Fine Margins Again

Ok, we lost 2-0. I didn’t agree with Wilkins assessment at half time that Chelsea were “far” the stronger in the first half, and I felt that Chelsea more edged the first half with the second being far more even and hard to call. Overall I think they deserved the win but only by a fine margin. It looked far more a 1-0 or 2-1 than the 2-0 end score. Their second goal was somewhat a sucker punch, once again just as we seemed to be getting into the ascendency and looking likely to come back into the game.

I didn’t watch the punditry after the end of the game so I have no idea what they said about it overall. I actually felt that we played a lot of good fluid football, but converting this into wins against better opposition is the next big step for this promising and still developing side. This was one of those games, a bit like Dortmund, where I feel there is no reason to throw the toys out of the pram, but again, like Dortmund, I feel certain lessons need to be learned.

We started with a stronger side than I envisioned we would, most notably in the midfield where certain players started that I thought would be rested for the weekend. Chelsea also started with a strong side but we knew they would, what with a multitude of multi-million pound players and experienced internationals sitting in reserve. It was a bit ridiculous for Mourinho to feign disadvantage about the timing of the game with the sheer amount of back up internationals that Chelsea are able to employ, (obviously all within their genuine financial budget). This factor obviously had some impact on the game and, although they played some youngsters themselves, I still feel we “out-rookied” them. I don’t actually, however, feel this was the key component of where the game was won and lost.

Jenkinson certainly had a moment to forget and for some reason doesn’t seem to like the bouncing ball. He even had a moment before the fatal error where he didn’t confidently deal with a bouncing ball, so the warning signs were already there. I don’t know if there is any other historical evidence out there of a weakness in defending this type of situation, but what I do know is that I have seen him, at times, play like a top level full-back. In particular I think about the away game at Munich last year, and any full-back that can nullify the attacking threats of the Munich wide-men so well, must have something about them. He has not featured much this season so is maybe, as a young player, a little out of confidence.

I was personally never worried about the end result of this game so will not castigate this young man for mistakes in this one game, but the more worrying question for me is why Arsene has so rarely used him this season. Sagna is a top class full-back, no question, but if Jenks is the future why is he not seeing more action? Is there a more concerning “reading between the lines” situation to be considered here?

One of the first things that struck me was that, in our 4-3-3 system, we were lining up with Wilshere, Ramsey and Rosicky in our midfield 3. To me this feels unbalanced as I don’t feel any of the 3 are true holding midfielders in the way that both Flamini, and arguably Arteta, are. I feel that the holding midfielder is a specific type of defensive midfielder that can be considered different to another type of defensive midfielder. For instance Makelele is different to Schweinsteiger but both could be considered defensive midfielders. I have recently championed us to play more a 4-2-3-1 system with the deeper two comprising one who is more a pure holding midfielder with the other being more a box to box midfielder alongside him. Would this be our best system currently? One to be debated I am sure.

All 3 of the players mentioned above could be considered more the box to box type players, but I personally feel Jack is our best midfielder currently for the box to box role as he has a rare blend of both attacking and defensive strengths. More importantly I feel he is one of the best in the game at bringing the ball out from deeper midfield without getting caught on the ball, even with opposition players closing down quickly.

Wilshere has the ability to move very quickly from the position he is receiving the ball in, and so evades getting caught on the ball.

Rosicky is a close second in this role but is probably more suited to playing slightly higher, while Ramsey currently seems best in the more attacking areas of the midfield, and for me often doesn’t change position as quickly when receiving the ball as Jack does, so is more likely to get caught on the ball in a deeper position where the current trend is for the opposition to press quickly.

In this game I felt it fell on Jack to be our deepest (or holding) midfielder, and he was caught somewhat in a mish mash of roles, where his natural instinct to play some defensive duties but to bring the ball forward as well was slightly curbed by not having a more pure “holding” defensive midfielder alongside him. When he did try and move forwards with the ball it seemed to leave gaps in our deeper midfield area. Conversely Chelsea played Mikel and Essien, who for me represent the defensive holding midfielder, and box to box defensive midfielder respectively. Individually I feel they are both technically inferior to our midfielders, but maybe brought a better balance to their side in midfield. Would we have been better served having a purer holding midfielder in place of one of Rosicky or Ramsey, even if it was a player from the youth ranks?

The second thing that I noticed was that when we had the ball our passing and movement was quick and slick but we rarely stretched the play. I felt most of our play was too central, which allowed them to pack the central areas, and we didn’t use the width enough to create more space between their players. A Mourinho Chelsea will always be defensively disciplined so if you become too predictable they will normally just absorb it. It felt more like we were getting back to the tippy-tappy, threading it through the eye of a needle, type of play again, and in contrast I felt they always used the spaces out wide better than us. This always seemed to make us look more stretched and under pressure when they attacked us than when we attacked them.

I felt, once again, this was slightly similar to the Dortmund game, and I hope it is not developing into a consistent underlying tactical problem, that may not be so noticeable against more inferior opposition, but against better opposition makes the subtle difference to the end result. If it is a genuine tactical problem then it needs to be identified quickly before the next 3 games, as they don’t involve inferior opposition.

In conclusion all in all I am not overly disappointed. We played some good football and have a great squad with some key players still to return from injury. I still feel we are a developing side that is yet to completely find the right balance in our line-up, and the fact we are top of the EPL without, in my opinion, firing on all cylinders yet is a good omen. With our forthcoming fixtures in mind, however, we do need to get these subtle balances corrected and fine tuned now. Those areas that see you either win 2-1 or lose 2-1 against better teams need to be addressed imminently.

As for the player ratings I will let all you fine AA’ers debate that. I was not able to watch the game as intently as I would have liked for the 90 minutes to allow me to be able to individually rate the players accurately. My general thoughts were that Monreal and Santi played well, and Rosicky and Ramsey were both solid. If I were to go for a MOTM for Arsenal it would have been Wilshere who I thought always tried to make things happen for us and, despite being dispossessed on a couple of occasions, was the key player in much of our forward play, drive and tempo.

Written by GoonerB


143 Responses to Fine Margins Again

  1. Neoflex says:

    Sori bro bt u lost xo stp trollin

  2. Great write up GoonerB I never thought we were going to score.

  3. Itsonlyrayparlour says:

    Hi there,

    great blog, but I will reiterate a point I made at the tail end of this great site’s previous post and it’s actually nothing to do with matters on the pitch. Our Home support was beyond embarrassing yesterday. Yes all big clubs have poor home support now and the Arsenal has never been the loudest, but yesterday was a London derby for Christ’s sake. We normally raise it at least a bit for those matches.

    Instead we had the entire lower tier three quarters empty with 5 minutes to go and I was too far back in the lower tier to see much of the upper tier but I doubt it was any better, it was probably worse. It’s an absolute disgrace. What has happened to our support? If it’s all because of gentrification of our support then football really and truly has become rotten. Plus throughout the match the crowd hardly made any noise. How do I know? I was there in the NB lower yesterday. I also asked my brother who was watching on the box about crowd noise and he said you could only hear the CSKA Fulham fans. It’s an absolute disgrace.

    90 minutes of 9000 supporters of the SCUMMIEST club in the league taking the mick at our gaff is humiliating. It’s still winding me right up. And to be fair to them, they made a hell of a noise, despite being utter berks. Contrast our fans to the absolute racket the palace fans made on saturday – I was at Selhurst on the weekend and I was beyond impressed.

    Can every nice civilised fan who sits there in silence and makes no noise and leaves ten minutes early get the hell out of the ground permanently. You’re not wanted by this gooner, although I’m aware that this is just my opinion. The club like those civilised fans, and those fans don’t like us rough around the edge loud, obnoxious aggressive geezers, but for crying out loud if you’re gonna price out old school Arsenal blokes and their families at least make a bit of noise. Honestly thought I was mutton last night cos I couldn’t hear a thing from Arsenal fans. Get in the ground and get behind the team by making noise. And yeah it might mean a bit of swearing etc which may offend some people’s sensibilities. If it does, go to the theatre not the football.

    Rant over.

  4. I was right next to the chav fans. tried making a bit of noise but just got abuse all the time. there were a lot of kids around me. i don’t understand why people leave early but it’s always a problem

  5. chas says:

    Cheers, GoonerB.
    A fair and accurate assessment of a night to forget.

    Someone on twatter said (paraphrased),
    ‘Why do we seem to struggle to create chances against a team whose back 6 know how to stand in the right places?’

    I was surprised at how few genuine attempts we created with Santi, Jack, Rambo and Sicky playing. Then again with poor Ryo and a poor Bendy in front of them, maybe it isn’t that difficult to understand.

    I didn’t even watch the last 15 minutes. Did it get any better with Mesut and OG coming on?

  6. It did get better chas. Giroud had a shot!

  7. Jekinson is the weak link in the team. The absence of Arteta and Flamini had its toll on the team.

  8. chas says:

    haha, gm

    The sooner they bring in safe standing, the better.
    It’s so difficult to make a noise if the people around you aren’t interested in doing the same. That’s why our away support is good as everyone knows they’re there to give as much vocal support as is possible.

    The same would be true of the away chavs. As you suggested, Stamford Bridge often has a poor atmosphere.

    There are some twitter comments about over zealous stewarding in some Arsenal sections and none in the chavs’ section. Some have suggested that Arse fans were being asked to tone down their support.

  9. Räsp says:

    Welcome again ‘Itsonly’, I sympathise with your viewpoint. I’m sure if we’d been 2 up there would have been plenty of noise from our crowd. After the first goal there was a concerted effort (at least from where I was sitting) to lift the team but it did trail off after the second goal. The crowd has to play its part, particularly when its not going our way. I felt that in general the atmosphere was good against BD despite the result.

    I think it is deplorable to see so many fans leaving before the final whistle (I accept that some like chas have a bona fide reason for getting out quickly), it is the duty of every supporter to show their appreciation at the end of the game. I was sad to see Jack walking round the pitch at the end of the game applauding empty seats and the backs of the fleeing supporters.

  10. Moist of the chavs were standing. the away fans always stand with impunity

  11. chas says:

    Ah, it seems some of the stewarding was down to black scarf people (not sure what word to use?) being in one particular block (19).

  12. Sav from Australia says:

    Very reasoned and informative report. Thanks mate!

  13. chas says:

    I never leave early if attending. I was watching at home.

  14. people leave early no matter what the score is or who we are playing.

