Six points on AC Milan

Arsenal have a big game today against AC Milan but before we get into that, I need to post a clarification on yesterday’s blog.

Rafa Honigstein read my post and called me out on twitter. His complaints were that I was jumping to conclusions about Per and Per likes Wenger. He also mentioned three more points about the Red Bulletin article being down and how everyone already knew that everyone hates Alexis.

Interestingly, I made it clear in the article that I was exactly jumping to conclusions and when I pointed that out he accused me of writing a misleading headline. That is true. It is an intentionally misleading headline. I spent about 5 minutes on that headline: 3 for the “pun” and 2 asking myself if I shouldn’t change the headline to “Rafa Honigstein” instead of “Per Molesaker”. In the end I chose the Per headline for the pun.

The exchange with Honigstein was slightly odd, though. When I asked him if Mertesacker was the one who told him the dressing room story about the miles run and how players hated Alexis he wouldn’t outright deny it. He just said “I’ve told you repeatedly that you’re jumping to wrong conclusions. Can’t be clearer than that.” I disagree. “No, Mertesacker didn’t tell me that story” is clearer than “I’ve told you…”

I do want to apologize for the misleading headline.

Before I start on AC Milan, a huge shout to Arsenal Women and their 1-0 win over Man City to take a record fifth FA WSL Continental Cup. While Tottenham are asking their fans if a woman’s place is in the home, Arsenal are showing their fans that a woman’s place is on the winner’s podium.

Now on to the AC Milan match.

Every article this morning has made mention of the “scare against Ostersunds”. That was the match where Arsenal had a three goal lead from the away leg and lost the return fixture at home 1-2. There were more than a few moments in that match where I felt like Arsenal were about to lose the tie and get kicked out of the Europa League.

Here’s what Arsenal have to do to prevent a repeat of Ostersunds:

1. Start strong. Against Ostersunds Arsenal had 64% of the possession in the first 30 minutes and attempted 13 dribbles but Ostersunds forced errors out of Arsenal by tackling and getting into the faces of the Arsenal players. Mkhitaryan turned the ball over in the 7th minute with a failed dribble on the edge of the 18 yard box, Wilshere failed a dribble in the 1st minute right near the half-way line. And the result was 4 shots by Ostersunds in the Arsenal 18 yard box and two quick goals.

2. Stay organized. Arsenal were dribbling out of trouble so often because they lacked organization. Teammates often struggled to find each other to make an easy pass, when they were pressed, and Arsenal’s defenders played like they had been bewildered and forgot how to cover spaces. Gattuso’s Milan will have watched the tapes and if they are smart they will press Arsenal early. Of course, I said that last time and they didn’t do it, so…

3. No errors. Arsenal are the most error-prone team in Europe and against Ostersunds, in the 21st minute, an error by Kolasinac gifted Ostersunds the ball in huge amounts of space. They scored, though I suspect Ospina will have watched that goal again and felt he could have done better. Some of you will think it’s harsh to pin the error on Kolasinac because it was a mess of a play before that – a looping ball into midfield presented Holding with a chance to control/clear but he hesitated allowing Ghoddos to latch onto the ball and pass to Aiesh in acres of space behind Kolasinac. Instead of covering his man, Kola tamely stuck out a leg (like Maitland-Niles’ “tackle” on the weekend) and Aiesh was free for the shot. Regardless of how you personally score that possession, Arsenal could use an error-free match.

4. Attack! Under Wenger Arsenal have usually played one way and one way only – attack! There have been some stalwart defensive efforts (against Man City a few years ago, etc) but they are few and far between. I think we have to play to our attacking nature.

5. Play our best players. Unlike the Ostersunds match Arsenal are probably going to start Mkhi, Ozil, and Ramsey up front with Welbeck running decoy. Arsenal will also probably start our two best defenders (Mustafi and Koscielny) and hopefully some senior players at fillback (Monreal and Bellerin). Along with Xhaka (I might be tempted to use Elneny) in midfield, Arsenal could field their best possible team, minus Aubameyang/Lacazette. Along with an organized game plan, staying focused from the start and playing to win, the star-studded Arsenal lineup should be enough to make the difference.

6. Stay in the game. If (when) Arsenal make a mistake they need to stay in the game. Honestly, the rest of the Premier League matches are irrelevant for this club and winning the Europa League would be a pretty major trophy – it would be Arsene Wenger’s first ever European cup. There is still a lot of work to do to get to that final but Arsenal have shown themselves to be a good cup team and to rise to the occasion. Today, they need to put the wildness of the season behind them and focus on getting through this tie.



  1. I wouldn’t worry about the headline. It was obviously done for the pun, and you couldn’t have been much clearer that it was all speculation in the article.

    Some journalists get a bit too touchy about things sometimes.

    1. I do understand RH not wanting to be a source for something he didn’t say because we all know a large % of people only read the headlines.

  2. It’s hard not to look at the Ostersunds game as a blueprint both for Milan to follow and us to avoid.

    I have to put our insipid performance in that match down to complacency rather than a lack of talent; the players believed the tie was over, and acted accordingly; this must explain the errors, the lack of creativity, and the needless insistence on playing the ball out of the back no matter how hard they were being pressed and how few passing options were available. If a similarly unprofessional display of naivete is repeated against Milan, then our season ends tonight.

    I wonder what animal Wenger will draw on the board?

    As for Milan, it’s really difficult to predict how they will come out. My gut tells me: hell bent for leather. Their dramatic turnaround in their domestic campaign occurred when the chips were down and they rallied together, fighting hard almost for the sake of fighting hard itself. That should make them dangerous opponents tonight. That they didn’t play like this in the first leg is, I think, because they treated us like we had treated Ostersunds: a bit of a foregone conclusion, given how we’ve tanked domestically.

    I think we’ll go through, but just.

    1. I’m going to write a piece on all the animals Wenger drew on the board before each match this season.

      I hope he draws a crow: they are smart, industrious, they work together, and they yell at you when you’re near their babies.

      1. They also mourn their dead, so a gathering of them is called a murder. Not sure how that fits but maybe you could use it.

        1. I hate crows ever since I saw them gang up on a baby owl just to torture it and prevent it from flying away.

          I guess hate is a strong word, but they are not my favourite creatures.

          Arsenal are no crows. Arsenal are the wildlings 🙂

      2. I don’t know about this season but I know for a fact he drew a skunk before the 8:2 United game, a headless chicken before Monaco home loss , but on a plus side he drew an opossum before the City away win two seasons ago.

  3. We need to remember that Milan is a young team and a lot of the parts are also just recently assembled. We’ll see how good at psychology Gattuso is then. A young team is just as prone to buckling under pressure as they might be at playing with abandon and like they have nothing to lose.

    Milan to go up 2-0 before we score to make it 2-1 and win on aggregate.

    Then we draw Atletico next round. Why not just get it over with?

        1. I just meant ‘why not just get it over with’ is a bad outlook. In football and in life.

          1. I wasn’t trying to imply doom. I was rather trying to say why wait until the final? Let’s get the big dog out of the way and let the rest of the competition be anti-climactic.

  4. The Tottenham survey is amusing, but I would guess that that question was automatically inserted by the programming as a way of getting information on the responder’s demographics without asking them directly. There isn’t really a reason for Tottenham to want to ask that question regardless of whether they think it’s appropriate or not.

    1. I’m confused by this comment, are you saying the survey was automatically generated?

      1. I’m saying the regular questions were given to the survey company by Tottenham, and then the survey company’s software inserted some procedural questions in between to get a feel for the user’s demographics. Such a question when combined with others could be used to determine the responder’s gender, income bracket, etc. to some degree of certainty. Perhaps Tottenham told them to try to determine their supporters’ demographic breakdown without directly asking them, or perhaps the survey company did it as part of their general data gathering procedures.

        There are some hints along these lines in the linked Independent article. As an aside, the mentioned survey company is American.

  5. Keep reminding yourself to stay in the moment Jack. The Arsenal rollercoaster sometimes gives us surprising thrills.

    1. How does anyone draw a four-legged creature on a board without it looking comical? Still trying to wrap my head around this.

      1. You can draw it seated, while howling. It wouldn’t surprise me if Wenger had a secret art studio in his flat and he liked to spend evenings with a palette and a glass of alsatian cabernet.

  6. Milan will press us more and play more aggressively. Gattusso will go full Gattusso. If we can hold firm, we’re good enough to punish them on the break. Actually, we’re just better than them. But we’ve got to play like it. I think we will.

  7. They played very well in that second half and were unlucky not to score. Maybe GG will have a word with Bonaventura about his shot selection, the lad to 7 shots, most of them pot shots.

    On talent, we are a much better team (yes, much) but I will never underestimate the self-destruction powers in European games. Out of Tim’s list, I would say #3 is simultaneously the hardest and most important. We can go through playing kind of crappy defensive football but we probably won’t go through if there’s a GK howler, a penalty, or a back-pass to the opposing striker.

    It’s also possible that we could pick them apart but much less likely without either Lacazette or Aubameyang. I really enjoyed Tim Stillman’s column yesterday in which he highlighted Ramsey as the common thread between the attacking displays against Everton and Watford, as well as his crucial role at the San Siro:

    1. Without a doubt, #3 is the most important when it comes to Arsenal. It’s usually what makes or breaks us in big games.

  8. Famous last words but I’m not so worried about a rerun of the Ostersunds performance.
    I don’t think there’ll be that same complacency, or consequent team selection, that was our undoing.
    I’m going for a repeat of the San Siri result, or maybe even 3-0 if we score early and Milan have to really go for it.
    Spot on with your instructions; If your draughtsmanship as good, you could yet rival AW.

  9. Good on you for the acknowledgements Tim. Rafa’s will book will make interesting reading. And Arsene’s book. And Lucas Perez’ book “12 Months Freezing my Nuts off on Arsenal’s Bench”.

    Just know Milan will score tonight. Let’s score more. COYG

  10. Arsenal win easy.
    Who can blame our players for taking the second leg of oyster land , or whatever the name of that club is, lightly

    Our players must’ve thought those guys had never seen grassy pitch before and were gonna slip and slide in their turf cleats all over the place.

    No complacency against Milan though.

    1. Hahaha yeah and Milan should feel lucky they’re playing in a stadium that employs actual groundsmen instead of the herd of cows they use at San Siro.

  11. Ramsey and Wilshere together. Back four. Midfield = vacated, if Xhaka is the only DM.

    Oh boy.

  12. HT: Actually feel a bit sorry for Milan here. Based on the angles I’ve seen, I can’t say that was a penalty.

  13. How did they not score more??? Luck??? Anyway, it’s great to go through, but some of the marking was atrocious, and I don’t like that sloppiness, even when we do win.

    Liked Xhaka’s performance very much, Mustafi was at times excellent and at times not so good, Chambers acquitted himself well, Ozil looked mad even before coming off, Welbeck won the dodgiest penalty in Dodge City, Ramsey wasn’t his usual self I felt, and Wilshere was for the most part tidy, which was good because most everything went through him. Maybe that’s why Ozil was mad…?

  14. I thought we looked sharp, confident and coordinated. The passing was snappier than I’ve seen in a while. Pretty good all around. Ozil was a few seconds ahead of his teammates most of the time though – as a unit the front six still have a couple of levels to go through before you can say we’re back on form. And at the back I never felt that Milan were likely to score after that lovely first goal. Surprised that the early write-ups are describing it as nervy and somewhat lucky. Mustafi and Chambers looked like proper defenders, and our play out from the back under some kind of press was much better.

    Worst penalty decision ever, mind. Jeez Louise.

    On the board tonight? I’m going for a swan.

  15. Milan were the perfect team to face: a former big team who still have prestige, but who are really not very good. What a confidence boost.

    1. That, and the fact they are a very low goal scoring team had me convinced they weren’t coming back from two down.

    2. Ah the revisionism is already starting.

      Before the tie: Gattuso is great, we have no chance, they’ll press us into oblivion.

      5-1 on aggregate.

      After the tie: We got lucky. Actually they’re just not very good at all. AND THE PENALTYYYYYYYYY…….. because that decided the whole 180 minutes 😛

      This isn’t really at you Zedd, I don’t know what you predicted before the tie, but I see this all the time with Arsenal. Prove people wrong and: Well, we weren’t wrong about Arsenal, but we over-estimated their opposition…

  16. So UK sports journalists are losing their minds over the Welbeck penalty.

    Two things. One, never a penalty.

    But two, am I alone in thinking it wasnt a dive? Yes, he went down under what looked like a brush, BUT HE WAS NOT SEEKING A PENALTY!! No Cristiano Ronaldo or Suarez-like kid-bawling-and-thrashing-about-on-the-ground routine. He did not ask for a pen, far as I can tell.

    I think it’s possible to say that he wasn’t fouled, there wasn’t much in it, it shouldn’t have been given AND he did not appeal for it.

    1. Danny hasn’t quite got his head around diving and should give it up before it becomes a habit. He’s far too nice a bloke for that type of shite. Walcott was the same; one dive and gave it up for life.

    2. I don’t feel bad about this at all. We are owed a few more dubious penalties to even out all the non-calls (like Mkhi last weekend) and dubious ones given against us.

  17. I love me some Welbz.

    Comets the hour, comets the man they. OK, so he’s no Messing but the lad put a shift. He did everything for us last night, drew a pen, scored a brace and was right in the thick of it for 90 minutes. He gave Milan fits from the get go.

    His normal, almost comical lack of finishing is almost endearing to me now as long as he doesn’t return to it anytime soon!

      1. I have never been able to master the evils of auto-correct, especially when in a hurry, kind of like Welbeck is with…scoring. I need to slow down and not comment from my phone. I want to change, I’m trying. But does Welbz?

        Any thoughts on the draw? Now that BvB and Lyon are out, it seems very Arsenal that we’ll promptly get Atleti next…

  18. It’s going be a week of classic rock riffs. As I play “Smoke on the Water”, Wenger plays “I Didn’t See It”!

  19. Danny hasn’t quite got his head around diving & should quit before it becomes a habit. He’s far too nice a bloke for that anyway.
    Walcott was the same; one dive and ‘never again’

  20. My thoughts on the game:

    1. Welbz lost his balance like he always does while trying to shoot. Not a blatant dive like it’s being portrayed in the media but not a penalty either (I could care less though). I know he is not a player a lot of fans even want on the team but let’s not forget he is our THIRD choice striker and he works hard for the team. I think there is a place for him in the squad.

    2. Our mistakes didn’t cost us. If Milan had a player up front who could finish, the result might have been very different. Yes we outplayed them but we also let them play and they had some really good chances. I thought the score line was a little deceiving. 2 of our goals were dumb luck. CSKA Moscow will be a tougher tie.

    3. I read some criticisms of Ramsey somewhere and I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was obvious that he is our most complete player and a fine one at that. I thought this before he did his little audition for a part in the next Step Up movie.

    4. Milan’s pressing in the first half was a joke compared to what we have seen against the likes of Man City, Liverpool and Tottenham. I think that’s why it was so easy for us to pass around it. I don’t think we have suddenly become great at beating the press overnight.

    5. Our attack is improving and having Ozil and Mkhi on the team together is a huge part of that. That’s not to take anything away from Ramsey and Wilshere whose contribution to our attacking play was also significant.

  21. Looks like we’re going to Moscow in the next round.

    Could be a lot worse but it’s also like 18 hours of travel and everything will be frozen, so a lot like Ostersunds, but with an added dollop of corruption and racism (sorry but I really hate Russia).

    1. Why do you hate Russia, doc.
      It’s one of the world’s greatest democracies with a well functioning Parliament, as Shard would have us believe:)

      I mean they kill their own political dissidents at home and abroad but common, nobody’s perfect.

