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Five teams, two Champ League places. Now what? (part 2)

By Tony Attwood

There were some very kind comments following my little article on the five clubs chasing the 3rd and 4th spot this season.

It was indeed true that I missed the fact that Liverpool are in the Europa courtesy of the league cup but they would still much prefer the Euro Champs League, not least for the money.  I am not sure that the budget at Liverpool is going to plan – they have spent their money but bought themselves centre forwards who are not that good at scoring, so they need a boost.

But this weekend’s defeats for Tottenham and Liverpool and a scratchy draw for Chelsea against a 10 man Stoke team suggests the ball is with us.

Which of course is exactly the moment that fate comes up and stabs you in the foot, either because of the referee, or because it is one of those goals where we do everything under the sun except score.

Yet we can hope, and in the interim cast our mind’s back to the question of Tottenham.

I suggested in the last piece that Tottenham were due one of those glitches that catches out all teams each season (except us in the Unbeaten season).  Tottenham, I said, could be in the early stages of having theirs.

And what a moment to have it.  Let us reflect (out of a need for historical accuracy not out of any gloating or suggesting that such things have never happened to us) on where they stand as of this monday morning…

Back in mid February the great almighty Tottenham having their best season since they won the league 51 years ago drew 0-0 at Stevenage.  The sort of result that if it happened  to Arsenal would draw headlines so big that they would have to enlarge the tabloids to double size.

That really was the start of it all, although I suspect many of us gathered at the Ems for the game against Stratford Rovers we too actually thought it was just one of those blips. Even more so when the very tiny totts went 0-2 up with a freak goal and a clear dive in the area.  (“I wasn’t diving, I was making sure my leg didn’t get broken” or words to that effect).

5-2 was jolly – the first time we scored five against them since 2004.  The previous time to that was the 23 December 1978 when I seem to recall Mr Brady scoring from about 2 miles out and then turning to the shelf with his arms out.  A brave man!  We won 5-0.

Mr Red claimed that was a one off – a “buckling” which he said happened rarely.   Except that on 4 March the Tots lost at home 3-1 to Man U.   Of course Man U are wannabe champions and a good side this season, so that is excusable, except that Tottenham are having their best year ever since winning the league 51 years ago (or did I mention that), so it is a shame that in their best year they lose 2-5 away and then 1-3 at home.

Through valiant effort Tottenham beat little Stevenage in the cup, and so moved on with raised expectations to play Everton, and lost.    Three league defeats in a row, and an 11 point lead before the game at the Ems is now down to 4.  When they lost three in a row in October 2008 they sacked Juande Ramos.

Hmmmmm.

Liverpool lost too, and that surely means that they must be out of being serious contenders for fourth, so that leaves Chelsea and Newcastle to think about.  Newcastle we will judge tonight, but Chelsea…

Their recent results in the League are won 2 drawn 3 lost 2.  Not so good.   The defeats were against WBA and Everton.  But they have a new manager.  So maybe that’s ok.

Newcastle have had 2 wins, 2 draws and 3 defeats in the last seven which ain’t so clever, but perhaps we should exclude losing to Brighton as that was in the cup.  In the league their recent results are

  • Lost 2-5 to Fulham
  • Beat Blacburn 2-0
  • Beat Villa 2-1
  • Lost 0-5 to Tottenham
  • Drew 2-2 with Wolverhampton
  • Drew 1-1 with Sunderland

So things ought to be possible for us.  Let’s hope so.  We all knows what a victory, even by one goal, would mean.

Arsenal versus Newcastle:  The match preview

—————-

Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsorUpdated information here

The day when Fulham tried to take over Arsenal – the full story in “Making the Arsenal”

We’re on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

 

 

20 comments to Five teams, two Champ League places. Now what? (part 2)

  • gooner gun

    Well said about the Spurs glitch. They had one defeat in 15 games and a blip was due. I expect the red faced to have a blip soon. You can’t be wiining all the time and beating everybody. You have to get beaten otherwise the epl will soon be like in Scotland unless Wenger decides to challenee.

  • Ruaridh

    em, chelsea beat stoke 1-0 courtesy of moneygrabber mata’s pass and drogba’s finish…..?

    arsenal to do newcastle tonight!

  • Talking of the psychological ups and down of teams Tomas Rosicky has signed a new contract with us for another year.

    He said

    “It’s a great honour to sign a new deal with Arsenal,” the 31-year-old said. “I love the club and am proud to wear the Arsenal shirt. It’s felt like home since I arrived six years ago and I couldn’t be happier to commit my future to the team.

    “I believe we have a really talented group of players and, together with the manager, the future looks bright. It’s always been my goal to win trophies here at Arsenal, and I will fight hard to achieve my dreams here.”

    He has played 156 times for Arsenal, and in total he has played 85 times for the Czech Republic.

  • Mahdain

    you are starting to scare me tony..how did you pip in my mind and write about the same topic i wrote in that article i told you about by your email? Looks like our minds think in the same way 😉 Oh well im gonna send it in anyway and besides its not exactly a carbon copy so no harm done 🙂

  • Goona Gal

    @Tony, I am very happy with news. He has shown this season how to win a new contract the respectable way. Unlike Gallas who is still on the Spuds books and treatment table.

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/rosicky-signs-new-contract-at-arsenal

  • Tram

    Can anyone answer this: if 5th place goes to a rich club such as Chelsea, or a quick-to-the-lawyers club such as Tottenham, are there any realistic circumstances where they could sue UEFA for admitting Man City to the Champions League at the expense of clubs who haven’t bought their league place to the same extent. Worse still, it could be us. As I understand it clubs that make loses in the first year can offset them against future profits, and only be liable if the aggregate is below zero, but effectively that means that their day of reckoning would be postponed. How I wish that Platini would grow a pair, but we know he won’t.

  • Ruaridh

    If we were to come 4th then with the two extra champs league games and qualify for the champers that way again, Arsenal can earn an extra circa 3 million with matchday income and broadcasting/media.

    Clearly though, this does not outweigh the negatives of coming 4th in regards to attracting players and a more settled/relaxed pre-season preparation…

  • Ruaridh

    and prestige and letting those spuds finish ahead of us!

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Tram,
    Not for a couple of years. UEFA will take action if losses average out to greater than 45 million Euros over two/three seasons.
    Note, “take action” could be a slap on the wrist.
    Man City being fined 25 million a season for making losses of 100 million isn’t going to do anything except buy Mr Platini a new yacht…

  • Damien Luu

    @Ruaridh: And the risk of not playing any more CL games in the next season! Which Arsene Wenger himself did mention recently. Two qualifier legs agaisnt the like of Udinese? Noooooo, thanks. Third is MUCH better.

  • Ong Bing

    If we play like last 3 games, we will finished in 3rd!!!

    Here is my prediction:

    Arsenal – NU – 0
    NU – Norwich – 3
    WBA – NU – 1
    NU – Liverpool – 1
    Swansea – NU – 0
    NU – Bolton – 3
    Chelsea – NU – 0
    NU – Stoke – 3
    Wigan – NU – 3
    NU – MCity – 1
    Everton – NU – 1
    Total NU = 44 + 16 = 60

    Pool – Everton – 1
    QPR – Pool – 3
    Pool – Wigan – 3
    NU – Pool – 1
    Pool – Aston Villa – 3
    Blackburn – Pool – 3
    Pool – Fulham – 1
    Pool – WBA – 3
    Norwich – Pool – 3
    Pool – Chelsea – 1
    Swansea – Pool – 0
    Total Liverpool = 39 + 22 = 61

    Spud – Stoke – 3
    Chelsea – Spud – 1
    Spud – Swansea – 1
    Sunderland – Spud – 1
    Spud – Norwich – 3
    QPR – Spud – 3
    Spud – Blackburn – 3
    Aston Villa – Spud – 1
    Spud – Fulham – 3
    Bolton – Spud – 3
    Total Spud = 53 + 22 = 75

    MCity – Chelsea – 0
    Chelsea – Spud – 1
    Aston Villa – Chelsea – 1
    Chelsea – Wigan – 3
    Fulham – Chelsea – 1
    Chelsea – NU – 3
    Arsenal – Chelsea – 0
    Chelsea – QPR – 3
    Liverpool – Chelsea – 1
    Chelsea – Blackburn – 3
    Total Chelsea = 49 + 15 = 64

    Arsenal – NU – 3
    Everton – Arsenal – 3
    Arsenal – Aston Villa – 3
    QPR – Arsenal – 3
    Arsenal – MCity – 1
    Wolv – Arsenal – 3
    Arsenal – Wigan – 3
    Arsenal – Chelsea – 3
    Stoke – Arsenal – 3
    Arsenal – Norwich – 3
    WBA – Arsenal – 3
    Total Arsenal = 49 + 31 = 80

    Arsenal 80
    Spud 75
    Chelski 64
    Liverpool 61
    NU = 60

    Spud next fixtures more easy than Chelski, if Chelski can take 3 point from MCity, Spud, Arsenal, Liverpool, and from tricky away to Aston Villa and Fulham, Chelski will leapfrog Spud.

    Newcastle also has hard fixtures, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, MCity, they also has Swansea and Everton away.

    My prediction of Arsenal looks like very ambitious, we have NU, MCity and Chelski, all at home, so my predictions is we only lose points at MCity game.

    Our tricky away maybe is Everton and Stoke, but if played like last 3 games, we will take full points.

    I don’t care my miss prediction about NU, Spud, Pool and Chelski, all I hope is my prediction for Arsenal is 110% correct (we take all our last fixtures)

  • Goona Gal

    @ Damien, I was just about to say something similar. UEFA have changed the rankings to help smaller nations now, so the days of drawing a small obscure team have gone. I could imagine an Everton type scenario occuring again, when they drew Valencia in the qualifiers, but couldn’t get through to the group stages. In future it is feasible that the 4th placed English team might not make it through – not us of course, but maybe the Spuds.

