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May 2021
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Then and now: just how far have Arsenal fallen in the past 10 years?

By Tony Attwood

If you have been reading Untold for a while you will know that when the alliance of media journalists, bloggers and some fans turned against Arsene Wenger I argued that he should stay.

The point was that journalists and bloggers love very simple “solutions” because they require no work on the part of the journalists to write about the subject.  Creating details of fantasy transfers, rather like the current game of calling the squad “bloated” takes no effort, and generally gives no insight.

But the movement took hold, people with more money than sense flew planes with slogans across the ground, AFTV and Blackscarf promoted anit-Wenger feeling, and the newspapers and bloggers lapped it up, recycling all the tales.

So vast amounts of money (£17m is the usual estimate) was used in removing Mr Wenger and his team one year before his contract ran out, and then more was used removed Mr Emery & co six months before his contract ran out.  Since then loads of players have been bought and not all of them have been good investments.

Meanwhile the youth system that Mr Wenger nurtured so carefully across the years has continued to produce wonderful players, although we never see any credit given to him for this continuing legacy, although many of the youngsters now maturing into first team players joined under his time in office.

To see the effect of the policy change which involved the removal of Mr Wenger and the expenditure of all that money we can look at the position of Arsenal after 18 games in each of the last ten seasons.

Such a review does indeed show that we are comparing like with like – the first 18 games list involves us playing almost every one of the other clubs in the league once.

Here is the chart

Pos Season Manager P W D L F A GD Pts
11 2020/21 Arteta 18 7 3 8 20 19 1 24
11 2019/20 Emery 18 5 8 5 24 27 -3 23
5 2018/19 Emery 18 11 4 3 40 24 16 37
5 2017/18 Wenger 18 10 3 5 31 20 11 33
4 2016/17 Wenger 18 11 4 3 39 19 20 37
2 2015/16 Wenger 18 11 3 4 31 18 13 36
6 2014/15 Wenger 18 8 6 4 32 22 10 30
1 2013/14 Wenger 18 12 3 3 36 18 18 39
3 2012/13 Wenger 18 8 6 4 32 18 14 30
5 2011/12 Wenger 18 10 3 5 34 26 8 33

League position: 11th this year as it was last year under Emery.  Nothing remotely as low as this in all the years listed before, the years in which we were told how awful Mr Wenger was.  It is indeed interesting that this season is no improvement on last season at this stage.

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Of course the league position is not a reflection on where we ended up, just a reflection on how it was going after 18 games.

Wins:  Twice Mr Wenger had dodgy opening halves to the season, in 2014 and 2012, with eight wins and six draws, and it is interesting how similar 2012, and 2014 was.  But those extra few points made a difference (we were third and sixth), and the number of goals was a lot higher each time.

Defeats: We have never had so many defeats in the first half of the season in the last ten years.  The average across the decade is four.  This season it is eight.  That simple measure shows how far we have slipped.

Attack: Although if you want a stark contrast, two years ago Mr Emery had us scoring 40 goals in the first part of the season.  This season it is 20.

Defence: This is the one thing we have got right, although it is interesting that there have been negative comments on the defence for much of the season in the media.  This season in defence is as good as Mr Wenger’s best four seasons.

Goal Difference: This obviously reveals the truth of the above two indicators. Between plus 8 and plus 20 in previous times, now between 1 and minus 3.

Points: Even in his worse campaigns Mr Wenger delivered six points more than we have now by this stage.  Normally it was far more.

So there we are.  It is not just one part of the game that has gone down – we are worse in every measure.  It hasn’t been a very good policy.

7 comments to Then and now: just how far have Arsenal fallen in the past 10 years?

  • Arsenal Fans were told to hate Arsene Wenger, their best manager of modern football and funnily, the majority of fans believe the legendary manager was the problem for the AFC progress. That is a shame, of course, a great shame that some of the club supporters – self-proclaimed superfans like Piers Morgan & AFC TV, etc embarrassingly forced the legend out of the club now we are paying the price.

    I don’t mean that Wenger has not done wrong in some aspects but, he has done massively well. The club problem emanates from the shareholders (owners) and the board. I am sorry but, Wenger has done everything he could to help the team with few resources compared to his opponents and even Arteta’s regime. I still wish Wenger to come to the Emirates in some capacity to help the team move forward.

    Thanks!

