186 Comments

Arsenal: Before the cock crow

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Good afternoon Positive Arsenal fans,

A fine game of football between two high quality sides, both sets of players underlining the professional  aspect of their trade, with a display of concentration and controlled physical aggression over 94 minutes. Clearly defeat at the end of the contest is a sour result but I’ve no serious complaint. 1-0 did not flatter them.

Of our brave lads I thought it was an excellent defensive display. Admittedly we  were clinging on at times as the Totties cut into us,  ragged in the opening ten minutes of the second half which cost us, and Cech made 2-3 good stops. Some of Petr’s footwork was a little alarming today but nothing the matter with his positioning , handling or shot stopping. Bloody hell that 200th clean sheet is proving an albatross for our stopper though. Our defensive unit of Kosc, Shkodran, and Nacho gave  110% and Hector, in my opinion,  was our best player.

Further forward was probably the difference between the teams today. It was always likely to be difficult to control the ball, hence our set up in the first half to hit them on the breakaway. But we just did not make enough of the possession we had. It was c. 70 minutes until our first shot or header on goal I think ? That is just not us !

Of the midfield personnel Jack was our most creative player, Granit dependable and did not waste the ball, and Mo made 50 blocks, tackles, half tackles, nudges etc.   I thought Mesut had a poor game today by his formidable standards, though he had little time or space to work in as a white swarm settled on him.

The last fifteen minutes  we just began to get a modicum of control, and for the first time in the match seemed to have more possession At last we huffed and we puffed a little. But even then the home’s side seemed steady, and held us at arm’s length.

I had probably settled for the defeat by the 90th minute, to everyone’s surprise the 4th official popped up 4 additional minutes. And being football of course we then created two clear cut chances, both of which certainly should at least have drawn a  same from Lloris, but neither of which were on target. What a  different mood I would be in if either strike from the Frenchman had gone where they should have. I suspect Lacazette feels worse than I do about those two disappointing efforts, but he is a hard man to read, facially speaking.

So there we go – gritted teeth – beaten on the day by the ………….bbbb…  bbbbeee….

No I just can’t do it.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

 

 

About anicoll5

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

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186 comments on “Arsenal: Before the cock crow

  1. So Fins – lets have a go at it ourselves – at Wembley on Saturday how many decisions would you say the referee and linos made in the 94 minutes ?

    I’d guess 2 a minute – so about 180/190 – fair ?

    Like

  2. The club benefiting from the 20 wrong call season, or reverse, shouldn’t be at all possible at the top level on account of all the powerful feedback systems in place.

    Within a single match there’s always some element of contingency in the play and in the refs calls- he gives one he’s really unsure about one way, or just gets a ton of stick for, it must naturally have an effect on the odds of the next call, etc; just given a pen to one team and then has to make a pen call for same team or the other in same game.

    The whole job near enough relies on resisting those and other pressures and simply aiming to keep making the right call, though apparently that view is not shared by all, and there are other considerations, which perhaps can only be fully understood when you walk the walk- game management, having to perhaps make a few calls you otherwise wouldn’t for the sake of trying to prevent a game getting out of control.

    That’s just the feedback and contingency on the pitch, featuring players, fans, managers, ref. Refs with an awareness of the past, this game, this season, way beyond. Plus thoughts of future. Human beings, basically.

    Off it comes match assessments, reviews, newspaper reports, analysis sessions. Preparation sessions for upcoming games, replete with factsheets.

    Just like that thing with atoms I shouldn’t quote as I don’t fully understand, the fact of having an audience changes things drastically from a chaos theory model where randomness could make 20 favourable calls on the bounce as possible as 20 heads on a coin flip is.

    In some of my dafter reveries I’ve thought what it would take to get refs free of the dangers of bias and the rest is to have them raised in seclusion- like monks, on ref island- appearing only to do games, with no knowledge of players, clubs, tables…

    Not the best plan. So ref bots it is

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Andy

    Just so you know, that list of questions was only illustrative, and not exhaustive.

    By the way, the idea that no one wants to be a ref is neither an answer, nor should it offer an escape to an organisation part of whose job it is to promote refereeing! Answers using ‘incompetence’ should lead to more demands of transparency, not less.

