Why Arsenal Lost The League

By Bootoomee

Anyone who has read any my previous rants on Untold Arsenal may know how much I hate common wisdom and clichés, especially illogical ones. But boy, football pundits and fans love clichés. They can’t have enough of them. Somebody, usually somebody (considered to be but not necessarily) important, says something about the game and the next thing you know, it is being repeated like impeachable fact all over the mainstream media and the Internet. Mark Holmes of Teamtalk.com is one of the very few people in the media who usually takes a step back and questions the orthodoxy. If you have the time, check out his Monday Moan articles. I don’t always agree with him (he is a Stoke City fan) but he is intellectually honest and is never timid about going against illogical populism. Most of the rest of the football media, unfortunately, are lazy, mediocre and dishonest hacks.

At the peak of our injury crisis this season, well-meaning Gooners were asking, out of frustration, why we have so many injury cases. Some were coming up with hypotheses on the causes. Walter wrote several pieces on the topic and his final conclusion ended where I have always been on the issue: we get so many injuries because we get kicked a lot due to poor to no protection from the referees. Even cases of relapse occurred because the injuries happened in the first place. Walter, an unpaid writer for a mere fans’ site did a comprehensive and data backed investigation. Our traditional media on the other hand were going with their guts and using innuendoes and stereotypes.

Arsene Wenger was asked about the injuries and he said that the club would investigate the causes. The media blew up and Arsenal fans nearly burned their keyboards with chants of “told you so, even Wenger is now going to investigate the causes”. I would laugh at the naivety being shown if not because the matter is not a funny one. So, Arsene Wenger, who revolutionised diets of Arsenal and brought many innovations that elongated the careers of players like Tony Adams needs to be prodded at press conferences to “investigate” the cause of a problem that he has been having over 5 years? Why not just call him a clueless moron while at it?

What Arsene did is called throwing a bone which UrbanDictionary.com described as: To be rid of unending attention seeker. The media weren’t interested in the reason why Arsenal have lots of injuries; they were just harassing the Arsenal manager based on the latest concerns of Arsenal fans. If they were really interested in knowing the causes, they’d do what Walter did.

The same thing happened a few days ago when Mertesacker was asked if he thought our heavy losses to our rivals caused us to lose the league. First of all, how was he supposed to answer?

“Nah, they are not that vital in the in the final analysis”? He says that and he’d be crucified. Arsenal fans would ask for his head and the club would be mocked for not taking the losses seriously.

When public office holders are asked questions about failings of their departments, they never say that their system is great (even if they are) and what happened is just an anomaly. If they say this, the outrage merchants, who never saw anything wrong with the said system before the problem surfaced, would be up in arms asking for “heads to roll”, for “resignations to be tendered” and other pitchfork wielding stuff like that.

When facing the public after things have gone wrong, representatives of major organisations would give the types of responses from Per and Wenger. They would just throw the media a bone. You hear stuff like: “we take full responsibility for what has happened and we’ll a have a review of our system and make all the necessary adjustments”. You see, the public love to hear this even if no one ever asks again about the promised reviews and changes once the outrage has died down. Case in point, when was the last time that anyone talked about the cause(s) of Arsenal injuries since Arsene threw them that “investigation” bone?

Some, if not many, of our fans seem to be unaware of this tactic from high profile individuals. Mertesacker’s comment: “The early away games killed us this year. Hopefully we can learn from that” is now being cited as EXPLICIT verdict on why we have lost the league. It isn’t. When one of Liverpool or Man City win the league, would anyone be talking about them being beaten home and away by Chelsea who are only likely to come 3rd?

Below is the top 4 mini league:

Played    Win      Draw     Lose      Points      GD
Chelsea      5           1             0              16          11
Man City    2          1              3               7             1
Liverpool  2          0             4               6            -1
Arsenal       1          2             3               5           -11
Like Mertesacker, I agree that our position here is poor and we must ensure that we do better away to our rivals in future. Conceding 17 goals in 3 games is embarrassing and every effort should be made to ensure this never happen again. I also agree that the points that we lost in this games are PART of the reasons why we lost the league. Where I differ on this issue is in the conclusion that this is the MAJOR reason why we lost the league.

Just before the 2013/14 season kicked off, I wrote a piece titled: “How Arsenal Can Win The League” and in there I projected that if we win all our games against the bottom half team, home and away, we’d get 60 points. If we beat all the next 5 teams at home and draw them away, we’d have another 20 points. That’s 80 points. Then whatever we can get against the remaining top 5 teams might just be enough to get us across the line.

We have done very well against the bottom 10 teams and if not for some questionable officiating (e.g. Aston Villa at home and WBA and Stoke away) and injuries (Swansea at home and Stoke and Everton away), we might have done even better.

We lost points, net of my projections, to:

Aston Villa at home, 3 points – (officiating)
WBA away, 2 points – (officiating)
Everton at home, 2 points – (I blame no one for this)
Everton away, 1 point – (injuries)
Man United away, 1 point – (injuries and sickness)
Man United at home, 2 points – (I blame no one for this other than timidity and fear of losing)
Swansea at home, 2 points – (injuries)

Now, other than the scandalous nature of our losses to the top 3, I don’t really see what the hullaballoo is all about. Was anyone thinking that we were really going to beat all these teams away? I am not saying that it is impossible; I just think it is an unrealistic expectation. I have always recorded zero for Arsenal in these games and any point gained would have been a bonus point in my book. I am more upset about our home draws to Chelsea and Man City where we lost 4 points than the big losses away to them but ironically I am not hearing many complaints about the former. Why can’t the complainants just concede that they are upset about our embarrassing away losses rather than making them the major reason why we lost the league?

Looking at the net points that we dropped and the points deficit that we have against the eventual champions, we can see that with just 8 more points, we would have been alright. Seven could have done it but we need 8 due to our comparatively low goals difference. In my opinion, it is much easier to make up those 8 points from any of the combinations from the list above than from beating the top 3 away from home. It is for this reason that I believe that the MAJOR reason why we lost the league is because of the points that we lost to lower teams.

Again, which is easier for this Arsenal team based on our form this season: beating Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool away (9 net points) or beating Aston Villa, Everton and Swansea at home (7 net points) and drawing Man United or Everton away (1 net point) to make the 8 point deficit? If you agree that it is the latter, then shouldn’t those lost points be the MAIN reason why we lost the league?

If in a mathematics GCSE examination, a student lost 13 marks on ratio & proportion (D/C grades), simplifying expressions and index laws (E-B grades) and also lost 9 marks on transforming graphs (A* grade) and vectors (A* grade). If the student ultimately failed to get her desired A grade in the exam by 8 marks, could we say that the student mainly got a B grade because of the higher grade questions she missed or because of the far easier to get lower grade questions she missed?

I rest my case!

The books

121 Replies to “Why Arsenal Lost The League”

  1. Spot on!

    I was close to writing a similar article myself due to getting more and more annoyed at the drivel and vitriol eminating from many sites. I question how many are there every week to watch us!

    We have presently lost one more game than the three above us (and drawn more) are closer on points to the top than in previous years, have lost only once at home (and we know how that came about) and still get criticised!

    We are in the FA Cup Final (and I sang yesterday when it was confirmed I have a ticket!) and knocked out three teams from the top 6 on our way there.

    Yes, the away defeats at Anfield, Stamford Bridge and Goodison Park were embarrassing (and the issues have to be addressed) but I don’t put the Man City game in the same mould as we kept attacking and it could have been 9-9, 6-6, 6-5, 6-7 or many other ridiculous scorelines!

    Take those three games out of it and our defensive record is great. Are the teams above us given as much stick for their worse performances against those outside the top 6? I doubt it.

    A win at home to Villa, draw at Old Trafford, win against WBA and a win home to Swansea would have left us on top. Play those games again with our present fit team and we would be there…seems those kicks did hurt us!

    A win at Wembley will conclude a great year…more to come…

    PS – Having never seen us lose a league game in the flesh (could not make Villa) I hope I can find a way of securing away tickets next season!

  2. We have so many injuries for one reason and one reason only. Arsene Wenger didn’t buy enough players to make a squad, to make rotation possible and to rest players.

