Could Arsenal actually be better than the media lead us to believe?




By Tony Attwood

Of course the league table can change again after the next set of matches, but for now it’s not looking so bad as some of the pundits have been suggesting.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 21 14 6 1 47 18 29 48
2 Arsenal 22 14 4 4 44 21 23 46
3 Manchester City 20 13 4 3 48 23 25 43
4 Aston Villa 22 13 4 5 44 30 14 43
5 Tottenham Hotspur 21 12 4 5 44 31 13 40
6 West Ham United 21 10 5 6 35 32 3 35
7 Newcastle United 22 10 2 10 44 33 11 32



And we might note in passing that West Ham United and Aston Villa have crept into the top seven while Manchester United and Chelsea remain without.   Arsenal are the equal third best scoring team in the league, with the second best defence and the third best goal difference.  Of course we want to be top, not two points behind having played a game more, but even so, it is better than many of the doom mongers have been saying.

“But of course the moaning goes on.  “Arsenal’s forwards have now combined for 37 goals and assists this season.  It is still some distance behind the attacking players’ combined totals at Manchester City (53) and Liverpool (51) which may go some way to explaining the lack of edge Arsenal suffer from,” says the Telegraph.

The Guardian went with, “There was a moment midway through the first half when a high ball dropped for Arteta in his ­technical area and he killed it with a Cruyff-turn-style piece of control.”

Neither paper mentioned it but Arsenal also had 75% of the possession.   The Independent meanwhile continued finding things to criticise saying “there was nothing to test Turner until the stroke of half-time; given his fallibility he later showed, that felt a mistake.

As for the Mirror, well, of course you know what is going to happen.   We got  “Mikel Arteta transfer call backfires as Arsenal’s glaring weakness exposed.”

The explanation for that headline is in the opening sentence of the article, “Arsenal’s first-half display away at Nottingham Forest has left many pondering why the Gunners did not sign a striker during the January transfer window.”

I would refer them back to the league table.  Yes everyone would like some more goals, but signing another striker in January…  Let’s think why not.   And in this regard we could be helped by … oh where was it now, I know I have seen it somewhere, as yes it was the Mirror (yes the same newspaper) wrote “Arsenal among clubs on UEFA’s Financial Fair Play ‘watchlist’ after spending spree.”

Now there have been a number of tales concerning Arsenal’s financial fair play position.  I don’t have the data to say if that is a reasonable issue or not, but it is typical of the Mirror to put forward a proposition without any regard to the consequences.   Especially when it was them that raised the issue the other way around, in the first place!

So it is mostly nonsense as usual but I do want to give a special mention to the Athletic for this …

“In the 60 Premier League matches in which Gabriel Jesus has scored, including today’s, he has never ended on the losing side (W55 D5).   This remarkable record stands as the most times a player has scored in a game in the competition without ever losing in such matches.”   That’s a good one, and not one that I knew.

As for Arteta himself, he had praise for returnee Emile Smith Rowe.   The boss is quoted in the Metro as saying, “I thought he was really good,   I think he looked exactly the same that he looks in training and every time that we have put him in this year he fully deserved the chance.

“He’s put his head down, he’s worked so hard, his attitude is really good and he’s a tremendous player, you see the way he moves he’s just a joy to watch.”

So there we are, two wins in a row in the league, after two defeats and a draw.  That’s a bit of a relief.

One Reply to “Could Arsenal actually be better than the media lead us to believe?”

  1. The statistic about Gabriel Jesus reminded me of what was always said about Ian Rush: – whenever he scores, Liverpool do not lose. It was being said by the commentators when he scored during the 1987 League Cup Final.

    What then happened? Liverpool lost, thanks to Charlie Nicholas, with considerable help from substitute Perry Groves.

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