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Arsenal v Manchester Utd. Man U’s fine run of away form, and Totts lose on a big pitch.

By Bulldog Drummond

Who would have thought it?  Tottenham, it seems really don’t like big pitches, and so lost to West Ham, where we won 5-1.   Our victory of course doesn’t count for it was one of those in which the referee managed to give us a goal we shouldn’t have and so cannot be mentioned.  Fate, it seems, (at least according to some newspaper journalists who have been reading “The Last Kingdom”, having quite fancied the TV series) is inexorable.  Chelsea will win the league.

The two London newspapers proudly pronounced Tottenham Kings of London before this game, but they won’t care that they made such a crass statement.  According to most journalists, the memory span of the public for whom they write is less than that of a hamster.  The fact that Arsenal, in all their years of being the top London club were rarely if ever mentioned as “Kings of London” is ignored, and so will this faux pas.

Certainly the Guardian’s view, the diametric opposite of Untold’s (to wit our view that the year at Wembley might not turn out to be a very good wheeze for Tottenham), is one that “a season at Wembley, away from the comfort of White Hart Lane’s tight angles, might even be a good thing, drawing other gears from this evolving team.”

Sooner or later one of us is going to be wrong.

As for Manchester United, their vision seems to be completely on the Europa League, which I fear we might be in next year.  I don’t want Arsenal to lose, in order to avoid it, but I am not looking forward to Thursday nights, although come to think of it more matches on a Sunday would go down well on the transport front.  The traffic is lighter on the M1 and the roadworks less intense.

Mourinho said, ahead of this match, “We are not going to Arsenal to say ‘beat us’ or ‘beat us 5-0 or 6-0.’ We are going there to fight for a result. But it’s impossible not to rest players. I cannot do it in another way. If Celta was playing with their best team, if Celta was fighting for important things in La Liga, we would go in the same circumstances. But I cannot now play with the same team that played at Celta. And then repeat it again next Thursday.”

I wonder if the PL will have the nerve to take action against the club for not fielding its strongest team (which the rules of the league demand as their one nod towards stopping match fixing).  Certainly the action of the authorities of late in flagrant breaches of the rules (I think particularly of the failure to dock points last season from Chelsea and Tottenham for their on the pitch antics, while Arsenal had two points removed for some pushing and shoving years before) suggests as ever it is one rule for Arsenal and one for the rest.

Meanwhile peace has broken out between Mourinho and Arsène Wenger saying with “M” saying, “I am open always in life to everything, for peace.    He doesn’t need to say he is ready to make peace. He doesn’t need to because there are no problems. In the last match at Old Trafford, we shook hands before, after – I remember that I still met him in the corridor for the press conferences, we shook hands again. So for me not a problem at all and I think he will be really pleased with me that I am going to change my team against Arsenal. I think he’ll be really happy with me.”

Mourinho will probably be fined 2.5p for that comment.

So what have we got coming it, leaving aside for the moment the team selections?

Man U certainly have the better league form with three wins and three draws in the last six, while Arsenal have two wins and three defeats plus one draw.

And here is the home and away form of each club.

Arsenal’s 10 wins, three draws and two defeats at home turns out to be identical to the figures away for Man U – the first time we have seen that I think, since the early weeks of this season.

It terms of goal difference, Manchester United’s away goal difference is +14, while Arsenal’s home goal difference is +16.  So the teams in this regard are evenly matched.

Manchester United are unbeaten since 23 October, a run of 28 games. but what is hidden in these figures is the fact that they have won their last four away games.  Indeed if we go back a bit further we can see what a solid away run this has been for Man U.  Here are the last eight away games…

Game Date Opposition Venue Result Pos
16 14.12.2016 Crystal Palace away W2-1 6
17 17.12.2016 West Bromwich Albion away W2-0 6
20 02.01.2017 West Ham United away W2-0 6
22 21.01.2017 Stoke City away D1-1 6
24 05.02.2017 Leicester City away W3-0 6
29 19.03.2017 Middlesbrough away W3-1 5
32 09.04.2017 Sunderland away W3-0 5
34 23.04.2017 Burnley away W2-0 5

Not only are they winning away, they have a lock-out defence mentality having conceded only three goals away in these eight games.    The only thing one can say against this run of form is that they are not games against top clubs.

More shortly…

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9 comments to Arsenal v Manchester Utd. Man U’s fine run of away form, and Totts lose on a big pitch.

  • Josif

    I think the whole “field-your-best” team rule is a bit odd.

    Firstly, all players registered for the league are eligible to play. What is the strongest and what is a weakened side is up to the manager of the respective club to judge. Limiting options of rotation means that the manager has his hands tied which is illogical and stupid as long as there is no change in the registration rules that would force managers to rate their players before the closing of registration window which is, due to numerous factor, the stupidest idea since someone said: “Hey, I think Mike R is really a good choice to lead PGMO!”

  • para

    ” Mourinho said, ahead of this match, “We are not going to Arsenal to say ‘beat us’ or ‘beat us 5-0 or 6-0.’ We are going there to fight for a result. But it’s impossible not to rest players. ”

    This is where they caught us that time, so we should have NO mercy.

    Hope the lads are up for the kill.

    Sorry, 🙁 but this is a pendulum that has to be balanced again. 🙂

  • Norman14

    It’s not for us to worry about what team he puts out – it’s for us to worry about what team Arsene puts out – and how they play.

    I hate to say this, but if we play like State Aid did last night, we will win.

    Still, not noticed any of “THEM” coming out and saying they (West Ham) “wanted it more than us”!

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Jose Mourinho could make a Red Devils rotation team against Arsenal at the Ems on Sunday. However, I don’t think he’ll field a weaken selection team against Arsenal. And besides, the way and the manner the Gunners have been lackadaisically performing in their recent outings in big games does not give us the confidence that Arsenal will collect maximum points in this game. But if Le Prof starts the most correct starts based on the most inform Gunners and alter the positional play of 1 to 2 Gunners in the game, and if can motivate his starting XI team and galvanized them into serious action against the Red Devils, we may surprisingly get all points in the game. Otherwise, a draw game is on the cards as Jose will certainly start a mixture of his Celta Vigo starts with some Red Devils who were on the bench at Celta Vigo. So, we should expect to see a strong Red Devils team spearheaded by Wayne Rooney started for this match by Jose because he’ll want to win the match to bolster his team chance at qualifying for the Ucl next season.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    I think we should start to resign our fate to picking up a Europa League ticket if we finish 6th on the final day of placements in the table than to still be nursing unlikely hope of playing in the Ucl next season for the 21st run if we get a 4th place top finish this season which is looking to be a big doubt save if 2 of our 3 top rival teams currently above us in the table suffered a serious mishap in their run-in games.

    But let me warn the Gunners not to take the getting of the Europa League ticket in next season campaign for granted and thus become complacent in their remain PL run-in games to start dropping points carelessly here and there which could see us being upsurged from 5th or 6th in the table by another team behind us now. And let’s not forget that beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley is not certain but a gamble that may yield or not yield dividend for us as Chelsea may want to win the double. Or have we already qualified for the Europa League next season by virtue of our playing in the FA Cup?

  • ARSENAL 13

    @Samuel,

    unlikely hope??? ….

    Whats fun following a football team without the hope of best possible finish?

    We have 6 games left this season. Target top 4 and the FA cup? Hope we achieve both.

    ccccoooooommmmeeeeeee ooooooooonnnnnnn gggggguuuuunnnnnneeeeeerrrrrrrrssssss…….

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Let him mourn or froth for all I care . I’d like to see us put a team full of defenders and try to put then to sleep for a change . I ‘d find that to be both ironic and refreshing at the same time !
    And hopefully we’d score the winner just at the death , after he ( de moaner ) has retired early , as is his wont , back to the dressing room !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    As for poor old , Spuds , the uncrowned Kings of North London , it appears more likely that Arsenal fans may get to celebrate an open top bus parade this season. Unless of course finishing second is a trophy in itself ! Or parading the Levy himself .Apparently the best CEO since ….errr .. well , Karen Brady ?

    Ah! The all best laid plans of men and mice ….

  • Richard

    Well we all know mourhino is the king of the spin, in fact he will put out a strong side against us. Yes he will make changes but those changes won’t weaken the Utd team. He is coming for a point at worst and the team he picks will breflect that.
    For us it’s going to be about how we turn up and though the formation switch was good for morale first up it isn’t one that suits ozils game. He shouldn’t be stuck out on the wing where he has to track back and defend. He needs to be the fulcrum of our attacks so for that I hope wenger goes back to the 4-2-3-1 that will suit the team and certain players better.
    Let’s be realistic even if we beat Utd today then win our game in hand we will still be three points behind city and Liverpool, one of them most likely Liverpool will have to lose a game and draw one to hand us a top four spot. Our best chance of success is the cup. Unfortunately, we can’t avoid the europa league even if we lose the remaining matches.

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