The surprising stat that shows how much Mikel Arteta has improved Arsenal’s defence
Arsenal make it 8 unbeaten
Following three successive defeats to begin the season, it seemed as though Mikel Arteta’s time in charge of the Gunners was reaching its end.
However, the club have since gone eight games unbeaten, most recently knocking Leeds United out of the Carabao Cup by virtue of a 2-0 scoreline in the fourth round.
Into the quarter-finals! ✊
🔴 2-0 🔵 (FT)#CarabaoCup pic.twitter.com/Cv2Y74IqC4
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 26, 2021
While onlookers will point out that they have not set the Premier League ablaze with their quality of football in these games, they have nonetheless got the job done, something that previous Arsenal sides have failed to do.
Arsenal boast best defence
Surprisingly, as per The Athletic, Arsenal now boasts the joint best defensive record in all competitions across the past 20 games. As per the graphic (shown below) produced by Mark Carey, the Gunners have conceded just 18 goals in that time, which includes nine shipped in a three-game period at the beginning of the season.
🔺 Only one clean sheet in past 20 games in all comps
🔺 Not kept one at Old Trafford since April 15 vs Granada
🔺 Disjointed press – far too easy for opponents to play through
🔺 Harry Maguire out of sorts – less front-foot defending, fewer aerial duels
— The Athletic UK (@TheAthleticUK) October 28, 2021
More impressively for a side renowned for conceding goals, Mikel Arteta’s side have managed ten clean sheets in that time too, the joint-most with Liverpool, although the Merseyside outfit have conceded two fewer goals overall.
This is one more clean sheet than renowned defensive unit Chelsea have managed, despite Tuchel’s side only conceding 12 goals, a league best. It is, of course, worth mentioning that Arsenal have not had European football to skew this data, either in their favour (in the Europa League) or out of it (in the harder Champions League).
Nevertheless, it is an impressive return for a side that always seems to offer opponents a chance, suggesting perhaps that Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are beginning to turn a corner. As Chelsea prove, good defences can get you a long way in football, and if the Gunners can find the right blend in attack too, they may become genuine Champions League place challengers this season.