Is Arsenal’s slippage from last season a disaster, or an inevitable regrouping?


By Tony Attwood

I am hearing a few comments at the moment to the effect that Arsenal are not doing as well as they should, because the club is not maintaining the advances that were made last year.

That there were advances last year cannot be mistaken, as one year ago after 20 games Arsenal had ten more points than the club has today, and a goal difference that was 11 superior to that now.

And because a lot of people are making a lot of fuss in the media about Arsenal losing its goalscoring capacity we might also note that Arsenal one season ago had, after 20 games, scored eight more goals than this season.   That is 0.4 goals a game.

That is a decline, and no declines are welcome, but it is a decline at a time when one of our goalscorers is clearly out of form (I speak of course of Martinelli) and one has been injured (Odegaard) but is now getting going again.

But to get a clearer picture I have built a league table of Arsenal after 20 games across the last six seasons, with an extra column on the far right, showing where Arsenal finished at the end of that season.



Pos Season P W D L F A GD Pts End
4 Arsenal 2023/24 20 12 4 4 37 20 17 40
1 Arsenal 2022/23 20 16 2 2 45 17 28 50 2
4 Arsenal 2021/22 20 11 2 7 33 25 8 35 5
8 Arsenal 2020/21 20 9 3 8 26 20 6 30 8
12 Arsenal 2019/20* 20 5 9 6 26 30 -4 24 8
5 Arsenal 2018/19* 20 11 5 4 42 30 12 38 5

* Emery as manager – Arteta took over on 20 December 2019.

What we can note is the volatility of Arsenal’s point tally after 20 games, ranging from 24 to 50 points.  We might also note that for this stage of the campaign, this is the second best performance across these six years.

Now I want to compare this with Liverpool.  And I am taking Liverpool rather than Manchester City, because Manchester City do not represent a fair comparison with Arsenal, because of the money involved.  I am not suggesting Liverpool is an exact comparison with Arsenal, but it is closer than Manchester City in terms of what it can do.

And the question here is, does a team such as Liverpool, also show the volatility that Arsenal shows?

And the answer when we look at the table is yes.  Liverpool’s best season after 20 games saw them achieve double the number of points as in their worst season across these seasons.



Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts End
1 Liverpool 2023/24 20 13 6 1 43 18 25 45
10 Liverpool 2022/23 20 8 5 7 34 28 6 29 5
3 Liverpool 2021/22 20 12 6 2 52 18 34 42 2
4 Liverpool 2020/21 20 10 7 3 40 23 17 37 3
1 Liverpool 2019/20 20 19 1 0 49 14 35 58 1
1 Liverpool 2018/19 20 17 3 0 48 8 40 54 2


Now it could be argued that Arsenal’s position in the league will be volatile because the club is struggling to establish itself at the top.  But Liverpool had four years in the top three, including one season in which they ended up with 99 points, just one short of the all time record.

So my argument is that for clubs that are not backed by an oil state and which (at least up to now) have had the freedom to spend their money as they wish, there is going to be some coming and going for each club in the league table.  The aim is of course to try and do what Wenger did and stay in the top four for 20 seasons running, without the funding of an oil state.

There is another point in comparing Arsenal with Liverpool and that is the volatility of the goal difference – which both clubs have shown by this point in the season.

So what do these clubs have to do in order to stay competitive with Manchester City and its seemingly limitless amount of money?

The answer, from this simple comparison, seems to be that we have to accept that some seasons will be seasons of rebuilding in which points tallies will slip, but the club will try and maintain the position at or near the top, when the club gets there, for as long as possible.

In short, there will be slips backward, as long as the current situation which allows a club financed as Manchester City to continue to play in the League.   But we should keep the faith and keep on pushing forward in the hope that this anomaly will eventually be removed.

And there is one other point: Arsenal brought in Rice, Havertz, Timber and Raya for this season, which is a fairly major set of adjustments – not just for them but for other players.  Havertz certainly has taken a time to settle – not at all helped by the return of the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal contingent who have crticitised him at every turn.

He was expected to score goals, and this has taken a while, but he is now taking up a place in the group of goalscorers.  Saka has six in the league, Nketiah five, and Havertz and Odegaard four each.  To me, that looks like a new scenario settling down.

4 Replies to “Is Arsenal’s slippage from last season a disaster, or an inevitable regrouping?”

  1. When looking at stats it is normal to omit the two end extremes. In this case 50 and 24
    What is left is essentially average or stagnant to put it another way. No better under Arteta than under Emery. Except worse to watch.
    Regrouping? Of what. Of the outfield players we have the Xhaka/Havertz interchange. No real bedding in of new players, there’s just the one.
    We do have a change of style however. Designed to be more solid but neutering offensively.

  2. Martinelli is not a regular goalscorer.
    And Odegaard is not getting better.
    He’s poor. Bullied out of games. Tippy tappy getting nowhere. A right foot that he only seems to be able to stand on.

  3. @Al M.,

    Please forgive me for having totally forgotten that Raya and Rice have been with us for 2 seasons now and thus did not need any bedding in. For having forgotten that no player was injured this season so far. Thanks for shining your light on the Arsenal situation in such a manner that the truth is finally exposed !

    I do get it that visibly you are part of the AAA or have all the prerequisites to be anointed into their brotherhood – after reading a few of ouyr other comments in Untold.

    The thing is that Untold is using facts, unfiltered, as a basis for each analysis. Not tampered or partial facts.

    There are enough AAA websites there, and I believe your contribution will be applauded there.
    Why don’t you contribute there instead of taking us for idiots.

  4. Raya actually joined us August 2023 on loan .

    Our season so far has been a set back in comparison to the previous one. I don’t believe that it’s by design but I do believe that we have stood still if not gone slowly backwards and I believe that other teams have progressed and have worked hard at negating our style.
    Arteta probably realised that the others would catch up and has tried to change things to compensate but at the moment the changes are not working . Which is why I posted some ideas on another thread .No doubt I am considered to be a full blown member of the so called anti Arsenal brigade but I am not. I don’t necessarily go along with the conspiracy theories that abound , I am more interested on what happens on the pitch and will always comment from that perspective.
    I have supported this club since I first entered Highbury in 1956. Had relatives that worked at Woolwich Arsenal at the turn of the century the 19th to the 20th.
    I only want the club to succeed.

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