The Race for Top 4

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Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Updated predictions on which of the five contenders will grab the last two spots?  I think this is a legitimate five way race at this point.  My guess is that Arsenal ends up 3rd (mainly due to having the easiest schedule and, Saturday aside, relatively strong recent form) and Southampton squeaks 4th (current leaders, second easiest schedule, only club in no other competitions) but no outcome would really surprise me.  Below I list some strengths and weaknesses of each club, as well as their remaining "tough" fixtures (against other Top 7 teams or away to the stronger mid-table clubs of West Ham, Swansea, Stoke, Newcastle, or Everton).
 
Arsenal (tough fixtures: @Newcastle, Liverpool, Chelsea, @United)
 
They have the easiest schedule of any contender, with only two tough away fixtures, and have been in good form recently, aside from the beating they took in the NLD.  Wenger also has the most experience of any of these managers in this kind of "trophy" race.  I think the recent form plus the easy schedule will ultimately prevail  The biggest pitfalls are injuries and a potentially congested fixture list as they're still in three competitions.
 
Southampton (tough fixtures: Liverpool, @Chelsea, @Everton, @Stoke, Spurs, @City)
 
The current leaders, one of the easier sets of remaining fixtures, and with no other competitions to distract them.  I've been waiting for them to fall off and it just hasn't happened.  They lost two in a row while missing both Schneiderlin and Wanyama but that pair is back now.  The spine of their team is so strong that I think they'll grind out results and be in contention for the duration as long as they stay relatively healthy.  It will be interesting if they're fighting for a spot on the last day and facing a City team with nothing to play for (but which may like to see one of its big rivals fall short).
 
United (tough fixtures: @Swansea, @Newcastle, Tottenham, @Liverpool, City, @Chelsea, @Everton, Arsenal)
 
They arguably have the most talent on paper (perhaps bar Arsenal) and they have the big advantage of not playing in Europe.  But the fixture list is really tough and their form has been pretty mediocre for a while now.  I keep waiting for them to improve and it just hasn't happened so far.  They have three weeks to get it figured out (and to build some cushion over opponents) because the fixture list in March and April is just brutal.
 
Spurs (tough fixtures: @Liverpool, @United, @Newcastle, Southampton, City, @Stoke, @Everton)
 
I can't figure this team out - smack around top clubs at home, then lose to weak sides.  I was very impressed by the way they just took it to Arsenal this past weekend and I think there's reason to believe that Pochettino has figured out a system and set of players that works for them.  If they had one of the easier remaining schedules or weren't still playing in Europe on Thursdays, I'd be tempted to pick them for Top 4.  With both of those factors working against them, however, I think it will be tough.
 
Liverpool (tough fixtures: Spurs, @Southampton, City, @Swansea, United, @Arsenal, @Chelsea, @Stoke)
 
Almost everything I said about Spurs I could also say about Liverpool.  Promising if somewhat inconsistent form in the last month or so, manager seems to be finding a good system right in time, but a tough schedule plus European Thursdays.  They also start a few points further behind.
 

blueguitar322

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There's three PL teams out of the 32 left in the Europa hunt (Everton, Liverpool, Spurs) and all should be favored to make it into the last 16.  If that happens, it's not exactly a long shot that one of those teams steals the fourth CL spot.
 
I agree that Arsenal should be favorites, but the way this year has gone so far, it just feels like one big roll of the dice. 
 

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Nice summary. Spurs have already played at Chelsea, losing 3-0 on December 3. Spurs are also unbelievably healthy right now and that probably won't last. 
 
 
So what happens if Liverpool or Spurs win the Europa League and finish in the top four? Does that put the 5th place team in the Champions league next year? 
 

blueguitar322

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For quick reference, here's the current standings as of Feb 8
 
45 pts - Southampton (+21 GD)
44 pts - Man United (+17 GD)
43 pts - Tottenham (+6 GD)
42 pts - Arsenal (+18 GD)
39 pts - Liverpool (+6 GD)
 

blueguitar322

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Gunfighter 09 said:
So what happens if Liverpool or Spurs win the Europa League and finish in the top four? Does that put the 5th place team in the Champions league next year? 
 
If one of Liverpool, Spurs, or Everton win the Europa League, then the other three English teams picked for the CL are the three highest of the remaining teams.
 
