Turning Point or Crowded Out?

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I’m sure we’re not alone in thinking such things but this is another of those pivotal weeks in Arsenal’s season. Tomorrow’s FA Cup replay against Hull is another stepping stone on the path to Wembley with hopefully the visit of Watford in the next round this Saturday.

The Cup wasn’t supposed to be Arsenal’s last tilt at silverware this early in the season, not until the title had been won. It won’t be, no matter what the public utterances of the manager or the maths tell you; it’s Leicester’s to lose and frankly, given that Tottenham are the most likely beneficiaries, I’d rather they didn’t blow it spectacularly.

But to Hull and back tomorrow night, with no excuse for Arsène not to field his strongest side beyond the suspended Francis Coquelin. I’m sure that Wenger would rather stick to his ‘tried and trusted’ formula of rotating players but injuries limit his options and the importance of the match is such that he can forgo that luxury.

The point at Tottenham, the manner in which it was achieved, is the positive after weeks of negatives. Reduced to ten men and conceding two goals quickly has in the past been a recipe for a disaster. None of us would have been surprised if defeat by a big margin had followed. Yet it didn’t; the fight, the spirit, so noticeable by their absence in previous weeks, returned and in the perfect match.

Losing to Barcelona, despite protestations to the contrary, had a hugely negative effect on a side notorious for brittle confidence. Yet Arsenal were architects of their own downfall in the manner the two goals were conceded which begs the question as to why it hit so hard. Losing to what is currently rated as the best side in Europe is hardly shameful so why did it have such a big impact?

This is nothing new either. Arsenal habitually have poor runs in clusters; a number of draws and groups book-end a winning run. It’s a hallmark of Wenger’s sides that this happens but whilst we’re hardly unique in football for this happening, we’ve never seen a solution to the pattern. Perhaps there isn’t one.

We need, however, to use Saturday as the starting point for the remainder of the season. United’s defeat at the weekend leaves Arsenal in a slightly better position regarding the top four. I can’t see us winning the title, Leicester are too far ahead. Second is within reach and both sides have difficult fixtures to negotiate; so too City. Nothing in terms of the Champions League places is likely to be decided any time soon.

Arsenal need to take belief from anywhere. I know that sounds like clutching at straws – perhaps it is – but for a few weeks, we’ve been bereft of confidence. Arsène pondered on the impact of “nervousness” in the stadium in recent matches and about how the players may be affected by it.

The problem is that players and supporters survive in a symbiotic relationship with each feeding off the others energy. It’s an age-old argument about whose job it is to begin that process but the reality is that it depends on the opposition.

Supporters don’t need any incentive to be vocal for the big matches, there’s a tension and vibrancy of our own. It happens for other games as well but sometimes – perhaps more often than not – it requires a spark from the pitch to get the crowd going. Not even a goal is necessary, something which shows that the players are up for it. When that doesn’t happen, there is a quietness about the ground.

It’s not unique to Arsenal either. There’s a mythology about football grounds these days, where supporters are eulogised based on past reputations. Previously thought of cauldrons, stadiums like Anfield and St James Park are more than capable of being morgues if things aren’t going right on the pitch.

That’s the downside of all-seater stadia and of the soulless concrete bowls erected. There are laudable efforts to imbue a sense of camaraderie but the days of the terrace culture are gone. It wasn’t always pleasant either but there was an atmosphere of sorts. Bringing back safe standing might change that but this generation and those in the future would establish their own collective identities, bringing a different atmosphere to the game.

What impact that has on players is questionable. We’re routinely told that they block out the noise of the crowd in away games and I suspect that happens a lot in home games as well, beyond the adulation when a goal is scored. It seems almost inconceivable that players aren’t affected by the extremes of crowd involvement, a ‘super-charged’ or deathly silent stadium must surely impact on the game. The rest of the time, there’s anecdotal evidence to suggest players barely know the crowd are there.

