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
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.
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.
- How Arsenal got into this mess, and the one thing they must now do.
- Arsenal to sell Willock or Nelson to buy Buendia, despite having no space for foreigners
- Arsenal have benefitted by the world cup break: allegedly.
- Arsenal and Tottenham: which has had the easier ride so far this season?
- Arsenal v Tottenham: not exactly a battle of equals.
- Death by 300,000 passes: how the Arsenal transformation started 2 seasons ago.
- Approaching derby day we recall when Arsenal helped Tottenham get into the league