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October 2016
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The real reason why some clubs do better than others – and its not transfers or managerial changes

By Tony Attwood

You might remember the old tales that Arsenal were never serious contenders for winning the league because they didn’t beat enough of the other teams in the top four.

In this argument beating other top four clubs was defined as a clear indicator of the club’s power and progress.  

This year’s table of the top four against each other makes interesting reading

Club Pld Won Drawn Lost Pts
Arsenal 5 3 2 0 11
Totts 6 2 3 1 9
Leicester 6 2 2 2 8
Man C 5 0 1 4 1

Ah, but this year is odd, it could be argued, because we have more than four top teams.  This year Leicester is up there, not the normal top four.   So OK, let’s do the analysis by the top six playing each other.

Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points
Arsenal 8 4 2 2 14
Totts 9 3 3 3 12
Leicester 8 3 3 2 12
West Ham 7 3 2 2 11
Man U 6 2 3 1 9
Man C 8 0 3 5 3

Nope still the same result.  So the notion of how well you do against the other top teams telling you the secret of whether you will be top of the league overall or not, turns out to be nonsense.  Although that table might show you that the revival of Man U is unlikely to happen, given that they are not doing particularly well against other top teams and have more top six games left to play than anyone else.

This story about how to define success, is in fact merely the latest in a whole stream of stories which indicate the core reason behind how well a club does or not.

We’ve also had the one about how much money a club spends either in the summer (remember, “Arsenal, the only club not to buy an outfield player in the summer”) and the amount spent minus the amount received over a five year period.  

Here are the figures allied to the games against the top six table, with Chelsea added for the sake of comparison as it was the third biggest nett spender last summer, and the third biggest spender in the last five years.

Club Pld W D L Pts Net spent 2000-5 Net spent  summer 05
Arsenal (3) 8 4 2 2 14 £99m £8m
Totts (2) 9 3 3 3 12 £-36m* £5m
Leicester (1) 8 3 3 2 12 £46m £20m
WHU (5) 7 3 2 2 11 £93m £27m
Man U (6) 6 2 3 1 9 £300m £33m
Man C (4) 8 0 3 5 3 £322m £124m
Chelsea (10) 8 2 3 3 9 £224m £32m

*Following investigations by the Spanish authorities and the European Commission into Real Madrid’s financial situation vis a vis Spanish banks, questions have been raised about the way transfers between Tottenham and Real Madrid have been costed and conducted and this figure may not be accurate.

So there doesn’t seem to be a relationship with money spent either.  But we have also had the issue of whether the club changes managers or not.  Does changing managers help?

  • Chelsea – manager appointed December 2015
  • WHU – manager appointed summer 2015
  • Leicester – manager appointed summer 2015
  • Man U – manager appointed summer 2014
  • Tottenham – manager appointed summer 2014
  • Man C – manager appointed summer 2013, told he would be leaving at end of this season
  • Arsenal – manager appointed October 1996

In fact none of these simplistic criteria relate to the clubs’ league position.  So, it must be injuries!

I only have the season’s injury figures for the number of player days lost up 15 January this year, but I doubt that the comparative position has changed much.

  • Leicester 184 player days lost
  • Arsenal 465 players days lost
  • West Ham 583 player days lost
  • Tottenham Hotspur 668 player days lost
  • Manchester Utd 752 player days lost
  • Manchester City 769 player days lost

At that time Watford had the lowest number of player days lost and Newcastle the worst.   But the BBC who did this analysis made this telling point:

The six best-performing teams in injury terms – Watford, Leicester, West Brom, Swansea, Norwich and Southampton – are clubs without European commitments.

I would make another point and that is that Leicester’s position is extraordinarily low, compared with the clubs around them, and that next season they are unlikely to be so lucky.  

One other point on injuries is that three of the teams with the biggest squads have had more actual injuries (opposed to player days lost) than anyone else in the league – Manchester City (47), Liverpool (39) and Manchester United (39).    Arsenal’s figure by this time was 22.

So tentatively we could say that injuries while not the full explanation can have an impact on a club’s position, in a way that games against the top four or six, money spent on transfers and managerial change don’t.  

But we always need to be careful with injuries – for ten years we have been told that Arsenal get more injuries than anyone else because of Wenger’s training methods – this research, as we have highlighted before, shows this is quite untrue.

So what is it that keeps a team at or near the top, if not the amount spent, injuries, games against the other top teams or a willingness to change manager?

It certainly looks like it is a range of things ranging from the quality of the players to pure chance (hitting the bar or just going under the bar).  I would also add refereeing quality, and the order in which other teams are played.

We know that Arsenal tend to get certain referees over and over again, and that certainly could be a factor.   If there is Type III Match Fixing going on (through which Team A “persuades” a ref to be “particularly careful when refereeing games involving Team X) then that certainly could explain some of the results we have seen.

But if the traditional blame-game targets are not the simplistic answer that is sometimes suggested, I suspect the explanation as to why teams do better or worse than expected must be a combination of factors such as injuries combined with refereeing issues combined with luck, combined with playing teams particularly in form combined with… [add your own examples].

Which all seems a bit complicated.  But sadly I haven’t finished yet.  I think there are two more factors we haven’t yet looked at and these work in harmony.

Lose a couple of games unexpectedly, perhaps by chance, perhaps by referee decisions, perhaps by having a key player injured, and the tension rises.   Everyone tries that bit harder.   

But everyone who works in sports and the arts knows that trying harder is rarely a solution – to be at your best, whether it is on stage as an actor or musician, or on the pitch as a player, or on the track as an athlete you need to be relaxed as well as focussed.    Get too wound up, too focussed and your muscles become too tight, the brain stops taking in everything around you, and that extra inventive edge which is a fundamental part of both team sport and artistic work, vanishes.

But unfortunately, it then gets worse, because the response to such a situation when there is just too much tension is, of course, not only to try harder, but for the fans to demand the players try harder.

This is why players and teams that were doing well can suddenly go on losing runs.  They start losing by chance, or just having one bad game, and then they try that bit too hard.   

If that were just it, there’d be no problem however because then they would correct it.  But if the fans get on their back, or if the players blame themselves too much (or worse, both) they just get worse.

The fans of different clubs react in different ways to their club having a bad day, and unfortunately for us, Arsenal are in a particularly bad position over this with the aaa, although I think Man City (by raising expectations on the basis that money buys everything) have suffered too this season.

It was interesting to see how Tottenham fans reacted against their team to a degree after this weekend’s match – failing to beat 10-man Arsenal who hadn’t won in months…   On the other hand the club that is winning just keeps winning because the psychology of both the fans and the players is right.

It pains me to say it but Stoke has supporters who seem to stay with their team no matter what.  They are utterly disgraceful in many other ways and indeed with their reaction to Ramsey have put themselves way beyond acceptability in terms of decent human behaviour, but in terms of raising their team’s game, they never waver.

Of course the two don’t have to go together.  Stoke fans could probably be even more successful in keeping a very modest bunch of players in the PL if they added a touch of humility to their cause – but such is their support of their team, they do have a positive impact.

The trouble with all this is that it is all a bit complex for the aaa, the pundits and most (although thankfully not all) editors and journalists in the media.  They want simple answers, and they most certainly don’t want psychological answers.   (Remember the nickname for a psychologist – a trick cyclist.  You only get that dismissal of the science – along with the “you can prove anything with stats” gibberish – in the UK and some third world countries.   Which is probably why the country’s mental health situation is so awful).  

But what the bulk of the mass media want has never been a part of what reality actually is all about, nor what would actually make life better, so no change there.

Anniversaries (more as usual on the home page)

  • 7 March 1927: West Ham 7 Arsenal 0.  Chapman’s worst defeat (equal to October 23 1926) and the fourth 0-7 that Arsenal had suffered in the first division. It started a sequence of six defeats letting in 26 goals.  It was a good job the aaa were not only hand to demand his immediate sacking.
  • 7 March 1928: Jimmy Brain got a hat trick to become the first man to score 100 goals for Arsenal as Arsenal beat Liverpool 6-3.  Hulme, Buchan and Lambert got the other goals for Arsenal.  

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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.

44 comments to The real reason why some clubs do better than others – and its not transfers or managerial changes

  • Milan

    Not quite true Tony. Although I agree with your points in about the change in management on a continuous basis is not a recipe for success you cannot argue that we are well due a change.

    This morning reading arseblog points out something very interesting relating to pressure and how wenger feels our players can’t handle the pressure from the fans.

    He points out….
    If there’s pressure on the manager and the team, the vast majority of it is self-inflicted. And, to be absolutely fair to fans, it’s only really been the last couple of months that it has amped up. On January 3rd after 20 games, we were top of the table, leading Leicester by 2 points. 9 games later we’re 8 behind, our form in those games a dismal looking: DDLDWWLLD – 10 points from 27.

    That’s the source of the pressure. Fans are reacting to that, not creating it, and while I understand the concerns that players who are already a bit brittle and fragile might be affected by widespread disenchantment, they’ve got to be able to deal with that because that’s the reality of the situation they and the manager have created.

    Now Tom me that’s crystal clear. You cannot justify or argue with hard line facts.

  • Tony Attwood

    Milan for what its worth my view is that every team and every athlete has bad moments, but those moments can be short or long term depending on what happens around them. The fans reacting to the drop doesn’t help.

    If the fans had been more positive, recognising that all teams have dips (even the Unbeaten side had a run of four draws at one stage I seem to remember) it could have been shorter.

  • Va Cong

    good analysis Tony. I don’t agree Milan. If your boss sat next to you and looked at everything you did even though all was good but was constantly critical you will try too hard if you really needed you’re job desperation can get the best of you if you really needed the job to feed your family. in this way the team have passion but then get over critical of themselves who are very skillful and fair players and try to play perfectly this is what has happened with out stream of poor form as a whole we are the team to hate in the league and get no protection what so ever from refs but are expected to win and get certified to the bone if we don’t.

  • John

    You cannot see where the real problem lies with this team .Its a good job a handfull of people on untold can see whats wrong even if the rest of the world from fans,pundits commentators and reporters cant.Its now the fans fault for putting pressure on the team at matches.Along with dodgy referees,dirty players and oil money they all are contriving to stop us being where we deserve.If it wasn’t for fans putting pressure on us we would be 10 points clear of leicester who are very ,very,very lucky to be where they are.

  • Philbet

    Its time to hit the nail on the head, some “fans” would complain,Squeal and moan if we changed the manager every three years,thirty years or three months,just because that’s what they do!! There is no satisfying some who live lives so shallow its the briefest of short term hits for them, about ten years ago many Liverpool fans were wanting Benitez out because he had “taken the club as far as it can go” (He did win the Champions League), he failed to qualify for the CL one year and he was gone, since then the succession of managers has come and gone with no determinable change of fortune, still struggling for any even medium term success, The same (type) of moaners will be pointing out this Summer that Klopp has had his chance and Liverpool have not progressed,you or I will never change this, just be thankful your mindset is more mature and intellectual.

  • rich

    John, Milan

    Do you think it increases or decreases the chance of getting a good result when the atmosphere is bad in the stadium?

    Only a fool or a liar could say it helps the players or that it doesn’t negatively affect our chances of getting a good result.

    The situation couldn’t be clearer, nor the irony of it : I boo because i care so damn much; I care so damn much (about winning), that I am not going to do the one thing in my power to help (us try win) and instead am going to negatively affect our chances.

    You can whine all you like that the players should be stronger (though in terms of probability even the strongest set of players in the world will have less of a chance in a negative atmosphere than a supportive one), or you can say that the negativity is justified by the overall situation and you approve of short term harm for potential long term gain (i.e your mind is made up that Wenger should leave and so hurting the team now can be for the good of the team in the future) but none of that alters the fact a bad atmosphere on the day hurts the teams chances on the day.

  • Polo

    Only the last couple of months? A portion of the fanbase was already putting their negative views even before the season has started (read John’s comments). Then you look on the Internet after each time the team lose or draw it’s all negative saying like Manager is clueless, players shit blah blah blah. If you were a player seeing all the negative comments surely it would have some detrimental affect.

    In my opinion why Leicester is doing so well this season:
    1. They have no pressure hence no fear as there were no expectation on them to achieve much but relegation survival. Therefore, if they win then excellent, draw then good, lose then it’s oh well. Their aim was to get 40 points. If you look at their fans last season they support the team and manager even during the difficult period, that’s what you call support, whereas Arsenal a portion of the fanbase jump on the whole team after each lost.
    2. If you look at the way Leicester play (counter attack through long balls) if that was the way Arsenal play it would be deemed boring and would be criticize for playing that way.
    3. Leicesters only competition left is the PL therefore their players have plenty of rest and lower risk of long term injuries. Whereas Arsensal compete in three high level competitions.
    4. Other teams play more open against Leicester than they do against Arsenal, therefore it’s more harder for Arsenal to score.
    5. Their main goal scorers are in form and can finish off the chances they received, whereas Arsenal we seem to miss way to many.

  • virg

    Good points Tony, Zlatan alluded to the same thing in his biography.

    When he moved from Barca to Milan he promised the fans trophies upon his arrival, then on debut to a smaller club they found themselves 2 nil down and he was trying everything. He wanted to score more than anything else. He even stepped up to take a penalty close to the end and missed! And it was not just him, it was a front line of Ronaldinho, Zlatan and Pato, with Pirlo behind them. But they were all under so much pressure and they were stunned by conceding.

    And that pressure and relentless trying didn’t cease easily. They only ended up getting five points from their first four games before Zlatan finally got into the groove and went on a scoring run.

  • John

    Why dont you ask yourself why there is a bad atmosphere in the ground??Maybe the fans have had enough with the same capitulation we see year after year round about this time and that our manager has been found out.Remember who decided after we finished 3rd, 22 points behind the winner last year that we didnt need to strengthen our squad??? Who decided that arteta,flamini ,chambers,giroud etc were good enough and that there wasnt anyone better?It is him who they are venting their anger at!!!

  • virg

    Good points Tony, Zlatan alluded to the same thing in his biography.

    When he moved from Barca to Milan he promised the fans trophies upon his arrival, then on debut to a smaller club they found themselves 2 nil down and he was trying everything. He wanted to score more than anything else. He even stepped up to take a penalty close to the end and missed! And it was not just him, it was a front line of Ronaldinho, Zlatan and Pato, with Pirlo behind them. But they were all under so much pressure and they were stunned by conceding.

    And that pressure and relentless trying didn’t cease easily. They only ended up getting five points from their first four games before Zlatan finally got into the groove and went on a scoring run.

  • proudkev

    Confidence is one of the most important factors that affect a team or an individuls performance. This is a fact.

    Fantasy Football Managers live in a world of FIFA Games and online fantasy football competitions. This is a world where you pick players with the best stats and who cost the most money and hey presto. Real football is not like that. Thinking you can boo a player to make him play better is like saying you can pour petrol on a fire to put it out. It make sthe problem worse.

    There is so much naivety and pure mischeilf in what gets said it beggars belief.

    The Wenger out crowd dug a deep hole. Every single thing that happens negativily is because of wenger. Injuries are wengers fault. Players losing form is wengers fault. Players getting sent off is wengers fault. Players missing sitters is wengers fault. A goalkepper dropping a cross is Wengers fault. Yet winning the FA Cup is deemed meaningless (we get the usual comment about Portsmough having won it) and when we go to Bayern and win or beat leicester, its either down to luck or teh other team having 0played poorly. Thats the problem with the AAA.

    But whether you are wenger in or wenger out, you cannot possibly beleive booing the players and turning on the club is a good idea. Well, only if you hold the view that poor results will give you your wish. And if that’s the case, it explains much.

  • WalterBroeckx

    so a team that won most points in 2015 (No need to tell me you don’t get a trophy for it) is simply not good enough?
    A team that has won two FA cups in a row is not good enough.
    A team that has beaten both Man C and Chelsea in the CS is not good enough.

    You really do think we don’t need backup players of their calibre? No we should buy 30M players to sit on the bench as that is what Chelsea and City can do and do. Well it didn’t really help Chelsea even after having bought again and reinforced their team over last summer even when having won the league with how many points in front of the rest?

    May I point out that we finished 12 points behind Chelsea and not 22 as you write. What a mistake to make….

  • virg

    Polo good points, another reason for Leicester’s success follows what Tony has said.

    The stats show that Leicester has been lucky with it’s goal numbers. The team has been finishing chances at a rate well above the league (and general) average even when they have not been taking many high quality shots. So they have been lucky with regards to finishing. This luck then in turn lead them to play with more freedom on the counter, hence better form. And even when they had a dip in form conceding and drawing a lot, their fans did nothing but support them.

