I must start this piece by putting a disclaimer out there. I am not for one second advocating that Martin O'Neill goes. He's been here less than a year, and deserves all of our support.
However, something has been said recently and it's kind of got me thinking about it more and more to the point I thought I'd go and investigate it. That statement being that "taken in isolation, our results this season aren't that bad"... You look at them on paper and you think, yeah, there's a point there to be made.
Curiosity did however get the best of me. I had to go and look to see the results from last season. No I couldn't recall them all off the top of my head like an uber. I'm getting on a bit you know.
What was interesting is that the Aston Villa game last season was our 10th Premier League game last, and this season it would also have been had the Reading game not been called off. It seems a good enough time as any to compare and contrast results form last season to this season.
Starting with Arsenal away, this year we claimed a credible 0-0 draw on the opening day. Last season we got beat at the Emirates 2-1, so that's a plus on this season.
Another plus on this season was Wigan Athletic at home, a famous 1-2 reverse was turned into a 1-0 victory, a positive mark of +3 points on last season. Similarly Newcastle at home was turned from no points to one point, but that's about where the good news ends.
Several results, rather than us thinking "good in isolation" are actually the same or worse than last year.
Swansea City away yielded a 0-0 draw last season and a 2-2 draw this season. West Ham United we couldn't play the previous season, but we got a 1-1 draw this season. The Hammers were promoted via the play offs, as were Swansea, so take that as cancelling each other out too.
Then we drop points. Liverpool at home last season saw us win 1-0 thanks to a 56th minute Nicklas Bendtner strike, this season we drop two points to a 1-1 draw. Equally at Stoke City, this years 0-0 paled in comparison to last season's 1-0 win.
Draws with Manchester City away and Aston Villa at home last season both saw us claim credible draws, this season both have been marked in the loss column.
Overall, the table of comparison looks a little like this;
|Game||2011/12 Score||2011/12 Points||2012/13 Score||2012/13 Points|
West Ham United (A)
|Wigan Athletic (H)||1-2||0||1-0||3|
|Manchester City (A)||3-3||1||0-3||0|
|Stoke City (A)||1-0||3||0-0||1|
|Aston Villa (H)||2-2||1||0-1||0|
What we can take away from this is just how close it is, but nonetheless it's still worse than last season. Perhaps it will put into perspective some of the outcry at how we've played so far this season.
It makes the outcome of the Reading game quite pivotal. If we had included them in this, and assuming we could have won that game we'd have still remained a point down on last season having beaten the Champions of the Championship last year at home - Queens Park Rangers - by three goals to one.
So we can say things are bad, but nowhere near as bad as some folk are making out. Something that might cause one or two to get their knickers in a twist is the season starts.
Over the opening ten games last season (as opposed to the ten comparative games above) we came away with 9 points - the same as we have this season. Remember, in 2011/12 with 9 points, the tide was turning and we were a mere two games from hounding out Steve Bruce at home to Wigan.
It's not been great, but at least the start to the season this year has been consistent. Last years first ten read W2 D4 L4. This season it reads W1 D6 L2. We've won one less, but we've picked up two points which were defeats last season, for arguments sake.
So while results aren't the greatest this season and we all really thought with the additions of Fletcher and Johnson etc things would really kick on, they still could. Don't be hitting the panic button yet. Things are about the same as last year, but with slightly more consistency. Consistency breeds results eventually. Keep The Faith.