By Tony Attwood
I am always interested in the way in which a manipulated statement of fact can be used to try and show up Arsenal in a bad light. Interested because normally the examination of the details tends to show the writer, rather than Arsenal, up in a bad light.
You may recall my regular insistence on pointing out Amy Lawrence’s phrase last summer that Arsenal had only two players who scored in double figures – the use of the word “only” implying that most clubs had three or more such players. That was completely untrue – only five clubs had two players scoring in double figures, and only one club had three such players: Southampton.
This year you may recall that two clubs had three players in double figures, and the Guardian (as far as I saw) failed to cover the fact, although we did: the two clubs were Tottenham and Arsenal.
Now what with it being a rather pleasant Saturday afternoon, and with me having returned from Northampton with two brand new pairs of dance shoes with which to show off my whatnot, I have been meandering around the backroads of the bloggettas and come up with this jolly offering from JustArsenal.
It is safe to say that since Robin van Persie made the controversial move to Old Trafford in 2012, Arsenal have lacked the quality of a world-class striker. While the Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has signed quality players like Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck, these are unfortunately not the kind of players that can lead a team to the title like the Dutchman could.
There is of course some truth in that. RVP was the last player we had who was the top league scorer, knocking in 30 league goals in 2011/12 although it didn’t help us win the title. But did that help us in any other way?
To try and look at this I have created a chart showing our top scorer, his position in the top scorers table, how many goals he got and how many goals Arsenal got.
Season Player League goals Position in scoring chart Top scorer Lge Goals AFC Lge goals 2016/17 Alexis 24 3rd Kane 29 77 2015/16 Giroud 16 6th Kane 25 65 2014/15 Giroud 14 6th Agüero 26 71 2013/14 Giourd 16 7th Suárez 31 68 2012/13 Walcott 14 11tn RVP 26 72 2011/12 RVP 30 1st RVP 30 74
So we have had a top scorer once in this period and he got 30 goals (2011/12). Now if top scorers really are incredibly important then that should also have been our top scoring season in the league, but it wasn’t. Our top scoring season in recent years was actually the season just finished – the one that the bloggetta is complaining about.
The season after RVP left our top scorer was Walcott who was the 11th highest in the PL. Now if having a top scorer was important you would expect our goals scored to have collapsed. But although the top scorer’s achievement went down from 30 to 14, the total goals scored by Arsenal went down by just two.
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In short, there are many more factors concerning goals scoring than just having a top scorer.
Now the bloggetta’s assault on Arsenal and Arsene Wenger goes on with this outburst.
Also, Wenger has made his fair share of excuses as to why he has failed to bring in replacements. After exhausting the excuse about financial constraints at the club, the Frenchman started blaming a lack of world-class quality in the transfer market as the reason why a world-class striker was not brought into the club.
But when you look at the transfer market today, you would have to think that excuse is invalid as well. There are world-class strikers like Kylian Mbappe, Alexandre Lacazette, Diego Costa, Andrea Belotti, Alvaro Morata, Mateo Kovacic and Romelu Lukaku all available, although the latter looks to have joined Chelsea. Mind you, these are all players who can lead the line and guarantee at least 25 goals every campaign.
So leaving aside whether having a top scorer in the squad is important (and you will recall our earlier research which showed that most of the time the team with the top scorer in the side doesn’t win the league) I thought I would look at the people mentioned. Are they proven goalscorers in the PL. (And throughout I am only counting PL goals.
Player 2016/7 2015/6 2014/5 Romelu Lukaku 10 18 25 Mateo Kovacic 5 1 1 Alvaro Morata 15 7 8 Andrea Belotti 26 12 0 Diego Costa 20 12 20 Alexandre Lacazette 28 21 27 Kylian Mbappe 15 1 0
In fact there is precious little evidence here that the players that this writer selected are actually top goal scorers in their respective leagues – and certainly very little evidence that they are producing the goods year on year. The one consistent player is Lacazette. As for the rest… well, the numbers are clear. Mbappe is hailed as a goalscorer of the future, and that may be right, but so far he is not proven.
The fact is the story of the top club having the top goalscorer is a myth. I know that everyone has raved about Tottenham’s goalscorer and how they came second this season. That was a great triumph for them, I agree, because the last time they came second (or come to that first) was 1963, that is 54 years ago.
So yes by their historic standards it was a great season. But really, if we started celebrating being second can you imagine the fuss there would be from the anti-Wengerians. “Second is not a trophy” would be the cry.
The fact is the goal scoring story is a myth. I would refer you, if I may back to my last piece: Revealed: the secret that will allow Arsenal to win the league next season.
Beware, if someone presents you with bold facts and no evidence, pinches of salt are needed.
I know it is boring, but the facts are important.
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