    The stats also show that Arsenal on the other hand, has been incredibly unlucky with finishing off chances due to opposition keepers saving shots at much, much higher than league (and general) average against them, despite Arsenal taking the most number of high quality shots. Those consistent world class displays from most of the leagues keepers against us, lead to poor form, lowered confidence and raised pressure which leads to trying harder and finding the woodwork more than the back of the net.

  • rich


    That doesn’t contradict anything I said. It all still applies.

    If the unhappiness is independent of the game in progress-i.e it’s because of past actions, where we are in the table,etc- then really they should boo from minute one and not stop even if the game goes well.

    There’s just no getting around it : displaying your unhappiness at not doing as well as you want to do, in a way that harms the teams chances on the day, lacks any intelligence whatsoever.

    Unless you are committed to wanting the manager to leave…in which case, you should drop the pretence that you care about individual games.

    You can say ‘that sort of rationality and reasoning doesn’t belong in football, it’s about emotion,etc’, but if you admit to that then you really have no right to analyse a game rationally afterwards.

    They want it all ways- to enjoy the wins, to ditch logic when appropriate and fall back on emotion; to disassociate themselves with defeat, and then to put the reasoning cap back on to dissect any failures. All while measuring the players against the highest standards possible.

    It’s weak, weak-minded stuff; but I can respect anyone who is honest and consistent in their unhappiness for those qualities at least.

  • Mick

    Positive reinforcement is always best in everything from bringing up children to training a dog to winning football matches.
    Only an idiot like John would deny it.

  • esxste

    Some teams have supporters, and some have fanatics (or for short, “fans”)

    I’m an Arsenal supporter.

    The boo boys are fanatics.

  • proudkev

    John MPD, Milan

    I confess to failing to understand the mindset of a lot of Wobs. Perhaps you two, in particular John, can explain how you reconcile support with the ‘agenda’ to which you belong.

    This morning, despite predictions Spurs would crush us, the point won with ten men is being treated as a five nil defeat. Certain WOB’s are making comments like these:

    WOB 1:
    “I would laugh my head off if the finishing positions were:

    1. Leicester
    2. Tottenham
    3. West Ham
    4. Arsenal

    I mean that would really drive the knife in but it won’t be enough to dislodge the parasite(s)”.

    So this guy, who thinks he is a supporter, wants us to finish 4th because it somehow makes him feel good even though it wont change teh manager. Beyond bizarre logic.

    WOB 2: “im cheering Leicester on from now, as the title is gone for us. Im also cheering West Ham, Man City and Man Utd on. I dont want to finish 4th, I want things to change at this club, so I am hooping a 5th/6th place finish changes things”.

    WOB 3:
    “…hope we come 6th. Spuddies or Leicester win the league. Chelsea catching us would be great too”

    WOB 4: “That’s why in order for the annoying AKBs to turn their back against their master wenker, I preferred the spud to win the league and west ham will knick arsenal for 4th trophy. Yeah, that’s will shake extremely even to the deluded die hard wenger’s apologist”.

    The comments above prove to me that supporting the team, the club and the players comes some way behind supporting the agenda.

    I would guess most on the WOB blogs and certainly those listed above, would be on anti-depressants if we won the league.

    ….and yet these deluded souls somehow think they are the superior ‘supporters’ and will claim we are ‘obsessed’ with Wenger!! My god, these guys are so deluded they really should see a quack for their OCD.

    PS: Imagine wanting Arsenal to lose and then convincing yourself you are a supporter? It makes supportinga football team utterly pointless. The word is actually: ‘Traitor’.

  • Fransico

    Proudkev: The NLD has without doubt become a bigger TV event for WW TV viewers and sponsors than the old previously top one United and Liverpool. Those two clubs are in different Cities however so I have never thought that their fixtures are proper Derbies anyway but more about the two clubs who have won the most trophies. Sir Ferguson once stated that it was his ambition to win more league titles than Liverpool and he achieved that . He never managed to match their European Cup haul though. The games between United and Liverpool are rather low key these days and it’s just a Ropey Cup tie that they are contesting this week in another of their ‘Derbies’instead of a Champions Cup one. How the mighty are fallen! Well for now that is… things could soon change however in the near future.. Anyway well done to us and the spuds for at least livening up the local Derby scene and it was not so long ago when the TV companies did not even bother televising our ones. Even so you could tell by the faces of Poch and Wenger that they knew it was game up for their already anyway slim title winning hopes .We needed to win at United and beat Swansea at home to make a point at the lane of shame a good result. As it was a point just got Arsene out of jail on the day in the local bragging rights game . Poch’s nervous numbers blew it at the Boleyn midweek and again at home yesterday – interestingly and significantly BOTH sides lost winning leads in the game. The Foxes with their hard fought under pressure 1-0 win away to Watford ,mind that gap, showed how it should be done at this point of the season. The Foxes are now nicely positioned with a 5 point lead over second placed Tottering Tots with games left to play now in single numbers to try and hold off a late surge from City – who have a game in hand but are 10 points adrift . As for us 8 points adrift and no game in hand with City poised to swoop past us again on the run-in and with a set of tough away games plus inform party-poopers Tony Pulis’s well organized West Brum to play at home,our chance of the title is gone,although as was pointed out in the article by Kevin the lack of signings in the summer by Wenger had already made it an unlikely on anyway . It’s really all about 4th place being job done. Only a failure by Wenger to achieve that will see him gone in the summer. I don’t buy this he has 90 minutes to save his job against Hull in the FAC nonsense that one newspaper journo claims is inside info.Stan wants the Champions League booty more than he wants another FA Cup – these FA Cup wins were always anyway just a papering over the cracks jobs .Without the Champions League group stage money they would have been meaningless. So as I predicted a few weeks ago another ‘exciting’ 4th place trophy battle will be on again .Good old Arsene.

  • Milan

    Tony,have poor runs in clusters; a number of draws and groups book-end a winning run. It’s a hallmark of Wenger’s sides that this happens but whilst we’re hardly unique in football for this happening, we’ve never seen a solution to the pattern. Perhaps there isn’t one.

    We need, however, to use Saturday as the starting point for the remainder of the season. United’s defeat at the weekend leaves Arsenal in a slightly better position regarding the top four. I can’t see us winning the title, Leicester are too far ahead. Second is within reach and both sides have difficult fixtures to negotiate; so too City. Nothing in terms of the Champions League places is likely to be decided any time soon.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Wonder if these over critical fans have a same level of assessment when it comes to their personal life too!!!!…. I hope they dont.

    There was an article in Metro, where a swansea player claimed that ARSENAL fans make it easy for them to play at Emirates. If not the actual words, the interpretation atleast. If this is what our opponents feel, we should be ashamed of ourselves. So much for the “I show my support with my wallet” argument.

    You can cut and paste any blogger you want here, but that doesnt change the fact that you’ve not given your 100% to the team. You’ve fallen short. Dont point fingers when you are the one whoz actually bottled it…..

  • John

    Walter and the other true supporters on here.It has come to a point now where most arsenal fans want a change of manager myself included.For years i have backed him and thought he was the right manager for the club and has given us many highs over the years.These memories fade with time .You cling to the belief that he will take this club to greatness again,and use excuses to hide his faults.
    Take for example the excuse about not being able to compete with chelsea and citys wealth and that oil money has corrupted the game.This cant be used this time so its time to blame the fans.We blame referees,we blame injuries,we blame the press.Do you know how sad it sounds to put the blame for our failings to everything apart from the club cat and Arsene Wenger?How strange it is that only a handfull on here can see the truth and everyone else cant.You are right walter and every paper,pundit and journalist is wrong.The 20 or so other websites with arsenal blogs are wrong and so are the millions who post on them .
    The only ones who can see are you walter,tony,menace,proudkev and al.AMAZING!!

  • John your comment here is not related to the article. Please do relate comments to the subject matter in the article.

  • Milan – your comment is not related to the article. Please write comments that are related to the article.

  • Polo

    So everybody can see the failings of AW and want him out except for a few on here, really? If my memory serve me right, wasn’t there suppose to be a protest in front of the Emirates to get rid of AW a few months ago? Can somebody tell me how many of so called millions of people showed up because I for sure can’t find any news report on it?

  • Polo, the biggest of the protests were in the days of the Black Flag movement, an organisation that claimed a huge number of members, but I seem to recall counted people who had sent in an email, rather than actually paid up to be a member. When I went to watch their pre-match protest on the roundabout outside the stadium they had about 50 there at most, although I suspect some of those were on-lookers like me. And a fair number were not going into the match anyway, but went off instead to watch it in the pub.

  • Polo

    Oh I see Tony, maybe John somehow saw way to many zero’s in an article or blog somewhere, maybe it’s suppose to be 50 but somehow saw 5,000,000.

    Now, if every Arsenal supporters or fans wants AW out as it is being suggested, were there any petitions created to sack AW like the petition for Mike Dean? If there are, how many people voted? I can’t find any news report or article on such petitions. Evidence are so hard to find these days I guess.

  • Fransico

    I think it was just after pep took over at Bayern it was either ribbery or robben got taken of injured in a game not long after coming back from an injury , pep turned to his medical team on the bench and pointed in their direction and then pointed at ribbery/robben and jested to them that’s your fault they were all sacked that week .oh to have a manager like that who won’t except 2nd best at any level at his club. Wenger is to loyal to many people who dont cut it on or off the pitch perhaps if he grew a pair of b***s we wouldn’t be in this position now and he may not be getting all this deserved abuse.

    Polo – Let’s face it Sites will not remove Wenger, the fans at the ground will. Liverpool supporters proved that with their ticket protest. If Wenger and the board start hearing Wenger out they will panic, Wenger cannot handle being questioned and would struggle to deal with an anti Wenger crowd. It would also be visible which is imperative, the hacks may at long last start asking Wenger more in depth questions What would help is not finishing in the top four, this would hit the income the only language Kronke understands. It would also be great as this competition is only for the board, the fans realise we cannot win it. Wenger would not have meet his bosses requirement and that means failure to Kronke. 

  • proudkev


    Tony makes some interesting points, many of which address some of the common myths we get to hear about virtually every day, as they are recycled. His point is about the stuff that gets written whish is unture.

    You have proved this poiint by saying: “The 20 or so other websites with arsenal blogs are wrong and so are the millions who post on them”

    This is a hilarious comment and shows real naivety mate.

    I am sure any blog that had a million members signed up would be a very busy place. Income from advertising would be so much these guys would be retiring.

    If you go onto most of the so called WOB blogs, you will find that there are about 30/40 regular posters, not the millions you claim. Most of the comment section will be domintaed by perhaps 10/15 regulars, normally recycling the same comment, often abusive. Many with what appear to have a lot of time on their hands.

    Anyway, lets ignore the 500 odd WOB’s (and 30 rival fans in pretend mode) who want us to lose all our games and take a look at the run in. I have capitalised the games I think are difficult. I do not claim to be a Fantasy Football Expert, so I cannot predict with certainy the ‘easy’ games but its worth looking at the games.

    I think this proves that there are a lot of points still to be lost and won and I personally believe we have the best run in. Obviously, it comes down to form etc but we are due a rub of teh green too. Progression in both FA Cup and European competitions will have an affect; the resting of players/fatigue etc. None of this will affect Leicester though. Also, playing teams fighting relegation makes these games harder to predict.

