A couple of thoughts on the nature of the league, as of now. Take a look at the table, we sit 2nd on goal difference but level on points with Manchester City who were the runaway leaders at the start of the campaign. The Media darlings, as we would say. Yet, there is absolutely no talk of us taking the league by storm with six wins on the trot. There is no ‘is Wenger back to his best with Arsenal?’ So I thought I would take a look at some of the key encounters in the next couple of weeks. Not just our games but the games of our ‘title contenders’ as well. Let me be clear, this set of title contenders is not strictly by the table but by the coverage and talk about them in the media. These are the anointed champions, the men who are supposed to show us the way to play with tactics shining brighter than the sun and all the latest hip talk in their press conferences. Let’s roll, people!
Game week 9:
Arsenal welcome Middlesbrough to North London, Chelsea face off against Manchester United and Manchester CIty go up against Southampton. While our game is eminently winnable considering how badly Boro are this season, this is a good chance to run ahead of the pack. Chelsea face a stiff test, and with Mourinho’s mentality being what it is that game will most probably end in a draw as it did against Liverpool. It might be even more boring as well, so I personally am avoiding watching that clash. If anybody needs me I will be found knitting sweaters for my unborn children, which is much more fun and exciting to do compared to watching Manchester United this season.
Manchester City also face quite a hump in the form of the team whose youth academy doesn’t know when to stop producing talent for others. Southampton thrashed us 4-0 last season and while Pep is more pragmatic than Wenger is on most days, his team still goes for the attack more often than not. Southampton have some good players in that new guy Hojberg and Nathan Redmond as well, and a point or even three for them from this game is not a bad shout for those betting on it.
Manchester City: +1
Manchester United: +1
Game week 10:
Sunderland pose a ‘challenge’ to Arsenal, Manchester United face up against Burnley, the Citizens face West Brom and Chelsea face Southampton.
Both Manchester clubs have games which they can win although Burnley will be a strict test of Mourinho’s side, and I say strict in the most lenient test of the word because if Jose somehow gets it into his head that Burnley will do to United what they did to Liverpool, then United fans are in for another weekend of defending his ‘pragmatism’ and his brilliant new 6-3-1 formation. City should roll over West Brom easily and I expect Chelsea to have too much firepower for Southampton anyway. With Costa in the form that he is and Hazard coming into his own as well, they are a formidable side. Arsenal should also see off strugglers Sunderland who are already bottom of the league in 20th position. I really do wonder how they stay up season after season, but it looks like they are this seasons Villa, and we of course had joy against those boys.
Manchester City: +3
Manchester United: +1(I am sure you’re picking up on a theme here, I hate Jose.)
This run means that we could be top of the league come November and poised perfectly for our fall in November. I jest of course; the Arsenal of 2016/17 looks a bit too smart to crumble away like that. If the Manchester City and Arsenal predictions made above pan out as I hope then we will be leading them by 2 points and hopefully have a goal difference not too far behind them as well. This season seems very tight even though it is really early and although it is very improbable, we all remember what happened in the season where Manchester City pipped United through the sheer force of Sergio Aguero’s strike in the last game of the Premier League.
Top of the league or not, I would just like to say that we have been playing some fantastic football in the recent weeks and long may it continue. Let us be up for the Ludogorets game today, hope someone does a star turn tonight. Back again soon hopefully with a Star Man column.
Till then, upwards and onwards. COYG!
What not considering Tottenham???