- How Arsenal could still win the league – despite Manchester City
- Why we believe the opposition clubs and players are cheats – conclusion
By Bulldog Drummond
So it is Arsenal, 10th in the league table for the last six games, against Brighton, 11th in the table over the last six games. And it looks from that table like there is nothing in it. League tables are derived from 11v11.
However if we take home and away form into account then a difference appears which starts to make it look like a dead cert Arsenal win.
|2||Arsenal home last six||6||5||1||0||21||8||13||16|
|7||Brighton away last six||6||2||2||2||9||9||0||8|
Brighton have been an above average away team in the last six away games they have played, but Arsenal have, despite the difficulties of late continued their excellent form at home.
Indeed, looking at the whole season, Brighton away from home have been punching way above their expected station being the fourth-best away team in the league, but here the huge difference between home and away form across the season in the league really shows.
|4||Brighton and Hove Albion away||16||7||4||5||30||26||4||25|
So the form guide this season has this down as an Arsenal win. But Brighton have scored 26 away goals this season (1.63 a game), and even in the last six matches have managed 1.5 a game, so there is every chance they will knock in one or two goals. Arsenal’s forward line however, based on the above figures, should be scoring three or four.
Of course, we do know our defence has been upset by the loss of the wonderful Saliba, who since his return from loans abroad has been a revelation this season, making him utterly worthy of his chant and support from the stands. Before his injury he was winning possession more times than any other Premier League defender this season (71) (that stat from the Athletic). Certainly it turned out that his abilities shown in France on loan were not explicable by some vague notion that “he was playing in France it will be different in England,” which was expressed a few times.
All of which makes the progress of Folarin Balogun and Nuno Tavares in France this season all the more interesting. Tavares has played 28 times for Marseille scoring six, while Balogun has played 34 times for Reims scoring 19. Marseille are third, Reims tenth. PSG are of course top but at long last questions are being asked about the way they are financed. I wonder just who from Arsenal is going to be on loan in Ligue 1 next season.
But injuries happen, and we have four players out: Saliba, Tomiyasu, Zinchenko and Elneny. But that didn’t stop us winning at Newcastle (although of course we had Zinchenko in the side at that point). Jakub Kiwior has taken his time to come in but he’s another player, the management of whom, has seems to be spot on.
Brighton and Hove have been a team that of late has been hard to predict in their results. A defeat to Tottenham was followed by an away win over Chelsea, a loss on penalties in the cup to Manchester United, and then an away defeat to struggling Nottingham Forest. But then a 6-0 thumping of 13th placed Wolverhampton, and a league win over Manchester United, followed by a crazy 1-5 home defeat to Everton. That was Everton’s second away win of the season.
This was another of those games like Arsenal against Bournemouth where the visiting team went on the attack from the first second – in this case scoring after 34 seconds. It clearly is a tactic that has interested some clubs from the lower parts of the league, not least because of the inattention of the officials at kick-off (three Bournemouth players, you might recall were standing in the Arsenal half as Bournemouth kicked off in their game against Arsenal, and no flag was raised and VAR apparently was not watching. That really was an utter disgrace and all officials involved should have been removed from subsequent games.)
In fact, reports say Brighton were lucky not to be four down at half time in their recent home drubbing, and were booed off the pitch by their own supporters, which is rather harsh given the season as a whole.
Overall Brighton along with all clubs are better at home than away, but for them the difference is not that great. They have won nine games at home and seven away.
But the booing of a club for the performance of a single half of a match after the club has been engaged in its best league season EVER, reflects poorly on the local support. They really should be more resilient than that. But let’s trust they are not, at least for this game.
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