    For the ‘hush money’ that the PGMOL offer, look at Mark Halsey, who, in order to publish his book had to give up what they call ‘pension’ for his years of service. Halsey was also the ref who spoke to the media when he (correctly) overturned a penalty call he made against Ashley Cole of Arsenal vs Fulham, at Highbury. (The PGMO banned media appearances henceforth) He also lost his gig at BT Sport, to be replaced by Howard Webb as the company man (he is still employed as a ref trainer). Graham Poll routinely speaks in the media. Presumably they do so under the aegis of the Pgmo having signed the non disclosure, and as such are limited in what they can say. Refs in Germany routinely speak to the media after the game. But then they aren’t professional so probably don’t care about their jobs huh?

    But it seems you have the answers from, or rather for, the refs, and having presented these answers, such as they are, are satisfied and have no regard to demanding better, or more openness in how they do their job? Nor do you care about the potential corruption that the system is susceptible to? Any reason for this apart from that refs might have their feelings hurt? (It seems to me that many refs would actually like the opportunity to give their side of the story but are held back. It is only anecdotal but has as much, or more value, than your answers there)

    See Andy, I can accept you don’t see the patterns that I do. I welcome this because it forces me to check with myself whether those patterns are real or imagined. I can also accept that there is an argument for the refs having a tough job, even an impossible job, with very little appreciation, and that they deserve respect.

    What I can’t accept is that any questioning of the referees and their body is considered an impudence or overreach from a football fan. Respect is a two way street and needs to be earned rather than demanded as blind subservience. Referees in other sports don’t seem to have the same level of ‘protection’ and they seem to get a lot more respect as a matter of course, unless they do something to specifically violate that. Maybe football, and you, need to consider that the refs themselves are being victimised by the system, rather than the fans.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Rich

    Refs have a tough job.

    What can we do to help them? Just keep quiet and accept everything they do? Accept mistakes as just one of those things. OK! I’m all for that!

    BUT…… Show me that the processes put in place promote fairness. Show me that the checks and balances cut down on the chances of corruption/bias. (Corruption does not mean brown paper bags full of money btw) Or else, it’s all an argument for blind faith, and accepting your lot in life. Delightfully blissful for some, but certainly not a convincing argument to anyone who actually cares about the ideals of fairness and competition that sport is supposed to be exemplify.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Boom shot:

    “What I can’t accept is that any questioning of the referees and their body is considered an impudence or overreach from a football fan. Respect is a two way street and needs to be earned rather than demanded as blind subservience. Referees in other sports don’t seem to have the same level of ‘protection’ and they seem to get a lot more respect as a matter of course,…”

    I could never have stated that any better. Thanks Shard.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. seen some quotes attributed to Krystian Bielik, taken from an interview he did with a media outlet in his native Poland. So can’t vouch for how accurate the translation is. Bielik who is currently on loan at Walsall, despite still being injured, an injury that came just as he had been given the choice of Norwich or Nottingham Forrest as a loan destination
    anyway he is quoted as saying that he wants to join Birmingham City in the summer, as he feels he is ready for Championship level football and he knows brum after being on loan there last season.
    The big news in the article is that they say Bielik is out of contract at Arsenal this summer, so if he is leaving us, it will be for a compensation fee only.

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  7. didn’t see the highlights but can anyone explain how alexis missed this open goal

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  8. “See Andy, I can accept you don’t see the patterns that I do. I welcome this because it forces me to check with myself whether those patterns are real or imagined. I can also accept that there is an argument for the refs having a tough job, even an impossible job, with very little appreciation, and that they deserve respect.”

    And are the patterns real or imagined Shard ? What pattern do you see ! I asked you about Kane’s goal earlier – is it part of the pattern as young Shotts asserts, or not ? And if not then what group is the incident part of ?

    Moving on I am not interested or an enthusiast of referees “deserving respect” per se. I don’t think I have ever heard anyone, including referees say they “deserve respect’ ? As a general world view I think the best of people so would not assume the worst of them. To that extent my respect is universal, my condemnation focussed. If I have evidence on the contrary about a person’s motives or actions then I will think again. As yet, and I repeat for the umpteenth time, the evidence concerning malice on the part of referees, individually or collectively, is very thin.

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  9. He’s offside eddy – a mile offside – even I can admit that – it would not have stood

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  10. Bielik was thought of very highly but who knows how the injuries have affected him. In the meantime he probably sees his way to the first team blocked by Mavroponos being brought in, and the emergence of Ben Sheaf. Also Holding and Chambers are still young CBs. Not sure there’s space for him in the squad. All the best to him.

