We are top of the league (and bottom when it comes to cards)


By Tony Attwood

Of course you knew we were top of the league and don’t need me to tell you, but even so I think the league table is worth a little peek…


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 13 9 3 1 27 10 17 30
2 Manchester City 13 9 2 2 33 13 20 29
3 Liverpool 13 8 4 1 28 11 17 28
4 Tottenham Hotspur 12 8 2 2 24 15 9 26
5 Aston Villa 12 8 1 3 29 17 12 25
6 Newcastle United 13 7 2 4 31 14 17 23
7 Brighton and Hove Albion 13 6 4 3 28 23 5 22


So Aston Villa and Brighton & Hove joined the elite in the European places, while the gnashing of teeth will continue with Manchester United (with a game in hand so they could rise up) and Chelsea who in tenth place really are not doing as well as they like to think they are entitled to do – especially having spent over £400m net on players this summer).  And they still have that enquiry into their own ill-gotten games from years gone by, to come.

But how does this compare with last season?

Arsenal were four points better off than now, a year ago, while Manchester City were three points better off a year ago.

Liverpool however are the team making the big progress as they are now on 28 points compared with 19 after 13 games a year ago.

Tottenham have played 12 and got 26 points whereas a year ago after 12 games they had 23 points.  Manchester United however showing a minor decline having 21 from 12 as opposed to 23 from 12 a year ago.  Newcastle United are one point worse off than they were a year ago.

So the difference this year for each club is small except for Liverpool who are nine points better off than a year ago.  Chelsea have still not made that great leap forward that the fans in the media expect – and it is worth looking at their actual figures..


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
7 Chelsea 2022/23 13 6 3 4 17 16 1 21
10 Chelsea 2023/24 13 4 4 5 22 20 2 16


According to Football365 Chelsea bought…

Christopher Nkunku (£52m), Nicolas Jackson (£31.7m), Angelo (£13m), Lesley Ugochukwu (£23m), Axel Disasi (£38.7m), Robert Sanchez (£25m), Moises Caicedo (£100m), Romeo Lavia (£53m), Deivid Washington (£14m), Djordje Petrovic (£12.5m) and Cole Palmer (£40m).

I make that just over £400m – and yet after 13 games they are five points worse off.  It seems rather an expensive way of going down the league table.  

One other interesting point about the league table so far is that at this point last season Arsenal had scored eight goals fewer and had a goal difference that was seven worse than Manchester City.  This season so far Arsenal have scored six goals fewer than Manchester City but the goal difference is only three.  It’s not mega-fast progress, but it is progress.

The reason for this improvement is something that is somehow not quite noticed by the media with all their resources: so far this season Arsenal has the best defence in the league having conceded just ten goals in 13 games.  We are of course still behind Manchester City in terms of goal-scoring, but even so, getting that defence to be the best is no bad thing.

And this has been achieved after the defence for 2021/2 – just two seasons ago – was only four goals short of conceding double the number of goals let in by both Manchester City and Liverpool.  Arsenal are still only second best in goal difference this season (Manchester City are on +20, to Arsenal’s +17) but I mention this detail because to me it reveals the steady progress being made in each department.

Today Tottenham Hotspur play Aston Villa – fourth versus fifth.  Whichever side wins, they go up one place, a draw leaves them where they are.

So that all seems rather satisfactory – but to round it all up let’s have a quick peek at the other factor that has been exciting us this season: the issue of yellow cards.  Here are the figures for the teams we’ve been focussing on in this little review, and we’ve added the red cards and the possession figures too.


Team Yellow Red Possession%
1. Arsenal 17 2
3. Liverpool 23 4
6. Manchester City 23 2
8. Manchester United 26 0
10. Aston Villa 28 0
14. Tottenham Hotspur 34 3
16. Brighton and Hove 35 2
17. Newcastle United 37 0
20. Chelsea 44 2


Arsenal have fewer yellows this season than any other club – and if you are a long-term reader you will know how we tracked the way Arteta took Arsenal from being the most carded club when he arrived down to our current position, as the least carded club.  It’s funny how the media don’t mention that.

But more than that, Arsenal now, after 13 games have half the number of yellow cards that Tottenham have, and under half the number that Newcastle have picked up.

Meanwhile only Brighton (by one tenth of a percentage point) and Manchester City (by 1.2%) have higher possession rates than Arsenal.

I think it is all looking rather cheerful.

7 Replies to “We are top of the league (and bottom when it comes to cards)”

  1. To be fair MOTD did highlight the differences between this season and last season, highlighting specifically the improvement in defence.

    These are the stats they gave us comparing attacking and defending this season to last:

    Attack comparing 2022-23 to 2023-24 Per PL Game

    Goals Scored = 2.3 to 2.1 Down 0.2
    Shots = 15.6 to 14.5 Down 1.1
    Shots On Target = 5.4 to 5.2 Down 0.2
    Expected Goals = 1.9 to 1.8 Down 0.1

    So over all, despite the feeling I think we all get, that offensively we still haven’t clicked, we are not that far behind last seasons figures. Behind yes, and hopefully we will get back to last seasons levels, but it certainly isn’t a disaster.

    Defence comparing 2022-23 to 2023-24 Per PL Game and of course remember in this case Down is good.

    Goals Conceded = 1.1 to 0.8 Down 0.3
    Shots Faced = 9 to 8.5 Down 0.5
    Shots On Target Faced = 3.6 to 2.5 Down 1.5
    Expected Goals Against = 1.1 to 0.8 Down 0.3

    So, all attacking stats are slightly worse, and all defensive stats are slightly better. But the improvement in defence outweighs the losses in attack, which supports the slight improvement in comparable Goal Difference from last season to this. In a very rough comparison the figures above show an overall attacking loss of 1.6 with an over all defensive improvement of 2.6

    Now why I’m rambling I thought I’d have a look at those all important ‘Next Six Games’ and have a stab at predicting where we might be after them, and it has to be said we will do well to stay ahead after this little lot. Here are our opponents, my predicted points, and final total. Please remember I am a pessimist by nature, at least when it comes to predicting Arsenal results I am.


    Wolves H = 3
    Luton A = 3
    A Villa A = 1
    Brighton H = 3
    Liverpool A = 0
    W Ham H = 3

    Total = 13 pts tacking us to 43 pts


    Spurs H = 3
    A Villa A = 1
    Luton A = 3
    C Palace H = 3
    Everton A = 3
    Sheff Utd = 3

    Total = 16 pts tacking them to 45 pts


    Fulham H = 3
    Sheff Utd A = 3
    C Palace A = 3
    Man Utd H = 3
    Arsenal H = 3
    Burnley A = 3

    Total = 18 pts tacking them to 46 pts

    So after the next 6 matches I have the top 3 looking something like:


    As a point of interest I have both Tottenham and Villa on 37 points giving them both a point today plus their next 6 matches.

    And to be honest I’d take that given the comparative fixtures because a point at Villa will be very good and beating Brighton at home, given how last year went, will also be a great result.

  2. Sad to hear of the passing of ex England, Spurs, QPR and Crystal Palace manager Terry Venables.

    Thoughts are with his family and friends. RIP

  3. Just seen a Villa goal disallowed for offside, but here’s the thing, it’s the same as our disallowed goal from yesterday. From one angle it looked on side, from the other it looked off side. It’s not just me saying that, the commentators said it too, today and yesterday, and surely that cannot be right because depending on what angle they choose to lay the lines looks to me as if it will determine the outcome of the decision.

    Yesterday they kept changing angles and surprise surprise they eventually put the lines down on the angle that looked, to the naked eye, off side, just. And whoopy they got what they wanted.

    Today, they kept changing the angle and guess what, they decided to use the angle that again, to the naked eye, looked off side.

    Either way this cannot be right. It certainly isn’t forensic. It just seems to be down to what angle the guys at Stockley Park fancy putting down, and if that is the case how can they be making decisions on inches, either way.

    And that’s without taking into account of the subjectivity involved as to when the ball is played. That again is just down to Stockley Park. 1 frame forward, 1 frame back can make all the difference.

    It’s just not good enough and as usual, absolutely open to bias and manipulation.

    VAR is simply not fit for purpose.

  4. Sp*rs lost…. this has been a very good week-end so far !
    I hope Everton take out their frustration on Manure…and make it a perfect week-end..!

  5. While we continue to win and move forwards , while being defensive , I just hope that we try not to pass too much in and around our box . I do get anxious when we do this . I do love it when we bomb forward in search of goals .

    We did what we had to do to counter their ultra defensive tactics , but it is not easy on me heart ! And I will not pretend that I truly understand what MA is up to .
    As long as we progress , I ‘ll be happy.
    Up the Gunners !

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