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“This could be the start of 4 games in which we knock in 5.” Untold Arsenal match preview

By Tony Attwood

As Walter kindly pointed out (and thanks for reading it Walter – I know you always do, but even so, thanks), in the preview to the game Untold wrote, “So now maybe this could be the start of four games in which we knock in five.”

Of course we have scored five against Fulham before – back in 1950 at Highbury with a 5-1 and in 1967 also at home with a 5-3.  They have got five against us once in 1962 it was 5-2 to them, and rather horribly in 1913 (our first season at Highbury, in division II) we lost 6-1 away to them.  But that was over 100 years and two world wars ago.

However even so predicting a five for us was rather brave, and probably very silly.  But it is nice to crow a bit when getting something right.   And after all that result did mean …

  • 10 straight wins in all competitions,
  • 9 straight wins if you don’t count the Trophy
  • 8 straight wins if you don’t count the League Cup and Trophy,
  • 6 straight wins if you just count the Premier League games.

But when the Putney end starting singing “We’ve got our Arsenal back” I wonder if they really understood.

Last summer I tried (rather hopelessly it seemed at the time) to put forward a very simple point of view for changing Arsenal’s fortunes.  While blogs, bots and newspaper sites all combined to tell us that every single player Arsenal had was not good enough for the team and should be ditched at once (and that actually did include Lacazette and Aubameyang) the argument here was completely different.

We said, over and over and over again, that Arsenal’s home form was second only to Manchester City.  And since we used the same players home and away, those players were clearly “good enough”.  All we needed to do was to adjust the system so that we got the same results from these players away from home as we did at Arsenal Stadium.

And that has what has been done.  Three of our summer transfers played at the start yesterday and eight were the old guard. Yes there were improvements by bringing in those three – of course, that is what we do most transfer windows – but primarily it was a change of style and approach.  What it looked to me like was Arsenal having sacked their psychologist and brought in a new one.  We believed we could win away.

Saying there was nothing much wrong with the side last season was stating the utterly obvious (although such is the dim witted nature of most football journalists, it was beyond their comprehension).  A team that has the second best home record in the league (won 15 drawn 2 lost 2) is not grossly incompetent.  Nor is a team that scores 54 goals in 19 league games needing to sack everyone.  (Only Man C got more home goals with 61).  What it needs is to sort out the way it plays away, and do the normal business in the transfer market.

Endlessly saying “sell everyone” was not just ludicrous, it revealed a level of criminal insanity among both the scribblers and the bot programmers – an insanity which I think we should remember as we look at the “recommendations” for Arsenal from these same turnips going forward.

(I was, incidentally, recently asked what I have against turnips, given that this is what I often call football journalists – it is nothing particular – any root vegetable would do at this point.)

So back to “We’ve got our Arsenal back.”  That is ok given that “We’ve got our away tactics right which we didn’t have for the last two seasons” doesn’t quite have the same ring.

And we should not forget what led up to this.  A summer of every potato, cabbage and turnip writing blogs, newspaper columns and talking on the media, advising a complete and wholesale change of every single player in the squad.

What we now have is a PL away results table that looks like this…

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Nomads* 5 4 0 1 10 4 6 12
2 Chelsea 4 3 1 0 8 1 7 10
3 Liverpool 4 3 1 0 7 3 4 10
4 Arsenal 4 3 0 1 12 7 5 9
5 Manchester City 4 2 2 0 8 1 7 8

*A slight anomaly here since for the Nomads every game is an away game but we are just counting the “away” away games.

Of course the media is looking for excuses for their own ineptitude as always, saying things such as, “Oh well, Wenger made the players play the same way home and away.”

I don’t think that is right at all, and having seen a fair number of away games and virtually all the home games I am certain that is not the case.   Besides the media’s case against Wenger would have a lot more going for it if they had actually published this complaint throughout the last two years, and explained why it was not working the last two years when it seemingly worked well enough to come in fourth (the position that is not a trophy) in the years before.

