# What Makes Teams Title Contenders?

What Makes Teams Title Contenders?

By Bootoomee

One of the hottest debates currently going on in football Chatosphere is about Arsenal being contenders for the English Premier League title; although the biased Gooner in me thinks we are only having this debate because Arsenal is currently topping the league. No one would be asking the question if it was Chelsea or either of the Manchester clubs sitting atop the table. Well, the debate has already started and from all indication, it will continue till either Arsenal finally become mathematical winners or any of the other of the favoured clubs overtakes them. So, let’s get in the game.

What makes teams contenders? In the past (i.e. last few seasons), the team that is topping the league after 8 to 10 games is considered a contender because after 8 games, all flukey results would have evened out and whichever team is leading then must have been the most consistent. In other words, consistency was the most important criterion for labelling teams as contenders back in the days. (Please note that we are talking about being contenders here; not being favourites or eventual winners).

Today, however, the team that was tipped to fall out of top 4 (for the umpteenth time) this season is leading the pack/   The team has been more consistent than any other team in the current calendar year and this is now showing in the league table. Consistency, which was the reason why before even a ball was kicked, some not only considered Arsenal to be a title contender but believed they could actually go all the way.

Alas, the rule has now changed. Consistency is no longer the most important factor for consideration for being a contender. There was a time when it was based on ability to beat the top teams – about 6 or 7 of them. But even that has now changed. It is now the ability to beat the 2 most favoured teams i.e. Chelsea and Manchester City; and probably on their home turf.

Yes, that is the new standard. Since Tottenham and Liverpool got well beaten at the Emirates, the goal post has been shifted.

But here is the problem with this new criterion for being contenders: it is mathematically ridiculous. It is ridiculous in context of what we have seen so far in the 2013/14 season. There are 38 games to be played by each team which makes the total possible point haul to be 114 for any team. The league is always handed to the team with the highest number of points irrespective of how they got them or who they got them against. No questions asked! The team with points nearest to 114 always win. I hope you see where I’m going with this.

At the time of writing Arsenal has lost 5 of those 114 precious points with others losing at least 10. According to the pundits and the media generally, losing 12 points to Chelsea and ManCity (at 6 points each) means that you cannot win the league (ok, let’s just say it makes you a non-contender). There is a need to remind ourselves at this point that this whole “you must beat the favourites or your nearest rivals in order to become a contender” mantra is based on the premise that you and your rivals are going to amass about the same number of points from the 15 to 17 other teams in the league (depending how you define a top team). And this is where the whole premise falls and shatters into a billion pieces.

As pointed out by yours truly, these so called small teams can fetch up to 102 points while the maximum possible from the 2 ‘Super Big’ teams is a meagre 12. Now let’s look at the ‘real contenders’ and their point collections so far.

Chelsea lost to Everton and Newcastle while drawing against Tottenham and Man United (who are no longer contenders according to the pundits). While they have a 100% record against the other super contender, they have gained 17 of the possible 27 points from the 18 ‘lesser’ teams. If we project this forward, they could get about 68 points from a possible 108 in their games against the latter. If they maintained their 100% record away to Man City, they would have 74 points by the end of the season.

Man City lost to Cardiff and Aston Villa while drawing against StokeCity. They have also lost one of the ‘must win’ games against their co contender, Chelsea. They have gained 19 points from 27 against the non-contenders. If we project this forward, they could get 76 from the remaining 108 from the ‘lesser’ teams. If they win their home game against Chelsea, they would have 79 points at the end of the season.

Now let’s look at Arsenal

Arsenal has lost to Aston Villa and we drew with WBA for a gain of 25 points from a possible 30 against 10 of the 17 ‘lesser’ teams. If we are to project these results, the club could get 85 points of the 102 available from the non-contenders. Even if Arsenal loses all 4 games against the ‘contenders’, they could still end up with more points if they maintain their form against the other teams.

This is why the pundits’ fixation with ties against Chelsea and Man City is so ridiculous. You don’t win the league by beating other contenders (although it really helps); you win the league by collecting more points against all opponents than any other team.

Period.

Before abuse and insults start flying in the comments section, the point of this piece is not to argue that Arsenal will win the league based on our current form and league standing. The point of this article is to argue that Arsenal CAN win the league based on our current form and league standing. And we are therefore, contenders. Leagues are won based on stone cold calculations and not sentimental speculations. There are 28 games to go at the moment I write this; we’ll see who amassed the most points by 5pm on the 11th day of May 2014.

