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August 2021

The last 38 matches in the PL: which team is the best?

By Walter Broeckx

Some people now claim the fact that it was their pressure that made Wenger buy Özil. Now I don’t know if there are any people out there to pressure Wenger in to anything at all. It doesn’t seem that Wenger is a person who is easily put under pressure to do something that he doesn’t want to do.

I just want to point out that buying Özil was not something that Wenger never wanted to do. No, it was something that he wasn’t able to do up to this summer. First he tried, but Ozil said he preferred to go to Real Madrid.   Then Ozil became rather expensive.  I don’t want to recap all the things that lead to him not being able to make such a purchase before but just look at the stadium and you start to get the idea.

This summer was different as there was money and lots of money. So the people who claim they forced Wenger will be the same as those who will say that it is thanks to them that we now are top of the league. But I ran into an interesting league table that will brush away the major part of such claims.

It is a league table that is based on the last 38 games played by all the clubs in the PL. Now before people want to comment saying: “do you win a trophy for it?” the answer is no. But it is interesting to underline a few things about the mantra that it all is down to forcing Wenger to buy Özil.

Which makes me remember the fact that I never actually heard any of the ‘Wenger must buy’ people ever saying he should buy Özil on their placards and in their chants.

So here is the league table based on those last 38 games:

Pos Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Arsenal 38 26 6 6 76 34 42 84
2 Man U 38 24 9 5 76 42 34 81
3 Chelsea 38 23 8 7 75 37 38 77
4 Man C 38 23 5 10 78 36 42 74
5 Tottenham 38 21 10 7 54 38 16 73
6 Liverpool 38 20 9 9 79 43 36 69
7 Everton 38 17 15 6 53 36 17 66

Another top of the league performance for Arsenal. No trophy for it as you will see. But over the last year we have been the best performing team of the whole PL. In fact only MU is still close to us and that is purely based on their performances of the season when they won the title with a  rather big margin.

But what it also shows is that Arsenal doing fine for the moment is not down to people forcing Wenger to spend. In fact the contrary can be said.

Because this season we have played 13 games so far. And this means that the other 25 games have been played last season. So how does it look if we put it in to two different tables?

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So let us split the table in to the first 25 and then the next 13 matches and then we get this

1 Man U 25 18 5 2 54 25 29 59 2.36
2 Arsenal 25 16 5 4 49 24 25 53 2.12
3 Tottenham 25 15 7 3 43 24 19 52 2.08
4 Chelsea 25 15 5 5 51 26 21 50 2.00
5 Man C 25 15 4 6 41 28 13 49 1.96
6 Liverpool 25 13 6 6 54 27 27 45 1.80
7 Everton 25 11 9 5 32 23 9 42 1.68

It shows that already were getting closer to Manchester United than at the start of the season.

We finished some 16 points behind Manchester United seen over the whole 38 games of the previous season. But looking at the last 25 matches we had a gap of 6 points only. Still too big of course but this clearly shows that we lost the season early on. And that we were far too much behind them early on.

The other 13 matches table can be found below but this is of course the current league table.











Av Pts

1 Arsenal 13 10 1 2 27 10 17 31 2.38
2 Chelsea 13 8 3 2 24 11 13 27 2.07
3 Man City 13 8 1 4 37 12 25 25 1.92
4 Liverpool 13 7 3 3 25 16 9 24 1.84
5 Everton 13 6 6 1 21 13 8 24 1.84
6 Newcastle 13 7 2 4 19 18 1 23 1.76
7 Southampton 13 6 4 3 16 10 6 22 1.69
8 Man Utd 13 6 4 3 22 17 5 22 1.69
9 Spurs 13 6 3 4 11 14 -3 21 1.61

So in fact we have gone from being 16 points behind Manchester United at some point last year to being now 3 points in front.

I remember a lot of people saying during the summer when I mentioned that United hadn’t bought anyone yet that they didn’t need to buy anyone as they won the league by a country mile.

Pointing out that this might change this season was a lost cause. We had to get rid of Wenger and as soon as possible.

Now am I suggesting that buying Özil had no impact at all? No because maybe we could see a little impact if we only take the last 10 games we played in the PL. As in the first 3 games Özil wasn’t an Arsenal player yet so we can check to see what the difference is when doing it like that.

