By Walter Broeckx
Now let us for the sake of it pretend that time travelling exists and is possible. So if you are with me let us start travelling back to Wednesday’s match at Nou Camp.
And let us have a look at the statistics as they are shown on some websites. Like the Uefa website. On their website they give the following stats:
|Extra Untold stat|
Now ever since the day that we were drawn against Barcelona was their anyone who would have predicted that Arsenal at Nou Camp would have more shots than the best team in Europe/World/Universe ? Anyone? Make yourself known and please if possible show us where you did post this. I bet nobody and not even me could and would have dared to predict that.
Before you now go to the comment section to say you don’t get a prize for that… I do know this and it is needless to write it down as I have done so. Thank you.
Now I have checked the stats of Barcelona and on average they allow nine shots at their goal in Nou Camp. Yesterday Arsenal had the double of what they allow. That is something to do.
But that is not really the main point that I want to make. No, I want to make another point. About the team that played. And for this you need to step in the time machine. Fasten your seatbelts and let us first stop in September.
Who was Elneny? A completely unknown player for most of us. Including myself. I’m not a specialist in Swiss or Egyptian football so I didn’t know him. I’ve no problem to admit this.
Who was Iwobi? Ah, that might give another answer for those who follow the youth teams a bit and I do take some interest in them and try to follow them when I can and whenever they play nearby or when their matches (Uefa Youth league) is shown on the internet.
Iwobi was a youth player in September. Playing in the Uefa Youth league matches at the time. Scoring two goals against Bayern Munich. He then was promoted to the first team a bit later and started training with them and even started in the League cup match at Sheffield Wednesday.
And gradually he came a bit more to the foreground in FA cup matches. And each time he showed that he was a very promising player.
And then suddenly yesterday evening the team sheet came out: BOOM BANG BOOM…. Iwobi in the starting line-up. Making his debut in the CL. At Nou Camp! Against the best team in Europe/world….
And then we have Flamini. One of the favourite scapegoats at Arsenal and therefor a player I like. No need to tell me he is probably one of the least skilful players in the team. But you can put him anywhere and he will do his best and will make his shirt wet. Isn’t that what we demand of every player? But yet when we have such a player he is ridiculed….
Getting back in the time machine and look at that surprising starting line-up at Nou Camp. Against the best team in the world: Flamini- Elneny – Iwobi.
Seven months ago if I had said that this would be the starting line up in midfield you would have laughed it off. You would have said: no way. Impossible. But it wasn’t. It was reality. Well as far as I know in the time zone I find myself in.
And yet with three of those very unlikely to start, ever player in this game matched Barcelona and even overtook them with shots on goal. And should have had a penalty.
It is more or less a fact that if Cazorla and Ramsey had been fit they never would have played at all. Iwobi even might have been sitting at home. Elneny might have been sitting in Basel and Flamini would have been haunted out by the boo boys.
And yet our backup midfield produced a performance that is not that easy to do. Getting your team to having more shots than the best team in Europe/world/Un….
Well keeping mind that we played a backup midfield against them and then looking at those stats… this makes me feel proud. Very proud indeed.
It shows that Elneny is slowly growing and establishing himself in the team. What a runner and not just a runner but also one that can play some football. And he likes to shoot from every angle and yesterday scored a lovely goal. Let’s hope he can show a few how it should be done.
Because this shows that this young lad Iwobi surely has what it takes to become a big player for Arsenal. In fact each time he played he shown promise but to do it at Nou Camp in your first ever appearance in the CL…. It takes some doing.
At the end of the day the MSN combination proved too good to contain. But the stats show that our overall football was as dangerous as their football. At Nou Camp. The only thing that wasn’t up to the standard required was the shooting itself. We could and should have done better. We have four players (Alexis-Giroud-Theo-Welbeck) who can score around 15 goals in a season. But apart from the much maligned Giroud they didn’t deliver so far.
I know they have been injured for a big part and suffered after coming back to deliver. But if they could have delivered as they can do we should have scored many more goals…and would have won more matches.
But the stats show and my eyes showed that we carved out enough chances to at least draw and even win this match and that is what makes me feel positive. Our overall play is in fact good enough. It is just the finishing that is letting us down for the moment. The moment that will return we could be unstoppable for most teams.
The only advice I can give to the players is to relax a bit more in front of goal. I see too many tensed efforts where not proper contact is made with the ball. Too much tension in the muscles I think. Just relax and don’t think of missing, think of scoring.
But the best thing about yesterday was the way Iwobi impressed on the big stage. Just keep on working my friend. Keep both feet on the ground and you might have a brilliant career in front of you.
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