    I don’t still have the link to a report that worked out the difference between 3rd and 4th spot, but if I remember correctly it was £1.5m from UEFA and £1m from the EPL in terms of table position and you get shown more on TV ( but I can’t remember the break down) which is worth around £500,000 each time from SKY. When we finish 4th, we do make up the difference from matchday ticket sales and TV revenue, As Sentanta/ESPN often opted to buy our evening games where possible also. This year it would be in our interests to get 3rd if possible for so many other reasons and guaranteed group stage football will take the pressure off.

    Chelsea and the Spuds would be worse off finishing 4th as they don’t generate the same matchday revenue. This is a great easy read by the Swiss Ramble about how much CL football is worth to Arsenal, so much so I saved the link to it ages ago. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/390575-what-is-the-champions-league-worth-to-arsenal

  • Goona Gal

    ***Sorry I meant Everton – Villareal!

  • Strus

    But Arsenal will get from CL prize money over 4 mln euros more if they manage to finish 3rd place instead of 4th!

  • Strus

    ONg Bing. I slighty disagree
    more likely:
    Arsenal – NU – 3
    Everton – Arsenal – 1
    Arsenal – Aston Villa – 3
    QPR – Arsenal – 3
    Arsenal – MCity – 1
    Wolv – Arsenal – 3
    Arsenal – Wigan – 3
    Arsenal – Chelsea – 1
    Stoke – Arsenal – 1
    Arsenal – Norwich – 3
    WBA – Arsenal – 3
    Total Arsenal 74

    Spud – Stoke – 3
    Chelsea – Spud – 0
    Spud – Swansea – 3
    Sunderland – Spud – 0
    Spud – Norwich – 1
    QPR – Spud – 3
    Spud – Blackburn – 1
    Aston Villa – Spud – 3
    Spud – Fulham – 3
    Bolton – Spud – 1
    Total Spud 71

    MCity – Chelsea – 0
    Chelsea – Spud – 3
    Aston Villa – Chelsea – 3
    Chelsea – Wigan – 3
    Fulham – Chelsea – 3
    Chelsea – NU – 3
    Arsenal – Chelsea – 1
    Chelsea – QPR – 3
    Liverpool – Chelsea – 1
    Chelsea – Blackburn – 3
    Total Chelsea 72

    other teams will be out of CL dream soon

  • Ong Bing

    3rd places is more in important this season, because Euro and Olympic. Some of our players will play in there, so they need more long holidays.

  • Ong Bing

    @Strus, its ok.

    Chelski is hard to predict. One of the problem is how Di Matteo handle the dressing room. The honeymoon will be over after 4-5 games. If after 4-5 games Di Matteo lost the dressing room, it will be lucky for us meet Chelski in worst condition.

    Spud problem more predictable, they need VDV back to his best. But their CB is not good, they will hard to find clean sheet. If they can score more than they concede, they will win the game.

  • Ed

    I think Ong Bing and Strus are being quite optimistic there… not that thats a bad thing 🙂

    but i dont expect us to go through all those unbeaten. I think we have shown great character to come from behind the last few games, but i also think there have been times where we look a bit tired e.g. against liverpool. and these comebacks will likely take their toll and there will be games when things wont go our way.

    the games i would be most conerned about losing/dropping points would be Everton who always seem to play well at home, Man City and Chelsea obviously, Stoke away where we often have trouble, and possibly WBA away depending on if theres anything to play for by then.

    But lets hope St Totteringhams day is back on this year…

  • Goonergerry

    The team looked underdone in midfield against Liverpool- because of the lack of preparation time following midweek internationals. Liverpool ran all over us. This Arsenal team has effectively a small squad to choose from-due to injuries and chronically off form players – playing weekly rather than every 3 days makes a massive difference to our chances of avoiding muscle injuries to key players and maintaining the physical condition of players.
    I don’t think we will see the same level of inconsistency that we saw when we were in 2 cup competitions without any fullbacks.
    Personally I hope we can bring a fully fit Santos back at left back- because I think he could be an important player for us down the left hand side in the games against Chelsea and City. We have looked at bit open on the left hand side recently- but I wouldn’t fault Gibbs going forward.
    Those who think Spurs will pick up now they have some easier fixtures might be right- but they are not looking hard enough at their defending which has not looked good recently and with Dawson out they will continue to concede vital goals.
    We have to assume that Chelsea will pick up now John Terry is back in charge of the team and Drogba will start every game along with Frankie boy. But nothing is certain about their form as Ong Bing says.

  • bob

    Goonergerry,
    I know it’s a bit of a loaded question, but how would you rate our left flank this season versus last season’s Arshavin-Clichy duo?