Guardiola’s excuse for losing to Tottenham reveals the quality of Arsenal


In football distance makes no difference

By Tony Attwood

Pep Guardiola said after his side lost to Tottenham, “Coming from Manchester to London, it’s like going to northern Europe. It’s four hours, 20 minutes to get to a hotel. It’s so exhausting, I’m sorry. We need to come back to Manchester and prepare the game against Aston Villa.”

So we wondered just how far other clubs had had to travel and how many games they had had to play in the last 15 days – compared to poor travel-weary Manchester City.

And it turns out that the most road-weary team must be poor West Ham United who have travelled 587km in the last 15 days.

Anyway, we have taken the league positions of each club, looked at how many games they have played in the last 15 days in the league, and how far they have had to travel.  It may seem a trivial load of old whatnot to you but the Manchester City manager said it so it must be important.

After West Ham in terms of kilometres travelled on the road (or maybe in the air), Southampton have travelled the second furthest, which you’d expect given where the ground is, and then Arsenal come in third.

Manchester City with all the moaning have travelled fractionally over half the distance in the last 15 days that Arsenal have.  Which just goes to show something or other, but mostly it suggests that the Manchester City manager can say anything he likes and no one bothers to check.  Except Untold.

We have also looked at distance travelled per game in the last 15 days, and the distance travelled per game in the last 15 days with many thanks to our friends in Grimsby.

Lge pos Team Games in last 15 KM in last 15  KM PER Game
1 Arsenal 3 510 170
2 Manchester City 3 260 87
3 Manchester Utd 5 366 73
4 Newcastle United 3 449 150
5 Tottenham Hots 3 322 107
6 Brighton & Hove 2 0 0
7 Brentford 2 269 134
8 Fulham 3 9 3
9 Chelsea 1 0 0
10 Liverpool  2 426 85
11 Aston Villa 1 0 0
12 Crystal Palace 1 291 291
13 Nottingham Forest 3 111 37
14 Leicester City 2 115 5
15 Wolverhampton Wand 2 99 49.
16 West Ham 2 587 293
17 Leeds United 3 150 50
18 Everton 1 0 0
19 Bournemouth 1 126 126
20 Southampton 4 554 138


So what we can see is that far from being troubled by lots of long journeys in the last couple of weeks Manchester City have travelled around half the distance of Arsenal.  In fact nine clubs have travelled more in the last 15 days than poor impoverished Manchester City.

In fact it is hard to see that travelling has much impact at all on clubs, although I am sure that Newcastle, Southampton, Bournemouth and Brighton will use the issue as a reason why they have none of them won the league of late.

Anyway thinking further of excuses, here’s a hilarious one from the Guardian: Harry Kane doesn’t need trophies at Tottenham to prove his greatness.

That of course is helpful since their trophy cabinet has not been weighed down with pots of late.  Their recent record being, in the 21st century, and you might want to take a deep breath first…

League Cup: 2008

… and that seems to be about it for the 2000s.  Prior to that they won the FA Cup in 1991.  So that makes two trophies in 32 years.  But I suppose it cuts down on the polishing costs which is where Arsenal suffer, having won the FA Cup nine times since Tottenham were last allowed to look at it.  Still they have won the league cup, so that’s all right.

Anyway, so excited has the media become about Arsenal being beaten that the Telegraph is running the headline  The blueprint for how to beat Arsenal.

And it turns out that “to succeed against Mikel Arteta’s side you need to have legs in midfield and stifle Martin Odegaard – Sean Dyche’s team did that to a tee.”   So there we are – it is dead simple, and no one else has ever realised that before.  Amazing.

What with all this travelling and trophy cleaning, it is indeed a funny old game.  And to make it even funnier, here is the latest league table based on the last six games played.

I’ve just given the top ten because after that it only includes little clubs.  I leave you to work out which clubs are missing.

