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October 2016
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Why we will win the league no matter what happens against Tottenham

By Tony Attwood

It is amusing to see the way the media twists and turns in its opinions, as if somehow we won’t remember what they said yesterday, let alone last week.

And dare I suggest that a small number of the scribblers are at least getting someone else to read Untold for them, if not directly reading it themselves.  Just to see.

That certainly seems true when it comes to the “fact” that we are in an “injury crisis”.  Some of them are still pumping that out, but the realisation that actually our injury list is not that much different from several other clubs slowed a few newspaper editors down.

Another issue they’ve picked up on is the insanity of the fuss about Arsenal should be doing better than they are.   Indeed I’ve just been perusing a newspaper that announces that it took 20 years in the first division before we won the league.  One might almost thing the writer had glanced at the Arsenal History Society site.

(Incidentally if you are interested we’ve recently published a more fulsome review of 1969/70 and the winning of the Fairs Cup, with a look back at the 18 year gap between the last victory in the League before the Double of 1971.  It’s the first part in a new series on Arsenal in the 70s – has someone in the media actually read it already?)

In fact as the last article on Untold showed there were a handful of journalists around who were tipping Arsenal at the start of the season.  Since then we have had the demise of Chelsea.  Now they are generally agreeing that Man United are playing a cautious methodical game, without any flamboyance.  Not what their fans are used to.

In short there is a feeling that Man U are still in a transitional phase, not a league-winning phase.  The new players need more experience but will be a challenge in the future – that’s the growing view.  And Chelsea are a busted flush

Man City do on the other hand have lots of top players of high quality, but when we had two reviews (the whoscored numbers – see below – and the more personal Telegraph review), one gave Arsenal seven players in the top 20 and the other five while no other club got more than two.

Besides this season Man C have been beaten by West Ham and Tottenham.  OK we got beaten by WHU on the opening day, and that was not good, but opening days after often different from the rest of the season, and the City games, it is said, showed a sort of “flakiness”.

Man City only have four injuries to our eight at the moment, but that can change in a weekend, or indeed in an international break.  And they will probably be making a success of the Champions League in coming months, while we might well either be out of it or in the Europa, and hopefully playing the youngsters, they certainly could pick up one or two more injuries.

We normally do well in the second half of the season once the Champs League is out of  the way, which is why some of us have not joined in the frenzy that usually surrounds a defeat in the round of 16.  Not worrying about Europe, or even only sending half a team to the Europa games, could be just what we need.

Then there are the referees – not a subject that the press will touch of course, which leaves the field open for us.   We were slaughtered by the ref in the Chelsea game, not by Chelsea; hence the 100,000 signatures.   But since then…

Last season I suggested we were getting slightly less nasty treatment from the refs – my chums on Untold begged to differ.  And I am not a ref, so I defer to them, but there is still something that is suggesting to me the path is getting a bit fairer.

Of course the contact injuries we are getting does not suggest this is so, but I still think there is a slight decline in some of the more lunatic decisions being made.  Have they finally realised that we are watching – and publishing?

Plus – and this is the bit the press are only just getting, we are doing what we are doing, in the midst of a huge “injury crisis” to use the media’s favourite phrase.     Tomas Rosicky, Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere, David Ospina, Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Héctor Bellerín and Laurent Koscielny.   And we are still equal top with City.

All we need is for our list to go down a bit, and for Man City’s to rise from their modest four (not that I am asking for anyone to be hurt, I’m talking more abstractly than that) and some interesting developments might occur.

What it also means is that as our regulars get tired, we will have returnees coming back in all fresh and enthusiastic.

And if not, if the injuries continue, we might buy in January, being able to say to whatever player comes in – look, you are sure to play with this injury list.  Your chance to show what you can do and secure your place.

Next, I am going to defer to the Telegraph who have actually picked up a point I have completely missed.   “Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp were at the same stages of their Highbury careers as Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil,” when the magic started happening.   “Sánchez is in his second season with the club – like Vieira was 18 years ago; Özil, like Bergkamp, is in his third.”

As the paper says, “Sánchez and Özil are world-class talents who now know the English game. This is their year to pull the team with them.”  Indeed both have also won the league in Spain – although of course that is a two, or at best three team affair.

Mathieu Débuchy and Olivier Giroud have won Ligue 1 in France.  Arteta won the Scottish Premier League with Rangers and Özil and Per Mertesacker have won the World Cup, Petr Cech’s has won the Premier League four times.  That’s experience under pressure.

But there is still more, because although Sánchez has been a dream signing from the start, Özil has taken longer but is still only 27.  We are still short of seeing where Ramsey can take his incredible talent too, and even though lots of people don’t like to see it, Giroud actually is a number 9 of talent, Bellerín is one of the best full backs around, Monreal has developed in a way we didn’t expect, and that long term Untold favourite Francis Coquelin has proved that even I can occasionally spot the talent a youngster might have.  As for Santi Caz… well…

But here is one more thing.  Consider our best ever players in certain positions and think how the current team compares.   Is Cech better than David Seaman?  Is it totally sacrilegious to compare Tony Adams with Koscielny?  Have we ever had a player like either of Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil?

Maybe, but here’s my point:

This, once again, is the Whoscored top 20.


R Name Apps Mins Goals Assists Rating
1 Riyad Mahrez Leicester,  9(1) 779 7 5 8.29
2 Jamie Vardy Leicester,  11 982 11 1 7.87
3   Santi Cazorla Arsenal,  11 979 3 7.80
4   Mesut Özil Arsenal,  10 848 1 9 7.79
5 Dimitri Payet West Ham 11 988 5 3 7.72
6   Alexis Sánchez Arsenal,  10(1) 867 6 7.72
7 Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City,  6(1) 560 3 4 7.68
8 Virgil van Dijk Southampton,  7 630 2 7.66
9   Laurent Koscielny Arsenal 9 810 2 7.65
10 Nicolás Otamendi Manchester City 6 540 1 7.62
R Name Apps Mins Goals Assists Rating
11 Anthony Martial Manchester Utd   6(1) 565 3 1 7.55
12 Ross Barkley Everton,  11 990 3 3 7.55
13   Nacho Monreal Arsenal,  11 990 2 7.54
14 Yaya Touré Manchester City 10 799 2 4 7.53
15 Christian Eriksen Tottenham 7(1) 632 2 3 7.52
16   Francis Coquelin Arsenal, 10 790 7.49
17 Jordan Amavi Aston Villa,  8(1) 746 2 7.48
18 Mousa Dembélé Tottenham, 7(1) 524 2 7.48
19   Héctor Bellerín Arsenal, 10 900 1 7.46
20 Fernandinho Manchester City 11 969 2 1 7.46

We know that no other team has that many top players in one squad.  But at any time other than in the Unbeaten Season, did we really ever have more players of that sort of quality?

The latest…


  • 6 November 1980: Lionel Smith died (this is also quoted as 8 November in some sources).  After leaving Arsenal he moved to Watford,and then became player-manager at Gravesend & Northfleet where he won the 1957-58 Southern League title.  He retired from football in 1960.
  • 6 November 1991: Arsenal lost to Benfica in extra time.  It proved to be the club’s last appearance in the European Cup until 1998.


10 comments to Why we will win the league no matter what happens against Tottenham

  • finsbury

    Over on Positively Arsenal one of the first considerations we made after the signing of Sanchez was the creation of a core group in Sanchez’s and Ozil’s age group including the likes of Ramsey and Wilshere, complemented by the slightly older Cazorla and Koscielny (& now Cech – backed up by good uns like Chamberlain and Chambers and not forgetting Schezzer). Then there are the promising collection of kiddies out on loan. Jenkinson. Etc.

    It was exciting then and it’s exciting now!

    It appears as if contrary to popular misrepresentation in the far right meedjah scrum and associated hangers on that someone, somewhere, has had some kind of a plan? What are the odds? 🙂

  • proudkev


    Good article.

    Since January 2015 we have WON the most points and conceded LESS goals than any other PL team. 29 games. That is without even calculating our FA Cup results, which would paint an even more impressive picture. Not read this anywhere in the media. In fact, based on what I have read we can’t defend and stand no chance of winning the league.

    It is also worth pointing out that we have had players missing who will return for the busy back end of the season. They should be fresh and that is another reason to be positive.

    The problem Arsenal face is that the media enjoy slagging us off. They rarely say anythinmg positive, it is almost as if that simply is not permitted. They are bolstered by the small number of tiny minded souls who claim to be fans, yet behave as bad as the media and clearly get no enjoyment from the Sport. Their pleasure appears to come from moaning endlessly, win lose or draw.

    Will we win the League? Well we have a good chance because as you say our players have been performing well. Ozil had his first decemnt pre-season and has started to link up well with the rest of the players. Giroud, who has been pooorly treated by our Fantasy Football Managers, is proving he is better than they said he was (not difficult really!), Coquelin who they wanted to replace for £25m has come on leaps and bounds and young Bellerin has surprised everyone.

    The negativity being spread is being done so as part of the agenda, nothing else – because there is no logical explanation. You dont have the best record over 29 games in 2015, win the FA Cup for the 2nd season on the spin, sit top of the league – and then have a reason to moan and be negative. Not logical.

    My comment yesterday at 6:12pm on the ‘how lopsided is football in Germany’ probably best sums it up.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Ofcourse, Arsenal are going to beat Tottenham Hotspur and beat them hard than the Spuds expected to see Spurs beaten on Sunday evening. The Gunners will VANDALIZED(that’s the Key) Spurs’ Game Plan To Catch The Gunners On The Counter Attack. Because Tottenham Hotspur have some pacey Spurs in their rank and file make them to think they can outpaced the Gunners on one on one, is a joke. Rhinosacker, Debuchy Campbell who the Spurs are targeting will raise the level of their individuals & collective game beyond Spurs imaginations, and hit them by 3 undisputed goals to Spurs nil. A thought that touted has gone viral on the football media saying that, Arsenal will properly go to the top of the Barcklays Premier League table on Sunday evening without looking back after taking all 3 points off Spurs. Remi Garde is quoted to have told Manuel Pellegrini in private that, he will rejuvinlate the Villans to wreck the Citizens plan of collecting maximum points at Villa Park in the early duel between the Villans and the Citizens for Arsenal to profit as a mark of Garde respect and honor for the Boss for been his 1st signing when he became the Arsenal manager.

  • OlegYch

    i’m concerned about Alexis
    he looked really lost in both Bayern games
    here are his scores after watford
    ICL 20-10-2015 Arsenal
    2 : 0
    Bayern Munich 82′ 7.08
    EPL 24-10-2015 Arsenal
    2 : 1
    Everton 89′ 7.28
    EPL 31-10-2015 Swansea
    0 : 3
    Arsenal 90′ 6.99
    ICL 04-11-2015 Bayern Munich
    5 : 1
    Arsenal 90′ 7.59
    the last one is kinda high, but imo only because of an assist
    and now with two important internationals which he cannot miss i’m afraid we might have to rest him for at least a month

  • OlegYch

    great news – Mesut Özil has been rested from Germany’s latest squad by coach Joachim Löw for their games vs. France & Netherlands

  • Vintage Gooner

    There are peculiarities to our ECL group which are hardly mentioned. How many people realize how important the excellent sixth goal scored by Mueller really was? By that stage Arsenal had upped their game and the match had become pretty open and end to end. If we had scored one of the several opportunities we had then a 4-2 final score would have left us ahead of Bayern under away goals if the final points had been level. I find it astonishing that game pundits who are very well paid to appreciate such arcane facts made absolutely no mention of this at the time.

    Further my son maintains that we are still likely to go through. We must beat Zagreb but also he thinks Bayern will be very keen to beat Olympiakos to ensure they get first place. This would leave us having to beat Olympiakos by two clear goals to make the second spot ours – by no means unrealistic for our best Arsenal team.

    Finally your headline is clearly right but a win on Sunday will give an excellent boost to the team so Arsenal fans at the match must remember from start to finish their responsibility to be a loud and effective twelfth man. Further I very much hope Arsene keeps his very clear sights on EPL and FAC as distinctly our top priorities for this season. It really is all there to play for.


  • Mandy Dodd

    I can see the grounds for optimism, and think we will win on Saturday…..but as for refs improving, might just defer judgement on that one until seeing how Atkinson performs on Saturday. I fear the worst, think we will have to beat twelve men, but should be used to that in NLDs

  • Mandy Dodd

    I think this team has every chance of finishing above Olym, just need some of our players back….and hopefully, no fresh injuries to key players.
    Fortunately, many will get a couple weeks break after this weekend, though unfortunately, not the likes of Kos, Giroud , Caz and Alexis it seems, they might need to wait until we have others back to get a break.
    Hope these reports Germany will rest Ozil are true, if so, a very rare case of an enlightened international manager

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I would love it if we did the double again this season to give AW a 20th anniversary
    present . Seems apt to me .

    As for the Spuds , they will always be a little behind us , somewhat like this joke-

    A man playing on a new golf course got confused as to what hole he was on. He saw a lady playing ahead of him. He walked up to her and asked if she knew what hole he was playing. She replied, “I’m on the 7th hole, and you’re a hole behind me, so you must be on the 6th hole.” He thanked her and went back to his game.

    On the back nine, the same thing happened, and he approached the lady again with the same request. She said, “I’m on the 14th, you are a hole behind me, so you must be on the 13th.” Once again he thanked her.

    He finished his round and went into the club house and saw the lady sitting at the end of the bar. He went up to her and said, “Let me buy you a drink to show my appreciation for your help.” He started a conversation and asked her what kind of work she did. She said she was in sales, and he said he was in sales also. He asked what she sold.

    She replied, “If I told you, you would only laugh.”

    “No, I wouldn’t,” he said.

    She said, “I sell tampons.”

    With that he fell on the floor laughing so hard.

    She said, “See, I knew you would laugh.”

    “That’s not what I’m laughing at,” he replied. “I’m a toilet paper salesman, so I’m STILL one hole behind you!”

  • nicky

    I find it hard to accept that our injury list is not much different to that of several of our rivals.
    In quality alone, let alone quantity, we are currently in a bit of trouble. Unless, of course, most of the injuries are minor and most of the sick are about to return.