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First of all, congratulations again to Pangloss for a remarkable, resounding and relentless victory in the inaugural GHF Predictathon. He first hit the front in Match Week 5 and established his lead from Match Week 8. From Match Week 18, no one could come even close to catching his coattails. 

We’ll get to the secrets of his success, but congratulations are also in order for Poosker and BtM for taking silver and bronze. BtM just pipped GSD, who had burst out of the mid-table pack with a strong run from Match Week 33 onwards. 

Sancho Panza rounded out the above-average quintet that beat the Crowd, the consensus predictions of this fine establishment. Sacking his donkey of a manager early clearly paid dividends.

Let us also applaud our other winners:

Tin Tack: Dr F. Jnr
League Cup winners: TTG and Uply
FA Cup winners: CER and GSD

BtM gets a special mention in dispatches for for making the most correct predictions: seven, two more than Pangloss and one more than Poosker. That trio topped the Princes of Precision index, calculated under the tiebreaker rules (number of exact predictions, then predictions one place off, and so on). 

Rounding out the elite eight, with four exact predictions, were 21st Century Gooner, Uply, bath and Sancho Panza. bath would have ended up far from the relegation zone were it not for two wildly misjudged predictions.

The competition was fierce. All but two players scored low enough to have beaten TTG’s title-winning effort in last season’s Afficionadoes league, the tournament that inspired this one. The bottom pair’s scores were low enough to have taken second. 

That is a very high standard of prognostication. Or if it was dumb luck, someone should bottle it.

We tracked the scores match week by match week, but here are the ones that count: those at the end of Match Week 38.

Here is how the rankings ebbed and flowed. Thirty-eight match weeks are a lot to cram into one chart and still be legible, but this gives a sense of how the season went.

The secret of Pangloss’s success was not so much a matter of getting a lot of things right — although he did — but of avoiding getting anything badly wrong. The difference squared scoring system is far more punitive of erroneous predictions than it is rewarding of more accurate ones.

This chart shows the count of each player’s predictions grouped by the number of positions they were off from the final Premier League placings. You will see that Pangloss’s bars skew heavily to the left, towards the lower scores. None of his predictions were more than four places off. 

Potsticker was the Nearly Man. Fully half of his predictions were only one place awry. Only GSD came close to matching that with nine.

Compare that to the several players with at least one prediction that was a punishing nine places off—your correspondent included. You will not be surprised at the correlation between that and a place in the bottom half of the rankings.

At least the company was as estimable as it was seasoned, with C100 to lead us in song and Trev to keep us amused.

Yet there was more to Pangloss’s success than avoiding howlers. We tracked the bad boys who messed up players’ predictions throughout the season. Our fourth chart shows how each team under or overperformed expectations based on the average of their predicted position compared to where they finished. 

Three teams most confounded their start-of-season expectations, offering the savvy player the most opportunity to steal a march on rivals: Bournemouth, Burnley and Brentford. What a load of Bs. They were followed by Man U and West Ham, much the same.

Burnley was widely tipped for a mid-table finish but went straight back down to the Championship, ending in 19th place, and punishing its manager by exiling him to Munich to coach Harry Kane — cruel and unusual punishment, by any measure. However, Pangloss, as he surmised in an earlier drink, got the Clarets spot on when no one else did. Potsticker and Scruz were close, but that was about it. 

Burnley was also rooted in 19th place from Match Week 14 onwards. That embedded an average 36-point advantage in Pangloss’s score every match week from then on. Until its late slide down the table, Wolves gave him a similar built-in boost each week. That comfortable cushion over most everyone else easily kept him at the top of the rankings. Wolves’ late slide turned it into one of his worst picks in the end, along with Bournemouth, Brentford and Brighton. Yet he was no more than four places off with any of them; on average, everyone else did worse. 

The fifth and final chart sums that all up, showing Pangloss’s performance against the consensus prediction for each team.

If you’d like to see how you fared against the consensus predictions, leave a note in the drinks or email ghfpredict@yahoo.com. The monks will e-quill you a copy of the chart of you vs. the Crowd. Beautifully hand-illuminated on vellum, it won’t be.

