Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Do The TV Companies Love Seeing Arsenal Lose?

Arsenal have been selected to play nine Premier League games live on TV between the start of the season and the end of November. Not unusually for Arsenal the vast majority of those games will be away from home. In total they play seven of those games on their travels, and only two of them at home.

There is no doubt in my mind that Sky and ESPN have chosen to show Arsenal away from home so often in the hope that they will suffer in those games. It would seem they like nothing more than watching Arsenal lose, and that is most likely to happen away from home. With the amount of goals Arsenal conceded away from home last season it's easy to see why they have been chosen for all of those away games.

At the start of last season Arsenal were shown live in their first six away games in the Premier League. They started very badly in those games, but turned things around towards the end of them by beating Chelsea and Norwich. In the same space of time they were only shown at home once, and that was their second game of the season against Liverpool.

Despite finishing third in the league last season there were seven teams who managed to concede less goals than Arsenal. Arsenal's defence was even worse on their travels with only nine teams conceding more goals than them in away fixtures. It's no wonder the TV companies want to show them when they play away from home.

Despite Arsenal's leaky defence only the top two teams won more away games than them though, and those same two teams were the only ones to score more away goals than Arsenal too. No other team had more goals in their away games, and Arsenal certainly are value for money on their travels with 67 goals scored between both teams in those 19 games.

Hopefully they can continue their fine goalscoring form on the road, but tighten up their defence a lot at the same time. The 12 goals conceded in two league games in and around the close of the transfer window last season certainly didn't help their cause. They have to be a lot more prepared for the start of the new season, and hopefully Steve Bould is the man to sort out their defence.

When he was a part of the legendary Arsenal defence in the 80s and 90s they played as a unit, and the total far outweighed the sum of it's parts. Some of the players in that defence would be considered limited by the standards of some of the current Arsenal defence, but they knew what was required to stop the opposition scoring. It is easily forgotten that the first job of any defender is to defend.

Hopefully Bould can depart some of his wealth of experience to the current Arsenal defence, and make them a much more effective unit. Four or five wins with very few goals conceded in those seven televised games would be a real boost to a club that needs to be competitive at the top of the league table next season.

For Arsenal fans who can't get to see the team play live too often it will be a welcome boost to see each of their first seven away games live on TV. Added to the Champions League group games and the two home games there should be at least 14 Arsenal games live on TV before November finishes. It means Arsenal fans won't have to spend ages looking for dodgy streams on sites full of unwanted adverts.

As long as they can get plenty of points in those games they should be live on TV quite a bit after that too. The first away league game Arsenal are scheduled to play at the traditional 3pm Saturday kick off is at Reading in mid December, but that is still subject to change depending on live TV games which have not been decided yet.

With the first of the players back for pre-season training the build up to the new season has already begun, and Arsenal will play in a mini-tournament with Southampton and Anderlecht this Saturday. 10 days later the real pre-season friendlies begin, and all four of Arsenal's will be live on ESPN. It won't be long before the real football begins, and Arsenal fans can look forward to 10 months of watching their team play for real.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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