Anyway, we must now prepare ourselves for phase two of the assault.  The full league table indicates what that will be…

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 8 6 2 0 21 3 18 20
2 Chelsea 8 6 2 0 18 5 13 20
3 Liverpool 8 6 2 0 15 3 12 20
4 Arsenal 8 6 0 2 19 10 9 18
5 Tottenham Hotspur 8 6 0 2 15 7 8 18

Yes, you’ve got it.  All together now

Fourth is not a trophy

We have scored 19 goals in the last six games.  They have been scored by 12 different players which is rather good since it makes defending against those players rather hard – not knowing who is going to score and so forth.  Here’s the list

Sqd Player Games Subs Goals
14 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 8 0 4
23 Danny Welbeck 4 5 4
9 Alexandre Lacazette 5 5 3
10 Mesut Özil 6 2 3
29 Mattéo Guendouzi 7 1 1
17 Alex Iwobi 6 2 1
7 Henrikh Mkhitaryan 6 2 1
18 Nacho Monreal 10 0 1
20 Shkodran Mustafi 9 0 1
5 Sokratis Papastathopoulos 8 0 1
55 Emile Smith Rowe 2 1 1
34 Granit Xhaka 8 0 1
Oh and there was one other thing.  Fulham had 21 attempts on goal to Arsenal’s 11.  The journalists ought to be able to make something out of that in terms of how awful Arsenal’s defence is.  Cue: “Manchester City won’t give Arsenal such an easy ride.”

Oh yes and don’t forget the journalist comment from our last Europa game.

Here are the recent results, just because I like running them.  Column three looks rather fun.

Date Match Res Score Competition
25 Aug 2018 Arsenal v West Ham United W 3-1 Premier League
02 Sep 2018 Cardiff City v Arsenal W 2-3 Premier League
12 Sep 2018 Coventry City v Arsenal W 0-3 League Trophy
15 Sep 2018 Newcastle United v Arsenal W 1-2 Premier League
20 Sep 2018 Arsenal v Vorskla Poltava W 4-2 Europa League
23 Sep 2018 Arsenal v Everton W 2-0 Premier League
26 Sep 2018 Arsenal v Brentford W 3-1 League Cup
29 Sep 2018 Arsenal v Watford W 2-0 Premier League
04 Oct 2018 FK Qarabağ Agdam v Arsenal W 0-3 Europa League
07 Oct 2018 Fulham v Arsenal W 1-5 Premier League

 

 

6 comments to “This could be the start of 4 games in which we knock in 5.” Untold Arsenal match preview

  • chilumo

    i like what i have seen in this your column, very educative

  • The Harlequin

    I think it’s gone largely unmentioned that we currently have the second most scored goals this season behind only Wonderteam Man City. I think Arsenal are staying nicely under the radar for now due to Mourinho’s 3rd season pantomime and Liverpool the amazing wonder team who have come to stop Man City. Hopefully it stays that way all season!

  • GoingGoingGooner

    I noticed a curious thing on MOTD last night. Apparently because of their 21 shots at target, Fulham’s ‘expected goals’ was actually higher than Arsenal’s. A bizarre stat, that!

  • Gord

    The data I have for the Fulham v Arsenal game is Fulham had 4 shots on target and 8 off target. Arsenal had 7 on target, and 2 off target. I just checked, and those numbers are still what was listed.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think they counted every time a ball went out even at the corner flag as a shot? 🙂

  • Gord

    OT: Football Team Stability

    The Mag (Newcastle publication) has an article on a “study” by the CIES Football Observatory.

    https://www.themag.co.uk/2018/10/cies-football-observatory-rate-all-premier-league-clubs-from-most-stable-to-least-stable-newcastle-united/

    This study is on the “stability” of football teams in Europe. Apparently, the most “stable” EPL team is the spuds?

    The definition for stability is the average length of time players taking part in league matches this season, have been in the first team squad at their respective

    3.89 Tottenham
    3.72 Man Utd
    3.37 Bournemouth
    2.99 Man City
    2.74 Arsenal
    2.67 Watford
    2.43 Burnley
    2.42 Leicester
    2.37 Palace
    2.33 Chelsea
    2.33 Brighton
    2.19 Everton
    2.06 Newcastle United
    2.04 Cardiff
    2.03 Southampton
    2.03 Liverpool
    1.86 Huddersfield
    1.62 West Ham
    1.44 Wolves
    1.12 Fulham

    The study includes data on other leagues.

    Some questions I have:
    1. Is the data for any given player, an integer or a floating point value?
    2. Did they look to see if perhaps the median might not be a better indicator? It is expected to be more robust than the mean.

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