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Arsenal Will Need Steel vs Irons

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Arsenal host West Ham United at the Emirates in a Premier League clash this afternoon; with both sides needing three points for wholly different reasons.
The Gunners, of course, are five points off fifth-placed Man United with a game in hand, while the Hammers are just above the drop zone on goal difference.
Since the turn of the year Arsenal lost just one of their 12 matches in all competitions. However, that one defeat sticks out like a sore thumb because it resulted in us getting knocked out of the Europa and along with it perhaps our best route into next season’s Champions League. Now with 11 league games to go Mikel Arteta knows that he has to prioritise if we are to edge closer to the European qualifying spots.
Be that is it may, there’s still much to be done but there are also lots to be excited about; particularly if you look at the attention to long-term development with a number of our young’uns now proper first-team players. This gives one real anticipation of what’s to come during Arteta’s reign.
We go into this game on the back of a 2-0 win at Portsmouth to advance to the FA Cup last-eight. Arteta made nine changes to play a Pompey side that hasn’t lost at their own patch all season, and the performance the boys put has helped a lot to ease most of the trauma suffered from the loss vs Olympiakos. It also keep hope alive for the Spaniard to win silverware in his maiden season. That is something no doubt at the back of his mind…however, at the forefront will be the three points on offer this afternoon.
David Moyes’ West Ham side are 16th on the table, but with just two points above 19th-placed Aston Villa are in a real bind.
They have lost each of their last five away matches and won just three on the road all season. With games against Wolves, Spurs and Chelsea following today’s, they could be in a real spot of bother as far as the battle for survival is concerned.
It’s not like they’re gutless though. A fortnight ago they put in a plucky display against Liverpool at Anfield; was leading 2-1 with 20 or so minutes to go, but just couldn’t hold on as the Reds scored the winning goal in the last 10 minutes. They followed that up with a more controlled performance at home to Southampton to run out 3-1 winners – their first win since New Year’s Day. And it’s on the back of that they’re coming to the Emirates.
Arsenal are unbeaten in their last seven league matches at home and have beaten the Hammers in eight of their previous nine league encounters. So whether that win against the Saints will give Moyes’ side enough of a bounce will be telling this afternoon.
Team news
Arsenal’s win at Pompey came at a cost of Lucas Torreira suffering a fractured ankle; meaning he is not expected back anytime soon.
Kieran Tierney is back fit and will be assessed ahead the match.
January loan-signing Pablo Mari was imposing at Fratton Park and could be handed his first league start.
Prediction
West Ham’s result last weekend brought some welcome-relief for the London Stadium faithful but it’s on their travels they’re suffering. And while they may give Arsenal a good run for their money today, I just can’t see them doing enough to put an end to the Gunners’ unbeaten league run in 2020.
  • @LaboGoon

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82 comments on “Arsenal Will Need Steel vs Irons

  1. I wonder why we seem incapable of creating chances as we used to.

    It seems that over the last few games we have created fewer chances than all of our opponents.

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  2. I am afraid Eduardo that when it comes to anything re referees and VAR I always suspect foul play.

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  3. Comedy stuff with the VAR for offside. Looked like they were determined not to let us pinch a fraction of a millimetre, but then stopped at point they would have to confirm goal good, moved on to spend a while on next bit that couldn’t possibly be off, then back, maybe in hope for different results this time. No such luck, so back to look at the obviously on bit again.

    Laca pen call was ridiculous. Rarely seen defender grab someone as abruptly and clearly as his marker did the instant he saw our player was getting into good crossing position. Carried on from outside box until the final bit, by which point it had become tussle with Laca also holding.

    Commentator then proceeds to judge only that final bit, with the tussle, and it looks like VAR did the same, or at least that was image it briefly showed while deliberating. Surely no one can be that wrongheaded accidentally. The commentator maybe, but not the pro’s

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  4. Sokratis, David Luiz, Pablo Mari, Saka on the team sheet – so did they line up like that with Sokratis at Right Back. Interesting that in his post-match comments Arteta pointed out that the balance of the team is compromised by having to play Saka (who is not a left-back – MA’s words, not mine) at Left Back. And for those of you who saw either game this week how does Mari look?

