Arsenal v Stoke and the spending league table (and banner update)

By Tony Attwood

As one might expect, the press harped on and on and on and on about not buying a striker and Danny Welbeck being injured.  No mention that quietly Campbell has been restored to the squad, and is said to be looking very sharp in training (hence his place on the bench).  No mention of the incredible young strikers who thrilled us in the summer and who are now beefing up on loan.  And who could return to us if we really had a crisis of strikers.

Of course not.

Panic and buy is the message.  Panic and buy, panic and buy.

As it was we had two strikers on the pitch and they did enough to overcome the rugby team with its significantly diminishing array of away support.   Maybe rugby is lessening its grip in the Potteries.

As for Mr Wenger, of Theo he said, “I believe he can be a prolific goalscorer.”   What does he know?  He said the same of Thierry Henry when he started each game and went seven without scoring, spending most of his time meandering about on the wing.

“The bigger belief he will have to score, the more he will score.”  Which seems fair enough.

But the attackers were not the men of the match, although there were two.  On 31 minutes the absolute man of the match Francis Coquelin made another decisive twist in his seemingly unlimited array of talent and turned into Patrick Vieira.  Özil lobbed, Walcott showed.  According to some readers of the blogettas all three players should have been deleted from the squad long ago.

Remember “just buy a DM for fuck’s sake?”   Don’t hear that quite so much now.

I don’t know about you but from my new vantage point on the front row in the East, it was glorious to behold.

And the other prime mover in the game: Hector Bellerin.  Astounding, amazing, absolutely something else starting with “a”.  He was a sensation throughout from where I looked, and of course sitting now along the side of the pitch rather than behind the goal one can get a better judgement of the full backs.

Is it a coincidence that the players cost £0?

Maybe but to look at the matter further I thought I’d do a full league table based on transfers.

The first of the two extra columns on the right is from Transfer League and is a record of the amount of money spent in transfer fees by the current Premier League clubs over the last five seasons.

The second column is a net spend this summer from Sky Sports.  In each case I have put the top seven spenders in bold.  All figures are of course rounded and must be somewhat approximate as different sources vary.  They are in millions of pounds.


Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts 5 yr cost Net Summer
1 Man City 5 5 0 0 11 0 11 15 £322  £124
2 Man Utd 5 3 1 1 6 3 3 10 £300  £33
3 Arsenal 5 3 1 1 5 3 2 10 £99  £8
4 C Palace 5 3 0 2 8 6 2 9 £51  £21
5 Everton 5 2 2 1 8 5 3 8  £20  £13
6 Leicester 4 2 2 0 8 5 3 8 £46 £20
7 Swansea 5 2 2 1 7 5 2 8  £13  £9
8 Norwich 5 2 1 2 8 9 -1 7  £43  £10
9 Liverpool 5 2 1 2 3 6 -3 7 £163 £10
10 West Ham 4 2 0 2 9 6 3 6 £93  £27
11 Southampton 5 1 3 1 5 5 0 6  £32  -£1
12 Watford 5 1 3 1 3 4 -1 6  £7  £23
13 West Brom 5 1 2 2 3 6 -3 5  £51  £27
14 Aston Villa 4 1 1 2 4 5 -1 4 £33 £9
15 Bournemouth 5 1 1 3 6 9 -3 4 £27  £21
16 Chelsea 5 1 1 3 7 12 -5 4 £224  £32
17 Tiny Totts 4 0 3 1 3 4 -1 3  £-36  £5
18 Newcastle 4 0 2 2 2 5 -3 2 £68  £46
19 Sunderland 4 0 2 2 6 10 -4 2  £59  £22
20 Stoke 5 0 2 3 3 7 -4 2  £46 £3

As with previous analyses we find there is only a general approximation between spend and success.  Of course the blogettas will tell us this table is meaningless because you have to judge your team after three games, as they did when calling for the manager’s head on a platter.  But even after four and five games it is still evident that while spend at a level sensationally above everyone else (as they do in Manchester) can buy in success, for clubs with not such overwhelming wealth, buying is not a guarantee of success.

Indeed although Chelsea lacks behind Manchester in five year spending they are still sensationally ahead of the pack.  I pointed out before that they only scored a couple more goals than us last season, and that seems to be a continuing problem.  That and the pesky medics.

Of course there are issues elsewhere as always.  A club that has spent a while in a lower division won’t spend so much over five years maybe, and Watford and Chelsea have their strong links with overseas clubs that might affect their figures downwards through certain “arrangements”.  The Tottenham figure still is affected by the vast sum received for Bale.

So these are not absolutes, but given the fanatical interest in the amount spent by certain sections of the community I think it is still worthy of note.  Money doesn’t guarantee success.  At least not after five games.


  • 13 September 1998: Guardian reported that Chelsea had just failed to hi-jack Arsenal’s bid for Ljungberg.  The notion of clubs attempting to “hi-jack” bids continued with evidence and was still going strong in 2015.
  • 13 September 2008: At 16 years, 8 months, 4 days Jack Wilshere became Arsenal’s youngest player replacing Robin Van Persie on 81 minutes in the game against Blackburn.  Arsenal won 4-0

The banner – there’s a new update on the Banner Page


57 Replies to “Arsenal v Stoke and the spending league table (and banner update)”

  1. Tony,
    “As for Mr Wenger, of Theo he said, “I believe he can be a prolific goalscorer.” What does he know? He said the same of Thierry Henry….”.

