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No Excuses

First things first, apologies for the lack of a match report yesterday. T`internet is down at chez Stillman with seemingly no way to revive its ailing corpse. Virgin Media were already well and truly on the blacklist anyway for the whole Arsenal TV fiasco, they`ve just hammered the final nail in their coffin, been to the undertakers, ordered the tombstone and had its epitaph etched onto the marble. I am certain that this game would have been beamed to every corner of the world and everybody will have a painfully clear idea of what transpired, so I see little point in detailing a blow by blow account. Instead, I will seek to diagnose the abject performance. When you lose 4-0 and your goalkeeper is your best player, you know you haven`t performed well. As well as being our best player, Lehmann had our best shot when he kicked the ball at that dissenting and obnoxious twunt that is Wayne Rooney. (Though considering the size of the target, Lehmann`s success is relative I guess).

A defeat seemed to be on the cards days before a ball was kicked in anger. The crippling injury list, together with a game against Milan on the horizon saw the vibes from the Arsenal camp as very lukewarm in the build up to the match. That obviously transmitted itself to the players as Eduardo and Lehmann are the only ones who came out with any real credit. The likes of Hleb, Fabregas and even the usually industrious Gallas were clearly holding back with Wednesday`s match in mind. United, conversely, had a lot to prove after a couple of poor results. Arsenal`s fledgling full backs Hoyte and Traore were mercilessly ripped to shreds by Nani, who was incredibly impressive throughout. (Though not as impressive as Anderson, who dominated this game). Personally, I cannot see the fuss over his ball juggling antics towards the end of the game, there is nothing in the rules to say it is illegal and as long as he is keeping the ball for his team then he is entitled to do as he will. Don`t get me wrong, it grated with me too to see the ball perched on his head as he ran back towards our travelling ranks. But Flamini took the only commendable course of action and robbed the ball from him emphatically and within the rules. Gallas` kick out at him minutes later was petulant, but its worth pointing out that Nani had kicked Hoyte as the pair exchanged words immediately after. I`ve not seen that mentioned anywhere, but that doesn`t altogether surprise me. If that hurt Arsenal`s pride there is one recourse, show a replay of Nani`s juggling before every game before the end of the season and use it as motivation to ensure he doesn`t get a Premiership winners medal.

On a day of abject performances, the most scornful criticism must be reserved for Emmanuel Eboue. You really are a tosser mate. Firstly, I`d like to make clear that I`ve never defended any of Eboue`s actions, but I do feel Arsenal fans have used him as a scapegoat and ignored offences from other Arsenal players, storing all of the criticism up for Eboue. However, on this occasion he deserves nothing but consternation. Arsenal faithfully pay his wages for six weeks while he swans off to Africa and then he immediately gets himself a well deserved suspension. I would chance he won`t be seeing his wage packet for a couple of weeks. The challenge was nasty, cynical and unforgivable in the extreme. The game was already lost (a game he had contributed precisely zero to) and to leave his team mates to twist in the wind for forty minutes with ten men with a huge game on Wednesday was so incredibly selfish. Emmanuel I hope you`re ashamed of yourself, I hope your team mates are ashamed of you. I am definitely ashamed of you. Never have I known an Arsenal player to be so reviled by his own fans, you`ve got a long way to turn it around Manu. I had been told by those who watched more of the African Nations than I had been able to that Toure had a nightmare tournament, and that seemed to transmit itself. He looked far from his energetic self, I am not sure if fatigue or morale were at the core, but let`s hope he can restore himself. While Emmanuel Adebayor`s second half dive deserves our contempt as well, for fairness sake I would like to point out that Rooney did the exact same thing in the first half, he was unaware that the whistle had sounded when he threw himself to the floor. But of course Adebayor is African and Rooney is English, so it stands to reason that our pathetic excuse for a media will flaunt their own agenda and criticise the one what`s got a funny name.

For all of Wenger`s excuses about the pitch (and he is right, it was a terrible playing surface) the simple fact was that the players just weren`t up for it. If I can be self congratulatory for a moment, the travelling fans were exceptional. The defiance of "we`ll be back to win the league" was brilliant, but my favourite chant of the evening emanated just from my left, as the United fans began to pour out of the exits with four minutes remaining, the spontaneous burst of, "we`ll race you back to London" was tres drole. We really deserved more. That said, I don`t anticipate this having any effect on the title race, we patently weren`t interested because of our exalted league position (Wenger`s precursor to the match was that he would rather lose than draw), whilst United were a team who had to go and prove themselves to their supporters again. Now Arsenal find themselves in that position, they must re-establish themselves and recover their professional pride with good performances against Milan and, more importantly, Birmingham City. The Tottenham reverse seemed to have little effect on our fortunes, if anything it galvanised us and put us back on our guard. Let`s hope this has the same effect. I finally got around to watching the latest Rocky film last night and there was an interesting line in it which bears our consideration, "life isn`t about how hard you can hit, it`s how hard you can be hit and keep moving forwards." Arsenal, the gauntlet lay before you. Seize it.LD.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday February 18 2008

