By Tony Attwood
Arsenal is not a top European team. That’s the official word. And yet year on year we get into the last 16, and sometimes the last eight of the Champions League. For the three years from 2008 to 2010 we got to the quarter and semi-finals. Which is more than quite a few teams over the last ten years or so have achieved. And more than we used to do – its only been since 1996/7 that we have been in Europe each year.
So how does our current form compare with other top teams in other top European leagues?
This is difficult to analyse of course because not each league is the same – Spain is often a two team league, occasionally letting Atletico Madrid in to make things more exciting. Germany is utterly dominated by one team – Bayern Munich. At least in England we have four teams vying for the top, and two wannabes who scrap it out for the Europa.
And maybe that is the problem for Premier League teams in Europe. There is too much competition at home, and too many matches in the Premier League are real matches where the clubs need to put out their first eleven and not rest any players who are carrying a knock.
Anyway, somehow Arsenal is on the up – and this is where I turned to the Who Scored web site which analyses these things.
Now unfortunately they don’t immediately show how they balance the various factors (I am sure it is on the site somewhere but I can’t see it) but even so, since they do a lot with stats, let’s assume for a moment that their analysis is fairly accurate.
The Cards column shows yellows total first then red. The aerials column is for successful aerial challenges.
Of course these factors don’t make for a perfect analysis of quality or success, but it is still an interesting perspective. Here are their findings.
Three Premier League teams in the chart with us fifth overall. An encouraging sign.
Now having gone this far they go further with a more detailed table… these figures give the number of shots
The figures go on and on and you can play with them forever but the point comes across, we are consistently playing in a style and with results akin to the top half dozen teams in Europe. Which put simply means given what we have we are underachieving in the Champions League.
But then so are the other English teams – quite possibly because of the demands of our season with a much stronger mid table set of sides than one finds in other leagues.
Whoscored do all sorts of funny things with their stats – including, for example, using them to predict the outcomes for forthcoming games. Here’s what they say about the next match – against Burnley
|There will be a low number of cards shown|
|Arsenal will score from a setpiece situation|
|Arsenal will dominate possession|
|Arsenal will steal the ball from the opposition often|
|Arsenal will score from a wingplay situation|
The web site also does team predictions based on who is getting the most points statistically for the team in each position. Here is what they have for the Burnley game…
Bellerin Mert Gabriel Monreal
Ramsey Ozil Sanchez
And then the snippets of facts that come up before each match…
|Arsenal have won their last 7 matches in the Premier League.|
|There have been under 2.5 goals scored in Burnley‘s last 6 games in the Premier League.|
|Arsenal have scored at least 2 goals in their last 7 matches in the Premier League.|
|Arsenal have been winning at both half time and full time in 6 of their last 7 matches in the Premier League.|
|There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 8 of Arsenal‘s last 9 games in the Premier League.|
|Burnley have seen under 2.5 goals in their last 3 home matches against Arsenal in all competitions.|
|Burnley have failed to win 9 of their last 10 matches in the Premier League.|
And then their prediction
- Burnley’s daunting run of fixtures comes to an end of sorts against Arsenal and the Clarets would no doubt take another point at home, though the goals have dried up of late.
- Keeping this Arsenal side out will be no mean feat, however, and if the Gunners were to win on Saturday their winning streak of 8 matches would represent the longest of any Premier League team this season.
- Dyche will have his team as well-drilled as ever but Arsenal’s form, particularly going forwards, is likely to prove too much for the hosts, who will be looking forward to facing more favourable opposition again soon.
So there you are – hardly worth going now is it?
On this day – highs and lows of Highbury
9 April 1992: Arsenal 1 Coventry City 0. The crowd of 14,133 was the lowest of the season at Highbury despite being match 11 of a 17 match unbeaten run.
9 April 2004: Arsenal come back from 2-1 down to beat Liverpool 4-2. The 31st league game of the unbeaten season. Henry scored a hat trick.