Arsenal’s home form, is it a matter of concern ?

Written by kelsey

Having lost twice already this season at home to W.B.A. and Newcastle, I thought it might make interesting reading to compare our home form at the Emirates compared to Highbury.

When we played Newcastle that was our 83rd home league game at the Emirates (season 06/07 to the present day) and in this period we have won 48, drawn 18 and lost 17.Goals scored 162 and 87 against.

The last 83 league games played at Highbury (season 01/02 to 05/06) resulted in won 60 drawn 15 lost 8. Goals scored 200 and 87 against.

The figure that stands out is that we have won 12 fewer games and lost more than double the games at the new stadium, and there may be several reasons for that. Naturally one could argue that over this period the team has changed dramatically yet has always maintained a top 4 place.

Obviously the cost involved in the building of the new stadium has had a great influence in restricting our buying powers and at the same time the arrival of Abramovich and now the the Sheikhs at City have inflated the prices of players to a level never dreamed of some ten years ago.

Furthermore one would have to take into consideration a certain time frame to adjust from moving from one of the smallest pitches in the Premier League with an enclosed area to a modern state of the art far larger pitch at The Emirates, which many say lacks atmosphere which in turn doesn’t benefit the players.

One would have theorized that with the increased pitch size our style of play would have been tougher to defend against – which has not proven to be the case.

One could also argue that it’s not the size of the pitch that has been our problem and that it might be down to either long term injuries to our strike force or other teams using the Big Sam’s man-ball tactics, but W.B.A. especially disproved that point.

In conclusion I would say that the main reason that we are not a “fortress” is that defensively we are not as strong or organised as we were in the Highbury days.

I would like your thoughts , as we approach our next home game which is imperative for us to win to keep up our new found momentum.

In conclusion I would like to thank gunnerN5 for providing me with some excellent stats.

67 Responses to Arsenal’s home form, is it a matter of concern ?

  1. Morning kelsey

    Nice idea for a post and a good read.

    I’m always dumbstruck when we lose at home, I generally can’t believe its happened.

    I think there are a few factors at play here, certainly in the opening season at the Emirates there really wasn’t any ‘home’ advantage as the players looked like they weren’t familiar with the surroundings. Since then we know how the team has largely been a hopeful experiment which considering we stayed in the top four can be viewed as a success.

    Of the two figures that you’ve highlighted I would say that the lack of goals scored is the most worrying. It would be good to know how many goalless games there have been at the Emirates and also how many games we have failed to score.

    I believed our youngsters had not been schooled in the art of defending sufficiently well but also there is that ‘I’m scared to shoot’ problem. Too often the mid-field haven’t controlled the game and that leaves the back five with a difficult job.

    I believe our new CB pairings – whichever they may be – are doing a fine job, its the giving the ball way in the middle thats the worry.

    Largely those problems aren’t the Emirates fault except that with the building of the ground we were short of money for a while.

    Still a great team though!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. kelsey says:

    Morning peaches,

    I just wanted to highlight the wins,draws,losses etc but I am sure gunnerN5 will be able to answer how many nil nil games there were.I suspect fairly few.

  3. Jason says:

    its a matter of mentality and how we show up for these game
    if we play on a low tempo then winning a game is never going to be easy but we pile on the pressure early and play with a high tempo while keeping the shape of our team then there isn’t a team in world who can contain us at home

    Spurs should be different because its for honor and bragging rights and both team will come to play

    Our Lineup for the Spuds game

    ———— Fabianski
    Sagna* – Squid —- Kos – Clichy
    Song* — Fabregas —- Denilson
    Walcott ——- RVP ——- Nasri*

    Spuds most probable lineup

    ———— Gomes
    Hutton – Gallas – Kaboul – Assou
    Jenas/Sandro —- VDV – Modric
    Lenon —– Crouch ——- Bale

  4. tommystout says:

    good thought provoking post kelsey.
    Why Highbury was a fortress-
    1.established and now legendry defense. Clean sheets were bread & butter.
    2.smaller pitch = less chance of being stretched and conceding.
    3.Better atmosphere? maybe/maybe not however the “Highbury Library” when kicked into life was as hostile as any, that with the crowds proximity to the pitch was more intense than any at the grove. Same fans at the Emirates but farther away from the pitch, not good in a backs against the wall scenario.
    Why the Grove is not a fortress –
    1.our defense is not yet established, teams no that if they defend they will get a chance to score which if they take could be good enough to win the game.
    2.the atmosphere is at times embarrassing. we need cheerleaders (not pompom girls), the war chant intro and finally the fans need to change there outlook on what they are doing! Our away fans being a fine example of how it should be done. If the Grove was filled with our away supporters 10x over then it would be fort knox baby.

  5. pat says:

    I think it just needs a “classic game” with a great gunners win for everyone to talk about and build a little bit of history for the players and supporters to get excited about. The spuds game this weekend might just be the ticket… the players will be up for the game and hopefully the crowd will be too. At the Everton game on the telly you could here the arsenal away supporters – its time the crowd really got behind the players and the players put a great performance in worthy of the support. As I just said this weekend seems the perfect oportunity – the chance to get another one over the spuds, the squad starting to look good as far as injuries are concerned, Cesc coming back into form, Arshivan looking hungry again – bring it!

  6. pat says:

    here = hear…

  7. kelsey says:

    No doubt the away support is vocal and a credit to those who attend.

    I am glad you refer to The Grove, as personally I have never liked “The Emirates” and we also sold the naming rights far too cheaply.

  8. I’m not worried about the atmosphere on Saturday, the ground is a different place for these big games.

    Maybe many supporters just can’t be bothered to turn up for the Stokes, Wigans and Boltons because its just so much louder for the manks, chavs, pool and the tiny tots.

  9. Carlito11 says:

    Morning all- Kelsey a thought-provoking piece. You all know my feelings on defensive organisation and I think we can lay part of the blame there. Peaches- I agree with most of your points but without having the stats I believe that we’ve lost more home games in the last 2 seasons than we did in the first 2. Just a feeling- perhaps Gunnern5 will be able to prove of disprove this.
    I have to say the main reason strikes me as being the atmosphere/ lack of vocal support. I’m going to keep my powder dry on the subject here as I hopefully have a post on the subject for later this week…

  10. SharkeySure says:

    Wow …very thought provoking post Kelsey, with thanks also to GN5.

    I would never have guesssed that we’d lost 17 home games in the PL since moving to our new home.

    Any chance of a list of those losses…?? Yeah its a bit SM requesting them, but I’m stunned by the high count. I’d have budgeted for barely two losses a season at home.

  11. The good thing is that, like giving birth, I can’t remember the pain of our losses at home last season or who they were to, well apart from the chavs, ouch that was horrible 😦

  12. 26may1989 says:

    Thanks for the post Kelsey. I don’t necessarily think the historical position is the main issue, but I’m shocked to read that we’ve managed to lose 17 league games at Ashburton (meaning traumas like the CL defeats to United etc are on top of that).

    Much more important is the significance of home form for this season – I think getting that nailed, and avoiding repeats like the defeats to West Brom and Newcastle, will determine whether this is a successful season or not.

  13. Carlito11 says:

    Peaches, you’re right that there’ll be no worries about the atmosphere on Saturday- and we’ll take them to the cleaners as a result 🙂

  14. kelsey says:


    GN5 is about 6 hours behind so I think he can answer those questions better than i can.

    This season we have already hit the woodwork 11 times (home and away)

  15. kelsey says:


    that is exactly what prompted me to write this post.(The 2 losses already this season) yet away we have the best record in the PL)

  16. Carlito11 says:

    Does anyone follow the players on twitter? Denilson, LJ and Cesc all specifically thanked the fans for their contribution against Everton and you could hear our fans clearly on the telly. This group need the 12th man in a way their illustrious predecessors perhaps did not. I would posit that the confidence that comes from being a feared winning team means the volume of support is perhaps less vital to putting in a good performance…

  17. 26may1989 says:

    Following on from Sharkey’s query, here are the home losses I can think of since the move:

    06/7: West Ham 0-1
    07/8: –
    08/9: Hull 1-2; Aston Villa 0-2; Chelsea 1-4
    09/10: Chelsea 0-3; Man U 1-3
    10/11: WBA 2-3; Newcastle 0-1

    What am I missing?

  18. kelsey says:


    we have lost 6 home games in the last 2 seasons plus 2 this year.

  19. SharkeySure says:

    Cheer 26M. Thats spot on for my budget of 2 per season. Although I do fear that your figurs are not correct.

    Not sure that I can wait til GN5 stirs though, so I may have to go look at myself

  20. SharkeySure says:

    Two frustrated minutes later…..

    Guess I’ll wait !!!

  21. tommystout says:

    Carlito – yes i follow the guys on twitter its kinda refreshing to see that they are human too. Not so long back Cesc posted a pic one afternoon as he was lazing in some cafe playing ludo with Thomas, Carlos & Denilson. Hilarious.
    If you want to add me i’m goonerjon777.