Arsenal just passed another ‘test’ as I was rounding up this article by beating Dortmund on their home turf. The next ‘test’ is on Sunday against Man United. If the boys pass it, you can be sure that another one would be set immediately. That was how Tottenham and Liverpool found themselves among the ‘lesser’ teams and non-contenders. Poor sods!

Looking back to 2007/8 and our first game of the season, I worry about the perpetual bad-mouthing of Arsenal and down playing of our chances. I worry because this talk of Arsenal not going to make it may soon become conventional wisdom (if it isn’t already) which will give referees leeway to screw us over, safe in the knowledge that the football following public would just shrug their collective shoulders because they have been conditioned to believe that we would ultimately fail.

While leading with 5 points in February 2008 (as we have done for most of the season), Alan Hansen and Shearer were still adamant that we wouldn’t win on Match of The Day. When the Eduardo incident happened and Mike Dean added insult to the injury (pun not intended), the duo did some concern trolling, focusing on Gallas’ tantrum with no complaint on the wrong penalty call. As referees kicked us further and further down, there was no outrage because, remember, we were mere stubborn pretenders! The people have been conditioned for our eventual demise; nothing strange was happening.

Despite having the best pre-season of all the English teams, including thoroughly beating one of the ‘contenders’, Arsenal’s state of preparedness for the season was being reported as shambolic at best. I believe to this day that Anthony Taylor was emboldened by the prevailing public view of the club to officiate the Aston villa game the way he did. All his bad calls were either forgiven or overlooked because, well, Arsenal haven’t “spent the fucking money”. That same team won their next 4 games, including 5-0 aggregate win over Fenerbahce. And that was before the arrival of Ozil.

It is absolutely important that we start getting recognition as contenders because the officials don’t live in media vacuum. Our games will be officiated with more fairness if the referees know that we are respected and expected to do well. A lot has been said about Ferguson’s bullying of officials but Man united got many favours because of their reputation and the fact that referees know that they would get called out by all and sundry for bad calls against them. Many wrong calls in favour Man United have been justified as them making their own good fortune.

It will be nice for Arsenal to be accorded a similar status and respect. Please say it loud and clear Gooners: We are contenders and we have earned the right to be considered as such.

### 45 comments to What Makes Teams Title Contenders?

• Summer

Nice article ! I guess We have to beat munich again to be true contenders 🙂

• Patrick

you can never be more right, i tell my friends, we might not win against chelsea and man city and probably man utd away but we can still win the league, but winning the big games adds to the teams confidence though ..i see us winning this league if we can get the most points out of the “small” teams than any other team in the epl…

• Pete Borota

This article backs up what the footballing public think about Arsenal. Goners have this inferiority complex that just shouts “please take us seriously”. So why do the journos and public ignore them as Title contenders? Because for 8 years you’ve won nothing!!

You may well win the league this year, if ever there was a year for Wenger to win it, this is the year with all top 3 clubs changing manager. If he doesn’t do it this year, you have to ask yourself will he ever.

But for now stop worrying what the press and public think, stop posting “we really ARE good articles” and see if this team finally delivers. Only then will you deserve the recognition

• Mick

I am afraid that as far as most of those who trot out this ‘Arsenal being a genuine contender’ nonsense are concerned what they actually mean is that in Arsenals case contending equals winning. All those moaners and groaners will only be happy if we win the league, contending will never be enough, if we lose out on the title by goal difference no mercy will be shown, Wenger will still be a slaughtered as a failure.
Your analysis is supported by an article I read a few days ago which had computer analysed all the teams chances of winning the title based on current evidence and all available data projected over the season and Arsenal came out as most likely winners with a 31% chance. Lets hope it proves accurate come the end of the season.

• rantetta

Bootoomee (B2M).

This article is the boo(m)! During the week I’d asked UA’s editors to reflect on what happened last time we were 5 points clear at the top of the Premiership. You’ve covered that and so much more. Concisely, and with great articulation. I agree with your every word. The talking down of everything Arsenal is indeed – the green light that allows the refs to oversee the shit-kicking of Arsenal’s players, and that’s just the start.

Look at how the Totts are perceived. They’re really not playing cohesively at present, but the pundits aren’t saying they’re crap. The way plundits talk about “contenders” is some kind of smokescreen.

Great article B2M.

