It was over two months ago that we had just come off a 3-2 defeat to Chelsea which had itself followed a fortunate 2-0 drubbing at home to City that most Arsenal supporters wondered what the future held for a team that had slowly deteriorated under the last couple of years of the Wenger reign. It was a tough start for the new boss and although that rally to come back from two goals down against Chelsea gave the most desperate of Arsenal supporters a glimmer of hope, the rest of us were left wondering whether we would see the re-enactment of United’s demise once Sir Alex left. Was Emery another David Moyes, would we endeavor a season of embarrassing defeats, had Wenger left us in tatters or with the seeds of something great. Our next game was to be West Ham United, a team that had undone us at home in the opening match of the 2015/16 season, but one that had also been suffering of late with a new coach at the helm and also two losses to start the season with. And we didn’t get off to a good start against them, going one nil down in the 25th minute to a Marco Arnautovic goal and then it changed. At least our fortune did, as we won that game and continued winning, maybe not convincingly, but consistently, squeaking narrow away wins against Cardiff and Newcastle, winning comfortably at home to Vorskla and Everton, then Brentford and Watford. But still it wasn’t the Arsenal of old, teams were not afraid to play us and the feeling was that if we came up against a Liverpool or Spurs, our tail would be put firmly between our legs.
But as the saying goes, fortune favours the brave, and we won away against Qarabag with the three shots on target that we had and went on to meet Fulham were we overcame a pre-half time equalizer to run out 5-1 winners with a contender for goal of the season to boot! And now we put away a plucky Leicester side that were walking all over us in the first half and were somewhat unfortunate to enter the break on even terms. But the reality of it all is that we should be beating those sides if we are going to make anything of this season. 10 games all won is a nice record but we have been fortunate to have met the sides we did. Any points dropped in that run would have been disappointing and is the same for the next three games until we meet Liverpool. That game will be a true test as to how good we really are and the timing is fortunate. We have to start playing the bigger clubs sooner than later and Liverpool are currently two points ahead of us. If we win that game, then we can start to dream.
So, first up this week is an away Europa game against Sporting Lisbon or as they are currently called, Sporting Clube de Portugal. They have also won their first two games and based on their results, we should be the favourites. Apart from the winning run that we are on, a draw would be an acceptable result with a win against them in our home fixture allowing us to top the table. This is an important outcome as to finish second would mean the likelihood of facing a team that either won their group or a team that was one of the four best third place finishers from the Champions League group stage.
Sporting are currently sitting 5th in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, having won 4, lost 2 and drawn one games. Their last result was a 4-2 away defeat to Portimonense who at that time were propping up the league so not exactly an ideal way to prepare for their match against us. In their ranks you will probably remember Nani, a player that was supposed to have replaced Ronaldo at Manchester United but never really seemed to make the grade. Other players to look out for are Fredy Montero, Bas Dost and Bruno Fernandes who all make up their full complement of goal scorers.
After Sporting we then travel across London to play Palace on Sunday. Across here means south almost as far as Croydon. Palace have won just twice in the league this season with an opening 2-0 away victory over Fulham and a 1-0 away victory over Huddersfield with their only other point coming from a 0-0 draw at home to Newcastle. Nothing to write home about and this again is a game that we should win. It was not that long ago though that Palace beat us at Selhurst Park, 3-0 in April 2017 with Townsend, Cabaye and Milivojevic all on the score sheet. That was a rare win and over the course of the encounters between these two teams, Palace have only ever won on two other occasions losing on 24 occasions with 9 draws.
Elsewhere, we see Cardiff visit Liverpool, Chelsea visit Burnley and on Monday night (why do they do this?) City travel to Wembley to play the spuds. What this all means is that if results go our way, we could be top of the league by the end of the gameweek (hehe) and if we stuff up we could possibly drop a place to fifth.
Well, it’s finally happened. After so long as no 1 in the FPL, Richard Mackenzie and his Wolves of Witkoppen have been dethroned. And by none other than our top scorer for the week, Andrew Bray and his team ROCKETS. I see he had a bit of fortune where his captain didn’t play and thus his vice captain doubled up, being Jordan Pickford who kept a clean sheet and saved a penalty. But he deserved the result as he had both Aubameyang and Ozil in his team – well done Andrew. This is how the top of the league is looking:
Rockets Andrew Bray 554
Wolves of Witkoppen Richard Mackenzie 541
GUNNERSN5 Eugene Cardoso 539
In the Superbru league, the top three stay the same again (ZZZzzzzzz zzzz) with deano21 taking the week’s honours scoring 14 points. It wasn’t an easy week but deano21 was right with eight of his selections. deano2 moves up 4 places to 42nd. The top of the Superbru league looks like this:
So two games this week, an early Europa game at 6:55pm on Thursday followed by a post Sunday lunch kick off at 3:30pm so dudes and dudettes, get your behinds down to The Brazenhead on one or both occasions and earn yourselves some entries into the seasons draw for the Air Ticket to London and a match ticket of your choice for an Arsenal home game, c’mon now, get on down there and have yourselves some fun,