By Tony Attwood
As the media continue with the view that signings are good and no signings are bad (which might seem reasonable if one doesn’t look at the impact the signings of last summer had) it is perhaps time to consider Arsenal’s season to date in a slightly different manner.
And here, the point is that we used to have games of two halves. Then last season we had a game of one third (the first third wherein we ended up 15th, and the last two thirds in which we were second).
Now we have a season of five fiths – and that is only so far. And really this is doing us no favours at all. Here’s a quick rundown.
Part 1: Disaster but illness and new squad explain
This part is easy to remember because the media made such an enormous fuss. It consisted of three defeats in the league and one simple win in the league cup which for the media in its glee, didn’t count.
|13 Aug 2021||Brentford v Arsenal||L||2-0||Premier League|
|22 Aug 2021||Arsenal v Chelsea||L||0-2||Premier League|
|25 Aug 2021||West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal||W||0-6||League Cup|
|28 Aug 2021||Manchester City v Arsenal||L||5-0||Premier League|
That made all the headlines and there was talk of Arteta being thrown out. Little was made of the fact of the number of injuries that we had and indeed the number of covid cases. TalkSport in particular was full of glee and it was a happy time for the media indeed who predicted the manager’s demise and did not in any way whatsoever predict…
Part 2: the unbeaten run
This run consisted of eight wins and two draws…
|11 Sep 2021||Arsenal v Norwich City||W||1-0||Premier League|
|18 Sep 2021||Burnley v Arsenal||W||0-1||Premier League|
|22 Sep 2021||Arsenal v AFC Wimbledon||W||3-0||League Cup|
|26 Sep 2021||Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur||W||3-1||Premier League|
|2 Oct 2021||Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal||D||0-0||Premier League|
|18 Oct 2021||Arsenal v Crystal Palace||D||2-2||Premier League|
|22 Oct 2021||Arsenal v Aston Villa||W||3-1||Premier League|
|26 Oct 2021||Arsenal v Leeds United||W||2-0||League Cup|
|30 Oct 2021||Leicester City v Arsenal||W||0-2||Premier League|
|7 Nov 2021||Arsenal v Watford||W||1-0||Premier League|
No one mentioned it other than to note that we didn’t play any big opposition (unless of course you count Tottenham a club which even the media seemed to have given up on).
Part 3: The blip
Three defeats and just one win followed the autumn run of wins…
|20 Nov 2021||Liverpool v Arsenal||L||4-0||Premier League|
|27 Nov 2021||Arsenal v Newcastle United||W||2-0||Premier League|
|2 Dec 2021||Manchester United v Arsenal||L||3-2||Premier League|
|6 Dec 2021||Everton v Arsenal||L||2-1||Premier League|
Part 4: The winning run
Everyone watching the previous four games knew that we had to get out of that run of results as fast as possible and we did that in style scoring 19 goals in the next five games in which we had five straight wins.
|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|
Part 5: the sad new year
After the winning run, three defeats two draws was indeed a sad return to old ways making the start of the new year look like the start of the whole season…
|1 Jan 2022||Arsenal v Manchester City||L||1-2||Premier League|
|9 Jan 2022||Nottingham Forest v Arsenal||L||1-0||FA Cup|
|13 Jan 2022||Liverpool v Arsenal||D||0-0||League Cup|
|20 Jan 2022||Arsenal v Liverpool||L||0-2||League Cup|
|23 Jan 2022||Arsenal v Burnley||D||0-0||Premier League|
The obvious conclusion is that we can’t win against the teams at the top, and when we don’t, we are liable to carry over the resultant defeat into matches against lower teams.
Indeed our results against the other members of the traditional big six in league and cup show us six defeats, with just the one win at home to Tottenham. We have conceded 19 and scored six.
Can we find an excuse for this? Of course, we can say it is a young team and our defence was completely reformed this season, but we might have hoped that they could have settled down a bit more by now. The “sad new year” programme suggests not.
Now we have a further problem in that we have, in terms of experienced players, a smaller squad. Still, perhaps there is a plan within the plan which we haven’t seen. That is certainly possible since it took Untold Arsenal quite a bit of time to work out what was going on last season with the tactical change, and even now seemingly no one except us refers either to that drop in yellow cards or the transformation in results after Christmas.
Maybe for this season we just need some more analysis to give us a clue.
- What Arsenal were up to becomes clear, and as ever the media were wrong
- It’s all over and there wasn’t any shouting
- Arsenal v Tottenham update, team news and appalling, flagrant media bias
- Arsenal have benefitted by the world cup break: allegedly.
- Arsenal and Tottenham: which has had the easier ride so far this season?
- Arsenal v Tottenham: not exactly a battle of equals.
- Death by 300,000 passes: how the Arsenal transformation started 2 seasons ago.