• Die hard

Over the last 5 or so seasons being an arsenal bell end like yourselfs, it has really given me small club syndrome, i get really excited when other teams dont sign players as i dont feel so mugged off by my beloved club which has been taking my money and at the same time selling the best players. How close were we to not signing fish eyes. If we had beaten villa on the first game i’m not it would have happened,

• rantetta

When Gallas saw Dean award Birmingham a penalty, despite Clichy getting a touch on the ball, and Birmingham having smashed up Eduardo’s leg And gotten their first goal following a phantom free-kick – our then captain ran to the sideline and kicked over a water container. (Sure, Gallas should’ve been standing on the edge of the penalty area, ready to clear any possible rebound).

The match finished soon afterwards and Gallas sat on the pitch. IN PROTEST.

Mr Wenger went onto the pitch to collect William. Gallas was sitting down. Mr Wenger stayed upright and spoke quietly to William, ignoring the baying Brum fans, who were clearly elated at the breaking of our number 9’s leg, and the preceding refshite.

I was touched by the way Mr Wenger acted on that day.

Most times, Arsenal fans are their biggest enemies…when they should be focusing on total bias against their club, they would be busy calling for Arsene Wenger’s head.

People like you should make them realize that with just Aaron Ramsey, Le Prof has proved wiser than those folks who believed our astute manager had lost it.

Give just half of the favours Man U enjoyed on each of their winning seasons from refs and the FA to Arsenal this season and we win the League by at least 10 points gap.

Look at Mourinho…screaming his head off on Chelsea’s fixtures! He’s currently complaining that Chelsea is the only Champions League team in England playing their match on Saturday. He mentioned Arsenal in the process. Typical Mourinho…overlooking the fact that he played Newcastle by 12.45 last Saturday while Arsenal played a stronger Liverpool by 17.00. Yet, Arsenal travelled to Germany to face a stronger Dortmund the same time Chelsea squared up at home against weaker Leverkussen! Still, while in Spain…the same Mourinho complained severally that Barcelona were always playing before Madrid thereby always putting Madrid under pressure. Yesterday he complained against same favour Chelsea is getting! The Portuguese is just an expert in putting refs and the FA under pressure.

For what the title is worth this season, maybe Arsene should copy Mourinho. The English refs, press and FA are overtly anti-Arsenal!

• Mick,

I agree that what they mean by Arsenal not being contenders is them not having any faith in Arsenal ultimately winning it. But those are 2 different things. Except in a few 2 team leagues, in most countries, there are always 3 to 4 contenders. You are a contender if you CAN win.

I am enraged everytime I read or hear some bone headed idiot pundit (Shearer, Hansen etc I’m looking at you) talk about Arsenal not being contenders until…….

Fortunes change in football and indeed everything in life but one should not discount a team doing well just on the account of their not winning in the recent past.

I just want more Gooners to rebutt this nonsensical talking point because of the referees. They are influenced by the media much more than people give credit for.

Thanks for the link. The article is a step in the right direction.

• rantetta,

Thanks for the kind words.

I must confess that I wrote this piece because of our 2008 experience. And a little bit of the Aston Villa/Anthony Taylor horror show.

As Jambug and others have said repeatedly, the media influence the officials. Us being called pretenders who would soon fail gives referees the leeway to screw us over. If Anthony Taylor had done what he did to us to Man United or Chelsea, he would not survive the media shit-storm. And that is precisely why he wouldn’t dare.

If Arsenal fails to win the league or anything this season, it is not the end of the world and my support of the club and management will not waiver but I would hate to see a repeat of 2008.

We are contenders and on current form, we have the best chance of winning the league; irrespective of our results against Chelsea and Man City.

• colario

Bootoomee

I have read that you are in England but not English. I just wondered where you are from.

• Mick

Bootoomee
You took a lot of stick from the likes of Matt etc in your original article ‘How Arsenal can win the Premier League this Season’ which I have just re-read. It would be interesting to hear their thoughts now.

• ARSENAL 13

hah All these days we had people come here and claim their part in Ozil signing. Now we have Pete Borota come here and claim that Anthony Taylor is responsible for Ozil signing…..

At this rate , one day we’ll have a person here claiming he payed for Ozil.

• Gooner S

Nice post.

“What Makes Teams Title Contenders?” a good talented squad, a bit of luck here and there but consistent results is the key. To be consistent over a season you need a squad that can handle the ups and downs of injuries, suspensions and loss of form across all competitions.

