By Tony Attwood
Looking at the responses to Arsenal’s match at Liverpool I began to wonder if in making the key issue in the build up to this match last season’s result, we weren’t missing the real point.
For is being beaten by Liverpool, or indeed any other team, a sign of disaster and a sign that everything must change and the manager should go? If we were to have changed managers after a poor result, would that have helped us?
We know of course that most of the time for most clubs changing managers is a disaster. But what of the recent results? Are they a pointer to future results, or are they an irrelevance?
Here’s a snippet from Arsenal/Liverpool history
|Season||Date||Home||Result||Away||AFC’s lge pos|
|1999/0||13 Feb||Arsenal||0 – 1||Liverpool||2|
|28 Aug||Liverpool||2 – 0||Arsenal|
|1998/9||9 Jan||Arsenal||0 – 0||Liverpool||2|
|22 Aug||Liverpool||0 – 0||Arsenal|
|1997/8||6 May||Liverpool||4 – 0||Arsenal||1 (Double)|
|30 Nov||Arsenal||0 – 1||Liverpool|
|1996/7||24 Mar||Arsenal||1 – 2||Liverpool||3|
|27 Nov||Liverpool||4 – 2||Arsenal*|
|19 Aug||Liverpool||2 – 0||Arsenal|
|1995/6||1 May||Arsenal||0 – 0||Liverpool||5|
|23 Dec||Liverpool||3 – 1||Arsenal|
|1994/5||12 Apr||Arsenal||0 – 1||Liverpool||12|
|11 Jan||Liverpool||1 – 0||Arsenal*|
|28 Aug||Liverpool||3 – 0||Arsenal|
|1993/4||26 Mar||Arsenal||1 – 0||Liverpool||4|
|2 Oct||Liverpool||0 – 0||Arsenal|
|1992/3||31 Jan||Arsenal||0 – 1||Liverpool||10|
|23 Aug||Liverpool||0 – 2||Arsenal|
* League cup result. All others are Premier League. League position is the position at the end of the season, not the time of the match.
It seems from this that Arsenal v Liverpool and Liverpool v Arsenal are not really very good indicators of what happens season by season, because the heaviest defeat came in the year we won the Double.
OK, maybe there was an excuse. We had already won the League and put the reserves out for the game in May 1998.
So let’s try it another way. Saturday 23 December 2000. That’s interesting because we had by that stage a team including Vieira, Henry and Bergkamp plus other notables. And it was in December, just like the 2-2 draw we’ve just seen. What happened then – and next?
Well, what happened on 23 December 2000, was we lost 4-0. Shock horror, scream, scream, sack the manager, sack the board, and the players… except that blogging wasn’t really established then, so it was left to the press to scream, horror, horror etc etc.
I’ve actually published a review of the game, and shown the full teams for that date. It is on the Arsenal History site.
So we lost 4-0, with a team containing some of our best players of the last 50 years.
And what happened? Well in 2000/1 we came second, one point ahead of Liverpool. It was the third year running we had come second. Were there calls for Wenger to go? I don’t recall any.
And it is rather fortunate there were not, because the following season we won the League and FA Cup Double. For the third time.
The following season, 2002/3 we came second again, the games at Highbury and Anfield were both drawn, but in 2003/4 we beat Liverpool 4-2 at home, and won the League.
Now that is rather an interesting moment, because in the build up to the match the press were utterly certain Arsenal were falling apart, crashing down, hitting the dust and all sorts of other rather feeble and simplistic sayings. If you’d like to take a peek at what they were saying, and how it was that we won 4-2, that is also on the history site.
So what am I trying to say?
Basically, a result against Liverpool, or indeed all sorts of bad results don’t actually mean that we won’t win anything. 26 February 2001 – remember that? We lost to Man U 6-1. Our team was Seaman, Luzhny, Cole, Grimandi, Stepanovs, Pires, Vieira, Parlour, Silvinho, Wiltord, Henry. And what did we do in 2001/2? We won the league.
Past results don’t tell us much.
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