Arsenal: Is this Streak For Real?


Post Chelsea, in his usual wise manner the manager observed there is only 24-hours to savor a victory, even over a historic rival, after which it is time to focus on the hard work of winning the next game. See interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN7btWOQJ3g

In contrast with Arsene, now that Arsenal is on a 5 game unbeaten run of 4 wins and 1 draw, even seasoned Black Scarfists are trying to locate a seat on the bandwagon rapidly filling-up at various way stations.

Intuitively, as supporters we are happy with a winning streak. But Saturday’s victory have sparked the usual over exuberant headlines and tweets.

Bleacher report could hardly contain themselves:
Chelsea Have Become a Fugazi, and Being Humiliated by Arsenal Proves It

Our good colleagues at Suburban Gooners, like so many of us, crowed that:
Arsenal are getting their swagger back

Those of us, who are seasoned supporters of Arsenal Football Club and observers of the ebb and flow of emotion among fans, know that often this show of support is simply a desire to not to appear irrelevant while the team is winning. Once there is the inevitable setback, all teeth will be bared and the attack dogs will be let loose all over Wenger and the club in direct contradiction to the underlying trends.

So does a 5 game unbeaten streak suggest we are in anyway close to winning the title? As usual it is important to review the underlying historical data, never afraid to recognize that: “In the silent statistical world, there are no headlines. There are no narratives. No excuses. No hope and no despair. Just data.”

As in the stock market, when there is an increase in the share price of a company there are usually thousands of punters piling-in further bidding up the prices in the hope the market will soar upward infinitely, a similar pattern is observed when a football team is on a good run. Such is the reaction of our fickle, celebrity fans like Piers.This piling-in, in the words of my mentors, is often a case of “unjustifiable” sensationalism based on irrational expectations.

To counter such irrational emotions, my task is to research the historical data to help reveal where exactly Arsenal is positioned. Hopefully you my readers will draw the appropriate conclusions. Fortunately for us http://www.statto.com maintains several years of data on “Season Longest Win Streak” in the PL which we can apply to AFC. As usual I divide the data between the Highbury and Emirates eras.

Highbury Years

W D L CS FtS Lge Pos
1996-97 4 2 2 5 2 3
1997-98 10 2 2 8 3 1
1998-99 5 4 1 6 3 2
1999-00 8 1 2 2 1 2
2000-01 5 2 2 4 3 2
2001-02 13 2 1 4 0 1
2002-03 5 2 2 3 1 2
2003-04 9 3 0 2 1 1
2004-05 5 2 1 4 1 2
2005-06 4 2 3 5 3 4
Min 4 1 0 2 0
Max 13 4 3 8 3
Mean 7 2 2 4 2

In their pomp at at Highbury, during Arsene’s winning years, the club would go on some statistically significant winning streaks, i.e. they were substantially above the mean averages in Wins (W). The 2001-02 season, in particular, Arsenal went on a rampage of 13 Wins out of 16 games which was marred by only 2 draws and 1 loss. By doing so they clearly separated the men from the boys.

During that era it is evident that Draws (D), Losses (L), Clean Sheets (CS) and Failed to Score (FtS) data did not seem to have any statistical significance in winning the title so long as they were kept on or around the mean average. Even the 2003-04 season, which was important for serving up zero (0) losses all season, during our best 12-game stretch Arsenal could only maintain two (2) Clean Sheets.  Remember that fact when this season you read or hear pundits, bloggers and podcasters panicking when opponents occasionally breach Arsenal’s defense and score a goal. While it is important to keep clean sheets, the championship years demonstrated it is more critical to be on the front-foot and amass those Wins. Worrying about Clean Sheets is just another case of “unjustified” sensationalism which helps to induce fear among Arsenal fans.

Compare and contrast Highbury with the barren championship years at the Emirates.

Emirate Years
W D L CS FtS Lge Pos
2006-07 5 2 3 2 2 4
2007-08 7 4 1 2 1 3
2008-09 5 5 2 4 4 4
2009-10 6 1 2 2 2 3
2010-11 3 3 2 4 1 4
2011-12 7 3 3 2 2 3
2012-13 4 2 2 3 2 4
2013-14 5 2 1 4 1 4
2014-15 8 3 2 3 1 3
2015-16 5 2 2 3 3 2
Min 3 1 1 2 1
Max 8 5 3 4 4
Mean 6 3 2 3 2

Not surprisingly the various metrics for longest winning streak are inferior to the Highbury years. Interestingly, in those years when the club exceeded the 10-year average of 6-Wins in a streak, i.e. in 2007-08 and 2014-15, they were good value for coming 3rd.  In contrast, even though Arsenal came 2nd last season, it is clear and apparent why this generated very little excitement among many fans; in its best winning streak the club could only amass a below average 5 Wins in comparison to a 10-year average of 6-Ws.

The biggest takeaway from the data of the last 10 years at the Emirates has been the Club’s inability to achieve an above-average run of Wins, of similar magnitude to  10, 13 and 9 which characterized the title-winning years of 1997-98, 2001-02 and 2003-04 respectively. Until the current squad can reach those heights, unlike the opportunistic Mr. Morgan, we at Positively Arsenal should curb the over-exuberance and keep the champagne on ice.

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60 comments on “Arsenal: Is this Streak For Real?

  1. 1886 ‏@1886_blog 6m6 minutes ago
    MÖ has reportedly signed a long-term contract to stay at the club and will take the number 10.

    Fantastic news.


  2. Kaveh Solhekol ‏@SkyKaveh 43m43 minutes ago
    Lawyers acting for another high-profile manager believe they’ve stopped Daily Telegraph publishing story about him in tomorrow’s paper


  3. Mesut Özil has signed a new mega contract @Arsenal, according to @Karlo_Kolumna of @SPORTBILD. He’ll take Jack Wilshere’s number 10 shirt.


  4. phil . i . am ‏@AngryOfN5 5h5 hours ago
    The Premier League and Football League have had 1,027 changes of permanent manager since Arsene Wenger was appointed at Arsenal.

    if that stat is correct it means all the other 91 clubs have on average had 11 managers each


  5. Don’t think being called Allardici would have helped him after this, unless his chosen career choice was Cosa Nostra

    Liked by 1 person

  6. He won’t struggle to get his next job – probably better paid – nice little pay off – unlike the FA who haven’t a fucking clue who is next up

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Agree, Big Sam does what he does well, and a club in danger will come knocking around about Xmas, maybe even West Ham.
    But yes, the FA are a complete laughing stock.
    Think we all know who they want next , and they may , like the WOB hope he is available next summer, but somehow, I doubt it.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. The Telegraph ‏@Telegraph 47m47 minutes ago
    Premier League manager used Swiss bank account to receive bungs, according to agent recorded by reporters,
    English manager had players pay him £4k a month in exchange for £8k pay rises, agent tells undercover investigation


  9. Yes, seems more to come out in the Telegraph. Just wish they would name more, if they have this sort of info…..maybe they will or maybe they cannot?
    Think we could all come up with a list of the most likely candidates for this, but guess that in itself is unfair without names and proof. I remember Sam himself threatening to sue the BBC then doing nothing. Not the only high profile manager in conflict with the Beeb as we all know. There does seem a residual old school dodgy behaviour is ok if it bypasses the taxman. That and good old fashioned greed of course.
    But it adds context to why the seemingly clean Wenger will suddenly pull out of what’s believed to be a done deal, or will refuse to deal with certain agents.
    But I still cannot fathom how a man given the job he presumably ranks above all would risk it for a strangers offer of 400k. And even less can I understand giving him the job, BBC and other question marks. But he does leave with a good win record

    Liked by 3 people

  10. 100% Mandy, some kind of record!

    The very fact Sam felt so confident chasing the £400k despite being so handsomely rewarded by the FA suggests this kind of risk was not especially unusual for him …

    Your comment about Wenger suddenly withdrawing from transfer targets also makes a good deal of sense.

    Liked by 2 people

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