Is it true that Arsenal were only 4th over the last 10 games last season?

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.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 30 22 5 3 64 21 43 71
2 Manchester United 29 16 9 4 56 32 24 57
3 Leicester City 29 17 5 7 53 32 21 56
4 Chelsea 29 14 9 6 44 25 19 51
5 West Ham United 29 14 7 8 45 35 10 49
6 Tottenham Hotspur 29 14 6 9 49 30 19 48
7 Liverpool 29 13 7 9 48 36 12 46
8 Everton 28 14 4 10 40 37 3 46
9 Arsenal 29 12 6 11 40 32 8 42

That left us nine games – so what happens if we built a league table on the last nine games of the season?

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Liverpool 9 7 2 0 20 6 14 23
2 Arsenal 9 6 1 2 15 7 8 19
3 Manchester United 9 5 2 2 17 12 5 17
4 West Ham United 9 5 1 3 17 12 5 16
5 Chelsea 9 5 1 3 14 11 3 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.

P Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 24 20 0 4 62 20 42 60
2 Arsenal 24 14 5 5 43 21 22 47
3 Manchester United 24 13 8 3 43 21 22 47
4 West Ham United 24 13 5 6 41 28 13 44
5 Chelsea 24 12 6 6 29 22 7 42
6 Leicester City 24 11 6 7 42 33 9 39
7 Liverpool 24 11 5 8 32 23 38
8 Tottenham Hots 24 11 4 9 43 31 12 37

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

One Reply to “Is it true that Arsenal were only 4th over the last 10 games last season?”

  1. Count Emup

    The problem as I see it is nobody ever questions the validity of this type of analysis published by Tribal Football because it’s so trivial and meaningless.

    And therein lies the problem.

    Because of it’s triviality, and the fact that nobody ‘takes it seriously’ they get away with publishing it.

    Now if this ‘trivial’ and ‘meaningless’ misinformation happened just the once, then that’s all it would be, trivial and meaningless. But the problem is, it doesn’t happen just the once.

    As this site has shown many many times, this kind of trivial and meaningless misinformation happens on a daily basis, and when that happens it starts to seep, inexorably into the psyche. Because you hear it so many times, subconsciously it starts to become fact.

    And for those of us who have read 1984, which is quite a few of us I believe, that is exactly how Newspeak works. Just keep telling everyone something everyday, such as there is loads of razor blades available, everyone believes it, despite the fact that nobody has been able to have a shave for the last month.

    A drip on it’s own is nothing, but drip drip drip drip is something altogether different, and this Tribal Football article is just another drip, that is adding to the drip drip drip, that is adding to the flood of negative Arsenal ‘news’ stories.

    You give them too much credit Mr Emup, it’s not a mistake on their part, it’s shameless misinformation.

    Keep up the good work. These charlatans need calling out at every opportunity.

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