2014 Predictions Part 3 : And the winner is ……

People from 35 countries around the globe have chosen a winner!

survey_map

To be exact, 126 people, about two thirds of whom live outside of the UK, have chosen (*). Thank you, everyone who completed the survey. The number of respondents really took me by surprise because I expected to get only ten to fifteen, at most twenty, responses. The participants helped to predict the results of the 17 remaining matches (at survey time) for each of the current top three teams: Chelsea, Man City, and our Arsenal. On debate is the question, “Will Arsenal remain ToTL at the end of the season?”

Yes, We Can

Without further delays lest I incur the wrath of evonne, the survey says: Chelsea third with 85 pts, City second with 87 pts, and Arsenal comfortably Top of The League with a two-win gap at 93 pts! Surprised?

survey_standings

Plotting out the predictions and point totals each week, the graph below shows how people see the rest of the season to play out for the three teams.

graph

Perhaps the final position predictions are not a surprise to AA readers, but there are some interesting match forecasts hidden beneath the overall totals.

Chelsea vs Newcastle: I had this down as a sure win for Chelsea, but almost half of you predict otherwise, with 40% of the people seeing a draw. A possible two point drop for Chelsea here, although that alone would not affect the final three-team ranking.

Spurs vs City and ManU vs City: Can Arsenal’s neighbors help them out next week? Almost 50% of the people expect Spurs will get a point from this fixture. More importantly for Arsenal, that would mean two points dropped by City. Similarly later on in the season, City face an away derby with Arsenal other historical rival, Man Utd. Would we wish BSR and that gang success on the day? 50% of the people pine for a draw out of this match as well.

Arsenal vs City and Spurs vs Arsenal: In the City home fixture, almost 60% of the people predicted a win for Arsenal, with almost 40% thinking draw. Only a small percentage were pessimistic. However, if it turns out to be a draw instead, suddenly the point prediction would become Arsenal 91 pts, City 88 pts, and that final fixture becomes important again. The percentages and prediction in the Spur away match are similar. Again, a draw instead would see Arsenal dropping to 91 pts, but in this case there is no gain for City.

Chelsea vs Arsenal: Close to 50% of the people see this as a draw. 35% predict a win for Arsenal, and 15% predict a loss. The uncertainly is high for this match.

Arsenal to go undefeated the rest of the way? People seem to think so. They predict clear wins for many matches. The most uncertain fixture in the minds of the respondents is Chelsea away, but even for this, only about 15% of the people expect a loss. In the other high profile matches, 6% see a loss to Liverpool, 4% to City, 4% to Everton, and 2% to Spur and Man Utd. The rest are all 1% or less!

How does the survey compare to other opinions out there? After all, in predicting a draw for Chelsea vs Man Utd, it already got one wrong.

Experts Disagree

The well known pundits have not been shy to opine about Arsenal. And how can they avoid it, really? Arsenal’s performances so far have forced them to speak up.

  • Expert 1, Alan Hansen 27 Oct 2013: “[Arsenal] will not end the season as champions.”
  • Expert 2, Michael Owen 18 Dec 2013: “Arsenal don’t have the class of player to go toe to toe with the main title contenders.”
  • Expert 3, Gary Neville 14 Jan 2014: “I do think Arsenal will get hauled back by those two teams.” He meant Chelsea and Man City of course.
  • Expert 4, Robbie Savage 14 Jan 2014: “But will they [Arsenal] win the title? I still say no.”
  • Expert 5, Alan Shearer 18 Jan 2014: “I didn’t think they will [win the title], and I don’t see any reason why I should change my mind.”

And so on… You get the idea. Although recently the pundits have begun—some of them begrudgingly—to compliment Arsenal’s good performances to date, they are still firm in their belief: Arsenal ain’t gonna to make it.

Confidence or Bias?

A few years ago, a book titled The Wisdom of Crowds, by James Surowiecki, came out. In it, the author shows that, in certain situations, an unbiased sampling of the collective judgement can be very accurate, even more accurate than that of experts. Will it happen here? Now, it is hard to claim that readers of AA, although level headed for the most part, are unbiased when it comes to Arsenal (*). In fact, I was quite surprised at the level of confidence the respondents have in the Arsenal.

For me, this is a significant, and unexpected, revelation of the survey, that this global group of fans believe so strongly in the Arsenal. In three quarters of the remaining Arsenal fixtures, about 1% the predictions foresee a loss. In only two games are the loss predictions more than 5%, for a measly overall loss percentage of 2%. Confidence or bias? To contrast, this same group of people sees the loss percentages of Chelsea and City to be about 10%, neither of whom is predicted to go undefeated the rest of the way (which, as others have pointed out on AA, feel more realistic).

Furthermore, has this confidence/bias always been so strong? Unfortunately I don’t have data for other years, but judging by the various views expressed on AA and elsewhere, I doubt it. It feels like emergent confidence when 80% of the people expect a win in the upcoming home game against Man United, and only 2% seeing a loss. People seem more comfortable that the Arsenal this year can overcome the challenges that tripped them up in the last few years. From the survey, I cannot detect the doom-and-gloom mood amongst the fans, which appeared even as recently as the opening match this season. One can of course still hear or read the public grumble and negative comments, but this survey indicates that a strong counterview exists.

We have to wait to the end of the season to know who got it right, the fans or the experts. Until then, keep believing; it can happen again this year.

champions 2004

Move On! Nothing More To See Here…

Norfolk, look away! For the rest, who like numbers, tables, and charts, have fun with the information below.

These columns show the game-by-game predictions of win/draw/lose by percentage of respondents.

survey_percent

The next set of columns are the game-by-game point averages and the corresponding predictions. The circles are the translation of the survey tallies into W/D/L (†). The error bars are the standard deviation of any individual prediction from the point average of the corresponding match (‡).

survey_predict

If the above doesn’t provide you enough to analyze, pls write me via AA, and I can give you more info.

Notes

(*) There were actually a few more than 126 participants; however these additional people were clearly over-enthusiastic—they selected all wins for Arsenal and all losses for the other two teams—that I had to drop their responses.

(†) For each match, we have the tallies of win, draw, and lose choices. If the win tally is greater than the sum of draws and losses, then this is considered a win. Likewise, if the loss tally is greater than the sum of draw and win, then it is a loss. Otherwise it is a draw. For example, the tallies of 51 W, 40D, 9 L would translate to a win, while the tallies of 25 W, 35 D, 40 L would map into a draw. This mapping seems to serve the purpose in this instance, but one can imagine it not working if the opinions were polarized.

(‡) Point average is done by weighing the points from a win, with the percent of people predicting a win, and so on. For example, if 55% of the people expect a win, 40% a draw, and 5% a loss, then the point average would be (0.55 * 3 + 0.40 * 1 + 0.10 * 0) = 1.93. If we have 25% W, 35% D, and 40% L, this would give a point average of 1.1.

Written by TT

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221 Responses to 2014 Predictions Part 3 : And the winner is ……

  1. Fantastic amount of work there TT.

  2. 26may1989 says:

    Looks a doozie TT, will read it in a mo (loving the graphs already….), but wanted to repost a comment on the previous thread, that fell the wrong side of Madam Peaches’ “new post” announcement:

    Swap Giroud for van Persie, Costa, Suarez or Rooney? I think you lot haven’t been reading Rocky’s post – whatever his perceived imperfections, the point about Giroud is he makes our system work. Obviously, Rooney and Suarez aren’t hold-up players, but even the taller van Persie and (from what I’ve seen) Costa aren’t that type of player.

    I’d love to get one of those strikers in (yes, I would be happy for the naughty Dutchman to return for his twilight years – not going to happen). But they would either play in place of one of the flank AMs or, where the game permitted, it would be a switch of tactics. For the most part, our game is built around having a quality hold-up player, and we have the best in the business for that role (at least, I can’t think of anyone better, can you?). And in refocused Bendtner (fingers crossed), we seem to have the perfect understudy, at least for the remainder of the season.

  3. Big Raddy says:

    Wow. Even Gn5 will be impressed with that!

    TT a brilliant piece of work. Thank you.

    Bias??? As if ……

  4. evonne says:

    ha ha ha ha TT :) did you really expect anything else?

  5. TwentyTwelve says:

    Thanks everyone. I really did expect something less… dramatic, evonne. You are right as usual though.

  6. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ha ha Raddy
    I was going to open with a “Wake up right this minute GN5!” :-)

    TT
    Wowbloodyee. There are graphs and stats and there are graphs and stats. Seriously impressive piece of work. Thank you.

    What I’d love to do is to strap each and every one of the pollsters to a CIA Styley Lie Detector and then see the results. Would the machine be able to see through the red and white blood?

    Probably not. I will not be alone in going into every game genuinely believing we will win :-)

  7. 26may1989 says:

    Great stuff, TT. I like the idea of The Wisdom of Crowds, but as you say, it does depend which crowd you’re talking to. A lot of us, after eight years of ill-informed abuse from pundits, journalists and increasingly our own number, are saturated with quiet desperation to prove everyone wrong, that our assessments our bound to be biased or motivated by wishful thinking. The ideal crowd for this type of survey, if one really wanted a reliable prediction, would be a cross-section of followers of PL football.

    But I still love the partisan version, and the bloody minded confidence it records!

    Forza, Arsenal!!!!

  8. evonne says:

    TT – I need a couple of hours to fully digest your post, will comment later

    26 – I read Rocky’s post and loved most of it, especially the Wengerball Mk1 and Mkk2. Tell me 2 things please: 1 did Wenger buy Giroud as an outright striker? 2. Do you think we would not be top of the league if we had Rooney/Suarez instead of Giroud?

  9. Galway Gooner says:

    Unfortunately a lot of bias (as can be expected in these predictions). For example Chelsea v United is down mostly as a draw while Arsenal v United is heavily in favour of a win for Arsenal. Now we of course know the Chelsea/United result but really was there anything to suggest that United would get a draw there other than hope on our side.
    40% predicting Chelsea to drop points at home to Newcastle doesn’t really add up. To me a lot of these predictions are made wearing red gooner glasses.
    We most certainly can win the league but now that both Chelsea and City have brought consistency into their game it could well come down between the games Chelsea V City, Chel V Arsenal and Arsenal v City and what team can get the most points from these games.

    Great bit of work on the stats by the way!

    currently we are yielding 2.32 points per game. In order to reach 93 points we would need to yield 2.625 points per game over the remaining 16, that’s a 13% increase in performance which is really not practical.

  10. chas says:

    TT,
    Graphs galore and wildly optimistic predictions; just up my street.

    It’s so hard to predict which way matches will go, let alone scores. the bookies took a caning weekend before last because all of the top teams won. It just shows that this rarely happens even when they are favourites to do so.

    Funny that the survey results have already got 1 wrong with the chavs spawning their win over the Salford’s finest.

    How about this for a Giroud assist, Micky?

    p.s. JC is stopping indoors on Friday night. £20 anyone?

  11. 26may1989 says:

    Oh yeah, on thing: what’s all this “Spur vs Arsenal”, “Spur vs City” etc about? It’s got to be Spurs – or Spuds.

    I take it others saw the news that Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa have been involved in a car crash in the Falklands, and that Ardiles is injured. I hope he gets better, I’ve always liked him, especially the way he says “Tottingham”. But interesting to see they were in the Falklands, and to make a documentary – I think Ardiles’ broether fought in the war (as an air force pilot) – he may even have been a casualty, I can’t be sure. Anyway, I do look forward to seeing the documentary.

  12. chas says:

    I forgot to comment on our magnificent support from Alaska. :)

  13. Rasp says:

    Graphmazingly stat-tastic post TT :P

    Obviously this a clinical assessment of our prospects without a shadow of bias.

    The effort you put into these posts is amazing. You should probably let me come up with a more ‘hit enticing’ title to get the exposure you deserve after all your hard work. Well done again!

  14. 26may1989 says:

    evonne, looking at your questions:

    1. “did Wenger buy Giroud as an outright striker?” I have no special info (:)) and I don’t really know what the phrase “outright striker” means, but my guess is that Giroud was bought for precisely the purpose he’s been used for now, namely as a hold-up forward, in order to win and hold possession, and to bring in the attacks from the AMs, CMs and FBs, before getting into the box for anything created. As Rocky observed, Chamakh may well have been Wenger’s first attempt at finding a player for that role.

    2. “Do you think we would not be top of the league if we had Rooney/Suarez instead of Giroud?” If we really mean instead of Giroud, then no, I don’t think we would have been as successful this year. Neither one would have been able to involve all the other players as well as Giroud has – it’s no accident that we have the largest number of goal-scorers in the PL, and that we have the most goals scored from midfield. That’s not to do down the brilliance of the Granny Shagger and the Bity Racist, but they couldn’t do what Giroud does. Having someone of their quality alongside Giroud, or as a more mobile option when we’re not facing a park-the-bus side, would be utterly fantastic.

  15. Norfolk Gooner says:

    I’ve looked away! Is it safe to turn round now please? :D

  16. TwentyTwelve says:

    Exactly, Micky. I think it would be neigh impossible to get anything different out of this crowd. There will be at least 125 others, fully pumped up for a win, to accompany you, and a few raving lunatics, whom I’ve kicked out for being “over enthusiastic”, screaming at their computer screens as well.

    26 & Galway, right you are. If you had followed the comment section when the survey was published, you might have notice my desperation as I became more fully aware of the collective judgement on AA :D

    Rasp, please perform any sort of make over you feel might help.

  17. 26may1989 says:

    TT, I did note your desperation, and decided to completely ignore your plea for “objectivity”!

  18. arnie says:

    TT: That is gargantuan!!!!! wow!!!!!! :D :D :D

    OK, time to work, time to digest, back laters. :sad:

    Micky: “Typical arnie”? I wish I were so true to type. :D

  19. Norfolk Gooner says:

    That’s a brilliant post TT, lots of stats and diagrams and no doubt an enormous amount of work but, and you just knew there was going to be a but, what it comes down to is the opinions of a diverse group of 126 people most of whom, and this is not statistically proven, are probably Arsenal supporters and therefore biased to a greater or lesser extent towards their club.

    However rational one tries to be, a measure of wishful thinking is bound to creep in when “predicting” the outcome of the various matches.

    I may well have been watching football, as an Arsenal supporter, for sixty four years but I do not consider myself enough of an expert to predict with any accuracy the results of future Arsenal games let alone those of two other clubs.

    We can pour scorn on the pundits for their readiness to write off Arsenal’s chances of winning the Premiership title but they do have an objective view from outside the club and they have the advantage of working “inside” football. That said most of them are biased, prejudiced, ignorant scroats. :D

    I’m going for the old cliche and take it one game at a time.

  20. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oi Chas,

    I hope you are not joining Arnie in ganging up on me.

    Yes, that’s a great assist, as was the Norwich Goal (Black Swan Event) Arnie pointed out this morning, but Ollie has 5 Prem assists out of the 43 Prem goals. Given pretty much every goal goes through (or damn close) to him, that is hardly sensational.

  21. TwentyTwelve says:

    That’s the purported beauty of “The Wisdom of Crowds”, Norfolk. Supposedly the result would be correct regardless of the various individual biases because enough viewpoints have been sampled. The theory says this is better than an expert’s opinion because the experts themselves have biases and limitations.

    Theory aside, it can be quite hard to get the sampling and the interpretation of the results right. As I know all too well :)

  22. chas says:

    Oi Micky.

    What about all the silent assists and the assisting the assister assists? :)

    TT,
    Where does your blog name come from?

  23. chas says:

    Also we don’t play with a second striker looking for headers/passes from the centre forward, in fact most of OG’s work is done well away from the penalty box, so 5 is good.

  24. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ha ha Chas

    What are you saying here? Not great at shooting. Or heading towards the goal. Bit slow. Doesn’t assist much but, and it’s a big but, bloody sensational at running away from the ball and getting people to follow him :-)

    ps I don’t mean a word of that and have always been this site’s biggest fan. Fact.

  25. MickyDidIt89 says:

    So, most of our strikers “work is done well away from the penalty box”

    Oh bloody cosmic :-)

  26. chas says:

    Micky,
    Instead of us playing to his strengths, he plays to the team’s.

    Going back to being a one man team is the last thing I want.

  27. evonne says:

    26 – I should have known better than to pick up a ‘fight’ with a lawyer :) At least there won’t be a bill to pick up at the end of it.

    I disagree with you in both cases. 1 Giroud was bought as an outright striker (fox in the box, poacher, 30+ a season), but when it became apparent that he is not that good at putting the ball in the back of a net, his role evolved to utilize what he has – power, commitment and desire.
    2 Both Rooney and Suarez would not waste as many brilliant passes from Ozil and others as Ollie did. At the very least we would definitely have a better goal difference.

  28. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I was being silly, and promise to be mature from now on :-(

  29. chas says:

    Would you prefer this

  30. chas says:

    ….or this?

  31. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Looking at TT’s Global Map of voters, you have to say AA has an enormous untapped market in Russia, China and Brazil. That, or they’re lazy.

  32. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Well Chas, first thing is that you need to explain the difference between a striker going bright red and going bright green :-)

    I am deducing that Suarez is cold blooded and simply never warms up. Am I bang on the money?

  33. chas says:

    Bit of a language barrier, maybe.
    Though nice that we have a Columbian following.

  34. MickyDidIt89 says:

    We’ve even got a voter up on Ellesmere Island. Any further north, and he’d be afloat on ice. Or a bear.

  35. chas says:

    I’ve no idea, Micky. I just like the one with more red on it. :)

  36. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ha ha. That’s the way I interpret graphs and shit. Whichever one looks the prettiest :-)

  37. Big Raddy says:

    TT. Why not write to another teams blog and ask the same questions? Try MU :-D

  38. chas says:

    Peaches’ Mum,
    Look the other way now.