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  5. Agree on VAR , there seemed reluctance to give that goal, despite it being obvious to all it was onside. I suspect someone in VAR ultimately took a decision for his/her reputation ,over riding an inevitable bollocking or other consequences for Riley. We are getting too close to Utd for the comfort of some
    Then, as mentioned, the baffling decision when Lacca was held in the area, right in front of the officials.
    Got the impression, later confirmed by two friends in the ground that Atkinson gave them everything he possibly could. One also stated that he thought Atkinson was deliberately letting fouls on Pepe go, like every other ref this season.
    Still, a poor performance, to really climb the table will have to do better against the protected cloggers , against city , against Liverpool -we all know what the refereeing will be in that game, then of course at the Lane or whatever it was called now, with Mike Dean orchestrating things , and Kane and Son back to almost superhuman levels of fitness and energy ( before Kane crashes again, for longer and longer with his risky early returns )
    Arteta and Edu will know exactly what is going on as did Wenger, they should be building a case, unless of course ,like others the club have just signed up for what can be a gravy train with unwritten conditions attached . Not sure Stan could invest personally even if he wanted to now, but why would he throw money at something that is clearly illegally being controlled from elsewhere ?
    But, convinced Utd are being helped in any way possible, back up to the top to resume their rivalry with Liverpool, at all costs, just for starters. Then, a pool of slightly lesser favoured teams, Leicester, Tottenham , this years plucky Northerner/ midlander, though Wolves might dispute that, and finally, pretty much anyone playing us!
    If the likes of Leeds and Newcastle ever get bought out by demanding tyrants,slave states or whoever, that will really confuse the picture

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  6. Many have asked the question as to why we keep getting the same refs.
    Seems Liverpool have similar, albeit with far more favourable results, according to the latest article on UA, with Oliver , Taylor and Tierney involved in some way in , or close to 30% of their games.
    The article also mentions how out of kilter the English refs are with Europe, certain refs, you will know the names immediately, have, this season done up to 10 more games than any of their counterparts in the various European leagues. So basically, as we know, Mike Riley is not spreading our pool of refs around, the question, why? And a bigger question, why is he being allowed to to this
    The article suggests such a limited referee pool enhances the chances of matchfixing

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  7. I’m highly tempted to give up on following football because the levels of “game management” are just getting out of control. I’ve never seen VAR take so long to make a decision and it was obvious to me that they looked at our goal from every possible angle to try to find a way to cheat us out of it. We did well to come away with the 3 points considering that the team were not at their best. Thankfully WHU’s front players are such poor finishers or we would have been crushed. Sometimes you have to just be grateful for the points and forget about the performance. Yesterday was definitely one of those times, but it’s a worry that we seem to have gone off the boil at a crucial point in the season. I hope Mikel can find the key to reignite that spark.

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  8. the time VAR took to give the goal was even questioned by Gareth Crooks on Final Score, he said it was obvious with one look that Ozil was on side and his header was backwards so Lacca had to be onside.
    I do believe that they were thinking of giving Nelson offside, but thankfully he actually was heading away from goal and made no effort to go to the ball to ozil

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  9. From limited highlights I saw, plus stats and other bits and pieces, looked like W Ham posed similar problems to Olympiakos at home, although perhaps with more counter threat.

    An old problem, then, which diminished in importance under Emery, where, by the end, well, it was just an all around mess with us.

    Frustrates life out of me to be stymied by that defensive style at one end and vulnerable to breaks at other. Often hear the failure to break that style down attributed to speed in our passing, but never convinced that is main issue, and can’t imagine typical supporter showing patience if we speed it up but give away ball more, especially in wrong areas.

    How long would crowd stay with team in that scenario- 10, 20 mins?

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  10. on Sokratis at right back, well with Bellerin struggling for form, AMN persona non grata, I think we will see Cedric Soares make his debut pretty soon, he is set to return to full training this coming week.
    as for MA saying Saka is not a fullback, well again thankfully Tierney returned to full training last week, and MA said he could play again for the first team at any time, its just a matter of having confidence that the shoulder will stand up to full on contact. Medics confident it can.

