Three Games Without Conceding? So What? My Expectations Are Higher

Already I’m bored by the stat that we are the only team who has not yet conceded a goal in all the four divisions of English football. For a start everyone below the Premier League has played four games, so they’ve had an extra chance to concede. I don’t know whether any hadn’t conceded after three, but it wouldn’t surprise me. It’s not that unusual for a team to go three games without conceding, so it hardly seems worth shouting about. Secondly, Chelsea have conceded two, but I’d much rather be in their position. And thirdly, this is just another ridiculous use of stats in football for a wholly inappropriate purpose. If we go ten games without conceding that will be worth talking about. If we were winning every game without conceding, that would be worth talking about.

But three games, two of which were draws against sides that are never, repeat NEVER likely to win the Premier League, and a win against a team that’s also never likely to win the Premier League, well, it’s not the Invincibles yet, is it? I bet if you pick any random three game stretch from any part of last season there will be at least one team that hasn’t conceded during it, which I’m sure a few of the relevant team’s fans noticed at the time without tweeting it to all and sundry.

Of course I realise that just by pointing this out I will be called ‘negative’ and ‘depressing’ and all kinds of other ridiculous epithets. Well sorry, but I have higher expectations than to think that a mere three games in a row without a goal against is anything other than a quirk of the fixture list, and to paint Steve Bould as the saviour of Arsenal on the basis of three games is plain daft. I’m sure Bould is doing great work, but really, we need to look a little bit wider than just three games before we leap to conclusions. This is one thing the Arsenal Board are always better at than a lot of fans: no knee-jerk reactions from them, no deciding on the basis of a couple of games that everything is either great or crap; they, like Arsène, takes a look at the bigger picture, and all fans should do the same. (Cue more mindless abuse for pointing that out.)

I got a small taste yesterday of how some journalists must feel. I wrote what I thought were a few fairly well balanced thoughts about Liverpool v Arsenal, and while quite a few people agreed with me that it was daft to get carried away just yet, mistakes were still being made, we weren’t exactly up against the cream of the league yet etc etc, a number of others had a go for because I was not full of unreserved (and indeed undeserved) praise for everyone in the famous purple and black at Anfield. It’s probably the same sort of people who have a go at journalists for pointing out Arsenal haven’t won a trophy in seven years, but never point out that Spurs haven’t won the League since the dark ages, or never point out that Fulham have won the square root of sod all for their entire existence. Expectations, people! They are different for different clubs.

I expect Arsenal to be at least challenging for the title each year, because of the resources they have. I don’t expect to win it each year, but I do expect to challenge. Man Utd fans – the ones with any commonsense – no doubt feel the same. Liverpool fans used to; they may not quite so much any more. Chelsea and Man City fans do, but I’m hoping they get a shock with FFP.

It’s useful to note why we are in this position, with this level of expectations – sitting at the top table of English football. It’s the result of a set of circumstances that can be traced back to Henry Norris and Herbert Chapman: since they were in charge Arsenal have been a big, well-supported club. Not only that, but we are fortunate to be in London, the money magnet capital, and we had a Board who saw the need for a new stadium and did something about it before it was too late.

Sadly that Board – Fiszman and Dein, basically – are now gone and we’re left with a bumbling Chairman, a silent owner and a CEO stuck in the middle with no power. Not to mention a great manager whose motives and motivations seem to have become increasingly obscure and opaque. We’re also presented with transfer window profits and expected to believe that everyone at Arsenal really wanted to spend that pile of cash they’re sitting on, but it simply wasn’t possible.

I seem to have wandered off my original point on the three games without conceding – or have I? I guess it’s all about expectations and where those expectations have come from. I know what my expectations of Arsenal are and I know why they’re at that level. That doesn’t make me negative, miserable or depressing. What are your expectations?

Follow me on Twitter: @AngryOfN5


37 thoughts on “Three Games Without Conceding? So What? My Expectations Are Higher

  1. the invincibles drew a good few games. Can’t believe this article, arsenal look really good and tight and are scoring goals after just two games to gel as a new squad and your just ripping the piss out of the club. If your going to be at this carry on just support manchester city or malaga – ther going down the tubes because of money problems and they are as big a club as ours.

    • Ha ha, I knew it. I’m sure there will be more like this too.

      And Malaga, as big as Arsenal? I could go to town on that statement, but I’m sure everyone else can see the truth of it.

