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October 2016
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Arsenal and top matches

By Walter Broeckx

For years we had to hear the same old story: Arsenal cannot win the top matches so they are no good. And each time we drop points this gets repeated by the media and the 5-second brigade.

And even Neville came out with the wrong preparation for top matches last week. I think he will regret having written that now. And if only he had taken a look at the top matches over the last calender year then Neville would and should have known that well.. he is not that well informed. Or is he also being misled by the lazy journalists who don’t check their facts.

A look at the results of this year against the top teams is interesting (and I even included Tottenham and Liverpool in this list). I did this because our local derby match is a top fixture for us so had to be mentioned. And Liverpool is still the biggest team in Liverpool. And looking at the way the media is hyping them they are close to Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

So how did we do against the other top teams in the domestic competitions since January? A nice looking list of 11 fixtures.

  • Arsenal – MU 3-0
  • Chelsea – Arsenal 2-0 (1)
  • Tottenham – Arsenal 1-2 (LC)
  • Arsenal – Liverpool 0-0 (2)
  • Arsenal – Chelsea 1-0 (CS)
  • MU – Arsenal 1-1
  • Arsenal – Chelsea 0-0
  • Arsenal – Liverpool 4-1
  • MU – Arsenal 1-2 (FA Cup)
  • Tottenham – Arsenal 2-1
  • Man City – Arsenal 0-2

11 matches played:

  • Won 6 (54%)
  • Draw 3 (27%)
  • Lost 2 (18%)

And in this list we find marked with (1) the match against Chelsea. A match that by now even the FA will agree with that was only won because of the bias/incompetence/both at the same time-daylight robbery of Dean. I’m not even going to say we would have won this match if Dean had done the correct things on the field but that should have been at least 1 defeat less and at least 1 draw more.

The match marked with a (2) is the Liverpool match in which we have seen a good goal ruled out for offside. Add anything between 3 to 5 points for both these incorrect final results because of refereeing errors and the league table would look completely different.

In fact the only match we did lose of the ‘top matches’ in more or less normal conditions was our league match last season at Tottenham. If I had left Tottenham out of this list (and there are good reasons to do this), we would have no defeat (apart from the Dean-Chelsea arrangement) in these matches.

I know we still have a few of these teams to play before the end of the year. We will have Tottenham and Manchester City coming in the next two months.

But let it be clear by now that the old repeated mantra of ‘Arsenal are rubbish because they don’t win the top matches’ can be put away for a while. Because …. well we do win those matches on a regular basis.

And I also would like to add that us losing such matches before might also have been down not to bad preparation as Neville suggested (you were wrong as you asked yourself Mr. Neville) but to outside factors. Or should I say inside factors.

Because when we look at our defeat at Chelsea another outside factor was Dean. And heyho our last home defeat against a top team was against Manchester United and guess who was the ref on that day? Yes, it was Dean once again. Now this match wasn’t in my list because I had drawn the line at the first day of the year but isn’t it a strange coincidence that it was most that when Dean was around we lost? And each time when a lot could be said about the way he handled the match….

So when we play on a level playing field (or don’t allow the ref to disturb the level playing field by scoring early) it looks that we are rather very capable of winning matches against the other top teams. Isn’t it also interesting to notice that certainly against Manchester United our results have improved a lot since their famous Scotch manager retired?

What exactly has changed in a year or so is something for another article but it certainly is no longer the case that people can say: “oh, we will make the same mistakes again and lose the match”. Mostly followed with a shout for a new manager as he will never change (it seems he did change a bit I would dare to suggest) and our players are not good enough (it seems they are good enough when allowed to play their game).

So is all good and well? Will we never drop points again? Now that might be great but I do know that football doesn’t work like that. Sometimes the ball doesn’t want to go in the goal, with the other keeper having an amazing match. Things like this happen. But we should be aware that this team can produce the amazing thing and the sometimes strangely bad thing.

If only we can keep the bad matches to a strict minimum we are capable of a lot. But just as against Manchester United it will be down to hard work and good teamwork and a bit of luck every now and then.

Let us now just hope for a good international break for our players. And the only thing we need for making it a good break is all the players return in good health for the rest of the season.


From the anniversary files (full list of today’s anniversaries on the home page)

6 October 1956: Cliff Holton became the first player since Jack Lambert to score more than three goals for Arsenal in a single game.  The result was Arsenal 7 Manchester City 3.  Holton (4), Evans Bloomfield and Haverty.

6 October 1962: Tottenham 4 Arsenal 4 (Court 2, McLeod and Strong).  61,749 attended the game.  The week before Tottenham had beaten Nottingham Forest 9-2, and in this game went three up in 26 minutes.  Arsenal eventually went 4-2 down but battled back to get the point.

Untold Action

Arsenal in the summer  (full series index of all 46 articles on the Arsenal History Society site)

The Untold Books





24 comments to Arsenal and top matches

  • apo Armani

    All valid points Walter, which basically underline the fact we have to put up with LAZY ‘journalists’!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    If we are ‘allowed’ to play our game , when we are in song, without any hinderance from those bent referees , and with all 11 players on the field , I believe we can beat the lot .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    ” Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner “. Lao Tzu.

  • nicky

    @Brickfieldes G,
    The trouble today is that there are many teams in the EPL who, selfishly, will not let us play “our game”.
    If they DID, all the Arsenal fans present AND the neutrals, would enjoy the spectacle.
    The FA should take action ASAP. 😉

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ nicky – Agree , but we have to be sly enough to dissuade them from crossing the line . A well timed ( and legal , of course !) kick or two should ‘impress’ upon their minds that they will be getting ten fold what they dish out !

  • Josif

    I will just say two words:

    “Francis” and “Coquelin”. 🙂

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin.

    God morning Mr W Broeckx. Good prove supported with glaring evidence. Arsenal can beat any top quality team at home and at away because Arsenal themselves are a top quality team and every football fan and pundit knows that. There has been a wrong belief in some quarters of late that Arsenal will not qualify for the knock out stages of this season Ucl. How wrong will that their assertions can turnout to be as I personally believed Arsenal will beat Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium and at Allianz Arena and collect all the 6 points that are going to be at stake in those 2 match. Then move on to pounce on & pound on their 2 next opponents to also collect another 6 points to make it a total of 12 points collected. That’s what I believe will come to pass, and it will.

  • the mickster

    Walter, don’t let facts get in the way of a narrative !

  • apo Armani

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the FA and PGMOLtd; are not in an urgent board meeting right now – to bring a real plan together so as to tilt the playing field EVEN MORE against us the upcoming games.

    Had they not have tilted already this season ( oh my after only 8 games), we would most certainly have been top of the league with at least a couple points to spare!

    I have written it before and I will do so again; PGMOLtd will this year determine who will take the points – no matter how good we play. We caught them by surprise on Saturday and went up to in the space 7 mins. Thats enough for getting their attention and go to find solutions so as we can not do that again.

  • proudkev

    I remember when we won away at Bayern Munich 2 nil and exited the CL on the away goal rule. Instead of concentrating on what a good win it was, it was all about how we got knocked out again. Nobody had won away at bayern but it didn’t count because we lost 3-1 at home.

    Reporting on Arsenal is short on facts for a reason. It makes the endless narrative incorrect and the media can’t have that, can they?

  • apo Armani

    October 6, 2015 at 11:43 am

    You are absolutely right again; that win away at Bayern was outstanding – a real team performance. The away goal is a big farce. The media reporting an even bigger fares!

  • @Apo Armani,rest assured that if we produce the lightening moves we used against the devils and in five minutes we have scored 5 no one will be against us,even the PGMOL cant stand in our midst,even mike dean shit wont know which hit him.
    It was a class apart rarely seen so it will disorganise any team at any field any where even if at the bernabeu.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Booooo Josif! I should hit the dislike button for your comment 😉 🙂
    Don’t worry, things will become clearer later today or tomorrow 😉

  • WalterBroeckx

    United clearly misses Webb to put it right when going 3-0 down in a top match 😉

  • bjtgooner

    There were many comments made during and after the demolition of the Manures by sensible people and in addition by the media pundits; all suggesting the Manures were shell shocked by the quality of our play – something they could not match.

    I would suggest that not only were the Manure players shattered but Taylor was equally shell shocked – the match was quickly beyond his capability to influence. He did permit some (deliberate?) errors to creep into his performance – all to assist the Manures – but our players didn’t give him the chance to make any game changing decisions.

    Unfortunately, on too many occasions over the last few seasons, we have not been able to put away particularly the Manures and Chelski – usually because in tight matches the PGMO were able to exert their malign influence. Walter, the phrase you used in the article above: –

    “So when we play on a level playing field”

    is very relevant.

  • WalterBroeckx

    bjtgooner, that is exactly why I put it in the article. It was indeed an important phrase! Well spotted

  • Terence

    Please don’t refer to Scottish people as “scotch” that is a drink, it is “Scot”

  • Terence, I take responsibility for that. As you probably know Walter is from Belgium and English is thus not his first language. I read through his work and correct any slips in terms of English (which are very very few). But I missed Scotch. I do know that, and indeed if I didn’t then living near Corby as I do, I would very quickly have it pointed out to me.

    Sorry, it was a case of more haste less whatnot.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    I thought the Scots invent Scotch and are so proud of the invention as not to mind the close association in the name for the drink and their collective name.
    Seriously, though, as a citizen of a former colony of Great Britain, I had always felt that both could be used to refer to the Scottish people. So, out of curiosity, I directed my enquiry to the ubiquitous Wikipedia and below is what I got:

    Scotch is an adjective meaning “of Scotland”. The modern usage in Scotland is Scottish or Scots, and the word “Scotch” is only applied to specific products, mostly food or drink, such as Scotch whisky, Scotch pie, Scotch broth, and Scotch eggs. “Scotch” applied to people is widely considered pejorative in Scotland, reflecting old Anglo-Scottish antagonisms, but it is still occasionally used in England, though the usage is considered old-fashioned,[1] and Ireland, and is in common use in North America.[citation needed]

    Only then did I understand your reason for taking issues with the spelling. I trust this post clarifies things for Walter too.

  • goonersince72

    Thanks Walter
    Isn’t it ridiculous you (and Tony) have to write special columns to report the FACTS? It’s down to laziness and lack of integrity that we are subjected to tired old cliches re AFC. No one bothers to check the stats. “Arsenal don’t defend” is a common one. However the facts show that in the last few seasons AFC are near the top of the league in fewest goals allowed. I could go on, but, thankfully we have UA doing it for me. Your hard work is appreciated.

  • Florian


    “Scotch” was in this case a substitute for “Red Nose”.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks all for clearing the Scots-Scotch thing out.
    I really didn’t know that Scotch was having a bad or pejorative meaning in Scotland. I have nothing against Scotland of the Scots. I’m not the person to offend people for no reason so apologies for those who have been offended by my use of the word ‘Scotch’.

    After heaving read all this I thought that when referring to SAF the word ‘Scotch’ was appropriate ? 😉 I think I have heard that he rather likes a bit of scotch? 😉

    Note: I only refer to one person in specific when trying to make this joke and not to the people of Scotland as a whole.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    THE LOSS –

    One day, there was this lawyer who had just bought a new car, and he was eager to show it off to his colleagues, when all of a sudden, an eighteen wheeler came out of nowhere and took off the driver’s side door with him standing right there.

    “NOOO!” he screamed, because he knew that no matter how good a mechanic tried to fix it, it never would be the same.

    Finally, a policeman came by, and the lawyer ran up to him yelling. “MY MERCEDES DOOR WAS JUST RUINED BY SOME FOOLISH DRIVER!” he exclaimed.

    “You’re a lawyer aren’t you?” asked the policeman. “Yes, I am, but what does this have to do with my car?” the lawyer asked.

    “HA!” the policeman replied, “You lawyers are always so materialistic. All you care about are your possessions. I bet you didn’t even notice that your left arm is missing did you?” the cop said.

    The lawyer looked down at his side and exclaimed: “MY ROLEX!”