Premier League Run-in: The Stats for Chelsea, Man Utd and Arsenal’s Last 5 Games

The last 5 games of the League are going to decide the season, here we attempt to make sense of the stats from the past 4 years to understand the run-ins for Chelsea, Man Utd and Arsenal.

My previous statistical analysis of Arsenal’s run-in predicted that we would take something like 16 points from our last 8 games, or 65.7% of the points available.

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Arsenal’s ‘easy run in’ may not be so easy – The real facts


The consensus in football at the moment is that Arsenal’s final eight games are going to be much softer than Man Utd or Chelsea’s. I do agree that on paper they are easier fixtures, and Man Utd and Chelsea have to play each other and Liverpool – all games where points can be won.

On the other hand the so called smaller teams are where we have struggled to pick up the points in the past. This season so far has seen Arsenal improve their consistency in results against these sort of teams – the wins against Stoke and Hull away showed the team’s ability to dig deep. Here we look at the historical data and see whether Arsenal’s run in really is as easy as it seems.

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Arsenal 5-0 Porto Highlights: a balanced side get it right on the night with a Nasri stunner

Bendtner 10, Bendtner 25, Nasri 63, Eboue 66, Bendtner (pen) 90+1

I’m still reeling from the fantastic performance Arsenal put in last night. Say what you want about Porto, winning 5-0 in the second round of the Champions League is some achievement -especially after being 2-1 down in humiliating fashion in the first leg.

Arshavin provided a lot of the key moments in the game, setting up three goals. Overall I think everyone put in a good performance, and gave a good account of the team.

Continue reading “Arsenal 5-0 Porto Highlights: a balanced side get it right on the night with a Nasri stunner”

The father of dirty dirty football in the Premier League, and how Ramsey was done in

Sam Allardyce has molded Blackburn in his own image during his time there, just has he did at Bolton. The match against Liverpool saw Blackburn notch up 25 fouls, equaling this season’s record for fouls. This endemic ‘physical’ style play is the direct cause of Aaron Ramsey’s leg hanging off at an awful angle on Saturday.

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Wenger was right not to buy Babel – A transfer window warning

Ryan Babel was a Wenger transfer target in the summer of 2007. The press were reporting that it was a done deal, that Ryan would be joining Arsenal in a matter of weeks. However, the deal fell through, and it looked like the Ajax player would remain in Amsterdam, that was until Rafa Benitez came in with an £11.5 million bid which took Ryan to Liverpool.

Image courtesy of Paul Blank

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Arsenal 2 – 1 Liverpool: Carling Cup

A good result against a half strength Liverpool team tonight. Arsenal played a mixture of squad players: Eduardo, Gibbs, Ramsey, Bendtner, reserves: Senderos, Sylvestre, injury returns: Nasri and youth players: Gilbert, Eastmond.

The game saw some end to end football by both teams. Arsenal’s passing was exquisite at times, although it got very sloppy towards the end. Babel was awful for Liverpool and negated almost every attack they attempted, Wenger was right not to sign him on this performance.

Merida’s goal was fantastic, as was Insua’s, Bendtner managed to finish Liverpool off with a good strike on 50 minutes. Eastmond made a decent debut, I was also really impressed with Nasri – he was fantastic, and looked really hungry for the win. Wenger may have a selection problem with him back in contention.

Overall a good performance, Sanchez Watt, Gibbs, Eduardo, Ramsey, Merida and Nasri particuarly impressed me. Senderos and Sylvestre had good and bad spells in defence. I wouldn’t like to see them against higher quality than Babel and Voronin to be honest.

So through to the next round, with the important game against Tottenham coming up on Saturday at 12.45.

Adebayor shows his true colours, Arsenal were unlucky: Man City 4 – 2 Highlights

Arsenal played some fantastic football at times yesterday, but we were undone again by defensive problems. As soon as we pushed for the winner at 1-1 the defence was left open, and City scored 3 goals in 7 minutes to make it 4-1. Rosicky’s goal was deserved, and we came close to another in the last few minutes – but overall a disappointing game.

Worst of all was Adebayor’s attitude. For the whole game he played like a man who was desperate to prove a point. The fact that he never played like that last season shows just how disloyal he is.

I know that he did get some stick last season – but that is to be expected when you hold the club to ransom over a transfer and get a massive new contract out of it. All that fans wanted to see was Ade get his head down and work for the team – he didn’t. In any case Adebayor did not get that much trouble from Arsenal fans last season.

In his mind though he is a persecuted induvidual with a point to prove – and yesterday it got too much for him.

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Thanks to Gunnerblog for the gif

Cesc’s ankle was almost broken, then he stamped on Van Persie cutting his face with his studs – an event that RVP has spoken out against. As well as that was the celebration which was utterly disgraceful, and left a steward unconcious after causing pandemonium in the away end.

Kolo did the right thing and chased Ade the length of the pitch to pick him up, that is a real player there. Apology or no apology Adebayor is in big trouble, and it’s only right that the FA are investigating the matter.

Apart from that it was great to see Rosicky back – he added real attacking flair with an assist and a goal.

Sadly it was defence that cost us, 3 times we were exposed on the left as Clichy came forward – and City exploited the space.

Alan Hansen said on MOTD last night that Arsenal are the only team who can play so well and not win, and he is right. It is all down to defence. On the left the cover from Diaby was poor, and Song filled in on one occasion, but his tackle was non-existent.

The only hope I can take from this game is that Arsene will be determined not to let this happen again.

There is a shakiness about Arsenal, a lack of confidence, that means even when we play our best football we still don’t pick up the points. We need to correct these problems as soon as possible, the defensive balance is something we have struggled with for 4 years now. We rarely keep a clean sheet and that doesn’t win you titles.

If Wenger can re-address the problems within the team then we could be title-challengers, until then we will continue to play good football with little to show for it.

The Eduardo Affair: Botched and inconsistent

The Eduardo Affair has been grabbing all the headlines recently, and now that the striker has been charged with a two game ban it looks like Arsenal are going to appeal against what the club calls an ‘arbitrary decision’. This is the best course of action in a totally unjust situation.

UEFA have set a precedent in doing this, that is that they will now have to take retrospective action on all such incidents, and punish them in a similar way. If this does not happen, then it will mean that Eduardo has been singled out for special treatment, in a totally unfair way.

So I would like Ryan Babel prosecuted for his dive in the 2008 Champions League QF at Anfield, which knocked us out of the competition, and Rooney prosecuted for that dive with at Old Trafford in 2005. Last year Ronaldo dived to get the freekick at Emirates in the Champions League Semi, which he then scored to put the game beyond hope of a come back.

At Old Trafford on Saturday we saw the sort of problems this decision causes, when Arshavin was denied one of the most blatant penalties I’ve seen in years.

In the second half Wayne Rooney was looking to go down over Almunia as the ball headed out of play. In principle there is no difference between what Rooney and Eduardo did, they were both looking to go down over the keeper. Rooney ran towards Alumnia and was already down on one knee before he touched Almunia.

UEFA have overturned a referee’s decision, and now they must be prepared to do that for every game. The referee didn’t see it as a dive, he saw a foul, and gave a penalty. He then stood by his decision after the game. UEFA looked at video evidence (which they refuse to use during games) and retrospectively said that he dived, and decieved the referee.

For deciving the ref Eduardo has been given a 2 match suspension, an offence which would have earned him only a yellow in the game. This doesn’t make sense and I hope that Arsenal pursue all options and take a stand over this.

UEFA refuse video evidence during games, there’s the whole 5 ref crap on trial in the Europa League this season instead, but they are happy to use it after the match to prosecute someone. Eduardo isn’t even a serial offender, I’ve never seen him dive before, unlike C.Ronaldo or Drogba.

