By Bulldog Drummond
A most interesting riposte to our last article from a West Ham supporter wondering why we didn’t mention the Manchester City stadium when writing about the gigantic cost to the English taxpayer of giving West Ham their stadium for 99 years. A somewhat illogical comment of course, but still, we’ve answered it in lots of detail, setting all the money that the English taxpayer has paid to keep West Ham going and help them rise to their highest position in the Premier League.
You can read the exchange in the first two comments (or perhaps they will remain the only two comments!) after the last piece.
But let us move on from these pesky details about hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers money going to a rival club. We’ve covered the issue of tackles, fouls and yellows in the first article, and injuries plus the home and away form in the last piece.
We now also know that Aubameyang is no longer captain after his latest bit of disciplinary whatnot, and the Guardian is saying that he will not play in the game against WHAM.
It would seem most likely that Alexandre Lacazette will be captain again for the WHAM game, and suggesting that maybe Martin Ødegaard will soon become captain – he is already captain of his country. However, although the press are talking about Arsenal being thrown into chaos (it is their standard line) the fact is that Aubameyang was preparing to leave Arsenal in January in order to ignore the club that pays his wages and instead play in the Africa Cup of Nations.
This means that Arsenal will already have plans for playing without him – quite possibly with a new centre forward being signed, or with Martinelli moving into the centre, or with the option of two number tens behind Lacazette (Ødegaard and Smith Rowe). We shall see in good time.
Moving on, the referee is Anthony Taylor and rather oddly the website HITC is running the headline ‘XHAKA RED COMING’: ARSENAL FANS RAGE AS REFEREE IS CHOSEN FOR WEDNESDAY.
I say that is somewhat strange since last season Mr Taylor’s record with Arsenal in his one match overseeing the club, was not that bad. Below is a chart of the five referees who gave Arsenal the most fouls against and then by way of comparison Anthony Taylor at the foot.
|Referee||Games||Fouls awarded against Arsenal per game||Yellow cards against Arsenal per game|
In fact, what has happened is that HITC’s writer has been looking at the rather rancid AFTV Twitter feed which makes the correspondent something of a, well, twit is about the politest word I can find. Looking at AFTV to get a feeling of what Arsenal fans are thinking is like suggesting that one can consider National Action to get a view of the average voter in English parliamentary elections.
No other site is raising any objections – beyond of course the fact that Mr Taylor is an employee of PGMO. So despite the ravings, we might not need to focus too much on the referee.
So far this season Mr Taylor’s record is 13 games and 51 yellow cards – which is 3.92 cards a game – which averages down to just under two cards per team if spaced out evenly. Arsenal are currently averaging 1.38 cards per game and West Ham 1.06. Add those together and you get either two or three cards a game, which is below the Taylor average. We’ll see if he takes his average down.
Finally for now let’s take a look at where we stand vis a vis previous years after 16 games. It is now five years since we were in the top four after 16 games.
So we are better than at this stage in the last two seasons but not nearly as good as the three before that.
Anyway, looking back, way back in 2016 on 13 December we played Everton and the current side has just one survivor from that game. Can you think who, without looking down?
Héctor Bellerín Gabriel Paulista Laurent Koscielny Nacho Monreal
Granit Xhaka Francis Coquelin
Mesut Özil Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Alexis Sánchez Theo Walcott
Yes it was Granit Xhaka of course.
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