Just 6 wins after 25 games. Has Arsenal ever been worse?

By Tony Attwood

A few days ago I spotted a comment from “Sammy the snake” (who was, some years back a much valued writer for Untold) noting with sadness that while Untold used to be utterly supportive of the club and the team, this was no longer the case.

Which is true from one perspective, although not from another.  We still don’t criticise the players, or the manager.  But we are critical of the fact that the club gave into the demands of the fans to push managers out, and buy in ever more expensive players.   The old way gave us the longest-serving manager in the Premier League’s history, and the second longest run of any club in Europe ever in the Champions League (only Real Madrid exceeded our achievement), not to mention a record number of FA Cup wins (both for the club and the manager) and an equal record number of doubles.

Arsenal self-evidently does not have a set of supporters who cheer on command, nor fans who will cheer the players no matter what.   Xhaka, Ozil, Mustafi, Lacazette – these are players who in recent times have all been heavily criticised either in the media or by fans, or both.  Every day the news accumulator sites are full of “Utterly useless” “Get him out of my club” type headlines.  It’s now the norm.

Turning on your own players is not something that happens at every club, but it certainly happens at Arsenal, and has happened over a long period of time.

Anyway, we are now in a period where the club is running things as some fans and their media allies wanted: sacking managers, rather than letting the manager solve the problems, buying, buying and buying as the media demands.  It is all a long way from Mr Wenger’s response to the question of what he would do if given a load of money to spend on transfers: “I’d give it back”.

His argument that he would not spend it because constantly bringing in new players from elsewhere both inhibits the development of younger players and sends out a message to the juniors that they will never get a chance.  It might seem irrelevant at a moment when we have a particularly fine array of players who have come through from the under 23s, but such things can change in a moment.  And as we have noted, the top spending clubs of last summer (including Arsenal) are by and large doing worse than they were last year.

Mr Wenger was of course derided both for his development of the youth system, and his ability to keep us in the top four, year after year.   “Fourth is not a trophy” was shouted at him, along with “Spend some fucking money”.  But I suspect many who held up the placards and helped force Mr Wenger out, would welcome the regularity of top four finishes now.

Now we know that fourth indeed is not a trophy, it is just a distant dream, and yes we have seen the expenditure of vast sums of money, only to laud Martinelli who cost £6m – peanuts in today’s market.

Indeed even at that price Martinelli is only the fifth most expensive Under 19 signing in club history, with Martinelli leapfrogging Aaron Ramsey in this list.

So Arsenal have adopted everyone else’s model – spending the money and sacking (or at least pushing out) the manager while presumably the “Wenger out” mob with their placards and their mates on AFTV are glorying still in their wonderful victory.  Manager gone, loads of money spent – it is everything they wanted, and who cares that we are 10th in the league?

Now the only question being asked in the year that celebrates 100 years in the top division, something no other club can even imagine, is when has it ever been worse?

After 25 games we are 10th with 31 points.  Under the old points system of two for a win that would have been 25 points.

Well, it was worse than that in 1922 as this table from the bottom of the league shows.  G.Av is goal average – with goals scored divided by goals against, the way clubs on the same points were separated in ancient times.   Goal Difference (although not used) is included just for the sake of comparison with today.


Club P W D L F A G.AV GD
18 Blackburn Rovers 27 6 9 12 35 40 0.875 -5 21
19 Birmingham City 25 9 3 13 30 38 0.789 -8 21
20 Arsenal 25 7 5 13 25 33 0.758 -8 19
21 Bradford City 25 6 6 13 28 51 0.549 -23 18
22 Manchester United 26 4 7 15 26 50 0.520 -24 15

These first two tables come from the post-first world war era under manager and arch fantasist Leslie Knighton – the man who destroyed Henry Norris in his fanciful and untruthful autobiography in 1946, was a catastrophe…


17 Arsenal 25 7 7 11 22 36 0.611 -14 21
18 Nottingham Forest 25 7 6 12 29 40 0.725 -11 20
19 Birmingham City 26 5 10 11 22 36 0.611 -14 20
20 Chelsea 27 5 9 13 16 33 0.485 -17 19
21 Middlesbrough 26 6 4 16 23 33 0.697 -10 16
22 Preston North End 25 5 6 14 30 45 0.667 -15 16

But it wasn’t just Knighton who took us near the edge, for in January 1930 under Herbert Chapman Arsenal were again struggling.

17 Manchester United 26 10 3 13 39 52 0.750 -13 23
18 Arsenal 25 9 4 12 40 38 1.053 2 22
19 Sunderland 25 7 7 11 39 50 0.780 -11 21
20 Everton 26 6 8 12 46 56 0.821 -10 20
21 Newcastle United 25 9 2 14 47 67 0.701 -20 20
22 Grimsby Town 24 7 4 13 43 59 0.729 -16 18

But that is where we find an interesting point.  With 22 points under the old system that was worse than Arsenal now with a similar goal difference.  And yet the following year we won the league.   League title next season anyone?

And the bad days were not just in the dim and distant.  Bertie Mee, having won the double in 1971 single-handedly destroyed the club and its players, and just four years on in 1975 the table looked like this…

Club P W D L F A G.Av GD
16 Tottenham Hotspur 26 8 7 11 35 37 0.946 -2 23
17 Birmingham City 26 9 5 12 35 39 0.897 -4 23
18 Arsenal 25 8 6 11 30 31 0.968 -1 22
19 Chelsea 25 6 10 9 27 42 0.643 -15 22
20 Carlisle United 26 7 3 16 26 35 0.743 -9 17
21 Luton Town 25 4 8 13 23 38 0.605 -15 16
22 Leicester City 25 5 6 14 22 40 0.550 -18 16

And then just to prove it was no fluke, and with the directors still being guided by the Hill-Woods, descendants of the man who masterminded the removal of Sir Henry Norris, we had…

15 Tottenham Hotspur 25 6 11 8 35 41 0.854 -6 23
16 Leicester City 25 5 13 7 27 36 0.750 -9 23
17 Norwich City 25 8 6 11 36 40 0.900 -4 22
18 Arsenal 25 7 7 11 29 31 0.935 -2 21
19 Birmingham City 25 7 4 14 35 49 0.714 -14 18
20 Wolverhampton W 25 5 6 14 25 38 0.658 -13 16
21 Burnley 25 4 7 14 24 40 0.600 -16 15
22 Sheffield United 25 1 5 19 18 54 0.333 -36 7

The key point of course is that Arsenal survived each of these disaster seasons, so there must be hope.

For me, the main question is, have the board now stopped following the whim of the fans in terms of manager sacking and buying in loads of expensive players?  If so, maybe we can start growing as a team again.

18 Replies to “Just 6 wins after 25 games. Has Arsenal ever been worse?”

  1. That fact you have had to look back nearly a 100 years tells it’s own story. No business sticks by leaders they no longer have faith in which is the way it should be. The club has been on the slide since Kroenke took over 10 years ago which was supported by the previous manager.The fans currently reflect the lack of love and care shown by the current owners with there treatment of a sub standard team.

  2. ” have the board now stopped following the whim of the fans in terms of manager sacking and buying in loads of expensive players? If so, maybe we can start growing as a team again”
    Certainly hope so. Though various articles seem to suggest the presence of various Super agents all over the shop, though I suspect the likes of Arteta and Edu would be loathe to have players they dont want forced on them to butter up these agents
    We have some extremely talented youngsters, yes, they need help and guidance, but I hope they are the way forward.
    Looking at the last few months, we appear to have slipped a way behind clubs with greater resources, according to some, clubs with more ambitious engaged ownership, clubs already in the ECL, in some cases, some better players, more ingrained systems, better treatment from the media and PGMOL.
    Whatever the club decide to do to catch up, they are going to have to do it well, hoping Arteta is the man

  3. Matt

    “The club has been on the slide since Kroenke took over 10 years ago which was supported by the previous manager.”

    I’ve lost count of the amount of times you’ve said this, as well as the amount of times I’ve shown how utterly ridiculous that statement is.

    At the end of the day Matt, you can say it, once, twice a hundred times, it’s still nonsense.

  4. Recent reports in the National media have indicated that Mr Emery partly blames Arsenal supporters for the reason that his employment as head coach at Arsenal was recently terminated. Extraordinary!
    As a reader of and occasional contributor to Untold Arsenal, I have tried to adhere to the notion of not criticising individual players, nor the Arsenal coaching/management personnel.
    Mr Emery and his coaching team are no longer at the helm at Arsenal. Thus, now I feel that he can be regarded in a similar light to the likes of Mr Knighton; Mr Swindin, Mr Wright and to a lesser degree to Terry Neil, Bertie Mee (despite winning the double and a European cup) and even Bruce Rioch! Under these managers/coaches, the team suffered from mediocrity with regards to its league position within the Football League. (For much of this time the club was owned and financially managed by the Hill-Wood family and associates).
    In a very short space of time, Mr Emery seems to have left the club with a legacy of failure!
    Yes, I maintain a legacy of failure!
    The current position of the first team must be firmly placed on the shoulders of Mr Emery and his coaching team. They were responsible for developing the playing system, the style and the underpinning philosophy of the team, both on and off the field. Unfortunately Mr Emery views his dismissal somewhat differently. However, there are perhaps also others within the club that, like Mr Emery, do not seem to accept any responsibility for the team’s current position. I emphasise that it was not the supporters that appointed Mr Emery!
    Mr Arteta and his team now have a difficult job. But then so did Mr Chapman; Mr Graham; Mr Wenger and their coaching teams. Their vision and philosophy overcame failure. Let us hope that once such a team becomes established then who knows what the future will hold

