Cahill’s Ban Should Be Extended – written by RockyLives

September 14, 2010

So Gary Cahill is appealing against the red card awarded for his foul on Marouane Chamakh.

Good. I’m delighted. Bring it on.

By appealing, Cahill leaves open the option of having his three-match ban for a straight red extended by the FA committee that hears his appeal. And make no mistake – he deserves to have the ban extended.

If you’re in any doubt, take another look at the challenge (you can view it on Cahill comes in late and from behind on Chamakh, who has just executed a sweet back-heel into the path of Arshavin.

Watching it live (and from high up in the West Stand) I thought the red card was harsh and, at first glance of the replay, you’re tempted to agree. One of the reasons it doesn’t look so bad is that Chamakh just gets up and gets on with things without any histrionics (Eboue, please take note). Chamakh’s not badly hurt – so it should be a yellow card at most, right?

Wrong. Take another look. Cahill dives in with both feet off the ground, which is a definition of recklessness. His left foot takes Chamakh’s left ankle, his right foot takes Chamakh’s right ankle. Neither foot gets within nodding distance of the ball.

By a small miracle of timing both Chamakh’s feet are off the ground at the moment of impact. Now play back the tackle in your mind and imagine what the outcome would have been if either one of our Number  29’s feet had been planted at the moment of impact: with Cahill’s flying, uncontrolled lunge, Chamakh would surely have had ligament damage at the very least and possibly even a broken ankle. We would have lost him for several weeks or several months, at a time when we are also missing Robin van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner.

That he was not seriously injured was a pure fluke. Cahill’s challenge was dangerous and stupid and the instant red card proffered by Stuart Atwell was a rare instance of good refereeing by the ‘up and coming top ref in England’ in a game in which he was generally out of his depth.

He correctly adjudged that he should punish the intent, not the outcome. By doing so he may just save some other professional from having his leg snapped by the likes of Cahill later on in the season.

I don’t need to remind anyone of the horrors our players have faced in recent seasons from wild, uncontrolled challenges by brutish defenders. Cahill’s was a collector’s item of the species and three games on the sidelines is the least he deserves.

Following on from the Joe Cole dismissal in our first game of the season, the Cahill red card gives some hope that referees have discussed how to protect creative players and have agreed among themselves to act quickly and decisively if they see reckless lunges like Cahill’s. Quite how Atwell managed not to dismiss Robinson for his even more dangerous challenge on Abou Diaby a short while afterwards will, however, remain one of the great mysteries of football.

When Cahill gets to stand before the FA, let’s just hope they have the intelligence to study the video properly and the balls to act accordingly.


Questions for Arsenal Fans

June 25, 2010

Written by dandan

What is it about so many football fans that they seem to delight in emphasising the negatives  when it comes to their club? It matters not who within the club makes the statement, the built in defence mechanisms that surround the glass half empty brigade immediately activates,  causing them to sharpen their pencils, tear at their hair and default immediately to denial mode.

Unhappy not to be told, unhappier when they are, questioning every statement whilst poo-pooing anything that does not show the ink drying on a newly signed contract. Why do they put themselves through this? Surely it would be better to hibernate for the summer and then access the official site and review the squad when the transfer window closes.

Constructive criticism is one thing, but the inability to accept that there may be a grain of truth in these statements is another. Even if they are not true and some patently are not, the amount of abuse they engender, much of it vitriolic and profane is remarkable. Why if you were a true fan, would you want to fire such loathsome denigration at the team you profess to support?

The great joy of being a fan is discussing the club and yes it is a matter of opinions, but seeing that many of these opinions are often both uninformed and wrong, it does beggar the question why do we get so upset and why so often negative and aggressive?

We are a great club, with a great manager, our future is bright, do we need the abuse, or are we better than that?

Interesting times

Is football itself coming to its senses? Today, bloggers are posting that two out of contract players connected with Arsenal have priced themselves out of the market place.  Joe Cole is reportedly looking for a pay packet in excess of  £100k a week and is said to have been rejected by Man Utd, leaving the field open for Arsenal and the Spuds. Whilst William Gallas too has had his demands rejected, this time with Juventus.

Now I don’t know about you, but I cannot see AW paying an attacking midfielder that kind of money, when we already have a gaggle of players in his position, none of whom are earning anything remotely like that.

It would seem that its down to ‘appy ‘arry to talk the spuds parent company into allowing the kind of excesses practiced at several of ‘arrys former clubs as they boldly marched down the road to insolvency. I doubt it will happen,  these are proper businessmen, not soccer infatuated locals blinded by the glamour of mixing with the so-called stars and celebrities of our game

As for dear William our ever rational ex-skipper, he not only wants twice the contract length we have offered him, but also twice the salary Juventus have offered him.

Could it be that clubs themselves are coming to their senses? Realising that in these difficult times across Europe it is not wise to be seen paying players excessively, when fans struggle to meet the commitments of everyday life, without being mugged for the price of a season ticket.

What, I wonder, would the faithful say if Gallas unable to realise the value he puts on himself elsewhere, elects to stay at the Emirates?

Likewise Joe Cole at Chelsea.

Interesting times it seems…….

Could we be a stronger team if Cesc leaves?

June 14, 2010

Following Raddy’s article yesterday exposing the press reporting of ‘Arsenal’s behind the scenes dealing’ for the fanciful unsubstantiated speculation it undoubtedly is, I thought I’d be obtuse and join in with the speculation by putting myself in the shoes of a supporter who is prepared to believe some of the stronger rumours that are circulating.

Just for those who may read the headline but not the article, I am not suggesting that we would be stronger BECAUSE Cesc goes to Barca, just looking for the positives IF he does.

