Exactly why we are predicting Arsenal to finish ahead of Tottenham in fourth.

by Tony Attwood

A little while back we looked at Arsenal’s chances of securing a top four position.  But on 20 December the Telegraph ran the piece Premier League top-four odds: Arsenal overtake local rivals so I thought it time to look again.

In fact that article in the Telegraph doesn’t actually say Arsenal are most likely to get fourth spot – the betting still has Manchester United as favourites (which is interesting seeing where they currently sit in the “last six” and last 10″ games – as shown below.)

And besides, with four of the teams in the top ten positions in the league having played fewer games than the rest, how can we tell who is really doing well?

The answer is to have a look at the percentage of available points each team has achieved in its games so far.  This shows that Arsenal are fourth, even taking into account the two games that Manchester United and Tottenham H have in hand.  We’ve picked up 61% of the points available in our games, while Tottenham are just behind with 59% and Manchester United behind that with 55%.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts % Pts
1 Manchester City 19 15 2 2 50 12 38 47 82%
2 Liverpool 19 12 5 2 50 16 34 41 72%
3 Chelsea 19 12 5 2 42 13 29 41 72%
4 Arsenal 19 11 2 6 32 23 9 35 61%
5 West Ham United 19 9 4 6 34 25 9 31 54%
6 Tottenham Hotspur 17 9 3 5 22 20 2 30 59%
7 Manchester United 17 8 4 5 27 25 2 28 55%
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 18 7 4 7 13 14 -1 25 46%
9 Leicester City 18 7 4 7 31 33 -2 25 46%
10 Crystal Palace 19 5 8 6 27 27 0 23 40%

But we can also say that if Tottenham win their two games in hand they will be one point above us.

However can we go any further by looking at the form of each club in trying to see which of the two sides, Tottenham and Arsenal, are more likely to end up in the top four at the end of the season?

The answer is yes by taking the last six and last ten games, to look at current form, and here of course with every team counted across the same number of games we don’t have to adjust for games played by using percentage points.

This table shows the last six league games for each club…

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 6 6 0 0 23 5 18 18
2 Tottenham Hots 6 4 2 0 13 4 9 14
3 Liverpool 6 4 1 1 11 5 6 13
4 Arsenal 6 4 0 2 17 6 11 12
5 Chelsea 6 3 2 1 11 8 3 11
6 Manchester United 6 3 2 1 8 8 0 11
7 Leicester City 6 3 1 2 15 12 3 10
8 Aston Villa 6 3 0 3 8 8 0 9
9 West Ham United 6 2 2 2 10 9 1 8
10 Brentford 6 2 2 2 8 10 -2 8

So yes we are fourth in the league and performing like the fourth placed team in our last six games.  But Tottenham of late are performing like a top two team, confirming the notion that with their games in hand they will overtake us in the full league table, which is not good news from our point of view.

But here is the situation concerning the last ten games – we are three points ahead of them.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 10 9 0 1 30 8 22 27
2 Arsenal 10 7 0 3 22 10 12 21
3 Liverpool 10 6 2 2 23 10 13 20
4 Chelsea 10 5 4 1 19 10 9 19
5 Tottenham Hotspur 10 5 3 2 16 10 6 18
6 West Ham United 10 4 2 4 18 15 3 14
7 Crystal Palace 10 4 2 4 16 13 3 14
8 Leicester City 10 4 2 4 18 19 -1 14
9 Manchester United 10 4 2 4 13 19 -6 14
10 Wolverhampton Wanderers 10 3 4 3 5 6 -1 13

So what should we be looking at?  Last six, last ten or is it all just playing with numbers.   To find out here are Arsenal’s last six games.

