Hull Hath No Fury Like A Handball Scorned

Hull hath no fury

Arsenal 2 – 0 Hull City

There is a madness engulfing football. Referees apologising for handballs that never were, Rafa Benitez touted as Wenger’s successor and Garth Crooks. I’ll leave that last one there, it doesn’t need any further explanation; he is as mad as a box of frogs.

And away from it all, Arsenal won 2 – 0. It wasn’t good, if anything it was a distinctly average performance at best but the three points and ‘W’ in the form guides, were most welcome additions to the weekend. We know from bitter experience that Arsenal rarely bounce back from a poor run of form with a scintillating performance. There’s almost a sense of ‘baby steps’, making sure of winning first, then worrying about how we played.

But let’s be honest, when Arsenal win, the world is a better place, even if just briefly before you remember that football isn’t unique in being engulfed by madness.

Arsène made a brave choice. The axe fell on Nacho Monreal with Kieran Gibbs recalled but that was the only change from last Saturday. It was a show of faith that I would argue wasn’t necessarily deserved. But that is Wenger’s M.O. and gave the XI the chance to prove everyone wrong. The problem is that the leaders, the best players on the pitch, have sunk into being distinctly average at the moment.

Alexis scored twice – huzzah! – but the same ‘beat the opposition on my own’ mentality surfaced. Mesut Özil wasn’t anywhere near purring which is no surprise; he is, I think, one of those players who plays well when the team is doing the same but doesn’t drag everyone out of their fug. You might argue that’s a luxury we can ill-afford but one man is not a team.

Handball, no controversy. Elbow to head…

Allegations emerged soon after the final whistle that Mark Clattenburg apologised to the Hull players for missing Alexis’ hand putting the ball into the net. Handball is judged on intent and having the hand or arm in an unnatural position. The former wasn’t apparent as Alexis stabbed the ball toward the goal while the latter wasn’t in question and could take this post off on a different tangent, which is entirely inappropriate for a Sunday morning. Clattenburg had nothing to apologise for, and does saying, “Sorry, I didn’t see it” really count in that sense?

There was little argument about the award of the penalty at the end of the match or the red card which followed. That was a blatant handball and the laws of the game are such that Clucas had to go and turn the taps on in the bath to make sure it was ready for everyone else. Should football consider a ‘penalty goal’ similar to the penalty try in rugby union? Keep the red card for professional fouls but for blatant handball on the line, give the goal and a yellow card. It’s got as many arguments for the move as it has against.

The rest of the game was fairly nondescript as far as I’m concerned. Nobody was outstanding, and as I mentioned earlier, we weren’t likely to set the world alight with this performance. Had we lost yesterday, I’d have been concerned for the Champions League match but less so with a win. It would be typically Arsenal to win the game 1 – 0 in the Allianz Arena but lost the home leg 3 – 1.

So Arsène, how was it for you?

Relief all round was the message from the manager. His last match consigned to the stands, from now on he is free to return to his all-action touchline style of management.

He put down the calculator long enough to answer the assembled hacks questions after the game,

As you said it was more about the mathematics than about the brilliance today because we had absolutely to win today. Unfortunately against a good team who I cannot see even from the stand any weakness in there. Physically they are strong, they are organised, they have a good spirit and technically they are good as well. So overall I felt that we started well until we led 1-0, we created some very good chances.

That’s Hull City, third bottom of the Premier League at kick-off. In fairness, they were the better of the relegation fodder we’ve faced in recent weeks; if they keep playing like that, Hull could pull off the same escape as Sunderland last year. So much for making a mistake in appointing a manager who doesn’t know the Premier League.

Wenger went on to define and defend the Arsenal performance,

After we became a bit more protective to protect the result. After that we were playing a bit more to not concede a goal and that’s what the game was about because we knew that was absolutely vital to win today.

It’s a matter of perception, of course. We were still as reckless as ever, heightened by our cautious approach to the game in the second half. The manager must defend the performance, come what may, looking for the positives, or at least an ‘out’. If there was little to enthuse him, our most optimistic of supporters…

It’s a win and that genuinely is all which matters. Three points, up to third – not joint second, bozos – until later today, but that’s it. We’ve still got a third of the season left to either royally screw it up or stick in the top four!

Dad’s Jukebox

And finally, there’s a new playlist on Dad’s Jukebox: That Was The Week That Was, a selection to cover off the last seven days or so.

’til Tomorrow.

69 thoughts on “Hull Hath No Fury Like A Handball Scorned

  1. Following up from this morning:

    Well said, Damon. Pretty much nailed it there.

    I took the only stance I thought I could possibly take, by relinquishing my season ticket and refusing to keep paying into the corporate that is Arsenal.

  2. Barnaby,

    What a load of bias garbage!..No reference to Gibbs ,Which to EVERY football fan is a straight Red especially as Clucas’s Obvious ,Definily Red,Definately Sending off !!!The one thing that is Definate is on the close up of the linesman talking face to face with Clatterblunder seen on goals on Sunday was HANDBALL !!

  3. You can’t polish a turd, YW. It was ‘workmanlike’.

    You might want to repost that thread from this morning, Damon. It’s worthy of debate.

  4. I think that the ‘Clattenberg apologised’ story is 100 percent phoney baloney.

    He’s not allowed to look at replays during the game – apparently a ref is not even allowed access to his own mobile at HT – so he can’t have seen anything he didn’t see at the time.

    It would be professional suicide for him to say that; it was a marginal call in a routine league game. He would open himself up to all sorts of pressure in subsequent games. I presume PGMOL would tell their refs never to say such a thing.

    Arguably the law is unsatisfactory, but it’s the simplest way to deal with accidental hand ball.

  5. YW,

    even worse if we win 1-0 in the first leg and lose 2-1 at home. That is almost in the area of a guaranteed outcome if we do win the first leg 1-0. I wonder what the odds will be?

    I imagine the discussion about the handball will go on for some time yet. I’ve already seen arguments regarding the unnatural position of his arm and the likelihood that the ref would have given a free kick if it had been in the middle of the park. Whilst the rules are clear, a ref’s interpretation of them isn’t and maybe Clattenberg would have disallowed the goal if he had seen the incident. As I said yesterday, I really wouldn’t have been surprised if it had been disallowed.

    At the other end the awarding of a red card is less clear as it is left to the ref to decide whether or not a card of any kind should be awarded. Clucas was clearly intending to stop the ball with any part of his body he could get in the way of it, so a penalty was correct as it was a deliberate act in the penalty area. With the position of the goalie as it was the red card decision was again in the hands of the ref.

    For me the strangest decision was the yellow card for Gibbs. It seemed that Markovic had a clear run on goal with just the keeper to beat if Gibbs hadn’t committed the foul.

  6. Wavey,

    Take away the agenda that some people have about referees and it’s simply referees having a difficult job and sometimes they get it wrong. Maybe it evens out, maybe it doesn’t. Rather than look for external excuses it’s much easier to address things within the club that we can influence.

  7. Okay, a dire game – but sorry, I’ll take the three points.

    Its easy to say if we slipped to 5th or 6th and (if) this precipitated a Wenger departure it might be a positive, but I want CL football, period.

    People keep casually talking as if 4th or better is ours for the taking – I do not think it is. For all the crap that swirls around about 4th place trophy and our lack of ambition, if we are out of the CL and FA Cup and fail to make top four, it’ll be a low none of us have experienced for years.

    Essentially I’ll take a win any which way through the end of the season.

    That said, really annoyed Welbeck and Perez did not come on until the 80th minute (by the by anyone note after assisting in four goals in the FA Cup there never was any clear explanation why Perez did not feature last week) and happy to see Perez get on the end of the cross and win the penalty.

  8. Wavey,

    On the Gibbs ‘tackle’, it’s an issue of timing. He took him out before he had the ball under control, which – if you’re going to commit a professional foul – is the most professional time to do it. Makes it a yellow rather than a red (for me)

    Many were keen to have seen Coquelin do the same to Hazard last week

  9. 1971Thistle,

    I’m not saying he shouldn’t have done it. He took one for the team. I’ve seen reds given out for similar in the past, so was surprised that Clattenberg didn’t give a red. It appeared that the only reason he didn’t get it under control was because Gibbs fouled him. We got lucky though, as Clattenberg only deemed it a yellow and the FA cannot change a ref’s decision when a yellow is given.

  10. Wavey,

    Sorry, I’ve deleted it from my memory already. The narrative says that we are the victims of a refereeing conspiracy so I’m ignoring anything that seems to go in our favour from now on 😉

  11. Wavey,

    I agree, but my point was that he did it with the appropriate timing; had he waited until the ball was on the ground, then yes, probably a red.

    Some kudos to him for that surely? (with usual caveats of ‘no one likes to see that sort of thing, blah, blah)

  12. G’d Afternoon, matelots.

    The Law relating to handball has one key word [deliberately]. That is subjective, as are the other words relating to unnatural position of the hands, or moving them towards the ball.

    I simply cannot believe Clattenburg could have apologised with an incident where all he had to say was “In my opinion …” or “from where I was standing, I did not see the player, in my opinion, move his hand to the ball, or have his hand in an unnatural position….”

    The only source for the so-called half-time apology came from the Hull dressing room after the game — funny that.
    Refs are not allowed to discuss decisions with managers or players at half time – or any other time. More ‘false truths’, Mr President? 🙂

  13. Thanks for the post yogi

    I was certainly an ugly win but it was 3 points nonetheless. This is already shaping up to be the toughest fight for the top 4 spot in the Emirates era and it will be even tougher if Liverpool gets back on track. There are 5 legitimate challengers for 3 spots and that has never occured. Every single point no matter how its achieved is absolutely critical.

  14. There is a similarity with the Gibbs foul on Markovich. It was of course a foul – but the ref gave a yellow card because ‘in his opinion’ Markovitch did not have the ball under control when the exocet Gibbs hit him.

    “But he would have had it under control if Gibbs had not fouled him’ some say. Well, fortune telling is not in the ref’s brief, or his briefs, and Markovich may have tripped himself up, or mis-controlled the ball, or …… who can say? Have we never seen a player miss a one metre tap in by skying the ball over the bar, or hit row Z instead of making an easy cross into the box?

    It was a foul, and Gibbs compounded it by admitting he intended to do it [Deliberate] but the Law does not use the word, but it does say ‘have the ball under control’.

    Who gives a stuff? We got 3 points – on to Bayern and mighty Sutton — and make sure one of you has the big brown envelope ready!! 😀

  15. Damon

    Thank you for the posts. I, like many here I’m sure share your point of view.
    Unfortunately I feel the move to the Emirates has provided an excuse for failure. Though I feel under future stewardship it has potential to become a fortress.

    For the fans among us here who have memories of Highbury, I’d say it’s like going back to a boozer you used to frequent as a lad where the girls were fine, the pints were flowing and the craic was mighty. Only to return 20 yrs later to see it turned into a wine bar serving expensive tapas. Is it better? Is it worse? Or is it just different? It’s certainly making money and fit for the future.
    I’m sure the younger fans of our club will feel just as passionate about the team and the stadium as we did in Highbury and as our fore fathers did in Woolwich.

    Nothing stays the same.

    Expect Wenger. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

  16. Hi Bill,

    Manure are starting to ‘come good’ and are only one point behind ‘Pool in 4th, so there is a legitimate case for saying there are at least 6 clubs jostling for one of 4 positions, or if we give the title to the Chavs, it is, as perhaps you meant, 5 clubs fighting for one of 3 CL positions.

    Becoming very tight to get a top 4 spot — and I would not wager money on Arsenal getting 4th – partly because I do not bet, and …….. 🙂

  17. Henry

    I am not a betting man but if forced to wager I would bet that somehow we will pull out one of those last 3 CL spots. The last 2 league games we have won are Burnley and Hull. In both cases the winning goal should have been disallowed if the ref had actually seen what happened. The football God’s are certainly on our side when it comes to making the top 4.

  18. Completely agree on it not being handball. If a similar incident (a rebound from a pass onto the hand) had happened on the halfway line then no one would be debating the decision. It shouldn’t make any difference that the rebound went into the goal.

    I thought one positive performance was Ox in midfield. MOTM for me and for once I agreed with the analysis on MOTD – his pace and power on the ball is something our other CMs don’t possess. Why on earth he was the moved to RM and then replaced 10 mins later god onlys know. Le Coq should have been replaced by Elneny. Will be interesting to see who starts against Bayern.

  19. -DFS,

    ‘So if we finish in fourth place and we get to Last 16 of CL for next 13 years that is fine?’

    We will be a cash generative also-ran.

    I have to say though I think we should always play like we have just lost two games in a row.

    The defence was sharp in the tackle and well positioned throughout. I loved it when Kos had to take up right back position and then Bellerin took up CB perfectly and headed the ball away very well.

    I liked Ox getting the ball as deep lying playmaker. He was dribbling and 1-2’s and playing through the lines and immediately hitting well thought 30-40 yard passes accurately.

    I liked Sanchez becoming top PL goalscorer and fourth for assists. He is greedy sometimes and I like that to be honest.

    https://www.premierleague.com/stats/top/players

    However Ozil had a few nice touches but needs a rest I think.

    I also think a back three will prevent full back position overload as compared to back four when FB goes forward as extra CB can come across.

  20. Phe-

    You reply to me and put this in quotes…

    ‘So if we finish in fourth place and we get to Last 16 of CL for next 13 years that is fine?’

    I do not undestand the reply, thats not my quote or anything I have said (?).

  21. Adam Singh,

    Yep Ox had a very good game, even defensively I thought he worked hard. I felt he played ok against Chelsea too. Sometimes found wanting a little to high up the pitch for me in possession but I think he poses the most threat with the ball at his feet of all the options we have in CM at the minute. Ox and Elneny start in Munich for me. Lecoq is way off the pace at the moment.

  22. Thanks for the daily dose of Arsenal, YW. And frequent commenters. I have to say, I enjoy reading the posts and comments of regulars. I come here everyday and read conversations going back and forth, up and down, even on days with nothing interesting is going on, you lot have always delivered fine servings of sensible Arsenal.

    Just wanted to express my gratitude to the ACLF community.

  23. -DFS,

    Have to say that I have little interest in the CL, I can’t see the point of getting excited in a competition that we have no ambition to win. Can’t say I’d miss it and I expect the first reaction at the club would be dismay about the loss of income rather than missing out on an opportunity to win a major honour.

  24. 3 points was massive.

    2 points is the difference between us and Manure, if you want you could even through Everton with 41 points as a contender given how well they have been playing. Top 4 is certainly not guaranteed and with Citeh, Manure and Spuds playing well as well as Mane seemingly balancing out Liverpool and Everton gaining steam, there will be a battle for the top 4.

  25. Andy 1886-

    Some don’t care for the CL but many do – the majority.

    The night we beat Basel to top our group was one of the best games of this season – European nights are often the most exciting and the players cite the same thing.

    I believe over 10,000,000 tickets to CL games are sold each season – obviously if people did not care they would not attend.

  26. Andy,

    I cannot believe you really mean that you could not care less about Arsenal being in the CL. Wow.

    Naturally it bugs me that we seem so far away from challenging for the trophy, or even being seen as a potential winner, but I love the CL nights, and have followed the team in Europe occasionally which is always a wonderful experience, if not a great result.

    When we qualify, we play the top teams in Europe, and after the ‘group’ games we are in the knock-out stages, with just the same chances as a non-Premier League team has in the FA Cup — and their fans all enjoy the occasion, and the chance to play against the best teams in the UK.

    Those fans know they won’t win the cup, but they love taking part – and I feel the same with the CL and, like any knock-out tournament, the results are always in the laps of the gods and I keep hoping.

    I would hate to see some other club take our place — someone like Spurs, for example — now that would be sickening.

  27. Adam Singh

    I don’t disagree with Yogi very often but if that first goal had been scored against us we would be screaming and cursing. God and Alexis are the only ones who can accurately judge his intent. Alexis’ arm was separated from his body and the ball was flying away from goal and it turned around 180 degrees and flew back into goal when it hit his forearm. I think almost any ref would have rightfully disallowed the goal if he had clearly seen what had happened. The problem for the ref is that just like all of us, no one knew that Alexis had knocked the ball in with his forearm until we saw the slow motion replay.

  28. Damon, I’ve just read your excellent comments from yesterday. On the point about the contrast between Highbury and the Emirates, I was a regular at Highbury up until 1974, before the all seater diktat ruined the atmosphere at our great old ground.

    I have made only a single visit to the Emirates, an F A Cup get against Plymouth 2009. The atmosphere was totally lacking as far as Arsenal fans were concerned. The only sustained singing came from the Plymouth fans and you are entirely right, nobody spoke to us, everybody around us seemed to be preoccupied with either the £5? programme, a news paper or a mobile phone.

    The one good thing, and better than at Highbury, was the ease of exit. The ground was nearly empty we th five minutes to go.

  29. Full credit to Arsene for keeping us in the top 4 all of these years which is a truly amazing feat. Whenever we are in deep trouble the team has always pulled together a really good run of form. Over the years we have also had some major interventions by the football God’s starting with the poisoned pasta for the spurs when they lost on the last day in 2006. I think it was Aston Villa who imploded at the end of the 09. Spurs imploded 2 years in a row in 12 and 13 and we were in 5th place behind Everton in 2014 after we lost 0-3 to them in April and then they dropped 9 out of the last 15 points and helped us finish in 4th. I think we can realistically hope that Spurs implode again this year and find a way to finish behind us but that still means we have to outplay either Man City, ManU or Liverpool for that last spot. This one is going to be the toughest on record.

  30. Sorry, Bill, (again) you are wrong in fact and in the Law.

    The ball sped around between the defender, the GK and Sanchez until it rebounded out to our player who had his fist in front of his face, and it rebounded from that.

    I wrote above that the Law requires the handball to be deliberate and there is no way anyone could say that was deliberate given the speed of the ricochets.

    The referee is not expected to do anything more than form an opinion as to the facts as he could see them — can’t see the incident? – tough – (it’s a goal) – could not be sure it was deliberate – tough – (it’s a goal) – that is the rule and them’s the breaks. 🙂

    You are correct when you say “if that first goal had been scored against us we would be screaming and cursing” but that would not make the decision wrong!

  31. Alexis has not been playing well for a couple of months but he is still scoring goals and with the lineup that started yesterday’s game, realistically Alexis is the only player that has really been a legitimate threat to score a goal for the last 1 1/2 months. Alexis and Giroud have been the only players scoring with any regularity since early December. Within reason Alexis is worth almost any amount of money that we have to pay him to sign a new contract.

    Theo and Ozil both started the season in a purple patch in front of goal and with Alexis also scoring we put together that good run in Sept Oct. However it was inevitable that Ozil would stop scoring and it was just as inevitable that Theo would get injured or lose form which leaves us with only Alexis to score. We have to hope he scores a goal and we keep a clean sheet. That is not the recipe for strong performances or consistent results.

  32. Henry

    Fair enough. That is part of the problem with the laws of the game. Their interpretation can be vague and each individual play can litterally be judged differently depending on which team you support. It’s puts the ref in a no win situation and makes it impossible to have consistency. If I remember correctly you said yourself in a comment yesterday and I would have felt that it was an injustice if that same goal had been scored against us. Just like Chelsea’s first goal against us, if there would have been a video replay you and I and I suspect that most refs would have disallowed that goal.

  33. HenryB,

    Sorry, but I do find it dull, we play the same teams and the result is always entirely predictable. Even down to dropping points against the also rans at the group stage. The only surprising thing to happen is the last few years was that we topped the group this time despite our best efforts to finish in our usual position.

    It probably doesn’t help that I hate the format too which is designed not to produce great football but to maximise income. Give me the old European Cup any day. The CL and AFC’s participation in it just doesn’t inspire me.

  34. You are correct in all respects there, Bill.

    I would have hated it to have been scored against us, but … and it does put the refs in a bad position and allows the nutty ‘they are out to get us’ comments. 😀

  35. I take your point, Andy, and you have highlighted some of the downsides.

    But … I would hate the Spuds or ‘Pool to be on CL TV every year like we have been and to simply ignore the CL like their fans have over the years.

    And … I have loved going to Munich and Barcelona with football as the excuse, to drink in the Bier Kellers, and … just anywhere in Spain! 😀

  36. -DFS,

    You’re right I put quotes round that part by accident.

    Just going further, I think our shooting has to be more efficient. When setup in the box I expect power and hard shots without too much back lift of the foot whatsoever inside the post by around a foot. Instant shots when the goal keeper is not ready.

    This needs hours of practice a week.

  37. Henry

    I can’t prove it but I doubt that the intent of the rules makers was to allow a goal to be scored with a forearm even if it was unintentional. Scoring that way certainly violates the spirt of the game.

    That said, you are absolutely correct and the those are the breaks of the game and every team has to accept that there will be calls that go against them and they have to roll with the punches. There is a controversial call like this in almost every game that is played and some some go for you and some go against. Fortunately for us in the last 2 games we have won, the breaks have gone in our favor and given us 4 extra points and I for one am very happy because we need every point we can get.

  38. HenryB,

    Well there are some up sides of course, and if we were real challengers I expect if I’m honest I would be more engaged with the whole thing, but the feeling that it’s just a cash cow sours the whole experience for me 🙁

  39. Phe @ 1:41

    How in the world could Ozil need “a rest”. He had a full 3 week rest around the holiday period and after that he had another 2 week break around the FA cup game against Southampton. When he has been asked to play in Jan/Feb he has almost always had a full week off between games (including the game yesterday). “Needing a rest” is the most common standard excuse we fall back on whenever players are not playing up to expectations but in this case its even less valid then ever.

  40. Leicester down 2 nil and still remarkably have not scored a goal in 2017.

    I know so many complain about Ozil and Sanchez not pulling their weight, but my fucking god Mahrez looks like shit and a far far far far far far cry from the Player of the Year and Vardy hasn’t scored inquite some time but they have so many problems especially with the aging Morgan and Huth.

  41. C

    You and I argued about this a lot last season when we talked about Vardy but very few players have a season that is totally out of the norm for their entire career in their late 20’s and then replicate that good form in following seasons. Similar thing happened with Perez last season which is one of the reasons I am not as enthused about him as you are.

    I agree with Yogi and Ozil’s form is a concern. He has never been the sort of player to help speed up or transitions but his job is to help us score goals by breaking down the defense and making those great final passes around the penalty box. If he is doing that well he will almost certainly be credited with assists. He was fantastic in the first half of 15/16 season and was on pace to break every assist record in PL history. However since then he only has about 7 league assists in the last 42-45 league games.

    IMO, His purple patch in front of goal and the great form from Alexis and Theo distracted from the fact that the rest of Ozil’s game was not as good as expected and the evidence to support my idea is that he was not getting any assists. Now that the goals have inevitably dried up and the team has slowed down his form has become more of an issue.

  42. Not sure if this is the worst season ever for a reigning Champion, but must be close to it. I thought Chelsea were poor last season, but Leicester are playing less like a team than Arsenal. Mahrez is having a terrible season and Vardy is looking like the non-league player he originally was.
    The more I see of him this season, the more I’m glad he isn’t wearing an Arsenal shirt. I cannot begin to imagine the stick Wenger would have received if Vardy had been playing like this in a red and white shirt.

  43. Wavey

    Vardy’s fall from the top of the PL scoring charts was certainly not hard to predict. Even with that, I would be disingenuous to not admit that prospectively I was in favor of buying Vardy last summer even though there had to be very strong concern about the likelyhood that he would regress back to his norm. The price was not that high and I think the desire to get someone different then Giroud was a strong motivation to hope for Arsene to do something. In the end Arsene took a flyer on Perez.

  44. Bill,

    I will say this, Leicester and Vardy’s problems, at least from what I see have as much to do with his team as they do him. He had something like 5 touches of the ball in the first half in their game I think the commentators said, that’s a supply problem as much as it is Vardy’s problem. Again, its not just Vardy that is having a bad season, Mahrez has been borderline rubbish from the start of the season and to be quite honest, Vardy’s finishing isn’t nearly as good as it was last season obvoiusly but your assesment is far to simplistic. They have no supply, and to be quite honest, their players simply aren’t playing hard.

    If you think Sanchez and Theo’s early goal scoring form was covering up Ozil’s form dropping then your mad my friend. Ozil was as influential as those 2 and yea he wasn’t racking up the assist but so many times he was starting those moves and in the case of Sanchez, Ozil’s want to get more infront of goal and Sanchez drifting about allowed for it all to work. Lets be honest here, Sanchez’s goal form now is covering up his play too. Neither player is playing well and I know you love to talk about Ozil being held to a higher standard but I have seen you time and time again talk about Sanchez being the most important player at the club and he should be the one lifting the team, do you really think that he is currently either?

    I think you focus too much on stats and I love stats, sometimes you have to use the eye test, early in teh season Ozil was superb but then so was the whole team and now the team is struggling and Ozil seems to continue to be the whipping boy. That’s fine, he does need to play better and there is no denying that but to lay the blame on Ozil for the team as a whole struggling is absurd. Ozil isn’t the type to dictate the play from deep midfield, he dictates the attack and as I have said from the time he arrived, yes he is a creative genius and assist stats play a major part in that but he also creates space and time for others.

    Sanchez got the brace sure but look at the first goal that was scored, who created that chance on goal with the cutback, I’ll wait for your answer?

  45. The other thing with Ozil is that leading up to the penalty he was the one that played the quick ball to Sanchez into space that led up to the cross so actually Ozil didn’t get the direct assists but it was his play that led to both goals or am I mistaken?

  46. Bill,

    I didn’t really expect him to replicate the form of last season, but didn’t expect this level of collapse. It’s not just down to him, as the supply lines appear to have completely dried up, but when he does get a chance his lack of confidence is obvious. The spotlights of the Premier League can be harsh at times. Leicester haven’t scored a goal in the league in 2017.

    I wasn’t keen on us buying Vardy but if it was to be him or no one, I would have taken him. I actually thought that Janssen would settle better than he has. I know he was playing in the Dutch league, but he has struggled more than I thought he would. He may come right in the end, but it shows how hard a league the PL can be.

  47. To compare Vardy and Perez is madness. What if I told you that Costa before his 27 goal La Liga season he had NEVER scored more than 10 goals in a league season. Actually what if I told you that Costa has exactly 2 (though this season will make 3 if he continues to score) 20 goal seasons his last at Athletico and his first in the PL yet most would gladly trade Costa for Giroud. Comparing 2 players is a slippery slope and you might want to be careful when doing so.

  48. Arsene is certainly stubborn and sticks with players longer then he should at times. However, to be fair to him there is no doubt that last summer he decided to drop Giroud, Ramsey, Ox and Wilshere down the pecking order. Giroud has been a very efficient scorer this season when he has played and based purely on goals scored/minutes he should be playing more. The other thing to remember is Giroud has been scoring those goals against PL opponents in high leverage league games. He has not even been playing against Ludogrets or Nottingham Forest. However despite his scoring record this season Arsene is still not using Giroud

  49. Giroud’s goal this season:

    Sunderland – 2 goals
    Ludogrorets – 1 goal
    Manure – 1 goal
    PSG – 1 goal
    Bournemouth – 1 goal
    Palace – 1 goal
    West Brom – 1 goal
    Preston – 1 goal
    Swansea – 1 goal
    Chelsea – 1 goal

    Hardly overly high leverage league games Chelsea goal was in garbage time when the match had been over, Manure was when they were poor. PSG was the only match that was really high leverage. Be careful saying he has scored in high leverage PL matches until you actually see who he has scored against and even more so be careful looking at those teams because all of them we faced that he scored were in poor form.

  50. Well this is an interesting situation at Rangers were manager Mark Warburton has left the club but that’s not whats interesting, its the fact that the club said he handed in his resignation but Warburton said that he didn’t resign. The thing is,the U20 manager has taken over so supporters are wondering what will happen with Toral and Hyndman moving forward.

  51. Elneny said upon his return to first team training:

    “We are one family and you work really hard with people who really love you.”

    “That made me adapt quickly, and helped me to start training immediately as I felt that the team really needs me now. I don’t want a vacation or a time off, I want to work hard and play with the team.”

  52. C,

    I think that story broke on Friday. I haven’t really followed it to see what the response has been, but Rangers had initially announced that they had accepted the resignation of Warburton and his assistants. He responded by stating that he hadn’t resigned. It’s all really strange as he held a press conference on Friday morning in advance of this weekend’s game against Morton. Apparently he is seeking compensation of around £1m for what is effectively a sacking. He is being courted for the Nottingham Forest position, so it sounds like the Rangers Board decided if he was looking for another job he didn’t want to be at Rangers.

  53. Wavey,

    Yea I saw it Friday and was looking for more information or a statement. Today I saw something about the Scottish FA has gotten involved and is trying to mediate the whole situation because it isn’t just him but his right hand man and if I’m not mistaken the scouting director as well. The strange thing about all of this is that recently Warburton has talked about wanting to stay longer and really build something at Rangers to put up a real challenge to Celtic. None of it really makes much sense and I feel like the Rangers Board sacked him for no reason, managers are being courted all the time and if Warburton really wanted to leave then he wouldn’t have hand picked Toral and Hyndman in the winter.

  54. C,

    One thing seems clear, he won’t be going back to Rangers. He is apparently seeking compensation rather than clarification.

  55. C

    Ozil’s early season run off goals was great but it was never sustainable. He is supposed to be creating scoring opportunities with his passing and if he is doing that at a high level he should be recording assists. The fact that the number of assists has dropped so precipitously has to be a concern even to someone who is a such a fan of his like you are.

  56. Bill,

    Yes the assists numbers may catch your eye but then again you look at the fact that both the goals in our last match came from his setting up the play and isn’t that just as important or no?

    I wasn’t comparing Perez and Costa, I was more saying you can’t simply compare players. By the way, Perez when played has produced as a winger no? Remember it was him who was equally as important in Giroud’s recent run of goals scored; set up the goal against Preston and scored a class goal against Bournemouth not to mention his goals in both the CL, Fa Cup and CC plus he won the penalty.

  57. Henry –

    I could not agree more re CL.

    All I was doing was making a point concerning CL qualifying and if we fail to do so it will be bitterly disappointing.

    Our participation in the CL (as we are all aware) is equal parts enthralling and frustrating.

    However, the idea that we have fought and clawed to qualify 20 years in a row is a staggering achievement which deserves recognition.

    I’ve wanted change in management for years but have no wish to see Wenger to leave on a low note. When he leaves I’d like the CL record to be intact and the incoming manager to enthusiastically embrace this is part of the Arsenal tradition he needs to maintain.

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