Tuesday 30 November 2010

Attacking side to face Wigan

So here is the side with RVP as captain:

Szczesny, Eboue, Koscielny, Djourou, Gibbs, Denilson, Wilshere, Walcott, Bendtner, Van Persie (c), Vela

I wouldn't be surprised if Vela is to play on the left flank, Walcott on the right, with RVP slotting in just behind Bendtner, making this formation resemble more of a 4-4-2 than a 4-5-1. There will certainly be an emphasis on Vela and Walcott tracking back, and if they don't we may well get a tad overrun in the midfield.

I am extremely pleased to see Szszesny playing, a big opportunity for the confident young Pole. Gibbs and Djourou also have a chance to push for first team slots. Of those on the bench, I hope JET gets at least twenty minutes or so, he is a really exciting talent.

Saturday 27 November 2010

Improved showing sees off Villa but doubts remain

Overall, definitely a shade or two superior to last week's showing against Tottenham. Villa were previously unbeaten at home and to bring home all three points is quite an achievement. Psychologically surrendering another decent lead would have been a hammer blow that I don't think we could have recovered from. The game wasn't safe until Wilshere headed home after an excellent dinked centre from Chamakh, 4-2 the final score, although Villa pushed hard at 3-2 we generally defended a bit better than on last Saturday.

The first half was one way traffic, although the goals came late, they did look likely, the outstanding Arshavin finding the bottom corner via Friedel's hand and then Nasri drilling in with good technique on the volley from a corner. In between those both Nasri and Chamakh were very close to adding further goals. Arshavin was looking back to his best, quick, lively and alert, everything good about the little Russian was on show today, while Nasri continued his excellent form. Two nil at half time did not flatter us.

The second half was tighter than it should have been, partly down to the gross incompetence of the officials and partly down to a second Villa goal that I feel Lucasz Fabianski should have done more to prevent. Clark hit a great shot from the edge of the box, but Carew was right in front of Fabianski and quite blatantly blocking his view, so much so that Fabianski was bending his neck to look around the left side of Carew. This meant Fabiasnki was not only unsighted but also slightly out of position, how on earth the ref Clattenberg didn't disallow this goal for a clear offside I will never know. This goal gave Villa hope. Shortly afterwards Rosicky played Chamakh clean through and he then toed the ball past Friedel, our two goal cushion was restored.

The second Villa goal came from a set piece and it is from set pieces that we looked vulnerable all day long. Dunne won the header from the corner, it looped back across the goal, it looked a ball that the keeper should have claimed in my opinion, Fabianski stayed rooted to his goal line, Clark flicked the ball in off the bar, 3-2 it was and our nerves were jangling again. In all honesty we played fairly sensibly from this point and defended pretty well, Villa created nothing clear cut from this point in. The fourth goal on the break then sealed things nicely.

Overall some very good performances and a good result, job most definitely done, but some doubts still remain. Arshavin was magnificent, hungry for blood from the off, devastating with the ball at his feet, an end product with everything he did. Nasri and Rosicky were imaginative and tidy. Chamakh was excellent, great link play and a good goal. Song was efficiently effective, Wilshere fought hard and used the ball extremely cleverly. Clichy was far more solid than I have seen him for a while, Koscielny intercepted and read the game well. The main doubt I have at the back is Fabianski's ability to deal with the high ball, mainly regarding crosses and set pieces. There's no doubt he's a great shot stopper, but can he dominate aerially? Personally I think not.

Certainly some lessons appeared to have been learnt. Song seemed to be stuck a bit deeper today, there was more discipline in his game, this does look very much like something Arsene must have done in response to out recent capitulations. Wilshere's presence definitely made a difference in the midfield, he mucks in and is never afraid to make a tackle. The forward play was generally outstanding, Villa were on the rack time and time again, the movement and pace of our passing game was simply too much for them. Arshavin was the player that we all know he can be at his best today, I hope we see this as a regular feature for the rest of the season.

