“Trust the process” is working based on the data by Jonbo
One thing I loath with the age of social media, in relation to football, is how quick we are to judge someone or something, in the positive or negative, and often without ANY context! If a new player or manager starts badly, they’re condemned very quickly. If they have few great games, suddenly they’re world class!
When assessing anything, only data over the medium/long-term can give one the necessary information needed, to truly make an informed decision.
In this article I have put together a table (league games only), with a longer data set dating back to December 26th 2020. Why this date? On that day, we beat Chelsea at home 3-1, and I feel that was a massive turning point in Arteta’s Arsenal career!
We were on a horrific run going into that fixture, and many would argue Arteta should have already been sacked prior to the game. I am a fan of Arteta, but even I was surprised he survived up to that point. It’s no exaggeration to say the win over Chelsea probably saved Arteta his job, and it was also the day that we really started to see sustained improvement. Finishing 8th last season was more because of the first half of that season, and not really results post Christmas.
The table below is league games only, for the “big 6”, dating from 26/12/2020 – 03/03/2022.
Looking at this table, without any context, reveals very interesting information.
1 – After almost 50 games, we’re in 4th.
2 – Collect just 4pts, from the 12pts available in hand on Man U, and we’re 3rd.
3 – Win our 2 games in hand on Liverpool, and Arteta will have the same amount of points as Klopp over the last 50 league games. Putting us in joint 2nd.
4 – Apart from Man C, data clearly shows that we have been performing just as well, if not better than our rivals, even Liverpool!
In my opinion, the table shows that we have been performing very well under Arteta, but once we look at this with context, things look even better, and even more promising looking ahead to the future.
I will break this down into two main categories, to give us better context.
1 – What the table shows is that teams have played a different amount of games. We’re in a great position to overtake Man U, and as already stated, we’re level on points with Liverpool should we win our two games in hand on them, AND we’d have one extra victory over them. We are level on points with the current European champions, with a game in hand. Even if Arteta loses those 2 games in hand on Klopp, he’d still only be 6pts off Liverpool after 50 games. Which is extremely impressive.
2 – What the table doesn’t show us, is a sub-set of categories that can help us quantify Arteta’s performance in more detail. Despite some advantages, this sub-set actually makes his record look even better.
Quality of squad
It’s fair to say that Arteta has the fifth best squad at the moment out of the big six, and a far weaker one prior to this summer. Liverpool’s squad, especially the starting XI, are light years ahead of us in quality, yet we’re almost on the same points and victories as them. Chelsea are current European champions, and Liverpool have recently won the league and European Cup as well, and just think of how much quality, especially in forward positions, Man United have. Arteta is working with less quality, less experience, and players that have hardly won anything, yet is getting the same, or more points than his rivals.
Time with squad
Over the last 50 games, Pep’s squad is his and complete, and the same with Klopp. Tuchel has barely got any of his own players in, but did inherit a LOT of quality to work with. I would say that although Arteta has been here for the entirety of these 48 games, it was only from last summer onwards we could truly say that it’s HIS team, and it’s yet to be complete. Just imagine if we had a quality striker! Very unfair to judge the likes of Conte and Rangnick, who have only recently taken over very difficult situations.
We know Arsenal cannot compete with Man United, Chelsea, and City in regards to finances over the long-term, but Arteta has been heavily backed in the short term, outspending everyone last summer. So one would expect/demand an improvement in results.
Along with the money spent last summer, another big advantage Arteta has had over his rivals has been no European football this season. Less games, means less chance of injuries, fatigue and more time on the training ground.
State of club
For me, Chelsea (until the last week or so), City and Liverpool have been very stable, and run well. Whereas Arsenal have been going through a huge transitional phase and have massively improved from the mess Arteta inherited. Man United and Spurs seem to be a complete mess still.
The table shows how well Arteta is doing, but context shows how much better he really is performing. I think a lot of Arsenal fans often like to compare ourselves to Liverpool, because we spend a similar amount, both clubs have a similar approach to finances, and both have American owners who don’t like to dip into their own pockets. There is the potential to be level them at the very least.
Also, Liverpool is playing at a level that we want to be playing at – winning and competing for the biggest trophies. So, if Arteta has almost matched Klopp (and Klopp is considered world class, and has so many world class players to work with) over this many games, and could end up with more wins, does that not tell us how good Arteta is, and the potential to get even better results considering the gulf in quality and experience of the two squads? Just imagine where we’d be with a quality striker right now, for example.
I am not saying Arteta hasn’t got any flaws, but it’s simply untrue to say we have not been improving, and that we’re not competing. Only City are outperforming us, and by a lot, but they are doing that to EVERY OTHER TEAM, including Liverpool. If we complete our team this summer, and continue on the same upwards trajectory under Arteta, then a title challenge is easily conceivable.
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