While Arsenal are in a slight upturn in form (scoring 8 goals in only 3 games, conceding just 1 in the process), and the international break is upon us, it would appear to be the ideal time to take stock of the 2017/18 season.
One of the statistics that is most glaring, from an Arsenal perspective, is that no Arsenal players have been sent off this season, after thirty games. This is astonishing, considering Arsenal have received around 3.6 red cards per season for the last five years.
Even with the inclusion of apparent wildcard Granit Xhaka (who has been ever-present in the league for the Gunners this season), and allegedly poor-quality defenders, Arsenal have managed to elude being trimmed to ten men in any match this season.
This could suggest that the side has a rich sense of discipline instilled within it from Wenger, or the senior players. However, the stats suggests that there could be a more fundamental reason as to why Arsenal players haven’t been seeing red.
More Passion Needed?
Arsenal, on average, have been making only 16.6 tackles per game, ranking them 11th in the table for challenges. This can demonstrate the apparent lack of effort that Arsenal fans have been seeing in the players. While they may outplay their opponents on a good day, the passion and tackles are not flying in on the bad days.
This is not to say that tackles are the only way to defend. Despite putting in so few tackles, Arsenal have faced only 10.7 shots per game this year, ranking them 5th. This shows that they are doing something right, but compare that to Liverpool. A team ridiculed for having a lax defence, the Reds have only faced 7.5 shots per game this year.
Same Old Arsenal
Similarly, Arsenal have been weak up front. Only having an average of 15.8 shots per game this year, ranking them 6th. This has a huge bearing on why Arsenal are currently languishing in sixth, as they are not creating enough shooting opportunities.
However, Arsenal, in true fashion, are ranked 4th in the number of shots on target per game. This shows that while Arsenal have decreased in their aggressive nature in defence, their attack is still reliant on patient build-up play and carving out perfect scoring opportunities.
This could all explain why Arsenal are suffering so much in the league this season. A lack of aggression at the front and back of the team is what is preventing the club from league success this year.
However, players like Aaron Ramsey (highest combined goal and assist scorer alongside Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette with 12), Jack Wilshere and Henrikh Mkhitaryan could change that, and Wenger will be hoping to change that by next season.
These sorts of midfielders can be the facilitators of counter attacks in the side, and instil some passionate play in the big games. Hopefully they will avoid injury, to go hell for leather for the club they love.