By bulldog Drummond
Of course we can always make something positive out of a big of a negative feel that is in the air, and so in the spirit of uplift it can be said that Arsenal have won four of their last five Premier League games, conceding just one goal in the process. Indeed the goal conceded in the FA Cup was the first goal in almost eight and half hours they have let in.
If this parsimonious approach to defending continues we could go five games without conceding in the League for the first time since 2006.
Or rather we could if the BBC website figures accorded with my data, but I can’t find that run in 2006. Still I am sure it is me that’s wrong, not the BBC.
But still the first part is true…
|29 Dec 2020||Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal||W||0-1||Premier League|
|2 Jan 2021||West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal||W||0-4||Premier League|
|14 Jan 2021||Arsenal v Crystal Palace||D||0-0||Premier League|
|18 Jan 2021||Arsenal v Newcastle United||W||3-0||Premier League|
However the BBC have caught up with our view that our defence is finally getting itself fully together pointing out that, “Only Aston Villa and Manchester City have conceded fewer away league goals than Arsenal’s eight this season.”
The BBC do tell us however the “The Gunners are looking to win three consecutive away Premier League games without conceding for the first time since 2013.”
Except they refrain from giving us the scores which were three cases of 0-1 wins against Fulham, QPR and Newcastle. We really could do with something a bit better.
So the good news is not quite as inspiring as it might sound. Indeed the last time we only had 23 goals after the first 19 games was 1998/9.
Here’s the league table for Christmas Day 1998
We actually finished the league that season in second place.
So onto the lineup and today’s picture is of the man who is clearly the first name on the teamsheet…
As for the rest of the team, Sports Mole give us
Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney;
Saka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli;
The Standard doesn’t give us a team but predicts a 1-1 draw.
Pain in the Arsenal live up to their name by making us flip through three pages in order to read the line up. So, to avoid that, here it is…
Hector Bellerin Rob Holding David Luiz Kieran Tierney
Thomas Partey Granit Xhaka
Emile Smith Rowe
Bukayo Saka Alexandre Lacazette
The Hard Tackle offers up
Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Tierney;
Saka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli;
which when it comes down to it is the same as Sports Mole.
Just Arsenal however goes for a change in the back four…
Bellerin Holding Luiz Soares
Saka Smith Rowe Martinelli
Everyone else is sticking pretty close to these lineups and certainly with no Aubameyang the team is pretty much picking itself.
We are top of the league for games played, so we could be getting ahead of ourselves but…
|7||West Ham United||19||9||5||5||27||22||5||32|
A win could take us up to 8th and leave us within a win of a “not a trophy” spot. Although I am wondering, as 4th was not a trophy, then what, two managers later, is 11th?
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