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Aston Villa v Arsenal, how did last summer’s spending work out for each club?

By Bulldog Drummond

Aston Villa are in what we experts call “a mess”.  Since lock down Villa have played eight games and won just one of them – beating Crystal Palace 2-0 at home. Indeed five of their eight lockdown games have been at home and the results of those other than that single win are one draw three defeats.  Mind you those defeats were against Chelsea, Man U and Wolverhampton W.

It could be argued that Villa have been unlucky with the run of games post-lockdown with their matches being dominated with games against high ranking teams, including games, and as we know, ghost games are harder to win at home than away games.

Arsenal since lock down has played six away ghost games.  We lost the first two, won the next three, then lost before winning the cup semi-final.  Here’s the list of away and neutral ghost games.

Date Ghost Game Res Score Competition
17 June Manchester City v Arsenal L 3-0 Premier League
20 June Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal L 2-1 Premier League
25 June Southampton v Arsenal W 0-2 Premier League
28 June Sheffield United v Arsenal W 1-2 FA Cup 6
4 July Wolverhampton Wanderers v Arsenal W 0-2 Premier League
12 July Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal L 2-1 Premier League
18 July Arsenal v Manchester City W 2-0 FA Cup S-F

Aston Villa at home throughout the season have been very much a bottom three team…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
11 Burnley 18 8 4 6 23 21 2 28
12 Newcastle United 18 6 8 4 19 18 1 26
13 Watford 18 6 6 6 22 23 -1 24
14 Crystal Palace 18 6 4 8 14 19 -5 22
15 West Ham United 18 6 3 9 29 32 -3 21
16 Brighton and Hove Albion 18 5 6 7 20 27 -7 21
17 AFC Bournemouth 19 5 6 8 22 30 -8 21
18 Aston Villa 18 6 3 9 21 30 -9 21
19 Southampton 18 5 3 10 18 34 -16 18
20 Norwich City 19 4 3 12 19 37 -18 15

Arsenal away however is actually worse – we’ve gained one point fewer away than Villa have at home

Team Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 18 13 2 3 30 16 14 41
2 Manchester City 18 10 1 7 41 22 19 31
3 Southampton 19 9 4 6 30 25 5 31
4 Chelsea 18 9 3 6 36 33 3 30
5 Wolverhampton Wanderers 18 7 7 4 24 19 5 28
6 Manchester United 18 7 5 6 24 19 5 26
7 Burnley 19 7 5 7 19 27 -8 26
8 Leicester City 19 7 4 8 32 24 8 25
9 Sheffield United 18 4 9 5 14 21 -7 21
10 Arsenal 18 4 8 6 20 23 -3 20

Indeed as we have shown so many times, Arsenal’s away form has indeed been at the heart of the decline over the last three years.  The next table recording our away league record only, spells it out in horrible detail.

Here, looking just at the 19 away games, we can see that across 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17 we gained between 30 and 34 points each season away from home.   Then suddenly in 2017/18 we dropped to just 16 points away from home – and 11th position when the table is calculated just on away games.  We recovered somewhat in the Emery season, getting 25 points but this season with only today’s game to go we will have slipped back again.

In this table the position column at the end reflects just the away games.

Season Manager P W D L F A GD Pts Pos
2019/20 Emery/Arteta 18 4 8 6 20 23 -3 20 10th
2018/19 Emery 19 7 4 8 31 35 -4 25 8th
2017/18 Wenger 19 4 4 11 20 31 -11 16 11th
2016/17 Wenger 19 9 3 7 38 28 10 30 6th
2015/16 Wenger 19 8 7 4 34 25 9 31 3rd
2014/15 Wenger 19 10 4 5 30 22 8 34 3rd

Of course the media chat about solving any crisis in a club, is always about transfers.  One year ago we were into the transfer window, and the Guardian ran an article in which they asked “What have they done so far?” in terms of market activity.  Their answer was “Nowhere near enough. Teenage striker Gabriel Martinelli has arrived from regional football in Brazil and is expected to need some adaptation and development time. David Ospina has departed for a modest fee.”

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As for a prediction it was suggested in the paper that Arsenal needed “width, defensive reinforcements and a box-to-box midfielder…  Equally key is the need to shift unwanted players – also troublesome.”  The budget was considered to be a measly £40m.

