By Tony Attwood
Last season I wrote a series of articles which wondered where Arsenal would be in the league if the club hadn’t had that awful start of three consecutive defeats at the start of the season. Those three defeats are still mentioned by the media – they were even part of the build-up to yesterday’s superb victory. Although now one or two of the slightly less than average anti-Arsenal variety of journalists have actually mentioned that at that time, one year ago, the club was swamped with covid and injuries.
Although they refrain from noting that Arsenal were not allowed to hold back any of those games, while postponing matches for non-football related reasons has been going on wholesale this season. Strange that. If Arsenal ask for a postponement for football reasons, there’s no chance. If Liverpool ask, as they did last season, with far fewer covid cases, they get it. And when it comes to non-footballing reasons for postponements – well fine. Especially if it inconveniences Arsenal and Arsenal fans.
However back to that opening of last season. My argument was that the last 35 games of last season was a good form guide, and gave us an indication of where the club was heading. The table read
Of course, not everyone agreed that Arsenal were on the move. The Daily Mirror for example wrote that Arsenal were “paying the price for Mikel Arteta’s disastrous £140m spending spree”. Perhaps we might say that the Mirror is paying the price for employing half-baked trainees as football correspondents. But they seem to like it that way.
Anyway, time to move on, and for this little piece I thought I would have a look at how Arsenal have performed in the first seven games of the three seasons in which Arsene Wenger won the title. Here are the league positions after seven games for each season in which we won the league, to compare with this season in the bottom row.
And I must say I was pretty surprised by that. More wins – yes that I was expecting but more goals? Now that is a surprise to me. For 17 goals in the first seven games, works out at 2.43 goals a game, which over the course of a season would mean 92 goals.
Of course I am not saying we will get that, and not least because so far we have only played one of the other classic “big six” sides, in which games goals will be harder to come by. But even so, this is a very promising start.
In the Wengerian era we were normally scoring 70+ league goals a season, and a couple of times even got into the 80s. And the ability to score 70+ continued into the 2018/19 season before we sank down to 55, 56 and 61 goals in the last three seasons.
So comparing with all three seasons when we won the league, (including even the most glorious unbeaten season) we have more points, more wins, and more goals than we had in the first seven games of each of those wonderful campaigns.
Another nice little fact is that three of the top nine scorers in the league are Arsenal players (Jesus, Martinelli and Odegaard). No other club has three players in the top nine (Tottenham have two, Manchester City have one).
Now of course I know that Manchester City’s man is knocking in an amazing number of goals – 11 so far. And it may well be that he will go on and beat all the PL records for the most goals by a single player in a season (currently held by Salah with 32). At his current rate Haaland will get 60 goals, but somehow I think he might not.
Manchester City’s power is also emphasised by the fact that they have the player with the most assists in the league ini their team, (Kevin De Bruyne with six) although we are in second place with Saka on four. If we go even further in the assists list and look at the top ten players for assists this season we find three of that top ten are Arsenal men. (Manchester City and Tottenham each have two). Our three assistants if I may call them that, are Saka (as mentioned) plus Jesus and Xhaka.
So by and large it is not just the case of being top of the league. We are top of the league and doing better than we were in the seasons in which we won the league.
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21 Replies to “Comparing 2022/3 to Wenger’s title seasons: more points, more goals, more wins”
It seems we may be in danger of losing our top scorer and ‘assistant ‘ to the overzealous men in black.
From the Daily Express
“Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus is perilously close to being suspended ahead of a crucial run of fixtures for Mikel Arteta’s side. The Gunners face north London rivals Tottenham next and the Brazilian striker will have to be on his best behaviour to avoid a ban.
In just seven Premier League appearances, Jesus has already picked up four yellow cards in an Arsenal shirt. Only five other players in the topflight have collected the same number of bookings,….
It is not until each respective club’s 19th league match of the season that the threshold to receive a ban is lifted from five cards to 10. Therefore, Jesus will be hoping not to receive a yellow in any of Arsenal’s next 12 league matches, which won’t be until early 2023 at least following two postponements”.
Looking at those figures it looks inevitable that at some point between now and the turn of the year we are going to lose our new striker for at least one match. But that’s not all, at this rate he could be on TEN bookings before the threshold and be out for even longer.
Is he really that dirty? .
For a bit of perspective:
In 7 games Jesus has been penalised with 14 fouls for 4 yellows
In 7 games Harry Kane has been penalised with just 6 fouls for 2 yellows
Given the new leniency directive referees are now supposed to be working to, the amount of fouls Jesus gets called for is ridiculous, especially when compared to Kane for example. Nothing to do with the fact he plays for Spurs and England I suppose??
In 7 games Jesus has committed 14 fouls for 4 yellow cards, a card every 3.5 fouls.
In 7 games Arsenal have been fouled 91 times for 13 yellow cards, a card every 7 fouls.
Now I’m not saying both bookings were or were not valid. They are subjective calls and can go either way, but what I will say is I saw much worse fouls in the match committed by Brentford players that did not receive a yellow. I see similar transgressions to both those cards waved away regularly throughout the season. It was Jesus’ first foul.
So yes, they both could well of been yellows, but it does seem to me that the rules are being applied to Jesus in a much harsher manner, than to our opponents for example. Twice as harshly in fact.
I do agree with your comments Nitram, and the referees do seem to have something against Jesus, but there is one compensation, and that is the whole team, including the backup players seem to be playing at a higher level, so yes if Jesus gets a ban, it is quite possible that the rest of the gang will be able to cover for him.
In fact it might be worth looking at the ebb and flow of yellow cards season by season – I’ll see if I can find those figures.