  • Walter Broeckx

    There is only one and will only be one Arsène Wenger. The mob has driven him out. Promising us titles and all we could dream of. Well it has almost turned in to a nightmare.I believe that Wenger with this team would be higher up the league table. But I don’t want to blame it on Arteta. I think he might turn out aan good or even a great manager if we give him team. We must accept that he is still learning the trade. He never managed a first team before as being the head man. The fact he is willing to give young players chances is why I am still behind him and hope he can turn our season. Or improve us so we can be better next season.

  • porter

    The loss of Wenger obviously still hurts you but we could have saved the £17 million had we not renewed his contract for a further 2 years and allowed him to leave with the dignity he deserved.
    The club was being horribly mis managed at the time and making knee jerk decisions with it’s back forced up against the wall.
    The Ozil contract disaster was made purely because we couldn’t afford the loss of both him and Alexis, Sogut screwed us to the wall and who can blame him , we had laid ourselves wide open and he and Ozil took advantage and it’s been an albatross around our neck ever since.
    Arteta needs time , hopefully Tim Lewis and our new man Richard Garlick can sort out the contracts of the players and we can head forward and get off the upper management treadmill that we have been on for far too long.

  • Nitram

    Look I know things are a bit tough at the moment but please can we have a little less of the doom and gloom. At times like this we have to stay strong, stay loyal, and try to remember just how lucky we are to support such a wonderful club.

    Hopefully this will cheer a few up who aren’t quite ‘feeling it’ at the moment.

    So here’s a little comparison between Arsenal and Spurs, you know, just to put a bit of perspective on all this. And remember the following is all done with the mantras that ‘4th is not a trophy’ and ‘it’s all about winning things’ in mind, that’s been endlessly rammed down our throats.

    W = A trophy won. X = Nothing won, FAC = Fa Cup, CS = Community Shield.

    This is the last disastrous 7 seasons 2013/14 through to 2019/20 showing FAC and CS finishes.

    ARSE: W X – W W – X W – W X – X W – X X – W X = 7 W’s in case you didn’t notice.
    SPUR: X X – X X – X X – X X – X X – X X – X X = 0 W’s in case you didn’t notice.

    So over the last 7 seasons the magnificent Spurs have won absolutely nothing, zero, nil, not a sausage. Whilst their pathetic, badly run, badly managed neighbours, and the butts of endless tails of imminent disaster have won a mere 7 trophies consisting of 4 FA Cups and 3 CS’s

    Over those last 7 seasons Arsenal have been to Wembley 13 times and won on 12 of those visits.

    That’s made up of 8 finals (7 victories) and 5 semi finals 95 victories).

    Over those last 7 seasons Spurs have been to Wembley for just 3 Semi finals and have lost every single won.

    That’s Arsenal with 13 visits and 12 victories, and Spurs with just the 3 visits and 3 defeats, in case you missed it.

    Non of this is to say things are perfect, not by a long chalk, and in fact, Championship wise, we certainly haven’t been where we would like to be for a while. Well in fact for 4 years actually having finished 5th, 6th, 5th and 8th respectively. So I agree, not great.

    But how about Spurs? Well Championship wise they have certainly been better than us, but they’ve hardly been pulling up trees, and it seems they too are in terminal decline having finished the last 4 seasons in 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th places respectively, and of course they still haven’t won the thing for over 50 years, so they hardly have much to crow about either do they.

    My point is, as bad as things may seem. As bad as the media keep on insisting they are for us, perspective is everything, because despite how diabolically bad things may be, we are still, by an absolute mile, way way more successful than Spurs.

    Honestly, given the endless media criticism and the endless doom and gloom of a way too large a section of our fan base you’d of thought those achievements above, or lack of, were the other way around.

    When times are tough I think some of us would do well to remember just how lucky we are to support such a successful club, after all we could be Spurs fans and that really would suck.

  • Nitram

    Typo Correction: That’s made up of 8 finals (7 victories) and 5 semi finals (5 victories).

  • Dublin Gooner

    Yep, forcing Wenger out has not worked out. And his achievements look better the more we flounder. But we are where we are and no nostalgia will change that. Wenger had to go at some time. Let’s look forward. A promising young group of players and a manager most of us welcomed. We could well still have a respectable season with another trophy. Plenty still to play for.

  • Nitram

    Some of us didn’t need to see us flounder to know just how much Wenger achieved.

    Of course as Mihireteab said nobody suggests he was perfect, but the mocking he received from luminaries, talking heads, the media and fans alike was nothing short of shameful, and frankly embarrassing.

    At work Arsenal do get a bit of stick. Yes of course some of it is aimed at the club and team, after all we’re not what we were back in the Halcion days of Henry et el, but their real ridicule is reserved for the fans. Basically they think many of our fans are a joke. I tend to agree.