I can’t say I watched either of the two England games that have been played so far during this Interlull and I’m unlikely to watch the third.
International tournaments are fun but all these friendlies and qualifiers are a bore. Perhaps I would feel differently if there was a greater Arsenal presence in the national side but even then I’d mostly be worrying about injuries.
Real footy resumes on Saturday when we entertain Liverpool at the Emirates.
We have nine games left in the EPL and currently sit in 9th place with 42 points. Sixth place (currently occupied by the Spuds) is six points above us.
As the wags will tell you, 42 points means we are safe from relegation. But what will be our points tally at the end of the season?
Here’s how we’ve done over the past five seasons:
2019-20: 8th, 56 pts.
2018-19: 5th, 70 pts.
2017-18: 6th, 63 pts.
2016-17: 5th, 75 pts.
2015-16: 2nd, 71 pts.
Remember those happy days of 2015/16? They didn’t seem happy at the time as, even though we were runners-up, we finished 10 points adrift of a very beatable Leicester City. But what would we give for a runners-up place now?
Anyway, looking forwards, I shall list our remaining EPL games and predict whether they’ll be wins, losses or draws and where that will all leave us at the end of the campaign.
On paper we have a very favourable run-in given that we have to play all of the teams currently in the bottom five, although that can be a double edged sword given that they are fighting for survival.
The struggling champions got back to winning ways in their last match before the international break (away at Wolves). But their record before that was Played 7, Lost 6, Won 1. With that run of form they should be there for the taking, but they are better than recent results have indicated and they still have great players who can hurt us. Prediction: DRAW
Sheffield Utd (A):
Rock bottom and sure to be relegated, the Blades have lost six of their last seven. They don’t really have anything to play for (which can make a team dangerous) but we have to be beating teams like this. Prediction: WIN
The Cottagers had a terrible start to the season, pulled themselves together for a decent run where they were difficult to beat and earned a lot of draws, but have struggled again of late. But they are in a relegation scrap and have plenty to fight for. Even so… Prediction: WIN
The Toffees are currently one place and four points above us and have European places in their sights. Carlo Ancelotti has steadied the ship at Goodison and they have posed problems for plenty of good teams this year. But they are inconsistent – capable of beating top teams and losing to unfancied ones, making this tough to call. Prediction: DRAW
Yet another season of fighting to avoid relegation for the Barcodes. They haven’t won a game since February 6th. We ought to be winning this one. Prediction: WIN
West Bromwich Albion (H):
Another relegation struggler although, unlike Newcastle, the Baggies need a miracle to avoid the drop. Prediction: WIN
Sadly Fat Frank is no longer at the helm and the Chavs are looking like a really good team with a great coach in Tuchel and a wealth of young talent that matches our own. We have a pretty good record against the West Londoners lately, but this may be a step too far. Prediction: LOSE
Crystal Palace (A):
Palace can be a tricky opponent (I’m still scarred by being at the game where they beat us 3-0 a couple of seasons ago). They’re a few places below us in the league but, barring a sudden collapse, should not have to worry about relegation. Nevertheless I can see this being a banana skin. Prediction: DRAW
Currently they’re in the thick of the relegation battle. Will they still be in that position by the last day of the season? If they need a result to stay up they could be a difficult opponent. Let’s hope they’re either definitely down or definitely safe by then. Prediction: WIN
So, in summary, I have us finishing the season with the following run:
P9 – W5 – D3 – L1 for an end-of-season points tally of 60 pts.
If we manage that it would be our second-worst points total for a very long time, but still an improvement on last season and would probably see us finishing somewhere around 7th or 8th. European football would be unlikely unless we can make it all the way in the Europa League.
So, what do you think? Am I being too optimistic? Too pessimistic? How many points do you think we’ll end up with when this challenging, frustrating and occasionally uplifting campaign has come to an end?