Arsenal defeated their biggest monster this Sunday, the Wicked Witch of Big Six Away!
It’s rare for me, as an Arsenal fan – couldn’t you tell? I thought it was obvious – to have very little to complain about after a given matchday. I’m not quite sure how to feel about it, so I reckon I’ll just enjoy the moment.
And that’s not to say our performance was perfect, but let’s be real, it was pretty bloody good. I mean, nobody really had an off-day, and a bunch of players were on top form. Mikel Arteta made Ole Gunnar Solskjær look like an absolute melon tactically. And hey, Paul Pogba woke up at 4AM this morning in a cold sweat, with visions of Thomas Partey floating around his room. All around, pretty stellar day.
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But seriously. Since the 18th of January 18, 2015, when we beat Man City at the Emptyhad, our record against the Big Six sides has been abysmal generally, and even worse away from home. Since that win, in a win/draw/loss format, our record in all competitions has been a rather mediocre 23/23/31, and a goal difference of -22.
In all competitions away from the Emirates, that record becomes 3/8/26, with a goal difference of -37. In the league, that away tally amounts to 0/7/23, with a goal difference of -33. Piss poor, all around.
And while this Manchester United win is a drop in the ocean on paper, it symbolizes more than just a positive result in the record books. Big Six wins, away from home, are the most important matches in terms of retaining, or in our case regaining, a top four finish. It also broke a nasty streak of three losses from our last four games, and earned a clean sheet for good measure. Very solid overall.
Arsenal’s defense is now best in the league, conceding seven goals through seven gameweeks. This is coming off of three years running where our defense was bottom five in the league. Factor in the fact that we haven’t drawn a game yet – a hallmark of mediocre Arsenal teams – and we’re not too bad off. We may be ninth, but we’re three points off second.
The Arsenal team that frustrated me against Leicester flipped that narrative, and frustrated the living daylights out of the Red Devils. Now I don’t know about you, but I could stand for a lot more of that. On to the Emirates to host Aston Villa! Come on the Arsenal.