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Can Arsenal Win the League this Season? Here are the factors it depends on.

Can Arsenal Win the League this Season?

What is the Long Term Trend?

By Pete

I have noticed that, over recent history, Arsenal seem to be more successful in seasons leading up to major international championships than in seasons following them.  For example we can see that we won the League in 1998, 2002 and 2004 – but never in an odd-numbered year.

This goes back to around the time when Arsene Wenger became manager – and when the influx of foreign players really started to gather steam – with therefore more players participating in these events.  As the club has been stable, in terms of management and philosophy (if not in terms of short-term financial resources) I think this analysis is a valid exercise to undertake.

I have also observed that Arsenal have been making steady progress over the last few seasons in terms of their League points per season – a metric I regard as a good long term indicator of our progress or otherwise.

The below chart summarises Arsenal’s points since Wenger’s first full season (1997/8).

Picture 19 aug

That is 18 seasons.  Our average points outcome (the Blue Line) is 75.94 – or just one point (over 18 seasons!) short of two per game.  Our average in seasons following non WC/EC summers is 78.  Our average following World Cups is 73.4, our average following Euros is 74.5.  This is quite statistically significant and reflects the impact of exhaustion, injuries and post championship “hang overs” on our players.

While other clubs would also be impacted by this, anecdotally I do feel we have had more players participating AND more of those participating until the later stages.

We can smooth the numbers by adjusting for major championships (so increasing the points post championships and decreasing pre) and these are plotted by the darker (originally green, but I fear it loses its colour on some systems) line.

The Green Line is smoother (standard deviation of 6.12) than the Blue Line (standard deviation of 6.47).  This is also significant and reflective of the impact of major championships.

[As a matter of interest, our average points in the first seven seasons was 79.1, our average in the subsequent eleven is 73.9.  So the impact of building the stadium has been around 5 points per season over the last 11 seasons.]

But the point of this article is to project forwards.  As can be seen, our adjusted points per season has increased for the past four seasons.  We have been making progress!  This trend seems to be petering out to an extent but would seem to imply a forecast adjusted points total of 78 points next season (or 80 actual).

80 probably won’t win the League title.  So what else could we do to garner the extra half dozen or so points that are likely to be necessary?

Possibilities include:

  1. Buy another world class player or two (probably looking at transfer fees in the region of £70-£80 million for the pair).
  2. Improve our injury unavailability to the median for the PL. This would also have the effect of two more top class (first team) players being available for any given game.
  3. Hope for more even-handed refereeing performances. This would be worth a fair number of points as well.
  4. Hope that statistical variation favours us this season.

I think 1 is unlikely, am modestly confident around 2 while I continue to hope for 3, against all the evidence…

But just one of these 3 things I believe would supply the extra 6 or 7 points we need.  Two of them would probably get us to above 90 and all three would see us breaking records.  Even if we get none of them a fortunate season (getting a few lucky breaks – perhaps Wickham hitting the post on Sunday…?) could easily see us into the mid-80s.

Then the other variable is how our competitors do.  My sense is that the long term trend whereby the champions got ever more points and pulled ever further clear of the median club, is starting to go into reverse as the sheer size of the TV pot is allowing the mid-table clubs to improve their teams relatively faster than for the top teams.  In other words an extra £50mm will improve Stoke more than Manchester City due to the increasing rarity (and hence expense) of the very top players.

We shall see.

I am sure you all have your own views, but wanted to try to anchor the debate on solid foundations…

From the Pre-season files

1984 Pre-season: real hope but Arsenal fade

23 comments to Can Arsenal Win the League this Season? Here are the factors it depends on.

  • jayramfootball

    That is an interesting time series.
    Despite dropping off slightly last year there certainly is a trend upwards in points, but then a regresison line bewteen 2006 and 2010 also shows an upward trend.
    The strength of other teams is crucial to the points the top teams end with and the number that ends up being enough to be champions.
    I personally think the champions will have a lower points haul this year. Looking through the squads around the league I would certainly say they are stronger all the way down to 20th. It would not surprise me to see the champions with less than 80 points come next May.
    As far as our chances of winning it, it is possible but I just don’t have the faith that over a season the team will be consistent enough.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    I agree with your last point about how the TV pot will help the mid-lower table teams more than the top teams. Getting just one really good player means that on any given day that moment of magic can change a result in the favour of a less well funded team.

