Arsenal v the eternal champions who are once again, well… you know.

by Bulldog Drummond

Since playing their first leg of the current Europa League round both Arsenal and Olympiacos have won – in the case of Olympiakos it was a 0-1 away win that means that the club is top of the league at the end of the first part of the season.  It also means that they are unbeaten.

Team P W D L F A D P
1 25 19 6 0 51 9 +42 63
2 25 18 4 3 49 22 +27 58
3 25 15 5 5 41 21 +20 50
4 25 11 8 6 31 22 +9 41
5 25 8 10 7 37 30 +7 34
6 25 9 4 12 32 35 -3 31
7 25 8 6 11 33 34 -1 30
8 25 8 5 12 29 35 -6 29
9 25 8 5 12 20 31 -11 29
10 25 5 12 8 19 30 -11 27
11 25 6 9 10 25 33 -8 27
12 25 7 6 12 22 38 -16 27
13 25 3 8 14 20 40 -20 17
14 25 4 4 17 15 44 -29 10

From this point on, with all the legal challenges to Olympiakos’ endless dominance of the league now set aside (at least for the time being) there are the play offs in which the top six teams in the league play off to see who will be champions.   It will be Olympiakos, because it is always Olympiacos.

Goal has a wonderful piece which argues that because Olympiakos has already played Tottenham the club knows all about Arsenal.  Which is rather odd because their own article has a quote from the Oly manager which says, “What I saw was one team like Tottenham, with experience, with great players and I saw one team like Arsenal, with young players who were not of the same maturity.”

“Arsenal is building a new team and Tottenham is the same team that it was three or four years ago. This is a huge difference. It’s not about the quality, it’s about maturity, experience.”

But at least Goal does get it right when it says that “If Arsenal avoid defeat on Thursday night it would extend their unbeaten start to 2020 to 11 games in all competitions.”

Rather neatly that run of ten started on 1 January and here it is…

Date Game Res
Score Competition
01 Jan 2020 Arsenal v Manchester United W 2-0 Premier League
06 Jan 2020 Arsenal v Leeds United W 1-0 FA Cup
11 Jan 2020 Crystal Palace v Arsenal D 1-1 Premier League
18 Jan 2020 Arsenal v Sheffield United D 1-1 Premier League
21 Jan 2020 Chelsea v Arsenal D 2-2 Premier League
27 Jan 2020 AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal W 1-2 FA Cup
02 Feb 2020 Burnley v Arsenal D 0-0 Premier League
16 Feb 2020 Arsenal v Newcastle United W 4-0 Premier League
20 Feb 2020 Olympiakos v Arsenal W 0-1 Europa League
23 Feb 2020 Arsenal v Everton W 3-2 Premier League

Six wins and four draws.  Not too bad.

The injury list for the match is not too awful considering where it has been at times…

Player Reason Detail Return Status
Calum Chambers Knee Injury Ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee. 29/08/2020 Ruled Out
Kieran Tierney Shoulder Injury Aiming to be in back in full training by the end of February 07/03/2020 Ruled Out
Cedric Soares Knee Injury Aiming to be in full training by the end of February. 02/03/2020 Ruled Out
Pablo Mari Villar Other Aiming to be available for selection for Olympiacos. No Return Date 50%
Sead Kolasinac Shoulder Injury Suffered a significant right shoulder injury (vs Everton) on Sunday. He will undergo further specialist assessments this week. No Return Date Ruled Out

So it is the same squad as we had available for the game against sticky people (sticky, toffee, Everton, geddit?  Oh never mind).

More anon.

4 Replies to “Arsenal v the eternal champions who are once again, well… you know.”

  1. The shoulder injury to Kolasinac was the result oif an elbow by Sidebe that wasn’t ‘seen’ by the officials nor was it checked by VAR. Considering the power used in the ariel challenge it should have been checked for a possible red card.

    PGMOL rules OK!

  2. I can’t imagine 😈 Mike Riley holding a news conference to say that decision was a VAR mistake.


    FIFA has a new “vision” statement out. They seem to have forgotten to document “increased corruption”. Maybe the bags of money will be made of white paper, instead of brown paper?

  3. A new paper, that is in the “news”

    Twelve eyes see more than eight. Referee bias and the introduction of additional assistant referees in soccer

    Andrea Albanese, Stijn Baert, Olivier Verstraeten


    This study is the first to investigate whether the introduction of additional assistant referees in the UEFA Europa League (2009–2010 season) and the UEFA Champions League (2010–2011 season) was associated with lower referee bias in terms of home and “big” team favouritism. To this end, we analyse a unique database with pre- and within-game characteristics of all games in seven recent seasons in these leagues by means of bivariate probit regression models. We find evidence for substantial referee bias before the introduction of additional referees, while no such evidence is found after the introduction. Furthermore, additional assistants go hand in hand with more yellow cards for both home and away teams. We show that these findings are robust to multiple operationalisations of referee bias and that they are not just picking up a general time evolution towards less referee bias or the effect of parallel reforms.

    The paper surveys the literature on referee bias. They also point to where they obtained their data. It appears that their data is available as a XSLX file.

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