Man U v Arsenal: the scientific (ish) prediction of the result

By Bulldog Drummond

Of late we have been looking at forthcoming matches by comparing the home form of the home team (and equally logically) the away form of the away team.

It is by no means a perfect predictor of the result, and actually it isn’t really that scientific), and indeed the review for Sunday’s game against the Tiny Totts got the result wrong.  They were tinier than we thought.   But overall the system, simple as it is, seems to be fairly decent at predicting.

So we continue with it, and here is Man U at home:

Pos Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Manchester City 8 8 0 0 30 5 25 24
2 Liverpool 7 6 1 0 15 1 14 19
3 Chelsea 8 5 3 0 17 7 10 18
4 Arsenal 8 5 2 1 16 8 8 17
5 Everton 7 5 1 1 13 6 7 16
6 Watford 7 4 0 3 10 11 -1 12
7 Leicester City 7 3 2 2 10 6 4 11
8 AFC Bournemouth 7 3 2 2 12 9 3 11
9 Brighton and Hove Albion 6 3 2 1 9 7 2 11
10 Manchester United 6 3 2 1 8 8 0 11

As we can see their results are depressed by having played only six games at home, winning three, drawing two and losing one.  But their goal difference is zero.

If we look at their home games we find

Date Match Res Score Competition
10 Aug Manchester Utd v Leicester W 2-1 Premier League
27 Aug Manc Utd v Tottenham L 0-3 Premier League
22 Sep Manchester Utd v Wolves D 1-1 Premier League
25 Sep Manchester Utd v Derby C L* 2-2 League Cup
02 Oct Manchester Utd v Valencia D 0-0 Champs League
06 Oct Man Utd v Newcastle W 3-2 Premier League
23 Oct Manchester Utd v Juventus L 0-1 Champs League
28 Oct Manchester Utd v Everton W 2-1 Premier League
24 Nov Manchester Utd v Crystal Pal D 0-0 Premier League
27 Nov Manchester Utd v Young Boys W 1-0 Champs League

*Lost 7-8

They have won four games at home, three in the PL and one in the Champs.  Outside of the League they have lost at home to Derby and Juventus and drawn with Wolverhampton, Valencia and Palace.

They have scored two or more against Leicester, Derby, Newcastle, Everton – and thus are not a complete walkover but clearly not a major player at home at the moment.

In terms of playing other clubs from last season’s top six, in addition to the defeat to Tottenham noted above they have lost away to Mancheseter City and drawn with Chelsea.

Comparing this with Arsenal away we have ourselves now fifth in the away league.  Tottenham Nomads are top due to a combination of a fine away form (excluding the last weekend of course) and a total desperation to play somewhere, anywhere, other than at any of the various grounds they call home.

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 9 7 0 2 17 10 7 21
2 Liverpool 7 5 2 0 12 4 8 17
3 Manchester City 6 4 2 0 13 1 12 14
4 Chelsea 6 4 1 1 13 4 9 13
5 Arsenal 6 4 1 1 16 10 6 13
6 Manchester United 8 3 2 3 14 15 -1 11

This away record is quite remarkable given that last season we played 19 away league games (obviously) and won four, drew four and lost 11.  We scored 20 and conceded 31.

So in just six games we have equalled the number of wins, and are just four goals short of last season’s total for away goals scored.

And if we compare Arsenal away with Man U at home we get a table where after six games Arsenal away has a better set of results than Man U at home.

Club P W D L F A GD Pts
Arsenal away 6 4 1 1 16 10 6 13
Manchester United home 6 3 2 1 8 8 0 11

Here is the actual league table in full down to Man U.

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Manchester City 14 12 2 0 43 6 37 38
2 Liverpool 14 11 3 0 27 5 22 36
3 Chelsea 14 9 4 1 30 11 19 31
4 Arsenal 14 9 3 2 32 18 14 30
5 Tottenham Hotspur 14 10 0 4 25 15 10 30
6 Everton 14 6 4 4 20 16 4 22
7 Manchester United 14 6 4 4 22 23 -1 22

In their last seven games overall Manchester United have four wins, one defeat and two draws, which shows an improvement in form.   Arsenal has four wins and three draws, with no defeats – obviously since we are still on the unbeaten run.

The talk about Arsenal’s inability to deal with other teams who were in the top six last season has now largely been removed from the discussions, because it is harder to make a case for Arsenal’s awfulness and the desperate need to sign players – which is what all the blogs and their newspapers are based on.

Against the other members of the top six from last season’s league table Arsenal have won one, drawn one and lost two.  Not perfect but not that bad.

Manchester United have lost to Tottenham (home), drawn with Chelsea (away) and lost to Manchester City (away).  Again it is interesting how many people were saying before the Tottenham game that Arsenal had “only” played three teams from the top six, forgetting perhaps that Man U had played fewer such games.  Always remember, if the statistic only mentions Arsenal, it is probably fake.

Based on Arsenal’s away form, Manchester United’s home form, and each team’s games against other clubs from last season’s top six, the indications are that Arsenal will either win by a single goal or it will be a draw.

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