  • Fred

    We can but it’s very unlikely without keeping momentum going. This is football not the stock market and all this trending is somewhat embarrassing. Ozil and then Sanchez had a huge impact and lifted everyone, momentum is worth a few points a season I’m sure. God forbid we are losing to Liverpool next week and you may get a few singing once more spend some fucking money. Dosent bode well for overall confidence and then if we fail to buy with all that money in the bank for transfers, then I’m afraid there is only one man responsible for turning the emerates into a hostile enviroment. Chelsea are buying city have got out the blocks and look very good and still they are buying. I hope the boss pulls a rabbit out the hat otherwise I fear a munity coming on once more. Will be a terrible shame but one I will understand even though I’m a huge wenger fan. If he had bought some quality two years ago when we were leading in jan instead of bringing in a bloke with a broken back who knows.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Very interesting analysis. Agree with many points, don’t think we will sign the two world beaters, as we have a great squad, and such players are very hard to find at the moment. Agree on the injuries, they help we are getting from Shad et al might not stop our players getting kicked, but they may help in other areas of injury management, I hope we are starting to see this.
    Regarding the refs, agree with FIF in his recent Twitter posts, fear the worst for Arsenal in what he describes as “scudamoreworld”
    Next Monday could be telling.
    But as mentioned, lots of the teams lower in the league will take points off the big boys. Chelsea will improve, but it may destabilise the squad for a while to do so, Jose’s current demeanour might not be helping.
    City look excellent, but further changes to the squad coming it seems as the bust through FFP if reports are to be believed. Too many signings may destabilise, read Liverpool and Utd.
    Can we win, yes, will we, think that unfortunately depends on factors outside the sphere of influence of Wenger and the boys, unless they can be so good, they can counter some very good squads, as well as dirty tricks, strange refs performances, media campaigns, idiot punters, knee jerk fans

  • Notoverthehill

    Fred, check the facts!

    ‘First of all it’s very difficult to identify a player, who can come in, of that stature and then we made a medical (check) of his back and we found out he had a little micro-fracture”, said Wenger”

    Kallstrom, was a hedge for March and April, no more and no less.

    After the 2 opening games in the EPL, only 2 teams have no points!

    When the European games start, we can expect a l,ot of surprise results.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin.

    Arsenal can undoubtedly win the Premier League and even win the remaining 3 titles to complete winning the fifthruple as they have won the Shield already. But Arsenal will need to do certain things to achieve these herculean tasks. The Gunners must first have a belief they can do it. And they must also work diligently to support that their belief after having it. The Boss has the personnel to accomplish the job successful. But how he goes about deploying his personnel on the field of play will be crucial to the Gunners successfully challenging for the remaining quadruple titles. To get to the 100 Premier League points landmark, the Boss must first and foremost be making his starts to conform to the different games complexion the Gunners will be playing. The Boss must know that each game has it’s own complexion and it’s own Application. The games are not the same. Therefore, the Boss must not be static in his starts but vary his starts and tactics for the different games the Gunners will play to win weeks in weeks out. Infact, I am expecting the Gunners to win 31 games out of their remaining 36 Epl games for additional 93 points to the 3 pts they already have, to make it 96 points. And I also expect them not to lose the remaining 5 games, but get 5 points from those 5 matches to reach a record 101 points. But have the Gunners believe they can achieve this incredible result. If they don’t, I think they better start having the belief and believe their belief can come to pass. The attainment of 101 Premier League points is not designed for the spirits to achieve, but made for footballers to attain. All Gunners must henceforth eschew title challenge discipline and uphold it on and off the field of play. The Gunners must show collective hunger to win the remaining 4 available titles and keep getting hungry to win it. All Gunners must be utmost serious with their games on the field of play and not be playing to the gallery.

  • Fred

    I don’t know if your over the hill but it seems a lot goes right over your head. Because Arsene said it doesn’t make it a fact. You may want to check that one out. Also it appears you missed the point completely. Never mind.

  • Fred

    Sam you are the man sir. You are definately on right site. Hehe

  • Mandy Dodd

    Buying is not always to answer to everything, as Liverpool , Spurs and Utd have recently found out.
    in addition, we have a manager, who, unlike some I could mention, has the ability to develop young players.

  • colario


    In English to be easily understood your paragraph should have only one subject especially when writing for the internet.


    ‘I believe Arsene Wenger is the best manager in the history of Arsenal.

    New paragraph
    I believe this because……give one reason only.

    New paragraph

    Another reason I believe this is…..
    give one reason only.

    In conclusion……..”

    When writing on paper we leave a line between paragraphs. On the Internet where we read much faster than we we read old fashion paper and ink you need to make the space between paragraphs bigger than one line.

    By doing this you make text easy on the eye of the reader and therefore more likely to have your blog/post read.

    Sam I am sure you write a good post but I don’t read your long, long paragraph. It is not easy on the eye and I have to try and break it down into the points you make. Your short paragraphs should do that for the reader..

    If you (and not just Sam) write short well spaced paragraphs I promise to read what you write.

    Thank you.

  • Mandy Dodd

    It seems a few outlets are suggesting we are in varying degrees of closeness in signing a reported target.
    Looked into this a bit more, it seems two of the main protagonists of these stories are none other than Rodney Marsh, and a seriously glamorous Venezuelan sports presenter. Of course they may be correct, Though if the sports presenter has been correct in her tweets, said player has been on a very long flight to London for a medical, lasting weeks.
    Not sure how much of this will appear in the news tomorrow, as I say, it may happen, but worth remembering, where there is a Rodney, there may also be a Del Boy.

  • Menace

    My view is that winning 17 home games can win the League. It is crucial not to lose or draw. The away games are normally easier because of the way we play, apart from the likes of Stoke where brute force & unfair ‘holding’ seems to be permitted. Arsenal have brute capability but generally play good football without having to get physical.