    Thing is, by this age Henry was pretty obviously a world class goal scoaring talent. At 26 and after 10 years under Wenger, he’s still talking about what Walcott can become. I love the way Wenger doesn’t give up and to be fair to Walcott there is some gold in there. But it’s surrounded by an awful lot of less appealing matter. 10 years and were still talking about his potential. How much longer for heavens sake?

  2. Sorry to be OT but I heard this gem on Saturday night on TalkSport radio UK

    The two speakers were hyping up looserpool and how they are a European team. In the course of this hyping we were informed that ‘Arsene Wenger is right’ (what’s this I thought? what did he say? Since when is Arsene right?)

    I listened on and heard this:
    ‘Arsene Wenger is right fourth place is a trophy’.

    So we know now ‘fourth place is a trophy if looserpool are fourth.’

    We also know looserpool without the PGMO are not a fourth place team or club. The speakers for got to mention either fact.

  3. I like the new “Like” “Dislike” buttons. Hope everyone will use the latter for the negative comments from a certain crowd of supporters.

    BTW, anyone else loving the meltdown in Chelsea?! 🙂

  4. So Clockendrider, if Theo starts scoring right now and bashes Titi’s record, wouldn’t you call him prolific? He still has time on his side. There are many players who have blossomed late and gone on to win big. Anyway, if Theo scores 25, which he is capable of this season, I would be happy.

  5. “If you want to play and win trophies you go to Chelsea, if you want to play for fun and not win anything you go to Arsenal”
    This was quoted by ex Arsenal(legend???) Stewart Robson this season. Could someone remind me what this cretin has won in his marvellous career. That comment was nearly as good as “Carzola is just a poor man’s Fabregas” and “I would rather have Rooney than Messi in my starting eleven” why are these people allowed to voice their opinions we should keep a log of such comments and publish them all at the seasons end and have a good laugh

  6. Tony – I’m in total agreement concerning Coq/Bel but I would also like to give a shout for the blossoming Kos/Gab combination. It was good to observe yesterday how they were always checking on each other’s position (no lack of understanding there) and were very quick to cover if the other was temporarily missing. The extra pace of Gabrial plus the covering of Coquelin seems to have enabled Koscielny to express himself more by controlling the ball on his chest before an accurate lay off or venturing forward for a dynamic 30 yard shot.

  7. John w,
    No I’d love it if Walcott scored 25. I don’t want the man to fail. At the same time I just struggle to be part of the love in with him. He has had so much time to develop and at an age where he should be at his peak as a striker, I find it bizarre that the manager is still talking about how he can develop. What on earth were the latst 10 years for? He has played far more games than his talent has warranted and I just get fed up of watching him add so little in so many games. At the ground I have a seat behind the goal and to watch his lack of involvement sometimes I just wonder whether he purposely looks to hide so he can’t be passed to. In many games I’ve seen he adds so little that it’s as though we’re playing with 10 men.
    I don’t want him to fail but at the same time I long for a player to come in who can really be part of the team and help drive us forward. If this is an internal solution then so much the better.

  8. Overwhelming wealth is the key detail. Fail to reasonably understand the difference between that and our own financial status (wealthy, healthy) and a world of error is an inevitability.

    I’ve been reading Rinus Michels’ book this week. A contender for the greatest manager of all time, someone who did his great works long before money had utterly taken over, back when player development and silly things like that could take you to the top.

    The interesting thing is that nearly everything he says could have been written this week (instead of around 2001). The book is packed full of brilliant insight, but I particularly like his habit of regularly stating, after he’s said his bit about whatever aspect of the game he is dealing with, that player quality is key.

    An obvious point,that, but one that always deserves to be reiterated at timely moments. You can be as great a manager as you like, you can be as wonderful a tactician you like, whatever…- the cap on what you can achieve is the quality of players, the tactics you use must suit the types of players you have,etc.

    I liked this habit of his to tack on that reminder at the end. It felt like exactly the right place for it, even though it’s the most important fact of all. It served as a little slap in the face for anyone ,reading these great tactical insights in the book, or thinking it over any time, who might be getting carried away imagining glory was potentially available for anyone with a great knowledge of football.

    It also hinted at the reality that transfers are not actually a rich source of real discussion and analysis about football as a game. They can transform you, but they are not the game itself. Go away for ten years, come back and watch a game of elite football ,with earplugs in, and you could briefly watch the game as it is, or rather was. The discussion afterwards, with fellow exiles, would focus on the quality of players out there and the way the game unfolded. Real football analysis should of course resemble those conversations.

    Also, in a book that mentioned transfers so little (Real madrid came up as huge spenders; so my chronology must be out as I figured that began after Michels’ book), it served as the constant link to that topic : if it’s all about player quality, and great players can be bought for money…isn’t Michels saying from the grave…’spend some f**king money, Wenger!’?

    Yes, and no; mostly no. The yes would be that, if player quality is key, and players can be bought for money, spend your money if you can get those players who clearly improve your team/squad.

    The no would be, if you can’t bring in people with extra quality, hold fire.

