Arsenal Fans Getting Impatient With Wenger

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Arsenal fans are beginning to lose patience with the professor and a home defeat to Spurs is just the sort of thing to add fuel to the fire.

Despite the attractive passing game that Arsene Wenger continues to deliver the obvious lack of a top quality goalkeeper and strong centre back remains their downfall.  It is a problem that  has been clear to all for quite a while without anything being done about it by the manager.  At most clubs being 3rd and just 2 points off the top would be considered a great start to the season but at Arsenal the expectations are much higher.  Also they have already lost 3 home games this season which is unthinkable and nobody would have expected.  The lack of steel was evident as Arsenal surrendered a two goal lead to lose 3- 2 and it was clear they needed somebody to rally the troops and didn’t have the character on the pitch.
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Surely he will be forced to do something in the January window though it seemed odds on that he buy a goalkeeper in the summer and he let the chance slip by. He is 2 players away from being good enough to win Premiership and he must know that.  The question is will he do anything about it ?

Arsene Wenger is his own man and isn’t forced into making decisions to be popular or because they are commonly held views but any more slips will force his hand as the tide of opinion grows against him on the terraces at the Emirates.

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England Friendlies – What A Yawn

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I lost the will to live during England friendlies years ago when Sven was allowed to turn them into very expensive  kickabouts. I am sure most of the country are disinterested in England V France this week.  Why is that ?

For me any game where the result is unimportant to the participants is a waste of time.  If the players are going to be swapped about so that the game loses its way it becomes dull. If the England team is managed by somebody that is not English or contains adopted players the point of England v Them Foreigners is lost because we are not all English. In this case the bloke that has picked the team must have pulled the players out of a hat or using little Lottery style balls because there are some strange selections  in the squad.
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The reporters and commentators will still mention Wayne Rooney 1000 times even though he isn’t playing and it will all be a hideous bore.

If you have paid good money to watch this game you should go and get your bumps felt immediately.

The weekend can’t come soon enough . Lets have some proper football

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Change of Fortunes for Top Teams

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It is absolutely amazing the difference 2 or 3 matches can have on  the expectations of a Premiership football team. Only a couple of weeks ago Liverpool were right in the doldrums with their new manager, Roy Hodgson, rumoured to be having the door shown to him after only a extremely brief stay.  Now, having had a few fortunate wins under their belts they somehow discover some form to beat Chelsea  2 – 0 and deservedly so. A very solid performance which thoroughly deserved the 3 points must have felt very sweet to the Liverpool hardcore after such a terrible start to their campaign.

Contrast Liverpool to Manchester City, who must be under the moon, who have just been on a 3 game losing run ,whilst without Tevez, after a promising start and Tottenham giddy from the heights of thrashing Inter Milan to defeat at  Bolton and we seem to be on for an unpredictable but interesting season with very few results assurred.  Even at the other end of the league there is not a side that looks definitely doomed. The sides that have come up are doing remarkably well with Blackpool entirely unpredictable but more than holding their own.
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Arsenal have already lost 2  games at The Emirates this season which is very surprising. With the exception of Manchester United and Chelsea ,who look like pulling away,  the rest will race for 3rd and 4th spot  which looks to be the most interesting this season as was the race for 4th last season.

Now the pressure is on Arsenal , Spurs and Manchester City to come back with results to continue  their expected challenge and to juggle their squads effectively to cope with all the extra fixtures european football puts their way.

This could very well be the most open season for a while with such an equal field.

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Gareth Bale becomes World Famous

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Gareth Bales demolition of Champions League ‘Defender of the Year’ twice in a fortnight has resulted in huge coverage and outlandish praise for the young Welshman. This morning the newspapers , TV and radio are only talking about one man. For once Manchester Uniteds exploits take a back seat as Bales pace and pinpoint delivery destroyed Inter Milan at White Hart Lane.

Bale went passed Maicon, the Brazilian international defender, so easily so many times that the crowd were singing ‘taxi for Maicon’.  Poor Maicon looked like he was playing in cement boots as Bale tore pass him time after time { I won’t say ‘time and time again’ because I think Alan Hansen has it copyrighted} .

