Did Cech make an impact in his first Premier League season at Arsenal?

Petr Cech is undoubtedly one of the finest goalkeepers to grace the game. The Czech Republic international already boasts the record for all-time Premier League clean sheets and has just swooped the golden glove for the 2015/16 season. Lewis Addley investigates how much of an impact the former Chelsea man has made at Arsenal…

Arsenal fans were filled with euphoria when the news broke that they had signed Petr Cech from London rivals Chelsea ahead of the 2015/16 Premier League season. Cech kept 162 clean sheets in 333 games in his 11 Premier League seasons at Chelsea – an average of 0.48 per game, almost one clean sheet every two games.

Now first choice at Arsenal, Cech kept 16 clean sheets in his 34 appearances in his league debut season, enough to win him the golden glove and record an average of 0.47 per game, again very close to one clean sheet in every two appearances. With these stats in mind it is evident of the presence and consistency Cech brings to a side regardless of the defence in front of him.

Embed from Getty Images

Arsenal finished the 2015/16 Premier League runners-up, one place better off than their 2014/15 finish of 3rd. So lets have a look at how their league performances differ between the two seasons.

Arsenal season comparison

Arsenal’s 14/15 and 15/16 Premier League seasons compared

Arsenal won more games, drew less, scored more goals, had a better goal difference and tallied more points in the 14/15 Premier League season but finished third. It is worth mentioning that a direct comparison won’t give completely accurate readings on position in the table as no two Premier League campaigns are the same.

In the 15/16 season Arsenal drew more games, lost the same amount, scored less, conceded the same number, had a worse goal difference and tallied less points. But with all these statistics compared, the one factor which matters most is the final position of the club come the end of the season. So in Cech’s first season at the club, Arsenal finished higher in the table.

Embed from Getty Images

Here’s how Cech shapes up against Arsenal’s goalkeepers from 14/15 and his teammate David Ospina who featured four times in 15/16 in his absence.

Arsenal 'keepers compared

Arsenal Premier League ‘keepers stats 14/15 and 15/16 compared 

In the 2014/15 campaign Arsenal used three goalkeepers, David Ospina, Wojciech Szczesny and Emiliano Martinez. The three made 39 appearances between them (*note one game more than regulation due to substitution meaning two ‘keepers featuring in one game).

Embed from Getty Images

The key statistic to look at in the comparison is clean sheets. In the 15/16 campaign Cech made more clean sheets alone than the ‘keepers in 14/15, more saves, more saves-per-goal and more punches, all of which came in four appearances less.

Now it does have to be mentioned if Cech had played all 38 games he could have conceded four more goals at his rate of 1.09 goals conceded per game – but by this rule of average he would have conceded 35, still one less than the Arsenal ‘keepers of 14/15.

Cech and Ospina combined in 15/16 bettered the three ‘keepers of 14/15 in every department apart from catches. This arguably shows the positive impact Cech made on his teammates and provides further statistics of the impact he made in his first Premier League season with the Gunners.

While Cech and his teammates were unsuccessful in delivering silverware this campaign compared to Arsenal’s previous two seasons, he looks set to be part of the squad in the long-term and his experience of consistently winning trophies can surely only have a positive impact on the club.

Has Cech made a positive impact for Arsenal? Could he be key to Arsenal winning the Premier League?

Advertisements

Aston Villa officially relegated for first time in 28 years

Aston Villa’s long-awaited relegation has been officially confirmed following the club’s 1-0 loss to Manchester United today, ending a run of 28 consecutive seasons in English football’s top flight.

The Villains have been simply dreadful this season with major struggles on and off the field confining them to their worst season in their 141-year history.

Manchester United youngster Marcus Rashford may have scored the goal that confirmed Villa’s relegation today, but most fans knew they were doomed from December onwards.

Embed from Getty Images

Villa have won just three games all season and are left 15 points adrift of Norwich in 17th place with four games to play. Their performances have been appalling and preparations for life in the Championship next term will now begin.

Interim manager Eric Black is unlikely to be the man in the dugout come August, but whoever takes over will be stepping into one of English football’s most troubled clubs, with major problems left to be addressed throughout the structure of the organisation.

Embed from Getty Images

Black is the team’s fourth manager this season, following on from Tim Sherwood, Kevin MacDonald and Remi Garde, who were all unable to inspire a squad of players who look out of their depth in the Premier League.

Quality first-team players left the club last summer but none were replaced properly. Losing the likes of Ron Vlaar, Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke meant the season was always going to be tough but few could have anticipated just how bad things have been.

Table: Aston Villa have struggled enormously in every aspect this season.

Table: Aston Villa have struggled enormously in every aspect this season.

The Villains are one of only seven English clubs to have played in every Premier League season to this point but that run will now come to an end.

