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Wednesday, 14 March 2012

What I want from an Arsenal Captain

Robin - becoming a proper Arsenal Captain

Apologies for not writing a proper match review from another glorious night for Arsenal against Newcastle. I got back to my hotel from the game just after 11:30 on Monday evening, and then was up at 4:30 for work. After getting home yesterday I was absolutely knackered and couldn't bring myself the necessary motivation to write anything.
Did Robin Van Persie's behaviour spoil the Arsenal win for you on Monday night? No? Me neither. Yet again I find myself seriously annoyed with the coverage of Sky and the written press yesterday. Instead of glorying in another great finish to a Premier League game, with Arsenal's efforts winning the day over a side who came to waste as much time as possible, we've had to put up with attempts to sully the character of the League's best striker. This would not happen in any other country. Could you imagine the Spanish press going after Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi in the same way?
Newcastle's football the other night was pretty awful. Their only tactic in the second half was to hit ever longer, and ever higher, hoofed efforts up towards the excellent Demba Ba. It was like watching Stoke without the thuggish behaviour. Put together with the constant time-wasting of Tim Krul (which started after about ten minutes of the game) it made for a pretty ugly spectacle from our visitors. Putting all that together I would have to wonder why our press choose to find an angle that gets at Arsenal in some way. Again, it wouldn't happen with the Spanish press as they would choose to castigate the side that didn't come to play football.
Robin Van Persie and Krul were at each other from very early on. I got the distinct impression that there has been some kind of carry over there from the Dutch squad. The pair seemingly do not get on well at all. I read one report yesterday (was it that idiot Charlie Wyett in The Sun?) that said how Van Persie's main contribution after half-time was to moan about the time-wasting. Would it not have been better for the esteemed reporter to lament the time-wasting itself, and also Howard Webb's flat refusal to deal with it in any way. The fact that Krul was made to pay for it in the grand manner with Vermaelen's winning goal should have been the point made. Van Persie obviously wasn't slow in making this clear to Krul after the goal had been scored. I have no problem with him doing that whatsoever. It shows that he really wanted to win the game, and then wanted to make the point that it had got Newcastle nowhere. I remember well Tony Adams giving the two-finger salute at QPR when a late turnaround was made in the face of various donkey-chants and general abuse back in 1990. It showed that Tony cared, and that he wasn't about to let the opposition forget that Arsenal had won the game. If Krul then decided to run forty yards to confront RVP (as the TV replays showed) then that is a problem for him, not Van Persie. All Robin did was keep smiling at him. The rest of the nonsense occurred when Guttierez decided to lay hands on Van Persie (who'd have thought - an Argentinian trying to cause trouble on somebody else's turf).
As far as I am concerned the incident at the end of the game showed how Robin Van Persie is developing in to the role of Arsenal Captain. I want that sort of commitment and visible show of passion from whoever has that honoured position. In recent years it is something that has been seriously missing from the men leading our team. In Van Persie and Vermaelen we now have two proper leaders who, through their actions on Monday night, showed they are both fit to wear the armband at Arsenal Football Club. Anybody who disagrees with that clearly wasn't in the ground when TV5 stuck that winner away late on Monday night.


  1. As a Newcastle fan I can say that RVP is a player I have admired for his skill and right up to the other night as a player. Alan Pardew's celebrations against Sunderland were appreciated by Newcastle fans for his fervour, but rightly he admitted to overdoing it and apologised. RVP's hassling of Krul for doing what every goalie does when they come to us seemed unsporting and a bit spiteful. I thought the game was played in a sporting way except for RVP's goading which has done nothing for the image of your team, which is a shame because you don't need it while you are playing so well. If you all rally behind him and see nothing wrong with that sort of behaviour then fine, but it won't get you many good receptions on your travels around the country.

  2. such a one sided opinion, bad sportsmanship from van Persie in my opinion, not saying Krul was right to run 40 yards and confront him, not saying Jonas was right for getting involved either. But what you're describing is how to be a sore winner. I was under the impression that a Goalkeeper was allowed to waste time for as long as the referee allows... funny, I didn't see a yellow card for Krul go up before that spat! Seems Arsenal, with all their supposed beautiful passing football, have an ugly side... a gloating, arrogant side, which Wilshere seems to think he should chip in on! What van Persie did (and your flashback to Adams) isn't showing passion for winning, it's a passion for the others losing! Just a general opinion I have along with others! But then again that must run through the Arsenal Football Club, with a throwback to Keown and van Nistelrooy

  3. And these comments from supporters of a team that delighted in Joey Barton's antics until very recently - antics which we were very much the victims of...

    Time wasting is part of football...

    However, time wasting early in the first half with the scores level is something every real Newacastle fan should feel ashamed and uneasy about...

    If it happened in a Sunday League match you can guarantee it would have led to more than a few verbals...

  4. Joey Barton, never liked him, he's a disgrace, given opportunity after opportunity and he throws it back in people's faces. Good footballer, bad person.

    I admit timewasting isn't a good tactic to use in the first half, but let's be fair, Newcastle probably wanted to get to half time before conceding another, considering Arsenal were dominating. At one point, Sky's stats read 71% possession to Arsenal, can you blame Krul for wanting a chance to regroup. Doesn't change van Persie's attitude, in all of the articles I've read about this incident, not one Arsenal fan be it article, blog or comment, have admitted that van Persie was in the wrong, all have slated Krul, at least we can admit when we're wrong.

  5. You make some good points, I guess (and I mean this genuinely) we just expected a lot more from a team that until genuinely looked like they were top 5 material... The only other teams that waste time in the first half at our place are your Blackburns and Wolves, and they have different agendas and aspirations entirely...

    Despite the possession you looked pretty dangerous and having seen us all season your chances of winning would have been far greater if you'd carried on having a go...

    As for our opinion of our Captain's actions (and I reserve some judgement as I haven't seen the whole thing back yet - and at teh risk of sounding like Wenger my seat is at the back of the upper Tier) - I'm not sure exactly what it is that RVP did that was so bad?

    From memory he asked questions of Krul in the first half, to which he took exception. I then saw Krul with his forehead up against RVP's at a corner, and then after our goal he must have said something to get the reaction, but Krul seemed to be desperate to get to RVP to sort him out?

    1. The thing is that the inital incident when this so called time wasting occured was when the ball was passed back to Krull who rather then belt it skywards kept the ball at his feet, RVP then ran up to him and began having a go. If it had been a goal kick then I would understand the frustration but the ball was in play and Krull us well within his rights to keep hold of the ball at his feet for the rest of the half if that's is what suits. It's is like complaining about the Barcelona Midfield time wasting for passing the ball for long periods without letting the opposition touch it. If you were winning with 5 minutes to go and Walcott had took the ball into the corner playing for time would you lot chastise him the way you did Krull for 90 minutes. Any time wasting after that was probably due to the booing cause like Krull if I was getting booed every time I touched the ball I would stick to fingers up to you all too.

  6. The reason you don't see any Arsenal supporters criticising Van Persie for the other night is that he has done nothing wrong in our eyes. His reaction was one that everyone in the stadium had - Krul was wasting time and the referee was doing nothing about it.
    I'm interested in this idea of being a "sore winner." I remember back in 2001 when Graham Poll robbed us by awarding a last minute penalty we were accused of being "sore losers" by the great Sir Bobby Robson. It seems that the Geordies have a stock answer for everything!

  7. Gus Caesar - to tell you the truth I expected a lot more as well, it seemed like they couldn't believe their luck when Ben Arfa scored and then when the equaliser went in they decided to shut up shop. I was disapointed. Van Persie wasn't happy with Krul wasting time or something in the first 10 minutes (although van Persie didn't give him much room to kick the ball from his hands in all fairness), from then the fans got on Krul's back and I think he wasted time from that moment on just to wind van Persie up, frustrate him you know, a bit of a mindgame going on. Van Persie wasn't happy with it and every goalkick they were having words. The injury time goal went in and van Persie decided to gloat - not a nice trait.

    Dvbris - funny how you don't see players laughing in the opposition players' faces every match, isn't it? It's called sportsmanship you arse! I recall someone telling me how when Alan Ball sat on top of a football and said, 'you want it, come get it'. It's part of the game, tactics, not great tactics I'll admit but tactics all the same.

  8. And eventually the opposition will resort to swearing. Nothing new. Van Persie did nothing wrong. End of. If you don't like my view of it then that's ok, but I was at the game which gives me a proper insight into Krul's behaviour.
    As I say that's my view of things, and the title of my little site here tells you that - MY Arsenal Opinion. That being the case don't come on here and start swearing at me.

  9. hahaha well, there you have it. It is your opinion, quite a bias point of view, article and comment, well done you journalist you

  10. Yes, I am very biased. I support Arsenal and that's the way it is. Maybe, just maybe, your Newcastle bias gives you your assessment of the other night.

  11. Funny how I've admitted to Newcastle's wrong doings and every Arsenal fan remains adamant, I do hope you take a more balanced approach in future

  12. Well thanks for that free advice. And, yes, we are adamant. That's because we're right.

    Take the bait...take the bait...take the bait...

  13. the ref in the inter marsielle match last night booked mandanda for time wasting,he was a lot quiker than krul and webb done nothing!!!!!!

  14. I've enjoyed watching Newcastle to an extent this season, and we all view our own teams through rose tinted spectacles, but the author of the blog is quite correct, the referee, the cretinous Howard (Stretford End) Webb, proved yet again how useless he really is when applying the law. The standard of officiating this season has plummeted to a new low with awful decisions in virtually every game. Only last week everyone witnessed an obvious goal being incorrectly disallowed at Bolton. The Press, yet again, slating RVP and Arsenal in general, who after all played until the final whistle and managed to win the game.
    I am reminded of the 1980s when a small time club called Newcastle United played in the the old Second Division in front of 20 odd thousand home fans, and on occasion lost games to the mighty Carlisle United. Footballing hot bed? Do me a favour.

  15. What started out as an interesting exchange of views is somewhat spoilt by the authors head in the sand attitude to any view that disagreed with his own.
    In my experience the last thing you ever get at a game is a proper insight into anything. What you get is the perceived truth of the mob.
    I also remember the 1980's as a time when Arsenal were in crisis. Losing games at will to the mighty Winterslag & Walsall amongst many others.It was also a time that Manchester United were in a terminal decline and Liverpool could do no wrong!
    RVP's behavior on Monday was reprehensible. If he wants to be considered as a worthy captain of one of the great clubs then he needs conduct himself like an adult. The insistence of the author and the other Arsenal fans to glorify in his behavior and cry about the referee's perceived bias is counterproductive. If thuggish behavior is what you all desire then I'm sure that QPR will be happy to send you Joey Barton. After all he has long craved a club where his talents would be truly appreciated! You could even make him captain once RVP has gone to Barcelona at the end of the season.

  16. Yes I do disagree with any view that is different from my own. I don't really understand why I should be supposed to agree with a view that is different from my own. Perhaps "calmitdivris" could explain?
    RVP's behaviour was not "reprehensible". I would suggest that those bleating against RVP watch the footage again and you will see Krul running 40 yards to engage him. At that point RVP turns on him.
    I can only laugh at the view that physically being at a game does not give a better insight than watching on TV. That is utter rot and tells me you are a person with no clue whatsoever.

  17. It's a very simple concept Divris. When you watch an event, in this case a football match. Your views are molded by the common view of those people sitting around you. In your case these would be Arsenal fans. Therefore a pro Arsenal view becomes the dominant opinion.You should not therefore expect to blessed with a Devine insight just because you have been able to purchase an overpriced hotdog & sit in the cold for two hours.
    I'm sure we have all spent a happy Saturday afternoon bemoaning the injustices of refereeing decisions and associated conspiracies, only to find later on TV that your striker was actually two yards offside or had taken a dive. Or are you the only person who has never made a mistake.
    This is why in criminal cases we have a law of sub judice forbidding the public discussion of a case pre trial. The concern being that to allow such discussion and public molding of opinions would prejudice the proceedings by creating a distorted view of the truth.
    After the recent Tyne Wear derby both sets of fans left SJP equally convinced that the referee had favored the other side. Obviously both views could not be correct & after watching the game back on MOTD most reasonable people were of the opinion that the ref had a pretty good game.
    In my previous reply I suggested that you should accept that opinions exist other than your own. I did not demand or indeed expect that you agree with them. However if you engage with people with other opinions be it football/ religion / politics etc, you may actually find yourself able to take a less blinkered view of the world in general.
    You describe your piece as for Arsenal fans & other football fans in general. However anybody who wishes to raise an opinion that you disagree with is subjected to some rather childish goading. It's a disappointing character trait, but one that it seems is shared by your Captain.
    Obviously I'm expressing my opinion here. So far I've been to about 750 games in four continents over the last 35 years (including several at your excellent ground & Highbury before it). However I am happy to agree with you that this gives me 'no clue whatsoever' about football.
    I wish you well, but do think you should calm down a bit.

    1. So now I see that your name on here is a poor attempt at winding me up, as is your lecture to me. I'm almost impressed by your quoting of legal statute to me, and the Latin term for it. However, I'm less impressed by a poor grasp of the English language, and the spelling thereof.
      Believe it or not I am perfectly calm. However, I do get irked by mugs like you. I can fully appreciate that other people have an opinion, and this is formed from their bias as much as mine is formed from my own. What I don't need is some sad fool trolling on my website and acting the wind-up merchant. I don't have to agree with that opinion, or even give any kudos to it. Opinions are like arseholes - everyone's got them. You will always believe your own opinion is correct - if you don't then that is more than a little schizophrenic.
      The blog is indeed for football fans from anywhere, but anyone with more than half a brain would realise it is going to be 99.9% biased towards The Arsenal.
      Ultimately the clue is in the title of the blog. It is MY Arsenal Opinion, formed from what I see with my eyes, not from what goes on around me in a football stadium. I suggest you don't post again. After all, I don't think I could keep calm enough to respond to your form of "grown-up" goading. And you're right - you have no idea about football.

  18. You really are a mess of contradictions. You desperately want to be taken seriously as an amateur journalist. If not why would you bother to link your site to the leading news aggregator. However anyone who attempts to engage you in a debate is treated to a selection of puerile replies straight from the classroom. Compare your responses to someone like your fellow Gooner Gus Caeser. He seems able to construct a coherent and intelligent response to the points raised.
    I’ve taken the time to read some of your articles. Obviously opinionated (as you have repeatedly pointed out) but some good stuff in there all the same. As an Arsenal fan you could do worse than read some of the articles of Amy Lawrence of the Guardian. A passionate Arsenal fan and excellent journalist. Also somebody who takes the trouble to research her pieces, rather than trot out the same tired clich├ęs.
    One thing you could do with is improving your knowledge of mental illness. In your final reply you erroneously claim that to question your own opinions/beliefs would be schizophrenic. Obviously it would be nothing of the sort. The closest condition would be a dissociative identity disorder. Schizophrenia being a totally different condition entirely. However it is mankind’s ability over the eons to challenge accepted beliefs that has driven our development as a species. Without our forefathers quest for knowledge we would all still be living in caves (otherwise known as Tottenham).

    1. I want to be taken seriously as an amateur journalist? Do me a favour. I write a blog about Arsenal, and my views on the Club, because I love to talk about Arsenal. If I wanted to be a journalist I'd have got myself s degree in that direction.
      If there is one person I will not read in a newspaper it is Amy Lawrence. The woman is not an Arsenal supporter, merely a Nick Hornby generation bandwagon jumper. I imagine she has to research a great deal when she writes on Arsenal as she hasn't been around so long as most of us. I don't "research" before writing because I consider myself an expert when it comes to Arsenal FC and our history. I think you will be hard pressed to find too many factual errors in my rants and ramblings.
      I don't understand why you keep coming back to comment on here when you clearly don't want to talk football, but seem to be trying to call me out in some way. At least your spelling was better in your most recent diatribe. Sorry, am I being puerile again?