It is Arsenal’s improvement season by season that gives us hope for the future



By Tony Attwood

Arsenal, as we know (because the “supporters” who walked out partway through the Aston Villa game and G. Souness told us), are going nowhere, largely (it seems) because a) the manager blew his entire transfer budget on Kai Havertz and b) Arteta is inflexible.

So since we haven’t done this for a while I thought I would test the theory and see just how far backwards the club has been going season by season since Arteta arrived.

To do this I am using the same method that we have utilised once or twice before, by looking at the club’s position after the same number of games each season.  So here we are, looking at Arsenal after 36 games – the number played this season.

Arteta joined Arsenal in December 2019, so the first season in which he had any chance to influence things was 2019/20.  At that moment of joining, the club was tenth in the league, and by game 36 (our measuring point throughout this article) the club had risen one place to ninth.

It is also interesting to note that the club’s goal difference showed an improvement of +11 between his arrival and game 36.  Perhaps not something that seemed very significant at the time, but nonetheless, an improvement.

So now moving on and looking at the subsequent seasons after 36 games, and starting with the points total (obviously the most important factor) we have seen a rise in this every single year.  Which is not what we were told.

Indulge me if you will, if I say this rather more loudly.   Every single season the club has improved.   

And to be quite clear: this season after 36 games Arsenal have 30 points more than at the same point in the season he joined.  And this progress is not just the result of a sudden leap upward in one season, but a steady season-by-season progress.

And although the club slipped back slightly on goals one season we have also scored 66% more goals than in his first complete season and conceded only 62% of the goals of his first complete season.

You can compare this with most other clubs and see they have not had such progress.   Tottenham for example rise up, and then fall down.  Lots of clubs do that.  But Arsenal have been making progress every year. Here is the table.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
AFC Dec 2019 17 5 7 5 24 27 -3 22
Arsenal 2020 36 13 14 9 53 45 8 53
Arsenal 2021 36 16 7 13 50 38 12 55
Arsenal 2022 36 21 3 12 56 45 11 66
Arsenal 2023 36 25 6 5 83 42 41 81
Arsenal 2024 36 26 5 5 88 28 60 83


That 30 points leap has of course not come in four equal steps since 2020.  Two points added in the first two years, and two points added this season now coming to an end.   The big leap was from 2022 to 2023 when 15 points were added.  But, and this is the big point, each step forward has been added to, the following season.  There has been no slipping backwards.

And if you think progress year on year is not important, or is easy to achieve, by rotating more and buying the right players,try talking to some Tottenham supporters.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
TH Dec 2019 17 7 5 5 32 24 8 26
Tottenham 2020 35 14 10 11 54 45 9 52
Tottenham 2021 35 16 8 11 61 41 20 56
Tottenham 2022 35 19 5 11 60 40 20 62
Tottenham 2023 35 17 6 12 64 57 7 57
Tottenham 2024 35 18 6 11 69 58 11 60


In terms of rise and fall Tottenham were making progress from 2020, through 2021 and 2022.  But then they fell back in 2023, and although have improved this season are not back to the 2022 position.  They have declined.  (And they can’t excuse this by reference to the stadium, since they have been telling us that the stadium makes them the richest club in the land).

Let’s do Manchester City in the same way – are they improving season by season?


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
MC Dec 2019 17 11 2 4 47 19 28 35
Man C 2020 35 23 3 9 91 34 57 72
Man C 2021 35 25 5 5 72 26 46 80
Man C 2022 35 27 5 3 89 21 68 86
Man C 2023 35 27 4 4 92 31 61 85
Manc 2024 35 25 7 3 87 33 54 82


Manchester City were of course clearly ahead of Arsenal and Tottenham in December 2019 when Arteta came to power.   But looking at their points tally after 35 games each season from 2019/20 onward we may notice two things.

First although they kept rising to 2022, since then they have slipped back.  Not by much at all, but still it is a slip rather than an eternal rise to higher and higher points, more and more goals.  And although the difference is small, the defence has slipped each year.

Of course the only points totals that count are those at the end of the season, but I think it is interesting that Arsenal are not chasing an ever-improving club.

This is not to say that in terms of each metric they are not a club that is achieving great things.  But it is to point out that they are not eternally disappearing over the horizon.

Arsenal has improved each year since Arteta came along, despite what the media and some supporters say about him.  It most certainly is possible that Arsenal may be able to catch the club up, even if the verdict is that Manchester City are innocent of all 115 charges against them.

Which is more than can be said for Tottenham as things have worked out in recent seasons.





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