Arsenal 21-22: Brexit FC

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I don't think Xhaka is suspended. He only has seven yellows on the season. That rumor seems to be completely made up.

But Tierney is confirmed to be out for the season. A big fuck you to Steve Clarke for playing him 180 minutes in two meaningless friendlies over the international break when he was just coming off three full matches in six days with his club.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Partey is reportedly to be out for "weeks."

Realistically, top four isn't going to happen. Health was always likely to be a decisive factor in the race between Arsenal and Spurs because neither side has any depth. Partey is arguably our most important player and losing him for much of the run-in on top of two starting fullbacks just isn't a situation this squad is equipped to handle.

I think the team went into the season with a goal of finishing in the top six and has been planning around that objective, so that is still on. But I can't see us getting top four.
 

mikeford

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I can't see them finishing in Europe at all. Both fullbacks and our only legitimate midfielder are gone for probably the rest of the season? How would Arsenal ever win a match at that point?
 

fletcherpost

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Finally, something Arsenal and Liverpool fans can agree on.
I'm beelin mad about it as well mate. Huge loss for us if Tierney misses the World Cup playoff match(es). I really wanted Arsenal to get Top 4 as well.

No need for TIerney to play two friendlies inside of a week.
 

mikeford

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Arteta on Tavares/Xhaka. "When I see in the moment that he [Nuno] is doubting, I don’t give any favour by putting him in there. You can discuss whether Granit can play there. Just look at the stats when the team has played with Granit as a left-back. They don’t get much better."

Well I know where I will be placing my money until this experiment ends.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Feels like anything can happen at this point. We were better than the results when we were losing. Yesterday I don't think we were actually that good but fuck it I'll take four goals and a win at the Bridge any time.

With the injuries and rotation, it doesn't feel like we have a set system and patterns of play so much anymore. It is hard to know what to expect from any given match. But United look like the end of the season can't come soon enough and I expect West Ham to be focused overwhelmingly on their Europa League semifinal that brackets our match, so we could catch some breaks over the next couple weeks.

I'd like to see Eddie get another start. I don't think we can rely on playing well game in and game out so we're going to need to score some scrappy goals out of nothing and that's his specialty, as we saw yesterday.
 

mikeford

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If they hadn't puked on themselves three games in a row against buns Arsenal would sit 6 points clear in THIRD.

They better hang on. Sp*rs have Liverpool next week so that should be a rock solid L. Need to open the gap wider.
 

lars10

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If they hadn't puked on themselves three games in a row against buns Arsenal would sit 6 points clear in THIRD.

They better hang on. Sp*rs have Liverpool next week so that should be a rock solid L. Need to open the gap wider.
Well two of their next four against bottom of the table and they have Newcastle and Tottenham.. that Tottenham game is probably for top four.. unless Chelsea continue to fall. Those three games are a shame.. but the difference between those and yesterday were a few lucky bounces and some goals… that and all the injuries.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Teams competing for fourth place, rather than higher up the table, are teams that by definition dropped a ton of points to worse sides over the course of the year. It's the nature of the beast and Spurs fans could say the exact same thing about dropped points against Brighton, Brentford, Burnley, Soton, etc.

I'm ready for anything at this point. Obviously if we can beat Leeds then we stand an excellent chance of going into the NLD up 4-5 points because Liverpool haven't lost at Anfield when fans have been in the stands since the Stone Age and I don't see them starting now in the middle of a title race with a team firing on all cylinders.

But even if we go into the NLD up 4-5, all Spurs need to do is win the game at home and then hope we drop points at Newcastle in what should be a very tough match given the circumstances or on the final matchday against an Everton fighting to stay up. So I think that 4-5 point lead would be a false security blanket.

Without Partey, Tierney, and (for the moment) White, we just aren't all that good. We can't play the same kind of highly tactical, patterned, possession based football that we were playing a few months ago where we genuinely looked very impressive. But the team has a lot of heart and we've really just been improvising and shithousing our ways to wins the last few weeks. It may not be sustainable enough to keep up for a few more weeks and that will be very disappointing if we finish fifth. But even if we don't get over the line I think its been a really good year.
 

Zososoxfan

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Teams competing for fourth place, rather than higher up the table, are teams that by definition dropped a ton of points to worse sides over the course of the year. It's the nature of the beast and Spurs fans could say the exact same thing about dropped points against Brighton, Brentford, Burnley, Soton, etc.

I'm ready for anything at this point. Obviously if we can beat Leeds then we stand an excellent chance of going into the NLD up 4-5 points because Liverpool haven't lost at Anfield when fans have been in the stands since the Stone Age and I don't see them starting now in the middle of a title race with a team firing on all cylinders.

But even if we go into the NLD up 4-5, all Spurs need to do is win the game at home and then hope we drop points at Newcastle in what should be a very tough match given the circumstances or on the final matchday against an Everton fighting to stay up. So I think that 4-5 point lead would be a false security blanket.

Without Partey, Tierney, and (for the moment) White, we just aren't all that good. We can't play the same kind of highly tactical, patterned, possession based football that we were playing a few months ago where we genuinely looked very impressive. But the team has a lot of heart and we've really just been improvising and shithousing our ways to wins the last few weeks. It may not be sustainable enough to keep up for a few more weeks and that will be very disappointing if we finish fifth. But even if we don't get over the line I think its been a really good year.
This is all well and true, but I think Arsenal should be pretty confident ATM. 538 has it 70-30 Arsenal.
 

lars10

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A win against the scum now sends us back into the Champions League for the first time in 6 long miserable years.
What are the chances they catch Chelsea? And why does the schedule show four games left for Chelsea? They’ve all played 35 games
 

mikeford

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What are the chances they catch Chelsea? And why does the schedule show four games left for Chelsea? They’ve all played 35 games
FA Cup final in there for Chelsea.

Chelsea has tomato cans left, I can't realistically see them dropping any points. The only team still playing for anything on their slate will be Leeds, who Arsenal just beat but I guess they will be even more desperate now given that loss + Everton win from the weekend. The other 2 are Leicester who have nothing left to care about and Watford who are already relegated.
 

lars10

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FA Cup final in there for Chelsea.

Chelsea has tomato cans left, I can't realistically see them dropping any points. The only team still playing for anything on their slate will be Leeds, who Arsenal just beat but I guess they will be even more desperate now given that loss + Everton win from the weekend. The other 2 are Leicester who have nothing left to care about and Watford who are already relegated.
538 has Arsenal as 17% chance at 3rd, 60% at 4th and 23% at 5th.
Thank you both. It’s been an interesting season. Chelsea just seems to have lost it a bit.. but I suppose it’s too much to ask for them to lose or tie one.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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Thank you both. It’s been an interesting season. Chelsea just seems to have lost it a bit.. but I suppose it’s too much to ask for them to lose or tie one.
I think Mike's right that it really comes down to schedule. For the remaining matches, Arsenal has the hardest individual match (away at Spurs) of the 3 teams. Leeds and Watford are cupcakes and the Leicester match is at home for Chelsea.
 
I mean, Chelsea just dropped points to out-of-form, little-to-play-for* Wolves at home - I wouldn't assume any fixture of theirs is an automatic win at this stage.

That said, for dropped Chelsea points to really matter, they'd have to finish below both Arsenal and Spurs, and the odds of that happening are around 1%, according to 538. I mean, if you want Arsenal to catch Chelsea for third, that could absolutely happen if Arsenal wins on Thursday, but the difference between 3rd and 4th is way, way, way less impactful than the difference between 4th and 5th. And the scenario I think you're really pondering involves Arsenal finishing below Spurs but still eking out 4th ahead of Chelsea, which would mean losing to Spurs and dropping points in at least one of their last two games *and* Chelsea taking no more than two points from their last three fixtures combined. (Not gonna happen.)

(EDIT - I guess Wolves could still pip West Ham for the last Conference League place, but that ain't gonna happen.)
 
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mikeford

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Chelsea does have the FA Cup Final this weekend so I'm guessing they probably will not be playing the top XI against Leeds. If Leeds could just get a draw it at least cracks the door open for Arsenal.
 

mikeford

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Well the Chelsea/Leeds match is Wednesday and the NLD is Thursday so when Chelsea blow Leeds out 5-0 we won't have to think about this at all anymore.
 

lars10

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I mean, Chelsea just dropped points to out-of-form, little-to-play-for* Wolves at home - I wouldn't assume any fixture of theirs is an automatic win at this stage.

That said, for dropped Chelsea points to really matter, they'd have to finish below both Arsenal and Spurs, and the odds of that happening are around 1%, according to 538. I mean, if you want Arsenal to catch Chelsea for third, that could absolutely happen if Arsenal wins on Thursday, but the difference between 3rd and 4th is way, way, way less impactful than the difference between 4th and 5th. And the scenario I think you're really pondering involves Arsenal finishing below Spurs but still eking out 4th ahead of Chelsea, which would mean losing to Spurs and dropping points in at least one of their last two games *and* Chelsea taking no more than two points from their last three fixtures combined. (Not gonna happen.)

(EDIT - I guess Wolves could still pip West Ham for the last Conference League place, but that ain't gonna happen.)
I'm more worried about getting Champions League in general.. if Chelsea drops points and falls it leaves a better chance for Arsenal to finish in the top four in either third or fourth.
 
I'm more worried about getting Champions League in general.. if Chelsea drops points and falls it leaves a better chance for Arsenal to finish in the top four in either third or fourth.
My whole point is that the odds of Chelsea losing points and that mattering toward Arsenal's qualification (or not) for the Champions League is so vanishingly small, it's hardly worth worrying about. So I'm not sure what you're getting at here.
 

lars10

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My whole point is that the odds of Chelsea losing points and that mattering toward Arsenal's qualification (or not) for the Champions League is so vanishingly small, it's hardly worth worrying about. So I'm not sure what you're getting at here.
I don’t think I’m disagreeing with you.. just hoping arsenal gets top four whatever way it happens
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Massive match today.

Rational brain says we have at least a 50% chance of fourth even if we lose today. Newcastle will be a tough environment and they have been in much improved form in the second half but they are 14th in the table, we're not talking about a truly formidable team. Everton are likely to be clear and on the beach by the final matchday and they are a 17th place squad and have been pretty terrible away. And Spurs are not locks to beat a very motivated Burnley at home. Rational brain also adds that finishing 5th would be far from disastrous, still better than pre-season expectations, and that the team has clearly budgeted for the summer without assuming CL qualification.

But emotional brain still feels like we are about to play a cup final.
 

blueline

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Can't wait for another 3 years of this. Really great. Glad we extended this guy before he actually achieved the objective.
Don't really see how this is on Arteta. Cedric and Holding wilted out there. He has to play them because of injuries.

They're got a 1 pt lead on 4th with 2 matches left. Anyone would have taken that back in August.
 

mikeford

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Don't really see how this is on Arteta. Cedric and Holding wilted out there. He has to play them because of injuries.

They're got a 1 pt lead on 4th with 2 matches left. Anyone would have taken that back in August.
Ben White is on the bench. If you win this match, the season is over and you have completed your task. If Ben White is fit for the bench, he is fit to play in what is basically a cup final. The last 2 games don't mean anything if you had won today. Why is Rob Holding playing at all?
 

blueline

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Ben White is on the bench. If you win this match, the season is over and you have completed your task. If Ben White is fit for the bench, he is fit to play in what is basically a cup final. The last 2 games don't mean anything if you had won today. Why is Rob Holding playing at all?
He probably wasn't quite fit for the whole match though, and they only have 3 CBs so might as well put him on the bench. I think the big issue is that the squad isn't deep enough and some of the backups are subpar. Seems more like an Edu issue to me.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Gabriel potentially being injured could be a real killer. You can't have much confidence in a Nuno-Tomiyasu-White-Cedric backline.

But if Gabriel's injury was largely precautionary and he can play against Newcastle then we are still very much in this.

I can't put this too much on Arteta. We were the better side through 20 minutes until the referee and Holding combined to basically ruin the match. The team does have a tendency to react to an unfair decision in a big match by losing their heads (see also, Man City) and that's partly on Arteta, but the tactics were fine and an experienced player like Holding simply has to be cooler and more professional under the circumstances.
 

blueline

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I pushed back against @mikeford last week and his criticism of Arteta, but that was really abysmal today and Arsenal have lost 5 of their last 9.

Arteta and Edu need to qualify for the CL next season, and in August/September if it's a rocky start they should be gone.
 

Zososoxfan

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I was debating whether to reply in this thread on the players vs. manager discussion, but decided against. Then I read Xhaka's comments and now I think it's worthwhile to jump in:

"I can't explain to you why. We didn't do what the game plan was, not listening to the coach. What happened was a disaster performance. You don't deserve to play Champions League or even Europa League. It's very hard to take it at the moment.

"I don't know why we're not doing what the coach is asking for us."
...
The game plan was totally different to what we did over 90 minutes."
https://www.espn.com/soccer/arsenal-engarsenal/story/4667776/granit-xhaka-slams-arsenal-teammates-in-newcastle-loss-we-didnt-deserve-to-be-on-the-pitch

So, what was Arteta's plan, and why did the players abandon it? Just because the players didn't execute, doesn't mean that the plan was good. For example, if you play MANC and the manager says we have to dominate possession, well you can't blame just about any club in the world for not executing that plan. But getting back to yesterday, do we have any idea what the plan was and why it wasn't executed?

I was far from a neutral yesterday, but outside of the first 10 minutes and some rare spells in the second half, Arsenal just didn't look up for it. They were second to every ball and lacked cohesion, especially in defense and midfield. TBF, the attacks looked threatening when they got on the ball, but they didn't get nearly enough service and didn't convert.

Losing Tomiyasu was huge. I'm incredibly impressed with the player. However, Almiron didn't create that much trouble down his flank after Tomiyasu came off--most of the attacks, including the first goal, came down the other side. Is Holding a starter? When I saw White and Gabriel were starting at CB I thought that boded well for Arsenal. I remember several good defensive plays from them in the first half. The defense down the flanks though, not great Bob.

I'll hang up and listen.
 
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