Defending Eboué and Wenger

Defending Emmanuel Eboué

I said in my wrap-up of the game that “Emmanuel Eboué dug deep into our bag of tricks and found yet another creative way to prevent us from winning”. I now wish to alter that statement.

Yes, we found another creative way to prevent us from winning the match. But it was not Eboué’s fault.

On first viewing — perhaps even third or fourth viewing — the penalty looked nailed on. But after watching the video more and more often (call me a sadist) I am now utterly convinced that Eboué did little wrong.

In complete contrast, it is Lucas who cuts across Eboué, who is running towards the ball. Lucas does not run towards the ball but runs straight at Eboué and draws the contact. Eboué has eyes on the ball the whole time and even if words like clumsy, careless or just plain silly are those that are normally associated with the Ivorian, there was little he could do to avoid contact here.

I think, as much as he frustrates me he deserves to be cut some slack on this occasion.

Defending Arsené Wenger

Much has been made of Wenger’s post-match complaints and the poor sportsmanship he showed at the final whistle. But let’s give the situation some perspective.

His team have just conceded in the 102nd minute to a penalty that he believes is not a penalty (for the same reasons I outlined above), essentially dashing his title hopes in a hurry. Love him or hate him, Wenger works bloody hard for this club and to expect him to act like a gentleman in this sort of situation is utterly ridiculous.

Most of the big managers are bad losers. Get over it. That will to win, something that many supporters have complained our team lacks this season, is what makes them big managers.

In a perfect world Wenger may have acted more graciously at the final whistle. But this is not a perfect world and just like any fan, emotions were running feverishly high.

Let me know what you think about Eboué and Wenger by leaving a comment.



  1. mate we should not have to blame the ref or eboue (even though he is not good enough for arsenal), we should blame the likes of wengers team selection/tactics…. firstly we are atHOME withONE striker up front then bring on a striker and play him wide, why not (as its supposed to be one of many cup finals) start with chakah-RVP and NB52 up front batter them with crosses and then if need be once having a goal advantage defend it bring on the likes of theo the sprinter and get them on the counter attack as they try to equalise …..simples….. and as for fabregas where has his heart and desire gone… and song cannot tackle so why put him in a place that shows him up !!!!!

  2. Leaving home games disappointed is nothing new, nor is the civil war that again broke out around the ground amongst disgruntled fans. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve walked away believing the league to be out of reach, written off. But then this forgiving and poor league sees an average United drop points, and before you know it you’re walking back into the ground thinking ‘we’re back in it’. We never were. Mathematically? Yes. Still are. But I never liked f**king maths so I’m not going to start being mates with it now.

    We don’t have a chance because we aren’t good enough to be crowned Champions. It would be an insult to the Invincible and double winning sides of the not too distant past if we were. Unless Newcastle can take points of Manchester United on Tuesday, and we then win at the Lane? Then we might have yet another chance.

    To choke again.

  3. Eboue: Penalties happens by accidence sometimes too, not by clumsiness. I agree with you this time: Eboue wasn’t clumsy, he was unfortunate.
    Wenger: I just don’t get it: Here he says to Dalglish: Zeeet waz neeeva a penelti.
    What’s wrong with saying that? Dalglish on the other hand really doesn’t act the gentleman at all.

    The way I see it, Wenger looks to Dalglish for some understanding being the only other guy in the place in the same role – manager. What he gets in reply is dirty backstabing swearwords. No, the only culprit here is Dalglish.

    What I don’t like, is Wenger’s sulking at the press conference.

  4. I just listened to the commentators, and I hear the one thing no one else mentions at all after the game: Eboue and the ref were conned. Why don’t anyone talk about that? Cheeting and yellow card to Leivas? And did you se how long it to for the ref to blow the whistle? Gives me the idea he didn’t see what happened, and from the angle of view he likely didn’t. Wenger is right, Arsenal ARE unlucky.

  5. At last a blog writer who talks sense. I thought straight away that the penalty looked harsh and subsequent viewings have only served to confirm my initial reaction. The supposed ‘push’ never occurred at all and the contact occurred because Lucas stopped dead in front of Eboue and the ensuing collision was akin to a motor vehicle accident caused when the driver in front breaks suddenly and is hit by a car travelling closely behind. Yes, the tangle looked clumsy and I can understand why the referee awarded a spot-kick but to me it is the latest in a long line of unfortunate events that can hardly be legislated for. The most annoying thing is that the free kick and what followed would not have happened if someone had mustered just one hefty clearance to see out the game.

  6. Going to have to disagree with you Andrew on both counts.

    1. The ball is a fair distance from both Emmanuel and Lucas, Lucas is obviously looking to draw the foul and you are right he cuts across Emmanuel intentionally, but part of being a football player is being aware of the situation. Falling over Lucas theatrically is not helping your cause. Emmanuel should have been aware of the likely trap and even if he did fall into it, he should then have looked to minimize the resulting tangle not fall over him, flailing his arms and staring at the ref.

    2. Come on the other managers seem to be able to do this. Keeping a straight face, shaking their counterparts hand and marching down the tunnel. Its not Kenny’s fault so why are we comlplaining to him. Come on, yesterday was a disaster but all is not lost we still got a small chance and we should be fighting to the end. Full analysis can wait till the end of the season.

    The season not lost here but a combination of failures (if the season is lost and if its not we could have done better in a number of areas.)

  7. Maybe I’m completely one-eyed, but it looked like a very soft penalty to me. Lucas cut across Eboue and stopped dead when Eboue was expecting him to carry on to the ball. Eboue bumped into the back of him, there was a nudge but Lucas was already going down.

