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Manchester City 3 Arsenal 0

Arsenal sold 4,500 tickets for this tie. That is a very good number indeed (particularly given the empty seats visible in the Spurs section of Old Trafford on Tuesday evening). But I have to say that had Emmanuel Adebayor not mired the previous encounter in controversy, that the numbers might not have been so great. For all of the faux posturing and moralising that occurs from controversial events, the fact is that football fans love it when some players are wearing black hats and others are wearing white hats. That said, Adebayor had obviously been well versed to keep his behaviour to a minimum- as we were warned on the coach that the police would operate with a draconian hand on anyone heard singing the "elephant song." They needn`t have bothered; one of the biggest fallacies that has been allowed to grow up surrounding the match in September was that that song has ever been sung en masse by Arsenal fans. Largely, Adebayor was left alone, as he had really been in September until the goal celebration, bar one particular moron who decided to throw a lighter at him. Hopefully the idiot responsible won`t have the opportunity to repeat those actions in a football ground anytime soon. We were made aware of the squad en route to the game and whilst the inclusion of Rosicky didn`t surprise me, I was tentative at the inclusions of Song and Eboue. The kids always perform when they have the chance to take ownership of the competition, a few unmotivated senior pros seems to taint the mix and so it proved last evening.

The first half was a fairly even encounter with the home side perhaps just edging it. The first chance of note came after seven minutes when Gareth Barry`s flighted corner saw Adebayor easily rise above Song and powered a header towards goal which was well held by Fabianski. City were beginning to get on top and should have scored after twenty five minutes, Wright Phillips looked to have fouled Silvestre by the by line but the referee waved play to continue, Arsenal were guilty of stopping in their tracks, Wright Phillips pulled the ball back for Bellamy and he swept the ball inches wide. But Arsenal eventually felt their way back into the match with City`s very porous looking defence giving plenty of encouragement. Wilshere was able to negotiate the myriad of bodies in City`s midfield and sashayed through the centre, delivering a cute reverse pass to Vela; the Mexican outstripped Lescott for pace and stabbed the ball marginally over. It should have been the springboard for further opportunities, but all too often the Arsenal midfield lacked either the accuracy of pass or the courage to get forward and support Vela. Either that, or Mikael Silvestre received the ball from the keeper before punting it aimlessly upfield. I lost count of the amount of times that happened. Stephen Ireland played a neat pass to Carlos Tevez, the Argentine gestated his way between Eastmond and Silvestre but Fabianski beat out his near post effort. The Gunners counterposed with a slick move of their own, Rosicky played a pass to the onrushing Eboue, the Ivorian motored into the area, feinted inside footballer impersonator Wayne Bridge but shot straight at Shay Given on his left foot. Hearts were a flutter one last time on the opening period when Traore, who had found Wright Phillips impossible to get to grips with, fouled the diminutive winger on City`s right. Barry`s free kick was headed narrowly over his own crossbar by Alex Song. Half time and a war of attrition had been fought largely on an even keel.

You had the feeling that the first goal would be all important in deciding the fate of the spoils and City assumed that stranglehold early in the second half. Rosicky was guilty of over elaboration in his defensive third, allowing Tevez to steal in, the Czech midfielder apparently playing for a contract couldn`t be arsed to even try and catch Tevez, the Argentine manoeuvring inside Eboue and Song, whose challenges were token gestures at best, before unleashing a delicious curling shot finding the net via the combination of bar and post. Two of Chelsea`s goals on Sunday were finished via that unholy marriage of bar and post and two of City`s goals last night did also. You`ve the distinct feeling that, at the moment, an Arsenal player would see the ball hit the bar and post before bouncing out. Arsenal briefly flickered as Rosicky headed over Merida`s corner, but heads notably drifted down towards chins. At this point, I don`t think it`s unreasonable to look towards the senior players- after all, what else had they been selected for? Eboue and Song played as though their selection was a punishment and an affront to their first team status. Rosicky flickered into action once or twice, but largely his body language echoed that of his fellow erstwhile senior colleagues, which screamed, in the words of Thom Yorke, "What the hell am I doing here? I don`t belong here." Vela was all too often isolated against a centre half pairing which I felt looked vulnerable to runs from midfield. But Vela`s confidence too was visibly shot. The manager had chosen the day of this game to announce that he definitely intends to buy a striker in January, so one can probably explain why figures such as Eduardo and Vela have looked so brow beaten of late. We have no choice to persist with them for at least another six weeks so one must question Wenger`s judgement with those quotes.

City might have ended the contest before the hour mark, Bellamy sauntered down the left with Eboue and Song looking on as passive bystanders on the horizon, Bellamy`s low cross found Adebayor but Fabianski`s presence was enough to force the ex Arsenal striker to poke the ball over the bar. The goalkeeper showing his senior colleagues that even if you can`t necessarily get the ball, sometimes giving chase is enough to put doubt into an opponent`s mind. It was a lesson not heeded as Traore was dispossessed on Arsenal`s left, again Song watched on uninterested as Wright Phillips bore down on the penalty area. Silvestre thought it was a grand idea to peddle backwards and then show him onto his stronger right foot, an invitation Wright Phillips was not shy about taking with an exocet of a right foot shot which cannoned into the top corner. Arsenal were well and truly beaten now and as visiting supporters, we just wanted the final whistle and the warm embrace of our various methods of transport back to London. Song, who looked like he too was eyeing up the quickest possible route home, was lucky to stay on the pitch when he hauled down Stephen Ireland cynically with the City midfielder otherwise unimpeded en route to goal. Indeed, Song had already begun walking off the pitch when the referee beckoned him over and showed him a yellow card. You`ve the impression Song was disappointed not to receive his marching orders, for the previous seventy minutes he looked as though he would rather have been at home in a warm bath.

As the motivation of the older players ebbed into an insulting nothingness, the physicality of the younger players unused to competition at this level also began to drop. City might have had a third when Bellamy went rushing through on the left, again with Eboue looking on disinterested, but Fabianski rushed out to save at his feet. A third did arrive when Bellamy sauntered past Eboue on the left again, again Eboue`s "efforts" in retrieving the ball were barely token, the Welshman pulled the ball back to substitute Weiss and his finish again cannoned in off the woodwork. Arsenal had an injury time flirtation with the woodwork when Merida`s dipping volley hit the crossbar. In the end, the exit from a competition such as the Carling Cup isn`t heartbreaking and hopefully the younger players will have gleaned something from the experience. Set against two dispiriting league defeats, it perhaps feels more maudlin than it should. Whilst the confidence of the side is at rock bottom, it is difficult to see how Arsenal can engineer results. Our style of play clings heavily to the idea of confidence and conviction and when those bedfellows are missing, Arsenal`s entire game plan goes asunder. The refusal to press opposition and retrieve the ball when they do lose it is non existent. Chelsea gave us a schooling in how effective it can be to hassle opponents and to break your neck to win the ball back if you are less than economical in possession. That two of City`s goals emanated from an Arsenal player losing possession in their own half and not bothering to try and win it back is lamentable and the key difference I can see between us and the likes of Chelsea and United. On the ball we can be devastating, off it we are amateur. It was a long journey home and arriving back at my flat at 03.30 before an 08.00 start at work did little to lighten my mood. Some of our senior players obviously felt the game was an affront to them, I felt in the second half that they were an affront to me to watch. Song`s suspension ensures he misses the pivotal visit of Stoke on Saturday, I would hope Eboue and Rosicky have no involvement in that game and I would hope that, with the Carling Cup campaign over, the sight of Silvestre browning his Arsenal shorts every time the ball gets within spitting distance of him is not a pain I will have to endure too many more times.LD.

Team: 21.FABIANSKI, 27.EBOUE, 17.SONG, 18.SILVESTRE, 30.TRAORE, 37.EASTMOND (54.Watt `57), 16.RAMSEY, 7.ROSICKY, 19.WILSHERE, 32.MERIDA, 12.VELA. Unused: 24.Mannone, 34.Bartley, 35.Coquelin, 41.Frimpong, 48.Randall, 51.Sunu.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday December 3 2009

Time: 3:32PM

Your Comments

I forgot to mention Arsene not shaking Hughes' hand. Largely because, in true Arsene fashion, I did not see it. But if what was reported is true, then that's poor form and reveals a man who is feeling the strain to me. I don't want him to be a good loser, but the tiniest bit of courtesy and manners isn't too much to expect.
