By Tony Attwood
Last night was a moment when anyone listening to BBC Radio 5 would have heard them go apoplectically berserk about Arsenal. Before the game they were saying Arsenal were awful. Terrible. Shocking. After the game by way of variation Arsenal were shocking. Terrible Awful.
Oh yes but Emery had made great strides with the team compared to Wenger. They said that. Which suggested that under Wenger we were doubleplus awful.
Basically we won away from home last night and we are now fourth in the league one point behind Tottenham who are sensational, a breath of fresh air, magnificent, incredible. I know that because I heard it on the radio. So a win for us and a draw for Tottenham would presumably mean we would be as brilliant as them. Except it doesn’t work like that.
Comparisons between Emery and Wenger are of course worthwhile, I think, because the people who made life uncomfortable for Mr Wenger last year did so on the simple message “Wenger Out”. It wasn’t “Wenger out and Kroenke out” or “Wenger out and let’s have loads more transfer more” it was the simple notion that Wenger could not do the job, and whoever was chosen would do it better. Resources never featured on any banner I saw, nor in any chant.
Hence the comparisons that I run from time to time. So after 33 games how were we doing in 2017/18?
At that point we had 16 wins, 6 draws, 11 defeats. The goals were 62 for and 45 against, making a difference of 17. We had 54 points and were sixth, and were 33 points behind the leaders, and 14 points behind the team in fourth place.
Here’s today’s table…
So yes a real improvement. Four fewer defeats which have been turned into four more wins. Just four matches with a changed result, but enough to reduce us to 19 points behind the leaders, and to be in fourth place.
We are helped a little by the fact that last season there was one team way ahead of everyone else and this year there are two, but yes there is an improvement.
In terms of the still troubling away form at the moment we have played 16 game and won 6, drawn 4, and lost six. The goals are 27 for and 28 against.
One year ago the situation after 16 games was won three, drawn four, lost nine. 17 goals scored, 26 against. Again a real improvement.
Going back one year before that to April 2017 after 16 away games we had won seven, drawn three, lost six, with the goals being 32 for and 25 against. That year over all we came 5th – Mr Wenger’s first drop out of the top four places. Ultimately we missed out on the top four finish by one point, and were finally 18 points behind the winners Chelsea.
So just from that snapshot we are back to the away form of two years ago.
And to look at what a top four finish was like under Mr Wenger we need to go back to April 2016 and see how things were going away from home after 16 games.
In the season 2015/16 – the last time we ended up in the top four – after 16 away games we had won eight, drawn four and lost four, having scored 29 and conceded 20 away from home. A total of 28 away points. At the moment we have 22 points away. Not so good but getting there.
The last two seasons under Mr Wenger were abberations – the two seasons we did not get into the top four, but prior to that as you will recall we had season after season in the top four, the last as noted in the previous paragraph being 2015/16.
In 2015/16 we ended up second, and after 33 games here is where we were, showing both home and away games.
So we are now six points better off than the last time we end up in the top four. That’s good, and well done Mr Emery for that. But now we are described by the media as a terrible team playing awful football. But then, that’s how it was back in 2016. Yep, we really are getting back to the old ways.