By Bulldog Drummond
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Driving home on Thursday night I heard the headline news on BBC Radio 4 that there was trouble at the Palace. Curiously there didn’t seem to be any mention of football at all, and it all seemed to be about highly privileged people who are funded by the UK taxpayer not being happy with their lot and wanting to move to the Dominions.
So casting that aside here are the injury details ahead of the Palace game:
|Player||Reason||Further Detail||Potential Return|
|Calum Chambers||Knee Injury||Out for the season||29/08/2020|
|Kieran Tierney||Shoulder Injury||Out until April||14/03/2020|
|Hector Bellerin||Thigh Injury||Hamstring Strain 25% chance of playing||18/01/2020|
|Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang||Illness||Was reported ill on 6 January. Now seems fine.||11/01/2020|
Fortunately we have Maitland-Niles seemingly growing in strength, who can cover on one side, the return of Holding in the middle and Kolasinac on the left.
Beyond the injuries we do have some positives… including quite amazingly being unbeaten in five away matches in all competitions since the departure of Unai Emery. Which sounds great, except four of these were draws.
And because we have been looking at yellow cards of late here they are
Crystal Palace 32 yellows and one red from 227 fouls – one every 7.09 fouls
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Arsenal 52 yellows and one red from 222 fouls – one every 4.27 fouls.
Put another way the fouls are much the same but Arsenal are 62% more likely to get a yellow after a foul than Crystal Palace.
Anyway, the last time we were this low in the league after this many games was 1982.
|5||West Ham United||21||11||1||9||37||32||5||34|
|8||West Bromwich Albion||21||9||4||8||34||32||2||31|
Arsenal actually finished the league in 10th, after three seasons in the top four reaching the semi-final of both cups. Tony Woodcock was the top scorer.
This was a period of seven years without a trophy between winning the FA Cup in 1979 and winning the league cup in 1987.
It is interesting to look at how many teams in the top division now were still around then. The 2nd, 6th and 8th team as well as the three just above Arsenal, have all slipped away. Notts County are no longer in the Football League.
Anyway, a win at Palace would be three in a row – the first time since September. A clean sheet would mean four cleans in six. But we have only won one of the last 10 games against teams in the top 10 in the league.
Fortunately Aubameyang is expected to play as he has got eight of our 11 away goals.
Sportsmole give us
Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac;
Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang;
which looks rather likely to me.
The Daily Excess however has a variation at right back with
Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Saka
Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang;
The Evening Standard is however up to its old tricks again – which is a polite way of saying that it is being deliberately misleading. The headline reads “Arsenal XI vs Crystal Palace: Confirmed team news” but after that goes on to talk about a “predicted lineup”.
The following article contains phrases such as “Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is expected to recall Lucas Torreira and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang” (my emphasis), and again “Aubameyang should return to form part of a front four that also contains Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil and Nicolas Pepe”
They then tell us that “Reiss Nelson is pushing to start after scoring the winner against Leeds.”
Now this is all under a headline that read “Confirmed team news”, so we keep on waiting and looking and looking and waiting. Where is the “confirmed team news”?
“In defence, Hector Bellerin is likely to still be short on fitness as he recovers from a hamstring injury,” is the next section followed by “As a result, Ainsley Maitland-Niles should start at right-back”.
So still no confirmed – not even in the mind (if there is one) of the newspaper’s “journalist” Simon Collings although he does sound a lot more certain when he says, “In goal, Bernd Leno will take back his place after Emiliano Martinez started and kept a clean sheet against Leeds.”
Finally, Squwaka are out on their own with
Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac;
Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang;
- How tackling is changing in the PL and how it is affecting clubs’ position in the league
- A complete lack of an exit strategy is causing Arsenal havoc
- A forthcoming pre-season fixture we missed: the real north London derby!
- Arsenal keeper to be replaced by 8 year old who’s never played football
- Arsenal: ESR stays in dream team for next season, avoiding an almighty disaster?