Little Dutch
LD, good write-up but totally disagree with you about Arsene not shaking Hughes' hand. Hughes disrespected Arsene throughout the entire game and then whines to the media that Arsene didn't SHAKE HIS HAND??? Why the hell should ARsene shake someone's hand who cursed at him and baited him the whole game, and yelled at the ref to book and send off his players?
jaelle
Arsene is consistently disrespected by some managers (Hughes for one, and Brown & Horton last season) and yet he never complains publicly about it. Yet "tough guy" Hughes always runs to the media with these complaints about disrespect from a manager or a player, after blatantly provoking and baiting on the touchline. Arsene's not a hypocrite, Hughes most certainly is.
jaelle
Amy Lawrence's excellent article about this idiotic hypocrisy the English have about managers shaking hands, and how it's totally NOT an issue in other parts of the world: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2009/dec/03/mark-hughes-hypocrisy-english-outrage
jaelle
Maybe I'm bound by an antiquated and very British way of thinking, but I think it's a very basic courtesy that should nearly always be executed. I've seen Arsene on the touchline berating fourth officials for opposing players to be booked or sent off. Any manager would do that in the same situation, just like supporters in the stand, you want to see the decisions go as you want them. But once a game has finished and the heat of battle is over, I think a hand should be offered. Just as players should always take ten seconds of their time to acknowledge their supporters at the end of the game. It's basic manners. It didn't have to be a warm handshake or a or a hug or a dance, but a basic courtesy between professionals. I heard the interview with Hughes on the radio and as far as I can tell, he didn't bring the situation up, he was asked and I actually thought he was quite measured and didn't disagree with him. Though I felt the referee was very poor, we had six players booked which suggests that our conduct was not beyond reproach and Hughes might just as easily cite that in refusing Wenger's hand. It's sport, it's competitive by its nature but once the game is over I think you have to respect basic sportsmanship. There are a ton of things I would shout inside a stadium, but once the game is over, I would never go ranting at opposition fans about perceived injustices. Once the match has finished you take it on the chin and move on. I think the episode has drawn negative attention to the club and makes Arsene look as though he is really feeling the strain. That can't be good for players or fans at the moment.
Little Dutch
Haven't started reading LD's match report yet. But let me say this first: what the hell? Theo's got a hamstring problem now?!?! 0_0
GoonerLou
http://www.sport.co.uk/news/Football/30935/Walcott_suffers_hamstring_injury.aspx
GoonerLou
I wouldn't shake that mans hand with a stick. Hughes, Fat Sam and Red Nose are juvenile gangs that love to bully other manger especially foreign ones. They remind me of old school gangster movie with Red Nose playing the boss and the other two his muscle’s. All three of them have had run-ins with Wenger and last season Red Nose and Fat Sam tried to gang up on Rafa. The press always attempts to make the foreign coaches look bad but ignore the fact that those 3 act like henchmen
Klutch
LD, we'll agree to disagree. It's a British thing, it's just not a big deal in Spain or France or Italy or Latin America. In fact, it's seen as hypocritical after a particularly bad match with managers shouting at each other. I'm annoyed with Arsene for a lot of reasons but I admire his refusal to do something so fake (just for show) after Hughes deliberately baited and disrespected him.
jaelle
Great onlinegooner article on why AW refused to shake Hughes' hand: http://www.onlinegooner.com/exclusive/index.php?id=1418 . Would you shake the hand of this man?
jaelle
Awww poor Arsene getting ganged up on by those big bullies. Klutch are you serious? Happen to agree with LD, Hughes may be a tosser but just take it like a man, shake the guys hand and beat him to 4th - then watch him get sacked. Its more than being a bad loser a la Mourinho/Fergie - its childish and its hardly the first time either. And LD good quote again, although i bet your the only person on VA who knows who Thom Yorke is! But who knows maybe JulieLH4E has Kid A stacked inbetween her George Michael CDs
HuddersfieldYiddo
I personally would never shake the hand of someone who I didn't respect just because people think it's the right thing to do. No way. But that said, I'd didn't see anything that untoward going on. Obviously I couldn't hear what's going on. As I said, no-one should have to shake hands, especially if stuff has been said, but it just looks like a case of sour grapes to me. Not exactly what we need right now.
