Two Death Clusters To Make Or Break Arsenal’s Season

Look away now if you are easily frightened.

For example if you have to cover your eyes during the scary bits of Scooby Doo or you run screaming from the room when Alan Hansen appears on TV, the next bit may cause you to swoon:

Within the next 10 weeks we have two horrible groupings of fixtures – what you might call “Death Clusters.”

Here they are:

Death Cluster 1

Sat Feb 8thLiverpool A

Wed Feb 12thMan Utd H

Weekend of February 14 -17 – FA Cup 5th Liverpool H

Wed Feb 19thBayern Munich H

Death Cluster 2

Weekend of March 7-10 – FA Cup QF

Tues March 11 – Bayern Munich A

Sat March 15 – Spuds A

Sat March 22 – Chelsea A

Sat March 29 – Man City H

April 1 or 2 – ECL QF 1L

Sat April 5 – Everton A

April 8/9 – ECL QF 2L

In Death Cluster 1 we play four games in 11 days against opponents who include our title rivals, the Champions of Europe, a team aiming to get in the quarter finals of the FA Cup and Manchester United.

Death Cluster 2 is even worse: one month with (potentially) eight big, big matches including (again) the reigning European champions, our noisy neighbours and the two money-doped petrodollar juggernauts.

So what do we do about these daunting anomalies of the fixtures merry-go-round?

Well, we could all go into hibernation and come out with the daffodils and crocuses in mid April.

But, as my dear late Dad said when he threw me – a non-swimming six-year-old – in the deep end of Charlton Lido: “You have to confront your fears.”

Later, as the lifeguard resuscitated me, I pondered the wisdom of his words but was, perhaps, too young to fully take them in.

These days the sentiment is reflected in the saying: “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

I’ve never been too sure about that one either: if you narrowly avoid death from a debilitating muscle-wasting disease or lose three of your limbs in a combine harvester accident you probably don’t end up stronger.

But that’s just nit-picking.

When it comes to Arsenal, what’s abundantly clear about these Death Clusters is that if they don’t kill us, they absolutely WILL make us stronger.

And that’s why I see them not as the terrifying storm-on-the-horizon that some supporters are worrying about. Instead I see them as a great big gift-wrapped golden opportunity.

Because much as these sorts of fixture runs can derail a team’s season, they can also turbo power it.

Let’s look at Death Cluster 1: if we win or even draw at Liverpool then beat ManUre at our place (getting that particular Bale off our back at the same time) the confidence and togetherness in the squad – which is already excellent – will get even better.

Then we have the 5th Round of the FA Cup. As I write this I am praying that Dennis bestows on us a comfortable home fixture against lower league opposition so we can rest and rotate. Written before the draw.

Then it’s Munich at home. If we avoid defeat in that game we will have come through Death Cluster 1 in great shape. Crucially, good performances and/or results against Liverpool, ManUre and Munich will put us in great shape to face Death Cluster 2.

By the time we start on that second run of tough games we will have that most important quality in football: momentum.

With a head of steam behind us we can roll through mid March to mid April scattering our foes before us like James Corden rolling downhill through a field of size zero models.

And yes, I know this is all speculation and what ifs. And I am aware that if we fail to get past Bayern the second Cluster eases up a bit. But I want to emphasise the point that if this Arsenal is to be the team we all want it to be, these huge games need to be seen as springboards not obstacles.

Squad fitness, new signings (?), refereeing competence – all will play their part. But really it’s down to our team and our club to make the most of these opportunities.

Let’s laugh in the face of Death Clusters.

RockyLives

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106 Responses to Two Death Clusters To Make Or Break Arsenal’s Season

  1. TwentyTwelve says:

    Why, oh why, didn’t I look away! :shock:

  2. chas says:

    hahahahaha in the face.

    Group of Death – hahahahahahahaha

    Do we expect to win anything by playing shite teams only?

  3. 26may1989 says:

    “A great big gift-wrapped golden opportunity” – that’s the baby!

    Rockster, I know when you wrote this, you thought you wanted an easy FA Cup tie, but I’m sure you’ve realised that drawing Liverpool is perfect – bring it on!! No more of these easy draws (Coventry, Spurs etc), it’s great that we’re back in with the tough fixtures.

    The bit I really like about our death clusters (ace phrase, by the way) is that there’s relatively little travelling in it. I know our away form has been epic, but in short spaces of time, Wenger probably doesn’t want to have to waste too much training and recuperation time on travelling. So, of the games we’ll definitely play in those periods, only three of them require travel outside the People’s Republic of London.

    Time to show what we’re made of….

