Suarez, Sturridge, Robben. Do AFC need a Cheat?

March 18, 2014

Bear with me ….

Over the past week we have seen and been on the wrong end of some dreadful cheats. A quick think brings me to Sturridge’s appalling dive to get Vidic sent off, Robben’s dive to earn BM a penalty, Suarez theatrics (nothing new there) and the world renowned Gerrard Flop.

Furtherrmore, this season we have had Lewandowski at Dortmund flapping around like a beached trout and Ashley Young perfecting his double somersault with twist and pike.

Over at Stamford Bridge we have some wonderful diving talent – Hazard, Oscar and Torres trying successfully to do The Drogba (a master of the art). Man City rely on the collapsing talents of Silva, Dzeko and Nasri.

Spurs have lost Monkeyboy who is world class at cheating but he has joined a whole team well versed in the Dark Arts – Marcelo, Ronaldo and Pepe etc – all love a dive.

Barca have Busquets, Pique, the obnoxious Alves, Neymar and Adriano.

So, who are Arsenal’s divers and if we don’t have them  …. why not?

Diving pays. It may offend your finer sensibility but it works – time and time again. What is the cost if a dive gets spotted by the referee? A yellow card, hardly enough of a deterrent to stop a clever forward, after all the profit is a penalty and probably a goal. Yellow card or goal? Ask a defender whether they would take one for the team when an attacker is advancing on goal – we fans get angry when the defender prefers to allow the game to flow!! So why not use such a cost-free tactic?

The antics of Robben last week infuriated me but had Giroud the nous to cheat his way to a penalty in a similar manner would I really protest? Would you?

What the first few para’s show is that all the top sides have players who dive and do so on a regular basis. A dive can get your team not just a penalty but also in the case of Sturridge a valuable defender sent off.

I am trying to recall an Arsenal player diving for a penalty. It must have happened in the last few seasons but I cannot recall it. Eduardo was called for diving – and goodness me the media went mad – even though he was just avoiding an Orc trashing his damaged leg. Perhaps this has had a knock-on effect on the way we play. Eboue liked a dive but he was so hopeless at “simulation” it became laughable and embarrassing.  Oh, I just remembered Santi diving vs West Brom in 2012 and Arteta burying the pen.Since then ….. ?

I know, I know … it isn’t The Arsenal Way, we always take the moral high ground and I am proud of Wenger’s honesty and his belief in The Beautiful Game but just once couldn’t we ape our opposition and go for the reverse dive with tuck?

What do you think?

written Tongue-in-Cheek by Big Raddy


Secret Letters Reveal Arsenal Transfer Plans

June 3, 2013

Yes, it’s that time again: time to find out which of the “transfer target” stories have legs and which don’t, based on an ancient and secret formula for decoding the gossip and separating the silver from the dross.

The key lies in the letters.

No, not letters from Dick Law to various European club presidents saying “Please can we have player X. We will give you lots of money eventually but only after we have haggled until the last second of the transfer window. Go on – please.”

It’s far more mysterious than that.

You see just as astrologers find hidden meaning in the music of the spheres and phrenologists divine whole futures from the bumps on your bonce, so too can skilled observers detect clues from the very letters that make up the names of our purported targets.

I am such a skilled observer so, once again, I can proudly reveal the results of the Arsenal Arsenal Anagramometer. It’s a very simple process: you take the letters of a given target’s name, scramble them into new words – and in those words lie the answers to whether those players are right for the Mighty Arsenal or – in some cases – are definitely heading our way.

For example, a couple of summers ago there was a story linking us with a move for the Wolves and Ireland striker Kevin Doyle. There were even some indications that the Arsenal hierarchy really were looking at him as a stop-gap target man.

However, once the Arsenal Arsenal Anagramometer revealed that when you scramble “Kevin Doyle” you get “Evil Donkey” the club dropped him like a hot potato. And rightly so.

Likewise I could have told you weeks ago that Yaya Sanogo would be joining us after I scrambled his letters and came up with: “As a Goon? Yay!”