Now I must say that I only took the Arsenal numbers to do this little exercise. After all, we are the only team that has a pre- and post-Özil era.

And this is how it looks when we only look at the matches when Özil was a Gooner:











Av Pts

1 Arsenal 10 8 1 1 22 6 16 25 2.50

So what can we learn from all these numbers?

  1. Arsenal had improved already a lot in the second half of last season.
  2. We already were the second best team in the last 25 matches of last season.
  3. We are very much the best team in this current season
  4. Özil has lifted our already high average number of points to an even higher number.
  5. It’s good to be a Gooner!
  6. Flamini will also have had an impact
  7. The rise of Ramsey (remember the one never going to be good enough) played a big part
  8. We do seem to defend rather well (look at goal difference – conceded goals last 38 games)
  9. Who to credit for our defensive numbers so far?
  10. Correction on point 5: It’s GREAT to be a Gooner. Always have been in fact…

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34 comments to The last 38 matches in the PL: which team is the best?

  • Mick

    Walter, your opening sentence….
    ‘Some people now claim the fact that it was their pressure that made Wenger buy Özil.’
    I guess these are the very same people who accuse him of being a dictator and refusing to listen to other people’s opinions and advice.

  • WalterBroeckx

    And the ones who said Wenger doesn’t allow defensive coaching by Bould or by whoever else. Just look at the goals conceded by all teams over 38 games…

  • WalterBroeckx

    Point 7 : last night by accident I ran in to some retweets of the vile abuse that was aimed at Ramsey a year ago.

    I must say that I follow the right persons mostly on twitter and they had favoured those tweets and are now throwing them in the face of the abusers. I must say I rather enjoyed it 😉 (bad character at times I admit)

  • Walter,

    Thanks so much for writing this piece. I thoroughly enjoyed it as I have also been at the fore front of debunking the ridiculous revisionism concerning Ozil. I particularly like your line asking for any show of hands from whoever suggested that we buy Ozil until Arsene Wenger did >>>> crickets 🙂

    Ozil is contributing to the overall team performance just like Mertersacker and Szczesney are doing in their own ways. I love Ozil but I refuse to buy the silly notion that our performances and results are down to signing him.

    Love your point 10: “It’s GREAT to be a Gooner. Always has been in fact”. True my friend, very true!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Great read. Lots of things have improved in the last year, players have developed, some have really developed!!!, signings, Szcz, improved defensive awareness, and yes, I don’t doubt bould has added to the mix, but also competition, any player wanting to get into the first team now has to play out of his skin, and we know that for various reasons, that has not always been the case. Maybe aligned to this, wenger got ruthless last spring, he did it himself, not at the behest of the AAA. Key players were dropped, sending out a huge signal. As much as I feel for TV and would love to see more of this loyal and able servant to the club, all this is part of where we are now, in a much better place with happy players and a happy set of fans. Great time to be a gooner

  • para

    Anyone can see that the team has taken another step forward and is performing like we were all wanting, and this happened last season, there was just this different-ness about them, and we are seeing this now.
    Even without Ozil the team would have been still as good, but there would have been that much more talked up hype at the slightest hurdle we failed, and that might have caused some doubt to creep in, but arrival of Flamini and Ozil amd Viviano? boosted the players as well as fans.
    And notice who is shining at the club, players who have had to step up due to our injury list.
    Now we need our injured players back in the next two months and we are on full flame again.

  • AL

    Read an article (followed a link someone posted on here) on Here Is the City which said the back four of Sagna,Mertesacker, Koscielny and Gibbs have never lost a premier league match when they played a full match as a unit. The writer concluded that even though the current form is being credited to the arrivals of Bould and Ozil, or Ramsey’s form, this back four’s record predates any of these. I found it very interesting that ever since this foursome was put together they’ve never tasted defeat playing as a unit. Of course Ozil, Bould and Ramsey have all contributed immensely to our current position, but people should not overlook the amazing work from this foursome.

