By Walter Broeckx
If we look back at the season so far one could say that we had a turning point in our season. Or maybe even a few turning points in our season. Some caught the eye more than others as we will explain later on in this article.
For me the season really started on December 28. It was the day that Wenger started with Coquelin in the role he was given and since then he went on an amazing run in the team in the league. But not just Coquelin went on an amazing run. No the whole team did.
If we look at the first 18 matches (pre-Coquelin one could say) we had this as results:
18 matches played
Won 8 extrapolated to a whole season would mean 16 wins in total
6 draws extrapolated to a whole season would mean 13 draws in total
4 defeats extrapolated to a whole season would mean 8 defeats in total
32 goals for extrapolated to a whole season would mean 67 goals in total
22 goals against extrapolated to a whole season would mean 46 goals against in total
If we look at the points it would mean a points total of only 61 points at the end of the season.
That was a rather poor start of the season for Arsenal. But we had a few important players missing for very large parts of the early months. Giroud out for 3 months, Özil out for 3 months, Wilshere out for well he still is one could say, Ramsey having a start/stop season with some injuries…. All these things were ignored by the aaa-type fans as they shouted that the world was coming to an end and we never would come good again.
At Untold we said to wait for the injured to return and be patient.
But then came the turning point one could say and let us have a look at the results since the day that Coquelin took his place in the team. We will not look at CL or FA cup results but with Arsenal reaching the Cup final for the second consecutive time we can take it that things are looking rather good at that point.
Arsenal – Chelsea 0-0
Burnley – Arsenal 0-1
Arsenal – Liverpool 4-1
Newcastle – Arsenal 1-2
Arsenal – West Ham 3-0
QPR – Arsenal 1-2
Arsenal – Everton 2-0
Crystal Palace – Arsenal 1-2
Arsenal – Leicester 2-1
Tottenham – Arsenal 2-1
Arsenal – Aston Villa 5-0
Manchester City – Arsenal 0-2
Arsenal – Stoke 3-0
Southampton – Arsenal 2-0
West Ham – Arsenal 1-2
That is 15 matches and in those matches we have been defeated twice and had one draw. And 12 wins.
If we would extrapolate this to a 38 matches we would have a record of 30 matches won, 3 draws and 5 defeats. It would mean a total points of 93 if we could maintain such a form in to a whole season. The invincibles had at the end of their amazing season had a total of 90 points. They had 26 wins and 12 draws by the way.
5 clean sheets in 15 matches extrapolated could mean 12 matches in total over a whole season
Goals for 31 in 15 matches extrapolated could mean 78 goals over a whole season
Goals against in 15 matches extrapolated could mean 25 goals against over a whole season.
In those 15 matches we had 5 clean sheets and only in two matches we couldn’t score a goal.
So what has changed apart from Coquelin? Özil returned to the team in the Stoke match. And I remember someone saying when he got injured in the Chelsea match that we wouldn’t miss Özil that much. I disagreed with that and I think that the fact that Özil came back and we had the emergence of Coquelin almost at the same time changed the complete team. And Ramsey finally coming back and being able to play games in a row. I could even add Ospina in goal who has not been doing too bad in my opinion.
Coquelin added steel and Özil added flair and Ramsey added energy. And that is the combination that you need to have a go at the title: Energy, Flair and Steel. THE combination for any team to win the league.
How would we have done with players who got injured from kicking like Wilshere, Özil and Giroud if they had been fit all season? I think looking at the numbers and the difference since they all came back is telling enough.
So Thierry forgive me for disagreeing with you. I think we got all what you said that we need. We just didn’t have them fit as Chelsea had most of their important players fit for most of the season. That has been the difference. The only difference. At then end of last year we were 15 points behind Chelsea, now we have cut it back to 10 points. I’m sure that if all those players would have been fit we wouldn’t have been 15 points behind around the end of the year.
Just look at the injury league table, Thierry. Chelsea has had 73 missed matches because of injuries and that is the lowest in the whole league. And Arsenal had 218 missed matches because of injuries and we find ourselves in in position 4.
In short Arsenal had 3 times as many players out with injuries than Chelsea has had the whole season so far. And our injuries were with key players like Özil, Ramsey and Giroud! And then I am being unfairly on players like Koscielny who missed a big part of the start of the season also.
I do think we have good enough keepers (Szczesny won the golden glove last season) in Ospina and Szczesny and Martinez.
I do think we have enough quality defenders in Bellerin/Debuchy/Chambers – Per/Kos/Gabriel/Chambers/Debuchy/Monreal – Monreal/Gibbs : that is 8 different players in total by the way for 4 places. Before Gabriel it was 7 players and not the 6 proclaimed by most.
I do think we have enough defensive midfielders who are good enough in Coquelin/Arteta/Flamini.
I do think we have enough attacking midfielders of great quality like Wilshere/Ramsey/Cazorla/Özil/Oxlade-Chamberlain/Rosicky
And I do think we have enough great strikers up front like Alexis/Giroud/Welbeck/Walcott/Gnabry/…and whoever we will see breaking through next season.
Now would I say no to Arsenal buying someone of real top quality? No of course not. But just saying Arsenal have to buy 4 players (a media way of planting the seed of unrest amongst fans?) is poor punditry.