Wednesday, 29 September 2010
The midfield appeared much improved on Saturday. Certainly Denilson and Wilshere added some cunning and discipline, while having fully fit players would have made a big difference too. Wilshere and Arshavin were at the heart of much of our good work in the first half, indeed Wilshere's majestic control and back heel set up the little Russian for a very neat first goal. We were unlucky not to add to it, then our nerves jangled when the score became 1-1, Denilson tried to chest it, hand balled it rather inadvertently but it's hard to argue against the penalty decision when he was so far from the ball when it was crossed.
We showed guts to stay strong and come through worthy winners. Although Arshavin missed the penalty after Partizan had been reduced to ten men, he had a good game, Chamakh was at his predatory best when nodding the rebound for 2-1, then Squillaci scored his first for the club to make it 3-1. Although Partizan missed a penalty, saved by the strangely solid Fabianski, the game was ours by then, Gibbs was unlucky to concede the spot kick, the Partizan player ran into him and was not going in the line of the ball, a cunningly won penalty in my eyes. Fabianski has a lot to prove and I will be happy to hold my hands up if he can prove to be a consistently solid performer for us, last night was a good first step on a long road to recovery.
Sunday is the big proper test. The boss also has some big decisions to make. Gibbs should get the nod at left back, the centre back pairing will probably be the two frenchmen, while Denilson and Wilshere should not be left out of the midfield. Chelsea on Sunday are a litmus test for our season.
Sunday, 26 September 2010
Goalkeeping: There is no doubt this has been woefully managed. Almunia makes an easy scapegoat for yesterday's defeat but this is not only shortsighted but also foolish. Almunia had a solid first half, he was left terribly exposed for the penalty. The second goal was a howler, the third saw him left completely exposed but his decision making that time was poor. Personally I feel sorry for Almunia, he will only play worse if we turn on him and it is not his fault that he has not been replaced by a better goalkeeper, it is the manager's fault.
Full backs: Both full backs were caught out on numerous occasions yesterday. Sagna has been pretty solid in recent weeks, Clichy has not. In my eyes Clichy has not progressed in the last few years as he should have, he makes too many mistakes, is positionally weak and defensively mediocre. Time is running out for Clichy, it is only a matter of time before Gibbs becomes our no1 left back if he can stay clear of injury.
Centre backs: Vermaelen is out, leaving a pair of centre backs to play together for the first time in Squillaci and Koscielny. It has been very hard for them with a goalkeeper dropping clangers, fullbacks not helping out and a midfield giving them very little protection.
Midfield: The balance of our squad is all wrong and has been for ages. Fortunately the graft of Wilshere has papered over the cracks at times. Eboue is no midfielder, Diaby didn't look fit and seems to lack discipline, while Song needs play with more discipline. The midfield was a disaster waiting to happen yesterday. Leaving both Denilson and Wilshere on the bench was a strange decisions.
4-3-3: A brilliant formation when your team is on top and has a lot of ball, however when you lack width and structure in the eleven it can be a totally disorganised shambles. We didn't have enough width yesterday, while the midfield three were all over the place, this left West Brom able to command the game for long periods.
Arshavin the enigma: The Russian is so frustrating at times, he can be sensational when on form but a complete liability when not. He does so little tracking back that we were awfully exposed as a result down our left side. The erratic Russian confuses me, do his positives outweigh his negatives, I am not quite sure.
Chamakh: He has been terrific so far given that he has never played in England, is playing in a new team and has led the line on his own in almost every single game so far this season. He deserves some slack.
The fringe: The young players have largely done very well when coming in this season. Wilshere has been a revelation, Lansbury has shown he has the right attitude, Gibbs has got the talent. Carlos Vela is a player who adds very little to the squad for me, he rarely threatens in a tight game, is too lightweight for the striker role and does not seem dedicated enough. Is it now time to give the likes of Wilshere, Lansbury, Gibbs and Szczesny more and more games ahead of the likes of Clichy, Diaby and Fabianski?
Injuries: There is no doubt that the return of the likes of RVP, Bendtner, Vermaelen, Cesc, Walcott and Gibbs can have a massive effect.
