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Leeds v Arsenal: when we were the greatest of rivals and the away win issue

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!

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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.

Date Game Res Score Competition
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

Date Game Res Score Competition
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.

4 comments to Leeds v Arsenal: when we were the greatest of rivals and the away win issue

  • Menace

    That’s the problem Bulldog sometimes it need the cock to crow just to jolt the memory.

    In todays Villa v Brighton match the PGMOL were at it again – new Laws created within the new Laws that they stated ……………… Then again they are the God of all round things and the Grass.

    Touch the ball and break an opponents leg is OK (if it is an Arsenal leg)!!

  • Mandy Dodd

    The PGMOL aren’t even trying to hide their bias for Utd any more

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    In today’s afternoon Premier League match encounter at Elland Road between Leeds Utd and Arsenal, the Gunners should not solely rely on their having the away advantage and being higher in table alone to thus rest on their oars thinking they will beat the Whites.

    But in addition to their having the away advantage and being higher in the table, in my own armchair coaching, Arsenal should rather adopt the total football playing strategy approach for the match and play it efficiently as a team in the game.

    This will give the Gunners the added No.3 advantage in the match making them 3 in number that they will in the game to play to overcome Leeds.

    I think the match could be tough and cruelsome for Arsenal to play in it and win it. Which they have to win to prevent a near crisis ushering in it’s ugly head in Arsenal early PL campaign going in into the quarter way mark of this season’s campaign.

    For, Arsenal should not look to be stagnating on 12 points unable to move from the same position in the table at the end of week No.9 matches in this season’s PL campaign.

    But the Gunners should in their Leeds match today give their all and whatever it takes for them to beat Leeds and beat them absolutely to the collection of all the points that will be at stake in the match.

    Which if they do and get to 15 points in table will leave them with a massive 5 points gap behind their arch North London rivals Tottenham Hs to close. Who mounted to the top of table yesterday after spanking Man City 2-0 at New White Hart Lane.

    And bearing in mind that Arsenal will soon take on Spurs in the 1st of the NLD match this season when Arsenal should beat them to enhance their position in the table has thus make Arsenal today’s match away to Leeds and their next home match against Wolves very crucial for the Gunners to not make the mistake about it to not beat Leeds and Wolves before having their showdown match against Spurs.

    My own dream Arsenal 442 starting XI and 7 on the bench Gunners for the match are below.

    Starts:
    Leno;
    Bellerin Maglhaes Luiz Tierney;
    Pepe Willock Xhaka Saka:
    Lacazette Aubameyang.

    Bench:
    Runarsson Soares Holding AMN Cebbalos ESR Nketiah.

    If I may add, the Gunners should jettison any kind of profigacy in front of Leeds goalmouth today. But try by every possible means to convert the full and half chances they will create in the match and the ones that will accidentally falls to them into goals for Arsenal in the match.
    The Gunners created some chances in their last home match against Aston Villa but didn’t take them. For instance, Laca headed over from the inswinged ball crossing that Tierney gave him. That was profligatimg in front of goal for Arsenal by him Laca. And Holding fired a low powerful shot off target near the left goal post from Maglhaes’ pass to him in the Villa’a box in the 2nd half of the match. That was another example of profligatimg in from of goal when the stakes in the match were high for Arsenal not to miss grabbing their opportunities with both hands. A repeat of such by Arsenal MUST not happen in their Leeds match today.
    And for Arsenal to overcome Leeds in the match today. I enjoy the Gunners to play total football game in the match against Leeds. Where every Gunner in the match will constitute himself to help each other to play as a defender to defend, play as a DM to protect the defense-line and play as an attacker to strike. But all should be done with discipline.

  • Mikey

    @ Mandy

    Quite agree, it’s a disgrace……but still no investigation or outrage in the media.

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