So let's say Liverpool wins the Europa League, but finishes 7th in the PL.  Only teams 1-3 will join Liverpool in the CL.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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blueguitar322 said:
 
If one of Liverpool, Spurs, or Everton win the Europa League, then the other three English teams picked for the CL are the three highest of the remaining teams.
 
So let's say Liverpool wins the Europa League, but finishes 7th in the PL.  Only teams 1-3 will join Liverpool in the CL.
They changed the rules. Five teams would get in under this scenario.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Gunfighter 09 said:
Nice summary. Spurs have already played at Chelsea, losing 3-0 on December 3. Spurs are also unbelievably healthy right now and that probably won't last. 
 
 
Fixed.  That actually makes their schedule look considerably easier.   I'd say Spurs have a pretty legit chance.
 

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Morgan's Magic Snowplow said:
They changed the rules. Five teams would get in under this scenario.
 
Yep, five is the max. The only way a team gets bumped is if both CL and EL champs are from the England and don't finish in the top 4.
 
I think the bumped team would be in the Europa League but not 100% sure
-edit yes the bumped team would be in EL
 

Gunfighter 09 said:
Nice summary. Spurs have already played at Chelsea, losing 3-0 on December 3. Spurs are also unbelievably healthy right now and that probably won't last. 
 
 
So what happens if Liverpool or Spurs win the Europa League and finish in the top four? Does that put the 5th place team in the Champions league next year? 

 
 
It's four teams unless the CL or EL winner is not in the top 4. 
 
 

 
 
  • The winners of the previous season's UEFA Europa League will qualify for the UEFA Champions League. They will enter at least the play-off round, and will enter the group stage if the berth reserved for the Champions League title holders is not used.
  • The previous limit of a maximum of four teams per association will be increased to five, meaning that if the Champions League title holders or the Europa League title holders are from the top three ranked associations (but not both from the same one) and finish outside the top four of their domestic league, the fourth-placed team of their association will not be prevented from participating in the tournament. However, if both the Champions League title holders and the Europa League title holders are from the same top three ranked association and finish outside the top four of their domestic league, the fourth-placed team of their association will be moved to the Europa League.
  •  
 

Gunfighter 09

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- So if Arsenal wins the CL, but does not make the top four, they are obviously in the CL, but the #4 team does not get bounced, like Spurs did in 2012 when sixth place Chelsea won? That is a good thing. 
 
MMS - Spurs do play Chelsea at Wimbley on 1 March in the C1C final.  
 

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Gunfighter 09 said:
- So if Arsenal wins the CL, but does not make the top four, they are obviously in the CL, but the #4 team does not get bounced, like Spurs did in 2012 when sixth place Chelsea won? That is a good thing. 
I am not 100% sure, but I think the only way 4th place gets bumped is if both the Champions League and Europa League winner finish outside the top 4, so if Arsenal finished 5th and won the CL while 6th place Liverpool won the EL, 4th would be out.
 

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Ok, so last question, if the EL or CL winner is already qualified for the CL next year, does the other finalist take their spot if they do not qualify? 
 
For example, say Spurs and Roma meet in the EL final and Roma wins. Since Roma will almost certainly qualify for the CL spot by finishing second in Italy, would the EL runner up then get the auto CL bid for 2015/6? 
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Gunfighter 09 said:
Ok, so last question, if the EL or CL winner is already qualified for the CL next year, does the other finalist take their spot if they do not qualify? 
 
For example, say Spurs and Roma meet in the EL final and Roma wins. Since Roma will almost certainly qualify for the CL spot by finishing second in Italy, would the EL runner up then get the auto CL bid for 2015/6? 
 
I'm 95% sure that the answer is no but somebody might correct me.  I think you have to win the competition to get the CL spot.
 

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SoxFanInCali said:
I am not 100% sure, but I think the only way 4th place gets bumped is if both the Champions League and Europa League winner finish outside the top 4, so if Arsenal finished 5th and won the CL while 6th place Liverpool won the EL, 4th would be out.
 
Spurs finishing 4th in this scenario would be just about the most Spursiest thing possible.  I'm convinced it's inevitable.
 

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It happened a few years ago. Tottenham finished 4th, but Chelsea won the Champions League and got the 4th CL spot after finishing 6th in the league.
 

coremiller

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It happened a few years ago. Tottenham finished 4th, but Chelsea won the Champions League and got the 4th CL spot after finishing 6th in the league.
 
