By Bulldog Drummond
According to the BBC, Romelu Lukaku is set to make his second debut for Chelsea, and yes I can see what they mean, in that he played a few times for Chelsea from 2011 to 2014. But I don’t think you can have a second debut with the same club. A debut is “a person’s first appearance or performance in a particular capacity or role” – not the first in a run, after a previous run.
But the BBC are saying we could saw Auba playing. Christian Pulisic has been ruled out by the Uefa strain of Covid.
Although most newspapers, blogs and other outlets focus on Arsenal losing their first two matches in a season and when that happened last, the fact is it has only happened twice in the history of the Premier League and the last time it happened (in 2018) it was followed by 11 straight victories in the league, league cup and Europa. Somehow however that bit of detail doesn’t quite get mentioned very much.
It was in fact part of a 22 match run – a run which saw Arsenal in 5th, equal on points with Chelsea in fourth. Not bad after two opening defeats.
What is undeniable is that our nine home defeats last season in all competitions was the most for Arsenal at home since 1929-30 when we also lost nine at home. So let’s consider that season.
It was Herbert Chapman’s fifth season with Arsenal and he still hadn’t won the league. In fact Arsenal ended up 14th that season, Chapman’s worst season. The previous season he had offered his resignation, and the board had told him to get on with his job and stop whinging. Today of course he would have been out after two or three seasons – and we would never have had the 1930s with five league titles and two FA Cups.
In fact Chapman did win Arsenal the cup in 1930 – their first major trophy – and we know what happened next. But it does show the value of holding onto someone rather than kicking him out because the media pundits and AFTV demand that he should go.
And I do think the BBC is getting rather desperate in its search for negativity concerning Arsenal. The latest attempt – “Arsenal’s defeat at Brentford means they have already equalled their total number of Premier League London derby defeats from 2020-21” really is getting a bit silly. Does anyone count the number of defeats against other London teams each season?
However on a brighter note, people are starting to realise the value of Pepe. At the end of last season Football Observatory showed through their statistics just how brilliant he is. In fact quite a few of our players are picking up decent ratings.
We kept promoting the fact that Xhaka should ould stay because he was incredibly highly rated by CIES Football Observatory, whose credentials for this sort of analysis are unimpeachable.
For the last month of last season their ranking included these players
- 1. Nicolas Pépé: 94.8%
- 2. Granit Xhaka: 93.7%
- 7. Martin Ödegaard: 92.3%
- 10. Mohamed Elneny: 91.0%
- 13. Joe Willock 90.0% (Newcastle United FC)
- 13. Gabriel Martinelli 90.0%
- 13. Bernd Leno. 90.0%
- 18. Gabriel Magalhães 89.2%
- 31. Calum Chambers 87.6%
- 32. Rob Holding 87.5%
- 32. Emile Smith-Rowe 87.5%
- 35. Thomas Partey 87.4%
Back to the game – Chelsea don’t normally keep a clean sheet twice in the opening two games – they haven’t done that for ten years, so that should give us some hope too.
Yes Chelsea were better away last season than Arsenal were at home, but these two sets of data cannot be readily compared, since home and away last season was not the normal home and away.
This can be readily seen from the table below…
|Season||Home percentage of points||Away percentage of points|
Away points shot up last year because referees were not influenced by the home crowds as they had been in the past as there were no crowds. If you would like to read more about this the following articles give a good starting point
- Despite media denials, away advantage now outweighs home advantage
- Media’s feeble attempt to explain away wins while ignoring the true research
- Crowdless stadia stats reveal fallacy of PGMO claims about referee accuracy
- Without crowds away teams do so much better
Today’s Arsenal team comes next
- Arsenal v Wolverhampton: the club that gets cards at over twice the rate of Arsenal
- Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers: where will each team finish?
- Arsenal v Lens: what we found, what we felt, what they did
- Arsenal v Lens: the team, the home/away form and the strange coincidences
- Arsenal v Lens: they had a poor start but are now flying