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  1. Our destiny is the Double? And so we have 12 games to destiny. If my prediction of 86 points is correct for the title then we can lose 2 games there and still come out champions. Strangely, the same can be said of the Champions League. We can potentially lose one of the ties in the QF’s and the semi’s and still go through. A win over Unai Emery's Villa will be crucial to winning the mindgames That leaves us 8 games to destiny. We then must win our other five games in the league and the other three in the Champions League. We can have no draws although in the Champions League there can be extra time and penalties. The only true statement that can be made is that if we win all 12 matches we will have completed a double that no Arsenal manager ever really came close to. It will be an astonishing turnaround for an Arsenal side regarded as too soft and struggling for money against richer sides which meant the quality of our players since the Invincibles has steadily declined. We have had to punch above our weight to get this far. It will be a great achievement for a young manager and still a young team. Are we stronger this season? What has made the difference this season to last? Last season was a strange one. Most of the top teams struggled and there were three new teams ending up in the top four from the previous year, ourselves, Newcastle and Man Utd. Only really Arsenal and City were truly competing for the title and we all know what happened. The soft underbelly of Arsenal was exposed. We fell apart. The fact that the other teams struggled gave us that second spot. Is Declan Rice the single biggest improvement this season? This year is totally different. Now the competition is intense. The five teams at the top are collecting points as easily as you get your courtesy points filling up at your local petrol station. Both Tottenham and Villa could get 70 points or more and all three at the top 80 or more. This will be a record. So I need to answer the question I posed at the start of the previous paragraph. Havertz has answered all the questions I believe two factors have come into play. It is difficult to say what the most critical is. One is the advance in years of the players, the new maturity of Odegaard, Saka and the rest. The second are the new players Rice, Havertz, Raya and Timber plus Jorginho and Kiwior who came in January 2023. Rice has become key, making Partey a bit player, but crucially helping a strong defence to become the best so far in the league. Jorginho and Havertz have added guile, the ability to create space, find a crucial pass and set up the conditions for goals which Declan Rice also contributes to. Goals are coming from everywhere which makes Arsenal a difficult team to mark or control. Has Raya made a difference? Raya is a difficult one to assess. If Ramsdale and Raya were outfield players Ramsdale would get on the pitch regularly the same as, for example, Trossard does, and we could make a comparison. The only thing we can say is that Raya has secured his position. Arteta trusts him to fit into his pattern more than Ramsdale. I have to accept that. Arteta believes in Raya Kiwior seems to get better with every game and I feel he will secure that position. He makes the defence better. Timber looked incredible at the start and he could be a superstar of the future. He will probably get some game time now that he is back training. He surely fits exactly to the template that Arteta wants. He has ball ability, he seems to fit into a team structure, and being Dutch, is used to playing to the pattern of the team. If fit, I believe he will cause strong competition next season. The toughest year ever? These two sitting in the Emirates? Incredible! So, last year was weak competition, except for Man City, and this year is much tougher. We are in the world’s premier club competition as well, the Champions League. I would be, strangely maybe, happier with the Champions League as we have never won it. I would still go crazy if we win the league. And the double? Well, that would be whoopy de doo, whoopy de doo and the best year for me since we won another double without expecting it in 1971. Arteta and the players have given us this dream in April. Thank you very much. But I’ll thank you a lot more if you give it to us in reality in May. Lots of my dreams have been fulfilled since I became an Arsenal fan but for masses of you out there this will be the most magical ever if it happens. It will be for me. Update to the Table of Doom Table of Doom Fixtures Current Max Arsenal Villa (h) Spurs (a) 71 92 Liverpool Spurs (h) Villa (a) 71 92 Man City Villa (h) Spurs (a) 70 91 And so it switches again as the mighty Arsenal are back on top. We are still the bookie’s third favourite as City are serial winners and Klopp has pushed them hard for many seasons. We do have the metric of goal difference in our favour but not much else, probably. Next up is