Eight games in, how are Arsenal doing compared to last year and the unbeaten season?



By Tony Attwood

So here we are after eight games played, with Tottenham and Arsenal equal at the top and Tottenham ahead courtesy of having scored two more goals.   Arsenal are within one goal difference of Manchester City.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 8 6 2 0 18 8 10 20
2 Arsenal 8 6 2 0 16 6 10 20
3 Manchester City 8 6 0 2 17 6 11 18
4 Liverpool 8 5 2 1 18 9 9 17


Last year at this point we had one point more but were no longer unbeaten.  We had scored four goals more but conceded two goals more so had a two goal better GD.

But last season Manchester City were one point behind us and their goal difference was already off the charts (well, at +20 it felt that way).

So thus far things are looking good.   Here’s last season after eight games…



Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 8 7 0 1 20 8 12 21
2 Manchester City 8 6 2 0 29 9 20 20
3 Tottenham Hotspur 8 5 2 1 19 10 9 17
4 Brighton and Hove Albion 7 4 2 1 14 8 6 14


But do we take Tottenham Hotspur to be serious challengers to us?

Well yes, sadly I think we have to.  They have played and beaten Manchester United at home, and drawn with us away, before beating Liverpool at home.  These are decent results.

Arsenal have beaten Manchester United and Manchester City at home and drawn with Tottenham at home.  We’ve only played three away games and none of those have been against the bigger clubs.  But we have won all three games and we haven’t conceded a goal.   And there is one other thing: last season we were the best away team in the league, 16 points and a 22 better goal difference than Tottenham had away.

So as things stand I’m not too worried about Tottenham.

But it is always interesting to look back to the Unbeaten Season as we are unbeaten at the moment, and quick comparison after eight games shows that in the unbeaten season after eight games we had 20 points (same as today), had scored 16 (same as today), had conceded six (same as today) and obviously had 20 points and a goal difference of +6, the same as today.  The main difference is that in that season Tottenham were at this stage in our unbeaten season 14th, with eight points.

Ah well, I suppose we must let them have their fun.  Here’s today’s table in case you missed it…


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 8 6 2 0 18 8 10 20
2 Arsenal 8 6 2 0 16 6 10 20
3 Manchester City 8 6 0 2 17 6 11 18
4 Liverpool 8 5 2 1 18 9 9 17


So we are doing the same as in the Unbeaten Season, and are one point worse off than last season.   Which is not bad.

But looking at things past it was interesting to look at the clubs that were in the top league when Arsenal went unbeaten.   And amazingly almost half of the teams that were in the Premier League in 2003/4 are no longer with us in the top division.  I counted Birmingham City, Southampton, Charlton Athletic, Portsmouth, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Leeds United, Middlesbrough, Leicester City.

And there is another factor here: we take Arsenal to be a big club, always up there, doing the stuff big clubs do, forgetting that back on Christmas Day we were 2020 (under three years ago!) we were 15th in the league, and large numbers of newspapers, websites and fans were utterly demanding that the board should sack Arteta NOW!!!

Perhaps worse was our goalscoring record.  Only West Bromwich, Burnley and Sheffield United had scored fewer goals than Arsenal by that date.  The only thing keeping us afloat was the defence (the sixth best in the league at that point).

So where are all the people who demanded that on that day Arteta needed to be sacked now, at once, without delay, and that by not doing that the board of the club was weak, unable to drive the club forward, and indeed dooming us to endless turmoil through their inability to act?

Where are these people now?  Well, most of them are still in their jobs, still writing about football and still commenting on the radio and TV, and still demanding that we take them seriously!!!  I can’t think of too many who have apologised, or better still offered their resignations from media work because of their gross incompetence.

They said that the only way Arsenal could move forward was by sacking Arteta and bringing in some decent players.   Which turned out to be a pretty fundamental error.  Think for a moment about where you work.  What would happen there in the face of such gross incompetence?

So the question is, why are these people not sacked?   I’ll try and give an answer one day soon.

9 Replies to “Eight games in, how are Arsenal doing compared to last year and the unbeaten season?”

  1. “Well yes, sadly I think we have to. They have played and beaten Manchester United at home, and drawn with us away, before beating Liverpool at home. These are decent results.”

    You mean PGMOL FC? UTD should have had a pen after hand-ball but VAR and ref decide to go against the rules and not give it. Liverpool had to watch as refs go against all footballing logic to penalise them. IMO they have stolen 5 points from 2 big teams and that has had a big effect on the table. How can anyone call that team (spuds) a real contender is beyond me. The refs are the real contender!

  2. What matters is the right people knew. The board, Edu and even Pep.

    This from an article in the guardian back in December 2020:

    Edu backs Mikel Arteta and predicts ‘beautiful future’ under manager. Technical director calls for patience after ‘challenging’ year. Defeat to Burnley ensured worst start to season since 1974-75

    The Arsenal technical director, Edu, has rejected any suggestion Mikel Arteta’s job is under threat and believes the club will have a “beautiful future” under their embattled manager.

    Arteta also received support from Pep Guardiola, who he assisted at Manchester City before leaving to take over at Arsenal. “When a club comes from a not good period, sometimes it needs time,” Guardiola said. “I will not have any doubts about his quality and capacity to put Arsenal in the place Arsenal deserve to be.”

    The full article is here: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2020/dec/14/arsenals-players-must-take-blame-for-terrible-form-says-tierney

    To be fair whilst I was looking around the worst of the vitriol, and the Arteta out band wagon, was from our own fans. Some of what they were saying was laughable. As usual looking back, Untold remained largely resolutely positive.

    It’s why I’ve been here for years. Still far and away the best place to come to as an Arsenal fan.

  3. How far Spurs get this season depends entirely on injuries. The talent is there but the squad is very thin. But of course there’s no way to forecast injuries no matter how many numbers you trot out. The big difference between this season and last is simply the number of clubs in contention. Last season it was a two horse race. But Liverpool have rebuilt their midfield and are looking dangerous, Newcastle started badly but are improving, Brighton and Villa look capable of crashing the party. Whether Chelsea or United can recover is questionable, but its not impossible. Despite all of that City are still clear favourites, they always are.

  4. What we have to remember is that most of the boo-boy know it all Arsenal ‘fans’ haven’t even managed a market stall let alone a football club. They deserve to be ignored but sadly can have a detrimental effect on the club and the players but are even to naive to realise that. As mentioned in the previous article, the only encouragement Man City got was from the booing by Arsenal ‘fans’. (As I’ve said before, they should not be given the credibilty of being called “supporters” because supporters support!)

    As regards calling the Spuds wins against Man U and Liverpool decent results. I’d have to disagree. Not one person believes they should have beaten Liverpool and but for the PGMO incompetence they wouldn’t have done. As for beating Man U being a “decent result”. Perhaps we should remember that Man U have lost at home to Galatasary, Palace, Brighton and apart from a Carabao Cup game, all their wins have been by a single goal and they include Burnley, Forest and Brentford (who were desperately unlucky). Beating Man U nowadays is an expectation rather than an achievement. They played their best game of the season against us and still lost 3-1. At best they represent mid-table mediocrity…….at best!

  5. Mikey

    Regarding Man Utd

    All that, and you didn’t even mention the debacle against Wolves. Totally out played at home, Wolves amassing 23 shots at United’s goal, a premier league high at Old toilet I believe. Then of course we had the scandalous non award of a last minute penalty for Onana’s assault on the Wolves forward.

    Regarding Spurs

    They struggled to put away bottom of the table Sheff Utd with 2 late goals, who subsequently went on to ship 8, 2 and 3 in their subsequent matches.

    To me, without doubt their best result was a drew at our place. We didn’t play well. They raised their game. And it still it took a gift from Jourginho for them to earn their point.

    I have to agree with you Mikey, neither Spurs or Man Utd are any threat at all regarding a title challenge.

    Personally I am much more worried about Liverpool, Newcastle and even Brighton and Villa, who I believe will all finish above those two.

  6. Spurs almost certainly won’t challenge for the title. Hardly surprising, given that they are 2 months into a new project. Not to mention that they need to add serious depth to a thin squad. Excellent 1st XI, though, and no European distractions, so they might well be in for an unexpected top 4 spot (even top 5 might be good enough for CL this year).

    As to the games mentioned, Spurs were well worth their win over Utd. Yes, Utd should have had a pen for the Romero handball. But Spurs should also have had a pen for a foul by Martinez on Romero.

    Liverpool – there was the one objectively wrong decision which would have seen Liverpool lead 1-0. But Liverpool were already down to 10 men by then. And Spurs were dominating. Allisson was, by a mile, their best player. 3-4 world class saves plus a number of others. We can’t say how the score might have ended up had that goal not been incorrectly chalked off but we can say that Spurs showed more than enough before and after it to suggest that they were evenly matched teams.

    Sheff Utd – just one of those games that a team dominates from start to finish but simply can’t get the ball in the net. We’ve all had them. Clear penalty on Maddison denied too. Great mentality to keep going, though.

    Arsenal – a slow start, failing to beat the press. Gifted Arsenal their early chances. But grew into it. Unlucky with a deflection and the penalty (also a massive deflection). Scored 2 good goals. Unlucky not to see Nketiah sent off. Well worth the draw at a place where they have an appalling record.

  7. jimB

    “….given that they are 2 months into a new project”

    Spurs are always in to a new project. Their next one is always THE one.

    “….Spurs were well worth their win over Utd”

    Not sure about that. Dangerous attacks almost identical. xG almost identical. United had 22 shots to Spurs 17. 6 each on target. Hardly screams ‘well worth’ does it?


    Impossible to know when you play against 10 men for over an hour and 9 men for the last 20 minutes, when they are clearly running on fumes, AND your opponent has a clearly legitimate goal ruled out. I wouldn’t get too carried away about that if I were you.

    “Sheff Utd – just one of those games”.

    But they are dire. They have already conceded 22 goals and are bottom of the table with 1 point

    The same goes for Bournemouth. They are 2nd from bottom with 3 points.

    The same goes for Burnley. They are 3rd from bottom with 4 points.

    And yes you beat Luton with 10 men, but they are 4th from bottom with 4 points.

    Even Brentford are only 6th from bottom with just 7 points.

    Out of Spurs 8 opponents half are the bottom 4 teams, 5 are in the bottom 6, and 6 are in the bottom half of the table.

    That leaves 2 ‘tough’ games against Liverpool, who as discussed above played most of the match one man short, and two down for the last quarter.

    So okay, if you insist, you got a decent result at the Emirates. But that’s it.

    Sorry Jim, you will be very very lucky if you finish in the top 6.

  8. Sorry 5 are in the bottom half as United just squeeze into the top half in 10th. Doesn’t make any difference really though does it?

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