GEORDIE CUP FINAL – Le Grove – The Arsenal Opinion Blog

Welcome to Saturday; let’s talk about some things.

I do find it quite incredible that there is a certain section of the fanbase that think refereeing decisions aren’t of interest and shouldn’t be part of the conversation.

The referee that sent off Rob Holding for a shoulder barge, let Harry Kane get away with this.

Does that challenge look like Harry Kane playing the dark-arts with ninja like subtlety? I don’t think so.

Simple fact with referees this season is that shocking decisions go against us more often than they do other teams. Some call it a conspiracy theory chatter, I’d say just look at how we’ve been treated, look at the mad decisions that have gone against us, and tell me how 1 soft penalty against United makes it better?

The reffing has been so bad for us this season we’ve actually had moments when the refs remember have invented new ways to fuck us… Martinelli getting two yellows in the same passage of play? How about Tomi getting his face stamped on with no action? How about Palace booting Saka in the air? How about the Xhaka sending off? The list goes on. We are treated differently.

If Rob Holding is sent off for standing his ground on 26 minutes, then Son should be sent off for throwing an elbow. The main difference seems to be that Bob Holding doesn’t scream like he’s been hit with a wet towel in the snow.

Paul Tierney had to really want to ruin that game to do what he did and the only people who think differently on that seem to have a history of wanting to see this Arsenal team fail this season. Embarrassing.

Ok, I’m done moaning.

Let’s take a moment to accept where we are right now: IN CONTROL OF TOP 4.

My view is that if we beat Newcastle, Champions League is ours.

The Geordies are THE banana skin game.

Eddie Howe will ask questions of us.

We have to treat this like our Cup Final.

They are no mugs in 2022. Below is the half-season table. It looks pretty close to what we did last season.

The positives we can take from this is their 3 tough games against Liverpool, Spurs and City have seen them beaten. They conceded 10 between Spurs and City alone.

The negative is this is their last home game of the season, it’ll be under the floodlights, their players will want to sign off in style, they have nothing to play for, so they’ll fly into us to put on a show .

The hope is that the news from the medical team is positive. Our players have been quite good at tapping themselves out early this season. Ben White sat on the bench at Spurs which was smart. Gabriel is quite robust, hopefully he took himself off the same way Bukayo did in the game prior. Having actual center backs feels like an important part of the day… The thought of Tomiyasu and Big Mo in the middle with Lord Of Chaos starting fires on the left makes feel a little queezy I have to say.

The other worry I have is around fatigue. Saka looked blitzed the other night. A few of our players looked tired. 10 men for 65 minutes isn’t ideal. If we go to Newcastle tired, they’ll use their freshness to rattle into us. All the great managers say tiredness is part of the job, our young men need to find their inner Red Bull, crack it open, and let the wings carry them through the 90.

Ok, I apologise for that last line. Not my best.

If we play with the mindset we started the Spurs game with; we’ll be in good shape come the end of the 90. The absolute key is to not let the moment get to us, like it did Rob Holding. We need to control our emotions and manage the moments. Make it to half time without conceding and we’ll be in a solid spot to take the game from there. Arsenal away fans will be huge, I just hope they are prepared to suffer for a chunk of the game.

My pragmatic view of Top 4 is that if we can’t be Newcastle, we just weren’t ready to take the club to the Champions League this season.

If that happens, there will be recriminations with weirdo fans that have been gagging for a bit of bad news, but the reality is, we are at the start of this project and we VERY know clearly what we have to do to get better.

I thought this comment from Pep was really good as some preparation if things don’t go well.

‘Character’ and ‘bottle job’ comments at these players cannot be sitting in people’s drafts. The Premier League is the highest standard of football on the planet. What this squad of players has done this season has been exceptional. We can still finish with 72 points, with an average age of 23 years old. That is a marvel. If we make Champions League, it is a huge overachievement, if we don’t make it, it’s just a learning XP moment for a young squad of players with an outrageously high ceiling.

Being in control at this moment shows character, delivering on Monday merely demonstrates we got it right on the day, no broad-brush slander is going to land however things go.

I’m feeling bullish about the game. If we can put out a well-balanced side and the team can channel their grievances in a productive manner, we’ll exit with a win.

If we exit with a win, then we have to beat an Everton that will be safe, and properly on the beach.

Let’s see what the boys have got. We’ll be doing a BEFORE THE WHISTLE tomorrow after the Spurs win against Burnley. So be sure to tune in… but before, check out the Spurs post-game analysis.

Give us a 5* rating as well. x

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