Arsenal End of Season Scenarios – Stop the Negativity

Posted: April 26, 2012 in Arsenal FC
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Arsenal are set to play a very important three match stretch. A lot of people believe this stretch is important due to Chelsea making the CL final,  if they win; that eliminates the 4th place team and takes them into the Europa League, should Chelsea finish outside the top 4. While there is no doubt that securing 3rd place is the safest bet for Arsenal to punch a ticket to the CL next season, there are a lot of outcomes to this situation and it’s better for the club to focus on their results instead of others. This is a critical stage for creating the atmosphere needed within the team for certain players to make decisions about their future, and to finish the season in a strong display to set the stage for a busy and productive off-season. If Arsenal take care of their matches, the other situations will resolve themselves. So let’s take a look at the teams involved, their current standing, and their remaining schedules.

Arsenal –

Currently – 3rd Matches Left – Stoke(A) Norwich(H) West Brom(A)

These are not the toughest matches, but they won’t be a cakewalk either. Stoke away is always tough, Norwich give everyone problems and can be very dangerous if given too much space and West Brom on the last day seems to be the more manageable of the 3. The team needs 6 points out of this last 3 matches to secure 3rd place. 9 points would be great, but 6 will do nicely. Arsenal’s goal differential as it stands is +24; 13 better than Newcastle and 6 better than either Tottenham or Chelsea. The trio of NUFC, THFC, and CFC all have a match in hand over Arsenal, who would still hold on to 3rd should all of those clubs win those matches. Arsenal would actually be tied with Newcastle on points, but their goal differential would see them remain in 3rd. My prediction is 7 points out of the last three matches, with the toughest contest being this Saturday away at Stoke. If Arsenal win that match, I believe 3rd is wrapped up with ease. Final position? 3rd place for our Gunners!

Newcastle –

Currently – 4th Matches Left – Wigan(A) Chelsea(A) Man City(H) Everton(A)

NUFC currently sit 4th with a match in hand. The slimmest of margins separates Newcastle and Arsenal, but certainly the Magpies have the hardest run-in, add to that the goal differential and it’s a clear advantage to Gunners. Make no mistake, Newcastle deserve to be where they are and have done a masterful job in the transfer windows to secure signings that have been both economical and outstanding in performance. That said, it is hard for me to see how they will secure more than 6 points out of their remaining schedule. They face a resurgent Wigan team that will not be easy to beat, as Arsenal can attest. Chelsea will not rest on their laurels and will be looking to make a surge for the 4th spot. City, dependant on the outcome on Monday, may still have title aspirations and Everton will look to finish the season strong and as always, are tough at home. I see NUFC getting 6 points out of these matches, but even that may be a stretch, as 3 out of the 4 matches are away from home. I firmly believe Newcastle will retain 4th position.

Spurs –

Currently – 5th Matches Left – Blackburn(H) Bolton(A) Villa(A) Fulham(H)

Spurs have not been the same team since Arsenal took their spirits with that wonderful comeback in the North London Derby. The results of their last 10 matches? WLLLDDWDLL That streak has seen them go from 3rd place 10 points ahead of Arsenal and a stones throw from the top 2, to 5th place, 6 points behind us with a match in hand. Where there had once been talk about a run at the title hs now into a desperate fight to finish 4th. The matches they have left to play don’t seem tough, but Spurs have yet to win away from home in 2012, and have the look of a team in desperate need of answers. The fact that their top goal scorer and assist man is an ex Arsenal man who is on loan, Adebayor, says a lot about them as a team in my opinion. Even then, Adebayor has had a couple of run-ins with the manager and it has been reported he is unlikely to feature again for the team this year. With their current form, the matches left and their top goal scorer/assist man out, I see Spurs getting 6 points, if they are lucky, out of their remaining four matches. My prediction is that Spurs finish 6th.

Chelsea –

Currently – 6th Matches Left – QPR(H) Newcastle(H) Liverpool(FA) Liverpool(A) Blackburn(H)

Chelsea are a surprise entry in 6th place. This is unfamiliar territory for the Blues. The one saving grace in their season has been their run of form in cup competitions. They dismantled Spurs in the FA Cup semi’s and broke hearts in Barcelona to reach the final of the Champion’s League. Those runs aside, they have been underwhelming during the EPL campaign. In addition to having matches versus opposition in the relegation fight, they face in form Newcastle as well as Liverpool twice, with these 3 matches and QPR added, they face 4 matches in 10 days. QPR should be a win for them, with Taraabt out for QPR. Newcastle is an interesting match for several reasons. To make up ground, Chelsea must win this match, but it is a mere 4 days after the QPR match, but they also have the FA Cup final 3 days later. Will they rotate and play a weakened side for this match or lay it all out and sacrifice for the FA Cup final? Another question is, will they play their best available for both Newcastle and the FA Cup final and then trot out a weaker side for Liverpool away just 3 days later. So many possibilities. I see Chelsea stumbling in 2 of their remaining matches and securing a total of 7 points from them. I think they’ll win the match versus QPR and Blackburn and drawing either the NUFC or the LFC match. This brings us to the Champions League final. Should CFC finish outside the top four, which I think is likely, they MUST win the final to secure a CL spot for next year. Frankly, with the loss of Ramires, Meireles, Ivanovic and Terry for the final, against a Bayern team chock full of offensive fire power, that scenario seems unlikely, but not impossible. I believe Chelsea will finish 5th, win the FA Cup and lose in the CL final, leaving the top four to qualify for next year’s competition.

Arsenal supporters are very fickle on the social media pages of late. Every report, rumor and sensational bit of gossip can turn them for or against the team. The reality is this. At this late stage, Arsenal control their own fate. Win out or secure 6/7 points in the last 3 matches and maintain 3rd with no issues. With the players available, Arsenal should accomplish this task without much fuss. The worry over what every other team does is unnecessary in my view, the Gunners need to take care of their business and everything else will fall as it should. That’s what I expect to happen. I see the top four finishing with United as champs, again, with City, Arsenal and Newcastle following them. This is my prediction, could it change? Of course! But the constant in all scenarios I play out is Arsenal 3rd, I just don’t see the lads passing up the opportunity to finish this season off strong. There is way more character in this squad then there has been in quite some time and the likes of Szczesny, Sagna, Kos, TV5, TR7, RvP will not let us down.

So keep your head up Gunners, don’t let the media and the negative supporters bring you down. It’s been a tough haul this year, filled with ups and downs and everything in between. Even with all that has been thrown at us, we will finish the season with more points than last year, in a higher position, and with much better prospects for the year ahead.

See you lot on the weekend! Come on you Gunners!

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