What are the chances of making it 4 wins in a row on saturday?

By Tony Attwood

Arsenal developing…

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Getting three wins in a row has been rather a pleasing experience, but of course, no one wants a run like this to end.  So what are the chances of four in a row when we play Fulham on Saturday evening?

In fact in 2020 two clubs that we might not associate with lots of success in recent years both won four games in a row at the start of the season…

 

Team P W D L F A GD Pts END
Aston Villa 2020 4 4 0 0 12 2 10 12 11th
Everton 2020 4 4 0 0 12 5 7 12 10

 

What was particularly curious about that season was not just the opening with two unlikely teams getting the long winning run, but also the fact that by the end of the season they had slipped down to 10th (Everton) and 11th (Aston Villa). Thus once more showing that winning the games at the start doesn’t really tell us much about what will happen later.

Aston Villa actually won their first six league games that season including a 7-2 victory in the league over Liverpool.  But then they only won two of the next seven matches, suppering any thoughts they had a league success.

Everton actually won seven straight games at the start of that season, but three were in the league cup, and one league win in eight later in the year scuppered any thoughts they had of success.

So the lesson there seems to be, to prepare not just for a defeat but for the match after the defeat, possibly by swapping the team around a bit.  And in this regard Arsenal look well placed this season with a range of players who can step up into the first XI with experience and certainty.

But going back further 2018/19, as we saw before, was the season when no less than three teams were unbeaten after four games…

 

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
Liverpool 4 4 0 0 9 1 8 12
Chelsea 4 4 0 0 10 3 7 12
Watford 4 4 0 0 9 3 6 12

 

…but Liverpool were the only one of the four who kept the run going, winning six straight league games at the start of the season, and a Champions League game.  But then, once again, when it went wrong once, it went wrong again.  A home league cup defeat and an away draw in the league both against Chelsea, followed by a defeat to Napoli in the Champions League and a draw with Manchester City at home in the league knocked them back a bit.

They did recover and in the last 24 games in the Champions League and the Premier League they had but one defeat – 3-0 to Barcelona which they overturned in the return leg.

In a different season Manchester City started 2015/16 with five straight victories in the league but then lost three out of four in league and cup matches and ended up fourth in the league five points behind Arsenal who came in second.

And so it goes on back through history.  Winning three, four, or five games in a row at the start of the season is not exactly common, but not as rare as the pundits who go wild celebrating each run (unless it is an Arsenal run) would like us to imagine.   They stress the rarity because it is easy copy to write – no research just look at this week’s league table.

And most of the time (Arsenal excepted) the run comes to an end.  But that’s not the real point.  It is the ability to recover once the run has come to an end that is the key factor.   After all as Everton and Aston Villa will attest from 2020, only their own supporters really remember the start to the season.  What most of us know, if we know anything about those clubs at all from that era just a couple of years ago, was that they sank to mid-table obscurity.

So what helps make a great start lead to a title?

My guess would be, first, a manager who is able to change the team around a bit to counter the opposition, is the first requirement.  Second, luck with injuries.  Interesting to note that while Arsenal has one injury listed this week (Reiss Nelson), Liverpool have no less than ten!

Third, luck on the pitch (the shot that was going wide hits a defender and fools the keeper etc) and of course having home-biased referees for the home games, and away-biased referees for the away games.  That can be very helpful.

We’ll try and do a list of home and away biased refs before some of the games this season.

 

5 Replies to “What are the chances of making it 4 wins in a row on saturday?”

  1. You almost managed a full article without mentioning the press! Almost, but not quite.

  2. Imagine, Andrew, that there was a website called “Untold Arsenal”. Now those two chosen words would have a specific meaning. The second one, Arsenal, would imply the site is about the Arsenal club.

    But the first word “Untold”. That suggests it is going to be about things that other outlets don’t talk about – that would be a fairly good definition of something Untold. At least that is the definition we’ve always used. Untold = it has not been mentioned in the media, or at least not very often, or when mentioned, mentioned with opinion only but no evidence.

    Yet how does one know if this is mentioned elsewhere or not? Since most of the talk about football that we gain is through websites, blogs and newspapers, clearly for anything to be Untold, we have to take into account what is told.

    Also since a lot of commentary about football is in the form of opinion, with little or no evidence produced to back up the claims, one needs to cite what is said, and thus quote the sources.

    So Untold Arsenal, is by definition about issues that either don’t appear in the rest of the media, or appear but with very different conclusions drawn, without acknowledging that another conclusion exists.

    Thus the title Untold Arsenal, suggests that an analysis of the rest of the media is undertaken in order to establish whether any commentary or issue has been mentioned before in the rest of the media. I can’t see how this can be done without refering to the medi

    Your constant complaint is a bit like picking up a copy of “Heart disease monthly” and complaining that it has too many articles in it about heart disease.

    To spell it out for you yet again, Untold Arsenal deals with facts and opinions concerning Arsenal FC that are not covered in the media generally. To do that it is logical to note what the media has said.

    I’m ok with publishing your commentaries on this topic because they consist of one of the most illogical and irrational arguments about something that seems to bug you and which should you wish, you could utterly ignore. At the heart of this there is some very odd thinking going on, and when I have time I shall write it up for an appropriate journal. I may even find a name for this type of behaviour: a phrase meaning “Ceaselessly complaining that a publication runs stories that are directly related to its title.”

    I have to admit, your point of view seems to make no sense at all. It is a bit like you buying a copy of Pharmacy Weekly and complaining that all the articles are related to chemists. You could make the complaint, but it would be utterly bonkers. Perhaps there should be an entry in the medical journals:

    “Querentes publicationem decurrere articulos qui ad titulum suum directe pertinentes esse”.

  3. Tony

    Your comment @ 2:08 PM should be required reading for anyone wanting to post on this site. Also some mechanism, if it’s possible, to restrict access unless you’ve read and understood it. Like an “I agree” button. At least they won’t be able to claim they didn’t know what the site was about.

    PS – enjoyed the analogies!

  4. I think that the chances are good , even though we are playing the seventh placed team ! We seem to be more resilient and determined than previous teams.
    I think that the refs are still yet to get into picking on us , so I’d enjoy the respite !
    Up the Gunners !

  5. Now that the BBC is back in love with MU after its win over Liverpool, I expect the grudging and half-hearted media compliments for Arsenal to bbe replaced by more familiar tones.

    Also, I expect referees to be looking for pretexts to take Arsenal down a peg or two for having the cheek to be at the top of the table., probably starting against Fulham. No doubt also they will be keen to make up for the failure to give Xhaka a yellow card against Bournemouth.

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