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  1. Tuff Ghost

    Arsenal 21-22: Brexit FC

    All things considered, if Xhaka was going to get COVID (and I obviously do not wish that on anyone), now is probably the best possible time. He is suspended for the next 3 matches: 9/11: Norwich City 9/18: Burnley 9/22: AFC Wimbledon (League Cup, 3rd Round) That means the earliest he would be...
  2. Tuff Ghost

    Arsenal 21-22: Brexit FC

    Yeah, I think Arteta likes the inverted full-back on one side concept (City-esque), where one full-back tucks-in to the midfield on the attack. If you break the attack out into 5-channels, I think it has decent balance, shifting around in real-time, but with a base state of: Wide Right: Saka...
  3. Tuff Ghost

    Arsenal 21-22: Brexit FC

    The first three games have been hilariously bad, but this team is not this poor and they'll likely finish right around 60 points (+/- 5 points) yet again. They are young, so there will be growing pains, and they have had plenty of important players missing time to start the year. Excuses only go...
  4. Tuff Ghost

    Arsenal 21-22: Brexit FC

    A few quick counter-points: 1. Sign me up for the "status quo" of the last 22 matches of last season. Once they introduced Smith Rowe in December, and then added Odegaard in the January window, they were actually a pretty good club: Record: 12-5-5 (41 points out 66) Goals vs Goals Against...
  5. Tuff Ghost

    Gameweek 1: New Season's Buzzing

    Ouch, I just noticed my three word typo. I misspelled “I am deflated and I am dispirited and I am melancholy.” Ha. Tierney and Smith Rowe played pretty well, and Sambi’s passing intrigued me. I think they could possibly have a nice young midfielder in him, someone who can actually contribute to...
  6. Tuff Ghost

    Gameweek 1: New Season's Buzzing

    The first match of a new season is always exciting, but add Balogun, Martinelli, and Lokonga to the starting XI (plus White- but he was fully expected), and I am amped and pumped and stoked for this one, regardless of outcome. COYG.
  7. Tuff Ghost

    Sons of Alan Hansen: The 2021-22 EPL Predictions Thread

    The SoSH consensus this year looks a whole lot like The Athletic staff consensus. Every pick is within 1 spot on the table, except for Aston Villa who is 2 spots apart (The Athletic: 8, SoSH: 10). The greatest variability was with Brentford: Average: 16.2 Highest pick: 9th (OCST) Lowest pick...
  8. Tuff Ghost

    Gameweek 1: New Season's Buzzing

    Oh no doubt, that was intended only as a tongue-in-cheek comparison. Plus, I honestly would not want the start of this season to mirror anything from the last considering they started 4-2-8 (14 points) and were in 15th place after matchweek 14.
  9. Tuff Ghost

    Gameweek 1: New Season's Buzzing

    Last season, Arsenal started off by playing away against a newly-promoted London club (Fulham) and won 3-0, so I'll take a repeat of that. Of course, all three goal scorers from that match are out- Lacazette, Gabriel, and Aubameyang- so Balogun will just have to bag a hat trick.
  10. Tuff Ghost

    Sons of Alan Hansen: The 2021-22 EPL Predictions Thread

    The Athletic's staff picks are also out (from same article as the Optimism meter). (Source: https://theathletic.com/2766808/2021/08/13/the-premier-league-is-back-and-we-might-even-have-a-title-race/) Last year, The Athletic's staff picks ended being wrong by a total of 62 places, which was...
  11. Tuff Ghost

    Arsenal 21-22: Brexit FC

    Optimistic Me: Balogun gets the start, has a big night, and runs away with the striker job, while Lacazette heads off to Serie A and Aubameyang, unfortunately, continues on in his sunset phase, hopefully at least as a super-sub. Pessimistic Me: Willian starts as a false 9, they drop 3 points to...
  12. Tuff Ghost

    2020/21 Premier League Prediction Thread: It's That Time Again

    As a final stamp on the 2020-21 predictions, I tallied up the results for everyone and found the following. Total Places Off: A lower value is better here. It is the sum of the absolute value of the poster's pick minus the actual place for each club (i.e. a pick for a club to finish 5th and...
  13. Tuff Ghost

    Arsenal 21-22: Brexit FC

    I think £35m is reasonable for Odegaard in this market. If Real want more, then they can keep talks going for Maddison (doubtful anything happens due to the cost) and Aouar (I would not be shocked to find out they like Aouar a bit more than they have let on this window) and see if anyone becomes...
  14. Tuff Ghost

    Sons of Alan Hansen: The 2021-22 EPL Predictions Thread

    West Ham, which sadly means you are ready for their pretty bubbles to enter the "fade and die" portion of their chant, "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles." They truly "nearly reached the sky" by qualifying for Europa, but the song lays it out pretty clearly what comes next!
  15. Tuff Ghost

    Sons of Alan Hansen: The 2021-22 EPL Predictions Thread

    Crystal Palace is missing, so I am going to assume that you predict the entire club disappears in a strange wormhole scenario, making for the biggest story of the season (or, perhaps, and a little less fun, you meant to put them 10th!). Same here, I think Villa have a nice season, they've been...
  16. Tuff Ghost

    Sons of Alan Hansen: The 2021-22 EPL Predictions Thread

    Last year, my picks demonstrated why I would never bet actual money on anything I predict. I remember feeling pretty good while typing up my table, thinking long and hard about various factors, and I still ended up a total of 70 places off, or an average of 3.5 places wrong per team. The only...
  17. Tuff Ghost

    Arsenal 21-22: Brexit FC

    I think in a vacuum, I would go with Maddison, but in reality Odegaard. The thought of having a legit goal-scoring threat who can generate a high volume of quality shots jumping right into the midfield is exciting. He's great at progressive passing and also would be nice to have on free kicks...
  18. Tuff Ghost

    Manchester City 2021/2022 - the Harry Kane Team?

    Regarding Grealish, I read some speculation that Pep's plan would be to start him as a No 8, in a more Gundogan like role: - The Athletic Grealish's touch map as a No 8 and Gundogan's are similar, but Grealish still advanced past the 18-yard box more frequently than Gundogan, so that may be an...
  19. Tuff Ghost

    Arsenal 21-22: Brexit FC

    I also would like to see Odegaard back. Arsenal seem to have a clear plan this off-season, in addition to getting younger players, they recognized their weakness in progressive passing. Last season, they had the 5th highest passing total distance, but the 13th highest progressive passing total...
  20. Tuff Ghost

    Arsenal 21-22: Brexit FC

    After Odegaard's written statement thanking Arsenal, I had assumed he was definitely not returning, but it appears the rumors are going to start back up again. This seems like something that could drag on until the end of the window. Real Madrid could use the money and Odegaard seems to be a top...