Keep it tight or they’ll kill us

Written by SharkeySure

Whilst still marvelling at the eloquence of yesterday’s post by charybdis1966,  I have to disagree with what I think is its central theme, namely that Chelski and Man IOU sit back in the belief that we can’t really hurt them.

The game on Sunday kicked off in a very end to end fashion, with both teams attacking with abandon.  After the opening skirmishes Chelski  retreated a little for a couple of reasons.

1. Diaby’s position.  These days Chelski  pass the ball around in their own half much more than they did a few years ago, and Diaby (ably supported by Song) was harrying Mikel and the Chelsea rear guard into mistakes or longer passes. In attempting to retain possession both Ramires and Essien were drawn deeper and closer to Mikel to offer more support.

2. Chelski were fearful of the early impact that both Arshavin and Nasri were having on the game, and it was also clear that Chamakh was going to give Terry (spit) and Alex  a lot more trouble than they were used to from an Arsenal CF.

From memory, their goal seemed to come slightly against the run of play but nevertheless it was a very good goal, and once they have scored then we all know that its ‘park the bus’ time.  So whilst I acknowledge that Chelski may have ‘invited us into their lair’ as a spider does to a fly, the difference is that I believe that was always our eight legged friend’s original plan, but  Chelski’s was an adaptation to the unexpected circumstances they faced.  I should give them credit for that but I won’t,  instead I’ll simply say ‘well played Mr Arachnid, enjoy your lunch’ !

Man IOU’s case is slightly different to Chelski’s for the simple reason that Chelski do not change their system to play Arsenal, its still their tried and trusted 4-3-3, that either pushes on or sits (/gets pushed?) back.  Red Nose gives up on his 4-4-2 whenever he plays Arsenal and has done for quite a while now.  Fergie goes 4-5-1 with Rooney either up top on his own, or shunted out to the left wing, much to Andy Grays dismay;  and workhorses like Fletcher and Park get their first starts of the season.  His  sole aim to is to crowd the midfield and prevent us from passing his team to death. He really does not expect to outscore us in an open game.

The Prawn Sandwich mob in the stands were aghast when Red Nose first started doing it, as it seemed to go against absolutely everything that the Club and Red Nose stood for.   I believe it was after the flying boot to Beckham’s forehead game, that Fergie ranted and raved like a frothing inarticulate loon and realised that it was better to shut the game down, even at home, than to see his team outplayed as they were on that day.  He does not expect to outscore us in an open game, and resorts to safety in numbers to stifle our brilliant attacking play, well, what else would an Arsenal fan call it !!

88 Responses to Keep it tight or they’ll kill us

  1. Morning all

    Thanks Sharkey for a great read. If chary’s post inspired yours then I’m certain yours will inspire chary to a new mankrant 😉

    I’ve always thought that the chavs don’t worry about us mainly because they are flat track bullies whereas the manks can play football and when they allow us to play we can beat them.

    I still have Nasri’s wonderful goal from a couple of seasons ago on my sky+ where the manks didn’t manage to touch the ball for about 5 minutes after the half-time restart. A Great Emirates Memory – A Gem

  2. London says:

    Morning all

    Congrats on your first post Sharkey, an interesting read.

  3. In fact, just to cheer us up here it is, I might have to move it later if it slows everything down. I still burst with pride when that ball hits the back of the net. Come on Arsenal

  4. London says:

    Morning Peaches

    That is an interesting point of discussion: what piece of film do you keep to cheer yourself up in times of doubt? I still have the Braga game Fabregas gets better and better every time I watch it.

  5. Morning London

    If I need a quick burst of joy it has to be the AC MIlan game – the build up to the Fabregas goal was awesome and even Rasp agreed that Hleb was brilliant that night. The celebration still makes me cry.

  6. SharkeySure says:

    Morning All

    Great choice of pics Rasp….many thanks

  7. No-one has mentioned it yet but the goal celebration compilation that’s played at the Emirates before the players come out is pretty awesome and inspirational. Do you think somone read our posts about alternative music, I did actually write to the club when we were discussing it.

  8. SharkeySure says:

    My only regret now is not giving the title more thought, or at least inviting you guys to provide/suggest a half decent one !!

