By Tony Attwood
For Arsenal and its goalscoring this looks like being a very good season. In 2021/22 Arsenal scored 48 goals. This season after 19 games we have got 45. That puts us in line for getting 90 goals this season.
Last season the top Arsenal scorers in the Premier League were Saka with 11 and Smith Rowe with 10. This season Odegaard has eight, Saka and Martinelli each have seven after 19 games.
To compare last season with this, if Odegaard keeps going at his rate so far this season he will end up with 16 goals, while Saka and Martinelli will each reach 14 goals.
To compare this with our last Premier League trophy year, in that season in that season Henry got 30 goals in 37 league appearances – and the club got 73 goals in the league.
This season the club has scored 45 in 19 games, and if Arsenal continue at the present rate that will take them up to 90 goals. Last season the club scored 61 in the league across the whole season. The highest ever in the Premier League era for Arsenal is 87 for the club in 2004/5, so that would become an all-time record for the club.
But behind the numbers, what all this tells us is that Arsenal has changed its approach to goal scoring by spreading the task among a number of players but increasing the number of goal scored dramatically.
We can see this by comparing Arsenal now with Arsenal after 19 games in recent seasons.
Obviously, we knew before looking at the table that this is going to show up as the best season in recent years, but it is interesting how a couple times in the previous five years Arsenal have been scoring almost as many goals (for example 2018/19) as now, and conceding almost as few as now (2020/21). What has happened this season is that finally, the club has managed to get high scoring with a low number of goals conceded, at the same time.
But the most interesting comparison surely must come from 2003/04 – obviously the last time the club won the title. This season Arsenal have scored 10 more goals than at this point in 2003/04 but also conceded four more.
Put those facts together and it is clear Arsenal currently have a six goals better goal difference and five more points than in the unbeaten season at this stage. Which is quite something.
Indeed the table above reminds us, for all the films of the wonderful goals of the unbeaten season, it was the defence that was particularly outstanding.
There are obviously two ways of getting a team to the top in terms of goal scoring: by having a Thierry Henry character knocking in 30+ goals a game, or by having three or four players all in the top ten of goal scorers in the league. Now that “or four” is cheating a little because the fourth player is Leandro Trossard who didn’t actually score his goals for Arsenal, but still…
Odegaard does have eight league goals this season, while Martinelli, Saka and Trossard each have seven. In the Unbeaten Season the final goal-scoring achievements were Henry with 30 league goals and Pires with 14.
That of course is 44 goals by the season’s end. Our top four scorers have 29 between them half way through the season, which looks like a rather good sign to me. It’s not going to be an unbeaten season, of course, but in other regards this could turn out to be even better than 2003/04.
100 points anyone?
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