Arsenal 2 – 1 Referee… Everton Defeated!

Last night was cold.

Arsenal don’t play that well in the cold – and like a ferrari in the winter, we took a while to get going.

Arsene reverted to his strongest possible line-up but with Nasri injured, Rosicky was drafted in to the left of midfield, with Arshavin, having played a lot of football in the recent cup games, starting on the bench. The line up was:

Szcznesy

Sagna – Djourou – Koscielny – Clichy

Wilshere – Song

Walcott – Cesc – Rosicky

Van Persie

With a bench of Almunia, Eboue, Gibbs, Diaby, Arshavin, Bendtner and Chamakh

The first half was a shocking first half for two reasons. Firstly, we were really out of sorts. Our fluidity was lost. Rosicky wasn’t quite Nasri and the cold night made us really a shadow of what we’ve seen from the first team in recent games. And secondly – it was probably had the worst set of refereeing decisions ever known to man – quite how Lee Mason is a Premiership referee, I don’t know. Jack’s yellow card was just stupid and the consistency of refereeing was absent, as many Everton players got away with a lot worse without a card. Djourou was elbowed, Theo flattened when on the break, Rosicky sythed down several times – nothing given. And when Theo was fouled three times but emerged with the ball in front of the last defender, the ref thought it wise to pull back play – the advantage rule??? And to top all these absolutely stupid refereeing decisions, when Louis Saha scored his goal, he was clearly a yard offside. Sky Sports, the BBC, and most media outlets – for once – in agreement on this.

Credit to Everton for their general performance and game plan – as an Arsenal fan, I didn’t like it – but they controlled a lot of the first half – they were sharp, focused and their passing was crisp – which is pretty much the opposite of we played.

But credit to our team’s second half performance – well, second half of the second half… the introduction of Arshavin and Bendtner actually had the desired effect – both playing well and Arshavin stealing the show with some sublime play, much better than previous this season. He equalised when Cesc lifted the ball over the defence and he ran on it to and volleyed past the keeper… and credit to Koscielny for plugging away at the back against a tricky forward line as well as popping up for the winner. It was great header – and a great huddle of a celebration!!

Arsene had a lot to say and talked first about our character:

I’m very happy today because we won against a good Everton side. We had problems in the first half getting started. I feel we had chances but our game lacked a bit of cohesion in the passing and we lost some balls down to good closing-down from Everton and as well to some technical mistakes. And today I would say it was more a victory of a team with fantastic spirit and a never-say-die attitude than our usual game. But that of course is needed in a competition like that.

And then he focused on the offside goal, which as mentioned before was an absolutely ludicrous decision…

For me the first goal was offside. If someone can demonstrate mathematically to me that it was not, I am ready to accept it. But it was offside because the pass was destined to Saha at the start. He was three-yards offside. I think Koscielny touched the ball and they interpreted it as a pass. I interpreted it as a deflection. But clearly the intention was to give the ball to Saha was offside and he took advantage of his offside position. After, he finished fantastically well. But we were 1-0 down and had it all to do in the second half.

As we approach the run into the end of the season – the key thing we need to avoid is injuries to key members of the team – and we’ve suffered a big loss in Samir Nasri – who has been confirmed as out for the month of February – with a small chance of return before the month end. Last night, we lost Alex Song, who is unable to walk and possibly Theo Walcott too – and it’s essential that we don’t lose any more of our first team. One or two reserves / squad players can come in and do a job now and again, but to rely on them week in and week out isn’t what we need!

Until tomorrow, my friends, adios…

  • Fo

    What a crazy game – that referee & his assistants must have had a hidden agenda – simple things like fouls, blocks, corners he got wrong – and the linesman said that Koscielny attempted a deliberate back pass???

    Complete rubbish!!!

    I am so glad we managed to win the game – great resolve ona VERY cold night!!

  • Vazy

    @arseneknows

    more people love a good whine thats why! (saying that i dont think any of us are 100% above it!)

    on a side note! the Ref and linesman were clearly on some sort of crack and/or had a considerable bundle donated to their bank accounts.. shocking decisions tonight lads, so proud of our team to dig deep and really pull off a fantastic turn around!

    GO ON YOU GOONERS!

  • pisssedoff

    To win the league you don’t expect a jolly ride. It will definetly get worse as we put pressure on united. naturally expect favours will you and go against you at some point. Has anyone got information on song and theo course we desperately need them bothbfor the fight. Manu re on fire but am confident they will grounded against us, Chelsea twice and pool.

  • yemi

    I didn’t watch the first half yesterday so i was not opportuned to see the Saha goal butI just saw the highlights this morning and i’ll saw he was haf a mile offside!!!

    What in the world was the lines man thinking of ?

    On another note, If arsenal had lost that match, we would have had more than 50 comments on this post by now !!!! fiar weather badmouthing “fans”

  • Tim

    Arshavin’s arrival turned the game – lots of energy and a well-taken goal. Poor Rosicky was a peripheral figure – what with his lack of match time and low confidence, I fear he is now on the down-slope.

    Anyway, a great win. We did the job we needed to do in trying circumstances, and there was no need for us to complain about how we had lost because the whole world is against us. Another sign of a team which has grown up this season!

  • devday

    @pissedoff

    Without a doubt, it goes as saying that we need to win as many games as possible in the run in. Last season we wouldn’t have won games like last night + so kudos to the team.

    We’re running low on first team players and fatigue is setting in – a consequence on fighting on all 4 fronts. But we’re plugging away.

    We need United to drop some points soon – they have a tough run in – the Manchester derby – Chelsea home and away – Liv away, so as long as we plug away, we’ll still be in it all the way to the end.

    Oh, and April the 29th / 30th weekend, it’s Arsenal vs Man U!

  • devday

    @yemi

    Completely offside, any rule book, any day of the week!
    Sometimes when the referee’s assistant gets it wrong – the ref needs to over rule! And yesterday the referee was shambolic!

    But all I can do is praise the boys for their ugly win and comeback against all odds!!

  • devday

    @fo…

    Rings of “1-0 to the referee” and “cheat, cheat, cheat” and “you don’t know what you’re doing” prevelant to the max. Lee Mason will go down in history for this shambolic game!

  • theusualsuspect

    Firstly what a team, and what a performance. This team are really growing in stature game by game and are starting to look like the “world beaters” AW has been telling us about for so long. They just need to believe in themselves, and the sky is the limit. Acctually that new galaxy theve found 300 billion lightyears away will be the limit….
    I dont want to get into the refereing, or lack thereof, as it has been pretty much covered above, and even a blind man could see how blatanly they were cheating last night. What i would like to discuss briefly is the match commentators.
    How is it that after Everton scored the commentators suddenly forget the rules of football and start going on about how there a grey area and no-one really knows the rules which leaves them open to interpretation by the officials. If the same goal had been scored against Manure the commentators would be asking how the linesman could have possibly got that wrong as the forward is obviously offside when the ball is played. but that would just be hyperthetical as we all know it would never happen to united.
    My question is this: Why does the whole of the british footballing world, i.e. refs, commentators, FA etc all hate our club??? esspecialy when Eufa are saying that we are the “model” club to follow!!! i mean WTF!!!!!!
    Oh to be a gooner.

  • yemi

    @ theusualsuspect:
    Feel ur pain

  • theusualsuspect

    Secondly i could not believe how much Caroll went for I mean 35mill? This is a player with no Champions League experience, less than a years worth of Premier league experience and one England cap to his name.

    If Carroll is worth that, then how much is Nicklas Bendtner, a player slated all the time, worth?

    In my opinion the football world has gone ab-so-lutely ga ga. Lady Gaga has nothing on the money spent by these clubs.

    Of course Andy Carroll is full of potential, potential being the key word here, and the fee Liverpool paid for him is not his problem. But while the the transfer fee itself makes me dizzy, the fact that Carroll put in a transfer request pisses me off.

    If someone like Andy Carroll puts in a transfer request then what hope is there for loyalty in the game?

    Carroll is a player who support(s)ed Newcastle United and apparently dreamed of wearing the number 9 shirt with the club. He achieved that. He also signed a five-year-deal with the Toon in November and wanted to stay with the club forever.

    Andy would have had the world at his feet whenever he stepped out into the city of Newcastle and would have been treated like a God. They love a local lad up there, especially one wearing the number 9 shirt.

    So why hand in a transfer request?

    Carroll is now saying that he was forced out of Newcastle. I’m sorry but I don’t buy that. Nobody ‘forced’ him to request a transfer. He could have just said I don’t want to leave and that is that.

    If I played for Arsenal and was as loved by Gooners as much as Carroll was by Geordie’s I would never leave the club. I wouldn’t dream of it.

    In fact, not even a loaded gun pointed to my head and the threat of being forced to watch Harry Redknapp interviews all day would force me.

    Here we have a player who has fulfilled every Newcastle United supporting fans dreams and now let them down. Could you do to Gooners what he has done to the Toon Army?

    There is not a lot of loyalty left in the game today. Every player is motivated by money and I think that the days of one-club-players have gone and won’t be back.

    And that is a sad situation.

  • tom

    Hahahaha Xavi in the sun talking about Cesc’s DNA again, this guy is obsessed!

  • Tony Boy

    Well I could hardly talk by the time I got out the ground. What a great win and we really dug deep to come back after the ridic first half. The ref has got to be one of the worst ever. Not just the off side goal but also that he was quite happy for Everton to kick seven shades out of us.
    I thought Sagna was emense and Kosci is getting better all the time.
    I think Man U will drop points against the big teams they are relying too much on old men and will run out of puff and luck eventually.
    We just have to keep going and we will get there.

    Come on you rip roaring reds!

  • Kodjo

    Didnt watch the game but from what i hear grit over finess won the game….but who cares….lets keep plugging on…at least he lads seem to have learnt that we do not have play pretty-pretty all of the time to win games. That in itself obliterates the unconciuos pschological pressure on the team. Very realistic assessment of the situation and implementation of all resources in real time.

    And less i forget, kudos to Arshavin, it looks like the swagger and confidence of last year is beginning to resurface. Good time giving Nasri’s injury… really positive.

  • Berth

    Dev – just want to chip in something.Any of u aware of (espn soccernet press pass) gives you a point of view from neutral analyst from different part of the world and not the biased British media empire; perhaps, Rupert Murdoch is a Manu fan.

  • Goonerman

    Seriously this whole media Witch hung against cesc is a complete disgrace!! A couple of weeks ago I watched Rooney live on sky during a match call a referee every single name under the sun yet not one word is said, on the other hand when cesc has his outburst in a tunnel because of one of the worst decisions you will see his role as a captain and his commitment to arsenal is yet again questioned!! It’s a joke and the media need to find a new club to birch about!

  • olutoni

    I’m just so optimistic about this season. I can only see us getting better and better. Lets keep up the faith and keep supporting the team we love.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3A5VC085-U

    Nice video