EPL Top 6 positions up for grabs – who’ll finish where?

March 17, 2019

The placement of the top six clubs in the Premier League looks like it will go right down to the last game of the season.

Top six standings as of March 11th

Lets take a look at where the teams stand with only eight games left to play (Chelsea still have nine but play today).

The top two positions look to be contested between Manchester City and Liverpool – will Liverpool finally win their nineteenth league title and their first Premier League Championship or will holders Manchester City win their sixth league title (4th since the oil money came in) ?

In the reverse fixtures this season Manchester City beat Manchester United and Tottenham but lost to Crystal Palace and Leicester City gaining 18 out of 24 points. Liverpool won 7 out of the 8 games and drew with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge gaining 21 out of 24 points.

Liverpool has the advantage of playing Tottenham and Chelsea in front of their home supporters at Anfield while Manchester City has the distinct disadvantage of playing Manchester United at Old Trafford.

My best guess is that Liverpool will hold their nerve and win their first Premier League Championship, though with both teams in the Champions League q/fs, European distractions may play a part.

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The third through sixth positions are between Spurs, Arsenal, Man U and Chelsea and the four teams are separated by only four points with their final placement in complete doubt.

Let’s look at the teams individually.

Tottenham:

In their reverse fixtures this season they won 6 of the 8 games but lost at home to both Liverpool and Manchester City gaining 18 out of 24 points.

In their last 4 games Tottenham have picked up only 1 point, drawing with Arsenal and losing to Burnley, Chelsea and Southampton. In their last 8 games they will have to face both Liverpool and Manchester City in away fixtures.

(Update : the Champions League may not distract them for too much longer unfortunately)

Arsenal:

Arsenal won 5 of their reverse fixtures while drawing with Wolves, Crystal Palace and Brighton gaining 18 out of the 24 points.

They have finished all of their games against the top 6 teams which should give them a big advantage in the race for the top 4 positions.

Emery and Podgytino in their Spanish days

Manchester United:

Manchester United won 4 of their reverse games but drew with Wolves and Chelsea while losing to Manchester City and West Ham gaining only 14 of the 24 points.

They have been revitalised by new management and in their last 13 league games they have won 10 drawn 2 and lost just 1 to Arsenal at the Emirates. Their final place in the PL will most likely be determined by the results in their homes games against Manchester City and Chelsea.

(Update : they’ll be pleased they can concentrate on the League – now that the FA Cup is out of the way! But still have Barca to negotiate in the CL.)

Chelsea:

In their reverse fixtures Chelsea won 4 and but drew with Everton, West Ham, Liverpool and Manchester United while losing to Leicester and only picking up a low 12 out of 27 points.

In their final 9 league games they have 5 very tough away games at Everton, Cardiff City, Liverpool, Manchester United and Leicester.

Getty Images

As I look at the potential final 3rd through 6th positions it’s conceivable that all four teams can finish with the same amount of points. I know that everything can change with one result but based on the above thoughts and statistics I will go out on a limb and say that they will finish in these positions.

3rd Arsenal, 4th Manchester United, 5th Tottenham and 6th Chelsea.

What are your thoughts?

GunnerN5

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Weak officials and poor finishing cost Arsenal NLD victory – Player Ratings

March 3, 2019

Ramsey and Laca to start just as Wednesday’s team against Bournemouth had suggested. A back four with Shkodran as right back – hmmmm.

First Half

We started really well. The spuds looked devoid of confidence, perhaps a win at our second home was on the cards. Sixteen minutes in and a wobble from the defender gave Laca the freedom to set Aaron free from the halfway line. His run and rounding of Lloris was just beautiful. LBG suggested that his goal celebration was to emphasise that Wembley was a pitch he owned.

Stuart MacFarlane

The rest of the half was played out without the red and white goal coming under much threat despite shed loads of spud possession. The lino spotted Vertonghen offside on the one occasion they did get the ball past Leno (Shame his counterpart at the other end wasn’t anywhere near as competent in the second half).

Our German keeper’s double save was the only real scare and he deserves off-the-scale credit for keeping the score at 1-0.

Second Half

Could we hang on and bag all three points? One thing was sure it would be 45 minutes of nail-biting tension as it always is in an NLD.

The Terrier came on for Guendouzi who looked a little swamped in the first half. We looked tighter immediately with the defence playing superbly.

The equaliser was just disgraceful from the linesman. He was 2 yards out of position and could not see along the line to spot Kane offside. Mustafi’s cretinous push on an offside Kane should never have even been a consideration for Anthony Taylor. If the linesman’s flag had gone up as it should, it would have been a free kick to the good guys. Instead, we had to endure an undeserved penalty for a side who never looked like scoring from normal play. Absolute and complete bowlocks.

Just look at the lino – pathetic

Salvation appeared to be at hand when Auba (who seemed a poor substitute from the word go) was fouled with seconds of the 90 remaining. Please Auba, no eff ups. What followed was such a dreadful penalty that Gunnersaurus could have saved it by sticking out a large black boot.

No retake, ref? Especially considering Vertonghen blocked the follow up from Auba

Torreira’s sending off for an unintentional contact on the serial diver Rose made no diiference to the result but presumably means a 3 match suspension and the little Uruguayan out of the red mancs game next weekend.

Oh yeah, Anthony Taylor, wasn’t this worse?

Conclusion

A massive missed opportunity of beating a poor spud side but, then again, most of us would have taken a point before the game.

Such a shame that yet more officials’ incompetence was the cause of the spud equaliser. I hope that lino is ashamed of himself when he watches it back.

Ratings

Leno – a glorious double save worthy of winning any match … 8

Mustafi – not surprisingly a weak link and his push on Kane stupid beyond words … 5

Sokratis – just superb – never bullied – commanding like a god from Mount Olympus … 9

Koscielny – class personified again – battered with elbows and forwards backing in but still came back for more … 8

Monreal – excellent yet again – if his legs hold up he has several more seasons in him on this showing … 8

Guendouzi – a bridge too far for Matteo – he was too ponderous in that first period for the helter skelter of an NLD … 6

Xhaka – back in his rightful place, he saw more of the ball with a more natural partner in the second half … 7

Mkhitaryan – he worked hard and put Auba free a couple of times late on … 7

Iwobi – one of his more frustrating performances – gave the ball away umpteen times – his one decent effort on goal had to be aimed slightly outside the post – in the end Lloris could have headed it away … 6

Ramsey – his goal celebration showed how much he realises it means to be a Gooner playing Tottenham – worked his leeks off throughout – I was disappointed when he came off, though he was a bit knackered maybe … 8

Lacazette – he was never going to have much support but should have done better with an early chance and also in the second half from a nice Iwobi cutback – another player that I was disappointed he was substituted – as was he, judging by his reaction … 7

Subs

Torreira – added some steel to the midfield – unlucky to get a red for an accidental challenge …7

Aubameyang – never looks comfortable leading the line in the same way Laca does – yet, having said that he did have some decent sniffs at goal but his penalty miss will give him nightmares … 5

Ozil – did very little and contributed far less than Rambo had done previously playing in the same position … 6

Managers

Emery – got everything right in his initial selection, made a good half time sub and then two less effective substitutions – still, a point at Wembley and 4 points out of 6 against those hideous swamp-dwellers in his first Prem season gets him an extra point. Love how his quote about the officials could be taken two ways – “VAR is coming for them.”  … 8

Podgytino – outclassed and only had incompetent officials to thank for not losing – his comments that the spuds were superior in all aspects of the game were patently ridiculous … 3

chas


On our Way to Wembley and it’s not even May.