Time: 3:22PM

Your Comments

Nice way to end the article, LD. The gauntlet indeed needs to be seized, but having looked at the team this season, I have no doubt that we will see a better performance next game. I'm happy that the travelling fans had some fun, for all that effort, time and money spent on the team. The time has come to focus on the next game, and it might be a good thing that its up in 2 days.
prits
how can we move forwards with Eboue and Gilberto in the team?
gazzap
Incidentally, did you know that Gilberto is the only player to have played every minute of every defeat this season? Probably harsh on him, though he hasn't performed well. But Eboue and Gilberto have been members of our team all season and haven't prevented us leading the league. United fans question the value of Carrick and Saha, Chelsea fans don't tend to like Chevchenko, Pizarro, Cole, Sidwell and Ben Haim. If you look hard enough, there will always be reasons for failure, that's the cowards way out. What we have to do is focus on why he have done so well thus far and keep doing it. It's easy to be super negative in defeat, but this game doesn't really reveal anything about our team other than the fact that we value the title above the cups.
Little Dutch
Your best write up, and my thoughts exactly re Eboue. What a ****ty day. Most of the hordes travelling back to Surrey were over the moon with their own team's performance. They owe us big time Weds!
AFC85Lew
last time the mancs gave you a beating up like that it ended your draw riddled unbeaten run, and then you lost it completely,cant see why that wont happen again!
springy
Springy, when the Chavs owner can eliminate enough people to finance a Chelsea 49 match unbeaten run, feel free to criticise. Incidentally, when they ebat us 6-1, do you know what we did next time we played there? Of course not, because you probably didn't know football existed in 2002.
Little Dutch
ah little dutch i was at both mathches when we beat you 3-0 home and away 69/70, if you are gonna win the title then winning the most matches in a season is a better way of dominance.personally i couldnt give a toss what happened next time you played there!and talking of unbeaten runs 75 home premiership matches?????dont expect a comment from you there!
springy
took the words away from my mouth LD
McGooner
10 more than you Springy, 10more. Don't expect a comment from you there.
AFC85Lew
If he's a Chav he will still only have a very tenuous grasp of what passes for football in West London. We were beaten before we even left London. The attitude to this game was always that this was an obstacle in the way of other prizes we hope for. Nobody takes cup results that seriously and this doesn't mean any more than the 4-0 hammering we gave ManU at Highbury in the league cup a few seasons back. Having said that the attitude of some of our players was pretty poor and hard though it is to take we could have been a little more gracious in defeat - but then what's the prize for being good losers?
Amos.
75 unbeaten home matches? Even your records are boring!
Amos.
The worst players were Gallas and Toure, they were aweful, together against the only Rooney, they were ridiculous, and i don't talk about Fabregas, i knew he was on the pitch just when Flamini came in to replace him, it's the only time i heard his name i think......
FloG
And that is worring cos they are normally the key players.....
FloG
Gilberto was awful wasn't he? His passing.. and pretty much everything was 3rd rate. The team overall didn't seem bothered and when I saw the starting line up.. I had a bad feeling about the game. When we play badly.. we play really really badly..!
arsenalrulz4ever
errwhats 10 more than you mean afclew?
springy
Titles.
AFC85Lew
LittleDutch - man utd fans dont question the value of carrick....saha yes, but carrick most certainly not.
united4life
well afclew i have to say your up on most things us being not known for us winning trophies in the past,but were catching up,and the woolwich wanderers still havnt had as many people through the turnstiles as us!!
springy
Woolwich Wanderers haven't? Cos i'm pretty sure Arsenal have.
AFC85Lew
dream on afc85lew!!
springy
Arsene is still struggling to find 11 fit players, Rosicky won't play this one too, read that on sky. now i'm really really getting worried about wednesday..
luckys_10
By the end of this season Arsenal will have had about 1.1million through the turnstiles at the Emirates for the premiership games alone. Chavs will just about manage 790,000 with a bit of luck.
Amos.
springy yu muppet, it will take yu 250 more years atleast to equal our current record of 13 league titles. so get the ***** out of here..
luckys_10
thats now amos and so you should do,and luckys_10 like who the feck are you??
springy
Yes that's now springy - and for the forseeable future too.
Amos.
It's a terrible performance but like I said before the team's proven able to bounce back. And I hopefully think the FAC exit will prove a blessing in disguise at the final stages of our season...
Lou the Gunneress
why was my previous comment deleted?
luckys_10
I dont think Gilberto was that bad, to be honest. The pace at which he normally plays unforunately doesnt suit the team anymore, and we need more from CM that what he currently offers. I wouldnt be too harsh on him.
