by Tony Attwood
There is a growing proposition in newspapers and elsewhere that Arsenal don’t really have any advantage over Manchester United because their two “games in hand” are rather difficult – Tottenham and Chelsea away. In fact that suggestion is that Manchester United have the advantage, although quite how that is the case is not made clear.
Here’s the table on Friday afternoon…
|6||West Ham United||26||12||6||8||45||34||11||42|
If the teams with games to spare win their spare games 2-0 the table would be…
|8||West Ham United||26||12||6||8||45||34||11||42|
Now that looks quite encouraging for Arsenal and bad news for Manchester United and Tottenham, and the media will never accept such a scenario. So somehow it needs to be suggested that Arsenal will lose their two games in hand.
Of course, the mindlessness of this notion is pointed out on occasion, as with the Twitter account that told Sky Sports News “Manchester United is a more favorable candidate for that 4place due to her mental stability”
Equally bonkers was the comment on the same site that says, “Funny how most of these guys think arsenal games in hand are against chelsea,wolves,spurs and you expect them to beat all this teams”
The fact of course is not just who Arsenal play, but rather who the other clubs vying for the famously “not a trophy” position are playing.
By which I mean, it might well be that Arsenal are very likely to lose these two matches, but that is meaningless unless we look at who the other teams vying for fourth are playing. After all, it is likely that if Arsenal are going to lose against other members of the traditional big six, then so might Tottenham, or even Manchester United.
And yet the pundits are calling on people to see seeing Arsenal as favourites not to get into the top four, by selecting two from the games remaining as “Arsenal’s games in hand” as if somehow they are separate from all the rest.
But obviously, these are simply two more games in a list of games – and any sensible discussion would consider all of the games each team has to play rather than just pick out two games that Arsenal have to play.
So let’s try what the media pundits and their fellow travellers refuse to contemplate.
We have games against Watford, Leicester, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Brighton, Southampton, West Ham, Leeds, Newcastle and Everton, all of which are potentially winnable.
We have games against Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea where points might be dropped because of the quality of the opposition, or the pressure of the occasion.
So what about Manchester United? If we put the games into same two sections and use a similarly crude way of dividing up the two clubs we find that Manchester Un have winnable games against Watford, Leicester, Everton, Norwich, Brentford, Brighton and Crystal Palace.
They have games in which points might be dropped against Manchester City, Tottenham, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea.
So in this very simple and crude comparison, Arsenal have 10 winnable games which if we won them would give us 30 points, Manchester United has seven winnable games and five difficult games, giving them 21 points.
So the notion of “Arsenal’s two games in hand are against Tottenham and Chelsea” and thus Arsenal have a problem, is typical mindless codswallop from people who realise that their prognostications about Arsenal’s impending doom have now fallen flat and so now they desperately need to cling on to something else.
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