Preview: Manchest Untied v. Arsenal

Today is one day that I really wish I could get to a crowded bar and watch the match. Both for the spectacle that is an Arsenal v. Manure match and for the fact that I’m sitting here with my Eduardo strip on and I want to proudly show off my shirt. I guess I’ll just have to show it off here:

Haters will hate on you and make negative comments such as That cat looks scared and the cat should not be eating spaghetti but you just keep on eating that spaghetti because you'll always be...spaghetti cat

Suck it, haters.

Wenger’s amazing pre-match presser (available to ATVO subscribers) tells all the story we need on the Eduardo situation and I’ll just let the crucial quotes speak for themselves:

I find it a complete disgrace and unacceptable,we won’t accept the way we have been treated in this case for two reasons. One, I believe that you can debate whether it was a penalty or not. This charge implies there was intent and a desire to cheat the referee. Having watched the pictures again there was nothing conclusive.  Two, it singles out a player in Europe to be a cheat and that is not acceptable.

I believe that, first of all, there are two cases in this case and that Uefa has taken action that is not defendable.

I’ve fought my whole life against cheating and I’ve seen some obvious cases where Uefa didn’t intervene. On and off the pitch things have happened where no action was taken. This is the first time since I’ve been in football that the judgement has been made by the referee is not accepted by the football bodies.

Usually a situation that has been assessed and judged by the referee can’t be touched again. Now every single decision made by a referee can be challenged. So for me they’ve opened a very dangerous door here.

I think we have to fight against diving, the best way to do that is to have video evidence when you make decisions.The referee could say straight away ‘penalty or not’. If he is told no, we continue, or yes, we take the penalty.

The referees need help. How many times have I come out and said I am for video technology? Uefa refused the video technology but now they have used it to judge our player. Where is the logic? It is something that is quite surprising.

For me it’s a witch-hunt that we see and not an objective judgement of a case. Eduardo has been touched by the goalkeeper and we can prove that. I’m the first to say that, at first, it doesn’t look like a penalty but it’s another thing to say that he went down with intent. I wish you good luck to prove that having seen the pictures again.

To single out a player who is coming back from injury like he had, when he was hit in the way he was, for going down… well I don’t blame him. When you saw his leg after that tackle I don’t blame him for getting out of the way of the goalkeeper.

That’s all we need to know about this situation; Wenger’s going to fight this decision, he has evidence and feels like he can make a good case that the intent was not to deceive but rather to avoid contact. Not only that, it’s exactly as I said in yesterday’s comments: Arsenal are being singled out here. It’s been fully 2 years since UEFA used video replay to ban Mikoliunas and in the intervening time there have been ZERO cases brought by UEFA despite countless examples of cheating.

There’s something to be said for the fact that the folks who are most vocal in comments across the web about wanting to “stamp out diving” by making an example of Eduardo are Manchester United supporters and their ilk. Supporters of the team who have most benefited over the last two years from one of the dirtiest cheats to ever put on cleats have the amazing audacity to suddenly find morals and bray for the head of Eduardo.

Well fuck you.

Just as important in all of this is the fact that irregardless of whether UEFA find him guilty, Eduardo will be labeled a “diver” for one, just one, “dive.” More than Taylor’s leg breaking tackle, this has the potential for unfairly putting a pall over the rest of his career. From now on every single tackle will be scrutinized and any glimmer of simulation will be called a “dive” by opponents.

Well, fuck that. Eduardo’s an Arsenal player and what Platini and his goons are doing here is unfair. Dudu is a class player and racist clap-trap about this being “in his genes” should be denounced. I will proudly wear my Eduardo shirt, and I will defend him from his detractors, after all, he is an Arsenal player and we are the Arsenal. Who are you?

You know that the world has gone crazy when Man U fans are calling for a ban for diving and Andy Gray is calling this action “A Staggering Decision.” Incredible really.

Enough about that, we’ve got some cunts to beat

Down the years there have been some famously fiery matches between the two clubs, pizzagate springs instantly to mind. But over the last 4 years, the key matches have not come in the League but rather in the cup competitions. In fact, Arsenal have a good record in the League over the last four years with 3 wins, 3 draws, and 2 losses: taking 12 points to Manure’s 9.