      1. Oh I don’t know, there is so much to love. For example a 50+ year military occupation and systematic political-cultural indoctrination of my country of birth complete with Orwellian thought policing, mandatory Russian language classes in school, revisions of known history, and mandatory displays of support for communism.

        All that may be ancient history now but it’s not like they’re any better as a “democracy.” When they’re not doping their athletes systematically for the olympics or paying off FIFA for the right to host the WC or taking over (and, in the case of Hearts, ruining) British football clubs, they are busy rigging elections at home and abroad, fomenting civil war in the Middle East, annexing parts of other countries, sponsoring terrorism, and shooting people who try to stand up to them.

        Ok, I’m off my soapbox now.

        1. Russia are the ones in Syria legally. Just because the US decides to not follow this law doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and doesn’t matter. I’m sorry but what business does the US have to be in Syria? That ‘civil war’ is caused by American proxies to fulfil American interests. So what if they’re crazy, supposedly religious nuts.

          As for the evils of the Communist Soviet union, I think you’ll find hatred for it within Russia as much as any outside.

          1. The US has its own list of crimes and they are not holier than thou. Still, I live here and I far prefer living here than I would in Russia. I would take Trump, a blundering pseudo-autocrat, over actual autocrat Putin any day.

            Why do you feel like you have to stand up for such a corrupt, horrible regime?

          2. Doc. You prefer living in the US. No problem. But do you think the Russian or any nations’ actions exist in a vacuum? That democracy and human rights is not a tool used by the West to fulfill its hegemonical agenda (Like civilizing the savages was for the British empire)

            Russia is not a ‘regime’ It is a government. Duly elected. The US or anyone else shouldn’t get to decide on the legitimacy of a foreign govt. The consequences of that are disastrous for the people of that country. That’s why I feel the need to ‘defend’ Russia.

            I am not defending them. I just refuse to accept the attitude that Russia bad, we have our flaws..but we’re cool. Moreover, I care about the people of the Western countries too, and I actually care about Western values. Your nations have killed millions in your name, abusing the very values they cared about, and they rely on a steady war ‘industry’ for their benefit at the cost of the people.

            That sounds so controversial but you already know it’s all true. And yet you react viscerally to Russia. Tim wrote once about your outrage being used against you. That’s what’s happening here.

            Anyway. I’m not going to talk about this anymore. I really just wish that some of you would think beyond the hatred of ‘the other’.

          3. Shard – seriously.

            My father actually trained in the old Soviet army as a munitions expert (he was sent there by the Yugoslav army). My father has always had soft spot for Russia and educated all his kids on how Russians have a different outlook on life than Americans. But we need to divorce criticism of Russia the Government, from Russia the People. The Government (Putin) is a very bad actor in today’s world. We should not engage in cultural or moral relativism or worse yet, What-about-ism;

            Russia is bad? Well what about how many people the West has killed?

            Donald Trump is unfit for the Presidency? Well what about Hillary’s emails and payments to her foundation by foreign governments?

            And on and on. It never excuses nor explains the original argument. It just makes it into a contest of lesser evils.

      2. Evidence?

        Do you ever ask yourself how the Old British Empire got away with all its evils? And where you would have stood if you lived in that age? This Western preaching and pretense as being the vanguards of democracy and freedom is the new white man’s burden. Like the West needs to step in to teach all these savages what true values are. Never mind that they have a longer, sometimes much more complicated history (not entirely eradicating natives for one) and the history of their occupation by the West which still affects their reality. No, they are all savages or poor lambs who can’t be trusted to take care of their own affairs. So the West violates its own stated principles, repeatedly, to pass on good virtue to all the poor suffering people of anyone who happens to not kowtow to their hegemony. And of course they are then blamed for their own misery, and any defensive action is termed aggression.

        The sad part of it isn’t the Russia bashing (or China, or even India/Africa/Korea etc) That doesn’t particularly bother me. What bothers me is that this narrative is used to cause divisions among countries and peoples that actually have no, or very little reason to stay hostile. But the West doesn’t talk. It dictates. And it destroys what it can’t dictate to. Irony? More like hypocrisy.

        1. We’re still talking about Russia, right? You lost me with the whole British empire/white man’s burden thing. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you about Russian history but I do wonder how your points relate to mine.

          1. As for evidence:

            1) Russian Olympics doping:

            2) Russian interference in US election:

            3) Russian sponsorship of terrorism in Yemen:

            4) Russia annexes parts of Ukraine ( and Georgia (

            5) Russian owner Vladimir Romanov runs Heart of Midlothian into the ground (

            6) Allegations of Russian bribes to win corrupt FIFA world cup bidding:

            7) Russia’s recent use of nerve gas in London to kill ex-spy ( and list of assassinations as recent as 2016 (

            Shall I keep going??

          2. That was a response to Tom. But yes we’re talking about Russia. The first time I went to the UK in 2005, I was blown away by how anti-Russia their news was. How they portray anything Russian as inherently evil. How they selectively (mis)represent Russia. Russia has its problems much like the US or any other nation has its own. If we really wanted to I think we could all portray any country as not truly democratic (Isn’t that what Russia hating is actually saying about the US elections?) and racist. Just because this seems normal (and fixable) to people living in the West doesn’t mean selective reporting won’t create a skewed image.

