Arsenal’s Corpse Of A Premier League Campaign Not Quite Dead Yet

Preview of this afternoon’s Premier League match at home to Brighton

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Aaron Ramsey will get a pre-match guard of honour after 11 seasons at the club

The usual five talking points ahead of today’s game v Brighton

Brighton on the beach?

It’s difficult to predict the effect that yesterday’s result at Cardiff will have on Chris Hughton’s side. There’ll be no tension for the visiting side, and perhaps a lack of intensity. Or maybe they’ll play their football with the shackles off knowing they are safe from the drop. That scenario would certainly play into Arsenal’s hands, as the last thing they need right now is a side that will park the bus in desperate need of a point. In fairness, Unai Emery’s side have beaten all the relegation zone sides that have visited the Emirates so far this season, although admittedly, they made hard work of beating Huddersfield. Anyway, there’s no question Arsenal have more at stake than the visitors now.

Surely Tottenham can’t Spurs up the top four?

Spurs’ defeat at Bournemouth leaves open the slim possibility that the Gunners may not even have to rely on Chelsea dropping points to make the top four, if that is, Everton manage to avoid defeat to a Tottenham team minus Kane and Song next weekend, one that potentially may have exited Europe in midweek. This of course would require Arsenal to win today and next Sunday at Burnley. Granted, that’s an unlikely combination of three results, but it’s within the realm of scientific possibility. And of course, there is always the chance that Chelsea may not win both of their games which, in all likelihood given the current goal difference, would mean a top four place for Arsenal. It seems incredible that Emery’s side have lost their last three league matches and yet are still in the shout for a Champions League place. Who said football was predictable?

The Risks Of Rotation

So Arsenal should feel fairly confident of beating Brighton. Then again, the same could have been said about Palace, who are also in the bottom half of the table. That day, Unai Emery played a mix and match eleven, including Carl Jenkinson, Mavropanos and Mohammed Elneny. Add to that a bad day at the office for Shkodran Mustafi, and you have a recipe for three lost points. The return leg of the Europa League semi-final is not until Thursday. Emery needs to secure the win here and if possible do it in the opening hour. Then he can choose three players to give a rest to ahead of the trip to Spain.

Kos on the edge

Given the amount of football captain Laurent Koscielny has played since his return from injury, this is one player that we can reasonably expect to be rested for this game. Kos was withdrawn near the end of the first leg against Valencia due to fatigue and chances are that if Arsenal do win tomorrow, he will be needed both at the Mestalla and Turf Moor. So expect to see either a back three of Monreal, Sokratis and Mustafi, or two of those in a back four. It would be a major surprise if Koscielny started and perhaps too big a gamble. Brighton aren’t 17th in the division for no reason. Emery’s team should be able to cope with their attacking threat minus their skipper.

And so farewell

Aaron Ramsey has played the last game of his Arsenal career (assuming no return after his contract ends at Juventus) and his hamstring tear will not be recovered in time for the Europa League final should Arsenal make it to Baku. Petr Cech though, will presumably play his last game there if things go to plan in Valencia. Both players will get a guard of honour today, before the match. And one imagines that both will probably lead the lap of appreciation at the conclusion of the game. Ramsey was injured in the away game v Napoli, and Arsenal lost their next three matches. Coincidence? Given the Welshman’s form, you’d have to say not. Well get used to it folks, because he sure ain’t going to be around next season.

Arsenal have to win, there’s little doubt about that. At least that will give some reason for interest on the final day of the Premier League season. And if Chelsea can somehow construe to fail to beat Watford in the earlier kick off, then hopes will once again be raised. I recall stating for several weeks that 76 points would be good enough to secure fourth place. Incredible to think that 72 might now be good enough to make third. Let’s just hope the Seagulls don’t sh*t on the parade from a great height...


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  1. Don Howe

    May 5, 2019, 21:35 #113713

    It’s a bit like watching an England cricket collapse. I could not understand why he didn’t ring the changes at half time and the only thing I could think of was that he viewed Thursday as the most important game. Iwobi was on the wrong side when he did come on. We don’t just have a problem with defence. Some players are simply brain dead. Xhaka in particular. Very disappointing.

  2. Don Howe

    May 5, 2019, 21:34 #113712

    It’s a bit like watching an England cricket collapse. I could not understand why he didn’t ring the changes at half time and the only thing I could think of was that he viewed Thursday as the most important game. Iwobi was on the wrong side when he did come on. We don’t just have a problem with defence. Some players are simply brain dead. Xhaka in particular. Very disappointing.

  3. Pauljames

    May 5, 2019, 20:10 #113711

    We’ve got a couple of decent strikers, that’s about the strength of it.Desperately need to move on as many of the rest as possible, but who in their right mind is gonna buy Ozil, Xhaka , Mustafi, Mikhitarian etc? The jury is still out on Dick for me, only 4 more points than last season and who would be surprised if we capitulated on Thursday night ?

  4. Seven Kings Gooner 1

    May 5, 2019, 19:29 #113710

    Corpse was such a good word to use Kev.

  5. John F

    May 5, 2019, 17:57 #113709

    At least D ick is being consistent as he has now managed another team to concede 50 goals in a season .It is the first time since the mid eighties that we have done that,it certainly feels like we have gone back in time with exactly the same problem s with the first team.

  6. Exiled in Pt

    May 5, 2019, 17:50 #113708

    Sack half the team would be best place to start. Worst thing is I see Chelsea and the scum both only getting a point next week and that lot still could not take the continuous gift of finishing above the scum. We would of been better of in the CL as we would of been out by December....

  7. markymark

    May 5, 2019, 17:42 #113707

    A poor a 2nd half that I’ve witnessed live in a very long time. Drawing and potentially being lucky not to lose against a limited team is ending the season woefully. Boos rang out and everyone headed for the exits . Who wants to applaud that . Emery is increasingly looking like a Rioch figure. The players seem content to raise their game on the hi profile games only. It’s a choice sack the manager or sack half the team

  8. Bard

    May 5, 2019, 17:42 #113706

    Disappointing but a relief, We would have been the worst side in decades to make it to the CL. The abject finish to the season will heap pressure on Dick and the board and maybe spark some serious change. Not good enough by a country mile. Agree with you mbg there needs to be a clear out. I dont see this shower beating Chelsea if they turn up. Dick needs to up his game or he wont be here by the end of next season.

  9. John F

    May 5, 2019, 17:41 #113705

    4pts from a possible 18 is relegation form.If as I suspect the club do not remedy the situation we could carry that form into next season and really begin to struggle.If Dick uses the excuse that the players are tired why didn't he put on some of the younger players on .

  10. mbg

    May 5, 2019, 17:34 #113704

    Not dead yet Kev, yes hindsight is wonderful but in reality it always was with this shower of losers, a disgrace of an Arsenal team, look at them standing there giving a guard of honour for what ? Not fit to wear the shirt, complete clear out needed.

  11. Exiled in Pt

    May 5, 2019, 17:30 #113703

    They think it's all over..... It is now!!