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City

Found 10 results

  1. We have one job now - Win Update to the Table of Doom Table of Doom Fixtures Current points Max Arsenal 80 89 Man City Spurs (a) 79 91 Liverpool’s implosion has seen them drop out of the Table of Doom, something I would not have seen as likely not too long ago when they were fighting like demons for their points. They were battling harder than anyone else and scrambling unlikely victories. Very recently they had their destiny in their own hands and threw it away. We, most likely, will not have our destiny in our own hands at all now. The best we can hope for is that City drop points which none of the pundits deem likely. Jurgen Klopp:I will never understand why he didn't wait till the end of the season to announce he was leaving What I know and what I don't And so Bournemouth, Man Utd and Everton are next. All winnable? Yes. Will it be good enough? I don’t know. Which is the hardest? I don’t know. Will City win all theirs? I don’t know. Will Tottenham take something from City? I don’t know. Are we all going to be Tottenham supporters for one day? I don’t know. The Spuds 1961 double winners beat Man City 1-0 at Maine Road -C'Mon you Spurs I can hear you saying, Gus, do you know anything? Why are you getting your huge salary if you know nothing? So I will concentrate for now, on what I do know. If City win all, there is nothing we can do. They must slip up. However, if they draw then we can win as our goal difference will probably be better than theirs if we win all. A seven goal turnaround in 3 matches is difficult allowing we have to improve by at least three which makes ten. I do know that you have to win by at least one goal. You see, I do know something. A nervous City? But I will give some good news. If, such a big if, Tottenham manage to get something from City it might just give them a wobble at exactly the right time as they face West Ham at home on the final day. City have lost 3 times away and only once at home. Tottenham may well be fighting for their Champions League spot and if they have a good day, something could happen. And that means that West Ham becomes a must win on the final day. A twitchy City could be a vulnerable City. Bournemouth are coming good at the wrong time for us So can we win our three? I have to give you the bad news that Bournemouth are on a very strong run with only 3 defeats since February by Aston Villa, Luton and Man City. They will feel that Europe is now possible. They are in form at the moment and we must kill them off ruthlessly. We do not need a hard game from them, and we know what they will do. Defend like demons and try to give Dominic Solanke the ball. We will need to be good for 90 minutes. No idiocy like David Raya as one goal may decide this game. No glory glory Man Utd? Man Utd? They will give us more chances I reckon but they also make chances every game. They have a tough looking last 4 games with a resurgent Palace away, us at home, Newcastle at home and Brighton away. They could end up with nothing from these games and they will be aware of that. 6th place is there for them if they win matches and they are running out of time. I have a feeling we may need a clean sheet for this one. Ten Hag will try to get them to defend and hope for a breakaway even though they are at home. They have players who can score from sudden breaks. This is one game where tactics can make a huge difference. We must hope that Arteta is the man here. They don't have Best, Law or Charlton Everton on the last day. The good news is that if we win the previous two, this match is live no matter what happens. If City win all they will be two points ahead but probably with an inferior goal difference which means if we win and they draw we are the champions, my friends. If, by any chance, City have already been beaten by Tottenham, then they will be one point behind us, and if they draw, we can get away with a draw. Of course we can never know that as a draw can turn into a win at the last kick of the match. If they get a draw in any of their matches they will be level with us on the last day but we should have a clear goal difference which means two draws gives us the title. Saliba and Gabriel vs Dominic Calvert-Lewin Is the glass half empty? The danger to assuming we will have a superior goal difference is that City could run up a hatful against Wolves and Fulham in their first 2 games to catch us up and we win by one against Bournemouth and Utd. The most optimistic scenario is that City suffer a bad run and hand us the title before we play Everton. It seems like absolutely nobody believes that can happen. I have been around football long enough to know that you cannot predict matches. If you could there would be no betting companies. City got beaten when they had the initiative against Real Madrid. And they badly wanted that two time in a row Champions League. Just like they badly want this four time in a row Premier League. We are Arsenal and we must show it One thing I do know for sure and that is no Gooner wants to hand Man City the title as Liverpool has. We did that last year, made it easy for them. We are now the last man standing in the Table of Doom. Liverpool cannot get 86 points and their next two are the Spuds at home and Villa away with both teams scrambling for the Champions League. They may not get many more points. I will never understand why Jurgen Klopp announced his retirement mid season. The way they were playing they could have won it this season. He has tarnished his legend. How did retaining that trophy work out for you City? At the start I asked many questions that I couldn’t answer. So now I will give you my opinion. We can win this league. I feel City will drop points but I reckon only in one match. So 2 or three. We must win three and I think we will. It will come down to this, and we must be ready. It is also that the only time City may drop points is on the last day against West Ham. We will only know that we must win in that scenario. Are we winners? Yes we are.