    Ramsey was injured due to being overplayed (wenger has said so himself)

    Walcott’s injury doesn’t relate to being kicked, stop this delusional nonsense about refs not protecting arsenal players.

  3. thanks Bootoomee for yet another articulate and logical writeup. In a world of media hysteria and desktop warriorism it is comforting that untold carries the torch in this crazy world. Thanks Boo

  4. gh
    Our injury problems weren’t “one reason only”. We also had impact injuries which kept players out for long periods. I take your point about the squad not being large enough though.

  5. g,

    actually, Walcott’s injury relates directly to being kicked by Chadli (I think) in a pretty bad and unpunished challenge just moments before his injury–perhaps Walter can repeat his sharp analysis of that incident. And did you not see Rosicky having his nose broken in a challenge that merited a red card and yet was not even whistled as a foul. And did you not see also how many times Wilshere was kicked in his ankles after passing the ball without the kicker being punished. Also, if I remember correctly, a few players have spent a match or two out with bruises and knocks cause in off-the-ball incidents.

    I agree that the squad is not big enough; that is a fair point. I was really hoping to see another striker at least. But let’s not set up a silly either/or fallacy: the squad is too small, and also a number of players have spent time on the sidelines as a result of injuries caused by unpunished tackles. The real world is bigger and more complex than the world of the professional mouths on TV, and most situations are in fact open to multifactorial analysis.

  6. A good article Bootoomee, you have put a lot of work and thought into this.

    There is no doubt that the post Christmas injuries weakened the squad and contributed to dropping points. All the injuries were disappointing, but the deliberate repetitive and unpunished hacking at Wilshere’s ankles, culminating in a deliberate “take out” by that nice thug Agger was exasperating in the extreme.

    My impression is that during the post Christmas to early April period our goal scoring declined noticeably – not unexpected when many creative players are unavailable – when I have time I will tabulate figures on this.

    For those who demand that the answer to such injuries is that we should increase the number of players in the squad – well fine – but there is an arbitrary limit on squad numbers. While more depth is welcome, that argument on its own ignores the real problem – i.e. the continuous kicking our players receive every match, with the connivance of the refs and PGMOL.

    Further, the “increase the squad numbers” theory can be and indeed has been used, wrongly, by the anti Wenger faction and the AAA (who do not exist) as an additional stick with which to attack the manager – claiming, wrongly, that he refused to spend.

    On a slightly different thought, last night Mourinho whinged about injuries and suspensions contributing to Chelski’s exit from the CL – strange when remembering Chelski’s spending!!

    One final thought on this, I have noticed the players from some teams have bulked out a bit over the last couple of seasons – anyone else notice this?

  7. Ted,

    Thanks for reading and for your comment. I am glad to know that I am not the only one that is irritated by the silly and easily debunkable talking point.

  8. bjtgooner & El Gringo,

    Contrary to the straw man argument from that non-existent section of our fans, no Arsenal fan is against signing players or strengthening the team. Where those of us AKBs differ is in leaving the task to those whose responsibility it is; rather than harassing people on the Internet with requests for which we have no power to make possible.

    Nonetheless, the argument for increasing squad size to deal with injuries is not water tight. There were times this season when both Gibbs and Monreal were out due to injury; should we buy another left back when we already have 2 very good ones. I know that TV covers for them but doesn’t the fact that we could 2 players in the same position negate the “increase the squad size” solution to our injury problems?

    The least surprising injury of ALL this season is Wilshere’s. For how long were we all worrying that he would get injured due to the amount of kicking he was getting with the bloody referees often looking the other way? It is interesting that while he finally got injured in an International match, his aggressor is a PL player.

    The reason why we have so many injuries is because of all the kicking that we suffer. If only the referees would do their freaking job. If only.

  9. I think we’re quite well off in defence this season with three central defenders to rotate, four full backs, one mid who can play both full back positions and a full back who can play all back four spots. That’s the one area where we’ve had no real concerns. So with that & our midfield strength it’s just the attacking forwards who need more cover. Not as short as I first thought.

  10. Bootoomee,
    I saw two iron-clad penalties at home: Vidic wrestling Giroud on a set piece, and the foul on Theo by Willian. If you add the penalty committed by Mulumbu against Jack at WBA and the foul by Fonte climbing over Monreal upon scoring his goal, you get the 8 points.

  11. Wow Bootoomee, you basically summed up all I thought went wrong and more, and put it 10 times better than I could’ve 🙂 Brilliant article. I shall not waste space repeating anything you’ve covered already caused I agree with all of it.

    I’ll respond to g who says we suffered from injuries because Wenger didn’t recruit enough. If we go back to last summer we were all saying we were oversubscribed in midfield and didn’t need any further signings in that area. I remember many here saying we needed a striker or two and a backup CB. When Ozil was signed some even suggested it was a waste of money as we didn’t need strengthening in that department. But guess what, it’s that very department that we suffered the most injuries, and even tried to cover through our solitary January loan signing. I don’t know what to say when Walcott’s injury is called being delusional that he got kicked; I think it was Vlad Chiriches who stamped on Walcott’s left ankle moments before he went down in a heap. Jake Wilshere we all know. Rosicky had his nose rearranged by an Agbonlahor elbow, while Arteta must be down to 31 teeth now(assuming he had all his teeth) courtesy of an elbow from a hull player. Can anyone remind me any punishment dished out to all the offenders in these incidents? Nothing. Not even a yellow. Insulting to hear some of our fans blame Wenger for that.

  12. well mate, consider this
    if we did beat Liverpool and MC away and lost too chelsea then the table would look like this:
    1. Arsenal 36 79
    2. Chelsea 36 78
    3. Liverpool 36 77
    4. City 35 74

  13. My point is that, even with a horrendous injury situation, four pieces of officiating cost us 8 points. The referees denied us in two: bad calls, and helping getting our best players kicked.

  14. Ray,
    Yeah, remember Vidic shoving Giroud to the ground at the Ems. And the pundits said not enough contact(while we heard them say yeah there was contact when Podolski attempted to pull his leg away from suarez’s leg which was seeking contact like a heat seeking missile).

  15. The kicking of our players (usually after they have passed it) has been a major reason for our injuries. The knee in the back of the thigh begins the hamstring compression and ultimate strain or tear. The kick on the achilles causes ankle issues. Our skilled players being physically small get hacked regularly and PGMOL ignore them.

    It is time for our captain to stop the game and pull the referee up each time this happens. So we get carded and Wenger repeats the issue in the media conference. Another fine from the FA that we refuse to pay & ask for an open enquiry into the refereeing standards.

    If the club cannot do this then we as fans (red action) and ultimately the paymasters of the FA should bring a case against the Association in the (sporting)courts.

    This injury situation has to be addressed because larger squads will mask the corrupt officiating instead of cleaning up the game. The media are basically part of the money driven establishment and do not have the balls to address this area of corruption. There is no provable conspiracy just a damned blatant abuse of authority.

  16. It is ridiculous to blame Wenger for player injuries. Which ones? All of them? Some of them? This is just a desperate attempt by the Wenger Out crowd to find something to blame Arsene for. I am fed up reading this drivel from some people that I find very hard to call supporters. They are fans.

    I have even even seen comments claiming that the Invincibles was no more of an avhievement than winning a cup competition. It really is quite bizarre and difficult to understanding from these fans. These people are extremists that cannot really believe the utter nonsense they come out with. Nobody can be that stupid and still be allowed out in the community; let alone writing a blog with a French sounding name:-)

  17. Passed it – passed the ball.

    Walcotts injury was definitely caused by the Spuds. The initial stretch was after an ignored foul tackle in the top corner of the park and the subsequent tear was after Theo tried to run the injury off and got fouled near the penalty box. The initial tackle caused his knee to twist. He stayed down for a while and the came back to defend. He should have been taken off immediately after the knee twist.

  18. As I expected, great work Boo.

    This talk about squad size is ridiculous.

    When the Summer transfer window closed was the time to make a judgement on the strength of the squad, not the middle of March.

    Everyone from Wenger down, including me, and everyone else on untold, probably did just that.

    Personally I thought we had the strongest squad we had had for years. Even stronger in depth than the invincibles. This is not to say the first 12 or 13 are as good by any means, but that’s a different matter, but in depth.