            Russian aggression is actually not aggression if you can stop and look at it from their side. (The constant expansion of Nato, the unilateral ABM treaty withdrawal, and of course the real situation in Ukraine) By the way, neither is North Korean (and I have utter contempt for that regime. And I don’t use the word regime lightly either)

            Hate Russia if you want to. That matters not. But look beyond that hate and beyond simply judging their actions as if they exist in a vacuum. The biggest violators of democracy are the US (they don’t even hide this usually). The anti Russia environment has almost nothing to do with actual Russian actions except that they, along with China, pose a threat to the American led unipolar world. Everything else is just a sideshow (regardless of real world consequences) and no one in this is holy.

          3. I’m afraid we’re not going to find much common ground here, Shard. I appreciate your thoughtful approach but I do think you’ve twisted yourself into a bit of a pretzel to accommodate this particular world view. I did post a comment with links backing up each one of my claims against Russia but it’s caught in moderation. Anyways, it doesn’t matter, I doubt you’ll be swayed.

            I propose we move on and get back to talking about football.

          4. Shard, your comments about Western hegemony, racism, orientalism, imperialism, othering, etc., reflect a tired, reductive narrative, and one that conveniently deflects (and, in the case of the modern academy, hides) from the racism, imperialism, othering, slave economies, etc. of the ‘East’. Such thinking leads to or supports things like far-right Hindu nationalism, for example, or absurd claims that epistemic violence is the same or worse (as Spivak once famously claimed) than actual violence, or harmful rejections of science, or the very essentialism denied by its proponents.

    2. Not a good trip at this time. What Russia did on UK soil is actually an act of war.

      Serious question – why is England even going to the World Cup this year? It’s been proven that Russia stole the competition from England with pay-offs.

      I will not watch any World Cups until 2026. Just putting that out there publicly. Russia and Qatar both won the hosting rights through corruption. Over two thousand people have died thus far in Qatar building those stadiums. I understand that the vast majority will still watch and I will be in a tiny minority. Ah well.

      1. Good for you and agree with you. I’m gonna try to avoid watching them too but so much social pressure… watching games at a bar with friends is literally the only time I go to a bar with friends these days.

      2. The Qataar thing really is beyond the pale. Not only are workers dying but that entire nation is under a strict trade embargo from its neighbors, not to mention that it’s climate is inhospitable and it’s culture is intolerant.

        I love the WC so much, it’s why I started watching football. I love seeing the intersection of sport and national pride, the different styles of each nation exemplified by their football. It kills me that this is what FIFA has become.

    3. I see racism has been brought up in relation to Russia. Okay.

      Absolutely astonishing to see the same person that believes white males who are under attack and complains about “the accusatory culture of the Left” when tackling racism and bigotry in the US suddenly focus his energy on ‘racism’ in Russia.

      In the US context you’re repeating boiler-plate right-wing attacks on the Left’s anti-racists and you see discrimination as “just an excuse dumb people use” but when it comes to Russia you feel very comfortable mentioning their ‘racism’.

      If this is the beginning of an awakening about racism and discrimination and how it manifests in different countries, then great. If you’re just exploiting racism as a handy tool to demonise Russia then… that’s something else entirely.

      1. I’ll try to see past the obviously personal nature of this post. Both things can be true, Kaius. I do think the left has gone too far in some instances in its attempts to find and root out racism here in the US, and I find that repulsive. At the same time I can see outright instances of racism in Russia and be disgusted by them. Where is the contradiction in that to you? Is it all Russians all the time? Of course not. Does it happen there more often than in other European countries, except maybe Serbia? I think it’s hard to argue against that.

        1. What in Nomino Dei are you talking about “the obviously personal nature of this post”?

          One of the things you do on here *repeatedly* is try to mark out ground for yourself, and yourself alone, so that you may be go where others dare not. You had no compunction about injecting your “people say nasty things about white males” views into the discussion Claude and I had with Shard about mocking accents and classism. And many of your comments read as pretty direct criticisms.

          And you had no problem warning Bunburyist away from commenting on your annoyance that someone said there would be banter if we lost to Milan. “You didn’t mention him so he shouldn’t comment”. One rule for you, another for everyone else.

          Love the discourse and wide range of viewpoints onhere. But injecting your political worldviews into the most random discussions while bristling at any personal scrutiny is a funny stance to take.

          1. “If you have a critique of our protest, you’d better have a documented critique of our oppression as well.”

            A little consistency never hurt anyone.

        2. I will say in Doc’s defense that he eventually admitted he was wrong in that argument about class and speech patterns, so give him some credit!

          As someone whose views are primarily on the left, I would also add we could be more gracious in how we talk to people about their use of language (not just you or Doc, but everyone). I sometimes find myself occupying the vigilant and accusatory positions that I in fact deplore in certain sections of the left, including the circles I run in. Relatedly, I also find myself (in the real world mainly, but to some extent even in an anonymous forum like this) worrying excessively about saying the wrong thing about any identity position for fear of being shamed or worse (so much so that I tend not to talk about identity issues with people who occupy those identities (when they are not my own), which isn’t a solution either). Maybe this is not applicable to your comment, but there it is. It’s kind of a weird political situation, and I’m not sure I like it at all.

          Finally, I don’t think talking about racism in Russia is not always and already a rejection of racism as a problem in the US, though from your reply I gather that wasn’t what you were claiming?

          1. Disregard that last part about Russia and racism. I now fully understand what you were saying, as it relates to previous conversations between you and Doc.

          2. Oh, and let me be clear: I think we should call out hateful or harmful language, but I think we should also take into account intention, context, response, and consequence. Doubling down on bad speech, as so many do, even after they’ve been told it’s hurtful, is deserving of contempt, and we should similarly have no patience or grace for some of what I hear coming from the mouths of white supremacists. Again, context matters. Intention matters.

          3. Sure, he admitted that to you. He still had no problem using mine and Claude’s comments as a jumping off point in his sweeping critique of modern culture, virtue signaling, moral superiority etc etc.

            Yeah I agree with the difficulties you describe – it is applicable. Much more leeway and understanding is needed in navigating in-group and out-group discussions. Much much more. I let a lot of stuff go and don’t like people apologising for their views (it all comes from somewhere real and we can’t shy away from that), but I draw the line at hypocrisy. If we’re all equal, let’s act like it.

            Guess it falls on us in this era to have these difficult conversations now so our kids and their kids don’t have to. Let them focus on solving the big problems like capitalism or building that ladder to the Moon.

          4. Thanks for the continued referendum on my personality and views, I’ll keep following the coverage with interest.

          5. Thanks for, uh, sharing, Doc. Sooooo, you admit to being a hypocrite? You’re saying kaius and I are hypocrites? We’re all hypocrites? Answers!

            Isn’t a ‘referendum’ on viewpoints exactly what we do every day on this site? And I think if we share our politics here, we should expect to encounter disagreement that has greater emotional or personal investment than that reserved for positions on football.

          6. Referendum on viewpoints, yes, people, no. Anyways, I’m not here to cry about it, I’ve been accuser many times, so you won’t get hypocrisy from me on that, but I did think it was remarkable that it went on and on. I didn’t think I am that interesting to talk about.

            Who is a hypocrite? We all are. Nobody can be 100% consistent 100% of the time on any particular view, even if we think we are. Having said that, do I agree with Kaius’ view that I’m a hypocrite on this issue? Absolutely not, but I’m not going to launch self-defense maneuvers, I don’t care enough about his opinion for that. The video is tongue-in-cheek but I hoped that would be obvious if you listen to Jin’s lyrics.

          7. Of course you don’t think you’re a hypocrite “on this issue”.

            Most people need to have their hypocrisy pointed out to them for it to click. Preferably by someone they respect.

            Clearly I am not that person.

      2. Just want to preface this by saying I really value your opinions, kaius. As I do many others here, of course, but I’m addressing your comment right now, so here goes:

        Why is talk about racism in another country always and already the turning of a blind eye to racism in the US? Perhaps I don’t fully appreciate where your comment is coming from, so apologies if what follows is irrelevant.

        I happen to work in an environment where any comment about race, gender, sex, and sexuality that doesn’t meet the right level of woke can get you in serious trouble (as in public shaming and/or getting fired). So when people talk about hyper-vigilant and hyper-accusatory contexts, I’m all too aware of what they mean.

        I’m on the left, I support the Democratic party, I detest racism (particularly as someone who has experienced its ugliness), but I get some of the arguments made by the right when it comes to language vigilance and accusation, because I’ve seen far too many situations when people have tried their darndest to ally with identity positions they don’t share or rally behind causes that don’t necessarily reflect their own subject position, only to have it backfire spectacularly because they didn’t do it right or say it right. Intentions seem to no longer matter.

        Further, it’s gotten to the point where any comment made in support of an argument made by the right is labeled racist, etc., as if someone in a political position one doesn’t share can never be right about anything (a problem shared by both those on the left and right). This is because arguments are increasingly decided by ethos rather than logos, and while logos isn’t the only way of making sense of the world, there’s a high cost to its deposition. It makes common ground impossible. At least, this is an opinion I’ve come to agree with more and more these days…

        I wish things were different. Maybe they are and I’m just not seeing it.

        1. This comment is redundant, obviously. It was in moderation, so I repeated some of its points in comments above.

  22. The reason I find the whole Welbeck pen so entertaining is because it happened right in front of the official who gave it.

    Anyone who thought in real time this was a pen should be investigated for gambling on Arsenal going through to the next round.

    In Welbeck’s defense though, he’s not a footballer but rather a sprinter masquerading as one. You brush your arm ap against a Usain Bolt in full flight and then see what happens 🙂

    Also, spare a thought for the future of Italan goal keeping , Belladonnagotdrunkonbottleofrumma or whatever his name is.
    Two almost identical save attempts at shots from distance from Wilshere and Xhaka, and two identical mistakes in pushing the ball across the goal mouth instead of out and away from danger.

    Maybe Szczesny can apply for citizenship change 🙂

  23. Hey Tim, great shout-out about the Continental Cup Final. It was a damn good match, even if it was only aired on Facebook.

  24. Bunburyist, I am genuinely interested in what you said to me. Because all those things you say lead directly from my thinking are actually things I oppose. I’m not being patronising here. I’d really like to know why you think what I said about the ongoing Western geopolitical outlook leads to that.

    As for actual violence vs epistemic violence, I think the US led illegal (and ill reasoned) wars have killed more people in my lifetime, at least politically aware lifetime, than anyone else’s actions have, and this is usually brushed aside as just one of those things.

    1. I appreciate your sincerity. It would take a long time for me to type out a response that would do justice to your request and why I said what I did. However, I can recommend a book: Meeru Nanda’s “Prophets Facing Backward: Postmodern Critiques of Science and Hindu Nationalism in India.” Though her case is India, her commentary may be read as a critique of postcolonialist theory and cultural relativism generally…and when you read what she says about critiques of science and the rise of nationalism, you start to see a lot of connections with US politics, too!

      1. Thanks for that.

        Actually that link doesn’t surprise me. The self styled Hindu (or Hindutva) nationalists seem to me to model themselves on American racist organisations. (They also look up to Hitler for expelling/exterminating the ‘outsiders’) Their propaganda follows much the same pattern in both claiming and decrying freedom of speech, and they have no problem messing with historical facts either (often incoherently) And much as they are nationalists and decry a loss of ‘culture’, they love American approval and crave legitimacy from them. (They began life under British policy of divide and rule so it isn’t exactly surprising)

        1. Interesting. Nanda argues that the demonization of the West (especially Western epistemologies), rather than liberating the postcolonial subject, in fact condones or encourages oppressive practices. I remember reading it and being struck by the irony that so much of the conceptual framework that allowed for aggressive critiques of the West were provided by white French men! A similar irony, I think, struck Derrida (though I’m not a fan, generally) when he said that the very idea of ethnocentrism was ethnocentric!

          1. I think the opposition to an enemy, real or perceived, always carries that risk. The idea behind focusing on culture and values is that it is supposed to make the society more cohesive and united. But taken too far, and with vested interests, it is simply repression. Of people but also ideas. Where any difference in opinion or preferences is seen as a threat.

            Of course it is also true that without a common binding force a society is too weak to continue to thrive. I guess it’s a never ending search for the right balance between the two.

    2. Name the US led wars and how many were killed in each.

      “I think the US led illegal (and ill reasoned) wars have killed more people in my lifetime, at least politically aware lifetime, than anyone else’s actions have”

      Really? Than anyone else’s?

      The Soviet Union killed and imprisoned by some historical estimates between 56 and 62 million of it’s own citizens.

      In 1948 Mao initiated the “destruction” of 60-70 million Chinese peasants to make way for agrarian reform and as part of the Great Leap.

      Pol Pot. Kim Jong Il.

      Even the media darling petty dictator Fidel Castro is estimated to be responsible for the death of 50,000 Cuban dissidents.

      The US may have done some bad things in history. But they pale in comparison to the evils done by others. The US and “the West” (as you label a very broad and diverse group of people) has been, overall, a force for good in history. Moral relativism is not cool, historical revisionism is even worse.

      1. Save your outrage. I understand it is shorthand but the ‘West’ refers to itself as the West when they still aren’t majestically referring to themselves as ‘The Free World’.

        The part you are missing is that I said in my politically aware lifetime. I was 5 years old when the USSR broke apart. The only world I’ve known is the unipolar world. I was 15 when the World trade centre towers went down. I supported the war in Afghanistan because I wanted the Taliban out of power. Until I heard the accusations and casual dismissal of ‘collateral damage’. I read a description of a NATO commander saying how they followed procedure in blowing up a house with an entire family inside because a gunman entered and despite warnings no one came out. And heard accusations about the heroin trade. By then I started to doubt. Only doubt though.

        Then I heard Blair speak in Parliament to campaign for a war against Iraq and I supported it. Man that guy could speak well. I then saw what was done to Iraq, including through use of mercenaries. The murder of innocents, the complete falsehood of the justification of war. The torture (which if done by an opposing force would lead to the President of that country being hauled up on war crime charges) I saw the hypocrisy. And I still saw it as only unfortunate or just a failure in the otherwise well intentioned system.

        I saw the US pass laws contrary to personal freedom, sell everyone scanners and softwares and authorisations through fear in the name of the war on terror. Heard about the war on drugs that was launched earlier (Under Reagan wasn’t it?) and saw the hypocrisy of it. I saw them carry out ‘renditions’ (so cool that they have a name for it), put people in jail without trial (they’re all terrorists tho because we say so) and use torture, with no one punished for it. I saw the media hide a story about an American chopper pilot laughing while shooting dead two Reuters journalists (I was reading the political news everyday and only heard of it some years later when referred to in the Wikileaks cables, minus suitable outrage)

        I saw Obama (another good orator and a guy I actually like) promise peace and engage in extending war. And I saw the financial crash of 2008 and the response to it and realised, albeit in a limited and ill-educated manner, that it is not a systemic failure, but the system working as intended. In any case that this cannot be right.

        I’m sorry. I know this would seem radical to you. It really isn’t. I don’t hate the West. I don’t dislike the West. I cherish Western values of democracy, freedom, human rights, equality of people, free press, individual rights. I just see that they don’t live up to those values and that the real reason they deplore others has nothing to do with it either. That is but an excuse to keep hegemony intact.

        So wars and people killed in them by numbers? Look them up. I don’t particularly care to argue numbers with you over what I think is self evident. Prove me wrong if you can and must. It doesn’t change the import that far from excusing any other crimes through examples of Western illegal wars (and proxies) I believe I see them in the real context. It isn’t one of democracy or human rights. It’s about control over the world’s resources, and the system of money. Once that context is established, actions of ‘rogue nations’ (Pot calling kettle black) can be better understood. Not excused, but understood and hopefully resolved. Without war.

        And that is end of the short version of the story of how I got to be twisted enough to believe that everyone the West say they don’t like is automatically evil.

