By Bulldog Drummond
As we saw against Crystal Palace analayses of home and away team performances don’t give an exact indication of how a match will go, but over time we have found they are one of the very best ways of making predicitons, and are more often right than wrong.
So despite the failure to predict a draw against Palace (I went firmly for an away win) I’m staying with the home/away charts.
Here is the league table as it would look just taking into account away form.
Wolverhampton are middle of the table away from home – but with a poor scoring record – just three scored and four conceded in their five away games. In fact only Cardiff has scored fewer away goals than Wolverhampton – just the two.
Incidentally, although it doesn’t affect today’s game Arsenal are now the top scoring team away from home. Which is good news if you are taking our pre-season prediction that Arsenal will finish up third or fourth, and achieve it by taking their away form back to the normal levels of the “Fourth is not a trophy” seasons.
If we compare these figures with Arsenal’s home form we find an interesting contrast
|8||Brighton and Hove Albion||5||3||1||1||8||6||2||10|
At home and away are records are similar but we’ve actually scored more goals away from home than at home.
But for the purpose of the contrast between home and away, our home goal scoring is 11-5 and Wolverhampton’s away goal scoring is 3-4. 2-0 would seem the obvious prediction for this game.
We have actually played Wolverhampton eight times in the Premier League era, and our record is won seven, drawn one, lost nil. We have scored 19 goals and they have scored three against us. That sort of record could edge us towards 3-0 rather than 2-0.
The first ever game against them was in 1904 (we won 2-0, playing at Plumstead), and just because I like lists, here is the list of games between the two clubs since they last beat us.
|29 Sep 1979||Arsenal v Wolverhampton||L||2-3||Division One|
|16 May 1980||Wolverhampton v Arsenal||W||1-2||Division One|
|06 Dec 1980||Arsenal v Wolverhampton||D||1-1||Division One|
|25 Apr 1981||Wolverhampton v Arsenal||W||1-2||Division One|
|02 Feb 1982||Arsenal v Wolverhampton||W||2-1||Division One|
|03 Apr 1982||Wolverhampton v Arsenal||D||1-1||Division One|
|29 Aug 1983||Wolverhampton v Arsenal||W||1-2||Division One|
|24 Mar 1984||Arsenal v Wolverhampton||W||4-1||Division One|
|05 Apr 1998||Arsenal v Wolverhampton||W||1-0||FA Cup|
|24 Jan 1999||Wolverhampton v Arsenal||W||1-2||FA Cup|
|02 Dec 2003||Arsenal v Wolverhampton||W||5-1||League Cup|
|26 Dec 2003||Arsenal v Wolverhampton||W||3-0||Premier League|
|07 Feb 2004||Wolverhamptonv Arsenal||W||1-3||Premier League|
|29 Jan 2005||Arsenal v Wolverhampton||W||2-0||FA Cup|
|07 Nov 2009||Wolverhampton v Arsenal||W||1-4||Premier League|
|03 Apr 2010||Arsenal v Wolverhampton||W||1-0||Premier League|
|10 Nov 2010||Wolverhampton v Arsenal||W||0-2||Premier League|
|12 Feb 2011||Arsenal v Wolverhampton||W||2-0||Premier League|
|27 Dec 2011||Arsenal v Wolverhampton||D||1-1||Premier League|
|11 Apr 2012||Wolverhampton v Arsenal||W||0-3||Premier League|
“Early goals from Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott earned Arsenal victory over 10-man Wolves in a game that was largely decided within 11 minutes. Sebastien Bassong saw red for bringing down Walcott, with Van Persie dinking the penalty over Wayne Hennessey. Walcott then played a neat one-two before shooting low into the net.
“Wolves went closest when Wojciech Szczesny saved Kevin Doyle’s header after the break, but Yossi Benayoun then converted to seal the win. The hosts brought centre-back Christophe Berra on to replace midfielder David Davis between the two early goals, in response to Bassong’s dismissal.
“But such is the mood at bottom-of-the-table Wolves that the crowd greeted the substitution by directing choruses of “you don’t know what you’re doing” at boss Terry Connor, no matter that Berra saw a header deflected just wide from a corner soon after.
“The defeat was the seventh on the trot for the hosts, who stay six points behind 19th-placed Blackburn and nine points from safety with five games left. For Arsenal, whose fine end-of-season form continues, the result keeps them third and moves them five points ahead of fourth-placed Tottenham.”
RVPs penalty was his 33rd of the season, and his 45th in 50 PL games.
After the game Mr Wenger said, “It is important for a striker, even like Robin van Persie who was not used to not scoring in the season, to find the net. He equalled the record of Ian Wright who scored against 17 different teams out of 19 in the Premier League.
“That is absolutely remarkable in the modern game to be able to do that. I’d like to congratulate him on that. It was overall a fantastic win. I’m very happy to be in this position but also very cautious as some teams were in the position we are in now before.”
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