    So a bit of fun:

    H: Newcastle (3pts)
    A: Crystal Palace (1)
    H: Southampton (3)
    A: Sunderland (1)
    H: WEST HAM (1)
    H: Swansea (3)
    A: MAN UTD (0)
    H: EVERTON (1)
    A: CHELSEA (0)

    = 13 points

    (A: Dortmund-Europa)
    A: Aston Villa (3)
    (H: Dortmund-Europa)
    H: Bournemeouth (3)
    A: LIVERPOOL (0)
    H: MAN UTD (1)
    A: STOKE CITY (1)
    H: West Bromwich (3)
    A: CHELSEA (0)
    H: Southampton (3)
    A: NEWCASTLE (1)

    = 15 points

    H: West Bromwich (3)
    (A: Barcelona-CL)
    A: EVERTON (1)
    H: Watford (3)
    A: WEST HAM (1)
    H: Crystal Place (3)
    A: Sunderland (3)
    H: Norwich (3)
    A: MAN CITY (1)
    H: Aston Villa (3)

    = 21 points

    H: Norwich (3)
    (H: Kiev-CL)
    H: MAN UTD (3)
    A: Bournemouth (3)
    H: West Bromwich (3)
    A: CHELSEA (0)
    H: STOKE (1)
    A: Southampton (3)
    H: ARSENAL (1)
    A: Swansea (3)

    = 20 points

    Final League Table

    1. Arsenal 73 points
    2. Leicester 73 points
    3. Spurs 70 points
    4. Man City 70 points

    I factored in ‘pressure’ for Leicester and it comes down to goal difference. Whetehr my predictions are right or wrong, I think it shows it will be close. I also think those fans wishing us to lose should be utterly ashamed of themselves. Thsi is still up for grabs and with confident players we can do this.

  • Georgaki-pyrovolitis

    Arsene Wenger will leave when he decides to do so. In the meantime I will enjoy the notion that those who want him gone are suffering….

  • Mandy Dodd

    Exactly GP, cannot see Stan or Ivan sacking him either….and why on earth would they?

    What is it with those WOBs you quote Proudkev?
    As much as I like him as a player, I might start booing Iwobi, unless he takes the WOB out of his name

  • proudkev


    I have no idea how you can convince yourself you are some kind of ‘super fan’ when the team winning comes second to your agenda. Some of these guys will sacrifice all kinds of victory’s just to get their own way. It’s ike the way kids behave with the old ‘I want, I want’ and throwing a tantrum when they dont get their won way.

    To be fair, not all WOB’s are like, a lot of them remain supporters of the club and will never chear a defeat or a rival doing well. There is however, a hardcore element who view good results as some sort of endorsement for Wenger and they don’t like it one bit.

    The thing that amazes me is their claims that we are obsessed with Wenger. That always makes me chuckle because I cannot believe they are saying that with a straight face. Their agenda is all about Wenger. The poser who writes one of the chief wobsites, posts wenger out articles every day. Worst of all, he allows all kinds of choice language, racism aimed at the French and death wishes. The anti-French comment with regard to amphibians sums that lot up, when you consider what players like Henry, Pires and Vieira did for the club. Hypocritical lot and I suspect quite a few have other motives.

  • Jambug


    “Do you know how sad it sounds to put the blame for our failings…”

    And what failings would they be exactly?

    Since we last won the PL in ’03 ’04 and the oil money arrived in West London the only Clubs to win the PL are Chelsea, Man Utd and Man City.

    Chelsea’s and United’s respective net spending since then (13 seasons) has been:

    Chelsea: £577 Million or £44.3 Million per season.

    Man Utd: £400 Million or £30.7 Million per season.

    And Man Cities Nett spending since the oil money arrived (9 seasons) has been:

    £680 Million or £75 Million per season.

    Arsenals Nett spending since our last title, and the commitment to the Emirates stadium, which incidentally cost close to £500 Million, has been:

    £88 Million or £6.7 Million per season.

    With a Nett spend on transfers:

    One FIFTH that of Man Utds

    One SEVENTH that of Chelseas

    One TENTH that of Man Cities.

    Doesn’t that give you a clue as to why perhaps we have struggled to win things. As I pointed out, we are not the only ones.

    Ok we now may have some funds available but lets not start pretending that the moaning and the call for Wenger’s head has only just started. Wenger started getting abuse after the first couple of trophy less seasons.

    Almost every other premier League Clubs Nett spending is closer to us than we are to those 3, and yet no other Club gets anything like the abuse or expectation aimed at them and that includes Liverpool and Spurs, who lets not forget have been going through trophy doubts at least equal to Arsenals.

    Liverpool have won 2 domestic cups over the last 13 years (the same as Arsenal) but have not won a title for over 25 years. There Nett spend has been over £250 Million or £20+ Million per season, which is over 3 times our Nett spend.

    Spurs haven’t won a trophy for 8 Years, and that being a League Cup. Go back another 8 years for the one before that, another League cup. And as we all know you have to go back to Black and White TVs for there last title, 55 years ago.

    To there credit there spending is well in control, but given that you would of thought with all the money they’ve had to play with you would of expected them to of done better than they have.

    But where is the media and fan ridicule for Liverpool and Spurs. Yes they get the odd dissenting voice but it’s nothing like to the extent we get it.

    Why is it then, given our financial position, are we expected to out perform those 2 clubs, let alone the mega rich Chelsea, United and City.

    Failings you say. Sorry I’m not having it.

    To my mind just hanging on those 3 shirt tails is an achievement in itself. I would, at a push, go as far as to concede that not winning a trophy for 10 years is not ‘success’ per se’. But achieving CL football every season, and then winning 2 FA Cups as soon as the purse strings are loosened a bit, is hardly a failure either.