  39. Big Raddy says:

    I have always been impressed by Jane Russell’s graph. Don’t make them like that anymore (unless one goes to Brazil and buys the parts)

  40. Big Raddy says:

    Beijing is excellent!

  41. chas says:

    Please delete this if it’s too offensive. Made me laugh though.

  42. 26may1989 says:

    Absolutely superb from Beijing Red!

  43. Ollie hackney says:

    A good article. Nice to see opinions outside of London/Britain. This states to me that the media does have a strong affect on supporters , but especially ours who I think can be fickle. As a regular to the ems the negativity (and as you state) doom and gloom is blown out of proportion but does exist. A lot less than the media coverage make out though.

  44. 26may1989 says:

    If we had Suarez instead of Giroud, we might have done better against City, and the patterns of play might have looked prettier, but I don’t think we would have had so much success against the lesser lights, where the defences are stacked up and narrow.

    The bill’s in the post evonne…….

  45. TwentyTwelve says:

    Chas, 2012 was when I was seriously infected by the Arsenal. The second part of the 2011-’12 season to be exact. Before then, the disease was still well contained.

    Brilliant idea, BR. The experiment needs more subjects.

  46. evonne says:

    stick it, 26 :)

    TT – love it, understand it, have pictures if in any doubt! Thank you very much TT, excellent job. Are you an accountant?

    The Notes made me chuckle:
    “Notes

    (*) There were actually a few more than 126 participants; however these additional people were clearly over-enthusiastic—they selected all wins for Arsenal and all losses for the other two teams—that I had to drop their responses” – sorry Chas :)

  47. TwentyTwelve says:

    Micky, would be great to have more participation from the countries you mentioned. The survey wouldn’t be able to capture Beijing Red’s sarcasm unfortunately.

  48. TwentyTwelve says:

    Thanks, evonne. Am not an accountant, although that puts me at risk of falling into your other category.

  49. Although exposing the undeniable bias towards our beloved club, I must take my hat off to you for such a detailed and I presume painstaking post which will have a few AAers walking around with a boner for a considerable part of the day !.
    Me, TMHT and VCC were at the Tavern for a game last season and Stretch ( Terry ) predicted he would make it out with at least 3 Goonerettes. VCC said he would get 2 Goonerettes and I said, I would see how it panned out !. Stretch was in for the kill and was doing well until his syrup interrupted the conversation and said it wanted to go to the little syrups room !. VCC came back from the little boys room, but ended up chatting up the hat and coat stand in the corner and I got sloshed and ended up on the set of a Smurf blue movie !. So there, useless predictions, TMHT got his syrup a colostomy bag for future games, I`ve got Smurf support agency looking for me and VCC`s currently dating a very attractive bi-sexual hat and coat stand !.
    I take the one game at a time approach and don’t do any bias predicting as it always comes back to nip you in the arse…just look at Jinx….sorry GIE`s hopeful point dropping saga the other week….not a sausage !.
    To get a better and more interesting forecast would have been to have had the same amount of Chav and City supporters as Gooners predicting !.
    I`m still waiting for the wheels to come off, but football is a funny game so you never know .
    Great work TT.

  50. evonne says:

    away with the fairies :) ha ha ha, superb

  51. chas says:

    Cockie,
    You speak a lot of sense (well, the odd sentence, truth be known) but I agree wholeheartedly. :)

  52. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Chas, the world would surely be a better place without twitter.

  53. TwentyTwelve says:

    That’s the one! Don’t know what that means, but it doesn’t sound complimentary.

    CM, you must be hanging out with TMHT a lot to have picked up his sense of humor as well. :)

  54. chas
    Just by looking at my avatar, you know it emits the aroma of sensibility !. hahaha

  55. Norfolk Gooner says:

    I had no idea that charming young hat stand was bi-sexual…and we had such a pleasant time together.

  56. TT
    Terry`s a girl scout cookie seller compared to me !. hahaha

  57. chas says:

  58. GunnerN5 says:

    TT,

    Your post is very good and your graphic displays are very explicit. The only downfall is the predictably biased outcome of the poll has reduced the post to being “very good” whereas if the responders had been more realistic the post would have been fantastic. But none of that minimizes just how good your post was.

    To gain 93 points would equal us gaining 81.57% of points won for the season, our unbeaten invincible team of 2003/4 only managed 78.95% on 90 points.

    Here are the only 3 occasions the league has been won with more than 80% of total points won.

    1888/1889 Preston North End 87.88%
    1891/1892 Sunderland 80.77%
    2004/2005 Chelsea 83.33%

  59. chas says:

  60. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Cheers TT, sterling stuff mate.

    Of course, anyone who knows me will be aware that other peoples predictions do not concern me

    I have confidence we will win the league, but more importantly, from next year the belief is that we will have without question the best side.

    This season is not an accident. Its the product of hard but quality work over a decade to push the Club to the point were we join the elite Clubs of European football

    Going forward,what will give us the edge over our main rivals is the stability and realisation of our philosophy which is to play a certain way with a team nurtured from within.

    We have the weapons to make these objectives a reality. Increased financial power to retain and procure players, an ingrained style of playing, and a core of players not yet at there prime..

    These objectives are of course underpinned by our fortune of having the greatest manager in modern football

    Those Ghosts are about to waken.

  61. GunnerN5 says:

    Last night my wife got naked and asked me, ‘What turns you on more: my pretty face or my sexy body?’

    I looked her up and down and replied, ‘Your sense of humour!

  62. GunnerN5 says:

    Japanese scientists have created a camera with a shutter speed so fast, they can now photograph a woman with her mouth shut.

  63. VCC says:

    TCM…..I’ve ditched that pole, ermmmm…sorry Evonne…I mean, hat stand for two timing me, the Bas—-. :-(

  64. TwentyTwelve says:

    Something is strange about Giroud’s heat map. It looks as if he was just standing still in various spots on pitch. Look how neat it is compared to the fuzzy heat map of Suarez.

    More seriously, I think Giroud does not contribute the direct assists for goals, but the layoffs to play in others. Not sure if any stats captures this. Am not sure if this is a correct comparison, because I haven’t watched enough football, but Giroud’s play reminds me a little of how Emile Heskey was used for England a few years back.

  65. TwentyTwelve says:

    Thanks, GN5. Yes, we probably all agree that 93 pts is a high target. In the privacy of our own homes, however, we begin to fantasize, and most embarrassingly for us, the survey captured and revealed our fantasy for all to see.

  66. RockyLives says:

    Blimey, the tide may be turning.

    This is an article in today’s Telegraph from Smudger Smith:

    “If we are judging solely on depth of squad, on title-winning experience and the ability to roll over opponents with sheer power and know-how, then, yes, Manchester City and Chelsea hold the upper hand. Both teams, on paper, look better equipped to go the full distance.
    But you simply cannot ignore Arsenal’s achievement in arriving at this point. With over half the season gone, having already faced their rivals once, Arsène Wenger’s team deservedly sit at the top of the table.
    Say what you will about that thrashing at City or that disappointing defeat at Manchester United, Arsenal have shown themselves capable of dealing with the pressure to keep their noses in front.
    To maintain this, though, so much depends on the back four staying together, particularly the centre-halves who have built up such a great understanding. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny have been sensational so far in providing a solid platform that has allowed the boys further forward to do their thing.
    The best defence in the Premier League: who would have thought that in recent seasons when Arsenal were shipping too many soft goals? As it is, they have worked very hard on organisation and shape to cut out the errors that were holding them back. No longer does that rearguard find itself exposed by a gung-ho approach that would leave the side stretched when they lost the ball.

    “If they can carry on in this vein, then, and there is no reason to think they cannot, Arsenal are well capable of sustaining a challenge to end up on top on May 11. That would be fitting reward for players of the quality of Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Özil, who help make up the most technically gifted creative unit in this division.
    No fear here of coming up short. Wenger can rotate his midfielders to keep everyone fresh without suffering any dip in quality. Theo Walcott’s injury is a blow of course, but the emergence of Serge Gnabry, the return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the talent of Tomas Rosicky might be enough to plug the gap. Factor in the defensive instincts of Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini and you are looking at a group difficult to better.
    The only concern is the much-discussed lack of cover for Olivier Giroud. If the centre-forward were to get injured, Arsenal would lose so much of their threat, given how the Frenchman’s back-to-goal style dovetails perfectly with those around. No wonder Mirko Vucinic has been mentioned as a target. If captured on loan, the Juventus striker could perhaps answer this crucial call.
    But whoever plays, Arsenal must know that the toughest tests are yet to come. With Liverpool and United awaiting next month, a hellish-looking March will make or break their title tilt. Trips to Tottenham and Chelsea precede the visit of City. Come through that little run intact and the players will really start to believe.
    And I do think they need a good victory against one of the heavyweights to make an emphatic statement. They have not managed that yet, hence all the doubts. But were they, for instance, to win at Stamford Bridge or beat City at home, the psychological impact would be huge.

