Sokratis on a hat-trick was fun …….. otherwise meh

And there was me on that crisp, bright, autumnal afternoon, sitting above the corner flag where Pepe sent in his two excellent corners which helped put us two up thinking: this is going to be a stroll in Drayton Park today.

Silly boy LB, silly, silly boy, when will you learn?

No, of course, it was not going to be like that, there was much more hand wringing and frustration on its way as we slowly descended back from the high hopes of a comfortable victory to our more familiar surroundings of a deflating draw.

Before arriving at the ground my yardstick for success was that I wanted to see improvement in the overall quality and standard of play. I wanted to see us moving forward because I firmly believe that there is a good team in that squad fighting to get out, its just that it seems that after all the expectation of our shiny new summer signings it is taking longer to get to that point than we expected. Was there an overall improvement, a bit, but not as much as I was hoping for.

The game was overshadowed by VAR, it seems that the suppliers of this device do not feel they are giving their customers value for money unless they create at least one controversial decision per week. It’s just plain wrong that people who attend the games do not receive an explanation as to why a penalty is given or to why a goal disallowed. I have not seen the replays and so I have no idea whether the decisions were right or wrong. It’s ridiculous that I am in this position.

The other main talking point was the substitution of Xhaka. I cannot improve on FGG’s assessment of which I whole-heartedly agree.

“Arsenal fans are an embarrassment. Booing off the club captain because we aren’t winning…boo hoo. ‘We want our Arsenal back’ they need to grow up. He isn’t the only player that makes mistakes on that football field and he’s certainly not the only reason we aren’t performing to our best at the moment.” (FGG)

When Xhaka’s number appeared a huge cheer went up, Xhaka obviously did himself no favours by walking off slowly but the booing that followed is never acceptable. For those who disagree with FFG’s view I would imagine that you are happy that Emery has been put in absolutely no doubt about, what has to be acknowledged as the view of the majority of Arsenal supporters, that Xhaka should not be playing.

Leno: 7 I don’t know anything about goalkeepers, he always seems good to me should he have done better re the goals conceded? Didn’t look the case from where I was sitting.

Chambers: 6 Continues to improve, many might get their wish and see him playing in front of the defence sooner rather than later.

Sokratis: 8 on a hat trick for a moment, great to see him get his first goal for the club

Luiz: 7  it was all looking so good when he scored our second and then…………….

Tierney: 7started very brightly and then got more average as the game went on, everything still looking good though.

Xhaka: 5  am I going to write something sympathetic after his poor treatment? No. Doesn’t augment the attack and doesn’t add enough to the defence.

Ceballos: 5 big step backwards, misplaced passes, I don’t mind that when a player is trying something special but there were bread and butter passes going astra, poor.

Guendouzi 7 supplied me with my favourite moment of the game: his neck high rugby tackle on Zaha in the dying seconds was brilliant, if you haven’t seen it try hard to find it because it is so good, still well worthy of his starting place.

Pepe: 6 hoped he was going to kick on from Thursday in open play but he didn’t really, deserved to stay on for the whole of the game which I suppose is an improvement of a sorts.

Lacca 5 me ol mucca you ain’t quite doing it, your first touch is getting worse as you try and force the play and Martinelli is breathing down your neck.

Aubamayang: 6 no real chances; did what he could which wasn’t that much.

Song of the afternoon and sung with hearty gusto throughout the ground.

We’ve got Ozil
Mesut Ozil
I just don’t think you understand.

Make of that what you like?




47 Responses to Sokratis on a hat-trick was fun …….. otherwise meh

  1. Rasp says:

    Thanks LB, that can’t have been fun to write.

    10 points from the last 8 games is simply not good enough considering the quality we have in the squad.

    It is becoming clear that for us to underperform so spectacularly there must be something seriously wrong and I can only conclude that the problem lies with the coach.

    If we are still as dismal as this by Christmas I’d be happy to see Unai go and Freddie given the caretaker role until the summer.

  2. RockyLives says:

    Powerful write-up LB

    Rasp, with a heavy heart I have to agree.

  3. GoonerB says:

    Thanks LB for stepping up to a difficult write up. Before talking on the game a bit about the officiating.

    Ultimately we were robbed. I thought VAR was potentially right to give Zaha the pen. He made the most of it but Chambers put his leg out in his direct path. However, VAR was unbelievably wrong to deny our 3rd goal. Chambers was being pushed by Cahill at the time he was adjudged to be committing a foul on Milivojevic.

