Arsenal v Chelsea: the teams, a match fixing update and the latest from Paul Merson

By Bulldog Drummond

What all the teams in the top section of the league do is touch the ball more than the other teams.  Here’s the table of touches this season

Position Club Touches
Manchester City
Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester United

It is not an infallible rule, because what made Leicester’s win of the title so odd was that while the top teams for touches in 2015/16 were in order Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, Man Utd and Chelsea, Leciester who won the league came 18th in terms of touches of the ball across the season.  I think the point was they had a different style which for a while came off.

So it can happen, but not often, and it doesn’t last.

Interestingly this season Chelsea are bottom of the league table for yellow cards with 23.  We’ve got 31.  West Ham have 49.

As expected in looking at these tables, teams in the top six in the table are also in the top six for passes…

Rank Club Passes
Manchester City
Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester United

We have however had 24 more shots than they have had this season in the league but in most analyses things are coming out fairly close as the league table suggests:

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Manchester City 22 20 2 0 64 13 51 62
2 Manchester United 22 14 5 3 45 16 29 47
3 Chelsea 21 14 3 4 39 14 25 45
4 Liverpool 22 12 8 2 50 25 25 44
5 Tottenham Hotspur 21 12 4 5 41 20 21 40
6 Arsenal 21 11 5 5 38 26 12 38

We’ve scored 38 in the league and they have scored 39.  But we’ve conceded 26 to their 14; that is where the big difference lies.

What we can say is that last season’s Premier League matches were won by the home teams, before we  denied Chelsea the pleasure of a Double season, something that I think rather annoyed them.  They didn’t enjoy the Community Shield match either and they weren’t overwhelmed by a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge.

The latest from Mr Wenger is that “In football, there’s only one thing and that’s the next game.  We know that our home form will be absolutely vital and we just come home from West Brom frustrated because we lost two points. We know it puts us under even more pressure to deliver a big result tomorrow.”

Antonio Conte said “We face five tough months because we have to fight for a place in the Champions League and it won’t be easy to reach this target.

“I think now  City have created a big gap between them and the other teams, but at the same time we have to try to put everything into every game to try to get three points and put a bit of pressure on the teams above us.”

What is worrying is that Mark Lawrenson gave this prediction to the BBC:  “Arsenal are very good at the Emirates Stadium, winning eight of their 10 league games there, and I’m going to go for a home win. Unlike last season, when they were purring, Chelsea still have the odd hiccup – as we have seen in their defeats at West Ham and Crystal Palace.”

The BBC also come up with these stats presumably just to balance up Lawrenson’s contribution

  • The Gunners have failed to score in seven of the last nine Premier League encounters against Chelsea.
  • Chelsea have won five away matches at the Emirates Stadium in all competitions, a joint high with Manchester United.
  • There have been six red cards in the last seven fixtures between these sides in all competitions, with Chelsea having a player sent off in each of the last three.

But we can counter that by saying that we have won 13 of the last 15 home league games.  And here are a couple more

  • Petr Cech is one clean sheet away from becoming the first goalkeeper to record 200 in the Premier League.
  • Jack Wilshere could start six consecutive league matches for Arsenal for the first time since September to October 2013.

And I really ought to add that Paul Merson is quoted on that Turkish web site that seems to follow him, as saying “Not everybody likes everybody.”

For Chelsea the general consensus is that Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas are almost certain to return to the starting line-up.

There is a feeling around that we are going 3-4-3, with Chelsea matching with the same formation.


Chambers, Mertesacker, Mustafi;

Bellerin, Xhaka, Wilshere, Maitland-Niles;

Ozil, Lacazette, Alexis

If Ozil is not fit then Welbeck to play instead of Ozil.  The other option is Iwobi, who might play or might be on the beach.

So taking the line up above as right, that would give us a beach to be selected from of Ospina, Holding, Debuchy, Nelson,  Coquelin, Wilshere, Elneny, Iwobi, Welbeck, Walcott.

That of course is ten players – far too crowded for any upmarket beach, but I’ve given ten in case Ozil is not available and we start swapping around a bit.

Which just leaves the refereeing.  The possibilities are:

  1. There is no referee issue and all that work we did on “Referees Decisions” and the first 160 games of last season is just waffle.  If there are mistakes they all even out in the end.
  2. Referees are just incompetent and make lots of mistakes, and by chance most of them go against Arsenal.  That’s just how it goes.
  3. Type III match fixing has been going on.

Now if Type III match fixing (in which team A persuades a referee to cause problems for team B, in any match apart from one team A is playing in – in order to hide the source of the corruption) is going on, there is just a chance that the match fixing team/s might say – “Arsenal are no risk now, just make sure Chelsea don’t win.”

It’s a long shot, and I don’t want us to win with the ref’s help, but I do want a spot of compensation for some of the horrors we have seen this season.

Anyway, that’s all a bit convoluted so how about this: most of the web sites that cover such things say we are going to sign  Konstantinos Mavropanos.  And according to one site, supporters are now “fuming” over the signing – and the poor kid has only just been spotted at the airport.

Arsenal v Chelsea


28 Replies to “Arsenal v Chelsea: the teams, a match fixing update and the latest from Paul Merson”

  1. A husband and wife are shopping in their local grocery store.

    The husband picks up a case of beer and puts it in the cart.

    “What do you think you’re doing?” asks the wife.

    “They’re on sale, only $10 for 24 cans” he replies.

    “Put them back, we can’t afford them”, demands the wife.

    They carry on with their shopping. A few aisles farther on, the woman picks up a $20 jar of face cream and puts it in the basket.

    “What do you think you’re doing?” asks the husband.

    “It’s my face cream. It makes me look beautiful,” replies the wife.

    Her husband retorts, “So does 24 cans of Budweiser and it’s half the price.”

    A few minutes later , the scene at aisle 5…

  2. A giraffe is wandering thru the jungle, and comes upon a lion about to do heroin. “No, Lion! Don’t do heroin! It is bad for you! Come run and play with me, instead!”

    So the lion joins him. As they walk, they come across an elephant about to do some coke. Again, the giraffe steps up and says, “Elephant, please! Don’t do cocaine! It’s bad for you! Come run and play with us, instead!”

    So the elephant joins them. As they walk some more, they come across a gorilla rolling a joint. The giraffe starts to talk, but the gorilla interrupts him – “I’m not running thru the jungle with you, I don’t wanna play, fuck off.”

    The other animals start to defend the giraffe, “Hey what’s your problem?” “Ya, he’s just trying to make your life better!”

    The gorilla looks up and says, “Man ,fuck that! Every time this giraffe does ecstasy he wants to run thru the jungle and play!”

  3. Brickfields Gunners
    03/01/2018 at 3:41 pm

    Joints sadly aint what they used to be said the gorilla, yea i’ll join you. 🙂 😀

  4. “for allegedly questioning Mike Dean’s integrity”

    How can one be fined for allegedly(used to convey that something is claimed to be the case or have taken place, although there is no proof) questioning Mike Dean’s integrity?

    Is it because he(Mike Dean) has no integrity(in football) whatsoever?

    My My…

    Arsene Wenger should resort to these types of interviews:

    So what did you think of the refs decision to give that incident as a penalty.
    A1: Look, Arsenal are not rich like some other clubs, are you trying to get me a fine?

    A2: No comment.

    A3: Are you allowed to turn the mics off?.

    A4: I have no comment on the matter.

    In fact he should use use A4 for all questions to avoid having to pay them so much money, money that can go towards buying players.

  5. I have some hope that Arsene will say that he is definitely questioning Mike DEan’s integrity and will refuse to retract or apologise.

    FA will probably then ban him for a season or more.

    Arsenal will than take a law-suit against the whole corrupt edifice of FA, EPL, PGMOL and the corruption could be exposed for what we know it to be.

    (PS Spurs helped to 3 points by not having an offside gaol disallowed and, yet again, not being given a deserved red card. These decisions could lead to Swansea being relegated.)

    I seriously don’t expect a fair contest with Chelsea. The only way we can ever win is by being brilliant – just good, average. or a bit below par is never enough to beat the 14 opponents.

  6. @Bulldog,

    Almost spot on with the lineup, just substitute Holding for Mertesacker

    Bellerin – Maitland-Niles

    Bench – Ospina, Mertesacker, Coquelin, Elneny, Walcott, Iwobi, and Welbeck

  7. Mr Wenger, I’ll be happy to stand up in any court & say without fear that the PGMOL are corrupt and that Dean is a cheat. I will also be happy to state that the Government are without any moral balls aka testicles to stand up against the football authorities & take the moral high ground.

    The Game is being brought into disrepute by officials who cheat.

  8. Let’s see that amazing swallow dive from Hazard again. And the look of agony on his face. And then he gets straight up and takes the penalty. What ref worth his salt would fall for that?

    Thank you Hector for a great equaliser. Boys, I admire you, you fought till the last. Arsenal forever!

  9. another game where Arsenal were cheated by a dive for contact under a raised boot!!!!

    A fucked up league by a fucked up FA.

  10. Moses clips Maitland Niles foot, leading AMN to accidently trip on his other foot => no penalty
    Bellerin clips Hazard ffot, and Hazard take a huge dive (the way he falls on his knees alone is absolutely ridiculous), than makes a Hollywood act holding his knee (yes his knee, nowhere near when he was touched) => penalty.

    Another clear example of clear inconsistency from the referee…

  11. They are interviewing Hazard. I don’t know how he has the cheek to come out and talk. Of course he says it is a penalty!

  12. If someone at Arsenal doesn’t say something soon then they are just as culpable in my eyes. I have seen some down-right disgustingly biased refereeing across the years, but dropping 4 points in 2 consecutive games purely because two of the clearest non-penalties that I’ve seen given in a very long time is just so blatant, they clearly have absolutely no fear of any sort of repercussions or noise being made.

    How much longer can the media and pundits carry on this transparent facade for? Listening to the Sky commentators desperately trying to justify that penalty was a joke. They know, along with everybody that was watching, that Arsenal have yet again been robbed of all three points.

  13. Jammy – it is going to cost Wenger a fortune because he spoke the truth. There is no bigger authority than the FA in football. Only a bullet has more power than the FA (and both are just as evil as each other).

  14. Last time Arsenal got a penalty in the PL against the Top 6 teams (City, United, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea) – August 14, 2016 vs Liverpool!

    Since then, the Top 6 teams have gotten 4 penalties against Arsenal:

    1) Chelsea
    2) Man City
    3) Tottenham (2X)

    Since the August 14, 2016 game, how many penalties have gone against other Top 6 teams in Top 6 clashes?

    Chelsea – 0
    Man City – 3 vs Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool
    Liverpool – 1 vs Chelsea
    Man United – 1 vs Liverpool
    Tottenham – 2 vs City, Liverpool

    During the top 6 matches in the last 1.5 seasons, Arsenal had as many penalties against them as Chelsea, Liverpool, Man United, and Tottenham COMBINED!

    But hey it evens out in the end according to Mr. 98% calls right

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