Arsenal to Finish in the Top-Four? Prediction Time.

Yesterday, Positive Kev wrote a fine comment about what our main competitors and Arsenal have been spending their money on:

arsene holding up cups

There’s been some amazing amounts spent in this window and in many cases by middling Premier League clubs, it’s eye watering.
The £171.3m spent by Liverpool was huge but whatever happened to FFP, especially when you consider the capacity of Anfield? They only brought £12.5m in with sales.
What are they smoking up there?
Chelsea blew £122m, basically on 2 players, with only £38.5m in sales, so despite the whispers of Abramovitch gradually pulling out of the U.K. he is still putting his money where his mouth is – not that he ever speaks anyway.
By comparison the £58m Everton spent seems small beer, with only £16.4m on sales.
Will Usmanov pile in to Goodison or will he invest his money away from the U.K. due to the political climate?
Man City seemed to spend this window balancing their books as only City can, they made £38.15m in sales and only (only!) splashed out £62.6m.
Man Utd despite Mourinho moaning and looking like the most miserable man in the world still managed to spend £64.2m although Jose would have you believe that they spent zilch.
Man U sold players to the value of £20.7m
Arsenal did their business early, just as many of us wanted the club to do in the past and laid out the tidy sum of £71.4m, bringing in only £7.6m in in sales. It was an unusually calm deadline day for us all despite the rumours.
Leicester earned a very useful £74.7m in sales, but didn’t leave it in the bank as a healthy bank balance never scored a goal, they went out and spent a club record £101.5m, more than most other Premier League clubs have ever done in a single window.
West Ham, thanks to having a low rent stadium and on the back of last seasons crowd unrest have gone for it in a big big way. Only £12m came in on sales so the Hammers didn’t have a Mahrez style windfall to spend, but they still spent an enormous £91.5m.
Lastly Fulham, owned by an Pakistani American who owns a Grid Iron football team as well as a Premier League team, much like Stan Kroenke. Fulham didn’t earn anything in sales but supported by their owner Fulham still spent £80.5m on new players.
Meanwhile Tottenham didn’t sign anyone, but they did make a profit of £2m in sales.
How does it go? ‘To Dare is To Do’.

The PL is the most interesting league to watch when it comes to predicting the winner and the rest of the top four. This season it looks like MC are the strong favourites but how often does a team win twice in a row these days? Pool have invested and look to push higher and respect for the Spuddies to keep their talents together (I hate to say).

Manchester U cannot be written off, same goes for the Chavs and Everton and the Foxes may also do well this time round. The Hammers have a great manager and invested ambitiously, so they could also do well.

And how does Emery’s Arsenal fit into all of this? Well, who knows?!

Rather than solely focusing on players bought and sold, I reckon this season will also be about systems of football, tactical ability and bringing young talent through at the right time and right positions.

Guardiola City has found a very strong balance between scoring tons of goals and letting very few in. This of course a guarantee for success, and all other teams will either try to copy this or find an alternative way to finish higher than the Northern Oilers. Spuds and MU try to do it by being hard to beat and efficient up-front. I don’t know what the Chavs will do, but I reckon Emery will look for a system that will also find the right balance between defence and attack. But initially he will be hoping for us to outscore the goals we concede rather than counting on being hard to beat at the back.

How he will achieve this only time will tell. My money is on a different approach in away games and against (the very attacking) top four competitors. Tweaks in midfield per each and every game may just do the trick. Xhaka and Rambo to play most of our games and Emery can add Torreira for defensive solidity or Guendouzi, Elneny or Iwobi for additional pressure in our attacking play. These six players excite me very, very much.

This season is about getting into the top four and nothing else. This would be massive progress, and although we can get into the CL through winning the UEFA League, it would be so much better if Emery could re-establish Arsenal in the top four at the end of the season. We have the players for this, even though our defence remains a work in progress. We are strong at home and just need to play much, much better away.

The competition is strong but I have a good feeling about this season and predict that we will finish third. Top four of MC, MU, Arsenal, Spuds. What do you predict?

By TotalArsenal.

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22 Responses to Arsenal to Finish in the Top-Four? Prediction Time.

  1. geoffchase says:

    Innaresting,

    I think you forgot luck and injuries – may be related – in your calculations. I have in past said we didn’t adapt how we play to opponent, place (home/away), time in season, or need with respect to other games or table. Just that shift, as you note, could be quite good for us.

    Equally, injuries and luck haven’t been with us always, per that recent article, so perhaps this year.

