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October 2016
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What is likely to happen in Arsenal’s next four games?

By Tony Attwood

Arsenal’s next four games are something of an oddity – for they are all at home:

  • Swansea
  • Ludogorets Razgrad
  • Middlesbrough
  • Reading

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts Results
16 Middlesbrough 7 1 3 3 7 10 -3 6 DWDLLLD
17 Swansea City 7 1 1 5 6 12 -6 4 WLLDLLL
18 State Aid United 7 1 1 5 8 17 -9 4 LWLLLLD
19 Stoke City 7 0 3 4 5 16 -11 3 DLLLLDD
20 Sunderland 7 0 2 5 6 13 -7 2 LLDLLLD

Ludo in the Bulgarian league are second, as below and bottom of our group of the Champs League table

Pos. Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Levski Sofia 9 7 2 0 18 3 15 23
2 Ludogorets 8 6 1 1 22 8 14 19
3 Dunav Ruse 9 5 2 2 11 5 6 17
4 CSKA Sofia 9 5 2 2 15 5 10 17
5 Botev Plovdiv 9 4 2 3 14 12 2 14
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

P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Huddersfield Town 11 8 1 2 14 8 6 25
2 Norwich City 11 7 2 2 21 15 6 23
3 Newcastle Utd 11 7 1 3 22 10 12 22
4 Brighton and Hove Albion 11 6 3 2 14 7 7 21
5 Bristol City 11 6 2 3 19 12 7 20
6 Birmingham City 11 5 5 1 14 9 5 20
7 Brentford 11 5 3 3 18 9 9 18
8 Reading 11 5 3 3 12 15 -3 18

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 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.


Recent stories from Untold Arsenal

Wenger ponders whether Yaya Sanogo will ever really be good enough for Arsenal. 

On an interlull weekend let’s remember when the FA contemplated stopping internationals

Which teams always benefit from referee mistakes, and which teams are constantly wrongly penalised?

A spot of good news, a spot of bad, a spot of gibberish, a spot.

Is Arsenal’s ticket policy really so awful? Compare it, perhaps, with Man U and Bournemouth

What organisations and what people really have the power in football?

There is no open window, but there are ten transfer rumours for Arsenal next January

We want our Arsenal back




17 comments to What is likely to happen in Arsenal’s next four games?

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think Nicky will say something like this: in the history of Arsenal those matches have been the most difficult to win. Don’t take anything for granted.

  • Nonny

    Sorry to go off track Tony.

    Alex Iwobi just opened scoring for Nigeria in their WCQ against Zambia

  • Gord

    There is the possibility that Swansea has spent the entire interlull preparing to play Arsenal. Or, if their opponent after us is highly placed, spending something like 2/3 their time on Arsenal and 1/3 on who is after us (I haven’t looked). And maybe Middlesbrough does something similar?

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I’ve once or twice said on this forum that Arsenal will have a winning run in all competitions up to the end of December this year after they beat Watford. But PSG became a clog in the wheel as we could only hold them to 1-1 scoreline draw at Parc des Princes instead of to have beaten them.

    Notwithstanding, Arsenal winning run in all competitions is since back on track with the 2 latest defeats suffered at the hands of the Gunners by Basel and Burnley which have seen Arsenal now on a new wlnning run rekindle and are now on 4 run as you’ve said Mr T Atwood.

    Ludogorets will fall to the firepower of the Gunners at the Ems when they come to honour their Ucl date. Middlesbrough will come to the Ems for formality sake as they are well aware all the 3 points of that PL match belonged to Arsenal for total collection. And if Swansea think their visit to the Ems for a PL game date will give them the opportunity to rejuvinate their out of sort team, they’ll be in for a shock this time around as Arsenal will breakdown whatever bus they have to pack and will also defuse any counterattack they may likely launched to steal a win as they’ve been doing at the Ems for the past seasons. This season, the Gunners will make the Swans pay for all the EPL sins they’ve been committing against Arsenal at the Ems with a heavy defeat.

    Reading ECL game at the Ems against the Arsenal backup team is never a promlem. For the Gunners backup XI will knock their heads very well and send home rubbing their hurting heads.

  • Xhaka'spassing

    Win, win, win, win 🙂

    Seriously be great to put down a marker.

    Swansea, new coach, very few players on international break. Bradley will have had 2 weeks to get them organised and full of running. It’s how his teams play. Expect another Burnley.

