Where will it all end? A guide to which PL teams are prospering and why

By Tony Attwood

So as we are just having a little break from the day to day stuff of the League, I thought I’d try a fantasy list of my own, in terms of how each club is fixed at present covering this list of goodies

  • Refereeing
  • Injuries
  • Biggest advantages
  • Biggest disadvantages
  • Squad & Experience


  • Refereeing

The manager is shouting rather loudly, and it is getting almost to the point of one thinking that he knows something has been set up with the refs and is either trying to distract us from seeing exactly what it is, or is complaining that the club is not getting value for money.

  • Injuries

Since Jan 1 the physio room web site has reported 10 injuries to the squad – its an average number but they have the squad.

  • Biggest advantages

They get big fees for the players they sell, and have endless money available.  The defence is very tight and Cesc and Hazard can create.  The “us against the world” attitude works too.

  • Biggest disadvantages

It is all Costa in attack, and they really thought they could go all season unbeaten.  Not doing so was a shock.  The injury to Cesc rattled them.

  • Squad & Experience

They’ve got it, and have done it.  But arrogance can beat them, and if they are engaged in Type III match fixing, it can backfire if someone else starts paying more.  And maybe there is someone…

Manchester City

  • Refereeing

They seem to lack the sophistication needed to be able to get that right but they could be trying.  Sorting out refs is more than waving a bunch of twenties at the guy as he gets out his car.

  • Injuries

Five reported this year – two to the same player – so they have had it very easy.  Maybe they are due a rash of pain, or maybe they have got it just right.

  • Biggest advantages

Money, money, money = Sergio Aguero and Wilfried Bony

  • Biggest disadvantages

Arrogance of ownership and the fact that their ruses are being tumbled each time.  The Lampard fiasco was a fiasco.  And the defence doesn’t do zero any more.  Three home defeats in a row!!!

  • Squad & Experience

If Aguero or Toure gets injured they could be in trouble.  They’ve won stuff, but it doesn’t seem to have helped their ability to understand what football, the League, FA, Fifa, Uefa is actually all about.


  • Refereeing

Utter disaster, we shake with worry at each and every match.  The solution is to get three quick goals in the first half, so that the ref knows that any attempt to influence the match is not going to be worth it.  Thus he then allows a fair fight, and with luck we come out with the same number of unbroken legs as we went in.

  • Injuries

Eight reported this year, including two for Alexis.  That is a worry – we need him.  But compared with other clubs that isn’t too bad.

  • Biggest advantages

We’re always under rated because we use “kids” (Bellerin) “unknowns” (Coquelin) and don’t have enough defenders.   The Ferguson tales about “we never had to tackle them just intercept” have been taken literally by some managers, which is good because that statement was a load of contrived self-serving bollocks.  Other people’s prejudices help us.

  • Biggest disadvantages


  • Squad & Experience

Ozil is back and growing in stature game by game – and during his time off Santi Caz has grown although not physically.  Sanchez was a dream buy and Theo only needs to play half a match to score.  And we won the FA Cup last year (in case you have forgotten).


  • Refereeing

If they are engaged in anything dubious they are not getting it right all the time.

  • Injuries

12 injuries reported since the turn of the year, with half of these in February which suggests they may have peaked and be ready to slip back.

  • Biggest advantages

Arrogance, Sturridge

  • Biggest disadvantages

Arrogance, and their defence seems to have improved, but I think their defence was the poorest among the top clubs, even though the media wanted to focus on Arsenal.  Not at all sure they are sorted.

  • Squad & Experience

They’ve been out of Europe for a number of years, as showed by the fact that they now play with Tottenham in the Europa.  They’ve had it easy, not having the Euro games last season – this is where it will start to tell, and have an effect.  And that lack of a vampire up front isn’t helping.

Manchester United

  • Refereeing

Well… my feeling was that the old undoubted influence vanished last year.  Is it now back?  I’m not really sure.  Ferguson used to get away with anything and everything.  I don’t think that is there any more.

  • Injuries

10 since the start of the year – average.

  • Biggest advantages

Being Cornwall’s nationally supported team used to be the big thing, but now with another team in the city they actually seem to be looking over their shoulders.  What is the advantage of being Man U now?  I’m not actually sure.

  • Biggest disadvantages

The crowd has got uppity and the manager seems jumpy (see advantages), and the notion that creativity should be part of the game has vanished into a puff of smoke.  The Ferguson factor with all that watch pointing and gibberish has faded into the night.

  • Squad & Experience

Untold predicted that after a year or si RVP would not be worth his salary, and Rooney is a temperamental beast.  They have the experience and should be doing better.  But they aren’t.


  • Refereeing

Doubtful that they are involved directly, but it is more than likely that any club engaged in Type III match fixing would have said early on, “help Southampton against our rivals”.  Now that tale has been reversed as they have challenged in the upper part of the league, and the help, if it was there, is dwindling away.

  • Injuries

11 reported since January 1.

  • Biggest advantages

They were unexpected as a success, and that took everyone by surprise,  but now that has passed.  But the defence has worked well.

  • Biggest disadvantages

Almost as lacking in creativity as Man U and the defence is not as good as you might imagine given their league position.  Earlier it was all goals-goals-goals, but now that era has gone.

  • Squad & Experience

All they have is the league to look at, so that is to their benefit.  But sudden upring teams tend to vanish as the latter stages of the season draw on.  The squad is not as big as other teams and they have few players who are used to the pressure at the end of the season.

Tottenham H.

  • Refereeing

Hmmm.  One wonders.  If they really were involved in Type III fixing surely they’d have had more Champions League experience by now.  Harry gave it to them though.  Funny that.

  • Injuries

Only four this year – amazingly low, and a reason for the rise up the charts.  If they can keep this up, they can challenge us.  If not, then that old familiar slip up and the singing of “It’s happened again” will once more, happen again.

  • Biggest advantages

Harry Kane, who will presumably be sold to Real Mad this summer or next, to pay for the stadium.  But don’t forget Christian Eriksen.

  • Biggest disadvantages

The defence isn’t that good – although we were not able to exploit that in the derby.  They have a league cup final and the Europa league. Fair to middling clubs that get a cup final in February have a habit of slipping.  Also they still have the brooding lurking presence of Adebayor to contend with

  • Squad & Experience

Not much experience all round of the sort of pressure they are about to face with the cup final, the Europa and trying to get fourth.

West Ham Utd

  • Refereeing

With an ownership that has managed to get a fortune from us poor taxpayers by donating them the Olympic stadium, anything is possible.  No evidence of wrongdoing of course, and the injury list suggests they haven’t been buying luck.

  • Injuries

22 this year – and the latest is Carroll for the rest of the season – it is amazing that they have kept up there at all.   But no club can survive this level of attack and they are slipping now. Indeed the next time someone talks about Wenger not managing injuries they should have a look at Very Fat Sam

  • Biggest advantages

That will come when they move to the Olympic stadium without having to pay.

  • Biggest disadvantages

The defence and as with all Very Fat Sam sides, an absolute absence of creativity.  He doesn’t believe in it.

  • Squad & Experience

The lack of both is showing in recent form and we can expect them to slip noisily away.  If they ever do want to step up to match the wonderful stadium us taxpayers are giving them, they need a much bigger squad and scouting system.

Untold Arsenal

Up very soon: 5000 editions of Untold.


36 Replies to “Where will it all end? A guide to which PL teams are prospering and why”

  1. Leaving aside our own problems with referees, Chelsea seem to be suffering as much as anybody, and Jose ( bless him ) is determined to be a lighting conductor for FA disciplinary sanctions. Long may he continue.

  2. My posts are not appearing again!
    Think our biggest advantage is our manager, that’s why so many would love to separate himself and Arsenal FC.
    Spurs and Liverpool may not be doing anything wrong themselves, being established institutions,, but perhaps the media are doing it on their behalf!

  3. Mandy, you couldn’t have said it any better, Arsene Wenger is the biggest advantage Arsenal has and his departure will be the worst disadvantage. This the enemy knows too well and they will stop at nothing to separate Arsenal and Arsene.

  4. I think you miss a major point re. Mourinho and referees. By his attacking the refs he is taking the hit to gain his players favour. Take the Ivanovich incident this week, could have been charged and may well have been if Mourinho hadnt been so public with his views. I dislike him as much as anyone but you have to admire the way he protects his players and creates a siege mentality from within.

  5. Mandy Dodd – if all else fails, change your user name and email address and post again. But this one did go up

  6. Agree that Utd not getting quite the favours fergie did, but they still do not do so badly….in relative terms. Think it is so telling seeing Welbeck completely and utterly baffled by some of these refs, the same with Chambers. Guess they are not quite used to it. That is one of the reasons why Arteta is so valuable to this team, top player and major influence in his own right, but he gives the impression he knows exactly what is going on, and can help guide players through the minefield, and it am sure that in his capacity as captain, he is not shy in letting refs know he knows! Look forward to seeing him back.
    Good to see Dtoke taking a bit of a pasting.

  7. Stoke’s out. Red card (professional foul?) in extra time of the first half, with the game tied. Penalty is converted and good bye Stoke.

    Must be a rough game, that red card is 5.5 minutes into extra time. It takes almost a minute to take the penalty, and the ref (Taylor) plays another 2 minutes of extra time. With 10 minutes left, there is only 21 fouls in total. 10 second in, first foul. Inside of a minute, a player needs treatment. That player is subbed off at 10 minutes. Three delays in first half for injuries.

  8. Does Crystal Palace score 4 today? WBrom and Blackburn did. Chamakh is playing, Sanogo didn’t even make the bench. Is he hurt?

  9. Sanogo hurt his hamstring against Newcastle I guess (26 minutes he was subbed off).

    Chamakh may be playing with a mask (he was for Newcastle).

  10. mourinho’s siege mentality only works for so long. it creates alot of tension and animosity and i think if you look at how long he stays at clubs and the nature in which he leaves, it says to me that all his tricks and ‘us against them’ mentality is not sustainable. at times i dont mind he outspokenness but i think eventually it creates alot of enemies for him in and out of the club.

  11. Interesting link Gord, I am sure they received a nice request to help out, with no mention of the effects of polonium 210 on the human body whatsoever!

  12. Off topic, but now that he is over his temporary affliction, good luck to Gooner Sherwood at Villa, with the exception of any time they are playing us, kicking us and being refereed by Anthony Talyor against us

  13. Nice link Mandy.

    The Mirror article does not recommend the obvious solution – video technology (unless I missed it), however this report is a (small) step in the right direction.

    The article contains a poll – 80% of replies consider referee standards declining! Riley’s 98% correct decisions propaganda is not fooling too many!!

  14. I just voted. It’s gone up to 81% now.

    I think the article did mention video technology but just in passing. It favours a referee academy to bring on young talented referees and referees from abroad to tide us over. Interesting comments about the speed of the game and referee fitness.

    No mention of possible dirty dealings but let’s not ask too much!

    On Tony’s comments about Manchester United – I think they will still be favoured because, as Scudamore once said, they are the symbol of the Premiership abroad (for some reason). So they have to be successful.

  15. Just re-read the article ‘Over-playing or is it over-kicking’ (not exactly the title) and the entire discussion.

    Wouldn’t it be interesting to sit down with top representatives of the FA and the PGMO and ask them to react to all these detailed and well thought out pieces of analysis?

    Pity we don’t get the opportunity. We’re only the fans, after all!

  16. Yes, still on 82%’……pretty high number. There does seem more media profile in general on this issue.

  17. Voted too, now at 84%. Good piece. Shocking Moss claimed not to have seen the incident looking at how close he was to Mccarthy’s face; sure he could smell his breath. And how could the FA come to the conclusion ivanobitch should not face any charges. I don’t think I could ever be part of this nonsense, if I were a footballer and suffered this injustice I’d take matters into my own hand. Wouldn’t accept this nonsense.

  18. Sorry to have to say it, but Manchester United are still riding on the wave of sympathy they got world wide after their Munich disaster, that’s it really, but it is starting to wear off, finally. VanGaal is not one of the English OLD BOY(S) network but there are many others in the offices of Manu who can make sure of favours from that network.

    Mou and Chelsea probably realise they need an excuse when they slip (come on, any time now, slip damm you), but i wonder if he is touching on something else, namely the manipulation for the “PL football” sake, trying to maintain it’s position as world leaders in the media.

    And good old Arsenal plods slowly on, and will spring surprises when one least expects. Hear Wojciech(why do people have such weird names?) is back today in goal.
    Would be nice to get FA again, but i suspect there is something else for Arsenal this season too, just a suspicion mind you, just a suspicion.

  19. I think the FA cup is our most realistic chance of silverware this season Para. But with those two northern clubs still in it will mean the manipulation stakes against us remain very high. Remember Gérard will need a little going away present, and united need something to restore their reputation and repair the damaged brand. And since neither is in the Champions league, COC nor stand a real chance of winning the league then this will be seen as the only thing they can have.

    I suspect even the draw will not ‘favour’ us and, should we manage to negotiate our way round past dean this afternoon, we will get West Bromwich away in the next round with a ref like taylor or probert. I think we all know what a combination of the above with Tony Pulis will mean.

  20. Can someone tell me if it was a misprint in yesterday’s paper (Guardian) to show us having 74 yellows and 5 reds this year?

    Basically, we had the highest number of yellows of any team left (as of yesterday morning) in the cup Sunderland ran us close with 72, Stoke were about ten behind that, but most teams were twenty of thirty cards behind us.

    West Ham, West Brom, United, Palace- in what world are we twenty of thirty cards dirtier than those teams?

    More incredible yet, we appear to be the first team in history pulling off the feat of being soft in a way that legitimately invites, no, deserves, to meet extra aggression (though well-judged aggression, in the yes of the law, it would seem), while also somehow managing to be a very dirty team, who despite not making a high number of fouls, make a lot of fouls worthy of receiving cards. *

    It doesn’t logically add up on paper even- cynical, dirty teams cannot be bullied, and if legs start getting broken, it is a guarantee they would respond in kind, under the cover, privately, of ‘well, I didn’t say to break anyone’s leg’, and, publicly, ‘an honest challenge, too fast, not that kind of player (cynical dirty teams also play under managers who fit the same description and who would ceaselessly use the media to their advantage)- but when you know the actual team and watch it all the time, it is a flat out absurdity to suggest the reality of how we play matches up with the bookings we receive, as individual figures, but even more so when relative to other teams.

    It leads to my conclusion that with normal refs, the current squad might be enough to get very close to a title (and of course momentum is crucial to that), but with abnormal refs we would need an utterly outstanding team to do it, and that would probably need two more outstanding players.

    A manager genuinely capable of producing as dysfunctional and irrational a team as that would be unlikely to last more than a year in the game *, in the conference, Peru, Timbuktu. A soft, dirty team? Risible stuff

  21. Mandy @ 10:43 (Thanks for the link)

    From the article.

    “Which is why the Premier League – awash with the fresh billions collected from television companies………… or b) lobbying the governing bodies to give them the go-ahead to use the best referees from around the world………

    ……… allow the most accomplished international referees to gatecrash what is essentially a British old boys’ club.”

    Something myself and others hereabouts have been suggesting for a long time.

    A couple of other points.

    From bjtgooner:

    “The Mirror article does not recommend the obvious solution – video technology.”

    It doesn’t, and a glaring omission I would suggest.

    “The article contains a poll – 80% of replies consider referee standards declining! Riley’s 98% correct decisions propaganda is not fooling too many!!”

    Alas bjtgooner, it IS fooling people. Not us maybe, the man on the street so to speak, but by and large the media lap these PGMOL stats up like ‘titty milk’ (A big up to BILL for that lovely turn of phrase)

    From Para:

    “VanGaal is not one of the English OLD BOY(S) network but there are many others in the offices of Manu who can make sure of favours from that network”

    Indeed he may not be, but you only have to read Oliver Holts sycophantic first article, in his new roll at the Sunday Mail, to realise just how far some are prepared to stick there head up his arse !!!

    From Rich:

    “West Ham, West Brom, United, Palace- in what world are we twenty of thirty cards dirtier than those teams?”

    Exactly. If anyone can answer that simple question they are a better man than men.

    Astonishing, truly astonishing statistic.

  22. We don’t know what goes on behind closed doors; but I would hope Wenger, Gazidis, Sir Chips, Kroenke (hahaha)et al are more vociferous in their defense of the club privately than they are in public. They can’t be concerned with blow back because our treatment by the refs and UMGO (not a typo, it’s for UNPROFESSIONAL Match Game Officials) can’t get worse. They don’t even look after our British players – see Ramsey, A and Wilshire, J and we have more than most teams in the BPL. There have been many articles regarding this by our friends Tony & Walter and great contributions from readers. Look at the stats cited by Rich above: 74 YELLOWS and 5 REDS so far this season! Only Sunderland are close. We must be fouling quite a bit from a prone position on the pitch. The refs are utter garbage; aided and abetted by the 2 Assts. and the always useless 4th official. Some years ago as the game got much faster the NHL (not a particularly progressive group – see fighting) in North America ADDED A SECOND REFEREE. A hockey rink is a fraction the size of a football pitch yet they added another ref. It might be a radical idea and another ref on the pitch could be as biased as the first but perhaps they’d keep each other honest. I’d prefer this to video review which would slow the game down. It would be like American football – we don’t want that.

  23. Its a bit hypocrital talking about man u supporters being from cornwall when supporters of arsenal and every top club from all over england and the rest of the world to support their team

  24. Captain Hindsight – By man u supporters I think Tony was refering to PMGO but I may be mistaken.

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