Arsenal v Tottenham: a truly revolutionary approach from the press

By Tony Attwood

Why Arsenal should be happy Mike Dean is refereeing the north London derby

That is the headline above an article in the Daily Telegraph.  It is not a piece that I wholly agree with and I think some of the ways in which the statistics are handled are misleading, but the fact that it is there at all says something.   Go back ten years and the chance of a national newspaper even mentioning the possibility that a referee might be biased would be unthinkable.

Indeed the fact that the paper has to use such a convoluted approach – and indeed actually bothers to go into such a convoluted approach – suggests that an awareness of the situation is growing.  Maybe we have been having a little effect these past ten years after all.

What the Telegraph has done is simply looked at how many matches Arsenal have won with one particular referee handling one particular match.  It isn’t a way of getting a proper statistical analysis – as I am sure the journalist and the Telegraph editors know perfectly well, but as a way of putting down Arsenal fans who are by and large regarded as universally unskilled in the finer understandings of maths, is serves their political viewpoint well enough..

To do the analysis properly you would need to compare also all the matches refereed by each referee and then compare those with each other to start seeing if there was bias – and that would only be the start.  But that they are willing to run this article at all knowing that it was statistically unsound – well, one can only contemplate the possibilities.

Anyway, the media is getting quite excited about Sunday’s game so here’s a little something to consider: Arsenal v Tottenham in League and Cup competitions:

Arsenal have won 81, Tottenham have won 63  and 51 have been drawn.  Here are the last 15…

Date Game Res Score Competition
26 Feb 2012 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur W 5-2 Premier League
17 Nov 2012 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur W 5-2 Premier League
03 Mar 2013 Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal L 2-1 Premier League
01 Sep 2013 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur W 1-0 Premier League
04 Jan 2014 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur W 2-0 FA Cup
16 Mar 2014 Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal W 0-1 Premier League
27 Sep 2014 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur D 1-1 Premier League
07 Feb 2015 Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal L 2-1 Premier League
23 Sep 2015 Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal W 1-2 League Cup
08 Nov 2015 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur D 1-1 Premier League
05 Mar 2016 Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal D 2-2 Premier League
06 Nov 2016 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur D 1-1 Premier League
30 Apr 2017 Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal L 2-0 Premier League
18 Nov 2017 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur W 2-0 Premier League
10 Feb 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal L 1-0 Premier League

Seven wins for us in the last 15, four defeats, four draws.

If we reduce this to the last ten however we only have three wins, four draw, and three defeats.   Come down to the last five, and finally we find a way of giving Tottenham the edge – we have just one win, two draws and two defeats.   (You can’t say I’m manipulating the number of games just to give Arsenal the edge).

Since those two 5-2 wins in 2012, neither team has knocked up more than two goals in a game so 2-1 looks like quite a viable scoreline.  But we should also remember that in all four of the defeats noted above the games have been played away from Arsenal Stadium – the last time they won at our place was 11 May 1993.  And yet still the Tiny supporters turn up in hope.   Ah well – it all adds to our income.

But what we also have to do is remember Tottenham’s extraordinary away record this season – played eight, won seven, lost one.   15 goals scored, six conceded, giving an average rounded result of  2-1.  This is considerably better than our home record of four wins, two draws and one defeat with 12 scored and six conceded – which again suggests a 2-1 scoreline.

Add the two sets of figures together and one might be tempted to see a 1-1 draw on the horizon.

Among the pundits Merson has gone for a draw while Lawrenson is going for a Tottenham win.

But there is a rather droll headline doing the rounds from Eurosport: Parker predicts Derby Day: Are Spurs the ‘new’ Arsenal?

Piers Morgan says that Arsenal’s unbeaten run of 18 games will be forgotten if they lose to Tottenham, and for once he is right.  The memory of the average journalist is shorter than that of the lesser spotted grasshopper.   But it will be there in the record books for ever more.  An 18 match unbeaten run by a new manager, starting in his third game.  Not very many managers manage that.

