Historia magistra vitae est!
by Admir Pajiae
Arsenal have reached the milestone again – this time, we are the first team to reach 60-point mark. Only Manchester City have a chance to do so before the international break but they’ll still need two wins in two games.
Our three top scorers in the league – Gabriel Martinelli (11), Bukayo Saka (10) and Martin Odegaard (9) respectively – have scored 30 goals combined with just two of those 30 goals coming from the spot. If we take into account that Mikel Arteta has used three players at No.9 position – Gabriel Jesus (5), Eddie Nketiah (4) and Leandro Trossard (1), we have got 40 goals combined from our four most attacking-minded players (right 8, left winger, right winger and a striker) which is 10 goals per position.
Not bad at all.
If we beat Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon, we will have 63 points with 12 games to go. If Manchester City beat Newcastle in The Sportwashing Derby at the lunch-time, they will have 58. If we beat Bournemouth 3-0 – which is not impossible given that a) we have beaten them with that score-line away from home and b) they have the worst defensive record in the league – we will have a goal-difference +36.
Now, why that sounds familiar to me? 63 points after 26 games, five points clear of a Manchester club at the top and even bigger gap between us and a third-placed team, +36 goal-difference, a league double over Tottenham, a late comeback completed against Fulham to win 2-1 after conceding first, a 1-0 win over Chelsea with a goal after a corner…
Oh, yes, in 2007-08.
You see, before the Birmingham game, we were top of the league with 63 points after 26 games, our goal-difference was +36, we played arguably the best football in Europe with our mesmerizing midfield in the centre of all good things and it looked like no one will stop us from winning the first league title since moving to Emirates.
Then, everything changed inside two minutes. Martin Taylor, a raw central defender that would have been forgotten if he hadn’t almost mutilated Eduardo’s foot, kicked the set of events that eventually ended up with our players giving up (Gallas), stupidly arguing each other (Bendtner and Adebayor) and losing not just first place to Man U but also second to Chelsea.
Eduardo, even if his football nationality was Croatian, was born in Brazil where he lived until he was 16 when Dinamo Zagreb scouts found him and signed him alongside a guy named Leandro. Leandro never made it but Eduardo made a career. He eventually applied for the Croatian citizenship and become an international player. He was part of the Croatian team that sensationally knocked out England in the EURO 2008 qualifications with a 3-2 win at Wembley. He wore No.9 at Arsenal even if he was offered Henry’s No.14. He was two days shy of 25th birthday when Taylor kicked him out of football for a year.
Gabriel Jesus is No.9 born in Brazil. Our 27th league game this season is at Craven Cottage against Fulham. Jesus is close to returning from the injury and we are all excited about it even if his deputies have done a tremendous job. I know Eddie has been criticized lately but he has scored big four goals for us in the league with two against Man U possibly making the biggest difference between two clubs. That being said, Arsenal have scored in every league game Jesus has started this season and took the lead in 12 out of 14 games. Without Jesus, we have played 11 games, scored first goal in five occasions, conceded first in five as well and failed to either score or concede in one. Our record with Jesus stands at P14 W12 D1 L1. Without him, it’s P11 W7 D2 L2.
We play Fulham on March 12th 2023. Jesus will be 22 days shy of his 26th birthday. I know Mr Arteta has earned his right to pick Arsenal’s starting eleven, not only this season but on the very day he signed the contract with Arsenal, but I wouldn’t mind if Jesus sits the Fulham game out.
Call me superstitious but maybe 28th game of the league campaign, the one against Crystal Palace at home, is a better place for the second coming of Jesus.
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