I felt bitterly disappointed after the game yesterday. This had nothing to do with our performance, or even the dropped points. This had to do with the fact that it really didn’t feel like I’d watched a game of football. Yes, Stoke have some better players now, and they could well have scored goals, were Cech not such a beast. But they only really came to stop any football being played. Right from their pitch, to their ‘tactics’, it was all about constantly pushing/pulling/tripping Arsenal players, generally preventing the game from flowing.
I never really put stock in the Stoke play Rugby claim (and while Wenger is quoted as saying that he was talking about one specific incident where Stoke pushed an opposing keeper into the goal) Stoke were physical, dirty, but they played a fascinating in its ugliness type of football. But yesterday, as far as I’m concerned, was more rugby than football. I’m glad to come away from there with a point, and with no injuries.
On our players, Cech, Per, Monreal. Campbell, and Giroud come away with huge credit. Flamini was ok. Kos was good, but what’s up with those misplaced passes? Bellerin was good defensively, but couldn’t contribute much on offense, which is fine the way we were playing. I’ve been very annoyed with the Ox recently, but he was generally better, apart from one boneheaded moment when he came back into our half to get in front of a Stoke player, and instead of passing to a teammate, he tried to flick it forward. I get the sense he’s going to find form soon.
Ramsey and Walcott were both immensely frustrating. Both seemed too casual in their touches and passes at times. Maybe Ramsey is tired and that is affecting the simple things. But Theo man. His technique is terrible. On a small ground, with no Ozil or Sanchez to create space for him, he just couldn’t do anything. He was kinda helping out in defense, but that’s about it. Iwobi made a big difference when he came on. That Theo made such a fuss about it after putting in a performance like that isn’t very nice.
Not very nice too, were the Stoke fans. What can you say about such folk? There’s supporting your team and then there’s using it as a front to create a ‘safe space’ for all your vilest, nastiest tendencies. A Roman senator would recognize the importance of the Brittania as an arena to act as a safety valve for the mob. I suppose it’s better than them torturing kittens or something.
All in all a good point away to a tough stadium, and still top of the league, with the cavalry not too far away with Alexis, Coquelin, Wilshere and Rosicky set to return soon.
I had the benefit of reading your musings before they transmogrified into a very interesting post-match Post and there is not much for me to disagree with sadly, except for one or two minor matters. 🙂
The first point does not have anything to do with you directly, but it refers to that old canard accusing Stoke of playing ‘rugby’.
It originated, I think, in the emotional aftermath of the crippling tackle on Rambo which left his leg in pieces, causing AW to declare that Stoke were so physical it seemed they only played rugby.
Forgivable nonsense, of course.
Stoke, especially Shawcross, simply took the ‘in your face’ tactic that has since become the standard way of combatting Arsenal to ludicrous extremes.
I love rugby, and if Stoke had really tried to play against Saracens, for example, they would not last 2 minutes – as an amateur rugby player I gave my hits – perfectly legally – and took my hits, sometimes from much smaller men – but it was not the niggly, cheating, cowardly assaults that are sometimes perpetrated in football, and annoyingly get classified as a ‘rugby tackle’.
My second point, was that after properly castigating Rambo and Theo as being frustrating you then declared that a saving grace for Theo was that he ‘helped out in defense’.
I suppose that if running back into our half, and making sure to keep a safe 5 metre distance from the Stoke players with the ball, and not making a single tackle, is helping out, then …. he is helping out.
I rather saw that differently. [Cue for GB to come riding on a camel to the defense of the said Theo] 🙂
They are only small items and do not detract in any way from your overall assessment of the game. 🙂
Thank you Shard, I think we were all disappointed and relieved in equal measure.
There is no doubt that Stoke displayed some of their old anti-football and I thought Arsene was very diplomatic when asked about the appalling songs they were singing to Ramsey – can any Stoke supporter be proud of that behaviour.?
We’ve come away relatively unscathed and still TOTL so I agree, we’ve done OK 🙂
Thanks for adding the pic chas and updating the stats widget so quickly – you’re so much more efficient than that other chap who used to do it 🙂
Thanks for reading it twice 🙂
Transmogrified! Brings back Calvin and Hobbes for me. Calvin and his transmogrifying machine. Which is just a cardboard box. The sort that cats in vids squeeze into, which brings Micky such immense pleasure. There is a joke to be made there, but I’ll leave that to Cockie or Terry. 🙂
I distinctly remember Wenger mentioning Stoke and Rugby together in reference to one specific incident and it wasn’t the Ramsey leg break. So a google search reveals these quotes.
“I believe everybody looks at his squad and tries to find a way where the game is most efficient and we developed one way. It is not the only way, I respect every other way as long as the referees get the rules respected. [But] I saw some footage last Sunday; you cannot say any more it is football, it is rugby on the goalkeepers [rather] than football.
“The referees cannot go on and accept that. When you see how [Ryan] Shawcross kicked Gomes, how [Robert] Huth pushed Gomes in the goal, you cannot say that is football any more. If the referees allow that, you cannot accept that because that has nothing to do with the game,” said Wenger. “Apart from that, when a team plays long ball and head the ball and become physical I accept that completely and I respect that. But it has to be in respect of the rules.”
Why I said Rugby was because it was just constant jostling from Stoke yesterday. Not letting the opposition rest on the ball is one thing. To constantly just pull, push, or even shove to the ground, is not football. Not as I understand it anyway. They dared the referee to call the game according to the rules, and he failed. The kind of contact in the game yesterday was closer to those a player in a rugby game would expect. And I like rugby too, but not when it moonlights as football, and that too a diving, whiny brand of football when it comes to taking it.
As for Theo. I did say the word ‘kinda’, because while he was generally in and around the places he was supposed to be, he very rarely was doing what he should be doing. There were a few instances where he did the necessary, so let’s not take that away from him. But it was a poor game from Walcott, and he was rightfully subbed off.
I have to confess I only saw the last 20 minutes due to other distractions. Watching the game was pretty low on my priorities, having suspected it would be painful to watch in one way or another.
From what little I saw, you’ve summed up some pretty dire entertainment very well.
That monster at left back, Pieters, seemed to commit foul after foul with no reprimand from the ref. The photo seemed to fit with the ‘rugby’ part of the post. It looks as though Pieters is just about to knee Campbell in the face, WWF style.
They are scary, those Orcs.
That other widget-updating chap has all sorts of other ridiculousness to deal with, which needlessly takes up a lot of his time.
I am more annoyed about conceding last minute at Anfield than drawing this game…Now Man City is hitting form with both Silva and Aguero back to their best…They are going to smash teams so we better get Coquelin, Ozil and Sanchez back ASAP and it would be nice if our friends Walcott, Campbell, Ox and Ramsey started chipping in goals and assists because Giroud cannot score at every game…
I think Man City is now favorite to win the EPL given the team’s respective calendars.
Southampton is back to form and so is Bournemouth and Leicester is still there so we gotta make sure we get at least 5 points, ideally 6
Then comes Man Utd, Swansea and Tottenam – again 5 points minimum but ideally 7
Then we have to win all remaining games and not lose against City…
I am telling we lost the league to City due to our loss over the X-mas period and the draw vs Liverpool 😦 I am so annoyed!
I say let us be careful of Leicester, Tottenham and Man Utd as they can all actually threaten our top 2 finish as well…
I found it a very boring game to watch. Little inspiration or imagination. We clearly miss ozil and/or santi. I thot ox was a complete waste. It looked like he’d been told to just sit in the middle, don’t get too far forward. Without service giroud and walcott looked lonely up there.
We also lacked width which helped stoke play physically. Out in space they’d’ve been grabbing shirts rather than simply pushing us over or tripping them.
A point is a point and i’ll take it in this three game stretch. We’ll have played 11/12 games in Jan and Feb. it’s a very tough stretch with so many injuries and every point is welcome at the moment. The trick is to survive and build on it.
Thank you for the match report Shard. I found it an uncomfortable game to watch. We couldn’t get our game going largely due to the orc tactics of stopping our movement whenever they could.
I was pleased Ozil wasn’t used but we did miss him.
Agree that Iwobi added much more than Theo in his minutes on the pitch.
thanks Shard! I am glad you confirmed my suspicion that I didn’t miss much during the second half. Me being a horse was much more fun than watching our players scared of having their legs broken.
