The benefit of the left footed side – and access to Untold Arsenal




First the access issue.  You are here so you are able to get into the site, but if you know anyone who has been having a problem – here is the solution…   used to work ok but now it doesn’t.   I’m sorry.   What needs to be typed into the address line is   And honestly, it wasn’t my fault.   

Now moving on…

We have had mountains of information (if you can have a mountain of information) passed around that Arsenal need a new centre forward and is about to buy a new centre forward and then what do we find: suddenly all the talk is about Riccardo Calafiori, a defender.

Such a situation reveals two things: most of the people who propagate transfer rumours really have no idea what is going on, until a deal is almost there.  The other is that most of the people who tell us what Arsenal need (as in Arsenal desperately need a new centre forward) don’t think in the same way as the Arsenal management.

Now that leaves us with an interesting question to answer.  Should Arsenal take note of a bunch of journalists who have no experience in running a Premier League club, or should we acknowledge that Arteta knows something?

I think the latter, and we might be getting closer to the truth about what Mikel Arteta is doing with the team with the issue of left-footed players: he rather likes them – to the extent of moving toward having half of the outfield players as left-footed.

Now this is not just because there is an obvious benefit in having a left footed left back or left winger – the fact is that left-handed people (which is about 10 percent of the population) have a genetic makeup which is different from right-handed people and which provides a series of benefits to the left-handed person in terms of the way they see the world (including  the way the individual sees the football pitch).

Indeed it has often been noticed that a disproportionate number of people who reach high office in democratic countries are left-handed.   From Bill Clinton to Barak Obama, from Winston Churchil to David Cameron – left-handed people don’t dominate the lists but they occupy more than the 10% of places their numerical position in the population at large would suggest.

In fact Arteta’s first signing was left-footed: Pablo Mari – and that tendency has continued so that by last season we were putting out teams which quite often had five left-footed players: Gabriel and either Tierney or Zinchenko at the back, Odegaard and either Xhaka or Havertz in the middle, and Saka up front.

Now when Arteta talks about his overall football strategy he often talks about having a team that is unpredictable, and that is certainly true when a team has more than the expected one or two left-footed outfield players coming up against a team that is dominated by right footed players who are themselves used to playing against right- footed players.

And we should not think it is just which foot is being used to pass the ball – it is the whole angle of the player as he beats a defender.  No matter how much the right-footed defender tries to work it out, the left-footed midfielder or attacker invariably takes him by surprise.

Now as it happens signing left-footed players is not as hard as one might expect because it seems that a lot of managers – themselves previously right-footed players – have a prejudice against left-footed players, suggesting that they “don’t like” the way they play the game.

Fortunately for Arsenal, most football journalists are right-handed and have no interest or inclination to break new ground by talking about left and right-footed players.  No one else brings this up (except the New York Times which reminded me of the issue) and so the traditions carry on.   Arteta won’t rotate, Areteta needs to buy a new centre forward… say the same old things enough and they become almost believable.

Spreading left-footed players across the pitch gives Arsenal possibilities and options that teams dominated by right-footed players don’t have, and can’t defend against.

And fortunately, me mentioning this here won’t make any odds because prejudices in football are so deep that it takes a very radical free-thinking manager to re-align his views.

Of course, I have a bias because my father was a left-footed footballer – although not at the high professional level.  But it was good to see the NYT article pick the issue up – as they had noted that the two regular penalty-takers Arsenal have are both left-footed, while most goalkeepers are right-footed.   These goalkeepers practice saving penalties every day… and 90% of those they practice against are right-footed forwards.   They simply don’t get the chance to practice against lefties.

So why don’t other clubs look out for more left-footed players?  Well, that’s probably because they read the media which makes it quite clear that if Arsenal don’t sign a centre-forward soon, all hope for the new season will have gone.

Footnote: That scoring of more goals last season than in any season for 71 years obviously indicates Arsenal’s desperate need for a new centre forward, so you can take all this talk about left-footed players as ambidextrous gibberish.


10 Replies to “The benefit of the left footed side – and access to Untold Arsenal”

  1. “Should Arsenal take note of a bunch of journalists who have no experience in running a Premier League club, or should we acknowledge that Arteta knows something?”

    Not just journalists but certain Arsenal fans who similarly have no experience of running a premier league club also insist they know better than Arteta. One in particular seems to know who he should play, who he shouldn’t, who he should sub, who he shouldn’t, when he should sub, when he shouldn’t, who he should buy, the tactics he should employ, the list goes on.

    “Arteta won’t rotate, Arteta needs to buy a new centre forward… say the same old things enough and they become almost believable.”

    You forgot another criticism that is now being thrown at Arteta, he doesn’t play enough teenagers. Too cautious is another one. If only he’d of gone for it at The Etihad we’d of won the League.

    Poor old Arteta, he just does nothing right!

    If only these know-alls managed football teams then they could put their expert opinions to the test. But they don’t, and I can only assume that’s because they are actually rubbish at it, so instead they just bang away on a keyboard typing things such as “Those of us who complain about the academy are not wrong !”

    You see, they KNOW they are right.

    All these people that KNOW IT ALL, simply wasted banging away on a key board. Our loss I suppose.

  2. Interesting that Amanda Staveley is selling her shares in Newcastle after 3 years and was part of the plan. So was she the face of the club so the government got involved so the Newcastle purchase went through?

  3. Whenever I see kids playing football I am always struck by the inability to use their left feet. I took my neighbours 8 year old in my garden and made him use his left to trap, pass and shoot. He now is comfortable using both feet and at 10 has just been signed onto Norwich City’s books.
    Next job is to keep telling him that he has to work because so many don’t get any further.

  4. Good job Porter. I did the same with my son when he was ten and right-footed. In one summer, he became two-footed. I have never understood how striker made it to the top of the game using only one foot. It never seems to occur to them they could practice until perfect.

    Tony, i always found playing tennis against lefties to be particularly tricky. They spin the ball like no other.

  5. Mike :- I am in ball skills ambi and pedidextrous it was a great advantage playing squash in local leagues . I often knocked up right handed and then switched to left as the match started. Worked a treat.

  6. Mike and porter


    As a right footed player I was never coached on my left foot, never! Luckily for me it wasn’t utterly useless, to the extent that I was actually played on the left wing more often than the right. It certainly helped develop may ability with my left foot, but never to the same level as my right.

    What I found was, instinctive actions such as crossing, controlling, passing, were probably at a level of 80/90% of my right foot.

    But there was no way I could take a dead ball kick, corner, freekick or penalty, with it as I would say it was as low a 20% the quality of my right foot.

    On your point of coaching. When I was a teenager in the 70’s I don’t remember any coaching for your ‘wrong’ foot.

    Anyone ‘both’ footed was just looked at as fortunate.

  7. It’s something you could be taught Nitram. It was hard for me using my right foot at first. Strangely enough, I shot harder with my left but was better at long curving passes with my right.

  8. One thing I never got the hang of was heading the ball. I was just as bad with my left head as I was with my right!

    In all the years I played football I only scored 3 goals with my head. One from about 6 inches. On from about 12 inches and amazingly one from outside the box!!!

    Whenever there was a corner that I wasn’t taking I’d hover around or at the back of the penalty area, supposedly waiting for the ‘second ball’ when in reality I was hiding from the first!! Anyway, this fool taking the corner over hit it in my direction. Shit, what to do??

    There was no option. I just shut my eyes and let the ball hit me on the head. Contact made, I opened my eyes to see the ball sailing serenely back across the penalty box and into the far corner.

    And all with my wrong head!!

  9. In my mid-’20s I injured my right arm at the beginning of the darts season. I managed to learn to throw with my left arm over the course of a few days, and never looked back.

    Only joking. My right arm was only out of action for a few weeks, but I have managed to win a few late-night (semi)-drunken bets on the oche subsequently.

  10. When I was 11/12 in the early 60s, I taught myself to play with my left foot. My dad said it would be a good idea. He was left footed but never played football after leaving school, Dad didn’t really suggest what to do, so I took a tennis paly and practiced kicking it up against the house wall. This combined by trying to use my left during street football matches using tennis balls helped to develop my left. Playing lots of indoor 5-a-side football helped even more during my teenage years. So much so that by my 30s
    I surprised a few people when they found out that I was naturally right footed. I had managed this without any formal coaching. In my 40s I was very interested to learn from someone that I worked with had been on West Ham books when they were young. When I told him how I got to play with my left, he told me that Ron Greenwood had told him to practice volleying a tennis ball as he was rather weak on his left foot!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *