Arsenal are losing two players to the internationals, but what effect will it have?



by Bulldog Drummond

Arsenal are losing two players this month: Takehiro Tomiyasu is playing in the Asian Cup, which as he has rightly said, could be played in June not January – but of course who listens to the players?   Or come to that the fans? 

He’s made ten starts and has come on ten times as a substitute this season, which shows he will be missed.

Mohammed Elneny is our other departing player – because of injury he’s only made one start and come on three times as a substitute, and so will be missed far less, although my understanding is he is working for the club more behind the scenes.  He is with Egypt for the African Cup of Nations.

Manchester City however are not losing anyone, which is a bit of a blow to everyone else.  Tottenham on the other hand seem really to have screwed up losing Pape Sarr to Senegal and Yves Bissouma to Mali.   But their biggest loss is surely Son Heung min.

Yet even that is surpassed by the club that has the greatest loss, which is probably Liverpool for whom Mohamed Salah is going away.  He has scored 14 this season, the same as Haaland.    The second-highest scorer for Liverpool is Darwin Núñez with five.  Worse for Liverpool, Salah has also claimed nine assists which puts him top of that table as well.  It will be interesting to see how well the club adjusts to losing their top scorer and top assistant at the same time.

To see how much impact is being made here we can create a league table in goals scored order, and then remove the players being lost.  The “goals lost” column shows the number of goals the player being removed from the club for these in-season internationals, has scored.  Where there are two players going absent the numbers are shown separately.  The “goals without” shows how the club might have done without that scorer there, and without someone who could step in and do the job.


Pos Team Goals Goals lost Goals without Percentage loss
1 Liverpool 43 14 29 33%
2 Aston Villa 43 0 43 0%
3 Manchester City 45 0 45 0%
4 Arsenal 37 1 26 3%
5 Tottenham Hotspur 42 12+2 28 33%
7 Brighton and Hove A 38 3+5 30 21%
9 Newcastle United 39 0 39 0%


So we see Tottenham and Liverpool are each losing one third of their goal-scoring ability while Brighton are losing just over one fifth.  And so looking at these changes it is clear that Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool might just have a problem or two (or three) during these interruptions.

Reducing Liverpool and Tottenham’s goal scoring this season by a third would have made something of a difference to their league positions and could have turned the Liverpool matches against Chelsea, Brighton and Luton into defeats instead of draws (losing 3 points) and the games against Arsenal, Manchester United, Newcastle, Fulham and Crystal Palace into defeats instead of draws, (losing ten points).   That’s a total of 13 points lost.

As for Tottenham three draws for them could have become defeats and five of their narrowest wins could have been draws losing them a total of 13 points.

That would give a league table that would have left Aston Villa at the top, Arsenal in third, Liverpool in fifth and Tottenham in 11th.

The media however will have none of this as they always buy in 100% to any international competition no matter what – not least because it would mean their journalists not getting the perks of international travel on expenses.   But they still have to find something going wrong for Arsenal, and so with the news that Arsenal will play in their anti-violence No More Red shirts there are suggestions that this could cause Arsenal problems.

Arsenal have worn the kit before, but the first time they have done so in a home match. As the Telegraph proclaims “Never before in their history have they worn all-white in a competitive home fixture.”  Wow!!!

But this is not to trivialise Arsenal’s work in this field, for the paper also points out that “The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that there were more than 13,500 knife-enabled crimes in London in the year to June 2023, a rise of 21 per cent on the previous 12-month period.”   However shouldn’t the government be doing something?  Why is it up to a football club, that pays taxes to the government, so they can… well, sort out street crime?

They also tell us that although the white shirts will not be on sale there will be a special t-shirt release with the money raise from that going into Arsenal’s charity programme.

Last season Arsenal beat Oxford 3-0 wearing the all-white kit, but the season before Arsenal lost 1-0 to Nottingham Forest in the kit.


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