What Arsenal Can Learn From Europe’s Ryder Cup Golf Team

Apologies to non golf fans, but last night’s finale to the 39th Ryder Cup was simply amazing.

Europe began the final day trailing America by six points to 10 and needing to more than equal the tournament’s record comeback to retain the trophy.

I say “more than” because the previous time a team came back from 6-10 down to win they were on home turf (the Americans winning in Boston in 1999). Europe would need to match that feat on enemy soil, in the face of the home crowd’s notoriously bad sportsmanship. But do it they did and the Cup remains in European hands for at least the next two years.

What has all this got to do with football and the Mighty Arsenal in particular, you are probably asking.

Well, for one thing the biggest hero of the European team was Ian Poulter – a Hertfordshire lad who is such a big Gooner that he has been known to tickle his balls round the fairways of the world wearing an Arsenal shirt on occasion.

Ian was victorious in every one of the four matches he played – including his final singles match yesterday when, despite trailing or being level for most of the game, he sank three consecutive hole-winning putts on the run-in.

It was particularly pleasing to see a large Arsenal flag unfurled among the supporters around the 18th green as our Golfing Gunner clinched his victory. You know that he will have appreciated that touch.

Interestingly, Poulter was not an automatic selection for Europe’s team. Ten of the 12 places on the team are decided by the standings in the European and World golf tours. Ian was not in the top 10 and was chosen as one of the two “captain’s picks.”

Why was he chosen? Because his previous Ryder Cup record was very strong: prior to this year’s event his score sheet was: Played 11, Won 8, Lost 3.

Now it is Played 15, Won 12, Lost 3 – putting him up there with the very best Ryder Cup performers of all time.

Many football fans don’t follow golf. Some even dispute that it should be considered a sport at all, preferring to think of it as a game (there have been interesting points made both for and against in the Arsenal Arsenal comments over the past couple of days).

But a couple of things struck me as the Ryder Cup reached its gripping conclusion.

First, the sheer courage and concentration required to pull off shots in such a fevered environment, knowing that an individual mistake could cost your team the championship.

On the final day, when it came to a battle of the bottle, Europe came out on top and the Americans, for all their over-the-top competitiveness, were found wanting.

Gary Neville (who has transformed from much-loathed Manc whinger to much-admired match analyser almost overnight), writing in the Daily Mail, felt that the difference between Arsenal and Chelsea on Sunday was bottle. He didn’t use that word (he referred to Chelsea’s experience of having won together) but he was right. In a close game Chelsea shaved it because, despite some new arrivals, they have a core of players who know how to win.

Arsenal’s key moments – the shots from Santi Cazorla, the missed effort from Giroud, the header from Podolski, the needless dive-in tackles from Vermaelen – all displayed a lack of judgement and, arguably, a lack of bottle.

The Chavs didn’t do much, but they didn’t make many mistakes. We did.

Lesson number two from the Ryder Cup is the importance of a team – right down to the contributions of less high profile players. The putt that secured victory for Europe was holed by a German golfer called Martin Kaymer. It was his first Ryder Cup and he had only featured once over the three days – in a fourball that he and his partner lost.

But, fired up by the European comeback on the final day, he held his nerve and won his singles match on the last hole with all of Europe and America watching. Likewise, the young Italian Francesco Molinari halved his singles game against Tiger Woods to give Europe an outright victory of 14½ to 13½.

The point is that if you give the fringe players the right encouragement they can become heroes. Sometimes at Arsenal I feel we are too hard on the fringe players. We dampen their ardour rather than inflaming it. Let’s cut them some slack when they have an off day, because next time they might be the difference between success and failure.

Thirdly, the fact that Ian Poulter was put in the team as a “captain’s pick” because of his previous Ryder Cup record shows that you seldom go far wrong by selecting the people who have performed for you before.

It’s a fact that Arsene Wenger may have been reflecting on this weekend after leaving our best defender out of the team for the Chelsea game.

We’ll never know whether Per Mertesacker would have made the difference had he played, but what we do know is that he was in stellar form prior to Saturday’s game and was desperately unlucky to be left out.

Arsene made some comments afterwards to the effect that he picked centre backs whom he felt were best suited to the task at hand (Chelsea’s dangerous attacking movement from Torres, Hazard and Oscar).

But I have long argued that our strongest CB pairing is the BFG plus one of Koscielny and Vermaelen. And I don’t buy the argument that because he’s tall, our Massive Per is best against the hoof-it teams like Stoke City.

To me, his reading of the game, his ability to snuff out moves before they get dangerous and his marshaling of the back line make him ideal against the teams with nippy strikers (as proved at Man City recently). Oh, and he is also exceptional at bringing the ball out of defence and using it well.

Against Chelsea our centre backs played a combined total of 65 passes (36 for TV and 29 for LK). The previous weekend Per alone made 53 passes out of defence – against the reigning Champions (Koscielny made 38, for a combined total of 91). Against Southampton Per’s passes from defence were 55, with a 95% success rate.

In both games Per’s distribution from the back helped us keep control of midfield – which we generally failed to do against Chelsea.

