With European hopes hanging on by a wing and a prayer, Arsenal host 2019/20 Premier League champions Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium this evening.
Good day one and all.
The size of the job facing Mikel Arteta was once again laid bare for all to see during Sunday’s 2-1 North London derby defeat. Of course, with two-thirds of possession we weren’t necessarily outplayed, but it took us a wonder-strike to go a goal up, only to then just gift them both goals without reply.
With our dropped points from winning positions now at 21 for the season, a swing that could have had us up at 3rd in the league table – just one point behind Man City, it yet again raised all too familiar questions about our mental strength and character.
Be that as it may, we need to acknowledge that Mikel came in to do a repair job and not allow our frustrations to take away from the noticeable improvements since. Before the NLD loss we were on a run of five games without defeat (W4, D1) and we are still unbeaten at home in the league this calendar year.
So for me, the doomsday prophecy of us descending into mid-table mediocrity is over the top. We did well before the lock-down and always knew following the restart, especially with the congested schedule, that we were heading for a rough patch with 4 away fixtures on the bounce, bit of a breather vs Norwich only to go again for four straight league games against teams above us on the log and then, just because the football gods have a sense of humour, an FA Cup semi-final against Man City.
Our issues precedes Mikel’s arrival and I believe he’s committed and deserving of patience from the Arsenal faithful. I take encouragement from this words in his pre-match presser:
“At the end of the season we are going to have to assess where we are in terms of the club, what is the ambition and where we want to head.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool is flying as high as that bird on their crest and their fans couldn’t be more happy. However, with Jurgen Klopp now chasing the all-time English top-flight points record, things hasn’t all gone his way.
Since being crowned champions The Reds have won just two of their four games (D1, L1). And this “drop in form” is something Klopp want an improvement on, because if they are to break Man City’s 100-point haul they have to win each of their last three outings.
But whatever happens… nothing will take the shine away from their remarkable league campaign.
Arsenal will once again be without the suspended Eddie Nketiah but Mesut Özil was back in full training. However, his involvement in this game may be subject to a late fitness test; at best he could make the bench and hopefully get a cameo towards the end to give him a run before our FA Cup match at Wembley.
The Gunners haven’t beaten The Reds in all competitions since 2015. However, the visitors had to share the spoils on their last two trips to the Emirates.
Overall the expectation is that this should be a routine win for the league champs, but with Liverpool chasing a record and Arsenal needing an immediate reaction after recent slip-ups… this could be an open and very entertaining game. COYG!
I’m glad people are more optimistic than me.
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reports from Germany say Stuttgart are in for Mavropanos on loan, and Sokratis permanent deal. Sven Mislintat the head of recruitment with them.
Football life: it will get worse before it gets better. Something we just need to ride out.
We have talented players and while he is a rookie coach, Mikel seems like a guy that knows what he is doing. And some may disagree, but I believe that in Mikel’s first full season the worse we could do is finishing in Europa places.
Thanks Labo. This game worries me, a very poor recent record against our next two opponents, and at times, we are not the most defensively stable of teams, Liverpool have players to punish that, but one can but hope
EPL announce this summer’s transfer window details
In a statement, the Premier League said:
The window will open for 10 weeks at the end of the current Premier League season, starting on 27 July and ending on 5 October.
Following consultation with the EFL, a domestic-only window will be added from 5 October, closing 17:00 BST on 16 October.
During this window, Premier League clubs will only be able to trade with EFL clubs (either loans or permanent registrations).
No transfers can take place between Premier League clubs in this period.
The transfer window is subject to the approval of FIFA.
The 20/21 season is set to begin on Saturday, September 12th.
Tonight…eech, who knows. I think it’s fair enough for us not to be too optimistic given recent record against them and relative strengths of teams. I’m glad Henderson misses out as think he’s a very important, and good, and annoying, player for them.
I found weekend a bit easier to take due to lack of soft penalty/red et al, but running the gauntlet again tonight o doubt. That little pull then nibble from Winks on Bellerin I mentioned is almost certainly a dive, a pen and maybe a red if happens tonight with Salah and Mane charging about.
