Arsenal's Season So Far - As Expected

Arsenal's Season So Far - As Expected

Ten matches into the season and Arsenal find themselves sixth in the table with 19 points.  That said, they’re only four points behind second-place Manchester United and only below Liverpool on goals scored.  Considering that, it’s tough to evaluate their start to the season.

The Gunners have averaged 1.73 points per match so far.  If that were to continue, they would finish with about 66 points, a total that would likely see them finishing in the Europa League spots again.  That said, it must be taken into account that they have already played away to Chelsea, Manchester City, and Liverpool, so it could be argued that their remaining schedule will be slightly easier than what they’ve already faced.

As far as how Arsenal have played as a team, they have invested a lot in scoring goals, but not a lot in keeping them out.  The Gunners have scored 20 goals, tied with Spurs for fourth-most in the league, but have let in 16, tied with Leicester City for the 13th best defensive record.  Looking at their squad, they probably should look to outscore worse teams and look to pick up most of their points with their attack, as opposed to their defence.  Still, it’s really not ideal for a club looking to finish in the top four to have a defence as leaky as Arsenal’s has been this season.

Both of Arsenal’s summer signings have started well.  Alexandre Lacazette is the club’s leading goalscorer with six goals, only one of which has been a penalty, in nine starts and two substitute appearances.  Sead Kolasinac has contributed to five goals, six if you count the Community Shield, early on in his Arsenal career, despite being a left wing back and playing some of the season at centre-back.

Lacazette did not start against Manchester City, which raised some eyebrows, but he came off the bench and scored the Gunners only goal, proving his worth once again this season.  The Frenchman came to the England with a reasonably big price tag and has looked like meeting expectations so far.  Along with his six goals, he’s brought a threat on the counter, dribbling, and the ability to interchange with wide players that Arsenal sorely missed with Olivier Giroud.  He has also brought the final product and cutting edge that they missed when they played Danny Welbeck up front last season.

Kolasinac was brought in on a free contract and has been a revelation.  His strength and physique has wowed the fans and most of the Twittersphere, but his ability going forward has been the most eye-catching part of his game.  Forgetting the goals he’s scored, his reluctance to float in high low percentage crosses coupled with his ability to get into good positions to play low and hard pullback crosses is something the Gunners attack has benefited from.  He is arguably the most efficient fullback in the final third that Arsenal have had for a while.  Kolasinac and Hector Bellerin have made the Gunners lethal from the fullback positions and are key cogs in making the 3-4-3 work for them.

Arsenal’s season so far has been about what is expected: in and around the top four, but not quite in it.  Arsenal have every chance to slide into fourth if this season with a little bit of positive variance and a slip or two from Liverpool and/or Chelsea.  But for now, they’re on the outside looking in at the Champions League.