prits
in these times, when our squad seems to be training with a select eleven from Bolton and Newcastle, we may have to put in our faith in Gilberto Silva, our Berlin Wall (the one from 1990). if you rewind back to Paris not so long ago, his masterful display in MF completely shut down another player of the year (with perky teeth and a perm), so if there ever was a time to repeat such a performance Bert, this is deffo the one!
G4L
i bet any chavs that Arsenal will get to 20 league titles,before they get to 10
fran merida
and on that note,i bet we will get to 20 league titles before spurz gets to 3
fran merida
We do need him but his attitude might be that he don't need us....he might well be feeling a little bitter at the moment. Lost his place and the captaincy, only used when others are injured or for cup games....A young and up and coming player might stand for that but I doubt that a player with as many medals as Gilberto will. I just don't think this guy will run out on the pitch with the same attitude as he did a few years ago. His attitude might be " One of this second stringers now am I ?" ...If he does ask that its important how he answers.....play out of his skin or not give a toss and wait to the end of the season..??
radar
Just for the record..I really like Gilberto...
radar
Bert is a professional. the way he carried himself on the pitch at OT was commendable, unlike Gallas who really made me sick with the kick he took at Nani and his constant display of displeasure towards lehmann. yu can't choose to be a captain and a leader when yu want, and on some occasions, act like a ***** and forget that he is the choosen one to lead ARSENAL FOOTBALL CLUB. if Bert is selected for Milan, i'll bet my life, he will give more than 100% and do all he can to help the team, and at the same time, help the young heads to keep their cool and carry themselves with dignity and humility..
luckys_10
I think Prits is spot on about Bert, the pace at which he plays the game just isn't suited to us anymore. I feel we have to win 2-0 against Milan on Weds to have a very good chance of going through. 1-0 would be OK. I was in Milan at the San Siro earlier in the season land saw them losing at home to Roma and felt at the time that if they played Arsenal then we would win. Not so confident now, but only because they have so much nous at this level.
Gooner_Vin
And Eboue is a complelte waste of space, glad you pointed that out LD. Wenger has to get rid off him because his attitude has stunk the last 3 seasons.
Gooner_Vin
the pace of EPL nowadays is a bit ahead of any other league including UCL. For that matter, AC Milan is a team that doesn't rely on pace, so if Bert goes in there, he should be ok if his focus level is high. I won't even speak about motivation: if Milan and Champs League don't motivate a player, he is in the wrong sport.
G4L
I have a feeling that AW will play Eboue and he will play a blinder, probably score one and set one up, and even put himself about with a few strong tackles.
G4L
Excuses Excuses instead of asking why Nani's kick wasnt shown etc (what an childish attitude btw) why not start an article about how Ill discipline, Petulence and Diving is making yoursleves look ugly. You really do but the S in Scum
HuddersfieldYiddo
ade did not *****in dive .. i dont wanna hang on to the events of that game but i love adebayor too much and i need to defend his honour http://jax.sus.mcgill.ca/~yazz/untitled.JPG
yazz
yazz, how muchever we all love Ade, it will still a dive, he went down way to easily. Hudyiddo - your post patterns are utterly boringly repetitive. Dont you have anything else to say ?
prits
look the Zokora-Berbatov diving duo supporters are here preaching! Wonderful. **** *** to your 11th place. 9 years, it only took 9 years...
G4L
Huddersfield Yiddo, you must have the IQ of a kitchen knife. Let me deconstruct your post for you, firstly, "excuses, excuses." Please look at the title of the artice. Seen it? Right. Secondly, if you read the article you will see that I criticise Gallas, Hoyte and particularly Eboue. But if I criticise Adebayor for diving, should I not criticise Rooney for the self same action? (His being English obviously withstanding) If I criticise Gallas for kicking out, am I not entitled to criticise Nani for kicking out at Hoyte? You will also see I defended Nani's ball juggling, this shows that I have managed to be objective about the issues at hand, you clearly have a barely concealed anti Arsenal agenda at all costs. Therefore, lecturing me about objectivity given the qualities of my article and your post in response is richer than Dimitar Berbatov's agent. You want to talk about diving? What about Keane's abberation at Upton Park? Indiscipline, Zokora and Malbranque committing two footed lunges in the same game at City? Glass houses my friend. I hope in time you can understand what an idiot you have been.
Little Dutch
Luckys_10, Gallas isn't choosing when to be a captain. I know that's what arseblogger said, but he was easily the most vocal and close minded of all commentatotrs when Gallas was appointed captain and therefore will take any chance to batter the guy. He had a poor game, no doubt. But he's allowed one, even when he is captain. His kick at Nani was stupid, but I seem to remember another French captain we had becoming involved on a lot of similar incidents and nobody questioned his captaincy. The fact that Gallas' only two poor performances this season have resulted in heavy defeats elucidates his importance to us. I don't want to get on Gilberto's back, but there have been occasions this year when I couldn't honestly say he was giving 100%, Seville and Spurs away come to mind. Gallas had a poor game, confounded by a petulant kick out, but all prior evidence this season has pointed to him being far and away the best choice for skipper. One poor game does not change that.
Little Dutch
If he could do that he wouldn't support sp*rs.
Gunnerman
i agree with yu LD, but that is not how the captain of AFC carries himself on the pitch. he has been immense for us this season, and i hope he and the lads will redeem themselves on wednesday..
luckys_10
LD - I agree with you about Gilberto too, I definitely got the sense he wasn't giving his normal 100% in some games, almost as though he was moping around because of losing his place.
Gooner_Vin
"We don't care about the (insert trophy), this loss will help us concentrate on (insert name of trophy still in)". You lot crack me up!
North Upper
I am not surprised to see you struggling to find the names of trophies North Upper. Not something you have been too familar with I guess.
Amos.
"We don't care about the league/ F.A. Cup/ Champions League, the Carling Cup has always been our priority." You guys have been a constant source of amusement for around forty seven years now.
Little Dutch
yes i think i said something similar about Bert too...oh well never mind....
radar
Keanes abberation? I assume ur talking about the time Green took him out just before half time. Hardly a dive when he was about to tap it into an empty net. Bad tackles? theres the odd bad tackle yes but zokoras was not intentonal or harmful vs city. Zokora dived 2seasons ago against pompy and all spurs fans remember this and deplore it. To bring this up really is clutching at straws LD especially when it happens week in week out at the grove. i can understand you wanted to defend your club but just feel you really do deserve some critisism over the way your team behaves at times. Theres even some fans denying Adebayor dived lol now that is amusing
HuddersfieldYiddo
Berbatov diving G4L? Seriously? Check out this Archive of Disgraceful behavior (this isnt mine btw) http://www.youtube.com/user/mano0obe
HuddersfieldYiddo
But I didn't defend my club. Read the article again. I do however apologise to all kitchen knifves everywhere, I've done you all a disservice.
Little Dutch
haha kitchen knifes eh. brilliant
HuddersfieldYiddo
Yes ok we take your point Hudders....sometimes the lads mis-behave...anything else ?.......how's the race for 4th place coming on ?...sorry we couldn't take part in that with you....what ?...you've pulled out too ?...
radar
Yes yes I know....you have been concentrating on Cups....
radar
Kitchen knives tend to be quite sharp whereas the average Spud is most definitely a blunt instrument and, as demonstrated by HuddYid and others, they don't usually have a point.
Amos.
Struggling with the concept of brackets Amos, it figures. All I'm saying is I find your constant line of ready made excuses funny. I make no excuse for our team being average for far to long now but at least when we lose or get knocked out of a cup (and before you come back oh so wittily is far to often) get angry, upset whatever. Some emotion. As the writer of this very good article says it's about moving forward after getting hit, not denying you ever got hit in the first place.
North Upper
There aint one little spudlet here that would'nt swap the chance to get beat by the chavs in the worthless cup final to be top of the league and be 31 points ahead of us, as ever their rancour and bitterness is nauseating to witness. Even in print the stench of their pure envy is palpable. FOREVER IN OUR SHADOW YOU LASAGNE DODGING DONKEYS. As for our chav chum Springy, he is contender for Vital grunt of the year, anyone that is braindead enough to state that Lou Reed is one of his musical heroes whilst maintaining that "I hate queers - it ain't right" has forgone any right to have any other views he gives taken the remotest bit seriously...still hes found his spiritual home at the traditionally far right CFC....carefree my arse! 15 years ago C@nts like him were banging on about blacks and pakis, whilst singing the delightful "Adolf Hitler he aint dead hes the leader of our shed"
nikolaijns
Your humility is truly warming North Upper - though also inevitable. Read the title of this piece again - no one here is making excuses - we leave those to you - dodgy lasagne wasn't it?. Yes we get angry when we lose - we have less experience at being losers than you do - but nobody here is in denial. Delusion is the stock in trade of your lot. We are just getting on with going as far as we can in the competitions we are still involved.
Amos.
kitchen knife,you should have called him a potato peeler!,anyway i dont recall any spuds being against that zokoro dive,because they accumalated 3 valuable points from it,and celebrated like they won the league
fran merida
 

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