Morning all and welcome to a brand new day and, finally, some clarity regarding the conclusion of the 2019/20 season.
Football will be back in just under three weeks!
Well, I say “football”, but it’s not the football we all know as I’ve harped on about for weeks, but at least it’s something I guess.
“Meaningless training-looking football is back in just under three weeks!”
And of course it’s The Arsenal up first on the Wednesday and of course we have to play that game away to Man City on the Wednesday night on 17th June. I’ve already mentally taken the ‘L’, but I do wonder what sort of Arsenal performance we might see because whilst it’s away from home, it will not seem like as much of a disadvantage as it usually is. As we all know our away record against ‘big’ teams is not just shoddy, but downright abysmal, so perhaps playing in empty stadiums and with no fans roaring against us, will actually do us a favour?
Who knows. What we do know, however, is that the stats from the first couple of games of the Bundesliga suggests that home advantage will be the biggest problem for teams to overcome which, as an Arsenal fan and knowing our shocking away record in the last few seasons, I’m all for. Think about going to North London and not having dirty, salivating, ugly Neanderthal Spurs fans hurling abuse at the team bus. Think about the lack of that stupid slow “ooh when the sp*rrrrrrrs….” nonsense not being present. The North London Derby will be played to the tune of the occasional shout from a player and in that sense I’m hoping that it plays into our hands.
Certainly when you look at the fixtures. If – and it’s a BIG if because this is the Arsenal we’re talking about here – home advantage is negated somehow and if we are so poor away from home but much more successful at home, maybe it might be possible for Arteta to string together some good wins that could see us rise into the Europa League places.
Let’s look at our fixtures remaining:
- Man City – away
- Brighton – away
- Southampton – away
- Norwich – home
- Wolves – away
- Leicester – home
- Tiny Totts – away
- Liverpool – home
- Aston Villa – away
- Watford – home
Now, I’m looking at that run under normal circumstances and wondering how we’re going to pick up around 23 points, because that’s what I reckon it might take to get you in to the Europa League this season (I haven’t run any kind of statistical model here folks, just going on gut feel as always). If we say 23 points is seven wins and two draws, then you’re looking at only being able to lose two of your remaining ten fixtures. Personally I looked at City, Southampton, Wolves, then probably the Tiny Totts, as games we might lose and the Liverpool game being a draw at best. That would mean at best we’d be looking at 15 points from our remaining games.
In the old world I’m looking at the ‘away’ part of that list and wondering how the hell we’re picking up points. But if we’re essentially playing teams where home advantage isn’t the driving force it is under normal circumstances, then given we have six away games and four at home remaining, the possibility of what is effectively a neutral game could be a bit of an advantage to us. So here I am, having bemoaned the lack of intensity and atmosphere of games being played behind closed doors, and I have myself talked up a potentially positive upside for the club.
Of course the key will be for Arteta to get the team continuing to play his way and his style and another potential advantage we can look at is the fact that he’s now got three week’s of a semi pre season to work exclusively with the players, on the pitches at London Colney, to get across his ideas and also get them bonded together again as a group.
Think about how some of those players talked about the few days away in Dubai and the value that added. Well this is a couple of weeks longer than that and given that Arteta had a month of extreme volume of games for us before he could take the players away, my hope is that these next three week’s will be massive for the players to get across his ideas.
Yes folks, perhaps the mess that the world is in can have a positive upside for The Arsenal, certainly in terms of how our remainder of the season could pan out. And we get the added bonus that all of the games will be televised, so we’ll be able to watch all Arsenal games without having to worry about some dodgy stream that cuts out if your internet connection goes belly up.
Right, all this positivity is making me giddy, so I’m off to have a lie down.
Catch you peeps tomorrow.