File Under: Squeaky Bum Time

Preview of the lunchtime kick-off at the King Power Stadium

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As is stands before kick off today

The usual five talking points ahead of today’s away match v Leicester.

No More Margin For Error
Arsenal are still in the top four race largely due to the teams around them dropping unexpected points. Who could have predicted Manchester United’s collapse or some of the matches that Chelsea have failed to win? Unai Emery’s side are now in the position where they have to step up to the plate and deliver. Although mathematically not terminal, defeat today would realistically end their chances of a top four place. It would mean they could only get 72 points. A draw and two wins from their last three matches would mean 73, which might just get them over the line, but they would need Chelsea to only take six points out of the nine they have available and hope their goal difference remains stronger. They really need to be going for the win at Leicester though, in case Chelsea get a draw at Old Trafford, although whatever happens in the Gunners’ game, another defeat for United might be curtains for Arsenal’s top four hopes too. Should you fancy a punt there’s certainly money to be made if you can predict upcoming results, and you can maximise your profits using vip-codes.com to take advantage of special offers from the bookies for your Premier League betting.

It would be nice to at least have some interest in the 4.30 game
Let’s go absolutely mad and say Arsenal manage to win today. It would make the United v Chelsea game a lot more interesting. Should United win, it means they can get 73 points (and surely will given their last two matches are against Huddersfield away and Cardiff at home). Even if Arsenal only get a draw today, a United win would give them a chance of 4th spot. United are currently ten points behind The Gunners on goal difference. Let’s say United won by a goal today, that would then be nine. Here’s a scenario for you. Arsenal win their last two games by a single goal. So +11 over United. United demolish Huddersfield 6-0, then Cardiff 6-0, and pip the Gunners to fourth place on goal difference! Football, eh? Bloody hell, as someone once said…

A Chelsea win?
So back to the idea of Arsenal beating Leicester, and being on 69 points. A Chelsea win at Old Trafford takes them to 70. Their final two matches are at home to Watford (now saving themselves for the FA Cup Final) and away to Leicester. Arsenal’s fate is no longer in their own hands. A draw at Old Trafford at least puts the Gunners back in control of their own destiny. It’s turning into quite an interesting finish to the season isn’t it! And this of course, assumes Spurs don’t drop any more cheap points, away to Bournemouth and at home to Everton. They currently have 70 points and a healthy goal difference. It would take a remarkable combination of results for them not to finish at least 4th, so let’s not go there, although there is the slightest chance that we could enjoy a St Totteringham’s Day on the final day of the Premier League.

The Brendan Rodgers effect?
Rodgers lost his first game after taking the job at Leicester, but then posted four wins in a row. So all looking rosy, although those victories came over the combined might of Fulham, Burnley, Bournemouth and Huddersfield. Rodgers ensured there was no danger of the club getting involved in a relegation scrap. However, things have gone off the rails a little in the last two matches. A home defeat to Newcastle would have disappointed, and their last game saw them draw at West Ham, which in fairness was better than Unai Emery’s team managed. So they’ve had a decent run with the new manager bounce, and maybe are now thinking of their summer holidays more than winning football matches… we hope.

So what of Arsenal then?
Psychologically shot? Hopeless away from the home comforts of the Emirates? Form taken a lengthy stroll out of the back door? Let’s face it guys, they’ve lost their last two matches – at home to Palace and away to Wolves, conceding three each time. And yet, beat Napoli twice. Inconsistent is the word that comes to mind, but the stakes are high and these players do not want to be relying on winning a cup final to be back in the Champions League (assuming they can negotiate Valencia). There is incentive enough, but they have to find a combination of focus, commitment, desire, organisation and attacking creativity that has been seen all too rarely over the campaign. Yet their task is simple. Win three winnable games (under normal circumstances), which they can do if they stop shooting themselves in the foot with defensive calamities. They are a country mile away from being title contenders, we get that. But the extra funds available to Emery should the club make the top four will certainly accelerate the rebuild that’s required. As to rotation, and thoughts on Valencia on Thursday evening? Who knows with Emery, although for me, he has to pick his strongest possible side today, especially given the first leg of the semi-final is at home. If players have to be rested, that gamble needs to be saved for Brighton at home.

Conclusion
Football can be unpredictable, no question about that. Arsenal are capable of winning their remaining three league fixtures as easily as they are of losing the lot of them. But the law of averages has to come in at some point. After two defeats, time for a win. They have to. Simple as that. We can then watch the 4.30 game with genuine interest. And if they get a draw, it’s not over, but certainly a lot less likely. How much hunger do these players really have? We'll find out at high noon…

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23
comments

  1. peter wain

    Apr 29, 2019, 06:51 #113646

    just be pleased dick is proud of the players. Emry out get some one in who knows football - this bloke is only an average comedienne.

  2. TonyEvans

    Apr 29, 2019, 06:33 #113645

    So we’ve lost the last three games 3-2; 3-1 and 3-0! Thank God -1 isn’t possible! Seriously though many of us were worried about Dick’s defensive record so it’s no surprise we are still shipping goals for fun. Add to that the lack of creativity, pace and width in midfield which we used to rely on to paper over our appalling defending the only surprise is that we are still in the hunt for a top four spot!

  3. mad max

    Apr 29, 2019, 06:31 #113644

    the sad fact is we're no longer a big club, the lack of ambition is the crux of the matter. it all went tits up when the previous shareholders decided to sell their shares to the septic tank rather than usmanov. wenger should have gone after the 8-2 at old Trafford back in 2012. the signings these past few seasons have been farcial, elnenny,lichtsteiner,suarez,xhaka,mustafi,kolasinac,chamakh,gervinhio,sanogo, etc the list goes on. i'd give emery until xmas to get the defence sorted out as we're worse than last season imo. how did it ever come to this. to make it worse our vile knuckle draggers down the road have built a stadium far superior to our's. have built a better team brought through young home grown players with a wage bill far lower than ours. the club is being run by rank amatuers gazidis saw this coming and jumped ship knowing full well that Kroenke was never going to invest in this club. we are well and truly stuffed. there used to be a great football club in N.5

  4. The Man From UNCLE

    Apr 28, 2019, 19:59 #113643

    Ok totally predictable performance today. So, squadwise where do we go from here. For what it's worth here's my take; Leno, good shot stopper. Maitland -Niles, will be very good player in years to come. Mustafi, must not be here next season. Xhaka, a red card waiting to happen. Mikhy, sorry mate but it just ain't working. Iwobi, shape up or ship out. Lacazette, good hardworking pro. Aubamayang, hit a brick wall a few games back and hasn't recovered. Kolasinac, Elneny, not really good enough. Ozil, well that's been discussed, personally I think the guy is class but epl isn't his thing. Guendozi, Torreira, build a team around these two please. Koscienly, Monreal, good solid pros but best days behind them sadly. Oh well.

  5. CORNISH GOONER

    Apr 28, 2019, 19:16 #113642

    Utterly depressing but utterly predictable under the unambitious, parasitic Walmart dependent owner. I still think Emery was a positive appointment & if he walks or is pushed does anyone seriously think that downgrading by going for the likes of Howe will achieve the necessary sea change? Nope, we are well & truly buggered until serious money & serious ambition are thrown at the situation. As an old fart I hate what the PL has become but you either join in or find something else to do. Are you listening Stanley? Thought not.

  6. itsRonagain2

    Apr 28, 2019, 18:44 #113641

    Hi Marky - i hear you and respect yr take on these last few games but Arsenal FC and the players they have arent psychologically or physically capable of grinding out wins in the way that you mention. Its a Club who've played tippy tappy for 12 years, staffed by little midgets in the main and its a club seriously lacking a competitive edge, lacking physicality and drive. Next time Suarez steps on the pitch (if he does), take a look. Hes the archetypal advert for what constitutes an AFC footballer post 2006. Emery has taken it as hes found it as hes had to do and ive no doubt at all hes agreed to work on a shoestring for the entirety of his time there. This is why ive taken the view that we need to clear out the squad kin large chunks and play our own younger players, just as GG did back in 86/87. I think by them not getting top 4 is both a blessing and an opportunity for Arsenal FC. its whether theyve the balls to see it that way and take the opportunity or not.The alternative is just to carry on muddling by as AW did for so long and as Emery has had to do this Season. If they choose the latter route, its the same usual uninspiring mediocrity for the Club to follow, sure as night follows day. If they dont change some thing, the next grade of Coach to go in there is going to be a few rungs down from Dick for sure. Up and coming top of the Championship types perhaps, though i like the look of Farke at Norwich. Doesnt strike me as the type players will mess about and gives me the impression that he wears a no prima donna sign on his office door.