  25. People who equate criticism of Russia and disagreement with with its actions with hate, are neither reasonable nor rational. The “haterz” schtick is also childish.

    Also, Shard, false equivalency is not a rebuttal of a fact. Russia and Putin are terrible state actors. Heck, they just poisoned two of their opponents in London last week. Their Ukrainian allies shot down a Malaysian civilian jetliner killing hundreds of people, and Putin and Russia showed a complete lack of concern or contrition about the tragedy.

    Yes, the US tried to poison Castro. Yes the US shot down an Iranian civilian jet. But neither are arguments against Putin’s or Russia’s sheer criminality.

    Hey, I worked with the BBC for 20 years, and I don’t recognise the Russia hate by the media that you blithely state. Like a true Trumpist (something also in your locker) you are deeply uncomfortable with facts that conflict with your dogma.

    But then again, we already knew that.

    1. I dislike Trump. I have said this many times. I just don’t treat politics as a popularity contest. The American political system threw up two bad candidates. For my single point agenda (reduction in war activities, even if temporary) I figured Trump was the better candidate.

      Where’s the proof that Russia poisoned this guy? Even going by the words of your govt, they said it was a type of nerve agent developed in the former Soviet Union. (Apparently this was in Uzbekistan and the closing of the factory/depot was handled by American companies) That’s hardly proof that Russia decided to kill a guy they had in custody before agreeing a prisoner swap, on foreign land, in a sloppy fashion (far easier to shoot somebody) and apparently with a calling card. Frankly, I find that very hard to believe. And why would they do this? To start a war they do not want and can ill afford? To ensure an election victory that you say they’ve already fixed through fear and repression?

      Or maybe the fact that Germany is pressing ahead with its plans to build a pipeline with Russia does not sit well with the other Western powers and this builds pressure on them to toe the line and gives an excuse for fresh sanctions. Nor do they like their invasion plans being ruined in the middle east.

      Similarly, beyond proclamations and insinuations, I am yet to see proof that it was Russia’s allies who shot down that plane. Just like with the hacking. If they indeed did do these things, I would condemn them for it. But I think it is reasonable to doubt US, UK and French motives and proclamations after the wars in Iraq, Libya and Syria (and of course Yemen) and the falsehood of the story they tell about Ukraine where they subverted democracy because it didn’t suit them. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff and I see nothing that counts as real evidence to support the story they are telling.

      Do you really think that the Russia bashing is in actual fact about Russia’s crimes, rather than their independence and resurgence threatening the end of the unipolar world? Because I really think that’s the starting point of it all. They don’t care about freedom or people dying in other countries. I doubt they care about that in their own country either as long as it doesn’t affect them.

      Above all, I think the ‘Western’ (It’s a loose use of the term but closest shorthand I have currently) attitude prevents there being an honest exchange because they propound that they are inherently superior. It is impossible to carry out a reasonable debate with someone like that. I don’t see how there can be any doubt that the real war mongering and moves toward war come from the West, rather than from Russia.

    2. PS. Just as a matter of record, the plane shot over Ukraine was Dutch as I recall. The Malaysian airliner went missing somewhere in the Indian Ocean.

      1. This is what I mean about you showing disregard for facts, Shard. If you’re too sloppy to even properly ascertain the facts around ownership of the aircraft, I sure don’t think you looked too hard reports of Russia’s link to it, before dismissing them. Dogma over facts.

        FWIW, here’s a BBC deep dive.

        You describe the links as “proclamations and insinuations” Really?

        Key quote…
        “The Dutch report commissioned three separate investigations – from Dutch, Russian and Ukrainian bodies – to look at where the missile launcher could have been located. It said the missile could have been fired from an area of about 320 sq km in the east of Ukraine. The JIT and the government in Ukraine say the missile was brought from Russia and launched from the rebel-held part of Ukraine. In June 2016, JIT published a photo of a large Russian-made Buk missile component found at the crash site. In its September report, JIT used witness testimony, intercepted phone calls, photographs and satellite imagery showing scorched land to pinpoint the launch site on high ground at Pervomaiskyi, near Snizhne, in territory held by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. It said it had been able to track the course of the missile trailer from Russia to the launch site and immediately back into Russian territory following the downing of the plane”.

        Proclamations and insinuations .

        1. Umm.. According to the same article the Russians disputed the findings and offered alternate evidence using radar data which the JIT didn’t consider in their findings. (What was this data?)

          Of course you’ll say the Russians would lie and dispute and obfuscate, and they would. You aren’t wrong there. But would the enquiry also lie to lay the blame on Russia? I think they would.

          I’ll get back to you with why I saw these findings as motivated and ‘proclamations and insinuations’ As was evident with the error about it being a Malaysian Airlines plane, I don’t remember the details.

  26. Shard, it takes a certain mindset to believe certain things.
    It’s kinda like yourself believing Arsene can still win another PL title before he retires.
    Not a single shred of evidence points to that as a possibility while all evidence speaks to the contrary , yet you still think he can do it.

    Same with the Russia thing.
    All evidence points to Russia for hacking the Dems, US power grid ,and even attempts at local state elections.

    Just as all evidence points to Putin and his circle for all the disappearances, deaths and “unfortunate accidents” that befallen his critics.
    But you’re right , no one has a picture of Putin leaning over his political opponent’s dead body ,but even if there was such a picture, you’d probably tell us he was just administering a CPR.

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