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Arsenal nay-sayer takes a little step forward by recognising last Christmas

By Tony Attwood

How wrong can an opening sentence be?   Take that from Kaya Kaynak who is described as the “Arsenal Writer” at Football London.   He says, “Last time out it’s safe to say that Arsenal’s Premier League campaign did not go to plan.”

Safe to say?  No, it most certainly isn’t.  The timing may not have been to plan – but none of us knows how long Mr Arteta thought it would take to stop the referees handing out yellow cards to Arsenal twice as often as they did for other teams, by changing Arsenal’s entire style of defensive play.  But the idea of cutting down tackles and therefore fouls and therefore yellow cards could have such an effect as to make Arsenal the second most successful team in the PL for the last two thirds of the season: that plan certainly came off.

To be fair Mr Kaynak does recognise that by Christmas Arsenal were 16th, with “fewer goals scored than every team except for Burnley, Sheffield United and West Brom.”

And here’s the thing – as far as I know he’s the first FoLo man to note “a second half to the season that would have left them second if the league had started on Boxing Day.”

Not quite true of course (but this is FoLo so its never quite true – Christmas last year came one third of the way through the season, because we started late, because of the pandemic… but I speak he detail.  He got some of it right, and that’s a big step forward.

Except that he then seems to have been ordered by his editors to mention the mythological difficult start to next season which includes one more top six encounter than we might have expected by the law of averages.

But then – and this is the really amusing bit, having designated games against members of the top six across the years as difficult, he calls a game against a club that has never been in the top six “a banana skin.”

So now every game is problematic, despite playing the last two thirds of last season as runners-up.  And this he says might encourage Edu “to speed up their transfer business so that Arsenal are not caught short for the start of the campaign.”

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