Villa at home, one of our tricky ones, whereas City have Luton away and Liverpool Palace at home. Anything short of a win sees the Table of Doom switching again, of that I am certain. Jorginho could be crucial over the next games However, I feel that points will be dropped over the next seven games so even a defeat doesn’t kick us out. I still reckon that my prediction a long time ago of around 86 points is still valid but the consistency shown over the past while by the top three is almost frightening. Our most important players are Saka, Odegaard, Rice, Gabriel, Saliba and White, in my opinion, and an injury to any could just drop us enough points to give the others the chance to win. But this week, with the other two almost guaranteed wins, means we frighten them by winning when they are hoping we drop points. Let’s send Villa home crying and render the Pool and City wins unimportant. We can do it.
  2. Arsenal were garbage? And so we were rubbish. Chelsea were much better than us for most of the game. I am struggling to remember any recent match when we couldn’t hit a pass so often. And our shots on goal were so pathetic that it must have been embarrassing for the players. Poor Jesus must have wondered what had he got on his feet. And for those criticizing Raya, I am sorry, he certainly wasn’t the worst. He at least made some good saves. Zinchenko, Gabriel and Saliba were poor at most things. Our midfield were overrun and we had scarcely a pot at goal for the whole match, certainly up till we scored. We seem to have a lot of managers at Arsenal So were we bad because we had a bad day or did Chelsea simply outplay us, did Pochettino out tactic Arteta and leave us confused as to what our roles were? It is hard to give a definitive answer but I feel that latter explanation was a bigger factor than the former. We looked bewildered by what was happening on the pitch and didn’t seem to know what to do with the ball. My mouth fell open as I watched pass after pass go astray, tackles missed and the ball constantly taken off us. All subs were on the pitch with a fair bit of time left. We could not afford a late injury. Arteta pushed on players to try and make a difference. A bit of luck, absent for most of the match, got the belief back and Chelsea’s fragility from their bad run helped us to get in control late on. Our good players are bad? Now, I know what you are saying. Gus, you don’t do post-match analysis, you leave that to the experts at ASCB and that is true but I do want to comment on bad matches that we have and scapegoating players because of it. We have several per year. Leeds away in the first half of last season was one such. We got a win we never deserved. We played poorly. And we got a draw at Chelsea on Saturday we didn’t deserve, even though the penalty was dubious and Sanchez should never have been allowed to get away with smashing Jesus. Given our penalty prowess we probably would have scored and won. The earlier we scored against Chelsea would have affected their self belief and bolstered our confidence. We once again would have played badly and won. Eboue's life was destroyed by fans This is one of the strong points of this team. We are starting to get to that champion’s level where we are playing rubbish and get a result. Honestly, though, it was our usual stars that looked lost, heavy footed, and incapable of rudimentary control of the ball. Odegaard was subbed, Zinchenko was subbed, Saliba, Gabriel, White and even Rice were giving the ball away all the time. The whole team seemed nervous, not just Raya. I will declare now that I prefer Ramsdale as I think he brings a better presence at the back but I always liked Raya at Brentford. Arteta’s way or the highway? Arteta seems to like players to follow his instructions and Ramsdale and Tierney seem to have lost out because of that. As my friend Stan won’t give me that job, I have to accept that Mikel's decisions are what matter. We do seem to be moving in the right direction but playing the ball constantly out from the back is a bit of a nightmare for fans to watch. Particularly like on Saturday when we didn’t know how to pass the ball. Would we accept the level of success he had as a player? But I do want to say one thing loud and clear. Targeting players never helps. It is bad enough for the opposition supporters to do that without us joining in. If Raya is our goalkeeper then he should be supported, simple as that. Otherwise we weaken our team and surely we don’t want that? I can remember many players over the years getting targeted, Emanuel Eboue being the worst instance I can remember, the poor guy was relentlessly hounded and could never achieve his potential. We should never ever target our own players nor, in truth, players from other teams. The bully boys in the crowd are wannabe dictators It is pure bullying. Destroying a player from our position of anonymity in the crowds. Every player is different, with different emotions and reactions. How many players careers have been devastated by abuse from fans? Could you imagine that happening in your workplace? That insiders and outsiders decide you are useless and give you a hard time when you are trying to do your best? Unai Emery - the miracle worker of Aston Villa Granit Xhaka survived all that. He went about his playing business relentlessly, taking dog’s abuse all the time, but mostly putting in good shifts. In the end it was “Granit Xhaka we have” ringing out from the fans. I doubt if anyone wanted him to go. But he was blessed with a tough mentality. Not all are capable of taking abuse from your own. I know I would want to get out. Emery is now having a good evening We hounded out Unai Emery and made constant fun of him. I suspect if he had been given the latitude Arteta was he could have come very good for us. It is almost miraculous what he has accomplished at Villa. They might even finish above us. He has come back from challenging times at Arsenal and PSG to show he is a warrior. A gentleman one, yes, but still a warrior. He has not managed to fully correct his difficulty with English but he has restored his reputation. Could Arteta survive the fans turning on him like they did with Emery? If we are lucky we will never know. Will anyone ever win this again? My point is that it is cowardly to attack the team we say we support. We wouldn’t walk up to them and abuse them, we do it from the safety of the crowd. It never helps and we have seen even top teams drop down heavily. And no-one is safe from that mob mentality that says we should eat our own. Arsene Wenger, our greatest ever, had to endure such tribulations. It wasn’t right then and it is not right now. What is success for Arsenal fans? Let’s be realistic about Arteta. The giant teams all around him will want to gobble up all trophies. What is success for Arteta, according to the fans? Winning the league? Never going to be easy. Champions League? Ditto. And if he doesn’t? Picking up an occasional minor trophy and CL qualification? Would that be enough? CL qualification by itself? The problem is that he has set the bar high last season. He has left himself in the position that if he doesn’t better it, he has failed. He has gone backward. Does Mikel have to win Old Big Ears? I will say one thing now. I think he is the best option we have. Who do we think out there could do a better job? We need to keep the faith and give him the backing. If Raya is his choice, then we should support that. If this season turns out to be disappointing, then he should be given the chance to do better. He is up against teams that have better resources, both here and in Europe. Being up there challenging is a great achievement. Being up there winning would be stupendous. We must never forget that. C’mon the Arse!
  3. The Table of Doom Update Arsenal Current 75 Max 93 Man City(a) Newcastle (a) Brighton(h) Man City Max 94 Brighton (a) Arsenal (h) Man Utd Max 83 Brighton(a) Newcastle Max 83 Arsenal(h) Brighton Max 76 Man Utd(h)Man City (h) Arsenal(a) Liverpool gone Tottenham gone And so the hapless Spuds are gone, hit by a tornado, juggernaut, hurricane, express train, tsunami and a Howe as six disasters fell upon them at the new, the shiny, and the emptying White Hart Lane. Champions league is looking difficult for them and I feel the only answer is to bring back ‘Arry. Harry Redknapp is the answer, Spuds. But don’t tell any Gooner I told you that, I might get lynched. If Harry Kane goes, life could get worse for the Spuds Brighton now look like kingmakers. They play Man Utd and could easily have won their FA cup semi-final. They were the better side and I think they will beat them at home, leaving the Mancs with a maximum of 80. Brighton are just hanging on to the Table of Doom but could have a big impact on Champions league places and the title. Once we destroy Man City in our next match Man Utd will have 80 max, in this scenario, leaving them almost gone from the table of doom. Then Brighton have Man City at home. They might just get something, they are a tough side home and away. And then they have us away. Beating them could be key if we are still in it. I reckon most neutrals want us to win. The City money machine is not popular. Nuke Hassle away is also going to be tough for us. Every game is going to be crucial. I hope we can stand up and be counted. This is a great season And if I could turn this season on its head, I feel we would have totally different emotions. If City had blazed out in front and we were coming up behind them now for top spot, winning all our matches like earlier and they were struggling a bit, and we end up a close second, ahead of Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea, the Spuds, and even the new moneybags, Nuke Hassle, we would be so happy. Some happy Gooners Oh, and by the way, if anyone had read my previous piece, The Art of Prediction, you would see that I was hit by the commentator’s curse. I said that we either win or lose, rarely draw, and now we have had 3 in a row. Let’s get back to being Arsenal, Mikel, I told you many times, the only currency you can trade in is wins. And let’s start by putting ourselves right back in it by beating City. Although, as I have said last week, it is common for teams to drop points in the squeaky bum part of the competition. Has this been the strangest season in the modern era? Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham all look pretty certain to finish outside the top four and Champions league places and only Liverpool have not gone through traumatic manager changes. I wondered if this is the first time only one of the top four remain from the previous season. I decided to go back to 1998 when Uefa changed the qualifying rules allowing multiple entrants from countries. Frankie ready for the boot So, in 2021, Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea all qualified but Spurs changed with Man Utd. The world is as we expect. In 2020, we had the same top four, Liverpool, City, Man Utd and Chelsea. In 2019 we had Man Utd change places with Spurs. No surprises, so. In 2018, Spurs changed places with Chelsea. In 2017, Chelsea changed places with Man Utd. In 2016, we had 2 changes, Leicester won and Arsenal came second with Tottenham and City also there. In 2015, Chelsea and Man Utd for Leicester and the Spuds. Again 2 changes. A merry go round with the same faces In 2014, Liverpool came in for Man Utd. In 2013 we had Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd and Man City with Utd replacing Liverpool. In 2012 we had the Spuds come in for Chelsea. In 2011 they swopped places. In 2010 City was replaced by the Spuds. This was the last time City was out of the top four. Even this seismic event only produced 2 changes In 2009, Liverpool replaced the Spuds. In 2008, same again. In 2007, again the same. In 2006, the same. In 2005, Everton under David Moyes replaced Liverpool. In 2004, Liverpool had been in, alongside the 3 main contenders, Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea. In 2003, Newcastle were there instead of Liverpool. In 2002, Liverpool were there instead of Chelsea. In 2001, Leeds Utd were there instead of Newcastle. In 2000, It was no change. In 1999 we had Man Utd, Arsenal, Leeds and Chelsea. In 1998 we had Arsenal, Man Utd, Liverpool and Chelsea. In 1997, the first year of challenging for multiple entrants, we had Man Utd, Newcastle, Arsenal and Liverpool which is one change. Money is the deciding factor I am pretty certain if I went back further it would be similar. Only one of the current top four to remain has to be very unusual. Of course, Liverpool could make it in to the top four this year but they are 9 points behind Man Utd and Newcastle with Utd having a game in hand and only 7 matches for Liverpool to make up the deficit. It’s possible but unlikely. In fact the normal seems to be one change or no change since Arsene Wenger’s fourth trophy has been up for grabs. Leicester’s remarkable season and the one before produced 2 changes. Roberto De Zerbi has done an amazing job at Brighton One thing that has changed in football has been money. Big money brings Champions league and Man City, Man Utd, Newcastle and ourselves have big money at their disposal. So have Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham. Villa, making a probably doomed late charge for CL, have billionaire owners. Brighton has more modest ownership and is the only one of the contenders who has. Also he is English, a rarity in the Premier league. Spurs have a quasi English ownership. I would love Brighton to do it but as I also want us to beat them we could make it even harder for them. As has Unai Emery at Villa The craziest year And so we are left with a crazy year. Liverpool, the mentality monsters, look very fragile. Chelsea spent zillions but are playing like headless chickens. Tottenham refused to back Mr Conte and he very definitely showed his displeasure in an unexpected outburst. It all seems to have gone wrong for them. Newcastle jumped up from 11th but spent a lot. Credit must go to Eddie Howe, an unlikely choice but it seems like an inspired one. And it is probably good to have an English manager challenging. Could Balogun make an impact? It makes me wonder about next year. 8 teams with big money, and Brighton, Brentford and Fulham looking good. Logically, Champions league is going to be a mighty battle next year. City, surely, will be there, but of the rest? Who knows? Maybe we could go astray because we have Champions league to negotiate. We need to strengthen, particularly at centre back and centre forward. Could Balogun make the grade? Maybe a top goalkeeper as well as Arteta doesn’t seem to trust Turner. But above all else, no matter what happens this season, we need our young boys to improve, we could do with some of the academy guys pushing for places, and we need to develop that killer instinct which makes us Arsenal. The process continues and long may it reign.
  4. The Table of Doom Update Arsenal Current 73 Max 97 Man City(a) Newcastle (a) Brighton(h) Man City Max 94 Brighton (a) Arsenal (h) Man Utd Max 83 Brighton(a) Tottenham(a) Newcastle Max 83 Tottenham(h) Arsenal(h) Tottenham Max 79 Newcastle(a) Man Utd(h) Brighton Max 76 Man Utd(h)Man City (h) Arsenal(a) Liverpool Max 71 gone The first team to go has emerged. Liverpool’s max is 71 and we have 73. Bye, bye Scousers, yes, you gave us a crazy upside down match, but we are the only ones still vying for the top place. Brighton are now given an almost impossible task of winning all their matches to catch us and surely they will be next to go. I have removed Liverpool’s games from the list as they are no longer eligible for the Table of Doom. City, Utd, Newcastle, and the Spuds all won (although they should have been reported to the police for robbing Brighton of 3 points) and it may be a tight end of season for the fourth place CL. At the moment you have to fancy that the top four will stay in place. Can we do it? Yes, we can and if we do, then only the craziness of the Liverpool game will remain. Man Utd’s hammering at the same ground may not so easily be erased but unless Liverpool can scramble an unlikely maximum points by winning all and fourth place is at 71, which seems unlikely, then they are also out of CL for the first time since 2016. A huge letdown for the team, who, last year, looked like a different kind of invincible as they chased all 4 major trophies. What’s it like being an Arsenal fan? The Arsenal double winners of 1971 - the only time it was won by a bunch of granddads I feel being an Arsenal fan is different to all others: 1. We were the innovators, instigating many features which are still around today 2. We are the top FA Cup team 3. We had the first successful foreign manager 4. We were the winners of the most dramatic end of a season ever 5. We had marble halls to show our class 6. We were the only team ever to call foul on itself when offering to replay an FA Cup game against Sheffield United because we took a throw in wrongly 7. We have never been relegated from the top division 8. We have been renowned for looking after former players 9. We had 7 Irishmen on the pitch at one time and an Irish manager 10. We beat Real Madrid, Juventus, and Villareal on the way to a Champions League final without conceding a goal 11. We are the only team to win the double in the old First Division and the Premier league 12. We are the Invincibles Seven Irishmen on one team - only at the Arsenal And there’s probably lots more that are not coming to mind at present. But it is hard It’s also the most infuriating thing ever being an Arsenal supporter. My first 3 years being an Arsenal supporter included winning the old Fairs Cup (Euro League) then the amazing double as we weren’t considered anywhere near the best team in England then falling apart to the point that relegation seemed a possibility. Coming back with 3 FA Cup finals in a row, then going downhill again, only for George Graham to appear and put us back on the winning track. Rioch, the worst manager in my lifetime Then he gets done for taking a bung, despite it being prevalent in English football at the time, he is the only one I can remember being sanctioned for it. Then a hopeless manager in Bruce Rioch (he famously didn’t rate Ian Wright, who went on to be our top scorer) and then Arsene who?, a manager plucked from the Japanese League in a moment of pure idiocy. But somehow, it was good idiocy as he quickly delivered a double, and pummelled the entitled team and fans of Manchester United into despair. They recovered, though, and we went through ten years of back and forth battles as we vied to be the best team in the land. Our first Premier League double - can we make it four and break the record? The Emirates put us back among the big boys Then we put together the Emirates stadium at a huge cost to the finances of the team. We suffered as we struggled to even hold a place at the top table, never mind the top place. Then we lost that as well, falling down to Europa League and even not that. The Emirates stadium was necessary, though, as Highbury was not sustainable for a top team. But we sacrificed the man who was responsible for making us the top team in the land, filled with exciting stars, shining brighter than any other, such as Henry, Bergkamp and Vieira. Wenger knew that without the Emirates, that decline would have happened anyway. He persisted in creating the conditions that would make us the best again. We struggled to find a successful manager without him and finally took a chance on an unproven former player in Mikel Arteta, who impressed with his love of Arsenal, and his knowledge and vision of the game. He had a great start but then he had problems with big stars who didn’t want to listen to him. The performances suffered and we were criticized for having a weak underbelly, falling apart when it mattered. Arteta tries to add steel Arteta has worked hard to correct that, believing that the only way to combat it is to win even after setbacks, to encourage every player to have constant improvement, to have routines in training that inspire partnerships and understanding and that crushing will to win. Unai Emery frustrated me at Arsenal That has been my life up to now, hoping and hoping that Arsenal can win. Screaming at the screen with the possibilities that my heroes can score. Complaining each time we drop points that the manager should have done something different, done it my way. Rarely for me, though, calling for the manager to go, Bruce Rioch being the main one and Unai Emery as well, although Emery is, obviously, a good manager, but maybe better with an emerging team than an established one full of big stars with big egos like Aubameyang. Our most exciting player and never a complaint by the manager Most of the managers I have seen have been Arsenal through and through, Wenger being an obvious exception, but he grew to be the true embodiment of Arsenal, a love affair that persists, just like all us fans. I wake up in the morning thinking of Arsenal, although the constant pings from the web group at ASCB help in this regard. Us fans also have our favourites, different from other fans, as we wonder why the manager persists with some players, and doesn’t play others. Zinchenko for me is the former and Smith Rowe is the latter. Tierney is a better defender as far as I am concerned and Smith Rowe should at least be among the first subs to be used. Joys and heartaches Ah, but that is what it is to be a fan. We all have opinions, and sometimes we change them. It is only fans like me, that write every week, where you can see me getting it wrong, changing my mind, and can challenge me on it. The written word doesn’t fly away. And so we scream, we shout, we cry in despair, we jump for joy, we hug all around, and we are in bad humour for the weekend after a defeat. We send messages on the forums and social media, we try to get tickets, but most of all we are part of one big Arsenal family and long may it be so.
  5. Ours is gold Rocket powered Gunners Games: Newcastle (h) Spurs (a) Man Utd (h) Everton (a) Brentford (h) Man City (h) Aston Villa (a) Leicester (a) Bournemouth (h) Fulham (a) Palace (h) So, here we are, flying turbo charged into the stratosphere, looking at all the lesser teams floundering and gasping in our wake, and singing Arsenal are the greatest football team. Can we continue? Yes, we can. Will we continue? Ah, that is the question. But then, that is my job, and why ASCB pay me my huge salary every week, to answer the difficult questions. I am going to do 11 matches, give you the results and what that will mean for our chances. Our old matadors Of course, this has been a very difficult season to call, it’s virtually win win win, which given recent years, was hard to see. This spell is going to be a challenge, partly because this is a dangerous stretch of matches against the best out there and 4 derbies. Because the winter is generally when leagues are won, digging in when cold rain is pelting down on you and every item on your body is soaking ice into your veins and you can hardly see in front of you. January, February and March are tough times and only the strong survive it. Are Arsenal such a team? Yes, there is a steel there, plenty of players like Saka and Martinelli who take all the kicks and still play exhilarating football. Getting out alive of the bullring Anyway, on to predictions. If anyone read last weeks missive, then you would know I predicted an Arsenal win against West Ham. It brought us up to an astonishing 40 points. Then I predicted a draw away to Brighton here as they seem to always cause us problems. But we got a crazy win, 4-2, strolling through the match like matadors against calves, until suddenly, Brighton became tigers and we were a bit lucky at the end. I didn’t know calves could turn into tigers and neither did Arsenal – a lesson to be learned. Our new matadors I also normally analyse what we need to finish in certain positions, like Europa League, Champions league and not realistically the title, but this time, well, it is massively different. 22 matches to go and even relegation form at 22 points gives us 65, enough for Europa League, probably not enough for Champions League. Beat the weaker animals Looking at the 11 matches above I have insisted many times that we must put away the 7 lesser teams so that would give us 21 points. If we achieve that it is 64 and 11 matches to go. A great position. Against the four teams close to us in the table I would take 4 points and that is 68 with 11 games to go, an even better position. But let’s go through them one by one. And I do hear you saying that they are all lesser teams at the moment. Nuke Hassle at the Emirates. It could well be a real Nuke Hassle as they never concede goals. A statement win here and confidence and belief will soar. They are bulls, yes, but we are the matadors. I like this one, so one nil to the Arsenal would do me nicely. 46 points and fear coursing through the rest. Don’t let the Spuds upset us Conte's teams like upsetting other teams The Spuds away. They are very up and down this season. But this one, and Conte’s physical, negative, counterattacking style, could discommode us. They are not bulls, more like hyenas, snapping away at us all the time. We must not lose concentration or control of our emotions. We could be gored badly. If we remember we are the matadors it could be a win but I fear it could be an ugly match and an uglier draw. 1-1 and 47 points. We can never sleep Man Utd? I should be there and I am hoping for a nice birthday present and a win. We owe them for the last time. We fell asleep and gifted them 3 goals. They were not really bulls, more greyhounds finding us snoozing in the traps. They may well have a new striker by then but surely our defence can cope? I believe we will win in a high scoring game 3-2 and 50 points. Maybe Man Utd will bring this guy back? Everton away. We must win here by my above logic but they are starting to put their defence together. Not so much bulls as sheep crowded in front of their goal. They have conceded few despite their lowly position. We may need to draw our sword and cleave a way through. This may well be a draw unless we can break them down. If Calvert Lewin is back they may even be able to score. I am going to go for a 0-0. 51 points. Brentford home. I fancy this one. I think we can win. We know how dangerous they can be. Bees, yes, but ones we can control. If we marshal them well, allow them to fly around aimlessly, distracted by our red shirts, then we can fire in 3 goals. 3-0 to the Arsenal and 54 points. Bullfighters versus bullfighters We can beat them, you know Then the match of the season for us. If all goes as I have said so far we will still be comfortably in front. City must play Chelsea away, Man Utd away and the Spuds home and away. They could easily drop points. They have 36 points now at 16 matches, 2 less than last season. This tough schedule ahead of them could see them a few points less than the 53 that they had at 21 games last season, maybe 50 or less. This match could easily be crucial for them to get back in touch and they will be desperate to win. They are more matadors than bulls, they try to control games and put teams to the sword but this time our red shirts show that we are the best, we are the Arsenal and at home we deliver a strong blow to Guardiola’s self-belief. 2-1 to the Arsenal, 57 points and City don’t know what is happening to them. He could make it a bad ebening for us The euphoria of that win puts us super confident against the Villa away. Unai Emery seems to up his game against us, though. Somehow we forget our red shirt, complacency sets in, the Villa think they are wolves and we allow ourselves to be outfought and end up running towards the stand rather than applying a short, sharp blow with our sword. 1-0 to the Villains and we stay at 57 points. You must be able to fight for your wins It was the wake up blow that we needed. Fight brings you wins over the season, not fancy dan moves. So, next, Leicester again away and they try to prove they are Foxes but are easily cast aside by our determination to play 90 minutes. We fly out of the traps, score an early goal, and stay in control, keeping a tight rein on them, not allowing them space or any place to hide. They scurry back to their lair with 3 goals conceded. 3-0 and 60 points. Bournemouth at the Emirates. Again the sore memory of defeat by Villa mean we are ready to play, to fight and to work as a unit. No slippage as we run out 2-0 winners. 63 points and everyone knows that we are Arsenal and we are back. 2 derbies in a row Fulham are doing so well under Marco de Silva and at Craven Cottage they show why. We struggle to get a rhythm, our sword seems to be left at home and we give them chances. Our defence and Ramsdale have one of their best games and a draw is the best we can manage. 0-0 and 64 points. Patrick will make Palace fight Crystal Patrick next. He badly wants to beat us but we remember the indignity of last year. Arteta has them so well prepared it is unbelievable. We show them we are the matadors but they show us they are fighters and clever to boot. 2-1 sees us home in one of the hardest fought games we have had. We show steel, grit, adroitness, speed and pure ability, as we cement our place at the top after 27 matches. 67 points, one ahead of where City were last year but nicely in front of them now. Yes, I am being optimistic here, but I feel justifiably so. This team are good, getting better, growing together. We now have so many key players we can unlock any team. We have a team of matadors, ready to confront any animal put in front if us, even the hyenas of Spurs. C’mon the Arse!
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