- Arsenal now face a massive problem, and no obvious solution
- Allerdyce and Moyes and the funny thing the commentator said
By Tony Attwood
This is the moment when football journalists and commentators get very excited, for it is the moment when the disaster of last season’s predictions are utterly pushed down the drain, and last season’s transfer windows are simply ignored.
Tactics are not mentioned and nor is the issue of Financial Fair Play, because the coach and horses driven through that by Manchester City makes it an impossible issue for the media to take on, at least without attacking Manchester City for breaking every rule in the book – which of course they won’t do for fear of losing their press pass. (Which is not to say Manchester City would remove press passes, it is just to say that journalists think they might).
In considering what transfers Arsenal will bring forth, this summer the Athletic concludes that “Arsenal have done most of their heavy lifting, recruitment-wise, over the past two summers, which will allow them to be more specific this time.
“Reinforcements are needed in midfield, with a lack of quality depth after their first-choice trio. That is why their long-standing interest in Declan Rice makes sense.”
They also note that Moises Caicedo, (of Brighton) “who was an Arsenal target in this year’s winter window, could depart in the summer. Beyond that, reinforcements at centre-back as well in the front line could be added to support Arteta’s first-choice XI.”
OK that sounds reasonable, but hang on, that is actually just saying, a transfer should happen in every position except goalkeeper. And it all also seems to be based on the notion that spending money is good.
Now this is an idea that people who write about football often have because it allows the writing of an article without reference to any research or analysis. Select a player, claim Arsenal are after him, write 50 words. Hence the 130 players tipped to be coming to Arsenal every summer.
So instead, let’s look at last summer and compare expenditure with league results using updated data. And in doing this what we find is that the only team that has a higher position in the actual league table (column 6 below) than it has in the spending league table (column 1) is… Arsenal. Oh!
All the other clubs in the top ten spenders list this season have, as a result of the money they have spent MOVED DOWN THE LEAGUE TABLE:
|Spend Pos||Club||Money Spent||Money Received||Net Spend||League pos||Difference|
|5||West Ham Utd||£171.49m||£19.05m||£152.44m||14||-9|
And yet despite the absolutely clear fact that spending money is more likely to take a club down the table rather than bring it up, the media is still packed solid with stories about who clubs are going to buy.
In fact, even though we all know that Chelsea can’t fit all their current squad into the 25 man list, are still being tipped to be buying players. Of course there are Financial Fair Play rules to consider, but it might well be that since Manchester City seem to be getting away with it, Chelsea’s owners reckon they can do the same as well. And even if they are caught, it will take five or six years for them to be hauled up before the beak. Then the enquiry will take four years. By which time they will probably have sold the club and the people they have sold the club to will have sold the club.
And consider for a moment if you will, Tottenham. They spent £123m last summer, were tipped by everyone to be cruising along in the Champions League itself, and would secure another season of Champions League football in 2023/4 and what do we find? Quite possibly they won’t have any European football next season.
Now Arsenal did this, of course, but they did it with a secure team of Arteta, Stuivenberg as his second in command, and Edu as his Sporting Director. Such long-term security is not even considered as a possibility at Tottenham. In fact, they don’t have either a director of football or a permanent head coach at the moment – at least they didn’t last time I looked. Although they may well have got through a couple of each by the time you read this.
But will any clubs take any notice of this year’s figures which shows if you spend a lot you’ll go down the table? No of course not, because beyond spending, they haven’t got much of an idea.
The two clubs we have analysed as really working out tactical changes over recent years were Leicester and Arsenal. Leicester’s two approaches both seemed to involve kidding the referees, and ultimately it seems the referees felt so too. Arsenal’s involved beating PGMO by changing their approach to tackling.
So once the season is over, we will be doing a full analysis of such tactics across the season, to see if we can spot anyone else either with a very bright idea, or an approach which might raise a few eyebrows – as Leicester’s tackling and penalty grabbing tactics did.
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- Luton v Arsenal – the referee, the team, Saka and Cliff Bastin
- Luton Town – how do they play the game. The tackles, fouls and cards.