The season is far from over. Last weekend Arsenal confirmed their new sparkling form by spanking Watford 4-0. Spurs dropped 2pts at Liverpool. Leicester’s charmed odyssey continued as they pipped Southampton 1-0 to maintain their 11pt lead over Arsenal who have a game in hand.

Performance and result don’t always tally. For example in the Squawka epl performance score table, Arsenal are 1st and Leicester 9th whereas in the result table Leicester are 1st and Arsenal 3rd. In a laboratory environment, performance and result would correlate perfectly. Real life, however, is no laboratory and distortions or, in this case, statistical blips, must occur. Without these distortions or blips Arsenal, according to Squawka, should be topping the table with Leicester placed 9th. This tallies closely with the general belief that Leicester’s performance level deserves nothing more than a middle of the table position.

Leicester’s 69pts after 32 games translates to 82pts for the season, a level they are obviously not on. They are where they are because fortune so far has kept her smile on them. The distortions in their results are lopsidedly in the positive. The more normal sequence for teams is the positive of now neutralizing the negative of a while ago. Head-tail-head-tail sequence is usually such that over a large sample of 38 games (over 3420 minutes of action) the positives and the negatives about cancel each other out.

Bad calls by referees, incredible saves or howlers by goalkeepers, hitting the woodwork endlessly, own goals, deflected shots into or out of goal, stunning misses, injuries or the lack of them and so many other out-of-cue dramas make up the head or the tail for teams.

Leicester has been lucky with so many of the positives. They’ve had the highest number of awarded penalties. Arsenal has hit the woodwork more often than any other EPL team. (Arsenal would be top of the table if all shots that hit the woodwork in all EPL matches, for and against all teams, are converted into goals; Spurs would be 6th.)Β  Leicester’s season is nearly injury free. Arsenal has had their midfield almost completely decimated by injuries (poor Newcastle, poor LVG). Even in Leicester’s last match their fate never strayed away from the lucky path as they came off unpenalized from two penalty shouts to again get away with a lone goal victory. On the other hand, Arsenal’s Iwobi narrowly missed a hero’s status when his goal bound shot contrived with the wind to hit the cross bar–albeit with so much venom that it went vibrating like a musical tuning fork.Β  Arsenal unlucky yet again. Luck (or hard luck) never lasts forever as the law of averages must inevitably set in, leveling things out. Little wonder my flame still burns very brightly, as I remain full of expectation for a Leicester stumble in this home stretch.

Too late in the day, one might ask. But is it? Let us look at some figures, and do some projections. Last season, seven teams made 6pts or less in the last 6 epl matches. Those teams included 4th placed Man U with 5pts, 6th placed Liverpool 5pts, 7th placed Southampton 4pts and 10th Crystal Palace with 6pts. For a middle table performance level team, or any team for that matter, 6pts in 6 games is therefore not absurd. Leicester with 6pts from their remaining 6 matches would leave their season’s total at 75pts meaning that Arsenal would need 17pts from their remaining matches to equal them. We examine the remaining fixtures to know how realistic these premises are.

LEICESTER – – – – – – – – – – – – TOTTENHAM – – – – – – – – – — -ARSENAL – – – -.

Sundlnd. (A) = 1pt – – – — — – – Man U. (H) = 1pt – – – – – — – – -W. Ham (A) =1pt.

W. Ham. (H) = 1pt – – — – — – – Stoke. -(A) = 1pt – – – – – — – – -C. Palac (H) = 3pts.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – — – – – – – – – – – – – – — – – – – – -W. B. A. -(H) = 3pts

Swansea (H) = 3pts – – – – – – — W B A. (H) = 3pts- – – – – – – – –Sundlnd. (A) = 3pts.

Man U. (A) = 0 pts – – – – – – – –Chelsea. (A) = 0pts – – – – – – – -Norwich. (H) = 3pts

Everton (H) = 1pts – – – – – – – –So’ton (H) = 3pts – – – – – — – –Man C. -( A) = 1pt.

Chelsea -(A) = 0 pts – – – – – – – New. C (A) = 3pts – – – – – – — –Aston V -(H) = 3pts.
– – – – 6PTS – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -11PTS – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -17PTS

The verdict; Arsenal 75pts (superior GD), Leicester 75pts, Tottenham 73pts. I can be accused of working from the answer backwards, but surely I cannot be accused of match fixing. All the above forecasts, individually or collectively, fall within a few percentage of dead center, all things being equal. Any distortions in real results, I’d wager, ain’t gonna favour Leicester.

This post is here to say that we’ve still got a chance beyond mere mathematical chance. My flame burns ever so brightly and I have got plenty of space for fellow gunners to hop on for an exciting and breathtaking ride. In the chart above I predicted a draw against West Ham this weekend. Out of my laboratory, we will step into Upton Park seeking nothing else but a win. That is our mood and our form. COYG!

by Pony Eye


  • I suppose it could happen. The team that has won 8 of it’s last 10 games, 7 without conceding a goal, and which has only lost 4 games in 12 months, could hit relegation form and go on to win just one of it’s last 6 games, losing 2 And a team who has won just 4 of its last 10 could pick up 17 points between now and the end of the season. Don’t bet too much on it though, Leicester picked up 13 points from their last 6 games last season, have already beaten 5 of their last 6 opponents this season, and Betfred are currently paying out on Leicester winning the League. It could all be over before Leicester hit your predicted disastrous run in the last three games. I think the phrase “very feasible” should be replaced with “clutching at straws”. I think Leicester will win the League by some distance, with no one else coming close to 80 points.

  • I thought you were going to give tangible reasons why finishing ahead of Lei is very feasible. instead you doled out a butt load of excuses as to why we are not already ahead of them. Lei have only lost three games, we lost more than twice as many, this is why they are ahead. Mid table teams do not go the majority of a season only losing three games, calling Lei a mid table team when they are clearly not isn’t doing Arsenal any favors at all.

  • Over the past 38 matches (not 32), Leicester has gathered 91 points, 18 better than Arsenal. Why are they ‘obviously’ not on an 82 point level? Arguably they are on a higher level than 82. They are certainly not an ‘middle table performance level team’. You are predicting a complete reversal in comparative form, over a sample of 6 matches, to give yourself a chance.

    Out of the remaining opponents, only Chelsea has beaten Leicester in the past year. You cite Squawka EPL statistics, but those don;t measure the effect of Leicester’s tactical adaptations and innovations, which, for instance, skew their pass completion rates downwards. The ‘general belief’ you cite about Leicester’s level is, quite simply, wrongheaded. Good luck in the chase, however.

  • Interesting post Pony Eye. You have pretty much the same results as I had the other day. We certainly are in with a fighting chance. Where we at a disadvantage, is we cannot afford any slip ups, whereas Leicester can.
    For many years lesser teams have complained they were never awarded penalties against the big teams. I don’t think anything has changed significantly and whilst Leicester have had a few lucky breaks recently they do tend to even out over a season. Personally I think they play a percentage game. They play very direct and don’t mess around trying to look pretty. If they get a free kick they load the box with their big boys and look for a knock down. They also shoot on sight.

    If Leicester do win it this year, it will be known as the year nobody else wanted to win it. Certainly if any of the big sides had strung together a reasonable run of results it would be over already. There is an old saying in golf “the more you practise the luckier you get”. Which holds very true for Leicester.

    Good luck to them I say. If they win it, they deserve it and I don’t think it would be fair to call them lucky. Still with a little luck we can win it. I really do think that West Ham is the key game. If we can come away with 3 points on Saturday we really do have a chance.

  • One miscalculation from your arse results put you in 2nd place since you highly hope to beat leicester only with Goal Difference. Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow. Congratulate them if they win the prize in May as they truly deserve it.

  • My heart goes with you, but I’m afraid my head says Arsenal botched it long ago

  • Pissing in the wind, and clutching at straws seem the most appropriate comments here.

    LCFC have been lucky have they? Well, Pony you have certainly chosen your rhyming slang name wisely. Perhaps a little more research and a little less knee jerk may solve your problem of denial. The only team which enjoyed a birthday cake-sized piece of luck and all the refereeing decisions at the Library on Valentine’s Day was Arsenal.

    And despite retsubl’s slightly more magnanimous effort, I simply loved this: ‘ If they get a free kick they load the box with their big boys and look for a knock down. They also shoot on sight’. How exactly, did Arsenal undeservedly squeeze the last gasp victory that day against 10 men?

  • PE, good well thought post.

    I believe that the outcome is secondary. If we can win against the hamsters we will gain confidence by winning against the lower teams.

    However, please do not forget abt the points that we lost to lower placed teams due to over confidence. That is something nobody would have predicted, and that is something we have to be aware of.

    To Ogban,
    Maybe they have botched it, but the ball is round. So, unless we finish the season, one is never to know the outcome until the very end of the 90.


  • United have been far better at Old Trafford than away from there. Spurs have lost one in eleven. Spurs should be favourites for that one, really. And I see no reason why they can’t win at Stoke, either – Stoke were held at home by Swansea recently, their home form ain’t that great. On top of which, Hiddinck has made Chelsea difficult to beat – but primarily by making them draw specialists. Spurs get a better result in just one of those matches than you have predicted and their superior goal-difference would scunner your predictions.

