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December 2020
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Arsenal v Aston Villa: how Villa’s “missing” games changes the outlook

By Bulldog Drummond

According to most pundits Aston Villa started the season like a bullet from a gun with a fair amount of primer and gunpowder helping it along its way…

Date Game Res Score Competition
21 Sep 2020 Aston Villa v Sheffield United W 1-0 Premier League
28 Sep 2020 Fulham v Aston Villa W 0-3 Premier League
04 Oct 2020 Aston Villa v Liverpool W 7-2 Premier League
18 Oct 2020 Leicester City v Aston Villa W 0-1 Premier League

And that situation was then truly reflected in the league table of the day…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Everton 5 4 1 0 14 7 7 13
2 Aston Villa 4 4 0 0 12 2 10 12
3 Liverpool 5 3 1 1 13 13 0 10
4 Leicester City 5 3 0 2 12 8 4 9
5 Arsenal 5 3 0 2 8 6 2 9

Villa then had a game in hand and could easily have gone top.  But what happened?  A home defeat to Leeds by 0-3 and a home defeat by now top of the table Southampton 3-4.

It rather baffled the experts, but two explanations are readily at hand, as shown in the article “Despite media denials away advantage now outweighs home advantage in which we showed the table for the taking of points by home and away teams this season…

Season Home percentage of points Away percentage of points
2018/19 57% 43%
2019/20 58% 42%
2020/21 44% 56%

This spelling of it all out was rather necessary because the Guardian published a long article in which their man Paul MacInnes argued (without presenting any evidence at all, which was rather naughty of them) that home advantage had now asserted itself once more.  And as far as I know they have never come back and said, actually, that was wrong.

But it is wrong, as the table above shows that is not true – and those Villa home defeats were part of this movement.  No fans = away advantage.

So we need to be careful today.  But more than that… newspaper people and bloggers do like to select all the news that fits, and ignore the rest, and in Villa’s case that is quite interesting…  Here are the games omitted from the opening table of matches…

Date Match Result Score Competition
08 Sep 2020 Sunderland v Aston Villa L 8-1 Football League Trophy
15 Sep 2020 Burton Albion v Aston Villa W 1-3 League Cup
24 Sep 2020 Bristol City v Aston Villa W 0-3 League Cup
01 Oct 2020 Aston Villa v Stoke City L 0-1 League Cup
06 Oct 2020 Fleetwood Town v Aston Villa L 3-0 Football League Trophy

The Football League Trophy, in case you’ve missed it in the past, is a competition in which the Premier League clubs play their under 21s with a couple of older players allowed, against lower league opposition.   In the past some Untolders have gone to see these games (although not this season of course)… you might recall our meeting with Tony Adams at Coventry and our time with Freddie at the Leicester game.

So of course those two defeats are not the first team at large, but they are indicative of what Villa’s youngsters are up to.

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By contrast we might consider what Arsenal have been up to away from the Premier League…

Date Match Res Score Competition
29 Aug 2020 Arsenal v Liverpool W 1-1 (5-4) Community Shield
08 Sep 2020 Ipswich Town v Arsenal W 1-2 Football League Trophy
23 Sep 2020 Leicester City v Arsenal W 0-2 League Cup
01 Oct 2020 Liverpool v Arsenal W 0-0 (4-5) League Cup
13 Oct 2020 Crawley Town v Arsenal W 1-2 Football League Trophy
22 Oct 2020 Rapid Wien v Arsenal W 1-2 Europa League
29 Oct 2020 Arsenal v Dundalk W 3-0 Europa League
05 Nov 2020 Arsenal v Molde W 4-1 Europa League

There is something rather striking about this – it is a straight run of wins.  And yes before you shout at me that this doesn’t count for much, to a degree I would agree, but wins bring confidence to the club, even if you are not playing and it is the under 21s.   Yes of course we were expected to beat Dundalk and Molde, but one might say that Villa’s under 21s should be expected to do a little better against Sunderland and Fleetwood.

We might also note that in our list of matches we have beaten Liverpool twice.  OK both times on penalties but it still had to be done.

Villa will go into this match as favourites because a) it is away from home and away teams are doing better than home teams, and b) they are above us with a better goal difference and a game in hand.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Southampton 8 5 1 2 16 12 4 16
2 Liverpool 7 5 1 1 17 15 2 16
3 Chelsea 8 4 3 1 20 10 10 15
4 Leicester City 7 5 0 2 17 9 8 15
5 Tottenham Hotspur 7 4 2 1 18 9 9 14
6 Everton 8 4 1 3 16 14 2 13
7 Crystal Palace 8 4 1 3 12 12 0 13
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 7 4 1 2 8 8 0 13
9 Aston Villa 6 4 0 2 15 9 6 12
10 Arsenal 7 4 0 3 9 7 2 12

Coming next: the teams and what Villa did in the transfer windows.

 

 

3 comments to Arsenal v Aston Villa: how Villa’s “missing” games changes the outlook

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Off topic but our Women are about to kick off against Man United in the WSL. It is free to view live on the FAPLAYER app.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    half time in Greater Manchester and no score. The best chances have fallen to United but good saves by Zinsberger have kept the match goalless so far.

    We need to improve in the second half

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    We didn’t improve and lost one nil to a late shot deflecting off the post. United now top of the league. GRRRRRRRRRRRR.

    Pollock of a referee as well but we never did or were allowed to do anything really threatening all game. Best 12 won

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