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Arsenal closing in on second place? Not if Swansea have anything to say about it

Take a look at the Cann table for week 27 (below). Spurs have a game in hand tonight and if they win, they leapfrog Chelsea into third place – a mere 5 points off second place Man City. However, if they lose (or even draw), things are so close in the 3rd-5th place bunch that the North London Derby next Sunday becomes game which Arsenal could overtake their local rivals.


But if you look at the Cann table, you can see that no matter how optimistic you are in looking up the table, there are people who could look down the table and have just as much right to think Arsenal could still finish anywhere from 2nd to 9th.

Personally, I’m not thinking either extreme. Arsenal don’t play City or Chelsea again this season, meaning that the Gunners can’t take points off them as direct rivals. Taking second place, then, means a major slip by the two wealthiest teams in the League. And if you look at the remaining matches it’s actually the clashes between the top 9 teams which are going to decide those 2nd-4th place slots and ultimately the 7amkickoff 4th Place Trophy™.

Man City and Arsenal play 5 of the top 9 teams while Chelsea and Spurts play 6 of the top 9 teams in each of the last 11 matches of the season. It’s those teams, the Swanseas, West Broms, Liverpools, and Evertons which have a major say in the final table.

Despite the major gaps in spending, I bunch all of those teams, from Chelsea to Swansea, together as fighting for the 2nd-9th places. There are only 12 points difference between Chelsea (49 points) and Swansea (37 points) which is the same difference as between Man U (68 points) and Man City (56 points). And if Man City has a right to believe that they could still win the Premier League then surely Swansea has every right to believe that they could take third place? Especially since so many of these teams are all going to be playing each other.

The race for 4th place has been this close for two seasons now. By matchday 27 last season Arsenal were only 4 points behind Spurts and the remainder of the season turned on a few special moments. This season, I’m thinking could turn into a photo finish for several teams with each vying for Champions League football and all of them playing each other.

So, while the North London Derby is important, one of the biggest games of the year for both teams regardless the history of the match, it’s the others against the West Broms, Swanseas, Liverpools, and Evertons which are equally important. And the team with the real mental strength, the real consistency, will be the one to take third or fourth.

But second? Not impossible, but let’s just win the games in front of us first.


24 thoughts on “Arsenal closing in on second place? Not if Swansea have anything to say about it

  1. Vote -1 Vote +1craig

    I was looking at the premier league odds of finishing site you put a link to last year, and there are two huge games for us right away. 1) Tots at West Ham and 2) Arsenal at Tots. Tots loses both and we’re doing very well. Tots wins both and we are hurting.

    But I don’t think it’s the same for Swans to make up 12 points, because for them to make up the gap requires poor results for every team above them…. while it’s possible Man U could collapse and drop 12 points (although I don’t think there is any chance that will happen) Its even less likely that Swansea will make up that many points and no two of the teams above them in the table will stay above them. That would take truly miraculous circumstances.

    I think Everton has a small shot at 4th, Blue Man Group is fairly safe after beating Chelski, and it’s most likely a three way race for third and fourth. If Tots lose today, it is wide open as to who will finish where. For West Brom to even get in the race, Everton, Arsenal, and one of either Tots or Chelski have to collapse… pretty far fetched.

    Lets hope Newcastle keep winning, because I don’t want to play them at the end of the season with them fighting relegation – that would be scary indeed.

  2. Vote -1 Vote +1caribkid

    The key to our final position will be consistency in effort, something we have failed to achieve all season. In our win over Aston Villa we showed desire if not class and if we continue to show desire we have enough inherent class to make it a good race for 4th.

    Unfortunately, the Spuds have shown consistent improvement as the season has wore on and if they maintain current form should be favorites for the 3rd or 4th spot. The wild card here for me is Chelsea. After getting out of the gates like a rocket they have been inconsistent and playing well below their talent level. Their home crowds are even more hostile towards their team than at Arsenal and with a lame duck manager, Benitez, could easily pull a Tottenham of last year and implode.

    West Brom, Everton and Swansea are the spoilers and we can only hope Swansea’s COC win and their automatic entry into Europe next year will flatten their desire for the remainder of this season. A toss up at best, with the Spur’s game this weekend being critical.

  3. Vote -1 Vote +1ultimateposeur

    The cann table above isn’t a really good way to keep track of the fixtures coming up. I had a stab at creating a better predictor here — .

    (It’s a google doc, you can either copy it to your Google Drive or download it onto your own PC.)

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1ultimateposeur

    Also, just realized that if ManCity can’t close the 12 pt gap between themselves and ManU, we might have to give RVP & co. a guard of honour when they come over to the Emirates on April 28. Grrr!

  5. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    Unlike last season, though, Tottenham don’t look like a team about to implode. Maybe the Harry for England distraction was the key factor in how we overtook them. Regardless, even though we’re closer to them now than we were at this point last season, I just don’t see them dropping more points than us. They’re a strong, stable team, and they have their own one-man show this season, while we’re the mentally fragile ones. Some will point to our current winning mini-streak, but I’d remind them of the heavy weather we made of it against exceptionally poor sides.

    In short, I’m confident of a 5th-place finish this season, and it pisses me off…especially when reports today suggest we have £120m in cash reserves. It’s incredible to me that the board and/or Wenger decided not to strengthen in key areas in January, because should we finish 5th or worse, it will look like a monumentally stupid decision. The guardians of our club are careless gamblers of our seasons, and it’s infuriating.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Eurazian

      The season-ending injury to Sandro is a big blow to the Spuds though, which might benefit us. His partnership with Dembele was very strong, but now he’s replaced by Parker who isn’t gelling as well. It really depends on whether Monkey Boy can keep up his streak of electric form.

      I’m also pessimistic about our own form, and think it’s really up to the Spuds and Chavs to lose their spots in the top 4 than for us to suddenly hit our stride. An end of season slump is what history tells us is likely to happen to us, although since we’ve really had a season-long slump, maybe we can end on an improving note.

  6. Vote -1 Vote +11NiltotheArsenal

    WHU v Tots KO almost here as I write this. Go Hammers! Win one for Bobby Moore. I think our derby rivals need to lose today and obviously to us next week if we are to have any kind of a chance for a CL spot. They are clearly a better team under AVB than HR.

  7. Vote -1 Vote +1Teampossible

    2 minutes before the end, at the score tied at 2:2I was thinking to myself that if Tottenham manage to win this game, they will finish above us.
    And we can probably say what we want about Bale vs Walcott, but this season the stats are completely irrelevant, because so far he is their Van Persie in terms of match winners.

  8. Vote -1 Vote +1GoonerNC

    Can’t stand the hype around Bale. I think it has been way overblown. But his run of form is frightening to behold. That second goal was a stunner. The first one was crap defending. The second one was just a very, very good hit. Flippin’ West Ham. Should have been up 3-1. Instead, they lose 2-3. Thanks, Hammers. You’re the worst.

  9. Vote -1 Vote +1Glowworm

    One other factor that plays in our favor is the fact that we have one 1 non-league game left while Chelsea has both the FA Cup and the Europa League and Spurs the Europa League to play for. I really feel we will need all the help we can get to savor Tim’s Cup.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1GoonerNC

      Suddenly, it looks like it’s not Tottenham we can eye as the wounded animal to pick off. It’s Chelsea. I don’t care which one it is. I just want it to be one of them. If we don’t make the Champions League, I don’t fear being able to recruit targets. I fear ownership saying, “Well, maybe we’ll hold onto this cash to offset all that CL money.”

  10. Vote -1 Vote +1craig

    That’s the link to the odds of finishing page that was linked to last year… Spurs victory today means a 5% reduction to Arsenal’s chance of a top 4 finish! Doh! The NLD is still the biggest game in town, though. I don’t know who I hate more, the Chimp or the Walrus. Anyone else notice Matt “That’s Assault” Taylor today on the pitch today? I felt dirty wanting his side to win. Still do. Disgusting what the Spuds will make you stoop to.

  11. Vote -1 Vote +1James Gunner

    Swansea flushed with the Wembley win could be tough opponents. Laudrup varies his tactics but not Wenger. We shall see.

  12. Vote -1 Vote +1marek

    I caught portions of the WHU v. TOT match and, on balance of play, a WHU win would have been a fortuitous upset. Jääskeläinen must have thought he was playing Arsenal, given how many good saves he made. I ain’t no Michael Cox, but I did think that WHU’s apparently zonal D on Bale did not pay dividends – he was allowed to receive the ball and run at the defense, drawing fouls, getting dangerous free kicks and, of course, two goals. Does Arsenal have anyone mobile enough to stay with him? Not Diaby, not Arteta – Coquelin? Jack? Aaron? Bale is definitely their go-to guy now, if we can stop him, maybe the rest of the Spurs have forgotten how to win…

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1dy

      either one of Jack, Coq or Ramsey will do, but NOT Diaby. The trick is stay close to him but don’t tackle unnecessarily, don’t ever give him time and space to aim and shoot.
      But I don’t think Arsene will take one of his player to mark Bale out of the game. Not Arsenal’s style, definitely not Arsene’s way.

  13. Vote -1 Vote +1marek

    On a completely different note (and sorry for double posting), both us and TOT have a pretty front-loaded schedule. We face 4/5 of the top 9 teams in the next 5 games, starting with them. They face 6/6 of the top 9 teams in their next 7 games, starting with us. If we can absolutely spank them in their own house, that could cause a colossal collapse.

  14. Vote -1 Vote +1benjamin bella

    the season starts next sunday against the spuds. Yes they are playing pretty well this time, it’s highly not impossible to beat them. We have all the arsenals to outclass then and if Wenger goes for the right selection and tactics together with the self belief we used to have, an Arsenal win is a must. Till then lets pray for a healty squad for sunday. God bless the Arsenals…..God bless the Gunning family. Thanks

  15. Vote -1 Vote +1jop

    I wonder if there is any truth to the Sebastian Rode rumours. I was looking at him on whoscored the other day. He has some respectable numbers this season and he’s only 22, but his passing and aerials are quite low (for an potential Arsenal and Premier League player). He’s decent, but I do hope we put more money on a player with better figures.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1jop

      Forget the passing, I was confusing his numbers with Lars Bender’s. Rode’s passing figures are actually quite good. The actual issue is both his aerials and his stature, he’s a bit lightweight!

  16. Vote -1 Vote +1Zeddington

    Perhaps this guy is the reason we’re not too keen on renewing Sagna’s contract:

    Daniel Carvajal, formerly of Real Madrid. Note this is purely scouting, I have not seen him play, but he seems to have good numbers and ticks all the right boxes (short passing, tackling, dribbling, interceptions). And he’s young (21) and Spanish. The only downside I can see from his Wiki page is that Real Madrid have a buyback agreement for the next 3 years. Still, he seems interesting (from these stats – I am aware of such limitations). If Mourinho were to go in the summer, we may be able to capitalize on some uncertainty at the Bernabeu and hope it slips under the radar? Wishful thinking maybe.

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