# Is there a link between possession and shots? An Untold Analysis.

By Walter Broeckx

To pass the time a bit I go on my search to see if football is something that can be spelled as a+b=c.

In trying to find patterns I have looked this time into the shots and possession. The most logical thing would be that the more possession you have the more shots you can take on goal.

It will be also a good way to see if the feeling some of us have about Arsenal not shooting enough at goal is correct. And finally we will see if this leads to any accuracy. Because shooting at goal is fine but when you miss the target by a mile you can better wait and pass the ball until you find someone in a better position

So I put the teams in a table and put them in order with the average shots per game they had and then put the % of possession next to it and also gave the ranking in the possession table to see if there is any truth in those things.

 Rank shots Team Shots per game Possession Rank possession League position 1 Chelsea 15 58% 2 2 2 Arsenal 13 60% 1 4 3 Manchester United 12 56% 3 1 4 Tottenham 12 53% 5 5 5 West Bromwich 12 48% 15 11 6 Liverpool 11 52% 6 6 7 Fulham 11 50% 7 8 8 Bolton 11 46% 17 14 9 Everton 11 50% 8 7 10 West Ham 11 44% 18 20 11 Manchester City 10 53% 4 3 12 Aston Villa 10 48% 13 9 13 Newcastle 10 50% 9 12 14 Wigan 10 50% 10 16 15 Sunderland 10 48% 14 10 16 Blackpool 10 49% 12 19 17 Stoke 9 38% 20 13 18 Blackburn 9 41% 19 14 19 Wolverhampton 9 50% 11 17 20 Birmingham 8 47% 16 18 Average/game all 10,7 49,55% Poss/shot= 4,63%

Let me start by saying that Arsenal are the team that has taken the second most shots on goal. We take on average some 13 shots per game and only Chelsea does better with 15 shots.

A few strange results in this table. Like WBA who shoot a lot from not that much possession. West Ham who finish halfway the table with shots per game but very low on possession and of course in the most important table: the league table on points.

And also I want to mention Manchester City with a lot of possession but not that many shots on goal at first sight. In a way one could say that they have been the most effective of them all when it comes to shooting.

So in numbers we aren’t doing that bad in fact. But how is this compared to our % of possession? Let us try to find out. If we take the formula that for every 4,63% of possession you have one shot on goal per game we can see how each team performed compared to the average. And then we get this table. And in this table I worked in some case up to 2 decimals because otherwise you would see a lot of zero’s in the table.

 Rank shots Team Shots /game Possession Expected shots +/- 1 Chelsea 15 58% 12,52 2,48 2 Arsenal 13 60% 12,96 0,04 3 Manchester United 12 56% 12,09 -0,09 4 Tottenham 12 53% 11,45 0,55 5 West Bromwich 12 48% 10,37 1,63 6 Liverpool 11 52% 11,23 -0,23 7 Fulham 11 50% 10,80 0,20 8 Bolton 11 46% 9,93 1,07 9 Everton 11 50% 10,80 0,20 10 West Ham 11 44% 9,50 1,50 11 Manchester City 10 53% 11,45 -1,45 12 Aston Villa 10 48% 10,37 -0,37 13 Newcastle 10 50% 10,80 -0,80 14 Wigan 10 50% 10,80 -0,80 15 Sunderland 10 48% 10,37 -0,37 16 Blackpool 10 49% 10,58 -0,58 17 Stoke 9 38% 8,21 0,79 18 Blackburn 9 41% 8,85 0,15 19 Wolverhampton 9 50% 10,80 -1,80 20 Birmingham 8 47% 10,15 -2,15

And then we can see that for Arsenal the average expected shots on goal when you look at the possession is almost just as could be expected. We have the smallest difference of all teams if you compare possession with shots on goal.

But there are some teams that really have a different number. You can see that Chelsea has taken almost 2,5 shots more on goal than could be expected. Did it help them to win anything? No it didn’t.

Another team that has made a lot more shots on goal than one could expect from their possession is West Bromwich Albion. Well it got them to a safe place in the league. But this isn’t the case for the team that has also a much higher shots on goal ratio than could be expected: West Ham. It didn’t help them in anyway.