We plan to rerun the GHF Predictathon next season. We hope to increase the number of players and so up our donation to Willow. We shall post details on the blog in the first half of August about how to get your entry blank. The entry deadline will be an hour before the start of the new season on August 17. 

We plan to keep the same format. Let us know in the drinks if you have suggestions for improvements or any new tiebreaker-style predictions that would help keep up the interest throughout the season. 

Thank you for playing this season—and if you didn’t, join in next time. Thanks especially to Scruz and bath for posting the leaderboards week in, and week out. [Thanks most especially to Ned and his monks for the hard graft weekly in getting everything totted, sorted, and drawn. They earned their tonic wine! –eds.] Most of all, thanks for supporting Willow. 

A final note of thanks to Bob Wilson for graciously writing to congratulate Pangloss on his 2023-24 success at winning the bragging rights to be the bar’s biggest know-it-all.

95 Drinks to “The inaugural GHF Predictathon in five easy charts”

  1. 1
    Pangloss says:

    Thanks Ned, I hope everyone finds this asinteresting as, for obvious reasons, I do. Thank you, and your eponymous monastic familiars for your regular updates. I have been remiss in not mentioning my joy and amazement at receiving, via snail mail, a handwritten letter of congratulations from Bob Wilson. He thanked me for our contribution to Willow, thanks whichi really should have passed on before now.

    I will be delighted if I manage to score better than The Crowd next season.

  2. 2
    Pangloss says:

    In other news, a less hopeful but very credible view of the Man City prognosis from today’s Grauniad – Manchester City’s Trumpian tactics spotlight autocratic creep in football | Barney Ronay https://www.theguardian.com/football/article/2024/jun/05/manchester-citys-trumpian-tactics-spotlight-autocratic-creep-in-football?CMP=share_btn_url

  3. 3
    Countryman100 says:

    Ned, a huge thank you for all the hard work and for making it such fun. Congratulations to all the winners.

  4. 4
    TTG says:

    Firstly warm congratulations to Pangloss and the other winners ( which included me!) for their successful endeavours . I hope it was a lot of fun and certainly the superb administration of Ned deserves huge credit and our grateful thanks I know all the hard work that went into this competition at his end .
    Bob was really chuffed at what we raised and might I suggest we go again for next season, with if possible a slight increase in the entry fee to support Willow ?
    Finally, I rarely reference Untold but this article is worth a read about the mechanics about forming a new league

    Telegraph refuse comment from Untold on Man City case…Can a club resign from the Premier League?

  5. 5
    TTG says:

    Hypocritical Man City’s only goal was sportswashing but league let them in

    This is an important read as well

  6. 6
    Trev says:

    Brilliantly done, Ned ! Huge thanks for all the hard work and consistently quick updates.
    I think I predicted far too heavily on what I thought some managers would be able to pull out of the fire, rather than looking more at the quality and experience of their squads.
    De Zerbi, Frank, Company etc
    Live and learn, eh ?
    Good fun though and definitely back next season.
    I did think it was interesting that so many regular main piece authors finished rooted to the bottom of the table.
    Moral: Don’t come here to learn about football !

  7. 7
    bt8 says:

    All hail to Pangloss in his superior wisdom. Already trying to lower expectations for next season’s predictathon I see, as all the clever managers are wont to do. Also, many thanks to Ned and ttg for your respective roles in running and reporting on the contest, and for inspiring it.

  8. 8
    TTG says:

    The UK press is reporting that Arsenal ( to no one’s surprise) are supporting the Premier League against C115y by providing a witness statement . Arsenal don’t skimp on such things so one can expect some well argued support for the League’s position. Why one of our most high-profile supporters was Director of Public Prosecutions a few years ago ! He’s looking to get another big job soon .

