Dec 302009
 

As a halfway feature, I thought I’d compare where we are now to where we were last year, but instead of being based on an arbitrary date, instead it is a direct comparison of matching fixtures. Comparing our position to last Christmas would be flawed, as we may have had an easier or trickier first half of the season, this instead shows us what we’ve gained and lost in the same set of games.

For purposes of comparison, the sides that finished 18th, 19th and 20th last season (Newcastle, Middlebrough and West Brom) have been replaced by the sides that came up in 1st, 2nd and via the playoffs (Wolves, Birmingham, Burnley) respectively.

 

Games we’ve gained three points compared to 08/09 (loss -> win)
Fulham (a), Hull (h), Aston Villa (h)

Games we’ve gained two points compared to 08/09 (draw -> win)
Everton (a), Spurs (h), Liverpool (a)

Games we’ve gained one point compared to 08/09 (loss -> draw)
None

Games we’ve matched the result of 08/09
Portsmouth (h), Man City (a), Wigan (h), Blackburn (h), Birmingham/Middlesbrough (h), Wolves/Newcastle (a), Chelsea (h), Stoke (h)

Games we’ve lost one point compared to 08/09 (draw-> loss)
Man Utd (a), Sunderland (a)

Games we’ve lost two points compared to 08/09 (win -> draw)
West Ham (a), Burnley/West Brom (a)

Games we’ve lost three points compared to 08/09 (win -> loss)
None

 

Overall, we’ve gained a total of nine points, mainly due to victories over Fulham, Hull and Villa, in fixtures we lost last season. We’ve also done better against the sides fighting for fourth, with wins over Spurs and Liverpool.

We finished with 72 points in May, so the nine we’ve already gained would take us to 81. With the league more open than ever, a total of around 85 would probably win it, which begs the question – how many more can we gain? Let’s look at the fixtures:

 

December – January
Portsmouth (a) – last season 3 pts, Bolton (h) – 3 pts, Everton (h) – 3 pts, Bolton (a) – 3 pts, Villa (a) – 1 pt, Man Utd (h) – 3 pts
Total 16/18 points

February
Chelsea (a) – 3 pts, Liverpool (h) – 1 pt, Sunderland (h) – 1 pt, Stoke (a) – 0 pts
Total 5/12 points

March
Burnley/West Brom(h) – 3 pts, Hull (a) – 3 pts, West Ham (h) – 1 pt, Birmingham/Middlesbrough (a) – 1 pt
Total 8/12 points

April
Wolves/Newcastle(h) – 3 pts, Spurs (a) – 1 pt, Wigan (a) – 3 pts, Man City (h) – 3 pts
Total 10/12 points

May
Blackburn (a) – 3 pts, Fulham (h) – 1 pt
Total 4/6 points

 

On the face of it, January and February seem to be enormously tricky months, but ironically those fixtures are those we had the most success in last season. A win at Chelsea, another at home to United, the double over Bolton and creditable draws against Villa and Liverpool were actually a great set of results that we perhaps didn’t appreciate at the time because of the daft losses intermingled with them.

One thing is for sure – if we pick up as many points in the January games as we did last season, we’ll be in a fantastic position. February then gives us the chance to put right some of last season’s failures – a single point from a pair of games with Sunderland and Stoke was a major disappointment.

We have left only one fixture that we lost last campaign, that awful display at Stoke. That fact alone suggests that we are more than capable of embarking on the sort of consistent run that defines champions. We’ve done a lot of the hard work, gaining nine points in the first half of the season. Another four or five, and we might be lifting the title in May.

We are moving in the right direction, no doubt about it.

  17 Responses to “Nine points up on last season’s corresponding fixtures – where can we gain the rest?”

  1. Great analysis. Stuff like this is always interesting – I remember last season that we did better when Senderos was in the side against when Toure was. Could do the same with Fabregas in or out the side.

    Looks tough to improve on January (16/18 points) though!

  2. good article,
    west ham home and stoke away will take us to 86.
    i think it will be enough for title

  3. Thanks – I must admit I was surprised by the number of points we took in the upcoming run of games. If we match that again we’ll be laughing.

    It seems to be proof once more that you don’t win the league against the big four. We’ll need to get a decent return from January, and then improve on the disappointments of West Ham/Stoke/Sunderland etc.

  4. AW said chelsea would drop points. I believe the same applies to Arsenal.
    The game against Portsmouth is a must win if we are to keep the pressure on Chelsea.
    On paper it looks like a win. But beware. Portsmouth are staring at relegation and would no doubt come out fighting.If every gunner performs as a member of the team and not individually there is no reason why the gunners can’t prevail.
    Berbatov says there is no reason why the rd cant win the title a fourth time echoing the red faced cunt.I think the epl better close shop and change it to MU pl and make sure they win every year.

  5. Nice article. I did my own counting and got 79 – 81p in May. Will that be enough? And that is with Fab4 fresh and faboulus like he played against Villa.

    Hope for more points though. Go Gunners…

  6. Yeah, I’m sure we’ll drop unexpected points, but as long as we drop less than last year we might just find ourselves in a great position.

    As for Pompey, they are a much better team than their position suggests.

    Gurra – I doubt 79-81 will be enough to be honest, I’m thinking 85.

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  9. Good Analysis.

    January and February are tricky months. Do not confuse this years fixtures with the ones from last year. Last year we had four 0-0 draws during this period and got only 11/21 points. 14/24 if we include the Portsmouth game from Dec. The wins over Chelsea and United did not come in Jan/Feb.

    The corresponding fixture results were certainly good but we haven’t shown that kind of consistency and that’s the one word that will define the champion at the end of the year.

    Jan and Feb are tricky because we tend to lose players to injuries in Nov/Dec. Something that we have seen again this year, so the next couple of months will be a big test of the squad depth.

    One thing is for sure, if we can replicate the results from last year’s corresponding fixtures we will be in with a big big chance.

  10. Portsmouth will be going all out to stiflre the gunners.class will prevail provided the referee clamps on tackles disguised to gut/injure/maim. The referee must not hesitate to give the thugs an early bath if the tackles are violent.
    If the referee takes decisive action there is no reason why the gunners can’t get three points.

  11. Arsene could forsee that Chelsea would drop points and, though he won’t divulge what it is that he sees as their weakness, he was definitely right – they HAVE dropped points.
    But can’t help wondering why, with all that sharp observational skill and ability to predict how Chelsea would surrender points to, say, Everton, Arsene was crushed underfoot 0-3 when it came to actually playing Chelsea. What went wrong?
    I know an idiot down at the pub who predicted Man Utd would drop points recently, and he was right too. Amazing.

  12. I think the key to winning the league this season will be the defence. We’re very thin there, i don’t know what would happen should either Gallas or the Verminator get sidelined. Midfield? I don’t think we have a big problem there. Why? Because if say we use one of our young players (JET or Eastmond) as stand-in holding midfielders, still our passing game will shine through, but with defence, its a bit tricky. Remember Senderos may go this January.

  13. Beautiful blog, no doubt about that! Do it again mid February please, when we’ve negotiated the tricky ties against the mancs, chavs, kops n villa, it’ll make interesting reading

  14. OM, I certainly will do it again later in the season.

    The key is replicating the results until the end of January – starting tonight.

  15. Could u add our rivals fixture as well.. It would be better if we compare ours & theirs.. & predict our stand at the end of the season.. :)

  16. Always a good read.

    Happy new year to you, Pete.

  17. ‘holic, many thanks – happy new year to you too!

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