But we also have a few teams that are shooting less than could expected. Manchester City shoots less than could be expected but it got them to 3rd place. And Wolverhampton is also a team that has few shots on goal compared to possession and they just could avoid relegation.

And then we have the team with the fewest shots on goal this season, Birmingham. They also underperform compared to their possession the most of all teams. So going down is not a big surprise maybe?

So should Arsenal shoot more on goal? Well I wouldn’t mind in fact but will it have a bigger chance of silverware? If one can believe the statistics of Chelsea it will  not really help them. I think it is more to knowing when to shoot in fact. If you look at the numbers of United who became champions they have the second smallest difference between shots on goal and possession.

And remember Arsenal had more shots on goal than United. So I don’t think shooting is the problem. It is more down to the quality of the shooting. But I couldn’t find a table yet where they keep numbers of the quality of shots.

Untold – the index

### 44 comments to Is there a link between possession and shots? An Untold Analysis.

• Dark Prince

What a dumb analysis i say. Jus bcoz Chelsea shoots more times than us and didn’t win anything doesn’t mean there isn’t any trend. Its sad to see that you’re tryin to find a trend without even lookin at the same statistics for last 7-8yrs.

Jus tell me, which team had the most number of shots last season? Wasn’t it Chelsea? N didn’t they win the double last season?

Also who won the year before?? Wasn’t it ManU who probably had the most number of shots thanks to Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez??

Pls Walter, if you want to prove or disapprove a trend, show the analysis of atleast 7-8 yrs. An analysis of one year cant be used to prove a trend.

• bob

@Walter: I feel what we lack enough of is quality, not quantity – the elusive “clinicality” that say, Eduardo, Tevez, RvP, possess. To me, Accuracy wins – whether its too few or many chances. Taking more shots or fewer shots might play a role, but not necessarily; and to me this pales by comparison to having clinical players. I don’t think top-flight clinicality is teachable; I think it’s in large part instinctive, and comes down to good scouting and the occasional cash-splash to get it when we see it. And then it’s not enough to have one striker in a very long season with a track record of injury to be that spearhead. It’s not that hard at the top to defense a single striker, especially by parking the bus. There were SO MANY misses from close range this season by Theo, Nick, Arshavin (who once was clinical, when in position), Chamakh (second half), Nasri (yes, second half), etc. etc. Do a statistical count if you must find the quantitative needle in the haystack and see how many near misses there were and by whom. My “magic bullet” is make clinical finishing priority number one and go to a two-striker formation where both clinicians ply their trade and, if one gets injured (like RvP!), at least there’s another. Admittedly, the consistent predator-clinician is not easy to find – but that’s the point: find him and get him, to maximize whatever secret budget is at hand or not. We need two of them up front. And it’s demonstrated clinical quality, not quantity of shots or possession that will score goals in my opinion. Otherwise, and I hate the term (but it stings), we have profligacy. The number of near misses and good opportunities soaring way over the goal is really – should you decide to make counts as you review the games on video – will drive you to drink, I promise.

• bob

p.s. let me add, for the count, the profligacy by the backs who come up with brilliant runs and kick the ball into the next time zone – chronically.

• bob

p.p.s. and, speaking of those backs, we need backs who are adept and brilliant service/crossing to clinical finishers. Obvious? Perhaps. But this combination is imperative, and the rest is statistics. Good scouting and a good academy and a ruthless approach to shedding anything less will bring trophies and scintillating football. Quality in, quantity out. What good is possession time when the finishing close-in, especially at key moments, is so uneven (to be polite).

• Jerry

I feel taking more shots will not help our team. It’s the quality of the shots that matter. I think we need more poacher/bulldog types that get themselves in good positions to finish. Outside of Van Persie, I don’t see a reliable out and out scorer every game they’re in.

For instance, Arsenal scored 72 goals in 38 league games, which amounts to about 494 shots (13 shots per game).

Arsenal’s Finishing 72/494 = 14.57% of our shots went in.

