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By Bulldog Drummond
The tipsters who expected Arsenal to end up 5th or 6th this season also in many cases tipped Fulham to go down. But although Fulham are 17 points above Everton in the relegation positions, they are also 24 points behind Arsenal. Arsenal have scored 21 goals more than Fulham and conceded nine fewer.
Although it remains unlikely, it is not impossible that if Newcastle’s recent loss of form continues Fulham could harry them and get sixth place, and thus a spot in Europe next season.
Fulham’s form however has dipped somewhat of late, as the last six matches table shows. Arsenal are down to third on goal difference, with all the top three in this sequence having won four, drawn one and lost one. Fulham are showing that mid-table balance of equal numbers of wins, draws and defeats.
Last six games
|6||Brighton & Hove||6||3||2||1||11||4||7||11|
But Fulham are currently seventh in the league overall, although they have played more games than all the clubs below them except Everton (who are looking increasingly doomed.
The new stand at Fulham is not yet complete and is now seemingly scheduled for opening next season. So the crowd for the match will be around 22,300. When the new stand is complete it will rise to just under 30,000.
In terms of the home and away form we find that the clubs have both played the same number of games. In terms of goals scored, Fulham at home score just a small percentage fewer per game than Arsenal away.
But it is with the defences that we see the difference. Arsenal away concede an average of 0.69 goals per game, while Fulham at home concede 1.31.
The auguries thus suggest a victory by one or at most two goals to Arsenal.
Fulham are one of the teams that shows the perfect wave form that we have mentioned occasionally, and the existence of which reduced Arsenal’s chances of a top-four finish last season. What we can see in this type of analysis is a club that can be motoring along rather well then gets a defeat, but instead of recovering immediately (as Arsenal have done this season) the club gets several defeats before recovering form. That is what happened to Arsenal last season.
This simple observation shows that the best clubs have within them the wherewithal to overturn the tendency for one defeat to lead to several draws and defeats, rather than having the club bounce back.
It is indeed a very difficult thing to achieve, and so most clubs in the upper half of the table do find that one defeat leads to another and then maybe a draw, and so on, until eventually, they drag themselves back to winning ways.
Just as last season this caught Arsenal out, with a run of wins ending not with one defeat, but two or three, so Fulham (along with most clubs) have this problem.
By 23 October Fulham have achieved five wins, three draws and four defeats. They then went four games without defeat, a good run. But this was followed not by one defeat but by two defeats.
Next, it was five wins in a row, again followed not by one defeat but by two defeats and two draws. Then another run of wins followed by a draw, and a defeat. So that would suggest they are still in the latter stages of one of their dips, meaning an Arsenal victory.
Certainly, Arsenal will be helped by the fact that over the years Arsenal have won 41 of the 60 competitive games between the two sides. 11 have been drawn and Fulham have won eight. Seven of the last eight games have been won by Arsenal, the other was a draw. Indeed Fulham have only won one of the last 16 games between the two sides.
Arsenal have not hit six past Fulham since before the first world war, but Arsenal have put five past them in the league, the most recent being in October 2018 with a 1-5 victory at the Cottage.
More on Sunday’s game shortly…
- Football is blindly walking into its biggest ever crisis. Part 1
- Why this season is not a one-off for Arsenal, but probably a sign of things to come
- Why, when a player assaults a referee, the ultimate guilty party is the media
- Arsenal and Tottenham both built stadia, and each suffered the consequence. But…
- Being a visionary is not as easy as it looks
13 Replies to “Fulham v Arsenal: Recent form, the home/away analysis, and score projections”
well, well, Liverpool have been awarded their first penalty this season
For Salah to miss it, which is another story.
Still, it is strange…
Unbelievable that Liverpool was given that penalty…the defender jumped up for the header missed it and the Liverpool player headed it off his arm from behind…but his arm was still up from his attempted header and he was about 2 feet away. You can’t make this stuff up. It is almost as if the VAR people are purposely screwing this up so that it gets abolished.
Nice result…Pool! beat by Bournemouth.
There is one main difference, IMHO between Pool! and Arsenal, and probably many other teams.
Arsenal have quite a few players absolutely capable and unfazed at taking their chances at dribbling,
A ‘take-that-in-your-face’ mentality.
This is how in the end Arsenal won.
Pool! were controlling the ball, right, right back, center, left back left, back to center, some crosses, etc.
Can’t remember seeing a take-on/won dribble in the past 15 minutes.
Just some corrida/corraling type of passing with just no direct route to the goal.
The more I see these types of games the more I’m starting to think that Mr Arteta did his ground work, analysed the opposition and the ‘standard’ philosophy inherited from tiki-taka and built a team with the capability to control the ball, but with the best dribbling, take-on players in the PL : Saka, Martinelli, Jesus, Eddie, Trossard, Odegaard, ESR, to an extent Zynchenko and White. Instead of just coralling the other team, they pierce through the line-up : they have the speed, the technique, the gutso and trust of coach and teammates. They have no fear. This is an evolution in terms of football philosophy that should be named Artetaball…
I don’t have stats about that, but most probably this can be seen in the numbers.
