By Tony Attwood
Following Arsenal from the far side of the world (Sydney, Australia to be precise) is something of an odd affair. The games don’t appear to be shown live (at least not in the bars that I can find) and anyway does one really want to follow football in the middle of the night while actually trying to enjoy a holiday and visit the family?
So one is left returning to the internet to pick up the details from the news sites. And in doing this I find that few commentators have taken up the theme Untold has been developing in the last couple of years – that the best predictor of how a club will do in their next game is to look at the home and away form of each club.
As we have seen this is not at all a prefect predictor, but it is at the very least as good as any, and in fact much of the time gives a better prediction of what might happen.
But beyond that, it also gives a real insight into the sort of players each club might like to seek out in the next transfer window, unwrapping as it does various connundrums. And the key point is that it challenges the whole concept of “he’s a rubbish defender – get rid of him now” based on one performance – because clearly the teams we put out at home, are effective and do very well.
This sort of analysis can also give indicators for the future poition of teams in the league. For example, if we compare the home and away form of the top clubs we find this (at least at the moment I am writing this piece)…
Home games only
Tottenham and Manchester United have five home games left to play – more than the other teams in the top six positions. And yet both teams have poor home form this season that could see those games become a disadvantage rather than an advantage as is traditionally seen to be the case.
Tottenham’s power has come in away games where they are the most successful team this team. Arsenal are however far from successful, and they would need to win both their away games in hand away from home, in order simply to creep into the top six of the away games table.
Away games only
We have also seen Arsenal’s strength at home and lack of form away from home in the Europa League this season – not least in the most recent games where the away defeat was heralded in the press as a sign of Arsenal’s hopelessness and weakness, and the need to rebuild the team, while the home win that secured the tie was a sign of Arsenal’s strength and ability.
But if we look forward to the next round of the Europa we can then use this “home and away” approach to get a clearer insight into how things might go…
Overall Napoli are second in the Italian League in terms of the full league table, and again in terms of both the tables that take into account home and away games only.
At home it is 10 wins – 3 draws – 1 defeat (compared to Arsenal’s 13 wins – 2 draws -1 defeat).
Away it is 7 wins – 3 draws – 3 defeats (compared to Arsenal’s 5 wins -4 draws – defeats).
But we can also notice something else from the complete league table…