Gloomers Take Note: Arsenal Are Showing Champions League Level Form

On the Up?

I’m still intrigued by the fall out from our battling 1-0 win at Chelsea.

The performance seems to have really frustrated – even angered – some supporters and led to an air of pessimism about our chances of progressing under Mikel Arteta.

That view is wrong and the statistics prove it.

Before I explain, first let me say that everyone’s entitled to their opinion and I welcome a variety of viewpoints. Real truth probably lies somewhere in the centre of a Venn diagram of all the different fan convictions.

But there really has been progress under El Patron. It’s just that our crappy first half of the season has blinded us to the improvements that have taken place, compounded by our disappointing exit from the Europa League.

Here’s how much progress we’ve made: if our form since Boxing Day was replicated across the whole season we would be ending this campaign with 71 points and, almost certainly, a place in the top four, qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Starting with that Boxing Day victory over Chelsea, our league form has been as follows:
P22 – W12 – D5 – L5 – F38 – A17

In that run (which comprises more than half of the season) we have averaged a little over 1.86 points per game.

If we had managed that form over the whole campaign we would end up with 38 games x 1.86 points, leading to that total of 71 points at the end of the season.

And even though we know our goal scoring has been sub par, during that run we have achieved just under two goals per game (on average).

Obviously there are important caveats: you don’t win titles (or, indeed, qualify for European places) on the basis of how you play for HALF a season. Similarly you could argue that some of our results (such as Wednesday’s win at Stamford Bridge) might not have happened if the circumstances were different and we were battling for a top four spot, with all that added pressure.

But there is surely something positive to take from the fact that for almost five months now our league form has been at a level that, if extrapolated across a whole season, would make us a top four team?

I suppose it all comes down to which one you think is the ‘real’ Arteta Arsenal: the team that had a pre-Christmas run of 12 games where our dismal stats were: W2 – D2 – L8; or the team that has delivered the post-Christmas stats line listed above.

Given that it’s the latter that is the more recent I know where my money’s going – and it fills me with optimism for the promise of next season.

RockyLives

28 Responses to Gloomers Take Note: Arsenal Are Showing Champions League Level Form

  1. Jimmy B says:

    Nice to read a bit of common sense. Rare to be honest.

  2. LBG says:

    Not on this site, Jimmy!
    Thanks Rocky. All in agreement say ‘aye’.

  3. Pete the Thirst says:

    Interesting points Rocky. We all know that stats can be twisted any way you want them to and by picking the Chelsea home game as a starting point it slightly polishes the t#rd of a league season that we’ve had.

    Yes the players were trying to fling games around that period and the squad was rinsed of the main culprits, but there are other causes for concern:

    – Throwing the FA Cup game at Soton. Never a good look. One that Wenger did for around 10 years until he got desperate

    – The tactical howlers in the EL semis against Villareal

    – The poor home form. Lack of chances created

    – Willian and Luiz. Just sh!te

  4. hans andersson says:

    I wrote a few days ago that AFC in Mid-December were in position 15 after 12 rounds (4V 1T 7L 10-15). Behind teams like Leeds, Wolves, Newcastle, Crystal P, Everton, West Ham, Aston Villa… And of course, if they were fifteen then and are 8-9 now, they must have been playing better since new year. Brilliant. It takes no rocket scientist for that conclusion. Why not exclude all the thirteen (13) losses and call the Arteta Arsenal “Invincible”? This is intellectual masturbation. AFC will not play in the Champions League next season, not even in Europa League, not matter how much you dribbles with statistics. What the club need to recover after years of misery is a coach/ manager like Ralf Rengnick, Diego Simeone, Alex Allegri, Brendan Rogers. Let Arteta return to his master, Pep Guardiola, as handyman.

  5. RockyLives says:

    Hans Andersson
    Don’t be such an ugly duckling! Why so negative? Did you drink the potion with the lotion in the chalice in the palace?

    The point of the article is to show that our more recent form has been our better form. This contrasts with the seasons under Emery where we dropped off very badly at the end of the season.