    Milivojevic and Cahill had sandwiched Chambers and were making all sorts of illegal contact. Even before that specific moment, as the ball was coming in, Milivojevic turned his back on the ball and pushed Chambers, completely playing the man rather than being concerned with the ball. The ball then arrived at the point that Chambers would have got to had he not been shoved illegally.

    That was a penalty to us right there before you even get to the next bit, so should have negated all that happened after anyway, allowing our goal to stand through playing the advantage.

    Here is something worrying, if it is indeed true. Apparently the VAR official making that decision was an Australian with no EPL officiating experience and only 9 lower league games officiating experience. In addition Martin Atkinson chose not to personally review a situation that he had initially seen differently.

    Atkinson is one of those that Clattenburg, in his behind the scenes report, wasn’t too complimentary about. Atkinson tends to look like someone who enjoys the power too much rather than doing a good job. He has that demeanor of extreme dismissive arrogance and will make decisions that can hurt a side just because he can.

    In all cases and with all concerned that incident represents serious professional negligence, from the F.A, to the VAR reviewer, to Atkinson. In football just 2 points can make a huge financial difference by the end of the season and I don’t believe that “everything evens out over the season”. What if we are 1 point from getting 4th place at the end of the season? What does this decision potentially represent financially?

    The FA and the officials get away with being unprofessional and sub-standard because they are largely unaccountable, with no significant consequences to getting things seriously wrong as you would see in other walks of life and industries. I wonder whether a time will come when a club or a few clubs take the time to review all rights and wrongs across a season and then hit the FA for a bill totaling millions through lost revenue.

  4. RA says:

    A very good, and well reasoned Post — many thanks from someone who neither heard nor saw the game.

    The denizens of this here blog have long expressed their disapproval of childish booing or abusing of anyone wearing the Arsenal shirt.

    That has never changed, and hopefully never will.

    It seems to me, and has done for a long time now, that Emery and Xhaka are like two peas in a pod — neither are particularly poor in their chosen professions, but neither are good enough either, especially for a team like Arsenal, and their long suffering fans, who have suffered an extended and painful descent from the previous exalted heights courtesy of the mighty Invincibles all those long, long years ago now disappearing into the murk of another age.

    They are not alone in perpetuating Arsenal’s continuing incontinence in leaking goals and points, but they are perhaps convenient scapegoats for the lack of resuscitation of Arsenal’s hopes for a long overdue ascendancy back to where they belong.

    It may well be best for both of them, and Arsenal, if their inability to turn things around is recognised by the club’s hierarchy and for all parties to call it a day, and to look for other alternatives. Don’t you think?

  5. Rasp says:

    Hi Redders … astute as always.

    Of course if a player is not up to standard he can be benched/rested/subbed … but if the manager? … you get my point.

    One thing is for sure, after the players voted for Xhaka as captain and he gets booed off the pitch, and with results and performances this poor, morale in the team will be very low.

    Can Unai pick them up and motivate them to prove the doubters wrong? … I’m not sure. I don’t think he connects with his players like the top coaches … including Brendan Rogers.

    A player can fight for their place in the team … for the team/badge/shirt … for professional pride …for the supporters … for the manager.

    How many (if any) of these sources of motivation do bloggers think our players are currently responding to?

  6. RA says:


    That’s a v. interesting take on VAR.

    Actually, like you, I did not see the game, but I did see, replayed a number of times, the video of the Zaha penalty.

    Chambers had spread his legs and was firmly holding his position, with his feet rooted to the pitch.
    He did not move his right leg, and Zaha quite clearly dived over it. The ref’s first impression that it was simulation by Zaha, and consequential booking, with a yellow card was right.

    Now here’s the thing. VAR is supposed to assist the on field referee, if there has been an infringement, (he did not see) or if he has made a clear and obvious error.

    Neither of those requirements was made, in that the ref had a clear view of Zaha’s dive, and as it could be argued that is a subjective view, it cannot be said to be a clear and obvious error either.

    VAR is subject to human error as it is operated by people, some of whom are attention seeking clowns,
    But what can you do?

    There were other rubbish VAR decisions at other games recently — and sadly the disease of “I am more important than you-ism” has spread to the Rugby World Cup where some poor decisions were dumped on the on-field ref – of which, to my knowledge, only one was dismissed by the on-field ref as being wrong, and sticking to his original decision. He could see on-screen what we TV fans could see. Atta boy!!!

    On screen views are not allowed at EPL games, so as not to enrage the fans, – which tells you something.

    So does anyone know if Atkins went to look at the TV screen, available on the side of the pitch, to look for himself, and see if the ‘advice’ he was given was accurate, or not???

    If not, one wonders why not?

  7. GoonerB says:

    LB, on the game itself I have to say, like Rocky and also with a heavy heart, that I agree with Rasp in his assessment.

    We should not have been needing to rely on a single officiating decision anyway. We are playing seriously beneath ourselves with the quality we have. I am not saying the squad doesn’t need improving, just that it is far better than we have witnessed all season.

    The performances look staid and we are not really doing too much that great in open play. It is not a one off either. This looks like a pattern developing rather than something temporary that other factors will significantly change.

    I hate seeing a player being booed and am disappointed in the fans that did this, but we know it happens so shouldn’t be caught out and shocked by it. In a nice fluffy kitten kind of way, I would like all players to enjoy their time at Arsenal. Even when it becomes apparent they aren’t quite good enough and shouldn’t be here, I would like their departure to be done in a good way, so they can leave with positive memories.

    The fault here more lies with those in charge that don’t alter the situation and try something different. Persisting with the same style, with the same faults, and hoping for a different outcome shows a lack of managerial ability, adaptability, and insight. In many ways it is the manager that is unnecessarily exposing the player in this way to the fans.

    LB, I know you are not sure the manager is to blame for using Xhaka there because he still possibly remains the best alternative. To be fair you may be right that we don’t have the answer right now that is better than him, but we know Xhaka is not the answer. However, while we have a senior player that won an EPL title in that role in our ranks not being tried, and a player who was Fulham’s player of the season playing that position not being tried then I have to place the blame with Emery.

    It is more about absolutely refusing to try another alternative, than in having a guarantee at this stage that we do have or don’t have a better alternative. With this position looking so weak Emery almost had nothing to lose in trying something different and finding out for sure. I am certain the fans would be far more forgiving if it didn’t work out, had he showed the willingness to try alternatives. Then everyone would know it was down to player quality and not managerial inability.

    I think in the latter AW years many of the fans were pained by a lack of trying to address problem areas, and to persist with the same old same old that wasn’t working, so are probably over sensitive to seeing this kind of Deja Vu situation unfold again. To let a situation like this fester to this point and continuing along the same route is criminal. I mean can anyone say they couldn’t see this coming? I saw it coming from a while back so I am unsure what type of bubble Emery lives in.

    Xhaka’s slow march off the pitch and then ultimate response however were not befitting any Arsenal player worth his salt, never mind the actual captain, even with the fans dissatisfaction ringing in his ears. Before we even assess his worth as an actual player does this not indicate something seriously wrong in attitude? I would have to question that if our captain behaves in this way, how far does a suspect attitude seep through this team.

    Xhaka is not solely responsible for our failings, but the position he plays (or is supposed to play) is a big part of our current failings. I don’t think Xhaka was ever the right acquisition for us and has continued to show he is not quite right.

    It is Emery that persists with what is not working and more than any individual player I feel it is the manager where the bigger problem lies now. It is funny how Emery seemed to be a bit of a breath of fresh air initially, and seemed to bring a greater urgency and fight to our game. I think now that all the early promise of this, and all his fist pumping on the sidelines, somewhat disguised that there were other serious limitations in his managerial ability, and whether his managerial style could ever be successfully implemented at the top end of the EPL.

  8. RA says:

    Hiya, Rasper,

    You are identifying something important there.

    Players often need motivation, especially when things are not working out well.

    In the era of Tony Adam, Vieira etc, it was clear that on and off the pitch the captain ‘had words’ with players who were not doing what was needed.

    This was true of other teams too, especially Manure’s Kean back in the day.

    But the coach/manager has a key part to play too, using the options you mentioned above, but if a manager/coach seems to delegate something as important as the captaincy choice to the other players, and then muddies the waters by saying there are 5 captains (including Özil) that is not acceptable to me — and would not be to Red Nose Fergie, or AW, or any other top manager.

    Is this ‘captaincy delegation’ a sign that the coach is too nice to impose himself, as he clearly has a responsibility to do so, or is it a sign of incompetence?

    Neither is acceptable I am afraid.