Overall I don't think there's any doubt that we have a very fine squad, the manager also appears to have added to it wisely in terms of centre backs and Chamakh. The problem is that we still have no solid no1 goalkeeper and our squad looks a bit short in terms of midfield bite. I think we are carrying one or two players in their mid twenties who do not have the ability or hunger required to win Arsenal the title, this is a very big season for a few of these players and I hope that if they do not deliver then they will be shown the door.
Saturday, 25 September 2010
I think Arsene got the starting midfield wrong. The middle trio of the unfit Diaby, Song and Eboue just doesn't have the right balance for me, there is no real creative play maker, Diaby has only just recovered fitness and Eboue never looks as good in midfield as he does at right back.
Firstly credit to West Brom and ex-Gunner Jerome Thomas, they deserved the win, they missed a penalty in the first half and we struggled to create much for long long periods in the game. There isn't too much problem with struggling to create much if you can keep things tight at the back, but tight at the back we were not, one could have navigated a ferry through some of the gaps there at times. We simply cannot expect to win a thing defending like such complete and utter numpties.
Almunia was awful, arguably to blame for two of the goals. The full backs defended poorly, Clichy has been defensively poor for too long now, while Sagna made several uncharacteristic errors. Song didn't play with enough discipline, Diaby didn't look fit and Eboue is not midfielder. It all combined to rather devastating effect. On the positive Nasri was outstanding, best player on the pitch by a country mile.
Sometimes one can concede three thanks to freakish bad luck, sometimes it is down to the brilliance of the opposition, today it was down to neither of these reasons, we simply weren't at the races and we defended appallingly. This is deeply concerning. There is something badly wrong at the club when our most promising keeper is at no4 in the pecking order with a contract that only has months to run, I would be tempted to stick Wojciech Szczesny in the mix now, but I suspect our hapless Pole will get yet another opportunity to perform bloopers. If Kieran Gibbs can get fit and stay fit then the left back slot is his, Gael Clichy has run out of chances. Hopefully the likes of Lansbury, JET, Szczesny will get some chances if the likes of Eboue, Vela and Diaby continue to underperform.
The manager must take a good chunk of the blame for this defeat in my opinion, he freely admitted how flat and lacking sharpness we were after the match. Arsene selected that dysfunctional midfield and he has completely mismanaged the goalkeeping situation at the club. It is not Almunia's fault that he is not good enough, he does his best, Arsene has undermined his already fragile confidence and failed to bring in an experienced no1 keeper; it does not help anyone other than the opposition to boo our own goalkeeper, those Gooners who did today are idiots. Chelsea will dismantle us next weekend if we defend like this again, the players need to take a long hard look at themselves after such a lacklustre display, it was simply no way near good enough.
"It was strange, it just shows you what happens in football. We can all remember when Arsène first came to England [in 1996 to manage Arsenal] – I remember reading articles saying he was like a professor watching the game and all the other nutters were jumping up and down, shouting and screaming. And that he wasn't like these idiots, that he's studying every move that's going on on the pitch like chess...[In 2003-04] they never lost a game all season so it was OK. I could've sat there with a cigar. But suddenly when you start losing a few games it all changes, doesn't it? Now he's joined the nutters. In fact he's one of the key nutters."
He then went on to describe Arsene as a gentleman and made it very clear that he had no problem whatsoever with Arsene as a person. It appears to be that Harry Redknapp has made a pretty valid point rather politely and that nothing offensive has been said at all, he is just getting across just how involved in things Arsene now is.
Sky have spun this into a headline of "Redknapp: 'Wenger's now a nutter' ", Teamtalk have just called Wenger 'nutty', while the Daily Star say 'Wenger is F***ing nuts!"; so numerous journalists have tried to spin this into a sensational headline that completely misrepresents what Redknapp actually said. So many of these kind of stories are whipped out of context, this then leads to more irrational hatred when there simply is no need for it. The newspapers are making money by pretending reality is far more exciting than it really is, most managers actually get on pretty well with each other.
