by Tony Attwood
As I was bemoaning the fact that we will play Atlético Madrid in the semi-finals of the Europa League Blacksheep (whose birthday it is today, and since he splashed my last birthday all over Untold, I shall say happy birthday here although without mentioning his age – a privilege he singularly faileed to give me) pointed that if we are to win it, we have to play them sometime.
And at least this way we get a chance to play them home and away. Which I think is a good point.
Or to put it another way, as the Guardian said, “after surviving a scare to come from two goals down to draw 2-2 against CSKA Moscow on Thursday night” we are playing the Spanish child traffickers (although they didn’t quite put the last bit like that).
Oh yes and, “it will be a first European semi-final in nine years for Arsène Wenger’s side”, who will play the first leg at the Ems on 26 April before the return leg on 3 May.
I wonder, do they ever say about Tottenham in the FA Cup “it will be their chance to win a trophy in 10 years”, or “their chance to get to their first FA Cup final in 17 years”. They might have written it, but I must have missed it. And besides, balance in matters football is never really the media’s style.
So for Arsenal it is, as the article went on to say, “their only chance of winning silverware”. I know that, obviously, since I go to most of the home games, and read the papers and listen to the radio and watch TV, but why does it need saying over and over – or if it does, why just about Arsenal? As far as I can see Liverpool, Tottenham, and Manchester United each have a chance of winning one pot this season. Like Arsenal. Man City can win two, having won the League Cup beating us in the final. Is it not also Liverpool, Tottenham’s and Man U’s ONLY CHANCE of winning something?
Yes of course the Europa is also our chance of qualifying for the Champions League next season, but I would be surprised (very pleasantly surprised but still surprised) if we do get into that competition we will get into the semi-finals of that next season. We might, but if we do, I shall be surprised.
That doesn’t mean I’ve given up on Arsenal, it is just I think that next season will be a significant improvement on this one, given that we have our new forward line in place now, but I am not sure if our new defence will be all in place and fully functional at a high enough level to beat the likes of PSG, Bayern, Barcelona and the rest. Maybe we will make a lot of progress, but given the choice between going out in one of the first two knock out rounds of the Champs League and having a chance of a trip to the final of the Europa, I’d choose the latter for next season, and leave the Champs to the season after.
But that’s just me. It doesn’t mean I support the club any the less or that I will give up my season ticket. It’s just I think rebuilding takes time.
As Lacazette said in an interview, speaking of winning the Europa, “It will save our season because in the Premier League we are not doing well. Winning a cup would be good.” Absolutely.
And of course Lacazette made 275 appearances for Lyon, his hometown club. As he said, “I really want to be in the final to play in front of my family and friends. But it’s not only that – I came to Arsenal because I want to win trophies.”
Looking at our next opponents in the Europa, they don’t look too frightening in terms of recent results…
|04/03/18||League||Barcelona||1 – 0||Atlético Madrid||L|
|08/03/18||UEL||Atlético Madrid||3 – 0||Lokomotiv Moskva||W|
|11/03/18||League||Atlético Madrid||3 – 0||Celta de Vigo||W|
|15/03/18||UEL||Lokomotiv Moskva||1 – 5||Atlético Madrid||W|
|18/03/18||League||Villarreal||2 – 1||Atlético Madrid||L|
|01/04/18||League||Atlético Madrid||1 – 0||Deportivo La C…||W|
|05/04/18||UEL||Atlético Madrid||2 – 0||Sporting CP||W|
|08/04/18||League||Real Madrid||1 – 1||Atlético Madrid||D|
|12/04/18||UEL||Sporting CP||1 – 0||Atlético Madrid||L|
In the last nine games they have five wins, three defeats and a draw. Our last nine gave us six wins, two defeats and a draw. And our matches are much harder than theirs because the Premier League is the toughest league in the world. I know that is true because I heard a man on TV say it.
- It’s Marseille, Leipzig or Red Bull Salzburg, and Mo Elneny is nowhere near good enough
- EL: CSKA Moscow – Arsenal : 2-2
- Arsenal the most penalised by refs among the current top four teams
- Mykhaylo Mudryk now listed in 17 different articles as coming to Arsenal!
- Arsenal attacking problems… what attacking problems?
- Men’s football returns at last: Arsenal in action this afternoon
- Is the injury to Gabriel Jesus equivalent to the assault on Eduardo in 2008?