by Walter Broeckx
Last season I tried to compare our season with the one before and as some readers rather liked the idea I thought I would try to do this again.
Last year I used the method of comparing the games against the same opponents, no matter at which time in the season they were played. It was suggested that it would be better just to compare the games with the games played in the same period of the season.
Both methods have their own merit. My initial method has as an advantage that you compare a game against a top team with the same top team and a game with a bottom team with the same bottom team or with a team that replaces that bottom team if it went down.
The other method of just doing it on game week basis has the advantage that after an international break of champions league game you can see how things have worked out compared with the season before. In this case it could happen that you have to compare last year’s game against a top team with a bottom team or the other way round.
So this season I thought: why not just do it both ways? And I will give it a go after our first 4 games just to give you an idea on how we will try to keep doing this at regular times in the season.
Four first games 2010/2011
Liverpool – Arsenal 1-1
Arsenal – Blackpool 6-0
Blackburn Rovers – Arsenal 1-2
Arsenal – Bolton 4-1
- Won 3 – draw 1 – Lost 0 : 10 points – goals scored 13 against 3
Team comparison :2009/2010
Liverpool – Arsenal 1-2
Arsenal – Portsmouth 4-1 (Blackpool)
Blackburn Rovers – Arsenal 2-1
Arsenal – Bolton 4-2
- Won 3 – draw 0 – lost 1 : 9 points – goals scored 11 against 6
Games comparison 2009/2010 Four first games
Everton – Arsenal 1-6
Arsenal – Portsmouth 4-1
Manchester United – Arsenal 2-1
Manchester City – Arsenal 4-2
- Won 2 – draw 0 – lost 2 : 6 points – goals scored 13 against 8
As it is very early in the season it is not always easy to draw conclusions. Four games is only 1/10th of the season but it might be interesting to see some trends. This almost feels like some commentator talking about exit polls on election day!
Anyway if we just take the first 4 games of last season we did very well compared to that. We got 4 more points, we scored the same number of goals BUT we conceded a lot less. Last year we had conceded 8 goals and now only 3.
And if you compare it with the team by team comparison we also have done better. One more point, two more goals scored and also less goals conceded. Last season we conceded 6. And to make things clear I compared Blackpool with Portsmouth as the latter went down at the end of the season and it also was our first home game last season.
So the remark from Wenger that our defence is getting better is not just some words to please the fans or to make us feel good. It is based on facts.
And the fact that apart from Vermaelen we have 2 completely new central defenders makes this even more extraordinary. Normally you would think that a new central back pairing leads to more goals. As they need time to adapt to each other and find some way of forming a partnership. But now with having Vermaelen-Koscielny and Squillaci-Koscielny playing we conceded not that much goals.
And another remarkable thing is that from the 3 goals we did concede not one came from a free kick or a corner where we were a bit vulnerable in the past. And also in fact that those 3 goals we conceded could have been avoided. Two times we gave away the ball almost in our own penalty area (Liverpool – Bolton) and one time we could have cut something out at the cost of a yellow card. The giving away the ball is something that can be avoided with more concentration and something we will not see every week. Well I hope anyway.
And if you add to this the fact that we already have a lot of players out with injury and some players who started the season later because of the world cup, makes it even better.
The comparison: If injuries are bad now, was it much better in the past? 90 years ago our keeper had to play at left back with a damaged wrist. 40,000 turned up to watch.
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