Arsenal’s Away Form Explained – Our Narrative.


I was reading through the comments and found this from Eduardo, it perfectly explains my own thoughts on the subject. For anyone calling bullshit on it , Shotta has given us data to back this up in several of his blogs.

“I would say that we did not approach away games any different than home games, but two things, three as the season went on, altered the results

1. The biggest one for me, the refs away from home really did give us an awful time, lack of clear cut penalties, phantom penalties against us, the non calling of fouls for us cos Arsenal don’t like it up them,

2. Simple mistakes by our players, we seen our players make some crazy decisions in away games that we just did not see at home, we also played with a little less tempo away, meaning our attack was blunted,

The third thing was as the season went on, and the away form struggled, the players’ confidence away from home fell apart, it might only have made a 10% drop in performance, maybe even less, but that was enough. Our players got to the point where it seemed they just expected the officials to not give us the penalty, to flag us offside, to hand a penalty to the opposition, or for one of our guys to fuck up royally, if you like a self fulfilling prophecy. At home we were winning, so they played expecting to win, away we were losing and so it continued.
Its a new season, a new dawn, it could very well be that we will go the season unbeaten away, and struggle at home. A lot of this can depend on how we start the season, get the early wins and things can flow, struggle either at home or away and not only can it get in the players’ heads, but the NARRATIVE will be set in the media, in the blogs, etc, and it will make it so much harder. Of course get on a run of wins and maybe, just maybe, the Narrative will be Emery to lead AFC to title in first season.”


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    Lichtsteiner – £0
    Leno – £19.2m
    Sokratis – £17.7m
    Torreira – £26.5m
    Guedouzi – £8m
    (Estimated) Total Spent – £71.4m

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Welbeck to come off the bench and score the winner? I was right about Alli though it wasn’t the decisive goal, hopefully this double jinx will result in a net positive.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Unai Emery “We are delighted Matteo is joining us. He is a talented young player and a lot of clubs were interested in him. He has big potential and gained good 1st team experience last season with Lorient. He wants to learn and improve and will be an important part of our 1st team”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Unai Emery doing a press conference tomorrow for the Boreham wood friendly on Saturday, it seems he is actually doing it at Boreham Wood

    Liked by 1 person

  5. its coming home
    its coming home
    England’s coming home
    empty handed

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Eduardo, you re funny. LOL. Coming home empty handed, they could come with 3rd place

    Am glad Croatia won… well deserved.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. England were brave, certainly had their chances, they tried hard, Southgate has created a good spirit, and got further than most expected. But, up against half decent teams, they are limited, and though they have certainly improved, they still lost to the two decent teams they have played, albeit one didn’t matter, and I am sure helped them to the semi. This evening, the warning signs were there in the Colombia game, except Croatia were more clinical than the South Americans.
    A young team, but one that needs composure, and a creative technical lead in midfield, you know, the sort of player Arsenal have often had, the type who gets lumps kicked out of them in the prem league unless they play for a favoured team. They can improve, especially with some excellent players coming up through the ranks, but it will take time, we will read a lot of positive noises in the press, but England have slipped a long way behind despite this tournament, for many well, and some not so well documented reasons.
    As for Croatia, incredible, three Consecutive ET wins, two of them through penalties. And they are a much older team than England. I would love some of what they are taking! Hire their docs and physios I say, but if they keep going against France in ET, call WADA!
    Ok, maybe a little harsh for deserved winners this eve. Controlling tempo conserves energy, as England found to their cost.
    But I suspect the true winners from this eve are Monsieur Giroud and his mates.
    Then we can get back to proper football.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Don’t think I can take England reserves vs Belgium reserves again

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good semi final. Vast improvement for England on lamentable recent tournament showings. Hope English contingent here enjoyed the ride and aren’t too gutted tomorrow.

    After the Euros, I was convinced England would be better off biting the bullet and setting up like Iceland, N Ireland and other underdog teams. Would give some sort of identity, simplify things, take care of the big problem of midfield play, and of course they do have better playing resources than most teams who play that football.

    Wouldn’t say they quite went down that route, but they went at least halfway there. It worked pretty well; very well compared to recent tournament showings. The speed, mobility and running of Sterling and Lingaard, something those other teams don’t tend to possess, provided a nice twist.

    Future is surely more promising than for some time. It’s a good platform, though I wouldn’t be sure just yet the next qualification round (Euros) will look much different to recent ones.

