Analysis: Is it fair Arsenal are being labelled as bottlers?

The Gunners threw away a lead for the second game in a row against Swansea

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Arsenal have come from behind to claim a result as many times as they have squandered leads this season.

The Gunners have been picking up a reputation in recent weeks for capitulating when in a winning position. Last week, Anderlecht completed a stunning turnaround that saw the Belgian side claim a draw despite having been 3-0 down at the Emirates in their Champions League meeting.

That embarrassing result for the Gunners was followed up this weekend with a 2-1 defeat to Swansea, despite having led 1-0 through Alexis Sanchez.

Arsene Wenger was at a loss to explain Arsenal's defensive deficiencies. "It has been a disappointing week considering the performances we produced," he said after the game in Wales.

"We lost two points against Anderlecht and three today. When you are 1-0 up and you are a big team you have to win the game."


Centre-back Per Mertesacker has called for improvement from the Gunners.

"The game was completely in our hands, especially in the second half when we scored," the German told the official club website.

"Then we have to play serious football and not lose the ball but they got us on the break, and that's completely unbelievable in our situation."

Video: Premier League review

Yet despite earning something of a reputation as bottlers, that is perhaps an unfair label.

In Arsenal's 19 games this season, 10 have seen one side hold the lead only for the scoreline to change by the end of the match. In five of those matches, including the most recent two, Arsenal have been the side in the ascendancy. Against Swansea, Anderlecht, Southampton, Manchester City and Leicester the Gunners were in front only to end up drawing three of them and losing two.

However, Arsene Wenger's side have also been behind in five matches this season but gone on to gain a result. Anderlecht, Hull, Tottenham, Everton and Crystal Palace all held leads before the Gunners came back - drawing three of them and beating Anderlecht and Crystal Palace.

Wenger seemed to suggest Arsenal were out of the title race following the defeat on Sunday - whether that is the case or not remains to be seen. But judging by Arsenal's season so far, watching them try to chase down Chelsea should be entertaining.

Arsenal matches this season in which the leaders failed to win...

Lost 2-1 vs Swansea - had led 1-0

Drew 3-3 vs Anderlecht - had led 3-0 (Champions League)

Won 2-1 vs Anderlecht - had trailed 1-0 (Champions League)

Drew 2-2 vs Hull - had trailed 2-1

Drew 1-1 vs Tottenham - had trailed 1-0

Lost 2-1 vs Southampton - had led 1-0 (Capital One Cup)

Drew 2-2 vs Manchester City - had led 2-1

Drew 1-1 with Leicester - had led 1-0

Drew 2-2 with Everton - had trailed 2-0

Won 2-1 with Crystal Palace - had trailed 1-0