Starting eleven vs Villa

So here it is: Fabianski, Sagna, Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy, Rosicky, Song, Wilshere, Nasri, Chamakh, Arshavin Subs: Szczesny, van Persie, Walcott, Denilson, Djourou, Gibbs, Bendtner

Not the eleven I would have selected but then I am not the Arsenal manager. Will we have enough width and will we be exploited in our sweet centre? I hope not and am looking forward to being proven wrong, fingers crossed.

Friday 26 November 2010

Brainstorming: should we return to 4-4-2?

I don't think there is any denying that there is something wrong with the way in which we are defending as a team. We have conceded too many sloppy goals, we let leads slip too easily and we are just a bit of a soft touch at the back. These are a few brief thoughts I have had in this regard:

Formation. The way we play with a 4-3-3 is too attacking a lot of the time. We often have five attacking players and one defensive player. The balance needs to change. I would be keen to return to a more structured 4-4-2 system.

Song. He is a very solid defender when he defends, but recently he appears to have been given a license to roam forward a bit too much. Song needs to be redeployed as a defensive sitter in front of the back four, his primary strength is his ability to shield the defence and this needs to be reinstated.

Fabianski/Clichy. The latter of these two has not been on form, many of us would like to see Kieran Gibbs given a run in the side to see if he can do better. There is no doubt that Lucasz Fabianski's form has been much improved of late, he still has a lot to prove and must show he can dominate in the air.

Defensive organisation. The first goal we conceded against Tottenham was a great example of the lack of organisation that is present at times. The fact that Squillaci/Koscielny/Song were all so far up the field that they could not help repel the attach spoke volumes. We need to be coached and organised better at the back, I do not know enough about the ins and outs of our current defensive coaching to know how this needs to change. Maybe the likes of Keown/Bould need to be involved with our defensive drilling.

Consistent centre back pairing. It is not easy for the centre backs when the pairing is different every week. We need a first choice pair and this needs to be stuck to for a period. Djourou has been on fine form of late and should not be left out in my opinion, especially given his aerial ability.

There are many other things that could be said but this is just what sprung to the surface of my mind. I would be interested to hear some more constructive comments from readers. Interestingly Aaron Ramsey has gone for a short loan spell to Forest to build up his fitness, a great idea, he wouldn't be able to do this in the Reserves.

We need to get at absolute minimum of a point at Villa this weekend, arguably all three. Cesc is hamstrung, so hopefully Nasri will play a bit deeper with Wilshere staying in the midfield with Song. Personally I would like to see a 4-4-2 system this weekend with something like this eleven, it would be great to see RVP and Chamakh together up top:

Sagna Squillaci Djourou Gibbs
Walcott Song Wilshere Nasri

Tuesday 23 November 2010

On the slide, defending to forget (again)

We had won three games out of three in the Champions League, we were playing well and one nil up at Shakhtar, let's hit the pause button there for a minute. One would have thought it would have been impossible to throw away this group, but we are pushing this assumption a little close to the wire.

I know we should have had a penalty at 0-0, it was a clear foul on Vela, what the useless cretin of a referee was doing booking Vela was beyond belief. UEFA's stupid system of extra officials does nothing to prevent errors, the officials are still crap. The referee also allowed a lot of rough stuff from Braga in the second half that should have been dealt with far more severely. But remember, Braga are no stars, they are a mid table side from Portugal.

Anyway, back the main point, since being one nil up at Shakhtar we have now conceded four rather sloppy goals from a defensive point of view. This puts the Tottenham capitulation into perspective, our defensive organisation is quite frankly pants, we are a shambles at the back and it is now getting beyond a joke.

It was nil nil before Braga scored their first, if we could have kept a clean sheet then we would now be through, we could not and things will now go down to the wire when they really need not have done. Obviously we should beat Partizan at home, I almost dare not think about a failure to do so.

What has become abundantly clear this season is that something is badly wrong with the way our team is setup to defend. I think the problem is a mixture of problems, the 4-3-3 formation does not help, the lack of discipline and defensive cover from midfield is a big problem, the defenders are also far from blameless in all this. We need to go back to basics and fast.

Monday 22 November 2010

Arsene's surrender monkeys: my dissection

Having had more time to reflect upon Saturday's events I have come up with a few points that I think are key in understanding why we threw away a comfortable two goal lead against the spuds. Firstly despite what some stupid and deluded spuds fans say, this was a game thrown away by Arsenal, Tottenham were average at best and extremely lucky to have been gifted two extremely cheap goals to level things up.

This is no one off, the parallels with the 4-4 game were all to clear as just one example. Our ability to grind out clean sheets and to hold leads has been distinctly poor for sometime. Pretending this was a fluke or an isolated event is not honest. We have conceded so many sloppy goals already this season and we have let a number of significant leads slip in recent seasons. The question is why does this happen and what can be done to rectify it?

Take Tottenham's first goal. We lost the ball high up their pitch, it shouldn't have been a dangerous situation, the ball was booted hopefully long and the following defensive play of the team was quite pathetic. It is easy to jump on bandwagons and blame individuals, this is the easy option, but it is far harder to see the reality of the bad defending which is more of a collective problem. There was no midfielder challenging for the header, so Clichy moved forward out of position and the better positioned Defoe flicked the ball on. Maybe a bad decision by Clichy but where were our midfielders and centre backs? Notably Cesc and Song were nowhere near play, Koscelielny and Squillaci were also way out of position.

The flick on was then allowed the time to bounce without a challenge, Sagna though about it but there wasn't much cover around so he eased off, Denilson was trying to keep pace with Bale but few can, Van der Vaart then played in Bale who finished expertly. The story of this goal tells a lot of the problem we have in defending as a team. It showed that we were possibly slightly naive in letting Squillaci and Song go so far forward when already 2-0 up, it showed that we have a real lack of aerial ability in our side, this is evident particularly in the midfield, Song is the only one who can win a header.

It also showed rather fundamentally that there was a lack of defensive organisation of the team, we were all over the shop in terms of numbers and shape, the manager must take a degree of responsibility for this chaotic shambles. If any individual is most to blame it is Cesc Fabregas. The free kick was never a free kick, another great dive from the spuds, but the raising of his arm was so utterly stupid and indefensible. There was no excuse for it.

Some people have put a lot of this down to our concentration, or lack of it, and a complacency of sorts. There is a small element of truth in this for me, but I should emphasise the small in this. There was no lack of effort when Tottenham scored their first, there was more a lack of defensive organisation and the correct balance in the side needed to defend a lead. Personally I agree that the problem is deep seated, but I do not think it is correct to blame the mental attitudes of individuals. The blame for this defensive problem should lie at the manager's door primarily, he has assembled this group of players and the defensive balance amongst them is simply not tight, and has not been for a long long time.

The defensive lapses are more the manager's fault in my eyes because they are a recurrent problem that is down to the imbalance of attributes in our squad. It is not the players' fault if the manager puts out a small technically adept side which doesn't have the muscle to defend a lead, it is just inevitable that this kind of side will play pretty football and let leads slip from time to time. As Martin Keown says, it was the defensive lapses which cost us and the lack of leaders in our side is part of this very same issue. Obviously the absence of the key leader at the back Mr Vermaelen has played a part, but this is but a small part of the jigsaw. We need more fighters, more talkers and more motivational personalities.

Wenger may have teared into our players and maybe this makes some of you feel better, however an element of this rage must be down to Wenger unfairly taking out some of the anger he should be directing at himself, for assembling a squad of players that play beautiful football but are defensively light on balance.

We have a goalkeeper that will never dominate aerially. We generally have only medium sized centre backs, Djourou not included, who are more proficient on the ground than in the air. The only midfielder who can defend well is Song, granted Wilshere can do his bit too, while the squad is littered with technical attacking players who are not the best defensively and are weak in the air. The balance of our squad is all wrong and this has been obvious for a fair old while, I am sure part of the problem is the newish 4-3-3 system which can see the back four left horrendously exposed if the front and midfield three are too attacking in terms of personnel, Song's drifting forward on too regular a basis does also not seem wise. Generally I don't think the main problem is individual errors, it looks much more like a collective defensive one to me. The collective lack of leaders, fighters and motivators links in with this, we need to grind out results better, fight better with our backs to the wall.

Having said that we still created enough chances on Saturday to have won the game convincingly, we played some excellent football for periods, we had far more clear cut than the spuds, there are positives as well as the obvious negatives. It must not be forgotten that our inability to defend as a team is a chronic collective problem that the manager has not done enough to fully address.

Let's not get carried away with blaming individuals or mental attitudes, after all if one fielded a team of nippy skillful dwarfs then would one question their lack of commitment when they lost a game to 99 headed goals? This problem needs addressing but it will take a decent amount of time to tinker with the squad to put things right, it will also require the sacrifice of a little of our attacking flair for a bit more defensive stability, not forgetting some better defensive coaching as well. The key question is, is the manager willing to do this in order to win some trophies? Arsene Wenger needs to be thinking along these lines otherwise future similar surrenderings are an complete and utter inevitability.

Saturday 20 November 2010

Extremely lucky spuds exploit stupid sloppiness

Sometimes one deserves one's defeats, sometimes one does not and today was most certainly one of the latter occasions. Arsenal were by far the better side, quicker and sharper in the centre of the park, opening up the opposition time and time again, but a combination of stupidity and sloppiness allowed them back into a game that they should not have been in.

It was one way traffic in the first half. Two nil flattered the spuds. Nasri with a brilliant finish having rounded Gomes, then Chamakh with a neat finish after an excellent centre from Arshavin on the left. There were some other excellent clear cut chances too, Cesc dragged a shot rather wide with the goal at his mercy, Chamakh clean through but he dawdled, allowing Kaboul the chance to intercept, there were other chances too.

Goals change games and that's precisely what Bale's opening spuds goal did, some rather poor hesitant Arsenal defending allowed the ball to bounce, something that should not happen in one's central defensive area, Van der Vaart had too much time and space, he played in Bale, who did finish magnificently well. Still, after this goal, we continued to look the better side and threaten more than the spuds, Chamakh went through again but dawdled, the chance again lost.

The second spuds goal came after a non free kick given as Song fairly eased Modric of the ball, the over exaggeration of fouls was something that Modric and Bale did all afternoon long to win some very soft free kicks. Cesc was then stupid, he raised his arm and the free kick struck it, penalty given and scored by Van der Vaart. The spuds were somehow level in a game in which they had not really taken part.

The good chances then fell on our side of the fence, Cesc forced an excellent save from Gomes, Koscielny headed over with the goal at his mercy, Walcott was wasteful with some excellent positions, Song should also have had a penalty when he was cleared barged from behind in the box. Kaboul glanced in the third for the spuds and that way it stayed despite yet more sustained pressure on their goal.

Overall a very weird north London derby game, we managed to lose despite controlling the vast majority of the game against a side that so rarely threatened our goal, it rather reminiscent of the 4-4 game when the spuds got a completely undeserved draw against the run of play. It was strange because the spuds never really made my heart pound by putting us under much pressure, they rarely looked like scoring, a funny game football can be.

Having said that despite our incisive attacking play we gifted the spuds two of their goals. The first resulted from allowing a ball to bounce in a region of the pitch where this should never happen, the second came from a moment of rank stupidity from Cesc Fabregas. It was this sloppiness and stupidity that allowed the spuds to steal there points from game in which they were blatantly second best.

We were also guilty of failing to kill the game off at 2-0, Chamakh was particularly cuplable, it almost cost us at Everton, today it has most definitely cost us the points. We simply cannot expect to win the title when gifting goals like this, we need to defend better and grind out more clean sheets. It appeared that we were turning this defensive corner, today is yet another example of this false dawn, just when we thought we were achieving some kind of consistency, our dreams are shattered. It is also so very disappointing that this happened against a spuds side that were distinctly average and second best today.

Back in the UK - spuds for lunch anyone?

I am back on English soil. I am a bit of a strange person, despite it being far colder, far greyer and far gloomier than where I have come from, it feels good to be home. And what better way than to get over one's post holiday blues than the North London Derby.

This game needs no hyping, although I'm sure the TV will do their best. The spuds will not be easy opponents, but they are also very beatable if we get things right. Their defense looks dodgy with Gallas at the centre of it, as always it will be key to keep things tight, that first goal is always key as we saw in the same fixture last season. The team looks likely to be:

Sagna Squillaci Djourou Clichy
Denilson Song Cesc
Nasri Chamakh Arshavin

It's a big one for Fabianski, if the beanpole Crouch plays it will be a big test for him aerially. Maybe Arsene will be tempted to stick RVP in from the start, I suspect he'll be our secret weapon from the bench though. Sagna is on good form and will need to stick to Bale like glue, no easy job. Wilshere will also be a useful weapon from the bench, assuming he doesn't start that is. I'd be tempted to play Theo on the right to give us a bit more width, maybe Arsene will and then slot Nasri in elsewhere.

Gallas. He won't get a great reception, and he doesn't deserve a good reception, that's for sure, but I suspect a lot of people are just rather apathetic towards him, he never delivered for us on a footballing level, despite behaving like a twat at times, it is his defensive mediocrity which stood out for me. Bendtner, whatever the truth here, the lad needs to knuckle down and improve his game, his performance against Shakhtar was woeful, I feel someone's head has outgrown it's place in reality. With the likes of Afobe sniffing around, if players aren't fully committed they must be moved on, there simply is no room for passengers.

Let the football do the talking and let's hope Phil Dowd has a decent match. Come on you Gunners, come on! Ooh to, ooh to, ooh to be a Gooner!

Wednesday 17 November 2010

My most protracted attempt to blog ever

I have been trying to post on the blog for the last three days, being stuck in the middle of nowhere with the most rustic of wi-fi connections has been the main problem, the connection I have at the moment is so dodgy this may not even make it to your screens! The most frustrating thing is that I have written a full update (yesterday) and then lost it when the connection went down. Anyway here goes from a rather remote location over 13,000 miles from home.

I was lucky enough to catch most of the game in delayed fashion on ESPN, I also managed to catch up on the highlights of the other Premier League games, what a weekend to be a Gooner! Another solid win, Everton are never easy opponents but we made it look relatively comfortable for the most part. We controlled the game, had the better chances and other than a late flurry of chances Everton were largely a peripheral force. Having said that it did need Lucasz Fabianski to be sharp when called upon later on.

Fabianski did well again, other than his error against Newcastle he has been on fine firm, I still have concerns on his ability to deal with high balls but only time will tell in this regard. The back four were solid, there was some better no nonsense defending from Clichy and Sagna, Djourou was probably the pick of the back four, again dominant and decisive, Squillaci was his typicaly steady self. Song hoovered up particularly well as the game wore on, Denilson made a difference as Wilshere´s replacement, young Jack on the recieving end of some rather nasty stuff from the thuggish Heitinga which hastened his departure.

The goals were both excellent finishes, Sagna´s rocket was unstoppable, like a bullet into the top corner, Cesc´s finish was perfectly placed after some excellent assistance from Chamakh. Everton´s late goal came after I thought Saha had climbed all over Song in winning the high ball, Cahill then slotted home from close range. We held on without too much discomfort.

Our away form has been dramatically better than last year, strangely it is the dropped points at home that have been much more of a hindrance to our accumulation of points. Part of the reason for this has been the fact that we do look a fair bit better defensively, Fabianski has been key, as has the emergence of our new centre back pairings, the partnership of Squillaci and Djourou looking particularly promising. To have done this in the absence of arguably our best defender, Vermaelen, has been some achievement, his niggling Achilles injury is still a real concern, it threatens to be one of those innocent sounding problems that could potentially end a career.

Chelsea were absolutely battered by Sunderland, whose pace and attacking fluency was just too much for them to take, Ferreira at centre back was not their best look one must admit. Manu again dropped points, arguably very lucky not to drop all three against Villa. Overall a great weekend of results, it now gives us a great platform going into the North London derby versus the spuds. The spuds are eminently beatable at the moment, although they can score goals, they are also very good at conceding lots of them, their defense seems all over the shop at the moment, the fact that William Gallas is part of that defence is no coincidence to me.

I wathed Boca vs River last night, it did put a bit of the domestic talk of dangerous tackling in context, the game was littered with various bits of filth. However there was a difference between the Argentinian dirt and the English, the former seemed far more controlled than the latter. The bad tackles were generally cynical but not potentially as harmful. Still, it was a rather ferocious encounter that made for some rather complusive viewing, River coming out as deserving victors in the end. Anyway I think the computer I am on is a little short of power and may be about to die, so over and out. Robert Pires to Villa? Do the aged 37 year old legs have what it takes for the pace of the Premier League, I doubt it, but still, what a legend the man is. All focus now shifts to Saturday, come on you Gunners!

Thursday 11 November 2010

Wolves go hungry as good news rolls

After the dropped points at the weekend, it was imperative to bring back all three last night and with Chelsea continuing their winning streak, last night´s win was just what the doctor ordered. I am over thirteen thousand miles from home and the technology here is rather limited, thus I had to make to with a rather dodgy wi-fi connection and regular updates from the BBC website, hardly the best way to catch the game I must admit.

Whatever some say it was an away win, a clean sheet and more goals for Maroune Chamakh, two more to be precise. Overall it seemed a deserved what from what I have gleaned, Wolves did come close, some excellent goalkeeping from Lucasz Fabianski was needed on more than one occassion. Johan Djourou came in and did well by all accounts, he will be playing at Goodison no doubt.

Certainly a lot of the post match focus has been on the tackling in the game, seemingly exposing the media´s relentless hypocrisy in selectively highlighting Arsenal indiscretions, while ignoring worse from the opposition. Arsene and Cesc have both apologised for the latter´s late tackle, he was punished with a yellow, some argued it could have been a red, maybe. The thing is if you are going to waffle on about Cesc´s tackle then you must also highlight Henry´s on Arshavin and certain Milijas offences. To highlight one in isolation just shows those who do this to be biased and hypocrites of the first order.

The media, in particular the moronic Hansen on MOTD last night as well as Sky as always, and certain supporters seem to have one rule for people they like and another for Arsenal. Arsene does not deny that Arsenal players make bad tackles, he wants the current useless disciplinary system to be overhauled so tackles like Cesc´s and Henry´s from last night get the punishment they deserve. In fact there appears to only a small number of managers and players who actually apologise when they cross the line, bizarrely the mainstream media somehow tries to turn this against those who behave the best.

Certain sections of supporters are also hypocrites of the highest order, in fact those who waffle on about it being a man´s game and leg breaking being just an expected part of the contact appear to be the most sensitive when one of their own players is hit hard. Certain Wolves supporters are blatantly guilty of this, happy to condone Karl Henry one day, but then happy to shreik to high heaven when one of their own players is the victim of a bad tackle. Whingeing hypocrites? I wouldn´t dare accuse them of this, it´s a man´s blog after all.

People are entitled to their opinions, I have no problem with this, I just expect people´s opinions to be vaguely consistent and coherent, if they are not then it is perfectly reasonable to point this out. The problem is that in the age of the Internet and the modern media, it is not always the story with the most truth and accuracy that makes the most headlines, often the most sensationalist drivel makes the most noise.