    The media & pundits still push the physical approach against Arsenal because their sexual needs are not being met. Perhaps they will get a thrill when Arsenal show physicality & brute strength. It was quite visible when the Crystal Palace players were bouncing off Coquelin following a feather touch.

  • Al

    Interesting analysis. It certainly makes sense for us to have traditionally underperformed in the year following a major tournament coz most of our players also represent their national sides.

    With regards to the four points I’d say if point number were to come true then we win the league; every year I count at least six to nine, or even more in some cases, points that refs cost us. If 3 is sorted then 2 is also fixed in the process since most of our injuries result from unpunished thuggery with refs turning a blind eye. Unfortunately 2 and 3 are the least likely to happen for us.

  • Al

    Meant “if point number 3 were to come true then we win the league….”

  • Florian

    The trouble with these factors is that only 1) and 2) are under our control, and even so only partially. As Untold mentioned repeatedly, transferring a world class player is not simple, for there are so many factors involved. 3) and 4) are effectively various names for “luck”, which is a fickle mistress and usually has not been on our side.

  • Al

    I’d argue only one is under out control, Florian, as if the refs allow the Charlie Adams of this league to hack down our players with impunity then injuries will mount 🙂

    But I can see what you mean of course, agree we have some degree of control over our injuries to an extent, just thought the merchantsame of doom might latch onto that.

  • Al

    …under our control….

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Can Arsenal Win the League this Season?

    Certainly, absolutely , definitely , decidedly , doubtlessly , obviously , surely , undeniably ,unambiguously , unequivocally , unquestionably , beyond any doubt , categorically, doubtlessly , explicitly , expressly, indubitably , irrevocably ,and
    positively , ….YES ! MAIS OUI ! SI ! JA ! YA !

    But then again ,I am biased ,am a hardcore AKB and a true supporter of the Arsenal!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    The Goldberg Brothers – The Inventors of the Automobile Air Conditioner

    Here’s a little fact for automotive buffs .

    The four Goldberg brothers, Lowell, Norman, Hiram, and Maxwell,invented and developed the first automobile air-conditioner.

    On July 17, 1946 , the temperature in Detroit was 97 F degrees.

    The four brothers walked into old man Henry Ford’s office and sweet-talked his secretary into telling him that four gentlemen were there with the most exciting innovation in the auto industry since the electric starter.

    Henry was curious and invited them into his office.

    They refused and instead asked that he come out to the parking lot to their car.

    They persuaded him to get into the car, which was about 130 F degrees inside, turned on the air conditioner, and cooled the car off almost immediately.

    The old man got very excited and invited them back to the office, where he offered them $3 million for the patent.

    The brothers refused, saying they would settle for $2 million, but they wanted the recognition by having a label, ‘The Goldberg Air-Conditioner,’ on the dashboard of each car in which it was installed.

    There was no way that old man Ford was going to put the Goldberg’s name on two million Fords.

    They haggled back and forth for about two hours and finally agreed on $4 million and that just their first names would be shown.

    And so to this day, all Ford air conditioners show — Lo, Norm, Hi, and Max — on the controls.

  • Florian


    Right. There is that gray area called “contact injuries” that are largely the result of the PGMOB practices, and over which Shad & Co can provide only limited remedy, ie the player(s) still sits some time out. It depends on where we draw the line. Of course, we have to assume that our players don’t practice kicking each other out because of boredom;)

    I also remember an article from not very long ago about the Injury League, whose conclusion was pretty much that we are already on the up as far as the amount of wasted man-weeks is concerned (well, less is more;). An interesting observation was that a relatively small improvement on the injury front would have made us title contenders.

  • tunnygriff

    We are unlikely to win the league. We lack quality depth in a couple of important areas in my opinion. We need competition for Coquelin so that they can rotate and push each other. I have huge respect for Arteta for what he has done for us during difficult times. He is a good pro with a good head but sadly he is no longer mobile enough to be relied upon to replace Coquelin should anything happen to the frenchman. Ditto Flamini. In thebig games wth Santi playing alongside Francis we lack the physicality and power to match the top side.

    Relying on Theo as a striker is a risk, he’s not had much first team experience playing there and his injury record is a worry. I like Danny but he is hardly prolific. We need him to have a real breakout season for us to have any chance. We could do with an elite striker but to be fair there are a lot of clubs searching for one.

    If we are to win the league. Ozil must have a consistently outstanding season, Alexis needs to hit 20goals again, cCoquelin has to repeat last seasons form and the likes of Ox, Wilshere, Ramsey, Walcott, Welbeck, Giroud have to step up and possiblly hit levels they haven’t hit before

    Finally we need a pretty clear season free of two many injuries so that players can rest and rotate.

  • ob1977

    Tunny, a positive spin like Walcott of 2012/2013, or Ramsey 2013/2014, a fit season for both will redeem stats or seasons similar, likewise a half fit season for Jack, and The Ox who is just 22 should obviously having a better season than any before.

  • 2015
    The Year of the Arsenal

    AKBs, keep the Faith.