Arsenal have won nine in a row but are playing a risky game and better sides will punish them… Unai Emery is right to shut down talk of them ‘being back’ after Arsene Wenger’s exit
- Five years ago this week Jack Wilshere scored famous goal against Norwich
- Fans were singing ‘We’ve got our Arsenal back’ in 5-1 win at Fulham
- Arsenal have rode their luck in winning their last nine games
- They have faced far more shots than any other Big Six side this season
Perhaps in 10, 20 or 30 years, Arsenal supporters will search for footage of what the style of football was like under Arsene Wenger when at its aesthetic peak.
They will find Jack Wilshere’s goal against Norwich City, scored five years ago this weekend. A series of one-twos, first-touch passes and flicks before a volleyed finish.
Ahead of that anniversary, Wenger’s successor Unai Emery was left answering questions about why he thinks the fans have started singing ‘We’ve got our Arsenal back’.
Arsenal secured a ninth win in a row when they thrashed Fulham earlier this month
Unai Emery has preached caution despite the positivity surrounding the Gunners
Emery said it is too soon to make that the soundtrack to their Premier League matches and he is right. Arsenal may have won nine in a row but they have rode their luck too.
They have faced 117 shots in the top flight while none of the other Big Six have broken the 100 mark. In fact, in the entirety of England’s top flight, only Newcastle United (124), Fulham (131), Brighton (135) and Burnley (160) have faced more than Arsenal.
Errors leading to shots shows Emery’s side at the top of the table on eight. They have escaped punishment thus far, but risk paying the price against better teams.
Some supporters say they sing about having their Arsenal ‘back’ because Emery has brought the effort back. Others say it is about them being united. Others admit it is about bagging wins.
Five years ago this week Jack Wilshere scored a famous team goal against Norwich
The goal symbolised the aesthetic peak of Arsenal’s football under Arsene Wenger
ERRORS LEADING TO SHOTS
8 – Arsenal
7 – Fulham
6 – Newcastle, Southampton
5 – West Ham
4 – Tottenham, Wolves, Burnley, Cardiff, Brighton, Huddersfield
3 – Leicester, Everton
2 – Man Utd, Crystal Palace, Chelsea, Man City, Liverpool, Bournemouth
1 – Watford
BIG SIX SHOTS FACED
117 – Arsenal
97 – Tottenham
83 – Man Utd
75 – Chelsea
65 – Liverpool
50 – Man City
Whatever the reason, the Gunners are getting results. While there remain defensive difficulties, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are enjoying themselves at the other end.
Aubameyang has scored four times from only 16 shots. Lacazette has scored four from 19. It is those two who sum up their effectiveness in front of goal.
Arsenal’s shot conversion rate is through the roof. They have scored 19.59 per cent of their shots – an extraordinary return which history tells us will not last.
The highest Premier League average of the last 10 seasons was 11.0 while Arsenal’s greatest under Wenger was 13.6, set in 2016-17.
Emery is aware that it is unlikely his side will continue to score so freely while also stopping opponents from scoring against them, hence why he called for caution.
Arsenal’s conversion rate has been through the roof so far in the Premier League
SHOT CONVERSION RATE
19.59 – Arsenal
16.16 – Bournemouth
15.38 – Leicester
13.70 – Burnley
13.64 – Brighton
13.04 – Liverpool
12.93 – Tottenham
12.68 – Chelsea
12.62 – Everton
12.07 – Man City
11.61 – Man Utd
10.89 – Watford
9.76 – West Ham
9.23 – Newcastle
8.18 – Wolves
8.11 – Fulham
5.38 – Crystal Palace
5.26 – Huddersfield
5.17 – Southampton
4.65 – Cardiff
AVERAGE SHOT CONVERSION OF LAST 10 SEASONS
2018-19 – 11.1
2017-18 – 11.0
2016-17 – 10.9
2015-16 – 10.5
2014-15 – 9.9
2013-14 – 10.3
2012-13 – 10.1
2011-12 – 9.8
2010-11 – 9.6
2009-10 – 9.7
‘I am not agreeing totally with the response of the supporters,’ the Spaniard said. ‘We need to improve a lot. We have to continue doing a lot of the things to get better.’
There are worse situations to be in. Arsenal have won nine in succession, six of which have been in the Premier League.
In their last outing, they hammered Fulham 5-1 at Craven Cottage, scoring five times from nine shots. They also conceded 21 shots, and a better side could have done damage.
Arsenal want to get back to being title contenders, though some supporters would take a top-four finish from Emery’s first season at the helm.
Qualifying for Europe’s elite competition was one of the criticisms of Wenger’s era but big changes have been made at the club in recent months.
Improvements are still required and Emery knows it.
For this run of results to continue, they need to start taking more control, starting against Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night.
Fans have started singing ‘We’ve got our Arsenal back’ during the recent strong form
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