Saturday, March 30, 2013

Champions League Spots Battle? Arsenal's Advantage

Arsenal comfortably beat Reading 4-1 in Emirates, where Gervinho re-discovered his form, and opened the scoreline and provided two assists, to Cazorla, who scored a beautiful goal, and Giroud, who smashed it to make it 3-0. After Reading grabbed a goal from Robson-Kanu, Mikel Arteta finally completed the scoreline by converting a penalty, 4-1. Reading gave no resistance and let Arsenal control the game comfortably. According to ESPN soccernet, Arsenal managed to have 26 shots, and Reading only four. Arsenal could've added more goals nearing the end of the game but Ramsey was denied by Reading's goalkeeper and Rosicky miskicked the ball after getting a beautiful lob from Santi Cazorla.

It was a good day for Arsenal as they registered another win and Chelsea slipped away in Southampton, giving Arsenal boost as the point gap decreasing to two points. Spurs won the game in Swansea, but only four points difference, with Arsenal having one game in hands. Man City is mathematically within the range, but still unlikely for Mancini's team to drop that many points, so my main focus today is to compare three London teams : Arsenal, Spurs, and Chelsea

EPL Table, according to

Game  Pts
Man Utd 30 77
Man City 30 62
Tottenham 31 57
Chelsea 30 55
Arsenal 30 53
Everton 29 48

Fabianski would not be satisfied to have his goal conceded once, as Arsenal, arguably, should've kept a clean sheet. Nacho Monreal might be the one to blame in this goal, but I think it was a difficult cross to far post,

With Arsenal having a slightly easier run-in, only having a home game against United, who might not needed point anymore by the time Arsenal face them. It is a managable game, if Arsenal could play like this, passing the ball around the park, and defending like when they beat Bayern and Swansea 2-0. Everton might pose a threat, but playing in Emirates would be a huge advantage for Wenger's boys. All the other games are a 3-point-possible game, in my opinion.

Remaining Fixtures:
Arsenal : WBA (A), Norwich (H), Everton (H), Fulham (A), Man Utd (H), QPR (A), Wigan (A), Newcastle (H)
Chelsea : Sunderland (H), Spurs (H), Fulham (A), Liverpool (A), Swansea (H), Man Utd (A), Aston Villa (A)

Spurs : Everton (H), Chelsea (A), Man City (H), Wigan (A), Southampton (H), Stoke (A), Sunderland (H)

In other hand, Chelsea would have a very tough game, two away games to Liverpool and United, while Spurs having Chelsea and Man City in back-to-back fixture. Anyway, Spurs and Chelsea are killing each other also in next two gameweek, so Arsenal is having a huge advantage, by looking at the schedule.

Arsenal would not have other distraction, while Spurs and Chelsea still have other competition. Chelsea still need to compete in FA Cup and Europa League, while Spurs will battle in Europa League too. So, in my opinion, 4th place is a very probable result for the Gunners. Yes, it's true that it might sounds not ambitious to only have 4th place target, but first, without Champions League, it would be much harder to attract top class player to the club, which Wenger might need to do to challenge the title again.

So, it's all about Arsenal's consistency now, whether they can continue to play well until the end of season to claim 4th or even 3rd place.

My prediction : Arsenal goes to Champions League, Spurs slipped (again).