That prediction, by Amy Lawrence, was over 100% out – for our net spend last summer was £90m. It did however prove to be just about the final throw of the dice for Ms Lawrence, who had been raging against Arsenal for several years, and has not been seen much since.

Apart from Martinelli for £6m, a bargain if ever there was a bargain, we got Dani Ceballos on loan, William Saliba (loaned back), Nicolas Pépé, Kieran Tierney, and David Luiz.   And we changed the manager again.

Leaving aside the youngsters who had not got into the first team we got rid of Stephan Lichtsteiner, Cohen Bramall, David Ospina, Jordi Osei-Totu, Aaron Ramsey, Charlie Gilmour, Ben Sheaf, Krystian Bielik, Takuma Asano, Laurent Koscielny, Carl Jenkinson, Danny Welbeck, Alex Iwobi, Nacho Monreal, Mohamed Elneny (loan), and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (loan).

So that was a lot of activity and after all that, as we know, this season we are ending up lower than last season.  By contrast,  Aston Villa had a spend of £146.3m last summer and have ended up even worse off than we did.  I don’t have detailed financial accounts for Villa, but they can’t look that healthy.  They are three points and a worse goal difference from safety with two games to go.

Thus as ever the point is, spending money is not in any way a guarantee of going up the table.  Indeed most of the time it has the opposite effect: the more you spend the further you fall.

There is however one bit of compensation.  If we look at the last six league matches only, we can see a distinct improvement in our fortunes, while poor Villa really are in trouble…  This table from TWTD.

H O M E A W A Y
Team P W D L F A W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 6 3 0 0 9 3 2 0 1 3 3 6 15
2 Manchester City 6 1 1 0 4 2 3 0 1 8 3 7 13
3 Arsenal 6 3 1 0 9 3 0 2 0 2 2 6 12
4 Burnley 6 1 2 0 4 1 2 1 0 4 1 6 12
5 Sheffield United 6 2 1 1 4 3 1 1 0 2 1 2 11
6 Tottenham Hotspur 6 2 0 1 6 4 1 1 1 5 5 2 10
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 6 1 2 1 4 2 1 1 0 3 2 3 9
8 Everton 6 1 2 0 6 4 1 1 1 6 6 2 9
9 Crystal Palace 6 2 0 2 2 3 1 0 1 2 3 -2 9
10 Manchester United 6 1 1 1 3 2 1 1 1 3 3 1 8
11 AFC Bournemouth 6 2 1 0 7 4 0 0 3 2 7 -2 7
12 Chelsea 6 1 1 1 4 5 0 2 1 4 5 -2 6
13 Southampton 6 1 0 2 3 3 1 0 2 3 7 -4 6
14 Newcastle United 6 0 2 0 0 0 1 1 2 3 7 -4 6
15 Leicester City 6 1 1 1 6 4 0 1 2 1 3 0 5
16 Watford 6 1 0 1 5 3 0 1 3 2 7 -3 4
17 Brighton and Hove Albion 6 0 1 1 1 2 0 3 1 5 7 -3 4
18 West Ham United 6 1 1 1 6 6 0 0 3 2 6 -4 4
19 Norwich City 6 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 3 1 6 -5 4
20 Aston Villa 6 1 0 2 5 10 0 1 2 2 5 -8 4

Team thoughts for tonight will follow anon.

 

 

10 comments to Aston Villa v Arsenal, how did last summer’s spending work out for each club?

  • Mike T

    Morning Nitram

    The form table over the last six games is not correct.

    TWTD must have stopped compiling the info or just got it wildly wrong.

    Transfer league is much more accurate although the point being made about differences in form over the last six games is relevant

    https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/premier-league/formtabelle/wettbewerb/GB1

  • Nitram

    Mike T

    Why are you talking to me?

    I’ve got nothing to do with this article.

    I think you best address your comments to the author don’t you?

  • Mike T

    Nitram

    Sort of confused as to how you could respond to me when you claim you won’t/ don’t read my postings.

  • Nitram

    “Thus as ever the point is, spending money is not in any way a guarantee of going up the table. Indeed most of the time it has the opposite effect: the more you spend the further you fall”.

    I don’t know how many times this has to be repeated but spending money, and lots of it, then spending more money and then spending more money, IS (or at least was, but some things have changed a little, but I’ll come to that) a guarantee of success as I have shown many many times.

    Our 3 biggest Nett spenders over the last 15 years have been Man City Chelsea and Man Utd and they have won every title except 2, one being Leicester, which although admirable was a freak and WILL NOT be repeated again in my lifetime, and now Liverpool, who have to their credit kept their Nett spend down to a reasonable level, (largely on the back of 1 sale) but they are still enormous Gross spenders. But credit where credit is due they have traded brilliantly in the transfer market. But neither Liecster City’s success nor Liverpool’s changes the fact that spending big, very very big and more importantly consistently, is what wins you trophies.

    What doesn’t guarantee success is short term splurges. Spurs are the best example of that. They sold 3 players, Modric, Berbatov and Bale at huge profit and every time wasted the money in big splurges. That DOESN’T work.

    And yes, success doesn’t always follow a big season of spending. Man City, Chelsea and Man Utd have all regressed following a big close season spend and progressed after a small close season spend. That is neither here nor their. The secret to their success, though it’s hardly a secret even if some cant quite see it, is to maintain this high Nett spend (averaging £30 to £50 Million Nett per season seems to do the trick) over many seasons. I think it took both Chelsea and Man City 4 plus years of mega spending to lift a title. It doesn’t happen overnight and it may even of happened after one of those low spend seasons, but it was on the back of years of spending.

    Over the last 10 to 15 years at a rough estimate Man City have spent around £50 Million Nett per season, Chelsea and Man Utd around £30 Million.

    And now on to why things have changed a little recently making it even more difficult for the ‘splurgers’ to succeed. In fact their are all sorts of problems for the teams you have mentioned that have spent big and failed more recently.

    1) The sheer quantity of teams spending big.

    Back before the oil money first arrived nobody spent money on the scale they would do, so apart from Man Utd and their self generated Millions they had the run of the show. As Genesis once said, ‘And Then There Were 3’ and those 3, as I said, shared all but 2 titles and won a vast majority of the domestic cups in to the bargain over the last 15 years.

    Obviously, taking this to it’s logical conclusion, if every club in the PL spent enormous amounts of money, 3 mega spenders would actually get relegated. Does that prove spending big money doesn’t work? Of course it doesn’t.

    2) The base from where they start.

    3) Their position in the pecking order to attract the top top players.

    4) The kudos or lack of, as an attraction for the best players.

    5) Being over charged for mediocre players because of a distorted market and or simply because they know they have the money.

    So no, Villa having a season of spending as they did was never going to crack it, and in fact as you showed it had the opposite effect. But, and this is the thing, despite what you say, spending more is exactly what they have to do. And then spend some more and some more and if they do that for 5, 6, 7 years eventually they may just crack it. One things for certain, NOT spending will NEVER get them to the top. They just have to spend it more wisely and for a long time.

    A simple question, Which of the following 2 scenarios is most likely to see Arsenal rise like the Phoenix from the Flames and win the PL and even go on to lift the CL?

    a) Spend an average £10 Million Nett per season for the next 5 years?

    b) Spend an average £50 Million Nett per season for the next 5 years?

    Sorry Bulldog but if you think ‘a’ has more chance than ‘b’ then you haven’t been watching the same Premier league I’ve been watching.

    NB

    I’m not saying we can or should spend that sort of money. As I always say, I am happy with our ‘self sustaining model’ and what we have is what we have, and I support Arsenal 100% down the line on that. But the fact is if we can’t spend that sort of money consistently over the next 5 years, we will NOT win the PL, unless there’s another freak a la Leicester, or we do some amazing business with transfers a la Liverpool it will be the same old faces winning it year after year.

  • Nitram

    Mike T

    Alas it’s impossible to ignore the bad smell in the room.

  • Nitram

    And anyway there’s a big difference between correcting your rather wayward guess at who bulldog is and trawling through one of your tedious posts.

  • markyb

    Kavanagh again tonight apparently, Mike liked the cut of his jib in the Leicester match obviously.

  • John L

    If Eddie plays, he can send him off again. At least Mustafi won’t get kicked in the face, (on the assumption that he won’t be playing)

  • markyb

    Rest assured he’ll be checking an innocuous tackle by Granit first chance the dodgy tosser gets

  • Menace

    Spending lots of wonga gets success only if the coach is smart enough to use the purchase correctly. It also requires the PGMOL toallow the team to play the game without being handicapped.

    Arsenal have to cope with cheating by Mike Riley and his crew despite the CAS and various organisations that are supposed to maintain honesty in sport.

    Football is fixed and the FA are complicit.

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