By Walter Broeckx
The Arsenal season is over. Right in front of us is that most dreadful period of the year: the dead season. So let us take a look at a few numbers and try to judge if the season was good or not.
If we take the league position we finished in 3rd place. Last season we came in 4th place. So from whatever angle you look at this is improvement. It will make the start of our season a bit easier because we will not have to play qualifiers for the Champions League. Those qualifiers have cost us maybe around 6 points this season. Now we will not be facing those physical and mental difficult games. Again this is improvement.
This season we won 21 games. The season before we only won 19 games. I don’t know how you think of it but I can only see this as an improvement.
This season we had 17 games when we dropped points. The season before we had 19 games we dropped points. That is an improvement. But yes we have to note the fact that we lost more games. We lost 10 games this season and the season before we lost only 8.
But overall this resulted in a total of 70 points this season and the season before we had 68 points. So again I think this is improvement.
This season we scored 74 goals. And the season before we scored 72 goals. So this is a bit better than we did last season.
But on the other hand we conceded 49 goals and last season we conceded 43 goals. So that is 6 goals more than this season. Not that good. But this can be solved very easily as I will show you later on in this article. And no, we don’t need to buy someone to get this right.
So for those who feel the need to feel bad there are two reasons they can hang on to. We lost 2 more games and we conceded 6 more goals in total. But for the rest all the other numbers are positive compared to the season before. A season when we had Cesc, Nasri and Jack Wilshere.
So what is the thing that could prevent us from conceding more goals? Well the solution is right here under our nose. When the Arsenal player of the season will be announced it will be no surprise that Van Persie will win it. He has won almost all the other prices an individual player can win this season so he will win this.
But I just discovered that the most important player of the season is not Van Persie. Nope the most important player is one of those “panic buys” from August 31. So when you vote on Arsenal.com just keep in mind what I will tell you about Mikel Arteta.
When he came on that blessed day in August we had lost Cesc, Nasri and Jack. We had played 3 games, lost 2 and had one draw. We conceded 10 goals in 3 games. Mikel came, he saw and he made us better. We still had an occasional bump on the road but we started our long way up the league table. All went rather well until we hit a difficult period in January. Was it a coincidence that Arteta was out injured? We conceded 5 goals in 2 games which we lost of course.
But when Arteta was fit again he came, he saw and again made us better. We went up and up, closing a big gap with our neighbours, going passed our neighbours and making a nice gap for ourselves this time.
But then disaster struck again in the Wigan game. Arteta got injured. And since then in the 5 games (I included Wigan as he went of in the first minutes of the game) we had to play when he was injured we let in 8 goals.
So if you are still with me that is a total of 23 goals conceded in the 9 games Arteta was not involved. That is 2,5 goals per game.
So this also is telling us that in the other games we conceded 26 goals. And that is an average of 0.89 goals per game.
Now I must say that I have always found Arteta a good player when I saw him at Everton. When I saw him play for Arsenal my admiration became bigger. The way he makes room for himself and other players is amazing. But the most amazing thing is that now he has had the first chance to play for a top 4 team he has shown that he is a player that is utterly remarkable.
His hard work goes unnoticed for most. Of course it is the goal scorer that grabs the headlines. But the silent hard work. The ball recovery. The little foul that stops the other team from starting a counter. The ball chasing. That goes mostly unnoticed but as the statistics show with or without Arteta, Arsenal is a different team.
So should we get M’Villa, Vertonghen or who ever under the sun that is linked with Arsenal? Well maybe it would be nice but for me the most important thing to do is to make sure that Arteta has a good rest, that he completely recovers from his injury. And please I beg to whatever god you can pray to: Let us keep Arteta fit during next season. Let him pass his skills on to the younger generation like Ramsey and Wilshere. Let him teach them youngsters how to play the game.
So lets keep Arteta fit next season and let us teach one of the youngsters or a newcomer to fill in, when he gets a little injury.
Yesterday I voted for Robin Van Persie as player of the season on arsenal.com. Today after seeing those numbers I regret it. Van Persie grabbed the attention and the headlines because of his phenomenal goal scoring records and this is all well deserved. But the most important player is the one that nobody speaks about: Mikel Arteta. He is the one that keeps the team in balance.
Stand up, Mikel and receive the applause of the Untold faithful. Thank you Senor Mikel for your great work this season.
Eskerrik asko Señor Mikel
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