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The Penultimate Weekend: Untold’s guide to the coming top games.

The Penultimate Weekend, by Arun

A lot of things have changed in last two weeks. Chelsea scrapping past Barcelona setting up a day at Munich against the home side means that fourth is a dangerous place to be come 13th May.

A draw at Stoke, which we could have won easily had we taken our chances but our destiny, still lies in our hands.  But Chelsea’s defeat against Newcastle in the midweek virtually ended their hope of a top four finish. Dean was there to reduce the misery of ‘arry by gifting them their opener against Bolton. Media will soon be portraying, if they win the remaining two, that the bad patch of the totts came only due to the fact that ‘arry was being linked with England else they could have won the league or definitely finished above Arsenal or may have accomplished the league and FA Cup double.

But it’s just may be, only may be just like the ‘ ‘arry for England’.

With Roy getting the job, the old ‘arry must have been left fuming. But his beloved media were there to slaughter Hodgson even before he officially got the job. The Sun was so desperate that they find themselves in some trouble after making fun of Hodgson’s speech on its front page. It must be one of the most disgusting headlines I have ever read. But others were not behind, check out this from the Mail and what about the follow up from the same person. How can the Guardian be left behind, they had this.

Elsewhere at the top, Man U failed to win as they clearly missed their 12th man Webb. But things will return to normal this weekend as fergie makes sure that the ref appointments are delayed to Tuesday taking into account the result of the derby so that he gets what he needs to win his ‘precious’ the rednose XX.

It was disgusting and as usual, there was no explanation as to why the PGMOL delayed the appointments. Another thing that requires mention is that the referees for the championship playoffs were appointed on Monday only.

Let’s see what we have got this weekend as there is only one to go after this:

1.     Arsenal v Norwich City (Saturday- 12:45)

This will be the 900th match for Le Professeur at Arsenal and it’s a must win match for us after a few bad results but I feel that 520th victory must be on its way. Norwich has nothing to play for during this time of the season. The main aim for any promoted team in the league is to survive in the first season. Norwich has accomplished that aim and might be hoping to build on it next season. It’s always good to play the mid-table teams during the season ending run-ins as they don’t have much to play for and are more busy planning their holidays.

Norwich has struggled away from home all season and has lost 9 on the road. Their victory at WHL was their only one in last 5 games away from home and their only 1 victory in last 6 games. We haven’t performed well since we met Dean at QPR having only a mediocre record of 2W-2D-2L after that.

But now is the time for unconditional support. We have won 12 home games this season which is less than only the Manchester clubs and we are yet to get a single penalty at home this season joining Sunderland and the Totts. The lowest previous number of penalties awarded to Arsenal at home for the last 10 seasons stands at 2 in 2004-05.

The mood in the camp must be high after the official confirmation of signing of Podolski and this is a good signal of intent from the boss that he’s in the mood to do business. But I think that the problem for us has been more with selling players but if we are able to sell them, I believe that we are capable of buying a few big names. This will be the last home game of the season and I am sure that we will win it making it 520 in 900 for Wenger. My only worry for this game is that it’s the only PL game being played at this time but let’s hope that betting markets are more interested in the FA Cup final on the same day.

2.     Newcastle v Man C (Sunday- 13:30)

After last week’s heroics, Man C swapped places with Man U but the question now arises that for how long can they survive the wrath of PGMOL (B). Howard Webb may have missed the Manchester derby but he’s back to take care of the mess that has been created in his absence. He has been given this special duty after full analysis of the Monday night and then announcing the referees on Tuesday instead of the regular Monday slot.

I feel like that this also happened due to some random problems in PGMOL’s ‘random ref selection algorithm’. These random errors may have been caused by inputs from fergie.

Coming back to the stats, Newcastle has a very strong record at home collecting 38 points so far which includes defeats only to Chelsea and West Brom. They are yet to lose at home in 2012. Man C has failed to impress on their travels and this is going to be a tough visit to the Sports Direct Arena.

Newcastle are flying high having won 7 out of 8 games since losing to Arsenal scoring 15 and keeping clean sheets in 6 of these matches. Man C has also registered 4 straight victories after losing to Arsenal scoring at an average of 3.25 goals per game.

Coming to individual players, Cisse has been hailed as the one of the best among all the signings of the season as he has scored 13 goals in 12 appearances for Newcastle including a beauty at Chelsea on Wednesday night. He has been one of the main players behind this brilliant run of form for the Magpies. Man C can’t rest on the laurel of victory over Man U and must win their remaining both the games to win the title.

With Newcastle in a great form, Webb with the whistle and rednose XX hanging in the balance, you just can’t see Man C winning this one. A draw will also help ‘arry, so I am going for a draw in this game.

3.     Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur (Sunday- 13:00)

‘arry ‘s team got their saviour Dean back on the sidelines this time as their top 4 hopes have been reignited and ‘arry shunned for the England job must have changed the atmosphere at the WHL. Totts have gone through their bad phase and having won their last 2 games must have been very helpful for them as they look to book their CL spot for the next season. Villa are 3 clear of the danger zone but their much better goal difference compared to their relegation opponents must be counted as another point at this end of the season. After facing the Totts, they visit Norwich on the last day of the season and one feels that 2 draws in these 2 games may help them survive. But a defeat to the Tottenham here may leave them under intense pressure for the last game.

Aston Villa has failed to register any victory in their last 8 games managing only 4 draws and their home form is also poor having lost 8 at home so far. During the last 5 meetings between the teams at Villa Park, 2 have been won by Tottenham and 2 have ended all square. If Tottenham lose this one, St. Totteringham’s Day might arrive on this Sunday only.

