New facts reveal how Arsenal will become a top four club again

By Tony Attwood

To almost all the other bloggers and the journalists who cover football, the answer to the question about what Arsenal have to do to get into the top four is blindingly obvious: get rid of at least half the team and buy better.   Indeed with this in mind The Athletic have “revealed” (their word not mind) Arsenal’s 11-man shortlist for the summer transfer window, in order for, as they put it for “the Gunners look to break back into the Premier League’s top four for the first time since 2016.”

But as I’ve been pointing out the statistics show something quite different: that the team operating in the last two thirds of last season was the second best in the league.

And I mention this yet again because a review of last season has revealed something else I have never seen or heard a “journalist” (I use the word lightly) or blogger mention.

Looking at last season as a whole we had 15 fewer yellow cards than Manchester United and indeed fewer also than Chelsea, Tottenham and Leicester.  Only three clubs got fewer than Arsenal.

On the other hand we did have more reds than anyone else in the league except Brighton, which seems rather strange.

And indeed not just strange but also troubling.  As a result of the reds we had ten matchday bans last season.

But here’s an oddity: as the table below shows eight of the ten came in that difficult first third of the season when the players were learning the new “no tackle” system.  Against this the rate of match bans that we achieved in the final two thirds of the season – that part of the campaign in which we were performing as the second best club in the League – if run through the whole season, would have given us a total of three games through the whole season in which we had a player banned from playing.

Thus once again we see this enormous division between the first third of the season (which we ended, sitting 15th in the league) and the rest.   For in the remaining two thirds of the season we had two red cards and thus two situations in which a player missed a match.

So if we had performed in disciplinary terms in the first third of the season, as we did in the much more successful last two thirds of the season we would have had just three match day bans in the course of the campaign.

That would have put us on a par with Chelsea who did get three match day bans. Manchester City and Tottenham got two, and Manchester United got one.   We would have been in the upper level for the “big six” (equal with Chelsea) but not way outside the upper level as we in fact ended up, because of those red cards in the early part of the season.  (And to complete the figures Liverpool got no reds last season).

Thus our improvement in the final two thirds of the season was not just in points per game – it was associated with a dramatic decline in the number of red cards, which is always something to be applauded.

The enemies of Arsenal

3 Replies to “New facts reveal how Arsenal will become a top four club again”

  1. Know need to remind everyone but just look how quick we get a red cards compared to say our away game at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace late last season they could have been 2 players down early in the game , so again it’s things that happen in games that are totally beyond what Arsenal can control which has happened season after season and impact on results .

  2. But for my own thinking its the reefs who are some how taking it too quick and easy to always give red cards for Arsenal players if you compare the fouls to other teams whom they don’t give. Since David Dein left us nobody respects us. We became like an orphan whom any body can do what he want on him and i think Arteta realized that, its the reason why he want the team to play with less tackles.

  3. Hard to argue with most of the points made on this website tbh.
    I would add, though, that before ESR vs Chelsea, we also played the first third of the season without a proper no.10 too.
    Pretty sure that can’t have helped matters?!

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