"I support myself" Walt Whitman

Arsenal v. Liverpool: serenity now, increase in ticket prices later

There’s an odd vibe permeating the buildup to this Arsenal v. Liverpool match.

From a sporting perspective, the match itself is important in that Arsenal are a mere 3 points above Liverpool in the race for the 7amkickoff 4th Place Cup™*. That fact is lending a surface tension to the game as both teams will see this as a chance to move up the table at the expense of a direct rival. But what’s beneath the surface is something bigger, something that neither team is talking about; the fact that both Arsenal’s and Liverpool’s cross-town rivals are 4 points clear of each team respectively.

No matter who wins today, neither of us can catch the old enemy. Not only will the points not be enough but Tottenham and Everton will have a game in hand at the end of the day. This fact isn’t much spoken about in my Arsenal circles, probably either through a combination of arrogant self-assuredness and outright fear. But the reality is that both Tottenham and Everton have good teams who will continue to challenge, over these last 15 games, for the 7amkickoff 4th Place Cup™. Consciously or subconsciously we all know that means that if either Arsenal or Liverpool want to be in the running they both need a win today.

On the Arsenal side of things, Wenger cannot afford to let his team start off on the back heel. Liverpool fancy themselves as a modern English team: they pass the ball, they attack, they are funded by a rich foreigner, and they openly admit to cheating. The best way to keep that cheating, biting, referee assaulting, convicted racist from hurting Arsenal by cheating is to not let him see much of the ball. And whatever you do, players, don’t bother sticking a leg out anywhere near him. If you do, you might as well just kick the ball into your own net.

Liverpool will try to exploit Arsenal’s penchant for weak starts and will spend a lot of energy in the first 15 minutes trying to get a goal. Liverpool have 7 goals so far this season in the first 15 minutes of games, their third best 15 minute period. If that doesn’t work, they will conserve energy and try to dominate the first 30 minutes of the second half where they have scored 45% of their goals this season. Arsenal’s 2nd weakest period in games is that 61-75th minute of games where they have conceded as many as they have scored (6).

A strong start is imperative to winning the match for both teams so, it could be quite insane. The end of the match as well, since Arsenal have one of the best records in the League in terms of scoring goals at the end of games and Liverpool one of the best defensive records closing games out. Kevin Friend is the referee today and Arsenal have never lost with Friend as referee. He has also overseen some crazy scorelines for Arsenal, 5-7 against Reading and 6-1 against Southampton. Bet on this match ending 3-3, 5-4, 6-6 or something just mental.

The other dark cloud hanging over the match today is a(nother) planned protest over ticket prices. This is a no-win situation for Arsenal FC. Having the highest prices in the League, by just a pound or two in some cases, has meant that Arsenal are now the target for opposition fan’s protests.

This ticket price issue is enormously complicated and crosses so many emotional boundaries that I am loathe to comment. It’s easy to simply be against higher ticket prices and I am. Hell, let’s make the games as cheap as possible: £20 for any seat in the house sounds good. But ticket prices reflect demand and if you artificially cap the price of a ticket, it just means more profits for touts. The real problem is demand.


And the demand is generated by the teams creating such a great product. And they create such a great product by going into great debt buying players from all over the world and paying them outrageous salaries and their agents obscene finder’s fees. It makes a cute poster to say that a pint of beer would cost £9 if the price rose at the same rate as matchday ticket prices but beer has been made the same way for thousands of years.  The only way that analogy (or any on that sheet above) make sense is if you had all the top breweries in England purchased by the world’s richest men who were then competing to use the rarest hops, most expensive barley, and other specialty ingredients who were then charging you £9 for that beer, and still losing billions of dollars on the deal. 

The reality is that you can’t have both Luis Suarez and £1 pints of Ale because while the billionaires are willing to lose some money, they aren’t willing to lose their fortunes to entertain you. You have to pick, do you want the best players in the world at your club or do you want to watch a lesser product? Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, and Man U are directly responsible for the prices that people pay for football tickets. If you don’t like it, boycott Arsenal, sure, but know that unless you stop buying the £400 Levis that Liverpool are selling, and the £12 packet of fags that Man City are selling, it won’t make a damn difference.

Which brings me neatly to the final factor that is driving the strange atmosphere around this game, the imminent closure of the January transfer window and the impending twitocalypse when Arsenal don’t buy every fan’s favorite £50m target. See, on the day that Liverpool fans will be outraged by the ticket prices that they have to pay to see the ghost of Andy Carroll, Arsenal have announced that they are freezing prices for next season. But Arsenal also have £153m in cash reserves, the only team to have such a sum and a sum which will be significantly higher the next time the club release the financials owing to several great commercial deals they have just inked.

So here we have a team who charge the highest prices, who have the biggest cash reserves, and you know what Arsenal fans want? Lower ticket prices, sure, but even more than that they want a big fuck signing. And they want it now.

So, what I’m hoping is that at the same moment the Liverpool supporters unfurl their banner about the “working class game” the Arsenal fans start chanting “spend some fucking money”. Because at that moment, irony will curl up in a ball and just die.

Meanwhile, I suppose a football game contested between multimillionaires will continue unabated.

*I believe I was the first to refer to 4th place as a trophy and even if I wasn’t and some minor blog beat me to it by a few weeks back in 2009 I’m still claiming it as my own.

41 thoughts on “Arsenal v. Liverpool: serenity now, increase in ticket prices later

  1. Vote -1 Vote +1tgx

    “Tottenham and Everton will have a game in hand at the end of the day.” ???

    Everton hosts West Brom and Hospice visit Norwich.

  2. Vote -1 Vote +1nycgunner

    I’m with you. It’s very important to compare apples to apples otherwise it makes little sense in applying the same inflation rates for beer and football. Football economics is its own animal.

    I don’t know if you read this article that Simon Kuper wrote on FT. He mentioned something along those lines and suggested that perhaps Wenger got it wrong by applying traditional economic laws to the economics of football. It’s certainly worth a read and I feel he’s got some very valid points:


    As for today’s game, I think it could get scrappy which would suit Liverpool. I’m cautiously optimistic though because I think we have enough quality in MF and upfront to see this through but so much depends on how we approach this game mentally. I think that’s been the biggest difference in our results so far. When we believe we can do it, it seems like we often pull out a result. We have to push down the handbrake and play our game – to borrow a page from Wenger’s book. It would be nice to have a couple of solid options on the bench but I have accepted that this is something we’ll have to live with for the rest of the season. COYG!

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      I hate international football and especially meaningless friendlies. I also think the system is unfair and unfairly punishes young players. But it wouldn’t matter one fucking iota if Arsenal had depth in position.

  3. Vote -1 Vote +1Gunnersaurus Rex

    I second that, but it always amuses me how come players from united Chelsea would have some mysterious injury just before an international which would be abracadabra before the next league match. Not to mention the untimely international retirements from players like essien etc. Why can’t Wenger have that sort of influence on the players?

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    Well, two certainties have been quickly fulfilled: Arsenal are donkeys in defence, and the dirty racist cheat will score.

  5. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Wang

    Uggh. Crap defending and individual errors, AGAIN!!! At least we’re shooting…

    Our 1st half pressing is poor, too. While one or two are pressing high up the pitch, the midfield aren’t following up their marks and taking passing options away from the man with the ball. The only thing we’re accomplishing is stretching our midfield on defense, opening it up for Liverpool and wearing down the pressing forwards. Pressing needs to be a team effort! Press and stay compact.

    C’mon Arsenal! Get it together in the second half.

  6. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    Good-bye top four. It was nice while it lasted. Oh, we were great once, we were. Those were the days…

    [weeping uncontrollably]

  7. Vote -1 Vote +1nycgunner

    WTF???? I can’t take it. I really cant. As it is i have high cholesterol. I can’t have high blood pressure as well. My medical bills will be too high and social security is going bankrupt.

  8. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1JV Mauer

    If you have been playing a drinking game whereby you take a drink every time we hit one off the Liverpoll players, congratulations! You are now dead.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1marek

      Yup, it really is a game of inches sometimes. On the other hand, Liverpool have thrice been presented with our goal at their mercy, and only converted twice. Is there a lesson there?

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1jop

        Yeh, they are truly shite. Should have beaten them today. Less sloppy up front and back and all 3 points where there for the taking.

  9. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1sim

    AW really has no idea anymore – it was only fan and media pressure that got him to drop the welsh denilson and Gervinho a month or two back. it will take the same to get rid of santos.when you think that Vermaelen has played in fat andres position for both for club and country, the lack of awareness and knowledge displayed by AW is staggering. Also
    Look at the table. We are 21!!!!!! points behind Manure and it’s not even February. And you just know nothing will happen tomorrow, so it’s same old, same old till the end of the season.

    The goals conceded away at Southampton and again tonight stem from such gross incompetence that sum up the has been halfwit to a tee. Zero defensive coordination. Bould be a man and walk. Don’t sully your reputation and be associated with shit like that.

  10. Vote -1 Vote +1Cliffy

    I really really hated it when Theo celebrated the second goal…

    We were playing a mediocre Liverpool side which lost to Brighton a few days back. and had more people making errors than us….and playing at home
    We should have been focused on getting the job done..

    I am sure the players gave their best and had we had Gibbs we would not be wasting time trying to retreive the ball..There are some patches where we are absolutely unplayable..

    Santos takes the mantle from Ramsey as the latest whipping boy…of the fans..
    I hope it doesnt go down the Eboue way…

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Shard

      Felt absolutely the same way about Walcott’s celebration. Great finish, but poor attitude. We should have been looking to just get on with it. Instead he ran all around as if we’d put the game to bed. Sigh..

      Santos is done. I was just thinking that although he had a few moments, he still got through decently enough and he’ll have something to build his confidence on, and then he goes and nearly costs us a point at the end. Can we put in a late mega bid for Bracer Baines? I doubt Everton would let him go though. He might be worth a CL spot to them.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Caribkid

        Agree totally on Walcott’s celebration, rather than retrieve the ball and try to win the game he is more intent on covering himself with glory.

        Outside of that, he actually played well for most of the game.

  11. Vote -1 Vote +1nycgunner

    “I think recent accidents against Manchester City and Chelsea affected the heads of the players.” – Wenger in his post-match interview.

    Accidents!!! hahaha. Now that’s a euphemism if I’ve ever heard one.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Caribkid

      Many years back my boss at the time couldn’t understand why I had such a great relationship with clients and jovially commented, “I don’t know if you are dazzling them with your brilliance or baffling them with your bullshit”. In truth, it was a little bit of both. With Wenger’s “brilliance” flame being extinguished day by day, it seems more a case of bullshit.

      It’s always difficult to see your hero losing awareness of reality. It truly hurts. Almost seems he has lost touch with reality.

  12. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1craig

    First. I will have faith. I won’t be a liar after one day. Second. I will not over-react to the over-reaction of others and say things I mean but later feel bad about to people who also support Arsenal. Third. Liverpool are shit. How did we draw with them? How can we have so many individual errors? How can our system be so broken until after halftime, every week? Fourth. AAAARRRGGGGGHH!!! Tottenham and Chelsea both drew and we threw it away against a crap Liverpool team.

  13. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Yan

    Well, I arrived 45 minutes late to an important meeting due to this match. I must say that aside from 2 very very stupid goals, it was worth it. Felt like a win to me. This 1st half bulshit has to stop though.

  14. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    Henderson who was in the transfer bust category along with Adams, Carroll and Downing now scores a ‘Messi’ like goal courtesy of some of the most abysmal defending by alleged professional players. That was absolute shite. I had expected better but I’m just a fan in love and am so blinded.

  15. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Gsco

    Busy all day so just finished watching game and then read this post.
    Tim – Excellent post. Brilliant. I am sure irony died many deaths tonight. Hell, how messed up was it that Man City started this whole sending tickets back fad?
    This team is retarded for sure. We work our asses to get a sniff at goal and then gift the lamest open goal chances on the punt and rush up field by these diving, cheating, hoofing scumbags. Aaaarggghhh…
    But nice to see us fight back and almost bag the win. Santos is a mess but I’d much rather hate the pile of cunts on other teams. So I’ll just hope he gets in the groove more if he has to play more if Gibbs is really hurt.
    Walcott’s celebration was crap. He can do that on the 3rd goal when we win the game. Not the 2nd when we let Jordan f’ing Henderson score like that.
    It was entertaining and painful all in one. I think I enjoy that as I keep coming back for more. I have let go of my frustration, though, and am focusing on enjoying. Seriously, we’ve fallen because gazillionaires bought the league and only one team was going to be able to fix the refs to keep themselves going and it sure as hell wasn’t going to be arsenal.

  16. Vote -1 Vote +1jop

    Recording the game and watching the replay at x2 speed was definitely a good choice. No commentators, ability to skip useless Liverpool possession (how many throws were there?!?).