Where we have struggled against them has been in the FA Cup and the Champions League over the last two years. Last year, they came to the Emirates and gave us a 3-1 drubbing, and it was after that Evra talked about how it was Men v. Boys. The season before it was the FA Cup and a 4-0 beating which featured Nani’s “Seal Dribble” and subsequent attempted kneecapitation by Flamini.

With both Nani and Evra disrespecting Arsenal at pretty much every turn Arsenal feel like they have something to prove today. For example, when asked how they feel about Evra’s comments Alex Song put it thus:

We will never forget that, it was very difficult to lose the game but, when you wake up in the morning, you see the newspaper and you see someone saying they played against 11 kids. That, for me, is not respect. You cannot say that. Barcelona won everything last year and they didn’t say things like that. When we go there, everyone wants to show him we are not kids. We will see, but we are confident. We are different to the team that played in May.

Indeed Arsenal are a different team than May. Over the first four games of the season, Song and Denilson look vastly improved over last year and have been absolutely dominant in the middle of the park. At the back, Thomas Vermaelen is a confident figure, where Toure was at times a bit less assured and thus the team less confident. Nothing shows this more that the fact that Arsenal seem vastly improved aerially where TV5’s dominance seems to have infected the whole team.

Tactically Arsenal are different as well. Last year we often played a 4-5-1 with a clearly disgruntled Adebayor as the lone strike threat. This year, Arsenal play a 4-3-3 and along with the high line and beautiful passing, Arsenal have added a high pressure aspect to the game which is causing teams a lot of trouble.

Man U won’t have Ronalda to take the heat off  and are relying on Anderson, Nani, Carrick and new boy Valencia to carry the load in the middle. Up front, losing Ronalda and Tevez left a huge hole in their attack, one which they are hoping Rooney and Bobblekoph can fill.

But honestly, what won Man U the title last year was their stalwart defense and at the back, they are missing Ferdinand and van der Saar for today’s match. I think this leaves them highly vulnerable and hopefully Arsenal’s 4 goals per game tally so far in this season continues.

Obviously, missing Chesk (who is inexplicably still in the Spain squad), Rosicky, and Nasri is a big loss in the creative department for Arsenal, but as we saw at Anfield last season and with his brief introduction against Celtic, Andrei Arshavin is more than good enough to fill Cesc’s shoes.

It’s going to take one hell of a team effort today: the Prawn Sandwich crowd will be up for the game and Funguscunt will have his players fully yelled at and ready for this match.

We’ve talked a lot about how each of the matches so far this season have been big tests and at each turn Arsenal have breezed through those tests. Today is the biggest test so far this season. It’s a test of Eduardo’s character should the boss play him, it’s a test of how Arsenal can cope without Cesc, and it’s a test of how much Arsenal have grown since Evra disgraced himself last May. But I’m confident they can pass this test with flying colors, after all, Arsenal begins with an ‘A.’


  1. 3-1 To the Arsenal! Shava, RVP, and Vermaelen aka “The Hustle From Brussels”. I am going to a local bar and grill with 5 Mancs so failure is not an option! I agree totally about this Ed business, spot on brother!

  2. Well done Tim…quoting AW is all that needs to be done. I love the man….And good point about Dudu–if he’s got the true “striker’s mentality” (and I think he does) it’s just another step in his march to becoming an Arsenal legend. Love to see him come on and score the match winner today…

    Very excited, but worried too, about today’s match. Cesc’s been playing so well–running better and playing those sweet balls forward (especially high ones), that I just don’t see from our “holy trinity” of Diaby, Denilson or Song. (Nor Eboue if he gets in.) So obviously it’s a big test for them. And the TV5-WG10 defense will be tested as well as both Evra and Valencia are good crossers and the old boys (Scholes, Giggs & Neville) can still kick even if they can’t run. And hopefully our boys up front can break their seasonal ducks. They’ll need some service of course or Bendtner flicking on a header or three. Still, we’re such a class ahead of where we were last season–Can you say “Andrey Arshavin”…Go on you Gunners!

    (F**K–Spurs finally break through at the lane off a set-piece Crouch header–They’ll go top of the table with Chelsea…But wait…Birmingham equalize in the 76th with a little rough stuff in the box…)

  3. UEFA now need to back down in a politically face saving way. In any event I want transparency no matter which way the decision goes because they will have to lie either way.

    Chelsea easily dispose of a Burnley team that played like the Championship side they are.

    10 man Bolton hanging on 2-2 against a desperate Pool.

    Modric out injured and Sp**s-B’city are making heavy work of a 1-1 game.

        1. @ctpa, Bit of home cooking there at the Lane as Sp**s win with a goal 4 1/2 minutes into the 4 minutes of extra time. I see that as the peak of their season….

    1. @ctpa, Owens, Berbatov and Park on the bench. Surprised about Park as I thought his energy level would be needed to counter what we are planning to do. Anderson on the bench so he’s not quite out of the dog house. Wes Brown partners w/ Vidic and I hope we can capitalize on this and Ben Foster in goal.

      Eboue starts and I think he’s the key ‘x’ factor for us at the outset.

    2. @ctpa, hmmm….Berbatov on their bench and starting right side of their defense is O’Shea and Brown…It should be interesting…

  4. No Wenger should not fight this decision because it was fair to call it a dive. However, what Wenger does need to do is take the decision with some grace and then pressure UEFA on every infraction done to Arsenal or any other team. He should go to the media anytime there’s a controversial call and call UEFA out on it and make them sweat. It will force Platini’s hand to review every damn debatable call in football this season and make them work overtime. Wenger needs to take the ban and repay UEFA back tenfold.

  5. Tim, so right you are, so often.

    The English press loves to shit all over Eduardo, maybe it has something to do with Wembley, I wonder.

    Platini will back off, he wouldn’t want to risk banning Cronhairgel (did you see those two at the CL medal presentation? so in love.)

    Keep fighting the good fight, I’ll take 3-0 for the boys in blue (blue? ack.)

  6. The most astonishing thing about this whole ridiculous situation is that for the first time in the history of the universe I find myself agreeing with Andy Gray 🙂

    Oh look, AA23 has just scored.

    Get in you fucking little Russian genius!

  7. 1st half has us struggling to get our fluency together. Diaby has been invisible. Our defense has done just enough against an isolated Rooney. Man U hasn’t enough forward to pick up the 2nd ball. Look for Berbatov in the 2nd half to get on that 2nd ball.

  8. HT,

    Ouch–Ben Foster’s hands must be hurting….

    Arsenal stand up to some United pressure and set pieces late.

    Berbatov looks like he needs a cig sitting on the bench…I’m sure he’ll have one and make United look more dangerous.

    Without Cesc we don’t have great possession and both Song and Denilson have tried to force some balls forward leading to some half assed United counters.

    Hopefully none of these yellow cards come back to bite us in the ass.

    1. @Tim, Fletcher comes into Arshavin, studs up, the ball goes into his arm and Andrey only escapes a maiming because he’s a f**king genius–and play gets waved on. Very, very poor….

    1. @ctpa, Haven’t I already said numerous times how below average Diaby is? Wenger surely needs to explain to me what Diaby really brings to the team. He can’t pass on a team that relies on passing and Ramsey and Clichy can’t cross either.

      We got unlucky today so I guess karma’s a bitch but it’s not the end of the season and we put in a good performance if not for some bad bounces of the ball on the day.

  9. Well I hope Diaby will redeem himself some day in the future.
    Nice fight back from Arsenal but it just was not meant to be. Nice to see us force man U into 10 men behind the ball but that’s the only consolation. Idiot 4th official.

  10. So I wonder if Rooney will be cited for his dive? He was halfway to the ground before Almunia got near him


  11. if you want to see if UEFA is going to take a stand on dives in domestic play, wait to see what happens to Ronaldhino this week. His dive at about the 15 minute mark today in the Milan derby was an absolute disgrace – he choked on a golden chance in the box, then flopped with zero contact, then argued with the ref. Penalty hunting at its absolute worst. I’m surprised Gattuso didn’t give him a cock punch out of principle

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