    It guarantees nothing, of course, but I would rather enter next season having displayed ‘top four’ form for well over half a season than entering it off the back of a season where we started well but fell away badly.

    I thumbelina my nose in your general direction.

  6. LBG says:

    Hans Anderson
    Diego Simeone!!😯.That’s intellectual masochism.

  7. RockyLives says:

  8. LBG says:

    Brilliant Rocky. Danny Kaye, a master, but unfortunately mean nothing to so many. Much missed.

  9. LBG says:

    It’s a case of Arteta, with a sweater.
    Is a winner, not a binner!

  10. JM says:

    I am on 50/50 for the next season (and beyond) because there are altogether 5 key players in the executive team (including Mikel Arteta) whose performance and work could either make or break our club’s fortunes:

    (In an analogy like the 5 digits of a hand – the thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger and pinky).

    1. CEO Vinai Venkatesham (a relatively novice in the top post, while his role previously as Chief Commercial Officer and Managing Director at our club was unremarkable). How will our financials and sponsorships fare under this unstable pandemic and economy climate.

    2. Director of Football Operations Richard Garlick (newly recruit from the EPL, previous experience with WBA in senior executive roles, including Director of Football). He will be in charge of our 1st team and academy’s players contract negotiations (utmost importance as we almost always messed up big time in the last decade), dealing with agents and the various football’s governing bodies.

    3. Technical Director Edu (basically also Arteta’s direct boss, he does have some experience in executive roles with Corinthians and the Brazil national team, though Arsenal FC is a bigger challenge for him).

    4. 1st Team Manager Mikel Arteta. (and a lesser extend, Academy Manager Per Mertesacker in his work of overseeing our academy).

    5. Chief Scout (currently unknown) with his team of scouts and statistics video analysts in UK, Europe, Africa, Asia, North and South America, Australasia.

    And the above not counting on the people at our board (Stan & Josh Kroenke, Tim Lewis and Philip Harris) messing up and making silly decisions. Furthermore, I would hope (and recommend) for the near future inclusion of our former experienced sporting personnel, like Liam Brady (age:65) and David O’Leary (age:63) and currently a businessman/entrepreneur, Mathieu Flamini (age:37) into the Arsenal Board.

  11. jjgsol says:

    I suppose an improvement from dire to poor, is an improvement of some sort, but as Mr Anderson indicates, one can always manipulate statistics.

    Most people can utilise statistics to support what they say, even if one can look at the figures differently.

    For the moment forget about the statistics, what about the football?

    I have to admit that as I do not have BT, I have not watched that many matches, but what I have watched have been awful, including our bus parking last Wednesday.

    I come from the pre-Wenger era, when we were quite often pretty poor, but the rubbish our team has serve produced throughout the season, even if they have won as many games as they have lost, has been dispiriting, to say the least, especially the way we exited the cups.

    If you think that Arteta can provided, of course, that we have find and bring in better players than we have at present, which I doubt, or without them, then you are entitled to that opinion.

    My opinion is that he has shown in the last 18 months that he is no top-notch coach and that he is incapable of managing a team at this level.

    I hope that you are right, but I fear you are not.

  12. LBG says:

    “We are all doomed, Mr Mainwaring!” But I will not be swayed and will only retract my support if by the end of next season the new shoots have not grown to strong saplings and our beloved Arsenal are not on the way up. COYG.

  13. Aaron says:

    Rocky, Rocky, Rocky,

    Here is a more truer representation per Tim at 7am..

    “9 – Touches by Arsenal in the Chelsea penalty box (2nd fewest this season)
    90 – Touches by Arsenal in the Chelsea final 3rd (5th fewest)
    1431 – Yards carried by Arsenal (3rd fewest)
    644 – Progressive yards carried (2nd fewest)
    0 – Carries into the penalty area (fewest)”

    This against a chavs team with 7 changes, not the starting FA Cup side or the CL Final side.

