Feb 042010

It feels like the calm between the storms. In the midst of a difficult run of fixtures, we all of a sudden find ourselves with a seven day gap between games. It will be the last such break for a while – next Wednesday we welcome Liverpool to the Grove, with the Champions League campaign restarting in Porto the following week. So enjoy the respite while you can.

Of course, it also means there is more time to reflect – some choose to look back in more detail at the United game, some instead ‘look forward’ to Chelsea. Many take a gloomy view whichever they go for.

It is remarkable how quickly we’ve been written off – it was only a couple of weeks ago that we leapt to the top of the league, but one extremely poor performance and we’re yesterday’s news. In a way, that might suit us – no-one expects us to get a result at Chelsea on Sunday, despite how ineffective they looked at Hull on Tuesday. Odds against an Arsenal win are longer than any I can remember since, well, last season’s trip to Stamford Bridge. Which, if I remember correctly, we won.

Much has been said about our defence, and about Almunia and Denilson, since Sunday’s hiccup, but it shouldn’t mask what continues to be a serious challenge for the title. Last season, United themselves had a dreadful record against the rest of the Big Four, but still claimed the title due to their ability to overrun the bottom half of the league. They were lauded for it.

It is easily missed, but we are going about our campaign the same way. Heavy defeats to United and Chelsea have been countered by a superb record against the lesser teams, the sort that used to derail our seasons by ‘parking the bus’ and going away with valuable points.

It is no coincidence that as soon as our midfielders became a major goal threat, we’ve been able to break down the most stubborn of opponents. When Adebayor was leading the line, and Henry before him, we relied so heavily on their goals that the lack of support from midfield mattered little. The likes of Hleb, Gilberto, Flamini and even Reyes were never prolific goalscorers, and even Cesc took a few years to find his shooting boots. Back then, opponents could focus on a couple of players, a tactic that often rendered us impotent and frustrated.

That is no longer the case. If you were to stop two players from scoring, another six would be queuing up to add to their tallies, even surging up from centre back to smash one in from distance. It is nigh on impossible to defend against, and is the reason our scoring feats are going down in the record books. It is also why we’ve been able to defy predictions that Van Persie’s injury would end our season.

The important point is this – everyone concedes goals to us, and while no-one can deny our defensive weaknesses, there are only a handful of teams capable of a) keeping us down to a single goal or less and b) being clinical enough up front to take their own chances.

Certainly, United and Chelsea fall into that bracket. But I’d take losses to both if exchanged with ten victories over lesser teams. While Chelsea and United suffer at Wigan and Burnley, we’ll keep accumulating the points that keep us in contention.

The Premiership campaign is not a knockout trophy that takes you out of the running after one defeat. It is a marathon, where you gain no more for beating Liverpool than you do for overcoming Wolves. In that way, we might be a lot better equipped to triumph than you think.

  26 Responses to “Our impressive record against the bottom twelve might land us the title”

  1. Awesome write-up, it has already lifted my spirits before the Sunday game. Come on you gunners, we can win and we can win big !!!

  2. deluded cunts

  3. Says the guy called “jiz”.

    Great article. Good to see at least one gooner with a bit of sanity.

  4. Good article. A refreshing blast of positivity indeed.

  5. jiz,

    Why don’t you take your moronic “remarks” elsewhere?

  6. Good Article. Shame about ‘Jiz’ the retarded cunt.

  7. Ah, don’t let the trolls bring you down. They, like the media, can’t bring us down.

  8. Up the Arsenal

  9. And here I am to rain on your parade because you only brought one side of the story to the forefront. Mancs struggle at Burnley, so did we. chelsea lost to Wigan, we lost to Sunderland. We drew West Ham as well and lost to City.

    So while you say we have some kind of good record against the lower teams, check your statistics. We’re the 3rd best home team and 2nd best away team. Mancs are still above us on both accounts. We’ve failed on numerous occasions to take the points we need to put us closer to the top.

    Liverpool is on form right now and we have to win that. Chelsea is undefeated at home and we’ve struggled since the Abramovich era to undo them on a consistent basis. At best, we usually pull out a draw – which does us no good if that’s what happens this weekend. So while you;re trying to lift spirits, you’ve omitted very important details about us and our direct competition for the title

  10. WC, we’re six points behind Chelsea, having got 0/9 points from three games against our two direct rivals. Chelsea have gained 6/6 from their two games.

    That means we have as many points in the other games as Chelsea.

    Similarly, United have 6/9 from their three games, so we have as many points as them in the other games too.

    If you excluded Chelsea-United-Arsenal matches, we have as many points as United and Chelsea, and Chelsea have played a game more. No-one beats our record against the bottom 17, if you like.

    That was my point. Since we do as well in the other games as they do, and since they have so many tough games to come, we are very much still in the race. They will drop points, and we have the sort of fixtures we are excelling at.

    Of course, you get the odd blip, but it is a misconception that we have more of them than our rivals – we don’t.

    Incidentally, I’d be happy with a draw at Chelsea. I think we can claw back a six point deficit on a team that has to go to Old Trafford and Anfield, and play Villa, City and Spurs before the season is out.

    Nine would be exceptionally difficult. Six is doable. Still difficult, but doable.

  11. I’ll have what you had. Make that a double.

  12. i think you are bang on,the last 11 games we could get 27 points no problem so if we can get 4 points from the next 2 matches i would fancy a wager on arsenal being top at the end of the season.My concerns are that if we defend like we did last sunday it gives opposition teams a great advantage and i dont understand how we could be so gun ho against a serious out fit like manUre but then again we did the same against everton and bolton and you would have to wonder why??If we can be patient in each game and stop giving teams a goal or 2 lead it may be key to being a serious contender.I would like to ask the question to all arsenal supporters is 4-3-3 working especially against the top 4 teams??or have teams worked out how the break this system down??

  13. I do think an Arsenal win is possible, but it’s probably a 30% chance, as much as I’d like it to happen. If Fabregas & Arshavin plan to their full strengths then probably higher… But remember, last season Van Persie turned it round in a game Chelsea were the better team. Compared with Spain, in England most games between the 4 teams are decided by who defends better. If Man U was a big game last weekend for Arsenal, Chelsea is even bigger – which makes for a fascinating encounter…

  14. I´ll have what you got. And I´ll take all you have

  15. well good article, but i would like to say if only when we can beat the smaller teams while united and chelsea drop points. we all have a very difficult games. no one have easy games. i have to agree with WC right here, yes, chelsea dropped points against wigan and hull, united dropped points against fulham and burnley but at this stage of the season i cant see them expecially united dropping points. we missed our best chances of beating this two sides and the worst was that, they are all our title contenders. assuming if we had beaten this two sides, we would be top by now with some easy games coming out. united have to go to villa and everton while chelsea have united, liverpool and everton to play. we have missed our chances this season. i cant see us beating stoke whom roled over us in the facup, i cant see us beating tottenham too.

  16. Please don’t say those words “cant see us beating tottenham”.

  17. Arshavin & Bentdner to score against
    Chelsea,2-1 to the Gunners and the
    media will hate us again(who cares).
    Fabianski to replace Mr Swiss Cheese
    in goal.

  18. “i knt c yew as a gooner”
    wt a lozer….

  19. TO beat Chelsea,AW will have to compromise his principles even if it is alien to him.He sha not embark on all out attack but pack the midfield .
    Stop the endless passing and dithering on the edge of the box.

  20. Great article. Obviously written by a true gunner. It frustrates me to hear how the media,football fans and even our own fans put down the team after a poor performance(talk of sacking Wenger makes me feel sick). If you can only support your team when they’re on a high and cant do it when they’re on a down then fuck off.
    Again great article to read.

    Gunner 4 Life

  21. AW has been accumulting wc kids with low centre of gravity who could be out muscled eg,Ashvin,Wilshire, Vela,Walcott,etc to name afew.
    Where are the giants like Veira?Diaby is the exception.
    So don’t be surprised if Chelsea brushed aside the gunners again.
    I know Barca have smaller sized players but its a different league.
    I hope AW reads the fans feedback.

  22. Truly appreciate the optimistic assessment of the rest of this season,however United consistently have a better run in the second half of the season and unfortunately for us and everybody else,that is part of their mentality.Chelsea are more likely to drop the points especially since Terriballs true character has been finally been revealed.Always thought he was a c**t,as are Lampshade,Cashley,Drugba and Anuska.
    We need this victory to close the gap on Ferguson and his bunch of thugs!

  23. Bottom 12 comes after the test against top-4. We have already faltered against 2 of the supposed 4 tough games. 2 more to go, if we can knick them both, we are in with more than a fair shout.

    Here are 6 things the Gunners must be wary of ahead of the tie against Chelsea. Enjoy:


  24. Re: United – yes they have a good record at this stage of the season. But Ronaldo was a massive part of that last year, as he was an excellent bully of the small teams. Rooney apart, they still lack goals.

  25. based on my calculation arsenal will be champion with 85 points,che with 82 and man u with 80.

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