How did Emery compare with Wenger? A comparison of seasons

By Tony Attwood

For this article I’ve looked back over the last ten seasons, comparing the key aspects of each season.  Here’s the table for the top six at the end of this season…

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Manchester City 38 32 2 4 95 23 72 98
2 Liverpool 38 30 7 1 89 22 67 97
3 Chelsea 38 21 9 8 63 39 24 72
4 Tottenham Hotspur 38 23 2 13 67 39 28 71
5 Arsenal 38 21 7 10 73 51 22 70
6 Manchester United 38 19 9 10 65 54 11 66

It means, as you will of course know by now, that Arsenal have no worries about playing qualifying matches in July for next season’s Europa, if we were to fail to win the Europa this season, and thus get into the Champions League.   And the mighty Tiny Totts, so wildly praised by the media all season long, were in fact just one huge point above us.  Yes they were above us and they have a better goal difference, but it was still just one point.

Now my interest is in seeing how far forward Mr Emery has taken us, in the light of the ceaseless complaints about Mr Wenger’s management in the past.  And to do this I don’t want just to compare this season with last season, but instead look across the last ten years…

I should add that I have included the top scorer  on the right, and as you will see the goals figure in the right hand column reflects all major competitions.  With one game left to play (the Europa final of course) Auba is our best scorer since RVP in 2011/12 and is actually above Alexis Sanchez in his one brilliant season with us.

Season W D L F A Pts Pos FAC LgC Pos Top scorer Gls
2009-10 23 6 9 83 41 75 3 R4 QF QF Fàbregas 19
2010–11 19 11 8 72 43 68 4 QF RU R16 van Persie 22
2011-12 21 7 10 74 49 70 3 R5 QF R16 van Persie 37
2012–13 21 10 7 72 37 73 4 R5 QF R16 Walcott 21
2013–14 24 7 7 68 41 79 4 W R4 R16 Giroud 22
2014–15 22 9 7 71 36 75 3 W R3 R16 Sánchez 25
2015–16 20 11 7 65 36 71 2 QF RE R16 Giroud 24
2016–17 23 6 9 77 44 75 5 W QF R16 Sánchez 30
2017–18 19 6 13 74 51 63 6 R3 RU SF Lacazette 17
2018-19 21 7 10 70 51 68 5 R4 R5 F Aubameyang 31

So in terms of wins, draws and of course points we are better off than last season, but not better off than any of the eight seasons before than; we are still operating below the normal Wenger level.  Of course winning the Europa League will turn this into a very successful season – but for people who are concerned with the league details, no, the change of manager has not made an instant impact.

But yes, in terms of wins and points, this season has been an improvement over last season.  Not least because we have Aubamayang knocking in the goals.  The defence however has not improved on last season’s poor showing – the worst of any season in the chart, and I would put this down, to a major degree, in the absence of Bellerin and Holding, and the injury to Koscielny which has meant thus far he has only started 13 league games.

To reduce the complexity of this table for a quick analysis here is a best and worst chart for goals, points and goals conceded (noted as “defence” in the table below)

Best and worst chart for the last 10 years, compared with this season

Best Goals Worst Goals 2018/19 goals Best points Worst points 2018/19 points Best defence Worst defence 2018/19 defence
83 65 73 79 63 70 36 51 51

What the chart does show is how varied is the position the club has to reach in order to qualify for the champions league.   In 2013/14 we ended up in a table looking like this – with nine points more than this season.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 38 27 5 6 102 37 65 86
2 Liverpool 38 26 6 6 101 50 51 84
3 Chelsea 38 25 7 6 71 27 44 82
4 Arsenal 38 24 7 7 68 41 27 79

So fourth place was achieved – although much decried with the fourth is not a trophy notion.

Finally I want to turn to the away game problem

Season Pos P W D L F A GD Pts
2014/15 3rd 19 10 4 5 30 22 8 34
2015/16 3rd 19 8 7 4 34 25 9 31
2016/17 6th 19 9 3 7 38 28 10 30
2017/18 11th 19 4 4 11 20 31 -11 16
2018/19 8th 19 7 4 8 31 35 -4 25

This table shows results only for away games in the league.  A look at the last column shows the dramatic deline in points between the first three seasons, and the last two.   But it also shows a slight rebound – in the end we were just six points away from home, below the 2015/16 level.   So it was not a total turn around, but perhaps we could say it was a half way house.

There are still problems at Arsenal – no matter how close we came to third or fourth, we didn’t get to the position that was regularly taken for granted in the past, and was decried as “not a trophy”.  But we only just missed out and we scored more goals away this season than in 2014/15.   The defence was the problem away from home – but again with Holding and Bellerin back in the squad, we should be dealing with that issue.

The removal or resignation of Sven Mislintat suggests there were problems behind the team at Arsenal, but if this is resolve with Edu, it could well be that next season the return to normal away form will take us up to 3rd in the league once more.

I am not suggesting more than that, because I suspect both Liverpool and Man City will spend vast amounts of money this summer and go every further ahead of Arsenal – but on the basis of one step at a time, we could return to the top four next year.


13 Replies to “How did Emery compare with Wenger? A comparison of seasons”

  1. I think referees bias should also be included or be taken into consideration, as this season i felt the refs were much more lenient with us.

  2. And its not only points, yiu have to compare the style of play, the difference in approach (attacking/defending). As for me, the style of play and the beauty of Wengerball is why I fell in love woth Arsenal in the first place, regardless of trophies.

  3. Can we have a return to the 2pts for a win system ? Oh look The Arsenal are 4th and would you believe it the kharzi kings of the High street are…😁

  4. Can we have a return to the 2pts for a win system ? Oh look The Arsenal are 4th and would you believe it the kharzi kings of the High street are…😁 ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  5. I thought I have a closer look a little closer in to our away for to see if I could shed any light onto it.

    Firstly my idea was to see how our away form in Europe compared to our away form in the Premier league. But when I started looking closer I thought, given the overall relatively low level of our opponents in the EL making a direct comparison to the entire PL would not be a fair comparison. I though perhaps a comparison to how we faired against the bottom half (10 Teams) would be more accurate. Once I’d done those I thought I’d look at how we faired away from home against the top half (9 teams) of the PL.

    Here are the 3 sets of figures:

    Europa League

    P = 7
    W = 5
    L = 2
    D = 0

    F = 13
    A = 6

    GD = +7

    PTS = 15

    Won 71%

    Scored………..1.8 goals per game
    Conceded…..0.8 goals per game
    Points…………2.1 per game

    Bottom half of Premier League:

    P = 10
    W = 7
    L = 1
    D = 2

    F = 23
    A = 13

    GD = +10

    Pts = 23

    Won 70 %

    Scored………..2.3 per game
    Conceded…..1.3 per game
    Points…………2.3 per game

    As you will see apart from the fact we scored and let in slightly more against the bottom half of the PL, the win % and points per game are almost identical.

    Now here’s the figures against the top half (9 teams) of the Premier League:

    P = 9

    W = 0
    L = 7
    D = 2

    F = 8
    A = 22

    GD = -14

    Pts = 2

    Won 0%

    Scored…………0.88 goals per game
    Conceded……2,4 goals per game
    Points………….0.22 points per game

    As you can see the contrast is absolutely amazing.

    What does it tell us?

    Well to state the bleedin obvious we have trouble away from home against quality opposition. Ok I know we achieved a couple of away wins in the EL against good sides but would either of them of made the top 10 in the PL ? It’s at least debatable.

    Now I’m the first to agree that we get some real crap from the referees away from home in the PL, but these figures do show a consistency between our away form in Europe and at home which suggest to me our problems lie more in how we deal with quality opposition when on the road, and this could well point directly at our defence, (look at the goals) or perhaps more accurately, how we DEFEND, as a team.

    At least that’s what I draw from those statistics, others may disagree.

    NB Sorry for any errors. If spotted please point them out

  6. The 1 and 2 point differences between us and 3rd and 4th can be represented by one missed penalty, which everyone, except our friends in N17, agree should have been retaken in accordance with the rules of the game.

    So the difference between having a mediocre season and a reasonably good one was dependant on a bad refereeing mistake and a poor penalty kick.

    In defence, this season has seen no improvement at all.

    We are still vulnerable to crosses and breakaways.

  7. I think Emery had a remarkably good 1st season as he didn’t insist on spending a fortune on new players the moment he arrived. Sure he had the benefit of having Auba and Laca here already, but still a very decent start.
    A few player/squad changes to suit his style of play plus a season where a few of the more influential players stay fit and I expect better results next season.
    Although I don’t think we’ll get in the top 2 unless one of those teams has a meltdown.

    I agree with Yassine that with the PGMO decisions this season we’ve had a much fairer result than the last 10+ seasons. Refs have made mistakes but it’s been closer to 40-45/60-55 for & against, rather than the previous 20-30/80-70 that AW seemed to get from Mike Rileys Cartel enforcers.

  8. I have a feeling it’s not only Liverpool and City who will massively outspend us next season, teams below us could as well.
    But ultimately, Agree, we could well make the top four next season. I think this year was difficult to judge anyone at the club, a lot of transition, there is clearly either financial hoarding, or hopefully, more likely, financial stabilisation going on.
    Most days, seem to read about another player leaving, today it is Xhaka, if a fraction of these stories are true, the club will have their work cut out next summer, just hope there are the people in place to do this work, January was not encouraging!
    VAR will be interesting, bit saw nothing this year to suggest the appalling refereeing under Wenger is going away.
    This summer and next year will tell us a lot about the clubs direction. Emery could end this season with major success, but if he doesn’t, I suspect he will have to step up a few things next season to survive beyond it, notably defending, away performances, and collapses when going behind.
    Going to be interesting

  9. It’s true that the injuries suffered to Holding and Bellerin one after the other I think mid-way into last season’s campaign might had negatively impacted on the Arsenal defence stability on the road during the 2nd half campaign period of last season in the PL, in the Carabao Cup where Arsenal lost 0-2 at home to Spurs and in the FA Cup where they also lost at home to Man Utd. If these 2 looked to be the bedrock at the right-side of the Arsenal defense-line in a back-four or back-three as the case may be, perhaps, Arsenal would have conceded less goals than they’ve concede on the road in last PL season’s campaign. And probably they might have amassed more points overall in the table than they had amassed at the end of the season to place 3rd in the table bettering the 72 points that Chelsea have garnered.

    But what is my above academics exercise done for? I’ve done it to put Arsenal on notice to prepare for injury crisis that could occur to the 1st team squad in any position on the field of play in the squad during next season’s campaign and deal with the injury crisis by managing it efficiently so that the 1st team performance in all competitions, more so in the PL will not suffer the same outrage of low points collection that Arsenal suffered on the road last season in the PL.

    But will Bellerin and Holding return to their 1st half of last season optimal level performance that the duo had for Arsenal and even better it before they went off injured when they return to action for the Gunners?

    Nevertheless, Arsenal should prepare to have adequate top quality cover for all the 11 player positions on the field of play in the 1st squad in readiness for next season campaign in all competitions.

    The four of: Ramsey, Welbeck, Cech and Lichtsteiner are all about to vacate from Arsenal when Arsenalls season comes to an end at the Europa League Cup final when the Gunners have played against Chelsea. But will Ramsey have recovered from his harmstring and be fully match fit – match ready to play for Arsenal in this ELC Cup final match?

    Anyway, I am tempted to say I am almost sure Arsenal will give full promotion to Nkethia to the senior team squad next season. But I am not that sure 4 other promising youngster Gunners of Nelson, Willock, Smith-Rowe and Saka are at the age and top performance grade level to make them get promotion to the senior team squad next season. But certainly, Arsenal have 4 leaving senior team players on their hands this summer window to replace. And have at least 2 other top quality senior signings to do this summer, the 1st one at left back and the 2nd one at left wing in my opinion in addition to the 4 senior team squad player replacements of top quality grade they’ll have to sign as well to upgrade the 1st team squad i.e. one top quality goalkeeper and 5 new in-field players of top quality grades Arsenal should sign this summer to do proper and adequate reinforcements this summer I am thinking. But they must eschew the signing an old player who will start panting on the field after playing for 20 minutes on the field for Arsenal. And the kind of failed Suarez signing that Arsenal did last January window from Barcelona should not be repeated ever.

  10. Nitram @ 12:35pm

    Good analysis. The numbers don’t lie, in this case. The team seems tentative away from home, with and without the ball. I can’t recall the team coming out on the front foot from the off against top opposition like they did in the better games against the top sides at home. Why they are not more decisive is beyond my analysing abilities. Hope Emery can get it sorted for next season.

  11. Welldone nitram. I usually don’t put much interest when Tony talks about home form/away form dichotomy because he does little to answer the “why” question. Its as if we should just wish for better luck away since all other things seem okay(at least its the same players and management that account for the home form). For me, your analysis points to an issue with the quality of our team. I think the missing link in that analysis would be our performance against the top half (or top 6) teams at home, especially in comparison with the teams that ended above us. Are we good enough when it comes to the bottom half teams generally and especially away? But poorer when dealing with better opposition? Is it an issue of better teams not being worried about us when we visit and thus having a solid go at us and we crumbling either due to their quality or as a result of nerves? Naturally a team is likely to have more nerves when visiting camp nou, than when visiting Cardiff city(although this can be a source of increased motivation for a mentally tough team)

  12. I would like to see a rule that any team that loses 1/3 of their games be deducted points , and the place in Europe given to the next team.
    And I say this with all sincerity and without any bias !
    And I may among the millions that probably back this proposal.
    What do you guys think ?

  13. Personally I’d just like to see us not got totally outplayed by team significantly worse than us on a near game by game basis (at least that was the case in the latter half of the season), as well as less defensive tactics that Emery seems to employ at extremely early stages of certain games (being defensive and time wasting after only 20 minutes when we were just 1-0 up against Spurs away comes to mind, or Napoli at home where we went defensive with over half an hour left).

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