Tag Archives: Liverpool

Arsenal target 15 points from 8 games for top 4 finish

My Arsenal v Manchester United preview spoke about how the result could make or break our challenge for a top 4 place.

The 2-0 victory leaves it very much in Arsenal’s hands to finish top 4.

Prior to the weekend, very few would have thought that Tottenham would have lost to Southampton and Chelsea would have got just 1 point at home to Wolves. But that is what happened.

Prior to the weekend, Chelsea’s game in hand made me fearful. A win would put them 2 points ahead of Arsenal.

Had Arsenal then lost yesterday against Manchester United, it would have left top 4 out of our hands. We would have needed Manchester United to drop 4 more points & Chelsea to drop 3 more points than us in the last 8 games. It would have been an uphill struggle.

But we won, Manchester United lost and Chelsea drew. Also Tottenham lost to Southampton which drags them back into it.

Instead of it being 3 teams fighting for 1 spot and Arsenal being the bottom of those 3, it is now 4 teams fighting for 2 spots and Arsenal have to be favourites.

Even if Chelsea win their game in hand, Arsenal are still 4th. There would be just 3 points covering 3rd to 6th.

The wheels are coming off Tottenham.

Just over 2 weeks ago they were 10 points ahead of Arsenal. They could fall out of the top 4 next weekend if they fail to get a result away to Liverpool.

They are without a win in 4 games, and their only point came courtesy of a 90th minute missed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang penalty.

With games against Liverpool and Manchester City to come and tough home games against West Ham, Everton & Crystal Palace to come, it is hard to see Tottenham getting more than 15 points. That would leave them on 76.

Manchester United are still to face Manchester City and Chelsea at home.

They were on a great run under Ole without really playing a top team. Like Arsenal’s 22 game unbeaten run, it will be interesting to see how they respond. Like Tottenham, they will probably not be too far from the 76 point mark.

Chelsea have the trickiest of run ins, although they do have a game in hand.

They will do well to get points from trips to Manchester United and Liverpool, and also have tricky trips to Leicester and Everton.

Their draw at home to Wolves shows how fragile they are. I think they will struggle to make the 75 point mark.

So that will make it around 75-76 points to finish in the top 4.

Only once in the history of the Premier League has a team amassed 75 points and not made the top 4 – Arsenal in 2016/17.

To put that into perspective, Arsenal finished 2nd the season before with just 71 points.

Arsenal need 15-16 points to finish top 4.

My feeling is 76 will be enough for 4th. Anything above will be enough for 3rd.

The issue Arsenal face is we only have 3 home games left – Newcastle, Crystal Palace & Brighton. We need 9 points from those 9 games.

We have dropped just 7 points at home in the league this season – 5 of which were to Liverpool and Manchester City. It is not unreasonable to expect Arsenal to win all 3 of those games.

It is the 5 away games that will be key.

Arsenal are 9th in the Premier League away table with just 5 wins from 14 games. Although it has to be taken into account that 5 of the 14 away games were against sides in the top 6.

If you take games against the other top sides out of it, our away form reads a lot more favourable:

P 9 W 5 D 2 L 2 Pts 17

If we mimic this form in the 5 remaining away games we should get 9 points. If we add the 9 points from 3 home wins, that would leave us with 78 points in total.

From those 5 games, even if we end with 2 wins and 1 draw, that takes us to 76 points as long as we win those home games.

Ultimately it is winning those home games that is important. Do that and top 4 is ours. Maybe even 3rd.

Keenos

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Study finds Arsenal have “cheapest tickets in Premier League”

I hate the BBC’s Price of Football.

it does not give a fair reflection of the actual price of football, and is often used by lazy journalists to bash Arsenal for season ticket prices.

My biggest gripe is that it ignores that Arsenal fans get 26 matches for their season ticket cost, whilst every other Premier League club get just 19. That is 35% more games. It is unfair to compare them.

You would not expect Arsenal to have equal season ticket prices to Tottenham, Chelsea or Liverpool when they get 35% more games.

When you break it down per game, Arsenal cheapest season ticket is actually cheaper than those previously 2 mentioned clubs.

What is also ignored is that you can pay just £26 for tickets to Arsenal games.

A Fulham fan recently did a study on ticket prices.

They picked “behind the goal” tickets and looked into the cheapest and most expensive. A seat behind the goal for Category C games at Arsenal is the cheapest ticket in the Premier League.

At £26, Arsenal’s cheapest ticket behind the goal is half the price of one for Chelsea. It is something that the media would not talk about as it would not get the hits, clicks and advertising revenue.

I have always been a fan of the way Arsenal categorise games.

The lesser games are Cat C, providing a cheap opportunity for people to go to games. The big games are Cat A.

It suits those who are happy to go to any game just to watch The Arsenal no matter the opponent. Anyone who pays game by game for every match pays an average prices. The only fans who are “punished” are those who decide only to go to the big games – Manchester United, Tottenham, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City.

I am always of the opinion that you can not really moan about Cat A prices if you do not want to go to Cat C games. Go to both and the prices average out. Go to just Cat A and it is clear you only have an interest in big games.

