Is the ‘Parked Bus’ an Exaggerated Problem?

April 26, 2016

Extract from GIE comment

So next season, what should we expect? What do we need? Do we actually need to take a few steps backwards to go forward?

Firstly we need more goals from midfield, plus more goals from wide and up top. I reckon you need 3/4 very good to great players to have a consistently great season, so we need to be looking at Kozzer, Jack, Ozil and Alexis to offer that.

But the going backwards bit? Well we need to stop committing men forward and leaving ourselves open, I think that will lead to a lot of 0-0’s but may encourage teams to start coming out of their bus formation more?


Is the parked bus as big an issue as we make out? I suppose when it works against us it’s usually a smaller team that’s doing it and the result of a draw or defeat to these sides sticks in our minds more than a similar result to a Man City or Chelsea.

I’m going to suggest that it’s mainly an issue for home fixtures, as when we play away teams tend to have more of a go, and it’s us that plays on the counter. So let’s look at the results table from the last 2 seasons and see how many times we have been caught out?


Chelsea 0-0
United 1-2
City 2-2
Sunderland 0-0
Swansea 0-2
Spurs 1-1
Hull 2-2


Chelsea 0-1
Palace 1-1
Liverpool 0-0
Southampton 0-0
Swansea 1-2
Spurs 1-1
West Ham 0-2

So out of 38 home games we’ve gained 81/114 points. That means we’ve dropped 33 points:

Swansea 6
Chelsea 5
Spurs 4
United 3
West Ham 3
Liverpool 2
Palace 2
Southampton 2
City 2
Sunderland 2
Hull 2

21 of the points were lost against Chelsea, United, City, Liverpool, Spurs, West Ham and Southampton. Whilst not great results they are not exactly lost to teams parking the bus. These are all very capable, top half teams. So that means in the last 2 seasons only 12 points have been lost at home to ‘small’ teams bringing a bus:

Swansea 6
Palace 2
Sunderland 2
Hull 2

Now rather than us changing tactics, if we just defend better and stop conceding stupid goals, as suggested by GIE yesterday, then we could easily have saved points. In fact, if we’d conceded 1 less goal in each of the 14 games we’d be 13 points better off!

So in conclusion, I don’t think the parked bus is as much of an issue as we think but we cause the problem ourselves. Its not tactics that need to change, but maybe the mentality of the players. Sometimes it’s better to make sure you don’t concede than it is to push for a goal and leave yourself wide open to counters. As GIE said, it may lead to more draws, but it may also encourage teams to come out a little bit and give us the opportunities to score without as much risk of losing valuable points.

The problem? How do you think Arsenal fans would react if we were drawing 0-0 with 10 minutes to go against a side like Sunderland and we were probing for gaps rather than pushing everyone forward to find a winner? I suppose it all comes down to one thing, balance.

If we start to concentrate on clean sheets rather than winning games though, are we not one step away from becoming a side that Jose Mourinho could manage!? *shudder*

Written by fgg