Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Ignore the unfortunate defeat and laugh at Sir Alex

I don't want to dwell on tonight's defeat, it was unfortunate, Dortmund took their chances and were typically efficient, we just didn't quite have the rub of the green in front of goal, a draw would have been a fair enough result but it was not to be.

Watch the above interview by Jon Snow with Sir Alex Ferguson. It shows what can happen when a decent non-corrupt journalist asks some fair questions, it makes the 'mighty' bully look like a rather small minded idiot who has a lot of dirty linen in the closet. I'm laughing at you Sir Alex, it's just a shame your tactics of banning journalists worked so well for much of your career, as many football journalists are just corrupt little weasels.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Ozil - no more to say

Mesut Ozil - I am speechless that we have signed one of the world's finest players in his absolute prime.  It is even more staggering that Real Madrid have let such a player leave for about half of the fee they paid for Gareth Bale, history will judge this one but I suspect Madrid may have made a blunder of immense magnitude.
Ozil will roam and be someone who can link the midfield and forwards, he will surely play as part of our front three and not the midfield three.  He will give us so much extra in creative terms, he has a lovely balance and touch to all he does, he scores goals and he assists by the bucket load.  An unbelievable signing, magnificent work Arsene.
Obviously other business has seen Flamini sign on a permanent deal, Viviani the Palermo keeper come in on a season long loan deal and Yaya Sanogo come in as depth in the centre forward position.  The only areas in which we look a bit light are centre back and centre forward, given the recent hamstring injury sustained by Lucasz Podolski.
As a result Bendtner has been kept back as cover.  This means that with everyone fit we have Giroud, Podolski, Bendtner and Sanogo as strikers, not bad at all.  Certainly there are many issues with Bendtner's character given his dubious off the field behaviour, but there is no reason why he can't do a short term job for us if needed.  Sagna can cover at centre back, while Vermaelen is almost fully fit again, so overall the squad isn't looking bad, not quite perfect, but a lot better.
The last minute scramble is the nature of transfer windows.  It is still disappointing that some of this business wasn't done earlier, it is also frustrating that Chelsea have behaved like a spoilt toddler in pulling the Ba deal away from us at the last minute, that club will never have class, just like their criminal owner.  Anyway, just enjoy the fact that Mesut Ozil is an Arsenal player, that should be enough.......

Sunday, 18 August 2013

NorthBankBen - the worst side of Twitter

1- Chamberlain has done his cruciate ligaments. Minimum of 3 months out.

2- Either way, bottom line is Ox is out for 3+ months.

3 - It's suspected to be his cruciates. Very serious injury either way for Chamberlain.

4- Don't know exactly the injury to Chamberlain something to do with his "ligaments."

The above tweets are from @NorthBankBen yesterday afternoon. I shall fill you in one some basic facts and then leave you to make up your own minds about @NorthBankBen.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has a knee injury, the extent of which is not yet known and was definitely not known yesterday afternoon at the time of the tweets. He reportedly left the ground on crutches and obviously there are great concerns that it may be a serious injury. It is worth remembering that he has not yet had the knee MRI scanned, a rather key fact. It is impossible to tell the difference between some minor and some relatively serious knee injuries straight away, it may or may not be serious, simply no one knew but the expert @NorthBankBen felt certain enough to say that he 'HAD DONE HIS CRUCIATE LIGAMENTS'.

Such idle and baseless speculation is not only highly ignorant but it is deeply reckless. It is absolutely fine to say that it may be a serious injury and that there are concerns, just as the newspapers have done to today, but to state that a player has done 'his cruciates' when one doesn't know this for a fact is deeply reckless and irresponsible. The player deserves some respect for starters, stupid comments like @NorthBankBen's get propagated around Twitter in an instant, imagine how this is for the player and his family, it is utterly shameful. People should be far more responsible before ignorantly shooting their mouths of in this fashion. @NorthBankBen's further tweets show that he is furiously backtracking and that he doesn't understand much about knee anatomy, he is digging his own hole deeper and deeper. He should simply have apologised for his immensely stupid first tweet.

I hope the Ox makes a rapid recovery, and I shall wait for official news before stating what precise type of knee injury he has sustained. It may be serious, it may be his cruciates, it may not, it may be a collateral injury, a bit of bone bruising etc, we simply don't yet know. So how about we show a bit of respect to the player by not making up statements of fact in the manner of @NorthBankBen? I have been blocked by @NorthBankBen, presumably for daring to point out his immense ignorance. I would encourage everyone to ask him just how he knew that Oxo had 'done his cruciates' before a scan had even been performed? Was it by magic?

Friday, 16 August 2013

Top down system failure

It has been a fantastic summer of sport, we have some truly excellent cricket, golf and athletics most recently.  It is just crushingly frustrating that the club have been so inactive and seemingly disorganised in bringing players in.

The clearing out of useless deadwood has been the one positive piece of work.  However we have brought in just one player to counterbalance this huge loss of squad numbers.  With just a few days til the closure of the transfer window, this is a truly disastrous situation and one that was entirely preventable.

We have big games coming up and the squad is weak beyond belief.  The fact that this is the case demonstrates that our club's management structure is failing, we have bucket loads of money but for some reason the deals have not been done.  The precise reasons for this failure appear complex but there appears little doubt that the manager and owner need to shoulder a decent chunk of the blame.

It is hard to know what else to say.  Most fans with intact logic circuits are struggling to get their heads around out incomprehensible lack of activity in the transfer market.  I am struggling with it too, just how ludicrous can things get before someone takes control of this situation?

Monday, 17 June 2013

Mike Riley demonstrates a complete lack of insight or......

"The balance between physicality and player protection is right.........Fewer free-kicks result in things such as an increase in average goals per game and average shots in the game.........Everything in the Premier League is moving towards an exciting game that people want to see."
This is the stuff of the Premier League (PL) propaganda ministry.  Mike Riley is head of the PGMOL, the not so 'independent' body which runs refereeing for the PL.  Mike Riley was commenting on the fact that the number of fouls awarded has gone down 22% since 2006, sadly he makes the grave error of assuming that fouls awarded is a good marker of fouls committed, it clearly is not.
The original BBC piece is a pretty poor piece of journalism, it fails to objectively analyse the claims made and it simply repeats a few tired old stories.  There is an alternative explanation which does fit well with the facts and is far more consistent with the fact that the PGMOL is right in the PL's pocket.  It is rather worrying that MPs think the PL runs the FA, the lack of strong independent bodies in football to run the disciplinary process and refereeing is highly concerning.
The alternative explanation does not assume that fouls awarded represents fouls committed.  Certainly the PL cares little for fairness and player safety, they are far more concerned with their financial income and a fast blustering violent type of football will sell far better than a calmer more technical type of game.  It is arguable that refereeing has simply become more lenient in recent years and many fouls are just ignored, when compared to other major footballing leagues. This fits far better with what happens in the Champions League and the international game, where discipline is far more strictly enforced and the national England side struggles greatly as a result of this chasm in refereeing standards.  The same is true on dissent, the number of cards for dissent is going down but dissent is clearly not reducing, the way it is punished has simply become far more lenient.
The argument of less free kicks resulting in more goals is clearly ludicrous, Untold Arsenal have exposed this with yet another neat analysis, something that seems well beyond the propaganda minister of the PGMOL, Mike Riley.  The silence from the PL, the PGMOL and the mainstream media on these issues are deafening. In fact the way that the PL and PGMOL behave like communist propaganda ministries is scary, they hide from the public, they never answer questions.   It is also sad that so many football hacks are so deeply afraid of exposing the truth and biting the hand that feeds them in the process.  The PGMOL continues to hide, it plucks statistics from its derrière and doesn't reveal how they were gathered.  Why would these bodies behave like this if they had nothing to hide? Why indeed?

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Mike Riley continues to lie

It is really sad that the richest league in the world has such a biased and useless body in charge of its refereeing, the PGMOL, and it is led by the yes-man Mike Riley.  Untold Arsenal have run some cracking stories recently and the way in which PL referees allow violence to prosper is definitely something that holds the English game back.  It results in too many career threatening injuries and it means that England really struggles to develop players with any creativity and technique.  Untold Arsenal have reported some very interesting stats on the number of fouls per game and it makes very interesting reading indeed:

The balance between physicality and player protection is right,” said Riley. “Fewer free-kicks result in things such as an increase in average goals per game and average shots in the game."

This is Mike Riley's opinion and I doubt many objective observers would agree with this propaganda.  It is also abundantly clear that not much Mike Riley says can be trusted, the PGMOL claim that referees only made 36 'key errors' in PL games last season.    Untold Arsenal didn't review all the PL games but found about 6 times as many errors in only 40% of the total games!  This demonstrates that the PGMOL are only noticing about 5% of their errors, this is utterly shameful.

It is abundantly clear the the PGMOL are a completely useless organisation that has very little independence from the Premier League.  Mike Riley is simply a compliant yes-man who generally hides from the media and simply spouts made up propaganda when he does come out of his corrupt little hole. I have no faith in the PL refereeing and these statistics are yet more evidence that Mike Riley and the PGMOL cannot be trusted one inch.  Shameful stuff.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Keep calm and don't read the tabloids

The summer is too nice to waste it getting worried over stories that have been made up by some sad, bitter and often vindictive Fleet street hack.  What happens in the close season happens and we can do precisely nothing to affect it.  Therefore I suggest everyone rises above the dross that is created to draw readers to tabloids and shoddy websites like Goal.com.

Sadly there are many many journalists out there who have no moral fibre at all.  Many of them simply sink to the lowest common denominator by making up nonsense in order to attract readers with sensationalist headlines.  It is interesting that so many of them deny this is their approach but 99.999% of their stories turn out to be incorrect, they are either very bad or very dishonest, I'll leave you to make your minds up.

