 points from this last two matches that knock the wind from the sails and just want you to lay down with a bowl of ice cream.

    I got over the disappointment though and am now ready to see us return home to the Emirates. Fight for top CL qualification is still wide open.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Everyone must be pissed off with your cheery posts Andy, get some vitriol going.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Oof

    Atkinson, Oliver, Dean, Taylor for next four. A big push. Would’ve guessed Swarbrick for West Brom after his masterclass there last year but I guess Dean can equal that.

    I thought they only did it a week in advance as well.

    Intriguingly, some time back, Wenger put forward suggestion that appointments shouldn’t me made until late in Week of game- Thurs if no midweek- and should be decided by a random draw.

    Can’t remember his reasoning, think it was to keep pressure off refs, but i very much doubt he revealed his real reasons for it. Still, he knows he’d be better off with that random draw than Riley choosing. And no doubt knew chances of it coming to pass.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Atkinson- Liverpool,
    Oliver- Palace (cheeky pen to keep run going, 4in 5 or 5 in 6, think it is)
    Dean- West Brom
    Taylor- Chelsea


  10. Deano at the Hawthorns – that’s a tough ask


  11. Atkinson, Oliver, Dean, Taylor, the four horsemen of the apocalypse

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Like to think Wenger’s suggestion of a draw (with result of it not made public till day of game) was him expressing (to Riley?) the truth we’d be better off with randomness than with the hand-picked selections of appropriate officials for each game, including the trusted big guns always doing the big games.

    The thinking was apparently that it would ease ref pressure by preventing managers and players talking about them in build-up to games.

    Halsey said he isn’t opposed to idea of a draw but logistics make it impossible.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Any manager or player expressing an opinion about the competence or the impartiality of a referee or the linos, before, during or after a game should be punished and punished hard Rich. Sort the problem out toute de suite.


  14. Fucking Jose “warning” the referee to look out for this and that. A prick who sends every player in his vastly overpriced team to cheat at every opportunity he can.

    The notion that this knob should even be allowed to say the word “referee” without immediate punishment is ridiculous.

    Liked by 5 people

  15. anicoll

    As long as they don’t extend that to fans, or I’d be locked up with no parole till about 2050

    But yeah, Mourinho is, well, he’s an utter bastard isn’t he.

    Must be at least ten years ago now, maybe earlier, that he reached the stage where he had contradicted himself thoroughly on every meaningful issue- i.e diving, fouls, ‘crying’- with his actions and direct statements.

    Press have very little interest in all that,though, and will be holding him up again as ultimate winner should he get title again.

    My position on refs is probably even weirder than you think, mind.

    In theory, I am in favour of defending them to the hilt; recognise how the modern game has made a tough job near impossible; and probably most importantly, well, there’ll always be some/lots of fans who claim they are very hard done by when they aren’t. (Where it’s genuine or where it’s more ‘tactical’ it’s impossible to tell, same as in stadiums like burnley’s and Stoke’s where home fans take ref bothering to ridiculous extremes and aren’t half convincing in their role)

    Even think all being well enough, nature of football means things roughly even out in mid and long term.

    Pretty awkward position to believe that and more and still believe there’s something wrong with our treatment, but there i am.


  16. Aye the intense dilemma of what constitutes the proper position of a fan to the referee.

    Me ? I’m an obsequious groveller on the basis that obsequious grovelling is the norm, it’s understood as nothing anyway and no mark of either respect or disrespect, but just a tool to get your own way.

    I think more obsequious grovelling is the way ahead. I shall call Arsene in the morning.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Josie, still s breath of fresh air it seems, along with passionate Klorp and Contee, seems it’s only the frogs they go for

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I see the despicable one has been asked to explain his pre game advisory comments to Michael Oliver on “tactical fouling” and the FA are still waiting for a response from both clubs on the Battle of the Tunnel.

    If Jose put as much effort into driving his team forward as he does into advising referees and engaging in fisticuffs with the opposition he probably get better results.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. My position on refs is simple and echoes what Klopp said after the 1-1 Merseyside game last week. If in the interests of game management you allow the less skillful side to knock chunks out of the side trying to play football you are employing your own private handicap. It doesn’t come as a total surprise that in Horse Racing bookmakers are keener to sponsor handicaps than level weights races. Sky and BT make money from advertising – and most of the adverts during and before football matches seem to be gambling themed. Punters are attracted to the 4 or 5 team accumulator. City, Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal all to beat lowly opposition and paying a very nice 9 to 1 is irresistible to many punters who cant see past the form – but note how often a soft penalty or a marginal offside come to the bookies rescue.

    Liked by 6 people

  20. Team News

    Ramsey out for 3 weeks

    Mustafi back in training today, but might be a risk to include him tomorrow

    Lacazette has had a groin problem recently and that he why he is not playing more

    Some rotation will be done v Newcastle

    Wilshere contract talks set for end of the month.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. ‘Look, we had no petrol but ideas. They have petrol and ideas, so that makes it more efficient.’

