By Bulldog Drummond
And so now we know. Leicester will win the league and that is jolly good thing. Man City will win the Champions League and Liverpool the Europa because they are English, and the foreign clubs don’t like it up em. (The fact that Man City is a Chinese-Abu Dhabi corporation should not be mentioned).
Twenty years of anti-Wengerian propaganda which started when Mr W faced down the journalists on the steps of Highbury as they taunted him about allegations they were afraid to publish unless he mentioned them, and they have finally whipped up a storm. It’s taken them a long time but they’ve done it.
The FA Cup has become a competition and a trophy again, the FA is ok because England is going to bid to host the World Cup again and Fifa is reformed, and no one considers Newcastle’s travails too deeply because Mike Ashley is highly litigious. Meanwhile no one considers that there might be anything wrong with the unique status and operational mode in world football of PGMO. Because that’s a bit technical, and those dear little souls who read the press, watch TV and listen on the radio are not interested in technical stuff like that. So all is right with the world. A triumph of repetition over logic and analysis.
But still the games have to be played. And Everton actually have some people injured, which is odd because Arsenal are supposed to be top of the injury league all the time (it said they were in the press for half this season).
Bryan Oviedo is probably still out, although he has returned to training, Pienaar has a “knock” which is an interesting injury, Browning and Hibbert have knee injuries. Plus Kevin Mirallas and Gareth Barry are both suspended. Muhamed Besic might come back for his first game in a while.
We’ve lost Mathieu Flamini, following a hamstring problem against Barcelona – but his stint on the pitch that day means that another bunch of aaa supporters will have moved over to supporting Leicester. (I know that because they said they would on Twitter).
But for Arsenal as with all clubs, the thing about bad runs is that everything comes to an end sometime.
If we look at the league table around the gooey brown stuff (that’s toffee, nothing else, do try to keep up) we see this.
|11||West Bromwich Albion||29||10||9||10||30||36||6||4||5||19||20||39|
Everton have won nine games this season and only four of those are at home. Everton have lost eight this season and seven of those are at home.
Now I know it is very hard to imagine that Arsenal are third in the league, when the media reporting suggests we will be relegated this season, but here is the top of the league.
|5||West Ham United||29||13||10||6||45||33||6||5||4||23||19|
We’ve won seven away, and lost four.
“Everton’s inconsistency, especially at home, has prevented a top-four challenge of their own in this campaign but, as Arsenal will be aware, they are capable of beating anyone on their day,” is what the BBC preview of the match said, and this of a team closer to relegation that to a top four finish.
As ever the opposition managers by and large look on cautiously, because they know if this sort of stuff can happen to Mr Wenger it can happen to them. Roberto Martinez said, “Arsenal, with the experience that they have, the know-how, the clarity and the way they play football – it doesn’t matter what pressure is on them they will always play with a certain style and be very, very good in that style.
“At the moment, the only way to achieve something special is first to be realistic and humble enough to deal first with Everton…” said Mr W.
But Everton have one big thing going for them. They beat Chelsea and the fans have not had much to cheer. Indeed if you type “Everton trophies” into Google this morning you get this picture…
I am not sure why but that’s what you get. The stadium seems to have shrunk a little bit since I was last there.
Anyway, they won the last of their trophies in 1987, and at that time (and I kid you not on this) they were considered one of the top five, or big five, by the English press. It was Everton, Liverpool!, Tottenham, Man U and Arsenal. The fact that the press at the time seriously dubbed that group the top five and talked of a Top 5 breakaway shows how their fantasies run over a limited timespan. Historically they have won the league nine times, and the FA Cup five.
Everton have won one of the last 17 league meetings between the two, which was one of the last three home games for them against us. The other two were drawn. But another defeat would mean three consecutive defeats at home – the other two being to WBA and WHU. Maybe if we changed our club name to a bunch of initials, that would do it. AFC, how about that.
They’ve done clean sheets twice – against Villa and Newcastle, but Lukaku has scored six in his last six. As for us Ozil has only given two assists in the last nine. But we have scored two or more in our last four games against Everton. So the press are offering 3-2 to Everton as their score of the day.
Here’s a team. It might not be the right team, but it is a team…
Bellerin Mert Kos Monreal
Alexis Ozil Welbeck
On the beach…
Chambers, Gibbs, Arteta, Iwobi, Campbell, Walcott, Reine-Adélaïde
Our poor run of results has to finish sometime. Let’s hope it’s today, although I see that the aaa are again hoping for a defeat.
- 19 March 1914: A torrential downpour hit north London and flooding disrupted part of Arsenal’s ground causing the collapse of a wall within the ground. Highbury was however fit for use once more on 4 April.
- 19 March 2000: Arsenal 2 Tottenham 1. The start of eight successive victories which secured Arsenal second place and a continuation of the European adventure. Armstrong scored for Tottenham and an own goal for Arsenal, and Henry got a penalty.
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