The Squad’s not looking so thin now eh? Good win for Arsenal

I don’t pretend to carry the views of every Arsenal fan at all, but at some point every Arsenal fan must have felt a small sigh of satisfaction when we were able to bring on not one great player from the bench, but two. There have been times this season when I have looked at the bench and simply thought “I really hope we score soon or no one gets injured. We have no attacking threat on the bench”.

Which made Stoke a refreshing change. A game against Stoke is hardly a game to get my fires burning. I expect the same from Tony Pulis every time – systematic fouling, time wasting and general thuggery on the pitch. What I didn’t expect was that Football’s Mr Nice Guy Michael Owen would be somehow infected by it. How naive I was it seems, but we will look at my own naivety and Mr Owen’s transgressions later, I feel I have far bigger fish to fry. Or at least, natter on about until everyone goes away.


I would like to bring up the “creative editing” by Match Of The Day. Everyone who watched the game will appreciate how different the actual game was from the brief highlights shown on the talismanic, marquee sports program on the Beeb. No mention of the systematic, persistent fouling by Stoke at all. 65 seconds into the first half Stoke committed the first foul. 65 seconds of football before the referee had to get involved. Not a peep about it from the banal commentary on MoTD.  It is a sad fact that Stoke committed more fouls than successful tackles in the game but that isn’t even the worst bit, they ignored a serious challenge by Shawcross (well loved amongst the Arsenal faithful already) and poked fun at Owen raising his hands and aiming a rather weak punch at Arteta (see picture above). Now I like Owen, so I didn’t think he’d say boo to a goose, let alone react with a punch after a legal, albeit robust challenge from Arteta. So I was certainly shocked by the incident, but also shocked that it was laughed off on MoTD.

Their coverage of the games used to be professional, unbiased and interesting but unfortunately with Mr Walkers himself MoTD has lost a bit of its class and integrity. An institution that I really want to get back that class and integrity because I used to love Saturday nights catching up on all the games. I don’t necessarily think it’s the pundits – who for the most part are so far out of touch with today’s football as you can possibly imagine, but they do have pedigree and command a level of respect from me. I do think there is a serious lack of professionalism from the production team who are always happy for the team to arse about and give lacklustre input and commentary whilst also delivering a poor narrative of the games covered, often missing the crux of the game in point and glossing over or ignoring serious incidents in games.

See such an incident here, Shawcross vs Koscielny. Both players were committed to the loose ball, both players jumped in – the very idea of a 50-50 but Shawcross went over the ball and went studs up. Intent aside, you cannot go in like that, even for a 50-50. I know the adage, you have to go in committed or you will get hurt and it certainly rings true for me, but you cannot do what Shawcross did. When the internet explodes with the top media writers all asking the question why Shawcross didn’t see red, surely that is worth looking at on MoTD? No?

Moving on, what a great result for Arsenal. We threatened all game and it took incredible goalkeeping at times from Begovic to keep us out with great moves from Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Giroud and a fantastic header from Koscielny before Arsène changed it up and brought on Cazorla for Diaby and Podolski for the Ox. Not bad subs at all eh? Indeed they both helped Arsenal turn the screw and delivered the right result. Podolski despatched an excellent, powerful free-kick through the wall and it deflected in past a distraught Begovic who put in a sterling performance.

Talking of above-par performances, Nacho Monreal made his debut at Left-back against Stoke which was a real baptism of fire for the Spanish international. Nacho only arrived at Arsenal two days before, but clearly his class impressed at Colney and Arsène had no doubts about throwing him on in place of Santos. Santos should be a little bit concerned by that I suspect, although Arsène has said that his future is safe.

Exciting times at Arsenal. No more speculation, no more transfers, just plain football from here on in and it’s exciting. We are within touching distance of where we need to be and the sides above us aren’t considerably better than us. The sky is the limit for this Arsenal side, we can go far this season if we just believe.





7 thoughts on “The Squad’s not looking so thin now eh? Good win for Arsenal”

  1. Alright Wiggy.

    I agree on so many fronts, most of all with regard to the ‘back of the bike shed’ childish behaviour on MOTD. You’d almost think it was a hidden camera show, in terms of how unprofessionally they behave.

    I too am loving the look of our squad now, but have always thought that its our attitude and approach that were the bigger problem. Hopefully the increased scramble for places will help to fix that

  2. Hi Sharkey,

    Thanks for the comments, I’m glad I’m not out in the wilderness on this one. Agree with you about the attitude of the players too, there is competition for places now with the only real exception being Sczcesny. I like what I have seen of Nacho so far and I hope he can build on a strong debut performance and really cement his place in this side.

    Gibbo can always play further forwards I think, so I don’t think his career would suffer one jot.


  3. I;m one of the worst for ‘protecting our players’ and used to lov ethat Arsene didn;t ‘kill’ players by signing expensive replacements. Of late I’m definitely happier to see more oa dog eat dog approach to squad compsoition. Let the best players play, and those out of the team work harder to get into it. Win win !!

  4. Sharkey, totally agree with you mate.

    Jack Wilshire is the proof of concept for this. Think of the players in central midfield ahead of him and he still came through because he was good enough.


  5. Interesting Post Wiggy.

    When I moved to Canada one of the things I missed was the Saturday night ritual of catching up with all the goals and action on MoTD.

    (The irony here is that I can get to see pretty much every game live, but not the highlights show).

    But the show had already been losing its lustre before I left and it’s clear from what you’re saying – and from what I’ve heard others say – that it’s going downhill fast.

    When the MoTD presenters joined in the Orc fans’ mockery of AW last season (I saw it on Youtube) I even wrote to the Beeb to complain. As was pointed out at the time, the spineless tossers would never have behaved that way towards the Purple Faced Gorbalian.

    It sounds like Gary Neville is the unlikely saviour of TV football punditry. Who’d have thought?

    1. Hi Rocky,

      I used to love watching it. I often would watch it all the way through and enjoy all of it because the analysis made it worth watching. The pro’s would help me understand more about the game and I daresay I did learn things that I put to use on the pitch myself. Now whilst I have the damn thing on series link, I barely take the time to watch just Arsenal on it, let alone anyone else (which used to be part of the fun) – what is the point of watching a team you don’t like when the analysis doesn’t point out any weak spots or mistakes in the top sides? (with the exception of Arsenal – apparently we are perma-crap).

      Alas, it seems the analysis side has fallen away, now it’s full of “banter” and snide remarks about players and managers rather than actually dissecting the games and telling us all something we didn’t know.

      Which is a damn shame to be honest. MoTD2 on a sunday with Mark Chapman has a bit more integrity, MoTD could learn a lot from him.


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