Above all else
May the Fourth be with us
Spurs A? Palace H, Brighton H, Southampton A, Chelsea A, Man Utd H, West Ham A, Leeds H, Newcastle A, Everton H
And so the final 10 matches. The first 10 have to be regarded as a disappointment as we lost the first 3 badly. The arrival of more robust and better players gave us a dramatic boost but we still lost another 5 from the next 18. The good news is that we have Champions league in our own hands. We could have 84 points if we win all. That will get us 3rd place most like as it includes a win over Chelsea although in fairness, their run-in is easier than ours. I am going to say that we will not get 3rd place unless Chelsea have a collapse.
So we are playing for 4th.
Spurs, West Ham and Man Utd are our closest challengers and, realistically our only ones, unless Wolves win all their matches which gives them 70 points and even then, we have to drop 15. I cannot see us losing 5 matches, though. Plus they are playing Liverpool and Chelsea away in May and they will get nothing from those matches. Wolves are out of the equation for 4th and it would require a huge downfall for them to overhaul us. Such a failure would of course mean other teams would pass us out.
Bruno Lages -out!
Our real opposition?
West Ham are in a better position than Wolves by 2 points but even then they are facing a very bad run-in. Chelsea away and Man City plus us at their home. I am going to say that a draw at the London Stadium will mean they will not catch us. They are also playing in Europe which will stretch their resources even further. West Ham out, then.
David Moyes - out!
Manchester United? They are the big imponderables. It is very difficult to say where they will win or lose points. They can get 77 points meaning we have to drop 8. They have Liverpool away and Chelsea at home. Lose those 2 and I don’t feel they will come near us. The crucial match is us at home. If we beat them they won’t catch us. We must at least draw it though. That match could be crucial to knocking them out.
Let's eat the Spuds
Antonio Conte -out!
And the Spuds? They can get 78 points. They have Liverpool away but the rest of their run-in is winnable. We don’t know when we will play them but we do know it will be White Cabbage Lane. But we have form there, don’t we? And every manager in the Premier league knows how to beat them – stop Son and Kane. Of course knowing it and doing it is easier said than done, however we have a good defence although I truly wish we have Ramsdale back for this one. Again win this and I feel that will be enough. A draw for sure is necessary.
This Team are playing against us as well
In one sense it is good that we play our nearest challengers in the run-in as we have our fate in our hands. But there is a problem. At this moment we play Chelsea, Man Utd and West Ham in a row. The sneaky Premier League may throw the Spuds in there as well. 4 crucial matches in a row! You read it here first. That will be pressure. Lose those four and we are scrambling for fourth for sure. Drawing them all may allow someone back in. Even so, if we win the rest we have 76 points and that should be enough. So, we know what we have to do. Beat the rest and at least draw all those.
Some banana skins on oil
And so to the matches. Palace away under Saint Patrick Monday evening. We don’t have a choice, we have to win. They will stay up anyway. 1-2 will do nicely. 57 points.
Then Brighton at home. They are struggling for goals recently but they are a dogged team. I hope we can sing one nil to the Arsenal. 1-0 60 points.
Southampton away. We have been a bit patchy on trips down south but again we have to win this. I am hoping the away fans can sing one nil again. 0-1 63 points.
Chelsea away. This will be difficult. They are well drilled, Thomas Tuchel has made them one of the best sides on the planet although maybe we can hope Europe drains them. Perhaps this one will not go our way. 2-0. Still 63 points.
Thomas Tuchel - in!
Man Utd at home. This one I want to win. It will probably almost end their chances. I will be in London that weekend and I am hoping for a ticket. Anyone help? I am going to say we do it. 2-0. 66 points
Ralf Rangnick - out!
West Ham away. They are difficult to beat on their day, they never give up and will be anxious not to get beaten. I suspect a lot of effort from both sides and nothing happens. 0-0. 67 points
The Spuds away. I am going to predict it will be somewhere in this group of matches. They are our closest challengers. Both will be nervy. Conte will want to nullify our young stars, Arteta will want to shut out Son and Kane. They both succeed. 1-1. 68 points.
Leeds at home. Another game I am planning on going to. A win for Bulgaria and St. George’s Day the day before. Now Leeds are a team that we cannot truly predict. They seem to get involved in high scoring and maybe this will be the same. 3-2 to us. 71 points.
Newcastle away. Eddie Howe is proving he is a good manager here. Maybe the toll of many hard matches in a row makes us struggle but he sneaks a win. 2-1 to the Magpies. Still 71 points.
Everton at home. We might have already got 4th place but this one I feel we will win comfortably. Frank Lampard will probably get dismissed if they go down but I reckon by this point they will be safe. The players and Arteta will be fired up because they beat us last time and once we get one, we will get 2 more. 3-0 to the Arsenal and 74 points should see us nicely through to the Big Cup. Man Utd and Spurs would have to win all their other matches and they have some toughies.
And Arsenal come home
And so there you have it. Back to Champions league and the necessity for new players. I know there are several Academy players who could come through and Saliba might come home but to take the next step we need at least a couple of true top notchers. I hope we find them.
So far I have come to within 3 points in my predictions in this series since I started last season. If I do so again I feel that will be enough, even 71 will be enough most likely. I love the way the fans are getting behind the team this year and that will help. Also if we avoid crucial injuries although we do have Smith Rowe, Pepe and Nketiah up front. Lokonga, Elneny, Tavares, Cedric (or is he now first choice?), Holding and Leno further back so we can survive some injuries. I am nervous of this 4 in a row which the Premier League will almost certainly give us.
But we should do it. It is in our hands. We can afford some blips but we can’t afford our confidence to go. We must bounce back when something goes wrong and it probably will. I think on all counts we will do it. Up the Arsenal.