The Myth of Arsenal’s ‘easy’ run-in

By on April 12, 2010

Barclays-Premier-League Trophy

By Football Talk.

Do Arsenal really have the ‘easy’ run-in that everyone keeps talking about? For weeks, ever since Arsenal managed to claw their way back into the title race, we have heard how The Gunners have an easy run-in and by far the easiest compared to Manchester United or Chelsea. Whilst this may have been true with 8-9 games remaining, as Manchester United and Chelsea had to play each other, can the same be said now with only 4-5 fixtures left?

Lets take a look at the remaining fixtures for the three teams chasing the title.

Arsenal

Spurs (A)

Wigan (A)

Man City (H)

Blackburn (A)

Fulham (H)

Chelsea

Bolton (H)

Spurs (A)

Stoke (H)

Liverpool (A)

Wigan (H)

Man Utd

Man City (A)

Spurs (H)

Sunderland (A)

Stoke (H)

Most people will say with Chelsea having to play both Tottenham and Liverpool away that they have the toughest fixtures. But they have 3 relatively ‘easy’ home games in which they should pick up maximum points. Whereas Arsenal and Man Utd only have 2 homes games each remaining, with only 1 that can be described as ‘easy’.

All three teams have to play Tottenham, and Manchester United and Arsenal’s games against the in-form Man City will be just as though as Chelsea’s trip to Anfield. By then, Liverpool may already be out of contention for 4th place and concentrating on their Europa League exploits and they are not currently 6th by accident, they are a poor side this year.

Manchester United have only 4 games left after yesterdays draw against Blackburn. A fixture that Arsenal are yet to navigate. Before the weekend, Arsenal and United both had to play Blackburn, Spurs and Man City in their remaining 5 games. They both had ‘easy’ homes games against Fulham and Stoke, so the only difference between the two sides was Arsenal travelling to play Wigan and United travelling to play Sunderland. Not a lot between those games in my opinion. Sunderland have very little to play for now, while Wigan are in a relegation fight and their pitch is terrible, certainly not suited to Arsenal’s passing game. So it could be argued that United had in fact the easiest run-in compared to Arsenal.

There is a case that Arsenal now have the toughest games left with only 1 relatively easy home game, a very difficult home game against an in-form Man City side, an away North London derby against Spurs, a trip to play Wigan who have already taken points at home against other top clubs and a trip to play Blackburn who just held Manchester United and have a great home record.

In fact, i think Chelsea will be the most confident with their remaining fixtures. The three home games against Bolton, Stoke and Wigan are a massive advantage.

Everybody knows there is no easy game in the premier league, that’s why its the best league in the world. So no result should be taken for granted. But i can see Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United all dropping more points during the coming weeks.

I think there is very little between the three teams remaining fixtures and this ‘Arsenal have the easiest run-in’ thing is a complete myth. The decisive factor in who is crowned champions could be that United and Arsenal have only 1 ‘gimmy’ home game left each, while Chelsea play 3 home games that should see them take maximum points.

After Man Utd’s draw yesterday, Chelsea are now hot favourites to win their first title in 3 seasons, but if Arsenal can beat Spurs on Wednesday they will be right on their heels.

Only time will tell, but i can see a few more twists and turns before any blue or red ribbons are tied on the premier league trophy.

What do you think, who has the easiest run-in? Please leave your comments below….

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17 Comments

  1. Troy

    April 12, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    You do realise that the ‘easy run in’ was the last 10 or 12 matches?

    You could post this article again on the final day and ask how is Fulham at home ‘easier’ than Stoke or Wigan? It wouldn’t make much sense then either.

    • Football Talk

      April 12, 2010 at 2:01 pm

      Thats why i put ‘Whilst this may have been true with 8-9 games remaining’. Are you saying that people are not still saying Arsenal’s run-in is easy then? Did you watch the premier league debate on SSN the other night, all of them were saying how easy Arsenal’s remaining games were. Which i don’t agree with. So the article makes perfect sense if you read it properly.

  2. Clear Thinker

    April 12, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    We HAD an easy run in. Our only 2 tough games were Spurs and Man City. However as we have not won every game from then, then our title challenge is weak now. We had to have beaten Birmingham, but didn’t. We won against Stoke, Burnley, Hull, West Ham and Wolves as expected.

    That was the much talked about easy run in.

    • Football Talk

      April 12, 2010 at 2:13 pm

      So are you suggesting that 6 weeks ago Arsenal’s last 5 games didn’t count towards their run-in?

      • Clear Thinker

        April 12, 2010 at 3:06 pm

        Obviously not. I’m not suggesting anything, I’m stating as fact that 6 weeks ago our run in was easier than the other 2.

        Our run in as a whole was easier, sadly most of the easier games have gone, and Chelsea and Man U have had some of their harder games. If you isolate the run in now, we don’t have the easiest run in anymore. The fact that you listen to SSN debates, which are designed to attract morons, that state our run in is easier is your get out.

        • Football Talk

          April 12, 2010 at 3:33 pm

          It was George Graham who claimed Arsenal’s remaining 5 games were ‘far easier’ than Utd or Chelsea’s. However, it was not the debate on SSN that promted this article. I am still hearing and reading everywhere that Arsenal are still in the title race as they have the easier run-in, which i don’t believe to be the case.