Of course what the pundits are really trying to say or are assuming is that 3 teams (City, Chelsea and United) will win consistently against the ‘others’ so results amongst themselves become key. This argument extends to the top six/sevens teams (adding Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool and Everton) or when one of those breaks that three up. This season both Arsenal and Spurs are being very consistent and so far United are not.

You quite rightly refer to the Aston Villa game. Yes the referee was poor but hey sometimes even the best can have off days. Its limiting those ‘off’ days and not over reacting when they occur.

• ARSENAL 13

What makes a team a title contender?? Hmmnn….

I believe that more than any other factor, the ‘belief’ is the hardest one. The belief that we are a good unit. Belief that we can fight till the end. Belief that we are not push-overs.

We have ,literally, the same team from last year. Yet we top the league after 10 games. So what has changed. Since that famous Bayern game, we have started believing in our abilities as a team. And now our fans too believe its possible.

Victoria Concordia Crescit……how true.

• Mandy Dodd

A great read. As things stand and yes things can change, we are certainly contenders. Hope you are right about the officials, just reading wengers recent words http://m.skysports.com/article/sports//9016477
The company with the table taking into account ref mistakes I know they are not a company but is he referring to the debatable decisions blog? If he read that be sure the great man reads untold. We are now probably better than utd tomorrow i expect a kickfest and a diving exhibition from them just hope the ref is up to this game

• Colario,

I am a Nigerian by birth. I lived in the country for most of my adult life too.

• Arsenal 13,

I agree with you on the effect of “belief” but do you know the manager who uses that word the most? ARSENE WENGER!

On the other hand, what effect do you think being described as non-contenders, even when you are doing well, have on a team? I think the need to instill belief is precisely why we should be shouting from the roof tops that our team is great and that they are going to win the league. When Shearer, Hansen and their ilk downplay our chances, they are not just doing punditry, they are trying to psychologically mess our team up by sowing seeds of doubt.

Don’t get me started on the referees.

• Gooner S,

My point about Anthony Taylor is that he shafted because he knew there would be little to know repercussions based on how the media and sadly, some of our fans have been going on about the club. And he was vindicated because he got zero media blow back. Compare that to what Atkinson went through for CORRECTLY disallowing Altidore’s phantom goal in the Sunderland game.

The only reason why I’m worried about us being regarded as pretenders is because of what it could make referees do against us.

• Norm

Really good piece, Bootoomee. Dealing with Rooney & Young cheating, Evra, Valencia, Rafael fouling, together with the flamboyant, gesturing Oliver; it may well be the biggest challenge for us at Old Toilet. …and not to forget old Purple Nose radiating from the stand. To read that G Poll says PGMOL are ‘testing’ Oliver with a big match, doesn’t fill me with confidence. This Arsenal team does make me confident, though. For sure, we can make this a brilliant week with another great result.

• Tai Obas,

Thanks and congrats on yesterday’s victory 🙂

• Shard

Great article Bootoomee.. I must say I started reading disagreeing with you in the sense that I like us being underdogs. But I agree with your assertion that the media coverage of Arsenal makes it easier for the referee to get away with screwing us over. I guess that does make sense.

However, I do feel that the cause-effect relationship is a little skewed in that argument. I don’t think that the referee screws us over because the media doesn’t cover it. I think the referees just do what they are ‘supposed to’, and the media does likewise.

So while I agree with your assertion that if we are considered contenders, the referee would find it tougher to screw us over because of the increased attention on the match, I also feel that no matter what, the media will not mention us in that way. a) because it’s the easiest thing to just go with the trend , and their self propagated image of Arsenal sticks despite things changing (poor defense, no depth etc.) and b) because Arsenal are generally not liked.

Plus, the refereeing will continue regardless. We didn’t have the ‘no trophy for 8 years’ hanging around our necks in 2008, while playing the best football in the country. Yet the referees screwed us (and later Chelsea) over, and the media refused to tell it like it was. So they blamed Gallas, Arsenal’s naivety, and whatever else without even mentioning the real cause.

• ARSENAL 13

@bootoome,

Exactly, They use psychology as a tool to down us. And we have a counter-tool in fans. Sad that fans have been a bit soft. But this season fans are up for it too……

• Shard

More and more, over the past few days, I’ve just been getting the feeling that the match against ManU and the little boy on Sunday, represents almost the ideal condition for a repeat of Game 50 and Riley. Arsenal flying high (not as high as the Invincibles yet, but higher than the rest), ManU struggling to get close to that level. They’ll resort to type and kick us all over the park. I think they’ll especially target Giroud. The referee will let them get away with it, and any retaliation from Arsenal will result in yellow and red cards. Then Rooney, Young, Januzaj and RVP will dive in our box again and again and hope to get a decision in their favour.

