Friday, 12 February 2010

Did Manuel Almunia just win the league for Arsenal?

Picture coutresy of Rob(TM)

If you read the headline and were hoping to read that Manuel Almunia has left Arsenal, you will be bitterly disappointed. Ten minutes from the end of Wednesday night's match against Liverpool, Ryan Babel unleashed a powerful right-footed shot from 25 yards, but Arsenal's much-maligned keeper Manuel Almunia pulled off an amazing save, tipping the ball on to his crossbar and behind for a corner.

Could this be a decisive moment in the season? As previously mentioned, Arsenal have an easier run-in than the other top teams. Below, I have listed the remaining fixtures for each of the top three teams this season with the points I expect them to get from each match in brackets.

Chelsea (current points = 58)

Wolves (a) [3], Man City (h) [3], Portsmouth (a) [3], West Ham (h) [3], Blackburn (a) [1], Aston Villa (h) [3], Man Utd (a) [1], Bolton (h) [3], Spurs (a) [1], Stoke (h) [3], Liverpool (a) [1], Wigan (h) [3]

End of season total = 28 + 58 = 86

Man Utd (current points = 57)

Everton (a) [1], West Ham (h) [3], Wolves (a) [3], Liverpool (h) [1], Fulham (a) [1], Bolton (a) [3], Chelsea (h) [1], Blackburn (a) [3], Man City (a) [1], Spurs (h) [3], Sunderland (a) [3], Stoke (h) [3]

End of season total = 26 + 57 = 83

Arsenal (current points = 52)

Sunderland (h) [3], Stoke (a) [3], Burnley (h) [3], Hull (a) [3], West Ham (h) [3], Birmingham (a) [1], Wolves (h) [3], Spurs (a) [3], Wigan (a) [3], Man City (h) [3], Blackburn (a) [3], Fulham (h) [3]

End of season total = 34 + 52 = 86


As you can see, ManUre finish on 83 points and both Chelsea and Arsenal finish on 86. Obviously, in the real world it is impossible to predict the exact results of so many matches in advance, but I think it is safe to say that it will be a closer-run thing than most people predict, and it could go to the last match of the season.

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