By Bulldog Drummond
Here’s an interesting thought, and one that for once I am indebted to (rather than critical of) The Athletic for pointing out. It relates to the defeat of Manchester United yesterday afternoon, but it makes a point that I think is relevant to Arsenal at this moment.
The Athletic says…
“This was a complete humiliation and must rank as among the biggest embarrassments in the Premier League era considering United have pretensions to be competing with Liverpool — indeed, they finished above them last season.”
Now that is interesting because “Progress” is a word that is readily thrown around in football – and the lack of it is the normal criticism of the club by the persistent Anti-Arsenal Arsenal mob (the AAA).
In contemplating this I wondered just how far ahead Manchester United are of Arsenal, not just this season, but across the last 100 games – during which time Arsenal have had four managers: Arsene Wenger at the very end of his reign, Unai Emery, Freddie Ljungberg, and Mikel Arteta.
Now Untold’s argument has always been that changing managers should only be done as an absolute last resort, and even then only when it is clear who the next incumbent will be. Sadly, of late, the club, influenced by some fans and the bonkers media, have not agreed.
And so it is not a surprise that when we have a look at Arsenal across the last 100 games we find that we are in sixth position (taking only league games into account, and only clubs that have been in the Premier League for their last 100 games – if we don’t throw that last requirement in, the list gets dominated by clubs that have been promoted from the Championship ).
100 games takes us fractionally over three seasons – and over the last three seasons and a bit our position works out as sixth.
What is interesting here is that the clubs in sixth, seventh and eighth have been swapping managers around more than the clubs in the top five places. I don’t think that is a coincidence.
The point about new managers is that quite often they take a while to get things going their way. Just because Mr Wenger was the ultimate genius at this and the supreme manager in the league until Chelsea and then Manchester City moved in with unrestrained levels of spending, doesn’t mean everyone can do it that quickly.
But if you are a regular reader you’ll know that Untold does believe that Mr Arteta is getting this right, as indeed the league table of the last six games shows. And although we normally only publish the bit of the league with Arsenal in it, I think it is worth looking the whole table down to Leeds to understand current form.
|6||West Ham United||6||3||1||2||6||5||1||10|
|7||Brighton and Hove||6||2||3||1||5||6||-1||9|
Arsenal are fourth, equal on points with Liverpool, who are currently being so lauded for their demolition of a rather feeble Manchester United team yesterday. Equal also on points with Manchester City.
This does not mean that I am tipping Arsenal to regain a place in the top four this season, not least because of the points we lost as the newcomers in the Arsenal defence had to learn their way into the technique of playing against not only the opposition but also the PGMO. But now they have learned this, we are motoring. I’m not tipping fourth, but it is possible (as well as being not a trophy).
The struggles of Leeds United this season go beyond the last six games of course – here is the full list of their games this season…
|14 Aug 2021||Manchester United v Leeds United||L||5-1||Premier League|
|21 Aug 2021||Leeds United v Everton||D||2-2||Premier League|
|24 Aug 2021||Leeds United v Crewe Alexandra||W||3-0||League Cup|
|29 Aug 2021||Burnley v Leeds United||D||1-1||Premier League|
|12 Sep 2021||Leeds United v Liverpool||L||0-3||Premier League|
|17 Sep 2021||Newcastle United v Leeds United||D||1-1||Premier League|
|21 Sep 2021||Fulham v Leeds United||W||0-0||League Cup|
|25 Sep 2021||Leeds United v West Ham United||L||1-2||Premier League|
|2 Oct 2021||Leeds United v Watford||W||1-0||Premier League|
|16 Oct 2021||Southampton v Leeds United||L||1-0||Premier League|
|23 Oct 2021||Leeds United v Wolverhampton Wanderers||D||1-1||Premier League|
As you can see, Leeds have indeed won three games this season – one by beating Crewe, one on penalties (5-6) against Fulham, and one league game against Watford.
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