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By Bulldog Drummond
The question was recently asked of Untold, if Arsenal continue for the last ten games of the season, as they have been doing thus far, what would the final table look like? With our trusty calculator we have taken the current situation at the top of the league and extrapolated the final reckonings based on current form, and compared this with the best ever performance by team in the League.
|2017/18||Best ever (Man C)||38||32||4||2||106||27||79||100|
Arsenal will thus not be the best ever team in the premier league, but if Arsenal do finish on 94 points would be the fourth-best side ever, beaten only by Manchester City (2017/18 and 2018/19) and Liverpool (2019/20).
The only teams to have finished above this number in the past are shown below
Arsenal’s previous best points total was 90 in 2003/04.
What is also of interest is that in the three title victories in the Wenger era there was an individual goal scorer of great note: Thierry Henry with 39 in 2003/4, and with 32 in 2001/2. In 1997/98 the leading scorer was Dennis Bergkamp with 22.
But just considering league goals we see an interesting story, for this season although Arsenal are the second highest scoring team in the league, just one goal behind Manchester City, the situation with goal scorers is quite different with Odegaard on 10, Saka on 12 and Martinelli on 13. In 1997/98 just considering league goals, the club had Wright on 10, Overmars on 12 and Bergkamp on 16 – a very similar approach.
In 2003/4 it was Henry on 30 goals in the league and Pires on 13. In 2001/2 the top scorers in league games were
- Robert Pires: 9
- Dennis Bergkamp: 9
- Sylvain Wiltord: 10
- Freddie Ljungberg 12
- Thierry Henry: 24
By way of contrast, we can also look at the worst ever Premier League champions, and that very clearly is Leicester City. And we can compare their figures at the end of their title winning season with Arsenal’s position today.
Four wins from Arsenal’s last ten games will take Arsenal above Leicester’s points total and thus thankfully avoid being known as the team to win the league with the worst-ever record. For although that opprobrium was avoided by Leicester, in that none of the newspapers or broadcasters would ever mention the fact, if it happened to Arsenal we can be sure it would be bigger news than this being Arsenal’s fourth Premier League title.
One thing is also certain is that Arsenal will finish the season with more goals scored than Leicester got in their title winning season, so the negative journalists will be forced to look elsewhere for taunts.
In the six years since Leicester’s title the lowest number of wins was 27 (Manchester City), the highest number of defeats was six (ditto) the lowest number of goals scored 83 (ditto).
The most conceded was Liverpool with 33. It would be particularly handy as a way of making the journalists search harder for finding a way of saying that this wasn’t really a league win, and that under normal circumstances Arsenal would not have won the league.
But I think what most of us want, rather than this being the fourth Premier League title, if that is what it turns out to be, is for the journalists not have to find anything to detract from Arsenal’s performance this season.
As we have noted before, the media universally had Arsenal down to finish fifth or sixth in the league. Untold Arsenal, using its projection of the last 35 games of last season went for third. It is looking very much as if we are not going to be right in that prediction, but at least we will probably be less wrong.
Indeed it is interesting to look at the form table that we used at that time, taken from TransferMarkt
It does suggest that although form tables are not 100% accurate predictors, they are by and large better than journalists.
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