Going over Spurs game again in mind. Painful to concede like that, and be opened up so much in latter stages, with that wretched asymmetry between space for us to get behind and space for them to get behind.
However, I think the hope in it is that we were trying to play, with mids and full backs who show for ball, look to probe, keep ball moving…in contrast to Spurs who were in traditional Mou mode of defend, defend, absorb and then pick off.
Ultimately teams do have to make a choice about what they are, and while you had an increasingly rare day of his way looking clever, there is much to say it won’t work out for him, that it will very directly cause problems for him against sitting teams.
Whereas we can hope our way will lead to us having less problems on that front, and also stand us in good stead against the other challenges.
Not exactly ebullient but think there’s been enough in Mikel’s tenure to permit hope for that.
We are capable of very good results but we are error prone rather than having stinkers. Yes tonight’s opposition are geared up to take advantage of any slips although as you said their form isn’t brilliant at the moment.
I do think we are missing Eddie and I don’t like the front three we played against the spuds for all sorts of reasons.
Avoiding defeat tonight and two wins in the cup would be a brilliant end to the season COYG.
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Nathan Tormey has turned down a 3 year contract with Arsenal and will leave us following the end of his contract this summer.
Bit annoying that as did we not let him recover from an injury over a long period then give him a chance? now he’s offered three years and turns it down. Wonder where he will pitch up
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Team to play Liverpool: Martinez, Holding, David Luiz, Soares, Torreira, Xhaka, Tierney, Pepe, Lacazette, Saka, Nelson
Subs: Macey, Bellerin, Sokratis, Ceballos, Aubameyang, Maitland-Niles, Willock, Mustafi, Kolasinac
LIVERPOOL TEAM NEWS
Team to play Arsenal: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Salah, Firmino, Mane
Subs: Adrian, Lovren, Keita, Minamino, Shaqiri, Origi, Jones, Elliott, Williams
Arsenal football club statement RE AFTV Claude remarks on Spurs player Son
“Our records show that the individual involved is not an Arsenal season-ticket holder and does not hold any form of ticket membership. The platform in question has no official association with Arsenal.”
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Jeez, I fear this could get embarrassing, this side are Just not defensively stable unfortunately
liverpool 1-0 up, Mane, and we are second best all over the pitch
he pounces on an awful backpass by VVD and rounds the keeper to slot home
2-1 Nelson, I think, my stream went down
Half Time: Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool
it looked bad after 20 minutes with LFC leading and dominating, but once VVD cocked up to set up Lacca for our first we were a transformed side, took the game to LFC and Nelson gave us a deserved half time lead.
Good turnaround by any standards, just hold this lead, or even better, add to it!
PEA, Willock and Ceballos on for Lacazette, Torreira, and Nelson
Maitland-Niles on for Cedric
kolasinac on for tierney
sorry that was kolasinac on for saka
arsenal have had 2 attempts at goal, scored 2, liverpool have had 21 and scored 1
into five minutes of stoppage time
5 mins from where and what?
FT: Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool
Lacazette and Nelson with our goals, not sure how the hell we won that with 3 shot to their 25
LFC can not get their 100 pts now,
where did they see 5 mins.. ha
Great result given the shocking spanking we got.
Tonight’s possession figure of 31% is the lowest recorded by any Arsenal team in the Premier League in our database.
Arteta basically said again tonight that we have to bring in quality players, that its the best way to improve
Arteta: The gap is enormous. The gap in many areas we cannot improve in two months. The gap between fight, energy, commitment is equal.
Its easier to defend when you have 9 or 10 behind the ball, less easy when there are only 3 or 4 and you are thinking you don’t need to defend.
The game reminded a bit of infamous 1-0 victory over Spurs. After Rosicky opened the scoring in the 2nd minute Arsène Wenger threw everyone behind the ball in the second-half. Like we did after HT.
Arteta played in that game mind. Sometimes you just need to win ugly.
I don’t know how they won that, but we’ll done to them, certainly a lot of character and attitude shown this eve. Hopefully, gives confidence for the semi.
Stunning result really
Mikel Arteta was a happy man after we beat Liverpool with a fine backs-to-the-wall performance on Wednesday night.
Afterwards he faced the media and discussed the win, our defending, closing the gap on the top teams and more.
This is what he said:
on two mistakes from Liverpool players leading to goals…
It’s part of football. It’s a team sport but there are a lot of individual moments and battles that have to be played. Today we forced mistakes and they made them. Obviously that makes the difference in a big game.
on withstanding Liverpool’s pressure…
Unfortunately with the level of dominance, the way they control every aspect of the game, there are going to be little moments or big moments where you’re going to have to defend very close to your area and we knew that. We prepared for that and the boys were terrific. Sometimes we did it really well and sometimes we had moments of luck as well.
on if it was surprising the way we held out…
No. I am really pleased. We have talked a lot about it. If you want to win these games at the moment, with the difference of the two teams, we need to put everything on the line to get the points. I am really pleased because they can do it. It’s about keeping the right spirit and level of attention and I’m delighted that we’ve done it today.
on Trent Alexander-Arnold’s challenge on Bukayo Saka…
It was in front of me and it’s part of the game. I think they both went for the ball and that is part of the game.
on if having low possession is the blueprint to face Manchester City…
It wasn’t part of the gameplan obviously [to not see much possession] but at the moment you can see in many areas the gap between the two teams, what we have to achieve and the areas we have to improve. Certainly there is one area that we’ve caught them on and it’s the belief, the accountability, the passion… they play for every single ball. With that we can beat a lot of teams. Against Tottenham we had total dominance for several periods and we lost the game, so we will find the right balance but credit for them as well for what they have achieved.
on how long it will take to close the gap to Liverpool and Man City…
Well, I’ve seen it and I’ve experienced it to do it in one year, and I’ve also seen other clubs never do it, or some do it in four or five years. It depends on the context, it depends on your resources, and it depends on how much you have to change. But we are in a process and we don’t know at the moment. There is a lot of uncertainty in many areas, but what we can control now is who do we want to be as a team, the culture that we are building to do that, the spirit that we need to be successful, and then improve our players and my main focus is on that. I want to make our players better and I want to make them more comfortable and create an identity for the football club because then it will be easier to say we need this, this and this.
on how much our youngsters give him optimism for the future…
Well, the first thing is the selection because I cannot tell them that I believe in them and then never play them. We try to make sure that everyone fits as part of the team because that’s how you keep the spirit, and you have to put them in big games as well. They showed today that everybody is ready. It’s the way they train every day, it’s the way they have been behaving every day, and everybody deserves a chance. Today they showed that they could do it.
on whether he needs substantial finances to rebuild…
I think it’s pretty clear that we need to strengthen the squad.
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New post is up
So a maximum of four, minimum of three games left in this strange season for the Gunners. We’ve gone from Emery to Arteta via Freddie, and August to July via Lockdown. And I’ve gone from some hope (with the signings of Luiz, Cebbalos, Pepe and Tierney and 6 points from the first two games) to real optimism (with the emergence of our young home growns) via abject despair when it looked as if the Board were going to let the club sink without trace. Six points from the last two League games might just see us sneak into the Europa League, though that’s dependent on others faltering. I guess that European competition will not be straightforward next season anyhow with travel restrictions still likely in place, and maybe UK teams not quite as welcome across the continent if second waves or third spikes do become more than just another Project Fear.
I missed the NLD and only saw Adrian Clarke’s Breakdown of it, but watched all of last night’s effort, which I saw with mounting incredulity (still expecting to lose 2-3 when we missed that great chance late on) and then great joy, especiaily as I had been mercillessly bullied earlier on that day by a crowing Liverpudlian. We’ve scored a lot of goals just lately from forcing defensive mistakes and it pleases me to see our strikers so hungry. But most of all I have thoroughly enjoyed our goalkeeper, and if you haven’t seen it properly, do look at the quite astonishing save he made at the death to secure the three points.