By Bulldog Drummond
As the pundits punder on and tell us what to think and what to do (ESPN I see are telling Arsenal supporters that they should rise up against the club and that they – the supporters – are weak for not doing so), so the world turns and those of us not addicted to self-inflicted misery get on with our lives and most of the time enjoy the games.
With Arsenal Héctor Bellerín has returned to training after his MRI scan came back ok. Whether he is fit to play or not only Arsene Wenger will know. I suspect, without the benefit of seeing him in training of course, but with the aid of the figures below, that he will be beached leaving Gabriel to play.
Gabriel’s latest games are rated by WhoScored:
|01-01-2017||Arsenal||2 : 0||Crystal Palace||90′||7.66|
|03-01-2017||Bournemouth||3 : 3||Arsenal||26′||6.53|
|14-01-2017||Swansea||0 : 4||Arsenal||90′||7.21|
|22-01-2017||Arsenal||2 : 1||Burnley||90′||6.42|
|31-01-2017||Arsenal||1 : 2||Watford||90′||7.6|
|04-02-2017||Chelsea||3 : 1||Arsenal||73′||6.49|
|01-01-2017||Arsenal||2 : 0||Crystal Palace||90′||7.69|
|03-01-2017||Bournemouth||3 : 3||Arsenal||90′||5.51|
|22-01-2017||Arsenal||2 : 1||Burnley||1′||5.97|
|28-01-2017||Southampton||0 : 5||Arsenal||90′||N/A|
|04-02-2017||Chelsea||3 : 1||Arsenal||17′||5.79|
Full details of how these figures are reached are given on the Who Scored site.
The Ox got the highest rating of any Arsenal player in that last match at 7.7, while Coquelin was average for the team with 6.6, but he does consistently score above Elneny in Arsenal games so I imagine both Coq and Ox will play even though Mohamed Elneny is back from having scored in the Africa Cup of Nations final, only to see his team lose.
Granit Xhaka is still suspended. Up front Olivier Giroud is ok, but so is Danny Welbeck and this could be the moment he gets a start. I rather fancy the notion of Danny playing out wide and Alexis in the middle. Then with 30 minutes to go if need be Giroud plays up front Danny goes off and Alexis goes out wide. The reorganisation this forces onto the opposition means they can spend up to 10 minutes trying to get themselves sorted, which then gives us all sorts of possibilities.
In terms of our attacking players the current ratings taking into account home games only, reveals the most potent players in the squad. It shows also how much Santi is missed even though he has played in a more withdrawn position. I am omitting Danny as he has not played enough in the league to warrant comparative figures.
|Player||Apps||Mins||Goals||Assists||Yellow cards||Shots per game||% Pass success||Rating|
This indicates that across the middle three it must be Alexis, Mesut and Theo, with Iwobi joining in when Alexis plays centre forward – leaving aside of course the potential input of Danny Welbeck. Danny might replace Theo, but my guess is Theo needs games, so I am back to Alexis at centre forward with Theo and Danny on either wing.
As we know because we have been told so often, Arsenal have more injuries than the rest of the league put together (at least according to the Independent last week) so it is always worth checking that we have maintained our top position each week on the Physioroom table.
|Team||Injuries||Last player down||Injury|
|1||Sunderland||9||A Januzaj||Hip Injury|
|2||Hull City||8||M Dawson||Calf Strain|
|3||Crystal Palace||8||S Dann||Muscle Injury|
|4||West Ham United||8||A Carroll||Groin Injury|
|5||Southampton||7||S Boufal||Ankle Injury|
|6||Stoke City||6||G Johnson||Achilles Injury|
|8||Manchester United||5||T Fosu-Mensah||Knock|
|9||Tottenham Hotspur||5||D Rose||Knee Injury|
|11||Everton||3||D Calvert-Lewin||Ankle Injury|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||3||C Yacob||Stomach Problem|
|14||Burnley||3||S Defour||Hamstring Injury|
But no, Arsenal are down to 12th. You just can’t trust the team to do anything any more.
Our three men down on their score sheet are Bellerín, Ramsey and Cazorla.
For Hull we have Dawson, Davies, Mason, Henriksen, Keane, Odubajo, Luer, Lenihan all out with other sources adding McGregot and Elmohamady to the list. It looks a tough run of injuries for them.
There will be more on the possible teams in my next piece on the game.
Arsenal Kindle News
The novel “Making the Arsenal” by Tony Attwood which describes the events of 1910, which created the modern Arsenal FC, is now available for the first time on Kindle. Full details are here.
Also available on Kindle, “Woolwich Arsenal: the club that changed football” the only comprehensive history of the rise of Arsenal as a league club, and the attempts to destroy the club, from within and without. For full details please see here.