Arsenal and Status Quo: the top four is most certainly on

By Tony Attwood

And so on one of  the more bizarre days of recent years (for me if no one else) I watched Arsenal have their expected victory against a team playing in the way the pundits used to call “dogged” Arsenal did as expected and won.

Even the media seemed to find it so as the Observer today says, “everything seems to be going Arsenal’s way. This was another exceptional day for their top-four prospects and, while they had enjoyed the luxury of watching rivals stumble in recent weeks, here they asserted those credentials all by themselves.”

Which is, I suppose, one way of putting it if you are trying to describe form.   They do also mention the “opening weekend of the season, when Arsenal were pummelled by the same opponents and appeared a hopeless case”, which of course is utterly misleading and nonsensical, for the majority of Arsenal’s XI yesterday didn’t make it to that opening day of the season, and that team is perhaps best described as “Arsenal’s reserves plus four.”

So there is talk of “one-way traffic” and the fun of enjoying “West Ham drop points against Newcastle at lunchtime” and of Arsenal “barely letting up from the first whistle,” not to mention “A completely dominant first”

Of course the justification of past nonsense has to be thrown in with talk of  “Arsenal’s lack of depth” which apparently “is little secret” but media in general simply cannot let go.  But at least they admit “It was Smith Rowe’s 10th goal of the season.”  (Saka is on eight).  And this from a guy who hardly ever gets a full game.

But anyway it is in the end, all our fault, for “Sections of the crowd felt Thomas Partey had delayed his pass left to Saka, who had run 70 yards to receive it, for too long…”   Oh for goodness sake.

If you want reality it is that all of the media have felt that Arsenal were a hopeless case because they can’t understand the amazing changes that the manager have wrought on this team at this time.

Premier League Form (Last 6 matches)
Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 6 5 1 0 14 4 10 16
2 Arsenal 6 4 1 1 13 4 9 13
3 Manchester City 6 4 1 1 12 5 7 13
4 Wolverhampton W 6 4 1 1 8 3 5 13
5 Manchester Utd 6 3 3 0 10 5 5 12
6 Newcastle United 6 3 3 0 8 4 4 12
7 Southampton 6 3 2 1 12 8 4 11
8 Chelsea 6 2 3 1 7 5 2 9
9 Tottenham Hots 6 3 0 3 9 11 -2 9
10 West Ham United 6 2 2 2 8 7 1 8

16 Replies to “Arsenal and Status Quo: the top four is most certainly on”

  1. Unfortunately I do not share this top 4 optimism. The game I saw yesterday had us struggling to score against generous opponents who still managed to expose our defence and mf in the last 10 minutes. Then came the Spuds win at City, a game that really seemed an expected joyous helping hand defeat. Our 2 games in hand let us remember are away at Spuds and Chelsea, an anticipated nul point haul.

  2. Sp##s have just won their first game in weeks after MC played in Portugal and Chelsea are not running away with games , it doesn’t matter who we play we are in with a chance , it’s in our hands .
    Other teams as well as us are going to have strange results it’s happened all season

  3. “opening weekend of the season, when Arsenal were pummeled by the same opponents and appeared a hopeless case”

    The analysis of that opening game was then and still is ridiculous. I also heard yesterday that as well as being ‘pummeled’ we were also ‘bullied’ .

    How the following statistics constitute either I do not know:


    Brentford 35%
    Arsenal 65%


    Brentford 8
    Arsenal 22


    Brentford 3
    Arsenal 4


    Brenford 2
    Arsenal 5


    Brentford 12
    Arsenal 8

    The only pummeling we took was in the fouling department !

    But okay then, under the notion that any team that scores 2 goals against a team that scores 0 deserves to win, then Brentford deserved to win. Fine. But if that is the case then there’s no point in ever analyzing a match. The team that scores the most deserves to win. End of. But that isn’t what happens is it ? People look at the stats. The above stats. And from them a game is analysed. Yes they will be augmented by opinion, but opinion is just that, opinion, it’s the stats that tell you what happened during the game. They are a FACT. Who dominated the ball, the shots, the territory, and so on. From those stats, and from what I saw, ‘pummeled’ and ‘Bullied’ are 2 words that simply do not describe what happened in that match, in any way shape or form.

    We lost because Brentford played pretty well, battled extremely hard, and took 2 of their chances.

    We lost because we played very well, but failed to take one of our many chances. I believe we hit the woodwork 3 times.

    In any reasoned ‘analysis’ we played well, were the better team, but squandered chance after chance. That takes nothing away from Brentfords ‘battling’ win. As I said at the time. Good luck to them. But as I said at the outset, how that game was and is appraised is ridiculous.

    And just for some context.

    Chelsea won their PL match at Brentford 0 – 1 with these statistics.


    17 shots
    7 on target


    5 shots
    1 on target.

    Basically Chelsea WERE ‘pummeled’. They had ONE shot on target.

    But go and read the conflicting reports to see how everyone is judged differently to Arsenal.

    No criticism of Chelsea at all, which as I said is fine, if all every game is judged on is the result, but again, we all know that simply isn’t the case. And even if it was, go and see how differently Brentfords performance is analysed compared to ours. According to the BBC their 17 shots warranted the following sympathetic take on matters:

    “Brentford have impressed fans and pundits alike since winning promotion to the Premier League and came away from this match with lots of credit despite the defeat”.

    Strangely our 22 shots constituted us getting ‘pummeled’ and worth absolutely no credit what so ever.

    This was the BBC’s take on our performance:

    “Yes, he was missing strikers Lacazette and Aubameyang, while Saka only started on the bench, but the lack of resolve, the lack of a coherent plan and lack of threat when they needed to fight their way back into contention was alarming”

    How does a team with no ‘resolve’, no ‘plan’, no ‘threat’ have 2/3rds of the play and create 22 efforts on goal? Our finishing wasn’t good enough. That’s what lost us the match.

    I know I’ve trundled on a bit but I am sick and tired of the ridiculous;y distorted way we are portrayed in the media, time and time again, and I think now, as I did at the time, that the reporting of that opening match was a perfect example of such distortion.

  4. silentstan

    So you put us out of the running on the basis of what ?

    “The game I saw yesterday had us struggling to score against generous opponents who still managed to expose our defence and mf in the last 10 minutes”

    And that’s it ?

    What on earth do you make of Chelseas performance against the same opponents when they conceded 17 shots, 7 on target, managing just on target themselves.

    That looks very much to me as if Chelsea ‘struggled to score’ and had their defense ‘exposed’ a damn sight more than we did.

    Does that put Chelsea out of the running as well then ?

    Or how about Spurs at home to Brentford?

    Spurs only managed 11 shots, 6 OT compared to our 24 with 8 on target.

    Does that constitute Spurs ‘struggling’ to score ?

    Brentford managed the exact same attacking stats, 6 for 2, against Spurs as they did against us.

    Does that constitute Spurs being ‘exposed’?

    Does that put Spurs out of the running as well ?

    As I said in my previous post, it’s bad enough when the media turn everything we do into a negative, let alone our own fans.

  5. @ Nitram 1.31 comment
    That’s what I was saying in my earlier comment without the stats .
    Regarding the BBC report on our game the BBC reporter suggested that Brentford were disappointed with our 2nd goal because they thought Laca committed a foul in the build up , sorry it wasn’t Brentford who were disappointed it was the BBC reporter IMO who is supposed to be neutral .

  6. I think next time silentstan you should adhere to your name. Absolute tosh.
    We completely dominated the game and save for another inept referee and Var performance would have won by five or six.
    Best you watch the game a little closer next time.

  7. And here again, just a small thing but it displays a mentality.

    When Gary Neville was asked if Man Utd had answered a few questions today (you can only assume questions regarding their chances of finishing in the top 4) his response was:

    “They’ll be disappointed with that 1st 10 minutes in the second half but overall they can be really happy. Tottenham winning last night put a little more pressure on”

    Two things.

    Why mention Spurs winning putting a bit more pressure on and not mention Arsenal winning ? Who either of us beat is irrelevant, it’s the points and relative positions we are in that’s key, and we are 3 points ahead of Spurs and just one point behind Man Utd, with 2 games in hand. Didn’t our win AND hasn’t our run of form put ‘a bit more pressure on’ at all then ?

    I know it’s just a small thing but it’s that notion of avoiding mentioning Arsenal ‘in a good light’ or ‘as a danger’ if at all possible.

    And if as suggested above by silentstan our chances were undermined yesterday by conceding 6 chances, heaven help United who managed to concede 16 chances today against what I would class as very generous opponents, who by the way we managed 6 more shots against than United. 3 more on target than United and let in 1 less.

    Still, lets pretend we don’t even exist, and even if we do we haven’t got a chance, just ask stan.

  8. @Nitram
    “Them” not recognising our threat for me is a plus… Hopefully by the time they do we have wrapped up 3rd position…
    Let them continue. I watched the Brentford game after it had been played and I can say we completely dominated them especially in the first half. They couldn’t handle our one-touch passing. We may have taken our foot off the gas after our second goal, but we were never going to draw let alone lose with the way we aged.

  9. In the cause of fairness, seeing as Arsenal were fined recently for a similar but far less severe infringement, I would expect both Leeds and Man U to be hauled before the FA on a ‘Failing to control your players’ charge for the mass pushing and shoving brawl near the end of the match today. Even a couple of non playing staff on the pitch including the Man U manager trying to defuse a potentially worse situation. But I am not holding my breath and I expect no further action will be deemed necessary.
    Also since the Martinelli second yellow card in the Wolves match I have seen two similar challenges, both by West Ham players, Rice and Forlan I think, neither of which were even given as fouls, never mind yellow cards. Even the commentator expressed surprise they were not blown as fouls.
    Just about every game I watch involving other teams reveals more and more how we are refereed much more harshly than other teams.
    Like Nitram I am sick and tired of it as well as the biased, useless media coverage we get.
    When Arteta has his meeting with PGMOL is it possible it could actually make matters worse. I could imagine Riley telling his troops to be even tougher on us for kicking up a fuss.

  10. morale

    Possibly ?

    mick shelly

    During that fracas at Ellend road at one point Neville said “I think the referee should just leave it and let them get on with it. Given the nature of the match they’ve done well to keep it as calm as they have’. That is not verbatim but as near as damn it.

    As you say mick, one rule for one, one rule for another. One media tolerance for one, one media outrage for the other.

    As for making it worse, I couldn’t agree more. The PGMO/Refs must of heard the mutterings of discontent from Arteta already and look at yesterday.

    It was like they were saying ‘Go on then, we dare you. We haven’t even started’ !

  11. Another example of different standards.

    McTominay carried out a running body-check and headbutt against a Leeds player, leaving him bleeding and concussed. Not even a hint of a yellow,never mind red, card from referee or VAR or commentary.

    Even if not deliberate (I believe it was) there is no doubt that it was both reckless and dangerous.

    Man United are cheats, as are all the officials who are complicit in their disgraceful behaviour.

  12. Watching Match of the Day whilst listening to the commentator trying to justify the violence of McTominay – a serial offender if nothing else.

  13. During the discussion of the updated league table on MotD, Man Utd., West Ham and Wolves were all given mentions. Arsenal were avoided.

  14. It’s one game at a time all the way through to the end. The youngest team in the premiership playing with resilience and flair and fire. All those people on the sidelines are people on the sidelines.

    Recall a guy I worked with at Tuborg who used to go from Copenhagen to Amsterdam every second week to see Cruyff’s Ajax. We talked about the beauty of the game. You didn’t waste moments of your life buying narratives.

    Good to see Jack going to Arhus. There’s some good football fans there. Got to thank him for a hell of a lot of good memories. An upright man.

  15. Picked up The Mail on the train today. Wish I hadn’t. Talking $#!? as usual.

    Their report on the match starts:

    Accusations questioning their desire to finish in the top four cannot be aimed at Arsenal right now.

    No they can’t, but the bigger question is when could they?

    As has been pointed out on untold many times our form over the last 10 games is 2nd best in the league and our form over more than a year now has been top 4, so when and who was saying that. Oh yes of course it was The Mail, among many others the last time we were reckless enough to drop a point. And it will be said again the next time we have the temerity to drop a point.

    The next line is:

    As their rivals faltered….

    So nothing to do with our great form then?

    Even the sub heading was a dig about Xhaka ‘rejecting’ the armband apparently.

    They just can’t help themselves can they.

    Still at least I’ve got something to wipe my arse with.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *