We are in 3rd – But have Arsenal actually improved?

There is starting to be a divide among the Arsenal fanbase about how much we are progressing compared to last season. Some gooners have expressed concern about the perceived negative style of play under Unai Emery, feeling like we have no identity. Others look at it more black and white and point to the fact we are 3rd, only a point behind the Champions. Yet here’s a statistic that I found kind of concerning.

Let’s look at our results so far this campaign, and compare them with the same fixture last season. For the benefit of Aston Villa, we will use Fulham as a comparison as they were the playoff winners this time last year….

So here we go….
This Season Last Season
Newcastle A W 1-0 W 2-1

Burnley H W 2-1 W 3-1

Liverpool A L 3-1 L 5-1

Spurs H D 2-2 W 4-2

Watford A D 2-2 W 1-0

Aston Villa H W 3-2 W Fulham 4-1

Man United A D 1-1 D 2-2

Cherries H W 1-0 W 5-1

So, at the moment we have 15 points from the same set of games where we earnt 19 points from last season. Of course, football doesn’t work like that, just because you beat opposition one year don’t mean you do 12 months later. But it does prove that we have yet to do anything which proves improvement.

If anything, this was an ideal run of games, in terms of the quality this group of players knew they could handle. That means we still don’t know if mentally we can handle away games. Of the few victories on our travels in 2019 one was at Watford, something we couldn’t repeat this season. Even our victories, when being compared, haven’t been as convincing.

So, to say we are any better than last year is simply a myth.

Dan Smith

Updated: October 16, 2019 — 9:25 am

48 Comments

  1. If some of the fans are happy with this kind of football why did t we just get Big Sam in for a quarter of the price .
    I mean cmon we are talking about a manager who plays 3 defensive midfielders against opposition we should be hammering and then stands on the side of the pitch wondering what’s happening.
    Let’s hope the board get rid at the end of the season unless of course they are happy to be scrambling for 4 th place for the foreseeable future .
    Personally for me if he’s keeper on we will lose all our identity that we have worked for for the last 20 odd years .
    Let’s be honest ,as anyone on here been over the moon with the football we have been playing these last 15 months .

    1. And what has the identity brought us since 15 year ago … FAcups, and………………??

      1. I would like to ask when did you start supporting Arsenal? was it when we were winning trophies over 15 yrs ago or are you post 2004?

        Not seen this much arrogance in Arsenal support. FA cup is still a good trophy to win even if it is not the most important trophy in the season.

        Since 15 yrs ago Arsenal has acheived a lot to be proud of which other teams would give over a Billion to acheive (Spuds anyone?). Stop belittiling the acheivements of the club because you have a Wenger agenda!!

        1. Similarly, it is only fair to not belittle the “achievements” of a manager, who has only been here one and a bit seasons.

          1. What achievements though Ozzie ?
            Boone’s belittling him it’s just that he’s out of his depth at a club like Arsenal

          2. @ ozziegunner – what are you talking about?

            Do you agree with the guy that said we have not done nothing in 15yrs cause that is all i was addressing.

          3. Note I said “achievements” in inverted commas. Some may argue that an improved position from last year and going one step further in the Europa League in your first season and sitting third 8 games into your second is not too shabby.

        2. ,👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼

    2. Big Sam doesn’t win three Europa Leagues in a row and Ligue 1. Klopp also uses three DMs against a weaker side and has ditched the no 10 position

      Emery’s tactics might be boring and the team play like a coward sometimes, but we must support him till he fails to get a CL ticket

      You can keep nagging for the whole season, but I believe Arsenal would keep Emery till at least the end of this season

      1. Am 100% sure Big Sam will win Ligue1 if he manage a PSG team and emery also lost the league to a young Monaco team despite the millions invested in the team.You can take the Europa league success away from him,but I think he can only thrives in club with lesser ambition like sevilla,Valencia etcetera. He will struggle at any big club.Stop comparison BTW Liverpool and arsenal,they are years ahead of us,kloop can decide to play 5 DMs at a time and the players will not affect their style of play because they are so use to his system.please what is arsenal style? no one knows.But I think may be should give Emery a decade to still prove he his worth lol.

