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The Table of Doom Update Arsenal Current 72 Max 99 Liverpool(a) Man City(a) Newcastle (a) Brighton(h) Man City Max 94 Brighton (a) Arsenal (h) Man Utd Max 83 Brighton(a) Tottenham(a) Newcastle Max 83 Tottenham(h) Arsenal(h) Tottenham Max 79 Brighton(h) Newcastle(a) Man Utd(h) Liverpool (a) Brighton Max 79 Man Utd(h) Tottenham(a) Man City(h) Arsenal(a) Liverpool Max 73 Arsenal(h) Tottenham(h) As I have said I will update the table of doom every week with the max points available for each team. Man Utd, Spurs, Brighton and Liverpool have all dropped points so move further away from us. It seems close to impossible for Liverpool to catch us now so I feel they will be the first to drop out of this table. A draw at the weekend and they are out leaving only six able to catch us. Man Utd play Brentford at home tonight and they are proving very difficult to beat. Newcastle play West Ham away and with the Hammers desperate to get points and David Moyes even more so they might drop further away. It seems, realistically that Man City are the only real danger as with 9 matches to go even 9 draws would give us 81 which is very close to Man U’s and Newcastle’s maximum. Champions League is all but certain as the chasing pack have games against each other meaning they drop points. C’mon the Arse! And so on to my main piece: The art of prediction – it gives you the blues Predicting football matches is extraordinarily difficult. Injuries, loss of form, transfers, a player acting up in the dressing room bringing down the winning atmosphere (yes, we are looking at you, Aubameyang), bad luck, referees, VAR and a myriad other possibilities bring factors to bear on your predictions. I decided to take a look at how I have done so far since I started this blog a few years ago. Yes, you made the right Blue choice, Pierre My first was on Jan 20th and I just made a general prediction for the end of the season 2020/21. I went 64 points and we got 61. Not too bad, really as the transfer window hadn’t ended so I didn’t know who we would have and what our rivals would do. We got in Martin Odegaard and Mat Ryan on loan after I wrote so not a huge difference. I did well, I feel. No need to be Blue, Martin I did an update on April 6th with 8 matches to go and predicted 61 points and we got 61 points. This time I predicted all the scores and even that I did well, getting some exactly right. So, despite all I have said above, it is possible to get things right. Not so Blue Mat Ryan Next season was last season 2021/22 and I started on Nov 9th predicting our points total to halfway 19 matches and I said 38 but we got 35. Again I predicted all matches and got some right including Norwich 5-0. Not too bad at all. The next was December 29th and I predicted the next 9 matches. I said 52 points and we got 51. Did I say prediction was hard? Looks like it’s easy. Particularly as the January transfer window hadn’t opened yet. The only one we got in was Auston Trusty from Colorado Rapids and he became a superstar center-back for us. Ok, maybe not but he is doing really well at Birmingham on loan, playing every game this season and scoring 4 goals from the back. He is under the radar but he could become good. A Blue move may have done you good, Auston March 22 was my final try. I predicted 74 and we got 69. In fairness to myself, I didn’t foresee the collapse we had in the last few matches with Spurs, Newcastle and Everton giving us tonkings. A feature of Arsenal for this season and last is that we don’t draw matches. We had 13 defeats and almost got Champions League. My weakness has been that I put us down for draws and we never seem to get them. We had only 3 draws last season and 3 so far this season. I have to factor that in for the future if it continues. Only Jesus can take away the Blues So now this season. I started on August 2nd. I am not sure how many thought we would win the league or get Champions League but I was hopeful of the latter. I am generally regarded as an optimist so I said 17 points for the first 8 matches but we got 21 and were top of the league. I said we are top of the league! Blue? No that is Red and White you see, Leo I did another 8 on October 4th and said 39 points but we got 43 and still top of the league. I am always happy if we get more than I predict, of course. So then to January 2nd and my next set of predictions. The World Cup was over but we had lost Jesus. It seemed that Nketiah wasn’t of his class and we didn’t really have anyone else. But I predicted anyway. 11 matches and I said 67 points. We got 66. Very close. In fairness we got in Trossard, Jorginho and Kiwior, which I didn’t know about at the time and 2 of those look like they will be very useful to us this season. Jorginho - the final Blue part of the jigsaw My last try this season and we started with Leeds. I said 3-0 and we got 4-1. Not too bad, Gus, at all. I have predicted 90 points and winning the league or 93 if City hand it to us by dropping points and the final matches nervousness goes out of the team. My history as a predictor indicates that it could well be our year. I manage to get a lot of results right and sometimes even scores. By that reckoning you should put your house, your Maserati, and your wife or husband on Arsenal to win. I no longer bet so I can’t take my own advice.
