By Tony Attwood
Arsenal’s next four games are something of an oddity – for they are all at home:
- Ludogorets Razgrad
Swansea and Middlesbrough, our league opponents, sit next to each other in terms of their league fortunes just now. Here’s the table with the final column showing the results this season with the last result on the right. Swansea have just appointed a new manager who shock horror to every journalist (but totally understandable to ever football supporter) is NOT RYAN GIGGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
|18||State Aid United||7||1||1||5||8||17||-9||4||LWLLLLD|
Ludo in the Bulgarian league are second, as below and bottom of our group of the Champs League table
|6||Cherno More Varna||9||4||2||3||10||10||0||14|
|7||Beroe Stara Zagora||8||4||1||3||5||7||-2||13|
Reading in the second division have as their last ten results L L D W W D W W D L. Here is their league table
|4||Brighton and Hove Albion||11||6||3||2||14||7||7||21|
Arsenal (as I suspect you will know) are undefeated in the last nine and have won the last five league games against Burnley, Chelsea, Hull, Southampton and Watford.
But, curiously, our home form in the league is worse than our away form at present. However I expect that to be sorted out fairly soon – quite possibly in the coming two league games.
On the face of it all four games look totally winnable. But let’s add in another factor – the away form of the league visitors
Curiously both league opponents like Arsenal have better away results than home results – both having won only one game this season, and that away from home.
But surely, as Mr S Robson always says, everyone must be injured and we will be forced to play an under 12 year old in central defence.
Let’s try injuries from another source this one using the Physioroom.com table
|Pos||Club||Total injured||Latest player||Problem|
|9||Arsenal||5||C Akpom||Back Strain|
|10||Liverpool||5||N Clyne||Knee Injury|
|11||Manchester City||5||B Sagna||Hamstring Injury|
|12||Crystal Palace||4||J Benteke||Knee Injury|
|13||Swansea City||4||J Montero||Ankle Injury|
|14||Leicester City||3||S Okazaki||Ankle Injury|
|15||Middlesbrough||2||G Leadbitter||Inguinal Hernia|
We’re not in too bad a state, as per Sunday morning, with the injured listed as Akpom, Giroud, Ramsey, Mertesacker and Welbeck. Interestingly Giroud and Ramsey are listed as being fit again on October 15. Perez notably is no longer listed so is presumably in contention for the upcoming home games.
Now I hate to tempt fate, but really there is nothing in any of these bits of data to suggest that our run should not continue.
Since the PSG game we have four successive wins against Hull, Nottingham Forest, Chelsea and Basel. There is a possibility of another four here with really not too much to see where it will go wrong.
One of the benefits of the current squad is that in the league cup match we have an array of backup talent and every chance that we will play a completely separate team in the league cup game from the league games. Our team for the Forest game was
Martinez, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Gabriel, Gibbs, Xhaka, Elneny, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Reine-Adelaide, Akpom, Lucas
Akpom may well be fit again by then, but if not, Giroud could be used, as he will benefit from getting some game time. So yes, another chance for the lower parts of the 25.
So what could possibly go wrong? Here’s a few thoughts.
1: Interlull injuries. I’ve not heard of any thus far. Bellerin went off apparently injured in an under 23 game but appears to be ok. Kieran Gibbs has been called up to the England squad but not played yet. Other than that the biggest problem is whether to play Santi Caz or Ramsey in each Arsenal game. I think we might see a split between games, easing Ramsey back slowly.
2: Referee errors. The report from yesterday shows that in Premier League terms Arsenal get the most errors in major decisions from referees. That this still happens at the level we are seeing is appalling, but there it is.
3: A feeling that it is already done. A great run can make the team feel good, and although the current run is of course nothing like the greatest run of all (I speak naturally of the 49) it must already be creating a positive atmosphere. In the 49 Mr Wenger was brilliant at keeping the team focused on each new game, knowing that the defeat would come one day. That it came about through the most biased refereeing display we are ever likely to see is hardly consolation. We just have to keep what is currently a little run, growing into a bigger run.
4: A sudden loss of form. That seems unlikely, not least because, as I said above, we have so many back up players now that we can see our way through most dips.
There is one other point – tickets.
Swansea and Middlesbrough tickets are only available on the ticket exchange, but there are spare tickets on general sale for Reading, and for Ludogorets to Red Members. No complaints please about not being able to get tickets. Just remember not to try and park within a couple of miles of the ground. (There is however always space at Finchley Central tube, then head south to Archway, and walk down Holloway Road. The walk takes about 25 minutes.) Otherwise use the underground stations near the ground.