      2. “You can keep nagging “
        Stick to your dead leg inverted half winger pirlo through ball comments mate .
        If you read my comment you would see I said at the end of the season .

      3. seems like a cup manager to me but you are correct we will see at the end of the season.

      4. Can you be serious, man! Who care about Europa? When did you start supporting Arsenal?

    3. You people are never satisfied if we carry on as you say Dan kit we will finish up like Manchester United changing our manager every season or two. Managers need time EMERY has not got his team yet he is trying to get rid of the deadwood first

      1. 12 players signed
        Ok mate ,by my math that’s half a squad and the players all fans on here want to see are wengers players so…..
        You know the players that fans that have been harping on about Laca,Holding,Bellerin

  2. Lafayette Aubameyang
    Martinelli Torreira Guendouzi Pepe
    Tierney Luiz Holding Bellerin
    Leno

    Just play this formation and we’ll be alright. It’s what Twig wants, it’s what Admin wants, it’s what the fans want!

    1. That’s my preferred line up too Twig, could be absolute magic 😍

    2. How about..

      LENO

      TIERNEY
      LUIZ
      HOLDING
      BELLERIN

      GUENDOUZI
      TORREIRA
      CEBALLOS

      PEPE/SAKA/MARTINELLI
      LACAZETTE
      AUBAMAYENG

      1. That could work too imo Adrian, but personally I don’t like seeing Auba wasted out wide when he is so much better centrally and we have some promising youngsters who can play out wide. That’s why I personally would go for more of a 442/4411 shape.

    3. @Twig
      Good to have you back mate. 😊

  3. What a ridiculous usage of stats! Opposing teams have changed so it’s a completely fake way of reading progress !
    We certainly don’t panick and rollover now!

    1. Xhaka after Watford game…”we were scared”…roll over beethoven – no cojones!!!

      Where we have improved is in the increasing number of empty seats at every game…the number of back passes…the number of sideways passes…the number of sixyard box passes…the number of penalties given away…the number of “defenders” played in a game…the amount of money spent in three transfer windows…the amount of freddie trained and inspired youngsters breaking into the squad…not knowing our best starting eleven…the Emirates (lack of) atmosphere…our chosen captain courageous…no favourite players!!!…players picked on merit…the amount of clear cut chances given to our opponets by playing six yard box suicide football.

      I’m positive we will improve over the rest of the season, can’t explain why, but I’m confident Unai will do it, because we were third up until six games from the end of last season and he will have learnt from that, you just see if he hasn’t.
      Let’s not forget, the way the team plays reflects the coach/managers philosophy and that is plain for everyone to see.

    2. Well said,!,

  4. Why does everyone and every article seem to ignore the very basic of facts on this?
    Our defence in the league is actually far weaker this season than it was last season until injuries are resolved – Koscielny and Monreal, whilst both at the point where the demands of the league were getting too great for them, were both dependable and offered us some stability in the backline.
    Everyone admits that Holding, KT and Bellerin should all be walking into the starting 11 but no consideration given to how that will improve us or how their absence impacts us, everyone can see how much more effective we are when Laca is on the pitch with Auba but once again no consideration given into how his absence affects us going forward 🤷‍♂️
    Marked improvements in the team set up in the Europa league/Cup but that’s just ignored because it’s “meaningless competition” (but not ignored when it comes to individual player form) or its just the youngsters who are only doing well because of Freddie.
    I am the first to admit that I am no more knowledgeable than any other, and my opinion is no more valid than any other but I truly wish not so many of our fan base were so negative all the time, after the years of seeing us torn apart over Wenger it would really be nice to see some positivity until we are proven wrong.
    This situation is not easy for anyone (player, manager or fans) but it’s not gonna be made any better by people calling for players or the manager to be axed – if we could give Wenger all those years, surely we can give the team this season?

    1. Great comment, thank you!

    2. Big and sensible words. Lately all i see is vitriol and hate amongst the fans. We now seem only to want to pull down our team, the gaffer, the players and Fellow fans. Was hurt reading the Mustafi interview as he poured his heart out on how the mistreatment from fans anf former players really hurt him, yet he was giving it his best. We need to be human, we need to stop kicking the team when they are down. Lets do our bit as supporters and SUPPORT the team. Klopp and Pep were given 2years to settle and establish their teams: WHY ARE WE NOT DOING THE SAME FOR OUR COACH? Lets be one. Once again Good words Madhatter!!!

      1. Truth is, most fans are being patient with Emery, Dan kit, Phil and co are in a minority. They can moan all they want, the club will be patient with Unai until he fails to deliver CL ticket.

  5. While we have not improved , we will shortly when Emery plays a back four of Bellerin, Chambers, Holding and Tierney and on the return of Lacazette .The emergence of Martinelli and Willock also gives me grounds for optimism to the extent that I feel we are now capable of staying in the top four.Of course much will depend on when Emery sees the light and leaves out our poor performers who are experienced, but mediocre.No need for me to name them.

    1. Chambers a starter in an Emery team? As a CB??

      Emery doesn’t rate Chambers enough to even be a backup CB or DM, only a 3rd choice RB (now perhaps 2nd choice for a few weeks until he decides AMN has learnt his lesson).

      He does, however, rate Xhaka as one of our 3 or 4 most important players.
      Emery also think Ozil is not among 15 of our best players.

      Face it, the man has strange stubbornness and tactical short-sidedness (playing defensively at home to teams who even with ‘our injuries’ have much worse squads.)

      But yes, we are a point above Leicester and Palace and whole 3 points above Burnley, so the man’s a genius, what with all the injuries we have due to which our squad cannot compare to those aforementioned giants of the game.

      1. And how many points are we behind City?
        How many are we behind Spurs?
        How many are behind Chelsea?
        How many are we behind United?

        And how many whole points are united, Spurs and Chelsea behind or ahead of the likes of Leicester, Burnley, Palace?
        😊

        1. Atleast you didn’t say shirtseller 👍👍well done

        2. Goonster, can you ask yourself these question with just six games to go last season and then tell me why you think it won’t happen again?

  6. we are transitioning not improving.
    it will take time before we can see results

    1. 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

  7. LDDWWWDWW..

    Spot on @Twig..

    That team has the best players for each position out there.

    Aubameyang – ST – Our best striker.

    Lacazette – SS/AM – Best link up between midfield and attack.

    Saka/Martinelli – LW – Best options available for the wings.

    Pepe – RW – Pepe will soon explode.

    Guendouzi – CM – Our best for the central midfield right now.

    Torreira – DM – Best midfield destroyer available.

    Tierney – LB – Best left left back in the squad.

    Holding – CB – Best defender in the squad.

    Luiz – Leadership & experience.

    Bellerin – Best in the position.

    Leno – Most experienced keeper in the squad. Debatable though

    1. Saka/Martinelli – LW – Best options available for the wings – Hilarious – do you actually watch football? you are telling me 2 guys with less than 10 games experience in the prem are our best options.

      Wow.

      with that revelation i bow out – peace.

  8. Well, in 16/17 we had 12 points from the same games (if you use Brighton as the promoted team that year instead of Fulham/Aston Villa).
    So you might as well conclude, we have been a hell of a lot better off these last 2 seasons 🙂

    But really, those comparisons are ot very reliable are they?

  9. Ofcourse we have improved! We were 4th last season on week 8, we are 3rd now. If we are to look at points, we are 3 points behind last season.

    However, if points are more important than league position, does that mean it would be better to finish 4th on 85 points than finish 2nd on 75 points? Or finishing 2nd on 95 points is better than winning the league on 85 points? We HAVE improved.

