- Arsenal 1 Man City 0. Is it time to stop celebrating yet? Well…
- Arsenal v Manchester City: the progress, the possibility, the team
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.
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…
|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…
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.
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