Wilshere MOTM, Pellegrini moaning and another draw

A 2-2 draw with City, Pellegrini making excuses for his team, Arsenal conceding stupid goals but scoring some great ones. Football came back after a fortnight and it was as enjoyable a game as could be hoped for, even though the result wasn’t.

It was a tough match at the Emirates yesterday 🙂

But Arsenal showed that they are tough too, albeit prone to moments of weakness. We began with a flourish. None of the hanging back and letting the game come to you nonsense. We went out to grab the game by the…. neck.. and City had no response beyond kicking out and disrupting the rhythm of play.

Maybe this is what Pellegrini is trying to hide with his statements against the referee, who although did well to at least call the fouls (rare in the English game, especially when it comes to Arsenal) did not produce yellow cards as quickly as he should have. Check out Welbeck being taken out by Kompany before Debuchy had his shot, and I think Silva bundled Ramsey over during another move. Both were blatant, (ref played advantage) and Kompany had many more such fouls and I don’t think he got a yellow card all night.

I thought we did well to respond to that physicality with some of our own. We aren’t, and probably won’t be, very good at the dark arts, but we can handle ourselves on the field given a fair referee, which we did yesterday including with the supposed fouls that Pellegrini complained about.

We all saw the goals, have our own thoughts on our defending and fullbacks pushing up. I said in a comment that I think Ramsey and Flamini share the blame for the first goal we conceded. I also think we wouldn’t have conceded a second if Debuchy had not gotten injured, though of course we’ll never know.

As an aside, Debuchy has apparently not had a fracture, but has to undergo a medical exam tomorrow. He would have been suspended for Dortmund anyway. Let’s see how long we have to do without him.

Another injury doubt before yesterday’s game was Ramsey. He played, and ran his heart out as usual, but he was far less effective and involved in the game than his midfield partner Jack Wilshere, who ended the game with a goal and an assist. He also seems to be developing a good partnership with Alexis, who was brilliant as well yesterday.

Jack Wilshere has his detractors, and I suppose that is to be expected, partly as a consequence of his early hype. (I said partly LB. Don’t chew me out) His early promise is almost like a burden on him rather than cause to hope for better in the future for many. I don’t see it that way. He’s had his injury worries and missed a lot of football. Just over a season ago, Ramsey was in a worse place but has come back to become almost the heartbeat of this team (yesterday was the first time in a long time we played well when Ramsey didn’t) My hope is that Wilshere can do something similar. I am not alone in holding this hope of course, and a Ramseyesque emergence is not something that just happens, but yesterday adds to that hope.

I think the formation change  we’ve seen (blamed for Ozil’s woes) not only provides us some more stability in midfield, but also helps Wilshere. Last season it was tough to see where he’d fit in, but he now has the opportunity to make this midfield spot his own. He’ll still need to work on building an understanding with Ramsey. Still needs to be better at knowing when to release the ball. But his increased confidence and strength are now almost as visible as Nasri’s surprise and frustration as he bounced off him onto the ground where he’d have hit his chin if he had one.

I’ve never been one of the Jack the Lad guys. His being English means nothing to me. His being a Gooner though, does. I have been sceptical of that too in the past, but I think the way the team his shaping up, his recent comments, and hopefully, his continued improvement, makes him an important part of our success for years to come.


134 Responses to Wilshere MOTM, Pellegrini moaning and another draw

  1. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning all Nice one Shard a good report mate.

    My timing is bad again left a comment on the last post just at the time of the changeover. I am sure there will be better ones today.

  2. Norfolk Gooner says:

    ‘morning all, a special greeting to Shard and a well done for the match review.

    The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. No not the Spaghetti Western but my summation of the match.

    First the Ugly, City’s cynical fouling. A deliberate ploy used to disrupt, by any means, Arsenal’s attacking flair. How Clattenburg let so many “professional” fouls go unpunished only he knows. There really is something wrong with the Laws of the game when a referee is obliged to caution a player for taking his shirt off, but can allow tripping, blocking, tugging and general ungentlemanly conduct to go on without the sanction of a yellow card.

    The Bad, the sloppy defending that led to both of City’s goals, Flamini stopping to appeal for a throw in when the ball hadn’t gone out of play, in the build up to Aguero’s strike. A collective failure to mark at the corner, thus allowing Demichelis a free header.

    The Good, Wilshere’s greatly improved second half performance, his excellent goal and the assist for Alexis’ super volley. Lastly and by no means least was the way Arsenal came out of the traps at the start of the game and ran City ragged for twenty minutes. If only, and isn’t there always an if only? Welbeck’s delightful chip had been three inches to the right I think we would have gone on to take all three points.

  3. Mooning all

    Good game, good game! Nice post-mortem Shard.

    It’s worrying about Debuchy, so our defensive back-up or lack of it will be seriously tested if he is out for any length of time.

    Fuck the zonal marking system, it doesn’t work for us… man on man has to be the future… and I don’t mean a gay thing 🙂
    Ozil is taking too long to get back to form, I wonder what’s going on for him? I reckon all Arsenal players should be banned from having horny girlfriends and wives, Mrs Mezut is far too distracting and probably having an effect on his energy levels. 🙂

  4. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Can’t hang about this morning, I’m off to watch the Tour of Britain time trial, to see if Wiggins can take the win, I doubt it.

    This afternoon Northampton Saints play Wasps. I know it’s Rugby, but anything is better than watching Old ‘Arry’s lot take on Butthead’s bunch at Old Toilet.

  5. Eddie says:

    damn, comment disappeared 😦

  6. Eddie
    How can you lose a ‘comment’, it’s not as if it’s a set of keys in your handbag 🙂

  7. Eddie says:

    fantastic post, thanks very much shard!

    It was a tough game 🙂 Fast, furious, many goals and almost goals, rubbish refereeing, everything you’d want from the top top teams.

    I think the first half was ours and only their goal slowed us down. The team put on a solid, professional performance. For me Sanchez was the MOTM, he is fantastic – works hard, great skill, no fear, some arrogance – excellent player.

    Jack was very good, all over the midfield. But have you noticed how serious he is? I think that he is very aware of his critics and rather than enjoying himself he plays that little bit harder to prove them wrong. Or maybe I am wrong 🙂

    Last week I listened to 2 interviews – with Jack and with Tom Cleverly. One footballer sounded mature, wise, thoughtful, well spoken. The other one could barely string a sentence together. You cannot buy class.

  8. arnie says:

    Lovely stuff, Shard. 🙂 Absolutely spot on. Great game, great resilience shown by the good guys, decent result, cannot complain.

    But, just because I am a grumpy old man, here is a good and a bad, seconding Norfolk on the ugly bit.

    Good. Challenging for the ball in midfield. This was the singlemost deficiency of our midfield last year. But unlike the dainty Ozil and Santi, Alexis is a street fighter, and his influence has begun to rub into the likes of Jack as well. I think this was a big positive difference on the game yesterday. This is why Alexis would be my MOTM together with Jack. In addition to goals and assists of course.

    Bad. It is tempting to read too much into big games early in the season. But they do give a sense of relative strengths of the teams. Based on that, Chavs are clearly the leading team in the league this year. Well, that we knew before yesterday. The real question was, how do we compare against Shitty. Well they travelled to the Ems yesterday and returned with a point. Which will be the happier team therefore? Obviously them. So, early indications are that we are third in the pecking order. Early days, and that may change. Not bad as well, but this is where my expectations would sit for the moment.

    In any case, we are unlikely to win the League. FA Cup is still our best bet, IMO, and of course CL. Which we should win some time. Perhaps this year. 🙂

  9. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Shard. We could have won the game with some of our early chances and at 2-1 up Rambo skewed his volleyed effort with just the keeper to beat. Difficult chance but even when I see it again i keep expecting to see Rambo side foot it into the top left corner of the goal such was his finishing form last season. That would have won us the game. We were almost there when some poor defending let them get the draw. in the final few minutes we could have lost it but that would have been highly unjust.

    I thought it was an excellent end to end game and both teams were a credit in how they represented the EPL in this game. I was delighted with some of our attacking play and thought it was as good as anything you will find anywhere in Europe this season. Alexis and jack rightly get a lot of the plaudits. I was however very impressed with Welbeck, despite not scoring. His movement and very presence as a pacy, natural number 9 automatically made us look a lot more dangerous and penetrative. He occupies the defenders around him and that allows our other dangerous attackers to find more space and time.

    If we can continue playing like that but tighten up a bit defensively we will be a force going forwards this season. Much may depend on how our defence cope with injuries. I like Flamini and Arteta but if we had a top level powerhouse, quick holding midfielder to play alongside Jack I believe we will be 10-15% better. That extra 10-15% is what would close the gap on Chelsea IMO. I think AW knows this and I expect a big bid to go in for someone in January. Let’s hope we can be within touching distance in the EPL till then.

  10. fatgingergooner says:

    Waiting for clouds to clear so I can jump out of a plane! What happened to chilling on a Sunday!?

  11. Gööner In Exile says:

    Shard nicely done, the nightly fouls annoyed me from the off, the one that set their stall out was Milners clean out on Debuchy ….. I know I know he got the ball, but the trailing leg was bent in such a way as to get all man.

    Debuchy have as good as he got though.

    Evonne on Jack not enjoying himself I’m not so sure. Watch the reverse angle of the goal when he uses his left footed ness to square Clichy up, as soon as he does that there’s almost a little glint in his eye as he knows he has him beat. It’s such a subtle use of his body yet never changed direction, you can have all the pace in the world but it’s those moments of body control and composure that seperate great and good players.

    He also showed his fortitude yesterday and because he was getting the free kicks was not left upset by lack if decisions.

  12. Rasp says:

    Lovely report Shard, it was a fair result only marred by Pellegrini’s whingeing after the game and the injury to Bebuchy which could prove very costly.

    We can add the name of Coquelin to those who could step in at RB. Maybe Nacho could also play there when Gibbs is back?

  13. RA says:

    Umm, will the real GoonerB Good own up.

    That comment is an upbeat, fair and correct assessment of the game and our future prospects.

    Yesterday’s comment was a Doomer’s guide to Hades. 🙂

    Cannot be the same bloke???

    Actually, I think today’s version is a fair comment and I do not disagree with a word of it. But and where would we be without a but, I also agreed with yesterday’s more terse and concerned opinion regarding the lack of the defensive midfield position.

    I have a lot of time for both Arteta and Flamini, but each of them shares a fatal flaw which is partially age related.

    Flambers was never the most gifted player and only had one good season in his previous stint with us, before ungratefully saying thanks and goodbye.
    But what he did have then was energy, commitment and an adequate turn of pace. However, it has been evident for some time that the ‘adequate’ pace and fitness/energy levels have started to seriously wave him goodbye. instead.

    Arteta has made it clear that he never saw himself as a ‘defensive’ of whatever shade, but made up for this by his skill and experience.
    Sadly, last season it became as obvious as a boil on Van Gaal’s nose that he was past his sell by date suffering for the lack of pace against ever younger and faster opponents.

    In short GB, you were right in expressing your concerns and it is inexplicable that we did not recruit an appropriate replacement in the summer Window. 🙂

  14. Rasp says:

    Hi GiE, I reckon your swingometer would actually be painting an optimistic picture at the moment because we drew away to Everton having lost last year. Drawing at Leicester was a minus as we gained maximum points off all the newly promoted teams last season.

  15. RA says:

    Good Post, Shard.

    My only observation is that you gave the referee only a passing dig for his handling of the game, instead of your more usual conspiracy theories as to their inveterate bad and biased decisions against Arsenal.

    I do not give your Untold Arsenal inspired theories much credence as you know, but I thought the referee, yesterday, was pretty poor, and not just to Arsenal’s disadvantage, altho’ the rotational fouling specifically against Arsenal players was self evident, and should have been stopped much earlier than it was.

  16. RA says:

    Hi GIE

    ‘the nightly fouls annoyed me’ — wassat mean?

  17. wally says:

    Nice summary.

    I was especially pleased with welbz contribution. His quickness helped save more than a few balls that citeh might have nicked away and which giroux would never have gotten to. I suspect his pace or the threat of his pace opened up space between their defenders and midfield which allowed our boys to be so much more dynamic. We were running at them and while nothing came from it directly I believe that over time, as they come to know each other’s runs better the goals will come.

    A bit unlucky on that first goal. A crazy bounce but it’s not much different than those diagonals out to the wing behind our fullbacks that have consistently killed us throughout the years.

    As for the zonal marking bulshiet I’d simply refer you to the number of headed goals we conceded last year from set pieces. Now it’s a problem? BULSHITE!

    If they’re going to give us a kick to slow things down, I do wish that every once and awhile someone (besides flamini) would step up and lay into their top dog and let them know that two can play that game.

  18. Pat7 says:

    I can’t add too much to what has been said and the match report was very good as usual. Personally I thought Milner’s wipe out tackle deserved at least a yellow as he was totally out of control – if he had been front on instead of side on it would have been red. GiE seems to be the only person on all the sites I have read that thought the same…..

    The referee let the game run in the main which had its pro’s and con’s. He did book six yellows on them before we claimed one but thought Milner and Fernandinho could/should have been off the pitch if he had followed up that properly. Against that Jack could have had that penalty against him and there were (minor in the context) fouls in the build up to our goals…….

    Nobody I have seen has questioned Wenger’s judgement on substitutes. I thought we were crying out for more energy from 60′ on so even 70′ would have been tardy. Ozil looked totally adrift and Danny was starting to feel the game long before the cramp i thought so Ox, Pod or Cazorla might have added something. To let it run until was it 77′ before a sub(?) was negligent in my mind!

    I am pleased with the result having said all that as would have taken that at the start. I’m really pleased with Welbeck and Jack and Alexis but we need Ramsey and especially Ozil to get on board!

  19. LB says:

    Superb post Shard

    A very intelligent read. I thought you handled the Wilshere situation perfectly; he was our MOTM. I also liked your subtle assessment of Ramsey. Most people missed this but as you say: the Welshman wasn’t at his best and your comparison of the two shows the depth of your understanding of our midfield.

  20. LB says:

    Excellent assessment Pat7. It made me look at the list of authors and to my surprise you are not on it.

    Why not I ask?

    Get on board, write something, look above at the box “Be our Guest”.

  21. Pat7 says:

    I cease to comment many times due to rarely being able to follow up but thought i could add something today. I am nowhere near the class of your contributors as RA knows my limitations but i can certainly see our failings.

    I can only see Diaby or possibly more time to assess Chambers as the reason to not buy in a DM in the last window unless AW is sticking out for Hummels or Schneiderlin. I cannot understand his tightness on the defensive set-up unless he is planning on reducing the number at the back in a new system…..

  22. RA says:

    Hi Pat7,

    Long time no see. Wish I was in Cyprus!!

    You are just as important and knowledgeable as any one else on here, including me! 🙂

    It is possible that AW tried to conclude a deal for a defensive midfielder and perhaps it was not possible to come to an agreement.
    You can never tell with Arsene, but he will know what we need — will he sort it out in January? Again who knows.

    You must come on more often – you will always be welcome.

  23. RA says:

    Incidentally, Pat, that was a great summary of the game and some of the dubious refereeing that went on.

  24. Pat7 says:

    Awwwww you’re so kind. I always read and sometimes get the urge to comment but then think of how much time will be gone if i do :-)))
    Maybe I will return to stoke your fire occasionally…..you never know!

  25. LB says:

    Well Pat, while you are in the mood, we need something for tomorrow.

    PS, no one is in RA’s class, we just ignore that fact and get on with it.

  26. LB says:

    Well, that killed the blog.

  27. Pat7 says:

    I’d love for someone to explain how we moved from ‘obstruction’ from back then to ‘playing the ball’ when you haven’t touched it which has now become jumping in front of the player who is playing the ball let alone some of the grabbing, towing, head chanceries that even in AW’s interview of yesterday is classed as ‘intelligemce’!

