This week our statistician Josh James looks at the figures behind the first 100 league games at Emirates Stadium.
Sunday’s victory over Stoke City was Arsenal’s 100th Premier League game at Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners have won 67, drawn 22 and lost 11 of the century, scoring 201 goals and conceding 77. The team racked up 223 points in that time.
The first league game was also the first ever competitive fixture at the venue. Gilberto scored Arsenal’s first league goal at Emirates – a second-half equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on August 19, 2006.
The first league win came in the third match – 3-0 over Sheffield United (coincidentally the three goalscorers that day – Thierry Henry, William Gallas and Phil Jagielka (og) – all share a birthday).
The first league defeat was also the first defeat at Emirates Stadium in any competition, coming against West Ham on April 7, 2007. Very much against the run of play, and thanks in no small part to Robert Green, the Hammers triumphed 1-0 in what was the 15th league match at the new stadium. It was also the only time Arsenal failed to score in a home league game at all that season, the next time they fired a blank was 19 months later against Aston Villa.
Arsenal ended their debut season at the Emirates with a league record of P19 W12 D6 L1, amassing 42 points.
The following campaign Arsenal were unbeaten at home in the league, conceding just 11 goals, and earning 47 points. Completing an unbeaten home campaign in the league is something that took Arsenal 47 seasons to achieve (1970/71) after moving into Highbury in 1913/14, and then only four times subsequently (1980/81, 1990/91, 1998/99 and 2003/04).
In 2009/10 Arsenal won 15 home league games, a tally never surpassed during a 38-game season at Highbury.
Gervinho became the 30th different Arsenal player to score in league football at Emirates when he broke the deadlock against Stoke City. Five of those players have reached double figures, while Robin van Persie extended his tally to 34 with another brace at the weekend.
There have been seven own goals scored in Arsenal’s favour, and three hat-tricks – Emmanuel Adebayor against Derby (2007/08), Theo Walcott v Blackpool and Van Persie v Wigan (both 2010/11).
Arsenal have only ever lost one home league game in which van Persie has scored – against Aston Villa late last season. The captain has now scored six goals in his last three league games at home – the most consecutive Emirates league matches scored in is six (Adebayor in 2007/08).
Incidentally, Van Persie’s first goal against Stoke was the team’s 200th league goal at the stadium, and the 200th scored in all competitions in front of the North Bank goal (compared to 126 in the Clock End).
|Robin van Persie||34|
The most common scoreline in league football at Emirates is 1-0 to the Arsenal, which has been recorded 13 times, though there weren’t any at all during the first season. In fact each of the first eight league games at Emirates ended in one of two scorelines – there were four 3-0 wins and four 1-1 draws.
The biggest league win remains 6-0 – against Blackpool early last season – one of 13 times the team have scored four or more in a league game.
The first goalless draw didn’t arrive until the 50th league game – against West Ham on January 31, 2009 – and curiously was immediately followed by two more (against Sunderland and Fulham). It remains the longest Arsenal have gone without scoring a league goal at Emirates (278 minutes in all).
What’s striking is that when Arsenal do get beaten at home in the league, they get beaten by a variety of scores – the Gunners have been on the wrong end of seven different scorelines so far.
The longest winning run is six straight league victories (recorded twice) while the longest unbeaten run is 25 (Apr 14, 2007 to Aug 30, 2008 inclusive). The most games without a league win is three (on three separate occasions).
So how do these first 100 league games at Emirates compare to the first 100 at Highbury?
The Gunners moved into Highbury in 1913, while still in Division Two. After two seasons at that level, and following the resumption of league football after World War One, Arsenal were in the top flight, and played their 100th league game at Highbury at the end of the 1921/22 season. The record for the first 100 games was: W58, D23, L19, F175, A88.
Perhaps more relevant are the stats for the last 100 league games at our erstwhile home. Arsenal suffered just two fewer defeats in those games compared to the first 100 at Emirates, but converted more draws into wins.
The Gunners have tightened up defensively in league football since moving to Emirates, but score fewer goals. The figures are: W73, D18, L9, F242, A96.
In all Arsenal played 1,689 league matches at Highbury, and expressing those overall figures as an average for 100 games looks like this: P100, W58, D24, L18, F200, A100.
That record is almost identical to the record for the first 100 games at Highbury, suggesting that those early games set the tone for all that followed in the 93 years at Highbury.
So will the first 100 league games at Emirates establish a pattern to be followed in future? Only time, of course, will tell.
Josh James also provides the stats for the Arsenal Analysis pages of the matchday programme. To subscribe, or buy online, click here.