Everton v Arsenal, the predictions

 

After a poor run of form in January, Everton have picked up of late…

Date Game Res Score Competition
02 Feb 2019 Everton v Wolverhampton W L 1-3 Premier League
06 Feb 2019 Everton v Manchester City L 0-2 Premier League
09 Feb 2019 Watford v Everton L 1-0 Premier League
26 Feb 2019 Cardiff City v Everton W 0-3 Premier League
03 Mar 2019 Everton v Liverpool D 0-0 Premier League
09 Mar 2019 Newcastle United v Everton L 3-2 Premier League
17 Mar 2019 Everton v Chelsea W 2-0 Premier League
30 Mar 2019 West Ham United v Everton W 0-2 Premier League

Those three defeats in February made things look pretty awful at Goodison, but since then three wins, one defeat and one draw has improved the league standing with Everton now 10th, some 20 points behind Arsenal.

But for a game like this what makes for interesting reading is Everton’s home form against Arsenal’s away form.

Here is the home form table

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 17 16 0 1 55 12 43 48
2 Liverpool 16 14 2 0 46 10 36 44
3 Arsenal 17 14 2 1 39 12 27 44
4 Chelsea 16 10 5 1 32 10 22 35
5 Manchester United 15 9 5 1 30 19 11 32
6 Tottenham Hotspur 15 10 1 4 27 13 14 31
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 16 8 3 5 24 20 4 27
8 West Ham United 17 8 3 6 27 25 2 27
9 AFC Bournemouth 16 7 5 4 28 21 7 26
10 Watford 15 8 2 5 23 20 3 26
11 Everton 16 7 4 5 23 21 2 25

Seven wins, four draws and five defeats for Everton with a goal difference of +2.

Now Arsenal’s away form…

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 16 10 5 1 26 9 17 35
2 Tottenham Hotspur 17 11 0 6 33 21 12 33
3 Manchester City 15 10 2 3 28 9 19 32
4 Manchester United 17 9 2 6 31 24 7 29
5 Chelsea 16 9 1 6 23 24 -1 28
6 Leicester City 16 6 3 7 21 24 -3 21
7 Crystal Palace 16 6 2 8 25 26 -1 20
8 Watford 17 5 5 7 24 27 -3 20
9 Wolverhampton Wanderers 16 5 5 6 16 19 -3 20
10 Arsenal 14 5 4 5 26 27 -1 19

For Arsenal to have a better away form than Everton’s home form, Arsenal would have to win their two away games “in hand” against the rest of the pack.  But it is also interesting to note that if Arsenal did win these two away games they would be sixth in the away table – four points worse than Chelsea in fifth, but a major upgrade on the away form of last season.

But one thing to note is that Arsenal do score more goals away than Everton do at home (26 in 14 to Arsenal giving a rate of 1.86 goals a game.   Everton have scored 23 in 16 giving a rate of 1.44 per game).

However when we compare Arsenal from the start of February against the details above for Everton we find something rather interesting…

Date Game Res Score Competition
03 Feb 2019 Manchester City v Arsenal L 3-1 Premier League
09 Feb 2019 Huddersfield T v Arsenal W 1-2 Premier League
14 Feb 2019 FC BATE Borisov v Arsenal L 1-0 Europa League
21 Feb 2019 Arsenal v FC BATE Borisov W 3-0 Europa League
24 Feb 2019 Arsenal v Southampton W 2-0 Premier League
27 Feb 2019 Arsenal v Bournemouth W 5-1 Premier League
02 Mar 2019 Tottenham H v Arsenal D 1-1 Premier League
07 Mar 2019 Rennes v Arsenal L 3-1 Europa League
10 Mar 2019 Arsenal v Manchester Utd W 2-0 Premier League
14 Mar 2019 Arsenal v Rennes W 3-0 Europa League
01 Apr 2019 Arsenal v Newcastle Utd W 2-0 Premier League

Everton have played one more league game than Arsenal in the period but Arsenal have played an extra four Europa games.

Taking the league games only, Arsenal have won 5, drawn 1 and lost 1.  Everton have won 3, drawn 1 and lost 4 – those four defeats coming against Wolverhampton, Manchester City, Watford and Newcastle.

On those statistics I’d say an Arsenal victory is likely, but this is an away game for Arsenal, and that makes me a lot less certain.

 

Arsenal v Southampton: the predictions, the form and the psychology

It was a defeat away to Southampton that started Arsenal on a downward turn earlier in the season after a very long unbeaten run.  But Arsenal’s away form is nothing like their home form, and so they should feel confident.

However Southampton will enter the game knowing that they did give Arsenal a rough time of it at their home ground.  So who will come out on top?

