Arsenal v Southampton: the aftermath
By Tony Attwood
We normally put a couple of links at the top of each article relating back to earlier pieces on a similar theme – or simply just to the last two articles, and yet nothing really comes to mind as appropriate. After such a brilliant run of seven league wins on the trot, with a goal-scoring total of 23 goals scored and seven against, we have come to three draws in a row, in games we might have expected to win.
Well, as you will know if you are a regular reader, the dip, not just in one game but a series of games is what Arsenal have been doing. And the only explanations that can be offered are nervousness (the players know they were in a dip), injuries and illness (certainly the case last night), and a sense of entitlement which backfires.
We’ve carried quite a few articles on the dips, and the one thing we can be sure of is that there is this tendency for one poor result to be followed by another. We’ve given the examples so often I don’t really want to go through them all again – all you need to do is look at the results in recent seasons – and instantly spot the fact that games in which the club underachieves come in groups.
It is down to the psychologists and social-psychologists at the club, first to stop the players falling into the trap of allowing one bad result to be followed by another, and to set the scene for a return to confidence. But sometimes, when a downturn can be expressed in terms of injuries to key players it can be hard to escape the trap.
But can all this be blamed on injuries?
One way to consider is is the number of days missed through injury to first-team players this season, on a club-by-club basis. It is a complex piece of analysis, which is why of course a) we don’t do it (we really don’t have the time as it needs someone trawling through all the club data on injuries prior to every single match) and b) the media don’t publish it. Above all, the media love simplicity.
But the Times newspaper did produce just such as chart of Premier League games missed through injury approximately one month ago, and what we’ve now done is added to it the league position of the clubs. So it is not 100% accurate (being one month old) but is the best data we can get. And it is really interesting (well, for me at least, even if for no one else)
|Pos in League||Team||Pts||Games missed through injury||Pos in injury table|
|7||Brighton and Hove Albion||49||46||1|
|15||West Ham United||31||63||4|
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