  7. John F

    Apr 28, 2019, 18:33 #113640

    GG bad league run started after a very good away performance at Spurs on 4th Jan and ended on the 11th of April with a win against Charlton.It contained 4 draws Coventry,SheFfield Wednesday,Oxford and Forest and 6 defeats Utd,Liverpool,Chelsea,Watford,Everton and West Ham i am sure if the internet was about in those days the pressure would of been on although we did win a cup which could be an omen for Dick.George however did not concede 9 goals in 8 days.

  8. Exiled in Pt

    Apr 28, 2019, 17:53 #113639

    Eddie Howe has done a great job at Bournemouth, tries to play the game the right way. Not sure he is any better than Dick but to be honest I would not of complained if he had got the job same if Arteta had got it. Just think its a bit hasty after 1 season to be talking of the sack. With the squad of players at his disposal. He has made mistakes but show me a coach who hasn't as already said GG went 10 without a win. Fourth spot is still possible even if unlikely and a EL final place is still a possibility. As Ron says the yank is happy and that is all that matters whatever we hope and pray for means bugger all now...

  9. markymark

    Apr 28, 2019, 17:42 #113638

    ItsRon - I do get that everyone in the top 4 is commiting suicide. But I hold Emery responsible for these last set of defeats . It’s simply a balls up to have top 4 in palm of hand and mess it up so badly. Everton was a real warning sign. An ultra defensive Mourinho park the bus style could and should have delivered 2 extra points. The low intensity and sit back away tactics plays right into the hands of limited but intense teams. We shouldn’t be losing 3 nil away to Leicester whether they’ve won a title in the last 3 years or not. If Emery cannot efficiently draw out away matches then he is reaching his limit. Protaganism ain’t happening

  10. itsRonagain2

    Apr 28, 2019, 17:30 #113637

    Leics are a team who will do very well under Rodgers (like him or dislike him hes a coach with a mission after how Liverpool dispensed with him) i think, so best not forget that, plus they were Champions 3 years ago and not 15 years ago. Any team can lose at the King Power. That aside Arsenal look like a team who gave up on the top 4 many weeks ago that compounds the sheer ineptitude of them tactically and in the clear lack of intensity in their play. Emery just loves the EL. They look like team of players who dont care too much for one another, who look like 3 or 4 are on their way, others who are on the deck chairs and a few who are really Championship players playing above their level.Its been that way for at least 5 years and Emery cant be blamed at all. Hes banked on the EL to try and get a bit of short terms glory to pep up his 2 or 3rd tier standing in the game here. Foolish i think. Hes there for at least another yr as he shouldd be, plus longer as long as they hover about the top 6. Thats all SK wants and all hes wanted for the last 8 or 9 years. Arsene and him understood each other. Arsene Wenger left only to keep restless fans happy, not because SK wanted him gone.

  11. markymark

    Apr 28, 2019, 16:43 #113636

    Exiled in PT I think we’d need to look at young generation European Managers coming though . Though I’d have always taken a season of Ancelotti. If we looked towards the Premiership you’d have to look at Nuno Santo , Maybe Eddie Howe and wild shot Arteta

  12. John F

    Apr 28, 2019, 16:42 #113635

    I didn't realize he had a poor away record in Spain.I did know he conceded an average of 50 goals per season,at least he is being consistent.

  13. Exiled in Pt

    Apr 28, 2019, 16:12 #113634

    Out of interest who would you get in to replace him? As not to sure anyone above his level would be interested in the job given the limitations of the board. There has been progress with pretty much the same squad as last season and we all know most of it needs shifting. Wengers mess was always going to take longer than one season to fix..

  14. KC38

    Apr 28, 2019, 16:01 #113633

    There is no question he has to have two seasons. In saying that the continued pub defending following Wengers awful spending is a major worry. No improvement defensively at all. The summer will be interesting if he continues with Mustafi, Henrikh,Xhaka, Ozil, we are doomed. The fact that he plays Ozil and Henrikh in the same team away from home is beyond belief. Henrikh has been shocking every bit as bad if not worse than Ozil. Emery has to hold his tongue as he has to keep the dressing room for the semis, but if he does not make major changes in the summer he won’t last. The bigger concern is our owner, if he continues to be tight with spending this club will become very ordinary. It’s all depressing and painful. Only europa league success and champions league spending will do. In saying all that the fact we defend like a pub team week in week out is a major concern with regard Emery even with change.

