REALLY? WENGER’S LAST YEARS SAW A DEFENCE THAT LEAKED GOALS? THAT WAS THE CLAIM – LET’S SEE THE ACTUAL EVIDENCE.
Following on from my article that showed the “goals for” in Arsene Wenger’s second half of his tenure, had actually increased, rather than the false narrative claimed that they had decreased – I was asked to show the goals against, the number of games lost and the league positions during the same periods.
So, as per the usual recognised dates under discussion, I looked at the stats from 2008 onwards (you know, the quoted “lost decade”) and here are the results from the PL as per the 2018/19 Official Handbook:
2007/08 Goals against = 31 – Games lost = 3 League Position = 3
2008/09 Goals against = 68 – Games lost = 6 League Position = 4
2009/10 Goals against = 41 – Games lost = 9 League Position = 3
2010/11 Goals against = 43 – Games lost = 8 League Position = 4
2011/12 Goals against = 49 – Games lost = 10 League Position = 3
2012/13 Goals against = 37 – Games lost = 7 League Position = 4
2013/14 Goals against = 41 – Games lost = 7 League Position = 4
2014/15 Goals against = 36 – Games lost = 7 League Position = 3
2015/16 Goals against = 36 – Games lost = 7 League Position = 2
2016/17 Goals against = 44 – Games lost = 9 League Position = 5
2017/18 Goals against = 51 – Games lost = 13 League Position = 6
Average goals against = 43.3 Average Games lost = 7.8 Average League Position = 3.7
As before, I then showed the comparison between the two eleven seasons and here they are below:
1996/97 Goals against 32 Games lost = 8 League Position = 3
1997/98 Goals against 33 Games lost = 6 League Position = 1
1998/99 Goals against 17 Games lost = 4 League Position = 2
1999/00 Goals against 43 Games lost = 9 League Position = 2
2000/01 Goals against 38 Games lost = 8 League Position = 2
2001/02 Goals against 36 Games lost = 3 League Position = 1
2002/03 Goals against 42 Games lost = 6 League Position = 2
2003/04 Goals against 26 Games lost = 0 League Position = 1
2004/05 Goals against 36 Games lost = 5 League Position = 2
2005/06 Goals against 31 Games lost = 11 League Position = 4
2006/07 Goals against 35 Games lost = 8 League Position = 4
Average goals against = 33.5 Average Games lost = 6.2 Average League Position = 2.2
So, we can see quite clearly that the three averages (GA – Games lost – League Positions) bear out the facts that AW’s second tenure (as broken down) was better in every area, so what was the reasons?
Well, if we are to be completely fair in our assessments, there are some major facts that can go towards explaining this and here they are:
- The building of the Emirates.
- The need to sell our best players to help finance the building of said Emirates.
- The introduction of Stanley Kroenke.
- The sacking of David Dein.
- The Russian roubles buying Chelsea.
- The oil magnate buying City.
- The three PL wins, including our Invincible season, where of course we went unbeaten.
All of the seven above were major issues that affected our club in the second term under AW, as seen by some as the “barren years” or “the lost decade” and I really don’t think any sensible supporter or fan could argue with any of the seven points.
However, there is one area that Arsene was to blame and that was his failure to correct the defensive issues after 2008/09… or is it?
Take a look at the 12/13 – 14/15 – 1/16 seasons and compare them with the 99/00 – 00/01 – 02/03 seasons and you can see that the former three seasons saw a total of 109 goals against us, compared with 123 for the three latter seasons!!!
In fact, if we take away the last two Wenger years, where a total of 95 goals were scored against us, you will see quite a different picture emerging.
HOWEVER, this is not a! whitewashing” of Arsene Wenger’s defensive tactics and we only have to look at some of the players he brought in to try and improve on his Invincible defence. Players like:
Almunia, Djourou, Fabianski, Eboue, Frimpong, Jenkins, Kolasinac, Luzhny, Mustafi, Senderos, Silvestre, Squillaci, Vivas, R. Wright, to name some of the players who, while I supported them when they were wearing our shirt, they were not of the calibre of the Invincibles or GG’s defensive team.
Honest, hardworking players who have been branded as “dross” and I think that is such an awful thing to say about any of our players – not up to the standards required, but never “dross”.
Not only that, but he also seemed to ignore defensive midfield players, when we were used to the likes of Parlour, Petit, Gilberto and Vieira – although it had to be nigh on impossible to replace the last two.
We had some very good defensive midfield players, Song, Flamini for example, but Arsene never really got to grips with the defensive side of his team after creating the Invincibles – but I guess that is why there has only been one Invincible team in over a century!!!
I sat through many of the games when we were completely overwhelmed at the back and that has to be down to Arsene Wenger and the players he brought in to do that job.
Finally, my good friend Phil (who I am sure will come up with other names I have missed) said that Arsene inherited “one of the finest defences ever assembled in English football” and those of us lucky enough to have seen GG’s perfectly drilled defence of Seaman. Dixon, Adams, Bould and Winterburn, would agree 100%…however and to just show that circumstances can effect even that formidable back five, in the season 94/95, we let in 49 goals and lost 17 games and finished 12th in the league.
We must also remember that it was Arsene Wenger’s defence of Lehman, Lauren, Touré, Campbell and Cole that made up the Invincibles – surely, they were THE finest defence ever assembled in English football, simply because they were part of the said Invincible team?!?!
All facts from (Yes I know!!!) The Official Handbook 2018/19 – No spinning whatsoever!!!