By Tony Attwood
Having had the exhilaration of being at the Emirates this afternoon, followed by the push and shove to get on the Underground, the walk back to the car and then the tedium of the drive home (85 miles up the M1 in case you are interested) broken only slightly by the tedium of TalkSprout’s football coverage, I collapsed onto the sofa with a glass of celebratory Merlot and a quick read through what the Guardian had to say about the match I had seen this afternoon.
One sentence stood out:
“Arsenal’s first victory over a fellow big six member this season was assured long before the final whistle and it took them to within a point of Tottenham, whose title hopes are fading after a strangely muted failure to rise to the occasion.”
Arsenal’s first victory. It has a certain ring to it. A ring that is more of a dull thud. Just one. They finally made it. Everyone else picking up lots of wins, but Arsenal, have got just one.
OK a moment’s thoughts leads to the notion that with six teams playing each other they can’t all be winning, but still, it just suggests Arsenal are pretty much struggling at the bottom of the “top six” league – the mini-league of the six top teams playing each other.
The implication seems to me to be that Tottenham of course are flying ahead, because they are, well Tottenham. But in fact a look at the list of results suggests actually that Tottenham have also only won one of the their “top six” games. They have played four matches against other top six teams, lost three and won one.
19 August Tottenham v Chelsea 1-2
21 October Tottenham v Liverpool 4-1
28 October Man Utd v Tottenham 1-0
18 November Arsenal v Tottenham 2-0
There we have it: four Tottenham games and just one victory. Of course that was just up to the end of the matches this lunchtime. I’ve not really caught up with the rest of the world since.
So how does Arsenal compare with this. After all the Guardian is right that we have only just won our first “top six” game.
26 August Liverpool v Arsenal 4-0
16 September Chelsea v Arsenal 0-0
4 November Man City v Arsenal 3-1
18 November Arsenal v Tottenham 2-0
So actually although our results against the rest of the top six are not exactly something wonderful they are better than Tottenham’s: one win, one draw, two defeats.
In fact if we set up a little league table we get something that may or may not look like this (again just knocked up quickly having got home after a long day out. Don’t just shout at me if it is wrong – correct it and tell me who is top.
So there we are. “Arsenal’s first victory over a fellow big six member this season was assured long before the final whistle and it took them to within a point of Tottenham, whose title hopes are fading after a strangely muted failure to rise to the occasion.” Pretty much like Liverpool, Man U and Tottenham.
Interestingly with everyone thinking how wonderful Tottenham’s forward line is we have scored two more goals than them. We’re still only sixth in the league, but what I saw today, gave me a fair bit of hope for the future. And it was worth being there to experience such a positive feel in the stadium.
Latest score: Man U 0 Newcastle 1. Nothing to do with the article and a long way to go, but I thought I would mention it.
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