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  11. The latest comments from CFC manager Conte will not go down well with the WOB who have been calling for him to replace Wenger in the summer, Conte says that he has been unable to persuade his CFC bosses to buy him the mega money stars that he has asked for
    if he can not persuade Roman to spend mega money, how do the WOB think he would persuade Stan to do it at AFC

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Antonio is on his way, not if, but when ( and how much). Like Jose I think after he won the PL in May he signed another contract. Does Roman never learn ?

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Andy

    And from where would this evidence appear if no one is looking for it? The match fixing in Italy would still be going on if the wire taps weren’t ordered and used as evidence for prosecution. And that’s only one type of fixing that is possible.

    Now you can assume the best of people. I do too. But you cannot safely assume that everyone is benign. Which is why we have rules in society, and on the football pitch, and suitable disincentives. Do the standard of protection the ‘rules’ of the Pgmol and how it’s structured seem enough to guard against a motivated party(ies) from deviating it from its purpose for its own use? Especially when the motivation is a combination of money, fame, prestige, and even geo-politics?

    A corrupt SYSTEM does not need corrupt people throughout it to be effectively corrupt. In time it doesn’t even need corrupt people at its head, because the corruption becomes entrenched (See Clattenburg’s comments below)

    Self interest reigns, and even when this self interest gives way to stupidity or (what appears like) altruism, it is ignored. Claus Lundekvam said he and other players routinely indulged in ‘spot fixing’, Halsey said the Pgmol forced him to falsify his match reports. But do we remember this as a scandal? No. It’s ironic that even when there is a whistleblower (pun intended) from the organisation, it is deemed unworthy of investigation. Clattenburg admitted to running a match contrary to the rules due to a specific narrative. And the fact that this was a boast rather than a mea culpa suggests that this is not only acceptable to the Pgmol, but a desired outcome. (They had no comment on this) Similarly with Moss screwing up the offside rule, and looking to TV to guide him, but the PGMOL insists he got the rule right (He didn’t!) and was ‘misguided’ and it’s all fine. If that lack of evidence isn’t simply by virtue of their opaqueness/ineptitude and backed up solely by their authority and entrenched position then what is it? Because I see no reason to simply take them at their word that they are doing the best they can when they, least controversially, don’t even make use of their own rules and panels.

    As for the patterns, I see that Arsenal are more often, so as to not even be close, the victim of bad decisions rather than the beneficiaries. And that this has been true since at least 2008. That we are also very often denied the benefit of, the same level of physicality or doubt as our opponents. Yes, I realise that this is hardly evidence, but at some point Andy, the lack of ‘proof’ is not a valid argument against a growing list of anecdotes that an intelligent observer can see. As such, you are constantly questioning my intelligence. Bias is NOT a valid counter because EVERYONE is biased, including refs. Which is why there are supposed to be rules and measures to limit the effect of this bias. As I said, I welcome this questioning doubtful attitude of yours, but to be fair, it must extend to the other side too. Why the meek acceptance of the viewpoint of the PGMOL? Where’s the evidence to support their arguments?

    And hey, maybe I am wrong, but if the best you can offer is that others suffer too and such is life, then I must ask why you are against life being better, for everyone?

    Liked by 5 people

  14. ed

    That still shot is pretty misleading. He had choice to take it first time when off balance and not well set, or steady himself to make better connection; chose latter and defender got back to block.

    I’m not a fan of folks using misleading stills like that for internet points scoring, banter or any of that, be it Sanchez or some other enemy.

    Don’t know why it irritates me, partly because if we see it as crap when it concerns our players, it’s obviously still same thing for others; mostly it’s part of the bigger picture where to use the internet much, especially twitter is to see endless bad opinions, twisted information, things taken out of context, and this mad appetite to cut bigger life into smaller bits for material…yeah, I should stay off twitter after a loss!!

    Bah humbug. But really this time has been especially rubbish on there. My overriding feeling right now is just boredom with most of the crap on twitter. Can’t remember feeling so much like that before but it could be a trick of memory.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. as I said Rich, I did not see any highlights so seen no video of it, was wondering from the photo what happened that he did not score.

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  16. afcstuff@afcstuff

    Arsenal fewest PL away wins in a season:

    1. 2017/18 – 3 (5 games remaining)
    2. 2000/01 – 5
    3. 2005/06 – 6

    Arsenal most PL away defeats in a season:

    1. 1994/95 – 11
    2. 2005/06 – 9
    3. 1992/93 – 8

    Current season – 7 (5 games remaining)

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  17. I see PED Guardiola is working his magic again, Leroy Sane who two weeks ago was ruled out for 7 weeks is back in the city squad for their cl game tomorrow.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. “And from where would this evidence appear if no one is looking for it? The match fixing in Italy would still be going on if the wire taps weren’t ordered and used as evidence for prosecution. And that’s only one type of fixing that is possible.”

    And why would you assume there were no are no ‘wire taps’ in place Shard and every move by every referee not forensically examined and snooped. Let us face it Piers Morgan and the tabloid rat-pack may have a few faults but a willingness to hack phones, trawl for and open e mails, bank accounts accessed and reviewed and put up fake sheikhs to catch the unwary and dishonest man with his trousers down ( or his whistle perhaps!)
    I suspect and I admit it is to more than suspicion, that every word that Clattenburg has said on a phone for the past 15 years has been listened to in the hope he drops himself in it.

    So far the biggest crime Clatteburg committed was giving some of his ref pals a lift home and getting a call from Neil Warnock ffs, NEIL WARNOCK ! to moan about a decision in the game he had just worked on or something ridiculous like that ?

    On the one hand you say you want refs to talk – then you misquote Clattenburg on his game managing comments.

    And (finally as I am off for my tea) what “viewpoint of the PGMOL” ? Do they have a “viewpoint” ? I have no idea what the viewpoint is if they do ….. !

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  19. Yeah, wasn’t on about you ed

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  20. Hazard’s gonna like playing with Giroud and vice versa I think.

    Bloody weird seeing him in that shirt. Football eh

    Liked by 2 people

  21. anicoll

    I followed phone hacking stuff pretty closely including reading book of main journalist behind it, and it would be quite odd if they didn’t do a bit of ref hacking.

    Example of how far they go is that when hacking the Pfa guy, Taylor I think, they hacked the phones of 15 or so friends and acquaintances of the woman they were trying to link to an affair with him.

    They did managers, players, PFA guy…dont see why they wouldn’t do refs.

    If they did though, and found anything, I don’t think Murdoch would run a story in a million years that would damage one of his very best revenue streams.

    I do think he has probably blackmailed 100’s if not thousands in his time though.

    If there were any outright corruption here, which I remain very sceptical about the likelihood of, that’d be a likely source, and it would take a similarly weird and circuitous external path to get there to uncover it, as any guilty parties would never harm themselves, and so many surrounding parties would likely be compromised.

    An amazing exploration of corruption and modern darkness that affair/ book was- Hack Attack: How the Truth caught up with Rupert Murdoch; Nick Davies- but ultimately unsatisfying and sad.

    His other book excellent as well- Flat Earth News

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  22. A5@15:30
    Happy to see your sum, I made a similar calculation to try to understand or imagine the data list behind at the time behind these opaque figures when they were released. Elsewhere, as I didn’t want to bore you all with my thoughts on this topic.

    Now we are here: Because there were available two sets of data, one which declares that it is based upon industry standard referee assessment templates and method, that publishes the data lists and sets etc behind the figure, and the other opaque one that does not.

    You’re happy to speculate on the opaque method possibly used by the pgMOB and at the same time also happy to dismiss the outlined transparent method derived from templates used around Europe used elsewhere.

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion and I would not even attempt to diminish or critique your preference there.

    I do imagine that an alien landing from the planet Voltron who knows nothing about football may also have a preference if asked to rely upon one of those figures as they are presented over the other.

    Sorry for the late reply I’ve been busy learning to calibrate a rubber belt using a tensionmeter (for those who are curious, I was as I hadn’t a clue what I was doing: measures are taken in hertz/Newtons).

    Liked by 2 people

  23. < just like in maths class, when you had to show the teacher how you made your sum in order to get full marks as opposed to just writing down a number!

