Before the Palace game there were demands to sack Arteta. So what did we learn?


By Tony Attwood

So perhaps it is not such a bad season after all   5-0 against Sheffield United, 6-0 v Lens, and now 5-0 v Palace., which leaves Arsenal fifth in the league in terms of goal scoring, six behind Manchester City, two goals behind Tottenham and just one behind Liverpool and Villa.  OK it is true, Liverpool have a game in hand, but suddenly our goal-scoring doesn’t look that bad at all.

And the defence is still the second-best in the league, just two more conceded than Liverpool, and three fewer than Manchester City.

Indeed that Tottenham ability to score more than Arsenal is put into perspective with the goal difference table: they are nine worse off than Arsenal.

Of course, the whingers and whiners will say that one cannot learn that much from a single result and of course to some degree that is true.  What Arsenal need to do, just as they needed to do last season, is to take a defeat and then return to form, rather than let it become a run of defeats.

For even with that win we are still only tenth in the last-six-games table, six points behind Bournemouth.  It shows how long and great this particular dip in form has been.


Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 6 4 2 0 11 4 +7 14
2 Bournemouth 6 4 1 1 14 7 +7 13
3 Tottenham 6 4 1 1 15 9 +6 13
4 Man City 6 4 1 1 12 7 +5 13
5 Wolverhampton 6 4 1 1 11 6 +5 13
6 West Ham 6 4 1 1 9 6 +3 13
7 Chelsea 6 4 0 2 9 7 +2 12
8 Aston Villa 6 3 2 1 9 7 +2 11
9 Brighton 6 2 3 1 8 7 +1 9
10 Arsenal 6 2 1 3 9 6 +3 7


But there is one really big positive to take from all this, and that is the way the club is spreading those goals around.  It was a highlight of last season, and although this campaign has had a lot of disappointment in the recent run of games, that sharing of the goals is important and becomes ever more important as the season wears on and the injuries continue.


Player Games Subs Goals Pens
Bukayo Saka 20 0 6 2
Eddie Nketiah 10 10 5
Gabriel Martinelli 17 2 4
Kai Havertz 14 6 4 1
Martin Odegaard 18 0 4 2
Leandro Trossard 7 10 4
Gabriel 17 2 3
Gabriel Jesus 12 4 3
Declan Rice 21 0 3


Liverpool have scored one more league goal than Arsenal this season, but their top scorer has got  18 of their Premier League goals, compared to Arsenal’s top scorer having six.  Take him out and that removes 42% of their goal-scoring.   Ijndeed the dangers of Liverpool’s position are highlighted by this headline from “The Egyptian forward is currently away with his country chasing down continental glory at the Africa Cup of Nations. He lasted less than 45 minutes in his latest outing at that event, with the 31-year-old winger limping off in a 2-2 draw with Ghana.”

Again, I must stress, this doesn’t mean everything is ok with Arsenal.   I am not suggesting that at all, but rather am arguing things are not quite as awful as many who demand Arteta’s departure would have us believe.   Arsenal are third in the league two points behind the top two, although they have a game in hand.  It could be better but it is not so disastrous as to demand the immediate sacking of the manager, as some have been doing.

If you really want to read in-depth research with all the statistics then the research paper in in management studies from the University of Cambridge is what you need.   But if you don’t want to read that then this opening section from “Does sacking the manager improve results” from Sky in 2020 does sum it all up.

“Leicester sacked Claudio Ranieri in February this year after five consecutive defeats – just 25 league games after guiding the Foxes to their first Premier League title against 5000-1 odds.

Assistant Craig Shakespeare took the helm and instantly produced five back-to-back league wins. However, results began to decline after the initial purple patch and Shakespeare lost four of his opening six league games this season before being axed last month.”

In short you sack the manager and you might get a boost, but over the long term that dissipates.  Arsenal have a manager who took the club up to second last season.   As I write this morning we are now third and will stay third, after today’s results.   Not as good as we would like, but sacking a manager because he has failed to meet our personal desires, is a pretty dumb idea.  Here#s the table.


Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Liverpool 20 13 6 1 43 18 25 45
2 Manchester City 20 13 4 3 48 23 25 43
3 Arsenal 21 13 4 4 42 20 22 43
4 Aston Villa 21 13 4 4 43 27 16 43
5 Tottenham Hotspur 21 12 4 5 44 31 13 40

6 Replies to “Before the Palace game there were demands to sack Arteta. So what did we learn?”

  1. We learned nothing we didn’t know.
    We need a striker.
    It was a terrible game and but for a couple of set pieces we struggled until 90 plus minutes.
    We created nothing and upfront was poor again.

  2. As I said before the game, the Two best finishers at the club in the number 9 position is ESR and Trossard the STATs don’t lie.
    Although Trossard played on the left, it was when he switched to the number 9 position to receive the ball from the left sided Jesus that he calmly slotted the ball in the net. We always score a lot of goals when Trossard “starts” as a false number 9.
    Nketiah and Jesus are not clinical enough, whereas ESR or Trossard have a better eye for the run on play and low controlling shots, from both short range but in particular long range lampard style low shots on target.
    Either start Trossard or ESR as a false number 9 or purchase an out and out TargetMan that’s also clinical. We need that suprise element through the middle, not just the wings.
    We learned that Arsenal are close to finnishing near Top spot with all playing well, but we need that suprise edge through the middle and up front.

  3. Two set pieces , and three goals from open play all of which were the result of fast passing .
    Keeper to Jesus an early pass to Trossard through on goal .
    Breaking at speed Nketiah quick pass inside the fullback for Martinelli.
    Jorginho one touch to control second to Martinelli and it’s another.

    What we learned is that when we play quickly we are more dangerous than when we hold possession and build slowly.

  4. Liverpool are unbeaten in their last six [advertising link cut by Untold Editor] . The Reds have a formidable record against their hosts, but they might have to grind out all three points against the rejuvenated Cherries.

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