Sadly, the most droppable of our central defenders is the club captain – and I wonder if the manager will have the courage to do what needs to be done in the weeks ahead.

Finally – and most importantly – there is another lesson that our boys could learn from the Ryder Cup team. It’s this: When you are up against a team with a notorious philanderer at their heart, DON’T BLOODY WELL LOSE!


140 Responses to What Arsenal Can Learn From Europe’s Ryder Cup Golf Team

  1. Morning all – I can’t really whinge about the intrusion of golf into the headline post as I’ve seriously skived from posts lately (good job too, I hear you all say !)

    I fall into the school of thought that says golf is “a good walk ruined” but that’s just me.

    That being said I must say thank you to the Rock for coming up with a post when we are all feeling a tad numbed by the capitulation to the Chavs, led by their despicable scummy captain, on Saturday.

    It makes a confidence building thrashing of the Bubbles midweek Wednesday all the more vital.

    I do share yuor concerns about the choice of Vermaelen as Captain as his form has made him far from undroppable.

  2. Rasp says:

    Thanks Rocky, a clever post and another chance to revel in the Ryder Cup victory. This has been an outstanding year for British sport, the ridiculously named ‘Sports Personality of the Year’ should not single out any individual but just be a celebration of what everyopne has achieved.

    Back to the footy. I think you’re right in what you said the other day that we probably would have fared better if Diaby had remained fit and on the pitch.

    It was a lack lustre team performance so picking on individual errors from kozzer and Giroud is not helpful.

    I had thought that we were developing great team spirit and winning mentality but when we stopped showing for the ball in the second half and players taking a throw in resorting to just throwing the ball into space, it was apparent that we have some way to go to instill real belief.

    It’s a long season and we’ll do better than last year.

    My projection for the top 4 after what I’ve seen so far is chavs, city, Arsenal, manu in that order. Now factor in injuries, loss of form and other imponderables and any of us could win it. I confidently expect us to finish above manu as they flatter to deceive and it is only their ‘winning mentality’ that is making the difference – and after the spud game that must be paper thin.

    What does concern me is that I am now 80% sure Theo will leave and if it happens in January and Gerv is off to the ACN, we may be short of wide players for the 2nd half of the season.

  3. Rocky thats an impressive post cleverly dovetailing the Ryder Cup and how we can use it to spot strengths and weaknesses in our current squad.

    Undoubtedly winning experience is necessary, would the Carling Cup against Birmingham have helped? Only four of the starters in that match can still be considered 1st teamers but as you say thats all Chelsea have needed as they have rotated their squad over the years. ManUre are in a similar position with the likes of Ferdinand, Scholes, Giggs, Evra and Rooney knowing how to get the job done. Passing on that collective spirit to newcomers to the squad.

    Look at the way Mata and Oscar were prepared to track and work for Chelsea on the weekend, its whats required.

    We missed the BFG and his passing out from the back he is such a calm player and i think more than anything it is his organisational skills.

    As I said previously I do not think Vermaelen should be skipper, not with the competition for places in his position, and if it makes him feel undroppable.

    Olazabal was captain, maybe thats something else we should take from the Ryder Cup and give the armband to Arteta. He has shown captains ability and personality since his arrival at the club.

  4. Rasp i hope you are wrong about Theo, I think it will be next summer on a free, makes sense for him (not the club). But then we get to use him whilst Gerv is away.

    According to wiki the qualification process is still ongoing, Ivory Coast are 4-2 up in first leg against Senegal, but I suppose there is some hope Senegal could turn that round. 😀

  5. John Gee says:

    What a difference one result makes. After the City game everybody was eulogising at how good TV was and how effective we were as a team. Now, after a game we should not have lost, we are back to the doom and gloom of the past. We did not deserve to lose. That is a fact

  6. John are you sure everyone was eulogising Vermaelen? From memory he didn’t start the City game.

    And if you give away two goals like we did you don’t deserve to win.

  7. Rasp says:

    Morning GiE, Theo played like someone who wanted to leave when he came on. He didn’t track back, was ball watching and making runs when a through pass was not possible – so I may be reading too much into it, but that’s the impression I got.

    We’ll take as little as £5m for him in January rather than let him go on a free. If Theo wants to maximise his wages he’ll want to wait until the summer though so it will be interesting to see how it pans out.

    BTW, I don’t want to see Theo go, I want him to sign and fight for his place and then give 100% in whatever position Le Boss chooses to play him.

  8. Rasp says:

    I also agree that Arteta should have been made captain, but now we’ve chosen TV we can’t take it away from him.

  9. You’re right GiE, Vermaelen was not in the squad for the City game – pretty hard to eulogise anyone for a match in which they didn’t play I would humbly suggest.

  10. Rasp says:

    Morning chary, it seems the tide of opinion from Manu supporters is turning against old red nose – are you losing any sleep over it? 😆

  11. Gooner In Exile says:

    Clearly he isn’t happy with the situation, but what splayed does from the bench tells you a lot about them.

    When Rooney was on the bench Saturday evening do you think he sulked, or thought to himself “put me on and I’ll show you why I should start”.

