Ok, now the Spurs win has washed out the system, it’s time to think like a football club would.
Let’s take a look at the job to be done.
Arteta alluded to the fact that his team knows what needs to be done, which means they’ll have looked a the historical numbers when it comes to top 4, done some fancy spreadsheeting and probably concluded like most of the Le Grove community mathematicians did that 70 points is going to be roughly what is needed to make top 4 this season.
So where are we as things stand?
We have 42 points from 23 games.
70 points is most likely the target for top 4 this season.
Arsenal has 15 games left of the season.
That means we need 9 wins and a draw to make sure of it.
Our next 5 games are:
The Wolves game is a 6 pointer, I’m going to be there for it after missing the game on the 27th, so I’m hoping for a big win. They were poor by their standards against Leicester City even though they one. I thought they looked quite leggy, not surprising considering the level of opponent they’ve had to deal with. I think we can get at them in a home game, we’ve had a day extra of rest and I don’t think we had to work as hard for our win as they did.
That run of games after, bar Liverpool, is absolutely not the worst. You would be hoping we could pick up a minimum of three wins out of that pack of games, and hopefully a point out of the other one. But let’s be frugal here and say we pick up 3 wins out of five and a point from the other two.
We exit with 10. 20 points to go.
This is the run after the international break:
Listen, I’m going to be greedy here. I want to be beating Manchester United at home, it’s time. We need to go to West Ham and land a win because it might be a 6 pointer. But look, I’ll be frugal, let’s call it 3 wins and a draw. Another 10 points.
That means we need 10 more points from the final 5 games which would be.
Spurs (A) (TBC)
Chelsea (A) (TBC)
I mean, it’s a tough run, but at that stage of the season, some teams are finished, some are fighting in Europe, and others are in a rut of form. Fitness will tell. Hunger will be the driver. Everyone will be playing on fumes. But I fancy us to do something special.
It’s going to be tough, there are going to be slips when you don’t expect them, there will be wins when you have written off the points. But just look at our form since we dropped Auba:
2nd best defense
3rd most goals (1 behind Liverpool, they’ve played one more game)
4th most points (having played 2 less than United in 3rd)
Then factor statistics are broader like having the 3rd most clean-sheets in the league this season.
Then consider the 12th man, the fans, showing up every single game.
I mean, it’s hard not to get a little bit excited that something is brewing this season.
I know there is a bit of table-thumping going on at the moment, folk that were calling the project shit / running around calling people ArtetaSexuals are now the most aggressive about how easy top 4 will be, but just think back to where we were this time last season.
Playing for nothing, after a shocking start to the season with a squad full of misfits.
No one took us seriously.
But we used the remaining 60% of the season to continue building out the vision. That second half of the season, we accrued the 3rd most points. Scored the 3rd most goals. Had the 2nd best defence. Remember how many people were spitting RAGE about that sample of games meaning nothing? Well, look at us now, turns out 24 games was a pretty good indicator of where the club was going.
Last season, our first 15 games returned 17 points. Our first 15 this season returned 23 points. Those 6 extra points last season would have had us on the same points as Chelsea in 4th.
This summer, The Athletic asked top agents who had the worst summer, and the majority voted for Arsenal. Ben White was picked out as the worst summer signing. Sky said no one wanted Tomiyasu. Who is saying any of those things now?
This season, we had the worst start on record because no one took our COVID outbreak seriously.
We’re still dealing with the worst of the refereeing decisions.
But we’re heading into March right in the mixer for top 4.
It’s a good time to be an Arsenal fan.
Even if we don’t make it this season, the youngest team in the Premier League will have learned a lot about the competition, they will gain vital experience that will help them jump another level next season, and they’ll have tasted what it means to be competitive in the fiercest league in the world.
For now, it’s one game at a time. The biggest job Arteta has to do is make sure Shad Forsythe is given all the cotton wool he needs. The worst thing that could happen to our players is an injury breakout. Because we’re out of the cups this weekend, the players will get a nice break after the Wolves game. 10 days means small knocks can be remedied, players can get a bit of a mental break away from each others, and Arteta can work on planning the next half of the season.
Ok, short post today, check out the podcast and the video below.