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  24. I don’t assume anything either way on those wire taps. I just don’t believe deus ex machina is a very good principle either in writing a plot or to rely on to unravel the many mysteries in life. I also don’t believe that a refereeing organisation needs to be among these mysteries.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. << a stand alone figure or expression is not necessarily the wrong answer, but if you want full marks then…

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  26. The Pgmol’s viewpoint is that they get 98% decisions correct.

    You’ve already asked what the opposition figure to this would be? But why not just ask how this figure is arrived at in the first place. When you just submit to an authority figure blindly you get the situation where they get to redefine rules to maintain the facade of their correctness. (Like the offside rule with Kane) Because maintaining that veneer of authority becomes more important than the source of that authority.

    I get the slippery slope argument of being allowed to question/demanding more access to everything. I see why this can appear unfair or dangerous. It is about balance though. In this case, Pgmol has the balance wrong, which a comparison with other ref bodies, and with other sports would show.

    PS. The Clattenburg quote
    “It was theatre. I went in with a gameplan. That I didn’t want Tottenham Hotspur blaming Mark Clattenburg that they were going to lose the title. There should have been three red cards to Tottenham. I allowed them to self destruct. So all the media, all the people in the world went ‘Tottenham lost the title’. If I send three players off from Tottenham, what’s the headlines? ‘Clattenburg costs Tottenham the title.’ And it was pure theatre that Tottenham self-destructed against Chelsea and Leicester win the title.”

    PPS. Nothing to say on Halsey’s revelation that he was made to alter match reports?

    See Andy, everything can be explained away, and nothing adds up for you because I think you just refuse to do the math (as Americans say) I wish I could be like that. I WANT to believe the refs are fair. I want to believe that they make only 2% incorrect decisions. I am just unwilling to take it simply on authority.

    Liked by 3 people

  27. Bielik out of contract is a real surprise. What would the rationale be in a loan to League one at this stage in light of that?

    Club have obviously seen a lot more- everything- of him than we have but form the bits I’ve seen very hard to believe we’d be fine with him leaving this summer.

    Not going well in terms of my three young hopes for something different- real power; strong defensive qualities- in centre mid : Mcguane, Sheaf, Bielek.

    Hayden was my one before that.

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  28. The media love scandal, yet they make nothing of Clattenburg and Halsey’s claims? Maybe they have some other agenda too? Why kill the goose that lays the golden egg. A few hits of scandal, or a daily fix of transfer tittle tattle which take 5 minutes to write while enjoying access to club insiders and agents extraordinaire? That’s if my overlord media mogul even gives me access to any ‘tapes’ that may or may not exist. Pretty sure a stonewall silence by PGMOL or a flat out denial would subdue even the ‘evidence’ of a conversation between Riley and say, Ferguson, with a hint and a nudge about the next game! Because everything can be explained away or ignored as long as people are content with ‘the product’ and too afraid to look behind the curtain.

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  29. Rich, re Bielik, the piece I seen was translated from an article in Poland, so it was unclear if Bielik said he was out of contract this summer, or if it was what the article stated, or even if they put two and two together from his comments, about wanting to join Birmingham this summer.

    of course AFC loaning him out could be exactly because he is out of contract and is not extending so we get his wages off the books, and maybe also raise the compensation we would get in the summer if he leaves.

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  30. ed

    I have a bad track record anyway of thinking we should hang onto players longer when it turns out club were right to let them move on.

    I remember not liking our decision to loan out Aneke for last year of his contract!

    Our policy seems noticeably different form Chelsea ,for one, in that we seem to make decisions earlier and keep very few around from system once they hit 20. Akpom one of the only outfield ones I can think of here much after that without making breakthrough. Coq was another.

    Still, I’m hoping Bielek stays on.

    This year has made me more aware than ever of how tough it is, really, to fully make it from youth to first team.

    The cup appearances are great to see, but then the next level is the one Maitland Niles has passed to prove you can do it in even bigger games, then another level still, being chosen consistently, keeping out one or more experienced internationals in your position.

    After a game like the weekend’s it feels an extremely tall order, but I guess that’s partly misleading and not the whole picture.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. I’m huge Bielik fan. His upside could be unbelievable.
    I hope he stays @ the Arse.
    Yes the next level is tough, especially with the negativity of the digital goonerdom.
    Any smart player today must at some point turn off the internet to tune into themselves, to grow.

