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June 2021

Are Arsenal really utterly appalling against other “top clubs”?

By Tony Attwood

Certainly if you read many of the web sites on offer at the moment the notion you will get is pretty clear.  Arsenal are pretty awful when it comes to playing other top teams in England.

These top teams are generally defined as Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur so I thought I would take a look at how well they have been doing against each other.

Last season this is how things went for us…

Date Match Result Score Competition
14 Aug 2016 Arsenal v Liverpool L 3-4 Premier League
24 Sep 2016 Arsenal v Chelsea W 3-0 Premier League
06 Nov 2016 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur D 1-1 Premier League
19 Nov 2016 Manchester United v Arsenal D 1-1 Premier League
18 Dec 2016 Manchester City v Arsenal L 2-1 Premier League
04 Feb 2017 Chelsea v Arsenal L 3-1 Premier League
04 Mar 2017 Liverpool v Arsenal L 3-1 Premier League
02 Apr 2017 Arsenal v Manchester City D 2-2 Premier League
23 Apr 2017 Arsenal v Manchester City W 2-1 FA Cup
30 Apr 2017 Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal L 2-0 Premier League
07 May 2017 Arsenal v Manchester United W 2-0 Premier League
27 May 2017 Arsenal v Chelsea W 2-1 FA Cup
    Those results come out as…
  • Won 4.  33%
  • Drawn 3.  25%
  • Lost 5.  42%

And looking at this season

Date Match Result Score Competition
06 Aug 2017 Arsenal v Chelsea W 1-1 (4-1) FA Community Shield
27 Aug 2017 Liverpool v Arsenal L 4-0 Premier League
17 Sep 2017 Chelsea v Arsenal D 0-0 Premier League

Which gives us…

  • Won 1
  • Drawn 1
  • Lost 1

So let’s compare this with other clubs this season

  • Chelsea: Lost to Arsenal, beat Tottenham, drew with Arsenal, lost to Man C
  • Liverpool: Beaten Arsenal, lost to Man C, lost to Tottenham
  • Man C: Beaten Liverpool
  • Man U: Beaten Tottenham, drawn with Liverpool
  • Tottenham: Lost to Chelsea

The team that has played the most top games is Chelsea with a result schedule that reads

  • Lost 2
  • Drawn 1
  • Won 1

Liverpool have played three

  • Lost 2
  • Won 1

So Arsenal’s record of won one, drawn one and lost one is not too far away from other teams.  And it is noticeable as we saw last time we looked at this how uneven the distribution of matches against other clubs in the top six is that some gets these inter-top-six games much earlier than others.

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Of course it would be nice if we were slaughtering all and sundry, and of course at the same time we have to admit that Manchester City is going to be a very hard team to beat.  Just a look at the table shows us that…

(I included the seventh club to be fair to them as they are on the same number of points as one of the “Big Six”).
Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Manchester City 10 9 1 0 35 6 29 28
2 Manchester United 10 7 2 1 23 4 19 23
3 Tottenham Hotspur 10 6 2 2 19 7 12 20
4 Chelsea 10 6 1 3 18 10 8 19
5 Arsenal 10 6 1 3 19 13 6 19
6 Liverpool 10 4 4 2 17 16 1 16
7 Burnley 10 4 4 2 9 9 0 16

Arsenal are fifth, no getting away from it, but looking at the way some media handles the upcoming games against Manchester City you might think that Arsenal lose 5-0 to every top six club we come across and are currently fighting relegation.

The big difference of course is that Manchester City have spent well over half a billion pounds in the past four summers on transfers, and although I maintain my view that transfers don’t always work, there clearly does come a point at which by pure chance if nothing else, they will hit upon the right combination of players.

But only eventually.  As our table recently showed, they’ve only won one trophy (the League Cup) in the last three seasons, which some might say is a little sparse for a spend of £613,000,000.  Even if they win the league this year this is still going to be rather an expensive way of doing business.

Arsenal only spent 38% of the amount Manchester City spent over those summer transfers and yet won the FA Cup twice as opposed to their one League Cup win.  But we have to recognise that a club that is willing to spend £613m per trophy is quite often going to be hard to beat.  Not impossible but difficult.

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11 comments to Are Arsenal really utterly appalling against other “top clubs”?

  • Mark Overmoon

    The difference in modus operandi between clubs trying to win at any cost and those trying to execute a viable business (i.e. at a negative cost) is clearly problematic in the long run. It’s like two organisations trying to demolish the same wall; while it may be strategically beneficial to strategically remove bricks with a chisel, ultimately the team with the bulldozer will succeed through brute force. Indeed, Arsenal have clearly identified the need for having a competitive edge in other areas such as training facilities, informatics, scouting, and others, but if you have a competitor who will happily let you do that then muscle in with their infinite funds and take the end result, it does beg the question: can we ultimately succeed?

  • Jax

    Speaking of ‘top clubs’, I dare anyone to read todays 7amkickoff and remain in control of their ‘back passage’.
    Terrific stuff if you have the stomach for it.

  • Josif

    Arsenal have played ten games v Man City since Ozil arrived.

    City-Arsenal 6:3
    Arsenal-City 1:1
    Arsenal-City 3:0
    Arsenal-City 2:2
    City-Arsenal 0:2
    Arsenal-City 2:1
    City-Arsenal 2:2
    City-Arsenal 2:1
    Arsenal-City 2:2
    Arsenal-City 2:1 (1:1, AET)

    Won 4, drew 4, lost 2.

    What these two defeats have in common?

    Both played at Etihad in December, both with Martin Atkinson as the referee.

  • Gord

    Christmas presents from Atkinson to Man$. My, how charming.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Is Martin Atkinson going to be the PGMO appointed referee for the Premier League big game clash between Man City and Arsenal at the Etihad on Sunday? Well; even if he is or not, Arsenal will beat Man City at the Etihad on Sunday irrespective of who the match officiating officials are, it won’t bother Arsenal because they are poised, so charged and ambitious to beat Man City to collect all the 3 points at stake in the match which will end Man City invisibility in the Premier League early this season.

    To subdue Man City game playing power on the Etihad football playing pitch on Sunday, the Gunners should in their game playing cutoff the operation working effects in the game of 8 Citizens of: Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones, Kevin Druyne, Fenandinho, David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterting and Leroy Sane. Once the Gunners succeeded in neutralising the effectiveness of these 8 Citizens in the game and are compose under whatever pressure and marking by the Citizines in front of Man City goalmouth when taking shots and headings against Ederson, the new Man City goalkeeper who has proved to be very good in manning the goalpost for Man City so far this season but can be beaten by the Gunners, the victory in the match will belong to Arsenal.

  • Gord

    Man City v Arsenal
    Referee: Michael Oliver
    Assistants: Simon Bennett, Stuart Burt
    Fourth official: Andre Marriner

  • Polo

    Arsenal is one point away from 3rd and 4 points from 2nd spot but somehow Arsenal lose its sight on top four. How is Arsenal losing sight?

  • para

    I’ve noticed too that ManU never seems to get “top teams” early on, all their fixtures over the years are usually late on in the season. TV also manipulates the draw to have maximum viewership throughout the season, spreading the so called big games out or just moving them to avoid viewership drop.
    The only team that can stop ManC is Arsenal. It is our duty to defend our achievement and prevent ManC from going unbeaten.

    This game (is the one that) will define Arsenal this season.

    Oh boring today. Cant wait for tomorrow, as i have a good feeling.

    Oh, and Arsenal, stop seeing a difference between home and away, it’s the same game 22 players(well sometimes 23 but…), a ball and a pitch, all else must be forgotten for the 95 mins. (Only time is when the pitch is not up to the standard of PL pitches e.g in cup games)

    There is too much emphasis put on home/away, no doubt by TV but i just cannot see that reasoning if teams are just concentrating on playing the game. I guess i’m wired differently.

    Arsenal could be top of the league and they will still find something uncomplimentary to say about it.

    Michael Oliver? Is he better for us than Atkinson?
    This game i expect to be an interesting battle between AW and Pep.

  • nicky

    If Arsenal can return to the form and fight they displayed earlier this season at Stamford Bridge, Citeh are in for a nasty shock. 😉

  • Arsene Nose

    Arsenal have won two of their last 26 Premier League away matches against clubs that finished in the top six last season (D8, L16). The stats in this piece are incredibly dodgly selective. If this was from the media we would be shouting fake news.

  • Jammy

    I know full well that Arsenal can beat any team when we are playing at our best, but it all depends on which team will show up and what kind of performance the referee puts in. If I remember correctly, Michael Oliver hasn’t been too bad recently, so hopefully that won’t be an issue.