  9. Mike M says:

    Morning All. Work is still overwhelming me so I have to be “short.” Xhaka wasn’t booed off. Our fans recognise he is a weak link. CM is the most important position on the field in a 4-3-3 and he isn’t good enough. That’s why i don’t want him playing. I don’t know him, never met him and have no personal axe to grind. i’m like most fans, we want what’s best for Arsenal. Let’s make a comparison. Say Bellerin was coming on for Chambers yesterday. Is the crowd (our fans) excited? Would they cheer? I don’t think CC would have taken it personally. Yes he wasn’t playing real well because what we needed from him at the time was good ball delivery and Hector may have provided it. So would he stroll off instead of hustling? If so, he’d have probably got the same reaction from the crowd. But then to gesture the way Xhaka did? He got a reaction and it was fully deserved. And now., not only do I wish he wouldn’t play, I don’t really like him much because I think he’s shown his true colours. I hope he doesn’t represent Arsenal again. But of course he will. As Captain. And that’s the point that Emery will lose me as well. I was hoping to see a different Xhaka this season. He’s different all right. Worse. Let’s see what Emery hasalthough I’m not sure I want to find out.
    All of this doesn’t mean I don’t still love my team. But we have some problems and they need to be sorted out. The manager’s job is to do that. If it’s Emery, I have no problem with that. If it’s someone else, so be it.

  10. RA says:

    I have just watched the Highlights of the game, and put simply, the VAR plonker disallowing the third goal, Sok’s 2nd, is an absolute disgrace.

    And what must the crowd think as they were not given any explanation (and neither were the players).

    There is an old adage; “Justice must not only be done; it must be seen to be done’.

    It holds that VAR chicanery/incompetence must be shown, otherwise who can trust any decision made in secret, during a game, that may decide World Cups or the Premiership.

    How poor was that?

  11. GoonerB says:

    RA, I think we concur in all departments reading your comments.

    That VAR decision and the failure of Atkinson to look at it was so bad as to suggest pre-meditated bias. It is another in a long line of inexplicable officiating decisions that makes one believe that there is something almost fraudulent happening in certain circumstances.

    As they are seemingly swept under the carpet and forgotten about by the FA without any accountability or explanation nothing progresses or improves. I hope that some day a proper sting investigation takes place because something seems very off to me.

  12. RA says:

    Agreed, GB,

    At the very least, we fans should be treated respectfully, and not as latent psychos waiting to emasculate the officials if we do not like the VAR advice.

    Surely an explanation of how/why a decision was arrived at should be made available at the time of the decision.

    I have gone from being fed up that we allegedly ‘threw away’ a 2 goal lead, to being very angry that by any normal standard we should have won that Game 3 : 0.

    As you said — we lost out on the top 4 last season by 1 point, and an inexplicable withdrawal of two points against Palace, yesterday, could mess up any hope we have this season — if Embers has not already buggered our chances already.

  13. Thank you LB for the post. It was such a disappointing day.

    I hate VAR with a vengeance now, I just can’t see how it’s helping. I accept that it’s there to help the referee make decisions where his own reading of a situation might be hampered but why didn’t he go to the pitch side screen to review either of the incidents yesterday?

    Have referees taken a cut in pay since VAR has been introduced?

    Why are they allowing their decisions to be overturned in this way? It must be so demoralising for them ( not that I feel sorry for them in any way)

    Let others remotely check an incident if necessary but surely the referee should review it himself before it’s overuled?

  14. RA says:

    I said earlier that ‘booing’ your team, or individuals in the team, is going a bit too far.

    However, other forms of disapproval, or expressions of frustration etc are OK. I have been known to yell “that’s bollix” or some such at a player if they are playing poorly — somehow that is different.

    I think Susie Q likes to learn how others see things, and in the US, booing people or teams is the same as over here.

    On the other hand, there is a different, soundless way of boo-ing — and that is to secretly leave a present (gift) where a friend or special neighbour can find it — with a note saying “Boo”. 😜

    I have no idea where it originated – so don’t ask – anyway it’s a girly thing – and the younger people use them a bit like Valentines – so a boo can become a kiss!! 😳 Yaay.

    So Sue might like to boo Kola, but any of you straight males who boo him (or Xhaka) should be aware of the consequences, or perhaps that’s why Xhaka got booed — just a misunderstanding??? 😎

  15. RA says:

    I agree, Peaches — exactly what I think should happen. The ref should go look, and see if the ‘advice’ given to him by a non-ref, as it was yesterday, is valid.

    VAR was supposed to assist them, not subjectively overturn their decisions — but anything Old Ma Riley, the Refs Chief, gets involved in inevitably gets screwed up.

  16. Gööner In Exile says:

    I have much sympathy with the fact that the VAR reasoning is not revealed in the ground. Like RA I have been watching the World Cup, what I like is that the refs chat is heard, we can all hear what is being said both ways, a discussion and a ruling.

    Ok you might not agree with the ultimate decision but at least you have heard the consideration given and what they believe they have seen or not seen, at that point you have to hold your hands up and say it’s a fair call. I also think it will help us respect referees a little more. Obviously for that to happen we will need to cut foul and abusive language from the pitch. Watching a rugby player being told why a decision has been made and then just accepting it again is a revelation and something we as football fans should want to see in our sport. Don’t tell me it takes the passion out of the game, The World Cup semi finals on the weekend were full to the brim of that.