Arsenal’s home form remains very positive

Home games only…

P Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 14 13 0 1 49 11 38 39
2 Liverpool 13 11 2 0 35 7 28 35
3 Arsenal 13 10 2 1 28 11 17 32
4 Chelsea 13 8 4 1 26 9 17 28
5 Tottenham Hotspur 13 9 0 4 24 12 12 27
6 Manchester United 12 7 4 1 25 16 9 25

Whereas Southampton’s away form is anything but positive…

Away games only

15 Southampton 13 3 3 7 13 23 -10 12
16 AFC Bournemouth 13 3 0 10 12 30 -18 9
17 Brighton and Hove 13 2 2 9 12 24 -12 8
18 Cardiff City 13 2 2 9 9 24 -15 8
19 Huddersfield Town 12 1 3 8 8 26 -18 6
20 Fulham 13 0 2 11 8 32 -24 2

The goal difference of the two clubs looks significant as well: Arsenal have scored 28 and conceded 11 at home, while Southampton have scored 13 and conceded 23 away.   Just on average scores Arsenal should win 2-1, but if we take into account that Arsenal do have a powerful forward line who can exploit the situation against lower positioned clubs, it would be foolish to bank against Arsenal getting three or four.  One might also look out for a couple of goals coming in the last ten minutes of the game as Southampton wilt.

Of course, Arsenal’s form this year has not been what was hoped for by Arsenal fans…

01 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Fulham W 4-1
05 Jan 2019 Blackpool v Arsenal FAC W 0-3
12 Jan 2019 West Ham United v Arsenal L 1-0
19 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Chelsea W 2-0
25 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Manchester United FAC L 1-3
29 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Cardiff City W 2-1
03 Feb 2019 Manchester City v Arsenal L 3-1
09 Feb 2019 Huddersfield Town v Arsenal W 1-2
14 Feb 2019 FC BATE Borisov v Arsenal Europa L 1-0

But although the figures for this year read five wins and four defeats, only one of those defeats was at Arsenal Stadium.

Southampton from the start of the year…

02 Jan 2019 Chelsea v Southampton D 0-0
05 Jan 2019 Derby County v Southampton FAC D 2-2
12 Jan 2019 Leicester City v Southampton W 1-2
16 Jan 2019 Southampton v Derby County FAC L 2-2 (3-5)
19 Jan 2019 Southampton v Everton W 2-1
30 Jan 2019 Southampton v Crystal Palace D 1-1
02 Feb 2019 Burnley v Southampton D 1-1
09 Feb 2019 Southampton v Cardiff City L 1-2

Of the eight matches, four were away from home, resulting in one win, three draws and no defeats.   And this is where Southampton will start to find confidence.  Their last away defeat was back on 8 December, away to Cardiff, and for them a draw would be a victory.

But looking at the January scores Southampton have never scored more than two goals in a match, and although Arsenal’s defence is widely noted to be not of the best, Southampton probably recognise that knocking in two past Arsenal in London is going to be tough.

It can happen that a team will put two or more past Arsenal on their own patch – but it is rare…

Date Match Res Score Competition
12 Aug 2018 Arsenal v Manchester City L 0-2 Premier League
20 Sep 2018 Arsenal v Vorskla Poltava W 4-2 Europa League
02 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur W 4-2 Premier League
19 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur L 0-2 League Cup
25 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Manchester United L 1-3 FA Cup

It has happened five times this season that teams have scored two or more goals against Arsenal at the Arsenal Stadium.  Of those five Arsenal still won the match twice.  The other three games were against top six clubs, which suggests Southampton are going to have to have a wonderful day, while Arsenal will have very much an off day for Southampton to get anything from the game…

And Arsenal have another incentive as the league table shows

P Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 27 21 2 4 74 20 54 65
2 Liverpool 26 20 5 1 59 15 44 65
3 Tottenham Hotspur 26 20 0 6 54 25 29 60
4 Manchester United 26 15 6 5 52 35 17 51
5 Arsenal 26 15 5 6 53 37 16 50
6 Chelsea 26 15 5 6 45 29 16 50

Three clubs are chasing fourth position in the league, and there is only one point and one goal between them.  No one wants to slip up, and extra goals really could count at the end of the season.

Huddersfield Town v Arsenal: how Town can get a point – or maybe three.

This ought to be a simple walkover, what with Huddersfield being at the bottom of the league and looking certain to go back down to the Championship…

Pos Team P W D L F A GD
Pts
16 Southampton 25 5 9 11 27 42 -15 24
17 Burnley 25 6 6 13 26 46 -20 24
18 Cardiff City 25 6 4 15 22 46 -24 22
19 Fulham 25 4 5 16 25 55 -30 17
20 Huddersfield Town 25 2 5 18 13 46 -33 11

So what makes us pause even for a second?

The answer of course is Arsenal’s away form…

Away games only

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 13 11 0 2 30 13 17 33
2 Liverpool 13 9 3 1 24 8 16 30
3 Manchester City 13 8 2 3 25 9 16 26
4 Manchester United 13 7 2 4 24 19 5 23
5 Chelsea 12 7 1 4 19 14 5 22
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers 12 5 3 4 14 14 0 18
7 Leicester City 13 5 3 5 17 18 -1 18
8 Watford 13 4 5 4 17 16 1 17
9 Arsenal 12 4 3 5 23 25 -2 15

Arsenal needed to up their away form this season if they were going to improve on their sixth placed finish last season, but have so far only won 4 away games, and having a goal difference of -2.  So when we come to the psychology, this is where worries might start to occur.

