Same Old Arsenal, Always Cheating

August 14, 2018

An interesting discussion between Rasp and Aaron about Man City’s use of  persistent foul tackles to disrupt counter attacks and their use as part of the high press tactic, highlights how this original piece from Rocky is still relevant. The high press fails, someone get a boot in quick before the counter exposes the inevitable lack of numbers behind. Does Unai already know this?

After a fine win and an excellent performance on Saturday you would have to be of a churlish disposition to find any negatives.

So here I am, Churl-in-chief, primed and ready for a bit of top churling.

It amounts to this: I have one complaint about our lads.

It’s not the wayward finishing (although if some of our forwards were tasked with clubbing baby seals, my money would be on the cuddly little blubber-buckets to emerge injury-free).

Nor is it the tendency to always look like we might give the opposition a chance to get back in the game no matter how much we’re battering them.

No, my beef is with our players’ behaviour when they foul and are fouled.

We’re all familiar with the moronic baying of ‘same old Arsenal, always cheating’ whenever one of our team goes down under an attempted leg-breaker or, conversely, whenever an opponent is left on the floor after an Arsenal tackle.

Make no mistake, the label has stuck.

From the Mensa-dodging nouveaux-riches of West London to the barcoded disappointment-junkies of the far North East; from the Unconvincibles of Old Toilet to the Inconsequentials of N17 there is a veritable chavscape of received opinion that Arsenal players really do cheat.

But it’s clear from recent games that the problem with our team is that THEY DO NOT CHEAT ENOUGH.

That is the great irony: the team reviled the length and breadth of the land as cheats is actually more honest than just about any of its opponents.

There was a classic example in the Wolves game. The Mighty Zubar (I’m sure he used to be a character in Dan Dare when I was a kid) executed a studs-up challenge into Robin van Persie’s knee. I happen to think it wasn’t particularly malicious but was, rather, a cack-handed attempt to get the ball. However, it was rash and dangerous and certainly deserving of a yellow.

On impact, Robin was spun in the air and crumpled to the ground. And here’s where Zubar was clever. Knowing that he had just made a cert yellow card tackle (and possibly even a red card one) he crumpled to the ground too, mysteriously clutching his shoulder. It was enough to confuse the referee, Chris Foy, who did not penalise Zubar.

We saw the same thing the week before at Newcastle. Joey Barton, one of the modern game’s most noted thugs, turned out to have a brilliant line in rolling around on the floor whenever he went in for tackle with one of our players. From macho man to milkshake man in a heartbeat.

In that game the truly awful Phil Dowd bought it every time. Probably the worst example was the free kick given against Rosicky that led (indirectly) to Newcastle’s fourth goal. He and Barton jumped together half-heartedly, neither really touching the other. Rosicky stayed on his feet but Barton went to ground. Cue the man from Dowd Cuckoo Land: free kick, goal, two points lost.

Similar examples were littered throughout that entire game, particularly in the second half.

And during Saturday’s Wolves game there were several occasions where we were penalised for fairly winning tackles, just because the opponent went to ground and feigned injury.

Foy’s criterion for giving a free kick seemed to be no more sophisticated than “he fell over, must have been a foul.”

At the same time there were other moments where our players took whacks to the head or boots to the calf but did not collapse in agony. Our lot seldom do that – if anything they simply tend to stay on their feet and look a bit affronted.

Many people observed that against Newcastle, if Diaby had rolled around in agony after the Barton challenge he would probably have got the little toe-rag a yellow. But Abou didn’t do that because, although he knew the tackle had been a potential leg breaker, he wasn’t actually that badly hurt. He was too honest to pretend he was in severe pain. Instead he got up, tickled Barton’s neck and the rest is history.

Earlier in the same game, Arshavin also hopped straight up after another appalling Barton challenge from behind. (Mind you, Arshavin never shows he’s hurt: that tiny frame carries all the suffering of Mother Russia in its soul, so the odd smack in the mouth or boot up the arse is neither here nor there).

On one level I applaud our players for their honesty. One demented Ivorian aside, I can’t think of any Arsenal player who regularly feigns injury, whereas our opponents are doing it in every game and are winning free kicks for it, as well as getting our players carded.

Maybe it’s time we dished out a bit of their own medicine to them. I don’t mean we should pretend to be fouled when there’s been no contact, but when there is a bad challenge we should stay down and make it clear to the ref that it was dangerous. It won’t always work (Robin was clearly hurt by Zubar but Foy missed it) but if it works half the time that’s more free kicks for us and fewer for whomever we’re playing.

