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xGunners: Project 24 Points

Arsenal have a slate of 8 matches against teams that they will be favored to beat. Getting the maximum (or as close as possible) will be a key point in determining how they close they get to the goals they set out at the start of the season.

Arsenal FC v CSKA Moskva - UEFA Europa League Quarter Final Leg One Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

After the first two matches Arsenal find themselves in the bottom quartile of the table in 17th place tied on points with the other bottom teams but holding a better goal difference. This is not how Unai Emery would have liked to see things go to start his career, but given the draw he was given it was always going to be a real possibility.

Now comes the chance for Arsenal to climb their way back up the table with a slate of matches starting with West Ham on Saturday followed by Cardiff City, Newcastle United, Everton, Watford, Fulham, Leicester City and Crystal Palace.

They will be favored in each of these matches and have a great opportunity to stockpile points. On the latest Arsenal Vision podcast, Clive dubbed this coming slate of eight matches ‘Project 24’, saying that this should be the point tally that Arsenal look to come away with.

I really liked the way that sounded and wanted to put into perspective how the different outcomes for the eight matches would effect the goal of reclaiming a top in the top four.

First is to establish what the odds are for each match:

Project 24 Odds

FIXTURE Home Win Draw Away Win
FIXTURE Home Win Draw Away Win
Arsenal vs West Ham United 63.3% 19.2% 17.5%
Cardiff City vs Arsenal 18.6% 18.8% 62.5%
Newcastle United vs Arsenal 20.7% 19.3% 60.0%
Arsenal vs Everton 64.2% 18.1% 17.7%
Arsenal vs Watford 68.1% 17.0% 15.0%
Fulham vs Arsenal 15.5% 15.7% 68.8%
Arsenal vs Leicester City 60.8% 19.6% 19.6%
Crystal Palace vs Arsenal 22.5% 20.1% 57.4%

This is the odds of Arsenal earning the following points given the above odds in each match:

Getting the 24 points would be impressive but likely is a long shot, the most likely outcome is in the 16 to 19 point range. For me the minimum expectation from these matches has to be 18 points, any less and the season focus will probably need to focus on the Cups.

Now how each grouping of points effects the top four odds

First just to get it out of the way, anything less than 20 points and Arsenal can rule out the title. They don’t have realistic odds of winning with just 1.8% and any less than 20 points drops it below where they currently sit.

Now the top four odds:

24 points

Team Top 4 Avg Sim Pts
Team Top 4 Avg Sim Pts
Manchester City 97.80% 86.4
Liverpool 88.80% 80.45
Tottenham Hotspur 73.70% 76.22
Arsenal 67.70% 74.78
Chelsea 58.60% 73.26
Manchester United 21.40% 65.9

Getting all 24 points would be good! This would move Arsenal to the 4th favorite to finish in the top 4. I think that they should really try this.

22 Points

Team Top 4 Avg Sim Pts
Team Top 4 Avg Sim Pts
Manchester City 97.90% 86.65
Liverpool 89.10% 80.28
Tottenham Hotspur 76.10% 76.22
Chelsea 61.30% 73.26
Arsenal 59.20% 72.77
Manchester United 24.20% 66.12

Getting 22 points goes a long way to making up the points that were dropped last Saturday away at Chelsea and put Arsenal right in the thick of things.

21 Points

Team Top 4 Avg Sim Pts
Team Top 4 Avg Sim Pts
Manchester City 98.20% 86.61
Liverpool 90.00% 80.32
Tottenham Hotspur 77.10% 76.27
Chelsea 63.10% 73.23
Arsenal 54.20% 71.8
Manchester United 24.80% 65.89

Still a strong position to be in contention.

20 Points

Team Top 4 Avg Sim Pts
Team Top 4 Avg Sim Pts
Manchester City 98.20% 86.48
Liverpool 90.50% 80.51
Tottenham Hotspur 77.30% 76.17
Chelsea 63.50% 72.95
Arsenal 50.70% 70.85
Manchester United 27.10% 66.05

A two point expect points gap has opened up with Chelsea here but still right around 50% for top four.

19 Points

Team Top 4 Avg Sim Pts
Team Top 4 Avg Sim Pts
Manchester City 98.50% 86.42
Liverpool 91.70% 80.45
Tottenham Hotspur 79.30% 76.15
Chelsea 66.40% 73.23
Arsenal 44.40% 69.69
Manchester United 26.70% 66.1

Things are deteriorating quickly.

18 Points

Team Top 4 Avg Sim Pts
Team Top 4 Avg Sim Pts
Manchester City 98.60% 86.52
Liverpool 92.00% 80.51
Tottenham Hotspur 80.00% 76.11
Chelsea 67.10% 73.19
Arsenal 40.90% 68.77
Manchester United 27.70% 65.88

This for me is the minimum to still have a realistic chance without needing a ton of help from rivals dropping huge amounts of points unexpectedly.

17 Points

Team Top 4 Avg Sim Pts
Team Top 4 Avg Sim Pts
Manchester City 98.50% 86.54
Liverpool 92.30% 80.48
Tottenham Hotspur 80.70% 76.21
Chelsea 69.40% 73.25
Arsenal 35.10% 67.77
Manchester United 29.10% 66.02

An almost six point gap between Arsenal and Chelsea here, basically treading water if they only get 17 points from these matches.

16 Points

Team Top 4 Avg Sim Pts
Team Top 4 Avg Sim Pts
Manchester City 98.80% 86.66
Liverpool 92.90% 80.63
Tottenham Hotspur 82.20% 76.06
Chelsea 70.20% 73.06
Arsenal 31.10% 66.8
Manchester United 30.40% 66

A one in three chance at the top four isn’t horrible, but it is really pushing the limits of being able to control your own destiny on the way. Any less than 16 points and Arsenal start averaging less points than Manchester United and I have a really hard to time even wrapping my head around that scenario.

***

A couple further notes, for these I only changed the points that Arsenal get during this stretch of matches, everything else simulates like normal. The match also doesn’t dynamically change the team ratings during this stretch, if Arsenal were to reel off five or six straight wins the stats that feed into this model would most likely improve increasing their team rating (ever so slightly the model starts weighing the current season more heavily each weak).