A team who have blips, or just a team with two key players missing?

By Tony Attwood

This has been a season of blips, and each blip has been seized upon by the media as a total disaster, and quite possibly the end of civilisation.  Not to mention the time for a major overhaul of the team.

Except that is what we had with the defence last summer.  It seems a bit early to do it all again.

But we had these discussions after the opening three league games, and then again with the defeats to Liverpool, Manchester United and Everton in November / December in which we conceded nine and scored three.   Those three successive away defeats were seen as a sign of Arsenal’s weakness, and we sank to seventh, four points behind the highly-tipped West Ham.  Highly tipped to be in the Champions League next season that was.  (And no games in hand at that point either – they are now three points behind Arsenal having played two games more).

Then we had another blip – our third – at the start of January with defeats to Manchester City and Liverpool (that in the league cup) Nottingham Forest (FA Cup) and a goalless draw with Burnley.  We scored one goal in five games.

Now it looks like we are in another one and they do look like they are coming a bit too “thick and fast” to use the media’s favourite phrase.

Date Match Res Score Competition
16 Mar 2022 Arsenal v Liverpool L 0-2 Premier League
19 Mar 2022 Aston Villa v Arsenal W 0-1 Premier League
4 Apr 2022 Crystal Palace v Arsenal L 3-0 Premier League

So probably the best way forward is not to make too much fuss out of this, but instead to look to the broader context.  If Arsenal can stop this blip from becoming more than a slipup then we are still in a strong position.  If it goes on we could be in trouble.

Although not as much trouble as we appeared to be when bottom of the league after the first three games.

The essence of the problem probably lies with the age of the players – the youngsters don’t have enough experience to grab a game that is slipping away and turn it around.   But such players are hard to find and everyone is after them.  It is generally not a case of going out and plucking one off the shelf.  And meanwhile younger players can get injured quite often.

And certainly, the most obvious conclusion, when this result is added to the season as a whole, is that away from home we are not as good as we would like to be.   We have been improving but away we are still worse than Manchester United and Tottenham, and that makes life tough.

So what we need to do is to make sure this run of two defeats in three games now comes to an end, and return to the positive runs we have had previously.  Six wins and two draws in a league run from mid-September to early November.   Four straight league wins in December in which we scored 14 goals.  Five straight league wins in February and early March…

It is clear where the fault lines are that stop Arsenal just bursting through into the top four non-stop… we are having these good runs and then instead of having the occasional one-off bad result (which almost every team has) we are getting a run of poor results.

The reason however is not clear. At least not to me.  But if I had to put money on it I’d say the most likely explanation seems to be the age of the team (remembering as we noted before that this is the youngest team in the Premier League), and their lack of experience in terms of dealing with bad games.

Although the only differences between the lineup in last night’s game and that against Aston Villa was the change in goalkeeper (Ramsdale instead of Leno), and Nuno Tavares instead of Kieran Tierney.  Otherwise, the teams were the same.   

So we can blame Tavares – but he is a young player who came from Benfica last summer, where he had only played 25 games.  But then if we had bought older players they would be demanding to be first choice every week, rather than waiting for a chance to slot in because of an injury.

Tavares had a hard time of it against Nottingham Forest and did so here again, and probably just needs more time to mature and adjust.   Our next player for the position is Mazeed Ogungbo who has been playing there for the under 23s but it would seem to be too early for him.  The other option would have been Cedric at left-back and Ben White at right-back.  Or  maybe we should have kept hold of Holding.  And certainly with neither Tierney nor Takehiro Tomiyasu we don’t look so good.

But it is easy to be wise after the event.  We still have a game in hand over Tottenham and a win in that match would take us three points clear of them.  It’s still not all over, although it feels very disappointing.



14 Replies to “A team who have blips, or just a team with two key players missing?”

  1. I think many teams are going to cede possession and hit on the break.
    There are no easy games in the epl.
    CP were quick on the attack unlike Arsenal who slowed down and looked around
    Crucial seconds are lost and the defenders come back in nos to stifle the gunners.
    One defeat dosesnt mean all is lost but the gunners have less room for error

  2. Essentially Arsenal’s squad is relatively weak. Maybe better than West Ham’s (although you’ve no one in Declan Rice’s class) but well short of Spurs and United in terms of depth and quality. That was shown against Palace. But it didn’t matter as long as Arsenal were consistent and Spurs and United were throwing points away. But now Conte seems to have finally got Spurs playing properly and injuries are starting to tell at Arsenal. Momentum may have turned against you at the wrong time.

  3. i understand football match is about winning and losing except if you are Crystal Palace who play for a draw every game(not my word)but for Arsenal failed to score a single goal even after Palace allowing Arsenal majority of possession in the 2 half is embarrassing. for Arsenal to be humiliate like this is unacceptable and to blame it all on Nuno is unfair

  4. So despite a particularly disappointing performance last night it was still only one point dropped as far as my predictions go for the seasons run in. Since I’ve been doing this results have gone by and large as I predicted, and where they haven’t teams have dropped points. Non are ahead of schedule and only one, Spurs are still on the expected return.

