What we learned about Arsenal this weekWednesday, January 17 2018
A tough set of fixtures last weekend made for a break-even result – actually a minus 0.05pts, but who’s counting? – so nothing much to get excited about.
But, as ever, there were pointers to help us going forward…
Arsenal are one of the PL’s most reliable teams…
No, really. So long as you apply some basic punting principles: At home v teams below them – Home Win (seven from seven so far); Everywhere else – oppose or avoid.
Their home record this season is only bettered by the Manchester pair. But their away record has them rubbing shoulders with Watford, Newcastle and West Ham. Their only success on the road has come at a lowest ebb Everton and via a last minute act of charity from the referee at Burnley.
I have been guilty of thinking that this wonderfully gifted bunch of players – and they are – would pull it out of the bag, as has become their modus operandi in recent seasons. Most recently at Bournemouth. But no more. It’s time to face facts. So I would solemnly advise friends and family members that if they want a last look at the Arsenal they have known, visit in the next couple of weeks.
I’m no economics graduate (unlike Arsene) but I have been in a dressing room. And seeing your best (paid, respected and just best) players toy with the club and then head for a rival does NOT stiffen your resolve. You lose respect and get in line for the exit.
With five tasty looking teams scrapping for four Champion League places – all on the up, all with money to burn – this is the worst season ever to finish sixth.
Checking out and cashing in at Arsenal…
The Gunners can also be relied upon to fire the best transfer news into the air these days too. A month ago it was all about Ozil, but it seems his summer deal is already neatly tucked in his top pocket. Leaving the stage clear for Dirty Sanchez and young Theo.
Walcott is still 17, right? Oh no, hang on… he’s closer to three-oh Walcott. He is what we used to call a ‘speedboat with no driver’. But the burden of being the new Thierry Henry was a big one, to be fair. The ‘new Steven Pienaar’ do you, Theo?
It’s not just Arsenal and Man City fans who are going to be gutted when the Sanchez saga is finally over. Members of Football Index have been creaming money off the daily back and forth, making proper profits on Sanchez’s stock.
Upwards of £120,000 has changed hands in the last week. Okay, it’s only about a day’s work of Alexis but he doesn’t live in our world.
Speaking of which…
Dementia, Football and Alan…
What has Alan Shearer got against managers?
When Mark Hughes left a few big hitters out of his Stoke team at Chelsea - targeting the more winnable home match against Newcastle two days later – Alan couldn’t wait to winch up the sword of Damocles and push Sparky into position…
‘He HAS to win against Newcastle’, deadpanned Shearer helpfully from his oh so comfy Match of the Day high-horse.
Of course, they didn't and that was that.
Ryan Giggs hadn’t been appointed a day in the Wales job and Alan was at it again…
‘Good luck trying to get your players together for friendlies…’ squealed Shearer to his mini-me Danny Dour (Murphy) referring to Giggs’ reluctance play in Welsh friendlies (en route to a 1,000+ match, 24-year career winning…erm… oh yeah, everyfuckingthing).
[Note: I resisted including the clip as Shearer’s voice goes so high at the end he could be mistaken for Richard of Undateables fame - another half sympathetic, half laughable manchild that doesn’t know how to behave in public.]
Is it a problem with Welshmen? Or just ex-Man United players?
Or perhaps it’s because he knows people at the FA are still laughing about his application to be England manager. Writing it is crayon didn’t help, Alan. But let’s remind ourselves of your managerial record…
Pld: 8 W:1* D: 2 L: 5 Relegations: One Anything else: Fuck all
(* v Middlesbrough, also relegated)
Back at it with a Premier League preview tomo.
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