By Walter Broeckx
Today I saw an Arsenal supporter saying this:
“Arsenal after 28 games this season – 51pts Arsenal after 28 games last season – 54pts Arsenal after 28 games two seasons ago – 59pts..even with a better team..thats how we do..thats the progress we made..”
Now this supporter will still have been full of disappointment after yesterday’s result. Of course we all are disappointed. Only those with an agenda will feel great as it gives them some more time to shout abuse and ask for all and everyone to be sacked immediately. The told you so that we all like to use from time to time.
Now of course the numbers this supporter quoted are correct. No argument from my part. But and this is where Untold comes in to it… it is all well and good to compare our numbers over different seasons but even without looking at things I know that the PL this season is completely different from to other seasons.
So I thought it would be nice not just to compare the points for Arsenal but let us throw in the points of all the teams that were in the PL this and last season. And if we do this we get the following table. The order is based on the final table of last season.
|2014 – 2015||2015 – 2016||+ / –|
And the first observation I want to make that all the teams who finished in the top 5 last season have fewer points after 28 matches compared to last season.
The biggest losers are the team that won it last season. Chelsea has 25 points less than last season. They didn’t really go forward despite having the best coach in the world (according to himself anyway) and despite having kept their team and added some more players.
Manchester City. Spending money as always and like never before… but the numbers say that they have 11 points fewer than at this stage last season.
Manchester United also spend lots of money once again. But in the end… they now have 6 points less than last season.
Liverpool sold a big player but also spent money like they do each year. And the result… 10 points less. Despite having changed manager during the season.
So in fact Arsenal only losing 3 points compared to last season… looks rather fine if you compare this with the big spenders.
The only team that finished in the top 6 last season that has done better is Tottenham. They have 4 points more this season.
I come to Leicester now. Last season they only had 19 points and now they have 57 points. That is 38 points better! But it is also a fact that Leicester now after 28 matches have 7 points less than Chelsea had last season.
The conclusion is simple I think. The smaller teams have improved a lot this season. Certainly the newly promoted teams have done much better than expected. Bournemouth is the lowest placed promoted team and they are in 15th place and look reasonably save to stay in the PL this season.
But by this improvement of the smaller teams we see that each match is more difficult to win. And this results in less points for the top teams.
I don’t know which team will win it in May but I do think that it will be with the lowest number of points for a very long time. Is this because football in the PL is dropping in level? I think it might be the opposite. The level of the lower teams is rising and the top teams are more or less standing still. Or going backwards even.
Now one might argue that Arsenal and Wenger would have done better to spend the war chest last summer but then again….the teams that did spend loads of money have gone back more than us. And the team that kept their team more or less intact and only added a few more or less unknown players is the team that has improved beyond everyone’s expectation.
So maybe the answer could be for Wenger to buy more young and unknown players again? As that seems to be a better solution than the one offered by the money spenders.
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The latest Untold book is Arsenal: The Long Sleep 1953-1970 with a Foreword by Bob Wilson, available both as a paperback and as a Kindle book from Amazon. Details of this and our previous and forthcoming titles can be found at Arsenal Books on this site.
- 3 March 1906 and 1956: Two games against Birmingham. In the 1906 version, Woolwich Arsenal beat Birmingham 5-0 to equal the club’s top score thus far On 3 March 1956 it was Arsenal 1 Birmingham City 3. Stan Charlton scored a consolation goal in a 6th round FA Cup tie at Highbury.
- 3 March 1939: Wilf Copping returned to Leeds after 166 games for Arsenal. He was the ultimate exponent of the “vigorous” shoulder charge and the (now illegal) two footed tackle.