Arsenal had the worst league start in their rich Premier League history after losing their first 3 games and were at the bottom of the table by the first International break. The world was mocking Mikel Arteta and his players all this time but their gradual and surprising progress over the last few weeks have recently come to light. While everyone made them a laughing stock Mikel Arteta trusted his process and his team is now 5th in the table.
Trust the process💔😟
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) August 28, 2021
Manchester United fans called the Gunners a relegation zone team and now Arsenal are above the red devils in the table with the season well underway. But does this actually mean Mikel Arteta deserves a lot of praise or is Arsenal going to witness a dip in the table yet again going forward this season?
The last time Arsenal tasted defeat was in their 5-0 loss against Manchester City back in August but as predicted by FootTheBall, their losing streak would have worsened if it weren’t for the international break. The break gave Arsenal the opportunity to make a fresh start and Arteta succeeded in turning things around. Arsenal faced Norwich and they mustered their first league game and since then they haven’t lost a game.
But one can say that the footballing calendar has had a major contribution to their unbeaten streak. Arsenal haven’t faced a top-6 club after Manchester City and have only tussled with smaller clubs in the league. They won against giants like Spurs and Leicester City but they too have been facing problems both on and off the pitch and weren’t formidable opponents. Mikel Arteta has improved his status among Arsenal fans.
We are yet to see how Arsenal would do against tougher contenders which is why it is too early to say if Mikel Arteta has made any improvements to their game. Arsenal have done well to stay afloat but a major storm like their next opponents, Liverpool, can easily wreak havoc to the Gunners’ camp and kill the momentum they have built by now.
AARON RAMSDALE MASTERCLASS
Arsenal made a surprise addition to their squad by signing Aaron Ramsdale in the dying embers of the summer transfer window and pundits criticized this transfer saying Aaron Ramsdale is yet to prove himself at the top level, turns out Ramsdale heard the haters and has strongly replied with his performances proving his worth.
In 8 appearances, Ramsdale has maintained 5 clean sheets and has only conceded 4 goals so far. On top of that, Ramsdale has won the fans over with his majestic saves which has boosted the whole team’s morale. His importance is even highlighted in Arsenal’s underlying stats. Arsenal have conceded 13 goals this season but their xGA (Expected Goals Against) is 17.83. A major difference in their xGA and goals conceded suggest that they are very weak defensively.
The higher the xGA, the greater is the chance of the team conceding a goal and hence Arsenal have been very weak at the back but Aaron Ramsdale has stopped shots that should statistically end up in the back of the net.
STATS SAY OTHERWISE
Although Arsenal are currently 5th in the table, the underlying stats paint a completely different picture. Arsenal have 20 points in the bank as of now but their xPTS (Expected Points) is only 15.54. xPTS is calculated using xG and xGA which highlights the number of goals a team should score and concede respectively looking at their quality of football. xPTS helps analysts determine where a team should actually stand in the league table and in that case, Arsenal are sitting 9th in the league. The Gunners still need to create better goal scoring chances and get their act together at the back. Mikel Arteta is far from solidifying his position at the helm for Arsenal, he is helping the club move in the right direction. Arsenal needs to continue their gradual progress and trust their process and they will find themselves playing in Europe.