  9. Rasp says:


    Excellent debut article Sharkey – what took you so long?

    I agree with many of your points. You observe that chelski changed their game plan after they had scored (and I think you are correct), what concerns me is that we don’t ever appear to change our game plan significantly – even when we are down to 10 men.

    If chelski thought it was ‘park the bus time’ after going one up, that suggests that they have great faith in their defence and the same is true of manure.

    Do we have a rehearsed game plan of how to protect a lead? – because if we do’ it doesn’t work very well as was seen in the Sunderland game.

  10. Rasp – I’m sure we don’t have a rehearsed game plan of how to protect a lead or if we do it must be much too complicated for our players to follow 😉

  11. charybdis1966 says:

    Brilliant debut post S Sure –pithy, succinct and packs a punch.
    The thing with any field of human endeavour is that interpretations of it are by their nature subjective, so what I see as the manks/Chavs indifference to our obsessive need to elaborate our midfield passing others may see as their fear of being exposed by their inability (either for reasons of personnel or ability)to compete in a like manner.
    Ole bacon face has shown pragmatism in deciding to pack the midfield (partly due to no longer having attacking maestros of the quality of the lady boy) as that has resulted in a sustained run of victories for his rabble. The Old Toilet crew may have felt disappointed that their team are not as confident in their midfield attacking prowess as they once were but they will happily crow about the long run of victories they have enjoyed against us.

  12. charybdis1966 says:

    Peachy, I don’t think the club pay any attention to our alternative music thoughts– otherwise they would be leading out the team to some Slayer or Judas Priest, as I’m always suggesting!

  13. charybdis1966 says:

    As for lack of game plan when protecting a lead Peachy, you only have to look at our shambolic efforts at Blackburn and Wigan this spring.
    For an Arsenal supporter those two defeats, and the manner in which we succumbed, felt like a nail gun to the testicles.

  14. Rasp says:


    The trouble is that if we trot out laboured phrases like ‘No plan B’, we become associated with a school of thought that is over-critical. Several ex-players have said that we only talk about our own plan in pre-match preparation and don’t discuss the strengths of the opposition. I find this very hard to believe, but if it were true it would explain why we conceded 2 goals to Delap throw ins.

  15. Red Arse says:

    Well written Sharkey. Did not realise it was your debut. Excellent! 🙂

    Forgive me for appearing pedantic, but you say you disagree with CharyB’s main thrust yesterday, which was that the Chavs and Manure allow us possession because they do not fear us.

    But you say that after scoring, Chelsea were prepared to allow us possession, as was the case especially in the second half, which is borne out by the stats, and you also say Manure change their normal formation and play 4:5:1, which is more defensive and making our passing game more difficult and frustrating.

    Aren’t you saying the same thing as CharyB?

    Both those teams sit back, let us play and then hit us on the break. This process is repeated over and over again. If they score, the process becomes more intense, because as we increase the tempo of our attacks we are vulnerable to being hit on the break yet again. Game over, usually. 😦

  16. charybdis1966 says:

    That’s the tricky thing isn’t it Raspers, how to avoid reducing a meaningful debate into the exchange of clichés?
    I’m not saying we don’t have a plan B, just we don’t have an adaptability that’s required when faced with a changing match situation. Inflexibility and rigidity are never traits that allow for long term success IMHO.

  17. Red Arse says:


    There never does appear to be a Plan B, laboured phrase or not. Our whole strategy, which cannot be denied, is to keep possession and attack, attack.

    If the ex-players say they do not discuss the other teams strengths and weaknesses before a match, and I have heard Arsene saying much the same, “We are only concerned with the way we play”, this reinforces the tired old phrase, uttered by many fans and professional commentators, that “Arsenal have no plan B”.

  18. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Great post, thanks.
    To my mind what I call the Maureen Style is ingraining itself ever more into the top level of the game. Chelsea, for example, do like to play much of their possession football far deeper than we do. This inevitable leaves wider spaces for the “sting” or swift attack to operate in. As I mumbled and dribbled yesterday (no available spare medication from me, Sharkey) I don’t feel we can operate like this with the present personel. We lack the fleet of foot, swift of thoughtedness RVP offers, and certainly the new found directness of our Theo.
    I constantly pass on the enigma that is our little Russian as frankly, he moves in very mysterious ways his wonders to perform.