  22. I’ve just checked on and there were no losses at home 07/08 but another one to add to 08/09 – the manks.

  23. tommystout says:

    Wilshere has hobbled off in training with England… dissapeared down tunnel with Physio! great!

  24. 26may1989 says:

    Peaches, I thought from Kelsey’s post we were talking about PL games – that Manc defeat was in the CL.

    Kelsey, are you sure about your figures? I’ve been through now and can’t see any home league defeats beyond those I listed?

  25. kelsey says:

    In season 08/09 we lost 4 PL home games to Hull,Villa,Chelsea and United.

    I have to check with gunnern5 who gave me that info.

  26. Steve Palmer says:

    The Emerates is in my opinion a magnificent stadium, but, and it has to be said, nicknamed The Library, quite rightly, Spuds fans will turn up and sing their hearts out and they will consider this a home game,it will be a very tight match, and they will continue to sing untill the end, and if we dont get our game back we will get beat,we lack voices at Arsenal we lack quality songs, and we lack togetherness, i have said in other blogs about this problem and believe speakers around orchestrated by a Gooner dJ would help to get non singing diehard Gooners singing and supporting in harmonny

  27. 26may1989 says:

    In 08/09 we beat United 2-1 at home in the league in November 2008 (Nasri double) but lost the CL second leg 3-1 in the infamous 10-minute defeat (Gibbs’ slip for first and two breakaway goals for Ronaldo).

  28. 26may1989 says:

    Steve, Highbury was nicknamed the Library long before building a stadium at Ashburton Grove was even suggested. Truth is, other than for big games, we are a quiet club at home (different story in away games). And we’ve been that way for a long time.

    As a group of fans we have taken a while to settle in (not helped by the Club’s stupid decisions, like not having the Clock in the ground till this year and naming different bits of the ground “green quadrant” etc). We’re getting there but we will always be on average quieter than many other clubs.

    It’ll be rocking on Saturday though. And don’t worry about Spurs, as soon as there’s a little bit of pressure on them, their fans go quiet – e.g., when we scored our late consolation goal in the league cup defeat at WHL a couple of years ago, the Spurs fans went silent even though that only made the score 4-1 with less than 10 minutes left, as if they thought they wouldn’t win from that position (of course, they won 5-1 in the end).

  29. 26may – you’re right, the mank game was in the champs lge 😳

  30. The best thing about the spud supporters is that they always leave as soon as they go behind – got no bottle 😛

    Sorry, that was off topic 😳

  31. gunnern5 says:

    Morning all.

    Apologies to all as there are some gremlins in my spreadsheet, I’ll post the correct data once I have scrubbed it over.
    I should have been more observant I did a cut and paste job and picked up the wrong lines. Sorry…………….

  32. Steve Palmer says:

    thanks for comments.
    I shared a friends box at the lane for the Carling cup game, where we smashed them up, a very enjoyable game.And Must admit Arsenals away singing support did us proud and as you said the home support was flocking out while our boys were in full voice.
    The point i was making is that to change the way things are at the Grove is the way forward get the fans singing and we’ll have to build another twenty thousand seats

  33. But Steve what if the new 20,000 seat occupiers took a schtum powder too? That would be dreadful ……..

    I blame the songs or rather the lack of them.

  34. 26may1989 says:

    Thanks GN5.

    Whatever the correct figures, I think the basic position is as Kelsey described, our home form since the move is a little worse in that we’ve won fewer games and we’ve scored fewer goals. That said, last season was as good as anything we did in the good old days. The defensive side looks pretty consistent at home, but replacing Henry, Bergkamp and Pires with Adebayor, Hleb, Rosicky and Fabregas didn’t work out as well. That’s my take on it anyway.

    The question for this season is: can we turn the tide having lost two homers already? I think the maturity of our away performances suggests we can.

  35. Steve Palmer says:

    Good point Peaches,
    we should have a compose as song competition and get some new songs.
    I love peaches i like cream
    we are singing for the Arsenal team,

    probably why we need a competition

  36. king gooner says:

    the new ground imo has 3 problems.firstly,the fans are a little too far back to be intimidating-should bring another 3 rows forward at least..secondly,the name “emirates”is not personal to us.had it been called “THE ARMOURY” for me it would have been perfect
    (and intimidating!)but we needed the dosh from naming rights-let’s hope it changes.lastly,the new ground needs a history,that means a trophy & soon.i believe if these three things occured we’d be on our way..

