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  1. Update to the Table of Doom Table of Doom Fixtures Current Max Arsenal Man City (a) Villa (h) Spurs (a) 64 94 Liverpool Spurs (h) Villa (a) 64 94 Man City Arsenal (h) Villa (h) Spurs (a) 63 93 Villa Man City (a) Arsenal (a) Liverpool (a) 55 85 Spurs Man City(a) Arsenal (h) Liverpool (a) 53 86 The final ten games approaches This week big changes to the table of doom. Villa have now dropped out as they cannot make the magic 86 posited at the first Table of Doom. I left them in this week for demonstration purposes. Spurs, with one extra game, stay just about alive. If anything changes such as the top teams dropping a lot of points and I need to reinstate any lower teams I will do so. The big change for us Gooners is that a perfect record almost certainly guarantees the league unless goal difference changes with Liverpool. The truth is, though, that a perfect record for any of the top three will win them the title, for sure. Bye bye Villa? We are now at the most critical period for Mikel Arteta, the final ten games. It is here he has shown weakness every year since he started. I wrote about it here and his best ever has been 20 points in 2021. Last years total of 15 points would surely not be enough, although 20 points could be at 84 points, but I doubt it. What is certain is that he needs his best ever final ten games to grab the title. I would love Wenger’s total in 2002 of 30 points. Then we can celebrate like crazy. A yoyo end to the season? All teams have tough games, and I feel they will drop points, but the one with the strongest determination will win. The biggest battlers at the moment look like Liverpool, at times looking second best in matches but finding a way to win. Arsenal need to find that grim determination, to battle out when playing badly, to scrape home even if not deservedly. Of course we may garner enough points by playing beautiful football as we have done in many matches recently, but the world rarely seems to work that way. This would do nicely Sky are hoping for a three way last day finale. Us against Everton at home, City with West Ham at home, and Liverpool at home to Wolves. All look winnable although Everton may possibly be in a relegation scrap and they have a tendency to survive such deprivations. We may also get Chelsea thrown in late in the mix for the cancelled match and that may have a bearing. I hope we are there at the end I have a strong feeling that no one will win too early this season although it could be over before the final series of games. It would be nice to parade the trophy at the Emirates against Everton. If they all get drunk on Saliba’s tequila then they might even give Everton the three points if they need them. I do wish that Arteta would talk to Arsene Wenger about achieving strong finishes as he often did. Listen to the Irishman, Mikel! Let’s talk about cheating… again I want to return to a topic I broached last week about Liverpool vs Forest. Let’s say Kelleher took the ball from Paul Tierney and immediately passed it to Forest. Nobody would have batted an eyelid because it is what you are expected to do. Teams do it all the time. Probably, earlier in the match he would have. They wanted to win so the rules didn’t matter. Is that acceptable? They knew they were cheating and they knew afterwards they had cheated. They have not held up their hands and acknowledged it. They are wrong. If they win the league by 2 points they might say it was worth it. I would never, even if it was Arsenal. Yes it could have been a penalty Klopp, at the weekend berated the ref and VAR for not giving a penalty against Doku for clearing the ball in the penalty area but catching McAllister on the follow through. Now that could easily have been given but as the referee didn’t give it it is hard to say it is a clear and obvious error. These type of things happen in every match but they are not cheating, just fouls that can be difficult to spot. Klopp -cheating is only done against us not by us Diving is cheating, but again there is a difficulty in saying whether it was actually a dive or not, as camera angles may miss slight contacts which pull players down. Short of players admitting it it can be hard to truly say. I am sure players have got penalties aplenty by diving and I am also sure that plenty of players have got cards when they didn’t dive. I am not sure if this area can ever be fully resolved as it is truly difficult to say what happened. The point being that it is the player that cheats, not the whole team as was the case when Liverpool refused to hand over the ball. Handling the ball should be sorted out Let’s talk about handling the ball, this area has become one where accidentally handling the ball can yield a penalty because the rules changed with VAR. Now they can see in most cases if a player handled the ball so the only thing to decide is if there was anything they could do about it. But let’s say the culture was sporting and a player was obliged to call foul on themselves as in golf or snooker, for example, then the process becomes much simpler. The player calls foul and the VAR review. And if the player refuses to call foul no matter where on the pitch it happens, and irrespective of what the decision is from the VAR review, then the team loses a point after the match. His teammates would be livid and such cheating would disappear. Does his foot actually catch him? Backing into players then falling down yourself to get a foul is also cheating but again it is hard to say as a viewer what actually happened. The player has cheated but not the team. I regularly return to the topic of cheating but I am a lone voice. I almost never get a comment in my blog to say that someone agrees with me. But I will never stop talking about it because we are celebrating cheating. Don't celebrate cheating I say again, cheating to win is not winning. There is nothing to celebrate. But there is another point regarding Klopp and that is that you lose any moral right to complain about any decision when you have blatantly cheated yourselves. And if the same thing happened to Klopp he would be screaming about cheating. He has lost the right to complain. The rule is simple in this case, the ball goes back to whoever had it. There is no blind spot, there is no interpretation, there are no cases, such as in diving, where we really don’t know. And it cannot matter that there is almost no time left in a match, so it is ok to break the rules. This is a good rule, one that should be cherished. Liverpool should, even at this late stage, say so. Definite cheating by Toney and I don't want him And yes, I feel all teams cheat. Is there any team that even wins one match cleanly at the moment? The dark arts are even applauded. Why so? There are few areas of life where we applaud cheating but football is one of them. Sport should be about sporting ideals otherwise why call it sport?
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