  5. I think it has to be admitted that changing the manager by any top club sides in the Premier League and in any European top leagues has become a trend or the norm when the league performance of a top club in particular has repressed under the manager who is overseeing the club’s field performance.

    okay, Emery was sacked at the instance of heavy complaints by the Gooners should I say the vast number of the club supporters. And Arteta who was brought in to replace him has been struggling to get Arsenal back to the regular winning track in the PL but it’s looking to be a daunting task for him to accomplished. And as things are now except a miracle happens for the club that will see their rival top-four club sides fall away in the remaining 13 PL matches for 39 maximum points collection which if Arsenal are able to collect all will end up finally with 70 points. A point tally garnering that may not be sufficient to make them get a top-four place finish this season again but a top-six place finish could be a possibility for them.

  6. Has Arsenal been worse? Yes we have but our results have always been better.

    This season the results have for the first time in Association Football history been manipulated by the Clear & Obvious VAR. ‘VAR gave it to you’ will be the chant when Liverpool wins the EPL.

  7. Nitram

    I’m not sure you have ever told me anything, i rarely post here and have never seen your name before.

    Look at our league positions in the last 10 years, the club is on the decline and denying doesn’t make it untrue.

  8. Matt

    Ok it may not be you. You must be a different Matt. Either way it’s not really important as you are still talking nonsense whoever you are.

    This is what you said at first:

    “The club has been on the slide since Kroenke took over 10 years ago”


    “Look at our league positions in the last 10 years”

    which is different to:

    “the club is on the decline and denying doesn’t make it untrue”

    because I’m not denying the Club has declined, both in the League and the cups, over the last 2 years, but that isn’t what you said. To paraphrase you said “since Kroenke took over in the last 10 years”, which isn’t true at all.

    Season – PL Finish – FAC

    07-08 – 3rd – R5

    08-09 – 4th – SF

    09-10 – 3rd – R4

    10-11 – 4th – QF

    NB: Average league finish 3.5. No Trophies.


    NB: Stan Kroenke increases stake to 63% on April 11th 2011.

    11-12 – 3rd – R5

    12-13 – 4th – R5

    13-14 – 4th – WON

    14-15 – 3rd – WON

    15-16 – 2nd – QF

    16-17 – 5th – WON

    Average league finish 3.5 plus 3 FA CUP VICTORIES

    How under any circumstances is that a decline. It is at the very least the epitome of consistency, but with winning of 3 FA Cups it is in fact an improvement, and a very enjoyable one if you ask me. If you didn’t enjoy those 6 years that’s your problem.

    But happy or not it makes complete nonsense of your claim of a 10 year decline since Kroenke took over.

    Then we have:

    17-18 6th – R3

    18 – 19 5th -R4

    Now I grant you that is a decline, but even so it’s not a catastrophic decline, but a decline none the less.

    But that’s 2 years not 10. And yes it is under Kroenke’s stewardship, but as I have shown, the first 6 seasons of his stewardship where actually an improvement.

    But ignoring actual facts in place of a personal opinion, no matter how far removed from the truth, is what some people do.

  9. Nitram

    Ok, playing with words and stats is pretty easy but your correct statistically we haven’t declined over the last decade.

    I think in terms of how it feels to me and many other fans i know both matchday and other it feels if the club is going backwards and has been for sometime.

    The fact the author had to go back 100 years or so to find comparable seasons might also suggest this.

    I can tell you something not based on statistics the matchday fans are not happy with the owners or the team and that is why they get abuse.

  10. Matt, the look back over 100 years might suggest decline, but your comment also suggests you haven’t been bothered to look at this site. Go to the home page and you will see the headline with links: “The “100 years of Arsenal in the first division” series now has its own page here.”

    We’ve been doing a whole series on 100 years in the first division – an event we helped celebrate as part of Arsenal Independent Supporters Association, at Islington Town Hall, complete with ex-players, directors, fans and the Mayor. The story was also covered in depth by Arsenal History Society on its website as part of the massive “Henry Norris at the Arsenal” series. So we’ve got tons and tons and tons of information on the era.
    I personally agree that the club has gone backwards by allowing the protest of fans against Wenger and the demands of fans for spending more and more money, to take hold. Had Wenger stayed I think we would be in a much stronger position. But please, do us the credit of looking at the research we’ve done – and are still doing.

  11. Matt

    How can you say presenting reality via the demonstration of the facts, rather than just presenting your incorrect opinion is, “playing with words and stats” then in the next breath concede “your correct statistically we haven’t declined over the last decade”.

    Very odd?

    Anyway, I am not a mind reader but it seems you don’t like Kroenke, which is fine, many don’t, but that doesn’t mean you can just make things up, or exaggerate just to support your dislike.

    If you had simply said, for example “we’ve gone backwards these last 2, now possibly 3 years, and I blame Kroenke” that would of been at least a point to start a discussion.

    Exaggerating to make your point only undermined what is actually a valid point regarding the last 2 to 3 years. Whether I agree or not is another thing, but you certainly have a point.

  12. By “whether I agree or not” doesn’t refer to us going backwords, which we most certainly have, but as to the reason why.

  13. Matt

    yet another poster than comes here, says something utterly without foundation, gets called out and disappears.

    That is until the next time he comes back and says the exact same thing again.

  14. Nitram

    I would assume it’s your overbearing attitude that send people away. I was stating my opinion without the knowledge we would have a spreadsheet expert on the site and everything i said would be under a statistical microscope.

    Just because our PL/FACup results are similar in the last 10 years doesn’t mean we have not gone backwards. There are many things to consider to make that judgement.

    Not everybody would be using stats, some people will use their brain others their gut feeling, plus many other factors to come to their opinions. The Arsenal fan base has been divided for more than a decade so on that basis something is wrong at the club as happy clubs normally have happy fans

  15. Matt, the problem here is that Untold Arsenal is based, whereever possible on facts which can be verified – and statistics are what we like best of all. That is why, for example, when we were claiming that referee errors were extensive, four colleagues undertook the “160 game” review which is still on the site (see the pages listing). Each match was examined with video analysis in order to examine the proposition that Arsenal were being hard done by, by the referees. Likewise when I posted my article “Stats show something very odd going on in the PL that the media won’t discuss” it contained all the numbers.
    When people were saying that Wenger was a hopeless trainer and that Arsenal players got injured far more under his guidance than players in other clubs, we went through club after club looking at days out injured, and examining the numbers. When we argued that Arsenal got a worse press than other clubs, one of us had a nightmare four days going through every paper and examining every story to check if this was true.
    That’s what we do, and that’s why we challenge assumptions – we are interested in evidence. And the only reason that seems strange is because virtually no other sites go in for evidence as we do.
    May I respectfully request that you go to the Pages and see the page called Comments https://untold-arsenal.com/untold-comments and look at all of it – although if short of time, point 2 will do.

  16. I accept what you have to say Tony and will endeavour to be more careful in the future. I only said that i felt Arsenal was in decline over the last decade and this guy becomes very agitated because we have only been in decline for the last 3 years.

    Football as far as i can see is about opinion and rarely about facts. Every weekend there are differences of opinion about players, refereeing decisions and almost everything else even between the so called experts.

    There is something wrong at the club and i don’t need any facts to know that i can feel it.

  17. Matt, I think the difference therefore is that while I would fully agree with you that there is something wrong at the club, I feel the need for some facts, so that my opinion as to what is wrong, can be based on evidence – on a factual basis. Thus, to quote a very simple example, I looked at the six clubs that spent the most money last summer, and saw where they were. All either the same or lower than at the same time last year. Same with clubs that change managers. That raises for me an interesting question: why do journalists endlessly write about transfers as if they are a solution, when certainly in the couple of windows I examined, they appeared to exacerbate the problem?

  18. Matt

    “I would assume it’s your overbearing attitude that send people away”.

    “I was stating my opinion without the knowledge we would have a spreadsheet expert on the site and everything I said would be under a statistical microscope.”

    Ok, fair enough, but as Tony says, I did no more than most of the regulars do here on Untold. I refuted what a poster claimed, not just with my opinion, but with evidence. I wasn’t, as you claimed, just “playing with words and stats”.

    In addition, you certainly are not the first person to come here and make that very same assertion.

    If you find that overbearing I’m sorry, but that’s what we try to do here, and I certainly will continue to do.

    The thing is Matt, we all have opinions and despite what I may think of mine, you may think of yours, or Tony may think of his, that’s all it is, an opinion.

    If someone came on here a said, in ‘my opinion’ under the Stewardship of our current owners I think we are looking better placed than ever’, given ‘your opinion’ you may well of felt impelled to challange them on that, which would of course of been perfectly justified.

    But it’s still just 2 different opinions.

    What would really of shut them up would of been if you’d said:

    ‘Not only do I not agree with you, but given we have, over the last 3 seasons, gone from 2nd to 5th + FA Cup to 6th to 5th, and are currently sitting 10th and looking at the 2nd worst half season ever, I think that is a ridiculous claim’.

    That’s not ‘playing with words and stats’, that’s making that claim look ridiculous.

    A Statistically supported opinion is always better than opinion alone, that’s all I’m saying.

    And what’s more, I certainly don’t think that it’s ‘overbearing’. In fact it’s exactly what I want posters to do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *