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April 2021
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Arsenal in the best form to make the top six

By Tony Attwood

The “last six results” table below reflects where Arsenal is in terms of the last six games played by each club in the top half of the league.  The final column on the right shows the actual position of the club in the current league table.

The fact that the top five clubs that appear in the table of the last six results are also the top five in the league overall, suggests that the clubs below are not going to catch them, as we have probably known this for some time.  In other words the chaotic results that we have seen earlier in the season following the abandonment of crowds at matches, have reduced somewhat and clubs are now playing to form.

However the figures does bring home the stark reality that given the way things are running at the moment there is only one European place up for grabs – that being sixth place.

In the actual league table, sixth spot is occupied by Everton.  In the “last six” table however it is occupied by Arsenal.  Here is that current “last six matches” table.  The final column shows the clubs’ actual position in the full league table.

P W D L F A +/- Pts Actual
1 Manchester City 6 5 0 1 15 6 +9 15 1
2 Leicester City 6 4 1 1 14 7 +7 13 3
3 Manchester United 6 3 3 0 7 2 +5 12 2
4 Chelsea 6 3 3 0 6 1 +5 12 4
5 West Ham United 6 3 1 2 8 4 +4 10 5
6 Arsenal 6 3 1 2 10 7 +3 10 10
7 Tottenham Hotspur 6 3 0 3 11 8 +3 9 7
8 Everton 6 3 0 3 6 7 -1 9 6
9 Wolverhampton Wanderers 6 2 3 1 5 6 -1 9 13
10 Fulham 6 2 2 2 3 5 -2 8 18

The fact is that being in 10th position in the actual league table, Arsenal have to make up five points in the remaining ten games of the season, and have to overtake Everton, Tottenham, Liverpool and Villa in doing so.  This in effect means we need all of them to stay where they are… below us in the “last six” table, from now to the end of the season.

Making up five points over ten games obviously means making up one point every other game.  So two wins for us and two defeats for each of them them would do it.  But these are by definition clubs in the upper part of the league so they don’t drop points so quite so readily.  Besides they too are aiming for the elusive sixth place so will be expected to do well against lower teams.

Which is why watching the last six table is now relevant if we want to know who will end up in the top six.

As you might expect of clubs at the top of the league measured by the last six games, the only clubs they lose to tend to be other top six clubs.  And indeed checking recent results that is almost completely true.  The only exceptions in the last six games of the current top six clubs are

  • Leicester lost to Arsenal (10th)
  • Everton lost to Burnley (15th)

But the clubs in the next four positions (Tottenham, Liverpool, Villa and Arsenal) need to be beating everyone else in the top 10 in order to clamber up the table. 

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So quite simply, if we take it that the top four are going to be secure anyway we need to watch the form of West Ham, Everton, Tottenham Liverpool Aston Villa and Arsenal.  Here’s how they have done against other top 10 teams in the last six.  So we are looking for anything that shows signs of slippage…

  • West Ham:  Drew with Fulham
  • Everton: Lost to Burnley
  • Tottenham: Lost to Arsenal
  • Liverpool: Lost to Fulham, and Everton.
  • Aston Villa: Lost to Sheffield United, drew with Brighton, Wolverhampton and Newcastle
  • Arsenal: Drew with Burnley

Put in terms of points lost in these games will lower clubs we have

Club Points lost unexpectedly Reason for loss of points
Arsenal 2 Drew with Burnley
West Ham 2 Drew with Fulham
Everton 3 Lost to Burnley
Tottenham 3 Lost to Arsenal
Liverpool 6 Lost to Fulham and Everton
Aston Villa 9 Lost to Sheffield U, drew with Brighton, Wolverhampton and Newcastle

So, if things carry on like this, yes we will sneak into the top six, but we are totally dependent on the ineptitude of others, and the aptitude of Arsenal.

Beware: nerve wracking experience ahead. 

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11 comments to Arsenal in the best form to make the top six

  • Mikey

    Let’s be honest though. Having been blatantly cheated out of a penalty against Burnley (not to mention numerous other “refereeing anomalies” which have gone against us this season) our position should look even better. The problem , of course, is that there is no reason to expect Riley’s mob not to continue to do all they can to stop us.

  • Steve Vallins

    @ Mikey
    Will Riley’s mob try to put right the penalty decision awarded yesterday? Haven’t read all the media outlets but Lacazette was surprised at the decision to award a penalty yesterday against the Spuds along with the pundits on MOTD , how long has it been that you can clatter an opponent anywhere on the pitch after the ball has gone and not expect a free kick to be given and a possible yellow card .
    It wasn’t too many games ago exactly the same thing happened to Saka in the penalty area , he got his shot away but was still taken out no pen play on .

  • Steve Vallins

    Also meant say above to look at our expectation to be awarded anything by referees .

  • I agree with the comments above, but I think also that Arsenal are adjusting the way they play to take this into account. For example, we noticed that before the game Arsenal had committed far fewer tackles than Tottenham but got more yellow cards.

    They now recognise this is happening, and have reduced their appeals to the referees, but changed the way they play to cut the number of tackles that they make, working harder on interceptions.

    The figures we publish before each game in terms of tackles, fouls and yellows show a really interesting development in this regard.

  • Nitram

    steve vallins

    “…..how long has it been that you can clatter an opponent anywhere on the pitch after the ball has gone and not expect a free kick to be given and a possible yellow card”.

    Exactly.

    Lets take that tackle stage by stage.

    -Was it an attempt to play the ball? Yes.

    -Never the less was it ‘late’? Yes. The ball had gone. To where is completely irrelevant. A pass. A loss of control. A miss hit shot. All completely irrelevant.

    -Was it high? Yes it was. Some are saying that Laca kicked his studs with the follow through from his shot. That may or may not be true but there is a big difference between the foot raising as part of the follow through and the foot being over waist height with studs showing due to a lunge at the ball and player, because lunge it was.

    -Was it reckless ? Now I believe this is the only part of that tackle that is open to interpretation. Personally I believe it was. Here’s why.

    The defender knew he was in trouble. He knew he had to get a block in. But he also knew there was a distinct possibility he wouldn’t get the ball, and that if he didn’t get the ball he would certainly get the man. He made the choice to make that lunge despite those risks. I get it. He was in a desperate position.

    The question is though, is that reckless? I believe it is because it was late, it was high, it was out of control and there was an inherent risk to the opposing player. In my opinion that makes it reckless.

    OK it is a subjective call but that’s how I saw it. That’s how the referee saw it. Others are entitled to see it as they like.

    But for MOTD,or anyone else to claim it was 100% no way a penalty is ridiculous.

  • Mikey

    @ Nitram

    Quite agree. Mourinho, after the game, tried tried to justify his claim that it wasn’t a penalty “because the ball had gone”. On that basis, any player could walk up to any other player ten minutes after the ball had gone and kick him with no sanction. If Mourinho’s defence was correct, then there can be no such thing as a late tackle since by definition the ball must have gone and therefore it couldn’t be a foul.

    Jenas was an absolute disgrace on motd last night. Arguing that it wasn’t a foul simply because Laca had sliced his shot. Then going on to claim that Lamela didn’t deserve to see red. The bloke had clearly kicked Xhaka twice while the ball was dead in an attempt to get a reaction. He committed several card offences during the game. I can’t remember which commentary it was now but one commentator even tried to claim that as Lamela hit Tierney with a forearm rather than an elbow, it wasn’t a foul. What planet are these people on?

    Going back to the penalty and Steve’s comment about our expectations of being awarded such things. Jenas claimed Arsenal shouldn’t expect to win a game with a dodgy penalty just because they were the better team. Anyone of them could have said that neither should we have expected to only draw a game because of the ridiculous decision not to award a justifiable penalty the previous week. I think hell will freeze over before motd do a piece showing all the decisions that have gone against us.

  • Dublin Gooner

    Penalties are rarely given when the attacker gets a good shot away just before contact. It’s just the way it is. We were lucky Laca didn’t make good contact, hit the bar say, in which case the penalty probably would not have been given.

  • John L

    Cedric was also fouled from behind when he shot against the post in the first half. Probably outside the box, but another serious foul not given and not mentioned by commentators

  • Mikey

    @ Nitram

    Quite agree. Mourinho, after the game, tried tried to justify his claim that it wasn’t a penalty “because the ball had gone”. On that basis, any player could walk up to any other player ten minutes after the ball had gone and kick him with no sanction. If Mourinho’s defence was correct, then there can be no such thing as a late tackle since by definition the ball must have gone and therefore it couldn’t be a foul.

    Jenas was an absolute disgrace on motd last night. Arguing that it wasn’t a foul simply because Laca had sliced his shot. Then going on to claim that Lamela didn’t deserve to see red. The bloke had clearly kicked Xhaka twice while the ball was dead in an attempt to get a reaction. He committed several card offences during the game.

    I also note that for the second time this month Mourinho has bad mouthed referees and seemingly got away with it. Another rule that’s different for us!

  • Mikey

    Not sure what’s happened there lol

  • Jermaine Jenas co-presents The One Show. Says it all really.

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