OK the journalists will forget – but they are hardly representative either of Arsenal supporters or football supporters at large.

15 Replies to “Arsenal v Tottenham: a truly revolutionary approach from the press”

  1. 1993? Strange, I seem to remember being in the away end of the emirates watching a 2-3 win a few years back. Rafael van der Vaart being one of our heroes that day.

  2. Blimey

    Make a sentence out of the following:

    Straws at clutching.

    Spuddies, you’ve gotta luv em.

  3. First time comment from a long-time lurker and off-topic (apologies) but would like to highlight an article in the online Daily Mail today where a former Stoke player explains how Pulis wound up Shawcross to assault Aaron 8 or so years ago. Further validation of what this site has been saying for years.

    Simply outrageous

  4. We have already mentioned this from reports elsewhere Dave, and will be coming back it to later. I want to write a piece about this, but I am just getting ready to do some travelling so it will have to wait until after the Tottenham game.

  5. MagicNo14

    1993? Strange, I seem to remember being in the away end of the emirates watching a 2-3 win a few years back.


    Great memory you have there Magic, something I would think comes in very handy when your a Spurs fan.

    Lets see just how good it is shall we with a couple of tests?

    The first one should be quite easy, what with you remembering that win at the Emirates and all, so well.

    So, if you just shut your eyes and try really hard maybe you can remember the last trophy you won ?

    Well done, not tooooo hard that one, but just in case for all those spuddys with not such good memories, of course it was the league cup back in 2008.

    Now the tricky one.

    For this one you’re going to have to shut your eyes really really tight and think really really hard, and try to think back, and back, and back.

    Back before the internet.

    Back before play stations.

    Back before SKY tv.

    Back before Brit pop.

    Back before Durran Duran and David Bowie.

    Back before star wars, Jaws, and the exorcist.

    Back to a time when there was only 3 tv channels.

    Back before decimalisation.

    Back before we joined the Common Market.

    Back before colour TV.

    Back and back, before man landed on the moon.

    Back before the Beatles and the Stones

    Even as far back as before we won the World cup

    Back and back and back…….

    Difficult I know, but if you can just do that you might just remember a time, long long ago, a time when we all stood in the rain and played on pitches of mud and had jumpers for goal posts, you might just remember a time when Tottenham Hotspurs (for that is who you were known as then) actually won the first division title.

    Ahhhh memories, they bring such a warm feeling, especially when they are so precious and so so long ago.

    Oh, by the way, well done on that win back in 2010.

  6. since we’re into stats, i’ve had a look at unai’s in derbies. actually, in THE sevillan derby (sevilla fc vs real betis). never easy to compare, but i’d say many sevillans would scoff at what we call “bad blood” between spuds and gooners, and the fiercest of NLDs would look like a friendly to them.
    anyway, unai sure seems to have got the knack of doing (very) well at them: overall, he and his players won 6 drew 1 lost 1; scored 16 conceded 2
    not bad, eh? come on, unai, we need the old blade runner, we need your magic

  7. Medias have already turned themselves into a gambling business. In the past two three days I was wondering if the concept of believing in fair competition is abandoned altogether. They are coordinated and love what they are saying.

  8. nick – No person on here has ever said that Arsenal literally never have a good word said about them, so please, can you people please stop acting as if that was ever the point that we were/are making.

    Why is this always the sole argument used to “debunk” Arsenal getting worse treatment than other teams? Providing one single article does not negate the years, upon years of constant negativity and belittlement directed out our club. If one article is enough to make you believe that we are treated evenly then why are the countless negative articles and direct attacks on our club not enough to convince you otherwise? Funny, isn’t it, how little evidence it takes to convince someone of their own opinions.

  9. Jammy
    People like you only moan when theres bad press about Arsenal,,As there is with any other team,and never really highlight when something good is written.

  10. Well Dean did his best. I bet he thought giving a non-existent penalty would give the Spuds the required lift they needed to go on and win the game.

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