TOP FOUR FLIRTS AGAIN, AS HOPE WAVES FROM THE BAR

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Ahhhhggghhhhhhhh… WHY CHELSEA, WHY?

I wanted them to win. Smash West Brom. Keep hope OUT of this weekend. Make the Liverpool game an exercise in nothing.

Tuchel losing his first league game 5-2 has opened this afternoon up. It went from largely uninteresting, to… hmmmm… this could be sexy?

For Arsenal AND Liverpool.

If we win today, we go to within 6 points of top 4. SIX POINTS OFF TOP 4 WITH 8 GAMES TO GO.

That would be tantalising. There are still a lot of teams in the mixer. Too many to topple in my opinion, but still, the Premier League season, as it stands, is not over by a longshot. Our last few games are not the worst… we also play Chelsea, who we can beat.

My worry, as usual, is we’re world-class at punching ourselves in the face. Think about the self-inflicted wounds we’ve inflicted this season. We’ve been smacking ourselves about all year, no one is better at fucking things up than us.

The Liverpool game today, at home, is not looking great on many levels.

The Xhaka haters are about to see what happens when he’s not in the side.

David Luiz, who I’ve been desperate to see out of the starting 11 isn’t going to be included because of injury.

Saka AND ESR have very late fitness tests.

We’re not exactly cooking on first-team gas here…

What do we have going for us?

Well, we’re at home. Jurgen Klopp had a lot more players away last week than us. He’s had one training session to prepare.

I’m hoping that we might have carried through a bit of belief from the backend of the West Ham game. We are playing, mostly, like a top 4 team of late. We have the players to do damage today, there’s confidence that we can come back from going down in big games, and at some point… something has to click for us.

We’re waiting for a bang-bang moment.

Liverpool is a great team, they’ll be top 2 next season… but at the moment, there is a weakness in their system.

What am I looking for from today? A fucking performance.

We gave Manchester City too much respect. We let them score early, then we spent the game trying to keep it respectable.

That can’t happen today. We cannot let Liverpool control proceedings from the off. We have to stop conceding after 6 minutes in the big ones. There needs to be a show of force out there.

Which Arsenal will show up?

As Matt from podcast always says, you’ll know after 5 minutes.

Will it be the team that bossed the Spurs game? Or will it be the team that showed up thinking about what they were having for dinner at West Ham.

These are moments Arteta needs to own. He has to get his team firing. At a minimum, we need to come away from this game thinking there’s been progress

We’ve beaten Liverpool with Arteta. This squad can do anything on its day. Let’s see if we can do it under the pressure of a ‘maybe’ run for top 4.

HUGE GAME. See you on the other side. x

719 Responses to “TOP FOUR FLIRTS AGAIN, AS HOPE WAVES FROM THE BAR”

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  1. Up 4 grabs now

    Would love to see us knick fourth but just can’t see it. Not unless we win every game between now and the end of the season.

  2. Tom

    Chelsea suffered a double whammy of international brake hangover and playing a bogey team right after.
    Wes Brom gave them fits in the reverse fixture too but scored some top quality goals today.

    I hope Arteta sets up to attack pool because they’ve been as suspect under pressure as we have.

  3. Ben D

    Watching Leicester keep Man City relatively under control, play calmly from the back under pressure and threaten on the break and wonder why Arsenal seem to freeze when we play the bigger teams.

    We need to get over that syndrome because we do have the players to do it.

    A win today will be mental. COYG!!!

  4. Pedro

    Ben, we comfortably beat Leicester 3-1. Beat Chelsea. Beat Spurs.

    Only team we’ve frozen up against since Christmas is City.

  5. Mark S

    I feel good about today. Don’t know why exactly, however I feel like we’ll come out firing. I also feel like the remainder of the season can serve as a major springboard to next year. Close it strong, have a good summer where we aren’t signing “Big Names that are looking for a final payday”, and maybe sneak into Europe somehow. The West Ham comeback gives me some belief. We didn’t roll over and die…there’s some fight in this team. It is a flawed team, however you can see the proverbial “green shoots” starting to grow.

    “Green Shoots…xG…Top 4 since Christmas…Xhaka being more elite than we want to admit even though he needs to go…Knowing which Luiz is playing after 5 minutes”…we have a LeGrove Bingo!!! 🙂

  6. Kroenkephobe

    They’ve looked physically shot at various times this season have Liverpool. They’ll be under pressure from the Klopptimist to press high and early. If we beat that and commit no silly errors nor acts of indiscipline, then we’ll be in it. Their back four have suffered from constant changes due to injury. Laca has to start for me – and no Hector please otherwise Mane could run riot. Expect Partey to have a crucial role in the outcome of the game. I think he’ll boss it and we’ll win narrowly.

  7. Ben D

    Pedro,

    I agree we have beaten some big teams this season, which we weren’t before. But we still give teams like Man City too much respect, and we have done even in some of the matches you point to that we won. I just feel it’s a mental thing we need to overcome to move to the next level.

