After Arsenal‘s 2-1 defeat at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, much fuss was made about a particular winless streak for the Gunners. They have not defeated a “big club” on the road since January of 2015, when they beat Manchester City 2-0. Beating major teams on the road is never an easy thing to do. Despite this, many lamented Arsenal’s inability to come out ahead away to their rivals.
Arsenal’s Away Woes Against “Big” Clubs Don’t Exist
This study looks at matches since January of 2015 between Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, and, during the 2015-16 season only, Leicester City. The teams were sorted based on away record against the other “big” clubs. The results were shocking. Here’s the full table:
Arsenal are Not So Bad
As you can see, Arsenal are in equal second place in this table. Thanks to their win at Leicester, they have two wins against the clubs in question. That is on par with Chelsea and Manchester City. Their five draws take them to 11 points in as many matches, which is far from a poor record against major teams away from home. Most fans, if you told them that they would average a draw on trips to all of these tricky venues, would probably nod in approval.
Aside from the win at Leicester last season, Arsenal’s best away record against these teams over the last two calendar years comes at, of all places, Old Trafford. They have two draws in three trips there in Premier League play. They have picked up a draw everywhere else except Stamford Bridge, where they have only played once in that span.
As an added bonus, Arsenal were the only “big” side to beat the champions at King Power Stadium last year. Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham all escaped with a draw. Liverpool and Chelsea were less fortunate, as they each lost when they travelled to Leicester.
Gunners Need Improvement at Home
The real focus of worry should be how Arsenal play at home in these “big” club matches. Of the clubs in question, they have given away the second most points, with nine. Only Chelsea have done as poorly at home against the “big” clubs; away teams have taken ten points in as many matches at Stamford Bridge.
Liverpool in the Lead
The most interesting finding was that Liverpool have the best away record against the “big” clubs mentioned above. Their three wins are more than any other side. They have done particularly well at Chelsea, where they have a win and a draw, and Arsenal, where they also have a win and draw in three games. Their other victory came at Manchester City.
On the flip side of this coin is the other North London outfit. Spurs have failed to win away from home against any “big” clubs in the last two years. Instead, they have racked up only four draws and six losses, leaving them second from the bottom of the table. That’s worse than 2015-16 Leicester City, who won twice in six matches.
Manchester United are even worse. Granted, this is a Louis Van Gaal and José Mourinho-led side, but they have also failed to win away from home against a fellow “big” club. They only have three draws to their name and sit at the bottom with just that trio of points.
Arsenal’s Road Woes Are Overstated
There are many things a supporter can complain about when it comes to Arsenal. They have failed to get wins in matches they should be comfortably ahead; their inability to build on an early lead in their last few matches has been frustrating; the injuries are once again exposing their lack of defensive depth. One thing that should be left alone is their away record against fellow Premier League giants. They have done better than most of their rivals in this regard and should not take a hit for the string of draws they have rung up against them.