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Does Arsenal First Day Loss Put An End To Its Title Ambitions ?

Without confidence you are twice defeated in the race of life. – Marcus Garvey

So, in contrast to the pre-game optimism that Arsenal was a sure thing to the title, a metaphysical force which had swept up even of the most virulent doom-mongers such as Pedro of LeGrove and Phil of Angry of N5, in less than a week normal service has returned and the usual suspects have dismissed any talk of Arsenal’s title-winning ambitions. Post game, after the loss to West Ham. Twitter was awash with recriminations and witch hunts. As I write more is to be expected from the mendacious minions of the mainstream media who must sow tales of woe and doom to a gullible public who have been programmed to treat every win or defeat as a sure ticket to heaven or Armageddon. A measured, detached reaction to one unusual event does not sell newspapers or websites, a fact well known to those who make the bottom line the primary measure of success of their publication.

For us at PA and elsewhere, given our attachment to the fortunes of our football club it is understandable that most of us are super-happy, and twitter-bubbly after a win versus a 180 degree different reaction to a loss. In fact our feelings after today’s setback will be exacerbated by this being the first game of a new season their being such expectations fuelled by the mainstream media.

But our emotional highs and the lows have no bearing on the eventual position of the team. Two years ago we had a horrible opening-day loss to a Aston Villa with a virtual revolt in the support base as the black scarfers, bin-baggers and assorted malcontents went on the warpath, demanding Wenger be sacked. Yet the club ended the season in 4th place with 72 points and most importantly winning its first significant trophy in 9 years, the FA-Cup.

This setback vs West Ham is no different.

Despite the defeat, this team is statistically on track to compete for the PL title. This group is essentially unchanged since it went on a title-winning run since January of this year amassing 14-Wins, 3-Losses and 3 draws with 39 goals For and 13 Against. This is an average of 2.25 points per game. Projected over a 38 game season this yields a total of 86 points. For comparison’s sake, Chelsea won the title by earning one point more.

Of course there are those who will argue that performance over a past season has no bearing on the next. That is like saying Chelsea winning the title 2014-15 season has no bearing on those making predictions they will win in 15-16. No such departure from logic by the good and great in the Guardian on August 5th:

Last season Chelsea were unparalleled in attack until mid-January, and unbeatable in defence thereafter. In short they weren’t just the best team in the division – they were the best two teams in the division, and despite a lack of summer signings whichever one turns up this time must be favourites once again. – Simon Burnton

Chelsea carried all before them last season and demonstrated an ability to grind out results as well as scintillate. The rest have been playing catch-up ever since but, if José Mourinho’s transfer dealings serve to reinvigorate, the champions should remain a step ahead. – Dominic Fifield

Or from the BBC’s Alan Shearer, two days later:

But Chelsea are still the team to beat because of their experience and I also think they will be better than they were last year when Diego Costa was injured a lot last season and Cesc Fabregas did not play his best football from February onwards.

Unable to disprove the fact that Arsenal’s form in 2015 has been compelling, there are those who prefer to argue that Arsenal will implode as they often did in the past 10 years. Arguably most of these failures were due of the plague of injuries which have weakened the past squads at critical junctures in past seasons, the splintering in two places of Eduardo’s foot in 08-09 being the most egregious example.

This I agree will be the most important impediment to Arsenal sustaining its form throughout this season. That was the experience in the first half of last season when injuries to Giroud, Debuchy, Ozil and Koscielny put paid to any serious title challenge, despite the consistent run starting in January when most of these players resumed playing. The club is certainly aware of the need to curb this problem with the appointment of one of the leading experts, Shad Forsythe, to oversee player fitness.