    Same old same old situation…

    As JM said 50/50 on next year, however he forgot the big middle finger that ksE has pointed at the fans..

    Will stand by my assertion, if the team does not score more goals it really does not matter how one analyzes it, we will be splitting wins and losses equally looking up the table from center of it!

  14. jjgsol says:

    Well said Aaron.

    This is not a glass half full/empty situation.

    It is a flat 10% full and 90% empty.

    Have a good weekend, everyone.

  15. JM says:

    From The Athletic: David Luiz to leave Arsenal this summer.

    https://theathletic.com/news/david-luiz-arsenal-transfer-news/G0TZ07zEZhSF

    Quote: “Where does this leave Arsenal’s defence?

    Arsenal are still relatively well-stocked at centre-back, with Pablo Mari, Gabriel and Rob Holding all options. Calum Chambers has featured there in the past as well.

    William Saliba, currently on loan at Nice, could also return to Arsenal’s first-team squad next season.”

  16. Sue says:

    I’m with you, Aaron. A win over West Brom and a Chav B team doesn’t really do it for me.. where were they when it really mattered? Villarreal anyone?
    Next season will be better, as let’s face it it can’t get any worse??!
    And I’ve already been told I’m not a ‘proper supporter’ for feeling this way 🙄

  17. Aaron says:

    Sue,

    And what might I ask is a proper supporter?

    With you on the Villarreal game, a little piece of me as an AFC supporter died that day.

    We shall see.

  18. RockyLives says:

    Aaron
    Your stats from the Chav game illustrate that we were very much second best in that game, against a very capable opponent. I accept that as a fact because the stats demonstrate it.

    You should also accept that the stats demonstrate that, since Christmas, we have played at a level that would probably just about get us into the top four (if maintained across a whole season).

    That doesn’t make us amazing, brilliant or likely to be troubling Man City for their title any time soon, but it shows the position is not as bad as some people think it as. At least that’s how I see it.

    Sue
    It is not on for anyone to call anyone else ‘not a proper supporter’ based on how they see things. Whether you’re a rose-tinted-spectacles optimist (like me perhaps 🙂 ) or you think this is the worst team and manager of your lifetime, it doesn’t matter. Time will take its own course and we will all be proved right or wrong (or more likely some combination of the two) in due course.

  19. Aaron says:

    Rocky,

    Agree with your stats, however if we are playing like a top 4 team since x-mas, how did we play like a relegation team against Villarreal?

    Chance creation, simply put.

    You knew the answer.

  20. RockyLives says:

    Relegation teams don’t often get to European semi finals Aaron, although I agree we were p*ss poor against the Spaniards.

  21. Aaron says:

    Touche’

    They do not, but the games were not played 3 days apart, and we looked like $h*te offensively in both games, after 18 months of trying to get it together. There is a pattern here.

  22. LBG says:

    New chapter
    If it is true, Mikel is going to forfeit Mavrapanos, I hope we will have some significant sell on clauses attached if he is sold.

  23. Rasp says:

    Thanks Rocky, I am with you and LBG on this. If ever a team needed our support it is this group of emerging young players. There were years when we couldn’t beat the teams above us … now, when we get it all right we can and do. There have been glimpses of outstanding football in some games. Consistency is what we lack …

    It appears MA is nothing like AW in his match preparation … he works out a detailed tactical plan based on the opponents strengths and weaknesses. If we had players as good as the city maybe he could say go out and express yourselves. But working with what he’s got he tries to find a way of negating the oppisition’s threat.

  24. fred1266 says:

    Willock again boom

  25. fred1266 says:

    Willock again boom but don’t let him take pens

  26. RockyLives says:

    New Post

  27. Rasp says:

    Thanks Rocky. From what you write it would appear that finishing 7th and going into the ECL would be a poisoned chalice …. except for one thing. It would almost certainly mean we would finish above totnum and what self respecting Gooner wouldn’t want to do that? 😂

  28. VP says:

    i also say aye

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