by Bulldog Drummond
It’s one of those funny end of season games where a has to beat b unless c loses to d by six or more goals and e has a goalless draw. Or something. If Villa win, Watford need to better their result by two or more goals to survive on goal difference. Or may be Villa need to beat us by seven goals. So it will be nail biting. Or not.
Since the ghost games started it has been tough for Watford…
|20 June||Watford v Leicester City||D||1-1||Premier League|
|25 June||Burnley v Watford||L||1-0||Premier League|
|28 June||Watford v Southampton||L||1-3||Premier League|
|4 July||Chelsea v Watford||L||3-0||Premier League|
|7 July||Watford v Norwich City||W||2-1||Premier League|
|11 July||Watford v Newcastle United||W||2-1||Premier League|
|17 July||West Ham United v Watford||L||3-1||Premier League|
|21 July||Watford v Manchester City||L||0-4||Premier League|
Two wins, one draw, five defeats, seven conceded in the last two. For Arsenal it goes…
|17 June||Manchester City v Arsenal||L||3-0||Premier League|
|20 June||Brighton and Hove v Arsenal||L||2-1||Premier League|
|25 June||Southampton v Arsenal||W||0-2||Premier League|
|28 June||Sheffield United v Arsenal||W||1-2||FA Cup|
|1 July||Arsenal v Norwich City||W||4-0||Premier League|
|4 July||Wolverhampton W v Arsenal||W||0-2||Premier League|
|7 July||Arsenal v Leicester City||D||1-1||Premier League|
|12 July||Tottenham Hots v Arsenal||L||2-1||Premier League|
|15 July||Arsenal v Liverpool||W||2-1||Premier League|
|18 July||Arsenal v Manchester City||W||2-0||FA Cup|
|21 July||Aston Villa v Arsenal||L||1-0||Premier League|
Six wins, one draw, four defeats. Six goals conceded in the last nine.
So we are in the better form, as you would expect. And yet, strange as it is to remember, there was a time when Watford regularly got the better of us. Between November 1982 and April 1988 we played them 13 times and won just three. There was one draw and Watford won nine.
It is figures like that which remind me that our position near the top is never guaranteed. Our positions at the end of those seasons of regularly losing to Watford were: fourth twice, sixth twice, seventh twice, and tenth (that being the year in which we got to the semi-final of the FA Cup, 1983). Charlie Nicholas, who regularly pontificates on Sky on how Arsenal need to improve themselves, played in this team. He was our top scorer just once in 1986 with 18 goals.
But despite that dreadful run we have done better overall in the game against Watford, winning 17 and losing 12 overall, with two draws. Earlier this season they held us 2-2 at their place. Aubameyang gave us the two goal lead, they pulled level with a penalty on 81 minutes.
The BBC tell us Arsenal have scored in 67 of their last 70 league fixtures at home – the three we haven’t scored in have all been against Manchester CAS.
They also note that we have won the last league match in each of the last eight seasons, and have not lost at home on the final day since being defeated by the Tiny Totts in 1993 – 27 years ago.
If we do lose it would be the first time we have lost two games in a row in the relegation zone for the first time since 1983.
The Daily Canon give us a team of
Holding Luiz Tierney
Bellerin Ceballos Xhaka Saka
Pepe Lacazette Aubameyang
The Sun tell us we have a DEFENSIVE CRISIS (in capitals of course) but fortunately we still have enough players to put out a team.
Holding Luiz Tierney
Pepe Lacazette Aubameyang
Incidentally Sky Bet have returned to using those pesky tricky adverts which has a link top right that says “skip and return to site” which in fact takes you into their advertising. I thought that technique had been banned, but it seems not.
Anyway the Hard Tackle goes for the same as the Daily Canon. But SofaScore, a site I have not noticed before, has a superb graphic for both teams – the best I have seen. Dead simple, but really neat.
Holding Luiz Kolasinac
Bellering Xhaka Ceballos Tierney
Saka Nketiah Aubameyang
However I have saved for last, the laughable and disgracefully appalling BT Sport which this morning at 1020 has this on its website
Sunday 26th Jul 2020
This match has been postponed to play at a later date.
And to add to the fun, next to that sign saying the game is postponed they have the announcement
Join the home of live football today
I can only presume that final statement is meant to be ironic.
They are, as ever, completely wrong, lacking in all knowledge, semi-skimmed, and a bunch of turnips who should be laughed out of existence or alternatively thrown into a pit of vipers. They may have taken that statement down by the time you read this, but if not, just to prove my point, this is the link.
Quite how the Premier League can even begin to think of allowing the Sprout to sell peanuts outside the ground, let alone force us to buy a subscription just to watch one match, is completely beyond me. The PL should at the very least (and I mean the very least) take a decision never to deal with BT Sport again on the grounds of its total ineptitude and perfidious nature, and make that decision public.
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