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Where will Arsenal end in the league and who should we buy in the summer?

By Tony Attwood

In a very real sense these questions are linked, and in a very real sense they are not.

Because if we’ve learned anything over the years it is that the performance of a player this season is often not related to the player’s performance next season.  Or indeed next month.  Who really knew how Monreal, Koscielny and Coquelin would develop?  Apart from Mr Wenger that is.

And who can know which way the media will jump. As I prepare to post this article I know that Walter is working on a piece with the working title “Untold is winning the media over”.  I’m looking forwards to it – and maybe it is true.  But whatever the cause the media is changing, in that it is starting to admit that the last 90 minutes are not a sane way of delivering a verdict on what one should do next.

Indeed you know change is on the way when you see the headline in the Telegraph that says, “Why the critics should leave Özil alone” which is followed by a piece by JJ Bull starting with the sub-heading “Those who continue to doubt Mesut Özil are missing the beauty, goals and creativity he brings to Arsenal.”

Which I suppose is why the people who make up the rumours in the press and the blogs always start with a blank canvas.   So blank in fact that I’ve actually seen statements about players Barcelona are planning to buy this summer, forgetting that due to some sort of incident they are not allowed to buy anyone.
.
It is in short blank in the sense that to make up these rumours you need a mind that is so utterly blank that one might say on looking inside it (in the words of Bob Dylan) “the emptiness is endless”.  I am not quite sure he was speaking of the mind of the man at the Daily Star or the guy at the Metro who makes all the gibberish up, but it is a good description.
.
Anyway, the Metro has been saying that Arsenal are lining up a £12 million deal to sign Manchester United defender Chris Smalling this summer.  The Daily Mirror says that too.  That would give us four first choice central defenders and at least two full backs who can make a reasonable job of central defence.  Plus a youngster currently playing at Brentford who I am hopeful might be one of the few to step up from loan to real life.

But if such a transfer means Per Mertesacker is likely to leave I’d be sad.  I suspect you never see it on TV, but he and Kos always come around and applaud the North Bank after the match – no matter what the score.  And they always get rewarded by the fans for taking an interest.  It is good to see.

As for Smalling there could be a bit of a problem with his past as last November the Daily Star, that well known repository of all things made up said, “Man United defender Chris Smalling MOCKS Arsenal after Emirates clash” although I am not sure he actually said anything of the kind did.  Besides, when a newspaper person suddenly uses a word in BLOCK CAPITALS it means he has just made it up.

But there is a doubt over Smalling there must be a Southampton player on the loose that we can buy, and yes, here he is: Callum Slattery.

One newspaper said, “The Gunners plan to raid English football’s top academy ‘nursery’ for the teenage midfield schemer.”  And what I want to know is why “nursery” is in inverted commas, but “Gunners” isn’t.  Or come to that “schemer”.  Or come to that “academy” or “teenage” or …

“Slattery, 16, has been offered a pro Saints contract and plays regularly for older teams within their youth ranks.”

Anyway, back to the notion of transfers, last summer we were said to need

  • A goalkeeper: and we bought one
  • A full back: we bought two and found a brilliant youngster one in the reserves
  • A central defender: bought one but not until January
  • A defensive midfielder: found one hiding on loan at Charlton
  • An attacker: bought two
  • A centre forward: found this odd bod Giroud who, somehow, became the top scorer in Europe.

And what I recall is that as always we didn’t really know much about most of these until they happened.  Indeed go back to Mesut Özil and I didn’t know until it happened.  Same with Welbeck.  Same with most of them in fact.

So this time?  Actually I don’t really know.

But here’s an interesting table based on the games the league games played by team in 2015. And as you will know through being a regular reader, we’re top of the league.  I can’t bring myself to enter any points for the team in 9th so I haven’t.

P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 11 9 0 2 24 8 16 27
2 Liverpool 11 8 2 1 18 7 11 26
3 Man Utd 11 7 2 2 19 8 11 23
4 Tiny Totts 11 7 1 3 26 21 5 22
5 Chelsea 10 6 3 1 20 11 9 21
6 Crystal Palace 11 6 2 3 16 11 5 20
7 Southampton 11 6 2 3 10 6 4 20
8 Man City 11 5 3 3 21 11 10 18
9 Stoke City 11 5 2 4 13 14 -1

Here is where we actually are

Pld
W
D
L
F
A
GD
Pts
1
Chelsea
29
20
7
2
61
25
36
67
2
Man City
30
18
7
5
62
28
34
61
3
Arsenal
30
18
6
6
58
31
27
60
4
Man United
30
17
8
5
52
27
25
59
5
Liverpool
30
16
6
8
44
32
12
54

And here’s one from one of the papers, that takes recent form and works out where we might all end up based on who is playing whom and what happens.  (Incidentally this is what people never seem to take into account when they say, “West Ham targeting top four finish” and all that gibberish.  They forget that some other teams are doing that too.  I’m not saying I agree with this one, but it is one journalist’s view of where things might go.

