Two Arsenal players in top six scorers and a very upbeat stadium.

By Tony Attwood

It was noisy, upbeat, vibrant and as far as I could see, full – exactly what you want for a home game.  And it stayed that way all through the game, not least because of the timings of the goals.  It took two minutes for Xhaka to score after Saliba’s own goal, and a minute for Martinelli to score after Maddison pulled one back.   That is the way to keep the stadium bouncing.

Last season Arsenal were the sixth highest goal scorers in the league with 61.  Coincidentally yesterday’s opponents last season had 62 in the last campaign.   61 goals works out at an average of 1.6 per game.  So far in two games Arsenal have scored six goals – fractionally under double last season’s average per game.

Of course we have not been playing top-ranking teams, but even so, it is something of an improvement.  Particularly since no PL club has scored more than six.

As for the top goalscorers, so far this season, one man has got three, six players have got two.  Rather interestingly two of the six players with two goals play for Arsenal (Jesus and Martinelli) while only one player has two goals and two assists.

Interestingly the bookies are keeping up the general perception of “it won’t last” concerning Arsenal, as although only Rodrigo at Leeds have scored more, Jesus is only fifth favourite for the Golden Boot this season.    Here are the top men.

Rank Player Club Goals (pens) Assists Matches Mins
1. Rodrigo Leeds 3 (0) 0 2 155
2. Gabriel Jesus Arsenal 2 (0) 2 2 167
Erling Haaland Man City (1) 1 2 152
Joshua Dasilva Brentford 2 (0) 0 2 31
Pascal Gross Brighton 2 (0) 0 2 180
Aleksandar Mitrovic Fulham 2 (1) 0 2 180
Gabriel Martinelli Arsenal 2 (0) 0 2 180


So six goals in the first two games, as opposed to none last season.  In fact last season it was two goals in the first five league games.  It took us eight league games to get up to the six goals in that campaign.

Which in part explains why the Arsenal stadium was rocking yesterday afternoon.   And I wonder just what percentage of column inches the media will have given to Arsenal after three games this season, compared to the acres provided describing the club after three games last season.  Not nearly as much I suspect.  Arsenal are only news when things are going wrong.

As it happens, travelling as my friends and I do on occasion by train from the East Midlands to London for some home games, we do occasionally share the railway carriages with Leicester supporters who even on the way to London were infinitely less upbeat (and far less abusive) than they were for the same match last season.

Of course they are only a minority of Leicester fans, and I am not saying they are representative at all, but the change in attitude was extraordinary.  And it cannot be put down to the fact that Leicester are not doing so well.  Last season when we played them and shared a train with their fans they were 12th in the league but still very upbeat about the club.  Yesterday they came to the game having drawn their first match at home with Brentford.   And they won the last four of their pre-season games, although in each case against modest opposition.

So maybe it is the transfer window that upsets them – just one transfer, Alex Smithies on a free from Cardiff.

Of course they still have the memory of their notorious penalty techniques, with Jamie Vardy yesterday going down as if poleaxed when VAR showed what the Observer newspaper today calls “minimal contact”.  No card for him however, so he is still in the referees’ good books.

Two seasons ago Leicester were knocking up penalties almost every other game and in December that season we ran the story that Leicester were heading for a record number of penalties, having already had nine (Arsenal had had two by then, and  half the clubs in the league had received two or fewer.

Of course it was a complete coincidence, but affer our article Leicester got no more penalties and stayed on nine – although still ahead of their nearest rivals Fulham who ended up with five.

But back with this season, Arsenal reduced the tackling level yesterday and are no long top of the tackling league but clubs are throughout the league using the more relaxed application of the rules this season to tackle more.

This table gives us a comparison between the clubs that have played two games so far and been at the top of the tackling league.

 Club Tackles Per Game Last season PG
1. Leeds United 48 24 20.68
2. Fulham 44 22
3. Everton 40 20 18.55
4. Arsenal 37 18.5 14.21


Leeds who already reached astronomical proportions of tackles last year (786 tackles in the season) are once more leading the way, but Arsenal who last season ended up in 18th position in the tackling league are now much closer to the top.    Of course, not everyone has played two games yet, and it is only two games, but clubs are generally putting in more tackles than before as a result of the rule change.

15 Replies to “Two Arsenal players in top six scorers and a very upbeat stadium.”

  1. Tony by my calculations, out of the 17 teams who have played 2 matches this season only 3 of them have made on average more tackles this season when compared to last season. These are the 3 teams you show in your table. So not sure that your statement “ but clubs are generally putting in more tackles than before as a result of the rule change.” is correct. Also due to the extreme difference in the tackle count from Arsenal’s two matches (29 and 8) I think we can’t make any assumption based on just these two matches as to what our tackle policy is for the season. Best to let things settle down and wait till 6 matches have been played before we start to look for patterns. e.g it was 29c last weekend, 8c this weekend so on average it it 18.5c every weekend, I would still bring a jumper and sun cream with me next weekend just in case.

  2. Paulo Maldini (one of the greatest ever defenders) famously said “If I have to make a tackle then I’ve already made a mistake”. Leah Williamson our best defender in just ended Euro 2022 didn’t make one in the whole of the competition. Good positioning, interception, pressing, forcing turn overs are the top defenders arts. All hail non tacklers.

  3. And I fully admit I haven’t worked through the rest of the table. But if that is the case (and of course I am happy to accept your figures) then something else is going on, because the figures in the first week were quite strange in terms of the rise in the number of tackles.
    I’ll publish a complete list after every club has played two games and try and work out what is going on.

  4. From Caughtoffside today (Leanne Smith):-

    “The Gunners have already made 6 major signings this summer, adding Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fabio Vieira, Marquinhos, Nuno Tavares and Pablo Mari to their squad.”

    It makes me wonder.

  5. “We have not been playing top ranking teams” aren’t Man Utd a top ranking team?
    Crystal Palace are a tough nut to crack, as are Brighton and Leicester aren’t no mugs.

  6. @allezkev,

    with coming in 4th usually ending up as a 1 or 2 points decision, Arsenal need to win games against lower table teams instead of tying or losing them. Winning against Pool or City will be difficult, Chelsea, Spurs may end up a zero sum operation. So only a record as good as is possible against all other teams will give Arsenal a chance.

    So I don’t care about not having playe top-ranking teams. That will come soon enough, and rather with Arsenal having made a maximum of points, having built self-confidence, scored lots of goals, having been able to rotate the squad.

    And considering how the ref squad are favouring Spurs at the moment, any victory is a little bit more security.

    Win, baby, just win

  7. The SkySports Anthony Taylor love-in continues. How can anybody describe him as an “elite referee” when failing to give a red card after Romero pulled Cucurella to the ground by his hair? Until referees can be trusted to enforce the rules of the game, we will never be able to trust results in this league.

    There was another brawl today, but no action will be taken as Arsenal weren’t involved.

  8. @Seismic,

    looking at the stats is interesting

    Chelsea 63 % possession, 8 fouls, 2 cards
    Sp*rs, 37 % possession, 9 fouls, no card

    And we are supposed to believe that the defending team were so clean whereas Chelsea were being worse ?
    That said, the 1st Sp*rs goal saw 2 ref presents as far as I am concerned :

    – an uncalled foul on a Chelsea player leading to the move to score. The ref just ignored it
    – an offside Sp*rs player smack in the trajectory of the ball making it impossible for mendy to see it come early. VAR just let it stand

    Basically, today both teams lost 2 points which is good for Arsenal. But the refereeing was really one sided.

    And the 2 managers were sent home with a red card. Funny thing….

    Wonder how the Chelsea blogs are reacting to getting an Arsenal treatment. Maybe this is some welcome initiative from PGMOL towards the new owners ? Yankees-go-home-you-are-not-as-rich-as-the-previous-owner style ?

  9. Spurs continue to be the golden boys of the chattering class. What with ManU self destructing on a daily basis that leaves only Pool and that noisy lot up Seven Sisters. I can’t remember the last time we were so obviously blessed with the luck of the Gods.

  10. WOO HOO , HOO ! Belated , but still basking in it all ! We did give away two cheap goals , but then again – another 3 points !
    Well done guys . GJ should have scored more , he truly deserved a hat trick for his performance .

    Up the Gunners !

  11. It’s also interesting that Liverpool have made an average of eleven tackles per game and have been pulled up for nine fouls per game…….but still no yellow cards! Man U have made one nore tackle per game and two more fouls per game yet have eight yellows. How times change!!

    Evidence of how much preferential treatment Man U got when Fergie was in charge of referee intimidation!

    @ Tony

    Jesus is third favourite for the golden boot with every bookie I’ve looked at. His odds have halved (or more) since the start of the season.

  12. Chelsea Twitter has been on fire since last night with talk of Anthony Taylor’s poor performance and how he should not be allowed to referee any more of their games. The irony here is that when a referee is excluded from officiating the matches of a particular team, bias will be introduced into the selection of referees for future matches. What Taylor and (to a much lesser degree, Dean) did yesterday should surely result in their removal from the refereeing rota, even if only for a few weeks.

    Welcome to our world.

    Will Chelsea or Spurs be punished for their antics yesterday? I’m not holding my breath.

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