Two other Premier League clubs will join Villa in the Championship next term, with Newcastle, Sunderland and Norwich all battling for their lives at the bottom of the table.

Aston Villa bounced straight back up following their last relegation in 1987, but a repeat of that achievement looks highly unlikely at this stage, with one of English football’s most historic clubs in complete disarray.

Do you think Aston Villa will bounce straight back up to the Premier League next season? 

STATS: Analysing the decline of Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney is a man under the spotlight. The Manchester United captain’s performances so far this season have been below his high standards and pressure is mounting on the attacker.

Some have blamed Louis Van Gaal’s philosophies, others claim he is tired, but one thing for sure is that Rooney is not the threat he should be, nor the one Manchester United need him to be.

At 30, few are expecting him to provide the energy he did five years ago. But they are expecting him to provide the spark this United team has lacked at times this season.

Embed from Getty Images

The all-time leading England goalscorer has netted just two Premier League goals in 12 appearances this term. He has made double figures for league goals in each of his 11 seasons at Old Trafford so far but looks unlikely to do that by May.

He is no longer the lead striker, despite starting the season in his traditional position. Summer signings Memphis Depay and Anthony Martial have been brought in to give the United side some pace but Rooney is failing to create chances, let alone score them.

Table: Wayne Rooney's key Premier League statistics over the past five seasons for Manchester United (via WhoScored)

Table: Wayne Rooney’s key Premier League statistics over the past five seasons for Manchester United (via WhoScored)

The table above shows just how bad a campaign the United skipper is having. He has yet to register an assist in the Premier League this year and has registered fewer shots per game than in any of the previous four seasons.

His attacking output in general is nowhere near as effective as it needs to be. His position on the field will not change the fact that he needs to carry the Red Devils’ attack, especially with youngsters such as Jesse Lingard, Martial and Depay looking to him for inspiration.

Graph: Wayne Rooney's attacking output has dropped considerably over the past five seasons.

Graph: Wayne Rooney’s attacking output has dropped considerably over the past five seasons.

The graph above shows how bad the drop in form has been for Rooney in recent years. He has registered half the number of shots per game this term compared to four years ago and has seen his goal output drop by nearly 80% over the same period.

Calls are being made for Rooney to be dropped by Van Gaal. The Dutch manager substituted his captain after the hour mark in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Leicester and it will be interesting to see how much trust is now going to be placed in the 30-year-old England star.

Manchester United’s title hopes are very much alive. If Rooney can pick back up, those hopes could turn into reality next May.

Why do you think Wayne Rooney is struggling to perform to the levels expected of him this season?

STATS: Chelsea projected to battle relegation based on recent history

Chelsea’s problems so far this season have been documented far and wide. Jose Mourinho is under enormous pressure to turn things around after watching his side lose six of their first 11 games in the Premier League.

The Portuguese manager’s job is under threat, according to multiple reports, and there is little wonder when you look at the fate of other Premier League sides that have started with identical records in recent years.

Five sides have started the season with the same record as Chelsea (W3 D2 L6) over the past four campaigns, with three of those going on to suffer relegation by the end of the season.

Table: The last five sides to start with identical league records to Chelsea after 11 games.

Table: The last five sides to start with identical league records to Chelsea after 11 games.

West Bromwich Albion managed to turn their season around despite a poor start in the 2011/12 season as they ended up finishing 10th with 47 points unde Roy Hodgson’s guidance.

However, Wolves struggled badly after an identical start, going on to finish bottom of the table and suffering relegation to the Championship.

Wigan (2012/13) and Norwich (2013/14) also suffered relegation after picking up 11 points from 11 games and so using the word crisis to describe Chelsea’s start is hardly an overreaction.

Table: Finishing position of last five sides to start season with same record as Chelsea

Table: Finishing position of last five sides to start season with same record as Chelsea.

Using these statistics as a guide, it appears as though Chelsea’s problems will only worsen.

Although that’s not accounting for the fact that they’ve got a squad of elite professionals, many of whom lifted the title just six months ago.

Table: Chelsea's projected league finish based on recent history of sides with same starting record.

Table: Chelsea’s projected league finish based on recent history of sides with same starting record.

As the projection above shows, Chelsea look set to end the year in a relegation battle. That’s based on the last five teams’ finishes after starting with the same 11-point record through 11 games.

Finishing on that projected 36-point tally would be Chelsea’s lowest amount accrued in the Premier League era. The last time they picked up fewer points was back in the Football League First Division in the 1978/79 season (20).

Mourinho is in the middle of the biggest challenge of his managerial career and the spotlight is fully fixed on the Blues.

Their next Premier League game comes away at Stoke. Chelsea were eliminated from the League Cup last Wednesday after losing on penalties away at Stoke and so it’s difficult to see them picking up three points.