Interestingly, despite the frequent assertions of many that the manager must be mishandling the players resulting in so many injuries, an actuarial study has found that injuries is the price of success for top teams like Arsenal:

Success comes with a particular price for teams who earn the right to play in European club competitions. A player who plays for a team that finished in the top seven places in the previous season is more likely to suffer an injury than a player from a lower team. This is exacerbated for teams finishing as champions and runners-up. What is more, players in the more successful clubs take longer to heal, with those from the top four being out of action for longer than the league average. – Actuarial Post

While Premier League history does show a pattern of the eventual champions starting off their campaign with a victory, the most successful team, Manchester United with their 15 titles, had a recent tradition of starting slowly and building up an almost unstoppable head of steam. Most have forgotten that in their 12-13 campaign they had a loss on opening day, and that their 3 previous title winning campaigns were on the back of draws at the start.

Clearly there is no historical basis for the writing off our league chances because of one aberrant performance. Rather it is a timely opportunity for Wenger to give the players, especially those who are senior members, a kick up the backside for seriously under-performing.

As Andrew Nicoll (@anicoll5) so pointedly reminded us “One down, thirty seven PL games to go.”

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89 comments on “Does Arsenal First Day Loss Put An End To Its Title Ambitions ?

  1. SKY Italia: Palermo president is on his way to London to complete deal for Campbell after 2 weeks of talks

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  2. Anicoll5@8:58pm Jose is due another rude awakening and very soo. He serves at the pleasure of Roman Abromovich like every other employee no matter his cebrity status. He is dragging the image of Chelsea FC deeper and deeper in the mud by cowardly throwing Eva Carneiro under the bus cause she had the gall to follow FIFA’s rules for giving medical attention to injured players. Jose wanted her to be an accomplice in the his dishonest tradition of having his players fake injuries at critical points in the game. The demotion of Eva has simply exlosed his crass hypocrisy and make Chelsea a laughing stock. I can’t see Roman allowing his £1 Billion PR project destroyed by the actions of a bitter megalomaniac. Every day it gets worse. Something will have to give, sooner or later and it won’t be Roman and his club.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Shotta: the boring, boring Chelsea chants at the end of last season would have taken some of the gloss off the title win for RA perhaps, and the stuttering start to this season won’t have helped either. We can but hope.

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  4. I guess the hack dwarves won’t comment on the replacement of mata and de bruyne with older mores expensive less expansive or effective talents (when playing for Chelsea), even though the football fans will (“boring boring…”)

    The pre-season defeat at Wemberley, Arsene’s little side step and dribble past him on the touch line, having to play two opponents or clubs that play Football within seven days, it was all a bit too much for Jose.

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  5. Willian scored four goals last year, four the year before, with over fourty appearances in each season! Juan Cuadrado? Heh.

    No wonder poor old hazard is diving all over the place all the time or simply falling over from exhaustion the poor lamb he’s having to do the work of two or three players!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. another excuse for the AAA to complain, AFC have launched their cup kit

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20150813/arsenal-and-puma-launch-new-cup-kit

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  7. Welcome to the fold, Arseneify. Your naija bros de hail!

    Ahem…As you were.

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  8. C’mon, get your kid to do this aroundthe dining table:

    Always trainning #NoMatterWhat

    A post shared by Santi Cazorla (@santicazorla) on

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  9. Ok folks, Bellerin is back, Alexis is back and I’LL BE BACK for the game this weekend….banned fuck off smiley thingy…….

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Eduardo wrote the following on another site!

    Date, 25th May 2014, 14.37

    “While acting as a pundit for the Champions League final on French station TF1, Wenger told viewers that the final could have been Benzema’s last game for Madrid and that in his view, “Benzema jouera certainement un jour en PL;” in other words, Benzema will certainly play in the Premier League (in the future.) ”

    An uo-date, Eddy?

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  11. Hey Georgaki – I hope you do bring the luck back with you!

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  12. notoverthehill I did not write that on any site anywhere ever.

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  13. Welbeck still out for a few weeks. *}

    I wasn’t counting Alexis as fit in my list of three speedsters above. he came on looked a little rusty but still would’ve scored but for another good or even outstanding save from Adrian in injury time last week.
    I’d prefer it if he was wrapped up in cotton wool, but then if he is going to play against Liverpool you might as well give him the minutes against Palace to help him get his legs back up to speed. So sixty odd minutes for Alexis this weekend would be my guess.

