Arsene Wenger does hate losing. Who to play on Wednesday

by & filed under News Review.

Imagine this was your face though

Imagine this was your face though

Morning all, Alex here back for a second bite of the cherry.

So yesterday I disgraced myself by confusing Mike Dean with Mike Riley. Kinda undermines your argument if you can’t even remember the name of the bloke you’re slagging off. But in fairness they are both terrible referees so most of my points still stand.

Someone in the comments also mentioned that I did not talk about our lack of defensive awareness for the goals. Certainly the first one was preventable and showed a familiar naivete from a set piece. The second one was a result of being two men down and knackered so not much could be done to prevent that.

In other news the British Prime Minister put his old chap into a pig’s mouth.

Arsene Wenger has called for retrospective action for Diego Costa for his behaviour on Saturday. Absolutely the right thing do, but the chances of anything happening? Absolutely fucking none. Why? It would take Mike Dean having to admit he’s wrong. So let’s look forward to a three game ban for the Manager for making the appeal.

A number of people also took umbrage with my comment yesterday that Arsene Wenger hates losing so I thought I better explain myself. He does hate losing. What’s so frustrating is that despite this he absolutely refuses to critically assess why it keeps happening. In the same way he apparently spends thousands of hours watching and studying football without ever actually applying what he’s learnt, his hatred of losing is only outweighed by his refusal to sacrifice his principles in order to win. Clear?

Everyone was losing their tiny minds yesterday about Man United and Martial. He certainly does look like a player but it’s going to take a few more games (and goals) before anyone can declare if he was worth the money or not. It could be one of the shrewdest buys of the season, or he could be the next Macheda. Only time will tell but I’m erring on the latter because Van Gaal is a massive fraud. Also, United still conceded two goals yesterday, and most of that 40 pass goal was boring sideways passing. It was only the last two or three passes that were actually clinical and it was only because of a rebound that they scored. We’re not talking Brazil 1970 here.

Thinking ahead to Wednesday, a few decisions for me. First who do we play in the centre? I’m guessing he won’t drop Cazorla* so maybe one of Arteta or Ramsey, or even Chamberlain? That’s a midfield that will struggle to dominate. Up top, I’d stick with Theo in order to try and play him into some kind of form. And I’d propose dropping Alexis for a few games so that he can get his head straight.

Before I go I realise in my haste yesterday, I forgot to provide links to my cohorts. (Apologies in advance for this again, I know you hate these plugs but its only fair. If you are really offended by this I’d suggest you stop reading now).

If you want to get another perspective on the Chelsea game give Andy @chelseadaft a follow. If you want Chelsea news more generally go here. If fashion is your thing you can follow Hayley @teapartybeauty and you can view her blog here. ICYMI I blogged about why we all got together as part of the #peaceonegame campaign for International Peace Day (which is today). You can read about it here.

And finally you can follow me on twitter @aldo_doel

Have a good day x

* Thanks everyone for pointing out Cazorla is now suspended. Obviously was just testing you

Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal. Mike Dean needs to go back to school

by & filed under Match report.

Afternoon all, and apologies for the delay. Alex here writing to you in the wake of a rather calamitous performance away at Chelsea.

I was lucky enough to attend the game, IN THE VIP SECTION NO LESS, courtesy of Burger King and their #peaceonegame campaign. To commemorate the International Day of Peace on Monday they paired me up with Chelsea blogger Andy (@chelseadaft) and fashion blogger Hayley (@TeaPartyBeauty) to ask that age old question: “hey, can’t we all just get along?”

I presume Hayley’s role was to act as some sort of mediator between Andy and myself but it didn’t prove necessary as they were both lovely people and we all got on swimmingly. It goes to show, if a Chelsea fan and an Arsenal fan can get on, surely those lads in ISIS could learn to stop being such dicks. It was also really interesting to hear the game from an opposing fan’s perspective. More on that in a bit.

The weather was glorious at Stamford Bridge yesterday. I was sitting in a section where punters have to dress smart casual; as in no football shirts allowed. At a football match. Just let that sink in for a minute. I expect we have a similar arrangement in the Director’s box at the Ems but our seats weren’t corporate and we were still in the terraces. A very bizarre arrangement.