    I saw it as an amusing wonderful thing that this central message of one of the Greats- player quality is key, work your nuts off as a manager, or even as a layman with a love of the game and an interest in understanding it, but never forget how a team is bound by the quality of its players- can be used so easily to say ‘spend,spend, spend’

    It’s utterly true. Chelsea City and PSG have been transformed by spend,spend,spend, because they dramatically altered the quality of players within each club. Also true is the fact that fans of any club are right in thinking bringing in players of great quality or who are better than those currently available are likely to help the team. So this is what the media endlessly exploit, this legitimate yearning of fans to see their club become better, the legitimate excitement when your club does sign such a player.

    But the true message or sense becomes garbled and lost : they have to be better players to give you much chance of being better than you currently are. Also, you have to (or should bloody have to) develop a good understanding of what that there transfer market is like, which very much includes accepting the difference between overwhelming wealth and all the levels below it; accepting the difference and absorbing the ramifications.

    To finish on a cheerier note, while that overwhelming wealth makes things so difficult for anyone else, there still exists that second route (once the primary one) for finding players of great quality- developing your own! Two in a a year. Incredible. Sadly, money now rules to such an extent that nearly all clubs can forget the dream of developing a number of gems at the same time and thereby transforming themselves. Money says ‘sorry, no’, for nearly all clubs.

    Also, looking at Liverpool yesterday underlined supremely well just how big a deal holding onto your best players is. To see Ings and Benteke toiling in difficult conditions where so recently Sturridge, Suarez and Sterling were operating to devastating effect was a great reminder that retaining your best players is of course as big a deal as ‘signing’ some player of equal quality.

    We’re not wired to appreciate that fact so well, but it’s nevertheless true.

  9. Rosicky, would be very happy with per, or the clearly excellent Gabriel at the bridge.
    That is a chance to mortally would Jose, he will have his players up for it, he will send in his kickers, serial foulers, we will probably have Atkinson as referee who will let them away with all sorts. Chelsea’s players careers at the club will be on the line for that game. But whoever Wenger puts out, I trust them to do a good job…..referee allowing.
    Interesting to see the spending league. Tottenham do well ion the spending front….if you take into account where they finished last year, rather than where they currently sit…..but might not do so well in a squandering league

  10. Chief Tony, good morning Sir. Agreed, money doesn’t guarantee success. But can push success to be successful if wisely spent. Joel Campbell in now believed to be the Gunners 3rd striker which implies no more room for a forth one. Otherwise, I would have suggested the Boss brings back the now free agent Emmanuel Adebayor to temporarily fill the void left behind by Danny Welbeck absence. Sound ridiculous? Adebayor is originally a Gunner as the Boss first brought him to the Premier League. But he left to Man City for more money where he later angered the Gooners with his show of indiscipline gesture to them. Can Adebayor beg the Boss to help him as Sol Cambpell at Portmouth once did if he’s prepared to lower his wage demand? I think Adebayor should swallow his pride to do that. He still has some fire in his feet that Arsenal can do with in the long haulage of the season and for free save his wage. Apart of the long lob which Walcott utilized, Ozil was generally poor with his passing game as his passes never got to his intended destinations. Apart of the 1 goal he got, Walcott too was generally poor in front of Stoke’s goal as he profigated by missing a sitter of a heading and can’t kick the ball strongly to goal but pass kicked it twice or more to the Stoke goalee to catch easily. Is it his ACL knee that made him to kicked so weakly? Can he train his other foot in training to become strong? I had wanted the Boss to test run in the Stoke game, the 4G Game App Data Running Plan, by starting his 4G (LTE) Gunners of BellerinDeAberuKoscielnyGibbs. RamseyCazorlaCoquelinOxlade. SanchezWalcott. In the 4-4-2 4G App Formation. 4G is speed that’s 4 times doubled the 3G speed. But the Boss have appeared not to want to take a risk in a game with an App he has not test run and perfected it in training. Hence his starting the 3G Gunners of Ozil and Monreal in his starting XI for the game which made the Gunners to struggled to beat Stoke 2-0 instead of to overrun them by 5-0 had he started entirely his 4G Gunners.

  11. Rich, excellent post on some of the thoughts of a great man and how they may apply to our club today. Develop your own, hopefully we will be doing a lot more of that in the future……regardless of what others do. Liverpool is a poignant example, yes, they raised their game for a half against us as they took advantage of a temporary defensive blip that came our way, but to me, they look a poor side, without ref help, they would be in a bit of a mess already. Rogers is not my favourite person in the game, but I believe he is a decent coach, if a bit of an ego driven plonker, but clearly not all the issues there are down to him and he should be given a chance, but with today’s media pressure and that clubs fickle owners, I fear for his immediate future at Liverpool. Which will inevitably mean more money squandered….sorry spent as the new man comes in.

  12. Clockendrider, TW has shown occasional brilliance but the issue is consistency. Personally I don’t expect him to reach THs level but a lot of that is to do with injuries (I don’t remember TH having much injury problems until the back issue before he moves to spain) and the way the game has changed. TH was part of a much smaller squad so he got a run of games almost as soon as he got back from an injury. TW doesn’t have that luxury as we can’t risk him when we have other options. TW has the ability to be a ‘game changer’ which he’s show a few times over his years with us, but he needs to start showing it a damn sight more and hopefully he will with a run of games.

  13. I would watch your smugness. I pray it don’t happen but if coq gets injured we are in trouble. I was there yesterday and as much as I admire arteta his is now embarrassingly slow and that is why we needed a dm. Your sycophants will likely thumb down but then that’s what they do. They have their opinion but are totally closed minded like yourself I’m afraid to any others opinion. And I don’t mean those morons at Le grove cos they are deluded.

  14. Since theo broke into the Arsenal side he HAS been consistent. I don’t get this accusation that he hasn’t, at all.

    Until very recently he has played wide, and from there his goal scoring and assists have been at a very good level.

    Since he has been given more opportunities as a striker, his goal scoring from that position has also been at a very good level.

    Okay he has missed some good chances, but the fact remains he scores at a decent rate, and that is a good sign. Just imagine how many he will get if he ups his conversion rate, which I fully expect him to do given time to settle into what is, despite the years at Arsenal, a new role.

    As far as I can see the only real issue for Theo has been injuries and the obvious impact that has.

    But I cant agree with the following from ‘Clockendrider’ at all:

    “He has played far more games than his talent has warranted and I just get fed up of watching him add so little in so many games.”

    I think that is a gross under estimation of what Theo has contributed to Arsenal since his arrival.

    Or this from ‘Andy Mack’ either:

    “TW has shown occasional brilliance but the issue is consistency.”

    Theo is a top player. He is consistent. Once he ups that conversion rate he will be a prolific scorer, of that I am sure.

  15. I thought I’d just find some statistics to back my point, and I have these from ‘Who’

  16. Fred – be careful the sky might fall on your head. There are more than enough players that can substitute for Coquelin. The issues we have are not major. The goals are coming. Yesterdays misses were a warning to the EPL that we have a prolific set up that can score from any position. I would have liked to see both Theo & Giroud play together as they would be a formidable partnership.

    Theo has not had a fair share of luck, but it will come. His shots on target are what matter. He has the ability to shoot from distance & requires a technique tweak. Alexis has all the skills & is also missing out on his share of luck.

  17. Jambug

    I thought I’d just find some statistics to back my point, and I have these from ‘Who’

    Theo Walcott:

    App = 178

    Mins = 10757

    Goals = 51

    Ass = 34

    1 Goal every 3.5 Games/211 Mins

    1 Ass every 5.2 Games

    Raheem Stirling:

    Apps = 117

    Mins = 8334

    Goals = 19

    Ass = 16

    1 Goal every 6.15 Games/438 Mins

    1 Ass Every 7.3 Games

    Theos goal scoring rate is nearing twice that of Sterling who was sold for how much ???

    I looked this up very quickly and could not be bothered to go into any great detail as I think the basic crude numbers reveal what I wanted, and that is that Theo is a top top player and is, like so many Arsenal players, vastly under rated.

    Alas just another doss of misinformation that gets rammed down our throats by the media on a daily basis.

    Theo is not that good.

    Sterling is world Class.

    Hmmm. Really ?

    Finally. I did a similar evaluation of Theos Statistics 3 or 4 of years ago when he was facing similar criticism from all directions.

    I compared him to his contempories at the time which where:






    Theos stats where better than all of them, and the only player to come close was Sturridge.

    As I say, Theo is vastly underrated, but alas too many people, many Arsenal fans among them it seems, believe the crap the media spout.

  18. Fred

    The reason you are ‘Thumbed down’ is because people don’t agree with you.

    100’s of thousands visit this site, which would give a very broad demographic I would of thought.

    That makes a lot of sycophants.

    Or perhaps there’s more to it than that don’t you think?

    For one, have you ever considered you might be wrong?

    No, I didn’t think so.

  19. Agree Menace, it we carry on creating, it is only a matter of time. Alexis won’t always hit the post…..
    Our defending is looking pretty solid too, think Chelsea may need all the help they can….sorry, most likely will get to beat this team.

  20. OT: Arsenal Ladies and Officials

    Looking for stories about officials, this pops up. When Arsenal Ladies played Reading recently, at half time a message came over the PA system, asking if there was a qualified assistant referee in the stadium.

    Who answers the call? Michael Oliver! And he ran the line for the second half with a crowd of 873 looking on.

    I guess he was at the game in part, because his wife was the referee.

  21. Jambug,
    Thanks for doc g the hard yards in th stats. Couple of things I would say. Firstly, comparing Walcott who is 26 with Sterling who is younger is not really comparing like with like. As far as his value, I think that’s irrelevant. Any asset is only worth what someone else is willing to pay. If City with their ridiculous level f external funding think he’s worth all that then good luck to them. I don’t think he’s worth it either.
    Finally, in the 10 years he has been at Arsenal, Walcott has only scored more than 10 goals in 1 season. He could be a late bloomer I suppose. But that just points out the folly of having invested so much in him for the last 10 years as we’re still waiting for him to be the finished article…..,

  22. Clockendrider

    The stats are the stats. They show how god (or productive) he is.

    “But that just points out the folly of having invested so much in him for the last 10 years as we’re still waiting for him to be the finished article…..,”

    He’s been producing. What more do you want?

    He’s not Messi. I’m not saying he is. But he is a very good player.

    He IS BETTER than his contemporaries. The statistics show that.

    For the life of me I don’t know what you expect from him?

  23. No, he’s not been producing. His control is poor. In many games he hides and barely touches the ball. In 10 years he has scored 51 goals in the premier in 134 starts and 78 sub apps. I’m afraid as far as I’m concerned the emperor has considerably fewer clothes than was originally thought.

  24. OT: Video at Games, and how officiating went.

    The Guardian is running a story nominally about the suspension of a Welling player for pretending to be hurt so that an opposition player was red carded (and Welling goes on to tie game).