I remember that, of course, but the above scenario would be much worse, since it would require [SIZE=14.4444446563721px]a) [/SIZE]two other English teams winning European trophies instead of one, and b) Arsenal winning the European Cup to knock out Spurs.
 
It also almost happened in 2005, when Everton finished 4th but Liverpool won the European Cup while finishing 5th, and it was left up to the FA to decide which would qualify until Liverpool received a special dispensation from UEFA.
 

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coremiller said:
It also almost happened in 2005, when Everton finished 4th but Liverpool won the European Cup while finishing 5th, and it was left up to the FA to decide which would qualify until Liverpool received a special dispensation from UEFA.
Yeah, it was pretty much assumed that the national federation would always bump the lowest qualifier for the defending champion (as Spain had done in the past to get Real Madrid in), but there was no way the FA was going to take out Everton for Liverpool with the history of Everton missing out when all English teams were banned from Europe after Heysel.  UEFA eventually gave in and gave England a 5th spot for 05-06, but made Liverpool start in the first qualifying round, which meant the season that ended in late May started in mid-July.  They also didn't give Liverpool any country protection in the draw, so Liverpool and Chelsea ended up getting drawn into the same group.  All of this eventually led UEFA to change the rule and take the choice out of the national federation's hands if a team won the European Cup but didn't qualify for the next season, which led to the Chelsea/Spurs scenario a few years later.
 
The funny thing is that after all this effort to make sure Everton got in, they promptly lost their CL qualifying tie, got bumped into the (at the time) UEFA Cup qualifying, and lost that one, too.  They ended up not playing in Europe at all, and Liverpool made it through their CL group to the knockout stages.
 

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Just for fun, here are the five teams' ELO, all pretty close together:
 
Arsenal 1829
United 1776
Tottenham 1751
Liverpool 1749
Southampton 1739
 
I like ELO because it's a measure of total team strength in all competitions over several years, not just current season PL form.
 
Interestingly, the distance between Arsenal and Chelsea (1920) is greater than the difference between Arsenal and Southampton.  And then there's another 97 point ELO drop before you reach Everton, West Ham and Stoke.
 

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Why are you guys assuming it's a 5 way race for 2 spots? At this point, City have fallen back into the pack and probably could conceivably be caught by anyone down to Spurs on the current table.  It'd take a bad run of form and it pains me to say this, but City look very vulnerable right now and it's plausible that Aguero's red hot start papered over severe flaws.  There have been plenty of injuries and City might be equally likely to chase down Chelsea as they are to drop out of the top 4, but it's certainly well within the realm of possibility at this point.
 

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I think the assumption is that someone could possibly catch City, but it's pretty unlikely that 3 teams all catch and pass City.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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SoxFanInCali said:
I think the assumption is that someone could possibly catch City, but it's pretty unlikely that 3 teams all catch and pass City.
Yup, that's what I was thinking. They also have an easier fixture list than most teams, having already played Chelsea, Arsenal, and at Everton in the second half among their five matches so far. It could happen but it would take a pretty monumental collapse on their part.
 

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Morgan's Magic Snowplow said:
Yup, that's what I was thinking. They also have an easier fixture list than most teams, having already played Chelsea, Arsenal, and at Everton in the second half among their five matches so far. It could happen but it would take a pretty monumental collapse on their part.
Plus you would have to think that getting Bony and Toure back from International duty, and getting a few other guys healthy will be a big help. They have looked like crap the last month, but there were some circumstances that I think played into it that should now be changing for the better. 
 

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i'm wondering at what point the pundits actually start considering the possibility of Southampton finishing in the top 4.  They've been there all season but all the talk is always about Man United, Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool fighting it out for 3rd and 4th.
 

blueguitar322

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Updated table:
 
47 - United (+19)
46 - Southampton (+21)
45 - Arsenal (+19)
43 - Tottenham (+5)
42 - Liverpool (+7)
 
Here's an updated list of the remaining games against the top seven (home-away), then the next five (home-away), and then a list of what games remain against the two clearly best teams in the PL this year.
 