  9. 9
    bt8 says:

    One might suppose the above reference is to Keir Starmer, who Wiki says held the post from 2008–2013. Wiki also provides these interesting other deets: He is a pescatarian and his wife is a vegetarian. They raised their children as vegetarians until they were 10 years old, at which point they were given the option of eating meat.[233]
    Starmer is a keen footballer, having played for Homerton Academicals, a north London amateur team,[11] and supports Premier League side Arsenal. 👊🏾👊🏾👊🏾

  10. 10
    TTG says:

    Starmer’s Arsenal affiliation is very well known here and is genuine unlike a recent PM
    ( Cameron) who couldn’t remember if he supported West Ham or Aston Villa . On Boxing Day 2022 when we played West Ham some Gooner colleagues were drinking in the Arsenal Tavern ( I believe) when a number of security men started casing the pub prior to the entry of Sir Kier who drank his pint surrounded by flunkies. It created an artificial atmosphere and is not apparently his regular haunt .
    We’d be happy to invite him to a GHF pre-match lunch where he could sit next to Anne Hathaway – but his flunkies must wait outside

  11. 11
    TTG says:

    I have just checked with a mate who told me the Starmer story. His pub of choice is apoarently the Landseer Arms in Holloway Road . He was seen drinking there with Wes Streeting the Shadow HealthSecretary after the Everton game

  12. 12
    Countryman100 says:

    My sources (the guys behind me on the North Bank) tell me that Starmer’s regular drinking hole before a game is the Swimmer, tucked in between Holloway Road and Seven Sisters. I believe Ollie drinks there after a game.

  13. 13
    TTG says:

    Thanks C100
    The Swimmer , not the Gunners was where he entered with his security men
    Being teetotal I don’t know these dens of iniquity

  14. 14
    Bathgooner says:

    Thanks for an excellent review, Ned, which clarifies its outcomes but leaves me no more confident that I can improve my performance for the forthcoming season! Thanks also for the weekly analyses throughout the season. Also, congratulations again to Pangloss, the details of whose open top bus tour have yet to be announced.

    The Predictathon was an interesting experience, even looking up from the basement. However, despite your clear explanation of its workings, I remain suspicious that Pangloss’s success is based on some nefarious input from occult forces.

  15. 15
    Sancho Panza says:

    Me too Bath at 14. That and putting Burnley 2nd bottom and the rest of us putting them 13th.
    Many thanks Ned. I’ll be using AI to pick mine for next season. The question is do I go with C115y being minus 60’d or expunged from all our lives?

  16. 16
    Pangloss says:

    Sancho Panza makes an interesting point about Man Citi’s effect oh next season’s Predictathon. It’s worth considering accepting a 100 point penalty by predicting them to finish halfway. The alternative is to predict them to be top or bottom depending on whether the don’t or do get a swinging points deductions and suffer a 350 point hit (OK. 361) if you get it wrong. It could make the whole thing a lottery.

  17. 17
    OsakaMatt says:

    Congratulations again to Pangloss and thanks to Ned for a very illuminating explanation.
    I fully understood my consistent mediocrity now 😃
    It seems I barely moved all season, but to look on the bright side I still have as many trophies as Kane,

  18. 18
    OsakaMatt says:

    We could just run the competition without 115ty I guess.

  19. 19
    Ollie says:

    Cheers Ned and co. That’s some serious analysis! Didn’t realise i had hit the top once, if I’m reading the colours wel. Tumbled over the final couple of weeks, but seeing as I started low, it was a wild rollercoaster.
    Congrats again to Pangloss and other winners.
    Matt @ 18. Should we also do it without Pangloss? 😛

  20. 20
    Trev says:

    Renewed congratulations to Pangloss and apologies to TTG for omitting to thank him for all his work in organising too.

  21. 21
    North Bank Ned says:

    Thanks, all, for the kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed the Predictathon. It was a pleasure updating the weekly leaderboards.

    Yes, Ollie, you were no 1 for one glorious week, after MatchWeek 17, the last time the no 1 wasn’t Pangloss.