But more than anything, their mood comes from themselves. Talk of supporters is, for the most part, noise around the collective mood of the squad. Arsenal are subdued at the moment with the deflation of losing their way in the Premier League, all but out of Europe. If we’re thinking these things, the players will as well, possibly more intensely if as we’re always told, at this level money is secondary to silverware.

Goal droughts and poor form; these have to be resolved by the squad. There’s nothing the crowd can do which will make Olivier Giroud score or Gabriel time a tackle to perfection. Per Mertesacker isn’t going to gain a yard of pace through the supporters, even if he and they may seem lifted by an occasion. The problems at Arsenal have to be solved by the players.

Hopefully Saturday saw that turning point. We shall see.

’til Tomorrow.

51 thoughts on “Turning Point or Crowded Out?

  1. andy1886 says:

    Of more influence on the players would be the ‘excuse culture’ that Arsene personifies – always someone else’s fault. That is much more likely to be taken on board by the players than what is quite honestly a mild expression of discontent from the fans. I often wonder what younger supporters would have made of some of the old 70’s/80’s shows of outright hostility – it was on a different level.

    Arsene may occasionally have a small dig at players but almost never accepts responsibility himself. The players must notice that, maybe it wasn’t down to them, perhaps it was the referee, fixture congestion, financial doping, hair supplements and numerous other things….

  2. Phil says:

    Morning,
    Good one YW.
    For a team with such mental strength, there appears many ways for their mentality to be undermined.

  3. jodre says:

    OK i agreed with the long narration.on Saturday i was in town from up country the last game by swans i took three bottles of red wine i over slept and snoring like a pig. actually i felt so disappointing i love arsenal more than a blood to test. hopefully the Saturday march was on nervously on to every but i became back after the equalizer.

    Regards,

    kombe jodre
    east africa zanzibar

  4. YW says:

    Andy

    Think there’s an element of that with the manager. He’s admitted before that he’s a notoriously bad loser who takes time to recover from defeat. I think that’s more of an issue if true. If the leader is downbeat, it has to affect the players.

    Over time, I’d suspect that this would become an ingrained part of the psyche in the club, surviving turnover of players through the longevity of some squad members.

  5. Wavey says:

    Morning,

    I’ve seen comments on Facebook recently about the poor support with the Emirates, the negative vibes from the crowd and the football tourists.
    Fans don’t turn up to games with the express intention of getting on the players’ backs, we arrive with a degree of anticipation and sometimes a little apprehension. It’s what happens on the pitch that changes the sentiment of the crowd. In particular, the team’s ability to turn up with a sense of lethargy running through the players, an inability to lift themselves for the game. This quickly gets transmitted to the fans and the inevitable negative atmosphere seeps into those in the stands as there is a feeling that “the lads aren’t up for this one”. Unfortunately that is too often the case now and a bit of effort to keep the fans onside would help make the Emirates a tougher visit for away teams.

  6. C says:

    Top stuff Yogi.

    Shame how quickly things seem to have fallen apart, its as though Arsene put so much stock into that Barca match and then banged on about how this squad mentally was different and wouldn’t choke the title away and have struggled since.

    Home supporters not making a difference and giving you that bit of belief, ask Leicester? Yea they play like that away, but that stadium is raucious(at least thats how it appears from my couch) and you see what happens when they are going mental and then Leicester match that, its in a word, perfect. The thing is, why can’t the Emirates be like that, not sure but seems to lack a true soul.

  7. silvergunner says:

    Morning YW a nice read, like you I just hope the spuds don’t win it.
    We are realistically too far away and can’t see the spuds slipping to let us back in.
    I honestly think a part of our nervousness is down to Wenger he talks the talk but I don’t think he always walks the walk.
    Just such a shame we couldn’t capitalise on the madness in this seasons league season.

  8. andy1886 says:

    The thing is C that the Ems is just so corporate, remember that they even had to try to make it more appealing by what they called ‘Arsenalisation’? So artificial. When people are treated like ‘consumers’ or ‘customers’ and the game as an ‘entertainment’ rather than a sport with fans this is what you get. When prices are inflated so much that traditional fans are priced out this is also what you get. A stadium half full of people there for a nice day out isn’t going to be a fortress by any means.

