After 20 games how does this season compare with the past and could we make 4th?

By Tony Attwood

In a brief post-match discussion after the Southampton victory we were pondering how this season compares with recent seasons after the first 20 games have been played?

It is not a comparison that most football journalists and bloggers ever like to do because it rather scuppers their “best ever” and “worst ever” quick knock off pieces that are dictated from the pub, but the figures are interesting, I think.

So on the left we have the position after 20 games for the last seven seasons – then the details thus far for the season, and in the final column, where Arsenal ended up after the 38 games have been played.

Pos Season P W D L F A GD Pts End
9 2020/01 20 9 3 8 26 20 6 30 ?
12 2019/20 20 5 9 6 26 30 -4 24 8
5 2018/19 20 11 5 4 42 30 12 38 5
6 2017/18 20 11 4 5 37 25 12 37 6
5 2016/17 20 12 5 3 44 22 22 41 5
1 2015/16 20 13 3 4 34 18 16 42 2
6 2014/15 20 9 6 5 34 25 9 33 3

What is interesting is that the position we hold after 20 games, and the number of points gained after 20 games, does not automatically tell us where we are going to end up.  It has been accurate from 2015/16 on to 2018/19 but there are anomalies.

The biggest changes have been 2014/15 – we ended up three places higher than we were at after 20 games, and 2019/20 in which we ended up four places higher.

So although it would take a brave soul to say at the moment that we are going to make the top four, which is to say four places higher, that is exactly what we did last season, rising from 12 to 8th.

But let’s go back to 2014/15 after 20 games with this season after 20 games we find something rather interesting.

Pos Season P W D L F A GD Pts End
8 2020/01 20 9 3 8 26 20 6 30
6 2014/15 20 9 6 5 34 25 9 33 3

The difference between 2014/15 and now is simply that three games we have lost this season were secured as draws in 2014/15.  So we had three points more.  The goal difference was better in 2014/15, but only by three.  One might think, looking at this, that things are still possible.  If we have done it once…

What’s more the current points total of 30 is not the worst we have had – that was last season with 24.  But worryingly our scoring rate is the same as last season, although the defence has massively improved.  On the other hand we have just borrowed a new attacking midfielder, and we do now know what has been wrong with Aubameyang (a family issue it seems) and that might be curable over time.

Plus if we look at the scores in the games in the Premier League from Boxing Day onwards…

Date Game Res Score
26 Dec 2020 Arsenal v Chelsea W 3-1
29 Dec 2020 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal W 0-1
02 Jan 2021 West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal W 0-4
14 Jan 2021 Arsenal v Crystal Palace D 0-0
18 Jan 2021 Arsenal v Newcastle United W 3-0
26 Jan 2021 Southampton v Arsenal W 1-3

…we have scored 14 goals in six games.  2.33 goals a game.  In the previous 14 league games we scored 12 goals – a rate of 0.86 per game.

And we now have Martinelli who is only slowly being re-introduced in order to ensure there are no more injury upsets.  Plus Saka is growing with each game.  And Smith Rowe is growing all the time, but is not going to be pressured into playing each game since we have Odegaard to take the pressure off Smith-Rowe, that should help see us through the Europa League and the Premier League.

We can also take from the table is that this is not as bad as last year.  We have more points, a better defence and a better goal difference.

So if our desire is to go better than last year, yes we are on track.  But if we want to go one better than that and beat the 2014/15 season we need now to use our new goal scoring tactics and snatch draws from the mouth of defeat as well as winning by greater margins.

The next leap forward would be to match 2017/18 in terms of goalscoring

Pos Season P W D L F A GD Pts End
8 2020/01 20 9 3 8 26 20 6 30
6 2017/18 20 11 4 5 37 25 12 37 6

At the moment we have a better defence, but we are a long way behind on the goalscoring (11 goals down) and we’ve had three defeats more.

But the goals scored in the recent games gives us a real hope. Rising from 9th to 4th would be quite a trick to pull off, and in part would depend on the slippage of those above us, and some do have games in hand.  So maybe let us stay focused on 6th, and the Europa again next season, while we consolidate our position.

9 Replies to “After 20 games how does this season compare with the past and could we make 4th?”

  1. I’m still hoping for a top 2 finish as I have a tenner ew on us at 33/1 for the title, that’s how much I believed in this squad.

  2. What’s happened to Adrian Clarkes ‘Breakdown’ on ?

    I look forward to that. Please don’t tell me Arsenal have stopped him doing it ?

  3. ron

    Thanks for your reply but I still cant see a breakdown for the Southampton win.

    There are ‘highlights’ and a couple of ‘in focus’ clips but no breakdown, not that I can see anyway.

  4. they do not seem to do a breakdown for midweek matches not sure why -but i am sure there will be one for the united game

  5. It’s virtually impossible to pick six games in a season and predict how the next eighteen will go.
    In those six games we have relied on ESR and Saka going forward and that will not carry long term and against the better sides.
    At the moment the teams above us are all better than us and you can only imagine some of them getting better chelski for instance.
    Villa have two games in hand even Southampton will go above us if they win their game in hand.
    Our new attacking midfielder hasn’t played yet and so we cannot assume he will be some sort of saviour yet.
    As for Auba he was bad last August so the hope he will come back from visiting his Mum’s and suddenly hit a rich vein of goals is very optimistic. Auba without goals gives the team nothing and he is certainly not a captain so Mikel needs to be brave and not automatically put him back in the side.
    I do think we are improving but we will lose and draw games and to get in the top eight in this hugely competitive league will be extremely difficult.

  6. ron

    Maybe the ‘midweek’ theory is correct but I’m sure I’ve seen them before. Oh well. Thanks for your help either way.

    Lets hope for a result today and a fun ‘breakdown’ on Sunday.

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