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Arsenal v Newcastle and when life in Europe really isn’t worth it

By Bulldog Drummond

We’ve often repeated the phrase “fourth is not  trophy” which was endlessly used by the Anti-Wengerians during the record-breaking era of constant appearances in the Champions League.  So often in fact that it hardly bears repeating – and yet as a symbol of getting into Europe it does have a certain force.  Not least because Tottenham managed it last season, and we didn’t.

Indeed two points more last season and it would have been Arsenal playing in the Europa Conference and not Tottenham.  But they got the points, we didn’t and they have the honour of the Conference.  And indeed a new manager – which is what the AAA wanted Arsenal to have early this season.

But one wonders if Tottenham really thought it was worth it following yesterday’s result against the mighty Mura, who in one match against the tiny totts gained their first points of the Europa campaign (in their fifth match) and doubled their entire goal tally for the competition by scoring two to the tottingham’s one.

Mura are currently fifth in the ten team Slovenian league, having won five of their sixteen games this season – which shows their strength, and gives an insight into Tottenham’s too.

Tottenham may still go through to the knock out stages to give us more amusement (they and Vitesse are currently both on seven points in second place with one game to go), but it does suggest that the Arsenal campaign of last season in which we won all six group stage games, should not be so readily forgotten.

On the other hand nor should the benefits of not playing in the Europa be instantly set aside for it means our entire squad has been in London, working on the recovery from the Liverpool defeat, preparing for the match against Newcastle.

Our defeat to the Liverpool team whose approach perhaps we might call “singularly rumbustious” given the way they upped the level of fouling for the match, has knocked Arsenal down the “last six” league table.  But recent results haven’t been going that well for Newcastle either.  Here’s the full table…

Last six games table
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Chelsea 6 5 1 0 18 2 16 16
2 Manchester City 6 4 1 1 13 5 8 13
3 Wolverhampton Wands 6 4 1 1 9 7 2 13
4 West Ham United 6 4 0 2 10 6 4 12
5 Liverpool 6 3 2 1 20 7 13 11
6 Arsenal 6 3 2 1 8 7 1 11
7 Crystal Palace 6 2 4 0 12 8 4 10
8 Southampton 6 3 1 2 7 7 0 10
9 Tottenham Hotspur 6 3 1 2 7 8 -1 10
10 Leeds United 6 2 2 2 6 6 0 8
11 Leicester City 6 2 2 2 9 11 -2 8
12 Norwich City 6 2 2 2 5 11 -6 8
13 Burnley 6 1 4 1 9 9 0 7
14 Watford 6 2 0 4 9 11 -2 6
15 Brentford 6 1 1 4 8 12 -4 4
16 Brighton and Hove 6 0 4 2 4 9 -5 4
17 Manchester Utd 6 1 1 4 7 16 -9 4
18 Newcastle 6 0 3 3 8 13 -5 3
19 Aston Villa 6 1 0 5 7 13 -6 3
20 Everton 6 0 2 4 4 12 -8 2

… but while Liverpool are now the flavour of the moment and we’ve been put back in our place, according to the media, both Arsenal and Liverpool have the same number of points from the last six games.

Newcastle’s run however is pretty awful. Indeed if we ran a league table of the last ten games they would be bottom still without a single win.  (We’d be third).

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So a little of the euphoria may have been blown away from Newcastle after their purchase by the tyrannical Saudi government, but they have at least got their new manager and Steve Bruce has got his pay off.

Eddie Howe has promised a different type of football from Newcastle and it will be interesting to see if we get that this weekend where the difference between the two clubs will be emphasised by Arsenal being at home and Newcastle away.  Here is the comparison table.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
3 Arsenal home 6 4 1 1 10 6 4 13
19 Newcastle United away 6 0 3 3 5 11 -6 3

The only team with a worse away record than Newcastle is Aston Villa, and the only teams with better home records than Arsenal are Chelsea and Manchester City, both of whom are better than Arsenal only on goal difference.

More anon…

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