    PS: GN5, I’m late to the party but I’ve just caught up with the good news – well done, and fully deserved, that article was a doozy.

  4. Rasp says:

    Thanks Rocky … squeak, squeak….everything’s shrivelled :roll:

    Well we can forget Draxler this window and apart from Cabaye or Remy there aren’t any other PL ready players we could bring in …. So its down to our squad to show how mighty the few can be.

  5. Rasp says:

    One thing is for sure, the gate revenues this season must be up with all the big cup games at home. Also good news about the massive deal with our new German friends at Puma. Draxler in the summer certainly seems to be within budget.

  6. Danny says:

    I reckon that so much is going to depend on Ramsey when he returns. If the Ramsey of Sept – Nov returns, then we’ll be in for an amazing next 3 months, but if on the other hand Ramsey of last season returns then in the words of Private Frazer………

  7. chas says:

    Ramsey, Arteta and Vermaelen are back.
    Jack a doubt.

  8. chas says:
  9. LB says:

    Death Clusters…………..brilliant, just brilliant. Another joy to read.

    As for the games, what a treat we have in store.

  10. Rasp says:

    Hi Danny, I would argue that the Ramsey of the second half of last season was already looking pretty good. It took Ramsey 18 months after his return from injury before he started consistently realising his potential and the same seems to be the case with Jack. But I agree that we need Ramsey to reproduce his early season form with the fixtures we’re facing.

  11. TwentyTwelve says:

    Ok… I’ve had a closer look at the schedule. Calmer now. :)

    For many of the fixtures, there are a four day separation (three full rest days; I hope my definition of rest day is correct). In fact, before the clash with the closest PL rivals, Arsenal get practically a full week of rest.

    However, there are several sequences with only two days of rest or less:

    1) ManU home–FA Cup Liverpool home. Two days of rest. Not so bad as they are both home games.
    2) If Arsenal go that far, the CL QF legs with Everton away sandwiched in between. Two days of rest each.
    3) The FA Cup QF–CL Bayern Munich away. As I understand it, there is no coordination beween the two competions, so there could be at worse two important matches, two days in the row 10Mar and 11Mar. No rest day at all. Can that really happen?

    Great rallying cry of a post, Rocky.

    p.s. I wasn’t able to check AA over the weekend, so I almost missed GN5 great news. Well done!

  12. Just for myself, I have re-named the post headline !. hahaha

    Ten Weeks of Torture ?

  13. 26may1989 says:

    When the fixture list was announced last summer, I pretty much freaked out when I saw what was going to happen in Feb to April, though we were given a very kind schelude up to November or thereabouts.

    Now that we’re here, with the fantastically consistent form shown by the whole squad, with particular credit for the defence, I can’t help but feel excited. This is precisely what we want, to go into these matches going toe-to-toe with the best.

    As Rocky points out, the confidence that will flow if we get some results in these games will be enormous. Our form began last season, but as we all know, the Bayern away game was a special one: we were given absolutely no chance of getting a result, but we won in their backyard and finished a hair’s breadth from knocking them out of the CL. The confidence the players and fans drew from that one game was incredibly important. Those big games really are opportunities….

  14. andy bishop says:

    Our last 38 premier league games have yielded 90 points including games against the top teams. With us Man City and Chelsea slugging it out 90 may not be enough. We have improved and a joy to watch and these games are important and feel we need to get something out of them. The schedules are a test of our quality. If you want to be the best you have to beat the best…who said that?

  15. Big Raddy says:

    Andy ….. You did.

    RL. In complete agreement. Very exciting times. Say, just say, we lose two or three games on the bounce, do you think we have the nuts to recover?

    I believe so.

  16. RA says:

    What a pain in the butt you are Rock Star!

    One of my sure fire routines when facing a body invasion by creepy doctors waving their outsized syringes in the air (yes, I am aware that this statement may have deep psychological ramifications) :-) – or flying as a passenger in a crop duster with a loony pilot, with a death wish to loop the loop and yell “let’s show ‘em dude” (yet another cousin) is to mentally compartmentalise my concerns, hope for the best, and just go with the flow.

    That system also works very well with forthcoming Arsenal fixtures that would otherwise fill me with trepidation.

    Now, by giving a name to the nightmare fixtures, and putting Alan Hansen’s face to them, you have stripped me of my comfort failsafe, and I have never been so scared since Scooby Doo was chased by that horrible ghost that went – Ooooooohooo, I’ll get yoooooohooo.

    Death Clusters indeed.

    Thanks a bunch, Rocky!! :-(

  17. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Cheers Rock

    Yes, I laugh in the face of death, even though the thought of snuffing it forces my body hair erect, but I never laugh at clusters.

