Tag Archives: Tottenham

No room for racism

Anyone else at work today? Or is it just me?

I am certainly the only one in my office today. That means the heating is up high, The Rifles being blasted out, and I am wondering how early is too early to have my first beer? It is a bit different drinking at 7am on the Eurostar to Liege to drinking before midday whilst still being in the office.

Putting Arsenal to one side, it is important that what happened at Tottenham does not go unnoticed.

Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger was subjected to ‘monkey noises’ during the away game at Tottenham yesterday. This led to the stadium announcer following the 1st stage of UEFA’s racism protocol being triggered with a stadium announcement reminding everyone that racism is unacceptable.

It does baffle me that people need to be “reminded” that racism is completely unacceptable. What the announcement does do is embarrass the club.

The game was live on Sky, and the announcement came through clear on the TV. Announcements will do nothing to stop these idiots making their noises or singing their chants. Only the fans around them can do that.

I am proud to be English, and proud that I live in one of the most diverse and tolerant countries in the world. Yesterday at Tottenham was a one off. It is important that all football fans do not get tarred with the same brush due to a few idiots.

Last nights incident would not even make the news in Italy, such is the racism in the stands over there.

What now needs to happen is the authorities need to act quickly and strongly.

Unlike in Italy and elsewhere where clubs actually come out with statements claiming racial abuse is not actually racist, Tottenham, the FA and Premier League should all not hide away from what happened yesterday.

Tottenham need to take the lead. Ban anyone involved for life. Make it clear that there is zero tolerance for racist abuse.

Then the Premier League and FA need to punish Tottenham if it is found that it was more than a single individual involved.

Whilst clubs can not be held for a single idiot making a monkey motions or throwing a banana, they do need to be held into account if multiple people are involved.

Spurs need to be punished within the full extent of the current regulations and need to ensure that they do not appeal.

The FA have spoken tough against other nations in the past over racism before. They now need to act tough.

This is not point scoring against a rival. I would fully support sanctions against Arsenal if we had racist elements within our crowd who decide to sing racist songs or make monkey noises at black players.

Luckily Arsenal is the most diverse club in English football.

A history of fighting off the National Front in the 1970s and 80s, Highbury (or the Emirates) has never been the cauldron of hate other clubs in London and beyond have been.

2 years ago a journalist tried to claim that Highbury felt like “no go zone” for black fans. Hundreds of fans called him out as an idiot, especially when it transpired that he was talking about the early 2000s and not the 70s and 80s.

You only have to go in the pubs on a game day, or look at the faces in the crowd. No one cares if you are black, white, Asian, Muslim, Jewish, male, female, straight or gay. You are all Arsenal. And that is how it should be, not just in football but in society. We are all one no matter our differences.

Over the weekend I have seen some label Arsenal’s away support as “racist coke heads” with “right wing undertones”.

I am an away season ticket holder. I can happily put my hand my heart and say that Arsenal does not have a racism problem. And anyone trying to paint our away support as “racist thugs” is clearly trying to change the narrative.

Anyone that speaks about the racism they faced at football growing up is probably talking about when they regularly went to games at a different club. It did not happen at Arsenal.

There is no room for racism in our game. There is no room for racism in society. If you see it, if you hear it, do not stay silent, call people out on it.

Have a good Christmas.


VAR puts stop to cheating Harry Kane’s “trick”

Harry Kane is a cheat.

He is not the only one. Many other players in recent years have developed a new way of cheating, a new way of diving. “Initiating contact” is what it is called.

Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez won the league with Leicester back in 2015/16 with a key tactic being to initiate contact to win penalties. They scored 10 from the spot that year.

Tottenham have been initiating contact for a while. It is a tactic that Mauricio Pochettino not only supports but promotes.

“Football is about trying to trick your opponent” Pochettino answered following Dele Alli being booked for simulation back in 2018. Clearly the likes of Kane, Alli and Son practise “tricking an opponent” through “initiating contact” considering how regularly they do it (note: Son did not dive at the weekend. It was a clear penalty).

Vardy used to initiate contact with an opponent by sticking his own leg out as he ran past. He would then go down and it would appear he had been fouled. Referees would miss the fact that it was the Englishman who had kicked out at his opponent, not the defender fouling Vardy.

Kane does it in a different manner.

He attempts to get in front of defender, cutting across them which causes contact.

At the weekend Sokratis did not foul Kane. Kane jumped in front of him, initiated the contact and went down. Just because there is contact, does not mean it is a foul.

Kane now has a reputation for this kind of behaviour, and whilst the BBC pundits and his bum chum Jermaine Jenas might not call him a cheat, he is just that. A cheat.

