Why it is always important to look further than the last result

By Walter Broeckx

This article is published on 6th April (unless you are in Australia in which case it is probably 7th April – or in the Pacific and it is still the 5th).

But wherever you are we are at or coming up to or have just had the two month anniversary of the last bad day that we have known in the league. I don’t want to bring back bad memories but two months ago we lost at the home of our closest rivals.

That was of course a day that at the aaa had a great day. They could come on places like Untold and the shouting and insulting reached amazing Heights. I remember it being the days that Tony and I had to block a few people from the site for the usual reasons: abusive behaviour and repeated assertions made without evidence.

Yes it was a bad result. And a painful defeat. And to make matters worse they even crept above us in the league table that day.

That day the league tables said:

  1. Chelsea 56 points
  2. Man City 49 points
  3. Southampton 45 points
  4. Manchester United 43 points
  5. Tottenham 43 points
  6. Arsenal 42 points

One point behind. 6th place. People shouted at blogs, at TV cameras, the end was near. There was no coming back from this. We were finished. The manager was clueless. And that was the polite way of saying it. It usually was in a stronger language of course but that was the general point.

But as usual Untold kept its cool and didn’t follow the trend, we were not out-shouting everyone else, as the more fickle part of our fan base were trying to do.

Of course we had seen it all before. Bad day at the office, let’s just continue our support for the next match. People called us deluded and said that if we couldn’t see that our manager had lost it we were blind or stupid. Or both.

We supported our players and the manager after that bad day. And now two months later we have this table

  1. Chelsea 70 points (1 game in hand)
  2. Arsenal 63 points.
  3. Manchester United 62 points
  4. Manchester City 61 points (1 game in hand)
  5. Liverpool 54 points
  6. Tottenham 54 points
  7. Southampton 53 points

So from going one point behind Tottenham two months ago we are now 9 points in front of them. That is a swing of 10 points. If you compare it with Southampton we can also see that we have gone from being 3 points behind them to now being 10 in front. A swing of 13 points.

And if we compare to the other clubs we sure have won ground on them albeit not as spectacularly as on those two teams.

In those days the managers of Southampton and Tottenham were called far better than Wenger. But that part of the shouting has silenced a bit these days.

As so many times before any manager having a good run (hell even Sam Allardyce was named a good option by some early this season…) was hailed as a better option than Wenger. But the longer the season goes on it usually is that most of them have to concede that Wenger is still getting more points on the counter than any of them.

This is not saying they are bad managers. No, they can win a game against Arsenal on a good day but winning one match is not the way to judge things. As we have said umpteen times.

How we would have done this season if we would have had a few more players fit is anyone’s guess. Imagine having Giroud in this form for a whole season? That could have given us at least another 5 or 6 goals extra. Imagine having Özil fit for the whole season? That would have given us maybe even more goals. Not scored by our Weltmeister himself of course but it sure would have given other players more chances to score from.

Imagine Koscielny being fit all season. Debuchy….. even though I must admit I don’t know if he will still get a chance in the team as long as Bellerin is performing as he does. Ramsey having a full season rather than a start-stop season going from a few matches to an injury and then again a few good matches and then again an injury.

Missing such important key players have cost us a few points. And that is without going any deeper into the referee messing up as we have seen more than once this season.

I don’t know what the rest of the season will bring. But I do know that the squad we have now, if they can stay fit, can go the whole way.  It would be a bit much this season (because of the reasons mentioned) to expect to go for the title. But I do know that I do have a good feeling about next season.

I do think that Wenger will add a bit to this team but I don’t know who and where he will spend some money. Who am I to say who to buy and where? I think he knows these things much better than I and I completely trust him to do what he thinks is the best thing to do. And that might include adding another youngster like he did with Bellerin and Coquelin this season.

Supporting is not about the last match. Sometimes it is about swallowing the bitter pill and keep on supporting the team. And about keeping on supporting even on the bad days. And never forget to look at the bigger picture.

On this day (from our anniversary files)

6 April 2004: Arsenal 1 Chelsea 2: Champions League Quarter Final second leg.  Reyes gave Arsenal the lead, but Lehmann gifted the equaliser and Bridge scored with three minutes to go.  The press headlines were “It’s all Gun wrong” and “Arsenal season in ruins”.  The ruins included winning the Premier League unbeaten just 39 days later.

33 Replies to “Why it is always important to look further than the last result”

  1. If we finish second or third, I wonder what will those of little faith will have to say.
    We, who have loyally followed our heroes from the heady days of the 1930’s, accept Arsenal’s success and failure in equal measure.
    Would that ALL supporters could do the same. ;(

  2. the AAA (aaa) have their narrative. If we finish 2d it will be ‘why didnt we sign so-and-so and then win the league’? It will ‘well the other teams are crap, its a crap league’, or ‘Chelsea won it with Fabregas, why didnt we sign cesc?’ Or like on Saturday they will divert their attention to other issues. I saw some pictures of the protest about ticket prices on Twitter and who was there – in his ‘enough is enough: wenger out’ T-Shirt, why yes, the man from row 9! I bet he had a miserable afternoon watching us beat Liverpool 4-1

  3. A very good article, i’ve been a gunners supporter since the late 90’s from a pacific country called Papua New Guinea. I think i can safely say Arsene truly knows best.
    If we can win the FA Cup and finish 2nd or unimaginaby take the title it’ll be a successful season regardless.
    Arsenal Supporter for Life

  4. It’s certainly been an exceptional recovery with some outstanding (even unlikely ) results, and there’s every chance of us holding the second spot and getting closer to Chelsea.
    Looking at the squad I don’t think we need any panic buys, but just a little reinforcement here & there.

  5. One of the criticisms that mystifies me most is that Arsenal are a team without ‘leaders’ and, as a result, are tactically inflexible on the pitch.
    We absolutely dominated the first 15mins of the Liverpool game but failed to score. Liverpool came more into it (inevitably because they are a good side) but we didn’t panic and in our supposedly ramshakled and rudderless way scored three quite brilliant goals to go in at half time with a fully justifiable and desrved scoreline.
    Teams without a plan, leadership or spirit just don’t do that.

  6. Hear, hear! In American college and professional sports, many coaches and managers in recent years have taken to stressing to their players and, through the media, to fans that “it’s important not to get too “high” [emotionally] when you win or too “low” [emotionally] when you lose”. And, IMHO, fans should take that to heart.

    It is important to recognize that it’s a long season and there are going to be “ups-and-downs” and unexpected things that will happen over the course of the season. It’s also important to understand that a club can’t always have a superstar at every position and that, even if it did (Chelsea, MC, RM, Barca, BM), that doesn’t always guarantee that the team will be cohesive or win when it faces real competition as in the Premier League. Every superstar was a young, inexperienced kid once and lockerroom chemistry–or the lack thereof–is important and can make or break a club. Also there are times when no amount of money–nothing short of putting a gun to someone’s head (which no club can do!)–can get a player to come to your club, no matter how much you think that the club should get him.

    Having played a sport at its highest level and worked for a professional club in a different sport, I can tell you that there are things that go on behind the scenes at every club (in spite of the media scrutiny) that the fans don’t know about (and may never know about) that directly impact what managers and the club itself may do or not do–things that can dictate seemingly incomprehensible moves or that can hurt or help a club’s ability to be successful. Money and playing ability are sometimes only part of the story. And, we, as fans, oftentimes do not know the whole story of what is going on at the club that we follow most closely.

    I’ve seen enough incompetent management of professional sports clubs over the years not to always be willing to trust the manager or the front office. But, when you have a manager who has had a lot of success and a front office that is willing and able to give him the resources to build the team, as fans, we should give him some leeway before calling for his head. For various reasons certain things that he may try to do don’t work out or he is unable to do exactly what he wants to do (or get the player that he needs to make his system work).

    In Arsenal’s case this season, the way I see it is: how many clubs, even top clubs, could have lost as many key starting players for as long as Arsenal did at the beginning of the season and still be in a position to compete for the league title and possibly win a Cup trophy at this stage? Not many, I’d venture. Could Arsenal have done better in the CL? Absolutely. It should have. But, overall, there have been signs that the club is moving in the right direction. And, Wenger deserves credit for that and a chance to see if he can continue to move the club in that direction. Let’s see if he can find or develop those couple of extra talents that the club needs to get to the next level.

