Where Will Arsenal Finish This Season? 6th?

This Premier League season is shaping up to be one of the most exciting in a long time. Last season Chelsea had the title wrapped up by Christmas pretty much and the season before all of the big teams decided they didn’t want to win the Premier League and Leicester City swooped in and achieved one of the biggest surprises in footballing history.

However this season, it looks like all the big sides are taking it seriously – with the exception of Arsenal possibly.

Manchester United have spent big on Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof, Manchester City have spent £2 billion on defenders, Liverpool have signed Mohamed Salah, Dominic Solanke and Andy Robertson, Chelsea have splashed the cash with Alvaro Morata the pick of the bunch and Arsenal? We’ve brought in Alexandre Lacazette and The Tank.

In terms of summer signings, we’ve done okay but we’ve been left behind by the big spending of the other sides.

For me, the two Manchester clubs look like the ones to beat. Manchester City have sorted out their defensive problems, Jose Mourinho always wins the league in his second season and Liverpool and Chelsea will be up there again. Arsenal however will look to be better this season but I can’t see them finishing higher than 4th, if I’m perfectly honest.

We’ve managed to “keep” Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez but there are still question marks over our defence and midfield. Sead Kolasinac looks like an absolute beast but a couple of injuries and we might struggle. The other problem really is the mentality of the team, and whether they have that ruthless streak in them. We’ve often been criticised for being too soft and there’s not too many players in our team who have won the Premier League before.

Looking at how the big teams have spent this summer, the Top 6 for me will look like this:

1. Manchester United
2. Manchester City
3. Tottenham Hotspur
4. Chelsea
5. Liverpool
6. Arsenal

Where do you think Arsenal will finish this season? It would be worth checking out the latest odds with NetBet and seeing who the bookies think will win the Premier League!

Why Liverpool Will Beat Arsenal Tomorrow Afternoon

The Arsenal v Liverpool game tomorrow is something I am looking forward to. As with all the big games, you can only be excited about them and the rivalry between Arsenal and Liverpool is still one of the great encounters. Sure, games against Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham are special but I would put the game against Liverpool right up there in the footballing calendar.

Maybe it’s because one of my earliest childhood memories was watching the Liverpool v Arsenal game with my father and seeing that amazing goal from Michael Thomas in the final seconds. I was fortunate enough to briefly meet Michael Thomas a long time afterwards and remember how much of a nice guy he was. He signed an autograph for me and really couldn’t have been a nicer bloke. Along with watching Thomas the Tank Engine episodes and playing football in the park, that goal is one of the most memorable childhood recollections I have.

You can’t deny that Arsenal v Liverpool games aren’t special.

In recent times, our fortunes at Anfield have been very mixed. Last season we travelled to Liverpool and got absolutely slaughtered 5-1. The season before we won 2-0 with goals from Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla, and the season before that we won 2-1 when Robin Van Persie scored a dramatic winner with only minutes remaining.

In the last 6 encounters at Anfield, Arsenal have won 3, drawn 2 and lost 1 – which all in all isn’t bad at all.

And one of the games we drew we completely threw away, which was the game Andrei Arshavin scored a phenomenal 4 goals – after only having 4 shots all game.

So onto tomorrow, and if you go on current performances then Arsenal are seemingly clear favourites.

But if you look at the last 10 Premier League games, this is how Arsenal and Liverpool have actually fared:

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As you can see from my very hi-tech and fancy graphic, both Arsenal and Liverpool have had mixed fortunes in the Premier League. I think the reason why people seem to think Arsenal are in better form is because of the last couple of weeks – we’ve managed to beat Borussia Dortmund and Galatasaray in the Champions League as well as beat Newcastle United convincingly at the weekend. Liverpool on the other hand drew to European minnows FC Basel and Ludo Razgd in the Champions League, and lost heavily to Manchester United in their last league game.

But if you just put domestic form into account, there’s hardly and real difference there.

So don’t think Liverpool will be a push over.

Another problem Arsenal have is Brendan Rodgers is under fire from the media and Liverpool supporters, and will be desperate to turn things around as soon as possible. Unfortunately for us, he would have learnt a harsh lesson from the Manchester United game and will be looking to get the fans back onside with a big win over Arsenal.

With our defensive problems, players like Sterling will be a big threat.

Liverpool’s players will still be hurting from the criticism that has been thrown their way and if anything you will probably see a very defensive Liverpool (even at Anfield) who will be looking to catch us on the break – and unfortunately that is probably our biggest weakness, conceding goals on the counter attack.

For Brendan Rodgers this would be a low risk tactic and something he will be looking favourably upon.

If Arsenal want to get anything from this game, they are going to have to be patient, controlled and make sure they don’t go throwing men forward.

I can see goals in this game but Arsenal need to ensure they don’t buckle under the pressure – especially as they have a record of conceding late goals and letting leads slip, like they did against Anderlecht and Swansea.

My heart says Arsenal will win 3-1, but my head says Liverpool will beat us 2-1.

My Early Predictions For The Top 6

Here are my (extremely) early predictions on the final standings for the 2013/2014 season. They will more likely than not be well off the mark, considering there is a massive transfer window yet to come, but I thought it would be interesting to have an “educated” punt anyway.

Final Top 6 Positions:

1. Chelsea
2. Arsenal
3. Manchester City
4. Manchester United
5. Liverpool
6. Tottenham Hotspur

We all don’t know what will happen in terms of Arsenal’s transfer signings, and the futures of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez.

