By Tony Attwood
Sports Keeda today say, “The Gunners start their campaign on August 12 against reigning champions Manchester City at the Emirates, before making a short trip to London rivals Chelsea a week later. If Wenger was still in charge, most supporters would have expected precisely no points from these two fixtures.”
This is either realistic or the normal sort of doom-laden Sgt Jones of Dad’s Army material that we have come to expect from the anti-Arsenal Arsenal.
And actually no, I think it is not right (as you would expect). Because last season we were brilliant at home – something the media and their 40 a day story generation blog machines, have utterly refused to acknowledge, even now. I keep publishing the home record from last season, in the vague hope that eventually some journalist somewhere will stumble across it and think, oh yes, actually that was a terrific home record, but no. We get sentences like that above.
Here is the home record one more time.
Why they refuse to acknowledge this is beyond me but the simple fact is that if Arsenal could improve their away form just a little, so it is back to their average away performance of recent years, things would change.
Last season we won four away from home. Over the previous four seasons, all of course under Mr Wenger, we wonder 8, 9, 10, and 11 games away from home. Each time we got something between 30 and 35 points instead of the 16 away points next season.
So if the new manager can just take us back to Mr Wenger’s average away performance of the previous four years (and surely most of the Wenger-hating “supporters” (I use the word in its broadest sense) will expect that, then we would without any other changes have 16 more points. Which would take us up to 78 points, and third place, assuming none of the other clubs changed in any way.
But will the others change?
Of course Man City are a stunningly powerful team. And their away record was terrific too which is why they won the league. They scored 45 goals and conceded 13 away from home – relevant since we are at home to them in the first game.
If matters continue as per last season, with our home form, and given that Man City will still have some players coming back to fitness after the WC, there might well be a chance.
Anyway, more to the point Sportskeeda give us their version of the line up for this match…
Bellerin Sokratis Chambers Monreal
Mkhitaryan Aubamayang Lacazette
There are some interesting choices there. Ramsey, it is assumed, will re-sign. But against Manchester City would we play Ozil and Ramsey? Should we not play Torreira and Xhaka against an attack like theirs?
And in that front line, why not play Auba on the wing where he has played and has been effective at drawing off the defence leaving Laca more space in the middle, which means Auba can move in when he sees the gap?
The writer ends… that Arsenal will be the “dark horses for a top-4 position”. So that means 5th or 6th, but with an outside chance of rising up.
Let’s consider this: although obviously we are a long way from the new season, by looking at where we are now… The first column obviously gives last season’s positions.
|1||Manchester City||Barring a middle east war, the collapse of the oil price, or a coup I’d expect Man C to win the league by a mile, once more, since they can buy whomsoever they way|
|2||Manchester United||Scoring 38 goals fewer than Man C and buying a defender and midfielder this summer doesn’t make me think they can launch an attempt to overtake Man C. But Top 4, yes of course.|
|3||Tottenham Hotspur||No new players so far and scoring the same goals as Arsenal even with SuperKane the Wonderboy. What could go wrong? Kane get injured or tired? New Stadium jinks? Could be. Could drop out of the top four.|
|4||Liverpool||Spent £146m nett. Chances are with that spending they will overtake Tottenham. Maybe even Man U.|
|5||Chelsea||Had the worst home record of the top six and scored the fewest goals and then bought a midfielder Stadium project off. Owner lost his work visa. 18 players out 1 in. New manager. I have my doubts about their being settled enough for top four.|
|6||Arsenal||New manager, scoring more goals in the latter part of the season with the new forward line, new defence which looks like it can address the away for issue. I’d say top four for sure.|
In short I think Arsenal have a good chance of holding onto their home form, and getting the away form back to normal, plus I think two clubs are facing particular problems at the moment.
Of course I am usually very wrong, but at least it gives some people a laugh, and my predictions are never quite as bad as those stories about the 110 players we are going to buy in the summer.
- Arsenal v Wolverhampton: the club that gets cards at over twice the rate of Arsenal
- Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers: where will each team finish?
- Arsenal v Lens: what we found, what we felt, what they did
- Arsenal v Lens: the team, the home/away form and the strange coincidences
- Arsenal v Lens: they had a poor start but are now flying