Some Achievment

Over achieving, under achieving or just achieving?

“Arsenal only finished fourth because they beat the teams they should of beaten to get there” a great quote from Alan Shearer and one that says nothing but it got me thinking what have Arsenal achieved this season (if anything) in the Premier League? They have finished with three more points than last year, ten more goals, won the same amount of games, drawn more and so by default have lost less. Overall the figures show that Arsenal have had a better season than last even conceding fewer goals (12 in total in the PL).

So what does this say to us?

Have Arsenal over achieved? No, over achieving would be (to me anyhow) finishing on or above 80 points, have they under achieved nope, looking at the clubs above Arsenal you would expect at the start of the season to be there. So Arsenal have this season achieved, achieved stability, a base for the club with its rumoured freedom to pay more money to use as a springboard.

 Looking at the other top clubs – Manchester United after spending £48,000,000 on players in the summer have also achieved stability, yes I know they walked away with the premier league but looking at this and last season they won the same, drew the same, lost the same, scored three more goals and conceded ten more and finished with the same amount of points. If you compare Arsenal and Manchester United you would say they both balance out in achieving. The two teams who do not are Manchester City who have underachieved and Chelsea who although have on the difference from last season to this over achieved, you would say that they have also underachieved.

Manchester City after spending £54,000,000 won fewer, drew more and lost more games. They scored fewer goals, conceded a greater number of goals and finished with nine less points than last season. Meanwhile Chelsea won more, drew less and lost less this season scoring more goals and conceding fewer goals receiving eleven more points in the process. To do this Chelsea spent £92,000,000. To me a club that has spent the total they have over the past two seasons should not be beating Arsenal into third by the matter of two points. They should and Manchester City should  be looking at a minimum of eighty points a season.

That leaves Spurs, another team who have just achieved. They did get three more points by winning one more game and not losing it. They scored exactly the same but conceded five more goals and it did cost them £61,000,000 to do this.

What can we deduce from this for next season, not much? Will Manchester City with a new manager draw less games, which is what cost them this season? Will Manchester United drop from the constant level they have shown over the past two seasons with Moyes in charge? Will Chelsea with a new (ish) manager push on to where their spending should take them? and will Spurs keep Bale?

 But more importantly what will Arsenal do?

Can Wenger in possibly his last season at the club improve the club record next season?

Can he get the squad to turn ten draws into five and seven loses into five?

Looking at results this season and going back to the Shearer’s quote at the top to get to a 28, 5 & 5 record Arsenal needed to make five draws into wins-

Sunderbus, Stoke RFC, Fulham, Southampton and Aston Villa

And to make seven loses into five so any two from-

Chelsea, Norwich, Manchester United, Swansea, Manchester city, Chelsea and Spurs. If Arsenal can turn a couple of those losses into draws as well then that is how you win the league.

Can Arsenal do something next year in the league? Yes and not by over achieving but by beating who we should beat.


48 comments on “Some Achievment

  1. That is a very interesting article Stephen.
    My view is that 4th would be Par,if we had not had not been paying down the debt and had our best players poached.
    From now on I think 4th is where we should expect to finish.
    However,with Arsene at the helm we can reasonably hope for better ,and perhaps much better.
    I could not care less about the domestic cups.It would be a pleasant distracting ,but in no way is it a measure of the team or success.There are far to many variables involved.


  2. whats this shit about wenger;s last season ? noooooooooooooooooooo. put chains on his ankles. he is going nowhere. 🙂 stan dont be stupid.

    lets forget arsenal for a while. we did well, we surprised many and we shut many mouths too. lets laugh at city and lets laugh at them middleaged parasites at the bridge fawning over a portuguese peasant translator ,,”the chosen one special one ..the one who is ours” ..you see it is the bond between men that will bring jose back “home” not roman’s paychecks…its for the honour ..haha…

    we are done worrying. we just sit back now and laugh at the others…look around you..united got moyes ..city is thinking of getting pellgrini.hahhaaa..and mou will come and kneel in front of the russian that spit him in the face a few years ago ..


  3. Another good article from Stephen…As far as im concerned,i think its a minor miracle what Arsene and his team achieved this season .And i am convinced that great times are just around the corner.


  4. What an interesting piece, thanks!

    That analysis suggests we have every reason to be very optimistic….

    Do you suspect that Shearer et al., just don’t like Arsenal?


  5. That got my attention – it is good to see some original analysis and thoughtful comment on statistics and records season by season

    As for Shearer if he is still on the MotD sofa in August I am a banana


  6. hahahah arsenal truth : comments disabled due to maintenance…ahahha needless to say the poor spud couldnt cope with the likes of me and others mocking him to death…not only did he have to ban us he also shut his site down..brilliant.


  7. scalps george..scalps !


  8. bring me morgan…….


  9. Good article, Swales, though I tend to agree with PG.

    By the way, PG, heard you on the Fans’ Forum the other day. I thought what you said about Jack was very interesting. Two thoughts for your consideration – is it partly the position he is playing? Would it be better for him to play in the Diaby/Ramsey position, or even out wide, like Cazorla has been? Another bonus is that he might not get kicked quite so much. And secondly, is it down to lack of familiarity between the players?


  10. Re Shearer and Hansen et al – I remember a MOTD edition early in the season in which the plundits were asked by Colin Murray to predict the top four. All were unanimous in saying we’d miss out, to the benefit of Sp*rs, Colin Murray was mystified – he asked if they really thought that “the thing which never happens”, ie Arsenal dropping out of the top four, would happen. They were adamant that it would. Wishful thinking, clearly. And most said Liverpool were nailed on for top four (because they are a big club). Wishful thinking again.

    Good article on Untold Arsenal today:


  11. for losing 2 key players every season for 3 or 4 years in a row… it is quite and achievement…. nearer over than normal and certainly well above under achieving

    i am expecting all 1st teamers to stay and even if the additions are just returning loanees like campbell and denilson and bendtner, and promotion of gnabry, aneke, afobe and a few others, this team is set to go into full flow with an injury free wilshere and diaby no less!


  12. FunGunner.
    I think it is quite simply .Jack is not as good as Rosicky in the No,10 position.
    Perhaps because he is not yet as good as Rosicky? That would explain it.
    He is not as quick a passer and does not have the vision.But apart from Cesc,who at his age has? its not a criticism of Jack to say he is not yet the world class player that Tomas is.


  13. I think I recall seeing a recent post about the joy of educating a doomer – something similar happened to me yesterday after speaking with a colleague (my only footballing ally in a Spud/bindipper biased office) who, whilst not a full-on doomer but after months of petty whinges, actually concluded; “in the last few years, you could say we have actually over-achieved”. Heart-warming.

    A great Shearer quote would have been even better if he had said “should have beaten”!


  14. We have had this debate before but surely the 2012-13 season provided fresh evidence that expenditures on transfers is no guarantee of success. Chelsea’s net spend of £80M is surely a colossal failure, by finishing 14 points behind Man United whose net spend was a princely £54M. Shouldn’t there be a major inquest at Liverpool whose net spend was a stratospheric £50M to finish 7th at 61 points, falling two points behind neighbors Everton whose net spend was a miserly £2.5M. (Source:www.transfermarkt.co.uk)

    To me, it is the quality of the transfers not the quantity together with the quality of the management that it is the ingredient for success. This lessons seems lost to many gooners, who are so desperate for success they are demanding the club rush into the incipient bidding war between us and many deep-pocketed clubs for the few really talented players available this transfer season e.g. Jovetic. Just because you have a lot more money than last year does not mean you spend it foolishly like Chelsea and Liverpool.


  15. One of the weekend’s more priceless exhibitions was Shearer’s incontinent distress at our retaining our top 4 status. He really had persuaded himself . . . . .


  16. Nice one Stephen, Shearer is to be ignored at all times, he is to punditry what Israel is to skiing.


  17. I suppose 26 points from 10 consecutive matches is an admirable achievement by any standards.

    But what’s more remarkable in retrospect is the “ten Cup Finals” rhetoric which preceded it. There are times when having the best manager/coach in the world really goes make the difference.


