by Bulldog Drummond
Recently Arsenal lost four games in a row. Arsenal have just won five games in row but while you must have known the first (if you follow any media at all) you might be excused not knowing – and not for the first time.
The four losses in a row was a bit of a repeat since in 2017 Arsenal lost four league games in a row. This time it was four in a row in all competitions: two league games, a Europa game and a league cup match. But even though we had been there before (and of course have had far worse – Terry Neill holds the record for consecutive league defeats) there was endless crowing. A very quick search revealed tens of thousands of articles on Google referring to the four defeats and many went on to say there was something fundamentally wrong with the team.
Many sources went particularly over the top…
- “Arsenal FC news: Seven stats fans will not want to read… “(TalkSport)
- “Analysing just how bad Arsenal have been this season” (Guardian)
- “Crystal Palace v Arsenal: Arsene Wenger sets unwanted record in loss …” (Metro)
- “Brighton 2-1 Arsenal: Arsene Wenger’s side lose fourth straight game … (Mail)
- “Arsenal have lost 4 straight away games for the first time”… (Foxsports)
- “Arsenal have lost four games in a row”… (Sky Sports Football)
But now let’s reflect on the current situation in which Arsenal have just won five games in a row. I couldn’t find any commentaries that overtly mention that.
|15 Feb 2018||Östersunds FK v Arsenal||W||0-3||Europa League|
|22 Feb 2018||Arsenal v Östersunds FK||L||1-2||Europa League|
|25 Feb 2018||Arsenal v Manchester City||L||0-3||League Cup|
|01 Mar 2018||Arsenal v Manchester City||L||0-3||Premier League|
|04 Mar 2018||Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal||L||2-1||Premier League|
|08 Mar 2018||AC Milan v Arsenal||W||0-2||Europa League|
|11 Mar 2018||Arsenal v Watford||W||3-0||Premier League|
|15 Mar 2018||Arsenal v AC Milan||W||3-1||Europa League|
|01 Apr 2018||Arsenal v Stoke City||W||3-0||Premier League|
|05 Apr 2018||Arsenal v CSKA Moscow||W||4-1||Europa League|
Now the argument could be made that the four in a row defeats were newsworthy because Arsenal is expected to do better. Five wins in a row is what we expect so it is not newsworthy.
And yet I don’t think that works. Given relative form of Manchester City and Arsenal this season it would have been a shock if Arsenal had won either of the Manchester City games. This is after all the team that quite possibly could win the league with six games to go. I don’t know if that is a record but it must be close. Arsenal had four games to go after winning the league at Tottenham in 2004 and that was considered “a procession” with suggestions that the league had lost its interest as the matches were now too predictable.
Plus yes the goal scoring was poor in those recent four defeats so one might think that a turnaround could be news as in the five victories in a row Arsenal have scored 15 goals. So how does that compare with the mighty Man City?
Well in the last five games Manchester City have scored seven and conceded six, a rate of +1. Arsenal in the last five has a goal difference of +13.
|04 Mar 2018||Manchester City v Chelsea||W||1-0||Premier League|
|07 Mar 2018||Manchester City v FC Basel||L||1-2||Champions League|
|12 Mar 2018||Stoke City v Manchester City||W||0-2||Premier League|
|31 Mar 2018||Everton v Manchester City||W||1-3||Premier League|
|04 Apr 2018||Liverpool v Manchester City||L||3-0||Champions League|
As turnarounds go it is pretty impressive and actually Manchester City’s current form is not very exciting. But we really do need to remember: Arsenal is only news when they are not doing well.
Meanwhile this weekend we play Southampton who have a new manager, a Mr Hughes, and their’s is a testimony to the foolishness of endlessly changing managers. Here is how each has done of late…
|Mauricio Pochettino||January 2013||May 2014||60||23||18||19||38.33|
|Ronald Koeman||June 2014||June 2016||91||44||17||30||48.35|
|Claude Puel||June 2016||June 2017||53||20||13||20||37.74|
|Mauricio Pellegrino||June 2017||March 2018||34||8||13||13||23.53|
|Mark Hughes||March 2018||Present||2||1||0||1||50.00|
|Arsene Wenger||1 October 1966||Present||1224||702||278||244||57.35|
Arsenal of course have had one manager all the way through that period. His record overall is shown after the Southampton managers. In fact in their entire football league history Southampton have not had a manager with the same win ratio as Mr Wenger – even when the manager has only played two games compared to Mr Wenger’s 1224.
Among the highlights of ex Southampton managers are
- Harry Redknapp (49 games, 26.53% win ratio)
- Glenn Hoddle (52 games, 42.31% win ratio)
- Graham Souness (48 games, 29.17% win ratio)
Good to see just how much quality some of the pundits of recent times actually have when given the job.
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