Arsenal have won 5 in a row, BUT PLEASE DON’T TELL ANYONE

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)
It went on and on – indeed even a search on the exact phrase “Arsenal have lost four games in a row” (meaning a search that wouldn’t then pick up “Arsenal have just lost” or “the Gunners have lost” etc), reveals over 1600 results.  The variations reveal just as many each, making tens of thousands.

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.

So tens of thousands of articles all told on four defeats in a row, but nothing on five victories in a row.  Here are the details of the last ten matches, which of course includes both runs.
Date Match Result Score Competition
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.

Date Game Res Score Competition
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…

Manager Started Removed P W D L %win
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.

More anon…



3 Replies to “Arsenal have won 5 in a row, BUT PLEASE DON’T TELL ANYONE”

  1. Probably the explanation lies with the fact they in their view were not wins but steals.
    Arsenal were awarded very generous penalties, etc etc, which then becomes a very rational thing : they were not wins but gifts from the refs…and thus not deserved. Not like Spurs for example….

  2. Two of the managers wanted out so not totally fair on Southampton as they wasn’t removed, but the rot set in when they thought they had,a production line of players coming through the academy and they could make a few bob out of selling them.
    The last two managers they sacked have been the victims of this selling mentality, shame really I like Southampton.

  3. Arsenal should not rest on their oars of winning 5 on the run in all competitions. But the Gunners should train very hard today Saturday being their last training session day before they host the Saints in the PL on Sunday at the Ems. This is to avoid being caught by the Saints in the game tomorrow so that they will be very fit physically and mentally in readiness to handle the opposition Saints properly to enable them beat them resoundingly and extend their winning run to 6 in all games before they travel to Moscow to beat CSKA in the Europa League Cup quarterfinal 2nd leg match to thus further extend their winning run to 7 matches in all competitions.

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