    I see bloggers and journos already drawing up their lists of players who MA will dump this summer, of course some are easier to predict than others, but I like to go on who he picks and who he doesn’t as a good indicator, so I find it amusing that so many of them have Ozil on their lists. Arteta played with the guy, Arteta has had nothing but good things to say about the guy, and most importantly of all, Arteta has picked the guy in all our important games and set up the team to make best use of him. Does that sound like Arteta wants rid of him.
    Players that I would suggest look most in danger of being offloaded are Martinez, not got a look in under MA, Sokratis who has lost his CB slot, firstly to Mustafi and now to Mari, I would say Lacazette the most likely forward to be moved out, and it remains to be seen what the future holds for Pepe at Arsenal, as MA speaks so highly of Nelson, who has got game time as soon as he returned to fitness. Pepe is a conundrum, he is so close to being a really top player for us, but to me it seems he is trying far to hard to impress, meaning he is trying to do too much on his own, and not taking the simple option, but instead is trying to beat the entire defense everytime he gets the ball.
    MA’s comments on Maitland-Niles suggest that his time at Arsenal could be coming to an end, it did look like when MA came in that AMN was the one who benefited the most, his performance levels went up a notch or two, but now MA is saying the lad is not trying hard enough in training and as MA has stated, that is one non negotiable, full on effort all the time is the starting point for everyone, fail to give it and you just simply won’t play. Mustafi and Ceballos, even Nketiah to an extent, have shown that MA is a man of his word, give full effort and you will get a chance.
    Guendouzi could be the big loser under MA, again comments by the boss suggest Matteo’s attitude has not been right, and his game time has dried up, the call up to the France squad seems to have gone to his head.
    Torreira is one I would not be surprised to see leave this summer, he does not seem to be a first choice starter for MA, just a guy to use when we need to see out a game.
    If Ceballos keeps up his recent form we will probably try to sign him this summer.
    Saliba is coming in too so I expect a CB or two to leave this summer, Rob Holding could be one of the CB’s to go, again he has not got a look in since MA took over, that seems to be fitness related, as like Bellerin he is struggling to get back to his best after a bad knee injury.
    of our other loaned out players, Smith-rowe and maybe John-Jules look like the guys who could be part of the first team squad next season.

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  11. Watching that Laca one again and it is truly staggering. I tried imagining how it can legitimately go wrong, and it would have to be as result of Atkinson insisting he saw it and would stick by his decision, with VAR then either not being forceful enough to contest that or being hamstrung by pgmol clear and obvious threshold.

    That would be weak and somewhat ridiculous, and of course highlight flaws in pgmol VAR, but thing is, images show clearly Atkinson is looking away, to left, with no view whatsoever when the foul starts, nor until it is near end of it, with Laca now having raised his arm in the tussle. So it’s an unseen incident. VAR has to tell ref that.

    Instead it appears they went along with pretence that the bit Atkinson may have had view of, at very end, was the bit to be judged. One of the most damning things I’ve seen against us yet. If club don’t seek answers how that call could be made with VAR then we really have just accepted it as our fate to be screwed over.

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  12. A slight problem with XG is that these clear chances that counter-attacking teams carve out do put a lot of pressure on an individual who hasn’t seen a lot of the ball to that point. Antonio looked bad yesterday, but it must be taxing to spend 99% of the match funnelling back and running channels, and then being expected to execute perfectly with your fifth touch of the game or whatever. Has to take a rare type of personality.

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  13. rich as for giving away the ball if we speed it up, well in the first half yesterday we were not very fast in our passing but gave it away over 30 times.
    We had 70% possession yesterday but west ham had 6 shots on target to our 2, and they had 14 shots in total to our 9. Now I will qualify that by saying feck all of their 6 on target required anything other than an expected save by Leno. Also Sokratis missed the best chance of the game when he headed against the bar from six yards out

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  14. rich what about the Nketiah penalty call, Eddie was convinced he had been fouled.

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  15. “ If club don’t seek answers how that call could be made with VAR then we really have just accepted it as our fate to be screwed over”
    That’s my fear Rich, that for whatever reason, perhaps the money earning potential, investment , world wide media rights or whatever, those that truly run the club have signed up for something with conditions attached, perhaps even naively though would a billionaire be naive to such things?
    Wenger spoke out, and was silenced. No way Arteta, edu and I would guess Raul don’t know what’s going on . Ivan was powerful behind the scenes, yet as far as we know, did nothing about this, I thought at the time as a price for top four entry , now re-evaluating that top four opinion.

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  16. Ed

    In another world, I’d approve of Nkeitah decision. Did something unnatural with his legs the instant before contact and, who knows, if of a mind maybe could have stayed on his feet after contact or tried leaping out of way of it after touch, though players were so close it’s doubtful could have achieved that.

    In this world, you get them maybe as much as 9/10. The defender was very close, Eddie got a touch beyond him, proximity and momentum of both players made collision inevitable by look of it.

    Seen mention it wasn’t on- off from Ogbonna grabbing strikers and he also did it twice to Eddie. Don’t know if that’s accurate but seems plausible given way he grabbed Lacazette, which was crazy even for an Italian centre back, unless he knew score with Atkinson and us in general.

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  17. rumors that our away game in the FAC at Sheffield Utd will be a 7pm kick off on Friday 20th March

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  18. Eight points on Chelsea is a big ask now that Lampard has got Giroud in his starting eleven, they should have a decent run.

