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April 2021
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Arsenal make it through the night, and rather jolly it was too

By Tony Attwood

“They came, they sanitised, they socially distanced,” says the Guardian while the Daily Mail goes with “‘The Europa League group phase doesn’t motivate some of the players’: Jose Mourinho accuses his Tottenham side of not taking European games seriously after conceding late equaliser at LASK”

The Mail does have an Arsenal headline, “Arsenal secure much-needed win in front of 2,000 supporters with Alexandre Lacazette among the scorers as Mikel Arteta’s side maintain 100 per cent Europa League record against Rapid Vienna.”

Which is a bit odd in the use of much needed, because we’ve won all the games in the group so far and its not the team that will play against the tiny totts at the weekend.  But still, its the Mail.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
Arsenal FC 5 5 0 0 16 3 13 15
Molde FK 5 3 0 2 7 9 -2 9
SK Rapid Wien 5 2 0 3 9 11 -2 6
Dundalk FC 5 0 0 5 6 15 -9 0

The Premier League progression might be not the slightest bit what we want, but you can’t get better than maximum points.  And although the media won’t mention it, it is also true that no one else can equal maximum points – no other Europa team has five wins.

But let’s be magnanimous, we are not top scorers.  Bayer Leverkusen have scored 17 goals but they have eight against.  Nor do we have the best defence (Dinamo Zagreb have let in nil, but then they have had a couple of goalless draws.)

Alexandre Lacazette, we now see, is a number 10.  I knew he was something, but not quite sure what.  And Pepe is a really good player.  Maybe in a most curious way that sending off was just what he needed.  He’ll play again in the final game I’m sure, and then be ready to return to the first team as a completely different player.

Oh yes and overall we had 71% of possession, and 22 shots, half of which were on target.  But of course the negativists have taken over the control tower, and even with a win like that against lesser opposition, they still can’t actually enjoy anything.

And that is rather sad.  What sort of life do these people lead where everything under the sun has to be seen as a negative?

The Daily Mirror didn’t quite got ultra neg but did think that the question of “Why Arsenal are wearing third kit at home against Rapid Vienna” was the key point to raise.  But one can understand that.  When the whole paper and their Football.London offspring is dedicated to knocking Arsenal, it is a bit of a problem when the reserves put on a good show.

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Caught Offside went with “Doesn’t make sense” – These Arsenal fans are gutted as Arteta leaves young star on the bench…”  It is difficult to know what that headline means in relation to the short text that follows but they give a slight clue with “you could understand if Arteta decided to play some of his big players in the hope that it might give them a confidence boost.”

The Metro did better however with “Martin Keown and Peter Crouch hail ‘fantastic’ Arsenal star after Rapid Vienna victory”   That’s Ainsley Maitland Niles they are speaking about, and let’s hope he can get enough league games to make him want to stay at the club.

Mind you the Metro also has “Jose Mourinho disagrees with Eric Dier over claim that Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is ‘most exciting young manager in Europe’.”   But then he would wouldn’t he.

But to be fair most of the blogs talk about Arsenal thrashing the opposition, and Arsenal putting on a show.  Now of course we wait for the draw… for the tickets for the next game.

As for the Tottenham game, to say I am nervous would be something of an understatement.  Time to phone up and see if my regular pub is open for TV watching.   If only they served better food….

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