By Bulldog Drummond
As we have mentioned before, Arsenal are suffering a multiplicity of injuries at the moment – only Crystal Palace has more, and this situation has been running since the season started.
While some clubs linger on one or two players out, we are consistently near the top of the injury table…
- Crystal Palace: 8
- Arsenal: 7
- Chelsea: 7
- Everton: 7
- Manchester City: 7
- Newcastle United: 7
- Burnley: 6
- Leicester City: 4
Of course as the table shows we are not alone, but what is interesting is that we are constantly up or near the top.
Again as mentioned before, in the old days the answer to this was Mr Wenger – his obstinate use of antiquated training methods (It was alleged) meant that we get more injuries. But he’s been gone and the pattern is still the same – it is always Arsenal at or near the top, while other clubs go up and down.
Could it be that we are targeted by other teams who foul Arsenal safe in the knowledge that the referee works for PGMO? Of course I have no evidence of that at all, but the stats that revealed Leicester’s strange behaviour last season might help us again now. We’ll see how the season progresses, but one thought comes to mind: do Arsenal players get tackled and fouled more than those from other teams?
So far I’ve only been looking at fouls committed by teams – which led to the Leicester revelations. So at the moment I don’t know but I’ll keep looking – it could be an area of interest.
One thing we do know is that if we win tonight we’ll play either Lincoln or Liverpool away. Come on Lincoln!
What we also know is that Arsenal is seemingly covid free as the Mail tells us that “Arsenal ‘returned a complete set of negative Covid-19 tests’ three days after facing West Ham… who returned three positive results shortly before their Carabao Cup win over Hull.”
Picking up that story in the Mail I then also found that the normally fanatical right wing paper is turning on our beloved Prime Minister, with the headline, “Boris Johnson loves football only when it suits him. Yes, the sport should pick up its own tab, but spare us the political point-scoring.”
Elsewhere the paper notes that “The Premier League sparked a public battle with the Government on Tuesday by strongly condemning their decision to exclude fans from stadiums — a blanket ban that is expected to remain in place for most of the season.”
At a time when grouse shooting has been given the all clear to continue, it does seem rather as if the sports of the toffs are allowed to continue while football is heavily criticised. Which is coincidentally exactly what happened in the first world war. Hose racing carried on regardless, while the right wing newspapers ran a weekly campaign against the Football League’s decision to keep playing. On that occasion the League completed the 1914/15 season and then continued by playing in a group of regional leagues.
So the Mail is going now with “Premier League at WAR with Government over ruling to keep fans out of stadiums as football is SNUBBED over cash aid package for sport with top flight told to pick up the bill ”
And it also has a piece concerning further financial trouble ahead: “Premier League clubs facing rebate demands from Asian rights holders that could cost tens of millions with broadcasters unhappy at rescheduling of matches to evening kick-offs to benefit domestic fans” which is portrayed as an exclusive by Matt Hughes.
But fear not for all this ploughing around the grim depths of right wing popularism was rewarded in the end by something else new… “Premier League clubs split over whether to foot bill for Covid tests for Carabao Cup opponents as Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham opt to pay but Man United and City decide AGAINST forking out for lower league teams.”
The point being that the clubs each have to pay for their players’ tests and the lower league clubs, which are utterly dependent on crowds at games for their income, are now in dire trouble. Many clubs are expressing solidarity with lower league clubs knowing that without them English football is going to lose a lot of its allure.
Brentford, interesting, turned down West Brom’s offer and agreed to pay their own bill. Hull did the same concerning their game with West Ham.
The point is that although PL clubs are testing all the time, lower league clubs are not, because of the cost, and certainly it seems on the face of it outrageous that there is a Mancunian refusal to pay. This has caused a lot of concern because if players are not tested and then are positive then the virus could spread more rapidly as a result of these games between PL and EFL clubs. Aston Villa, Burnley, Fulham and Newcastle are all now refusing to pay for lower league clubs to have tests.
If covid does start to spread among players, then either we are going to see more squad rotation than ever before, or the League programme could be abandoned.
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