Manchester United - Just How Far Behind Are Arsenal?
By Keenos
Wednesday 08 May 2013 19:30:00
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Manchester United are Premier League Champions 2012/13. Arsenal are 21 points behind. At no point have we been in the title race. But how far are we actually behind the English Champions?

By the end of November, Manchester United were already 12 points ahead of Arsenal. Just 14 games had been played. A month later, this gap had been extended to 16 points. Manchester United had got 16 of the 21 point lead they have on us within the first half of the season. So over the season, whilst Manchester United might be 21 points ahead of us. Over the second half of the season, they are only actually 5 points.

Further proof of our awesome second half of the season form can be seen by looking at the league table since January 1st:


Manchester United - 36

Arsenal - 31

Manchester City - 29

Chelsea - 27

Tottenham - 26

Everton - 26

Liverpool - 26

Based on second half of the season, the league table is looking much more favourable. Whilst Manchester United might be 5 points ahead (10 points if you double up), it is a lot closer than the current 21 point gap. Therefore, looking into next season, we need to concentrate on how we can close the 10 point gap, not the 21.

When looking at where to improve. The first is obvious. Start the season better. That will be done by keeping the nucleus of the current side together, and adding a few key signings early to get them a full pre season. easier said than done.

One area where do certainly not need to improve is the defence. Arsenal have the 3rd meanest defence in the league having conceded 36 goals. Behind Manchester City (31) and Chelsea (35). Manchester United's goals against column reads 37. Whilst this might be somewhat higher than Chelsea's 15 goals conceded in 2004/5 or our 1998/99 total of 17, when we finished second, 36 is not an abnormal number of goals to of conceded to still win the league.

As an example, Manchester United won the league in 1998/99 with 37 goals conceded. 20 more than us. In fact, the average goals conceded by the Premier League Champions over the last 5 years has been 34.2 goals. Taken into account we may well concede a couple more between now and the end of the season, we only need to keep a couple more clean sheets to be on par.

Clearly keeping the ball out of the net is not an issue. So how do we close the 10 point gap?

There are 3 main areas where Manchester United have performed remarkably better than us.


Three areas where if we improve on next season, we could be once more in the running to be

remier League Champions.

Home Form

Before defeat against Manchester City in April, Manchester United's home form read played 15, won 14, lost 1. Even with defeats to their local rivals, and last weekends lose to Chelsea, the form still reads Played 18, won 14, lost 3. A points haul of 45.

In comparison, Arsenal's current home form is played 18, won 10, drawn 5, lost 3. Or a difference of 35 points. A whole 10 points less.

So without even trying, we have discovered the easiest way to bridge the gap between us and Manchester United. Improve our home form.

How can we do this? A lot is down to the atmosphere at the Emirates. I am not going to dwell to long on this, but the Emirates is not a fortress. Teams believe they can play away the Emirates and win. Where as Manchester United have an air of invincibility at Old Trafford. I have often spoken about 'The Old Trafford Effect.'

It is similar to the 'Shane Warne Effect.' Warne, the famous Australian spin bowler, once claimed that he could bowl dead straight and spin a batsmen out, with the batsmen thinking that the ball was moving at right angles. This was all to do with getting into his opponents heads. They believed the ball was spinning, even before it was bowled.

'The Old Trafford effect' is similar. Teams turn up in Manchester already thinking they are defeated. thinking that they are going to lose before a ball is even kicked. Manchester United have shown this season that they can win with a poor team. This is due to teams playing Manchester United the name, not the 11 players on the pitch. Not unlike a batsmen playing Shane Warne the bowler, not the ball he is bowling.

For us to compete with Manchester United, we need to get that air of invincibility back. Like in 2004. Having teams think they are beaten before they have even played that.

Do that, and our home form will improve, and the gap between us and Manchester United will narrow.

Games Against Our Rivals

When teams are in a relegation dogfight, it is often said that the most important thing is to beat those around them. Games become '6 pointers.' You can either be drawn into the relegation zone, or suddenly be 6 points above it, based on one win.

The same can be said at the top end of the table. Let us compare Arsenal's performances against the Top 6 (Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham, Everton) against Manchester United's.

Manchester United - 14 points

Arsenal - 7 points

It is clear we have failed against the bigger sides this year. 7 points out of 30 against the top 6 is just not good enough. whilst the 14 out of 30 for Manchester United is not brilliant, it is the 4 points off us, against the 1 we took off them. What makes this doubly as important is when you look at it in terms of it being a 6 pointer. Manchester United increased their lead over us, not by 3 points, but by 6, as this is the points swing is 6.

Suddenly, the 10 point difference based on the 2nd half of the season is just 4 points. And what if next season, we were able to perform like Manchester United, mirroring their results, and they degraded a little and got our points haul. The real time league table would look as follows:

Manchester United - 78

Arsenal - 74

Just a 4 point gap. That is us in the title race. And if we go on the '2nd half only' table I mentioned earlier:

Arsenal - 69

Manchester United - 65

Suddenly, we are not so far away from the title race as some might think. By merely improving our results against the top teams, we are in the race. A slight reduction in form by Manchester United, and we are leading the title race.