Villa is the king of the draws this season with 16 in total so far, 4 clear of the nearest rivals. Villa will love a draw in this game but with Dean on the sidelines, it may be difficult for them.

4.     Manchester United v Swansea (Sunday- 16:00)

Fergie’s dreams of winning the title at Man C might not have come true but he is very much desperate to win the rednose XX. I didn’t see the derby game but not much was made about the refereeing in that game, so I assume that the ref must have been a fair one.

I would like to represent my theory on why this game was a fair one: ‘The FA and PGMOL have been heavily criticized for the mistake by the referees but this game was their chance to tear those reports to pieces by having a fair game knowing that Man U can still afford to lose this game and win the title. This was billed as the ‘mother of all derbies’ and must have been watched by a lot of viewers around the world, a fair ref here would have sent the message that the English Premier League is fair and Man U doesn’t get the help from the referees and that recent errors were only genuine mistakes.

Furthermore, there may have been orders to reduce the damage if Man C were to replicate the riot they run at OT earlier in the season. Even after the defeat, there was scope to make amendments which now have been done as Webb would have taken care of Man C before Man U kicks off against Swansea.’

I don’t think that there is any need to look at the stats for this one as nothing less than a Man U win will help and that’s what it’s going to be.

5.     The FA Cup Final: Chelsea v Liverpool (Saturday- 17:15)

Times are tough for FA Cup fans like me as its importance has been highly reduced due to the huge money offered by the 4th Champions League spot but the Cup ties are always an enjoyable experience and I will be following this one also. Furthermore, I am covering this one as their midweek meeting may be useless as by then it might become mathematically impossible for Chelsea to finish in the top four and Liverpool are already through to the Europa League. Chelsea will have to win the Champions League this season to qualify for it in the next season whereas Liverpool will have to wait for another year to play with the elite clubs in Europe.

The Cup final is scheduled for a Saturday evening kickoff as Chelsea and Liverpool go head to head to decide who will have a go at the Community Shield next season. Phil Dowd will be the referee for this final as Liverpool tries to win their 8th FA Cup whereas Chelsea will look to go level on the number of FA Cup trophies with Liverpool by winning their 7th title which, if they win, will be their 3rd in last 6 years.

Chelsea had it pretty easy in the Cup till the Semifinal where they were helped by a ghost goal but Liverpool had a difficult ride as they beat Man U in the 4th round and then their neighbours in the semis.

This is a very difficult game to predict but the bookmakers prefer Chelsea to edge Liverpool to lift the trophy. But I have to differ as I expect Liverpool to do a cup double. Liverpool won their 3 of the 5 cup games by a margin of 2-1 and I expect them to win the title by same margin in Extra Time.

It’s going to be a very important weekend in the premier league as the season concludes the weekend after this. We may see Blackburn relegated on Monday as well as the top 4 places being decided. The title may very well be decided if Man C fails to beat Newcastle. We may be celebrating the St. Toteringham’s day if Villa beat Tottenham and you couldn’t have asked for more in a weekend of football.

I will be at home to watch the Arsenal match which will be my only 2nd Arsenal match at home this year (the other one being the 3-0 win over Milan). I have a strong feeling that we might be celebrating the totteringham’s day on Sunday and that would be the completion of ‘the great turnaround’.

 

5 comments to The Penultimate Weekend: Untold’s guide to the coming top games.

  • nicky

    A good post, the key words of which are UNCONDITIONAL SUPPORT.
    Never has this been more important than at tomorrow’s gathering to meet Norwich City.
    Whoever Arsene selects to play must have 100% backing from start to finish. No exasperating moans, booing or abuse when things go wrong (as they will from time to time). Any negative attitude will soon spread to the field of play…with obvious results.
    Our heroes must receive undiluted praise from all true fans present. After a precarious start they have all performed in a way little short of amazing and this last home game of the season, with its invaluable 3 points, is our chance to show
    our appreciation of their efforts.

  • bob

    “I didn’t see the derby game but not much was made about the refereeing in that game, so I assume that the ref must have been a fair one”
    Actually, Don Fungus made a LOT out of the “referreing” by accusing Mancini of “refereeing” (working the refs) the entire match! The pot calls the kettle black. But, as you say above, he is desperate for The Rednose XX and has put out the message on who is to do the refereeing and with what goal in mind – or there will be hell to pay. It is time that Coy, The Dean and The Webbmaster pay a service to their Lord and Maker.

  • Brdgunner

    Media will soon be portraying, if they win the remaining two, that the bad patch of the totts came only due to the fact that ‘arry was being linked with England else they could have won the league or definitely finished above Arsenal or may have accomplished the league and FA Cup double

    How true

  • nicky

    Bob,
    I watched the game on TV. I don’t know who was the ref but I was impressed over the way he ignored the constant moaning of Rooney. I suppose he could have booked him for it but these days that is a little too much to expect.
    You missed the appalling behaviour of Ferguson on the touchline confrontation with Mancini over an alleged foul. It’s surprising how uptight he gets particularly when his side is not only losing but being clearly outplayed.

  • Dec

    It’s great to know that 2 more wins against mediocre opposition will guarantee us Champions league football next year. I bet many doubted that would be the case last autumn. Credit to all here who kept faith and saw that faith rewarded. Is there any consensus among Arsenal fans as to what order the top 2 finish in? I know in ideally neither would win the league but now that we’re stuck with the devil or the sky blue sea, (heh heh that just happened, sorry), which would seem less horrible to Gooners? The old foe or the mercenaries?
    Just curious.