Arsenal News
Arsenal News & Transfers
As featured on NewsNow: Arsenal newsArsenal News 24/7

Arsenal News, Only Arsenal, Blogs, Transfer News

Archives

May 2017
M T W T F S S
« Apr    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Arsenal: what comes next? If it is the same as last time, it could be fun…

By Tony Attwood

Consider this league table, if you will…

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Europe
1 Manchester United 38 25 8 5 74 34 +40 83 Champions League Group stage
2 Arsenal 38 23 9 6 85 42 +43 78
3 Newcastle United 38 21 6 11 63 48 +15 69 Champions League Third qualifying round
4 Chelsea 38 19 10 9 68 38 +30 67

It may look a little unfamiliar perhaps, especially the bit about Newcastle, but hold onto it for a moment and consider the present league table…

Pos
Team
Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Europe
1
Chelsea
36
25
9
2
70
28
42
84
CL Group
2
Man City
37
23
7
7
81
38
43
76
CL Group
3
Arsenal
36
21
8
7
67
35
32
71
CL Group
4
Man United
37
20
9
8
62
37
25
69
3rd Qualifying

As I am sure you will recall, the upper table is the final table from 2002/3.

It has some similarities with this season’s table thus far.  For example in 2002/3 we won 23 games and drew nine, this season we might well win 23.  It is not impossible.

The big difference is that we scored more goals in 2002/3 – 85 against 67 so far this season, although because the defence this season is tighter we are only 11 worse off in goal difference – and again with two home games to go that might come a little bit closer.

But why, I hear you ask (well, not literally, but you know…) should I be bothering your good self with this talk of ancient times?

Because on 4 May 2003, with three games to go we unexpectedly lost at home to Leeds United, 2-3.   It was one hell of a surprise, and if there was on moment when the anti-Wenger campaign really got a bit of thrust in the early days it was that.

This season it has not been quite the same, but we unexpectedly lost at home with four games to go, 0-1 to Swansea, as I am sure you will remember.

However as you may still be pondering the relevance of this, so allow me one more moment.

Way back on 13 December 2014 Untold ran a piece in which parallels were drawn between the 2014/15 season (at which time we were sixth) and the season 1997/98, when at that time of year we occupied a similar position.

It was not proposed in Untold on that day that Arsenal would go on and win the double in 2014/15, but it was suggested that a strong recovery in the second half of the season (as per 1997/98) could be on the cards.

Interestingly, as the season picked up, some of the press also picked up on our story (not for the first time) and the Independent in particular subsequently ran a piece that was very close to ours.  Quite a nice compliment I thought.

So what does this have to do with coming second in 2002/3 and losing to Leeds just before the end?

Well, I was at the Leeds game, and not going through the best time of my life generally, so I was thoroughly miserable after that match.  I was so pissed off I wandered over to Covent Garden on my own and had a spag bol at one of the awful tourist restaurants before getting the train back home.

But still I kept the faith and was back for the next match – a 6-1 victory over Southampton in which Pires scored a hat trick.

And still you may be asking, “so what?”

Well, several things.  First, on 17 May 2003, we toddled off to the Cup Final in Cardiff and won the cup, again beating Southampton.  And that match against Southampton in the league (as I am sure you really know, but you are just playing with me pretending you don’t) was the first of the 49.

Which brings me to the key point.  In 2002/3 we ended the league with no utterly dissimilar figures from those I suspect we will end up with this year.   We had a very disappointing home defeat just before the end of the season, and went on to win the FA Cup – for the second year running.

In 2014/15 the disappointing defeat is there, and we are in the Cup Final. For the second year running. It could be a similar ending.

So what happened next after the Leeds defeat and all that…

Well that, of course, you know.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Europe
1 Arsenal (C) 38 26 12 0 73 26 +47 90 Champions League Group stage
2 Chelsea 38 24 7 7 67 30 +37 79
3 Manchester United 38 23 6 9 64 35 +29 75 Champions League Knockout stage
4 Liverpool 38 16 12 10 55 37 +18 60

Now, I am not suggesting that because of some slight similarities between the lead up to the unbeaten season and the end of this season we are going to go unbeaten, but one thing struck me comparing all this, and reliving my memories of that era (which as I say, outside of football, were not always the best time of my life) was this:

In 2002/3 Man U were clearly the strongest team and were in their pomp.  Referees and the media were doing their thing, and Sir F Word had been elevated to the status of a god.  Yet in one season they moved from winning the league by five points to losing it by 15.