But even with Arsenal’s poor form, they have managed 23 goals away from home, almost double Huddersfield’s entire home and away total.

However the psychology twists back the other way as the Town players contemplate their current run of form…

01 Dec 2018 Huddersfield Town v Brighton and Hove L 1-2
04 Dec 2018 AFC Bournemouth v Huddersfield Town L 2-1
08 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Huddersfield Town L 1-0
15 Dec 2018 Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United L 0-1
22 Dec 2018 Huddersfield Town v Southampton L 1-3
26 Dec 2018 Manchester United v Huddersfield Town L 3-1
29 Dec 2018 Fulham v Huddersfield Town L 1-0
02 Jan 2019 Huddersfield Town v Burnley L 1-2
05 Jan 2019 Bristol City v Huddersfield Town FAC L 1-0
12 Jan 2019 Cardiff City v Huddersfield Town D 0-0
20 Jan 2019 Huddersfield Town v Manchester City L 0-3
29 Jan 2019 Huddersfield Town v Everton L 0-1
02 Feb 2019 Chelsea v Huddersfield Town L 5-0

That is 13 games and all they have to show for it is a single point with an away goalless draw against Cardiff.

Of course a draw would be a great result for the club at the moment and if Arsenal fail to score early on they certainly could begin to get the nerves in the second half.   But Arsenal are the fifth highest scoring away team in the league.  Indeed if we look at the away form table on goals scored we find…

Away games only, by goals scored

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 13 11 0 2 30 13 17 33
3 Manchester City 13 8 2 3 25 9 16 26
2 Liverpool 13 9 3 1 24 8 16 30
4 Manchester United 13 7 2 4 24 19 5 23
9 Arsenal 12 4 3 5 23 25 -2 15

Arsenal have scored only one goal fewer than Liverpool and Manchester Utd away, and only two fewer than Manchester City.  A single goal from them on Saturday will mean Huddersfield will have to open up in order to attack.  And here is Arsenal’s hope.  Only three teams in the league have a worse away form in defence than Arsenal: Huddersfield, Bournemouth and Fulham.

If they can hold their nerve, Huddersfield ought to attack Arsenal, aim to get an early goal, and then try and hold on.  It is going to be tough, but it might just unnerve Arsenal and get Huddersfield an unlikely point.  Or three.

Manchester City v Arsenal; the psychology and form

This year, Arsenal’s form has been erratic.  Having suffered a 5-1 defeat by Liverpool they have been through ups and downs…

01 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Fulham W 4-1
05 Jan 2019 Blackpool v Arsenal FAC W 0-3
12 Jan 2019 West Ham United v Arsenal L 1-0
19 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Chelsea W 2-0
25 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Manchester United FAC L 1-3
29 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Cardiff City W 2-1

The win over Chelsea looked particularly encouraging until Bournemouth went two better, and suggested Chelsea were not all we thought they were.  The win over Cardiff was not emphatic against a team with such a poor away record, and Arsenal were completely beaten by Manchester United.

Manchester City started the new year like a team going for the title but had one little wobble last week.

03 Jan 2019 Manchester City v Liverpool W 2-1
06 Jan 2019 Manchester City v Rotherham United FAC W 7-0
09 Jan 2019 Manchester City v Burton Albion Lge Cup W 9-0
14 Jan 2019 Manchester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers W 3-0
20 Jan 2019 Huddersfield Town v Manchester City W 0-3
23 Jan 2019 Burton Albion v Manchester City Lge Cup W 0-1
26 Jan 2019 Manchester City v Burnley FAC W 5-0
29 Jan 2019 Newcastle United v Manchester City L 2-1

and as we can see they slipped up against Newcastle, perhaps mistaking the team for another Burton.

Such results can give players extra nerves – a sense of “not letting that happen again” entering their play.

But their home form is probably far too impressive to allow for such nerves and it would need a team who are brilliant away from home to upset them.

The home form league table shows us just how solid Manchester City are at home

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 12 11 0 1 40 10 30 33
2 Liverpool 12 10 2 0 32 7 25 32
3 Arsenal 13 10 2 1 28 11 17 32
4 Chelsea 12 7 4 1 21 9 12 25
5 Manchester United 12 7 4 1 25 16 9 25

11 wins and just one defeat – showing the team scoring almost four goals a game.   Away from home Arsenal don’t have any form remotely like this…

1 Tottenham H 13 11 0 2 30 13 17 33
2 Liverpool 12 9 2 1 23 7 16 29
3 Manchester City 12 7 2 3 23 9 14 23
4 Chelsea 12 7 1 4 19 14 5 22
5 Manchester Utd 12 6 2 4 23 19 4 20
6 Leicester City 13 5 3 5 17 18 -1 18
7 Watford 12 4 4 4 17 16 1 16
8 Arsenal 11 4 3 4 22 22 0 15

Arsenal away have won four, drawn three and lost four and they are equal in goals scored and goals conceded.

