What Does it Take to Win the League?

If you are averse to statistics and spread sheets then you should stop reading.

We are now 27 games into the 26th Premier League Season and to date it has only been won by 6 different teams –

Manchester United 13 – last win 2012/13

Chelsea 5 – last win 2016/17

Arsenal 3 – last win 2003/04

Manchester City 2 – last win 2013/14

Blackburn Rovers 1 – only win 1994/95

Leicester City 1 – only win 2015/16

Manchester United have been the dominant team with 13 Championships, but that dominance has now slipped and they have not won in the last 4 seasons which is the longest period without them being champions.

Arsenal have not won the Premier League since 2003/04 and in the last 13 seasons we have finished 2nd twice, 3rd on 4 occasions, 4th 6 times and 5th once.

Chelsea own 4 Premier League records – most games won – 30 in 2016/17, most points won – 95 in 2004/05, most goals scored – 103 in 2009/10, least goals against 15 in 2004/05.

After 27 games Arsenal have only 13 wins – the same as in 2012/13 and the least since 2008/09, we have lost 8 the same as in 2012/13 and the most since 2005/06, goals scored does not appear to be an issue, 51 being 4 above our overall PL average, goals against seems to be our Achilles heel with 36 being the second highest in our PL history. Our goals against after 27 games in the last two seasons are in 2nd and 3rd highest in our PL history.

To win the Premier League has taken an average of 2.24 points per game, goals for of 2.07 and goals against of .85. Arsenal’s average has been 1.87 points, 1.75 goals for, and .96 goals against.

After the first 27 games of 2017/18 the average for Manchester City (who look like run away champions) is 2.67 points per game, 2.93 goals for and .74 for goals against. While Arsenal’s averages are 1.67 points, 1.89 goals for and 1.33 goals against – which is a startling difference?

Manchester City is in the midst of creating a new and vastly improved set of standards for the Premier League and it shows just how high a hill we have to climb!

Is it insurmountable?

Written by GunnerN5




63 Responses to What Does it Take to Win the League?

  1. Big Raddy says:

    GN5. Thank you.

    In answer to your question, for the foreseeable future … Yes.

  2. RC78 says:

    Yes – impossible

  3. chas says:

    Cheers, GN5.

    Always interesting seeing it all laid out before you.
    In terms of winning the League, you simply have to get more points than the second best. This seems to vary massively.

    Why are Man City so much better than last season? Is it just down to Pep bedding in and finding a winning formula?

    As far as Arsenal go, 2007/8 seems like the season that got away. Such good stats.

  4. RC78 says:

    Or possible if we invest HEAVILY in 5-6 players

  5. chas says:

    Ah, gone are the days when we were just 2 or 3 players away from a title-winning team. 🙂

  6. Big Raddy says:

    Chas. Sadly so. Trouble is …

    Kolasinac looked a steal at the start of the season. Not sure now.
    Xhaka was a player I lusted after. Not sure now
    Iwobi looked the dogs and a world beater. Not sure now.
    Mustafi looked to be the consistent ball-playing CB. Not sure now
    Lcazette looked the fox-in-the-box we needed. Not sure now.
    Cech & Ospina seemed a perfect GK pairiing. Not sure now.
    Webeck seemed a great CF/LW fit. Not sure now.

  7. Rasp says:

    Great work GN5 … some very sobering stats there.

    I can appreciate the hard work that went into compiling all the data. Further analysis would involve relating those stats to spending on players and wages to be able to factor in that aspect of City’s success. Money is the root of their success … it got them the best manager and it allows them to recruit the best players. We can’t compete with that.

    But we could… and should …be doing better than we are now. Liverpool and the totts are out performing us in relation to their resources.

    We have some very good players who are underperforming … but more than that we are underperforming as a team (you all know who I hold to account for that).

    For most of the EPL history we have occupied our rightful position in the league. The landscape changed forever when the billionaires got involved … just our luck to get a billionaire for whom success on the pitch was not a major priority 😦

  8. fatgingergooner says:

    The last 18 months have been a bit of a write off in terms of PL form. We somehow managed to sneak an FA Cup victory in, but the absolute horror show that’s been going on behind the scenes (Wengers contract, Sanchez contract, Özil contract, Ox contract, Wilshere contract) mixed in with some (up to now) disappointing signings (Kolasinac, Xhaka, Lacazette, Mustafi, has made for some very average performances.

    I do believe that things will improve over the next 18 months (aslong as the manager situation is sorted quickly regardless of wether it’s Wenger or not) and I think a more stable set of players will emerge with a better understanding of how to play as a team and how to get results as a team (barring a crazy injury list).

    We still have some building to do in the summer, but if that is more successful than it has been recently then we have a chance to be back in the top 4.

    As for challenging for the title, I think teams will figure City out next year, just as they did with Chelsea when they set some records, but we are still going to be some way off the pace whilst we wait for this team to gel.

  9. VP of Oz says:

    Chas I greatly enjoyed reading the link you submitted on the Outliers, Graham Potter, Östersunds FK,

    Could he be our next coach?

    Personally I think we will get Pep as our next coach, thats Pep Montemurro who is currently coaching Arsenal Womans. They are on a upwards and onwards projectory at the moment and good chance at a trophy this season if not league champions.

    or not

  10. GunnerN5 says:

    Morning all, I will be out most of the day fulfilling family responsibilities. I might have some time to chime in at mid day.

  11. GunnerN5 says:

    Chas – is that Mourinho climbing the mountain?

  12. GunnerN5 says:

    Rasp, I have most of the stats in my personal data base but it still takes a while to re-format and then cut and paste. Chas works his magic and re-sizes them for the post and adds the incredibly appropriate pictures.

  13. @Chas
    you ask: “Is it just down to Pep bedding in and finding a winning formula?”
    Maybe it’s (at least in part) down to this…

    City’s defensive spending 2017-18:
    Ederson (goalkeeper)
    Benjamin Mendy (left-back)
    Kyle Walker (right-back)
    Danilo (full-back)
    Aymeric Laporte (centre-back)

    Add Kompany, Stones and Otamendi (already at the club).
    And they have loaned Mangala to Everton – ‘because they can afford to.

    Fact is, Pep’s taken action re DEFENCE first and foremost.
    And he’s done it “bigtime”.

    One can always have the usual dig that City are once again buying a trophy, of course.

    Until Arsenal (re-)build from the back (quality-wise) then we haven’t a chance of really competing.

  14. GunnerN5 says:

    Big Al – the stats reinforce your opinion.

    We need to take defensive ACTION!

  15. Big Raddy says:

    The question is – is it a personnel or tactical problem?

    It seems Mr Wenger is the only person who believes we do not need a fairly static DM. Xhaka is clearly not that man and it seems as though there is not a single player in the squad who can take that role

  16. Big Raddy says:

    Thanks to VP for highlighting a link I missed a couple of days ago f)rom Chas) about the manager of Osterlund. It is a good read..


  17. JM says:

    I would station Mustafi actively at DM-C, if the team is playing in a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3, with either Chambers or Holding pairing up with Koscielny at CB. Get (Mustafi) him to hustle, tackle, intercept from higher up pitch.

    When playing 3 at the back, 3-4-3 or 3-4-2-1, Mustafi is usually the middle defender of the back 3, Koscielny at CB-R and Monreal at CB-L. The middle defender mainly plays a sweeper-defender role with license to carry ball up-field to defensive midfield area.

    The club will be going for a new exceptional ball-playing defender (who also has the intelligence to play in DM when required) in the summer, my guess it could be Matthias Ginter (currently at Mönchengladbach, previously from Dortmund) who was one of Sven Mislintat’s finds while he was at Dortmund.

    Also, the club might also try to do a player exchange deal with A.Madrid in the summer: Either David Ospina + Alexandre Lacazette for Jan Oblak(GK), or €M + Lacazette for Oblak, to secure a would-be 1st team international GK for the future after Cech.

    Of course, the “top top quality” summer transfer signings would depend much on whether the club qualifies for the Champions League next season either via top 4 in EPL or winning the Europa League.

  18. Eddie says:

    to win the league is the same as winning anything else in life – desire, tools, skills, dedication/commitment and luck.

    We have seen Chavs and Mancs playing worse than us and winning. We have seen Leicester winning by being consistent and capitalizing on weaknesses of the opponents, we have seen teams winning by being the best and us winning by being lucky at the crucial point (26 may).

    I don’t think we could have won against City this season, they are simply too good, but last season and the season before we could have won. Will we win again? Of course we will, it’s only the matter of time and having the right ingredients.

  19. sorry GN5
    forgot!… thanks for a good post.

  20. Desire, tools, skills, dedication/commitment and luck is what we need. That’s what Eddie says. Can’t disagree with all that.

    We got the luck against Everton when Auba scored an offside goal.
    That’s a start.

    Eddie, you forgot quality of players. And not playing them out of position. And strength-in-depth. And not playing 3-at the-back which deprives us of a midfielder. And centre-backs who can jump. And no placards. And loyalty. And a DM.

    As for “tools”, we’ve got a few too many as it is.

  21. wally says:

    Moving players in, moving them out. Play this formation, that formation. It’s something to talk about but the reality is we’re merely shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic aren’t we. We need new captain to chart a new course.
    Sanhelhi and Mislintat haven’t come to be part of wenger’s program. They came to be part of a new program.
    Defensive frailties? I’ll say it again at the risk of pissing some off. Defense is a team concept, requires coordination, hard work, good coaching. That we’re talking about it means we’re lacking the aforementioned qualities.
    Spending? It no more guarantees success than the right birthday. If it did pool would always be ahead of us wouldn’t they. American baseball like the EPL has no spending caps and yet the biggest teams win it about only one third of the time. Anyone want to hazard a guess as to why?
    In some ways there is much cause for optimism. Those dozen or so players who were sucking up resources and contributing nothing, that I spoke of at the beginning of the year have been moved on and resources freed up. Mislintats acquisitions have some undeniable talent. There is certainly more cause for optimism now than four months ago.
    La mentalite at the club is changing and it’s all for the good.

  22. fatgingergooner says:

    Lacazette out for 6 weeks.

  23. chas says:

    I’d say there was a pretty high correlation between spending and League position in a proper team game like football.

    A few years old but illustrates the point

    A fair correlation with today’s top 5

    Last summer’s window

  24. Aaron says:

    Here is another.
    Other Premier League squads in the CIES Football Observatory top ten include fifth-placed Chelsea (£524.3m), seventh-placed Liverpool (£408.3m), ninth-placed Arsenal (£356.9m) and Everton (£323.2m) in tenth.

    Top ten most expensive football squads
    •£778.7m: Manchester City
    •£712.9m: Paris Saint-Germain
    •£661.5m: Manchester United
    •£642.1m: Barcelona
    •£524.3m: Chelsea
    •£439.2m: Real Madrid
    •£408.3m: Liverpool
    •£396.8m: Juventus
    •£356.9m: Arsenal
    •£323.2m: Everton

    And people wonder.
    I really wish there was a salary cap and then we could all find out who the best club is.
    Of course Arsenal, but hey what do I know.

  25. Big Raddy says:

    Not at all good news about Lacazette and may explain his lack of form

  26. Big Raddy says:

    Aaron. It could be Brentford or (and I hate to write this) Spurs

  27. chas says:

    Are Juve any good this season?
    Are the spuds in for a mashing tonight?
    Or shall I not bother?

    Basel v Man City sounds like an FA Cup 3rd round tie.

  28. Eddie says:

    Big Al – players = tools in this trade

  29. I didn’t know that, Eddie.
    Bit thick that’s me.

    BTW – paint fumes are not good for animals.

  30. chas says:

    Big Al
    “We got the luck against Everton when Auba scored an offside goal.”
    which just so happened to make us 4-0 up.
    Very lucky indeed to score at such a crucial time in the game. 🙂

  31. Eddie says:

    Big – I am using eco paints 🙂 Farrell and Ball, no fumes. Paint is not going to kill me, climbing up and down the ladders might. The ceilings in the hallway are more than 6m high, professional painters, youngish men didn’t want to do them, but I have to.

  32. Eddie says:

    me was thinking – how is the bloody brexit going to affect footy in this country? Will we still be able to get small Spanish midfielders or will Europe block it?

  33. fatgingergooner says:


    It’s back to the days of Sylvinho and Edu and their passport ‘issues’!

    Should be fine for the Spaniards though.

  34. VP of Oz says:

    Knee Surgery???

    Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette has been ruled out for up to six weeks after having knee surgery on Tuesday.

    Aubameyang cannot play Europa which leaves Welbeck up-front

  35. Big Raddy says:

    wish we’d spent the money and signed Higuian

  36. fred1266 says:

    Lacazette injured smh

  37. Big Raddy says:

    How on earth did we lose to this shower?

  38. fatgingergooner says:

    From 2019-22 Sky have Friday Evening, Saturday Afternoon (5.30pm) and the new Saturday Evening (7.45pm) aswell as both Sunday slots (2pm & 4pm) and Monday Night Football. They’ve spent less than they did last time but still nearly £4bn.

    BT have got Saturday Lunchtime (12.30pm) games and spent over £800m.

    There are 2 packages still up for grabs which covers 40 games. These will be simulcast packages (like the CL with all 10 games kicking off at the same time I believe) which will cover 1 bank holiday and 3 midweek rounds. It’s expected that Amazon or Netflix might be bidding for these but Sky and BT may also be interested.

  39. Thank you GN5, great stats and thank you for taking the time to write the post.

    We’ve scored lots of goals in a handful of games and not enough in too many others. Our away form is tragic, if we could only have improved that it would have helped.

    Anyway I’m surrounded by spuds as I’m watching my babies in their FA Youth cup tie v Chelsea in which Chelsea are 1 up. So added to that sadness Juve are 2 up 😁😁😁😁

    It’s freezing here.

  40. Big Raddy says:

    Kane diving again. Shameful behaviour from an England Captain-

  41. Big Raddy says:

    This is a very good game.Spurs showing some cojones

  42. fatgingergooner says:

    Losing Lacazette is a big blow to our EL hopes. If Welbeck gets injured then what do we do?

    Think Aubameyang will be going in my Fantasy team though as he’s nailed on to start all the PL games now.

  43. Big Raddy says:

    Can I change my mind about Higuain. Missed a sitter and then a penalty. Tie should be over, instead it is in the balance.

  44. LB says:

    I suppose we could always loan Giroud back; they have probably worked out what exactly they have brought by now.

  45. LB says:

    When I found out about spuds loosing 2-0 I thought to myself ohh, might be worth watching but another part of me said, you know what will happen if you start watching — they will go and equalise. I should have resisted the temptation.

  46. Don’t worry LB it was probably my fault ….. I always wear my Arsenal gloves when I go to watch the boys play – mean I know – and I took them off when I got back to the car. They scored within two minutes 😔😔😔

  47. The babies lost 2-0, next up Arsenal on Saturday. I need to find out who might be playing…….

  48. ……. for Arsenal that is.

  49. chas says:

  50. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    A judo cat. Superb.

    I loved the Summer of Freddie with it’s climax in Cardiff. Happy Days

  51. mickydidit89 says:

    6:36 Textbook Ippon

    And for those of you who never played Judo, it’s the successful delivery of a single move that claims victory

  52. mickydidit89 says:

    Bloody hell Erik, I had not read your judo comment when I began typing. Were you forced to fight/play at prep school as well?

  53. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok, before I motning all, a thank you to GN5. I did read yesterday and yes, we’re miles away largely because of the doesn’t matter about failure attitude at the club

    Motning All

  54. Big Raddy says:

    Nope. I avoided man to man contact at all times

  55. Eddie says:

    raddy – me too 🙂

  56. mickydidit89 says:

    Laca…oh no

    Is that our Europa Cup hopes up in smoke?

    I guess we still have Akbomb

  57. Eddie says:

    fear not micky, we have Welbeck.

  58. mickydidit89 says:

    He’ll be unwell Eddie. You know it, I know it, even Erik knows it 🙂

  59. Eddie says:

    laca out for 6 weeks. Yeah, right! I have never known anybody walking properly let alone playing footy 6 weeks after a knee surgery. Make it 6 months, next season if all goes well and he is not Santied

  60. Eddie says:

    there are nacho and Koscielny. And Iwobi.
    What about that kid Eddie? Give him a chance, what have we to lose?
    Or is it too late to introduce a player into the competition

  61. chas says:


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