Statistician’s Journal: Post-mortem – This is Arsenal’s Worst Season among Last Seven

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After a dull draw at the Stadium of Light last week, Arsenal made sure that they can’t win the Premier League title this year also. The team, who was at the top after Gameweek 22 and tipped to win the title, slipped once again and this time, it looks much worse.

The number four spot is not a new territory for Arsene Wenger. His team have finished third or fourth in last ten seasons and look very much likely to have the same fate at the end of this season also. Wenger will feel that he had squandered the best chance he had in last eleven years to end the Premier League drought. Traditional rivals Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool didn’t do well and Arsenal failed to capitalize the advantage.

The Gunners will think that they didn’t come any closer to the title than they did in the current season but some insightful stats reveal why they suffered the worst downfall in last seven years.

Goals scored in 60-90 Minutes

Two-third of the match is gone and the remaining minutes are going to test your temperament. That’s when fatigue starts to break in but you have to keep pushing to clinch all the three points. If you are not winning, you need to attack with more intent and vigour to get that goal or two. If you are winning, you have to make sure that the extra goal puts the game to bed and you are safe with the points. Historically, the Premier League champions have performed well during this time of the match averaging 0.90 goals per game. That means you have to score a fair amount of goals in this dying period of the game to see you through for the crown.

Arsenal haven’t done too bad either in the previous six seasons. They managed more than 0.75 goals per game ratio during this period except 2010-11 season, when they recorded their lowest ever point-tally (68) since 2006-07.

60-90 Minutes Goals Scored in Premier League (Featured: Arsenal)
60-90 Minutes Goals Scored in Premier League (Featured: Arsenal) till 29/4/16, Stats compiled from whoscored.com

Coming to this season, Arsenal are still four points shy off 68 and they have three games left to avoid any kind of shame. The real shock comes when we learn that Arsenal have registered a mere 0.54 goals/game ratio, their lowest ever in last seven seasons, during 60-90 minutes of the match. On the contrary, Leicester City (0.77), Tottenham (0.83) and Manchester City (0.69) have much better numbers in this category. It just shows how fragile Arsenal had been in their performance.

People often questioned the mental strength of this Arsene Wenger squad and these stats couldn’t reveal more about it. To put into Wenger’s own words, the Gunners have become ‘more naive’ than before and the alarm bell should ring if they want to restrict the downfall in the seasons to come.

Penalties Scored

Leicester City have won 12 points this season, just on penalties. Draw a tackle inside the box, get the attention of the referee and take a clinical penalty – that’s how Champions earned a fair share of points in the history of Premier League.

You don’t have to look at the stats to understand the importance of a penalty. Understandably, it is the easiest resort to put the ball into the back of the net but most importantly, you have to win the referee’s approval for a foul inside the box.

Penalties Scored in Premier League (Featured: Arsenal)
Penalties Scored in Premier League (Featured: Arsenal) till 29/4/16, Stats compiled from whoscored.com

You can clearly see that no team have won the title with less than 3 goals scored from the spot since 2009-2010 season. Chelsea won the title in 2010 with 11 of their goals coming from the penalties. If Leicester win the League this term, they have the chance to grab that Chelsea record with two more spot-kicks from their remaining three matches.

From 2009-10, the Premier League champions average 4.8 penalty goals per season, while the Gunners could manage only 3.8. That number descended pretty horribly in this season for the Gunners as they have scored just one goal from the spot this season. That very goal was also a surplus one against Aston Villa and could not account for any point to their tally.

If we consider only goals from penalties this season, Leicester sits at the top with 9, Tottenham and City both are at 5 and Arsenal are at 18th position with one successful spot-kick to their name. Even, Aston Villa, the already relegated outfit, could manage to send two penalties home.

Drawing the Line

Though this season looks like another of Arsenal’s “could have won the title but didn’t” ones but a little digging revealed major problems for the side. It looks like Arsenal are not learning from their previous downfalls but they are degrading and getting broken more easily now than ever. A calm composure and a killer instinct – that’s what defines a champion but a side, who failed to draw penalties horribly and choked during the last thirty minutes of the match, clearly lack that.

Photo by lukask

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