United ----------- 3-2 | 0-3 | City, @Chelsea
Southampton - 2-2 | 0-2 | @Chelsea
Arsenal --------- 2-1 | 3-1 | Chelsea
Tottenham ---- 1-2 | 2-3 | City
Liverpool ------- 2-3 | 1-2 | City, @Chelsea
 

blueguitar322

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Updated table through Feb 22:

48 - Arsenal (+20)
47 - United (+18)
46 - Southampton (+19)
45 - Liverpool (+9)
44 - Tottenham (+5)

Here's an updated list of the remaining games against the top seven (home-away), then the next five (home-away), and then a list of what games remain against the two clearly best teams in the PL this year.
 
Arsenal --------- 2-1 | 3-1 | Chelsea
United ----------- 3-2 | 0-2 | City, @Chelsea
Southampton - 1-2 | 0-2 | @Chelsea
Liverpool ------- 2-2 | 1-2 | City, @Chelsea
Tottenham ---- 1-2 | 1-3 | City
 

blueguitar322

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WayBackVazquez said:
The two "clearly best teams in the PL this year" have hardly been so over the past two months.
 
Yes, and despite that, City and Chelsea are 7 & 12 points above 3rd place respectively and have 55% and 70% respectively higher goal differential than the next highest team.  Not to mention, City's less-than-optimal run coincided with losing arguably their most important player to the Africa Cup of Nations, or those margins could be even higher.
 
There's a significant gap in both talent and performance between Chelsea/City and the rest of the CL spot contenders.
 

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I doubt Southampton can contend. I think they're a great side but they're struggling for goals. Top two looks like Chelsea and City, i reckon most of us can agree on that. I think Arsenal have the consistency and enough strength in depth to get the results needed for a top 4 finish. They always seem to get over the line. So for me, it's Liverpool, Spurs and Utd and it's no secret that Utd are playing the worst football of those three. However, they have been getting results without great team performances. If they gel more as a side I can see them going on a run and getting a top four spot. They certainly have enough individual talent.
 

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blueguitar322 said:
Yes, and despite that, City and Chelsea are 7 & 12 points above 3rd place respectively and have 55% and 70% respectively higher goal differential than the next highest team.  Not to mention, City's less-than-optimal run coincided with losing arguably their most important player to the Africa Cup of Nations, or those margins could be even higher.
 
There's a significant gap in both talent and performance between Chelsea/City and the rest of the CL spot contenders.
Not to mention, Liverpool's run has coincided with returning their most important player from injury, or those margins would be even smaller. See how fun that game is? Yes, City are in second place. They may even hang on to that spot, but it it likely won't be by much.

All I'm saying is, I don't think there's any reason to separate out games with Man City when there's (imo) a better chance they'll finish 3rd as first, and there's no significant difference between playing them right now and playing some of the other teams fighting for the top 4.
 

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When I look at City, I see a club that has finished 1st, 2nd and 1st the past three years, and those squads look extremely similar to this year's squad.  Despite a sub-par start to the calendar year, their goal differential is greater than Arsenal's and Liverpool's combined.  The only part of the season where they have not looked extremely strong is this past month, and they were missing Toure to ACON and, for some of those games, Aguero to injuries (or, in the case of their loss to Arsenal, starting him when not yet fully fit).  Both are now back.  They might not catch Chelsea for first, but they are the only team with a reasonable chance and will almost surely finish in one of the top two spots.
 
If you want to look at a streak of five poor games without key players and project that performance onto the rest of the year, discounting their four-year run of incredible success, then be my guest.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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fletcherpost said:
I doubt Southampton can contend. I think they're a great side but they're struggling for goals. Top two looks like Chelsea and City, i reckon most of us can agree on that. I think Arsenal have the consistency and enough strength in depth to get the results needed for a top 4 finish. They always seem to get over the line. So for me, it's Liverpool, Spurs and Utd and it's no secret that Utd are playing the worst football of those three. However, they have been getting results without great team performances. If they gel more as a side I can see them going on a run and getting a top four spot. They certainly have enough individual talent.
 
This sounds about right.  Its too bad about Soton.  They just don't have a lot of attacking firepower and it has shown the last month.  When Pelle and Tadic were really in form last fall, they did just fine but it seems that once those two hit the wall a bit over the winter, the goals really dried up.
 
At this point I like Arsenal and Liverpool to get there.  Arsenal still have the easiest remaining schedule and both clubs seem to have found the right combination of players and tactics over the last month or two.  The worry with United is that LVG still doesn't seem to know what team to play or how to line them up.  And they really needed to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the field in the last month or so, which was their easy run of fixtures, because March and April are murderous for them.  Spurs certainly have a shot but just seem too inconsistent to get over the line in the end.
 

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blueguitar322 said:
When I look at City, I see a club that has finished 1st, 2nd and 1st the past three years, and those squads look extremely similar to this year's squad.  Despite a sub-par start to the calendar year, their goal differential is greater than Arsenal's and Liverpool's combined.  The only part of the season where they have not looked extremely strong is this past month, and they were missing Toure to ACON and, for some of those games, Aguero to injuries (or, in the case of their loss to Arsenal, starting him when not yet fully fit).  Both are now back.  They might not catch Chelsea for first, but they are the only team with a reasonable chance and will almost surely finish in one of the top two spots.
 
If you want to look at a streak of five poor games without key players and project that performance onto the rest of the year, discounting their four-year run of incredible success, then be my guest.
 
They were 1-2-1 in the month before last, with the two draws coming to bottom half sides, including a relegation zone team. Is that really extremely strong? They're 3-4-1 over their last eight, while LFC and Arsenal have six wins apiece.
 
They have not beaten a team with a positive GD since November. Maybe the Newcastle match was a turning point. Or maybe they'll get taken apart without Toure by a pissed off Barca tomorrow and send them right back into their tailspin.
 

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WayBackVazquez said:
They were 1-2-1 in the month before last, with the two draws coming to bottom half sides, including a relegation zone team. Is that really extremely strong?
 
One of those draws ("against a relegation team" i.e. the same Burnley that just drew Chelsea) came during a streak where City were 12-1-0 in all competitions, and the other (away to Everton) came immediately after that streak.  It's hard to really hold any team to higher standards than that.  
 
WayBackVazquez said:
They have not beaten a team with a positive GD since November. 
 
Your statistic about not beating any teams with positive GD is misleading crap, considering
  1. There are only seven EPL teams with a positive GD, and City only played two of them
  2. Their loss to Arsenal was in part due to a lack of Toure and healthy Aguero; the last time they lost to Arsenal was like 4-5 years ago or something (and no, the preseason game does not count)
  3. They had the better part of the draw at Chelsea, and there's no shame in drawing at Stamford Bridge
  4. Your arbitrary cutoff date just narrowly misses giving City credit for wins vs Bayern Munich (Nov 25) and at Southampton (Nov 30)
  5. You ignore an away win against the 2nd place Seria A team (Roma) during this time period just because it's inconvenient for your argument.
The worst that anyone can make City look comes from considering only results between Dec 28 and Feb 7, a period of 41 days. You are giving this 41-day period far more predictive weight than 4 years of success.  Fundamentally, that's where we disagree.
 
But I'm done defending City.  It makes me feel all oily and gross.
 

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blueguitar322 said:
 
Your statistic about not beating any teams with positive GD is misleading crap, considering
 
There are only seven EPL teams with a positive GD, and City only played two of them
 
Yes, and they did not win either of those matches. Liverpool, for example, has only played three such teams during that stretch, but they managed to win some (all) of them. I would think if you're the "clear second best team" in the league, it might not be too much to ask.
 
Their loss to Arsenal was in part due to a lack of Toure and healthy Aguero; the last time they lost to Arsenal was like 4-5 years ago or something (and no, the preseason game does not count)
 
This just sounds like an excuse, doesn't it?
 
They had the better part of the draw at Chelsea, and there's no shame in drawing at Stamford Bridge
 
Okay.
 
Your arbitrary cutoff date just narrowly misses giving City credit for wins vs Bayern Munich (Nov 25) and at Southampton (Nov 30)
 
How is it arbitrary? The question is, "when was the last time City beat a positive GD team." The answer is what it is, which is about 3 months ago.
 
You ignore an away win against the 2nd place Seria A team (Roma) during this time period just because it's inconvenient for your argument.
 
Uh, no, I ignored it because we were talking about the Premier League. Just like I ignored the loss to a Championship Side in the FA Cup.
 
The worst that anyone can make City look comes from considering only results between Dec 28 and Feb 7, a period of 41 days. You are giving this 41-day period far more predictive weight than 4 years of success.  Fundamentally, that's where we disagree.
 
Do you think City will win tomorrow or at Anfield? Because I don't think they win either. So how many days does that take us to?
 
But I'm done defending City.  It makes me feel all oily and gross.
 
Good, because I have no grudge against them. I just don't see them being head and shoulders above the group chasing them right now.
 

