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February 2021

PNE v Arsenal: the teams. Will there be fighting? and proof that Giroud is better than Messi

By Bulldog Drummond.

The fighting

Just on a month ago Preston North End were forced to fine two of their “players” (Jermaine Beckford and Eoin Doyle) for fighting each other on the pitch during a match against Sheffield Wednesday.   Both players were sent off, obviously, and the fines levied on the players were promised as refunds to Preston’s away fans for the cost of entry to the game.   Preston then made much of the fact that they were not going to appeal the red cards, and indeed it would have been rather difficult to do so given the action of the two players.

“We accept the punishment given to us by the club and the FA and fully support the club’s decision to refund the ticket costs to the supporters. We have apologised to the manager, the staff and our team-mates and hope that the supporters accept our total remorse for the incident.

“It is our intention to now put this behind us and to give our all for the benefit of Preston North End going forward.”

I wonder if they actually sat down and wrote that!

The injuries and the resting

Moving on to the non-fighting side of the game, Arsenal’s injury list has grown but contrary to the hysteria in the media we are nowhere near top of the pile (although you can expect many bloggettas and journalists to assert we are…)

1 Watford 11
1 Sunderland 11
3 Crystal Palace 10
4 Everton 8
4 Hull City 8
5 Liverpool 8
7 Arsenal 7
7 Middlesbrough 7
9 Southampton 6
9 West Ham United 6

The injured are listed on as

Player Injury Return date Comments
M Ozil Illness January 7, 2017 Major Doubt
K Gibbs Knee Injury January 14, 2017 Slight Doubt
T Walcott Calf Strain January 14, 2017 Slight Doubt
M Debuchy Hamstring Injury January 14, 2017
P Mertesacker Knee Injury January 31, 2017
F Coquelin Hamstring Injury January 31, 2017
 Santi Cazorla Recovery from op  ?

I would suggest that Mesut misses this game and comes back for the next one, and that Walcott and Gibbs will also be available for that game also.

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In addition to the injuries we have Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny and Alexis Sanchez being told to go on holiday.  On Alexis Mr Wenger said, “I don’t look too much how people talk, I look how much they want to win. What is surprising there? You want to see that kind of passion. You don’t come down from 3-0 down from 70 minutes without that passion. We wanted to win the game and we didn’t and we’re all frustrated. Mentally and physically Sánchez is a bit jaded. You could see that he is tired. He can have sometimes emotional reactions but face to face he is always very respectful.”

Mr Wenger added, “We know that after a congested Christmas period that the third round is always a tricky game,” he said.   That is why I believe it is a mental challenge for the Premier League teams to prepare well and not have a bad surprise – especially when you go to a Championship team, it is always difficult.”

Results and level of agricultural activity in the style of play

Preston have won just one of their last 15 FA Cup games against Premier League and 1st Division sides, that being the defeat of Derby in January 2008.   We’ve lost one of the last 36 – a defeat to Blackburn in 2013.

Looking at a possible team my biggest doubt is Lucas Pérez who has an ankle injury from the Bournemouth game.    But if he can play I’d go with


Jenkinson Gabriel Holding Monreal

Ramsey Xhaka

Pérez  Iwobi  The Ox


Of course it is a guess as to when Jenkinson might come back, and I don’t think there is any reason why Bellerin should not play, except to give Jenkinson another chance.  Likewise Mustafi could play, and indeed Mustafi and Gabriel could play together, but Holding wants games, and Gabriel will become back up again once Koscielny recovers.

So with that sort of line up we might have building sandcastles a beached array of

Welbeck, Bellerín, Mustafi, Maitland-Niles, Reine-Adelaide, Martinez, Akpom.

And that, mes amis, is that.

Untold Arsenal: Preston v Arsenal and other stuff like that

Wenger ponders whether Yaya Sanogo will ever really be good enough for Arsenal. 


Train warnings, price rises, stupid kick offs, West Ham lose. Stay tuned for the magic of the cup.

Preston North End v Arsenal. The battle of the invincibles and film of the last time the sides met

Referee Appointments and Results Matchweek #14 complete with video evidence

How football laid down the rules for the post-truth world

New from the Arsenal History Society – all the player histories indexed.  The AHS player histories tend to be more detailed than those on the official Arsenal site – especially for players from the early part of Arsenal’s history.  Now we are undertaking the huge task of indexing the main articles.  Players with surnames A to K have been linked to their main articles and we are continuing the task day by day.

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