Wenger’s legacy is fundamental. Free flowing, attacking football by a club with integrity and class.

Where Arsenal Can Improve? Can Arteta Do It?

Written by: Shard aka @ShardGooner Arsenal is no longer among the traditional top-6.

How do you recover from the worst season in 25 years? That’s the question everyone is asking, or ought to be asking. It’s going to be strange to not have Arsenal playing in Europe. From a club that was the epitome of consistency, which some dubbed mediocrity, we’re now a club verging on irrelevancy.

Of course the answer most arrive at is the transfer market. Kroenke-Out is trending again because the ‘protectors of the soul of football’ want him to spend more of his own money on buying players. Players that we will abuse, harass, and destroy just as soon as the newness wears off. After all, we’re in desperate need of new scapegoats now that the options there are gone or are on their way out.

There may be some great player brought in, some good players will be sold, some mediocre ones will be hyped up (looking at you Ceballos stans), and we’ll all start the circus again. But the circus is supposed to be entertaining. That quality of football that we’ve been displaying would probably be the single biggest cause of our decline in popularity. But, instead of arguing over whether you can only play good football with the ideal set of players, let’s look at what our target for next season should be, and how we could get there.

How to get back to top-4?

Fans and manager alike have jumped onto the 2nd since Christmas table. Also according to Arteta, it’s relevant that our 61 points would’ve been enough to finish 5th the year before. So I guess we ought to target top 4 next year then. What would that take?

Over the last 3 years, the 4th place team has finished with 67, 66 and 71 points. By the way, the 2 years before that when Wenger missed out the 4th place had 75 and 76 points. Which puts the 5 yr average at 71 points. I think that’s a reasonable target. 10 more points than last year. Should be achievable what with all the improvement Arteta’s team showed.

But where did we pick up these points? Where can we improve? Seeing as we finished 8th, I divided our opponents into teams above us, teams around us, and teams at the bottom.

The Top 7: (ManCity, ManU, Liverpool, Chelsea, Leicester, West Ham, Spurs)

The Midfield 7: (Leeds, Everton, Villa, Newcastle, Wolves, Crystal Palace, Southampton), and

The Bottom 5: (Brighton, Burnley, Fulham, West Brom, Sheffield)

Top 7 Mid 7 Bottom 5 Overall
Home Away Total Home Away Total Home Away Total Home Away Total
Points 10 10 20 8 10 18 10 13 23 28 33 61
Goals For 7 9 16 9 10 19 8 12 20 24 31 55
Goals Against 8 10 18 9 7 16 4 1 5 21 18 39
Scoreless Matches 4 2 6 3 2 5 1 0 1 8 4 12
Clean Sheets 1 2 3 2 2 4 1 4 5 4 8 12

We scored more points against the Top 7 as compared to the Mid 7.

The bottom 5 accounts for 23 of our 61 points(38%) and 20 of 55 (36%) of our goals. Remember that’s just 10 matches as against the 14 in the other tables.

Pts Per Game

Top 7:                    1.42

Mid 7:                    1.29

Btm 5:                    2.30

The clearest area of improvement must be results against teams from 8-15. The only team we took 6 points from was Newcastle. Against Palace, Southampton and Leeds we took 4 points each. While from Everton, Villa, and Wolves, we got 0 points.

It’s not inconceivable that we could get 10 points more from this group alone.

Dont expect the same luck next year

So just as long as we keep ahead of the Joneses and beat these teams we should have top 4 tied up, right?

Not so fast. The top teams are all strengthening and we may not get so lucky again. For instance, Lampard’s Chelsea probably saved Arteta’s job, and Tuchel’s Chelsea was focused on winning the CL by the time we played them. Even if we pick up more points from Spurs and West Ham, would we get 10 points from Chelsea and ManU combined? Could we hope to beat ManCity and Liverpool this time around? Maybe. I’m not very confident we’ll be able to do as well in this mini table next time.

And then there’s the Bottom 5. We virtually destroyed that group. 23 from 30 points is not bad. Only Burnley did us dirty there, and Fulham somehow got a draw. But I don’t see us improving on this, because really all 3 relegated sides were some of the worst teams that the league has ever seen. Norwich, Watford and Brentford will likely provide a much more difficult test. On top of that Brighton were very unlucky to be as low in the table as they were.

Each point is going to be a struggle, especially now that teams no longer get over-awed by our name nor by our quality of play. In fact, they often outplay us. If we continue to play like we’re terrified of conceding, we’ll likely be punished more often than not.

Opponents Goals Scored
ManCity 0
ManU 1
Liverpool 1
Chelsea 4
Leicester 3
West Ham 5
Spurs 2
Leeds 4
Everton 1
Villa 0
Newcastle 5
Wolves 2
Palace 3
Southampton 4
Brighton 3
Burnley 1
Fulham 4
Sheffield 5

55 goals, 16 of which came against relegated sides, is just not good enough. We’ll need to push that up to nearer 75. Can Arteta set up a team to consistently play that kind of attacking football? Does he even want to?

What is the process?

 So a lot gets made of trusting ‘The Process’ that the club and some fans have unofficially adopted. But what is this process? It’s intentionally vague and can mean whatever you want it to mean. In practice, all it means is that anything Arteta or the club do, no matter how inane, thoughtless or heartless, it can all part of ‘The Process’ that fans need to get behind. It’s a call to, and an exercise of faith.

I had faith in Arsene Wenger. Not that he would, but if he behaved in the same way as Arteta, I MIGHT have still been on board. Because he had earned that trust and had always behaved like he was worthy of the faith. Arteta has earned nothing of the sort, and has often done the opposite. In fact, the only reason to give Arteta the job was faith. Faith that he’d use his experience-by-proxy, and combine that with the values he played under and embodied as captain. I was all for it. But time and again, he’s done all he can to abuse that faith and trust.

So, with the caveat that results override everything else only if they are extraordinary (good or bad), how I view the process is exactly how the club outlined it for Unai Emery.

  1. Success, which means top 4 minimum.
  2. Play attacking football.
  3. Focus on playing and developing the youth.
  4. Don’t rely overwhelmingly on the transfer market.
  5. Represent the club in a manner consistent with the club’s values.

As far as I’m concerned, he’s failing at all 5 of these. Until he shows ‘The Process’ includes these markers, I will not be won over by him, no matter how confidently he proclaims his own competence and blames others.

Over to Arsenal.

REMINDER: Tune-in to the Uncensored “livestream” on YouTube and Twitter later today, Saturday at 4:00 pm AST or 9:00 pm BST when Shotta, Byso, Ehab, George, Omi and special guest Seebs, discuss “Eck vs Kroenke –Where goes Arsenal?”  Click this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVK2k3kkEJKZ6XPWat_CtdA


  1. Thanks Shard for this well researched, informative piece. In the interest of our beloved club you are constructive and logical. But who at Arsenal cares about logic and reason? The club’s pr surrogates in social and mainstream media (Ornstein, John Cross and Gunnerblog) are now reporting the club is in for center-back Ben White.The club needs another center-back like I need a hole in my head. Another center-back when we already have 7 on the books while you stress the need to score more goals and earn more points. Ben White does nothing for us in that department. If that rumor is true we can truly say logic and reason is dead among the football hierarchy at Arsenal.

  2. Fantastic blog, I hope it gets as well read as it deserves.

  3. Rosicky@ArsenalJune 12, 2021 at 10:12 am

    Great read Shard.Probably the best ever from him to date.
    However Shotta article at PA on biased refreeing against Arsenal two years back is still the No1 research I ever read.

    For the next season I dont think we are going to finish top4.
    Probably still finish between 6th to 8th.But the main thing is will we watch that boring stuff?

    My interest in watching Arsenal play has diminished and with Xhaka and Bellerin leaving I might not even care where we finish.

    Bad times.

    Remember i said 3 years back.that with Wenger gone Arsenal will suffer but nobody listen to me. Everybody wanted change.Now ask those idiots did they got what they wished for?

  4. Thanks Rosicky. for bigging up both me and Shard. But I must implore you not to to let the Wenger-outers go scot free with destroying our beloved club. It is time for us to go on the offensive and expose them; their prescription for the club has been a total disaster, an utter and abject failure and it is time to reverse course. One way is to support our Saturday livestream and win more fans to our point of view. Hope to see you subscribe and tune in later today.

  5. Rosicky@ArsenalJune 13, 2021 at 6:11 am

    Tks Shotta. Would love to join live stream with fellow gunners but being a citizen from Pakistan time does not allow as it gets a bit late past midnight.
    Though my country mate Omi Javed manages his time well to join you and other fellow gunners.

    However will stay in touch with you people on PA and Uncensored surely to expose the idiot fan base who have destroyed the club.

    But will they accept that they were wrong in criticizing Arsene Wenger for what he gave to Arsenal for 2 decades?

  6. Excellent article, thanks.

    I felt that Wenger was coming to the end and I am sure he knew it.

    I was all for a change, but an orderly one and one overseen by Wenger, with his successor in place for the last year so that there would be a seemless take over, with the values that Wenger had worked so hard to instil in the club intact.

    That did not happen and we are seeing how the cub have reaped what it sowed.

    I agree that Arteta has not and will never achieve any of your 5 points, because they do not fit in with his “style”.

    WE will be lucky to stay at 8th, let alone get in the top 4.

    Mediocrity and boredom is something we will have to get used to.


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