By Tony Attwood
It was Opta who cleverly picked up on the fact that Alexis Sanchez had scored 47 goals in his 100 appearances, one fewer than Thierry Henry (48) in his first 100 apps for the club.
Which undoubtedly helps understand Mr Wenger’s move to put Alexis at number nine this season. So I went alooking to find out more.
In these tables below I have shown League figures and major cup figures, and then the total figures including the various cup competitions that the club was involved in.
First off, Alexis, showing just his time in Europe (the results in South America were certainly interesting but as one might expect of a young professional, lower than achieved later in his career.) Figures are from Wiki.
|Apps||Goals||Apps||Goals||Apps||Goals||Goals per game|
|Apps||Goals||Apps||Goals||Apps||Goals||Goals per game|
Thierry’s time in Italy was very short and he was famously rescued by Mr Wenger after his return from Japan.
Rather helpfully Thierry played 100 games in his first two seasons, and scored 48 goals (at least according to these figures). Alexis has got 46 in 99 (numbers are slightly different from Opta’s and so I guess they’ve found a competition I’ve missed somewhere – but they are near enough.
So to summarise: Thierry was at a ratio of 0.48 goals per game after his first 100 games, Alexis is at 0.46.
Here’s another point – Thierry was nominated at once as a centre forward, and chose to wander out to the wing a lot. Alexis has been nominated as a left winger who has wandered into the centre. A neat twist.
So could it be possible that Alexis will stay as the nominated centre forward and keep scoring at the Henry level?
If the answer is yes we know the target for this year – 32 in 49.
I wasn’t quite sure where to look for information that would give me a clue on how this happened, but what I do know is that Robert Pires joined Arsenal one year after Henry, but it wasn’t until the following season (2001/2) that the two players really worked out how to play together. I wonder if the same isn’t happening now with Alexis being moved to centre forward. He has just been getting used to the set-up.
In Alexis’ case that means Theo on one side, Iwobi on the other, Ozil behind, Santi Cazorla probing. It’s a fair old combination of talent.
One of the other interesting points is that during the summer there were endless demands from the aaa and their chums in the media for Arsenal to sign another striker, because we could never win the league without having a top striker.
In answering such claims Untold tended to focus not on individuals but on the total number of goals scored – the difference between Arsenal and Leicester was tiny in this regard.
Now by moving Alexis into the centre and by having two recognised back up players in Giroud and Lucas, with a youngster ready and willing in terms of Akpom, the situation looks resolved. In fact it turns out that there wasn’t much of a situation to worry about in the first place.
There is one other thing that I turned up while looking up these figures, and that comes from Whoscored.com who do a match summary after each match in which they set out the strengths of each team. For Arsenal they highlighted three strengths re this game:
- Creating chances through individual skill,
- Counter attacks
- Finishing scoring chances.
For Chelsea the entry reads
- Team has no significant strengths
All that money, and no significant strengths. Well I never.
Moving on, I quoted recently a comment by Luke Edwards of the Daily Telegraph in which he wrote, “It probably does not matter how well they [Arsenal] play anymore. Until the title is won, few people will be convinced Arsenal are good enough, often enough, to be crowned champions again. We have reached the ‘only believe it when I see it’ era at the Emirates Stadium.
“Wenger thinks they are title contenders but their recent history of flattering to deceive means his is an isolated voice, a man shouting to be heard above the noise of countless conflicting conversations.
“While he talks about his team being mature enough to win titles and European Cups, his critics continue to focus on Arsenal’s fragile mindset, their flaky reputation under pressure, their inability to change their style to suit certain games and the manager’s continued failure (or refusal) to sign a truly world class centre forward.
“They will not change their minds on the basis of beating a Hull team most people tipped for relegation.”
In their predictions for this season the Telegraph wrote, “A new striker could change things but as things stand, Wenger has put himself under major pressure again, in the final year of his current contract. Last season’s second place owed more to the collapse of others.” The predicted final position was 5th.
Curiously, it seems as if the new striker was already there.
Top scorers so far this season in the Premier League
- Michail Antonio: 5 games, 5 goals, 1.0 ratio
- Diego Costa: 6 games, 5 goals, 0.83 ratio
- Sergio Aguero: 4 games, 5 goals, 0.8 ratio
- Alexis Sanchez: 6 games, 4 goals, 0.67 ratio
- Raheem Sterling: 6 games, 4 goals, 0.67 ratio
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