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Arsenal TV claim this is our best league campaign for a while. Is it?

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By Tony Attwood

Even before last night’s game the boot was going into Mr Emery as can be seen from the headline, “Shades of Wenger? Stubborn Emery’s latest stance may cost Arsenal CL qualification” – that was published by the apppropriately named The Boot Room.  They were not alone in expressing their doubt.

And as you know we lost, and this is how the table looks now…

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 35 29 2 4 89 22 67 89
2 Liverpool 35 27 7 1 79 20 59 88
3 Tottenham Hotspur 35 23 1 11 65 35 30 70
4 Chelsea 35 20 7 8 59 38 21 67
5 Arsenal 35 20 6 9 69 46 23 66
6 Manchester United 35 19 7 9 63 50 13 64

Now in the post-match discussions on Arsenal.com one of the “experts” on the club’s own internet TV station tried to tell us that things were actually getting better. “We have slowly been getting worse and worse – this is our best league campaign for a while,” he said.

So I thought that since no one contradicted that statement on the TV programme, we ought to look and see if it was true.

As the table above shows we have 66 points after 35 games, with a goal difference of +23.   Here is how the situation looked at this stage in previous years…

2018

Pos P W D L F A GD Pts
6 35 17 6 12 67 48 19 57

2017

Pos P W D L F A GD Pts
5 35 20 6 9 68 42 26 66

So immediately we can see that this is not our best league campaign for a while.  We are in a slightly worse position than in 2017.

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2016

Pos P W D L F A GD Pts
4 35 18 10 7 58 34 24 64

2015

Pos P W D L F A GD Pts
3 35 21 7 7 66 34 32 70

Again in 2015 we can see “this is our best league campaign for a while,” is not accurate.  We are better off than we were at this point last year, but that’s about the best we can say.  Two seasons back we had the same points and a slightly worse goal difference.  We are fractionally better than 2016, but a few points behind the 2015 position.

And although it could be said we are only four points behind where we were in 2015, the goal difference is slightly more worrying, in that it has declined by nine goals.

On the other hand one could argue we are only four points off our best number of points at this stage in the past four seasons, and we have scored more goals than in the 2014/15 season – and indeed we are just one win behind where we were in 2015.

Or put simply, our problem is not so much that we have got worse and worse, but rather that we have stood still while the remainder of the top six clubs have progressed.  That is the problem in a nutshell.  Unfortunately it does not fit into the simplistic “it was Wenger’s fault” model that the pundits on Arsenal TV support, so they bend reality to try and fit their own preconceptions.   And because it seems to be the official line, the chair of the debate makes no move to correct anything.

What has complicated the understanding of this fairly simple situation is, in my opinion, the fuss made by the anti-Arsenal-Arsenal groups who spent their time promoting the notion that by getting rid of Mr Wenger things would somehow improve.   Yet this on its own was never likely to be the case.  In my view, with the finances available at Arsenal, compared with the finances available at other clubs, Mr Wenger did as well as, if not better than, anyone else could.  Simply replacing him was by itself not likely to make much difference.  Mr Emery has done well just to hold us where we were.

And indeed this offers one explanation why the club is willing to have pundits on Arsenal TV putting forward the “it was worse under Wenger” falsehood.  As long as people keep believing things are getting better, that will distract from the activities of the owner in keeping the transfer money limited.

The problem is that we are a long way behind the clubs at the top; to be there we need to be scoring 20 goals a season more and conceding 20 goals a season fewer – a huge task.   But that is not the manager’s fault, in my view.  He is doing his best with the resources he is given, just as Mr Wenger did.

But of course claiming that Mr Wenger took the club downhill – getting worse and worse as the pundit said – while now we are making the long slow journey back, is the message the owner of the club will like because it gives hope for the future.  It is not reflected in the facts for the simple reason that other clubs have been progressing faster than we have and in 2015 we were in quite a decent position – not league winners but quite a decent performance.

We have benefitted from the turmoil at Manchester United combined with the extraordinary newspaper hype surrounding their new manager – which of course was a bubble that had to burst.   And we have benefitted from the turmoil at Chelsea where the owner has not been seen since his working visa was rescinded and he walked out in a huff with the whole stadium project seemingly abandoned.

But we can hardly bank on such things continuing in the future any more than we can bank on supporters being hoodwinked by palpably untrue statements from pundits on Arsenal TV.

The approach of the station last night in not having anyone to correct such inaccurate commentaries was shocking, and possibly heralds a new era of hoodwinking the fans.

 

 

 

 

 

1 comment to Arsenal TV claim this is our best league campaign for a while. Is it?

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Kun Aguero and Raheem Sterling who are at Man City before Pep Guardiola, the current Man City manager came to the club. And they are the major strike force in the Man City lineup last season and in this season’s campaigns in all competitions who have scored many goals and assisted many others which had led to the club winning the Carabao Cup and the PL title last season and retained the Carabao Cup this season. And looking could retain the PL title this season.

    Arsenal who used to have reliable goal getters on the consistent basis like Thiery O’Henry and others used to be for the club in the past don’t have them anymore nor have the likes if them now who can help the club to win the PL title again after it won it in 2003-2004 season. And Arsene Wenger, the immediate past manager of the Gunners who assembled most of those incredible winners of 2004 season at Arsenal culminating to the invisibility of the club in the PL. But could not assemble the same quality of players that won the PL title in 2004 after that invincible PL winning team of 2300-2004 season disbanded. Talk-less of him to assemble above that team quality players. This failure by Arsenal to rebuild the Gunners team properly to make them compete decisively to win the PL title again after many a near miss to win it again is as a result of the inability of Arsene Wenger to find hidden talents of top top quality players again who could become world class players after they’ve been signed on the bargain like those in the invincible team of 2004 season when he signed them and latter developed some of them to become world class players at Arsenal.

    Since Arsenal won the PL title in 2004, the transfer price for new senior players signing has gradually been on the increase. And as a consequence of Arsenal dabbling into building the Stadium, the club ran into acute financial shortages making it difficult for Arsenal to compete with other top PL club sides to sign finish article world class players of repute consistent goal scoring ability such as Zlatan Ibramovic when he was in his hay days, Kun Aguero, Luis Suarez, Gareth Bale and Diego Costa if to mention a few whom If Arsenal had signed at least 2 of the above world class players when their transfer cost price should be within Arsenal financial reach had the club not dabbled into building the Emirates Stadium at a huge financial cost at the time they did. Perhaps, Arsenal might have won the Premiership again, again and again in 2010 to 2016.

    This brings to mind on the subject article on the UA suggesting that Arsenal should sign Gareth Bale during next summer window? On my 2nd thought after I opposed the suggestion, I’ve decided to succumbed to the suggestion. Because Bale could guarantee scoring 14 PL goals or above that for Arsenal next season from the LW he plays mostly from. His likely double digit goals scoring exploits for Arsenal from the LW will amount to a major upgrade to the current goals scoring number at the Gunners LW this season in the PL which Alex Iwobi is currently manning.