Season Predictions.

August 11, 2018

We know our squad, we know the strength of the opposition squads, where do you think we will finish come season’s end?

I am excited (as always) by the prospect of a winning season for The Arsenal and IMO we have almost all the assets to do well; a mixture of youth and experience, a new manager with an outstanding past record, new coaches and backroom staff and, above all, some variety in attack.

Much has been made of the defence and with good cause, we certainly looked shaky in the friendlies, particularly at centre back. Given the PL inexperience of the Greek chap and Mustafi’s inexplicable lapses it was a huge gamble to loan Chambers but perhaps Holding has impressed in training, or we had our sights set on a solid CB and the transfer did not come to fruition. Whatever, it is cause for concern. And what of the full backs? We look strong on the right with the Swiss bloke being a fine addition (if he remains fit) but on the left?? Nacho is losing pace, The Beast is not a proper defender nor is M-N. Much will be expected of The Terrier (we need a Jack Russell as opposed to a Westie).

Our attack lacks a winger and I hope UA will not try to make PEA into a TH14 – he is a very effective central striker. How UA makes space for Ozil, and Mhiki will be interesting, as will how Iwobi develops. Unlike many, I believe Iwobi has all the talent to become a top player.

And what of the other teams?

Man City are a superb team and odds-on to repeat their PL victory. Mahrez is a good addition. I cannot see anything but them being crowned Champions again and doing much better in the CL.

Man Utd. I have never hidden my dislike of Merino and he has created a team in his image.  Their arrogance can be seen in the antics throughout the club with Pogba being the worst culprit. Shame because they have some fine players. I wish them ill and will laugh as their managers moans about lack of investment.

Liverpool. Where do they get €200m+ to spend in one summer? Why can’t we get someone in who is prepared to do the same? Klopp has to deliver this season. 4th is not good enough, though a losing CL final appearance is testament to the improvement under his management. Can Salah have another wonderful season or is he another Clive Allen? Can the Scouse finally win a title? Not in my opinion.

Spurs. Got better and better in 2017/18 but ultimately they got Spursy and won sweet FA. No signings but no departures. New ground on it’s way hence tightened purse strings.  Last won the title in 1961 and despite the last 8 years having a 1 in them, they continue to flatter to deceive.

Chelsea. Expensive but worse GK. Kovacic and Jorginho will take time to settle. Can they get back to Top 4 under a new manager? They need a proper finisher and it is a major surprise they continue with Morata, OG (WC winner) and some other bloke.

Everton. The Nearly Men. Spent big money, have a decent squad plus Theo. Have High Hopes

So, how will the table look at the end of the season?

My Prediction is:

  1. Man City
  2.  Liverpool
  3.  Arsenal
  4.  Chelsea
  5.  Man Utd
  6. . Everton

What do you think?

written by Big Raddy

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In A League of Our Own

February 12, 2018

We had a game this weekend, it was won by the home team. It wasn’t a surprise.

Have you looked at the PL table? It is possibly the most unusual in a few decades. To see one team so dominant that they are 16 points ahead of 2nd and likely to harvest the highest number of points in PL history (though they will lose 3 when we beat them at The Emirates).

City are a brilliant team, team being the operative word. They have fine players but unlike United they are not dependent upon individual skills. Me-rinho knows he cannot compete as a manager with Pep but he can spend a few hundred million buying players who can win a match on their own. It will get him 2nd or 3rd spot

Spurs and Liverpool are on season highs as Chelsea  plummet. If Spurs get 4th will it be considered a trophy 😀

And what of Arsenal. When Chelsea win tonight we will be 7 points off 5th and 8 off 4th. Realistically it is all over for the top 4 place.

Yet, we are also 9 points ahead of 7th place. We will finish 6th and in a league of our own. Had Arsenal a clue when it comes to playing away from home, this was a season when we could have finished much higher but our mysterious away form.

There is a problem arising in the PL. None of the teams below are going into the Top 6 in the near future.. Everton have spent a fortune, so have Leicester yet both of them are almost 20 points off top 4 and 10 points behind us.

