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April 2021

Who is facing the hardest run in?

By Walter Broeckx

One of our readers came up with a nice summary of the possible matches a team could have to play till the end of the season.

Because from this moment on going further in many competitions might cause for more fatigue to creep in on a team. Or more injuries. And as Arsenal are already hit more than any other team with injuries it is something to have a closer look at.

So when typing this right now this is what the different teams in the top 5 could have to play if they would go all the way in all the competitions they are still in for the moment.

We will look at each team based on their current ranking in the PL.

Chelsea has to play 12 PL matches  for sure and could add  up to 7 CL matches on top of this. That is a possible maximum of 19 matches to play.  So in a way being out of the FA cup might be a blessing in disguise for them. If they would drop out of the CL against Galatasaray they suddenly would only have to play 14 matches till the end of the season.

We now are in calendar week 7 and the league stops on Sunday May 11th and that is calendar week 19. So this would mean a possible of 12 weeks and 14 matches. On average one match every 6 days.

Not that demanding and with them being out of the FA cup it could bring some extra rest in some weekends. If Chelsea would reach the CL final their season would run to week 21. Giving them 19 matches in 14 weeks. So on average one match every 5 days.

Arsenal has to play 12 PL matches. And if all would go wonderfully (perhaps unexpectedly) well we might also play  up to 7 CL  matches. And on top of this we also hope to be playing up to 3 FA Cup matches. So that could bring us a total of 22 matches. Now if we would go to the FA cup final and the CL final our season would last till week 21.

So if all would go extremely well we could have to play 22 matches in 14 calendar weeks. That is on average one match every 4 days. That sure is an awful lot.

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If we were to go out of the FA cup in the next round we still would be close to an average of a match every 4 days.

If we go out in the CL but stay in the FA cup, assuming we fail to go through against Bayern Munich we suddenly only would have a maximum of 17 matches over a time period of  13 weeks.  That would take us to an average of one match every 5 days.

Going out in the next rounds of FA cup and CL would take us to playing to only 15 matches in a period of 12 weeks or one match every almost 6 days.

Manchester City has to play 13 PL matches (one behind as the Sunderland match was postponed)  + up to 7 CL matches  + up to 3 FA Cup matches + 1 League cup final.

Now if would suppose that City go all the way (which is a bit unlikely after their result against Barcelona) this would mean they could play 25 matches in a period of  14 weeks. That would take them to an average of having to play one match in less than 4 days. This would be almost impossible to bring to a good end. So them losing to Barcelona might be a bit of a blessing in disguise for their other goals.

So suppose they go out in the CL (highly probable as things stand now) but go all the way to the final of the FA cup and playing their League cup final we see that they could play a maximum of  19 matches in 13 weeks.  That would take them to just one match every 5 days.

City going out of the FA cup (highly unlikely I think) in the next round and going out of the CL would take them to a maximum of  17 matches in 12 weeks or having one match every 5 days.

Liverpool is the easiest team when it comes to calculating things. They are sure they only have to play 12 PL matches this season. Their season will stop in week 19. We have 12 weekends to play so they have one match per week. One match every seven days. Not playing in Europe and not having to deal with FA cup matches might be a big help for Liverpool as to where they will finish at the end of the season. Of all the teams in the top 5 they will have played the fewest games no matter what the rest of the teams do. In fact one could say they had a rather easy season. That’s the benefit of being not in Europe.

Finally I will include also Tottenham in this review. They will play 12 PL matches and if they would go to the final of the Europa League they could play an additional  9 matches. So that would bring them up to a possible of 21 matches in 12 weeks. So in that case this would bring them one match every 4 days till the end of the season.

Going out of the Europa League in the next round would leave them with one match a week on average.

The final conclusion is that on paper right now Manchester City has the most difficult task, closely followed by Arsenal. Tottenham also might face a big task if they would go much further in the Europa League.

Arsenal going out of the CL might be hurting but would make the run in much easier. And certainly when we take in account our injury record. Around this time we have had already the double of injuries compared to Manchester City.  Double!  And we are very very close to having thrice as many injuries compared to Chelsea. Thrice!  Liverpool in fourth place has had not even two thirds of our injuries.

That injury record will maybe come to haunt us unless we can recover all our players back in time. Players like Ramsey as the most important one.

In the coming days matters will become clearer in terms both of how many games, and the injuries, and in the end both will probably determine who wins what.

16 comments to Who is facing the hardest run in?

  • Pierce Holt

    I think our main consideration will be that our squad, man for man, is not at the Man C or Chelski level. That’s what wonton investment does and will do this season.

    However we are now flexing our muscles a tad more and in the next 12 months when we will be in the same situation our squad will be able to cope.

    I still have a vision that we will not succumb to the run in and we will actually, somehow, manage to fufill our potential and win the league. And dare I suggest we will go BALLS TO THE WALLS against Bayern in the 2nd leg and end up paying for it vs EVERTON (why could we not of had a nice yorkshire team in the quarters)..ho hum.


  • luscious lisa

    Good analysis. The other point is the strength of the opposition. Of the top 3 in the PL, Chelsea have the easiest run in in terms of strength of opposition and home advantage. Chelsea’s title to lose, as someone said.

  • WalterBroeckx

    @Rupert, you will probably understand now why I wrote it like I did yesterday. Going out in the CL would not be a disaster apart from not being able to win it. I feel going out might improve our chances to win the Pl and/or the FA cup.
    Staying in might mean we could end up empty handed as I think because of all the injuries we are having the squad will not be able to keep it up with a match every 4 days.

    Which doesn’t mean that I would not be over the moon when we beat Bayern in their stadium next month and go further. Only to face Barcelona then?

