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The Mail Bag

Horrible Game

Comments (14)

Even in the first half where we played alright we were not playing good football ? we were beating Arsenal by playing hoofball. Second half comes along and it was pathetic. Maybe we can't play with the big boys. The results this season have proved that. We're missing something for sure. Worst game I've watched in years. The referee was poor but we can't blame it on that this time. We sucked 100%. There goes the top 4.
Joey Brown, Athens, GA, USA     Posted 29/12/2007 at 19:06:08

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We have been excellent since the derby defeat but the lack of depth in the squad is starting to tell badly. To be honest, given our European involvement, I always felt we'd be hard-pressed to finish six so I've not allowed myself to even dream of top four.

If Arteta's straight red isn't rescinded, you'd think that with Osman out and Gravesen clearly not up to it, that Moyes will look to bring in a few more than just the one new signing he had planned. We probably need a central midfielder, maybe two, a winger and I'd like to see a top class right back who is more comfortable on the ball than either Neville or Hibbert.

Adam Doyle
1   Posted 29/12/2007 at 19:12:37

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I must say I am very disappointed in losing to Arsenal after a very accomplished performance in the first half. Aside from the obvious 0 points gained, I was annoyed by the fact that 3 of Arsenal's goals came from the Tony Hibbert School of Hoofball. Surely our defence can cope with this sort of play?

Additionally, I reckon Arteta's ban will be reduced from 3 games to one, as there really wasn't much in the foul (if it can be called such).

Sandy Brown
2   Posted 29/12/2007 at 19:24:13

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Adam, you’re an optimist mate. We’re not one of the Big Boys, so Arteta is more likely to see his suspension doubled than reduced!

Disappointing result, but there’s no reason we can’t bounce back and continue the great season we’re having.

Top 6 finish and maybe a cup final appearance would be sensational in the circumstances, and I still think we can achieve that.
Dave Tootill
3   Posted 29/12/2007 at 19:31:06

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Just put this down in history as "Jagielka’s match". The lessons- head the ball, & don’t fall over.
I’d suggest he’s sent on loan to Tranmere until August.
George McClelland
4   Posted 29/12/2007 at 19:23:57

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Ah! to dream...only for those dreams to be shredded apart by the cannons of reality!

Seriously, we played very, very well in the first half and don’t attempt to downplay that fact by labelling it hoofball. Second half we hit the self-destruction button. Sadly, we lack the self belief that we are capable of mixing it at the higher echeleons of the table.

We have a very good team, which just lacks the self-belief at times that they match the top teams-thus leading to agonising unrelization of haboured ambitions.

I won’t state the obvious-especially in respect to our calamatous defending-but I have to give special praise to Pienaar, who I thought was superb.
Peter Eastoe
5   Posted 29/12/2007 at 19:44:10

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I read one of the Arsenal forums at half time I they reckoned they were being torn apart by a very good team and we’re praying for a point.
Not surprisingly,the vultures on TW are gathering already and shouting out cliches about ’lack of squad depth’..’lack of quality’..’hoofball etc etc.
Incidentally, hoofball served Arsenal very well today !
A win at Middlesborough and things will be back on track.
George McClelland
6   Posted 29/12/2007 at 19:37:27

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Adam I can’t see the FA changing the ban, though I don’t agree with Sandy in thinking this is solely because were not a "top four team. I am more miffed at the fact that Bendtner ,who two fouls were far worse than Arteta, has escaped with a one-match ban whilst Arteta has to serve three. Like Michael said our squad is looking thin-bread all of a sudden!
Paul Thompson
7   Posted 29/12/2007 at 19:46:25

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We are going to get a lot of panicky ’this was awful’ comments after this result. But our play, at least until the third goal, was generally good and certainly not hooball. The midfield, even Neville, were keeping and using the ball well. Evidence for this is the fact that Arsenal’s goals came from hoopeful punts over the midfield. The central two, were however, terrible in the second half. Even setting aside the mistakes, they didn’t look co-ordinated, either between themsleves or with the goalkeeper. We need Lescott back in the middle and Baines or Valente at left back. Though midfield wasn’t our main problem today, we all know we need to strengthen here and Arteta’s absence only adds to this need. And, no it wasn’t really deserving of a red card, but he does use his arm a lot and it was a matter of time before someone would ensure he paid. Pity it was his ’best mate’.
Brian Waring
8   Posted 29/12/2007 at 19:46:55

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I don’t think you can argue about Arteta’s red card.It was a straight red,even though Fabregas goes down as if he was just hit by Mike Tyson.It doesn’t matter how hard you do it,but that the intent was there.Arteta actually does the same to Flamini and Clichy a couple of times.We played some decent stuff in the first half (I think they made us look even better,by how bad they played)and there was flashes in the 2nd half as well.But at the end of the day what lost us the game was piss poor defending.
George McClelland
9   Posted 29/12/2007 at 20:02:04

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No, I agree Brian, following the letter of the law Arteta’s elbow was a straight red. What I find a bit galling is Bendtner escaping with a one-match ban especially considering his 2nd challenge, which in itself should have been a straight red. Maybe I am just making the point because Arteta’s absence is going to have a far more greater impact on our team than the lose of Bendtner on Arsenal...some kind of forlorn retribution
Simon Smith
10   Posted 29/12/2007 at 20:18:34

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Joey you want to get a grip, was you watching the same match our passing in the first half was excellent what hoofball was this, and if this was the worst game you have seen for years then you dont watch much footy, maca and parlour said after that it was a fantastic game and i have to agree apart from the silly mistakes.
Nick Flack
11   Posted 29/12/2007 at 20:30:47

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Nick Flack
12   Posted 29/12/2007 at 20:31:22

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Just to add, Will, it?s that kind of comment that made me stop going to Goodison in the nineties.

I hope to god it was a joke.
Carl Doyle
13   Posted 29/12/2007 at 20:35:19

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Will - I think you should crawl back into your hole together with any other fools who think those comments are in any way humorous or acceptable.

Im sorry but that is blatant racism and has no place at all on this site and should not be associated with the blues in any way.
Karl Masters
14   Posted 29/12/2007 at 20:32:49

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Days like this happen every now and then. It’s just a shame it happened in such a big match.

We didn’t get a lot of luck did we? In the end, a couple of slips, punished by a clinical finisher, a defensive disaster and a late goal when we were knackered did for us, but we must look forward now.

Boro on Tuesday is what’s important. Shape up in defence and pray that Arteta’s ban is reduced so he plays versus Chelsea. I got my ticket sorted for that today and I’m still optimistic and maybe today was the kick up the arse we needed. Even the great team of 84-85 let in 4 goals at home - twice in fact. The second time it happened just around Christmas it re-galvanised the team and we won 25 and drew 3 out of the next 28! Here’s hoping! :)

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