By Bulldog Drummond
Please note that Untold will suffer a bit of an interruption later. There is a note at the foot of the article.
It is not surprising that Arsene Wenger turned on the Neville character this week.
If you want to read the latest Neville rant, it is “Arsenal are a soft touch – when the screw turns they lack strength, power and pace”
Mind you if you believe it I would wonder what you are doing here. That would be a bit like feeling that each nation in the EU should work hard to help refugees pouring out of Syria and then taking the Telegraph, or the Mail, or the Times, or the Express or the Sun or the Star, or pretty much any other English newspaper except the Guardian, as your daily newspaper.
Neville’s ranting is all the more curious given that for the past 18 or so years Arsenal have lost anything between 0% and 25% of their league matches each season. The question must arise, in the all-powerful Premier League, how come in most games a team, against whom all you have to do is turn the screw (a simple enough devise surely), will not be defeated. It seems to reflect very poorly on the Premier League that three quarters to 100% of the time, a team that is a soft touch can’t be beaten.
Perhaps what Neville doesn’t realise is that coming out with more and more and more of these pseudo aphorisms is gradually making him look more and more stupid, when each is backed up with only limited or indeed quite often, no evidence. The manifestation of Neville looks like becoming Stewart Robson II. Any moment now some columnist or other is going to start Neville of the Day, and it will be, all things told, rather droll I feel.
Moving on to something slightly more intelligent we have the fact that out of the 30 Premier League games thus far, only six (ie 20% – I thought I would add that in case the Neville is reading) have been home wins. It means an increase in time wasting and defensive play, as well as the always exciting counter attack, and is enhanced by, as Walter pointed out recently, the insistence on having only one ball in a game, and the refusal of most referees to do anything about time wasting most of the time.
In turn this means what we have to do is stop Newcastle scoring in the first half today, in order to make them open up and become more frantic and not willing to time waste, unless they are going to time waste for a draw (which is always possible given their record against us – see notes below).
As for the team, we still have fitness issues with Per Mertesacker (virus) and Laurent Koscielny (back problems) for their trip. Koscielny might play, but Paulista and Chambers are the replacements in waiting.
So I would guess, and working the other way up for a change…
Sanchez Ozil Ramsey
Monreal Koscielny Gabriel Bellerin
Not that there is a beach in Newcastle but if there were I would expect to find some of Oooooospina, Debuchy, Gibbs, Chambers, Mertesacker, Arteta, Flamini, Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Walcott lurking there upon.
Apart from the centre back issue the latest on the injury front is Welbeck (12 Sep), Wilshere (19 Sep), Rosicky (no date for his return). The missing players for Newcastle, are Dummett, Riviere, Marveaux, Good, Sissoko and de Jong (the last two rated doubtful)
- We have won the last seven games against Newcastle, scoring 20 goals and conceding just six.
- Newcastle’s last home win against us almost ten years ago.
- But they have won three of the last 28 league games against us, and each time we had a player sent off.
Newcastle has only won one of their last seven top-flight home games two of 11 in 2015. Last season they didn’t win in their first four, and could repeat that today.
As for us…
- In our last seven league games away we have won six and drawn one.
- On the downside we haven’t scored in five of their last nine league games.
- But countering that the tally the team has of 40 shots this season (excluding blocked shots) is the joint highest in the division. The damn dam must surely burst any minute now.
- Olivier Giroud has scored eight goals in six games against Newcastle.
- Arsenal have been winning at both half time and full time in their last 3 matches against Newcastle in all competitions.
The Match Anniversaries on this day
- 29 August 1925: Herbert Chapman’s first match as Arsenal manager, against Tottenham in the first league match under the new offside rule. Arsenal lost 0-1. The outgoing manager Leslie Knighton alleged some 20 years later that he was promised the gate money from the game as a benefit payment, but no evidence of such an agreement was ever produced and almost all of Knighton’s anti-Norris statements were subsequently proven to be untrue.
- 29 August 1925: Charlie Buchan’s debut as a pro after signing for Arsenal for a second time. Part of his transfer arrangement was that Arsenal would pay a fee of £100 for every goal he scored in the season. He scored 20. Buchan’s first signing for Arsenal is here.
- Latest news on the Untold Banner (as of 25 August)
- A Memorial to the founders of Arsenal’s Highbury dynasty.
- The petition to raise a Parliamentary Debate about State Aid for the new WHU stadium is running. If you feel that there should be an investigation and you are resident in the UK, please do sign the petition.