Which really places the psychological issues at Arsenal’s door.  What is worse is that the psychological issue of Arsenal’s 5-1 defeat to Liverpool will still be raw, and a couple of early goals for Manchester City could lead to disaster.

Even a recourse to recent history doesn’t help Arsenal much… – results again from Arsenal’s point of view…

08 May 2016 Manchester City v Arsenal D 2-2 Premier League
18 Dec 2016 Manchester City v Arsenal L 2-1 Premier League
02 Apr 2017 Arsenal v Manchester City D 2-2 Premier League
23 Apr 2017 Arsenal v Manchester City W 2-1 FA Cup
05 Nov 2017 Manchester City v Arsenal L 3-1 Premier League
25 Feb 2018 Arsenal v Manchester City L 0-3 League Cup
01 Mar 2018 Arsenal v Manchester City L 0-3 Premier League
12 Aug 2018 Arsenal v Manchester City L 0-2 Premier League

Four straight defeats in the last four games, with only one goal scored and 11 conceded, and just one win in the last eight matches.  This will also weigh on Arsenal minds.  I think it will be a win for Manchester City with much difficulty.

 

 

Arsenal v Cardiff; the form, the injuries, the psychology, the predictions

Arsenal at home have remained a very solid team, exactly as they were last season…

Home games only

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 12 11 0 1 40 10 30 33
2 Liverpool 11 10 1 0 31 6 25 31
3 Arsenal 12 9 2 1 26 10 16 29
4 Chelsea 12 7 4 1 21 9 12 25
5 Manchester United 11 7 3 1 23 14 9 24

Cardiff away look to be in a desparate situation

Away games only

17 Brighton and Hove Albion 12 2 2 8 10 20 -10 8
18 Huddersfield Town 11 1 3 7 8 21 -13 6
19 Cardiff City 11 1 2 8 6 21 -15 5
20 Fulham 12 0 2 10 8 30 -22 2

When we look at recent form however Arsenal in January have two defeats

01 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Fulham W 4-1
05 Jan 2019 Blackpool v Arsenal FAC W 0-3
12 Jan 2019 West Ham United v Arsenal L 1-0
19 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Chelsea W 2-0
25 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Manchester United FAC L 1-3

Cardiff in January however have no wins

01 Jan 2019 Cardiff City v Tottenham Hotspur L 0-3
05 Jan 2019 Gillingham v Cardiff City FAC L 1-0
12 Jan 2019 Cardiff City v Huddersfield Town D 0-0
19 Jan 2019 Newcastle United v Cardiff City L 3-0
The FA Cup defeat of both teams has very different meanings – Arsenal were poor but playing a PL team in form.   Cardiff lost to Gillingham of League One.

Three wins two defeats for Arsenal and no wins three defeats and a drew to Cardiff tell Arsenal that no matter what they might feel about their poor performance against Manchester United they certainly are not in as bad a run of form as Cardiff.

Injuries show that Arsenal are now near the top of the league…

8

Liverpool

7

West Ham United

6

Arsenal

5

Newcastle United

Arsenal’s list of injuries prepared by Physioroom shows

PLAYER CONDITION EXPECTED RETURN NEWS
Sokratis Ankle Injury March 2, 2019 “Left ankle. Expected to return to full training by the end of February.”
L Koscielny Facial Injury No Return Date “Bruising and soft tissue swelling to face and jaw. Being reviewed on a daily basis.”
H Bellerin ACL Knee Injury No Return Date “Hector will undergo surgery to repair this in the coming days. The rehab process is expected to take between 6-9 nine months.”
H Mkhitaryan Metatarsal Fracture January 29, 2019 “Expected to return to full training in the next week.”
R Holding ACL Knee Injury No Return Date “He will undergo surgery to repair this in the coming days. The rehab process is expected to take between six to nine months” from the date of injury
D Welbeck Ankle Injury Out all season

So there is only one of those players possible to be available for the next game.

Cardiff  however have just tree players out but two could be back in the squad.

PLAYER CONDITION EXPECTED RETURN NEWS
S Morrison Appendicitis No Return Date “He had a procedure on Monday. I don’t think [he will play tomorrow], but if there’s any doubt I won’t play him anyway. We can’t gamble on anyone.”
H Arter Groin Strain January 29, 2019 “He tweaked his groin and we’re not sure what it is. It was one of them, although you want to play him, with 10 days until the next game you want to make sure you don’t aggravate anything.”
K Zohore Thigh Muscle Strain January 29, 2019 “He’ll be struggling to get back for next weekend. He might get on the bench.”

The psychology

Cardiff have had the humiliation of losing to a third tier team in the cup and they know they have to play well to get themselves out of trouble.  Arsenal might not be a top four team at the moment, but they are one of the six elite European clubs and even with multiple injuries can put up a fight.

Cardiff will try to deliver an early knock out blow to get the crowd with them.   Failing that it looks like Arsenal all the way.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 23 19 3 1 54 13 41 60
2 Manchester City 23 18 2 3 62 17 45 56
3 Tottenham Hotspur 23 17 0 6 48 23 25 51
4 Chelsea 23 14 5 4 40 19 21 47
5 Arsenal 23 13 5 5 48 32 16 44
6 Manchester United 23 13 5 5 46 33 13 44
7 Watford 23 9 6 8 32 32 0 33
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 23 9 5 9 27 31 -4 32
9 Leicester City 23 9 4 10 29 29 0 31
10 West Ham United 23 9 4 10 30 34 -4 31
11 Everton 23 8 6 9 34 33 1 30
12 AFC Bournemouth 23 9 3 11 33 42 -9 30
13 Brighton and Hove Albion 23 7 5 11 25 32 -7 26
14 Crystal Palace 23 6 4 13 23 32 -9 22
15 Southampton 23 5 7 11 25 40 -15 22
16 Burnley 23 6 4 13 23 43 -20 22
17 Newcastle United 23 5 6 12 19 31 -12 21
18 Cardiff City 23 5 4 14 19 44 -25 19
19 Fulham 23 3 5 15 21 51 -30 14
20 Huddersfield Town 23 2 5 16 13 40 -27 11

If Arsenal hold on through the first half they could knock up another of their 4-1 wins.

Arsenal v Manchester United predictions psychology injuries

Arsenal v Manchester United: FA Cup 4th round

For a team which is being heavily criticised, especially for its defence, Arsenal’s home form remains unquestionably good…

Home games only

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 12 11 0 1 40 10 30 33
2 Liverpool 11 10 1 0 31 6 25 31
3 Arsenal 12 9 2 1 26 10 16 29
4 Chelsea 12 7 4 1 21 9 12 25
5 Manchester United 11 7 3 1 23 14 9 24

Nine wins, two draws and a single defeat at the very start of the season to Manchester City.   Their goals against total at home is 10, exactly the same as Manchester City.

Manchester United’s away form is good, but not quite as good as Arsenal’s.

Away teams only

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 13 11 0 2 30 13 17 33
2 Liverpool 12 9 2 1 23 7 16 29
3 Manchester City 11 7 2 2 22 7 15 23
4 Chelsea 11 7 1 3 19 10 9 22
5 Manchester United 12 6 2 4 23 19 4 20

Six wins, two draws, four defeats.

Both teams have very strong FA Cup histories – in fact they are the top two performing FA Cup teams, by some distance…

Results by team
Club Wins Last final won Total final appearances
Arsenal 13 2017 20
Manchester United 12 2016 20
Chelsea 8 2018 13
Tottenham Hotspur 8 1991 9
Liverpool 7 2006 14
Aston Villa 7 1957 11

So trying to separate the teams is hard – although if we look at current form we can see quite a boost for Manchester United

22 Dec 2018 Cardiff City v Manchester United W 1-5
26 Dec 2018 Manchester United v Huddersfield Town W 3-1
30 Dec 2018 Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth W 4-1
02 Jan 2019 Newcastle United v Manchester United W 0-2
05 Jan 2019 Manchester United v Reading FAC W 2-0
13 Jan 2019 Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United W 0-1
19 Jan 2019 Manchester United v Brighton and Hove Albion W 2-1

The scoring has eased up recently but the list of victories cannot be denied.  Arsenal by comparison has

22 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Burnley W 3-1
26 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal D 1-1
29 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Arsenal L 5-1
01 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Fulham W 4-1
05 Jan 2019 Blackpool v Arsenal FAC W 0-3
12 Jan 2019 West Ham United v Arsenal L 1-0
19 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Chelsea W 2-0

Arsenal have four wins, two defeats and a draw, compared with seven straight wins for Manchester United.

In the injury charts Manchester United have five men down, Arsenal four.

Fellani, Mojo and Smalling are all out for Manchester United with Shaw and Rashford in doubt.  For Arsenal Bellerin, Welbeck and Holding are all out, and Mkhitaryan is slowly coming back to full fitness.

So on form and team availability it looks like Manchester United will shade it.  And in going further and looking at games between the two sides Arsenal have not won any of the last three.

Thus everything points to Manchester United, although Arsenal are slightly edging it in terms of home vs away fixtures.  But Emery as a manager has for many years been a cup man, while the key issue for Manchester United this season is getting back to the top four for the Champions League.   This final psychological issue might just swing it Arsenal’s way – the FA Cup for Manchester United is less important than the league.  I doubt that it is for Arsenal.

Arsenal v Chelsea: the predictions, the injuries and the psychology

Physioroom is showing Arsenal in the lower reaches of the injury listings, along with Chelsea.  Each has three men out.

Top of the list for injuries is West Ham on nine players down. Only two clubs have fewer injuries than Arsenal and Chelsea.

