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We’re predicting Arsenal will finish third this season. So how can it be done?

By Tony Attwood

In recent articles I have been looking at what next season’s Premier League table might look like.  In the first article we showed there was a link between how much clubs spent in the transfer window and whether they would go up or down.  Then in the second article considered how this would relate to Arsenal and this summer’s spending

As a result of our calculations we suggested Arsenal would end up third in ten month’s time.  But how exactly could this be achieved in terms of what happens on the pitch, as opposed to simply a calculation of money spent.

The obvious answer (although not obvious enough for any of so called “football experts” to pick up on it when making their predictions for next season) is for Arsenal to improve its away form.

Here is last season’s table based only on away games.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 19 16 2 1 45 13 32 50
2 Tottenham Hotspur 19 10 4 5 34 20 14 34
3 Manchester United 19 10 4 5 30 19 11 34
4 Chelsea 19 10 3 6 32 22 10 33
5 Liverpool 19 9 5 5 39 28 11 32
6 Burnley 19 7 7 5 20 22 -2 28
7 Leicester City 19 5 5 9 31 38 -7 20
8 AFC Bournemouth 19 4 6 9 19 31 -12 18
9 Crystal Palace 19 4 6 9 16 28 -12 18
10 Southampton 19 3 8 8 17 30 -13 17
11 Arsenal 19 4 4 11 20 31 -11 16

If the move up to third place were to be achieved entirely on the basis of away form Arsenal would have a lot of potential with their away record.   So let us imagine that Arsenal ended up third in this table, then instead of having 16 points there would have had 33, as per Chelsea.  So 17 points more.

Now if we return to last season’s PL table Arsenal would then have had not the 63 points that they gained last take around, but 63 + 17 = 80 points.

Last season’s league table in full looked like this at the top…

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 38 32 4 2 106 27 79 100
2 Manchester United 38 25 6 7 68 28 40 81
3 Tottenham Hotspur 38 23 8 7 74 36 38 77
4 Liverpool 38 21 12 5 84 38 46 75
5 Chelsea 38 21 7 10 62 38 24 70
6 Arsenal 38 19 6 13 74 51 23 63

Add in those extra 17 points from an away season of the top achieved by Tottenham, Manchester United or Chelsea we would see something like this

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 38 32 4 2 106 27 79 100
2 Manchester United 38 25 6 7 68 28 40 81
3 Arsenal 38 24 8 6 ? ? ? 80
4 Tottenham Hotspur 38 23 8 7 74 36 38 77
5 Liverpool 38 21 12 5 84 38 46 75
6 Chelsea 38 21 7 10 62 38 24 70

Now in this I am not assuming that our record against other top six teams will improve at all – all the points could come from lower ranked teams.

Indeed we might not have to be that improved away from home because if we go back to 2017 third place was achieved with 78 points not 80.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Chelsea 38 30 3 5 85 33 52 93
2 Tottenham Hotspur 38 26 8 4 86 26 60 86
3 Manchester City 38 23 9 6 80 39 41 78

In 2016, third place was achieved by 70 points (we actually got 71 and came second as you will recall).  In 2015 we did come third and got there with 75 points.

So targeting 80 points might be overkill, but it is better to be safe than slip on a bowl of custard, or whatever the saying is.

But can we do this – can we get something like 34 points away from home?  In 2016 we got 31 points away, in 2015 the same, in 2014 we got 35 points.  So yes it was certainly possible with Arsenal under Mr Wenger.

Thus we have a method of getting back to third place, simply by improving our away form by 17 points – turning seven defeats into five wins and two draws.

Of course third place is not a trophy, as we were told over and over and over again by the Anti-Arsenal movement.  So why am I making so much fuss about getting up to third?

Simply because given the amount of money that Manchester City has, our plotting to get top of the league is much like anyone in the Scottish, German, French, Italian or Spanish League rising up from sixth to first.

For Arsenal to return to being a title winning team we will need to take matters over several seasons – and indeed Manchester City will have to slip up.  Quite how that will happen without the Premier League or Uefa reintroducing proper financial controls is hard to see.  No matter what we spend or do they will outspend us endlessly, just as PSG will do in France and Bayern do in Germany.

All I am saying here is that a return to the away form that we had in the past while continuing with the current home form would have given us third place last season and probably will do this coming season.  That is possible, and we have the mechanism: to get our away form back to what it used to be, and to be similar to the away form of the teams above us last season in the league.

7 comments to We’re predicting Arsenal will finish third this season. So how can it be done?

  • GoingGoingGooner

    My impression from many of our away games was that we had chances to bury the other teams but our counterattacking was poor. We were unable to hold the ball up from a clearance and then move with pace on the wings to put the other teams under pressure. As a result, even the lower teams would bring players up and eventually we would concede.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I am of the opinion that Arsenal first team for the PL Title campaign next season under Unai Emery, the new Gunners boss should first complete the Arsenal first team rebuilding and revamping process being embarked upon by him and other personnel at the club who are concerned with the first team rebuilding and revamping at the club.

    After satisfaction has been gotten the way they want the first team rebuilt and revamped, it’s then the manager will be in a strong position to set both Arsenal home and away points haulage targets for the Gunners to collect next season. And I think the minimum of 101 points haulage collection or more by the Gunners should be the set target points they must collect for Arsenal in the PL next season by Emery. If Man City can collect 100 points last season in the PL but with some of the points they obtained been collected illegally with the assistance of the PGMO. I see no reason why Arsenal will not surpass that Man City illegal record breaking 100 points collection in the PL last season with their own legal record breaking of over 100 points collection in the next campaign.

    If Man City like it, let them sign players from Jupiter this summer window. But for all I care Arsenal should complete their incoming summer business in the transfer window with one more audacious signing to bring their total first team squad signings this summer to 6 in number whom I believe will be used with other Gunners to beat Man City in the PL in Arsenal opening game of the new season at the Emirates Stadium.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Q- We’re predicting Arsenal will finish third this season. So how can it be done?

    A- Unbiased refereeing .

  • ARSENAL 13

    Where will ARSENAL finish next season depends on many many variables. BUT as every season before, I feel we will win the quadruple. And support the team to the fullest for them to achieve that.

    Come on gunners.

  • Mark Mywurdz

    I see no reason why we can’t win it. In fact I’ve put a sneaky little £100 bet on it. This team has seriously underachieved over the last few seasons irrespective of what the other clubs are doing and spending. From what I’ve seen so far, I think we have finally got a management structure in place to turn things round. I actually think we will be this season’s surprise package.

  • Menace

    How can you accept 3rd before a ball is kicked? Where is the courage & winning mentality?

    I always see Arsenal winning every game & winning the league. It doesn’t matter who is playing against us, it is how we play against them. The primary change must be to avoid back passing in our half. There is always a ball forward towards the corner flag. It forces the opponent to retreat and allows the possibility of an offensive move from the heart of the opponents area.

    The officiating though key must always be forced into a position where they cannot apply their bias. Quick one passing, avoiding physical contact with opponents unless we are trying to win the ball from them.

    There is a secondary key. Arsenal must learn to kick a dead ball and make it deviate knowingly. It is rocket science that can be applied by anyone with practice. The technique is seen in many ball sports and can be applied in football with ease.

    This season we have a manager who is aggressive in his coaching mentality. It should result in more forward momentum with the ball.

    I am optimistic and believe we can win despite the biased officiating.

  • goonersince72

    Sound reasoning. Improve the away form and, as Brickfields and others mentioned, get fair treatment from the referees and I think a move up to 3rd is not impossible. Other factors such as injuries and the old Thursday-Sunday schedule could impact that result. From the small sample I’ve seen this summer, I like the tempo, pressing and width of Emery’s attack. The team defending seems improved and most of the goals allowed were from individual mistakes. I atill cannot be sold on Mustafi. He just doesn’t have a natural sense of positioning. Some have it, some don’t. But I’m encouraged by Sokratis and Mavropanos looks a keeper. Not afraid to get his hands dirty. Haven’t seen Lichsteiner. Really looking forward to Torreira and I like what I see from Guendouzi. We might actually have a defence this season. Looking forward to it.