How is Arteta really doing? by AndersS
As I write this, Arsenal is sitting 5th in the table with 45 point from 24 games.
We all know, the difference in games played makes it a bit difficult to determine our exact position in the table, but the fact is, this season only 3 teams have had more than 45 points after 24 games played. Man C, Liverpool and Chelsea.
Many discussions on Just Arsenal seem to revolve around how Arteta is doing as our manager, and whether he is the right one for us.
Personally, I have certainly expressed my doubts, and I am still not convinced he was the best choice when he was appointed. Also, I have been surprised by the reports that we are already preparing to extend his contract.
Every so often I see the point being made, that we are only being a very serious contender for the top 3 or 4 because other teams are struggling. Presumably this argument is implying the situation is only temporary until teams like Man Utd and Spurs get their acts together and restore things to where they ought to be.
The point certainly looks to have some validity, as we nearly every week see teams around us dropping points.
But is it really abnormal?
If you look at our 45 points for 24 games, we have only had more points in 3 of the 10 preceding seasons (since the 11/12 season):
In 13/14 we had a staggering 55 points for 24 games, and we were in fact leading the league. Unfortunately, we finished the season “only” in 4th with 79 points.
In 16/17 we had 47 points after 24 games and lying 4th, and we finished 5th.
In 18/19 we also had 47 points, were lying 4th and finished 5th.
Looking at these stats, it would be fair to conclude, at this stage our season is really comparable to our very best seasons in the past 10-11 years, and it really has nothing to do with any abnormal lack of points to our rivals.
We have won more points than we have had on average at this stage. A somewhat surprising fact, I think.
If you want to make a case against Arteta, it would be natural to point out that we only had 34 points at this stage last season, and we finished a disappointing 8th. Maybe this season is an overachievement?
I think, history shows, that we have to wait and see how we finish in the end. Things change quickly in football and in just 2-3 weeks or at the end of the season, it could all look very bleak indeed.
But at the moment things do look good, and despite my own surprise at the talk of extending Arteta’s contract, I would have to say, the Arsenal ownership/leadership would not be doing their job properly if they weren’t preparing to keep hold of Arteta. Because just like things can turn very bleak, it could also be that we are on track to achieving one of the very best results in the league for 10-11 years. If we do, we will be achieving this with a very young and talented team. Not bad for a “rookie manager”, if it happens, and I just may have to admit that it is a great luck the club is run by people with a real strategy and the ability to follow it, and not run by people like myself.