    During one of my numerous Woody Allen moments, I lost a good friend by revealing the buttocks and asking his counsel on an unseemly cluster.

    I am desperate for the team to come through these clusters, Though I will be heart broken to see our season slip away, my confidence that next season we will have the best side compensates for this possible loss.

    I have a feeling it will be a mixed bag of results with the end result been that we are still in contention for the title. If it goes that way, I think we will nick it.

    Just like to say that we deserve to win the league. We are competing directly with two clubs that have been pumped with outside money.

    Justice shall prevail

    The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stirring

  18. GunnerN5 says:

    Rocky,

    Another in a long list of outstanding posts, and this one is right on the money. A holy hell of consecutive fixtures that would daunt the very best teams – are we up to it is the burning question.

    The “Doubting Thomas” in me is worried silly, as in all my years I’ve never seen such a formidable grouping of fixtures – for any club, so there can be no comparative precedence. I simply have no idea where it will all end up.

    The “True Believer” in me is worried silly as I have nothing to base my hopes on other than then my belief in the team and especially in our fantastic (I never had a doubt) leader Arsene Wenger.

    The “Worry Wart” in me is worried silly as I don’t know if my old heart can withstand the continuous tension and stress that will just accumulate with these games. My solution may have to be to record each game and watch it once I know the result.

    The “Excited Fan” in me has no worries at all – The games can’t start soon enough and my sense of anticipation grows by the moment.

  19. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Redders, there you are.

    After coming out of the closet, I would very much like to tell you time I stayed firmly in the closet.

    It was in the 98 season and our game against Palace in the Cup was live on TV. I had just settled down to watch the game when there was an unwanted knock on the door.

    It was a work colleague who I did not particularly like who had a habit to interfere. I yelled at the Mrs “Tell him ime out”, but it was no good, she let him in.

    I quickly slipped into the closet, leaving a lit fag in the ashtray and a half eaten pack of wotsits. “oh that’s strange”, the Mrs said “Ime sure he was here”.

    Anyway, rather than leave, the Bastard sat down and the Mrs made him a cup of tea. In the background I could hear the game, Overmars went close and Petit missed a good chance.

    About 10 minutes into the game, this interferer stated asking the Mrs questions that were not to my taste. “Does he take you out often”, and “hes not very good with his feelings is he”?

    The Bastard was coming on to the wife, I couldn’t believe it. Just at that moment Anelka blazed one over.

    He kept going, and after about 35 minutes “maybe we should meet for Coffee, Terry dosnt have to know”, to which she replied “er ok, maybe” I was fuming, there keeper was having a blinder.

    Just as the half was drawing to a close I heard him get up to leave, and could just make out a noise that sounded like a slurp.

    As soon as I heard the door shut I burst out of the closet shouting “F*cking hell”. The Mrs looked shocked and yelled “You were in there all the time, and heard everything”?

    I screamed back “To right I did, were getting held at home, we dont bloody need that” hahahaha

  20. GunnerN5 says:

    I want to thank you all for your reactions to the news about one of my pieces being re-blogged on Arsenal.com.

    I continue to be humbled and embarrassed as other authors on AA are far more deserving than myself of being selected.

    My series are usually self serving as I get a real kick of nostalgia each time I research anything that is Arsenal related. So many childhood memories come rushing back that I tend to lose track of myself and have to start from the beginning and re-read the information I have discovered.

    However, once again, thank you for your words – especially those from that jealous bugger at 7:39 am.

  21. chas says:

    I don’t get all this fuss about the deal with Puma.
    We aren’t even going to get to see the new shirts.

  22. arnie says:

    Rocky-day again. What a pleasure!!!! I have read the fantastic post, and tried to look away, but curiosity got the better of me. Oh dear!!!!! :D :D :D

    OK, I will go off-topic a bit. I have been following all happenings on AA with interest, but not participated much over the past couple of days. This is for a reason. I have been painstakingly extracting the data from TT’s fantastic poll to try and find out what it says. TT kindly offered help, but I decided to go alone, because I wanted to get my hands dirty with the data. Old fashioned, perhaps. :D :D

    My deadline was to get something out before matchday. Here are some snippets. Contrary to general opinion, I think the data are very good. Yes, there are 9 respondents (out of 126) who predicted an Arsenal win in all games. Like TT, I have removed the data from these persons. That gets us to 117 respondents.

    The predictions are optimistic from an Arsenal point of view, as one would expect. They are in the nature of an optimistic scenerio analysis. A higher quantile prediction in statistical terms, if you may.

