By Tony Attwood
There was a huge amount of publicity concerning the opening three league games of the season, with the media particularly enjoying ranting at Arteta and demanding his removal from the club, Some alleged Arsenal supporters went along with this, and comparisons were made between those three games and Arsenal throughout their history.
But since then there has been little interest in what has happened to Arsenal – so why is that?
You will recall that after three games the table looked like this…
So, to see if the league table after three games (which got wall to wall coverage on the media at the time) has any value in predicting the future we ask, what has happened to those clubs after three games and what has happened to the clubs in the top six after three games. Have they stayed there?
Or was quoting that table over and over simply another weapon in the hands of the anti-Arsenal muckrakers as a way of avoiding doing any serious research. Here’s the top after the first three, with the position this morning in the final column.
|2||West Ham United||3||2||1||0||10||5||5||7||4|
Of the top six after three games only two (ie one third) are in the top six now, which suggests that as a measure of what will happen, measuring the top six after three games is as dumb as showing the bottom three. For of those bottom three Arsenal are now 5th, Wolverhampton are 6th and Norwich are 19th.
Which is not to say that there is anything wrong with looking at a league table after three games, but plenty wrong with drawing conclusions from it, about what will happen next. Only one-third of the clubs in the top six after three games were there after 13, while two-thirds of the bottom three after three games were in the top six in terms of the next ten games.
So in effect, this season at least, the table after three games was utterly misleading as a guide to the future, and any decisions about sacking managers based on the season’s opening were also likely to be incredibly stupid.
The most obvious reason for this comes from transfers. The season starts before the transfer window ends, which means some clubs have not finished their transfer dealings, and even those players who have arrived will still be learning what their new coach wants them to do. And in summers where we have an international competition, some players won’t be available.
In short, pretending there is anything that can be learned from the first three matches is so obviously stupid, that only a person deliberately wishing to mislead would indulge in that sport.
And who wishes to mislead? Why football journalists of course.
There are many reasonable ways of looking at league tables in order to get further insights. In particular the last six game table and last ten game table do give us greater insights into what might happen next.
Here is the current last ten games table…
|6||West Ham United||10||5||2||3||15||11||4||17|
As we have suggested above, two of the bottom three after three games are in the top six for the last 10 games. So rather than the opening three games being a portent of the end of the season, the reverse is true. Do badly in the first three and in the next ten you have a chance to shine.
In fact, only goal difference separates Arsenal from Chelsea and Manchester City in the table of the last ten games.
And let’s consider how well or badly the two key elements of our game are going: goals scored and goals conceded, again in the last ten games. In terms of goals scored we could do better, but it is not too disastrous. We are fifth.
As for the defence in the last ten games, that is easy – in the last ten games we have the third-best defence in the league…
In short, we really aren’t doing nearly as badly as the pundits make out. And in fact, we never were. Despite headlines such as “Arsenal paying for bad recruitment and spending on overpriced, overrated and underperforming stars”. But then that’s the Sun. What do you expect?
- Injuries Time to sack Tierney accordinig to one part of the media
- Next season starting lineup and the new Financial Fair Play rules
- The huge bias of referees is proven. PGMO and media fight back.
- 93 players rumoured to be going to Arsenal. Are the journos getting lazy?
- The home and away scandal: ignorance, or cover up?