    To me Theo seems to be on the fringes of the group, and I can’t help comparing him and Jenkinson and the respective development since joining as a youngster with potential.

  12. Thank you Rocky for a great Monday morning post. I love sport, I love what it does to the emotions of the spectators and to the sportmen themselves as they dig deep to produce their very best. Last night’s acheivement in the golf was amazing and just continues to add to the outstanding sport that we’ve witnessed this year.

    I can understand one person in a team having an off day but why that sometimes spreads throughout the team is a mystery. Does it only happen to us? I agree that the chavs have enjoyed that feeling of winning as a team and the bond that that creates but you still have to put in the effort.

    I don’t know why we were off the pace on Saturday – early kick off perhaps?

    There needs to be a change in this captaincy nonsense – AW is just rubbish at it, I don’t know the answer but TV was the wrong choice because his place in the team is not certain ………. who?

  13. Sorry, that last comment was rather disjointed, the phone kept ringing while I was writing 😦

  14. We are going to need a post for tomorrow by the way if anyone has any ideas ……………..

  15. Raspers – I didn’t realise Old finguscum was getting some dissent from the toilet scrubbers at Old Toilet.

    If so, all well and good. 🙂

  16. goonerjake says:


    For me it should of been Arteta for captain. For me he is our best player. Not only that but he has in my opinion an aura of reliability and one of those players you can look towards to do things right.

  17. Rasp says:

    He was getting slaughtered by manu supporters on TS yesterday chary. I suspect this may be his last season with them – Guardiola as a replacement?

    It is clear that manu do not have the spending power they once possessed despite signing BSR. They know they can’t compete with city or the chavs financially any more.

  18. Raspers, wouldn’t it be funny if Robin VanJudas’s arrival coincides with bacon faces last season at Old toilet after a season of ignominy and abject failure ?

    Yes, I like that thought.

    I thought Gaurdiola was a shoe-in for the Chav job after JT finally retires from management ?

  19. goonerjake – I agree with you and I can also see why it wasn’t Arteta.

    Arteta must be the first name on the teamsheet atm and that definitely qualifies him as captain in my eyes as he’s so reliable but how will his position pan out this season if Jack returns to the team?

    What puzzles me is if AW gave the question of armband any thought at all. Does he think that Vermaelen is the number 1 centre-back?

  20. Rasp says:

    Rocky, the stats on Per’s passing out of defence are very impressive and match my own less empirical gut feeling. He just seems calm and efficient and any perceived lack of pace is more than counteracted by his reading of the game as you say in the post.

    Maybe we should try the BFG and kozzer as CB’s and play TV in midfield whilst Diaby is out. We know TV loves to go forward and he possesses a fierce shot – worth a try maybe?

  21. Fantastic post Rocky. I didn’t watch the golf as I can’t stand the game. Glad we beat the petrols though.

    I seem to remember last Summer most gooners wanted TV to be captain. Most gooners also wanted TV and Kozzer to start on Saturday too.

    The mancs look absolute toilet 🙂

  22. Gooner In Exile says:

    Rasp I honestly thought Song being sold was to allow exactly that.

  23. LOL GM, and long may it continue – aided and abetted by a 7 month injury lay off for their number 20.

  24. Gooner In Exile says:

    Jack playing for under 21s this afternoon 😀

  25. Good shout that, to put TV in the middle – excellent place for a captain too.

    Looking at those cb stats for the past three games it’s interesting that the cb’s had more to do against citeh and southampton than on Saturday – shows us two things, we probably are better organised with Per in the pairing and that the chavs were very unambitious going forward 😦 Still, I knew both of those things already 😆

  26. Theo is going. I don’t care personally.

  27. gm – is Theo going? How do you feel about that? 🙂

    Theo was a lazy arse on Saturday and after appearances like that I don’t care if he goes but when he’s good he’s oh so fabulous and I don’t want him doing the good stuff for Liverpool or whoever wants him.

    I said years ago that he’ll just be an impact sub, if he’s not going to work for the team for 90 minutes – or however many he’s given on the pitch then he doesn’t deserve to be paid as a first team player.

  28. Tickle Tackle Terry says:

    Lovely post RockY

    Football is like a game of Snakes & Ladders, sometimes you go up and sometimes you go down (who needs Socrates when you can come up with something like that hahaha). The key is to remove as many snakes and replace them with ladders as possible. In other words to alter the playing board.

    That is what Arsenal are in the process of doing. In the grand scheme of things the Chelsea result is peanuts.

    Great times lie ahead. “The Ghosts of the 30’s are stiring”.

  29. oz gunner says:

    I agree peaches, if he is going to stink up the joint with his attitude then I couldn’t care less. I can accept players with big egos if they perform, but he walks around like he’s head dog now. What has he done to earn that cockiness?

  30. goonerjake says:

    Peaches, even with Jack back i still put Arteta first on the team sheet above all else. The question you have to ask yourself is if you were playing in midfield for arsenal and you wanted someone by your side who would it be…. for me arteta! I cant put my finger on it exactly its just arteta gives me peace of mind, thats what you want from a captain. Adams – peace of mind/solid. Patrick – peace of mind/solid. Its the best i can explain it.