Rocky7
Yeah i am like that Rocky. Sometimes on sunday league football you get those guys smashing you up in the air, giving verbal, trying to hurt you and generally being wa****. Hell no i aint shaking their hands.
paul_ownz
There are any number of excuses you could offer AW for not shaking hands with Hughes, but you know what? If we win 3-0, would Wenger have done that? I'd venture not. The ideological argument is basically irrelevant in light of that, one's principles are too easily shifted in defeat. It might not be a custom in other nations but it is in this one and I think AW has been here long enough to know that and he has executed that courtesy enough times for it not to be an issue.
Little Dutch
I don't believe that a man who deliberately provokes and curses at you (calling you a "f-----g w@nker") deserves respect. It's utterly fake and Hughes doesn't deserve such consideration.
jaelle
And HY, unlike other managers (Hughes, Brown, Allardyce), Wenger never whinges to the media, never complains when he is dispresected by other managers.
jaelle
I'd venture called Martin Jol a lot worse on the touchline at Highbury a few years ago when the two went nose to nose. Players will say all manner of stuff to one another when the game is in play. It's unedifying, but it happens in every single game and I bet my ********* to a barndance that Wenger has shaken hands with managers that have said worse to him before.
Little Dutch
Remember when we used to be able to soak up a little pressure and then counter attack?
bootoo
Would I shake the hand of someone who told me to ***** off in front of an international audience? No, I would not.
gunnerkid107
What!!? shake his hand and get on with it. Wenger suffers from stress and is a workaholic and it really shows when he's in a match situation. He takes it all sooooooo seriously, is utterly wedded to his principles and can come across as an arse because of it.
jinkin jimmy dimmock
Oh and gunnerkid107......***** off.....NOW SHAKE MY HAND!!! (joke)
jinkin jimmy dimmock
he did right, he should have slapped that little s***
lukychmz
The British, no, make that the English, have turned hypocritical politeness into an art form. I watched the match on tv here in Nigeria, and I was amazed to see the rude gestures and obvious disrespect shown to Wenger by Hughes, and its exceedingly annoying to hear anyone slate Wenger without also taking the time to criticise a culture that thinks its ok for a younger man to disrespect an older man clearly deserving of utmost respect. What is the point of shaking hands with a man who has just abused me in order to satisfy the hypocritical demands of a culture that encourages and promote xenophobic hatred of a man who has done so much to raise the status of the English game? LD, maybe you should reread your post about Ireland, you rightly defended his decision not to play for his country even though many holds the contrary view, but you are not prepared to cut Wenger some slack simply because he declined to shake the hand of a man who spent the better part of the evening abusing him. Can anyone on here tell me of another manager in the English game who has suffered as much hatred and ridicule as Wenger? You have a beautiful league because of the man, he has dignified the Premier League with his presence, I do not pretend that he's perfect, but he's had to put up with so much crap. Moaningho jumped on the bandwagon and was extremely abusive towards Wenger because the British press encouraged him to do so, the Mancs with their sensibilities over Munich thinks nothing of singing that sick song about him, the Spuds have several variants of the same theme song, I'm waiting to see the English press rise in spontaneous or widespread condemnation of what he has had to live with. If you all feel so strongly about this PC cra-p, you can all go shake his hands. And kiss his skinny arse whilst you are about it!
deledudu
And yes, maybe Wenger might have taken his hand if we had won, but I dare say that it would have been to wish him Godspeed as he would or should have been promptly sacked if he had failed to beat a team mostly made up of our kids and reserves.
deledudu
LOL deledudu what time is it over there? time for a strong black coffee methinks
jinkin jimmy dimmock
I'm not suprised you asked since you lot rarely travel outside your tiny island since you lost your taste for acquiring colonies. Lol!. we are actually in the same time zone, except in winter when you move an hour behind us. Truth is a universal constant, and I'm still waiting for someone to rationally fault the argument I've raised.
deledudu
Wenger got the team mix wrong, and this has happened in the past, when he's tried to mix the kids with the 1st team. I saw only the highlights but there were some really poor / casual efforts from Song, Silvestre and Rosicky. As for Wenger's comments on signing a striker, lets hope he's using it as motivational tactics to inspire Eduardo and Vela to show him something different. Those 2 are tough mentally, and will respond positively to Wenger's comments.
prits
I'm with Jaelle and deledudu. Hughes completely encroached Arsene's technical area (disrespectfully in my opinion) and Arsene made a gesture to the 4th official about it, to which Hughes launched into a tirade directly at Arsene. You could argue that Arsene should have just been cool about the encroachment in the first place but why should he shake someone's hand just for the sake of it. You should only do something if you mean it. As for the match, there was no way that Hughes was going to allow City to lose to our kids at home, hence his team were absolutely 100% committed for every minute of the game. I don't see the harm of us having Arshavin and Nasri on the bench, though the news about Walcott probably prevented that.
Gooner_Vin
respecting other managers is professional courtsey too! english media tends to forget that for the sake of some news! they even asked bolton manager about it !!!
Gooner SA
Lawrence makes a good point in her article. If a handshake is a genuine sign of respect then it would be disrespecting the convention to give it when that respect doesn't exist. Besides Wenger didn't refuse to shake his hand - he simply didn't wait around to do so. Can there be any greater hypocrisy found anywhere other than in the English version of the game of football?
Amos.
I'm with deledudu, Amos and Jaelle on this one, why should Wenger have to conform to some hypocritical standards in our game. As for HY thinking he is so cultured and intelligent for knowing who Thom Yorke is, most 5 year olds know who he is, doesn't make you a music connoisseur lol
bowiecokemirror
Theres no such thing as "cultured" in Huddersfield bowie don't you worry about that. Fact is Wenger would have shook his hands if you won last night, making him imo a very sore loser. Maybe hes been clever though because people are focusing on that rather than yet another failed trophy attempt, who knows.
HuddersfieldYiddo
Rather have Wenger the bad loser than Redknapp the dishonest Media Wh@re.
iceman10
Can't be a fact that Wenger would've shaken Hughes hand if we'd won HY - it can only be a supposition - even if a reasonable one. I bet it wouldn't have been Wenger offering his hand first though. If it had been a genuine trophy attempt we wouldn't have fielded a team of teenagers and squad players now would we. Fielding your first team players against ManU's kids at OT is a failed trophy attempt.
Amos.
Hey Gooners - didn't see MH running to the media more like the media running to him and asking him the questions about AW
Thaibluefan
That may be true, but that doesn't mean he had to answer the questions. He was more than happy to answer here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/league_cup/8392135.stm
gunnerkid107
ok i just had to add my opinion on the whole handshake thing. At the end of the match, Hughes went out towards the pitch and shook hands with the man city coaches and staff. If he had wanted to shake hands then why didnt he walk towards Wenger? Is Wenger supposed to stand there and wait until Hughes deems he is ready to shake hands? After what went on in the game previous it was clearly obvious Hughes was doing it to be antagonistic. To then have the nerve to blame Wenger for it just illustrates was a d**k he is. Lets switch the situation and suppose Wenger spent time talking with Arsenal staff instead of going over shake hands, to the point at which Hughes had left. I can guarantee people would be screaming about how rude Wenger is and what a bad winner etc etc.. And before anyone comments that replays didnt show this, i know they didnt..but the live match showed it pretty clearly.
A-plus
If Wenger refused to shake hands only in order to deflect media attention away from his team, kudos to him. But he was offered sufficient reasons not to. This fixation on superficial facile politeness has to grate on the nerves of any thinking man, you insult and disrespect me in full glare of the cameras, you then turn around at the end of the game, narch off to rightly revel in your victory with your team, and then disingenously acquiesce when I am labelled a sore loser for not hanging around to shake your hand? Come on! That makes you an hypocritical bas-tard in my books, and anyone who continues to advocate this empty, meaningless ritual that lacks any modicum of genuine civility, is just as hypocritical. As someone else has made the point already, I am happy in the knowlege that the manager of my team is a sore loser, I deem that an asset. What he is not, is an hypocritical git who postures in front of the cameras in order to look good and please the press and a nation that has carried Political Correctness to an absurd extreme. If you are looking for flash monkeys, look no further than Phil Brown, he'll even tell a lie to make himself look good.