  2. My expectations are reasonably similar to yours. The boys did fine at the weekend, but were outplayed for the first 30 mins at least. On another day we could have conceded 2 penalties against liverpool. Stoke had a goal ruled out for offside which was the right call but was close. Sunderland went close to scoring too. We are good, possibly better than last year, but we are not great.

    Most fans needs some balance in their lives. Are we going to win the league? Doubt it. Will we win a cup? There is a possibility but we have no rights to them and there are some good teams to overcome. Will we finish top 4? Possibly, maybe even probably but that depends a lot on luck as well as good management and good play.

    Should we expect trophies? No. There are too many clubs out there who are spending much more than us and therefore have better teams. But we will have a chance, which is more than you can say for most teams.

    Should we expect the club to lose money in the pursuit of trophies? No, I don’t think we could ever compete with Man City, Chelsea, Paris St Germain, Barcalona, Madrid or Anzhi and the likelihood is that would be that we would break the club trying (see Rangers, Leeds, Portsmouth [Liverpool?]).

    Should we expect to be happy after winning at Liverpool? Hell yeah! Cheer up Mate, its nice to win.

    • Thank you, er ‘Slug’.
      And don’t worry, I was and am perfectly cheerful about the victory on Sunday. There was much rejoicing in my household.

  3. You are completely mistaken when you talk about the previous board. Dein did not want to build a new Stadium and Fiszman did. That is the rift that saw Dein leaving the club.

    • I think there was more to it than that when Dein got the boot, but either way Dein had more vision than the current lot. That was my possibly badly put point.

    • I believe the rift that made Dein leave is that Dein wanted outside investment like Chelsea and Man City, hence why he is close to Usmanov

      • The fact that Dein didn’t want the new stadium, and the fact he likes Usmanov may come as a surprise to uninformed fans. Maybe Dein shouldn’t be so revered?
        Note: posed as a question, not a statement.
        Although, personally, I loved the old Art Deco stadium but we simply had to move, and I’m a happy bunny regarding that situation. I also don’t want Usmanov at the club. My own view of Sein therefore has altered re the two above points.

  4. Sorry, should Arsenal have not conceded in 4 games, even though they have played only 3? Give them a break mate, we kick them when they are poor, but defensively so far they have been good so give them abit of praise. Last year we let in 49 goals, if that comes down, we’ll be in good shape.

    I’m not claiming its any more than it is, 3 clean sheets, but its a start. some people are never happy.

  5. Do you actually support your club or just see it as a target for moans, groans and ill-founded criticism….yes, you think you support the club but you are so,so wrong….try following the Arse for 58 years then you’ll realise what it really means…

  6. Do you think this team can emulate 2003/04 invincible team? I don’t think so. Remember for team to reach that level they must have 3 common (1) They must have stay long together like Barca (2) They must have a no nonsense leader like Capt Viera and (3) They must have a strong bench like the current Man City. I guess Arsenal invincible team had all it takes to reach that stage. Rem our bench was filled with deadly and Lethal players who can came and salvage the team any time any how. Rem Wiltord, Kanu, Lyumberg,Reyes not to mention 1st 11.

  7. Arsenal have NEVER had a decade of success but rather periods of success within a decade. They have NEVER challenged for the title year in year out. And that was before the sugar daddies came to town. In fact Wengers reign is the longest sustained run in the top half of the table, and baring any semblance to sustained success. So quite what fuels your expectation they should challenge every year is a mystery. unless of course you are one of those who thinks Arsenal started as a club in the mid 90’s.BTW Love the way your expectation is tied to the clubs resources whilst ignoring the necessity of those resources to pay debt.

  8. The article is merely an expression of anothers viewpoint and nothing to get excited about . Lets all heave a collective sigh of relief. We’re on the move, slowly, but its a start. Besides its always nice piddle on a pool party ! Yes it feels good.

  9. This article is crap nd totaly useless. We re jst starting d season nd all u cn say is ow bad we re nd ow gud odas re. D so calld big clubs u re mentioning aint avin tins goin dere way either. Chelsea jst got taught ow 2 play football by an ath. Madrid side, man city were lucky 2 get a draw against liverpool. Man u is nt aving it all rossy at the moment. So wat re u nw saying? If u knw d club is nt meeting ur so calld expectation after jst playing 3games in a season of 39 games den u must reali be avin sm personal props. U cn say bcos u re avin a problem in ur own personal lyf den u mst put it all on Arsenal. The door is open man. Shut it nd neva look back you persimist. #COYG.

  10. The last time we started the season with three clean sheets was 1924/5. So, yeah, it’s not that impressive, we’ll probably do it again in 2100/1.