Date Match Res Score Competition
2 Dec 2021 Manchester United v Arsenal L 3-2 Premier League
6 Dec 2021 Everton v Arsenal L 2-1 Premier League
11 Dec 2021 Arsenal v Southampton W 3-0 Premier League
15 Dec 2021 Arsenal v West Ham United W 2-0 Premier League
18 Dec 2021 Leeds United v Arsenal W 1-4 Premier League
26 Dec 2021 Norwich City v Arsenal W 0-5 Premier League

And by way of comparison, Tottenham’s games.

Date Match Res Score Competition
21 Nov 2021 Tottenham Hotspur v Leeds United W 2-1 Premier League
2 Dec 2021 Tottenham Hotspur v Brentford W 2-0 Premier League
5 Dec 2021 Tottenham Hotspur v Norwich City W 3-0 Premier League
19 Dec 2021 Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool D 2-2 Premier League
26 Dec 2021 Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace W 3-0 Premier League
28 Dec 2021 Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur D 1-1 Premier League

We can immediately see the difference between the clubs – something very much not noted in the Telegraph report.  (I wonder why!)  Tottenham have had five games at home in the last six, and one away, Arsenal have had two games at home and four away.  Further Tottenham have faltered in two of their last three games, while Arsenal have been on an upward turn.

In fact Tottenham are the third best home team in the league through having played so many home games.  Away from home they are 13th, although if we took into account the fewer games played they would be ninth.

So pulling all this together, we can make a prediction.

As Tottenham’s away matches start to catch up with them, they will slip back down the league; their run of home matches having artificially helping them up the league of late.

Arsenal on the other hand play better at home than away, but have played one more away game than home game so there will be a slight benefit in subsequent matches.

But what of the accusation that one club or the other has had “easier” fixtures of late.   Considering matches against the other members of the “big six” we find

Date Match Res Score Competition
22 Aug 2021 Arsenal v Chelsea L 0-2 Premier League
28 Aug 2021 Manchester City v Arsenal L 5-0 Premier League
26 Sep 2021 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur W 3-1 Premier League
20 Nov 2021 Liverpool v Arsenal L 4-0 Premier League
2 Dec 2021 Manchester United v Arsenal L 3-2 Premier League

Arsenal have won one game, and lost four, having played two at home and three away.

Date Match Res Score Competition
15 Aug 2021 Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City W 1-0 Premier League
19 Sep 2021 Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea L 0-3 Premier League
26 Sep 2021 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur L 3-1 Premier League
30 Oct 2021 Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United L 0-3 Premier League
19 Dec 2021 Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool D 2-2 Premier League

Tottenham have won one game, lost three and drawn one having played four at home and one away.

Putting this together, Tottenham have had the advantage of playing at home, where they do considerably better than when they play away.  But it is away games that will dominate in the second half of the season.  Arsenal however have played more away games than home games, and so will balance that up in the second part of the season.

Neither team has performed well in “big six” games, each only winning once.

However Arsenal are scoring more goals per game than Tottenham, and Tottenham’s big advantage (home games) is going to be reduced from here on.

So the prediction at this half way point goes to Arsenal to grab fourth.

11 Replies to “Exactly why we are predicting Arsenal to finish ahead of Tottenham in fourth.”

  1. Very good analysis Tony, far more in depth than what is available in the popular press.
    It really is pathetic that the mainstream media seem incapable of putting in the same sort of effort and research as you when they produce an article, especially when you take account of the resources they have available to them.

  2. mick shelley

    The problem is mick, it’s not that they haven’t got the capability to put in the effort and research, it’s that they haven’t got the desire.

    They knew as well as Tony, you, I, and anyone else with more than a peanut for a brain how well Arsenal had performed for the last 2/3 rds of last season.

    Similarly they could see that not only did we have a tough 3 opening games, we had to play them with a depleted squad and a newly assembled back 4.

    But on the back of 3 defeats we were suddenly relegation fodder.

    No analysis. No perspective.

    They have since been proved to be utter idiots but do they change ? Only the other day some numpty in the Telegraph I think it was opined how Arteta is “only ever a couple of poor performances away from losing credibility”.