 I would strongly urge anyone interested in football to read the Commons Select Committee report on football governance, generally the media ignore it as they have their snouts in the Premier League trough, most journalists don't want to report the truth as it would bite that hand that feeds their slobbering greedy gobs.  These few quotes sum up just what trouble football governance is in England right now:

"Since the FA Main Board will be acting on the recommendations of the National Game Board and Professional Game Board, it is inevitable that, under these proposals, the Premier League will retain its dominance over the Football Association. Arguably, by devolving decision-making downwards, the joint proposals in some respects reinforce that dominance. While it is inevitable that the paymaster will have far greater influence than the other bodies in a representative organisation like the FA, we are disappointed that the proposals have not sought to alter this balance of power."

"We are concerned that a number of key decision areas have been delegated from the FA to the NGB and PGB, with the regulator in effect ceding power to the regulated. It is also a matter of concern that the National and Professional Game Boards—largely composed of vested interests from the top of the football pyramid—will have the power to decide whether or not new areas requiring regulation would fall under the sole purview of the Football Association."

Effectively there is no independent oversight of football in England, the Premier League has all the power and  this is terribly bad news for the national game.  This is because the Premier League cares only for increasing revenue, it cares nothing for fairness, it cares nothing for the grass roots, it cares nothing for the smaller clubs.  It is just shameful that the mainstream media so routinely fail to point out this massive problem, they would prefer to make up transfer stories instead.  Sad.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Sir Alex retiring - the loss of an unpleasant bully

As much of the biased Manu-luvvie media sings the praises of the retiring Sir Alex Ferguson, it is worth remembering just how unpleasant and nasty a human being Sir Alex is.  No one should forget the bullying and intimidation of officials, the control of the 'free'press and his nasty side in bullying his own players.  I also thought this was a good moment to educate a few people on the real Sir Alex, the bully who has a lot of corrupt dirt to hide:

"Having researched the background to the feud between Alex Ferguson and the BBC, it has become pretty clear that Alex Ferguson may well have created this feud as a smokescreen to obscure our view of the real dirt. They key to the whole affair lies in a racehorse, the Rock of Gibraltar.

Firstly let's go back a few years to 2001 when John Magnier and JP McManus first began buying shares in Manchester United. Alex Ferguson was friendly with these men and was a keen dabbler in horse racing. At around the same time the racehorse, the Rock of Gibraltar, was carving out a reputation as one of the best around. Interestingly the 'gift' of 50% of the Rock to Alex Ferguson occurred at around the very same time that Magnier and McManus began acquiring their first shares in Manchester United. The fact that a senior manager in a PLC should be accepting such a large gift from a major shareholder is dubious in itself.

Whatever the truth behind the Rock, Ferguson was the 50% registered owner and as the horse's value skyrocketed with his success, it became clear that the potential stud value of the Rock would be huge (up to 10million/year). Whether Ferguson had any claim to the stud money was the root of the long running and ugly dispute which would ultimately see Ferguson sue Magnier for 50% of the stud fees.

There is some more interesting background to this affair. Magnier and McManus (via Cubic Expression Ltd) acquired another big chunk of Manchester United from BSkyB; Murdoch's company had their takeover of MUFC blocked which then resulted in them relinquishing their 9.9% stake to the Irishmen. It would therefore appear that Magnier and McManus are on pretty decent terms with Mr Murdoch, no wonder the Murdoch media empire has been so quiet on the Magnier/Ferguson/BBC saga.

Thus the informal gift of the Rock led to a dispute which turned friends into bitter enemies. Magnier was not going to give in easily, he vigorously denied Ferguson's claims and immediately hired Kroll Inc, Wall Street's so called 'private eye', to begin the digging into Ferguson's dodgy dealings. Kroll dug the dirt and this led to the infamous '99 questions' for the board. These 99 questions exposed Alex Ferguson and his son, Jason, as well as casting doubt over the honesty of 13 Manchester United transfers.

As the ante was upped by Magnier, Ferguson realised he was out of his depth and buckled by accepting a tiny settlement fee, of note this was significantly less than he had previously been offered to keep things away from a court. This was in March 2004, a key fact is that this was two months before the BBC's program that detailed some of Magnier's infamous 99 questions.

Ferguson was clearly rather scared that his dirty linen was to be aired in public. This was because neither Magnier or McManus had a seat on the board, meaning that they could at any point have called an emergency general meeting to discuss the 99 questions in front of all shareholders. Ferguson clearly had a lot to hide, he had bitten off more than he could chew in taking on MagnierMagnier had found out things that Ferguson didn't want to see the light of day, Ferguson didn't want the 99 questions to be made public and he quickly dropped the lawsuit.

The BBC program was actually a bit of a damp squib, they were just feeding off Manchester United's internal review which had been forced upon the club by Magnier's 99 questions. Even the club's own internal review found significant problems and irregularities in numerous transfers, as well as breaches of FIFA rules. The release of this internal review was moved forward to reduce the impact of the BBC program 'Ferguson and son' which was initially due to precede it.

In reality Ferguson is probably deflecting anger towards the BBC because he is still fuming that he was completely outmanoeuvred by John Magnier. A man that is used to bullying people into accepting his way was bullied into submission by a more powerful man and made to look very foolish in the process. Alex Ferguson came very close to losing his job in the process, he was also very close to having all his dirty linen washed in public. Magnier and McManus walked away with a huge profit, selling their stake to Malcolm Glazer in 2005.

The wonderful irony of this whole affair is that so much rage is now being directed at people who do not deserve it. Firstly Ferguson's rage with the BBC is completely misplaced, he should be looking long and hard at his own dodgy dealings, he also should never have taken on John Magnier and the muck raking would never have happened. Secondly Manchester United fans direct so much rage towards the Glazers when it is likely if it were not for Alex Ferguson's lawsuit then they would have far more benevolent dictators in charge, it is Alex Ferguson's greed that is really to blame, still it is easier to be angry with anyone other than your beloved bully of a manager.

This story really does have it all, blackmail, dodgy dealings, corruption, horse racing and football. Strangely the Premier League, the FA and FIFA have never looked into the dirt that Magnier exposed at Old Trafford.  It is likely that the 99 questions and Kroll's investigative findings have been locked in a safe somewhere in Ireland, just in case in the not too distant future someone needs reminding who their daddy is."

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Lucky Arsenal? Not at all

It looked like being another Blackburn, although we did not deserve to go behind, the domination in the first half had not been converted into clear cut chances and goals, albeit we did have two decent half chances which were narrowly missed by Giroud and Gervinho.  Norwich were pretty well organised on the whole and then took the lead completely against the run of play mid way through the second half and this sparked the game into life.

Norwich should never have had a free kick, their player tripped himself up and it was an extremely dangerous position for the dead ball, right on the right hand corner of the penalty box.  Credit is also due for the excellent delivery and header, some may blame Vermaelen, truth be told it was a brilliant set piece that is extremely tricky to do much about.  Norwich then proceeded to do some of the most tedious and pathetic time wasting, every goal kick, every free kick, every single throw in was taken as slowly as possible, it really was anti-sportsmanlike.

Then the so called 'controversy' - Giroud had his shirt hauled half off his back in the box, replays show this convincingly, it may not have been a great position for him to do much given where the ball was, but it was utterly stupid of Kamara to commit such a blatant foul.  The linesman on the far touch line called it from a distance and fair play to him, it was a spot on call.  The behaviour of the Norwich team was pathetic and symptomatic of the complete lack of respect shown to officials in the modern game.  Clearly they felt vulnerable and they would have done better to get on with the game, instead their anger and aggression worked against them, it gave our players more belief.  Norwich had chosen to destroy themselves by lamely trying to blame their own stupidity on the referee.

Norwich then crumbled.  The introduction of Podolski, Ox and Theo had certainly introduced some more pace and directness, and it was the Ox's excellent burst and 1-2 that saw Giroud tap home, credit to the Frenchman for being in the right place to take advantage though.  Podolski's excellent 20 yard blaster made the game safe.  It was a cracking show of character from the team and a really important win, we now move ahead of Tottenham and Chelsea with only a handful of games remaining.

The grapes are certainly sour in Norwich and the context of their spineless whining is very very amusing indeed.  Firstly their goal came from a free kick that should never have been.  Secondly Theo had a very good case for a penalty just after he had come on.  Thirdly replays show that our penalty was undeniable, Giroud's shirt was hauled half off his back.  Fourthly Norwich bottled it mentally, their childish dissent was like surrendering, they should have taken the decision like men and got on with the game, rather than aggressively trying to blame the referee for a good decision.  Fifthly their time wasting was poor.  I am sure that certain anti-Arsenal sections of the media will unfairly try to make Norwich appear unlucky, objective context shows this not to be the case, Norwich got exactly what they deserved from this game, and that is zero points.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Mike Riley has his head up his own derriere

I was casually reading through the newspapers last weekend when I stumbled upon this interview involving the PL's refereeing chief Mike Riley and fellow referee Martin Atkinson.  I was absolutely flabbergasted at some of the ignorance, delusion and complete denial shown by these men.  This was especially true as regards the 'respect' or lack of it for officials on the football field.  Mike Riley said:

"But we’re now seeing 50  per cent fewer yellow cards for dissent than we were five years ago. We’ve got drastically reduced numbers of players being dismissed for using foul and abusive language to match officials. The respect between players and referees has never been better."

Shocking that the man running refereeing in this country is so utterly wrong or so completely corrupt.  The number of yellow and red cards is a terribly poor marker for the 'respect' shown to officials.  The reason yellows and reds for dissent has dropped so significantly is that dissent is now just tolerated by the officials, things are so dreadfully bad that referees cannot consistently punish dissent, as it would frequently lead to games becoming 5-a-side.

