Arsenal the best Premiership team in 2013

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MagicNMedicine
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Interesting stat I saw today on BBC that Arsenal have been the best performing Premiership team in the calendar year 2013.

Points (Games)

82 (38): Arsenal
77 (37): Man City
77 (38): Chelsea
74 (37): Man Utd
70 (37): Tottenham
69 (37): Liverpool
67 (37): Everton
54 (37): Newcastle
51 (37): Southampton
43 (37): A Villa
39 (37): Swansea
38 (37): Norwich
38 (37): Fulham
38 (38): West Ham
34 (37): Stoke
34 (37): West Brom
31 (37): Sunderland

A few other observations that stand out from there:

- There's a distinct gap between the top 7 and the rest

- Villa have done a bit better than people think considering they started 2013 in massive crisis and they are back in crisis now.

- The sacking of Steve Clarke which was seen as very harsh doesn't look as unreasonable when you see West Brom have been poor over a long time apart from a few good results against top teams

- Tottenham have done alright too, actually getting more points than Liverpool, I think AVB might have been jettisoned unfairly



Now I know a calendar year does not correspond with a season but it is a barometer of form over a season length period of time and so it puts Arsenal's title challenge in perspective: whereas its reasonable to say Liverpool could be a team in good form rather than a title ready team, Arsenal have sustained their form for a long time now. They haven't done well against the top teams but that also sheds light on how consistent they have been against everyone else. In fact if they had got a few results against the other top teams they would be right up at the level they were at their peak in the early 2000s.


A couple of other interesting stats:

In the last three years where Arsenal had Fabregas, Nasri and Van Persie in the team they averaged 1.89 points per game. In the season where they had Van Persie but not the other two (when RVP was the best striker in the league) they averaged 1.84 points per game. Since he left they have averaged 2.02 points per game.

It's pretty remarkable improvement that Arsenal shed their three best players but have improved so much. I know that the other top teams have fallen down in standard a bit but Arsenal haven't even been beating them: so it shows really how Arsenal have improved relative to the rest of teams in the division.

Also whats interesting is that Fabregas, Nasri and RVP have had mixed form since leaving - they have won trophies that they wouldn't have done at Arsenal but Fabregas and Nasri have not been the integral players they were a few years ago. RVP is a different story, he had a superb first half to last season and was probably the decisive player in taking the title to Old Trafford but since then he's not quite been what he was.
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sevchenko
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(Original post by MagicNMedicine)
In the last three years where Arsenal had Fabregas, Nasri and Van Persie in the team they averaged 1.89 points per game. In the season where they had Van Persie but not the other two (when RVP was the best striker in the league) they averaged 1.84 points per game. Since he left they have averaged 2.02 points per game.

It's pretty remarkable improvement that Arsenal shed their three best players but have improved so much. I know that the other top teams have fallen down in standard a bit but Arsenal haven't even been beating them: so it shows really how Arsenal have improved relative to the rest of teams in the division.
All this is because of Wenger, we're so lucky to have him.
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shawn_o1
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I think the main reason why Arsenal started the season brightly is because none of the key players left. They released the ones they didn't need that were out of contract (Arshavin, Chamakh, Squillaci etc.) or just didn't impress (i.e. Gervinho, who went to AS Roma)
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But they only beat the small teams.


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MagicNMedicine
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(Original post by shawn_o1)
I think the main reason why Arsenal started the season brightly is because none of the key players left.
True and they signed Ozil who was probably the best off season signing of any club.

However before the season if you asked most people is Arsenal's strongest eleven strong enough to win the title they would have said no. Other than Ozil who is really championship winning class there.

Now you would probably say Aaron Ramsey had been a key player but I think if you suggested Ramsey was a key player then people would have laughed and said who of Chelsea, City and United would have Ramsey in their team? He was just an overrated youngster.
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shawn_o1
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Oh, and also it'll take a while for David Moyes to have the success Fergie had at Man Utd. And Jose Mourinho is doing things slightly differently on his return to Chelsea, if it doesn't bring a trophy at the end of the season I'm not sure what's going to happen.
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Ami
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This is our year.
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MagicNMedicine
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(Original post by shawn_o1)
Oh, and also it'll take a while for David Moyes to have the success Fergie had at Man Utd. And Jose Mourinho is doing things slightly differently on his return to Chelsea.
There's no reason why it should take a while with a new manager to get success bearing in mind Moyes inherited a title winning squad.

Remember Jose's first spell. He took over a team that hadn't won a title in years, at a time when Arsenal were peerless at the top. Won the league in his first season.

For what its worth I still think this year's title is going to be won by a manager in his first season in the Premier League too.
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jeejay
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I'm so scared everything's going to fall apart at any minute, I don't know if I dare hope
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9MmBulletz
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Well if we're being honest Arsenal's team is pretty solid now and it's starting to show with their form. They've picked up the most points this calendar year and have clearly recovered from the sale of RVP. Their defence is really solid with Mertesacker and Koscielny, while Mertesacker isn't shabby back-up. In the central midfield areas, they probably have the best options except City. Ozil, Ramsey, Cazorla, Wilshere, Rosicky and Flamini are pretty good options to have in the centre to pick from at any time. Walcott's pace down wide adds another dimension to their game while Giroud is a pretty good striker. Arsenal also have Podolski who's a good goalscorer when he gets a decent run of games. And they've also got Oxlade-Chamberlain to come back from injury so their squad is fairly solid, and they've shown they can cope with injuries.

There's a reason why Arsenal, City and Chelsea are in the top positions in the league and that's because they have the best group of players. United's midfield is suspect to say the least, while their wingers are not performing at the level expected. Januzaj looks a real promising player at the minute and I can see him doing well, but Unite'd midfield and ageing first-choice centre backs is holding them back.
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sr90
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(Original post by shawn_o1)
I think the main reason why Arsenal started the season brightly is because none of the key players left. They released the ones they didn't need that were out of contract (Arshavin, Chamakh, Squillaci etc.) or just didn't impress (i.e. Gervinho, who went to AS Roma)
Arsenal must have freed up an absolute fortune in wages by getting rid of all that deadwood.

(Original post by 9MmBulletz)
Unite'd midfield and ageing first-choice centre backs is holding them back.
Midfield sure but defense... eh? Our first choice centre halves are Vidic and Evans. Evans is 25 and Vidic, although not the player he was three/four years ago, is still our best defender.
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9MmBulletz
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(Original post by MagicNMedicine)
There's no reason why it should take a while with a new manager to get success bearing in mind Moyes inherited a title winning squad.

Remember Jose's first spell. He took over a team that hadn't won a title in years, at a time when Arsenal were peerless at the top. Won the league in his first season.

For what its worth I still think this year's title is going to be won by a manager in his first season in the Premier League too.
There's a big gap between Chelsea's title winning squad from 2005 and 2006 and United's squad now. Robben was playing at a much higher level than their wingers. We had Crespo and Drogba, which is almost as good a pair as Rooney and RVP.

John Terry and Carvalho were in their prime. United's best defenders are in their twilight years now.

Midfield wise we had a prime Frank Lampard, Essien/Tiago and we also had Makelele protecting the back four. United's current central midfield options is laughable compared to this.

Petr Cech was touted as the best keeper in the world at the time, while De Gea is still building his reputation.

Yes, we took Arsenal off their perch, but we already had a solid foundation so it wasn't such a big surprise. You could argue that we had the best team in PL history (which Arsenal fans are more than entitled to argue against) considering that we were up against the Invincibles in 2004-05 and beat them (as they were largely unchanged). The only thing that changed that year was that you only got 2 points against us (vs 6 in 03-04) and you got 0 points vs United (vs the 2 you picked up in 03-04) which is essentially 6 points, while at the same time we were clearly an improved team
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jeejay
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(Original post by sr90)
Arsenal must have freed up an absolute fortune in wages by getting rid of all that deadwood.



Midfield sure but defense... eh? Our first choice centre halves are Vidic and Evans. Evans is 25 and Vidic, although not the player he was three/four years ago, is still our best defender.
Neither Evans nor Vidic would get into the other top three's defense
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9MmBulletz
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(Original post by sr90)
Arsenal must have freed up an absolute fortune in wages by getting rid of all that deadwood.



Midfield sure but defense... eh? Our first choice centre halves are Vidic and Evans. Evans is 25 and Vidic, although not the player he was three/four years ago, is still our best defender.
I was referring to Ferdinand and Vidic. Vidic has had a few injuries in the past 3 years, and just doesn't look the same.
Ferdinand , like Vidic is just not the same.

From about 2006/7-2011, Ferdinand and Vidic were the best defensive pairing in the Premiership. They're just not the same players. Evans may be getting better but he isn't a patch on neither
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sr90
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(Original post by 9MmBulletz)
I was referring to Ferdinand and Vidic. Vidic has had a few injuries in the past 3 years, and just doesn't look the same.
Ferdinand , like Vidic is just not the same.

From about 2006/7-2011, Ferdinand and Vidic were the best defensive pairing in the Premiership. They're just not the same players. Evans may be getting better but he isn't a patch on neither
Ferdinand isn't first choice anymore. He'll probably retire at the end of the season.
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9MmBulletz
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(Original post by sr90)
Ferdinand isn't first choice anymore. He'll probably retire at the end of the season.
Ahh fair enough. Never really liked him on a personal level, but I always thought he was a top centre back on his day. Really good footballer, and could read the game well. Probably England's best in the past 10 years
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MagicNMedicine
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(Original post by 9MmBulletz)
You could argue that we had the best team in PL history (which Arsenal fans are more than entitled to argue against) considering that we were up against the Invincibles in 2004-05 and beat them (as they were largely unchanged).
I think this is a fair argument. Jose's first Chelsea squad was pretty much a machine that couldn't be beaten. I know people said Chelsea bought the title but the signings were quite understated players, they weren't really galacticos. Cech and Robben were more what you would call 'wonderkids' in Football Manager and Drogba's signing raised eyebrows because he had only really had one good season (and he started a bit slowly at Chelsea). Kezman was a bigger name signing after butchering the Dutch league but he didn't do much for Chelsea. I think the other signing was Carvalho, again a good player but not the biggest name in the game.

Chelsea were very organised and that was the year the core of Joe Cole, Lampard, Terry etc really stepped it up.

Since then Chelsea have always been good but I always felt they were beatable whereas in 04/05 I felt they were pretty much impossible to get past. I was in my first year at uni back then and I remember after the 2005 FA Cup final me and my flatmates were talking about football in general and we all agreed that Chelsea were going to dominate the league for the next 5 years. They did win 2 more Premierships in that time but somehow weren't what we had expected.
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9MmBulletz
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(Original post by MagicNMedicine)
I think this is a fair argument. Jose's first Chelsea squad was pretty much a machine that couldn't be beaten. I know people said Chelsea bought the title but the signings were quite understated players, they weren't really galacticos. Cech and Robben were more what you would call 'wonderkids' in Football Manager and Drogba's signing raised eyebrows because he had only really had one good season (and he started a bit slowly at Chelsea). Kezman was a bigger name signing after butchering the Dutch league but he didn't do much for Chelsea. I think the other signing was Carvalho, again a good player but not the biggest name in the game.

Chelsea were very organised and that was the year the core of Joe Cole, Lampard, Terry etc really stepped it up.

Since then Chelsea have always been good but I always felt they were beatable whereas in 04/05 I felt they were pretty much impossible to get past. I was in my first year at uni back then and I remember after the 2005 FA Cup final me and my flatmates were talking about football in general and we all agreed that Chelsea were going to dominate the league for the next 5 years. They did win 2 more Premierships in that time but somehow weren't what we had expected.

Yeah we were pretty beast during 2005. We picked up like 101 points from 38 games in the calendar year which must be some record I'm guessing, and we must've conceded like 16 or so goals.

I think what happened after that was a shift in focus of attack. We sold Duff who gave us that counter-attacking pace out wide, while in Robben's last season (2006/07) he wasn't a key player and used much less often. Up until 2006, Robben was like our Ronaldo in the sense that he would always be the one to give us an advantage against the weaker teams. Ronaldo was pretty much the differenece between the two teams over a league season. One-on-one we could take United, but over the season the goals that Ronaldo gave United gave them an ede points wise and goals wise.

So when Robben left, we lost our flat-track bully ability and we bought Malouda. So from like 2007-2010, we were a solid team but we lacked the pace out wide that won us our league titles. We could grind out results as before, but we lacked the player that we could always rely on to bail us out with his pace and goal threat (which United had with Ronaldo). Our central midfield options were very strong with Lampard,Ballack, Essien and Makelele to choose from but we lacked pace and counter-attacking threat that Robben provided.

I think Mourinho has learned from the past with regards to having quick players to make the difference especially on the break (hence having Eto'o at Inter, and getting Di Maria for Madrid)
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(Original post by jeejay)
I'm so scared everything's going to fall apart at any minute, I don't know if I dare hope
I wouldn't bother. The meltdown begins on February 8th 2014.
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MagicNMedicine
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(Original post by 9MmBulletz)
Yeah we were pretty beast during 2005. We picked up like 101 points from 38 games in the calendar year which must be some record I'm guessing, and we must've conceded like 16 or so goals.

I think what happened after that was a shift in focus of attack. We sold Duff who gave us that counter-attacking pace out wide, while in Robben's last season (2006/07) he wasn't a key player and used much less often. Up until 2006, Robben was like our Ronaldo in the sense that he would always be the one to give us an advantage against the weaker teams. Ronaldo was pretty much the differenece between the two teams over a league season. One-on-one we could take United, but over the season the goals that Ronaldo gave United gave them an ede points wise and goals wise.

So when Robben left, we lost our flat-track bully ability and we bought Malouda. So from like 2007-2010, we were a solid team but we lacked the pace out wide that won us our league titles. We could grind out results as before, but we lacked the player that we could always rely on to bail us out with his pace and goal threat (which United had with Ronaldo). Our central midfield options were very strong with Lampard,Ballack, Essien and Makelele to choose from but we lacked pace and counter-attacking threat that Robben provided.

I think Mourinho has learned from the past with regards to having quick players to make the difference especially on the break (hence having Eto'o at Inter, and getting Di Maria for Madrid)
Interesting analysis.

I definitely remember Robben's influence now. If I remember rightly he was injured at the start of the season and Chelsea had started pretty well but were grinding out 1-0 results early season, until he came in and he became the player to as you say be the flat track bully like Ronaldo at United. In the context of winning the league, flat track bullies are pretty important because they avoid you having the grim 2 points dropped away at a smaller team when it finishes 0-0 days. I remember a few seasons when Arsenal were starting to decline, when they would be challenging for the title up to Feb and then would fade away because of these kind of bad results against Birmingham, West Brom etc.

What happened with Robben and Mourinho....it seemed like in the end Jose didn't rate him and he became peripheral in that last season. I remember Jose's last season you became very much a team dependent on Drogba.

I think City are very close to being runaway dominators of the Premier League because their team is packed full of flat track bully type players and at home they bully even the top teams too. The only issue they have is a tendency to be flaky away from home, once that's resolved they will be unstoppable.
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