Why Arsenal are the weirdest, most volatile team of the modern era

If you want to feel good about Arsenal, here’s how to do it.

You look at the table and see the team in fifth with one point from fourth. Given that they finished eighth in Mikel Arteta’s first two seasons at the club, that’s progress! Well, until your eyes keep looking to the right and seeing that they have already been passed by three goals over the course of 14 games. Given that only one team has finished in the top four by a negative goal difference since the turn of the century, that’s not progress.

But the second point ignores how Arsenal got the goal difference.

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Three of the top five teams in the world are now in the Premier League, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City are like if there was a third team in the League like Real Madrid and Barcelona in the middle and early 2010s. . Manchester City has a goal difference of plus 21, Chelsea plus 27, and Liverpool plus 31. Metaphorically speaking, they are in their own league; No one else in England has a double-digit goal difference. In all six games against the Big Three this year, everyone will be hugely underdog. Maybe you get lucky to win or get a tie here or there, but the predictions before each match are zero points.

Sure, Arsenal have been systematically eliminated by Chelsea, Liverpool and City to varying degrees – no goals scored and 11 conceded – but what if this is in fact an advantage rather than a bug in Mikel Arteta’s tactics?


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