Floundering Mertesacker, Hot Headed Xhaka and the Incompetence of Referees

I have just watched the match on TV and I was resolved to post a blog on the game when I sat down to write it and I saw Alex Baguzin`s preview. As usual he was pretty accurate in the make-up of the team and he identified the threats of the opposing team. Unfortunately he was correct that BFG would replace Mustafi who was injured and he opined that he would help to eliminate silly mistakes from our play. The game had barely started when our entire team bombed up field intending no doubt to hit Southampton with a sledgehammer to put them in their place and to blitzkrieg them into submission.

Unfortunately the Blitz halted when we lost possession and it was Southampton who landed the first blow. Our attack faltered when we gifted possession again and they were able to bypass the floundering BFG and allowed them another gift to go with the two to Man Utd. last week. Just as last week, we found ourselves a goal down before the sound of the starting whistle had faded. It would be normal to expect that we would learn from those mistakes, but unlike the Spurs match, there was no high pressing of their defence and we resorted to sideways and backwards passing again which has been the blight of our season.

Saints gifted goal by BFG

The statistics on-screen showed that possession was 68% Southampton 32% us as they played the ball around in the acres of space we left in midfield. I found it hard to tell whether we were playing 2. 3 or 4 at the back as everyone was playing their own game. I managed to discern that Kolasinac was supposed to be a left wing-back although Xhaka was also playing the same role. Ramsey was invisible and he kept popping up in no particular position. Sanchez had brought his greed on the ball to new levels and simply refused to make passes to better placed players. The exception to the rule of playing to his role in the team was Ozil, who tried to carry out his usual conveyor belt of assists to players who had lost their sense of purpose or direction. Lacazette struggled manfully to get into dangerous positions but unfortunately no one was on his radar and he struggled alone.

Before I leave this part of my contribution, I have to say that as clearly evidenced on the replays, The scorer of Southampton`s goal was clearly 2 metres offside and yet again, in three successive matches we have suffered diabolical decisions from referees and this was another. The referees miserable performance was compounded when Lacazette admittedly missed a goal with a poorly hit shot but his legs were taken from under him by a two footed tackle after the ball had gone. Another stone wall penalty denied! Take away the offside goal and a legitimate penalty accompanied by the goal we did actually score and the result should have been 2-0 for us. It is getting beyond arguing the mantra that we should not blame the referee for our bad play. There is no doubt that we played badly, but how can any team which is not playing to its best counteract the incompetence of referees and linesmen?

It is time that their performances were properly assessed and that they should be held accountable for them. No team can overcome decisions which cost up to 9 points in three games! The top 6 is just too competitive to cope with that level of injustice.

Saved by Giroud

I am happy that Jack Wilshire got a run out and that once more Giroud baled us out but it is clear that Xhaka is not good enough and he is becoming hot headed to compensate for mistakes he is making. The middle 3 CBs of Kos, Mustafi and Monreal should be maintained because when they are separated the flood gates open and we are punished. That formation should be drummed into Holding and Chambers, so that there is continuity and any player who fills the role should be comfortable in it.  So now we are down to 6th again just when we were supposed to be running into a relatively easier part of the league. With Arsenal, we have learned to our cost that there is no such thing for us. Now, as always, we have to mount a last ditch charge to try to get into the top 4.

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7 Responses to Floundering Mertesacker, Hot Headed Xhaka and the Incompetence of Referees

  1. Me December 10, 2017 at 6:11 pm #

    A remarkably arrogant and ignorant man.
    The problems of the club he is paid ten million a year to solve is always someone else’s fault.
    The referees, match scheduling, the opposition, the fans, nervousness, fatigue, lack of “mental strength”.
    Always someone else’s fault.
    Never his.
    The whole reasoning for him to linger on for another two years was to see improvements in our form – this time last year we had lost just two games. We have lost five games this season.
    All of the problems are down to him – i expect and hope that he does the decent thing and leaves.
    Arsenal are in decline – getting rid of him will potentially stop this decline. Keeping him in post will allow the decline to continue…

    • Stephan Larose December 11, 2017 at 5:22 am #

      Arsenal’s negative fans always pin the blame on the manager. Nevermind that Wenger is not in any way responsible when his defenders make ghastly amateurish mistakes–they know the level that is expected of them, they train to defend well and if they make silly errors like this they must take responsibility themselves.

      If you can’t show solidarity for the team then go support someone else. The last thing Arsenal needs are stupid negative fans tearing the team down when they need support. People like you are the reason Arsenal has this so-called “mental fragility” you’re determined to disrupt games and sow discord and undermine morale even if we’re in 1st place (like last season).

      The only reason negative fans pick on Wenger is because he is a small enough target for their puny brains to target. Nevermind the abject stupidity of blaming Wenger for Koscielny getting a red card or Mustafi gifting the ball to the opposition, absolutely everything is Wenger’s fault–and if we change managers we’ll magically win the league next year just like all the other teams that have changed managers.

      Do us all a favor and stop alienating talent and believing you know better than the players themselves–you do not! If you are to spineless to support a team when it draws or loses you are not a real supporter, so get out!

      • Victor Thompson December 11, 2017 at 11:30 am #

        Thank you for your reply Stephan, although I wonder if you sent it to the wrong person.

        You write as if you are straining at the leash to denigrate any critic of Arsene Wenger. I admit that I am one of his critics, but try as I may, I cannot find any direct criticism of him in this article. Unlike your comment, I tried to be constructive with my article. I pointed out refereeing mistakes and poor play from the team. I also suggested that we need to play 3 CBs regularly and that they are coached to play as they did against Man U. I identified that our signature style of play is now sideways and backwards at slow pace. Even Wenger has admitted that.

        I think it is a bit rich to tell someone who has supported Arsenal for 59 years. to leave if I don`t support the team. I have implored all Gooners to get behind the team until the end of this season and then to take stock of our position. I believe that Wenger should and will go this time.

        To address the issue of your Wenger Worship, he definitively deserved adulation up to 2004. After 2009, he should have been getting some of his stardust back but by 2012, he has not been worth the huge salary he has been getting and it is made worse by the fact that his teams have developed
        an identity of being a soft touch. They all play the same way every season, they flatter to deceive then fall away in the winter months. The records speak for themselves.

        To satisfy the “We love Wenger” brigade such as your self, I suggest a novel solution……. You continue to pay top price for your ticket and sit in a separate part of the ground which may be soundproofed whilst the Wenger out brigade pay what they think the team deserves based on their annual performance. That way, your illogical need to pay homage to days long gone will be satisfied, and perhaps a tasteful shrine could be built so that your religious fervour can find a home. I would not dream of telling you to leave the club because of your personal devotion.

  2. K Brown December 10, 2017 at 6:20 pm #

    Not bias much and you were clearly not at the game like me. What about the missed chances that Saints had. You were lucky to scrape a draw and you are the so called big club. Same old Arsenal blaming the ref like your manager! Light years behind Ciry!

    • Dave Seager December 10, 2017 at 10:18 pm #

      I was at the game and you are correct. You missed a few god chances. Arsenal were bang average today

    • Victor Thompson December 11, 2017 at 11:40 am #

      Thank you sir, I don`t agree with you but I understand your response and there is a kernel of truth in what you say which should alarm Arsenal supporters. Your`e “so called big club” is a description which is becoming more and more relevant, and is an indication of how supporters of clubs which were previously cannon fodder for us, now see us.

  3. Mick December 10, 2017 at 7:42 pm #

    I agree with the writer that we should have had a penalty, it was ‘nailed on’ as the saying goes, but we all know that refs in general are very reluctant to give us spot kicks.
    However I disagree with the claim that the Southampton goal scorer was 2meters offside. On television the frozen image when the ball was played through to Austin clearly showed him to be onside.
    Finally how many languages can you speak Me? I believe Wenger can speak at least six, so whatever you think about his ability to manage a football team, please don’t call him ignorant.

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