By Tony Attwood
Our next match is again going to be on Pay TV with Sky at £14.95. The protests continue, money is being sent to local foodbanks, and the dreadful Sky and the BT Sprout continue with their doomed venture although this might be the last weekend of it.
But whereas with football there is normally a tunnel at the end of the light (at least according to the media) there might be light at the end of the tunnel this time, with lots of rumours circulating that the two controllers of football (Sky and the Sprout) are going to move away from the £14.95 model.
And calling them the controllers of football is right, because that is exactly what they are. They now have the Premier League by the throat. The League depends on these two companies that have nothing to do with football beyond the fact that they broadcast it, to stay afloat financially. With match day revenues gone, and with vast amounts of money owed to the broadcasters because of the clubs’ failure to put an effective force majeure clause in the contract with the TV companies, nothing can be done without their agreement.
Worse, the revelations about the perfidious nature of the PGMO in terms of claiming its level of accuracy in decision making, which through a comparison of results with no fans present is shown to be false, the whole credibility of Premier League football hangs in the balance. Sky and BT clearly have a deal with the PL not to focus on referees and referee decision making. If that deal fell apart then the credibility of the league would be compromised, and so would its popularity.
That doesn’t mean that if the public in general came to realise that there was something fundamentally amiss with football refereeing they would stop supporting their clubs – when the scale of corruption in Italy became known people still supported their teams. But it would change the worldwide perception of the Premier League.
So, in effect Sky and BT Sprout have the power, and that power is only broken when regular supporters stop watching games on their channels – as has happened with the £14.95 deal. Or when people start realising that there is something odd about the way the results have changed now games are played without any spectators present.
The difference between the £14.95 deal and the questioning of (for example) why there are more points won by away teams than home teams, is that the newspapers and their websites have no trouble questioning the £14.95 deal, and supporting the boycott of those matches. But they are seemingly forbidden through their contracts with ever questioning the role of PGMO.
That’s not to say that they ought to be following the stats shown on this site, but it is an issue, and they might at least show an interest rather than saying, totally falsely, that the home advantage has been restored.
Certainly Arsenal could do with some help for its away performances. From our very decent away performance in 2015/16 we have sunk right down, and now would be a time to rise back up the away table.
|Season||Away wins||Away goals for||Away goals aggregate||Away pts||Away pos|
The self-evident fact is that we need to score more away goals. Do that and we would get a hefty lift up the league. Seven away wins in a season ought to be an absolute minimum, with nine being a reasonable baseline target. As 2016/17 showed that isn’t enough to guarantee a move to the top four (we missed it by one point that year), but it gives us something for our home performances to build on.
The improvement in away form generally this season is revealed by looking at the current league table for away games only…
Six teams are unbeaten away this season, and since we aim for the top four overall that is clearly what we should be aiming for. But although we have the best defence in the league, just seven goals conceded home and away, lower than any other club, we only have the 12th most effective attack.
OK that will change over time, but sooner rather than later I hope. And as for this weekend, the team we play tomorrow has won both its away games and not conceded a goal in either match.
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