By Bulldog Drummond
And so after eight consecutive wins we are now in a blip. Five games in which Arsenal have only scored one goal or no goals at all. Two games without a win. And the games are coming thick and fast.
Actually the games always come thick and fast except when the season is stopped for the pandemic, but still the media always want to tell us that the games are coming thick and fast when Arsenal are in a rut. Thursday, Sunday, Thursday… well, you get the idea.
And so tomorrow it is Nottingham Forest at 2pm. Top against bottom. Here’s the regular home and away comparison…
|18||Nottingham Forest away||6||0||2||4||1||14||-13||2|
And really there is no comparison between the two teams. They have scored one away goal this season and conceded 14. We’ve scored 14 home goals and conceded seven.
And yet, and yet… Forest are not actually unbeaten in the last four, but are nearly unbeaten in the last four, and they just beat Liverpool. How did they do that? Reports suggest Liverpool did not turn up. So that’s a good starting point. Let’s turn up.
|3 Oct 22||Leicester City v Nottingham Forest||L||4-0||Premier League|
|10 Oct 22||Nottingham Forest v Aston Villa||D||1-1||Premier League|
|15 Oct 22||Wolverhampton Wanderers v Nottingham Forest||L||1-0||Premier League|
|18 Oct 22||Brighton and Hove Albion v Nottingham Forest||D||0-0||Premier League|
|22 Oct 22||Nottingham Forest v Liverpool||W||1-0||Premier League|
So here’s the thing. Arsenal have just had five matches in which they have scored nought or one. And in fact Nottingham Forest have just had five matches in which they have scored nought or one.
|13 Oct 22||FK Bodo Glimt v Arsenal||W||0-1||Europa League|
|16 Oct 22||Leeds United v Arsenal||W||0-1||Premier League|
|20 Oct 22||Arsenal v PSV Eindhoven||W||1-0||Europa League|
|23 Oct 22||Southampton v Arsenal||D||1-1||Premier League|
|27 Oct 22||PSV Eindhoven v Arsenal||L||2-0||Europa League|
So we have two ways of predicting the game. Take Arsenal’s home games against Forest’s away games and we win 3-0 or 3-1. Take the last games and they win 1-0 and our brief sojourn at the top of the league is over. (Actually, a brief sojourn is a tautology but we’ll let that pass).
The key thing is that eventually, all runs come to an end – and let’s hope our disappointing run of no goal-scoring ends with a thumping win.
And there is hope for our record against them across the centuries has been good: 51 wins to Arsenal against 28 wins to Forest, with 22 drawn. Although in recent times we have slipped a bit. In the last 13 games we have only won seven. Three have been draws and three defeats. And in fact we have only won one of the last three, losing in the FA Cup 4-2 and 1-0 in 2018 and 2022, while beating them in the league cup 5-0 in 2019.
The Arsenal team for that most recent match in January this year was
Soares Holding Tavares White
Saka Odegaard Patino Lokonga
So how are they doing it?
|Team||Shots per game||Tackles pg||Fouls pg||yellow PG|
Forest have the most yellow cards in the league, equal with Everton and Manchester United. They have the second lowest shots per game (only Bournemouth have fewer), At the same time they have the second highest shots conceded per game. At 15.9 that is virtually double the number of Arsenal.
So let’s see how the ratios work…
|Club||Tackles / foul||Tackles / yellow||Fouls / yellow|
Arsenal for once come off better than the opposition with these figures. Arsenal can commit more tackles before getting a foul given against them, and can commit more tackles before getting a yellow card. This inevitably means Arsenal can get away with more fouls before getting a yellow card. Let’s hope, for once, the referee does penalize by the form book!
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