After 11-and-a-half months it’s finally the last round of Premier League fixtures on the 2019/20 calendar, with Arsenal hosting Watford at the Emirates Stadium.
The Hornets are staring down the barrel, needing at least a draw to have an outside chance of avoiding relegation, whereas the Gunners come into this match on the back of a shock 1-0 loss to Aston Villa.
Good day one all.
Arsenal has been very hit and miss in recent weeks; notable wins over Wolves and Liverpool in the league was followed by a superb FA Cup victory against Man City, but defeats either side of The Reds clash have left us 10th-place in the league table.
Of course, it’s disappointing but we also shouldn’t ignore that we are in a period of transition since Mikel Arteta walked through the door mid-season. However, with next weekend’s FA Cup final against Chelsea still offering a shot at redemption, we simply cannot go into that match on the back of successive defeats.
As luck would have it… Watford come into this game having lost each of their last five games on the road across all competitions.
An incredible 3-0 victory over league champions Liverpool on 29 February, ending their then unbeaten league run, hasn’t given the visitors the boost they thought it would, as they won only two of their nine matches since (D1, L5). Nigel Pearson was dismissed just two days prior to their 4-0 trashing at the hands of Man City in midweek because of that failure.
If they are to dodge the relegation trapdoor then simply beating the Gunners may not be good enough, as they would also need the misfortune of Villa who will be equally desperate for a win against a West Ham team, that may already be on the beach. Not a great position for Watford to be in, but caretaker coach Hayden Mullins will be expecting from them to at least hold their end up.
With six days between today’s game and the FA Cup final, Mikel could field a strong XI, considering he already made six changes for the Villa game. Skhodran Mustafi, of course, is out injured so Rob Holding could come into the side alongside David Luiz and Kieran Tierney.
I think the toughest decision to be made concerns Ainsley Maitland-Niles. He was on the outside of the team but hugely impressed versus City, so whether he would make way for our new number 7, Bukayo Saka, will be telling this afternoon.
With Arsenal’s incredible home record since the start of the year, this fixture is perhaps not as daunting on the face. But Watford is such a petty side that if they feel they really are getting relegated, this match has the potential to get real ugly.
Be that as it may, hopefully we remind Troy Deeney just how big our cojones and send them packing to the Championship with a “you’re welcome” parting shot.
rich I told you a long time ago that Wenger leaving would not see the refs treat us any differently, there is a northern bias in the PGMOL, no London refs, one southern based ref, an old boys club of refs from up north, led by Mike Riley. An FA and EPL that see it as important that Man Utd are successful. A set of refs who don’t want any fancy dan southern softies playing namby pamby football, so game management has replaced enforcing the rules.
some of the latest Arsenal transfer rumors are
Ceballos on loan with view to permanent deal
Coutinho on loan with view to permanent deal
Zaha on loan with deal to be completed in a years time
Malang Sarr on a free
Willian on a free
Lewis on a free
still after Partey but reluctant to pay the €50M release clause
Not sure it was personal against Wenger Rich, but our man was so good, he threatened Fergie, and went a season unbeaten in the process. He was so good, Scudamore had to put yes man Riley In charge of the refs to help his favoured team at least in terms of his brand. Rileys predecessor, Hackett was no angel, but things were far better and more fair under him, at least for Arsenal.
Since Scudamore/ Riley, the only clubs to threaten the favoured North West show have been uber monied Chelsea ,and Leicester who I believe were helped to the title as a one off to give the false impression that the EPL is competitive, when it is far from that.
I believe the extent Fergie Riley and Scudamore went to stop Wenger is actually a backhand compliment to the man. Fergie himself said that he and his teams had to be at their most competitive to take on wengers teams, sadly, he used football establishment criminality as part of this competitiveness, that and his status amongst other managers as head of the LMA, we all know what LMA gimps like Big Sam, Pulis and Phil Brown would do encouraged by Fergie, as well as for their own gains, but just shows what a threat Wenger was.
As good as I believe Arteta will be, I just don’t see Arsenal as set up to compete with the north west, and to take on the football establishment in this country, perhaps our owners actually know that and maybe do t rock the boat to make things worse? Though that would annoy me intensely if that were the case!