And when our players mistime their challenges and catch the opponent instead, let’s take a leaf out of Zubar’s book and go down as well.

The sad truth is that, with the standard of officiating in the EPL today, playing fair just gets you shafted.

That’s it. Churling over.

Now let’s go and win the League (and if, to do so, we have to sometimes be less than angels, that’s OK with me).

Written by RockyLives

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One Swallow does not a Season make

August 13, 2018

Well, the game has ended and too bad we lost. I am sad that we lost but I don’t share the sentiment of many that we are doomed and condemned to another inglorious season.

I am certain there’s no way we would have a repetition of the immediate past season. It was our worst under Arsene. Yes we struggled to cope with the frenetic pace of City, tell me how many teams in the league wouldn’t? The only ones that look capable have spent tons of money to play catch and still don’t look close enough. Some are already certain Emery could never beat Pep but how far from reality they are. City played some of the best football the premiership ever witnessed on their way to the title last season while we had our worst. So, it’s natural they were the sleeker side on the day while we struggled in transition?

Does this mean our season is doomed!? NO! Our laboured defending and flailing in attack showed that we are work in progress. We will be a different proposition within a month no doubt. Any fan that thought we were simply going to overrun City must have been living in the fantasy world. It will take a few weeks but surely the players will catch up with the hardwork Emery has been trying to impact on them.

Its not easy watching ones team lose but there were many positives in the game to a discerning eye. And the result could have been different had Ozil and Xhaka come up with their A game. All through Ozil exhibited the lethargic form he exhibited in Russia while Mkhitarayan just ran around aimlessly when he did tried to contribute. We’ve played one of our hardest game of the season and lost so there’s now time to restrategise.

We should not forget that even the high flying Pep ended his first season empty handed but look where he is now. Who says Emery if he can’t achieve same level come close to him?

If all else fails to cheer you up this morning, take a look at mickydidit’s view of the game. See. not so bad after all! (ed)

Ratings (ed)

Cech – made a couple of decent stops and had one howler which could have been of epic proportions ….. 6

Bellerin – a little flaky but had a rasping drive which unfortunately went straight down the keeper’s throat ….. 6

Mustafi – chasing his tail at times trying to keep pace with City’s movement, but didn’t disgrace himself ….. 6

Sokratis – the look on his face after his foul on Aguero for the booking, was classic ….. 6

Maitland-Niles (Lichtsteiner) – Ainsley’s coming into contact with the lardy Walker was always going to end in tears. Lichtsteiner stepped in on the left and added a real sense of urgency and purpose – I like him already ….. 6 (7)

Xhaka – Still looked to be searching for full fitness, so the game bypassed him somewhat ….. 5

Guendouzi – once he got over his early ‘what the hell am I doing playing at this level’ nerves he was fine and didn’t look out of place at all. Could have done more to stop Sterling for the first, maybe ….. 7

Ramsey – I still haven’t got much of an idea as to where Aaron was playing yesterday ….. 5

Ozil ….. a fairly anonymous performance by his own high standards ….. 6

Mkhitaryan – looked a little slow of foot and thought against City’s rattatttat style. Not his best performance in red and white ….. 5

Aubameyang – Not really given much to chew on the whole game ….. 6

Subs

Lacazette – if Alexandre had scored that golden chance on 55 minutes with the score at 0-1, I’m sure it would have been game on. Wasn’t to be though ….. 7

Mickydidit’s view of an azure blue sea …. 10

Written by Akinzo


How does the Arsenal squad 2018/9 shape up?

August 10, 2018

So, it looks as though the departure of Lucas Perez to the happy hammers was the only deadline day deal to get over the line.

Below is the Arsenal squad according to the Premier League website but, apparently, players can still be sold or loaned out until the end of August, so players such as David Ospina could still go.

Today is meant to be when 25 man squads are registered but changes to them will be made if players are sold or loaned before September 1st.

How are we looking?

 

 

 

Perhaps the midfield looks stronger with the addition of Torreira and  Guendouzi to replace the outgoing Jack. Emile Smith Rowe will be hoping to push on and get some first team action this year after impressing in pre-season.

Up front, we look mobile and pacy but with no plan B anymore. Thank Dennis for that, some will say! Maybe Ramsey will get more time further forward this season?

Kos not expected to be back in training until the end of the year at the earliest, looks to be the biggest hole in the squad at present. New signing from Dortmund, Sokratis wasn’t that convincing in pre-season, but presumably the new purchasing team have some idea as to what they’re doing, so I’m hoping he’s just taking time to settle in and will turn out to be a great buy.  Presumably Mustafi and Sokratis will be the first choice pairing.

