It is that time of the season again when Arsenal drop points to a low placed team and everyone begins to lament their lack of strength and Piers Morgan cries about how poor the team is these days compared to the 'Invincibles'. The sad truth is however, that no one should really be surprised in the slightest. Much the same as every other season in recent history, the club decided to sell big and buy small, leaving the team threadbare and slapdash. Last year it was Nasri and Fabregas, replaced by the monstrous Arteta and Benayoun, along with a spattering of other nobodies. This year it was Song and Van Persie, replaced with Cazorla (okay Arsene, you can have that one) and Giroud (you can't have that one though). Podolski was also recruited but he looks as if he is going to slip into the Walcott bracket Arsenal so dearly cherish, ie superb one week, dire the next. 3 wins from 8 and they sit 9th in the table, yet it is probably fair to say that it is only the Arsenal fans with delusions of grandeur who are surprised by this. A couple of exciting performances from Cazorla and a goal from Giroud got the fans wiggling with excitement, but reality has settled back in now and they must acknowledge they are a top 4 side, but no more for now. Interestingly, the market is still heavily favouring them for the top 4 at a price of 1.7, and I would probably agree with that price for now. They have a good team still, better than those around them, they will improve and probably do just enough to make the top 4, but they won't run away with it. And that is precisely what makes the top 4 market so exciting to trade. After being 1.5 midweek they are now on the drift and don't be surprised to see them hit evens soon if their form doesn't improve.
On the other side of North London we have a club who does know how to spend, and they have done so to devastating effect this time round. For the first time this season they have crept into the 3s for the title, sitting at 3.75, as the market is beginning to take them seriously as title contenders. I have opposed them and I stand by my stance that they can't continue this form for too long, but I have to admit they are playing very well at the moment, and their performance against Spurs was particularly impressive. They're now at 1.09 to finish in the top 4 after storming 8 and 10 points clear of Spurs and Arsenal respectively. Their next task is Manchester United twice in a week, in the league and Capital One Cup, and here we will see what Chelsea are really made of. But with both games at Stamford Bridge and the defensive frailties of United so far, you would be a brave man to take on The Pensioners. That said, Chelsea's defence looks wobbly itself without their captain so I will be expecting the overs markets to be heavy odds on in a fixture which finished 3-3 last season.
I got back to winning ways this weekend taking a small profit of around £13. After reprimanding myself the other week I kept my stakes steady and calculated, even when United lost the lead AGAIN, and it worked out a lot better for me overall. My in-play trading hasn't been as productive so far this season as I would have hoped, but this is more down to lack of time than anything I am doing wrong. Most weekends I have been visiting friends or family and throughout the week I have a lot of work on at university (a student doing work, shocking I know, but it does happen). I will continue to try and take profits but perhaps my inconsistency is costing me slightly and I'm not convinced I will be able to make my £500 target by week 38. But as long as I make a profit, from in-play and my longer trades, I will be happy.