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February 2013
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Sunderland v Arsenal from the cty f n vwls

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By Billy the dog McGraw

Sndrlnd is a diminutive principality based on an island in the North Sea from which both urban guerillas and vowels have been almost totally erradicated.

The name of this idyllic islet comes from Soender-land, meaning a little land carved out of the beautiful river with coal dust floating downstream.

The region was settled by Benedict Biscop of Monkwearmouth who invented the frozen pea and the seed drill, before moving to Bishopwearmouth after he was found out.

In 1179 the little fishing village gained a charter, and the area has remained unspoiled and unchanged to this day, save for the slag heaps.

In the 14th century Triffids were discovered roaming in the local rivers, and after a short battle a peace treaty was arranged in which the Triffids agreed to move to Gateshead while in return the natives agreed to abandon the use of all vowels, thus renaming the area Sndrlnd.

Local people are thus known as Mckm – a word meaning “hunter – gatherer” or “basement flat” depending on which dictionary you use.

Sometime between 4,000BC and 2,000 BC Sndrlnd became a centre of ritual burial (or rtl brl as it is known locally).   According to some the first football team in the area was formed in a Roman settlement on the Wear.  Evidence for this is the existence of the Vaux Brewery where they made ale and old cars.

Meanwhile many of the local chiefs won talent competitions like King Ecgfrith who won the “silliest name for a king north of Watford” 20 years in a row.

After this the Codex Amiatinus was created by V Bead (the father of English football’s famous V formation) and it is now reprinted once every two weeks under the imaginative title of Match Day Programme.  In deference to tradition, the handbook for the season is known as  Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum

Then came the Vikings, everyone worshipped Thor, football was played on a Thursday and ships were built on Mondays and coal mining plus sheep dipping were invented.   Part of the area was renamed Hendon, after the London Borough of Chiswick.

Tthen in 1644, the Marquess of Newcastle invaded Scotland, and Parliament blocked the River Tyne thus creating The Fog.  Ownership of The Fog was hotly disputed and the keel was invented.

The city then contracted cholera and everyone decided to donate that too to Gateshead and the locals demanded democracy.  Education was introduced in 1901, and the hospital opened in 1923 ready for the bombing from 1939 onwards.   By 1985 100% of the population were either employed or unemployed – a remarkable achievement.

In footballing matters, I met Dennis Bergkamp as usual at his allotment in Enfield and he told me that Jack Wilshere (the Great Hope of English Football) and Theo Walcott were left almost uninjured for the first time ever following the internationals (although some are saying that Theo is doubtful because he has a foot).   Thomas Vermaelen won’t be back while we actually have a striker in form: Olivier Giroud (five in his last four).  Although let us not forget Lukas Podolski has had four goals and  six assists in his last eight games.

Martin O’Neill’s great claim to fame came when Aston Villa were within spitting distance of the top four finish, and MO took a reserve team for a Europa game in Russia.  Villa duly got beaten and then slid down the league, and finished somewhere around 92nd while Arsenal marched onwards and upwards.  MN then blamed the Villa owner who left in a huff – which is a very short space of time.  It may not have been a huff.  It may have been a minute and a huff.

MN has told his players to crock Jack, although the newspapers express this as him having “warned his players to be wary of Jack Wilshere’s influence.” “Wilshere’s come on in leaps and bounds and he can cause us problems,’ he is alleged to have said.  “He’s come back from injury and added another dimension to his game. He’s got that little burst of pace which kind of reminds me of Liam Brady.”

For Sndrlnd Lee Cattermole is probably still injured; Connor Wickham is on loan and winger James McClean is almost certainly out. Carlos Cuéllar might be fit.   Sunderland’s Craig Gardener is the most booked player this season, with 8 yellows.

And thus our team is (maybe) (perhaps)


Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal;

Arteta, Diaby;


Walcott; Giroud; Oxlade-Chamberlain. says Koscielny might play, but Vermaelen is def out.  If Koscilny is unavailable, and Coquelin does not make a last minute recovery then either Sagna or Iggy Miquel can play in the middle with Jenkinson on the right.  The papers have said Walcott has a foot injury, but Mr Wenger didn’t seem concerned.

Elsewhere Ramsey is fit, but Gervinho has only just got back from his hols in Africa.

Subs down on the beach: Mannone, Yennaris, Miquel, Santos, Ramsey, Gnabry, Rosicky, Arshavin

And now the silly stats.  Sndrlnd have scored 14 home goals, the least, the lowest, the smallest number, the fewest goals, at the Inky Black Stadium other than those at the bottom of the League.   They have scored 26, and we have scored 51 at home.

Three  Arsenal players have scored over 10 goals this season – Walcott has 18, Giroud has 14 and Podolski has 12.  The top man for Sunderland is Steven Fletcher with 10.

Arsenal have not lost to Sunderland in the league since November 2009, and we have not failed to score since their 2-0 defeat to Man City on January 13, 7 games ago.

Three Arsenal players have scored over 10 goals this season – Walcott has 18, Giroud has 14 and Podolski has 12, compared to Sunderland’s one – Steven Fletcher has 10.

