Arsenal FC – Why is our away form so poor?

February 8, 2019

GN5’s post yesterday reminded us of our dreadful away form last season, especially in the 2018 calendar year to May when it took that final day of the season victory over Huddersfield to break our duck. Anyway, this set in motion a train of thought about how long our away form has been in decline.

Away games only since 2010

As you can see from the above, our away form ranking was fairly high earlier in the decade; higher in fact than our final League position in many cases. Season 2015/16 was the odd ‘Leicester as champions’ season and our away form ranking was one position lower than our final League position (thanks to the spuds coming third in a two-horse race). 🙂

In season 2016/7 we got pipped to the 4th Champions League place by Liverpool by only one point, came 5th and our away form ranking was 6th.

Joined in August 2016

Last season the slide really began. Finishing in 6th, our away form was disastrous. We ended up 11th best in terms of away form, winning just the 4 games (including that final day win at Huddersfield).

The current season is only 66% complete and we have faced most of the top teams away from home already – so perhaps it is much too early to judge if there’s been an improvement. We currently have a ranking of 9th in terms of away form (having decent home form has kept us in the top 6).

Our points per game averages this season stand at 2.46 at home and 1.25 away, a difference of +1.21 which is the highest in the Premier League (the pesky spuds have the best away form and have actually won more points away than at home – largely thanks to dubious penalties and goals in Fergie time, it has to be said).

Our goals conceded this season stand at 36 with 25 of those coming while on the road, a percentage of 69% – again the highest proportion of away goals in the Premier League.

When Unai Emery joined the Club, he must have looked at last season’s results with dismay. Our away form needed sorting and goals conceded column reducing (though I’m sure Micky will disagree with the latter). Shoring up the defence, getting us to actually defend as a team and plugging the large gaps left for opponents to exploit on the counter (especially behind the full backs),  all must have been priorities.

Some might say that results this season are relatively unimportant as the new manager strives to get the team playing in a new style to his own liking and there is some truth in that suggestion. Unai has tried 4 at the back and a back three with wing backs with varying degrees of success.

It’s true also, that some of these changes have been prompted by our horrendous luck with injuries, Rob Holding really was looking like our number one centre back and with Nacho injured, the Wardrobe at wing back gives us far more confidence than him playing as left back in a four. The double pivot of Xhaka and Terrier appeared to be a successful pairing which was then curiously amended to push our Uruguayan further forward and wider. The need to make early subs at half time has suggested Senor Emery is still trying to find the right formula for a longer term strategy and that he will still make some errors of selection as he beds in.

Our remaining away games this season …..

Huddersfield … 9th February

Spuds …  2nd March (now confirmed as a Wembley fixture)

Wolves … 16th March

Everton …  6th April

Watford …  13th April

Leicester …  27th April

Burnley …   12th May

Perhaps we’ll see a steady improvement in the last 7 away matches and exploit our ‘relatively easy’ run-in. Then again, those West Ham and Southampton defeats are still fresh in the mind. The game at the London Stadium possibly our worst away performance of the season. Perhaps our best performance came at Fulham when a Harlem Globetrotters style exhibition produced magnificent entertainment.

Anyhow, what do you think? What has caused this apparent fragility away from the Emirates?

Will we see our defence start to gel as injured players return and partnerships have a chance to develop, promoting far greater solidity away from home?

Or do we just need to score more at the other end ?  Creating more chances against Huddersfield tomorrow might be a good place to start.

chas


Arsenal FC – Our away record against Huddersfield Town

February 7, 2019

Huddersfield entered the Football League in 1910, three years after they were founded. To stave off a proposed merger with Leeds in 1919 citizens of Huddersfield were asked to buy shares in the club for £1 each. They went on to reach the 1920 FA Cup Final and win promotion to Division One.

Under the leadership of Herbert Chapman and Cecil Potter they became the first English team to win three successive league titles 1924, 1925 & 1926 – a feat that only three other clubs (Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United) have achieved. Their largest home attendance was 67,037 against Arsenal in a FA Cup game on 27 February 1932.

Leeds Road, Huddersfield, Town v Arsenal FA cup 1/4 final 1932. 67,037 fans!

Honours

First Division (top tier)
Champions (3): 1923–24, 1924–25, 1925–26

Second Division (second tier)
Champions (1): 1969–70

Third Division (third tier)
Promoted: 1982–83
Play-offs Winners: 1995, 2012

Fourth Division (fourth tier)
Champions (1): 1979–80
Play-offs Winners: 2004

FA Cup
Winners (1): 1922

FA Charity Shield
Winners (1): 1922

The last time we lost away to Huddersfield was on January 16th, 1971. In fact since 1938, we have only lost two away games.