  8. Bob N16

    Incredibly difficult to predict today’s game, particularly after an International break. If I had to put money on it, I would go for a score draw, maybe 2-2. Our starting line up may make things clearer – does it have to be Willian/Lacazette/ PEA? Will Pepe get a surprise start? Will ESR and Saka recover enough? Holding/ Gabriel CB partnership, Cedric ahead of Bellerin?

  9. Up 4 grabs now

    Lol, nice to see the great poch lost against Lille, psg into second.
    He’s no Emery Pedro. 🙂

  10. FB

    Nice post Pedro, thanks

    ‘There are still a lot of teams in the mixer. Too many to topple in my opinion’, bang on. That’s why I think Liverpool will be more buoyed by the Chelsea result, they’re that much closer

    Still, really looking forward to the game and I think we’ll thrash them

    Then again, always do

  11. Mb

    No Saka/ESR. Holding, Chambers replaces Luiz and Bellerin.
    Ceballos partner Partey.

    Pepe on the right, Auba left, Ode in middle with Laca up top.

  12. Nelson

    Arsenal: Leno, Chambers, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey, Ceballos, Pepe, Odegaard, Aubameyang, Lacazette

    Subs: Ryan, Bellerin, Cedric, Mari, Elneny, Nelson, Willian, Martinelli, Nketiah

  13. Habesha Gooner

    Playing Auba on the wing is still suicide. He doesn’t do much of anything there. Other than that I am worried about chambers facing Mane. The rest is the best we could put out there considering everything.

    OT: What a pass by debruyne for city’s goal. Prime Xavi, Iniesta, Pirlo would be proud of the timing of that pass.

  14. Leftside

    Come on Arsenal!

    Hope this isn’t the game that Liverpool decide to remember they are a world class side.

  15. DivineSherlock

    That pass from KdB alone is worth millions . Filthy . I expect Odegaard to make something like that ,

    Very attacking lineup Iwould say . Kabak and Phillips are there for the taking . Just dont self destruct Arsenal.

  16. Graham

    We need to rest players today and mid week. The only important fixture is against Sheff Utd next weekend. A big win there and we might even be top since Easter.

  17. MidwestGun

    Well Pedro.. you can’t bemoan the table position and then also berate people who don’t rate Xhaka. who leads all outfield players in the PL with errors leading to goals. How many points has he cost us versus what he has gained? I’m gonna say he has cost us at least the 6 pts we are down.. He also has played the most minutes of any of our players besides Leno… so has had the most influence over our table position.

    So, no… todays match won’t let us see anything new in what we are missing. sorry. Might be the opposite, more likely.. Although I still prefer Pyramid Pirlo over Danny Cebs… but anyhow… is what it is. at this point just happy the International break is over.

  18. Rich

    Seeing Gnabry playing in the CL for Bayern Munich, drives me a bit nuts

    But my frustration can’t be anywhere as bad as Chelsea fans when they have to watch De Bruyne playing for City

    What a player

  19. TheLegendaryDB10

    Interesting line up. A shame that neither ESR nor Saka could make the squad. They will be missed. No Xhaka either in the line up.

    Not convinced by the team but this is the best we can do in the current situation.

    We really need to press Liverpool from the get go. They have been all over the place this season. If we can damage them from the start,then, who knows, Liverpool may pull off an Arsenal and lose.

    I am quietly confident for some reason. So let’s go and beat Liverpool!

  20. G

    The only way I would want Chelsea to win a game of football is it it was last game of season and the team they were playing were fighting us for the title.. hate them more then Spurs

  21. MidwestGun

    I like the combination Ode had with Chambers last match…. in attack… but I am a bit worried about defending Mane.. Anyhow… looking forward to winning today.. Let’s do it. Would be a huge morale booster.

  22. Rich

    Chambers up against Mane is a worry

    Looks like the end of days for Bellerin at Arsenal

    Not taking £22 million from PSG last summer, is another mistake we can add to the list of never ending screw ups

    Not much dynamism or pace in that team today, Ceballos, Chambers, Holding, Lacazette, often look like they’re running with breeze blocks tied to their ankles

  23. FB

    Totally agree Midwest.

    Chambers really surprised me how good he was in advanced positions, and I’d worry about any of our RB’s v Mane

    Again, a win tonight would be a massive boost.

  24. MidwestGun

    Yep… think there will be a lot of goals chances today, both ways… Just hope we get the best of them and take our chances.. Pepe is a wildcard… you never really know what he is gonna do. Could be anywhere from terrible to amazing.

  25. Akinzo

    There’s this nagging scare biting at me as go into the game. Really sad we don’t have either of Saka nor ESR. Not sure the Arsenal that will turn up but if we can reincarnate the second half of the game against West Ham, then I’d be really glad but can we?
    I know a lot keep harping on Xhaka’s departure, I honedtly wish he’s available to partner Partey rather than Cebalos. Am trying very hard to keep my expectations low so I won’t be devastated at the expiration of the tie.

  26. Wiglaf

    At least there’s no Bellerin or luiz
    Not happy with Ceballos in the middle
    Or Aubameyang on the left but hey ho. Rather we keep Saka and ESR ready for Thursday

  27. Thorough

    Fu NY enough I think we can win this. Partey and Ceballos have always been my preferred pair sitting in front of the defence.
    I hope I didn’t just jinx it.

  28. Tom

    I hope Tierney elbows Mane in the first minute…..you know, just to let him know “he’ll be there all day”.
    And then , afterwards , we can all say “ he’s not that type of a player”

  29. Bergkamp63

    We have 4 players injured apparently, Luiz, Saka, Xhaka, ESR

    Not keen on our bench, hope nobody goes off !

  30. Tom

    “ Pepe is a wildcard… you never really know what he is gonna do. Could be anywhere from terrible to amazing.“

    Terribly amazing will do nicely

  31. Kroenkephobe

    Cheers Bob. Was hoping he’d either trebled his transfer value or had a blinder and proclaimed he wanted to rejoin us at RB!

  32. MidwestGun

    Not giving up a goal in the first 10 minutes.. would be a good start.. Not really needing a repeat of the West Ham match.. it was an exciting comeback.. but I don’t need that much excitement today.

    Yeah all the Rocky Ro… banners and tributes are cool.

  33. Gazzap

    Our biggest problem today will be Auba being anonymous on the left. Auba left and Laca up front has never ever worked. And it won’t tonight either. We’ll miss ESR. But martinelli should be playing instead of Auba.

  34. TheLegendaryDB10

    I agree that we have a good frontline that can score goals today. The question is: will they all come out firing on all cylinders? We can’t afford to miss the opportunities that come along.

  35. FB

    Let’s hope we keep a clean sheet for more than ten minutes, and at least one of our own have their shooting boots on

    Enjoy the game

    Come on you Gunners

  36. Spudnik

    Pedro,
    Yep that Chelsea result makes this game all the more important for both sides. I’m hoping for an absolute cracker

  37. Chris

    Partey and Ceballos could be an interesting pairing in this game, both can beat the press and at least attempt to progress the ball forwards. Think we need that with Xhaka missing, the danger with Elneny is he is usually safety first.

  38. Chris

    “ liverpools kit is ugly af”

    It’s the type of shirt only impossibly good looking people can pull off

  39. TheLegendaryDB10

    To the poster who had asked why I thought the Saka picture wearing the Rocky Arsenal shirt was an anti racism message. I said this because I have always associated the yearly tribute to Rocky as a celebration of diversity at our club.

    Of course, this is also Saka showing how much he respects Rocky as an Arsenal player and that he looks up to him.

  40. Ash79

    I’m ok with dull.. hahaha We tend to be a second half team.

    And here in lies the annual revision of our expectations of this club. We are at home against a very poor Liverpool side with two unknown centre backs. Auba, Pepe and Laca should be having a field day and run at that back line but yet we have a few players again ‘on mute’. Thomas again proving to me that he sadly won’t make it, sort of game that he should boss but I don’t think he is a midfielder monster we were led to believe. Appreciate the result of this doesn’t really have an effect on our league standing but where’s the pride, show the quality…I just don’t understand all this

  41. Davedale

    Good to see we have learned from all of our mistakes playing it out from the back. Really poor so far too many players not putting a shift in…..

  42. Soham

    Liverpool are playing woth more energy..look likely to score first…Arsenal aren’t up for looks like

  43. Champagne Charlie

    Pepe and Auba are such terrible basic footballers for their pedigree. Auba is rubbish outside the box, and Pepe is a fraud good for a moment.

    No point talking about Ceballos, or the apparent ‘unleashing’ of Partey with no Xhaka. Both bs narratives, Thiago and Fabinho completely dominant.

    Our attack is simply dogshit, pins us right in because literally nothing sticks up top. Saka and ESR huge misses for their technical ability and efficiency in possession.

  44. Jim Lahey

    Every fucking team looks like peak Barcelona against us, we are beyond shit. Not a team in the league fears us.

  45. Ben D

    What’s going on? We are behaving like deer caught in the headlights. Same players can be terrific one game, and can’t take an assured touch the next?

    Only consolation so far is that we haven’t conceded

  46. Foxy

    We are hitting long clearances down rhe middle somehow expecting Ooord or Lace to win a ball in the air. 🤔

  47. LoveSausage

    Azed

    If we continue sitting back like this there’s still time. Arteta needs to switch things up at halftime.

  48. DUIFG

    Auba wide has never worked, never, yet it continues to happen. Martinelli wide please.

    Cavallos is a flick. Merchant, its hyper quicn hyper risky, no control, party again is control but on his own

  49. Foxy

    Longer game goes on without a goal it should suit us as Liverpool will tire after their whirlwind start.

  50. TheRoyalArsehole

    We are still in it men. Hope for heads up and go for broke this next half. Let’s pull them on for the win