Manchester United’s finishing was 78/456 = 17.10%,

Chelsea – 69/570 = 12.11% (I’m sure Torres helped 🙂 ,

Manchester City – 60/380 = 15.78%

At first glance, goals per shots taken are not significantly different compared to the other top 4 teams. But we must consider a couple things:

1) Now if we shot at Manchester City’s percentage, that’s 5 more goals on the season (77) or at Manchester United’s percentage that’s 12 more goals (84). That could of been the difference between many of the games we lost/tied, especially at home. Granted Chelsea is worse off in goals/shots than we were, but they make up for it with better defense in the league only 33 goals against compared to our 43)

• walter

Dark Prince, I didn’t have the ambition to prove a trend. Just me and myself playing with the numbers.

I just wanted to show how this season went. But maybe I could try to look at a few more seasons if the numbers are available and sadly for the moment I can only have the possession of the last two seasons. 🙁

But one thing I could prove is that Arsenal in fact at the team that takes the second most shots of any team in the league. But the quality has let us down at times. In fact the same goes for Chelsea.

But are their any statistics on the quality of a shot? What is “a quality shot”? A shot between on goal one could suggest. But a shot straight at the keeper in the middle of the goal is this a quality shot? I would say a shot just near the goal post is a bit more of a quality shot as I think (not backed up by any statistic – just my own feelings) they end up more in goals than the ones in the middle of the goal and straight at the keeper. Unless the keeper is Gomez. 😉

• bob

@Walter: are statistics the only measure of speaking about the quality of a shot. No. So, you don’t need be to mention that there must be room for interpretation and interpretation that ferrets out its nuggets of truth, that don’t depend on 7 seasons of numbers. That said, Jerry provided some statistics and I provided a quality/clinicality/profligacy analysis that reached the same conclusion – quality of shooter and shot. We need another (more than one) poacher/bully/clinician up front. Do you concur – on a statistical basis or not – or at least perceive that there is a need for that player (a) to complement RvP and (b) they type of D-backs that can reliably service/cross to clinical strikers. How about stepping aside for the moment from sample size and the massive number-crunching demands of Dark Prince (that can only result in silence, or delay before he allows anything to have meaning) and engage Jerry and I in our convergent views.

• bob

p.s. My typing confused the point: you don’t need me to validate the value of experience and the value of qualitative insight in diagnosing Arsenal’s strengths, weaknesses and potential going forward. Jerry uses stats; I use observations of many wasted shots; and together we argue for a striker of quality to join RvP. Whatever DP is about on this, there is a point being posed here that values your insight. And I think we have to agree that there is analysis to be made that does not get bullied with massive number crunching or be silent. That silence would be dumb. As for DP, besides nastily shooting down Walter’s analysis, how about ONCE putting in some quantitative work of your own and add to the discussion with substance, instead of being a “spirit sniper” who shoots toxic darts at anyone’s honest trial balloons to further enlightened discussion. Between now and UR, your quantitatively correct oasis of reason and meaning to be, perhaps?, there is something to be said and contributions to be made – that you could make – whether quantitative or qualitative or both, that don’t need the <>> sniping that you do so well, but to what avail? Between now and the seven years of statistics demand, do you have any substantive analysis on what is to be done going forward into next season on either the player front or on the fair-play on the pitch front? Call it a working hypothesis, a considered opinion, a tentative analysis, and I won’t call it “dumb”. That really rankles.

• bob

p.s. sorry: what was meant above was: “content-free” sniping (attributed to Dark Prince’s approach)

• bjtgooner

Again an interesting article Walter. It seems that we have very adequate possession and develop this into a sufficient number of shots. However, just as I feel we need to use your excellent referee match reports to further the cause of fair play, this type of statistic could be beneficially used in preparation for next season.

On many occasions our players could shoot but don’t – they miss the moment and pass the ball instead or, as Bob rightly points out – they miss the target even from close range.

I’m not sure of the full training regime used by Arsenal, but after the end of normal training the players should have additional shooting practice and further drills in set piece defence and attack. It is obvious we need to prevent set piece goals – but e.g. we gain many corners and yet we rarely score from them. This is not good enough. Extra training every day until these areas improve!