    Off topic, Bootoomee et al, how can I get a cool avatar like yours, am jealous 🙂

  • Th14

    I find it funny how people say ” when they were crying for Ramsey and wenger out etc “, because I don’t believe for 1 second that any of you were behind either of them in our dark times. I think everyone loves wenger for what’s he done for the club, but when you need to sign a striker when Eduardo broke his leg and refused to, so it cost us the league, we needed a goal keeper for a few seasons and so on and so forth, yes he persists with players and when they come good he is talked of as a genius, but just remeber the points we have been cost by this sticking by players and playing them when not good enough or badly out of form. People was waiting for a slip up because they could see te same old crap happening again, and I do believe it forced wenger into buying ozil, I was at the villa game and he got abused by 30,000 singing spend some fucking money, I think he realised he wouldn’t last the season if results went wrong, not the board sacking but fans forcing him out, so he signed ozil and I haven’t heard 1 person since day sack wenger, just that he should extend his contract, so was wenger being very clever and got ozil to make sure he got an easier ride and a new contract?

  • AL

    If anyone posts the instructions on uploading an image as my avatar don’t be offended if I don’t respond today as I’m off to bed now. Goodnight fellow gooners.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Sorry but you speak rubbish. I quote you: “but when you need to sign a striker when Eduardo broke his leg and refused to, so it cost us the league, ”

    So could you explain to us how on earth Wenger could buy a player when there was no transfer window? Eduardo got his leg kicked to pieces on February 23. 23 days after the transfer window.

    And believe it or not we are behind Wenger since the first day this blog started. Just read the header.

    And I can also say that since day one I have defended Ramsey before and after his broken leg. I have written a dozen articles about the bad way he got treated by some self proclaimed fans over the last 2 years.

  • John

    The Villa game seems a distant memory, but it is still a clear reference point for some. (forgetting the decisive role played by the ref).

    It is absolute nonsense to claim that 30,000 fans chanting to spend some f…… money caused AW to buy Ozil. For one thing, reliable observers have confirmed that that number is a gross exagerration repeated in the lazy media. For another, it has been revealed since that AW had been patiently tracking Ozil for some time.

    Also, let’s not forget that the team won the next 3 league games in succession and beat Fenerbace twice before Ozil arrived on the scene.

  • Walter,

    You are so patient and kind but unlike you, I have nothing but contempt for commenters like th14 who stumble across Untold Arsenal in their drunken stupor and then go on vomitting crap all over the site.

    His rant is so wrong on so many levels that all I can tell him is to check a blog history before making blanket statement about their type of support.

    Anyway, I don’t want to be accused of being abusive and name calling again but comments like th14’s only bring out the worst in me.

  • John

    I wonder why some “fans” seem always to need to have to identify a player as a target for negative criticism.

    They can’t pick on Ramsey at present, so Cazorla and even Ozil seem to be the next candidates for this treatment. Giroud, Walcott, Sagna, Gibbs, Per and Kos have all had this treatment on occasions, as has Theo and just about everyone who has played in goal since Seaman left.

    My simple view is that AW and our coaching and scouting staff know better than journalists and bloggers and that it is preferable simply to support the team, whoever is playing in it.

  • Mick

    If you regard still finishing in the top 4 all those years whilst financing the construction of a fantastic new stadium which has secured our future as one of the worlds top clubs as ‘dark times’ as you put it then you exhibit a severe case of intelligence deficiency.

  • John,

    Come on man, why use context to ruin a good rant 🙂

    Look, everybody knows that signing players is like replacing a vacuum cleaner. Your partner has been complaining that it is not working well but you wouldn’t listen till it completely broke down. Of course, you quickly go to Curry’s and pick another one on your credit card. That was exactly how we signed Ozil. After the Aston Villa ‘disaster’, Arsene just showed up at the Real Madrid players shopping mall and ordered himself an Ozil for £42.5 million.

    Hell, some people are thick!

  • Mick

    You are right about Cazorla being next in line for the ‘treatment’. I have noticed a definite trend in this direction from some comments being made on other Arsenal blogs. As soon as we have a dip in results expect Santi to be targeted more and more as the doomers and gloomers always have to have someone to blame and to twist their knives in.

  • Tasos

    Good article.

    Arsenal have been in “championship form” for some time, certainly pre Ozil and Flamini although both players have undoubtedly added strength and quality to the squad.

    TBH I think it speaks volumes for this team to be where are they now considering both Walcott(21 goals last season) and Podolski(16 goals) have been missing for virtually the whole time.

