By Bulldog Drummond
It’s been a few days of the media falling over themselves in an attempt to examine Arsenal’s accounts. Typical was the statement in the Telegraph that “Despite the large reserves [£159m], the club did make a relatively small loss of £3.4 million for the six month financial period until Nov 30, 2015.
A curious statement that because the amount in cash reserves doesn’t directly affect the loss. Continuous losses will affect the reserves since the reserves will be used up paying for the losses, but not the other way around.
They also say Arsenal have £70m to spend but they don’t really say how they got to that point… which leaves the suspicion that the “calculation” is just set down in order to give the “Transfans” (those six or seven people on Twitter who don’t come to games and who upon seeing a bad result threaten to support Leicester) something to argue about.
Of course the media are also making a lot out of the fact that “Arsenal have won none and lost six of their last eight Premier League trips to Old Trafford.” But such stats are always the same when relating to teams near the top; all runs go on for a while (otherwise they wouldn’t be runs) and all runs come to an end sometimes (otherwise they would just be reality).
So we don’t talk about the sun having risen in the east for the past 4.543 billion years and then describe it as a “run”. A “run” has a fair chance of coming to an end and going the other way.
Runs are interesting – which is why I often quote them – but they don’t actually tell us much. We had drawn three and lost five of our last eight Premier League games against Man U, and then hammered them to bits at Arsenal Stadium, as it was called at the Champions League game – and I rather like that name, so I’ll use it.
Here’s another one, “Arsenal have dropped seven points from winning positions away from home, the joint-most in the Premier League along with Man Utd.” So either the run continues, or like all runs sometime or other, it comes to an end.
In which case runs mean nothing.
Arsenal have kept five clean sheets in the last eight Premier League matches. That’s not bad going at all for a club with a useless defence, or, as one correspondent put it the other day, a club which “everyone knows desperately needs a defensive midfielder.”
Manchester U have scored fewer goals after 26 league games than in any season since 1989-90. Oh yes and they have earned fewer points after 26 games this season than by this stage in any other PL season.
And Man U are winless in their last five games against London opposition, drawing the last four.
Now there will be someone of course who will throw back at me the “you can prove anything with statistics” slogan, but as I am sure you have fully appreciated, I am not proving anything. Rather I am trying to show that these sequence figures are meaningless because all sequences eventually come to an end.
If they don’t they are just reality (the sun always rises in the east) or runs (Man U are winless in their last five games against a London team).
But still people want more and more and more and…
Arsenal have won two of their last seven Premier League away matches. Before that we won ten in 12 away games in the League.
And here’s a really crazy one. Man U have scored 995 goals at Very Old Trafford in the Premier League so will be going all out to score five and make the 1000 at home to Arsenal.
Or not as the case might be.
Actually we can keep going with this for ever and a day. Because 21% of the goal scoring attempts made by Arsenal in Premier League matches have been from beyond the box, which is the smallest number in the League this season. So maybe we should shoot from outside the box more. Or maybe shooting from outside the box only happens when players are feeling insecure about their ability to score.
Ospina, Chambers, Gibbs, Gabriel or Flamini, Elneny, Campbell, Walcott (or Danny).
So who could step up and start scoring lots of goals for us? Well, if it is anyone I guess it has to be Danny Welbeck playing against the club that let him down.
But let’s go back to all those stats that seemed to suggest that Arsenal have not won at Old Trafford since Richard III was arranging car parks in Leicester. [I think this comparison is not only inaccurate but also may well prove to be incomprehensible to our overseas readers and those of a non-historical nature. – Editor]
[Sorry – Bulldog]
[OK don’t let it happen again – Editor]
Past three meetings at Extremely Old Trafford…
- Arsenal 3 (Sanchez 2, Ozil) Manchester United 0, League, October 2015.
- Manchester United 1 (Herrera) Arsenal 1 (Blackett own goal), League, May 2015.
- Manchester United 1 (Rooney) Arsenal 2 (Monreal, Welbeck), FA Cup, March 2015.
In recent games Man U have won three drawn one, lost two. Arsenal have won three, drawn two and lost one.
Moving on to injuries, you will know, because it says so in the newspapers and on the radio, that Arsenal have far more injuries than any other team because of Arsene Wenger’s gross incompetence. Here’s the table at the moment.
|6||West Ham United||7|
|11||West Bromwich Albion||5|
So now the official word from the BBC is that Man U are “injury ravaged”. This is different from Arsenal who generally have an “injury crisis”. As for Mr W this is what he said,
“It is the key period. We work the whole season for this period and that’s where you’re really tested but it’s where you have an opportunity to show quality, nerves and desire as well.
“Everybody drops points. It is unpredictable. We have rebuilt a good run in the Premier League and we need to continue that. We need to get over the disappointment of the result [against Barcelona] in the Premier League.”
But hey, we haven’t had any of those silly little statistics for a while. So here’s another
- The last time Arsenal scored more than one goal at Very Old Trafford was on 28 August 2011. We lost 8-2.
- Alexis Sanchez has failed to score in 19 of his last 22 league appearances.
- The next goal we score in the League will be the 700th for Mr Wenger.
Anyway, enough of all this. The Sports Analytics Machine run by the University of Salford gives this match as having a 1-1 scoreline. I think we might do better.
One last bit of news – Yaya Sanogo scored a hattrick for Charlton yesterday. Now there’s a thing.
- The February Under 18 Report plus a Youth Cup update.
- Welcome to the Pawson-Dean Disaster. Man U v Arsenal, 28 Feb 2016 – The Match Officials.
The Untold Books
The latest Untold book is Arsenal: The Long Sleep 1953-1970 with a Foreword by Bob Wilson, available both as a paperback and as a Kindle book from Amazon. Details of this and our previous and forthcoming titles can be found at Arsenal Books on this site.
Anniversary of the day
28 February 1959: Arsenal 3 Man U 2, Arsenal made it six wins and two draws in eight. The result left Arsenal one point clear at the top of the table, with Man U in third, but the teams below had games in hand. Barnwell (2) and Herd got the goals.