By Bulldog Drummond
- Liverpool v Tottenham, 7 May: An Arsenal preview
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This season Arsenal have the third highest number of wins of any club in the league. Only Manchester City and Liverpool have won more games, which says an awful lot about Arsenal.
The problem is that most of the games we didn’t win we have lost – we have in fact the lowest number of draws of any club in the league. Just three. Compare that with seven clubs who count their draws in double figures!
In terms of goals scored and goals conceded we are the sixth highest for goals scored and the sixth lowest for goals conceded in the league. And not surprisingly therefore in terms of goal difference we are sixth in the league.
Now, these figures give us clues as to what the manager will try and do next season to improve our league position, and I suspect that a key feature will be that this season Arsenal have lost five games by a single goal. Here are the games lost by one goal…
|2 Dec 2021||Manchester United v Arsenal||L||3-2|
|6 Dec 2021||Everton v Arsenal||L||2-1|
|1 Jan 2022||Arsenal v Manchester City||L||1-2|
|9 Apr 2022||Arsenal v Brighton and Hove Albion||L||1-2|
|16 Apr 2022||Southampton v Arsenal||L||1-0|
What is interesting about that list is that these games come against teams from across the whole spectrum of the League table.
Now we can add in the drawn games that could have been won.
|2 Oct 2021||Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal||D||0-0|
|18 Oct 2021||Arsenal v Crystal Palace||D||2-2|
|23 Jan 2022||Arsenal v Burnley||D||0-0|
Now we are three points and a lot of goals behind Chelsea – so let us say four points – four more points gained through the season would have had Arsenal in third. Looking at the tables above, two of those one-goal defeats which had been turned into draws, and any one of those draws becoming a victory, would have given us the four points needed for third place.
Of course, some will immediately be critical, saying that aiming for third is a lack of ambition, but anyone who has worked in a successful business will know that the safest way to expand or develop the business is through clear, attainable projects, rather than going around saying “we are going to be the best because I say so”.
Finally, let’s have a quick look at the progress being made compared with recent seasons…
So we are now back to the position we were in, in 2015/16 under Arsene Wenger. This was the last season in which we made the top four – in fact in 2015/16 we finished runners up.
However, although our points total is the same as then our goal difference is 11 goals worse than it was in the 2015/16 season under Wenger. But this is only the second time since Mr Wenger left that we have made the 63 point mark by this stage of the season.
In 2015/16 we were unbeaten in our last ten league games
|5 Mar 2016||Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal||D||2-2|
|19 Mar 2016||Everton v Arsenal||W||0-2|
|2 Apr 2016||Arsenal v Watford||W||4-0|
|9 Apr 2016||West Ham United v Arsenal||D||3-3|
|17 Apr 2016||Arsenal v Crystal Palace||D||1-1|
|21 Apr 2016||Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion||W||2-0|
|24 Apr 2016||Sunderland v Arsenal||D||0-0|
|30 Apr 2016||Arsenal v Norwich City||W||1-0|
|8 May 2016||Manchester City v Arsenal||D||2-2|
|15 May 2016||Arsenal v Aston Villa||W||4-0|
So in the last four games it was two draws and two victories – enough to take us to second. This time two draws and two victories might be enough to give us fourth or even third… but three victories for Tottenham would see them overtake us.
I’d prefer to see three victories for us. Just to be on the safe side.
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