  28. Sav from Australia says:

    Good report Shard. We may look back at this game and say it was the beginning of the re-emergence of Jack Wilshere.

    We drew but the effort was brilliant so I cannot fault the players. Happy to take the draw and watch the team continue an upward trajectory. And now its Dortmund. Not an easy game.

  29. Big Raddy says:

    Shard. For what you said would be a few quick words this is an excellent match review.

    Think how good AFC will be when Ozil, Ramsey and JW hit form together.

    Pat7 Agree about the subs. Rosicky should always be available on the bench when we are struggling because he offers energy and an outball.

  30. Big Raddy says:

    QPR need a whole new defence. Redknapp’s Relegation fodder

  31. Pat7 says:

    BR: spot on there. I’d forgotten Tomas who can always be relied on for that and causing problems for the opposition!

  32. Gööner In Exile says:

    My son could walk round ManUres defence

  33. Shard says:

    Hello all. Thank you for your kind comments and sorry for being late (Is that all the Golden Words?) I was out getting a life as BR made me realise today that I was lacking that 🙂

    Some quick comments.

    Jack might well be serious. He was pissed off enough by Jamie Redknapp trying to get on the Wilshere hasn’t progressed bandwagon to throw him off..hard. He must be wondering why Paul Scholes didn’t get the same treatment.

    I didn’t specifically say Jack was the Motm (did i? Might have. I just wrote that in a hurry) 🙂

    I think if I didn’t expect Alexis to be awesome, I might have given it to him, because he was great.

    I also agree that we are probably behind Chelsea and City in the title stakes. That is no surprise and nothing to be ashamed of. My gut feel is the same as yours that we won’t win the league this year, but I think if we have a bit of luck (not likely is it?) we can do it. We’re not far off. As for the CL.. I really want Arsenal and Wenger to win it together. Although in an ideal world, we’ll win the Champions League when we enter as Champions of England (or we can do the double/treble/quadruple) 🙂

    RA, GIE, Pat.

    As for the refereeing performance. It was bad in that yellows were late in coming and were ineffectual in stopping the constant fouling. However, it wasn’t exactly tilting the pitch. He wasn’t punishing us whenever we touched them and/or they went down, which is what otherwise happens and where this myth of Arsenal can’t handle physicality also comes from. We fall short in being as good in the dark arts, but that stems from being the good guys and wearing the white hats/sleeves. I can deal with that.

  34. 26may1989 says:

    Afternoon all, and thanks to Shard.

    To be honest, I feel a bit disappointed that we didn’t win yesterday. I know the draw was a fair result, and I know City hit the post a couple of times late on and could’ve got a third (though I’m sure Szczesny would’ve saved the Kolorov one if it’d been on target).

    But we were winning after 82 minutes, and had Ramsey done the biz when Wilshere chipped his pass through, we’d have wrapped it up. Six points from 12 just doesn’t feel that great, and I think we could and should have won yesterday.

    Not that the ref helped. As others have said, his liberal approach to the obvious fouls and, when he did give the fouls, his reluctance to give bookings was not right. Fernandinho and Milner could certainly have had second bookings early in the second half, and plenty of other City players were at it yesterday. City complain they should have had a penalty: but Wilshere’s arm was at his side, it was ball to hand.

    Sanchez and Wilshere were outstanding yesterday, performances to be proud of. I didn’t think Ozil was as bad as others did – he wasn’t magnificent, but he was involved in a lot of our better moves yesterday. Ramsey was poor, I hope he recovers his vibe some time soon.

    As for Welbeck, he was good, but he had one clear one-on-one chance and pretty as his attempt was, he missed. Quite simply, that should have been a goal. I hope for better from him soon.

    City were good for chunks of the game, especially the second quarter and the last 10-15 minutes. Navas was excellent, as was Silva. Milner, Fernandinho and Kompany did an excellent spoiling job on us.

    As regards the criticism of Wenger’s decisions on subs, the Ox and Cazorla were stripped off at the 70-minute mark, ready to come on, which probably would have meant the replacement of Ozil and Ramsey. Sanchez’s goal changed that, and they were sat back down then. And given the subsequent injuries/knocks to Welbeck, Debuchy and Flamini, that’s probably no bad thing.

    After Dortmund, we have Villa away and Spurs at home. With Villa in form, we have a couple of further challenges, but I really feel we have to win both of those, after three draws and seeing Chelsea off like a train.

  35. Eddie says:

    ooh aaah, George Best 🙂 a natural !! the future is bright 🙂 not only does he know how to control the ball but he is enjoying himself. Made my day

  36. Eddie says:

    shard – I was away when Scholes launched the attack on Jack. I didn’t know until recently. I was impressed by Jack’s response, but the dirty Manc disgraced himself. How could he do that to a younger colleague? that was vicious attack delivered to destroy Jack’s confidence. I am surprised that the FA didn’t take action against the prick

  37. LB says:

    I know that on recent weeks I have offered something on Monday morning to help while Rocky is on his sabbatical, well, the thing is, that aint going to happen tomorrow because right now I have got nothing.

    Damn Wilshere, why did he have to come good 😉

    So, if anyone feels inspired then I am sure that the owners would be pleased to hear from you.

  38. RA says:

    Good stuff, 26M, and agree with all of that.

    Perhaps I would be a little more generous with your assessment of Welly Welbeck’s goal effort.

    His chip was like delicate shot onto the green when the ball rolls agonisingly past the lip of the hole, a wonderful birdie chance just out of reach, and it would not be sniffily dismissed as just a ‘should’ve’ – not that I am suggesting that is what you were saying. 🙂

  39. Eddie says:

    see micky!! LB has guts and humour, top geezer

  40. Gööner In Exile says:

    Shard, certainly agree about dark arts, watch Chavs equalising goal yesterday, Ivanovic holding the defender and then throwing arms up as if he has been fouled.

    Should we do more of it? Well it’s a question of morals in my book. Just because no one else seems bothered by it why shouldn’t we?

    The answer probably is if we did we would get pelters for it…like Welbecks “foul” on Kompany, and Koz’s “foul” on Aguero, those things happen to us all the time and are put down to our lack of physicality rather than a foul, but yesterday everyone seemed keen to review the decisions.

  41. 26may1989 says:

    Oh but, RA, that is definitely what I’m saying! A bit mean spirited of me, but I think Welbeck should have done better. Dismissed sniffily, yup, that sums it up for me!

    I do like Pelligrini, but his whining about the “fouls” in the build-up to our goals is embarrassing. In both cases, the Arsenal player (Kos, then Welbeck) was jockeying for the ball and was just stronger in the challenge than the City opponent (Silva, then Kompany). Looked at through the prism of City’s heavily physical approach yesterday, Pelligrini’s complaints look even more ludicrous.

  42. Eddie says:

    26m – agree about Danny boy. Did you get the impression that he is being trained to the New TH role?

  43. Shard says:


    WHile I agree that that will happen, I think it would be fairly temporary. If we do that all the time, just like everyone else, they’ll get tired of pointing it out. It’s only when it’s occasional that they get to make a big deal out of it.

    Act rude all the time and no one expects any different. You might even get brownie points for the occasional time you do something ‘nice’. Do something nice all the time but cross the line once and they’ll tear you apart.

    However, I’m not so sure the referees will be so obliging as yesterday as to allow equal amounts of contact to us and our opponents. Not to mention equal leeway (which wasn’t there yesterday either)

    I suspect the real reason we don’t do it though, is because Wenger doesn’t like it. It cannot be a coincidence that throughout the years we haven’t had many divers. Eboue, Cole to some extent. Reyes. Those are the ones I can think of and they weren’t that bad either. Pires and Eduardo were hardly divers but berated by the media as such. Walcott dived to try and earn a penalty once and owned up in the press conference, apologised and said he wouldn’t do it again. I don’t think you’ll see that at any other top club. We’re unique.

  44. 26may1989 says:

    Perhaps our new 4-1-4-1 formation suits Jack better.

  45. RA says:


    I always pause when suggesting something to another blogger when I am on a permanent sabbatical myself, a bit like Rocky, but it would be great to hear what the effect on the rest of the team-play the arrival of Sanchez and Welbeck will have in your opinion.

    For example, Jack, by common accord, had a much better game yesterday, when previously he was hopeless at both defence and attack, and I wonder if it wasn’t the brilliant tracking back by Sanchez in particular and Welbeck too that freed him up physically and psychologically?

    Interestingly his emergence seems to have coincided with a pretty poor game, by his standards, of Rambo, who has held the midfield together on his own in recent times. Why was that do you think?

    After the years you have spent watching Arsenal ‘live’ rather than in front of theTV (where we never get the full picture of the pitch and the players positions) and your views are well respected and will make good reading. 😉

  46. LB says:

    Welbeck started of as one of the most confident players on the park but after me missed his chip he fell to one of the least confident.

    Obviously a shame.

    We will have to wait a bit longer for this to change, hopefully a goal will have the same effect as it did on Sanchez; that being, that as soon as he scored he felt part of the gang, one of the good guys and is now, as I am sure everyone agrees, going from strength to strength.

  47. 26may1989 says:

    Hi Eddie – TH14 is a sacred thing to me, so thinking of replicating the great man is not something to take lightly! Welbeck has a job to do, being the main man up front until Giroud recovers, and it’s up to Welbeck to integrate into the team in terms of its movement and get a stack load of goals and assists, so that Ollie can’t get back into the team. Pretty simple really….. not!

    Have to say, seeing Remy score a sweet fourth for the Chavs yesterday, and seeing Fab get another couple of assists, is making me think “What if” way too much. Not healthy, I hope Ozil and Welbeck start firing damn quickly, so that those little devils stop chattering in my ear….

  48. LB says:

    Haha, I wrote that RA before seeing your comment.

  49. LB says:

    I expect Welbeck to be up and running pretty quickly but I am becoming worried about Ozil.

  50. LB says:

    Jack’s confidence soared after his goal. It really was great to see.

  51. RA says:


    I am determined not to get dragged back into one of Shard’s refereeing conspiracy claims, and frankly the ref as I said earlier was consistently poor for both teams, just in different ways.

    However, the contrasting physical sizes of the players of Arsenal and the Citeh, could have lead the referee to consider a bulky Citeh (or Chav/Stoke etc) player who flattens one of ours is as the result of clumsiness on the big guy’s part and not one of machiavellian intent.

    Whereas a short ass like Jack flattening Kompany would be seen for what is, a sure fire foul. 🙂

  52. Eddie says:

    26m – I am sorry if I have offended you 🙂 Of course there is only one Thierry Henry, but he joined Arsenal when he was Danny’s age, similar physique, both showing great potential…perhaps it is just a wishful thinking on my part?

  53. Shard says:


    You might be trying to avoid confrontation by referring to me in the third person but it’s unfair and rude to suggest that anything I say about referees is a conspiracy theory.

    Personally I have nothing against conspiracy theorising. They are just a chain of thought which is not widely considered because it seems ridiculous. Much of it is, a lot of it is speculative, just like your size and fouls called correlation (I don’t disagree that that can happen. It happens in basketball sometimes, although in reverse where the big guy gets fouled but because he doesn’t appear to falter its not called) I don’t claim to have the answers to referees’ behaviour, I just go by past experience and observation (which is guided by perception and bias- in all of us)

    I think I’m not alone in feeling that on balance we end up getting the short end of the stick with the referees and the media (I think there might be a possible correlation there too). I certainly feel that there are issues with refereeing which are almost never talked about in the media, and any attempt to talk about them is met with the conspiracy theory remark.

    You are also incorrect when you refer to my theories as Untold inspired. You have it the wrong way round. I did not become this ‘conspiracy theorist’ because I read Untold. I read Untold Arsenal because they were the only ones willing to talk about something which I had been feeling for a while before. Since the last day of the 2007-08 season in fact. (Arsenal weren’t involved in the title race then by the way. And I got the result I was hoping for)

  54. Shard says:


    What Thierry Henry had since way before he joined us, was fantastic ball skills. Something Welbeck lacks. He will get better and it’s not like he’s bad. But I think he won’t have anywhere near the same ability to make the ball do what he would like.

    Which is alright. He could still be a very effective goal scorer and provider for our attack. But Thierry Henry? No.

  55. GunnerN5 says:


    Being conspired against is a common feeling shared by the managers and supporters of every team – it’s not unique to Arsenal.

    Personally I believe that conspiracies in football are non existent however I do believe that there is a certain level of corruption that takes place.

  56. RA says:


    i did not mean to be rude to or about you, altho’ I certainly did not refer to you in the third person. [He/she/it are third person]

    You and I had a prolonged and pointless debate about the so called refereeing conspiracy theory quite a long time ago, and I did not want to re-start it.

    Lamentably, it seems I failed in that as here we are tangentially discussing it.

    Be that as it may, I am sorry for upsetting you, and can assure you that nothing was further from my mind.

  57. Shard says:


    I think there has to be corruption in anything so rich, large and basically unregulated. I think the worrying part is the authorities’ near obsessive need to hide it rather than tackle it (which could be said to constitute a conspiracy) and the public’s desire to ignore it. I get why both happen, but I can’t help but be bothered by it.

    Referees getting paid 50k on retirement conditional to a non-disclosure clause. The one referee who refused that wrote saying he called an influential manager to help out another referee over allegations he faced, also that he accepted a holiday financed by an owner of a club. A former PL club captain said that he and many players indulged in spot fixing for extra money. I know American sports aren’t perfect, but I do not believe these things would be ignored there.

    Courts are no answer either. The cost is too high for anyone to go that route, the institutional framework opposes such a step. And the burden of proof required is much higher than should be acceptable for there to be a demand for more openness and change. As far back as 1919, baseball had what is called the Black Sox scandal with 8 players accused of accepting money (or just knowing about it happening) They were acquitted by the courts, but banned for life from the game nevertheless and new guidelines laid down because the sport needed to be seen to be clean. Football goes about creating that perception by hiding facts or burying them when they come out. Like I said, I struggle to accept that.

    Anyway. My intention, like RA’s, was not to talk about that here. I was just stating my annoyance at RA’s portrayal of my stance.

  58. RA says:

    Hi GN5,

    Just wanted to say hello before I pack up and say good evening! 🙂

  59. Shard says:


    That’s ok RA, and I guess I got the third person bit wrong, though I think you know what I meant. I do not care whether you believe in conspiracy theories or not. I also accept the tag of conspiracy theorist in good humour. I feel though as if you portray anything I say on referees as a caricature of said conspiracy theories.

    I do not strongly believe in any referee being corrupt or specifically against Arsenal (certain performances though, I do believe were corrupt – regardless of whether money was involved directly). I am simply trying to make sense of it all, and that’s hard and requires a lot of speculation (which will be incorrect often) because most of the facts are hidden and there is no demand to make them known.

    ANyway. I agree that there is no point going on about it and I want you to know that the reason I even raised this is because I value your opinion and your friendship.

  60. Eddie says:

    shard – I want you to be wrong 🙂 I thought that TH’s career was going nowhere and if not for Wenger we would never hear of Terry Henry, pronounced the English way.

  61. Gööner In Exile says:

    Personally I believe a lot of the refs decisions against us/not given for us are due in some part to the media portrayal of us being weaklings.

    These guys read the papers and listen to TS and 606 as much as the next man. And a lot of it is due to reputation of the manager.

    Look at Maureen holding on to the ball yesterday proper see you next Tuesday behaviour but it’s laughed off as “Jose at it again”, if it was Arsene?

  62. 26may1989 says:

    Conspiracy, no; bias, yes. Look at the revelation that Mark Halsey texted Ferguson to get support when the Clattenburg/Mikel scandal was kicking off.

    English referees too easily buy into the “it’s a physical game” thing that the pundits (weened on an entirely different, and much less athletic and technical game) perpetrate. That helps to legitimate Pulis at Stoke and even United kicking us all over the park at the end of the 49 game unbeaten run.

  63. chas says:

    Excellent, Shard.

    Crappenburg was shite.
    Fernandinho should have been sent off for two yellows and Fat Frank for being too fat and being ex-chelsea.

  64. chas says:

    Perhaps you and your mates ought to get some kit with flesh coloured centre portions, too.

  65. GoonerB says:

    Good evening all. I think any comparisons of any player to TH14 is a non starter for me. TH14 was absolutely unique. He had the sublime ability of a top midfielder or ACM but then developed the strike rate of a top goal poacher. Add the fact that he was lightning quick, and was also big and strong, and had the balance and grace of a ballerina and it is difficult for me to see whether we will see his likes again.

    That said trying to find a new him shouldn’t be the main goal in my mind. If AW does find that new TH14 then who is going to complain. Sometimes though I think he is trying too hard to discover or develop a new TH14. For my tuppenceworth I actually think the closest thing out there to do this is Reus, and I actually believe we have a very good chance of bringing him to THOF.

    Conversely I actually believe that Danny Welbeck will be a true success with us. I don’t expect a new TH14 but I think he will be a much better player than many currently believe he will be. I said before that I feel his movement and basic presence is already tying up opposition defenders and allowing our other attackers to find more space and time. On top of this I firmly believe that he will become a prolific goal-scorer but may stand corrected on that one.

    I actually believe we are only one extra CD and a big upgrade in the DM (holding midfield role) away from being potentially the best side in Europe.

    RA, thanks for your balanced assessments of my views. I always try to see some positives when we have played badly but also try and see what should have been done better when we have done well, otherwise I feel opinions can be rather more knee-jerk and emotianally orientated, and at times hypocritical.

  66. Gööner In Exile says:

    “Fat Frank for being too fat and being ex-chelsea.”

    Seems fair

  67. 26may1989 says:

    I’d love to be as fat as Fat Frank…….

  68. Gööner In Exile says:

    Working on a post, it has tables and graphs…..be prepared

  69. mickydidit89 says:

    Thanks Shard very much.
    I do want to ask about our new formation you mention, but it’s too early at the moment.

  70. mickydidit89 says:

    Tables, graphs, heatmaps, swingometers and smut is what we want

    Oh, and an old black and white photo of Take That (or similar) 🙂

  71. chas says:

  72. chas says:

  73. chas says:

  74. chas says:

  75. mickydidit89 says:

    Excellent pics and vids this morning 🙂

  76. mickydidit89 says:

    Love the oldies phone pic

    She “Sorry Dear, I meant Gatwick not Glasgow”
    He “Hi Bob. Any news on the Debuchy injury?)

  77. chas says:

    Perhaps I should limit my visits to early morning when it’s ok to lower the tone.

  78. chas says:

    Haha, I just assumed they were both trying to ring the taxi company to find out why it hadn’t arrived.

  79. mickydidit89 says:

    I focus on early mornings for the very same reason.
    I get terribly confused later in the day when they all start talking tactics and formations.
    Like this 4-1-4-1 thing. I mean “really”.
    I reckon if you stick the same eleven into whatever you want to call it, the heat maps would look the same 🙂

  80. mickydidit89 says:


    He does have a very good point. Everything post internet technology new labour me have rights to everything, points to instant gratification.

    You can trace the blame of most things back to Hippies and Buddhists 🙂

  81. chas says:

    This is why the dippers lost to Villa. It’s as plain as the nose on your face. 🙂

  82. chas says:

    Wouldn’t it be good if we could get the whole ground chanting

    We might even be able to make the ball disappear when the opposition have possession.

  83. chas says:

    …… if we got the right level of vibration going, that is.

  84. mickydidit89 says:

    Where’s Raddy when you need him most? 🙂

  85. chas says:

    Just disappeared into a cosmic void.

  86. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh bloody cosmic

    ITV have decided to show Liverpool against Ludosplat or something tomorrow and not us 😦

  87. mickydidit89 says:

    For void, read haze 🙂

    School run duties call

  88. mickydidit89 says:

    Before I go, I do love that Pool pass map, although I don’t know if the Villa Team noticed, but Pool did appear to have rather too many players on the field.

  89. chas says:

  90. chas says:

    C’mon, Micky.
    You know damn well the whole world has waited for CL football to be back at Anfield.
    And we play Dortmund every year.

  91. GoonerB says:

    Morning all. I have got nothing to say. I am just enjoying the Chas and Mick show.

  92. aizedlittlemozart says:

    good morning all & sweet post mortem shard!

    Let me quickly add a few observations.

    1) Ramsey took a shot early on in the game & winced. that ankle might not be 100%.

    2) ozil attempted two shots from outside the box. he is being encouraged to work on his goal scoring instincts is my summation.

    3) if OG12 had chipped Joe Lungs & hit the post we’d probably hear stuff like, “..doesn’t score against big teams”, “poor finisher”, “van persie would have scored that” bla bla bla…..

    A shot on the woodwork is counted as shot off target & so welbeck wasted a great opportunity! not knocking him but he wont/shouldn’t be let off easy.

    4) what the hell is wrong with the Mozart not getting games man?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  93. Eddie says:

    QPR let everybody down badly. I couldn’t watch the second half, so I watched The LAst Samurai. I don’t like Tom Cruise or films that romanticize war, but it was a very good movie

    Flat Face Dutchie talking about winning the league. In mid September.

  94. mickydidit89 says:


    I’d be inking in both Mozart and Ox for tomorrow. Fresh, direct, quick and bloody good eggs all round 🙂

  95. mickydidit89 says:

    Love that pic of the fans all with heads in hands

    Has to be either Danny’s rebound, or the Aaron sliding in miss

  96. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    BR’s big decision of the day is Builder’s tea bags or English breakfast/Earl grey tea leaves. It’s not easy.

    AW’s is which team to pick for tomorrow night.

    I believe my decision is equally as difficult and therefore claim £120k a week

  97. mickydidit89 says:


    You’re a simple Man with simple Needs, and therefore deserve every penny

    Your decision underlines my thinking that being a Football Manager is a very easy job 🙂

  98. mickydidit89 says:

    Actually, having said that, Exile is about to launch a thousand graphs at me to show how incredibly complicated things really are 🙂

    “Bring it on, Big Man” 🙂

  99. RA says:


    I feel your modesty becomes you. Frankly your choices are far more complex.

    Tea leaves, as you so quaintly put it, or tea bags, milk in first, or last, squeeze the assistant Tour Guide’s derriere before drinking the tea or after. So many key life changing decisions.

    I prostrate myself before you in homage to your suave brilliance, as a man who copes so admirably with all these essential challenges every morning.

  100. chas says:

    When I first looked at that photo of the fans with their heads in their hands, I didn’t even notice Danny in the bottom right hand corner!

  101. RA says:


    For reasons that are unclear to me, as a self taught typist, my fingers seem to stray to the ‘n’ key instead of the ‘c’ key when typing your name.

    Today I have changed my aluminum foil pointy hat for a new one, as I am concerned you are beaming Minky rays at me.
    That’ll stop yer.

  102. arnie says:

    motning all. Brilliant Chas-Micky duet. 🙂

  103. arnie says:

    That Pool graphic is aggregated over a decade. 😛

    Love the dead in hands pic. Welbeck as sigh-leader! 😛

  104. Big Raddy says:

    RA. At last someone who realises the immense effort I put into my day 🙂

  105. arnie says:

    I will play the washing machine vid every morning to get out of bed. 😛

  106. Big Raddy says:

    Re Wely pic. You can tell the Doomers , they are saying “I told you he would miss”

  107. mickydidit89 says:

    Count me as “stopped” 🙂

    I did notice Danny in the corner, but that does not rule out his frustration at the Aaron close shave 🙂

  108. chas says:

    I’d always go…..
    milk in first if brewing some leaves in a pot,
    milk in last if using a tea bag in a mug

  109. arnie says:

    Raddy, decisions decisions! what time in the morning to start following AA from, when to type in the first message, what to write and what to leave unmentioned. Decisions, decisions. 😛

  110. chas says:

    I noticed the chap in the front in white who is already clapping. Great reaction.

  111. chas says:

  112. RA says:


    I loved the vids this morning, as usual, except for the one of the man eating that cuddly lion cub.

    Tssk. Some people have no taste.
    Raddy for instance would never eat a lion without a couple of slices of bread on either side.
    Class will out! 🙂

  113. RA says:

    And they seem to have missed the other spelling mistake – it’s ‘educasional’ there’s no tea in that.

  114. mickydidit89 says:


    I appreciate the complexities of being Raddy for I have witnessed at close quarters the dilemmas you face.

    Naturally, being a Hippy, you have your leftie leanings, but these are counter balanced and confused by your materialistic demands.

    Example: car hire. “I’m not getting in that thing you’ve hired Didit, and I demand an upgrade”, and then if the more expensive Ford Focus was not enough, I remember you entering the car collection zone and stroking a nasty looking Porsche “Look what we could have hired” said he, licking the ghastly machine.

  115. RA says:

    And I never drink tea with milk.

  116. arnie says:

    Redders. How about milk with tea?

    It is most important to dot the teas and cross the eyes. Correctly.

  117. RA says:

    And the Ford Focus was an ‘upgrade’?

    What was the original? A bike? 🙂

  118. Big Raddy says:

    RA. A proper lion would rip that self-satisfied kids throat out and feed him to the cubs.

  119. RA says:


    I told you before, I don’t like people poking fun at my crossed eyes! 🙂

  120. mickydidit89 says:

    That’s the last straw RA. You’re now in my big black file 🙂

  121. arnie says:

    Absolutely loved senior baby Exile’s football skills. Looks like a MF Gooner with some nifty footwork. 🙂

  122. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. The one you hired had pedals and no engine. I guess I should have been satisfied with the 4 wheels.

    As to being a materialistic hippy. …. fair call. I plead Guilty. Gong baths, hemp clothing, teepees, exotic herbal fags etc don’t come cheap

  123. arnie says:

    Raddy. And eight holidays every year. In exotic places as well!! 😛

  124. mickydidit89 says:


    May I suggest you re-calibrate your expectations.

    A Ford Focus will seem like bloody luxury to the horse and cart I’ve got planned for our next trip 🙂

  125. Big Raddy says:

    Tea without milk! Whatever next???

    arnie 9.22. Pot – Kettle 🙂

  126. Big Raddy says:

    Re- calibrated …. oh and I haven’t forgotten it is my turn to pay.

  127. mickydidit89 says:

    Your turn to pay is a truly frightening prospect.

    Your going to try and demonstrate your awful touchy feely sensitive side and hire effing bicycles aren’t you?

    Oh god, or worse, it’ll be one of those “I care” electric hybrid things 🙂

  128. Morning all

    You’re gonna love this post ……………..

  129. New Post everyone ………………….

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