March 2, 2019

If you are a Spurs fan who has decided to “enjoy” an Arsenal blog (which makes the massive assumption that anyone stupid enough to support a bunch of perennial losers can read) then please leave a comment below (which makes the massive assumption that anyone who is stupid enough to support a bunch of perennial losers can write).

You are Orcs.

To be clear, I write of the fans not the team – the team are quite good. Of course the players are all nearly-men who bottle it when there is a chance of silverware but they do play some attractive football.

Take the Podgy Argie  (Barc/Real soon will). A couple of weeks ago Spurs were in contention for the title, then in typical fashion, they lose 2 games and the Fatboy publicly gives up any hope. London Manager of the Season? For what? Guiding a big Top 6 club to being in the Top 6?  But a trophy is a trophy and the Spurs Trophy cabinet, as we well know, is barren.

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Spurs have some fine players who will be desperate to win today. A strong and fair referee will be important, unfortunately it is Anthony Taylor, a man described by none other than Saint Arsene as “dishonest to his federation” We can only hope that he is balanced in his poor decision making.

Poch has yet to lose a home NLD, Mr Emery has yet to lose an away NLD. 🙂

Our NLD away record in recent times is awful, one could say, embarrassing. It is one thing having such a record at Maine Road but at Spurs? When I think of Spurs away in my mind’s eye I see Brady’s swerving shot in a 5 goal victory, Kennedy’s header in our first Double season, the lads dancing with a plastic PL trophy  in 2004. But these were all at White Hart Lane not the soulless bowl of Spurs current home ground. Yes, I know they will have a fine stadium next season but it will still be full of drooling muppets.

Enough of them …

Our boys are improving. We have beaten some poor opposition and are ready for stiffer challenges.

Mr. Emery has some difficult selection and tactical decisions – 3 or 4 at the back? Ozil or Ramsey or both? Iwobi? Who starts at right back given the pace Spurs play at? Do we defend deep, pack the midfield and hope to score on the counter or do we attack from the off? Lacazette or PEA or both?

I would start with Ramsey, just Laca upfront, Iwobi and Kola on the left, Mhki for an hour and then bring on Mesut. We have a powerful bench.

Here’s a question I have been toying with. Would I prefer to take two points from the next 2 games or 3 i.e. draw to both MU and Spurs or win one, lose one? Which is better? My conclusion … 6 points.

COYRRG

 


Arsenal FC – Our away record against the spuds

March 1, 2019

Spurs played their early matches on public land at the Park Lane end of Tottenham Marshes where they had to mark out and prepare their own pitch. Occasionally fights broke out on the marshes in disputes with other teams over the use of the ground.

(Not much has changed over the years – they are still hooligans)

Tottenham Hotspurs 1897 – the chap lying down was especially hard

It was at this ground in 1887 that we played our first away match against Spurs in a non-league game, when we were known as Royal Arsenal; the match was called off due to poor light with Spurs leading 2-1.

Tottenham have only won the League Championship on two occasions 1950/51 & 1960/61. Arsenal have won League Championships on thirteen occasions with two very notable victories taking place at White Hart Lane, much to the horror of the local community.

Spurs – Costa Del Sol trophy winners 1965 and 1966

Our first (WHL) League Championship was in a 1-0 victory on May 3rd 1971. We went on to beat Liverpool 2-1 at Wembley to claim our first League and FA Cup double. The second came on April 25th 2004 when we drew 2-2 in our Invincible season. Two incredible seasons for Arsenal and total misery for Spurs knowing they could have been the spoilers. To rub a little more salt in their wounds, we have won the FA Cup on eight occasions since their last win in 1990/91.

(There was something very exhilarating about writing that!)

This was intended to be a post on our away games but I thought I’d spice it up a tad.

The second time Arsenal won the League at White Hart Lane

Anyway – based on our EPL results we have a 19.2% chance of winning and a 53.8% chance of gaining points. Understandably the odds are with Spurs but as pointed out above we have won in the most difficult of circumstances and it would be just great if we were to put a dent in their efforts to finish first (if any further dents were needed 🙂 ).

