A Magical 61 points?
So, will we have one more day of hope after Wednesday?. First, we must beat Palace and that has proved tricky in recent seasons. Then we must beat Brighton to get the magic 61 points. They have also been difficult for us as has Graeme Potter. We absolutely need 61 points to have a hope. Everton look the most vulnerable as they can win and draw and we finish above them. They are only one point above us. They have to win both matches if we do. They have Wolves which they must win, and, finally, Man City away. City will not want to lose on their last day at home. There is some chance we can finish 8th, even without winning our last 2. However, that will not get us Europe.
What will? We need Spurs and West Ham to drop points. If they both win on Wednesday we are out. Let’s take the Spuds first. They are on 59 points but a far superior goal difference. They have Villa at home and Leicester away. Even 2 draws is enough for them as we would need to make up 11 goals in the 2 matches. We haven’t been scoring at that level for a long time. We need Spurs to only get one point from these 2 matches, so, and it is possible but unlikely. They are the Totteringham specialists, though, so you never know. Do the Arse a favour and only get a point from your last 2 matches, thank you very much, Mr Levy.
And Magically into Europe?
West Ham also have 59 points. They play West Brom away and Southampton at home. This time we can allow them 2 draws as our goal difference is much better. It is possible, I suppose. Certainly a defeat against Sam Allardyce could happen as he would want to teach his old club a lesson. And then Saints? You never know. West Ham are not firing fully right at the moment so they could drop points. If they both flounder we go 6th and straight into Europa League. If one does then we go 7th and Europa Conference. Of course, assuming Everton doesn’t get 6 points but I am pretty certain they won’t.
So, can we do it? Beat Palace and Brighton? Yes, we can. However, like most fans, I don’t have that much confidence after the season we have had. Do it, and we will finish 8th minimum, and that is an upgrade on last year in points but not position. Arteta, and the Kroenkes (OUT) can claim improvement. If it gets us 6th, they can definitely claim improvement. Also 7th but for me, this conference doesn’t seem attractive. It might be better to have plenty of weekdays free to concentrate on the League than travelling to the backend of nowhere. Less matches might be better for the young kids.
A Dead Man Walking
Of course, if we get very little from these 2 matches we will finish worse than the 8th place of last year. What then? Certainly better ammunition for the Kroenke out movement. And Arteta? I doubt if he will be fired but he will totally need a flying start to next season or he is a dead man walking, like Bertie Mee all those years ago, and Terry Neill, also a long time ago. He won’t get anywhere near as long as either of those. Wins are his only currency from now on.
For me, his biggest weakness, and that of Emery, is his reluctance to have a settled team, partnerships that work, players that know each other. Look at Smith Rowe and Saka. They find each other. They strengthen each other. Wenger believed in a settled team, so did George Graham. They didn’t do too badly, did they? And can I mention Leicester? Rodgers has a team that play for each other and we all pretty much know what he feels is his strongest team. Even Tuchel does the same, plays his preferred players in the big matches.
For me, it would be develop the kids. Keep a spine of experienced players, but give these lads a chance. Fans keep saying buy, buy, buy, and I say why? Are they better than Willock, Maitland Niles, Reiss Nelson, Saliba, Balogun, Nketiah, and others? Then why buy? Only if they improve the team should we buy. Otherwise we are just bringing in players, interrupting the flow of understanding, constantly saying they need time to adjust to the Premier League and, critically, not improving. The young players already there know all about English football and what is required. Top players like Pepe and Partey have struggled. All I am saying is “Give youth a chance”, and next year I might be writing at the same stage that we have a good chance of Champions League. Up the Arsenal and Kroenke out.