Best of the Rest

NWCherries98

Fans' Favourite
#1
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Points

5. Arsenal 26 15 5 6 53 37 16 50
6. Chelsea 26 15 5 6 45 29 16 50
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7. Wolves 26 11 6 9 34 33 1 39
8. Watford 26 10 7 9 34 34 0 37
9. Everton 26 9 6 12 36 39 -3 33
10. West Ham 26 9 6 11 32 39 -7 33
11. AFCB 26 10 3 13 37 47 -10 33
12. Leicester 26 9 5 12 31 34 -3 32


Since we have a thread about the relegation places, might as well have one for the race for the mythical 7th place. Looks like it'll probably be between these 6 teams: Us, Wolves, ***ford, Everton, West Ham and Leicester. I'd say we're comfortably the best team out of this lot at full strength, but then I'm arrogantly confident in our squad.

Wolves I find distinctly average, watching them play just reminds me of Watford V2; quite s*** but picking up wins. Massively overrated by the media, and we'll see how well they do once they pick up any key injuries. Can't deny that they've done well so far, but a lot can change in 12 games. Watford are the same as they've always been; a pretty bad footballing team picking up points from everywhere at a consistent rate. We've finished above them the last two seasons and I don't expect that to change. We're pretty close in terms of quality when both teams are at full strength though, I suppose. Everton aren't as good as they should be. Silva is revealing himself to be an average manager, and they seriously lack firepower up front. POSSIBLY have the best squad on paper, but they're another team I find distinctly unimpressive. West Ham have excellent flair and attacking players that can win them games, but are generally weak in the middle and at the back, which you can see by their GD- arguably similar to us in that regard. I feel like they're the team that would be most likely to be dragged back down into the lower midtable range, but thats just my opinion. Leicester are hard to judge; they could easily be where Wolves are, with the amount of "bonus points" they've won, but they haven't really capitalised. Tielemans is a fantastic signing for them, and Vardy is always a threat when starting... I'm running out of things to say about all these teams; they're all decent enough and any one of them could finish 8th behind us.

So why are we going to finish above all these teams?

1. Stability
So there are 12 games left of the season, and many of us will be having, or be in the middle of, bouts of poor form. We have the huge advantage of club stability (from a performance POV). We've just been through arguably our worst Premier League run of form, and there wasn't a whisper of EH's job being in danger, nor where there any signs of the players playing to get him sacked. I can easily see all of the other teams (except Wolves) having this problem; Leicester players seem unhappy with Puel, West Ham are always one bad run of form away from rioting, Everton fans will no doubt be expecting at least Top 8. Watford have mellowed a bit recently but still have it in them to go sack happy. We don't have this problem, and are probably more likely to both turn around bad form and maintain good form than anyone else.

2. Attack!
Quite simply, we have the best attack outside of the Top 6. We've scored the most goals, have the best spread of goals throughout the squad and have the most players with 6+ goals in the league. Burnley were the exception, not the rule. The more goals you score in this league, the higher you'll finish. There's a reason players like Johnny Evans go for 2 million and players like Bobby Reid end up going for £10 million+. A strong attack is always better than a strong defence IMO (Obviously it would be good to have both!).

3. Run-In
From March, we have one of the easiest run-ins out of all these teams. "There's no such thing as an easy Premier League game!" Yes there is. You're not Eddie Howe, you don't have to be polite to the other teams. Huddersfield is an easier game than Man City, Fulham is an easier game than Liverpool etc. On paper, we have a run of about 8 games that we could win, which is 24 points. Even being cynical, just 4 more wins takes us to a record points total. With an easier run in than most, we're in with the best chance of finishing 7th given our current points total.



Thoughts? I'll probably update this thread as each match goes by. I'm happy for everyone who would still take 17th, but I think we should honestly be aiming for at least Top 10, and I think that's what EH and the players would agree with too.
 
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#2
Three quick things .....
1) Everton have played 27 games.
2) Six-pointer against Wolves in 2 weeks is pretty much a "must-win" if we want to keep designs on 7th. Go 9 points back and they will be hard to catch.
3) Yes, it is a reasonable run-in of games but we must figure out a way to break down those types of teams, who recently have taken away our strength by slowing down the game, either through lots of cheap fouls or drawing us in and consequently mitigating our pace on the break. Getting Brooks and Callum back will be key.
I do agree that top 10 (and 50 points) are good objectives.
 
#3
We are the best attacking team of that bunch..and the flair team that attracts the comments around the World...the famous Cherries....but I cant see us finishing above Wolves and Watford with our defensive frailties and still unsettled midfield....obviously we would have done it easily without the injury fuelled bad run! However an even more settled Smith and Clyne might possibly give us enough...but it will require an enormous effort and better Luck!
I was thinking earlier about two members of the team and staff other than Eddie, (who gets plenty of accolades) that over the four seasons have been constantly in the thick of events in terms of efforts and drama ... always there..Steve Cook and Jason Tindall.....Cherry juice in their veins or what? ... 5 PL seasons coming up ..Crazy Stuff!
 
#4
Wilson and Brooks back for that run in.

We also haven't (I think) lost at home to a non top 6 side since Burnley in Dec 17. I would expect us to get the majority of the points available in Newcastle, Burnley and Fulham games.

The defining moments will be can we repeat our Watford and Fulham away games in those last five away games to pick up 8+ points?

Or will we see Burnley, Newcastle and Cardiff type performances?
 
#5
I think we have carelessly dropped points when not playing the top six. If we can be more ruthless with our run in we can definitely finish seventh, I don't see a team around us who are any better than us if we have our best team out.
 
#6
Defence! If (and it's a big if) we ever sort out our defending, without compromising our attacking flair, then a top 10 finish would be almost a formality.

Slightly off topic, but I do wonder if Eddie needs to overhaul the defensive coaching staff. Clearly whatever they are doing isn't working given the number of goals we continue to ship.
 
#7
Defence! If (and it's a big if) we ever sort out our defending, without compromising our attacking flair, then a top 10 finish would be almost a formality.

Slightly off topic, but I do wonder if Eddie needs to overhaul the defensive coaching staff. Clearly whatever they are doing isn't working given the number of goals we continue to ship.
Are you sure Eddie isn't the defensive coaching staff?o_O
 
#8
...Wolves I find distinctly average, watching them play just reminds me of Watford V2; quite s*** but picking up wins...

...Everton aren't as good as they should be...

...West Ham have excellent flair and attacking players that can win them games, but are generally weak in the middle and at the back, which you can see by their GD- arguably similar to us...

...Leicester are hard to judge...

Pretty much agree with all of this.

Leicester should be doing much better than they are and I think they will.

Wolves are driving me mad. If they don't have a long run of bad form soon it's going to ruin my season!
 

adam0102

Fans' Favourite
#10
Defence! If (and it's a big if) we ever sort out our defending, without compromising our attacking flair, then a top 10 finish would be almost a formality.

Slightly off topic, but I do wonder if Eddie needs to overhaul the defensive coaching staff. Clearly whatever they are doing isn't working given the number of goals we continue to ship.
Agree, 47 goals conceded in 26 games is, frankly, rubbish. We can't always rely on simply outscoring the opposition.

What does my head in is the number of calamitous errors we have in our locker, most recently Cookie's penalty at Cardiff. It's almost like we try and find new ways of conceding goals.

Apart from cutting those ricks out, Brooks and Wilson are definitely the key to our finishing position, as well as WeeMan getting that bit of the run of the ball/additional confidence that he had at the start of the season but which seems to have gone missing a bit of late.

Still confident, though, think we'll get wins against Hudds, Newcastle, Burnley, Brighton and Fulham, along with possibly Southampton (please, this time, please just fecking beat them away!!) and maybe even Leicester.

Definitely pushing to match our best ever finish of 9th, not sure we'll get to 7th.
 
#11
In terms of best of rest, there are some poor teams challenging not for that accolade. Think wolves will finish top of the pile although do struggle at times against lower sides.
 

Neil Dawson

Fans' Favourite
#14
Defensive mistakes are not down to coaching in my opinion. They are down to the quality of the player. Ake makes less than Cook. Smith makes less than the other full backs.

It is lapses of concentration that cost and ultimately only changing personnel will influence that. That’s not saying certain players are bad, all our players are better than anything we have ever seen before...this is talking about the ability to finish top eight.


If you take the Liverpool game...Gosling lost Mane and let him goal side, Lerma wouldn’t have had he been marking him. Ibe gave the ball away ridiculously for the second. Fraser wouldn’t have done in the same position. Surman, Ibe, Gosling, Daniels (maybe Rico but too early) are top half championship players. They will keep us in the PL but not top half if they have to play more than one of them in a team.

You might even say the same for Cook and his brain fart moments that have stayed with him throughout his career. Personally I think he offers more than the four mentioned.

I also think Eddie has to develop a more fluid system which I’m hoping with a midfield of Lerma, Cook and Brooks he will. King, Wilson and Fraser ahead of them. Now that’s a top eight team if you chuck in a top class right back.
 

NWCherries98

Fans' Favourite
#16
Fraser wouldn’t have done in the same position
I agree with most of your post, but Fraser gave the ball away more in that game than Ibe did, and had a largely terrible game IMO.

With Cook, hopefully the arrival of Mepham will help him improve regarding these brain fart moments, but honestly I doubt it. Like you say though, he offers more than enough overall to make up for it.
 
#17
I agree with most of your post, but Fraser gave the ball away more in that game than Ibe did, and had a largely terrible game IMO.

With Cook, hopefully the arrival of Mepham will help him improve regarding these brain fart moments, but honestly I doubt it. Like you say though, he offers more than enough overall to make up for it.
I agree that Cooky has his moments, but he is still better than Donkey Dunk at Brighton - and he has an England cap!!