By Bulldog Drummond
In the last post we noted the fact that Fulham defender Joao Palhinha had knocked up enough yellow cards to bring him an automatic two match ban, and indeed he is serving the second game of the ban for the match against Arsenal.
Cedric Soares who is on loan to Fulham is ineligible as players can’t play against their parent club, and Fulham have Tom Cairney, Layvin Kurzawa and Neeskens Kebano out injured.
Martin Odegaard and Kieran Tierney were both reported ill for the Thursday Europa game. Leandro Trossard got a groin strain against Bournemouth and Eddie Nketiah is reported to have an ankle injury. Gabriel Jesus is close to a return, but really we can’t be sure when he is going to make it back.
There is of course a lot of chit-chat about Arsenal and their supposed lack of forwards with, as noted above, Gabriel Jesus not quite ready for a return and Eddie possibly injured. So maybe a moment’s reflection on just how poor Arsenal’s goal scoring has been this season. Here’s the top six of the league table but in the order of goals scored.
|8||Brighton and Hove Albion||23||11||5||7||43||29||14||38|
So as we can see, this Arsenal team who apparently have problems scoring goals are actually the second-highest scorers this season. And remember Tottenham have the greatest forward in the history of great forwards playing for them but Arsenal are 13 points and 13 goals ahead. And with pundits talking up Manchester United it might be worth noting that Arsenal has scored 18 goals more than that team. Of course, they do have a game in hand so maybe they will win that 19-0
Arsenal have put together some very encouraging Premier League runs this season such as
- Five consecutive league wins from 5 August to 31 August.
- Four consecutive league wins from 18 September to 16 October
- Five consecutive league wins from 30 October to 31 December
- Four consecutive league wins from 18 February to 4 March. A win in this game would make that five.
But what is particularly interesting is a comparison between Arsenal’s home form and their away form.
13 games played in each case with 10 wins each time, but at home two draws and one defeat while away that is reversed. As for the goal difference that is just two more at home than it is away from home.
So the difference between home and away for Arsenal is simple – the attack scores slightly fewer, but the defence is tighter.
And here is one more point. Arsenal have not conceded a goal in 11 league games this season, and eight of those games have been away games. But when Arsenal do concede they often (well, five times) concede first. But they still generally go on and win.
And three Arsenal goals have come either in the 90th minutes or in time added on.
The BBC predict a 2-1 win for Arsenal.
So let’s have a look at another interesting feature: the London derbies. Here is where the London clubs are currently stationed in the league
|17||West Ham United||25||6||5||14||23||33||-10||23|
Arsenal won their first seven games against the other London clubs but then drew with Brentford on 11 February. Brentford and Tottenham Hotspur have been played twice, while there has been just the one game against Crystal Palace, Fulham (this is obviously the second match), Chelsea and West Ham.
And thinking of such things this is, I think this is only the second time there have been seven London teams in the top division – the other was 1994/5.
In that season the London teams ended up in these positions in the league table
|8||Queens Park Rangers||42||17||9||16||61||59||2||60|
|14||West Ham United||42||13||11||18||44||48||-4||50|
Queens Park Rangers are currently 20th in the Championship, Wimbledon as they existed then are no longer in existence now, although AFC Wimbledon are 15th in League Two and MK Dons are 22nd in League One.
- Why the media’s new statistical analyses of football is just a trick to stop you noticing what’s going on
- Yesterday’s game: how Arsenal won, and where the journalists got things wrong
- Brentford v Arsenal: past exploits and the Arsenal team news
- French authorities issue arrest warrant over awarding of World Cup to Qatar
- Brentford v Arsenal: the history and the build up, with some extraordinary odds