Put your nerd glasses on! Using mathematics and logic to predict Arsenal’s season run-in

There’s been a lot of talk recently about the remaining fixtures of the top three sides and how it might influence the whereabouts of this season’s league title.

Heck, I was in on the act almost three weeks ago, just before the Chelsea game, when I stated that Arsenal’s more generous fixture meant that at $10 they were a ridiculously good gamble for the title. We were six points behind at that stage, the same as we are now, yet somehow have shortened to $7.50. But I digress.

There are two factors that could influence our ability to accurately predict whether we win the title; predicting where our rivals will drop points and predicting where we might drop points. The first is a difficult and ill-advised process that would take a fair amount of guesswork and generalising, so I’ll steer clear. The second is much easier.

Anyone who has watched enough of Arsenal this season will know how predictable their results have been. Sure, we have won and lost our fair share of games, but they tend to be the same types of games.

This season has seen us lose six games; two at home to Manchester United and Chelsea and four away to the big two as well as Manchester City and Sunderland, who were both in good early season form. What is interesting is that virtually every time we have lost we have deserved to lose, the Old Trafford game an exception, and the opponents have played very well.

As well as the six losses we have drawn four matches; three away from home against Burnley, West Ham and Villa and once at home against a resurgent Everton that then went on to beat United and Chelsea. Two things stick out to me there; first that in three out of the four games (not including West Ham) we were lucky to get a point and second that the three teams we drew with away have significantly better home records.

All of this can be basically summarised as the following:

  • We tend to lose to teams who are better than us
  • We tend to beat teams who are not as good as us and destroy them when at home
  • We tend to struggle more away from home against sides that have significantly better home records and are in good form
  • When teams outplay us, we generally tend to get a result better than our performance deserves

The first three points are as obvious Alex Song’s armbands, but they tell us something very important. We are a team that tends to beat the teams we should beat and struggle when we should struggle. We lose the games you would expect us to lose, win the games you would expect us to win and draw games on tougher than average away trips against in-form teams. It’s not rocket science, but is revealing when applied to our season run-in.

Looking at our remaining fixtures that means:

  • Stoke (A) – WIN (Stoke’s home record is nowhere near as good as people think, compare it with Blackburn)
  • Burnley (H) – WIN
  • Hull (A) – WIN
  • West Ham (H) – WIN
  • Birmingham (A) – DRAW (Although Birmingham’s form appears to be on the slide)
  • Wolves (H) – WIN
  • Spurs (A) – DRAW
  • Wigan (A) – WIN (Massive potential for a banana skin on Wigan’s shoddy pitch)
  • Man City (H) – WIN
  • Blackburn (A) – DRAW (Another big banana skin, Blackburn have won 8 from 12 although we always tend to beat them)
  • Fulham (H) – WIN (Despite a good season, their away record is awful)

In some ways that is a generous prediction (27 points from 33, no losses and an assumed win over City) but in others it is quite conservative. As I’ve indicated Birmingham are running out of puff after their terrific unbeaten run, we haven’t lost to Spurs in a decade and we usually beat Blackburn, good home record or not. In fact, we usually smash them.

The final thing to consider is the last point from the four I mentioned earlier: when teams outplay us we tend to get a better result than our performance deserves. That is the reason why our position on the table tends to be surprise to be many people and why we it has been suggested that our presence in the top three indicates that the standard at the top has dropped this season.

It’s funny, when the tendency to get points where it is not deserved is applied to Chelsea or United it is usually portrayed as a title-winning attribute. But with us it indicates a drop in the standard of the competition?

They won’t be saying that if we win the thing and judging by this analysis, we’ll go damn close.

Thoughts?

Have your say on Arsenal’s run-in by leaving a comment.

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51 Responses to “Put your nerd glasses on! Using mathematics and logic to predict Arsenal’s season run-in”

  1. Steve-O
    February 23, 2010 at 6:43 pm #

    Andy, I said before the Chelsea game that if any team gets 85 points this season that should be enough to win the league. If we get 27 in the remaining games, that will net us 82 points and we’ll have to rely on some injuries in the top 2 sides to win with 82. Unless the team gets some good momentum going and converts some of those draws you mention into wins, I fear it won’t be enough. Blackburn and Birmingham will be the crunch games.

  2. Clive
    February 23, 2010 at 6:43 pm #

    Great analysis, blogs in general need more facts/ analysis rather than gut/moaning.

    Here is hoping they do it! Which I would love – I think you are missing the banana skin/Eduardo type blow etc from your analysis.