Of course, the argument is easily (and rightly) made that Cat A is too expensive.

The research by the Fulham fan shows that Arsenal’s most expensive “behind the goal” ticket is £90 – although this is upper tier. The most expensive lower tier “behind the goal” ticket is £64.

I am all for reducing ticket prices. They are across the board, not only at Arsenal or in the Premier League but down through the leagues.

For example Arsenal’s £26 is just £4 more than it would cost to pay on the gate to stand behind the goal at a Colchester United game in League Two.

My personal opinion has always been that the Cat A ticket prices subsidise Cat C, the League Cup, etc. That without Cat A, you could then not have the cheap Cat C tickets. And if someone only wants to go to Cat A games; that is their problem.

Manchester United do not have category tickets. Prices are the same no matter the opponent – £36. An Arsenal fan, on average, would pay £40 a ticket behind the goal if they went to every Premier League game. A difference of just £4.

So you could (and many do) make the argument that Arsenal should scrap category pricing and just charge a stand price for all games – in this case $30 to sit behind the goal in the lower tier.

Personally I would rather keep our system, have Cat A, B & C and offer the cheapest adult tickets behind the goal in the Premier League.

Keenos

4312 for The Arsenal is not “too defensive”

Arsenal’s best performance this season came against Chelsea. A 2-0 victory in a game that The Gunners dominated.

The formation we played in that match was 4312. It is a formation we have played numerous times since; and one which Unai Emery has come in for some stick for.

Fans wrongly claim that we are playing 3 defensive midfielders. Lucas Torreira Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi. They are not all defensive midfielders.

Gunners Town recently spoke to a Lorient fan about Arsenal target Alexis Claude Maurice. During the discussion they talked about Guendouzi, who signed from Lorient last summer.

They expressed surprise at Arsenal fans labelling Guendouzi as a defensive or holding midfielder, as he has only ever been box-to-box growing up and was utilised in an attacking free role last season in French Ligue 2.

And that is the truth, Guendouzi does not play as a defensive midfielder. He is more box to box. A proper central midfielder. Like what Patrick Vieira was.

It seems in many fans mind, you are either an attacking midfielder (Mesut Ozil) or a defensive midfielder (Claude Makelele). There is nothing in between. But there is, and that is where Guendouzi sits.

Xhaka has also never really been an out and out defensive midfielder. In fact he struggled at Arsenal when he was the primary defensive midfielder.

For Borussia Mönchengladbach and Switzerland, he always played with someone behind him doing the bulk of the defensive work.

A hulk of a man, Xhaka did contribute to his sides defensively, but his man job was transitioning the ball from defence to attack with his excellent passing. He is not as box to box as Guendouzi, more a deep lying play maker. He certainly is not a defensive midfielder.

Lucas Torreira is the closest we have to a defensive midfielder, but even he is not a Makelele or Gilberto Silva.

The Uruguayan gets forward a lot more than someone who is simply a shied in front of a defence. And he is a much better passer and creator then people like Makelele, Gilberto or Fernandinho.

Whilst for Arsenal he is the deepest of the midfield 3, he is more than capable playing further forward. He is a talented guy.

The reality is, Emery is building a high energy midfield trio who can provide solid cover for the defence, but also push forward and press high.

Playing all 3 ensures that they can push forward backing up the front 3 when they press, knowing that one will still sit so that they are not all cut out with one ball through the midfield.

They also allow Hector Bellerin and Saed Kolasinac to bomb forward and provide extra cover for them.

I like the 12 upfront as well.

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette both love dropping out wide. This then creates space in the middle for an attacking midfielder to bomb into. Aaron Ramsey would have been ideal for this role with his goal scoring record.

Back to the midfield, I can see us continuing to play 3 in the middle next season. It is why Emery is looking at the likes of Adrien Rabiot and Christopher Nkunku. If we play 3, we need 6.

If we secure both Frenchmen, it will enable us to cash in on Mohamed Elneny and, alongside Ainsley Maitland-Niles, we will have the midfielders we need to play the way Emery wants.

As for those who are still moaning about it being too defensive, let me ask you a question:

Is Liverpool’s midfield too defensive?

Liverpool also play a midfield 3. A trio combination of Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita, Georginio Wijnaldum and Fabinho.

Let’s compare their Premier League statistics to the lads at Arsenal:

Xhaka – 1885 minutes played – 3 Goals; 1 Aassist

Guendouzi – 1466 – 0G 0A

Torreira – 1790 – 2G 2A

 

Fabinho – 1096 – 1G 2A

Wijnaldum – 1774 – 1G 0A

Henderson – 1234 – 0G 0A

Keita – 970 – 0G 1A

Totals:

 

Arsenal midfield:

5140 minutes played

5 goals; 3 assists

Liverpool midfield:

5074 minutes played

2 goals; 3 assists

Yet no one is saying Liverpool’s midfield is “too defensive.”

The truth is, playing Xhaka, Torreira and Guendouzi is not too defensive. It is probably the only part of the Arsenal side that is solid and actually working at the moment.

Keenos