So now we move onto this summer’s mooted targets. The secrets that emerge from the anagramometer may surprise you…

Stevan Jovetic

The Montenegran striker currently at Fiorentina has been very strongly linked with us this summer. I don’t doubt his skills, but the letters show that he may be motivated by personal greed and may have an arrogant personality that won’t gel with the rest of the dressing room: “Vain – Covets Jet.”

Gonzalo Higuain

Sometimes the revelations of the letters are clear – sometimes they are more cryptic. Higuain comes into the latter category. The supremely gifted, two-footed Argentinian striker has apparently told Real Madrid that he wants to leave – but will he come to us? His scrambled letters come out as “Laughing In A Zoo.” Now that could be a reflection of how he feels currently in the crazy world of Mourinho’s Madrid. Or it could be a metaphor for him having a happy and successful time in the middle of Arsenal’s menagerie of prize specimens from all over the world. I like Higuain so I hope it’s the latter.

Wayne Rooney

Poor old Wazza. We’ve unscrambled him before and it always just comes out as “Nan Were Yoyo.” The idea of a grannie bouncing up and down on a teenage Wayne is guaranteed to put anyone off their supper. And I’m afraid it guarantees that we will not be seeing Rooney with a cannon on his chest.

Edinson Cavani

If we want someone who is the anti-Rooney, then Edinson – who’s been banging in the goals for Napoli – is our man. It’s all in the letters, you see: “Nice – Avoids Nan.”

Julio Cesar

Another cryptic one. Julio’s letters unscramble as “Jail Course”. I know it looks confusing at first glance, but to the trained eye it’s another story – and one that almost certainly means he’s on his way to our squad this summer. For a start, he has had a course of confinement in the jail that was QPR’s relegation season under chief warder ‘Appy ‘Arry and he is clearly desperate to breathe again the fresh air of freedom. Secondly, the meaning of “jail” in the context of a goalkeeper is “secure, safe.” Basically, we’re going to sign Cesar and he’s going to be great.

Victor Wanyama

Unfortunately the letters in the Celtic defensive midfielder’s name do not reveal whether or not he’s joining us – but they do show that if we  get him, we will be getting a player with oodles of confidence: “I Can Avow My Art.”

Clement Grenier

Arseblogger himself has a little dabble at anagramising Clement’s name yesterday. He came up with “Gentlemen Crier” for the Lyon midfielder. Nice try ‘Blogger, but it takes years of dedication to master this particular art. In fact the true unscrambling of the Frenchman’s name suggests that if we get him this summer, it will only be a loan basis and that he will be very, very good: “Renting Le Crème.”

David Villa

I was gutted when I saw the way the letters fell with the Barcelona and Spain striker Villa. He’s a great player and I was hoping we might get him this summer. But “Advil Valid” suggests that if we do, it will be a headache for all concerned. Steer clear, Arsene!

Lars Bender

Who needs an anagram when you’re called Lars Bender, you might well ask. But even the most amusing names can benefit from a spin cycle in the anagramometer. And when we throw in the young Bayern Leverkusen midfielder we find that he might fit in ever so smoothly with our existing midfielders: “Rare Blends.”

Christian Benteke

If Arsene is tempted by the Aston Villa striker I feel impelled to warn him that it would be an unwise gamble. The naturalized Belgian (he was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) has had a good season in the Premier League but would be overpriced and may well suffer from second season syndrome. The letters are emphatic on what we should think of Wenger if he signs him: “Arsene In Thick Bet.”

Finally a player with whom we have not yet been officially linked but… you never know. After all, no-one was expecting that Sol Campbell would abandon the swamp dwellers and move to The Home of Football.

Gareth Bale

Let’s just say that if the Welsh Wing Wizard joins us, first he will have to have a “Large Bathe” to remove all traces of N17 pollution… you know, little bits of choke dust, some motes of envy and speckles of spite – all the usual detritus of lingering too long in the shadows.

That’s it.

Thank you for indulging my fondness for anagrams.

If it’s not your thing, no problem – it would still be great to hear what you think are the merits or failings of the above named players with whom we have been widely linked.

RockyLives


Wilshere or Bale?

February 14, 2013

Simple question: who is more important to their team – Gareth Bale or Jack Wilshere?

The idea was discussed in the comments on Arsenal Arsenal a couple of days ago in response to Gn5’s Post about this season’s run-in.

wilshere v bale

Some people suggested that the loss of Bale through injury would be a blow from which Tottenham’s Champions League hopes could not possibly recover.

The implication was that Tottenham have become something of a “One Man Team” – the same charge that was leveled against us last year, when Robin van Whatsisname was scoring most of our goals.

Some polite and courteous Totts fans (yes, seriously) joined the discussion to suggest that we would be in the same boat should our own Jack Wilshere come a cropper.

It was an interesting debate and I can summarise the Arsenal supporters’ response fairly simply (it’s not what you’re thinking – this was a courteous discussion, remember?). It was: “If we lost Jack for a period of time it would be a blow but not a devastating one because we have other strong midfield options, including Santi Cazorla, Arteta, Diaby, Rosicky, Coquelin and Ramsey.”

On the other hand, if you look at Tottenham, Bale has been scoring at better than a goal every other game for them this season. He has 15 in all competitions in 29 appearances. The Spuds’ only other serious goal threat is Defoe, who has 14 from 32 games. Remove Bale from the equation and the Totts would suddenly look very toothless up front.

There is no question that both Wilshere and Bale are gifted players. We Arsenal types may make fun of the Spurs man and the fact that his best friends are Tarzan and Dian Fossey, but we would probably all be very pleased with him indeed if he wore a cannon on his shirt and not a chicken perched on a basketball.

Wilshere, meanwhile, is already being talked of as a future Arsenal and England captain. Whatever Spuds fans might say about him now, you know they would love him in their team.

However, one area of difference between Bale’s importance to Spurs and Wilshere’s to Arsenal is that if you asked Tottenham fans to say who was their most important player I bet virtually everyone would opt for Bale.

If you asked Arsenal fans the same question, Wilshere might well be the top answer but he would certainly not be an overwhelming winner. Santi Cazorla, Walcott and Arteta would all (I suspect) get a lot of votes.

No doubt there will be many surprises between now and the end of the season. Injuries, fixture congestion, form and confidence will all play their part.

If Bale and Wilshere both stay fit they will surely have an impact on their teams’ respective prospects of a top four finish.

But if either gets injured… what do you think?

For me, a Bale injury would make it very, very tough for Spurs. A Wilshere injury would be more manageable for Arsenal.

Note to Spurs Fans: Arsenal Arsenal welcomes your comments on this subject if they are non-abusive. We have had friendly debates with Spurs fans in the past and are happy to do so again, but abusive comments will be deleted.

RockyLives


Bale’s A Proven Diver: Why No Fuss?

December 31, 2012

Against West Brom recently Santi Cazorla was fouled in the opposition box and went down. We scored from the resulting penalty.

The camera angles first appeared to show little or no contact. Later an angle emerged showing clear contact on Santi’s shin.

Arsenal's Cazorla challenges West Bromwich Albion's Reid during their English Premier League soccer match in London

But that did not stop the media going into a frenzy about our little Spaniard’s alleged “cheating”.

The story ran for days – including calls for retrospective banning – and was a foul slur on an international performer who plays the game fairly.

Of course it was no surprise to us Arsenal supporters. We had seen the witch hunt perpetrated against Eduardo following a Champions League game versus Celtic shortly after his return from a (literally) shattering leg break. Eduardo may or may not have dived in that case, but the outcry was out of all proportion to any other diving incident in football ever.

Now fast forward to the Saturday just past. Tottenham’s winger Gareth Bale was booked for diving after what was, at best, minimal contact from a Sunderland player. Bale had reacted to the contact by hurling himself to the ground.

bale dive

Here’s the remarkable thing: it was Bale’s FIFTH booking for diving since the start of last season – three more yellows for simulation than any other player in the EPL, even Ashley Young!

We know that referees get things wrong from time to time, but five bookings for diving can’t be explained away by officials’ errors. It quite clearly points to a player who uses cheating as a weapon in his armoury.

And let’s not forget, those are only the occasions where Bale’s dives have been penalised. There are many other examples of dives that have gone unpunished by the refs. Often they result in a free kick or even penalties to Tottenham (as we have found to our own cost).

So we see that Bale is a proven cheat of a player. Someone who, while undoubtedly a talented footballer, has been shown up repeatedly for his dishonesty.