  15. markymark

    Apr 28, 2019, 15:21 #113632

    The George Graham stat gives some confidence that great things can happen. His away form in Spain though along with his underestimation of both the PL and the type of player needed feels me with trepidation. I sort of feel he deserves to go again next season but.... if we continue with a dreadful away form then he should be fired. Limited teams draw out at Southampton , Leicester and may lose 2-1 . Relegation fodder continually lose 3-0. It needs sorting pretty much immediately. For the moment it’s sack the players but this would be seen as a crisis under Wenger so to be fair it has to be seen as his own crisis imo.

  16. John F

    Apr 28, 2019, 14:57 #113631

    Sorry 9-3 .I cannot relax until my nightmare ending to this season passes.Spuds winning the champions league,Liverpool the prem and Chelsea the Europa with us in 6th.Then England losing the cricket and Rugby world cup and the Ashes going to Australia.Good job there are lots of cliffs in Yorkshire.

  17. John F

    Apr 28, 2019, 14:43 #113630

    Mid table teams 9 Arsenal 2 is just awful really. I have thought about the same question as Mark and on the memory of GG first season in very similar circumstances when he went 10 games without a win I am making allowances and would like to see Dick given one more season.Having said that I am certainly not 100% convinced by him bu t if or until he has brought in more of his own players it is hard to make a judgement.He may well walk anyway due to lack of backing.

  18. Exiled in Pt

    Apr 28, 2019, 14:35 #113629

    I think the players have it in there heads they will do it in the EL. Do not think any of us on here were really believing this was a top 4 squad and were all of the opinion Dick would need 2 or 3 transfer windows to move it on. We all know what players need to go and I think Dick does also. If the board will not back him with money let's hope he is up for the challenge of bringing the kids in and spending what money he has on the back four. Imo he will want at least one season more to prove himself in the PL. One thing is for sure I have enjoyed this season far more than the last how many I care to remember, so he is doing something right..

  19. mbg

    Apr 28, 2019, 14:08 #113628

    Fooking joke not one of those players are fit to wear the shirt.

  20. RobG

    Apr 28, 2019, 13:20 #113627

    Well - so much for optimism. It's the EL or nowt. mark - in response to your question, the danger is that Emery does not have the scope (cash available|) for the sort of changes required. There's no chance he will not be asked to carry on for next season. There IS a danger he might walk, if he doesn't get the support required. The more likely outcome is a very limited transfer pot - made more limited by the Kronke's extracting a fistful of $ - ? - which may have the benefit of forcing him to use some off our youngsters, like Smith-Rowe and Nketiah. We shall see....

  21. markymark

    Apr 28, 2019, 13:05 #113626

    Quick question - do we allow Emery the opportunity to remove the last of Wengers players, or do we call it a failed experiment ? The latter means dismissal at end of season. I’m not sure if the team are working for him. Is it sack the team or sack the manager . It has to be one or the other in my opinion. Let’s hope he can get something out of the Europa

  22. ArsenalMagna

    Apr 28, 2019, 09:51 #113624

    I wasn't surprised at Chelsea's, United's and Spurs' recent poor results, given mid-week game fatigue. That factor makes it so much more unpredictable over the next three games. Honestly though, it's all good talking about those teams' future results, but does it really matter? We can probably beat Brighton at home, but away vs Leicester and Burnley - even with those teams 'on the beach' - is likely to see us lose or at best draw if this season's form is anything to go by. I actually hope Chelsea make it to top 4 if not us, because that would ensure the exodus of stars from United, with them very unlikely to be able to replace them given the lack of quality on the transfer market these days (De Gea would be their biggest loss, who has papered over the cracks of their squad for years - he's been voted their player of the season 4 out of the last 5 seasons!!). Also, even with CL football, Hazard will likely leave Chelsea and they're so unlikely to find an equivalent replacement for him - without Hazard that team seems really weak.

  23. RobG

    Apr 28, 2019, 09:01 #113623

    We will do it. And get fourth place !!!!