The consensus in football at the moment is that Arsenal’s final eight games are going to be much softer than Man Utd or Chelsea’s. I do agree that on paper they are easier fixtures, and Man Utd and Chelsea have to play each other and Liverpool – all games where points can be won.
On the other hand the so called smaller teams are where we have struggled to pick up the points in the past. This season so far has seen Arsenal improve their consistency in results against these sort of teams – the wins against Stoke and Hull away showed the team’s ability to dig deep. Here we look at the historical data and see whether Arsenal’s run in really is as easy as it seems.
First up is the form data for the corresponding fixture from each of the past four seasons, where the game wasn’t played it is left blank. I have also included the dates of the Champions League Quarter Finals and, if we get there, the Semi Finals, as that will have an impact on League performance.
|West Ham H||0-0||2-0||0-1||2-3|
|QF Leg 1|
|QF Leg 2|
|Man City H||2-0||1-0||3-1||1-0|
So the results are mixed, I know that the teams have changed in relative strength, but this is still a long-term indicator of the performances.
Now look at the points available from those matches, how many we actually took, and the percentage that was each season:
The average from these percentages is approximately 65.7% – So that means that on average we have taken 65.7% of the points from these fixtures since 05/06.
This season 24 points are available in the remaining 8 games. 65.7% of 24 points is 15.8 points (1 d.p.). So according to the stats, and I stress – only the past stats – we are looking at something like 16 points out of these games, the data is pretty consistent.
I then factored in one more type of data; this time looking at the percentage of points taken from the final 8 games of the last 4 seasons.
This is where the data shows an amazing and weird correlation.
|Pts – Last 8 games||17||16||13||17|
The mean average from the last 8 games of all these years is also 15.8 points.
Now call it what you will but that is a crazy correlation, bearing in mind that last season we played Man Utd, and Chelsea, and in previous years we have faced run-ins of various difficulties.
Obviously the first set of results show scores which come from different times of the year and the teams have changed in strength, as have we. Not to mention the fact that Wolves weren’t in the League for any of those seasons. So in this way the data is only partial.
You can add to this the fact that we are on a good run now, and the team is more mature than ever, so not quite the same as in years gone by.
Nevertheless, the points taken from the last 8 games by Arsenal is pretty consistent, and shows that we usually take what the first set tells us – 15.8 – no matter what.
That would leave the club on 80 points (if you round 15.8 to 16 ) at the end of the season. I don’t think that would win us the title.
Now I’m not saying that these data show that the title is lost, and I’m not saying we will take 16 points.
What I am saying is that historical precedent shows that these games will not be easy, and the run-in, including tough midweek European matches, may not provide as many points as pundits claim.
The difference this season is that we have a much stronger team spirit, and we can go on a good run now, we have shown that. This group of players is as good as any of the last 4 years, and I think they are the ones to buck the trend.
Arsenal can win the title, but they have to maintain the run, and pull out results as we have done at Stoke and Hull recently.
With that determination this team can go all the way, even if history is against them.
In the reverse fixtures this season we scored 24, conceded 11 and took 79.2% of the points – that is 19 points out of 24; form DWWWWLWW. Brings a new angle to the debate.
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