Pre-game Andy informed me that Ivanovic was Chelsea’s weak link and that teams which had done well against them had targeted him. I cheerfully informed him that he needn’t worry with us, because there was almost certainly no way Arsenal would’ve taken this into consideration when setting up the team. And so it turned out to be.

Walcott started up top for us yesterday and while bright in patches gave the impression of a contestant on the Crystal Maze who had 90 minutes to score a goal in order to get the crystal. He tried a few runs, had some hopeful shots, but always safe in the knowledge that it was all just a bit of fun and he’d be home by 9pm. Compare his performance with Costa. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of his behaviour (and there were a lot of wrongs) that is a guy who would kill his own dog to win a game of football. Sadly we don’t have any players like that any more, or at least the ones we do (Sanchez, Wilshere) aren’t up to it at the moment. I’m not falling for that old cliché of needing leaders on the pitch, just people who really fucking hate losing. Ironically the only one who did show some brass balls was Gabriel. He stood up for his team mate, called Costa out for his behaviour and got rewarded with a red card. So it goes…

Aside from the awful refereeing yesterday the overall feeling I got from the team was “hey that was a bit of a bummer but let’s get back to Colney and film some more videos of us playing cricket”. I really don’t understand where this mind set comes from because if there is one person who HATES losing, its Arsene Wenger.

Maybe I’m being overly harsh, and there is no doubt the referee ruined yesterday’s game, but even before that I thought we sucked. Hard. Alexis Sanchez gave the ball away more times than a snooker referee (think about it). Mesut Ozil, who Andy thought was a complete flop, lived up to that billing despite his strong form this season. Rather than running the show he always seemed to be too far away from the action. Cazorla is no kind of midfield quarterback. He’s a class player but he’s not imposing or mobile enough to run the game from the centre. And he gives the ball away, a lot. Even Aaron Ramsey, who is usually able to create something with his own endeavour, was pretty bland. The only player who looked in control and dominant was Laurent Koscielny. He was leagues above the rest of the team in terms of quality.

Now onto the referee. I said a few seasons ago that the problem with Mike Dean was that he makes it all about him (a sentiment echoed yesterday by Garth Crooks of all people). Put simply the guy is a bellend. If he and his officials missed Costa’s antics before Gabriel’s sending off that, to some degree, is understandable. What is baffling is once he had booked both players, he panicked and reacted to pressure from Costa and that massive grass Fabregas and sent the player off for an innocuous challenge. Use your judgement Dean. The situation had been defused, you could have got a handle on the game. Instead you let it run out of control and ruined it for everyone else.

I don’t know if its nerves, a lack of self-confidence or a genuine desire to be the centre of attention, but someone needs to sit down with him and talk through how football should be refereed because yesterday was a travesty. Going forward I’d like to offer Mike Dean some simple advice. If everyone is talking about you after the game, it means you haven’t done your job properly.

The second red was deserved based on two sloppy pieces of play from Cazorla and resulted from his aforementioned lack of control of the midfield. Could he have been subbed sooner to avoid this issue? Possibly but he appears to be undroppable in the manager’s eyes.

The fact we only lost by two, quite scrappy goals is testament to how bland Chelsea were. Which makes the red cards all the more frustrating as this was the first game in a long time where Mourinho’s Chelsea did not completely dominate us (I’m not including the Charity Shield in that).

So, in spite of it being world peace day tomorrow, the overall feeling I’m left with today is anger. But you haven’t come here for wild, irrational anger. You want some structure to your rage. As such, I’ve put together my Angry List to help make sense of things:

Quite distasteful:

1. Mike Dean – quite simply the worst referee in the league
2. Mourinho – the worst human being in the world
3. Diego Costa – shithousery (but god I’d love it if he played for us)
4. Fabregas – would grass on his own mother
5. Harry Redknapp – just cos
6. ISIS, Boko Haram, Katie Hopkins etc…

Mildly irritating:

7. Sanchez – Trying to do too much, again. Needs to chill
8. Cazorla – Needs to be moved from CM now
9. Arsene – Needs to move Cazorla from CM now
10. Walcott – mate you’re 26. The apprenticeship is over. Start playing like a striker or move back to the wing
11. Ozil – what happened out there mate?