    About half way through, the article talks about a recent game at Old Toilet. Sky and the BBC were televising the game I guess, and the article mentions that there were 18 cameras there. Which likely means each had 9. The article goes on to say that the home team also has an array of cameras installed. As these other cameras are likely fixed position, or at best have a minimal ability to be adjusted in real time, there are likely to be significantly more than 9.

    The article then morphs into a set of other topics, including what a great muppet Gary Neville is.

    But, the point of the main thread of the article, was that there are very likely too many points of view now at a game, for any player to successfully pretend to be injured any more.

    Apparently there was an incident in the Sunderland-Tottenham game involving Pawson which might involve cheating by PGMO.

    Fox Sports reported that the only possible miscues by the referee, were two incidents where Stoke might have hoped to get a penalty against Arsenal. The Daily Star figures Gabriel should have seen red in his tussle with Arnautovic.

    Norwich-Bournemouth. Apparently Atkinson was calling fouls and questionable decisions (non-calls?) without a reason (according to medja).

    Everton-Chelsea, Marriner apparently turned away the chance to discipline Costa with a red.

    And finally, for those who wondered how much Arsenal donated to the refugee crisis yesterday.

    > Arsenal attendance given at 59,963, which equals £59,963 for Save the Children’s fund for the refugee crisis.

  25. Clockendrider

    You suggest comparing him to Stirling is unfair.

    Fare enough.

    Without any investigation, I might be setting myself up for a fall, but why don’t YOU do the hard yards and find the stats to show how poor Theo is, and then perhaps we can have a debate.

    What you think?

  26. Clockendrider

    “No, he’s not been producing. His control is poor. In many games he hides and barely touches the ball.”

    Sorry, cant agree with this at all. His stats are good for a wide player.

    Show me otherwise and maybe I’ll have to change my opinion, but I lay a pound to a pinch you will NOT find the stats to back your opinion.

    I suppose thumbs up/down will indicate as to who’s on the right track.

  27. Fred

    I was tempted to go for the thumbs up as I share your concern about the likely impact of a Coquelin injury.

    Where I’m guessing we differ is that, after trying to take all factors into account- known knowns, known unknowns, unknown unknowns- I figure there have to be very good reasons why we have taken the risk we have.

    The known knowns would include the extremely bad transfer market at this point, the giant headache we’ll have, with big first team players, if we bring in another significant signing into midfield, plus the effect any more signings have on promising youngsters.

    Luck and chance may well have played some role in delivering Coquelin to the team at the point he emerged, but if Wenger had previously spent as others insisted he was mad not to- on Capoue’s, Paulinho’s,etc- the opportunity might never have emerged.

    A lot of it comes down to how highly you view the manager – if in doubt, I tend to think there must be things I don’t know or haven’t fully understood, i.e it is very,very unlikely that I am able to judge any facet of football better than Wenger- which I suppose is another way of saying I keep an open mind, all the time, to the possibility I’m wrong.

    So that’s me, I think there were incredibly good reasons to pursue another dm, but I also think there were clear disadvantages should we have signed one. Most importantly, the whole thing hinges on the quality of players in question.

    Finally, we have no reliable indicator’s of what went on behind the scenes. We just have the fact that no one signed, our opinions about the options we have, and the regard we hold the manager in.

  28. So we agree he’s not a striker and there is no point in looking for him to score 20 plus league goals a season.

    As far as being a wide player, if you like wide players to touch the ball 18 times in 72 minutes with a large percentage of the touches being passes back to the right back, then yes, he does produce.
    For my money he has lots of pace and the ability to make good runs. However he doesn’t have the skill or guile to perform consistently as a winger.
    Regarding using up or down votes as a marker for who is right, im not sure that’s what it measures. I’m happy to be wrong on Walcott but I’d rather be right than popular.

  29. I give up.

    “As far as being a wide player, if you like wide players to touch the ball 18 times in 72 minutes with a large percentage of the touches being passes back to the right back, then yes, he does produce.”

    So you pick ONE match as your stats. Sad.

    You haven’t produced any stats. It’s just your opinion. I’ll leave you to that.

  30. I have produced stats on goal scoring. Strangely when I did so, they cease to eons important to you and are irrelevant as Walcott is a winger….I’ll leave you to that.
    unfortunately there are no stats for how many times Walcott stands in positions where he can’t be passed to, makes crass runs inside when he should run outside. I watch it every week and find it incredible. I guess we see what we want to see.

  31. as a wide player what Walcott seems to lack is dribbling. As a result he needs defence with space to run into. On the wing, along the 18 yards line, with a defender to beat, Alexis will be much more likely to beat his man than Walcott as Walcott relies far too much on pace to run behind. As such he needs the service of either a defence splitting pass or space to exploit. That is why against European opponents he is a menace (pun unintended) to play against. Recently playing as a striker he has been making good runs into the heart of the defence and scoring goals. contrary to TH he has to take his chances quick as he is no dribbler but if he keeps doing that he can be very good.

  32. Clockendrider

    You say:

    “I have produced stats on goal scoring”


    “Strangely when I did so, they cease to eons (be as?) important to you”

    Yes you did, and these are them:

    “In 10 years he has scored 51 goals in the premier in 134 starts and 78 sub apps”

    Which are pretty much the same as the ones I had already produced, so how am I ignoring them?

