Did Arsenal collapse this season?
- If Chelsea gave Spurs some defenders and Spurs gave Chelsea some attackers…
- Did Arsenal and Brighton agree to hurt Tottenham on Sunday?
By Sir Hardly Anyone
What Arsenal must do to avoid another title race collapse
That headine over an article in a newspaper which predicted another Europa League place finish for Arsenal (which Arsenal will avoid by around 16 points this year) succintly shows the negativity of the media towards Arsenal. No focus on the exceeding all expectations, no apology for hopelessly inadeqaute research and forecasting, and (as I’ll show below) just vague assumptions and no research.
At the heart of the jabbering is the claim that Arsenal need to buy, buy and buy. So time to ask…
How old is the squad?
Only one PL team (Brighton) has a younger squad. Which means there’s a lot of potential left in the players Arsenal has.
From this we can see that the squad is still growing and the potential is huge. Therefore there should be a reistance to saying “get rid of …” followed by a list of players some of who are only 22 or 23. Reiss Nelson (23) for example has had injuries but is growing in stature and has time to improve on very good foundations – although with his contract ending in one year, if Arsenal are thinking of letting him go, it could be this summer.
How big is the squad?
Arsenal’s squad is the third smallest with only 23 players aged 21+. This compares with Chelsea and Manchester United who each have 32! Indeed having a big squad can of course help when there are injuries but the five biggest squads in the Premier League are Southampton, Liverpool (30 each), Manchester United and Chelsea (32 each) and Nottingham Forest (35). And yes I do know that only 25 players can play, but some clubs just keep buying. (Squad numbers come from Transfermarkt).
There is sometimes a debate about whether have more English players in the squad is good or bad. The lowest number of non-English players is 11 at Everton. Arsenal have 16, which is the same level as Bournemouth, Villa, West Ham, and one more than Palace. So the club can do a bit of overseas shopping in the summer.
And the success of Arsenal’s transfer work so far can be seen by the fact that Arsenal’s squad is rated the third most valuable in the Premier League at €890.00m. Only Manchester City at €1.05bn and Chelsea at €1.02bn are above Arsenal in “total market value”, which shows just how well Edu and co are working.
Arsenal are not being sued by the rest of the league for overspending and cheating on their accounts, and are not half way down the table with a ludicrously bloated squad. So I reckon that’s good.
Which makes it rather frustrating that there was some booing at the end of the match against Brighton. The Telegraph seized on this in an article and said, “Naturally, an average season-ticket price of £2,025 gives these fans the prerogative to do exactly as they please,” except that to get £2025 as the price of a season ticket one has to include the boxes and club level, which are much higher than us normal folk have to pay, largely because people in club level don’t have to queue for revolting cold food and drinks (which should be hot) and squashed toilets.
But these journalists do like their negatives as with, “no side so far this century has been top of the league for longer and lost.” So what?
The reality is that Arsenal had four major dips in form last season, this time it has been one, or at most two (depending on results for the remaining games). That is a major improvement, and there is every reason to believe that further improvement will follow next season.
Plus eventually the case against Manchester City will be heard by the Premier League and hopefully that club will be sanctioned. Relegation to the Conference and a 10 year ban on buying anyone for over £1m would seem a reasonable punishment to me.
But there is some good news around. Those people who paid £50k for their ticket for the last match of the season are probably out there now trying to flog it for £100, and not finding takers. If only Arsenal could be slightly more targetted in who they claim is a tout and who isn’t, that might be sorted out too.
However what is most annoying is to have a journalist pontificate on the subject on why a small minority left before the end despite the stadium being “within a 15-minute walk of three different Tube stations.”
Yes that maybe so, but here’s the thing. One of those three stations is always closed after matches for safety reasons, (Holloway Road) – and a journalist who did ANY research into what he is scribbling about would know that.
Further, one of the stations was built before the original Highbury stadium was opened (Arsenal station, then called Gillespie Road), and was never designed to take the crowds that seek to use it after a game. I don’t normally suffer from claustrophobia but in those long tunnels with that level of crowding and no possible escape in an emergency, I most certainly can feel it.
As for Finsbury Park railway station, which my pal and I use, there is the case of battling across Seven Sisters Road before we come to the fear of being pushed onto the track by the sheer numbers on the platform.
So, Oliver Brown, Chief Sports Writer of the Teleegraph, may I suggest one day have a seat in the East Upper, leave at the final whistle, and try and make your way to one of the statons (including if you like, Holloway Road, which you have never noticed was shut).
Or alternatively simply ask some fans. We’ll tell you what is possible and what is not.
What do Arsenal have to do next season? Clear out the press box, and put in regular seating for fans. That would be a good start.
5 Replies to “What Arsenal have to do next season to become even better?”
A casual look at the media would make someone think that Arsenal are being relegated, Headlines of “flop”, bottled”, “collapse” etc. are proof of media delight at Arsenal not winning the league.
Plus all the gobsh…e pundits who cannot contain their hostility (jealousy?) towards us. “Arteta told to get rid of x, y, z, who have cost Arsenal the title”,
Promising players x. y. z, told to leave Arsenal to fulfil their ambitions”, “Arsenal decide mass exodus for dud players”.
Plus the false outrage that Martinelli was not sent off, whilst no mention of the deliberate Brighton foul that put him out of the game and may have ended his season.
I am pleased to read that Martin Keown has spoken out about Neville and Tyler anti-Arsenal agenda. Despite the obvious disappointments, it has been a brilliant season, which offers great promise for next year.
Completely agree John. It was a great (and not expected by me) season. Finishing second behind the Money Cheaters is the best one can do. The only flops or bottlers I see are those teams like MU, Chelsea, Liverpool and the spuds who would beat us to the CL places. Well where are they? If we bottled it…. how do they call that? And that with such a young squad…. the future looks bright. And I am sure that with the new CL money Edu and Mikel will try to improve the squad where it is needed (yes we need some more players with the CL matches who are more difficult than the EL matches). Let them moan, I salute the players for their effort this season and for how they gave us back the feeling of the Wenger days.
I’m 64, and I always heard my dad, as well as my first coaches when I started playing myself, that the perfect season was winning your home games and drawing your away games – if you did that, you ended up top of your league. Doing just that in a 20-club-league (with a 3-point-win) means that your final tally is 76 points. With two games in hand, our 25-y-o squad have already reached the 81-point-mark so that, to me at least, this season has been a tremendous success.
The fact that you have to win all of your I-don’t-know-how-many-exactly last games to win the League, just as City did, is sheer insanity, and should be treated as such by all so-called pundits and sport journalists. Instead, they want us to admire their “depth of bench”, and the Guardian’s arrogant, patronizing p…k Nick Ames has already told us what to do, and guess what it is: buy buy buy spend spend spend. I, for one, think that having guys like Laporte-Walker-Phillips-Mahrez-Foden-Alvarez on your payroll, only for them to be used as backups, means that you actually buy and pay them huge amounts of money in order NOT to play, for any of your opponents. It’s not a “bench” that should be mentioned in that case, it’s a dungeon, in which you keep some of the best players in the world locked up in order to make sure they will not strengthen another side which, as a consequence, might put your supremacy into question – in other words, you make sure there is no real competition.
I certainly don’t want Arsenal to follow them along that road which’d lead us to the loss of our soul (do we really want to become THEM – I sure don’t). Saliba was injured, Holding – whom I admire and love – is not at his level, so that Bill’s absence hurt us deeply and probably cost us the title. I accept that, this is what your main players’ injuries are supposed to do, aren’t they? I was treated to wonderful football this season, that’s all I’ll remember. We would have deserved the title, instead it was taken from us by cheats (in every way possible), there’s no way I will lose any sleep over it. May their trophies clog up their trophy room, so that they’ll choke in it, those Iagos.
We have such a young squad that they are bound to improve (a lot) next season. I didn’t check it out, but I think our first-choice team (Ramsdale/White-Saliba-Gabriel/Partey-Zinchenko/Saka-Odegaard-Xhala-Martinelli/Jesus) was unbeaten this season; we have wonderful, Hale End developed, players in store, THEY can be the perfect backups to the guys just mentioned – why blow this all up, I’d like to know (no, I don’t).
If there ever was one year when I’ve hoped Untold’s stat according to which 97% of transfer rumours are just clickbaits, that’s the one.
It’ll just be City, Newcastle and MU, if Saudi Arabia are allowed to buy them, competing for the title going forward. Although it’s not the only factor, having the money to constantly spend hundreds of millions on a squad can bring results in the table. Nothing will happen to the money cheats. Why? It’s the money stupid. When has big money ever lost in the long term? As LE GALL points out above, teams like City can just stockpile top players because of an endless money supply. It makes this Arsenal season all the more enjoyable. AFC are not paupers after all but can’t really compete monetarily with the country owned teams. The gulf between City and AFC was exposed in the last match. I’d argue that things might have been closer with Saliba available but, if I’m being honest, only a bit. And, like Walter Broeckx, I trust Edu Gaspar and Mikel Arteta to keep the club going in an exciting, winning direction. Any and all self-proclaimed Arsenal supporters should back them 100%.
By all counts , we have had a great season. I was one of those wishing that we get 90 points . That in itself is league winning form. I have stated that during out jousts with United , AW had said that to win the EPL , a team can only ‘afford’ to lose 4 games a season.
Even at the beginning , I assumed that we would lose those 2 games to Man City . But I beleved that this squad was good enough to win , or at worse not lose at home.
Those defeats at Man Utd , and Everton came to bite us in the end. Plus those draws against Southampton , Liverpool , West Ham did not help our cause.
Still it has been a great season , and I hope plans are already underway to make a better tilt at the title next season.
Up the Gunners !