Which clubs are going forward, which going back?


PL Clubs improvement and decline 

By Tony Attwood

Had we predicted that with nine games to go Arsenal would be top of the league with a six point lead over Manchester C (who have a game in hand) we’d have been laughed at.  Mind you, Untold is often laughed at, so no change there.

Anyway, as you may recall, Untold predicted Arsenal would be third this season, and that brought some derision, but with the club being 17 points above third spot, I suspect we were in fact being over-cautious.

Anyway, we all know that Arsenal are doing a lot, lot better than they were doing last season – but in their constant haste to cover up the total gibberish that we can now see last season’s mainstream media predictions were (and amazingly most were allegedly made by a Super Computer!!!), the media seem to have lost the plot.

So we decided to so see just how different this season’s positions of the Big Seven clubs are from last season, and where there are changes, what they actually tell us in terms of clubs going forwards or going back.

To do this, what we decided to do is take the Big 7 clubs and compare them with where they were after having played the same number of games last season.  In particular, we wanted to know which clubs had gained or lost the most points, those which had improved goalscoring and defence, and those which had gone in the opposite direction.

To do this in a way we could understand we built a simple table showing for each club where they were after the same number of games last season, in terms of the key parameters of goals scored and conceded, the resultant goal difference and the number of points.

To be absolutely clear we are therefore measuring Arsenal after 30 games this season compared with after 30 games last season, while Newcastle are measured after 29 games this season and last season, and so on.  The position in the first column in the table below is where each club is in the league as of this morning.

And I think it is fair to say that the swings are far bigger than we imagined when we started.

For example, Arsenal after 30 games this season Arsenal have scored 27 goals more than after 30 games last season, conceded seven fewer, have a goal difference that is 34 better than this point in the last season, and have 19 more points than this moment in the 2021/2 season.

Here’s the table…


Pos Team Pld scored conceded GD +/- Pts +/-
1 Arsenal 30 +27 -7 +34 +19
2 Manchester City 29 +7 +9 -2 -3
3 Newcastle United 29 +16 -28 +44 +25
4 Manchester United 29 -4 -3 -1 +6
5 Tottenham Hotspur 30 +3 +5 -2 -1
8 Liverpool 29 -25 +15 -40 -25
11 Chelsea 30 -35 +8 -43 -23


So obviously, we start with Arsenal and you can see the club has scored almost one goal more a game on average than last season and has improved its goal difference by over one goal a game. The defence is a little better, but the big growth is in attack.

But Arsenal are not the most improved club.  That accolade goes to the “Saudi Arabian controlled” Newcastle United.  They have scored 16 more, and conceded 28 fewer, making a goal difference that is 44 better off and a points total that is 25 better than last season at this stage.  Newcastle, as a result, have risen from 15th to third.

So Newcastle and Arsenal are the most improved clubs this season.  And balancing this out, there are two giant losers – Liverpool and Chelsea.

Now this is interesting because while Arsenal’s rise can be put down to the continuing development programme of Mikel Arteta, and Newcastle’s from the investment from the Saudi Arabian state, the decline of Liverpool and Chelsea really have no such explanations.  Liverpool are a stable club, and Chelsea have all the money any club could want.

And yet Liverpool have scored 25 goals fewer and conceded 15 more than this time a year ago giving them a goal difference decline of a staggering -40.  As for their points total they are 25 points worse off than last season after 29 games.  And the explanation is… well, I’m not sure.  But certainly the media generally is not talking of a Liverpool crisis – which given their propensity to invent crises, is odd.

Chelsea have been in constant managerial turmoil and an insane desire seemingly to buy players just because of their price rather than their talent.  They have scored 35 fewer than this time last season, conceded eight more, and thus have a GD decline of 43, with a points decline of 23.

It’s funny how little these things are mentioned.

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