          As it said in the opening paragraph, ‘Whilst this may have been true with 8-9 games remaining, as Manchester United and Chelsea had to play each other, can the same be said now with only 4-5 fixtures left?’, I state that with 8-9 games left it could have been argued that Arsenal had the easier run-in, but can the same be said now? Which, as you point out, is not the case.

  3. Clear Thinker

    April 12, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    tbf listening to the premier league debate on SSN was your first mistake. They are generally a bunch of dribbling retards.

  4. king gooner

    April 12, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    wigan will be tricky-but credit to martinez,he tries to play goodfootball-by the way,they now have a lovely newpitch & playing surface unless rugger buggers it up!

  5. BlowingBubbles992

    April 12, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I’ve got to say I agree with Tony and I, as he probably did, read and understood the article just fine. The notion of Arsenal’s ‘easy run-in’ began when 8-9 games remained and at that point they DID have a clear advantage in schedule over both Man U and Chelsea and still do. The term ‘easy’ is obviously relative as none of the 3 are going to waltz their way to the title but if you ask me which set I’d prefer I wouldn’t have much trouble choosing Arsenal’s especially with the success Wenger has against Hotspur. If Man City or Fulham were away it would be a different story but the fact is Chelsea face Spurs at The Lane where anything can happen and have to travel to Anfield where I am anticipating a draw. Chelsea’s schedule isn’t terrible but like I said I’d go with the Gunners’ fixtures. I don’t bother to bring Man U into the argument because in addition to having little hope at the title with yesterdays draw, they are without Rooney, leaving them all but incapable of scoring.

    • Football Talk

      April 12, 2010 at 2:51 pm

      So anything can happen when Chelsea play spurs, but when Arsenal travel to the Lane without Fabregas, RVP or Arshavin they should win? Arsenal are struggling to create without those 3 just like Utd without Rooney. If Chelsea draw at Anfield, why won’t Arsenal draw at Ewood as United did? Any away fixture in the premier league is difficult and as the article says, Chelsea have 3 ‘easy’ home ties, Arsenal have 1. So I would take Chelsea’s games over Arsenal’s any day.

  6. Robbo

    April 12, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    I worked out before this weekend that from their remaining 5 games that Arsenal would gain 10 points from their last five games. I think they will lose at Spurs & draw with Citeh
    I predicted United would get 12 points from theirs with maximum from all except a defeat at Citeh. They’ve already dropped a further two from my prediction at Blackburn.
    This would all mean that if Chelsea collected maximum points at home & avoided defeat at both Spurs & Liverpool they will be champions. Now, I think they can even afford to lose at those two “difficult” grounds. But I dont think that will happen.

    Final positions & points from this would be;

    Chelsea 85 pts
    Man Utd 82 pts
    Arsenal 81 pts

  7. Ibrahim

    April 12, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    You are right. I think chelsea is very close to the title now. Chelsea took already the maximum points from Man uniten and Villa. These were potential difficult games. Indirectly you feel the strength of each side in every game and the common sense tells that chelsea is a strong favoriete for every game they play from now on. United is avarage without roony and we have a very long injury list. with 5 game to go is the goal difference also very important and, unfortunatly, not in our favour.

    Chelsea leading the league followd by us and then united seems a fair result takeing the whole season in consideration. But fortunatly football is not predictable, we have a chance to win and I will keep dreaming till the math. stop me from doing that.

  8. Leo

    April 12, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    You have to look at the remaining fixture in a much broader context – not just who they play, but also the resources (players). I would say Chelsea has the easiest remaining fixture at this point, since they are the in form team with three home games and almost everybody fit to play. This makes them more capable of winning both the home and away fixtures. I believe Chelsea will lose to Liverpool, but I can’t see them dropping more. They’ll probably beat spurs away too… and win the other home games.

    Arsenal have the most depleted squad, and has three away games. Given that Wenger has always rotated his team, the players that come in are fully capable of performing at a high level. If Arsenal can pull a win out of the bag on Wednesday, then they will again be looking good. They will beat City at home for sure…. and I expect them to win the away games too.

    United will drop points against City… and that the only place I can see them dropping points.

    Chelsea will win. Arsenal second, and United third. City will be get their Champions league spot.

  9. andrew

    April 13, 2010 at 3:50 am

    i beg to differ, i still maintain Arsenal have got the easiest games. The reason Arsenal has no consecutive hard games whereas the other times will have consecutive hard games. ie Man U will play City then Spurs.
    Also expect both Man city and Spurs to fight out the points against Man U because thats one of the games where either one of them gains or loses the 4th place.
    Therefore Man U hard the hardest..

  10. OohToBeAGooner

    April 13, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Wigan,tough!! They beat Chelsea and Liverpool ok, but they lose to the crap teams so I just think they’re were lucky to catch Chelsea on that day and Liverpool are Liverpool. Wigan are relegation fodder.

  11. The Chief

    April 13, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Arsenal will win it.

  12. Alem

    April 14, 2010 at 8:49 am

    I thing Chelsea is 1 place
    Arsenal 2
    Mun unted 3

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