Looking back to Arsenal on 23 January 2022, and what happened thereafter.



By Tony Attwood

On 23 January 2022 Arsenal had a goalless draw at home against Burnley.  ESPN opened their account with the statement, “Arsenal lost ground on their bid for a top four finish with a 0-0 draw against bottom of the table Burnley at the Emirates on Sunday.”  The feeling was that Arsenal were not progressing fast enough, and there was talk of Arteta being sacked as manager.

After the game Arsenal were sixth in the league, an improvement on the position of 10th that they had after 21 games the year before, and the year before that but nowhere near the positions of between 1st and 6th that they had held after 21 games in the six years before that.

And indeed it is interesting that although all the emphasis was on buying a new striker, Arsenal had scored more goals after 21 games than in the last two seasons.  Not enough, obviously, but an improvement.

Indeed a look back at the last ten years would have shown anyone willing to look that it was not impossible to move up two places to the “not a trophy” position of fourth and thus re-enter the Champions League.

The problem of course was that everyone was predicting that an easy win over Burnley would indeed take us up to fourth, and obviously, that did not happen, but winning the one game in hand Arsenal had over Manchester United would still have taken the club up to fourth, although Tottenham winning one of their games and drawing the other will knock Arsenal back to fifth.

Untold Arsenal called for calm and faith, but others thought that a signing was needed.   The Mirror, never a newspaper to give hope to Arsenal wrote,  “Arsenal are continuing to push hard to sign in-form striker Dusan Vlahovic this month, but Fiorentina manager Vincenzo Italiano has warned them off the Serbia international”.  They also said in a separate article that “Arsenal are set to extend Mikel Arteta’s contract with club chiefs impressed with his progress,” which it turned out they were.

But at the same time, as part of its constant attempt to portray Arsenal as a club that does not know what it is doing,  we were also told by the Mirror that “Arsenal have been warned they are set to make a mistake in the January transfer window as they prepare to bring in reinforcements.”

Indeed it was worse than that as Arsenal awere “told they’re signing the wrong Brazilian after visit from Arthur Melo’s agent.”   Worse again, Arsenal fans were advised that the club was about to lose Martinelli apparently, as Liverpool were going to sign him.

Untold Arsenal however did pick up on a trend that would become a central part of their approach – that of not getting yellow cards, and published this list…


Rank Club Yellow cards Red cards
1. Leeds United 58 1
2. Newcastle United 51 2
3. Aston Villa 45 2
4. Manchester United 44 2
5. Brighton and Hove Albion 43 1
6. Southampton 43 2
7. Everton 42 1
8. Brentford 40 1
9. Crystal Palace 40 1
10. Chelsea 39 1
11. Norwich City 38 1
12. Burnley 37 0
13. Wolverhampton Wanderers 36 2
14. Watford 35 2
15. Tottenham Hotspur 34 1
16. Arsenal 30 2
17. Manchester City 30 2
18. Liverpool 29 1
19. Leicester City 26 1
20 West Ham United 26 2


Figures from  Premier League’s official site.

Untold Arsenal on the day noted that there “does seem a huge investment in time and energy by the Mirror to bring us news of Arsenal’s hopeless pursuit of the wrong players alongside awful indiscipline.  One might ask, why is it all so important to them to show Arsenal to be abject failures at everything?   Is it just to ensure no one mentions Man United’s 44 yellows?”

It is also interesting to note on this day a comment on Untold Arsenal from regular commentator Nitram which questioned why the media went one way with Arsenal and another with Chelsea.  You can read that here.

And that commentary is particularly interesting given what happened to Chelsea in the subsequent seasons.

Compare this take on Chelsea:

“The Blues had a flurry of early chances and but for another impressive goalkeeping display by Clarets No 1 Nick Pope, who was left out of the England squad in midweek, they would have been out of sight by the break.”

To this take on Arsenal:

“Arsenal struggled to convert their dominance into clear chances and on the rare occasions they did prise the visitors open, their finishing was poor, with Alexandre Lacazette spurning their best chance when he sent an Emile Smith Rowe cut-back wide with the goal gaping. Lacazette was not the only one guilty of wastefulness, however…”

Arsenal managed to call the Burnley keeper in to action 5 times compared to Chelseas 4 times, yet in our case it was ‘….the rare occasions they did prise the visitors open’ but in Chelsea’s case they had “….a flurry of early chances and but for another impressive goalkeeping display by Clarets No 1 Nick Pope, they would have been out of sight by the break”.

One year on, on 23 January 2023, the table looked like this.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 19 16 2 1 45 16 29 50
2 Manchester City 20 14 3 3 53 20 33 45
3 Newcastle United 20 10 9 1 33 11 22 39
4 Manchester United 20 12 3 5 32 25 7 39
5 Tottenham Hotspur 21 11 3 7 40 31 9 36
6 Brighton and Hove Albion 19 9 4 6 37 27 10 31
7 Fulham 21 9 4 8 32 30 2 31
8 Brentford 20 7 9 4 32 28 4 30
9 Liverpool 19 8 5 6 34 25 9 29
10 Chelsea 20 8 5 7 22 21 1 29


The Mirror, it seems, offered no apology for its awful prognostications and recommendations.

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