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Arsenal’s landmark season


Two consecutive seasons have passed under Mikel Arteta’s reign, Arsenal have finished in a disappointing 8th place in the Premier League table. If the FA Cup 2020 championship saved Arsenal from the tragedy of empty hands and lost tickets to the European Cup, a year later, no miracle was restored. 2020-21 officially became the worst season of the North London club in the last 15 years.

Despite the inconsistent performance over the past two seasons, Arsenal’s leadership remains steadfast in their incredible faith in Mikel Arteta. Despite not possessing the advantage of financial capacity when compared to the Big 6 rivals, combined with the impact of Covid-19, Arsenal spent a net 75 million pounds in the summer transfer market in the summer of 2021. A year ago Then, the number that appeared on the check was not much lower, at 55 million pounds.

However, the quality of Arsenal’s personnel has not improved significantly, especially when placed next to direct competitors for the position in the top group of the Premier League. Looking at the entire squad, with an expected registration list of 25 players for the new season, Arsenal owns an average age of only 24.7, with 11 of them still in the U23 group. Immaturity in age is also reflected in the lack of peak match experience, 12/25 players, or nearly half of the squad, have never breathed the UEFA Champions League atmosphere. Among these, there are 3 new arrivals including Ben White, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares.

Average age and number of young players on the payroll of the Big 6 Premier League 2021-22

Average age and number of young players on the payroll of the Big 6 Premier League 2021-22

No team in the remaining 5 opponents of the Big 6 possesses a squad structure as immature in terms of age and playing experience as Arsenal. Even some mid-range clubs such as West Ham United and Aston Villa, which are famous for their academy quality, do not dare to “risk” following the path Gunners is going. Obviously, the consequences of the previous austerity policy, plus the orientation of recruiting players forced Mikel Arteta to put his faith in young people, like Emile Smith Rowe or Bukayo Saka. Of course, the downside of it is that now, Arsenal have to accept gambling with their own achievements.

In addition, another outstanding issue that Arteta definitely needs to improve for the team if he wants to have a better ranking, is attacking efficiency. In an environment that emphasizes dedication like the Premier League with Arsenal’s typical image in the past, the public figures shown in the 2020-21 season are extremely disappointing. Despite possessing the 3rd best defense in the entire tournament, Arsenal only scored the 9th most goals. The cause of this problem comes from two factors, the number of shots and the efficiency of closing opportunities.

Firstly, Arsenal does not have a good attacking organization, which leads to the fact that the number of opportunities to reach the end of the goal is not high. Arsenal’s total number of shots in the 2020-21 season is only 455 situations, less than many lower teams like Brighton or Wolves. Several other indicators related to Arsenal’s offensive ball deployment also stopped at a similar average level, a suitable explanation for the fluctuating performance and overall ranking of the Emirates Stadium team at the end of the season.

Select Arsenal's offensive index in the Premier League 2020-21

Select Arsenal’s offensive index in the Premier League 2020-21

Second, even when given the opportunity, the shooting performance of Arsenal players is not high. Only 31% of the total ball shots were taken on target, a rate that is too low and only slightly more than three-quarters of the clubs at the bottom of the rankings. However, if you take a closer look, Arsenal are ranked 4th overall in the league for the quality of the ball position when it comes to shots, when their Expected Goal/Finish stat is at 0.11. Thus, the reason why Arsenal could not convert those advantages into goals, can be concluded from the finishing ability of the attacking players.

Excluding the number of goals from penalties, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Premier League goalscoring record in the 2020-21 Premier League is the worst recorded in professional football from both Arsenal’s main strikers. . Lacazette scored only 10 goals from the open, while Aubameyang stopped at 8, despite the quality of the position of the ball as demonstrated by the nearly unchanged goal / finishing index compared to 4 seasons. most recent previous tournament.

Despite adding three new recruits over the summer, none of them have an attacking midfield lead, in order to improve their attacking mutant ability and share the burden of young players like Smith Rowe and Saka. Arsenal have shown positive signs in the second half of the 2020-21 season, when Arteta boldly integrated a number of talented young players into the official squad. However, the London team still shows the lack of stability that is inherently part of the nature of young players. Therefore, it is not surprising that Arsenal are still trying to chase to the last days of the transfer market a top signing for the attack sector.

Arsenal are still trying to reach Maddison

Arsenal are still trying to reach Maddison

However, the market is late in the afternoon, the blockbuster is difficult to explode at the present time when most of the teams have completed the formation work. With what is in hand, this is the last chance for the god Arteta to prove his ability, and it plays a turning point for Arsenal. Either return to the original big man status, or sink deeper into the default perception of a club that can only compete in the middle group.

Hoang Bach

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