by Bulldog Drummond
There is something very odd happening in Europe. Manchester City 1 Lyon 2, for a start. Plus a headline in one of the usually Tot supporting papers that says that Tottenham need forward momentum to make the system work. And there I was thinking that they had God’s great gift to footballing mankind as their forward line. But we also had the headline Inter 2 Tottenham 1 which I suppose makes that headline right.
These things were not on the script, and some “outlets” are in a start of panic as the already prepared texts don’t have anything to cope with this.
Oh yes and tucked away between all the European chit chat there is also the realisation that if one wins the first five matches at the start of the season that doesn’t automatically mean one wins the Premier League! Shock horror!! Oh my goodness!!! Is no assumption safe????
We did it in 2004 and ended up 2nd in 2005. But of course that was Arsenal and what would you expect?
But then so did Manchester United in 2011/12.
Manchester City fared even worse, winning all the games at the start in 2015 and being 4th in 2016. And then again third in 2017. Although none as good as Newcastle in 1994 with a winning streak at the start, and then coming 6th at the end of the season. That does take a bit of doing.
Of course it does work sometimes, but things at the moment are certainly odd enough to make more rational people expect upsets. However in the media most journalists seem to be under instruction to carry on as normal, probably because no one has time to re-write all the pre-arranged headlines.
So there’s this in the Metro:
“Emery has already admitted that he plans to rotate his side following their 2-1 win over Newcastle United on Saturday.” And that after us being told that Mr E said he wasn’t going to change the team. Or maybe he didn’t say he wasn’t. Or… ah well.
Oh yes and we have an awfully large number of pieces using the phrase “ring the changes” as if Arsenal were a countryside church. Likewise at the moment it seems completely impossible to write an article about Arsenal in the Europa without saying “Unai Emery – who won the competition three times with Sevilla…”
Meanwhile in the rest of the oft-repeated news, Sead Kolasinac, Laurent Koscielny, Ainsley Maitland-Niles are out injured. Plus Chelsea are the favourites to win the trophy at 7/1 and Arsenal are second favourites at 9/1.
So is there anything else we have learned that is new? Anything at all?? Anything???????
Well, Henrikh Mkhitaryan played in Ukraine from 2009–2013 for Metalurh Donetsk and Shakhtar Donetsk, and he scored two goals against Vorskla for each club.
Oh yes and here’s one: Mkhitaryan played in a team that contained the ex-Vorskla goalkeeper Bohdan Shust for both of the Donetsk clubs. And he played in the same team as Olexandr Chyzhov at Shakhtar. And he even played in the Armenian national team with Gegam Kadimyan. Each of whom may, or may not, be playing this evening.
What are the chances of that?
As for the team, I think the one thing that everyone agrees on is that Leno is in goal. This team from the Daily Telegraph is pretty much where most of the pundits are going, (if they are going anywhere other than round in circles…)
Lichtsteiner, Holding, Mustafi, Monreal
Mkhitaryan, Smith Rowe, Iwobi
Which then leaves Eddie on the beach along with Joe Willock, both of whom might well come on at some stage if that is the line up and assuming we are winning quite easily.
So, is there nothing else on the websites to entertain us before the game?
Well, there are one or two good bits like “Arsenal did not build the Emirates to play Vorskla on a Thursday night” which is quite a challenging statement from the
And yes we still have one “all you need to know” It comes from Arsenal Mania, and it is played with a straight bat.
“Everything you need to know ahead of Arsenal vs Vorskla”
It’s so good that the old traditions are maintained, as with “Unai Emery begins his Europa League campaign with Arsenal against Ukranian minnows Vorskla Poltava.” Ah “minnows” – I’d almost forgotten that word. We used to have that in the FA Cup every year but now…
And one more to ease you on your way. “Charlie Nicholas is backing Arsenal to ease to a narrow win over Vorskla Poltava in their Europa League opener at The Emirates on Thursday night.” That’s all right now. I can carry on the day happy. That was in the Sports Review.