Tag Archives: Manchester United

Defeat to Wolves not as damaging as Crystal Palace loss

That target of 75 points seems impossible now.

With just 3 games to go, Arsenal sit on 66 points; meaning we need to win 3 from 3 to reach the 75.

The Wolves defeat was disappointing, but should not have been surprising. They are a good side who have performed well against the top 6 this season.

Whilst they are a newly promoted side, they won the championship with a team of Premier League players. Experienced internationals who were clearly playing at a level below where they should have been.

Ruben Neves is a perfect example of this.

He was Porto’s captain as a teenager, playing in the Champions League. He should never have been playing in the Championship. The owners links with certain agents enabled them to sign players who would not have joined any other Championship team.

Now in the Premier League, they are exactly where they should be. 7th.

I have seen some say that Nuno Espírito Santo should be manager of the season. But when you look at the players he has, 7th or 8th is probably Wolves par. They have just as good squad of players as the likes of Everton and Leicester City.

Wolves have done brilliant against top 6 sides this season. It is the performances against the sides at the bottom end of the table that has stopped them challenging for a top 6 place.

This season Wolves have beaten Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal at home, and Tottenham away. They have lost just 3 games against top 6 sides – away to Manchester City &  and at home to Spurs & Liverpool. They are unbeaten against Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal

Meanwhile, against the bottom 6 they have lost 6 games.

Beaten twice by Huddersfield,  as well as defeats to Cardiff, Brighton, Southampton and Burnley. They have failed to beat both Huddersfield and Brighton either home or away this season.

A few weeks ago I wrote how we needed 75 points to finish top 4. We needed to win both home games and 2 out of 4 away.

Things started well beating 10-man Watford. That left us with needing to beat Palace & Brighton at home and 1 of Burnley, Leicester & Wolves away. more than achievable.

But then we collapsed at home to Crystal Palace. The defeat killed us.

Losing away to Wolves was always slated in, was always predicted. Their form against top 6 sides and our form away from home. Arsenal were always going to do well to get 3 points from the Molineux

The Palace loss killed us.

There used to be a time when playing safe, mid-table team towards the end of the season was what you wanted. Their minds would be on the beach, not scrapping to remain in the division or for a Champions League place.

Hats off to Wolves, Watford, Palace, Everton and Leicester who have remained motivated, even if it is to our detriment.

Such is the performance by Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United in recent weeks that, despite suffering 3 defeats in the last 4 games, Arsenal could find themselves beck in the top 4 come Sunday.

In the lunchtime kick off, Arsenal face Leicester. Like Wolves, it will not be an easy game, but following the loss to Crystal Palace, Arsenal must win.

A few hours later, Chelsea kick off at Old Trafford against Manchester United.

Following the weekend games, Chelsea host Watford and then visit Leicester on the last day of the season, whilst Arsenal play Brighton in London before visiting Burnley on the final game.

Manchester United have the easiest last 2 games – away to Huddersfield and then home to Cardiff.

If Man U beat Chelsea at the weekend, and Arsenal fail to beat Leicester, they are surely favourites for that final Champions League spot.

If Chelsea win and Arsenal lose, it will be Chelsea who would become favourites.

The best result for Arsenal is a draw – meaning that even if they lose to Leicester they would be still be just 2 points off of 4th.

Of course, we need to target a win against Leicester. Put the pressure on the other two by securing the 3 points before they have kicked off.

We do that and it ensures no matter what the result is between Man U and Chelsea, we are in with a shout. We would, at worst, be going into the last 2 games of the season 1 point behind.

If we win and Chelsea and Man U draw, it would leave Arsenal 4th and 2 points ahead of Chelsea in 5th. Man U would be 4 points behind, and surely out of the running.

We need to shake ourselves down, and secure that 3 points against Leicester on Sunday.

Keenos

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Top 4 race set to go down to last game of the season

The race for the top 4 rolls on tonight as Arsenal face a tricky trip to Watford.

It was not too long ago that Arsenal were in 3rd place and in poll position to finish in the top 4. A couple of weeks and a single defeat later, Arsenal find themselves in 6th, playing catch up.

