Where will Arsenal end up next season? What the scientific predicterometer reveals is quite a surprise.

By Tony Attwood

Yesterday we unveiled our new prediction process in the article How much does it cost in transfer fees to take a club up one place in the PL?

It looked at purchases for last season and showed how they resulted to rises or declines in the position in the league table.

In short, while others talked about what should and should not happen and did the ususal thing of journalists who have never done a day’s work as a manager in their lives, telling us how managers should behave and where they have got it wrong, we look for statistical trends that came out of the purchasing process.

For the moment the chances of a manager being sacked seems to occupy the press. I’ve decided to go a different route.

So what factors might we look at?  One is the number of Academy players used by clubs last year.  Academy players show that the club has two sources of new players – in the market and from their own ranks, and this does give the club flexibility and a second rank for transfers not counted in the “25” nor in FFP (not that this means much these days).

Top of the Academy players list last season by the two measures we can used (how many minutes they played and how many players got time in the first team) was Arsenal.   These figures come from BT Sport, not the most reliable source, but the only one I could find, and typically they did not give us the full table (I suspect on the basis that they thought their readership would not be able to take it all in).

But at least they saved me some research time, so one up to them for that.

Club Minutes played by youth players No of youth players used League position
Arsenal 7933 minutes 8 players 6
Manchester United 6858 minutes 5 players 2
Everton 6322 minutes 4 players 8
Tottenham Hotspur 5163 minutes 4 players 3
West Ham United 4813 minutes 4 players 13

That is hardly definitive evidence that using youth players is good, but three of the top five teams in that least also ended up in the top six in the league, so there clearly is some sort of link.

To confirm this speculation we could look at the bottom of the young players table and see if the clubs near the bottom of the league used the fewest young players

Club Minutes played by youth players No of youth players used League position
West Bromwich Albion 598 minutes 2 20
Swansea 288 minutes 1 18
Manchester City 152 minutes 3 1
Bournemouth 74 minutes 1 12
Burnley 2 minutes 1 7

Of course tables like this don’t show cause and effect, but they give hints of what is going on.  With the abandonment of FFP in Europe (as witness the MBappe case) clubs like Manchester City can buy whosoever they want by simply offering more and more money.  So they have no need to bring players through.  Indeed I suspect some of their superstars would be most miffed if an 18 year old academy product took their place.  On the other hand clubs like Liverpool and Manchester City who get banned from buying youth players for a year because of their malpractice in the field of youth transfersdo suffer as a result.

But three of the five bottom team in academy minutes are in the bottom half of the table, and two indeed were relegated.

There is also a likely knock on from figures like these.  Youngsters love to go to top clubs, be treated to the best training centres and so on.  But as the word spreads about how many of them actually get time to play in the first team, they look elsewhere.

It is hard to quantify how much of a bonus the academy system has, but I think it has some and that Arsenal gets a benefit from the incredibly well established academy system.  Sadly many Arsenal supporters like to turn on players who didn’t cost a lot (consider of late the treatment of Iwobi, Coquelin and indeed Ramsey in earlier days) but having a broad based academy can be of value.

But I am going to say (quite arbitrarily of course) that a proven academy system can be worth a bonus point to separate teams.

Now what we have is a range of information.  We know from the previous article that clubs that spent money had a chance of going up in position next season, while all the clubs in 2016/17 that made a profit on transfers went down one or more positions in 2017/18.

From this I made an estimate solely on the figures in this and the previous article as to where they would end up.

Club 2016/7 Lge pos 2017/8 Lge pos 2018 Summer so far – net Resultant no of place rises 2018/19 


Arsenal 5 6 £68.7m loss 3 3
Bournemouth 9 12 £4.5m loss 0 12
Brighton Promoted 15 £45.3m loss 2 13
Burnley 16 7 £0 0 7
Chelsea 1 5 £46.9m loss 2 3
Crystal Palace 14 11 0 0 11
Everton 7 8 £23.6m loss 1 7
Huddersfield Promoted 17 £23.5m loss 1 16
Leicester City 12 9 £2.5m profit -1 9
Liverpool 4 4 £158.8m loss 4 1
Manchester City 3 1 £33.5m loss 1 1
Manchester Utd 6 2 £43.5m loss 2 1
Newcastle Utd Promoted 10 £13.1m profit -1 11
Southampton 8 18 £36m loss 1 17
Tottenham Hots 2 3 £2m profit -1 3
Watford 17 14 £25m profit -2 16
West Ham Utd 11 13 £82m loss +3 10

This gives us a predicted position, and of course sometimes (but not as often as one might assume) several clubs end up in the same position.  So I have tried to resolve them with what I have called in a cop out sort of way “special features”.

As a result we get…

Predicted Position Resolved position Club Special features
1 1 Manchester City Can buy anyone in Jan if need be
1 2 Manchester Utd Youth policy bonus point
1 2 Liverpool Several high profile new players to fit in at once, and banned from recruiting youth players
3 4 Arsenal Based on improvement of away performance we predicted 3rd
3 5 Chelsea Negativity around owner’s lack of work permit and stadium cancellation
3 6 Tottenham Negative impact of move to new stadium, although we were wrong on this last year!
7 7 Everton Unless among all those purchases they have found a real live gem
7 8 Burnley Low scoring and tight defence they could slip if other clubs see how to beat that defence
9 9 Leicester City Perfect prediction and match
10 10 West Ham A lot of changes; danger is if they don’t gel
11 11 Newcastle Owner and manager have to start talking
11 12 Crystal Palace Stability after last season
12 13 Bournemouth With their modest income survival is brilliant
13 14 Brighton Spending well to keep stability
16 15 Huddersfield Stability and survival is all they seek
16 16 Watford Survival after past turmoils
17 17 Southampton Trying to avert continuing decline

Obviously I’ve not tried to incorporate the three promoted clubs but for all three mere survival will be the target.

Of course it is not going to be right.  But it’s one way of looking at it.




14 Replies to “Where will Arsenal end up next season? What the scientific predicterometer reveals is quite a surprise.”

  1. Tony,

    While most of the pundits/media take it as a given that Spurs will finish in Top 4 and make Arsenal favourites to finish 5th or 6th, if not worse, I think Spurs are in the most perilous position amongst the teams that finished in the top 4 last season.

    Whereas other teams have made substantial improvements to their squad, Spurs haven’t had any reinforcements. On the contrary they may lose some important players, such as Alderweld and Danny Rose who haven’t signed a contract extension.

    Given the stadium debt, it looks unlikely the Levy would sanction a proven signing who would hit the ground running if Spurs lose any of their key player, let alone signing a big name that would improve the squad.

    Many of their existing squad went late into the world cup with England and Belgium. Pocchetino is going to have difficulty fielding a fully fit strong XI for the games in the beginning of the season.

    Once the squad settles from the world-cup hangover, they will have to negotiate move to the new stadium. Remember they did have a bad run of initial games the last time they moved to Wembley.

    Would Spurs be able to recover from an early season wobble?

    To make worse, I hear that Tottenham have a problem with their home-grown players quota and may need to sell an overseas player if they want to buy a foreign player. That’s the reason they’ve been linked to players like Jack Grealish. Fancy doing a piece on this?

  2. My guess is that the minutes played with academy players includes ‘The TinPot Cup’, as I don’t believe we played 8 youngsters in the more important EL, PL or FA Cup.
    I know we did give 3 or 4 of them some game-time in all 3 of those but certainly not 8 players.
    So I really don’t see how those figures can be used as a PL prediction…

  3. I’d add that (ignoring Man City whose business model defies all logic due to obscene wealth) the reason that certain teams played so few youngsters is that they needed every single point for the PL (in some cases due to the need to stay in the PL – failed) and either knew that their only chance of silverware were cups (so played a strong team) or they got knocked out of the cups early (so didn’t need to use youth in the cups to rest 1st team players needed for the PL survival fight).

  4. \Man City have a good transfer and economic value, they are taking clubs or creating clubs with little value, investing in realestate, and investing in the local infastructure, this is sovereign diplomacy/ These assets will appreciate in value determined by the clus onfield accomplishments.

    They almost went unbeaten and set a record in the league, would have set par for the CL as one more round I am sure, but Pep will quietly know progress was made and they slipped up to the tactical prowess of Klopp and his own tinkering to counterbalace that. he went out to the eventual losing finalists, not bad. Th League Cup, proved the depth of the squad, which will have stemmed the incomers, but proved the squa was almost capable. Tey have made sales and continue to recoup around 60% of most purchases.

    What cost City was some poor officiating, whih had a knock on effect on the FA Cup.

    They need an upgrae t the first pivot, Fernandiho, who proved that he was past his best for Brazil after that gruelling season.

    The most improved team as to be Liverpool, but the introduction of these new improvements will be difficult. Foe me, both new boys start, and then I want a playmaker, Lallana, I’d want better, but it would give him freedom to operate, or Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, to make a four pronged attack with a firm base. in which case Henderson, who is decent,more importantly captain, you make those second choice, Markovic, Milner, Klopp can blag it till Xmas, but then his preferences will be clear.

    If Klopp can keep Trent-Arnold and RObertson on song, he may have a shot at the title, he wil beed fairweather, they are light in quality depth at CF, LB, RB, CB, and both wings.

    United, well it’s total dissaray, they over reached with LVG, Jose said so, knowing he just didn’t like people, and now everyone is holding them to randosme knowing he needs sales, whilst the manager himself adds fuel to the fire, by decrying a lack of movement. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bale and Willian had been on that list, but with Barcelona fter someone to substitute for Dembele, United could opt to look elswhere or force him to use what’s at his disposal. firing him is still cheaper than signing someone.

    Harry Mguire would be well advised to make that move, but they would still need both full backs, and another wide forward and striker. He’s ot too much in some places, and not enough elsewhere.

    Chelsea, nobody knows, not even Roman, they need sales, but find themselves effectively in the same position as United. The Director came down herself to personally giv a facetime, but that has done little to aid the bad press. Chelsea, ‘child trafficking’, Chelsea owner rejected for visa. Chelsea offices raided, Chelsea coaches and racist slurs, they lack the longevity of Arsenal fail to sign, Arsenal injuries pile up, but they stick and smell much worse.

    Cesea are probably inundated with offers, that do not epire, as the vultures smell the beaten body of a blue whale ato the sand. Chelsea staved off the Courtois sale, because it will signal the start of the blue cross sale, and they don’t need players asking to move, or publicly stating as much, when rivals have their fangs out.

    expected to depart; Willian, Courtois, Morata,, if they go, Ceasar nd Kante may well think better of staying, but both being loyal, it could b a year yet and a new owner, something Hazard is surely considering.

    Spurs, well it’s business, if you don’t go forward, you’ve gone backwards. They played with intensit and confidence last season and no small amount of FA encouragement. but I know, Son pull wide left, overload and come central, Eriksson into the vacuum left, cut across and open up at 22 yards. Kane, meet and greet early, and track his movement for 90mins, goals will ome from where he is.

    and, well that’s it, prepare to get kicked about in the middle third, can you serve and dish, because Moura, see’s this as a paid holiday stop gap, Spain, I’m sure his preference.

    The big difference this season, will be the qualty of the midtable teams. Burnley, West Ham, Fulham, Everton snd Liecester have all spent well, with Mahrez’s departure, good business ultimately.

    Wolves, Watford, Newcastle and Crystal Palace will always give you a game, and the rest outside the top 6, are no pushovers, with the least equipped of these, bulstering their abilities with pure tenacity.

    This will be one of the hardest seasons for anyone.

    the question will be, can you be defensively astute, but more importantly, who brought keys and how many people brought keys and come to the party.

    United, not many keys, Livrpool, not many keys, spurs, not many keys, Chelsea, not so many keys, City, bag of keys, Arsenal, more keys than anybody, as proven by the number of goalscorers in a pretty poor season by all accounts. A few more keys and a left sided door stop would be great.

  5. I am not certain how accurate it will be but it is a fun prediction to be sure. Gord, you seem to have a statistical bent. Have you given any thought to doing a regression analysis on these things-connecting transfer fees, salaries, maybe injuries to points garnered in the league?

  6. Tony

    “Top of the Academy players list last season by the two measures we can used (how many minutes they played and how many players got time in the first team) was Arsenal.”

    I didn’t know this stat but I suspected it would have been something like that with regards to us, which is why I found the comments by the the FreeSport commentator for our game against PSG so baffling.

    This is what he said regarding our youngsters:

    “It’s all good work from Nelson, Nketia, and Willock out there……..I think this will enthuse the Arsenal public, that they see these young boys looking to grasp the opportunity…….nobody knew for sure at Arsenal when Michael Thomas, Paul Davis, David Rocastle, Martin Hayes, people like that came through……..they had to be given a chance by George Graham, they had to be given the space to grow and they grew………..I agree they are athletic they are hungry looking, give them a chance”

    Did he not see them, and many other youngsters, given there chance by Wenger just last season?

    Has he not seen the multitude of young talent that Wenger has given a chances to over the years?

    I’ve never known any other Arsenal manager give anything like the amount of youngsters the chances he has.

    Sometimes he had little choice. Sometimes it didn’t work. Sometimes he stuck with them to a fault.

    But infering that giveing youngsters a chance is something ‘new’, or is what might ‘re connect the fans’ is ridiculous.

    We’ve had youngsters coming out of our ears over the last 10 to 15 years and I haven’t see much reconnecting going on to be honest.

    I hope Emery does give these lads there chances, and I’m sure he will after all I think one of the main reasons the board have gone with Emery is he has a good record introducing youngsters, as well as working on a tight budget,PSG accepted of course.

    These lads really do look the part and I cant wait to see how he ballances the need for results with blooding them in.

    Personally I cant wait.

  7. That phrase “What cost City was some poor officiating” contains an undercurrent.

    Do you imply it was poor officiating generally, or particularly aimed at Man City? If it was generally do you have any thoughts on why PGMO was the only referee organisation in the major leagues in Europe not to implement VAR?

  8. Man City did get some really poor decisions against them, but they also got a lot of poor decisions in their favour.
    I’d say they got more lucky decisions than any other team in the PL.
    They had some outstanding games where they looked unbeatable, but they had some games where they looked like we have in the past, where they had all the play but didn’t take any of their chances and ended up only winning from a non-foul free kick/penalty. Their first game against us last season was a prime example. With a decent ref the result would have been a draw but a very questionable penalty and a clearly off-side goal gave then a 3-1 win. They completely outplayed us but as we know so well, the best team often doesn’t win and that should have been the case in that game.

  9. @ Tony

    In response to a pertinent question. I would go with a combination of two reasoning, very old seasonings.

    As brexit and the debate demonstrated in a fashion that often Caucasians struggle with, is racism is still very much prevalent. If you supported the blue half of Manchester, you are very much a working man, loyal, local and probably it’s in the blood. Being owned by one of the richest wealth on earth won’t exactly bother you.

    But at odds with that is middle England who voted to blow off their own feet, without being fully informed and wholeheartedly accepting misinformation as fact.

    I gave a life interview on the news to express as much as I’d been exact on a number of forecasts and had been thwarted in attempts to provide this Information to the persojs relevant in time, as a result if my lack of focus over emotion.

    But I could foresee the financial implications, which would actually destabilise the working man, the married with 2.5 and not reduce illegal migration or improve the job market or housing.

    The government went with it because they wanted to change the rules of the game y9 suit their ends, to broker a trade agreement with the US and negotiate sales of ammunitions.

    If you are learned you work this out and by and large Cambridge for instance had a high remain vote. Liberal places such as Brighton recorded a little less. And some places surprised you.

    But if you were yo seriously ask me, I’d suggest the FA were contacted by the City hierarchy and told look we got a billion out there, we built you some new Manchester etc, don’t damage out assets.

    Now if you take a team who play possession football and don’t press or Harry then or are penalised for marginal infringements. Well they will batter You, as Arsenal would.

    But what you see is the agenda in Europe was different because it was most likely the oil would be floated in the UK.

    But I considered something 3ose the other day, prompted by a personal circumstance. If you are say removed from voters register and the evicted, but document it, you can call for an election result to be quashed, maybe 3. Bit what you understand is that this may represent the tip of the iceberg

    So I got t9 thinking, they lost to? Who had an easy run by and large, then advertising sales of tickets in advance of a draw.

    Someone has an agenda to produce not only specific fixtures but outcomes. City lost by a margin exactly equal to major errors or intentional misinterpretations by not only linesman but the official.

    Now replay France v Belgium and see the same and then again France v Croatia.

    The same thing happened with the Athletico draw and games I think.

    The lack of consistency from set pieces at the World Cup.

    It’s a lot like brexit, they are stagnating the player market, reducing the comoetivity of league’s and reducing the game to get and mouse with the cheese in the middle deciding outcomes.

    Some things were in the mandate, Arsenal not making top 4, not qualifying for the CL by any means, Wenger going and Conte and Jose if possible. Klopp is a social expert and knows where the lone is. Howe said too much and Bournemouth get it, Pep is a fiery alpha with one of the World’s richest nations behind him, so they scuppered the unbeaten sequence they helped make.

    The clear reason for not complimenting VAR is a record is being kept and ineptitude would have yo be punished or revisited.

    The retirees in black are telling as they quickly move to VAR to try and undermine the non investigation.

    It’s a giant can of worms. I know what those look like, when opening your mouth is near certain death.

    Everton under the astute leadership of the Wembley would be owner, and close associate and friend if Usmanov, Everton add £20m Digne. And they are after Mins at a similar figure, with Barcelona having set an income record for Europe this season and looking to upgrade and get back yo their old ways

    Juventus make a second power play, offloading Higuain t9 a direct rival with a buy out clause in the loan agreement.

  10. GoingGoingGooner

    Sorry, no time. The insurance company has demands, the crops have demands, the rain seems to keep coming (and we are supposed to be almost a desert). Tractor broke down.

    Maybe someone else will look at things?

  11. What would help me, or anyone else, is a place to get data. Untold could host data, or the git repository where I have some code for Untold could host data.

    But to manually look through media postings to scrape data is difficult.

  12. OT: ICC

    Well, ManU beat RMadrid 2-1 and the spuds beat Milan 1-0. Spuds are now done playing games, and are +1 on goal difference over BDortmund, so they lead the standings. ManU are now finished their games with 5 points. Technically, they are ahead of Arsenal, but their -2 goal difference is not good. Juventus are in position to get to 8 points, with only RMadrid to play. Lyon still hasn’t played a game. Roma beat Barcelona. Roma can finish with at most 6 points. Barcelona can at most finish with 5 points. If we beat Chelsea, we will jump (temporarily) into 1st place with 7 points and a goal difference of more than +4.

  13. Good luck for the important season Gord. Climate change doesn’t exist.

    On the new man, spoke to a Gooner, to add substance his shirt sponsor JVC the emblem an cannon.

    What do you think of the new man? He’s alright! That tone, I concur.

    Formation? I think he might want to stick with the old one! I said yes or play wide 4-3-3. He agrees when I lament on a lack of width, I identify Liverpool, he City also concerned about the late loss to United.

    I do not doubt Emery will prove a worthy investment given our lack of options after the departure if the great man. But if you will spend his money, sit I his chair and bark orders at his charges at least do it with courtesy. He does not lack the intelligence clearly, making good use of the language barrier as Poch did for some time.

    But totally to even suggest he is pioneering in developing the young talent and that the now more open pre season adapted to showcase the younger players whilst elder statesman recover as way of exoneration the board by laying the blame at Wengers dearly departed feet is low and not fooling me.

    That lack of quality, that is not Arsenal and where the head goes the body will follow.

    With each acquisition I see Wenger, in their temperament, work ethic, the preparation required to announce Stephan so early, to have Torreira tracked, and agreed on principle paying above his rel2ase clause to stagger payments, Wenger signature. Jack would have stayed, Golovin probably arrived and we may have opted for Diallo over Sokratis. Dortmund didn’t sell us one and buy the other because they thought it was a downgrade.

    My faith remains in the squad, with Aaron, Hector, Stephan, Mesut, Pierre, a Andrei finding his feet again and Mikhi. We have a great chance, with an abundance of youthful exuberance and pace to call on. My main concern is injuries.

    The crook will easily identify the lack of cover is in forward lines. At pace, not hard to take out a speedster. Ask Theo!

    AAA what happened yo you’re next.

    Not long to go now, operation don’t gamble, just win.

    Glad tidings all!

    We really need a LB, but Ospina and Danny look sold and the price of Perez was slashed. Macey has gone out on loan, and Cech has suitors but sounds as if he doesn’t want a pay cut, but wants certain first team football. He doesn’t however want to return to his former employers, presumably because they will know his movements too well.

    On changing a whole defence at once, works if you get it spot on, one with pace and positioning, at least one with height and strength. Sokratis delivers in all these areas, Mustarfi almost none. You need a Per with legs to make the most of Skodran! And Nacho will get destroyed then injured. But given he’s late returning, a sale looks possible. A lot will have to happen in a little time, but whereas Spurs will get robbed if they delve at this stage, United are going to Rob themselves because Jose is right and they screwed up. City had their target stolen by Chelsea and want to finally balance the books but need something in the engine room and a C.F.. and Liverpool are missing brain. We are in prime position to jettison the last weak links.

    Thanks to 6h3 foundations of that man…..

    How’s in reverence, genius.


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