And against Sunderland he took his tally of bookings for cheating up to a shamefully high level.

With that in mind, I expected the Sunday sports pages to contain a barrage of articles demanding that he be banned for a long period, that he be made to apologise publicly, that his manager be forced to condemn diving and so on. Or at least some earnest debates about morality in the modern game.

Lo and behold, what did I find?

Match reports that barely mentioned Bale’s booking and did so exclusively in the context of the Welshman’s claims of being persecuted; and – most ludicrous of all – articles suggesting he would be “hounded out” of English football “like Cristiano Ronaldo” if referees kept targeting him in this unfair way.

So please, Dear Reader, answer me this: why does the media seek to make English football’s most proven cheat appear as a persecuted victim, yet sets out to crucify any Arsenal player against whom there is the slightest allegation of diving?

I can’t fathom it.

Perhaps it’s that Bale (unlike Eduardo and Cazorla) is British and the British media seldom take to task home grown players for blatant cheating and foul play (Ashley Young, Rooney and Gerrard all have extensive “previous” for simulation, but are never demonised by the press).

Or maybe it’s just that the reporters have put so much effort into building up Bale as the next big thing (despite his stats being not as good as Theo Walcott’s) that they can’t bring themselves to acknowledge a glaring flaw in his approach to the game.

Or maybe you have a better theory… I’d be interested to hear it…

RockyLives


High Noon

November 19, 2010

In my very young years Spurs were the best in the country if not the world, with a team that had it all – speed, craft, strength (what a player Dave Mackay was), super full backs, centre halves (as they were then) a fine keeper and the late , great Bobby Smith upfront. I can still name the entire 61 Double team, such was their impact upon my psyche.

It was touch and go whether I supported the forces of good or evil, my father had gone over to the dark side and encouraged me to do the same. I was taken to  the coven at WHL to be surrounded by waling banshees and devil worshippers. Thankfully I saw the light and was led onto the path of good and righteousness by other family members. Had they not exorcised me I could have been subjected to a life of ridicule and envy, for such is the life of a Spurs fan. How those poor saps made the disastrous decision to support the joke that is THFC is for them to analyse, but I think it must be centred upon low self-esteem and a history of bed wetting.

Last season we lost our record of not having been beaten by them in the PL this century – you may recall they brought out a DVD. In a way it took a monkey off our backs, but it still rankles that our team didn’t perform that night and a Spurs lad scored the goal of his life (poor chap has gone back to a life of obscurity). And then there was the 4-4 (another DVD!) a game which in which we threw away 2 points and allowed an ex-AFC reserve to score the goal of his life – we must stop that habit!

Spurs go into the game with fresh legs thanks to them having so few Internationals, whereas our boys have all (16 of them!) been away playing meaningless friendlies.  Players like Arshavin and Nasri who played 90 minutes will struggle for fitness.

To see the vast gulf in class between our clubs one only has to assess the respective managers. Mr. Wenger is approaching sainthood, whereas Harry is an execrable human being whose only redeeming features are his fit daughter-in-law and his bank balance.

There can be no doubt that at last Spurs have a decent squad, they can play good football and have quality throughout the side. In Gareth Bale they have the best player in the World – the new Messi  (yeah, right….typical Spurs, 10 decent games from Bale and he is worth €50m!!), the Bale/Sagna battle will be mouthwatering. Modric despite having a ratface and the body of an undernourished spaniel is a player who would flourish at Man Utd – he is wasted at the Sh**hole. Jenas is likely to play thanks to Fatboy Huddlestone’s ban, a player who loves a goal against us – he will have to closed down fast. Lemon is quick but crosses like Clichy, Crouch is hated by the Spurs acolytes which sums them up – I like him but hope he has a stinker tomorrow. Same goes for Pavlachenko – actively disliked by his own fans (check out their blogs). Then there is  Van de Vaart, the “New Dennis Bergkamp”, an Real reject who has started well in the PL, he is without doubt a fine player and an excellent signing by Redknapp, our defensive midfielders will have to be very aware of his movement, for that reason I would play Denilson ahead of Wilshere.