  19. Rasp says:


    Maybe it comes down to the concentration on excellence in ‘pass and go’ at training that creates this. We know that all teams from the under 16’s to the top play in the same way and when one player leaves the pitch, another fits in straight away.

    Morning Red Arse,

    You’re not being pedantic, just perceptive 😉

  20. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Yes, I am concerned at the lack of Fergierant from you. Most worrying. Also, one builds up a mental picture of fellow bloggers, and your musical taste leaves me concerned. Not what I expected. Very nasty indeed. If you want to have a go at me, I am a Tchaikovsky/Clash man. You may think I am confused, but really quite ordinary. Can’t operate remote controls or read instruction manuals. Normalish.

  21. Red Arse says:


    If you read Arshavin’s philosophical thoughts on his personal websites, you might think, as I do, that his observations are succinct, weird but often very funny, but like me too, you may wonder how he ever became a footballer.

    I think his philosophy shows in his play on the field, brilliant and dross in equal measure. 🙂

  22. charybdis1966 says:

    MDi89 – I’m sure by the time we play Glazers Gimps there will be another Fergie rant brewing. As for musical taste I only deal in extremes, but extremes that balance each other, in keeping with the philosophy of my post yesterday.
    I’m equally at home with Anton Bruckner as I am with Metalllica and Slayer – anything between those two is just a soggy compromise!
    For your delectation here are some lyrics/grunts from a Slayer track I’ve been listening to a lot lately:
    An unforseen future nestled somewhere in time.
    Unsuspecting victims no warnings, no signs.
    Judgment day the second coming arrives.
    Before you see the light you must die.

    Forgotten children, conform a new faith,
    Avidity and lust controlled by hate.
    (The) Never ending search for your shattered sanity,
    Souls of Damnation in their own reality.

    Chaos rampant,
    An age of distrust.
    Impulsive habitat.

    Bastard sons begat your c**ting daughters,
    Promiscuous mothers with your incestuous fathers.
    Engreat souls condemned for all eternity,
    Obtained by immoral observance a domineering deity.

    Chaos rampant,
    An age of distrust.
    Impulsive sabbath.

    On and on, south of heaven [x 4]
    The root of all evil is the heart of a black soul.
    A force that has lived all eternity.
    The never ending search for a truth never told.
    The loss of all hope and your dignity.

    Chaos rampant,
    An age of distrust.
    Impulsive habitat.

    On and on, south of heaven

  23. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Red Arse,
    AA’S website, WOW! Under Awards and Achievements, he proudly lists “2003 – Vice-champion of Russia.”

  24. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ok Charybdis,
    As sorry for myself as I feel right now, I am palletizing my full stock of medication, and will happily forward it to a more deserving soul. That will be you, rather than Mr Slayer.

  25. Red Arse says:

    Micky, I knew you would like it! 🙂 Nutty as a fruit cake. 🙂 Not you; him, although …… 🙂

    But I often have a read of Arsh’s site, as there are some gems in there.

  26. SharkeySure says:

    Response on its way

  27. charybdis1966 says:

    LOL MDi89 !
    The above doesn’t do justice to the killer riffs and solos that come with it.
    Any thoughts on how we’ll do against Hlebs new team?
    No doubt we have to be careful of the cloggers in that side, Ridgewell, Bowyer et al, but I’m quite sure Martin Taylor has left them.

  28. Red Arse says:


    I am not saying you have very strange musical tastes, but I’m glad Mickey is sending you his medication. 🙂

    I think he said it’s for haemorrhoids. That’ll teach you to lay those verses on us before midnight! 🙂

  29. SharkeySure says:

    Chary – You’re right, part of it is down to Fergie lacking the firepower of Chelski, and at one point I did include the departure of the lady boy, then realised that he’d often play 4-5-1 even with the lady boy, so took that bit out. Its still a valid point though.

    Rasp – “that suggests that they have great faith in their defence”, but only if that defence is ably supported by a withdrawn midfield, and wide forwards protercting the flanks is my supposition.

    Red Arse – “Aren’t you saying the same thing as CharyB? Both those teams sit back, let us play and then hit us on the break”.

    I accept that this is borderline semantics on my part, but I was trying to clarify the subtle difference between the blue and red scum. FIL asked if it was that one wears red and the other wears blue ?? But he’s an idiot !.

    The difference for me is that Chelski know we can open them up in an open game, but also feel that they have the firepower to match/beat us in an open game. This is why we had very good chances on Sunday long before Drogba accidentally knocked the ball into our net. Once they have the lead they then ask themselves, should we keep the game open, or revert to hitting them on the break using the space that they leave..?? They answer yes, and start to retreat. You then notice Anelka and Malouda no longer drift infield as much as they had been, and the midfield three rarely leave their starting positions. Same personnel, change of mindset and approach.

    For Man IOU it’s a change of personnel and formation from the kick off. Their only plan is swift counter attacks, at no point will they play an open game with us. Our 2-0 lead at OT last season suggest that even against their 4-51, we are good enough to hurt them.

  30. charybdis1966 says:

    RedA – that’s ok, at lesast I can cancel that colonoscopy then !

  31. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I am not going to dwell much further on this, only to say that on friday I underwent what I like to think of as Gentleman’s Surgery. The surgeon did visit me post op to inform me that I now had the bottom of a young man. I have absolutely no idea what he was getting at, although I can say that I am now safely at home, and the front door is securley bolted!

  32. Red Arse says:

    Rasp, Peaches,

    I have an apology to make and a favour to ask.

    Having said I am not currently writing posts for any site, you may possibly notice there is one I wrote, some time ago, that has been kindly published elsewhere today.

    Peaches, the favour I would like to ask is that, I am unable to improve my modest written French phrases because I do not where I can get a suitable font to show, graves, acutes, circumflexes or cedillas. Can you help, please?

    The eloquence of your “peut-etre” last night, brought a tear to my eye. Although that might have been because ladies whispering peut-etre to me at night is a recurring theme in my life! 🙂

  33. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Right, back to football matters.
    Birmingham…mmmm. You would need to be boldly going to have a punt on a score, so I would settle for getting back in the groove with three points.

  34. SharkeySure says:

    “and the front door is securely bolted”

    I thought the surgery was on your ‘back door’..??

  35. Red Arse says:

    Mickey, you are a scream! 🙂

    Sharkey, Frothing and I are as one in our support for you. 🙂 I really do know what you mean with your clarification, and in no way has my query detracted from your intelligent and interesting article.

    CharyB, I think the colonoscopy is the wrong end! Although if that is your preferred way of taking those little blue pills, usually washed down with a glass of water, I wish you well. 🙂

  36. SharkeySure says:

    Some comments above question why we can’t defend a lead, or play well defensively. For me its simply about intensity and desire. Every single Chelsea player knows his job, what’s expected of him and what he expects from his team mates. He doesn’t expect a team mate to let players run off of him, so therefore he doesn’t let his man run off of him either. Their s avery strng sense if respnsibiltyfordoing your job properly, and for their attacking players, defending is big big part of that. For all of Drogba’s goalscoring prowess, he’s a fantastic defender in respect of his defensive mentality

    If you have and play with that sort of intensity, it actually raises your game when things are going against you. We’;ve all seen how angry Chelski get when things are going against them..they go absolutely crazy.

    What sort of intensity did Kozzer have that allowed him to walk off arm in arm with Drogba, whilst chuckling away.

    Off for abit…work calls…back later

  37. Red Arse says:

    Mickey, is that a Birmingham expression, “to be boldly going etc”?

    Although splitting infinitives are the least of our worries, I suppose. 3:0 to Arsenal. 🙂

  38. Red Arse says:

    Sharkey, great spot.

    When we did get a decent cross in, the ball was invariably cut out by Drogba rather than their CH’s.

  39. tommystout says:

    bang on Charey,

    an players entrance to this would be spectacular!

