NO DEFENCE SINCE 2006 GOES THE CLAIM, BUT IS IT REALLY TRUE WHEN WE COMPARE GRAHAM/RIOCH TO WENGER? NO, AS THE STATS CONFIRM BELOW:
This has always been the claim, with Wenger’s defenders described as simply “dross” versus the legendary George Graham defence that Arsene Wenger inherited, so let’s take a closer look.
I used our official handbook 2018/19, to check the amount of goals conceded and, as a further interesting point, looked at where we finished and used that as an average for the league each year from when GG started his reign as manager. This would also show just how important the defence is when analysing final positions. After all, if we let in two hundred goals but finished first, would anyone care?
To make things even more interesting, I looked at AW’s first ten years versus his second ten years (referenced as A1 and A2) and added Bruce Rioch’s one season to GG’s nine to create another ten years for comparison, AND FOR THOSE OF YOU ALREADY SHOUTING FOUL, here are the facts for GG’s last year and BR’s one season:
GG = 49 GA & Final Position = 12th BR = 32 GA & Final Position = 5th – so, no stitch up just improved stats for GG, as confirmed further down and an equal playing field for comparisions.
So, the following three examples are what I uncovered and worked out using averages.
GG = 356 goals against/ Average= 35.6…Average Final Position=4.9…Worst final position 12th.
A1 = 334 goals against / Average= 33.4…Average Final Position=3.0…Worst final position 4th.
A2 = 386 goals against / Average= 38.6…Average Final Position=3.4…Worst final position 4th.
Now the ten years of GG’s record, shows a total of 356 goals let in, as we happily chanted “1-0 to The Arsenal”. I did it on the North Bank at Highbury and still do it at the Clock End at the Emirates, and I love it!!
The first ten years of A1 sees a total of 334 goals let in, along with exciting attacking football that saw this, along with the terrific defensive record take us to the top, including AW’s own assembled Invincible defence, and nothing to do with GG’s inherited back four of course.
The next ten years of our so called “no defence” sees a total of 386…certainly 30 more than GG’s figure, but a final positional figure from A2 that completely outshines GG’s record.
Also the claim that AW inherited GG’s watertight defence is completely false as, firstly, Rioch was able to improve it by seventeen goals and remember, after Wenger equalled that, he also improved the league position from GG’s final 12th, to BR’s 5th to, in his very first season, 3rd.
In fact, under the so called “genius of GG’s defences”, our lowest position of 12th (in the 1994/95 season) was recorded, and it was the worst since the 1975/76 season of 17th under Bertie Mee.
Now I include the complete figures for EVERY game under Graham, Rioch and Wenger below:
GG: Pld 507-Won 247 =48.7%- Drw 147=30.0%- Lst 113=22.3%- GF 778 =1.5 ave- GA440 =1.15 ave.
BR: Pld 47-Won 22 =46.8%- Drw 15 =32.0%- Lst 10 =21.2%- GF 67 =1.4 ave- GA37 =1.20 ave.
AW:Pld 1235 Won 716 =60.0%- Drw 266=21.6%- Lst 253=20.4%- GF 2298 =1.9ave- GA1227 =0.99 ave.
So, AW heads the list in all catagories, most wins, least draws, least defeats, most goals for and least goals conceded – tactically unaware? Perhaps it’s certain fans who should have that label?
We should look again at those “dross players” and/or those “defensive frailities” of AW’s so called tactically unaware times, especially when we analyse the days of the defensive maestro GG, so just how did AW1 & 2 achieve twenty top four finishes with no defensive tactics and dross defenders?
As a final insult to the chant of 1-0 to The Arsenal, GG averaged 10.3% with that score, while the score for AW was 10.6%….funny old game, but if one shouts a false opinion long and loud enough, it starts to become the truth – dross players or just wrong opinions?!?!
All the above facts (bar the 1-0 % for GG and AW above, that’s from youtube) can be checked via the official handbook 2018/19 of course and then averages worked out by individuals.