Title race after Arsenal’s Stoke result? Van Gaal claims United are in it

From David: Stoke result

Hi Myles,

I thought it was a fantastic draw against Stoke – our bogey team.

I remember you once wrote that players like Sanchez should be protected at places like Stoke!

Delighted that Sanchez was not risked, and Ozil had an ‘injury’. Is Wenger finally protecting his star players? I bet both are back after another week’s break to face Chelsea.

Sanchez had a mid-season break well deserved. I can only see this Arsenal team getting stronger with players coming back.

2 points from 6 is not great, but both were tough away games, they are still top, and the fixture list looks better from now on with star players back and our new signing.

Myles says:

Champions can’t have bogey teams.

Adams, Keown, Parlour & Vieira didn’t have bogey teams.

Lee Dixon would go anywhere, play against anybody. Nigel Winterburn the same.

Man City have more firepower but they’re not consistent.

Even if the exceptional Aguero is fit for every game, they might not regain the title.

It’s not about whether Arsenal as are as good as they were in 1998 or 2002 or 2004.

It’s only about how many points Arsenal, Leicester and Man City get compared to each other.

The first five months of a Premier League season is about building a solid platform of points from which you can look down on your former rivals and make them wish they were up on your platform.

From now on the title race is a game of accumulation.

Take one game at a time, prepare to win that game, do everything you can to win that game, then go on to the next one.

Always felt that was the particular genius of different Liverpool teams in the pre-Sir Alex days. 

They knew how to win titles by focusing on the next game and nothing but the next game. They didn’t allow distractions, they had a strong best-of-British ethos, and were often driven by very combative Scots and Irishmen.

The multi-national English club teams of today make that kind of identity much harder to build.

But Arsenal have become good away from home. They’ve become hard to beat on the road. They play the same back five and Cech always shouts at his fullbacks in Spanish, shouts at Per in German, at Kos in English.

As you probably know, Man City are only one point behind Arsenal and Leicester but they are not as consistent away from home.

Leicester have won 7 of 12 away , Arsenal have won 6. City have only won 4.

After Sunday’s dramatic win at Anfield, Van Gaal said United are in the title race. He would say that.

But it’s not inconceivable that they could produce a charge.

The bad news for LVG is that they’ve played only 10 home games so far – and 12 away. 

Manchester United’s home form has to improve a lot, and soon, for King Louis to make good on that boast.

In those 10 games United’s record is 5-4-1.

By contrast, Arsenal’s 10-game home record is 7-2-1.

So from now on it’s a game of consistency, of accumulation.

With only 16 games left, my guess is that it could soon boil down to winning nervy games by one goal.

Which team is best-equipped to win tight, nervy games by one goal? I don’t know.

On Sunday, could Arsenal beat Chelsea by one goal?