Arsenal 4 – 1 Sunderland. Lovely stuff and… On the nature of fandom

by .

I think there were some Germans playing yesterday

I think there were some Germans playing yesterday

Morning good morning. Alex (@aldo_doel) here to write on the game that Arsenal did what won yesterday.

After my pre-game tuna nicoise salad and skinny latte I made my way to the stadium fired up for some football and ready to sing my heart out for the boys to show what a bloody great fan I am. Yesterday was a day of glorious sunshine at the Emirates, sunglasses weather, almost warm enough for shorts – a ludicrous concept in London in February.

The atmosphere understandably contrasted with the Bayern game which felt like Liveaid on ketamine. After the prestige and intensity of that game, a spirited but essentially garbage Sunderland side had more an end-of-season feelarama to it; nothing to play for, a relaxed atmosphere, a performance with the pressure off. Which is weird because we are slap bang in the middle of a title race.

Credit to the manager for ringing the changes. It’s a drum I’ve been banging for so long that I’m starting to sound like a Slayer record but… in the few seasons since 2005 where we have put a genuine title challenge together, February/March is where we started to fade. People attribute it to Eduardo’s leg break or the Carling Cup final. I prefer to believe it’s because the same 14/15 players had been worked into the ground over the preceding seven months and were mentally and physically knackered. You can tell me I’m wrong and a c*** on twitter later if you disagree.

Anyway the changes were rung. In came Lukas P on the left (about fucking time), a rested Giroud in for Sanogo (who acquitted himself very well against the European Champions by the way), Arteta for Flamini and Ozil not even in the squad. A controversial call perhaps but the right call. I don’t care how good you are – and Mesut Ozil is such a good footballer he makes me question my own atheism – everyone needs a rest sometimes. Especially in your first season in a new league, with no winter break, when you are not used to playing 90 minutes every week.

UPDATE: I’ve just flicked on Sky’s Sunday Supplement – the equivalent of a fart in a service station when it comes to football insight. The clowns on there were berating Ozil saying he’s not up to it (based on one penalty miss and poor performance against Liverpool). What utter nonsense. They just read out a text from a United fan saying Ozil was a poor man’s Wayne Rooney. No mate this is a poor man’s Wayne Rooney…

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£300k a week mate?

Anyway back to the game and Arsenal pretty much dominated from the off. Sunderland did a good job of chasing shadows and acting as moving human cones for Wilshere, Cazorla, Rosicky, Podolski and Arteta to pass around.

We got our opening early on after a driving run into the box from Cazorla (I think). After a bit of a scramble in the box, the ball broke to Giroud who buried it in the corner – a great start for the team and a boost for him, seeing as he hasn’t scored in about 68 months. We continued to dominate after the goal, looking entirely comfortable in possession and not that arsed when they were able to break. Mainly because they had one striker up front with the physique and touch of a Jacamo model; but also because LK6 had decided to wear his special shorts with the extra large pockets. (In his pocket… geddit?? Sorry…)

Ours, and Oli’s second, came a few moments later after a shite backpass from one of their players (I haven’t seen any highlights so forgive the vague reportage). Oli pounced on it and slotted it nicely away from a tight angle. Similar to the goal he scored against Southampton earlier in the season, it showed the difference a rest can make, as his mind was sharper than an HB pencil.

However both these goals were just warm up acts for the third which was Wengerball at its best. At the heart of it was #supertomrosicky who seemed to play a 1-2 with our entire team before being released by Oli and dinking it over Mannone. A real peach of a goal; similar, but not quite as good (for me anyway), Wilshere’s against Norwich earlier in the season. It upped the good feeling in the stadium to about 7.5 on the “Wenger In” scale. Fair play to Tomo as well. He really is a blinding player and, like Sagna, looks like he’s got at least another 3-4 years in him at the highest level.

