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Are Arsenal Officially Better this Year? A Look at the Data

Arsenal are a place higher in the table than they were at this time last season. Are the Gunners better? Here’s what the data says…

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As of the time of writing, Arsenal are sitting at the top of the Premier League table 2 points ahead of second-placed Liverpool. This is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, Arsenal are even further ahead of Manchester City who are in third place trailing behind the Gunners to the tune of 3 points. Secondly, Arsenal are as of now in a better league position than they were at this stage last season.

It may seem hard to believe, but after 14 matches last season Arteta’s men were still in second place a point behind City. This year, they’re ahead of them by 3 points already. Now this isn’t to say Arsenal fans should get carried away – we we’re ahead of them for quite some time after game week 14 and it didn’t end pretty. However, it is only right to get excited at improvement.

So, I want to see how the Gunners stack up to their former selves from last season on a few other metrics. The comparison of this season to last provides good food for thought.

Most of the conversation surrounding Arsenal this season focusses on the Gunners not being as attractive to watch as they were last year. What we should be concerned with however, is whether Arsenal are actually better. This is somewhat open to interpretation.

On the one hand, Arsenal are in 1st place now which is one position better than this time last season, however, they are also 1 point worse off.

While the one-point loss may be a cause for concern, it should be noted that at this point last season Arsenal had only played one team from last season’s top 4. This year the Gunners have already played all of last season’s top 4 and Liverpool are the only big six side they haven’t faced yet.

If we look at the goal situation, it will be no secret to find that Arsenal are not doing as well on this front. So far Arsenal have scored 29 goals, whereas this time last year they had already amassed 35 goals. However, the Gunners have managed to concede only 11 goals so far this season compared to 14 this time last year.

Where this leaves Arsenal is curious. Technically, they are in a better position than they were this time last year without playing as well offensively. Whether this will see Arsenal win more silverware or not is dependent on a few things.

Firstly, whether the trade-off of being more defensively solid instead of offensively attractive is worth it in terms of points. Secondly, whether Arsenal having injury issues (Timber, Partey, Ødegaard, and Jesus) early on will mean the second half of our season is better when, hopefully, key players are able to return. Finally, whether or not some issues in the team can be ironed out in Januray. The left-side of central midfield continues to seem problematic with only make-shift options like Havertz and Trosaard available at the moment.

 

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