    Spurs haven’t dropped a point

    West Ham have dropped 1 pt.

    Arsenal have dropped 1 pt.

    Man Utd have dropped 2 pts.

    What all this means is, that despite Spurs ‘drubbing’ of Newcastle, making them the best team in Europe, and Arsenals ‘drubbing’ by Crystal Palace, making us the worst team in Europe, in reality very little has changed. Of course depending on how the lads react there could be a psychological effect but we have to hope not.

    Because of the fact my points return expectation depends on where the opponent currently sits in the table, the movement up and down of teams can actually have quite an effect on the predicted points return, and because of this, as you will see we are still predicted to finish on the same points as Spurs. Both of our expected points return has actually increased due to some of our opponents dropping down the table.

    It is going to the wire and as such goal difference could be crucial, something that this weekend past has gone against us.

    This how I predict the points need to be gained:


    Against the 1st and 2nd placed teams = 0 per match
    Against the 3rd and 4th placed teams = 1 per match
    Against the rest = 3 per match


    Against the top 4 placed teams = 0 Per match
    Against the top 10 placed teams = 1 per match
    Against the rest = 3 per match

    As a result of that system this is how I see the run in unfolding:

    It consists of H or A – Team and Current League position – Expected points return against them.


    H Brighton 13th = 3 pts
    A South’ton 12th = 3 pt
    A Chelsea 3rd = 0 pts
    H Man Utd 7th = 3 pts
    A West Ham 6th = 1 pt
    H Leeds 16th = 3 pts
    A Tottenham 4th = 0 pts
    A Newcastle 15th = 3 pts
    H Everton 17th = 3 pts

    Total = 54 pts 19 pts = 73 POINTS


    A A.Villa 11th = 3 pt
    H Brighton 13th = 3 pts
    A Brentford 14th = 3 pts
    H Leicester 10th = 1 pts
    A Liverpool 2nd = 0 pts
    H Arsenal 5th = 3 pts
    H Burnley 19th = 3 pts
    A Norwich 20th = 3 pts

    Total = 54 pts + 19 pts = 73 POINTS


    A Everton 17th = 3 pts
    H Norwich 20th = 3 pts
    A Liverpool 2nd = 0 pts
    A Arsenal 5th = 1 pts
    H Brentford 14th = 3pts
    A Brighton 13th = 3 pts
    H Chelsea 3rd = 1 pt
    A C.Palace 9th = 1 pts

    Total = 51 pts + 15 pts = 66 POINTS


    A Brentford 14th = 3 pts
    H Burnley 19th = 3 pts
    A Chelsea 3rd = 0 pts
    H Arsenal 5th = 3 pt
    A Norwich 20th = 3 pts
    H Man City 1st = 0 pts
    A Brighton 13th = 3 pts

    Total = 51 pts + 15 pts = 66 POINTS

    So my final points prediction is:

    Arsenal 73 Points
    Tottenham 73 Points
    Man Utd 66 Points
    West Ham 66 Points

  5. Slight disparity on the West ham predictions .
    I would suggest the at all going well , not withstanding the Tierney and Partey injury situation , 5th is the most realistic position.
    Which in itself may not be the worst outcome as I don’t believe that we are champions league standard yet.

  6. Potter.

    Thanks for pointing that out. I knew there was a couple of tiny anomalies in the ‘system’ but as a broad indicator of what we, or any team for that matter, needs to attain for a top 4 finish it has proved quite reliable over the years.

    Personally I also think 5th is where we will finish.

    For me the loss of our two 1st choice fullbacks is the key. If they make a miraculous recovery I think we could still scrape 4th, alas it doesn’t sound good.

  7. @ jod

    essentially a lot of our “supporters” are relatively weak….as soon as we don’t win a game they moan. I sit near some who I know would moan if we won the league with 37 wins and one draw. They’d moan about the draw.

    Anybody that started following the club because of Wenger now doesn’t accept being one of the best teams in the UK is acceptable because their egos were only ever massaged by winning things. It’s quite pathetic.

    Watching Arsenal coming close to relegation was tough but supporters supported. The clue is in the name.

  8. Nitram,

    What if Chelski continues to drop points? We could have a situation where both Arsenal & Spurs are in the top 4!

    At this stage, Chelski are playing Everton style football.

  9. Nitram,

    You should probably check the Tottenham vs. Leicester match. I would expect Spurs to take all 3 points from that game.

  10. seismic

    You are correct. My mistake.

    That probably means getting something at their place will be crucial rather than a bonus.

    Thanks for that.

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