  9. HenryB says:

    An interesting and well written Post, Yogi.

    There are plenty of bloggers who are better able to express their dislike of the club ownership and the manager than me, so I will leave that to them, but I do have an indirect beef of my own with the manager about something that I do not really understand.

    A comment you made in the Post reminded me that I do not believe that it is the impact of losing a game, or the apathy or criticism of the fans in the ground that leads to the unwanted consequence of losing the immediately following game(s).

    No,it is not that.

    My beef is that, as others will have noted, there is a characteristic latent tendency of AW to be reactive rather than pro-active when it comes to players.

    As I believe Damon reminded us recently, Flamini rolled up out of the blue, having been given his cards by Milan, and Arsene decided that he might as well keep him as he was training at the Arsenal. Planned? No. Reactive? Yes.

    We acquired Debuchy to replace Sagna and AW let Jenks go out on loan – Debouchy got injured so Chambers became the stand in right back – but he was hopeless, and Belli Button the Kid came in and did well, so Chambers now inhabits the pine, and Debouchy is told he can go, Jenks is left in no mans land and …. Planned? No. Reactive? Yes.

    Last season we had a run of horrific long term injuries, many featuring midfield players.
    So, Arsene having decided, long ago, that Le Coq could, prior to being given the boot, try his luck on loan in Germany and then Charlton, and frankly he was not very good, partly through injury.
    In desperation he was recalled.
    Yay – he was unexpectedly good for us, having become a reformed character and limiting himself to being a holding/defensive midfielder and staying in his own half. Sadly, his old problems returned this season when he decided he was a top notch attacking midfielder, spending too much time in the opposition half – the result – we now have two ‘stay away’ midfielders, as he and Ramsey no longer complement each other.
    Planned? No. Reactive yes.

    Mertesecker, who has been a great CB for club and country, has been in decline for the last two seasons, as regards his rapidly diminishing pace, and this has cost us dearly in more and more games.
    The truth is there for all those, without blinkers, to see. What has been done? Nothing.

    If we lose the chance to win the title this season as a result of the unsuitability or lack of quality of these players, and the lack of early planning to recruit replacements – this is what is causing the team to lose, at least in part, and not for any other reason.

    [Don’t know what came over me – that’s possibly bollix – I think Andy’s perpetual misery is affecting me.] 😀

  10. HenryB says:

    Yogi @ 10:03

    The manager is a self confessed bad loser, but so are all the other managers, and I rather hope – but also rather doubt – that all our players are bad losers.

    The fact is – we fans, as committed for life supporters, are the worst of all bad losers – it’s just that we all have our own ways of dealing with disappointment.

  11. dalm says:

    HenryB @ 10.48

    I think I recall through the mists of time thinking along similar lines with issues ref the Manager and players even in the much earlier and more glorious times –

    Seaman retained too long;
    Anelka not selected until forced by injuries (I think) to Ian WrightWrightWright;

    Similarly the holding on to players like Diaby – arguably Rosicky, Little Jack…

  12. Finnish Hit says:

    An interesting read, I’m always intrigued about the team/supporters interaction. And that it’s waning a bit everywhere.

    I would guess that some of it has to do with modern times, that everyone now has so much alternatives for their free time, that footie isn’t just about the only thing you can invest your time in.

  13. Finnish Hit says:

    “From inside the game you’re not going to hear people criticise Arsene Wenger because when you’re in management as long as he’s done and what he’s been able to get at Arsenal then who is anybody to criticise him?

    “I find that really appalling. He’s built a fantastic squad – he’s helped finance it, he’s had to sell players. He’s never been able to really compete at the top level like anybody else has at a top club yet has kept them in the top four for 17 or 18 years.

    “For me you only get one thing, which is respect. He deserves a bit more than what he gets dished out considering what he’s achieved.