Any Arsenal superstars out there? Can we match these boys? Ramsdale, Turner Tierney, Tomiyasu, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko Partey, Xhaka, Lokonga, Vieira, Odegaard, Saka, Jesus, Martinelli, Smith Rowe, Nketiah, Pepe, Balogun Arsenal are the greatest football team Can any of our players become world superstars of the calibre of great names such as Messi, Ronaldo, Cruyf, Beckenbauer, Pele or Maradona? Or eclipse our own great heroes such as Brady, Jennings, Bergkamp, Henry, Vieira, Campbell or Adams? Today I will take a look at the possible candidates (above) and see where we are, at the moment, in such aspirations. I am going to choose from the list above and I reckon there are some surprises there. I will list those you probably will jump on first, Turner, Pepe, Balogun, Nketiah, Lokonga, Vieira, and maybe even Jesus and Zinchenko. Our Best Chance? A world superstar is a player universally recognised as a supreme exponent in their position, someone, who, if any fan were compiling a list of the world’s best team at the moment, would definitely include them in their deliberations. They have to have built up a body of work to achieve that position, titles, international achievements, etc. None…Yet Now, I don’t want to rain on any Arsenal fans parades but none of our players are currently in that position. Some may be heading that way, though. One big change over the past two seasons has been that we can no longer easily say who our most important player is. Saka has been our best, for sure, over the past few seasons, but now? Is Jesus, Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka, Ramsdale, Saliba or Martinelli more crucial to our success? This is the great thing about this emerging team, I can talk seriously about the notion that some could move into the realm of the huge names mentioned above. Surely Saliba is Dynamite? Ok, let’s look at the players. Ramsdale and Turner in goal. Ramsdale needs to grab the England position and keep it for a long time to even dream of being a great in the line of Zoff, Banks or Buffon. He also needs to win titles and global awards. I am not sure where he is in Gareth Southgate’s mind but certainly not number one. This does not apply to Turner, who seems to have cemented his place as US keeper with 20 appearances, and he has got impressive awards such as goalkeeper of the tournament Concacaf 2021, winner of that cup as well, and MLS keeper of the year 2021 among others. This boy might surprise us, I believe he knew the risk coming to Arsenal and challenging Ramsdale, so do not write him off. Nor Ramsdale, if we become a major title winning team over the next few seasons and he grabs that England place. Beasts at the back? Kieran Tierney has all the talent in the world but seems injury prone. 34 games for Scotland and first choice if fit but it is at Arsenal or another top team that he will need to make the transition to world great as Scotland are not a world power. He would need to stay fit and improve. A maybe? Maybe. Super Tom kept Salah in his pocket Tomiyasu – again Japan are not a world power but this guy is good. He is first choice for Japan with 29 appearances and he is one who could do it. He put Mo Salah in his pocket recently. At only 23 this guy could make it. White – the argument against Ramsdale is the same, he needs to force his way into Southgate’s squad and win big trophies for Arsenal. Just about young enough at 25 to do it as some players careers blossom late but becoming a true world great doesn’t seem likely, I’m afraid. But he may still turn out to be top class and just below the level I am talking about and that would do me. Saliba – now here is a player who could do it. 7 appearances for France and I feel they will never let him go. He could be the rock on which both teams rely. Yes, this guy could do it. Gabriel – At 24 still young enough if he can get into Brazil’s team and eliminate his mistakes, sometimes partnerships make centrebacks and Saliba may propel him into the super league but at the moment the level I am talking about seems questionable. Zinchenko – 25 years old and 52 caps for Ukraine but unlikely to win a tournament with them. Let go by City when he should have been in his prime. Probably never to be a world great but very useful and top class. Monsters in midfield? Partey – at 29 is not going to make it into the pantheon. Prized by Ghana although surprisingly only 40 caps. Has won titles with Athletico Madrid and hopefully with us but below world class unless he suddenly turns out to be a true demon. Xhaka – at 30 almost the exact same applies to Xhaka but an astonishing 106 caps and counting for Switzerland. Maybe this attacking role could finally propel him into superstar mode but it is a maybe. Lokonga – too early in his career to say. Needs to force his way into the Belgian and Arsenal teams and stay there. Some of the things he does show possibilities. Vieira - same applies. Odegaard-On his way to the top? Odegaard – would be helped if Norway can play well in big tournaments. But this boy could do it if he wins big at Arsenal. One of our strongest possibilities for this prize. Animals in attack? Saka – our star boy really could do it. Huge competition at England but I believe he will nail down his place. Big chance. Jesus – Body of work for Brazil at 56 caps and 19 goals plus being let go by City in his prime seems to indicate that he is not the next Pele. Needs to become a beast. It’s possible. Maybe he could become the next Pele? Martinelli – Still only 21, he is starting to push his way into the Brazil side. This boy really could do it. I hope it is at Arsenal. Any ogres among the others? Pepe, Smith Rowe, Nketiah and Balogun are imponderables. Time is running out for Pepe but I believe he has tremendous ability. If he got in the right side that suited him he could yet blossom. The other three all have great ability. Goals will make them. They have all shown an eye for goals especially Smith Rowe in a Lampard role, if he could equal Lampard’s goal scoring record, then the sky’s the limit. To me he is the best of that bunch. And of course, young players such as Patino could come through as well. So, I would say our best possibilities are Saliba, Odegaard, Saka and Martinelli. If they go on to do it and stay with Arsenal, of course, I would say Man City and others would need to buy big to stay with us. 4 true world class players like the players named at the start, and the rest almost so, would make us the best team in the world, I feel. Am I right? I hope so but I would take them being the equal of Wenger’s best when we felt we had a great chance in every tournament we entered. C’mon the world class Arsenal.