Arsenal to finish 2019/20 in sixth – the media’s demolition of AFC is in full swing

By Tony Attwood

“The time for excuses is over”. 

So runs the opening of the Guardian’s preview of Arsenal’s season to come, in which they boldly predict that this season Arsenal will finish … sixth.

There is fun had in the article at the expense of Ivan Gazidis for thinking that the days of the billionaires ploughing money into clubs and lying to the media, Uefa, the league and anyone else who was passing were over – it was a good thought, but it was not to be.  But still, Chelsea have been banned from transfers, and Manchester City under scrutiny from Uefa.  It is slow but there is some progress.

So the Guardian tells us that the club is, if not “lurching backwards” not actually “moving forwards” while “there is as much to concern” at Arsenal about “the forms of Leicester, Wolves and Everton narrowing the gap below.”  They also comment that “Excuses have become a staple in their part of north London,” although they don’t tell us what excuses they think the club have made.

Methinks this might have been written by a member of the notorious Arsenal Supporters Trust.

And I think maybe the author has not actually looked at last season’s table:

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 38 32 2 4 95 23 72 98
2 Liverpool 38 30 7 1 89 22 67 97
3 Chelsea 38 21 9 8 63 39 24 72
4 Tottenham Hotspur 38 23 2 13 67 39 28 71
5 Arsenal 38 21 7 10 73 51 22 70
6 Manchester United 38 19 9 10 65 54 11 66
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 38 16 9 13 47 46 1 57
8 Everton 38 15 9 14 54 46 8 54
9 Leicester City 38 15 7 16 51 48 3 52

Now I know my maths is often rather dodgy but we were 18 points above Leicester, 16 points above Everton and 13 points above Wolverhampton Wobbleyou last season.  Those are big gaps.

And there is the tendency that we noted last in our piece in June, for clubs to move very little in terms of places in the league from one season to the next.   Here’s the table we came up with before…

Pos Team 2017/18 Difference to 2018/19
1 Manchester City 1 0
2 Liverpool 4 +2
3 Chelsea 5 +2
4 Tottenham Hotspur 3 -1
5 Arsenal 6 +1
6 Manchester United 2 -4
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers Promoted  –
8 Everton 8 0
9 Leicester City 9 0
10 West Ham United 13 +3
  • Three teams as we can see stayed in the same position as last year: Everton, Leicester and Man City.
  • Four teams changed by just one position: Tottenham, Arsenal, Palace, Southampton.
  • Four teams changed by two positions: Liverpool, Chelsea, Bournemouth, Brighton.

So a drop for Arsenal to below Leicester, Everton or Wolverhampton would be very unusual.  Not impossible, but unusual.   Manchester United had just such a drop via changing their manager.  Otherwise it seems unlikely.

Noticeably the Guardian piece make no comment on the alleged, but totally fanciful, £40m budget.  If you missed it you might want to go back and see our review of how that nonsense all came about, and who was responsible for it.   But they have not been shy of criticising the club all summer as with talk of the “combined statement on behalf of 14 separate supporter groups” – which of course did not and do not exist.  It was a couple of supporters’ groups – who have been anti-Arsenal management and board for years, and a bunch of blogs.

To be fair to the paper, they have not gone overboard on the fanciful £45m budget story that made AST look like chumps, but the Guardian argues that even with Pepe “further changes are required”. 

Then of course there is the obligatory paragraph on Koscielny – apparently it could be “a reflection on the club’s management in recent years, that he felt moved to skip the trip across the Atlantic.”  Although notably the article does not explain why this is a reflection on the club’s management, rather than on Koscielny’s own priorities and/or the rather eccentric negotiation techniques of his agent.  It “could be”, I guess, in the way that global warming could be caused by Tottenham fans getting excited about their new stadium.

9 Replies to “Arsenal to finish 2019/20 in sixth – the media’s demolition of AFC is in full swing”

  1. The guardian is a pro Man U rag.Every opportunity they get to dig out Arsenal they use it.most,if not all stories are derogatory & if not a back handed compliment,through gritted teeth.i have come to loath their Arsenal coverage which is in line with other Man U loving rags like The mail,sun,mirror & star etc.Their logic for us to get no more than 6th place is more of a desire on their part.

  2. When they do their start of the season preview and predictions, it’s clear that the predictions are nothing more than a wish list of these so-called Pundits. It’s usually devoid of any insight other than they will place the teams in order of likeability. In case of Arsenal their bias make them exaggerate and even invent failings whilst ignore any reasons for improvement from previous season. But for their darling clubs, all they envisage are further improvements. One would take these previews seriously, if there are any hint of squad and tactical analysis. There often nothing more than the ramblings of semi-literate supporters down your local.

  3. @Jojo

    Guardian’s predicted last season that Arsenal would finish 5th. We finished 5th.

    They predicted we would finish 6th in 2017-18. We finished 6th.

    They predicted we would finish 5th in 2016-17. We finished 5th.

    The last time they missed with their prediction was in 2015-16 when we pipped Spuds to 2nd place in the last game of the season – Guardian predicted we’d finish 3rd.

    2014-15 – they rightly called 3rd place for us.

    2013-14 – they missed (5th – 4th).

    2012-13 – they rightly called 4th place for us.

    2011-12 – they missed (5th – 3rd).

    2010-11 – they rightly called 3rd place for us.

    So, they have made nine predictions since 2010-11 and six of them were correct (66,67%). They made one big miss (2011-12) but other than that, their predictions were usually spot on.

  4. If the Guardian got 6 of the last 9 productions correctly, then we ought to take them seriously! 66% is a pass mark!
    Now it’s up to the players to prove them wrong!

  5. These predictions don’t bother me. I’d rather they underestimate us than big us up only to slaughter us later. The signings this summer seem solid and I, for one, am optimistic about our season. So, I am not bothered at all if the Manchester Guardian shows its true colours.

  6. You could never know, we might have to look at the EPL odds where each team will finish to see where Arsenal will finish & match that with what the guardian or any other paper predicted. Lately it is spot on.

  7. @Mikey

    The topic is about their prediction of our final position which has been correct in 6 out of 9 occasions. Nothing else.

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