Warming The Cockles and The Run-in

The international break feels like it should soon be ending but we’re far from halfway through. It’s never a good sign when it feels like it is dragging after a couple of days.

Still, fortunately, there are things like this to restore your faith in humanity:

If the cockles of your heart aren’t warmed by that, then more fool you.

On Arsenal matters, things are pretty thin on the ground. A couple of fixture changes help with the chase for the top four and the Europa League semi-final if we get that far. Crystal Palace’s visit to the Emirates is now 21st April at 4pm and handily placed for the as yet unannounced Sky game. Wolves on Wednesday 24th at 7.45pm is the same. The trip to Leicester will be moved back twenty-four hours if we defeat Napoli.

All of which feeds into the last post a few days back.

Looking at future results is a peculiar science. Despite all the evidence to the contrary during the previous seasons, the ‘belief’ – arrogance – of supporting a club of the larger variety never quite dissipates. Everton, for example, won well against Chelsea but I still think we’ll win.

Of course, there is some truth in Everton’s form. A point against Liverpool, the win over Chelsea; they followed defeats against Tottenham, Leicester, Wolves and Manchester City in the previous five games. So, it’s not quite as bad an away trip as it seems.

Until you look at our away form which, no matter how you cut it, is poor. The illogical now becomes logical because the same dismissiveness of Everton’s form doesn’t apply. But it should because a win at Huddersfield and the Wembley performance is a sign of a turnaround while the Toffees is a blip of good fortune.

It’s Only A Transition Season…Imagine

You can apply the same logic to the trips to Wolves and Leicester. There’s genuinely no real reason for believing we’ll win other than we are the Arsenal. That and at the moment, there is a spark of belief in the side, that when their backs are against the wall, they deliver.

And the one thing which isn’t contemplated, never crosses your mind is finishing fourth and still ending up in the Europa League. This is the karma for the schadenfreude of Tottenham finishing fifth with their first full season in the new home hosting UEFA’s lesser competition.

You can’t quite relax but this is, for me at least, a good pressure. An excitement just thinking about it. Instead of looking round, wondering if seventh can catch us, there is more than one happy ending here. There’s more than one relatively unhappy ending as well but even that caveats with “it’s only a transition season”.

Therein is the answer. It’s a transition season, imagine what we can achieve next year when Emery knows the English game and the team continue to respond to his ideas.

Not all the team will be here, of course. The Denis Suarez who arrived on loan is not the one Unai Emery signed; we know that, so to the club and the player judging by reports. A unanimity formed: we won’t be exercising the €20m fee proposed and well played those who negotiated us out of having to buy the Spaniard. At present, it’s hard to make a case for the midfielder at one-tenth of that price, let alone the full deal.

Matches come thick and fast over the next few days so here’s to everyone coming through unscathed.

’til Tomorrow.

23 thoughts on “Warming The Cockles and The Run-in

  1. C says:

    Tend to agree with all that! Finishijg 4th and winning the Europa is a real possibility. The other thing that works in our favor is having players starting to find form and Emery’s experience in the Europa. Sure Kos’ massive blunder cost us against Atletico Madrid last season, but we were very much set up to get picked off on the counter. Now, over the paat couple of matches there seems to be a balance that has been found (fingers crossed either Cech finds form or Emery drops him in Europe).

    Everton, well they are as likely to give us a game as they are to get put to the sword.

  2. Ritchie Powling says:

    4’th Trophy !! Course there was no 4’th trophy when I was busy being the best sub in the league.

  3. Ritchie Powling says:

    Oh well. 5’th trophy. Can’t complain. Bookies have us finishing 5’th.

  4. Bill says:

    Great post yogi

    Right now we are on pace to collect mid 70’s in points would represent massive improvement which is more then we could have hoped for an a lot more then I expected. Not everything has been perfect but a lot of the credit has to go to Emery. I know several of us questioned his judgement and tactics and his man management skills but results are the final arbitor.

    With regard to Dennis Suarez you only have to look as the steadily decreasing number of minutes he has played in the last 4 years to see that his star has really faded to a very dim level. I suspect he was probably never as good as advertised. Barca has the a similar blind spot as Arsene did when it comes to over rating and over paying for for marginal payers with technical skill such as Alex Song, Hleb Vermaelen etc. They can have Suarez back.

  5. Michael says:

    Lovely video, thanks for posting it. It’s great to see the guys take time out to do something positive for others less fortunate.

  6. Damon says:

    Ozil was the only one who didn’t pick Julian up and give him a hug

    I’m just saying…………

  7. Bill says:

    Arsetralian from a couple of days ago

    “Bill. Like your C sparring it is generally your complete focus on goals, goals, strikers, end of story.”

    I agree that my focus is on objective data such as goals and assists and that is done on purpose. No system of evaluating a player is every going to be fool proof, however, focusing on the objective data is much much more likely to give the correct answer as opposed to focusing on unverifiable subjective judgements which are almost always heavily influenced by our determined bias. Most of the time we are looking for something which tells us what we hope to see and if you try hard enough you can almost always find what you are looking for. Our predetermined bias causes us to search for and often find the answer we want to find even if its the wrong answer. Nothing is ever 100% accurate and focusing on solid objective data will rarely be misleading and I accept that goals and assist don’t tell the “whole story” but focusing on those types of data are much much likely to give the right answer then making judgements based on our subjective impressions. For example Mesut Ozil’s combined goals and assists in PL games have been 25, 17 12 and 6 over the last 4 years. Some have argued that he is doing lots of positive things that none of us can quantify which may or may not be true. However, which player would you want. The one who creates 25 goals and assists or the one who creates 6?

    I hope that makes sense

  8. Welsh corgi cardigans says:

    Thanks YW, the interlull is as ever a tedious thing which you enables us to move through quicker.

    I’m positive and that’s not a bad thing ( didn’t jinxed it). Though I haven’t been positive for a good 6 years. But now there’s something in the air ( why does all and everything sound like a pop song).

    We’re winning games vs top 6, we’re fighting not to lose (even though we still can’t defend) and we got momentum. Don’t underestimate momentum and we’ve got it now. It’s not in the spud corner nor in manures. It’s in our corner and it’s our to loose.

    Pretty good position for the run in😉.

  9. Bill says:

    As players hit the age where they are in the downside of their career arc the vision and ability to execute in the way that produced lots of goals and/or assists starts to fade. When those high profile skills diminish and the player stops producing we hope they are providing “veteran leadership” and making runs that open up space and other non tangible contributions. Whether that player is actually doing those less noticeable things is not quantifiable and they might or might not be happening. I am not suggesting that those intangible things are not valuable, however, I doubt I am the only one who rather have the quantifiable production of goals and assists.

  10. Blue Yonder says:

    Assuming Suarez’s mins per game and level of play at Arsenal are somewhat close to those at Barcelona, and I don’t know that for sure, then it’s puzzling to think what the plan was in bringing him over. It wasn’t a matter of giving him sufficient minutes to bring out the best in him because Emery hasn’t done that (yet.) I assume Barca gave him a new contract to ensure he wouldn’t leave for free if he impressed at Arsenal. Are you listening Arsene and Ivan?
    We aren’t tied down to keeping him but why did we get him?

  11. Blue Yonder says:

    At this point in the season, Arsenal are ahead of last season in terms of points and position. That’s cause for temporary celebration. They can, in fact finish higher plus make the CL but I think that won’t be learned until after the last games are played.
    Then following will be Emery’s first big window. He needs this plus another summer window before we can say the old ghosts have been banished.
    It’s also possible that Ozil’s performance level will remain on a decent level and perhaps result in his acquiring suitors. I say this strictly from a finance perspective because that’s the big hurdle for Arsenal at present.

  12. ferkov says:


    Hates kids apparently.
    And Unai.
    And the Queen, while we’re at it.
    Just saying😂

  13. Arsetralian says:


    As you like facts though from Orbinho:

    ozil has 52 assists in 158 apps for Arsenal which is 54 less than fabregas. Only bergkamp and Henry beat him and as others say the others above him were part of prime Wenger era. Ozil came into a side which hadn’t won a single trophy.

  14. C says:


    And had Giroud as their main striker as opposed to the others who had RvP, Henry, Kanu and even Adebayor.

  15. C says:


    Sorry mate but there have been PLENTY of talented players who find it hard not just at Barca but at clubs that are EXPECTED to win the league and challenge for the CL. Also, Barca’s midfield isn’t something you just walk into; hard to find better than Busquets, Raktik and one of Artur, Inesta. Not to mention Paulinho was brought in and was superb as Busquets partner which pushed Raktik that bit higher.

    Not saying we should keep Suarez, but at the same time, simply dismissing him because he can’t get into that Barca midfield and saying Barca get caught up in small technical player….well thats just lazy.

  16. thrillbo says:

    Guys nobody can make the case that Ozil is still as effective today as he was 5 years ago. At this stage of his career he should be more of a veteran voice. someone to calm the soldiers, keep everyone in check, set the tone by example. Ozil should be elevating the level of play of his teammates , and i would argue that at least recently, he has been. More of the same please.

    He still has the best touch and best weight of pass of anyone on our team. If Ozil keeps picking up the ball in that #10 spot and has time to turn and dribble, i think we will keep scoring. However if Ozil is marked out of the match , that linkage between midfield & strikers is gone!

  17. thrillbo says:

    simply dismissing him because he can’t get into that Barca midfield and saying Barca get caught up in small technical player….well thats just lazy.

    We are dismissing him because he cant get into OUR midfield. I have a sarcastic stance on Suarez. I’ve seen a few good passes and dribbles from him. In todays bloated market a player who can pass the ball, receive passes, and dribble forwards, 20million sounds about right =)

  18. thrillbo says:

    Oh and if that player happens to be a good ol english lad, tack on 15 mil. That gives you 35million for Andy Carroll.

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