By Tony Attwood
Last season we uniquely devised a league table in which clubs were placed in order according to their results over the last 24 games of the season (approximately the last two thirds of the season, for most clubs starting on Christmas Day).
The position of clubs in that league table across the last 24 games is shown in the first column below, but instead of placing the clubs in the order of merit according to points we have now added an extra column at the end – “Spend.” That is now the defining order.
Either way, however Arsenal are second.
|4||West Ham United||24||13||5||6||41||28||13||44||+£1.5m|
This final column is taken from the Guardian’s analysis of expenditure less income from sales during this transfer window. It is the table we have used each summer when looking at the relative transfer incomes and expenditure on new players.
So to be quite clear this final column does not show money spent, but money spent less money received. In detail they show Arsenal’s spend as
- Nuno Tavares: Defender — from Benfica, £6.8m
- Albert Sambi Lokonga: Midfielder — from Anderlecht. £17.2m
- Ben White: Defender — from Brighton. £50m
- Martin Ødegaard: Midfielder — from Real Madrid, £34m
Against this is our income of £22m from the sale of Joe Willock is taken away to get the total.
Zech Medley, Ben Sheaf and Tolaji Bola have all gone to to other clubs for undisclosed sums. But since the buying clubs have been Coventry, Oostende and Rotherham it is unlikely that the sums were very great. What’s more such transfer sums are often based on how many games players actually play for their new clubs.
Meanwhile there are of course still 10 days to go with the transfer window so it is quite possible the figures here will change dramatically.
However there was another issue that we looked at last season and which we can already consider for this season – although with very preliminary figures. It relates to tackles.
Last season, in order to stop referees giving ever higher numbers of fouls and yellow cards against Arsenal, Arsenal cut the number of tackles their defenders engaged in.
Now for Arsenal and some of the other larger teams in the Premier League we can see how many tackles the club put in, in its first game of the season, and then in column three see how this compares to last season’s average. (If you want to go back and check any of the figures from last season they are all on our Key Data Tables page)
|Team||First game 2021/1||Average tackles per game last season||This season compared to last season|
|West Ham U||23||13.5||170%|
Of course this season is only one game long but we can see that Arsenal clearly are continuing to cut their tackling – presumably in order to cut their yellow cards still further. In fact just four of the nine clubs considered have cut their tackling, and we can see that it is Manchester United who have gone overboard on this notion, cutting their tackles to a level even lower than Arsenal!
This shows the notion of cutting tackles to cut fouls and thus cut yellow cards is not part of every club’s planning as yet, although we have only had one game.
We’ll carry on looking at this as the season progresses, and bring in fouls and yellow cards as well. It was, after all, the key to Arsenal’s rise up the table after Christmas, so it is worth considering.
Besides which, if last season is anything to go by, no other blog, newspaper or broadcaster is going to run these tables.
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