A clue for journalists: we can tell you exactly what Arsenal are doing



By Tony Attwood

Of course, with Arsenal being top of the Premier League it gets a little harder for journalists to find fault with the club.   But they still try to do that, not just because that is their brief, alongside covering up their grotesque cock-ups, caused because the scribblers and their so-called editors know bugger all about football.

Thus today we have in Football London “Aaron Ramsdale sent brutal David Raya comparison amid Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal ‘issue'” – which is simply there to cover up their lunacy before the Brentford game as they announced, “One big talking point will be if former Bees keeper David Raya will start for his new employers or will Aaron Ramsdale get the call up he has been fighting for.”

Yes it was a talking point for FoLo, but only because the only people they talk to are themselves.  Raya was not allowed to play for Brentford as he is on loan at Arsenal from Brentford, as everyone else knew.

Now the Athletic is not FoLo but they are bemoaning the lack of “high-tempo attacking abandon” they perceived last season at Arsenal, without understanding either that Arsenal today are not much different from Arsenal last season, except that the squad has been changed to ensure that the dip in form which saw Arsenal win just two out of eight league games in April and May, doesn’t happen again.

Indeed if Arteta did nothing the media would be full whinging with weird statements like “Arsenal look like they are struggling to make that difficult second album.”

So let’s try and help.   Arsenal had two dips last season – the other one was in January with three defeats and a draw, and to win the league dips like this can’t be allowed.  Indeed if we look at Manchester City’s dips last season the nearest we find in terms of PL games is a run of 12 league games in the winter in which they lost four, drew one and won the remaining seven.  Hardly worthy of the name “dip” at all.

So what we should be looking at is not the team in an individual match, but the cumulative work of the club.  And we can start looking at that by considering yellow cards because yellow cards can have a habit of decimating a squad.

This season Arsenal have 17 cards so far, and Manchester City have 23.  Last season City got 44, Arsenal 52.  In 2021/22 Man City had 42 and Arsenal 60.  Go back right back to 2019/20, the season Arteta arrived, and it was 86 cards for Arsenal and 60 for Manchester City.

So both clubs have cut their cards dramatically;  City from 60 to 42, Arsenal from 86 to 52.  But this season Arsenal have gone further.  They are now down to 17 so far, while Man City are on 23.  On this basis Arsenal will end up with 50 cards, while City will hit 67, and see more suspensions.

So it really doesn’t take much to understand that both City and Arsenal are wrestling the control of the game away from PGMO and giving it to the players, keeping 11 players on the pitch, and not having players worried about one more card meaning a suspension.

And now the media, seeing Arsenal fans stand behind Ramsdale and help put his game back together in the second half, while seeing the club complete its move from the most carded side to the least carded, are struggling to find more negatives.

In response, the Athletic has come up with: “It is hard to measure progress and performances sometimes in such a results-orientated business.”   Well, no it isn’t, that’s why we have league tables and fixture lists.

Last season in those opening 13 games the only teams from the big seven that Arsenal played were Manchester United away, Tottenham at home, Liverpool at home and Chelsea away.  That’s four games.  This season it has been five such games against Manchester United at home, Tottenham at home, Manchester City at home, Chelsea away, Newcastle away.  That’s a 25% increase and Arsenal are four points worse off than last season.

Meanwhile we can also compare where Arsenal have been over the last four seasons after 13 games…


Pos Year P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 2023 13 9 3 1 27 10 17 30
1 Arsenal 2022 13 11 1 1 31 11 20 34
5 Arsenal 2021 13 7 2 4 15 17 -2 23
15 Arsenal 2020 13 4 2 7 11 16 -5 14


Four fewer goals have been scored, one fewer goal has been conceded, than last season.  Hardly momentous changes while a club works to get as close to eliminating yellow cards as possible.

To understand this further consider Manchester City after 13 games in the past four seasons compared with this year.


Pos Year P W D L F A GD Pts
2 Manchester City 2023 13 9 2 2 33 13 20 29
2 Manchester City 2022 13 10 2 1 39 12 27 32
2 Manchester City 2021 13 9 2 2 27 7 20 29
6 Manchester City 2020 13 6 5 2 19 12 7 23


So Arsenal are down four points on last season, Manchester City are down three points from last season at this stage.

But what about Manchester City’s season – has the fixture list been unkind to them?  Yes they have played five games against “big 7” clubs – but the key point is they have only won two of them.  Two were draws (Chelsea, Liverpool) and one a defeat (to Arsenal).

Meanwhile Arsenal have had Partey and Timber out for much of the season, and recently have missed Martin Odegaard.  It is not as if Arsenal have been firing on all cylinders.

And yet still Arsenal are top.   And they are beating PGMO over the yellow card issue far more effectively than Man City.  In fact Arsenal could get fewer yellows than Man C this season: another sign of progress.

8 Replies to “A clue for journalists: we can tell you exactly what Arsenal are doing”

  1. Before I get to Ramsdale and on the subject of goalkeepers. //You have heard the saying” Bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush”. So this reminded me of the Liverpool Man City game the weekend. The VAR decided that the one arm push in the back of the Liverpool goalkeeper, was a foul and a disallowed goal. Yet the two hand push on Gabriel in the back was allowed. Hence the saying. I wonder what sky’s pundit ref would have said about that one when comparing the Newcastle foul. I can just imagine him saying, ” yes, when comparing incidents, one hand in the back is worth more than two in the back”. The press and the pundits did not ask the sky’s pundit ref the question, which just shows how anti arsenal they all are. Even the Man City manager compared it to the Newcastle incident with a look of amazement. // Anyway, under Raya, Arsenal have a 100% undefeated premiership record, if you discount the crooked VAR decision. So it’s a must with Raya in, Ramsdale out. You have to put the team first before any player. Also I hope Odeguaard gets his form back.

  2. Ramsdale can either stay at Arsenal and win a Premier League medal, or go to Spurs or Chelsea and be number 1. Spoiled for choice. On the subject of journalists, I do believe their university training doesn’t include understanding numbers, statistics and the dreaded mathematics. So expecting them to make prognostications based on the information that Untold so readily presents would be asking too much.

    Also numbers don’t fit their agenda. And furthermore don’t forget to account for Stupid.

  3. i noticed the players were more friendly and smiling to the refs in the last game. noticed it when Rice was talking to the ref and smiling and light pat on should like trying to be matey with him. hope this is a new approach and helps Arsenal.

  4. Whilst we are talking about clueless journalists I thought, while Mrs N’s watching ‘The Jungle’ I’d give another example of just why they are so clueless. The following gobbledygook is from TEAMTALK

    Apparently we are about to be dealt a ANOTHER huge blow, and this is why:

    “Chelsea star Mykhaylo Mudryk has reportedly urged Mauricio Pochettino to bring in Shakhtar Donetsk attacking midfielder Georgiy Sudakov in January. This comes as a blow to Arsenal, who have also been heavily linked with a move for Mudryk’s former teammate recently. The Gunners, ironically, missed out on signing Mudryk in January 2023 after Chelsea agreed a £88.5m deal with Shakhtar Donetsk to bring him in. Mikel Arteta could now receive a similar blow this winter, with Chelsea ready to rival them again for Sudakov.

    Lets just say that again:

    “The Gunners, ironically, missed out on signing Mudryk in January 2023………….Arteta could now receive a similar blow this winter”

    So not getting Mudryk was a blow was it?

    Hmmm, now correct me if I’m wrong but on the back of this ‘blow’ didn’t we pick up Trossard for £27M instead of Mudryk for £88.5M? Less than a third the price! As such I’m not entirely convinced just how big a blow it was, so just to be sure I thought I’d check out the stats:

    This is how Mudryk and Trossards Premier League stats compare:


    App = 11(15) for 1,045 Mins
    Goals = 2
    Ass = 2

    Goal every 522 Mins
    Ass every 522 Mins

    4 X G/A events for 1 every 261 Mins

    Cost per event = £22 Million


    App = 14(14)
    Goals = 4
    Ass = 11

    Goal every 330Mins
    Ass every 120 Mins

    15 X G/A events for 1 every 88 Mins

    Cost per event = £1.8 Million

    So, just to sum it up:

    Goal assist events: Trossard every 88 Mins compared to Mudryk every 261 Mins. Trossard is THREE TIMES AS EFFICIENT.

    Cost per event: Trossard £1.8 Million compared to Mudryk £22 Million. Mudryk is over TEN TIMES MORE EXPENSIVE.

    Yep, that really was a huge blow!!!!

    Do they actually believe this stuff they write? I know it’s something and nothing but really, I mean really, what do they take us for?

    Oh well. Better than watching The Jungle anyway.

  5. Nitram,

    I think Havertz’ stats since the start of this season would be quite similar to Mudryk’s, but Kai is just getting started.

  6. Sp*rs play an attractive style of football as did we last year but that style of play comes with a downside. There is always the feeling that a goal may be conceded. In addition, our team ran out of steam near the end of the year because, IMO, of the style we played and a lack of cover for key players. Sp*rs is running into both of those problems right now. It would seem to most that the gaffer has slowed down our attack, (and added Rice) so that we control matches. In essence, he would rather a 60% chance of winning 1-0 than a 40% chance of winning 2-1 or 3-2. A result is that many are lamenting the lack of excitement at our matches – Who doesn’t enjoy the spectacle of a 5 goal match? Perhaps when our injuries heal we can have both but I am OK with taking the “W”

  7. siesmic

    Oh come on, he’s not been that bad!!!!!!!!!

    Only joking, but I couldn’t resist a look, and yes similar but Kai is still a little better despite his less than blistering start.

    This is how all those parameters compare with Mudryk’s figures first and Kai’s second.

    Appearances: 11(15) – 8(5)

    Minutes: 1,045 – 727

    Goals: 2 – 2

    Assists: 2 – 1

    Goal/Ass events: 4 – 3

    Goal every: 522 Mins – 363 Mins

    Assist every: 522 Mins – 727 Mins

    Goal/Ass event every: 261 Mins – 242 Mins

    Cost per event: £22 Million – £21 Million

    I’ve also looked at 3 other stats on whoscored but just for this year. Again Mudryk first:

    Pass completion: 73% – 83%
    Ariel duels won: 0.1 – 1.8
    Shots per game: 0.5 – 1.1

    The only parameter Mudryk wins in the entire list is assists.

    Okay, neither have set the World alight but fingers crossed Kai’s goal the other night has lit the touch paper. We can only hope.

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