“Southampton dent Arsenal’s title credentials”



By Tony Attwood

That headline comes from the Telegraph today, and the suggestion is that nine wins, one draw and one defeat in the first 29% of the season means that Arsenal are not good enough.

We all recall that last season after three games Arsenal were bottom of the league – something that occupied the press and blogs enormously and numerous calls for the sacking of the manager and wholesale changes at Arsenal – a club that was (it was said although not in these exact words) “fit for purpose”.

This season after three games Arsenal were top of the league – a complete turnaround – although this season no one seemed to be that Arsenal would win the league.  Which is interesting.  Three defeats and we were going down.  Three wins, and, well, it wouldn’t last.

And now after nine wins one defeat and one draw the credentials are dented.  In fact Mikel Arteta admitted it was not a top performance saying, “I think we stopped doing the simple things right,  No complaints. This is football… in the Premier League, unfortunately, if you don’t [take chances] when you are on top you can have some difficulties. In the second half, we put ourselves in problems with the amount of giveaways that we had.”

What is lost in this negative appraisal is that this is the first time in nine years that Arsenal are top after 11 games.   So we thought it might be interesting to see where we ended up that season, and indeed how our position after 11 games compares with the final place across the last decade.

The first thing we looked at was how our position of nine wins, one draw and one defeat compares with other clubs at this time of year.  Have our chances of winning seriously been dented by a draw with Southampton?

Arsenal has 28 points from 11 games, which is our best across the seasons from 2013/14 onward – the period we have considered.

Over the years, on only three occasions has a team had more than 28 points after 11 games.  Liverpool and Manchester City each got 31, and Chelsea once got 29, and each won the league that season.  Which doesn’t make our 28 look that bad after 11 games.   We’re not just top of the league but we are the fourth best top of the league in the decade.

In which case really, were our hopes dented?  

Certainly, mine weren’t because Untold predicted, on the basis of last season, that Arsenal would end up third at the end of this campaign.   The media universally had Arsenal finishing outside the top four.

And that of course is where this negativity comes from.   Arsenal’s position at the top of the league is an ongoing embarrassment to the media and their understanding of what Arsenal have been doing across the Arteta years.  They can’t wait for us to slip up.

Here’s the list of the ten seasons showing the Arsenal league table position after 11 games.  In the last two columns we have the final position of Arsenal at the end of the season, and the change from the position after 11 games.


Pos Season W D L F A GD Pts Final pos change
1 2022/23 9 1 1 25 11 14 28
5 2021/22 6 2 3 13 13 0 20 5 0
15 2020/21 4 1 6 10 14 -4 13 8 +7
5 2019/20 4 5 2 16 15 1 17 8 -3
5 2018/19 7 2 2 25 14 11 23 5 0
6 2017/18 6 1 4 20 16 4 19 6 0
4 2016/17 7 3 1 24 11 13 24 5 -1
2 2015/16 8 1 2 21 8 13 25 2 0
6 2014/15 4 5 2 19 13 6 17 3 +3
1 2013/14 8 1 2 22 10 12 25 4 -3


The first thing to note is that compared with the position after 11 games Arsenal have ended up either in the same position at the end of the season (that happened on four occasions), seven places higher at the end of the season, three places higher at the end of the season, one place lower or three places lower (twice).  

So the most likely outcome across recent years is that we will end up in the same position as we are after 11 games given that we can’t go higher.  But other outcomes are possible.

But what about other teams who are at the top of the league after 11 games?  Where did they end up in recent years? 


Pos Team W D L F A GD Pts End pos
2022/23 Arsenal 9 1 1 25 11 14 28
2021/22 Chelsea 8 2 1 27 4 23 26 3rd
2020/21 Tottenham Hotspur 7 3 1 23 9 14 24 7th
2019/20 Liverpool 10 1 0 25 9 16 31 1st
2018/19 Liverpool 8 3 0 21 5 16 27 2nd
2017/18 Manchester City 10 1 0 38 7 31 31 1st
2016/17 Liverpool 8 2 1 30 14 16 26 4th
2015/16 Manchester City 8 1 2 26 9 17 25 4th
2014/15 Chelsea 9 2 0 28 11 17 29 1st
2013/14 Arsenal 8 1 2 22 10 12 25 4th


Three times across these nine completed seasons the club that was top after 11 games was top at the end of the season.    Once that club came runners-up.  The top club also ended up third once, fourth three times, and seventh once.

That collapse to seventh was by Tottenham Hotspur, thus proving that with them anything is possible.


11 Replies to ““Southampton dent Arsenal’s title credentials””

  1. “And that of course is where this negativity comes from. Arsenal’s position at the top of the league is an ongoing embarrassment to the media and their understanding of what Arsenal have been doing across the Arteta years”.

    I would suggest it’s not only the media that are embarrassed by their preseason predictions. Even the bookies can’t face up to their pre-season dismissal of Arsenal

    This from the Oddschecker website on the 24th of August:

    “Having made a 100% winning start to the season, Arsenal is the most backed team in the Premier League title odds market since last weekend. The Gunners were 40/1 pre-season to lift the title but have now been chopped into a best price of 13/1 following their third straight win in the league”

    Now Oddschecker are not a bookmaker hiding their blushes but even they are wrong as I can attest. Pre-season 50/1 was readily available on Arsenal lifting the title. This from Corals betting ‘expert’ Kevin Dunne in the SUN on Saturday:

    “Nine wins from their first ten Prem games means Arsenal are in from 25/1 to 6/1 for the title”

    I know, embarrassing isn’t it Kevin, but your lot actually had them at 50/1 before a ball was kicked. It seems even the bookies couldn’t see what we could all see here on Untold.

    But this notion of doing us down at every turn is universal. Only last week at work when the guys were talking about Arsenals chances of winning the title, they were already undermining it, suggesting if Arsenal don’t do it this year they never will, and why is that? Because apparently Man City, if they do fall short, will only do so because all they really want is the Champions League, for which they will happily sacrifice the Premier League for, and everyone else is in transition.

    So, nothing to do with us being any good, just everyone else either not trying or being crap themselves.

  2. @Nitram,

    frankly I care a rat’s ass for all that crap by deadwood journalists
    I’ve had more fun watching Arsenal play this season then I had for a long long time.
    The rest does not bother me…
    I just hope we keep as many of our Young Guns out of the WC, which mean they’ll have good rest and can come out of the pause hitting the ground running, which will not be the case of many of our competitors

  3. Chris

    I know what you mean, but personally I believe calling them out is essential.

    I have always maintained that the negative media narrative towards Arsenal over the years has had a seriously detrimental effect on our football club. Not least by turning a large section of our fans against their own team and players. From the shameful booing of players, waving of black scarfs and demonstrations outside the ground. To supposed ‘supporter’ TV Chanels endlessly criticising everything about the Club. To flying planes over the stadium.

    Without question the toxic atmosphere this created had an effect on how individuals performed, and consequentially how the team performed.

    This is hardly up for debate given how much stock Arteta has put into repairing the damage done by these ingrates. Arteta obviously believes this relationship is crucial for the Clubs success.

    But not only that, I believe this toxic, negative attitude fostered a belief in officialdom that screwing Arsenal at every turn was always going to win favour with the media, because after all Arsenal are crap at everything and deserve all they get. It fed insidiously into the way we were refereed on the pitch.

    I understand why you may feel passing comment just gives them oxygen, but I disagree.

    There’s a famous saying along the lines of “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” and by and large that holds true in this case. As such I have always believed that calling out these ‘deadwood’ journalists for the lying incompetent halfwits they are, is crucial.

    If we are to have any hope of addressing the medias clearly damaging anti-Arsenal bias, I think it is, as I say, crucial that we refute their lies, misdirection, and agitation, at every turn.

    But, as I say, I understand why you may want to ignore them, even if it is just for the sake of your own sanity. I still think it is dangerous to do so.

  4. What about the 7 giveaways by Viera. Yet, he keeps playing. The rest of the team has to cover his errors. Surely some else is on the bench

  5. Southampton certainly “dented” a number of Arsenal players, with the apparent consent of the referee and the total absence of VAR

  6. Nitram,

    yep, calling them out is necessary, but I won’t let them ruin my fun. Guess I was not clear enough !

    Interestingly there are quite a few pieces out there today, WITH PICTURES, showing and telling that the ref and VAR did indeed crew-up when that defender hugged Gabriel.

    Which is a change from the old ‘it evens out at the end’. I’d even dare to say it is quite a big change. This in the end will add-up I believe in showing how totally incompetent PGMOL is, cause after all, we’ve got Klopp and others starting to voice their concerns.
    Just wait till this referee screws up Newcastle or City…

  7. @John L.

    That is another thing I did not understand : not once I think did VAR intervene, which is quite strange, is it not.
    Just seems totally impossible to me.
    This referee is maybe so good ?

  8. Chris

    You most certainly have a point, it isn’t worth letting these Deadwoods spoil the fun, and hopefully I won’t let that happen.

    And you make another good point. There certainly is an overall change in how we are reported, and overall refereed. Indeed, I made that very point a week ago, pointing out how I feel the two things are indelibly linked. A better press usually leads to better, more even handed at least, refereeing.

    Despite this overall more even-handed refereeing, sadly yesterday’s performance was a return to the bad old days. This almost certainly would have been as a result of so many decisions, all be it correctly it has to be said, going our way last weekend. As you and John allude to, VAR was also conspicuous in its absence, again almost certainly as a result of last week.

    Okay, it’s fine cutting us a little slack, but they were never going allow that to happen two weeks on the trot.

Leave a Reply

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