2015/16 Premier League Predictions: Winners, losers and everything between

The 2015/16 Barclays Premier League season is just a couple of days away as one of the most hotly anticipated days in the football calendar edges ever closer. But for those looking past the opening round of fixtures, there’s another long campaign ahead with drama, thrills and spills guaranteed.

New teams, managers and players have arrived ahead of what looks set to be a close-run season at either end of the table, with sides strengthening across the division over the course of the summer.

The Premier League is almost impossible to predict, but we’re going to have a go anyway because who doesn’t like to sit back at the end of the season and think: ‘Wow. I didn’t see that coming.’

Will Chelsea retain their title? Will Harry Kane manage to replicate his scintillating form from last year? And will Sunderland ever go down? Read on to find out what our editor, Louis East is predicting for the 2015/16 Premier League campaign:

Title winners: Chelsea

Chelsea fully deserved their success last season as they ended up winning the title by eight points, despite a relatively poor end to the campaign by Jose Mourinho’s high standards. They may not have changed too much over the summer, but they didn’t need to. They were easily the best side in the country last time out and should be too strong once more, although they can expect to be pushed right to the end by Manchester City, Arsenal and possibly Manchester United.

Embed from Getty Images

Relegated:  Norwich, Watford & Leicester

Always difficult predicting who will go down before a ball has even been kicked, but three teams have to be selected here. It’s easy to go with all three promoted sides but I’m expecting Bournemouth to hold their own in the top flight and so I think Leicester City will join Watford and Norwich in falling through the trapdoor. Without Nigel Pearson, the Foxes were doomed last year. Now he’s gone, it’s hard to see them staying up. Sunderland are always lingering near the danger zone but Dick Advocaat looked to turn things around and they should survive yet again.

Player of the season: Wayne Rooney

Eden Hazard lit the Premier League up last term but hasn’t looked as sharp so far in preseason and Wayne Rooney’s opportunity to play as the lone striker should see him pick up his first Player of the Year award since the 2009-10 season. He played as a striker that year, netting 26 times, and the England captain should find himself at the heart of everything United do going forward this year as they look to be serious title contenders once more.

Embed from Getty Images

Best young player: Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling’s controversial move from Liverpool to Manchester City has seen the player attract plenty of criticism from those in and around football, but his quality cannot be questioned. Still just 20, Sterling has the opportunity to kick on and develop further at City and will look to record his best season yet under Manuel Pellegrini this year.

Golden Boot: Harry Kane

Few could have predicted what Harry Kane went on to achieve during the 2014/15 campaign but the young Spurs forward ended the year with 21 league goals and didn’t even establish himself as a first-team regular until October. He now has a full season to shine and should better his goal tally. Many are predicting his performances will dip, but he only seemed to improve last year and will be a better player from his experiences.

Embed from Getty Images

Surprise package: AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth won the Championship in fine style last year, scoring more goals than anyone else with the second best defence in the league. The jump to the Premier League is a big one but there is a sense of real optimism around the club that they can hold their own in the top flight. Eddie Howe is a great young coach and should guide his team well clear of relegation as they look to be this season’s surprise package.

Shock of the season: Brendan Rodgers first to be sacked

Life as Liverpool manager has been tough for Brendan Rodgers. After narrowly missing out on Premier League glory in the 2013/14 season, the Reds dropped down to end last year in sixth, with that final day 6-1 defeat to Stoke one the fans were left devastated by. They start this season at the Britannia but Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling have gone and will leave Rodgers with further problems to fix. A flurry of new signings have arrived again but Rodgers might not have long enough to get them to gel this time around with pressure mounting rapidly.

Embed from Getty Images

Signing of the season: Dimitri Payet

It was tough to neglect Petr Cech here as the goalkeeper will make Arsenal a much better side, but overall I think Dimitri Payet will prove more important to West Ham than Cech will to Arsenal this year. Payet arrives at the Hammers from Marseille off the back of a stellar season in France as he picked up 17 assists with seven goals in 36 league games. Only Lionel Messi made more successful through-balls in Europe’s top five leagues than Payet and he should ensure West Ham have a year to remember in what will be their last at the Boleyn Ground.

Embed from Getty Images

Manager of the year: Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes has done a fine job with Stoke since taking over from Tony Pulis two years ago and doesn’t always receive the praise he deserves. Another fine summer of transfer business has seen the Potters strengthen with the likes of Glen Johnson, Marko Van Ginkel and Ibrahim Afellay arriving. Add that to the fact that Bojan will be back fighting and Hughes should have a Stoke side capable of replicating the stunning performance of Southampton last year.

What are your predictions for the 2015/16 Premier League season?