Arsenal Not In Mint Condition But Too Sharp For Everton

Arsenal 2 – 1 Everton

0 – 1 Saha (24)
1 – 1 Arshavin (70)
2 – 1 Koscielny (76)

Controversial officiating took centre stage on a night when Arsenal displayed the mental resilience of champions. Arsène has been emphasising in recent weeks that the players are beginning to believe in themselves; last night gave tangible evidence of that.

Post-match David Moyes fuelled more media speculation, launching an attack on Cesc Fàbregas, claiming that the Arsenal captain had subjected the officials to a barrage of abuse in the tunnel at half-time. The Scot believed that Fabregas would have been dismissed had the incident taken place on the pitch.

His ignorance of the rules is as marked; the tunnel is no different from the pitch in the Laws of the Game and any dissent is similarly punished. Arsène needs to book a medical appointment since he claimed to have been with Fàbregas at the time and heard nothing. Creeping deafness as well as myopia; surely his days as a top manager are numbered.

It took two goals in five second half minutes for Arsenal to retrieve the situation and maintain the five point gap at the top of table. One of those was the very welcome scoring return of Andrey Arshavin. The mercurial Russian has been showing signs in recent weeks that his form has been gradually returning; last night’s goal will hopefully convince him that his rough spell is over.

For all of the complaints about the officials, Arsène will be concerned with the stuttering start his charges made to the game. Flashes of brilliance were served with greater measures of carelessness. Everton sought to impose themselves and without quite managing that, were better value for an early goal.

Yet it was Arsenal who came closest. Fifteen minutes had elapsed when Robin van Persie’s sublime backheel set Fàbregas free to shoot, the Spaniard pulling his shot wide of Tim Howard’s post. Walcott went closer seven minutes later, Howard blocking his effort.

This after good work by Alex Song on the edge of the area, dispossessing Heitinga. Song would later be withdrawn, Arsène unable to comment on the extent of his injury following the match. Like the wait for news on Samir Nasri, this is going to be a nervy wait.

The moment that sparked the Arsenal performance into life came shortly afterwards, a sense of injustice is always a good motivator for a team. Coleman lifted the ball over the Arsenal defence, Koscielny acrobatically tried to intercept but the ball merely landed close to where the Everton midfielder originally intended, Louis Saha showing cool finishing to score.

Except that the forward was occupying an offside position when the pass was made. Koscielny’s intervention was deliberate and thus a legitimate conclusion was that this now constituted ‘second phase’. Had the ball deflected off the defender, offside was the only logical outcome but Koscielny’s attempted interception was deliberate and this playing Saha onside.

There have been suggestions that Saha’s position forced the intervention, therefore rendering the Frenchman as interfering with play. There is merit in that argument, the only one that stands water. That, though, is a matter of interpretation and the true indicator of this will be whether or not Mason and/or his team officiate at a Premier League match this weekend.

Whatever the outcome is, it did not alter the fact that the goal stood and red mists descended momentarily over Arsenal eyes. Yet the indignation did not manifest itself in chances, Everton’s obdurate defending was stifling Arsenal’s creative talent.

The second half saw more purposeful endeavour from the hosts. van Persie and Clichy threatened without testing Howard, Arsène had to make changes to ensure that the good work in recent Premier League matches was not undone. Arshavin and Bendtner came on, Wilshere and the ineffective Rosický departed.

With twenty minutes remaining, Arshavin’s introduction paid off. Fàbregas lofted the ball over the massed ranks of the Evertonian defence, Rodwell’s attempted interception merely ensuring that the ball sat perfectly for Arshavin’s cushioned volley to find the back of the net. Relief all around The Emirates, relief that would within five minutes turn to joy.

Bendtner nimbly executed a bicycle kick into Howard’s arms before van Persie drew an outstanding save from a free kick, the American somehow clawing the Dutchman’s effort from under the bar, almost defying the Laws of Physics by pushing it over and to safety.

The respite was temporary, van Persie’s delivery was perfect, Everton’s marking suitably slack and Koscielny strolled through the penalty area to meet the cross, heading home from seven yards. The miss at Stamford Bridge seems a lifetime away.

It was a vital win ahead of the trip to Newcastle. Momentum is being built rather nicely in the Premier League, understated in its coverage but absolute in its execution. The run is reminscent of the 1997/98 season where Manchester United were the eye of the media storm and Arsenal simply went about their business, consistently winning, sometimes needing a spark to get the result and other occasions, destroying the opposition but rewarded by only a single goal victory.

Last night was more about character, something that Arsenal are often said to lack. Make no mistake, this team knows what it takes to win the title and they know they have it. Now they just have to continue believing.

’til Tomorrow.

359 thoughts on “Arsenal Not In Mint Condition But Too Sharp For Everton

  1. It many ways dups, this season is a thriller. Not least because we are in with a great chance. Just pray for a non repeat of the spectacular collapses that befell us in 2007-2008 and last year.

  2. United might have a bit of trouble in the next few weeks:
    Sat 05/02/11 Wolverhampton -A
    Sat 12/02/11 Manchester City -H
    Sat 26/02/11 Wigan Athletic -A
    Tue 01/03/11 Chelsea -A
    Sun 06/03/11 Liverpool -A

    4 away games and Citeh at home.

  3. After 12 hours of reflection, I’ve got to say YW is right; technically Kos by swinging and making contact with that ball played Saha onside but as most of us have observed, in the spirit and practise of the game it was offside. YW is a hard case bastard and rightly stood his ground. Fair play to him.
    As Irish observed at 8:49 pm, for so many seemingly intelligent people to disagree with YW vehemently (but civilly) tels us how stupid the present FIFA incarnation of the offside rule.
    Not even Andy Grey understands it and so rightly was shot because Sian Massey knew better. 🙂

  4. Shotta but the ball was played before he swung his foot at that point the whistle shouldve been blown, since the ball was being played to an offside player. Unless the linesmen are going to wait to see if any contact is made everytime before they flag for offside (and they dont) I cannot see how it is not plainly offside.

  5. Koscielny just said that Arsenal are the main challengers to Man U. seems a little early for me. all it takes is a loss and Chelski to win and they are right back in the hunt. But that seems too negative . How about Chelkski beat Manu and we keep winning. Maybe Chelsea can beat them twice! That will be the day..

  6. Just been reading the untold Arsenal ref watch piece BEFORE the game last night. Top top stuff that also is quite scary really! We did well to get anything from a ref who is blatantly partial.

  7. My final thoughts –
    If a defender sticks a part of his body in the way of a shot or pass and he makes any kind of contact which alters the flight, we call that a deflection, don’t we?
    Kos intended to intercept or block the ball over the top. He did not intend to make a pass, wayward or otherwise. It’s not like he intercepted or collected the ball and then tried to pass it to the keeper, or Djourou, but been careless. That’s what I would call a deliberate back pass, albeit a bad one.

    But in any case it comes down to the para posted by steww. The linesman could and should have raised his flag when the ball went towards the only Everton player who could have collected it, and who was offside at the time the ball was played. I suspect that the linesman realised he’d fluffed a really obvious offside so he pretended to the ref that he had seen a back pass.

  8. I know I really shouldnt take anything in written by hacks at the daily mail, but they are trying to suggest cesc is frustrated due to his non transfer to barcelonDNAland.

    Seriously these freakin hacks need to get a real job.

  9. Who am I ?

    I scored 24 goals helping my side win promotion back to the Premier League aged just 22.

    In my first season in the top flight I had an impressive 15 goals by the end of January. Inc a goal against the reigning champions and in a home win over Liverplol. My form earned me an England call-up and my début in an international friendly.

    Am I £35m striker?

    No I am Michael Ricketts, February 2002.

  10. @ Dexter
    I saw that absolute bollocks as well. And that inference was made from his description of Ipswich as a rugby team, and his not having more than two shirts to give away to Huddersfield players.
    You couldn’t make it up…. Oh.
    clockendrider was right on the money.

  11. FG

    There’s a powerpoint presentation on Fifa’s site that states they would rather lino’s flag late and get it right, than early and get it wrong. In not flagging immediately, all the lino was doing was obeying a Fifa directive…

    YW

  12. So phil mitchell has not reported Cesc in his match report, well surely if he had been so badly verbly abused…moyes you fukin c*nt, like bob said he goes on the list.

  13. Results for Troll of the month have just come in.

    Bill in a land slide. Kublai Khan took the runner up for those interested.

  14. It is a testament to the beauty of football that the question of offside or not has gotten all of us so riled up here. In American sports we take it for granted that refereeing decisions dictate the outcome of games, as opposed the the play of the athletes. In baseball, American football, and especially in basketball, players and coaches spend as much time manipulating the rules as they do playing the game. Football is relatively free from this. That diving is such a controversial part of football is an indication that it is not completely free.

    That we are all so hung up on this question of offside points to all of our love of the fact that players, not referees, should decide the game. I agree with YW, I did when I watched the game, and I do after all the commentary: by the letter of the law, the refs got it right. But the spirit of the law, that no team should gain an advantage by being offside, the decision in glaringly wrong.

    In the sports with which I’m familiar, judgment, as opposed to following the letter of the law, has no better license than in football. So while we might disagree about the decision, let’s be thankful we follow a sport that tends to favor the former over the latter.

    Great, great win last night.

  15. We did get a goal given FOR us in the same circumstances 2 seasons ago. It was against Hull on the night of spitgate. Gallas scored. He was offside, ball came off a Hull player. The goal was given. We qualified. Brown lied.

  16. Complete double standards. Cesc asks the ref were you being paid…quite a straightforward question. Rooney tells the ref to f@ck off and they fill column inches about cesc. F@ck the lot of them. We will be champions.

  17. I’m here to add some fuel to the media vs arsenal fight. I just watched the recent round of prem lge highlights on 101 g goals. all of them had commentary except the arsenal one, it had some lame uninspired rock song as a back track, along with some audible “ooo’s and ahh’s from the crowd” that commentary crew probably could not defend that bogus call. I feel like, hey, that Saha was offside when Coleman passed it. so thats my stance. There are other ways to interpret the situation though.

  18. I got some things to say about our formation as well. Actually about our lack of formation. Over the past few games i have seen all of our “wingers” and RVP receiving the ball in a defensive midfield position. I really believe that our whole team is has great touch and now Djourou and Kos are making driving runs through the center of the defense, all with precise triangles and 1-2 passing. Maybe it’s that god-like and mysterious noun know as Total Football.

  19. That is the point though, Tennessee Arsenal. Football is certainly not a game where the ‘spirit’ of the law holds sway. The decisions of referees are often highly personalised and quite idiosyncratic.

    The current offside law is equivocal. The scenario on Saturday was open to interpretation and opinion with both sides having merit, though not equally. The rules need to be improved. The fact that they have not been reflects badly on the self-elected ‘authorities’ of the game.

  20. Dear oh dear oh dear. The ‘Johnny Foreigner’ hacks are out in force this morning. Actually they are probably tucked up in bed with their teddies still, just their shaven heads poking out. Clutching their willies for security no doubt. Tittering about the shitty little articles they wrote last night.

  21. Frank is absolutely right. How on Earth has Moyes unsubstantiated allegation managed to get so much momentum in the press? Wenger never heard anything, the ref never heard anything controversial enough to report, Fabregas merely insinuates he may have said something, but yet the media are getting all out of shape.

    Comapre and contrast with the ugly face of Man U.

    Will Moyes to complain when Rooney doesn’t get booked for swearing at the referee?

    English football: is it in a cutural revolution or are we still yet to see it?

  22. How the press get excited about this, yet fail to mention any number of Manure players (Rooney springs to mind) screaming all sorts of abuse at a ref during the game is beyond me.

  23. The ugly face of football? Surely wayne Rooney wins that competition hands down…what a role model he is.

  24. “Amos.You have not read them at all. Diagrams 10 & 11 have specifically dealt with your point.” I have and they don’t. If you can believe that they do then you haven’t read my points at all. Time to just accept that you are really just arguing for the sake of it and have no interest in whether the decision was right or wrong at all. Don’t let your shoes get wet while you’re pissing against the wind. 🙂

  25. The strange part is that I’m quite sure the Guardian writer Dominic Fifield’s a gooner…although that never stopped Amy Lawrence from peddling lies.

  26. The reason the media get excited about this is all down to him being a ‘Johnny foreigner’ (and an Arsenal player. If it was from a Man U, English ‘grit’ player it would not be read by the unwashed masses, oop norf.

  27. “How much did you get paid ” That is what Fabregas has said, apparently. What does that mean ? how much is your salary ? or is it are you doing the job you are getting paid to do? Maybe he was just enquiring about the refereeing job that he might do in the future. Kidding aside. if that comment really offended Moyes then he needs to look at himself. Moyes knew he has no ground to stand on even the ref would not be able to report it. Its a question with no answer that you can interpret anyway you like. The ref probably thought about it and realised, I can’t go far with that comment. In a court of law the judge would probably say to the ref and his friend Moyes to go and get a life and don’t waste people’s time. What they need to do is look a Rooney vulgar language on the pitch.

  28. What annoys me the most is the ‘sources in the tunnel’ part. Was that source Everton players, Moyes himself or his 2nd in command or is it made up. It’s always the same even with pizzagate it was sauces (see what I did there).

  29. I’ve got to say Arseblogger has done a good job this morning outing Moyes and the British media in this obvious xenophobic attempt to demonize Cesc. Good on you ablogger. As Arsenal supporters we really need to close ranks on this one. The goal is fairly obvious. Demonize Cesc, in the eyes of officials especially, and hope this will affect our talismanic captain thus derail The Arsenal.

  30. Any of you guys saw the nutter Kublai Khan, whom we roasted, being feted and given time and space to spout his extremist garbage at Arsenal Truth (sic). Birds of a feather.

  31. That was offside in my opinion, one of the clearest I have seen recently.

    Involuntary or voluntary contact is irrelevant as defenders are supposed to play to the whistle. What is relevant is that Kosc tried to intercept the ball, not pass it back to the goalkeeper.

    Yogi how would you interpret this situation. Say a player is hanging around the goalkeeper ahead of the defence. Anotherplayer shoots at goal and the goalkeeper palms it away, and presents the attacker near him with a tap in. Surely that would be offside, but in your interpretation it would not as the goalkeeper made a voluntary attempt to save the ball.

  32. matt lawson, this dominic cvnt, all the other little arsewipes having a go at trying to insist Cesc is not worthy.

    These showers of shit are stealing oxygen from intelligent people, they need to be encouraged to cease (breathing).

    Honestly, I don’t think this is even a debate anymore, I think Gooners world-wide should just send repeat mails to any chops of this ilk saying “go and fuck yourself”, there is no point in debating with a moron.

    If enough of us send mails each and every day, we can crash their servers and put them out of commission, it’s certainly no less than they deserve.

  33. Similarly, why do the club tolerate these scum?

    They should not have any accreditation to attend games, and should they actually pay to attend, they should be forced to wear badges and not allowed seats, they can sit on the stairs.

    It pisses me off that these scum are treated royally, fed, entertained, and then behave like they do.

    All fans, even visitors should be allowed to push in front of them at queues, they should be treated like the dogshit that they are.

  34. Haahahahhahahahahahahahaha….HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA…uurgh…dearie me. We should be allowed to push in front of them in the queue…hahahahahahhahahahahahaha…..they should be made to sit on the steps…….HHHHHHHhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrgh…..HAHAHAHAHAHA…….brilliant.

  35. MikeSA | February 3, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    I never post to these newspaper sites. Their goal is fairly obvious; deliberately stir up a lot of unfounded anti-Arsenal shit in the hope that it will attract more eyeballs . If we get involved in a slanging match with the various morons who support the Spuds, ManYtd and Liverpool it will make them even happier and richer as they share the loot with Googled ads. They can f*ck off as far as I am concerned.

  36. When you look at all the minor and rather petty things that’s being reported about Cesc it’s almost as though the media are trying to push Cesc out the country

  37. It has been long rumoured that Arsenal have been tracking the Brazilian wonderkid Zezinho and it seems they have made two previous offers to his club Juventude. But now Zezinho himself believes that his time in Brazil has finished and he is on his way to join Arsenal..The Brazil U17 star who helped his country win the World U17 Championships has been linked with many top European clubs and it was rumoured a few months ago that Liverpool had secured a deal for the young star but it seems Juventude rejected the bid.

  38. Koscielny tried to clear the ball BECAUSE Saha was there. Therefore Saha WAS INTERFERING WITH PLAY.

    If Saha had not been there, Koscielny would have happily let the ball run back to the keeper, so he affected the outcome and gained an advantage. Offside.

    If your argument is that Koscielny thought there maybe other, onside players, to receive the ball, then the may be a case. But this is a 3rd order argument. If lino’s need to think about that, then they really do need to simplify this rule.

Comments are closed.