Arsenal Form, Chelsea & Newcastle / Sunderland


Arsenal Form


Since the opening day defeat to Liverpool, Arsenal have now gone 14 games undefeated in all competitions. We are in scintillating form. With some nasty fixtures coming up (Spurs, Man U, PSG) it will be a tough job to keep that run going. But with 2 of those 3 at home, we have a chance of following up an unbeaten September and October with an unbeaten November. Starting tomorrow with a trip to Ludogorets.


For me, this season has been defined so far by misreporting by the media. No more so when The Guardian announced that Liverpool and Tottenham are setting a thrilling Premier League pace – when they were 3rd and 4th. Spurs now sit 5th. Still unbeaten mind!

Another narrative written incorrectly was by those who were quick to write off Chelsea. Reports even surfaced that Antonio Conte was about to get sacked.

Yes, we dicked them, but 10 games in they sit 4th. Just a point off the top.

What has been interesting is that whilst a lot has been written about how Manchester City fans need to give Pep Guardiola time whilst he rebuilds the way they play, the same ideology has not been applied to Chelsea.

Conte has now moved to his 343 (or whatever!) formation that saw him so successful at Juventus and Chelsea have now won 4 on the spin.

With players like Eden Hazard and Diego Costa, Chelsea are in this title race. They should not be written off.

Newcastle / Sunderland

At the back end of last season, I posed a question when Newcastle and Sunderland were fighting for the right to remain in the Premier League.

Would you rather get relegated to the Championship, and run away with the league next year, or remain in the Premier League, and have another year fighting relegation?

My thinking was simple. People love winning. Last season Sunderland saw their side win just 12 games from 38 as they finished 2 points ahead of rivals Newcastle, who won 11 of 38.

Newcastle this season have already won 11 games. Sunderland still without a win.

Whilst Sunderland are now in a relegation battle for the 5th season in a row – the last 4 seasons have seen just 35 wins, Newcastle are having fun in the Championship. On course to come straight back up, as Champions.

I guess the best way to judge it is through attendances.

At 84.1%, Sunderland are bottom of the Premier League attendance table. Meanwhile, Newcastle are on average at 96.4% full to capacity. The Championship high. Proof, perhaps, that as a fan, the short term final day pain of relegation can soon be forgotten about by a successful season in a lower league.

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