    As for the Ozil signing. It’s a pity some fans still hold a grudge against Arsene Wenger and simply refuse to give the man any credit for his part in attracting such a sought after player to our club. Ozi has even admitted so himself.

  • Byo

    May I add that one of the most important ingredient in this team is they genuinely like each other. This you can tell by the way they communicate at the games; the way they celebrate together; never letting any one player be bullied(not with Flamini there); etc.

    One could not say that in teams past- with Nasri, Song, Gallas, and co in the squads of the past.

  • Pat


    Arsene Wenger has recently made little comments, for example, saying that we do not have to sell players like we did in the past, and other comments that make it clear that he did not have the money for years to buy a player like Ozil.

    Still we stayed in the Champions League all those years, thanks to Wenger’s team building, development of players, and other astute features as a manager.

    Even before he bought Ozil – who is of course a fantastic addition to the team – Arsenal had been performing at top level since the early part of 2013.

    Your comments, therefore, are sadly not based on an accurate analysis of the facts.

  • Nelson Wong

    Very interesting to have this “past 38 match” thing.

    If you look at those who “analysis stock charts”, they will tell you it is a 1-year rolling average curve. It shows the team to be in TOP FROM. Very Very to form indeed but we already know it.

    It doesn’t mean anything about the fture since the performance of the club on the pitch does not relate to how many people buying/ selling stocks.

    Anway, I think Ozil just took over from Cazorla’s of last season. The performance going up this season has more to do with Ramsey, Szczęsny and Giroud.

    Cazorla is not performing too well (by no mean rubbish). It is really not an issue since player can go up and down. After sidelined for a longer period, it takes several weeks at least to go back to top form. Also he needs to adjust to Ozil, Falmini + “new” Ramsey movements. He did alright at the Spanish team.

    The pool for midfield is big if not HUGE at Arsenal. THAT IS PRECISELY WHY THEY NEED RESERVE OF TALENT.

    Some people are plainly silly. They want, no actually they demand the team to win every match with at least two goal difference. On top of that every player must get 8/10 performance. They play their computer games too frequently and they loss the sense of a real world.

  • ARSENAL 13

    This run is not form. If it lasted for some 10 games then you could say that. But this is the norm……

    And we have seen nothing of Ozil. All Ozil has given the team is a profile up-gradation in the media circle. Ozils real impact on the pitch (we have seen it is flashes) will come during the run-in period……

  • Al

    Thanks a mil, mike in atlanta.

    Will people lay off Santi please. In fact lay off everyone Arsenal. I’ve said it before and will say it again, why should there be a fall guy every time, even when we winning 3 nil away from home it seems some people have to pick on someone to blame.

  • Buying Ozil has majorly contributed to the return of the flair. We can agree some of the games towards the end of last season were not exactly “the arsenal way”. We took the lead sat back and saw what happened after that. I am not saying that is wrong because it was what was needed at that time. Adding Ozil has given Santi and Jack a lot more time on the ball since opponents defenders are now spread over 3 world class creators instead of 2 and the football has been superb. Even when we didnt win anything , some of the football played in 08 and 09 were very very easy on the eye.Good to see the arsenal way make a comback. njoing it everybit.

  • Al

    Th14, will you please back up your claim Wenger cost us the league by refusing to sign another striker after Eduardo’s leg break in February. And can I also say I think you should change your name mate, of all possible names out there did you really have to choose this one. You sully a true legend’s reputation by associating yourself with it.

  • Tom

    Interesting article.

    Personally I don’t care if Mr Wenger was influenced by the “spend some fucking money” crowd or not but if he was , I wouldn’t consider it being weak or giving into pressure but rather a smart management .

    In the perfect world football fans should support their club no matter what the circumstances but we don’t live in the perfect world, do we? Many Arsenal fans have been priced out of attending live games and many who can still afford it have to make hard choices and sacrifices to do so.

    Arsen Wenger is the MANAGER of our club and part of his job is to MANAGE the fans to a certain degree as well. The same fans who have been hearing for many years from Arsenal executives about Our club’s spending power , only to be disappointed by a relative lack of spending and key players leaving every year.

    Mr Wenger has done a fantastic job overseeing construction and the move into the new stadium while keeping Arsenal competitive on a shoe string budget ,when compared with other big three and if he decided to leave at the end of the season( not gonna happen), there would be a long line of top clubs vying for his services.

    Having said that , he has to share in the blame with the rest of Arsenal higher -ups when it comes to fan management or should I say mismanagement , as I don’t believe for one second that Arsenal fans are any more fickle than other fans in PL or the world over for that matter.
    As a matter of fact if nothing else , this season has already proven this to be true with many United supporters calling for Moyes’ sacking and many Tottenham fans for AVB’s

    And to those who had said in the past that Arsenal had to lie about their spending power to attract top players I say – what a terrible strategy ! One that(if true) has backfired badly creating a rift between fans and contributed to the rise of toxic atmosphere during home games , and based on false premise to boot.
    Mezut Ozill is the first player in over a decade to came to Arsenal from arguably better club in his prime. Every other player Wenger brought in came from a smaller club and was put on a bigger wage( Arteta the exception if the rumors of him taking a pay cut were true and Sesc who came as a prospect as well )

    I say , let the fan with the “spend some fucking money” sign and many others like him have their satisfaction from believing they are the reason for Ozill being here. I don’t think Mr Wenger would mind

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Christmas wish –

    Twas the night before Christmas, and God it was neat
    The kids were both gone, and my wife was in heat
    The doors were all bolted, and the phone off the hook
    It was time for some nooky, by hook or by crook.

  • Byo,

    I’m in firm agreement. Giroud, who is our main striker should be jealous that Ramsey is getting more goals but do you see the unbridled joy with which he celebrates with Ramsey and any other goal scorer? I won’t be surprised if Olly is the most beloved player in the team; he just comes across as a genuinely good person. PLUS, his contribution to our defence especially in set-pieces is probably his greatest contribution to the team that isn’t noticed by many.

    Long may the great camaraderie continues among the players!

  • para

    I do understand the picking on of some player who is not performing, it is a way to let one’s frustration out by people who have not mastered their emotions yet, but there is a civil way to critisise anyone if that is one’s opinion. We can say “had a bad game today”, or “was below par” etc, etc without completely calling for the player’s head.
    I for one have recently learned to never critisize any player that AW puts his faith in, as there are things that i will never get to see concerning the player. Even Bendtner, AW must still see some type of ability there, else he would not use him even if we needed a striker that bad.
    The world will realise that Arsenal has now arrived, after being forced to just merely compete for so long, and is now going to be a force to be reckoned with, again.

  • Pat


    You are right about camaraderie. Arsene Wenger again emphasized the importance of the whole team in the pre-Hull press conference when he was asked by some journalist to pick out some particular players for praise. He also mentioned solidarity again.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    You may just have discovered an objective yardstick for rating a club’s chances for winning the trophy. Instead of relying on respective pundit’s subjective (that is the mild word; other words like “idiotic” come to mind) opinion, just plot the club’s performance over the past 38games and pay attention to how the performance is sloping over the immediately past 10games.
    FIFA has its country ranking; Tennis and golf associations have their player rankings; the soccer leagues can now have their super-objective Untold Rankings!
    However, we are all agreed that the ranking mean nothing if the club, for any reason, fail to sustain superior points winning averages….like, for example, Arsenal going out to beat Hull tonight, and the next one, and the next and the next and the next until the 38th game is played this season.

  • Gooner S

    Nice post Walter. Some good stats there.

    @TH14…. Dont really know what to say! Yes there were and are plenty (the majority?) of Arsenal fans that supported Ramsey and could see his potential, along with BFG and Szczęsny. I have to admit Szczęsny has surprised me with just how good he is this season but isn’t that great?

    I’m just enjoying the season. It’s great to be in the mix. I will coontinue to enjoy the season regardless of whether we win anything or not at the end.

  • jambug

    Gooner S

    Your last paragraph….”I’m just enjoying the season. It’s great to be in the mix. I will continue to enjoy the season regardlass of whether we win anything or not at the end”

    Here here to that. And that to me is what it is all about.

    If we do fall short I will be dissapointed of course, not just for me but for all the lads, for Wenger, the board, and all the fans that love them so much. (not the AAA types of course because thay will actually be happy).

    But win or lose makes not a jot of differnce to how much I will still love and support them.