This morning, as there was a fortnight ago when he scored a second half hat trick, the speculation is that Spurs are not a big enough club to hang on to him.  The bookmakers have opened books on which club he will join and I suspect with every good performance he puts in this speculation will gather momentum.  He seems a great quiet boy who has found a place to flourish.  I hope he realises that and gives himself time to grow where he is.  I have heard Spurs described as a selling club today and that means it is only a matter of time before they sell him.  There are few clubs in the country that spend as much as Spurs so I am not sure how that conclusion is reached.  As far as I can see the players that have left in recent years of their own free will are Carrick and Berbatov who both went to Manchester United not because Spurs are a selling club but because they wanted to play in front of twice as many fans every week and play Champions League.  Well Spurs are Champions League now and the outlook is brighter than previously so I don’t see that the same pulling power exists anymore.

Bale is a greater prospect than either Carrick  or Berbatov, both of whom have had mixed fortunes since switching to Old Trafford.  He is going to have a great season and long Spurs career.

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Can the away team ever get the rub off the green at Old Trafford?

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When you complain about decisions going against your team after they have lost there is always that element of sour grapes. Whether it is against Manchester United or Blackpool in always sounds like excuses. Unfortunately at Old Trafford it has become an annual event for Tottenham and is very often the same for other teams too. If there is any rub of the green to be had it is to the team in red.

Having suffered at the hands of Mr Clattenberg before at Old Trafford when Pedro Mendes had his winning goal played on it was speculated pre match that he was a disaster waiting to happen and so it proved.

This time the referee allowed Nani to get away with diving then get away with hand ball and play on to score.  Gomes was culpable too here for assuming a free kick and not playing to the whistle.    However the linesman clearly pointed out to the referee that a handball had occured and he chose to ignore it and give the goal. I am not sure what the point of the linesman is if he is over ruled on such a blatantly simple point.   It is clear that Mr Clattenberg showed favourism to Rio Ferdinard by allowing him to listen to his conversation with his assistant whilst shooing off the Spurs players and booking one of them for a very reasonable protest.

I am convinced like many others that away teams can’t get those sorts of decisions at Old Trafford and that the dice are always loaded towards the home team.  Harry Redknapp will no doubt be fined for stating the obvious about the refereeing but he is not as scary and powerful as Sir Alex Ferguson so will never have the benefit of this sort of refereeing.

Is that sour grapes? Possibly it is, but Ferdinard shouldn’t be any more important than Modric.  John Terry appears to be allowed the same privilege by some referees too and it is time it was stopped.  Manchester United would probab;ly have won the game anyway but it is a shame that we again are talking about home bias by the referee at Old Trafford instead of what until then was a pretty good game

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Liverpool Panic Is a Bit Premature

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Liverpool in the bottom three is a sight that few of their supporters can ever have seen before but the current crisis talk as far as results are concerned is a bit premature.

Don’t get me wrong that have plenty to sort out but they are only 5 points out of the top 4 spots too. If you are an optimist they are only a couple of wins off the pace.  It is far from a crisis yet but is not helped by the widely held frustration and even hatred felt towards their American owners. Losing at home to Blackpool is not something that many would have expected so it has caused a little bit of a stir this weekend.  Unfortunately they really didn’t show enough fight to encourage their supporters on this occasion and now they have an international break denying them the opportunity to go out and redeem themselves quickly.  Those of us that enjoy the intensity of these situations find international breaks very annoying.

The next match is an absolute corker with Liverpool making the short trip across the park to Everton who are only above them in the table on goal difference. Whoever loses will be in the bottom three in three weeks time so both Liverpool and Everton will be desperate for a result.

Losing a merseyside derby would add even further pressure on Roy Hodgson however he is a very sensible and measured manager and will know how to cope with the situation.  He got Fulham out of an almost impossible position when he took over there so I am sure he can cope with this early season set back given the chance.  He needs the backing and understanding of the fans which Liverpool are tradionally famous for and a bit of time.  It only takes one performance to get the momentum going. So much the better if it is at Goodison Park against the old enemy.