  • Strus

    One adjustment to FA cup matches. There are max 4 possible matches, but probability is low, team has to draw the 6th round match:
    6th round, 6th round replay, semifinal ,final.

    The display in the first half against FCB is very encouraging for the run in: to play best football of the season against the best team. The offence with AOC, Ozil, Cazorla and Sanogo is working better than other this calendar year

  • WalterBroeckx

    Much will depend on the Fa cup match against Everton. if we win this and they better do it as I maybe will attend my first FA cup match in the stadium ever if our supportersclub gets the tickets we asked for then we are in the semi finals of the FA cup and go to Wembley. I then would let the CL go completely.
    But then again… who am I to say what they should do…

  • WalterBroeckx

    Strus spare us a replay 😉

  • Pierce Holt

    All this juggling about what to do hypothetically is kool…..
    Just a fuckin shame we aint got a big, solid and keen squad to compete on all levels…

    But like i said…that will change in the next 12 months….

    OZIL….is a legend. Already. But keep the faith in him GOONERS. Please.

    He is worth it…..

  • Mandy Dodd

    know what you mean Walter, we do not look equipped to fight on three fronts at the moment with injuries and fatigue. Think strengthening and injury reduction has to be a priority for next year.
    Lets give it a go in Munich by all means

  • rantetta

    Arsenal have the most difficult run-in!

    I base this assertion not on who we’ll play or which cup ties we win. I base my musings on the fact that Arsenal will be kicked and ****ed up every which way possible! whether on the field, by the media! or by Prem league/FA.

    Last nights refshite isn’t exactly new, is it? The press reaction – does it ring a bell?

    There’s absolutely nothing the authorities won’t do to stop Arsenal!
    Cast your mind back to the run-ins of the last few years. Norwich at the Ems? WBA, at their place? I could go on and on. The worse thing is that this “stuff” isn’t restricted to the run-ins. This season it started pre season at the Ems cup, and then, having learnt how to do it for 13/14, they laid it on thick in the very 1st match. Generally, the shite isn’t even confined to the season. Oh no, you may remember that throughout Summer’s past, even whilst Olympics are going on, they’re still slating Arsenal.

    This doesn’t mean Arsenal can’t break through and win some tin. It merely confirms that if and when we win summat, they’ll have had to work twice as hard to get it, with their players being crippled en route, and the fans continually divided by the ever ongoing narrative.

    I believe most folk don’t see the extent and depth of anti Arsenal-ness, in its various forms. So be it.

    Imagine, a radio station has a slot for an anti Arsenal rant – every day!

    So, above is a fraction of why I believe Arsenal has the toughest run-in.

    And having said all that, I’m optimistic about Arsenals chances.
    This team is wonderful. Support them.

  • Edda

    The first 20 mins yesterday was a joy to watch, really hope that change the rule about giving a red card + a penalty its destroying too many great football matches…
    The most important match of the season now is the FA-cup tie against Everton, this is Our best chance of winning a trophy this year. If you look at Our performance yesterday and Man City’s performance against Barca I would say we have a fair chance to win a potential final or semi final against them. Wouldnt it be great ? !

    Can someone answer me a question pls ? Do anyone here know if here is a possibility for a replay in the semi’s of the FA-cup. Or would it go to extra time and penalties ?

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think in the semi’s of the FA cup there is extra time and penalties

  • Edda,

    Long time my friend!

    The FA semi-final is played in Wembley, a neutral ground and it’s penalty shoot out after a draw in extra time.

  • collins Elechi

    The amount of negative bias being spewed from all angles is very mind boggling, its almost as if the media cannot just forgive arsenal and arsene for having the timerity of winning the league unbeaten. You’d imagine dat the years gone by would and our ‘lack of success’ would get them off our back. Its almost as if any success arsenal achieves would be viewed as a personal affront to someone. Imagine dat mancity lost and they were hailed as courageous in defeat and an idiot was asking why arsenal didn’t keep on attacking with 10men.NUTS!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Collins, apologies for repeating a quote I put on here a few days ago, but think this explains the negativity

    “When a great genius appears in the world you may know him by this sign; that the dunces are all in confederacy against him”

    Jonathan Swift

  • Dreaming of Safari in Dar es Salaam

    Who cares about all the negativity. We can think and speak for ourselves. Media and punditry is all about spinning wheels even though the wheels do not need to be spun….

    Famous lyrics for the situation we are in at present:

    Frustrated, degraded, down before you’re done
    Rejection, depression, can’t get what you want
    You ask me how I make my way
    You ask me everywhere and why
    You hang on every word I say
    But the truth sounds like a lie
    Live to win, ’till you die, ’till the light dies in your eyes
    Live to win, take it all, just keep fighting till you fall
    Obsessive, compulsive, suffocate your mind
    Confusion, delusions, kill your dreams in time
    You ask me how I took the pain
    Crawled up from my lowest low
    Step by step and day by day
    ‘Till there’s one last breath to go
    Live to win, ’till you die, ’till the light dies in your eyes
    Live to win, take it all, just keep fighting till you fall
    Day by day, kickin’ all the way, I’m not cavin’ in
    Let another round begin, live to win
    Yeah, live, yeah, win
    Live to win, ’till you die, ’till the light dies in your eyes
    Live to win, take it all, just keep fighting ’till you fall
    Day by day, kickin’ all the way, I’m not cavin’ in
    Let another round begin, live to win
    Live to win
    Live to win
    Yeah, live, yeah, win!!

    (paul stanley)

  • Brickfields Gunners

    My hope in the league is that we match or better the others’ results every week ,while they take points off each other (or drop them, please !).
    This would involve those teams currently below 5th too .