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June 2021

Arsenal v Swansea. Mr Wenger on saints, billionaires and celebrity.

By Bulldog Drummond

To start with the serious stuff – you might recall that at the start of the season we did a review of the supporters and location of virtually every club in the PL and published it day by day on our Facebook page.  The whole list is still on this site, but here is what we said about Swansea:

I did think of getting a group of supporters together to go to the away game at Swansea.  Finding several people interested I approached a travel agent on the subject to see how it might be done.

“You would not enjoy Wales, sir,” he told me.  “It is fundamentally unsound.”

Arsène Wenger on the other hand doesn’t often talk about Britain; he is generally a highly respectful person who recognises that this is not his country of birth, and thus not his place to natter about the funny doings of our island nation or nations (depending on your point of view).

But he did talk about the way British society, like some others, can just react suddenly to a situation, and lash out at it, without actually thinking at all about the consequences of so doing.  It is not unique to Britain, but it is something we do a lot, and usually with catastrophic effects.

Mr Wenger then suggested we might benefit from a little “perspective and substance” – although he made it clear that with that remark is was speaking as much about football as British society.  But he knows that the voice of sanity and reason is rarely heard either in terms of national issues or football.

I mention this because I did love his comment made alongside setting out his view:

“Five hundred years ago the target for people was to be a saint,” Wenger said. “Fifty years ago it was to be a hero in war. Today it is to be a billionaire or, even more, a celebrity. It is instant and here now. But it has to be sustained by something.

And tragically this is true.  Many people who study the views and attitudes of the young in Britain will tell you that the most worrying thing about quite a few of them is that when asked what they want to do when they older the answer is “be famous”.  Worse, many of them really expect it to happen.

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Reverting to the football Mr Wenger said, “In the modern game we have lost the perspective of what is important and what is not. It is always here and now, and it’s for ever. The now is permanent. The judgement is permanent and for ever. The same is true in society, as well.

“You have the same example with Brexit. It’s just here now but where do we go from it? Nobody really knows. Maybe it is good; maybe it is bad. I don’t know. But nobody has explained what will happen in the future if we do it. Has Brexit been properly thought through? I don’t know. Is it good or bad? What I mean is these kind of decisions are made here and now.”

And thus it is in football.  The Ox is useless, get rid of him.  We’ve sold the Ox, Wenger is an idiot.  Oh look our defence is useless.  We couldn’t even off load Mustafi because no one wanted him.  We need a big clear out.  This is the one thing that is holding Arsenal back.  Xhaka is useless.

It goes on and on.

Anyway let’s move on a bit and look at who we are up against…

Swansea as an away team.

This is the away league table…

Pos Team Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 4 4 0 0 12 2 10 12
2 Manchester City 4 4 0 0 11 1 10 12
3 Watford 5 3 1 1 10 7 3 10
4 Chelsea 4 3 0 1 9 4 5 9
5 Manchester United 5 2 2 1 8 4 4 8
6 Burnley 5 2 2 1 6 7 -1 8
7 Swansea City 4 1 2 1 2 1 1 5
8 Leicester City 5 1 2 2 6 8 -2 5
9 Liverpool 5 1 2 2 8 15 -7 5
10 Southampton 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 4

Not too bad – a 25% win rate and a win at the Ems would make their away record equal to Man U, so not a team to be dismissed lightly.  But the key stat is that in four games they have scored twice and conceded one.  In short it is all out 11 man defence and the hope of a lucky punt upfield taking the defence by surprise.

But their away win was early in the season and against a team not doing very well – Crystal Palace.  In fact Swansea have notched up quite a few away wins against teams where the big headline would be if they did not win…  Here they all are

Date Match Res Score Competition
15 Aug 2017 Cheltenham T v Swansea City W 1-2 League Trophy
22 Aug 2017 MK Dons v Swansea City W 1-4 League Cup
26 Aug 2017 Crystal Palace v Swansea W 0-2 Premier League
19 Sep 2017 Reading v Swansea City W 0-2 League Cup
10 Oct 2017 Newport County v Swansea W 1-2 League Trophy

As part of the 11 man defence away from home they also got a goalless draw against Tottenham at Wembley, but although Tottenham are not a total disaster at home this season, they are certainly (in the laughable terms used by some) not making Wembley a “fortress”.

There will be more astoundingly fascinating stuff in the next and final preview, along with the teams, in a little while (if it is not here already)

9 comments to Arsenal v Swansea. Mr Wenger on saints, billionaires and celebrity.

  • Josif

    Speaking of home and away record, here is an interesting bit.

    In England, two clubs have maximum points at home (Arsenal and Man United). Two clubs have maximum points on their travels (Tottenham and Man City). Two clubs that combined won 34 out of 38 home games (104 out of 114 points available) last season (Chelsea and Tottenham) have had a combined tally of 50% points won at home so far (15 out of 30).

    In Italy, there are still three teams with a maximum away record – Napoli, Lazio and Roma. Inter and Sampdoria have been ruthless at home.

    In La Liga, Barcelona have kept all points at home from their Spanish neighbours (sorry for the joke). Real Madrid have had the same score at home as Tottenham have at Wembley (2-2-1) which puts a different light on that historic success of Spurs in Champions League. Mind you, Real have won all four away games in the league which is a unique feat in Spain this season.

    In Germany, they don’t have any club with 100% either home or away.

    In France, PSG have maximum points at home but no club has won all away points.

  • Chris


    reading the interesting stat about Sp*urs and away points, I’d say this just vindicates Tony when he explained the difficulty in moving stadia…
    Their team is at least as strong as last year, they win games away but have lost 15 points at home whereas for the full season last year it was just 10.

    But then, guess plenty of people will scream that those are fake facts….

  • Josif


    Actually, those stats were for Chelsea and Spurs combined. Chelsea didn’t make any move – they got a new front at and their squad is thinner than it was.

    But yes, both teams lost the ground at home proving that things from last year (including Klopp’s big match record as well) don’t worth much for analysis this season.

  • Flares

    Dreadful game up in Salford this lunchtime, simply dire. Deli Alli really is a horrible little specimen at times; the arrogance, the lip, the diving. Too much too soon? Very bad tempered and uneven match full of pettiness and poor sportsmanship. Not a great advert for the Premier League.

    Watching football at work on a Saturday really is a quite delightful guilty pleasure, if one is blessed with a suitable environment to do so. Looking forward to the mighty Arsenal bringing some repute back the beautiful game in about a half hour. Come on you Gunners!

  • Peter Kay

    Very interesting preamble, Mr Drummond. Could you, perchance, publish some examples of how we have “lashed out (at a situation) without thinking about the consequences, USUALLY [my emphasis] with catastrophic effects”? It may help me reappraise my opinion of my country and end my pariah status as someone who thinks that historically as a nation we haven’t performed too badly. Thanks.

  • Dexter

    Brilliant from Arsenal…

    The old Ali Ropeadope…

  • I am very sorry that Bulldog did not make this clear to you. But when he wrote,

    “But he did talk about the way British society, like some others, can just react suddenly to a situation, and lash out at it”

    the “he” refers to the last mentioned subject, which is Mr Wenger. I don’t think I am really competent to explain what goes on inside Mr Wenger’s head, any more than I can explain what goes on in anyone else’s head.

    I don’t really think I can go further.

  • Peter Kay

    I think it was clear to me, Tony but “…it is something we do a lot,[sic]and usually with catastrophic effects.” is an opinion expressed by Mr. Drummond, not Mr. Wenger, unless I am mistaken.