- Sevilla v Arsenal, comparing the clubs and their last six games. It’s not looking too tough
- Sevilla v Arsenal. Video of a recent game plus the prospects
Sometimes journalists create the most amazing ways of evaluating what is going on in a team. Take those rather inventive souls at The Athletic (and I am a bit biased here because from my perspective they keep canceling my subscription, although I suspect from their point of view it is all my fault).
They argue, “The away dressing room at Stamford Bridge is adjacent to the media lounge. When Arsenal won at Chelsea in November of last year, the sound of their raucous celebrations spilt into a room full of reporters.
“Eleven months on, Arsenal scored two late goals to snatch an unlikely draw — and yet, there was no such noise. Often when teams rescue a point in such dramatic circumstances, a draw can feel like a victory. Arsenal, however, were largely unmoved. A team that spent much of last season being accused of over-celebrating were uncharacteristically reserved. It is a mark, almost certainly, of rising standards.”
OK, up to a point, but it really can also say that Arsenal’s expectations are now higher, and while a season ago they were celebrating each win, because the media had been predicting them down as coming in fifth or sixth in the league, while they were then top of the table, this season, they were expecting to be first but are lingering around second or third. It’s pretty simple and hardly in need of either a headline, or come to that, any sort of writing up.
Equally pointless is the thought of bringing up Richard Keys who has for some time been raging over the issue of goalkeepers.
Sadly even simple explanations are needed to help these journalistic type characters along a bit. So, here it is. Arsenal started the season with two keepers: Ramsdale and Karl Hein – who was given the number 31 jersey.
Now Hein is probably going to be a good keeper, but at the moment he is lacking experience, and if he were to spend a season as a substitute, he would not get that experience. On the other hand, loaning him out would mean Arsenal had no backup keeper at all.
So a backup keeper was not signed – instead one was brought in on loan. David Raya. And the deal probably was that he would have a few games. Not least because Ramsdale had already pointed out that he was going to become a father in October and so would want to miss a game – possibly more than one if there were any problems.
I believe the birth has now happened, and I am hoping everything was straightforward – but the fact was that Arsenal needed another keeper for that match. They could have given Raya his first match then, at short notice, but instead decided to give Raya several games straight away, which was not only good for him but also gave Ramsdale a reminder that after playing every single league game last season, that was probably not a good idea going forward.
So what do Richard Keys and Gary Neville make of all this? Raya will “cost Arsenal the title”. Their exact commentary was…
“Mikel Arteta has been warned that David Raya will cost Arsenal the title if he sticks by the embattled Spaniard.”
It is a bit like a very fat headteacher sitting behind an enormous desk, and forcing an errant pupil to stand in front of him while waving a finger, largely because that was the only part of his vast anatomy that he could move without breaking into a sweat. (Ah memories of my own school days).
I think if we ran a “bonkers comment of the week” that would win it for this week. In fact, why don’t we run a “bonkers comment of the week” anyway? If you spot or hear one just send it in as a comment. If we find enough I’ll try and make an article out of them and award dead potatoes as prizes. And don’t tell the journalists that all potatoes are dead once picked. That’s probably too much information for them to take in…
- 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