Huddersfield 0 Arsenal 1 in April 1955 at Leeds Road. Derek Tapscott shoots for goal

 

Our only away game against the Terriers in the Premier League just so happened to be Arsene’s final game in charge. Rather shamefully it was to be our first away win of 2018. Auba scored the only goal after some fine interplay between Lacazette and Ramsey.

Without Dr. Wagner to worry about, I expect nothing less than a resounding victory, but I’m often wrong.

GunnerN5


The Deadwood Stage

February 6, 2019

Whip-crack-away!!  You have to be seriously old or a Doris Day fan  (in which case you are gay) to get that reference.

We are desperate for a clean out.

No CGI here …

We were under Mr Wenger and I thought we had sorted out the problems with the departure of Gibbo, Little Jack, Santi, Perez, Chuka, Ospina, Campbell and Per, plus another couple of loan. It appeared that UE’s squad was packed with pure quality. I was wrong, we still have players who are simply not good enough.

We can all write our lists and I guess many will differ but there are some names which will feature for everyone

Mustafi, Elneny, Lichtenstein, Jenkinson are the most popular candidates for the Spanish Archer.. Welbz and Ramsey are already gone as is Petr. That makes 7. I would add Mhki and Ozil (it is criminal to waste his talent). So, 9 out, a massive reduction of our squad.

Some may add Xhaka but I think he is an excellent squad player and back up to a proper midfield lynchpin.

It will not be easy to sell players with long contracts and very high wages. Why should they leave and take a pay cut? Will AFC pay a percentage of their wages to get shot?

Or should Mr. Emery  allow for natural wastage through age and contract run-downs  moulding the remaining players to his masterplan? Given our financial situation this seems the most likely route. We have some potentially excellent players coming through the ranks – Nelson, AMN (Cons), Smith Rowe (Lab), Willock m Mavropanos (Young Greek Bloke henceforth known as YGB) etc and it is important to highlight just how young some of our regular starters are – Curly is 19, Terrier 22, Hector 23, Iwobi 22, Holding 23. These are the chaps to build the squad around.

I always thought that Mr Wenger was too loyal to his players, keeping them in the squad when they were past their best. By doing so he did not bring fresh blood into the club. As with Mr Emery, “he can only pick from the players he has available – get rid of the deadwood and they cannot be picked” (Homer Simpson)

I think we need an aggressive clearance sale. Then buy a proper CB, 2 LB’s, RB an attacking MF and a winger. Is this likely? Sadly not.

Make mine a Sasparilla.

written by BR


What does the club you most dislike say about you?

February 5, 2019

Every supporter of every club has the local derby thing, so as Gunners, let’s remove the Totnum lot from the discussion.

In most people’s sights are the team that were our closest rivals during the few periods in our history that we were the dominant club.  Therefore I’m sure back 1934 there were a few Sunderland haters 🙂

We can probably pin you down by your age. Leeds Haters: you’re 60+ aren’t you? I could go on. Through to Pool, then on to the United lot, but you get my drift.

More recently, we have the oil money haters. I’m always a little uneasy about this group of two as you open an ethical can of worms that goes down the rabbit hole of sponsors/owners etc, and simply that we, The Arsenal, are a major part of the whole obscene money merry-go-round.

Ok, that’s about it for a quick conversation starter. What I’d love to unearth is an Arsenal fan who hates a Grimsby or Bolton with every fibre in their body 🙂

Mickydidit89

Predictable at the Emptihad – Player Ratings

February 4, 2019

No Mesut, no Rambo – what’s the point of two top class strikers with no-one to feed them then?

First Half

Wobbly dithered and we were one down in the opening seconds of the match.

However, there followed a period of commendable effort from the whole team and the equaliser gave everyone a boost. We even looked as though we might sneak something.

The offside second put the kibosh on a positive half time talk.

Second Half

Zero efforts on goal. Hmmm.

Hand of Sergio third goal.

Arsenal flat-lined.

Conclusion

Not as bad a scoreline as it might have been and at least City cut the dippers’ lead, albeit temporarly (maybe).

Nobody’s expectations were very high for the game and at least we had over half an hour on level terms.

Ratings

Leno – good second half … 7

Lichtsteiner – just not up to it … 4

Mustafi – injured – good or bad? … 4

Koscielny – a goal stooping when Lukaku’s size 12s  must have been fresh in his mind … 6

Monreal – part of the mediocre nature of the team performance … 5

Kolasinac – not much to say … 5

Torreira – will be hoping his second season is in a better team … 6

Guendouzi – such a willing lad – shame he had little support … 7

Iwobi – such a bad start, never really recovered … 4

Lacazette – tried hard again … 6

Aubameyang – no service … 5

Subs

Suarez – a debut of microscopic proportions – best forgotten all round … 5

Ramsey – no effect on a poor second half whatsoever … 5

Mavropanos – A fit centre back – Hooray … 6

Managers

Emery – a hiding to nothing game in most senses – if we’d played a more attacking line up and got more severely thrashed, there would have been just as many complaining … 5

Pep Wagner – could he do it without the half a billion pounds budget? – not in the same way, that’s for certain … 6


Don’t Look Back in Anger

February 3, 2019

Today we enter the Lion’s Den, the Roman Coliseum. Those lions will hungry after the defeat to the Barcodes etc etc.  NO. It is just a football game with 3 paltry points on offer. Win or lose, we will still finish in the Top 6.

Here’s a question … Many state that Pep Wagner is the best manager in world football. Certainly his wages reflect his reputation. I ask this – If Pep managed Huddersfield would they be any better? My answer is No.

Pep is considered a genius because he works with the very best players. Silk purse out of a sow’s ear comes to mind.. Ask Pep to manage Huddersfield and he MAY do better than the real Mr. Wagner but I doubt it.

And that is why City go into the game as such firm favourites – they have better players than us in almost every position (I rate our front 2 higher), of course they are favourites.

I could write extensively about the damage caused by Abramovich and the Oilers, but this is not the time. The fact remains however, that unlike MC, we cannot afford to spend €50m+ p.p. on a our reserves. They can and do.

Just imagine having the luxury of 3 wingers at the standard of Sterling, Mane and Mahrez. We haven’t even got a winger!

We have to look at Licht or Jenks as our RB back up and that says it all.

But it is not all gloom and doom, we have some fine players and we can beat quality teams, sadly not away from home though we would have beaten the Chavs at the Bridge but for wayward finishing. A couple of lethal strikes today could see us win this afternoon (unlikely as it seems).

Ozil starting? Hardly likely. I expect Mr. Emery to PTB and hope our lightning fast strike force can score on the counter; for this reason, I would use Iwobi. Back 3. Ramsey, Wardrobe, AMN.

Suarez? Possibly a bench place. More likely a start at Bate. in the EL.

As a child I was a committed Subbuteo player, even played in a local league and when not playing as Arsenal I had Man City as my second team. I guess it was the Mercer connection or perhaps it was my fave player, Colin Bell

This is sacrilegious so please excuse me – I would take losing 3 points at Maine Road in order to help City beat the Scouse to the title. Or heaven forbid, Spurs 😱😱

COYRRG

 


Arsenal FC – Our away record against Man City

February 2, 2019

The club City was founded in 1880; 139 years ago as St. Mark’s (West Gorton).

And on 16 April 1894; 124 years it became Manchester City (It was re-branded in 2008 as the Manchester Oilers)

They won their first major honour with the FA Cup in 1904. The club won the First Division title for the first time in 1937, but were relegated the following season, despite scoring more goals than any other team in the division.

Maine Road in 1934, the year City had a record home attendance of 84,569

Inspired by a tactical system known as the Revie Plan they reached consecutive FA Cup finals in 1955 and 1956, they lost in 1955 to Newcastle United but they won the second the 1956 final, in which they beat Birmingham City 3–1. It is one of the most famous finals of all-time, and is remembered for City goalkeeper Bert Trautmann continuing to play on after unknowingly breaking his neck.

They had a period of success in the late 1960s, winning the League, FA Cup and League Cup under the management of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison. After losing the 1981 FA Cup Final, the club went through a period of decline, culminating in relegation to the third tier of English football. In reviewing the history of their excursions through the various divisions of English football it became apparent that in order to detail them I would need to write a book – instead I created a spreadsheet (surprise, surprise).

Manchester City’s revenue was the fifth highest of any football club in the world in the 2017–18 season at €527.7 million. In 2018, Forbes estimated the club was the fifth most valuable in the world at $2.47 billion.

It’s interesting to note that our EPL away record prior to City being purchased by the Abu Dhabi United group was W 8, D 1, L 1, GF 19, GA 5, – since the takeover it has been W 3, D 2, L 6, GF 18, GA 23

I guess greasy money does talk.

