- Why do Liverpool get so few yellow cards for tackling, and why can’t other clubs try the same approach?
- Is VAR favouring certain clubs? Do players need more of a rest between seasons?
By Tony Attwood
Arsenal last won the League Cup in 1993 – the season in which the club won the Cup Double. Since then we’ve been in three finals and lost the lot. I was at two of them, and can say that if I was ever given the choice, I’d sooner have Arsenal knocked out in the third round rather than lose in the final.
But then, of late it doesn’t really look as if we are bothered about the whole thing except in offering the back up players a chance to show what they can do.
However there was one real consolation, for in his cameo Odegaard showed he was recovered, and that gives us a lot to look forward to in forthcoming games.
But back to the LC. In the early years of the League Cup Arsenal along with a few other teams declined to enter, and so in that imperious way that they have the League made it a condition of playing in the League that all clubs had to enter, like it or not. But they didn’t say with what sort of team. Arsenal started putting in the reserves.
And of course the media love it. “Feeble Arsenal” shouts the normally slightly more coherent Guardian, and doesn’t quite manage to balance that headline with its statistics of 11 attempts on goal for Arsenal to two for West Ham. (Or 14 shots to 5 according to the BBC site – but of course this counting thing is a bit of a problem – they were probably waiting for the arrival of the super computer only to find it was measuring the wind speed in the Channel Islands.)
The Guardian also have recorded 72% of the possession last night for Arsenal, as well. In fact apart from the goals (which of course is really the only thing that matters) the only statistics that West Ham won on were fouls (although some sources have both sides committing the same number – it’s obviously very difficult to count).
So West Ham can have their excitement, just as they did in winning the Conference trophy last season, but they are still ninth in the league. However it was their first win in five games, so I suppose that excitement can be justified – and they are four points above Forest in 16th.
Mikel Arteta made an excellent professional response to the game saying, “I’m disappointed with myself,” adding “I’m responsible for that.” Now that is the sort of manager that I want the club to have. He added, “We wanted to play in a different way and we weren’t able to do that. Every time we lose the pain is there. We have to use this pain and this defeat to prepare the best way for Newcastle on Saturday.”
What is amusing is that the BBC ignores all that sort of thing and instead proclaims that “the Gunners’ 30-year wait to win the League Cup goes on,” as if by putting out back-up players Arsenal were seriously trying to win the wretched pot.
So enough of that, the little cup is set aside early enough for us to forget it was ever there. Next up is Newcastle away, which is quite possibly something that was on Arteta’s mind in selecting the team to play last night. And although we don’t normally publish the home and away table this soon before a match they are worth seeing, because this may well have been exactly what was on Arteta’s mind as he selected the team for last night…
|Newcastle United home||5||4||0||1||13||3||10||12||2.4|
As the points per game column at the end shows, the two teams when measured by their relative performances at home and away are evenly matched. The result of this game is going to be seen as much more important than last night’s defeat.
Newcastle will be on a high having beaten Manchester United away 0-3 in the League Cup, although watching Manchester United play at the moment I think the late lamented Wood Green Town FC (the only club actually to have played in White Hart Lane) could have beaten them.
However we must move on, and take the two major positives that were revealed last night. Which are that when it comes to facing Newcastle United away (5.30pm saturday) the team will look rather different from that which went out last night, and it would seem that Odegaard will be firing on all cylinders.
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- Why do Tottenham players get fouled more than those of any other club?
- The media, the League and PGMO. An insidious agreement rears its ugly head