Talking of stats.
As we know Liverpool lost 1-0 today where as Arsenal won 0 – 3 back in August.
Bournemouth 0 – 3 Arsenal
Poss: 42% – 58%
Shots: 6 – 14
OT: 1 – 6
Bournemouth 1 – 0 Liverpool
Poss: 31% – 69%
Shots: 5 – 15
OT: 2 – 6
As you can see despite Liverpool actually having more possession than we did, missing a penalty, and all the other stats looking very very similar, we had dramatically different results. Why was that?
I’m buggered if I know.
All I will say is, when we played them I remember us just looking a class above for almost the entire match. Today, yes, Liverpool looked the better team, but nothing like the level above we did.
Why is that? The stats suggest they were almost identical matches. As I say, I’m buggered if I know?
we played them last week, remember ?
A tight game like the Pool! one today.
I believe the stats of dribbles and head-ons won should be looked at.
Possession gives you the ‘coralling’ statistic.
I would like the ‘frontal attack’ statistic
And remembering the games I saw last week and the Pool! game today, this is a difference I felt was there.
I think colloquially it’s known as ‘getting at them’.
And by and large I think that’s what we do, with those ‘dribbles’ ‘head-ons’ and the like that you refer to.
I will always maintain that possession is important. Again by and large teams with high possession will out. But not if you are too passive with it.
It hasn’t happened in every match, but as a rule, whenever we have the ball we certainly do ‘get at them’. and I think that is the key.
Let’s not underestimate Fulham. They are a good side, despite dips in form. They also have a very good goalkeeper.
Explain that to me
Palace-Citeh game almost done.
Citeh with 66 % possession and 17 fouls to 9 for Palace
yeah, possession is important.
Just ask Leicester…..probably did not get 50 % average when they won the PL…
But, seriously, remember so many games Arsenal could not win yet had 60% possession or more ?
What Mr Arteta did was make sure we can corrall the opposition and just rip through them as well.
He made Arsenal a hybrid team
You ae such a tease 🙂
You know I love stats as much as you……you are equally aware that stats are only an indicator of a general position and never tell the whole story in the context of a single game….
I do enjoy reading yur posts though… kepp up the good work x
I agree stats can only tell you so much. And always, the more you have, over the maximum time, the better. Just to see I went and had a look at how this seasons possession relates to a teams current position in the table and it is quite interesting. I say interesting because it sort of confirms exactly what we are saying, which I believe is that yes stats are important and are indeed often indicative, but they are not hard and fast. There are, as you will see, exceptions, outliers, to every rule.
1st Arsenal FC 59.4 %
2nd Manchester City 64.5 %
3rd Manchester United 52.9 %
4th Tottenham Hotspur 49.8 %
5th Liverpool FC 60.6 %
6th Newcastle United 49.7 %
7th Brighton 61.0 %
8th Fulham 49.2 %
9th Brentford 43.0 %
10th Chelsea FC 58.1 %
11th Aston Villa 48.0 %
12th Crystal Palace 42.8 %
13th Wolverhampton 49.4 %
14th Nottingham Forest 40.0 %
15th Everton 45.0 %
16h Leicester City 50.5
17th Bournemouth 37.7 %
18th West Ham United 43.7 %
19th Leeds United 49.8 %
20th Southampton 42.7 %
As you can see, in general the top half of the table teams have more possession than the teams in the bottom half. There is only one team in the bottom half with 50%+ There are only 2 outside the top.
5 of the top 7 have over 50% possession, the other 2 are just 0.2 and 0.3 bellow 50%
So although not the be all and end all it seems there is a correlation between possession and position, although of course there are many other factors. For example it’s not good having the ball for long periods of time if your strikers couldn’t hit a barn door. For examples of that look no further than Leicester and Leeds.
Conversely you can do very well with relatively little of the ball if you can make yourself deadly on the break, a la Brentford.
The bottom line is, it seems possession, whilst important, is not all consuming. You have to do something with it of course.
PS The table I used may be just out of date, but not enough to affect the conclusions.
Corr: There are only 2 outside the top 7
Another thing I have always pointed out is the fact that the more you have the ball, or more accurately the less your opponent has the ball, the less chance they have of scoring. Sounds obvious but is it so.
Here’s the table in order of possession with their goals against position along side.
Man City 64.5% Against 25 2nd =
Brighton 61.0% Against 31 6th
Liverpool 60.6% Against 29 5th
Arsenal 59.4% Against 25 2nd =
Chelsea 58.1 Against 26 4th
So the 5 teams with the most possession have the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th best defences. I think that’s pretty conclusive that starving your opponent of the ball does indeed stop them from scoring, as you may expect.
So possession isn’t just about what you do with the ball, it’s also about what you stop your opponent doing with the ball.