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June 2021

A very strange season – losing points to the refs, showing up the anti-Arsenal mob.

By Walter Broeckx

I must say that the PL this season is very strange indeed.  There is not a weekend without surprise results. And sometimes big surprises. What can we say about the title race so far this season?

Let us start with the biggest surprise team: Leicester. Top of the league now and I don’t think even the most optimistic Leicester supporter would have put any money on that after 15 matches.  But they are where they are. According to the Sun in their referee survey,  Leicester  had a little bit of help from the referees along the way and won 5 points because of wrong referee decisions. But surely it will even out in the next weeks?

Arsenal are in second place. Two points behind. We know we have lost points because of wrong referee decisions against Liverpool, Chelsea just to name a few. That should have been at least 4 if not 6 points more by now. To even things out we will start to get some big decisions going our way in the next months. Actually the chance of this happening is close to zero of course. Dean for City, anyone? A red card for at least one player so he will miss the whole Christmas period?

But just imagine that video refereeing existe… we would be on 36 points or thereabouts and would have already a significant gap between Arsenal and the rest.

Then we have the big spenders’ league. Manchester City. Having already one of the most expensive squads in the world, they even went out to spend some more money. Delph, Otamendi and top buys Sterling and De Bruyne came to the team that never misses the point. But they do seem to miss some points for the moment. Instead of coming to an Arsenal blog to tell us what the point is and how clever they are they could put some more energy in getting some balance in to their team.  [Actually Walter I have made it my mission in life to wind up Man City fans, and it is rather nice that they allow themselves to get sucked in every time – Tony].

After spending yet another £100m they are as unpredictable as can be. When De Bruyne finally came in they had a perfect start and looked already champions after 3 matches. At home they can win big at times but even there they have had some upsetting results.  For every brilliant match they have a mediocre-to-bad match. And as they did what the aaa told us we should do like spending the money as if there is no tomorrow, buy all and everyone… it still didn’t put them 10 points ahead of the rest.

So spending all the money doesn’t seem to be the answer after almost half of the Pl season behind us.

In 4th place we have Manchester United. They have spent maybe even more than Manchester City.  Schweinsteiger, Darmian, Depay, Schneiderlin and Martial. The new Thierry Henry they shouted after his first three impressive matches. I read somewhere that in the next 11 matches he didn’t score any more goals. But hey the spend and spend as the aaa proclaimed and the final result for the moment is they play crap football with lots of bleak 0-0 results.

So yet again spending all the money doesn’t seem to be the answer as the aaa proclaims.

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In 5th place we have Tottenham. After having sold half of the world beaters from the Bale money this summer they also added some players. But  all that resulted in getting lots of draws.  I do admit that they don’t lose much, but it is better to lose one match and win the other than to have two draws in two matches.  And results in the past have shown that the high pressing system works excellently for a while (at the start of the season) but then when players get more tired they run out of steam making the system more vulnerable.

Another team that has spent their annual £100M (or thereabouts) is Liverpool. With Benteke being the person to make Suarez a footnote in history being the buy of the season. I then asked aloud if Benteke would be the next Heskey for Liverpool. A decent striker but… well not really a striker that could lift the team to a higher level. So far the Heskey scenario looks more on the cards than the Suarez scenario.

I will not even talk about Chelsea who have spent again some money on Pedro who had a great first two matches and then sunk to the same level as the rest of his teammates. Let the special one figure that out.  But the team that was going to walk away with it according to the pundits even before a ball was kicked finds themselves amongst teams who fight for survival.

So despite our nearest rivals spending again insane sums of money… we “bought no outfield players” as they do like to repeat… we can ask, “Why should we have bought them?” Our team was the best team of the second half of last season and so all it needed was to be close to the rest when that second half of the season is coming. So far we are on course to do this. Despite losing some of our best players  at the start of the season with injuries and I am talking about Wilshere and Welbeck by the way.

We lost more players now and still we are only 2 points off the top for the moment.   When the end of the season sprint begins we will have Santi and Coquelin back after a good rest and they might be like new signings  from February on till the end of the season.

If things keep on going the way they have been with all teams being able to take unexpected points away from the others we might have a tight title race till the end of the season. Any team that will be able to get a run going of some 10-12 wins between now and the end of the season will be close to grabbing the title. Of course we hope that it will be Arsenal who will be able to get such a run going.

In the table below the penultimate column shows the net amount spent on transfers by club over the past five years, and the final column the net sum spent in the Summer of 2015.  Highest three in each column are in red, lowest three are in blue.

POS CLUB P W D L F A GD Pts Net 5 yr Net Summer
1 Leicester City 15 9 5 1 32 21 11 32 £46m £20m
2 Arsenal 15 9 3 3 27 13 14 30 £99m £8m
3 Manchester City 15 9 2 4 30 16 14 29 £322m £124m
4 Manchester United 15 8 5 2 20 10 10 29 £300m £33m
5 Tottenham Hotspur 15 6 8 1 25 12 13 26 -£36m £5m
6 Crystal Palace 15 7 2 6 20 15 5 23 £51m £21m
7 West Ham United 15 6 5 4 25 21 4 23 £93m £27m
8 Liverpool! 15 6 5 4 18 17 1 23 £163m £10m
9 Everton 15 5 7 3 28 20 8 22 £20m £13m
10 Watford 15 6 4 5 17 16 1 22 £7m £23m
11 Stoke City 15 6 4 5 13 14 -1 22 £46m £3m
12 Southampton 15 5 6 4 21 18 3 21 £32m -£1m
13 West Bromwich Albion 15 5 4 6 14 19 -5 19 £51m £27m
14 Chelsea 15 4 3 8 17 24 -7 15 £224m £32m
15 Swansea City 15 3 5 7 14 22 -8 14 £13m £9m
16 Norwich City 15 3 4 8 17 27 -10 13 £43m £10m
17 Bournemouth 15 3 4 8 18 30 -12 13 £27m £21m
18 Newcastle United 15 3 4 8 16 30 -14 13 £68m £46m
19 Sunderland 15 3 3 9 17 29 -12 12 £59m £22m
20 Aston Villa 15 1 3 11 13 28 -15 6 £33m £9m

Two anniversaries

8 December 1999: Ömer Rıza sold to West Ham.  He never played for them but was loaned to Barnet and eventually sold on to Cambridge, before moving to Turkey. However in 2009 he returned to English football with Shrewsbury and continued to play in non-league football in England until 2015.

8 December 2012. How the season was saved by a seemingly insignificant win. Arsenal 2 WBA 0.  Arsenal were in 10th when this win came along and it was followed by a period in which Arsenal beat Reading 2-5, Wigan 0-1 and Newcastle 7-3 and gradually climbed back up the table.

Coming up today on the History Site: Arsenal in the 70s part 9: July to Dec 1972 – the days of the pitch invasions.


41 comments to A very strange season – losing points to the refs, showing up the anti-Arsenal mob.

  • Andy Mack

    IRO Leicester City, they have 3 very important players who are their main 3 attacking ‘elements’ and are all ‘sprinters’. Obviously they get a bit more protection from the PMGO than our ‘sprinters’ do but they will get injured this season (It’s the nature of the beast), and they will have some poor games purely because of that. Whether they finish 10th, 6th or 3rd could well hinge entirely on those injuries.
    It’ll be interesting to see.

  • Mandy Dodd

    A strange season indeed. As someone who broadly agrees with the key points in Proud Kevs article, despite being from a family whose roots lie considerably to the north of Manchester and Liverpool, I sense that Utd and City are going to need a bit of help this season, I have a hunch we will be able to predict the actual refs and their level of performance for these games coming up, as well as the likes of Stoke away. and yes we will probably be seeing Dean in one or two of them, at least
    If technical football were to shine, the English footballing establishment would implode., it would , like FIFA have no further reason to exist as it is now

  • Great contextual article again Walter!

    After 15 games, the only thing that we know for sure is that the pundits are a clueless bunch of over-paid idiots. They overwhelmingly tipped Chelsea for the title just 3 months ago. They don’t know shit but only based all their pontifications on nothing but the current or latest trends.

    Case in point, on MoTD Extra on Sunday, the panel were super convinced that Liverpool were going to humiliate Newcastle. There was no maybes or just-in-cases. It was unanimous Liverpool win certainty. But we all saw what happened and it wasn’t a fluke. Liverpool were outplayed and outscored.

    As always, I am looking forward to all the surprises that League gives us every year in the remaining 23 matches while HOPING it will be my beloved Arsenal that will be the most consistent team to win it.

    Keep the faith!

  • Pat

    We bought no outfield players – but why should we have bought them, as we were the best team of the second half of the season? Exactly right, Walter.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    I believe necessary spending is inevitable, say for to revamp the squad as a result of long term injuries to key players or loss of form by players and a key player leaving the club. This kind of spending can help to sustain a title push or get qualification ticket for a tournament or avoid relegation to a lower League should a club fall into any of these categories.