    Results generally good in those but they rarely make for a good watch.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Got to add that if you had the will and were a git it would be easy to make a clip section to tear into Henderson for the game.

    Any four or five of the hopeful first time balls over the top would do, hoofing it to touch from edge of box, then maybe a coupe of bits and pieces from when Croatian midfield were dominating around him.

    Yes, I’m thinking about what they did to Xhaka. The point is, it would be unfair to Henderson. He’s had an effective tournament, playing to his strengths and mostly avoiding limitations.

    First half again it worked well. Charged about disrupting them, played simple passes quickly when no chance of dispossession and, sticking to gameplan no doubt, hit those hopeful passes over the top, which have a small chance of coming off big time, and guarantee opposition don’t get ball in dangerous area. Game changed later on, which meant doing that would not likely be enough and limitations of approach became a factor.

    Sometimes you eat the bear…

    But anyway, if you had the desire, and were being a shit, you could easily make him look bad and hammer him. Maybe some plonker on Swiss tv did, who knows.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Already seeing it’s all the furriners in the prem comments and that only Spuds have English players blah blah blah

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Disappointed about last night’s result although I know for football reasons it’s better that a footballing team win it.
    When the tournament is analysed maybe it will t be as a massive step up as some are suggesting. Had we played Belgium first the next two games would have been under far greater pressure. Let’s not forget the Tunisians nearly got a result and so decent victories against Panama and Sweden are our main plus points. If you also consider the lack of chances from open play then there is still alot to work on and maybe not much difference between those teams who have come home earlier.
    On the plus side the squad does look balenced and the love train at corners was definitely something opposition struggled with, something PL teams will use I’m sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I don’t think it was brave performance.

    As the game went on the more England tired the more Modric saw the ball and Croatia took hold of the midfield and the game. They surrendered the midfield to the opponent.

    Shoehorning a no.10 who can finish but does nowt else on a football pitch at no.8 is one choice.

    but for me in a game of football it would’ve shown more bravery to pick a midfielder who can play some football for the Croatia contest, as opposed to trying to run past them which was a plan that worked until the freshness evaporated and they had to play some footy
    (Some would describe this as “poor defensive coaching”, it wasn’t, it was just a little bit repeat of The Michael Carrick Syndrome).

    Liked by 2 people

  14. If Kane makes the pass to Sterling then England would’ve capitalised on their plan.

    If Sterling had ignored Kane for a tap in to make it 2-0 we know what the headlines in certain quarters would be!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Markyb
    Have you been reading from the ‘pgMOB rules (ok?) variable football code handbook on Game Management’ from their intranet?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Not brave but a gamble, one that depended upon fitness and movement as primary strengths but that always becomes less of a strength the longer a team go into a tournament
    Modric was off his feet late on, and couldn’t keep up in the first half, perhaps slower out the blocks after those extra times, but he could still pass the ball…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. If Modric is a star at this World Cup I can’t help but imagine how a fit Cazorla might have fared (Modric played in Cazrola’s shadow during that first 5pur2 game).

    Liked by 2 people

  18. We didn’t hear the usual possession figures but I reckon the Croats had quite a lot of it second half

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Which is a neat little lead in to thoughts about the new midfielder who played for Uruguay in this tournament.

    Couldn’t watch any of their games. Any thoughts on the new signing?

    Liked by 1 person

  20. England fannied their way into a WC semi final but were eventually found out by a far, far more resourceful team (well done Croatia and best of luck against France). They did OK & I’m pleased for their ‘success’ but where are the great English playmakers these days? Wilshire’s done for, Grealish hasn’t progressed and even Iwobi chose Nigeria. No Lampards, No Gerrards, No Scholes’ & no Gazzas.
    Loftus-Cheek may be the one, but he needs a run in the side as an Alli alternative.
    So, the Euro qualification games should be revealing.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. It’s essentially “kick and rush” footy. Same as it has been. No need for an autopsy.

    Otherwise he’d have played RLC in these last two games as he had already performed at no.8 in this tournament. And picked another midfielder who could pass the ball in his squad. And left Sterling who had been playing some fine football on instead of Rashford who came on to rush into some kicks, from Dier.

    Which was dire.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Apologies for misspelling Wilshere. 😱

    Liked by 2 people

  23. rush onto > rush into

    Liked by 1 person

  24. *coughs*
    There’s a generous and kind appreciation here of the poor grammar and spelling when typing on a phone. I hope!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. ian I’m not sure the England squad could be described as balanced when the midfield was so downright ordinary, not a single creator in the squad, maybe by balanced you mean its back ups were carbon copies of the first choice players, especially in midfield.

    someone mentioned how well the train worked at dead ball situations, but the reality is that it really didn’t cause either Belgium or Croatia much trouble at all, it was a problem for Panama (but everything was a problem for them), Tunisia and to an extent Sweden, and I for a while thought maybe Southgate had really hit on something with his NBA tactics, but in the end it looked like its one of those things that kills lesser teams but when you come up against a big organized defense its no better than what came before. Oddly enough as the World Cup went on and defenders, due to VAR, no longer could pull and drag the set piece danger of England lessened, as defenders actually went out and defended the ball, and not the man, so the train which is described to counter the pulling and dragging, was redundant.

    Lastly I see the media going overboard about the age of this young England squad and how almost just the ageing process will mean Euro and WC glory is but down the road, well France might win the WC on Sunday, and a whole host of their players are very young too, one of which Dembele, who is an excellent player, can’t get any game time, he’d walk into the current England team.
    Germany despite their woes this time around have a lot of young players coming on stream, Spain too.
    the skill set and player profile is much more important than their actual age, is there an Mbappe level youth in the England squad, or on the horizon.
    England will continue to be Stoke in disguise till they and the BPL and especially the PGMOL embrace Technical and Skilled players, the mistrust of such players in the English game has been a disgrace for generations. Power, Pace, Strength, Grit, are lauded, the Jack Wilshere’s of this world are kicked out of the game,.
    English football folk take the big robust guy over a Glenn Hoddle, or Jack Wilshere, or Matt LeTiss, or even an Ian Wright, I’m old enough to recall how the likes of Frank Worthington, Charlie George, Alan Hudson, Stan Bowles, Rodney Marsh, or Graham Rix and many more were vastly under used by England, and how the media would always look to blame these skilled players for any and all defeats, “we should play to our strengths” is the cry, big strong robust cloggers is our way, isn’t it why the media lauded this current bunch, Henderson and Dier is exactly what they see as the very essence of Englishness

    Liked by 2 people

  26. this miss major reason why England lost the game, the Golden Boot race more important than putting the game to bed.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. seemingly Lucas Torreira will report to Arsenal for pre season on 30th July, which would give him a chance of being in the squad for the season opener

    Liked by 1 person

  28. ‘When players are given licence to foul with little or no prospect of disciplinary sanction it allows the dirty teams to prosper.

    Dejan Lovren and Ante Rebic committed foul after foul, breaking play up and sapping energy from English players with strong physical fouls.

    It was telling that when Rebic was eventually cautioned, in extra time, he was quickly substituted – it was a pity Lovren didn’t suffer a similar fate.

    [on the ref] … despite not enjoying the style employed, probably instructed, he had no real negative affect on the outcome of an absorbing game. ‘

    Poll there, showing our guys do understand these principles, something you would never guess from watching our games nor listening to Poll, Gallagher,etc normally.

    I like the ‘probably instructed’ bit a lot as well. Indeed, Graham.

    As it happens, Lovren should have been booked first half, Rebic could have been earlier as well, but it was pretty mild compared to plenty of prem games and especially next to tactics used against us regularly, but then presumably our refs are ‘probably instructed’ also to do what they do.

    Liked by 4 people

  29. In Kane’s defence, most strikers would shoot there, including our own (though I thought it was a big feature of our best years that we would very often pass in such situations)

    Could also be a case of the still picture being a little unkind/deceptive, as he is already well into the movement of shaping to shoot there, so any decision not to pass would have been a few frames back, and Sterling may not have been as open.

    Final point is that it was given as offside on that 1st phase, with the linesman waiting until it was over, as instructed, to put up flag on a close one. Replay suggested level so could have been overturned with VAR.

    Doesn’t change point that Sterling would likely get a lot of blame if roles reversed though.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. When mentioning bravery, referring to the players rather than management.
    No issues with the players, as I mentioned, as a team, limited, but they did their best with the hand they were dealt, tried hard, worked hard.
    International football not really my thing, but get the impression that like Roy Hodgson, there is an element of GS trying to turn England into Tottenham, forgetting that the player that really knits that team together comes from the land of bacon and Bendtner, Southgate picked nobody like Eriksen.
    Southgate is like all recent England managers , conservative to a fault. Kane was dead on his feet in the last couple of games, but would such a manager dare leave out a talisman striker like Sir Alf did in 1966- not saying Kane is a bad player or should have been left out or substituted, especially at the stage we played for pens, but just saying.
    But including a cream crackered striker and another forward clearly lacking confidence made things very easy for Croatia to grow into the game, let along a lack of creativity in MF.
    Basically, an opportunity missed, reports of a new dawn are very premature though age group teams are doing very well.
    But as long as the EPL is about money, preserving the British game, the FA have no real power, not that I would trust them with it, as long as Mike Riley stays there gleefully doing what he is told, despite whatever the players do, the song will remain the same, and England will underachieve. English football needs a true visionary, like we once had, before he was thwarted from without, and possibly within

    Liked by 3 people

  31. Seems to be a proper trend now for smaller cm’s following Kante’s success.

    We have Torreira, Utd signed 5 foot 7 Fred, Keita is 5′ 8″, now Fulham with 5” 6″ Seri.

    Spurs sort of following if they go for Barrios at 5′ 10″, he’s more average height but has a very light frame which helps for lots of running and interceptions. Thought Ramires was in that mould before any of them. Known as Blue Kenyan and with a frame that helped for endless running. Dirty git though. And I’m sure Barrios is the same, before Poch has got to work with him!

    All different players as I’m sure we’ll see this year. Torriera actually didn’t look perfectly built for the interception and closing down side of things, but compensated through hard work and cleverness, and also looks to have a good game with the ball.

    Maitland-Niles is extremely interesting on this front as he does look perfectly built for recovery runs, closing down, interceptions,etc, but also can use the speed and running for other purposes, and has lots of ability on the ball.

    Liked by 3 people

  32. Eds

    Doesn’t matter how young the squad is when the FA, the pgMOB etc still have a risible fetish for:

    Kick & Rush football.

    Which passed its sell by date some time ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Any player that can take the field in a WC SF and not collapse into a heap of jelly has my respect.

    Bravery in football for me is choosing to play Cazorla in CM in the PL after he lost a little bit pace. Supported by his colleagues on the pitch.

    I also believe that players like Ozil and Molby (before my time) although “lazy” are some of the bravest footballers any of us will have seen. And I’d Wilshere to that list.

    Takes some bravery to take on an opponent or opponents with a dribble in the PL when you are still recovering from previous injuries and you don’t have the protection that certain diving cloggers (Cowards!) like some Tottenham players (who still haven’t done it on the big stage) constantly receive.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Q:
    How many blaggers/commentators/plundits will make the simple easy observation (that is not an opinion!) that England still play:

    Kick & Rush.


    A: Watch this space! Not. Many.


  35. England indeed played kick and rush – without the benefit (for the majority of the game) of a single left footed outfield player. Which makes them very predictable in two key ways. Not good.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Indersight

    Given the billions spent by the broadcasters etc. I can understand why they’d be afraid of describing Kind & Rush as Kick & Rush because this style of football expired sometime around 1975 & pretty much all the great English club teams have played what we would call Pass & Move when growing up.

    Sorry to the many many admirers of Tottenham but “putting the pressure” on does not a great team make! (whereas winning a hat-trick of Fa cups in four years…?). But at least you can understand and accept one reason why the pgMOB desire to promote that particular team. As they play in their preferred style.

    Which is funny as when I was growing up Tottenham were admired for their more progressive football. Now they have no admirers (apart from one or two here hopefully there?) along with the lack of trophies.

    Progress, I guess?


  37. Kick and rush, the words alone depress me, we really should have moved on from that, but it was certainly in evidence last night, as was a seemingly fatigued/ injured Kane dropping further back at times because this tactic really wasnt working, certainly from the second half onwards.
    The depressing thing, GS says the team have now found an identity to play with. Willing runners and grafters, set pieces, bags of spirit, pashun, long balls will only get a team so far, at least in most cases
    Can see why the FA initially chose Big Sam, even though it is said Wenger rejected the job more than once, so maybe there are people there who have seen the light

    Liked by 2 people

  38. little game for you, below are two questions and answers, and you have to decide, Emery or Wenger, which of them said it.

    on how many more players he would like to sign…
    Normally, in my career the big clubs don’t close the [door] or the moment to sign a new player. Today, we are OK. Maybe we can bring in one if there’s a very good possibility for them to help us, but the club has done a great job of signing new players and I am happy.

    on whether there’s a position he’s looking at strengthening…
    We signed the players who we needed and only if one player is a big opportunity for us will we sign them. Normally, we are thinking about the young players, the possibility of them staying with us or going to play on loan at another team. We are also thinking about the players who were with us last year and whether we need them to stay with us. At the moment, I think the squad is complete. We will only sign another player if there is an opportunity to bring in that one player, or two players. We will only sign a player in the next month if he’s a big opportunity.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. So somebody did put together a little clip package, but not the tv guys obviously.

    I’ll stick with Xhaka,thanks

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Curtinio
    ‏ @Curtinio_
    6h6 hours ago
    Replying to @kaibardal @MarkMac888

    He plays football like the guy who ran out of the Zaire wall & kicked the ball away 😆


  41. Billie Coakley
    ‏ @billiec88
    59m59 minutes ago
    Replying to @kaibardal @jack_brennan21

    He was good against Tunisia and Panama though 😂


  42. So what’s anyone’s take on the sort of skills English midfielders generally lack and which someone like Modric is one of the highest examples of?

    I’m trying to think of something beyond class, intelligence, technique. Those are all true but it feels like there’s something else, which I know well when I watch it, or don’t, but which I can’t describe as well as i want to.

    It was shown well in that moment first half Modric was out on the right wing, considered crossing, didn’t like options well enough, so held off, turned, weighed things up again, and then slipped the ball at a nice angle into a teammate to run towards England penalty area.

    It was typical Modric and, as often, reminded me of things Xavi and iniesta did. I think the key is that they have enough trust in their technique to be willing to wait until very late on before selecting an option. They can make constant adjustments of body and ball while searching out a good option. Skill, I suppose, but almost never done flashily.

    Someone with lesser technique is much more fearful of being closed down, and in the instance mentioned would have just played the cross in with nothing on.

    Also important to have teammates on same wavelength of course.

    Technique and intelligence are the two main factors I guess. I’m still yet to be convinced even now England is a place where such players can be grown.

    Some might make it through youth football, despite the obstacles there, with the potential to become that sort of player, but then, bam, senior football- what managers here would encourage a player right at the start of their career to trust their technique and hold onto the ball if they feel it’s appropriate? (Plus that style can’t be played successfully by one player in isolation)

    There’s one who I’m pretty sure would have done that, and with 16 year old Fabregas and Wilshere from youth that’s probably the closest to Modric, Iniesta, Pirlo, Cazorla, Verrati, etc type footballers produced here.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Rich
    Between Carrick and Wilshere we’ve seen two different bt highly successful styles of CM. More or less ignored by the national team.

    There must have been a defensive type midfielder in recent times too who would’ve complemented the two in a three, can’t think of a name off the top of my head.

    Henderson getting all the jip for England’s poor midfield but one reason he had to lump it up the field was because there was not much on for him, completely isolated.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Was interesting to hear Rio Ferdinand describe the restrictions placed on him by Sven, don’t pass too much, don’t cross the halfway line.

    Rio mentioned that the team was far more proressive under Hoddle for all his eccentricities, but he wouldn’t risk raising an objection and losing his place in the team. The way the luck worked for England was that el tel and Hoddle had a tournament each, and then we had a decade or more of Sven and Fabio who was more interested in his Capello Index then the actual footy his team were playing…if those two could stay for so long, let’s just say I highly appreciated the satire of the FA in the Damned Utd, Mike Basset England manager (if dear old Mike is the hero then who was the villain of the tale?). No light from or upon them. An axe may be helpful. I fully agree with Tony Atwood on this topic and he articulates it all much better then I.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. I don’t have much hope for an organisation that chose the Cheat Revie over Clough.

    B-Phil Neville.
    C-Gary Neville.


  46. seeing Emery’s comments re the squad and any more incomings was like seeing a word for word repeats of the stuff Wenger said many times, – “squad complete” might bring in one more if “someone goes out” and if we can get in an “exceptional deal”

    the more things change the more it stays the same

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Fins

    Carrick a good shout. He was an excellent player.


  48. Highlight for me was walking down the street in hackney as Trippier’s excellent free kick went in (I was late of course!) and children and adults could be seen and heard exclaiming their delight and happiness from the balconies of the flats, from the houses and on the street from all directions.


  49. < comment on Henderson relates to second half onwards. Sterling and Lingaard were the attacking/creative highlights for me in that first half.


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