What the 5-0 Feast in the East means to Arsenal’s chase for the top four

By Tony Attwood

The results of course tells us all about where Arsenal are… five straight wins scoring 19 goals and conceding two. 

Which is actually rather fine.  OK we have not been playing the top four of last season, but a lot of pundits were talking up West Ham for this season 

And so what we find is that on 7 November for example the table read…

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Chelsea 11 8 2 1 27 4 23 26
2 Manchester City 11 7 2 2 22 6 16 23
3 West Ham United 11 7 2 2 23 13 10 23
4 Liverpool 11 6 4 1 31 11 20 22
5 Arsenal 11 6 2 3 13 13 0 20

Level on points with Manchester City and just a win behind Chelsea, West Ham were really pushing ahead building on their sixth-place finish in 2020/21.  At least according to the media.

Since then West Ham have played eight domestic games – seven in the league one in the league cup.   Of these they have won just one.  Two have been drawn, and the remaining five have been lost.   As a result they are now sixth, seven points behind Arsenal with a worse goal difference and one game in hand

Arsenal on the other hand are now on a run of five wins in a row.

Date Match Result Score Competition
11 Dec 2021 Arsenal v Southampton W 3-0 Premier League
15 Dec 2021 Arsenal v West Ham United W 2-0 Premier League
18 Dec 2021 Leeds United v Arsenal W 1-4 Premier League
21 Dec 2021 Arsenal v Sunderland W 5-1 League Cup
26 Dec 2021 Norwich City v Arsenal W 0-5 Premier League

The West Ham Anomaly as it is now called (by me if no one else), is not the only oddity in this rather odd season.  Take Tottenham Hotspur for example.  Tottenham have been, by and large, just playing at home.

Date Match Res Score Competition
21 Nov 2021 Tottenham Hotspur v Leeds United W 2-1 Premier League
2 Dec 2021 Tottenham Hotspur v Brentford W 2-0 Premier League
5 Dec 2021 Tottenham Hotspur v Norwich City W 3-0 Premier League
19 Dec 2021 Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool D 2-2 Premier League
22 Dec 2021 Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United W 2-1 League Cup
26 Dec 2021 Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace W 3-0 Premier League

This really is rather curious, and I can’t recall having seen such a run of home bias in the fixtures played since we started running Untold 14 years ago.

And there is a point in this observation because Tottenham’s away form has not been as good as they might like, putting them in 13th in a table based on away games only.  And those missing away games are of course the games they have to catch up.

The table just based on away games shows us just how extraordinary Tottenham’s season has been.  The thing they can’t win is away games, so they have managed to avoid playing away games on several occasions, playing home games instead.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 9 7 1 1 19 6 13 22
2 Chelsea 10 6 3 1 17 5 12 21
3 Liverpool 9 6 2 1 28 9 19 20
4 West Ham United 9 4 2 3 12 9 3 14
5 Manchester United 8 4 2 2 12 11 1 14
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers 9 4 2 3 8 7 1 14
7 Arsenal 10 4 1 5 15 17 -2 13
8 Brighton and Hove Albion 8 2 5 1 8 8 0 11
9 Brentford 8 2 4 2 11 12 -1 10
10 Aston Villa 9 3 0 6 9 14 -5 9
11 Leicester City 9 2 3 4 15 21 -6 9
12 Southampton 10 2 3 5 11 21 -10 9
13 Tottenham Hotspur 6 2 1 3 5 9 -4 7

So seeing the above data it is no real surprise that of Tottenham’s next four league games, three are away: Southampton, Watford and Chelsea with just a home league game against Arsenal in between.  Plus of course the home and away league cup games against Chelsea.

Now there is a point in this little ramble of mine in that when we look at the league table with Arsenal in fourth, we have to note that Tottenham and Manchester United have multiple games in hand.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 19 15 2 2 50 12 38 47
2 Liverpool 18 12 5 1 50 15 35 41
3 Chelsea 19 12 5 2 41 13 28 41
4 Arsenal 19 11 2 6 32 23 9 35
5 Tottenham Hotspur 16 9 2 5 21 19 2 29
6 West Ham United 18 8 4 6 30 24 6 28
7 Manchester United 16 8 3 5 26 24 2 27

Tottenham have three games in hand which if all were won would take them to 38 points, three points ahead of Arsenal. Even two wins and a draw would also take them into fourth.  So what are their up and coming games?

Away Tottenham get an average of 1.17 points per game.  As opposed to 2.22 points at home.  And two of Tottenham’s next three games are away – true against weaker opposition, but still away.  That would give them on the performance so far four or five points leaving them on 34 points, still behind Arsenal.

Manchester United are further behind – and would indeed need three straight wins in the league in those missing games to overtake Arsenal.  This looks like a greater threat than Tottenham as Manchester United have indeed just won three games in a row.  But each one was just by one goal.  They might just do it, but a single point dropped will keep Arsenal’s fourth-place secure.

And here’s another interesting factor.   We have just won five in a row.  The goals in those games are 19 for, two against.  Actually, I think I may have mentioned that already.

6 Replies to “What the 5-0 Feast in the East means to Arsenal’s chase for the top four”

  1. Since games have been postponed due to Covid the PL have not given any criteria of numbers of infected personnel each club has to have to have a game postponed , along with injuries , it would be useful for everybody to know and every team then treated evenly .
    As mentioned on another blog ( how true we don’t know ) we had 4 players unavailable due to contacting Covid

  2. This last run of games is interesting. There was a time when even lower placed clubs had a ‘chance’ to derail Arsenal. Were Arsenal would be losing or just barely escaping a loss.

    But a series 5 games won, 19 goals goals scored looks like a first to me for a decade or 2, is it not ?
    Have the young guns gotten rid of some monkey on their back ? Has the strategic coaching had such an effect ?
    Or is it just that massive influx of young players who believe they can reach the sky if they try the reason behind this change ?

    And just take a look at the goal difference now and 1 month back….

  3. Even from this part of the world,we appreciate your articles on the Arsenal. The only blog for the genuine gunners infos.

  4. Thanks Fred. It’s a reflection on our society that people are often much more likely to write when angry than when saying “I agree”, so I really do appreciate your kind of note. Thank you.

  5. Dear Tony,
    As a Frenchman raised near Monaco, I’ve been an Arsenal supporter since 1996 (guess why!). I still remember a fantastic game between Monaco and Toulouse on the summer of 1987 (5-1) with Glenn Hoddle distributing assists like candies and Mark Hateley upfront (doesn’t it remind you of something? Ozil/Giroud maybe?). You might have heard of who was the Monaco manager in those days. The funny part is, years later I was living in North London (Green Lanes) next to Highbury, and who comes up to manage AFC? Mr Who! To cut it short: 1) Arsene is and has always been a visionnary, a builder and an exceptional human being. 2) Following your blog since 2013, I can say that it is easily and by far the most interesting one on Arsenal FC. I hope that one day I can come back to North London and share a good game with you guys in the stands. Until then I think it was time (after 8 years!) to send this message and let you know my appreciation of your work. Because, as you say Tony, people tend much more to write when angry, and not enough when they value something. Take it as a – small – gift, it’s Christmas time after all!

  6. Lorenzinho – first apologies for the delay in posting your comment. First time comments are held in moderation, so that I can keep the spam out. Second it is the Christmas holidays, and once today’s game was postponed I took the chance to drive into Leicestershire and take a long walk with a friend, followed by the obligatory trip to the pub.

    It is really good to have comments such as yours, to let me know that the work at this end is appreciated. Thank you so much.

Comments are closed.