deledudu
I fear the handshake thing is getting overblown, but I am pretty certain Wenger would have done it had we won. If in a game of football, everybody refused to shake hands with someone who had mouthed obscenities at them, everybody would storm off in a girly huff. Imagine how much invective a referee gets in an average game, yet he offers his hand to everyone. Hughes might have told Wenger to ***** off or whatever, which is not on. But Wenger has the opportunity to be the bigger man and he didn't take it. Colonial and cultural arguments are excuse making in this issue as far as I am concerned. Wenger has been here for over 13 years and executed that courtesy 99.9% of the time, now when he doesn't, all of a sudden it's not his fault but it's a cultural hypocrisy. Every single culture has idiosyncratic elements to it, but whilst living in that culture I think you have a duty of care to respect it (which, in this case, Arsene has for many years). For instance, in Eastern Europe, beggars on the streets spend all day on their knees with their heads bowed and their begging cups held above their heads. To someone from London, that looked very odd the first time I saw it, because beggars over here are a lot more confident. But I didn't wander up to those homeless and start berating them for how uneccessary their little convention is and how hypocritical it is.
Little Dutch
Wenger has accepted that it is a professional courtesy to shake hands after a game. He hasn't done it after every game and neither has everyone else. There was a similar storm-in-a-teacup a few seasons back between Benitez and Mourinho I think. Wenger hasn't any regrets. As he says he is free to shake hands with those he wants to. In my view that does make him a bigger man than one conforming to some pathetic social etiquette no matter how it is dressed up by the hypocritical moral majority.
Amos.
LD, read the posts again. We can agree to disagree on the subject, but it smacks of hypocrisy to argue in one breath, that Ireland has the right to choose to represent or not represent his country, whilst denying a man the right to decide whose hand he may or may not shake, because he has lived in a culture where its ok to abuse and insult a man as long as you shake his hand at the end of the game. Whao! You lot sure are polite!
deledudu
Then everybody should refuse to shake hands with the referee and all of their fellow players on the same basis. I think it's quite petty to be honest. It's not the biggest crime of the century on Wenger's behalf and I would ask questions of Hughes' conduct. But I think Wenger sunk to his level, however you dress it up. Hughes' conduct wouldn't have even been mentioned on this forum were we not looking for excuses for our manager. I'm a massive, massive believer in basic manners, if I just stormed off in a huff every time someone slightly got on my nerves I wouldn't stand still for two seconds and I would also be in the job centre once a week.
Little Dutch
I think the Stephen Ireland issue is a very, very separate one that bears very little relation to this. Wenger would have shaken hands with Hughes had we won. Ireland's convictions are more set in stone than that.
Little Dutch
I may disagree with you, but I'll never quarel with your right to hold your own opinion. Lets just agre that I fail to bow to your usually impeccably superior argument. Now, where's uskok? I feel like shafting someone! LMFAO!
deledudu
It is a petty discourtesy on Wengers part but I bet it feels all the more satisfying to him just because it is so petty. Benign, detached, smug amusement should be Wengers current stance. I don't think every player on every occassion does shake hands with the referee do they? Some players do and some don't - few managers seem to. That's the way it should be. Even if we had won I don't think Wenger would necessarily have sought Hughes out in order to shake his hand though if Hughes offered it no doubt he would taken it. Ironically Phil Brown's tantrum was on the basis that Wenger didn't shake his hand even though he did win. I am also sure he would have taken Hughes hand had it been offered straight after the game ended the other night too. If you are to have a petty convention the rules of engagement should be set out for all to follow. I feel a League Managers' Association code of conduct coming on closely following a FIFA investigation !
Amos.
they should kiss and make up. life's too short
jinkin jimmy dimmock
world cup draw is tonight, the media will forget about this issue by tonight and they will jump to another newworthy stuff for them.
Gooner SA
..."Wenger would have shaken hands with Hughes had we won". I think that is presumptious and assumes that Wenger only shakes hands when we win. However, he will be in his 500th league game Saturday and surely, he hadn't always won in all those games, had he? A lot has been said already, on this; personally, I see little wrong with the Manager's actions, especially as Hughes failed to seek him out right after the game and was instead, celebrating with his staff.
Naijagunner
 

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