    Rasp. My Australian colleague enjoyed it despite being sat next to those scum

  15. chas says:

    Well up until the last 15 mins anyway.
    I was hoping I might lift a curse or something if I stopped watching. 🙂

  16. chas says:

  17. Danny says:

    Just seemed like a practise match for both teams with the goalkeepers having nothing to do. Ramsey, Jack and Santi were taking it easy especially Santi who was trying out all sorts of types of passes etc. We learned nothing new about Ryo, Jenkinson and Bendtner.
    Let’s be grateful that we’re out of this stupid cup.

  18. evönne says:

    great match report, thank you GB

    GM – I like your son a lot, good lad. I witnessed violence at the Emirates 3 times – once with an Everton drunk and twice with gangs of Chavs. I am seriously considering having a tattoo done on my neck “I HATE cfc”

    I really, really, truly fooking hate them.

    About 10 years ago, before the Russian era at the bridge I had a Chav director. Many, many, many times I would come in to work with a big smilel on my face and watched him furious, with white knuckles looking at his keyboard and avoiding me like a disease. And he always used to say “There is a law of average and you will loose to us eventually”. Yeah, he was right we lost to them but not because of the law of average! But such law exists and we will kick the poo out of them eventually. Cannot wait.

  19. Rasp says:

    Hi chas, I wasn’t having a pop. I remember that when I mentioned this in the past you had said that you had to leave swiftly because of JC.

    I have computer problems this morning and my comment thanking GoonerB for the post was lost. Sorry GB, a very good assessment of the game and its importance. I have no problem with going out of the C1C, just the manner of the performance really. I agree with those who said we’d have been better off to play more of the kids. I hope this hasn’t dented our confidence for the pool game.

  20. Rasp says:

    There were a lot of dads with kids around me. Its a shame the youngsters didn’t witness a famous victory but may explain to some extent the subdued atmosphere. The guy in front of me was with a lad who was about 9 I’d say and he was looking round nervously every time the language and chanting got a bit agricultural.

  21. Rasp says:

    Hi GM, good to see you last night, I’m glad your mates enjoyed the game. We’ve now lost the last 2 games I’ve attended – do you think I should stay away? 😕

  22. Nice to see you too Rasp. My last game was Dortmund too 🙂

  23. Big Raddy says:

    GB. Excellent. Some really good insights.

    My concern was with physicality as GIE pointed out last night. We are not as strong as the mutants in blue and in showed.

    As to an out ball – who was there to find? NB had one of his worst games and struggled t control anything and Ryo was totally out of his depth. Bertrand is a good defender and Ryo was consistently beaten both for pace and power.

    We desperately missed Ox and Theo who could get behind the defence. As Nic was losing the ball on the ground the ony chance was to hit him in the air and we didn’t manage to put in a single accurate cross.

    We had nothing on the left side of attack with Monreal concentrating on defending, as such there was no possibility of stretching the Chav defence. It also allowed their RB to break and score.

    Apart from his stupid mistake Jenks had an OK game. Mata and Eto’o are difficult opponents.

    As has been said, the team AW selected was disappointing on many levels.

  24. Itsonlyrayparlour says:

    perhaps goes some way to explaining the poor atmosphere. I’m not in the BSM but am a fan of what they do. Very worrying and dissapointing from Arsenal.

  25. Just been in the garden for the first time since the storm. my shed’s f*cked

  26. miles says:

    Arsenal minus Wenger = Trophy

  27. chas says:

    miles minus any shred of intelligence = troll.

  28. chas says:

    I realise you weren’t having a pop, it was just that I didn’t want anyone reading your comment to think I’d left the ground with 15 minutes to go, as I’d just said that I didn’t watch the end of the game.

  29. chas says:

    Shame I can’t embed this gif.

  30. GoonerB says:

    Thanks for the comments guys. Raddy I thought I read somewhere that Myaichi is second only to Walcott in speed tests and not by much either. As good as Bertrand is I feel Myaichi should have given us more of an out-ball on the flank and caused more problems and stretched them more with his pace. I would like to have seen him pull their players wide more and open up the space inside for Cazorla and Ramsey.

    I feel we have been playing far too narrowly recently and the better teams find it easier to defend against. I am not suggesting playing permanently with 2 wide placed men but we seem to have ceased to vary our attack, which is something I thought we were moving on from this season.

  31. Räsp says:

    Hi GoornerB, I didn’t see Ryo try to use his pace once last night. I know you have to have confidence for the ‘push and go’ style wing play to get behind the fullback, instead it was Jenks who tried – and without much success. Ryo kept cutting inside and that too was largely ineffective. He’s young and learning but all you can say at the moment is he’s got a way to go. As for Bendy, he looked lost, together with his first touch 😦

  32. Ryo is a bit lightweight up against the chavs

  33. Goona says:

    Itsonlyrayparlour : Interesting article, if it is true the stewards were indeed “under orders” I must say I am very disappointed that the club chose to tread down this path.

  34. There are 2 parrots/parakeets in next doors garden eating from a bird feeder

  35. Goona
    Read chas’ link to the BSM about it

  36. chas says:

    It wasn’t mine, gm.

  37. chas says:

    Those parakeets have done so well in this country.

  38. sorry he was referring to a link he’d already read

  39. They survive here/ I was worried that they’s just escaped

  40. just about to watch a BBC doc about them when my wife turns the hair-dryer off

  41. Big Raddy says:

    Mr Wenger says the game rested on the first goal and that from then on we were in trouble.

    If only it were that simple.

    We didn’t have a single shot on target until OG hit one late in the game, and I cannot even remember a shot off target. No thrust, no penetration, no threat, no possibility of scoring

    What happened to 1-0 down, 2-1 up?

  42. chas says:

    These stats are from the BBC, BR.
    MATCH STATS (Arsenal first)
    Possession 53% 47% Shots 12 14 On target 1 3

    I only remember one shot by Rambo just after half time that was deflected just past the post. Dennis knows where the other 10 were.

  43. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Aside from Giroud’s late effort, I only remember two attempts on goal, both from wide on the left, both narrowly missing the far post, one from Santi and one from Nacho.

    I honestly can’t remember Bendtner doing anything worthwhile, he obviously sees himself as too good to defend, he never runs when he can jog and never jogs when he can walk.

    We had virtually no width, Myachi was completely anonymous, Jenkinson made almost no attempt to get behind the defence, only Monreal offered anything out wide.

    The longer the game went on, the more congested the mid-field became and the easier it was for Chelsea to crowd us out of their area.

    Only one shot on target! Buy us a striker in January please Mr. Wenger.

    Oh! and Vermaelen was extremely lucky not to be sent off for bring Ba down, he was the last defender and it was far more of a DOGSO than Arteta’s on Saturday. Common sense from referee Dowd.

  44. Shard says:

    Monreal had a shot that he might have scored from just after the Chelsea goal. Cazorla too. Wilshere shot from the edge of the box that flew over the bar. Cazorla also had one from there. There were probably a few blocked shots too. We had shots aplenty, just weren’t especially penetrative.

    But then neither were Chelsea. They didn’t need to be either I suppose, after we gave away a stupid goal, but conversely they had more space to counter because we needed to attack, and still they didn’t really cause Fabianski too many problems. I don’t think it was as much a gap in performance as is being made out and I agree with Wenger that the goal we gave away was the real difference in the game. Especially because Chelsea are a good defensive side who put as many as 7 players in their own box to try and block a shot, and we were missing our most efficient finishers in Podolski and Walcott. We need to learn not to give up stupid goals, or commit silly errors, but as for the rest, I don’t think it was something that needs any drastic attention or autopsy. Nothing we didn’t know before anyway.

  45. Shard says:

    Norfolk Gooner

    Ba brought Vermaelen down..OR at least that’s how I saw it. Despite what Dowd gave. But yeah, I suppose having given the foul he could have sent Vermaelen off, even though Ba was heading away from goal.

  46. JanMan says:

    GoonerB. Good write up, thank you. I am not too concerned that we are out of this cup but at the end of the day our B team was not good enought to beat the B team of Chelsea. Also how much of an Arsenal B team was that when you consider the amount of first teamers that started. Unfortunately it was proof that our squad is just not deep enough. Granted we have a few players out due to injury but even when they return it is very hard to compare our full strength squad to that of the 22 players from Chelsea who played against Man City and us. No doom and gloom from me and I am not criticising, merely pointing out the vast difference. At times we held our own with Chelsea and played some good football but our dominance, possession and strike power was severly lacking. It shows for example just how much we are dependant on Giroud! Hopefully we will bounce back from this and put in a winning performance on Saturday as for me the PL is far more important.

  47. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Shard, “and still they didn’t really cause Fabianski too many problems”, Except when Koscielny had to clear off the line. 😀

  48. Norfolk Gooner says:

    I forgot to say; Thanks GoonerB for the post.

  49. chas says:

  50. Shard says:

    It was more a blocked cross Norfolk..By that token Miyaichi created a lot for us 🙂

  51. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Shard, by then I think Dowd had grown tired of the Chav players playing dead, at one time there were no less than three of them down feigning injury at the same time.

  52. chas says:

  53. Shard says:

    I omitted to thank you too GoonerB..Forgive me.. A very good blog indeed. I disagree about Jenkinson. I like him and agree he has potential, but that doesn’t excuse making the same mistakes again and again, and there must be a reason he doesn’t play much. Agree completely about the DM, and I think we need someone else to come in in the transfer window, along with a striker or a wide player with an awesome cross.

  54. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Chas, that looks spookily like Bendtner, maybe he really is The Messiah. 😀

  55. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Shard, we do need a DM, Xabi Alonso is out of contract at the end of the season, a £10 million bid in January may do the trick.

  56. Big Raddy says:

    He’s not the messiah, he’s just a very naughty boy 🙂

  57. Norfolk Gooner says:

    BR, Always look on the bright side of life. 😀

  58. Shard says:


    Unless we reasonably expect Yennaris or Aneke to be important first team players (or expect Coquelin and Frimpong to be that and stick around for the next 2 years without much playing time), I’d prefer we went for somebody younger than Xabi Alonso in that position. We’ve already got a 31 year old Arteta who does much the same work as Alonso might be expected to, and Flamini is 29 I think.