    On to the performance I didn’t see it… I’ll accept others words as gospel.

    On Xhaka I don’t boo Arsenal players or managers or the team, never have never will. However as I understand it from reading articles this is the sequence of events:

    Xhaka announced to be subbed for Saka

    Met by huge cheer

    Xhaka sulks off

    Arsenal fans need as they want him to get off quickly

    The rest happens…

    Now first question why the cheer? Because Chaka off or because Saka on? If the player thinks it’s all about him that’s up to him. He then has a decision does he run off knowing the team he is captaining needs as much time as possible to get another goal or does he sulk. How do Arsenal fans express their desire for him to move quickly or their upset at him moving slowly? Unfortunately “hurry up old chap” “oh so come on fella” don’t exactly express the feeling so jeering it is then.

    Consider this, if the cheer was for Saka’s introduction and Xhaka had run off quickly his departure would have coincided with warm applause for Saka going on. To drag it out extended the pain for all parties.

  17. Gööner In Exile says:

    So we need a new song for Ozil…..

    We need Ozil, Mesut Ozil, we know he’s not in Unai’s plans
    He was Arsene Wengers man, he can open a tin can
    We need Mesut Ozil

  18. LBG says:

    Make Tierney or Holding Captain and select both all the time.
    Bellerin would be an equal waste of space and is not guaranteed his place any longer.

  19. LB says:


    There was no doubt that the cheer that went up was for Xhaka going off, not Saka coming on.

    It was daft of Xhaka to go off so slowly and even more daft that he gave the impression of not wanting anything else to do with the club by removing his shirt in the way he did.

  20. LB says:

    I like the way that Bellerin hasn’t got straight back in the team and is seemingly being given the impression that he has to fight for his place, I thought Chambers upped his game yesterday. Maybe the pen conceded throws cold water over that.

  21. LB says:

    I watched the rugby over the weekend and I thought the way they used VAR was superb.

  22. RC78 says:

    Lacazette or Douzi or Holding or Leno would be good captains and Bellerin, Luiz, Sok, Auba, Chambers would be good co captains

  23. Mike M says:

    GIE – just to add a little to your sequence, I believe (and I stand to be corrected), that the crowd were cheering for Saka whilst also letting Xhaka know they were not impressed with his performance. There are 2 other scenarios:
    1) Little or no crowd reaction – which would have been strange since we had just surrendered a 2 goal lead,
    2) Wild cheering or booing for Saka/Xhaka.
    Neither of those happened, nor would likely happen. Instead, the King was caught without his clothes. I think he was disappointed for sure (he wasn’t really THAT bad but he definitely wasn’t good) and expressed that disappointment in a way players often do. However I think he was caught off guard in the fact that the crowd were cheering for a 19 yr old academy player and so made a pretty disrespectful gesture with his arms. At that point the crowd gave him the stick he deserved and he took it to a further unacceptable level.
    that’s how I saw it.

  24. I was surprised that Xhaka was strolling off the pitch, he should have been sprinting. I would say that the cheers felt like they were for him being subbed rather than the arrival of Saka and they turned to boos once he seemed to be dragging his heels.

    Sadly, I feel, a culture of disrespect must have infiltrated the senior players …….. Koscielny’s behaviour in the summer was pretty appalling. The club needs to stamp that out pretty quick.

  25. Gööner In Exile says:

    Peaches I was not impressed by Koscielny’s actions, but on the flip side he had served the club well during his playing career, never seemed to complain got on with his job and was respected by the fans (albeit following a tough start to his career where that wasn’t always the case).

    Something broke that, and I strong believe it was the hierarchy at the club, be that the contract team, the board or the manager, the club appeared to try to go back on their promises, but also Koscielny clearly wanted out….why?

  26. Sue says:

    Surprise surprise, ref watch on Sky said there was no foul in the build up to our 3rd goal!! 🤬
    Screwed by that incompetent lot once more!

    Not been online much, been too busy sunning it, so has owt happened with Xhaka? Apology? That’ll be him finished, there’s no way he’ll win the fans back after that…I saw those pictures of Torreira, looking like he was crying… 😔
    Everything is pretty toxic right now… we’re all divided over Ozil… things aren’t looking good for Unai & Xhaka… our results aren’t great.. the referres/var absolutely stink… and to top it we have to go to Anfield tomorrow…shall I watch it in a bar and risk having a major meltdown and end up rugby tackling the nearest bin dipper?? Hmmm, I’m not so sure…..😂😂 Come on Arsenal, we need a result.. something to smile about would be very welcome right now.
    Although, RA, the thought of ‘booing’ or kissing Kola, ain’t a bad start 🙂😘 hehe!!