Our last away EPL victory at WHL was March 16th, 2014 a slender 1-0 win.

Hold on to your seat belts this may be a rough ride.

GunnerN5


Arsenal’s remaining season: what’s the point?

February 16, 2019

I’m writing this on the back of the Bate result with all the despondent reactions still ringing in my ears. Now I don’t want to sound like I’m high as a kite on false hopium, BUT, pre-season, and on the back of a new manager, most Arsenal fans were pretending to show a more mature and patient side with getting back to being a top four side as step one.

We are currently sitting in 5th, with just one point separating Utd in 4th and Chelsea just below us in 6th. Hardly a time to chuck in the towel.

Beyond the League (although this post is about the League), in the Europa most think we’ll get past Bate, and we recently beat the bookies favourite, Chelsea.

Ok, the remaining League fixtures:  much will be decided by how each of the 4th spot contenders perform against the lower sides as that’s the majority for each’s remaining games, however much will depend on encounters between us, so here they are:

ARSENAL
Totnum a
ManUtd h

CHELSEA
Totnum h
Liverpool a
Man Utd a

TOTNUM
Chelsea a
Arsenal h
Liverpool a
Man City a

MAN UTD
Liverpool h
Arsenal a
Man City h
Chelsea h

I haven’t included City or Pool because they are not in the race for 4th , although interestingly, City have only one fixture left against a top six side, while Pool have three.

I have included Totnum because they are more than capable of spectacular implosions.

Some of these could end up effectively being the classic six pointers.

Can we make it? Stranger things have happened.

mickydidit89


Wembley. Is it a Home or Away Fixture?

February 9, 2018

Stoke, Watford, Swansea, Bournemouth, Forest, WBA, West Ham, Southampton. All teams we should beat. We didn’t. What unites all of these? You’ve got it – they were all away fixtures.

Chelsea 4 times, Man City twice, Reading, Hull, Wigan, Our winning streak at Wembey.

Conclusion: We are rubbish on the road this season but have a very good record at Wembley. It’s our second home.

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Unfortunately Spurs have done very well at home this season losing only once in the PL (I think. To be honest, I have little desire to check my facts about them)

So … will Arsenal view this as a home fixture where we are almost unbeaten this season, or an away fixture where we are clearly crap? This is strange and it is difficult to understand the difference in form. Much better qualified men than me work with the team to solve this problem, team psychologists, motivation specialists, individual positive therapy gurus, inspirational speakers, Steve Bould, Ian Wright; even Tony Adams has had a go. And we still lose to the bottom team in the PL.

But, Wembley is different. It has a proper pitch, centrally heated changing rooms with hot showers. It is in North London.

How Arsenal approach the NLD tomorrow will have a huge influence upon the result. We did them at home, we can do so tomorrow – assuming someone convinces the team that this is just another home game against weak opposition, if they can’t …. we are doomed.


How much do you know about Spurs?

February 9, 2018

Question 1 : Who scored the winning goal when Spurs last won the FA Cup in 1991?

Question 2 : How many managers have they had since 1996?

Question 3 : When did Spurs last win a trophy?

Question 4 : Who was the manager at that time?

Question 5 : How many times have they been relegated since they joined the Football League in 1908?

Question 6 : How many years did this mean there couldn’t be an official St Totteringham’s day?

Question 7 : Which former Tottenham manager was cautioned for kerb crawling in 1987?

Question 8 :  Why does the chicken standing on a basketball featured in the club crest wear spurs?

Question 9 : How many summers have passed since Spurs last won the League?

Question 10 : To Dare is To Do – what the hell does it mean?

Question 11 : Whose famous tweet led to Spurs fans mistakenly celebrating a Newcastle equaliser?

Question 12 : Who wrote the book entitled The Team that Dared To Do about Tottenham’s 1994/5 League season when they finished 7th?