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|
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|
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…
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…
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.
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!
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