What improvements must Arsenal make to win the league this coming season?


By Tony Attwood

Arsenal had the best defence in the Premier League last season and the second-best attack in the league.  Manchester City were the other way around.  They had the best attack and the second-best defence.

The differences were however marginal and both sides ended up with a goal difference of +62.

Meanwhile, the gap between the top two and the rest was huge in terms of total difference.   Liverpool were 17 behind and Villa who came in fourth were an astonishing 47 behind.

Arsenal and Manchester City had a 38% better goal difference than Liverpool and a 313% better goal difference than Aston Villa!  Looking at these figures, the only club that might stand any chance of catching Arsenal and Manchester City is Liverpool, and with their change of manager, it could take a while for them to settle down to the unique ways of the Premier League.


Pos Team F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 96 34 62 91
2 Arsenal 91 29 62 89
3 Liverpool 86 41 45 82
4 Aston Villa 76 61 15 68

Arene Slot came from Feyenoord where his side came second last season, scoring 92 and conceding 26 – which looks pretty good in comparison with the Big Two at the top of the Premier League.

Except that goal difference of +66 was nothing as compared with the league winners PSV who scored 111 conceded 21 and so had a GD of +90.  The Dutch league is not really the same as the Premier League.

The fact is that Arsenal and Manchester City had a 38% better goal difference than Liverpool and a 31.3% better goal difference than Aston Villa.

So with the two teams on the same goal difference and just two points between them there must be some debate as to whether it is better to look at improving the Arsenal defence or better to look at improving attack – even though Arsenal had the best defence in the league last season.

And of course defence does have a particular impact on attack – for where a club can break up an opposition attack through the use of its defenders it not only reduces the chance of a potential goal by the opposition, it can raise the chance of a potential goal from its own attack force.

In short, although it is not always put like this, a better defence can generate more goals for the attack by moving the ball very quickly from defence to attack.

Between 2020/21 and 2023/24 Arsenal’s goal scoring went up by 65%   The goals against went down by 34%.  So both have improved significantly.  But can either be improved further?

That is a difficult question as Arsenal have never scored more goals in a 38 game Premier League season than last season.  Only once have Arsenal conceded fewer goals and that was in 1998/9 when the club conceded just 17 goals.

In recent years Manchester City have scored 106 goals once and 102 goals once.  Their best defensive seasons occurred by letting in 23 and 26 goals.  Their best goal differences have been 73 and 72.

So in terms of goal scoring, although Arsenal were the best goal-scoring team last season they were still 15 goals behind Manchester City’s best attacking season, and still conceded six more goals than Manchester City’s best defensive season.

How things turn out depends in part on who the top two clubs are up against and whether the other clubs in the top six can be relied on to take the occasional points off either of the top two.

Indeed the importance of the strength of the opposition can be seen by looking back to 2017/18 when Man City scored 106 goals and won the league by 19 points.   In 2019/20 however when Manchester City got 102 goals they only got 81 points and came second.

So we can’t devise exact metrics for how many points, how many goals scored and how few goals conceded will generate a league win.  For in 2019/20 when Manch C got their 102 goals they came second despite having a 15 goal difference better than Liverpool who won the league.

Putting all this together we can see the chart below

Across the last four seasons the number of goals scored by Arsenal has risen from 55 to 91 (+65%) while the number of goals conceded has declined by 34%.  This figure suggests that there is more room to improve the defence than there is to improve the attack.

Which is why, despite so many journalists and bloggers going on and on and on about the need for a new attacker the story doing the rounds now is that Arsenal are about to sign  22 year old Italy defender Riccardo Calafiori from Bologna for bout £42m.  A year ago he cost £3.4m.  He can play across the defence and in midfield.

2 Replies to “What improvements must Arsenal make to win the league this coming season?”

  1. After watching 99% of Arsenal games last season and doing my own analysis,I think Arsenal needs two very important players that’s a finisher/striker and a defensive midfielder.Both players have to walk direct to first team and not backups that why we are talking of a need of an improvement.As an Arsenal fan I will be happy if Arsenal signed either Bruno Guimaeres or Joao Neves to assist in midfield and Victor Gyokeres to be our no.1 striker.With Riccardo on the way I think no team and I mean NO team in the world can stop us.

  2. Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United are all having
    new managers going into 2024/25 season, not for other reasons than that they did not compete well enough. Even Klopp left because he, sincerely believe he has no answer for immediate step up to win the league, he won the league by default if I could say that, because it was given from the Board room due to some constraints. So for winning the league, Klopp did not have to master key, he had very good team for majority of his time at Liverpool.
    I will be pleasantly surprised if Arteta wins the league with his team as is currently, not yet in the know of the quality of addition he might make to the squad. But these new managers were recruited not to soft land, but hit the ground running.

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