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This season v last season: more goals than with Van Persie

The club that changed football

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Making the Arsenal


By Walter Broeckx

The season is still very young and so it is difficult to predict what can happen for the rest of the season. But there is something that is interesting when we look at last season and this season.

 Table on 18.09.2011 Full
1 Manchester United 5 5 0 0 21 4 +17 15
2 Manchester City 5 4 1 0 17 5 +12 13
3 Chelsea 5 3 1 1 8 6 +2 10
4 Newcastle United 5 2 3 0 4 2 +2 9
5 Stoke City 5 2 2 1 3 5 -2 8
6 Aston Villa 5 1 4 0 6 4 +2 7
6 Everton 4 2 1 1 6 4 +2 7
8 Liverpool 5 2 1 2 6 7 -1 7
9 Queens Park Rangers 5 2 1 2 4 6 -2 7
9 Wolverhampton Wndrs 5 2 1 2 4 6 -2 7
11 Tottenham Hotspur 4 2 0 2 7 8 -1 6
12 Sunderland 5 1 2 2 6 4 +2 5
13 Norwich City 5 1 2 2 5 7 -2 5
14 Swansea City 5 1 2 2 3 5 -2 5
15 Wigan Athletic 5 1 2 2 4 7 -3 5
16 Blackburn Rovers 5 1 1 3 7 10 -3 4
17 Arsenal 5 1 1 3 6 14 -8 4
18 Fulham 5 0 3 2 4 7 -3 3
19 Bolton Wanderers 5 1 0 4 8 13 -5 3
20 West Bromwich Albion 5 1 0 4 3 8 -5 3

This is where we found ourselves after 5 games in the last season. Cesc gone, Nasri gone, a terrible  beating at Old Trafford, losing 4-3 to Blackburn (with a little help from the ref but still). Only 1 win and 1 draw in 5 games. Position 17 was the unfamiliar league position we found ourselves in.

11 points behind the then league leaders Manchester United and 9 points behind the later champion Manchester City. Arsenal had the worst goal difference of all teams in the PL.

And look at our goal difference. 6 goals scored but 14 goals against.  I don’t want to bring him up all the time but the presence of RVP wasn’t helping that much in fact at that time. We all know that the new players that came in late in the transfer window transformed the team and once they started working together we went from place 17 to 3rd place at the end of the season. Still an achievement that is the biggest of them all and if we wouldn’t have played a few months with no right or left back we would have finished with more points.

And if we take a look at the league table now after 5 games we see this

Latest Table Full
1 Chelsea 5 4 1 0 9 2 +7 13
2 Manchester United 5 4 0 1 12 6 +6 12
3 Everton 5 3 1 1 9 5 +4 10
4 West Bromwich Albion 5 3 1 1 7 4 +3 10
5 Arsenal 5 2 3 0 9 2 +7 9
6 Fulham 5 3 0 2 12 7 +5 9
7 Manchester City 5 2 3 0 10 7 +3 9
8 Tottenham Hotspur 5 2 2 1 8 6 +2 8
9 West Ham United 5 2 2 1 5 4 +1 8
10 Newcastle United 5 2 2 1 6 6 0 8
11 Swansea City 5 2 1 2 10 7 +3 7
12 Sunderland 4 0 4 0 4 4 0 4
13 Stoke City 5 0 4 1 4 5 -1 4
14 Aston Villa 5 1 1 3 5 9 -4 4
15 Wigan Athletic 5 1 1 3 5 10 -5 4
16 Southampton 5 1 0 4 9 15 -6 3
17 Norwich City 5 0 3 2 2 8 -6 3
18 Liverpool 5 0 2 3 4 10 -6 2
19 Queens Park Rangers 5 0 2 3 3 11 -8 2
20 Reading 4 0 1 3 4 9 -5 1

Now we are standing in 5th position just behind Everton and West Bromwich Albion. And well, those are teams, with all respect, that will fall back in a few weeks time. We all know each season we have a few teams that start brightly and then fade away. I think Everton might be the Newcastle of last season. And West Bromwich Albion might be the Aston Villa of last season. Aston Villa that only got themselves in safety one day before the end of the season.

But what is more important is that Arsenal is now in 5th place and with the same number of points as Manchester City, one of the favourites for the title. And we are 3 points behind Manchester United, who are diving out a penalty a game on average. Chelsea is also contesting the award for getting most penalties in the season and are on top of the league. But up to now they have only played (with all respect) smaller teams.

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As for Arsenal we have already gone to Liverpool, Manchester City and one of our most difficult away games at Stoke. That is 3 difficult away games in those 5 games.  We might well agree that Liverpool might not be the most difficult place to go for the moment but you still have to beat them at home.  Granted Manchester United did the same thing but they also got a little help from the friends from the PGMOL and diving around to win penalties and refs falling for it.

So we are close up with the rest of the title contenders and last season we were out of the title race. You know the old saying: you can’t win the title in the first games, but you can lose it. Last season this was the case but now we are close to the contenders and this is what you should do in the first 10 games: make sure you stay in touching distance.

One of the most pleasing things is the goals. Last season with RVP remember we scored 6 goals in the first 5 games. And this time we scored 9 goals without him. Scoring goals has become more of a team thing for the moment where all the players can score goals. This also makes it more difficult to stop us. When they focus on let us say stopping Podolski, they could open up for Gervinho or any other player.

But the biggest difference is to be found in the goals conceded. 2 goals conceded in the first 5 games. And again if you look at the away games with tough places to go this is remarkable. And up to now the goals we did concede look down to real errors. If Szczesny hadn’t been injured against Southampton he wouldn’t have dropped the ball like he did. I think we all know that because this was a mistake we haven’t seen him make before. In that respect the City goal was a bit more disappointing to concede. But that is only 1 real goal we got against us in 5 PL games.

And if we look back at the first table of last season we then had conceded 14 goals in 5 games. That is now 12 goals less conceded compared to last season. I think it is safe to say that it looks as if the whole team has a much better defensive shape compared to last season.  The only team with the same defensive record in conceding goals is Chelsea. And they are our next opponents. Will we see a goalless draw next week?

And more importantly for Arsenal this will mean that apart from Manchester United we will have played all the other top teams (or what should be top teams) in the first 6 games. If we can find ourselves in touching distance after those games it is up to us to get a good run going till the end of December.

Oh and a win against Chelsea would mean that we are one point behind the current league leaders. I don’t know about you but for me this season has the word  “competitive” written all over it when I think of Arsenal. Our Gunners will battle and will fight, that is something that the first 5 games have shown us.

27 comments to This season v last season: more goals than with Van Persie

  • Jay

    We have scored more goals without him and Man Utd have scored fewer goals with him.

  • ARSENAL 13

    “And we are 3 points behind Manchester United, who are diving out a penalty a game on average. Chelsea is also contesting the award for getting most penalties in the season and are on top of the league.”….man couldnt have said better.

  • nicky

    “Man Utd diving out a penalty on average a game”.
    Walter, a totally uncalled for remark. Do you realise that most of your readers fail to read the rest of your article due to laughter.
    To return to the serious, I’m not at all surprised that our departure from a one-man attack, coupled with Arsene’s magic signings, has brought new life to our side.
    Steve Bould has rejuvenated the back division and it only remains for the return of Wilshere, the continued good health of Diaby and the commonsence of Walcott, for our great Club to be in contention for everything bar the Boat Race.,

  • novicegooner

    If the refs stay as good (i’m being generous) as they have been so far this season, I’m sure we’ll be challenging for title. No doubt about it.

    Every season, my biggest worry has been about the day when the refs are screwing us. Last season, it came very very early (Blackburn game). The previous season, it came in the second half of the season.

  • Tristam

    It is still early days but maybe somebody has realised that the bias against Arsenal in previous seasons was becoming too noticeable. Even Mike Dean seemed pretty fair in the last match. Of course, things may change if Arsenal are still genuine title contenders later in the season.

  • FunGunner

    Just goes to show, football is a team sport!

  • LRV

    “Manchester United, who are diving out a penalty a game on average. Chelsea is also contesting the award for getting most penalties in the season”

    God! I am cracking up with laughter. Yes indeed! How right you are Walter; how right you are!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Well I liked it a bit myself when I wrote it down to be honest…

  • Shakabula Gooner

    On current form, there is no reason to believe that the refs will not conspire to make this ManU’s season. I mean, all teams start against ManU with a 1goal deficit in the books of the refs….

  • Ong Bing

    Hey, we must scared to meet Chel$ki! 4 of their attackers in last match was 130m, and they score 0 goal!

    Scared! Scared! Scared!

    Bring on Roman’s boys!

  • It is rather the opposite of what happened last year but as the season goes on, it will revert to the normal 5 teams at the top, the real question is what order!


  • JohnW

    But Arteta’s remark the other day was significant for me. He said that we should fight to be in touch with the leading teams up to say March or April and then we can start to battle it out with them then. It seems as if the whole team have been talking about it, should we be in pole position in April, then we have a good chance. I like it that we did not lose on Sunday, now even if we draw this week with Chelsea it wont be so bad. I only pray that our lesser half nick it from ManU this week. It would be real punishment for diving..

  • Florian

    Slightly off-topic, it’s never good to cheer at another’s misfortune, so I’ll just notice that ManU’s back line took a big hit, with Vidic 2 months out.

    This means that he won’t play against us on November 3rd.

  • Ong Bing

    We are lucky sold Robin to MU, Fergus haunted by lose title on goals different, he bought Robin and Kagawa, and he forgot or don’t have enough money to buy Scholes replacement.

    Now MU found that strikers need midfielder to give good assists, and they only have old Scholes!

    Robin is not strikers like Messi or Henry, who can dribble from midfield to goal. (Actually he makes one, dribbled almost from Chek$ki midfield, but that was gift from Terry 🙂 )

  • Sammy The Snake

    diving out a penalty a game on average… Classic!

  • Sammy The Snake

    One Bing, being lucky has nothing to do with it. We have a rational genius called AW that makes these decisions for the good of the club.

    “Luck is preparation meeting opportunity” (Oprah Winfry)

  • Adam

    It’s getting so bad I think even Suarez would get a penalty if he signed for Fergie.
    If Arsenal can sort out some consistent finishing then we really could look forward to a productive season.
    As I stated before 38-45 points going into January really lets us know Arsenal are serious title challengers.
    I can see this group of players getting better and better as the season progresses. I just hope Cazorla can handle the colder months.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Things really are looking up. How good has arteta become? Too late for a Spain cap….the selfish part of me hopes so but he deserves it. Yes, I know who he is up against but surely one of the best players in the league so far.
    As has been pointed out, Utd clearly look like they will take some beating…..after all, their squad has almost sixteen more than most other teams. At this rate, RVP could be given around twenty to thirty penalties in the league alone this season. When are these refs going to succumb to pure embarrassment because that is what it is fast becoming

  • Hans Peter

    I fully understand the article’s point. I’m also very happy that we’ve gotten such a good start to the season and especially that Podolski and Caorla have turned out to be as good as they are!

    But… I don’t want to be all negative here, because we have to move on, but I’m one of those poeple who’s still haunted by the loss of RVP and Song. And I could also mention Fabregas and Na$ri, though I don’t think Na$ri is that good anymore. But I don’t want to make a long comment about how awfull and wrong it is that we sell all our good players.

    But my point is that if RVP was still at the club we might have won all of our matches. Nothing would have changed, except the fact that we would still have a deadly world class striker who could score goals when others couldn’t. It wouldn’t have meant that Podolski wouldn’t score goals. It wouldn’t have meant that Cazorla, Arteta or Diaby wouldn’t play as good as they do or that we would concede more goals than we have done.

    So my point is, that even though I’m glad we have started the season so well, it still annoys me that we sold RVP instead of keeping him!
    Why settle with medium when you can get fantastic?!
    If RVP was still at the club I would without a doubt think we would win something this year and I mean something that is worth winning. Not just the Carling Cup (and no, I’m not a glory hunter)
    And even though it looks promising so far I still have my doubts.

    I just had to get it off my chest.
    Sorry for being so negative…

  • DocBrody

    @ Mandy Dodd,

    Arteta has the highest passing percentage in the English Premiere League (93.4%).* It’s amazing that he will probably never get a Spanish cap.

    * Actually, Markus Rosenberg of West Brom has a 100% passing percentage… but he’s only passed the ball 3 times this season so I’m not going to count him.

  • DocBrody

    Oh, I should also mention that Arteta has the highest average number of passes per game at 96.8. The next closest is Yaya Toure with an average of 89 passes per game.

    So it’s all that more incredible that the guy who passes the ball the most often in the Premiership, also has the highest completed pass percentage.

    Add to that his discipline and maturity in playing the role asked of him. For me he is the best player on the Arsenal team… even better than Cazorla. Arteta just does not the respect he deserves – at least not in Spain.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Completely agree Doc, Arteta transforms the team when he plays. Those stats are incredible.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    That Busquets has WC & EC medals and Arteta has never been capped indicates precisely what going to the wrong club can do to your career – something many players should take note of. I can’t even see what Spain would lose by swapping the two in central midfield, except the understanding with Xavi and Iniesta.

  • At this rate of penalties Fergus will have 27 and guess what that’s what he has been doing for the last 20years or so.And if only things change(dreaming)he will (manure)lose 10 of the last trophies 19 or so.Gerald wanted to say something but he backtracked’If refs could be fair to (all teams)Suarez’that would be good for football,i thought he was going to say it Danm.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    This season versus last season (points, goals for, goals against):
    Liverpool Away 2-0 better than 2-1 (0,0,1)
    Manchester City Away 1-1 better than 0-1 (1,1,0)
    Stoke Away 0-0 I suppose is better than 1-1 (0,-1,1)
    Sunderland Home 0-0 worse than 2-1 (-2,-2,1)
    Obviously you can’t compare Southampton with last season.

    We are actually marginally worse off, points wise, from the same run of fixtures. The difference is I don’t expect us to go OT and get spanked again or to drop points to the likes of Swansea & QPR this season based on the way the team plays.

  • Stuart

    I was just writing something up along those lines, hopefully more info soon.

  • americangooner

    it has been well documented in this site that arteta was the most important player last season ( arsenal lost only 7 times in 36 games (19.4%) when arteta started, while we lost 11 times in 45 games (24.4%) when van-persie started. and the stats for arteta this season concerning his passing abilities confirm that this year too he is going to be pivotal to arsenal’s success.
    So, in another context, we wont be seeing arteta being benched for wilshere or any other player.