    Alexis will be late back again so Lucas should get a start. I’m looking forward to seeing him play again.

    I would expect a bit of rotation and the likes of Gibbs, Elneny, Xhaka, Lucas, Ox get some good minutes.

    I’m peturbed that Ramsey and Giroud are not yet back in full training. We need them fit and available as viable options for selection. We need the Frenchman for situations like Burnley last week.

    Reading game similar team to the Forest match. Would be lovely to see jenko available and playing.

  • GG was like my dad. AW is like CDeG

    Forest 4-0, Chelsea 3-0, Basle 2-0, Burnley 1-0 so obviously the next result will be 0-0.

    Or 4-0.

    Or 1-0.

    However we keep losing at home to Swansea in the league (1-2 in March 2016, 0-1 May 2015, 2-2 May 2014. 0-2 Dec 2013)
    so we probably won’t win that game unless the ref gives us a dodgy last minute penalty/ handball decision and even then it’ll only be enough for a draw.

    I think we have a better home record v Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

    With that kind of dismal record we need to play v The Swans with a massive amount of respect and energy or we’ll lose again.

    A dirty little 1-0 last gasp win would do very nicely. Please and thank you very much Mr Referee. I want Kos on my side in a fight.

    The previous 4 games before Forest were 4-1 Hull, 1-1 Paris SG, 2-1 Southampton, 3-1 Watford.

    We had 4 attackers out injured a week ago. Giroud, Perez, Welbeck and Akpom.

    I see fours everywhere.

    Perez looks like a David Villa kind of player. A real tough guy with speed and skill, unlike prissy, hissy boy Giroud.
    If Perez gets going we could do something this season.

  • Gord


    As Nonny pointed out, Iwobi scored today.

    Elneny probably played, but he wasn’t on the score sheet. Versus Congo.

    Joel Campbell scored from the penalty spot in extra time, in a friendly versus Russia.

  • para

    For some reason i sense that they (some refs under orders) will be going all out to make Arsenal win PL, because they think AW will then leave Arsenal and take the England job.

    The AAA wants us to win nothing so that AW will leave.

    We can’t please everyone, and we should not even try, so lets win everything and show them that Arsenal is great.

    That will surely please the (real)fans.

  • para

    I’m sure they have.

    Arsenal needs to be ready, they know that this is a season long battle, and any misconcentration leads to mistakes, so AW needs to be sharp and clever with his selections and keep his players on their toes.

    AW, if there was ever a time, it is now. Show us what you have learnt over all these years in football and propel this team to it’s heights.

  • Gord

    Here’s a little tidbit for the referee team (Walter, Usama, OMG, …).

    Italy issued its first “green card”. Vicenze and Virtus Entella were playing.

  • Florian


    Charles de Gaulle

  • Gord

    Hmm, okay thanks Florian. I know very little about de Gaulle.

    Here in Canuckleheadland, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. So I cooked a bird today. 3 baked potatoes, some stuffing mix (two different kinds, both meant for turkey, so that the bird thinks it is a turkey) that had additions of onion and blackberries. The bird spent the night in the fridge in a bowl of blackberry porter (beer), to which I had squished a bunch of fresh blackberries and added some poultry seasoning. The marinating beer was put in the bottom of the roaster (an elevated rack held the bird, potatoes and stuffing). I just finished making gravy from some of the beer and drippings.

    The blackberries were very dark (purple). After cooking a little while, the berries became actually quite red.

  • Florian

    Happy Canadian Thanksgiving Gord! Your cooking seems delicious, maybe one day I’ll go to Canada and have a taste. We on the other side of the border have to wait a bit longer.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I am going for drab 2-0 home wins in all our games .

    And A Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to all you crazy UA Canucks out there !

  • Gord

    Thanks to all.

    Brickfields, WRT another thread and a sapling. We are very marginal for Bur Oak here. A friend is collecting some acorns for me, so that I can try growing them. A Bur Oak can live for 400 years, and it can grow more than 100 feet (with width squalling height). But where it is marginal, it tends to dwarf. I’m hoping my oaks don’t dwarf, and if it your jokes which make the difference, that is wonderful.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Thanks , Gord . Here is a saying that the Bur Oak sapling might like –
    ‘ Don’t worry if your job is small and your rewards few. Remember that the mighty oak was once a nut like you.’- Anonymous

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I finally figured out what’s wrong with my brain . On the left side there’s nothing right , and the right side , there’s nothing left !

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