I’ve been looking around many ManU blogs and there are so many comments saying ‘let’s kick the southern softies to hell and beyond where they belong’. This has always been the ManU response to being outclassed. Rooney also brought up game 50 yesterday (or day before) and how it was great to end that run. The groundwork is being laid in the media to return to that farce. Wenger knows it too, and that is why he mentioned the retirement of Ferguson as being pertinent to referees. He’s also mentioned Riley and that game a few weeks ago. Walter’s stats also show Oliver as being exactly fit for purpose. It’s coming. I am almost certain of it.

Plus, I came across an article written by a ManU fan, which said “If we’re honest, there’s something delicious about securing a victory undeserved and enjoying rival fans spit feathers at the unfairness of it all. It’s doubles the joy.”

That just about sums up their fans. there is no way they’d not know what they have gotten away with over the last however many years. But they like it (and as hypocrites, they deflect). ManU are anti-football in a sense much greater than Stoke.

• Stuart

Chim-chim-eny, chim-chim-eny, chim-chim che-roo ,
who needs Van Persie, when you’ve got Giroud!

• Shard,

I understand your point but aren’t you a bit pessimistic and giving up? I know the media are SOBs but I just refuse to give up on countering their narrative. Gooners like us, and indeed Gooners generally, should be psyching our team up.

Let’s say this together:

– Arsenal is the best team in the league

– Arsenal is the most consistent team in the league

– Arsenal are contenders

– Arsenal will win the league

Let’s just call it the counter narrative 🙂

• ARSENAL 13

@shard,

I as a supporter would have been ashamed, if we had beaten Bayern or Dortmund, by diving all over the pitch. The thing that ManUtd fans take pride in their dirty work, thing that Rooney takes pride in his antics that won them the game makes me hate them more than anything.

Let them do what they want, Lets play our game and come back with all 3 points

• Shard

Booteemee

I wasn’t intending to dissuade you from the counter narrative, nor say you are wrong. Yes, my stance is overly cynical, and I guess defeatist. I am very happy that there are people like you, and platforms like this site, who are stronger than I am in delivering the message that deserves to be delivered.

• Shard

Arsenal 13

Most Arsenal fans that I know, hate to win in a manner that is less than honest. I mean there are exceptions obviously. And if we beat ManU by a dive, I will not be against it (although just thinking about it, that is not how I want to win..despite them having cheated us before)

I think there really is a big cultural difference between the clubs in that sense.. Even the book Fever Pitch details how a match is made more enjoyable if the referee makes a mistake AGAINST Arsenal, which the players are then able to overcome.

That difference in culture is basically the reason I didn’t become a ManU fan. Despite them being the first football team I heard of.

• Shard (@2.45pm),

Same here. I am an Arsenal fan because of the club’s values.

Where do you even start with Man United? Their captain boasted in his book about going out of his way to injure another player. This revelation was not immediately after the match but months later after there should have been some cooling of temper and sober reflections. Who would want to be associated with that lot?

Trophies or none, I remain a proud Gooner.

• Tom

@ Bootoomee
Great article Wr Bootoomee. I hope you put that in your memory bank and next time when I might disagree with you on an issue , you’ll see it as such and not mine being disagreeable or trying to cause a stir. But I digress .

I was one of those who said Arsenal were title contenders before the ball was even kicked and I gave two reasons for it.

The first reason was the regime change at other title contenders which all but guaranteed less than smooth transition for those clubs, and the second reason was the form Arsenal exhibited towards the end of the last season.

I also stated that reinforcements were needed in key areas for that to happen and DM was a priority. Unfortunately the signing of Flamini came too late for the Villa game where Agbonlahor ran riots against us and was afforded so much space in the attacking third , one could’ve been forgiven for thinking he had some sort of deadly infectious disease and our players wanted no part of it.

I also said that a world class player signing was needed to get the “spend some fucking money”crowd to shut up and get behind the team and bring the feel good factor back .

Now, none of this means Arsenal will win at the end but to deny that we are a contender at a very least makes you ask the question of bias. To say that some pundits have anti Arsenal bias is to put it mildly. The same people who criticized Gallas and called him unprofessional for showing his emotions after the Birmingham game, praised Carragher for shoving his own defender and throwing a tantrum ,calling it a sign of how much he cares.

