The gap between the top and bottom teams is growing, and what this means for Arsenal


By Tony Attwood

Only one team in the Premier League is unbeaten in the last six games (Liverpool), although six clubs have only had one defeat between them in the last six games.  Four of those clubs appear in the table below (Arsenal, Aston Villa, Manchester City and Newcastle United).

And I find the last six games table of interest as it always gives a clue as to what Arsenal will come across in the next few games.  So here’s the table…


Premier League Table for Last Six Games
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Aston Villa 6 4 1 1 17 7 +10 13
2 Arsenal 6 4 1 1 12 4 +8 13
3 Liverpool 6 3 3 0 12 4 +8 12
4 Tottenham 6 4 0 2 9 8 +1 12
5 Man Utd 6 4 0 2 6 6 0 12
6 Man City 6 3 2 1 16 8 +8 11
7 Newcastle 6 3 2 1 13 7 +6 11


Now, as Nitram pointed out in a recent comment, Arsenal have two games coming up against teams in this elite group before Christmas – away to Aston Villa and away to Liverpool.   And as Nitram quite rightly pointed out those games look difficult.   But not just because these teams are doing well at the moment, but also because of their home form.  Here is the home form table…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Aston Villa 6 6 0 0 23 5 18 18
2 Liverpool 6 6 0 0 17 2 15 18
3 Newcastle United 7 6 0 1 18 4 14 18
4 Arsenal 7 5 2 0 18 7 11 17


And yes indeed Aston Villa and Liverpool are in fact invincible at home.  And yet Arsenal themselves are not doing too badly away from home. 

So trying to work out if anything can separate these two teams, we have to ask, is there anything else we can find which might give us more hope against an Aston Villa side which has, as the table above shows, won all six of their home matches, scoring 23 and conceding just five?

After all that seems a pretty overwhelming performance thus far.    And indeed I must admit that when I started to look into Villa’s record this season, I didn’t think I was going to find anything at all that would make me think that the game at Villa Park would be anything but very tough for Arsenal to win.

And yet… there was a little something.  Aston Villa have scored 23 goals in six home games – an astonishing average of fractionally under four a game.  That’s beyond what Manchester City did at home last season while winning the treble.   But, a little light emerged when I looked at which clubs Aston Villa had played at home this season…


Game Res Score
20 Aug 2023 Aston Villa v Everton W 4-0
16 Sep 2023 Aston Villa v Crystal Palace W 3-1
30 Sep 2023 Aston Villa v Brighton and Hove Albion W 6-1
22 Oct 2023 Aston Villa v West Ham United W 4-1
29 Oct 2023 Aston Villa v Luton Town W 3-1
12 Nov 2023 Aston Villa v Fulham W 3-1

What I did next was to look at where each of those teams that Villa had swiped aside were, not in the league as a whole, but in a league table made up of away games.  And it turns out that none of the clubs that Villa has played at home have a particularly fine away form.

And just to clarify Everton’s situation, I have not taken into account their points penalty, since I am interested in their form, not their finances.

Now the first thing to note is that none of these teams have a positive goal difference away from home.  And of course although that would in part be because of the defeat to Aston Villa, it shows that generally they are not doing that well away.   Arsenal we may note has a plus six goal difference away from home.

Second, while it is true that Brighton, West Ham United and Everton has each won three games away from home these matches have mostly been against weaker teams.  Everton’s wins being against Brentford, West Ham and Crystal Palace – none of them particular forces in the league at the moment.  Fulham and Luton Town have, between them, won two and drawn four of 14 away league games.

So I am not making out that Arsenal can swot aside Aston Villa, but rather that this season, perhaps more than most, we are seeing a significant difference between the group of clubs at the top, and those at the football of the table.

Last season the average number of points of the top four teams was 80 points each.  The average of the bottom four was 32.  That is a difference of 1.26 points per game.   This season the average number of points of the top four teams is 28.  For the bottom four it is six or an average of 0.5 points per game.   That is a difference of 1.5 points per game.

In short the gap between the clubs at the top clubs and the bottom clubs is around 19% bigger than it was for last season.  Put another way, it is 19% easier for a team near the top to beat a team near the bottom than it was a year ago.

So when we look forward to Arsenal’s next game what we will see of course is the two current in-form teams playing each other.

Of course that doesn’t mean that Arsenal are going to win their next game away to Aston Villa, but I would suggest that maybe the chances of a win are a little less bleak than might appear at first sight.



One Reply to “The gap between the top and bottom teams is growing, and what this means for Arsenal”

  1. Tony

    I love your positivity, but alas I am still going to be my normal pessimistic self. As you have done an in depth analysis of Villas impressive home form I thought I would do a similar analysis of our impressive away form, and similarly holes can be found.

    First thing to note is we’ve only played 2 teams in the top half, and we’ve won niether.

    7 Newcastle Lost
    10 Chelsea Drew

    These are the teams we’ve beaten and their home records. They are all in the bottom half

    11 Brentford P7 W2 L2 D3 F12 A11

    13 C Palace P6 W1 L3 D2 F6 A7

    14 Everton P7 W1 L5 D1 F5 A9

    16 Bourne P7 W2 L3 D2 F6 A10

    Out of 27 matches they’ve mustered 6 wins and 8 draws between them, losing 13.

    Our away record is obviously very good, going back into last season, but it has to be said all our away wins this season have been in matches we would expect to win. The 2 ‘tough’ away games we have lost and drawn.

    We haven’t yet played away at any of the top 6.

    I can see how we can take some hope from who Villa have beaten at home, but equally our away form can be similarly picked apart.

    As I said, I cant help being pessimistic when it comes to predicting Arsenal results, perhaps overly so, but those 2 away matches do look extremely tough to me.

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