Arsenal play Chelsea twice before the Blues reach potential match 50.
Arsenal have been given two opportunities to defeat Chelsea before they reach, and maybe overtake, the magic 49 game unbeaten number set just last year. And I can't help thinking there was more than a computer programme involved in providing this double chance.
As it stands, Chelsea are 29 league games unbeaten since their one and only defeat to Man City in game nine of last season. This is a fantastic run, and one this writer has had his eyes on since April. For in this period they crossed the halfway mark to Arsenal's proud record.
Mourinho has his eyes on the 49 match marker. What other reason could reasonably explain why, after the champiosnhip was one, Lampard and Terry continued to feature despite carrying injuries requiring operations?
In the summer of 2004, I am led to believe that the computers at the FA randomly selected Old Trafford as the destination for Arsenal's potential half-century match. Later on, with the Gunners still unbeaten in the new season, the FA went on to select a referee in Mr Riley that bemused even neutral onlookers with his generous decision-making in favour of the home team. The result: No 50-up for Arsenal.
Did the Premiership hierarchy consider Arsenal's unbeaten run an embarrassment to their league?
This writer thinks this is the great unasked question of last season.
Now, Chelsea are eyeing up a half-century. With this in mind, the FA computers 'randomly' selected Arsenal to play Chelsea TWICE before the Blues potentially reach this mark.
Only ONE other team will play Chelsea TWICE before the potential 50 unbeaten marker is reached: Wigan.
Arsenal, therefore, had a 2 in 19 chance of being lucky enough to be 'randomly' chosen to have TWO attempts at thwarting Chelsea.
And they were given game 2 (31), and game 17 (46). What luck?!
If there is more than simply a computer programme pulling the strings in fixture selection, can I thank him/her for giving Arsenal two cracks at the whip at defending their record. After the OT travesty we were owed this much, but I'm thankful nonetheless.
If Arsenal fail to defeat Chelsea in their two encounters- and the Blues also go unbeaten in the others to reach the 50 mark with a non-defeat away at their neighbours in Upton Park on Jan 2- fair play to them. They are a team that- on the pitch- has my respect. Shame that no Arsenal fans can say the same for Kenyon and Buck.