GOOD MORNING TO YOU ALL!
It’s a huge day for our shared agenda.
Spurs go to Anfield.
Liverpool needs to keep their title fight alive.
Spurs need to take at least a point to keep Thursday spicy and open.
The Premier League this season does not give a fuck about what you think will happen, it works to its own beat, so don’t write of Antonio Conte. He’s a lucky manager, Spurs have been lucky all season, they could easily walk away with 3 points from 1 shot all game, such is the qualidee of Son and Harry Kane.
Then tomorrow, we have to fight for our lives and bring home the 3 points, no question.
The biggest threat Leeds pose is twofold:
- They will fly at us regardless of the personnel
- They have so few players to choose from it’ll be hard to predict their line-up or tactics
There are also annoying narratives that favor them: they haven’t beaten a top 6 side all season. That’s usually a sign to the footballing gods to work something our way.
Am I thinking about Mark Viduka? Am I thinking about Harry Kewel scoring and running to the corner flag? Am I thinking about David O’leary ruining the Arsenal party of yesteryear? Maybe.
My Uncle, total geezer, major Leeds away day fans, reckons they’ll get slapped. He has zero faith that his team can do anything and he’s not playing games. Says they don’t have the quality to do what they did to us in the past.
Leeds lack top playerrs, they have very little experience, and their defence lives for giving up spaces. They are a club that is pretty incapable of delivering a deep-block for 90minutes. My uncle is adamant that Leeds are going to go down this season.
Mikel Arteta needs to have the team super focused. I’m quite confident we’ll create lots of openings because we tend to do that in most games. In front of our home fans, in the sunshine, with an electric atmosphere, it’ll be very hard for Leeds.
I’d love Eddie to head into his log cabin, chop up some wood, and put a mile-high stack of chips on his shoulder. Leeds treated him badly. He was moved there, he should have gone to Dusseldorf, his career suffered when he sat on the bench. A hat trick would be NICE.
I’m not sure how Arteta will line-up, I’d love to see ESR back in the starting 11, his form has been a bit up and down, he’s clearly not fully fit, but now would be a great time to make a case for the Thursday game.
NO INJURIES is mainly where I am on secondary hopes and dreams.
What is even more tantalizing is that Chelsea dropped 2 points from a winning position against Wolves. They were dreadful again, Thomas Tuchel is overseeing a car crash by Chelsea standards, so a win at Leeds could very much open up the idea of a 3rd place finish.
Also, United losing, AGAIN. Remember how many people thought Ralf Rangnick was the silver bullet they needed and that it was curtains for our challenge?
Tomorrow is a big, big chance to attack a higher position.
It’s a HUGE chance to change how we approach Thursday. If we beat Leeds, Spurs HAS to come and play against us because a point won’t be enough.
This is exactly what we wanted at the start of the season. For our games to matter heading into the final throes of the season.
Before we go, I do want to quickly reference some cheques I’ve been cashing. Remember when we went on an exceptional run of wins after we lost the opening three? And people started throwing around the xG table as a reason to be terrified? I do.
I penned an article about the weaponisation of xG. People went at me about it. DATA IS OUR GOD NOW, PEDRO. But, turns out, my new turn as a data non-believer has led me down a righteous path.
Now I’m cashing cheques, people are all like, ‘oh no, we were just having a rational conversation about xG’… no, we weren’t.
Here’s what was missing from being concerned that we were 5th, but playing like 16th.
There was no context in the xG for the covid outbreak
No context for a newly assembled young team dealing with the top 3 teams so early
No context for game state: xG stated that we lost against Spurs and LCFC. If you watched those games, you’ll have remembered we battered them early, then sat back
There was also a lack of understanding about how young teams perform in general, and teams under Arteta had developed (season prior, post December, we went on a tear).
- Arteta has a very specific playing style
- His ideas are complex
- He relies on automatism that come with time
- Top young players get better
People couldn’t get that info from xG, but it was clear to anyone paying attention post-December was going to be a lot better, which is why the xG pearl-clutching was bollocks pushed by people who wanted to throw shade at the progress.
xG is a guide, not a god.
Points on the table are more valuable than theory points on an xG table.
Most people cannot be trusted with free data.
Arsenal wouldn’t have spent time fretting over that xG table because they knew what was going on.
See you in the comments, pray to the gods of gegenpressing, and hope lady luck isn’t in cahoots with Unai Conte this evening.