  40. tommystout says:

    how do i embed it, bummer

    that might do it

  41. charybdis1966 says:

    Great call TommyS – I’ve been at many of their concerts so I’ve seen those entrances to the opening chords of the Hellion. I can even “air-mime” the Glen T solo in Electric eye.

  42. chary@ your 10.58 you need to get out more honey 😉

  43. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I think the reason we cannot defend a lead is that we never try to. Attack is the best form of defence appearing to be our mantra. This does rely on scoring another, or being exceedingly competent defensively as invariably you will be exposed in the one on one situations when you play so high up the field.
    This is where having the likes of RVP and Theo naturally gives you a Plan B. Whether you train for a Plan A and a Plan B or not, you have the equipment to hurt the opposition in more ways than one.

  44. Red Arse – there’s an alt function that releases the cedillas, accents etc London and Rasp know what some of them are. My ‘peut-être’ I have to admit was a copy and paste from the English/French on-line dictionary.

  45. Red Arse says:

    Hi Peaches,

    Did you see my request for a favour earlier? 🙂

  46. MickyDidIt89 says:

    He needs special permission to go out.

  47. charybdis1966 says:

    I should do really Peachy, whenever I went to these concerts there were usually circa 10% women there, could explain my misogynist streak. 😦

  48. MickyDidIt89 says:

    10% women? Damn difficult to tell the difference!

  49. charybdis1966 says:

    Ah you’ve met the other half then MDi89 !

    OK 5% then.

  50. Red Arse says:

    Thanks Peaches,

    Our earlier comments crossed in the ether.

    Rasp, London, any ideas? It would be appreciated as speaking French is one thing, typing rubbish words is another and it irritates me as much as it does anyone reading the comment. 😦

  51. MickyDidIt89 says:


  52. Rasp says:

    Hi Red Arse,

    Many symbols can be found by holding down the alt key and using numbers on the key pad (London informed me of this)

    alt + 138 = è
    alt + 135 = ç

    I’m afraid I don’t know them all, but doubtless there will be a website somewhere listing all the possible connotations, otherwise, it’s a case of experimenting.

  53. ç alt 135
    è alt 138
    é alt 130

    thats all I know I’m afraid

  54. How geeky are we Rasp 😦

  55. Micky – spot on comment at 12.15, we definitley don’t ever try to defend a lead in the last few minutes – is that why we all love the ride?

  56. Red Arse says:

    Peaches, Rasp,

    You may be geeky, but I love you for the info, and indirectly London, too. 🙂

    I cannot tell you how pleased I am with this info. Thank you all very much! 🙂

  57. MickyDidIt89 says:

    a circumflex Alt 0226
    e circumflex Alt 0234
    u circumflex Alt 0251
    You must use the numerical numbers on the right of your keyboard, not the ones along the top.

    I am going to do some work. Bye for now.

  58. Also, if you work on a laptop, you need to NumLk first – London told me that 🙂

  59. Red Arse says:

    Peaches, Rasp and you too Mickey,

    Thanks again guys. I was about to say I could not get it to work but the additional info means I am away! Yaaay! 🙂

    Rasp, this does not mean I won’t provoke you into giving me additional clarification of Arsenal comments in the future, but I will always be polite to you. 🙂

    La souris a été agréable d’être mangé. Yes! 🙂

  60. London says:

    Go to “Word”, at the top of the page open “Insert” then press “Symbol” and voila.

  61. SharkeySure says:

    “You must use the numerical numbers on the right of your keyboard, not the ones along the top.”

    Thats mad !!

  62. Red Arse says:

    London, yet again thank you. 🙂

    I am slightly — no, very — mortified. I have had MS Word for more years than I care to admit, and never knew I could access all these symbols.

    I am delighted; I am embarrassed! Just as well I’m schizophrenic. 🙂

  63. Red Arse says:

    Sharkey, but it works! 🙂 This is like private tuition on a 4 to 1 basis. Not just a footie site. 🙂


  64. Red Arse says:

    J’ai décidé 🙂 d’écrire tous mes commentaires en français à partir de maintenant!

    Maintenant, regardez ce que vous avait fait! 🙂

    Arsenal est la meillure equipe du monde!

    Arsenal are the best team in the world!

    I will stop being a pillock now, sorry guys. 🙂

  65. SharkeySure says:

    FIL the gap!

  66. Red Arse says:

    I’d rather not Sharkey. Fill it yourself is what I say. 🙂

  67. rockylives says:

    The problem with being five hours behind the UK is that catching up on the day’s post and comments can sometimes lead to total mind-whirl.
    I have just read every comment one after the other and my head is spinning with thoughts of hemorrhoids, Ole Rednose, Slayer and circumflexes. Sacre bleu!
    I think I’ll go back to bed.

  68. Red Arse says:

    Don’t do that Rocky, you will bring a breath of objectivity.

    Actually, it’s all CharyB’s fault, he is such a bad influence on innocents, like me! 🙂

  69. charybdis1966 says:

    Yeah RedA – I’m fiendish like that. 😈

    My actual birthday is only 2 days from that of Damien Thorne, from the Omen films – FACT.

  70. Red Arse says:

    By the way CharyB, your avatar is beginning to look more and more like John Inverdale.

    I have been waving to him while watching him host the Commonwealth games this p.m.

    What do you say? 🙂

  71. charybdis1966 says:

    RedA – I see where you’re coming from although Inverdale has a touch of the gormless compared to Mr Benedict, plus his voice is a shrill tenor while Benedict’s is definitely a bass(having heard it in real life – american TV pictures are speeded up a bit when they transmit it on UK tv.)

  72. Red Arse says:

    Invo’s mum will be cross with you! Gormless? 🙂

  73. charybdis1966 says:

    Ok – a bit “vacant” looking maybe?

  74. rockylives says:

    Je suis retourné.
    (Or should that be j’ai retourné?)

    On a footballing note, doesn’t Peaches’ wonderful upload of the Nasri goal against ManUre vindicate our so-called tippy-tappy approach? There are 11 Mancs behind the ball for most of that move but we still picked our way through them. (By the way, did anyone notice Theo’s great run to pull the defence out of position and create the space for Nasri to score?). I have no doubt that this is the type of football AW wants and expects us to play and, when it’s done properly, it is capable of breaking down even the best defences.
    I suppose the criticism is that it requires every pass, every touch and every run to be 100% perfect or it falls apart.

  75. rockylives says:

    My son has been looking at Chamakh’s Twitter feed, where he found this peach:
    “Raining in London. The women all look like Mary Poppins.”
    It looks like Arsh has a rival in the daffy observation stakes.

  76. SharkeySure says:

    I’ve never ‘got’ the twitter thing, but I do like when pearlers like thatare passed on.

    Irish threw up a few crackers the other week.

  77. Red Arse says:

    CharyB, 🙂

    Rocky, don’t quote me, only A level French, a long time ago, but I think it should be “je suis revenu”. 🙂

    Sounds like Chammy is on the pull. Women like that daffy romantic smoothie stuff! 🙂

  78. Red Arse says:

    Sharkey, your mention of Irish gives me the opportunity to surreptitiously ask, where is she?

    Her humour always lifts the spirits. 🙂

  79. rockylives says:

    Sharkey – had Irish had a vindaloo the night before?

    Btw – great and entertaining post. You have a punchy writing style. More please.

  80. Red Arse says:

    Sharkey, I echo Rocky’s sentiments about your writing, as indeed I said earlier.

    However, got to be honest, I reckon Frothing Inarticulate Loon could beat you into a cocked hat! 🙂

  81. rockylives says:

    Rasp, Peaches, I’ve added something in drafts. It’s not really time sensitive (but might fill a gap during the Interlull).

  82. kelsey says:

    we seem to have gone rather upmarket and oh so posh.Could you include an english/french dictionary in the side bar.

    Sharkey nice post, really got your teeth into it 🙂

  83. Hi rocky – thanks for the post 😀

  84. London says:

    I believe it is going to be my humble post today but as I have to go out and will not be back before 10.30 would admin be kind enough to press “Publish”

  85. Rasp says:

    Morning London, no worries, we’ll put it up.

  86. SharkeySure says:

    Morning All

    Manty thanks for your kind words and support yesterday. S’appreciated!

    Rocky – vindaloo – lol.

  87. Rasp says:

    New post ….

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