A Transitional Season Promising So Much More

If worrying about the next technical director or why we haven’t replaced Sven yet, knock yourselves out. Any new appointment isn’t likely to happen before the end of June unless like Monchi, they get the elbow. By which time, you’d hope we’d certainly identified and prioritised summer signings. A helping hand in negotiations wouldn’t go amiss but losing your sh*t over it now is not contributing in a positive manner.

Chelsea’s defeat yesterday was far more relevant to our season. That result left a top four finish in our hands. It seems almost inexplicable given where we were a couple of months ago but even St Totteringham is stirring in his slumber.

Not that the Premier League wants anything to do with usurpers claiming the Champions League placings. They are willing to roll back regulations to suit the money men, despite being adamant four years ago that the rules were the rules. Tottenham, Richard Scudamore, said would play entire seasons in the same home ground:

They’d have to play in the same stadium for the entire year,” he said in July 2015. “For the integrity of the competition. You can’t have 19 home games with 10 at Milton Keynes and nine at Wembley – completely, completely unfair. That won’t be allowed in our competition.”

Sporting integrity or money? Anyone who believed the Premier League carried any sporting integrity just saw it washed away in money. Most likely government money as well since Tottenham sponged a name-change off TfL for the nearest station. Nearly a century on from Gillespie Road changing to Arsenal, White Hart Lane will become Tottenham Hotspur. We’ll still ask for tickets to the Swamp, however, and no-one will notice.

Table Manners

The remaining fixtures seem fairly straightforward for all clubs. On paper, we have some tough games at Everton, Wolves and Leicester. Any hopes that Burnley will be safe by the final day are scuppered by their run-in and their match at home to Cardiff next month is going to be decisive.

The run-ins are subject to minor tweaks of televisual comfort and the Europa League. Palace, for ourselves, moves to the 21st anyway but Leicester will move to 28th if we reach the semi-finals. I suspect that week is the one identified for the re-arranged Wolves fixture with the club waiting to see if we play on Wednesday or Thursday night?

Playing their remaining home games at the London Toilet is a double-edged sword for Tottenham. If they found it hard at Wembley, in front of a half-full stadium for Huddersfield, West Ham and Everton is going to be more bewildering. From memory, we had a mixed eight-game start to life at the Emirates where it was either 1 – 1 or 3 – 0. In the race for the top four, Spurs don’t have that luxury. And I do genuinely believe they will miss out on a top-four finish.

Ultimately, I think we will finish third, above United on goal difference, on 78 points. The next post will tell how we’ll get those totals on a match-by-match basis. Exciting stuff. Spurs, new ground and all, one below in what is an amusing footnote that their new ground drags them down into the Europa League.

’til Tomorrow.

15 thoughts on “A Transitional Season Promising So Much More

  1. Agree YW I did the sums and reckon we need 3 home wins and 3 away from 5. I expect we’ll leave it to the last game as Arsenal usually do.

  2. I’m not quite as confident we’ll make the top 4 , purely because our away form is so ‘average’.

    We’ll need to tighten up defensively to gain those 3 away wins & I’m 50/50 on that. If we end up needing to win 4 from 5 , forget it.

    Of course so much depends on our rivals. They all have other distractions.

    I can see Chelsea focussing on the Europa League but there has to be a fair chance both Man U & Spurs will be left to concentrate on the league after their next rounds of European competition.

    The fact that the new Shite Fart Lane can be opened mid season is clearly not cricket ….but if anyone can fuck up an opportunity it’s got to be The Spuds !

  3. I’ll go along with that. Think we’re improving on the top 6 games (at least not losing as much of them) will probably do with a upturn in a away games and have some momentum.

    I’m a big fan of momentum and think we may surprise on the upside end of season (shows you what I know)😊.

  4. Unless something extraordinary happens it would appear that Denis Suarez is heading back to Barcelona at the end of the season.

    Given that UE brought him in during January it seems that he’s looking for someone of his type probably for the longer term, so any ideas who that may be ? Or was he perhaps just cover for Ramsey until he leaves (especially as they look alike).

  5. Bill

    From the previous post.

    The problem is you see isolated statistics as the be all and end all, which is exactly what I was explaining and yes, it does shed light on why your interpretation of the statistics and what they mean are flawed, despite your claim to the contrary.

    Once again, the problem is you get fixated on your conclusion based on a very narrow and limited perspective, and then draw grand conclusions based on those limited stats and arguments.

    So no, I disagree with you that my explanation didn’t address the issue.

    The real problem is that my broader perspective didn’t align with your very limited perspective and interpretation, that’s actually the issue.

    You fixate on what amounts to what happens in a minuscule portion of the match, and the extrapolate that over the entire game and season when there are many other issues other than his individual performance that affect what he can or cant do in any match or series of matches, including the rather obvious factor of whether he’s actually on the pitch or not, that’s what you miss entirely.

    Yes, assists and goals are important statistics, and exceptional values in these statistics do mean a great deal.

    However, the point is that they are nowhere near the only deal, and changes in patterns of those particular statistics cannot be taken as the only factor at play in a game or even multiple seasons.

  6. Great post yogi

    I have to admit I certainly didn’t expect us to be favorites to finish in the top 4 at this point in the season. Emery deserves a huge amount of credit and finishing 4th and collecting mid 70’s points represents an incredible improvement over last season would vindicate almost everything emery has done this season. This season certainly provides strong evidence that sacking Arsene was the right move and IMO we should have never given AW that last 2 year contract.

  7. MikeSA

    Trying to rationalize why a purely creative player whose career was mostly built on making the “final pass” and now has stopped making those passes is like trying to rationalize how a striker who has always scored lots of goals but then stops scoring has not lost the critical part of his skill set. I think the nebulous concept of the “broader perspective” can’t be proven or disproven and is an attempt to tap dance around the real issue, but that’s just my opinion.

  8. To his defense, I remember Denis Suarez having one good dribble in a match recently. Given the insane market value, 20m for a player who can receive a pass and dribble forwards sounds about right :p

    RE: statistics debate. Given the wealth of data and proven success of ‘analytics’ etc, you have to give *some* value to the numbers. But they dont tell the whole story. In Ozil’s case, the way we are deploying him allows him to sit exactly in space where he is dangerous. He accepts the ball, turns, and immediately draws attention which opens space horizontally or also up to Auba/Laca. He still has a good touch and good weight of pass.

    Drawing parallel to the americano’s… baseball has been leading the charge with data/analytics/stats etc. However there still exists a certain intangible aspect of sport that is not quantifiable. I hate the cubs but they have a badass mega free agent pitcher Jon Lester. He is on a ramsey-at-juve or ozil-here contract worth 200 or 300 million. When people ask him about all of the statistics he just says ‘let me pick up this ball and throw it as hard as I can. then you can tell me if I am good or not’.

    If you cant respect both the cold stats in addition to the non-quantifiable side of the game, poo poo on you I say.

  9. Bill,

    Haha nice one centurion. Like it. Like it.

    However, I do agree with Mike that you can be rather reductive Bill. Like your C sparring it is generally your complete focus on goals, goals, strikers, end of story.

    I am a big fan of Ozil and have loved watching him play but this power struggle seems to have exposed his waning form compared to others who can see passes and put a shift in like Mhyki and Ramsey.

    I am sure that will bring Mike SA back in which is how it should be!

  10. So let me get this right, some French futbol people put out a list of the top 50 managers of all time and Klopp and Zidane are higher on that list than Arsene. Klopp who has 2 league titles and is 1-7 in Finals has less total trophies than Arsene does FA Cup titles alone.

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