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?
All those rubbish home performances in November and December will come back to haunt us. May be a blessing in disguise to avoid Europa League football next season as it really should be Champions League through winning the EL or bust. No point having to begin European Football in July playing the 3rd best team in Moldova in the 3rd qualifying round..leave that to West Ham or the Spuds who will hopefully drop into this new mickey mouse competition UEFA is devising.
Hi Rocky – thanks for the post…I am sorry I have not produced any posts lately but will do at least one this week.
I think 60 points is fair and will get us to 8th position at best. I think we could have had at least 10 points more and reached 70 if it weren’t for silly mistakes.
So 60 points and ppbly a 9th place. Disappointing 😦
Next season will be the make or break season for Edu-Arteta and some players too. I would expect us to have at least between 72 and 80 points and finish in the Top 6 at a minimum, ideally Top 4.
I think Arteta got very lucky that this is a strange season because of Covid-19. The FA Cup Win and the weird season gave him the time to work with little pressure but as soon as the next season starts, the team will be under heavy scrutiny and pressure and will have to deliver.
Morning/afternoon again RA. What about Rodriguez from Leipzig? Appears to be a rottweiler in style.
WWWWWWWWW…..now that’s optimistic, Rocky! But I’m afraid like Dave, I would prefer to be out of Europe than put up again with bloody Thursdays and Sundays!!
Champions League or bust!
Sorry I’ve not been around recently for some fine posts. If you could also pass on my gratitude to your friend Liam for a great read. Always interesting to have fans from other teams come onto the site. Kind of gives you a sense of proportional balance when thinking about your own team, that we are not the only ones to suffer emotionally.
Thinking of Liam as a Utd supporter and your comment about missing the 2015-2016 season, it got me thinking that what I really miss is the ding dong years of the great Utd / Arsenal, Fergie / Wenger rivalry. What wouldn’t both clubs give for a bit of that now?
I dont miss the 2015-2016 season because it was the most frustrating season to me and was the culmination of a couple of years of starting to believe that Arsene was no longer the man he once was.
You only have to look at the following season where we actually got more points but finished 5th to realise that the 2015-2016 season was an anomaly where all the big boys had some issues and it was there for us to take advantage of.
We were top at Christmas and fecked it up. More than anything it said to me that my suspicion for 2 years or so that Arsene no longer knew how to balance a team at the highest level was sadly true.
Anyway, I think your summation of the remaining 9 games is correct. There is little we can do about the EPL, and haven’t been able to for a long while, even with significant improvement since the change in formation for the Chelsea game.
The 7 EPL games before that, against mostly modest opposition, did for us. We took 2 from 21 points. If we had got even 10 that would have still been considered a poor run but those extra 8 points right now would put us in a different perspective.
I have long since stopped worrying about the EPL this season, but am chewing fingernails vigorously with the EL. We can win that if we can cut out the errors, because when we play well currently we are at a high level, as good if not better than any team left in the competition
I am positive about our future under Arteta despite the early seasons woes. You see when I was becoming disillusioned with the later Arsene years it was because we just seemed to tread water leaving the same weaknesses and squad imbalances unaddressed season on season. With Arteta currently, despite some painful moments, it feels like a progressive project with building blocks slowly being put into place.
“Cock on the Club front”, sorry
Guido Rodriguez-REAL BETIS.
If you could buy shares in a national footy team I think I’d be looking at Norway right now.
We’ve seen what Martin Odegaard can do and I’ve just watched a compilation of Erling Haaland’s goals for Dortmund. Wow – what a striker, so clinical at such a young age.
He’s like a cross between Fernando Torres (at his best) and Alan Shearer.
He’s the son of Alf-Inge Haaland of Notts Forest, Leeds Utd and Man City fame.
Rocky – that’s why I think Haaland will go to City to replace Aguero.
Ederson – Walker, Stones, Dias, Cancelo – De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan – Sterling, Haaland, Foden
Scary because the bench is also quite something with Laporte, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Silva, Torres, Mahrez, Jesus
Have we signed Salomon Kalou or Hatem Trabelsi yet?
I forgive you for the ‘cock on the club front’ — but as I think we have similar views elsewhere, especially where defenders are concerned, I might not forgive you if you disagree with any of the following;
Arsenal youngster Daniel Ballard has been hailed in the Northern Irish press after his display against USA yesterday.
Ballard started for Northern Ireland in their friendly against America and although his side were beaten 2-1, the Arsenal youngster impressed.
Ballard actually gave away a penalty during the clash, but he generally coped well against the likes of Giovani Reyna and Christian Pulisic.
And Arsenal supporters will be pleased to read the reaction to his display.
The Belfast Telegraph gave the 21-year-old the highest mark of any player with an 8/10, writing: “Unlucky with the penalty as he got a touch on the ball.
“Continues to show his class and promise at this level. Huge talent.”
Belfast Live were slightly harsher on the prospect, only giving him a 6, but they did say that he had a largely ‘solid’ display, penalty aside.
Ballard’s reputation just seems to be continuing to increase this season, after being sent out on loan.
The youngster has caught the eye at League One level, where he has become a key player for play-off chasing Blackpool.
And hopes that he could return to Arsenal and make an impact are only growing stronger, as his impressive form now continues on the international stage.
Zach Medley is expected to sign a 1 tear contract extension.
Mavropanos is likely to be given pre-season games to see if he can be brought into Arsenal 1st X1.
How d’ja like them potaters ??
OK, it could well be a 1 tear contract – but I actually meant a 1 year contract.
Give him 4 years – I say!!
Like my potatoes mashed, but will take these potatoes any way they are prepared to play for us!
Rocky, like you try to be an optimist, however I believe like many others on here that the league table is irrelevant at this point, other than finishing higher than the spuds.
Only want CL or bust, either win the EL Silverware or forget about EL next year.
We shall see if this squad has the right stuff, if Mikel helps AFC win the EL, the narrative on him will be shifting.
Your taters have “Smash (ed) it, sir!
Daniel Ballard 6’2”, eyes of blue. With Saliba Medley and Mavrapanos we have some size in the CB yoof for a change.
Get rid of Luiz and let four Brits, a Brazilian, a moody Frenchie and a Spaniard fight it out.
Totally agree with you, LBG,
Why does the club not listen to us?
There are even more yoofers out on loan who are possibly even better quality CBs — and height is not a problem anymore – therefore you are correct. 👍