Before the Champions League swings back in town once more I wanted to have a quick look at the race for the much coveted Champions League spots. Which I guess sounds strange when you write it down. I want to talk about the Champions League competition just not the one that we are playing in on Wednesday evening.
The weekend just past had been a decent one for us overall. Not quite the Carlsberg dream weekend as Liverpool continue their fine run of form by beating CL contenders Southampton at The Dell St Mary's. They seem to be the anti Fabregas. Stepping it up during the second half of the season after having a slow start. But all in all it was pretty good. First thing's first we disposed of Crystal Palace and their poor excuse of a football pitch. Something should be done to prevent clubs in the highest league in England having pitches of that 'quality'. You are not allowed to wear earrings on the pitch because it's deemed as dangerous yet you are able to play on a surface that can cause injury. With even more money being pumped into this big business, I think it's only right that a certain standard of pitch should be allowed to play that football thing on. This is the point of the game right? Unless I'm missing something. Perhaps television companies would rather more upsets for their viewers to feast on so a nice leveler, regardless of the players health is the way to go. Anyway I digress.
Manchester United and their funny unbalanced squad were turned over by Swansea 2-1 in Wales. Hahahaha.. hang on, that feels strangely familiar. Meanwhile Tottenham just about saved their bacon with a late equaliser after an Alex Song brain fart but picking up a point against West Ham at home at this stage is not a good result as they are trying to jump ahead of a number of clubs not just us.
So the table looks a little like this right now
All the teams have played 26 games so we all have 12 Premier League fixtures remaining. I wanted to take a look at what team had the easiest run in on paper and which team had the most difficult. Before I continue I would like to point out that this method is flawed on a few levels as the season is not finished yet and points and positions will change. But as of today we are looking at the opposition by the points they have acquired thus far. So what I have done is list the remaining fixtures for Arsenal, Southampton, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham. This is to assume that West Ham are out of the running and that Manchester City and Chelsea are guaranteed their places. Agreed?
I have added up all the *points of the teams we all have to face from now until the end of the season. The higher the total of points, the more difficult the opposition. But there is also home and away fixtures to factor in and this is very much subjective so don't get any knickers in a twist. I have added 5 points onto the total of an away fixture because more often than not playing away from home is more difficult, so to account for home advantage I took 5 points away from the total of each home fixture.
So based on this rather flimsy theory, this is the order of teams from easy to difficult and the points totals.
|Team||Remaining Fixture Point Thingy|
Part of the reason why we have a kind points total is because we play more home matches than our contenders (7) which is one more than Manchester United and Liverpool but two more than Southampton and Tottenham. Liverpool are 61 points behind because they have to go to both us and Chelsea whilst hosting both Manchester clubs. Form is on their side at present but those fixtures look tasty. Manchester United are also 61 points behind us because they go to Liverpool, Chelsea and host us and their Manchester neighbours.
Thankfully we've done most of our dirty work away from home this season and that is reflected in the points. We've got Chavs and Liverpool at home while we travel to Old Trafford for the second time this season. We would have already **spanked them in the cup so they'll be worried about that and fall apart when we stick three past them in the league. Or something.
One thing that is not factored in here is the advantage that Manchester United and Southampton have at not playing European football this season. When Manchester United lose, they have a week to try and work out what went wrong.
As we know though, the game is not played on paper (spreadsheets) and form, confidence and injuries will play a big part in the remainder of this league season. As long as we don't have 11-13 first team players in the treatment room like earlier this season I will be confident that we finish about where we sit at present.
Who do you think will make the top 4? Who will miss out? Let us know in the comments below.
* Points total as of 23rd Feb 2015
** Don't say that I've jinxed it because jinxing doesn't exist so don't be so silly.
PS - Check out the latest Arsenal Vision Podcast