• Jerry

I agree that there should be another poacher/bully/clinician up front also with RVP or atleast capable of coming up from midfield. However, I think our best investment would be a complete upgrade in our fitness team since finding one of those players is very difficult. For instance, RVP only started 19 premier league, and subbed 6 other times. He scored 18 goals on 97 shots (18.56% goals/shots) and he didn’t start half our PL games due to injury/fitness! Chamakh started 18 premier league games and subbed 11 times, scoring 7 goals on 52 shots (13.46%), but he was tired towards the 2nd half of the season, but he always did seem to get himself in good positions, just couldn’t finish. I think with a little more work and fitness he can be that person for us. It would be great if we can find a clinical poacher in the market, but I haven’t heard of any available at a decent price range.

• Dark Prince

@bob- hmmmm…atleast i can try to give some insight to something that Arsenal should look forward too next season. I’ll write an article about it for Untold.

• bob

@Dark Prince: I would really welcome that!

• bob

@Jerry: Let’s say there was a spendable 25-40 million euros (based on sales, loans and the secret purported war chest). I think you and I and djtgooner have provided the rationale for it. Do you (others) think that spending it on a striker/db combo, in whatever proportion would be affordable? would it exert at upward pressure for demands by the rest of the team? and, on the last point, would that matter? wouldn’t winning take care of others (bonuses? trophies) down the road, so that a majority of the players would see their own interests served as well? If we con’t assemble this amount on hand through all money streams, my god we’re in much more trouble than I, for one, ever imagined…

• bob

@Jerry: where do you find the goals/shots statistics? I think that could potentially shed a lot of light on what’s needed, what’s to be done – a welcome piece of the puzzle. Cheers!

• Jerry

@bob, I think it would be affordable, but I would rather spend closer to 25 million for another db/striker/ and possibly another squad player. I take pride in the fact that our team doesn’t spend excessively like other teams. I trust Wenger to find the right players, he has already said he wants taller players, and I like the players Arsenal have been linked with so far. Hopefully 1 or 2 of them come our way. The goals and shots statistics I was able to get from each players individual ESPN pages. They break down the stats by season total and different competitions.

• Jerry

and I pull out the good old calculator to figure out the goals / shots percentage

• menace

good start – Walter. The shots on target are waht you need rather than shots at goal. some shots at goal miss the corner flags !!!!!

• Stevie E

It sometimes seems to me that people on this site make comments about what we need and what should be done as if football at the highest level is a very simple thing to do. You have no idea how hard it is to score when you have the worlds best defenders and keepers trying to stop you. All this talk about being clinical is total bollocks, sorry but to say somebody needs to be more clinical is just regergitating the nonsense that press spew out to make their shite stories sound intelligent. I expect better from some people on here. If all shots on goal went in what’s the point of keepers and defenders? If you want 80-70 scores, go watch basketball, football matches can end 0-0 cos all the teams in the epl have the best players in the world, that includes the best defenders and keepers. You same people who call for our strikers to be more clinical also expect our defenders to stop other teams scoring against us. Do you really expect 8-0 every game? Get a grip, this ain’t pro evo on easy.

• bob

@Jerry: I think if it were my money it would be situational: I’d be looking for the player with the most clinical track record first, and negotiate the best deal money-wise that I could. With what’s left I’d see what I could get. But that striker would be the cornerstone, and the rest – DB, another squad player in that order of priority. Anyway, that’s me and just an exercise. But I feel the need for the second clinical striker is that crucial to our success next season.

• bob

@Stevie E: The Arsenal TV commentators who LOVE the team as well, and who watch, announce and analyze match after match along with very loyal former players as their color analysts constantly and objectively indicate that are strike force is not clinical enough. This is not about taking a cheap shot. It may be naive in a sense or two, but not out of some petulant or demanding way. I have seen what’s described all season long with my own eyes as well – not through the media lens crafters, and I don’t at all identify with what you describe. Is it not at least possible, that what’s been described here as lacking does have a kernel of truth that we need better technique around the goal (as specified in the posts above)? No need to go off; this round posts are from people who care and are trying to sort out the possibilities – and, if I could add, quite able to separate themselves from the press hatred of our side. Being friendly to each other is a better way ahead and invites thinking and accepting criticism, rather than getting a blast of (understandable, but misdirected) anger.