  10. I simply have to use that word again – these comparisons are hogwash. We have a (imho) significantly improved squad over last season, and other teams have changed as well. Have Leicester improved? Have City done the opposite, and Spurs? Let’s rather celebrate that we’re 3rd, and give the team and coach all the support we can to keep us at least there.

    It’s far too early to talk about tendencies based on cr.ppy stats.

  11. We have improved our squad this season and a lot compared to 2 seasons ago. Emery real test will come in the next few months when he will have a fully fit squad to choose from and if our play-style and defence doesn’t improve then emery will be under pressure. if our defence doesn’t improve with the players returning from injuries and we are still unable to dominate small teams then his position will be compromised. Emery had some valid excuses going for him but they are slowly diminishing.

    A back 4 of bellerin, holding, luiz/sokratis/chambers, tierney will need surely need some time to gel and once our defence is stable i hope emery will stop playing so many dm thus fixing our lack of creativity. if emery cannot improve our team after that and finish AT LEAST top 4 then we will start for replacement.

  12. Compared to the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, and now Manchester City, Arsenal could be considered out of the league since those clubs won more prestigious trophies, Premier League or Champions League. But,how come that Arsenal are considered one the top clubs together with those clubs? It’s because we used to be associated with beautiful attacking football. It used to be our identity and made us respected. The same case with Netherland. They only won Euro once, never World Cup, but they are always respected and considered one of the tops and it’s also because of their attacking style.
    Emery may lead Arsenal to winning the league, but if it is with the way play, it will only our fans who keep remembering it. Some teams win but soon forgotten, some others remembered for a long time.
    And one last thing, why we keep mentioning sitting the 3rd and only 1 point behind City while Leicester, Chelsea, and Palace are only 1 point us. It sounds very optimistic as it seems that we are going 2nd next. I myself prefer we may sit third but with 3 teams below us only 1 point behind, if we slip next week, we would see ourselves in 5th. Or 6th, well it’s always possible, but I don’t think City would slip twice in row when they meet Palace on Saturday.

  13. Fullbacks are a big part of Emery’s style just as Liv’s are for Klopp. You all seen it last season, our busiest players were our fullbacks, they’ll give us better width and Pepe and Saka will benefit when they come back. They’ve been a big loss, and it’s brilliant that we got someone in who looks better than Monreal, so we have two large pieces missing at moment but when they come back and settle into the side, you’ll see improvement. Chambers was doing ok but maybe we can still use that, he looks up for the battle lately, energetic and strong. We also have some new first teamers with Pepe, Ceballos, Luiz, Tierney, and others who only joined last season, the entire first team is not playing all that long together this is only beginning of second season for some, and others are in their first. Give it some time, reaching our target is priority but we’ll know more about them before the season is done, we’re also still building there’s more to arrive in summer I’m sure. Wenger used to say integrating two or three players in one season is the optimal number, and even then he would try to ease them in, that is not what we have done we have tried to make a lot of change from beginning of last season up until now, which isn’t much more than one year.

  14. I really pity any manager that comes to Arsenal. Nothing will make some fans happy. We have so much expectations from Emery that we tend to forget how imperfect we were. He, like Wenger has his own shortcomings.
    Wenger gave us beautiful football, but it didn’t always win us titles, especially in his last 13yrs(I loved the FA cups). I remember most people criticizing Arsenal for playing well but never winning anything. I haven’t liked Emery’s approach to most games, but for a team that had somewhat been in a decline, I think he’s doing a decent job. All managers can’t be like Wenger, or Pep, or Klopp & all of them will have their favorite players.
    Give Emery a chance, and if you can’t, stop spreading negativity all the time. If he doesn’t achieve set goals, he’ll be sent packing.

  15. We have not improved IMO. And in today’s football world the manager has had ample time to show signs of improvement.

    We are lucky Man U and Spurs are struggling because that is the only way we would possibly back into the top 4, not on our own strength.

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