Arsenal rise up the league: it’s time to crow and say “I told you so”

By Tony Attwood

If you are a person who shares Untold’s vision of reality, you are likely to be nodding with the satisfaction of knowing that our upward movement across the last nine games was anticipated.  If not, you might be thinking, “It won’t last,” or even “Arteta out” (as in ‘Mikel Arteta out’ – Piers Morgan demands Arsenal sack manager” or JOURNALIST DELIVERS ARSENAL MANAGERIAL UPDATE THAT THE ARTETA OUT BRIGADE WILL LOVE or… well you know, there were thousands of them.

And just in case you missed how it all turned itself around (or indeed like us, you enjoy a spot of “I told you so,” while noting that the media have got it so wrong), here is the very briefest of summaries.

Arsenal had got themselves into the position in 2019/20 of being wrecked by fouls and yellow cards given against them – indeed we had the worst yellow card record of any club in the league.  Other statistics (the most outrageous involving Leicester, by coincidence) revealed that some teams could tackle just as much as we did, and yet get only a fraction of the number of fouls and yellows.

So in the first third of last season Arsenal transformed themselves into a team that got only half the number of yellows of the season before, thus cutting the number of suspensions.  It was tough, and by Christmas we were 15th in the league.

Then the benefits began to show and in the last two-thirds of last season, we were the second most effective team in the league.

Last summer however Arteta decided to transform our defence, and this season the newcomers struggled at first to implement the no-tackle policy which was such a success in the last two thirds of last season.  This was much to the glee of the media and the anti-Arsenal Arsenal who refused to acknowledge any of the stats showing how our yellow cards had been cut in half.

But these new signings turned out to be excellent players (and yes I fully admit that Untold stated that the transfer of Ramsdale was very unlikely) and thus who have been brought in and they have been growing in their ability to handle the approach which can be summarised by the notion that in each game we are playing 12 men, and we need to handle the referee as much as the 11 opposition players.

However, the media could not restrain their glee when after three games the league table showed Tottenham Hots at the top, and Arsenal at the bottom.  Here’s the whole table, just to remind you…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 3 3 0 0 3 0 3 9
2 West Ham United 3 2 1 0 10 5 5 7
3 Manchester United 3 2 1 0 7 2 5 7
4 Chelsea 3 2 1 0 6 1 5 7
5 Liverpool 3 2 1 0 6 1 5 7
6 Everton 3 2 1 0 7 3 4 7
7 Manchester City 3 2 0 1 10 1 9 6
8 Brighton and Hove Albion 3 2 0 1 4 3 1 6
9 Leicester City 3 2 0 1 4 5 -1 6
10 Brentford 3 1 2 0 3 1 2 5
11 Aston Villa 3 1 1 1 5 4 1 4
12 Watford 3 1 0 2 3 5 -2 3
13 Southampton 3 0 2 1 4 6 -2 2
14 Crystal Palace 3 0 2 1 2 5 -3 2
15 Leeds United 3 0 2 1 4 8 -4 2
16 Burnley 3 0 1 2 2 5 -3 1
17 Newcastle United 3 0 1 2 4 8 -4 1
18 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 0 0 3 0 3 -3 0
19 Norwich City 3 0 0 3 1 10 -9 0
20 Arsenal 3 0 0 3 0 9 -9 0

The notion that Arsenal were en route to great success, as we predicted during the latter part of 2020/21 seemed laughable and the only Arsenal headlines on view were those arguing that this was the club’s worse start since the beginning of time.

Yet the defence did settle down and the last nine games have given us seven victories and two draws and as we have risen so Tottenham have sunk.  Today the top half of the table is…

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Chelsea 10 8 1 1 26 3 23 25
2 Liverpool 10 6 4 0 29 8 21 22
3 Manchester City 10 6 2 2 20 6 14 20
4 West Ham United 9 5 2 2 16 10 6 17
5 Manchester United 10 5 2 3 19 15 4 17
6 Arsenal 10 5 2 3 12 13 -1 17
7 Brighton and Hove Albion 10 4 4 2 11 11 0 16
8 Tottenham Hotspur 10 5 0 5 9 16 -7 15

Those who were first are now last and those who were last are now sixth, and while sixth is not a trophy any more than fourth was, it’s not a bad climb.

We will of course continue to be running our tackles, fouls and yellow card analysis but meanwhile, we can also enjoy the league table based on the last six games – the traditional “big six” are highlighted.  And as you can see, once again, across the last six games, once more we have the second-best defence in the Premier League (and the third-best attack).

Premier League Form (Last six matches of each club
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Chelsea 6 5 0 1 17 2 15 15
2 Arsenal 6 4 2 0 11 4 7 14
3 Wolverhampton Wands 6 4 1 1 9 6 3 13
4 Liverpool 6 3 3 0 20 7 13 12
5 Manchester City 6 3 2 1 9 5 4 11
6 West Ham United 6 3 1 2 6 5 1 10
7 Leicester City 6 2 2 2 11 11 0 8
8 Southampton 6 2 2 2 5 6 -1 8
9 Brentford 6 2 1 3 9 10 -1 7
10 Crystal Palace 6 1 4 1 8 9 -1 7
11 Watford 6 2 1 3 9 11 -2 7
12 Brighton and Hove 6 1 4 1 6 8 -2 7
13 Everton 6 2 1 3 8 11 -3 7
14 Manchester United 6 2 1 3 8 12 -4 7
15 Burnley 6 1 3 2 7 8 -1 6
16 Aston Villa 6 2 0 4 8 11 -3 6
17 Tottenham Hots 6 2 0 4 6 13 -7 6
18 Leeds United 6 1 2 3 4 8 -4 5
19 Newcastle United 6 0 3 3 6 11 -5 3
20 Norwich 6 0 2 4 1 13 -12 2

Of course, this is not going to be all plain sailing from here on, for other clubs and the PGMO are all looking at what Arsenal has done by reducing their tackles, fouls and yellow cards.

Yet there can be more troubles ahead, for as we saw last season, PGMO clearly responded by giving Arsenal matches to those referees who had in previous games, most often dished out the award of fouls and yellow cards (details of that league table can be found in our statistical review of last season).

But for now, we can be rather happy to note that our next game is against Watford (who lost at home to Southampton) and Liverpool (who drew at home with Brighton).

It’s a funny ol game.

7 Replies to “Arsenal rise up the league: it’s time to crow and say “I told you so””

  1. You should crow Tony.

    It was you that spotted that crucial turning point 1/3rd of the way through last season, and noticed how it began at exactly the same time that we cut the tackle rate. I would say the fact that none of the media picked up on it just shows how bad they are at their job, but actually I think it’s worse than that because I think they did know.

    We know for a fact they read your blog as it has been openly plagiarized on many occasions, so they would of read the immense amount of in depth research and analysis you had done on it, yet they CHOSE to ignore it all in favor of just taking the seasons finishing position as the sole indicator of where we were as a team. That finishing position was totally misleading, and they’ve continued to watch with their eyes closed this season to the point that prior to yesterdays matches Arsenal were 200/1 for the title, Man City sat just 6 points ahead of us and were 11/10 Favorites.

    Although we are of course a long shot we were never 200/1 and that was simply a mad price and worth a pound ew of anyone’s money.

    We now sit:

    8 points behind Chelsea 15/8

    5 Points behind Liverpool 11/4

    3 points behind Man City 11/8

    Level on points with Man Utd 33/1

    We are now 80/1 which is more realistic, though why we are over double the price of Man Utd I’m not sure.

    But my point is that that 200/1, and even that 80/1, are indicative of how people, including those clever bookmaker chappies, can be fooled by the medias endless stream of misinformation about exactly how well we have been improving, and playing, for almost an entire seasons worth of matches now.

    No I’m not confident of getting a return, but we are, or were should I say, a fantastic value for money EW shot at 200/1. In gambling terms, massively massively overpriced.

    And one final point, that first table is when Spurs, well their media fan club anyway, outdid themselves isn’t it ?

    Where as last year they proclaimed Spurs as Premier League Champions in November, it only took them until September this year !

    The big problem for Spurs is that silverware isn’t usually won until May time, by when, as we all know, Spurs have done their usual and gone all, well, ‘Spursy’

  2. It is interesting to compare the GD after 3 games and the one for the last 6

    It really shows that those first 3 games had a huge impact on it. As if CHE, LIV and MCIhit the ground running and caught all opposition unprepared, and at game 4, all teams kind of knew what was coming and were able to batten down all hatches and ride out the storm much better.