    “Few people, after all, truly believe Arsenal can do it. Most outside the Emirates think the Gunners will come up short when push comes to shove. Me? I’m not so sure. There is something about this side that instills a good feeling. Team spirit is tight in a dressing room finally benefiting from some proper leaders. Will that be enough? My guess is it will.”

  67. RockyLives says:

    Amazing piece of work TT.

    No great surprise about the result :)

  68. RockyLives says:

    Going back to the Ollie G debate for a moment. I agree with 26 – if we had Suarez instead of OG this season I don’t think we would be doing as well as we currently are.

    No surprise that Alan Smith appreciates Ollie – our hunky Frenchman plays a similar game to the one Smudge used to play for us.

    We won the league twice with a big front man to hold up the ball and bring the other attackers and midfielders into play. Then we traded him out for a gifted, mercurial goal grabber (Wright was as prolific as Suarez) and didn’t win the league again for many years (until M. Wenger arrived with a new philosophy).

    Wright was a joy to watch and remains one of my all-time favourite Arsenal players, but it’s a simple fact that we were a less effective team when we played everything through him.

  69. RockyLives says:

    Where is everyone?

    Poring over the minutiae of TT’s extended graphs and charts, I imagine.

  70. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    I have another stat. Since 2008, the year the Sheiks took over City, to today’s date, Citys net transfer spend is £550 million, Chelseas is £350 million, and Arsenals is £40 odd million

    And before a condom face like Spectrum turns up and says we had money but didn’t spend it, those kind of astronomical figures are the total cost of the Grove stadium.

    Yet, just one year in of a period were we have had the “luxury” of keeping our players and some increased revenue allowing us to compete, we are right up there with them challenging for the title

    Thats what Arsenal is about, not some whining ninnies going on about spending money or blaming Arsene for the melting ice caps.

    The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stirring

  71. arnie says:

    Terry: Very disappointing. You go from “Those Ghosts are about to waken” backwards to “The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stirring”. :razz:

  72. arnie says:

    TT: Fabulous job. And fantastic discussion everyone. What more can I say. So mum’s the word, for the moment. I am listening, though, and gloating at the same time. :D :D :D

  73. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Never fear Rocky, I am hear, and very angry (safely behind a keyboard of course hahaha)

    The club deserves more credit and acknowledgement for its achievements. Barely coming out of the shadow of the biggest turmoil in the Clubs history we are competing with 2 financially doped Clubs for the title.

    We have done things the right way. it may sound like a cliché now, but its true.

    The Club has resurrected itself on the pitch, yet has not sold its soul like others have.

  74. GunnerN5 says:

    In the first few days of the Olympics the Romanians took gold, silver, bronze, copper & lead.

  75. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Why do pundits like Shearer, Owen etc never praise Arsenal for its achievements. The answer is they only care about “star names” and dont give two hoots about how hard a Club has to work or the journey it takes to get there. Those two both made big money moves on more than one occasion themselves.

    Compare that to Neville and Caragher, both played for only one club, and both openly admit that if there own Club cant do it then would like Arsenal to.

    They understand, unlike those other twats who still analyse football as players rather than open minded objective pundits.

  76. GunnerN5 says:

    Terry,

    You only have to listen to their accents to know the real reason, their bias is inbred..

  77. arnie says:

    Terry: They support the mainstream view because they are paid to do so. They are paid for the job because they are the ones who would support this view. Thuis is the nature of media in modern society. If you want independent opinions, ask the freelancers. Even they would be swayed by public opinion supporting the mainstream, but less so. The fight against ignorance and vested interests continues. :D :D :D

  78. 26may1989 says:

    Terry, the truth is few people in football understand or care about the work it takes to create financial stability in a football club – they’re very interested in the size of their own pay-cheques, but where the cash comes from is of no interest to almost all of them.

    So, when AFC undertakes the kind of project it does, and in the middle of it, financial doping kicks off plus there is an unprecedented global recession, those observers of the game just do not understand the implications. For them, the source of finances is an unknown unknown, and they are simply incapable of understanding or acknowledging the work our club has been undertaking.

    I can’t recall any comment from Carragher on this side of the question, but I do remember Saint Gary Neville making the point that our lack of silverware in recent years has been all about finances and the stadium.

  79. evonne says:

    long gone are the days when Rocky agreed with everything I said :( Have it your way, we will see.

    I still say that our so-far-success is due to someone else.

  80. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Thanks for the responses guys, but I can make no excuse for the likes of Shearer and Owen.

    If they are to thick to understand they should not be pundits. if there bosses discourage any form of intricate debate then they should be sacked to. If its simply a case of bias, then fair enough, but should still be sacked.

    I want a more intelligent debate. I know every little of the mechanics and workings of other clubs so would find it refreshing and informative to be educated.

    But no, all we get is Shearer trotting out old garbage about forwards positioning, Hansens lazy prognosis about holding defensive lines and Owen talking crap and dreaming about his pay cheque.

  81. RA says:

    Hi TT,

    You deserve a tremendous amount of credit for a well conducted, co-ordinated and very well explained and graphed Post.

    I am impressed with the amount of work and thought that went into this, and the fact you realised that your population base (AA readers and writers) was likely to produce a skewed result and that you attempted to adjust for this by excluding some of the more ‘way-out’ responses, and this showed you were trying to make a serious attempt to get the resulting forecast right.

    Some two years ago I wrote one of my rare Posts in which I explained the theory behind the ‘Wisdom of the Crowds’ and applied it in a light hearted football topic.

    Of course your project was really up against what could be called the inevitable ‘Failure of the Crowds’, which is when the crowd get the wrong answer simply because the population of the survey are not strictly independent and having diverse opinions as to the answers, which is a crucial requirement, but instead are all too familiar with the likely opinions of the rest of the AA crowd because of the nature of the subject matter (Arsenal) and you get a resulting conformity of responses.

    Never the less, you are on to a winner, because the answers you received and processed will please all the very Arsenal committed audience who will love the outcome because it is what they wanted — after all, that is why they supplied the appropriate answers to your survey in the first place.

    That is its own Wisdom!

    Well done, sir. :-)

  82. Gary Neville did say on talkSPORT last week that if Man Std cant win the EPL, then he wants Arsenal to win it !.
    I`m liking this guy more and more, in fact I`d like to convey the hand of friendship to Neville Neville`s son and say, I`d rather a Mancunian burgle my house than a Scouser !.

    Fire Driller or Celebrator ?.
    The difference between us and the Spuds is evident in this picture…..the little matter of a fire drill will not stop us celebrating !.

    http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/slides/photos/003/516/030/hi-res-3466487-arsenal-celebrate-at-the-end-off-the-fa-barclaycard_crop_650.jpg?1390305312

  83. arnie says:

    A lot of discussion on biased views and so on. The opinions are sort of similar, but I pick an early contribution from 26 to make the point.

    First, we are “saturated with quiet desperation to prove everyone wrong”? Bril. :D :D Agreed.

    But then, “The ideal crowd for this type of survey, if one really wanted a reliable prediction, would be a cross-section of followers of PL football.”

    Here is where I differ. Yes, this would be true for the best prediction on average, perhaps. Assuming more Chavs fans respond than Cardiff, in line with historical performances which determine the fan base. But the point about the average is that it is correct on average, but always wrong. One of my good friends, deceased sadly, once described a statistician as someone who, if you lost your phone number, would predict this. This prediction will be correct on average, always wrong and therefore completely useless.

    The same holds for average predictions of football results. If we allowed average returns on risky investments to determine whether we invest in new technologies, we would have no one investing in teh bright new ideas of the future. It is therefore right for Arsenal supporters to predict a reasonable but optimistic view of the outcome. And it turns out that they are fairly level headed in their predictions for Arsenal results.

    If you look at the fine print in the bottom charts, the predictions do not look unreasonable at all. Just to give you one example. Spurs vs Arsenal. In TT’s considered opinion, Arsenal get three points. The responses are 2 points on average, with spread roughly equally between 3 and 1 points. So, 50% respondednts predicted an Arsenal win, and 50% a draw. If that is not reasonable, what is?

    The same holds true for the Chavs and Shitty predictions. What I think makes the difference, and TT puts this rather well, is that the respondents think Chavs and Shitty will drop points against the minnows, while Arsenal will not. This reflects our faith in the consistency and resilience that this side has shown.

    Of course, it is extremely unlikely that 93 points will be gained. Perhaps we should also put a reasonable prediction interval around these final points. But on the whole, this reflects the best practise, in my view, of such a prediction game. This represents a reasonable best case analysis.

    Bottom line. Yes, we can! But will we? No reason to suspect that we will not. So, yes, we will. Onwards and upwards. :D :D :D

  84. RA says:

    26M

    Well said.

    My only quibble about your summation is perhaps a rather semantic one;

    the source of finances is an ‘unknown unknown,’ and they are simply incapable of understanding or acknowledging the work our club has been undertaking.

