Sunday 19 May 2024

Arsenal 2-1 Everton

Kai Havertz scores again, but Arsenal finish 2nd on 89 points.

That's an amazing achievement and no one should forget it.

The Gunners will be older and stronger next season, so might finally wrest the title from City.

Havertz's winning goal was almost ruled out for a Jesus handball. It wasn't clear and obvious, as his opponent was quite close to handling too, and Jesus led with his body.

Thankfully, referee Michael Oliver let the goal stand.

Another season ends with a win but no silverware, but no one can knock the progress: it's been phenomenal.

Arsenal are destined for trophies, even if it's not this year!

Arsenal 1-1 Everton

The light blue sky above the Emirates at kick off seemed to promise an end to the title drought, but after Foden's early City goal, it seemed the heavens were simply foreshadowing the colour of the ribbons on the Premier League trophy.

It started so well. The stadium was rocking and Arsenal were on the front foot. Miracles could happen.

After Foden's goal, the Arsenal atmosphere died down and his second killed it completely.

An own goal from Rice from an Everton free kick, which inadvertently deflected off his head compounded Arsenal's woes.

However, Odegaard's low cross converted by Tomiyasu restored parity in the match and a West Ham goal in Manchester gave Arsenal a slender chance of winning the league, just before the interval.

Saturday 4 May 2024

Arsenal 3-0 Bournemouth

The Gunners' victory against a decent Bournemouth side may add some pressure on Man City, but with only Wolves at home, Fulham and Spurs away and West Ham at home on the final day, the champions are not expected to falter.

Anyway, it's nice to have the points in the bag, even if at the end of the season, it ends up being former manager, Unai Emery, who costs Arsenal silverware and not for the first time, if you remember what he did to the Gunners in Europe.

That Villa defeat was a jolt to the system and Arsenal have done well to bounce back.

Saka looks in form again, but he needed to score from the spot to calm Arsenal's nerves. The Gunners were blazing most of their chances wide of the mark, until Havertz was felled in the area. Personally, I didn't think it was a foul. In fact, I would have given a penalty later for a handball, but protests were waved away, so perhaps football has a way of evening out decisions. Saka's cool sidefooted finish was welcomed by the home crowd and players alike.

Trossard (who else?) obliged for number two, set up by Rice, who marauded all over the pitch, dominating the midfield.

I suppose the game was finally put to bed by Rice, who hammered a low shot between the goalkeeper's legs, after benefiting from substitute Jesus's flick.

Jesus looks bereft of confidence, so an assist will be good for him; a goal would be even better.

Next up, it's Man U away. Arsenal are capable of winning there, if they stay in the same rich vein of form. However, Old Trafford is not a place where VAR is expected to be fair. That's why Arsenal need a two-goal cushion to win, as they'll be up against the officials as well as United's mostly malfunctioning array of expensive stars. It's going to be tough, so by no means is victory assured.

Much less likely than an Arsenal victory is a Man City slip up. Wolves will roll over, no doubt. The Cottagers are unlikely to be a cause of concern, whereas Spurs won't want to take points off City, if the beneficiaries are Arsenal.

It could end up being decided on the last day of the season, but you have to fancy City to beat the Hammers, who will at least turn up and make a fist of it.

Arsenal do deserve something for their performances but, as we know, it's not in their hands and it's all because of Emery's Villa.

Sunday 28 April 2024

Spurs 2-3 Arsenal

The Gunners got away with shooting themselves in the foot twice, as they gifted Spurs two goals to wake up a game that should have been put to bed.

Raya paid the price for being too casual at the back, ending 10 hours' worth of away-game clean sheets, by gifting the ball to Romero, who made no mistake. Raya was under pressure from Richarlison at the time, so maybe he was in two minds.

Later, Rice, of all people, was spotted by VAR kicking Ben Davies, albeit by accident. The referee waved away the protests initially, as Spurs had spent a lot of the game trying to win penalties, even when there was no contact. From the resulting spot kick, Son was as clinical as you'd expect.

The result puts Arsenal five points ahead of Liverpool and four ahead of Man City, who play later and are still favourites to win the league.

Wherever the title is destined, now's still a good time to celebrate the Gunners, who once again got the better of their north London rivals in a hard-fought battle.

Spurs 0-3 Arsenal (half time)

Drama has not been in short supply at Spurs, with Arsenal having a Havertz goal chalked off for offside early on. It looked close, as in the German looked onside, but VAR did not check the decision.

Later, Arsenal had VAR to thank, as Van der Ven was ruled offside, when it looked like he'd equalised, after Hojbjerg's own goal from a Saka corner.

Spurs had most possession with Kulusevski using his physique to try to outmuscle Trossard and Tomiyasu. Ultimately, his policy backfired, as the Swede tumbled to the ground in the box, while Arsenal broke away and scored their second through Saka, fed by Havertz.

The provider turned scorer for the third, heading home Trossard's corner from close range.

Now Arsenal need to survive the expected second-half onslaught from Spurs, who have hit the post through Romero and do look sharp, despite not playing for the last 2 weeks.