    So come on, given the financial landscape of the PL over the last 13 years, tell me why you think we should even get close to those 3, and why it is that only Arsenal are worthy of such relentless ridicule and condemnation, when others, with equal, and in some cases more, available funds, and who have won less, are immune to such vitriol and criticism.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Proudkev, yes, there is certainly a spectrum of WOBdom, but yes, the more extreme elements are pretty baffling.
    Anyone who cannot stop themselves getting that angry over their agenda to destablise a football team, over which they have no control cannot complain about the likely ill health…mental, and physical that in some cases, is undoubtedly coming their way.
    Yes, dont get the obsession with the French…..or Phrench as one WOBlogger spells it….a blogger who admits a soft spot for Spurs, and wanted Wenger replaced by Owen Coyle. He is of course entitled to his opinion, its his life and his blog, but those who follow his every word should demonstrate a bit more more thought and judgment

  • Can I repeat an earlier request.

    I really do want to get back to the notion that comments are about the article, rather than about something else.

    What often happens is that someone comments away from the article then others reply to that comment, and that’s it – the thrust of the piece is lost, and we are just back to discussing the same old same old issues.

    There are 6000 articles on this site, and many of them are still open for discussion – in fact I will change the settings on the site so that articles are open for discussion longer.

    So please do comment on the article – and even if someone goes off topic – please ignore them and stay with the article.

    And if you don’t find an article that you want, then you could always write one and send it to me to publish. If it is moderately logical, or funny, or has some evidence, I will probably publish it, even if I don’t agree with it.

    Many thanks

  • para

    Seeing this team from the “youth one could not win any thing with” (media name) go to the men that won FA cup, twice, i was please with the progress of the team.

    They always looked like they were still playing on 3/4 flame, that there was still much more to come from them.

    Then this season they seemed to get worse concerning the focus and determination, i saw not much if any progress in their “menhood”. They seemes to flatly non perform at various times, losing the plot, making more mistakes, not creating any movement off the ball, and getting stuck when things do not go their way.

    This season was so much more disappointing than previous ones, the team looked flat and lifeless except for some moments that were far and few between.

    I just cannot see how a team can go from brilliant one week to absolutely horrid the next. I’m not talking about losing a game, but about how they lose the game, mostly because of a series of team or individual mistakes.

    These mistakes are the things that i expect a team of Arsenal’s stature to be working on every training session, trying to better thamselves.

    The results suggests that they are not doing enough concerning that matter.

    Is there some other reason that i can not yet see that causes Arsenal to under perform? Or are there some outside reasons like TV, PGMO etc?

    Whatever the reason(s), it/they need to be sorted soonest, else this season will go down worse than before.

  • Andy Mack

    2 points;
    1) Leicester have 4 very interesting games against teams that should be a walkover looking at the league. If they underperform in the 1st game against Newcastle then CP, Sotton and Sunderland could be a really difficult run for them…
    2) A very small (but regretfully a very loud) minority of ‘fans’ want us to change manager. The vast (and quiet) majority want to support our team with the present manager.

  • proudkev

    Yes Mandy agree.

    Jambug, nicely put. Come back to some of that later but you are spot on in the ‘point’ you make.

    First of all in defence of some of the negative comments that get made, I will say this:

    I understand the reason for frustratation from some of the more reasonable WOB element. I have found myself frustrated about one or two signings I felt we required and one or two tactical changes. We probably all have. I have shouted at Arsene to do certain things, substitutions etc ‘assuming’ what I want to do would be the best thing. Sometimes I may be right but most of the time I will be wrong.

    However, I am able to acknowledge that I am just a bloke that played at a reasonable level but nothing more. I have managed amateur teams but that demonstrates no real skills, other than being able to clean a kit, collect the subs and organise matches. I am not deluded. I am not privy to what goes on behind closed dooors at Arsenal nor have I any experieicne running a multi Million pound top football club, let alone managing one. I Have no league titles or unbeaten seasons nor can I claim to have developed any players, let alone legends. So my frustration and “what I would do’s” are based on my limited knowledge of the game. I also have no experience in the transfer market or at negotiating contracts. So I am frustrated based on what “I” would do, which it is most unlikely doe not reflect reality.

    What is reality?

    One of the biggest ‘annoyances’ I have with the WOB community (spurred on by the media) is those who deliberately act ignorant because it suits their agenda. There is nothing wrong with them admitting Wenger has done a brilliant job and maintained CL level against the Abramovich and Monsour arrivals. Its a fact, so denying the fact makes them look idiots. I mean, you have to be really stupid to think you can borrow shed loads of money to build a stadium AND rebuild Highbury, during an economic downturn, sell your best players, break even on transfers AND still expect us to challenge for the top honours. Wenger himself said that was his greatest achievement in football, not the Invincibles or any of the doubles he won and he should know because HE had to do it.
    Yet some of the WOB’s deliberately airbrush Historical fact to slam Wenger for “10 years” or “12 years” – all because it sounds a lot better than saying “4” or “5” years”. The fact we only increased our net spend when we went after Ozil is conveniently lost on them. Now I am not to say that in previous years we had teh opportunity to win the League but slipped up, the Eduardo game at Birmingham for example, but instead of using that to beat up Wenger for not having good enough players, perhaps they should ask how those players got in that postion in the first place. It’s the old analogy about a gtlass being half full or half empty.

    So Jambug, the point you are making is well made but as soon as you mention ‘oil’ money, Abramovich or Monsour, the WOB’s go all indignant and start making sarcastic comments. Thsi is because it is an inconvenient fact. Ain inconveneient fact that waters down their argument and their countdown clock – and they know it. Because to deny the financial position our club faced, managing on uncompetitve sponsorship deals and having to halt the stadium build because we ran out of money plus factoring in the huge sums of money the oilmen invested, is like denying we need oxygen to breath.

    But the agenda runs much stronger if you can deny a few key facts and throw in a few wild accusations instead.

    What really does it for me is when the hardcore elements obsessed with Wenger jump on the back of their enemy the AKB, while wishing we lose games and finish behind Spurs and West Ham. The fcat their isnt an IQ test for WOB membership is good news for the media and people like Adrian Durham because they have a rich pool to fish in for their bollox.

    try to pretend we

  • para

    Browsing i found this:

    Just noticed that Leicester has 10 penalties 2015/2016 season.

  • Josif

    Hm, Tony, I don’t know if your data regarding managerial changes proves your hypothesis.

    I will start with myself. I had thought Ranieri would fail at Leicester. He had finished his previous job by bringing Greece below Faroe Islands. He has never won the league even when he had managed Juventus, Monaco and Chelsea. Leicester, on the other hand, sacked a manager who had led them through one of the biggest escapes ever. The point is, the managerial change was a success.

    West Ham decided to release Big Fat Ugly Sam and give a job to the guy who had never managed a single game in one of the best European leagues. As a result, they are just three points behind us. Again, the managerial change was a success.

    Man City decided to appoint Pellegrini after Mancini’s unsuccessful attempt to retain the league title. He won the league in his first season in charge.

    Chelsea won Champions League and FA Cup with their ad interim manager in 2011-12. They sacked him and won Europa League in 2012-13 with another ad interim manager. In 2013-14 they appointed Mourinho and won the league in 2014-15. Then he was sacked for making everybody laugh and was replaced by Guus Hiddink who hasn’t lost a single league game since his return. Each time the managerial change has produced a positive change in terms of results.

    Manchester United had gone through a serious dip during Moyes’ season before Van Gaal was appointed. He has returned them in Champions League at the expense of Liverpool! but this season hasn’t gone very well for them. Van Gaal, however, was an improvement on Moyes in terms of league position and promoting young talents which Mourinho-lovers won’t admit because they want their idol employed at another endless bag of money.

    Spuds have given a chance to Pochettino. He has led them to the first title battle since the days when football games could be interrupted by T-Rex. Again, a positive managerial change.

  • Paul the gooner

    I find this anti AW totally out of order.However, I do think whatever happens this season and next that at the end of this he should retire.He will be 67ish and that is the time to go.What drives these anti AW misfits on.THE MEDIA.Jambug is a expert on this and I enjoy reading his comments.Each weekend, the media will know who to round on if results go wrong.The sit in their kingdoms, make notes and act.Who is Henry Winter!A posh boy who co wrote every Liverpool book.Now he appears on Tv and radio giving his expert views.Tosser Durham.This boy has done good.Slags off everyone on his show and now writes articles for the mail.I am delighted that print sales are falling.Perhaps they will all be out of a job soon.

  • ob1977

    I think you about cover it all, people generally keep it all way too simplistic, but in reality the reasons for someone winning the league will come down most of your examples falling in their favour… Be it luck both ends of the pitch, a relatively injury free season, decisions in key matches, and top players purple patches/dry spells falling separately, if all that happens then congratulations you are in for a good season…

  • Jambug


    “……but in reality the reasons for someone winning the league will come down to most of your examples falling in their favour. Be it luck both ends of the pitch,…”

    Exactly. Even ignoring all the other stuff. Injuries, referees etc. Just a change of luck in a couple of matches would of seen us 5 points better off.

    0 – 0 with SOUTHAMPTON at home.

    We had 22 shots, 11 on target.

    They had 14 with 3 on target.

    There keeper was man of the match.

    There manager said nobody had created as many chances against them since he had been there.

    Anybody who tries to claim we didn’t deserve to win this match is fooling themselves.

    2 – 1 defeat to SWANSEA at home.

    We had 17 shots, 4 on target.

    They had 11 shots with 2 on target.

    We hit the woodwork 3 times.

    Despite the fact we faded towards the end, to suggest we didn’t deserved to win this match is ridiculous.

    Two matches 39 shots, 15 on target, a MOTM performance from one keeper and the woodwork struck 3 times in the other.

    Even taking into account some poor finishing, with just a little bit of luck we would of gleaned 6 points from those 2 matches, which would of put a completely different look on the current standings.

    Apart from any other factors lady luck is just not smiling on us at the moment.

  • Philbet

    Oh Jambug, thanks for some sanity.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Firstly , I don’t believe for a moment that those that come on here to insult the regulars and attempt to divert opinion against the management and club are even fans . Very easy to spot . They come on very early and twist and turn ‘the facts’ as they deem fit. Ain’t fooling us !

    If they truly were fans , they would be espousing cooperation and unity to achieve our goal of success for the club. Pulling together would give a great boost to the team. Not self interest and self grandiosement .And rudeness.

    Once a group of 50 people was attending a seminar.
    Suddenly the speaker stopped and started giving each person a balloon. Each one was asked to write his/her name on it using a marker pen. Then all the balloons were collected and put in another room.
    Now these delegates were let in that room and asked to find the balloon which had their name written, within 5 minutes.

    Everyone was frantically searching for their name, pushing, colliding with each other, and there was utter chaos.
    At the end of 5 minutes, no one could find their own balloon.
    Now each one was asked to randomly collect a balloon and give it to the person whose name was written on it. Within minutes everyone had their own balloon.
    The speaker began: This is exactly happening in our lives. Everyone is frantically looking for happiness all around, not knowing where it is. Our happiness lies in the happiness of other people. Give them their happiness, you will get your own happiness.
    And this is the purpose of human life.