By Bulldog Drummond
This table shows the number of goals scored by the big clubs after 17 games, and the number scored last season after 17 games.
|Team||GF 2022/3||GF 2021/2||Difference||Est End 2022/3||end 2021/2|
I’ve not seen this table produced elsewhere but it really puts into focus the strides forward made by Arsenal and Newcastle, and to a lesser degree Tottenham, and the collapse of Liverpool and Chelsea.
It reveals the huge success Arsenal’s forward line have had, for it shows that if the goal scoring carries on for the rest of the season at this level Arsenal in one season will have nearly reached the goalscoring records of Liverpool and Manchester City last season – and from a low starting point.
Last time around those clubs got 94 and 99 goals respectively this season Arsenal are heading for 89.
But the table also shows how fast clubs can fall apart when it comes to goal scoring. If things go on as now, Chelsea are estimated to drop from 74 goals last season to just 45 this, which to put it in context is around the level of Everton and Southampton last season.
Scoring around 70 goals has in recent years been good for second or third position in the league in most seasons of late, but this season we have got five teams heading for that level, so someone is going to miss out, despite the goals scored. Meanwhile Liverpool and Chelsea look to be in serious trouble when it comes to scoring this season.
But goal scoring can be turned around quickly. On 19 January 2021 CBS Sports ran the story that Liverpool had not scored in 348 minutes, with the headline, Why can’t Liverpool score and what can Jurgen Klopp do
Liverpool did come third that season and were the third-highest scorers in the league – so matters can be turned around, and as ever newspaper hysteria is best avoided.
Of course, an injury to the leading goalscorer can of course knock a club completely off track – as was predicted for Arsenal this season after the injury to Gabriel Jesus. But it didn’t happen for Arsenal because Arsenal were, and are, scoring from all over the pitch.
Sporting News have published a list of top 23 goalscorers this season taking us from Haaland’s 21 goals to the three players with five. Looking at those 23 players and their clubs we can see how many players each of the top clubs has in this list:
- Arsenal: 4 players (Odegaard, Martinelli, Saka, Jesus)
- Liverpool: 3 players (Salah, Firmino, Nunez)
- Manchester City: 2 players (Haaland, Foden)
- Newcastle: 2 players (Almiron, Wilson)
- Tottenham: 1 player (Kane)
- Manchester United: 1 player (Rashford)
- Chelsea: 0 players.
The point here is that having multiple scoring players is beneficial in two ways. One is it acts as a protection against injury – where, for example, would Tottenham be if Kane were to be injured? For players such as him not only score, but they tie up the defence, allowing others to score if the opposition try and mark the Kane-type with two defenders.
But an injury to Kane could be devastating to Tottenham.
The point here is that Arsenal are not just the second-highest-scoring team in the season at the moment, but also the club par excellence that spreads its goals around.
Now this is the opposite of what journalists normally look for: they praise the high scoring players such as Kane; they fail to see the difficulty they can bring to the team. The following table only includes league goals.
|1.||Erling Haaland||Man City||21 (3)||15|
|2.||Harry Kane||Tottenham||15 (2)||18|
|3.||Ivan Toney||Brentford||12 (3)||16|
|4.||Aleksandar Mitrovic||Fulham||11 (3)||15|
|5.||Rodrigo||Leeds United||10 (1)||16|
|6.||Miguel Almiron||Newcastle||9 (0)||18|
|7.||Martin Odegaard||Arsenal||7 (0)||16|
|James Maddison||Leicester City||7 (0)||13|
|Mohamed Salah||Liverpool||7 (0)||17|
|Phil Foden||Man City||7 (0)||16|
|Roberto Firmino||Liverpool||7 (0)||13|
|Marcus Rashford||Man United||7 (0)||17|
|Leandro Trossard||Brighton||7 (0)||16|
|Gabriel Martinelli||Arsenal||7 (0)||17|
|15.||Bukayo Saka||Arsenal||6 (1)||17|
|Pascal Gross||Brighton||6 (0)||17|
|Callum Wilson||Newcastle||6 (1)||13|
|Wilfried Zaha||Crystal Palace||6 (0)||16|
|Danny Ings||Aston Villa||6 (2)||17|
|Harvey Barnes||Leicester City||6 (0)||16|
|21.||Gabriel Jesus||Arsenal||5 (0)||14|
|Darwin Nunez||Liverpool||5 (0)||13|
|Alexis Mac Allister||Brighton||5 (3)||15|
This a significant part of Arsenal’s strength, and the reason why the injury to Jesus in the appalling world cup this winter has not knocked Arsenal off the top of the table. Multiple scorers at modest levels have the benefit of saving clubs from some of the worst effects of international games.
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