    The above represents MY personel views, i dont know i may be wrong, if i am im happy to be put right as long as the arguments are well supported

  31. While I agree that Arteta does NOW look the best choice for captian, I’m guessing that Wenger reasoned since Mikel had not been with us for long it was too early to give him the captaincy and he was therefore better off sticking with someone who had 3 or 4 seasons with the club under his belt.

    I can also see why he dropped the BFG ‘cos on paper the Kozz/Verm partnership would appear better equipped to deal with the chavs mobile forward line.

  32. rhyle says:

    Pushed for time this morning but thought I’d drop in quickly and say…

    Nice work, Rocky… 😀

  33. kelsey says:

    The captaincy is an interesting debate. Do you give it to someone after years at the club in ther final year, as a badge of honour ? A captain should do what the word means.
    One could run through the whole squad and possibly find positives and negatives about every player or say someone like Jack is a future captain.
    I agree this is not one of Wenger’s strong points.

  34. Big Raddy says:

    TV is the right man to be club captain. It doesn’t mean he is undroppable but he is a lion of a man, passionate and committed, he is just the type of character I would choose to captain my team.

    Arteta is without doubt more reliable and has more experience, but if you were going into battle etc etc etc

  35. Big Raddy says:

    RL. Love the post and really enjoyed watching the drama unfold last night knowing you were on the other side of the pond as transfixed as I was.

    I especially enjoyed your last paragraph.

  36. GunnerN5 says:


    Jens is back with the Arsenal because AW has agreed to let Jens be there to study for his coaching licence.


    Working under Wenger

    “Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is a coach who does not only inspire you on the pitch but off as well, because when you talk to him you always find it very exciting and you’re always getting some great information. I think that is what makes a great coach.

    “He made Arsenal. He bought and sold so many players and has a fantastic financial track record. The new stadium and everything built comes down to him and to his performance.

    “But although I quite enjoyed working for him, there were times it was psychologically very, very demanding.

    “I argued with him quite often, particularly when he dropped me.

    “But there was always a professional relationship and a private one, and the private one is still very good right now.

    “I’m doing my coaching licence at Arsenal, which is a big gesture, and I really appreciate that.”

    Jens Lehmann was speaking in his capacity as an ambassador for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

  37. GunnerN5 says:

    Interesting to note that AW gave the captaincy to Podolski against Coventry.

    Signs of things to come …. who knows?

  38. Big Raddy says:

    Jens sounds like an intelligent man. What is it with these Germans? Both Pod and BFG are fine upstanding gentlemen. Do they have JT’s and Joey Barton’s? I hope so ….

  39. So, Jack starts his comeback game in 15 minutes.

    I hope he gets through it unscathed as the last thing we want is another Diaby-type situation on our hands.

    Big Daddy – do they have JT’s and Joey Barton’s whats ?

  40. glic says:

    Another fine installment from “The Rock Files”.
    What can we learn ?, nothing, they probably got all their passion, team ethic, bonding and inspiration etc from our game, football. We probably could learn more off the Septic`s ( sorry Redders 🙂 ) though as supporters, instead of our British stiff upper lip reserve, we should boo the opposition and shout, ” into the stands ” when they shoot !. Stop being such jolly decent chaps and chappettes !.

  41. Big Raddy says:

    chary. how long will he get? 45mins?

  42. Rasp says:

    Looks like betrayal is not only confined to footballers.

    On another note, Allardyce said on TS that Carol would be playing this evening (although he could have been bluffing), it will be another stern test of our defence if we have to deal with him at the weekend.

    The lesson we must learn is not to give away free kicks in dangerous positions.

    There were several tiimes at the weekend that I was screaming ‘don’t foul him’ as it was so obvious (and to the ref as well) that our player was about give away a free kick. If the opposition player is heading away from goal, there is absolutely no reason to bring him down – it’s just unprofessional

  43. Big and Dandy – last week he said Jack would get “an hour or so” today.

  44. Rasp says:

    Will it be televised anywhere do you know chary?

  45. Rasp says:

    GiE @ 11:21, If Aw isn’t going to try TV in midfield (why wouldn’t he, he doesn’t have a problem with playing other players in different positions?), I’d start with Coquelin and not Ramsey. We don’t know how good Coquelin could become after a run of games.

    Ramsey still has a problem realeasing the ball early enough and at one point on Saturday he played several misplaced passes in a row and seemed to have lost control of his game.

    I still get the feeling that Ramsey doesn’t know what his midfield role is meant to be. I don’t question his talent, work rate or commitment, just his ability to blend in our midfield at times.

  46. Raspers, all I can find are live tweets(Evonne won’t like those) from @ArsenalLive; 8 minutes in and Jack seems to be occupying an advanced midfield role.

