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December 2020
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“It’s not been Arsenal’s day”. Arsenal.com commentary at 0-3 down.

By Tony Attwood

Three managers in three years, with £158m net spent on transfers in the last two summer windows.   And as a result we are 11th in the League.  That is of course not what those who promote the “sack the manager / buy more players” approach to football wanted, but that’s what we’ve got.

The old days of “fourth is not a trophy” now look like nirvana – a platform from which we could build.  Instead the anger and protests have resulted in (or for those who don’t agree with cause and effect, coincided with) a decline the likes of which we have not seen since the last days of George Graham.

If we compare the situation with that which brought about the demise of Mr Emery the comparisons are hardly warming.   Unai Emery was sacked 29 November 2019 after a run of three draws, two defeats and a win in the last six matches, following remorseless pressure from AFTV, Black Scarf, AST and the like.

The final six league matches of the Emerian reign were

Date Game Res Score Competition
06 Oct 2019 Arsenal v AFC Bournemouth W 1-0 Premier League
21 Oct 2019 Sheffield United v Arsenal L 1-0 Premier League
27 Oct 2019 Arsenal v Crystal Palace D 2-2 Premier League
02 Nov 2019 Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers D 1-1 Premier League
09 Nov 2019 Leicester City v Arsenal L 2-0 Premier League
23 Nov 2019 Arsenal v Southampton D 2-2 Premier League

That was six points out of those six league games. six goals scored, eight goals conceded

At the time of Emery’s sacking the table read as below, with the points per game column for Arsenal added at the end…

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts PPG
1 Liverpool 13 12 1 0 30 11 19 37
2 Leicester City 13 9 2 2 31 8 23 29
3 Manchester City 13 9 1 3 37 14 23 28
4 Chelsea 13 8 2 3 28 19 9 26
5 Wolverhampton Wanderers 13 4 7 2 18 16 2 19
6 Sheffield United 13 4 6 3 16 12 4 18
7 Burnley 13 5 3 5 20 18 2 18
8 Arsenal 13 4 6 3 18 19 -1 18 1.38

So now, one manager later, let’s see what we have got… six points in the last six games, the same as the run of results under Mr Emery…

Date Game Res Score Competition
28 Sep 2020 Liverpool v Arsenal L 3-1 Premier League
04 Oct 2020 Arsenal v Sheffield United W 2-1 Premier League
17 Oct 2020 Manchester City v Arsenal L 1-0 Premier League
25 Oct 2020 Arsenal v Leicester City L 0-1 Premier League
01 Nov 2020 Manchester United v Arsenal W 0-1 Premier League
08 Nov 2020 Arsenal v Aston Villa L 0-3 Premier League

Four goals scored nine goals conceded.  And the league table…  We are obviously not so far into the season as when Mr Emery was sacked, which is why the points per game are helpful.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts PPG
1 Leicester City 8 6 0 2 18 9 9 18
2 Tottenham Hotspur 8 5 2 1 19 9 10 17
3 Liverpool 8 5 2 1 18 16 2 17
4 Southampton 8 5 1 2 16 12 4 16
5 Chelsea 8 4 3 1 20 10 10 15
6 Aston Villa 7 5 0 2 18 9 9 15
7 Everton 8 4 1 3 16 14 2 13
8 Crystal Palace 8 4 1 3 12 12 0 13
9 Wolverhampton Wanderers 8 4 1 3 8 9 -1 13
10 Manchester City 7 3 3 1 10 9 1 12
11 Arsenal 8 4 0 4 9 10 -1 12 1.5

But what was it like at the end of Mr Wenger’s reign – what happened in his last six league games?…

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Date Games Res Score Competition
15 Apr 2018 Newcastle United v Arsenal L 2-1 Premier League
22 Apr 2018 Arsenal v West Ham United W 4-1 Premier League
29 Apr 2018 Manchester United v Arsenal L 2-1 Premier League
06 May 2018 Arsenal v Burnley W 5-0 Premier League
09 May 2018 Leicester City v Arsenal L 3-1 Premier League
13 May 2018 Huddersfield Town v Arsenal W 0-1 Premier League

Three wins, three defeats, 13 goals scored eight conceded.

The prime thing to recognise at this point is that the policy of those who moved Wenger on, has failed and failed again.  Of course we don’t know what would have happened if Mr Wenger had stayed, nor what would have happened if Mr Emery has stayed.   But we can compare the situation after eight games for Mr Wenger in his last season, Mr Emery in his last game and Mr Arteta now.

Manager Goals for Goals against  Points
Wenger 13 8 9 points
Emery 6 8 6 points
Arteta 4 9 6 points

Thus on the simple measure of the last six games of Mr Wenger, Mr Emery and Mr Arteta, we have, at this moment, gone backwards.  All that money paid out in compensation to Mr Wenger and his team, to Mr Emery and his team… for what?

And the league table… how do the points per game compare at the end of Mr Wenger’s last season with now?

Team P W D L F A GD Pts PPG
1 Manchester City 38 32 4 2 106 27 79 100
2 Manchester United 38 25 6 7 68 28 40 81
3 Tottenham Hotspur 38 23 8 7 74 36 38 77
4 Liverpool 38 21 12 5 84 38 46 75
5 Chelsea 38 21 7 10 62 38 24 70
6 Arsenal 38 19 6 13 74 51 23 63 1.66

So the point is that under Mr Wenger in his last season we were doing better in his last six games than Mr Emery in his last six games and Mr Arteta in his last six games.

As for entertainment in terms of goals scored, here is where we are

Season Goals Goals per game
2016–17 77 (after 38 games) 2.03
2017–18 74 1.95
2018–19 73 1.92
2019–20 56 1.47
2020-21 9 (after 8 games) 1.12

What this means is that the policy of changing manager and spending lots on players, rather than improving either the number of points we have got, or the number of goals we score, has achieved the opposite of what was intended.

Maybe those of us who supported Mr Wenger and wanted a peaceful handover to a new manager that he nominated and worked with, had a point after all.

As for what we do now, I’ve no idea.  We could, I suppose, keep on sacking managers on a regular basis, but I doubt that the owners will keep putting record amounts of money up for more and more transfers.  Better, I guess, to stick with where we are and hope for the best.

2 comments to “It’s not been Arsenal’s day”. Arsenal.com commentary at 0-3 down.

  • K Fourie

    Not again, not again, not again are we supporters going now to run (the word scatter wil be a better word?)again in all directions after this set- back. Is all the positive aspects that Artete bring about in the last two months or so allready all forgotten?! It is so unrealistic to not relise that we are at the moment more in a rebuilt phase than in champion mode. Off course it does not mean we didnt set high standerds and the sooner the trophies the better and to happen even now. However it is wrong to allready going into depression mode. Give our manager and team the support they up to this point deserve. It does not mean criticism must not be given where necessary as against Villa.

  • Mikey

    I fear that, just like those who voted for Brexit, the outcome of what happened is absolutely nothing to do with the people who actually wanted/voted it. It will be someone else’s fault.

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