By Bulldog Drummond
The news doing the rounds is that Bukayo Saka has recovered from the dead leg he suffered against Leeds last weekend. We know Pepe is out, Willian and Partey are doubtful, and Elneny and Kolasinac are the victims of the insanity of continuing with international competitions during a crisis. Except some pundits are putting Elneny in the team, so maybe he’s all right after all.
Other than that the only bit of bright news is that coming in from Switzerland that tells us that both Blatter and Platini are now being charged by the courts with fraud and breach of trust. Previously they were just being investigated for “unfair management”.
I thought I would throw that in given that the British newspapers will not mention it at all, not in the slightest, not once, never.
Funny that, since the running of Fifa affects English football – not to mention English taxpayers who help fund the disgracefully corrupt entity. But I am sure these newspaper barons know what side their butter is breaded. Or something like that.
But back to the game. Although he is never once mentioned by name Mark Lawrenson tells us in a BBC article that “I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is but Wolves are lacking something at the moment. Arsenal are a bit stodgy as well, though. I’m going with the Gunners, but Wolves could easily edge it.”
Which pretty much tells us how it is. Although if you do put your finger on anything it is a good idea to wear gloves. Anyway, if he is right and we win 2-1 as he says, that will do wonders for our goalscoring record.
Although the record against the Ws has been good overall, as we saw in the last piece, the last three games at our place have ended 1-1. But as we also saw, we have scored in 25 successive matches against Wolverhampton in all competitions since February 1979. Even a single goal would be welcome in our current run.
What is interesting is that we have not lost three home games in a row without scoring for quite a while. Here’s the last time…
|07 Nov 1908||Woolwich Arsenal v Aston Villa||L||0-1||League Division One|
|21 Nov 1908||Woolwich Arsenal v Sunderland||L||0-4||League Division One|
|05 Dec 1908||Woolwich Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers||L||0-1||League Division One|
|19 Dec 1908||Woolwich Arsenal v Manchester United||L||0-1||League Division One|
|26 Dec 1908||Woolwich Arsenal v Leicester Fosse||W||2-1||League Division One|
However at that time we were doing all right away from home, so matters were not quite as awful.
But we are heading down towards our lowest ever points tally after ten games in the Premier League (can you imagine what the media would be making of that if Mr Wenger was still in charge?) The lowest we have ever got after 14 games is ten points. A draw obviously equals the worst, and a win avoids it.
The last time we lost more than four of the first ten league games was 1983/4. While interestingly Wolverhampton are seeing this period of theirs as a good start. They haven’t won five or more of their first ten games in the top division since 1979, and they are struggling financially having overdone the borrowing before the virus came along.
And so the teams…
Sports Keeda give us
Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding, Gabriel Magalhaes, Kieran Tierney;
Dani Ceballos, Granit Xhaka;
Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang;
The Guardian gives us
Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney;
Ceballos, Partey, Xhaka;
Willian, Aubameyang, Nelson
And as ever they helpfully suggest the array of subs: Rúnarsson, Soares, David Luiz, Kolasinac, Saka, Willock, Smith Rowe, Lacazette, Nketiah, Balogun, Elneny
The Standard don’t seem to want to give us teams this week.
And although its laugh a minute subsidiary Football London won’t give us a clue as to the line up either (at least not on sunday morning). But their owners, the Daily Mirror say
Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Maitland-Niles;
Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Red London however has the headline “Willian dropped” and they go with
Holding, Luiz, Gabriel, T
Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Tierney
Nelson, Aubameyang, Nelson
Now you may have noticed that Arsenal, in this line up above, have two players called Nelson, and I suspect that means that we have twin brothers playing on both wings. That is a clever idea and will undoubtedly confuse the opposition.
Last, we have the Boot Room who come in with
Holding, Gabriel, Tierney
Bellerin, Elneny Ceballos Maitland Niles
Nelson, Aubameyang, Saka
So there we are. A record that we don’t want is in the offing. A win, could take us up as high as seventh, depending on other results. Fingers and lots of other things crossed.