The pitch at Mordor is very narrow precisely for that reason. The turf appeared quite bumpy to me too. Combined with missing players, and their foul play stopping any rhythm, it was enough to stop us from being really effective.
You a horse? Were the grandkids over? As long as they didn’t wear….Spurs… I would think that would be enjoyable.
To be fair Eddie, we never looked scared of the physical stuff. It really didn’t normally cross the line into violence either, apart from a few instances. But Flamini gave some back too (and probably should have been booked, like 6 or 7 of their players) and that was ok. Stoke were just set up to minimise the time and situations in which football could actually be played. When we did manage to get some rhythm going around the 70-75th minute, we lacked the sharpness to make it count. And that didn’t last very long because they’d foul us, take the ball off us and break.
The players have done well to get as many positive results as they have without key men. Hopefully now the performances can get better too.
By the way, I didn’t get a good look. which is why I didn’t mention it, but the foul on Giroud looked like it should have been a penalty. Not like we were getting any calls on the night though.
Our MotM: The Field Guardian – Petr Čech
Joint top with Özil (with 3 MotM worthy performances each) in our PL campaign.
Just saw your comment on Arsene’s response to the Stoke fans’ chants. I agree. I thought that was very well put, and quite restrained. He’s had to deal with a lot of vile and ugly things said about him in the stadia and the media (Stadiums and Mediums 🙂 ) so he knows how to deal with it.
Well played, and thank you, Shard
Tough assignment ie writing about a game some of us are trying to forget. However, I completely agree with your post in that its a case of take the odd points here an there while we await the cavalry
As for torturing kittens….ouch or meow
I have friends who are Stokies and they offered us their tickets a couple of seasons back (when we lost 3-1) and although they have offered us the seats since, I have not been back. The atmosphere is vile, not just from a minority but across the whole range of their fans (young, old, male, female). And the stewards just stand and laugh with them!!!! Sitting in the middle of them was not one of my happiest afternoons
Shard. Thank you. A much better match report than the game.
What needs to be understood about the Stoke fans is their misfortune to be living in such a hole. If you had to live in Stoke then you too would be aggressive, especially to fancy-dan Londoners.
I said it before, but everybody else is repeating themselves so I might as well 🙂 Stoke did what they had to do and they did it well. They and the Arsenal are miles apart when you compare skills and genuine footballing abilities. They HAD to disrupt our play for if they allowed us play a nice fluent game we would take them apart. They knew it and acted in the only way they know.
Our players knew that too and deep down I am sure they were cautious – nobody wants a broken limb.
So the game was exactly as scripted. Awful.
Yes shard – one little laughing person insisting on me being a Nay 🙂
Good afternoon everyone and thanks Shard for the report.You might get a Kelsey Analysis again next week as it must be about a year since I last did one.
When you consider that Ozil,Sanchez,Santi and Coquelin were out I think we did pretty well.
It was a game of two excellent keepers both saving their respective teams at least on one or two occasions and Hughes though still physical at least sets his team out to play as opposed to Pulis.
Walcott and Ox continue to disappoint but the need for us to have a more physical presence in defence becomes more and more apparent.
The new boy might give us that.We still have every chance but the attacking force needs to click far better and more often.Giroud had a good game and tried hard.
A fine goal from Renee Adiere! (Jeff to us)
“Peter Coates has condemned those Stoke City supporters who subjected Aaron Ramsey to shameful chants in relation to the broken leg the Arsenal midfielder suffered at the Britannia Stadium six years ago. The Welshman was booed throughout Sunday’s goalless draw, and Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, expressed his dismay with the supporters who sang: “Aaron Ramsey, he walks with a limp.”
Coates said he never heard the chant but the Stoke chairman made it clear that he had no time for that sort of behaviour and did not want it to continue. “You’re telling me something that I’m completely unaware of. I’ve no idea that chant had taken place, but we wouldn’t approve of it at all,” Coates told the Guardian.”
They’re not laceless boots, are they Mesut. They are slip-ons 🙄
Enjoyed the U18s FA Youth Cup tie against Swansea, thanks, Chas.
Jeff seems like a top kid – and look forward to seeing him in the first team.
Oddly enough, if I was a Swans supporter I would feel a bit down about the result, as in the clip you showed, they seemed much the better team, and still lost 1:3. 🙂
If they were ‘slip-ons’ — then they would also be slip-offs – so I think Mesut is right – they are boots without laces – erm, laceless boots, I mean. 🙂
I know nothing about a penalty that should have been awarded to Giro – however, when Theo was fouled outside the box, no foul was given, even though he was subsequently fouled inside the box in the same movement, by a different player.
The ref bottled it – not that I am claiming a conspiracy or anything. 🙂
No one seems to have been assed to complain about it – maybe because …. well what’s the point really?
Townsend trying to excuse poor reffing.
Is this the FP one?
Yes, RA, I watched the Arsenal version first and it was edited slightly more in our favour, though going down to 10 men on a shite pitch isn’t Arsenal’s forte, maybe. 🙂
The highlight was Jeff’s goal definitely.
The swans version was the only youtube clip I could find. (and the Renee Adiere commentary made me laugh)
Both clear penalties but it would take a strong referee to give them at the Britannia and the new boy was weak from the first minute when Theo got blocked, a definite yellow card.
Knocking up this easy spag for dinner. Try it – simple and tasty
2 large unwaxed lemons
A big handful of flat-leaf parsley
1–2 garlic cloves
A small dried chilli or pinch of red chilli flakes
6 tbsp olive oil
1 Grate the zest from the lemon and very finely chop the parsley, then mix the two together and set aside.
2 Bring a large pan of well-salted water to a fast boil, add salt, stir, then add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, very finely chop the garlic and chilli.
3 In a large frying pan, very gently warm the olive oil, garlic and chilli over a low flame until fragrant – do not let it burn. Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain it – or better still, use a sieve or tongs to lift the spaghetti and a just a little residual water into the frying pan. Stir, add the lemon and parsley, a pinch of salt and if you like a squeeze of lemon, stir again, divide between plates and eat immediately.
Here’s that Theo block
Why did I watch that game? Wanted to see Arsenal finally win one against a team with such negative tactics. They are getting closer.
Kos misplaced a few passes, Mert was out jumped, Ox was misplacing long passes, Ramsey had no one to pass to, and Theo was just a waste of space, the 3 times he gave it away in our end could have led to goals.
Giroud played well, as did Campbell (Wenger got it right with him) Monreal and Bellerin did well to cope with the physicality of the orc forwards, Flammini was aggressive in a good sense, and Cech is just a superstar in goal. Reminds me of Van der Sar at his peak.
The young kid is languid and smooth. Dribbled the ball well with great control, much better than Theo. Take the point, get people back, put the new guy in and win some games!
Excellent summary, Aaron.
Fancy writing a match report sometime? 🙂
Spaghetti sounds good, BR.
Food for cold waters.
“A much better match report than the game.”
damning with faint praise I see.
“Gunners pass title test – Alan Shearer”!!!!! blimey and I thought pigs cannot fly
My dinner recipe
1 short trip to Tesco express (drive to M&S food if weather really bad)
2 choose Pizza/Pasta/Bake
4 walk back home
5 microwave for 5-8mins
I was happy to see the clip, Chas, thank you for that, and candidly, I was being slightly tongue in cheek in my commiserations for the oppo team. 🙂
As you mentioned we went down to 10 men for a ‘push’ by our player, which seemed undetectable to me, whereas the Swansea kid clearly raised his arms and pushed our smaller guy somewhere around head height so ..ck ’em. 😀
Take the compliment where you can get it, Shard, that was better than “A
much bettera match report thanjust like the game.” 😀
Nice one Shard.
Have you ever considered changing your name to Sky Garden? It’s not as big as the Shard but I really enjoyed it. Some bloke managed to climb to the top of the Perspex and whilst I thought he was just another boring jumper, it turned out he really wanted to live but had a weird and uncontrollable desire to leap.
I must say, a bloke pleading for help and begging to be stopped whilst simultaneously climbing to the top so he can jump on some poxy city worker thousands of feet below really made my day.
I can’t guarantee the same experience Shard. You will probably end up with one of those wanks who is threatening suicide but has no intention to leap. Whilst at the top, the bastards probably thinking about what he’s going to have for supper.
