Arsenal 99 Liverpool(a) Man City(a) Newcastle (a) Brighton(h)
Man City 94 Liverpool (h) Brighton (a) Arsenal (h)
Man Utd 86 Brighton(a) Newcastle(a) Tottenham(a)
Newcastle 83 Man Utd(h) Tottenham(h) Arsenal(h)
Brighton 81 Man Utd(h) Tottenham(a) Man City(h) Arsenal(a)
Tottenham 79 Brighton(h) Newcastle(a) Man Utd(h) Liverpool (a)
Liverpool 78 Man City(a) Arsenal(h) Tottenham(h)
The Ladder of doom
Every week I will update the table from last week showing where teams can finish if they win all their matches. I will delete the ties above with the current top seven when they are played and I will delete teams when they can no longer catch us. Tottenham drew and are now just above Liverpool. My prediction that the Spuds can get Champions league is now looking rocky. Conte is surely sacked and it is hard to see what they can do now.
Let's hope they keep him
As always I take on the extraordinary task of predicting all our matches to the end of the season. 10 games against teams playing for something, winning the title, European football or relegation. We also have 2 more London derbies. Points may be hard to come by and a bad spell could happen. I am an optimist, though. This team seems to have learned how to win. They are well drilled and the additions of Jesus, Zinchenko and Jorginho incorporates players who know how to get over the finish line. We have a great chance and are deserved favourites, even though I am sure most football fans feel that City are a monster that can come back at anybody.
We play who?
Arsenal fixtures: Leeds (h) Liverpool (a) West Ham (a) Southampton (h) Man City (a) Chelsea (h) Newcastle (a) Brighton (h) Notts Forest (a) Wolves (h)
Winning against the teams we are expected to beat – Leeds, West Ham, Southampton, Brighton, Forest and Wolves gives us 88 points and if I was right last week that City would get 87 then that would be enough. We absolutely need to beat these teams, send them home crying and get the points in the bag.
But let’s take a look at what we have to do.
Leads at home. I will be there and surely this is a must win for us. I have a good record at the Emirates and a comfortable 3-0 would make me happy. 72 points and some of the teams above are moving further away.
A tough spell starts
Liverpool away and they seem to up their games against the good teams. This could be tricky, so, but if we work hard, push them to the limit I can see at least a draw. 1-1 and 73 points. That gives us 97 max but Liverpool only 76. If they drop points at City the previous game they are effectively knocked out of catching us even if they have a barnstorming finish to the season.
This is the face we need at the end of the game
West Ham away and another London derby. But we seem to specialise in those at the moment so long may it continue. Sometimes we struggle against them but I am hopeful this time. Arteta knows all about David Moyes so I hope we are prepared. I see a 2-1 and 76 points. I suspect at this point up to 3 of the above won’t be able to catch us. Champions League is secured.
Southampton at home and I have been at a few of those. We have always won when I was there and I wish that to continue. A nervy 3-1 but the belief is coming for us. 79 points and I reckon only the two Manchesters are left to hit us.
The catch-up demons are upon us
And next up Man City away. We have been superb away and City always give us chances. A big problem, though, even in this season, has been converting chances. If we do so we can win. I can’t bring myself to predict a win but a 2-2 draw is what I foresee. Assuming City have been perfect up to now they can now get 92 max and we would be on 80. Man Utd might well be out of sight by then so second could be guaranteed.
This is the face we need at the end of the season
Chelsea at home and I fancy this one. We seem united and they seem disjointed. Probably Graham Potter can make them work, if he gets the chance, but for now they are struggling to put together consistent performances and I feel we can outwork them. 83 points and I am sure Man Utd are gone by this stage. Second achieved.
Nuke Hassle? Big Hassle
Newcastle away and we all expect a tough game. Eddie Howe has done wonders with them but for certain some of the players are not really top drawer. They will buy in the summer and could challenge next season. I would love us to win but maybe a draw is what we will get. They defend against the big teams even at home and we struggle against defensive minded teams who have quick forwards. 1-1 and 84 points.
Eddie Howe will make it difficult
Brighton at home and this could be difficult. Our nerves will be jangling as City could well be very close to us at this point. But we need to win this. I would take a lucky 1-0 all day long. 87 points and we have hit what I said last week will be Man City’s final total. There is even a chance that a win here could seal the title. This match is maybe the earliest we can do it in any sort of reality.
I would love us to have won it by now
That leaves Forest away and if we have won the title then I think the superman effect will be enough to put them away back to Sherwood Forest hiding in the trees. 3-0 in that scenario but if we need this one then the stress might get to us and a 2-1 defeat may leave us needing to beat Wolves at home in the last game.
Please attend our last game, Arsene
That will be pressure. Can our young guns do it? At home, with Mr Wenger attending, I hope, we take all of the season into our hearts, the good wins, the bad defeats, the scandalous VAR decisions, the draws, the chances missed, Gary Neville and the negative media, and we suddenly find our feet, the football becomes glorious, the movement and the interplay becomes wondrous, and 4-0 sends Man City down into the depths of bleak despair.
We need Arteta to be at his best
Yes, I am being optimistic, but I believe that this team believes. Players such as Jorginho and Trossard have come in seamlessly. Holding, if he gets an extended chance through injury, should get better every time he plays. The last time he had a long run before he got injured against Man Utd at Old Trafford, he was one of our best players. I hope the same happens again if we need him. Players generally need a run of games to find their form.
Those eyes say you believe, Mikel
One thing we have going for us is that City have to play lots more matches than us and some very difficult ones if they progress in the Champions League and FA cup. Even Man Utd have the pressure of Europe and the FA cup looming.
I think, If we put away the smaller teams we have a great chance. Our biggest danger is a bad spell now. We can afford up to 3 defeats and probably still win the title. We need to be able to bounce back from even a couple of losses and find our game again. I believe, I feel the team believe, and this last ten games could be when we need Arteta the most. He must never stop believing. Listen to me, Mikel, we are Arsenal. We always come back. We can do it. And I will be there at Wolves to celebrate. I believe you won’t let me down.