If we have lowered expectations for the start of the season that can only be good.

By Tony Attwood

Football is instant – players, clubs and managers are only as good as their last result – or for those with a long term memory, the last three results.

Which has been rather damaging to Arsenal across the last ten years if we look at the results.

Season W D L Pos after three Final position
2008/09 2 0 1 4 4
2009/10 2 0 1 5 3
2010/11 2 1 0 2 4
2011/12 0 1 2 17 3
2012/13 1 2 0 8 4
2013/14 2 0 1 4 4
2014/15 1 2 0 7 3
2015/16 1 1 1 9 2
2016/17 1 1 1 7 5
2017/18 1 0 2 16 6

The three best starts (two wins and a defeat) are given in red and the two worst in blue (one with one win and one with no wins.)

But there is no direct correlation between the opening three games and the final position in the league – being 17th after three resulted in third place at the end, while being 16th after three resulted in 6th place.  Indeed being ninth after three led to our best league finish in these ten years – second.

But what was it like when we won the league?

Season W D L Position after three Final position
1997/98 2 1 0 2 1
2001/02 2 0 1 3 1
2003/04 3 0 0 1 1

In the unbeaten season the start was perfect, as you may remember, but in the other two title winning seasons under Mr Wenger it was not win-win-win – in the 1998 title year we drew one of the three, and in the 2002 title year we lost one of the three, 1-2 at home to Leeds.

So does the opening of the season give us a real insight into what will happen next?  Only up to a point.  And of course this year looks somewhat challenging: Manchester City and West Ham at home and Chelsea away.

As you will of course remember the season ended with a disappointing look to the table…

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 38 32 4 2 106 27 79 100
2 Manchester United 38 25 6 7 68 28 40 81
3 Tottenham Hotspur 38 23 8 7 74 36 38 77
4 Liverpool 38 21 12 5 84 38 46 75
5 Chelsea 38 21 7 10 62 38 24 70
6 Arsenal 38 19 6 13 74 51 23 63

But that story doesn’t give us the full picture, because, as we kept on saying last season, the home and away records were so different.

The home table saw us end up second, which suggests that many of the problems last year were tactical not player orientated, and therefore we may have a chance in those two home games…

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 19 16 2 1 61 14 47 50
2 Arsenal 19 15 2 2 54 20 34 47
3 Manchester United 19 15 2 2 38 9 29 47
4 Liverpool 19 12 7 0 45 10 35 43
5 Tottenham Hotspur 19 13 4 2 40 16 24 43
6 Chelsea 19 11 4 4 30 16 14 37

and the away table had us a dreadful 11th, which suggests that away to Chelsea we might struggle – unless our tactics away really do change.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 19 16 2 1 45 13 32 50
2 Tottenham Hotspur 19 10 4 5 34 20 14 34
3 Manchester United 19 10 4 5 30 19 11 34
4 Chelsea 19 10 3 6 32 22 10 33
5 Liverpool 19 9 5 5 39 28 11 32
6 Burnley 19 7 7 5 20 22 -2 28
7 Leicester City 19 5 5 9 31 38 -7 20
8 AFC Bournemouth 19 4 6 9 19 31 -12 18
9 Crystal Palace 19 4 6 9 16 28 -12 18
10 Southampton 19 3 8 8 17 30 -13 17
11 Arsenal 19 4 4 11 20 31 -11 16

Of course Manchester City only lost one game away from their home last season, while  West Ham away lost 10.

Beginnings of seasons are difficult, and much depends on how the new players are settling in.  Plus of course we have new managers both at Arsenal and Chelsea.

So we might think that two draws and a win against such opposition would be a reasonable start which is what we got in 2014/15 and ended up third.  A win and two defeats would feel disappointing indeed as we did that last season and came sixth.  Two defeats and a draw would probably have the knives out for the manager and howls of rage from the twitterati, but in 2011/12 we did that and came third.

To think of winning the league we might well have to get a couple of wins – against West Ham and Chelsea, it is possible.  Of course everything depends on Man City – if they are not flying away at the top of the league by Christmas they likely as not will go out and buy everyone going, and some who are not, so beating them is going to be hard.

