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By Bulldog Drummond
Just before we get into the team details here is a headline this morning from the Telegraph: “Aston Villa are everything that sorry Tottenham are not.”
It indeed has been a while since the media realised that their darlings really were not up to it but now, they finally know. HITC sums up the current feeling with the lines, “The news gets worse and worse for Tottenham Hotspur supporters, who probably can’t wait for the season to end. After finding out Julian Naglesmann won’t be their next manager and losing 2-1 to Aston Villa in a crucial European game on Saturday afternoon, Fabrizio Romano posted on Twitter overnight that Mauricio Pochettino has ‘full agreement’ to become Chelsea’s next manager,”
So I think a look at the table before today’s games, is required. I’ve added an extra column at the end to remind us of where the club finished last season.
|Brighton and Hove Albion
So only one of last season’s top four is in this season’s top four. Two of the top seven finished in the bottom half of the table last season, and yet almost all the mainstream media predicted that the top four this season would be the same as the top four last season. Still I suppose for journalists one out of four is not bad
And of course, I didn’t seriously expect any sort of apology from the media, but nonetheless, it is worth noting that none has been offered. Not that the apology itself is important – it is more that it would be nice to see there is a recognition of the utter incompetence of the journalists in terms of reading the trends. For it is not just the fact that these well-paid scribblers and broadcasters all got it wrong, but that little Untold Arsenal defied all of them by predicting Arsenal would come third, and explaining (in terms of the last 35 games of last season) why this would happen.
What the table does show of course is that contrary to what the journalist-predictors said, there is a real volatility in football at the moment, as well as the gross incompetence in which people who make mistakes cling to power so they can make ever more mistakes. Chelsea obviously spring to mind because of their outrageous spending last season, but West Ham United and Everton should not be doing as badly as they are.
However, Arsenal’s worries are of a different flavour.
We have four players who now can only hope to return next season. There is still a fraction of a hope that Saliba or Zinchenko will return but it seems unlikely… unless Arteta is playing a game with those who interview him (in which case good for him).
Takehiro Tomiyasu, Mohamed Elneny, William Saliba and Oleksandr Zinchenko all seem to be out at least for today, but with second place secured and it needing unexpected slips from Manchester City for Arsenal to get the title, it would seem unlikely that any will be back this afternoon. However, Sky do have the story that Zinchenko could return for Arsenal this season
Added to this, giving other players a run out is never a bad thing if one wants to keep them at the club. On the good side of things, Jorginho has shown why he was bought him.
However although our injury list looks bad, Brighton’s problems look worse. Adam Lallana, Solomon March., Adam Webster, Jakub Moder, Jeremy Sarmeinto, and Enock Mwepu are definitely out according to Premier Injuries while Joel Veltman is rated at 50/50 and Tariq Lamptey is “currently being assessed” but has no return date expected.
Sportsmole offer us as the team:
White, Kiwior, Gabriel, Tierney;
Odegaard, Jorginho, Xhaka;
Saka, Jesus, Martinelli
and they also suggest 2-1 to Arsenal.
But as we have noted before Arsenal have scored 21 goals in the last six home games, and Brighton have scored nine in their last six away games. So between them, 30 goals in the last six games which makes just three goals in this match seem a bit mean. Recent form would suggest five at least.
The Standard offer a score of 3-1 but fail to give us a lineup. 90 min ask “Where are Arsenal vs Brighton playing?” and answer “Location: London, England,” which is always good to know. As for the team they suggest… a team that is exactly the same as Sportsmole. And that is pretty much where everyone is.
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