By Bulldog Drummond
Games between Arsenal and Leeds are shown as being surprisingly balanced in the records: 47 wins to Arsenal, 41 to Leeds United and 32 draws.
But these figures hide some interesting features.
To begin they don’t include matches between Arsenal and Leeds City – which was pretty much the same club as Leeds United, but who were thrown out of the League for refusing to reveal to the League their financial records. The club was accused of paying players during the first world war, which was not allowed, and so after the match on 4 October 1919 they were jettisoned and Port Vale took over their fixtures. Leeds’ manager at the time was Herbert Chapman, who along with the board of directors, later appealed against his expulsion from football for life, and Chapman was readmitted, to become manager of Huddersfield Town.
Then in the farcical way in which these things are arranged, the following season, Leeds United – a new club but playing at the same ground and run by the same directors, and with many of the same players, was admitted to the League.
Over the years Leeds won the League Division One title three times – in 1969, 1974 and 1992. But our biggest battles with them came in 1970/1 when we won the League on the last day of the season beating, oh who was it, can’t quite remember, I know we were away, somewhere local, just down the road in fact, it’ll come to me in a moment… with Leeds in second place.
In fact they were runners-up in the League in not just 1971 but also 1972.
In recent years things have been a top topsy-turvy for them for after coming 5th in the Premier League in 2002 they decided (for reasons best known to themselves) to go visiting in the lower divisions, taking in the Championship for three years before deciding to visit League One for the three years after that.
They finally returned to the Championship for 2010/11, and won it last season.
However there was a period between 1964 and 1976 when with just a few exceptions we found it incredibly hard to overcome the team and their tactics. In that period we played Leeds 27 times and won just three games. Three were draws and the remaining 21 were Leeds wins!
Of course in recent years matches have been restricted to the FA Cup and in the last ten games (taking in 2002 to 2020) they have beaten us just the once – on 4th May 2003. That was indeed a match of note (Leeds winning 2-3 at Highbury) because not only was it their only win in the last ten games, but also it was the last defeat before the famous “49”. Our excuse was probably that we were looking forward to the forthcoming FA Cup final.
Here are the last ten games between the two.
|20 Jan 2002||Leeds United v Arsenal||D||1-1||Premier League|
|28 Sep 2002||Leeds United v Arsenal||W||1-4||Premier League|
|4 May 2003||Arsenal v Leeds United||L||2-3||Premier League|
|1 Nov 2003||Leeds United v Arsenal||W||1-4||Premier League|
|4 Jan 2004||Leeds United v Arsenal||W||1-4||FA Cup|
|16 Apr 2004||Arsenal v Leeds United||W||5-0||Premier League|
|8 Jan 2011||Arsenal v Leeds United||D||1-1||FA Cup|
|19 Jan 2011||Leeds United v Arsenal||W||1-3||FA Cup|
|9 Jan 2012||Arsenal v Leeds United||W||1-0||FA Cup|
|6 Jan 2020||Arsenal v Leeds United||W||1-0||FA Cup|
As we have noted, in October and November they have been doing moderately
|3 Oct 2020||Leeds United v Manchester City||D||1-1||Premier League|
|19 Oct 2020||Leeds United v Wolverhampton Wanderers||L||0-1||Premier League|
|23 Oct 2020||Aston Villa v Leeds United||W||0-3||Premier League|
|2 Nov 2020||Leeds United v Leicester City||L||1-4||Premier League|
|7 Nov 2020||Crystal Palace v Leeds United||L||4-1||Premier League|
So how could Leeds beat Aston Villa away, just a couple of weeks before Aston Villa beat us away?
The simple fact is that over the years Premier League teams have won 46% of home games, and the away team have won around 26% of PL games, the rest being draws.
But this season there have been 29 home wins out of 78 games – a home win percentage of 37% – a decrease of 11%.
There have been 34 away wins, an away percentage of 44% – a rise of 18%.
At the moment this is not helping Arsenal much – we have won two and lost two both at home and away. Leeds at home have won one, drawn one, lost two.
So all the pointers are with Arsenal. We are higher up the table, and we have away advantage.
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