By Bulldog Drummond
So here we are with the last team preview of the season…
The referee is Andre Marriner. And that is not good news for Arsenal for while the vast majority of the referees have reverted since the pandemic to giving victories to home teams, Marriner is one of the two referees who have stuck by the lockdown style of refereeing in which no home advantage was given.
Here is the current table from WhoScored.
Only 22% of Marriner’s league games this season have resulted in home wins, while every other referee in the PGMO top ten of most used referees has given more. Indeed half of the ten most used referees in the Premier League have given home wins in over half their matches.
These figures are simply not reasonable and give no faith in the notion that referees are all using the same standard and approach to refereeing. We will of course come back to this during the close season.
Pain in the Arsenal has a very helpful piece on How to watch on TV although in my house it is not so difficult. One follows the ten point plan.
- Enter the living room 20 minutes before kick-off
- Start searching for remote control
- Shout at children to ask where the remote control is
- Tell children not to be cheeky when they copy their mother and say, “Where ever you last left it”
- Get frantic
- Try to calm down
- Remember that “calm down” is a Liverpudlian saying and I am most certainly not Liverpudlian.
- Have drink
- Look under cushions on sofa, behind TV, on the mantlepiece… begin to despair
- Head up stairs to demand more co-operation from children before finding it in my pocket.
So back to Pain in the Arsenal. They offer
White, Holding, Gabriel, Tavares;
Elneny, Ødegaard, Xhaka;
Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.
Fortunately (since I have not yet written the prescribed number of words for this to count as an acceptable Untold article) the Standard has a different approach…
Cedric, Holding, Gabriel, Tavares,
Elneny, Xhaka, Odegaard,
Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli
Personally, I would always play White if he is fit. He’s young and he’s learning all the time, and every game is valuable for him. But I can’t quite see the point of putting Ødegaard. (Ø is the twenty-ninth letter of the Faroese alphabet; I bet you didn’t knØw that,) on the far side. I’d place him in the middle generally playing in frØnt of Elneny and Xhaka.
And I’d offer Elneny a new cØntract.
Cedric, White, Holding, Tavares;
Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli;
Shall we tell them, and the Standard, how to turn Odegaard into Ødegaard? No, perhaps it would look petty and silly. And pretentious.
And that’s really about it for the lineups, or if you prefer lines up. So let’s finish another season of match previews with something positive. This from Sportkeeda
“Arsenal have a lot to be positive about. The performances of young attackers like Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli has often been the difference between an Arsenal win and an Arsenal loss; while centre-back Ben White, who cost Arsenal nearly £53 million last summer, has asserted himself well in the Gunners’ defence.”
I’ll go with that. Although the “has” should actually be “have”.
- Are Arsenal really making progress, or are we starting to slip back?
- Luton 3 Arsenal 4: maybe it is time to say positive things
- Luton v Arsenal – the referee, the team, Saka and Cliff Bastin
- Luton Town – how do they play the game. The tackles, fouls and cards.
- Luton Town v Arsenal: Grim football, fewest goals, lowest possession rate