12. Koscielny – didn’t go down despite Costa’s grubby fingers. Played like a beast
13. Gabriel – Red card was worth it to see someone finally stand up to Costa.

Our next game is Tottenham in the Carling Cup and you don’t need me to tell you that it is HUGE. The Carling Cup maybe a bit Spurs, but three defeats in a row (two against rivals) would have the knives out for Arsene again. Here’s to no more red cards, a decent referee and the team finally clicking. Oh yeah just remembered Coquelin is injured. Sweet (*closes eyes and thinks of world peace*)

I should be back tomorrow with more #thoughts #insight and #analysis. In the meantime you can follow me on twitter @aldo_doel and let me know who’s on your angry list. Have a nice Sunday

Don’t block ads, it’s selfish | Wounded Chelsea are going to be horrible

by & filed under News Review.

Courtesy of @the_cros

Courtesy of @the_cros

Happy good morning to one and all.

Gown start with a moan.

iOS9 launched the other day. The hottest new app is an ad blocker.

HOORAY I hear you say. Nasty bastard advertisers polluting your experience, tracking your behaviour, possibly to build a case against you and your secret latina marshmallow fetish.

Totally understand this viewpoint. However, listen to the perspective of a publisher.

We either create for free (HIYA) or we create for a pretty pitiful return. Creation is a passion. Not many do it for the millions. Because, let’s be honest, there aren’t many jobs going in publishing that get you the millions.

So your Vice writers, your Guardian journalists, your 4-4-2 guys and gals… they’re not earning a mint nor are their holding companies (in most cases anyway, Vice might be an exception).

So you, as a reader, potter around the internet expecting free content. It’s your right. But someone spent time creating that.

The minimum you can do, is either pay for it (I pay for The Guardian and The Economist), or take a momentary second to ingest an advert and buy a fucking Nissan Sedan.

Blocking off adverts is blocking the lifeblood of important institutions that we should cherish. Institutions that uncover fraud, highlight unjust suffering and bring us closer to the truth behind big money transfer stories.

If we block, we surrender to Apple or Facebook’s walled garden, content will either have to be walled off into apps, or the industry will shrink to the point where the only publishers that will survive will be the ones that have billionaire owners interests at heart.

Think before you block. It’s the ultimate act of digital selfishness in a world that doesn’t consider how their online enjoyment came to be, or the consequences of ill thought out actions.


I bloody love days like this. It’s a big game. We’re starting to become a team that thrives on the big games.

Ok, that was too far. We’ve won a couple of big games so we’re in with a chance for once.

The prevailing fear is that we have a lot of players out of form at the moment.

The worry is that Jose Mourinho is hurt. His team are wounded. They are a team of big game players. This is a big stage. Jose hates Wenger. The scene is set for a hideous spoiler of a day.

I think  Jose is going to try to beat Ozil out of the game today.  I think he’ll look to close the space and interrupt our movement with systematic fouling. I think this is going to be horrendous.

I think our plan will be based around speed terror. Chelsea’s back four looked like they hung out with an ice cream tub of polonium this summer. They’re weak. They’re lacking confidence. They look old.

Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez are going to be sent out on a seek and destroy mission. Our role today is to batter through a deep lying defence. We need to stretch them, we need to pull them out of position… and most importantly, we need to take our chances.

This isn’t a day for spooning over from 3 years. This isn’t the day for a lack of concentration. We have to win this.

For me, the rhetoric in the dressing room should be around shutting Jose up and burying their title winning aspirations. We need to seek revenge for the deluge of embarrassments that man has handed out personally and on the pitch to Arsene Wenger.

There can be no excuses.

The chat after the game, if the worst happens will be geared around that £220m pot (worth rereadings this) of cash that’s sitting in the accounts. If the manager has faith in the squad, he showcases why he has that faith by beating the Champions today.

I’m cautious about the game, but excited. This is what it’s all about. Let’s have a big game from the boys and a vocal day from the away fans!

Enjoy, see you on the other side.

P.S. Sweet article on managerial performance from Matt Scott (here)