    You can argue he should have been more careful, but Eboue wasn’t trying to make a challenge, he wasn’t diving in, he was just trying to stick tight to Lucas in the area. It was a crafty move by the Brazilian if you ask me. I was expecting all the gooners online this morning to be up in arms about the decision, not blaming the Arsenal player.

  8. The guy was clearly looking for the pen and its a disgraceful way for our title chase to end.
    I’m sure Liverpool are happier now that they’ve given utd the title and gained a “massive” point in their chase for the f**king europa league.

    Beat spurs and i think we’ll call it a season

  9. this is another sad day for football,when the middle man decide the out come of the my opion the match was suppossed to be finished after the Arsenal penalty.
    or after the liverpool free kick where did the refere got those 2mins from?
    i think some of these referes are supporters of the teams which are competing with Arsenal.about the liverpool penalty there was no penality because lucas crossed in front of a Eboue.

  10. The fact of the matter is we dominated this game in parts but did not take any shots we kept the ball but Liverpool players kept harrasing us and stopped us from going forward. We have a lack of leadership in the team we need a player who can just say “Alright Lads lets do em”. I can;t rememebr who was commenatating yesterday but they got it right we were just looking for the perfect goal not any goal. When you get to the box and there is a little gap have a punt don’t ponce around the box. Diaby was a complete liability always looking to go past the man and not pass and when he realised he was doing that he then tried to pass and showed a severe lack of ability in doing so. We have too much deadwood and we appear to have a Liverpool under Benitez issue. Players who feel they deserve to be there not players who need to prove their worth. I vote sell Cesc, Arseshavings, Diaby, Denison, thoise two fools we call strikers (NB52 and Chamakh) Squillaci and then Kroenke or not we will have well over the 40million we have been promised! We then need to buy Roger Johnson, Scott Parker, A striker who won’t bitch and get riled and will just constantly work his socks off to score any goal not just the perfect goal. I do geneuinely believe Arsene tried very hard to sign these kind of players in january but balked at the ridiculous cost of thes kind of players in the jan window and I agree why pay 25 million for a player who is worth 10?. I do not believe wenger leaving will resolve any of our problems, he is a great manager albeit he was a fantastic manager when we had his attack with the george graham defence! But who would replace him? No one and we risk finishing outrside the top four if we try to. Lets hope this summer is kind to us in the transfer window, if we have a stronger defence and a leader on the pitch next season we could have a fantastic chance!

  11. we was robbed………never a pen lucass is a cheat ..they will do anything & everything to give man-who the title this season
    blame wenger for his team selection though
    when will we play 442?
    have to admit i am never suprised when we drop points like this

  12. It’s a silly foul from Eboué, but he should know what Lucas was trying to do! In my opinion it’s all about tactics. Yesterday evening I was watching MOTD2 and what John Hartson had to say, made a lot of sense. In many games this season we had plenty of possession, but never seemed capable of killing the game off. We need a top class striker who can give you 20 goals a season. Someone up front with Van Persie. I really hope Wenger will buy some experienced players!

  13. I blamed Eboue for that.. But now looking at the video again, I hadn’t realised how much Lucas had actually changed direction. He went straight into Eboue. If anything, Lucas fouled him. We’ve been done by a piece of cheating yet again..

  14. @andrew, i must agree with you mate the officals were conned, I never thought it was a pen,,,,,,,,,, but an opportunity has again been missed and the pattern seems to be set with this team, @jerry top strikers will make no diff because Wenger will still ask for them to stay out of the box because he does not seem to appreciate what an out and out striker can bring to the table. Its really such a shame.
    On a sadder note it looks like my ammers are down, shambo help mate.

  15. hello hello everyone you’re all missing the point where does cheating and professionalism differ.Is anyone really surprised that idiot eboue did what he did evidently he’s good in the dressing room undoubtedly the best place for him.Sadly too often our players have fallen short they are IDIOTS not PROFESSIONALS in normal working conditions their work would have proved not to be up to scratch and P45’s issued.

  16. d ref was under pressure n in dat crucial time,a decision could make him or mar him,the match ought 2 hav been over for about 4mins but he wouldnt,Wenger has always being unlucky,remember barca wouldnt hav won d last leg against arsenal,yet another referee worthy of death by hanging, football should unite d world,where religion cant get 2,football will but wen injustice become 2 glaring like Barca”s,den it will fade somhow.lucas did wat had 2 be done n d ref fell 4 it (poor ref) soon our time will come.GUNNERS all d way

  17. Well another disappointing day for being an arsenal fan. A lot of them recently. I don’t think we should be to hard on eboue, yes his mistake cost us the 3 points but its not his fault we are in this position. We have had chance to clear and out of sight from the manks, but like arsenal as of late, we don’t seem to have it in us. We are not a team of winners anymore, that all went when the likes of Henry, Berkgamp, Pires etc left. We all know that the likes of eboue, denilson, squillaci, bendnter are not fit for arsenal, but untill Mr Wenger wakes up, it will always be the same.

    For arsenal to go back to the glory days, these players must go, the likes of Neur/De Gea, mertasaker, m’villa, willian, benzema and cahill are all the types of players that will lead us to success. How many of these will we see at Arsenal, most probably none, they are all proven stars and we know Wenger likes his players young so he can make them play his way.

    Like i said, we can’t blame eboue and the liverpool game for us loosing the title, blame to disgraceful second half performance against the scum at the emirates earlier in the season or the to 0-0 draws against sunderland and blackburn. Or the defeat by newcastle and the draw at newcastle. These are games that should be have won, we would be on top and in a very promising position.

