The figures that reveal that Arsenal are perfectly set for next season

And today on the Arsenal History Society website:

By Tony Attwood

The CIES Football Observatory publishes a statistical analysis of football each week from a different angle: a relief from the unsupported ramblings of most football journalists, which are based on opinion and nothing more.

And they have just done an analysis of what they call the “continuity index” that “considers the stability of the squad, its age structure and the contract policy.”  From this they gauge the measure of stability of each club and one can estimate its well-being for the future.

The data looks across 800 clubs in 59 leagues, but here I have simply looked at the Premier League clubs within that data.  And throughout Arsenal are topping the table.

The other English clubs that come out well in these statistics are of course Manchester City, and perhaps surprisingly Aston Villa.

The one non-English team that gets into the top four are Borussia Mönchengladbach who come in third.  Ominously, another member of the City Football Group, New York City FC, are fifth.

In essence the table measures stability, by considering, “the number of players fielded in the league over the last three years, age structure by the percentage of minutes in the current season by footballers aged 31 or over (excluding goalkeepers) and contract policy by the proportion of minutes by footballers whose contracts expire no later than 31 December 2025.”

That obviously gets rather complex so I’ve tried to focus here on the three key elements within the research and highlight the main findings…

Players fielded in domestic league matches over three last years:

Arsenal are on 40. and we might compare this with Tottenham who have 50 and Mancheseter City who have 42.   Liverpool 46.   A lower number suggests that the club has a solid core of players who are being used regularly.  A higher number suggests constant changing of players and the lack of what is commonly known as a “settled side”.

Chelsea are of course the outliers here with 64 players.  Only the totally bonkers Nottingham Forest are even further from such stability with 74 players used!

The percentage of minutes this season played by players aged 31 or over (excluding goalkeepers)

Players over 31 years old are far from useless of course, but they are more susceptible to injury, and find it ever harder to play more than one game a week.   Although some central defenders go on well into their 30s they are often restricted in their movement, being very solid central defenders who know the ways of attacking players, but are unable constantly to move to support other parts of the team.

Arsenal’s figure is 3%,   Here we might compare with Manchester City who have 10% and Tottenham who have 8%. Liverpool however are a club with a significant problem in this area with 20% of their players in this category.

Percentage of minutes in the 2023/4 season played by players whose contracts expire no later than 2025:

Obviously the lower the number the better – the club wants its best players to stay.  Arsenal are on 11%.   Manchester City however are better placed and have only 4% of such players.

On the other hand Tottenhajm have 17% and Liverpool 23%.   The Liverpool figure is frighteningly high and may well have been one reason why Klopp chose to leave this year as it is clear a major overhaul is needed.   Only Everton, Newcastle and Brighton have higher percentages in this category.

Clubs in trouble

What is utterly fascinating here is the way certain clubs are at the extremes in all three measures.

In terms of percentage of minutes in 2023/24 by players whose contracts expire no later than 2025 Chelsea have 64% and Nottingham Forest 74% players in this category.

Both clearly need new younger players but both have FFP problems which will restrict purchases without sales.

In terms of  minutes played by players aged 31 or over (excluding goalkeepers) Liverpool, Everton, Newcastle and Brighton are out of step with everyone else and will need to rebuild their squads soon – while again keeping FFP in mind.

Finally in terms of the percentage of minutes this last season played by players whose contracts expire no later than 2025, again one looks for lower numbers, for a lot of such players means urgent contract negotiations are needed or else top players are going to be lost.  Newcastle again are out of line with the top clubs, having a figure that identical to Sheffield United.

Such figures of course don’t prove where a club is going to end up next season but there is no doubt that those clubs who are using a group of younger players who have long term contracts are obviously in a better position than anyone else.

In these regards Arsenal and Manchester City again come out on top with a solid group that will move forward together.  Indeed, in terms of younger teams, Arsenal and Aston Villa are at the top of that category.    In terms of  having players on longer term contracts Arsenal are in the top three with Aston Villa and Manchester City.

The future is indeed looking bright.

One Reply to “The figures that reveal that Arsenal are perfectly set for next season”

  1. I get the CIES Football Observatory weekly email which is why I was able to point out to you a few days ago that Arsenl topped the league not only in the PL but world wide.
    It seems the American owners are doing something right in spite of the vociferous opposition to their original takeover of the club by fans egged on by legacy media.
    They are doing remarkably well considering they are competing in a league dominated by a state owned club that is the equivalence of a World Cup winning team playing in a league consisting of squads the equivalent of Andorra

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