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Looking at some numbers

By Walter Broeckx

In this article I want to have a closer look at some numbers we can find if we look at all the different tables you can find on the internet.

The first thing is the league table position we have found ourselves this season.

And that is rather impressive I think.

position

Anyone would have predicted this after our opening day defeat at the hands of Aston Villa would have been declared a deluded fool. What the team of writers and our readers at Untold are called from time to time.

We started in position 18, climbed up to 8th the next match, then to 4th after 3 matches and then after the 4th match we have taken the lead. And apart from a nice Christmas present to Liverpool we have kept the first place in the league.

In other words we have been top of the league for 17 games in total. Other teams that have taken first place where Manchester City (1 week – opening day), Chelsea then took over after match 2 and 3. And then Liverpool came in top for match 4 and they also were on top after match 17.

So being on top so far is Arsenal with 17 weeks, Liverpool with 2 weeks, Chelsea with 2 weeks and Manchester City with 1 week. As you know we only have 16 matches to go. So if we are able to keep this position on top for another 2 weeks we are certain that we will have had most top 1 positions in total. I know it doesn’t bring you anything, but after our start, who would have thought that? And I think it is fair to say that we are competing.

The next numbers I will look at are the goals conceded. As you know much has been said about Wenger not wanting/being able to sort out the defence. Bould would have loved to do it (people forgetting that the youth teams he coached also let in many goals by the way – He was an attacking coach if I remember correct) but wasn’t allowed by Wenger….blah blah blah.

English Premier League 2013-2014
No Opponent Venue Result For Against

1

Aston Villa home L1-3

1

3

2

Fulham away W3-1

3

1

3

Tottenham Hotspur home W1-0

1

0

4

Sunderland away W3-1

3

1

5

Stoke City home W3-1

3

1

6

Swansea City away W2-1

2

1

7

West Bromwich Albion away D1-1

1

1

8

Norwich City home W4-1

4

1

9

Crystal Palace away W2-0

2

0

10

Liverpool home W2-0

2

0

11

Manchester United away L0-1

0

1

12

Southampton home W2-0

2

0

13

Cardiff City away W3-0

3

0

14

Hull City home W2-0

2

0

15

Everton home D1-1

1

1

16

Manchester City away L3-6

3

6

17

Chelsea home D0-0

0

0

18

West Ham United away W3-1

3

1

19

Newcastle United away W1-0

1

0

20

Cardiff City home W2-0

2

0

21

Aston Villa away W2-1

2

1

22

Fulham home W2-0

2

0

Total

43

19

As you know Arsenal has the best defence after 22 matches. We have so far conceded 19 goals. And 9 of those goals were conceded in 2 matches. Our loss at Manchester City and 3 on the opening day of the season. Both matches played in somewhat exceptional circumstances. At City the team had to play after a Wednesday evening match again on Saturday morning and we lost Koscielny during the first half. And the opening day was a rather strangely refereed affair.

This means that in the other 20 games we have conceded only 10 goals. And as we have kept 10 clean sheets this means that apart from those two already mentioned defeats we only conceded one goal in the other games. In total one could say we conceded one goal every second match we played. Of course it doesn’t work that way but we sure are rather well organised this season when we look at our defensive unit.

Now where do we get our clean sheets most of the time? From the 10 clean sheets in total we had: seven at home and three away. And that is maybe an indication that the team has changed a bit. In the past season we have had times that we attacked and attacked and forget to defend a bit. But now we are not only attacking but we know how to defend better.

I think that it is important to keep this up for the rest of the season. We must make sure that we don’t concede goals at home and that way we will win matches. Controlled attacking football is the current name of the game we play I think. And much of this work goes down to two players who are rarely mentioned for their contribution but who are oh so important : Arteta and Flamini. I think they are the players that keep the balance in the team for most of the time. If they play they fill the holes we leave when we attack. Not a high profile job, but someone has got to do it and they do it in an impressive way.

What is also important is scoring goals of course. For the moment Arsenal has scored 43 goals and that is the 3rd best attack together with Chelsea. Manchester City has the best attack with 63 goals and Liverpool has scored 53 goals. But both these teams let in many more goals than Arsenal (as do Chelsea for that matter).

Arsenal scored in 20 matches of the 22 we played. We only failed to score at Manchester United and against Chelsea. Both Manchester games were played when Arsenal had to travel to tough opponents in the CL away from home by the way. At United half of the team was also sick and we were really flat that day. Against Chelsea…well there is no better person around to kill any joy around football than Mourinho. But other than that we always seem to score goals.

So what do these numbers teach us? Arsenal is competing for the title (pundits take note) and if we can keep our shape and form we are in a good position to keep winning games. We don’t concede much goals and we score enough per game to win matches. That is all that we need to continue to do for the remaining 16 matches. My God, only 16 matches left… how fast it can go when you are enjoying yourselves…

22 comments to Looking at some numbers

  • Armin

    Article is good linkup with previous one by Sammy and it can give some answers. Someone may conlculde we are here where we are only thanks to hard work of our defensive unit, but looking at table and stats, you ll notice Everton have quite similar, but we are far in front of them. So we obviously have quite good attacking department, even relaying only on “weak” Giroud, we scored as much as one lead by Torres and Etoo.
    I believe league is won by team with best balance between attack and defense. And looking at numbers, we definitely have it. Each time , as Walter mentioned, we lacked it, it was due bad schedule.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Walter,
    Thanks for the positive numbers and for showing that Arsenal are “competing” (and have been the most”competing team, thus far, in the EPL).

    However, I am sorry to disappoint you but I prefer to side with the pundits. Arsenal have 16 more “tests” before I am convinced. I can’t help it: I want Arsenal to win the league MORE than any statistical construct notwithstanding what it proves or doesn’t prove. I trust that Wenger and the team are with me on this: stats don’t win the next game; focus and determination do.

  • Walter,

    Thanks for providing that chart. I have been looking for one (too lazy to create on myself 🙂 ). It is a very important chart and one that I wish the pundits can look at and weep.

    As us ‘deluded fools’ have been saying at Untold since the second half of last season, it is consistency that win leagues. Arsenal has been the most consistent team in over a year and as long as we keep that consistent run (there is no indication whatsoever that it is about to stop), then we’ll be champions come May.

    Shakabula Gooner,

    My brother, we need to keep the faith. I share your apprehension and doubt (believe me, I do) but we must keep those bottled up deep inside us. What we need is to be upbeat about our chances. Optimism and pessimism are both very contagious. Our players believe they can do it; I think we’ll be undermining them by talking about “tests”. Not after all they’ve already shown us. We have to come to a point where we say, yes we can and we shall; even if doubts borne of past disappointments keep tugging at our hearts.

    When (not if) we win the league, I wish that it would be possible for us Untolders to physically assemble and celebrate together. That will be the day!

  • menace

    I get so upset when I see that first loss to Aston Villa and PGMOL!!!! It is so upsetting. We were robbed of 3 points by a cheat.

    worse still were the die hard Arsenal fans who were baying for Wengers head and I argued that we don’t need another player but we need a fair referee. They said Wenger wont spend money and I told them to look at where they stood. ‘You are standing in a state of the art stadium built with money that Wenger won and the board borrowed’. I hope they are less angry now. There are those who say we won nothing for 8 years – I suppose the tables lie!!! We won several games in spite of the PGMOL and have a successful club without ‘unknown outside tax free money’ funding it.

    Whilst UA look at bias & stats in the EPL, it would be an eye opener if someone with financial nous looked at where the funds for the top 6 clubs come from.

  • Rupert Cook

    Our winning the league will probably be down to how we perform in the following six games: Liverpool, Chelsea, Everton and Southampton away. We need to win two of those games I’d say, preferably Chelsea and Pool. And City and Manu at home. We need to win both those games.

    Notice I didn’t even put Spurs into the equation. I expect us to win that away game.

  • tej

    Great performance by arsenal this year. I know arsenal only from 2008 but I am reading history blogs provided by you guys to understand more about my club

  • Damilare

    Great stats as usual Walter.

    Not many people are as optimistic as we are at UA. So when I recently came across an article written in July 2013 by a certain “wrighty7” (Sorry, I don’t know how to properly ref the link but it’s worth a read), I realised that there could be many ‘unknown/unheard’ sensible people out there.

    @Bootoomee, “When (not if) we win the league, I wish that it would be possible for us Untolders to physically assemble and celebrate together. That will be the day!” – I wish we could too but considering the fact that many of us are not UK based, be assured that extensions of the UA party would be held all over the world. Can’t wait really because it is going to be my first silverware celebration as an Arsenal fan.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Boo,
    You missed my point a wee bit.
    The tests (in inverted commas) was in reference to the Alan Shearers and Michael Owens who kept moving the goalpost on whether or not we are contenders for the title on us.
    My bottom line is that stats will satisfy much less than actually winning the title. Thus, in a way, ultimately, their position serves our agenda best: why don’t we see the rest of the season as constituting 16 more “tests” for Arsenal to pass in flying colours? So, why don’t we start talking and tracking the stats less and keeping our focus on winning the outstanding games. Indeed, that seemed to me to be how Wenger has defined the issue or challenge to his boys.

    PS:
    I saw a graph today on the “caught offside” site comparing this season with the invincible season and the Birmingham debacle season. The two previous seasons tracked each other until Shawcross broke Dudu’s leg. This season is tracking both seasons to date. Hopefully, there will be no Shawcross or any such comparable meltdown for us this season.

  • Shakabula Gooner,

    Agreed. I was just scared that you were getting queasy 🙂 . I shouldn’t have. Let’s pass those damned “tests” in flying colours and win this thing against the detractors.

  • Damilare,

    I was just expressing a profound wish, even if it is one that I know will never come to pass for the reason that you have stated. Funny thing is that I feel like that after every hard-fought victory. I love this Gooner community and have enjoyed every bit of this season’s journey with the faithfuls – across the globe.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Rupert,
    I agree. I call them the “tests”. I am not excluding Tottenham or any team for that matter. The loss against Aston Villa was as painful as has cost us as dearly as that against Man City (same 3points). In the same way, the draw against Chelsea cost us as much as that against West Bromwich.
    Equal and important are the loss of points, preferrably ahead of us, by our closest competitors. ManU’s loss at Chelsea, Liverpool’s draw against the the supposedly easy Aston Villa and Everton’s draw against West Bromwich are all in week 22 are all welcome. By some peoples’ reckoning, Newcastle, Cardiff or Aston Villa should have helped to peg us back in the last few games that we’ve had. Here on, it is very much a zero sum game…

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Damilare,
    Blue cows were said to have been slaughtered and turned roasted in big, open air barbecue pits to celebrate Chelsea’s cup victories in Nigeria.
    I am sure you will get happy gooners to join you in your part of the world in cerebrating the next Arsenal cup win with a red cow, complete with the gunner crest on its side – provided that the law there permits such brazen and cruel acts to members of the animal kingdom (smiles).

  • Dave C

    I’m just curious as to why we have two runs of fixtures involving 4 tough opponents in a row, ie. Totts, Chelsea, Man City, and Everton just like the one earlier in the season. And does anyone else have as tough of a run? No. They might have something close but the opponents aren’t as tough or, there are easier ties in between. It happens not once but twice each year while other to clubs get easier runs against top opposition. Every year it’s the same thing. When does that even out in the end?

  • Otariq

    I am willing to give up on the Champion League this year to focus on winning the Premier League.

  • Otariq,

    You are not alone.

  • Wengerson

    Dave C at 3:23pm,

    I have been asking the same question for years. Arsenal seem to get the craziest fixtures, especially around CL games.

  • Florian

    Guys,

    You should really be pitching Mike Riley’s headquarters (sorry I can’t be with you. I’m away by an 8 hrs time shift). If a web-signed petition won’t do, there comes a time when every man must… You get my point;)

    On a more serious note, the fixture list is crazy indeed, but we have reinforcements coming back from injury right on time. Ox and Podolski just did, Ramsey, Bendtner, Arteta and Vermaelen are close. I think we’re covered.

    Up the Gunners!

  • Dave C

    Wengerson,

    You’re right. I didn’t even figure in the CL fixtures against Dortmund and Napoli. Complete BS. If it were fair it would happen to Man U, City, and Chelsea, but it doesn’t.

  • Damilare

    @Bootoomee and Shakabula,

    Thanks, Nigerian gooners are ready to out-celebrate chelski fans (very lousy bunch here in Nigeria) come May when we shall lift the EPL trouphy. There are no known laws to me here in ‘Naija’ as to how individuals should process cows or other animals for food. It all yours as soon as you pay for them.

    Not getting ahead of ourselves now though, let’s take the remaining 16 ‘tests’ (or are they exams now?) with the same focus and preparations as we have done so far.

    Imho, return fixtures against city, chelski, Lpool and maybe everton would be title deciding matches for us. Yes, we can do it. COYG!

  • Gord

    I stumbled across a slightly different story about Arsenal in the media.

    http://tvnz.co.nz/football-news/wellington-phoenix-chasing-arsenal-july-tie-5805921

  • Sammy The Snake

    I too have no problem with letting go of CL in order to focus on EPL or FA cup.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I too don’t mind letting go of the CL , at the quaterfinal stage of course !