Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Why Arsenal’s goalscoring bubble could be about to burst

Bukayo Saka, Arsenal, 2023/24

Since the turn of the year, Arsenal have almost been perfect.

Their first match of 2024 was an FA Cup clash with Liverpool at the Emirates, a game they lost 2-0. Since then, however, they have won seven on the bounce in the Premier League and they’ve shown a ruthless side that Mikel Arteta’s men had previously lacked.

The 1-0 loss to Porto in the Champions League didn’t derail them either. They followed that loss up with emphatic victories over Newcastle United and Sheffield United to remain firmly in the title race.

Arsenal have been rampant. The Gunners have been relentless. Defending on results this weekend, they could find themselves top of the Premier League this weekend with just 10 games to play.

But how sustainable is this form? It is form or is this now the norm for Arteta’s men?

The numbers don’t necessarily support the idea that this is something the Gunners can maintain over the long-term.

In the Premier League, over the past seven matches, Arsenal have scored a total of 31 goals. They are averaging an outrageous 4.4 goals per game. The underlying numbers aren’t quite as outrageous, though they are still ridiculous. Across these seven matches, Arsenal have racked up and Expected Goals total of 19, which is 2.7 per game.

While still impressive, you can’t, and shouldn’t, overlook the fact that it is an overpeformance of +12. Another thing to consider here is that prior to this run, Arsenal had netted 37 goals across 20 matches. They’re now on 68 goals from 27 matches meaning 45% of their haul for the 2023/24 campaign have arrived in the past seven matches. Do you realise how absurd that is?

Most models now have them overperforming their Expected Goals for the season by +8.5 now. This figure is easily the highest in the Premier League and the next best on the list is Spurs with 5.4.

While a lot of teams outperform their defensive numbers, it is rare to see a team outperforming their offensive numbers so significantly with almost a third of the season to go.

Martin Odegaard, Arsenal
© IMAGO – Martin Odegaard, Arsenal

At some point it is going to slow down.

It has to.

For added context here, the Gunners are the most in-form team in the league. They’re the only team with a 100% record over the past five matches, though City have claimed 13 points and both Aston Villa and Liverpool are on 12. However, the Gunners have scored 24 while conceding just two in this periods, giving them a goal difference of +22. No other team has a positive goal difference into double figures and the next best on the list is Villa with +8.

This alone highlights just how hot Arsenal are running right now and why it just can’t be sustainable. They have some tricky matches on the horizon with a trip to the Etihad just around the corner as well as a visit from Aston Villa to the Emirates and a North London derby not long after. If they manage to get through that while posting equally impressive numbers, they’re probably going to claim the title. If they don’t, it shouldn’t take anything away from this run of form. But people need to stop getting carried away for now.

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