By Bulldog Drummond
- Crystal Palace v Arsenal; doom and gloom, tackles, fouls and yellow cards
- Crystal Palace v Arsenal: the home and away form shows AFC favourites
Shock horror Arsenal have dropped out of the top four. It’s all over.
According to the Guardian, “Arsenal’s horizons have shifted immeasurably since losing their opening three games and they visit Crystal Palace on Monday night in search of a seventh win in eight.”
This is nonsense. Arsenal knew exactly why they lost those games – they were putting together a new defence (not all of whom were in place) and they had a significant number of players ill.
It was the sort of situation which if it had happened to Liverpool (as it did – or at least appeared to do in January with their bizarre “false covid” reports being on a level 1000 times bigger than ever reported anywhere else in the country) would have been mega headline stories in support of the club. Instead quite a few people started calling for Areta to be sacked.
Meanwhile, the natural overwhelming brilliance and dominance of Tottenham have found their proper place above us according to the media. Two league titles and eight FA cups, well you can’t beat that, can you?
Not unless you’ve got, well, I don’t know, 13 league titles and 14 FA Cups and a ground just a couple of miles down the road paid for without borrowing any money from the government.
Here’s the table…
Oh yes, and Arsenal have two games in hand.
But to try and make it a more even and balanced table, let’s have a look at the last ten games table just to get an idea of current form…
Hmmm, Arsenal have gained seven more points that Tottenham in the last 10 games. One can see why the media doesn’t want that story floating around. And has anyone noticed that in the last ten games, Tottenham H, the team so widely celebrated yesterday by the media, has got just half the number of points of Liverpool? Now I know Arsenal are some way behind Liverpool over the last ten games, but not that far behind!
But let us turn to the subject in hand: a game against Crystal Palace. And while we are munching on a statistical breakfast, here’s a little thought. Arsenal are the club with the lowest number of draws in the league. Palace whom we play tonight are the team with the highest number of draws in the league.
Which suggests something has to give. A draw will be portrayed as a victory for Palace’s tactics, and a defeat for Arsenal.
Moving on to our usual pre-match injury review, Arsenal are shown as having three injuries in the last few days – with at least one of the three injuries seemingly already overcome – according to the latest Physioroom report, with a second of the three on the way out.
According to their summary, Takehiro Tomiyasu will face a late fitness test on his leg injury, with a statement on 31 March quoted as saying, “I think it will be close. He’s been training more and more. He has the boys back now, so he will be joining some sessions this week, and let’s see how it is.” Physioroom rate him as 50/50 for this game, which suggests he will be a substitute.
(Incidentally, why do we still refer to players being “on the bench” when they all sit in comfy chairs?)
Rated as only 25%, according to the reports, is Aaron Rambsdale with the Physioroom statement saying “”The physios are doing everything they can to make him available but we will see in the next few days when he starts to do more real training.”
Last of the potentially unavailable list is Bukayo Saka, who, it seems is not unavailable at all, but is “feeling good” and is training.
So hardly any injuries at all, and indeed the number of injuries throughout the league seems lower than we used to see. The only clubs with the traditional number of injuries more is Norwich City with eight.
Elsewhere, Burnley, Everton, Leeds, Leicester have five men down, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Manchester United, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hots have four. I don’t have statistics for each week of the footballing calendar across the years, but the numbers do seem low overall to be much lower than we have had in the past.
The four Palace players who are out are all listed as 50/50 and are James McArthur, Michael Olise, Wilfred Zaha, and Nathan Ferguson. Each is said to be subject to a late fitness test.
- Arsenal v Tottenham update, team news and appalling, flagrant media bias
- Arsenal have benefitted by the world cup break: allegedly.
- Arsenal and Tottenham: which has had the easier ride so far this season?
- Arsenal v Tottenham: not exactly a battle of equals.
- Death by 300,000 passes: how the Arsenal transformation started 2 seasons ago.