by Bulldog Drummond
How do you measure the volume of criticism? Is it in pounds or grams? Or in critical mass or critical waves?
The Guardian thinks you can have an avalanche of criticism. Which presumably you could also have a barrage of criticism, a volley of criticism, a flood, a deluge, a torrent, a tide, a stream, a storm, a shower, a spate, a wave, an icefall, a landslide…
According to the paper Mr Wenger received the avalanche, which I suppose is the maximum measure; you can’t get more criticism than an avalanche.
So that’s it. Maximum activity. Can’t get any more than the avalanche. So, although talking of avalanchees it might be inappropriate to say it is now “downhill all the way,” life can only get easier for Mr Wenger.
Presumably it was in recognition of this that Arsène Wenger thanked the hacks and hacketts for their deep concern over his job security. And then, as the Guardian article admitted, he responded with his normal good humour and the viewpoint that can only come from being the person with the highest win ratio of any long term manager in Arsenal’s history.
“What you want from your fans is to fight together until the last game of the season. What we have learnt from the league is that it is very tight, that everybody can drop points, and the teams – and the fans – who can show togetherness and solidarity until the end might come out of it in a positive way. That’s what we want, to fight together until the last game of the season and not give up when you have a bad game or a bad result. That’s what fans and players and teams and clubs are about…
“We want to transform the negatives into positives around us and create even more solidarity. Let’s not go overboard. We do not play to be relegated. We are playing to fight for the title. That’s why we have to put criticism in the right place.
“We had a very, very bad week and it’s down to us to make this week a very good one. A bad week is not permanent. It’s what you make of it and how you respond. That’s the beauty of sport. Things change quickly one way or the other.”
So, moving on to today’s game: Swansea City.
“It’s possible I will make changes,” Mr Wenger said. “Some players are still not out of it. I will have to see if I have to be cautious with Danny Welbeck or not. Medically, I need advice on that and I will see.”
Elsewhere, as you will have heard, the Ox is out for six to eight weeks, Santi Caz has had a set back with his Achilles, and Jack is still not ready to return.
And because of everything above, this is the moment for talking up the notion that Swansea have a good record at Arsenal Stadium (as it is now called on European nights, and I rather prefer that title I think), with two wins and a draw on their last three visits.
It is also time to welcome back Lukasz Fabianski who will undoubtedly play a blinder against his old team.
So where ever you turn you see the same stat: Arsenal have failed to score in four of their last six home matches in all competitions. And you can read that and say, “this is awful, disasterous, sell all the players, burn down the stadium etc,” or you can say, “all runs come to an end, so this one must be overdue for an ending.
There have been nine Premier League matches between Arsenal and Swansea. Each team has one four and there’s (rather logically given that piece of information) been one draw.
So here are the other statistical snippets…
- Arsenal have lost their last two competitive matches and haven’t lost three in a row in all competitions since April 2010.
- Arsene Wenger’s side have won eight and lost just one of their last 12 league matches at home.
- Mesut Ozil has 18 assists this season in the Premier League – only two behind Thierry Henry’s competition record, set in 2002-03.
But counteracting all this…
- Swansea have gone four league games without a victory (D2, L2).
- Their current points total (27) is their worst in a Premier League season after 27 games.
- They tend to let leads drop away once they have scored.
- They are nearly as useless as Aston Villa in terms of scoring.
The University of Salford’s Sports Analytics Machine gives this match a 57% chance of being a home win, 24% a draw and 19% an away win.
As for the team
Bellerin Mert Kos Monreal
Welbeck Ozil Alexis
I’ve left Ramsey out to give him a rest and give Elneny a game. Elsewhere on the beach that would leave Theo, Gibbs, Ospina, Gabriel, Campbell, Iwobi.
It was snowing earlier today in the Midlands, and I was fearful of making it to the game, but now the sun is out, so looks like we are all ok. Everyone in the car! Oh hang on, Mr W is on the phone asking for a copy of the team sheet…
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From the anniversary files…
- 2 March 1888: Aston Villa wrote to five other clubs to propose the setting up of a Football League. The proposal took off and Arsenal (being excluded from exclusively midlands and northern group) later tried to set up a Southern League. When that failed, and after a split in the club’s committee, joined the Football League in 1893.
- 2 March 1924: Cardiff 1 Arsenal 0 FA Cup round 2. This early exit from the cup undoubtedly hastened the departure of Knighton and arrival of Chapman. (See also 1924 players).
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The latest Untold book is Arsenal: The Long Sleep 1953-1970 with a Foreword by Bob Wilson, available both as a paperback and as a Kindle book from Amazon. Details of this and our previous and forthcoming titles can be found at Arsenal Books on this site.
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