Chelsea v Arsenal: there’s only three points between us.

By Bulldog Drummond

Chelsea sit third, 12 points above us.  They could come second, but most likely it will be third when the season is over. However bolstered by the ravingly anti-Arsenal media they will have been helped to see this game as an easy win against a poor and disjointed team..

And yes it is obviously true that they have had a better season than Arsenal, no doubt, but when we do our normal thing of comparing the two teams based on who is at home and who is away, the gap is much narrower than you might expect.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
5 Chelsea home 17 8 6 3 29 16 13 30
7 Arsenal away 17 8 3 6 27 17 10 27

We’ve scored only two fewer goals away from home than they have at home, and conceded only one more away than Chelsea at home.  Yes they are the better team, but only just, on this measure.

And they are not unbeatable as the might West Bromwich Allerdyce showed.  Here are their results through April and May…

Date Game Res Score Competition
3 Apr 2021 Chelsea v West Bromwich A L 2-5 Premier League
7 Apr 2021 FC Porto v Chelsea W 0-2 Champions League
10 Apr 2021 Crystal Palace v Chelsea W 1-4 Premier League
13 Apr 2021 Chelsea v FC Porto L 0-1 Champions League
17 Apr 2021 Chelsea v Manchester City W 1-0 FA Cup
20 Apr 2021 Chelsea v Brighton and Hove D 0-0 Premier League
24 Apr 2021 West Ham United v Chelsea W 0-1 Premier League
27 Apr 2021 Real Madrid v Chelsea D 1-1 Champions League
1 May 2021 Chelsea v Fulham W 2-0 Premier League
5 May 2021 Chelsea v Real Madrid W 2-0 Champions League
8 May 2021 Manchester City v Chelsea W 1-2 Premier League

Overall that is seven wins, two draws and two defeats.   Just taking the league games we get four wins, one draw and one defeat.

Arsenal’s run from the start of April is

Date Game Res Score Competition
3 Apr 2021 Arsenal v Liverpool L 0-3 Premier League
8 Apr 2021 Arsenal v Slavia Prague D 1-1 Europa League
11 Apr 2021 Sheffield United v Arsenal W 0-3 Premier League
15 Apr 2021 Slavia Prague v Arsenal W 0-4 Europa League
18 Apr 2021 Arsenal v Fulham D 1-1 Premier League
23 Apr 2021 Arsenal v Everton L 0-1 Premier League
29 Apr 2021 Villarreal v Arsenal L 2-1 Europa League
2 May 2021 Newcastle United v Arsenal W 0-2 Premier League
6 May 2021 Arsenal v Villarreal D 0-0 Europa League
9 May 2021 Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion W 3-1 Premier League

Won four, lost three, drawn three.  Away it is won three, lost one.  Scored ten, conceded two.

This reversal of the home/away rule is of course something we have been highlighting all season, and is the norm throughout the league deespite denials elsewhere.  And if we have a chance in this game, this is one of the factors in our favour.

But if we really want to see the advantage Chelsea has we just have to look at the tackles, fouls and yellow card table.

Club Tackles Fouls Tackles/fouls Yellow cards Fouls/yellows
Chelsea 571 399 1.43 44 9.07
Arsenal 420 322 1.30 45 7.16

Chelsea has put in 151 more tackles than Arsenal and have got fewer yellow cards than Arsenal.  Every Chelsea tackle is less likely to get a foul given than an Arsenal tackle.  Every Chelsea foul is less likely to get a yellow card than Arsenal.

Thus while Arsenal are having to take absolute care, and have cut their tackle rate so much that we now tackle less than any other team in the premier league, Chelsea can play their normal game knowing they are far less likely to be penalised than Arsenal.

I think it was right, and indeed essential for Arsenal to cut their tackling rate so that we tackle less than any other club, because otherwise we’d hardly have a defence left on the pitch by now.  

And as a result we remain the fourth best defence in the league.  Over the course of the season we have in fact conceded just two more goals than Chelsea in the League.   

The big difference that comes out of this is that while the journalists, broadcasters and bloggers have been screaming at Arsenal to get a new defence, to sell all the defenders, to get rid of Xhaka (who has the best league ranking of any Arsenal player), and so on, there have been no such demands from journalists, broadcasters and bloggers for Chelsea.

And because there are some Arsenal fans who do follow the media, that demand for a new defence has been heard all season.  If you want a psychological difference between Chelsea and Arsenal there it is.

Our defences are just about the same, but theirs is praised and ours is criticised.

The insanity of changing an entire defence around is obvious to anyone who has been in football for a while, but this has been the demand.  Thankfully it seems the Arsenal management don’t read the papers.  Or the blogs.

What do Arsenal need to fix?

One Reply to “Chelsea v Arsenal: there’s only three points between us.”

  1. An interesting article, but you might forget something important. In my opinion we don’t play Arteta-ball, but are focusing too much on conceding less goals. We are very much in balance which is good, but it do have negative impact on our offensive play with lack of creating clear chances. I agree with Arteta that we had to do something with our display and organisation on the pitch. Let’s hope that new players and a proper preseason preparations will do us good next season. COYG

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