    Yes I would of liked another striker. Especially a ‘speedster’. But other than that I thought, and still do, that the defence, and midfield especially, looked well stocked.

    So okay, not perfect, but pretty good.

    Now I doubt there was one single Club that sat there when the window closed and said. ‘That’s it, PERFECT’

    Not even City who had just laid out a net £95 MILLION. (on top of the £100’s of Millions already spent.)

    So this idea that somehow we should be stocked to the rafters with 2 or 3 World Class players in every position is just pie in the sky. It isn’t going to happen. It still isn’t going to happen.

    Only City and Chelsea, who don’t have to count there money, can do that, and yet still look at Chelsea.

    So the squad was good, very good.

    But when you lose 4 of your 5 best offensive players for much of the season, and often at the same time, anyone would struggle.

    Liverpool struggled with the lose of just one, Suarez, early in the season. But luckily for them they ended up with there 3 danger men fit for pretty much the entire 2nd half of the season. Is that luck or protection? Who knows.

    Even City struggled when there ‘big’ names where out.

    So making judgements on squad sizes, in the middle of March, when an unprecedented amount of your best players are injured is short sighted and grossly unfair.

    My honest opinion is that if we had just had EITHER Theo or Rambo fit we would be at least half a dozen points better off.

    If we had had both, we would be top.

    Just my opinion but when you look at there combined goals and assists ratio it’s hard to argue with.

    So give it a rest with this squad size rubbish.

  19. Look, Arsenal have been very unlucky. We lost Ramsey when he was the best player in the league and those goals and assists hurt. The same is true of Theo. These were unlucky injuries and as these were aguably our two most creative players and goalscorers to boot, it had a massive impact.

    Of course fitness and recovery is important. You cant tell me Arsenal are some micky mouse club that doesn’t know how to train, rest and recover players – its a nonsense dreamed up by fools. I agree, we had bad timing for the Man Utd game with sickness and then we were made to play Man City away on Saturday lunchtime, after a wednesday night away game in Europe! These things are relevant, they aren’t poor excuses.

    About over playing players:
    Every team plays their best players at every opportunity. The stats on this subject are co9mpelling. Mertersacker has played 50 games thsi season, is he over played? Kos not much fewer, Sagna the same. for Chelsea, Terry, Ivanovic and Hazard have started almost every game. Gerrard, Skrtel, Henderson etc at Liverpool. Toure at Man City. It is all a load of bull dreamed up by Wenger haters who are happy to slag off every aspect of our great club. They aren’t supporters, they an embarrassment that are only too happy to disrespect the club they mistakenly believe they love.

  20. OlegYch,

    Your point is not in dispute but which is more gettable: 3 points away to each of Liverpool and Man City or home wins against Swansea and Aston Villa. My point is that our more gettable points that we did not get cost us much more than our less gettable ones.

    I don’t know how familiar you are with GCSE maths but my last paragraph succinctly expressed my point here.

  21. proudkev,

    Be careful there. These superfans don’t like to be told they aren’t genuine fans. Watch it pal. Also, since Wenger is our manager, he must be blamed for anything that goes wrong with the club no matter the amount of evidence to the contrary.

    I suspect that all that these guys want is to get rid of Arsene. Sometimes I feel like they are Spurs fans in disguise. I know that majority of Spurs fans agree that we have dominated them these last 2 decades because of the Frenchman and there is nothing that they will like more than his departure.

  22. jambug,

    You are still in for a treat my friend because my end of the season summary is still to come and I think I am going to piss a lot of friends and foes off 🙂

  23. First, I agree with Bootoomee about the manner in which we lost this EPL this season. It was more about those easier games than the Chelskis and Mancs of the league. However I disagree with those who say we did not have enough players. My contention is that, Arsene failed to blend our first with the second teams. If he had done that, then key players would have had enough rest to push us through the season. I mean, youngsters like Eisfeld, Gnabry, Hayden would have seen much more game time. There are ‘easier’ games where they would have helped. Bendtner, Jenkinson should all have played a bit more. I think Arsene will rectify this, I will go into the new season full of optimism.
    NB: Still happy that the ‘serial over achiever’ lost yesterday. God, even Moyes will finish the season with a trophy, not Moureen!Sorry, couldn’t contain myself.

  24. @boo please don’t mention the 3 points at home to Aston Villa. Those points are ours and were robbed by PGMOL and gifted to the away cheats. After the match I spoke to a couple of away supporters and they were on about Gabby this and Gabby that. Gabby is a cheat and gets away with a lot more that Suarez or Young.

    You are closer than most with your summation. It’s the luck (PGMOL decisions) that is missing.

  25. All squads in the PL are limited to 25 players.

    How can anyone then have a ‘small squad’.

  26. @John W – I agree with your blend argument. I am sure we have sufficient pace in our reserves.

  27. Bootoomee,

    I agree with most of what you are saying. I guess when I said “the squad is too small” I meant, “we ought to have more strikers (because NB doesn’t count!) and maybe a CB/RB version of the Verminator.” The midfield/wing areas have plenty of players. I heartily agree that crap and biased refereeing is the biggest issue, but Giroud really could use a few more days off.

  28. Bootoomee, Brilliant article. Nailed it once more. When the fixtures come out I look and see A. Villa and Swansea at home and I am thinking three points each game. Home and away to the likes of M. City and Chelsea I figure can go either way. You are spot on in saying how the league is won and lost against the mid-table and bottom half teams. Look at Everton these last few weeks, Their fourth place run was undone by losing to lower placed teams they were expected to beat. Our title run was sabotaged by those gutless English referees allowing the opposition to kick our skilled players all over the pitch, Which in turn caused half of our stating lineup to be out at the same time. Nothing more and nothing less. Walter’s data has proved that fact, And I state fact not drivel. Always look forward to your articles and comments as you tell it like it is. Keep up the good work my brother.

  29. El Gringo.

    I agree we could probably do with another striker but as I said earlier just retaining Walcott or Ramsey, better still both, would I believe of seen us still in the thick of it on the last day of the season.

    It’s just been damn unlucky to have those two in particular (as well as all the others) out for so long.

    Where do you think Liverpool would be if they had lost Sturridge and Sterling for the same amount of time we lost Walcott and Ramsey.

  30. Bootoomee
    yeah i’m familiar with what you call a GCSE examination
    the analogy would be correct if the points you lost were given to another student
    otherwise, you’re forgetting that a point lost is given to your direct competitor

    besides, getting more from 5 easy games is not necessarily easier than getting more from 2 tough games, that’s why we keep talking about liverpool having an advantage of less games

  31. Bootoomee
    Thanks 4 ur insight analyses its really refreshing.
    On the Topic of squad seize no matter how much Money u have u can’t have all the best player is the world.
    Also Bootoomee some so called Fans( whatever name they bear) will stop @ nothing in blaming Wenger for everything happening in their life. Thou am nt happy but hw I wish Arsene Could just step back nd let other tactical,genius, bus parking, rugby playing,wrist watch showing coaches of the AAA come forward nd tell us hw they will Run our club with low finance nd build us a new Home( want a 200 thousand seater) nd still keep us in CL. Liverpool,everton,Chelsea! The chicken down the Road have all be dreaming of a new stadium nd we all already enjoying the benefits of urs. So just like I always says I love their moaning nd crying of Wenger Out.
    N.B I think the new style in football nw is having a Truck( that’s want Atheletico are) its strong , fast nd bigger than chelsea double decker buses

  32. jambug,

    Hear, hear! Liverpool would be toast without those guys, and even ManC and Chelsea struggle when they miss key players. We have seen has been a huge difference on the pitch since Ramsey and Ozil have come back–and that’s even without Walcott.

    If I were an opposition manager sticking into voodoo dolls of Arsenal players, I would’ve started with the likes of Ramsey, Walcott, Ozil, and Wilshere.

    And let’s not call it bad luck–a spade is a spade, and our midfield injury crisis is because the refs allow other teams to kick our midfielders with impunity.

  33. Is it an excuse article in the Mail ( dont normally read papers )before the early KO game at Anfield the team was kept awake most of the night and because of this Arsenal are reviewing their security

  34. One other player who has surprised me by not being out for long despite getting kicked every game is Giroud. There are games when he would get kicked, hacked trod on, etc, that I’d be left thinking surely he is going to be out for a few weeks, only to see him in the starting line up a few days later. He must be the hardest guy in the premiership.