  59. Rick says:

    We lost because Chelsea out worked us. We lost to Dortmund because they out worked us. We beat Bayern because we worked as hard as they did. Everybody defended just like Chelsea did yesterday and Dortmund did last Tuesday. In every endeavor, talent only gets you so far. On technical levels alone, very few teams can match us. However, teams close enough just outwork us and beat us. This will always happen until we get it. Take a look at Barcelona, Bayern, Chelsea even Man U. They just work really hard tracking back, defending and making it difficult to play against them. We just jog back. Wenger must lay down the law about that. Last night all. Of CHelsea players were continually behind the ball working very hard. We must do the same, at all times not sometimes, to succeed.

  60. Räsp says:

    Hi Rick, very well argued points. I cannot disagree about the workrate. Chelsea, like BD, allowed us little time or space on the ball whereas we sat off them more and as you say, we didn’t track back with the same urgency. Why do we work harder in some games than others – its a mystery!

  61. RA says:

    Enjoyed the Post, GB. 🙂

    Arriving late to the party it seems the entrails of the game have been well and truly pored over.

    This was a game that AW tried but failed to win.
    Not exactly a world shattering observation, and something that will be true of many more teams and managers over future years. Big deal.

    What hurts most of us is not so much being removed from the League Cup, disappointing tho that is, it is losing to effing Chelsea and their obnoxious, preening manager.

    It was a so-so game decided by two mistakes, and by the best player on the pitch last night — Mata.

    If I had to point a finger at the Arsenal team, while recognising an anxious, keyed up Corporal Jenks and clueless Bendy did not help, I would be looking at our small, technically gifted midfield players – Rambo excepted — who were simply over-run by the Chavs bigger, faster, technically gifted midfield players.

    Too often the midfield was carved open by Chelsea exposing our defence and giving only minimal support to our forwards — yes, even the much maligned Bendy.

    Not too many of you will agree with my assessment, and certainly AW doesn’t, but there it is, to be added to the post match entrail picking ceremony. 🙂

  62. Afternoon all, a difficult task well done GoonerB, namely writing up a loss, however much it was expected, and I did expect us to lose sadly.
    Pleasure to see Raspers, The Peacher and Gooner Michael last night, however briefly.
    If any of you are masochistic enough to want to have another read about last nights match my view is here:

  63. jnyc says:

    Both chelsea andman city have ridiculously strong. B teams. On paper we should be serious underdogs considering no ox, podolski, gnabry all might have played.
    i was just annoyed to see ramsey used in a game like this. He may be our most important player, and he cant get a moments rest.
    especially with liverpool coming up. This is a huge match – i want to destroy them, but they are going to be super motivated. And they are dangerous. We will need to play at our best.

  64. Räsp says:

    Excellent report Chary, spiced with plenty of abuse of our not so worthy opponents 😛

  65. I toned down what I was going to say Raspers ! The Chavs are certainly up in there in my top 5 teams to hate now.

    What a bunch of scummy front bottoms they are.

  66. Hi all

    Thank you for the post GoonerB 😉

    Some very interesting comments from bloggers today.

    I was shocked and sad to read the BSM article that was linked above. There were always going to be a lot of children at the game – half-term, cheaper tickets – which changes the atmosphere but I’d like to think that the club would encourage everyone to sing. Weird, what’s the upside for the club for there to be no atmosphere.

    This is a very good article for all supporters to read about Nick

    We have to support him, I was appalled that he was boo-ed off and very cross that it happened. He didn’t miss any clear cut chances he wasn’t responsible for us being two down, he was scapegoated.

  67. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. I didn’t know NB was booed off, if true that is disgraceful.

    It was bad enough listening to commentary where the background was jubilant Chavs.

    I try to be even handed in this because who knows where they place the mic’s at a game but 9k Chavs out sung 50+k Gooners – which is shameful.

    No-one can accuse NB of lack of effort, he ran and ran, and if the problem is a lack of talent then it was not him who picked him to play.

    The Emirates has a tendency to become toxic, what do those who make it so think they achieve?

  68. arnie says:

    Fantastic report, GoonerB, and great discussion. Like most of AAers, I am not so bothered about losing to Chavs yesterday. But also like most of you, I would really have liked to see a bunch of kids play. If this is their competition, it should provide them a platform. They might not have lost more handsomely, and it would have given them some exposure at this level. Anyway, what is done is done, and there must be a method to the madness!!! So, move on. But, there are three things, two that I picked up from comments today, and one yesterday that bothers me a wee bit.

    First, lack of full support, if it was indeed the case, and boo-ing is something that does not feel nice. One has to seriously ask why this is so. Our home support has been consistently voiced down by the away fans, and Chas correct me if I am wrong, our away support is not that much better. Serious questions here!!!

    Second, and related, perhaps this is because of a perceived deficit in the work rate. This is quite alarming. As Rick and Rasp point out, this was the same against Dortmund. It is fatigue? Is it lack of motivation/ ambition? Is it a cannot-care-less attitude? If it is the former, the question remains why so many of the 1st team players were playing yesterday! Yes, I can understand Verms and Santi playing, but not Ramsey, Wilshere and co. We need to sort this one out before we meet Pool and Dortmund! And we will, I am sure, but this needs to be done.

    Third, the Pingpong tweet is not acceptable. First, there was Jebb, then Wishere, and now Pingpong. Yes, we play a lot of kids, but also they have to be disciplined. This is becoming a bit too regular!!!!

  69. Goona says:

    Hey all. On the stadium atmosphere issue here’s what a certain ex player Arshavin has to say.

    To hear this coming from an ex player really is a bit depressing.. Prolly cause we more or less know that thats the truth at times.

  70. Peaches says:

    Raddy – it was bizarre, we were standing cheering him and boo-ing was coming from across the pitch. It’s the kind of thing that turns fans against each other.

  71. LB says:


    There was a hint of it but it was not full blown……..thank goodness.

    The majority who turned up last night were not regulars, the mental imprint they seemed to have was from the way “supporters” behaved a couple of seasons ago, clearly not realising that things have moved on.

    The support in general for the home games this season has been the best we have had since the move.

  72. LB says:

    Hi Peaches

    Where were you sitting last night?

  73. arnie says:

    LB: Thanks, relieved. Perhaps I overreacted a bit. It is true that not so long ago, against Napoli, the Ems sang in unison….. They were a bit subdued in the Dortmund game, and yesterday ….. OK, lets hope all is well.

  74. LB says:


    I was just about to write that I blame Twitter but then I realised that Twitter is probably the tool that is making the likes of the three you mentioned aware of what is and what is not acceptable behaviour.

  75. LB says:


    I wasn’t good though, there was a horrible moment when Bendtner made his way to the line having been subbed that I feared that the booing was going to become full blown, fortunately as I said it didn’t I can only assume the glares of the right minded people shut the idiots up.

    Worst part of the night for me.

  76. LB says:

    I am being called, time to get ready for the cinema.

    Good post GB, no easy task I am sure.

  77. chas says:

    In my experience, the away support is much better than the home support. Maybe that’s because it’s more unified in its desire to give the team vocal support. You still might get someone that moans during the game but they’re also likely to join in with the singing.

    If you took the North Bank section of the lower tier at the Emirates, then that would be fairly close to the away support in terms of noise and encouragement. Other parts of the ground have too much of a mixture of fans to be able to give much in the way of co-ordinated support.

    I presume many of you will remember what it was like sitting in the East and West Upper Tiers at Highbury. Very rarely was there any singing, only on really big games and the level of moaning was usually quite high.

    I find the whole black scarf episode a bit strange. I assumed that those that were strong in that movement would be the first to chant ‘spend some eckin money’ and boo a player like Bendy who “isn’t fit to wear the shirt”. Reading last night’s account, maybe I’ve got that wrong. I can only applaud their efforts to generate some vocal support from the Clock End last night. Did the authorities think they were there to cause trouble with the chavs? It would seem so.

  78. Big Raddy says:

    When I went to every game my season ticket was next to the away fans and there was a different bunch of AFC fans when we played Chavs, WHU and Spurs. Suddenly the meatheads who had been in the “firms” of the 70’s/80’s turned up. Most knew nothing about football and spent the whole game staring at the opposition fans, gesticulating and “offering them out”..

    If I noticed it so did the stewards and as Chas says, perhaps they expected trouble last night.

  79. Big Raddy says:

    arnie, 6.18. I would take away all the players tweeters.

    Stat time: Tonight MU’s reserve starting 11 cost £170m and their bench cost £115m. This includes 3 homegrown players!

    Thank goodness for FFP.

  80. chas says:

    If we had have got through last night the next round match would have been in the middle of December sandwiched between the light blue oilers away and the chavvy blue oilers at home.

    I just looked at the stadium plan and block 19 isn’t behind the goal at the Clock End, but in the East Stand lower but still alongside the away fans. If I’d have read the article probably, I’d have noticed it said the away supporters were to our left.

  81. Sorry LB I missed your question earlier. I was sat in block 2, we had a good number of loud singers around us and the view was amazing. We hardly ever get to sit lower tier and I was really looking forward to it. The whole experience was ruined by the constant to-ing and fro-ing of supporters around us, a complete nightmare!

    There were two guys sat behind us who obviously hadn’t been to a game for a while and weren’t familiar with how well the team were doing so far this season. I was about to put some home truths their way but decided to support my team instead. Rasp and I pretty much had no voice when we left the ground.

    Did you hears boos for Nick from where you sit?

  82. Chas – I assumed the blocks the BSM were talking about were those usually used for the junior gunners because they wouldn’t ever be for season ticket holders and they could get a good take-up.

  83. LB – just seen your comment where you say you did hear some.

  84. Need a post for tomorrow ………..

  85. chas says:

    Isn’t Block two where those photos of people singing ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ were taken.

  86. chas says:

    What was the view like in the lower tier and what row were you sat in?

  87. No way, it wasn’t me. Where did you see those?

  88. chas says:

    I presume the BSM Clock End campaign was for season tickets in those blocks you speak of but last night was definitely East Stand Lower.

  89. We sat in row 16 and the view was great but when everyone stands its really annoying because you just can’t see the goal mouth action. Have you ever sat lower tier at the ems?

  90. Under where you sit?

  91. chas says:

    I haven’t sat lower tier. The atmosphere always looks a lot better. I’d be happy to stand all the game if it was allowed, just like away from home. Ant and me always prefer tickets halfway up an away end. Any lower and you don’t get any perspective especially if you behind one goal. Being closer to the halfway line would balance the being low down maybe?

  92. chas says:

    I didn’t mean last night, peaches. 😆
    I meant when the Ox was taken off and replaced by Arse Shaving against ManU.

  93. chas says:

    Yep, under where we sit.
    It always looks a bit sparky under there anyway with banter between that block and the away fans.

