Arsenal back at the top and have a clear plan for the future



By Sir Hardly Anyone

What a truly wonderful game that was against Brighton and Hove.   A measured performance in which everyone knew their role and executed it perfectly.

And how wonderful to do it against the team that managed to create the downturn of Arsenal’s valiant charge for the title at the end of last season.

But it is also worth looking at the table not just to celebrate that Arsenal are again top (although that might end by the end of today) but also to note just how the upper reaches of the table has now broken into three groups.

We have known about the top three for a long time but now there really is a “next two” of Aston Villa and Tottenham Ho. who are fighting for fourth, and then a staggering gap of nine points from Tottenham to Manchester United and the group wanting to get into the Europa next season.  Even Chelsea could make it!


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 31 22 5 4 75 24 51 71
2 Liverpool 30 21 7 2 70 28 42 70
3 Manchester City 31 21 7 3 71 31 40 70
4 Aston Villa 32 18 6 8 66 49 17 60
5 Tottenham Hotspur 30 17 6 7 62 44 18 57
6 Manchester United 30 15 3 12 43 44 -1 48


And do not forget that in 2020/21 there were journalists, bloggers and mutterers demanding that Arteta be sacked because he was clearly not good enough.

But let us also consider once more last season where after 31 games Arsenal were also top but had three points more.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 2023 31 23 5 3 74 31 43 74
1 Arsenal 2024 31 22 5 4 75 24 51 71


But look at the goals.  More scored this season despite the three fewer points.  Far fewer conceded this season, also

And of course in all this I know that the next match could be the one where it all goes wrong – that is the essence of football.  But for the moment, the momentum is still with Arsenal.  And even if anything goes wrong, the progress will still be astounding, for these are players and management who know how to rebound.

For let us not forget the depth built into this Arsenal team.   The team that is outscoring everyone else also has more goalscorers.   Arsenal has seven players who have scored five or more in the league and all told 15 league goalscorers.

Manchester City has five players who have scored five or more and 13 players who have scored at least one in the league.  Liverpool also have five players who have scored five goals or more and 14 who have scored at least once in the league.

And my point here is that Arsenal are building that strength in depth which we have not had for quite a while.

According to Transfermarkt the average age of the Arsenal team in the Premier League this season has been 25 years.  For Liverpool the average age is 25.6 years and for Manchester City it is 26.2 years.

Only two PL clubs have an average age of players used in the league this season that is younger than Arsenal’s: Burnley and Chelsea.

Arsenal also have the second smallest squad that has been used in the league this season – 25 players, the same as Manchester City.  Compare this with clubs such as Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Manchester United who have all used 30+ players this season.

These are all very positive factors.  Indeed it is interesting to look at Chelsea, who on Sunday morning are lurking about in ninth place in the league, 28 points behind Arsenal.   They are shown as having a squad of no less than 30 players (some of whom are presumably under 21 in order to be able to be in the 25 man squad).

Given these factors then it is quite possible Arsenal might sell one or two fringe members of the 25 man squad this summer and bring in one or two new players, but I suspect the main development of the Arsenal squad will not be concerned with buying multi-million pound players as the popular media suggests every day, but bringing through the youngsters who have been so carefully nurtured in the past few years.

Look at the Transfermarkt under 21 players and there are 19 young Arsenal men in that group  The chances are that we might well start to see one or two of them play a part with the first team next season.

Indeed it is possible that the number of major transfers that the media rave about each day could decline to maybe nothing or just one player each summer, which would then make his integration into the squad much easier.  For consider just how long it has taken Havertz to make his mark.

Zirkzee, Isaac, Gyokeres, Isak, Toney, Douglas Luiz….   the reasons against any of these players who are mentioned almost every day, actually coming in are, a) Arsenal are at the edge of their FFP allowance, b) it would mean replacing a player in the squad, c) it would send a message to the youth team that there is no real way into the first team for them.

Of course those rumours will go on and on.  And on.   Meanwhile we can revel in ten wins and one draw in the past 11 league games scoring 48 goals.  That’s 4.36 goals a game.

Which is quite good really.

9 Replies to “Arsenal back at the top and have a clear plan for the future”

  1. What a fantastic performance and an incredible win.

    On a slightly different point, I was wondering where the celebration police have disappeared to?

    It seems when Pochettino for Chelsea and Edwards for Luton, sprint up the touchline it is ’emotional’ and all perfectly acceptable.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love it. And even when I don’t love it, I understand it. Actually, I expect it.

    I actually find it odd when a manager doesn’t get ’emotional’ when his team scores a late winner. It’s all part of that ‘euphoria’ of which I spoke a couple of days ago.

    Any way, less of that I’m still buzzing from yesterday. Wow, what a team.


  2. What I’d be curious to understand is what happened between then last games of 2023 and the run since January 2024.
    I can’t remember an event (except the team going to the Persian Gulf for a break), or some player hurt and back, but maybe I’m wrong.

    I just wonder how that extra gear they have discovered came about.

    Apart from that, I am really looking forward to the Bayern games.

  3. Chris

    “What I’d be curious to understand is what happened between then last games of 2023 and the run since January 2024”.

    Actually Chris it’s quite simple. We started taking our chances. And we stopped conceding goals.

    You may recall I did a big post making a comparison between the last 5 Premier League games of 2023 and the first 5 games of 2024.

    Just to refresh:


    Villa (A) 0-1 Loss
    Brighton (H) 2-1 Win
    Liverpool (A) 1-1 Draw
    W. Ham (H) 0-2 Loss
    Fulham (A) 1-2 Loss


    C. Palace (H) 5-0 Win
    N. Forest (A) 1-2 Win
    Liverpool (H) 3-0 Win
    W. Ham (A) 0-6 Win
    Burnley (A) 0-5 Win

    The stats showed that offensively we created almost identical statistics for both sets of games regarding shots and shots on goal. The one big difference was pre Xmas something like 1 in 9 of our shots on target went in compared to about 50% after the break.

    Defensively stats regarding shots faced, Off and On target were again almost identical. Again the one big difference was that pre Xmas something like 80% of shots faced On target went in, compared to something like 1 in 5 after the break.

    Pre Xmas our general play, build up and chance creation, was just as good as post Xmas. Defensively we restricted teams equally, pre and post Xmas.

    As I said at the time, the stats were freaky.

    I too asked, why? What had changed?

    All of a sudden our shots were going in. Opponents shots were not.

    Had our players suddenly become World class finishers? Our opponents all turned in to Mudryks? Was it a change of luck?

    My conclusion was probably a bit of each.

    But, in my opinion we were not playing poorly at all. The ball just wouldn’t go in and at the same time anything our opponent hit did.

    As they say, it’s a funny old game.

  4. @Nitram,

    From a stats point of view, ye, I’m aware of all you write.
    It is the human element, the turning point, the ‘hing of battle’ I am interested in.

    And yes, I just cheered as Manure just shot the equaliser…. If they could just keep it this way or score a second…

  5. Chris

    I know, it’s really an imponderable.

    Was it luck just turned from against us, to for us? Was it practice resulting in better finishing? Was it mentality?

    Who knows, all I know is I’m glad it happened.

    Well a draw at OT. All we have to do now is win all our games and it’s ours. Simples!!!

  6. It is interesting to see that for while now Arsenal are not bottling games…. others are…
    Maybe Sp*rs will follow the trend and help Forrest !

  7. I’d wager that the more positive fans have had also made the difference ? Gone are the days that the tension and negativity were so palpable . But this again comes back to the players attitude in not lying down , but rather prefer in throwing the kitchen sink at our opponents !

    Up the Gunners !

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