By Bulldog Drummond
Although Arsenal went through the group stages last season as winners, there was a serious bit of slipping up going on in the second half of the campaign – exactly the point we are now at.
With three straight wins everything was plodding along nicely (although that third match saw something of a dodgy opening) but then it all fell apart…
|19 Sep 2019||Eintracht Frankfurt v Arsenal||W||0-3||UEFA Europa League 1|
|03 Oct 2019||Arsenal v Standard Liège||W||4-0||UEFA Europa League 2|
|24 Oct 2019||Arsenal v Vitória Guimarães||W||3-2||UEFA Europa League 3|
|06 Nov 2019||Vitória Guimarães v Arsenal||D||1-1||UEFA Europa League 4|
|28 Nov 2019||Arsenal v Eintracht Frankfurt||L||1-2||UEFA Europa League 5|
|12 Dec 2019||Standard Liège v Arsenal||D||2-2||UEFA Europa League 6|
In the end we came out on top but that didn’t help remove the sense of unease at those last three games, and it would be good if we could sort things out with a more positive spirit this time.
Certainly if the manager does put more youngsters in the team they will know it is their chance to shine – but I fear if he doesn’t then promote them to the League side, which as we know is struggling, they will start thinking, “If I don’t get in the team now, when will I?”
The Evening Standard doesn’t want to try its luck with a team even though they have some confirmed news, whatever that is, so they give us a squad. But even that has the word “from” in it.
Arsenal squad from: Leno, Macey, Runarsson; Bellerin, Cedric, Gabriel, Holding, Luiz, Mustafi, Tierney; Azeez, Ceballos, Cottrell, Maitland-Niles, Smith Rowe, Willock, Xhaka; Aubameyang, Balogun, Nelson, Nketiah, Lacazette and Pepe.
Sky Sports tell us that David Luiz will return to the squad for the Europa League tie against Molde.
At least Sports Mole does give it a shot…
Cedric, Mustafi, Luiz, Maitland-Niles;
Nelson, Willock, Smith Rowe;
The Independent has a bash with
Cedric, Mustafi, Luiz, Maitland-Niles,
Nelson, Willock, Smith-Rowe,
And you may have spotted that this is exactly the same team as Sports Mole have.
The BBC are not doing teams but they are good on stats including
- Molde had won three Europa League matches in a row before Arsenal beat them 4-1 in the reverse fixture earlier this month – but they haven’t lost consecutive matches in the competition since a run of a three games in October/November 2012.
As for Arsenal we are told that they
- have only been defeated once in their last 14 away games in the group stages of a major European competition (W10 D3), against FC Cologne in November 2017 in the only game they’ve failed to score in during this run.
And finally here’s a good one…
- Arsenal have scored at least once in each of their last 19 matches in major European competition (43 goals in total); they’ve only had a longer run once – 21 games between October 2003 and November 2005.
All those from the BBC.
As for the teams, we will see if this agreement over the lineup is valid. Here are a few more.
However the Hard Tackle has given us a variation
Cedric, Mustafi, Holding, Maitland-Niles;
Pepe, Willock, Nelson;
So there we are Pepe gets in the side.
And just one more… this from the Daily Express
Cedric, Mustafi, Luiz, Maitland-Niles;
Ceballos, Xhaka, Willock;
Pepe, Lacazette, Nelson.
Another vote for Pepe and a game for Lacazette. We shall of course see.
- Molde V Arsenal: injuries reach a new height and playing in front of a crowd
- Optimism to succeed and the case of Pepe
- Farewell honeymoon, the knives are now out for Arteta.
- Arsenal: a decade of mismanagement? How does the evidence stack up?
- The home and away scandal: ignorance, or cover up?
- The reason why Liverpool and Man C are ahead of Arsenal.
- How which referee a club gets has a major impact on the result of each game
- The statistical evidence that shows PGMO are biased against Arsenal
- How European football has taken up the fight against clubs breaking FFP