So we have completed half a season, gearing up for Christmas and Boxing Day fixtures (no Arsenal on boxing day sucks)… since this is a contemplative time of year, I am going to try to analyze where we are today, where I see us for the rest of the season, including prediction for finish, as well as prospects longer-term.
Half-season report card: D+
Pretty dismal frankly. 34 points puts us on pace for 68. Worse, our football has mostly been pretty dire to watch. Bright spots for me are Ozil, Laca (I am patient and like overall what I see, maybe being charitable), Nelson, AMN, Wilshere (not holding my breath and feel a lot of his praise is OTT). Pretty disappointed with Sanchez (we need more from our superstar), Xhaka (meh, get rid), and defense overall (still a fing shambles - get it fing sorted AW). Luke warm to the rest, mostly down.
Despite our woes, our rivals are tragic and bar Utd and City, I can see us competing with anyone else on total points (seriously). I actually think we will have a better second half, pull 39 points, and end on 73 (still pretty crappy, but second half would mask a dreadful first half - let’s face it, we were not certain of finishing above Burnley after 19 until the final f*ing game). End position is going to be insane and very, very tight I reckon… here is what I think will happen:
- City (duh): 102 points (they will slip but still have pretty fab points total)
- Utd: 83 points - they will get no closer to Utd and eventually fade when Mou invariably goes insane and implodes
- Chelsea: 78 points - they are going to struggle for goals in some games and if Hazard gets injured, they could fall to 6th, but I reckon they have enough quality to hold off the pathetic jokers below them and repeat their 39
- Arsenal: 73 points (seriously) - we will scrape by and do enough, watching Pool and Spurs comically blow what should be their spot above Arsenal.
- Spurs: 72 points (on GD) - last day they blow it, St. Totteringham’s day again, hallelujah
- Pool: 72 points (on GD) - offense stays hot but injuries and a shambolic GK/defense situation holds them back
LC will nick 7th, riding luck and Mahrez/Vardy counters
Everton will find 8th
Prospects for future:
I am actually starting to think Ozil, stays - giant win. Sanchez is clearly gone (and in retrospect should have been sold). We critically need 2 attacking players, and a proper CM, as well as defensive reinforcements and need to figure out our LT situation at GK. We won’t get enough done this summer, but hopefully land at least one proper long-term star. RN, AMN, and Eddie seem legit contenders to start for us (soon for AMN, not far for RN, and maybe a season or two for Eddie)… the 3 young prospects give me some hope. I figure we will have repeat of this year next year, but maybe not get as lucky to find 4th and perhaps drop out again into 5th/6th.
The summer following this next one will be as crucial as the one coming now in terms of setting us up… hopefully AW is gone, our youth have blossomed, and we have unearthed 2-3 gems as well as brought in proper star attacking player… it isn’t as bad as it seems atm to me frankly - most of top sport is hyperbole - you usually aren’t as good as you think you are when things are good (City) and you usually aren’t quite as bad as you think you are when things are bad (us)… margins are still tight. Need to fund massive influxes with smart sales and be more ruthless there and we NEED desperately to hit on our transfers… no more Xhaka’s, Mustafi’s, Chambers (jury still out I reckon), etc.