By Bulldog Drummond
For most members of the aaa I imagine that Liverpool is their ideal club. They change managers quite regularly, and they buy, buy and buy again, player after player after player.
Since they last won the league in 1990 they have had seven managers. Since that last league win in 1990, they have spent somewhere close to £1 billion (Transfer League figures don’t go back that far, but extrapolating from the figures available it is getting on that way) and brought in a little over half a billion pounds in sales.
So seven managers and a nett spend of something like £500,000,000. And of course in these last 25 years since they won the league they have won the cup three times, the league cup three times, the Champions League, and the super cup, and indeed did the cup treble of the league cup, FA Cup and the Uefa cup all in one season. Quite a lot really.
But then, since the aaa tell us that the League is all that counts, maybe Liverpool! won’t be their favourite club, despite using the aaa’s methodology – which is a bit confusing.
Still the aaa can point to the fact that Arsenal have not won at Liverpool! since 2012 and although Liverpoo! fans don’t care too much for Andrey Arshavin’s foursome they do like to talk about beating us 5-1 when we were top of the league.
Mr Wenger is of course very aware of the way Liverpool! follows the aaa dictum of sacking the manager and buying more and more and more players, and he had a bit of fun in his latest press conference saying, ‘It’s always a ferocious battle, no matter who the manager is.’
“No matter who the manager is.” Nice one.
And I think it is fair to say that there is respect between the managers. Klopp said recently for example, “Arsenal and Arsène have their own style, it’s possession football, so it’s clear that if we want to play the same way we will be without a chance because they’ve been doing it for longer. Arsenal are not only a good possession team, that’s the problem, they have good counter-attacks too and that’s what you have to be aware of.
“Absolutely my respect goes up day by day because it is really intensive working in the Premier League. He always had my biggest respect but it’s bigger since I was here. He has done a brilliant job. He is a high-quality manager – one of the best in the world. It’s a challenge to play against him.”
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So that’s knocked Klopp out of the list of managers that the aaa would like to have at Arsenal instead of Mr W.
Meanwhile at least we can play against a team with the frantic “injury crisis” headlines of the journos who scribble their columns while in the pub for a quick one, directed not against us but against the opposition:
Figures as always from Physioroom.
However I think Liverpool! is cheating by having some players have two injuries, but only being counted once on the table. Divock Origi for example has just undergone knee surgery but was already out with a hamstring. That isn’t playing the game in my view.
Sturridge, Coutinho and Ings are out, but as Arsenal has proven, injuries need not be a reason for failure. We’ve had the press screaming about our injuries for months, and we’ve still managed to do ok, so maybe Klopp will follow the Arsenal approach of having decent backup and faith in his reserves.
So, we’ve won seven of their last eight matches in all competitions, with that Boxing Day match the only blot on the landscape. And we managed to rest various players for the saunter in the pouring rain against Sunderland. And again we’ve now got this year’s discovery in Campbell, to match last year’s finding of Bellerin, and the long-awaited (by Untold at least) deliverance of Coquelin.
“The consistency of our results is very important.”
So looking at the league we find…
Away from home then, we’ve won six, drawn one, lost three. At home Liverpool! have won four drawn three and lost two. The goal difference is interesting too. We’ve got +6 away while Liverpool are evens at home.
But looking into history, this is where offering Liverpool! as a team for the aaa to support instead of Arsenal comes a bit unstuck because I am not sure the aaa would welcome Liverpool’s! league positions over the years…
And all that without building a stadium (although upgrading is now under way).
However back to the present and we see these results for Liverpool!
|FA Cup – Third Round||Exeter 2-2 Liverpool!||Fri 8 Jan|
|League Cup – Semi-Final.||Stoke 0-1 Liverpool!||Tue 5 Jan|
|Premier League||West Ham 2-0 Liverpool!||Sat 2 Jan|
December 2015 (I’ve just broken the exclamation mark button so we’ll have to use the club’s abbreviated name from now on).
|Premier League||Sunderland 0-1 Liverpool||Wed 30 Dec|
|Premier League||Liverpool 1-0 Leicester||Sat 26 Dec|
|Premier League||Watford 3-0 Liverpool||Sun 20 Dec|
|Premier League||Liverpool 2-2 West Brom||Sun 13 Dec|
|Europa League||FC Sion 0-0 Liverpool||Thu 10 Dec|
|Premier League||Newcastle 2-0 Liverpool||Sun 6 Dec|
|League Cup – Quarterfinal||Southampton 1-6 Liverpool||Wed 2 Dec|
Thinking about the teams, Arsène Wenger has gone out of his way to praise Joel Campbell’s recent performances. Mr Wenger has spoken of how he has changed since Olympiakos speaking of him having more confidence and authority.
“I thought always the attitude was there,” Mr Wenger added, “But after Olympiakos, in a game where we were like that, knife on the throat, he turned up with something special. Great team work and a pass for Giroud on a second goal that was massive for us. Then I thought ‘he can play under pressure as well, what is important for us’.
“You want to be surprised by the quality of your players and where he surprises you is in the intensity of this teamwork. What is very interesting in Campbell’s case is that he looks like he has gained more confidence and authority in his game and in the final third he is a dangerous player and he has shown that. When you look at the player and the number of goals he scores and the number of assists, on that front you must say he has been very positive and he works hard for the team.”
I wonder if we are also now seeing a growth in the playing side of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as he takes on a more central position, although of course the mighty Ozil will be back tonight.
What we do know is that Alexis Sanchez is not going to play. He should be back at the weekend.
A Mr Lawrenson of the BBC who is completely unbiased in these matters said, “I think Liverpool are better against teams who let them play a little bit, which is what Arsenal will do…. I am going for another draw here, which will suit Arsenal. They just keep on rolling along, picking up points and that is all they need to do.”.
- We have only lost two of the last 17 Premier League matches against Liverpool.
- But nine of those have been drawn.
- In the last nine games against them at Anfield there has been a total of 35. My maths teacher says that is nearly four a game!
[Hey Tony, the exclamation button does work. Why did you tell me it was broken?
Liverpool! is amusing, and highly representative of how many people in the media think of the club, but I was getting bored – Tony]
- Jurgen Klopp has won five games in 12 at Liverpool scoring 14 goals.
- Liverpool have scored two in their last four.
- Liverpool have scored 22 goals in their 20 league games this season, apparently their lowest by this part of a Premier League season.
- They have won five games 1-0 this season.
Looking for worrying trends for Arsenal, just to keep the aaa happy…
- We have only won one of the last four away fixtures.
And… that’s about it. On the positive side…
- Arsenal have scored the first goal of the game on 14 occasions, more often than any other team in the Premier League.
- The wonderful Mesut Ozil has either scored or assisted 16 of Arsenal’s last 24 league goals (three goals, 13 assists).
Thus the team…
Bellerin Mert Kos Monreal
Walcott Ozil Campbell
Lazing on the beach in the Merseyside mud: Ospina, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gibbs, Gabriel, Chambers, Iwobi, Reine-Adelaide.
And that I think is more or less that. Time to pack the beachbag and swimming costume and head north.
Two more anniversaries – more on the home page
- 13 January 1926: Final match for Harry Woods – the holder of the world record transfer fee for a short while. He finished as the club’s top goalscorer in 1923-24 with ten, and scored 12 in 1924/5 but was then replaced by Jimmy Brain as the key goal scorer.
- 13 January 1934: Joe Shaw’s first game as manager following death of Herbert Chapman. Luton 0 Arsenal 1 (FA Cup 3). He went on to win the league for the club before returning to his duties as reserve team coach. Dunne scored the goal with 18,641 in the crowd.
New from the history society
Arsenal in the 70s: July to Dec 1975. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse…