By Sir Hardly Anyone
The latest news circulating is that, according to the Standard Granit Xhaka has flown straight to Dubai to join Arsenal, after Switzerland were beaten by Portugal in a competition in Qatar. According to a report in English, a report in Japanese from Sponichi Annex says that Takehiro Tomiyasu has also flown to Dubai. Since my linguistic skills don’t go that far I can’t confirm all this.
But my guess would be that if this is true Xhaka and Tomiyasu will at most be on the bench, but more likely will be in the stand adjusting to the time change and acclimatising ready for the second match in Dubai.
Besides, Tomiyasu did earlier say that he didn’t know when he would be back training with Arsenal.
There is also a new line of attack on Arsenal emerging which is that Arsenal are going to fall apart because they now have all the difficult fixtures that they cunningly avoided in the first third of the season before the enforced break. The games coming up include matches against Newcastle, Tottenham and Manchester United in January.
Manchester City however will saunter through because “they have a comparatively gentle return to Premier League action with matches against bottom dwellers Everton, Leeds and Wolves before the end of January.”
There obviously can be something in this in that matches are not spread evenly between clubs, but it does seem to me like a bit of straw-clutching. As we saw in the recent piece about the injury to Eduardo, and how that derailed Arsenal’s challenge, immediate events can knock a club back. But even so, the recent form guide generally tends to tell us more.
But at least one story we are not hearing at the moment is that Arsenal cannot win the league because they don’t have a top scorer although that will be trotted out soon. The top premier league scorers list at the moment is…
|Erling Haaland||Manchester City||18|
|Phil Foden||Manchester City||7|
Not an Arsenal player in sight. Our top league scorer is Martin Ødegaard with six, one third of Haaland and half of Kane. And yet there is a lot to be said for spreading the goals around.
Arsenal’s injury to Jesus is said by some, to put any thoughts of winning the league by Arsenal in grave doubt. But the fact is although he is an important player in the squad it will not have the effect on actual goal-scoring that any of the clubs in the list above would feel if they lost their supposed main attacking player.
The team with the real strength in the list above is Manchester City, not just because of Haaland but also because they have Foden. (We might also spare a thought for Chelsea whose top scorer is Sterling with three. Or perhaps a thought for Manchester United where the top man for goals is Rashford with four).
The fact is the current Arsenal model is based on having multiple scorers, and if we take just league games the Arsenal scoring list does explain why so many defences are looking a bit bemused…
Kick off this afternoon is at 3.30 and the game can be watched on Arsenal’s website.
The Gabriel Injury Crisis and the players we are signing
- Is the injury to Gabriel equivalent to the assault on Eduardo in 2008?
- Gabriel injury: why no replacement is needed
- It never rains but the journalists want Arsenal to drown in a mess of their own making
- The 40 players coming to Arsenal and the 6 most predicted for this January
- What the media won’t tell you about football, part 4 – referee variations
- The final transfer rumours: 3 new names to make 66 players tipped for Arsenal
- What the media won’t tell you about football, part 3 – referee home bias
- The real live facts that the media won’t ever touch (part 2)
- Could this be the best PL season ever for Arsenal in terms of goals?