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 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!