Arsenal’s opposition in the coming season: Chelsea and the notion of progress.

By Sir Hardly Anyone

In this series we are looking at a few of Arsenal’s rivals, to see how the media predicted their progress last season and how they are seeing it for 2022/3.

We have mentioned GiveMeSport already and they have predicted at table that ends

Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 38 29 5 4 92 27 65 92
2 Liverpool 38 29 5 4 90 28 62 92
3 Tottenham Hotspur 38 26 9 3 72 20 52 87
4 Manchester United 38 22 10 6 62 32 30 76
5 Newcastle United 38 23 6 9 59 40 19 75
6 Chelsea 38 21 9 8 62 35 27 72
7 Arsenal 38 20 7 11 61 44 17 72


In comparison with last year, Manchester City go down one point, Liverpool stay the same, Chelsea go down two points, Tottenham go down four points, Arsenal rise by three points, while Manchester United are big improvers going up a whacking great 18 points.  Although Newcastle beat even this going up by 26 points.

Now as we pointed out before, Arsenal came bottom of the top six mini-league last season, so can hardly do much worse there, and therefore the question is, are Arsenal likely to improve in results against the middle-ranking teams?

Chelsea’s last 10 Premier League games at the end of last season resulted in four wins, three defeats and three draws – giving a total of 15 points.  At this rate their final tally for the coming season would be 57 points, rather than the whacking great 72 they are predicted here.  So clearly the predictors are taking the last 10 games for Chelsea to be an aberration.

Certainly, such an improvement ignores such results as a 1-4 home defeat to Brentford, and a 2-4 home defeat to Arsenal.  Not to mention a 1-0 away loss to Everton.

Indeed of their last seven league games, Chelsea won three, drew three and lost one.  Arsenal won five, and lost two.  And during this transfer window a certain paralysis seems to be gripping Chelsea following the ignominious despatch of their former owner with the addition of an under 18 goalkeeper on a free.

Yet there is a feeling not just that they will not just hold their own but that they will do better.   Part of the talking up and down process takes its lead from Thomas Tuchel head coach of Chelsea who suggested that five teams will compete for the title – including in the five Manchester United while excluding Arsenal.

And this is something of a regular theme – the Big Boys of days gone by will be competing, perhaps with Newcastle joining in and Arsenal slipping away.  Why is this?

Perhaps one of the problems is that analysts, if they do look at figures, look at them and expect the world to continue as it was.

But a look back to Arsenal’s position on 25 December 2020 shows this is untrue.  On that day Everton were fourth, Manchester City eighth, Arsenal 15th.  By the end of the season Manchester City were top, Everton were 10th, and Arsenal 8th.

Indeed I think it is worth looking at this table from Christmas Day 2020 and considering how far each team has grown on declined since then.  

The table below shows in “Change from 2020” how many places each team went up or down from Christmas Day 2020 to the end of the 2020/21 season.

The “Change from 2021” table shows how many places each team went up from the end of 2020/21 to the end of 2021/22.

Finally “Change Overall” shows the change from Christmas Day 2020 to the end of last season.

25 Dec 2020 Team End 20/21 change from 2020 end 21/22 change from 2021 change overall
1 Liverpool 3 -3 2 +1 -2
2 Leicester City 5 -3 8 -3 -6
3 Manchester United 2 +1 6 -4 -3
4 Everton 10 -6 16 -6 -12
5 Chelsea 4 +1 3 +1 +2
6 Tottenham Hotspur 7 -1 4 +3 +2
7 Southampton 15 -8 15 0 -9
8 Manchester City 1 +7 1 0 +7
9 Aston Villa 11 -2 14 -3 -5
10 West Ham United 6 +4 7 -1 +3
11 Wolverhampton Wanderers 13 -2 10 +3 +1
12 Newcastle United 12 0 11 +1 +1
13 Crystal Palace 14 -1 12 +2 -3
14 Leeds United 9 +5 17 -8 -3
15 Arsenal 8 +7 5 +3 +10


Just looking at the final column we can see that from Christmas Day 2020 to the end of last season (which was in fact one and two thirds seasons) the biggest winners in terms of position improvement were

  1. Arsenal +10 places
  2. Manchester City +7 places
  3. West Ham United +3 places
  4. Chelsea +2 places
  5. Tottenham Hotspur +2 places
  6. Newcastle United +1 place
  7. Wolverhampton Wanderers +1 place
  8. Liverpool -2 places
  9. Crystal Palace -3 places
  10. Leeds United -3 places
  11. Manchester United -3 places
  12. Aston Villa -5 places
  13. Leicester City – 6 places
  14. Southampton -9 places
  15. Everton -12 places

Of course, a club at the top has nowhere to go but stay there, so a change of 0 for such a club would be a sign of great success.  Also, it is true Arsenal had a long way to climb back from 15th on Christmas Day 2020.

But nevertheless, the climb had to be done, and so this table does give a good indication of which way clubs have been travelling in the one and two thirds seasons.

You won’t, of course, find this anywhere else, because it shows Arsenal in a good light, and it is quite clear that those publications doing predictions using their fantasy “super-computers” are not only making up the computer but also making up their results, without any notion of how things have been going.

Having jumped ten places in the last season and two-thirds, will Arsenal now suddenly drop down again?  That’s what the pundits are saying.  You won’t be surprised to find I don’t agree.

3 Replies to “Arsenal’s opposition in the coming season: Chelsea and the notion of progress.”

  1. Don’t you just love the ridiculous headlines you see from the national press on a daily basis. This one from the headline writers at the Mirror particularly amused me….
    ‘Paul Merson orders Arsenal to make alternative transfer if Youri Tielemans’
    I am sure that Edu and Arteta will act immediately having received their ‘orders’ from Paul Merson.

  2. Interesting first half so far


    Not upset, quite a mixed bag of players and both goals against were due to breakdowns on defence

  3. 5-3 to Arsenal. Jesus came on 2nd half and scored within a couple of minutes. Then a rocket from Elneny was followed by a couple of own goals. Jesus got a 2nd from close range with a deft touch.
    All good clean fun.

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