Le Grove have started up ‘dive watch’ keeping track of all the dives which UEFA should be prosecuting players for over the next few months, have a look and add to the list, because it only helps our argument.

Tony Attwood also discusses the possibility making UEFA look stupid with their overreaction to the situation, in a nicely written piece.

What do you think about Eduardo’s treatment, are UEFA right to take a stand, or complete imbeciles?

A bad week ends, the Eduardo affair and Old Trafford

The dust is settling on what was a bad week for Arsenal Football Club. Firstly Eduardo was singled out for very harsh treatment by UEFA after a dive against Celtic. Then we go to Old Trafford, take the lead and outplay United, only to concede a silly penalty and score an own goal.

Eduardo has now been labelled as a diver and the way Man Utd fans treated him at OT was testimony to Wenger’s description of events as a ‘witch hunt’. Eduardo was booed as he warmed up and the fans made diving gestures to the player. God forbid he ever goes down in the box again, because the reaction will not be friendly and the pressure will be on the referee.

The United game was unlucky, we played well, Arshavin scored a cracker, but the team looked nervous. That nervousness led to Almunia conceding a needless penalty, where Rooney was already nearly grounded before Almunia touched him, and then led to Diaby’s crazy own goal. I thought Diaby was good for the most part of the game, so hopefully he can get over it.

I have to admit I was going crazy when we scored in the 95th minute, just like Wenger, and I felt the same frustration when I finally saw the offside flag below. The sending off of Wenger was farcical and he handled it impeccably. He deserves his apology. See the highlights of the game at Arsenalist.com

The game itself gives me hope, as we are still missing so many attacking players, and the team still played better than Utd. I think we can continue our good form in the coming games.

In terms of Eduardo Arsenal have submitted a 19 page document to UEFA in defence of the player. It seems though that UEFA already see him as guilty and he is going to get a two match ban no matter what. This is a dangerous precendent to set, and if they are to be fair then UEFA must take retrospective action on events in every game – something which they cannot physically do. Sam Wallace puts it nicely in this article in the Independent.

Finally today is transfer deadline day, and suprisingly there is nothing to report on the Arsenal front. I don’t think we’ll see any signings for the top four, but I wouldn’t mind Arsenal snapping up one or two last minute bargains.

What are your thoughts on the way Arsenal have been treated by officials in the last week?

Arsenal 3 – 1 Celtic: Highlights, talking point Eduardo

Arsenal dominated Celtic yesterday to reach the finals of the Champions League, with a good display of passing football. Sadly the headlines today focus solely on the dubious penalty Eduardo won for the first goal.

Highlights from the excellent Arsenalist.com:

There was little or no contact, and if it had been given against us I would be upset about it. The fact is though that this happens in football. As Wenger said Babel blatently dived in the CL QF at Anfield 2 years ago which knocked us out of the competition. I have no idea why Eduardo went down like that, but he isn’t the sort of player you expect that of, and it seems to be a one off.

The press seem to be having a field day over Eduardo’s actions, in a qualifier where we were always going to go through. Players like Drogba have a reputation for diving and never seem to get this sort of reaction. That is what I don’t understand. Eduardo wasn’t right, but there are much worse offenders in English football.

Aside from that the game was a straightforward affair, we passed the ball around neatly, and Eboue’s performance was a highlight! He made several nice turns and passes, and his goal topped it off. He was playing in the front three and often was playing as centre forward which was interesting.

Arshavin, Ramsey and Wilshere came on in the second half and all looked impressive. Arshavin showed why he is one of the best players in Europe at the moment, scoring a goal and making an impact within minutes of coming on. Denilson also performed well.

Most pleasingly the central defensive partnership of Vermaelen and Gallas was again solid last night. Vermaelen didn’t miss a header, and made several interceptions as did Gallas, and both made excellent forays going forward.

A good performance, now we need to see the draw this afternoon for the group stages. As well as that we have the small matter of a league tie at Old Trafford on saturday afternoon.