Friday, August 17, 2007

Don't blame Arsenal for fighting back.

What's been one of the major criticisms of the team in recent years? Ok, there's been a few - profligacy in front of goal, over elaborate build-up play etc., but one that always sticks in the mind is that we, apparently, don't like being roughed up.

We don't have any physical players, so the line would go, since the likes of Vieira, Keown and even Grimandi left. Put in a few late tackles, don't let them play, and they'll soon roll over. This strategy even preceded the departure of some of these players: the end of the unbeaten run at Old Trafford saw a concerted and vicious attempt by the United players to kick us out of the game. Ruud v Nface raked his studs down Cashley's knee, while the treatment meted out to Reyes by the 'special' Neville brothers jars me to this day. Jose was never the same player again in England.

So, finally, after several seasons in which we've been accused of being nothing more than lightweight artistes, Arsenal starts to fight back. We're like the quiet, yet brilliant, kid in the classroom who suddenly starts to return the punches that the bullies have being throwing for too long.

Too many teams for too long have tried to defeat us by kicking us off the park. We've seen the strategy four times this year already: in the pre-season friendlies against Ajax and Inter, and in the last two matches against Fulham and Sparta.

And in each game, the Arsenal team has done nothing more than justifiably stand its ground and defend itself vigorously against aggressors.

All fine, until this is published. Apparently 'Sport lost' on Wednesday. The gist of the article seems to be this: despite Repka verbally claiming, repeatedly, before the game that the key to beating Arsenal was to 'kick them', Cesc's challenge on Repka which saw him leave the field of the play, was the moment that 'Sport lost' out.

Really? I would be inclined to take the opposite view. Instead of allowing another team to crudely destroy the way we play, the Arsenal side on Wednesday took matters into its own hands and ensured that they would not be intimidated. If this means a thug such as Repka gets an injury, I won't lose any sleep. He barely deserves to be called a 'footballer' in any case.

So Cesc is a spiky character. So what? Was Zidane any less brilliant for his headbutt? Great players are often aggressive, especially when they have been subject to physical intimidation for much of their careers.

Violence for violence's sake is obviously abhorrent. But aggression to counter the unjustifiable physicality of other teams, to protect the way your team plays, and to ensure that violence as a tactic doesn’t succeed is another matter. On those latter occasions, standing up to be counted should be applauded, not condemned.


Anonymous said...

v good article, its more that everyone needs a reason to write arsenal off and critisise arsenal..
y r they not talking abt repkas comments before the kick off..sure if u go public saying ur going to kick some one its criminal offence and should players like him be banned from the beutiful game .
those who want to make an issue of cesc playing tough when attacked ..wel come to do so...
lets c who has the last laugh cme may

Anonymous said...

Couldnt agree more- exactly what I thought when I read that article. The author may have a point- but football started to 'lose' at that game at OT: not this season when we have showed a determination to fight fire with fire. If the alternative is losing, so be it. Hopefully the hideous tw@t that is Robbie Savage will get similar treatment on sunday.

Joppa Road said...

Couldn't agree more. I read that piece by Mr Hughes and thought what a load of sentimental over dramatic tosh. I am very pleased the Arsenal boys are finally standing up for themselves - long may it continue. Its just so typical of the press to concentrate on Fabregas.

Anonymous said...

Your are absolutely right and thoose cunts who are saying that we are too agressive obviously are biassed. Because why else did no one say something when other teams kicked us off the pitch!!!

But then again only AFC were punished in the carling cup melee despite the fact that it takes two to tango

Anonymous said...

Good article and 100% true. Arsenal are going to face many more and tougher battles this season and I hope that they maintain the strenght and fighting spirit right to the end. As long at the players know when to be tough and not get carried away and end up getting silly bookings & sendings off.
Stu Bailey (London)

Anonymous said...

did anyone notice that the Fulham manager was able to call AFC 'divers' and get away with it. Had Mr Wenger said that I'm sure he would have been charged with bringing the game into disripute.

Anonymous said...

Nobody likes Arsenal anymore whether its on the pitch or off it. They see it kicking is fair because its a means of stopping us play and therefore getting a result against us. When we do it, we are seen to be thugs because we are footballers and not a team who need to be physical to get results. Its sickens me the people who write this kind of stuff no nothing about football whatsoever!!

Anonymous said...

Excellent article. Why on earth Myles Palmer posted an approving link to the Rob Hughes column is beyond me. If Hughes wants to write about how the beautiful game has been soiled by violent conduct surely he could have found someone better to base his piece on than Cesc. Perhaps Hughes was trying to suggest it's a sad day when a gifted technical young player resorts to putting his foot in - the 'loss of innocence.' But innocence, when lost, should be replaced by maturity. Part of Cesc's maturing process - and one that the Arsenal team seems to have collectively agreed on - is to not accept being bullied. More power to his - and their - elbow. Well, maybe not the elbow - leave that to Savage.

Anonymous said...

I agree with article entirely it does seem like there is one rule for the arsenal and one for everyone else, for example why is essien allowed to punch people in the face when he has the ball and get a foul given his way, I thaught that if you raised your arms, as in the case of the booking of RVP against sparta, you got booked or sent off and yet at least once in every single game that I have seen the fowling untallented shit play he has used his fist to hold off other players when he has the ball if any refs are reading this can you please sort this fowling fucker out!!

Anonymous said...

well said you. So let me get this straight: Arsenal are one dimentional, it is easy to beat them simply kick them about the pitch and they will roll over. (This is acceptable) However woe betide them if they go - right we want to play football better than you but you just want to kick us...well have this then. I think many teams are in for a suprise this year. If they come at us playing football we will beat them. If they only come out fighting then RVP,Diaby,Denilsen,Eboue,Gilberto,Fab,Sagna (new legend already!) King Kolo and Billy Gallas etc will no longer just resort to accepting injuries with cards but will hit em back (like my Dad told me!)

Anonymous said...

i reckon you gotta fight fire with fire .. thats what we did at Sparta Prague .. no way we can be intimidated by a bully .. and that was a good fight back ... nothing wrong with it .. let people say sport lost .. but a win is a win .. i couldn't care less ... coz for me, it was a war out there ..

Goonerboy said...

All I'll say is we shouldn't be the one to start things; but if other teams want to try and kick us off the field, we should no longer let ourselves be intimidated.

Anonymous said...

So where has "turning the other cheek" got us?

Worst cards to fouls ratio in the league despite having committed the fewest fouls in the league.

Most fouled against club in the league.

No, the refs and the FA aren't a bunch of biased xenophobic fuvckwads, oh no no no.

If any of these thick, stupid, gormless little snivelling tvrds in the media who so dearly love spuds and manusa had an ounce of honesty they would have ripped thugs like bolt-on and manusa in their finer moments a new one, but no, they'd rather ignore all that and moan like the little fairies they are when their bully heroes catch a bit of payback in the teeth.

They can all go and do one on themselves as far as I'm concerned.

They have no balls, brains, or credibility and deserve less respect than a lump of dogshit on the sidewalk.

Anonymous said...

The article was very bias . I think hughes made no bones about where his loyalty lie and his romanticez love-affair with the Czech republic football (and most likely the Czech Rep. in general overall). Such as starting:
"For this traveller, Prague in the spring time holds a time-locked memory of some 30 years ago at Sparta's Letna Stadium. An old trainer interrupted the flow of a kids' game to teach his apprentices the magic of making a ball dance to the soles of their tiny boots"

30 yrs of travelling - fond memories. I would presume Hughes to be trust-fund kid, thus well-off and most likley a "student" for the majority of his life. Now he's a "writer". And should be writing Adverts for the Czech Republic tourism board.

Oh and his beloved Sparta Prague. I presume Hughes is not of colour either. After all is not Sparta Prague home to some of the MOST zenophobic RACIST supporters. The monkey chants are pale in comparison to the Nazi emblems and Sig Hails often reigining in their stadium.

He needs to go read some Kafka, sip cappucino and pay for some more hookers.

Anonymous said...

Well said.
Definately time to fight back.
We're not favourites to win the title, are we?
It's time to drop the niceties.
No laughing with opponents in the tunnel. This is why I'm happy Gallas is captain. He's not nice when it comes to competition. He's a bull who wants to fight. Now all the boys want to fight.
I'm happy about that. Take each game as it comes. Fight from 0 to 90 mins and you'll see that this season we will get some respect.
The EPL cannot respect any team that rolls over, crying out to referees for protection. Enough of that. Fight and get the tackles in in the first half. Nick a goal before the break. keep it tight and efficient, no wasting of chances. Glad we have Eduardo. You'll see more goals from crosses and corners now.

Mr Gooner_sg said...

I'm from Singapore and this bloke Rob Hughes gets a weekly column or something in our Straits Times. Seems like all he does is start off on a long, boring rant about nothing impt in particular (just like this article),and then finally to the point--putting down some team, usually arsenal, other than man ure and the chavs. I'm fed up to the back teeth of these so-called 'experts' who just prove themselves to be fools with an agenda and absolutely no experience of playing football whatsoever. They just don't mention Pansy Crybaby's atrocious headbutt at Richard Hughes, but choose instead to scrutinise every 90 minutes of an Arsenal match just so they can get off on the fact that they are the first to mention an Arsenal player is getting away with this, that and the other.

It's gonna be LOVELY to see these gutless fools' reactions when we do their beloved ure, chavski and sp*rs this season and win the title. GUNNERS FOREVER!

Anonymous said...

Not that I want to support Rob Hughes, far from it in fact, but he was on Leicester City's(?) books as a player. Injury prevented him from having a career as a footballer.

He does have a penchant for picking out any Arsenal transgression.