  18. “goes” = “does”, but I expect you’d worked that out.


  19. @ pedantic george May 22, 2013 at 12:14 pm
    Yeah, could be. Frightening talent, but just has a bit to learn, I suppose.


  20. Yep, also heard George making sense on the Forum,his mate Az from Cardiff on the other hand?


  21. The big spending, nouveau riche idiots who came into our sport believing they could do better than legitimate football men like Wenger and Del Bosque must now fuck off back to their fiefdoms.

    As far as these idiots throwing around their filthy lucre, aren’t you glad Wenger was able to sell them the likes of Ade, half season wonder Nasri and Van Persie in order to finance our stadium?

    Shotta, how has Real Madrid profited from a decade of buying so called Galacticos and a managerial merry go round? They have become dominant in the Copa Del Rey, that’s what.

    Oh my, Hunter, this Arsenal Truth fellow is an absolute riot. Calling Wenger tactically inept and being jealous at Manure for scooping up Moyes? Holly crap, you couldn’t make this stuff up even if you took three tabs of acid.


  22. Food for thought today – thank you. In fact inspiration for tomorrow’s post so double thank you!


  23. @ G69
    Arsenal Truth, Arsenal News Review, Online Gooner and Le Grove are the ones for which I click on “hide publication” when I open newsnow arsenal. Just not worth bothering with. Ever.


  24. Looking forward to the post(s) steww!

    @ PG
    I hope you have plans to keep us from worrying the rug or gnawing the leg of the sofa for the next couple of months. We are going to need amusement to get us through the real news dearth and fake news blizzard.


  25. Gains69 @ 1:58 pm – It just amazes me that so many get caught up in the game of trying to outspend United, Chelsea, City, Madrid, Munich, PSG et al. Despite our increased revenues we are not in their league. We have to be smarter than them and more patient. As Stephen did in today’s blog, with a smart manager like Wenger we are getting closer, improving incrementally. Let us hope that 13-14 is our breakthrough year.


  26. In my opinion the gap between us and ManU is down to stability NOT player ability/quality. We had too many new players, some of whom didn’t speak English well, who were expected to to hit the ground running. Communication was a problem. Having the confidence to shout at your colleague during a game takes time. This may explain the downturn after the first international break. I never saw us outclassed by ANY opponent last season. We lost games through silly mistakes that are borne out of an fragile team morale.

    Trends are important. The run of eight wins from ten is a very important trend. This came about because of stability through increasing familiarity amongst the players. If this happened at all suggests it could have happened earlier in the season too – had there been the required stability. That trend was a Premier League WINNING run.

    I believe we have stability now. This is the basis for a new leaf in the history of Arsenal. We are on an upward curve, fellas. A few choice additions to the squad and I expect a major challenge on a number of fronts.


  27. Yes, very good points. Thanks Stephen!

    We can be very encouraged for next season. I don’t know, but you just get the feeling that the storm is over and that the players who are with the team are ready for the fight at hand. A supposed less talented team, has better stats across the board than last season and this team will only improve. I am excited for the future. I see us challenging for the title next season, there is just something about this team.


  28. Thanks @Swales1968

    I think another contributory factor to early the season stutters, a difference to last season, was that Santos wasn’t playing like the chap who rocked up against Marseille last season, with people (no guesses) blaming the manager after he got injured as he had contributed to last seasons growing confidence. So I disagree with GP above, I felt Arsenal were outclassed by Schalke* when they came and plucked away at Arsenal’s left without mercy. That was a hard game to watch! Schalke went on to sack their manager and I’m happy to guess that unrest was a factor in their drop in form. Walter writes over at Untold that Monreal was lined up for the Summer but his signing was brought forward, from our lofty perch up here in Castle Hindsight we can conclude that it was an important moment/decision. If only he hadn’t been cup tied for the Munchen Home game! FBs: they are important.

    *at the peak of their seasons form, whilst Arsenal were experiencing the inverse. Schalke had just spanked an experimental Dortmund team 4-0! I guess Klopp gave up on the title early on…


  29. What Georgaki said.

    I do believe that even without additions we will be challenging (if they come good). The fact is this new team, with many new players to the PL did go on this championship run apart from any new players. We also have players on loan and coming through the ranks that maybe able to add an extra something special. I hope so, there is nothing more pleasing to me than seeing someone already at Arsenal making an impact.


  30. Excellent post and some interesting points made. I too am optimistic about next season and while I always have been it has usually been on a level … “make the top 4?” – “yes, comfortably”. (OK, a little nervous shifting about this year as it turned out, which is not the most comfortable one might be, but nonetheless it is where I felt we would finish at the commencement of the season)

    This time however, I finish a seson even more optimistic than usual. I do not feel uneasy when I anticipate summer transfer activity. I feel for the first time in a while that we need not worry about a big name having to, or manipulating us into letting them, go.

    I disagree with George however – (shock horror) when he says he could not care less about the domestic cups. One of those domestic cups is THE FA Cup! it’s The FA Cup, George! From days when I was first aware of football, the FA Cup was THE Cup, THE Trophy. The Final was THE game that was talked about at school. It was THE game we knew we would all watch whoever was in it. We would all pick a Side and the following Monday at school those who had picked the side that ultimately lost would be the justifiable targets of those who had picked otherwise. Fortunately for me, I found Arsenal before my 10th Birthday and was able to detach myself somewhat from Final’s that did not include them. I still watched it tho’ (it was one of the few games of live football you’d see on TV.)

    I still watch it now whoever might be in it and, if possible, enjoy it even moreso than once I did. it is, after all, The FA Cup!.

    smiley winking face to George


  31. The Fuck All Cup ,as I like to call it


  32. We have had so many things going for us and lots of unexpected things against us so overall AW has always made us competitive but now he has less restrictions and is able to spend the money he will do wisely as always more upbeat for next season hopefully get new players in before the tour “Come on you Reds


  33. Spending doesn’t guarantee success. Real Madrid have the most expensively assembled squad with the highest wage bill in the world, with the “special” one managing it.
    Judicious strengthening and replacing those who leave, should serve us well for next season. It is well to remember it is a team game, with the emphasis on team, from the top down.
    I also like the FA cup, but prefer stability and incremental improvement. However we are not going to get those know it all pundits/journalists of our case until a cup of sorts is won, we may then get the respect we deserve, although I doubt it.


  34. Or, more accurately, the F**k-All-Unless-You-Win-It Cup.

    Don’t spoil the memories, George. My first conscious recollection of Arsenal is of listening on the wireless to the 1950 Cup Final. I remember the result vividly: we beat Liverpool 2-0. Just as well, since we only won 4 trophies in the next 38 years (and two of those were in 1971.)

    I can’t remember anything else about it, but Wiki tells me that Liverpool lost the game because they left out Bob Paisley, who had scored the winner for them in the Semi-Final. For anyone who wants to share the romance, this link should/might do it:


  35. I would never say no to an FA Cup win. But more for the fact it put an end to the media’s ‘drought’ bollocks and for the belief it might give to the squad going forward than for the silverware itself. Man Utd haven’t won one for a decade and I can’t imagine their fans are complaining.

    Our ambitions are greater than the domestic cups, and to realise those ambitions we have needed to prioritise our league finish and progression in Europe. The usual response to this is “why can’t we have have 4th AND a trophy??”, which is a nice thought but one that might not have been all that realistic. I think if we look at the recent winners or finalists of the FA Cup or League Cup, their league finishes often suffer because of their cup efforts. See Chelsea’s CL win coinciding with a 6th place finish, and Wigan’s FA Cup triumph with relegation. Arsenal have dealt in fine margins, none more so than this season, securing 4th by a single point. Progress against Blackburn and/or Bradford could well have cost us the two league points that would have consigned us to 5th, a loss of £30m and a much tougher summer.


  36. ‘sigh’ – but it’s the FA Cup George!