    “It’s very difficult to win a title. Manchester United went 20-odd years before they won 10 of them. With the emergence of Chelsea and Manchester City over the last decade then it is very, very difficult.

    “It doesn’t just come as easy than what it used to.”

    Not me but Steve Bruce, via BBC. I like how he pointedly started with “From inside the game you’re not going to hear people criticise…”

  14. C says:

    @andy

    Tend to agree with all of that, though there are times when the Emirates has the sound of potentially being a fortress like against Leicester. The potential is there but I do think that the corporate side of things has taken some of the soul from the Emirates.

  15. Pete the Thirst says:

    I thought we finally set up with tactics to beat Spurs at the weekend. That’s right TACTICS! 2 sitting midfielders protect a slow defence, and allow the forwards to attack without too much concern for defending. If it wasn’t for the Coq sending off I think we would have won easily. Spurs were out of ideas, and Welbeck was causing the Spurs centre backs big problems. They have no pace, and Dier covering is slow also.

    Anybody else think Lloris could have done better for our 2 goals? He’s massively over-rated in my opinion.

    Leicester will slip up, I just doubt Arsenal can capitalise, unless we do TACTICS. I think Wenger feels tactics are an affront to his style.

  16. Pete the Thirst says:

    @C & @Andy the uncomfortable truth is that Highbury was a quiet ground. It had it’s moments, but like the Emirates it was pretty quiet, and there was little corporate at the time. Arsenal fans have always needed a kick up the arse to get excited.

  17. Phil says:

    Finnish Hit,
    There appears some unwritten law, ( or maybe they all signed a pledge and its in a vault somewhere), that managers don’t criticise other managers.
    Conversely there are a number of people inside the game, including a number of retired Arsenal players, who regularly criticise Wenger. Primarily for the spending, or lack thereof, but also tactics, and the mental fragility of Arsenal.

  18. C says:

    @Pete

    And I have heard that before but can’t speak directly ofcourse. The thing is, the Emriates lacks that futbol stadium feel.

  19. Phil says:

    Pete,
    Far be it for me to question you Re Highbury, as I am sure you went to plenty.
    But every time I went, the atmosphere was very good. Admittedly, I am talking of a sample size of only about 20 – 30 times over a long period.
    It wasn’t called the library for nothing I assume.
    But compared to the Emirates…
    Mind you the design of the Emirates isn’t conducive to retaining sound very well, yes, there are a lot of tourists, and the away supporters are given too may tickets. All in all, it’s not a work in progress, it is what it is.

  20. nicky says:

    Despite protests and mainly since the end of WW2, Arsenal fans have been rightly accused of being the most fickle of all. There have been the most appalling examples of outright abuse by certain sections of the home fans towards players who have incurred their wrath.
    Denilson, Walcott and Ramsey come easily to mind.
    Even today, it doesn’t take much for the Ems crowd to turn against a team member, no matter how hard he is trying.
    And lately, even Arsene has been publicly critical of performance which is of no help at all.
    A true supporter will always back every player the manager has selected to wear the shirt, throughout every game.

  21. HenryB says:

    C,

    For what it is worth, I used to have a season ticket at Highbury for a few short years. I loved it, and always wondered why it was referred to as ‘Highbury the Library’, because it did not feel like that when I went.

    I have been to the Emirates, a number of times, but no longer have a season ticket, and there is a ‘problem’ with the stadium acoustics as far as I am concerned, and not necessarily a problem with the fans.

    The stadium is a vast bowl, and altho I am a big unit, with a big mouth, [no surprise there 🙂 ]I have always been astounded at how the songs and the yells of support get leached away.

    In the early days, the club agreed that they would have to put sounding boards in at the roof level to try and bounce some of the sound back into the stadium rather than simply dissipate out into the ether. But that soon proved difficult and got glossed over.
    They instead put the boards showing Arsenal’s trophy wins around the stadiums, which you can see on TV, and this was supposed to reflect back the sound better than the original concrete did, but it is not enough.

    The journalists and the TV dudes never sit in the ‘ordinary’ seats, where the true fans sing their hearts out, but are closeted in the ‘prawn brigade’ and TV boxes, and never open their mouths to sing or cheer Arsenal on – so frankly they know feck all about the acoustics – but they are the ones who tell the world that the Gooner fans do not sing or support their team. That’s a lie.

    Of course, there are games where the team have played badly, or are losing, and where the fans are much quieter, but that is the same at every other club’s supporters, when I have been to away games.

    When you make it to the UK and the Emirates, you will know exactly what I mean about the effect the stadium bowl has on sound, and altho you will probably be seen as a ‘tourist’ or an overseas Arsenal fan, believe me you will sing your heart out too, and be miffed if someone tells you the lack of noise is your fault.

  22. Finnish Hit says:

    Phil,
    Managers rarely give praise to other managers either. I just thought to bump it up as a way of showing there are many truths.

    In fairness, there are always loads of ex-players from every club available to air their different views, and the media likes to highlight the conflicting ones because it’s better for their sell-sell business. Jamie Redknapp gave high praise for Wenger a couple of days ago, but that too was muffled out. (Although his comments were indeed conflicting regarding his background…)

  23. YW says:

    And yet, Henry, the architects told us that the design was such that it would have the best acoustics in the new stadia of the football world.

  24. YW says:

    Nothing new in the crowd turning on players, Nicky. Samuels, Whyte, Hill, Rix, Davis, Hayes, even the eulogised Groves, Campbell, Quinn; all suffered abuse that if directed to an animal would have the RSPCA on your doorstep.

    We’re not the only set of fans either – ask Mike Duxberry about Old Trafford – and I think we’re no worse than others.

    Where we excel – and I’m not having a pop at you for this BTW – is chastising fans for not supporting in the ‘right’ way. That the right way might not be the right way is never accepted.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a club quite like it in that respect.

  25. C` says:

    @Henry

    Thanks for that. I have talked to several supporters (my former youth manager in greater length than most and his dad had season tickets and then he did until he moved States side) and have quite honestly got a mixed bag. Got everything from Highbury made it very difficult on opponents because of how loud the supporters were and how much they sang; then I heard it was all about who they were playing (which is probably more natural) and then I heard naturally about Highbury the Library and how more often than not it was quite silent.

    I think the biggest difference though between Highbury and the Emirates is the clubs and supporters connection to the stadium. Highbury, I always hear from supporter I talk to in the pubs and then with you lot, that it had a soul, a connection to Arsenal both past and present but the more and more I look and hear about the Emirates the more I feel it has no soul, that it really does represent everything that “corporate Arsenal” is all about and because of that its hard for past and present Gooners of all generations to make it feel like “home”.

    When I finally make it there next season, I will know find out first hand and its a shame I will be looked at as a “tourists” (I’ll have Yogi pass the word on that I’m coming, maybe that will help), but if not, then I will still sing my heart out.

    You a big unit with a big mouth, would have never thought that!

  26. Alex Ice Cream says:

    Yogi,

    There is a solution to the fragile psyche of the players – sack Wenger. The great managers can inspire even average players – Wenger seems to instil fear in great players.

    Look at the tailspin we were in after the 49 match unbeaten run was ended at OT – 6 points from 15 or something similar, the horrible run of 4 straight defeats in 2002 which was only ended by a freak OG from Steve Marlet (remember him?), the implosion after Birmingham in 2008, losing streaks at the end of following seasons such as after the shambolic 4-4 v newcastle in 2011.

    Wenger is the common denominator.

  27. HenryB says:

    Yogi,

    Them thar architectuals lied thru their back teeth. 😀

  28. HenryB says:

    C,

    Sorry, I did not phrase the ‘tourist’ comments properly.

    ‘Tourists’ in the contextI meant, are those who perhaps are not fans as such, but want to ‘tick off’ the Emirates as a place visited on their vacation.

