The #WengerOut brigade are fueling the fire after what Paul Scholes described as ‘a normal week for Arsenal fans’. A 6-0 hammering by Chelsea was followed by a 2-2 draw at home to relegation-threatened Swansea and suddenly Arsenal fans were more concerned about holding onto fourth than challenging for the title.
Or at least we thought.
Despite agreeing over breakfast this week that Man City were good value at 11/10 to beat Arsenal, the Power Tower contingent were blown away to see Arsenal fans on social media convinced that a win against City would haul Wenger’s side back into the title race – and it’s very possible. Plus they had stats to back it up.
This is how we responded to their claims:
‘Who cares that it’s City? The mighty Arsenal haven’t lost at home in the league since the opening day of the season.’
Yup. The way you made Gabby Agbonlahor look like the Brummie Maradona is a distant memory thanks to 10 wins in the next 14 games. You’ve beaten Liverpool 2-0 and held Everton, Chelsea and United to draws at the Emirates to boot.
Tuesday’s home draw against Championship-bound Swansea was a minor speed bump, but the 13/8 draw no bet might be a tempting punt as well as the draw at 12/5. Don’t let the fact that City have dropped just four points on the road since the start of November put you off.
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‘Forget the 6-3 thrashing by City in November or that 6-0 hammering last week, the Gunners have the best first half home defensive in the top flight.’
The best first half defensive record at home is a niche claim to fame but it’s spot on. Arsenal have conceded just three goals in the opening 45 minutes at the Emirates, keeping a clean sheet in the opening period in 79 per cent of your league games on home soil. Tuesday’s game against Swansea was actually the only time this season you have been losing at half-time in the Emirates.
47 per cent of the time Arsenal are winning at the break and 47 per cent of the time they’re drawing. It’s 6/5 that the teams are level at the oranges on Saturday night, and 11/4 that Arsenal have the lead at the end of the first half.
‘Everyone’s forgetting that Arsenal have lost just one of the last 28 league matches against City at home. It’s a banker.’
Outstandingly, the first half of that sentence is right. However it does massively overlook City’s comfortable 2-0 win there in January last year and City’s Carling Cup win at the Emirates in 2011.
The Gunners’ considerably better team back in the day did thump City regularly, but those victories spin this stat better than Shane Warne ever could. Someone could easily point out that Arsenal have won just one of the last five matches against City at the Emirates in all competition, but don’t let that stop you backing the Gunners at 5/2.
‘Look at the numbers! It’s clear that City are particularly rocky on the road.’
Hmm. Rocky is probably a bit much, although they are slightly weaker we’ll give you that. The number of goals they have scored drops to 31 compared to the 48 they’ve banged in at home and their shot accuracy also drops from 49 per cent to 44 per cent. That would probably be because the number of chances they have created at the Etihad – 223 – drops down to 178 on the road.
At the other end they have conceded twice as many away from home and are more prone to a defensive brainfart. In front of their own fans City have made six defensive errors with two leading directly to goals, but on the road they have made 14 defensive errors with seven leading directly to conceding!
Throw in the fact that Arsenal have won 40 per cent of their league home games 2-0 and the 20/1 correct score might have you tempted.
‘Arsenal are definitely going to beat ten-man City 2-0 then. That puts them right back in the title hunt. We’re going to win the double! IN WENGER WE TRUST.’
Sometimes people just can’t see sense. If you’re not an Arsenal fan, or you are one of the lesser-spotted Gunners without a completely bias view, City are 11/10 to win or a more tempting 11/4 to cover the one goal handicap.
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