We all know Arsenal players are divers when they go to ground to easily but Stevie G’s of the world just “try to help their teams to win games “when they do the same and are called model professionals

Aaron Ramsey was taking too long to get over his leg break ( according to some ) but the same people said Bale was going to ground to avoid injuries and Ashley Young dives because his ankle hasn’t healed completely from Zabaleta challenge a season ago. You could make this shit up.

• Nelson Wong

Its very interesting.

A team that beats most if not all the “small teams” and beat their close rivals should not be called a contender but the CHAMPION!!!

We assume all big teams (top 3 or top 6 whatever number you like) to beat all other teams (small teams). That is called consistency. We all know Consistency is vital for winning a season long league type of game.

In regards of beating big teams, its a matter of both consistency and capability. Assuming the teams can keep their forms, the team that play the better football win.

So if the team is both ultra consistent and most capable. They are Champion!!!

A team that is capable but not very consistent got a better chance in winning against big teams but dropping points here and there.

A consistent but not capable team will be defeated by team who is also consistent but more capable. They can defeat a more capable team if they are lucky to have their opponent in poor form.

CONTENDERS are either those that are ultra consistent or, those very capable but have a drop in form at a few occasions.

• Gooner S

@Bootoomee,

Yes I saw your point about Taylor and to a large point I agree but we should have beaten Villa anyway (that was my point..we have the squad and talent…we had an off day). The media and some of our fans went hysterical. Some of us said lets keep calm.

Arsenal should use the press in a much more overt way to say to referees “we know what you are doing”. It doesn’t have to be Wenger but it could be some Arsenal friendly voices. There are some.

I know if we lose tomorrow, on Facebook I will see a post from an Arsenal friend of mine saying something along the lines of “nothing has changed, no tactics, no plan B”. This guy sat behind me, as a season ticket holder, for a number of years at Highbury. Its exactly what he posted after the Chelsea League Cup game.Since we moved to the Emirates he has not gone to games. I wonder just how much he is influenced by the media now? It seems we’re always one game from disaster.

• Tom

A couple of corrections to my earlier post
First line should be Mr Bootoomee not Wr
Last line should be couldn’t not could

• Mick

Chelsea salvage a draw with W Brom thanks to a very generous injury time penalty I hear on the radio.

• Mick,

It was a very questionable penalty at best.

Do note that they are one of the super contenders. Arsenal were denied a win away at WBA by being refused a stonewall penalty while Chelsea got an injury time draw at home to WBA courtesy of a “controversial” penalty (according to SkySport).

But Chelsea are contenders while Arsenal aren’t.

• Nelson Wong wrote:

“A team that is capable but not very consistent got a better chance in winning against big teams but dropping points here and there.”

Chelsea just prove your point by dropping 2 points at home to WBA after dropping 3 away to Newcastle last weekend! But they are contenders because they beat Man City at home.

• Sammy The Snake

The media’s lack of belief in Arsenal might work to our advantage. The players will be more determined to prove them wrong, and not to take any game for granted.
Let’s all be positive for the next 6 months, and focus on every event being a positive for the Gunners, turn every point as our advantage.
Let’s look at things the Untold way…

• Gonnerjoe

I saw the Chelsea penalty sitting in a pub in Ireland it was no penalty in fact if I did not know there was no corruption in English football this decision looks like it was corrupt.

• Sammy The Snake

No penalty whatsoever. Chelsea are picking up lucky points, and still have 21 points from 11 games (less than 2 per game) and they are still contenders!!! Arsenal have 2.5 points per game, and still not contenders. Logic?!?

• Mandy Dodd

Guess the luck Chelsea and the spuds are having with refs and pens this season gets rid of the north south bias theory until tomorrow

• robl

Bootoomee, thanks for taking the time to produce such a good read.

• robl,

Thanks. I’m glad you like it.

All the best today.

• Rupert Cook

@Stuart, I’d rather have RVP.

That maybe the reason we don’t win the league, the lack of a world class striker. Giroud works hard, is very good at linking up with forward players but a world class striker he is not.

This maybe the only thing we’re lacking and it’ll be hard to rectify that in January. Gazidis has mentioned our interest in getting a striker in January as it’s plainly ludicrous to expect Giroud to do all the work for a whole season.