  35. There are reasons why we failed to capitalise on the early lead we established in this season’s EPL.
    We lost too many points against teams lower down in the table.
    We didn’t perform at all well, away from home against our three nearest rivals.
    These are facts and cannot be denied.
    No matter how one tries to analyse, the one basic reason for this failure, seems to be the long term absence of key players at crucial times in the season.
    Students of football claim that the Club’s training methods and tactics are at fault, the medics are suspect, the players are built for speed and are therefore light-weight and referees appear to allow GBH to be inflicted on teams who practice the fast, close-passing game.
    If we have determined the cause, the problem of avoidance in the future remains.
    In my humble opinion, there must be a massive improvement in the governance of football ON THE FIELD OF PLAY. Inefficient and corrupt officials should be weeded out. And there must be a far greater use of increasingly sophisticated monitoring equipment in order to control the behaviour of players and to avoid mistakes by match officials.
    There are those who will say that this will slow down the game and destroy fluidity. My answer would say that ANY move to ensure a fair and honest contest, devoid of unpunished foul play and bias by players and officials alike, should be the aim of all who are involved in our national game.

  36. OlegYch,

    The points gained from us by the teams in question are already factored in and my analogy with a student losing marks in different areas of their exam is valid as a consequence.

    My point is about the ease or likelihood of getting some points against some others. The net effect is irrelevant as we know what the final table says. Getting points from some teams is easier than some others. This is a fact. If a team fails in their league bid, the losses that they regret most are usually the easiest that they should get.

    Chelsea, for example, are not likely to win the league not because of their loss to Everton (their highest profile loss) but because they lost to Sunderland at home. Ask any Chelsea fan that you know to tell you the loss that cost them the league and I’ll be surprised if many even mention their away losses to Newcastle and Aston Villa. Also, despite gaining 16 points against all their rivals and denying them of net points, how come they are not winning the league?

    The easier it is to get a point, the more effect it has on your failure at the end of the campaign. I cannot explain this any further. If you think that the most consequential losses were those to the top 3 teams then you are entitled to your belief as I am mine.

  37. I make a similar comment on an earlier thread. Our record against the bottom 10 as they currently stand is:

    W 14, D 2 (WBA, Swansea), L 1 (Villa). At the time we played them (i.e. the League table at that time), we W 15, D 1 (Swansea), L1 (Stoke). 2 games still to play [This is from memory, it is possible I am wrong!]. This record is absolutely sensational. I am sure it is FAR better than any other team this season, and probably better than anyone for the last 10 seasons at least. I would absolutely settle for this every time.

    Our record against 6-10 (as of today) is: W 6, D 2, L 2. A little stickier but still respectable I think for a championship chasing team.

    Our record against 1-5, clearly only 8 matches, is: W 1, D 3, L 4. This is not championship form, with respect.

    Now I accept there are mitigating factors for some of these – and sometimes sh*t happens – but in terms of improving our performance against expectations, I DO think we have fallen short against the top teams.

    It is all very well regretting the games against Villa, Swansea, Stoke etc – but we could easily have dropped points here: Villa(A), Cardiff(H), Swansea(A), Stoke(H) – and we were losing in both West Ham games. But we didn’t – we held firm.

    I am sure if we go back and review the records of recent championship winning teams we will find their relative improvement as compared to us is in their performance against the other top teams.

  38. Very good, well written article Bootoomee, and your analysis is spot on as far as I am concerned. I fail to see how anyone could disagree with you.

  39. Pete,

    I concede that losing those 3 away games hurt us. No doubt. But to conclude that we lost the league due to them is where I differ. For goodness sake, the 2 teams that are likely to win the league only got 1 and 2 points more than us in the top 4 mini league, meanwhile they lead us by 7 points each. Whereas Chelsea who have a 9 point lead over the nearest team are trailing 2 points behind these teams.

    what other evidence do we need? I’d agree with you more if we were losing via goals difference or by smaller point margins.

  40. EL Gringo says:
    “If I were an opposition manager sticking into voodoo dolls of Arsenal players, I would’ve started with the likes of Ramsey, Walcott, Ozil, and Wilshere.”

    Well they surely did not use voodoo(else mine would work too), but i still think these players were targeted, as it was clear that they were the driving force at Arsenal. Now whether this was just the normal low level stuff or if there was a bigger organisation behind it, i do not know.

    It was clear to us all that Arsenal were flying towards the title, even though we seemed to be burning at half flame in some games. The first game(Villa) to me was a warning to Arsenal, “that by hook or by crook we will stop you”. Then we shook that off and went forward, then the injuries came, which causes are much harder to analyse than the ref’s intervention(s), which is/are usually plain to see.

    Anyway, we need to be sharp on SUNDAY, as i have noticed lately that we tend NOT to do well in early KO games, which has really frustrated me. I cannot imagine that players are out the night before, or having late nights, thereby feeling a little jaded the nest day?

    So, let’s get West Brom out of the way, and PLEASE PLEASE i hope we do not leave it to the last game to be safe. Everton v ManC on Sat is the key, and for sure Everton at home will be looking to upset the visitors.

    It would be great to be able to play some of our upcoming youth in the last game, thereby giving our players a vital rest, and the youth another chance to gain their experiences.

    Come on Arsenal, come on.

  41. Mathematical (you sure know Segun Odegbami) Bootoomee, thanks for your articulate and well reasoned out article.

    I agree totally with your reasons for not winning the league. I just like to re-echo what others have said: having 5 first team players out at the same time for long cost us the league. No team could have survived it. Without ref protection, a 40 man Arsenal squad won’t still be sufficient.

    Fabianski and probably Verminator may depart this summer for lack of first team action. So why do people blame AW for not buying M Riley, M Platini and S Blatter?

    Please what is the media saying about the okro-mouthed one’s tactical masterpiece last night? You see, the media is deluded.

    Let end this season with as many points as possible and winning the FA cup will be a plus. Whatever happens, those who want AW out won’t change their minds even if we win all trophies in the world.


  42. Bootoomee,

    Obviously we can’t just blame our being out of the running on Liv/Chel/MC away. I would suggest, without checking, that the reason that Liverpool and MC are significantly ahead of us despite a similarly poor performance in the Top 4 mini-league, is that they did better against the teams in 5-10 (5 more points each against MU for starters – if memory serves).

    The winning points total this season won’t be that high by recent standards – likely because the eventual champions WILL have done unusually poorly in the mini-league. We really need to compare against other seasons. Chelsea, on the other hand, have screwed up royally against the minnows and that has absolutely cost them! Something I really find very amusing…

    But I absolutely agree that one should not point to 3 games in isolation. I agree with you that they are only part of the reason we aren’t going to win it – it is just that I think they are of slightly greater significance than you do!

    Away from the numbers, the heavy defeats do take a pyschological toll as well – but that is a subject for another article!

  43. Pete,

    I agree about the results from teams 5 to 10 but I have not heard many blaming those for us losing the league. The point of my article is to challenge the common wisdom emerging that we lost the league mainly because of those 3 losses.

    That talking point is what I am against. I think I already made it abundantly clear that we did not get enough points from the rest of the league (including nos.5 to 10) as I mentioned points lost to Everton and Man United. All the lost points count but the only fixation has been with losses to City, Liverpool and Chelsea and it is mainly because of the embarrassing scorelines.

    I think that we are on the same page Pete.

  44. Nice one Bootoomee, have not read teamtalk.com, but will certainly be taking a look. Must admit, was not aware we were…points wise at least…quite close to city and Liverpool in the mini league…not something the media would ever highlight I guess. You make a very valid point about beating teams below us, which we do well, but I would also like to see us shut up shop away to the big boys, like we do in Germany, to maybe give us extra points, a better GD but also not provide these teams so much confidence and momentum….have a feeling this may well be on next seasons agenda, though take your well made point on Per and Wenger taking the hounds off our scent.
    As for the media, they will never like us, certainly while wenger is here, it is our badge of honour. Even arsenal supporting journalists tow their papers line with gusto at times.
    Agree with your points on losing the league. Also think there are just too many in power who just don’t want us to win the league, and we all know how this manifests itself….ultimately a major cause of injuries. As for clubs the media and the establishment like for various reasons…..well, just look northwest, teams in red (ok not Utd this year…but just wait for next year)and sky blue shirts……and just compare and contrast with the way we are treated. Liverpool…..thirteen penalties and counting…..almost fergiesque!
    And the saddest thing of all, they have a section of our fans doing their dirty work, though it looks like true fans are fighting back inside the ground.
    But ultimately, league or not, this could yet be a very successful season, one any fan would have taken last August whether they admit it or not. get the summer right, and improve a few things, start getting the youth setup back on track and the next years could be even better.

  45. Tbf the wenger boo boys have no point as when any manager gets sacked most teams defend the boss and blame the players not playing well enough, and minus the ref mistakes we have lost against the big teams due to poor performances from the players available (yes our best performers of the season have been injured in these games) so wenger cant be blamed and players who havent played all season then come in cold because of injuries have no form or momentum to back them

  46. 1) Referees’ mistakes in the first half of the season.

    -We were brutally massacred by Anthony Taylor against Aston Villa (whole match – Koscielny’s penalty and the second yellow card, Vlaar’s second yellow card not given).
    -We were brutally massacred by Martin Atkinson AND his linesmen against Manchester City (two offside-calls at 1:1 and 2:1 respectively when Monreal and Walcott were in the promising position, Yaya Toure’s foul on Giroud that should have been a red card for the Ivorian at 3:1 with 40 minutes to go, Zabaleta’s handball).
    -We were brutally robbed by Mike Dean against Chelsea (a penalty on Walcott and a red card for their Mikel’s foul on our Mikel).

    2) Unbelievable fixture-list.

    No, seriously, has it ever bloody happened before? We have had four non-human streaks of tough matches this season. Chelsea (COC), Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United in just twelve days; then Everton, Napoli and City in space of just six days followed with Chelsea nine days later; Liverpool (twice), Manchester United and Bayern in just eleven days; Everton (twice), Bayern, Spuds, Chelsea and City in space of one month (plus Swansea between matches against Oilers where we had lost two points).

    3) Unbelievable streak of injuries.

    Comparing to this one, last season was an injury-free season. Diaby hasn’t played a single minute, Wilshere has been out for a while, our player of the season Ramsey has missed fourteen games, Özil had missed more than a few matches (including big ones in March) and our paciest striker and the top-scorer from the last season has been out since the beginning of the year. Add Podolski’s three-and-half months spell on the sidelines and constant Gibbs’ issues with injuries (he missed matches against City, Liverpool and Everton) plus the fact he got wrongly sent off against Chelsea.

    4) Dip in form away from home.

    Since that stupid equalizer against Southampton that was so avoidable until our victory against Hull City we had been poor away from home (except, of course, against Spuds). We had lost four out of five away matches (Liverpool, Stoke, Chelsea, Everton) in that period and our title bid was effectively over. All-in-all, we have won just three points out of 18 possible in away matches against the rest of Top 7 this season.

    5) Poor handling of January transfer window.

    Theo Walcott has been out since 4th January. Arsene Wenger looked for a striker that could play with and without Giroud last summer and didn’t find one on time. Aaron Ramsey’s injury was another well-known long-term blow and Wenger responded by signing injured Kim Kallstrom on the very last day of the transfer deadline because there was no free-loans available. Giroud’s and Özil’s dip in form had coincided with Walcott’s and Ramsey’s injury – it’s true – but there is a part when Wenger should have signed a pacey striker to help us get through the hell of February and March (that fixture list was well-known since December).

  47. Just thought I would congratulate us all for not bringing this thread down to the level some other sites seem to create. Very few spelling mistakes, well written comment and no vitriol!

    I responded to Bootoomee this morning and am pleased to ‘meet’ a few like minded souls as a result. Hopefully Sunday’s atmosphere at the Emirates will be buoyant and my first year with a season ticket will end with my record intact.

    FA Cup prediction….we put 3 or 4 past them in the first half; roll out with the highest win for years…and enjoy all the nonsense from the pundits, Mancs, Spuds, Mugsmashers, Chelski fans who will undoubtedly say we “only beat Hull”.

    Adrian Durham on Talksport will no doubt come up with something irritating (did anyone hear him tonight: t**t):

    You’ve got to be in it to win it!

  48. Bootoomee – we usually are on the same page! Just don’t want the shine to be taken away from our remorseless efficiency against the bottom half. And the reason I have been looking out for that this season is partly due to your assertion way back when on the route to the title! I also know that every poor result against a lower half team brings out the moaners in a flood!

  49. @Ted
    I have kicked Talksport into touch, I do not listen their pathetic nonsense any more and as a result my blood pressure has returned to normal.

  50. @Josif
    Agreed with you up to point 5.
    Where was that pacey striker for Arsene Wenger to sign?
    As he himself said at one point, there is a shortage of top strikers about.
    We are lucky to have 20 goal Giroud who can survive 50 battles every match.
    I also think Sanogo is coming along nicely.

  51. Cheers Mick…it’s Durham that’s the problem mainly to my ears!

    Colin Murray is good and it’s better when the ginger one is on with him! Even Alan Brazil is generous with us and Hawksbee/Jacobs can be quite entertaining.

    But AD: went overboard after our defeat against Villa and it was great to hear him read out the league tables a few weeks later. Once in a while he says something good, albeit rarely, but today he was having a pop at us for the general disgust over the rumours about Dennis Bergkamp lowering himself to steer the sinking ship up the road. I seem to recall DB speaking at half time the other week and implying that there was only one place he would come to. One Gooner called him and challenged him to call Ian Wright to see what he thought…strangely enough he declined!

  52. We are a professional football club and fixtures should never be an issue. We should be able to play the best teams in any order on any day or night.

    What we should expect is a fair set of officials in every game. Human error is tolerable but BIAS is not.

    Our preparation should include playing early mornings and late nights with minimal rest periods. It will ensure that the FA, TV and any other idiots cannot phase us.

    The only reason we should accept for a loss is the other team played better than us.

  53. The reason Arsenal lost the league is because they have failed to accumulate the most of ANY points during the course of the season. No more, no less.
    Every game is winnable just as it’s equally possible to lose to anyone on any given day .
    Setting up arbitrary and artificial targets like beating all teams in the bottom half of the table home and away , while not expecting to get anything from more difficult fixtures away to title rivals is plain silly. No football manager or player would ever do that. Not at a club with title winning ambitions.

    Why would anyone expect to win at Stoke when Arsenal have a loosing record up there but not expect to get anything from Liverpool away, where Arsenal have a winning record in the last three or four seasons?
    It defies logic. It’s not like you knew before the season Liverpool were going to be this good . I remember you were poking fun at Owens for picking Liverpool ahead of Arsenal in the final standings.

    Is beating all the teams in the bottom half of the table home and away even remotely likely? Has it ever been done? I can’t be bothered to check but my guess is NO!
    Would it make a difference to any true Arsenal fan whom we have gotten points off ,so long we end up with the most points in the end? Not to me . That’s for sure.

    If you really want to write a meaningful analysis as to why we have failed in the league this season then I’m afraid you have to ask some honest and maybe uncomfortable questions .

    Questions like; have the players done enough ? Did they show enough fight and grit on top of their technical ability in some of the matches we lost? The honest answer is NO! In a handful of matches they didn’t show up . Simple as that.

    Did the manager do enough in both TW’s to give the club the best chance of succeeding this year? I’m afraid not. This was a once in a lifetime chance for Arsen Wenger to get a jump on competition , with three of our toughest rivals changing regimes. We didn’t take full advantage.
    Had Ferguson kept his post at Man U , Arsenal would be playing Europa league next season.

    Did the referees do enough to ensure the level playing field ? An emphatic NO!,

    Did some of our injuries to key players happen as a consequence of overplaying or rushing them back too soon from injuries due to lack of quality on the bench ? Yes!
    You can’t blame all injuries on bad luck when Arsenal top the injury table every year ,just as you can’t blame them all on fouls and hard tackles alone.

    There’s also the question of tactics in some of the games that has to be addressed as well .

    If the goal of this piece was to create the feel good factor amongst the majority of posters on here who agree on almost everything most of the time then congratulations ,mission accomplished but if this was supposed to be some hard hitting( by which I don’t mean anti -Wenger or anti -players), soul searching attempt to figure out why we have failed this season in the league then this article is disappointing to say the least.