    Overseas fans visiting the Emirates are every bit as passionate as local fans – in my opinion – 🙂 but can be confused with tourists — and if they go home with sore throats from all the singing can be surprised when they get told the fans were ‘quiet’.

    Don’t be put off with all this acoustics stuff. I guarantee when you first walk up the steps and glimpse the stadium bowl and that wonderfully kept, immaculate pitch with the emerald green grass – you WILL love it!! 😀

  29. C` says:

    @Henry

    Yea, I can understand that. Funnily enough, as much as I want to go see a match at the Emirates because it is well the Emirates, I am one of those odd supporters that enjoy drinks at a local pub close to the stadium with supporters than dealing with all of the “other” stuff at stadiums.

    With that said, I can’t wait to walk up to the Emirates, take a look around and soak it all up. 🙂

  30. Finnish Hit says:

    @C`
    If it suits your timetable, I’d also recommend the stadium tour which I did a few years ago when in London. You get in to most Holy places! 🙂

  31. Finnish Hit says:

    AIC,
    I can advise you that inspiring is a two-way street and you can only pull that trick for a certain time, otherwise you run out of steam. See Mourinho this season, Brendan Rodgers in the run-in a couple of years ago.

    In that way, Ranieri has done excellently this year: he seems to be able to serve fighting spirit and relaxation in suitable doses. Experience matters in some things.

    And there was a manager ridiculed and laughed off before the season began. After all, his Greece managed to lose to even effin’ Finland in the qualification stage! 🙂

  32. Bill says:

    Great post Yogi

    I have been banging on about a negative culture at our club since 2011. One of the worst facets of a negative culture is the habit of making excuses when results do not meet expectations. The way you improve is to look critically at why things are going poorly and then fixing the problems. Making excuses is nothing more then a way to avoid having to examine the real reason for problems and it distracts from discovering what is really causing the poor results. You can’t fix a problem until you look into the mirror and admit that you do have a problem. Constantly blaming bad luck or some uncontrollable outside influence is completely counterproductive because no one is willing to admit there is a problem and the real issues are not addressed because we make ourselves believe it’s not our fault and its outside of our control.

    Blaming the fans is perhaps the single worst excuse in a long long list of excuses that have been used over the last 10 years. Arsenal fans are just like the fans of every other team in the world and they are governed by the same human nature as everyone else. Fans are not automatons and you can’t download an optimism app from I tunes which causes them to cheer and sing wildly irregardless of what is happening on the pitch.

    Perhaps worse is Arsene blaming the fans just drives another wedge between the fans and management. Arsene and our team management already divides opinions and blaming segments of the fan base only worsens the divide.

  33. C` says:

    @Finnish

    I will certainly look into it as that is something every fan would want!

  34. C` says:

    Arsene saying Kos is out against Hull (no big suprise) and probably won’t be available for the weekend.

  35. consolsbob says:

    I think the notion that our fans are particularly ‘fickle’ or worse than those of other teams is false.

    We are all much the same, football fans, it’s just our colours that differ, in the main.

    By the way, C, I disagree that it has all ‘fallen apart so quickly’, we have been in decline for a long time as a club and a team. When, exactly, were we actually challenging dor the title? We have just been doing much as we have done for years.

  36. C` says:

    @Bob

    I agree. Let me clarify, I meant “fallen apart so quickly” when I was speaking about this season. I get that we were always teetering on pushing for a true title push and well simply settling for fourth, but its a shame that the very stretch that we all saw as making or breaking this season has actually ended so poorly starting with the draw to Hull, hard fought loss to Barca, then Arsene says we aren’t chokers and then well Swansea, Manure and then Spuds.

    Tomorrow’s match is massive.

  37. Ras says:

    Good afternoon All. @Henry @ 10.48 in My estimation You are bang on in your assertion there.

  38. HenryB says:

    Hi Ras,

    That is a rather beautiful icon you included with your 3:09. 😀

  39. C` says:

    Ospina
    Bellerin—Mert—-Gabriel—Nacho
    ——–Elneny——Ramsey——
    —————Ozil————-
    Theo—–Giroud——Campbell

    That’s the line-up I would go with tomorrow. Hopefully get a 2 or 3 goal lead then bring off Ozil and bring on Iwobi.

