By Bulldog Drummond
Previously we looked at the issue of tackles, fouls and yellow cards by each team in this forthcoming match, and how many injuries each are facing.
So what about recent results?
How you want to interpret Arsenal’s form of late depends on whether you want to take the standard sort of view of just looking at the last half dozen or so league games, or whether you want to dig into cup matches as well – or indeed matches over a longer run.
Taking the cup and league games we find the last five has been a rather dismal run, the highlight of which was holding Liverpool to a draw at their place. This was rather a positive performance because Liverpool remain unbeaten at home in the league this season. But of course we couldn’t follow up on it in the return game what with injuries, Africa Cup of Nations call ups and cards.
So the “all match” review since January 1 reads played five, won nil, drawn two, lost three. Goals for one, goals against five.
But of course we have seen this twice before….
|Bad run 1|
|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|
|Bad run 2|
|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|
|Bad run 3|
|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|
Of course we can’t go on having runs like this, even if this last run has involved conceding far fewer goals than each of the first two runs.
And indeed it was this third bad run that made the media get very excited about Arsenal supposedly signing another striker, only to find egg on their faces when none of their predictions came to pass.
Inevitably, the English media went bonkers, blaming Arsenal for their false predictions, and it was only the non-English media that managed to retain a sense of balance (not to mention journalistic integrity). Forbes for example reported, “Given some of the transfer business conducted by a number of their Premier League rivals, it would be understandable if Arsenal fans felt somewhat underwhelmed by what unfolded for the Gunners in January. However, the deals done last month will help Mikel Arteta’s team take the next step in their development.”
And of course the main point is that we did successfully come out of the previous two bad runs and not just with the odd win, but a successful set of results. The November/December run was followed by five successive wins, one in the league cup the rest in the league, in which we scored 19 goals. The August dip was followed by a ten match unbeaten run (eight in the league). And even Sky gave us a decent report (citing a “brilliant defensive display” in relation to the draw at Anfield.
It is interesting to note that after the first bad run we had a two week break before the next game. It was less after the second bad run (just seven days) but this time we’ve had 13 days which hopefully will be enough to give us the recovery we need.
But the opening of the season was dominated in the media by reports of Arsenal’s three league defeats (no one mentioned the League Cup then – they only notice if Arsenal lose or have a player sent off). Yet Wolverhampton had a similar run to Arsenal at the start, losing their first three league games and winning one in the Cup.
We’ll look at this next time.
Meanwhile we have some rather jolly videos of Arsenal v Wolverhampton games on the Arsenal History Society website.