Keep it tight or they’ll kill us

October 6, 2010

Written by SharkeySure

Whilst still marvelling at the eloquence of yesterday’s post by charybdis1966,  I have to disagree with what I think is its central theme, namely that Chelski and Man IOU sit back in the belief that we can’t really hurt them.

The game on Sunday kicked off in a very end to end fashion, with both teams attacking with abandon.  After the opening skirmishes Chelski  retreated a little for a couple of reasons.

1. Diaby’s position.  These days Chelski  pass the ball around in their own half much more than they did a few years ago, and Diaby (ably supported by Song) was harrying Mikel and the Chelsea rear guard into mistakes or longer passes. In attempting to retain possession both Ramires and Essien were drawn deeper and closer to Mikel to offer more support.

2. Chelski were fearful of the early impact that both Arshavin and Nasri were having on the game, and it was also clear that Chamakh was going to give Terry (spit) and Alex  a lot more trouble than they were used to from an Arsenal CF.

From memory, their goal seemed to come slightly against the run of play but nevertheless it was a very good goal, and once they have scored then we all know that its ‘park the bus’ time.  So whilst I acknowledge that Chelski may have ‘invited us into their lair’ as a spider does to a fly, the difference is that I believe that was always our eight legged friend’s original plan, but  Chelski’s was an adaptation to the unexpected circumstances they faced.  I should give them credit for that but I won’t,  instead I’ll simply say ‘well played Mr Arachnid, enjoy your lunch’ !

Man IOU’s case is slightly different to Chelski’s for the simple reason that Chelski do not change their system to play Arsenal, its still their tried and trusted 4-3-3, that either pushes on or sits (/gets pushed?) back.  Red Nose gives up on his 4-4-2 whenever he plays Arsenal and has done for quite a while now.  Fergie goes 4-5-1 with Rooney either up top on his own, or shunted out to the left wing, much to Andy Grays dismay;  and workhorses like Fletcher and Park get their first starts of the season.  His  sole aim to is to crowd the midfield and prevent us from passing his team to death. He really does not expect to outscore us in an open game.

The Prawn Sandwich mob in the stands were aghast when Red Nose first started doing it, as it seemed to go against absolutely everything that the Club and Red Nose stood for.   I believe it was after the flying boot to Beckham’s forehead game, that Fergie ranted and raved like a frothing inarticulate loon and realised that it was better to shut the game down, even at home, than to see his team outplayed as they were on that day.  He does not expect to outscore us in an open game, and resorts to safety in numbers to stifle our brilliant attacking play, well, what else would an Arsenal fan call it !!


Fletcher admits ………… Ferguson’s a hypocrite

July 23, 2010

Just over a year ago, having watched Darren Fletcher commit foul after foul against Arsenal without receiving a single booking, Arsene Wenger coined the term “anti-football”.

He said: “’I have seen today a player who plays on the pitch only to make fouls. The players who are never punished and get out of the game without a yellow card.

I think it is anti-football. I don’t know why it is this way. You should ask the referees. Look at how many deliberate fouls some players get away with. That’s a bigger problem because it cuts the flow of the game. And people pay to see football, not free-kicks.”


Of course Fletcher and Ferguson both said afterwards that Wenger was a sore loser and that Fletcher was an honest, skillful footballer.

A year later, and Fletcher has realized that Wenger was completely correct and he has now decided to admit to the error in his ways. Fletcher said that it is his job to “…break up play, sometimes to commit a tactical foul to stop the other team counter-attacking…”


Now I’m no Premiership referee, but I believe that what he is talking about is called unsporting behaviour, and should ON EACH AND EVERY OCCASION be dealt with by a yellow card.

I very much hope that referees were listening to Fletcher’s comments and will act accordingly in the forthcoming season.


And what are Ferguson’s true views on the types of fouls that Fletcher sees as wrtitten into his job description? Well, they are rather different when they happen to his team.

Here is what he said after Manchester United were knocked out of the FA Cup by a Portsmouth team that included the Fletcher-like Lassana Diarra: “He [Lassana Diarra] doesn’t get a booking [for a cynical obstruction of Ronaldo in United’s first attack],” said Ferguson. “That sets a tone for Pompey knowing that they can get away with so many things. He had eight or nine fouls in the match. It’s incredible. I don’t blame Portsmouth. If any team comes here and finds that a referee won’t do anything, won’t do the right thing, then they will keep on doing it. And I think that’s a tragedy.”

Yes that would be a tragedy – so let’s just hope that Premiership referees will call an end to this behaviour this season.

They can make a start by getting Fletcher’s name in the book the first time he makes one of those “tactical fouls”.

I’m not holding my breath though….

Written by mjc