Without those opening 3 defeats, Arsenal would be fine. AFC v Everton preview

By Tony Attwood

The question, as we approach the final game, is this: are Arsenal making progress?   And the answer is yes.  Not at first, but now, yes.   We have obviously done better this season than in the last two seasons under Mike Arteta, and are on a level once again with 2019 – Unai Emery’s one complete season.  So better than 2018, but nowhere near as good as the Wengerian seasons of 2017, 2015 and 2014.  We are a bit behind 2013 too…

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
5 Arsenal 2022 37 21 3 13 56 47 9 66
9 Arsenal 2021 37 17 7 13 53 39 14 58
10 Arsenal 2020 37 13 14 10 53 46 7 53
5 Arsenal 2019 37 20 7 10 70 50 20 67
6 Arsenal 2018 37 18 6 13 73 51 22 60
5 Arsenal 2017 37 22 6 9 74 43 31 72
3 Arsenal 2016 37 19 11 7 61 36 25 68
3 Arsenal 2015 37 21 9 7 67 35 32 72
4 Arsenal 2014 37 23 7 7 66 41 25 76
4 Arsenal 2013 37 20 10 7 71 37 34 70

So some progress but it seems more is needed.  Although we have won the most games of any season since 2014.   But then we have lost the most games of any of the last ten seasons.   We have scored slightly more than the last two seasons, but are still way behind 2013 to 2019 in goal scoring.  Only twice in the last ten years have we had a worse defence, and that after spending £150m or so on them.

Thus if this season proves the springboard for fourth place, a better attack and a better defence the upheavals of the three different managers might ultimately be seen to have been worth it.   But otherwise… no, the forcing out of Mr Wenger before he had a chance to arrange an organised and well-planned succession would still look like a dreadful mistake.

As for the final game tomorrow against Everton, well yes they are in a much worse state….

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
5 Arsenal 37 21 3 13 56 47 9 66
16 Everton 37 11 6 20 42 61 -19 39

So overall they have scored 14 fewer goals and conceded 14 more.  But they are safe from relegation and we can’t make the top four.

But let us also compare the home and away situation, as we have through the season

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
4 Arsenal home 18 12 2 4 30 16 14 38
19 Everton away 18 2 4 12 15 36 -21 10

This way we can see that Arsenal have scored 15 more goals and conceded 20 fewer.  On this basis it should not cause us too much trouble.

The only reason to think otherwise would be the joy they have found is actually escaping relegation, and the sadness Arsenal have found in letting Tottenham slip into the “not a trophy” position.

But it is when we start looking at the form table that things look a little less obvious than those season-long charts above look.

Across the last five home games for Arsenal and five away games for Everton Arsenal are still ahead but really the difference is not as much as we would like.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
9 Arsenal home 5 3 0 2 8 6 +2 9
11 Everton away 5 1 1 3 5 8 -3 4

But while at it we should also return to a theme we have looked at a number of times this season – what the league table would look like if those first three games, in which we had so many players missing among the turmoil of new recruits and new tactics all being introduced, were omitted.

So here we are – the league table across the last 34 games of the season, up to today…

Pos Team P W D L F A W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 34 12 2 2 45 13 14 4 0 41 10 63 84
2 Liverpool 34 13 3 0 43 7 12 4 2 42 17 61 82
3 Arsenal 34 12 2 3 30 14 9 1 7 26 24 18 66
4 Chelsea 34 7 6 3 31 20 11 4 3 37 11 37 64
5 Tottenham Hotspur 34 11 1 5 36 19 7 4 6 25 21 21 59
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers 34 7 3 7 20 23 8 3 6 17 14 0 51
7 Manchester United 34 9 5 4 27 21 5 4 7 23 33 -4 51
8 West Ham United 34 8 4 5 27 23 6 3 8 22 20 6 49
9 Leicester City 34 8 4 5 29 22 4 5 8 26 31 2 45
10 Newcastle United 34 8 5 4 22 21 4 4 9 16 32 -15 45
11 Crystal Palace 34 6 7 4 26 17 4 7 6 21 23 7 44
12 Brighton and Hove Albion 34 3 7 6 14 20 6 8 4 21 20 -5 42
13 Aston Villa 34 5 4 8 26 28 7 1 9 19 19 -2 41
14 Brentford 34 6 3 8 19 19 6 2 9 25 34 -9 41
15 Southampton 34 6 6 6 22 23 3 5 8 16 34 -19 38
16 Burnley 34 5 6 6 16 21 2 7 8 15 25 -15 34
17 Leeds United 34 4 5 9 17 36 4 4 8 19 34 -34 33
18 Everton 34 7 2 8 21 22 2 3 12 13 34 -22 32
19 Norwich City 34 3 3 10 11 33 2 4 12 11 36 -47 22
20 Watford 34 1 2 15 14 44 4 3 9 16 26 -40 20

Without those opening three defeats we would have been heading for third and certain of at worst fourth.   Everton however would have been looking far more nervous than they will tomorrow.

The big worry of course is that Arsenal might have another summer of upheaval.  That of course is what the media is telling Arsenal to have – as revealed in 78 players now tipped to join Arsenal this summer – the full list

But really, with stability, and without another covid and injury crisis at the start of the season, we were ok this season.   That needs to be our prime goal.  A stable, secure and organised start to the season.

More anon.

19 Replies to “Without those opening 3 defeats, Arsenal would be fine. AFC v Everton preview”

  1. If Man Utd hadn’t lost 11 they’d probably have won the league as well 🤔

  2. 5th is fine with me indeed
    A Europa League victorious run is all this young team needs to mature, and this has become the only European competition making sense anyway
    A year from now, the Champions’ League quarter-finals will be played, and if I write now that Bayern, City, Liverpool, Real, Barcelona, Milan, Juve and PSG will be the 8 teams facing one another, there’s more than an outside chance that I might be right; between now and then, all the excitement about this farce will be nothing but “claque”
    As for us, I’ve gotten used to our new headcoach, in hindsight I think it’s been really brave for a big club like Arsenal to have stuck with a rookie whose talent you believe in, and not go on a fool’s errand for whatever miracle man, like Utd has done so far (signing ten Hag, could prove a masterstroke, though)
    The only thing that’s still puzzling me (understatement for “not convincing me at all”) is the transfer policy. We had no European games this season, were out of all cups by January, so I can’t help but think that, under those circumstances, the following 100% Wengerean team would not have finished below 5th:
    Bellerin-Holding-Mavropanos-MNiles (Kolasinac)
    Elneny (Willock)-Xhaka
    Saka-SmithRowe-Aubameyang (Nelson)
    Lacazette (Nketiah)
    With that in mind, I’d rather not think too much about the money we’ve spent in four years to end up with not a single actual “game-changer” brought in; I can’t say I’m in awe of what’s been done on that front. I’m not radically opposed to buying of course, but the thing is when you pay big money for a dozen good players, none’s left when comes the time to bid for the few outstanding ones, the ones whose signing you’re in competition with all the Big Boys for … let’s say Tchouameni? Nkunku? (I’m not obsessed with buying French players, but they’re the ones I know best)
    I also wish (the two points are linked, of course) MA trusted our Hale End boys as much as the board has been trusting him …
    Anyway, what do I know? The “buybuybuy – spendspendspend” frenzy is already raging, with very funny rumors too, like us buying Gabriel Jesus, which’d basically mean that, after a “let’s solve Chelsea end of contract problems period”, we’d now be literally gifting Haaland to the oilers, while axing the Arsenal career of 3 outstanding prospects (Eddie, Balogun, Biereth); how’s that for crazy?
    Now let’s get this season over with, with an exciting, victorious game, on a gorgeous London sunny afternoon

  3. The opening 3 defeats are not really the issue. Defeats to City and Chelsea are not unexpected. However the Brighton Palace Southampton games were a debacle and inexcusable

  4. This club has made huge progress this year, basically, they have recently just run out of steam, with a thin squad and injuries to key players. Very few predicted 4th or 5th, so they are punching above their weight for anywho said we would finish 6th, 8th, 10th or get relegated! Think Neville and Carragher sit somewhere in there.
    The club are being reformed top to bottom, brave decisions have been made, There is a culture shift going on, that is never easy, but there is a big ceiling improvement, they have done all this without a functioning specialist goal scorer for pretty much the whole season. I do t know what happened with Auba, but something did, perhaps he just didn’t fit with how Arteta wanted to play, he also stopped scoring, but just wish him well.
    Then, as mentioned, you add out unique lack of postponement for Covid , also, virtually the whole defence unfit for some games, the age and relative lack of experience, the PGMOL finding unprecedented ways to card our players ( Martinelli) and protect opponents ( the Palace player swiping sakas leg)
    This season hasn’t been prefect, it it was never going to be. A lack of goal threat at times could frustrate, and made opponents confident in attacking , and more clearly has to be done this summer, but whatever happens this weekend, they have done very well, and have a great platform to build from

  5. “ However the Brighton Palace Southampton games were a debacle and inexcusable”
    Agree, those games were costly, but the much loved, highly venerated, media favourites that are Tottenham lost to the very same teams this season , two of those games with the greatest manager the planet has ever seen – according to some Arsenal supporters- in charge

  6. Could have, should have, would have…. Arsenal recovered from those defeats. I don’t know why Untold continue to reference them. It was the latter 3 consecutive defeats that cost the team.

    But even then, we move forward. The season has happened. We almost had a top 4 finish, we didn’t. Crying over spilt milk won’t salvage it.

  7. Oh how low we have fallen. The first 3 games has been used as an excuse to the meltdown that Arsenal faced at the later part of the session.

    Let’s just face it, Arsenal is just mentally weak. Expectations have been falling big time. How time has changed.

  8. Jack
    The first three defeats cost us 9 points, the same as the latter three defeats which you say cost us ie 9 points. And we recovered from those with four consecutive wins so what’s the difference?
    You always find something to nit pick about.

  9. It matters little which games they were , we have lost 13 games so far and that’s too many. We need to be aware of where we dropped points though . It’s the games against Brentford, Everton , Palace , Brighton , Southampton , and Newcastle that really cost us and for other reasons Tottenham and Man utd.
    The games against Liverpool and City you half expect to drop points but it’s the 24 points that went begging against teams either in our section or below that we have to address
    Also We lost games in patches 3 defeats to start off then a further 3 toward the end and now there’s a danger that we go 3 again on the trot.
    You are all statistical people , there appears to be patterns where we win or lose matches close together maybe that needs looking a too..

  10. Mick Shelley

    We all believe Arsenal was within a whisker of qualifying for UCL and it’s because after the 3 first defeats we went on a strong run of form that placed us within CL places. For Long periods we were in the driving seat of 4th, even knocking on 3rd.

    We started weak, went on strong run and finished weak. Compare that with Tottenham that started strong, dwindled and are now having a strong finish that is guaranteeing them CL places.

    A simple strong finish could have put us through. Saying that we are in the position we are because we started weak, though true, fails to recognize that the team was able to recover and get ahead of our competitors.

    Am not nit picking, am just pointing that the author is twisting narrative to spare the team of responsibility for failing to turn up when it mattered.

    Of course all this doesn’t matter since our fate is almost sealed but we gain to learn more by observing the season from the reality of what it is than from convenient truths

  11. I hope that Arsenal sign a throw-in coach. Arsenal are penalised for more foul-throws than any other PL team.

    Aston Villa don’t have a problem in this regard, even though they managed to commit the most blatant foul-throw I have ever seen.

  12. As with every aspect of the game, different treatment of Arsenal by referees applies to throw-ins.

  13. ONG: this is the problem we face. You see an article that has a range of evidence and data and reply with “Let’s just face it.” No debate, no evidence. Your approach and response could be seen as a problem, although I would admit it is hard to quantify. But it does say a lot about you.

  14. Notice that you actually block me without giving me a chance to explain myself.

    Actually you have major issues.

  15. Ongs, I am not sure why or how you think you are blocked, or on what basis you are delivering psychological prognoses, but this message of yours came up ok so I think perhaps you are mistaken. Looking back at incoming messages I have seen a message from you saying “hi” and yes one word messages do get put on hold by our system, simply because we are daily inundated with abuse and threats, but a quick look does not suggest any sort of blocking. Could you, before we go any further, write in and explain. And just to clarify, because of the level of disruption this site attracts, people who have not had a number of posts accepted do have their posts held in moderation until cleared. And that can mean delays on a day like today when all of us are at the match.
    Up to you whether you want to remove your assertion of course, but I am sure others can make a judgement.

  16. “ let’s face Arsenal are just mentally weak”
    So mentally weak , their injury hit side recently beat Chelsea and West Ham away , plus Utd at home in recent games. Seem to remember them doing a job on Tottenham last autumn as well, but I’m sure the media would rather us forget that.
    Your comment just sounds like regurgitation of tired, lazy and probably mentally weak media narratives, let’s have some more original free thinking please

  17. Wow. Now I cannot even post as Ongs.

    That is your idea of freedom of speech?

  18. I think it is worth noting Ongs that you posted a one word comment, and it was not processed. That has nothing to do with freedom of speech but a lot to do with the fact that by and large one-word comments are considered tedious and boring. Especially when your one word is “test”. Do you really think the rest of the readers on this site want to read you posting the word “test”??? I have come across entitlement before, but yours is a really extreme case.

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