    Respondents see Arsenal as the Champions. Fair enough, but why? First, they predict us not dropping points against the weaker teams. Second, they predict that we will drop some points against the big teams, but will not lose, except perhaps to Chelsea and Liverpool. Interesting, not Shitty. Third, Chelsea will be generally less consistent. Fourth, Shitty will lose to Arsenal, and will somewhat fizzle out towards the end of the year. The combination of these factors hands Arsenal the trophy.

    So, how likely is Arsenal as Champions? the poll was conducted after match day 21 and before match day 22. At that stage, based on predicted results, Arsenal had a 75 percent chance, Shitty 22 percent and Chavs 3 percent.

    But, look what happens after some of the uncertainty is resolved on match day 22. A priori, a Chelsea win against ManUre was 32% likely outcome, a draw 62% and a ManUre win 5%. Once the uncertainty is resolved in favour of a Chavs win, their chances improve. Now, an Arsenal win stands at 73%, Shitty 20% and by winning, Chavs raise their chances to 7%. This is the way this goes.

    So, AA ers, what do you want us (TT and myself) to do? Provide some Arsenal-coloured chances before each match day, together with the likelihood of Shitty and Chavs dropping points? I can well do this in a small few lines after the pre-match has been published.

    Onwards and upwards!!!!!! :D :D :D I will try and find out what respondents thought about Rocky’s nightmare weeks in a bit. :D

  23. GunnerN5 says:

    Arnie,

    While I applaud your effort in working with the data from the TT post I still have strong doubts about the credibility of the results as they come from the most biased of respondents – our own supporters.

    Rocky’s post today highlights the sheer impossibility of predicting the results of the remaining 16 EPL games let alone the addition of the FA and CL Cups.

    Our record against the top clubs is consistently and predictably miserable. Below I’ve listed the % of points won against the top teams in our EPL history.

    Chelsea – 52%
    Liverpool – 43%
    Man C – 70%
    Everton – 70%
    Spurs – 53%
    Man U – 35%
    Overall – 53%

    So if we use the overall % of 53% (which is risky as our records against Chelsea, Man C and Everton are influenced by their early EPL years) it would mean dropping at least 8/9 points in the remaining 6 games against the top teams – and to assume that we will win all of the other 10 games is a nothing more than a wish and a hope pipe dream.

    Given our consecutive runs of games against the top clubs AW’s ability to rest or rotate his squad will be sorely restricted. There are simply too many factors to be taken into consideration, including referee’s performances, injuries, fatigue, schedule, for predictions to be anything more than SWAG.

  24. arnie says:

    GN5: Point well taken. On average, over historical periods, we are at the base level. It is a zero sum game after all. Nevertheless, the point of looking into the future with rose tinted glasses is that we retain hope, the point of looking back at fantastic successes of the past is that they do not happen every day. There are cycles in history, and we are rising!!!!! :D :D :D

    If as Arsenal supporters we have an optimistic view, that is fair. If we do not have such views, who will? Not Spuds supporters? If financiers during the Industrial Revolution did not take punt on low percentage opportunities, we would not be what we are. That is the message I take from history.

    On data, I am old fashioned. I believe data always has information content. It is up to us to figure out what that information is, and how to make use of it.

    So, my view is onwards and upwards. If you are saying that we should not be posting such impressionistic data on the site, that is a point well taken as well. But, are you saying that really? :D :D

  25. GunnerN5 says:

    No I’m not saying that at all Arnie, I’m just pointing out the vagaries inherent in the accuracy of long range predictions, especially when the base data comes from our own supporters.

  26. arnie says:

    Forgot to say, the predictions do not say we will not be dropping points. The average predictions in TT’s poll say that we will be losing to Chavs, perhaps to Liverpool or ManUre as well, and we will be dropping points against Shitty, Liverpool, Totnumbs, Everton, and perhaps also against the likes of Hull and Stoke.

    People have clearly thought about their predictions, and there must be some value therefore in the data. And this is where my position differs from yours!! :D :D :D

  27. arnie says:

    Yes, GN5, there is uncertainty which will be resolved as the hard data (results) flow in. Just one good result raised Chavs from 3% to 7%. So there is a lot of uncertainty now. This is captured in the data to some extent, I think. The purpose of this exercise to to quantify this uncertainty.

  28. GunnerN5 says:

    I will close with this – the path to the EPL Championship is covered with broken glass so lets hope we are the ‘bleeder” than comes out with the most blood left.

  29. GunnerN5 says:

    Now onto my daily Sudoku.

  30. arnie says:

    On death clusters, here is what the poll data says:

    Death Cluster 1, games against Liverpool and ManUre, average points 4. Two points lost, which is one drawn game. But 7% also predict a loss to Liverpool.

    Death Cluster 2, 4 games against Totnumbs, Chelsea, Shitty and Everton. Average points 7, loss of 5 points. 17% predict loss to Chelsea, but only 4% predict a loss to Shitty. Reflects their away form, maybe. Dropped points likely against all 4.

  31. arnie says:

    “Let’s laugh in the face of Death Clusters”. Brilliant, Rocky!!!!! :D :D :D

  32. evonne says:

    only if you have a weird sense of humour arnie :) I am petrified, the only one I am looking forward to is Spurs game, should be easy

    Rocky – this post is not a fairy tale, is it? You have succeeded in making me even more nervous than normal. Let us hope that this nightmare will have a happy ending.

    BTW, your daddy was evil :) Can you swim?

  33. RA says:

    arnie,

    Your enthusiasm is always welcome.

    I personally would be perfectly happy for you to play with and to extrapolate interesting information from TT’s data.

    It does depend on the individual as to how much credibility, if any, would be given to the results of your deliberations, because, as GN5 has been pointing out, the population of the survey would fail any reasonably objective assessment of its worth, so it does beg the question of what would be the purpose of further analysis of TT’s data.

    For myself, I am prepared to make a prediction, not based on any survey, but on experience of the human condition and our attempt to rationalise results to suit our own predilections.

    So here is my take on this.
    (a) If the conclusion of the analysis is that Arsenal will win the EPL, then I am sure that we would all be very pleased, if a little sceptical, and hail the efficacy of your work, simply because it helps bolster our hopes for a trophy.

    (b) If, however, the conclusion pointed to Arsenal not winning, or, heaven forfend, that, mayhap, we would finish 5th, then with one voice we would all be pooh poohing and condemning the data and the survey of non-independant people and saying it was contaminated and rubbish :-)

    Just ensure you fiddle the figures to arrive at the conclusion we all want to see, and everyone will be very content.

    [Did I say 'fiddle' the figures? No, no, what I meant to type was: ensure you work assiduously to extrapolate meaningful analysis of the data - and produce the 'correct' result!] :-)

    Good luck with that – or let’s go back to teasing GIE and his swingometer, which is clearly rubbish because it shows Citeh as the predicted victors, and not us! :-)

  34. arnie says:

    Redders: :D :D :D “Just ensure you fiddle the figures to arrive at the conclusion we all want to see”. ha ha ha. Two quick points.

    First, biased sampling is a part of life. Gallup, and it does not get bigger in the polling domain, earned their reputation by predicting US election results. Using, yes, a biased sample of car owners, house owners and the like, who are largely Republican supporters. How did they do it? Not the place to go into details, but yes, a biased sampling frame has value, if you know how they are biased. In this case, Arsenal supporters can predict where opponents might lose their points.

    Second, the predictions are useful even at face value. Yes, you are right. “I am prepared to make a prediction, not based on any survey, but on experience of the human condition and our attempt to rationalise results to suit our own predilections.” Precisely the point. We are Arsenal fans, and therefore are biased. Even then, we have uncertainty. Even a reasonable Arsenal fan would admit the possibility thet Citeh may win the League. It is a question of placing some value into that uncertainty.

    We will be back to “teasing GIE and his swingometer”, let us give him a brief respite!!!!! :D :D :D

  35. JanMan says:

    Hello GN5. I realize we have not always seen eye to eye and have clashed over a few silly incidents but I would like to put that to the side and offer you my sincere congratulations on your FA cup piece being selected for Arsenal.Com. I also enjoyed the link that was posted pertaining to your background history. You are indeed one of the finest supporters of Arsenal Football club and I do appreciate how much time and effort you put into some of your posts and statistical data. I truly take my hat off to you.

  36. GunnerN5 says:

    Peace be with you JanMan, and thank you for your kind words.

  37. JanMan says:

    Thank you GN5. My apologies for any past misunderstandings.

  38. kelsey says:

    Last week we had a poll and it was suggested that we would only lose 6 points until the end of the season based on the poll results.
    I presume but am not sure the majority of those that voted are now predicting in a significantly different way.
    Of course it is a huge ask to win all these games or even remain undefeated but looking into stats can be misleading as City and Chelsea are significanyly stronger these past few years than in the days of the concept of the PL.
    On our day we can beat anyone but the CL is a game that interests me a lot. We are playing currently the best team around and to prevent them scoring at our place will most probably determine the tie.Going out maybe just a blessing at least for this season.
    I am also sure that all the other contenders for the title apart from taking points off each other will also lose unexpectedly as has already happened this season.
    The FA Cup is achievable but again depending on the draw and I see us progressing against liverpool who though not involved in Europe are in a very tight race for forth and that will be their priority.

    I see the Chelsea away game as the hardest of the named fixtures above and draws and wins in the other fixtures would still leave us very much in the mix.
    Squad size maybe questioned, injuries will have an impact but their is so much more character about this team that anything is possible.
    I still expect us to fall short but the improvement has already been seen even if we have had many a nervous ending to many games.
    I honestly don’t think if there were some sudden late signings,which I doubt, that it would make any difference.

    RL thank you for the post.

  39. evonne says:

    rumour!!! rumour!!! Rumours latest:
    not only we are closing on Draxler, but his teammate Sebastian Jung is to join us too. Jung is Young in English, good name

  40. JanMan says:

    There are some stories in the German news this afternoon that Arsenal have made a bid of 36 million Euro to Schalke for Julian Draxler? Perhaps we will have a transfer day deadline surprise?

  41. arnie says:

    “weird sense of humour”. I love that, Evonne. :D :D :D An eternal optimist?

    The difference between a communist and a Catholic is where they place the default position in life. A communist is always unhappy because the world could have been so much better, in the counterfactual.

    The Catholic is always happy, because if God were not there it would be hell!!

    An Arsenal fan lies in the best of both worlds. Yes, progress can be made, a lot of progress. But we are moving towards it, and more importantly, we have challenges to face, so we can be very happy. Right? :D :D :D

  42. JanMan says:

    evonne.
    Just FYI. Jung is not a team mate, he plays for Eintracht Frankfurt. Nether the less, a very promising right back.

  43. chas says:
  44. evonne says:

    arnie – I was born a Catholic in a communist Poland, What fecking chance did I ever have in life, ey?

  45. arnie says:

    Evonne: you did well, best of both worlds!!!!! And this is why you chose to support Arsenal FC. !!!!! :D :D :D

  46. evonne says:

    not really, but it’s a long story

  47. Mike says:

    Observations regarding remaining EPL fixtures. 16 games left LAST season, 9H 7A. 3 home to Manure, Liv and Evert, 3 draws. Away to Spuds, Lost. Won all 12 remaining games vs rest of table for 39 pts from 48.
    THIS season, 16 games left, 2 Home to City and Utd. $ away at Chavs, Spuds, Evert and Liv. 10 left against rest of table 6 home, 4 away. We have 17 more points at this stage than last. We will need similar results against the rest of the table, plus avoid defeat as much as possible vs the top 7, esp. Chavs and Shitty.We might have the hardest run in except for Shitty who still have 5 of the top 7 (6) to play away. Chavs have 3 home and 2 away vs top 7 left. Scary, but oh well !! C’mon you GOOOOOOOOOners !!!!!!!!!!

  48. arnie says:

    Evonne: will hear some day!!!! You know what, I started my career as a software programmer. Absolutely hated it. Porting AMEX banking programs from the US system to Latin America.

    I used to see bugs in my nightmares. Very scary! I have a lot of respect for the likes of you and Manthan and …. :D :D :D

  49. Vinay says:

    Anfield and the bridge games, need atleast a draw in those 2 games, meaning a point atleast from those 2 games, we need to beat united at home and atleast a draw against city at home, this effectively means we drop 6 points in 4 games in this cluster. Stoke, Everton and other games during feb march then becomes must wins, i think we will win those, though everton and southampton will be tough tough games. Spuds at the lane??? hmmmm fancy another 4-4-2 Tim??? please do and we can come away with all 3 points there. I still maintain the same, win all the games against other mid/lower teams, limit the damage against your direct rivals, we will be good, we will win the league.
    UCL, sorry we have no chance, FA cup due respect i dont care, league it is, 10 years of waiting, come on you gunners.
    Is it strange that everytime there is a key player injury, someone else has stepped and now when jack is injured who is back- Rambo. We dint have a bench strength did we????? Arsenal team this time knows what to do, they wil do it.

  50. Mike says:

    4 away !!!

  51. 26may1989 says:

    Very annoying, have just realised that BT Sport moved our match vs Man U to the Wednesday, meaning I can’t attend. Bastardos…..

  52. arnie says:

    Mike and Vinay. Yes thats the spirit!!!!!!! COYG :D :D :D

  53. evonne says:

    26 – sue them :)

  54. 26may1989 says:

    I just need to find a good lawyer, evonne – you know any?????

  55. TwentyTwelve says:

    Thanks for the survey analysis, arnie. Naturally I love it, and at the risk of using up all the AA readers’ goodwill toward stats and prediction, I propose that we add to the side bar another table that shows the original survey result at inception, and the updated, adjusted prediction, which takes the known match outcome into account. Of course, this latter set would have a built-in corrective mechanism, so in the end we are bound to hit the target /- respondent uncertainty.

    ……………..Survey’s View…………………………….
    ……………..Inception……………..Wk 22 Adj……..
    ……………..1st……….+/-…………1st………..+/-….
    Arsenal…..75 %…….43 %……..74 %……..44 %
    Man City….21 %……41 %………20 %……..40 %
    Chelsea……3 %…….18 %……….7 %………25 %

  56. evonne says:

    26 – nay, I don’t :)

  57. RA says:

    Walked into that one, 26M. :-)

  58. GunnerN5 says:

    Arsene on the team news for Tuesday…

    We have a doubt about Jack Wilshere, who had an ankle problem during the game against Coventry.

    on players returning…
    We have players back normally in the squad – Vermaelen and Arteta. They should be back and available but we might from our last game lose Jack for tomorrow’s game.

    on Oxlade-Chamberlain starting…
    He’s fitter, still not at 100 per cent. That decision has not been made yet, he might start, I don’t know yet. But he’s getting closer.

    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

  59. GunnerN5 says:

    Arsene Wenger: Arsenal manager ‘will extend stay’ at Emirates

    Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is to extend his contract with the Gunners, according to chief executive Ivan Gazidis.

    The Premier League’s longest-serving manager, Wenger is in the final 12 months of his current contract at the north London club.

    “Arsene will be extending [his stay] with us and at the right time we will make that announcement,” said Gazidis.

    Wenger, 64, has been in charge at the Emirates since 1996.

    The announcement was made on the same day the Gunners revealed a new multi-million pound kit manufacturing deal with German company Puma.

    Last year Gazidis spoke about formalising an extension for his manager, but the move was greeted with protests from some supporters, with the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust calling it “inappropriate”.

    At that time, Arsenal had yet to spend during the 2013 summer transfer window and Wenger’s side had slumped to a 3-1 defeat at home to Aston Villa on the opening day of the new season.

    However, the Gunners have enjoyed a strong 2013-14 campaign so far and currently sit top of the Premier League by a point, with a goal difference of plus 24 and having won seven of their last 10 games.

    In Wenger’s 18 years in charge, Arsenal have won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and four Community Shields, though they have not lifted a major domestic trophy since 2005.

  60. evonne says:

    what’s on? cannot open your link

  61. chas says:

    Extra time being played. 0-0

  62. Big Raddy says:

    Golly. Mourinho has already destroyed any attacking intent in his U-21 set-up. The man is a genius.

  63. chas says:

    1-0 Afobe final score.

    BR,
    Someone on twitter said, ‘remind me, what is the point of the Chelsea youth system? ‘ :)

  64. chas says:
  65. Some music to chill out to !. :)

  66. Hope you are all well.

    Fantastic post. Bring the death clusters on. Other teams will drop points. I hear draxler is off this window. Shame as it would have been a positive boost to an already positive squad.

    UTA

  67. kelsey says:

    So once again money wins and Cabaye is off to PSG

  68. Big Raddy says:

    PSG are a hateful club. Even if they have my favourite player.

  69. Big Raddy says:

    BTW I am not here. Just up to clear the snow – it is a legal requirement in Dk.

  70. kelsey says:

    Yet the tax rate has gone up to 75% in France for anyone earning over 150000 euros a year.

    I can see off shore accounts increasing despite the new legislations,clever accountants have ways of getting round everything.

  71. mickydidit89 says:

    Fantastic piece Rocky, thank you.

    I’m away on manoeuvres, so haven’t had the chance to comment. I’d say the big one is Utd at home. Win that, and we’ll put a bogey behind us and be in great shape.

  72. mickydidit89 says:

    Jealous Bugger at 7:23 says:

    GN5 :-)

  73. mickydidit89 says:

    Kelsey
    I’m in London at the moment, and the saying is that Fulham has become “La Petite France”. Crawling with the smooth talking love machines :-)

  74. mickydidit89 says:

    Yesterday morning, I read this from Exile:

    “Also worth looking up the original footballers Corinthians who always missed penalties because the ref must be wrong because gentlemen would not foul another, also if an opponent retired hurt they would remove one of their own players”

    Spent the next few hours imagining games where all 22 players agree to simply ignore the ref and do their own thing :-)

  75. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh and.
    Driving about yesterday evening, talk sport saying we’re talking to Benfica about Rodrigo.
    It’s good to talk as they say :-)

  76. arnie says:

    Motning all.

    Micky: yes, let us get the bogey behind us. If we win against Liverpool and ManUre, we will win the league this year. If we draw one and win the other, still a chance.

    We have to win today. Will Totnumbs do us a favour tomorrow?

    Micky: Do you like the sights of Rodrigo? :D

  77. arnie says:

    Raddy is here but not here. Existential question …… :D

  78. mickydidit89 says:

    Arnie,

    Strewth, I had no idea we have a game today. Thank you :-)

    Yes, that Raddy is a strange fellow :-)

  79. arnie says:

    Kelsey. The top bracket 75% tax thing is symbolic, I think. But Hollande is under a lot of s***. There was some suggestion he should be allowed to change his partner only during the transfer season.

    Have the European countries not reached a deal that people will not be allowed to register in other countries for tax purposes? Like the Mittals, living in London, paying donations to Labour and almost getting peerage, but paying taxes in the Netherlands. Lewis Hamilton as well. Europe is full of such s***.

  80. arnie says:

    Micky: Soton today. Tomorrow Shitty play Totnumbs. :D

  81. mickydidit89 says:

    Actually, when I was a yoof, I took a course in Existential Phenomenology. Up to me eyeballs in yer Heideggers and yer Sartres. Another dark and bad phase :-)

  82. mickydidit89 says:

    Arnie
    London is the global mecca for tax fiddling :-(

  83. arnie says:

    ha ha ha, Micky. When I was young, I tried to read Sartre. Bad idea!!!!! :D :D

  84. arnie says:

    yes, unfortunately.

    have to rush. back laters.

  85. arnie says:

    My good lady does Frankfurt School and Habermus and stuff. Not much better. oh dear, very painful!!!!!!! :D :D

  86. Big Raddy says:

    When I was young I “read” Playboy and Penthouse.

    Vive la Difference :-D

  87. Big Raddy says:

    Nico Yennaris signs for Brentford. I had high hopes for him.

    Perhaps the rumours about another RB coming in are true.

  88. evonne says:

    Raddy – I bet you still enjoy dirty magz :)

    Never mind Cabaye, PSG want Messi, the cheek of them. Why are they a nasty club?

  89. evonne says:

    Mata is a nutter. He might be a good footballer but is fecking dense. He reckons that Manu can still win the title. Why? Because he is there now? Ejeet

  90. kelsey says:

    arnie

    Having recently returned from living in Spain for 12 years it could open up a mine field with the variations of the tax laws in different European countries.

    As an aside i just read that as our cup tie is a category A game that Liverpool fans are being charged 93.00 per ticket which is grossly unfair as it eats up practically all their dole money.

  91. Gööner In Exile says:

    Morning all, these clusters of death as you say Rocky are as much an opportunity as a challenge.

    The other good thing must be that we have a relatively easy run in after Everton where we still have chance to make gains.

    We have 16 games left, 6 big games and 10 against the rest, 10 wins = 30pts then if we need plus 90 we will need a few results out of those 6 to get 9 points at least. And if that features draws against City and Chelsea that’ll be ok.

    Cups? What will be will be.

  92. Gööner In Exile says:

    Kelsey I think they will have two prices, lower tier £62 upper tier £93, obviously they get 25% of the ground (FAC rules). But should be said we will pay same prices, personally think club could have been generous and made it Cat B fixture.

    ST holders is the game included in your ST price? 7 cup credits, 3 CL group games, 2 FAC games so far, Munich home, so Dippers home will be last cup credit?

  93. Gööner In Exile says:

    Wow Chas that’s ridiculous that it’s actually endorsed by the club. I’ve bought tickets to gigs from similar things, Seatwave for example to get tickets to Muse in the SanSiro, paid double price but was worth it for our honeymoon. But as you say it is effectively legalised touting.

    Thank goodness for our Ticket Exchange…..at least it’s only face value.

  94. chas says:

    The category for the Liverpool cup game hasn’t been announced as far as I know.

    Yep, dippers is last cup credit.

  95. chas says:

    Weren’t some of the supporters’ groups asking for all away supporters to be put in the upper tier so that there would be more lower tier tickets (which would be cheaper) available for home fans?

  96. chas says:

    Ant and me paid £48 at Anfield last season and we didn’t see either of the goals go in.

    Arsenal fans pay £50 at Carrow Road and Norwich fans £25 at ours.

  97. arnie says:

    Raddy @ 7:38. :D Yes, those as well, but had to be smuggled. Not much difference, though. :D :D :D

  98. chas says:
  99. chas says:

    This is a little bit too early for me, but thought it might be of interest.

    http://www.1959bhsmustangs.com/VideoJukebox.htm#

  100. Rasp says:

    Morning all …..

    …. New post ……

  101. chas says:

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