  3. Steve-P
    February 23, 2010 at 6:48 pm #

    You are very optimistic! There are four trips ‘oop North in that lot, albeit not in the deep midwinter. With this squad, I would say a point each time is a safe assumption.

    If (and I still think that is a big IF) we win at Stoke, then I will start to believe.

    But until then…………

  4. TCP
    February 23, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    Agree with most of it…though I’m quite concerned with champions league where it may have an impact for us while we are decimated with the unending injuries…

  5. Lompri
    February 23, 2010 at 7:11 pm #

    very good analysis. the press n FA always look at the other side, wat do united have that we dont; mayb the favourism or influence 4rm the FA….

  6. Andrew Weber
    February 23, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

    @ Steve-P – It is optimistic but as I said, it’s based on logic and past results. That’s all I’m going on.

    Whoever thought Arsenal would be a predictable team? 🙂

  7. Andrew Weber
    February 23, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

    As for Stoke, I honestly think we’ll have no problems with them. We have the team to beat them with Bendtner and Song in there.

  8. Anonymous
    February 23, 2010 at 7:36 pm #

    You’re not far from the truth about our likely results.

  9. David Rhodes
    February 23, 2010 at 7:45 pm #

    All very interesting and indeed for the most part quite plausible; I don’t think your estimated results will be too far away. However, what also needs to be considered is how results might go for our competitors, Chelski and Man Ure.
    Surely if you are to be a true nurd, you should also do the crystal ball trick with them and then we can all see if the future might hold silverware for the Arsenal.

  10. yotebim
    February 23, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    I think stoke away is a difficult one….

  11. colin gooner
    February 23, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    we have to remember that bendtner still thinks he is a cross between hesky and ady-bloody byour, we can not afford to keep missing the net, and as much as i like him thats what he keeps doing, we have got to stop trying to walk the ball into the net, take a shot all of you take an effin shot, so many of them go in, some direct some deflectid, we cant walk it in no more the other clubs have our number, just look at all the games this season our players do all the work only to have it f..ked up by bendtner, we need an ian wright wright wright.

  12. Ianinja
    February 23, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

    Who needs Ian wright definitely not us. What we need is more VIOLENCE, especially against Stoke.

  13. rob
    February 23, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

    I’ve seen and heard rumours that Gael Clichy could be on his last legs at Arsenal.

    Now whether you believe that Arsene Wenger is ready to cash in on our number one left-back or not, I think that many Gooners are split on what Wenger should do.

    The fee that I’ve seen bandied about is £16m. Now don’t get me wrong, that is a lot of money, especially for a full-back but would that tempt you to let Clichy go?

    About 18 months ago I would have said jog on. These days I have to admit that I would be tempted, especially when you know that Kieron Gibbs seems pretty capable of filling Gael’s boots.

    Clichy seems to have had a rough time in the last 18 months. He has been injured a lot and that has affected his form. He almost seems to have at least one clanger a game and the days of saying that he is better than Ashley Cole appear long gone.

    To even compare him to Ashley Cole is a tribute to Gael Clichy. Without doubt (I have/hate to say it) Cole is the best left-back in the world. I still feel to this day he could have gone on to become an Arsenal legend and would probably even be our captain. As we all know he fucked that up.

    I, and many others, said that Clichy made it an easy decision for Wenger to let Cole go. Gael was that good. Having said that, it appears that Gael has gone backwards over the last 12-18 months. I think it was the mistake against Tottenham in the 4-4 draw that begun his ‘apparent’ decline.

    There is a saying; ‘Form is temporary, class is permanent’ and I would hope that this applied to Gael Clichy. We didn’t say that Clichy was better than Cole for nothing.

    Despite being tempted I wouldn’t sell Clichy. Not even for £16m. Somewhere inside Gael Clichy is still that player who I believed would overtake Cole and become the best left-back in the world.

    It could be a matter of belief. If Clichy regained that belief in himself I’m sure that he could become the player we wanted him to be.

    I would hate to see Gael at another club. We talk a lot about loyalty to a club in football and when I see Clichy I see a player who loves Arsenal and is extremely loyal to us. Look at his interviews, he always conducts himself well.

    In Kieron Gibbs we have a player for the future, Clichy is a player for now. I have no doubt that one day Gibbs will be Arsenal and England’s number one left-back but I’d still give Clichy a chance to fulfill that promise he showed and get back on track.

  14. Lukman,nigeria
    February 23, 2010 at 8:12 pm #

    …..well hope it all work well 4us.but i prefered ebue n sagna combination,walcot is stil nt fit in.

