By Tony Attwood
The question, as we approach the final game, is this: are Arsenal making progress? And the answer is yes. Not at first, but now, yes. We have obviously done better this season than in the last two seasons under Mike Arteta, and are on a level once again with 2019 – Unai Emery’s one complete season. So better than 2018, but nowhere near as good as the Wengerian seasons of 2017, 2015 and 2014. We are a bit behind 2013 too…
So some progress but it seems more is needed. Although we have won the most games of any season since 2014. But then we have lost the most games of any of the last ten seasons. We have scored slightly more than the last two seasons, but are still way behind 2013 to 2019 in goal scoring. Only twice in the last ten years have we had a worse defence, and that after spending £150m or so on them.
Thus if this season proves the springboard for fourth place, a better attack and a better defence the upheavals of the three different managers might ultimately be seen to have been worth it. But otherwise… no, the forcing out of Mr Wenger before he had a chance to arrange an organised and well-planned succession would still look like a dreadful mistake.
As for the final game tomorrow against Everton, well yes they are in a much worse state….
So overall they have scored 14 fewer goals and conceded 14 more. But they are safe from relegation and we can’t make the top four.
But let us also compare the home and away situation, as we have through the season
This way we can see that Arsenal have scored 15 more goals and conceded 20 fewer. On this basis it should not cause us too much trouble.
The only reason to think otherwise would be the joy they have found is actually escaping relegation, and the sadness Arsenal have found in letting Tottenham slip into the “not a trophy” position.
But it is when we start looking at the form table that things look a little less obvious than those season-long charts above look.
Across the last five home games for Arsenal and five away games for Everton Arsenal are still ahead but really the difference is not as much as we would like.
But while at it we should also return to a theme we have looked at a number of times this season – what the league table would look like if those first three games, in which we had so many players missing among the turmoil of new recruits and new tactics all being introduced, were omitted.
So here we are – the league table across the last 34 games of the season, up to today…
|8||West Ham United||34||8||4||5||27||23||6||3||8||22||20||6||49|
|12||Brighton and Hove Albion||34||3||7||6||14||20||6||8||4||21||20||-5||42|
Without those opening three defeats we would have been heading for third and certain of at worst fourth. Everton however would have been looking far more nervous than they will tomorrow.
The big worry of course is that Arsenal might have another summer of upheaval. That of course is what the media is telling Arsenal to have – as revealed in 78 players now tipped to join Arsenal this summer – the full list
But really, with stability, and without another covid and injury crisis at the start of the season, we were ok this season. That needs to be our prime goal. A stable, secure and organised start to the season.
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