The Beast out for a few months is a blow but Maitland-Niles is adequate cover for Nacho. Right back is looking stronger than it has done for ages, Hector can be rested safe in the knowledge that Lichtsteiner provides a wealth of experience.

What are your feelings? Are we good to go?

chas 

 


Torreira Debut? – Arsenal v Lazio

August 4, 2018

Today’s friendly in Stockholm is Unai Emery’s last chance to get the measure of his squad before next weekend’s Prem curtain raiser against City.

The biggest question and most enthralling prospect for the game is whether we might get a look at Lucas Torreira in an Arsenal shirt.

Who will start the game at centre back? Mustafi and Sokratis looked less than convincing against the chavs. Time is running out for an obvious settled partnership to emerge. Perhaps Calum Chambers might feature in his preferred position?

Ramsey is out with a perfectly timed tightness in his calf. The Beast is out for 8 weeks. Interesting to see if ESR gets another chance. Xhaka alongside Torreira could be fun.

Up front I’d like to see Auba and Laca in tandem as it offers up the most chances of scoring goals.

Cech

Lichtsteiner Chambers Mustafi Monreal

Mkhitaryan Torreira Xhaka

Ozil

Lacazette Aubameyang

Hark at me choosing a team for a friendly. How preposterous! Maybe choosing players I’d want to see start against City,  more like.

I know virtually zero about SS Lazio but they finished 5th in a Serie A which appears to be re-establishing some of its former strength, so they’re no mugs.

COYRRG


The Ramsey Question

August 3, 2018

The transfer window closes shortly, and I believe the manager has hinted business may be done, albeit with the inevitable ‘but you never know’ proviso tagged on.

I’m guessing the tag refers to unfinished business as far as Ramsey is concerned, although, as usual who knows whether arrangements have been concluded behind closed doors.

The way I see it:

Hot on the heels of the Sanchez and Mesut contractual. Issues at the same time last year, then I’m sure the club have matters in hand as far as they. Can

My laptop keeps putting full stops everywhere. Any bright sparks. With ideas?

Part of the thinking must include whether Emery considers there are 1st XI gaps remaining, and I say that because to acquire that quality of footballer may necessitate big funds, so a Ramsey sale/exchange. Could solve both issues.

My take on the footballing side is that we can live without Ramsey. Of course he’s good, but I’ve never had Aaron on my essential list, and I’ve long argued that you cannot play him if you have a  Mesut in the traditional No 10 role as I feel the side is better balanced with two more defensively solid players behind, but of course Emery. May have his own clever ideas on that aspect.

Ok, now for some honesty. I’m writing this while thinking…”what the hell am I doing? I really  don’t care either way. He’s an ok footballer who’s had some truly heroic Arsenal moments, but as a man….nah, can’t warm to him. Stay or go, whatever, as I struggle to see him. As more than just another mercenary. Ok, so many are,  just have this nagging feeling he does it for Aaron Ramsey not The Arsenal”.

Written by mickydidit89 and a dodgy laptop


Arsenal v Chelsea – plans firming up

August 1, 2018

Apparently today’s friendly in Dublin is still part of the International Champions Cup so it’s all to play for!


New chav manager Maurizio Sarri will be at a similar stage to Unai with ideas forming as to who will be playing for him in the new look West London set-up.

With only today’s and Saturday’s game in Stockholm against Lazio remaining, time is running out for Unai Emery to decide which players are edging towards his first Premier League selection.

Even before this week’s return to training of Granit, Nacho, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Lucas Torreira, there appeared to be a multitude of options. Now is the time for those to be whittled down.

Historically, the youngsters who impress on pre-season tours often get moved to the sidelines once we get down to the nitty gritty of the League. In a way I’m hoping that Matteo Guendouzi and Emile Smith-Rowe are, at least, given the opportunity to claim a spot on the bench for early Prem games. They’ve been like a breath of fresh air.

Regardless of that, I’m sure Emery, Carlos Carcedo and Stevie Bould will come up with the right players and formation.

COYRRG


PSG v Arsenal F.C. – Oh Miss Jones!

July 28, 2018

Our second game in the International Waste of Time Cup sees us face the French champions.

Luckily they’ll be without Mbappe and that Brazilian with all the Baftas so it should be a stroll in the Jardin des Tuileries.

Expect more player rotation and very little to indicate which direction Unai’s Arsenal is headed.

Cmon you Rip Roaring Gunners!