  15. henrykissinher
    February 23, 2010 at 8:27 pm #

    @rob stop posting other peoples blogs on this site for feck sake.
    just got back from a full on job interview, stressfull stuff let me tell ya.

    its all going to come down to the ‘big teams’ meeting each other. its gettin exciting though aint it.

  16. ?uestion
    February 23, 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    Why have you got Arsenals badge in Barca/Athletico/Sunderland colours as your masthead?

  17. asad
    February 23, 2010 at 8:55 pm #

    Nice post robb

  18. Richey Back
    February 23, 2010 at 9:09 pm #

    I’m actually worried about the Spurs game, you may laugh given our record there however most people may not realize that this game is scheduled for the FA Cup Semi Final weekend?

    If Spurs did happen to get through then the game will be postponed and probably pushed back to late April/Early March and more importantly in a Midweek evening Kick off … now I would be far more worried about that type of game that the Saturday 12:45 that it will be if they are dumped out??

    As for the other games, get past Stoke and we can win all of them (inc Man City), we are by far the superior team even with our current injuries … a win against Stoke will give the team an unbelievable lift perhaps more than people would even realize?

    COYG

  19. Richey Back
    February 23, 2010 at 9:11 pm #

    that was meant to say late April/early May lol

  20. Johnno
    February 23, 2010 at 9:31 pm #

    Why all the mathematics?

    I am convinced that Chelsea and Man.U. will drop points so Arsenal only need to win all their remaining Premiership games and the Championship will be ours.

    In the immortal words of Alexander Orlov “simples”

    Ps. For those who do not know who Alexander Orlov is check out Compare the Meerkats. com .

  21. Gudman Emeh
    February 23, 2010 at 9:48 pm #

    Fesgudman@yahoo.com

  22. alex
    February 23, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

    What about injury.
    Next is Stoke and i bet Fab and arshavin will be the casuality.Last five matches Fabregas was fouled beyond immagination and no cover what so ever from referees.Is not playing at his best because is constantly badly tackled and for me it is just a matter of time and surely is going to be sidelined injured.
    On paper ypur analysis seems ok but it seems you forget the injury situation.

  23. andy
    February 23, 2010 at 10:01 pm #

    Glad Theo was not called up by the under 21 coach and I hope for now he stays out of the senior team too. I know he has potential but he is yet to develop it and should be given time to do this and eventually make the team. To do this, Theo just has to spend extra time every day learning how to go past players and add something special to his pace, may be learn to take a free kick. But whether he can forget his girl friend for now and really work hard and improve is something I do not know but there lies a bundle of crude potential on the verge of self destruct. Theo, you have so much to gain but then a whole lot to lose should you fail to work hard. Cheers

  24. Damn_Gallas
    February 23, 2010 at 10:20 pm #

    Remember,United beat only one of the top 4 on route to the title last season, and we weren’t one of them. Last year we couldn’t beat the dross, this year we struggle against the big boys. Wednesday sees our last involvement with the big 4. We must beat Liverpool or they’ll only be 2 points behind us given a win!! After that, City at home and Spuds away are our only top 7 games. We have a lot to play for. Let’s hope for some luck with injuries and go for it. We’re a good side. Let’s get the defending sorted and start banging in the goals again. Up the Arsenal.

  25. alfonzo
    February 23, 2010 at 10:21 pm #

    I think wengers time is up. tactically this guy is inept. no other top manager in the world would pay so little attention to defending. we cant seriously expect to win anything in this day and age playing this way. wenger thinks its still 1998, when it was easier to win things. the bar was raised but wenger did not improve, and neither can he learn. I want him gone now, and if Cesc leaves then OK, we can deal with it.

  26. simba
    February 23, 2010 at 10:24 pm #

    Its fairly obvious that the club is making a profit. That doesn’t mean that AW has the money to spend. Where is Ivan Gazidis? I distinctly remember him saying that a CL place alone is not acceptable and how he will turn the screw on AW if thats how the season pans out. Well where is he? Just because money is there doesn’t mean the board are asking AW to be frugal to ride out the recession. The fact that we didn’t even go for a loanee to sort out our striker crisis seems crazy. AW has spent before we moved to Highbury. There is a complete change of attitude by the club since the move. Like I know we are down about the way the club is being run but would we rather be in united position financially and winning trophies? Thats the question. Still what i do blame AW for not replacing Almunia. A keeper is the foundation of any great team and ours isn’t fit for the championship. We’ve had to endure Almunia being at fault for goals for 2 crunch home games against United in the past season to attempt to sign Sorensen on the last day of the transfer window. That is not good enough. Coming out with it now just hurts even more. Second only to Benitez readying Alonso’s replacement 5 months too late.

  27. carim
    February 23, 2010 at 10:25 pm #

    We can’t keep signing players because of injuries. We should have looked at loans probably but heh.

    Eduardo is a strong player that has unfortunately hasn’t been able to find his form properly. He’s having an off season unfortunately. We have many forwards and signing more of them just because we can and not because they are better than what we have/can add a lot to the team is stupid.

    Man Utd have Rooney and Berbatov… and that’s about it in terms of notable forwards and they’d struggle if both of them were injured (more so Rooney).

    Chelsea have Anelka and Drogba. Really that’s about it in terms of notable forwards for them.

    We’ve been unlucky with injuries but to state we need to BUY when we have a fairly big squad at full fitness is silly.

    If we panic buy we could end up with someone crap that can’t cut it in our team or in the English top flight.

    Look at the impact of our last few signings, Wenger and his network of scouts look closely at the players so that they don’t end up with complete duds on a ridiculous wage.

    Denilson isn’t that bad and a year ago you wouldn’t even be talking about Song. Wenger proved himself right with Song (and it seems Diaby as well, which is nice) but unfortunately Denilson hasn’t developed as nicely as we’d all hoped. He’s still a solid backup to have. In fact our midfield backups of Ramsay, Denilson and Merida (for now) is quite reassuring.

    Defence is our weakest area in terms of backup but with Djourou back in a few months to have replaced a solid backup like him by signing someone else who may or may not cut it in the team seems silly to me.

  28. ALGunner
    February 23, 2010 at 11:08 pm #

    Quite an optimistic post from @andy. But what an arsenal fan can do right now. We just can be optimistic as allways we have done through out the season and throught out the last 4-5 season. We are into the business end of the season and we are depeding on the mercy of our rivals to win the title. Even though i thouhgt this could be our season to win something with MANU losing Ronaldo and with there patched up defence for more than half the season. With an chelsea side playing below par except Drogba. Liverpool missing Torres and Gerrard for the entire half of the season. Still not convenced with the team to win the title just hope if puss till the last the top two team. JUST HOPE

  29. Giddie- Nairobi
    February 23, 2010 at 11:55 pm #

    Points Predicted

    Points Predicted

    Points Predicted

    Current Points

    Chelsea
    61

    Manchester United
    57

    Arsenal
    55

    Chelsea
    H
    Manchester City
    1
    Manchester United
    H
    West Ham United
    3
    Stoke
    A
    Arsenal
    3

    Chelsea
    H
    West Ham United
    3
    Wolves
    A
    Manchester United
    3
    Arsenal
    H
    Burnley
    3

    Blackburn Rovers
    A
    Chelsea
    3
    Manchester United
    H
    Fulham
    1
    Hull
    A
    Arsenal
    3

    Portsmouth
    A
    Chelsea
    3
    Manchester United
    H
    Liverpool
    0
    Arsenal
    H
    West Ham United
    3

    Chelsea
    H
    Aston Villa
    1
    Bolton
    A
    Manchester United
    3
    Birmingham
    A
    Arsenal
    3

    Manchester United
    A
    Chelsea
    0
    Manchester United
    H
    Chelsea
    3
    Arsenal
    H
    Wolves
    3

    Chelsea
    H
    Bolton Wanderers
    3
    Blackburn Rovers
    A
    Manchester United
    3
    Tottenham
    A
    Arsenal
    1

    Tottenham Hotspur
    A
    Chelsea
    1
    Manchester City
    A
    Manchester United
    1
    Wigan Athletic
    A
    Arsenal
    3

    Chelsea
    H
    Stoke City
    3
    Manchester United
    H
    Tottenham
    3
    Arsenal
    H
    Manchester City
    1

    Liverpool
    A
    Chelsea
    1
    Sunderland
    A
    Manchester United
    3
    Blackburn Rovers
    A
    Arsenal
    3

    Chelsea
    H
    Wigan Athletic
    3
    Manchester United
    H
    Stoke
    3
    Arsenal
    H
    Fulham
    3

    Points gathered

    22

    26

    29

    83

    83

    84

    Please correct me but this is the best prediction ever if u doubt it just check the games b4 Christmas!!!!!!

    But I stand to be corrected, where in this table have I judged harshly or softly? I welcome mature and informed opinions.

  30. Giddie- Nairobi
    February 24, 2010 at 12:00 am #

    i have just assigned points according to how i think the results will turn out to be, the title will be hotly contested for sure.

  31. Richard
    February 24, 2010 at 12:15 am #

    Let me start by saying that I have supported The Arsenal since 1970 and have experienced many highs and lows during the ensuing 40 years. At the moment, I think it is fair to say, that a low has set in. Now as low periods go it is not too bad, we are not talking about the likes of Walford and Ceasar at the back, or a strikeforce of Hawley and Hankin (in fact at the moment it would appear that a proper striker is superfluous – but that is beside the point). Arsenal are not flirting with relegation as they were in the mid seventies, it is not 18 f-ing years, to quote Colin Firth’s character in Fever Pitch, since the last title win, and we have a manager that has previously given us arguably the greatest Arsenal sides ever. On the flip side however, we also now do not possess players of the calibre of Seaman, Adams, Vieira, Pires, Bergkamp and Henry to name just a few. Arsenal now exist in a kind of Limbo Land where serious (or any) silverware is very unlikely but spectacular failure is just as unlikely too.

    How long is this status quo going to last? Unfortunately, my guess is a long time if the team continues in the same manner. As long as a Champions League berth is secured and a half decent run in Europe in achieved I think we will be served up more of the same. Perhaps I have become greedy and some of you fellow Gooners will say that it is a great deal better than supporters of the likes of Spurs, Everton, City and Villa have endured for many years now. Of course that is true, but having seen Arsenal taken to the top of the tree by Wenger, and experienced being the best, with real expectation of winning the top trophies, it is now very difficult to adjust back to the current lack of ambition at Arsenal.

    A great puzzle to me is that it is the same manager at the helm that experienced great success. How has Wenger gone from producing the ‘Invincibles’ to morph into the current version of himself, tolerating so many performances, particularly against Chavski and Manure, that have plumbed the depths.

    Of course my ardent wish to see Arsenal back at the very top is not helped by the financial prudence the club is adhering to. If I was a businessman or a shareholder I would applaud the efforts to run the club on a sound financial footing, and would not like what is happening to football in general with many clubs in financial peril. But as a supporter can I really not look with envy at Citeh, Manure and Chavski and wish Arsenal would join them and compete for the top players in the game? Unless and until legislation is put in place to force clubs to operate within their turnover, which may never happen, Arsenal will face an uphill battle to even stay where they are. David Dein alluded to this not so long ago, before he was forced out.

    The thought of continuing to bump along in third or fourth spot with no genuine hope of winning the Premiership is very depressing. Equally depressing is the fruitless pursuit of Champions League glory and the throwing away of the FA Cup. The current team might just win the FA Cup one year (providing someone does us a favour and eliminates Manure and the Chavs) but the Champions League? I just don’t think so.

    The time has come for this team to either prove the doubters wrong and make the step up required to become winners, or fail badly and force the issue in this way. Of course I have no real wish to see Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League, as this may be a prelude to a disastrous freefall, but what else is going to shake the board and manager out of their apparent indifference to Arsenal languishing in Limbo Land?

  32. Johnno
    February 24, 2010 at 12:58 am #

    Limbo land????

    Third from top of toughest league in the world and we are languishing in Limbo Land?

    Wake up Richard and smell the coffee!

    From someone who has supported Arsenal since 1950, believe me we are in heaven not Limbo Land!

  33. asad
    February 24, 2010 at 1:01 am #

    I think it’s safe to say we all know Stoke will pose a stern test at the weekend. It will require a mixture of power and skill to overcome Stoke at the Britannia where we have nothing but bad memories in the PL and recent FA Cup outing. I believe Campbell was rested against Sunderland as Wenger believes he’ll need him against Stoke. If we regain the services of Gallas, Diaby and Arshavin for the weekend I’d be inclided to start with a back 4 of Sagna, Vermaelen, Campbell, Gallas. A midfield 4 of Eboue, Fabregas, Song, Diaby, and a front 2 of Bendtner and Arshavin. This team could cope physically and have enough flair to be able to carve out chances which hopefully will be taken. It’ll be tight with 1-0 being enough for either team I feel. Lets hope were on the right side of the result.

  34. Lil Weezy
    February 24, 2010 at 1:07 am #

    I truly believe that if the Squad remains healthy (Big KEY)..
    Meaning Song, Diaby and, Fabregas and Arshavin (these are the big four)
    We can win every match with ease.. the last few games will also involve a rusty RVP (whos’ better than Bendtner on his best day).
    Walcott is catching form..So long Denilson is not anywhere near the pitch.. We have a very clear path, not an easy one but very very very do-able…
    Can somneone tell me how many games we lost with (Song, Diaby and, Fabregas, RVP and Arshavin) in the lineup??

  35. ashravin
    February 24, 2010 at 1:12 am #

    I have lost the faith. I now no longer believe that Arsenal can win the league this season. Sunday has sent me into a pit of despair so large that I struggle to think of what possible, rational course of action there is left to take…

    Oh! I know! Let’s sack the manager, the board, sell all of our players and burn the stadium down in protest at the single greatest injustice Western civilization has ever seen!

    Jesus wept! What is this? The annual Geordies’ and Scousers’ whinge at why they deserve to win everything because they’re so special? Frankly, I’m disgusted at commentators such as Christian Alibert (Taxi For Wenger).

    So, Arsène’s unfit to live and should be sent to Siberia by close of business tomorrow? Damn right he should – and while we’re at it, let’s get Rafa Benitez in to sort out this mess we’re in. After all, he knows how to spunk money up the walls, which is clearly the answer to all of our problems. £20m is a bargain for a player of Aquilani’s standard. For that matter, what about ‘arry? Alright, he’s got a murky past when it comes to wheeling and dealing, but at least he knows his way around a bunch of used fivers, no questions asked. Oh, and Roberto Mancini! Who can forget his master-stroke at signing Paddy V to a £150,000/week contract when he’s over the hill and injured? Quality stuff. Wenger’s put to shame by purchases such as Vermaelen and Arshavin; they’re simply awful and not fit to wear the shirt – done nothing all season, the pair of them.

    The League Cup: that Holy Grail of footballing excellence before which we all prostrate ourselves because we are not worthy. You know, it’s never done anything for the club. Not a jot. In fact, one of the worst matches I ever saw was in the League Cup – Arsenal vs. Rotherham. Not one of those players ever did anything with himself after that. Definitely not that scraggly little lispy Spanish tosser whose name I forget… something like ‘Fabregash’ – anyway, it doesn’t matter ‘cause we haven’t heard of him since, the poxy no-hoper.

    And how dare Wenger run the club on a sound financial keel? What does he know? Personally, I’d love to be hundreds of millions in debt with no way of paying it back, just like Utd and the Hoof are. Did you know that Utd may have to sell Old Trafford just to stay afloat? No? Well, it’s a small matter anyway. Let’s just forget small details like that and pray for the day that our saviour, Usmanov the ex-prison bird, comes in to be our sugar-daddy, just like Chelski and City have! God, I truly cannot wait for the day when we are more like Chelsea in every way – including having f**k all future if a certain Russian decides to pull the plug.

    As to the players, this is a criticism to respond to seriously. Wenger has always had one major blind spot: goalkeepers. We all know Manuel is not good enough. Full stop. As for the others, well, who can ignore Song’s progress to being one of the best midfielders around? A year or two ago however, I suspect that many of the current critics were calling for him to be shipped out. Denilson has showed some class at times, but in recent matches has fallen off the pace. Why this is we do not know – but perhaps there is behind-the-scenes stuff going on with him. Let us wait and see. Clichy? Well, we’ve got a great replacement for him, but he’s in with the physio for the rest of the season. This is clearly Wenger’s fault! As to not having bought ‘a world-class striker’, well, we do have one; RVP. Sad thing is that he’s been out for virtually the entire season with torn ligaments – but, of course, that’s Wenger’s fault. But we should have bought a £30m striker in January – they’re easy enough to find as a short-term solution. Did anyone else notice the dearth of major signings? Perhaps the old guy is onto something when he says that there’s not much money around at the moment…

    Ah, the Cup. I love it. As an Englishman, I am attached to it at the hip. If it were up to me, we’d go for it all guns blazing every season. But it’s not up to me: it’s up to one of the most proven managers in the world who has the club’s best interests at heart. Our club’s best interests at heart. He has turned this club from a good English side into a European powerhouse. So he might have slipped up? He’s human then. Lest we forget, we were 1-1 with 15 mins to go. Had that all turned out ok, no-one would have said a thing.

    To all those calling for a taxi for Wenger, shut up, f**k off, and go and support United – after all, they beat us at the weekend, so that means you’ve a better band-wagon to jump onto now.

  36. sid
    February 24, 2010 at 1:17 am #

    I love the Arsenal. No, I mean it, I really love the Arsenal. There are things I love more; my family, my home, and my dearly departed brindle lurcher to name a few. But apart from these, the Arsenal is my all consuming passion.

    All of my work buddies and friends support different teams, and of all my family only my eldest son and father-in-law are fellow gooners. My missus worships the ground that Torres walks on, and her brother is a spud.

    This past year I have had supporters of United, City, Villa, West Ham, the spuds, Liverpool and Pompey join me to watch games either in HD or via the internet. There is always plenty of banter and mirth making, but we are all bound together by our love for our respective teams.

    Not many of us actually get to see our teams play in the flesh, and indeed if I get to come over twice a year to see us play, then that’s a good year. But we are all dedicated footie supporters.

    I have often heard cries of anguish when their teams lose but not once have I heard any of them complain about off field issues. My wife never complains about Rafa or Hicks or Gillette or the Europa cup. My buddy Shocky doesn’t care that United are wallowing in debt. John, my brother-in-law doesn’t give a hoot that the spuds never amount to anything. And Arlo and Stan (Villa & WHU) are eternal optimists. I could go on but it’s the same story for all concerned.

    I am not saying that all fans of other teams love every aspect of how their team is run, let’s face it United and Liverpool fans have plenty to complain about. However Ferguson, Benitez, and Zola are not the targets. Sure the press may occasionally have a half hearted pop at them but it isn’t sustained and the next issue will generally have a different target or theme.

    So what’s up with Arsenal and Arsene? Why have the the press and the anti-Arsenal painted a great big bulls-eye on them?

    It can’t be silverware, because in the last 10 years only three EPL clubs have more than us.

    It can’t be league position because in the last 10 years we have never finished lower than fourth. We have been in the Top flight longer than any other English team, indeed it’s almost a century since we were promoted from the second division and we haven’t looked back.

    It can’t be lack of European football because for the last 10 years we have had it every year.

    It can’t be our financial situation, because ours is currently the best in the EPL. I know Chelsea and City have sugar daddies but they still can’t manage to post a profit in their respective end of year accounts, and we all know about the situation at OT and Anfield.

    It can’t be our lack of youth training and recruitment, because ours is the best in the EPL if not the world. For instance, the whole of the Ivory Coast national team were recruited and trained by one of our worldwide soccer schools. Our youth and reserves teams are playing exceptionally well and have been for a few years now.

    In fact we are doing so well on this front that it makes it almost impossible for Arsene to find better players in the transfer windows. Last year we signed two first team players, Arshavin and Vermaelen. Both of these deals went to the wire because Arsene will not pay over the odds for anyone.

  37. shambogunner
    February 24, 2010 at 1:50 am #

    LMAO,
    you cant predict football.
    you cant predict wot way any given game may go before it starts,the bottom team is capable of beating the champions on a given day
    injuries,sendings off,suspensions,outragious refereeing errors all play their part
    how you can all indulge yourselves in even trying to predict the outcomes of ELEVEN remaining games reflects the height of arrogance and optimism….to write down a home win versus city????how can you do that?
    can we not just reflect on how lucky wer are to even be in this position in light of all the errors that were made this season and treat every game with the respect it deserves…..starting with a team who hav beatin us at their place last season and this season and hav been in great form of late??
    lets try that and see where it takes us

  38. ANDY LEE
    February 24, 2010 at 2:11 am #

    I agree with your analysis of our remaining fixtures except for the T*****ham game.
    I just don’t see them as a threat when it comes to playing bigger clubs at the moment. They’ve done nothing against the big clubs & apart from Wigan recently, don’t create much. Boring to watch too.
    I think we’ll win comfortably against them. Add another two points to the total.
    (“,)

  39. chris
    February 24, 2010 at 3:44 am #

    82 gives us a good chance imo but 3 draws is too many.

    Stoke is the big game

  40. Leftcoastgooner
    February 24, 2010 at 6:11 am #

    Hi all’
    home from work for ManU and West Ham.
    Icehammer if your out there ( I can sense your presence) can you or can you not get 1pt.?

  41. Andrew Weber
    February 24, 2010 at 7:49 am #

    @ shambo – I respect your comments, even if I disagree that it has nothing to do with me being arrogant or optimistic.

    I don’t usually predict and I think you have to take more as a bit of fun than anything else. I’m not saying we will win the league, just comparing the types of games we have dropped points in for the first part of the season and applying them to our final games. I feel like I CAN do that because despite injuries to various players, form dips here and there, we’ve been relatively predictable.

    If the results were less predictable I wouldn’t have bothered, hence why I steered clear of the United and Chelsea results.

    This isn’t a prediction of us winning the league – just an indication that we’ll give it a good go. Just enjoy the post – it’s meant to be a bit of fun and something different on a boring Tuesday with little to no news.

  42. shambogunner
    February 24, 2010 at 8:48 am #

    lol,
    thats cool andy,not everything i say is aimed at you…just the city bit,wot i said is more so for the people who think wer gonna go 11 games straight now and win the league……its all very manutdish,fans who take games for granted.thats all i meant
    now on something different…..rooney is the epitomy of gettin value for money…..i mean he cost alot,was very young but it wasnt really a huge gamble….they knew wot he was capable of….now look at the result of their calculated risk….i actually cant stand the guy,he and gerrard are the worst divers in world football,but my god,what a player he is….there are more like him out there if your willing to pay.if we had him in our team wed be better than barca

  43. Geocross
    February 24, 2010 at 9:09 am #

    Prediction or not, Arsenal have the players to win those games, and must do it if they want to win the league, no excuses, that’s all.

  44. Andrew Weber
    February 24, 2010 at 9:26 am #

    Cool stuff shambo.

    Rooney’s certainly in hot form, but how long will it last? He has the potential to go on and be a truly good player, but we’ll have to wait and see. Can he score goals for fun for three or four seasons like Henry?

  45. shambogunner
    February 24, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    andy,
    he may wel do….if he can bring that form,and stay injury free,come this summer,england will be a serious threat….imagine if he didnt abuse officials into the ground,whilst on the other hand simulating contact with players to con them aswel as lashing out at opponents when losing, without fear of punishment or media scrutiny might i add….imagine then wot a player he wud be
    was watching match of the day on bbc sunday night and it was brilliant when the host,adrian wotshisname,said to alan hansen that maybe benayoun shuda took a tumble when kompanys leg caught him in the area late on,but it was,in his words, ‘more of a european thing and not really encouraged or practiced by us’……to the right of alan hansen sat slaven bilic who said,’i think youl find your fairly good at it now’…..brilliant,especially as hes eduardos national coach

  46. RGJ
    February 24, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

    Andy I reckon you must have had your fingers crossed, your rabbit’s foot out and your voodoo dolls of rooney and drogba in making those predictions! Personally I can’t see further than the Stoke game. I reckon we can get all 3 points, I fear we won’t but will be getting up early here in Oz cheering the team on while sending my blood pressure through the roof. Can’t undertand the level of vitriol aimed at Wenger from some so called gooners. He’s not perfect and has some blind spots (unfortunately around or goalkeepers and defence) but I for one can remember the dross served up in the past and would not want to go back to that.

    Anyway one game at a time as the cliche goes. I’m off to find my voodoo dolls of Shrek and the Diva (or Diver)

  47. senior citizen
    February 24, 2010 at 11:15 pm #

    Yeah, a lot of commented on this article or rather blog. I don’t know why I am reporting last. may be because I can’t just leave it without commenting.

    First of all, I would love to agree with Andy by far. Where I only disagree with him is games against TottenHammers and Man.city.Those matches will be more unpredictable than any other matches mentioned above and I think they will be determining matches for us to win the Championship.

  48. Jason Newton
    February 25, 2010 at 1:03 am #

    Nice post indeed. Good deal of work on this 🙂

    So how does this pan out if Pompei end up in administration then?

    We would lose the 6 points that we have gained against them as well as a total of +6 on goal difference too.

    Looking at the results so far this season, Manure have beaten Pompei twice, (6 points deducted/lost as well as +8 on goal difference), although Chelski have only played them [Pompei] once (albeit with a lowly +1 on goal difference!), thus ending up 3 points lighter.

    So bearing this in mind, it would mean that we would be 9 points behind Chelski as opposed to 6 as it is now and a considerable dent in our goal difference to boot!

    I think this has to be taken into consideration as if it were to come to fruition then we would, surely, be out of contention for the title yes?

  49. wandega
    February 25, 2010 at 3:53 am #

    Reax guys the game against stoke is more than won. I just learnt today that they will be playing in the Fa tonight against City.Thats by all standards a tough game and they will tire while our players rest.I see them being thumped 4 in revenge as we shall be playing with conviction of top spot

  50. joseph
    February 27, 2010 at 2:04 am #

    this seasons race is not 4 the strong.arsenal is going to do wonders

  51. theicehammer
    February 27, 2010 at 3:18 am #

    Evening all @andy, shambo, leftcosta cant see any points mate!!!!
    has anyone out there changed their opinion on wenger based on what e is doing wid the squad, especially as the board have just announced a bumper profit margin on the books. Wander how much the boss will be given to spend next yr and who will be he’s priority.

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