By Bulldog Drummond
OK I want to make this clear that this lack of preview at the proper time and all the blame being put on technical issues and people being in the wrong country is not my fault. Well, to be more correct part of it is my fault but I am not going to admit it.
Anyway, Walter had Alexis on the wing in his pre-match report, but there is also talk of giving Alexis a break after all that rushing around with Chile and the talk of an injury, so although Walter normally is correct in such things there is the chance of the Ox, Ozil and Walcott playing behind Giroud. Also interestingly WhoScored suggests a midfield of Coquelin and Elneny.
Bournemouth’s Artur Boruc and Andrew Surman are slight doubts with respective back and hamstring problems, but the doubts are, as I just said, slight. I am not sure why I said that again in fact.
Bournemouth have just won their first away game and had their first away game without conceding. But of course that was done with Jack, who isn’t there today. Indeed Bournemouth have admitted they will miss him as their manager said…
“When I look back at the last game against Stoke, he was excellent for us and was the key link between midfield and attack. Also his defensive displays for me have been superb and are undervalued, how good he is without the ball, how clever he is with the positions he takes up to protect our midfield.”
That win against Stoke was their first away win since April and only once before have they won back-to-back away games in the Premier League – against Chelsea and West Brom in December 2015. Mind you they have only been in the PL for a few weeks – well, a season and a bit.
Speaking of the PSG game Mr Wenger said, “I believe we have to find our game back. We didn’t lose but if you do not create, that will not last. It’s important that we find our simplicity, speed and pacy combinations back.
“We missed that fluency, and that security in our decision-making that made us dangerous in the final third a little bit. That is what is at stake for us.”
Last season we won both games 2-0 with Ozil scoring in both games. Before that the only games were a friendly in Bournemouth back in the 1960s and a league cup match, both of which we also won.
So we have one defeat in 22 Premier League games but we are in total crisis disaster mode, and not too many other teams could actually manage that. To see just how close disaster and victory are in this game, consider Tottenham. They were within minutes of losing at home to State Aid United but managed to turn it around. Had they lost that game and then lost to Chelsea they’d be in full blown crisis mode too. But the aren’t. Funny ol game, journalism.
Here’s an interesting fact though. Arsenal are one of only two PL teams sides this season yet to concede in the opening 15 minutes this season, (along with WBA). We are also the only team in the League who have never been behind at half time so far this season.
And as if that were not enough Olivier Giroud has scored seven goals from eight shots on target in his last eight Premier League games.
But if you are craving bad news, try this: since the start of the 2014-15 season, Arsenal have won just 13 out of 33 PL games when Santi Cazorla has not begun.
One more: Arsene Wenger and Eddie Howe are the Premier League’s longest-serving current managers at their current clubs. Our Arsene has done 20 years of course while young Eddie has had four years by the sea.
|9||West Bromwich Albion||2||2||2||10||9||2||3||2||7||7||+1||17|
Bournemouth actually have quite a poor away record, with one win, two draws and three defeats, scoring just four goals and conceding 10.
Arsenal on the other hand have three wins, two draws and one defeat, with 12 scored, 8 conceded, half of those conceded goals coming in the opening match. Interestingly it continues to be the away form that is above the home form, which is exactly how it was during the time around the to Wenger double seasons. I find that an interesting parallel – get the away form right in terms of counter attacking and then sort out the home form. Indeed there are parallels with the way Herbert Chapman developed the time prior to the first league championship – more in the Arsenal in the 30s story on the Arsenal History Society site.
After six consecutive league wins (and let’s just focus on the league at the moment) Arsenal then went into decline:
|06.11.2016||Tottenham Hotspur||home||D 1-1||4||24|
|19.11.2016||Manchester United||away||D 1-1||4||25|
Looking at Bournemouth…
|22.10.2016||Tottenham Hotspur||home||D 0-0||10||12|
|19.11.2016||Stoke City||away||W 1-0||10||15|
Looked at this way, the Bournemouth situation prior to a visit to Arsenal is not the best possible even though they have climbed into the top ten.
So there we are, we finally managed to keep Untold going with everyone being in different countries and a load of technology that doesn’t work. What fun, but we got there. All Arsenal have to do now is win the match, and of course for Walter to have a successful trip to and from the game.
One final thought. Just remember that when people say “normal service will be resumed as soon as possible” just remember, there is no such thing as normal service. (Or put another way, the light at the end of the tunnel is the express train coming straight at you).