Arsenal v Crystal Palace: Do Arsenal need to beat Palace to avoid sacking Arteta?



By Bulldog Drummond

There is the old saying that one can prove anything with figures, and although that is most certainly not true (try for example, proving that the sun is six inches away or that Forest Green Rovers are in the Premier League), sometimes figures can throw up something unusual and unexpected.

Take for example the last six games – a table we often run before an Arsenal game.  Here are the results for Arsenal and Crystal Palace from their last six matches.  They are, I think you might agree, hardly inspiring for either team, although Arsenal just come out on top with two more points and a slightly less bad goal difference.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
11 Arsenal 6 2 1 3 8 9 -1 7
15 Crystal Palace 6 1 2 3 8 10 -2 5


So that could lead to a fair amount of doom and gloom, and certainly it is what Mikel Arteta has been trying to overcome through his trip to Dubai, (which the Guardian chose to criticise because of the choice of steak chef that Arsenal had).   I must say I took that as a promising sign – if the Guardian is down to criticising who is doing the cooking, they must have failed to find anything wrong with the team.   Indeed they suggest Gabriel Jesus may be fit for the game.

But to return to the table above, that would suggest that in the last six games Arsenal are fractionally less worse than Crystal Palace, who it is said, having welcomed back Roy Hodgson, having seen him retire after being manager from 2017 to 2021, are now thinking of sacking him again.  Incidentally, Palace is the 23rd side that Roy Hodgson has managed – his earlier jobs including managing Switzerland, Inter Milan, Finland, Liverpool and England.

(But do you know who Hodgson played for?  There are bonus points for this one, for although it is true he was on the books of Palace as a player he never got a first-team game.  Instead, he moved on to playing for Tonbridge Angels, Gravesend & Northfleet, Maidstone United, Ashford Town, Berea Park and Carshalton Athletic.

However as we know, statistics can tell us all sorts of things and if we were to look instead of the last ten home games for Arsenal against the last ten away games for Palace we get a different story.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
4 Arsenal home 10 7 2 1 22 10 12 23
11 Crystal Palace away 10 3 3 4 11 15 -4 12


That suggests a 3-1 win to Arsenal.  Indeed if we were to just take the last six games, as we did for the first table above and compare Arsenal’s last six at home with Palace’s last six away, once more the figures look very acceptable…


Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
2 Arsenal home 6 5 0 1 13 4 +9 15
20 Crystal Palace away 6 1 1 4 8 11 -3 4


The fact is that Arsenal have been doing better than Palace even through the recent slump, and if we take the home and away figures into account, Arsenal have been doing an awful lot better than Palace.

Arsenal’s problems this season totally stem from a lack of balance.  Arsenal have the best defence in the league (not something you hear mentioned much in the media) but only the ninth best attack, with nine goals fewer scored than Manchester City.  

And indeed the level of the drop in form from last season is really quite alarming as can be seen from comparing where the club is now with its position after 20 games last season…


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
4 Arsenal 2023/4 20 12 4 4 37 20 17 40
1 Arsenal 2022/23 20 16 2 2 45 17 28 50


The defence has let in just three more goals, but the attack has scored eight fewer.  

Obviously to progress up the league Arsenal are not only going to have to win lots of games but also hope those around them start to lose a few.  Unfortunately, Liverpool, Manchester City and Aston have all been doing considerably better than Arsenal, whether we measure that form over the last six or the last ten games.

Unai Emery was sacked by Arsenal after a  run of two defeats and three draws in the League, a win, a draw and a defeat in the Europa League, and a defeat in the League Cup.   Arsenal’s current form is one win and four defeats in the Premier League, a draw in the Champions League and a defeat in the FA Cup. 

Personally, I think it would be insane to sack Arteta but if you read the correspondence on this site and elsewhere you will know that is what some are demanding.

4 Replies to “Arsenal v Crystal Palace: Do Arsenal need to beat Palace to avoid sacking Arteta?”

  1. No, he will survive Palace game.

    But I think he’ll be raplaced probably towards or end of season.
    We are no better team wise than we was (Rice great signing) probably worse.
    We are terrible to watch.
    We won’t win a thing. We will miss out on C/League.
    We can thank our lucky stars Man Utd, Chelsea and Newcastle with injuries are having a poor season.
    Arteta has gone as far as he can.

  2. If we do not qualify for CL then I would expect MA to be gone.
    And there is little, despite your stats, to take confidence that top 4 is a given.
    Hopefully MA will change his tactics because what we have this season is predictable football blunting our attack. Every attacking movement could be written before we get past the half way line.
    We are turgid to watch

  3. Arteta is not going to be sacked mid-season. If the team melts down and finishes out of the CL…maybe but even then, I doubt it. He has engendered a lot of good will and one iffy season will not undo all of that.

  4. It’s amazing how we have gone back to fourth is a bad season. I guess we needed two Parteys and two Timbers as I am sure with both of them fit we would have done much better. Who are these sack-talkers suggesting? Mourinho? Ha! The tea lady perhaps?

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