• Jerry

@StevieE, if you looked at what I posted, I’m asking for a goals / shots percentage that is 1 – 3% higher than what Arsenal is currently shooting at. The way Arsenal play is a possessive attacking style, but the only player with a really good goals / shots percentage is RVP. No one is talking 8 – 0 wins, I mentioned 5 – 12 more goals FOR THE WHOLE SEASON if we scored at a higher goals / shots % like the 2 manchester teams ahead of us. We didn’t have RVP for half of our PL games, which caused our percentage to decrease.Now do you actually have any input as to our goal/shots or possession, or you going to just continue sounding like a know it all by criticizing other commentators but adding nothing to the conversation at the same time.

• Stevie E

@bob – if its not clinical enough, I hear we’re don’t shoot enough or we can’t defend set pieces or some other reiterated, regurgitated, repeated nonsensical rubbish.
Nobody here knows what happens in training, what attacking drills, defensive drills, set piece training etc etc goes on, yet all feel educated to talk about technique in front of goal when they personally have absolutely no experience of this. Even you, the voice of reason, have to admit its bollocks! If anyone here, sitting in front of their computer/phone/tablet has premier league experience, either as a coach or player, please speak up. Because I for one couldn’t tie bendtners laces so wouldn’t slate him for missing a “gilt edged” chance or for not scoring that ever so simple “tap in”. If it were that easy, we’d all be doing it. I just feel a bit of respect needs to be shown to those who can from those who can’t but wish they could.

• Stevie E

@jerry – sorry for not replying to you sooner, I was just forwarding your insightful and invaluable comments to AW. I did simplify it though in case he got confused… Dear Mr Wenger, please please please can you ask our players to score more goals next season cos I think we’ll win more games that way. Thank you, Jerry… Whilst you may think what you’re saying is really deep and clever, in reality you’re stating the obvious.

• bjtgooner

@ StevieE

It is perfectly valid to use the term “clinical” to describe the success or otherwise of a goalscorer. We see players put away half chances – clinical finish. Such a finish may have an element of fortune, but a player who can regularily score such goals would be correctly described as “clinical”. Some players have that quality, some don’t.

To return to the stastics; it is a valid objective to score more goals next season and concede fewer. A small percentage change to each could easily win us the league. To concede fewer goals we need to tighten the defence – and there are probably many adjustments that need to be made to achieve this; to score more we need to increase the number of shots on target i.e. we could shoot more often or we could shoot more accurately and become more “clinical”.

• Stevie E

@bjtgooner – do we need a clinical finisher, or a prolific striker, or a fox in the box, or a natural scorer… Every team has the same objective, score more and concede fewer. I’m reading nothing here which is doing anything other than stating the obvious. I object to people making obvious statements wrapped up in statistics in an attempt to make themselves feel clever. Its not hard to see that if you score more and concede less you’ll do better. Throwing %’s around doesnt make kicking a ball any easier

• menace

@StevieE I’m not a spring chicken but from where I sit at the Emirates I see players who earn a fortune not able to kick a ball and hit a barn door. That means they are either too stupid or they have not learnt how to shoot. All this crap about world class defenders doesn’t hold water when a ball that is used by schoolboys and schoolgirls is exactly the same that they miss with.

At 30 grand plus a week the prats should not miss and not make the keeper work. My money came with a lot of graft and I do not pay to watch dim footballers who do not practice their trade to warrant their pay cheques.

• bjtgooner

@ Stevie E

You seem unnecessarily beligerent tonight, perhaps early to bed and a good night’s sleep might help.

