The last 24 games this season and last: not yet title winning form but getting closer

by Tony Attwood

No one would pretend that this has been a glorious season, just as very few people will recognise the supreme irony of fans who proclaimed that Wenger should go because “fourth was not a trophy” are now anxiously looking at the league table in the hope that we might make fourth after all.

Likewise very few in the media seem ready to admit that endlessly changing managers and players can be a very good thing.  There is on the other hand the occasional praise in the media at the way that Arsenal have unravelled “years of transfer failures but they are, at least, going about their own rebuilding efforts with a conviction and bloodymindedness.”   Such chat is followed of course by the list of players who have gone: Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Willian, Sead Kolasinac, Shkodran Mustafi, Mkhitaryan and Sokratis are regularly mentioned in such dispatches. 

According to the article cited above the key point has been the fostering of “a culture of togetherness and a squad of hungry players driven by a cause and united by a clear playing style.”

Thus the argument is that we cannot really judge a team by what we see on the pitch, but rather we also have to judge the team by something that is invisible to us mere supporters: “togetherness”.   It is an interesting thought but one that makes it nigh on impossible for those of us not privy to the inner workings of the club to have a view of what is going on.

This is of course what the media want.  In the age of total information, they desperately need us to need them, and so will create any narrative (truthful or otherwise) to show that we cannot interpret the world ourselves, but must allow the media to do it for us.

But such media chit-chat does not explain why Elneny is now flavour of the month, but wasn’t for so long in the season.   Nor why the togetherness can count for more than results.

However, let us stay with results and consider a story the media has utterly missed.  The last 24 games of last of 2020/21 and our last 24 games this season – remembering that it was the last 24 games of 2020/21 season that saved us.  For after 14 games that season we were 15th and being talked about as relegation candidates.

2020/21 – last 24 games…

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 Manchester United 24 13 8 3 43 21 22 47
4 West Ham United 24 13 5 6 41 28 13 44

So let’s consider the progress… the last 24 games this season…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 24 19 2 2 60 17 43 60
2 Liverpool 24 18 4 2 61 16 45 58
3 Chelsea 24 13 7 4 51 24 27 46
4 Arsenal 24 15 1 8 42 27 15 46

Across the last 24 games of last season, and the last 24 played in this season, Manchester City have exactly the same number of points and a very similar record in term of goals. Chelsea were fifth in the table of the last 24 games of last season with 42 points, and Liverpool seventh with 38 points, so both have improved.  Indeed Liverpool have improved the most dramatically.

And Arsenal – well after all those changes, and the record transfer expenditure last summer, and allowing for time for everyone to settle down, the last 24 games this season have actually produced just one point fewer than last season’s final 24 games.   The goals scored is one fewer, the goals conceded one more.

Now in one very real sense this is quite remarkable for it has been achieved by changing a lot of the team around and bringing in much younger players – so young in fact that we have the youngest regular first team in the Premier League – which augers well for the future.

And it is remarkable given that the issue we have been told is our greatest, overwhelming, totally total problem – the lack of goals in attack, has not been addressed at all.  We are pretty much the same as last time around.   And yes I really would say that is remarkable because last season our top four goal scorers in the Premier League were

Player Played Sub Goals Pens
Alexandre Lacazette 22 9 13 3
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 26 3 10 2
Nicolas Pépé 16 13 10 1
Bukayo Saka 30 2 5

This season we have

Player Played Sub Goals Pens
Bukayo Saka 35 3 12 2
Emile Smith Rowe 23 9 11
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 13 2 7
Eddie Nketiah 8 14 7
Alexandre Lacazette 23 9 6 3
Martin Odegaard 31 4 6

Of our three players in double figures last season in terms of Premier League goals none has produced double figures in the league this season (and to be clear these are only league games counted here).

Our top three scoring players last season produced between them 33 goals in the league.  This season it is 30 goals – a slight decline.   But fortunately, two of those top three are going to be with us next season, and will be (self-evidently) one year older and most certainly still improving.

Of course if Eddie and Laca both leave this summer we are going to need another player there – but this ability to put together runs of 24 games and collect 46 or 47 points has been maintained both last season and this season and that new player will be coming into a team that hopefully, next time can do it all season.

If we could maintain that form that would give us 73 points.  Not enough to win the league, given recent seasons, but enough to make top four in most seasons.  It is the step in the right direction that we’ve all wanted.



6 Replies to “The last 24 games this season and last: not yet title winning form but getting closer”

  1. Tony, I think u made a mistake. If u are considering only league games, how has saka played 35games?

  2. I fully agree that traffic lights are on green.
    As I posted on the previous post, when was the last time Arsenal beat Chelsea and ManU within 72 hours of each other…. ?

  3. I agree with your comment on the media. “In the age of total information, they desperately need us to need them, and so will create any narrative (truthful or otherwise) to show that we cannot interpret the world ourselves, but must allow the media to do it for us.”

    Things are on the up. Regardless of our last result, we who watch every match can see the energy and the improvement in our side. We don’t believe the gaslighting media’s take on the last match. We weren’t lucky to win…we won and there were a lot of decisions that didn’t go our way, too.

  4. I am sorry bit your article is total bullshit. I couldn’t even finish it.

    I used to love this blog, but now it’s just rose tinted bullshit which continuously blows smoke up Arteta’s ass.

    The very fact that you have chosen the last 24 games to fit your narrative is the first problem.

    Even then you can see clearly even after 3 years under Arteta we have regressed alarmingly under Arteta.

    Last year we were second in your last 24 games, even though we.were 15th and Arteta should have been sacked then for his gross failing as manager.

    Now even as you continue to try to make excuses for his abject failings manager using your own chosen metric of the last 24 games, which is totally irrelevant,

    We are fourth where we were second
    We have.scored less
    We have.conceeded.more

    It’s total failure. What exactly has Arteta done this season of note.

    There are other coaches who can do a better job.

    I would argue that.last summer recruitment was well below par, so both Arteta and Edu are culpable.

    55m.Bem White- this was a horrendous signing by any stretch. He has directly cost us 5-7 PL games this season,.load soft errors directly to goals, several penalties conceeded. A massive weakness to high pressing teams and taller strikers in the air and high ball.

    ODEGAARD for 35m because that is his worth , not against him as back up AM but not at the level to challenge for PL or CL right now. Doens’t score.or assist enough. Very powderpuff aginst high pressing teams and gets dominated in big games. This last one against the worst ManU team since 1980s doesnt change anything.

    Taveres has regressed since joining alarmingly
    Lakonga has regressed since joining alarmingly
    After three years Arteta has failed to show he can manage a top four squad effectively, marginalizing countless players, giving away many more, cancelling contracts etc.

    He has.failed to show, along with Edu any kind of elite.skill in transfer market as they are both governed by stats and agents and media hype. It’s naievity , inexperience and lack of knowledge.

    Most troubling and most appallingly after 3 years Arteta has failed to create a system which produces anything for central strikers and AM. This season:-
    Auba 4 goals
    Laca 4 goals
    Martinelli 5goals
    Odegaard 5goals
    Eddie 2, goals
    It’s a disgrace and it’s the single biggest failing of his managment and why after three years I cannot get fully behind the manager of our team. There is something missing against all top teams that are well drilled in their system.

    I was not surprised by Palace and Brighton loss. It’s their system. Also although we beat Chelsea.i would argue they were totally demotivated at this stage with their top four all but secure.
    ManU gifted us the game as did Chelsea with errors. We did not necessarily create. Therein lies the biggest issue still.

    Taking out Saka,ESR and Martinelli individual brilliance what exactly does his system create.

    Very low goal difference, low goals scored, more goals conceeded than last year after 130m spend on defense.

    It’s.not good enough because neither Arteta or Edu are elite.

    If we do he will no doubt be given extra time and funds but he will not lead us further because his system is flawed and he is still making too many mistakes as manager to be elite.

    If you are happy with treading water by all means continue to support Arteta blindly, but at least be honest about it and report factually without slanting everything into a love fest.

    You always write about referee bias agaisnt Arsenal, media bias even c.

    However you are yourself bias when it comes to being objective about Arteta’s failings, Edu’ failings and the ownership being a total and dismal failure since 2011.

    I have supported Arsenal since 1987 when I was barely seven. Lived on London for a large part of my childhood, went to Highbury.

    I know what I am witnessing and I can see clearly the fialings.

    Losing three at start of season, losing three Ina row to Palace, Brighton and Southampton at this stage it’s all totally unacceptable. Arteta keeps crating these problems himself because of his own poor tactics,.mismanagement of squad.

    Enough of this medicrity and excuses

  5. What is an ”elite manager?”

    How many ”elite managers” are on the planet?

    How many seasons does an ”elite manager” get to build a team?

  6. How can you claim that an article is total bullshit without reading it?

    Three years under Arteta? I make it 28 months.

    Ben White has conceded 1 penalty this season.

    I stopped reading at this point due to factual inaccuracies.

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