  27. Sue says:

    Oh and btw, Guendouzi as captain, for me! What an absolute baller, that young man is 👊👍

  28. VP says:

    the club are owed an explanation for the disallowed goal. Its a friggin in the riggin disgrace.

    As for Xhaka and captain, in any sporting team, most players and people close to the team know who will be chosen as captain simply because they have that leadership standout quality. Its usually a clear choice and in this case the choice is Xhaka. I am not playing on the team or close to the team so I respect the choice made. Why cant fans respect that?

    Just as players started shunning fans when they were disresepting AW (remember the time players after scoring a goal turned back rather than celebrating with fans holding up anti Wenger placards). Where are the placards over the disgracefull officiating and why isnt someone hiring a plane to fly a banner wanting the 3rd goal to be reinstated by VAR.

    I say that the fans are in crisis not the club. Every bad game (FYI, we didnt lose to a very good team who are only 1 point behind us and 2 points ahead of Manure who they beat plus it was a win but for the unexplainable diallowed 3rd goal), and fans go into a mental break-down. Harden up, head up we need to support the team to win and onwards and upwards. Not self pittying angst and doom and gloom, tearing every player down when they are next in line.

    First we were literally attacking Mustafi (remember his car being attacked whilst leaving training), now its Xhaka turn plus others are being singled out.

    Tearing players down never builds a team up.

    Just to be clear, this is not directed at anyone, just a mad rant from someone that always tells other club supporters that we are the greatest team, we are the invincibles. Liverpool will again fall over in their title chase. Oil money will win. The pundits are knobs and the refs are conspiring against us (disallowed 3rd goal).

    All I can say is that lucky I am living 2000miles away or I would be going stark raving bonkers over everything right now because we have been robbed, robbed I say.

    In summary, COYG!

    keep up all the great posts and comments, I might not be responding alot but I am reading all of them. thank you

  29. RA says:

    Morning to you, VP,

    An interesting take on the captaincy and your view on other fans.

    I presume you are talking about fans in general, because for many years the bloggers on here have been against booing of players, and I hope that continues to be the case.

    Fans pay a lot of money to go to games and to pay for subscription services for TV coverage, so they have a right to complain about poor management, poor performances, either from the team, or individuals in the team.

    There will always be individuals that behave inappropriately, but you mist be careful not to include all fans in your criticism — that leads to fan schisms that never ends well.

    With regards to the captaincy — coaches/managers usually choose the best, most reliable, most consistent player to be the captain.

    I covered all this yesterday, but the fault lies with Emery. He did not show the leadership expected of a coach and should have chosen the captain, not passed the buck to the other players.

    Now what a mess. if he takes the captaincy away from Xhaka – he will possibly offend the other players too.

    Xhaka may well have the off-field attributes for the captaincy role — but the majority of fans do not think that on-field, a one paced player, with a tendency to give away fouls, including penalties, and having a hot temper when a calm attitude is needed, is the right choice.

    You are of course entitled to your opinion, as are the rest of the fans, leaving side the minority who boo or abuse any Arsenal player, even if they are responding to understandable frustration leading to anger – that is still not acceptable.

    Frankly the manager should stand up, and deal with this. Xhaka has shown by his behaviour on Sunday, that he is not the right man for the captaincy, and he will never ‘win’ by taking on the fans, and there is only one way that will end — and the blame for that rests at Emery’s feet.

  30. VCC says:

    VP……. your question regarding an explanation of our disallowed 3rd goal?

    The media here in England have concentrated on the Xhaka affair.

    I have heard no one mention the fact that Chambers was pushed in the chest before any melee involving him tackling the Palace players.

    We will here nothing from the corrupt FA, as we are not amongst their favourite clubs, as the past several years will show.

    Also how can they explain a total travesty of justice.

    VAR and our dodgy officials, who are lead by the Slimy Mr. Riley ( watch our game against Man U when we lost our unbeaten run for proof) are reasons I see more and more spectators turning their backs on football and following other pastimes/sports.

    Arsenal are a total shambles atm, and it needs sorting out quickly.

    We are already a laughing stock amongst other teams supporters.


  31. RA says:

    Hi VCC,

    Very true sir!!

    9You did not pinch my comments above @ 2 : 06 and 3 : 25 yesterday by any chance?

    Really good to see you – and your comments here and elsewhere are always pertinent and to the point.