Chelsea

But we know that The Special One has returned to Chelsea. Chelsea have shown over the last 2 seasons the quality they have in their squad after winning the Champions League and then the Europa League, and with Mourinho at the helm they will be a major force in the Premier League next season. Abramovich isn’t shy to spend money so you can only assume that Mourinho will be allowed to bring in players that he feels Chelsea need to win the league.

Arsenal

Simply put, our league position will hugely depend on what business we do this summer. The one thing you can say about Arsene is that he is consistent, and with whatever squad he has managed to assemble on a budget, he has secured 4th position or better every time. Since the new stadium move we have finished either 3rd or 4th. So one would assume that with the supposed “war chest” available this summer, we could improve on that.

We all know that Arsene will not spend £30 million on a single player, it’s not his style. What he will do however is invest around the £15 million mark on players from, I would call, the second tier teams around Europe. Partly because they are less likely to have an ego and disrupt the dressing room, and partly because he believes he will bring in a player that feels they have something to prove.

So while we might not get those “superstar” signings all the fans crave, we potentially could get more mid-range signings than usual, which will improve our performance in the league. So instead of getting a couple of £12-£15 million players, we could bring in 4 or 5 – which would improve the squad dramatically.

Manchester City

The free-spending City (who have just officially announced Pellegrini as their new manager) have already invested in Fernandinho and Navas, but I am unconvinced by their title credentials. While Pellegrini’s record in Europe is okay (with Villarreal and Malaga) he hasn’t won a domestic league in Europe. In fact, his only honour as manager since managing in Europe is the Intertoto Cup with Villarreal in 2004.

So coming to a new country, a new league and a new challenge won’t be easy for him. The main question is if he can get all of the egos in the squad playing as a cohesive unit.

Manchester United

Despite winning the league at a canter last season, I’m not sure how David Moyes will do in the United hot-seat. Many have hailed his appointment a masterstroke, but I don’t see it. He’s done okay at Everton but speaking to blue supporters some of them were glad to see the back of him. Their main problem was that they felt his tactics were too negative and in the big games he bottled it. I suppose the prime example was when Everton played Wigan at home in the FA Cup and lost 3-0. If they won that game they would have met Millwall in the semi-finals and surely made it to the final.

I have a feeling that David Moyes may crack under the pressure of the legend that is Sir Alex Ferguson and it will be interesting to see how he copes if United lose one or two games on the trot.

Liverpool

Sounds coming from the Liverpool camp suggest that they will mount a bigger challenge to the Top Four but I think they will just miss out. They will probably keep Luis Suarez (mainly because no-one wants to but him) and he will be chomping at the bit next season (sorry).

I could try and make up some other reason why I’ve put Liverpool 5th but the truth is that I’ve done so for no other reason than it makes Tottenham finish 6th. I could have put Everton 5th but I think they’re more likely to get relegated after appointing Roberto “What’s a defence” Martinez.

Tottenham Hotspur

Gareth Bale was immense last season and even if he does end up staying, simply put, teams will be able to work out how to nullify his threat next season. Towards the end of the last campaign, teams started to deploy ways to reduce his control on games and you noticed that he wasn’t having as much influence on games as he had done earlier on in the season.

When Bale was out injured it was shocking how much they struggled without him so that, coupled with the fact he could get injured, is the reason they won’t do as well next season.

Added to this, having Europa League football will add to their fixture list and they will probably find it difficult to attract top players without Champions League football.

Final Table Prediction – Arsenal Finish 5th?!

With the race for the Champions League spots heating up after this weekends games, I thought I’d throw my 2 cents worth and try to predict the final table (well, the 3rd, 4th and 5th positions as that’s all we Arsenal fans actually care about!)

Below are the remaining fixtures for Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham with the predicted results and final positions:

Arsenal

Manchester United (H) 2-2 (Draw)
QPR (A) 1-2 (Win)
Wigan (H) 2-1 (Win)
Newcastle (A) 1-1 (Draw)

Final Total: 71 points

Chelsea

Swansea (H) 2-1 (Win)
Manchester United (A) 2-2 (Draw)
Tottenham (H) 2-2 (Draw)
Aston Villa (A) 1-2 (Win)
Everton (H) 2-0 (Win)

Final Total: 73 points

Tottenham

Wigan (A) 2-3 (Win)
Southampton (H) 3-0 (Win)
Chelsea (A) 2-2 (Draw)
Stoke (A) 1-1 (Draw)
Sunderland (H) 2-1 (Win)

Final Total: 72 points

To my horror, the results I predicted for the final games of the season would place Arsenal in 5th place at the end of the season:

Position | Team | Points | Goal Difference

3. Chelsea | 73 | 35
4. Tottenham | 72 | 22
5. Arsenal | 71 | 32

Missing out on the Champions League spot by a single point.

Hopefully I’m wrong somewhere and we do finish in the Top Four!

What are your final Premier League table predictions? 

Will Arsenal make the Top Four?

Predictions for Tonight?

So what are your predictions for tonight’s massive game?

If you listen to the “experts”, then you would think it’s a foregone conclusion.

I think there will be goals, and have a feeling it will be 3-1 either way. At this level, it depends on who starts the strongest and can get a stranglehold on the game.