Premier League Week 3 Preview: Crises Abound

(Edit: I have been informed that this is week 4. Man, time flies when there are so many crises).

The Saturday early game sees Southampton host a Manchester United club which is just emerging from a crisis after narrowly defeating old rivals Liverpool last Monday. Ahead of the Liverpool match, new Man U boss, Erik Ten Hag dropped Maguire, Ronaldo, and Shaw who were all suffering from various crises of confidence and form. United will be looking to get a new player bounce by starting Casemiro in the DM role. But Man U could be slung into an even deeper crisis if they fail to capitalize on their previous win.

Amongst the tranche of clubs kicking off at 3pm (GMT) Brentford host crisis club Everton. Everton are in 17th place in the table with just 1 draw and two losses this season. Everton have struggled to find any form for two years and are now beset on all sides by the transfer vultures. Anthony Gordon is the latest player rumored to be on his way out. Brentford are a club which never seem to have a crisis regardless of their form. This is the case largely because Brentford supporters have realistic expectations and the press are unable to prey on fan fears.

Brighton also host Leeds and with neither team currently in crisis, look for one of them to fall into the crisis zone if they should lose in a poor manner.

Chelsea v. Leicester is the Full Blown Crisis Cup. Chelsea’s manager has been done for aggressively shaking hands and demanding a man look into his eyes. The Premier League has decided that the latter is only a required condition of “sex masochism” and not something that managers must do and so they banned Tuchel for 1 game. Chelsea seem to have gone from one crisis to the next for the last 8 months as the owner was sanctioned and forced to sell the club and some guy took over and has basically started running around hootin’ and hollerin’ about signings like Yosemite Sam. The club is now looking to loan out the American Superstar Griddy Pulisic, after firing Romelu Lukaku this summer (Lukaku already has a goal and an assist in Serie A in his first two games – ha! They’re probably going to win the league). Meanwhile Leicester are deep in the relegation zone and have multiple players who are being strongly poached by bigger clubs. Leicester’s own fans are signing “sacked in the morning” to Leicester manager Brentan Rodgers. Now THAT’s a crisis on a crisis.

Liverpool v. Bournemouth should be the perfect tonic to rescue Klopp and his guys from the deep crisis they are in. Currently 16th in the Premier League, Liverpool have been seen fighting amongst each other on the pitch, people have been asking if Klopp is suffering his 7 year curse, Virgil Van Dijk is said to “look like he doesn’t want to be there”, and on top of all of that they have an injury crisis with Thiago, Nunez, and Jota all out. The only crisis at Bournemouth is how much Scott Parker pays for his fancy jackets with stripes on them. Still I expect Liverpool to rescue three points and save their season.

Man City v. Crystal Palace should be an old fashioned boring game, but Man City did play a weird friendly match with Barcelona on Tuesday (it was for charity). Plus they drew their last premier League game 3-3 to Newcastle. CRISIS IS BREWING???

And in the late match, Arsenal play Fulham and a realistic person might expect this to be quite a good match with both teams going for it and probably goals on both sides but with Arsenal just doing enough to get the three points. However for many people in the press any slip at all, even so much as allowing a shot on goal that isn’t perfectly saved, and Arsenal will be inching toward crisis mode. And should Arsenal not secure a major win, “all the good will built up this summer will evaporate” and they may even require crisis talks and some clear the air meetings. Fulham have miraculously avoided crisis talk since they have been playing good football and the press rarely latch onto them for exciting headlines.

On Sunday there’s crisis side Villa versus crisis side West Ham, both managers are in crisis there and could be fired at any minute. Wolves are having a crisis also and they host Newcastle, who aren’t in crisis. And Forest host a Spurs side which has managed to avoid crisis by getting a lucky draw to Chelsea while shaking hands and not looking Tuchel in the eye. Forest seem to be having a transfer market crisis and have bought 19 players this summer. I wish that was an exaggeration. Hey look, let me be the one to say that I hope they absolutely get one over on Spurs and that folks start to wonder if Spurs are in crisis. This is the one team where I actually quite enjoy a “club in crisis” story.

Anyway, there’s your weekend preview. It should be a juicy weekend of fabricated crises in the Premier League.



  1. I almost spit my coffee out at “Yosemite Sam”…while on my Zoom call. I need a trigger warning, Tim. 🙂

  2. Man, you shame my former profession, with our love of manufactured crises 😄

    Neither United nor Liverpool is in crisis, even if they dont look in great shape and have made iffy starts. It’s early, fam. Way too early. That doesn’t mean that we cant enjoy our position, and how we’re playing. Go on, gooners. Soak up the feelgood.

    We face Leno, and he’s going to have a point to prove. Who wants to bet that he’ll have a worldie of a game. I say we win and that our Jesus led frontline will be too much for Full Ham, but a draw wouldnt be an outrageous result in a league this competitive.

    Speaking of players facing clubs, Nuno faces Spurs in the Champions League, and Lewa faces Bayern. These things seem preordained.

    1. Inspired by real life events. Listen to the Football Weekly that dropped today. They start out earnestly talking about all these clubs in crisis and then they start to realize how crazy they sound and start laughing about it BUT THEY KEEP GOING.

      1. Think I’ll pass, thanks.

        That said, I think that we can make an exception for Everton. Lampard is in deep doo doo, even this early.

  3. Nice post

    It reminded me a bit of this:

    The hype built up around some of these games is completely vacuous. It’s as if no-one is interested in the football unless it is a crisis/life or death situation

  4. I am currently listening to “Crisis, what Crisis” by Supertramp, their 4th album. It’s not good. Poor follow up to “Crime of The Century”

    Our follow up against Fullham, also our 4th album of the season, will be so much better.

  5. Mitrovic should be another good test for Saliba and Gabriel

    He can be a thug and our CBs may have to show their street smart side in defense

    So even though this feels like a banana skin game, I feel like we grind one out and stay perfect AND stay Top of the league for another week

    While most other clubs wallow in crisis.
    Great writing Tim

  6. Elite LVG reference. I even read it in his voice. Made me laugh.

    I also found it amusing that a few days after suggesting I switch off from the noise and focus just on the football, you bring it all here. I’m all caught up now at least.

    Fulham have been surprisingly un-Fulham like so far. I wonder if we’ll start to see some rotation from Arsenal just yet. On the one hand there’s no need for it. But maybe getting some more players involved will serve us well when the season picks up steam later on.

    Palace vs ManCity could be interesting if Palace play up. I have a feeling City will be out for revenge though. Plus we have Zaha to Arsenal rumours again now that Nico Pepe has joined Ramsey at Nice.

    With new signings, no European adventures for them, and a disjointed start by other clubs, Newcastle could be an outside bet for top 4 this season. Howe seems like a manager who knows what he’s doing.

    1. HA! Sorry about bringing it all in here. I honestly couldn’t think of anything non-football related to write about.

      I’m not interested in Zaha at all and find the rumors odd. He doesn’t fit any of the logical deals we’ve been making lately.

      1. he’s 30 in 77 days
      2. he’s already on huge salary, we’d probably have to pay him more, very few take a pay cut to make a transfer
      3. he’s a player who would have zero transfer value so it’s all just money down the hole
      4. he plays wide left mostly, so, we are buying him to take Martinelli’s place? That’s again counter to our logical approach lately.

      1. I mean you have to just look at Zaha’s stats to see that he’s a very weird player who doesn’t seem to fit any way that we have played for the last two years.

          1. He’s nothing like Ian Wright. Ian Wright was a poacher who spent years honing his craft and teaching himself how to be a better scorer. Zaha is a wide dribbler who likes to force duels and win fouls. Nketiah is our closest player to Ian. Zaha is like Martinelli, but I think Martinelli is actually a better finisher and passer than Zaha.

      2. Stylistically we are a team built to thrive as a collective. Zaha’s style at Palace is one of an offense funneled mainly through him. Arsenal and Arteta will be the wrong habitat for Zaha and vice versa.

  7. I loved the answer that Mikel gave today when asked about Pepe, now at Nice on loan.

    “I think Nico tried to deal with that the best possible way. He’s not responsible for the price that a club pays for him. He tried everything, his attitude & the way he is is just phenomenal.”

    They had some face to face, he needed to play, he told the manager, and they reached a mutually agreeable solution.

    Whatever Pepe thought about his minutes, you could see him joining in the celebratory huddles — in his sub’s bib — when someone scored. He seemed a good guy, and Arteta’s comments reinforce that impression. As frustrating as his situation was, seems he never threw his toys out of the pram. You could, I suppose, flip that as ask if he was hungry enough.

    One of his teammates — cant remember who — said he was the most skilled player in training. Shame. Obviously we overpaid, but he could have been a contender. He WAS pretty good for a while… especially in our winning FA Cup campaign in 2020. And until he left, he was our goals and assists leader. That’s wild.

    1. fair comments from arteta. he’s improving at press conferences. here’s a question: is bukayo saka better than nico pepe? if the answer is yes, is he so much better that the arsenal record signing gets no minutes?

      from a talent standpoint, pepe easily gets the nod. from a defensive standpoint, that’s bukayo all day. personally, i think the defensive perspective gives bukayo the nod but only just; an in-form pepe has brilliance that teams have to scheme to defend against. is there really no room for a brilliant player in arteta’s scheme? if arsenal had messi, would he play under arteta?

      now that pepe is gone, who are you going to bring in that’s at least as good as pepe and for what money? everyone i’ve heard arsenal linked with is a step down in quality. what a waste of a resource…..but hey, it’s not my money.

      1. Nico lacked dynamism. He has an outstanding left peg, knows where the goal is and was probably the sweetest striker of the football in the team. But his buildup play was slower. And in our attacks down the right, he tried to cut in and transfer everything onto his left. Every single time. He wasnt great at helping out the RB defensively either. He actually played wellish to well wide left. Teams take the inverted winger thing too far, imo. Pepe looked good and lively on the left, when he was comfortable going wide. On the right, all a defender had to do was to show him the outside, because he’s never going to try to beat you there.

        I’d have like to see him tried as a false 9. He had good skill and trickery in tight situations. I dunno. Don’t think he’s the finished article, but feel we could have used him more smartly to max what he did do well.

  8. Great post Tim. I have missed the last couple posts again and again my apologies. Really busy summer and soon to be a really busy fall. I can almost guarantee that we will go thru a run of bad form at some point this year and then alot of the Arteta dislike will come back in force and the club will be in crisis. Its always been my belief that fans tend to get overly excited about good runs of form and overly pessimistic and angry when we hit bad runs of form. If it were possible for a manager to somehow eliminate the bad runs of form then I Arsene would probably have figured out how to do it. The fact that he never was able to fix that problem suggests to me that it can’t be fixed. Anyone who has watched the last 15-16 years of football has to accept that ups and downs are part of every season and right now its great to be up.

    Claude and Josh.

    We often overrate players because of they have a skill which catches our eye. . However eye catching is not the same as effective. Same thing with several dozen players over the years. Ox, Iwobe, Walcott, Bendtner Welbeck Aliadiadair, Merida, Aneke, Afobe, Akpom, Sanogo Gervinho etc etc etc etc etc etc. I could probably name several dozen others from the Wenger era. Pepe had an eye catching style of play and he was a stat sheet superstar for 1 season in France but he is in very good company with lots of other Arsenal players who could not turn their skill set into any sort of consistent production.

    1. “Pepe had an eye catching style of play and he was a stat sheet superstar for 1 season in France but he is in very good company with lots of other Arsenal players who could not turn their skill set into any sort of consistent production”.

      Bill, the situation with Pepe is more nuanced than you present it here. Go back and read the comments from Josh and myself with more care.

      Same with Ox. Tim posted about his terrible injuries.

      You lump players of all kinds together in some kind of “eye catching is not effective” argument. Walcott — who scored more than 100 goals for Arsenal — is not the same Afobe. Iwobi is not the same as Aliadiere. I’ve often wondered what your point is in this oft-made argument… that we shouldnt buy or bring through young players?

      and btw, you shouldnt apologise for missing posts. You really shouldnt 🙂

  9. I think it was Doc who was talking about Ox a couple days ago. He was one of the best combinations of pace and power and technical skill I can remember in a young player and he was my favorite player for a long time. I really believed he was destined to be a superstar. He did have a few injuries but his real problem is the same as all of the players who never reached their potential during the Wenger era that I mentioned in the comment above. Ox and all of the other players never developed the ability to score enough goals or create enough assists. At some point almost every attacking players has to produce goals and/or assists if they hope to ever come close to reaching the potential and expectations most of us have based on the eye catching physical talents and technical skill we see. Based on what I have seen during the Wenger era I would argue the evidence strongly suggests that you can’t teach players to produce end product. Arsene tried harder then any manager in his era to build his own star players and if you could teach players how to score goals I would have thought Arsene and his coaching staff would have found a way to do it but they never did.

  10. Liverpool in crisis! Not.

    5 points after 4 games isnt where they expect to be, but they have 102 more to play for.

    Man U was so much in crisis, that James McNicholas of the Athletic (aka Gunnerblog), wrote a story opining that they needed to be as transfer smart as Arsenal, presumably to be as successful as we have been. James, my man… it’s too early.

    Has anyone had a crueler early fixture list than Palace? Class told in the end. And Haaland showed why Pep let Jesus go.

    1. A couple of years ago, I said if there’s one young player I’d want to build a club around it’s Haaland. He’s unbelievably good. Not just in his ability, but his attitude. He just keeps going and never stops playing his game.

      I wish he weren’t at City though. I don’t think Guardiola’s game is the most fun to watch. Haaland should be fun. Not boringly efficient in a boringly efficient team. (they were fantastic yesterday once they got going though). Poor Crystal Palace, but Vieira has done a very good job there in a short time, and I’ve never heard him use the word ‘process’ 🙂

      Oh, why was Zaha out of the squad?

      We weren’t really deserving of the win yesterday. And given that the same could be said about the opening day match, it is likely a positive sign that we can win without being at our best. I see Arteta dismissed talk of a title challenge. I both get it and hate it. Edu had once said that by 22/23 the team will be ready to challenge for top spot. Of course since then we’ve gotten the Flash running through the timelines causing havoc.

      Anyway, 4 wins out of 4. Some good football along with it. Can’t complain too much.

      1. Rousing game. I enjoyed it. I’m enjoying supporting the team, and seeing from afar the electric atmosphere at home games. We showed tremendous fight to take all 3 points… said before the game that a draw wouldn’t surprise me. Fulham played well, but we had the extra steel to take all the points. If we stay free of key injuries, we can dream in technicolour.

        1. +1 about enjoying the atmosphere in the club right now.

          Makes supporting the team feel like so much fun and not a chore.

          I am glad the direction the club has taken seems to be paying dividends on the pitch at the moment.

  11. Another game another win. This one was a bit tougher but coming back from a goal down is something we have not done much in the past few years. I think I read somewhere this is the best start for an Arsenal team since 2004.


    The situation for each player I mentioned is different and you can say the Pepe situation was more nuanced but everyone of those players had eye catching physical talents and strong technical skill and in theory any or all of them should have been highly successful. Some stuck around for a while and showed glimpses of their potential but ended up being mostly underwhelming like Walcott, Ox and Iwobe and some never even made it to the first team. I suspect almost everyone would agree they all underperformed expectations and if I thought about it I could probably come up with several more names.

    Its my theory the reason none of those players ever developed into the star attacking players we had expected is because none of them ever developed the ability to produce consistent end product (goals and assists). Walcott was the most successful of the group in that regard but I suspect almost everyone would agree that his arsenal career was mostly underwhelming and he did not come very close to living up to our expections when Arsene first bought him.

    1. I see that you’re making a more nuanced argument over Walcott. Keep going. You did generalise too much in your original response.

      Look, we paid £5 million for the guy, then 16. I cant recall Arsenal fans expecting the second coming of Thierry. Do you expect Marquinhos to become the second coming of Overmars?

      Walcott scored 108 goals in just under 400 appearances for AFC, playing mostly wide right. That’s a decent return from the wing in 11 seasons. He did score a premier league hat-trick playing CF, but winger was really his lot in life, despite his ambitions.

      Theo wasn’t Thierry, but considering what we bought him for and where he mostly played, he did more than OK. He most emphatically was not Afobe/Aliadiere/Sanogo/etc unsuccessful, as you suggested earlier.

      p.s. There’s a good argument for saying that Eriksen and Capello ruined Theo, but that’s another story

Comments are closed.

Related articles