  2. Where can we finish 2024? Last try Luton (H) Brighton (A) Villa (H) Wolves(A) Chelsea (H) Spuds (A) Bournemouth (H) Man Utd (A) Everton (H) And so now we are down to squeaky bum time. 9 matches to destiny. Luton, Wolves, Bournemouth and Everton are must wins. 12 points there will bring us to 77 and surely Champions League? It would still make a successful season. 5 matches are at home which should be an advantage and all teams are behind us in the table. In other words 9 wins and the title is ours. Logically it is possible. Against is that Arteta has stuttered every time at the end, and if he does so again it could be a fatal flaw that will stop us ever winning the league. This is how you do it, Mikel Title winners pick up speed at the end just like athletes do. I will stick to the 86 points as what is required so 21 is needed if I am right. Not going to be easy. That would be 22 over the final ten and a good improvement over his final ten matches so far. Arsene Wenger managed 22 or more ten times during his reign but only won the league three times. City need to come from behind but most people would still see them as favourites. We all know why. Liverpool keep digging out wins with every game a hard fought scrap. They are well capable of winning it. 5 tough matches All three teams have tough matches with Villa and Spurs desperate for Champions League playing all three. The matches that logically are the hardest for us are Brighton, Villa, Chelsea, Spuds and Man Utd. If we beat the other five as expected then we can drop 6 points over these which doesn’t give much room for error. 3 draws or 2 losses and we are in trouble. And, of course, Liverpool or City may drop very little. Lose this and it will be a tough battle to win the title I will be at Luton and I like them and their fabulous journey from nowhere to get here but a win is necessary. Ogbenie might just give them a goal but I fancy 3-1. Dani Georgiev joins us again as guest predictor and he goes 3-0 Points 68 A midlands nightmare? Brighton away and they have been somewhat tricky for us but this would be a great win. They have been very inconsistent this season and last season’s miracle worker, Evan Ferguson cannot score goals at the moment. There always seems to be goals in this match and I will go 3-2 to us. Dani sees 2-1 and we stay level. Points 71 Emery will make it hard for us Villa at home and Mr Emery will be plotting a good performance. He might just get it as it could be a 1-1 draw. Dani goes 1-0 to us so now it is Gus 72 points and Dani 74 points. Wolves away and let’s face it, we must win. They have moved up the table and may just feel that they can sneak a Europe place. I am going to say 1-0 to us but this one could easily be 2 bad midlands games in a row. Dani says 3-1so that leaves Gus 75 and Dani 77 Then more night terrors from London Chelsea at home and last time I said 1-1 and to be honest, you never know what Chelsea are going to do this season. If they are on top form and we are not at our best, they could win. But I will go an extra goal for us and 2-1 as I will be there. Dani continues in optimistic form and says 3-1 again. Gus 78 Dani 80 It could be bye bye, Poch The Spuds away and this game could be crucial. Postecoglou has them spinning when they are playing well but struggles to get them to do it for 90 minutes. I feel that a 2-2 draw will be the result as we can find it hard here. Dani says 1-1 and so we go Gus 79 Dani 81 Bournemouth at home and this one can have no excuses, win or forget about the title. They are racking up points and have no chance of relegation but they may have nothing to play for with three matches to go. An early goal could see them thinking of the beach and give us 3-0. Dani sees 4-0 and now Gus 82 Dani 84 and he sees us in sight of the mythical 86. Can the North give us victory? Man Utd away and Ten Hag could be doomed at this point. It would be best if he is still there but like a crippled dog. A new manager could give them a lift. However in such a strange season as this when so many teams are inconsistent this could be dangerous for us. I am going to go 2-2 and Dani 1-1. Gus 83 Dani 85 and it is the last game of the season and we haven’t managed 86. One game to go. And bye bye Ten Hag? Everton at home and they may well need the points to avoid relegation and not lose their proud record. But Sean Dyche may well have them safe and neither side may be playing for anything. We just don’t know if this is a crucial match or not. For sure if we must win to give us a shot at the title, I think we will be very nervous and that will make Sean Dyche very happy. Psychologically no matter what we need, a final win at home could be a booster, particularly if we have made it though to the Champions League final. I will say 1-0 and Dani a marvellous 5-1. I will have scraped the total and Dani exceeds it. Gus 86 Dani 88 and we celebrate like crazy. Celebration time? Of course we have the Champions League and Bayern to traverse but this Bayern team look a bit weaker than the teams who put us to the sword in the Wenger days. If we do it I expect City in the semi’s. I do feel that they are the strongest team left in it so a win there might put us up against PSG or Athletico as Simeone finds a way to win. It is winnable and it has been my long-term dream. Wembley is Arteta’s happy hunting ground and, if we get there, it could be the greatest night of our lives. Update to the Table of Doom Table of Doom Fixtures Current Max Liverpool Spurs (h) Villa (a) 67 94 Arsenal Villa (h) Spurs (a) 65 92 Man City Villa (h) Spurs (a) 64 91 Logically the Spuds and Villa have to win all these matches to jump back in to the challenge. I doubt it. I feel the top five is already written and the bottom 2 of them also. The question is the order. Sky would love a 3 way tie on the ultimate game which is Everton for us, Liverpool at home to Wolves and City at home to West Ham. All games that they are expected to win. If we need one or both of those to drop points on the last day, I feel we are in for a rough day. But miracles do happen. C’mon the Arse!
  3. The Table of Doom returns Can anyone take this away from the Citizens? Table of Doom Fixtures Current Max Liverpool Man City (h) Spurs (h) Villa (a) 51 96 Man City Liverpool (a) Arsenal (h) Villa (h) Spurs (h) 49 97 Arsenal Man City (a) Villa (h) Spurs (a) 49 94 Villa Spurs (a) Man City (a) Arsenal (a) Liverpool (a) 46 91 Spurs Villa (h) Man City(a) Arsenal (h) Liverpool (a) 44 89 And so the Table of Doom returns in a much tighter scenario than last year and, while last year I was counting down from Arsenal, now we are looking at Liverpool. I have decided that only these five can win the league as I believe 86 points is the target this year so we are left with these teams. Manchester United, the best of the rest can only get 83 points. Only Liverpool and City can win by winning all their matches, as ourselves, Villa and Spurs need the top 2 to drop points. However, they will, as I can’t see any team winning all until the end. Whoever can put the strongest run together will win it. Klopp's team are in the strongest position - or are they? As before, any team that cannot reach the leader drops out and I will update weekly. Once again, if I make any mistake in my calculations please let me know, as one generous reader did last year. The great thing about a blog is that I can update straightaway. Five for five I am pretty certain that the Champions League chase will be these five as well, barring a collapse and a lower team