Again I don’t suggest exact parallels will happen, but I do make the points that

a) none of us really saw the 49 and Unbeaten season coming, even though in October 2002 Mr Wenger did mention it was possible.  (We then immediately went and lost the next game).

b) things change in football.  The media like to suggest it will all be the same, largely because they are full of the notion that everything can be understood and analysed on the back of one game.

OK, this is all just my whim but assuming you are still whimming with me, (I always feel an article is not complete unless I have invented one completely new word either accidentally or on purpose) consider what we did in the summer of 2003.

We bought seven players and sold six, and I will bet that without looking them up, you probably can’t name more than half of either…

Ok…

….

….

Ready?

….

I do hope you are not cheating and looking down the page before you have tried to remember….

.,..

Here they are…

In came…

Senderos, Lehmann, Djourou, Clichy, Fabregas, Reyes, Van Persie

Out went

Barrett, Seaman, Luzhnyi, Warmuz, Volz, Brown.  That is Jermaine Brown, and if you don’t remember him, then join me – I don’t either.

Now of those coming in, only Lehmann was a regular.  Clichy got seven league games, Reyes seven with six appearances as a sub.  The others… nothing in the league.

I am not saying that we should not buy top players in the summer, but rather making the point that in the season I’ve chosen to look at we took at team that was good, but not good enough, and turned them into Invincibles.

History doesn’t repeat itself, except that the unexpected always happens.

—————-

From the Anniversary Files: The day Arsenal were saved and the journey to the top began…

18 May 1910:  Woolwich Arsenal met Football League.  Henry Norris of Fulham offered first to buy Woolwich Arsenal and pay off the creditors creating Fulham Arsenal, and then suggested Arsenal could play at Craven Cottage.  After both ideas were rejected Norris agreed to fund Woolwich Arsenal at Plumstead for one more year.- although in fact he actually funded the club in Plumstead for three more years.

See us on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

 

22 comments to Arsenal: what comes next? If it is the same as last time, it could be fun…

  • Brickfields Gunners

    A treble is long due !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    A reporter asked the couple , ” How did you manage to stay married for 65 years ?”
    The woman replied ,” We were born in a time when if something is broken , we would fix it , not throw it away .”

  • hrishi

    Van Persie and Reyes were bought in the second half of the season..

    It would be fitting if the draw with United at Old Trafford starts our second 49 (or 50 perhaps!), considering they ended our first there. Great to read about these patterns and coincidences that you spot every now and then- keep spotting!

  • franck

    Reyes was bought in January of 2004…while RVP was signed in the summer of 2004 after we had won the league unbeaten…RVP and Djourou made their debuts in a Carling Cup game against a team i cant seem to remember.but i do know for a fact dat Reyes came in January 2004 cos i watched him literally destroy Real Madrid while playing for Sevilla that same season..though the similarities are still there.cesc badluck Fabregas joined us and we went from Invincibles to top for chasing team…joined Barcelona and their performance dropped..they sold him and they could win the trebble…joined Chelsea…same ole same ole,win league and cup and mediocrity steps in…it wont be long before he would be labelled badluck in Chelsea…that i know.

  • hrishi

    Franck,
    You are right- negotiations began for RvP in Jan 2004, but it wasn’t until the summer that we finally got him.

  • para

    No, History doesn’t repeat itself that is why we do not want to be invincibles again. It’s time to move on. Been there, done that.

    The only step left is to become Unbeatable. A Whole season winning every game. 🙂 Now that would be stepping up. It is not impossible at all.

    Brickfields Gunners, yes the treble is long overdue.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin.

    Well! Well!! Well!!! AFC 0-1 SFC and followed by MUFC 1-1 AFC after 8 consecutive wins by the AFC starting XI who are considered to be now the balance starters. But they have jeopardized their finishing 2nd in the table. How balance then is this 6th consecutive starting team now after taking just 1 point out of the possible 6? Has a gog fell into the inside of the machines. The machines just out of the blues have started turning with a noise, creakin…creakin…creakin……. something is wrong inside it. A mechanical job has to be carried out to stop the noise inside the the machines to prevent it knocking down at Emirates Stadium on Wednessday night when the relegation battlers, the Black Cats come to with their paws to paw on the Gunners. Would the Boss allow his Gunners to be pawed by the Black Cats? I watched Sunderland vs Leciester City on Saturday afternoon on my TV. And I can see they play direct and physical football. So, the Gunners MUST be better prepared to battle against 1 point or 3 points safety seekers Black Cats coming to Emirates Stadium to play Rugby football against the Gunners. Giroud has gone barren and Alexis seems to have gone on errand while Ramsey and others are all having holidays. Suspectable Monreal, still preferred to remain a suspect. Can we see 3 changes done by the Boss to this his 6th starting team to stop that machines noise. Are the away and home Game Applications for this match available? I’ll wait till tomorrow to see.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin.

    Well! Well!! Well!!! AFC 0-1 SFC and followed by MUFC 1-1 AFC after 8 consecutive wins by the AFC starting XI who are considered to be now the balance starters. But they have jeopardized their finishing 2nd in the table. How balance then is this six consecutives starting team now after taking just 1 point out of the possible 6? Has a gog fell inside the engine. The machines just out of the blues have started turning with a noise, creakin…creakin…creakin……. something is wrong inside it. A mechanical job has to be carried out to stop the noise inside the the machines to prevent it knocking down at Emirates Stadium on Wednessday night when the relegation battlers, the Black Cats come with their paws to paw on the Gunners. Would the Boss allow his Gunners to be pawed by the Black Cats? I watched Sunderland vs Leciester City on Saturday afternoon on my TV. And I can see they play direct and physical football. So, the Gunners MUST be better prepared to battle against 1 point or 3 points safety seekers Black Cats coming to Emirates Stadium to play Rugby Cup final football against the Gunners. Giroud has gone barren and Alexis seems to have gone on errand while Ramsey and others are all having holidays. Suspectable Monreal, still preferred to remain a suspect. Can we see 3 changes done by the Boss to this his 6th starting team to stop that machines noise. Are the away and home Game Applications for this match available? I’ll wait till tomorrow to see.

  • Nonny

    I love the positive comments. Unbeatable, LOL. Interesting article Tony. Keep up the good work

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin.

    Well! Well!! Well!!! AFC 0-1 SFC and followed by MUFC 1-1 AFC after 8 consecutive wins by the AFC starting XI who are considered to be now the balance starters. But they have jeopardized their finishing 2nd in the table. How balance then is this six consecutives starting team now after taking just 1 point out of the possible 6? Has a gog fell inside the engine. The engine just out of the blues have started turning with a noise, creakin…creakin…creakin……. something is wrong inside it. A mechanical job has to be carried out to stop the noise inside the the engine to prevent it knocking down at Emirates Stadium on Wednessday night when the relegation battlers, the Black Cats come with their paws to paw on the Gunners. Would the Boss allow his Gunners to be pawed by the Black Cats? I watched Sunderland vs Leciester City on Saturday afternoon on my TV. And I can see they play direct and physical football. So, the Gunners MUST be better prepared to tame and caged the 1 point or 3 points safety seekers Black Cats who are coming to Emirates Stadium to play Rugby Cup final football against the Gunners. Giroud has gone barren and Alexis seems to have gone on errand while Ramsey and others are all having holidays. Suspectable Monreal, still preferred to remain a suspect. Can we see 3 changes done by the Boss to this his 6 starting team to stop that engine noise.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Samuel, hell bent on proving your point that you’ve posted it 3 times!!!!….

    hahahahaha

    unbeatable is possible. Fantasy as it may sound, but.

  • apo Armani

    Tony/Walter; how many yellows before a red here on Untold? 🙂

  • nicky

    @franck,
    My memory of poor Reyes was the appalling GBH he received from the Neville Brothers, two of the biggest thugs in the game, at OT. With the help of a corrupt referee, it was the only way Arsenal’s winning run could be ended.
    When I watched the mayhem in the penalty area yesterday following each Arsenal corner, I was reminded of the old French saying that “the more things change, the more they remain the same”.

  • Gord

    Old topics resurface at bumbling BBC.

    There is an article on the arrested journalists who were in Qatar. Who were followed from the moment they landed in that horrible little place.