  37. tommystout says:

    this is via twitter and not confirmed but hearing wilshere has been sent home – if its true thanks alot england!
    Next RVP will be crocked in training with dutch squad…. effin el

  38. RockyLives says:

    Lots to think about in that one Kelsey. Could another explanation for having a worse record at the Grove than at Highbury be that the EPL is more competitive now? (ie, more teams splashing lots of dosh on players in recent years, more sugar daddies etc).

  39. tommystout says:

    well its been confirmed now LJW is out, hope he’s fit for the weekend, though denilson did impress.

  40. SharkeySure says:

    NO worries re the stats GN5, it happens.

    Kelsey’s post has sparked a good debate about pitch sizes, PL finances, home and away fans etc etc etc.

    So all is well for me.

  41. gunnern5 says:

    Here is the scrubbed data for the last 82 games at Highbury and the first 82 at the Emirates for EPL games.


    F203, A70, GD133, W63, T14, L5, Pt203.


    F174, A64, GD110, W57, T17, L8, Pt188.

    More(Less) than Highbury:

    F(29), A6, GD(23), W(6), T3, L3, Pt(15)

    Even though the initial data that I gave to Kelsey was faulty his view is still valid.

    We have scored 29 less goals but have conceded 6 less. We have won 6 fewer games tied 3 more and have lost 3 more meaning we have attained 15 less points.

    We failed to score in only 4 games at Highbury and 8 at the Emirates.

    We held the opposition scoreless in 34 games at Highbury and 39 at the Emirates.

    To this observer it’s not our much maligned defense that has been our issue – it’s our misfiring offense.

    Again my apologies for the earlier bad data.

  42. gunnern5 says:

    Gee, Goals against at the Emirates should read A(6) – I should have stayed in bed this morning…

  43. tommystout says:

    No worries GN5, your efforts are much appreciated by all of us im sure. 🙂

  44. Big Raddy says:

    Very interesting stuff and thanks to both Kelsey and G5

    What is clear to me is that the loss of TH14 is the reason for the goal difference. It takes time to replace a goal machine and Thierry’s 30+ goals a season mark him as a special man.

    There is no-one at the club capable of repeating his feats and we will struggle to match our goal scoring at Highbury until we do. (IMHO)

  45. RockyLives says:

    BR, we may not have a 30+ goals a season player any more, but I reckon Cham could turn into a 24-ish goals per season striker. Obviously his style is very different to TH’s, but he has settled very quickly.
    It’s easy to forget the first few months of TH’s time – he didn’t exactly set the world alight to begin with (likewise Dennis).

  46. dandan says:

    Very interesting well thought out stuff Kelsey. G5 I congratulate on being an anorak of the highest order.I am always impressed by statisticians, being a seat of the pants man myself. Statistics are often misleading and subject to abuse, but I cannot deny that yours simply put have surprised me. I was convinced that uncertainty at the back had been our major downfall in recent times and a plethora of goals against had been the result, I was wrong as your post illustrates, Thank you both.

  47. Rasp says:

    Fine and relevant post kelsey – sorry I’m so late in joining the debate.


    I’m a fan of Chamakh but I don’t think he comes close to TH. Clearly he’s a different type of player, and I think he can get us 20+ goals a season, but far fewer of the quality (in terms of the finish) than either TH or DB.

  48. kelsey says:

    Thanks for the correction GN5, but basically it has made for a good debate.
    Pitch size is relevant at least for the first season at the grove,but when you compare the real greats we had then as opposed to now,one has to consider that as well.

  49. 26may1989 says:

    It is interesting to see the defensive consistency at home, despite the move, but I’m not sure we can point to current deficiencies in the attacking side of our game.

    Taking the whole period 2006 to date, there was a decline in goals scored. But the trend may be different: last season we scored 48 goals at home, the second highest total under Wenger (and an increase of 17 on the season before). Our 15 so far this season puts us on course for the same sort of number as in 2009-10. So it’s pretty easy to argue that scoring goals at home is not in fact the problem it was a few years ago, even if we did have a dip in the years after our move, when the squad was being rebuilt without cash.

    No argument that we can’t score the quality of goals we saw from DB and TH though, possibly because our opponents are on average better now than they were 7 or 8 years ago.

  50. Carlito11 says:

    I’ll have to take back my views on the defense given the updated stats 😉 Have to say I agree with Big Raddy that TH14 has been irreplaceable although Abebarndoor did have a 30 goal season with us in that mix… RL- I love “24ish”- what a wonderfully precise approximation! 🙂

  51. dandan says:

    Robert Pires has signed for Aston Villa on a six month contract

  52. kelsey says:

    The last paragraph is very true.There is no such saying that there is an easy game in the PL and this season the results have confirmed that.

    The bookies are smiling all the way to the bank (as usual)

  53. gunnern5 says:


    Here are our goals for and against by season-

    Season F A

    2001/2 14 4 =last 6 games
    2002/3 47 20
    2003/4 40 14
    2004/5 54 19
    2005/6 48 13
    2006/7 43 16
    2007/8 37 11
    2008/9 31 16
    2009/10 48 15
    2010/11 15 6 =First 6 games

  54. kelsey says:

    Anyone read LG today “I’m free”

  55. 26may1989 says:

    Thanks GN5, that shows what I mean, no problem scoring at Ashburton last season or this, which given our attacking midfield line (and now also Chamakh up front) isn’t such a surprise.

    I’d love to have someone of TH14’s magical ability up front again but we play in a different shape now and it’s more about the AM line, retaining possession and fluidity than it was before. I’d say the important thing is our striker is mobile, hard working, efficient with chances, and a good passer – if we can get someone better than Chamakh, great, but he suits me just fine.

  56. RockyLives says:

    Carlito: 🙂 Precision is not my strong point.

    GN5: Those stats are really fascinating. Most of us would probably say our defence has been poor for the last few seasons, when we conceded 15, 16 and 11 (total: 42). Whereas in the years 2002-2005, when we all thought our defence was pretty good, we let in 19, 14 and 20 (total: 53).

    Just shows how important perception is in all this.

  57. RockyLives says:

    26May: Couldn’t agree more about Cham. And I don’t think we’ve seen anything like the best of him yet.

    When TH14 was banging them in for fun many of his goals came as a result of our lightning counter-attacking play (the opposition never more vulnerable than when they had a corner). Since TH’s day teams have got wise to the Arsenal approach and now come to Arsenal intent on parking the bus. You could almost say that Thierry was so good that he spoiled it for the strikers who came after him by forcing other teams to come up with a new strategy.

    It might even be the case that had TH been playing at his prime during the last few years his tally would not be as high as it was in the early 2000s.

  58. Big Raddy says:

    RL. Good point though we will never know about TH in the current team, and perhaps Chamakh can develop into an outstanding player.

    Like others I am shocked by the defensive stats.

  59. RockyLives says:

    BR – it comes back to the point about perception. If you’re winning trophies then the goals conceded seem less important and attract less scrutiny. If you’re in a barren spell then they seem more significant.
    Although maybe in the glory days of the early 2000s we were winning matches by 4-2 (ish :)) type of scorelines, where the opposition goals didn’t hurt us so much, whereas now we have too many draws and losses. Just speculation.

  60. gunnern5 says:

    On the defense subject here are the stats on shut outs per season.

    2001/2 = 4 out of 6 games
    2002/3 = 5
    2003/4 = 7
    2004/5 = 8
    2005/6 = 10
    2006/7 = 5
    2007/8 = 10
    2008/9 = 11
    2009/10 = 11
    2010/11 = 2 out of 6.

    In the past 3 seasons at the Emirates
    we’ve shut out the opposition 56% of the time.

  61. Rasp says:

    Our goalkeeping problems are over … and Almunia is demoted to 5th choice!

    ….. Herny Lansbury stepped up and played in goal for the England under 21’s when the keeper was red carded – apparently he pulled off some very good saves 😛

  62. RockyLives says:

    More great stats GN5: So in some ways our defence is performing better recently than in the glory years of the early 2000s… it’s just that we haven’t been winning anything lately. Confusing.

  63. 26may1989 says:

    Being about as much of a geek as GN5 I’ve checked some of the other numbers, and when you factor in away games too, you can see that our defence has been more leaking goals in the last 4 years than they were in the 3 seasons before the stadium move. So regardless of the defence being relatively consistent at home, overall they have got weaker, culminating last season in a performance that was particularly generous for our opponents.

    The attack has maintained good combined numbers throughout, with last season being an especially good season (it was second only to 2002-3 and was better than in any of Wenger’s championship winning years).

  64. RockyLives says:

    Thanks 26 – that helps explain things.

  65. Morning all

    Theres a NEW POST

  66. […] Arsenal’s home form, is it a matter of concern ? […]

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