By Bulldog Drummond
Everyone is full of tales of injury woes, but really Arsenal have had far fewer injuries than most teams this season.
According to Physioroom we have six men down at the moment, a number which is exceeded by
- Sheffield United: 8
- Brighton and Hove: 7
- Crystal Palace: 7
- Everton: 7
So yes we are fifth out of 20, a quarter of the way down the table. But considering that for a lot of the season we have been in the bottom quarter of the table, that’s not too bad.
And indeed Saka, Smith Rowe, Odegaard and Xhaka who are on the list might all be fit enough to play, or at least sit on the bench for a while.
We also face the issue of Aubameyang who is seemingly fit but in the last game looked as if he was hanging about in the midfield waiting for something to do. Criticising players is a very un-Untold thing to do, but really, that performance was going a little too far.
For the team Sports Mole give us
Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Cedric;
Saka, Odegaard, Pepe;
The Radio Times website doesn’t give us a team but does predict at 2-0 Arsenal win and lots of cards.
The Evening Standard has a new phrase for his predicted lineup, “The Likely XI” So here we go with the Likely Lads
Holding, Gabriel, Mari;
Cedric, Partey, Xhaka, Saka;
Odegaard, Aubameyang, Smith Rowe.
They put Auba back in the number 9 slot and use Odegaard, Saka and Smith Rowe in the team to feed him and help the goals return.
The Hard Tackle comes up with
Bellerin, Gabriel, Mari, Cedric;
Saka, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang;
So three match line ups in, and three variations on how we are going to score – Lacazette alone, Aubameyang alone, or both of them, with Smith Rowe behind.
Football.London have decided to take their antics to another level and not just introduced Kaya Kaynak to their writing squad but renamed their predictions at “Kaynak’s Arsenal XI”. He is, among other things, a TalkSprout man and he’s got another variation.
Bellerin, Chambers, Gabriel, Cedric;
Saka, Smith Rowe, Pepe;
But here’s an interesting thing, after Kaynak’s Arsenal, we get a piece by Andy Ha, the so-called “Trends Editor”
Bellerin, Holding, Mari, Cedric;
Saka, Smith Rowe, Aubameyang;
which is yet another variation. So FoLo have two goes and double their chances of saying tomorrow that “we got it right”.
So that is four “outlets” and five line ups, or should that be lines up?
Which just leaves WhoScored. Now we always used to rely on Football.London to give us a laugh, with their commitment to publishing a new Arsenal story every two hours, 24 hours a day. But really WhoScored is very much good for a laugh as well these days.
They allow readers to vote for various things, and quite clearly no one monitors what is going on. So at the moment that I write this (just after 10am on the day of the game) they tell us that the odds for various scores are:
Away win: 1-2. 18.18%
Home win: 15-0. 18.18%
Home win: 2-1. 18.18%
Home win 3-1. 18.18%
Home win 3-0. 9.09%
It doesn’t take much mathematical understanding to realise that just nine people have voted and a couple of them were having quite a laugh with their 15-0 (or maybe they found that one person could vote twice).
The problem is that these sites do love to set up automatic systems, and then just leave them there, even when they get hi-jacked.
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