    Dummies already laying booby traps for Lacazette.
    He’s too intelligent to fall I think.
    This season’s looking like a doozy, the UEL might just be our way into 2018/19’s CL.
    We just need to get into the final vs NAPOLI don’t we, to qualify?
    They’re set to win Serie A.

    A tidy summer with a top notch DM, a top class CB, and we are good to go.
    Chambers, Emiliano, Holding, Bielik* & Macey must be given a chance to lay their claims to the CB & GK positions or else, what was the point of having them in the first team?

    AW knows…till then

    We have a league cup and 11 PL games to win along with the UEL.
    bRing them all on, go****mit!!!!!
    RASERS!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. The PGMOL are too secretive to be seen as fair and unaccountable, and what fair and unaccountable organisation offers fifty grand hush money.
    Arsene Wenger, after the west Brom mike Dean debacle says he has been in the game in this country for thirty years, and he had heard things, and stands by what he said after that game, it later transpires he called mike Dean a fucking cheat, dishonest or something along those lines, if Wenger said that , I believe him. On the word of an honest man, and what I have seen Mike Dean do to this team over the years, yes there will be convenient exceptions, but we know what we see.
    Arsenal are the only top club consistently in a negative penalty balance, year upon year after mike Riley was installed by Fergie and his LMA yes men, including big Sam, a man whose influence exceeds his talent, and integrity. A constant stream of dodgy pens against costs points, Mad Jens said similar recently.
    As for the famed Utd bias, it certainly existed under Fergie, two plus seasons no penalties against at OT, Fergie time. It may have abated post Fergie, but during his time, when ex referees have gone on record saying he had the power to select referees, if a manager can select refs, sounds similar to an Italian word I cannot spell beginning with C. The Utd bias, corruption, bullying, call it what you will existed, the media just laughed at it.
    Arsenal and Wenger have been systematically defrauded in this league, look at any metric, penalty bias, cards per foul, injuries inflicted on players, media bias, a respected manager called a paedophile from day one, xhakas tackles, the alleged Eduardo dive, referees making false claims against Wenger, LMA manager sucking up to Fergie making false claims against Cesc.
    It is all out there. Other supporters of other clubs may claim the same, but I sincerely doubt if Utd , Chelsea, City, Liverpool or Spurs fans could match the charge sheet of injustices against our team and manager, and if they could come close, the media would be all over it .
    Mike Riley is a weak and willing foot soldier put in place by those who wanted the English game over wengers continental approach which threatened one influential manager especially. Mike Riley was a poor referee, and is now an even worse administrator and communicator, as ex refs have confirmed. He is only in place as an establishment lickarse who will maintain whatever status quo those above him tell him. I often wonder if someone in hig place has something on him. He has power over referees careers. Wenger was a victim of mike riley, and those he serves corruption in a game we all remember, as he has been many times since.
    These are not all errors from refs, this is not objective reporting from the media, it is no coincidence so many of our player have been maimed, only for the ” he’s not that sort of player ” to appear next day in the papers, this is a campaign to rid the English game of a manager who has , from day one, refused to play the English game, to his eternal credit

    Liked by 3 people

  33. On the small amount I have seen on Bielik he has impressed me as a footballer and I would be frustrated if he is yet another youngster who comes in with obvious potential but exits after negligible first team exposure three or four years later. One half against Sheffield Wednesday ? Marvellous. And he is 20 years old now.

    I begin to wonder why any ambitious 15-16-17 footballer wants to join any PL club because the chance of you ever being given a run of first team games is next to or slightly below zero.

    Presumably it is all about the money.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Shard
    I grew up a fan of Charles Dickens and George Eliot myself. If wanting to not drown in a sea of your desperately poor fellow citizens excrement flooding from the local slum every time you open your front door counts as a “quest” these days: where do I sign up!? Always been in favour of the English Enlightenment (I’m happy to assume that the well know quest master and The Arsenal’s’ local MP, the most important politician in the country is as well), over L’Guillotines for my sins.

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  35. anicol the lower leagues are hardly over flowing with u21’s who are first team regulars either.
    and of course it has become all about the money, our former academy head Liam Brady said that the biggest change he seen in his time as academy boss was when he started the youth players being offered their first pro contracts at 16 or 17 didn’t have agents, it was usually their parents and family solicitor who looked over the paper work, but that now loads of the u12’s have agents, making all sorts of demands. even some u9’s are signed up to agents

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