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blueguitar322 said:
 
One of those draws ("against a relegation team" i.e. the same Burnley that just drew Chelsea) came during a streak where City were 12-1-0 in all competitions, and the other (away to Everton) came immediately after that streak.  It's hard to really hold any team to higher standards than that.  
 
 
Your statistic about not beating any teams with positive GD is misleading crap, considering
  1. There are only seven EPL teams with a positive GD, and City only played two of them
  2. Their loss to Arsenal was in part due to a lack of Toure and healthy Aguero; the last time they lost to Arsenal was like 4-5 years ago or something (and no, the preseason game does not count)
  3. They had the better part of the draw at Chelsea, and there's no shame in drawing at Stamford Bridge
  4. Your arbitrary cutoff date just narrowly misses giving City credit for wins vs Bayern Munich (Nov 25) and at Southampton (Nov 30)
  5. You ignore an away win against the 2nd place Seria A team (Roma) during this time period just because it's inconvenient for your argument.
The worst that anyone can make City look comes from considering only results between Dec 28 and Feb 7, a period of 41 days. You are giving this 41-day period far more predictive weight than 4 years of success.  Fundamentally, that's where we disagree.
 
But I'm done defending City.  It makes me feel all oily and gross.
 
I think you should keep going.  I'm really, really, really enjoying it and I'm going to have to see a doctor in a few hours if this continues.
 
FWIW, City are not having a great season, but have a lot of quality in the squad.  It was a very brutal month, and there's definitely a scenario where they slip up against Liverpool and Barca and the pressure on Pellegrini increases to a point where the squad falls into the pack.  When I alluded to it not being necessarily just a 4 team race for the final 2 spots, this is what I had in mind -- Pellegrini has a tenuous hold on the job imo and a poor run of results could turn City's season ugly quickly as there is just so much pressure on the manager and squad.
 
But your defense is actually spot on -- you can certainly say City have struggled recently, but any reasonable sized data set says there's a very talented group of players here who have demonstrated consistently excellent results in the aggregate even if there have been some duds in big matches. 
 

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blueguitar322 said:
When I look at City, I see a club that has finished 1st, 2nd and 1st the past three years, and those squads look extremely similar to this year's squad.  Despite a sub-par start to the calendar year, their goal differential is greater than Arsenal's and Liverpool's combined.  The only part of the season where they have not looked extremely strong is this past month, and they were missing Toure to ACON and, for some of those games, Aguero to injuries (or, in the case of their loss to Arsenal, starting him when not yet fully fit).  Both are now back.  They might not catch Chelsea for first, but they are the only team with a reasonable chance and will almost surely finish in one of the top two spots.
 
If you want to look at a streak of five poor games without key players and project that performance onto the rest of the year, discounting their four-year run of incredible success, then be my guest.
 
I can get why you'd want to stop defending City.  Just note that you're talking about projecting the future by using a measure (GD) that almost certainly wouldn't be true had Sturridge been healthy, while citing the return of Toure and Aguero as reasons recent trends won't continue. 
 
I happen to think City are far more likely to finish 1st than 3rd, but not because their GD is all that predictive.  I think Chelsea are going to tire out and City has the deeper squad.  Five points are still a lot at the top of the table, though.
 
This week my best bet would be Chelsea/City/Arsenal/Liverpool.  But it's tighter than an Arsenal jersey, so anything from a red card for Hazard to a Sturridge hamstring tweak would change that.
 

blueguitar322

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Assuming Arsenal doesn't win away to Monaco 3-1 or better, every team competing for #3/#4 CL spots is out of Europe (or wasn't there to begin with).

Tottenham and Southampton are also out of the FA Cup, and one of Arsenal/United will be going out next round.

It looks like there won't be many distractions the last third of the season.
 

Gunfighter 09

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ConigliarosPotential said:
By the by, just to bookmark this information in this thread, here's a link which explains how the Champions League and Europa League winners qualify for next year's Champions League, as well as the knock-on effects they have for other teams in their domestic leagues:
 
http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/news/newsid=2215121.html
So if Arsenal win the champions league and finish outside the top four, and Everton win the Europa league, 4th place gets no champions league next year. Baring a Monaco miracle, or City/Chelsea winning the CL but dropping to 5th, 4th place won't be dumped this year.
 

Luis Taint

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Gunfighter 09 said:
So if Arsenal win the champions league and finish outside the top four, and Everton win the Europa league, 4th place gets no champions league next year. Baring a Monaco miracle, or City/Chelsea winning the CL but dropping to 5th, 4th place won't be dumped this year.
"Arsenal win Champions League" lol
 

Gunfighter 09

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With Chelsea winning the league cup, the 6th place team will go Europa next year. 
 

blueguitar322

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Updated table through Mar 1.  I've included City as well despite my belief that they won't drop from second.
 
55 - City (+30)
...
...
...
51 - Arsenal (+22)
50 - United (+20)
...
48 - Liverpool (+10)
...
46 - Southampton (+18)
...
44* - Tottenham (+5)   *NOTE: Tottenham has a game in hand

Here's an updated list of the remaining games against the top seven (home-away), then the next group of Swansea, West Ham, Stoke, Newcastle and Everton (home-away), and then a list of top 7 games remaining.
 
City -------------- 1-2 | 1-1 | @United, @Tottenham, Southampton
Arsenal --------- 2-1 | 2-1 | Liverpool, Chelsea, @United
United ----------- 3-2 | 0-2 | Tottenham, @Liverpool, City, Chelsea, Arsenal
Liverpool ------- 1-2 | 1-1 | United, @Arsenal, @Chelsea
Southampton - 1-2 | 0-2 | @Chelsea, Tottenham, @City
Tottenham ---- 1-2 | 1-3 | @United, @Southampton, City
 
Comments:
  • It certainly seems like Arsenal and Liverpool are in the drivers seat for the final 11 games given current points and remaining schedule.
  • Liverpool might be my pick for 3rd; they just have an extra gear available that none of the other teams have.  Even when United and Arsenal win games, they don't exactly look great doing it.
  • United's schedule is just rough; they are yet to play the five other best teams.
  • Arsenal, Liverpool and United all play each other, with each team having one home game and one away; it might be these three matches that determine the final standings.
  • If Tottenham performs well on the road vs the mid-table teams and Southampton, they aren't out of it by any stretch.  I question if they have the consistency needed for top 4 (though this could also be said about every non-Chelsea/City team)
  • Southampton has dropped a bunch of points recently, and though their remaining schedule isn't terribly difficult, they have a much shallower squad than the other teams.
 
Liverpool will slow down eventually. They're playing great, but *every* team in the league always looks a little better during one stretch of the season than they are in totality, and Liverpool is in the middle of that stretch right now. So picking them for third feels like a step too far for me, even though a) I think they'll beat out United/Southampton/Spurs and b) it's hard to look past their form at the moment.
 
Incidentally...how many points do you think Chelsea will lose between now and the end of the season? Here's their schedule:
 
@ West Ham
Southampton
@ Hull
Stoke
@ QPR
Man Utd
@ Arsenal
@ Leicester
Palace
Liverpool
@ West Brom
Sunderland
 
I don't *quite* think they're mathematically safe as champions, but even with a few tricky fixtures in there, they'll have to drop at least 8 points for Man City to at least have a chance of passing them (if they win all their games), or 13 points for Arsenal to do the same (HAHAHAHAHAHA). So if their record for the last 12 games is something like W8, D3, L1 for a total of 9 points dropped, that'd mean City would need to run the table; they'll probably need to finish more like W5, D5, L2 - 16 points dropped - to give City a chance, and I can't really see that happening.
 

blueguitar322

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EDIT: Updated table through Mar 7.  Nothing really changed in this round of games.
 
58 - City (+32)
...
...
...
54 - Arsenal (+23)
53 - United (+21)
...
51 - Liverpool (+12)
50 - Tottenham (+7) 
49 - Southampton (+19)
 
Here's an updated list of the remaining games against the top seven (home-away), then the next group of Swansea, West Ham, Stoke, Newcastle and Everton (home-away), and then a list of top 7 games remaining.
 
City -------------- 1-2 | 1-1 | @United, @Tottenham, Southampton
Arsenal --------- 2-1 | 2-1 | Liverpool, Chelsea, @United
United ----------- 3-2 | 0-1 | Tottenham, @Liverpool, City, Chelsea, Arsenal
Liverpool ------- 1-2 | 1-1 | United, @Arsenal, @Chelsea
Southampton - 1-2 | 0-2 | @Chelsea, Tottenham, @City
Tottenham ---- 1-2 | 0-3 | @United, @Southampton, City
 
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