    IMO, Top 4 in PL and last 4 in UEFA are eminently doable. Top 2 and final will require some luck at Arsenal or associated misfortune elsewhere. An de Leicester did show perfect seasons do exist.

    My not very pinned down take — jgc

  2. geoffchase says:

    Oh

    Per dollars spent, hmm, wonder how much, if any, Brexit and harder rules next year might be at play?

    And recent news of 5 co-captains, one injured per Arsenal tradition, … Thoughts? Clear Unai reads BK as all but Ozil were well discussed here! 🙂

    Cheers — jgc

  3. geoffchase says:

    And third for all 3 places,

    I’ll predict the utter demise of MU based on unconvincing game 1 vs Leicester.

    Voila — jgc

  4. Goonereris says:

    Too early to predict a demise for Man U, jgc. First games of the season are usually hotly contested.

    I’ve said it before that just based on the quality of the squad Wenger left behind, along with how Emery has recruited (to address our main areas of weakness), we should be a tougher proposition for any team. All we need to do is retain last season’s home form and improve on the Away form. Top 4 is a possibility; Europa league or some domestic cup, to go with that, won’t be bad and isn’t beyond us, this term.

  5. njk84sg says:

    Manu** had a quiet transfer window but a couple of players were bought. It remains to be seen if the Moaning-man can stop his moans. As this is his third season, i doubt so. But they are always the team to beat along with Citeh.

    Looking forward to tomorrow’s late night game.

    We certainly have the capacity to finish in the top 4, and it is up to Emery and the players to have good tactics so that we can pace ourselves until the end.

  6. Volting gunner!! says:

    Nice post..your optimism is almost equal to mine.. I expect kidneypool to pip man u.. if we can address the issue at the back, then we are good to go.. I don’t think sokratis will be so good against cfs who use pace instead of strength..e.g. vardy.. luckily for him, we have the most lethal of them all on our team.. the golden boot should be close to us too.. if we can soak up the pressure from pep’s midfield urchins, the match should fall in our hands..COYVG!!

  7. Pony Eye says:

    TA, am with you as I expect we’d finish in the top three. Check.

    1) Our away result last season was an anomaly, a fact partly supported by Sky research that showed we lost 11 points at away due to bad calls.
    2) Our fab 4 hardly played together because of injuries (first Laca, then Mkhi, then Ozil) plus prioritizing Europa which left Auba playing some epl matches without the rest of the fab 4. So our current attacking punch hardly came into play.
    3) We have truly strengthened i.e. buying for our weak points.
    4). We have a new coach that has given to the team and to every body at least a new morale.

    Sum up the aboves and it’s obvious we are far above where the opinions of the biased pundits place us.

  8. 099 says:

    we will finish 7 place

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers guys 🙂

    Reasonably optimistic then, are we? What I liked from Emery is that he has not shown his cards to Guardiola in pre-season. He did not play he was strongest team and we all don’t know he will line up v MC. Thus he may spring a surprise, and whether it works or not, that would be v nice. :8

  10. Shard says:

    On Liverpool and FFP, they are within it. They sold Coutinho last season and had a run to the final in the CL, which brought in money. I fully expected them to spend as much as they did. They’d made profits in transfers the past 2 seasons. They just got lucky that they bought Salah before Neymar’s sale changed the market, and then sold Coutinho to a desperate and loaded Barcelona at post-Neymar rates.

    Arsenal need to sell better. But then, we sold well when we were a selling club. Adebayor, Toure, Nasri, even RVP were good value at the time. I think we just lost an appetite for selling our best players and that has meant that we don’t make money from sales anymore. (Plus of course, I think we don’t deal with shady agents which means we stay out of a certain segment of the market, and I support this)

    As for this season. It’s quite close between us, Chelsea and Spurs. And ManU are a bit of a wildcard with Sourinho intent on his scorched earth policy. So, no idea where we will end up finishing. But we should aim for and be optimistic about the top 4. We have a quality attack which only came together in the latter part of last season (and Laca was injured) We’ve added some midfield steel, guile and bounce (if only through Guendouzi’s hair) Some youngsters started to make their mark last season and should be more involved, adding depth. And we at least made steps to address the lack of experience in our defense. (No Per and a half-Kos really hurt us) Plus we’ve added a GK who looks to be better at distribution. It’ll take some time to come together but we’re in good shape squad-wise.

    Our away record last season was dreadful, but home record was great. This shows that it was more a question of mentality rather than quality. And honestly, the ‘luck index’ probably underplays the effect that ‘luck’ had on our mentality. Our away season started with ‘unlucky’ drop of points against Stoke and Watford. (Plus the horror show against Liverpool with the transfer market still open) and then it became an issue from there. Anytime we started to overcome it, something or the other would step in (Like Dean with the penalty against WBA) So although we were robbed off ‘only’ 11 away points, I think it affected our performances beyond that. We should improve on that aspect because we are under new management so the feeling of ‘same old’ shouldn’t get us down as much.

    So yeah, top 4. Plus, a cup win maybe. Or is that too greedy?

  11. geoffchase says:

    Eris

    You clearly read way more seriousness and way less yankee / New Jersey sarcasm into my post, then I actually put into it! Way more / less… 😀

    Cheers — jgc

  12. geoffchase says:

    Waaaaaaaay more / less, Eris, waaaaaaaaaaay …. 😀

    Still laughing — jgc

  13. allezkev says:

    Interesting points made about referees, was that an agenda against Arsenal or an antipathy towards Wenger and will Emery enjoy a more ambivalent relationship with the awful PGMOL?

    I wish I could be as optimistic as everyone on here, but I see serious competition coming from beyond last seasons top six, therefore my expectations are a 5th place finish and some excitement in the Cups.

    I’m with you Total, we need to get back into the top four, there’s a psychological benefit as much as anything, but Emery has an enormous job on his hands making our squad more defensively resilient, when Wenger took over in 1997 he inherited a brilliantly well drilled, if aging defence and built fantastically on it. Emery kind of has it in reverse and I believe it’s more difficult the way he has to deal with it, it’s not just tactically it’s also mentally, it’s developing an ‘over my dead body’ mindset and he may need another couple of windows and juggling of the playing staff before he’s where he wants to be….

    Then again, my positive side says we’re going to win the league…. 😃

  14. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    Don’t set the goal too low my friends..
    Don’t because our last two season, break down our faith..
    Top Three is the realistic target with some throphies off course.. hehehe..

    Btw.. Spurs is leading by 2-1 against NU..

  15. jw1 says:

    “when Wenger took over in 1997 he inherited a brilliantly well drilled, if aging defence and built fantastically on it. Emery kind of has it in reverse and…”

    Thanks for saving me those keystrokes (well said). Further turning it into a positive Kev?
    The football will be entertaining and exciting– imbibing Unai’s Em(p)ery-cal style. Not unlike Pool’s season-before-last– with lots of pressing and scoring (and shipping, oh my!).

    Hoping for that point of revelation this season (earlier-the-better) when everything just ‘clicks’ and locks into place. A singular momentum– when everyone believes in the guy playing next to him. Discovering that ingredient that changes this group of above-average players-on-paper– into a good team on the pitch. That’s how it can happen.

    Come what may? (likely buckets of goals, both sides) I’ll embrace it– just for the fun we haven’t been having of late. Would not mind one bit, enjoying some of what UE expressed at his first presser back in June. When he gloriously promised Arsenal fans ‘spectacular football’– in stating he’d rather win 5-4 than 1-0.

    I’ll go with: Goals, goals, and more goals! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    jw1 (aka John The Optimist)

  16. jw1 says:

    Tongue-in-cheek tradition aside?
    Saw Geoff’s mention of the expected 5 co-captains upthread. Then read (Sky, Arseblog) that
    Emery has named Koscielny ‘main captain’. That bodes well for Kos efforts in rehab. Helps so much to stay close to your team and teammates after an injury such as his.

    jw1 (J The O) 🙂

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Great further comments, cheers 🙂

    This is a nice article summing it all up quite accurately – nothing new though:
    https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/aug/11/alive-with-possibility-unai-emery-first-days-arsenal

  18. Jnyc says:

    Top four, very little doubt in my mind. I like the way in which we strengthened, I love our choice of manager and his staff.

    I expect slightly disappointing seasons from Mourinho, Chelsea, even Tottenham. So…
    Third or better. Optmist always. Why live any other way?

  19. Frozen says:

    I think we’ll surprise some people and be gunning for the title until about Feb-March when a couple inevitable injuries bring us back down to earth. I still see us nicking 4th.

    MC, Chelsea, Pool, Ya boys

  20. Goonereris says:

    Oh well, jgc. Didn’t see it, to be honest. Some people have a waaaay with words… and others….? 🤨😉

  21. Steve says:

    Ok, halftime! There seem to be some kind of fear or lack of belief in this game. That can change, I hope Emery will make them believe in the second half.
    Apart from that, we need to be a bit more compact in the midfield and make some changes. I suggest Ramsey to be taken out and Torreira brought in, Mkhitaryan out, Lacazette in. With this, We will certainly perform better and add more bite to our midfield and attack.

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