So just how badly are Arsenal really doing, and what should we do now?

By Tony Attwood

The hysteria is now off the scale and common sense debate, logical debate and reasoned argument has ended.  (Although come to think of it actually it ended in the summer with the stuff about Arsenal only having a budget of £40m because some “accountant” analysed the books and said so).

So, I thought I would do a little comparing to see just how different this position for Arsenal is after five games compared to other recent seasons, and wonder what that tells us.

As things stand we are seven points below the top club, equal on points with the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th club.  The question is, is this an utterly disasterous start?

If we look at the distance between ourselves and the top club this is the worst position we’ve been in, in recent years – currently we are seven points off the leaders, whereas in each of the previous five years we have been five or six points off the leaders after five games.

Getting back into the top four has been a key call of late – a change from the earlier “fourth is not a trophy” when we used to make third or fourth each season.   So how far we away from the fourth spot are we?  We’re a goal difference of four away from that position, or of course one point which would take us up to third.

So as in two seasons in the last five, after five games we equal on points with the club in fourth.  In the other three seasons, at this stage in the season (after five games) we have been one, two or three points below the club in fourth.   So we are in our best position across these five years.  And yet the abuse level is now off the scale even compared with the final Wenger year.

It should also be remembered that in 2015/16 we were equal on points with the fourth placed team at this stage of the season, and we finished the season runners’ up.

So we are pretty much where we have been in the last five years, at this stage of the season.  Which raises the question,”why the hysteria?”

The most obvious reason is that each season the media raises the level of hysteria simply because hysteria is what it now does.  But this season there is a feature many bloggers and journalists are desperate to hide.  Two years ago they went totally bonkers demanding that Mr Wenger should leave.  They got their wish, and now they are witnessing the results – which are not a dramatic improvement that the “anyone but Wenger” bloggettas suggested.

Now you have to remember that the Wenger Out campaign was just that.  Not, “Wenger out and get xxx” but just anyone is better than Wenger, it is Wenger who is destroying the club, it is all Wenger’s fault, without Wenger everything will be ok because no one is as bad as Wenger, ad infinitum.

And as a result the “debate” if I can grace it with that name, (although it seems to be changing the definition of “debate” into the same as “wild rant”), has not moved on very far.  The AAA got what they wanted and have found… it hasn’t delivered what they told us it would.   After all, those placards were very clear – all that was needed was for Wenger to go.  Nothing about giving more money to the manager.  Nothing about changing the owner.

Now there is one other little thing here.   We’ve played 40% of our games against other top six teams.  Tottenham have done the same.   But the remainder of the top six from last season have had only one game against another top six club.  A slight disadvantage thus far a slight advantage for the future.

So despite our having played double the number of top six clubs as four of the rest, we are on equal points with Tottenham, Man U and Chelsea.  Of course I’d like us to have got an extra goal at Watford, or have the ref spot the illegality of the Watford goal, which would have taken us third, but that’s how it goes.

Now we know logic and football debate now don’t mix, but I will throw in another factor.  Last season, and the season before, our big problem was away from home, irrespective of the nature of the opposition.  And three of our games have been away from home, where we are still trying to get the format right.

And one more thing… although everyone has injuries, we have three of our best back four out right at the start of the season.

I suspect some people bothering to read my rambling will say it is all excuses.  I prefer to call them explanations.  If we stay in 7th by the end of the season Emery will be moved on, as his contract allows, and then we will have another period of change and uncertainty, and then another year of the same outrageous comments on the internet and in the papers and by broadcasters, and then that manager will be moved on and then.