  7. Great write up. This team has passed all the tests with flying colours, yet, as Blacksheep says, they’ll still find something to moan about. These are people who have some kind of disease, and there’s just no pleasing them. The other thing I enjoy from this good run, other than the obvious joys of winning, is that the aaa have been forced to go into hibernation. You’d think if they cared so much about the club from the noise they make when we have a slight glitch,then they’d be the first ones here making the most noise when things click since that is what they claim to desire; we are accused of lacking ambition when we say calm down, it’s all under control. But it doesn’t work that way with this lot, they’re only around to criticise, so it seems.

    About additions I personally don’t think we need an, where would they fit? We have players struggling to get into that team; Chambers, Rosicky, Podolski, Campbell, not sure if Debuchy will just walk back in into the side, Arteta when he comes back, Theo isn’t even guaranteed of a place anymore, we have youngsters bubbling under such as Akpom, Zelalem,Hayden,Sanogo…. etc. This is the dilemma the manager has already without any new additions. Should we be getting anyone then it’d be just as extra cover in defence maybe. But that’s about it.

  8. Some of the more miserablist blog commenters are starting to have second thoughts about “Wenger out” – although by no means all. Some people find it very tough to admit they were wrong (and, to be fair, we shouldn’t judge until the season is over).

    I do see some continuing to show tremendous hindsight bias in focusing on the Monaco game at home – where I still maintain we were singularly unfortunate.

    Anyway, just enjoying the moment! Have a full week now to rest weary limbs and practice those training drills before Saturday.

  9. Even the media seem quiet on us now, guess they would appear stupid to carry on the mindless critique with the run we are on. Even the refs cannot do us now, this team are so good. Wonder if some…but probably not all of these refs are just giving up making fools of their professionalism secure in the knowledge that their bosses fave team, as well as the team of choice of Skydamore will now make the top four barring something highly unexpected.
    Yes those aaa days were bad days, Monaco it now turns out was a bit of a blip. We got Soton on a good day for them and a bad day for us, it happens. As for Spurs, the performance of Atkinson, who we shall unfortunately see again soon must be factored in, he gave us nothing and Spurs everything.
    We might yet have more bad days this season, who knows, but if we do, it should be put in context to our recent run.
    Yes, two or three dark days in 2015, that’s all. But to use an analogy of a different time, during those dark days, the likes of Untold and Positively Arsenal stood alone. And it turns out, we were correct to do so.
    I hope that by the end of the season, even some of the less entrenched aaa can bring themselves to join the party, like some of them did for a day last May.

  10. @ insideright

    Well said. Also I still can’t fathom how someone who call himself a fan or a supporter of a football club will be wishing ill of the club you are supporting so that you will have something to rant about. So much negativity. Why, why, why? I wonder how people thrive in so much ill feeling. How do these people exist in their everyday life with this kind of attitude. Before every match, you will still see so called fans blasting the club, manager and players for whatever reason they could manufacture.

    I know I have said so many times than I can remember, if you can’t support a club because of their ideology, please change clubs. No one will hold you to ransom.

    Cheers and Happy Easter

  11. HaHa. Exactly so! As we write this it could still go to shit but this is the time to assess things. Players are available and competing. Support through thick and thin. I have felt low with the fickle support keep moaning. Your site has been a beacon of hope and faith. (true)

  12. I didn’t think the defeat to Spurs away was particularly painful , nor do I consider them our closest rivals other than geographically of course.
    As a matter of fact if you finish above your rivals in a table eighteen seasons running ( I think) , then how is this still even a thing?

    Nor can I recall anything in particular that Arsene Wenger did or didn’t do to deserve any criticism for the loss.
    We dropped off too deep, invited the pressure and our players went to sleep on two plays.

    Some results are more significant than others for sure but any loss away by one goal is just another result in a course of a season.

    You wanna talk about significant results that shape your season or more , then you should mention Man U defeat at home , which set them out on their somewhat lucky winning ways. They hadn’t won an away game prior and should’ve lost that one big.

    Or our last one, which quite frankly I couldn’t believe the headlines when I saw your post game report. ” another fine win”????

    Are you kidding me? That was a great fucking win!
    Dominating and beating the team that should’ve won the league last year , if it wasn’t for Rodgers’ arrogance , and sending their season into a tail spin went quite some ways to exacting some revenge for last year’s humiliation.
    Not to mention if we do meet them in the FA cup final , this result will weigh on their minds.