    There is an article on match fixing, which seems to mention that the concern to English football is spot fixing. Which mentions missing a penalty as one of the events which can “pay”. And what pops into my mind, all the screwy PGMO officiating. Is Mike Riley 😈 playing the “spot” market? Is there a secret fund somewhere, which pays in addition to the shut up money we already know about with officials? All officials to retire rich?

    Yesterday I mused about Jenkinson possibly learning to hit long balls. Today I see on Arsenal.com, a blurb about long balls, revolving around Charlie George. I suppose it is possible that article has been there a while, I didn’t notice it before.

    The article talks about Lampard hitting low balls. The ball traveling higher up, sees relatively constant and low momentum transfer per unit distance. The low ball that strike the ground, sees much higher momentum transfer in the moments of contact, which also produces a change in direction. To play the ball, the keeper needs to predict where the ball is going to start contacting the ground.

  • Gord

    What else is at bumbling BBC? Villas-Boas, that student of moaninho, bringing the gospel of St. Jose to the world. Wanting to turn Zenit into a Top-10 European team, and one of the world’s most boring teams.

    There are 2 articles on that horrible World Cup venue in the Persian Gulf. The second has this little tdibit:

    > Mr Russell said that “as things stand, more than 62 workers will die for each game played during the 2022 tournament”.

    Maybe before each game, there will be 62 seconds of silence, to pay tribute to the workers who died in slavery to make the game possible?

    And maybe a million per worker to poor Bladder, who has only a pittance to retire on.

  • para

    Someone is already predicting a draw against Sunderland, they will be fighting.
    But we need to win so we can play some youth in our last game before the final.
    I hope that Arsenal regains that ruthless (in relation to football only) streak in the coming season and make teams fear to play us again. Then we will win PL, and CL and every ting. 🙂

  • para

    Meant to remind us all that someone once said these words:

    “I believe the target of anything in life should be to do it so well that it becomes an art.”

    Oh 🙂 , it was our very own A Wenger.

  • Josif

    Actually, Robin van Persie had made his debut in 2004-05 Community Shield victory over his current club.

    Speaking of Community Shield, there are a few more connections between 2002-03 and 2014-15:

    -we won Charity/Community Shield in 2002-03 (Gilberto Silva scored a winner on his debut against Liverpool); at the beginning of this season, we won Community Shield (which is a trophy) after beating Manchester City 3:0;

    -we were knocked out in the Champions’ League Second Group Stage which was later replaced with The First Knockout Stage where we were knocked out this season – in both occasions, it was down to our performances at home; we also played Borussia Dortmund in Champions’ League First Group Stage and won at home 2:0 (just like this season); we lost in Dortmund in both occasions and in both occasions their player scored a brace (in 2014-15 it was Immobile and in 2002-03 certain genius which first name was Tomas);

    -we lost the away game against eventual champions 2:0 and played a draw at home (2:2 back then, 0:0 this season);

    -we kicked out Manchester United in FA Cup by beating them at Old Trafford scoring two goals and playing in our dark-blue kit;

    -we won our away game against Manchester City in a spectacular way – back then, we had been four goals up by the 19th minute;

    -speaking of City, we have beaten them twice this season and drawn once with a goal-difference 7:2; in 2002-03, we won both our league games with a goal-difference 7:2;

    -we were kicked out of League Cup in the very first match at home – back then against Ssssssssssssssunderland and this term against Sssssssssssssssouthampton; both times we took the lead (Pires scored in 12th and Alexis in 13th minute of their respective games).

  • Menace

    apo Armani
    May 18, 2015 at 1:04 pm
    Selective blindness on here mate,

    I was dreaming of the double this season. We had the chance. Look forward to the FA cup & treble next season.

  • Josif

    @Menace

    In my book, if we win FA Cup, it’s the double (Community Shield and FA Cup = 2 trophies).

  • Mandy Dodd

    Wouldn’t be surprised at all if we were to do something special next season. The smoke signals coming from the club and manager are very positive. They are in a position to go for it next season, the money is there, we have tweaked our style of play, gradually making the team more resilient and efficient, injuries seem to be improving, and we will not have the now defunct FFP to worry about. I think next year will be first and foremost about challenging for the title

  • Josif

    Oh, just in case we sign Petr Čech…

    Čech is going to be 33 on Wednesday.

    Jens Lehmann was 33-and-eight-month-old when he joined us.

    Just sayin’…