  47. Seems like Jack/Frimmers are getting bypassed in midfield as the Baggies are bossing the game so far.

  48. Adrian says:

    I honestly think Theo could throw us a couple of pleasant surprises if he was started in the middle. His finishing is pretty decent, his dribbling aint too bad too, and his pace would leave defenders in his dust (as long as he stops the occasional annoying habit of running straight at them). If Walcott leaves in Jan, we’ll have very few options during that period as Gervinho will be off to the ACN sometime aroun then too. It is extremely hard to find a decent replacement in the January transfer window, and the ox has shown us during the chelsea game that while he has immense potential, he still needs another season or two to really get the best out of him.

    Really hope Theo signs soon.

  49. Adrian says:

    Though if we sold Theo to get an out and out and epl experienced striker I could rationalise with that option. Demba ba anyone?

  50. GunnerN5 says:

    Rocky, well done an excellent post.

    The one thing that struck me about the European team was that their level of intensity was sky high, exemplified by the look on Poulter’s face when he won a hole.

    Our team have belief in themselves but they seem to lack intensity,
    sometimes games seem to just pass us by.

    Note the difference between Man U and Arsenal when losing with 20 minutes left in the game – United get really intense and turn on the afterburners, they refuse to lose – we just do not get to the same level on intensity.

    Is it coach able ? apparently it is – especially when a hair dryer is waiting for you in the dressing room!!

  51. and the Baggies go one up…

  52. Big Raddy says:

    I wonder what role AW has in mind for JW.

  53. GunnerN5 says:

    Maybe it’s just me but I’m fed up to the teeth with the Theo debate.

    He has been merely an average player who has had a few great moments – it’s thought that his best is yet to come – maybe yes, maybe no!

    How long did we wish and hope that other players would show us that they didn’t simply have potential , Bendtner, Alialidare, Taylor, Denilson to mention just a few.

    He appears to be a legend in his own mind – nice guy and all that – but we need more than nice players……

    He had a huge opportunity to make a difference against Chelsea and show us what he can do for the club – but all he did was make up the numbers and was non existent as an attacking threat.

    l advocate that we get on with our future and leave past “potential” behind us!!

  54. RockyLives says:

    Thanks for the comments all.

    From the distinct lack of visitors to the site today I think we can categorically say that golf and football don’t mix 🙂

    I wrote the Post last night after watching the golf, so I was probably a bit over-excited. But it was great entertainment – and I enjoyed blogging with GiE, BR and Chas while it was on.

    My “lessons learned from the golf” may be a bit of a reach – although I think Gn5 has really hit on something with that word “intensity”. There must be a Post in that subject Gn5!

    For a golfer taking a crucial putt, the intensity can last several minutes, during which time they have to hold it all together, shut out the distractions and just play their game. For a footballer the intensity is often a micro-second – the moment when they shoot at goal, for example. I remember TH14 once explaining how you had to be 100% concentrated in that split second, but also relaxed enough to not let muscle tension make you miss.

  55. Tickle Tackle Terry says:

    “He appears to be a legend in his own mind”. Thats very harsh GN5. Theo always comes across as a lovely lad. He has admitted his limitations and conceeds that he has to work on his game. At the moment he is out of the side and his future is uncertain. And with this is carrying a look of a dog waiting in a vets surgery but once his future is settled that will soon pass.

  56. Big Raddy says:

    I bought into the Arsenal Player in order to watch the reserves (u-21’s) I think it is shabby that these games are not screened. I am not looking for sky type coverage, just some pics and some names to the faces.

    On another subject. On a recent podacst it was highlighted that the cheapest ticket on Saturday was 62 quid and that it is no wonder families no longer attend. They went on to castigate the club saying how can one attract new fans when it is so expensive.

    My flabber was gasted!

    Firstly, it was inaccurate, and secondly they didn’t mention that we charged 10 quid a ticket midweek and thus attracted 60k fans: Then they said that the media never have an agenda !!! (Though this was in reference to AVB.)

  57. chas says:

    Nice post, Rocky.

    The Ryder Cup was superb wasn’t it.
    I was expecting the final singles day to be a damp squib.
    How exciting it was to be so wrong.

    I still don’t agree with the assessment that we lost to the chavs because of a lack of bottle or because the chavs have more experience because they’ve won trophies etc etc . We lost because we gifted them two goals at free-kicks. The stats bear this out as GIE and this article have illustrated.


    As we all know there is such a fine line between success and failure in top level sport. Which putts drop and which lip out can depend on whether the ball has rolled over a tiny spike mark. If Cech’s spawny one-handed save (he had no idea where it was going) had dropped inside the post instead of outside it, we would have all been praising the resilience of the Arsenal team having come from behind twice in a week.

  58. evonne says:

    Rocky – very clever post and an apt analogy. Mo Farah was a guest of honour at the Ems on Saturday, perhaps Ian Poulter will be invited soon? I’d like that. I am not a golfer, but have followed Poulter from the time he was ‘punished’ for wearing the Arsenal shirt to a tournament. Next time he appeared all clad in pink, what a character!

    Rasp 🙂 Don’t be silly.

  59. evonne says:

    Chas – i didn’t see your pic until i posted my comment, great minds or a special bond? 🙂

  60. Nasty moment for Jack as he goes down on 49 minutes and the physio is out for him – luckily he continues.

  61. As predicted Jack taken off on 62 minutes – now to see if there are any after effects.

  62. chas says:

    I hadn’t seen that TH14 quote, very interesting.

