The wildest and funniest headline, and why fans don’t focus on those really to blame

By Tony Attwood

Virtually every Arsenal headline is currently ultra-negative, so it is hard to pick out one that is wilder, whackier and sillier than the rest at the moment, but I particularly liked “Arsenal’s Current Defending Reminds Me Of The Early 1960s”  from The Online Gooner for taking us into different territory.

Being of the age now that I can just about remember the 1960s I was fascinated and thought this might be worth investigation.

In the last two seasons we have conceded 51 goals in 38 league games or 1.34 goals a game.  So let’s compare with the 1960s.  In that era we played 42 league games a season as opposed to 38 now – so average per game is important…

Season Goals conceded Lge position Av goals against per game
1960/1 85 11th 2.02
1961/2 72 10th 1.71
1962/3 77 7th 1.83
1963/4 82 8th 1.95
1964/5 75 13th 1.79
1965/6 75 14th 1.79

As I say, for the past two seasons it has been 1.34.   So although the writer might be reminded of the 1960s, in terms of goals conceded at least, there is little that is similar between then and now.

But that does lead to another question, and that is one about how goals conceded (ie the effectiveness of the defence) relates to the club’s position in the league.  Here is the chart for this decade

Season Goals conceded Lge position Av goals against per game
2010/11 43 4 1.13
2011/12 49 3 1.29
2012/13 37 4 0.97
2013/14 41 4 1.08
2014/15 36 3 0.95
2015/16 36 2 0.95
2016/17 44 5 1.16
2017/18 51 6 1.34
2018/19 51 5 1.34

While the figures show a link between the success of the defence and the position in the league it is not an absolute link.  In 2011/2 conceding 49 goals we came 3rd, in 2016/17 conceding 44 goals we came 5th.

But more to the point in relation to the article about the defending reminding one of the 1960s, there is no similarity in terms of the number of goals conceded.  Of course the headline can suggest that it is the style of defending that reminds him of the 1960s, but of course it is the effectiveness of  the defending that is the key issue rather than the memory of an old timer.

In effect to be back to the position we were in when we came second in the League we need a defence that let’s in one goal fewer every three games.  That’s all.

Meanwhile I am, as ever, fascinated by the solutions that are offered by the blogs.  For example Soccer souls said, “Arsenal should not hesitate to splash big and sign this 25-year-old defensive whiz…”  which is a bit odd, considering we are still awaiting three of our back four.  Shouldn’t we give them a try out before recommending who could replace them?

Anyway, EPL Index tells us that pressure is mounting on Emery.   But what exactly does that mean?

We know who we have as owner, and we know that Emery’s contract can be ended by the club at the end of this season, which means yes he could go.   But is Arsenal’s owner likely to bring in another manager and let him splash out a lot of money on new players, while getting rid of the current crop (including Emery’s signings) at any price he can, just so the next manager can have a bash at buying success?

I suspect not. And that is why the whole protest against Wenger was so silly – “Wenger out” was only part of the message – the rest of it, unspoken because of the bizarre belief among the AAA that anyone would be better than Wenger, should have been

a) Who do we get instead?

b) How much money is he going to be able to spend?

c) How long has he got?

What strikes me as rather curious is that some of the people who led the Wenger Out charge with their little placards, banners and occasional aeroplane, are now spotted doing the same about Emery.   It is like that old definition of insanity about doing something that doesn’t work, and then doing it again and again and again.  (The story is that Einstein said that, but there is no evidence for him ever saying such a thing and it would have been very out of the norm for the old boy).

But it is an interesting (if incomplete) definition of insanity.  Do something, see it doesn’t work, and call for it to be done again – and then presumably again, and again, and again.  When all the while the problem people (the board of directors and the bonkers fans with their placards) are still sitting there, doing their thing, safe from criticism.

I wonder why that is.



8 Replies to “The wildest and funniest headline, and why fans don’t focus on those really to blame”

  1. I haven’t read the Gooner for years because of the particular type of ‘logic’ the choose to use. However, being old enough to remember the sixties too, I was drawn to that headline and had a look……………and yep, still the same old nonsense. You mention the clamour for new defenders when we still have 75% of our first choice back four yet to come back, one of whom hasn’t even played yet. Quire ridiculous.

    Similarly ridiculous, even had the goals conceded been similar to the 1960’s, is that there was no analysis of the defensive situation in the 60’s. Did we have three first choice defenders out at that time too? Was the system we were playing at the time one that, for all teams, meant the likelihood was that you would conceded more goals? What was the average number of goals conceded by teams in the 1960’s? (Did we have a Mike Riley approach to refereeing is something one could also ask!!)

    This is the root cuase of all this nonsense, bloody soundbites. Let’s say something to hook people who don’t think too deeply and then real them in with a few unsubstantiated comments. Sadly, a sign of the times and not just football. Some me call me old-fashioned but I generally like to look at the facts rather than belive bland statements which have no supportive evidence. If only the media, and many of our fanbase, chose to do the same the club would be in a better place but that’s just an opinion……………………..

  2. @Mikey Talking of soundbites I have just heard Jonathan “is it football” Pearce excusing no pitch side monitors for PIGMOB when Taylor looked at a PSM in Paris (PSG – RM match). He talked about “time constraints” with VAR. What a load of b****cks – if PIGMOB they really cared about time constraints surely we would have the multi ball system as in use in most leagues across the world.

    Sound bites are all well and good but as you say “Let’s say something to hook people who don’t think too deeply and then real them in with a few unsubstantiated comments” This was a perfect example

  3. The stupidest headline I seen. was Arsenal hiring Moooooooooaninho!

    He shouldn’t be managing any football team. I don’t know if he should even be allowed to do grounds maintenance on a football field.

  4. The stupidest headline, and article I’ve seen lately hasn’t much to do with soccer, but it shows how pathetic The Guardians writers have become.
    check it out:

    Apparently a male astronaut is “stereotype toxic masculinity”, and a wife being concerned about her husbands welfare is females being stereotyped as being emotional.

    You’d think the writer is a feminist, but it’s actually a male.

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