Robin Van Persie - 25

Edin Dzeko - 12

Jermaine Defoe - 11

Oliver Giroud - 11

Fernando Torres - 7

Nikica Jelavic - 7

The above is how many goals each team's highest scoring striker has scored. It does not take a genius to work out why Manchester United have won the league this year. They are the only side who have had an inform, quality striker. The fact that the top scorers of Tottenham (Bale - 20), Chelsea (Lampard - 13), Arsenal (Walcott - 13) and Everton (Fellaini - 11) are all midfielders show's how much these sides have been let down by their man man. Wayne Rooney, with 12 goals would be joint second on this list.

You have to wonder what the league title would look like has Luis Suarez (23) or Christian Benteke (18) played for one of the top 6 teams. how many goals would they of got? And how much closer would that of got them to Manchester United?

Bar Manchester City, who have had Sergio Aguero injured, every other side behind Manchester United in the top 6 clearly needs a new striker. Are there enough quality ones to go around? who's will settle the best? Who can attract the correct quality? What is clear is that a proven Premier League goal scorer was key to Manchester United winning the league. Maybe this might encourage someone to bid for Benteke or Suarez.

A decent striker can mean so much. Able to create something out of nothing. Able to turn a poor performance from a 0-0 draw to a 1-0 victory. So much of Manchester United's early season for was down to Van Persie. His goals were key. They weren't in big victories. they were difference makers. They were point winners.

For us to make up the points different, we need a Van Persie. A 25 goal a season man. Someone who can score out of nothing. someone who can win a game on his own. With his only chance. Maybe Manchester United might be willing to sell us the dutchman?

Whilst we might not of been in the title race this season, we are on course to accumulate more points than last season, concede a lot less, whilst conceding only marginally less. I honestly feel if we:

a) Take our 2nd half of the season form into next year

b) Improve our home form

c) Improve our results against the top 6

d) Buy a top striker

Then we will be in the title race in 2013/14

The futures bright. The futures Arsenal


End note: This was written last night, before the news of Fergie’s retirement. He is the most important factor behind Manchester United’s success. With him gone, and David Moyes likely to take over, the gap may well of just been erased. 0 trophies in 11 years for Moyes. Here’s to the next 11 for him! Manchester United to finish 5th next season.

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6 Responses to "Manchester United - Just How Far Behind Are Arsenal?"
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02 Jun 2013 14:36
Let's not forget we had everything to play for during that period of the season while United, City and even Chelsea had their positions sorted out more or less.
11 May 2013 4:42
This article only makes us gooners DREAM. Being optimistic is good, but frankly speaking i got to agree with Charlie. With the likes of Falcao, Lewandoski, Cavani, Ronaldo, Isco may be spreading out to the likes of the Mancitys Manutds Chelseas come next season, we will (as usual) settle for the "leftovers". Jovetic is superb, but is he gonna score us that 20 goals per season: NO. Villa? No. Sadly we have to face the reality, just like the bullshit theory of FFP.
09 May 2013 9:52
we are very close with fergie gone we have the best manager in the league. we also are on a level playing field now the officials wont be bullied and no fergie time. United may loose their fare factor as other managers may think they can out wit whoever is next. our biggest signing should be a top class tactical coach like what united have. Although I don't remember his name their 1st team coach trains them based on their opposition for the week before the game meaning they would have architect there way in which they will defeat the team. has any one else notice how ineffective rvp and rooney have been since the turn of the year? has both of their bubbles began to burst?
09 May 2013 3:51
I was with you until the line "Maybe Manchester United might be willing to sell us the dutchman?". If that was meant to be sarcastic it wasn't funny. Problem with all this is that United, Chelsea and City will probably get Lewandowski, Falcao and Cavani respectively and yet again Arsenal will have to settle for less than the best. Mancini said that the title was won when United bought Van Persie. Arsene needs to fight for the best strikers in the world but as we know he never goes into a transfer battle against United, Chelsea or City. Financial Fair Play should give him no reason to shy away but I can't see anything changing. I anticipate another frustrating summer of Arsenal digging through the bargain bins while their rivals shop at Harrods.
09 May 2013 2:04
Want to know how far behind we are? Very. Fergie could arguably take a Championship side and get them into Europe. Okay maybe that's hyperbole but no matter who plays for SAF they are brainwashed into being a winner. They could be the worst player you've ever seen like Silvestre but Fergie makes you believe that you are world class. You put in that United strip and you're made to feel invincible. Wenger doesn't have that. Sorry to say but we don't have many players who play for the shirt. When we're down a goal you can see the entire team hangs their head. When United are down a goal they believe they can score the equalizer. Personnel aside, Wenger's motivational skills are non-existent. He managed to get alot of world class players in the same team at the same time at one time but luck plays some role in that the same way Fergie managed to get a crop of young United academy players who could win the treble. However once that team broke up SAF used his nous to keep building winning teams. Wenger hasn't had any success since The Invincibles and that says something about the man, rather than the team.
08 May 2013 23:05
typical arsenal talk
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