Morning fellow Arsenal-supporting humans, how art thee today?
It’s Thursday, we’ve made it this far through the international boredom, but there’s still another tedious week ahead of us and I for one am hoping it passes by in the blink of an eye.
It is nice to keep reliving all of the content and #HotTakes though. I am particularly liking the saltiness of some of the City fans I’ve seen. Like they haven’t been fortunate enough to have everything their own way as they have spent the best part of a decade financially doping themselves to being the best team in the world, now they’re getting all antsy because they’ve lost back-to-back league games. Honestly. To be fair though, the ones that are getting the most uppity are those who are sub 25 and they’ve basically spent their early part of their lives knowing nothing but the wealth of winning the football lottery and being able to win things whilst breaking rules. I don’t really begrudge some of the older City fans anything; many of them have sat through some hard times and now they get to experience the highs that they have been getting particularly during the Pep era. But the self of entitlement from some of their teenage fans, coupled with the rage online, means that I am drinking in the tears right now.
I’m loving the excuses too. Apparently it was because they didn’t have De Bruyne or Rodri. Where was that same energy when we had to replace Saliba with Rob Holding?? You want to talk about downgrading, there’s no better example than that. Or when we went from Partey to Jorginho in the home game last season. Not only do they have the best squad, but for a few year’s now we’ve gone in to every game against them missing some of our best players, but NOW it is an issue? Pull the other one, its got bells on.
But enough about them; we’ve dispatched them for the second time this season and now we need to start looking ahead towards the next batch of questions that we must answer after the international break, which I’ve just had a look at to see what we’re in for:
- Chelsea – away
- Sevilla – away
- Sheffield United – home
- West Ham – away
- Newcastle – away
- Sevilla – home
- Burnley – home
That’s a tricky set of games methinks. Chelsea away to kick us off is a real unknown quantity. Terrible in starting the season, have picked up of late and I’ve been hearing that their underlying stats aren’t as bad as some have suggested. They’ve only conceded seven goals this season, which is one more than us and City. Their xG is actually better than ours; they’ve racked up 15 whereas we’re on 14.9 – so only just a bit but they have still been creating chances and their xG against is 8.1, which is just behind us and City. They’re third on progressive carries in the league behind City and the Scum and fifth behind us, United, the Scum and City. So they aren’t as bad as some are making out, although they have played West Ham, Luton, Forest, Bournemouth, Villa, Fulham and Burnley in the league. There are a couple of tricky ones in there, but you’d probably expect them to have a few more points than they have got so far. But I guess what I’m trying to say is that it won’t be an easy game.
We then have Sheffield United at home which you’d hope and expect we should be able to overcome, before a really tough trip up to St James’. That’ll be rocking on my birthday weekend and so getting max points up there will also be difficult. After that in the league we’ve got Burnley at home which is another one you’d hope we can rack up some points on before the next international break in mid November. That’s a block of games above which could really help us to kick on and start to see our season taking shape. By the time the next break comes along we’ll have played 12 games in the league and the old adage is that the table starts to take shape after 10. I’m not sure it’s as precise as that but if we’ve picked up 10 points from that block of four Premier League games, I think we’ll be in good shape.
Then you look at the Champions League and that double-header against Sevilla could also give us a good indication of where we’re going in Europe. If we pick up a win and a draw in those two games it gives us seven points from four games and I think a win at home against Lens would pretty much be enough to get us over the line there. Whether that’s enough to finish top remains to be seen, but after two games that group is pretty tight with Lens on four, us on three, Sevilla on two and PSV on one. It may be that to win the group we have to take it to the last game, but that double header against Sevilla can also determine just how much rotation we can afford as the group reaches the latter stages. Win home and away against a tricky opponent (and we’ve not exactly been great over the years in Spain) and it really sets us in a commanding position to top the group. But defeat in either of those games and it looks a little more wobbly.
Then you have the League Cup game against West Ham and I suspect Moyes will put out a strong side in that competition. He basically salvaged his West Ham career by winning the Europa Conference League last season and I suspect he’ll have a taste for it and fancy his chances given that one of Man United and Newcastle are going to go out, the Scum are out, City are out and only us and Liverpool remain of the in form ‘big guns’. But if Klopp rotates and they don’t beat Bournemouth away, then this competition opens up. But that is true also of us and having beaten Brentford away with a rotated side, it does feel as though if we can overcome West Ham away, it would open up a possibility of us going deep in this comp.
So by the time we hit November we could be in a very good position in all competitions or, if we suffer a run of defeats, we could find ourselves looking nervously at what the rest of the season will look like. What it does go to show you is that there really is little margin for error if you want to be a team fighting and competing on multiple fronts and at the top of the league. The next six weeks could really be pivotal for The Arsenal.
Catch you all tomorrow.