It has, I must admit, taken a couple of days to gather my thoughts and take it all in. Arsenal winning 0-6 away from home. I mean when did I last see that?
In fact I can actually remember the last time we scored six away from home – 6-1 win in 2009, at David Moyes’ Everton! I remember the commentator saying how sad it was that so many veteran players had turned up for a special start of the season event and they had been let down by the team.
No mention of Arsenal’s brilliance that day.
But that one was a bit of a reminder as to how things can go, since we ended that season a poor fourth, with Everton some distance behind in an even poorer fifth position.
But it was interesting this time to think not just about what is going right at Arsenal (we really are coming good, right when it is important), but to think that the progress of last season is not going to waste.
Last season we averaged 2.32 goals a game. And 1.13 goals against per game. A goal difference of +1.19 goals a game.
This season it is 2.21 goals a game for and 0.92 goals against a game. That’s a goal difference of +1.29 goals a game.
In short, we are defending better than ever, and our goal difference is improving and the only bit of slippage there is, is that we are scoring 0.11 goals a game less.
Of course we want to make that up, and actually with Martinelli back in the team and the way that everyone is now moving around up front in order to mess with the heads of the opposition defenders, that seems to be working rather well.
But my biggest point is that there is progress. Yes I know we have slipped down the league slightly, and are third not second, but the achievements of the team are growing all the time.
Obviously, I want Arsenal to win the league through being in devastating form match after match, but I also keep in mind the fact that in the coming months Liverpool will lose their manager, and Manchester City’s legal case brought by the Premier League must come to an end, and hopefully something will happen.
I am not saying of course that I want Arsenal to win because of a points deduction to Manchester City – I want us to win on a straight points basis – but I want the competition to be equal, not biased by one club having infinite amounts of capital, and access to players in a dozen or so different clubs around the world.
We saw this season that Arsenal were not buying a new striker in the January window because of FFP restrictions – while that sort of thing does not seem to have affected Manchester City in the past. A level playing field will do me.
Meanwhile, that wonderful performance at the Taxpayers’ Stadium (so named after those of us who generously gave of our money in order to help West Ham along) should give Arsenal just the boost needed for upcoming fixtures.
According to my notes the next one is Burnley away on Saturday 17th.
Burnley have won one home game this season and scored 13 goals at Turf Moor. Arsenal have won seven away games and scored 23 goals on the road. That looks like at least a 2-0 to me. Maybe more.
Tony Attwood 12 February 2024