Arsenal’s 2020/21 season upgraded from “worst” and “woeful” to “disappointing”

By Tony Attwood

Through the summer Untold has found a couple of big reasons to be cheerful.  Neither have been reported in the media, and instead we have had an endless stream of negatives.  This group of examples were published within an hour of each other this morning….

Arsenal player likes post linking him with move to another Premier League club The Boot Room

Arsenal legend raises concern about incoming summer signing CaughtOffside

Arsenal set to miss out on Euro 2020 winner WhoScored

Ben White is ‘better than Arsenal’ and ‘needs to be in the Champions League’ Talksport

You’re Too Good For Arsenal, Former Premier League Star Tells Ben White Inside Futbol

If you are an Untold reader you will know that contrasting with those opinions, we’ve published two rather important facts this summer.

One: Arsenal changed their tactics dramatically in order to deal with the way referees were treating the club.   It took the first third of the season to get the new tactics right.  (This can be seen through the change in our playing statistics which we have repeatedly published).

Two: Once Arsenal had changed their tactics the results took off dramatically.  In the last two thirds of the season Arsenal gained the second highest number of points, had the second best defence and the second best attack in the league.

If you want to know what the refs were up to and what Arsenal did to overcome them, then you might like Shocking Ref Stats Show Outright Bias (2020/21 review) and  The audacious tactical change that sent Arsenal charging up the league table.

But the media didn’t like all these stats, and they utterly won’t ever criticise referees. so instead they said we needed to kick out most of our players and start again.

But then Football.London tried to take us on in terms of stats, with headlines such as “The stats behind Arsenal’s woeful season and why things are as bad as they look for Mikel Arteta.”

After that they moved on to, “Legitimate questions being asking about whether Arteta is the right man to take the club forward beyond the end of this season.”

Their comment was that “those who have analysed their season on a more granular level opine that things such as below par finishing and poor goalkeeping performances, two key components in both boxes, are the main reason why they haven’t been able to turn good performances into more positive results.”

Which I have to admit caused the breaking open of an extra can of Guinness in Untold’s little office, when we read this.  For while we were using actual events like goals scored, goals conceded and points gained, they were using events that DIDN’T HAPPEN. Like expected goals.

In the real world, rather than the fantasy land of expected goals, across the course of the season Arsenal had the third best defence in the league.  Across the course of the final two thirds of the season (when the club got its new “no tackling” approach working) Arsenal had the second best defence in the league.

In the final two thirds of the season Arsenal conceded 21 goals in the league.  One more than Manchester City who had the best defence across those final 24 games.

But defence is only part of the deal.  What about the attack?  Here is the league table based on goals scored in the last two thirds of the season.

P Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 24 20 0 4 62 20 42 60
2 Arsenal 24 14 5 5 43 21 22 47
3 Tottenham Hots 24 11 4 9 43 31 12 37
4 Manchester United 24 13 8 3 43 21 22 47
5 Leicester City 24 11 6 7 42 33 9 39
6 West Ham United 24 13 5 6 41 28 13 44

We can also do this on goal difference and Arsenal are second in the last two thirds of the season.  So measure points, measure goals scored, measure goals conceded, measure goal difference in the last two thirds of the season Arsenal were second.


Yes, I know this is only two thirds of a season, but it was the last two thirds after the major tactical change was made.  Expected goals for and against can be interesting, but it is a measure of what didn’t actually happen.   Our measure of the last two thirds of the season is a measure of what really did happen.

Given the way that “Arsenal are useless” is the theme of the day it was no surprise to see the article from “Arsenal’s worst defeats under Mikel Arteta (so far)” turn up recently.

And then (and this is yet another screamingly funny moment from a season of screamingly funny moments) the Mirror pompously asked, “Have they been better than their results suggest this year?”

The answer of course is no.   We are merely as good as our results.

If Arsenal got something wrong it was taking the whole of the first third of the season to get the new style of football (a style of football already perfected by Manchester City where Mr Arteta worked, if you recall) working for Arsenal  But since no club has ever tried this before, it is hardly surprising that such a move took this long.

But still the bonkers approach of the media has given us a few laughs in these days when laughs are hard to come by.  Try this one…

“From the outside, our manager seems like a dictator without the wins or pedigree to match it.”

And if you want to go further…

How newspeak took over football and stopped proper debate

3 Replies to “Arsenal’s 2020/21 season upgraded from “worst” and “woeful” to “disappointing””

  1. Oh! As an arsenal fan I love reading your blog. It’s gives the other side of the story contrary to what the written press do. Inspite of my non-European football sessean, am very optimistic and already looking forward to the next.

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