  40. Colts says:

    How do we, the many (99%) remove the few (1%).
    Are there any examples inside or outside of football that we can draw from?
    Is there even enough people aware of what is happening to make significant moves. And if so, what moves need to be made.
    Who has the resources needed to create a movement.
    Whom should be the initiators and overseers.
    Do the blogs need to unite.
    Would Ast and other organisations help or join?
    Because quite frankly, Shiite rarely falls into your lap. And I’ll be damned if I’m gonna keep moaning and not at least try to better the situation. But a man is an island yadda yadda.
    Stokegate showed we have power, but as usual working class power is often organised by simpletons.
    The amount of information i have read over the years about arsenal makes me wonder if you could even take Wenger to court on negligence. 🙂

    Just brainstorming.

  41. andy1886 says:

    Arsene quote:

    “We will not give up the Premier League, we will fight until the end,” Wenger, 66, said.

    “Just to remind you, we have beaten Leicester twice so we have done our job against them. People have to look at other teams more, not just us on that front.

    “The Premier League is far from being over.”

    I know I’m a grumpy old git but I find that irritating. “We have done our job against them”. True, just a shame that we screwed up against the likes of Swansea, West Brom, Southampton, West Ham and the poorest United team in decades. So no Arsene, don’t look at other teams doing us a favour, take a long hard look at your own mistakes – at least you can do something about those.

  42. C` says:

    @andy

    ” I know I’m a grumpy old git ”

    Well isn’t that a startling revelation! 😉

  43. SV says:

    Arsene Wenger:
    >>> I have to rotate a little bit and keep the right balance in the team,
    >>> We will play a team that has a good chance of qualifying, no matter who plays.

    He is throwing this one away to play the strongest lineup at Barselona.

  44. SV says:

    Interesting comments from Arsene on him having done his part against Leicester, and other teams having to do theirs.

    I think it’s an attempt to play mind games. I’m not sure it will work though. Why would anyone do Arsenal’s job? No other manager finds Arsene a nice guy or ows him. Besides, who would first profit if Leicester were to slow down? Be carefull what you wish for.

  45. Pete the Thirst says:

    Highbury was a great stadium, just a little quiet. The big games against the usual suspects always had great atmospheres, but on other occasions it felt a bit reserved.

    I had a ST in both the North Bank & Clock Ends when they were standing areas. It’s hard to think that Arsenal used to struggle to get 30k into the ground, 20k against smaller teams like Watford or Luton. On those occasions you could hear the shouts from the dug outs.

    The East Stand always had their own boo boy. It was Merson for years. They had a band of honour of being a group of moaners.

    Best atmosphere I experienced was Man Utd away in the 80s. Huge Arsenal support (3-5k), United fans behind the away section, singing on all 4 sides of the stadium. You literally couldn’t hear a thing because the decibels were so high. Now Old Trafford is very quiet, just like the Emirates.

  46. Bill says:

    C

    Just saw an article about Wellington Silva. Not very encouraging. Going back to Brazil is probably the best option for his career.

  47. Bill says:

    3 of our other can’t miss prospects Chuks Aneke, Fran Merida, and Thomas Eisfeld are toiling in lower level clubs in Belgium, Spain and Germany. I have to admit I am always a bit skeptical whenever I hear about the next great player who is on the cusp of breaking into the first team.

  48. Moe says:

    Bill

    How much of that is ability and how much of it is to do with not being given a chance? Many players who could do a job in the Prem do not get a chance and you never hear from them again. Take Vardy for example, he wasn’t good enough a few years ago for the prem apparently then all of a sudden Leicester get him and he turns into a really good player. Not just him but others as well.

    Of course it doesn’t they would have made it but a lack of quality is simplistic explanation, there are many issues that contribute to players not making it in the first team.

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