    When I saw BR’s comment about Zen and the art of goalkeeping this morning it reminded me of a passage in a book about playing basketball.

    The author was saying how, when practising shooting, just occasionally his mind would enter a peculiar ’empty zone’ where he was no longer consciously thinking about the shot. The ball would travel as if it was in an invisible tube the same width as the ball which always finished at the basket. Shot after shot would go in with no apparent effort.

    I often find this when playing golf. A big, empty head allows your body to take control. Thinking just gets in the way.

    I believe the same happens with footballers.
    When conscious thought comes into a player’s mind he dwells on the ball, or hesitates before choosing how to get the ball past the keeper and the chance is lost.

  63. GunnerN5 says:


    I don’t think I’m being harsh on Theo at all, sure he’s a nice lad but I don’t want nice losers I want to see players who hate losing and do everything in their power to make sure we win.

    We need more players who project blood and thunder and far less nice guys……………

  64. ROLF Chas, I reckon quite a few of our players have “a big empty head”.

  65. chas says:

    On reflection, you might be right, chary. 🙂
    My older bro always used to say how empty Adebayor’s, Eboue’s and sometimes Song’s heads were when playing for the Arse.

  66. chas says:

    More like simple minds and special needs. 🙂

  67. Or one with literally a big head, like Silvestre, Chas.

  68. chas says:

    How about these two, chary?

  69. Tickle Tackle Terry says:

    Fair enough GN5. i get that feeling sometimes with Theo too. He needs to add some devil to his game.

    Does anyone recall the old Hulk comics from the seventies. One of the Hulks enemys was a creepy green geezer called “Gervinio”…..err, i mean “The leader”.

    Now that was one big bloody head.

  70. Ha ha Chas, two enormous puppet heads there.

  71. Rasp says:

    The subject of Theo leaving is one we’ve debated many times and to be honest, I’m pretty tired of it all. But unfortunately it is a small black cloud that is hanging over the team at the moment and can’t be having a positive effect on either party.

    He and Sagna are pretty much the last of the group of players who have seen us through the post stadium build era. Maybe they perceive a change in our approach and are unsettled as a result.


    Thats the bloke chas. hahahaha

  73. RockyLives says:

    Arseblog today referred to Theo’s general chumminess with the Chav players while he was warming up.

    Not sure whether it’s worth reading anything into that, but at a time when we’re 2-1 down at home against them you would rather see him giving them the evil eye…

  74. RockyLives says:

    What about the Mekon, Dan Dare’s enemy?


    Rasp, that is 100% spot on.

  76. chas says:

  77. chas says:

  78. evonne says:

    monster 🙂

    Rocky – I think Theo is either genuinly the nicest guy out there, or he is trying to be one; one way or another I don’t think Chavs would buy him. And despite his poor performance on Saturday, I still would like him to stay

  79. Rasp says:

    Hi Rocky, It is apparent that some players can be mercenaries and still give reasonable value (Gallas) but as a supporter you know they don’t have your team in their heart.

    I remember Chimbonda embracing some of our players as they left the pitch after we thrashed them one time and thought I wouldn’t like that if I was a spud fan.

    Theo has been such a squeaky clean marketing tool that maybe he has forgotten how to be passionate about the game. I agree with GN5, I’d like to see more grit from him.

  80. glic says:

    A lot of these evil loons all look the same, are they related ?. That Leader looks a bit like the evil one in the Green Lantern film !.
    I always thought that Jimmy Saville was an evil looking bugger.
    John Terry will be a fine replacement for him.
    John will fix it in you and you and you and………… !.

  81. glic says:

    Bloody hell, that mekon guy would need one serious size syrup, probably the size of N17 !.

  82. glic says:

    Talking of N17, a rain forrest area that size get`s destroyed every hour in Brazil…………………………………..why not just destroy N17 ?.

  83. RockyLives says:

    Blimey Chas, it’s been years (decades) since I’ve seen a pic of the Mekon. I’d forgotten how big his head was – almost as big as Gerv’s.

    I remember there was a kid at school who had a swollen head because of encephalitis. We all called him Mekon. You forget how cruel we can be as kids.

    GLIC 🙂

  84. RockyLives says:

    Have we lost Redders?

  85. kelsey says:

    Going back to Gary Neville’s excellent article two days ago I disagree with one part.
    If we had won the FA or CC cup, which are in fact trophies, would the unmentionables still left.I am sure they would money rules all.I would even go as far as to say if we won the PL last year the RVP and Walcott situation would be the same.

    RL thanks again for an excellent post. I am surrounded by golf clubs, this area is known as Golf Valley and people give you a funny look if you say “I don’t play golf”.

    Now bowls is a different matter 🙂

    Actually we play annually England versus the Rest of the World, which is quite amusing.

    GN5 my stats man. When you have time could you compare our PL performances at the Emirates up to date and the corresponding number of last games at Highbury.I have a theory 🙂

  86. kelsey says:


    I would love to answer that,but peaches mum is watching 🙂

  87. Rasp says:

    Afternoon all,

    Can I tempt someone/anyone to pen a few lines for tomorrow’s post?