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Goal Line Officials Add Chaos Instead of Clarity

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The goal line officials added only chaos and confusion to the match at White Hart Lane last night between Spurs and FC Twente. The extra officials deployed in European matches are not only unnecessary but yesterday proved to be an extra distraction for the referee to handle. With there strange batons they looked more like gay continental policeman than football officials  and might as well have been.

They seemed to have a big part in awarding Tottenham their 3 penalties but strangely then appeared to not pay attention as the penalties were taken.  The main function of the goal line official is presumably to watch the goal line.  For the first penalty, which was saved , his job was to watch the goalkeeper , I would assume. Clearly he didn’t think so as the goalkeepers movement went unchecked.  This is a non-job with maybe 5 minutes work at most in 90 and the only time he was actually needed he didn’t act.  He and his little friend at the other end did voice their opinions on the penalties it seems but they really aren’t needed for that.  You can’t decide penalties by committee it is bound to lead to confusion

These officials need abandoning as a pointless waste of time and money with immediate effect

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Who Chooses the Commentators for Sky Matches ?

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I have no idea who is responsible for choosing who commentates on which match for Sky but I really don’t think a lot of thought goes into it.  Anybody that has any awareness at all of the football fans thought patterns would be aware that having a former player from one of the teams taking part is going to alienate and irritate half of the viewing audience.  I wonder how many Spurs fans where last night telling Alan ‘Smudger’ Smith how to pronounce his ‘r’s in no uncertain terms for a full 120 minutes.

With the fierce rivalry between the two clubs it is particularly thoughtless to put him on this match. I am very surprised that he gets so many Spurs games to commentate on anyway as he is always going to be unpopular with Spurs fans. Not for any other reason than he is ever associated with Arsenal and that is not good.  To be fair to him he hides his bias better than some.

I know we are going to have to put up with the  smugness of Andy Gray for ever but we can shove Smudger off to Fulham or Aston Villa matches without any major upheaval surely.

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Would a draw be a good result in Switzerland?

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Tomorrow nights game in Switzerland is a more difficult one than many imagine.  Switzerland are a highly organised side that are proficient in not  losing games rather than winning games. Although they did beat the eventual World Cup Winners in a group game in South Africa.  They never looked in any danger of losing that game and will prove stubborn opponents.

With Rooney a doubt England’s  ability to unlock the Swiss defence will be in jeopardy.  There is a lack of imagination in the starting eleven with perhaps Adam Johnson a player who should be used to add the unpredictability that was sadly missing in South Africa.

It is difficult to say whether he should play ahead of the speed of Walcott or the crossing ability of Milner.  It might be Johnson that replaces Rooney if that proves necessary and the formation be changed to a 4 5 1 . This seems unlikely though as Defoe isn’t usually used as a lone striker.

This will be a proper test of Capello ’s tactical ability. Making chances will be difficult so he will need to be inventive.  He might decide that an away draw against the second best team in the group is a good result and I think it probably is if we can win at home.

If I were betting I would bet on a 0 – 0 which won’t do much for Capello’s popularity but will be good enough in terms of qualification.

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Why do Spurs need Ashley Young?

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There has been speculation about Ashley Young moving to Spurs from Aston Villa all summer long.  I can’t really see why this has been the case and would be totally puzzled if it turned out to be true.   Firstly because Spurs don’t need him and secondly because there will be uproar at Aston Villa if they sell another of there better players.

Spurs arguably currently have the most effective wide players in the country with Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon in the starting line up.  If they are not available then there is Gio Dos Santos, David Bentley, Modric and Kranjcar that can play the position at least as well as if not better than Ashley Young.  Danny Rose is also an effective wide man.   There just doesn’t seem a logical reason for signing him unless one of the Spurs men are leaving.

I haven’t seen anything from Young that makes him an improvement on the players already at Tottenham and when scrutinized his final ball is  not accurate enough to be paying silly transfer fees for.

Spurs have made two very sensible signings this summer.  To remain in the land of logic the best thing would be for Keane to depart and a talented forward to arrive. It seems unlikely to be Luis Fabiano and there are no other obvious candidates in the frame at the moment so perhaps Keane will be staying again.

Jenas is perhaps the other candidate to leave as he is unlikely to start many games.

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