Premier League Form (Last 6)
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Brentford 6 4 2 0 12 3 9 14
2 Brighton & Hove 6 4 1 1 15 8 7 13
3 Arsenal 6 4 1 1 12 6 6 13
4 Manchester Utd 6 4 1 1 11 6 5 13
5 Nottingham Forest 6 3 2 1 6 5 1 11
6 Manchester City 6 3 1 2 10 6 4 10
7 Newcastle United 6 2 4 0 5 1 4 10
8 Wolverhampton Wand 6 3 1 2 7 6 1 10
9 Fulham 6 3 1 2 5 4 1 10
10 Aston Villa 6 3 1 2 9 9 0 10

5 Replies to “Guardiola’s excuse for losing to Tottenham reveals the quality of Arsenal”

  1. So 267 goals and counting doesn’t make you a great player, you do talk some absolute rubbish don’t you ? As far as City goes, they’ve lost 5 on the trot at Spurs stadium without even scoring a goal. Football tactics are rock, paper, scissors. Whatever one manager can come up with another can counter. Spurs have City’s number and Guardiola refuses to change tactics, so he keeps losing. Talking of tactics, given Dyche has just given Arsenal a football lessons some analysis of tactics is warranted isn’t it ? But not in your biased little world.

  2. @ jod

    Kane is a striker and has taken 84 shots this season for 17 goals. Let’s compare that to a relatively inexperienced 21 year old winger named Bukayo Saka who, with 7 goals from 44 shots, is just a fraction behind Kane in terms of his goal scoring effectiveness. I know who I’d rather have in my time.

    Being old enough to have seen Greaves play, my opinion is also that he was a better striker than Kane.

    As for your claim that “Spurs have City’s number” on the basis that, “they’ve lost 5 on the trot at Spurs stadium without even scoring a goal”, I’d suggest that’s something of a dubious claim. I’d also suggest that it is far more likely that these results are a series of coincidences given the number of managers you’ve had over that period…….unless of course you’re saying that managers don’t do anything in terms of tactics and that’s all down to Harry too….in which case why hasn’t also managed to conjure up a trophy given his alleged greatness?!

  3. I find it very interesting to see that both Pool! and Citeh have run out of steam, they who were supposed to share the trophies between them for a few years to come. Both coaches seem to have worn out their players over the years, both physically and mentally.

    The mental, with each team losing here and there the important trophy games in the past years may be more profoundly impacted.

    Which, when you think about it, makes Mr Wenger’s run of 19 years in the top 4 look more and more incredible – he never had that kind of budget. Sustainability is a complex exercise.

    Personnaly, even as I think they are great coaches, I cannot see either of them getting to 1’000 PL games with their respective teams. Reading the german press, it is not about if he’ll leave Pool! but when – the more so that he lost a few of the people working with him in the organisation lately.

    By the way, could you imagine the shitstorm Mr Wenger would have gotten if he’d have complained about the time it takes to travel to Newcastle or Manchester ?!?! But the remark is telling : raise any subject, just not the game itself, deflect, create another talking point.

  4. Chris

    “Both coaches seem to have worn out their players over the years, both physically and mentally”.

    I cannot find any evidence for it but I have wondered if the modern ‘high press’, or extreme high intensity style of todays game will, or indeed does have a detrimental medium/long term effect on a players ability to perform at his absolute best.

    Another sport I love is Horse racing, and they often talk of a horses ‘miles on the clock’ or the amount of ‘hard races’ it’s had, in relation to how it may perform on any particular day, or how it’s over all ability may of diminished over time in relation to it’s exertions over the season, or indeed years.

    In other words it has been known for years in racing, that you simply cannot run a horse to it’s absolute maximum throughout the winter then expect it to be at it’s best for Cheltenham. You cannot run a horse at it’s maximum every race, over years, and expect it to have a long career. It will simply burn out.

    And with this high press/high intensity game we now see, that seems to me to be exactly what we are asking our footballers to do. It seems to me we are asking them to perform to a bodies absolute maximum intensity, every match, all season.

    Surely, just as with horses, this is going to burn a footballer out?

    As I say, I can find no research to validate this idea, but logic suggests that premature burnout is a definite possibility with the way the modern game is played.

    Maybe someone with more knowledge on this sort of thing can enlighten us?

  5. Big squads, rotation and the cosseted life of a modern footballer would work against the burn out theory, which is why players are no longer on borrowed time when they hit 30. Compare that to the past, heavy pitches, hard tackles and a binge drinking culture. Dont think the high press can compete with that.

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