Victories for Manchester United and Tottenham have left Arsenal in 6th place, despite a defeat for Chelsea. Win tonight and Arsenal return to 4th.

Looking forward, 75 is still the magic number for 4th place.

To achieve this, Arsenal would need to win both their remaining home games, as well as beat Watford tonight.

With trips to Leicester, Wolves and Burnley still to come, coupled with Arsenal’s poor away form, those 2 away victories will not come easy.

Looking at the remaining fixtures, Chelsea and Manchester United have the hardest run ins.

Taking into account Manchester United’s poor form – despite getting the 3 points against West Ham, they were the worst team – it is unlikely they will come away from the next 3 games with 9 out of 9 points. They could find themselves cut adrift as we go into May.

Tottenham have 1 tough game, and it is up next against Manchester City. After that you would expect them to get 12 from 12. They will probably secure 3rd.

When you look at the remaining fixtures Arsenal face, you can see the importance of winning tonight.

Victory would take the Gunners into 4th place and, with Crystal Palace up after, Arsenal could find themselves in 3rd place with 4 games to go.

6 points from the next 2 games will see Arsenal up to 69 points. That will likely put them level with Chelsea (who will surely beat Burnley at home) and 2 points ahead of Tottenham in 5th (who surely will not beat Manchester City).

The next key weekend will be when Manchester United host Chelsea. At this point Man U will probably find themselves 5 points off Arsenal, and could result in the strange situation of Arsenal fans wanting Manchester United to win.

Were Arsenal to lose to Leicester, that would likely leave us in a situation where 2 points separate Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. With all 3 sides having 2 games to go, 1 at home, 1 away.

At this point, facing Huddersfield and Cardiff, Man U would have the easiest run in, but they would be 2 points off 4th.

This 2 point gap is likely to remain into the last game of the season.

At this point Tottenham would have secured top 4, and only need a draw to finish 3rd.

With 1 point between Arsenal and Chelsea, with both facing away trips to Burnley and Leicester respectively, it will be a straight shoot out between the 2 to finish 4th – at this point Manchester United would be relying on both sides to fail to win to be in with a chance.

And it all starts tonight with Arsenal facing Watford….

Keenos

Dropped points remind Arsenal fans why we are where we are

The defeat against Everton was a reminder to everyone – fans, players and management- just how far we are off from challenging for the title.

I was actually surprised that Arsenal fans were surprised by the performance, by the defeat. It merely showed why Arsenal are in the battle for 3rd and not the battle for top.

Before kick off we were 19 points off of Liverpool in top spot, and 17 points off of Manchester City in 2nd place. We have never been in the title race this season, and there is a reason for that.

Too many dropped points.

It sounds obvious, but that is the crux of it. This was the 13th game this season Arsenal had failed to win.

Liverpool have only failed to win 8 games and Manchester City just 6 games.

Arsenal are why they are because they have dropped points this season against the likes of Crystal Palace, Wolves, Southampton, Brighton, West Ham and Everton.

They are the type of games you need to be taking 3 points in if you wish to mount a title challenge.

It is not just Arsenal who have dropped too many points against sides outside of the top 6, but also those sides around us.

Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham have also dropped points in too many games against non-top 6 sides.

To state the obvious again, this is why they are fighting it out for 3rd, and not 1st.

The “dropped points against non-top 6” sides are in the same order as the teams placing in the Premier League table.

Liverpool leading the way and Chelsea bringing up the rear.

This is not ground breaking, revolutionary stuff. But it is a reminder to Arsenal fans that we are where we are for a reason. We are not good enough. And that with away games against Wolves, Watford, Leicester and Burnley to come, we will drop more points.

But Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham will also drop more points.

That is why I think 75 is the magic number to get op 4.

The defeat against Everton was a disappointing one, but it merely confirms why Arsenal are in 4th rather than 1st.

Unai Emery has improved us hugely this season from last season, but there is still a long way to go to make us title challengers again.

Keenos