After the Bees, the Hornets. Arsenal v Watford and that home and away thing

By Bulldog Drummond

Watford, as you may recall if your long term memory is still functioning in this hyper-active full speed non-stop go-go-go world, started off with a real flourish this season, winning four league matches and a League Cup game all in a row.   As they roared towards the top of the league (“roared” is apparently what teams do these days) they were hailed as the glorious revolution, the new light, the shining path and set up profound announcements that “Never before have Watford won their first four league matches” in a season.

Cue also pictures of Sir Elton John.

But just how different was this from the past?  What lessons can history teach us?  Is the world really round? and Is the Piccadilly line now open again?  These are the questions people are asking.

Well, last season Watford had only two defeats in their first nine games – Bristol City in the league cup, and Manchester City in the league.  They got four wins (including beating us) and three draws (including one against Liverpool).  So it is perhaps a bit unfair on the progress Watford have made in recent years to suggest this season’s opening was a one off?

Since returning to the Premier League from the Championship in 2014/15 Watford have finished 13th, 17th and 14th, and their prime need has been in finding a scorer who can knock in a sizeable number of goals.   Last season for example their top scorer in the PL was Abdoulaye Doucoure who scored seven goals in the league.  The year before it was Troy Deeney who got ten.

Watford’s  problems overall however were not at the start of the season but the conclusion, for 2017/18 ended with just one win in the last nine league games, and six defeats.  Happily for us that run started with a solid victory by Arsenal over them on 1 March.

Date Game Res Score
1 Mar 2018 Arsenal v Watford L 3-0
17 Mar 2018 Liverpool v Watford L 5-0
31 Mar 2018 Watford v AFC Bournemouth D 2-2
07 Apr 2018 Watford v Burnley L 1-2
14 Apr 2018 Huddersfield Town v Watford L 1-0
21 Apr 2018 Watford v Crystal Palace D 0-0
30 Apr 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Watford L 2-0
05 May 2018 Watford v Newcastle United W 2-1
13 May 2018 Manchester United v Watford L 1-0

At the start of that run, before their defeat at Arsenal Stadium they were 13th in the league.  But the bad run didn’t hurt them much because by the end of the season they were 14th, thanks to most of the rest of the clubs at the bottom doing rather poorly as well.

Their form therefore is something that is better compared against the same period of time last year, rather than a continuity from the end of last season to the start of this.  That’s all a bit complex for most football correspondents, but it is interesting how such a comparison can given an insight or two – just as seeing home and away form can also lead to such insights.

And speaking of insights, a comparison of Watford’s away form with Arsenal’s is worth noting – here is a segment from last season’s concluding table showing only away form.

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
11 Arsenal 19 4 4 11 20 31 -11 16
12 Newcastle United 19 4 4 11 18 30 -12 16
13 West Ham United 19 3 6 10 24 42 -18 15
14 Everton 19 3 6 10 16 36 -20 15
15 Watford 19 4 2 13 17 33 -16 14

The difference between the two clubs on away form by the end of last season was that we had two more draws than Watford, scored three more goals, and conceded two fewer.

So far this season Watford have played two away games, drawing one and winning one.    Arsenal as you will know if you have been paying attention, have played three away games, won two and lost one, scoring seven conceding six.  It is, incidentally a measure of our improvement away from home that only Tottenham and Manchester City (each with eight goals) have scored more away goals than we have so far this campaign.

There will be more on this subject anon…

Untold Arsenal (and Arsenal Belgium) get the VIP treatment at London Colney

Arsenal v Brentford: a tube strike, a pitch invasion, the moon, a hyperactive manager, the draw

2 Replies to “After the Bees, the Hornets. Arsenal v Watford and that home and away thing”

  1. To start with, the worrying issue on the table at Arsenal now should be the failed extension of Aaron Ramsey’s contract that has not made any headway. Thus making Ramsey, one of the senior Gunners, one of the leaders at the club and a long serving Gunners liable to leave the club either in January or at the end of the season. Sad!

    I hope this failed contract extention of Ramsey will not mentally affect the team that has recovered from it’s setback early in the season to start performing well winning 6 games on the trot in all games. Does Unai Emery want Ramsey in the Arsenal squad? And how dearly does he want him? Ramsey is an integral part of the Arsenal first team squad that is currently doing well in the PL and in the Cup games. And could even win the PL Title by surprise this season after been written off as no contenders to win it this season. If this happens, would Ramsey wants to be part of the success? Can the club still reopen contract extention negotiation with him to extend his playing career at Arsenal with Ramsey and the club moving to the mid-point in the negotiation deal terms to reach an amicable agreement acceptable to both parties?

  2. The Club cannot be held to ransom by any player.
    The trouble today is that the obscene rise in wages has led to player power to a crazy degree.
    Something must change or else the game will be priced out of business.

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