Our ex-captain WG will start and I expect him to get a rousing welcome (actually the expected response will be apathy unless he scores). Should (when) Spurs lose tomorrow their fans will focus upon their defence and the lack of their 3 best CB’s, but let us be honest, if King plays 12 games a season he has had a good year, Woodgate isn’t even in their 25 man squad; Dawson it has to be admitted is a loss but they have a WC winner as a replacement!

Our team:

We have had 2 back to back away victories and return to the Grove where our record is surprisingly not great this season. The fighting performances on the road must be continued if we are to win tomorrow. I am told Arshavin is running into good form, and Chamakh is on a fine scoring streak. Fabregas has found aggression to add to his sublime skills and Nasri is the Premiership’s form player. We have easily enough quality to win this game – what will be required is commitment and concentration over the whole 95 minutes.

The North London Derby (NLD) has at last got some frisson back thanks to the resurgence of the devilspawn fro N17, the atmosphere at The Grove will be electric, the teams excited and inspired, and I just wish I could be there….

Here’s hoping for a great game, a decent referee, an early goal, one just before half time to calm the nerves and a victory for the men in the white hats.

This is not a purely a question of football superiority – it is the eternal battle for the triumph of good over evil

COYRRG

Written by BigRaddy


Manu’re Decomposing …….. Jack’s a Diamond

November 6, 2010

Hypothesis…….

Imagine you are a 68 y.o. football manager, a man who without question is the greatest club manager in English football history ( difficult for you Chary :-) ), you have recognised your powers are failing and that your legacy is under threat.

You have assembled some very expensive talent, you have 3 players for whom you have paid over  €30m a man, and bought some of the most expensive foreign kids available. Yet the team is ordinary, reliant for it’s imagination upon the fading talents of ageing greats and the mercurial talents of a bully boy who was touted as the future of English football but is now going through a breakdown (perhaps!). Your perennial rivals down the road have suddenly become serious contenders and threaten to be take your throne as England’s glamour club, something you have spent 20 years achieving.  Can you leave the team like this? Is this team going to be your legacy or can you quiclky create  a team that can last another 10 years?

And if you are to do so how can you achieve your aims?

I will tell you, you go out and buy the most talented and expensive kids in the Premiership – as you always have done, and here we come to today’s subject matter. Who is the Premiership’s new young golden boy, the boy/man already lauded as the best prospect since Gascoigne? Yes, our cheeky chappie, our Little Jack. . The best 20 y.o keeper in the World?  Szczesny.

Man Utd are a team in crisis. They need an entire back 5 as Van de Saar picks up his OAP alongside Neville, Rio is 32, Vidic unhappy, Evans crap and Brown/O’Shea not good enough. However, defence is not where SAF will be looking to base his next team. His midfield is a desert of creative talent, take out Scholes/Giggs and you are left with the water carriers that are Carrick, Hargreaves, Fletcher and Anderson. Scholes has been the bedrock of MU’s success for 15 years, a monster of a player and which young PL player plays in a similar vein?  Yes – Jack again.

I think Jack Rodwell will be at United before the start of next season as Ferguson makes his final signings prior to retirement (he will be 70 summer of 2012). Henderson at Sunderland , Bale from Spurs, all young talents who must be on Sir Alex’s wish list. With the new contract for Rooney, the Glazer’s have made clear their intention to spend the Ronaldo money. Expect a huge signing spree over the next year.

And why from the Premiership? Because Ferguson is proud that his teams have always included the best young British talent, from Scholes to Becks to Ferdinand and Rooney. Plus his record of buying expensive foreign talent is less than perfect (Veron :-) )

Now, you may say it is ludicrous to imagine Wilshere or Szczesny going to Man Utd and I sincerely hope that to be the case. However, Rooney left Everton, Ronaldo left MU at the very height of his powers. Sol left Spurs (:-D ), Liam left us ( :-( )  etc etc. Nothing is impossible. That  both players would be  very attractive to Ferguson is beyond question and money talks.

I realise that Jack has just signed a 5 year contract but so has Rooney, and in all honesty do you imagine he will see out the 5 years at Old Trafford?

Would Wenger sell Jack should a fee of €30+ be mentioned? Of course not, but it has been a fun ride thinking about it.

Written by Big Raddy


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