The Interlull, Arsenal Season Review

Smack right in the middle of the International break or the Interlull, is “interlull even a real word?”, my spell checker keeps marking it of as wrong and it doesn’t have any synonyms. First time I learnt the word was of one of Arseblog’s podcasts and I’ve used since then used it like it was right out of Shakespeare’s lips.

The Interlull generally has two things in it for Arsenal fans, top most is the fact that we miss watching Arsenal, then we try to drowse that feeling by watching countries with Arsenal players play, for the sole purpose of monitoring if any picks up an injury. An international game ending with an Arsenal player hale and hearty is celebrated as much as a winning score line especially as this particular break has robbed us of Mesut Ozil and nearly Laurent Koscienly depending on who you believe, the French doctors or the Arsenal medical staff.

Try typing the word “interlull” on google and see what it returns, all Arsenal related material especially the first link.
For me I have suffered greatly during this period, having to deal with the Chelsea in-laws and their jibes over the loss, then no quick Arsenal game to help everyone forget easily and then I was forced to watch Mikel Obi play football. I’m Nigerian and just like Arsenal we have one team that all future teams will be measured against, for Arsenal it’s the “Invincibles” and for Nigeria it’s the USA 94 team that had Daniel Amokachi, Sunday Oliseh, Finidi George, Rashidi Yekini, Samson Siasia and Austin Okocha in it.

The closest we have ever come to anything like that team was the Gold medal winning team at the Atlanta Olympics that had Kanu Nwankwo in it, we won the Nations cup recently but that team doesn’t come close to any of the teams aforementioned. Unlike English fans who had it easy against San Marino and Estonia we had to play in the heat of Sudan. I don’t know what the temperature was out there in Sudan but I was shocked that the amount of sweat from the players out there did not flood the pitch and drown everyone in that stadium. Now I know why everyone is scared of the heat when Qatar hosts the World Cup.

If you are interested in the result, we lost to Sudan and have successfully ruled ourselves out of defending a Cup we won just over a year ago. Somewhat like what Chelsea did with the Champions League right? Getting knocked out in the group stage after winning it the previous year. I knew we shouldn’t have played Mikel Obi. See how hard I have worked to link Nigeria crashing out of an African Nations Cup competition to Chelsea? Damm I hate that club!!

To some happier Arsenal related news, Jack Wilshere seems to be coming into his own with the England squad now that “Slippery Gerrad” has retired. I think Jack, Chambers and Sanchez have been our best players so far this season. I tweeted some weeks ago about how the problem might not really be about playing Ozil in the middle but rather dropping a performing Jack Wilshere from that position. It just might be that for Wenger to accommodate his most improving player (Wilshere), his best player from last season (Ramsey) and his prized possession (Ozil) in the starting lineup is what has forced Ozil wide but I really don’t want to go into that Ozil in the middle debate anymore.

You would expect that this would be a good time for the guys at Arsenal to take stock of what has happened so far with the clubs performances this season. With players away, no games to look forward to and possibly light fitness training occurring Wenger and his coaching team should have time for some serious stock taking. New signings bedding in nicely, injury list growing with every game, crashing out of the Capital One Cup at the first time of asking, played the best and worst games of our season so far in the Champions League and lying 9 points behind the leaders of the Premier League with 7 games played, and Wenger fulfilling the dreams of every Arsenal fan by shoving Jose Mourinho, I guess that pretty much sums up our season so far.

With the league though, I do not think we have fared as bad as the table makes it out to seem. While at this point last season we were coasting on the back of a lot games against lesser opposition, this season we have played some really tough games early on. Let’s try something, if we calculate how tough the games played by the top teams this season by the position their opposition finished last season we should have an idea which team has played the toughest amount of games. I hope this self-developed formula is correct. For teams from the lower division we will assume a position of 21.

*The team with the lowest total has played the toughest games

WKMan CityLiverpoolChelseaArsenalMan United
1N/Castle-10 S/Hampton-8Burley-21C/Palace-11Swansea-13
2L/Pool - 2M/City-1Leicester-21Everton-5Sunderland-14
3Stoke - 9Spurs-6Everton-5Leciester-21Burnley-21
4Arsenal-4A/Villa-15Swansea-13M/City-1QPR-21
5Chelsea - 3W/Ham-12M/City-1A/Villa-15Leicester-21
6Hull -16Everton-5A/Villa-15Spurs-6W/Ham-12
7A/Villa-15W/Brom-17Arsenal-4Chelsea-3Everton-5
TOTAL59648062107

While this calculation is largely subjective as the teams have changed with new signings and coaches but it still offers some insight. It shows that even though Man City sit 5 points behind everyone’s favourite for the title Chelsea but have played tougher opponents. It also shows how shit Man United have been as even though they currently sit above Arsenal and Liverpool, the highest ranked team they have played is Everton with three of their seven matches against teams that just came up from relegation.

For Arsenal we go into a set of games that we really should be picking maximum points from that should help build a momentum that might see us finish in top places. That is barring any further injuries especially to our defenders. Only one man in this world knows why we are in the position we are in now where we have to practically play Koscienly through pain because we do not have options in that department.

News from the camp says Serge and Theo are back in training which is really good stuff as we can do with as many players back as possible. If you read my posts last season you would know I am a big fan of Serge Gnabry, him and Chuba have so much talent and I would really pray they get their chance to play for Arsenal. Serge was so good last season he was rumored to have had an outside chance of making the World Cup and he would come in handy in many FA Cup games if he manages to stay fit.

Have a great day friends, enjoy the last days of the Interlull and hopefully Arsenal give us a reason to smile over the coming weeks.

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