AFC – Tuesday MARCH 15TH 2022. – HOW ARE WE LOOKING? A post by MikeM

Here’s a realistic look at what we have to come and probably what we need to do to finish 4th. It may be somewhat pessimistic,however based on the prior 4 or 5 years of stumbling in the biggest games it illustrates what we’ll need to do differently if we’re going to transform from 6-8th place to top 4.

Season so far:

Home P 14, W 10, D2, L2, 32 pts.   Away P12, W6, D1, L5, 19 pts.

Streaks: L3, W3, D2, W3, L3 of 4, W3, L,D, W5.

Based on expected 4th place team results:

Good wins home to Spuds, Hammers and Wolves. @ Wolves and Leicester bonus wins. Those games probably expected draws (XD)

So the 11 other wins would probably be “expected wins” (XW) (not based on the current Arsenal but on a good 4th placed finish team)

3 draws all season!!! 2 home vs Burnley and Palace both probably expected wins, draw at BHA not a bad point at the time we played them.

7 losses: to City (H/A), Chavs H, Liv A, Manure A, Everton A, Brentford A. We can almost count this as 4 losses. The first 3 games (with hindsight) were destined to be difficult. Got stomped at City and Liv (XL). We were unlucky (Xhaka’d) at United and imploded at Everton. Very unlucky at home to City. All three of those games could well have been draws.

Overall, our expected results are about right (FOR A 4TH PLACED TEAM !!!).

Fixtures left and predictions based on our current, thin inexperienced squad :

Home : Liverpool (XL), BHA (XW), Manure (XD), Leeds (XW), Everton (XW) = 10 points

These “expected” results probably are also reflective of a 4th placed team. Turning Liverpool into a point and United into 3 would be overachieving but avoiding a loss to Manure is crucial. Leeds and Everton will likely be fighting for survival and could be a lot tougher than they look, then again maybe not !! Brighton are difficult to break down.

Away : Villa (XD), Palace (XD), Soton (XD), West Ham (XL), Newcastle (XD), Spuds (XD), Chavs (XL). = 5 pts

“Expected” results away are very conservative based on a 4th placed finishing team but here, I’m looking at our actual team as it stands today – young, not much depth and going to hostile environments.  

Expected results for a 4th placed team would include probably 2 wins out of Villa, Palace, Soton and Newcastle (who are a lot better now than their position reflects), maybe 2 or 3 points @ Spuds, W Ham and Chavs.

So, how do we get into the Champions League (or at least finish 4th)? Not lose to Manure and Spuds. Win at least 2 of those 4 “other” away games. We need wins to counter losses, not draws. Sounds obvious but that’s it on paper. A good solid 4th placed team should pick up 20-21 points from the last 12 games. But we have 7 away and only 2 of those are against lower half teams (one of which is Newcastle who are probably top 5 form over their last 8 games).

Spuds host us and West Ham and go to Anfield. But still have BHA twice, Burnley, Brentford and Norwich. If they beat us, and get on a roll, they’re probably most likely to finish above us.

Manure still come to Emirates, go to Anfield and host Chavs, but also Norwich. Again, if they (Ronaldo) get on a roll, they will be difficult to stay ahead of.

West Ham seem least likely, they still have to host us and City, and go to Spuds and Chavs.

Both Manure and West Ham are also still in Europe, adding at least one more match to their schedule.

In summary, these games are not played on paper. As the season continues, matches become more difficult to win. This is where the make up of our squad may hurt us. Sure Spuds and Manure, even West Ham or Wolves could go on a run and gain an unstoppable momentum.

But what’s also for sure is that we’re already on a roll and have momentum. After a nightmare start to the season, in our last 23 games, we’ve won 16 and drawn 3, picked up 51 points from 69. City has 57, Liverpool 53 and Chavs 45 over the comparable stretch. We’ve played the matches in front of us and done an outstanding job of getting results. We don’t really have a goalscoring center forward and are still accommodating Granit Xhaka who is definitely a liability (but has improved a great deal to be fair to him and seems very popular within the squad). Admittedly we’ve had no Europe to deal with and somewhat disappointing domestic cup runs, but looking at our squad depth, that’s a blessing.

I like our chances and believe all of our rivals would swap scenarios with us. So now we have to get it done, no easy feat but we have a group of players that are working hard for each other, fans behind the team, a manager that the squad seems to like and trust and some characters in the team along with a little experience. Partey seems to be relishing his role and has the experience from Atletico. Ramsdale, Gabriel, Xhaka (hard to believe), Laca and Tierney are vocal and exemplary leaders, White, Martinelli, Tomy, and Ode work their socks off too, and the sheer brilliance of Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli and ESR is fun to watch. Add the commitment of Soares, Pepe, Holding, Sambi, Eddie and Elneny who all seem to have bought in to the culture and we have the potential to get it done.

We may fail, confidence is fragile, but at least we’ve given ourselves a chance, which I’d never have believe even in November of last year. Without the chance to fail, you never give yourself an opportunity to succeed.

C’mon you Gooners !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

16 Responses to AFC – Tuesday MARCH 15TH 2022. – HOW ARE WE LOOKING? A post by MikeM

  1. RC78 says:

    Thanks MikeM for your post and I agree with your assessment that we would need 20-21 points from the remaining games to lock in Top 4 but that 15 points may just be enough to go back to Top 4…The reality pbbly lies in between where 18 may be the magic number 😛

    At least, we are giving ourselves a chance. Now, clearly, we have got the wind in our sails but we do have a history at shooting ourselves in the foot so we cannot get too comfortable…

    So let us hope that we don’t get injuries, suspensions, red cards and that we are able to put together our best possible performances…and then hope for the best.

    COYG and thanks MikeM for the post

  2. Mike M says:

    Thanks for posting RC. And again for keeping things going while most of us went quiet. Agreed it might take less points but Spuds and Manure are definitely capable of putting runs together.

  3. LB says:

    Yep, I’m convinced 4th it is, thanks for the in depth analysis. As I was reading I thought wow, this man knows his stuff and the amount of detail, I wonder if he works for a betting agency?

  4. Maxwell says:

    MikeM! You star. What an in-depth analysis, which it’s hard to fault. I’m afraid I’m clinging to the possibility of finishing third. Manure and Spuds are so wildly inconsistent, I don’t see them maintaining a run of any sort. West Ham are struggling with squad size and extra games syndrome. Chelsea are not a dominant force at the moment, and I really think they’re there for the taking.

    What gives me confidence is not necessarily the results, but the rapid and continuing progress both of individuals and the team. We look like a true team from front to back for the first time in… a dozen years? There are no passengers, but eleven totally committed and synchronised players plus half a dozen top reserves.

    I include Marmite Man. Probably more than half the fan base don’t rate Xhaka, in spite of multiple managers and players liking him. His biggest liability has always been his lack of pace, and slowness off the mark, which have resulted in the majority of his gaffes. Arteta has rather cleverly negated this by pushing him up into the “8” role, to help orchestrate the press and the movements around the opposition area, since when we have had fewer heart-in-mouth moments (apart from one telegraphed cross-field pass against Wolves). He’s a respected leader within the group, and I see more positives than negatives. Notwithstanding, an upgrade is due, with greater pace!

  5. RC78 says:

    There will be a post-match for tonight’s game but no pre-match.
    Hope to see many of you comments on MikeM’s post and on the game as it goes on today on our blog! COYG!

  6. fred1266 says:

  7. fred1266 says:

    reading on phone so the predidcted points in the post how many does it add up to?

  8. Mike says:

    15 Fred. But that’s expected points from our young inexperienced fairly thin squad. probably wouldn’t get us in. An extra 6 probably would and the point is to illustrate what a phenomenal achievement that would be by this team this season.
    After 45 mins of the Liverpool game, my only comment would be how shockingly comfortable we’ve been. I’d expect that to change in the second half, especially with the introduction of Salah, but we’ve come a very long way imho.
    Keep it up boys !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. fred1266 says:

    The better side just get such good luck

  10. LB says:

    Well we were all curious as to just how far we were behind Liverpool, we found out tonight, still a way to go. Onwards and upwards.

  11. Mike M says:

    That was a little disappointing for sure but it does show fine margins between success and failure. Seemed like Liverpool had another gear. Anyway lots to be positive about and lots to be cautions about when predicting our finish to the season. But overall, a good performance.

  12. fred1266 says:

    I disagree if odegard score that goal or martinelli pick out a pass after that brilliant work it would have been a different story

    First goal ramsdale usually save those

    Second saka was clearly trying to get a through in

  13. fred1266 says:

    This was litterally what happened in the game against city imo opinion the better side just simple get really lucky against us

  14. Aaron says:

    Mike,

    Hoo hah, thank you for the time and thought put into your post.

    Game played out they way I expected, hoped for a draw, at home, but what do we all expect against one of the top 3 teams in Europe.

    On pace for 60 goals, your post has us at at least 66 points, but we probably need to get 68-70 points to get top 4.

    Playing better that is for sure, tighter defense and more chances, but maybe a CF away from getting top 4 this year.

    Said it before 6-8th still ain’t good enough for me to move the needle, and if goals scored stays under 60, from 55 and 56 scored in the previous years than we have problems again!

  15. VP says:

    great game and we were unlucky. As our team gets better, the luck-o-meter will start to swing our way more often than not.
    We are a definitely a top 4 team

  16. fred1266 says:

    Emery knocks out Juventus hope he goes far into the tournament

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