  22. 22
    bathgooner says:

    The widely respected Dave Seager and friend of our late Guvna makes a strong and valid case for Onana as the man to boost our midfield and thereby our title challenge:

    10 Reasons why Amadou Onana is the right midfielder for Arteta and Arsenal

  23. 23
  24. 24
    Uplympian says:

    A belated many thanks to Ned and his monks for his (their) brilliant work throughout the season updating the tables and charts and also to TTG for introducing and help running this bonus competition for us ‘holics. The bonus of course is the donations that go to the most worthy Willow Foundation. Congratulations to Pangloss in his outstanding win. It appears VAR wasn’t working or was being operated bt PGMOL as everything time Trev passed me I tugged him back by his shirt and I was never penalised – I think he had no shirt left at the end! Looking forward to a fresh start next season.

  25. 25
    North Bank Ned says:

    Topless Trev? A calendar in the making? Perhaps not. Moving quickly on…

  26. 26
    Countryman100 says:

    I have just attended the end of season curry for my pub predictathon competition which has been running for 20 years. The format has changed over the years but there are currently four categories: top seven; bottom three; top three in the Championship and winner of five cup competitions.

    I was the winner of two elements, bottom three and the championship. I was third in the top seven.

    Given my performance in the GHF competition, second from bottom, I can only conclude that the standard of football knowledge is far higher here than in my local!

  27. 27
    North Bank Ned says:

    Congratulations on two out of four, C100. You must have picked a different bottom three for your pub competition than here. Is there a scoring system, or are the sets small enough that it is a binary right or wrong?

  28. 28
    Countryman100 says:


    The scoring system is 3 for a fully correct position and 1 for being in the group (e,g. bottom three), but not in the the correct position.

    My bottom three were

    18. Sheffield United (1 point)
    19. Burnley (3 points)
    20. Luton (1point)

    Total 5 points

  29. 29
    OsakaMatt says:

    Congrats to you C100, two out of four ain’t bad as Meatloaf nearly said.

    Well done to Ode as well on another player of the season award.

  30. 30
    TTG says:

    Well done C100
    But just be thankful that Pangloss doesn’t do his drinking in St Ives . He’s the dogs at Predictathon.

  31. 31
    TTG says:

    I notice watching the Rugby League Cup Final presentation held at the Toilet Bowl , tgat they have a place to present trophies ! Who knew?
    Perhaps they built this with thoughts of our third title win at their place ? They don’t need it .

  32. 32
    Ollie says:

    TTG, they definitely planned for hosting other competitions.
    European Cup rugby final was there too I believe.
    That’s a lot of trophies that were sure to be delivered in that place this season.
    Proxy is all they have.

  33. 33
    Ollie says:

    Congrats, C100, but more importantly, how was the curry?

  34. 34
    North Bank Ned says:

    C100@28: If you’d stuck with those in the Predictathon, you would have been in a much happier place 🙂

  35. 35
    North Bank Ned says:

    C100@28: Applying your pub’s rules to Predictathon predictions, 21st Century Gooner would have won the Bottom 3 category with six points. BtM, Pangloss and Poosker would have tied for second with four points apiece. Assuming the same scoring applies to the Top 7, it would have been Poosker (14 points) from Uply (12) with Pangloss (11) in third.

  36. 36
    TTG says:

    This article contains information that Holics may find useful . It shows the Transfermarkt valuations and the end dates of their contracts although at a quick look it doesn’t cover Tierney and Tavares . But it claims we have the second most valuable squad in the world

    Arsenal Tshirts

  37. 37
  38. 38
    North Bank Ned says:

    I assume that we shall be leapfrogged by Real Madrid once M’bappe has formally joined them.

  39. 39
    bathgooner says:

    Mbappe joining Real Madrid? Well, knock me down with a feather! Who’da thunk it?

  40. 40
    Trev says:

    My shirt after a season with Uply –

  41. 41
    Trev says:

    As photographed by my friends at Blacqbook 👍🏻

  42. 42
    North Bank Ned says:

    Trev@40: 🙂

  43. 43
    bt8 says:

    RIP Chet Walker, forward of basketball’s Philadelphia 76ers when I was a boy, in a great team that also featured Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer and Billy Cunningham.

  44. 44
    Ollie says:

    In exactly one month, France will either be impossible to govern, or have a far right government. Great….