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Spot on Mandy. I couldn’t say it better myself, and I usually say everything better.
I have a good bottle of vintage champagne that is waiting for that bastard Ferguson to croak so I can open it. Loathe that bastard and everyone who enabled the revolting Bully
Markyb, we will have none of that talk on here, champagne guzzling is frowned upon.
What about a premium English sparkling wine then?
Thank you PG, high praise indeed!
Ed, Mandy- plenty of nodding to those posts.
Damn hard to put into words but I think they like some Southern teams, up to a point, if they play a very British or even Northern style of play. Dirty, basically. But that peculiar dirt which contains so much hypocrisy, including the abundance of seriously wimpy diving and playacting.
It’s hard to pin down, for me at least, and I hope the main reason for that is because so much of it is based on bullshit, error and delusion, about English honesty and toughness vs foreign….what did one journalist accuse us of being? Physically squeamish?
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Just saw couple of training photos. Think there’ve been 5 or 6 of our u23 squad training with us since basically when it all restarted again. You’d hope that if those lads have good chance of playing at high level it should be hugely beneficial to them.
Never know what’ll happen with loans etc but if that core are together for a few months start of next season be interesting to see if they’ve gone up a gear and excel at u23 football.
Arteta reveals he has been speaking to Wenger recently.
“He gives you great advice and just talking to him – he has got such a knowledge and he is such and intelligent person – that just knowing he is there and he is going to be supporting us and supporting me, I feel calmer.”
being reported this evening that Mesut Ozil is in Turkey, has been for a couple of days, so won’t be at the FA Cup Final, Mattaeo Guendouzi has not been in first team training either and so won’t be there either.
Be Warned Chelsea FC, we have that strong a team and squad we don’t even need Ozil or Guendouzi to beat you
seems that we can have 10 players attend the final tomorrow who are not in the match day 20
would expect the squad to be
Bellerin David Luiz Tierney Kolasinac Holding Sokratis Saka
Maitland-Niles Smith Willock Torreira Xhaka Ceballos
Pepe Nelson Aubameyang Lacazette Nketiah
with the 10 others likely to be Saliba, Macey, Coyle, Medley, Clarke, Swanson, Ballard, Hein, , Osei-Tutu and Soares,
maybe we would leave some of these guys out so that injured players like Mustafi, Chambers, Martinelli and Mari can attend, but I think its more likely that the guys who have been training this week will get the nod to attend
Arsenal are demanding at least £8m for Brentford target Folarin Balogun.
Same rumours about Balogun suggest it’s believed we’re asking too much at 8 million, for 19 year old who hasn’t even played.
Had a debate with someone about that topic. They insisted club right not to reward youngsters who won’t sign on with any appearances. I think it would have been sensible to have him train with us if fit over last month, and try squeeze in a few sub appearances. Seems to possess plenty enough that he just might have done something with a cameo. If still won’t sign, fine. Probability is it would increase chance of a good price selling.
Could well be falls under that same attitude thing that has done for Guendo, I guess. Still, unless extreme, I’d be for relaxing that to increase chances of top youngster either signing on or going for a decent price.
Guendouzi’s value likely taken good whack as well.
well rich he refused to sign a new deal since January, even though back then it was with the promise of a loan deal
it looks a lot like what happened with Mavadidi, club wanted to keep him but lad wanted out after whispers from other clubs
I really have to wonder if Ozil has been dumped from out squads due to none of our games being shown in China if he is in the squad. with no fans allowed in ground, maybe club decided they could not do without the revenue from china.
At the time of Mesut’s refusal to take a pay cut, there was rumors that this was due to the club failing to support his China – Muslim comments, but they were only to happy to back the BLM campaign.
We also have rumors that Ozil’s contract is made up of lots of bonus payments, such as playing, being in the squad, cup wins etc. there may even be a big bonus due to him if he plays another game for us. who knows
I always laugh when people call it club crippling, its basically two good wages, we pay more each year to long term injured players than we do to Ozil.
Labo is in the building