    In the mini table below you give your reasons for Arsenal losing points you thought were achievable .

    “Aston Villa at home, 3 points – (officiating)
    WBA away, 2 points – (officiating)
    Everton at home, 2 points – (I blame no one for this)
    Everton away, 1 point – (injuries)
    Man United away, 1 point – (injuries and sickness)
    Man United at home, 2 points – (I blame no one for this other than timidity and fear of losing)
    Swansea at home, 2 points – (injuries)”

    The” Man United at home ,2 points – ( blame no one for this other than timidity and fear of losing) ” is very telling.

    Surely when players are fearful and timid , someone or something has to be at fault . It can’t be the referee or injury or sickness , as it was the case(according to you ) in other instances.

    It has to be either :
    1. The manager’s inability to motivate the players for the big occasion or
    2. Players’ weak mental constitution in big games or
    3. The hangover from the devastating defeat to Liverpool from a week before

    If it’s Nr.1or Nr.2. then Arsenal have a problem that needs addressing for the next season.
    If it’s Nr. 3. then your whole argument about big defeats not having any bearing on the title race other than registering zero points from those fixtures fails to hold water – enter Mertersacker’s comments here…, which tie in with the fact that after every one of those heavy defeats Arsenal failed to win the next game at home.

    Intellectual honesty is often invoked when debates between posters heat up on here. This article lacks it badly in my opinion.
    I sincerely hope your next one will be better.
    Good luck!

  54. Excellent post, Boo. I for one really appreciate the effort. And excellent posts and contributions by the regulars.

    Tom, however, is so disingenuous it quite something. There are people on here that say he is reasonable but amid the large posts I always detect that great element that can be distilled into a single word – disingenuous. You would and should get called out at the subtle way you weave a large amount of words to detract from the objective analysis provided by Boo’s post.

  55. Man utd at I would blame the ref; Vidic bundled Giroud over and the pludits came up with their usual ‘not enough contact for me’ crap. Remember, they’re admitting there was contact, which is the key here. I think Sav got it spot on.

  56. Tom
    Bit late in the day, but you’re the first (I think) to state what’s glaringly obvious. This was a good article, but really it’s a case of the Emperors New Clothes on here most of the time .

  57. Very nice ,Boo , would have to agree with you on your points . We did make a very good tilt at the title with all the shit we had to bear , but I think we have learned much this term ,which should prepare us for next season .
    Up the Gunners !

  58. Sav from Australia,


    And you are right about Tom. He is a nit-picking disingenuous person. Always trying to be smart by half. I did not read his screed above. I just scrolled past it. Not worth it as life is too short to be spent arguing on semantics. Tom should probably pen his rebuttal and email it to Walter.

  59. Jax,

    Can you be an even bigger pussy and ass-licker?

    Yours is the 4th comment and in that a few more you did not seem to have any problem with the article or Untold but you have to wait Tom made the 50+ comment to conclude that “…really it’s a case of the Emperors New Clothes on here most of the time .”

    Have you no conviction of your own? Can’t wait to see you parrot Rupert Cook when he finally makes it here.

  60. @Tom, good response.

    This Aston Villa game seems to be the most argued about match this season. Yes the officiating was terrible but we weren’t very good either. Now you could say that that was down to the way the game was officiated and that affected us and that’s a fair point or you could say we just weren’t very good on the day which is true. It’s probably a mix of the two but which is the most influential of the two is hard to define and depends on your bias.

    I love the way people assume that if the score was 0-0 and we were denied a penalty in the 70th minute, which we should have had, we’d have then won the game. Do you not think that if we’d have got the penalty the opposition would have not had a chance to equalize in the remaining twenty minutes? Or do they just give up?

    I also find it bizarre, as Tom said, that someone can believe that every team below us is going to be vanquished. On paper this should happen but football isn’t like that. As he says has any team ever beaten every team in the bottom 12 or 13 home and away before? We did a pretty good job of nearly doing it this season but it’s a huge challenge.

    Also not beating Swansea at home, was that really down to injuries? I’m sure we beat better teams at home when we had similar injury problems. I don’t think it’s one particular thing that explains our losses, or any team for that matter, it’s a multitude of things, some we don’t, or can’t, even know about.

  61. @Bootoome, only a minute later. 🙂 There’s nothing wrong with what you believe if you accept that there are solid arguments against what you say. Just because I disagree with some of what you claim doesn’t mean I’m right and you’re wrong. I don’t understand why you get so upset and defensive when alternative views are aired. Nearly everything people say on here is merely opinion, very little of your piece is fact but that doesn’t mean it might not be correct.

  62. You Will Need

    Calm nerves
    Quick wits
    Snack food
    Wet naps (just in case)


    Step 1 Don’t panic

    Stay calm. In addition to your apparently enthralling scent, fear can be sniffed out by dogs—so panicking may only exacerbate the situation.

    Step 2. Try a bribe

    Drag yourself and your frisky friend over to the buffet table and discreetly offer him a tasty treat in exchange for a dismount.

    Go for a meaty snack; he probably won’t let go of your leg for a celery stick.

    Step 3 . Fake him out

    If you don’t have a snack, try throwing an imaginary ball across the room.

    Step 4 . Make a joke

    If none of your tricks have worked, it’s time to get others involved. Call attention to your predicament with a joke. Just be cool about it. Your host will be embarrassed enough without you piling on.

    Try this one: ‘Whoa, easy there, Fido—that’s not a Milk Bone in my pocket.’

    Step 5. Demand assistance

    At this point, if the mutt has not been removed, all bets are off. You are well within your rights to howl at your host. Feel free to use profanity.
    Step 6
    Ride it out

    If the dog’s owner is uncooperative, you just may have to weather the storm. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get a new best friend out of the deal.

    Neutered and female dogs sometimes hump legs as an act of dominance, not sex—so get over yourself already!

  63. Rupert Cook,

    I may not like your guts or anything you have to say on Arsenal but at least I respect your conviction and the fact that you always stand up for what you believe; even if I think you are wrong.

    Jax on the other hand is a yes-man and a convictionless pussy.

  64. Bootoomee
    Why am I not surprised at your reaction to my post? I did make some very early comments (not very adventurous I know), but I’ve just said that your article was good. I know this sounds a bit patronising, but I thought it was well researched and better written than most of the other occasional writers efforts on here. It’s too bad that you don’t like the way I present myself or that I don’t fit the UA profile. I make lots of original comments, but if I show any support for left field contributors you go into one. Just suck it up………dude!

  65. Bootoomee
    One other small thing. What on earth can you object to in my reply to Tom’s post? Jesus H Christ! You’re just lurking, waiting for me to show up so you can start your bully boy stuff all over again.

  66. @Bootoome, even my wife doesn’t like my guts urggh! If you did I’d find it odd but each to their own 🙂

    We both believe what we believe but I’m sure you’d admit that we can both be wrong. What I believe isn’t set in stone; of course I think I’m right but I have to acknowledge that I may not be.

    Virtually everything written on here is supposition or opinion which for many becomes hard fact the minute a certain poster writes it. For instance if I write something it’s almost always disregarded despite how much logic I employ, this is because I’m perceived as anti-Arsenal and so everything I write is obviously false. I don’t question the support of those for the club who believe the opposite of me even if some of their assumptions are illogical. Of course from your viewpoint you probably think I lack any logic. Anyway whoever strives for logic is usually outwitted by the lack of actual facts they are privy to.

    It would be so much easier and probably pleasanter to debate all these issues face to face in a pub.

  67. Rupert
    Our timing today is fantastic. The self “aggrandising one” is having a bit of a day going through his insult folder.

  68. @Jax, I’m off to buy some shelving stuff. I expect this place to be in anti-Rupert meltdown when I return.

  69. Rupert
    Yes the cavalry will arrive at any time now. Enjoy the shopping trip

  70. I dont think media picks up all the bones thrown at them, just the ones they want to hear. Eg: In that “explosive” ( media word alert) interview by Santi he apparently said he will be off if arsenal doesnt win and there were a few other “explosive” stuff said in that interview all of which made big headlines, yet as the author of this blog states , santi also stated – “losing to stoke finished us, you dont lose to stoke when you want to be champs” – this part was overlooked, selectively missed, un headlined ( sorry couldn’t think of a better word) when they came up with losing to top teams finished – bone- that per threw at them.

    They will report as they want , will use the player comments as it fits.

  71. @Jax & BBCC (boring boring corrosive cook)

    Re you inane comments: –

    “I expect this place to be in anti-Rupert meltdown when I return.”

    “Yes the cavalry will arrive at any time now.”

    You guys are behaving like junior school trolls – you know you have misbehaved & are self-amused by the experience.

    I don’t expect better from the BBCC, but Jax you are letting your pal of 20 years drag you into bad habits.

    As for your double teaming love fest – did you have a misadventure with airplane glue?

  72. Jax,

    My problem with you is the same as my problem with people like you that I encounter at work and everywhere else: people, whose opinion is only formed after it has been expressed by others.

    My question to you remains: why did it take you so long to decide that “….really it’s a case of the Emperors New Clothes on here most of the time.”

    Why didn’t you say this in all your previous comments that were in fact mostly complimentary until you have Tom’s disingenuous objections to latch on to?

  73. r.iris,

    Spot on!

    I was led me to write this article by the common wisdom that is being parrotted that we lost the league because of the losses away to the top 3. They latched unto Mertesacker’s comment about those games “killing” us as definite proof. But as you have so astutely shown here, Cazorla made a more specific and conclusive statement:

    “losing to stoke finished us, you don’t lose to stoke when you want to be champs”

    This is logically true in every respect. But no one is going about quoting Santi’s definitive statement. You see, even if his statement is logical, it is not ‘sexy’ and it does not fit in with what the media what to say and what many among our fans want to hear.

    Chelsea are not going to win the league but it is not going to be because they lost to Everton or drew away to Tottenham and Arsenal. They are not winning the league because they lost at home to Sunderland. To paraphrase Cazorla:

    “losing (at home) to Sunderland finished them, you don’t lose to Sunderland (at home) when you want to be champs”

    All lost points count but those lost against easier opponents count more in the final analysis.

  74. I think it`s flawed looking at mini leagues, comparing last seasons results against this seasons to try and get any trend or draw conclusion. For me the only thing that matters is improvement can only be measured when you compare end of season position and points total to the previous season to really know how you have performed.

    Arsenal and quite probably Chelsea didn’t loose the league quite simply whoever wins it is the better team end off.

    I do think that having to hit the ground running in August 2013 and with the two CL qualifiers make it very difficult and I wouldn’t dismiss the impact of this with regard to how you approached the Villa game in Aug 2013

    The trouble is next season should you win the FA cup and don’t get third place then I think your manager will face a fixture nightmare in August.

    Why you may ask .
    Well the World Cup finals are played in mid July. All players will be given at least two weeks off. Whilst I doubt the English players will be involved at that late date I would expect the Germans & Spanish to be there or there abouts.

    What will make it difficult for Arsenal is that winning the FA cup will require then to play in the Charity Shield on 10 August, two CL qualifiers between 19 August & 27 August , EPL fixtures on 16, 23 & 30 August .So in a period of around 20 days you will have to play 6 competitive games and that will be with a squad at various stages of fitness.


  75. @Bootoome

    If you are right about Chelsea not winning the league due o losing at home to Sunderland how do you assess the impact of your first game of season at home to Villa?

  76. Mike T,

    You need to read the article again as well as many of my comments above. Of course losing our 1st match to Aston Villa at home is a HUGE deal to me. A much bigger deal than losing 6-0 away to Chelsea in my opinion.

  77. @Bootoome

    I read the article and indeed the comments. But it was your comment at 10.41 that attracted me where you this was written

    losing (at home) to Sunderland finished them, you don’t lose to Sunderland (at home) when you want to be champs”

    Hence my question. In effect did losing at home to Villa finish you off ?

    In my mind of course it didn’t just like the Sunderland game didn’t finish us of. In a one off game then the result is irreversible but over a 38 game season such a statement really doesn’t hold water.

  78. Bootoomee
    You’re right, it was late and probably inopportune, but I have expressed that opinion before: not exactly like that, but always people won’t admit to the obvious. Anyway, you don’t need to complain, you’ve got probably 95% positive (some almost unhealthily so) comments. Ass-licking indeed! You’re not at all bothered by it. And neither should you be. It’s the blow job people who should concern you, just read back over a few of them.

  79. @boo it is so easy to state the obvious. Your post was excellent as it avoided the obvious and considered an alternate view.

    The one thing that the disingenuous genius didn’t mention was walking out the front door and worrying about the sky falling on our heads.

  80. Mike T,

    You may never admit it but I know that deep down inside you, that Sunderland loss is the most painful and the one that ought to NEVER have happened.

    Another point that you are ignoring is the fact that Arsenal is losing the league by 7 points while Chelsea is losing it by only 2. Beating Aston Villa, while it would have been very helpful to our chances, wouldn’t have won us the league. Chelsea beating Sunderland on the other hand would. So while losing at home to Vila is a big deal for us, based on the final table, losing at home to Sunderland is a much bigger deal for Chelsea.

    I hope that settles it.

  81. bjtgooner
    Sorry, missed your post earlier. Hope you’re OK.
    True, but at least Rupert & I are having a good laugh.
    We share a joke about casting for a new Carry On film—Carry On Gunners, with Charles Hawtree as Wenger. If we were to have a UA plug in to that film we might be able to find some new cast members here.
    Any ideas? Perhaps Mandy might like to attend casting.

  82. @Jax

    Looks like whatever you have been smoking has scrambled your brain.

  83. A father, mother, and son were going to Europe and were going to visit the nude beaches while they were there.

    They didn’t want the son to get a distorted view of beauty, so they told him, “The men with really big dicks and the girls with really, really big boobs are both really, really dumb.”

    When they got to the beach they split up. Later the mother saw the son and asked where his dad was.

    The boy said, ”Well, the last time I saw him he was talking to this really, really, dumb blonde, and the longer they talked, the dumber he got.”

  84. One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night…

    One fine day in the middle of the night, two dead boys got up to fight.

    Back to back they faced each other, drew their swords and shot each other.

    The deaf policeman heard the noise, and came and shot those two dead boys.

    If you don’t believe this joke is true, ask the blind man, he saw it too.

  85. Clearly Cheating

    A man cheats on his girlfriend named Lorraine with a girl named Clearly.

    Suddenly, Lorraine died.

    At the funeral, the man stands up and sings, “I can see Clearly now, Lorraine is gone.”

  86. Bootoomee

    Alas Mike T seems to have trouble absorbing arguments and facing facts.

    Despite the fact I have pointed out at least half a dozen times that Chelsea and City have, over the last 10 and 5 years respectively, had a Net spend in excess of TEN TIMES that of ours he still comes out with nonsense like this.

    Mike T

    May 1, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    “No need to clarify as its perfectly clear.

    Spending although no guarantee has historically improved a clubs chance of success.

    Would Arsenal spending more have stopped Chelsea winning a trophy or two? Who knows !”

    Again vague and evasive.

    “spending more” What’s that supposed to mean? How much more? £1 more? £10 Million more? £100 Million more?

    Even this ‘supposed’ £100 Million more is still ONE FIFTH of what they spend.

    It’s as stupid as saying ‘If Palace had spent more maybe they could of got in the top 4, who knows’

    Well I suppose they could. Depends how much more, more, means really though doesn’t it.

    Of course, if anyone spent a bit more they MIGHT do a bit better. But when spending a bit ‘more’ still only brings you to within ONE FIFTH of the spend of your closest rival, the chances are it’s still not going to be enough isn’t it.

    Add to that the risks involved with spending to your absolute limits and it really is a nonsensical argument.

  87. On second thoughts, in relation to City and Chelsea you can totally disregard that last line because of course they don’t have any ‘limits’ to worry about do they.

    Another aspect of all this that, not only Mike T but all Chelsea/City fans seem to conveniently brush over as if an irrelevance.

  88. @boo @mike T – Using snooker analogy, losing to Villa was like missing a red at the beginning of a frame. Losing to Sunderland was like missing the brown when requiring the colours. Both cases had bad ‘kicks’ from the PGMOL table in my opinion.

