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Why the Tiny Totts are so called, and why Arsenal can’t win anything with youngsters.

By Tony Attwood

We know all the stories.  Arsenal don’t spend money in the transfer window.  Arsene Wenger insists on using youngsters all the time.  Other clubs never do this, it is only Arsenal.  If we had a different manager who brought in proper players we’d be ok.  New managers always work.  So do transfers.

Etc etc.

Now I’ve never had the patience to go through each squad and find how many youngsters each team uses, but today the Daily Telegraph has just done this for me.  Unfortunately they don’t set their findings out in the most helpful way, and there also seems to be a mistake for the Liverpool figures as far as I can see.   But still, I’ve not had to do the work.

The figures are taken only for players starting a match, not subs.

And resolving the oddities and issues as far as I can make out, here’s what we get for the teams with the lowest average age, and then a few others…

Players ages are in years (y) and days (d) but I suspect you worked that out anyway.

Club Youngest player Average age Oldest age Av age pos Lge pos
Tiny Totts 19y 274d 25y 266d 33y 98d 1 3
Liverpool! 17y 103d 26y 14d 31y 87d 2 4
Southampton 19y 304d 26y 160d 33y 35d 3 11
Sunderland 17y 274d 26y 325d 35y 271d 4 20
Man U 19y 23d 27y 87d 35y 182d 5 6
Bournemouth 19y 357d 27y 96d 36y 340d 6 12
Arsenal 19y 150d 27y 99d 34y 251d 7 2
Chelsea 20y 109d 23y 235d 36y 49d 10 1
Man City 19y 212d 28y 303d 35y 120d 17 5
Watford 18y 335d 29 316d 35y 345d 20 14

… and so what we can see is that age doesn’t really count.  Chelsea are top of the league but have the 10th oldest squad.  Sunderland are bottom but have the fourth oldest squad.  Tottenham are third but have the youngest squad.   There seems little rhyme or reason to the table, and in fact no real connection between the average age of the squad and the league position.

Although I must say that five years after adopting the nickname “The Tiny Totts” I have finally found out why it is true.

Most of the squads have used a player who is around 19 years old – ours is Ainsley Maitland Niles.   Most of the squads have an older man in goal – we certainly do, our oldest player is Cech.

So there we have it – Arsenal using youngsters doesn’t separate us from other teams very much.  Age doesn’t really matter.  Just as the amount spent in the transfer window doesn’t indicate how well the club is going to do.

Changing the manager does make a difference, although usually that is negatively.  You can argue, as Tottenham obviously do, that if you change the manager enough you will ultimately find a good one, but it can take 20 odd years so is not likely to keep most fans happy.

The one thing that probably makes a difference is bringing youngsters into the team so they get experience and become ready for the future.   Arsenal have been trying to do this at an average rate of one a year, but of course not every player works out.  Iwobi, Coquelin, Bellerin have all come of age in the current team, but so far at least Zelalem seems to have lost his way a little.

So it is, I am sorry to say, another Arsenal myth.   You might not be able to win anything with kids, but then we don’t have a kiddies team.

But at least the name of the Tiny Totts is finally validated, and it was worth it just for that.

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6 comments to Why the Tiny Totts are so called, and why Arsenal can’t win anything with youngsters.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Liverpool’s EFL bid this season has ran amok at Anfield Stadium this night. And all efforts by the Reds to bring the bid back to it’s senses did not yield any positive outcome up to the close of business in the bidding between Liverpool FC and Southampton FC.

    The Gunners MUST be careful of one Shane Long in particular on Saturday to take a good care of him in his tendencies to do a damage to the opposition in the game and arrest his game at gunpoint if necessary as soon as he stepped onto the ST Mary’s football playing field Stadium.

    On no account should the Gunners give the Saints team any chance whatsoever in the game to constitute a cog in the wheel to their treble titles bid campaign this season. Any attempt by the Saints to inflict another Cup competion pain on the Gunners this season MUST be totally thrown back to the Saints by the Gunners on Saturday. For, the Gunners MUST unfailingly give the Saints’ an overdose of their own medicine in the game before they return to the Emirates Stadium clean, home and dry.

  • Andy Mack

    “Sunderland are bottom but have the fourth oldest squad”
    Shouldn’t that say ‘4th youngest squad’?

  • ossasa

    The tiny totts have a big athletic team so am I missing your point? Try to concentrate on Arsenal more would be helpful.

  • Andy Mack

    ossasa, the point is that the stupid comment the pundits/reporters make about ‘not winning anything with kids’ is a really dumb comment with nothing to back it…

  • Leon

    I don’t get it either. One man made that statement nearly twenty years ago, and the Telegraph have no issues with the relative ages of the squads.
    Also I think the Tinys were so called because they regularly underachieve and are considered small next to us.

  • Andy Mack

    Leon, it’s a comment that’s been repeated regularly ever since. Sometimes mockingly but often as gospel.

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