    Now , if we can only exorcise the Mourinho demon and beat Chelsea at home, then we can truly look forward to a new era.
    For me those are truly important games . Losing to Tottenham away is just something for their fans to cherish in another otherwise Spurs- like season.

  13. A very good article Walter and a good overall summary.

    The team has evolved very well since we got over the worst of our injury problems and now has depth, experience and massive talent. And what exciting football they play – by far the best in the league.

    For most of our matches I felt that we had to defeat not only the opposition but the PGMO dinosaur as well – and as others have noted we have been good enough to do so. But lets not be complacent. The team of former manager Red Nose is still (wrongly) thought of as the “brand leader” of the EPL by Dyke, Scudamore etc and I expect the PGMO to give them all sorts of assistance to achieve the highest possible position by game 38.

    I don’t expect us to buy many players in the summer,(assuming no key players leave), perhaps one first team player and some talented youngsters to groom for the future – unlike some clubs who, to the delight of the gutter press, will buy any expensive player irrespective of quality.

  14. Great article, one of the reasons this Blog is my main source of Goon Perspective. There has been a lot of fatalist attitude towards the club by the AAA n Media, stopped trusting the headlines a long time ago. Glad that the good times are back, great progress this season, the way we are playing, we might just repeat history n go unbeaten for an entire season. Thanks for reassuring us of our sanity in the difficult moments when any positive outlook on the club was treated as a sign of going bonkers.

  15. Off topic, was searching for a video of Ozil’s well struck free kick after reading somewhere that he started wheeling away in celebration before the ball found the back of the net, and found quite a few links suggesting some in the mainstream media are starting to realise they got it wrong by critising him. This one below stood out, with some interesting stats;


    Sorry I don’t normally read anything from the mail but couldn’t resist taking a peak.

  16. @insideright – Basically, all that criticm means is that we dont have a Charlie Adams-esque player. For some reason we British seem to love such types.

  17. Great article Walter

    I read a comment in the media recently that said at the end the end of the report something like:

    “..but we all know Arsenal are always just one game away from there next catastrophe”

    and this from the Suns nasty piece of work, Howard, this weekend:

    “..some wheel has got to fall off somewhere, surely?”

    And that’s it. They’re like circling Vultures.

    These people make me sick. We are not allowed to lose. Even draw. Sometimes we are not even allowed a scrappy win and off they go again.

    A defeat, or even a draw at Burnley, and the Vultures will descend.

  18. Must admit, closest I came to buckling was the Anderlecht game (one or both I can’t remember now).

    Think it may have been the away one I found the worst of the two. We won, but it was a dreadful performance and I’d guess my dismay was born of thinking it was more than a bad performance.

    Nothing could ever make me lose respect for Wenger but I believe I was worried then that- even after my doing a reasonable job of allowing for both the current injuries and the difficulties we negotiated over the years- something was wrong with our current ideas. We were relatively predictable in attack, and horribly vulnerable to counters. It felt agonisingly familiar and it felt like a hard-to-account-for error had been made in not addressing it.

    My position was that the right thing to do, for fans, was clearly to fully support the team (manager,really- right or wrong I view everything through the manager) until the season’s end, and if there wasn’t a reasonable improvement questions really would have to be asked about what happens next (My belief, then, was that if we didn’t pick up a lot, it would mean we would probably miss out on CL and probably suffer a few more disastrous thumpings against big rivals- and that Wenger, who I trusted had always been serious in his end-of-year review, and always been right in his conclusion, might well conclude his time was up).

    In the mix, and pretty much contradicting that, was my belief that, even though I was not ready, by any stretch, to say Wenger’s time was up, he was a man I would support and want to stay as manager even after that point. He had/has that much credit in the bank for me, his contribution to the club being so vast. Even if it were true that a bad error had been made, and that Wenger felt this himself, my argument would still have been that he was the best man for the job and to put it right.

    It would be easy for me to fully erase my doubts of the time (I must be mad to bring them up here!) but, I suppose, pretty damn pointless. Safe to say, I am utterly delighted with how things are going now and happy to have been proven wrong to view things as I did then.

    Despite my thinking I had weighed things correctly, I must have yet underestimated the effect of the injuries we had, as well as being slightly out in the sense of how long it should take for the benefits of the better finances to really be felt in the squad and the team. I knew it would take time. I argued very strongly that it was nuts to expect it to happen in the first year, and in cooler moments like to think I could have predicted, and probably did predict, things would be quite a bit better in the 1st year (they were, but injuries stopped them being better again), with a bigger rise the next year (we’re on course for that, despite the severe injury blows early on), with another rise, maybe bigger again, the following year.

    We look set for that…and it’s beautiful.

    Well done to the non-waverers (and try not to be too harsh- I like it here- on me for my doubting)

  19. The last result was brilliant; but there is always the next one just around the corner – Burnley away.(A bit like “the King is dead, long live the King.”)

    Burnley managed to defeat Man City and yesterday drew with the Spuds, so they are no mugs. We beat them 3 nil at the Emirates, but for a lot of the match found it hard to break them down, although at the end we could easily have put another 3 in.

    Post the Spuds match Pochettino is reported as stating that Burnley were a very aggressive team – so another difficult match for us. It is important that we win this one – as next w/e the two Manchester clubs play each other & one or both should drop points – we need to take advantage.

  20. Rich

    “Must admit, closest I came to buckling was the Anderlecht game (one or both I can’t remember now)”.

    Everybody has these moments. It’s only natural. It’s how you react when you have them that is the important thing.

    Rather than start screaming and hollering you try to put it into perspective. To see the bigger picture, the long game and all those other corny, but relevant sayings.

    If you’re like me you know the players/Wenger didn’t do it on purpose. They had a bad day at the office. It happens.

    I often would start a different 11 to Wenger.

    I often would play different tactics to Wenger.

    I often would make different substitutions, at different stages of the game.

    But who am I to question Wenger? He has all the facts at his disposal. He knows which players are buzzing, which are a bit fatigued. He knows there injury status and the relevant risks.

    He knows which players can carry out his specific instructions on any given day.

    And time and time again he is proved to be right.

    As I say, who am I to question Wenger.

    But as we know, some just wont have it. They know best. The second a game doesn’t go to plan the fantasy managers are all full of what they would of done and what Wenger did wrong.

    You never here from them after a win like Saturdays saying how they would of played player X instead of Y. Or bought on X for Y, because we won.

    The thing is Rich, must of us here on Untold know Wenger isn’t infallible. We know the players are not perfect. But rather than slaughter the team for a bad Night in Belgium or slaughter a player for a bad night against Monaco, we see the bigger picture.

    The irrational need to criticise something you are supposed to love at the merest opportunity is so alien to me that I truly find it hard to comprehend.

  21. Arsenal has learned lots over the last 2 seasons, have become tougher when needed and are ready to be feared again.

    We have watched them grow, become Arsenal and Untold will be a good place to look back at Arsenal in years to come.

    Suspect we will get a few additions in summer, 1 for academy, 2 for team(1 from academy) and we are set to go. May be leavings, but none to disrupt the team like before.

    Burnley is a must win although they are tough, but we have the class to finish them and not let them play their game.
    Come on Arsenal.

  22. Remember early in the season, the guys saying we should have bought Ulloa or Pelle (or so many others) because HFB was second rate, some of them said we don’t need a ‘team player’ striker, we just need a goal scorer…..I laughed at the time.

  23. A bit late to the party but can Andy Mack or anyone else tell me what HFB means. In context, I think it refers to Giroud but what does it stand for?

    jambug @2.33pm, well said my good friend.

  24. yeah!!!!! Manshitty just lost by 1-2 to Crystal Palace. Second place taken. Next the push for the title. The optimist in say… YES WE CAN!

  25. Jambug,

    With you on all that apart, maybe, from the very last bit. My issue is not so much that I can’t comprehend people like that, more that it’s painful to know they’re out there and that words and logic, which are important to me, can’t, no matter what effort you put in to find the write ones, make any sort of difference.

    Of course I don’t comprehend them either, in the respect of understanding their reasoning, character, perspective, habits- I just perceive all that as hopelessly wrong (though if you knew the age of all the critics you could at least hope there’s some realistic chance of change, for the younger ones)

    The way I see it, among the many pluses of the Internet, one of the big negatives is the unique manner it confronts you with something no one who has spent any time in the adult world could doubt, but we all naturally try to forget as much as possible : all manner of idiots and idiocy exists in this world. Literally millions and millions and millions of them.

