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Sporting v Arsenal. I got the blues, cos even when we win it ain’t real.

By Tony Attwood

Well I woke up this morning, man on the radio moaning about the Arsenal back four
Yes I woke up this morning, heard a man moaning about the Arsenal back four
He said, "They won't win anything playing like that, no matter how many they score"

(Traditional Northamptonshire blues, circa 2018)

I’m not sure who it was doing the reporting this morning on Radio 4 but he sure was worried, so I wondered if I could ease his troubled mind, as the blues singers do, by working out this scenario.

The man on the radio said we were only able to beat the lesser teams that we face.   So I thought, supposing Arsenal lose every game against the five teams that came above us last season – but win the rest.  Of course that won’t happen, but the implication of the radio piece this morning was that “it is all very well being able to beat the lesser teams, but what happens when they meet the rest of the top six from last year.”

So let us enter the fainciful reality that is the mind of the BBC football reporter, a reallity in which Arsenal win against all the teams that came below them last season, but lose against the five that came above us.

That gives us 28 wins and 10 defeats (no draws, because draws were not being debated), across the whole 38 match season.  Now of course people will be saying “that won’t happen – we are bound to slip up against Watford or Bournemouth or someone like that”.  And maybe that is so.  But then I don’t think we will lose every one of the ten games against last year’s top five both home and away, either.

So in my fanciful scenario it would be 28 wins, 10 defeats gives 84 points, which would, in last season’s table have taken us up to… second

Premier League table at close of 2017-18 season

Pos Team P W D L Pts Av/g
1 Manchester City 38 32 4 2 100 2.63
X New Arsenal 38 28 0 10 84 2.21
2 Manchester United 38 25 6 7 81 2.13
3 Tottenham Hotspur 38 23 8 7 77 2.02
4 Liverpool 38 21 12 5 75 1.97
5 Chelsea 38 21 7 10 70 1.84
6 Arsenal 38 19 6 13 63 1.65

The final column shows the points per game each team gained last season as well as our mythical New Arsenal’s points per game.

So how does this comapre with now?

Pos Team P W D L Pts Av/g
1 Manchester City 9 7 2 0 23 2.55
2 Liverpool 9 7 2 0 23 2.55
3 Chelsea 9 6 3 0 21 2.33
4 Arsenal 9 7 0 2 21 2.33
5 Tottenham Hotspur 9 7 0 2 21 2.33
6 AFC Bournemouth 9 5 2 2 17 1.88

Not to bad in fact – better than we might have expected.

OK it is fanciful stuff and I am not predicting second.  I am staying with 3rd or 4th because our away form improves.   And speaking of “fanciful” it should be remembered that so is all the stuff about saying we have won 11 in a row (excuding the Trophy game) and “I worry about the Arsenal defence”.

And did we deserve the win?  Well, simple statistics can give some sort of guidance here

Sporting: shots off target: 8
Arsenal: shots off target: 2
Sporting: shots on target: 2
Arsenal: shots on targe: 7

Ah yes but Sporting were soft targets.  Well, yes up to a point, and yes they have had a lot of problems of late but also they have not lost a game at the Estádio José Alvalade since Barcelona beat them over a year ago.

But read the reports and you will find that by and large we did lose, because it was a “strangely sluggish first half”.   And anyway the game was “tepid” so it didn’t really count did it?

Oh yes and the Arsenal goal was “fortuitous”.  Many are.  Attackers are fortunate that defenders are standing six inches too far to the left, or a foot too far back.  And the ball went through the goal keeper’s legs so Danny couldn’t have meant that so it doesn’t count.

One more to show that it wasn’t really that good a show, and the league tables do tell fibs: “It took a fair amount of huffing and puffing to overcome an organised Sporting side in Lisbon…”

That’s all we’ve got.  The huff and the puff.  So in fact we lost because “Sokratis was fortunate to avoid conceding a free-kick”.

Even when we win it ain’t real.

16 comments to Sporting v Arsenal. I got the blues, cos even when we win it ain’t real.

  • markyb

    Agent Atkinson v Palace. He’ll be rehearsing his Schtick in the mirror all week

  • Pat

    I missed the match so I read the Arsenal.com report then the BBC report. Weird! The Arsenal.com report highlighted the number of chances we had in the second half. This is backed up by the stats. The BBC report was like the report of a different match. Well, who cares? We are eleven games unbeaten and in our match against Leicester showed our Wenger / Emery ball skills. Red Army!

  • Mike

    OT (a little)

    Heard a debate on Radio 5 this morning between journos and Savage (not that I usually listen to that idiot). Interestingly they were all saying that Benitez shouldn’t be sacked even though he’s managing a side in 20th position which finished 10th last season. It was then pronounced that “the public agree” as a survey found 81% in favour of Benitez staying.