    So the wonder will be who will we see start in the front three, or six even.

    Chamberlain as you all know is a favourite (he’s quick!) and going forward he’s pretty much all there now, but as we saw in pre-season he can still be a little dozy off the ball. I wonder if he was shunted to RB for a reason last week? When AW tells off his staff he does it with some kind of educational progressive slant to it? as opposed to touchline tantrums against people who inadvertently have exposed his cheating, I mention no names.

    The Arsenal Tarot is hesitant, we could see Ramsey start right this time (Bolasie?), Bellerin pushed Hazard back at Wembley, and at the new home of Football last year, but an away fixture on a a smaller pitch is a different challenge? I’ve no idea. Cabaye in midfield, a player who might’ve have been Arteta’s heir opposite one or two who are bidding for the role, possibly MA himself if he’s fit and firing*. Should be interesting.

    *wont be easy for MA or MD to find their best form without a handful of matches under their belt after long spells out last year.

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  14. fins I don’t agree that Ox is all there as an attacking force, he has no end product, he makes great runs beating four or five men at times then under or hits the pass, or loses control right at the end, and I know many want him in the team ahead of Theo cos they say he helps out in defense much more, but as we seen in the last two games, he gave the ball away for a goal in one and in the other Willian had free reign to attack down his side all game long.

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  15. He has more end product then say, for example, Sterling. That is not an opinion!
    The rest is coming. He lost a season more or less which was a setback. No need to worry he just needs a good season fitness wise and as sure as night follows day the goals will start to come.

    He almost scored an outrageous goal on Sunday, six inches lower and:
    Boom!

    Only the Idiots can waste their time comparing Walcott and Chamberlian, and they are welcome to such stupidity.
    One sees himself as a midfielder (some of us see more then a bit of Gazza in Chambo and I guess he was a midfielder too) the other a forward who can play on the right in midfield, usually a five, for England and the the Arsenal.

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  16. Palace away is the one away game I really wanted to try and get a ticket for, unfortunately been too busy in event weeks to even think about going.

    Great atmosphere, great support down there, “great banter” as my favourite super plundit Alan Partdridge would say. Should be a great game.

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  17. Mourinho read out a prepared statement about his medical staff at his press conference. Haha!

    I wonder if any hack dwarves present had the footballs required to ask him about the diving?

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  18. Wenger “if we find someone we will do it. What people don’t realise is that this isn’t a supermarket where you can just buy”

    “We are working hard and focused on what can strengthen our squad”

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hilariously shite game from Villa Park I am watching – LvG is some sort of genius if he can persuade this is good football

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Arsenal Under-21s to play @FulhamFC: Macey, Moore, Bola, Kamara, Pleguezuelo, Bielik, Zelalem, Mavididi, Sheaf, Reine-Adelaide, Iwobi
    subs:Iliev, O’Connor, Mourgos, Eyoma, Fortune

    about 10 minutes left still 0-0

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  21. zelalem makes it 1-0 – 86th minute

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Arsenal FC ‏@Arsenal 1m1 minute ago
    Full time: @Arsenal Under-21s 1-0 @FulhamFC Under 21s #AFCU21

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  23. according to reports Bielik played CB for the U21’s tonight, Zelalem had a good game in midfield, scoring the winner, and Iwobi was our best player and he played in the No.10 role.

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  24. Cor that was grim, talentless, error prone football – Villa have a season of survival in prospect, the Mancs top the table on the back of a Spud own goal and a deflected winner in front of the Holte End

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  25. They’ll be found out soon enough, Anicoll.

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  26. The other thing that struck me after the game last night was how little Rooney was involved. There was an occasional touch and as usual these days most of his energy appeared to go into shouting and waving at Mike Dean.
    Could it be that after seeing off the competition at the club there is not much left of Wayne, other than a fat little yob ?