  18. Didnt we beat chelsea playing the same way? why didnt anyone complain about playing with one striker upfront? Yes we should have taken some of the chances that we created but the boys played well. Where was the feared patneship of suarez and Carol? I think Djourou and Koscienly did well.
    It was obviously not a pen. Too many decisions go against us. Wenger is no angel but he is the best manager for Arsenal. He still has my support. Six games to go Let us support the team 18points are available. lets go for it Lads

  19. Does anybody think that would have been given at Old Trafford? Even if it were a penalty I doubt any ref would give it right at the death there..

    Let’s be clear, I’m not saying we shouldn’t be better. We did panic after we scored (except Szczesny), and that has to be sorted. Whether it’s through change in personnel, or some sort of psycho mumbo jumbo that’ll rid the players of their demons. We as fans can also help in that actually, but that has been lacking of late too.. We do more harm than good I think. There actually might be something to the theory that we play better away from home because of that pressure being lifted.

    I can’t think of any team that has been hounded as much by one and all. So we haven’t won a trophy for x amount of years. Do Liverpool have the 20 years since the league title rammed down their throats everyday? There really is a media agenda against us, and whether it’s as a result of that or not, many Arsenal fans do the same thing. The 6 years without a trophy should not cause us to forget the present. But for some reason, it’s already been decided that they aren’t good enough. Most of them weren’t around 6 years ago. Some have only come in this season. Many have only just grown up. Some haven’t and probably never will. But it’s unfair that the last 6 years is put all on their shoulders.

    I’m really despondent, but oddly enough, realising that it wasn’t a penalty really, has made me feel better. We need to improve our defending in such situations, but in the end, it is a familiar theme this season. There have been numerous calls that have gone against us, and it becomes a chicken and egg thing about would those calls have redundant if we were better, or whether those calls are the cause of us losing belief and our performance. There is no clear answer. It’s both. We should be better, but the refereeing has been horrible for us. Especially when you consider how much ManU benefit from dodgy decisions.

  20. You know, if I was to be really intrigued or downright angry at something last night, it wasn’t this penalty decision. Leiva is a sneaky dog, he knew how to make the most of that situation as great players must do. But what I kept asking myself was how in God’s name could we let them get them so close in so little time after our goal. Where the hell were our players, were they dreaming?! Liverpool passed te ball so close to our penalty area and they quickly got that foul that we don’t see in this video.

    That, for me, is entirely our fault, a collective huge mistake that painfully reminded me of how we acted in the Newcastle game. I understand, it was the heat of the moment, everybody was nervous, waiting for the final whistle, but these are TOP CLASS players and none of them touched the ball to kick the hell out of it, away from our goalie. Who’s fault is that? Our team’s, they were all caught offguard. At the end of the day, my call is that WE lost. It wasn’t divine intervention, the ref, bad luck, karma or whatever. There’s a small chance Newcastle will put Man Utd on hold tomorrow night, I’ll cling to that hope, weak as it may be.

  21. Andre Marriner was fooled by Lucas (Fooled?? Really???). Lucas just stopped in his tracks awkwardly as he knew Eboue was on his trail & the Ivorian’s momentum would make him fall over on Lucas, creating the impression of a shove in the back.

  22. Did anyone notice how, as the referees were leaving the pitch, Andre Marriner glanced & winked towards the club level seating where SAF was seated?? I did. It felt like someone thrust a dagger through my heart. He gave a penalty where there was none and is 90+8+1=101????? I thought it was 99. Silly me

  23. Others will blame Eboue – I refuse to do so – mainly because the tackle would have likely been moot had we done anything with the ball in the previous 90 minutes.

    I remain a support of Wenger and probably always will be but I can’t however, let him off the hook for his appalling lack of sportsmanship. A simple handshake with a man who had zero to do with whatever the ref called or didn’t call is all it takes. 2 seconds and you’re out of there. Kenny showed far more class in the post-match press conference. Liverpool clearly has the right man at the right time and have a very good chance of return to the top four next year.

    This becoming a bitter ending to a most disappointing campaign. For me the title is very much second now to sorting ourselves out before the 2011/2012 season.

  24. @Nicholas

    I agree with you partially. How often do we hear that just pulling out the win when you are not playing well is the sign of champions. We almost did that yesterday. Would have except for a wrongly given penalty.. Not for one moment does that hide the fact that we have to sort out the panic that seems to set in when we’re trying to hold on to a lead. But as I said, how much of that pressure is artificially created through the refs decisions through the season and through the constant abuse the team faces, and how much of that is down to us simply not being equipped to cope with it? Despite our weaknesses, it is my view that the refereeing that we have faced has been a huge factor, even in highlighting our weaknesses. Yes all the team can do, and seemingly haven’t done is get rid of those weaknesses. And for that they deserve to be criticised. But along with that, it also needs to be recognised that very often, it quite simply isn’t down to our failings. We do enough, but the results are taken away from us. The Newcastle game is often held up as an example of our failings. But for me, that is a prime example of what a bent referee can achieve. It amazes me how Arsenal fans cannot hold that view. It’s almost as if there is a fear that mentioning the referee’s faults will bring accusations of being a sore loser and making excuses, and having to face taunts about mentality and spirit or trophies. Why should we be embarrassed to mention the referee costing us? It does NOT even out in the end. It can be the real difference between teams over a season, and we have suffered before. It happened in 2008, and it is happening again this season.

    Again.. Our failings have to be addressed by the manager and the team themselves.. The refereeing has been biased against us very often.. Both arguments taken together approaches closer to the truth in my opinion.

  25. Yesterday’s match has been the worst game for arsenal,the prayers showed no interest at all.the way they were running,attaching,it would have been better if second eleven term had prayed

  26. I earlier on said the title was already decided and there is no way United will slip up. We should just get worried of the chasing pack. I will call for Wengers head if chelsea beat us to second spot yet some players had stupidly declared that the race is between us and United.Wenger is still the problem. Why on earth should we use one striker moreover at home yet or was Walcott a disguised second striker. We are going to get at a time we shall beg United to beat Chelsea so that we get second spot instead of having prayed otherwise. Why on earth didnt these fools try to shoot enough on goal but continued to dilly dull headlessly in the box. On this Diaby is solely to blame. Its regrettable that he had all those minutes on the pitch. He was our weak link. To be honest to Eboue he had a good game not until that last minute blunder. I almost didnt miss Sagna at all. Eboue aws massive even at B/pool. We must not castigate him. On Fabregas.Its high time we open up talks with the highest bidder. Barcelona cant pay us enough but Citeh or Madrid can.We have forecd him to play for us for so long now and we must move on without him. Who knows what we may achieve without him as long as we show a willingness to buy good players and start comopeting for titles. I repeat he opened up the scoring for Barcelona in Nuo camp against his own team!! I hope Kroenke listens to the fans who are fleeced millions of pounds for hopeless mediocrity by Wenger.It is stupid to say we are unlucky considering the possession the team had and how they passed the ball without purpose in the final third. We are not worth the premiership title and it hurts most that we are losing yet we have no other trophy we are palying in.

  27. A game in hand has meant nothing for Arsenal for a long time. Like an Arsenal corner it just gets buries under statistics. Like this one. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, as someone mentioned here. used to be the Indian cricket team’s domain. Till we stepped in to take over.
    The fact that we have, again, thrown away a lead at a critical juncture says a lot about our mental strength. Or the lack of it.
    Is it because of the manager who says it’s all right to finish at number 2 (last season it was ok to be number 3 if I remember right)?
    Who is s till being proud of a team that makes the same mistakes, year after year? And, often, against the same teams while not addressing the issues?
    Who comes up with incredulous excuses. (Players are jaded when they too many games. They are jaded when they have nothing to do for a week. Come on.)
    Aside: The team’s inability to shoot and kill off games started with the first game at the Emirates. It was against Villa which was a draw while it should have been 3-0 at least.
    I don’t know where the fault lies. Is Wenger, whom I admire immensely for what he has done for a club punching above its weight (and delivering but that was 6 seasons ago), getting too stubborn for his (and the club’s) own good?
    At the end of play, winners have trophies. Losers have excuses.

  28. It’s strange how opinions on performances can differ so much.. I for one thought the team played with quite a lot of determination. They were trying hard, and they DID try shots from distance too, most of which just ended up being blocked. Cesc had a decent enough game yesterday. I also think that Eboue did NOT have a good game. Not the penalty incident (which I now think wasn’t his fault), but he was out of position very often, he frequently misplaced passes, and he lay down feigning injury when Suarez was running right at him. I do not necessarily agree that playing with one striker is bad, but I was frustrated that Bendtner is the player put out on the right, while RVP continues to play down the middle. t should be the other way around.

  29. To rephrase an old advertising slogan, we are number two, but we don’t try harder, it would seem.

  30. for all i care we gave liverpool the momentum of the game when we stupidly refused to shoot at goal, they gradually grew in confidence and it has haunted us once again. why cry now when this is what we’v bn doing all season long. inspite of my bitterness i still remain a gunner.

  31. I feel this particular article shldnt have been written its v simple when the team looses, the team as a whole is to be blamed, there is no way u can single out any player, Andy all you have done is made those 2 mentioned in the article to be more of scapegoats even though you were only trying to defend them.

  32. These things are unfortunate and in the light of our title challenge damning.
    But I am no more of the mind to cry than ever. Mid-week we have a match that may or may not be important in terms of winning the league but will affect our overall position in the table. Leave us quit the moaning and get our collective mojo together.
    Who knows but that it may in the end matter.
    Come on you gunners and gooners!!!

  33. Leftcoastgooner

    Apart from all of that.. That game is against someone we owe a real beat down.. They have the player of the year because Good ol Harry talks him up, and he played well against Inter milan in Europe. We need to put him, and the rest of them in their proper place.

  34. I am so disgusted at the look of things. I believe having a pile of half baked cakes is having no cakes at all. The difference is the one who has not knows he has not, but the one with half baked imagines has, but has not. This is the analogy. Arsenal FC thinks has players but this are half baked gropies who only know how to pass the ball but not to win trophies. For how long shall we wait seriously. I feel so sick seeing these Man U supporters making noise at my work place. I wish Wenger knew the enduarence we suffer seeing him at the touch line. Wenger go to hell, I am sick and tired of your yapping like a 5 year old kid lost in the woods (dead wood for that matter)

  35. @ Shard

    I understand your point of view and to some extent I also agree with what you are saying, the bigger picture is indeed a sum of the two problems, us and the refs. However, there are things in life that you can control and there are things that you can’t. How refs behave it’s one of the latter, amongst others that we generally like to perceive as being luck or destiny or whatever helps us make some sense out of it. We need to take that into account, if we don’t, we will learn to do it, because it’s a sort of universal law. I won’t get philosophical though 🙂

    The thing I asked myself was: did we do everything we could, did we use those things that we can control and stop Suarez and the whole Liverpool team to reach our penalty area? No, we didn’t. We were imature. We played a beautiful game, specially the first half, we seemend to be back on track and, like aaron said in a prior topic, win like champions, but we couldn’t resist in the last couple of seconds, and that’s a fact.