All we can do is hope he gets us up to fourth to stave off the endless Groundhog Day…


10 Replies to “So just how badly are Arsenal really doing, and what should we do now?”

  1. A good article. But if you throw in the last 8 games of last season it does not look good.
    We have no real pattern of play. The players do not look like they have a clue and more importantly Emery seems to pick teams to try stop the opposition as per their previous game.. Watford have been narrow all season we set up for that and did not adjust when the new manager played with width.
    See only played 3 in midfield against Watford Liverpool and to a lesser extent spurs and the three got the run around ,
    Tactically Emery is poor
    He has his two Spanish guys he turns to on the bench who seem to be even more tactically naive than him.
    Two full backs will not make any difference to goals conceded when it’s the centre backs and the midfield protection that is the problem.Why have another year of Emery ? Raul and Edu are not blind look at the last 13 games it’s very very poor.
    We can just say let’s see this year an d start again.. Get Allegri in this week we will finish top four and then we can look forward to next year

  2. I was a supporter of Wenger and thought it was wrong to let him leave.The currant managers has received a bounty of cash for new proven players, he was brought in to re vitalise the playing style and gain us champions league football. But on my perceptions he seems to be lost on how to get the team to play a consistent method which suits the fast and physical games that are prevalent in the premiership.The game against Watford was a shambles to put it mildly the same as the first half against Tottenham,i can only hope that these early games come as some wake up call otherwise I think he will not be around the Emerites for much longer.

  3. Let’s get allegri,emery can’t take us to the promised land.check his substitutions and team selections you will agree with me that that man lacks technical ideas to win can you remove ozil and brought a kid who doesn’t know when to distribute or shoot.playing the same old men at centre back and they’re making the same useless mistakes, you still continue using them.what is goundizu in that team.he doesn’t have strength nor pace to be either defensive midfielder or attacking midfielder. My best selection for arsenal to move forward is.Leno,Maitland niles ,chambers,holding,kolasinac,torera,ozil,cebellos,pepe,aubamayang,martineli in absence of laccaset

  4. Unfortunately fans cannot look into crystal ball to see how our team will stand at season’s end, we are forced to enjoy the highs and endure the lows until our final league position is mathematically sealed.

    However we do have the “lag indicators” (history) to analyze, and top flight leagues tend to play out in line with history, with the non-conforming events occurring here and there to make things interesting.

    What about the “lead indicators” as predictors of future success/failure? – in other words everything the club is doing consistently or differently whether publicly or behind the scenes to move forward and avoid stagnation or moving backwards. I.e. scouting, recruitment strategy & youth development, average age of squad, coaching innovations, financial mgt. etc.

    When our history (lag indicators) and current strategy(lead indicators) are placed side by side we can conclude that based on our history it makes sense (difficult as it may be) to ignore the hysteria and gloomy outlook propagated by the “usual suspects” and based on our current club strategy and initiatives which are at a very high level, it also makes sense to be optimistic that our position will be stronger in seasons to come.

  5. It should also be remembered that our first five games have also been refereed by just three people. Dean, Atkinson (2) and Taylor (2); not exactly our most favourite referees!

  6. The thrust of Tony’s write up is to allow this crop of AFC players to truly settle in and see how they deliver on the promise of the new recruitments’ abilities to change our trajectory.

    That is the most rational thing to do; hence while a noisy set of fans, the hyper critical media and blogs paint a picture of gloom and disaster our Club should knuckle down and work at it for the rest of this season.

    AFC can still turn things around regardless of the hysteria surrounding its recent performances. UE and the boys should just ignore and mute the baying of critics and do what they need to do.

    This is the opportunity for all of them to show that they are true professionals and not free loaders.

  7. With respect, are you not really missing the point.

    The shambolic performance on Sunday is surely symptomatic of the downward spiral in the quality of play the team are providing, both individually and collectively.

    The number of points is not that relevant, bearing in mind our total is bolstered by 6 points against 2 of the weakest teams in the league.

    The decline in the last 3 games has been frightening, so it is understandable that the general fan base is expressing real concern because the evidence on the pitch is not good.

    I am sure that there are many fans who feel like I do that UE is incapable of stopping the rot, as can be seen from his inability to do anything to do so on Sunday, quite the contrary.

    You should be admired for being so optimistic.

    Please forgive people like me who, although we would be delighted if it was justified, simply cannot see any evidence that optimism is well placed.

  8. @Jjsol
    I tend to agree with your comment , the way the team is playing at the moment didn’t start 4 games ago it’s a continuation of what happened at the end of last season including a EL cup final .

Comments are closed.