Our last away win at The City of Manchester Stadium (Eitihad) was on January 18, 2015, and we have only 2 victories in our last 10 visits; but in their last 8 games they have lost against Crystal Palace at home and to Leicester City and Newcastle away.

Memorable wins in Manchester

Wednesday, 11th April 2001 Man City 0 Arsenal 4

Four goals in the first 35 minutes blasted City away. Arsenal rested Tony Adams, Lee Dixon, Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira and Silvinho and handed a first start to the Brazilian midfielder Edu but were much too strong for a pre-money days City side. A brace from Freddie and goals from Wiltord and Kanu made the last hour of the game academic.

Photo by Mike Egerton/EMPICS via Getty Images

Saturday, 22nd February 2003 Man City 1 Arsenal 5

Even better than two seasons earlier, Arsenal were 4 up in the first 18 minutes. Bergkamp, Pires and Henry in their pomp meant that Arsenal cruised to victory. Keegan, the City manager and Anelka, the Arsenal reject, were not happy bunnies.

Sunday 24th October 2010 – Man City 0 Arsenal 3

The early dismissal of City’s Boyata after a last man foul on Chamakh gave Arsenal a massive advantage. A goal a-piece for Lord Bendtner, Alex Song and the FFBW disposed of City and we could even afford for Cesc to miss a penalty, too.

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The light blue oilers must be stinging from the Newcastle loss which may well work against us but if our wounded defensive warriors can band together, all is possible.

GunnerN5


What does February hold in store for Emery’s Arsenal?

February 1, 2019

So, a new month and a peculiar one at that. Six games in three distinct sections await The Arsenal; two away Prem games, followed by the Europa home and away against Bate in the Europa and finished off with two home games in 4 days.

This February’s fixtures kick off with (along with the dippers at Anfield) possibly the hardest fixture of the season, the Champions away from home at the Emptihad. The season kicked off with the light blue oilers beating us at home when everything about The Arsenal seemed unfamiliar after 22 years of Arsene. We were outplayed but not humiliated.

We need to beware for Sunday’s game as they will be smarting from their defeat at the hands of the barcodes on Tuesday. Still, we won there in 2015 when Santi bossed their midfield; his penalty plus a headed goal from FFS-G giving us a 2-0 victory, so who knows what might happen this time around.

I really dislike waiting around all weekend to see us play in a 4.30pm Sunday kick off.

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

On Saturday February 9th we’re away again at Huddersfield and it’s at a proper kick off time of 3pm. Wagner’s boys will be hoping to improve on their record of 11 points from 24 games which has earned them bottom place in the table. They’re yet to experience a ‘bounce effect’ from having a new guy at the helm, losing narrowly to Everton in midweek. The Terriers have Chelsea away on Saturday, so let’s hope it comes then rather than when we visit the week after.

On Thursday 14th we go to Belarus for the away leg of our round of 32 game against Bate Borisov. The temperature there is ok at the moment. We beat them 10-2 on aggregate (4-2 in the away leg) when we played them in the group stage in 2017 but there should be no room for complacency.

Before the return leg on 21st Feb we have a free weekend with us not being in the 5th round of the FA Cup. Hopefully the home tie will not require too many heroics to secure our passage into the next round of the Europa.

n.b. both Bate games are 17:55pm kick offs – an early kick off at the Emirates is a peculiarity caused by the chavs being at home on the same night (I think)

The following Sunday, the 24th, has us at home to Southampton (kick off 2:05pm). I’m off down to the Smoke with Ant on the train for that one. Veganuary has gone very well and I’m definitely going to carry it on. Ideas for our vegan pack up are taking shape already! Samosas and onion bhajis will probably feature in place of sausage rolls and pork pies. I hope Ant’s looking forward to it. 🙂

Our final game of the month is 4 days later on Wednesday the 27th at home to Bournemouth. Thank Dennis it’s not at Dean Court as that’s never an easy place to go ……… ask Chelsea. Hahahaha.

So in summary, we have three away games spread over 12 days starting on Sunday, an enforced FA Cup weekend off, followed by three home fixtures in the space of a week. An odd little selection.

The new spud stadium is just waiting for us to write some more history there

Looking at the fixture list on AFC.com, early March has us away at the spuds and the venue listed is the Totteringham Hotspurs Stadium – it’ll be interesting to see if that’s where it’s actually played.

chas