    This is what I posted:

    Theo Walcott:

    App = 178

    Mins = 10757

    Goals = 51

    Ass = 34

    1 Goal every 3.5 Games/211 Mins

    1 Ass every 5.2 Games

    Raheem Stirling:

    Apps = 117

    Mins = 8334

    Goals = 19

    Ass = 16

    1 Goal every 6.15 Games/438 Mins

    The difference is I put them in context. And in ‘context’ Theos statistics are good.

    I challenged you to show me that they are not good.

    And to that challenge you bring up the statistics of ONE match, which suggests to me you have nothing better to back yourself.

    AS for this:

    “unfortunately there are no stats for how many times Walcott stands in positions where he can’t be passed to, makes crass runs inside when he should run outside. I watch it every week and find it incredible. I guess we see what we want to see.”

    But that is just your opinion.

    My opinion is that he stands in great positions where he can be passed to, and makes brilliant runs.

    But that’s just my opinion.

    Now we’ve got our ‘opinions’ out of the way, I’ll wait for your stats to show me how bad he is in comparison to, well, anyone.

    Now that should be easy shouldn’t it?

  33. I would be curious to know what statistics the clubs analytics company (StatDNA)focuses on to enable M. Wenger to decide who to pursue AND if that also includes analysis of the football marketplace – the money side of the equation.

  34. Walcott looks great when he scores, but doesn’t (so far) seem to be ‘top drawer’ in terms of being consistently clinical. Some players do mature later, he may be one of them. Wenger has invested a lot in Walcott (money, time and trust), it is now time for Walcott to repay him I feel. He is being given a run in the team in his preferred position, which to be fair he needs (and to stay injury free). If after 20 or so games he has no more than 5 goals, then (given the number of chances he gets) it will start to look like a failed experiment. If he has 10 or more then I would say a definite success.

    Whilst I believe Arsenal’s chances of winning the league this season would have been enhanced by a top striker, I think Wenger has to be taken on face value when he says that there was no one available that met his criteria. However, I don’t get why everyone (on this site) is against the idea in principle – Wenger himself was clearly in the market, just didn’t find anyone suitable.

  35. There are basics that neither Clockender not Jambug have understood about the way Wenger gets his team to play. The players may appear to be strikers or midfielders but in actual fact they are all of that. The positions of all players are fluid in the way Arsenal play. Theo is a superb footballer & will prove how good he is over this season. He just does the simple things & sometimes they just don’t come off.

    This rubbish about hiding is total nonsense. It is commentators verbage to ensure income. You may be able to hide in a studio but not the football field. Yesterday Theo had several chances & he took one to score. It is his positioning that gives him the chances. So, obviously he is hiding in the right places!!!

  36. Menace

    “There are basics that neither Clockender not(nor?) Jambug have understood about the way Wenger gets his team to play.”

    Sorry, but I understand exactly how ‘fluid’ Wengers style is.

    But when constructing an argument regarding a players ‘strike rate’ it is pertinent to take in to account his ‘primary role’.

    If Theo had been playing as a central striker for his entire career at Arsenal, and had a strike rate of 1 goal every 3.5 games,(as he has) I would concede that that was not good enough to ‘lead the line’.

    But he has not.

    He has started at least 90% of his games as a wide player, in which case I contest that a strike rate of 1 goal in every 3.5 games, and an assist rate of 1 in 5.2 games, is very good. I have shown comparative statistics to show that. I did the same a few years back.

    If Theo is played as a central striker and does not achieve at least 20 plus goals a season I will concede, that as a striker, it has not worked.

    That will not mean he is a bad player, but maybe not a ‘striker’ for want of a better word.

    As far as I am concerned, despite his missed chances, his scoring as a striker (Matches to goals ratio) has been pretty good.

    (NB: This is in actuality a difficult statistic to get to the bottom of because how many matches/minutes has he actually played as the main striker? How many times has he scored in that role as opposed to a wide role?)

    Anyway, despite your observations, given the ‘fuss’ made by Theo about playing ‘down the middle’ the players do see these things as a ‘defined’ role, even if a great deal of ‘fluidity’ is built in to the ‘Wengerball’ style of play.

    Not wanting to have a go Menace because I really enjoy your contributions, but I think I, and proberbly Clockendrider for that matter, understand the fluidity of Wengers tactics. We just disagree about Theo’s contribution.

    Just saying.

  37. Jambug – good points & I accept your arguments. I agree stats on positional players in Wengers teams are difficult. While you have praise for Theo that I totally agree with. I disagree with Clockenders ‘Theo hides’ assertion. Players at the ‘edges’ of the game have to keep moving to get fed. If they do not get passed to, it is not of their making.

    Theo had one pass that was perfect for his skill set & he delivered. Same for Giroud. Even though they both missed other chances gained by good positioning.

  38. Jambug, You’re right about TW but the problem is that he’s good when he gets a run of games and he rarely gets that. In the 10 years he’s been with us I doubt he’s managed one season without missing at least 10 games. As he’s getting older it takes less games for him to get into his stride but it still takes time. When he does get going then he regularly scores 2 or 3 in a game but equally (and like most other ‘special’ players) he does go missing for the odd game. I rate him highly and when he doesn’t start as CF I’d really like to see him start as RW and move to CF after HFB has pushed the CBs around for an hour, which is when I think he’d be more effective. I like Sterlings play (but not his attitude, noted from his pre-scouser days) but I’m much happier we have Theo.
    I hope he’s paid his dues to the injury gods but predict the PMGOs will let the Chavs etc kick seven shades of shit out of him……

  39. Menace/Andy Mack

    Thanks for the comments.

