By Tony Attwood
Today the Talk Sport web site says
“A week on from their public bust-up at Fulham, Dani Ceballos and Eddie Nketiah combined to earn Arsenal victory over West Ham. Nketiah tapped in a goal late on – from Ceballos’ pass – to seal a 2-1 win for the Gunners at the Emirates on Saturday night.”
Last year the station’s website said, “Arsenal ended a dire nine-year run with their hard-fought 2-1 win over Burnley on Saturday afternoon. The Gunners managed to beat the Clarets with goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, although an Ashley Barnes equaliser certainly gave them a scare.”
The Telegraph is also negative but finds a different cause
“These were three points that could easily have been none for Arsenal. Mikel Arteta’s side will not need to be told that they were fortunate to win against a West Ham United team that had controlled most of the game and created the best of the chances.
“Do Arsenal deserve to be sitting on six points from six at the end of this second round of fixtures? Probably not,”
The Guardian opens with, “Squabbling siblings one week, happy families the next. Last weekend, Eddie Nketiah and Dani Ceballos briefly came to blows at Fulham after a dispute in the pre-match warmup, simmering down before watching Arsenal cruise home from opposite ends of the substitutes’ bench.”
Of course two games mean not very much. By 19 August last season the table read
and you know where we ended up, so maybe the papers are right to be cynical. We ended up 8th, 43 points behind Liverpool (in case you had forgotten).
In 2018, the first Emery season, it was all a bit the other way around
|19||West Ham United||2||0||0||2||1||6||-5||0|
So the notion of a dire nine year run doesn’t mean anything because the first two games don’t actually tell us where we are going to end up. Going back just one more season, after two games we find
|3||West Bromwich Albion||2||2||0||0||2||0||2||6|
Interesting that in 2017/18 Huddersfield were second in the league after two, and the following season they were bottom after two.
Of course these are only league games, which this stage this season is all we have to worry about since we are not playing any preliminary rounds in Europe – oh except that we also have the Community Shield. Winning that is not a huge thing – people tend not to remember who won it one year to the next, except if you put our full list of games this season in a table something else does pop up
|29 Aug 2020||Arsenal v Liverpool||W||1-1 (5-4)||FA Community Shield|
|08 Sep 2020||Ipswich Town v Arsenal||W||1-2||Football League Trophy|
|12 Sep 2020||Fulham v Arsenal||W||0-3||Premier League|
|19 Sep 2020||Arsenal v West Ham United||W||2-1||Premier League|
Four wins in a row. Now I know the FL Trophy involves our under 21s and unless it is a game that one of us has gone to (and obviously not this season) we don’t normally cover Trophy games, so you might say this is three in a row not four. But still it is quite a jolly little run.
So what happens next?
Last season after our two wins we had a defeat and three draws in League and Trophy games, recovering to win only when the Europa League started for us.
But 2018/19 was the one that really got going. After defeats to Manchester City (at home) and Chelsea (away) we beat West Ham 3-1 (we can always rely on WHAM) and then continued through to make it a run of 12 successive wins in Trophy, League, League Cup and Europa matches. By the end of the run we were fourth, having crawled our way back from those first two games.
This year we have got Leicester away in the league cup, Liverpool away in the league and then Sheffield United at home before venturing on to Manchester City away in the league.
Leicester is a puzzling one – as you’ll know if you have read our continuing investigations into their strange tactics and the way referees handle them. Liverpool away of course is the challenge and then Sheffield United at home looks very winnable, given the way their form collapsed last season.
So, in terms of Untold, it will now be time to start looking at those tackles, fouls, yellow card figures all over again. And of course there is this table
|Season||Home fouls per yellow||Away fouls per yellow||Difference||% greater chance of away team getting a card|
Last season away teams suddenly had to commit many more fouls to get a yellow card than any time since 2004/5. If that continues we could be helped in overcoming their unusual tackle-tackle-tackle tactics that so intrigued us last season. We shall see.
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