Not the best result Arsenal could have had in yesterday’s Europa League draw but not the worst. Barring perhaps Molde and Granada, every team left in this competition will be a tough nut to crack. Slavia Prague might very well have a UEFA investigation hanging over them when Arsenal play them after Rangers complained of racist comments having been directed at their players. Rangers themselves might be in trouble after reports in yesterday’s newspapers suggested one of the Slavia players was given a going over in the tunnel. Sky Sports report that UEFA are to investigate both clubs.
Slavia Prague deny allegations of racism and accuse Glen Kamara of assaulting their player Ondrej Kudela. A few Rangers players, including Kemar Roofe have subsequently received racist abuse and threats on social media. What kind of example are either set of players setting?
I watched some of the highlights of that game, it didn’t make pleasant viewing that’s for sure. Mind you, neither did Arsenal’s match albeit for very different reasons. I’m still laughing at the Toots though.
There’s a video clip on the official website of the Arsenal squad in training yesterday and it came as no surprise to see a bit of shooting practice was taking place. Good to see Reiss Nelson involved and scoring goals, even if it is in training. His absence from the first team squad on a match day is one of a few mysteries to me. Watching Aubameyang and Pepe cock up so much and so often, I wonder how they manage to keep their place in the squad.
Arsenal play again tomorrow. A short trip across London for a 2.30 kickoff against West Ham. Mikel Arteta v David Moyes, two men who I’d imagine have nothing but great respect for each other having been at Everton together a few years ago. I admire what Moyes is doing right now. Ridiculed by Man Utd fans not so long ago to managing a club which like Arsenal, doesn’t have hundreds of millions of pounds to spend on players, yet his team are not only playing well but are doing very well too. European football is looking likely for West Ham, perhaps even Champions League.
For Arsenal, things haven’t gone as well but we’re still only five points off Liverpool who sit in fifth place. Closing that gap to secure a place in the Europa Cup next season isn’t a challenge beyond us in my opinion. The fixture tomorrow and Liverpool at home right after the international break are our hardest fixtures until we go to Stamford Bridge in May. Certainly on paper anyway. Arsenal as a group should be looking at the next six week fixture calendar and see that this period, if they get it right, could make a huge difference to how we end the season.
If Arsenal are to go on a good run, we simply have to score more goals. Obvious I know but with the amount of opportunities the team is creating, we really should be winning more fixtures than we are. Certainly since Christmas. It’s not like the chances we’ve created half been half chances either as many have been so clear cut, I’d have put money on a Sunday League striker scoring. Slightly exaggerative I know but you get my drift. Aubameyang, Pepe and Ødegaard have missed some ‘sitters’ of late.
If we’re to beat West Ham, any chances which come our way, and I doubt there’ll be too many, we simply have to take.
See you in the comments.