    A real fan’s knowledgeable comments every time I read what you have to say on a topic!

  32. RA says:


    I sometimes wonder if the EPL authorities have a sneaky peak on fans’ blogs.

    For example both Peaches and I questioned why the on-field refs did not use the pitch side TV monitors — and apparently they have been told not to use them, and tom just take the advice of the VAR officials (even if they are not qualified refs – like the idiot on Sunday) .

    Now the EPL owners are issuing instructions that refs should look at the monitors, otherwise they (like the fans) do not know why their decisions are being overturned, apart from hearing in their earpieces the VAR guys subjective opinion.

    About bloody time,

  33. VP says:

    Hi RA, yes very much in general, just a nice mind explosion.
    Everyone keeps their opinions intact and not only the right to do so but to also change it as often as they like, as I often do, as bloggers on here influence me many times left to right to left again through the course of many different views.

    I simply spewed it all out, closed my laptop and then picked up the Hakan Nesser novel I am reading.
    A bit of online chess in between then went and checked out my 15yr old daughters halloween decorations that she has done outside.
    My 18yr old son asked for a lift to the library as he has his final year 12 english exam tomorrow but I scolded him and said not until he tidies up his room. I then noticed he had a used durex condom wrapper next to his used M&Ms wrapper on his bedside table. I then scolded him over this.
    I followed this up with a veal schnitzel and an asian salad. Whilst typing this I’m having a cafetera coffee, ice cream and a christmas fruit mince pie my daughter gave me. She is very festive.
    Its 30 degrees here so I might go for a 5km run and contemplate how much studying my son is doing when no-one is at home.

  34. LBG says:

    Happy Birthday to one of the true greats of recent years – Robert Pires 46 today.
    How far away does his generation of players seem this morning?

  35. RA says:


    What a great view of family life — I could not help but chuckle — makes a big difference to all the doom and gloom we fans are going thru at the moment!

    Thank you for that!! 😁

  36. Gööner In Exile says:

    One thing I did mean to mention was Ian Wright’s condemnation of Xhaka. Does anyone else remember a pretty turgid 1-0 win when playing in front of the mural? I can’t remember precisely who we were playing, perhaps Sheff Wed? It was a dire game and the Highbury crowd was restless and there were some boos and criticism from memory, I was in the Clock End. Somehow we managed a 1-0 win with Wrighty getting the winner.

    But after the game I remember talk of Wrighty leaning out of the changing room window and giving the fans who had booed a piece of his mind. Does anyone else remember this?

  37. RC78 says:

    Emery needs to axe Xhaka from the squad until January. It s that simple. Xhaka should have apologised by now and he hasn’t so the club needs to issue a strong statement in words and actions.

  38. VP says:

    Brilliant GIE, absolutely brilliant –

    The head was that of an incandescent Mr Angry leaning out of the Highbury dressing-room window and directing base and insulting language at passing fans in annoyance at their earlier booing.

    Two months ago Wright was the darling of the crowd after beating the club scoring record. Now the love affair is surely over. Calling supporters “f***ing w***ers”, as is alleged, is guaranteed to win no one’s heart.

    the article goes on to say that Arsenal slipped to 5th etc etc. Players not performing, Wenger’s new style of play being criticised etc.
    We seem to be in a similar trough…

  39. RockyLives says:

    Great comments all.

    I didn’t see the game but have watched the highlights and main incidents on

    My thoughts, for what they’re worth:

    The VAR decision for Sok’s second goal was so egregiously wrong that the only conclusion I can come to is that the VAR official was motivated by malice against Arsenal. Maybe he’s a Spud supporter or has some other animus against our club, but nothing else fits.

    Xhaka has my greatest sympathy. He has become a lightning rod for the fans by being repeatedly played in a position that doesn’t suit him in a system that doesn’t work. Social media and blogs are full of abuse directed at him, even though he always goes out and gives his best. Maybe he’s not a good enough player for Arsenal, but he can’t help that. I know people are slaughtering him for his reaction. I think: “Good on him.” He’s had to put up with so much abuse for so long I enjoyed seeing him give some back. It show’s he’s a man with pride and passion.

    Following on from the above: no Arsenal fan should ever boo an Arsenal player. If you were at the ground and booed Xhaka, you’re a disgrace to our club.

    The biggest point of all: the gig is now up with Emery. He has been exposed as a weak and ineffective manager, not suited to Arsenal or the Premier League. He’s turning into our Christian Gross. He has lost the fans, lost the dressing room and lost the plot. Nothing will improve until he’s shown the door.