    I love Theo. Always have, but I like to think I can make balanced judgements.

    I just think, when you factor in the disruption of injuries, his contribution to Arsenal has been very good and is vastly under valued.

    People can make personal evaluations as much as they like, but his over all statistics are good.

    Personally I think he will make a wonderful ‘striker’ but as is the way with these things, only time will tell.

    I have stated on here more than once that I have Theo down for 15/20 goals and Giroud 20+.

    We’ll see.

  40. I presume the Theo hiding thing is based on him having long quiet spells in some games and his being very cautious in any situations which smell (if it’s good enough for Wenger and some other greats, I’m not gonna try think of a better term) of danger.

    I expect some of you won’t like me saying that, particularly the second part, but I’m convinced (the stat last here- 0 tackles- offers some support) it’s the truth, and…I don’t blame Theo whatsoever.

    How much aggression any player has starts , appropriately enough, in childhood- what’s the kid’s background and personality- then develops as they begin to play football. A general rule is, the better the skill, the less you are reliant on fighting to progress as a player.

    Julian Dicks presumably could not have worked his way to the top level without a great deal of fight; Theo got there ,within a few years of taking up the game, thanks mainly to sensational pace, a good attitude, very decent finishing, excellent timing of his runs, and a refusal to be intimidated by hackers.

    So that was Theo, a nice kid who quickly reached the top and did it without any great aptitude for wrestling with defenders, barging people about, sticking his foot in,etc. Like all strengths and weaknesses in players, it can then be a case of your strengths getting even stronger while your weaknesses don’t develop as well.

    There comes a point where the rational intelligent thing to do is often to accept this and make what provisions you can. Ozil is my exemplar here : he would be mad on all levels to try meet fire with fire with any cloggers. An under appreciated fact is that fighters, or cloggers, develop skills and proficiency at what they do, meaning they not only go in with force, or dirtily, but acquire a vast amount of knowledge over the years of how to do this while protecting themselves. So Ozil, like Theo, is better off staying out of that. For the sake of pleasing the crowd in a few mostly meaningless in-game situations, they’d run a big risk of injury.

    Anyway, back to Theo. Despite many injury disruptions, he had, for me, had a good first 7 or so years in football, and looked like a man exploring his game and in the process of making lots of improvements here and there, including headers and an increased willingness to compete for the ball. Then he goes and does his cruciate…

    And this isn’t Shearer or Ronaldo doing a cruciate, players who can weather a loss of mobility and speed fairly well, it’s Theo, a player with the same sort of vulnerabilities to any big loss of speed or mobility as Michael Owen had

    Michael Owen, finished near enough at 26 by a dreadful knee injury. Heartbreaking, and part of the reason I struggle to join in with the Owen-hate.

    If I were Theo, f**k me I’d have been cautious up to now after my return, and I still would be for a long time. The margins are tiny, and he knows, as his autobiography makes clear, Arsenal players are less safe on the pitch than they should be and that, sadly, they cannot trust their fellow professionals not to commit stupid reckless challenges.

    It’s a shame, and it does lead to disadvantages in some situations- three games in a row he has finished poorly when a keeper is right on top of him, in clattering range*- but I’m just grateful he’s fit and well.

    As it stands, I expect the alternation with Giroud to continue for a long time; I expect there to be lots of moments when that cautiousness hurts our chances slightly, but I also expect loads of moments when Theo’s great qualities shine through and are a big asset to the team.

    I don’t expect him to get a ten or even a five match run as the starting striker, but i do think he’ll play there a bit more often, and that so long as he stays healthy he’ll be a better player when he does feature. An excellent and pretty much unique asset for us.

    * good example came today with Mason. He concentrated purely on the ball, scored his goal, and was exposed for a clattering. Some might say that is the duty of each and every player, but it’s not their career on the line, and they’ve never known what it is to play at the top level, let alone stare into the abyss of losing that prematurely.

    Keep being careful, Theo, (and have a word with Jack if he can be reached).

  41. Hey guys, how old was Van Purse-strings when he left us? He gave us one, ONE good season of goals and everyone felt he was damn good. And he was. But my point is, how old was he then? I dont think it is too late for Theo to really show was he can do. He is clearly good quality, and Arsenal material. Absence because of injuries have really conspired against his consistency. But he is very good, period. A good run of games this season will do his reputation a world of good. I think he is actually capable of scoring 15-20 goals this season, and that is not bad at all. Whether as a winger or as a striker, the boy is good. Please lay of him.

  42. Going back to Tony’s table, except updated for the games played today.

    I calculated the correlations between current place in the standings, and something else. In decreasing strength of correlation, we have Points (-0.944), Wins (-0.896), Goal Difference (-0.863), Losses (-0.800), Goals Against (0.617), Goals For (-0.608), 5 Year Spend (-0.351), Draws (-0.348) and Net Summer (-0.270).

    Next, the correlations between 5 Year Spend and something else. In decreasing strength of correlation, we have Net Summer (0.686), Wins (0.587), Draws (-0.572), Points (0.512), Goal Difference(0.376), Goals For (0.286), Goals Against (-0.249) and Losses (-0.159).