  94. Shard says:

    Watching the match on tv yesterday, the Chelsea voices from the crowd were definitely much louder. The obnoxious Jose Mourinho chant filling our stadium was annoying to say the least and I did have a moment of wondering what our crowd were up to.

    Having read the BSM article, and chary’s match report, it seems that there was extra attention being paid towards Arsenal supporters so as to stop any potential flare up. While it’s annoying from the fans’ perspective, there has to be a reason for that. The BSM’s reputation isn’t the highest, and if they sent a call out on social media to fill a section near the away fans, it might have been enough to spook either the club or the police, or both, about the possibility of violence being instigated by them. Or it might have been some other ‘intelligence’.

    In any case, the fans’ groups should take this up with the club and maybe they could reach a better understanding of what sets off such a response from the stewards. But then again, maybe that would defeat the point of it, so the club might not be so forthcoming there. Still, I see no reason why fans all around the ground can’t sing. I realise why it’s tough, especially with people who aren’t regulars and might feel shy or unsure of how to go about it. Perhaps the fans’ groups would also do better to look for ways to reach out to other fans and get them more involved rather than just calling them names for not singing or being like the ‘traditional’ fans.

  95. Block 2 is pretty close to Arsene so I would think that if anyone wants to hurl abuse it would be on camera.

    Did they change the hoardings when Park came on?

  96. Shard says:

    Why did Chelsea get a bigger allocation than usual though? 9000 fans? I thought the usual was about 3000, maybe 6000 for some big games. 9k is 15% of the ground. All sitting together as a cohesive group. Not surprising they were loud if you think about it like that.

  97. chas says:

    Many of the people that go to watch football in the past and nowadays never have and never will sing. Some of the older chaps barely open their mouths let alone sing.

  98. What’s interesting about the singing is it becomes infectious. I sit in the north bank and there is always a rendition of ‘we’re the north bank, we’re the north bank, we’re the north bank Highbury ‘ that comes from high up at the back. Sometimes there would be a small response from the east stand lower tier but at the Napoli game that response spread from 4 or 5 to 20 say very quickly and before you knew it there were hundreds of arms in the air responding.

    It’s very easy to join in when everyone around is singing loud and proud.

    Chas – does your area join in the east stand chant?

  99. chas says:

    The away allocation for League Cup and FA Cup games is always much bigger than for League games. I was trying to find out why earlier on, but to no avail, but it’s always been the case.
    Some teams used to be given the whole of the Clock End at Highbury for cup games.

  100. Capital one cup gives a huge allocation to the away fans if they want it. I remember the slimy scummers having more 😦

  101. chas says:

    No it doesn’t.
    In fact we can’t even hear it up there.
    The only reason I know it happens is because I’ve seen it on youtube.
    Last game I sung it after the North Bank chant and got some very strange looks. 🙂

  102. chas says:

    I know I’ll curse it but Friedel (o.g.) is just too funny. 😆

  103. Oh no poor you, you need to get your brother and nephew to swap seats with you so that you can join in.

    It’s such fun when it gets going ……….

  104. Bayonne Jean says:

    Klopp signs continuation at BvB thru 2018. And could the board sign AW thru 2018, thus arranging a nice succession plan?

  105. Have Hull equalised ?

  106. I didn’t hear nicky B getting booed all I could hear was

    8 years and you won fuck all
    ashley cole’s got a European cup
    Only team in london to win a European cup
    you’re just a shit juan mata
    super chelsea fc
    he left cos your shit
    shall we sing a song for you
    and some wanky song about celery.

    worst night I’ve had there by miles

  107. chas says:

  108. So it would seem 🙂

    We missed you in the pub yesterday chas, didn’t we gm 😉

  109. Bayonne Jean – nice idea, do you think Arsene would sign a four year deal at this stage?

  110. chas says:

    Nice gif 8)

  111. chas says:

    Thanks, peaches.
    I rarely miss a home game (prem, CL and FAcup) plus 7 or 8 away games makes over 33-34 games a season. I always think it’s somebody else’s turn when it comes to League Cup at home.

  112. We did miss you chas.

  113. Bale has just scored 2 goals. i don’t know who they’re playing though

  114. chas says:


  115. Shard says:

    Well ok..That settles that question then as to why Chelsea had more seats.

    As for singing. I joined in when I could, especially in the North Bank, but I don’t know all the songs (I picked up a few while there) and I don’t know the proper etiquette, if you will. Or at least didn’t when I first went. I want to sing, but don’t know the chants well enough to start one, and don’t know people around me at all to get them to help. There must be a way to fix that.

    (Although I’ve been a couple of times when the atmosphere was just electric, most notably, AC Milan 3-0. Once, there were a couple of drunk guys who were obviously passionate, but ruined the singing for everyone else because they were constantly out of rhythm. I’ve never been to a game where the crowd booed or were exceptionally quiet.)

    Maybe the club could, as an option, sell tickets in blocks of 4 or 5 (it’s easier to sing in a group) and maybe the newer fans could have some sort of mentor assigned by the fans’ groups (again as an option) It seems difficult to arrange but it really shouldn’t be. At the very least, the fans’ groups should be looking at doing SOMETHING rather than just moaning about everyone who’s not them. I’m one of the ‘tourists’ that the BSM seem to dislike coming into their backyard. Now they might have a specific way of watching football, but is that the only way? If they’d rather alienate the club’s management and other fans, then you can kiss the atmosphere goodbye anyway. What do they have left to cheer for if they feel annoyed over everything about the club?

    I don’t disagree with them about the stewarding issue. I disagree with the ‘solutions’ many of them offer, and the attitude of self righteousness. I also personally feel offended by constant remarks about ‘tourists’, without an acknowledgment of why it is a different experience for those that can only occasionally make it and why they might like to take pictures (I personally don;t take pictures) or whatever else. Passion isn’t always expressed in the same way. The trick is to get everyone involved, rather than exclude someone who doesn’t fit in instantly. The club would do it if they saw the benefits as being worth the effort (and cost) that would go towards providing a solution. But it’s the fans groups who should be taking a lead in looking for solutions rather than just complaining to, and about, the club and expecting them to come up with something.

  116. They’re playing Seville, spuds gong nuts on twitter haha

  117. Shard says:

    Hahaha..What minute did that Friedel own goal take place?

  118. 53rd Shard. It’d be cool if the Spuds get some cramp related injuries to their first teamers in extra time. 🙂

  119. I reckon city will drop Hart for this bloke pantaloon

  120. neamman says:

    liverpool has become a must win game

  121. Ha ha, Spuds losing to the mighty Hull, much ROLFing.

  122. Spuds losing now lol

  123. it always was neamman

  124. Shard says:

    I’m now following the game. Spurs are just so giving. Always showing us how good we have it. 🙂

  125. Shard says:

    F*ck… I knew I should have kept my gob shut.. I jinxed it.

  126. Shard says:

    Hull look like Portsmouth in those kits.

  127. Still need a post for tomorrow ……….

  128. chas says:

    The draw means the two mancs, spuds and chavs may have double header semis in January.

  129. Gööner In Exile says:

    Evening all, fine report GoonerB on what was as Chary said earlier a bit expected.

    I’m not sure anyone wanted to get injured before vital league games coming up, and those that are not first team regulars are more likely to be sitting in the stands once all the players have returned from injury.

    On the whole BSM thing, well played them for trying, but they seem to be getting antsy with the wrong people, they are blaming stadium management, but reading between the lines of their retelling of events you would have to think the Police had a bit to do with it, here’s the choice they have:

    Chelsea 9,000 neanderthals in an away ground

    Arsenal 1,000 or so vocal but generally nice blokes who want to come back into this ground at some point.

    Who would you try and shut up/deal with/calm down to reduce chances of violence?

    I have said many times before that the club should allow unallocated seating in North Bank and Clock End Lower tiers, was chatting to a client today and we were reminiscing about turning up to games (3 o’clock kick off) at around 1:30 in order to get your best place, sit on the terrace eat some peanuts and read the programme as the ground slowly filled up.

    But then to expect the fans that can’t even be bothered to devote 90 minutes to watching a game of football to get to the ground an hour and a half early might be expecting a bit much.

    And it’s not even because we were losing that the ground emptied, its because it has become a habit. I think Rasp’s policy of refusing to stand to let them leave early might be a good one for a few of us to try….I tend to go with shouting something along the lines of “These tickets obviously aren’t expensive enough if you don’t mind leaving early”.

  130. evönne says:

    I wish you didn’t encourage me – now I will never stand up for the early departing. This could cause some trouble. I’d better do that only when I have DidIt with me

    DISGUSTING is not strong enough a word to describe booing and walking out before the end. That’s fooking common etiquette and manners to wait for your turn. Would any of them walk out early from a dinner party if they didn’t like the main course? I know I said it before, but they clearly didn’t hear TH14 on the subject, telling the morons how the players felt watching their own supporters abandoning them.

  131. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    I will throw in a hasty post

  132. Ooooh thanks Raddy, you’re a star 🙂

  133. evönne says:

    I will try to pen something for tomorrow. Oh no, Friday is the NG roundup. Ok, for next week

    A question for all of you that voted for all next 10 games to be won – it is not going to plan and I predict that we lose at least one of the next 3 games. I hope I am wrong, but if I am right which game do you think we have to win?

    It is Manyoo for me

  134. Gööner In Exile says:

    Evonne Dippers at home is crucial in my opinion. It will be a measure of whether we are better, as good as or behind them in terms of quality this year and title challenge.

    ManUre away would be a lovely place to get a win but I’d take the point to keep distance between us and them.

    Southampton will be tough as they are playing with unity and youthful exuberance we need Theo back by then as we need some fresh legs in the team.

    Back to my comments last night and the lack of atmosphere in ground, I wonder how much was down to the fans who don’t go as regularly being in there? That as Shard said don’t necessarily know the songs or how to get a song going. I’ve sat amongst many football tourists in the Clock End when the ticket availability is good.

  135. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. Atmosphere: This is the subject of my post. Wish I had had more time to think about it as the post is pure knee-jerk reaction. ….. and I don’t agree with you 😀

  136. Thanks Raddy

    There’s a New Post ……………….

  137. Arsenalizer says:

    Your assessment of the arsenal squad, and players, is pure garbage. You don’t even know the abilities of the players. Ramsey leads the league in tackles made and you expect him not to play DM? And for your info, we actually play 4-2-3-1, not 4-3-3.

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