These days we always have storms. Well in the last couple of weeks we have had two sweeping across where I live in the country and Storm Dennis is doing its stuff on Saturday, with leftover issues on the Sunday, meaning that trains, always dodgy in terms of timekeeping and the like could be even more disrupted than ususal.
But hopefully, a lot of the storm will have gone by kickoff time.
The “Arsenal station” website has the worrying headline, “Arsenal team news: 3 players fit to face Newcastle” personally I am hoping for more than three.
Football London certainly have found more than three and offer us this line-up
Bellerin, Mustafi, Luiz, Saka;
Martinelli, Ozil, Aubameyang;
On the other hand, Football Talk proclaims that
Bellerin, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac;
Pepe, Martinelli, Ozil,
Squawka brings us what it calls “realistic” line ups
Bellerin, Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac;
Martinelli, Ozil, Aubameyang;
Red London goes with
Bellerin, Luiz, Sokratis, Saka
Torreiram Xhaka, Ceballos
Pepe, Aubameyang Martinelli;
The Independent has one of the strangest headlines this year for Arsenal v Newcastle proclaiming
Arsenal vs Newcastle United: The Premier League’s own self-aggrandising, self-loathing derby
The argument goes that Arsenal and Newcastle might not admit it, but they are a lot alike. Big clubs situated in the focal point of a thronging city, owners reluctant to invest.
Err, well, yes, except Arsenal had a record transfer window last summer and a fat lot of good it did us. Exactly as happened to the other top five spenders last summer.
Anyway, we have to plough through the whole piece to find quite how this is a derby match. In the final paragraph, we get
In many ways, this is a “rivalry” of two sides who best encapsulate the fluctuating emotions not just of supporters but humankind, where insecurity stems from an unwavering sense of worth. The Premier League’s own self-aggrandising, self-loathing derby.
It is an interesting notion, that Arsenal has “an unwavering sense of worth”. Read the Arsenal blogs day by day and that is exactly what does not come across to me. It is endless criticism. Maybe the article would have been better off calling it the “A1 derby”.
What we got through the Emery reign, and the final Wenger period after coming runners up in 2016 and winning the FA Cup in 2017 for the record time 13th time (and record 7th for one manager), was a feeling among some supporters, egged on constantly by the media, that this was not good enough and the manager had to go.
Despite those two Arsenal managers having the highest win percentages of any managers serving over one season at Arsenal. 55% for Mr Emery, 57% for Mr Wenger. But then, who cares about win percentages, what matters is booing, jeering, and complaining.
What we have now is the worst home form at this stage of the season since 1924 when on 17 January of that year the home form for the club read virtually the same as now.
Home form only
|22||Preston North End||12||3||4||5||21||16||1.313||5||10|
The Goal Difference (GD) is shown for comparison with today, but teams on the same points were at this time separated by goal average – the number of goals scored divided by the number of goals conceded.
*Pts – points were calculated on two for a win, one for a draw.
So as we can see the record in 1923/4 at this time was identical for games won, drawn and lost at home, the goal average and goal difference was the same as well. Utterly identical.
By the end of the season that year Arsenal, at Highbury had played 21, won 8, drawn 5, lost 8, scored 25 and conceded 24.
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