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By Bulldog Drummond, our man with a passport.
There is a rule in football journalism that if you can’t write about Arsenal being lucky then it is important to write about them being “thrown into chaos”.
And so it was yesterday. Arsenal’s plane was grounded because of storms and instead of taking off at 4.15 it took off at 9pm. So Arsenal were four and three quarters of an hour late in taking off. It happens. If it hasn’t happened to you then either you don’t fly much or you are incredibly lucky.
A four hour delay flying off to the sun: did you feel the chaos? Probably not, especially if you were with 25 of your mates and in the first class lounge plus.
But no, for Arsenal it meant that “arrangements for their first away outing in this competition for six-and-a-half years were thrown into chaos.” And why are they saying that, these journalists? Because it meant that the media didn’t get a chance to hassle Arteta upon arrival. Ah, the poor dears. What will they write about?
Anyway, we move on from the “chaos” to “Lucky Arsenal,” because it is always Lucky Arsenal. And Lucky Arsenal “will not be fined on this occasion. The governing body is understood to view the delay as force majeure while noting this was their first such breach.” Oh yes, and we will soon be told that Lucky Arsenal are in a very weak group.
Mind you William Saliba put the pack hounds of the media in their place dishing out the platitudes, such as “tomorrow is another day”. Right on Bill, you tell ’em.
Saka and Partey are in the squad, but Gabriel Martinelli remains out with a hamstring injury.
Anyway, what of Lens?
Last season they were the kings, running the all-power money-machine and plaything of the Emir of Qatar, (Paris St Germain) very close being just one point behind at the end with 84 points from 38 games. Which come to think of it is exactly the same as Arsenal. And indeed the parallels between the two leagues last year were quite striking.
Premier League last season
Financially out of reach PSG got 85 points while financially out of reach Manchester City got 89. RC Lens got 84 and Arsenal got… well exactly the same. Third place Marseille got 73 and third placed Mancheseter United got 75.
The big differences however come with goals scored (20 extra for Arsenal) and goal conceded (14 extra for Arsenal).
So what of this season?
It is a bit of a different show for RC Lens who are currently 15th after two wins, one draw and four defeats and a scoring rate of one goal a game.
Arsenal of course are running along the lines of the famous unbeaten season of 2003/4 at the moment with 17 points. (For a comparison with the unbeaten campaign see our earlier article)
Lens did manage to win their last game 0-1 away to Strasbourg, that game following up a 2-1 victory over Toulouse in the league, but prior to that it was a 1-1 scoreline away to Sevilla in the Champions League.
Of course these are early days but such as it is, here is the group table…
This shows that Lens most certainly need a home win against Arsenal to bolster their chances of a top two finish rather than taking third place and dropping out.
- Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers: where will each team finish?
- Arsenal v Lens: what we found, what we felt, what they did
- Arsenal v Lens: the team, the home/away form and the strange coincidences
- Arsenal v Lens: they had a poor start but are now flying
- Where there is power, money and greed there is corruption