What would be awful would be to beat Man City and Chelsea and then throw that lead at the top away with a defeat to West Ham.  Anything but that!




7 Replies to “If we have lowered expectations for the start of the season that can only be good.”

  1. I’d be happy with:

    -three points v City (totally possible, especially if their best players still feel World Cup hangover unlike ours),

    -a point at Stamford Bridge (totally possible, maybe even all three points if Real Mad sign Hazard to replace Ronaldo which is not impossible; Chelsea have a new manager who hasn’t won a trophy in 27 years of work),

    -three points v West Ham (totally expected, even if they have signed quite a few exciting players including our own Jack Wilshere and the Brazilian ace Felipe Anderson with a manager who prefers attractive attacking football and has won the league before – with Man City in 2013-14).

    With seven points in three games we’d be on a flying start, Mr Emery would get some time before knives go out and our new signings would get a much-needed shot of a self-confidence in the new league (all five players we signed are yet to make a Premier League debut).

  2. For just one season, I’d like to see Arsenal fans act like fans and be part of the team instead of fall into hysterics and do the opposition’s job by antagonizing their own squad. The opposition will do enough of that already. We need to show warrior spirit, solidarity and defend our team, especially when the going gets tough. If Arsenal fans bitch, whine, complain, protest, and try to get internet famous by sabotaging their own club, then honestly, they don’t deserve any silverware except maybe some award for worst fans on the planet.

    The negative Arsenal fans already had their fun sabotaging and undermining the team even when it was in 1st place. Even with the PL title within their reach, these people attacked their own rather than supported because their priority was not winning cups–it was seeing themselves on the telly. FUCK YOU you treasonous cunts. How are these people different from a Tottenham, Chelsea, Man U or Man City fans? The behavior is identical.

    It’s time to MAN UP Arsenal fans. Your team needs you through good times and bad. Either you’re with us, or you’re against us. If you want to collapse into hysterics or just want to get internet famous with some memes or antics that antagonize your own squad/club, this year it will not be tolerated. We will find you and fucking curb stomp you. You won’t perambulate or have the power to speak until next season. I hope we’re clear on this. MAN UP, or GET THE FUCK OUT.

  3. Of course, I would like to see a 9 point start to the season. And, perversely, because we had fewer England players and the way the World Cup played out we shall have more players back early than some of our top competitors, it is perhaps a good time to play Man City and Chelsea. But, I am more interested in how the team play progresses – how the team knits together both personally and tactically.

  4. I think most of us are forgetting that it’s not our opposition playing the game but the opposition officiating (with selective vision) by select & chosen EU style unelected hierarchy. Until the officials are transparently elected & appointed by random choice, nothing will have changed.

    Emery has a lot to learn about the ‘infrastructure’ in which Arsenal have to play. I am supporting you UE and hope you overcome the hurdles.

  5. @Stephan Larose,
    Your 1.19pm of yesterday needed saying….to all who call themselves supporters of our great Club.
    For far too long, we have been labelled as “fickle” and “fair weather” and it’s about time this was corrected.
    We have a new Manager, much new blood and new ideas.
    In turn, we, the de facto lifeblood of the Club, should give 100% backing to players and Manager alike during the coming season.
    And above all, the additional need is for patience.
    In a way, it’s a new
    beginning for Arsenal FC and we have a vital part to play in it. 😉

  6. I know we have a new manager and it may take time to get going but i really think we will hit the ground running unlike in previous seasons .Weve done most of our transfer work early and got the new players in pre season unlike previously when weve gone into the opening games with players missing and waiting for deadline day to fill the holes.The players will want to impress the new manager and im sure we will see a different way we play especially in defending and pressing.Things had gone stale under the Wenger regime and im sure the fans at the games will unite and get behind the team.Lets no keep bleating on about Arsene Wenger and see what the future holds under Emery.I for one am an excited Arsenal fan and my optimism is higher than in previous seasons.

  7. I think you may well be right.
    I get the impression, these days, on this and other sites, that there IS an air of optimism about next season. Let’s hope… 😉

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