Here are some of the mooted changes in personnel at the start of next season if our worst fears are confirmed and Cesc leaves. FC Lorient and Fulham have both confirmed that Arsenal have made an enquiry about their players whereas the Joe Cole story is just a rumour that many are prepared to believe.

Out: Cesc, Gallas, Sol, Silvestre, Merida, Almunia (maybe not sold)

In: Chamakh (already signed), Koscielny, Schwarzer, Joe Cole

Would the balance of those changes make us a stronger team next season?

Starting from the back; even after conceding 4 goals last night, I think Schwarzer is better than Almunia. He’s not top top class but he would give Szczesny the couple of years he needs to grow into our first choice keeper. I’d send Fabianski out on loan to try to rebuild his confidence and keep Szczesny as our number two, maybe giving him the occassional start in the side.

Koscielny is an odd one. I don’t know that much about the player. Arsène is obviously very keen on him, so I suspect he will turn into a gem in the mould of Vermaelen and hopefully bed into the side as quickly. I think he could be better for us than Gallas in terms of motivation, freedom from injuries and aerial power in defence although he lacks experience. A lot rests on the continued fitness of Djourou as it is certain that one, or both of our CB’s will be lost to injury at some stage so we may have to rely on Song to fill in at the back at some stage.

A defensive midfielder to cover for Song is the player I feel we really need but will not acquire, so I hope that Eastmond gets a few first team games as he seems to be the player coming through who is best suited to the role.

OK, Joe Cole is not as good as Cesc, but he’s a clever player who is direct and creates chances for others. He can score goals and play anywhere across the midfield. He has a battling temperament and will give his all for the team. Cole would also allow us to rest Arshavin who I believe was playing with injuries for a lot of last season and struggled to come to terms with the physical demands of  the premiership. The arrival of Chamakh should mean that AA is never called upon again to play the lone striker role.

I fear we have relied too much on Cesc. He has been the focus of our play and this has created scenarios similar to Henry’s last season where players in possession of the ball were clearly looking for Cesc rather than making the quick pass to another available player.

Chamakh will give us a much greater physical presence up front.  He is strong, tall and he can head the ball. The only thing that worries me a little is whether he will be able to build a partnership with RvP (not that we will play 4:4:2), but he is a great link-up player and will be able to play wengerball.

With these changes, the spine of the team should be stronger – certainly at the top and the bottom. The loss of Cesc’s genius would be replaced by a potent attacking force in the final third with the inclusion of Chamakh and Cole. We should not forget Ramsey who I believe will become a fantastic player in our midfield. Diaby should show us more of the attacking brilliance that we witnessed in a run of games last season.  I expect Theo and Nasri to demonstrate their ambition by reacting positively to the disappointment of being left out of the world cup and put in meatier performances next season.

Obviously we will be a far stronger team if Cesc stays and we also add to the squad, but who can be sure that will happen? Consider what the acquisition of Koscielny, Cole and Schwarzer would bring to the team if Cesc leaves. I would expect either TV or RvP to be appointed captain and we would be addressing some of the areas of frailty in the current side.

Lies, Damned Lies

June 13, 2010

“It is understood” …. a euphemism for “the reserve team coach’s hairdresser’s boyfriend believes that…….. ” or even more likely “this reporter is stuck for a story line and has made this up ….”.

Summer transfer rumours drive me mad.  So much of what we read is pure fantasy, a product of a fertile imagination, the addition of two and two to make five. The examples are endless as seen by the rumoured transfer bar on this very site.

One may believe that these fabrications are innocent but they have a direct affect upon the poor saps who read  them, and the reason I am writing this post is because I am one of those poor saps. Today I read a lengthy article on our favourite subject this summer, the will he/won’t he go to Barca saga. In this article it stated that Arsenal were sick of dealing with Laporta and had started negotiations with the incoming Barca President (Rosell) with a view to selling Cesc next summer. My first thoughts were “OK, we get another season”, my second thoughts were “how has this journalist sourced this story?”. I re-read it. No quotes from any one involved, no statement from either club, much innuendo and one “it is understood.” Who understood?

Let us look at the Joe Cole story. Apparently it is almost certain he will be playing at the Emirates next season. Who says so? Admittedly there is some logic to it, the fact Cole is a good player on a free makes him an attractive target for our parsimonious manager, but we are well blessed in his chosen position (AA, TR, Vela) and are we likely to pay €100+k a week to him? Most probably these are stories placed in the press by Cole’s agent to alert other clubs to his availability, using the Arsenal name to strengthen their negotiations. But I am a pawn in their game. I go to work thinking  “How will Joe Cole fit into our current team? Who gets dropped? Where will Arshavin play if Joe signs? etc etc.” I can’t help myself!

May I take a paragraph of your time to go back in history?

Around 2500 years ago a Greek philosopher named Plato wrote  “The Republic”, in which he looked at the perception/nature of justice within the individual and the State (The Greek Republic). Based upon the teachings of Socrates, he notes that one’s viewpoint is dependent upon whether one is “inside or outside,” that is, whether one has direct knowledge (inside) or one’s knowledge is second hand (outside). His point being that unless one has direct knowledge there is always a tendency towards a skewed version of the facts, and that one bases one’s opinions and perceptions based this mis-truth.

We are definitely “Outsiders” and as such base our opinions upon the fallacies produced by journalists with questionable agendas. ( I must point out that The Republic is a treatise on happiness and justice and I have used a small section of the book to make my point! ).

As I wrote in a comment a couple of weeks ago. “Until you see Mr. Wenger smiling at the camera with his shiny new player holding an Arsenal shirt, it is just bulls**t”

On a serious note, I ask myself this – “If the back pages are full of lies and fantasy, is it likely that the front pages are equally fanciful?” Now that is a frightening prospect