    Now, there’s no way I’m defending that ref, but are we the only team in this world who gets bad calls? It is a problem, indeed, but what about unfair penalties give against Chelsea, Man Utd, Inter, Bayren Munchen etc. Mistakes, the chaotical nature of a man that makes a bad call at a bad time. Nobody can control that, it’s an issue that can be addressed to a certain extend, but nothing more at this point. And there are proper channels to address those issues, formal complaints, petitions, legal ways through some football association or something. But things don’t really change by much. Why? Because everybody has it’s shares of bad calls. And unfortunately they will keep repeating.

    If the situation with this last penalty is raised for analysis at high level there will be no consequence: nine out of ten officials will say it was a clear penalty and let’s consider this: what if it was the other way around? What if we were attacking? Same timeframe, same conditions, except their man commiting the foul. What then? Wouldn’t we all have said the ref denied us a clear penalty?

    Related to the Newcastle problem, the ref was indeed awful but it’s the same thing at a level of principle: did we do in that match everything that we could to stop them from scoring 4! goals? No, we lacked the proper attitude and a real leader, that was the problem back then. Last night? We were too busy panicking. And that we can change. That’s why there’s so much talk going round about our mental strength. Because it’s lacking.

  36. Same Shite different year!!! Quit your complaining its not as if we have not seen the same result from the same team over and over and over again. Everyone wake up and stop trying to defend this crap team of bottlers and let your brain get ahead of your heart. I cannot wait to watch my beloved Arsenal repeat performance next year. What do they say about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

  37. The point is that if our so called strike force did their job and scored in normal play, none of us would be commenting on wether it was or wasn’t a penalty or if the penalty was awarded late! As for me, if Wenger does not invest this summer, I will not renew my season ticket after 35 years of support!!!!!!!!

  38. @Nicholas

    I think it’s often overstated that every team has bad decisions. But how often, how bad, how crucial, at what time do those decisions occur? For what it’s worth, as far as I can tell we have suffered much more than anyone else, at least among the top teams this season, and on the whole ManU have benefited more than anyone else. That is enough cause to say that it isn’t just our fault. I can see your point about only being able to affect the one thing, ie our performance, and I agree with that. I just don’t think our performance exists in isolation. I know we can’t control the referees performance, but in my view, this has been the most incredible season in that regard. I have never seen so many bad calls, and I don’t mean just us here. But as I said, on the whole there is a huge swing in points as a result of those errors between ManU and Arsenal. Whether they would have coped any better is open to debate, but can never be known. Oh, and if there are legal, or official channels to go through then I would really like to know what they are. As far as I know, there really is nothing that can be done. Realistically speaking that is.

    Regarding the Newcastle match..We did do everything humanly possible. It wasn’t just the two penalties. It wasn’t the highlights of the match. It was the way the entire match was refereed. EVERYTHING, literally every single thing, was made to favour Newcastle. Maybe it’ll be a step too far for everyone, but I believe we were meant to lose that match. It amazes, and saddens me that people can’t see that, and would rather turn on their own team, than call a spade a spade. Anytime a referee makes a bad call, it can always be said that the team that has been a victim could have done something better or different. That much will never be untrue.

    Everything isn’t rosy with us. We do have problems. But there is something really rotten with the refereeing too. We may not have control over them, but we do not have control over our teams performance either. It shouldn’t stop us from saying it. There is no contradiction in saying that we have problems and in saying the referees have cost us too many times. They did cost us the title in 2008, and they may well have done so this season.

    Regarding mental strength. You may be right, but what exactly does it mean? It’s an intangible and cannot be defined. I maintain it is mostly on the basis of results that we decide who has mental strength and who doesn’t.. Only way we will know whether ManU have better mental strength or resources to cope with whatever is thrown at them will only be if the same thing is thrown at them. But they do not have referee performances like we did at Newcastle.

    In the end, there is no clear answer there. It is basically just perception. In my view, buying new players will not be enough to address the mental issues unless the fans get off the team’s back and actually back them. And sadly that will only happen if they have reassurance with the price tag, (Just as for some reason Koscielny is often stated as being poor, simply because the media hadn’t bigged up his name before) and maybe not even then.

  39. I’ll be damned, Lucas does step laterally in front of Eboue.

    None-the-less, its still just another excuse. Bad luck and unfair decisions happen in sports. Unlike Arsenal, ManU seems to create their own luck. But thats just how it appears. The truth is that they give themselves enough cushion to win even when things don’t go their way, and they capitalize on other teams mis-fortune to snatch victory when they need it.

  40. I’m sorry andy but this whole post is bullcrap. What the hell is he even doing making a challenge or putting pressure on in that pretty much harmless situation anyhow? There is no brains in the play and no brains in the player. Play the seconds out and be done with it. Penalties are always controversial, but if you spent all the time looking as closely as you did for this one on all of them in the premier league then you’d have but neft a moment to even think in your week. It’s a clear penalty and Eboue is a fricken joke. There is no defending this crap. I don’t think this post at all reflects the feeling and vision most Arsenal fans have of the situation.

    In terms of Wenger, i personally think his behavior was totally unacceptable. Dagleesh had nothing to do with it and in the reverse do you think, Wenger would be happy with his own conduct?

  41. never a penalty – another liverpool player cheats in injury time and cons the ref – or was the ref relieved? wenger did not refuse to shake dalglish`s hand – dalglish took his hand away – why the commnets about wenger? Wenger was simply telling dalglish what he thot of the decions of the ref whilst on his way to shake paws. get over it – arsenal will never get the poverbial”rub of the…” whilst footie in enguland is run and supervised by working class people from the north. go Gunners!!

  42. I hope people will stop making excuses for our boys n most especially Mr Wenger. Let’s face it our team’s not good enough n we don’t deserve to win the league. Wenger has done a good job in developing Arsenal Football Club but the time has come for him to step down. He cannot take the team any further, he will never deliver the trophies we craving for. How many of our players will get into the Man Utd, Chelsea, City or even Spurs teams. Too many average players who think they worldclass because the manager is too stubborn to realise that. Most of the players lack determination, that will to win at all cost, or messrs Rooney and Vidic. Thanks

  43. 1. Lucas Leiva was running toward the CORNER FLAG, he simply needed to be shadowed out there, any other outcome, accidental or not, is just pure lack of defensive know-how and stupidity. If he had been allowed to chase the ball into the corner the ref blows the whistle and we get an undeserved 3 pts against a barely recognisable Liverpool team.
    2. Andy, your insight into Wengers feelings at that moment would be entirely valid if the man wasnt so famous for this sort of embarrasing childishness at this stage. Remember this man represents the Club, the fans, the players and himself, how many run-ins has he had with other managers at this stage, how many times has he been accused of lacking respect and being ungracious in defeat, I hate Ferguson but even he avoids these public displays that hurt the Club AND team, how do you think other clubs perceive us now, Il tell you how, as a laughing stock.
    After we scored that goal yesterday Liverpool went forward. An aimless ball fell in our box and what happened next was amazing, but all too familiar……the Arsenal defence SHIT themselves, swinging and missing clearances all before that rash challenge resulted in what was nearly a penalty anyway for the free that suarez took, whereby Eboue gave the rfe a second chance to award a penalty, go inside the refs head now, hes not going to turn away that Eboue challenge after the soft one he punished Spearing for only mins before.
    This team just cant get it done, they lack the bottle, the literally wet themselves when liverpool entered our half after the goal, the opposition can smell that, it doesnt matter that their missing so many key players (that back four was their reserves for 25mins).
    Walcott never threatened their inexperienced LB, but why would he hes a bloody choirboy on the pitch.
    Van Persie is obsessed with playing in the centre circle, despite being the lone frontman. Why this 4-5-1 has been adopted is beyond me at this stage.
    This team dont play wide, they run in to EACHOTHER and its so easy for a defense to play a compact defense and frustrate.
    You can pity Eboue or attack him but the one thing I will remember from yesterday is the stupid smirk on his face afterwards, infuriating.
    Im not picking a fight mate I have great respect for you but surely now after seeing the name calling and attacking of players and Wenger on here from certain people that you can see the difference between what I have to say and others.
    I just dont know what the future holds at this point, if Wenger tries to fool us again this summer there will be a riot at the Emirates next year, the in-fighting has become a serious and REAL problem…..the driftwood has to go.

  44. Hey Shambo,
    No worries mate. I don’t wanna pick a fight either man. It was just that one post that I had an issue with and I said so. But that’s over as far as I’m concerned.

    Regarding your post. One thing I would like to say is that it isn’t very often that Wenger does anything which would cause embarrassment to the club (I have never felt embarrassed as far as I can recall), and if we judge him at the same standards as other managers, then he is much better behaved. How many times he has been accused of it is an entirely different matter. If the situation was reversed and Dalglish and said it wasn’t a penalty, and Wenger told him to p*** off, who would be criticised there? Wenger of course.

  45. Eboue cannot be blamed for what happened yesterday.

    Much greater problems were on show: we couldn’t cut through Liverpool’s defense. We created exactly one clear-cut chance. We lacked inventiveness and most importantly the team looked so out of sync in attack (players running into each other, bad off-the-ball movement, etc.).

  46. I think it was an unfortunate foul. It doesnt mean it was on purpose or that he is clumsy, it merely happened by mistake. Amidst the passion of the game, the ‘get the ball outta by box’ mentality. And he was already going down when Eboue was behind him. He was going down either way. Eboue also cannot be blamed for the outcome of the game, it is a team effort. not a one player show.

  47. @shard,
    Agreed pal, but there is such a contrast between Wenger pre-match/midweek interview and Wenger post match or during a game. His rational, reason and objectivity abandon him and its pure bias and paranoia like excuses that take over.
    And I have to admit I do get angry and embarrassed when I see him flinging waterbottles or rocking to and fro beside Pat Rice watching incidents unfold again and again like its the first time hes witnessed it and like he has no control, he has control! he can get off his feet and shout intruction to the players, even if its just a positonal change but you never see him off the bench unless we are behind, the players are lacklustre so often because, I feel, they fear no repocussion. In my mind their is no competition for places, amazingly, if Diaby is fit he KNOWS he will start, how the hell is that a reality? In fairness he hasnt played 3 good games in a row!
    There is no-one out there fit to replace Wenger, but season ticket holders are really going to ask themselves, in this climate, if the price hikes are worth it.
    Diaby, Denilson, Rosicky (a previous favourite of mine), Bendtner, Squillachi, Eboue, Koscielny, Almunia, Fabianski, Chamakh, Vela and Walcot wouldnt get near the Utd team, Whilst Fabregas, Verm, Djourou and RvP miss a third of the season injured and Arshavin is hit and miss, and thats being kind.
    Compare Valencia and Nani with Walcott, its ludicris…..their end product is 20 fold better.
    Look at Smalling and Hernandez aswel as the brazilian brats, the contribution they have made to Utds season.
    Look at what Ferguson gets out of Carrick, Fletcher and Park.
    Look at the contribution of giggs and Scholes, if they were at our club do you think Wenger would have sold them years ago? certainly…..hes too quick to write off the ageing players- chief example being Gilberto who played for Brazil long after his ridiculous ONE MILLION sale.
    Now I detest Utd and no I ‘wont go and support the them then’ but they are the yardstick, and I can tell you this, Ferguson is going to go shopping this summer and he wont be paying 8m for Squillachis, so how do we bridge the gap, or are we playing for 2nd again next year because if thats the case then I wish Wenger would say that at the start of the year rather than the end.
    Wenger is ruthless with the wrong players and not ruthless with the ones who deserve it, his treatment of Senderos was awful I thought before he left, Senderos was nothing but loyal and I dont think he was any less effective than Squillachi, Koscielny, Diaby, etc but hey he was Swiss not French.
    One last old reference before I go……….Mikael Sylvestre. God help us I dont even know if Wenger can identify what we need going forward.
    Shard gimme 4 players you think we could sign to improve us and 4 more realistic Wenger basement buys. The change of subject would be good.
    it aint over yet mate. Chin up.

  48. Stop bleating about the Liverpool result you guys. The reason we won’t win a bloody thing this year is because we have a shit defence, strikers who are incapable of putting the poxy ball in the net, and a manager who persists in sticking with medeiocre players he’s bought on tyhe cheap, and hasn’t the bottle to admit he’s wrong.
    Results like ceding a 4 goal lead at Newcastle, the pathetic display against Blackburn, losing at home to Spurs for the first time in decades, and failing to get points home and away against inferior teams, are the reason we won’t win the league.
    The answer — Kroemke should kick out Wenger at the end of the season, and appoint a manager who will be ruthless in booting out the majority of the dross, and spend big on buying true quality players who have the will, the determination, and the bottle to make the Arsenal a top club once again.
    I guarantee we won’t get a point at the Lane on wednesday night !

  49. Lucas was facing away from goal moving towards the corner flag. Eboue should not have gone near him just shepherd him out. Totally naive defending. Our season in microcosm. Doesn’t mean the ref wasn’t a wanker though!

  50. How many times did the ref get to view the incident before he decided that it was a penalty. It is big of you Andrew to decide eboue did not commit a foul after 4 viewings. As for Wenger on the side lines I think you will find most Arsenal fans are embarrased by his behaviour towards Daglish.

    Wenger Out.

  51. Fantastic managers are hard to find just ask Spurs, Liverpool, New Castle etc and Arsene is a fantastic manager his only fault is he’s French god forbid if he’s those so called fan’s who askin for Arsene to resign who do you want to take over Arsenal ? If Arsene leaves Arsenal will become a mid table club and thats a fact..

  52. @Terry
    The free-kick that led to the penalty was not a foul.
    The ref had a poor look through a crowd and guess incorrectly.
    What say ye thusly? True or nay?
    Pool players were throwing themselves about. I know it’s common practice now but in that light is not the officiating also naive or just nave.
    Sorry, i couldn’t help myself.

  53. Robbed again but we should know by now the PL is geared up for ManWho to win..We have made so many many poor decisions go against us this season that for anyone to say any different – they are just stupid. Suffice it to say no other manager out there would have the guts or audacity to tell Fergie to p… off.


    Am I the only one who doesn’t think that we dont play the beautiful game. We have gone from Wenger playing good attacking decisive football with the likes of Henry, Pires and co cutting teams in half to a side full of egos trying to be match winners all on their own trying silly little flicks and touches instead of proper passes.

    The only person to blame for Arsenals current state of affairs is Wenger, he is the leader, the one who deceides tactics, formation and line up. He is the one who allows a 6′ striker to take corners when a 5′ striker midfielder is left to challenge the keeper. He is the one who said “2nd is acceptable” could you imagine Ferguson saying the same?

    Our team have no passion or commitement at present, just look at the game in Barcelona. Barca have 11 players all fighting for the cause, not their cause. Whilst United have many skifull individuals they play as a team and for each other. We don’t.

    Whilst Wenger has given us some fantastic times and memories it is time for him to go unless he buys a few key players and changes tactics from tippy tappy to real football such as that of Barca. The only trouble is who replaces him? How about Martin O’Neill

  55. It looks like Wenger has finally lost the fans and it has been a long time coming. Its quite obvious he has lost the team (analysing their body language and attitude) and now he has lost us. I must say if we get beat badly wednesday (which I think we will) I personally think this will be the end of Arsene Wenger. Unfortunately all the good he has done for the club may have been destroyed regarding his DREADFUL management over the last few seasons. And i dont mean with the team we have etc. his tactics. Truely dreadful! Anyone that calls themselves a football manager wouldnt display the tactical suicide that he does. Shame on you Wenger. I have now lost all trust in you. I dont trust the man with this team anymore. My team. Our team. The golden years are long gone boys, now we need a shake up.

  56. @shard, im no tmaking fun mate but come on……Pen would not be given @ Old Trafford, “lets be clear” im not saying we should not do better, psycho mombo jumbo, players demons, no other team hounded as much by one and all, liverpool not wining the prem in last 20 years rammed down their throats, media agenda, arsenal fans agenda, never mind last 6 years without trophy think about the present, because most players not around during last 6 years and many have only just grown up. Realising it was not a pen makes u feel better, 2 many calls gone against the team, “chicken and egg thing”, but there is no clear answer its both. The refereeing has been horrible and Man U benefit from dodgy decisions. Who is accountable then……is the whole world against the arsenal team………@ WHAT POINT WILL YOU EVER ENTERTAIN THE IDEA THAT IT COULD BE THE FAULT OF ARSENAL FOOTBALL CLUB AND STOP MAKING EXCUSES.