Sunderland have only won two league games consecutively once this season in December against Southampton and Man City.   And Sunderland’s Craig Gardener is the most booked player this season, with 8 yellow cards.

The last thing is the last three so here at last it is

  • Arsenal 0 Sunderland 0, Premier League, August 2012
  • Sunderland 2 Arsenal 0, FA Cup, February 2012
  • Sunderland 1 Arsenal 2 (Ramsey, Henry), Premier League, February 2012

Bye bye. (c) 1754, Billy le chien.

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Sunderland – Arsenal: What can we expect from the ref?

By Walter Broeckx

The ref in the game Sunderland – Arsenal is Anthony Taylor. Taylor was born in Manchester (ouch) and lives in Cheshire.  I’ve heard about the cheese but never really tasted it. And as I am a cheese lover if anyone can tell me how it looks and how the flavour is I might go out and see if I can find it over here. But never mind the cheese, we are here for the ref. [Dense and crumbly - Ed].

He is one of the younger refs with only 34 years and he has been a ref in the PL since 03/02/2010. So he has just celebrated his 3 years in the PL.  This means that …well we don’t really have that much data on him.

And if you don’t have much data it is more difficult to predict the behaviour of the ref.  So this preview has to be taken with a pinch of salt [or cheese - Ed] as too many things are still unclear about this ref. But of course we will give you the data we have and some nice round things that are called graphics.

Let us start with Arsenal and from now on I will add the overall win percentage of each team in this preview. This is based on all the games played until the end of January 2013. That is if the Premier League site is accurate and can be trusted. If not, shoot at the site of the PL. Not at me.

But here we go with the win/draw/lost numbers of Arsenal.

Arsenal stats

Total games won draw lost won draw lost
Arsenal 797 426 212 159 53,45% 26,60% 19,95%

And in a graphic this looks something like this

And the next step is to compare this with the numbers from the ref. But alas Taylor has only done 5 Arsenal games so far and this are his numbers in those 5 games.

Arsenal games won draw lost won draw lost
5 3 2 0 60,00% 40,00% 0,00%

And in a graphic this looks like this

You will have noticed I used two different types of graphics. This is not to show how smart (or dumb) I am but I did this in the hope that you would tell me which type is the most clear of those two so you can say what to use in the future if possible.

But on to the numbers. As I said only 5 games. The good thing is until now we never lost a game with him in charge.  But I remember last year him not having his best day in the game Arsenal – Norwich in which we had a 3-3 draw and Norwich kicked us off the park and resulting in the second leg break of Sagna. We also had him when we won in Reading with 2-5 in the league earlier in December. Let’s hope for a Reading game then.

Let us move on to the  Sunderland stats in the PL. Based on 443 games as in their history they have gone up and down a bit.

Total games won draw lost won draw lost
Sunderland 443 119 112 212 26,86% 25,28% 47,86%

Put these numbers in a graphic and they look like this

So now let us move on to the stats of the ref when Sunderland is on the field.  And so far ref Taylor has done 9 games of Sunderland so this can give us a better view of  the way he has treated them.

Sunderland games won draw lost won draw lost
9 5 4 0 55,56% 44,44% 0,00%

And if you put these for Sunderland astonishing numbers compared to their overall win % you see this

So just as with Arsenal they (Sunderland) have never lost a game with Taylor in charge.  And that for a team who loses almost half of their games in general.  This is a bogey-reverse ref for them. In the process he has given them 2 penalties. And their last game under Taylor is only 3 weeks ago. Because on 19/01/2013 they won with 2-3 at Wigan. Giving them a penalty for a handball in that game when Sunderland was 1-0 behind. Don’t know if the penalty was correct but he never gave a penalty against Sunderland so far. Only in their favour.  He gave no penalties in favour of Arsenal but also none against us so far.

It is a bit astonishing that they give Taylor two games within a month with Sunderland. I think this is not really how things should be. But well who am I and well we know the ways of God are mysterious but the ways of the PGMOL are even beyond mysterious?

So the little data is encouraging but also a bit frightening. One could say a draw is on the cards if you look at the stats of both teams so far.

And to end this review let us link to the numbers we had of Taylor of last season. You can find them here.

Not a good total score in competence but this was only based on 5 games so again not really much data. But again we see some strange things. Because in general this ref had a negative home bias. So he was more friendly for the away teams.  Last season he did Sunderland – Liverpool and he was rather biased in favour of Liverpool and he also did Arsenal – Norwich as said and with a rather big bias for Norwich, so in both cases for the away teams.

In fact both Arsenal and Sunderland where the number 1 and 2 victims of his bias. And despite this bias Sunderland and Arsenal didn’t lose.

So what is my final conclusion? Well….er…that there is no final conclusion on this ref.  We don’t have enough data to start with. But the data we have is rather surprising and confusing at times. I do know that I am glad he isn’t our ref when we do Norwich. He has done some strange things in their favour last season.

So the only thing we can do is hope and pray that he will be unbiased for both teams. After all that is the only thing we want from any ref.



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