    Adrian, you have been an excellent contributor to the site recently – it would be a great pleasure to add your name to our list of authors 😛

  88. Big Raddy says:

    Not me …..

    Is there a Monday night game anywhere or am I going to have to spend the evening cooking?

  89. Gooner In Exile says:

    Rasp I have had a few thoughts born out of today’s discussion.

    I will try and get them down for you into a post.

  90. Rasp says:

    Thanks GiE, very much appreciated. I always have ideas but seldom the time to write as well as doing the site admin.

    Do you think a list of ideas for possible topics for posts widget might stimulate others to get writing?

  91. VCC says:

    BR. QPR play at home to West Ham tonight. It’s on sky.

  92. Big Raddy says:

    Better than naught. Thanks VCC, Right now I am watching England struggling in the cricket.

    If you have never been to Sri Lanka may I recommend a few winter weeks there – it is a magical island. Loads to see, lovely people, great food but beware of German pederasts

  93. glic says:

    Your soft spot team playing my soft spot team ( this soft spot must not be confused with my “soft spot” for the Mother in Law, that happens to be the quick sand at the bottom of my field !). “Queens” Vs ” The Irons” , shut that door !. 🙂

  94. glic says:

    Cricket !………I`d better shut up, I`ve already been in enough trouble with LB and chas over my satirical teasing of both Cycling and Golf , so I`m leaving Cricket and Bowls alone !. 😆

  95. Gooner In Exile says:

    Rasp it’s difficult, unless there is some popular misconception being spouted as truth I find it very hard to come up with ideas for posts.

    And with so little news and rumour around the Arse these days (apart from the nice boy)…there isn’t a lot to write about without getting repetitive. I have banged on about ticket prices too often….and others say something in comments that could be a post but its always been debated there and then.

  96. Gooner In Exile says:

    Thankfully we have a lot of football at the moment so at least 4 posts this week are pre match and match report, plus one RockFile and we only need two more posts.

  97. glic says:

    I know GIE, I could be your ghost writer in a post about Cricket and Bowls, that way I wont get in trouble , but you will !. 😆

  98. Gooner In Exile says:

    It’s in drafts Rasp

  99. Thanks GiE, I know I’m not Rasp but I’m going to have a look anyway 🙂

  100. VCC says:

    Hi GLiC. Correct, QPR are my soft spot (second) team. Going down the pub to give em a cheer. Fingers crossed they get a win tonight, I think they will beat the Hammers.

  101. VCC says:

    GLiC. 5:58. “Queens v Irons”. Lmao

  102. goonermichael says:

    You said earlier about Theo being an “impact sub” He didn’t make much of an impact on Saturday 🙂

  103. Big Raddy says:

    GM. No he didn’t did he. But I don’t see Theo as a game changer – there are very few who can come of the bench and make a real difference. Arshavin perhaps.

  104. GunnerN5 says:


    Here are the stats you requested.

    Last 117 games played at Highbury and first 117 played at Emirates.

    H = Highbury, E = Emirates.

    Games won – H83 – E76
    Games tied – H23 – E27
    Games lost – H11 – E14
    Goals for — H278- E238
    Goals agin – H109 – E 93
    Goal diff — H169 – E145
    Points —— H270 – E255

    All stats favour Highbury with the exception of goals against.

  105. RockyLives says:

    Great stuff Gn5
    It’s funny that we think our defending has been so bad since we moved to the Ems, yet we have let in fewer goals there than in the last 117 games at Highbury.

  106. Big Raddy says:

    If Jaaskalinen plays like that on the weekend we will struggle to score.

    WHU above us in the table – we are the 4th London team and level on points with Fulham 😦

  107. Big Raddy says:

    GN5 Great stats. The difference was one TH14

  108. GunnerN5 says:


    The stats are amazingly similar. There is only a 15 point difference in 117 games which equals less than one win or 2.5 points per season.

  109. VCC says:

    That was a fine display from the Hammers, deserved their win tonight.

    We will have to be up for it Saturday or West Ham will turn us over.

  110. kelsey says:

    H = Highbury, E = Emirates.

    Games won – H83 – E76
    Games tied – H23 – E27
    Games lost – H11 – E14
    Goals for — H278- E238
    Goals agin – H109 – E 93
    Goal diff — H169 – E145
    Points —— H270 – E255

    Thank s very much for the above stats GN5 and it was as I thought.

    Of course as Raddy said we had the likes of TH14 and DB10 and others at Highbury and one would expect a settling in period at a new much bigger ground with a slightly bigger pitch but the majority of the 12th.man (the crowd) that much further away.

    Goals for is quite a difference and the difference on everything except goals against is between 10 and 20 % down at the Emirates,so it’s basically the fact that we are not taking enough opportunities to scoreand then that brings in the debate that for various reasons we haven’t quite got the excellence of players that we had,but of course we have been priced out of the market in recent years and several players have stayed a shorter time at the club since the move.

  111. Gooner In Exile says:

    And they will probably have Carrol back 😦

  112. Gooner In Exile says:

    Whilst those stats are interesting there are other underlying issues which may have caused the decline.

    The rest of the league has improved. In the 117 games at Highbury it was us ManUre and Liverpool (later Chelsea) vying for top 4 and League title, the rest of the league was not that competitive. Now we arguably have 6 clubs aiming for top 4 possibly 7 (if including Toon).

    Would be interesting to compare those stats with some of the other teams to look at the swings in performance. First off I’d look at ManUre.

    Also to clarify are they for all games, or just PL?

  113. chas says:

    To add to those factors, I don’t think the bus parking tactic was so prevalent in our Highbury days.

    The number of goals scored has increased in the prem but not in the games where one team does nothing except try to defend with all of its players. Perhaps this partly accounts for the reduction in goals against, too.

  114. Gooner In Exile says:

    Was just thinking that myself Chas.

    Is it time the league changed the point scoring mechanism?

    4 for a win, 1 for a 0-0, 2 for a score draw? Surely that would encourage more attacking play?

    Could even take it further and get a point for a scoring loss, but 0 for a no scoring loss.

  115. chas says:

    Sounds interesting, GIE.
    Goals scored seemed to increase when it went from 2 to 3 points for a win. GN5?

    Stoke parking the bus at home against us this season was a bit of a shocker. I don’t think they’d done that before playing on their own pitch.

  116. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. Good idea. (should have been a post!)

    I remember the shift from 2 pts for a win, one for a draw; the change being made to make football more entertaining and stop teams parcheggiare il auto bus. It worked short-term.

    Perhaps improved tactical awareness has led to better defending. And the multi-tasking of players, I cannot remember SuperMac making a tackle, or Steve Bould getting caught on the opposition 18 yd line looking to shoot.

    The problem is that these teams don’t seem to play that way against the other top sides. Or do they?

  117. Big Raddy says:


    Receive Broadband bill – Pay Broadband bill – Receive Broadband.

    It is called the Trade Triangle.

  118. Gooner In Exile says:

    What I really struggle to understand now is why teams park the bus against us now? Or is it they always have done just with Henry, DB10 and friends the bus was less effective.

    Would Henry be allowed the wide open spaces he was in todays PL?

    Our defence made us less beatable then, yet teams came and had a go….that is what I find difficult to understand.

  119. Gooner In Exile says:

    That’s the one unanswerable question Raddy. Take Spuds, how many times last season did we see Bale run in to wide open spaces, why did the opposition commit so many men forward.

    It is very rare that we see the opposition have an attack and leave less than 4 back, and they certainly won’t be on the half way line.

    Ramsey got criticised for slowing play but a couple of times on the weekend he broke with the ball and faced 2 Blue shirts plus 2 more marking his only realistic passing option.

  120. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. It was no surprise to see Chelsea defend so depp after taking the lead. They are very good at it.

    I am still pee’d off about losing a game when the opposition had just 3 shots on target. I genuinely believe that AW’s Goalkeeping blindspot will prove very costly. Watching Jaaskalinen make save after save last night was galling – he would have signed for us if AW wanted him, instead we have a very young inexperienced 3rd choice GK playing a third of the season.

    Vito has cost us points and will continue to do so, not because he has been at fault so after but more because he doesn’t make the exceptional saves which keep points – like Cesc diid on Saturday.

    Is Fabianski good enough to be No.2? Is TPIG good enough, right now, to be No 1?

  121. evonne says:

    Raddy – and Fabianski and Szczesny fit already? I thought they were still recovering from injuries

  122. Morning all

    Re the above discussion – It just goes to show that the other teams still perceive us to be the most creative that’s why they don’t give us the space and we are the team to beat.

  123. Morning evonne – what happened to Fabianski?

  124. Did anyone have a look at how JW did yesterday in the under 21 game?

  125. evonne says:

    P – not sure, but Fabianski didn’t play for Poland lately because of his injury. I prefer him to Szczesny anyday, but it is not my decision. How well did JW do yesterday?

  126. kelsey says:

    Fabianski was on the bench in that game evonne and then came home with a shoulder injury.Very strange.

  127. Hi kelsey – what game was Fabianski on the bench? An International?

  128. evonne says:

    world cup qualifiers

  129. Anyone think Mark Hughes will be out of a job quite soon? The problem is that QPR might recruit ‘arry and they play us soon 😦

  130. Hi Peachy, I was following the U21 match via the tweets and the commentary seemed to imply that while Jack looked a little off the pace he showed a few nice touches and some good through balls, playing slightly behind the striker(s). Although he did go down injured once and the physio came out he carried on with no apparent ill effects.

    As he was starting in CM with another long term injury returnee(Frimmers) the West Brom midfield seemed to have the upper hand for most of the game.

  131. Gooner In Exile says:

    Raddy Jussi is a good keeper, but Bogdan kept him out of a relegated Bolton side last year. I’m not sure how many displays like last night he has left in him.

  132. New Post ……………..

  133. Big Raddy says:

    New Post ……

  134. kgooner says:

    Great and inspiring read. It’s very well thought of and somehow lifts me from the low moods of the post match

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