By Bulldog Drummond
May I begin by saying how much I like our “Insult of the Day” today. In case you missed it, we’re delivering a series of insults back to the aaa, after having to take all their rambling nonsense for seven years. But being Untold we do it with class, so every insult comes from long-term Gooner, W. Shakespeare. Today’s is directed personally at one particular member of the journalistic class of the aaa (you can guess who). He is
A whoreson, beetle-headed, flap-ear’d knave.
Well said Bill! (That quote comes from Taming of the Shrew, but you knew that).
Anyway, to the game. With Steve McClaren warning Arsenal that the players should expect ‘aggression’ and Jamie Carragher delivering what Sky hysterically described as a “stern warning” that Arsenal must win the league this season or else go another 10 years without winning it, I think we can see 2016 shaping up to be…
The Year of the Dangerous Nutters
Carragher – the player who in a moment of utter insanity threw a coin at the crowd at Highbury and got away with a three match ban, rather than a ban for life, as the fan who threw the coin onto the pitch got – has “warned” that “another failure to win a first title since 2004 could see the club’s agonising wait stretch another decade.”
And how can a prognostication like this, which is after all worthy of Nostradamus, be made? Oh, it is because Man City, Chelsea and Man U won’t be this bad again. In other words Arsenal can only win the title if other clubs allow them to by having an off year.
And this from a man whose criminal act was captured on TV!
Mr Wenger has been rather more fun, inventing another wonderful phrase: “clichéd thinking.” He said, “I heard last night, you have clichéd thinking that ‘nobody wants to win the league’. I can say as well that everybody wants to win it. And if you were in the game you would think that is not the case – everybody wants to win it, but it’s difficult.
“In Greece, Olympiakos are 14 points ahead, with 14 wins from 14 games. In France, Paris Saint-Germain are 19 points ahead. If you have that, everybody will say it’s boring. It is better you have the situation we have today, where seven or eight teams can win it…
“Public opinion is not always stable, it changes a lot. It is always linked with the last result. We have to rise above that.”
Actually I thought he was being kind. He could have said, “Journalists are not always stable.” Or “Jamie Carragher is always far from stable.” But no, he was mature as always. [Are you suggesting some of the staff on Untold are immature??? – Tony]
On the injury front we’re equal with Everton and Sunderland, and behind Newcastle and Liverpool. Even Chelsea, who until a little while back had nil or one injury each week, now have four. They must be trying a bit harder.
|7||West Ham United||6|
|17||West Bromwich Albion||3|
Meanwhile this has been a holiday in which I have spent much of my time trying to find the jury that David Moyes spoke of in relation to Özil, and get them to come back in. But since I couldn’t find them, my quest failed, and I can only imagine Moyes has them all grazing on a Cumbrian hillside somewhere.
Speaking for mainstream humanity however Mr Wenger said of Mesut, “He is only going to get better and better. You don’t have many left-footers and they make that movement from out to in, they make the bend of the ball. You just have to make eye contact with Mesut and, once you get that, he knows where you’re going to go.”
“Mesut has told me to keep making runs,” Theo said, “He just spots it. I need to help him out by putting the ball in the net. Mesut is just a special player and he is in the form of his life. Some of the things you see on the pitch … his goal against Bournemouth alone. He didn’t break stride, it was like he was jogging. He just slows things down when he is playing.”
Mr Wenger gave an interesting insight this week too, saying, Özil “doesn’t practise a lot, we rest him a lot between games….”
Newcastle played Aston Villa, Everton and West Brom over the Christmas period and got a point from that run of games. So their plan is to kick Özilto bits. With the ref we have, their team will be able to do that with impunity.
McClaren said: “It is about collective organisation and discipline – and a certain amount of aggression will be required.” I find that a bit worrying – “collective organisation and discipline” and “a certain amount of aggression” sounds more like the formula of extreme right parties in England since Oswald Mosely’s Black Shirts took to the streets in the 1930s. Let’s hope Mr Mc didn’t mean it in that way.
However with 36 yellow cards and 3 reds already this season Newcastle clearly are taking messaging borrowed from right wing fanatics a little too literally for my taste. Those card numbers are virtually double Arsenal’s.
And do you know, I can’t find a single newspaper commenting on that fact! Odd isn’t it.
Anyway, we can look back to December 29, 2012 when Arsenal beat them 7-3. Theo got a hattrick. If we can play like that we should be ok.
So the team will be
Bellerin Mert Kos Monreal
Walcott Özil Oxlade-Chamberlain
The only possible change is Campbell for the Ox.
Lurking on the beach in the rain and wind we might have Ospina, Gibbs, Gabriel, Chambers, Iwobi, Reine-Adelaide, Campbell.
According to the Independent’s “All you need to know” piece on the match, “It’s a big game for… Newcastle’s players.” I’m glad we got that one out the way.
But they did come up with a good statistic that I didn’t know…
171: Newcastle might sit nine points off the bottom in the Premier League table, but they are currently dead last in the League in number of shots, with 171 attempts on goal all season.
The last three games between the two ended…
- Newcastle 0 Arsenal 1 (Coloccini (og)), Premier League, August 2015
- Newcastle 1 (Sissoko) Arsenal 2 (Giroud 2), Premier League, March 2015
- Arsenal 4 (Giroud 2, Cazorla 2(pen 1)) Newcastle 1 (Perez), Premier League, December 2014
On to the toe-to-toe as it is known in Australia, or Head-to-head as we call it, as we stand the other way up…
- Arsenal have won the last eight games against Newcastle and in fact Newcastle has won just three of the last 29 against Arsenal.
- Newcastle had zero (that is nil, none, nothing, not a sausage, 0, lower than 1) shots on target in the reverse match earlier in the season.
- The last three games at the Ems between the two have given us 18 goals.
- Arsenal have scored at least 3 goals in their last 3 home matches against Newcastle in all competitions.
Arsenal meanwhile have
- Won four of their last five Premier League games and six of the last seven home league matches.
- Mesut Ozil’s 16 assists is ahead of Henry on a game by game basis for the PL record, and in fact only four away from equalling the record of 20.
- Olivier Giroud has scored eight goals in seven Premier League games against the Zebras.
Newcastle however have
- Scored five away goals this season and failed to score in 10 of their last 15 away league games.
- The fewest shots in the Premier League this season (171).
- Let in 69 Premier League goals in 2015 – the worst, equalled only by Aston Villa.
- Beaten the Tiny Totts and White Hart Lane.
And Steve McClaren has lost 10 of his 11 Premier League meetings against Arsene Wenger.
And, and, and… over half the people voting on Who Scored have made Mesut Özil man of the match. The most popular score is jointly 3-0 and 2-0.
2 January 1965: John Radford became Arsenal’s youngest ever scorer of a hat-trick against Wolverhampton W aged 17 years and 315 days as Arsenal beat Wolverhampton 4-1. In all he played 13 games this season and scored seven.
2 January 1970: Arsenal paid £100k for the first time for a player – Peter Marinello. (The transfer date also quoted as Jan 6). Despite his awesome talent he only played 38 league games for Arsenal, partly due to his wayward lifestyle and party the intransigence of manager Bertie Mee.
And to keep you occupied while waiting for kick off