    I think that it is a ‘known unknown’, as an ‘unknown unknown’ is by definition ………….. :-)

  85. arnie says:

    Redders: Good to see you have survived the onslaught from Dandan and Micky yesterday. :D :D

  86. I`m confused with all the talk about MOTD !……can someone tell me which ones Hansen ?.

  87. RA says:

    Sorry to disagree, arnie, but taking TT’s project at face value, it is not really about averages, is it?

    That would be boring. :-)

    He is really trying to prove whether or not intelligent decision making by a group or crowd of people can arrive at a provably correct decision based on the combined output of that crowd.
    That is not asking ‘will Arsenal win the league this year’ because that is likely to have a very large positive response.

    Put another way, it is really about accepting that the intelligence of the crowd is greater than the most intelligent member of that crowd.
    That intelligence is applied in making individual decisions about key football results which when collated will show who will win the league based on those decisions.

    The problem that TT faced is that the same theory (the Wisdom of the Crowds) holds that the more a group or crowd know about each other and their likely views, on the matter in hand, the less intelligent the crowd becomes and the less likely the outcome to be correct.

    Anyway, I can hear snores emanating from the good and the mighty of AA so I shall desist. :-)

  88. arnie says:

    Redders: :D :D I like this. You probably know what I am going to say, so ….. :D :D The snores are getting so loud, there may be an alarm soon!!!! :razz:

  89. TMHTs football career was cut short after swallowing a broom !.

  90. TwentyTwelve says:

    Thanks for that well considered response, arnie. Very well put.

    About that Spurs v Arsenal match, the response percentages were 58% W, 40% D, 2% L, with an avg of 2.13, and error of +/-1. I considered including a table with all of this info as well, but the article is already quite full of numbers :)

    Good point about putting a prediction interval! Am not quite sure how best to do that, but if I simply sum up the error bars that I calculated, then I have Arsenal 93 +/- 10, City 87 +/- 12, and Chelsea 85 +/- 13.

  91. RA says:

    Rocky,

    As an informed opinion I can accept your point and that of the esteemed 26M, that with Giro leading the line we have done better than we would be if in some other Universe Wright, Wright Wright or Suarez were leading the line.

    But it is a conclusion that is not logically provable (or disprovable) and so I would like to take this opportunity to voice an opinion with equal merit, and that is that we would have been in an even better position today if my steed Geronimo had led the line instead of Giro. Innit? :-)

  92. TwentyTwelve says:

    RA, that was my hope, exactly. It was a fun exercise, but am not sure about the quality of the final results.

    You must have read the Wisdom of Crowds?

  93. 26may1989 says:

    RA, semanitcs, excellent:

    The relevant text actually says “For them, the source of finances is an unknown unknown, …”. So for the little diver (Owen, as if there could be any misunderstanding), the fact that he is (as I assume him to be) compeltely ignorant of the dynamics of finances means it is an unknown unknown – he has no idea there is anything he needs to take into account in respect of club finances in assessing the quality of a club’s performances on the pitch.

    Whereas, to you and the accountants’ brigade, it is most certainly a known known, since you understand the issues at hand properly.

    Not being an expert, I’m in the middle; I know there’s an issue but I don’t have the economic sophistocation to understand the minutiae. So to me it is a known unknown.

    The degree of knownness (or unknownness) is therefore a subjective matter, and is a function of the financial or economic sophistocation of the subject.

    That was fun…. :)

  94. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    What about the blatant disregard about how a Club develops a style of play, nurtures young players, and improves the more experienced ones?

    I ma not having a pop at Owen and co for not understanding a balance sheet, its more than that.

  95. arnie says:

    TT: Once again, very well done. I have some ideas how to do this, but do I have the time/ energy? Maybe I will try in the weekend. But in any case, I might collect the data from you if I may. At the very least, I can make use of this at some point later on. Credits to you, of course. :D :D :D

  96. chas says:

    TT,
    You were bang on about that Giroud heat map. Must have been a bug.
    Here’s what it should look like..

  97. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    What footballing career and what Broom?

    And more importantly, what fantastic hair. hahaha

  98. TwentyTwelve says:

    RA, would love to read your blog about WoC.

  99. arnie says:

    Redders is on fire!!!!!!! :D :D :D

  100. TwentyTwelve says:

    arnie, it would be my pleasure to share whatever data I have from the survey. After all, that is something the AA community generously gave me.

  101. RA says:

    26 @ 4:29

    Then we agree? Yaay! :-)

    “So to me it is a known unknown”.

  102. GunnerN5 says:

    A worried racehorse owner takes his horse to the vet. “Will I be able to race this horse again?,” he asks

    The vet replies: “Of course you will, and you’ll probably win!”

  103. GunnerN5 says:

    Just horsing around RA…………..

  104. arnie says:

    On twatter, brilliant exchanges between Jan Aage Fjortoft and Gary Neville on the Dante transfer rumours!!!! :D Cannot copy and paste, unfortunately. :sad:

    Fjortoft says rubbish news, never going to happen, Neville pleads: let us dream, please!!!!!! :D

  105. arnie says:

    TT: Agreed. :D If you can send me the stuff by say Friday, I will have a look over the weekend. Just write to Nuts, Peaches/Rasp will send my email. :D :D

    Peaches/ Rasp: Please…… :D

  106. GunnerN5 says:

    Q. Why do blondes wear knickers?

    A. To keep their ankles warm.

    Don’t hit me Evonne.

  107. RA says:

    No, arnie, I am just suffering from a bout of ennui, at the moment, and as a result I tend to lapse into writing about things I like but which bug innocent AAers. :-)

    TT, I am not sure how the archives work on AA, but as I do not like to write Posts to be honest (which is a relief to the populace of AA) so it should not be hard to find — not that it is worth it, I often write tongue in cheek. :-)

    I am one of those infernal accountants by profession, and a mathematician by inclination — but am resolved never to discuss either, as it is an amazing turn off for 99.9% of the other A A bloggers, or is that buggers? :-)

  108. GunnerN5 says:

    RA,

    You do yourself and your fellow bloggers a total injustice by not penning more posts – they are anything but succinct, but always wonderfully readable.

    Please change your mind and write more.

  109. arnie says:

    GN5: agreed. :D :D

    Redders: Come on, get off your perch …… :D :D :D

  110. GunnerN5 says:

    ‘His decision-making is sharper now’

    Wojciech Szczesny’s improved decision-making has made him one of the Premier League’s best goalkeepers, according to Arsène Wenger.

    The Arsenal manager gave Szczesny his top-flight debut at Manchester United in December 2010 and has championed him ever since, despite taking him out of the side at the back end of last season.

    Szczesny has cemented his No 1 spot this term and made his 100th Premier League appearance against Fulham on Saturday, marking the milestone with his 10th clean sheet of the campaign.

    He was always a very talented boy but because he’s intelligent he learns quickly from experience

    “Certainly a part of his improvement is mental because he’s more mature,” Wenger told Arsenal Player.

    “His decision-making is cleaner, sharper, quicker. He was always a very talented boy but because he’s intelligent he learns quickly from experience.

    “I’m happy that I always gave him the confidence because he’s developing very well into a very strong goalkeeper and today certainly nobody would question that he’s one of the top five goalkeepers in the Premier League.”

    Szczesny is a key member of a defensive unit that has shipped 19 goals in 22 Premier League matches – and just 13 in 21 games if you overlook last month’s aberration at Manchester City. It’s a record that Wenger believes helps Arsenal at the other end of the pitch.

    “That defensive solidity of course is the basic work you have to do to be efficient at home,” he said.

    “Maybe what is even more important is to have that solidarity at home because it gives you time to fatigue your opponent, time to stretch them, time to dominate them and get the game completely in their own half. The longer that lasts the more you have chances to score.”

    Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source

  111. GunnerN5 says:

    Cazorla – No 10s complement each other

    Santi Cazorla believes the subtle differences between the Club’s collection of attacking midfielders is a major strength this season.

    Aresene Wenger’s squad contains a number of players who, along with the Spaniard, enjoy the ‘No 10’ role behind the central striker.

    Each player is different and the good thing is we all complement each other. We’re all comfortable playing with each other.

    While only one can play there in each game, Cazorla insists that the fluid nature of the team’s attack makes it an enjoyable experience.

    “Ultimately it’s easy to connect with guys like Wilshere, Rosicky, Mesut and all the players who play in the centre of the park,” he told Arsenal Player.

    “Plus I think that our style of play is ideal for me, Rosicky and Mesut as we’re players who enjoy linking up in tight spaces. From there, the results take care of themselves as we are enjoying ourselves.

    “We’re all different [though]. For example, Jack is a very strong player who grabs the team by the scruff of the neck, which is impressive for a player of his age. Then you have Rosicky, who is a direct player who likes to change the speed of the game. He likes quick moves and breaking down the defence with a forward run.

    “On the other hand you have Mesut and I, and we are quite similar in certain areas of our games but he has a different philosophy to me. He enjoys the freedom of being the main, central attacking midfielder that sits behind the forwards, whereas I enjoy the freedom that playing wider gives me to cut inside.

