Wet Spam, Chopped.

Super Sunday yesterday ended up not being quite so super in the end then. 4 premiership games, 3 derbies and United/Spurs, meant that the day was destined to hold some kind of excitement. Except it didn’t really. 4 draws, the so called ‘game of the day’ ending 0-0. I guess that’s football.

Rewind to Saturday, and we returned to winning ways – Arsenal scored three against an unconvincing West Ham. The fact that we retained 66% possession away from home underlines just how dominant Arsenal were. Make no mistake, West Ham are at the foot of the table for a reason, and further lacked Parker, Noble (after getting injured) and patchy striker Piquionne. The players left were simply not able to compete in the middle of the pitch and most damagingly for them, allowed us to play passes across the pitch without interruption. That’s not to say it was a foregone conclusion. Twice recently we have had the greater share of possession and drawn/lost games.

However, Arsenal were different on Saturday, showing balance and poise in attack – Robin Van Persie looking again like his old self pre injuries, a destroyer and tormentor of defences. RVP offers us not only his ability to link play and bring the players either side of him into the game with smart and concise passing, he also offers a fantastic finishing ability, as marked by his first goal. I do not believe Bendtner or Chamakh would have scored that goal. I don’t believe either striker would have had the presence of mind to shout to Nasri to leave it either. Zonal Marking have an excellent article detailing the attacking aspect of our game.

Walcott often frustrates me, disappearing as he does behind defenders whilst calling for the ball. It does not matter how talented his team mates are, they will never gain the ability to pass through players. The best they can do is kick it into space, past or over defenders for him, yet occasionally he seems to get himself it tight positions surrounded by players and yet he still calls for an impossible ball. It shows a lack of awareness, so hopefully that is something he will learn. I only mention it because against West Ham, Walcott took advantage of a terrible Wayne Bridge and mercilessly exploited the space he found. Walcott was exceptional against West Ham, hopefully he will learn from that and start to present himself for his team mates more often. Using him to draw defenders is a waste of his talents.

Wilshere was also fantastic. He is developing into a fine player, gifted on the ball, creative, but able to challenge and break up play, he is a natural complement to Song and Fabregas is what is surely our strongest midfield trio. His ability to turn into space is wonderful and vital to Arsenal’s quick attacking.

Other Arsenal news includes Sanchez Watt scoring a great opener for Leeds courtesy of 101 Great Goals and breaking news that Arsenal have agreed a partnership with Dutch side Feyonoord which will see us loan them plenty of players awaiting work permits. Something to do with Holland’s apparent lack of fear of immigration. As forward thinking as they are, they have absolutely no problem with well paid sportsmen coming to their country and earning money, whilst paying plenty of tax towards the country’s coffers. More at the always excellent Young Guns.

Fast forward to Sunday, and my main rant of the day – the quality of pundits and commentators on TV. United had Rafael sent off for two bookable offences yesterday, and the pundits were clamouring to call it harsh. First, the player went in studs up, missed the ball and took out the player. Yellow card. Secondly he deliberately went across the back of the Spurs player in a cynical attempt to stop him running through to the goal. That is a booking. A yellow card. Two yellows = a red. The thing that really irritates me is when these people on TV say “it was harsh for a second yellow” like a second yellow should be only issued for a more severe infringement. A yellow card is a yellow card, there isn’t a sliding scale, a yellow card isn’t an orange card, somewhere between a yellow and a straight red, it’s just a yellow card. If that means players get sent off for time wasting or verbally abusing a referee, that’s fine, minor infringements they may be, but they are still yellow card offences. A player on a yellow doesn’t automatically get immunity from some rules. If a player without a booking would get booked, then so should a player with a booking. It really is very simple. Andy Gray is a tosser, and the perception that he must know best (pedalled by himself no less) because he used to play the game, is bollocks. He’s out of touch and doesn’t know the rules.

Very rarely does a referee get praise for the correct decision, yet players, managers, pundits and commentators are the first to jump on the ref when he gets a decision wrong. It’s sad to see Andy Gray leading the charge against a ref who according to the rules of the game got the decision absolutely right. When a pundit says “common sense” ignore him. He’s talking about the referee not applying the rules because he thinks he knows better. That’s not how football works. Football has rules, the referee is there to apply them. Suggesting the referee should ignore the rules, whether you agree with them or not, is 100% whimsical bullshit. The next time Andy Gray suggests the referee “uses a bit of common sense” or “that’s a harsh second yellow” I will actually try and climb into the telly to punch his face off.

  • Fo

    “I will actually try and climb into the telly to punch his face off.”

    Hilarious stuff – I don’t know why Andy Gray is such an idiot – but he is very bias – sometimes he says “I can’t believe he was sent off”… when it’s obvious he should be and sometimes he advocates a sending off when he shouldn’t…

    The ITV Champions League commentator gets it right (forget who) but he always says – “in the letter of the law, that’s a red and the ref has made the right decision!

    Boring super sunday of draws yesterday but the results all went in our favour! Come on the Arsenal, a win at Wigan is the next step… oh yeah, and Leeds in between!!

  • BergkampBurger

    Great post today – really impressed with Wilshere – he reads the game so well, and plays the game so simply – he is really something.

    Do you think we will see Ramsey in the game against Leeds? Do you think Djourou needs a rest? Will we sign a centre back?

  • devday

    Hey Kieran – have to say – great post today. Really good reflection of the weekend events. I think you’re spot on about Chamakh and Bendtner not being able to score the goal that Robin scored. Difference in class there completely.

    Still aggreived that Chamakh hasn’t featured much recently – I really do hope he starts on Wednesday.

  • devday

    @ Fo:
    Commentators are the curse of the game at the moment. There seems to be a lot of anti-Arsenalness – even from the Arsenal greats!

    The commentary on the weekends game on ESPN was awful!!

    And Andy Gray seems to love Man United BIG Time!

  • devday

    @ BergkampBurger:
    Do you think we will see Ramsey in the game against Leeds?
    Yes, I definitely think he will be in the squad, but I don’t think he’ll start.

    Do you think Djourou needs a rest?
    Yes, without a shadow of a doubt, he needs a rest – but I can’t see him getting one in the next couple of games – very worried about how many games he is playing – we need to him have a breather at one stage.

    Will we sign a centre back?
    I really think we need to – but really doubt we will. There are a lot of names touted – and if you consider Squillaci’s age – a long term replacement is very much needed – especially with TV out for the next 2-3 months!

  • CON-MAN

    i think we will get a CB, read in the telegraph vermaelen is having sugery and will be out 4-6 weeks.

    if anything arsene should buy one young, good CB and maybe a squillaci type, someone just for squad numbers

    that said hope scezsney stays as no1 he is looking pretty good

  • devday

    @con-man

    Szcznesy is good but lacks experience as we saw against Ipswich. But he is pretty damn awesome for his age!!

    Re: centre backs, the usual list is Cahill, Jageilka and Upson, but perhaps AW will find an unknown!

  • Berth

    Arsene will think hard this time. he knows the problem with the defence cannot be hidden so he is being a bit coil about it.

    my verdict though is that Wenger will not buy a defender

  • BergkampBurger

    @ Berth:
    Wenger needs to buy a defender. There can be no questions about it!

  • olutoni

    Nice Post!!!Dev Day Really enjoyed it but I’m hoping Wenger doesn’t remain stubborn and not sign a defender which we obviously need.

    My question is what options do we have to get a reliable EPL defender? What I mean is a defender in a club willing to sell and willing to come to Arsenal @ a reasonable fee

  • devday

    @ olutoni:
    The post was written by Kieran Delaney – top Gooner!

    So damn right about needing a defender, but as you’ve said you would be good, a long term signing, at the level we need, and where both club and player are willing to part ways? Hmm, not many!

  • Kieran

    Cheers for the positive feedback guys.

    I don’t understand Arsene Wenger and transfers at the best of times, but I’m baffled as to why he is only looking for a short term cover option. Squillaci is no spring chicken, and with one or two injuries we’re short again at the back. It’s clearly a long term problem.

    The best player in my mind is Cahill, fit young, tall, good defender, good passer, great organiser and “homegrown”.

  • Jeffo

    @ Keiran

    Couldn’t agree more about Cahill i think he would be a great fit.

    ‘ I do not believe Bendtner or Chamakh would have scored that goal’ too bloody right the words cows arse and banjo were invented for mr bendtner.

    Don’t know about you but Eboue at right back really worries me, he seems to get exposed over and over, don’t get me wrong i quite like him and he seems popoular within the squad but he can’t be the number 2 RB at the club.

    And don’t get me started on Andy Grey, he makes my Barrymore list(people who i would be forced to punch should i see them in person)with consumate ease.