By Bulldog Drummond
At last at last my jolly chums – a match to go and watch. Do we want to hear again that Mathieu Debuchy has an ankle and Olivier Giroud has a tibia? I say no! We have a squad, and a squad that is strong and shall see us through.
Mesut Özil like those gone before him, has our best wishes, as do Walcott and Gnabry upon their returns in the reserves. Commits to travelling from the far outer reaches of the empires (well Northamptonshire, the HQ of Untold) mean I am jotting my notes before the reserve match on friday. But the home match at Meadow Park should get a few more visitors than normal.
Contrasting with the news of two returnees we have Tomas Rosicky who acccording to the Independent “picked up a calf”. Bloody heavy these young domestic cattle. But anyway he’s not too bad and might even have an afternoon on the beach.
Walter has talked about the way players suddenly get ever more cards when at Arsenal than they ever get anywhere else. Chambers didn’t get cards with Southampton, now has picked up five already so he can’t play.
Laurent Koscielny may or may not miss out having been crocked with France. The general feeling is that Nacho Monreal will be alongside Per Mertesacker. But here is a little news that slipped under the radar of gloom, dismay, despondency and the lifting up of dairy cattle; Aaron Ramsey starts training on Monday and will be on the beach for the Anderlecht game.
Arteta (another man who has experience of the early stages of veal production) is ready to return.
Héctor Bellerín could play at full back – and for those who moan and gripe about this, then I’m sorry chums, but I’m with Untold on this. We need a youth system to help us bring through Jack from childhood, and the Ox, Theo, Arran and the like from their academy years. And if you have a youth system, you need to give the players some games. Bellerin has a huge talent, and he needs games to build confidence.
The general feeling is that Hull think their best chance is with free kicks and corners. The ref will obviously have read this, and given the way refereeing has been going this season will oblige them with a multiplicity. You might expect him to carry a back up can of white paint for the occasion.
So what have we got? How about this for a line up…
Bellerin, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs;
Lazing on the beach we might see
Martínez or Ospina (if he has recovered from knocks and his international trip to South America), Rosicky, Podolski, Flamini, Diaby, Campbell, Coquelin, Zelalem
While we have an injury list the size of the old London phone books Hull have two injuries: McGregor (shoulder) and Snodgrass (knee). Diamé is said to be tired. He went to Tunisia which isn’t that far away and has clocks that tick tock to the same timing as BST, so he shouldn’t be tired. But my chums who have just returned said the food wasn’t up to much.
The bookies make us odds-on favourites which is always worrying – I remember only too well our second defeat at the Ems, when Hull took us by surprise. That was in September 2008. But then thanks to the amazingly detailed Arsenal Anniversary Files that are on the Arsenal History Society site, I went back and re-read that great story of 17 March 2009 when Phil Brown and co accused Fabregas of wearing an improper coat. It is a great tale and worthy of a read.
We also think of the Cup Final as well – 2-0 down after five seconds (at least that’s the story the press were using) and a barrage of insults over the PA from Terry Neill at half time. The press’ current take on the game is nothing to do with the fantastic fight back, or the brilliant goals. No, what we have is “Had Alex Bruce’s header gone in, the Gunners would surely still be searching for a first trophy in a decade.”
Here’s another one that is being thrown around.
“This is Arsenal’s joint-second worst Premier League start to a season under Arsène Wenger, with 10 points from seven games, the same as the 1998-99 campaign.” What is missing from that “analysis” (I use the word in its loosest form) that season we finished runners up, just one point behind Man U. We would have won but for a slip on 29 November with a home draw against Middlesbrough. A win would have given us the title.
And one you don’t see so much – Arsenal have won the last five against Hull.
Here’s another good one. Arsenal are unbeaten at home in 21 league matches. In fact the last defeat was the opening day of last season when we lost 3-1 to Aston Villa.
Hull haven’t won successive Premier League games for over a year. But they have scored in each of their Premier League fixtures this season.
So that’s about it I think.
There are details of today’s anniversaries and recent stories on the home page.
- WSL Round Up – West Ham v Arsenal Sunday 18:45
- Arsenal lost, but it is all part of the drive toward long-term sustainability
- Everton v Arsenal: a happy video, line-up and what the league table will look like after
- Everton v Arsenal: Injuries, points needed for 4th, and Arsenal the first to 100?
- Everton v Arsenal: extraordinary figures seen in the last 6 games table