    Besides which, I really can’t see Leicester – who have lost 3 games all season – losing three in six games.

    Can’t see it. Arsenal have three hard away games. Can see a loss in at least one. I’d have to agree with Ogban…long gone. Barring a complete Leicester collapse they are obviously clear favourites now. And even if that happened I think Spurs will hold form to take advantage. Both of them collapsing while Arsenal produce better away form than for most of the season in order to win most remaining matches. Nah, can’t see it.

  • With any luck Man City will be distracted by the Champions League semi-finals when we play them, so we could add two points and then we finish with 77.

    Also add 4 points to Tottenham because they’ll beat Man U and Stoke and they also get 77 points. As for Leicester, I imagine they’ll beat Everton, so we might end up with all three teams on 77 points and then it’s all down to goal difference!

  • Good comment, Retsub.

    ” If Leicester do win it this year, it will be known as the year nobody else wanted to win it” ……@ Retsub. I disagree here. Leicester at current rate are heading to a 82pts season finish. That’s no mean pts total, particularly when you add in the fact that the average epl team is now much stronger. But them, my argument in the post convinces me that they are not going to make that 82pts and that it ain’t over yet.

  • Ogban, your one line shows you’re a true Arsenal lover, but maybe too scared to look facts in the face. Show me the forecasts in the post that are way off the mark. Ogban, believe me, at this point in time it is still GAME ON!

  • njk, that is the way I see it too. Our next match against the Hammers is very critical, because it is delicately poised. I predicted a draw there. If we win it our chances are boosted tremendously. If we loose it, we are deeper in the hole.

    “The points we lost to the lower placed teams?” That’s part of the distortions I talked about. We have to take it on the chin and move on, banking on the law of averages to even things up everywhere. After all Man c, Man U, Chls, Liv, from the table have had worse doses of the same medicine.

  • Brilliant, Davydavy. That is trading without emotions, looking the hard facts straight in the eyes and not blinking. What a number 777777. Magical number. Then Spurs wins because of better GD. That is exactly why I am calling on the law of averages to step in, of course in our favour. Chech this out:

    With the wood works balls converted into goals Leic will be 10pts less, Spuds 10 pts less, and Arsenal1pt extra.
    Leic net points gain from penalties 24pts, the Spuds 12pts and Arsenal’s only 2pts.

    One huge romance between Spors, Leic and the woodworks on this home stretch is my bet. And you can count on a few vital good calls in our favour, for a change, as the saying goes. Am I the super optimist and do I need to be reminded that statistics is not an exact science? OK, but I’d rather lean on the side of established trends.

  • Davydavy, am sorry. Arsenal 2 penalties for 1 against, net pts gained 3pts

  • Having missed the chance to add to the previous post, I will not spend too much time on this one.

    Nice try at lifting the spirits PE, but more a case of going for the Pulitzer prize,or its equivalent, the ‘Rose Tint Award’ for outrageous optimism. 10 out of 10 forgiving it a go PE.

    You might ask why I am so antagonistic towards these thoughts? Mainly because I think your logic is flawed from the outset.

    Squawka have us first and Leicester ninth. This was the ‘mean’ you used in a previous comment.
    Surely their ratings are a collection of individual ratings, put together to make a team rating? I don’t know, which is why I pose the question. Is that season long? Or just recent form?
    Either way, Squawka cannot use a computer model to determine that plus factor as to what the TEAM element can do, as it makes the sum of its parts greater as a whole.

    In my opinion, and that is all it is, Leicester have the best team effort in the whole of.the PL.
    Why? Because they are consistent in every department.

    If you look at every other team in the league, they have shown weaknesses in one department or another. Some more than others. The league table reflects that.

    Yes, fortune has favoured Leicester with injuries. Yes, they have had refereeing decisions going their way. But that is not the sole reason why they stand at the top of the table. If those decisions were wiped away who is to say the the character of their team would not have tried doubly hard and still got the results the did? Nothing changes the reality. They are at the top of the table.

    Now, when you concentrate on OUR results, I think you may have it about right. In fact, if we keep playing as well as we have been, it could even be a couple of points higher. Alas, both of these opinions do not take in the psychological effect that, say dropped points at West Ham, and our rivals pick up points might have on us? Conversely, who is to say what appetite Chelsea will have if they are out of the top four when Leicester play them, or when we play Man City, after their exploits in the CL, old manager leaving, 4th spot secure … Who knows?
    That is what makes it interesting.

    Your Tottenham score could go either way, especially this coming weekend. Man U are not a good side, and are very beatable by a side playing well. Any news filtering through that we are in trouble at W. Ham will inspire them as much as the reverse will depress them. They too, are pretty secure in their top four spot, so who knows how they will finish off their final games.

    I feel it is Leicester that you underestimate. Against Sunderland, the team that cannot score versus a solid defence, equals a draw at worst. They may even lose to WHU, as I think an outright result is most likely, depending on how WHU come out of our game? But to only get one point from the two most open attacking sides, Man U and Everton, which plays right into their counter-attacking strengths? So with the possibility of dropping one point from your early tally, I see them picking up another five later on, and still have the Chelsea game as a bonus?

    Ergo, fortune favours the brave and Leicester are the most likely champions with 80 points … minimum!

    But anything can happen in football ….

  • Gerry I don’t disagree with anything you have said, but would like to add one more factor to the mix. The Nosebleed. Neither Leicester or Spurs have any recent history of lasting the course at the top of the Prem and the pressure pot must be building. I have watched Leicester a couple of times recently and in those games they did ride thieir luck. As you correctly point out they are consistent in all areas, but it will be interesting to see how they cope if things start to go wrong. Similar with Spurs, although they may be mentally tougher. If all else fails there is always the dodgy lasagne.

    As for our boys, they seem to have hit a pocket of form. Long may it last.

  • Gerry’s broadside. Wow! Those old fashioned cannons can be flawed. I hope they blow up in your face. Once tomorrow is talked about it can only be as an opinion whether by Opta, Whoscored, Squawka, Gerry, or me. More than that any opinion whatsoever is subjective. So by stretching your argument we should all shut up. Bergkampesque should close shop permanently. Gerry, am not with you there. I love to dance round ideas, looking at it from different angles and saying ‘probably ……’.

    The flaw in some of your arguments is the mix up of scales in your logic. Sometimes you operate on possibilities. Yes, everything is possible. If it defies patterns it is called miracle. Who knows, but Gerry might live up to the ripe age of 140 yrs. But in the realm of probability, which is where I operate, Gerry can’t see his 140th birthday. Sorry mate.

    If all the balls that hit the post had just moved a few inches goal side Arsenal would have been ahead of Leic. If the referees had just not called 4 of the penalties of the 10 awarded Leic this season they would have been a couple of points lower. In the very nature of events things tend to seek their level, their mean, their most stable point. The pendulum’s most stable point is that position where it eventually comes to rest and not the swings. I never saw the kids swing that went up and never came down. Gerry, I insist, it is still……. GAME ON!

  • Gerry, sorry. ” If it defies KNOWN patterns it is called miracle”….. @ PE.

  • It’s not just this season though, Leicester have massively out performed Arsenal over the last 38 games if you take in to account the tail end of last season. I can’t see them slipping up now.

  • Are you trying to say that Leicester is just gonna take a point from Sunderland? Absolutely impossible because Leicester is gonna trash them so badly….. They are already d Barclays Premier League champions…

  • Hi all. Thanks PE for this dose of optimism and insight that being in the present gives you. Your stance is more than an opinion. It is beneficial to all concerned, our 12th man and our team while there are points still to play. Wenger will be taking the same approach and so should our players. This stance in the here and now also gives us change resilience, an ability to grow through adversity and thrive under pressure. It is what we need more of. As for predictions I am not a betting man and your calculations, and retsubs in a previous post, lead me to say it could go either way. I do think it will be tighter at the end than many believe. πŸ™‚

  • FMJ …….nutshelled most prettily. ” I do think it will be tighter at the end than many believe” ….@ FMG.

  • Hahaha PE, a brilliant post that has the Foxes riled (see freed up comments above).

    It is definitely possible but I reckon we will need to win all our games, starting with the Hammers.

    I don’t think we should underestimate the fact that the neutrals would love to see LC win and same goes for the teams who have nothing to lose anymore. The PL needs a romantic story and the Foxes winning the league fits with this. So I reckon they will win it, and despite the undoubted luck and generosity of the refs, they will have deserved it if they do.

    Let’s just focus on our games and enjoy every performance. The rest is out of our hands.

  • Bruin I don’t think Araenal were lucky to beat Leicester, it was more s case of bad refereeing. The ref made a number of diabolical decisions in the first half. I am convinced he was feeling so guilty that he sent the Leicester guy off to make amends. After that it was a lottery.

    As I said before good luck to Leicester and I will be the first to congratulate them if they win it. But it ain’t over yet

  • TA, the freed up comments (deluge) didn’t as much as rock my boat. The Foxes are scared stiff that our cross hair is on them. We are just checking the wind direction for that slight adjustment before the trigger is pulled. A damn close race it is going to be.

    I agree with you we are up against some big odds not the least the neutrals ( refs included) who are enthralled by the Cindrella story. From rags to riches. Beautiful story but am a gunner who like a Spartan of old never say it’s over until it’s over.

  • PE, nice try on the counter attack …. but?

    What I tried to point out that no matter how many factors you put into previous results, it doe not change the reality. Leicester are 7 points clear at the top of the table.

    As I see others have pointed out, you are appearing to project the Leicester collapse on what should have happened to them, but didn’t. Losing as many games as they have lost all season would indeed be a meltdown of all meltdowns …. errr, probably excluding some of ours?

    Projecting points from here on is very subjective, and is subject to the psychology of good and bad results. I acknowledge that. But my fundamental point about Leicester is their team mentality is their greatest asset. Right now, we have have momentum, whereas Leicester have resilience, and left untouched by external factors; injuries, team changes, suspensions, and the like, I see us just falling short.
    I mentioned before that Ranieri is ‘playing the occasion’ with Leiester. As Retsub put it, playing the percentage game. Early in the season they tended to throw more men forward, scored a lot more goals, and conceded more as a consequence. Now they play with a very disciplined defence, men behind the ball as soon as they lose possession. Not as much fun to watch as their early season play, but very effective. Most of all, the team buy into what their manager says. I could be wrong, but it does not look like a team heading towards a collapse. But it is only an opinion.

    I wish our team to continue playing the style they have got now.. I want the fans to get behind them and enjoy the moment. Predicting what other teams may or may not do is not going to change the results as they happen.
    OGAAT is the way to go, and our next one against West Ham, is probably the trickiest.yet. They have a manager who can make inspired substitutions, as well as a free kick specialist who says that it is so easy, he does not need to practice them. We have dead ball players that need all the practice they can get! πŸ˜€

    Hey ho …enjoy

  • Ahh thanks TA! I salute you and HT, also PE et al for your consistently intelligent writing and insights. Look forward to reading and commenting whenever possible. πŸ™‚

  • Very early morning here but that’s when I do my best work… πŸ™‚

    Cheers for the Post, PE, I hope my editing hand wasn’t too heavy…

    As I probably said when retsub did his calcs, I think the only way to take them is one at a time. And, regardless of the individual results and how we finish in the table, the performances (what actually happens on the pitch) matter too. Still, if folks enjoy looking at the fixtures and making predictions and it gives them hope, who am I to argue?…

    I know that I also said that the individual results, I believe, have a lot to do with the immediate situation at the clubs that LC, Spurs and we are playing. Sunderland, if they’re fighting for their PL survival, are a very different task than if they’re already relegated or already safe, for example. Chelsea and ManU may get more bounce from their squads if their incoming managers, Conte or Mourinho, most likely, decide to attend a late season match or if one (or several) of their big name players are heavily linked with moves away from the club and sat out for end of season matches so as not to distract the others. This is probably a reason that some big name clubs, as PE points out in the post, limped in so badly last season.

    The LC supporters, I think, are correct to point out that their team didn’t (stumble to the finish a year ago) and that they built well at that time. Bringing in Rainieri, who also did some very canny things over the summer (and in managing his squad all season) was tough on Pearson, but looks brilliant in retrospect. Fuchs is a family name for me, so maybe I’m biased, but picking up Christian Fuchs from the German league–along with Kante from France and even Inler from Italy and Dyer from Swansea–have to be seen as very strong moves. They started well, haven’t been set back by injuries and are looking to take their very focused (but not very fun to watch…) sit back and hit on the break style, all the way. Frankly, I see their regression to the mean happening next season when they have CL football and maybe have lost a player or two to the silly money clubs…

    But that doesn’t mean we can’t hope for them to have a bought of hiccups which might lead to a nosebleed… πŸ˜€ Meanwhile, Arsenal have to continue to raise their game match over match.

    The next one is at West Ham, who would be the biggest story of the season if it weren’t for Leicester and they are a case in point about being wary of the motivation (or lack thereof) in the opponents–and in taking results for granted as we perhaps did on opening day. Two weekends in a row they’ve dropped points due to tough calls by the refs. They were robbed at Chavs and last weekend vs Palace the Kayoute sending off allowed Crystal Palace to come back for another draw. The two matches have put a big dent in their push for a top 4 spot. Their appeal on Kayoute’s red was successful so maybe the team (and the player) will have extra motivation to recoup the points this weekend in their 3rd straight London derby. So, exhibit A for a tough and very motivated opponent. If, however, we can get the win (They haven’t lost a league match at Upton Park since the third week of the season, btw…) we have to hope they can somehow recover (their motivation) by the time they travel to Leicester in the following mid-week for a make-up game.

    But by now my comment might be almost as hard to follow as Gerry’s… (The first one, I did better with the 2nd…) In fact, the only thing that stuck out was the bit about Spurs getting worried (or inspired) if they get wind of how we’re doing at Upton Park. Since we play at 12:45 on Saturday and they play at 4 on Sunday, I would think that our result would be fairly firmly in their minds–and then out–by the time they play… I don’t mean to pick on Gerry (well, I do, kind of…) and I am actually with him on his general point that subtle shifts can affect a team’s motivation or confidence and play a big role match upon match (or even during matches, if, in fact, they are played at the same time…) making each and every one of them less predictable than just seeing the name of the club and believing the points should be ours–or theirs, or split…

    Thank dennis… How much fun would it be if it were all easy to predict?… Pretty fun, if we could just give Arsenal all 114…

    Next season, I guess…

  • retsub1: agreed, Atkinson made a number of diabolical decisions in the first half. But from my point of view he carried on for the duration of the game. His worst crimes by far were ignoring the play-acting of Ramsey (who apparently just last week was discovered wedged up a garage door in Aberdeen having rolled all the way from the Emirates since Valentines Day. Archie MacPherson called ArsΓ©ne Wenger and asked him to collect the Welshman coz he couldn’t get his car out to take his Mrs to ASDA) and the despicable actions of Sanchez & Giroud who both waved cards in the referees face so often and so violently that they had to wear slings for a fortnight, and in the process proved the theories of chaos and the butterfly effect by causing a tropical storm in SE Asia.

    So yes, like you, I hope we’ve seen the back of Atkinson for a very long time.

    Re the rest of the bile (not yours) on here regarding luck and low injury count, it is absolutely no such thing. This whole achievement is no accident. LCFC are light years in front of most clubs in so much of their operational rationale. I could write a dissertation on it, but I won’t. Save to say that there is only one football club in UK (prob Europe, poss the world, I don’t know) to own and use a cryogenic chamber.

    Perhaps if you check out their team of doctors, sports scientists and physiotherapists; the softwares that they use; how they approach their MO; their instructions to the coaches, you might learn that there is a whole lot more to keeping a squad of players fit for every game than luck and doping.

    PS Arsenal have recently acquired the services of one of those team members, as have Tottenham, so the word is being spread, about how much LCFC owe to that backroom staff. The Q is: have Arsenal & Tottenham wooed the right guys? They may be able to shed a whole stack of light upon the methodologies in place at the KP, but have they the working knowledge? Either way it will be at least two years (poss many more) before the proof of that particular pudding is tasted in North London.

  • Gerry, yes I tried to counterpunch after your left-right-left combination. My insurance cover — that critical word in the title of the post —- feasible.

    FMJ, you’re a lover of beauty. You are Bergkampesque.

    HT, your editing? You make pretty things prettier, and your comments as always — passion under masterful control. GAME ON!

  • We have to be in front before the last day of the campaign because there is absolutely no way Chelsea is going to win against Leicester if by that time the Foxes need a point (or two or three) to be crown … CoyG

  • Leicester is in contention for the title and the clear favorite at this point not because they deserve to be but because the games feel fixed to me. Leicester had 4 uncalled handball fouls (2 in the box) in the Southampton game. Two were marginal (1 in the box and one not) that could have been legitimate misses by the officals. Two were blatant with the Leicester player’s hand well away from his body.

    Of the two obvious hand ball fouls, one of those was during an attack by Vardy where he controlled a ball on its way out of touch to continue an attack and the other was a ball that was on frame and goal bound.

    It stretches credibility that all four calls were errors. The FA is desperate to ‘prove’ that money isn’t what decides the title. In 22 years of existence only five teams have won the title.

    Man U – 12
    Chelsea – 4
    Arsenal – 3
    Man City – 2
    Blackburn – 1

    Blackburn is an anomaly and they spent themselves into administration trying to stay at the top of the table. The bottomline is, money matters and for most of the teams, a title or even competing for the title is well out of reach. Leicester’s Fantasy Island title charge gives those teams and the people who are investing in them hope of being relevant.

  • I’m not sure about that. Remember Dalglish’s Blackburn needing something at Anfield to stop Man U winning the League? Liverpool won.

  • Paul, Personally, I stop short of FA conspiracy, but lay it at the feet of the supporter class (and I use the word lightly, very lightly, although, of course you have to be relatively upper crust to afford tickets these days)… If winning matches still has people wanting Wenger (or other managers) out (or unfurling banners saying just that) then there’s no such thing as home field advantage, at least for the clubs whose supporters demand nothing less than titles and trophies. (Yes, I realize those are traveling fans with the thanks, now feck off banner, but perhaps the point is still valid…) When things turn tense at the Emirates who yells the loudest?…Those who are fed up with 3rd and 4th place…for the past decade…plus the away fans…

    This makes it oh so easy to call the marginal plays to support the loudest fans, i.e., against the home team… Thus, IMO, referee calls don’t even out. If you’re always subject to hostile fans–yours and your opponents, you will always come out short on the all-too-human referee end of things…

    All the “big” teams have the same issues, of course…so, mostly our players need to cope with it. Still, a little self-awareness amongst the support would help, I think… Maybe LC taking the title will be the “final straw” all those Gooners post about. (It won’t…)

    Arsenal have had some good moments in our own stadium this season with good support–in games where the fans don’t take the result for granted. A late draw vs Spurs, beating Bayern 2-nil, holding on despite nerves vs Man City, taking the gift that Leicester gave us at the death… Those were matches against top teams where the supporters showed up knowing that they could play a role in a non-guaranteed happy ending. When Arsenal fans demand nothing less than the full points–and a performance full of verve and confidence to boot, you know, to take into the bigger matches…we might as well be playing on the road…

    Like Opening Day vs (lowly) West Ham… Luckily we play at their place Saturday at lunchtime…


  • 17 HT I am genuinely intrigued by your ongoing vendetta against Arsenal fans. Go to any ground in the English prem, wth the possible exception of Leicester this year and you will find pockets of unhappy supporters. I don’t see anything wrong with that, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I don’t agree with the Wenger out crowd, but they have as much right as anyone to let their views be known. I would far rather be facing West Ham at home in Saturday, than a very hostile Upton Park. Sure it would be great if everyone got behind the team regardless of form etc, but in reality it’s very rare. Maybe it’s different in the US?

  • @Bobby Moore

    I’m shocked that anyone can actually accuse Ramsey of acting for that hideous tackle from Drinkwater. Drinkwater should have seen red while Kante should have been booked and conceded a penalty in the first half. Simpson deserved to walk off for two bookable offences. Stupid red card but completely within rules. Fuchs got away with the same kind of tackle against West Brom with the victim getting a yellow card for dissent (Sessegnon).

    Only a selectively blind man could fail to notice so many mistakes in favour of Leicester City this season. I swear, after the latest match of theirs against Soton I said: “I’d rather watch Spuds winning the league than those cheating Foxes.”

    But, as Mr Coquelin said: “IT’S NOT F*CKIN’ OVER!” If there is God, he can’t let these bloody false Cinderellas from Leicester to win the title after conceding seven to Arsenal in two matches.

    WHU-Arsenal 0:2
    Sunderland-Leicester 1:0
    Tottenham-Manchester United 1:1

    Arsenal-Crystal Palace 3:0
    Leicester-WHU 1:2
    Stoke-Tottenham 1:2

    Arsenal-WBA 3:0

    Sunderland-Arsenal 1:3
    Leicester-Swansea 2:1
    Tottenham-WBA 3:0

    Arsenal-Norwich 2:1
    Manchester United-Leicester 1:1
    Chelsea-Tottenham 1:1

    Manchester City-Arsenal 1:2
    Leicester-Everton 2:1
    Tottenham-Southampton 3:0

    Arsenal-Aston Villa 5:0
    Chelsea-Leicester 1:2
    Newcastle United-Tottenham 0:3

    1.Arsenal 79 (+37)
    2.Leicester 79 (+25)
    3.Tottenham 76 (+42)

  • Of course it is possible that Arsenal can still win the title but I think it is rather more unlikely that than OP and the poster above me make out. We have lost three games all season, you have us to lose both the next two?

    As for luck – winning teams get luck with things like penalties. They attack more. They defend less. This was covered in detail on Radio 4’s More or Less programme some time ago ( when we were nowhere near the top of anything, and not getting any benefit at all). I think it was true, don’t know if it still is, that Vardy had won more penalties than any other team. That is because he is the fastest player in the league, and his opponents are too slow to react and leave body parts hanging out. And yes it was a penalty at the Emirates – witness how your man threw his hands in the air instantly – he knew what he’d done.

    Nor is the lack of injuries a function of luck. We have the best sports science of anyone. We have had very few injuries over the last three years, because players are monitored within an inch of their life. At the last England training session, I saw a photo of about a dozen England players, and only 3 were wearing GPS vests. Two of those played for Leicester.

    I’m not ruling Arsenal out. In the last couple of games you have found form and I can imagine you could extend that to the end of the season. But we can stumble and still win it. For the maths I’ve seen here to work, it needs more than a stumble, it needs Devon Loch. That too is possible, but I think right minded Gooners will agree that there is no sign of that as yet.

  • Retsub, I agree that there’s griping in all sports, but, in my humble opinion, it is worse at Arsenal than elsewhere. There’s a reason that folks keep paying for the season tickets and that’s because (IMO) AW puts us in with at least a shout year over year over year. Things may get better with a more typical serial manager approach but my hunch is that they’ll get a good deal worse. Add in the spend, spend, spend mentality (never gonna happen under Kroenke’s ownership) and you’ll have a situation with the mercenary qualities of players enhanced by that of their manager(s).

    You’re right, however, Upton Park will be very difficult… They’re a very strong team this season (as other “smaller” teams with all this shared TV money will be)… Belief in your team + acceptance that it’s a game against a(nother) tough team with any outcome possible means supporters will get behind their team–just as we did in the examples I cited. Crowd and team were complacent in matches like opening day and more recently vs Swans, for example, but there’s also plenty of “tail wagging the dog” with the press and other media (blogs, tweets, “superfans,” etc)… Teams play differently when it’s fear of errors (and losing) rather than more positive reinforcement that is on offer… It’s a bit like training a puppy… πŸ˜€

    Not that all is perfect, of course. Arsenal would be MUCH better served if they appeared less greedy and had aggressive (downward) pricing schemes in place to fill the empty seats and create better atmosphere. Touting (scalping) in the States is done both online and in person and has been tolerated forever. It’s the perfect solution, in truth. IMO, supporters should walk if they truly cannot tolerate the situation rather than fooling themselves that we’re gonna spend like City, Chavs, and United. Even the Liverpool group has proven much more speculative (and winning focused) in England and the States than any Kroenke franchise. As such, any finish better than 4th or 5th is overachieving. I walked away from the Warriors (basketball) when they were moving to charge more for tickets (stadium remodel), but more-so because I grew tired of Don Nelson (a coaching legend, who actually never won after his Celtic days) not accepting the move towards younger players who made a lot more money than he did. AW, is perhaps at just such a point too and may need to face the day when he’s not the highest paid employee at the club…

    So, what I’d like to see is a good run-in this season (sorry, I’m with the LC supporters and think they can do enough over the final 6…though we NEED to nip in front of Spurs…), we build upon it in the summer (there’s plenty of turnover that needs to happen and contracts that may make Alexis and Ozil better paid than the manager) and then we win it next season. Then it’s all about AW’s final contract and a plan for succession. Bring in Bergkamp as “first team (and always rolling because I will not fly) coach” and/or somebody else (Henry?…somebody else who never played…) who can manage the CL group matches in Eastern Europe and have it all be a very nice thing, while improving all the scouting and fitness and other nerd-metrics… Who knows, maybe even a few of the haters will come clean and say that it was worth the wait… That’s what I would do if I decided to stick with it…

    In the meantime, I’m just looking for a little yin with my yang, a little appreciation along with the griping, and an admission that it’s the expectations raised that drives the dissatisfaction…

    Does that help?… πŸ˜€

  • 17HT whilst Arsenal are unique because of Wengers length of term in office and the position of power he has attained. I disagree with your view that they are worse than other fans. Even the Wenger out brigade, nearly always add a thank you in somewhere. Other teams crucify their managers after a couple of bad games. Spurs fans must be very happy with their (un spell able) boss, but let him lose a few games and many will forget the good times. I agree with you thst a spend spend manager (even if allowed) would be a disaster, but some fans will always see different. They blindly accept that their team are sponsored by mega rich owners, who could walk out on a whumb

    You mentioned the Swansea game and the poor support. I never saw the game( since the demise of Wiziwig ifs difficult to get decent streams). But I did listen on Arsenal player. The atmosphere was undoubtably flat. It does however take something to lift the crowd and there appeared to be very little that night. You could of course argue that the crowd should lift the team… In principle yes, but difficult to achieve without something happening on the pitch. I am sure the crowd would have been noisy following our goal though.v

    Where I think you sometimes cause a stir is when you suggest “if you don’t like it go support City or Chelsea etc”. True supporters cannot change teams. Personally that to me is close to insulting. I would rather bite my arm off and beat myself to death with the soggy end than support another team. If by some miracle an American owner was to uproot a top team and attempt to relocate them it would undoubtably involve threats of violence and probably worse (not from me I might add).

    I imagine Randy Lerner employs very expensive bodyguards. I doubt very much he is brave enough to surface in Birmingham?

    So do I understand you any better, maybe a little? You are undoubtably fighting a good cause, but I don’t think you will make much headway. Supporters in the UK have acted like this forever and always will.

    And Arsenal supporters in general are great.

  • The irony is that Arsenal now need Leicester to win the League. A defeat at Old Trafford could mean Spurs winning the League, Arsenal finishing fifth, and the end of an era.

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