The three Arsenal men out are Mkhitaryan, Welbeck and Holding.   Mkhitaryan is expected to be back in training next week.  Morata is said to be a slight doubt for Chelsea, while Loftus Cheek and Ginkel are long term injuries

The home and away form

Arsenal’s away form this year has improved slightly but their home form is not quite as solid as it was before – although still very decent.

Home games only

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 12 11 0 1 40 10 30 33
2 Liverpool 10 9 1 0 27 3 24 28
3 Arsenal 11 8 2 1 24 10 14 26
4 Chelsea 12 7 4 1 21 9 12 25
5 Manchester United 10 6 3 1 21 13 8 21
6 Everton 12 6 3 3 20 16 4 21
7 Tottenham Hotspur 10 6 0 4 18 10 8 18

Just the one home defeat and that at the very start of the season.  Arsenal have played 11 won eight and drawn two with just one defeat.  The club has the third best home scoring record, and the third best defensive record in the league.

However when we look at the away form we can see that Chelsea are doing very well also – so we have the third best home team in the league against the third best away team.

Away games only

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 12 10 0 2 28 12 16 30
2 Liverpool 12 9 2 1 23 7 16 29
3 Chelsea 10 7 1 2 19 8 11 22
4 Manchester City 10 6 2 2 19 7 12 20
5 Manchester United 12 6 2 4 23 19 4 20
6 Leicester City 11 5 2 4 13 13 0 17
7 Watford 11 4 4 3 16 14 2 16
8 Arsenal 11 4 3 4 22 22 0 15

Chelsea have been scoring fractionally under two a game while conceding under one a game.  That will be tough for Arsenal.

Recent results

Arsenal are the team out of form…

16 Dec 2018 Southampton v Arsenal L 3-2
19 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur LC L 0-2
22 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Burnley W 3-1
26 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal D 1-1
29 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Arsenal L 5-1
01 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Fulham W 4-1
05 Jan 2019 Blackpool v Arsenal FAC W 0-3
12 Jan 2019 West Ham United v Arsenal L 1-0

The recent Arsenal wins have been against very modest opposition, except for Tottenham who themselves are doing very well away from home this season.

Chelsea’s results look like this

22 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Leicester City L 0-1
26 Dec 2018 Watford v Chelsea W 1-2
30 Dec 2018 Crystal Palace v Chelsea W 0-1
02 Jan 2019 Chelsea v Southampton D 0-0
05 Jan 2019 Chelsea v Nottingham Forest FAC W 2-0
08 Jan 2019 Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea LC L 1-0
12 Jan 2019 Chelsea v Newcastle United W 2-1

There is a consistency of low scoring games, even against more modest opposition, and in addition that defeat in the League Cup to Tottenham.   But away from home of late they have been seen edging past Watford and Palace, each by just a single goal.

That suggests that if Arsenal can take the lead they might be able to hold Chelsea at bay.

But Arsenal have been poor at taking the lead, spending much more time trying to recover in the second half from the sins of the first half.

The psychology

Arsenal seem to be much edgier than Chelsea not least because there is no money it seems, there is the chance of a much heralded senior member of the management team thinking of leaving, and because they are under constant attack in the media.  Plus their current results don’t look too clever.

I think a low scoring game; Chelsea might just sneak this by one goal.

West Ham United v Arsenal: the predictions and the psychology

West Ham’s last five Premier League games have brought a mix of results…

15 Dec 2018 Fulham v West Ham United W 0-2
22 Dec 2018 West Ham United v Watford L 0-2
27 Dec 2018 Southampton v West Ham United W 1-2
30 Dec 2018 Burnley v West Ham United L 2-0
02 Jan 2019 West Ham United v Brighton and Hove D 2-2

Two wins, two defeats and a draw – and interestingly neither of their victories was at home.  Although in the games at the start of December they did beat Cardiff and Crystal Palace, scoring three each time.

At home they are a mid-ranking team…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
10 Watford 11 5 1 5 16 18 -2 16
11 Leicester City 10 4 2 4 12 10 2 14
12 West Ham United 11 4 2 5 16 18 -2 14
13 Wolverhampton Wanderers 11 4 2 5 12 15 -3 14
14 Cardiff City 11 4 1 6 13 23 -10 13
15 Fulham 10 3 3 4 12 19 -7 12

…still with more defeats at home than victories, and a negative goal difference.

Arsenal away were notorious last season, winning just four games all season through.   This season while not setting the world alight away from home they actually do have a better away record than West Ham have a home record…

P Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 12 10 0 2 28 12 16 30
2 Liverpool 10 8 2 0 21 5 16 26
3 Chelsea 10 7 1 2 19 8 11 22
4 Manchester City 10 6 2 2 19 7 12 20
5 Manchester United 11 5 2 4 22 19 3 17
6 Leicester City 11 5 2 4 13 13 0 17
7 Arsenal 10 4 3 3 22 21 1 15
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 10 4 3 3 11 10 1 15

But this has not been a happy few weeks for Arsenal, as the recent results show

19 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur (LC) L 0-2
22 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Burnley W 3-1
26 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal D 1-1
29 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Arsenal L 5-1
01 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Fulham W 4-1

I’ve included the League Cup game against Tottenham rather than restricting myself to league matches because of the high intensity of the derby match.