    In the case of Arsenal, the Boss may need to spend in this near coming January window to possibly recruit at least 1 or 2 top quality players for his the left-back position & his striking Dept; position as a security proactive measures against injuries and reoccurrence of injuries to his key Gunners during the run-in to the title campaigns(FA CUP, BPL & Ucl).

    Arsenal have spent wisely and I believe they will continue to do so and not to overcealosly & crazy spend their hard earned money in the transfer market as some top clubs in the BPL have and are still panic spending which does not quarantee a continuous title success. But could sometimes produce 1 or 2 titles success. Does that kind of success justify the massive spending buryne some clubs? I think only the owners of these clubs are the ones that can answer that question.

    Talking of cheating or denying Arsenal points by the match officials in Arsenal title charge this season, Arsenal would have been top of the Premier League table today had justice been done at the Ems when Arsenal’s on-side goal was ruled off-side by a linesman flag in the match between Arsenal vs Liverpool. Consequently denying Arsenal 2 valuable points they ought have legitimately have.

    In the Chelsea match early in the season, we don’t know for certain what the outcome of that would have been if Mike Dean, the match ref’ had not officiated poorly in that match in the way he did. The result of that match maybe would have been a win for either side or ends in a draw game. It’s anybody’s guess of a result if the officiating had been textbooks officiated which a big game like that should have been. So, that we can be sure of who was the victor and who was the vanquished in that match without any controversy which ref’ Mike Dean allowed to reign in the match.

    The Omen this weekend is on Arsenal to top the table after they would have convincingly beaten the struggling Aston Villa Garde’s XI which Arsenal MUST beat if they want to go top. Despite the fact that football is said not to be mathematics, I will put my money on Man City to beat Swanseas City and Man Utd to be held by Bournemouth on Saturday to for City to remain where they are and Utd to further decline on points. While Leicester City will either be held or beaten at home by Chelsea for Arsenal to truly go top as the Omen has indicated. I don’t really want to go into Arsenal’s Premier League away match to Aston Villa discussions at this time, but do that after our away Ucl match success at Karakiskais Stadium in Athens to Olympiakos. But since the subject has comes early than expected in this article, I am tempted and obliged to chip in a word or two. Thanks.

  • para

    I am really surprised that Leicester City has not got the same treatment as Arsenal yet, after all they “only” spent £46m and they do not play “rugby” so it seems that the real issue is the inherent “dislike” of Arsenal.

    Kudos to Leicester City for being where they are by playing good football, for having a manager who seems to be a real person (much like AW) and who seems to want to improve the game and not only for Leicester.

  • Ben

    Martial was bound to not live up to expectation when he was compared to ex-Arsenal players.

    I have noticed that when a player is compared to a former or current Arsenal player that player fails.

  • Josif

    Excellent article, Walter.

    This season is a mix of two sports for me: tennis and Formula 1.

    Why is it a tennis match? Well, teams win, lose, win, lose, win etc winning on their serve only or being unable to keep the break so it seems that a team that can make a long run of games won will win the league. Both Arsenal and City have had the best winning streak of five so far. Since their streak of five victories at the beginning of the season City have won four, lost four and drawn two.

    Why Formula 1? Well, it is going to be a 38-lap-long race. It may turn out that beating your opponents on the race field due to skills of an experienced driver won’t mean much if your engineneers don’t do their job with fuel, tyres and engine. On the other hand, if your men in pit stop do their job, you will get significant advantage over your rivals.

  • proudkev

    Good article Walter.

    Para, have to agree with your points. Ranieri is a decent bloke as well as being a great manager. They play football the way it should be played and are in stark contrast to a Manager like Mourinho. Mourinho has a wealth of talent yet sends his team out without a striker on the pitch – thats not football to me.

    I hope Leicester maintain consistency but it will be interesting to see how they cope with a couple of injuries or after bad results. If they do, could set the cat amongst the pigeons in the race for Champions League places.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    We did buy outfield players – just not for immediate use in the first team. As a result of this investment our performances at U18 and U21 levels are much better than last year and we now have a number of amazing prospects who (all being well) we will see in a couple of years when a number of our current first teasers will be looking a little long in the tooth. That’s the benefit of a manager and support staff who can see further than the ends of their noses.

  • John

    Just think of where we would be in the league if we had defended better against the likes of spurs ,west brom and Norwich,or if we had strengthened in the summer.We would be flying.

  • John,

    You are a freaking genius!

    Show of hands here: who else could have come up with such insightful deductions? Seriously people, who knew that a better results in our 3 November games would have resulted in us “flying”?

