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Time for Boring, Boring Arsenal again

Time for Boring, Boring Arsenal again

As controversy appears to have become attached to our shirt tails in what is only the first month of this season you can perhaps be forgiven for thinking the Boring, Boring tag of a couple decades ago had something going for it. There may have been other seasons that have started as eventfully as this one but if there were I can`t for the moment recall them.

The 6 - 1 drubbing of Everton in the opening game was one where things tended to go for us and the nature of the goals in the next encounter, the first leg of the CL qualifier against Celtic, seemed to foster that impression. But both games and the first home game of the season, a 4-1 win against Portsmouth, showed examples of the team at its most exhilarating counter attacking best. Celtic weren`t the strongest they have ever been but Arsenal still became the first English side to win a European tie at Hampden Park in almost 30 years. The hysteria which surrounded the return leg at the Emirates, disguised an easy win in what was in reality a perfunctory encounter.

It probably seemed the perfect victimless contest for Uefa to act as though they were capable of doing something of worth. That they made a horlicks of it by picking the wrong target for the right motives was as predictable as it was painful to observe. By pandering to media and Scottish sensitivities they heightened the controversy that in turn, raised Celtic ire to absurd levels of what was to prove hypocritical hysteria. So much so that the VitalCeltic site has taken to heaping a completely unjustified degree of disgraceful abuse on the club and its supporters.

The next game against ManU was controversial mainly for our not uncommon ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory all by ourselves but Rooney was able to show, less controversially, that it is possible to avoid accusations of cheating if you master all the necessary skills properly. The events of the weekends game against City have been done to death but the ramifications as City fans come grudgingly to accept that Adebayor`s punishment had nothing to do with racism or some paranoid conspiracy to deprive them of their claim to the Premiership title are still to be witnessed in absurd allegations against the Arsenal and its supporters.

Whether the degree of overreaction to these events from media, pundits, officials, players and fans had any role to play in the first half performance against Standard Liege would be hard to claim but the players certainly looked shell shocked. The result was more valuable than the performance as Cesc later put it "It is very good for the confidence and morale of the team. Sometimes even when you play well you lose and it can affect your head." By comparison the equaliser, which had it involved a British side, might have invited a similar about of bile, was accepted as one of those decisions that go for you just as we are told we must accept those that go against us. We have yet to have legions of Liege supporters assailing us with the degree of venom and bile adopted by some Celtic and City supporters. They seem ready to accept that controversy or not their own shortcomings contributed to the result. It seems controversy can exist without the British need for insane levels of hyperbole.

One man who seems to best demonstrate how to deal with times and situations like these is Eduardo. He kept his own counsel during the decisions leading to the ban and its retraction. He wisely avoided feeding the headlines the way other players, past and present have done and even afterwards said little more than acknowledging his confidence that the result was always going to be just. Again, as Cesc explains it "Eduardo was always the same and finally the truth came out. He is very strong, a very positive guy. We don't worry that he is going to go down or going to be depressed. He stands up."

Events shape other events, good and bad, but we will benefit from a period with an uneventful sense of purpose - to get the job done over the next few weeks with Eduardo like control and focus. We need to get back the confidence and ability we have shown in most of the games so far. Focussing on our football should be excitement enough.

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Date:Friday September 18 2009
Time: 3:44PM


Possibly September in the Unbeaten season rivals this. The Pires dive, followed by the 3-0 tonking at home to Inter followed by the whole van Nostrelface debacle. Let's hope the last few weeks forges the same kind of spirit. UEFAs Eduardo decision was probably an attempt to support Platini's "penalty area ref" idea in a high profile but low level qualifier. Of course the folly of the whole thing was that Platini's intention had been to steer away from video evidence and the controversy it created caused video evidence to be used an nauseam. But yes, I'm rather hoping for a straightforward, sleepy 2-0 win tomorrow. Fat chance!
Little Dutch
18/09/2009 15:55:00
If anyone was going to recall one it was always going to be you LD. But it's a good call. I feel strangely reassured by that example.
18/09/2009 15:58:00
We've got a few (relatively) low key games coming up. I'm hoping to get the points under our belt and keep out of the headlines. I don't care if we're on the graveyard shift on MOTD, as long as we win. I looking froward to tomorrow's game, it seems ages since I was last at the Grove! Well it is 3 and a half weeks!
18/09/2009 16:11:00
I know can you believe this is only our second home game of the season! I'd be happy with any kind of win - as long as its without any kind of controversy. btw whats the latest with Arshavin?
18/09/2009 16:38:00
I've had to stay away from all things Arsenal for the last week or so just to get away from all the persistent drama. I'm sick to death of the constant drama, the hysteria, the bile and propaganda, the stupidity of our players in games like Liege and City, the media distortions and self-righteous moralizing. Just when you think one controversey's over, a whole new one starts up again. This week I've wished I could follow an incredibly boring, obscure lower league club or some pathetic MLS team, anybody who gets no attention. But I can't, it's impossible to change who your heart chooses to love. And then I come back to check out this blog and go over some of the stuff I've missed and see that we've now become some kind of hysterical obsession for City fans. I don't care if it's blasphemous, tomorrow I want a very dull, forgettable win. There's a lot to be said for the Graham years.
18/09/2009 16:39:00
BTW, Amos, great piece you wrote today! "We have yet to have legions of Liege supporters assailing us with the degree of venom and bile adopted by some Celtic and City supporters. They seem ready to accept that controversy or not their own shortcomings contributed to the result. It seems controversy can exist without the British need for insane levels of hyperbole." -- Amen to that! Last season when we eliminated Roma (whose fans are hardly known for their even temperament) from the CL, I checked out some of their blogs and expected us to be trashed all over the place. Hardly that. Sure there were a few complaints about us but they were mild, and overwhelmingly they focused on their team's performance. You'd think that Celtic were the only team in the entire history of the sport that had an opponent dive and won a penalty kick. Geezus h khrist, we gooners have suffered unjust truly DECISIVE referee decisions in CRITICAL matches in the CL and other competitions. We've had penalties both wrongly disallowed and incorrectly called. We nursed our wounds, complained a lot, we know what it's like. But we moved on. To hear Celtic fans talk you'd think they were going to win the damned competition if it were not for us. And I won't even go into the bulls-h-i-t diversionary stuff about how our "racist thug" fans brutally abused Ade on Saturday. I've now heard from 3 friends who were actually at the game (and have read various testimonies on blogs, like LD's terrific match report) and they all say that the media depiction of the away fans' behavior has been exaggerated to ridiculous lengths. And since WHEN did Ade get all that horrible abuse all last season? On which planet? Eboue, Bendtner yes. Hell, Denilson got more consistent, louder abuse than Ade did.
18/09/2009 16:52:00
Indeed Amos, a boring, boring win would (ironically) be absolutely exciting news. If we beat Wigan 1-0 with a lucky goal deflected off Gallas's arse and it's so tedious that MotD give us less than a minute of air time, I'd be decidedly thrilled. Nice to see you back Jaelle!
18/09/2009 19:04:00
Get Denilson on the pitch and were sorted ;-)
18/09/2009 20:01:00
Enjoy reading this goons. P.S. I seem to have apologised for saying that you had thrown bananas at Ade,thinking that I'd only read it on various blogs, so might actually be mistaken. Apology retracted. One of the world's leading music photographers, Kevin Cummins is also an obsessive Manchester City fan whose 2003 book We're Not Really Here, charting City's final season at Maine Road, would feature highly in Mirror Football's top 10 tomes about the game and was hailed as "the best and most intimate portrayal of an individual football club ever produced," by Kevin Keegan. Here's his view of the incident very fan has been talking about all week - Emmanuel Adebayor's reckless/incredible goal celebration against old club Arsenal. A message to the media: Whether or not you care for Emmanuel Adebayor doesn't really matter. What matters to me is the distorted version of last Saturday's events as widely reported ever since. Adebayor - along with Emmanuel Eboue, Niklas Bendtner and to a certain extent Alex Song - spent a large part of last season being booed by his own fans. It doesn't matter whether or not Adebayor was engineering a pay rise or a move from Emirates, the fact is he stayed for another season. That's not good enough for the fans who go to the game. They appear to think that paying top dollar gives them a mandate to abuse their own team for the 90 minutes they are inside the ground - added to the tasteless, offensive and borderline racist songs they sing in the pubs pre- and post-match. Like (to the tune of Lord Of The Dance) Cesc, Cesc, wherever you may be Birds don't shave in your country It could be worse You could be a Y*d Chopping the **** off your kid This is one of the more printable ones. I've watched football all over the world and I've been watching Man City since 1961, regularly - some might say obsessively. I also watch a fair amount of Arsenal games as my wife has two season tickets at Emirates. Last Saturday, Adebayor was clearly pumped up for the visit of Arsenal. Their fans had been booing him and singing derogatory songs at him while the teams were warming up on the pitch. His goal celebration was enjoyed by most of the people around me - sitting in the comfort of the middle tier of the Main Stand. He didn't start a riot. He didn't abuse his abusers. He merely ran towards them and slid on his knees with arms outstretched. The actions said 'f*** you'. And in my opinion after 15 months of abuse, he was entitled to this payback. The Arsenal fans' response was not dissimilar to the shameful events at Upton Park a couple of weeks ago. My wife and her friend were on the fourth row in line with Adebayor's celebration. They were knocked over the seats in front of them by 'outraged fans' and fortunately escaped with a few cuts and bruises. Two bananas were thrown at Adebayor - by Gunners supporters - as well as the other detritus. What's your view on that - or was your agenda set in stone pre-match. Earlier. Robin Van Persie - no angel himself - scored the equalising goal. He left the field of play and stood a couple of yards in front of the City fans in the corner of the south stand and main stand - screaming "F*** off, f*** off, f*** you." He then appeared to spit into the crowd before rejoining his team mates on the pitch. No City fan attempted to get onto the pitch to batter him. Nobody threw anything at him. Maybe - using the warped logic of many media commentators - they should have attempted to attack him. Then Van Persie would be facing a charge of incitement. The RVP incident was shown clearly on Sky's Football First highlights, but was subsequently edited out of any further coverage of the game on both BBC and SKY TV. If you want to write provocative columns, take a look at the film of the goal celebration and take note of the banana throwing. Then write about the return to the 70s and 80s - the days when black players were routinely abused by white working class men hiding under the flag of convenience, the football banner. Don't just slag off a kid - and yes, Adebayor is still just a kid - who's had a rudimentary education, and who probably can't believe the obscene amount of money in the English game. Of course this gives him a distorted view of his own worth. But does he deserve the ritual abuse, the banana throwing, the racist songs about him, his mother, his father? You would think so judging by the kangaroo court judgements meted out in the media over the past few days. That to me is far more disturbing than a metaphorical 'f*** you' by a young player to the fans who forced him out of Emirates.
18/09/2009 23:29:00
18/09/2009 23:43:00
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