    Liked by 2 people

  27. One thing clearly missing from the opprobrium over the Jose-Eva gate which I find the most disturbing – is that no journo or media pundit has ever gone back to question the original circumstances. Hazard was play acting an injury and Jose knew he was and was willing to play along with the play acting.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. That might involve all those media experts and football writers know voted en masse for the Belgian tumbler as player of the year recognising a nasty streak in his game DC

    And that would never do would it ! ?

    I look forward to finding out whether the new PL edict on diving has teeth

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Enjoyable game at St Mary’s and three hard earned points for Everton with the 0-3 score line not reflecting a very even game. Saints had chances but fluffed them, EFC much sharper in front of goal.

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  30. from jeorge bird
    Players in training today: Cech, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Ramsey, Coquelin, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud, Cazorla, Ospina, Gibbs, Debuchy, Gabriel, Sanchez, Walcott, Arteta, Flamini, Chambers, Bellerin, Campbell, Bennacer,

    our U18’s beat Norwich 2-0 with Nelson and Nketiah with the goals

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  31. So West Ham come crashing back to earth today, although they were Anthony Taylored by two dreadful decisions, the first of which definitely cost them at least two points. Kasper Schmichel should have seen straight red and a penalty for blocking off Sakho when in on goal and then his red carding of Adrien for a high boot. Yet our useful idiots did not find him not at fault in that horrible game vs Aston Villa two years ago, preferring to attack and undermine our boss for not wasting money on new signings. Was it coincidental that Spurs was then splashing the Bale cash, signing the likes of Lamela for £30 million, yes £30 million? Although they can’t deny the team has improved significantly since then, they use last Sunday’s below average performance by Arsenal to keep grumbling about a world class striker. But as it has ever been, form is temporary, class is permanent. COYG!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. I see that some of the biggest WOB have been doing their fifth columnists bit this summer, all of a sudden out of know where several of them are now ITK, and have been putting out stories of who we are after or not after, depending on which suits their agenda, each of these fake ITK’s back up each others claims, giving credence to the info, they have been especially good at linking us to big name players, then as it drags on they claim Wenger is dithering or has changed his mind or won’t pay the fee, all shit stirring. I understand some of the banner wankers are involved.

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  33. Being selfish for a moment I am having a really frustrating start to the season. Close family (aged division) has unearthed extended family (unwanted division) which has knocked out this weekend and especially tomorrow. And then the following weekend its off to a western Cornish campsite no doubt far beyond the reach of any kind of signal. By the time things are back to normal it will no doubt be an International break so I don’t hold out much hope of supporting the team until mid September. Fairly confident they can manage without me, as can whoever is in charge of transfers out and transfers in. My only anxiety with regard to the squad is Welbeck. Whatever has ailed him is either very serious indeed, or something very odd is going on. Either scenario worries me, as feel certain he has it within him to be outstanding. And have also come to the conclusion that despite the real excellence of Cazorla and Alexis, it is Ramsey and Wilshere who hold the key to the proper success of the squad as it currently stands.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. I hail ooo my Nigerian brother @idibs.
    Didn’t understand ur last sentence.
    Here is to giroud getting his 1st hatrick 2moro- what do I knw, might be a hatrick of assists instead.Just hoping we come leave with a resounding win after our lunch at palace 2 send the gloomers and doomers into their holes of despondency.
    My steww,waiting 4 ur preview.

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  35. I hail ooo my Nigerian brother @idibs.
    Didn’t understand ur last sentence.
    Here is to giroud getting his 1st hatrick 2moro- what do I knw, might be a hatrick of assists instead.Just hoping we leave with a resounding win after our lunch at palace 2 send the gloomers and doomers into their holes of despondency.
    My steww,waiting 4 ur preview.

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  36. Mr Steww*

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  37. Aidan ‏@BeltransMole23 Aug 10
    in 2013/14 and 2014/15, Arsenal played Aaron Ramsey at CM, in a 4231, 29 times. Arsenal W 22 games, D 4 and L 3. 62 goals for, 22 against

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