• Stevie E

@menace – I’m not sure what you’re watching but I’m sure we’re the 2nd higher scorers in the league and have the highest possession, so these prats can kick a ball can’t they? I’m also pretty sure to be a premier league & international footballer takes a lot of graft, that’s why they are the best in the world and get paid accordingly. Not only do they have to work extremely hard, they have to have a natural gift, something very few have. To call them prats just because they don’t quite live up to your own personal expectations contradicts your spring chicken comments, because it is a really childish attitude to have. @bjtgooner, belligerent or not, my comments are not without reason or justification. And, because of your lack of reasoned argument, i will assume you also agree with me.

• bjtgooner

@ Stevie E

It would be very foolish of you to assume anything. From your first post you have been insulting and destructive in your comments. You are the one who has not used logic or reason in any of your posts.

It looks as if something has upset you tonight and you are taking it out on everyone else.

The points made by Walter in his analysis are valid and thought provoking. The analysis deserves a better response than your comments so far.

So calm down. (You are not a troll are you?)

• Jerry

@Stevie E, I’m glad you’re happy we scored the 2nd highest goals for the season. If you actually look at the numbers man u scored 8 more goals with 38 or so LESS shots = more clinical. but hey you’re right, it’s better to just be pissed off at everyone, instead of have a conversation about what’s wrong with shots/ shot selection. And by the way, I know what I’m saying isn’t anything really deep or clever, it’s obvious if you do a little math. Your comments though, everyone feels dumber by reading it.

• Shard

Good work Walter, and you draw the right conclusion as far as I’m concerned. That we need to improve the ‘quality’ of our shots, which should logically lead to more goals.

I don’t know what problem Stevie E had with people talking about a clinical striker. Sure, it’s media speak and as such is a cliche. But it is not used without basis, at least here. Maybe he feels it’s too generic a term, and indeed too generic an objective. Score more goals. There are many ways to improve the goal tally. We probably need to improve our crossing. Switch the direction of play more often. Move the ball quicker. Run at opponents more often even if it results in losing possession etc.. But the number of shots we have taken this season suggests that we are at least creating some decent opportunities to score, but have been unable to score from them as often as could be expected. A new ‘clinical’ (for want of a better word) striker would go a long way to solving that problem.

To look at some statistics from 7amkickoff.com,

656 — Number of shots Arsenal took this season

238 — Number of shots on goal

403 — Number of shots that Arsenal allowed this season

142 — Number of shots on goal

10.98 — Percent of Arsenal’s overall shots which resulted in a goal

10.67 — Percent of Arsenal’s opponents shots which resulted in a goal

12.77 — Percent of Man U’s overall shots which resulted in a goal

8.03 — Percent of Man U’s opponent’s shots which resulted in a goal

Which would suggest that our defense needs some fixing too. That is a tougher thing to do though. How to go about it? Will height fix it? (According to stats on the same site, Stoke concede most goals per free kick in the final third, Arsenal are fourth in that list. ) Working on set plays in training? Maybe we don’t defend them so well because we don’t take set pieces so well?? ie. the defense don’t learn to cope with some good, fast, accurate crosses put in. So maybe ONE way to help the defense is to make the offense better? That said. I think one purchase here will help too. A first choice starter to partner Vermaelen. Koscielny and Djourou to be backups. And Bartley/Squillaci to be 5th choice.

P.S. Did anyone realise that Bendtner started only 3 games in the EPL this season? No wonder he wants to leave.

• Richard B

@Walter. Your analysis is good and it’s probably one that Wenger and his coaching staff do on a regular basis. He is, after all. the supreme ‘numbers’ man. What it doesn’t include, as some have alluded to, is a view on qulity of shooting which may be a function of who is actually doing the shooting and from what distance they are doing it.
Would such an analysis explain West Hams figures – or was their problem mainly at the other end of the pitch? The arrival of Fat Sam has already been summed up by one of their (very nice) owners as the arrival of a more pragmatic approach to grinding out results away from home. In other words playing for 0-0 draws. I can see the time wasting (so beloved of Blackburn Rovers) going down really well with dedicated Hammers fans!
As for WBA – does their high shot to possession ratio explain why there are rumours that Odemwingie might be coming to Arsenal? His goal every other game ratio was quite remarkable within such an ordinary team and you wonder what he would do in a side that produces as many chances to shoot as we do. The difference may, however, be more down to how many defenders that the opposition place between the shooter and his target and how many shots fail to reach the goal as a result.
Of course deflected shots, if they produce a corner, increase a teams period of ‘possession’ and can create the chance for another goal attempt.
On which point it’s worth remembering that, against Barcelona (not typical opposition by any measure) Manure were awarded no corners at all in the CLF and Barcelona always played their corners short with the object of getting the ball into the box, on the ground and preferably at the feet of Messi. Might we think of trying to do that more often using Jack as our dribbler?
One last point – I can’t believe that Wenger would reveal a plan to play taller defenders unless it was either to put others off the scent or, if it was true, not to have already actioned it (Bartley, Miguel, Jenkinson?). He has also stated that it was the defending of set pices that undid us last season – which is as much to do with the defensive capabilties of our attackers as anything else.