I had one of those a few years back. He had climbed up a lamp post and threatened unless his demands for the restoration of Edwardian street lighting were met he would jump. To the screaming adulation of the photo taking crowd I started to climb the lamppost “save him Terry” they cried. When I yelled back “ime not saving him, ime going to push off” there excitement turned to frenzy.
The thing about Stoke Shard, is that when they came up they were faced with a dilemma, they were shit. How could they stay up? There supporters regard the dining at McDonalds as fine cuisine, and there biggest celebrity supporter is Phil the Power Taylor. A horrendous fat darts player who creates panic when visiting a toilet.
The solution was to make the game an ugly mess, foul on and off the ball, and most importantly, convince the fool hardy that they are some form of hero who exhalt the splendid traits of elbowing the rich in the face.
I hate Stoke
I might climb the Shard and demand that it change its name as I was called that since before it was a twinkle in its architect’s eye. I’d have no intention of jumping though. My knees are bad enough without having to take that sort of punishment.
Hmmmm..Supper. Indian cuisine has so many options. I wonder what I’ll have. Oh gee, there’s some Greek geezer gallivanting up a gaslight girder giving me the evil eye. He’s got that ghastly ghoulish look behind his goggles and is grumpily saying something about ghosts of the 30s, ghastly guys who refuse to provide a good evening’s gala entertainment, but gleefully grinning whenever he grates out the words ‘Go with God, you are free’, while practicing a gravelly voice.
I once went to Stoke, Terry. It’s such a boring place that the best they have to offer is a tiny park, and a medium sized Pizza Hut, with gigantic, grunting ‘gentlemen’ gobbling giant pizzas and gobbing on each other. They do know their history though. The biggest attraction was a Pottery museum, with a segment dedicated to the past, but also evidently, their motto and vision for their football club. It cherished the history of the toilet, extolled the past where you would just fling the filth out onto the streets, and advertised their football club calling the section ‘Flushed with Pride’.
Today’s letter was G. Now Goodnight and Goodbye folks.. Geronimoooooo
Thanks for taking the time to write something Shard.
OK, what do I have to say……hmmmm. I understand that as Arsenal supporters we have a deep dislike of Stoke but……to try and blame them for that limp wristed performance just doesn’t cut it with me.
Why do we beat them on a regular basis at THOF? The reason is that we take no notice of their medieval tactics and play good football that usually gets us a win.
Yesterday we played football on a par with Aston Villa we were so average it was pathetic.
OK this is where we are supposed to find the silver lining and as you say in your headline the fact that that fixture is out the way is a good thing……maybe.
I still think a club like Arsenal should have the resources to kick their butts.
Sorry LB, I think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick. If Stoke played like that at the Grove they would have three men sent off and concede two penalties
It can happen LB. last year I was at a charity event for under privileged housewives when some old bint caught me viewing porn on my phone. “Disgusting” she cried, whilst I pleaded innocence by explaining that I only watch because I enjoy the background music.
She wasn’t having it and I feared she was about to re enter the hall and grass me up so I pleaded “No, please, look, I also enjoy elevator music”
See how an innocent wrong end of the stick can cause confusion LB?
Shard. Golly gosh!
“I only watch because I enjoy the background music.” 😀 😀
Whoa slow down
Hitchcock Film: Rear Widow. Superb.
Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet or JO 90 mmmm
2. West Side Story
3.12 Angry Men?
4. Mary Poppins? 🙂
5. Beethoven on Ice
Taxi Driver ha ha ha
When I was young, I was waiting somewhere in Sicily to find a boat to take me to a small Island off the west coast. Ate one of my most memorable pasta dishes for about 50p. Similar to yours but think it had thyme and shit in it. Tried to make it many times since, but at home it lacks the Sicilian sun and men with thick necks and raybans lurking on street corners
Morning all, it’s been a bad start to the year for music lovers, Glen Fry now 😦
“Rear widow” sounds more like a film Kelsey might like. 🙂
He didn’t do it. Honest 🙂
The dirty old silver fox
ps are you saying it wasn’t the Hitch film, but west side story?
I was right. Just googled images Hitch Rear Window. Got the box set of his movies. Highly recommended
No, it was Rear Window, I just found your typo funny, that was all.
