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Things can change and they did (game by game we’re actually doing better than last season)

“Making the Arsenal”the book of Arsenal’s decline and rebirth

 Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

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By Walter Broeckx

This weekend we have been playing our 11th game in the EPL of the current season. We now have another international break and so again we face some 14 days in fear of losing some players.

After our terrible start and all the media throwing oil in the crisis-fire the Arsenal ship has steadied itself. Some desperate media outlets try to find some more oil but is there any reason to still speak about a crisis?

First of all we can look at the results we had this season and compare them with the results of last year against the same teams.

Fixture Points this season Points last season
Newcastle – Arsenal 1 1
Arsenal – Liverpool 0 1
MU – Arsenal 0 0
Arsenal – Swansea (Blackpool) 3 3
Blackburn – Arsenal 0 3
Arsenal – Bolton 3 3
Tottenham – Arsenal 0 1
Arsenal – Sunderland 3 1
Arsenal – Stoke 3 3
Chelsea – Arsenal 3 0
Arsenal – WBA 3 0
Total after WBA 19 16

So in the corresponding fixtures we have 3 points more than we had last season in the same fixtures. In fact this looks great for a team that lost 3 of their key players from last season (Cesc, Nasri AND Wilshere) and had to rebuild and had to adapt to new players coming in.

And if you take in account the fact that both the losses against Blackburn and Tottenham can be blamed on 3 major errors of the refs and assistants in those games which should have resulted in at least a minimum of 2 points in those games. In fact for the Tottenham game I would settle for one point (cancelling out the handball goal from Hand De Vaart) but for the Blackburn game the ref and assistant have cost us the 3 points. The offside goal that Blackburn was allowed to score being one of them and the blatant penalty foul on Walcott in injury time the other one. And then I even will not mention the blatant error from the ref at Newcastle when he didn’t give us a penalty after Barton did what he is best at: starting a fight. As I just did I will take them in my numbers.

That should have been 6 extra points already this season and would have put us on 22 points if there would be some video assistance for the refs. But those games have finished and the points have been taken away. Nothing we can do about it any more. But if you take these points the league table should look a bit like this

League table Corrected table
Nr Team Points Nr. Team Points
1 Man City 31 1 Man City 31
2 Man Utd 26 2 Man Utd 26
3 Newcastle 25 3 Arsenal 25
4 Chelsea 22 4 Chelsea 24
5 Tottenham 19 5 Newcastle 22
6 Liverpool 19 6 Liverpool 19
7 Arsenal 19 7 Tottenham 17

This is where we could and should have found ourselves if the refs would have done their job in a proper way. A totally different table than the one we see now. Will it even out? Will we get 6 extra points somewhere this season from refs who make mistakes in our favour? I will let you know if it happens but don’t hold your breath.

And then I even didn’t mention the first Liverpool goal that should have been disallowed for offside and that forced us to open us up with only 10 men on the pitch. So the big difference between 7th place and a possible 3rd place is…the refs.

So if the media want to speak about a crisis, the main and only crisis I see is the crisis at the PGMOL who seem unable to get the refs on the field who can make the correct important decisions.

But even with all the errors in the table we find ourselves 3 points behind 4th place. And have it all to play for. The relegation battle we were facing according to some pundits and a part of the fans that believed those pundits looks to be a bit out of the way.

About the current official league table we see two major things. The first noticeable thing is the fact that Manchester City finally seems to have paid enough money to get a chance to play for the league title. And maybe this isn’t a bad thing in the long run. Because the short time success that they have now could lead to more teams wanting to do something for a real financial fair play ruling.

Manchester United has bossed the league both in terms of prices and in money. They could buy any player they wanted and just bought as they liked it. But with their little brother becoming bigger and humiliating them at Old Trafford this could mean that Manchester United in the future might also be interested in financial fair play rulings. Because as long as you are on top of the pyramid you don’t care about FFP. But if you look at your neighbours buying success and if even United cannot compete with that success you might feel tempted to stop such ways of buying success.

So maybe if City would win the league this could be the final wake up call to most people involved in football that we don’t have to play the league any more. We just look at who is the richest owner of them all and give the title to his team.

For the moment however City is on fire. But we remembered from last seasons that teams that are on fire at the start of the season sometimes collapse. Remember Chelsea last season? So still a long way to go but one have to admit that City really is looking very strong for the moment.

But the most surprising team in the top 7 is Newcastle. Who would have thought after the first draw at Newcastle that this was actually a good point? Well I have to admit I didn’t think it to be. But Newcastle are where they are for the moment. But before you think that they will stay there for the rest of the season I would like to warn you for the fact that Newcastle has only played one team in the top 7 so far and that was Arsenal.

So the major test for Newcastle will start in the coming weeks when they start playing the other top teams. So it could well be that Newcastle benefited from their more easier fixtures at the start of the season and gained some momentum from those games. But whether they are strong enough to beat the rest of the top teams is something that is very unknown for the moment.  But in their next 3 fixtures they will have to play  Man City, Man United and Chelsea. So time will tell us in the next month how Newcastle will go on from this.

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Untold Arsenal – the (fairly) complete index

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27 comments to Things can change and they did (game by game we’re actually doing better than last season)

  • Anne

    I’ve been wondering lately if the reason we got hit so hard at the end of the summer and at the beginning of the season with the whole “crisis” campaign, was because those “in the know” were aware of what a strong side Arsene was actually putting together? And they wanted to take their pound of flesh before anyone had the chance to realize it?

    I don’t know, just random musings 🙂 It’s still too early to take this run of good results as indicative of how the rest of the season will go, but I’ve been mightily impressed with how Arsenal has played of late. And I as well think that we’re looking better than last year at the moment.

  • Tee Song

    Interestingly, I posted the exact same analysis on another site showing that we have more points this season than last from the point of view of corresponding fixtures. However, last season we drew away to the Tots, 3-3, so we’re actually three points better, not four. Our League standing is poor because we had a tough start to the season from the schedule standpoint, never mind the turbulent off season. Four of our first ten games against incumbent top six teams, three of which were away was always pointing to a relatively poor run of results.

    The key now is that other than ManShitty away, our next ten games are relatively easy. And yes, I realize that every game in the BPL is potentially difficult but I think that ANY team is capable of getting more points in a ten game run which includes one top six opponent, ManShitty, versus a ten game run which includes four. Perhaps even more encouragingly, after Citeh away, five of the six clubs ahead of us in the table have to return to the Emirates. I think (barring some unfortunate luck) that by the team ManUre come to the Emirates on January 22, that it will be a much more even affair both in the BPL standings and on the pitch.

  • The candid gooner

    We have actually lost four major players, you left Gael Clichy out. However, we are more dependent on the team contribution, rather than an individual performance or support. Good job Arsene, good job you all gooners.. I am proudly a GUNNER!

  • Anne

    Speaking of Spurs, been watching their match against Fulham out of the corner of my eye. Think it might be worthy of a ref review… 🙂 At the end of stoppage time, the ref denied what looked like two clear penalties that would have allowed Fulham to equalize.

    The ball was bouncing around in front of Spurs goal, and one of the Spurs players (didn’t catch who) decided to play goalkeeper for a second and scooped it into his arm while he was on the ground! A few seconds later, a second Fulham player was shoved in the back by a Spurs player and fell on his face…

    Would need to watch it again to be sure, but seems like either would have warranted a penalty, but no call. Perhaps, now that Arsenal is having a better run of form, as far as that top four spot is concerned, it would be a good idea to see how much help the teams that are challenging ahead of us are getting?!

  • Strus

    Please correct the table. Last season Arsenal drew at Tots.

    In Fulham- Tots the referee seemed to made great mistakes in the late stages of game. Not given penalties for both teams!
    Will it be reviewed?

