By Tony Attwood
As one might expect, the press harped on and on and on and on about not buying a striker and Danny Welbeck being injured. No mention that quietly Campbell has been restored to the squad, and is said to be looking very sharp in training (hence his place on the bench). No mention of the incredible young strikers who thrilled us in the summer and who are now beefing up on loan. And who could return to us if we really had a crisis of strikers.
Of course not.
Panic and buy is the message. Panic and buy, panic and buy.
As it was we had two strikers on the pitch and they did enough to overcome the rugby team with its significantly diminishing array of away support. Maybe rugby is lessening its grip in the Potteries.
As for Mr Wenger, of Theo he said, “I believe he can be a prolific goalscorer.” What does he know? He said the same of Thierry Henry when he started each game and went seven without scoring, spending most of his time meandering about on the wing.
“The bigger belief he will have to score, the more he will score.” Which seems fair enough.
But the attackers were not the men of the match, although there were two. On 31 minutes the absolute man of the match Francis Coquelin made another decisive twist in his seemingly unlimited array of talent and turned into Patrick Vieira. Özil lobbed, Walcott showed. According to some readers of the blogettas all three players should have been deleted from the squad long ago.
Remember “just buy a DM for fuck’s sake?” Don’t hear that quite so much now.
I don’t know about you but from my new vantage point on the front row in the East, it was glorious to behold.
And the other prime mover in the game: Hector Bellerin. Astounding, amazing, absolutely something else starting with “a”. He was a sensation throughout from where I looked, and of course sitting now along the side of the pitch rather than behind the goal one can get a better judgement of the full backs.
Is it a coincidence that the players cost £0?
Maybe but to look at the matter further I thought I’d do a full league table based on transfers.
The first of the two extra columns on the right is from Transfer League and is a record of the amount of money spent in transfer fees by the current Premier League clubs over the last five seasons.
The second column is a net spend this summer from Sky Sports. In each case I have put the top seven spenders in bold. All figures are of course rounded and must be somewhat approximate as different sources vary. They are in millions of pounds.
|Pos||Team||P||W||D||L||F||A||GD||Pts||5 yr cost||Net Summer|
As with previous analyses we find there is only a general approximation between spend and success. Of course the blogettas will tell us this table is meaningless because you have to judge your team after three games, as they did when calling for the manager’s head on a platter. But even after four and five games it is still evident that while spend at a level sensationally above everyone else (as they do in Manchester) can buy in success, for clubs with not such overwhelming wealth, buying is not a guarantee of success.
Indeed although Chelsea lacks behind Manchester in five year spending they are still sensationally ahead of the pack. I pointed out before that they only scored a couple more goals than us last season, and that seems to be a continuing problem. That and the pesky medics.
Of course there are issues elsewhere as always. A club that has spent a while in a lower division won’t spend so much over five years maybe, and Watford and Chelsea have their strong links with overseas clubs that might affect their figures downwards through certain “arrangements”. The Tottenham figure still is affected by the vast sum received for Bale.
So these are not absolutes, but given the fanatical interest in the amount spent by certain sections of the community I think it is still worthy of note. Money doesn’t guarantee success. At least not after five games.
- 13 September 1998: Guardian reported that Chelsea had just failed to hi-jack Arsenal’s bid for Ljungberg. The notion of clubs attempting to “hi-jack” bids continued with evidence and was still going strong in 2015.
- 13 September 2008: At 16 years, 8 months, 4 days Jack Wilshere became Arsenal’s youngest player replacing Robin Van Persie on 81 minutes in the game against Blackburn. Arsenal won 4-0
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