So in we went at half time 3-0 looking very comfortable and playing really excellent football. At half time the great man that is Dennis Bergkamp showed up for a pitch side interview and to generally look like T1000’s more talented cousin. The reception he received was fantastic and it was amazing that during his interview you could hear a pin drop in the stadium, as everyone hung on his every word. He was asked whether he would return to the club in a coaching capacity and gave a fantastic politician’s answer of “I’m focused on the job I’m doing now but in the future who knows” which translates to “Yes please. I fucking love Arsenal. Please let me come back”. If any of the Board were at the game yesterday and saw the reverence and respect he is treated with by the fans they’d make him Chairman of the club tomorrow.

“What’s that? You’re putting season ticket prices up 6000% and forcing us to watch games sellotaped to our seats? Oh Dennis said it. Yeah that’s fine no worries.”

“I can’t believe Delaware are charging £19 for their new hotdog which consists of horsemeat, chewing gum, broken glass and the ebola virus all smeared in marmite. Oh it’s called the Dennis Bergkamp dog. Ill have 5 please.”

You catch my drift?

Anyway back to the game. Some more stuff happened in the second half. Koscielny – a man whose stock only seems to go up nowadays – scored a fantastic header from a Santi corner. That must be the first one we’ve scored in a while. Hopefully Laurent can take some time out next week in training to teach the rest of the team how to score headers.

Unfortunately he followed Nacho off the pitch for an early bath, precipitating the start of Arsenal’s annual left back crisis. Luckily neither seems to be seriously injured and Flamini did a good job of filling in in that position. Sunderland did pull one goal back after a great strike from their diminutive Italian player with the name I can’t spell. There was also consternation in the stadium when Arsene made his 70 minute substitution and it wasn’t Lukas. We were watching the Pod’s body language and he seemed genuinely surprised not to have been hauled off. Maybe they went out for a coffee and worked things out? Let’s hope so as he could be a useful player in the run in. There was also an exciting cameo from Gnabry who is just so hot right now. Another player who has something to contribute between now and the end of the season.

Anyway that was that. A very enjoyable day out and another 3 points to keep the pressure up on our rivals who both scraped victories.

I cant really be bothered with concluding thoughts this week so here are just two:

Arteta
A player I don’t think has the legs against the best teams was fantastic yesterday. Yes his passing is composed and sets the tempo but his positioning and defensive work is a joy to watch when he is on form. I still think we need to replace him at the end of the season but if it wasn’t for Oli’s two goals and assist he would have been MOTM

Being a fan
Ive seen a few online debates recently about who speaks for arsenal fans and who is entitled to be considered a genuine supporter. This mainly stems from Peter getting dog’s abuse on a daily basis and constantly being told by people that he is not a real fan because he is critical of the club and the manager. When did this become lore?

As far as I am concerned nobody, no matter how much I respect them, is beyond questioning or criticism. If you want to live in some weird footballing North Korea where you implicitly “Trust the manager” and believe this is the best of all possible worlds (check Dr Pangloss) then that’s your choice. But don’t try and force that view on others or spend your whole time screaming at people who hold a different point of view. All this is magnified by the idiocy that is twitter but its really getting to such a point where any utterance that questions Arsene or the club is pounced on by thousands of wankhammers trying to outdo themselves in their displays of uberloyalty.

On the atmosphere in the stadium the truth is that since the Ozil signing the atmosphere has been much better and people have been getting behind the team because the team have been showing commitment and desire. Support for the manager, at least in the section where I sit, is not unequivocal. I only mention it because yesterday a few started the “One Arsene Wenger” chant and I realised it had been a while since I had heard it. It didn’t really get going and faded quite quickly. This is usually a pretty good barometer for how fans, inside the stadium at least, are feeling about the manager. That’s not to say he is not loved, respected and admired by many but the idea that Arsene is universally recognised by fans as the best possible custodian for Arsenal Football Club in the way he was before is simply not true. Can he get back to that place? Absolutely. Will he? I hope so.

