I was away for the last two games, Cologne and Burnley and with no satellite and very limited cell phone coverage, I just saw results fleetingly and with no detail. I was a bit peeved with that Cologne result but having found out that the result in the other game meant that we have finished in top spot, I felt a little better. Just now have I been able to read a bit more about that game and although the goal was reported as being against the run of play and that we should have come away with more than we did, the fact remains that we didn’t and that is now two European games in a row where we have failed to score. We started with Giroud and Welbeck with Wilshere tucked in behind for the Cologne game and a similar set up for the BATE Borisov game, except it was Walcott instead of Welbeck. Doesn’t really make for good reading and I am sure that as we progress to the next round of 32, Wenger will be eager to qualify to the next round as he surely has MFU’s accomplishment of last year on his mind as a possible back up. So, with these results from our second stringers and with me having read Wenger’s mind correctly, he will surely be wanting to beef this team up as we march on and the likes of Walcott, Webeck and Giroud amongst others will slowly be replaced by the Lacazettes, Ozils and Sanchezes. It’s understandable for some how unispiring it must be to play for the second stringers, however, if they want to make an impression and be first in line for the A team then they really need to perform in such matches. Looks like a lot of this team will be resigned to playing early FA Cup matches and the remaining League Cup fixtures, the next of which by the way is the quarter finals (already!) and a difficult home match against the David Moyes led West Ham looms on Tuesday 19th December.
The other result, a one nil away win against Burnley – our third such win at Turf Moor over the last three seasons and these last two producing stoppage time winners – was received with much joy. As I wrote in my last blog about the Burnley fixture, “The last victory was when Koscielny managed to get the ball across the line in the third minute of added on time. I can’t see there being any difference this time round either.” My Superbru predictions were also quite good!!
So we have done the hard work, beating Spurs at home and Burnley away. The latter probably being the tougher of the two games and with Ozil not being available, I think we can give ourselves a quick pat on the back before we look forward to our next two matches which are both at home and come in quick succession. Wednesday sees the visit of Huddersfield, the second promoted side we face this season having already seen off Brighton fairly comfortably, also at home, two nil at the beginning of October. Looking at the table, there’s not too much between those two sides with Brighton having drawn one more and lost one less than Huddersfield. They have not yet met in the Premier League this season, but when they do, on 9th December, I’d pretty much bank on it being a draw (Superbru enthusiasts, watch this space!). Huddersfield started the season well, with an away win over Palace by three goals to nil and then a home win against Newcastle, one nil. But that away win was the best it has been for them on the road as they then lost four of their last five away games, conceding eleven goals and scoring none. This all bodes well for our encounter with them except when you see that they faired quite well against Citeh last Saturday and toppled the might MFU in October. It would be frustrating if we did not get the full three points and with MFU to come on Saturday, the Huddersfield game is a must win.
As indicated, our weekend match is against MFU and if we can produce the same composure as in the equivalent fixture in the 2015/16 season, which saw us put three glorious goals past David De Gea in thirteen exhilarating minutes, then we will have no worries. But,……..it’s a hard life being an Arsenal fan as I’m sure you all know and we know that even being four nil up at half time does not guarantee a victory. Our last home encounter with them was in May this year, a week after losing to Sp*rs at WHL. It was in fact the beginning of a mini revival that saw us win our last five Premier League games before beating Chelski in the FA Cup final. That mini run however was not sufficient for us to end in the top four as we were pipped by a single point by Liverpool. We won that match by two goals to nil with Xhaka and Welbeck scoring, both ably assisted by the ex Ox.
MFU have lost three of their last four away games (Basel, Chelski and Huddersfield) and in all honesty have not impressed away from home. With Mourinho at the helm, they’re never an easy side to beat and playing away as they are this weekend, one can only expect him to bring his bus along. I expect Wenger not to change too much from a tactical perspective. Defend resolutely and attack with pace and flair. A winning combination, I’m sure and slowly but surely, we’re now able to put such tactics into effect with Sanchez and Ozil coming to light. We just need Lacazette to join the party and we’re ‘A’ for away. MFU, with Pogba, Lukaku, Rashford and Martial will cause the Arsenal defense plenty of problems and with Valencia probing down the right we will do well to keep a clean sheet. David De Gea in goal is also an obstacle that needs to be overcome and having conceded the least number of goals in the Premier League – six in total compared to our sixteen – we will need to be in our 2015/16 form to find a way around him. Or there again our 2016/17 form. Or even our FA Cup 2014/15 form. Okay, we just need to be on form.
It’s too early to talk about injuries, but I’d like to see the same line up that we had for the Sp*rs game when we play MFU. The Huddersfield game may have a touch of the second stringers about it, with Wilshere, Giroud, Welbeck and maybe Walcott in contention. We shall see….
Reporting on our two fantasy leagues, we have the following situations. In the Superbru league, we have a new face in the top three, with Jonosky knocking Joffie B into fourth. Our top performer was……. wait for it, drum roll, yes you guessed it, yours truly SammyW (my nom de plume), with 7 out of 10 games predicted correctly. That moved me up 19 places to 28h. The top three are as follows:
As I said last blog – “Looks like tphato is closing the gap on MAC10” – down to just under two points now. In the FPL, top points of 73 was scored by Simphiwe Mbonani’s MVNNY – definitely not a Latin year – tell us what it all stands for Simphiwe. The top four all look too familiar and it will be a surprise to see anyone break into this special group. Welbz FC is back to second having dropped to fourth last week however, Earle Brown’s Cannon Hill FC still rules the roost:
Cannon Hill FC (Earle Brown) 773
Welbz FC (Yusuf H) 754
We Are All Besiktas (Ebrahim Moolla) 747
LALLANAS IN PYJAMAS (Nicholas Da Silva) 744
Not sure what the turn out was for the last two games – did anyone turn up for the Cologne match? This week its Huddersfield on Wednesday at 21:45 and Saturday’s game against MFU at 19:30. Pick one, pick both, either way, c’mon down to the Brazenhead and have yourselves some fun!