By Count Emup
If you have been reading Untold through the summer you’ll know that a central point we have been making is that if one calculates the league table for clubs from Christmas Day onward last season, Arsenal were second.
That of course may sound nonsense since as some respondents on other sites have said, the season is the season, not an arbitrary bit of the season.
That is self-evident, but looking at the final part of a season is useful, in my opinion, in that a table for the latter part of a season can show if the club was progressing or declining through the season. Indeed we’ve often seen people writing that a club declined in the latter part of a season because a key player was injured.
But in this particular case Arsenal were most certainly transformed, being second in this table calculated over the last two thirds of the season, from Xmas onwards.
Now I have published that notion a few times here so I was a bit taken about by a comment on the Tribal Football website which says of Arsenal, “They won 18 points from their final 10 Premier League games of 2020/21, putting them fourth in the form table.”
If that were true it would rather scupper my subsequent analyses which suggest that through reducing the level of tackling and thus cutting our yellow card level almost in half, the club had transformed the way it was playing post Christmas.
I am not trying to get at Tribal Football, since I know how easy it is to make slips on these tables, and indeed I found a number of slips in the first or second draft of some of our tables – although I think they were all fortunately corrected before publication. But if the Tribal Football figures were right, then I’d have to change some of my reporting.
So because I honestly don’t trust myself to get everything right I am going to set out how I calculate these tables.
|Date||Game||Res||Score||Games to go at start||Cumulative points|
|21 Mar 2021||West Ham United v Arsenal||D||3-3||10||1|
|03 Apr 2021||Arsenal v Liverpool||L||0-3||9||1|
|11 Apr 2021||Sheffield United v Arsenal||W||0-3||8||4|
|18 Apr 2021||Arsenal v Fulham||D||1-1||7||5|
|23 Apr 2021||Arsenal v Everton||L||0-1||6||5|
|02 May 2021||Newcastle United v Arsenal||W||0-2||5||8|
|09 May 2021||Arsenal v West Bromwich||W||3-1||4||11|
|12 May 2021||Chelsea v Arsenal||W||0-1||3||14|
|19 May 2021||Crystal Palace v Arsenal||W||1-3||2||17|
|23 May 2021||Arsenal v Brighton and Hove||W||2-0||1||20|
So 20 points not 18 as Tribal Football says. But still, were Arsenal fourth in the form table across those last games, while I have them second in the form table from Christmas onward?
By my figures there is not position from which Arsenal won 18 points at the end of the season. We won 15 points from the last five, 15 from the last six, 16 from the last seven, and 19 from the last eight.
Here is the league table on 21 March 2021 when we had eight games to go after which we won 19 points, the closest I can get to the 18 that Tribal Football uses.
|5||West Ham United||29||14||7||8||45||35||10||49|
That left us nine games – so what happens if we built a league table on the last nine games of the season?
|4||West Ham United||9||5||1||3||17||12||5||16|
Arsenal are still second over that period of time.
But I still think that building a table that runs from Christmas is more accurate, because that is a much longer spell. It’s not the whole season (its just on two thirds), but it reflects the moment when the new tactical approach finally worked. Here is the top of that table from Xmas onward.
|4||West Ham United||24||13||5||6||41||28||13||44|
Arsenal have the same number of points and the same goal difference and the same number of goals scored as Manchester United but take second on the basis of more games won.
Of course that doesn’t mean we will carry on with that amazing form in the coming season, but given the choice I’d sooner have that set of figures as the last two thirds of the season than the first two thirds.
Details of the key data that has been repeatedly used in these pieces are given in the Key Data tables page
And there is one other allegation: that Arsenal only did well after Christmas because we had easier fixtures than our rivals at the top. That one is dealt with in great detail here – but in case you don’t want to read it all, the answer is, that is untrue.
The proof that something is seriously wrong with football refereeing and reporting
- The curious case of how the media treats Man C and how it treats Arsenal
- Arsenal in mega crisis
- How one journalist decided to turn the truth about Arsenal upside down.
- Arsenal’s results are on track for top four finishes – from next season.
- This is Arsenal’s worst position for over a quarter of a century
- If the media lie and bully about the news, what do you think they do about football?
- Arsenal’s financial woes and the media’s call for more spending.