Maybe we’ll get a piece or ‘Lawrencing’ soon stating that Arsenal have only 3 players in the top 9 scoring players of the PL ?
I know it’s early days in Jesus’ Arsenal career, but I thought I go and see if he was this sort of thug in a City shirt.
It’s been a bit tricky to work out because some of the stats are per match and some per minute. For ease I’ve just divided the total minutes by 90 to transpose to ‘per game’ were necessary. Anyway, here’s what I think I’ve found. Premier League only.
Over 6 seasons Jesus played a total of 9,312 minutes or approximately 103 matches.
During his time at Man City, he was called for an average of 0.86 fouls per game.
In an Arsenal shirt that has more than DOUBLED to 2 fouls per game. In fact, 3 per game for the last 3 matches.
During his time at Man City, he received a yellow card 0.14 times per game. Or about once every 7 matches.
In an Arsenal shirt that has QUADTRUPLED to 0.57 times per game. Or more than once every 2 matches.
During his time at Man City, he received a yellow card for every 6 fouls.
In an Arsenal shirt that has almost HAVED to a card every 3.5 fouls.
Now either moving South has turned him into a reckless fool or referees are judging him completely differently in a red shirt to how they did when he was in a Sky Blue shirt.
I know what I think.
Thanks for the hard – and, unfortunately, illuminating – work, Nitram
It might be illuminating too, or so I think anyway, to compare the number of fouls AGAINST him needed for a player to get a yellow or a red, when Gab played for MCity, with the same number since he joined us …
John L pondered the same question in the previous article, as had I whilst compiling the above, but unforetuneately I cannot find the stats.
I would guess, as I think would you and John, that there is no way players are being carded for fouling him at the rate he gets carded for his fouls. But as you suggest, it would be interesting to see for sure.
Okay so I’ve had a look around and managed to compile the facts behind all our opponents’ bookings and it was surprising and in fact showed my suspicions were wrong, at least about one aspect.
This is a list of every card against us this season:
V Crystal Palace
64th minute: Clynne on MARTINELLI
V Leicester City
16th minute: Fofana on MARTINELLI
60th minute: Smith on MARTINELLI
45th minute: Palitinha on SAKA
51st minute: Robinson on JESUS
70th minute: Ried for DISSENT
V Aston Villa
13th minute: Ramsey on MARTINELLI
54th minute: Konsa on JESUS
68th minute: McGinn on ODEGAARD
V Manchester United
71st minute: Tomany on JESUS
81st minute: McGuire on JESUS
94th minute: Erikson for DISSENT
As you can see Martinelli and Jesus are tied on 4 yellows each for fouls against them.
Jesus gets fouled 3.1 times per match on average, meaning he’s been fouled 21 times for those 4 cards.
So as we can see, Jesus can be fouled 5.4 times before a player is booked. Now I’m not entirely sure about this but I believe that is about the average fouls per card for the premier league. As I say, I’m not sure so if somebody can correct me please do.
I’ve also looked at Jesus’ 4 cards and it turns out 2 of them are for dissent, meaning he has received 2 cards for 14 fouls, which actually is not that bad, and as I said, I think below the average.
This doesn’t mean of course that he isn’t being treated harsher than he was at Man City because out of all the cards at City some would also of been for dissent, so the cards to bookings ratio would naturally be even less. How much less will have to remain a mystery because as much as I enjoy doing this I am not trawling through 6 seasons of Man City stats to find out.
…so obviously the cards to FOULS ratio would naturally be even less.
Sol Campbell was another player whose PL card rate “mysteriously” doubled when he came to Arsenal
….as did William Gallas’ tally
Mikael Silvestre’s card/game ratio also increased!
Mikel Arteta’s card rate decreased slightly, but he came from Everton, who are the other team in the Premier League regularly punished by PGMOL
Danny Welbeck’s card rate also decreased a little
Mkhitaryan’s rate increased slightly but he didn’t play that many games for Man. Utd. or us
David Luiz’ card rate dropped slightly, but his red card/game ratio increased by a factor of 9
Thanks so much for the hard work. Most of us followers of UA appreciate facts and stats. Credit to you for taking the time and effort to present them to us.
Cedric Soares’ card/games rate has increased slightly.
Thanks, I appreciate it, as I do the hard yards yourself and others put in to enlighten us about facts, rather than simply citing opinion, which as valid as it may be to oneself, doesn’t really tell us anything or get us anywhere.
Another couple of interesting statistics
Fouled 11 times of which 4 led to a yellow. A card every 2.5 fouls.
Committed 9 fouls for zero yellow cards.
So, over all Martinelli is treated pretty well but compare that to you know who.
Fouled 9 times none of which have led to a yellow card.
Committed just 4 fouls for 2 yellows. A card every 2 fouls.
Well, what a surprise!!
Nice work Nitram. You know how I love a good stat 🙂
As do I My friend!
But doesn’t it all highlight just what we always say, which is that one’s opinion or view of something is all well and good, but as valid as it may be to oneself, it is at the end of the day, just that. An opinion.
My opinion, from what I had seen, was that Jesus was being treated very harshly for his fouls, whilst our opponents were being allowed to kick him off the park without fear of sanction. The stats suggest I was wrong.
On the other hand, my, as well as many others on here, long held belief that Xhaka is booked at the merest transgression, whilst he can be fouled constantly without the transgressor having much, if any chance of receiving a card, seems to be borne out by the stats so far this season
So, proof if it were needed, that opinion alone is not enough. If you want the truth, or at least to be as close to it as you can be, you need the facts and the facts are the stats, it’s as simple as that.