By Bulldog Drummond
How to understate the bleedin’ obvious: “Arsenal have finished the season strongly.”
That comes from Who scored and it doesn’t quite bring across what has happened. We’ve won our last four games scoring nine conceding two. In ten of our last 23 games we have scored three or more goals. In our last seven games we have conceded four goals.
But, if you have not been paying attention you might be assuming that we regularly beat Brighton but this is not the case.
|5 Feb 1983||Arsenal v Brighton and Hove Albion||W||3-1||Division One|
|30 Jan 1988||Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal||W||1-2||FA Cup|
|26 Jan 2013||Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal||W||2-3||FA Cup|
|25 Jan 2015||Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal||W||2-3||FA Cup|
|1 Oct 2017||Arsenal v Brighton and Hove Albion||W||2-0||Premier League|
|4 Mar 2018||Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal||L||2-1||Premier League|
|26 Dec 2018||Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal||D||1-1||Premier League|
|5 May 2019||Arsenal v Brighton and Hove Albion||D||1-1||Premier League|
|5 Dec 2019||Arsenal v Brighton and Hove Albion||L||1-2||Premier League|
|20 Jun 2020||Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal||L||2-1||Premier League|
|29 Dec 2020||Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal||W||0-1||Premier League|
However we have got a selection of videos from the wins on the video collection page on the Arsenal History Society site which makes the whole thing a little easier to swallow.
But the BBC will have none of it, with Marc Lawrenson proclaiming that Arsenal’s improvement is “all a bit late, really, but then they always seem to play well when the pressure is off them.” It is perhaps his biggest load of ludicrous gibberish all season – and that’s saying something.
So a revival which started about one third of the way through the season is “a bit late”, and Arsenal picking themselves up when 15th in the table was “when the pressure is off”. I suppose a bit like when winning the Double a record three times, or the FA Cup 14 times (more than any other club). No pressure in those games either.
And of course all the misleading stuff is there, as it is piled on every day: “the most important thing for them is to get the summer right in terms of recruitment.” Well yes, if it means keeping this squad that has been the third best team since Christmas together. But otherwise it is more rabble rousing (see the last episode of “The four dangers” series linked at the end of this piece.)
Brighton however (we are told) “appear to be in very good shape” – having won two, drawn three and lost three in their last eight and now borrowing money against next year’s TV revenue.
So yes you can see the BBC really has appreciated just how well we have been doing since Christmas. They even tell us that our home points total is the worst since 1995, without noting that this season home and away form has been reversed due to lack of crowds. (Results from crowdless games are different from those with crowds. Why? might help the BBC on this one).
But they do give us one nice thought. “Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could become the first Gunners player since Alan Smith (1989-92) to score in the last match of four consecutive campaigns.”
So what of the teams, I hear you cry…
The Standard gives us
Chambers, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney;
Pepe, Odegaard, Saka;
The Guardian has a minor variant with Smith Rowe preferred
Chambers, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney;
Pepe, Smith Rowe, Saka;
Sports Keeda offer
Callum Chambers, Rob Holding, Gabriel, Kieran Tierney;
Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka;
Nicolas Pepe, Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka;
which aside from the addition of first names, is where we were when we started.
And SportsMole do the same apart from reversing the positions of Xhaka and Partey, so by and large I think we can take it that there is general agreement of who we might play from those available. So I guess we’ll leave it at that.
I’ll be back, I hope, in time for the prelims to next season.
The four dangers that could stop Arsenal’s return to greatness
- Arsenal face four huge dangers as they stand again on the edge of greatness
- The four dangers that could stop Arsenal’s rise next season. 2: The journalists
- The four dangers that could stop Arsenal’s rise: Part 3; returning to the tackle
- The four dangers that could stop Arsenal’s rise back to the top: Part 4 – the rabble rousers
- Beyond any doubt Infantino is getting his way. Next: Fifa will leave Zurich
- World Cup chaos: the bits you may have missed
- Fifa establish their unchallengable right to change football rules as they go
- Extraordinary report claims Arsenals’ FA Cup win was not a major trophy!
- 2022/23 Women’s Champions League Juventus v Arsenal – match preview