By Tony Attwood
A bit of idle curiosity arose after reading a piece telling me that a good start to the season is essential for any team wanting to win the league, as I wasn’t sure that this was the case last season. Indeed a quick flip back to 1 October 2016 – a date of no particular significance, just a date that might reflect how good the start of the season was – suggested it is not the perfect measure.
|9||10||West Bromwich Albion||7||2||3||2||8||7||1||9|
So after six or seven matches Manchester City stretched ahead of the rest with a perfect run. They and Liverpool were the big time goalscorers too. What the table offered was a fairly good indicator of who the top seven might be (in that all the top seven at the end of the season were in the top seven at 1 October, but not much more.
Chelsea had played seven and lost two games at this time.
2015/16 was even worse of a predictor on 1 October. This time more helpfully all the clubs had played seven games and only one of the eventual top four was actually in the top four on this date.
|3||7||West Ham United||7||4||1||2||15||9||6||13|
Leicester and West Ham were having fun scoring, but failed to keep it up, ending up third and fifth in terms of the number of goals scored by the end of the season. Man U’s solid defence however was a predictor – they ended up conceding the fewest goals, alongside Tottenham.
Let’s go back one more season, but still staying with October 1. In 2014/15 there was a prediction that could be made from the opening games – Chelsea did indeed win the league. But Southampton, Swansea and Villa all slipped back. Chelsea continued to score, but were eventually overtaken in that department by Manchester City.
|10||13||West Bromwich Albion||6||2||2||2||7||7||0||8|
Let’s do one more: 2013/14
|10||17||West Bromwich Albion||6||2||2||2||6||5||1||8|
Yes Arsenal had it all after six matches that season – well all except a defeat a home defeat to Aston Villa on the opening day. We were scoring goals – although letting them in too, but with almost half of the goals against coming from that opening game.
So with the opening match just over one week away, maybe we should not be calling for the manager’s head and a wholesale sacking of the team if things don’t go well. A set of early victories does not mean the league is coming our way any more than a set of poor results means any club will end up in a poor position at the end.
In these four seasons Arsenal have risen from their 1 October position twice, and declined twice. And we have won a trophy three times in these four seasons – although it is of course not a trophy. On the other hand finishing in the top four was not a trophy, but now for some people it seems to matter.
One other thought, on 1 October, the top team at the end of the season was seventh, first, eighth and sixth on the 1 October. So maybe lots of talking about the importance of a good start to the season was not so important after all.
- Surely children’s replica shirts should be a lot cheaper than the adult shirt, not more expensive!
- Which clubs have bought the most, sold the most, loaned the most, released the most players?
- The remaining seven players that Arsenal are still chasing. Apparently one of them is coming our way.