By Bulldog Drummond
Looking ahead to the match tonight we know that Elneny and Smith Rowe are out and Zinchenko is unlikely to play while Gabriel Jesus has been left behind in London.
Which means Holding, Vieira, Eddie Nketiah, Sambi Lokonga, Maquinhos and Tierney will probably start. Gabriel Magalhaes will presumably have a break.
The Europa table now shows this…
The aim of Uefa is clearly to try and give prizes to as many clubs as possible, so they now have separate pathways for each of the four teams in each group.
The winners will go directly into the round of 16 which means missing the first round of matches after the group stage, and with all the world cup stuff happening that could be quite welcome.
The runners-up however don’t get off so lightly as they have to go into another round – a knockout round of play offs, to see who goes forward. I have to admit in reading through the regs I can’t quite see what happens to the defeated teams at this stage, but I suspect they will go into the Europa Conference League.
Also going into the Europa Conference will be the third placed teams from the Europa League, and they will play in the knockout competition. Bodo Glimt played in this competition last season which is where they had that 5-1 victory over Celtic. They made the quarter-finals and were knocked out by Roma. Roma then knocked out Leicester in the semi-finals and went on to win the competition.
If we look back at Bodo Glimt’s last eight games there are four wins, two defeats and two draws. So we should have a reasonable chance to see our way through, no matter what team we put out.
Meanwhile,in other groups the more well-known names that look likely to go forward include Fenerbahce, Real Sociedad, and Manchester United (although they have already lost one game in the group stages), But the most balanced table comes from group F where everyone has four points.
In the Conference League West Ham plod along, and I thought it would be interesting to see what sort of attendances they have been getting for their Conference League games, but I can’t find any figures on any of the regular sites I use for such information. If you can find anything do let me know. There’s no particular reason, just an interest as they have been making a fuss about expanding the number of seats they can get into the stadium.
One last point in this roundup. We’ve obviously been focussing on Arsenal’s position in the Premier League and of course considering the current status of eight wins in nine in comparison with other seasons. But if we take all the games played this season including the Europa games the results chart reads like this
|5 Aug 2022||Crystal Palace v Arsenal||W||0-2||Premier League|
|13 Aug 2022||Arsenal v Leicester City||W||4-2||Premier League|
|20 Aug 2022||AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal||W||0-3||Premier League|
|27 Aug 2022||Arsenal v Fulham||W||2-1||Premier League|
|31 Aug 2022||Arsenal v Aston Villa||W||2-1||Premier League|
|4 Sep 2022||Manchester United v Arsenal||L||3-1||Premier League|
|8 Sep 2022||FC Zurich v Arsenal||W||1-2||Europa League|
|18 Sep 2022||Brentford v Arsenal||W||0-3||Premier League|
|1 Oct 2022||Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur||W||3-1||Premier League|
|6 Oct 2022||Arsenal v FK Bodo Glimt||W||3-0||Europa League|
|9 Oct 2022||Arsenal v Liverpool||W||3-2||Premier League|
That’s ten wins in 11 in all competitions. And I wondered how that compared with the unbeaten season, in which of course we were not unbeaten in the cup competitions.
Here are the first 11 games in all competitions from 2003/4 when we were unbeaten in the League, as you may recall.
|10 Aug 2003||Manchester United v Arsenal||L||1-1 (4-3)||Community Shield|
|16 Aug 2003||Arsenal v Everton||W||2-1||Premier League|
|24 Aug 2003||Middlesbrough v Arsenal||W||0-4||Premier League|
|27 Aug 2003||Arsenal v Aston Villa||W||2-0||Premier League|
|31 Aug 2003||Manchester City v Arsenal||W||1-2||Premier League|
|13 Sep 2003||Arsenal v Portsmouth||D||1-1||Premier League|
|17 Sep 2003||Arsenal v Inter Milano||L||0-3||Champions League|
|21 Sep 2003||Manchester United v Arsenal||D||0-0||Premier League|
|26 Sep 2003||Arsenal v Newcastle United||W||3-2||Premier League|
|30 Sep 2003||Lokomotiv Moskva v Arsenal||D||0-0||Champions League|
|4 Oct 2003||Liverpool v Arsenal||W||1-2||Premier League|
In fact in that season we had had, by this time, six wins, three draws and two defeats by the conclusion of match 11. So on that basis this team is doing better than the 2003/4 team.
The previews: opposition in 2022/23: