By Tony Attwood
This is part one of a two parter on the options for Arsenal this summer.
Let’s start with money spent on transfers. Here’s a table that shows the top spenders a year ago…
- Aston Villa £146.3m
- Manchester United: £144.7m
- Manchester City: £138m
- Arsenal: £132m
- Everton £110m
What is self-evident is that the amount spent in one summer has nothing to do with where a club ends up in the table. Villa must have thought they had bought themselves mid-table safety at least, Manchester City must have thought that they had done enough to overtake a non-spending Liverpool. Arsenal enough to guarantee a serious challenge on the top four.
The full table of expenditure is given below for all 20 clubs listed in their final league position.
The outgoing column below shows how much was spent in millions of pounds. The balance column shows how much was made in the summer transfer window. A negative figure in the Balance column means that the club spent money. A positive figure in the Balance column shows that the club made a profit in the transfer window.
|Pos||Team||Outgoing £m||Balance £m||W||D||L||F||A||GD||Pts|
|15||Brighton and Hove Albion||£58.5||-£56.5||9||14||15||39||54||-15||41|
|16||West Ham United||£48.7||-£21||10||9||19||49||62||-13||39|
Liverpool in winning the league spent just £1.3 million and overall made a profit on transfers. Manchester City in second place were outspent by Villa who just escaped relegation on the last day.
But the balance column (ie the amount spent minus the amount received) is even more interesting. Three clubs (Liverpool, Chelsea and Crystal Palace) actually made a profit on transfers.
But if Arsenal are determined to spend, what should we spend money on: defence of attack? Here’s the top of the league based on goals scored. As we can see Arsenal came 8th in the league and also 8th in the goal scored league. GF post = position in the league if measured by goals scored.
|Lge pos||GF pos||Team||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||Pts|
But as we all know we have Martinelli, Nketiah, Pepe, Saka and Reiss Nelson, all of whom are still adjusting to the club and growing, and all of whom can score goals. So things could well improve.
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Now let us look at defence. We were told that this was a shambles this year and serious money needed to be spent. But how bad was it? GA pos is the position in the table if it were just measured on goals against.
|Lge pos||GA pos||Team||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||Pts|
So Arsenal were 8th in the league in terms of actual position, eighth in terms of goals conceded and seventh in terms of goals scored. That shows there is no one part of the team that is letting us down. Talk of Arsenal’s shambolic defence is misleading; compared to other teams our defence and our attack were both to blame for being 8th.
It is, I think, rather silly to suggest Arsenal should be targeting winning the league next season. Rather step one should be the aim of coming fourth in the league. This thought is based to some extent on the progress of Liverpool in getting themselves back to the top. We are a little worse than where they were in 2015/16, although naturally I hope we are FA Cup winners, not runners up.
Our defence is slightly better, our attack is quite a lot worse than Liverpool in 2016. In points we have ended this season just four behind Liverpool in 2015/16.
Here’s Liverpool’s progress in recent years, starting with 2015/16 which is roughly where Arsenal are now.
Liverpool used their year out of Europe in 2016/17* to improve both attack (15 more) and defence (8 fewer) thus taking their points total up by 16. They didn’t bother with the League Cup, and reached the semis of the FA Cup.
There was a second year of 4th in the league (no “4th is not a trophy” nonsense from their fans) and they made use of their time in Europe. Then they were runners-up in the league and then winners. That is planned progress based on one year out of Europe.
My point is we need the same steady progress back, and that actually we are not as far away from the top as we might think.
*And yes I know we might well win the FA Cup and so be back in the Europa this year.
Part 2 follows shortly.
- Disappointments this season, hopes for next season: the journalists’ vision
- When spending a fortune in football can go seriously wrong
- Why the media all want Arsenal to buy buy buy, and why we shouldn’t