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xGunners: North London Derby top 4 implications

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Where a win, loss or draw leaves Arsenal

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Saturday’s North London Derby is a huge match.

These derbies are always big matches because of the rivalry, but this match has the added stakes in that this will go a long way in helping to determine which teams will finish in the top 4 and get the automatic Champions League birth that comes a long with that.

Table before the Week 27 mathces

The fight for the last two spots is very close among the four teams. The difference between Liverpool in 3rd and Arsenal in 6th in just six points. With such a big game between two rivals I thought it would be interesting to run through some different scenarios to see how different results effected the Top 4 odds for each team.

Before any Matches are played

Chelsea’s losses against Bournemouth and Watford have really hurt their chances for the top 4. Before the losses my simulation model had them with an 80% chance of finishing in the top 4. Now Chelsea are in serious crisis mode with whispers that Antonio Conte is plotting an exit.

Arsenal are starting from the worst position but at least in their last match they look re-invigorated by the additions of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. All of these things create a very close race.

Strength of schedule and expected points

Liverpool are in the best position on the table and also have the easiest schedule based on their opponents ELO ratings, with an average rating of 1686 (think Everton at 1685). Putting all of these things together they are expected to collect 23.4 points over the next 12 matches. That is 1.9 points per match which is just below 1.96 they have collected thus far this season.

Tottenham are next, they are a point behind Chelsea o the table but with an easier schedule left they are expected to pick up more points the rest of the way. Their average ELO against remaining is 1698 (think Basel at 1699) and their expected points is 22.5.

Chelsea come in just ahead of Arsenal due to their current superior position on the table. Their schedule is the toughest of the four teams fighting for the last two spots. The average ELO for their opponents is 1729 (Leicester 1729, or Benfica 1730). They still have matches at Manchester Unted, at Manchester City, against Tottenham and against Liverpool, not to forget a Champions League matchup against Barcelona. The model expects them to pick up 20.1 points the rest of the way but I think that it is very possible that they could have a downward spiral if the losses to the big teams pile up.

Lastly is Arsenal, they are expected to pick up 22.2 points which is just behind what Tottenham are expected to do. The only problem is that they are four points behind them and will need to be much better then expected to finish in the top four.

They have an average opponents ELO of 1712 (think Sporting CP 1710) and will be favorites in all but this weeks match against Tottenham and next weeks against Manchester City, with the trip to Old Traford the next closet (currently 35% Manchester United, 22% Draw, 42% Arsenal).

Arsenal have used up their margin of error and making up the required points will require taking care of business against the lower table teams and getting results against the teams on par with them.

Odds for Week 27

Chelsea and Liverpool are both big favorites in their matches against lower table opposition. Both of these might be a little high, Chelsea seem to be going through a slow motion train wreck. While Liverpool have struggled against teams that sit deep and make Liverpool break them down.

In the North London Derby, Tottenham are the favorites but Arsenal have a better than 50% chance to get a result.

The best case scenarios

Arsenal beat Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea both lose.

Arsenal beat Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea both draw.

Still pretty good scenario

Arsenal beat Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea both win. This isn’t as good as the other results but it Arsenal are still in a better position than they started in.

The last pretty good outcome for Arsenal is a draw with Tottenham combined with losses for both Liverpool and Chelsea.

Worst Case Scenario

A loss in tomorrow’s match is a bad result and puts Arsenal’s top 4 chances on life support and requires the teams above them to really collapse to be able to make up the required points.

The worst case scenario is an Arsenal loss combined with wins for Chelsea and Liverpool. This would be bad.

Full Week 27 match odds

My focus this week is on what happens at Wembly but here are the rest of the match odds for this weekend.

Up the Arsenal!