 P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Chelsea 38 25 10 3 79 35 44 86
2 Arsenal 38 25 6 7 75 37 39 80
3 Man Utd 38 22 9 6 66 33 33 76
4 Man City 38 22 9 7 77 36 41 74
5 Liverpool 38 22 7 9 57 37 20 73
6 Tiny Totts 38 21 6 11 69 60 9 69
7 Southampton 38 20 6 11 57 49 8 68
8 Stoke City 38 16 7 15 43 47 -4 54
9 Swansea City 38 15 9 14 41 49 -8 54
10 Crystal Palace 38 13 10 14 48 49 -1 51
11 West Ham 38 12 13 13 47 47 0 50

And of course I’d love to be proven wrong, and for us to go on winning all the way through.  For certainly if we did beat Chelsea and Man U that could put us in a very interesting position.

Here’s our fixtures

  • Liverpool, home
  • Burnley, away
  • Chelsea, home
  • Hull, away
  • Swansea, home
  • Man U, away
  • Sunderland, home
  • WBA home.

So that calculation has us winning seven out of eight.  Quite a challenge.  But you never know.  And of course I don’t (know that is) but it is amusing to play with the numbers.

For what it is worth (which is by and large nothing) here’s my calculation done a different way (from the way that led to the league table outcome above)

  • Liverpool, home  WIN
  • Burnley, away  WIN
  • Chelsea, home  DRAW
  • Hull, away  WIN
  • Swansea, home  WIN
  • Man U, away LOSE
  • Sunderland, home WIN
  • WBA home. WIN

The defeat to Man U because they will be so utterly desperate to win they will go to any lengths to secure that victory.  Any lengths at all. Any.  Chelsea will be nervous.  Well, that’s my thinking.

And this is where it gets so hard.  You never know in advance about injuries, about psychological reaction, about how much the other team needs to win to come third, fourth, or fifth or indeed what the referee is thinking.

Incidentally I would think it most likely that one of Tottenham and Liverpool will get a Europa spot and the other no European football. Since both are in stadium building mode that’s no so good for either of them.

Anniversary of the day: 

26 March 1896: Tottenham 1 Arsenal 3.   The crowd was 3000 the largest so far for a game between the two teams – but within three years a crowd of 14,500 was recorded for this fixture in the United League.

 

 

30 comments to Where will Arsenal end in the league and who should we buy in the summer?

  • bob mac

    Arsenal 2nd; unless anything happens to chelski, then 1st.

    Buy……no one, unless it is a promising youngster, or a replacement of an established player.

    Smalling…..nowhere near good enough for Arsenal.

  • Nonny

    I had this story written about 2 weeks ago but never had the time to send it in to be published. However since it’s in line with what Tony posted above, I have decided to just add it to the comments section (of course with Tony’s kind indulgence).

    Buy, buy, buy… Is this the Ultimate Solution?

    Most blogs are always posting one transfer news or the other. Because I follow Arsenal more closely, I tend to see more Arsenal transfer news/stories . What I can’t tell is if it’s same for other clubs because it can be crazy most times even during the off transfer window.

    You would see headlines like “£40m star wants Arsenal move”, “Arsenal set to sign €25m MIDFIELD GENERAL”, “World Cup Superstar contacted by Arsenal to discuss imminent transfer”, “Arsenal closing in on £28m Midfield MAESTRO”, Arsenal ready to splash cash (or break bank) for goal scoring machine”. More often than not, the news is a load of crap and is reported in 20 different ways over a 3 day period. Anyway, I suppose this is to attract traffic and easily influenced ‘children’.

    That said, I kinda always hear or read that Arsenal is not where we are suppose to be because Arsene Wenger has not invested enough on superstars or rather REFUSED to buy quality players. So who is a quality player? Anyone worth more than £30-35m even if the price is inflated? Anyone with a fancy name ending with ‘nho’ from South America ie Silvinho, Boncahanio, Rodininodinho, maybe? Or any 1 season wonder or what? I have not been able to decipher this question so tell me if you know.

