Burnley, The End Of The Beginning.

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Here we are, the final game of the Premier League 2018/19 season has arrived, and with it the sad realization that we are nearing it’s inevitable end (in Baku) and then a football-less summer with a perpetual supply of transfer gossip beckons. But before all that excitement…
Good day one and all.
Arsenal is at Burnley this afternoon hoping to end what has been a campaign full of highs and lows with their heads held high.
They go into this fixture having failed to win their previous four league games (D1, L3) which all but ended their top-four challenge. However, all is not lost as the Europa League provide an alternative route into next season’s Champions League, after cruising past Valencia on Thursday night to book a spot in the final in Baku on the 29th May where they will meet London rivals Chelsea, who secured their top-four place already.
Meanwhile, Sean Dyche’s side will be happy to have secured their top-flight status for another season after a terrible start to their campaign. They won just two of their first 15 league games but an impressive run between Christmas and February made all the difference in their turnaround. However, they’re winless in their last three games (D1, L2) and will be hoping to sign-off in front of the Turf Moor faithful in style.
Now, the Clarets are often referred to as “plucky” but there’s nothing valiant about them. They’re a cheating, cynical, time wasting and nasty bunch who loves taking chunks out of their opponents. We can only hope that Mike Dean, who Shotta revealed to be “the firmest and most resolute referee this season”[1], does himself justice and keep a handle on the game, because with the crucial game in Baku on the horizon the last thing we need is for our players returning to London having left bits of themselves behind at Turf Moor. If I may add, with this the season of goodbyes and the final round of league fixtures without VAR, I hope we bid farewell to our dear friend Mike too and may he land on his feet.
In the pre-match presser Unai Emery said he’ll look closer to the game at changes from the side that did duty in Spain, but he also said he expect Burnley to be “very tough”. Which does not say much but I do hope we at least see an attacking and motivated approach, because there is a permutation that if United win and we finish 6th on the log, with Watford doing the unthinkable in the FA Cup finals, our holidays could be cut short… and we can’t have that! So here’s hoping there’s no Europa hangover and we record our tenth straight win over the Clarets.
Oh boy! The curtain draws on this Premier League campaign. Smell it. Drink it in. Remember it. Because it will only be next August before we experience it again.
[1] uniteforvar.com/?p=2000

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127 comments on “Burnley, The End Of The Beginning.

  1. Mark Ogden
    ‏Verified account @MarkOgden_
    May 12

    Now a combined 50 years since England’s three biggest clubs (historical success, fanbase) won the title — Man Utd (6 years), Liverpool (29) and Arsenal (15). Unthinkable in any other league in the world.


  2. Wonder what it means if true Chelsea will sell Hazard. They confident still of beating transfer ban? Honouring a deal they made with him despite circumstances? Or being realistic that he is so set on move it would get messy and he wouldn’t perform if they refused to let him go?

    Anyway, he may well be the most talented skilful player in prem, but I think v good news for us if he is off. Think the blow to Chelsea would be huge.

    Greedy perhaps but would love Eriksen to bugger off, too. Maybe De Gea while we’re at it. Pool, annoyingly, don’t look like they will lose any major players for some time. City same of course.

    Pogba’s different. Got impression with him that unless you have seriously good, complementary set of midfield options (Juve had Pirlo, Vidal, Marchisio) he does about as much harm as good or at least makes it difficult to find right blend in midfield.

    Could be wrong and Utd are just a bit of a mess of course.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The New York Times
    ‏Verified account @nytimes

    Manchester City, which won the Premier League title on Sunday, faces a one-year ban from the Champions League for misleading financial regulators about the money they poured into the team

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Aubamayang is my player of the season. Missed a few, but not more then most and given the lower number of chances overall I’ve hugely enjoyed his contribution and i hope that he can continue his recent form in the final.

    There’ve been many other individual highlights, I’ve also been impressed by AMN and props to the coach for keeping faith as I felt he struggled for form when first adjusting to the wing back role.
    And I also enjoyed Nketiah’s appearance and goal. Could he be in the bench for the final? Odds on Eddie to score the winner against his old club?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ed

    Couldn’t have much more of a showing your colours moment with football press. They do not give a shit about allegations against City. Plenty of articles today praising them to the skies and not mentioning the other business. One describes a potential 200 million spree from Pep this summer as a ‘freshening up of squad’, and proof of the great ones smartness etc.

    It fits because, well, everyone who works professionally in or around the game had to know what City were about, if not all the mechanisms and lurid details.

    Somewhere along the line, the decision was reached within the press that any level of spending, from whatever source, is fine, should be played down or ignored for most part, and now it’s gone a step further in that they don’t even see massively breaching the rules as a big deal.

    With the few journalists who approach it head on- Martin Samuel is one- attacking the rules themself, not the breaking of them.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. well Rich on a similar theme, I had a chat with a utd fan today and we talked about this city story, but also how no one, not the media, but even more worryingly not fans in general, really give a fuck that we only had a title race cos of PGMOL game managers handing Liverpool about 15pts, and not a single booking for any of their divers, yet we have game after game fans sing “Same old Arsenal always cheating”,

    we have many AFC fans whose biggest criticism of the Man City owners pumping in all these billions, is that Kroenke won’t do the same at Arsenal.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. fins do you think there is even a slight chance Nketiah will get game time in the Final, I would think regardless of situation all 3 of our subs will be the more experienced subs, maybe if its extra time 4th sub he might get on. We seen it only last week when we needed a goal v Brighton, Nketiah was not brought on.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. anyone see the clip of Mike Dean celebrating Tranmere’s win, he really is the knob we all think he is, has to be the center of attention all the time

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Complicated being Mike Dean, maybe he does support Tranmere, but is also alleged to be fond of Liverpool, he definitely at a time had a little dalliance with Spurs, and his boss might not support but holds some key nd of torch for Utd and their welfare. And that’s when he isn’t trying to do Arsenal.
    Must be rare for him to just get out and enjoy a game without his little interferences and political concerns.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Little Mike’s pals in the Sports Communications game are prepping his audience for him to take over from Big Daddu Mike. Is my predication which I hope is deeply incorrect for the sake of English football!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. We can confirm that Jill Roord has joined us from Bayern Munich.

    The 22-year-old midfielder started her career with FC Twente, where she developed through the youth ranks, before joining Frauen-Bundesliga outfit Bayern Munich in 2017.

    Over two seasons Jill made 36 appearances, scoring 12 goals.

    Jill comes with Champions League experience, having helped Bayern to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League this season.

    The Netherlands international represented her country in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup – and she was also part of the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euro winning squad.

    Jill played alongside current Gunners Danielle van de Donk and Vivianne Miedema, as well as former stars Sari van Veenendaal and Dominique Bloodworth.

    “I’m really proud that I’m going to be an Arsenal player,” she told Arsenal.com.

    “Arsenal is one of the clubs in England that I really like. In women’s football, they’ve always been one of the top clubs. Of course there are some Dutch friends of mine who play there, so I’ve always followed them. I’m really looking forward to it.”

    Copyright 2019 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Former Arsenal Academy coach Neil Banfield has joined QPR as part of Mark Warburton’s backroom staff.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. well fuck me that useless cunt Mustafi didn’t just go and have a season where he had the – Most Interceptions, Most Aerial Duels Won, Most Clearances, and made the second most passes, – just how much longer will Emery put up with this shit

    9h9 hours ago

    Arsenal’s most interceptions in PL 2018/19:
    58 Mustafi
    41 Torreira
    36 Xhaka
    31 Monreal

    Arsenal’s most aerial duels won in PL 2018/19:
    123 Mustafi
    56 Sokratis
    52 Xhaka
    47 Lacazette

    Arsenal most clearances in PL 2018/19:
    161 Mustafi
    108 Sokratis
    70 Koscielny
    54 Monreal
    54 Xhaka

    Arsenal’s most PL passes 2018/19:
    2,245 Xhaka
    1,765 Mustafi
    1,599 Guendouzi
    1,590 Torreira
    1,387 Sokratis
    1,168 Monreal
    1,118 Özil

    Liked by 2 people

  14. a change to the rules for this years EL final, clubs can name 12 subs, and if there is extra time a 4th sub can be used. So 23 man match day squad instead of the usual 18.

    Arsenal held back Saka and Amaechi from England Youth duty, so they get to train with squad, not sure either will make the 23.

    Vontae Daley-Campbell has been called up to the England U18’s, so far no news on him signing a new Arsenal contract, so we may have seen the last of him in an Arsenal shirt

    Liked by 1 person

  15. James Yorke
    ‏ @jair1970
    11h11 hours ago

    Poking around some game state data in the PL and Arsenal when in a losing position really stands out. They spent ~750 minutes behind during 2018-19 which ranked 5th least, so that’s broadly fine.

    However, while losing, Arsenal clocked the 3rd worst xG difference (minus 0.78 xG/90) in the whole league and took fewer shots than any other team (~9.9 per 90). When winning (plus 0.34xG/90) or drawing (plus 0.20xG/90) they were fine, but when behind it was a horror show.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. looking at the above post about shots, I really had to laugh at a WOB who when replying to the stat that AFC scored less than last year and had way less shots, and us having the highest conversion rate of shots to goals since records began, actually said this was due to Emery having coached the players to not take shots that had a poor chance of going in, I kid you not, some of these guys will say anything, no matter how stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Eddie, what I love about that Mustafi stats is that the last thing anyone can accuse him of is going missing in games. Good player. Whatever flaws he has is nothing that a bit more experience and age can’t cure. I mean, the guy is a few months older than Manutd’s enduring “massive potential” Jesse Lindgard.

    Though that doesn’t stop the many cunning linguist (ta Fins) on twatter from trying to spin into a negative.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Well Eduardo, if that’s true about Emery coaching them not to take shots it would seem we have indeed got our Arsenal back.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Ed

    Those stats when behind sure are interesting. I had a strong impression we really struggled when behind (in prem) and guess it means that some of my emotion when we do go behind in games- woe,woe- is justified.

    I’d guess it’s been something from before this season, mind. Maybe not as dramatic but I’m pretty sure I’ve felt for a few years now going behind tends to spell huge trouble for us.

    Think I heard a stat that Chelsea have been really bad coming back from losing positions this season in prem.

    Wonder what the hell the solution to it is. Clearly most teams have developed a formula which serves them very well against us if they can get in front. It basically seems to be a lot of deep defence, little time or space for us in final third, aggression, and hit on break when it is on.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Mustafi. Good player. No doubt about that. I remain stuck on wanting a good tall fella in mix though. For defensive stuff mostly but sure would have liked to have a cb who could challenge Dunk and Duffy on attacking corners the other week.

    Got a good insight into how differently people watch and analyse players they covet for club as opposed to own the other day. Been hearing about Konate for Leipzig for a while so tuned into their Bayern game.

    Still a teenager, 6 foot 4, clocked fastest time for defender in bundesliga, immensely strong, and also does some flash exciting things bringing ball out of defence. Anyway, I’m pretty sure he did have an objectively good game, faring particularly well in regular physical battles with Lewandowski.

    So there’s me and probably plenty of other Arsenal fans, and those of other clubs, thinking, he’s the man, top contender for next Van Dijk. However, at a crucial point in second half he messed up a routine headed clearance really badly, and Bayern put ball in net for what would have been winning goal if not for VAR stepping in for offside elsewhere in move.

    It doesn’t mean he won’t be next big thing, or isn’t destined for wonderful career, but it was interesting to compare how much or how little that big mistake influenced my impression of him on the day versus the same- big mistake leading to goal- with one of our own any day.

    The difference is unbelievable. It’s very nearly the exact reverse : a mistake or two from someone else can be largely ignored, if the idea is lodged in mind the player is real deal, in an otherwise good game; with your own, a mistake or two is the performance, and nothing else matters.

    Still… I’d bloody love it if we signed him! Bad feeling City will swoop. Strongest cb links at moment for us though are with Djene Dakonam. Five foot ten!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Fins

    In putting it on Raul I might have done him a disservice (he’s still a danger) I didn’t realise Kroenke had used an LBO to fund his purchase of Usmanov’s shares. Some $700m. This was in August. George has said Arteta turned us down in July. But Raul’s candidate Emery was then selected. Gazidis announced he’s leaving in September. The season was spent dismantling Ozil n Ramsey to push them out. To cut the wage bill became accepted wisdom among the normally ‘spend some effing money’ crowd and media. In January Sven left. Only Suarez arrived on loan (due to FFP – HA) and here we now are.

    All of these crazy decisions seem to have started not with Raul, but with E. Stan Kroenke’s 100% purchase of Arsenal.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. one of a kind..

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Shard

    Those dates match my concerns discussed here in the build up to the sale of Oxlade Chamberlain (the old gaffer clearly wanted to keep the talented English player).


    Thanks for the extra information! Which underlines the relatively prescient concerns expressed and articulated by George and Shotta, before any others.

    Best and most useful and relevant Arsenal blog and comments section on the internet?


    Thanks George.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Shard

    Those dates match my concerns discussed here in the build up to the sale of Oxlade Chamberlain (the old gaffer clearly wanted to keep the talented English player).

    Thanks for the extra information!
    This all underlines the relatively prescient concerns expressed and articulated by George and Shotta, before any others.

    Best and most useful and relevant Arsenal blog and comments section on the internet?


    Thanks George.

    Liked by 1 person

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