Are we asking too much of Francis Coquelin?

There is no doubt that since his recall from loan at Charlton Athletic Francis Coquelin had a great impact on the team.

Coquelin

Playing as the long awaited defensive mid-fielder, he has helped stabilise the centre of our team. He is very good at breaking up opposition attacks, winning back the ball and playing simple but telling passes to our more offensively minded mid-fielders.

Having joined Arsenal in July 2008 he got a few games during that season and became a regular in the Reserves the following season 2009/10. He also played in the League and FA cups without really distinguishing himself. He then opted to go out on loan and played for Lorient, for the whole of the 2010/11 season before returning to Arsenal where he made his debut for the first team in the 8 – 2 defeat by Manchester United. At the end of the 2012/13 season he went out on loan again this time to Freiburg and then on to Charlton Athletic. At this stage it did not look as though he had much of a future at Arsenal.

Since his recall last in December 2014 he has been a revelation, playing in the most difficult position he has become an “ever present” and established himself as one of the top defensive mid-fielders in the Premiership.

Playing in the centre of the field as he does, there is a fine line between winning the ball with a clean tackle and being a fraction of a second late thereby “catching” the player and receiving a yellow card.

His position is made harder by the fact that Arsene Wenger’s choice of Santi Cazorla as his partner leaves too much for him to do. Santi is a wonderful player but is not the most defensively minded of characters and too often drifts too far forward leaving Coquelin to fight the fires behind him alone.

We have an excellent array of gifted, attacking mid-fielders, Cazorla, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Oxlade-Chamberlain and, when fit, Wilshere. The temptation to fit in as many as possible seems to be too great for Wenger to resist. Consequently we see too often Coquelin fighting a lone battle in mid-field and picking up yellow cards on too many occasions. Sunday’s game against Crystal Palace being a case in point, only a surprisingly lenient referee allowed him to remain on the pitch to commit a further series of fouls even after being booked.

If the present situation is allowed to continue opposing players will start to look for opportunities to go down at the merest touch and Coquelin will become a card magnet.

Last season the manager introduced a slightly more pragmatic approach to defending, the result being a fine run into third position in the league and another FA Cup triumph. Perhaps it’s now time to take a step further and sacrifice one of the attacking mid-fielders in favour of, perhaps, Mikel Arteta to play alongside Coquelin.

Written by Norfolk Gooner.

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93 Responses to Are we asking too much of Francis Coquelin?

  1. ‘morning Peaches, thank you for adding the photograph.

    It is worth noting that the Lee Mason, the generous referee who allowed Coquelin to remain on the pitch, has been relegated to Fourth Official for the next round of Premiership games.

  2. adrian says:

    if arsene is the genius we all think he is, he would have signed a holding midfielder in the transfer window. Arsenal will not move up to the next level without a class holding midfielder even if it means losing coquelin.

  3. PV4 says:

    A good post I think that Coquelin is an excellent player, but we must be aware that if he is the only recognised DM that he will be targeted. The Palace game is testament to that. We really should be bringing in another DM – not least for the reason that Coq is not immune to injuries or suspensions.

    So, for that matter, YES, we do ask too much of what is essentially a very young and reasonably inexperienced DM – albeit very talented and driven. His main problem is that (a bit like JW) he finds it almost impossible to play with the handbrake on.

  4. PV4, do we actually need to bring in another DM? After all we have Arteta, we also have Chambers and Gabriel any of them could play the role alongside Coquelin.

    I think it’s due to of the lack of support he gets that means he has to play without a handbrake at all.

  5. Red Arnie says:

    lovely post, Norfolk. 🙂

    Arteta and Le Coq together will work late in some games when we are in a shutter-down mode. However, Arteta has to be in readiness. Sooner or later, Le Coq will be suspended. Even otherwise, given his temperament, he will probably have to be substituted quite a few times, I guess. 🙂

  6. PV4 says:

    Norfolk – I would welcome Gabriel or maybe even Bielik. Arteta is class, but for me he can only be a 35 minute all out effort these days.My worry is the Chelsea/Stoke type approach whose team talks consist of who to target rather than football tactics.

  7. Red Arnie says:

    Finally, to your question “Are we asking too much of Francis Coquelin?”. My answer is NO. He is old enough, and mature enough, to take responsibility. So, on with it!

    Also, a fantastic showcase for how Arsene brings forward youngsters into the firing line. If you are good enough, you may survive, even thrive. Long may this continue.

    Avoid the external “lemons” market as much as possible! 🙂

  8. Arnie, my main point is that Coquelin needs support. The reason he was substituted on Sunday was because he was being forced into tackles by Cazorla’s inefectiveness in the defensive role.

    If he had another DM alongside him, the risk of bookings would be reduced.

  9. Rasp says:

    Excellent post, thank you NG.

    These are thoughts that have also crossed my mind. If you have 2 defence minded deep lying midfielders sitting in front of the back four, the rest of the midfield/attack is free to be creative and ‘take risks’.

    A 4:2:3:1 formation can easily adapt to a 4:1:4:1 when needed.

    I agree, we could do with another first team quality DM. I don’t know whether Arteta is still up to the task, perhaps we should look at the formation for the last 20 minutes at palace to see if it worked?

  10. This is an excellent post, making very good points.

  11. Red Arnie says:

    Norfolk, my point is that we are an attack minded team. Hence we cannot afford to play with two defence minded DMs. Unless when we are two goals up. And that will be at the end of some games.

    The two central defenders will always support Coq, and usually the wing backs as well. When we are under the cosh, other MFs will drop down as well.

    However, in general, Coq will be the link between defence and attack. I would prefer a box-to-box MF together with Coq, like Rambo, but if Arsene is happy with Santi, who am I to blow against the wind? 🙂

  12. Red Arnie says:

    I just repeated basically what Rasp said. 😛 with a bit less focus on the tactical bolleaux. 🙂

  13. Arnie, I would say we are an attack obsessed team. 😀

    Now you are adding more straws to the camel’s back, by making him the link between defence and attack too.

  14. eoin2211 says:

    Cabaye would have been perfect alongside him in the middle………

  15. RA says:

    A nice Post, Norfolk.

    It is either a piece of genius on the part of Arsene to bring Le Coq back from loan last January, to bolster the defence, or a lucky escape from letting a good player go for nothing this summer.

    Le Coq allegedly did not want to return as he thought his future lay elsewhere, but he said that he had learned to cut out the Hollywood stuff and leave that to others, and concentrate on his job as a disruptive holding midfielder.

    And he did this very well at the end of last season.

    This season he has forgotten that, and has been seen by yours truly up around the opposition penalty area supporting the attack, and neglecting his defensive duties.

    It is no coincidence that he has been caught out coming back from these upfield sorties and fouling fast raiding players from behind in his attempts to break up their attacks.

    Unless he is told/learns to get back to what he did so well last season, staying put in midfield and tackling from the front, and being a sod to get past, or he has reverted to the indisciplined player of his youth, and should be shown the door tout de suite! 😀

  16. Eion, I don’t think our attack obsessed manager sees buying another DM as a priority.

  17. Redders, if you are right, then it’s up to the manager to give him a swift kick up the a**e.

  18. Red Arnie says:

    Norfolk. “attack obsessed”. 😆

  19. Red Arnie says:

    Redders. “concentrate on his job as a disruptive holding midfielder” 🙂

  20. Perhaps the answer is to attach a bungee cord to the crossbar, tie it to the player’s waist so that whenever he crosses the halfway line he gets yanked back to his proper position. 😀

  21. RA says:

    Rasp,

    I have left a post length comment at the end of yesterday’s Post if it helps – it can be deleted as necessary.

    Did you see my request yesterday, asking for help in getting Rocky’s email – or for you to send him mine? Thank you, if you can.

    I dropped you a personal email too — but fear not, I will not ask again! 🙂

  22. RC78 says:

    I think a DM’s role is quite clearly defined:
    – Objective: Protect your backline and if needed, make the first pass after ball recovery
    – Results:
    1) Opposition plays are broken or at least slowed down
    2) The first pass is made after an initial assessment of the state of play after ball recovery

    DM do not need to carry the ball forward – and actually, they should not see much of the ball in terms of passing…

    I think Le Coq is being asked the right amount of workload but his companions are making his work harder (esp. Cazorla and Ramsey) and he thinks that he has earned the right to carry the ball forward himself but this is a big no-no

    Shall he play next to Arteta instead of Ramsey or Cazorla? Why not but IMH, the solution is more to remind Ramsey and Cazorla play as real CMs and not AMs…They would then remember their defensive duties. Also, to remind everyone on the team to play with sense and not go on non-sense dribbles or passes that have already led to 3 goals in 2 games against us…when in our own half, just play safely on the wings or put the ball away up front but far away if you do not see a solution on the wings…

    That said, I would be happier if we got someone to challenge Coquelin at DM…Bender/Martinez – we are waiting for you at AFC!

  23. Red Arnie says:

    Personally, I like the bungee cord idea. IMO, this applies to wing backs perhaps even more than the the DM. 🙂

    This was certainly a problem, IMO, against the Hammers. 😦

  24. Rasp says:

    Redders,

    Thanks for the post 🙂

    I’m sorry, I thought peaches had forwarded you the information you requested – if she hasn’t, please let me know and I will get on it ASAP.

  25. Red Arnie says:

    RC. “I would be happier if we got someone to challenge Coquelin at DM” ditto.

  26. RC78 says:

    The Polish guy from Sevilla was tipped to join us but he broke his ribs…Why we did not go for Schnederlin beats me but if he get Bender or Martinez, I am ok 🙂

  27. Red Arnie says:

    I suspect not much more will happen in this window. Not that anything much already happened. But then, is that a surprise? 😛

    Two questions:

    1. Can Gabriel play DM?

    2. Can we get Zelalem and Akpom back if required?

    In that case, who needs transfers anyway! 😛

  28. RA says:

    Rasp,

    Thank you to both you and Peaches, for trying to help Rocky and I to re-establish a link,

    What would really help, as I have not heard from either you or Peaches, is if you could possibly forward to Rocky the email I sent to your personal email address, not to ‘arsenal nuts’.

    The email address I included there is the only one that currently works.

    If it is too much hassle – not to worry – the Rock and I will have to remain incommunicado. 😀

  29. Rasp says:

    Red Arnie, I’d be more keen to see Jeff R A and Iwobi make it on the bench.

  30. RA says:

    RC,

    The Polish guy from Seville, if you mean – Grzegorz Krychowiak – is a non-runner. 🙂

    AW has denied that he has even been in touch with Seville about him and is not interested in him.

    [Does that mean he is buying him tomorrow? I doubt it.] 🙂

  31. RA says:

    Rasp,

    I would prefer the Queen of Adelaide too [aka Jeff Reine Adelaide]. 🙂

  32. RA says:

    The other one who should be given a chance (via the bench) is Yassin Fortune also 17 y.o. who also looks the biz. 🙂

    A forward not a DM, of course.

  33. Rasp says:

    RA, Jeff is ‘the queen of Adelaide’

  34. RC78 says:

    1. Chambers and Gabriel can play DM/HM, although not their preferred roles

    2. Yes

    Red Arnie – you cannot compare Chambers, Gabriel, Bielik with a solid proven DM like Bender or Martinez…If AW really wanted groom Coquelin, then why de he not try to lure A. Pirlo or De Rossi or Xabi Alonso? The perfect recruit would have been Busquets but he would not be interested in joining Arsenal…

    In this day and age, you need a strong DM/HM and CM combination as they win you the titles:

    – Matic-Fabregas was key to Chelsea in EPL
    – Busquets-Rakitic was key to Barcelona treble and he had to right partner with Rakitic putting in tremendous defensive efforts throughout the season
    – Martinez-Schweinsteiger was key to Bayern’s treble
    – Khedira-Modric
    – Petit-Vieira….
    – Keane-Scholes…

    If you get this partnership right, you can control the game and its tempo but if you do not get this balance right, you will be in trouble…

    At the moment, this partnership in the heart of the game is not working because our CM (Cazorla) is not putting his defensive shift and our DM is not focusing solely on his role…Again, I feel that Ramsey should be our first choice CM and pushing Cazorla a bit higher up the pitch if possible

    In any case, unless we strike the right balance here, we will not be successful…If that means getting an upgrade on DM and/or CM, let us do it…

  35. RA says:

    Rasper,

    It is a play on his name – Jeff Reine Adelaide = ‘Jeff Reine d’Adélaïde = Jeff Queen of Adelaide [Don’t tell RC78] 🙂

  36. RA says:

    Final word, Rasp, I promise – did you read my 3:25 – same time as your 3:25 comment? 🙂

  37. RC78, Ramsey is no better than Cazorla in the DM role. Of the two, I prefer Cazorla in the more advanced position and Oxlade-Chamberlain to Ramsey.

  38. RC78 says:

    RA – saw it…lol

    Jeff is actually an exciting talent but did you know that we had higher hope for Fortune when we got these two youngsters in?

  39. RC78 says:

    NG – not the DM role for sure for Ramsey or Cazorla…I meant the CM role, not the CAM role..Basically, the role that Fabregas has at Chelsea

    As for Ox, his place is on the pitch in a 4-3 (FLAT) – 1 – 2, which should be our preffered option…

    Ox – DM – Cazorla (or Ramsey)
    Ozil
    Walcott (or Giroud), Sanchez

  40. RA says:

    RC,

    Yes, I made a similar comment @ 3:39.

    He looks a real talent and I believe the pair of them should get some first team games (or Cup games) as soon as possible.

    Two Thierry Henrys???? 😀

  41. There’s only one Thierry Henry
    One Thierry Henry
    There’s only one Thierry Henry

  42. Rasp says:

    Hi Redders, I’ve forwarded your email to peaches as she has Rocky’s new address 😀

  43. GunnerN5 says:

    NG,

    Great post.

    Coquelin has been a wonderful surprise package and if he has the right attitude he will learn from those around him and grow into a permanent DMF. I like his rough and tough style – we have been sorely missing a steel backbone on our team and he fills one of the roles.

    I just hope that he does not have his aggression driven out of him or tempered by the risk of cards – we need a DMF who is feared which means he will get the odd red card – we cannot continue to be tap tap pussy’s!

  44. Shard says:

    Coquelin has really only had 5 months of being in the team. I like the job he’s done but his limitations have also been apparent. It comes down to whether or not he can continue doing what he’s done well and also improve in other areas.

    I think he is showing signs of improvement in his passing and vision, but the way I see it Cazorla is the reason he can play there rather than santi’s presence putting a burden on him. If Cazorla hadn’t redefined himself for the third time in his Arsenal career, I doubt Coquelin would’ve had such a succesful return to the first team.

    Coquelin doesn’t offer us enough penetration (there’s a juvenile coq joke there) and is liable to lose the ball when pressed because he doesn’t have the vision and passing of arteta. This means that Ramsey, who is also prone to losing the ball under pressure, doesn’tmake an ideal partner for him. Ramsey offers more of a goalthreat and continuous momement making use of the space, but without someone to break the midfield line, he isn’t as effective. His best form came with Arteta playing next to him.

    Santi keeps the ball under pressure, and has the dribbling and passing to break through the midfield lines. He makes up for Coquelin’s deficiencies. However, without someone like Ramsey making the late runs off the ball our midfield remains more of a provider rather than a goalscoring threat. (This is where ozil could do more and has been publicly asked to by the manager)

    I’d say if we had a more rounded dm, a mix between arteta nd coq, we’d be able to control the midfield much better with ramsey next to him, and allow more freedom to play someone more attack rather than control oriented on the right flank. Say Ox instead of Ramsey.

    So are we asking too much of Coquelin? Not at all. He needs to offer more.

  45. GunnerN5 says:

    RA,

    You cannot win – you have gone from not giving out your email address to being totally unable to give it away!!

  46. RC78 says:

    GN5 – agree but he still needs polishing…If you look at the best DMs of this world, they do foul and play with agression but hardly get sent off

  47. GunnerN5 says:

    RC78,

    Totally agree we have a diamond in the “rough”.

  48. Shard says:

    Gn5

    What good is a Coq that doesn’t tap tap pussies? 😀

  49. Shard says:

    Rc78 says our coq needs polishing.

  50. RA says:

    Thanx, Rasp 🙂

    I did have Rocky’s new address, but when I was deleting all my old emails/accounts everything went.

    Anyway, by the time I speak to the great man, I’ll have forgotten what I wanted to say. 🙂

  51. Shard says:

    Hours of fun, but i betterbgive myself the red card before any of the moderators catch me.

    Oh before I go. Chas, did JC get my card?

  52. RA says:

    GN5, 😀

  53. RC78 says:

    GN5/Shard…:-p

    Pedro to move to Utd…Uts putting together a strong squad…

    Depay – Rooney – Pedro
    Mata
    Schned. Herrera
    Shaw, Rojo, Smalling, Darmian
    ——————————————–
    Young – RECRUIT – Januzaj
    Fellaini
    Carrick Schweini
    Blind, Jones, Blackett, Valencia

    They will go and get a Striker in case Rooney gets injured but with Hernandez, they have a good one already…I think that they will not go for a top notch striker but for a back-up, maybe Berahino?

  54. RC78 says:

    What do you guys make out of Biglia? Do you rate him?

  55. Where is that RA, I’ve come to tell him off …………… Rocky said the other day that he would email you to the address that he could see behind the scenes only it’s not a real email address is it Mr Redders?????????

  56. RA says:

    Hi Peaches, 🙂

    Never has there been a word spoken so true!

    I got rid of all my email accounts, except the one I created 2 days ago, and emailed to Mr Rasp at his personal email account.

    If Rasp forwarded that on to you, then you will both have my one and only email account – and if you could then forward it on to the Rocket that will make four of us. 🙂

    Any suggestion that I have lived without an email account for about 2 years are completely with foundation, 🙄 and any suggestion that you taught me how to do that are completely without foundation. 😀

    Thanx Peaches.

  57. RA says:

    Umm, remind me — who is Rocky? 🙂

  58. RA says:

    And now my secret is out — that might explain my reluctance/impossibility to forward Posts to arsenal nuts – other than attaching them to the end of the previous day’s Post after a new Post is called. 😳

  59. Red Arnie says:

    Rasp @ 3:25. Fair call.

    RC78. In general terms, I agree. But obviously Wenger does not. And I like Wenger and the club because we are unconventional. I live a painful existence torn between the two forces.

    However, one thing I am sure about. I have great pride and faith in the value of our own produce. The meal that I have will preferably have to be largely made up of ingredients that we produce.

    A little bit of precious expensive externally-produced garnishing will be fine. But not if it cuts against the regular use and therefore refinement of our own produce. 🙂

    This includes Coq, Theo, Rambo, Jack, Giro, Ox et al. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  60. Big Raddy says:

    Fine post.

    I agree with Shard. Coq needs to offer more. I remain in doubt as to whether he is the man for the job.

    He certainly could be if he continues his remarkable improvement.

    The problem is that I want another PV4 and Le Coq is a shadow of the great man.

  61. stevepalmer1 says:

    Evening all, Thank you Norfolk, You posed the question, Do we ask too much of Coquelen, and the answer to that is of course we do, we ask too much of many players, Petr Cech being the latest.

    We have always asked a lot from our players, many’s the time i am amazed at our battery boy Sanchez’s energy, but then i read people say he looked jaded at the end of last season, blimey if Theo showed half his commitment, he wouldn’t sit out as much as he does.

    Coquelen, i feel, needs to stay on his feet more, i feel he dives in almost like a last gasp effort, and as soon as a defender goes to ground if you miss the tackle you are out of the picture.

    I think its fair to say, that since he came back Arsenals performances have shown a marked improvement, him and Sanchez have shown, that commitment and energy has injected what this team had been missing, The team now look as if they believe they can compete, and Wengers orders to get the lost ball back quicker is because the Coq and Sanchez will not give up.

    I understand where your coming from, when you question Cazorla’s positioning, but i feel he is doing a different roll from the Coq.

    I feel that the Coq likes to feel that a holding midfield roll, will now and again like to get some of the action up front as well as who doesn’t like to get on the score sheet, but when he does move forward nobody drps back to cover. A good team rely on team mates covering, but it seems to me that his team mates tent to expect to much of him to.

    Wenger was wrong by five minutes, as he should have subbed him before his last tackle , but of course Wenger like Coq make mistakes.

  62. Gööner In Exile says:

    Cracking postage NG, for me Red Arse has hit the nail squarely on the head, why was he having to chase back to make the tackle that got him booked? Because he was positioning himself for the attack, why did he have to push Zaha over on the halfway (as mere as the push was) again because he was joining in and got wrong footed. The one which everyone really seems to think he should have got a second booking was the only one I think his starting position was right, but still there was no need to try and win the ball.

    So Coq just needs to calm down a bit sit in that holding role and keep the play in front of him.

    As for Mason I have lost count of the times the man shows leniency to the opposition in games he officiates for us, so it’s about time he got relegated, he has never been a good referee.

    Now come on Brugges put a bloody big smile on my face.

  63. Gööner In Exile says:

    Should say I think Santi is one of the best pressers of the ball at the club, and perhaps the as big a change in the early part of this season is that some seem to have stopped the high press which also made Coqs job easier.

  64. Gööner In Exile says:

    Sorry what effing relevance is that? BT Commentator (Darke) “the official who was in charge when Monaco beat Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates”……and?!?!?! Front Bottom!!

  65. Big Raddy says:

    Have we forgotten Flamini? The man remains a decent DM and an AFC player

  66. RA says:

    You tell ’em Exile! 🙂

  67. Big Raddy says:

    Memphis looks a player.

  68. chas says:

  69. chas says:

    Cheers, NG, topical post with all the current Mason-related furore surrounding Le Coq.
    I think Coquelin’s tackling foul ratio is pretty good most of the time.
    The double pivot will come in handy during the season at certain points in games but I can’t see us starting any games with only 4 attackers.

  70. Red Arnie says:

    I thought Mason was dismissed because he flashed a wrong yellow card to Le Coq in the first place. Bloody naive me! 😛

  71. Red Arnie says:

    Le Coq would not have to push forward if we were playing with a proper box-to-box in the first place. But then again, we were going for the kill in the first 20, so Santi was the right choice. However, once we were ahead, Coq should have restrained his forward moves.

    Hopefully, he has learnt his lessons. Bring on Pool. 🙂

  72. LB says:

    Wow, clever question Norfolk.

    Are expecting too much? No but we are not far off it. Although, if you watch Sunday’s game closely you will see that his long range passing game has taken a huge leap forward.

    He didn’t have his best game of Sunday but then again who did?

  73. chas says:

    Shard

    A card from you hasn’t turned up on JC’s mat as yet. There’s still time!

  74. chas says:

    p s.it seems you were bang on about the Indian postal services’s efficiency.

  75. Gööner In Exile says:

    Shard chose to deliver by hand 🙂

    On that note what boozer are we introducing Shard and his beloved to next Monday?

  76. Gööner In Exile says:

    We have played 4-2-3-1 before the problem it brings is that full backs push on with gay abandon thinking the 2 with 2 centre backs is enough, the one Coq bloq plus 2 attack minded midfielders two wide men and one centre forward should mean our full backs don’t have to go forward as much meaning Coq only had to worry about the middle of the park and protecting the centre backs against midfield runners

  77. chas says:

    I’m not sure I realised George and Harry’s Dad had a ticket. 🙂
    Faltering Fullback would be my choice.

  78. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Nice Norfolk

    How much more help does Coq need? All our midfielders come inside. Its so crowded in there that any one in the crowd who runs onto the pitch is without doubt a professional pickpocket.

    I used to employ the same tactics for the bailiffs. I position the ex at the door, shes like Coq but never goes down, and compliment the troop with my two daughters and the old lady who lives next door

    The bailiffs get confused with the numbers so throw in the old lady recounting a story of how when inviting a shy widower round for tea, she had to ask him to leave after he waved his walking stick and demanded some crumpet, there off in a shot.

    Of course I am just like Chec. Hiding upstairs with a crash helmet, living in fear of physical contact, and very slow to go down.

    Coq just likes to foul. When he was a kid he probably used to give away a penalty every week by fouling his own team mate.

    Arsene dont really believe in specialist defensive midfielders. He tries to compensate by sheer numbers. Coq has to learn to stay on his feet and remove any notion that hes Glen Hoddle.

    We all know theres only one Glen, which of course is a tragedy for us all.

  79. Gööner In Exile says:

    New one on me Chas but seems Thai food is available……marvellous.

  80. Gööner In Exile says:

    I’m taking Evonnes seat, and Shard is in upper tier block 119 is that near you?

  81. Terry, you’re priceless!! 😀

    Good night all.

  82. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Great comment Terry.

    MU lucked it again last night, could this be their season? Own goal win vs Spurs, very very lucky at AV. It bodes ill.

  83. chas says:

    Ah, yeah, remember now.
    We’re in 115 so not far.

    Morning, BR,
    The mancs are always either spawny or buy the refs.

    Bruges were never going to be an obstacle since the mancs had the draw fixed so they got the easiest tie available.

  84. RA says:

    Morning, Chas, Raddy and Mickey, 🙂

    [I included the Mickish because I know he will be reading on his wonky iPhone] 🙂

    The ref last night was extraordinary. Whistle to lips to blow for full time — oh, hold on – the Mancs might score – oh, goodoh they did – now I’ll blow (the whistle presumably).

    But that was not all – he was laughing and joking with the Manure players after the whistle, and asking where the victory party was being held.

    I can be cynical with the best of them, but last night was something else!!

  85. Gööner In Exile says:

    That was weird one RA, and one I’ve never understood, I haven’t looked it up but I guess there must be discretion on the part of the referee, why else would every referee seemingly wait until an attack has played out, what really irks is when they wait until the keeper has kicked the ball upfield, if they were going to blow then they may as well do it when it’s in the keepers hands, it’s as if there is an unwritten rule.

  86. RA says:

    Hi Exile, morning to you, 🙂

    It was weird, you are right. Euro refs usually try to keep a serious face with the players, but that guy looked like he was best mates with the Mancs.

    [I will feel really bad if he is just a nice guy who is like that with everyone!] 🙂

  87. GoonerB says:

    Thanks for the post Norfolk.

    I haven’t had the opportunity to comment from overseas the last few days but that situation is soon ending 😦

    As such I just wanted to apologise to Arnie for not replying to his last reply to me a few days ago now. You and I obviously disagree about Giroud Arnie so we can leave it at that. I enjoy debating with those of opposite opinions and you are a jolly nice chap Arnie and always full of optimism 🙂

    I do have to point out one thing though. You mentioned about holding me to account for my predicted fall from grace with Ollie. I cant recall having said that. What I have always said is that he is a very decent striker that can offer something to our squad, as his great strike at CP showed, but that I feel we have seen the best he has to offer and for me it is not quite good enough to push us to the epl or cl titles if he is considered the 1st choice number 9.

  88. RA says:

    GoonerB-Back-Soon, 🙂

    I agree with your view regarding Ollie – good man, good player, but not sure he will make us Champs.

    May I take the opportunity to apologise to you for taking the micky, based purely on outrageous jealousy, about your Greek idyll.

    Humour can be tricky, and I was disappointed that this time it came out as sarcastic – that was not my intention especially about someone who tickles camels!

    Sarcasm is for pillocks – not for friends! 😀

  89. GoonerB says:

    Norfolk the le coq debate is a tough one. Is he good enough? Does he need more help? Difficult to fully say.

    I like him and feel he is potentially good enough. I think he has been exposed in the first 2 games but possibly not due to any failing in his quality but more down to what his midfield partner does.

    I have seen Caz, Ramsey, wilshere all sit more alongside le coq and us look solid when we are ahead and controlling games. His partner tends to push up leaving him isolated, especially on the counter attack, when we are chasing games. I think most teams set up with pace against us to hit us on the counter and hope we have overly commited players forward leaving the DM isolated. In many senses we have been tactically worked out again.

    In these instances I think any DM would be exposed, not le coq more specifically than any other.

    A lot of the time we are chasing a game we shouldnt be. Our general play early on with WHU should have seen us 2-3 up in 30 mins and then controlling from a more solid base. It is purely our lack of efficiency in converting dominent play to goals that is causing this.

    With the general play we showed teams like Bayern, Barca, Madrid would be comfortably ahead and this is why we are not at their level right now. Our general play probably matches these teams.

    I might be wrong of course but I feel get this area right and the rest falls into shape.

  90. GoonerB says:

    RA, I love sarcasm and banter and got it fully for what it was. No problems there. Carry on as you were old chap 🙂

  91. chas says:

    Just sent a post to Nuts (only about JC’s cards, so not a discussion post).
    Use whenever. Sorry my timing is a bit awry.

  92. Thanks chas, I’ll have to hold onto it for a few days as there are two in the cupboard.

    back in a bit ……………………

  93. ………….New Post everyone …………….

    Thank you RA

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