Referees get little support from their governing body, they are often hung out to dry, they also get no support from modern technology, despite the fact that virtually all other major sports have incorporated the use of technology to help their officials.  Dissent is so so rife that I feel sorry for the officials, players are always kicking the ball away, constantly time wasting, routinely swearing and abusing officials, referees are far more frequently surrounded and intimidated than in days gone by.  Managers like Alex Ferguson are allowed to bully referees with complete impunity.

Mike Riley is a pathetic weak man who is covering up a cancer that is eating away at the modern game.  The fact that crime is not punished in a stateless country does not mean crime does not occur, it just means that there is no enforced rule of law.  Diving and violent tackling are also other issues that need to be properly tackled with consistent disciplinary action that can only come with video technology.  Football is being run by a group of utterly incompetent fools, who else could honestly think footballing discipline had improved in recent years:  

"Inevitably we always focus on the things that go wrong, but we don’t see the 95 per cent of really good respectful behaviour that happens during a game."

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Predictably depressing

Sadly this was just what many of us feared.  We were not outplayed, far from it, we controlled long periods of the game and dominated possession for the most part, the problem was that we didn't quite have enough cutting edge going forward to turn this into goals, and Tottenham, like many sides in the last few seasons, realised they could kill us on the break, our defensive vulnerability to the counter attack has been an obvious Achilles heel of ours for several years now.

Our midfield were generally excellent, Ramsey having a particularly outstanding game, Spurs couldn't keep hold of the ball for long, the mediocrity of Parker was obvious.  The problem was Tottenham just defended so much better than us and we couldn't make out midfield superiority pay enough.  Our defensive naivety was summed up by the terrible defending for the two Spurs goals just before the half time break, there was no cohesiveness, the unit was all over the shop, Bale and Lennon respectively both had acres and this was when the game was lost.

The pushing up of the centre backs was particularly suicidal and to blame for both goals, Vermaelen was also caught ball watching pretty badly for the second.  The only mitigation was that the first could easily have been called offside.  The problem was our offside trap was too aggressive, it meant we ignored runners and when it was sprung, we were totally sunk.  Really we should have focused more on the men running through, we have good defenders, and gambling like this with the offside trap is surely suicidal?

The goal from Theo's free kick early in the second half was almost the catalyst, we came very close to equalising on several occasions, Lloris did very well to claim an excellent Jenkinson centre, the excellent Ramsey shot just wide late on.  Spurs also could and arguably should have made the game safe on the break, we were very open at times, Bale missed a sitter, as did Sigurdsson.  I also don't think our substitutions worked that well, we could have done with some more pace in attack, the problem is our squad is short in this regard.  Even still, we showed character, kept pushing a did create a few decent chances late on, Podolski's deflected shot could have gone anywhere near the end.

Overall I think we have just become a tad predictable, both defensively and offensively.  We are too vulnerable to counter attacks, we need to wise up to this fast, and we are not the counter attacking force that we used to be.  I honestly feel we have the better players than Spurs, Bale and Lennon were excellent though, we could do with this kind of pace on both attacking flanks, but in many other areas we are significantly stronger, central midfield for example.  We now have it all to do, Chelsea and Tottenham are catchable but it will take a very good run to claw back the deficit.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Negativity of a nasty minority is not helping

Firstly as I know some rather small minded individuals will be reading this and looking for another needless fight, I shall explain myself clearly and simply.  Yesterday saw us win a game of football against an Aston Villa side that were on a fairly reasonable run of form.  I know it was far from perfect, and yes, several of our recurrent problems, most notably our defensively susceptibility to the counter attack, were obvious.  However the side did show a lot of character, they rallied when it would have been far easier to let their heads drop, they fought back to get a vital win and the three points which keep us well in the race for the Champions League spots.

Some seem to think that games against Villa should be 'big games', the breathtaking arrogance shown by this kind of Arsenal supporter is demonstrative of a quite remarkable hypocrisy, as this brand of Arsenal fan is often quick to accuse our own players of complacency, their complacency is assuming that not every league game is a big important three points for the taking is so deeply hypocritical.  It is also this breed who never gives any credit to the opposition, any game not won in style is always to be blamed on someone from our own camp, it is the blame game, never show humility and never show any respect for the opposition.

Villa did well, their tactics were spot on, and although one can make a very strong argument that we should have been far wiser in our dealing with their swift counter attacks, credit must go to them, they also defended well for the most part.  Lambert does appear to be building a good young side and it will take him time, if they can stay up then they will only grow, the problem for them is that it is very much touch and go as to whether they will stay up, their lack of an ability to hold on to leads has cost them so many points in recent weeks.

I think Arsene needs to wake up and realise that the way we have played 4-3-3 is defensively extremely naive.  My personal view is that we do not have the correct players to play 4-3-3 adequately, and that Arsene has used it because it allows him to play numerous attacking central players.  The problem is that this has meant our side has frequently lacked defensive balance and often attacking width.  We were simply leaving ourselves outnumbered at the back on too many occasions yesterday, defenders were bombing forward and the gaps were not being plugged, so Villa often countered with a numerical advantage and this had to tell at some point, it has been a recurrent problem at the Emirates for many months now.

