What’s gone wrong with Arsenal?

Ronnie Macdonald - Arsène Wenger looks on

The wheels are falling off at Arsenal with Arsene Wenger coming under much the same pressure he has at the beginning of every calendar year in recent memory. Only this time it looks like the fans really mean it when they say ‘Wenger Out’.

It’s become something of a yearly tradition to enjoy the football at Christmas, ring in the new year, then laugh at the Gunners as they shoot themselves in the foot yet again. However, this time around it’s a little different. While Spurs fans will no doubt enjoy the Gunners’ capitulation in both legs vs. Bayern Munich, the rest of us see a side that is beyond the point of humiliation. If the season were a boxing match, the ref would just stop it now.

Since hammering Southampton 5-0 in January, Arsenal have gone on to win only two of their matches, beating both Hull and Sutton 2-0, and conspired to lose five times conceding 17 goals in the process.

Of course, there are glimpses of hope, such as the second half at Anfield when Sanchez finally came on and looked like turning the game on its head, but these moments have been few and far between since the Southampton match back in January.

So what’s gone wrong? Has Wenger lost the dressing room like Ranieri supposedly did? Or have the team simply given up?

We all know that Wenger is a good manager and some might even say a great one, but he has certainly lost the air of infallibility he earned in the year of the invincibles. His tactical decisions of late have mystified even the most learned of footballing minds.

Playing Giroud and Welbeck vs. Liverpool but failing to put balls into the box is a prime example. There was, of course, a reason behind not playing Sanchez (the apparent training ground bust-up), but when plan B is in place, then it’s the manager’s responsibility to make sure the players on the pitch are aware of it.

Robert Pires amongst others has come out to defend Wenger, stating that Sanchez stormed out of training due to a bad tackle, but all this does is make poor old Arsene look even worse for starting his best player on the bench.

Then came the second leg vs. Bayern Munich and while no one really expected the miracle turn around that was needed, even the most pessimistic of fans (and there are many) would never have expected such a rout. At times the team looked completely lost but rather than the headless chicken look of the first leg, this time they just looked like they had accepted their fate.

There’s something a little sad about watching a team playing with no heart, which is exactly what Arsenal have looked like of late, but if history is anything to go by, then there just might be a silver lining to being schooled by the German champions.

By dropping out of the Champions League at the same point that they have done in the last seven seasons, would it be right to assume that now that they have no European nights that they will, true to form, have a strong couple of months to put them back in the title race? Well, perhaps the Gunners’ fans think or hope so, but the rest of the footballing world are of a different mind.

A look at the odds from Betstars shows us that you’ll now get the same odds for Arsenal to win the league as you will for United. This was unthinkable just over a month ago. In truth, though, should it come down to these two teams competing for fourth spot, you just can’t see the current Arsenal team doing it.

The truth is that whether Wenger has lost the dressing room or not, he has to go. It seems that at long last the rocky marriage has come to an end, and that the only thing wrong with Arsenal is the also-ran mentality that permeates the club. The club needs a change, the fans need a change, and yes, even the players need a change. But will Arsene do the right thing and turn down the contract offer? Or will he stay on for another year and consign Arsenal fans to another year of the same?

Europa League

The Europa League has been very kind to us and we have had the winner in the last 2 seasons. You can see all the Europa League posts here.

The Europa League has run in it’s current format for 7 seasons and the winners have been Atletico Madrid twice, Porto, Chelsea and Sevilla 3 times. Those teams come from Portugal, Spain and England and those countries have provided 20 of the 28 semi-finalists in those 7 tournaments.

There are no Portuguese teams in it this year so can be ignored. Spain are the European powerhouse at the moment and they have proven that in the Europa League and previously in the UEFA cup. Of the last 13 finals spanning those 2 competitions a Spanish team has taken the trophy in 8 of them and they have also provided a losing finalist in a couple. This year they probably don’t have as strong a hand as they have in the past with Bilbao, Celta and Villarreal but still should be respected. Villarreal have been drawn with Roma and Celta with Shakhtar and in both those ties the non-Spanish team is favourite.

The English clubs, Man United and Spurs, are favourites and Man United are a ridiculously short price at 5.5 when they need to get through 4 rounds before the final. Dortmund were similarly short last year and got beaten in the last 8. This tournament is not an easy one to win especially as later on in the season other priorities come into place. Spurs gave up in this last season and concentrated on the league.

8 of the last 12 winners were Spanish and those 3 times have to bet in our opinion so that is where we will start.


Villarreal 21.0 generally 0.5pt e/w

Athletic Bilbao 15.0 generally 0.5pt

Celta Vigo 33.0 generally 0.5pt e/w

e/w bets are all 1/2 odds on making the final

Better odds are available on all those prices and use this promo code for bet 365.

2.5 pts outlay

Happy New Year and Happy London Derby too!

Hope everyone had a nice break and the office is back open here so we can deal with any issues or queries you have. Its Spurs v Chelsea tonight and we posted something a while back about the London derbies that is repeated below

The big match this weekend in the Premier League is the Saturday tea time clash between Arsenal and Chelsea. Whoever loses will feel the pressure as Liverpool have beaten both of these teams away so the loser will look like they can’t compete with the big boys.

The big 3 in London are Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal and they are building up a big rivalry as was seen in the game last season when Chelsea beat Spurs and presented the title to Leicester. These teams have all been there or thereabouts in the last 5 seasons aside from the Chelsea implosion last season as shown in the table below.

Season Arsenal Chelsea Spurs
2011-12 2 10 3
2012-13 3 1 5
2013-14 3 4 6
2014-15 4 3 5
2015-16 3 6 4

Finishing position of Arsenal Chelsea and Spurs in the last 5 seasons

There are have been 30 London derbies between these 3 teams in the last 5 seasons and there may be some patterns amongst the results.


The average (mean) corners is 10.7, the median is 11 and so is the mode. The full list of total corners is 16, 5, 11, 12, 11, 14, 11, 11, 12, 12, 10, 11, 7, 8, 9, 14, 9, 9, 8, 13, 8, 7, 4, 20, 15, 11, 13, 8, 13, 10.

Yellow Cards

The average (mean) yellow cars is 4.9 with the mode and median being 4. That crazy end of season game at Stamford Bridge had 12 yellows and the second highest total in these 5 seasons was 9 in Spurs other away game at Arsenal last season.


The full list of goals is 3, 8, 2, 7, 0, 0, 3, 6, 7, 3, 3, 4, 1, 6, 4, 0, 2, 1, 0, 3, 8, 3, 2, 2, 4, 4, 1, 0, 2, 2 and here the median and mode are both 3 with the mean average 3.0. 12 of the matches have been draws, 13 home wins and just 5 away wins, an average of 1 per season.


So 3 goals, 11 corners and 4-5 yellow cards sounds pretty much bang on what the lines will be so nothing too far from the norm.

Simple Weekend (Happy Christmas)

No games tomorrow as it’s Christmas Day but the madness of English football and the festive period starts on Boxing Day. We’ll keep the site up to date and Merry Christmas to our users from the Simple Soccer Stats team.


Simple Weekend (FIFA Club World Cup)

In the week we posted this about the Club World Championship and it took a late goal by Real Madrid to secure the 2 goal victory and therefore any stake on Real Madrid -2 on the Asian Handicap was returned.


They play again today and you have to go back 11 matches to the final in 2009 to find the last time a European team did not win by 2 goals or more. Since the change of format in 12 of the last 13 matches the European teams have shown the gulf in glass in this tournament and won by 2 goals or more. The price on the Asian Handicap for Real Madrid -2 is around 1.8 and really looks a solid bet based on that stat.