    Finally against Net Summer, decreasing: 5 Year (0.686), Goal Difference (0.563), Wins (0.548), Points (0.492), Draws (-0.438), Goals Against (-0.407), Goals For (0.391) and Losses (-0.310).

    Some things are expected: Place is most strongly determined by Points, Wins and Goal Difference. Five year spending is most strongly correlated with Net spending this last summer and how many Wins, but those correlations are not very strong. Net spending this last summer is most strongly correlated to 5 Year spending, and then maybe Goal Difference.

    If the correlation isn’t at least 0.512, I would be inclined to say it is just noise for this data. Which is really too small.

  43. The mere fact that Walcott has played so few times shows how much time he has missed injured. He also seems to need quite a period after an injury to get back to top form. That is why the jury is still out. As someone noted above van Persie had an injury ravaged career – but then blossomed when he had a clear run in his late twenties.

    What Walcott does is force defences to play 20 yards deeper which gives our midfield far more space to play in. That mere fact is a game changer.

    That is why when Giroud plays I like to see the Ox wide right so the pace threat is still there.

  44. Pete

    “What Walcott does is force defences to play 20 yards deeper which gives our midfield far more space to play in. That mere fact is a game changer.”

    Great point, and one I have made many times before.

    I think that it is particularly pertinent when we play away from home.

    Teams are much more cautious in how they set up against us when Theo is in the side, purely because of his pace. You just cannot risk leaving ‘space in behind’, it is suicide.

    At home it’s a different story, at least against most sides, because they sit so deep. But as we saw Saturday, even then his pace can make the difference.

  45. @Stan The Man
    September 13, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    “Hey guys, how old was Van Purse-strings when he left us? He gave us one, ONE good season of goals and everyone felt he was damn good.”

    I had exactly the same thought the other day…and further; he had one more good season with MaNure and that was that!

    Jamburg/Menace/Rich/Andy Mack

    You all have made very good points!

    I personally believe that TW will do us the +15 this year (no injuries please).

    This sentence from Menace is pretty much bang on: “Theo had one pass that was perfect for his skill set & he delivered. Same for Giroud. Even though they both missed other chances gained by good positioning.”.

  46. Was a bit uncomfortable writing my bit on Walcott yesterday. Felt it looked like me calling him, and Ozil, cowardly, when i don’t think that at all.

    Thinking it over again now,though, in light of a few incidents from weekend, I stand by it and feel even surer both players are right to be cautious and mistrust the opposition.

    I watched the highlights of the u21s and it appears Reine-Adelaide has an injury. Hopefully it isn’t serious, but it really highlighted what our players are up against with British style commitment: Reine-Adelaide is through, clear on goal in a position where a defender cannot reach the ball; so all his attention is on striking the ball; bang, a defender smashes into him at the end of his shooting action. Depressing. Player could now easily miss the highlight of his career, under 17 world cup in a month, because a young defender has probably been taught to make that challenge (freebies, basically) in those situations

    Add that to Akpom having to go off injured after a foul, and Toral’s substitution apparently being because he couldn’t shake off the effects of a foul, and Crowley not appearing because of an apparent injury (fair chance that, too, was the result of a challenge the previous week) and, well, it’s not a heartening picture.

    The only thing that could change the picture in this country would be a radically different stance from referees : instead of protecting the English way of playing, protect players trying to play football.

    Fat chance. Even though the national team demonstrates every tournament the consequences of our style of play- no central midielders (or only one, out for half last year because of a late foul) with the technical attributes needed for that level- among the handwringing afterwards it’s never even put forward as a possible cause.

    There’s old Shearer, fresh from another golf-heavy week, most likely, defending a player- ‘too quick for him’- who chose to boot an opponent knee high when he couldn’t get the ball. On and on it goes.

  47. Yes Rich – Raine-Adelaide -that was what Keown referred to as a reducer. The tackle that does not win anything apart from slow the opponent down. The official in charge should show a straight red for that kind of tackle.

    As for Shearer, he is probably due a Keown style reducer. The style of these so called icons was nasty foul football & not conducive to skillful play. The officiating has not got anywhere close to the Laws. It is amazing that the TV stations have not picked up on it. They obviously prefer the gladiatorial confrontation of no holds barred ‘sport’.

  48. Menace.

    Yep. Sad but it’s just another one for the catalogue.

    I make a distinction with our injuries between situations where our players have some sort of choice about whether to go in for a challenge, and ones where there is absolutely nothing they can do.

    An example of the first situation is when the ball was rolling between Sanchez and Bardsley on Saturday. Sanchez pulled out and that was very wise in my book- had he begun to slide along the floor, that’s when likes of Bardsley go over the ball.

    Ideally, you’d never pull out of challenges. Among honest non-reckless players, you’d both slide there with a bit of force, foot on ground, no studs, end of story. Apply realism and you have to let them go sometimes.

    The second category is the worst one- all the horror injuries fit it- Eduardo, Diaby, Ramsey, Wilshere- to play football each of them had to pursue the ball exactly as they did- each were hammered by people who could not reach the ball with the challenges they made. Those ones leave me with a particularly horrible feeling as, simply, there is no way for our players to protect themselves from them.

    If you wanted to protect actual football and footballers, you’d use retrospective laws frequently to punish those who make those challenges. They don’t, which suggests they want to protect the right to make poor late challenges.

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