    The oiler spends had a demoralising effect on Arsenal in that players that could’ve come to Arsenal went to Chelsea and Man City just bought the agent who represented our key players as well as all the ex Arsenal people they could muster.

  89. jambug,

    I notice it myself. I just find cyclic arguments irritating. Sometimes I think we should just say “let’s agree to disagree” and be done with it.

  90. Bootoomee.

    I know it’s frustrating but the truth is Mike T is probably just as frustrated.

    As with an Atheist and a Christian or a communist and a fascist, more often than not there going to go round and round in circles and both end up exactly where they started.

    Alas it’s the way of things when you have what are basically totally opposed points of view.

  91. Mandy,
    Interesting… I wrote an article about Hazard a few years ago. And I mentioned his ‘weakness’. Mourinho should have read Untold 😉

  92. @Jambug & Bootoomee

    First had we beaten Sunderland would we then have gone on and beaten Liverpool? I suspect not but we will never know

    When I say I don’t know if Arsenal would have won more if they spent more . I really don’t. Do you?What I went on to say that spending more guarantees nothing but statistically greater spending increase a teams chances of winning more.

    Why do you find that sort of comment evasive?

    As for understanding the arguments I am only to aware what they are the trouble is that you are looking at a set of figures in isolation and drawing conclusions or perhaps should I say seeking solace in them. Ok Arsenals best what 10 players over the last 10 years wanted away from Arsenal and you got about £200 million in transfer fees for them. Great business well done. AW has more than balanced the books well done.
    As for spending to your limits. The evidence is clearly there be it £1 more £100 more or maybe even £100 million more Arsenal have not spent to their limits.

  93. Hazard seems like he is being branded a bit of a luxury player. Would have liked him at Arsenal but guess we now have sufficient cover in his position, and Jose will not sell him to us. Guess Jose will now get Costa for Torres plus cash, reports link Hazard with PSG, wonder if PSG have a player he wants? not many could afford EH He may have weakness but he is some player

  94. @ Mandy

    There is indeed a player or two at PSG that Chelsea want and there are strong rumours that Cavani & Lavezzi are being looked at.
    Walter talks about Hazard and to a degree he is right in that when a team doubles up on him Hazard struggles a little . When they don’t he controls the game.

  95. Mike T,

    Now you are engaging in cyclic argument. We are not discussing hypotheticals here. We are comparing all points lost and asking which should not have been lost based on how relatively easy it was to get them.

    I’ll like to end this line of argument here if you don’t mind.

  96. Mike T

    Do you think Crystal Palace could of finished 4th if they’d spent a bit more money?

  97. Both good players Mike T, played a major role in Napoli’s revival – guess Ibrahimovic might be restricting their game time a bit at PSG

  98. Mike T

    What are Arsenals limits? You seem to know.

    What are Chelseas limits? That you cannot possibly hope to know because they are as much as Roman is willing to spend.

  99. @ Mike T – spending improves chances??? what happened to the spuds? They spent and bought more chicken shit. Spending only works if the buyer & coach understand the game.

    Money is useful to buy but doesn’t improve class if the purchase does nor fit.

  100. I’m sure Hazard will play well for Arsenal so if Chelsea don’t want him….. Arsenal were beaten to Hazard by money and now come the negatives.

    TV will do well to stay and with Hazard will really make the squad robust.

  101. @ Bootoome

    You said

    We are not discussing hypotheticals here. We are comparing all points lost and asking which should not have been lost based on how relatively easy it was to get them.

    There are no easy games in the EPL so when you try and work out which points are relatively easy to get is a dangerous game to play some would say almost arrogant.


    Where do I say know what Arsenals limits were. I said in effect whatever they were.

    As for Chelsea’s they were limitless for the last two and soon to be three years they are determined by FFP.

  102. @ Menace

    I am afraid money does talk and the facts are that for every example such as Spurs there are far more examples of teams spending and improving,

  103. Mike T,

    I think that you are one of those who have bought the media driven cliché. Of course games are of relative difficulty as teams don’t have equal strengths.

    “There are no easy games in the premiership” is an English media driven cliché and as a hater of clichés and common wisdom, I reject it. The premiership may be more competitive than other leagues but games are still relatively easier than each other.

  104. Arsenal suffer general referee bias, leading to loss of points through various means, be they penalties, incorrect fouls given for/against or injuries sustained over a season.

    What excuse do Chelsea have?

    To be frank, Arsenal under Wenger has slowly but surely turned into a beast. He is the master. My ‘only’ concern, is who replaces Wenger, eventually. With the right successor, Arsenal will continue to grow and as we are already at a very high level – well quote Star Wars and the Lord of the Sith – ‘There’ll be no one to stop us this time!’ [picture it with James Earl Jones…menacing] ….but to be honest, they could barely stop us this season. I’m laughing because with a few top, top quality additions – who has what it takes to stop The Arsenal?

    Years from now, when all the winning and success is said and done – lets remember the dark days, the doubters, the whiners, the AAAs – and lets remember posts like this, that told the truth in the sea of darkness.

  105. Bootoomee

    Incredible comment!

    If it were as simple as that why is it so difficult to predict the outcome of games? If there were relatively easier games then it would be a doddle to beat the bookies.

    I tell you what to prove its relatively easy how about
    predict the outcome of these games. Get 4 right and I will fully accept that its a cliché current league positions in alongside each club

    Swansea 12v Soton 8
    West Ham 14v Spurs 6
    Villa16 v Hull 13
    Everton 5 v Man City 3
    Newcastle 9 v Cardiff 20
    Stoke 10 v Fulham 19

  106. I have never tried to do so but it should be possible to devise an equation to help predict match outcomes. Maybe some of the professional punters have already done so!

    However, much more information would be needed than current league position – it would be unfair and inconsiderate to ask anyone to predict results based on that information alone.

    In addition to footballing information e.g. recent form, home or away, injuries etc an additional element would be required to factor the ref and any known bias.

    Any development mathematicians out there?

  107. Mike T

    That is the whole point. You don’t know how much money they had.

    Saying simply “if they had spent ‘more’ money you never know” is simply a ridiculous statement. That could be said about every team in the PL. Palace, Spurs, Everton, WBA, whoever you want to pick, if they had ‘spent more money’ you would never know with them either.

    I think you are normally a decent poster but just keep repeating “if you spend more money, you never know” is such a vague, intangible statement as to be meaningless.

  108. According to the Chelsea manager, the tactical genius also known as Jose Mourhino, Chelsea are failing to win the league because of losses to Aston Villa and Sunderland:

    “It’s because of matches like Villa and Sunderland that we’re not in a better position.”

    I wonder why he didn’t mention their losses away to Everton.

  109. @Jambug

    When I say I don’t now its really is because I genuinely don’t know, Who would or indeed could? Spending money has more often than out improved results and thus position but as someone pointed out it didn’t work out that way for Spurs.


    The context of those two games being mentioned was that he felt that the performance of match officials (Foy & Dean) had a major impact in respect of the outcome. He didn’t feel that in the Everton game( where Webb was the ref) the result was influenced by the officials performance however, he did mention the game in his press conference yesterday when he said this

    ” We had lots of games where we were fantastic; at Everton, for example, at half-time it should have been 5-0 and it was 0-1″

  110. The odds in football are created initially by a selection of criteria but eventually the odds are arrived at by volume of money. It is a simple accounts book that is ‘balanced’ to always minimize risk & show a profit no matter what result.

    In football oil money buys an indeterminate squad of quality that can be loaned or benched and monopolizes the better players. It does not make a better team or playing strategy. That is why Man City & Chelsea are up there but still unsure.

    The imbalance/incompetence of officiating makes everything uncertain including class rising to the top over a period of time.

    In one of today’s games a player lay on the pitch injured(/feigning injury?) while the official would not allow him treatment waiting to give him a yellow card. The official was wrong because everyone deserves treatment irrelevant of what the injury is. The player will have to leave the field following treatment. If the official feels the player was ‘time wasting’ then he can be delayed permission to return to the field of play and time can be added on at the end of the game. That official was Probert (the Cup Final referee) the player was Dzeko of Man City.

    Probert has to be disciplined for not allowing an injury to be treated. Only a medically qualified individual has the authority to do that.

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