Seeing as I've been led onto the topic of 'nutters'. Of all the managers in the Premiership there is one who is clearly far more stupid and deluded than all the others and he is Sam 'fat Sam' Allardyce. These quotes show what an absolute fool the man is, it is truly rare to find such delusion displayed so overtly:
"I would be more suited to Inter Milan or Real Madrid....It wouldn't be a problem for me to manage those clubs because I would win the double or the league every time......Give me Manchester United or Chelsea and I would do the same, it wouldn't be a problem.....It's not a problem to take me into the higher reaches of the Champions League or Premier League and would make my job a lot easier in winning it."
Just remember this is the man who couldn't hack it at Newcastle United, yet now he thinks he could easily cope with the biggest jobs in football and win the league every time. If you fancy a little chortle about fat Sam then have a listen to this piece by Alan Davies, rather amusing.
Friday, 24 September 2010
There has been a fair bit of banter about our Poles between the sticks. I know it's harsh to criticise Arsene after a 4-1 win away at the lane, but his faith in Fabianski does appear to be rather misplaced. Fabianski is a great keeper if one ignores his regular costly errors but that's the point really, how long must we watch him palm the ball into the net before he is sent packing? Arsene should have played Wojciech Szczesny in my opinion, he is the best of our backup crop and deserved the chance to impress. I can feel his frustration and he has a right to speak out in my eyes. Szczesny should be our no2 and if we lose him because of all this I will be extremely angry.
Finally the club's finances are looking rather peachy indeed, the money is pouring in, the debt is falling away nicely and the profits are flowing, all this when the financial climate is not at its warmest. One certainly cannot grumble at this figures:
Thursday, 23 September 2010
Having entered into a dialogue with the FA it does appear that they are squirming and not answering some rather straightforward questions. They claim that FIFA's laws of the game prevents them from reviewing incidents that have been seen by referees. This FIFA guidance is not easy to find, in fact I suspect there is no such guidance as the FA are currently refusing to say exactly where it has come from. Both the FA and UEFA have ignored 'this guidance' in the past when they saw fit, while large retrospective bans have been used for bad tackles in several other European countries with this being a very recent salient case. In fact even the FA have admitted they can use video evidence to change decisions when the error is 'obvious or serious'.
Take the shocking potentially leg breaking tackle on Dembele this week by Andy Wilkinson, this was a great example, very similar to the appalling Paul Robinson tackle on Diaby. Wilkinson flew into this tackle with his studs up and a straight leg, he also put a lot of force into it. For some reason the referee only gave Wilkinson a yellow card, both an obvious and serious error, much like the Robinson tackle. Both Robinson and Wilkinson should be facing at least three match bans, if not six. The typical defences come out, such as there was no 'malice', this is irrelevant, any player making a tackle that reckless needs the book throwing at them. Arsene has spoken out very recently again on this:
Arsene is right in some ways but he is wrong in that the FA can do something about it. The rules do not prevent them from reviewing serious or obvious errors and then changing the referee's decision. The FA have changed a decision in the past (Ben Thatcher 2006), while UEFA have charged a player for an incident that was definitely seen by the referee (Eduardo). The FA's reason for Thatcher being an exception to the rule is extremely weak:
I interpret all of this as meaning that the FA could easily act to stamp out violence if the will was there, but the will simply isn't there, they are dishonestly pretending their hands are tied when they simply are not. The FA could easily highlight Robinson and Wilkinson's violent tackles as extreme cases of serious foul play, deserving of longer than average bans, even by their own logic they could then change the referee's decisions. They simply don't want to. The FA for whatever reason are allowing players to get away with the most reckless violence and in so doing, they are allowing violence to flourish.
Wednesday, 22 September 2010
Obviously he fractured his first metatarsal last season, which then didn't heal, this meant he had to have it fixed and bone grafted. The concern would be that he has re fractured the same metatarsal that he broke last season and that would be an absolute disaster, he would be out for many months. The lad really has had terrible luck. My fingers are firmly crossed.
I see old cheeky turnip faced 'Arry has accused Samir Nasri of diving to win the first penatly last night "Really, I think he dived for it " Bassong clear put an arm across Nasri, the contact was deliberate and definitely enough to slow him up so that he couldn't get to the ball. This makes it a penalty in my book. Bassong had no need to put the arm across him, it was cynical and stupid.
I wonder why Redknapp (and Ferguson at the weekend) are allowed to state that they think opposition players cheated quite directly and therefore imply that they are cheats; however when Arsene did the same regarding RVN he was charged and fined by the FA. Interestingly in Wenger's case he did not directly call RVN a cheat, even though he clearly cheated, he just hinted at it. Again the FA's silence and inconsistent approach to discipline shows them to be either a spineless organisation that simply reacts to the media or a corrupt organisation.
Tuesday, 21 September 2010
One man who didn't leave the stands early was that man Arsene Wenger and how he must have loved what he saw. Both sides had rather similar strength sides, although I am sure that the media will try to brush this defeat under the Spuds' carpet by claiming that the Arsenal side was much more of a first choice side.
The Spuds need to remember their place, this season we've already heard some ridiculous arrogance from Defoe and Redknapp. They would do better to play themselves down, rather than bigging themselves up, only to be knocked down to earth with a rather large bang. In fact the Spuds were quite lucky that both their centre backs remained on the field after clear last man fouls for the penalties.
The great thing for me about this Arsenal side was the fact there was an excellent core of genuine home grown talent within. Wilshere, Gibbs and Lansbury were all key in this win. That was great to see. We should not get carried away though, we've only beaten Tottenham.
Monday, 20 September 2010
Watching the highlights of all the weekend's Premiership games I was struck at some of the appalling refereeing decisions. The worst of the lot was Marriner's decision to show Fellaini just a yellow card for a vicious swing of the elbow at an opponent's head, obviously the FA's useless disciplinary system mean that Fellaini will get away with this assault as the referee is deemed to have 'dealt' with the incident, even if this has been done completely incompetently. It wouldn't happen in any other walk of life, it really wouldn't. The deliberate foul by Diouf on Schwarzer for Blackburn's goal was also an awful error, a trickier one for the referee, but yet another great example of why video technology must come into the game. As things stand the FA seem more concerned with preventing Arsene Wenger from politely mocking the incompetence of their small minded officials, shame on them.
Come on you Gunners, as it's the spuds, come on you Gunners!
So as expected the FA have charged Arsene Wenger after the media's massive over reaction to some very very mild behaviour on Saturday. In fact the FA charge relates to what happened right at the end of the game:
"Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been charged with using insulting and/or abusive language and behaviour amounting to improper conduct. The charges relate to Wenger’s conduct towards match officials at the conclusion of Arsenal’s match against Sunderland on 18 September."
The good: foul on Clichy 8mins, Wilshere deserved his yellow card 22 mins, Bent penalty decision 27mins, correct free kick foul by Koscielny, a free kick for Arsenal!!!!! 44 mins as Sunderland player climbs all over Song, yellow for Wellbeck 47mins for a nasty lunge on Sagna, got the penalty decision on Nasri right, Malbranque correctly carded 84mins.
The bad: Clear penalty for Ferdinand hand ball 20mins, he moves his hands horizantally to his side to block the cross, clear deliberate hand ball and ref perfectly positioned, poor late lunge on Wilshere missed 50mins, Bramble not booked for a late lunge on Wilshere 58mins, harsh,Sunderland booking for a tug on Chamakh 63mins, clear Sunderland hand ball missed 67mins, no foul given for Malbranque for clear yellow card cynical foul, clear booking for Zenden not given.
The soft: soft free kick for Chamakh 'foul' at 1min, soft free kick for 'foul' on Wellbeck 2mins, soft free kick for Arshavin tackle 10mins, soft free kick for non existent Wilshere foul 16mins, another soft free kick in centre circle 20mins, soft free kick 21mins for Clichy 'foul'.
The Song decisions - Dowd got the first booking incident all wrong, the initial foul was on Song as he was rugby tackled down, but Song was lucky not to have already been booked for a trip on Malbranque. The second booking was fair enough, Malbranque played for it to a degree, but Song should have known better, it was indiscipline on his part.
The thing that stands out is the complete lack of consistency shown by Dowd in the first half, everything went the home side's way. This virtually never happens at the Emirates, even when we have way more possession that Sunderland had on Saturday. Overall though Dowd wasn't awful, he was actually pretty decent in the second half. It is tempting to blame Dowd, but in reality unfair.
Defensive midfield - with Song sent off and Diaby injured, it was pretty much left to Wilshere to hoover things up in front the back four, although Rosicky did work very hard to contribute. Denilson had a pretty decent game when he came on, apart from some poor defensive headers, he made some good tackles and was useful. We coped excellently with ten men, Rosicky and Nasri were combining well, Chamakh was well supported too.
Better team with 10 men - We dominated the second half and were by far the better team with only ten men, our failure was converting this domination into goals.
The defense - Free header Onouha 15mins from corner, some excellent work from Almunia in dealing with crosses, Koscielny looked very sharp and solid, he read the game expertly and intercepted excellently throughout. Squillaci struggled at times to deal with Bent's movement and pace, there were several lapses from Gael Clichy. Overall Sunderland created little and we defender well.
The Sunderland goal - I have already commented on this. Our shape was all wrong when Zenden played the ball in, Clichy's clearance was poor, the rest bad luck. The fact that it came after more than four minutes of injury time was controversial to say the least, surely it is time for the referee's clock to be seen by the public so that there is no doubt as to the amount of time that is coming up?
Overall we deserved a win, despite playing the majority of the second half with ten men we were by far the better side, it was just that loss of defensive shape and Clichy's poor clearance that cost us in the end. As part of a greater trend I do not think that Clichy has been good enough defensively for quite a while now, he is weak aerially, he is not strong enough in the tackle, he makes too many errors. Gibbs deserves a chance to unseat him now. The criticism of Denilson now is harsh given that he played so well as a sub.
I don't blame Rosicky for missing the spot kick, those who didn't have the balls to take it deserve more criticism. It was just one of those rather unfortunate days, we need to move onto the Mickey Mouse cup against the Spuds, we will have nothing to lose as I'm sure we'll play a mixture of youth and experience, let's just hope we can put in a good display tomorrow. Come on you Gunners!
Sunday, 19 September 2010
Despite the sloppy late goal Sunderland were restricted to very few decent openings, generally we defended reasonably. The equalising goal was sloppy and this makes things even more annoying. Sagna appeared to be way out of position, the back four were not in the right shape as that high ball came in, our defensive unit was not organised at that point.
Neither Kosielny nor Clichy attacked the first ball, it was won too easily by Sunderland, two Sunderland players were then left to Squillaci where I thought Sagna should have been and It broke and Clichy mishit his clearance, an unfortunate ricochet of Koscielny then presented Bent with the goal. None of the midfielders were in there helping out or challenging at any point.
The goal was a mixture of luck, bad defending and bad defending. Song should have known better than to pick up two such stupid yellow cards, Dowd's rank inconsistency in punishing foul play compounded this decision. Rosicky's penalty miss was salt in the wound, but even the greatest miss penalties.
Irrelevant of this game I think Clichy's defensive form has been too erratic in the last couple of years, now is the time for Gibbs to be give a chance to displace him. Gibbs has the potential to be a better defender, his is tougher, more robust in the tackle and stronger aerially.
We should not get carried away in optimism or pessimism after such a draw. Our defense is bound to be dodgy at times when the back four have hardly played together before. This was evident with the goal, but also the lack of help from the midfield also stood out. If Song and Diaby had been on the field then would the first ball have been left unchallenged. There were positives, Almunia was strong, there were the negatives too. Still, all this talk hasn't made me feel any less like attacking the wall with my forehead!
Saturday, 18 September 2010
Still Dowd was awful, soft free kicks for Sunderland time in time out without any reciprocation. The added time and the harsh yellows. Still, we shouldn't have given him the chance to wreck our day. Is now the time for Gibbs to force his way into the side I wonder?
Apologies for the short nature of the post, work sees me rather busy this weekend unfortunately.
Thursday, 16 September 2010
It's always tempting to react to Sam Allardyce's comments with aggression, anger and vitriol. However there's simply no point in getting angry, it's far more amusing to actually analyse the content of this fat walrus' words and systematically show that they are the bitter ravings of a very sad, paranoid and unpleasant individual. Sam seems to have a whole deep fat fryer full of chips on his shoulder:
Arsene is either extremely clever and cynical with his comments, or he is just stating a few simple observations and the paranoid Sam is reading far too much into things. What is Arsene supposed to do when directly asked about a specific game by journalists? Arsene is perfectly entitled to his opinion and pointing out some clear fouls on another team's goalkeeper is a far throw from trying to influence referees. Sam then goes on to make some comments about tackling that demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of the rules of the game:
Despite what certain negative people in the media may say, you can only beat who is in front of you and Arsenal did that in the most comprehensive of manners last night. Braga were completely annihilated, Cesc had all the time in the world and orchestrated their demolition in the most brilliant of manners. The midfield battle was easily won, Braga were easily dispossessed time and time again and then they found it rather tricky to get the ball back, until it returned to the centre circle after a goal that was!
Cesc's professionalism was shown at the end by his disappointment that we didn't pulverise toe Portugese a bit more brutally and that he hadn't completed his first hat-trick as a professional. He was full of praise for Jack Wilshere who slotted into the side as if he had been there for years.
There wasn't a bad performance from an Arsenal player, although Arshavin was erratic, a lot of what he touched turned to gold. The defence was solid, Squillaci and Koscielny were very good given they have hardly known each other for five minutes. The stand out players for me were Jack and Cesc, instrumental in everything we did, they both share a delightful sixth footballing sense, their anticipation and movement was fantastic, simply too much for Braga to contain.
There will be bigger tests for sure, I do acknowledge that some of what the negative media say does hold water, our season's success will be decided by tougher games than this. Still, why not enjoy the moment and the football? It is amusing that suddenly Braga are useless and Werder Bremen are world beaters, is someone trying to level the playing field somewhat? Certainly we did all we could and the signs are encouraging, still we should keep our feet on the ground and as Cesc said, we need to learn how to concentrate for the full duration as better sides may well take advantage of any slack that they are handed.
As has been remarked upon elsewhere, there were some interesting points made in the match program notes by both Cesc and Arsene. I have heard a lot of weak, illogical and incoherent arguments that have tried to back up the FA's stance in recent days, and none of it has done anything to convince me that there is not a big problem in the way in which these kind of violent tackles can slip through the disciplinary net. John Cross covers Arsene's comments on this in expert fashion and highlights the way in which he is often unfairly pained by certain hacks.
The FA are certainly not helped by the backwards cretins at FIFA who seem to want to keep football firmly rooted in the 18th century. However retrospective punishment has been dished out in the past by both the FA (Ben Thatcher 2006) and UEFA (Eduardo charge) for incidents which were seen by the referee. The precedent has been set and Paul Robinson should be charged, if the structures genuinely prevent the FA doing this then they should be doing something to change the structures. It's that simple. Keeping everything the way it is for the sake of it is simply not healthy, some people may wish that women were still chained to the sink and witches still burnt at the stake, but progress does require that the old and failing be replaced with the new and effective from time to time.
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
One doesn't have to look far on the Internet to find countless examples of problems with the FA's useless disciplinary system. High profile examples include Gerrard's missed elbow (Stuart Attwell again!), Mascherano's missed elbow, the RVP and Adebayor exchanges, the Ashley Cole tackle on Alan Hutton, RVN's punching of Freddie Ljungberg and on and on ad infinitum. It has been clear that their disciplinary system has been failing for years.
The fact that the most violent conduct on the field is being dealt with in such an incoherent, inconsistent and frankly haphazard way is not only unfair but it puts players at a greater risk of sustaining serious injuries, as violent play is slipping through the FA's net time and time and time again. The FA's logic to justify the fact that no retrospective charge has been administered is that the 'referee saw and dealt with the incident at the time'. The FA claim that they cannot ever re-referee matches:
However they have not always done this, for example they set a precedent in 2006 by upgrading a booking and suspending Ben Thatcher following his challenge on Pedro Mendes in a game between Manchester City and Portsmouth in August 2006. The justification of this was particularly woolly:
Under Fifa regulations, a decision taken by a referee can only be rectified by a disciplinary committee if the referee sends off the wrong player, or makes an obvious and serious error. Failing to send off someone for a leg breaking tackle or a deliberate elbow to the head would seem like both obvious and serious errors to me, thus surely referees could be rectified in these cases? UEFA have also charged players in the past for incidents that were seen by the referee.
To me it is clear that the FA have the power to charge whoever they want retrospectively, it is quit clear because they have done it in the past, they have set the precedent. This even applies if the referee saw the incident and punished it at the time. However sometimes they claim they cannot do this because they are hamstrung by the rules, this is untrue, if they want to they can, it just comes down to a subjective judgement. Where there's a will there's a way and it's abundantly clear to me that the FA do not have the will to stamp out the most violent and reckless play from the game, and that is not only sad, it is an utter disgrace.
Paul Robinson's tackle and Steven Gerrard's elbow were both serious and obvious refereeing errors from Stuart Attwell. The fact that they have both been let slide speaks volume about the FA's lack of desire to stamp out violent play, they could easily charge these players if they so wished. It is time football got with the times and introduced video technology to assist referees, the idea of a rugby style citing system after games would also have the potential to cut down violence in the game massively. Diaby was maimed by Dan Smith and the FA did nothing, Diaby has now been assaulted by Paul Robinson and the FA are doing nothing again, how many more violent acts must we see go unpunished?
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
A lot of stupid stuff has been said since the Bolton game. The familiar 'it's a man's game' and 'you can't make a tackle any more' have been repeated ad infinitum by those with the coherence of mad man's fruitcake. There are rules of the game that make it very clear that tackling should not endanger the opponent, both Cahill's and Robinson's tackles clearly overstepped that mark. Quite rightly and contrary to what several Bolton fans expected Gary Cahill has had his ban upheld by the FA, in fact he is quite lucky it hasn't been extended by another game. Still there has been the odd Bolton fan who thinks that Coyle deliberately appealed to get Cahill the extra match ban as he reckons he's sh*te, you've got to respect that kind of insight.
Braga, also known as the Arsenalistas due to their red and white colours, are no mugs, getting past Sevilla is no mean feat, even though they were without the mighty Monsieur Squillaci! Arsene seems to think that they're well organised, very Brazilian influenced which must mean technical proficience and good on the counter attack. They also finished above Porto in the league last year, although they did lose 3-2 to Porto at the weekend. Arsene also reiterated that this is no easy group, as always winning the home games is crucial.
Arsene did also have some interesting things to say on the refereeing in Europe, how English referees act differently in European games and how much he prefers the English game to the European game. He talked of the fine balance between the over-protection of players and the overly physical, something that has been discussed much here and elsewhere in recent days. He must have been thinking of Paul Robinson when he talked the English game sometimes going too far when players go in to injure their opponents. Like Arsene I have no problem with commitment and safe firm tackles, the problem comes when tackling becomes dangerous and reckless, this is often irrelevant of the ball being won.
It's hard to disagree with him here. There are so many many ways in which Bolton didn't get the rub of the green. Firstly Bolton is the not the most scenic of locations and it's very hard to convince anyone to live there. Secondly given the style of football they play it's very frustrating for anyone who wants to touch the ball occasionally with their feet. Thirdly the Emirates pitch was far too manicured and flat, a good going over with the Bolton Wanderers FC tractor would have made for a far more even contest. Fourthly on rare occasions the referee had the cheek to try to preserve the limbs of the Arsenal players. Fifthly it was deeply unfair that the referee didn't allow the Bolton players to take weapons onto the field of play, this would have been a good way of making for a much more even contest. Coyle them commented:
Then when questioned about the injury sustained by Abou Diaby after being assaulted by Paul Robinson's jump challenge, an injury that has left him unable to train this week, Coyle said:
Seriously this blog has the utmost respect for Owen Coyle and Bolton Wanderers FC, about as much respect as they do for the opposition's tibias, in fact they are all good honest English lads (apart from that ginger keeper, Steinsson, Elmander and a few others) who would never go out to intentionally hurt an opposing player. This blog would also like to congratulate the FA on yet another glorious triumph for their disciplinary system, another blogger's video has been censored and another leg breaking tackle has gone unpunished. Hopefully today's news on Abou Diaby will not be too bad while I hope Cahill's ban is extended, however it would not surprise me if Cahill has his ban scrubbed as the FA don't care for protecting Arsenal players.