But for the time being absolutely support the manager and players when they are out there on the pitch but have the wherewithal and the guts to question things you don’t agree with (without resorting to Godwin’s Law ((Hattip to @queenofsuburbia)))

That’s me over and out. You can follow me on twitter @aldo_doel happy to debate

200 Responses to “Arsenal 4 – 1 Sunderland. Lovely stuff and… On the nature of fandom”

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  1. Nasri's Mouth

    Cazorla is a very different player to Ozil. They might play in a similar position, but their way of playing is very different.

    I wanted us to sign both a CF and an AM. I think people underestimate how much we needed some more creativity in the team.

  2. MidwestGun

    Kwik-
    A limerick about you and your german girl.

    On the Internet they found romance,
    That put both in a sexual trance,
    But Kwik had a gripe,
    That it’s hard to type,
    With a hand down in your pants.

  3. samsensible

    Southern People everyone knows Lamela and Eriksen are better than Ozil and Cazorla. FACT.

    Bamford, I wasn’t talking about Wenger. I don’t think about him as much as most people seem to.

    My point was that both positions were required to win the league. Much better than Higuain? There are o ly a handful of players in the world that are “much better than Higuain”.

    We could have afforded to buy Suarez and Ozil. Yeah. But we had have posted an annual loss for the year. And we don’t do that. Consequently it seems to me we had the choice of one expensive player that summer. As annoying as that is. And we weren’t prepared to pay the big money for Higuain- we wanted a good deal- Suarez was too expensive for our tastes.

    Ozil is title winning ability. Unquestionable. That’s what we were looking for. Wenger would have expected more from Giroud and couldn’t have planned for the injuries. I am convinced we didn’t go into this season think we could win it. I think Ozil was the beginning of a change.

  4. kwik fit

    Midwest

    Luv it LOL 🙂 Don’t know about the bit ‘ both ‘ were in a sexual trance though. But the bit about the hand down the pants is very accurate 😉

  5. Augustine

    Zeus

    Concerning Sturridge January 12/13

    We were in need of a striker following V.pu$$y departure

    Sturridge was getting quite a bit of game time in Chelsea…his contention was being played out wide with an out of form Torres played over him in th
    e central striking position

    So a young talented English striker was available at the time Wenger was hyping our English ‘core’
    I believe another transfer totally botched by Wenger

  6. kwik fit

    Liverpool’s front six are flying ATM. But a few injuries and they have poor back up. Seems a bit like us a few years ago . Our front 6 in 2011 were in top form. Walcot Rvp Nasri Cesc Jack and song but our defence was crap and we blow it mid march. Lets hope pool follow suit.

  7. MidwestGun

    Romford –
    Ya, Pool result was disappointing. Both defenses were shocking. I thought maybe, just maybe, Swansea could hold out for a point. But absolutely no marking at the top of the box all day. Lucky rebound too on last goal. Thought keeper could have done better. But not to be.

  8. Romford Pele

    Yeah Midwest, the Liverpool bandwagon is annoying. I’m not sure why the love in is so high. They are out of the CC, F.A cup and play no Europe. They should be winning most weeks as they only play once. Their freshness should stand them in good stead. A bit too close for comfort and all the big games bar United left to play are at Anfield.

  9. MidwestGun

    Watching Miroslav Klose at the moment and Lazio. Werent we supposedly in for him at the last window on a transfer? Not sure why, other than experience. Slow, old, and a target forward.

  10. samsensible

    Wenger should pin a copy of those Stoke comments on the wall.

    Hideous filth.

    We need to be prepared for a an early onslaught and then nick a goal to shut them up. It’s a massive game and is a vital 3 points. A draw will Fuck us right up.

  11. Cesc Appeal

    Nice to see a bit of a gap developing from 4th to 5th…bit of breathing room come this hard run in.

    Spurs looked dire today, were very lucky to have only been beaten 1-0 by relegation battling Norwich, Snodgrass could have had a couple and Ferr should certainly have had one, Redmond as well.

    The next few weeks is going to be a balancing act in terms of team selection, away at Stoke we have to get the selection right, I don’t think that’s a game for Ozil either – so perhaps we can give him a late ‘winter break.’