Whatever the manager's failings and whatever the inadequacies of certain players, it certainly does the team absolutely no good to get on their backs, everyone would benefit from the support of all the fans for all of our matches.  Unfortunately this isn't happening and a negative minority of our own support are really harming our chances.  Players like Gervinho may not be good enough, but do people honestly think it helps anyone other than our opposition to boo and barrack these individuals?  It is so so depressing and so so counter-productive.  I wonder how many of Bergkamp/Pires/Anelka/Wiltord/Henry/Toure would have been booed by this current crop of spoilt supporters, it is worth remembering how many of our greats took a long time to find their feet and benefited from the patience of our 'supporters'.

One player that it is absolutely vital the supporters get behind is the goalkeeper, especially when this goalkeeper is young and relatively inexperienced.  Some would do well to remember that Wojciech Szczesny has only player just over 70 first team games, and overall he has done a damn fine job for one so young.  He is the best young keeper out there for me, of course he has made errors, even the best experienced keepers will do this and every keeper goes through a bad run of form.  His error against Blackburn was poor, however he was not to blame for Munich's second goal, and yesterday he was given far too much criticism for Villa's goal, it was a belting low shot from Weimann, maybe he could have saved it, but it was certainly not a howler.  Our young keeper needs our support not the fickle criticism that he is getting from some of our 'support'.

So there you have it, I am sorry if I am short circuiting some of your 'Wenger Out' brains by criticising the manager and also urging you all to support all of our players all of the time, but frankly I am fed up to the back teeth with the fickle arrogance that some of our spoilt supporters are showing.  It is not big, it is not clever and most importantly is is not helping the club, in fact the only people it is helping is Tottenham and Chelsea in battling us for the CL spots.  So grow up, support the players when they are on the pitch and stop moaning like spoilt babies.  I have no problem with criticism of the manager, players and the board, but is must be done with respect, and at the right time and in the right place.  Abusing our own during home games is simply not on.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Brilliant Bayern deserve applause and Arsene doesn't deserve ignorant abuse

I had a feeling that we were going to lose, Bayern are simply a fantastic football side, packed full of classy athletes, so cohesive as an attacking and defensive unit, they were simply a class above us on the night.  Sometimes one simply has to hold up one's hands and give immense credit to the opposition, and I think last night was one of those nights.  Bayern were top notch and must have a great chance of being champions this year.

I haven't posted much recently and there has been a reason for this, although our recent form has been distinctly mediocre, this hasn't been the reason.  Frankly I am sick to the back teeth of the way that the media and some Arsenal fans have been treating our manager, Arsene Wenger.  As many of you know I am a regular critic of some of his tactics, signings and overall management.  Still, nothing is an excuse for the rank lack of respect shown to him by so many people who should know so much better.

Nothing can excuse this lack of respect that results in disgusting abusive vitriol, that results in a really negative atmosphere at home games, that results in people laughing and joking at someone who is giving his all for the club, that results in factually incorrect news stories being printed because people can't be bothered to check the most basic of facts, and that results in some ridiculous hysterical comments which are so deluded they have absolutely zero grasp of reality.

The last few years have most definitely had their problems but is is ludicrous to see them as a total dismal failure, and it is equally flawed to ignore what has been achieved on a relative shoe string budget in recent years.  Practically there are many things that Arsene would probably do differently if given another chance, the problem is the reality of the situation: several other clubs have almost infinite budgets, Arsene has had his hands tied in the transfer market, the support Arsene has had from the board has been grossly inadequate and Arsene has been let down by some rather dishonest ungrateful individuals.

In all honesty I am absolutely fed up with the attitude of many journalists and some of our own support.  It is irrelevant how badly one judges we are doing, even if we were near the relegation zone, it would never excuse some of the pathetic vitriol that is being dished in the manager's direction.  Bayern are a great club and gave us a lesson, let's give them credit, and let's stop acting like spoilt toddlers, if one can never appreciate what's in one's glass, then one becomes a  fucking miserable pathetic bitter individual and that's not nice.  Football is a sport, Arsene is a good human being and let's just show a little bit more respect for each other.  Let's support the players on the pitch and treat our greatest ever manager with a bit more respect.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Alex Ferguson abuses with impunity (again)

"The stand-side linesman [Beck] didn’t give us a thing all day. For me it was a poor performance by him. Why he never saw the penalty kick from Wayne Rooney, some other decisions, we remember him well from his time at the Chelsea game when Drogba was three yards offside and he gave onside."
“He had a shocking game. I’m disappointed in his performance, I really am. He had a bad game and we never got anything on that side of the pitch. But you’re 1-0 up with a minute to go and comfortable at that stage.”
The above quotes are yet another example of the disgusting behaviour of Sir Alex Ferguson.  It seems that this nasty man is allowed to bully, abuse and intimidate officials with an impunity that is not afforded to anyone else in English football.
All other managers are charged by the FA when they criticise officials in such a fashion, in a way that is deliberately designed to intimidate and influence future decision making.  For example Sam Allardyce was charged last week for some similar comments on officials, arguably his were much milder than Ferguson's.
The FA's inaction on this is a disgrace and shows that football is overtly corrupt in this country.  Manchester United have too much power and have a free reign in ways that other clubs do not.  The referee selection process is just part of this, the systematic bias in Manchester United's favour is beyond a disgrace, and the way that Ferguson gets away with murder gives their game away.  The title might as well be handed out by Sir Alex, this would only be slightly less fair than the current system.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Schizophrenic Arsenal the victims of cheating Chelsea

