IKTS Week 22: At Everton.

Arsenal dispatched Manchester United at the death, but the score flatters the visitors, as expected goals ranged from 3-1 to 4-0. Despite dominating, Arsenal conceded first on a wondergoal by Rashford, his ninth in nine games. Arsenal equalized within a few minutes on a header by Nketiah assisted by Xhaka. Arsenal took the lead early in the second half on a superb Saka strike (his best ever, according to him, and to most experts) but Arsenal gifted a weird equalizer on a corner with a header by Lisandro Martinez, one of the shortest players on the field. Arsenal took over and kept pressing until the 3-2 game winner came on a Trossard-Zinchenko-Odegaard action nicely concluded by Nketiah. A key win that is the object of an article by Jonathan Liew in The Guardian that has been commented and debated on line ad nauseum. Jonathan Liew used to be a writer at The Telegraph (where he wrote a notorious anti-banter article about Reine-Adelaide) but is now with The Guardian, and his prose has evolved positively. He has many admirers, including Tim Stillman of Arseblog. I will just say that the promising title of "Arsenal strut past United with the aura of champions" is spot on and I was happily reeled in. But our mantra is: One game at a time!

Saturday started with a goalless draw between Liverpool and Chelsea followed by a 1-1 draw between Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest and yet another 2-2 draw between Leicester and Brighton. Southampton lost 0-1 late against Aston Villa before West Ham dispatched Everton 2-0, with Lampard being sacked as a consequence. There were also two more goalless draws, between Crystal Palace and Newcastle then Leeds versus Brentford, the latter on Sunday. Manchester City took care of Wolverhampton 3-0 thanks to a Haaland hattrick, his third of the season. Finally, on Monday, Fulham lost 0-1 to the noisy neighbors.

The twelve active participants (skinnejay was not able to post any predictions) combined for 98 points (for an average of 8 and 2/12 points per active participant) and there were 13 correct IKTS predictions. The ten games for the Week ended up with 3 home wins, versus 2 wins for visiting teams, and there were five draw. Overall, 18 goals were scored for an average of 1.8 goals per game.

Scores for the week:

Seidman 14 (3)
Geaux_HR 14 (2)
ben from portsmouth 11 (1)
hansdampf 10 (1)
luismamontes 8 (1)
AsemBuckets 7 (1)
billvacation 7 (1)
ClevelandJames 7 (1)
rswansont 7 (1)
Sonny from Suffolk 6 (1)
Purple & Proud 5 (0)
Ray from Norfolk 2 (0)

Stars of the week: Seidman is first on 14 points (and three correct IKTS predictions) with Geaux_HR in second also on 14 points (but only two correct IKTS prediction) while ben from portsmouth is in third place on 11 points (and one correct IKTS prediction) but hansdampf is right behind on 10 points.

Clever pick of the week: Only rswansont had the exact score for Leicester versus Brighton. There were also two correct predictions for three fixtures: Bournemouth versus Nottingham Forest, Southampton versus Aston Villa, and Arsenal versus Manchester United. Finally, there were six exact predictions for Manchester City versus Wolverhampton.

Crisis pick of the week: Nothing to report except that several games polarized opinions and predictions. Ray from Norfolk had a very bad week with only two pointe on the board.

Standings after week 21:

Geaux_HR 165 (25)
Ray from Norfolk 165 (18)
skinnejay 161 (24)
Purple & Proud 156 (22)
luismamontes 154 (17)
hansdampf 152 (20)
Sonny from Suffolk 150 (19)
ClevelandJames 150 (14)
Seidman 147 (18)
rswansont 146 (15)
ben from portsmouth 143 (13)
AsemBuckets 138 (11)
billvacation 131 (14)
Mulz 113 (16)
DustyGooner 9 (2)

After week 21, Geaux_HR leads Ray from Norfolk by virtue of the IKTS tiebreaker with skinnejay four points behind.

Upcoming schedule: Friday February 3, Saturday February 4, Sunday February 5, and Wednesday February 8:

Chelsea - Fulham
Everton - Arsenal
Aston Villa - Leicester
Brentford - Southampton
Brighton - Bournemouth
Manchester United - Crystal Palace
Wolverhampton - Liverpool
Newcastle - West Ham
Nottingham Forest - Leeds
Tottenham - Manchester City
Manchester United - Leeds