    Good game for Oxlade to shine, pace and power to catch the cloggers out.

  12. Nasri's Mouth

    Cesc Appeal: Spurs looked dire today, were very lucky to have only been beaten 1-0 by relegation battling Norwich,

    agreed, they looked lost, dazed and confused.

  13. Cesc Appeal

    NM

    So one paced as well.

    But we shouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of security, our own recent past shows a team can make a last minute surge even if the points appear insurmountable.

    They’ll be up for us against us as well at their place, first time in a while and it’d be nice to have back to backs against them, 3 times in one season after the recent years would be lovely.

  14. Toli83

    Those stoke comments are really disgusting. Mental just how backward people can be.

    Team vs stoke.

    Szez
    Jenks, Sagna, Mert, Monreal
    Arteta Flamini
    Cazorla
    Rosicky Giroud Ox

    That should be enough to do it, I have a feeling Wenger won’t risk Kos if their is the slightest chance he could have a bigger problem.

  15. Cesc Appeal

    Toli

    That defence worries me a lot. Jenkinson having to handle Stoke? I can just see him cracking and Stoke gunning for it against a weakened, unrecognisable defence.

    This is yet AGAIN the bane of a weak squad – Koscielny has to play.

  16. Radio Raheem

    Every time I think Chris Hughton will get the sack he gets a result.

    I chuckled when I saw spuds starting lineup, looked very AVB

  17. Toli83

    Cesc,

    Agree it worries me as well, if fit he needs to play although Kos out for 4/5 games worries me even more. His injury record isn’t the best.

    Where is TV !?

  18. Cesc Appeal

    Toli

    Yep, exactly – yet again the average fan was screaming for another CB with the out of sorts and injured Vermaelen barely on the cusp of the action an injury to our starting pair would be devastating.

    I really don’t get why Wenger continues, season after season to play Russian Roulette with the squad and therefore our chances of success.

  19. Nasri's Mouth

    Jenkinson has done pretty well recently. Hasn’t let us down. He plays much better when he’s had a few games under his belt, which he has now

  20. wenker-wanger

    Sturridge was always going to be top quality. Ive always raved about him as I could see the legend of ian wright in him. Glad for him that wenger didnt try for him, he would have turned him into carlos vela. As for skys pundits on ozil, those tossers have not analysed the situation in any depth. Ozil is class , he just needs a 2 week rest.

  21. Sharpehunter

    Ozil is wank – he must be because some highly paid sports commentator and football writer in The Sun newspaper Antony Kiriaksotanistosisupurarsis said he was. He closely analysed Ozil’s performance for a 10 man Arsenal against Bayern Munich’s 11 man team and Kroos. Apparently Kroos has more passes, more completions and more crosses and more assists and stuff than Ozil did.

    Before anyone jumps up and down and screams at me, I am being sarcastic. I know the bell end who writes a column in the Sun is of course utterly biased, he supports Spurs for a start. But it raises the question as to why you would write a scathing personal attack on a footballer, ignore the actual long term stats, ignore the circumstances of the whole game, ignore the fact that season for season Ozil’s stats are actually much better than Kroos and their is only one 1 year between them in age.

    Let’s however look at this season:

    Kroos – Apps 16 (4 subs) – Goals 1 Assists 4 Yellows 4 Mom 0 Rating 7.29
    Ozil – Apps 21(subs 0) – Goals 4 Assists 8 Yellows 0 MOM 3 Rating 7.25

    I can only assume that Ozil has a lower rating because his passing % isn’t as high. Which is odd, I’d rather he scored more goals and got more assists. But hey how what do I know compared to a wank sun writer who supports Spurs. I wonder how Ozil’s stats compare to Soldado, Lamella, Eriksen and Co..

    But more importantly, apparently MUFC are going to pay £52m for Kroos and pay him £250,000 per week. Makes Ozil deal look like an absolute steal doesn’t it!