Our 2011/12 goals against of 49 was the worst defensive display we have experienced since we conceded the same amount 1994/5, however 1994/5 was a 42 game season so in terms of goals against per game 2011/12 was our worst ever in the EPL at 1.29 per game versus 1.17 in 1994/4.
To find a worse season one has to go back nearly 50 years to 1965/66 when we conceded 75 or 1.79 per game.
Our defensive vulnerability is not a recent occurrence and we are at our worst when we play away from home where the decline has been steady for the past nine seasons.
Here are the stats on our away goals against since 2003/4.
2003/4 = 12 GA, .63 Goals against per game.
2004/5 = 17 GA, .89 GPG
2005/6 = 18 GA, .95 GPG
2006/7 = 19 GA, 1.0 GPG
2007/8 = 20 GA, 1.05 GPG
2008/9 = 21 GA, 1.11 GPG
2009/10 = 26 GA, 1.37 GPG
2010/11 = 28 GA, 1.47 GPG
2011/12 = 32 GA, 1.68 GPG
It’s plain for all to see (even the statistical brass monkeys) that the erosion in our defensive capability is simply shocking – in my mind it cannot be defended.
In a nine year span we are conceding an average of 1.05 more goals against per game, 20 more goals in a season. It’s so easy to say – well if you take away the 8-2 at Man U and the 4-3 at Blackburn then it looks better – or that we were missing both our 1st and 2nd string fullbacks for X amount of games. But in my mind all of the excuses in the world do not account for the continuous year over year increase in our away goals against.
Our home record does not show the same steady increase in goals against but nevertheless it has gone from:
2003/04 = 14 GA, .74 GPG
2011/12 = 17 GA, .89 GPG
Many folks will hold Arsène Wenger accountable and that may hold more than a modicum of truth, after all it is his final responsibility as to who we buy, who we play, and what tactics we employ.
With Steve Bould being assigned as Arsène’s assistant be can but hope that he can stop the rot and bring back our stubborn defence’s of the 90’s. I certainly don’t advocate a return to the laborious 1-0 to the Arsenal but I certainly do advocate a return to a solid impenetrable back four along with a consistent/reliable goalkeeper. —–