By Tony Attwood
And so we get to the end of the club by club preview in the papers we find that “Arsenal in chaos, may make fifth, no money without selling lots more” is the summary of it all.
Elsewhere “Manchester City will push Liverpool all the way, Jose Mourinho CAN deliver Spurs a trophy and it’s great to have Leeds back!” according to the Mail Dailu Mail
And in case you wanted more of that “Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ‘will imminently sign his new contract’ to make him Arsenal’s highest-paid player – with his big-money three-year deal worth more than Mesut Ozil’s £350,000-per-week wage packet”
And then, staying with the Mail. just in case you had not got it yet they also did it in bullet points
- “Aubameyang’s new three-year Arsenal contract to be signed ‘imminently’
- Gunners captain is poised to eclipse Mesut Ozil as the club’s highest earner
- German earns £350,000 a week under terms of his current Arsenal contract
- Aubameyang’s decision follows months of negotiations and uncertainty
- The 31-year-old, who scored 29 times last term, was into his final 12 months
- Manager Mikel Arteta and player’s father were influential in his decision”
There is, below these bullets and headlines, nothing new at all. It the story that has been around for a long time. Oh except that we got a list of Arsenal’s highest earners…
- Mesut Ozil – £350,000-a-week
- Willian – £220,000-a-week
- Aubameyang – £200,000-a-week (set to rise to more than Ozil)
- Alexandre Lacazette – £182,000-a-week
- Pepe – £140,000-a-week
- David Luiz – £125,000-a-week
Except we got a little reminder that he scored 31 goals in his first full season and 29 in his second.
So that’s it and we we prepare to play Fulham. Two years ago they went bonkers in the transfer window spending £110m net in an attempt to stay up, before going up to the first division, only to find that spending all that money took them straight back down. This summer they have been more cautious:
- Anthony Knockaert; Winger — from Brighton; £15m
- Antonee Robinson; Defender — from Wigan; £1.9m
- Mario Lemina; Midfielder — from Southampton; loan
- Harrison Reed; Midfielder — from Southampton; £6m
- Alphonse Areola; Goalkeeper — from Paris Saint-Germain; loan
- Kenny Tete; Defender — from Lyon; £3m
After the games restarted last season Fulham had a dodgy start losing to the two promotion rivals Brentford and Fulham, conceding five across the two games and no scoring a single goal.
But then they came good, with five wins and two draws in the remaining seven games – enough to put them in the play offs.
Fulham after dodgy post lockdown start came good. They beat Cardiff away, perversley then lost to them at home, and finally beat Brentford to win the Championship play off and come back to the Premier League. Which meant that like Arsenal, they hardly had a break.
Here’s how the Championship looked at the end.
|2||West Bromwich Albion||46||22||17||7||77||45||32||83|
Interestingly they got promotion (via the play off) having scored far fewer and conceded far more than Brentford.
Anyway, despite their tendency to yo yo between the leagues we have managed to knock up 39 competitive games against them, of which we have won 39 and they have won eight, the rest being draws, out of the 57 games.
Looking across recent seasons it has been rather a good spell for us, as we might expect, for after a blip in 2011 and 2012 we have won five in a row, scoring nine in the last two – all the games being in the Premier League.
|22 May 2011||Fulham v Arsenal||D||2-2|
|26 Nov 2011||Arsenal v Fulham||D||1-1|
|02 Jan 2012||Fulham v Arsenal||L||2-1|
|10 Nov 2012||Arsenal v Fulham||D||3-3|
|20 Apr 2013||Fulham v Arsenal||W||0-1|
|24 Aug 2013||Fulham v Arsenal||W||1-3|
|18 Jan 2014||Arsenal v Fulham||W||2-0|
|07 Oct 2018||Fulham v Arsenal||W||1-5|
|01 Jan 2019||Arsenal v Fulham||W||4-1|
And that should remind us that between 2009 and 2012 they were a decent mid-table team finishing 7th, 8th, 9th and 12th across those four seasons.
Of course reality means nothing when the media looks at Arsenal, and the previews inevitably comment on “years of defensive incompetence”.
More on that later.
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