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October 2016
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The “last 38 match” table – Arsenal and Man C neck and neck to take control.

By Tony Attwood

You may have seen on a number of other sites an analysis of the last 38 league games played by Premier League clubs.  It has turned up without attribution on a number of sites but I think it originated with @goonerdesi.   If I’ve got that wrong my apologies.

Anyway, it was a really interesting piece of work, although some people who reproduced the table managed to lose some vital detail en route.  I’ve set out the top bit again, complete with two extra columns.

Of course no one is saying that there are prizes for the last 38 league games, but rather that a measure such as this gives a broader indicator of comparative strength of the top teams, and removes short term blips, and all the nonsense that people spout in relation to measuring one team or even one player on the basis of one match.

I’ve added my favourite extra column – the average net spend per year on transfers over the past five years to see just how much transfers (the area that the blogettas and their friends in the press and broadcast media love so much) actually determine success.  And then after that the last turnover figure (2014) for the clubs.

Turnover figures are helpful in telling us how much money each club has available – but not too helpful in terms of how the money arrives.   Man U get a lot of their money from a world-wide marketing campaign stretching back to 1958.  Chelsea and Man C get it from their owners and sponsorship deals which are perhaps a little over the top in their largesse.  Arsenal get it from income from the ground, Tottenham from selling players.  Or one player.  Everyone gets it from TV.

So here we go.

Club W D L F A GD Pts 5yr Av net spend Turnover
Man C 25 5 8 84 37 47 80 £64m £347m
Arsenal 25 5 8 71 32 39 80 £20m £304m
Man U 22 8 8 58 33 26 74 £60m £433m
PGMO 21 10 7 62 41 21 73 £45m £324m
Tottenham 19 9 10 59 49 10 66 £-7m £181m
Liverpool 17 10 11 47 46 1 61 £33m £256m
Southampton 16 8 14 48 38 10 56 £6m £106m

What is remarkable is the similarity between Man C and Arsenal – yes they have outpaced us on goals, but we’ve bettered them to some degree in defence – and all done at a third of their annual net spend on transfers.

That last comment about annual net spend does show the point made over and over – that buying big doesn’t guarantee success.  It can do, but since only about a quarter of top price players come very very good at their club, it is a rather wasteful process.

So what we also have here at the moment is a clear top two, then a second group of two (Man U and the PGMO’s personal team, aka Chelsea) and then another gap to the rather spread out wannabes.

One might also notice that over the last five years Liverpool have a net spend of £13m per year more than Arsenal and have earned 19 points less over the last 38 games, scored 24 goals fewer, and let in 14 goals more.  Not a very clever use of money perhaps.  One wonders what they are smoking at Anfield.

Even more interesting is that Liverpool have done this on an income that is much, much smaller than Arsenal’s which ultimately makes the whole process unsustainable.  And although Tottenham’s income will rise when the new stadium emerges, that is still quite a long way away.  If they don’t have another Bale to sell, they might not sustain the challenge until the new ground is opened.

Indeed three of the top six are in stadium rebuild mode – and we all know what that means for available money.  Of course Chelsea’s and Liverpool’s owners might well finance this personally, and it makes no impact for what is left of FFP, but still it is disruptive and can leave lingering debts.   Which is not to say that Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea will all fall away during this period (although if Chelsea fall any further this season they will be in the Championship) but it is just one more issue to consider.  An issue that the top three don’t have.

But above all, it means that although taken over the course of 38 league games Arsenal are clearly in very fine fettle indeed, the media and their blogetta chums have been able to cast the image that we are struggling somewhat.  The power of the argument without any supporting evidence!

In fact all we have to do is keep up the form of the last 38 games but incorporate a slightly better defence and a slightly better goal-scoring ability, and we stand a very good chance of winning the league.

And there’s that other point that I have kicked around of late.   Each season there are, rather obviously, three domestic trophies available.  Now I think in saying that I am being rather generous because it includes the League Cup, but I don’t want to be accused of manipulating the figures by leaving it out.

Over the last two seasons Chelsea have won two of the six competitions available, Man C two, and we’ve got two.  So let us not think we are wannabes ourselves.  For the past two seasons this has been a league of three seriously, consistently challenging clubs and I suspect this will continue – with Chelsea replaced by Man U.

But the key is, we are winners.  Indeed if we were to win the FA Cup for the third successive season that would be a triumph unprecedented since the earliest days of competition football.

Let’s hope it all continues.


More anniversaries


  • 9 October 1897: Arsenal boasted a crowd of 14,000 for second time in the league, in a 3-0 win over, perhaps reflecting anticipation among the crowd over the fact that Arsenal had beaten Luton 2-0 away the previous week.
  • 9 October 1910: Jack Crayston born.  He played for Arsenal from 1934 to the outbreak of war.  He became assistant to Tom Whittaker in 1947 as manager and then took over on Tom’s death.

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17 comments to The “last 38 match” table – Arsenal and Man C neck and neck to take control.

  • proudkev

    This really does make you question the narrative we see so often repeated.

    The narrative that Arsenal is some mid table team that cannot beat big teams and has a dinosaur for a Manager.