  • Mahdain

    @anne it was ealker and that was the most blatant penalty you`ll ever see but apparently grandpa walton didnt see it..coincidence? i think not but since its spuds i dont think it will even get any coverage in the media..apparently everything they do is gold in media eyes..free flowin and pl entertainers my arse..tbh this spuds wankfest really annoys me at times..they are media`s second darlings after ofcourse man united

  • Mahdain

    it definitely deserves a ref review..spurs STOLE a win

  • Mahdain

    *walker i mean

  • the team has now shown better balance than it did last season. we have spare players in almost every position, particularly in the wing back positions. some may complain about santos but he is no clichy and can lay on a pass AND score a goal. we may be missing the best right back in the game but jenkinson showed no fear in his performance yesterday and will be good backup when the master returns.

    so our wing back positions can allow us to play a different pair midweek and weekends once sanga returns in january. sweet! we look more stable in midfield now because the steady arteta has begun to understand his team and play the alonso role that keeps the ball ticking over. if we can hang on till february, wilshire (wiltshire, willshirt) will be back to relieve ramsay. again, one can play midweek and the other weekends.

    luckily we now have rosicky and benayoun who can give arteta or ramsay a break. on current form, rosicky looks like he is out to make another name for himself. so between rosicky, ramsay, the wee one, benayoun and arshavin, we may have made up for the oft-injured former capitan. on one wing we have gervinho or arshavin and the other, theo and the ox. a lot of teams would give their shirt for that choice, not to mention ryo waiting in the wings. neither to mention benayoun and rosicky being able to fill there if necessary.

    goalkeeping looks very promising at this stage and i would like to see flappy get a couple premier league games to keep him sharp. again, few teams have the goalkeeping depth that we do. and few teams have our centre back quality. it’s likely only the deep pockets can come close to our top three guys and none of them can claim to have shut down messi like we can. with djourou as fourth man and miquel and bartley waiting in the wings i see good times ahead.

    so we are down to two problem areas. first of all we have the best defensive midfielder in the game (essien may come back but he is likely in decline sad to say, and yaya seems to be playing higher up the pitch.) we cannot afford to lose song but we have an up-and-comer in coquelin though he will need more game time. we could solve this delicate problem of course by bringing in vertonghen but why would his team sell him unless they are doing a valencia? and would he settle for maybe 20 games or so?

    lastly, the big problem of our centre forward. sooner or later he will get worn out. i would poach kalou. his legs are fresh from playing so few games for so many years and he knows where the goal is. otherwise pray park and benik can fill the void.

    so we are doing better than last season after all and with what seems to be a more balanced side. can’t help but imagine how well we would have done with the little W on the pitch. so do we really miss clichy and nasri?

  • Anne

    @Mahdain:

    Glad you saw the handball pen (that should have been) the same way I did. And thanks for pointing out the player responsible. The funniest part, in my opinion, was the way the commentator immediately tried to cover for it.

    I’m going from memory so I’ll have to paraphrase, but it was something along the lines of “well, it would be hard to really blame him for that. He’s on the ground, trying to get out of the way…” Yes, trying to get out of the way and take the ball with him! 🙂

  • IndianGunner

    @ Mike Atlanta

    I agree with most of your points except the kalou point….Kalou is absolutely useless..he cannot score from outside the 6 yard box and he cannot dribble also…Chamakh and Park are 10 times better…Ask any chelsea fan,they will tell u how much they hate him

  • nicky

    @Anne,
    Surely you are not suggesting that the EPL fixture list was rigged to ensure Arsenal had a difficult start to the season?
    And not many pundits felt that Wenger was marshalling anything like a strong side…..just the opposite.
    Notwithstanding my in-built cynicism over ANY controlling body in professional football, I simply can’t believe that one.

  • dan

    I dont why but I worry about What happens after Wenger?
    I’ve been discusssing this very subject with many friends and all have come back saying Arsenal would collapse.

  • bjtgooner

    Having noted the Fulham – Spurs ref decisions, I wonder when Dalglish went to see Riley did he take Redknapp with him?

  • critic

    NUFC 2-2 TOT;

    ow can u fogget that famous draw for arry…??

    But jokes apart tottenham are also looking decent(much better bet than liv if arsenal slip up for top 4), craven cottage was a tough place.