    Despite 4 goals a tedious game. Liverpool are distinctly average and got two lucky goals, the type we love to gift the opposition. Up front… profligate would be an understatement.

  17. Vote -1 Vote +1jefffulham

    Quite honestly how Wenger can say we showed quality in coming back from the brink of defeat amazes me. Just look at our last few games, as stated by Andy “Swansea twice, Manchester City, West Ham, Chelsea, Brighton and now Liverpool..That is the last 7 games and in every single one of those 7 we have not started playing until well after half time.” I am not so concerned about the attack, but last night the first goal especially was a comedy of errors. Players are out of form or lack confidence and in the case of Santos and Mertesacker just not good enough.Szsney is getting the wobbles which concerns me though he made one or two decent saves. Is it Bould, is it the loss of Rice or is it Wenger. the only saving grace is that most of our rivals are also dropping points but our home win ratio is no better than mid table, Just when we seem to improve in one area we plummet in another and as I have stated countless times a good team has to start with a solid defence. Liverpool aren¿t a bad side but nothing special. Maybe there will be a last minute signing but too little too late. One can see this pattern of our play all season bar the first three games and it is going to be a hell of a fight to reach CL football this season.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

      Santos says thanks for the support as he works his way back to form. I hate to break it to you but when you were ‘in form’, you were just okay and we need better than okay when Arjen Robben comes to town.

      Those 2 goals were such calamitous defensive failures that we don’t have enough time and money to correct the situation. What are those players getting paid to do is beyond me because they should be giving out refunds. The fan should sue for non-support. That was absolutely the worse defensive performance of all time.

  18. Vote -1 Vote +1Ssinderias

    All the negatives from yesterday’s game aside, our slick team passing and scoring is beginning to bring back memories of 2004/2002/2005

  19. -3 Vote -1 Vote +1jefffulham

    We actually made a shit Liverpool team look like world beaters in the first half! The whole back 5 should hang their heads in shame, fucking comedy defending. All this bollocks about “Mert isn’t strong or brave for a big lad”. Fuck that, doesn’t matter what height the twat is, a coward is a coward, a weak bitch is weak bitch. I’d take one Dennis Wise/Scott Parker ahead of 10 Merts any day. PUT YOUR FUCKING HEAD IN WHERE IT HURTS YA FUCKING WIMP!! You look closely at the eyebrows and foreheads of CH’s at the end of their careers. Covered in scar tissue. Adams, Bouldy, Keown, TerryCunt, all have it. Mert will retire without a mark on his face. Sagna is just appalling. I really don’t give a flying shite what is affecting him. He is playing shite, cannot cross, won’t/can’t take his man on, and looks scared of his own cock! He should NOT be playing. Gibbs is a write off. Chocolate legged. End of. He will spend his career being injured because he has no muscle mass on his legs. Sad, but fucking true. Ramsey was shit. People saying he’s playing better? Yeah, he’s making less stupid high profile mistakes but he still can’t pass the ball where it needs to go. If the guy is running put it a few yards ahead of him, not straight at his feet you idiot!! Every time I see VanJudas’ groupie SantosCunt in an Arsenal jersey I want to be fucking sick. Add to that the fact he is a fat useless kúnt and I want be sick on his fucking fat face. And nice of him to nearly fuck the result away with his lazy pass in the dying minutes. Horrible useless fuckbag. Enough of the negatives! Oh, no – hang on! Wenger you simply don’t have a fucking clue anymore. Please just fucking leave. PLEASE! Cazorla and Wilshere were much better in the second half as was Podolski and Walcott. There was a 15 – 20 minute spell where we could have and should have put the game to bed but their George Graham-ish 9 across the back 4 worked hard to hold us out. Giroud played ok, but his first touch often let’s him down. Got a good goal which shows he can deliver to some extent if we can whip a decent ball into him and his assist for Feo’s cracking finish was sublime and is a side of his game the usual doom-mongers don’t like to admit he has. But he does. His dive was appalling and embarrassing though. The miss at the end? It was fired at him and took a deflection off the defender which put the ball in between his feet so a bit stupid to blame him for that one. But yet again he worked hard and won his share in the air so continued improvement. But I still think we need a seriously world class striker in there or play Giroud and Podolski as the 2 in a 4-4-2.MOTM for me was Wilshere by a long shot. Never stopped running, working, trying to create. I just wonder how long before Wilshere gets sick of running his arse off for little or no return and decides “fuck this, I’m off!”?

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