In Pochettino’s mind, Kane is tricking his opponent. He is forcing his opponent to touch him and then going down. I have seen Spurs fans defend his behaviour by calling it “clever”.

Their is a game change now that is going to see the amount of penalties won by the likes of Vardy and Kane dramatically reduce. VAR.

VAR can rule on penalties, for clear and obvious errors by the referee. This will change the match officials mentality when it comes to referring a game where a known cheat is playing.

Instead of blowing up at what seems to be a foul, they will now leave it to VAR to bring it back.

I am certain had VAR not been in place on Saturday, referee Martin Atkinson would have blown up for a penalty. But instead he left the decision in VARs hands.

The television match official informed him that it was not a penalty and the game moved on.

VAR might not be perfect, but it will stamp out the divers, the cheats, the tricksters and those the initiate contact.

Remember, football is a contact sport.


Match Report: Arsenal 2 – 2 Tottenham

Arsenal (1) 2 Tottenham Hotspur (2) 2
Premier League
Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU
Sunday, 1st September 2019. Kick-off time: 4.30pm

(4-3-3) Bernd Leno; Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, David Luiz, Sead Kolašinac; Lucas Torreira, Granit Xhaka, Mattéo Guendouzi; Nicolas Pépé, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Substitutes: Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Dani Ceballos, Mesut Özil, Calum Chambers, Reiss Nelson, Emiliano Martínez, Joe Willock.
Scorers: Alexandre Lacazette (45+1 mins), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (71 mins)

Yellow Cards: Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Granit Xhaka, Alexandre Lacazette.
Arsenal Possession Percentage: 57%

Referee: Martin Atkinson
Attendance 60,333
What drama! Such passion! Unbridled emotion! This North London derby, the first of the new season, had absolutely everything; except, of course a win for Arsenal, whose second half performance more than deserved the winners garland at the end of the match.

Almost from the start, the match got into gear with heavy tackles and shots on both goals. Amazingly, and unbelievably, Arsenal gifted the visitors the first goal of the game after just ten minutes. Erik Lamela’s shot was parried by Bernd Leno, and the weakness of the save was seen by Christian Eriksen, who wasted no time in opening the scoring for Spurs from point-blank range.

We now saw the problems in our own side; using a 4-3-3 formation, the midfield was one-dimensional with nobody available to unlock the opposition defence, and to make matters worse, every time Spurs came forward they completely split the Arsenal defence asunder, and at some points in the first half, it seemed not beyond the realms of impossibility that they could add to their lead. However, having said that, Arsenal started to show resilience along with fine character, and our overall strength started to pay dividends almost immediately. That was, at least until five minutes from time, when Granit Xhaka appeared to lunge thoughtlessly at Son Heung-min inside the Arsenal penalty area; Harry Kane converted the penalty, and it looked as if we were going to go into the break two goals down, and had it not been for a brilliant piece of individual play by Alexandre Lacazette two minutes into injury time, it undoubtedly would have been. He jinked around the Spurs defenders, touched the ball past Jan Vertonghen and blasted it home. Never has a goal been so well received at The Emirates for quite a while.

How a half-time break changes things; whatever Unai Emery said to the team, it certainly worked, and worked well too. Arsenal completely controlled the match and time and time again, wave upon wave of our players simply ripped Spurs apart and created some excellent chances, all to no avail, unfortunately. Then a moment of sheer inspiration from the manager. He took off a highly-charged Alexandre Lacazette (who had already been booked for a pointless offence) and replaced him with the much-maligned Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who, despite some vocal objections from sections of our crowd proved his worth within minutes of his arrival.

The formation up-front completely changed us for the better. The now-liberated Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was able to play in the central role he most desires, and this paid off with the equalising goal with just nineteen minutes left on the clock. Mattéo Guendouzi (one of our unsung heroes on the day) slotted  an inch-perfect pass into the Tottenham six-yard box, and just when it looked as if a whole lot of nothing was going to happen, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang simply moved into position behind the hapless Jan Vertonghen and gently touched home the ball to equalise the scores.

Unai Emery had already brought on Dani Ceballos for the fatigued Lucas Torreira, and all things considered, Arsenal went for broke, and were extremely unlucky not to grab the winner in the time remaining. It was a thoroughly exciting match, and at times we played extremely confidently, but yet again, our defending must be surely brought into question if we are going to seriously challenge for a top four position.

Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match: Watford at Vicarage Road on Sunday, 15th September at 4.30pm (Premier League). Be there. Victoria Concordia Crescit.


Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.