In this environment a lot of idiots lurk and they can get away with venting a lot of vitriolic bile without having any logic to back it up. These idiots need to be exposed and often the best way is just to ask them if they can back up their offensive insults, invariably they scurry back to their little holes saying nothing more, they have nothing of note to add, their bark is worse then their bite. We saw this after my criticism of Mike Dean´s incompetence at the weekend, a lot of vitriol spewed forth, but when those who had been so rude were asked to justify their stance, they could not, they ran away like naughty small children.

Anyways moving swiftly on, there is some excellent news in that Mr Szczesny has signed a new long term deal at the club, fantastic news that. It is also rumoured that Kieran Gibbs isn´t far away from returning to full training, I doubt he´ll be risked this weekend, but maybe a return against Braga is on the cards. I´m stuck in a rather remote location and I suspect I´ll be unable to find any kind of means of watching the Everton game this weekend, I will probably have to find a computer at the end of the day and endure that awkward moment of sheer panic when finding out a football result after the solitary click on a mouse button. I will be impressed if anyone can guess where I am at the moment. It´s over 13,000 miles from the UK, the language is not English and the national hero is a small ex-cocaine snorting dwarf. I´m in the remote Souther bit of it by the way. Over and out.

Sunday 7 November 2010

Morons and perspective

I do not often write three pieces in such a short space of time but feel the need given the way in which some people are twisting what has been written to suit their own warped needs. Some people seem to think we were useless today, I disagree, that's not to say I think we were good, we were not, we were moderate.

We lost directly as a result of a poor goalkeeping error from Lucasz Fabianski. He came for high ball, was beaten easily by Carroll and Newcastle held on to this one goal lead for the second half. We huffed and puffed but couldn't blow the door down. We had the odd chance, Nasri and Cesc in the first half, Cesc in the second, a few half chances here and there, but it just wasn't to be.

I have criticised Mike Dean's performance strongly, I stand by this, he was useless and has been useless pretty much every time I have seen the officious little man in charge of a Premiership game. Whether it was his inconsistency, his inability to play the advantage or his lack of understanding of the game, he was generally poor throughout. I do not blame Dean for our defeat, this was down to Fabianski, our lack of cutting edge and Newcastle's excellent organisation. Still, Dean was sh*t and I stand by this.

A lot of nonsense will be spouted after this defeat. Outfield wise we were somewhere in between good and bad, the bottom line was that another bad individual error has cost us dear. Who knows what would have happened if we had gone in at half time with the scores level at nil nil? Arsene has a big decision to make now, does he persist with the hapless Fabianski or does he throw the young Pole Szczesny into the mix? I know what I would do.

Part 2 - Mike Dean the officious weasel

Firstly I would like to say that my criticism of Mike Dean's performance is not an attempt to turn the attention away from a very good Newcastle performance and a rather impotent Arsenal one. Newcastle kept a deserved clean sheet, we didn't create enough in front of goal, however really the game should have been a nil nil, Newcastle created nothing, Fabianski's gift was virtually their only effort on goal.

Mike Dean produced one of the worst and most partisan performances I have seen in a long long time. The rat faced little twerp refereed with absolutely zero consistency and common sense throughout. Newcastle were sliding into tackles left, right and centre, often getting none of the ball and Dean let them get away with it time and time again. In the second half Barton committed an absolute minimum of two yellow card offences, one hack on RVP and one waist high studs up lunge on Wilshere were notable example of this tendency towards late hacking.

One couldn't argue with the Cesc booking in isolation, but several Newcastle players did far worse and got no yellow, it was the rank inconsistency that was so very frustrating. He allowed Gutierrez to get away with a clear red card kick out on Cesc, he slid in recklessly about two seconds after the ball had gone in the final few minutes.

The soft free kicks continued to flow for Newcastle, the lump Carroll just had to fall over for yet another free kick in a dangerous position. However at the other end Newcastle players slid in and kicked lumps out of our players' shins after the ball had long gone, Dean just waved play on as no advantage came. There was the clear body check on Sagna from Coloccini that Dean ignored, then the appalling error for the Koscielny red card.

Koscielny and Ranger had a bit of a grapple with each other, Koscielny stayed alongside Ranger and shoulder to shoulder, Ranger went down having not been clipped or tugged, there was also a covering defender, he wasn't even the last man. Still Dean, the officious little twerp, seemed to relish in his error, brandishing the erroneous red card with such vitriolic glee. The icing on his cake of utter incompetence. Four minutes of injury time followed after Newcastle had ensured that the ball had barely been in play for twenty minutes in the entire second half.

Mike Dean had two sets of rules for the two sides, he allowed Newcastle to slide in late as a matter of routine while he punished Arsenal players harshly for virtually every single indiscretion. What started out as a fairly sportsmanlike game became a niggling encounter, all thanks to Dean's inconsistent and haphazard application of the rules. The amazing thing is that we were the home side, so much for the big clubs getting the decisions, the smaller clubs seem to get the run of things at the Emirates, the polar opposite of what happens at Old Trafford.

Having said that we didn't play well enough, we didn't create enough and there was no way we deserved to win this game. Hopefully Fabianski's error will lead to a few more starts for the young Pole Szczesny. Credit to a very well organised Newcastle side who came for a draw, defended solidly and came away with a win thanks to Fabianski's error.

Half time vs Toon - Dean the useless

A fairly decent game and we were shading it until Carroll beat Fabianski in the air to nod in the opener, one nil to Newcastle at the break. A poor bit of goalkeeping from the Pole, if you come then you have to claim the ball, he came and claimed nothing. Newcastle had looked well organised and solid, Nasri forced a super save late on in the half when it looked more likely that the net would bulge. Still we hadn't created enough and Carroll's goal leaves us with a lot to do in the second half.

The stand out point of the first half has been some truly incompetent officiating from the useless Mike Dean. He started off by not booking a very poor late lunge on Wilshere by Coloccini, a booking at the very least. Clichy then got a deserved booking, but it was nowhere near as bad as the Italian's foul. Wilshere was pulled up for a 'foul' when he clearly won the ball, the only contact came when the Newcastle player who had lost the ball ran over Wilshere, an absolutely awful decision from the hapless Dean.

A series of soft free kicks for Newcastle followed before halt time. Enrique won one for a theatrical fall after minimal Sagna contact, Dean then gave a free kick when Song was a metre away from making any contact, Kevin Nolan appeared surprised that Dean had blown up. The free kick that led to the Newcastle goal was another Dean error, Sagna stayed on his feet and was shoulder to shoulder with the Newcastle player, no tackle was made, the Newcastle player had lost the ball, decided to go down and Dean obliged.

Mike Dean is a useless referee. The sad thing is that I think the general standard of refereeing in the Premiership is pretty woeful, very few referees have any understanding of the game or common sense, things have certainly deteriorated in the last five or ten years. It is a disgrace that the world's most lucrative league is officiated by this bunch of cretinous incompetents.

Friday 5 November 2010

Bert van Dickhead

"Has there been any contact with the medical staff of Holland and Arsenal? I don’t know. I don’t care, because I spoke to Robin personally and I just made the selection and will wait for any comments to come."

These are the words of the immense penis who goes by the name of Bert van Majwijk. I am not quite sure why the man is such a bell end, but his comments show him up to be an absolute wanker. Let the comments come dickhead.

RVP has not played for almost three months, he has had a run of serious ankle injuries, he needs to be reintroduced to action in a very careful staged manner, the last thing he needs is to be rushed back for some meaningless friendly game and then to pick up another niggle.

The worst thing about all this is the rank arrogance and complete lack of respect shown by Bert van Dickhead towards Arsenal FC. The fact that AFC pay his wages seems not to matter, RVP's long term fitness is also not a concern to the national side apparently.

The whole sorry saga shows that there is a big problem in national sides exploiting players, taking stupid risks with players that they do not pay for and then leaving the clubs to pick up the pieces. Let the comments come Bert, f*ck off you worthless arrogant disrespectful piece of sh*t.