• Ugandan Goon

Hi Walter,
I have been away for a while and seem to have missed a lot of good work on your part, as for the comments everything seems more or less the same- except for a couple of new faces and ofcourse the old stalwarts- anne, mandy etc.
i cannot help feeling that the quite a few of our arsechums are struggling to contextualize all the stats or cold facts if you like.
I am struck especially that the comparison of arsenal to everyone in the league somehow misses the real difference which is our football philosophy- can we reasonably expect long ball teams , rugby teams , kicking teams, defensive teams to use possession in the same way? NO
We all saw that despite being labelled one of the best managers in the world and knighted for services to football, sir alex’s two thousand years at united have yielded the sum total of no respectable football philosophy- compared to barcelona whose own change in direction was began roughly over the same period of time.
why or why is it that almost every article written on this site is trailed by remarks that ignore the fact that our football philosophy means that we will keep the ball better, where it all falls down is just that as with we are not yet there, it is the difference between having fabregas at stoke and fabregas at arsenal- so the constant clamour for new player and players who fit a certain mould often misses the fact te sort of additions to the squad will have be players educated to play in a certain way- a name that keeps popping up is cahill of bolton, god give me strength do these people even watch our games, i keep repeating that after our defeat at nou camp, my season ended because i could’nt see much point in winning anything this year because it would paper over the fact that there is a long way to go before we are barcelona.
please arsechums, the injury indexes, the ref reviews are a valuable tool in evaluating our progress- it is not going to be easy but we have to keep faith in our team- they are young, technically sound and are in good hands. We cannot change course mid stream for the sake of a few baubles now and wreck our boat on shores hostile just around the corner.

• Ugandan Goon

oops, spoke too soon.
hi Shard , hi Richard B!

• Shard

@ugandan goon

Lol. Hi.. But to be fair, I feel like I am struggling to contextualize all the stats or cold facts 🙂 But what’s worse is that some people aren’t even trying. There are so many variables that go into forming a team, and looking from outside and trying to figure out problems and ways to fix them is hardly ideal. At best we can put forth guesses. Stats probably help in making those guesses have a more solid foundation, but guesses they remain.

As regards changing course, I always ask people what they mean when they say that it is time Wenger changed his ‘philosophy’. As I see it there is nothing wrong with what i would call the philosophy (A possession based, passing game, and a club founded on self sustainability) But I think there need to be some changes within that philosophy. As I see it, something needs to change, even if as a one-off (if that can be managed) because while the financial constraints exist and are ever present, I think with the way the mood is around the club, the time constraints are the bigger threat. If we get some positive results that should ease, but a ‘sign of intent’ would go a long way in terms of reassuring people, and thus would be a boost to the club too. Otherwise I fear that we may be forced to abandon our path, just before it is going to start bearing fruit.

