by Tony Attwood
We’ve got a busy weekend ahead with the men’s team playing at lunchtime on Saturday and the women’s team in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday late afternoon.
We’re covering both games of course over the next three days, and since the men go first, we’re starting with them and the extraordinarily interesting fact that Leicester City have travelled further than any other Premier League team in the last 15 days, notching up a staggering 2638km with matches against Spartak Moscow and distant Brentford.
Their nearest rivals in the great travelathon are Liverpool who have been 1799km, Tottenham who have ventured 1093km and Manchester City 1032km.
Arsenal on the other hand have travelled a grand total of zero km through the simple expedient of playing all games in the last 15 days at home. Only Everton have matched Arsenal in this rather neat trick.
For Leicester, the mileage (or should I say kilometerage since most of it was in foreign parts) was knocked up for a single Europa League game. And indeed less one thinks that they pulled Arsenal’s trick from last season of sending just the kids out for overseas matching the squad sent to this far off land included a fair number who will be expected to play either on the pitch or as we used to say following a rather amusing Guardian twerping error “on the beach” in this saturday’s early kick off.
Players such as Kasper Schmeichel, Cağlar Söyüncü, Jonny Evans, Luke Thomas, James Maddison, Youri Tielemans, Marc Albrighton and others were all out there doing their stuff. Still, I’m sure they had a very enjoyable trip to the ice and snow.
It is yet another previously unnoted bonus for Arsenal in not being in the European competitions this season, as we noted in the aptly titled commentary: The major benefit for Arsenal that arises from not being in Europe. And there is more because in these last 15 days, aside from doing all their travelling about the globe and helping with the drive toward global warming Leicester have also been called upon to play four games in those last 15 days, as opposed to Arsenal’s three games in 15 days with with no mileage. Arsenal’s games against Palace, Villa and Leeds have of course, all been at home.
Maybe this has helped our position in the current form league table which takes into account just the last six league games played. Here it is…
Not just quite a difference in form between the two clubs, and not just a tale that the media by and large are ignoring, but also Arsenal are now working to redeem their goal scoring and goal difference figures, which took such a battering in the first three games of the season when the media revelled in their annual “worst start to a season since the Battle of Waterloo” headlines.
True our goal difference over these six league games is not yet up to the standards of Chelsea and Liverpool but in these last six games we are only one goal off the goal difference to the highly and endlessly acclaimed Manchester City.
In the overall league table for the season we are still in the lower reaches both for goals scored and goals conceded, although it is notable that things are improving in the league, and the fact is (but is rarely mentioned) we have conceded fewer goals in the league this season than the media’s darlings of Leicester.
We are of course still not back to last season’s achievement when we had the third-best defence in the league across the whole season, but replacing all but one player in our defence inevitably has meant things would take a while to settle down, not least given the tactics of no tackling that Mr Arteta employs. However, we are improving.
Here is the regular home and away comparison table…
|10||Leicester City home||4||2||1||1||7||5||2||7||1.75|
Now I made a complete balls up here and published the figures wrongly at lunchtime, they have now been corrected. Sincere apologies. There is an excuse but I won’t bore you with it.
As ever there will be more on the match in a short while as well as coverage of the Women’s FA Cup semi-final.
- Arsenal v the team that will present a giant toothbrush to our captain
- Arsenal squad for Europa League game
- The abuse of female footballers is appalling, but there is a wider context
- Why Arsenal v Glimt might be tougher than the game against Tottenham
- Is the team that passes the most, the team that gets the best results?