Arsenal did however pull themselves back together after the Tottenham defeat and after the Liverpool defeat, winning the next game against modest opposition – although each time they were at home.

But the fact is that Arsenal’s away scoring record is 22 goals to 21.  West Ham’s record at home is 16 for to 18 against.

But it is when we look at the head to head we can see where the power really lies.  This table only counts Premier League matches – the cup games in this period were Arsenal wins as well.  The result column is shown from Arsenal’s point of view

29 Sep 2007 West Ham United v Arsenal W 0-1
01 Jan 2008 Arsenal v West Ham United W 2-0
26 Oct 2008 West Ham United v Arsenal W 0-2
31 Jan 2009 Arsenal v West Ham United D 0-0
25 Oct 2009 West Ham United v Arsenal D 2-2
20 Mar 2010 Arsenal v West Ham United W 2-0
30 Oct 2010 Arsenal v West Ham United W 1-0
15 Jan 2011 West Ham United v Arsenal W 0-3
06 Oct 2012 West Ham United v Arsenal W 1-3
23 Jan 2013 Arsenal v West Ham United W 5-1
26 Dec 2013 West Ham United v Arsenal W 1-3
15 Apr 2014 Arsenal v West Ham United W 3-1
28 Dec 2014 West Ham United v Arsenal W 1-2
14 Mar 2015 Arsenal v West Ham United W 3-0
09 Aug 2015 Arsenal v West Ham United L 0-2
09 Apr 2016 West Ham United v Arsenal D 3-3
03 Dec 2016 West Ham United v Arsenal W 1-5
05 Apr 2017 Arsenal v West Ham United W 3-0
13 Dec 2017 West Ham United v Arsenal D 0-0
22 Apr 2018 Arsenal v West Ham United W 4-1
25 Aug 2018 Arsenal v West Ham United W 3-1

21 games by my adding up and only one West Ham win.  The last two gave Arsenal a 7-2 overall scoreline.  The last five give Arsenal 15 to West Ham’s 3.

Psychological prediction

West Ham do not see their home as a fortress and although the disturbing crowd scenes at the ground are now a dim memory, they are still a memory of fan discontent.  The owners of the club promised the crowd the most successful stadium migration in history, and lots more money spent on players but this has not arrived, and we are seeing a similar West Ham to the past.   The players will feel the crowd’s background discontent.

Arsenal will feel this is a ground they can win on, and all the recent results will boost them – their recent visits, their return to goalscoring after the Liverpool disaster – yes they will feel psychologically inferior to the top four sides in the League, but not here.  Here they will expect to win, and that is a most valuable commodity.

I would go for 1-3 to Arsenal

Arsenal v Fulham: the predictions

Arsenal’s problems last season were not with their home form, where they were by and large terrific, but away.   And this season, although the away form has been better overall, the home form has held up.

Here is the home form league table…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 10 9 1 0 27 3 24 28
2 Manchester City 10 9 0 1 35 9 26 27
3 Arsenal 10 7 2 1 20 9 11 23
4 Chelsea 10 6 3 1 19 8 11 21
5 Tottenham Hotspur 9 6 0 3 18 9 9 18

Just one defeat at home, and that at the very start of the season when the new manager was still getting used to his team and the new arrivals.   Arsenal are not scoring at home in the way that Liverpool and Manchester City can, but they are knocking in an average of two goals a game – better than everyone in the league except the top two in the table above.

Only three teams have a home defence tighter than Arsenal – Chelsea and Liverpool as shown above – and surprisingly Crystal Palace who have scored five and let in eight at home.  Not a particular goal fest at Selhurst.  I wonder what the season ticket holders make of it all.

Fulham away are a different kettle of fish…

16 Southampton 10 2 1 7 10 21 -11 7
17 Cardiff City 10 1 2 7 6 18 -12 5
18 Huddersfield Town 10 1 2 7 8 21 -13 5
19 Burnley 10 1 2 7 7 21 -14 5
20 Fulham 10 0 2 8 6 24 -18 2

No wins, two draws and eight defeats, scored six and conceded 24.  So under one goal a game scored and 2.4 conceded per away game – the lack of wins is not surprising.

Arsenal in December have not been the team that went 22 games undefeated earlier, and they have an urgent need to regain their confidence.   The return of injured defenders might help, but above all they will know that after the Liverpool defeat they need to keep the fans onside.

The table below shows league games only…

Date Game Res Score
02 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur W 4-2
05 Dec 2018 Manchester United v Arsenal D 2-2
08 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Huddersfield Town W 1-0
16 Dec 2018 Southampton v Arsenal L 3-2
22 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Burnley W 3-1
26 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal D 1-1
29 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Arsenal L 5-1

Three wins, two draws and two defeats is not of the best, but in this match Arsenal are facing a side in real trouble… although there are signs of life…

02 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Fulham L 2-0
05 Dec 2018 Fulham v Leicester City D 1-1
08 Dec 2018 Manchester United v Fulham L 4-1
15 Dec 2018 Fulham v West Ham United L 0-2
22 Dec 2018 Newcastle United v Fulham D 0-0
26 Dec 2018 Fulham v Wolverhampton W D 1-1
29 Dec 2018 Fulham v Huddersfield Town W 1-0

The two draws helped steady the ship and then came the very welcome win against Huddersfield.  But Huddersfield are in as much trouble as Fulham, and I am not sure there is enough of a revitalisation for the club to hold Arsenal.

Overall Arsenal have scored 42 to Fulham’s 18 in 20 games which makes me think that even an Arsenal still shaken from the defeat at Liverpool should make it through 2-1 at the very least.

 

 

Brighton v Arsenal match predictions

Brighton have been erratic in the league and that is their defining characteristic this season.

From 25 August to 29 September they played six games – five in the league and once in the league cup (against Southampton).   They lost four and drew two.

Then starting on 5 October they won three in a row, two at home and one away.   Unlike the earlier games which had 22 goals in six games (3.7 goals a game), these three winning games contained just three goals (1.0 goals per game, obviously).

Next came two defeats away from home in the League, followed by a draw and two wins, and most recently three defeats.

These last three defeats on 8th, 16th and 22nd of December are interesting.  All three are in the Premier League:

Date Game Res Score
08 Dec Burnley v Brighton and Hove L 1-0
16 Dec Brighton and Hove  v Chelsea L 1-2
22 Dec Bournemouth v Brighton and Hove L 2-0

One goal to Brighton in three games (against Chelsea) and defeats to Burnley (!!!) and Bournemouth.  Maybe they don’t like teams that begin with B.

Of course Arsenal’s most recent adventures do not make particularly wonderful reading

Date Game Res Score Competition
16 Dec 2018 Southampton v Arsenal L 3-2 Premier League
19 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur L 0-2 League Cup
22 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Burnley W 3-1 Premier League

And Last season Arsenal lost away to Brighton at the end of a very depressing run of four games

22 Feb 2018 Arsenal v Östersunds FK L 1-2 Europa League
25 Feb 2018 Arsenal v Manchester City L 0-3 League Cup
01 Mar 2018 Arsenal v Manchester City L 0-3 Premier League
04 Mar 2018 Brighton and Hove  v Arsenal L 2-1 Premier League

But what of the home and away figures overall in relation to  the two teams…

Brighton are mid-table when it comes to home performances

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Manchester City 10 9 0 1 35 9 26 27
2 Arsenal 10 7 2 1 20 9 11 23
3 Liverpool 8 7 1 0 18 2 16 22
4 Chelsea 10 6 3 1 19 8 11 21
5 Everton 10 5 3 2 18 15 3 18
6 AFC Bournemouth 10 5 2 3 16 14 2 17
7 Tottenham Hotspur 7 5 0 2 12 6 6 15
8 Manchester United 8 4 3 1 14 11 3 15
9 Watford 9 5 0 4 14 15 -1 15
10 Brighton and Hove Albion 8 4 2 2 13 10 3 14

and although not relevant to this game Arsenal are second in this chart, although Liverpool hae two home games in hand and Tottenham, who are seriously trying to avoid playing at Wembley have three.

Away from home Arsenal are much stronger than they were last season, when the away form was their undoing.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 11 9 0 2 25 12 13 27
2 Liverpool 10 8 2 0 21 5 16 26
3 Manchester City 8 5 2 1 15 4 11 17
4 Chelsea 8 5 1 2 16 7 9 16
5 Arsenal 8 4 2 2 20 15 5 14
6 Manchester United 10 4 2 4 20 19 1 14
7 Leicester City 10 4 2 4 12 13 -1 14

Four wins in the first eight away games for Arsenal is equal to their total for the whole of last season.

We can also see that Arsenal have a 20 to 15 goal tally away from home whereas Brighton are on 13 to 10 at home.  This suggests that Arsenal will go up against Brighton – and their division of goals between first and second half is very much stacked in favour of the second half.

What’s more there is Aubameyang – a top scorer now very much in form.  If we look for the top 20 scorers in the division right at the top we have Aubameyang with 20 goals, and the fastest scoring rate at 116 minutes per goal.  He’s knocked in 12 goals and just to round it off has 3 assists.

Brighton’s top may is Glenn Murray with 8 goals and no assists, coming in with a goal every 142 minutes.

Also in the top 20 is Alexandre Lacazette with 6 goals and 4 assists.

This looks to me like an Arsenal win.   Brighton do score at home so might get the one, but Arsenal are averaging 2.5 league goals per game away from home so I suspect it will be 1-2 to Arsenal.

 

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