    Gotta love it. I’m sure City and media chums will be furious about the outrageous act of speaking simple truth there.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Pretty cool by the way to have four of our own in lineup, for a tough premier league encounter, away!

    Also encouraging is youth team performances so far this year. By looks of things we have a raft of highly skilled players in u18’s, and u23’s packed with players I like. Huge number of goals both groups score involve great technique and lovely build up play.

    Tempered my expectations slightly since days I was convinced Akpom would make it, but all the same got to be excited when there are many players who look roughly same quality at that level as Iwobi, Maitland-Niles.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Bookies eh?
    fortunately there’s nuffink wrong with the current set up.


    This kind of foreign weirdness couldn’t happen ina country where managers and players own race horses or run up huge debts on the horses etc. as is widely known.

    That all makes about as much sense as Umpire Hairs tragi-comic assertion that only brown people fix sporting contests (unfortunately no one ever told him why Warny was so bitter at being overlooked for captain).

    Nags head.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. < or spot fix…
    << or just "talk" to the bookies…yep the pro poker player Warne did not get the captaincy because he spoke to a booky. In Scudamore's PL a gambling company can own a club. Interesting philosophy. remarkable even. I hope no one objects that we remark, and laugh, upon it.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I still haven’t watched the game, hence the lack of comment. Nothing personal Andy.

    But you’ve got me on referees again. I agree they should be protected and respected. But respect is a two way street and they (by which I mean their organisation) certainly doesn’t do anything to deserve respect. Simple things like in Rugby can make all the difference. TV replays, ref miked up and audible to viewers, and a media that won’t just ‘protect’ them but also ensure some level of accountability and consistency (not sure what the rugby media is like in general but I doubt it is as bad as the football media) At the same time, throw the book at players and coaches who choose to disrespect the referee. Two. Way. Street.

    The PGMO makes a rod for their own refs back. They aren’t protecting their own. They gag them instead. No media interviews, no post retirement pension unless you sign a non-disclosure. Nope, they are protecting someone, but not the refs who go out on the field, unless they adopt the same attitude of grovelling to their masters that you condone (banned smiley)

    Liked by 3 people

  26. I thought I’d already commented on the review (I’m not saying I don’t notice your reviews Andy) but apparently not.
    Crosses, overlapping, width and shooting from outside the box have to be improved upon to create more chances and anyone continually cutting inside should be punched in the face by Steve Bould.
    It’s difficult to justify bad refereeing by just saying all fans will moan about perceived injustices.
    Corruption happens in all big business and now football is big business there’s bound to be some jiggery pokery going on somewhere especially with some of the Megabucks owners past track record, I can’t believe the likes of Roman have suddenly become whiter than white.
    If you include the dogey dealings affecting football in the past including referees and personal bias it would be strange to suggest nothing is amiss.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I can’t imagine Stan is whiter than white Ian – behind every great fortune lies and even greater crime.

    On a more general point as in any business there almost certainly corruption in football and, again as in most businesses, it is only the 1% tip of the iceberg that is obvious.

    Think about it though – if you were a very rich very powerful very dishonest person determined to control football it is surely inconceivable you would rely on prize idiots of the Mike Dean type. I’m sorry – for me that does not fly.


  28. Admittedly if I were a very rich very powerful very dishonest person I might try the “double bluff” tactic with Deano, with everyone assuming I would not use such a half wit.

    Wheels within wheels.

    Liked by 4 people

  29. Mr Wenger rustling fools
    City fans getting precious
    All the false equivalencies get rolled out.

    “Look, we had no petrol but ideas. They have petrol and ideas, so that makes it more efficient.”

    Another Hip-Hop quoteable by the ‘The French Frank White’.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. anicoll

    Refs ‘control’ or even by their own definition, ‘manage’ the game. That is a game to you and me, but is worth a lot of money to those that play it, and even more those that play off the field.(Owners are probably themselves relatively small fry when nations, bookies and who knows who else are involved) Of course they would seek to control the outcome through the likes of Dean. Why wouldn’t they use an idiot as long as they can get away with it? It is far more preferable to use an idiot than a smart person. (Key word being USE)

    Of course results are only one way to affect the business. The real business is probably in the laundering of money across borders in a poorly regulated, and valuation-flexible ‘volatile’ market. This requires controlling demand and supply. Hence the institution of the transfer window, creating an artificial scarcity, increasing demand, and the rise of ‘super’ agents who control the supply. There was an article some years ago which said how Mendes could basically determine the outcome of the Portuguese League through his control over the player market.

    This might be the real business, along with the promotion of the ‘product’ to keep the justification for such spending alive, which means controlling the narrative, which is what they do for the games through the refs, and the transfer market through the media. Spend some effing money! Fans should actually be demanding more along the lines of 20 is plenty. Demand more outreach, more access, better analysis and journalism, a better ‘product’. Instead we are left to demanding ever increasing amounts of money be spent on agents, because the existence of the petro clubs is justified through results and through words.

