15 April 2014

Pre-match Prediction Poll: Källström surges ahead as MotM; Gooners' faith off the charts...

The results are still trickling in, but we're closing in on kick-off, so a few more votes coming in over the next half-hour probably won't change the numbers that much. The lineup includes Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Arteta, Rosický, Källström, Cazorla, Podolski, and Giroud, which looks to be a strong line-up, making up in size what it may lack in pace (excepting Cazorla, of course). The results of the fan-poll follow below; at a minimum, two of the three leaders for our Man of the Match start, Ramsey being the exception.

Källström emerges as the surprising front-runner for the Man of the Match award. Whether this is down to a lack of faith in other regulars like Giroud or Podolski or to an affirmative belief in Källström's ability to influence the outcome is an open question that others should feel free to weigh in on: is it because Källström is one of the only players fully fit and relatively fresh after the grueling slog against Wigan? Garnering 23% of the vote isn't quite a majority; it's hardly a plurality, but he's ahead of a crowded field. Coming in just behind are Cazorla at 17% and Giroud at 16%. Perhaps as a symbol of faith in our egalitarian approach, fourteen different players received votes, including an interesting 9% for Sanogo, despite his uneven performance against Wigan.

More tellingly, though, is the degree of optimism concerning the outcome. Despite some lingering ennui over our inability to defeat Wigan over the course of 120 minutes, the overhwhelming majority of voters see a win for Arsenal. Those with a more sociological bent might suggest that the results are skewed by the population-sample; to them, I'd ask, have you seen how depressed Gooners have been lately? We're our own worst critics. At any rate, 84% of our completely scientifically-valid poll forecast a win, with 48% of all voters seeing a two-goal margin. I don't know if the 3% who predicted that West Ham would win by three goals or more are Gooners or Hammers (Hammerers?) who tried to skew the results. At any rate, it's a welcome change of pace to see this level of optimism; time will tell, of course, if any of us know what we're really talking about.

As I write this, there are about 20 minutes until kick-off. Let's hope we all know what we're talking 'about—well, except the aforementioned 3%. Sour-pusses.