West Side Story was a joke,,,,, As was Poppins
I did that Sicily thing – toured Stromboli and the Aeolian Islands. When in Italy, it is wonderful to walk the hills searching for wild thyme, rosemary and sage. A super dish is pasta with a sauce made by gently frying sage leaves in olive oil and adding just a soupçon of parmesan (too much will drown the delicate taste of the sage).
Not often a football site has a sliding penguin vid 😀
Rear Widow was a top spot.
1. Total Recall
I think sliding penguins drag the site down
2. Rear Widow
Crikey, a dog and a penguin on AA — obviously Chas is a lapsed Cat Lick. 🙂
Yep, sliding penguins and Beethoven on Ice shouldn’t be anywhere near a football site.
total recall ha ha ha where do you get these things from
Incidenatally, when do we get the answers
Yesterday for example. Who was right, me or ra ie H bomb or Versuvius
3. Wait Until Dark
BR was correct
4. 12 Angry Men
Vesuvius 1944 was correct.
I typed 1844 by mistake and then carried it on. 🙂
Sad to read of >Glenn Frey’s death. As an acoustic guitarist I have spent many an hour playing his music.
Last time I saw the Eagles play live was in Monaco at the wedding reception of Prince Albert and Charlene in 201?. They were extraordinarily dull.
Morning Fellows, 🙂
This is a secret – right – I do not want to ruin my non-existent reputation, and you might not believe me anyway – sheesh – what I mean is that I travelled to Italy for a while sorting out contracts, blah, blah – and usually was treated nicely and taken to expensive ristorantes in the north of Italy – Milan and such – and very, very good too.
But one day – bugger – this is like War and Peace Pt 3 – but one day we had lunch in the staff canteen – and the pasta meals produced there by some severe looking mamas was absolutely divine – absolutelyfandamntastic !
I have eaten in some of the best restaurants in the world – but nothing has been anywhere close to the sheer sensual, mouth-watering delight of a simple canteen meal.
Whoo – got there at last! 🙂
Should have got Total Recall
RA. Can only agree. Local produce, simply cooked = a fine dining experience.
Well, it was not the A bomb test! Not with all those mountains around, Mickey.
That was in a flat desert in New Mexico – not famous for Vesuvius!! 😀
[I was joshing about the date – 1844 – altho the A-Bomb test took place in 1945 – didn’t think you would notice!] 🙂
great films! I’m much better at guessing love stories, but worse at comedies.
I don’t think I ever got over Birds, still scared of large flocks
Morning again, have a think of a post for us today folks whilst listening to this ……
….. if that doesn’t inspire a post, nothing will 🙂 ………….
😆 chas, I’ve just seen you’ve had the same idea .
Raddy – did you check the film I mentioned ‘The 21st century portrait’?
micky – abut scented candles. I had a brilliant idea – I have lots of bees wax and some amazing essential oils, so I set about making nice smelling candles. Right, it was a good idea, not very easy though. Back to shopping at the White Company 🙂
I hope mine wasn’t disrespectful.
Morning all, RIP Glenn Frey. Saw them at Earls Court some years back. Have their DVD from the “when hell freezes over tour”.
Managed to get Total Recall and 12 angry men.
Thanks to Shard yesterday. I find myself with mixed emotions currently. We were the best team for the entire 2015, are top of the league, have just played 2 difficult away fixtures without defeat, and all this on the back of injuries many of which will return for the run in……
So why do I have a bad gut feeling that we are not progressing and have somewhat stood still, and that we are more the beneficiaries of the capitulation (which I expect to be temporary only) of other major title challengers. I have this feeling that we have not learned from past experiences and improved from these experiences and thus will come up short again.
I keep asking if I am just being a paranoid and / or spoiled supporter but I still have this gut feeling. I have explanations for my misgivings and will put them in a post ASAP. Not today though unfortunately Rasp. Rushing off to work now.
I have spent the last 20 minutes playing the solo from HC on the old cedar-top Takamine whilst I could have been writing a post.
Shape up Raddy 😦
Bad gut feelings are easily cured by a bunch of worms – and who better to administer them than you GB – physician heal thyself! 🙂
Raddy, the guitar solo on HC is in my opinion, one of the very best in as much as it is not about the skill of the guitarist but the ‘musicality’ and relevance to the track …. bloody brilliant
ppppppppp post anyone? pretty please 🙂
OK. I will write 100 words….
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