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How Arsenal went from 15th to 5th in the table in just two months. The tale of 2011.

3 December 2011: Wigan 0 Arsenal 4, making it six wins and a draw in the last 7

Arsenal had started 2011/12 disastrously with a 0-0 draw at N ewcastle, a 0-2 home defeat to Liverpool, the 8-2 away defeat to Man U, and only finally in the fourth match, a victory 1-0 against Swansea.

But even then things didn’t turn around and two more defeats against Blackburn and Tottenham sandwiched another win… 3-0 against Bolton.

By that stage the table did not look good on the night of 2 October 2011

Pld W D L For Ag GD Pts
1 Manchester United 7 6 1 0 24 5 +19 19
2 Manchester City 7 6 1 0 23 5 +18 19
3 Chelsea 7 5 1 1 17 8 +9 16
4 Newcastle United 7 4 3 0 9 4 +5 15
5 Liverpool 7 4 1 2 10 8 +2 13
6 Tottenham Hotspur 6 4 0 2 11 10 +1 12
7 Aston Villa 7 2 5 0 9 5 +4 11
8 Stoke City 7 2 3 2 4 8 -4 9
9 Norwich City 7 2 2 3 7 10 -3 8
10 Swansea City 7 2 2 3 6 9 -3 8
11 Queens Park Rangers 7 2 2 3 5 13 -8 8
12 Fulham 7 1 4 2 10 7 +3 7
13 Everton 6 2 1 3 6 8 -2 7
14 Wolverhampton Wndrs 7 2 1 4 6 10 -4 7
15 Arsenal 7 2 1 4 10 16 -6 7
16 Sunderland 7 1 3 3 9 8 +1 6
17 West Bromwich Albion 7 1 2 4 5 10 -5 5
18 Wigan Athletic 7 1 2 4 5 11 -6 5
19 Blackburn Rovers 7 1 1 5 8 17 -9 4
20 Bolton Wanderers 7 1 0 6 9 21 -12 3

But then came the change in form with wins against Sunderland, Stoke, Chelsea, WBA, and Norwich.  A draw with Fulham was just a blip, for then we had Wigan.

Here’s how commentator G460 saw it.

Wigan 0 Arsenal 4

Strange how a 2-0 lead still feels worrisome, especially here, though this Wigan was a very much different animal to that of two years back. As indeed are we.  (Should a 4-0 lead away with only 15 minutes to go however, feel safe? I think so).

But whereas we seem to be improving in leaps and bounds, bar the first 15 minutes when Wigan looked dangerous and, bar Andre’s inspired interception, would surely have taken an early lead,  Wigan and their likeable manager appear destined for fizzy pop league. You just cannot survive in the PL with a defence that backs off all the time and a forward line that leaves a solitary striker 25 yards from his nearest colleague. And that summed up most of the game for Wigan.

Lovely as the result was, it wasn’t our greatest performance. Let’s face it, it didn’t have to be and towards the end of the game, playing for “Ole, ole, ole” is a pain in the butt for supporters who’d prefer to see another few goals. Plus the fact that scoring goals seems less disrespectful than proving we can pass you off the park. Not to mention that improving the goal difference is fairly important.

Admittedly our third occurring after 33 uninterrupted passes was a bit special…even more so as it was the third player other than Robin to score!  Vinho made it at last after Robin’s shot was only partially saved. By then, Robin had gone some 10 days without scoring which is quite a drought for him at the moment. He was busy making up by creating two of our goals and if there was any misery at this drought, Theo obviously took pity on him by unselfishly laying our fourth on the plate. I read somewhere that Theo’s assists for Robin are now equal to Dennis’ assists to Thierry? If true that is some stat.

Robin was undoubtedly MOM but nobody had a bad game from a Gooner point of view. Unlike Wigan and also unlike Mark Clattenburg.

For many years he’s been one of the best in the league in my opinion but he managed to really blot his copybook with two shocking decisions in under a couple of minutes. Aaron was dragged down, a stone cold penalty under Clattenburg’s nose and the only saving grace that I can think of was that maybe he realized that a Wigan defender had been fouled in the lead up but he’d not called it. Doesn’t make it the right decision but perhaps makes it a bit more understandable. That may have also been his rationalization for turning down a fairly reasonable claim for a Wigan penalty having just given Alex Song a yellow literally for standing still. That was a shocker and should be rescinded.

Next up a bit of Greek delight with more of the youngsters on view no doubt, followed by Everton where Moyes continues to perform near miracles with his squad. Should still be a Gooner win but for sure, it will be a great deal more difficult than yesterday.

 The table now looked a little healthier on the night of 3 December.

Pld W D L For Ag GD Pts
1 Manchester City 14 12 2 0 48 13 +35 38
2 Manchester United 14 10 3 1 31 13 +18 33
3 Tottenham Hotspur 13 10 1 2 29 16 +13 31
4 Chelsea 14 9 1 4 31 17 +14 28
5 Arsenal 14 8 2 4 30 23 +7 26
6 Newcastle United 14 7 5 2 19 15 +4 26
7 Liverpool 13 6 5 2 17 12 +5 23
8 Everton 12 5 1 6 15 16 -1 16
9 Aston Villa 14 3 7 4 16 18 -2 16
10 Norwich City 14 4 4 6 20 26 -6 16
11 Queens Park Rangers 14 4 4 6 15 25 -10 16
12 West Bromwich Albion 14 4 3 7 13 21 -8 15
13 Stoke City 13 4 3 6 13 23 -10 15
14 Swansea City 14 3 5 6 14 20 -6 14
15 Fulham 13 2 6 5 15 16 -1 12
16 Sunderland 13 2 5 6 15 15 0 11
17 Wolverhampton Wndrs 13 3 2 8 13 23 -10 11
18 Blackburn Rovers 14 2 4 8 21 32 -11 10
19 Bolton Wanderers 14 3 0 11 19 34 -15 9
20 Wigan Athletic 14 2 3 9 12 28 -16 9

2 October to 3 December – from 15th to 5th.

 

 

 

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