    “Each player is different and the good thing is we all complement each other. We’re all comfortable playing with each other.”

    In the last few games I’ve been getting better physically and my confidence has been growing.

    Cazorla scored twice on Saturday as Arsenal beat Fulham to stay top of the table, and he feels he is returning to the peak of his powers.

    “I’m doing well at the moment,” he said. “In the last few games I’ve been getting better physically and my confidence has been growing. I hope this continues from now until the end of the season.

    “I had a bit of a bad time with my ankle problems and missed a few games but I hope to put that behind me and get back to my best in order to help the team to achieve as much as possible.”

    Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source

  112. GunnerN5 says:

    I’m being totally ignored so I’m off to have a good old sulk.

  113. arnie says:

    Who is ignoring you, GN5? Sod the ignorant. …… :D

  114. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    Are you horsing around with my unprovable hypotheses?

    Cheeky beggar :)

  115. RA says:

    GN5,

    An odd thing happened on the way to the Forum, I had a ‘hallelujah’ moment and it has haunted me ever more on AA. :-)

    For more years than I care to remember I was in thrall to the dictum of clarity of thought where communicating with others.
    Indeed, in my ‘teaching’ days I was as guilty as the next man in sending some trainee or junior accountant’s appraisal of a project back, and saying ‘give me that on half a page of foolscap’.

    When I came to the relaxed arena of AA I have luxuriated in simply allowing myself to write without discipline and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

    The downside is that I ‘lost’ the other bloggers with my meanderings and I could not escape the conclusion that I bored the asses off them.

    In any event as I have said, on more than one occasion, there are so many good writers on AA including yourself, Rocky and many of the longtime regulars, with the addition of all the newer guys like arnie, TT and a whole bunch of others that there is no need for the likes of me. :-)

    When I am on AA my comments are a bit like Posts anyway, and thankfully no one notices. But thank you for your kind comment. :-)

  116. RockyLives says:

    I’m off for a walk with Gn5

  117. RA says:

    Give him a good rub down afterwards, Rockman. :-)

  118. That must be a typo, Rocks, as GN5 is in bed !.

  119. arnie says:

    with Rocky, apparently. :razz:

  120. GunnerN5 says:

    Too bloody cold to go for a walk here Rocky it’s -17c with the wind chill making it feel like -25c.

  121. That is cold !. Sounds like Frosty the Snowman will be minus his snowballs !.

  122. JanMan says:

    Great post TT. A lot of work went into that and putting all the graphics together. I realize the points totals are based on predictions and may well be biased to a certain point but that is what makes it all fun and also proves the believe that the Gunners fans have in this current set up. Again, great work. Thank you.

  123. arnie says:

    apols, GN5 and Rocky. :razz: spur of the moment. :D

  124. RA says:

    GN5,

    Rocky is dying to ask you ‘why the long face, let’s go for a trot round the block”. :-)

  125. GunnerN5 says:

    RA,

    I agree that your comments are great but your posts are even better.

    Rocky is by far and away the number one writer on AA. BR is also a great writer while I’m just a modest pretender who loves all things Arsenal and digging up interesting ditties about them.

  126. Here it`s just Three Degrees under……..my duvet !……come on girls lets not argue about who has what under my tent and by the way….when will I see you again…..up here !.

  127. GunnerN5 says:

    A blonde decides to try horseback riding, even though she has had no lessons or prior experience. She mounts the horse unassisted and the horse immediately springs into motion. It gallops along at a steady and rhythmic pace, but the blonde begins to slip from the saddle. In terror, she grabs for the horse’s mane, but cannot seem to get a firm grip. She tries to throw her arms around the horse’s neck, but she slides down the side of the horse anyway. The horse gallops along, seemingly impervious to its slipping rider. Finally, giving up her frail grip, she leaps away from the horse to try and throw herself to safety. Unfortunately, her foot has become entangled in the stirrup, she is now at the mercy of the horse’s pounding hooves as her head is struck against the ground over and over. As her head is battered against the ground, she is mere moments away from unconsciousness when to her great fortune… the Walmart manager sees her and shuts the horse off.

  128. RA says:

    Moving off topic for a mo’ — when we were linked with Wellington, Galinda and Joel Campbell, I wonder how many of you did the same as me and looked at Videos (probably supplied by Chas) showing a montage of their playing skills, and thinking AW must have pulled another nugget out of Cockie Monsters derriere, because they looked so good. (errm, he may be my friend – but I know nuzzink about his jaxi!!) :-)

    What seems to be years later and they have ‘disappeared’ except for Campbell, to a certain extent.

    What is going on? Do any of you guys know? Does anyone care?
    Is there a Bermuda Triangle for disappeared footballers?

    Arnie – we need to know. :-)

  129. RockyLives says:

    -21 in Toronto today Gn5

    Move over in that bed…

  130. Big Raddy says:

    Minus 17 windchill here. Positively balmy compared to you North Americans

  131. GunnerN5 says:

    Galindo was signed by Arsenal in January 2010, from Bolivian club Real America.[3] He was loaned to UD Salamanca at the start of the 2010–11 season.

    For the 2011–12 season, Galindo was loaned to another Spanish club. This time, to Gimnàstic de Tarragona
    For the 2012–13 season, Galindo sealed his third loan spell in three consecutive seasons. This time to Lugo, in the Spanish second division. He only appeared in 5 games for the Spaniards though, which prompted him to move back to Arsenal earlier than expected.

    After the unsuccessful spell with Lugo, he moved back to Bolivia to play for Club Jorge Wilstermann.[6] During his time at Club Jorge Wilstermann, he played seven games, he didn’t score nor assist during that time.

    He still appears to be in Bolivia.

  132. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. Huge kudos to you for formatting TT’s post. Looks great. (if it was you and not Rasp or TT!)

  133. RA says:

    Oh well, GN5, that does it then!!!! :-)

    Putting that ingenue Rocky ahead of me, has sealed my determination to go into writing hibernation. (well OK he is not a female feminine woman — but that’s poetic licence!) :-)

    You know he is rubbish, even worse than Cockie!! :-)

  134. arnie says:

    Redders: you mean the young guys “we were linked with”, right? well, some of them were signed by Arsenal and have disappeared from the Academy as well. Just something to do with young kids, innit? Too much uncertainty, too many wonders in the world, too many ways to waste the money that you never thought you would earn anyways!

    And then there are the others “we were linked with” and never signed. Figment of journo imagination, perhaps? In deperation for Gunner news, and in the belief Arsenal is good enough only for the also-rans, they hunt up names of obscure crackpots!!

    The question is, why this question, Redders? Is it the Spanish guy who wrote Concierto de Aranjuez? :D :D

  135. GunnerN5 says:

    Wellington’s inauspicious career at Arsenal.

    2010–2011 – Fluminense
    2011–Arsenal
    2011 – Levante (loan)
    2011–2012 – Alcoyano (loan)
    2012–2013 – Ponferradina (loan)
    2013– Real Murcia (loan)

  136. GunnerN5 says:

    Don’t be sensitive RA It goes without saying that you are my #1.
    I’m not a turncoat……….

  137. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evening all.

    Whatever happened to that young winger from Brazil everyone was talking about a year ago. Didn’t he go Eastwards to Zenit or similar?

    Name began with a “B” methinks

  138. GunnerN5 says:

    BR they are calling it a second vortex, even as for out as next Monday it will be -17c. I guess the big difference is that we always have long and cold winters it’s just that this one is a lot colder.

    We are always prepared and dress accordingly – you know two pairs of frilly knickers hidden under long johns and thermal outer wear.

  139. arnie says:

    Bernard. Spurs are apparently discussing loan with Shakhtar? :D

  140. GunnerN5 says:

    Arsenal players out on loan

    Chuba Akpom Forward
    Chuks Aneke Midfielder
    Hector Bellerin Defender
    Joel Campbell Forward
    Samuel Galindo Midfielder
    Anthony Jeffrey Midfielder
    Austin Lipman Forward
    Damian Martinez Goal Keeper
    Ignasi Miquel Defender
    Wellington Silva Forward
    Josh Vickers Goal Keeper

  141. MickyDidIt89 says:

    How weird. Just googled him. His name’s Bernard, but out popped this young flyer also from Braxil:
    “Emirates Stadium side keen on Italian based wide-man.
    Arsenal are reportedly interested in Verona winger Jorginho according to Italian source TuttoMercato. Arsene Wenger is apparently an admirer of the 21 year old who is currently into his second season at the Serie B side who is a pivotal part of the club’s push for promotion to the top tier”

  142. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ah, Shakhtar, thanks Arnie

  143. Big Raddy says:

    Wonder if any of the loanees will have a career at AFC?

  144. Bernard to Spuds !………… fcuking Bernard Manning on the wing !.

  145. arnie says:

    Raddy: If Arsenal becomes a pesudo “big club” and jostles with money-spinners for big names who were produced and developed elsewhere in the world, then the answer is negative. But personally I would not like the club to go that way. More like Barca or Bayern.

    In that case, Akpom, Miquel, Bellerin, perhaps Martinez as well? We live in hope. :D

  146. arnie says:

    Our academy project has come off the rails a bit, truth be said. I would like Jonkers to do a good job!! :D

  147. kelsey says:

    TT

    must have taken hours to put this post together, something I could never do.

    To simplify things the poll predicts we win win the league by only dropping 6 points in the remaining 16 matches. Draw your own conclusions. To me that is a big ask.

  148. Vinay says:

    I dont think so we will win by 6 clear points, but then even if we win by one i will have a minor heart attack, out of sheer happiness.
    Arsenal will win the league as long as they limit the damage that may happen in feb and march, well wait, if we do well in those 2 months, then let the champagne flow, lets go bonkers. I cant think of anything more that i have longed for in life than to see us win the league again.

  149. arnie says:

    Vinay: three cheers. :D :D :D

  150. RA says:

    GN5, :-)

  151. RA says:

    GN5,

    Thanks for that list of young uns on loan.

    The thing is each of them was very highly thought of, and I just wonder how they lose their way — and all the others before them, too.

    arnie, I was thinking of Campbell as we are struggling to find a back up CF for Giro. Then the same is true for all the others too as we have quite a good number of positions that need cover.

    Not good enough? Then they should be let go sadly.

  152. arnie says:

    Dont know if its OK to post an article from another site here, but I thought this is interesting. From Arseblog

    http://news.arseblog.com/2014/01/gilles-grimandi-on-scouting-and-his-arsenal-role/

    Gilles Grimandi on scouting and his Arsenal role

    Trnslation of an interview in L’Equipe – October 2013

  153. arnie says:

    Redders: Yes, I should have thought of Campbell. He is actually doing very well. :D :D

  154. Big Raddy says:

    arnie. No problem. It is always good to point out an article of interest.

    WHU 8 down after 25 minutes. Time for Andy Carroll :-D

  155. evonne says:

    what?? 8:0, surely on aggs?

  156. LB says:

    BR

    I wanted a chance to respond to this:

    ———————————————————————-

    Big Raddy says:

    January 21, 2014 at 9:53 am

    “I have just realised what is lacking in Flamini and why I prefer Arteta …. Elegance.

    It is the artist vs artisan”

    ——————————————————————–

    I think this is a view shared by 99% of the people on here, I certainly do.

    I regard the Frenchman as the perfect cover for Arteta.

    Would I want him to be given an extension to his current contract? No I wouldn’t.

    I want someone who is better than the pair of them; a single player that is capable of doing both jobs..

  157. Gööner In Exile says:

    TT, that is top graphing sir with a good bit of statistical analysis too.

    Can’t believe anyone reading this site would have been anything less than objective :)

    Unlike Adrian Durham who without the ability to criticise Arsenal is clutching straws…this one £11m for Eriksen, £42m for Ozil, Spudsdid better business.

    Thankfully whoever was sitting alongside the numpty tonight pointed to the stats, and Ozil wins hands down.

  158. Big Raddy says:

    LB. I agree entirely. Shame Chelsea signed Matic.

  159. 26may1989 says:

    LB, I agree re Flamini and Arteta (though we both thought Flamster had a particularly good game at the weekend). I wouldn’t go as far as to say I wouldn’t want Flamini’s contract to be extended though – especially given his habit for running down his contract and moving for free…..

  160. RockyLives says:

    So we’re having our most competitive season for years and you devil-may-care sorts are happy to break up the team come summer, eh?

    Give the Flamster an extension!

    Doesn’t stop us looking for his replacement – then we find him, we can gradually phase our Monsieur Flamini…

  161. Big Raddy says:

    RL. We glory hunting, championship manager, prawn sandwich eating, plastic fans always want new signings..

    You are right – one more year.

  162. 26may1989 says:

    arnie, we aren’t of one mind regarding spending: the main point of the stadium move was to put the club on an economic par with the biggest clubs around, or at least able to compete with the moneybags clubs.

    Any big club will have a youth development policy at its heart (and both City and Chelsea have invested very heavily on that side of things, an investment that doesn’t count for FFP calculations, so they can spend what they like). And just like Barca and Bayern, we should also want to be able to spend heavily as well.

    As for our youth policy, the first thing I would point out is that we have a lot of young players in the senior squad, players who spent some or all of their development at Arsenal. Also, the youngsters at the club who seem to have real potential include Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gnabry, Zelalem, Miquel, Yennaris, Akpom, Crawley, Hayden, Olsson, Bellerin, Toral and Eisfeld.

    Off the rails? I think not!

  163. 26may1989 says:

    Gervinho scored a lovely goal to knock Juve out of the Italian Cup tonight. He’s obviously found himself at Roma, bit of a mystery how it didn’t work out with us, he usually looked very weak. But well done to him.

  164. Big Raddy says:

    26.As you say, well done The Mekon.

    Perhaps the PL was too fast and aggressive for him.

  165. 26may1989 says:

    Agreed, Radster. He seems to play more centrally at Roma too, perhaps he just couldn’t adapt positionally, as well.

  166. evonne says:

    GiE – I listened to that bullpoo about Erikson being better value for money than Ozil. Value for money, what is he talking about?

    I am pleased for Gerv, nice lad

    And as for Anelka – Wenger always knew he was nothing but trouble. I’d say his career is over now, good bye Nicolas

  167. Gööner In Exile says:

    I think it’s the aggression of the PL but like Chamakh he suffered from not being someone else.

    He arrived when Nasri and Fab departed probably at our lowest ebb as supporters. And when things didn’t work out on the pitch as a new boy he was dipped out.

    By the way that Cazorla interview am someone posted earlier was interesting saying that he preferred coming inside from wide areas. How many times have I read fans say Cazorla is pushed out wide and out of position by Wenger…..seems as I often suspect Wenger knows his players better than us :)

    On Flamini/Arteta debate it simply comes down to the right players for the right occasion, this dovetails with Rockys post yesterday about us having other options to get the ball forward.

    In a recent match against ManUre Fergie gave Rooney one job to do, press Arteta when we have the ball at centre back, from there we struggled for 90 minutes to get the ball up the pitch because he is our outlet.

    Now we could choose Flamini instead of Arteta, go longer from the back and pick up pieces and play off the knock downs with the attacking 3 allowed to get forward whilst Flamini stats back to protect the back four and we wouldn’t need Arteta.

  168. Big Raddy says:

    Just been reading about the Ajax CL win over AC Milan in 1995.

    In their team they had as kids….

    Van de Saar
    Overmars
    Kluivert
    Kanu
    De Boer
    Winston Bogarde
    Jari Litmannen
    Clarence Seedorf
    Edgar Davids
    Rijkaard
    Danny Blind
    Finidi George etc

    Has there ver been a team with so many kids who went on to have brilliant careers? Or so many young managers?

  169. Gööner In Exile says:

    Evonne I guess he just gets hits, last season he would have been saying we always buy budget players, when we actually spend done money he now decides we should have spent on a budget. He is an idiot, he also now has a column in the Daily Fail so I guess that says all we need to know about the idiot.

  170. evonne says:

    GiE – did you hear him saying that Bergkamp personally recommended Ericsson to Wenger? So what, even if that is true? Is Durham saying that Dennis knows better than AW? Front bottom man

  171. 26may1989 says:

    The Mata situation appears to be developing: The Guardian are now reporting that Chelsea would consider selling Mata to United for £40m.

    Of course, even The Guardian gets into journalistic speculation, but they’re at the conservative end of the spectrum for tittle-tattle, so it’s at least a possibility that there’s some truth in this.

    We’ll assume that one of the factors in consideration is that United, at least at the moment, aren’t a threat to Chelsea (ho ho ho), or are at least a much lesser threat than the likes of us. And a sale price like £40m would be very useful for Chelsea in trying to balance the books for FFP purposes. But I still didn’t think they would consider selling a player of Mata’s quality to a PL rival.

    The chances of success are very slim, but I would love to think Gazidis would put in a call to the Bridge, to test the waters for us to buy Mata.

  172. 26may1989 says:

    Raddy, that Ajax side was superb, and it was lovely to see Europe’s premier competition won by a young side, built organically as much as by money, and on pure quality and technique, rather than robotic tactics. Perhaps that will be the last time we’ll ever see something like that happen.

  173. 26may1989 says:

    Mind you, remembering Bogarde’s very grubby time at Chelsea doesn’t bring back warm memories. 11 games in four years, and he said this when he began running his contract down: “This world is about money, so when you are offered those millions you take them. Few people will ever earn so many. I am one of the few fortunates who do. I may be one of the worst buys in the history of the Premiership but I don’t care.”

  174. arnie says:

    26may: Long live diversity of opinions!!!!! :D :D

    Rocky et al: agree on Flamster though, extension and look for substitutes. But what is wrong with the Rambo-Jack duo at DM? :D :D

  175. dhakka09 says:

    TT: a magnificent job you did with this mammoth task of a survey. Too bad, we couldn’t check our fantasies at the door and get rid of Arse DNA in all of us. Having said so, the result is still not invalid in its usage. For example, we know now that Arsenal fans widely expect newcastle to give a tough game to Chelsea and fear for the worst for our lot vs Chelsea away. These are the validation of our individual fears/hopes by the collective mass that makes us feel connected and safe in the collective.

    I was slightly dismayed to see my country Nepal (the tiny length of a country sandwiched between India and China) not represented in the chart. But hey! there might be others like me who are representing her from overseas :)

    About Giroud, I feel that Arsene is getting every ounce of quality out of the guy at the moment and adapting his tactics (by choice or by force) entirely to his strengths. If there ever is a manager who gets most bang out of his buck, then Monsieur Wenger is the man. I am happy with Giroud at the moment and with Bendtner, the Giroud-lite, back in few weeks, am not too worried about any short term fixes of a striker. Our team chemistry is too good to risk disrupting it right now. Let’s go big in summer and splash our cash.

    Pundits are loathe to change their opinions mid-way through the season and with so many predicting us not making CL places this season, its hard to completely back-track and anoint us as possible Champions. I have no problem with them as it would only provide extra pleasure to see them sunk in the hole they dug themselves. So, lets savor the build-up to that prospective and richly rewarding moment and not complain too much in seek their approval, shall we? Anything to lessen the pressure at the top is good for our lads.

    Adios :D

  176. arnie says:

    Some transfer rubbish. Mirko Vučinić agent arriving in Arsenal tomorrow for discussions on a loan move, apparently. Take it however one should take a rumour. But, two things. 1. What a fantastic name, but how to you pronounce it? 2. Perhaps gives us some idea of the kind of players Arsenal are looking at. :D

  177. Gööner In Exile says:

    26 the theory that Mourinho will now sell Mata as he can damage title rivals is a little too short sighted even for him!

    All very well this season loaning out Lukaku you get him back next year and despite Martinez’s good season they are not going to challenge for the title, however selling Mata to ManUre only works this season. In the summer of Unitedget their act together they will have Mata and Kagawa supplying centre forwards and be straight back in the race (I’m obviously thinking Moyes is out on his ear by then.

  178. arnie says:

    Redders: You have made me very happy today by reminding me about Campbell. This is one player I will try to follow during teh World Cup. :D :D :D

  179. arnie says:

    Vučinić or others notwithstanding, I am still hoping for a good scorer in January. Costa is perhaps a step too far, but someone like Martinez will be good. Not so sure about Rodrigo, the other name doing its rounds. :D

  180. 26may1989 says:

    arnie, I believe the pronunciation is “VOOTCHINICH”.

    But Wenger said the other day he’s not looking at this one. Could be telling porky pies of course.

    Dhakka, Nepal? Very interesting, I assumed you’re from Bangladesh, so good to know the error of my ways.

    And Exile, you’re right of course, it would be bonkers for Chelsea to sell Mata to another English club. But madder things have happened…. :)

  181. arnie says:

    26: This is what Wenger said 2 days ago: “We are looking at potential possibilities for us to get someone in, but we are not especially in for Vucinic, Some people have visual capacities that I don’t have.”

    “We are not on any special case. I would love to announce something that would excite you and me, but I don’t have the possibility to do it.”

    Apparently, that was against the context that Juventus had refused a loan deal. But with the Inter transfer having fallen through today, apparently a loan deal is on. Who knows? Game of men and mice! :D

  182. MickyDidIt89 says:

    D09

    You are posting from Nepal at 10:42. That’s 4:40 in the morning your time, which puts you in the very, very early motning crew :-)

    How do I know? Because I have a brother who has lived there for 25 years.

  183. chas says:

    One from the Northcore chap, Micky.

  184. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Dear Technical Support Team

    I have been a regular on this site for a bit now, but am struggling. For the past week I can only access the comments section if I switch browsers from explorer to the shitballs chrome.

    I have done desk cleanup. Now what?

  185. chas says:

    Do you think Wrighty liked scoring?

  186. chas says:

    Only how we play the game.
    You win some, some days.

  187. chas says:

    Who said One Direction could sing?

  188. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Fantastic Chas.
    Had a perfect day on Sunday. Morning session with no wind, clean waves and, and, and sun!
    Then friends joined us for a beach bbq. After a day like that, it’s hard to be bothered by much else :-)

  189. User Support says:

    Dear User,

    Delete your corrupted Explorer cookie.
    Roger and out.

  190. Big Raddy says:

    Micky Do we have a tech team? Ask the kids

  191. User Support says:

    p.s.
    Chrome is the mutt’s nuts, Explorer is shitballs.

  192. chas says:

    Sounds like a mighty fine Sunday, Micky.
    Any video of those tighter turns with the fin in the new position?

  193. Big Raddy says:

    chas. Rifles video superb.

  194. Big Raddy says:

    No. Safari is the chiens ballons, chrome is a dog’s dinner and explorer shitballs

  195. chas says:

  196. Big Raddy says:

    Simple, innocent pleasures

  197. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “Delete your corrupted Explorer cookie”

    Doesn’t doing Desk Cleanup do just that?

  198. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas,
    Fin forwards helped, but I still have the turning circle of an aircraft carrier

  199. chas says:

  200. User Support says:

    “No, Disk Cleanup does not touch your Cookies folder.
    The “cookies” in the Temporary Internet Files Folder are just pointers to
    the real cookies. Like a shortcut to the real cookie.
    Real cookies are stored here >>
    %userprofile%\Cookies
    or
    C:\Documents and Settings\Your Name Here\Cookies”

  201. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Thank you User Support

    Here we go. If you never hear from me again……well…silver linings and whatnot :-)

  202. User Support says:

    Dear DidIt,

    Just deleting one Arsenal Arsenal cookie does not terminate your broadband agreement with your ISP.

  203. Gööner In Exile says:

    Browsers

    Windows:
    Firefox > Chrome > Safari > Explorer

    Mac OSX (and icloud and lots of ios devices)
    Safari > Firefox > Chrome

    But if no icloud
    Firefox > Safari > Chrome

    The difference being syncageability of icloud meaning you can carry on where you left off as you swap devices.

  204. TwentyTwelve says:

    dhakka09,

    “These are the validation of our individual fears/hopes by the collective mass that makes us feel connected and safe in the collective.” Very nicely put. I like it :)

    Although it isn’t clear from the map, do not fear, Nepal was represented with one vote.

  205. It was one of AA`s mystery`s, but it is now clear that Didit`s brother in Nepal is the re-incarnation of Buddhist Steve !.

  206. evonne says:

    I cannot believe it – GM is emigrating to Vietnam!! Mad, I doubt they even show games on the telly over there

  207. Big Raddy says:

    evonne. I have spoken with GM and it makes much sense for him.

    Vietnam is a great country and most bars show every PL game live. Times might be a little awkward – 6 hours ahead which means an evening kick off requires a huge injection of caffeine.

  208. Not a surprise e va va vonne……GM`s initials stand for Good Morning…..Vietnam !.

  209. evonne says:

    Cockie :) you monster!

    I know Raddy, but he is a Londoner, a Gunner, a witty guy – will he find himself in Vietnam? I wish him all the best, obviously, but I’d rather he didn’t go.

  210. Big Raddy says:

    evonne. Me too. but I have the same qualities and love it as an ex-pat.

    Cockle. :-D

  211. evonne says:

    Denmark is not Vietnam :) Brave GM.

    I don’t want Mata to go to Mancunia, please no, I like him and wish we bought him. Moist made a statement/promise that they WILL finish in top four, as if finishing in top 4 was a trophy :)

  212. mickydidit89 says:

    testing

  213. TwentyTwelve says:

    As far as games on telly goes, evonne, I think it wouldn’t be too bad.

    “Vietnam cable TV channel VTVcab said yesterday it has reached a deal to purchase the exclusive rights package to air live Premier League matches on weekdays in Vietnam for the three seasons of 2013-16.

    … Subscribers of other channels … can also pay a monthly fee of VND30,000 ($1.5) to watch live the matches of the package.”

    $1.5 a month! Wow.

  214. mickydidit89 says:

    Yesssss
    Thanks Chas and Exile. Couldn’t find anything either of you suggested but did find a large button to press and bingo

  215. TwentyTwelve says:

    arnie, I’ve sent you a message c/o arsenalnuts. Have fun. Hope to see a new post from you soon :)

  216. mickydidit89 says:

    Mata to Utd would be bad news. They will be back, with or without, Moyes.

    Driving this morning, radio bloke said Rooney to Madrid.

  217. evonne says:

    shouldn’t drive and blog!
    Rooney, with his pasty Irish skin? Nay. A new Galactico? Nay

  218. Morning all

    We have a New Post ……………

    …….no graphs no tables just nice pictures ;)

  219. Hello, every time i used to check website posts here early in the dawn, because i like to gain
    knowledge of more and more.

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