    Petr Cech has spoken about Arsene Wengers ambitious plans for the future and how well the club is doing.

    Petr Cech: “The public only see the game, they don’t see all the things that are happening behind the scenes. So, sometimes, judging people only on the fraction of the time you see them working can lead to different opinions. He (Wenger) introduced me to the vision the club has for the coming years, to the reason why certain things are the way they are now and how they will be next year and the year after. I really liked the project in the way it matches my ambition.”

    Positive stuff.

    So what does head FFM of the AAA write on his Wenger Out Blog?

    Go on, have a guess:

    He wrote: “Petr Cech is crawling up the back passage of Arsene Wenger”.

    A player with Petr Cechs experience and integrity being insulted now because he has contradicted much of his negative narrative. In fact, chief WOB and FFM extraordinair goes on:

    “Yeah Petr, the public only see the games, the league table, the progress in Europe, the lack of fight on the pitch, the results, Arteta rolling onto the pitch on a zimmerframe and the bi-annual balls up in the transfer market. I’m absolutely sure that what you’re seeing is incredible… and actually worthy of a secret manager of the year trophy.I wouldn’t expect Petr to come out and say anything else. I hear the press room has one way mirrored glass and Wenger taps menacingly if you move from the script. Point is, you don’t bite the hand that gives you a mega contract at 33 years old….”

    Sometimes you just have to shake your head in astonishment at the childish insults and the desperation to look for negativity.

    Every time I read this bollocks I feel even more proud of the pleasure I get from being a true supporter of this great football club. And the more I laugh at these morons.

  • Jambug


    I have to admit I admire your stoicism in visiting these obscene blogs in the name of research, because I sure as hell couldn’t do it.

    Even reading the brief, well fairly brief, extracts you share with us makes me rage inside.

    It is simply mind numbing to see what some of these people have to say. I actually think they are mentally ill, although that in itself is an insult to the mentally ill because I doubt even they would ever utter such nonsense as you have re produced above.

  • finsbury

    Poor Aguero, if it’s a bad hammy that’ll effect city’s GD for a little while.
    We wish him a quick recovery.

    Of course he’s an athlete but someone should’ve advised him to take it a little easier after he’d already had a hamstring niggle this season (at least I think he had). And they probably did!

    I fully expect to see a battery of unemployed sports physios touting their vacuous credentials to take to the ether in order to protest at this outrageous injustice (“Shock. Horror. Footballer wants to play football.”), and upon various man City blogs and disingenuous and sanctimonious social media (are there any?) led by experts who choose to write for extremist far rights oligarch loving whinging media outlets in order to protest against the unprofessional conduct of their oligarch owned football club in allowing a passionate and much loved footballer to, you know, play some football.
    Yes. I’m looking forward to it…

  • Goonermikey


    I couldn’t have put it better myself. However, like Jambug, I cannot bring myself to read those ‘other’ sites. Firstly because my Doc says I need to watch my blood pressure and secondly because, in any walk of life, I cannot abide idiots with opinions who offer no evidence but badmouth anyone who does if that evidence contradicts what they randomly choose to think.

    Another simple yet warningly reassuring article Tony. Keep it up mate.

  • proudkev

    Jambug and Goonermikey.

    I completely understand where you come from. However, Sun Tzu famously said: “Know Your Enemy”.

    I don’t so much rage as scratch my header in wonder. I find it completely bizarre to be honest. They have become so entrenched and brainwashed by an agenda that anything that contradicts their narrative must be immediately criticised. The thing that does amaze me is that some of these people are actually quite intelligent; despite this they demonstrate incredible small mindedness.

    Tonys article paints the true picture and one that is a million miles away from what the FFM’s and the WOB’s would have us believe.

  • esxste

    Proudkev, I often find the reason for that is ego.

    Too many people wrap their ego around their opinion. As such, whenever their opinion is criticised, it feels to them like you’re personally insulting them. For people like the AAA, where their opinion has been loudly, and proudly shouted from the roof tops, it’s unpalatable for them to alter their opinion in anyway.

    Probably to do what the Arsenal Board do, and ignore them.

  • Rich


    That’s unbelievable stuff. Tops my previous moment of the week when I saw Piers Morgan describe the FA cup as a minor cup, moments after saying Klopp had won 3 cups at Dortmund.

    Yep, he not only counted the German cup (which Klopp won once) while discounting the FA cup as any kind of achievement, he counted the German supercup (twice) over the FA cup.

    That’s as good a measure as any of how crazy things are. People are not merely dug in, they’ve encased themselves in concrete, so to speak.

    Still…not the most infuriating stuff of the week. Last night I watched the Germany game and the diving from John Walters was outrageous. He did it about five times. A touch ,and sometimes maybe not that, and over he would jump.

    5 times, while still there exists the perception we are a soft team, while Stoke and others represent good honest competitors. If one of our lot did it there would be uproar guaranteed, yet Walters has been doing it for years. It’s the salt in the wounds for me, I guess.

    The obvious truth is that a team who will commit dangerous fouls are much more likely to try cheat in other ways, including diving. It was true or Utd and Chelsea and surely applies to Stoke,too. If everything else is subordinate to anything to win, diving is as inevitable as dirty fouls. It’s just one more thing the media strenuously ignore and therefore enable.

    Oh well, glorious football won last weekend, so lets hope for plenty more of that this year. It sure does have to happen in the face of tons of bullshit and hypocrisy,though.

  • proudkev


    Yep, pretty much.

    When you back yourself into a corner its very difficult to get out of. Therefore the easiest way is to discredit anything positive, which is what they do.

    Rich, spot on about Piers Morgan an odious human being. I hate the fact he is an Arsenal fan, its embarrassing. Degrading the FA Cup is a clear case in point. In fact, hours after the second FA Cup win and what was a fantastic performance, many of them were playing the same card as Piers Morgan. Teh FA Cup wasnt worth celebrating. The real irony is the fact that they claim their motivation is wanting to win trophies!!! That cannot be true. There motivation is not being proved wrong.

  • Proudkev

    Sun Tzu might well have said: “Know Your Enemy”, but I have been heard to say, “Mine’s a Merlot.” Surely that must count for something.

    We’ve got another set of variant tables coming up tomorrow morning from Walter, which show some interesting trends, but next there is a little piece about the British newspapers getting in a twist by taking the Spanish paper AS as a reliable source.

    Always a pleasure to seem them make total arses of themselves.

  • proudkev


    Hard to beat a nice glass of wine.

    Always best to beat an argument with evidence, the tables are a concise way of doing that. I will be very interested to see what AS have produced.

    A friend of mine has a place in France and he says the French cannot understand the criticsm aimed at Wenger. They seem to take the same line as us, in that they recognise the dificulties he had to face. They caveat the lean years, the FFM’s and our media are unable or unwilling to do that. This is the bit I find difficult to understand Tony, this reluctance to acknowledge the gigantic hurdles we had to face and what we have achieved despite that. You dont need to be financially astute, you just have to apply common sense.

    You have far greater knowledge of the history of the club than me and the vast majority, so you will know better than most how the club has moved on in the last 20 years. From the shared training facilities to the stadium and the new sponsorships, we are a club that has grown more than any other. I find it baffling to be honest.

    Perhaps we could have a feature on this, a snapshot through history?

    I was talking to a young fan and his friends, at the armoury (while queing for another tour) and he was moaning about Wenger. My wife and I explained some things to him and a couple of his mates, all nice lads, a small history lesson if you like and he kept repeating “I never knew that”. Well how would he, the media keep all the achievements about our club in the last 20 years a bloody great secret!

    Hope to share a glass of wine with you one day. Cheers.

  • Matt Clarke

    Where are Chelsea in the table?
    Shurely shome mishtake?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Tony Attwood -October 9, 2015 at 4:37 pm – As a lover of wine , red , white ,fine or otherwise , to me you sound very much like this lady , also apparently a fine connoisseur.

    A woman was sipping on a glass of wine, while sitting on the patio with her husband, and she says, “I love you so much, I don’t know how I could ever live without you.”

    Her husband asks, “Is that you or the wine talking?”

    She replies, “It’s me…talking to the wine.”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Matt Clarke -October 9, 2015 at 6:11 pm – Wahh the hic are you on ’bout ? Burp !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    On expectations and not keeping your eye or your finger on it !

    Mr. Jacobs, the biology instructor at a posh suburban girl’s junior college, said during class, “Miss Arnold, would you please name the organ of the human body, which under the appropriate conditions, expands to six times its normal size, and define the conditions.”

    Miss Arnold gasped, then said freezingly, “Mr. Jacobs, I don’t think that is a proper question to ask me. I assure you my parents will hear of this!”

    With that she sat down red-faced.

    Unperturbed, Mr. Jacobs called on Miss Jones, another student, and asked the same question. Miss Jones, with composure, replied: “That would be the pupil of the eye, under conditions of dim light.”

    “Correct,” said Mr. Jacobs.

    “And now, Miss Arnold, I have three things to say to you:
    One, you have not studied your lesson.
    Two, you have a dirty mind.
    And three, you will someday be faced with a dreadful disappointment.”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    And in line with making mountains out of molehills is today’s word – tumescent –

    Definitions for tumescent

    pompous and pretentious, especially in the use of language; bombastic.
    swelling; slightly tumid.
    exhibiting or affected with many ideas or emotions; teeming.

    Tumescent stems from the Latin word tumēscere which means “to begin to swell.” It entered English in the late 1800s.

  • apo Armani

    Isn’t it funny how cream rises to the top in the same way truth does!!

    Tony excellent work, and whilst I am of the ones that will never believe in modern media – especially when it concerns Arsenal – its always very welcome to read the Untold articles which tend to (with mathematical precision) always call out these morons who call themselves journalists!!

    Their target group seems to be very specific, perhaps just as lazy as they are.

    We can just take a dress look at our apparent lack of fire powers in forwards (according to them), then look at the our lads on Int’l duty finding the net nicely – thank you very much 😉

  • apo Armani

    Did anyone else notice how Cesc never celebrated at all – together with Santi at either of the 2 Santi goals for Spain??