    Pre-internet, it’s not as though there weren’t opportunities to interact with or merely witness unpleasant characters or idiots, or worse, in action, it’s unavoidable; but the Internet has nonetheless brought about radical change on that front.

    The price of, notionally at least, and practically to an extent, opening up lines of communication with everyone…is having constant access to diverse and relentless confirmation of how much, to put it undeservedly mildly, disagreement there is out there.

    It’s pretty mind-blowing. Thankfully, for the most part, a person’s happiness is determined by their personal circumstances (it gives people a reasonable, fighting chance); if it was the other way, and you could only be happy enough if, say, you were satisfied that humanity was, on the whole, full of good sorts, with just the odd bad egg around, the Internet for me would represent a progression from rifle fire and the odd canon shot to a sort of atom bomb to those hopes.

    It’s enough to make you crave something as simple as watching the team you love play well and win. But then, dammit, I can’t seem to leave it at that, and have to go see what all these bastards are saying about it!

  26. Rich

    “……………more that it’s painful to know they’re out there and that words and logic, which are important to me, can’t, no matter what effort you put in to find the write ones, make any sort of difference.”

    That is what I find so frustrating, although I am getting more used to it and not letting it ‘piss me off’ (for want of a better word) as much as it did.

    I put a lot of time and effort in researching facts and statistics in order to support my premise’s.

    That doesn’t of course necessarily make my premise’s right, but I do think in doing that it warrants a response with similar statistical support.

    It very rarely happens.

  27. Jambug

    I’d say that’s all a person can do- present an argument as though all parties have enough fairness and soundness of mind to make it a worthwhile endeavour- if they’re to get involved in these things.

    The art, which I’m a long way from mastering, is knowing where it’s clearly not worth the effort. Or making sure, if you do choose to debate/argue with someone who you are sure in advance won’t, maybe even can’t, respond reasonably, that you don’t let it get to you.

    I’m miles from that, as well! Quite comically, while doing my bit and avoiding Durham’s tripe, whoops, I go and step on a Piers Morgan-shaped turd.

    ‘ Memo to Arsenal fans : Either you’re 1st, or you’re not. There’s no degree of losing’

    There’s something wrong with the man, and I suppose it should be left at that.

  28. Rich

    Sometimes people make the simplest of comments that portray there true feelings.

    I have always remembered 2 such occasions that made me think, you’re not what you seem.

    Firstly Ian wright.

    He was working on Talkshite at the time and was asked: What is your biggest moment in football?

    Now you would of thought, seeing how he claims to love Arsenal so much, that it might of been his record breaking goal scoring moment at Highbury wouldn’t you?

    Nope. It was some obscure goal he scored even before he turned professional. Ok, it may of been a personally big moment, but his BIGGEST in his football career. Nah, it was a calculated snub. It felt like it at the time, and I maintain that to this day.

    2nd was Morgan.

    He was asked, again on Talkshite: What would be your dream?

    a) Walking out in an Arsenal shirt in a CL Final?

    b) Playing for Englands Cricket team in a test match against Australia.

    He chose ‘b’

    Fine, everyone’s entitled to there view, but I contest nobody who truly loves there football team would give up the chance of playing for them in a CL final for anything (accepting family issues and the like). Not if they feel anything like I do about Arsenal anyway.

    Just to be in the shirt for a league game would be enough to trump any other sporting event for me.

    Wright and Morgan. Arsenal fans? Do me a favour.

  29. So I had to settle for the replay of the game but before then I saw the goals on Sky sports… and o my o my they were all delightful and I hated myself for having to miss the game. The cohesion and efficiency at dismantling Liverpool was second to none.

    We actually can get the AAA monkeys off our backs eventually…the media are no exception- hell, they started praising Özil or the wizard of Oz – whichever works for you.

    Now Giroud is taking the pundits by surprise and is slowly walking his way into the heart of the fans…classy goal by the way…hell all were class❕❕❕

    If we make Chelsea squirm, I’ll be doing a scuba dive on a monkey train filled with blue dippers!

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