With the Premier League season over it is time to look back at the season that was.
This will be the start of several pieces that look at how Arsenal performed this season. It will also be the last of the monthly posts for now looking at how the team performed compared to my preseason expectations.
Arsenal ended with 69 points (#NICE), which is 1.81 points per match. This was two points short of 4th place but enough to finish 5th.
The points pace fell off a bit at the end and that is what ended up being the difference between 4th and 5th place.
All three of Arsenal's expected goals-based statistics are at or above the top 6 levels for the season, with even better numbers over the last three months.
xG For: Target 1.54 or better, Season: 1.59, Last 10: 1.66
xG Against: Target 1.25 or better, Season: 1.18, Last 10: 0.99
xG Difference: Target 0.3 or better, Season: 0.41, Last 10: 0.67
Shots For: Target 10.5 or better, Season: 11.6, Last 10: 12.1
Shots Against: Target 8.2 or better, Season: 8.3, Last 10: 7.2
Shot Difference: Target 2.3 or better, Season: 3.3, Last 10: 4.9
Deep Completions For: Target 20.5 or better, Season: 20.6, Last 10: 20.2
Deep Completions Against: Target 17.9 or better, Season: 15.0, Last 10: 12.2
Deep Completion Difference: Target 3.6 or better, Season: 5.6, Last 10: 8.0
Field Tilt: Target 54% or better, Season: 57.6%, Last 10: 60.1%
I would say that this has been a successful season for Arsenal. I know a lot of people changed what they hoped for as top four looked more and more likely but I still was more focused on how the team performed more than anything else.
Based on performances I think that this was a team that was just on the edge of a true "top 4" challenge looking much closer to the typical 5th or 6th place team. Yes the points total ended up getting Arsenal close but there was a bit of good fortune in those with Arsenal looking like a team closer to 64 points rather than 69 points.
It may not feel like it but this does seem like a season with improvement and a team that looks set to build on this foundation and mount a challenge on the top four next season.
Overall I think Arsenal finished roughly where they were "supposed" to. The expectations for next season will be raised and while the team looks set for a natural progression it will still be a tough challenge as the teams Arsenal are up against aren't going to stand still either.