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Clearly a foul – but a better chance than the one they got instead? I’m not sure.


Yes, it was a foul and yes, Dzeko was on balance denied a clear goalscoring opportunity. But I would question whether the opportunity he was denied was markedly better than the headed one Tevez received anyway (courtesy of Dean playing advantage) and which Szczesny saved. Yes, Dzeko would have had a very decent chance. But like Tevez’s it would have been running at great speed onto a bouncing ball which he would have had to take first time with a keeper flying out at him.

Well I don’t categorise these kind of decisions as right or wrong. For me they are either reasonable or unreasonable and I’d say this one was, on balance, reasonable. I may not agree with it but I can see why, because it was such a blatant foul, he’s given it. I just think a better balance would have been a bit of a fudge: a penalty and a yellow. I say this coming from the perspective that as a rule I detest the penalty and red card thing. It completely ruins the game, even when it goes our way. Watching 10 v 11 for me is never how football should look and the red card and penalty mangles the game.

I’ve often thought being a man down and with your supporters livid with the referee is one of the easiest gigs in football. You basically run around like a lunatic, get stuck in a bit and let the ref absorb the blame for anything that goes wrong. Whatever happens you can say you did your best. That is not what happened today. Instead we completely went into our shells. We must have gone about 25 mintues without putting in a tackle, let alone conceding a foul. It was woeful frankly and in the run up to half-time there was a genuine danger that Mike Dean might be overtaken in the villain stakes.

When we went down to ten men it was an unheralded disaster frankly. It was one of those (relatively few) occasions where I wanted Arsene to do some Mourinho style major surgery. Firstly, it was abundantly clear we’d be better served by Olivier Giroud up front rather than Theo Walcott. With ten men you need someone who can have balls fired at him and can either hold them up or lay them off. Giroud was always going to be a better option but Theo frankly made extra sure of that with a right stinker of a performance. I don’t know if you get it on TV, but the man appears allergic to closing people down. Yes, I know a cheetah can’t sustain cheetah speed for 90 minutes non-stop but the guy was just standing there, marking non-descript pieces of grass out the game but not doing a hell of a lot else when City had the ball. The other major problem to my mind was Diaby. It became very obvious very quickly that he wasn’t ready. It either works with him or it doesn’t and it wasn’t. Radical as it may have been, I’d have hooked Diaby and either Walcott, Podolski or the ineffective Cazorla in the first half and brought on Giroud and Ramsey.

Was also hardly a ringing vote of confidence in Coquelin or Ramsey from the manager frankly.

You just knew we’d come out better after the break and so you wondered why someone couldn’t just identify the very obvious point that we weren’t getting in their faces during the malaise of the first half. Weird.

We did ourselves justice. It wasn’t brilliant but we hassled, harried and at least eventually created a couple of good chances of our own.

Wilshere was excellent and did provide the leadership we lacked for quite a while. The defence still can’t defend coherently, Cazorla was quiet when we needed him and lucky not to be hooked instead of the more industrious Podolski. Giroud got stuck into them and Ramsey may not be technically as good as other players but his pass for Walcott was an example of how he can force the play. Theo, as I’ve said, was absolutely atrocious from start to finish. In a sane world he’d be begging us to give him any kind of contract.

Yes, of course, Premier League tickets are massively overpriced. But no, Manchester City returning 900 tickets to Arsenal is not, I would kindly suggest, a watershed moment. In all likelihood it is the product of a game being wrongly categorised as an A game. From an Arsenal fans perspective, Champions they may be, but “you must see this team once in your lifetime” champions they are not. And from the perspective of both sets of fans, Arsenal v Man City is a fixture devoid of any great historical or geographical relevance. It should also be noted that recent games at the Emirates between the two have largely been a pile of stinking turd, principally due to extreme negativity from the visitors. And finally, hard as it may be to believe, there was a time when Arsenal routinely failed to sell-out.

The reality is there are probably three category A games each season: United, Spurs and probably Chelsea. The others are all much of a muchness.

15 Responses to “Clearly a foul – but a better chance than the one they got instead? I’m not sure.”

  1. Danish Gooner says:

    We wouldnt have won this game 12 against 11,they were never at the races looked timid,clueless and lacked any fighting spirit,they are so badly coached it is beyond salvation.