  3. As I said on a previous thread the team is beginning to look like a proper unit now. The remarkable thing is that yesterday all five of the summer signings started the match and gave really good accounts of themselves. It is most unusual for all new signings to hit the ground running so great credit to all concerned. Edu and Arteta took a lot of stick from the ‘experts’ and a large part of our fan base for either the (in their opinion) poor quality or the fact we overpaid for some of those signings. Well all of the new lads have settled in very quickly and are justifying the faith placed in them.
    Whilst I agree that getting our new players tuned into the new system of playing and of course the way we are refereed was a factor I do think our bad start to the season was predominately because we had half of our 1st choice players missing due to injury, covid and late returns from world cup duty. It was always going to be difficult with so many first choice players unavailable against Chelsea and Man City, whilst additionally we were rather screwed by the ref in the Brentford game.
    Anyway things look brighter now but I expect even harsher refereeing performances to be demanded by Riley in the next few games in an attempt to put a stop to our rise up the table.

  4. After the Chelsea game I walked along St Thomas’s Road with two gentlemen who stated “our season starts against Norwich when when we have a full squad to select from”. Following the Manchester City match that master of the English language Jamie O’Hara decided, rather vociferously, that Rottenham Hotspur were champions elect and we were to travel to the likes of Ewood Park next season. Have a look now Jamie ( and all the other “experts”). Spurs look as if they may be seeking the services of a new manager – plenty to pluck off the managerial roundabout – McCarthy, Hughton, Hughes, Adkins, Pulis and Pearson! Mr Oliver lived up to expectations yesterday. His failure caution Evans for his assault on Ramsdale added to his inexcusable errors at Brentford and failure to dismiss Fernandes for raking his studs down Xhaka’s achilles last season. Not one commentator or pundit has mentioned the fact that we were severely depleted for those first three matches – but then you wouldn’t expect it would you?

  5. Mick Pestle
    ‘Not one commentator or pundit has mentioned the fact that we were severely depleted for those first three matches – but then you wouldn’t expect it would you?’

    One of our so called ‘legends’, Ray Parlour on Talksport excused Leeds poor start to the season on the fact that Kalvin Phillips was not available to play.
    One player!!!
    Yet we had not one, but half a team missing which he did not see fit to even mention when criticising Arsenals poor start.
    Different rules for different teams, even from the Romford Pele who regrettably hardly ever sticks up for his ex club from the regular attacks against them he has to listen to with Durham and his cronies on Talksport.
    That is what we are up against.

  6. I don’t disagree with the sentiments here however I am more conservative than some perhaps. I think its OK to take a pop at the chattering classes who work in sports ‘journalism’ but I would rather wait before pronouncing these latest good results as a trend. Too many bad things can happen including injuries and PGMO machinations and, unfortunately, the ability of young players to lose confidence and form. I am cautiously optimistic, though.

  7. mick shelley

    As I’ve said many many times, many of our ex players are a disgrace. yes of course every club has an ex player put the knife in now and then, but none have the amount we do, or that do it with such unwarranted regularity or venom. Yes we deserve criticism at times, as do all teams, but the way so many of ours behave is embarrassing.


    “but I would rather wait before pronouncing these latest good results as a trend”.

    This is the points total from the last 34 matches, since last seasons turnaround as highlighted by Tony.

    Man City…..80 Pts
    Chelsea……67 Pts
    Man Utd……65 Pts
    Arsenal……64 Pts
    Liverpool….57 Pts

    I think 34 matches is a little more than just a ‘trend’.

    I don’t think anybody is saying we will win the league, it’s just we are, and have been for almost a seasons worth of games now, a damn good team, yet the media would have everyone believe we are/were terrible, relegation fodder even.

    The fact is we have been performing on a par with Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd for almost a seasons worth of matches now, yet even you are still only ‘cautiously’ optimistic. Why? This team is damn good.

    Although of course I do understand your fears regarding the PGMOL and their machinations because even over the last 2 matches there have been 2 sendings off against us completely ignored by the referee and VAR, so heaven knows what they will have in store for us now we look like a genuine threat to the top 4 again.

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