  37. I love the FA CUP.
    Fourth on my list. CL. Epl. Top four. FA cup. ( smiley face )


  38. @George 12:14 pm
    I think you are pretty much spot-on there. Many Arsenal supporters somehow assumed that the glimpses of world class talent we saw from Jack meant that he would develop in the same fashion Cesc had, but Cesc is a very unique talent in that regard. How many players become integral to the midfield of a top club at the age of 17 like Cesc did for us? Xavi become a regular first team player for Barca at 19, Iniesta at the age of 20.

    Jack has the talent to become a proper world class number 10 one day, but he has still to develop. As for playing him next to Arteta: no. His heart is right, but he neither has the work rate nor the defensive skills of Ramsey to justify inclusion ahead of Aaron in that position. However in games where Arteta isn’t playing and Ramsey drops deeper, I think it would be very interesting to see Jack and Aaron forming the base of our midfield together.


  39. Bang on, Stephen.

    I agree exactly with your post. 10-12 more points next season is hardly Mt. Everest for us considering we are pretty high up the mountain now.
    We let a few winable games out there at home this season: Fulham & Sunderland would have been won by our team if the were more settled in the early part of the season. And our results against the big boys have to improve if we are aiming higher. Beating chavs, €ity and manure are really 6 point games because its the only way to damage their league progress.


  40. I share the many concerns about Jack and how he fits in our midfield. He is an incredible talent but currently when he plays our midfield looks very unbalanced. Not defensive enough to replace Aaron in the double pivot (Arteta has a lock on the deeper position) and not good enough to play as a no. 10. This is a big challenge for the boss. In my opinion we need another experienced midfielder who can provide either spell Arteta or Rosicky.(Either/Or, no both).

    I may be wrong but that is my view for now.


  41. @ LeoS May 22, 2013 at 6:12 pm
    So right.
    and look at Newcastle, they put their league troubles down to their Europa League involvement – they didn’t have the squad.


  42. People live in the past.
    The FA cup is not a priority to the modern club.It is nothing more than a good day out.Well you can do that by booking a show and a meal.
    Our fantastic run in the league coincided with out exit from all other competitions.
    The game is so much more competitive it is all about small margins.
    Players used to play twice a week not problem,they tell you.Well the players used to snort coke,binge drink and live off fish and chips.Try doing that now and playing at the pace of the modern game.
    The only way you can really compete is to have a squad where 22 players are interchangeable with no reduction in standard.
    Also if you play the first 11 to a 3rd tier team,are they going to try their best? They will tell you yes,but in their heads they must think”why am I playing here?”
    Then there is literally the luck of the draw to contend with.


  43. Wilshere forces the issue at times and runs into dead ends. He needs to know when to ease up in order to keep options open, he will learn. He did give us an added punch when we really needed it though.


  44. Nobody lives in the past, George. Physical impossibility.

    Starting the Cup Final at 5:15pm indicates its relatively low priority in the great scheme of things.

    Still nice to win it, though. (And even better to remember winning it when it was high priority.)

    Not convinced that winning the FA Cup and achieving higher priority targets are mutually exclusive.


  45. Merlot,Winning what is somewhat of a lottery is unlikely to ever again be what it once was.
    Frankly I dont care if we never win another cup.competition.


  46. OK, George.

    But CL is something of a lottery – and I desperately care about us winning that. Forgive the cliché, but it’s the missing jewel in the crown.


  47. Gainsbourg69 May 22, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    “Holly crap, you couldn’t make this stuff up even if you took three tabs of acid.”

    according to my psychological evaluation of the subject i can safely say that his mom dropped him in a pool of acid like ovelix fell in one when young . that or 17 years of the bald eagle screwing the silly cockerel in any way possible must have taken its toll.


    simply brilliant.


  48. Morning all!

    I did say I would come and say hello George.

    Great post today.

    I would love the FA Cup, but probably not at the expense of top 4 – it is a tough call now.

    But the memories…. the cup double in ’93, beating ManUre in 2005…. Great days – you can’t tell me you wouldn’t love another one of those!


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