    Now I don’t have a problem with Benitez or that discussion. What I have a problem with is the fact that those same people slagged Wenger off for a long time because he managed a team that slipped from 4th to 6th over two years. They constantly argued in favour of his sacking; they quoted the the’Black Scarf Movement’ (who althought they claim to be the biggest Arsenal fan group, could only muster a couple of hundred people for their protests); they quoted Arsenal Fan TV which were in no way representative of anybody but a small minority of fans; they repeatedly showed one bloke with a ‘Wenger Out’ placard at one game and cited him as evidence that all Arsenal fans felt the same.

    And what do we see in Newcastle? One in five fans surveyed think Benitez should go but apparently that’s not many at all and the journos and pundits couldn’t praise Benitez enough.

    If anybody had done a survey at an Arsenal game two seasons ago, I’d be surprised if 5% would have wanted Wenger to go even though the journos and media had already decided that “the majority” wanted Wenger out. I’d be surprised if the BBC had bothered with a survey because they’d already decided what we think. And if they had done a survey that didn’t show a large percentage against Wenger, they wouldn’t have published it. One things for certain, if they’d done a survey showing 81% in favour of Wenger staying, they’d have certainly run the headline “19% of Arsenal fans agree that Wenger should go” and used that to support their stance.

    Same old same old.

  • Maxwell

    This “only beating lesser teams” canard is another manifestation of the double standards employed by media to belittle Arsenal. Surely, since we are competing in the best, most competitive league in the world, where any team at one time can down any other, there are no lesser teams. Every match is a proper test.

    Except for the Arsenal!

  • markyb

    It’s the same when we are perceived to win ugly. Anyone else it’s the sign of a good team to win when not playing at their best, not so us.

  • colario

    OT
    Walter what is your thinking on this:

    from Inside football

    Lokeren coach Maes is charged by Belgian police in money laundering scandal
    24th October 2018

    October 24 – Police have arrested Lokeren coach Peter Macs (pictured) in the latest move linked to the wide-ranging investigation into the damaging match-fixing and money laundering scandal hitting Belgian football.

    Maes has been charged with “money laundering and involvement in a criminal organisation”, AFP quoted an unnamed source as saying.

    He was remanded in custody on Monday but was granted conditional release 24 hours later and is resuming his coaching role.

    Maes, a former goalkeeper with Anderlecht and Standard Liege, took charge at Lokeren in the summer of 2017. The club is currently second from bottom in the Belgian first division.

    According to local media, he is being investigated due to his links with Dejan Veljkovic, a prominent agent who was detained earlier this month as part of the police operation.

    Investigators suspect Maes of having benefited from dubious tax “arrangements”, in a case similar to Club Brugge coach Ivan Leko, who has also been charged with money laundering.

    Following his release from custody, Lokeren said Maes “can resume his role as coach” in a statement on the club’s website though he is apparently not allowed to talk to the media.

    In total, 20 people, including club executives, players’ agents, two referees and a player, have been charged in the case which concerns two matches supposedly fixed in a failed effort to save formerly top-tier KV Mechelen from relegation to the second division.

    Contact the writer of this story at moc.llabtoofdlrowedisni@wahsraw.werdna

  • WalterBroeckx

    Colario,

    I hope I will be able to write about it in a week time or so. Look out for Untold 😉

  • blacksheep

    I heard the report on BBC radio 4 at 7.25ish just after some idiot had stoved in the side of my car. They were pretty complimentary I thought but their guest was less positive. He thought we had made improvements but bigger tests were still to come so he was waiting to see how we did against Liverpool, Utd and Sp*rs. He was Bob Wilson.

  • jamie garland

    Man, Paul Merson has been so obnoxiously vocal in his attacks on Arsenal recently (more so than the usual). I guess it’s just a coincidence that that just so happened to coincide with us winning 11 games in a row? Yet he still feels the need to insult us on a near daily basis.

    Why is it that we have dickheads like this representing us on the punditry team, when the other ex-players are usually so blindly biased in favour of their team? Every single word he speaks of Arsenal is just so drenched in jealousy and bitterness he really comes across as a very small-minded individual.

  • nick

    The only real worry is with our defense.Wether it be the defenders or the formation im not sure.If we can get that part of our game sorted and more balanced we then can be contenders for major honors.

  • Janie I think Merson is still bitter at the way Wenger moved him on very quickly while the Romford Pele became a star of the show.

  • REally sorry to hear about your car BS. And when you have a cold as all consuming as mine all voices sound the same. You’ll know how overwhelming the cold is by the fact that I am not even going to attempt going out to the dance tonight.

  • nick

    What is clear to see though is that Unai Emery has managed to bring harmony back amongst the real supporters and got them excited again about supporting and following Arsenal.No more infighting on the terraces ,banner waving and plane flying.Long may it continue

  • blacksheep

    I thought (for once) it was a fair interview with an interesting update on Arsene Wenger – but don’t take my word for it its here https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0000v8m at about 1.27 in

  • Gord

    I think the real supporters, have been supporting Arsenal all along.

  • Ferg

    He’s going to be back , but in what role I can’t be sure.
    The contextual inference was Arsenal, but I think it was a bit of early morning nerves for Bob. Surely.

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