By Sir Hardly Anyone
It is not each individual attack on Arsenal and its manager that is particularly frustrating and annoying, especially when it is not backed up by the facts – or indeed based on utter falsehoods. But it is also the overall effect that is so worrying, for the newspapers by and large (and I stress not all the time but generally) run a constant anti-Arsenal campaign.
And it is not just against the players and the managers (although they get the brunt of it). It can be against the crowd, the pitch, and now even the stadium. Take this one
Yep that is the actual headline from the TBR website, and they write, under the bold headline Home form worsening
“Arsenal’s home record certainly hasn’t been as strong since they moved to the Emirates. The Gunners used to have an air of invincibility at Highbury, but their form, particularly in recent seasons, at home hasn’t been massively strong.”
Now we moved in 2006 as I am sure you will remember and for no particular reason a measurement was taken on 14 December 2020 after the home defeat to Burnley to see if the Emirates could be blamed for the poor run of form.
After that match the league table showing our home form was unimpressive to say the least – although we have to remember this was the season without fans, and so throughout the league, away form was generally better than home form. This is to do with referee bias which was researched in depth by London School of Economics academics.
You can read all the research via that link above, and the links within that article but basically here is a summary of Arsenal’s form showing what happened in 2020/21
|Season||Home percentage of points||Away percentage of points|
So home form collapsed and away form went up in the season without crowds. Quite how bad this got we can see from an extract of the foot of the table on 13 December 2020 showing home games only.
|15||West Bromwich Albion||6||1||2||3||5||12||-7||5|
|19||Brighton and Hove Albion||6||0||3||3||6||10||-4||3|
According to the ever wild, whacky, and downright inaccurate Daily Mirror, the Highbury numbers should be way out ahead of those at the Ems. And the 272nd game at the new ground was indeed a defeat (that horrible 0-1 against Burnley).
But in fact the chart at that point showed a remarkable similarity between the old and the new ground
Now of course the Mirror isn’t the first paper to try this sort of thing – in fact the Mirror is never the first paper to try anything, but instead tends to take everything that others do, just that bit further, whether there is any evidence or not.
Although even on that score they are not alone in this. The Sun which also has done a piece on the Emirates v Highbury comparison, but actually got the figures right, said, “Barring three FA Cup wins, Arsenal have struggled to replicate any major successes at the Emirates.”
OK so let’s look at this “three FA Cup wins”. So to start, it is actually four FA Cup wins (2014, 2015, 2017, 2020.
And between 2006 and 2021 only one team has bettered that: Chelsea have achieved five wins. And as David Dein famously said, “Roman Abramovich has parked his Russian tank in our front garden and is firing £50 notes at us.”
The Sun adds, “Arsene Wenger once remarked that the club left its ‘soul’ behind at Highbury. But it wasn’t until the Frenchman came along that they were a serious force in the Premier League.”
In fact there were only four Premier League seasons before Mr Wenger arrived, in which Arsenal came 10th, 4th, 12th and 5th. The 10th was the Cup Double season, so there was an excuse for the club taking its eyes off the league, and the 12th was when George Graham was sacked for his financial dealings half way through the season.
And there is actually one other factor. Since 2011/12 Manchester City have spent 228% of the amount Arsenal have spent on transfers. Manchester United 214%. That must have an impact too.
- Why the collapse of the transfer market prefaces the collapse of football.
- Arsenal’s financial woes and the media’s call for more spending.
- Arsenal’s finances are really in a mess
- Football finances: the numbers are not making sense
- The finances of the top clubs are weird and not wholly making sense.
- The stupidest thing said about Arsenal this week
- WSL North London Derby – reflections on the game at the Emirates
- Arsenal have not got the youngest team in the PL. Or have they?
- Arsenal are the most fouled team in the Premier League. Why?
- Partey setback, AFC man hauled off, new C Ronaldo signing, Arteta desperate