We get back to the action in the Premier League today when we face Fulham in the Emirates.
I think back to playing them on the first day of the season and the kind of expectations that aroused. We won comfortably, played well, scored three goals and kept a clean sheet. We saw Willian make his competitive debut and get two assists, and even those of us who had doubts about the length of his contract were encouraged by what he did that day. We didn’t know much, etc.
Fulham has improved since then but he still has 7 safety points with 6 games to go, so we know for sure today that they will fight for the survival of the Premier League. Mikel Arteta says:
“Obviously they want to keep the club in the Premier League. In my opinion, they were really unlucky with some results. I started watching them a few days ago and I really like the way Scott sets up his team.
“It’s really brave, they know very well what to do and again I think they had some very unfair results that could have put their team in a different position. They are going to come here to do what they always do and it will be difficult.
The question today is what the manager does with his team. After a 4-0 win, and with our next game on Friday, there must be a reasonable temptation to more or less stick to what worked against Slavia Prague and Sheffield United. There may be a change or two due to fatigue / fatigue, but if it was basically the same, would anyone complain?
Without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Martin Odegaard, there’s not much you should change at the top of the pitch – although we could all be arguing to try to get Gabriel Martinelli in (maybe even up front- center?). At the back there’s room for Hector Bellerin, Gabriel, even Cedric at the left-back, but it was interesting last week to hear Arteta talk about the fact that one of the issues this season has been the inability to maintain consistency of selection in the bottom four. After two clean sheets, even if you want to give some players a few minutes to keep them cool, can you make three (potential) changes and hope to keep that level of solidity?
Momentum is one of the great intangibles in football, but it’s useful. We cannot measure confidence and belief, but we can say with certainty that every poor result or indifferent performance generates levels of introspection that are out of the ordinary. This season we have flipped wildly from good to bad and everywhere in between. Our longest winning streak has been three, and beating Fulham today would be that. We obviously have to improve it, do four, do five, then six, and so on. Plus, Premier League points are still important.
Obviously the Europa League is the competition that offers a chance for success this season, but this game still counts. You can put all your eggs in the European basket, but that doesn’t mean you can just return devices like this. No one is going to say, “Well, don’t worry” if today isn’t going well, that’s just not how it works. So I guess Arteta might make a few changes, but it will be more or less the same team that won the last two goals, scored seven goals and conceded none. And why not?
Non-football, but still very Arsenal, our friends at Tollington could use your help.
🚨 Save Tollington’s arms 🚨
After a year of battling an unprecedented global pandemic, we now face a new struggle for survival.#SaveTheTolly #SaveYourLocal
Please sign our petition: https://t.co/oOI8Dw3d27 pic.twitter.com/cHTPJkd5eS
– The Tollington (@TheTollington) April 17, 2021
If you can sign the petition, do so. Martin and Louise have been so amazing to us over the years, we launched our two books there and the events wouldn’t have been half the success – and half the fun – without them. It’s also a big part of the match day ritual for so many Arsenal fans, local and otherwise, so even if you’re not in the UK, don’t hesitate to lend your support.
It only takes a minute, and please spread the word to as many of your fellow Gooners as possible.
Yes that’s all. We’ll have a live blog for you, of course, and everything gaming on Arseblog News. There’s still time to grab the preview mod on Patreon, and I’ll see you later for the game.