by Walter Broeckx
As someone asked if we could not only give a bit of general view on the goals that we conceded but an overall view on all the statistics I will try to do this. I will only take a look at the league and the performances and will not speak about cup matches; one has to draw a line somewhere! As it is I think it will be difficult enough put in some words just dealing with the league.
But here we go…
If we look at those years we can say those were the bad years. We won the league in 1991 but after that it went downhill. And how. Finishing 10th and 12th is something we have forgotten how to do in the past ten years.
But it is part of what he have gone through in the decade before this one. Also take a look at the goal difference in 2 seasons. In 92-93 we scored only 40 goals in 42 games. And in 1995 we let in 49 goals, the worst in the last 20 years. I think it is fair to say those where very bad years we love to forget.
Also I can say that in the year between our title in 1991 and in the last year of the old first division we finished 4th. If you take a look at the games won and lost you can see that we in fact lost more games than we could win.
I thought it would be interesting to put the last seasons before Wenger together with his first in charge. From the first full season in charge he made us better and winning us a title for the first time since 1991. From that season also we always won more games than we lost and this hasn’t changed since. I also chose to put these years in a seperate view because of the fact that from the season 95-96 we only played 38 games in the league season.
These are the numbers from what I would call the invincible years. Like I said before the Invincibles did not came falling out of the sky one morning but it was a defence built on many players with a lot of experience. I still think it is an incredible achievement and one to remember for a long time.
And these are the numbers from when the Invincibles left us. Wenger had to rebuild the team that was too old and he had started building on the new team. Despite this building we reached the CL final in 2006 with some very young players but that still had a foundation with some very old and experienced players in it. Pires, Henry, Bergkamp, Campbell, et al. But in the league it was clear to see that they could explode in some games but not do it game in, game out, any more.
I now will try to come up with some general conclusions. From a team that had a lot of seasons when we lost more than we won this has changed in the Wenger years to a team that always wins 20 games at least every season. The only time we did not manage to win 20 games was the first at the Emirates. We drew too many game. Was it the change of the stadium we had to get used to?
The first 5 years after our title in 1991 are years we can only look at now with big wondering eyes and say that those were the years we were sinking low in the league. In fact even I must admit that I had almost forgotten how bad we played in those years.
Since Wenger came things turned around and we became a better team and we also played great football.
In the last seasons we always have been among the top scoring teams in the league. So I think as Arsenal fans we are double blessed by the fact that we have a team that not only wins a lot but also scores a lot of goals.
Our goal difference is very high in most seasons. If you compare this with the pre-Wenger years it is amazing in fact. Since Wenger arrived the worst goal difference was +25 and before we had years when +25 was a big goal difference.
The invincible years were the best years. No doubt in results and in goals scored. It also had players in the team that were in the best years of their career. Players like TH, who only come every now and then in a club’s history, Vieira, Pires, Bergkamp put together in one team will give you something. But the team was an ageing team and had to be replaced.
Wenger opted, or was forced to do so, to build a team almost from scratch. And because of the Emirates we did not had the cash to compete with the transfer prices that were paid by the other big clubs like Chelsea and Utd. We must also not forget that just when we began our journey to the Emirates and the temporary financial restrictions it gave us, we faced the financial doping that arose for some teams who had rich owners who could bring money in a club without limitation. I’m talking about Chelsea, later joined by Manchester City.
As most clubs we can see cycles in a clubs history. Years of success are followed by years of transition and rebuilding. We have clearly been in such a phase of rebuilding and had to face some serious setbacks with some players leaving after the 2007-2008 season when almost our complete midfield went away to sit in others team benches.
But if we can add a few players now that we managed to get rid of the debt from Highbury and develop the youngsters that come knocking on the door we look ready to challenge the others. Just like we did in the last season when only a major injury crisis came in our way and stopped us with one month to go.
Editor’s note: I am going away for a few days, and Walter has very kindly agreed to take over the operation of the site during my time away – for which I am extremely grateful. If you have an article to submit for the next week please email Walter.Broeckx@hotmail.com
Want to comment? Please read this first
Want more Arsenal stuff from totally committed absolute supporters? Click herewith and enter therein (as it were)
Want a site that tells you who changed the entire first team one close season? This is it.
Want want want? Well you could always read a book.
- How much have Arsenal’s rivals spent on transfers in recent years?
- Why is it becoming so difficult to find a sponsor for new football stadium?
- Corruption flares up again in Italy, as Premier League figures don’t look too clever
- How much does a club have to spend on transfers to get a trophy?
- Does the team that is top after 14 games usually go on to win the league?