Funny old game.
Gareth Bale, who despite his past is actually a very good player, gets booed at Real Madrid mostly for not passing to Cristiano Ronaldo when he (Bale) goes through one or one with the keeper.
Bale has scored 12 goals in 25 games, while Benzema has scored 14 in 27. Critiano Ronaldo has scored 33 in 28 games. No one else is allowed to score – it is in the contract.
So he’s only third scorer, but most clubs would like to keep a player with 12 goals this season. Only Real Mad support can be that bizarre.
By comparison Sánchez has scored 18 in 29 of which the Premier League record is 12 in 19 games. Plus 7 official assists.
As the Telegraph kindly lets us know, “in the entire 23-season history of the Premier League, no new arrival in England has been directly involved in more Premier League goals than Sánchez in their first 20 games.”
So by this part of the season Alexis has done better than anyone else coming to the League for their first season. Cristiano Ronaldo, in his first 20 Premier League games got five goals or assists.
This is of course encouraging, because most of it has been achieved with a very unsettled team playing with him. Goodness knows what he might have done if he had been receiving passes from Ozil and Ramsey all season. Goodness knows how many Arsenal would have scored with Giroud and Theo in the side all season.
The reason behind the Alexis numbers is fairly easy to ascertain.
1. He’s very talented,
2. He clearly listens to the manager and fits to the system that he is given to play in,
3. He works very hard and trains very hard,
4. The fans love him,
5, His stats show that he has made more tackles and more interceptions than the other three highest Premier League goalscorers (Costa – 15 goals, Aguero – 14, Austin – QPR) put together,
6. His enthusiasm and energy and drive is rubbing off on his fellow players who all know that if they keep pushing, he’ll get the ball and score,
7. He can see how the thug defenders in the premier league play, and has worked out how to play around them, which is clever.
So why did Barcelona sell him? Quite simply because he was getting fed up with not being very important to the club or the fans. Messi is god, Messi is everything, no room for another top man.
Now I want to back track just a little, to look at this list again. Tucked away at number four is “the fans love him” – we all love him.
But this love has nothing much to do with ethic and workrate. Podolski always had the fans on his side, but his lack of tracking back never really earned that support – it was just there because he was a good player at times, a good tweeter, and posted some funny pics and scored great goals. And he got the right chant.
Arsenal has a history of booing great players – in many ways that is down to luck. Jack Lambert was the worst ever example – a player in many ways as talented as Alexis, and who nearly left had he not received significant help in overcoming the booing from Herbert Chapman. Had he left, some of those early trophies would not have been ours. He scored 98 goals in 143 games.
Of course we are lucky that the moronic turnips who come to the Arsenal to boo and jeer, turn up in small numbers but even so their influence can spread if things go wrong.
But for now we can be very happy to have Alexis and his remarkable performances.
Here is a comparison with a certain Mr Henry…
These are of course league goals and games only and so underplay Giroud’s figures vis a vis Henry’s somewhat (if we compare the two players on all games and goals, they are closer), but they help us see what we have got here.
Henry started out at a bit of a lower level than Alexis, and took quite a while to get going. Giroud in league terms, likewise.
But just consider the power of playing Giroud and Alexis on the pitch together. The defence will never have a clue as to where the goals are going to come from, which stretches the defence no end. Play Ramsey and Theo as well, and they’ll be all over the place.
And consider this. In 2001/2 the second highest scorer for Arsenal was Ljunberg with 12 in the season. Have two players knocking them in regularly and you have a different ball game. Two players who can get 20 or more each a season, then, wow…
A bit like having Ronaldo and Bale. Except the Real Mad fans don’t want Bale so he’ll probably go.
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