In what follows, these figures (derived from WhoScored) are all “per game”. And what they show is that in every attacking part of the game (shots, possession, pass accuracy) except one, Manchester City are top, and in that one area they are second. Arsenal are not there yet being third and fourth in these attributes, but they are getting there.
In defensive issues Manchester City have a style of play which means they make fewer tackles, don’t bother with winning aerial contests, don’t commit fouls, and don’t trap the opposition into offsides … and they do all of this far less than other teams (hence they are in 20th position in the table below).
Arsenal are copying this and have got themselves down to 19th position for these activities except that they are still relying a little more on winning aerials and making interceptions. Heere are the figures…
This copying of the style of play step by step (such as cutting out tackles, increasing the number of shots etc), is a continuation of the change we noted initially with Arteta, and here we might compare Arsenal’s change from 2019/20 to this season.
|Arsenal 2019/20||584 (14th)||422 (8th)||86 (1st)|
|Manchester City 2019/20||514 (19th)||361 (20th)||60 (15th)|
|Arsenal 2022/23||543 (19th)||372(17th)||50 (16th)|
|Manchester City 2022/23||437 (20th)||342 (20th)||43 (20th)|
This simple table shows how Arteta has brought Arsenal ever closer to the Manchester City style of play, and how Manchester City are eternally continuing to develop their model and squeeze more and more out of the approach.
Thus fouls, tackles and yellow cards of both clubs have come right down across the four seasons. It is a clever and persistent approach, and it is being followed by both clubs.
But our table above also shows how much further Arsenal have to go and how Manchester City are continuing to squeeze the model. Arsenal have still not got their tackles and fouls down to the Manchester City level of 2019/20, but they are coming down.
And the big success is with yellow cards. We have noted on this site many, many times how basically referees were wrecking Arsenal’s playing style by handing out yellow cards to Arsenal for any offence in 2019/20 – not because Arsenal were a dirty side tackling all game long, but because Arsenal were perceived as such by the referees.
The reduction of yellow cards across Arteta’s tenure from 1st to 15th has been a major achievement, and this shows the value of holding onto a manager. If either club changed manager it is possible that the key emphases that we see now (cut tackles, fouls, yellows, interceptions, fighting for aerials, etc) would change, and we’d lose this great development.
More than anything we need to keep this model running.
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2 Replies to “How Arsenal are remourcelessly following the Man City model”
Times reporting that city are challenging the 115 breaches.
I think we can accept that a richer club has more success than us. We, after all, were called the Bank of England club in the 1930s. We only hope that there are some rules and that the richer teams abide by them.