    Why stop there? Imagine if we had “defended better” against West Ham and Chelsea and not draw at home to Liverpool, we would be on 45 points now!

    Imagine if we had “strengthened in the summer”? Well actually, that one is easy, we could be like our other rivals who are beneath us on the table!

  • Norman14

    If we had spent big in the summer, there would be a lot of unhappy bench warmers at Arsenal. In the summer, we couldn’t predict that nearly half our senior squad would be knackered by the end of November. We could not have predicted that 2 of our 3 major ball players would have got injured in the same game; or that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would choose this season as the one in which he failed to step up. If we had bought, we MIGHT have sold Campbell, and let Flamini go off on a free transfer. How would that have left us depth wise.

    The thing is, despite what the media “experts” say, we are 2nd in the league, we are STILL in the Champions League and we are setting out on our defence of the FA Cup. I know some clubs who would kill for that!

    The media’s insignificance is summed up by Charlie Nicholas, one time Gunner who predicts we will crash out of the CL tomorrow unless Petr Cech starts to repay his transfer fee and more!

    What a pratt!

  • Gord

    I looked through the first games for all teams, to see what the effect of not awarding points for not scoring might be (the 0-0 tie). Only 1 change in ranking for the league (Stoke moves up 2). The two most affected teams are ManU and Spurs, they would lose 3 points each. Leicester, Norwich, Bournemouth and Sunderland are the teams that wouldn’t lose points. We would have lost 1.

  • Tom

    I keep my own score of referee’s mistakes and I also have Arsenal leading the league if it wasn’t for wrong decisions , but I’m genuinely curious as to how you have concluded 4 to 6 points more for Arsenal.

    Also, Cazorla back from February????

  • Andy Mack

    para, Leicester have a few rugby players, particularly in defence.
    Including former Stoke RFC ‘Lock’ Huth.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Liverpool 2 points (correct goal from Ramsey)
    Chelsea 1 point (or 3 difference playing 11 vs 10 or 10 vs 11)
    WBA 1 point (wrong awarded free kick first WBA goal)

  • Chris

    I found this research on the internet after looking for something on what seemed to me to be our 40 to 45th minute curse.
    And Bingo I found something intersting

    Apart from the last paragraph, it is interesting and I wonder why….



  • proudkev


    Just think where we would be in the league if we had done what the media and the endless moaners had wanted: Bought Balotelli, Falcao, Ashley Williams, Martial and Cesc and offloaded Ozil and Giroud. I also saw there were calls for Gary Monk as Manager too.

    Amazes me how Wenger is made out to be a terrible Manager yet he is expected to make two signings and Win the League!! Ahead of teams that have spent £200 to £300 million. There seems to be a helluva lot of irony and hypocrisy at work.

  • Gord


    It Can’t Happen?

    Come on refs, protect the players. Players can DIE playing football! It’s the other kind of football here, but it is fresh out of the BBC:

    A 23 year old female rugby player has died as a result of injuries sustained playing rugby. In this instance, all concussions.

    Refs, pull that finger out of your ****! Apply the rules, don’t _interpret_ them in the manner of that Mike Riley 😈 idiot.

  • John

    I would happily get rid of Giroud if we could have sesc back with williams and martial.Anyone with half a brain would do.And as for Gary Monk,where did you make that gem up from.And we might be ahead of teams that cost 200m but we are behind Leicester whose squad cost a fraction of ours .So your point is?

  • Gord

    ManUre was saying they need to prove their European credentials. Lovely proof!

    Madrid scored 8, maybe Lyon can tomorrow? Or maybe Arsenal can?


    Funny story out of Germany. A goalkeeper has been sent a bill for damaging the penalty spot.

    122.92 Euro, as new sod and labour to install. The bill will be paid, and the team paying the bill will also send a lawnmower (in team colours) as well, to help in managing the repairs.

    I guess the head of FIFA’s Medical Committee has gotten tired of the corruption, and decided to publically support Eva Carneiro’s complaint against moaninho and Chelsea.

  • “I would happily get rid of Giroud if we could have sesc back with williams and martial”


    As I said earlier, you are a freaking genius!

    I would suggest we sack Wenger and make you the manager. You are too good man!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Yeah JOhn we all would do that. But does the laws of the game allow us to replace Giroud with 3 players at the same time?

  • WalterBroeckx

    And you probably would throw Özil out of the team at the same time I guess John?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Quite a few of the moaners followed a certain anti Wenger blog in a sheep like manner and openly called for Owen Coyle to replace Wenger as well Proud Kev….just think about that….Owen Coyle for Wenger!!!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Ozil has to go, he is clearly stealing a living

  • Gord

    Nice writeup at about the U-19 game tomorrow, involving Stephy Mavididi. I wish the young gunners the best in that game.


    I hope ManUre enjoying playing on Thursday.

  • Florian

    It might have been done before, but just in case: Leicester had a relatively easy schedule until now. Out of the theoretically difficult matches, they played the Totts (1-1 at home), us (we all know) and Manure (again 1-1 at home). So:
    – They only played 3 of the “Top 6” teams, all at home. The reverse fixtures will be away.
    – Cheatski is next, and by all means I want to see Leicester win;) Or maybe not, so Mouronho can keep damaging whatever’s left of that team.
    – Next, they play Everton and Liverpool! away, and City of Arabia at home. That means, if the theory holds (not guaranteed, but…) that they’re bound for a crash landing now and towards the end of the campaign.
    – So far, their only defeat came from, you guessed it, us! Bit of a reality check for both them and the rest of their opponents.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    John ‘s reply to Kev on December 8, 2015 at 9:21 pm, that ” I would happily get rid of Giroud if we could have sesc back with williams and martial.Anyone with half a brain would do.” , caught my eye.

    How does one ‘only’ have half a brain ? By hereditary or some genetical predisposition ? By an accident at birth ? By some educational underdevelopment ? By surgery ? Or more frighteningly , by CHOICE or PRACTICE ? Scary thought , huh ?

    Well , probably not ! The answer may be as simple as not having enough sleep.Not convinced ? Then read this very lnteresting article , titled …

    Are You An Accident Waiting to Happen?
    By Bob Irish.

    The Exxon Valdez oil spill. The Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown. The crash that severely injured comedian Tracy Morgan last year. They all have something in common.
    They were caused by sleep deprivation.

    ( Then he goes on to list the symptoms , many of which have been exhibited on this site by ‘them’ ! And many of which would surely make you smile , too!)

    The “Z” Shortage

    Forty million people have chronic sleep disorders. Twenty-nine percent of adults report getting an average of six hours of sleep or less per night. Here are 10 signs you’re not getting enough sleep:

    1. You get drowsy while driving.

    2.You frequently get sick.

    3.You’ve gained weight.

    4.You’ve become more forgetful.

    5.You’re prone to migraines.

    6.Your skin looks lousy.

    7.You snore.

    8.You’re cranky.

    9.You feel stupid.

    10.You find yourself falling asleep unintentionally during the day.

    Please read the article in full , understand it and please , please do get help . I loved the quote that appeared at the beginning of said article –

    “Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.” — Thomas Aquinas.

    It can be also alleviated by leaving the running of the club to the board and the manager . They do appear to be doing a good job ! Just don’t overthink YOUR place or importance in the greater scheme of this great club.

    This educational article was brought to you by The Non – Profit Medical Division of Untold Arsenal .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    ‘ Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck. ‘
    – Dalai Lama

  • Brickfields Gunners

    (adj.) when you ‘re truly at peace and in touch with yourself , and nothing anyone says or does bothers you , and no negativity or drama can touch you.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    ‘ Some people walked out of you life expecting you to fail , but you’re still winning without them .’
    Marcus Gill .

    To all those arseholes who predicted that Arsenal and AW would fail without the services of all those traitors and non believers , who ventured to (alleged) greener grass pastures and stepped on bullshit !

  • John

    If we go into the Europa league who on here thinks that we can challenge on all fronts with the squad we have ??And when we fall away in the league because of fresh injuries who will moan about referee protection and naughty challenges.Gary Neville has been proven right about his asessment of arsenal in the past couple of years but most of all on here have called him clueless.

  • Florian

    Don’t feed the trolls.

  • It is not even an intelligent troll. Definitely not worthy of any attention.

  • John

    I think the unintelligent ones are those who look to blame conspiracy theory,referees and opposition players for our shortcomings.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Lucky we have at least one poster with half a brain.

  • Brickfields Gunners


  • Menace

    John – somebody must have poured some smelly liquid on you because everything that you state stinks.

    We Untolders believe in Wenger & his superb thinking. He may not satisfy every idiot but we untold idiots love him.

    I suggest you follow Gary Neville in his quest to grow taller by spouting bullshit,

  • Yellow Canary

    @Walter, how does that work, I’m mystified? Two extra points from the Liverpool game but Ramsey scored in the first ten minutes so does the ref blow the whistle and end the game then? Do Liverpool not have a chance to equalize in the remaining 80 minutes?