Everton and Leicester are in competition with Bournemouth, Burnley and Watford for 7th place (Europa?).

Given our BoD’s decision to loosen the purse strings and buy our way back to the Top 4, 2019 will be exciting.

Strange Days.

written by Big Raddy


To Ozil or not to Ozil? That is the Question.

March 4, 2017

Hard to predict this one; we could win handsomely or get tanked. Neither team is playing well and yet both are capable of pulling out enough moments of quality to win the game. Should be interesting.

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We lost at home on the opening day of the season in a strange game – we dominated for 70 minutes – Liverpool had 5 shots all game yet we conceded 4.

Good news: No Henderson, no Sturridge. Bad news: Mane, Firmino and Coutinho are back and playing well.

Good news: Liverpool are struggling at the centre of defence. Bad news: We do not have a centre forward in form.

Good news: We play better away from home. Bad news: Liverpool are very good at home and just beat Spurs.

Good news:We have few injuries, OG, Ramsey and Koscielny are available. Bad News: Ozil has been off sick and is a doubt.

Once again, Mr Wenger has to find the midfield key. With Ramsey, Xhaka, Ox, Coquelin, Elneny, Iwobi and Ozil to choose from he has yet to find a combination that delivers security and creativity. I don’t know either!

My Team:

Cech

Bellerin      Mustafi      Koscielny     Monreal

Ramsey     Xhaka     Coquelin    Iwobi

Walcott    Sanchez

Theo gets an hour to prove he is still an important player at Arsenal. Seems unfair to drop Oxlade-Chamberlain as he has been playing well but IMO Ramsey is a more adaptable player.

There have been calls to rest Ozil as his performances in recent weeks have not reached his usual excellent standards, I tend to agree. Even Dennis got rested when he was out of form. We have so many attacking MF options that giving Ozil a reminder that every player has to fight for his place will do no harm. On the other hand it may convince the German Genius that his future lies away from the Emirates!

We have been crap away to the big clubs this season and Liverpool have been very good at home, the portents are not good, but if Arsenal are to stay in the Top 4 they cannot afford to keep losing against direct rivals, as such this is a huge game for us, and let’s be honest, we haven’t played well since before Xmas.

I would take a draw though a repeat of 26/6/1989 would be preferable.

COYRRG


Take a bow Jurgen Klopp…

December 17, 2015

It has interested me reading the reaction to Liverpool’s “celebration” of a 2-2 draw with WBA, Klopp led the team towards the Kop holding hands and apparently celebrating the win.

Was that really what happened?

This was first brought to my attention watching a roundup of the day’s action on the news, the presenter seemed to be winking at us with a grin saying “look at this, Klopp thinks a 2-2 draw is some kind of success”.

And then I watched the highlights on MOTD and I could hear the noise within Anfield before they equalised, and noticed the stadium looked very full.

Cast your mind back to a few weeks previous when Klopp said this “After the goal on 82 minutes, with 12 minutes to go, I saw many people leaving the stadium. I felt pretty alone at this moment. We decide when it is over. Between 82 and 94 [minutes] you can make eight goals if you like.”

So that celebration with the fans takes on a new meaning, they stayed to help the players achieve a result in the 96th minute, not a win, but more importantly not a loss. They did it together. And Klopp seemed to be asking his players to thank the fans rather than celebrate. Far be it from me to heap praise on an opposition manager, I am not sure about Klopp, but he certainly plays the media well and also it would appear his own fans.

I have read on these pages that you never hear fans being congratulated for a result but often blamed for a defeat. I think in that one comment after the defeat to Palace he has changed the mind of Liverpool fans about leaving early he asked them to look at what they were doing to help the team. And on the weekend they came good for him.

Maybe fans of all clubs can learn a lesson, I know many from this forum do not leave early but I really struggle to understand why there are so many empty seats at the end of every game at the Emirates, I have been there when we have secured qualification from Champions League but the fans are still more worried about their journey home than staying on to applaud the team off the pitch.

So well done Klopp, for changing the fans attitude at Anfield, undoubtedly we can’t expect Arsene to do the same, he has accepted it happens and any comments he might make in a similar vein would probably have mugfuls of scorn poured over them.

Who would the Arsenal fans listen to? Would it be Mesut, BFG, perhaps Rambo or Jack? I don’t really care who but I think one of them or maybe even Bouldy should come out and say something that can make a few Arsenal fans that leave early change their mind.

Gooner in Exile


Will Arsenal make it 19 in a Row?

March 19, 2015

The race for the top four Premier League positions is on in full force. Twenty nine games played and just nine games left. Fourteen teams still have a mathematical chance of finishing in the top four but I will only concentrate on the battle involving the top seven.

Chelsea still appears to be Championship favourites although their form has dipped of late and as it’s dipped their tactics have become even cruder. So far this season their only slip ups against non top seven teams were draws with Burnley and Sunderland and a loss to Newcastle. They only have three remaining games against the top seven – United and Liverpool at home and Arsenal away. I fully expect them to play ultra defensive football, hoping for a breakaway goal but happily settling for a point in each of the three games, while winning all of their remaining games against the non top seven teams.

However they have only managed to gain 19 out of 30 points in their last 10 PL games so my prediction may be overly optimistic.

My predictions are –

Hull – away win, Stoke – home win, QPR – away win, Man U – home draw

Arsenal – away draw, Leicester – away win, Crystal P – home win

Liverpool – home draw, WBA – away win, Sunderland – home win

Last 10 games DLWWDWWDWD (Pts % 63.3)

Current points 64

Projected points 88

Manchester City is difficult to predict as their form is inconsistent at best and erratic at worst, which was highlighted by their loss to Burnley. Against the non top seven teams they have drawn with QPR, Burnley, Everton, and Hull and lost to Stoke, West Ham and Burnley. Against the top seven they have already dropped 12 points.

City has only managed to win just 50% of the points in their last 10 games so they will have to turn things around to hold on to second place.

My predictions are –

WBA – home win, Crystal P – away win, Man U – away win, West Ham – home win

Aston Villa – home win, Tottenham – away draw, QPR – home win

Swansea – away draw, Southampton – home win

Last 10 games WDLDDWWLWL (Pts % 50.0)

Current points 58

Projected points 81

Manchester United have really ridden their luck this season by winning games that they should have lost but they are now heading into a run of very difficult games. After their loss to Arsenal in the FA Cup ended their hopes of any trophy’s this season their consequent win against Tottenham will be a boost to their confidence.

My predictions are –

Liverpool – away draw, Aston Villa – home win, Man City – home loss

Chelsea – away draw, Everton – away win, WBA – home win

Crystal P – away win, Arsenal – home draw, Hull – away win

Last 10 games DLWWDWLWWW (Pts % 66.7)

Current points 56

Projected points 74

Liverpool is showing some impressive form and is undefeated in their last 13 PL games.

I only see Pool dropping points against Man U, Arsenal and Chelsea. In their last game against Swansea they rode their luck but in the end they won the game on a very fortunate deflection. I see them as legitimate contenders for a PL place.

My predictions are –

Man U – home draw, Arsenal – away draw, Newcastle – home win

Hull – away win, WBA – away win, QPR – home win

Chelsea – away draw, Crystal P – home win, Stoke – away win

Last 10 games WWWDWWWWW (Pts % 86.7)

Current points 54

Projected points 75

Tottenham have beaten both Arsenal and Chelsea in their last 10 games but have also lost to Man U and Liverpool so they are very unpredictable, in their  0-3 loss at Old Trafford they did not look like a team capable of finishing in the top four.

Our shadow over the North London midgets is getting bigger and darker by the year.

My predictions are –

Leicester – home win, Burnley – away win, Villa – home win

Newcastle – away win, Southampton – away draw

Man C – home draw, Stoke – away draw, Hull – home win

Everton – away draw

Last 10 games WLWWWLDWWL (Pts % 63.3)

Current points 50

Projected points 69

Southampton seems to have run out of steam and have dropped 13 points in their last 10 games. In their last game they gained a point at Stamford Bridge and looked good in the process. I only see them losing to Man C in their final 9 games but I cannot see them making the top four.

My predictions are –

Burnley – home win, Everton away draw, Hull – home win

Stoke – away draw, Tottenham – home draw, Sunderland – away win

Leicester – away win, Villa – home win, Man C – away loss

Last 10 games WWWLWDLLWD (Pts % 56.7)

Current points 50

Projected points 68

Arsenal has won eight of the last 10 PL games and our only losses were to Tottenham and Southampton. During this period only Liverpool gained more points winning 26 while we won 24. I cannot remember the last time our squad looked so strong with only 9 games left in the season.

Our key players are close to their top form with Cazorla, Ozil and Alexis just oozing class. Ramsey and Walcott still have a way to go but it’s great to see them both fit again – they will be needed. Ospina has been very steady in goal and shows a lot of confidence, which spreads to the team.  Coquelin has added some steel and tenacity to our midfield while Giroud proved his worth with his performances against West Ham and Monaco. My main concern is with our full back positions, we always seem to be exposed down the flanks – when they make their forays downfield our center backs are drawn out of position while they are covering for the absentee’s.

My predictions are –

Newcastle – away win, Liverpool – home draw, Burnley – away win

Sunderland – home win, Chelsea – home draw, Hull – away win

Swansea – home win, Man U – away draw, WBA – home win

Last 10 games LWWWLWWWWW (Pts % 80.0)

Current points 57

Projected points 78

The season will hinge on the following 10 games and will most likely be decided based on the outcome of the first seven of them.  To be honest they are the type of games that should decide the championship – the best against the best – I await them with nervous anticipation.

 Arsenal v Liverpool

Arsenal v Chelsea

Man U v Arsenal

Chelsea v Man U

Chelsea v Liverpool

Liverpool v Man U

Man U v Man C

Spurs v Man C

Man C v Saints

Spurs v Saints

I firmly believe that we are up for the task – how about you?

To arrive at my final conclusions I’ve predicted the outcome of 54 games so I’m bound to be wrong but how wrong do you think I am?

19th march

GunnerN5


Pool – Arsenal in at the Deep End – written by BigRaddy

August 15, 2010

Written by Big Raddy

First game of a new season, new players, an opportunity to wear our new kit, ….. what is there not to get excited about?

Well, shame on me but I am approaching a trip to Anfield with some trepidation. I am normally confident every time we travel to Liverpool and I am reminded that we opened with a 6-1 victory up there last season (Everton is in Liverpool). But this time there are significant differences, and we all know what they are.

Firstly, Liverpool have finally signed a decent manager. Benitez was quite frankly one of the luckiest men on the planet. Without exception, their Cup victories were fortunate in the extreme (who has ever seen a less deserved CL victory than 2005, exciting though it was). That Benitez spent a King’s ransom and has taken the club backwards is a better indicator of his years as manager than Stevie G beating West Ham. Hodgson on the other hand is (in my opinion) one of the best managers in Europe and will make the Scousers a decent side.

Hodgson has in Reina, Agger, Johnson, Carragher and Aurelio, the personel to create a really solid defence. The signing of Poulsen (whom we should have signed) is inspired. He is a DM who can pass out of defence, is good in the air and above all can be a really dirty b*stard in the Roy Keane mould – expect to see a flurry of cards! With Gerrard in form, Aquilani bedding in, and Cole desperate to show he is worth his wages, they will present a formidable midfield. Thankfully Torres is unlikely to play and N’gog/Babel and Kuyt are hardly clinical finishers.

Secondly, we are not in great shape. Injuries, lack of form, severe defensive frailties and the lack of a reliable goalkeeper are likely to cause  sleepless nights for Mr. Wenger. The injuries are frustrating; when will we start a season with our full squad fit and ready? Song is at best 50/50 to play, and to rely on Denilson again is an indication of a poor summer’s work by our manager (who I am delighted to read is about to sign a new contract). We have been lacking a quality partner to Song for too long, and the possibility of having to start Frimpong is madness, however much of a prospect he is. Should Song be out, we will struggle to win the physical battle in midfield, as we will against any of the top 6 clubs…… we must buy an experienced CB/ DM to have a chance of winning the PL. Hopefully Sunday afternoon will not be a pre-cursor of difficulties to come

Much has been written about Fabregas this summer and I can’t wait to see him play for us this season – I expect him to confirm that he is the best in the World, bar none. He has to play at Anfield for us to win.

My team would be, (though I must point out that I have an unblemished record in this department – never having been right!!) :-

Mr. Wenger usually goes with a defensive team away from home and much as I would like to see Theo get a game, I doubt he will. The questions about RvP’s fitness must preclude him from what will be a tough fixture.

I will be satisfied with a point.

Regular readers of AA will know that I like to give some background about the towns we play in, and this season will be no different. Liverpool was founded by King John in 1207 and he personally designed the street layout (though only for 500 inhabitants). And, this is a brilliant and hard to believe fact….. over 40% of the entire World’s trade went through Liverpool at the start of the 19th Century!! There are many famous Liverpudlians amongst whom are; Rick Astley, the famous Youtube star and Keith Chegwin (Janice Long’s brother), both of whom are Gooners.

Most famous Scousers get out fast and move to Kent/Surrey – Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Cilla Black, Jimmy Tarbuck, Freddie Starr, Anne Robinson, Paul O’Grady etc etc ……. I wonder why??


Arsenal get it right …. the Press get it wrong

July 29, 2010

 

What is it about the Daily Mail? No matter how much I try to ignore Fleet Street’s greatest embarrassment, I can’t help finding new things about this fear-mongering, xenophobic, Thatcherite rag to annoy me, usually via a Newsnow link. This time it wasn’t some load of nonsense about how we’ll all be mugged by Kosovan asylum seekers if we even dared to step outside our front doors into the warzone that is 21st century British suburbia; it’s just another piece of journalistic sloppiness about football.

MJC posted a very good piece a little while ago about how the new 25-player squad rules will work – to recap, he explained that essentially (a) any player who is born on or after 1 January 1989 doesn’t count towards the 25-player limit at all for the coming season and (b) of the 25 “older” players, eight places are reserved for players who spent at least three seasons in England and Wales between the ages of 16 and 21 – these are “homegrown players”.

Importantly, but apparently beyond the wit of the Daily Mail, homegrown players can have any passport, it’s just where they trained in their early years that counts.  So, Owen Hargreaves, as a Bayern Munich trained player, isn’t homegrown despite being English (sort of), but Nicolas Anelka is homegrown despite not being English and having played in France, Spain and Turkey as well as England. Clubs can have more than eight homegrown players, it’s just a quota to protect against importing too many established players from other leagues.

MJC explained that Arsenal are in pretty good shape for the new rules, but I wondered how that stacked up against our principal rivals. My nerdy curiosity got the better of me, and I checked the current first team squads of our principal rivals for the coming season (Chelsea, United, Spurs and City – sorry, I didn’t bother with Liverpool, they just don’t seem relevant…). I had to make some assumptions about which young players at each club would be serious senior squad contenders, but my conclusion is as follows:

* Arsenal: Squad of 33, of which 13 are under 21. We therefore have five spaces left for non-homegrown players aged over 21.

* Chelsea: Squad of 27, of which five are under 21. They therefore have three spaces left before they reach the 25-player cap, two of which are for homegrown players.

* United: Squad of 33, of which eight are under 21. United therefore have no spaces in their squad, so can’t make new signings without omitting existing squad members.

* Spurs: Squad of 29, of which four are under 21. They also have no space left in their squad for senior players.

* City: Squad of 31, of which six are under 21. But not only do City have no space left in the squad, even before making any further signings, they will already have to omit seven existing senior players.

Of course, none of this matters if our regular first choice players aren’t up to it, but we are clearly in great shape to get the best out of these rules. Only Chelsea come close to being in as good a position.

But what did the Daily Mail say? They of course said that United are doing well because they have lots of English players, but thought Arsenal and Chelsea would have to omit players. In fact, it’s the other way around, United are the worst positoned of last season’s top three. It’s a shame that there are so many people paid to write about our game who don’t know enough about it, or are too lazy to check.

Written by 26may1989