Tag Archives: Premier League

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.


The Premier League should NOT follow Europe’s lead and re-arrange games prior to European fixtures

There has been a lot of fuss in the news recently abut leagues cancelling weekend games to give their sides more time to prepare for a European tie.

This is not a new thing. Back in the early 2000s, the Portuguese league cancelled a whole host of games for Porto to help them out. They won the Champions League.

In France the game between Rennes and Nimes was postponed. The same happened in Holland for Ajax and in Germany they have moved weekend games to a Friday to give sides an extra day.

With Ajax beating Real Madrid, an argument could be made that moving their domestic game helped them into the Champions League Quarter Finals.

We have had Mauricio Pochettino complain that English teams need more help and games should be re-arranged at late notice.

Despite the obvious benefits of moving a game, I am against the Premier League following suit. Weekend games prior to European games should not be moved.

I go home and away. I have a season ticket for both.

Already match going fans are screwed over left, right and centre by TV companies.

Games are moved at late notice to satisfy Sky Sports or BT Sports, moved to times when fans have little to no chance getting public transport back. The majority of the time we miss out on cheaper train tickets for away games.

The situation is already awful; the Premier League shifting games at even later notice for European football will only make things worse.

It is not just away fans, but also home fans that are affected.

Imagine a scenario where a fan from Norway or America has booked flights and hotels, only for the game to be moved. And even closer to home, fans from Ireland on Newcastle. These guys would have to get flights, trains and hotels for a game in North London.

Even just moving a game backwards a day – from Saturday to Friday – like what has happened in the Bundesliga can create huge ramifications.

Most fans would travel late on Friday (after work) or early Saturday. Bringing it to a Friday evening kick off would mean changing flights, hotels and taking a day off work.

And it is not just Arsenal fans that I am thinking of. It is opposing fans as well.

Look at the situation in France.

The game between Rennes and Nimes was postponed on 25 February. This was 5 days before the game was set to be played.

It did not just create issues for Rennes fans but also for Nimes fans.

It is 480 miles from Nimes to Rennes. Fans of Nimes would have already booked flights and trains for the game. How is it fair on them that the game is cancelled to help out Rennes?

Imagine if Arsenal were at home to Newcastle last Saturday, and the Premier League decided to postpone the game at FIVE days notice. This would be unfair of Newcastle fans.

And then you have when the games are re-arranged too.

The fixtures list is already crowded. Games would have to be rearranged to mid week.

This would mean time off work, hotels, more expensive trains, and even many fans no longer being able to go.

And is it really fair on all sides?

If they are moving an Arsenal game to give more time to prepare for a European tie, should they not do the same for FA Cup replays and mid-week League Cup games. And what about relegation 6 pointers?

Whilst from a “success” point of view moving games does make sense – the weekend break gives teams more time to prepare – the majority of match going fans would not be happy with a game moving at late notice.

Clubs need to do more to look after the interests of match going fans. They are the life blood of the club. Football without fans is nothing. Football is a not a TV show. If leagues start moving games at late notice for European football, it will show that they do not care for match going fans. It will further increase the gap between fans and clubs.

Sides spend millions on wages and have 25-man squads. The more successful a side the better (and more) players they have. It is up to those sides to manage their squads.

Ultimately, when you look at the list of Champions League winners over the last decade, none of been helped by fixtures being re-arranged.

Nimes, PEC Zwolle and PSV Eidenhoven have all questioned the fixtures with Rennes and Ajax being moved and have sought legal action.

Moving fixtures for European football will be just another dagger in the heart for match goings fans.


Arsenal look to return to winning ways against Wolves

After 11 wins on the bounce, Arsenal have spluttered a little bit in recent weeks.

The last 4 games have seen them win just once – a 2-1 victory over Brentford in the League Cup.

An away draw against Crystal Palace in the Premier League was followed up by a home draw against Liverpool. Ending the run was the Thursday 0-0 bore draw against Sporting.

A concern for Arsenal will b just 1 clean sheet in that 4 game run. Coincidently that game (against Sporting) was also the only game that they failed to score in.

Up next today is Wolves at home, and Arsenal will be desperate to get back to winning ways.

A failure to collect 3 points against either Liverpool or Crystal Palace has seen the club slip out of the top 4 – at the time of writing prior to the any of the Saturday games they sit 1 point behind Tottenham in 4th.

The bigger concern will be the 4 points that they have fallen behind Chelsea and Liverpool in the race of second.

With Manchester City topping the league and not yet out of 2nd gear, the others are fighting it out to be “best of the rest”. It is a fight which Arsenal should be in, one which we need to be in. A failure to beat Wolves could see them fall to 6 or 7 points off 2nd place, and see a return to the questioning of the squad that he derailed the team in recent years.

Wolves have been disappointing this season.

Sitting 11th with 15 points – 9 clear of 18th, would be seen as a success for many newly promoted clubs. However Wolves fans would have had much higher expectations for their club this season.

Due to their links with super-agent Jorge Mendes, they compiled a squad in the Championship that was already fit for the Premier League. The likes of Diego Jota and Ruben Neves went from playing Champions League football for Porto to Championship football for Wolves as they romped home with 99 points.

Over the summer they added Rui Patricio and Joao Moutinho to their squad. Nearly 200 international caps between them, both had been key members of the European Championship winning squad in 2016.

Add in Leander Dendoncker, Raul Jimenez and Jonny, all of whom are capped for Belgium, Mexico and Spain, and a lot was expected of them.

Some went as far as saying they could be an outside bet for the top 4. Most put them down for finishing 6th, behind the Big 5 and Tottenham.

Instead they find themselves behind the likes of Leicester City, Everton, Wolves and Bournemouth.

No shame behind that, but Wolves fans will be a tad disappointed if they end up marooned in mid-table this season.

Arsenal have not lost at home to a team outside the Big 5 and Tottenham since the beginning of 2017.

With Tottenham (away to Crystal Palace), Liverpool (home to Fulham) and Chelsea (home to Everton) kicking off before Arsenal, the pressure will be on.

victory will take the club into the final international break of the year filled with confidence. With early December games against Tottenham and Manchester United looming, Arsenal need to ensure they keep winning to remain in it.

Finally a shout out to Islington Sports Bar and Grill.

Today is the first game day for the new establishment on Holloway Road. It is where the old Herbert Chapman used to be many years ago.

with so many pubs closing throughout London, and on Holloway Road, it is good to see a boozer reopening. One run by Arsenal fans, catering for Arsenal fans.

Good luck lads.