Saturday, November 24, 2007

Season Summaries--1. Arsenal

1. Arsenal (My preseason prediction: 5th)

Arsenal has been very impressive this season, led by 20-year-old Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas and his 11 goals in all competitions, 6 in the Premiership. However, let's temper our enthusiasm for this team and not just hand them the title yet. The Gunners have played such a relatively weak schedule up to this point in the season and yes, it will obviously balance out but when you examine this team and the results they've gotten, one really wouldn't expect anything else against the teams they've played.

Don't get me wrong, Arsenal is a very good team. I just am curious to see how they play in the winter months when they can't play their trademark "beautiful football", when their young legs are tested with a large amount of games in a short period of time (8 games in December) and when they actually have to travel out of London to play against decent opposition. You can beat the likes of Wigan, Reading, Bolton, Fulham (they almost lost to the Cottagers), Derby, Newcastle, Sunderland, and West Ham all you want, but the title isn't going to be decided in games against those teams. To win the Premiership, you have to beat the good teams, the teams like Manchester United (2-2 draw at home), Liverpool (1-1 draw away) and Chelsea (haven't played yet).

Arsenal will advance to the Round of 16 in the Champions League, but depending on the result in their game at second-place Sevilla on the 27th, it may not be as their grouop's winner. That would open up the possibility of Arsenal playing Man U or Inter Milan or Barcelona (second place teams play group winners in the Round of 16) and would put the Gunners in a dangerous spot. They've also advanced to the quarterfinals of the Carling Cup, where they'll make a trip to Blackburn in mid-December. Those two teams met in Ewood Park earlier this season; that match ended 1-1.

No comments: