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February 2021
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Arsenal v Man U, statistical errors, and a dramatic rise in Arsenal injuries

By Bulldog Drummond

So as you may have noticed, yesterday we launched a tirade against the statistical error in a Daily Mirror report, a tirade which was clearly written in order to put down Arsenal and beef up Manchester United (the paper’s favourite club).

To try and make their case more strongly they exaggerated Arsenal’s decline earlier this season.  Sadly, in making our case we actually underestimated the true nature of Arsenal’s achievements, stupidly saying,

“Since 2013 Manchester United have won the FA Cup once, the Europa League once and the League Cup once.  A total of three trophies.

“Since 2013 Arsenal have won the FA Cup three times – so again three trophies.”

Of course Arsenal have won the Cup four times, something our writer should have known since he was at three of the finals.  But age… (and a lack of anyone around to check the copy before it was published) can take its toll.  (The Mirror had neither excuse).

So our case is made even more strongly, the Mirror, and other papers will do anything to put down Arsenal and talk up Manchester United.  Our lack of data checkers catches us out, and undermines our own case.  Ah well; let us move on.

The injuries

Having been lurking in the lower reaches of the injury league Arsenal have leaped up the charts once more.  It’s almost like having Mr Wenger back…   

  • Southampton: 9
  • Arsenal: 7
  • Crystal Palace: 7
  • Sheffield Utd: 7
  • Brighton and Hove: 6
  • Liverpool: 6
  • Everton: 5
  • Leicester City: 5
  • Manchester United: 5
  • Newcastle United: 5
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers: 5

Other teams have four or fewer.

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So here are the details from Physioroom:

Player Reason Further Detail Potential Return Condition Status
Pablo Mari Villar Calf/Shin/Heel Injury Jan 28: “I think Ceballos will be training with the squad in the next few days, Pablo probably as well.” 02/02/2021 None 25%
Dani Ceballos Calf/Shin/Heel Injury Jan 28: “I think Dani will be training with the squad in the next few days.” 02/02/2021 None 50%
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Other Jan 28: “I don’t know. I spoke with him yesterday and things are looking better at the moment but we’re going to have to wait and see.” 30/01/2021 Late Fitness Test 50%
Kieran Tierney Calf/Shin/Heel Injury Jan 26: “Kieran is being assessed for discomfort in the right lower leg.” 30/01/2021 Late Fitness Test 50%
Emile Smith Rowe Other Jan 28: “I don’t know, let’s see. They had some discomforts in different parts, Thomas and Emile, and we will have to see how they evolve.” 30/01/2021 Late Fitness Test 50%
Thomas Partey Other Jan 28: “Thomas and Emile, and we will have to see how they evolve. We still have some days until the game so let’s see how they recover.” 30/01/2021 Late Fitness Test 50%
Martin Odegaard Other Jan 28: “It’s a little bit early to decide. Let’s see how he goes in training and we will see.” 30/01/2021 Late Fitness Test 50%

It is possible one or two of the above might be fit enough to play.  We shall have to wait and see.

But perhaps the biggest issues arise when we look at the home and away game indicator

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
9 Arsenal home 10 4 2 4 12 11 1 14
1 Manchester United away 10 8 2 0 24 12 12 26

Yep, Manchester United have a near perfect away record in which they have scored twice as many away goals as we have home goals.  Inevitably with such an away record they are top of the league when it comes to away form. 

So it is rather unfortunate that this is also the moment when we have a big return to injuries.  Arsenal are ninth in the home league table – the only thing we are better at than they are in the comparison is defending.

As we saw the other day, away wins still dominate the league in general…

  • Home wins: 38%
  • Away wins: 39%
  • Draws: 23%

The gap is narrowing but it is still slightly in the away team’s favour and will probably stay around this level until the crowds come back.

We’ll see if there is a way of overcoming this in the next piece.

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