Ultimately we couldn't recover from a terrible, an utterly terrible, start to the game.  Chelsea hammered us for the first twenty minutes and we were lucky that we came in only 2 nil down at half time.  Defensively we were shambolic, Bacary Sagna was caught badly out of position for both Chelsea goals, admittedly Diaby's loss of possession for the second was also woeful.  Generally we were all over the shop, we couldn't keep the ball and we didn't look good without the ball, a lethal combination.

Too many players didn't turn up in the first period of the game, we looked so defensively brittle, there wasn't enough shape when Chelsea attacked, and we frequently left too many men forward, playing right into Chelsea's hands by leaving ourselves very very vulnerable to the counter attack.  It was very frustrating that Chelsea's second also came as a result of a clear dive by Ramires, he deliberately hurled his leg at Szczesny rather than going for the ball, a clear piece of cheating.  There was also a blatant yellow card foul in the build up to Chelsea's first, Coquelin clattered late by Ramires' studs up challenge.

It is hard to put a finger on just exactly went wrong in the first half, but if I had to point somewhere it would be at our defensive performance.  This was personified by the lacklustre positioning of Bacary Sagna, a player who has been our most reliable in recent seasons, but who has not looked his self of late.  The overall balance of the team is wrong as well, we have no width on the left, only Kieran Gibbs gets wide, there wasn't enough beef in the middle too, Coquelin did pretty well on the whole, but Diaby looked as one would expect him to look, slightly rusty and off the pace.

The most frustrating thing is that this Chelsea side is eminently beatable, we opened them up on numerous occasions, especially in the second half, and could have easily escaped with a point after the much better second half performance.  We seemed to battle more in midfield, we pressed better, we worked harder, and Chelsea did drop off the pace that they set early doors.  Walcott's finish was superb from Cazorla's slide rule pass, he looked dangerous all afternoon and with better timing of his runs could easily have had a hat trick.  Giroud worked hard, missed a good early chance and so nearly equalised at the death, his header had Cech beaten but was just a couple of inches over.

We have it all to do to even scrape the top four this season and frankly if we don't bring in a couple of players this window then I can't see us doing it.  We lack quality on the bench in several areas.  We are reasonably well off for defenders, my main concern here is the form of Bacary Sagna.  In midfield we lack some power, we could badly do with a strong ball winning type to add some more depth to Arteta's guile, I also think we need some more quality wide midfielders, we have so many central players but so few who can offer us width.  As for strikers, if Podolski plays centrally we are not badly off, if he doesn't then we definitely need one more.  Finally it is well worth considering just how much Chelsea have spent and how average they are as a team, we gave as good as we got today, despite the fact that our side cost a tiny proportion of their team's cost.  All that glitters is not gold.

Friday, 18 January 2013

FA charge Allardyce for daring to speak truth

'The one difference between Rafael’s handball and Spence’s was that Jordan plays for West Ham away against Manchester United and Rafael plays at home at Old Trafford........'It's got to be that simple. Phil Dowd was in the perfect position. Rafael pushes the ball away with his left arm. No penalty. Go to the other end and the ball hits Jordan’s hand. If you give one you have to give both, simple as that.'

It is utterly pathetic that the FA have charged Sam Allardyce for daring to point out the terrible bias of referees in favour of Manchester United.  His comments above are simply a fact, Dowd's refereeing was inconsistent and biased.  

The biggest disgrace in all this is that the FA routinely do nothing when Alex Ferguson abuses, intimidates and says far worse about referees.  This is because the FA are in Manchester United's pocket, as are the referees' body, the PGMOL.

The sad fact is that Manchester United play by very different rules to everyone else.  The Premier League, the FA and the PGMOL are all the servants of Manchester United, for very different reasons.  The other grim fact in all this is that football in England is not fair as a result, the playing field is not level, and this corrupt state of affairs makes everything so much easier for Manchester United than it should be.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

A 1-0 battering

That was more like it, although the game remained on a knife edge for most of the second half, it was as relaxing a 1-0 win as you will see.  There was a brief moment in the first half when we could have gone behind, Bartley drifted in behind Per, and hit the bar with a free header, a real let off.  However after that scare Swansea created very little, Szczesny was was forced into one decent left handed save in the second half, but that was it, for the remained we huffed, we puffed and eventually Swansea's house crumbled.

The first half was a little bitty, we did start to dominate as it wore on but Swansea were decent, pressing reasonably effectively for the most, although we did create some great spaces in the box, but our finishing wasn't up to the task.  In the second half we upped it a few gears, Swansea couldn't keep the ball, we outmanoeuvred them all over the field, wave after wave of attack came, a mixture of poor finishing, luck and a bit more luck meant we had to wait until a final ten minutes for the break through.

Theo had missed a few decent chances, one clear cut one on one where he was put off by a cynical clip and tug by the Swansea defender, just enough to put him off and push him wide, making it harder to score, Clattenberg bottled the decision in my eyes. Vorm made some decent saves, there were a couple of rather fortunate goal line clearances, there were a few slightly wasteful finishes.  The effort could not be faulted though, the tempo did not drop, we keep pushing and eventually our reward came.  Giroud's deft little flick fell beautifully for Jack, who thumped the ball low beyond Vorm from outside the box, a fantastic shot perfectly timed.

It was a much more encouraging team effort overall.  Although Jack will take all the plaudits, and rightly so, it must be noted that his attacking license was given to him by the excellent and industrious Coq, a very solid performance with some good attacking moments too.  Gibbs and Vermaelen were excellent too, Santi had a good second half, Diaby was a little peripheral but that is to be expected given his long absence, Giroud was outstanding in all he did, Theo was involved and on another night could have scored several with a tad more luck.

There isn't a great deal lacking from this kind of starting eleven, the problem comes that we cannot field this team twice a weak and the squad is not deep enough to cope.  Bodies are still very much need in this window.  Finally a word for our opponents Swansea, they are a great side, a credit to football and it is a shame to see them go out of the cup, not that much of a shame though!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Dean the destroyer

Firstly I don't deny we have our problems, of course we do, our squad is not strong enough, we have some gaping holes that need filling in this regard and City's squad is miles ahead of us at the moment.  Secondly I don't deny our defending was sloppy for the two first half goals we conceded today.  The problem was that Mike Dean killed the game today by a ridiculous decision to send off Koscielny early on in the first half and this decision was utterly pivotal in our defeat, to deny this is simply nonsensical.

"Denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity"

I am sure that the many media numpties will use the above quote to justify the terrible Mike Dean decision.  By this logic pretty much every foul in the penalty would be a red card, as most penalty area fouls prevent a clear goal scoring opportunity.  The rule is certainly not black and white, it is inherently subjective, and the fact of the matter is that the type of foul committed on Dzeko by Koscielny virtually never results in a red card.  The fact that Dzeko himself didn't even know if it was a red card proves my point, players only say this when they know the referee has royally buggered up.

Kos held Dzeko back in the box, it might have been a yellow on a bad day, a straight red was an absurd and nonsensical decision to make.  The 'goal scoring opportunity' rule was brought in to stop the professional foul, when a man is slotted through on goal and is taken down cynically, this was most definitely not that, Koscielny simply held Dzeko back from a hopeful flick on that he was not actually going to get on the end of.  It was emphatically not the clean through on goal with time and space scenario that is meant by the rule book's phrase 'obvious goal scoring opportunity'.

It is a remarkable statistic that Arsenal have won just one game in the 17 games that Mike Dean has presided over in recent years, if the Premier League were not a corrupt organisation then this would be something that they would investigate, such is the statistical freak of this run of bad decisions.

I have lost all faith in the standard and consistency of officiating in the Premier League, and Mike Dean provided us all with a great case study of just how bad the problem is today.  He wrecked a game before it had really got going, he interpreted the rules wrongly with absolutely zero common sense and it is not the first time has has shafted us with a bad incoherent piece of decision making.  Mike Dean, you are a disgrace to football and you are symptomatic of the shabby state of refereeing and referee selection in this country.  Shame on you.

The Premier League is getting less and less competitive

I have done some very simple graphs and statistical tests in order to test the theory that the Premier League is becoming increasingly dominated by the rich elite.  The first graph above shows the adjusted relative points difference between the top two in the Premier League and the bottom two; by 'adjusting' I have simply zeroed the points to make the graph easier to look at.  The second graph shows the adjusted relative points between the top two sides and the side in fifth place:

The third graph shows the adjusted points total of the top two sides:

The trends in each graph are obvious, it is clear that the gap between the elite and the rest is growing over time.  I have also done some simple statistical tests to see if there is a significant (beyond 95% chance) trend over time of these point differentials.  Interestingly all three trends are significant beyond the 95% level.  The trends are worrying in my eyes as they show several concerning things are taking place in the top tier of English football. Firstly the elite are becoming more and more dominant in the league and this is relative to both the side in 5th place and the sides at the bottom of the table.  

The Premier League is becoming less competitive year on year, and consequently it is becoming more and more boring.  The title race is becoming increasingly predictable and it is becoming harder for clubs to break into the group of rich elite clubs.  This is bad for the fans and bad for English football.  I rest my case.  Something has to be done about this in my opinion, UEFA's financial fair play won't help that much, we need something far more robust and tougher than forces more of an even playing field upon the clubs in the Premier League.