    Kroenke is obviously no saint, but at least while Wenger is in charge, I am confident we are not, or are very unwilling to, indulge in the really filthy part of the business. Obviously, our success would be detrimental to the prevailing business model. Why they haven’t done worse to us, I can only guess. Presumably there is some sort of ‘red line’ if you will, beyond which it would hurt their interests along with Arsenal’s (and maybe part of that is a threat from Arsenal’s non angels)

    All cloak and daggers, mystery spy thriller stuff I know. No reason it isn’t probable. There’s literally billions of dollars involved. If I were ‘lucky’ enough to be a player in this game and were unscrupulous enough (probably a requirement) I would certainly seek to control the outcome in this way.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Stan’s toupe is not more appealing to me then Bernard tapie’s toupe, but one of them has been stuffed into the slammer courtesy oif the Arsenal manager & the other is his employer. (The other was Tony Cascarino’s, in case you wondered why he is so bitter when talking about the only top club to sack a manager for taking a bung…there are literally hundreds of millions of reasons why that rent a gob hates the Arsenal).

    I would not equate the two.

    But I would like to find the time to watch Wednesday’s match before tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. The officials on the roster of Referees in Italy, France, Turkey, Greece, Spain(?), Andorra etc. are all much brigheter then the average PL ref, on a massive salary?

    That must explain then why we have no officials apart from the odd lino from South of the watford Gap these past twenty years.

    Sorry George, but you lot are apparently well thick. Still love you though.
    Hope you’re feeling better this week.


  33. One wonders if football is going the way of wrestling, right before our eyes. The combination of the Clattenburg Big Reveal, the zero accountability of PGMOL (alarm bells already ringing) and the sheer scale of the gambling interests now all over football suggests stuff happening in plain view, right in front of us all.

    And it is astonishing how often low-odds accumulators invariably crash on the turn of a soft penalty, or a clear penalty NOT given (Arsenal anyone, over and over) by refs miked up to who knows what.

    Wrestling wasn’t always the joke that football is now becoming.

    But over a period of years the fans just drifted away.

    Liked by 5 people

  34. Arsenal U23’s playing Derby County U23’s, losing 1-2 at HT, Akpom with our goal

    Team: Macey, Osei-Tutu, Bola, Sheaf, Bielik, Pleguezuelo, Fortune, McGuane, Akpom, Reine-Adelaide, Dragomir Subs: Gilmour, Iliev, Eyoma, Coyle, Omole


  35. score up date, its now 2-3, with Osei-Tutu getting us back into the game

    Bielik gone off injured.

    Coyle also on for his U23 debut


  36. Reine-Adelaide also off with another injury


  37. score up date, its now 3-3. Pleguezuelo scores dramatic equaliser in stoppage time

    Liked by 1 person

  38. FT: Arsenal U23’s 3-3 Derby U23’s

    Arsenal came from 1-3 down to grab a draw, Akpom, Osei-Tutu and Pleguezuelo with our goals, Bielik and Reine-Adelaide both went off injured, having only returned to action with the U23’s earlier in the week

    Liked by 2 people

  39. the state of english football writers

    “Per Mertesacker could also reportedly seek a move away from the club” with his contract running out at the end of the season

    so our Captain who is retiring at the end of the season to take up the role of Head of Academy, could according to these stupid fucks, be leaving the club cos his contract is up. Laughable if it was not so clear its all part of a much greater agenda they are playing at, the Arsenal in crisis narrative has to be kept going.

    Liked by 3 people

  40. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-5184615/Wenger-says-fans-outside-six-accept-goalless-draws.html

    Wenger’s talking here as I’ve been for a few years now, with my endless frustration with bus-parking opponents, the media’s implicit yet very strong endorsement of those tactics (while putting close to 100% of the onus on us to produce excitement in the game!)

    I’m sure he has felt what he says there for years, too, but mostly resisted spelling out till now. But anyway, he seems to be agreeing with me that the defensive football of today is not at all the same as that I grew up watching domestically.

    I blame that fecker Mourinho. If the man with the greatest resources was/is clearly at heart a defend-and-counter, anything to win man, and the media celebrated him for it, why wouldn’t more and more bosses, with less resources, explore the same ideas to their extremes. Though defend and counter makes it sound more ambitious than it often is.

    With no press resistance, the extra money in the prem being used to justify doing anything to stay there, and fans who will largely accept that football so long as it just about works overall….eeeeee

    We’ve just got to become fucking great at breaking through those damn, motherfucking parked buses.

    Liked by 3 people

  41. Wenger’s been listening to me

    “Maybe we have to speed up our passing and have more penetrating runs in the final third to create more chances, Maybe we need support for our central strikers in the box as well.”


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