Well GOOD morning to you all.
It is a MONSTER week for the club.
We have a Cup Final of sorts and the prize on offer is the Champions League.
Arsenal will want to win that game, create a moment in Spurs house, and finish out the season with a rum and coke in hand.
The Premier League Gods will have other ideas because football is NEVER simple.
The mission for me would be to avoid losing.
I don’t mean play a negative game, I mean don’t do anything ridiculous. The pressure is all on Spurs, they have to take risks, Conte has to go armed with the kind of game that saw them befuddled by Brighton, Burnley and Brentford. It is going to causing some sleepless nights.
We have lots of options at our disposal. I suspect part of the plan will be to stop Harry Kane dropping into midfield and controlling the game. I’m not sure anyone at the club is more suited to that than Ben White. The question then becomes how we set up. Do we play 3 at the back and have White as the extra defender? Or does Arteta opt for something more familiar and give Mo Elneny the job of tracking those deep runs?
It’s overly simplistic to say, but we just have to be wise to what Spurs like to do:
- Play on the break
- Get Son into space when he’s running at defenders
- Lump it to Harry Kane
There’s not a lot of depth beyond that.
The problem? Spurs don’t need more than 3 good chances to score 2 goals. Their 3rd top goal scorer goes by the name of Own Goal, so they don’t even need their main men to do the business. They scored with their first real attempt against Liverpool despite getting battered for the whole game. The difference here is Liverpool were chasing that game and we don’t need to do that.
A point means we need to win one game from our final two.
That is a delicious position to be in.
As for how we’ve done this season overall, this xG table makes for decent reading.
Premier League table this season based on expected points pic.twitter.com/aV43EYL8HZ
— • (@louorns) May 9, 2022
Not that xG matters more than points, but you know if we were underperforming the table, the knives would be out. We’re basically where we should be, which is very decent considering 50% of our starting 11 was new this year and they are all extremely young.
Special mentions for Brentford, who have been superb this season, let’s hope Thomas Frank continues the good work next year.
Also, shout out to Leicester and the Arsenal fans that said Patson Daka and Soumare were game changers and Brendan Rodgers had made them a more attractive proposition than Arsenal. Get. In. The. Bin.
We’re at the stage of the season when transfer rumours start hotting up.
The big man Haaland has gone to Manchester City. I do wish fans would stop saying dumb things like ‘he’s cheap’ because he’s absolutely not.
£30m to the dad
£40m to the agent
£68m to the club
£26m to the player every season
That’s a grotesque deal that speaks to the weakness of the Premier League to control money in the league, it’s also why we have the greatest spectacle on the planet. The Premier League dances with the devil and always go back to their place after for illicit drugs and other henious activities.
We’re not in City’s league for money, but now the obvious rumor is that we’re going to pinch Gabriel Jesus. The dynamics of what we can do this summer will change if we make top 4. The Brazilian forward makes more sense if we’re in the Champions League. I still find it unlikely he’s our main option this summer.
I’ve said countless times before, you don’t load up on players that can pick out long balls from 60 yards to put a short target man as your lynchpin. We’re in for Yourri Tielemans as well, another player that specialises in finding strikers with precision crosses from deep.
That said, if all the tall options go elsewhere, Gabriel Jesus wouldn’t be a bad signing.
There are also other factors… we might sign up Eddie Nketiah to a new deal. West Ham are potential suitors for him, but again, he’s not getting a free run at their first team. He’ll rotate with a bully boy striker. I don’t think he’s as suited to them as he is to us, but we’ll see. There has no doubt been a trust erosion at Arsenal for Eddie, he’s taking a risk believing Arteta for another season, so who knows.
Back to Tielemans, it’s amusing to read him being written off so aggressively again. Part of the problem is a large chunk of the fans think you can only be a good player in the Premier League if you are Yves Bissouma. Liverpool’s issues last season were, according to a chunk of analysts, largely focused around the failure of Thiago and his lack of speed and power. How has that played out this season?
How has our midfield done this season with Granit Xhaka as a mainstay? It’s on course for more wins than 2nd placed United had last season. How often have we been overrun? Tielemans was hot shit two seasons ago, he’s playing in a Leicester side that has gone off the rails, he is absolutely talented enough to take our midfield up another level. I also doubt we’ll be spending anywhere near £40m for a player with 1 year left on their deal. Leicester need to move him this summer and they need to spend the money fast.
Don’t sleep on Sambi Lokonga either. We Arsenal fans are so quick to call time on players. We’re all praising the discovery of Eddie, then in the next breath, we’re writing Sambi off as a failure. The only reason the Belgian hasn’t played more games is because we haven’t had Europe. If Vincent Kompany is pumping a player, you’d best believe the talent is there. He’s very young and he will blossom at some point.
Big Mo has probably signed a new deal with the club. Now, last season, there’s no way you’d have me clapping this one. But, football opinions need to be fluid because information changes. Mo has slipped into the side, done an incredibly specific job to a massively high standard, and we’ve won 4 games in the bounce. What we are seeing with him is not same old, same old. This is a player that has worked on his tactical discipline, someone that has internalized the coaching, and added more threads to his game. He’s a very good squad player, with an exceptional attitude, and he’s improved. Why would you not keep him around?
Laczette is different. The player has been a pure leader for Arsenal this season. When he dropped into the side, Arsenal got better, and scored more goals. But there’s not getting around what he doesn’t have. 1. Power and pace. 2. Goals. He’s declining and no amount of practice is going to change that at his age.
PS Johnny and Man Like Matt Kandela are going LIVE with a preview of the Spurs game at 7:45pm UK time. TUNE IT IS LIVE RIGHT NOW x