By Tony Attwood
We’ve been making the point as strongly as we can, that the ceaseless attacks on Arsenal by the Daily Mirror, the Mail and other “outlets” (or drainpipes as I prefer to call them), deliberately misuses data.
And in response to that the point has been made – maybe Arsenal are often a team of two halves in terms of the season. So I thought I would try and find out.
In the following table I have taken the past the figures for Arsenal on Christmas Day and then the figures for the second part of the season – up to 36 games, which is where we are now.
Basically in 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 Arsenal accumulated fewer points per game in the period after Christmas Day, seeing a decline of between 0.12 points per game and 0.23 points per game. So no, we are not following a pattern.
In the last two seasons however Arsenal have done better after Christmas Day than before. In 2019/20 the gain was 0.18 points per game between Christmas Day and 36 games. This season it is a whopping 0.52 points per game.
So prior to Arteta we were having a tendency to do better in the first half of the season. Under the current management this is reversed, and I am sure it is something the boss will be considering with his colleagues. If we could get off to a flyer and then maintain our current form, we’d do alright.
We have played 22 games this season between Christmas Day and today, because of the delayed start to the season due to the delayed finish of last season, and this improvement has helped us considerably.
|Season||Played by 25 Dec||Points by 25 Dec||Points per game by 25 Dec||Points by 36 games||PPG by 36 games||Gain / loss per game|
So the conclusion is that this was a really poor start to the season, and we are obviously still doing worse after 36 games than we have been in most other recent seasons.
There’s no real pattern here – even when we balance the first and second half of the season out.
|2016/17 2nd half||19||11||2||6||36||25||11||35|
|2017/18 2nd half||19||9||2||8||40||28||12||29|
|2018/19 2nd half||19||10||2||7||32||26||6||32|
|2019/20 2nd half||19||9||5||5||31||20||11||32|
As to what has gone wrong this season here it is in a nutshell…
|08 Nov 2020||Arsenal v Aston Villa||L||0-3||Premier League|
|22 Nov 2020||Leeds United v Arsenal||D||0-0||Premier League|
|29 Nov 2020||Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers||L||1-2||Premier League|
|06 Dec 2020||Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal||L||2-0||Premier League|
|13 Dec 2020||Arsenal v Burnley||L||0-1||Premier League|
|16 Dec 2020||Arsenal v Southampton||D||1-1||Premier League|
|19 Dec 2020||Everton v Arsenal||L||2-1||Premier League|
We were four points off the relegation spots. We had scored three goals in seven.
And as to what went right
|26 Dec 2020||Arsenal v Chelsea||W||3-1||Premier League|
|29 Dec 2020||Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal||W||0-1||Premier League|
|02 Jan 2021||West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal||W||0-4||Premier League|
|14 Jan 2021||Arsenal v Crystal Palace||D||0-0||Premier League|
|18 Jan 2021||Arsenal v Newcastle United||W||3-0||Premier League|
|26 Jan 2021||Southampton v Arsenal||W||1-3||Premier League|
|30 Jan 2021||Arsenal v Manchester United||D||0-0||Premier League|
The point is of course that we can do it – as we have shown in that run. That is what we have to aim for, and when that can happen we are going to be a match for most teams.
So Mr Arteta found a way to turn us around after that run up to 19 December. To round this off let’s look at the teams.
Everton v Arsenal – the end of the losing streak
Holding, David Luiz, Saka, Tierney
Ceballos, Elneny Willian
And for the first of the winning run…
Bellerin Holding Mari Tierney
Saka Xaka Elneny
Smith Rowe, Lacazette Martinelli
After three goals in seven, in six games we scored 14.
Arsenal against the Media
- The challenge facing Arsenal fans is to disregard the fairytale and follow the facts
- If this is an explosive rant from Arteta I’m a Martian
- Arsenal are once again a top four club, and the figures since Xmas prove it
- Arsenal are back to being a top four club – so why change the defence?
- How the media is trying to destroy Arsenal: the perfect example
- Proof that the media is inventing statistics to show there’s no ref bias.
- How one journalist decided to turn the truth about Arsenal upside down.
- How will the final league table look? Our laptop computer reports
- If Arsenal go on like this, what will the final table look like?
- Only a handful of teams can win the league: but nothing has changed.
- The set of predictions that tell us exactly how the final table will look
- Decline and rise: will Arsenal break their PL goal scoring record this season?
5 Replies to “Have Arsenal always been a team of two halves?”
The question is, is this imbalance between the 1st and 2nd halves of seasons unusual, or do all clubs by and large experience similar imbalances ?
Without that perspective it doesn’t really tell us much.
Are we unique ?
I enjoyed the read, but I think Nitram has a point, it would be easier to gain a perspective if we could compare Arsenal’s situation with (say) the top 4 clubs in the Premier League, please.
OK Nitram, you want more figures. Give me a few hours to work that one out. But one thing I can say at once – look at Manchester City’s record this season – they won the league on an astonishing second half to the season.
You know I’m a stats person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t, like everyone I suppose, just get a feeling for something.
But a ‘feeling’ can be just that, a feeling. Until you look in to the stats ‘feelings’ actually mean very little.
It’s what happened to me way back in the day. I had a ‘feeling’ we were being screwed with the amount of yellow and red cards we were getting. It just ‘seemed’ to me we only had to breathe on an opponent to get a card and yet we were being kicked of the park and our opponents ‘seemed’ to be getting away with it.
But without statistics it remains that, just a ‘feeling’.
So I checked the statistics and my ‘feelings’ were confirmed. We were being screwed.
Regarding this particular topic, my ‘feeling’ is that most teams have good and bad, or at least better and worse halves to seasons.
That to me seems perfectly natural as maintaining a continuous level of results throughout an entire season is extremely difficult. Form, injuries, luck, these will all feed into inconsistency over a season.
It will be interesting to see if we are indeed, unique. Personally I doubt it.
Nitram mate, buddy, friend, do not underestimate feelings. If Mrs Nitram heard that yours is a relationship of stats, your dinner will be in the hound.
Feelings are what people share to get emotional responses. Stats are indicators that are extracted to allow some form of diagnosis.
Feelings lead to positioning guided by stats that make choice seem correct. Allison’s goal for Liverpool is nothing more than feelings …………
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