  11. Top post mate.Arsenal fans,whichever side of the AKB/Doomer divide they happen to sit on,have a tendency to go way way over the top about every little thing.On the one hand, every defeat is met by some with cries of “sack Wenger,all the players are crap,get rid of Kroenke (i wish!!)”,whilst on the other, every victory is a sign that we are going to win the PL,CL,and various cups.Players suddenly become the new so and so (insert name of former legend),our midfield becomes the best in the league,and former players are derided as being “not that good anyway”,
    I still think the squad is short of real quality.The fullback positions are weak,none of the goalkeepers fill me with confidence and i think we need a “top,top striker” as Wenger would say.There is still far too much deadwood at the club ,much of it out on loan,which appears odd for a club lauded for being “well run”.After all,isn’t that what City have to do with their unwanted every season,because noone is prepared to match the wages?
    It was a good win yesterday,but had Agger put that header away early on things could have been very different.A better striker than Borini would have punished Jenkinsons woeful attempt at a crossfield pass,and Sterling hit the post late on.I love Santi,but i feel that yet again we are going to have one player that stands out as being so much better than the rest.Every time he goes down on the pitch the whole Gooner Nation will be holding its breath.(OMG,Santis out for 4 wks,disaster!!!)
    Finally,we actually got 6 points from the equivalent fixtures last season,not that this means anything,but just thought i’d throw it in for the stats lovers out there!!!

  12. Everyone tries to potray they know it all..:). Just another so what view and I know it all attitude.. Makes interesting reading though. I generally dont comment because its just going to be an emotional outburst back and forth after it. Guess at the end of Sept, everyone will say since we played ManC and Chelsea, we know how strong we are. But that is also no gurantee. The only guarantee is that Arsene will lead, and we will keep playing a good attractive football .Win or lose,I will be watching, supporting my team till those 90 minutes are over.. and thats what matters as a fan. No trophies, I dont care but every year without spending all those millions are we reaching so close to the top? Are we defying odds? I guess Arsenal under Arsene is a story like that, the collective defying the odds.

  13. I don’t understand why your expectations are so high, last season we were a defensive nightmare, largely due to defensive injuries and lapses in concentration. Fair play to them for getting 3 clean sheets in 3 games, I wasn’t expecting it. The team took a lot of shit last year and a lot of it was probably deserved but how about giving a bit of credit when they are doing alright, let’s hope it does last a bit longer and maybe more supporters might actually start supporting instead of f*cking moaning

  14. Chakky,there is a correlation between the amount of money paid in wages,and position in the league.Arsenal has the 4th highest wage bill and tends to finish 4th.That really is not “defying the odds”In addition,we are right up there on the Forbes rich list so please don’t pretend we are a poor little club battling manfully against giants.We also have two billionaires as our major shareholders,one of whom is considerably richer than Abramovich.Mr Usmanov is keen to invest in the squad,but it is OUR choice not to allow him to do so.Therefore we cannot continually criticise those clubs whose owners do invest;just because WE don’t want external investment does not mean noone else should be allowed to do so.
    There are plenty of clubs who would love to have Mr Usmanov as an owner.I wonder what the Gooners would say if he got fed up of having no say in the running of a club that he owns nearly a third of,sold his shares to Stan and then fucked off and bought that bunch up the road? We should at least give him a seat on the board;i’m sure he would prove useful for securing top commercial deals if nothing else.From what i gather,he doesn’t want to do a City or Chelsea,but thinks Arsenal could do with a little investment to stop the continual exodus of our top stars All we have done with RVP is fatten him up for Fergie and united to enjoy his best years,whilst the 24 mill transfer fee sits in the bank NOT scoring goals when we need them Genius!!!!!!

    • LJB,

      You dont see the picture. :). Despite having two billionaires as major shareholders, we as a club have not run amok saying for trophies lets just forget self sufficiency and move like the chelseas and the manc. I wouldnt want arsenal to have a 700 million plus dollar debt on the club or see it go the way of a Portsmouth or rangers.

      When I said heroic, it means despite the rise of the roman Chelsea or the oil rich manc, arsenal has successfully competed with them. Its not like we are 15-20 points below mancunian superstars. We even overtook the Chelsea bandwagon last year.

      We dont have trophies to show, that I agree is what makes most of the fans feel sad. But having the fourth highest salaries without having external sugar daddies, does it not say how good the club takes care of its people? Is it wrong?

      For me its always a David vs goliath situation. Show me any other team in the epl that like borussia Dortmund or us have a team with so many youngsters yet, being right there at the top. Money is not everything or trophies. Its the journey that matters and sharing the happiness and sorrows that this team brings, if ur a fan. Else everyone who supports losing teams like Leeds or Southampton etc must be fools.

  15. Phil
    Much as I want to see the point you are trying to make mate, I’d much rather be in the position we are in now and feelling the way most of us do than how we felt at this same stage last season. Of course we don’t want to get too carried away but hey 3 clean sheets at the start of a season following on from conceding over 50 in the last is not a bad positive to focus on. Let’s hope we’ll both have something to celebrate at the of this season either way tho buddy.

    • Shevo – you say: “I’d much rather be in the position we are in now … than how we felt at this same stage last season.”

      By comparing against the wretched start of last season, you are setting your sights very low for this, and future, campaigns.
      However, If you were to compare this season’s start to seasons OTHER than the last season, then you would be setting your sights higher, and that’s the way to go.

      To put it simply, you’re thinking is in reverse. And therefore illogical.

  16. If you set the bar so high you will never be pleasantly surprised, only ever a disappointed and negative mr angry of islington. One is a fan of something because they enjoy it. You take football like it is your whole life. You know what, some stuff will no doubt happen to you, as it does all of us, that will make you rightly bitter and upset. But give yourself a break and don’t look for it in something as exciting and joyous as football. From a lifelong arsenal fan who is also a season ticket holder and has also seen the last seven years first hand, so no “plastic fan” nonsense please

  17. Article’s ok but it’s one of those responding to another analysis instead of making your own point type things that possibly should be a comment on someone else’s blog rather than a blog of its own.

    Anyway, yes, obviously it’s early to judge and anyone talking about the invincibles is hopeless optimistic (although you don’t have to believe the team will lose any particular game, so until they actually lose a game, I guess you’re entitled to hope they never do).

    All the same the difference between this twam and lawst yeaers in terms of its results and points tally will be decided by:

    1 Can they avoid those three/four disastrous patches of form?
    2 Can they string together a run of wins like last year’s team did?
    3 Will they be able to stand up to pressure?
    4 How will they do against the big clubs?

    Best guess answers so far:
    1 The team looks less likely to collapse for no reason every now and then – and they haven’t starteted in the same disastrous way so probably yes
    2 People underestimate how hard it is to win 6 out of 7 or 7out of 8 games, mainly because last years’s obviously dodgy team did that a couple of times, in between disastrous collapses. I’d be surprised if the current team can do the same but not amazed.
    3 They look a bit better able to cope with pressure but the wrong injuries and it’s hard to tell. I would guess yes-ish
    4 I’m not sure Chelsea look better but a little bit vulnerable, United and City both look stronger. I expect they’ll get similar-ish results this year)

    Overall on my half-baked analysis, I’m expecting a few (maybe 5-10) more points this year and quite a lot less conceded and possibly a few less scored (but, as you would say I guess it’s a bit early to predict)

  18. @ Phil (angryofislington) – Agree totally, except your penultimate paragraph (50/50).
    Thanks for a good post.
    @ Slugboy at September 3rd, 09.23pm – Agree totally with you, including your penultimate paragraph (see Phil’s for comparison).
    And add Oxford United to Rangers (etc). When big-money-man Robert Maxwell took over they went up to the top division for the first time ever and won the League Cup (when it was considered worth winning). When he left for Derby County, things began to rapidly change for the worse. And when he “died” the club went down, down, down.

    • You can add Blackburn to this list of clubs suffering as a result of losing their benefactor. After winning the league where are they now without Jack Walker.
      Can’t see Abramovich, the Arabs or the Septics hanging around forever. Can you? If not where will that leave Chelski and the Mancs… Stockport v Chelsea, Man City v York City or Wrexham v Man Utd could soon become regular fixtures for these 3 clubs in the not to distant future if they are not careful

      • Yes, Shevo… Blackburn. Very short-lived little run they put together.
        ‘Here today, gone tomorrow’ for some.
        For two others pretty much the opposite: nowhere yesterday, then ‘here’ today.

        The two others of course, for a coconut…?

  19. lets nt be carried away though,bt let’s nt 4get d fact dat we ve conceded 10 goals @ dis stage last year.d team is going 2 improve on goal scoring.give dem time 2 blend 2geda & u ll be suprised

  20. A mom performance and Diaby is hailed as the answer to Song. We have to have a sense of proportion. One swallow does not a summer make.
    Diaby must deliver this type of form in at least 30 of epl games. Then we can safely say he has arrived as the new Song.But I am convinced he will deliver .

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