By Tony Attwood
Occasionally this season I’ve tried to compare Arsenal at different times in the campaign, with where we were in recent years.
This is done by taking our league position after a set number of games – today obviously after 21 games.
And it turns out that our position after 21 games has been very varied in the last ten years. The seasons we have moved up are in red, and the season where we stayed in the same position is in brown. Black thus means, we’ve gone down after 21 games.
|Pos at 21||Season||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||Pts||Pos at end|
In five of the ten seasons we have ended in a higher position than we were after 21 games – each time going up two places by the end of the season. Which suggests that historically moving up from our current sixth position to fourth is not impossible.
And indeed it is interesting that although all the emphasis is on buying a new striker, we have scored more goals after 21 games than we have in the last two seasons. Not enough, obviously, but an improvement.
In one season we stayed the same position between the 21 game marker and the end of the season (2018/19 when we finished 5th).
In the remaining four seasons rather obviously we finished lower than we were after 21 games. Three times we went down one place, and once down three places.
So the last ten years shows that it is not possible to move up two places to the “not a trophy” position of fourth and thus re-enter the Champions League.
What makes the current situation rather encouraging, despite the poor result yesterday (and I do think it was a poor result – and indeed I was there), is that we have games in hand. What makes it more concerning is that Tottenham have even more games in hand.
|5||West Ham United||23||11||4||8||41||31||10||37|
I know that we were happily predicting that an easy win over Burnley would take us up to fourth, and obviously, that did not happen, but winning our one game in hand over Manchester United will still take us up to fourth, although Tottenham winning one of their games and drawing the other will knock us back to fifth.
But my point is that we should not lose faith just yet.
Of course the key would seem to be signing a new forward, and with this in mind the Mirror, never a newspaper to give hope to Arsenal is running the lead “Arsenal are continuing to push hard to sign in-form striker Dusan Vlahovic this month, but Fiorentina manager Vincenzo Italiano has warned them off the Serbia international”. They also tell us in a separate article that “Arsenal are set to extend Mikel Arteta’s contract with club chiefs impressed with his progress.”
But at the same time, as part of its constant attempt to portray Arsenal as a club that does not know what it is doing, we are told by the Mirror that “Arsenal have been warned they are set to make a mistake in the January transfer window as they prepare to bring in reinforcements.”
Indeed it is worse than that as Arsenal are “told they’re signing the wrong Brazilian after visit from Arthur Melo’s agent.”
So why is the Daily Mirror running all these anti-Arsenal stories at once – especially when no one really knows if Arsenal are seriously planning to buy any of the players that they mention? And why is it being combined with articles appearing all over the place saying that Arsenal are the dirtiest team in the league when the league figures show the opposite?
Here is the current ranking of clubs regarding cards…
|Rank||Club||Yellow cards||Red cards|
|5.||Brighton and Hove Albion||43||1|
|20||West Ham United||26||2|
Now in running these figures I always try to take them from the most reliable source, and if I am quoting Premier League figures I use the Premier League’s official site.
Of course that site could be completely wrong, but I have not found this to be the case before. And if it is correct then the accusations about dirty play should be seen alongside the stories noted above about Arsenal seemingly being desperate to sign players, but that these are, according to the “experts” found by the Mirror, the wrong players.
Indeed it does seem a huge investment in time and energy by the Mirror to bring us news of Arsenal’s hopeless pursuit of the wrong players alongside awful indiscipline. One might ask, why is it all so important to them to show Arsenal to be abject failures at everything?
Is it just to ensure no one mentions Man United’s 44 yellows?
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