By Bulldog Drummond
- Why football is in so much trouble?
- Did Arsenal really have defensive frailties last season as some suggest ?
Of course if football journalists were decent reasonable human beings they would be handing in their resignations this morning after telling us that the prime likelihood would be that Arsenal would sink below fourth and not make the Champions League, not that Chelsea would implode in the face of their attempts to be taken over.
Our suggestion that Arsenal could still make third is absolutely too much for the media even to contemplate, and to be fair, we did just say it was a possibility not a certainty, but still, we’ve got everything to play for to showing these snivelling anti-Arsenal journos a thing or two.
And true, one mega-massive home defeat for Chelsea doesn’t make an implosion, but even so, it was quite amusing to see.
This leaves the home and away table before our game on Monday looking like this…
|11||Crystal Palace home||15||4||7||4||22||17||5||19||1.27|
The final column “PPG” is for “points per game” allowing us to compare the teams, taking into account the difference in the number of games played. We get more points away than Palace do at home, although they have scored two more and conceded two fewer on both counts.
Arsenal are on a run of seven wins and one defeat in their last eight games home and away, while Palace have two wins in the last eight league games – both away. The media will call this, unbeaten in four league games. Or unbeaten in six in all competitions.
|23 January||Crystal Palace v Liverpool||L||1-3|
|9 February||Norwich City v Crystal Palace||D||1-1|
|12 February||Brentford v Crystal Palace||D||0-0|
|19 February||Crystal Palace v Chelsea||L||0-1|
|23 February||Watford v Crystal Palace||W||1-4|
|26 February||Crystal Palace v Burnley||D||1-1|
|5 March||Wolverhampton v Crystal Palace||W||0-2|
|14 March||Crystal Palace v Manchester City||D||0-0|
Crystal Palace are still in the FA Cup however having beaten Millwall away, and Hartlepool, Stoke and Everton at home. But the overall record of the two clubs in the league this season shows quite a sharp difference…
… Arsenal having picked up no less than 20 points more than Palace, having played one game fewer. Indeed if we were to look at the last 25 games in total this season we would see that the gap has widened to 25 points
While looking at the most recent form across the last six games home and away Arsenal are third and Palace 10th in the league.
Pulling all of this together the biggest news we can make out of this is that the last time Crystal Palace won a home league match was when playing bottom of the table Norwich City on 28 December 2021. In their last match, however, they did get a creditable goalless draw against Manchester City.
This I suspect will tell us a lot about Patrick Vieira’s tactics this time – it worked (up to a point) against Manchester City who have won 12 out of 16 away games, so why not against Arsenal?
There can be little doubt that the FA Cup will be a distraction for Palace however. Their semi-final is against Chelsea, who were squashed into the ground yesterday by the almight Brentford, and the winner will play Manchester City or Liverpool. Palace have been runners’ up in the FA Cup twice (1990 and 2016) and they’ll be delighted with a third such event, even though it would leave them rank outsiders whoever they played. It would do a lot for the club finances too.
So thus far from the stats it looks like Arsenal’s to lose.
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