    I then ask, is buying players the only option for Wenger to improve Arsenal? Will that Monster player in club X fit into the Arsenal playing set-up and not disrupt the dressing room? What happens to youth players? Is football a must win at all cost? I will not deny that it does hurt when Arsenal lose but sometimes I’d rather we remain where we are instead of winning through unscrupulous means.

    I read that Man Utd is preparing an £80m mega bid for a player they let go on a free less than 3 years ago. So much for not seeing some solutions before ones eyes instead ….(you can easily complete this story).

    There was clamour for Arsenal buy Falcao, Cavani, Balotelli, and so many other players at the start of the season. I am not saying they are not good players in there own right but will they fit into the arsenal set-up? After-all as good as Ibrahimovic is, he didn’t fit into the Barcelona team. We also have stories of countless Torres and Shevchenko to make us think twice.

    It is also worthy to note that the price tag attached to a player does not necessarily imply how good a player is. There will always be an Andy Carroll £35m, a David Luiz £50m, a Mangala £40m, a Chris Samba £20m (cannot forget the clamour for Wenger to buy him) in the mix hence, not all highly priced players are worth their tag.

    Therefore, next time you want to start yelling Wenger, buy player X, you may want to consider if Arsenal has a long term replacement in the youth team or if that player is worth the quoted price or even still if that player will blend into the team set-up.

    The solution to every football issue/problem in my humble opinion in not always to buy, buy, buy!

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think we should buy whoever Wenger wants to buy. He will know best what he wants to improve the team.

  • Pete

    As I have pointed out before, it would be great to continue our season by season improvement in terms of points. We had 79 last season so 80+ would be fantastic – particularly given the horrendous level of injuries and the post-World Cup dip. Something, at least in the latter case, that won’t be a factor next season.

  • nicky

    I’ve substituted “hoping” for “forecasting” when it comes to considering our likely final position in this season’s EPL.
    Football is a funny old game and ArsenalFC can be a funny old team. Clutching defeat from the jaws of victory and vice versa.
    Personally, I would be satisfied by another top 4 place, the FA Cup and a suitably large war chest from which to spend in the Summer.

  • As I Lay Dying

    DELUDED!

    Just like that nite clubbing lazy lump “genius” Ozil.

    We will finish 4th at best.

  • Nonny

    Ozil lazy and deluded you say. I wonder if your lay dying is not actually real coz your comment exhibits just that. You are almost brain dead

  • esxste

    As I Lay Dying:

    Why do I suspect we won’t see you with your tail between your legs at the end of the season, admitting you were wrong?

  • As I Lay Dying

    Nonny, it seems like I have hit a raw nerve of yours. No need to be offensive.

    The “nite clubbing lazy lump “genius” Ozil” has the brazen cock sure arrogance to say that he hopes to win the ballon d’or. DELUDED.

    Maybe he should learn to finish and score a couple more goals for The Arsenal before worrying about the ballon d’or. TWIT.

  • Sammy The Snake

    When it comes to Arsenal, I plan on being DELUDED.

    In my mind, there’s a one in billion chance that Arsenal will win all their remaining games… And Chelsea will drop points. In my DELUDED mind, Chelsea may collect 15 points on top of their 67, for a season ending 82 points.

    And my DELUDED mind sees Arsenal with 84 points when they win all their games.

    Morinhou has pushed the same starting 11 in all games, and they look out of shape. It could happen, 0.0001% chance.

  • Laughing Lizard

    Strangely I think one of our toughest fixtures will be Burnley away. Maybe a draw there. I’m predicting 5 wins, one draw and two defeats giving us a total of 76 pts.

  • WalterBroeckx

    off topic: Every circus needs its clown and nothing wrong with changing from clown to clown every now and then

  • IGooner

    No need for another defender. An up and coming Isaac Hayden should do good. Unless Mr.Wenger sees Chambers in midfield. That said, ‘one big name each summer’ policy works pretty well for taking it to next level. 🙂
    Hoping for another attacking midfielder this summer, please 😉

  • jambug

    As I lay Dying

    For ‘deluded’ Read:

    Positive.

    Hopeful.

    Belief.

    Joy.

    As for you. Well what a sad little World you must inhabit. Do you ever ask yourself, What’s the point?

  • jambug

    Prone nearly dead person

    From Arsenal.com

    Mezut Ozil played the entirety of the game and captained Germany after Sami Khedira was substituted on the hour.

    Captain of the World Champions. Well there’s a thing.

    Really does sound like a waste of space that boy.