making a late run. There could be five places this year as well so Arsenal are looking very good. Liverpool have crucial matches close to the end and they could be the decisive factor. Man City have almost all home games and they are really good at home. I will put City favourites based on past experience. Villa have all away and that might be important also as they have not been great on their travels. They have earned the right to be favourites In my previous blog here I speculated that around 86 points should be enough this year which gives City and Liverpool a bit more scope than the rest. We can afford to lose 8 points from 15 matches and 45 points. A tough ask as the 2 and 3 points extra for Liverpool and City mean they can maybe lose 3 matches but we can only lose 2. Away to City could be a huge game for us if we are still in it. We must put away the little teams Now I will turn my attention to the Champions League. Last year 68 points was enough as Liverpool in 5th had 67. and I am going for it again. Arsenal need 19 points out of 45 and that would be a collapse, little above relegation form. As long as we put away the little teams we will make it comfortably. Man U, Newcastle and Chelsea falling apart has meant that the Champions League struggle looks easier this year. Man Utd, West Ham, Brighton and Newcastle in the next 4 positions are, I feel, the only teams capable of pushing for top four. If five places are available then it could be tighter as maybe Villa or Spurs could collapse leaving a space for one of these to run into. Can Arteta finally become The Man? Truly, I don’t feel that Villa or the Spuds will do so. Man Utd are the closest at six points behind Tottenham but they have to play all the big teams, go on a long winning run and a collapse of one of the top five to get there. I doubt it, judging by their form. Will the new rules help? As for the rest, they need to find consistency, they have all got tough matches to negotiate and produce a level that they haven’t so far, and clawback a lot of points. It is hard to see that happening. The only conclusion is that the top five will be the top five, and the only doubts are the positions and how many places are available. Either Arsenal and City could win the Champions League but it won’t open up a fifth space as they will qualify through the Premiership. However, it might be enough for England to qualify under the new rules if Arsenal and City go far in the tournament or the other English teams do well in the other trophies. A European Cup winner could finally make it back onto the big stage Bizarrely, though, there could be 5 places and they are already won as none of the rest seem to be capable of a sustained run. Possibly 5 Champions league spots and only 5 teams really challenging for them. A bit of a joke, really. City never wobble? So, back to the Premier League. Arsenal and Liverpool only play 3 of the others, the rest play four. Could that be significant? City seem to have the best position as they play almost all at home and they usually win there. Villa, by contrast, have 4 away and that might be tricky as they are struggling a bit away. The Spuds have 2 home and 2 away but the 2 away are City and Liverpool. I will be surprised if the Spuds and Villa can keep their momentum going to such an extent that they win the league. Most likely they will drop away a little. But I suspect that they will take positions 4 and 5. Two tough away games for the Spuds Liverpool have won a lot of matches this season without being all that impressive too often. It is credit to their fighting spirit and appreciation of what it takes to be winners that they have ground out enough wins to leave them top. For a team that is obviously in transition they have done extremely well but that, and Klopp leaving, may mean that Arsenal can overtake them. Arsenal to become tough boys? And the big boys? City? If they win their game in hand they will go top and they don’t normally surrender the league. If Rodri, De Bruyne and Haaland stay fit, they do look the best team in it. They haven’t always looked at their frightening best this season and they have dropped 17 points so far. They will need to improve on that to claim the title. But Arsenal have dropped 20 so we need to improve even more than them. And, while I feel like a broken record mentioning this, we have not had a strong end to the season under Arteta. I one hundred percent guarantee that we must have a very strong finish this season to win the league. 37 points out of a possible 45 is a tough ask. We could lose that on our 3 matches against our top five rivals let alone on the other 12 matches. We had 54 points at this stage last season. We dropped 15 points from our last 15 matches to get 84. I have spelled out what we have to do to win the league. We must have steel in our backs, a streetfighters capacity, and some luck to go our way. Can we win the Table of Boom? And yes, I am aware that my target of 86 points to win the league and 68 to qualify for the Champions League could be out. I will be very surprised if I am far out, though. Both targets may be higher or lower. The only thing I feel we can be confident about is the Champions League qualification. That is within our grasp even with an average end to the season. Can Arteta fulfill all my dreams at Wembley? And the two big prizes we are still in? For the Champions League we may need only to be really good in 4 matches, 3 of the legs and the final. That would do me. Wembley would be a great place to win. I would call Wembley the Table of Boom for us even if we don’t really come close to winning the league. Topping the Table of Boom would make me so happy.
  4. Current Premier league managers and their possibility of not being there in August Arsenal Mikel Arteta Likelihood of being fired 5% Likelihood of leaving 30% Aston Villa Unai Emery Likelihood of being fired 0% Likelihood of leaving 20% Bournemouth Andoni Iraola Likelihood of being fired 15% Likelihood of leaving 30% Brentford Thomas Frank Likelihood of being fired 0% Likelihood of leaving 70% Brighton Roberto De Zerbi Likelihood of being fired 0% Likelihood of leaving 70% Burnley Vincent Kompany Likelihood of being fired 80% Likelihood of leaving 0% Chelsea Mauricio Pochettino Likelihood of being fired 75% Likelihood of leaving 20% Crystal Palace Roy Hodgson Likelihood of being fired 100% Likelihood of leaving 0% Everton Sean Dyche Likelihood of being fired 5% Likelihood of leaving 20% Fulham Marco Silva Likelihood of being fired 5% Likelihood of leaving 50% Liverpool Jurgen Klopp Likelihood of being fired 0% Likelihood of leaving 85% Luton Rob Edwards Likelihood of being fired 60% Likelihood of leaving 0% Manchester City Pep Guardiola Likelihood of being fired 0% Likelihood of leaving 35% Manchester United Erik Ten Hag Likelihood of being fired 80% Likelihood of leaving 10% Newcastle United Eddie Howe Likelihood of being fired 25% Likelihood of leaving 30% Nottingham Forest Nuno Espirito Santo Likelihood of being fired 70% Likelihood of leaving 0% Sheffield United Chris Wilder Likelihood of being fired 95% Likelihood of leaving 0% Tottenham Hotspur Ange Postecoglou Likelihood of being fired 0% Likelihood of leaving 10% West Ham David Moyes Likelihood of being fired 5% Likelihood of leaving 5% Wolverhampton Wanderers Gary O’Neil Likelihood of being fired 5% Likelihood of leaving 40% Go or please stay If the table above is right 11 managers could be gone by the start of next season as they are 50% or more likely to go whether sacked or leaving themselves. I suspect that managerial change will be a huge factor for the Premier league 2024/25. Bizarrely, all could be gone and a complete sea change happens. Jurgen Klopp’s announcement has just followed on from a host of big clubs struggling at the moment and major countries looking for managers with Ireland being the biggest prize of all . If these win La Liga Real Madrid will surely need a manager What it means is that successful managers at small clubs, and De Zerbi, Frank, and Silva spring to mind, are going to be thrown into the mix for Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Germany and many others, but crucially, managers at big clubs like Arteta will also be in the frame. I have rated him at 30% to leave. Barcelona will come calling for sure with Xavi on the way out. Will he go? I don’t know, but logic dictates that it is easier to win big trophies there than at Arsenal. Real and Barcelona win most things in Spain and even in Europe. He may feel that he is the right man for the job. He is not short of confidence as he applied for the Arsenal job with no experience. Home is where the esteem lies To be a big man in your own country is always a huge factor. Roy Hodgson made his name abroad but was always looking to prove himself at home, and he was never regarded with the same respect as he was in other countries. Arteta may go, people, and that will only please the Arteta out brigade which, I still feel,is a minority of Gooners. I am not sure who can come in and do better. I want him to stay. Jurgen Klopp - will he really go? You will notice I have put Klopp at 85% to leave. I feel I may even be generous as I reckon they will put huge pressure on him to stay. However, the announcement may lead to a dip in performances and perhaps he will go. He should get Champions league, though, and that is a prize for the Kop this year. Assuming he goes and Alonso comes, as is speculated, it means both Bayern Munich and Leverkusen could be looking for a manager. Pep to Barca? Erik to nowhere? Pep’s position could be anything, the Fair Play sanctions could come into play and they get relegated or even kicked out. A bad end to the season may also happen. Barcelona could be a nice homecoming. If the second outcome happens it leaves a vacancy at City which is still a big draw for an ambitious or established manager. A very bad sanction could leave City unattractive to a big name. Pep- Tiki-taka Barca Erik Ten Hag needs a very strong finish to retain his job. I suspect he won’t and that leaves a position at Man Utd, which is still one of the big achievements to tell your grandchildren. Unai Emery and Ange Postecoglou are the big Premiership names currently in the top five who will assuredly come into the frame for the top positions mentioned above. Surely they will want to go to a great European team whether in the Premiership or not? Is Arsenal a top European team? Probably they are on the cusp but Villa and Spurs are definitely not. Who are certain to go? If Pochettino doesn’t have a strong end to the season he will also be gone leaving a vacancy at Chelsea – still the most successful 21st Century English team, and the merry-go-round continues. Ange Postecoglou - to go to one of the top clubs? If you were to ask me who will go by next August, I would say Klopp, Ten Hag, Pochettino, Kompany, Wilder, Espirito Santo, De Zerbi, Frank and Hodgson are close to certs. If you put down all of them in an accumulator you would make good money. There will be too many top teams looking for managers for De Zerbi and Frank to stay. Silva also must be a target. I feel that David Moyes is the closest to a cert to stay. He won’t be offered a top job and he would need a really bad finish to be fired. Poor Chris Wilder looks doomed I wonder what the odds would be on all change? Retirement money I reckon. It could happen. Go for it! Arteta out and Barcelona in? I will finish on Arsenal and Arteta. He won’t be fired. He will be in the frame for all the top jobs. I am not sure whether he would get more money at Barcelona where he is seen as maybe the best candidate short of Pep coming back? He has been working on a long-term plan at Arsenal, with so many top young players locked into extended contracts that he can create a working dynamic where players play together hypnotically, which could mean he could create the best team in Europe. It leaves the pull of his boyhood team, his home country, and this may be his one chance at it. If Arsenal go a bit backwards now under his stewardship he won’t be a candidate in the future. Roy Hodgson - great foreign days but thrown out this year? I would say he would be tempted. Against is the certainty that only success is what matters at Barcelona. If you don’t win all and quickly your career there will be over. The uncertainty over their finances may also be a factor. I feel he won’t go but I am certain he will be offered it. I think the deciding factor is that he has been allowed to pursue his vision at Arsenal and that will not be the case at Barcelona or any of the other big names mentioned. I could be wrong.
  5. Have yourself a Mikel little Christmas It’s Christmastime and there’s no need to be afraid as Santa Klopp is coming to town. As regular readers know I predicted 2-0 for this fixture here in a repeat of our most famous night at Anfield when we won the title on the last match of the season. That was a very late Christmas present from the Scousers and it would be nice to get an early one this time. Aston Villa will be top if they beat Sheffield United as expected on Friday. So us and the Red Santa Clauses will be fighting it out to jump above them with a win. A draw would see Villa top at Christmas. So we know what we have to do. All we want for Christmas is two (goals) and to rock around the Christmas tree with three points. No, all we want for Christmas is two Can we do it? I say yes. If we play to our best, then I feel our attack will have to much for their defence, which is not as strong as in the past. Our defence is definitely better than last year, down to Declan Rice protecting it and surging forward to take the pressure off and cause problems at the other end. Our advantage is that they have to attack, they are at home and Liverpool do not play defensively anyway. I suspect that this time, though, they will try to do what Aston Villa did, their usual high line, but I cannot see them sitting back in defence at home as much as Villa did. We will get chances, but so will they. We need to take them. Klopp has been no Kris Kringle to us Of course our recent record is not so good against them, of our last ten, they have 5 wins and 3 draws (if you count the Charity Shield as a draw) so they are clearly better. Over our last five we have one win and 2 draws so we have improved. And we all remember the last match, also at Anfield, where we totally outplayed them until Xhaka had a meltdown, and they somehow managed a draw. Rice, who is I suppose Xhaka’s replacement, does not have meltdowns and rarely sees cards. Xhaka was good as a player but Rice definitely seems better in every respect. Under Klopp, Liverpool fans probably feel it is most times they play us So what is our Christmas record against them? As always I delve into our deep history to try to ascertain any patterns. Strangely enough we have rarely played them over Christmas. I am defining Christmas as from December 23rd to January 1st which is generally when most people are off. The Arsenal Santas So the first time was way back on Jan 