The UCL Qualifier terrifies me for that reason. If we miss out on that, it won’t be doomsday, but the environment created by a combination of fans and media will make it seem like it. And the truth is that we could miss out on Europe through something like errors and mix-ups, poor performance, or even referees (who I do not trust to do their job fairly anymore). The last is the most terrifying aspect, mainly because it won’t be acknowledged. (We should never have finished 4th in the first place and it is only our fault, would be the argument, which itself ignores the refs contribution)

• bob

@Ugandan Goon: hello, glad your back to weigh in and joust with. I’m a new arsechum and I’m happily saddled with both admiration (like you have) for Walter (who Knows!) and his reports (especially the End of Season series); and perceptions (including my own, not derivative from the craven media) like this: Barca’s brilliance is not only due to its relentless offense (and, yes, Messi’s wizardry, Xavi’s service and other yes, clincalities) but its equally relentless, swarming and collective defense. Both. Your “horror” at changing in mid course, something you rule out as a breach in principle, does not in my reading of your post seem to take into account that a commitment to that kind of defense, going by this season’s performance, would indeed be a change of course. We haven’t had that commitment (or perhaps the players – like the alas, injured Verminator, with both character or skills to execute it) to match our offensive commitment, in my view. Then again, I’m just an arsechum. Ah well, we can’t all swan in from the golden past and find that the arsechums have run amok, the inmates vying to take over the Asylum. And, that said, glad to be an arsechum and that UA practices democracy – a messy (not messi) and brilliant oasis in the sea of media and blogospheric swill.

• bob

@Tony: How about a link to Walter’s End of Season Report – either as a PDF or as a single scrollable page with bookmarks/hyperlinks at the top for Report 1, 2, 3, etc. These were the fruit of the long season and I think it would serve the entire UA community and beyond to have EASY ACCESS to it, as a reference point and touchstone that stays in play, rather than recede into the archives (like the powerful Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark, as I date myself in the process.) It was well-anticipated, has created the important stir and elevated analysis and discussion, whether pro or contra. Is this something you are, might, will consider sorting out?

• bob

p.s. Hopefully others would like that ez-access to the Report and perhaps chime in?

• bob

@Tony: accch, sorry: you do provide links on the UA homepage: I usually go into the UA site via Goonernews and only today actually visited the homepage. Pretty dumb eh? (Guess I really am an arsechum – but still proud to be one.) Anyway, that said, I still think that a PDF bundle of the reports would be great to have. Cheers!

• FunGunner

@ Stevie E

I understand where you’re coming from – you’re objecting to the tone taken by some contrbutors about players and the manager, as if their job is piss-easy and they (the fans) would do it better if they got the chance. You are also right to point to the hard work and dedication which got our players to our club. Fans often claim that they would work harder. But of course they wouldn’t work as hard as the players work every single day whether they are selected or not. If those fans really had the same commitment and focus they would be hugely successful in their own careers. And they are clearly not.
Having said all that, I think you are over-reacting a bit! 🙂

• Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

I remember watching Bergkamp,Henry and Pires shoot on goal when they had a clear opportunity and what impressed me most was their accuracy, especially Henry’s. It is my firm contention that the number of shots on goal says nothing…especially when they are right at the keeper or an easy reach for him to gather in. I also noticed that in almost every game we played against top 4 or midtable or newly promoted teams, there was almost always one consistent event that hurt us….the opposition keeper made some incredible saves which would normally have been sure goals in previous years. I watched Henry pick the in-off-the-post or the impossible to defend top corner shot and Bergkamp was equally accurate. This past season I saw fairly average keepers make dazzling saves against the AFC and I sadly saw Almunia make horrendous,game losing errors on a regular basis….both of the above costing us major points dropped but I also saw Szcesny make great saves that gained us points…did it all equal out in the end…no way!
We DO need another striker like RVP and another CB like Vermaelen but we don’t need any more midfield players. with the likes of Ryo Miyachi, Kyle Bartley and Emmanuel Frimpong trying out for the first team, we can expect some real bench strength next season. IF we get the 2nd RVP and a solid CB, we are in a very strong position to finally win something.

• Anne

@Ugandan Goon:

Good to see you back, man! (if you’re still checking this thread 🙂 ). I was wondering what had happened to you.

@Everyone else:

I’ve posted this before, but I thought I’d come back to it because it seems relevant. So, here you go, from whoateallthepies:

The ‘What The Premier League Table Would Look Like If All Shots That Hit The Post Had Gone In’ Table

POS TEAM POINTS
1 Arsenal 86
2 Chelsea 74
3 ManU 73
4 Liverpool 59