By Tony Attwood
There is a lot of doom around at the moment following the defeat to Leicester, as if supporters expected that after winning the FA Cup and Community Shield Arsenal would storm ahead and at least get into the “fourth is not a trophy” spot from the off.
But life in the league is not like that. For every run that Liverpool had in winning the league through their sensational start last season, there are seasons in which we get all sorts of good and bad runs.
And we haven’t really had a bad run: we won the first five games of the season, and have won three and lost two of the last five games (excluding the Trophy match).
So now we are 11th with just the two Manchester clubs below us, and each of them with a game in hand.
Does that mean we are going to finish 11th? No, as the article a few days ago showed, how we are at this stage of the season means very little. Here’s a reprint of that table from a couple of days back…
|Season||After six games position||After six games points||End of Season position||End of season points||FA Cup|
|2011/12 *||13th||7 pts||3rd||70 pts||R5|
|2012/13 *||7th||9 pts||4th||73 pts||R5|
|2013/14 *||1st||15 pts||4th||79 pts||Won|
|2014/15 *||6th||10 pts||3rd||75 pts||Won|
|2015/16 *||5th||10 pts||2nd||71 pts||QF|
|2016/17 *||3rd||13 pts||5th||75 pts||Won|
|2017/18 *||7th||10 pts||6th||53 pts||R3|
|2018/19 **||6th||12 pts||5th||70 pts||R4|
|2019/20 ***||4th||11 pts||8th||56 pts||Won|
|2020/21 ****||11th||9 pts|
That shows that where we are now has little impact on where we end up. Although if you believe that where we are now will affect our outcome, precedence suggests we are going to end up fourth.
But I wondered if we really could go any further in this speculation, looking perhaps at the runs that we have had in the season.
So far we are not doing too badly… This list contains all games except Football League Trophy in which our under 21s compete against the first team of League One and League Two clubs
|Season||Consecutive wins||Consecutive without win||Best run||Worst run||Lge pos|
|2020/21||4||1||1 defeat in 7||2 defeats in 3||11th|
|2019/20||4||9 (Oct-Dec)||8 wins,1 draw, 1 def in 11||1 win in 15||8th|
|2018/19||11||3||11 consecutive wins||3 consecutive defeats||5th|
|2017/18||6||4||6 wins 1 draw||4 consecutive defeats||6th|
|2016/17||7||2||19 undefeated inc 7 straight wins||6 defeats and 3 wins in 9||5th|
|2015/16||4||5||1 defeat in 12||5 defeats 1 draw 1 win in 7||2nd|
|2014/15||9||3||9 consec wins||2 wins in 9||3rd|
In each one of these seasons, we had a run of wins, a run without a win, a bad run… none of them tell us much.
Consider the season in which we came second. Our longest run without a win was longer than our best run of consecutive wins. But we still came second. In 2018/19 we had 11 consecutive wins, and still ended the season in fifth.
More extraordinary, in 2015/16 when we came we had a run of five defeats, one draw and one win in seven games. Indeed only twice has our worst run been worse than our best run. In 2015/16 we had five consecutive games without a win, while our best winning streak was just four.
Runs of this type, and our early form, rarely tell us much about what will happen.
If you do want to worry what you consider would be this. After two seasons in which we finished outside the top four Mr Wenger was persuaded to move on. Since then we have come 5th and 8th. If we don’t make it back to the top four this season those who argue that Wenger was the problem will now have to work out something else to say.
It is a bit like the injury scenario. If we keep on having more injuries than most other clubs in the League we will have to find a way to explain why, given that the injuries were (according to the media) all Wenger’s fault. If we keep coming fifth and sixth, we’ll have to find a new way to explain that, given that our failings in 2017 and 2018 were all Wenger’s fault.
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