Statistical Analysis: Will Arsenal's form versus the top clubs cost them the...

Statistical Analysis: Will Arsenal's form versus the top clubs cost them the title?

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Last season Arsenal ended the season strongly, going on a long run of wins to ensure that they finished in the top four. One thing was striking though- and has been striking for some cialis order on line time in recent years- Arsenal picked up very few points against the sides around them in the top four. Arsenal picked up just two points of a possible 18 last season, losing four, drawing twice and winning no games against the sides competing for the title. Is this repeating itself this season and will it cost Arsenal the title?

Arsenal versus the top four 2013-14

Games played Goals scored Goals conceded Goal difference Points
Arsenal 4 6 11 -5 4/12
Liverpool 4 7 7 0 3/12
Manchester City 4 9 7 +2 6/12
Chelsea 4 5 3 +2 10/12

As we can see above Arsenal’s form against the top sides this season is following a similar course as it did last season. Liverpool, who lost all three of their away games against the top teams, have just three points which were the points acquired at Arsenal’s expense. What is most concerning is that despite a decent defensive record Arsenal leaked 11 goals in two games against Manchester City and Liverpool. A worrying trend.

There is a view that the side do not prepare well enough for the big fixtures, with them leaking so many goals. Another concern is that they have scored just four goals in these four fixtures, the lowest number of goals of any top four side. Chelsea have the best record of the teams here, conceding just three goals and critically were the only side to go to Manchester City and win (keeping a clean sheet in the process).

Manchester City have a very strong squad and will be hard to beat when they go to Liverpool and Arsenal. For Chelsea, they have an away game to Liverpool and a home tie with Arsenal left. Chelsea’s form against the top clubs is very good and under Jose Mourinho they certainly know how to get results in the big fixtures through at times pragmatic tactics.

Implications

One concern for Arsenal is that they shouldn’t really be going to City and Liverpool and leaking 11 goals. It’s incredibly unlikely that this would happen to a Jose Mourinho side, who will adapt his tactics based upon the task at hand. Arsene Wenger will of course have prepared methodically for these two games but perhaps he should have tried to be more pragmatic, given their record of not performing well with top four sides (even if they had a very good record at Liverpool).

The worry for Arsenal is that the title may come down to being decided by these head-to-head results and over the past few seasons they haven’t been good enough in these games. Their form this year is similar to their form at the end of last season, beating a lot of the ‘lesser’ clubs consistently but arguably falling short against the top sides. That being said, getting four points from 12 is a better return than the two points they picked up last season.

Arsenal have a very tough run of games coming up with Manchester United, Liverpool and Bayern Munich their next three opponents. In March they also face a very tough run with visits to Bayern Munich, Spurs, Chelsea and Everton, as well as hosting Manchester City. Over the next two months we might see Arsenal bounce-back spectacularly, or begin to fade away when they come up against these teams.

Comments

  1. Mourino may leak 6 goals against Mc but he would have wised up and prepare his defence
    and he would be unlikeldy to concede another 5 goals..
    Arsenal have conceded 43% goals form set pieces,the highest no of epl teams. This has
    happened in previous season and stll there is no improvement.
    When Wenger was asked if he needed a defence coach he dismissed it condescendingly.
    I believe and many fans believe his tactics are too predictable.
    Unless there is a dramatic improvement from now,don’t be surprised more goals will be concede from set pieces
    and the gunners will fail to beat struggling clubs.
    I say cut out the fancy soccer and go direct ie route one to goal.