    Other than that, all is good 😀

  40. VCC says:

    Hi RA. Hope you are well buddy.

    Sorry I did not read your earlier comments, but if i’ve reiterated what you said previously, just shows great minds work alike Sir. … 😉

    Further on the VAR in football. Us, the supporters are kept in the dark. Its possible to allow the fans to know whats occurred, just take a look at Rugby Union.

    If the FA are not corrupt, can someone please tell me….a few games ago Socrates was clearly pulled back by the shirt in the penalty area…..No penalty and even worse, NO VAR…..but when our third goal goes in on Sunday, VAR immediately came into play? mmmmmm the mind wonders?

    All I have heard since the Xhaka incident from ex players and the media is UE and Xhaka should come out and say something, apologise or make a statement…..yet no one has bothered to ask Mr Jarret to explain why he disallowed our third goal. Bizarre, Corrupt or An agenda, you decide, but I know what I feel.

    Yes we are poor at defending atm, and we need to buck our ideas up, but we don’t deserve these fools, may I dare say cheats, officiating our games.

    My patience in spending £65 for a seat, plus extras, is almost done. Why should I have to put up with incompetence and outright cheating when I can spend my money watching Saracens and getting full value for money.


  41. RockyLives says:


    If I was being charitable I would say that the Premier League are still figuring out how best to use VAR and that these are inevitable teething troubles.

    However, a decision like the one to disallow Sok’s goal can’t help but make us question what’s going on.

    I also happen to think Zaha dived for the Palace penalty and Atkinson’s instinctive reaction (from only a few yards away) was correct: a dive and a yellow card.

  42. LB says:

    Too early Rocky, still too early.

    I will write something a little more in depth when I can but calls for Emery’s head at this stage is making us look sub Tottenham and that is never a good look.

  43. Rasp says:

    Afternoon all …

    … New post ….

  44. VCC says:

    Hi Rocky.

    Your charitable nature and my patience is wearing thin.

    I agree with you that (imo) Zaha dived. Chambers put his leg out and Zaha manufactured this intent from Chambers by pushing his leg through the static leg of Chambers, hence making it look like he was brought down.

    I have not mentioned this episode of the game and only replied to you on an Arsenal site, as opposition supporters would say I am being biased.

    This was one of the reasons I did not want us to buy Zaha instead of taking a punt on Pepe, he is a renowned diver. That is why Atkinson, who you quite rightly say was a matter of metres away, gave a free kick to us and yellow card to Zaha. Another reason why players can see it is advantageous to simulate a foul/trip.

    It was interesting to hear Sean Dyche speaking about such things yesterday. i.e. the booking of the Chelsea player this last week end.

    He is soooo right in the fact that if the referee sees it as a deliberate dive he only gets a yellow which in turn gives him a get out of jail free card, with no deterrent.

    Diving will carry on until the powers that be take necessary action towards the serial offenders.

    Ashley Young, Danny Rose have made a carrier out of such cheating antics.

  45. LBG says:

    LB and Rocky
    I was one of those that felt that Dick deserved 3/4 transfer windows before we would really be able to judge him.
    This was however, subject to 1. evidence of progression in his understanding of the qualities in the squad ( and weaknesses), 2. an accurate analysis of the tactical requirements of playing week in week out in the Premier League, including the addition of a steelyness evidenced by beating teams we should normally beat, holding on to points away when the groundwork is laid in the game, and 3. some significant additions to the squad of immediate or longer term quality.
    I understand your cautiousness with regard to his position LB, but feel in his judgement of points 1 and 2 has been largely wrong!
    This man impressed the Board with his dossiers on our whole squad, but continues to select players who we paid too much for and are not up to either us as a Club or the Premier League. He has been unlucky with some injuries it is true, but most of these are now available but he does not opt consistently for them in the League. I am not really concerned about the Carrier bag Cup or the Europa League for that matter at this stage. Play those second rate players for those games.

    He did not show the leadership required in selecting one Captain once Kos was gone. Does not seem to be able to select teams or tactics to play against tough, generally defensive teams in away games or motivate from the side when teams come back with effort and aggression. And most significantly when these poor performances occur he seems to excuse, and nothing changes for the next game.

    Tierney, Ceballos, Pepe, Martinelli and eventually Saliba will/are strengthening our squad. He deserves credit for using Willock, Saka, and Smith-Rowe intermittently.

    BUT…..if we lose to Liverpool, Wolves and Leicester in the next round of significant games ( not inconceivable, I feel, at present), I dont believe Emery will last until Christmas!!

  46. Rasp says:

    Morning all …

    … New post …

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: