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Arsenal v Villa. Comparing this season with the opening 8 games in previous years

By Bulldog Drummond

Last season it was the superb form of our defence (third best in the league across the whole season, and second best if measured during the last two-thirds of the season) that helped us out.   This season so far the defence, now of course completely reconstructed, has been much poorer, being the 12th best defence in the league.

That again is excusable given that the entire defence has been re-arranged through summer purchases, and the newcomers have had to learn the Arteta tactical approach of cutting tackles in order to overcome the activities of the PGMO.

But it is the attack that is really the problem where we are the 15th best team in the league.   Only Watford, Leeds United, Southampton, Burnley and Norwich have scored fewer goals than we have.

And considering tonight’s game, Villa this season have let in 12, the same as ourselves and Tottenham, so they are not a walkover.

But we need improvement across the pitch.  At the moment our defence is considerably worse than last season, letting in approximately 1.5 goals per game instead of one goal per game.  But we were scoring 1.45 goals a game last season and now it is under one goal a game.

And here’s another nasty statistic: considering our past defeats to Aston Villa, Arsenal have only lost more league games at the Arsenal Stadium (as opposed to Highbury) against Manchester City (five) and Chelsea (six).

So is it really all doom and gloom?   To answer that we could consider the question of how this season, after eight games, compares with previous seasons at the same point?

This next table shows the position season by season after the first eight league games.

Season Pos W D L F A GD Pts
2021/22 12 3 2 3 7 12 -5 11
2020/21 11 4 0 4 9 10 -1 12
2019/20 3 4 3 1 13 11 2 15
2018/19 4 6 0 2 19 10 9 18
2017/18 6 4 1 3 12 10 2 13
2016/17 2 6 1 1 19 9 10 19
2015/16 2 5 1 2 13 7 6 16
2014/15 7 2 5 1 13 11 2 11

So as we can see we have to go back to 2014/15 to find a start like this one – although in that season we scored nearly twice as many goals as this season after eight games have been played.

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However, we should note that in that season of 2014/15 despite the poor start, we ended up with the final league table looking like this..

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Chelsea 38 26 9 3 73 32 41 87
2 Manchester City 38 24 7 7 83 38 45 79
3 Arsenal 38 22 9 7 71 36 35 75
4 Manchester United 38 20 10 8 62 37 25 70

There is no guarantee that having achieved that turn around once we can repeat it, but even so, maybe, perhaps, we should not give up hope just yet.


Coming next:

  • Mikel Arteta accuses PGMO of unacceptable behaviour over the Saka assault.
  • The team for tonight’s game.


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