ARSENAL are having a tortuous 2020-21, a season that could end with inexperienced coach Mikel Arteta being sacked after little over a year in charge at the Emirates. Arsenal’s decline started long before Arteta was given the job, the club’s fall from Champions League regulars to Thursday night European football has been gradual, but their position among the so-called “big six” is now under serious threat. Furthermore, the league table shows the Gunners in very unfamiliar territory in the bottom six of the Premier League.
Over the past 10 years, the erosion of Arsenal’s membership of the elite has been very evident. Over the past decade, their win rate was 53.68%, identical to North London neighbours Tottenham. Their average league position over the same period was 4.4, just short of the 4.3 average generated by Spurs. Over the previous decade, Arsenal had an average final placing of 2.6 and a win rate of 59.47%.
But this tells only part of the story. Over the past three years, Arsenal’s average league placing has been 6.33 and over the past five 5.2 – a slow slide away from contention has been taking place. Spurs, meanwhile, had a five-year average of 3.6 and over three years, 4.33.
Arsenal’s win rate over the past three years has dropped to 47.36%. Arsenal’s goalscoring has also declined, their three-year average was 67.7 thanks to the lowest seasonal total (56), since 1995-96.
Who could take over Arsenal’s membership of the six? Leicester City are, realistically, the most obvious candidate, but they have some ground to make up. Arsenal are some way behind the top positions, though, with their 47.37% win rate over three years some 30 percentage points behind Manchester City (78.95%).
City and Liverpool are way ahead of the rest up to and including 2019-20. As the last two Premier champions, these clubs run-up identical win rates of 84.21% thanks to 32 league wins from 38 games. Since 2017-18, City have averaged 101 goals per season and Liverpool 86. The lowest scorer among the six in that period was Chelsea with an average of 64.7 goals.
Chelsea’s win rate has also been falling and over the past three years, they won 54.39% of their Premier games, lower than their five year and 10-year average (56.39). Since 2010-11, Chelsea have lost around 4.7% of their wins, but Arsenal and Manchester United have seen theirs drop by 26% and 22% respectively. By contrast, Liverpool’s has risen dramatically in 10 years – by 88.2%, while Manchester City’s has improved by 23.8%.
Looking at the past two seasons, it is strong evidence of a gulf between City and Liverpool and the rest of the Premier League, although 2020-21 could change that. This season, Liverpool’s win rate is currently 64.3% – nine wins from 14. Manchester City’s rate is 46.15% and Arsenal’s is a poor 28.5%. It would seem unlikely at this stage that we shall see a league champion with an 84% success rate.
Over the past decade, Liverpool and Manchester City have improved significantly, Chelsea and Tottenham are more or less stable and Manchester United and Arsenal have definitely declined. The situation can change quickly, so by the end of 2020-21, that conclusion may have to be revised.
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