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April 2021
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It’s a difficult time for Arsenal, but we can come through.

By Tony Attwood

Luckily for me, living a fair distance from London, I am able to spend a bit of time with my family this Christmas, although I do appreciate many people cannot, and I really do feel for them.  I’d find it a huge strain if that happened to me.

But because I shall be seeing them I’m not going to be able to keep the regular blogging going for the Christmas and Boxing Day.

But of course we do play Chelsea on Boxing Day, so writing a couple of days before the game (a dangerous thing to do of course) what are we to make of the possibilities of this game?

The last time we won a League match was on 1 November. Since then it has been seven games, five of which are defeats and two of which have been draws.  We have scored three goals in that spell, and conceded 11.  If it had happened under Mr Wenger there would have been mass riots.  But now there is just the usual back-biting, and blaming going on.

It was 25 March 2018 when the rabidly anti-Arsenal (and employer of Stewart Robson, just to keep the bile up) ESPN ran the headline “Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal woe: Stats show it’s the worst ever”.  Of course they didn’t show anything like that, but it is worth looking at the run they were commenting upon and claiming to be the worst…

Date Game Res Score Competition
30 Jan 2018 Swansea City v Arsenal L 3-1 Premier League
3 Feb 2018 Arsenal v Everton W 5-1 Premier League
10 Feb 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal L 1-0 Premier League
15 Feb 2018 Östersunds FK v Arsenal W 0-3 Europa League
22 Feb 2018 Arsenal v Östersunds FK L 1-2 Europa League
25 Feb 2018 Arsenal v Manchester City L 0-3 League Cup
1 Mar 2018 Arsenal v Manchester City L 0-3 Premier League
4 Mar 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal L 2-1 Premier League

Two wins in that sequence with a combined scored 8-1 makes that period look like paradise, but of course it heralded what ESPN and the rest wanted – the end of the Wenger era, and then the downward spiral of Arsenal.  And that’s what they got.  Six defeats and two wins, and the die was cast.

Although perhaps for completeness we ought to report what happened after 4 March

Date Game Res Score Competition
8 Mar 2018 AC Milan v Arsenal W 0-2 Europa League
11 Mar 2018 Arsenal v Watford W 3-0 Premier League
15 Mar 2018 Arsenal v AC Milan W 3-1 Europa League
1 Apr 2018 Arsenal v Stoke City W 3-0 Premier League
5 Apr 2018 Arsenal v CSKA Moscow W 4-1 Europa League
8 Apr 2018 Arsenal v Southampton W 3-2 Premier League
12 Apr 2018 CSKA Moscow v Arsenal D 2-2 Europa League

Can we have a turn around like that now?  It would certainly be welcome.  I wonder if the Board regretted what they had done.

Moving on, Chelsea have had a slight wobble of late…

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Date Game Res Score Competition
2 Dec 2020 Sevilla v Chelsea W 0-4 Champions League
5 Dec 2020 Chelsea v Leeds United W 3-1 Premier League
8 Dec 2020 Chelsea v FC Krasnodar D 1-1 Champions League
12 Dec 2020 Everton v Chelsea L 1-0 Premier League
15 Dec 2020 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea L 2-1 Premier League
21 Dec 2020 Chelsea v West Ham United W 3-0 Premier League

but that of course is nothing like our problems.

Worse for us, Chelsea have a decent away record, while our home record is poor.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
8 Chelsea away 7 3 2 2 12 7 5 11
16 Arsenal home 7 2 1 4 6 10 -4 7

So all we can do is get the tactics right.  Here are the totals for this season…

Club Tackles Fouls Tackles per foul Yellow cards Fouls per yellow Penalties for Penalties against Lge pos
Arsenal 161 139 1.15 22 6.31 2 0 15
Chelsea 211 171 1.23 17 10.05 4 2 5

Now we know Chelsea will tackle and tackle, as the figures above for this season show, and the referee is likely to call them out for fouls.   They will get away with more tackles without a foul being called than we get, and they will be able to commit far more fouls before getting a yellow card.  They have also managed to get double the number of penalties that we get – although of course neither team are in the Leicester league of penalty awards.

The statistics of the teams at the top of the league are so far away from ours that I can’t imagine that one bit of tactical change-around will work – it needs some complete re-thinking in our tactics – although Chelsea’s achievement of 10.5 fouls per tackle is second only to Liverpool and worth attempting to emulate.  That achievement is what teams need if they want to challenge at the top of the league.  Rotational tackling is a good place to start.

The one grain of comfort we can take is that we haven’t done that badly against Chelsea in the last dozen games against them.

Date Game Res Score Competition
27 May 2017 Arsenal v Chelsea W 2-1 FA Cup
6 Aug 2017 Arsenal v Chelsea W 1-1 Community Shield
17 Sep 2017 Chelsea v Arsenal D 0-0 Premier League
3 Jan 2018 Arsenal v Chelsea D 2-2 Premier League
10 Jan 2018 Chelsea v Arsenal D 0-0 League Cup
24 Jan 2018 Arsenal v Chelsea W 2-1 League Cup
18 Aug 2018 Chelsea v Arsenal L 3-2 Premier League
19 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Chelsea W 2-0 Premier League
29 May 2019 Chelsea v Arsenal L 4-1 Europa League
29 Dec 2019 Arsenal v Chelsea L 1-2 Premier League
21 Jan 2020 Chelsea v Arsenal D 2-2 Premier League
1 Aug 2020 Arsenal v Chelsea W 2-1 FA Cup

Five wins, four draw, three defeats.  Not a complete walkover, but better than our average returns of late.

2 comments to It’s a difficult time for Arsenal, but we can come through.

  • Mike T

    Happy Christmas to you all

    Tony I hope all is well with you

    Best wishes, except for tomorrow

    Mike T

  • ron

    at the bottom of the league it just takes one result to change everything. a win against chelsea and things will be completely different