by Tony Attwood
So at the start of the week we got three goals in nine minutes and then on Thursday it was two goals in three minutes. Which rather suggests that for supporters the trick with Arsenal under Freddie it seems is to find the right ten minutes to watch. The trouble is, what with the travelling from the midlands to London for each home game, that’s not really a viable option for me. Watching the whole match seems to be the only way to do it.
But it was an interesting team to watch on Thursday and not necessarily one we will see again. Konstantinos Mavropanos returned after what seems an eternity out with injuries – the last times I can recall seeing him was right at the end of Mr Wenger’s final season, after which he vanished before returning some weeks back playing in the Football League Trophy match in Peterborough.
And apart from Mavropanos, Joseph Willock, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson all started and Martinelli came on as a sub, which shows just how much quality we have coming up through the ranks. This may not be a perfect season to watch, but if we can keep those players at the club, rather than have them hounded out by the media and the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal we could be onto something rather exciting in the next few years.
Saka was the star of course, as he put in the perfect assist for Lacazette’s goal, and then to show that was not a one-off went on and scored the second. His comment was delightful too: “It was beautiful for me because that is what I am judged on. To score one and make one is a good night.”
Freddie called him, “amazing,” adding, “He was a bit upset with me because he had to play wing-back and full-back because he doesn’t like it so much. But he’s a tremendous talent as you could see again. His final ball is always effective and there’s always an end product to his work.”
But beyond Saka of course there were multiple mumblings about the alleged lack of quality on the pitch, but that is now par for the course. Journalists have a collection of anti-Arsenal phrases set up ready to roll on their computers each time they come to write a commentary and out they all come. And obviously these are not the very best of times for Arsenal, but at least we aren’t Newcastle or Burnley, who happen to be playing each other this weekend.
Newcastle have a 38.3% of possession rate this season, which is lower than any other club anywhere not only in the Premier League but also in the top Spanish League, French League, German League and Italian League – and that is really quite an achievement. Burnley are third bottom in the Premier League possession rankings with 42.7%.
So what happens when they meet each other? Since it would clearly be abhorrent for either team to have half of the possession let alone more, presumably the referee will need to play his part with his assistants and make sure that they have the ball for the rest of the game. Certainly passing can’t be on the agenda.
Moving on to different matters, here’s a thought… 16 of the top 100 women in world football play in the English WSL, and five of them are with Arsenal. That is not quite as good as Lyon where six of the top 11 players in the world play for Lyon, but it’s getting there. Here’s the league table for our women’s team, who this week knocked up another massive score, this time in the cup, beating London Bees 9-0.
That makes it 31 goals in the last five league and cup games. Here’s the top of the league table.
- Arsenal squad for Europa League game
- The abuse of female footballers is appalling, but there is a wider context
- Why Arsenal v Glimt might be tougher than the game against Tottenham
- Is the team that passes the most, the team that gets the best results?
- Arsenal Women – Champions League last 16 draw – We get the toughest opponents