  2. TC says:

    Returned 900 tickets is nearly a 1000 and they had 3000 tickets – there was nowhere near 1/3 empty – in fact I would say from my viewpoint some 30 or 40 seats spare.

    All a load of lies leading to zillions of words over nothing.

    As per usual AW cannot change strategy or apply a different scheme – maybe except for the last 5 minutes. We are a team in decline and the slope appears to be getting steeper by the week.

  3. scott says:

    You might think I’m mad but yes it was a foul but it should never been a penalty nor a red card. Mike Dean clearly waited to see if there was advantage. Sorry but Tevez with free header six yards out with only the keeper to beat if thats not advantage I don’t know what is. The whistle didn’t blow until the ball went out he should have blown instantly. Plus in that passage of play Man City were not denied a clear attempt on goal because they had one.

  4. Elvis says:

    At no point in this match did Arsenal look like being City’s equal, or even scoring a goal. As Danish said, even if we had a man advantage it would have been no different. Men against boys.

    Another barren season awaits – we all knew it would be back in August. Van Persie was right to leave citing his lack of confidence in the club’s plans for success. That hurts.

    What hurts more though is that for 7 seasons now we have helplessly watched the team decline year on year and failed to address it with signings anywhere near the level of players leaving to our competitors.

  5. slc gunner says:

    Scott’s point is interesting, but I think on balance that the ref’s decision was correct. I think Dzeko’s chance would have been better. I think he got most decisions right. The only bad decision worked out in our favour with Kompany being incorrectly sent off. He did show studs, but he wasn’t high or two-footed. My initial reaction was that Jack was going to get a 2nd yellow (replays show he didn’t commit a foul either).
    As to the game, our centre halves continue to make individual errors. You could argue that Per should have started, but he was poor against Swansea. TV5 was poor on the 1st goal. In short, they have all made mistakes and while they can look great at times, they need to do it for 90 minutes.
    Jack was brilliant, his energy is outstanding. He seems to be gaining consistency now, so that was the one bright spot. Although I agree that the decision to start Diaby was odd, I didn’t think he was that bad. he certainly wasn’t great, but neither were many others. Theo does appear lazy when watching on tv. A few lung-bursting chases after the City defenders would have at least showed that he was interested. Overall, I think he is better on the right in a front 3, and if we went 4-4-2, he could certainly be the runner off Giroud.
    Cazorla didn’t really show much fight, he hasn’t done a lot lately (apart from his hatrick). He has played on the right before, I think that’s where he started his career and he’s often played there when coming on for Spain. I’m tired of players (Walcott, Cazorla) not being willing to play wide when required.

  6. West Upper says:

    I was there – it looked very ominous after 10 minutes and then the sending off happened. I didn’t get a good view of of it but but the reports say it was justified so fair enough.

    What was painfully obvious at that point was that Diaby was nowhere near ready for the first team – he was completely off the pace and to all of us he was the obvious one to get off for Per.

    But of course AKB and as usual he pulled off the most junior member of the team despite the Ox starting off well.

    Even if Diaby had been playing well he would have been an obvious candiate for the forced substitution as given so little game time he was always going to come off mid 2nd half as happened.

    So Wenger wasted a precious substitution – there is no doubt chief among his many failings is depressing lack of tactical nous during games.

    Walcott also stunk the place out and when Giroud was introduced the positive impact was clear. I really hope Walcotte doesn’t sign – if he is the striking future of The Arsenal God help us.

    Positives? Jack was immense and the back 4 were pretty decent in the 2nd half.

    The Pole’s kicking was terrible but it didn’t get us into trouble fortunately.

    I’m sure the sending off didn’t change the result.

    We desperately need some quality reinforcements in January but it won’t happen. Hopefully failure this season will precipitate a change of manager which is even more deperately needed.

  7. skillz says:

    i dont know what AW is playing at…i dont like the way he sounds sometimes..aloof and confrotational….this club is on its knees and yet he acts like we all are alarmists…i hate to say this but if the red card incident didnt happen we may well have still lost..working the ball to the flanks and making hopeful crosses to the “giant” frontman THEO is a lousy attack strategy…lack of guile and creativity in the middle of the park means at best we are ponderous going forward…top 4? now i even wish we kept benayoun

  8. ChicagoGooner says:

    Walcott is a waste of space right now. His goals at Newcastle were nice to see, however, he should have had five instead of three against a woeful side. Sunday was evidence that he can’t play up top alone, with 11 players or 10 players. Once they went down to 10 players, it was in truth nine players because Walcott did nothing.
    RVP was probably right to leave the club, however, put him in this squad with Wilshere playing very well, and Cazorla in the beginning of the season and he would have equal if not more goals than he has now. It is a shame, but that is the way of the sword at Arsenal right now.
    I really can’t say enough about Wilshere, he drove the team in the second half, the rest of the team better take notice, he is the heart and soul of the gunners now, I hope the rest of the team will step it up. The league is lost, but fourth place is not.

  9. PD says:

    ChicagoGooner, I really hope you’re not suggesting that yesterday’s result made you realise the league was gone ??? It reads a little bit like that. The league was lost in August when the transfer window closed let’s be real.

    Not a lot to say about yesterday. Everton, the Totts & Liverpool all dropped points at the weekend so not a total disaster. There’s still a decent chance we’ll get 4th….but only if we buy. As it stands this squad will not get us 4th. First time in the Wenger era I’ve looked at the Totts & thought their squad is better than ours. Scary. I’ve thought Arsene’s time was gone for the last 18 months but if we go into February without additions he’ll actually have become a laughing stock which would be desperately, horribly sad. This squad is focused (more than any other team he’s had !!), have outstanding quality & have ‘great mental strength’ & yet we’ve won 9 (NINE !!) games out of 21 in the league. Really Arsene ??? Wake up man. This squad is simply not good enough. Not even close to it.

    Massive, massive couple of weeks. Perversely, could Arteta’s injury save our season if it jolts the manager into action ??

    Lastly, I have to comment on Koscielny. I’ve long been in the minority regarding him. It’s hard to dislike him given his commitment & willingness to put his body on the line but……..almost every single game he gives away a penalty, an open goal or commits a howler (at least one) to give the oppo a good chance. As a centre-half your job is stop the oppo scoring. i.e. he’s just not very good at his job.

  10. PD says:

    Have to add to the chorus of support for Jack. The most talented player in the squad & yet the one who continually shows the most desire. Surely his teammates are embarrassed watching him ?? I would be.

  11. melcfromfinsburypark says:

    Goodplaya, you are pretty much spot on in your analysis.

    For weeks I’ve been waiting for Stoke to have a defender sent off for a rugby tackle in their own box as watching them get away with murder game after game is way beyond irritating. So, to be reduced to 10 men for such a moment of idiocy was a very sick joke indeed although standing 30 yards away from the incident we were absolutely baffled by what he had done to deserve his card. Seeing the replay last night it became clear that it was probably deserved if only for the stupidity of the act itself. Such rank amateurism is now an everyday occurance for this team though.

    The question that keeps tormenting me, week after week, is, how long are we going to have to relive this hideous groundhog day? For 5 years now we have bemoaned defensive shoddiness, we have groaned every time a transfer window closes knowing that we needed to have bought at least 2 more quality players, we have choked on the patronising season ticket renewal reminder.

    I for one don’t profess to know exactly why none of these issues is ever successfully addressed but, God, it is so frustrating to see them keep happening.

    As for the Shitty fans having a couple of hundred unsold seats it looked as if their contingent was one tiny segment of seats less than the max for away teams. The media focus on ticket prices is a good thing but until the ground begins to have acres of empty seats for every home game rather than the current 3 or 4 thousand norm, Kroenke will continue to milk his cow. Money is the language he knows, nothing else.

    Thank God for Jack, head and shoulders above the reast of the team yesterday.

  12. fcArsenal says:

    Nobody really talks bout the fact Coquelin should have started!

  13. BarbadosGrey&Overcast says:


    Is the season over yet?

    Let me know when i can take my head out of the sand.

    God i miss that winning feeling, when i could go to work with my head held high.

    Once recall not so long ago singing “You’ve only come to see the Arsenal”

    F**k is going on over there,

  14. Wallace says:

    according to reports QPR have just bought Remy & M’Vila for a combined £15m. i’m not sure about Remy – although i’d take him over Gervinho – but at £7.5m how much of a gamble would M’Vila be? i guess i’m a gullible sonofabitch, but i was utterly convinced Wenger would act quickly in this January window. there’s no way we’re beating Chelsea this weekend, and i’m half hoping Swansea knock us out tomorrow night.

  15. PD says:

    I wish it was Barbados, I really do !!!

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