  45. 45
    Ollie says:

    …just in time for the Olympics!

  46. 46
    TTG says:

    Sad to hear that Alan Hansen is seriously ill. Thoughts are with him 🙏

  47. 47
    bathgooner says:

    TTG @46, that is very sad news. Hansen was a very classy footballer and I enjoyed his subsequent punditry. I hope he pulls through.

  48. 48
    OsakaMatt says:

    Cazorla: Door always open to Arsenal return

    Could Santi be on the way……..

  49. 49
    TTG says:

    Swiss Ramble on Manchester City’s case
    They are struggling to find a leg for the Oilers to stand on . In fact analysing their greed makes you even more angry

  50. 50
    Ollie says:

    *randomly pops in*
    *taps in*

  51. 51
    North Bank Ned says:

    Well in for the half-ton, Ollie.

  52. 52
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@49: Thanks for the link. The Swiss Ramble’s excellent piece on City makes me think of F Scott Fitzgerald:

    Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different.”

  53. 53
    OsakaMatt says:

    I just read that Welbz has got a 2 year contract extension at Brighton!
    Good for him as I always liked Danny but not sure I’d have taken that punt

  54. 54
    ecg says:

    ESPN recently published their list of the top 100 footballers in the world. Disclaimer – I didn’t bother with reading about the basis for the list or who was involved. They selected 10 keepers and 30 each of defenders, midfielders, and forwards.

    Arsenal has 6 players on the list with a couple of surprises and one glaring omission (in my opinion). As expected, Raya did not make the keeper list. For defenders, a surprise with Bennie Blanco in at #27, a no brainer of Saliba at #2, and the glaring omission of no Gabriel. For midfielders, easy picks with Rice at #5 and Ode at #3, and a bit of a surprise with Havertz all the way up at #11. For forwards, only one for Arsenal with Saka at #9.

  55. 55
    OsakaMatt says:

    Had a look at that list thanks ecg, a year ago Gabi Martinelli would have been on it I guess but fair enough I suppose after last season.

    As usual with this type of list I laughed out loud at some of the names. Some of the centre backs on the list in front of Gabriel are simply ridiculous.

  56. 56
    Countryman100 says:

    If this morning’s Arseblog is correct, Edu will shortly be summoned to TTG’s office in his garden in Kent. There he will not be offered a seat, nor coffee or a beer, nor invited to tend the BBQ grill. He will instead be asked to account as to why we can’t sell our players for sufficient large sums. CFO’s have trembled before the righteous fury of TTG before. Edu won’t know what’s hit him.

    Plenty in the departure lounge, but how much will we get?

  57. 57
    TTG says:

    My dear C100
    My style has evolved . Edu is known to like a barbecue and mine, situated in a custom built patio room is a perfect place to sit and mull over the difficulties he faces in selling players to other clubs.
    I will be relaxed and amiable , as is my wont, and may even stretch to a second Estrella as I toast the Halloumi and sizzle those steaks . I might then refer him to the article I circulated on here from Swiss Ramble, casually pointing out that in the last three years C115y sit atop the sales table in the Premier League with £245 million ahead of the Chavs on £214m. We are down in 15th place with £45 m . That looks like our biggest rivals are generating on average £ 65 m more a season on player sales than we are .
    I’d then look at his KPIs most of which he’s achieving very satisfactorily but maybe underline the fact that next year I’d like an improved performance here .Maybe a negotiation course with a top sales organisation and a target of £110 m ( minimum ) from sales this summer .
    As Arseblog points out it’s difficult to sell players from top squads where they don’t get games and are on big salaries ….but then if that is true how can C115y and Chavski do it ?
    PSR is so important now we need to generate much more in player sales . Arseblog’s figures are very conservative and I’d like to think we could get more for Lokonga , Nelson and Nketiah and given ESR’s salary quite a bit more for him. I’d also seriously look at selling Patino, Biereth and BNC with buyback and sell-on clauses and if we can only get £8m for KT and are looking for a left back I’d keep him and sell Kiwior. He cost £20 m so we should expect £25-£30 m for him . Finally I’d ask Edu why he offered a contract to Ramsdale which apparently makes him unsellable when we were about to sign Raya . That wasn’t a great transaction from a PSR standpoint was it ?
    I’d then explain he needed to get back to work – no cheesecake or lemon meringue for him and arrange to see him back at the Harvester, Shenley for an update in December . He can pay .

  58. 58
    North Bank Ned says:

    OM@55: The list was compiled by ESPN polling its own sports staff worldwide, so I guess many of them would have barely seen Gabriel play. With Van Dijk at No 3, I suspect many nominations were on the basis of reputation rather than last season’s performances.

  59. 59
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@57: When you have players of the quality of Sterling, Ferran Torres, Mahrez, Sane and Jesus to sell because you have the resources for better replacements, player-sales revenue becomes a lot easier to stack up.

  60. 60
    Ollie says:

    After TTG’s port @ 57, I suggest we all convene for a chat with Edu at TTG around a barbecue.
    No idea what will happen with sales and buys but one thing is now clear: no Sesko.

  61. 61
    TTG says:

    You are most welcome to join Edu for his performance review. Sadly I can’t pick you up at Ebbsfleet as they’ve closed the Eurostar service down there. A GHF celebration in my garden would be a nice summer function , but I won’t be supplying Negronis !

  62. 62
    TTG says:

    Ned ,
    C115y are a special case but-
    Brighton in third on the list generate on average £45 m pa more than us .
    Chelsea were able to generate about £120 m in 2022 from selling Zouma , Abraham , Tomori and Guehi . They got £20m for Timo Werner and £15 m for Emerson the following year( compare with the suggested price for Tierney) and last year sold Havertz and Mount for north of £60 m each . Comparing Mount with ESR ( who is on about a third of Mount’s salary ) the discrepancy in value seems far too high.

  63. 63
    North Bank Ned says:

    TTG@62: Fair points, and I don’t disagree with your general point that we have to do much better at selling players. Perhaps the lesson is that City and Chelsea have made it a business line, and we need to, too.

  64. 64
    ecg says:

    TTG@62 and Ned@63: I agree we could do a better job of selling players but I don’t think the 115ers and Chelsea are good comparisons. Both the 115ers and Chelsea have spent the last 10 years buying every player they want or need without caring about the cost. The 115ers essentially have two first 11, so any additions means a quality player leaves, which benefitted us getting Jesus and Zincky for relatively reasonable fees. Chelsea has no plan, and continue to buy the flavor of the month, which means they have too many players and have to sell quality players. They may have gotten good fees for Havertz and Jorginho but we ended up with the better end of the deal. Brighton is a different animal in that they are willing to sell their talisman players. It would be like us selling Saka.

    I think we are close to having a solid 15 to 16 outfield players and it may be that in a couple of years, we could be in a similar position as the 115ers, but without all the cheating.

  65. 65
    Trev says:

    ecg @64 – I agree entirely.
    It does seem at first glance that we don’t achieve the selling prices that we might expect for our players. Your points about C115y and Chelsea pertain. They amassed a huge number of players when financial regulation had no teeth, if it existed at all, having 30+ players out on loan at almost any given time. In retrospect possibly a smart move, if you could afford it, as selling a player or two whenever required would rescue the balance sheet.
    Unfortunately, Edu and co have had to clear the remains of a squad built of necessity when the new stadium starved us of cash, and some might say corruption, when some very questionable arrivals occurred in the period before Arteta and Edu and Lewis took over.
    Edu has had to sell players other clubs knew we simply didn’t / don’t want and those players were on wages that were in no way commensurate with their quality. A tough job especially at a time when financial restrictions were starting to bite.
    Maybe another way to look at selling performance would be to compare the fees achieved with what we would have been happy to pay for the same players. With the possible exception of Leno, I can’t see too many glaring errors.

  66. 66
    bathgooner says:

    I think we are being a tad hard on Edu. Hitherto he has had to offload players who are on disproportionately high salaries for their talent or are widely known to be unwanted at Arsenal or both. Hopefully the powers that be, who approve players’ contracts have learnt from the experience. It’s the same this summer with a couple of individuals, namely Ramsdale and ESR whose salaries at Arsenal will prevent us getting an appropriate selling price for their experience and qualities with Nketiah probably falling into the same bracket. I think we are again all going to be disappointed with the sums we bring in this summer. The added pressures of PSR will constrain potential buying clubs even further than formerly and there will be no mugs like Everton and Newcastle with money to burn and pay top dollar for our promising young reserves.

    I know we look enviously at the income achieved from player sales by C115y and Chavski but their situations are different and, certainly in the past, there have been suggestions that some of their surprisingly inflated looking sale prices have allegedly been supplemented by nefarious means.

    Que sera, sera. We have to make space in the salary pot and for me, it’s the incoming pair of upgrades that are critical.

  67. 67
    TTG says:

    C100 made his original comment in jest but I would be much tougher on Edu than you benign lot . You’re much kinder than I am and I made it a habit to challenge heads of finance , actuarial , IT and sales during my career . To som useful effect at times!
    My last comment on the matter is that looking back on our transfers the last time I felt we fleeced the buyer on a transfer was Iwobi (£30 m+) although Bielik at £8.5 m was good business . Sanllehi negotiated those and I certainly was glad to see the back of him but we could have got more for Martinez ( best goalie in the world possibly but £10 m cheaper than Raya ), Guendouzi ( in the French squad ) for£11m, Mavropanos ( sold to Stuttgart for just over £3 m – see what West Ham paid for him and we only got £6m for Torreira who is a current Uruguayan international. But if everybody is happy I will accept my role as a curmudgeon !

  68. 68
    Doctor Faustus says:

    Sorry for the very late post — thank you Ned for the detailed breakdown of the very fun predicathon contest, and for running the table week in week out. And thanks to Scruz/Bath/TTG and others for organizing it. Faustus Junior thank you all again for the tin-tack certificate which he cherishes. We both are looking forward to the new GHF season, almost as much as we are for the Arsenal season. 🙂

    Lots of great posts about different topics. Not much for me to add — our beloved Arsenal is in a good place, and nothing can take away the sense of trust and connection the club and us supporters have rebuilt in recent years, no matter which footballing Lance Armstrong gathers up their meaningless jumble of medals. A wider world that’s turning darker and darker, Arsenal generates nothing but a sense of stability and hope for me.

    The English speaking world has been blessed with some wonderfully plainspoken, pragmatic, humanist thinkers. One of them, writing immediately after the WWII and accurately drawing the connection of authoritarian subservience that runs through Plato to Hegel and its nefarious impact on modern despots, and comparing those absolutist dogmas against the scientific empiricism that best serves a thriving democracy, writes this about the Hegelian obfuscation in favor of some absolute interpretation of history: To anyone who still cherishes the hope that man is a more or less rational animal, the success of this farrago of nonsense must be astonishing.

    “Farrago of nonsense” , I love that phrase. 🙂

  69. 69
    Ollie says:

    Cheers Doctor!

  70. 70
    North Bank Ned says:

    You rarely can go wrong with a little Russell, Dr F.

  71. 71
    Bathgooner says:

    There’s a very good analysis of last season’s perceived left back issue by Keenos today at She Wore. I think he’s correct.


  72. 72
    BtM says:

    Very late to the party here, Ned. Thank you for all of your excellent work on this challenge during the course of the season. Superb updates and outstanding analytical work. Congratulations to Pangloss for amazing and relentless consistency. I’m grateful for the opportunity to join the Princes of Precision on this season’s podium. Looking forward to next season’s event, thinking cap already in position.

  73. 73
    North Bank Ned says:

    Thanks for the link, bath. Adam Clery at 4-4-2 made a similar point regarding Havertz playing in midfield but put his emphasis on the fact that it meant Declan Rice didn’t play in the advanced Xhaka role as a result.

    I don’t think there is much doubt that the team was at its best when Havertz was playing the sort of role that Jimmy Greaves used to play as 2-3-5 was giving way to 4-2-4, an inside left but with notes of a centre-forward rather than the then conventional inside left with notes of a left half. Now I think of it, Havertz has much the same laid-backness that Greaves had, disguising his pace and positional sense. Now if Havertz can just become as clinical a finisher as Greaves was…

  74. 74
    Trev says:

    Keenos’ analysis seems sound enough but it certainly begs the question why send your left back inside (and generally anywhere and everywhere else) if you’re going g to need your actual midfielder to drop back to left back ?
    That does appear to have been answered by the fact that Xinchenko no longer seems to start there.
    I think he has to play as a conventional midfielder or not at all because he is not a top level defender.

  75. 75
    OsakaMatt says:

    Kai vs KT tonight or early morning for me.

  76. 76
    Countryman100 says:

    Here’s the key news from the election campaign.


  77. 77
    North Bank Ned says:

    No wonder Labour had to raise so much in donations!

  78. 78
    OsakaMatt says:

    I prefer ESR at No 10 myself 😉

    Kai on the scoresheet but unfortunately it meant game over at 3-0 and
    Scotland down to 10 so I think I will go back to bed.

  79. 79
    Potsticker says:

    Very late here also, but thanks to TTG, Ned, and the other organizers of the Predictathon. The data analytics graphs are superb. Never having entered such a contest before, I was dismayed to be second from bottom after week 1, but ecstatic to be 2nd at week 35. Then a dramatic fall to mid-table mediocrity at the end. Looking forward to next season’s competition.

  80. 80
    Countryman100 says:

    Musiala looks a player. Come on Kai, bring him back to London.

  81. 81
    TTG says:

    RIP Kevin Campbell – a player who served us with distinction and class 🙏

  82. 82
    Countryman100 says:

    Super Kevin Campbell. Taken far too soon.

  83. 83
    Trev says:

    Very sad news about Kevin 🙏🏼❤️

  84. 84
    Trev says:

    So Scotland decided to put a bloke in goal called A Gunn – to stop shots …. 😳

  85. 85
    bt8 says:

    RIP Kevin

  86. 86
    Bathgooner says:

    Terribly sad news about Super Kevin Campbell – what a player and an even greater human being. RIP big fella.

    A lovely appreciation by Amy Lawrence (£):


  87. 87
    North Bank Ned says:

    Very sad news about Kevin Campbell. RIP.

  88. 88
    OsakaMatt says:

    Thank you for the link Bath, as you say great piece by Amy
    about a true gooner

  89. 89
    bt8 says:

    The question is, Why did Elton care so much about hominy? I’m sure he had his reasons.

  90. 90
    Countryman100 says:

    Granit MOTM for Switzerland v Hungary. Bet he wishes this season will never end.

  91. 91
    TTG says:

    Regular readers will know I was a huge critic of Xhaka for several years at Arsenal. And I think I was justified. But Arteta unlocked qualities in him in a more advanced role that transformed him as a player and he is now among the finest midfield players in Europe . It would be intriguing to see him playing alongside Declan Rice although I suspect Arteta is now looking for more mobility than Granit possesses.
    But he is a very fine player now. It is a pity that his previous managers could not find a way to utilise him more effectively . Certainly Wenger never used him in the way that made the best use of his talents . Or is it the case that Arteta’s coaching has discovered and burnished a gem that others had not seen?

  92. 92
    bt8 says:

    David Moyes says Declan Rice should now be valued at 150 million pounds. Gunners take note but please don’t sell him just yet.

  93. 93
    OsakaMatt says:

    Germany vs Switzerland will see Xhaka vs his replacement in a way, though Kai didn’t end up there this season. His role for Switzerland has always suited Xhaka better than his DM role for The Arsenal.

  94. 94
    Bathgooner says:

    Kai Havertz, Granit Xhaka and Jorginho have all kicked off their tournament with top level performances. KT3 not so much! I am expecting DR41, BS7 and Leo Trossard to maintain that standard. Go Gunners!

  95. 95
    Bathgooner says: