Next ten matches:
Palace h Forest a Liverpool h West Ham a Burnley a Newcastle H
Sheff Utd a Brentford h Chelsea h City a
Where can we finish, 2024, part 3?
And so it all went wrong. We have 40 points after 20 games and a mountain to climb to win the league. An inability to score goals in our last few matches cost us dearly. Moving the ball around ineffectively in front of goal was our speciality and we now need to perform in the second half of the season. Can we do so? We will look at what we need to do in a little while but first how did our predictions go last time? Pretty good until the last few matches. Dani Georgiev, our new guest predictor, went for 48 points and I went for 46, which was the furthest away I have been from our final total.
Our new transfer signing
In fairness, we were the best team at Liverpool and West Ham and the five extra points we should have got would have put me within one point and I would have been happy. Fulham we deserved to lose.
What it all means is we now have almost no room for wriggle in our remaining matches. I am going to set a target of 86 points as the minimum needed this year. I doubt if much less will be good enough. That means 46 out of 18 matches with a maximum of 54 points. We can drop eight points in this scenario. As you can imagine, we could easily drop that in the next ten and be out of contention early. Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Newcastle and West Ham are waiting for us. 4 draws and we are out. 2 losses and a draw and we are out. We need to be almost perfect for 18 matches and being honest, how many can really see that?
Goals will come from where?
To get 71 which might be enough for Champions League we need 31 out of 18 matches. Certainly a lot more achievable but not if we continue to lack scores. It doesn’t seem like a striker is coming and for me, we should play Nketiah in that situation. He does get in good positions which is our problem this year. Seemingly he is not considered a viable option, which leaves us an injury-prone and low-scoring Jesus or… Havertz? We are creating lots of chances, somebody needs to score them. But who?
Why can't we bring this guy back?
So we know, more or less, what we need to get. A very high total of wins gets us the league. We must beat both Liverpool and City, I feel, as they may not drop many. And put away all the lower teams for sure. But Arteta has had weak finishes so far and that has to change. Optimism is all we have at the moment. It won’t be enough as we also may have to contend with the Champions League, adding to our pressure. Honestly, I would like to see Arteta prioritise CL and top four as that would crown my Arsenal life. We need CL to cement our place amongst the greats. 7 matches is what we need, and if we create chances and score them, we could do it. We probably won’t win the Premier League anyway.
Anyway, on to predictions and as always we give you the scores as well for a bit of fun
Palace at home is a must win and I say 3-1 and Dani goes 3-0 which means we haven’t been watching our last few matches as we suddenly start scoring. Us Arsenal fans are always delusional. I hope there isn’t a psychiatric hospital waiting for us. But 43 points and a step on the ladder.
Gus 43 Dani 43
Forest away is another must win. Aren’t they all? I go 2-0 but Dani obviously has remembered that we don’t score goals as he goes 1-1. He must be afraid that that psychiatric hospital is a real threat. For me Nuno Espirito Santo has lost his mojo and this is one we can win. And we must.
Gus 46 Dani 44
Liverpool at the Emirates. They are a strange side for us. We seem to mostly play well against them without a lot of reward. But this could be an early six-pointer and Liverpool could pull away heavily with a win. I say we must win and I would take them playing better than us if we get 2-1. They owe us a win that we don’t deserve, yes? Dani goes 1-0 and I would say he agrees with me about winning this one any way we can.
Gus 49 Dani 47
We owe you a mighty pasting, David
West Ham away. We really need this one to restore the balance in the universe. They stole their 2-0 at the Emirates but this time I feel we will deservedly win 2-0. Surely Moyes won’t get lucky twice? Dani thinks they might as he goes 2-2.
Gus 52 Dani 48
Burnley away. Vincent Kompany’s team have been playing better than their position shows but these are the teams we must put away. He doesn’t like playing blanket defence and that may help us. I say 3-0 to us and Dani agrees with me.
Gus 55 Dani 51
Nuke Hassle at home and you never know what Newcastle you will get. He will most likely park the bus and hope for a breakaway. A couple of early goals will scupper his chances. I say 2-0 and Dani 2-1.
Gus 58 Dani 54
Sheffield Utd away. So far they just cannot put points on the board and unless they have dramatically improved by this point I can’t see them getting any change out of us. We win 3-1 and Dani says we win 2-0 and we now have our last 3 results in common.
Gus 61 Dani 57
Brentford at home and like I have said all along, we have no room for excuses, we have already dropped too many points. I predict a hard fought 1-0 and Dani surprises me by going 0-0. If we haven’t started scoring by now he could be right. They can be a tough team.
Gus 64 Dani 58
We then have Chelsea at home and it is impossible to say what Pochettino’s team will be like by then. I am going 1-1 on a day we struggle to score. Dani sees us back to scoring ways with a 3-1. I hope he is right.
Gus 65 Dani 61
Getting dark, too dark to see
And then the biggie! City away and the old dark cloud comes down on both of us as we both say 2-0 to Guardiola. We could be Knocking on Heaven’s Door by then, particularly if Dani’s cumulative predictions are right. If De Bruyne and Haaland stay fit City are going to be hard to stop. The two of them are probably the best in the league. I would love either for us.
Pep, you should have given us these two, not the two you did
Gus 65 Dani 61
The Champions League should be the target
It means I predict a very optimistic 5 points dropped but Dani says 9. Which means if the target of 86 points is correct we can only afford to lose 3 points from our final 8 according to me and Dani already has us out of winning the league even if we win our last 8.
Probably we are being realistic and don’t wish to be candidates for the psychiatric ward but it is a little depressing, isn’t it? Here we are, just over halfway and we don’t think the league is likely. However, if we do manage to get these points 65 or 61 it does mean my CL target of 71 points is well within our grasp.
The one that I want
Mikel, win me the Champions League and I won’t care a jot where we finish in the league. There are only seven matches left and it is in Wembley. You always win there.