by Bulldog Drummond
We recently reported that one of the goals in the Arsenal women’s match against Ajax was found by Arsenal to be of the wrong size, and that issue was resolved.
Now we have a similar story in the Telegraph under the headline Championship game played with ‘different sized goals’. “Mark Hudson, the City manager, said his staff pointed the discrepancy out to the referee who told him it would take too long to check.”
Two such reports in a couple of weeks suggest this could be quite a problem – and it is rather amazing that with all their get fit activities before the match – lots of running up and down along the half way line which you can witness if you get into your seat early enough – and with a fourth official present (who doesn’t do the warm-ups) the fourth official could surely be given an electronic distance measuring device to check the goals.
But that would be an innovation, and the PGMO would probably find a reason not to allow it, so no one knows if the goals are going to be the right size or not, match by match. Any other organisation would zip straight in with a checking system, but the PGMO? Not a word.
And there’s some other interesting news around too, such as tales of Barcelona’s “financial apocalypse” and this being the time “for Ben White to vault into England’s World Cup reckoning” not to mention the fact that Real Madrid appear to have been found guilty of taking state aid, which of course is illegal under EU rules (although not in the UK it seems, given the aid that Newcastle are getting from Saudi Arabia).
Not to forget my favourite of the day, “Auston Trusty backed to make World Cup squad after on-loan Arsenal defender scores twice for Birmingham.”
Thus, is the state of football, against which we are playing Liverpool. Staying with the Standard for a moment this is their nominated Arsenal team for today…
White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney;
Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka;
Saka, Jesus, Martinelli.
And indeed there is not much to argue with in that regard. Although Sports Mole offer us
White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko;
Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli;
There is no agreement on whether Zinchenko is fit enough to start, or not but otherwise that is pretty much it for the notion of who will play – other sites coming in with much the same vision.
As for the way the match will pan out, there is an interesting note on the BBC’s website that says that “Jurgen Klopp’s side were very comfortable against Rangers in the Champions League on Tuesday but they weren’t tested defensively. Here, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Jesus won’t give them a minute’s peace.”
And then it gets even better with this extraordinary paragraph:
“I think Liverpool will score, even though they have not quite clicked yet this season, but Arsenal’s attacking talent are going to cause them a lot of problems at the other end. Prediction: 4-1”.
I’ll most certainly go for that.
On the other hand if we were to lose (which I really would be surprised about) it would be the first time ever that Arsenal had lost five successive matches against Liverpool. It would also be the first time ever Liverpool have won three successive matches against Arsenal at Arsenal’s stadium.
And yet another one of those “first time” tales – if we stop them scoring today it will be the first time in 13 games that they haven’t managed one goal against us. Now that is a record worth ending.
In recent weeks we have been doing comparisons with how we had fared after this number of matches in previous seasons. There hasn’t been time to check the records before this game (apologies for that) but we can say that 21 points from eight games (which is as things stand before this game) is not quite our best start ever. We have had 22 points after eight matches in two Premier League seasons but on neither occasion did we win the league.
On the goal-scoring front Gabriel Jesus has, as you will know very well, scored five goals and got three assists this season. He remains unbeaten in all 51 top-tier matches in which he has scored.
However, what we should not do is get too carried away if we are in the lead at half-time. Liverpool have the worst first-half record in the division being behind at halftime in five out of seven games so far.
Some might say it is all over bar the shouting. I rather suspect the Untold team will be doing quite a bit of shouting in the latter part of this afternoon.
If you can make it to the ground, have a good game. If watching on TV, down off the sound.
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- 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