Arsenal’s old frailties return as Koscielny and Giroud slip up

Oct 1, 2012

Premier League talking points from the Gunners' collapse to Fergie time

ARSENAL'S old frailties returned to haunt them at the Emirates as Chelsea inflicted a first defeat of the season on the Gunners and established a three-point gap at the top of the table. It must have been particularly galling for Arsene Wenger to see Thomas Vermaelen return to the back four only for the defence to fall apart, and once again watch Olivier Giroud fluff his lines in front of goal. And just to add to the feeling of deja vu, Abou Diaby was forced off with injury. Laurent Koscielny, who looked so secure alongside Per Mertesacker earlier in the season, allowed Fernando Torres to flick home a Juan Mata free kick before deflecting another Mata cross into his own net. Wenger described the goals as "unacceptable". At the other end Oliver Giroud missed another sitter during stoppage time, prompting an exasperated Wenger to say he "should have scored".

Maybe Luis Suarez has a taste for mustard. The Uruguayan striker his a second successive hat-trick at Norwich City as Liverpool registered their first win of the season and escaped from the relegation zone. The Uruguayan scored three at Carrow Road for the second time in less than six months as the Reds ran out 5-2 winners. However, as usual there was an element of controversy after Suarez was denied what boss Brendan Rodgers called a "stonewall penalty". According to Jamie Redknapp in the Daily Mail he has "a problem with referees assuming he has dived in the area." He adds: "Less theatrics would help and he can do it. Cristiano Ronaldo overcame the same problem."

Suarez isn't the only overseas player having trouble with referees. After Manchester City came from behind to beat Fulham, Sergio Aguero, who was denied two penalties by Mark Halsey during the match suggested that it was harder for foreigners to get decisions from suspicious officials. Asked if overseas players had a tougher time than English players, he said: "Yes, always. It happens everywhere. There's a little bit of privilege with players who come from that country... the referee's job is to know who is deceiving him and who is not."

Alex Ferguson was furious after watching his Manchester United side lose to Spurs at Old Trafford on Saturday. Afterwards he complained bitterly that there had not been enough stoppage time at the end of the game, and "amid the predictable guffawing about 'Fergie time,' he was right," says Daniel Harris of The Guardian. "The amount of time considered lost is at the sole discretion of the referee. Or, in other words, there's no stipulation as to what referees must do, meaning that application is arbitrary, random and unpredictable." He advocates a 'time off' strategy like that used in rugby, so everyone knows exactly how much time there is left.

Spurs' victory at Old Trafford was, according to the BBC, "arguably [Andre] Villas-Boas's best victory in English football". It was Tottenham's first win at Old Trafford since 1989 and lifts Spurs to fifth. AVB had a rocky start to life at White Hart Lane and there were reports that he was encountering the same dressing room personality clashes as he experienced at Chelsea. However, The Daily Telegraph says that the attitude of the Spurs players suggested otherwise at Old Trafford. "Perhaps Villas Boas is finally living up to the hype," says the paper.

Everton's bright start to the season is a cause for optimism says Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail. The Toffees are sitting pretty in second place after a 3-1 win over Southampton. "Everton should be encouraged in their ambitions," says Samuel. "The acceptance of the status quo is thoroughly depressing and too many have been hoodwinked into believing that it must always be this way... Clearly, money talks, and the clubs with the greatest resources are likely to occupy the top places, but we should never abandon hope."

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the big german is key, when your at matches you see that he's the man on the pitch talking to the other defenders and marshalling the troops in open play and on set pieces and talking the younger players. 90 plus germany caps say it all, should be first name on team sheet and he is a good passer of the ball and attacks the ball on set pieces. he drops deep like sweeper and lets tommyv. or laurentk. mark the striker. no need to change a good defensive formation start to season, before chelski, play to our strength it rarely works when wenger second guesses other team , see champions league matches against united and barcela. over last few mertz and kosc...tommy v. give away too many free kicks and penelties