    Is he ? And with whom ? And why ?

    Effort !! Research !!

    Humbug I tell you, humbug !!!

  3. Nitram, Also Man City were assisted by Atkinson’s predictable red card to Xhaka.

    As for predictions, I prefer to avoid them. I believe that Arsenal are better than most teams, but experience shows that that doesn’t necessarily translate into results.

    I was always superstitious and anxious when Samuel used to routinely predict 5-0 victories

  4. Just watching the Chelsea Brighton match.

    How did Lukakus goal stand ?

    Everyone agrees Maupay was fouled but apparently because he then grappled with Lakaku after he was fouled and then went down too, late the goal stood.

    So what are they saying? We ignore the initial foul because one followed ? Sounds like a new rule to me. What are we saying ? A player has to go down for it to be a foul does he? Whether he went down immediately, late or not at all doesn’t mean it wasn’t a foul. Or are we making up more new rules ?

    How is Lukaku still on the pitch ?

    Lukaku lunges from 2 yards with both feet off the ground studs showing and takes everything. If he had connected with the Brighton players shins he would of broken his leg without question.

    You should get a red card for SERIOUS FOUL PLAY: A tackle or challenge that endangers the safety of an opponent or uses excessive force or brutality must be sanctioned as serious foul play.

    16 stone flying through the air studs first is certainly excessive force and most definitely endangering an opponent. RED CARD all day long.

    They didn’t even show the incident at half time, but that could of been because they spent the entire time defending Lukakus dodgy goal.

    I dread to think what they’d of made of that challenge if it was Xhaka.

    Honestly the double standards we see in refereeing and analysis, depending on who’s involved, is shocking.

  5. Danny Welbeck comes on for Brighton and scores the well deserved equalizer.

    Nice one Danny, great to see him back.

  6. Ben

    I posted a link to the entire ‘Calendar Year’ table in an earlier article. Here it is again for anyone who wants a look.

    But remember to keep it to yourself otherwise it might make the Journalist who claims Arteta is “only ever a couple of poor performances away from losing credibility” look a bit stupid.

    Who would believe it aye, a journalist looking stupid !!

  7. That calendar year shows something no one talks about. Say what you want, but the Hammers have gotten better. They are just 1 point off Arsenal.
    Not that I have any love lost for that taxpayer club, but I’d say Moyes does deserve some credit, does he not ?

    As for Lukaku, just replace Chelsea by Arsenal and Lukaku by Xhaka….and ask yourself if that would stand…
    The PGMOL/referee incompetence, incapability to NOT let personal preferences interfere and NOT applying the rule of law is just so blatant.
    I don’t believe they have some sort of conspirational agenda. They are just an incompetent, under trained, never questionned/audited, totally out of their depth bunch of wannabees, lacking proper management and leadership and seeking the limelight they will never get. Their management, like so many sports and official instances in England are not any better, smelling so much like Old Boys Network, reeking of complacency and self gloryfication. And any new referee they hire is bathed in the general mis-management of PGMOL and even if he were any good, he cannot do the job right, grow into it, get better.

    And, if you ask me, they are starting to feel the heat. Questions are appearing at other places then Untold. As long as it was French Mr Wenger from hated Arsenal, they could just ban him. But Mr Klopp of the Holy Pool! or Mr Guardiola from Oil Citeh (and the club of the powerful is growing)… that is just another story.

    A binary world of pro-fergie and anti Arsene/Arsenal and/or anyone against MU was easy to manage : fergie time, dole out cards, ignore offsides or invent some, etc. A multi-polar world where that scot relic is not present anymore goes way beyond their black/white binary discerning capabilities. As Untold once proved : heads/tail decisions in games would have been more favorable then the PGMOL referees.

    As Lincoln once said : you can fool some people most of the time, most people some of the time, but you cannot fool all people all of the time.

  8. I do hope that there will be a St. Totteringham’s Day this season . Really miss it !
    Up the Gunners !

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