    For nufc i just want to say, all their special moments, that usually happen over the period of a complete season, happened in the 1st 11 games. Could this continue for complete season? I personally will be astonished.

  • critic

    yes dan, unfortunately that’s true. In my opinion at least.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I put my hands in the air for that terrible mistake about the one point at Tottenham. It just felt like a loss…

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Despite the ship load of goals already shipped in by Arsenal this season, I actually feel our defense has become much better and more likely to be more durable than last season. In Chelsea we may have seen the last of a high goals deficit against us…

    Despite our seeming over-reliance on RvP’s goals or assists, we also seem more likely to win our difficult Stoke-type games this season than last season…

    To think Wenger is still rebuilding!

    I am beginning to feel that Arsenal waited to see the competitors play their hands on the shape of their respective teams over the next 3-4years in order to redesign a team that can pick their locks…

    Optimistic opinions, I know. That is why I am an Arsenal fan and I don’t miss reading Untold Arsenal.

  • @ indiangunner: 14 goals in 31 games, most as a substitute works for me.

  • Stuart

    Ha ha, brilliant. I posted a thread in the comments after about 5 games to show we were not about a Gazillion points behind the same point last year. Good to see it continuing.

  • walter

    Just look at this title on arsenal.com : ‘It shows how quickly football can change’ The words of the Lord Wenger himself…

    Now surely Arsène… 😉 LOL

  • RedGooner

    Walter fair point on the Refs indeed, I wont be holding my breath either expecting things to balance out.
    I would be happy enough if they dont make any more mistakes.

  • Yommex

    While we may not parade the best the best defence, we have not been as bad as it looks but have only been unlucky to say the least. Out of the 21 goals we’ve conceded so far this season in the EPL, 15 of them have actually been recorded in just 3 matches against: Manchester United, Blackburn and Chelsea. In the remaining 8 fixtures, we have only conceded SIX goals!!!

  • menace

    We must remember that PGMOL or Pathetic Grovelling Match Officials Limited are the decisive organisation for the supply of Gods to the game in Englands top league. They are the soul of the bias and consummate advertisers for specsavers.

    Singing ‘you don’t know what your doing’ cannot be further from the truth with this mob. They know what they do and get away with it because no one has the gonads to confront them in a public forum. The blatant honeymoon that spuds defender Walker had with the ball in his 6 yard box was ignored by the officials. They saw it and ignored it. That was a red card offence (but only if one of the teams on their hit list did it).

    JT and his mouth is apparently not proven racist until some FA and media decide. The public have seen what was said and in my view it was prejudiced and vile but not racist (unless blacks and whites are new races??). It is just as bad as spitting and unbecoming of a role model England captain. Another special for specsavers…..and perhaps a good basis for condom advertisers as well.

    The Arsenal are beginning to play together and there is a long way to go but this current achievement is in spite of PGMOL. There are many more bridges we will encounter and each one will be a test of character. I pray that we (Arsenal) keep cool and deal with the red rags like another slalom post on our way to the top of the tree.

  • Ed

    I think this was how i kept optimistic in the dark days of early season. even after the Man U game i told myself we are only 1 pt worse off against the same teams. its tough going to newcastle as everyone so far has found… liverpool are labelled title challengers and supposedly much better than us (so no shock losing to them so why was it a crisis?).. and i think only man city have had any joy at old trafford this season.

    glad that it has continued and we have proved we’re not as bad as most ppl say we are.

    one good thing of all this crisis talk is i have also noticed that the crowd and fans are much more behind the team. possibly lowering expectations or possibly getting rid of glory hunting fans who have gone onto some other winning team (man city?)

  • statikchaos

    Whilst its great that we are on such a good unbeaten run, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. There is so much more work to do.

    I also wanted to say that whilst based on this analyses, we should hav had 25 points, has Walter taken into account what other teams real points should be also? Or is it a case of assessing Arsenal only and not the other? If its only Arsenal, then can we say that this is a fair assessment?

    This is my first post here, but I am a regular reader of Untold for the last few years. I’m a mate of Dogface. He knows me.