    5th is the target and as others highlight above Big interests have an interest in Utd or Tottenham or Wolves getting that spot.

    Even on The Bergkamp Wonderland podcast are they calling out the league and pgMOB. Their “interpretation” of the VAR system whilst designed to discredit the tech has in fact rebounded upon themselves with a large number of football fans.

    COYG

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  19. fins the media want sheffield utd to get CL place

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  20. Would’ve been nice to have Torreira for Sheffield Away, filling that gap in the squad will be one of Arteta’s big challenges in the weeks ahead.
    Ceballos doing OK in recent home games. will be interesting to see how he gets on if he starts at City.

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  21. Even as a neutral watching the Manc Derby, it seems like the league wanted United to win. For me bath goals had players at the same level with the defender, but for United straight away. Whereas for city it was checked in detail with those lines and not given.

    City looked pretty poor however I must say. No idea whether it was because they are focusing on the CL.

    Poor quality game overall.

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  22. Jon Moss is the ref for our game v Man City, with Michael Oliver on VAR

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  23. Good result yesterday, I thought Ceballos had a better game than usual, happy for him. Bit of a fortunate clean sheet but we’ll take it!

    Jjgsol, why are we creating less chances, probably a few reasons but seeing Aaron Ramsey with a goal and assist today is a big one.

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  24. For the last couple of seasons a draw away at city would have been a good result but given their form and the situation we find ourselves in the league this is another must win game.
    The trouble is although we have been winning we haven’t covered ourselves in glory and in a couple of games and have relied on the opposition being less clinical than us. We won’t get that luxury against city
    The Granit Danny axis in midfield is great when we have the ball, for the most part, however they dont dominate so may need some help.
    Although I can’t see us trying to dominate against city but get our opportunities on the break. We haven’t been electric on the break either being to slow or choosing the wrong option.
    This game is massive, win and we can ride high into the final part of the season, drop points and it will be a tough grind.

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  25. Fatty Moss and Blind Oliver, what could possibly go wrong.

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  26. Arteta on Pepe: “It is part of Nicolas’ development that he needs to open more doors & be more unpredictable for the opponent. He is working to give us more options offensively & will improve as he has the talent, an immense quality & the willingness to do it”

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  27. Our medical team have issued a fresh team news update ahead of Wednesday night’s game against Manchester City.

    Here’s the latest:

    Calum Chambers
    Left knee. Ruptured anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee during Chelsea (h) on December 29. Successful surgery completed. Rehabilitation process expected to take between six to nine months.

    Sead Kolasinac
    Right shoulder. Significant strain to right shoulder joint during Everton (h) on February 23. Aiming to return to full training by the end of March.

    Shkodran Mustafi
    Tight right thigh. Being assessed ahead of Manchester City (a).

    Cedric Soares
    Left knee. Aiming to be in full training this week (w/c Monday, March 9).

    Lucas Torreira
    Right ankle. Sustained fracture to right ankle during Portsmouth (a) on March 2. Still receiving continual assessments. Recovery process expected to take between eight to ten weeks.

    Copyright 2020 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.

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  28. Arteta’s first crack at City/Pool so should be intriguing and maybe informative to see how we approach it.

    Don’t really see us going full Utd, with defend defend defend and live on breaks, nor are we as equipped for that as them. Suspect we’ll try something different but not sure what. Nelson for Pepe seems likely though.

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  29. Yeah I’d like to see Niles return to the midfield in an away game in Manchester to see if he could match his previous MOtM performance at OT,
    but unless he’s busting a gut in training today it is looking unlikely at the moment that he will get a game there.

    Ignoring the growing acceptance amongst English football fans this season that the lickspittles boondangle with VAR is due to the idiots sitting behind the monitors and not the fault of the monitors themselves.
    it’s hard to imagine a bigger method of discrediting the pgMOB then the one path that they themselves have chosen. their PR and the entire media can blame the transistors if they want, mixed in with a healthy foes of toxic nationalism (“give us our game back” is straight out the Cummings soggy biscuit handbook).

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  30. If you believe Richard Keys on his blog- think it was Rich who linked it on here recently- then Mike Riley spends his weekends hanging around the VAR bunker interfering, Keys mentioned this in association with the Lo Celso blunder. So Mike Riley is a sad git with no life as well

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  31. Sheffield United 1.30pm on a Sunday

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  32. Match postponed. Players in quarantine due to possible coronavirus infection from Olympiakos owner.

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