  57. It will be very interesting tomorrow to gauge the performance of not just the team but 3 players individually. Firstly van Persie was very wasteful against Liverpool, the majority of his set pieces were terrible and he missed an absolute sitter in the 2nd half which had it been certain other players they would have been pilloried. Fabregas played as if he couldn’t care less on Sunday, if he plays like that against Spurs then I think not only would that be a slap in the face for the fans it would also be an admission that he is off. I’m certain he was forced to stay last summer for one more year on the understanding that we had to win something, we haven’t and we wont so I guess Fabregas will jump what is becoming a sinking ship under Le Whinge. Then there is Nasri who after a brilliant spell has gone back to looking like another Hleb, round and round in circles with no end product. When we play just one up front, and that one is van Persie we are very predictable, more passes go sideways or backwards than forwards. I’d like to see Walcott play up front with Bendtner with van Persie wide left, Nasri wide right and Fabregas and Song in the centre. It might not work, who knows but we have got nothing to lose now, lets try something different until the end of the season. If Bendtner (playing in his correct position) and Walcott playing where he wants to can’t produce then perhaps they need to go, one thing is for certain van Persie can’t play up there on his own and Chamakh is a waste of space at the moment. When you look at it realistically we need a top keeper, at least one commanding central defender to play with Vermaelen, a top holding midfielder and a pacy aggressive striker. Big money required with Rosicky, Denilson, Diaby, Vela, Chamakh and possible Bendtner going. It’s major surgery or more failure.

  58. @theicehammer

    Thank you for repeating all those things I said, even if in an even more haphazard fashion because I wouldn’t have known what you were referring to. What you don’t get is that I’m not saying we haven’t been at fault. That isn’t a contradiction with that in any of what I said. They are all factors that have to be taken into account to have a realistic analysis of our season, or even seasons. There are plenty of people who point out our mistakes regularly, and who exaggerate them tenfold too. They have a basis for that, but they do not consider all the things that may contribute to those failings. I’m simply trying to keep some perspective, even if my outlook is more optimistic/naive/stupid in your view.

    As for who is accountable. We are accountable for our performances and whatever failings exist. Players, managers, coaching staff, board, all included. The media, and the fans who take them at face value are accountable for their actions, the referees or FA are accountable for the crazy decisions that have happened in the league consistently. Except they are not.. It is only us who are held to account, and yes, hounded unlike any other team I can remember in any sport.

  59. @shard,
    thanks for the reply, im a lover of good football who gets so pissed of with your manager because i believe he is so close in producing a team of eight years ago but for some reason wont make the obvious changes in his chosen personel. If you saw what i see 3 times a week in your academy you would also wonder what the hell are some of those clowns doing in the first team squad. You have some amazing young players with potential but because they dont quite play in the STYLE or MOLD Wenger is looking for they are not given the chance. I cant believe that JET has not been given a chance, he would have Dennilson for supper and he can play anywhere. Up de ammers or should i say down.

  60. @theicehammer

    You wouldn’t expect a manager to pick players who do not play in the STYLE or MOLD he wants, would you? Now that is your view on what is happening anyway. That doesn’t make it fact. But even if it is, maybe it’s just wanting to see how adaptable the player is.. Or how open to receiving and following instructions he is.. Just suggestions. I don’t know of course, but even though you are closer, and obviously more involved with the academy, neither do you. On the whole Wenger has brought through players consistently and consistently well over the years. I see no cause to even label this as a problem area, let alone form the basis of calls for firing the manager.

  61. What is any one’s opinion about our captain, Fabregas. he looks a shadow of the player he was, he seemed to stroll around the pitch on Sunday, and to me his thoughts are definitely elsewhere.Some people say he is worried about his continuous hamstring problems,but I am not so sure.We all know he wants to go back to Barca, but they are heavily in debt and don’t have ready cash to pay up front.Cesc,is and has never been vocal, nor is he a leader in the sense Adams or Viera were.Do we have a player who doesn’t really want to be at the Arsenal, as surely this saga shouldn’t go on into next season.So much of our play goes through him and I am wondering if that is such a good idea anymore.Any thoughts ?

  62. @shard

    I would label it as a problem because to many of those kind of players have a lack in mental strength to dick in when the chips are down. They lack that strength in leadership and will to go that one step further in order to end up the top of the pile, the number one. I know that only a few teams can produce this in a season but unfortunately Arsenal are not one of the few……@ the moment. On the other hand as you said it is not a given fact…..but then again this whole blogging lark would be a waste of time if it would be about fact for what is fact.

  63. @theicehammer

    I respect that, and I respect your view on it too. It’s just that I respect the views of Wenger, Brady and Bould more.

  64. it is quit mess,that Arsenal found themself in this position.Arsene wenger should wake up by change his partern of his playing and eaqually by experience player,if he is dream to lift trouphy.

  65. @leftcoast

    I haven’t seen any replays since the game – I can’t bring myself to do so! My instinct at the time was it was a free kick but if you have seen the replays and are convinced it wasn’t so be it. but we should never have put ourselves in that position with less than a minute remaing. We panicked and it’s not the first time.

  66. It is the fault of the whole Arsenal team and its manager. Waste my time to watch it for the whole season. Again, Arsenal lost the grab of 4 trophies within one month. This is not the first year. It goes nowhere with Arsene Wenger. Time’s up for this stubborn old man. You go back to France to train young players, but not in Premier league please.

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