  • bob

    “The defeat to Man U because they will be so utterly desperate to win they will go to any lengths to secure that victory. Any lengths at all. Any.”
    Tony,
    Untold yet informed rumor mongers are reporting that Mikey R. himself will actually be on the pitch, actually officiating that game, as a personal commitment to his betters (and their bettors)as a thank-you for elevating him from Game 50 to the commanding heights of the PiGMob (no offense to the porcine). It’s the least he could do. And there will be a Fungus Cup (already inscribed) awarded to the winner by the Ambassador from Chevrolet, after the 8 minutes of extra time that is in the ready to settle the affair.

  • bob

    p.s. (Surely, Chevrolet’s 560 Million$ will not have been spent to sponsor a Championship league set of appearances.)

  • As I Lay Dying

    Jambug….

    don’t judge and don’t personalise my thoughts.

    no need for that unless in your “sad little world…..etc” it’s the way to debate.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    @ As I Lay Dying

    Nothing wrong with thinking we shall finish 4th. That is a very real possibility.

    However, what you may have missed is that we on this board shun the negativity as regards Arsenal. We regard that as counterproductive and banal; the majority of the media feed fill their pockets on negative stories about The Arsenal…so we don’t. Therefore, whereas it is OK to say that you believe we shall finish 4th, I would argue that on this board it is unacceptable to call out people who have more optimistic views as deluded. Attacking our players by calling them deluded and lazy is just name calling…we hope to rise above that here.

  • Nonny

    As I lay dying,

    Arsenal Fans and UT are deluded to think we can win 6 PL games in a row but it happened. Arsenal Fans and UT are deluded to think we will beat ManU in the FA cup at OT and it happened.
    Arsenal Fans and UT are deluded to think we have a more balanced team than any other in the PL and its showing.
    Arsenal Fans and UT are deluded to think Ollie Giroud is a better striker than fans and the press are giving him credit for and his stats are proving us right.
    Arsenal Fans and UT are deluded to think Wenger can still win titles for us and its showing (unless you call the FA cup and Community Shield rubbish as I think you will)

    Now between Arsenal Fans, UT, Ozil and u, who is deluded? Its anyone’s guess

  • Jammy J

    @As I Lay Dying

    You come in here and call every deluded; wait sorry.. DELUDED and then ask not to judge and not to personalize thoughts? Ozil is lazy yet he covers more ground than a large portion of the Arsenal team? Im convinced your not real and just a troll because im sure no-one could be as, errrr…. Whats the word im looking for here… No-one could be as much as a sour-puss as you.

  • Andy Mack

    We will be buying a/some midfielders this summer to replace Diaby and possibly either Arteta and/or Flamini and/or Rosicky (should we keep all 3 older players?).
    Defensively I can’t see anyone coming in unless they’re a real utility defender who can cover multiple roles.

    But I could be wrong!

  • John L

    @andy mack,

    i think your right the big decision this summer for wenger is what to do with diaby, rosicky, and arteta. i think arteta will stay and possibly rosicky as well.

    walcott is also an interesting situation that will be looked at over the summer.

    we still have poldoski, jenks and campbell on loan as well.

    there will be more change this summer.

  • para

    I think that we will see how Theo develops with his signing(deja vu anyone?) and depending on that will buy a sort of replacement. AW may well strengthen other areas if suitable player(s) are available.

    @Sammy The Snake
    Kudos, i also think exactly that.
    We have to win all our remaining games, that’s all we can do.

  • soglorious

    As I lay dying,

    Please try and die finally and don’t bother resurrecting again. So we can be free of your negativity.

    Thanks.

  • Va Cong

    Damn soglorious you beat me to it lol I’ll just Piss on him when he’s dying so he does it quicker!

  • Black Hei

    “I think we should buy whoever Wenger wants to buy. He will know best what he wants to improve the team.”

    That will take the joy out of championship manager!

    Personally I will take a long term replacement for Arteta. And no, Coquelin is a very different type of player and not a like-for-like replacement for Arteta.

    Don’t think we need anyone else.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I like to think that we will end the season in good form, probably strengthen with one or two buys ,and be ready and rearing to go next season .
    Up the Gunners !

  • omgarsenal

    Please don’t feed the troll UA lads and lassies! He is here simply to solicit attention before the psychiatric nurses come and return him to his cell.

  • Rory

    Hello all, long time lurker and admirer of the site here, keep up the good work!

    As others have pointed out, I think the away game at Burnley will be tough. I know Man City have had their struggles of late but Burnley beat them at Turf Moor and have caused numerous problems for all the top sides this season.

    2nd would be great, I do think winning it is a heck of a lot to ask at this stage, but to be honest I would be happy with 3rd and the automatic qualification to the CL that comes with it. And the Cup of course 🙂