Arsenal still remain on target for a Champions League berth, and here’s why…

walcott goal vs man utd

Even when we were languishing 9 points behind Tottenham, I remained adamant in my view that Arsenal Football Club would be playing Champions League Football next season. My view was based on historical precedent and a statistical analysis, which appears justified based on results over the past couple of months. Here are my predictions and analysis of our remaining fixtures, and also that of our nearest rivals Chelsea and Tottenham.

Arsenal

Saturday 4th May (away) vs. QPR:

QPR have managed just two points from their last six games (two draws against Reading and Wigan).

QPR have nothing to play for, having been relegated on 28th April.

The only threat I see them posing is from their bloated playing staff looking to attract interest from others in the summer. Such a disjointed set of priorities has little chance of stopping an Arsenal team having bagged 17 points from a possible 21 in the league since 16th March.

Prediction: 3 points (score line 2-0).

Total league points: 67.

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Tuesday 14th May (home) vs. Wigan:

The manner in which this game unfolds depends largely on the outcome of Wigan’s FA Cup Final against Manchester City three days before. If Wigan can grab victory from under the snouts of last season’s champions (not a realistic outcome in my view), then the wind will be in their sails and the fixture will be a hard fought one (after all, what’s the point in featuring in European competition if you are then unable to avoid relegation from the Premiership?).

Having said this, regardless of the mental approach Wigan turn up with, this home game should be a banker. Tottenham and Chelsea play each other at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday 8th May and will take points off one another. Arsenal will be full of determination to drive home the nail in the coffin (well, almost…).

Prediction: 3 points (score line 2-1).

Total league points: 70.

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Sunday 19th May (away) vs. Newcastle:

Newcastle have a tough fixture away to West Ham on Saturday 4th May. The outcome of this game will have a huge bearing on how Newcastle approach their final game against Arsenal. A draw or three points against the Hammers, followed by a probably three points against QPR ought to guarantee Premiership survival by the time they host Arsenal on Saturday 19th May.

Prediction: 3 points (score line 3-2).

Total league points: 73 – fourth place.

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So what about Chelsea and Tottenham? The outcome of their remaining fixtures will no doubt have a massive impact on our prospects for a top four finish. Here are the predictions:

Tottenham

The one issue Tottenham have to deal with is that of a relatively congested fixture schedule. Three games in eight days between Saturday 4th May and Sunday 12th May before their final game against Sunderland on Sunday 19th May, including an away trip to Stamford Bridge.

Saturday 4th May (home) vs. Southampton:

No more Europa football and with a sufficient period of rest prior to this game, Tottenham should cruise through this one. Admittedly the Saints have performed well at home against a number of the big teams this season as well as scoring freely. However to expect any points from this is too much to ask. Tottenham will see this as a must win game prior to their trip to Stamford Bridge four days later.

Prediction: 3 points (score line 3-1).

Total league points: 65.

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Wednesday 8th May (away) vs. Chelsea:

“Le crunch” as far as both teams are concerned. Not one to miss!

The outcome is a difficult one to call. Chelsea have home advantage to call upon, but they only have three days to recover after their trip to Old Trafford. In my view this will be key in determining the result. Furthermore, Rafa’s men have the distraction of the Europa league to grapple with.

I am backing a narrow Tottenham victory here.

Prediction: 3 points (score line 2-1).

Total league points: 68.

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Sunday 12th May (away) vs. Stoke:

After back to back wins in the league, Stoke have one (and a half) feet in the door for Premiership football next season. Their fixture against Sunderland on Monday 6th May should result in at least a point, if not all three, thereby securing their future.

Tottenham on the other hand could be coming off a victory at Stamford Bridge, and will simply have too much class for the Potters to handle.

Prediction: 3 points (score line 2-0).

Total league points: 71.

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Sunday 19th May (home) vs. Sunderland:

It is imperative for Sunderland to bag at the very least three points, ideally four, from their remaining 3 games. I can see them achieving this by overcoming Southampton at home in their penultimate game of the season. Under normal circumstances one might argue that this could dim the intensity of their performance, but for one outlier….the nutter that is Di Canio.

Despite this however, I remain convinced of a Tottenham win. They will be determined to avoid a repeat of last season’s slump, and the fact that Champions League qualification could be solely in their hands by this stage we may see them secure a resounding victory at the Stadium of Light.

Prediction: 3 points (3-1)

Total league points: 74 – third place.

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Chelsea

Chelsea currently lie third in the Premier League. The majority of punters believe that Benitez’s tinker man approach to squad rotation and the overall quality they possess will be sufficient to see them over the line (despite the fixture congestion they face in the coming weeks). I am not so convinced however, and here’s why…

Sunday 5th May (away) vs. Manchester United:

Contrary to what many believe, this is the wrong time for Chelsea to be playing United. After a rather pedestrian showing at the Emirates last weekend, Ferguson will no doubt have put the boot in training this week.

I hear you cry “but they have won the league already!” – Well, put bluntly, no such attitude exists at United. They will view this as a massive game and an opportunity to deal a hammer blow to Benitez. This attitude and constant striving for improvement is what makes them the dominant force in English football. They will be eager to put on a show for their home faithful, and the game comes just three days after Chelsea’s Europa league semi-final tie against Basel.

Prediction: 0 points (score line 0-1)

Total league points: 65.

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Wednesday 8th May (home) vs. Tottenham:

A simply massive game, one which may prove too much for Chelsea after their Europa league semi-final tie and the away game at Old Trafford – see my earlier prediction above.

Prediction: 0 points (1-2)

Total league points: 65.

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Saturday 11th May (away) vs. Aston Villa:

Villa’s priority will be the away game at Norwich and their final game of the season at home to Wigan. My feeling is that they will survive by the skin of their teeth this season, possibly picking up a point at Norwich and then beating Wigan on the final day.

Any points that they can pick up against Chelsea will be seen as a bonus. However, at this juncture I see Chelsea as possibly having to play catch up with Arsenal and Tottenham. It will be a must win game for Chelsea, one which they ought to secure.

Prediction: 3 points (score line 3-1)

Total league points: 68

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Sunday 19th May (home) vs. Everton:

Everton lost any hope of Champions League qualification after the 0-0 draw at the Emirates, but most importantly they will have achieved the objective of finishing above Liverpool.

Everton are a tough proposition, but they simply will not have as much to play for as Chelsea who should overcome them quite comfortably.

Prediction: 3 points (2-0)

Total points: 71 – fifth place.

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League table prediction:

3 – Tottenham – 74 points.

4 – Arsenal – 73 points.

5 – Chelsea – 71 points.

Until next time!

Joshua @ RL

 

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Categories: General, Predictions, Premier League, UEFA Champions League

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