1st 1894 and they won 2-0 at home in the old second division. We were the Santas. Then 30th December 1905 they won 3-0 again at home and we were becoming Santa plus for them. I suppose we also dropped off a pot of Scouse to them to make sure they had a happy Christmas. On the 27th December 1909 at our home we drew 1-1 to show them we were coming back at them. We were Arsenal and we would show them. Eh, no, we played them a few days later on January 1st at their home and they thrashed us 5-1. We obviously had the wrong name. Our real name should have been the Saint Nicholas Arsenal as we guaranteed them a nice present for Christmas. Oh Arsenal, what are you doing to us? Even Tim Burton saw Liverpool as a nightmare for us On the 30th December 1911 in Scouseland they destroyed us 4-1. Maybe we should really be Santa and his elves Arsenal. They must have wished it could be Christmas everyday. We played them at home the next year on 28th December and drew 1-1. They were never coming to us with presents in their sack, it seems. Mister Chapman is no Father Christmas Ah but 27th December 1927, with our master Herbert Chapman fighting for us we had a nice sweet 2-0 at Anfield. He put down a real marker of what the Arsenal can do. What could you hear, Liverpool? They were Jingle Bells and they were playing for the Arsenal. Herbert Chapman showed us how to win at Christmas On Christmas day 1935, we again beat them at Anfield but with 1-0. We were setting a much better Christmas pattern, we were the ones driving home for Christmas happy. Except the next day, they played us at Highbury and won 2-1. Chris Rea must have been delighted as both teams drove home happy even though he wasn’t born yet. Up and down the Christmas tree But did I mention a shape was forming? We played them in Liverpool on 25th December 1947 and won by 2 goals 3-1. We were now the Anti-Santas for them, nothing for them for being naughty boys. But 2 days later they came to us and won 2-1. A yoyo was becoming both our presents. But on 31st December 1949 they showed us we don’t own Anfield at Christmas as they won 2-0. We never got a chance to show them as they next played us in 1995 at Anfield and won 3-1. Looks like we were back to being Father Christmas Arsenal. A Nightmare at Christmas And in the year 2000, our next time was also at Anfield and it was so lonely for us at Christmas as they hammered us 4-0. Maybe we should stop playing them at Christmas and just send them up 3 points and a pot of Scouse for one and all? Roberto Firmino gave us a horrible nightmare 2 years later 29th December, we were at home and drew 1-1. They were mean Old Nicks to us for sure. 29th December 2018 was a day we all remember with horror as Firmino lashed in a hat trick as they won 5-1 at home. Michael Oliver gave them 2 penalties as well. They sent us home crying for a miserable Christmas, no playing Chris Rea, Santa Klopp kicked us out of town. And the Scouse fans singing once again We wish it could be Christmas every day. We want to go home happy And that was the last time at Christmas. So you can see we owe them. We owe them a juicy 2-0 spanking and let them eat coal for Christmas. I genuinely believe we are the better team. They may be the ones in Santa red on the day and they will deliver like that big fat man 3 points from his sack as we show Jurgen we are not coming from the North to shower gifts, but assassins coming from the South to demonstrate our superiority. 3 points and we are top of the league and it is a Merry Christmas to all Gooners. All we want for Christmas is 2.
  6. The Table of Doom is Over Arsenal Current 81 Max 90 Brighton(h) Man City Max 94 Brighton (a) Gone: Man Utd Max 75 Newcastle Max 77 Brighton Max 70 Man City (h) Arsenal(a) – kept because they play key matches. Liverpool Max 71 Tottenham Max 66 And so my Table of Doom is over. The countdown of those teams that could catch us for a Champions League slot are all gone, having bit the dust early. Will we get 90 points? Maybe. I am hopeful. We are certainly better than our 3 final opponents but that may not translate into wins. Brighton have become an up and down team of late being beaten comfortably by Forest and Everton, both of which may be having their last days at the top table. We have to hope they are up against City and down against us. They are a good side on their day. Will Jurgen Klopp stay as Liverpool manager? Anyway I will discontinue this slot until next season as you all know who we will play, who City will play, and all the permutations. The only surprise will be if we win the championship without winning all our last 3 matches, I think we can all agree on that. City will now have another mind-bending game against Real and that might take its toll. We can only hope. Look what losing to them did to Liverpool in the final last year. They were rubbish for most of the season. We have hope. So bye bye Table of Doom. Who will be the top four next season? Today, I am going to take a strange tack and look at next season and who will be up against us. I am going to say from the bat that I expect us and City to be top four leaving only 2 places to play for. We assume Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea and the Spuds are contenders even though 3 of those may not play Champions league next season. That could be an advantage for them as they may not be in Europe at all like Chelsea or in one of the minor European trophies. They can play fringe players in these. They all have big income streams from many years at the top, bigger than the rest of the league and so have a natural advantage. Can we now expect Newcastle as well? I am not so sure. Champions league will play its toll assuming they get there. They, despite having some super players and a great manager combined with big pockets, might do a bit of a Leicester and go down a bit next time. They didn’t have Europe this year. They need to buy top players because some of these guys, like Dan Burns and our own Joe Willock, are not quite of the calibre they need as first choice if they are to battle on 2 big fronts. Sponsorship and merchandising income is still a lot smaller than the established sides although they do have an attendance capacity of almost 53,000. Their money plus their overall structure means they have a good chance of getting into the big boys club. Into the Big Boys Club So who else can we look at based on this season? Brighton for sure. They still have an outside chance of Champions league but that will surely stretch them. They may go back a bit and they may lose top players but they seem adept at producing young players and buying in superb ones. However a top attendance of less than 32,000 and without the ability to attract the sponsorship deals and marketing of merchandise of the more attractive clubs, combined with a rich, but not as rich as the top clubs, owner, means it will be really hard for them to truly compete at the highest level. Unai Emery could chase a Champions league slot next season Aston Villa, under Unai Emery, have been the real surprise packet of the season. Sprinting up the table with league winning form when under Steven Gerrard they were in relegation trouble, it has been astonishing how Emery has transformed them. They have a ground capacity of almost 43,000 and incredibly rich owners. They would have pretty good merchandise sales and sponsorship, although not like the big boys. They could jump up and take a slot very easily. Even this season, with a maximum of 63 points, they could be in Europe. Unai Emery seems to be at his best with an emerging side and I believe they will be a threat. Who else is there? Brentford's new stadium still only holds 17,250 Brentford? I think Champions league is beyond them. They have a good team with a potentially great manager but low revenue from merchandise, sponsorship and attendances. 17,250 is not going to get you Champions league. Their owner is only worth 20M pounds and that is a pittance by today’s standards. Lose Thomas Frank to a big team and they could suffer from 3rd season malaise and even get relegated. If they keep him and their best players they could still do well. But I am putting them out of contention for Champions league. Matthew Benham - probably the poorest Premier league owner Fulham? They could well surprise again. Marco Silva has done wonders with them and they have a multi-billionaire owner. Shahid Khan is surely a serious contender with big plans otherwise why Fulham? Lower income streams and attendance at 22,238 is far less than the big boys, though it will be brought up to 29,600 for next season. I feel they would need a long-term project and a much bigger ground to get up there but that should be his plan. No Champions league for them next season, I predict. But I feel they will make strides and 5th or 6th may not be beyond them. Fulham's new stadium will only get them to 29,600 The Dark horses and the Shambles For me the 2 dark horses may be Wolves, and Notts Forest (if they stay up). Both sides have had some terrific performances this year. Wolves 3-0 vs Liverpool being one standout. Forest drew with City and beat Liverpool and Brighton. Both sides big disadvantage is that their grounds are around 30,00 capacity. The astonishing Chelsea collapse The other factor is the shambles of Man Utd (at times), Liverpool, Spurs and incredibly, Chelsea. Can they turn themselves around? I think it is possible Jurgen Klopp may resign if he does badly in his last 3 games. Even if not, he may decide to go for a new challenge. I am not sure what will happen to them if he does go. They are a big side to manage and they will need a big manager and there are not many out there. The Spuds will be in the hunt for one as will Chelsea. All 4 may well not make Champions league next season but I do feel that Ten Hag is a good manager. As long as he gets Champions league this season he is safe unless the potential new owners think differently. They are my strongest tip of the four above. Chelsea and Spurs seem to have a lot to sort out to really challenge. So who am I going to predict? Arsenal number one, Man City number two, Man Utd number three and yes, Aston Villa in fourth. Unai Emery has a great record in pushing Real Madrid and Barcelona from the much lower base of Sevilla, Valencia and Villareal. He likes being with the underdogs. And hey, you read it here first. You can also bash me over the head for getting it badly wrong. Don’t bash me too hard, though.
  7. What’s the worst that can happen? 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) Tottenham 81 Brighton(h) Newcastle(a) Man Utd(h) Liverpool (a) Brighton 81 Man Utd(h) Tottenham(a) Man City(h) Arsenal(a) Liverpool 78 Man City(a) Arsenal(h) Tottenham(h) The above is the league table at the end of the season with the maximum points for each team plus their games against the top seven. I will make a prediction, if we win all our matches to the end of the season, we will win the league and Europa league. Wow, Gus, you are brilliant. How do you know such things? It’s because I am a genius. Well no, it’s because I can do basic maths. Let’s say we have a bad end to the season, dropping points and going all Spursy, how bad can it get? Not so bad really. I am going to concentrate on the league and see whether we can relax, at least as far as Champions league is concerned. I have decided that I need to go down as far as Brighton for potential CL slots. So I have put together a bad hypothetical situation for us and that is relegation form and 11 points from 11 draws for 77 or 7 losses and only 4 wins for 78. We currently have 66 from 27 games which should be enough for CL. In reality, looking at the maximum points as I have below I reckon in or around 70 will be good enough this year. I have calculated each teams points total based on them getting the same amount of average points they have got so far. Are the contenders good enough? The wrong blue and whites Brighton are in 7th with 39 points and 24 games. They can get 81 if they win all but do have to play 4 of the current top 7 including ourselves. Based on results so far they will get 62. They won’t come near us as they are bound to drop points. We play them at home in our 3rd last match and a win for us there will for sure mean they have no chance. They probably won’t see near 70 points which they would need. I would say around 60 is what they will get. So Brighton out. Liverpool have an even tougher job to do as the maximum they can get is 78 if they win all. We play them on April 9th away and a win or a draw knocks them out. They surely have no real chance of finishing above us. You will not walk into Champions League Liverpool have City away and us and the Spuds at home. Drop points there and CL might be very difficult for them. Make no mistake, mighty Liverpool, the mentality monsters, will need most of that 78 points to get Champions league. I don’t think they will do it. And if we beat them it will be even more difficult. They may well make 68 or so points if they start being consistent. A repeat of their current form gives them a maximum of 62. Liverpool out. Not a black and white year Newcastle can get 83 and they play us, Man Utd and the Spuds. They play all at home and may well garner some points but of course, if they do they make it harder for other teams to catch us. If we beat them we stop them getting near us. They seem to be finding it more tricky as time goes on and I believe they will struggle to secure CL. And only a disaster would see them finishing in front of us. A repeat of their current form would give them 67 and that’s what I am going to say 67 points and a battle with the Spuds for 4th place which they don’t quite make. Newcastle out. A Spursy year? They always are And now I am in the current top four and the marvellous Spuds who unfortunately get battered everywhere they go. They can muster 81 points. They play four teams, Brighton at home, Newcastle away, Man Utd at home and Liverpool away and those matches are almost one after the other. Conte would need them to be at their best but even that will see them dropping points, they are Totteringham after all. Still if they get some points they will do us good, particularly if we happen to have this bad spell I am talking about. They may well get in though as the teams below them have stuttered. A repeat of their current form to date gives them 68 but maybe 70 points if they have a non Spursy end to the season. Spurs in, but not above us. 4th At least they got one trophy Manchester United can get 86. They play Brighton, Newcastle and the Spuds away. The Spuds can do us a favour. C’mon the Spuds Those 3 matches alone will be hard, not to mention that points are very spread out in the league this year. To prove my point, Southampton are bottom on 22 and 26 games but win all and they have 58 and pushing for Europa league. Getting back to United, they should get above 70, a repeat of their current form gives them 73. Most likely 73 to 75. Man Utd 3rd Man City can get 94. If they do I feel they will win the league. They play Liverpool at home, Brighton away and us at home, all matches close together. We need them to drop points as the above disaster scenario for us would see them jump right over us. Beat them and it would be a great boost. And we will for sure be Liverpool and Brighton fans for the day. If they repeat their current form they will get 86. I expect somewhere around 86 to 90 may be their final tally. I will plump for 87. Remember if we beat them they have to win all their matches to get 91. We can lose 2 and draw one in that scenario. One monster left in our way We don't want a blue and white year Man City 2nd but first if we have the disaster situation or even stutter somewhat. We can outgun them all That leaves us. We can get 99 and, like I said above, a maths wizard such as myself will tell you confidently we will win the league if we get such a tally. We play Liverpool, Man City and Newcastle away and Brighton at home. We will need to gather points for sure. If I am right we will need at least 87 to overcome City. We will get 93 if we continue our current form. We can do it, we are the Arsenal. However, if it all goes wrong and disaster does strike us, we should still have enough to make Champions League. And we can afford a little stumble if I am right, we can drop maybe 10 points and still win the league. The teams below us would have to almost win all, and they are all playing each other which means they have to drop points. Even a bad spell now will see us in Champions League. We do have a great chance. 11 matches to prove we are the Arsenal, the team that sends others home crying. Gary Neville, are you listening? If we hold our nerve, we can do it. I believe we will. And I am hoping that Arsene Wenger will attend to see it. It would be astounding to hear our fans singing about Wenger and Arteta, master and apprentice turned master.
  8. Thrashings are good for you? He came back from this one So Manchester United get a true hammering against Liverpool but what will it all mean? Maybe very little other than a song for the Scousers to sing every time they get to play the Red Sevens as maybe they should now be called. I would still put a good wager on them finishing above Liverpool in the league. I am also confident that they will get that Champions League spot that may elude the Merseysiders. Why so? Because they have had quite a few humiliating defeats even this season and bounced back. This time Brighton 2-1, Brentford 4-0, Manchester City 6-3 and lowly Aston Villa 3-1 gave them defeats they weren’t expecting. They still put together a run that gives them a chance at the title. Mikel Arteta’s team were destroyed by Everton 5-1 at the end of last season plus 5-0 to City and 4-0 to Liverpool. Not to mention being beaten by Brentford. Where are we now? You can sing it if you like. I decided to take a look at high or bad defeats for the Arsenal to see how they affected us. I went back in time to George Graham but could only find 6-2 to Man Utd in the league Cup 28/11/1990 as a true thrashing. George got a heart attack if we conceded goals but he still threw that defeat off to win the league that season. Arsene Wenger the boomerang Arsene Wenger was with us a record length of time and accumulated quite a few whippings. All very painful and generally against big rivals. But we bounced back, didn’t we? Wenger was beaten 4-0 away by Liverpool on the 6/5 1998 but it didn’t stop us winning the league and cup that season. George Graham - with his hand on the ball you know what matters He was tonked by Chelsea next season in the League cup 5-0 but we came second in the Premiership, nicely above them. The fans were hurting badly after these defeats but our team came back from it all the same. On the 25/2/2001 Man Utd gave us that horrible pounding of 6-1 but we were unbeaten in our next six. We finished 2nd and did well till the end of the season. The end of the season is all that matters Next season Blackburn beat us 4-0 in the League cup but we won the league. Wenger and Arsenal had the resilience to shrug off bad defeats. We didn’t have another real trouncing until 2008 when the Spuds beat us 5-1 in the League cup. But what did we do? Came a close 3rd in the league with 83 points, nicely in the Champions league and the hapless Spuds? 11th! Yes, you read that right. They would take being beaten by us any season if they qualified for the Champions league and we didn’t because that is what really matters. Man Utd fans will feel the same about Liverpool if that happens this year. They also beat us 4-0 in the FA cup that season. Our 2 biggest rivals beat us in one season but we are the Arsenal. We always survive. He never let his head drop for long Of course on the 28/11/2011 came the worst defeat I can remember. 8-2 to Man Utd. We were devastated but probably Wenger said to his team, when he calmed down, you went to Old Trafford and scored 2 goals, we haven’t done that too often. We shrugged off that defeat to come 3rd, Utd only came second despite destroying us and we finished above the Spuds in 4th. Man Utd would love to come second this year and they might yet. They will probably come 3rd, though. Beaten by three giants in the Champions League AC Milan beat us 4-0 at the San Siro in the Champions League that season but we nearly came back at home winning 3-0. The ability to throw off a bad defeat is necessary for a good team. In 2014 Liverpool hammered us 5-1 and Chelsea 6-0 but we won the FA cup and qualified for the Champions League. 2 heavy defeats to big rivals and we still had something to cheer about at the end of the season. We are always winners Bayern Munich gave us three 5-1 defeats in the Champions League including a really bad one at home. The first one in 2015 didn’t stop us making it through to the knock out stages where we were beaten by the superb Barcelona. And we did beat Bayern at home 2-0 plus we came came second in the league, our top finish in some time. We knocked Aston Villa over 4-0 in the FA cup final to round off a pretty good season in the end. A hard time for sure The next 2 in 2017 were really hard to take. Last 16 in the Champions League and we were right with them in both first halves. They obliterated us in the second both times. 10-2 over the tie. Bayern, what are you doing to us? But we beat Chelsea in the FA cup final, and finished with five wins in a row to lose out closely to Liverpool for the final Champions League spot with 75 points to their 76. I would take defeat for ultimate victory So, the Arsenal way of losing badly is to come back, to not let it define their season. Mikel Arteta has shown us he knows how to lose the Arsenal way as those defeats last year have shown. Yes, the fans heads were on the floor but he knew he had a special squad of players. It is his job to lift them and us. He has done that. Being knocked out of both cups and being quite average against weaker teams in the Europa League on top of defeats away to Everton and Man Utd plus City at home, and away in the League Cup emphasizes that it has been a hard slog this season. We could still win 2 trophies and, amazingly, I would take being beaten at Man City 7-0 in our next game against them if we go on to win the league. What good would a 7-0 do them then? Let them sing what they bloody like, we would be the Champions. Will Man Utd let it destroy them? So it seems that thrashings are not necessarily bad for you. We can accept our corporal punishment as long as we are top of the class come May. And Man Utd? We will see what they are made of now.
  9. Здравейте на всички. Продължаваме по програма с мач срещу Ливърпул в Неделя от 18:30 ч. Място се знае КлубЪ. Нека подкрепим отбора в този важен мач. От името на представителите на Клон Шумен Ви благодаря за всеотдейнистта до момента.
  10. Liverpool H, Leeds A, Southampton A, Forest H, Chelsea A, Wolves A, West Ham H, Brighton A Getting it wrong and being happy And so I got it wrong. Could anyone really predict 7 wins out of 8 and even that one we were caught by 3 sucker punches? Well, yes, one of our own ASCB supporters did predict 8 out of eight in the comments section of my first attempt https://arsenal-bulgaria.com/site/team/london_calling/where-can-we-finish-2023-part-1-r506/ I predicted 17 points, we got 21. I have substituted Spurs for Everton as we didn’t play them but I predicted 4-1 so similar to the Spuds result. This time the World Cup could have a big impact on us or other teams and I have no way of knowing what players will be affected. So now I will have a go at predicting the next eight – eight wins! Ok, bye bye, see you next time! … Maybe the Liverpool machine is coming to an end Ah, ok, I can’t really say that but I am worried about Liverpool in the first. No, they haven’t played well. No they haven’t played a team of the quality of Arsenal and yes, we are playing at home. But we have not got a good record against them and worryingly, they have had the third highest shots on goal of any team, eclipsed only by us and the marauding City. Any Arsenal fan thinking Liverpool are ready to be beaten are fooling themselves. And they always seem to get the best of the VAR decisions. I am hoping for a win but will settle for a draw. 2-2 in an open game, but very feisty. We need to be brave and disciplined as Liverpool have seasoned pros who know all the tricks. 22 points Tomiyasu: Key for Japan - key for us? Leeds away? Last year we beat them 4-1 and might do it again. I do expect a win although they are not doing badly, a respectable midtable. I was at the game at the Emirates and we won 2-1 but how I don’t know. We totally outplayed them for long periods and yet had a nervy finish. Another 2-1 would do me. 25 points. Is there danger here? Southampton away? Last year they beat us exactly when we needed wins. We cannot allow them to do so again. If we perform well I would like to see 2-0. They are on a bad run but they were also on one last season so please Arsenal don’t let them be a bogey team. 28 points. Saka might be our only England player Forest at home? I am planning being at this fixture although tickets haven’t popped up yet. ASCB I need you. They are down in relegation position and surely cannot cope with our energy, our strikers, and the understanding we have forged. They have bought one billion players and seem to have no understanding. No Robin Hood for these boys as we send them home crying 4-0. 31 points. Maybe Jesus and our other Brazilians may not play much in the World cup We are all getting excited. Points keep coming in. Man City have also got a draw against Liverpool by this stage so we are still top. City are going like a machine but so are we. It is frightening to watch. Blue demons or not? Chelsea away? Our record at Stamford Bridge is not so great but last year we reversed games. They won at ours and we won at theirs. They have good players, and they are close to Champions league position. Surely this is not going to be easy. I would again settle for a draw but hopeful of a win. 1-1 and 32 points. Key for France - key for us Wolves away? They are doing disastrously. Now without a manager, Nuno Espirito Santo could make a comeback. He is doing ok in the Saudi league but surely would like to come back home? They could be a different proposition under him or a new manager. They gave us 2 hard games last year. But surely we will be too strong? 2-0 and 35 points. A world cup hangover? West Ham at home? I might try and get to this game. I expect a win although I feel the Hammers will be nicely up the table by then. We have a good record against them, particularly at home, and I think we can do it. Last year we did the double and this should be the start of another. This is our first match after the world cup and it is very hard to know what players we will have and what condition they will be in. Assuming no banana skins I am going for 2-1 in a hard fought game. 38 points. Xhaka has become key Brighton away? This is a game we could lose. We only took one point off them last year and they definitely look better this year. Roberti De Zerbi could be a excellent fit and the equal to Graham Potter. He did great work at Shaktar Donetsk. I feel we will need all our key players fit and firing for this one. If the world cup is unkind to us that will make it more difficult. Maybe another draw 1-1. 39 points. And Arsenal are soaring above everyone That would be a massive improvement of 13 points over last season, however City, at this point were 38 so 39 would probably see us still top. I am being optimistic but then again last time I thought I was being optimistic with 17 points after 8 games and we got 21 so I hope I am wrong the same way again. City are going so strong at the moment that it is hard to see them losing any match but they do have off days against lower teams sometimes. If we win all we have 45 and surely starting something unstoppable. Even a repeat of the 21 making 42 would make us very difficult to catch. Partey-We need a safe world cup Can we do it? My experience is that every team suffers a bad patch. Ours are often in November but this time November is short. As for the World cup it is possible that our Brazilians may not get much playing time. Saka may be our only English player. Xhaka will definitely play as will Partey, Tomiyasu and Saliba. So some key players will play. We need them to stay safe. Still it is not too bad unless they all struggle. We can probably survive one or two injuries. Let us hope for a great eight games. COYG.
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