FORM GUIDE LOOKING SHARP – Le Grove – The Arsenal Opinion Blog

Well, well, well, good morning to you ALL!

Let’s start the day with the great news that West Ham essentially ended the hopes of Wolves entering the race for top 4 this season. I’m not sure there’s any coming back from that many defeats over a short space of time, so I’d say the race is now Arsenal, Spurs, and United.

Also, I need to stop saying we have 13 games left, because we have 14 games.

14 cup finals.

So do we have any reason to think that we’re in good shape? Well, the Statsbomb folk dropped this little table of expected goal difference over the last ten games.

So what does this tell you?

Firstly, all the xG cry babies at the start of December were massively wrong. They misread the data, didn’t understand the context of what was going on, they weren’t watching what was happening on the pitch… and they didn’t understand how a striker like Auba was damaging to a system that needed someone very different .

Arsenal were pretty damn correct when the binned off Auba in December. He has a fan club that wants to point to each goal he scores, but the simple reality is this:

  1. He didn’t score goals for Arsenal
  2. Arsenal score more goals without him
  3. We’re making moves on top 4 just fine without him

We’re one of the most in form teams in the league since he left us. The attitude on the pitch is better, more players are involved in the goalscoring, there’s a deeper range of options that make us very unpredictable.

It is quite heartening that the group of fans that always point to the players we don’t have at the club have been pretty much silenced. You don’t really hear too much about Guendouzi because our midfield has been great this season. You don’t hear about Saliba because Ben White is quite literally the standout center back signing of last summer. You don’t hear about Ainsley because he’s been really bad.

The project is in good shape, the only drama we’re dealing with at the moment is referees and red cards, we just need to keep our heads down and knock down all these difficult games we have coming up.

Arsenal have put their season ticket prices up by 4% this season. I read from @DarrenArsenal1 that the hike gives the club an extra £2.5ma season, which is a right leg of Auba for 6 months.

It’s really tough to know what to say here. Static prices for years is unusual, inflation is through the roof, the club has been blasting through cash… I’m surprised the hike isn’t more based on business metrics.

However, the flip side that the home fans are treated poorly, they are absolutely painful essential to the project, and the PR they get off the back of it is not worth £2.5m. Inflation is absolutely killing UK people at the moment, these hikes seem unnecessary.

I’m also not sure how Arsenal is run. A couple of seasons ago, they fired 55 people, then toppled the Gunnersaurus… only to go and drop £250k a week on Willian. It’s weird how they prioritise where they extract extra coin from.

Finally, let’s talk captains armband. I’m not sure it’s going to be KT when the decision is made. I think they’re going to give it to someone who is more reliable when it comes to fitness and I think they are going to give it to someone who has experience of the role. My view is it’ll likely be Martin Odegaard and that would be the correct selection.

Martin Odegaard is right up there as one of our star performers, he’s been pretty robust this season, and the coaches, the fans, and the players seem to really respect him. I’m also paying a little bit of a attention to the left back links that have been coming through thick and fast. Quite a bit of smoke wafting through the Marble Halls, don’t you think?

We also seem to be getting quite a lot of linkage to Joao Félix, the £100m Portuguese star from Atleti. I honestly have no idea why a player of his flair went to play for Diego, but he fits the profile of a fallen star that is quite young, and I’d imagine he has a profile that’d be of interest to Arsenal. That said, he’d be expensive, and I’m not sure how his sort of star profile would fit at Arsenal? But who knows, he’s the sort of name we’d only be close to if we made Champions League.

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