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Being more clinical in front of goal

by Walter Broeckx

We have to  be more clinical in front of goal. I think we all have said it or heard it over a million times these last 24 hours. And no one can argue this.  Yes we had the chances to score goals and we missed them. But to be more clinical in front of goal how do you do this?

Is there some magical trick you can find? Maybe we could have a look at last season and see if we were clinical and how we did it.

Last year we scored a total in the EPL of  83 goals.  An average of 2.1 goals per game.  This year we scored 16 goals in the 7 played so far and this is an average of 2.2 goals per game. So we scored more goals so far. So just saying we ought to be more clinical is a bit easy as in fact number wise we tend to be more clinical. A small margin but it is better.

Now let us take a look at who scored all those goals for us last season.

6 goals were scored by a player who came on a free transfer and who is known under the  name of Own Goal.  So this leaves us with 77 goals we have scored ourselves.

And who did score those 77 goals? We had players like:

  • Cesc 15
  • Vermaelen 7
  • Van Persie 9
  • Walcot 3
  • Ramsey 3
  • Bendnter 6

And those players scored together a total of 43 goals. Those players together were responsible for 56 % of our goals that we scored ourselves. And take note that all those players could not participate in the Chelsea game because of injury.  56% this is more than half of the goals we scored. So to be more clinical I would suggest that we just have to get those players back to fitness. And if all goes well we should have them back at the end of this month or there about.

This also means that for the moment we have actually scored (marginally) more goals even without those important and most goal scoring people in our team.

Now that we are on to it let us take a look at the players who have left us and see how many goals we have missed from them. The players that have left us for various reasons are:

  • Eduardo 2
  • Gallas 3
  • Silvestre 1
  • Merida 1

And they scored in total some 7 goals or around 9% of our goals. So if the new players we have would score some 7 goals between them in the EPL we would have done as good as last season in terms of being clinical.

And finally we could have a look at the players that where fit in the last game and that took part in the game:

  • Rosicky 3
  • Nasri 2
  • Vela 1
  • Denilson 3
  • Song 1
  • Arshavin 10
  • Eboue 1

A total of 21 goals in the whole season or  27 % of the goals we scored in total.

So if you just look at the numbers it is obviously that we cannot be in the most clinical mood for the moment. Apart from Arshavin all our best goal scorers are out for the moment, injured.

In fact if you look at this it is almost a miracle that for the moment we score as many goals as we did last season. This means that the players we have left are doing what they can to make up for the players we are missing.

And the players that have scored for us this season are

  • Fabregas 1
  • Walcott 4
  • 5 goals from the injured or 29%
  • Song 1
  • Arshavin 2
  • Diaby 1
  • Nasri 2
  • Vela 1
  • 7 goals from the old boys or 42%
  • Chamakh 2
  • Koscielny 1
  • 3 goals from the new boys or 17 % of the goals scored.

So for the moment the new boys are doing rather well compared to the ones we lost from last season and the old boys who are fit are having a higher finishing level than last year.

So what can we expect from the season? If the injured come back we will have our scoring department back in order and we will have 2 world class players who can score lots of goals. We will have Walcott who was on fire and who is our top scorer for the current season and if he can come back to the level before his injury we will have plenty of options and different ways of playing and we will have speed in our attack.

So yes we have a bad spell, like most teams have in the season but just look at the number of goals our injured players score over a season and you can see that things can only improve WHEN they come back and IF they can stay fit.

Today’s other feature on Untold: How many more broken bones before the FA act

28 comments to Being more clinical in front of goal

  • RedGooner

    I think it has nothing to do with been clinical infront of goal.

    Nasri gave a poor pass resulting in our defence having to give away the free kick and the defending in the wall was pretty poor.

    The first goal our defender instead of walking away and leaving the ball on the ground threw the ball back to the chelsea player after the foul so that he could take the quick free kick that allowed drogba to score.

    If we defend better we can win the league. Imagine if we had of come away with a 0-0 score line chelsea would probably loose the return leg facing a full Arsenal squad at the emirates now though they have the psychological advantage.

    Arsenal always score enough goals to probably win the league its the ammount we let in is the difference each year. I dont think its a defence issue either as we have good defenders its team defending thats poor.

  • Dark Prince

    @walter- I think when we say that it has to be more ‘clinical’, it means that we have to convert our chances more often. If we check, we’ll be able to prove that Arsenal must be having the least conversion rate. According to me, we create the number of chances to score goals than any other team but most of those chances are never converted to goals. And hence such low conversion rate.

    The best example was for last sunday against chelsea. We had a decent amount of possession, we made many passes. But still we had only one decent shot saved by cech (the one made by Arshavin). We couldn’t even bother the keeper with our free kicks near the box. On the other hand, look at Chelsea, they were no where to be seen with the ball for most of the game but when they did, they looked more threatening than us. And they converted the few chances they got. Thats what we need to do. We have to tell our midfielders and strikers to take a shot whenever they want to. Sometimes going for the goal in a little selfish manner can help too.

    That being said, there’s one more issue that comes with our gameplay. And thats the part where we overpass. I dont think we always need to pass when we are inside the goalkeeper’s area. We can sometimes go for a shot at the goalkeeper. Believe me, sometimes even the best keepers can fail to hold on to a ball that comes at them at a high speed. And then we can take advantage of their fumble to tap the ball in the goal.

  • Phil

    Great analysis Walter. Certainly a good way of looking at it.

    Dark Prince – while conversion % would be interesting, we can probably assume that most top sides are converting roughly the same amount. So as long as we are scoing more goals than last season, we are probably being more clinical. It seems unlikely we’re creating more chances than last season.

  • Cujo

    It was clear for anyone to see, that Sunday was Men vs Men. Finally we showed we can battle! If that doesnt leave you feeling optimistic about the rest of the season… i have a great feeling about our champions league campaign. If our spine (verm, cesc, Rvp) can remain fit, this just might be our year 🙂

  • Renan

    We simply got our tactics wrong, our players are more than good enough to win everything but injuries seem to always come at the worst possible moment. If we could get a run of games without injuries, we may see the very best of Arsenal. The boss should try a new approach to be more efficient on the field because our current approach to the game only works against non counter attacking teams.

  • niles

    Statistics! Can we ever do without them?

  • T2T

    While I’m a big fan of numbers, including statistics, this season is too young to start making any comparisons. You can however, make a valid argument of how much the injured players contributed to last year.

  • Paul C.

    We have been missing RvP and Cesc. End of story. Any team would miss those guys. Take Drogba and Essien away from Chelsea, or Rooney and Berbatov from Utd, or Tevez and Toure from City for a similar effect. You dont just replace those guys with ease, no matter how well Chamakh and Wilshire have been doing.

    Add in Walcott and we are missing a lot of potential firepower right now.

    I would like our chances against anyone with our first 11 fit. At some point this season we will see that. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later. We dont want to give Chelsea too much of a cushion or else we will never catch them.

    Unfortunately, as with last season, the fate of the League Championship is much more about how many points Chelsea are going to drop rather than how many points everyone else gets. For now at least (their age MUST start catching up with them eventually!!!!!!) they are the obvious class of the League, and perhaps all of Europe.

  • Gooner92

    does anyone else think that guy in the top left looks like a right twat? hahahah is that tony? haha what an ugly bastard! lol

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Being more clinical, Walter, means hitting the target with a free header 2 yards out. Any player worthy of being an Arsenal player should be capable of that 9 times out of 10. It’s called being a footballer paid >£20k a week, mate.

    It means Chamakh puts his two headers on target.

    Our three big chances, all free headers, were all off target from quite close range.

    That’s what being clinical is about. Not about fancy analyses.

    Look at the chances created. How good they were. And whether a championship winning side would score them.

    Chamakh is known in France as a heading machine. He continued where he left off upon coming to Arsenal. On Sunday he had an off day.

    Centre backs score from 2 yards out if they are Ferdinand, Terry, Widic, Adams etc etc. Koscielny didn’t. Hopefully next time he will.

    It’s no good making excuses about Sunday, there aren’t any. We had 3 clear cut chances and didn’t put a single one on target.

    We weren’t clinical in our finishing which means we weren’t good enough to beat Chelsea.

    End of story, Walter, end of story.

    It doesn’t mean next week won’t be better, it means that they must take it on the chin like men and stop making excuses.

    That’s what being champions is about.

  • nicky

    Re Rhys Jaggar
    Liked your comments which made sense. When our spine returns for a decent spell without injury and we substitute shooting for passing in the final 1/3, there isn’t a team we can’t beat in the EPL……or, indeed, in Europe.

  • Bio

    When AW says we need to be more clinical in front of goal, I buy his assessment. I have taken the time to watch the Chelsea match again, and I see some defensive mistakes that cost us the game-some have been analysed ad nauseum by other commenters. The second goal took the wind out of our sails(would I take the ball in the face in that wall?).

  • Aziz

    I don’t know if another team has as many scorers as arsenal. Can u check please? Still something is wrong, it means u don’t have 2 or 3 world class finishers. RVP too often injured, Arshavin could surely improve. u can reasonably expect 12 to 15 goals from Chamakh which is good given his amount of defensive work. But no serial finisher apaart from RVP

  • Arsene Apprentice

    Rhys,

    Spot on! That’s it… An individual who contributes by scoring clinically (Anders Limpar). “That was a clinical finish!” When I think clinical I think “Ronaldo (BRA), Pele, Van Basten, Lineker, Sir Stanley, Gazza, Puskas, Berkamp and hopefully JET… I think clinical is more of a skill set of an individual player rather than a team contribution. Drogba is just that. He is a clinical finisher…. Now if you want to talk about efficiency of team scoring I believe it is more balanced and a more difficult task. The article is brilliant because it brings about a sort of debate we as supporters, players, and coaches can begin to realize what sort of tactics can result in trophies. For instance, on the practice pitch do you develop Chamakh as the sole clinical finisher or do you rely on a more balanced approach of scoring? For me it is an interesting debate all the way round. As I player it was always nice giving a ball to a forward and no matter what he was on the scoresheet… The advantage depending on the clock was momentum. The other side is contemplating if no matter who is called to score they can be that… Clinical? So, another good debate. I prefer RVP who is the clinician who just scores.. I believes this is the way to trophies… But, I will say this I have read intensively of who Chamakh is. He is quite intelligent in the Wenger mode. He can become insane/sublime in the clinical finishing department! Can’t wait until Satan’s team takes the pitch!

  • RedGooner

    I still think we should be looking at defending more than scoring last season we let in 41 goals in 38 games.

    Everyones agreed that we have a much better defence this year and are extremely happy with the defenders bought by AW yes ?

    BUT 9 goals in 7 games is a worse ratio than last season at this rate we will ship roughly 49 goals this season.

    Unless we start defending as a team we will need to score 30 more than last season to win anything assuming chelsea score over 100 again this year.

    More clinical I would argue isnt the answer we score enough or goals as it is,The problem is we do not defend well enough to win the league.

  • Dark Prince

    Off the topic, liverpool have confirmed their sale. Also they have said that the new owners will now pay off the debts. A positive news for liverpool i suppose.

  • Flashman71

    Walter,
    I understand the premise of your argument and indeed one can offer as many statistics as one cares to research and disect, but as DarkPrince so admirably points out the fact (note not opinion) remains, and it is in part a very simple one, we need to take our chances (there’s no discussion here or at least there shouldn’t be). Hey lets not forget – our manager (whom I love and admire as much as any other obsessed gooner)who you spend a large amount of time defending to the hilt in many of your articles ( and long may it continue I say), he to states quite clearly that we simply need to take our chances and failure to do so costs us time and again. Are you disagreeing with his football acumen? Why are you over complicating something that is extremely familiar to a multitude of everyday followers/supporters of all teams, namely, the non-conversion of chances. I accept some of your argument that gooners should perhaps not be too dismayed by our goals 2 chances ratio, but there is certainly some credence to the arguments put forward by those (myself) included that we should be far more clinical in all games not just the “big ones” and feel at times extremely frustrated by The Arsenal’s failure to do so.

  • critic

    lolz…..u r writing about being clinical in front of goal without knowing what does it mean.

    Clinical means taking ur chances when they come ur way. eg. against charity chamakh had 1 clear chance on rosicky cross and he cudn’t convert it. Same was true for koscieliny. On the other hand charity scored goal from nowhere eg. drogba conjured one out of thin air and wall disintegrated against alex.

    Even against smaller teams i bet arsenal misses as many chances as they score, usually hidden by fact that they are able to create so many chances against these teams. But against top 5 or 6 teams chances rarely come by and hence misses turn more ugly.

    This is the most rubbish article that i have read on untold. Please crosscheck what u r writing. U can say that we have less clinical finishers and those r missing, but changing the meaning of clinical finishing is not just.

  • walter

    I think I didn’t make my self clear enough. Yes I think we should have taken our chances but I just wanted to point at the fact that the people who are responsible for +50% of our goals are just nog available. And that those people are the one who would and could have made the difference.
    But that would have been too short for an article. 😉

  • Cape Gooner

    Being more clinical in front of goal is drivel. Does anyone think that professional footballers do not try their hardest to convert their chances?

    The players with the best temperament produce to the best of their ability the most often. Cesc has great temperament. No adrenalin rush when some Neanderthal is bearing down on him, no adrenalin rush when the goal beckons. RvP is very good and so are Arshavin and Walcott. Eduardo was also great.

    Not so good are Chamakh, Eboue, Clichy and Wilshere. Chamakh and Wilshere are in their first season at this level and it is normal that they need time for their chemicals to calm down. Clichy and Eboue must be good in training; otherwise they wouldn’t shoot so often. Good in training, bad in matches is down to temperament.

    When players come back from injury they are often over anxious. I don’t think there will be a problem with RvP, but it will be interesting to see what happens with Walcott and Ramsey. Our Aaron was cool as a cucumber. I hope he gets back to that quickly.

    Walter, did you get a chance to review the Ramires tackle/penalty?

  • walter

    Cape gooner, I couldn’t as the game had already been removed from my hard disk.
    Now I could look at the game again at arsenal tv online but I have seen the game twice and as we lost on both occasions I’m really not looking forward to have another go at.
    Losing once is bad, losing again is …. let alone lose a third time…
    But when ever I feel in the mood for some SM I will try to have another look at it. Sometimes life can be hard for a blogger 😉

  • goonergerry

    I think AW communicates to the team through the media- he is saying you have to be far stronger mentally.
    One other factor we have not taken in to account in all this soul searching is the effects of playing such a tough physical game in midweek away in Belgrade beforehand- it must be a factor in taking the edge off players. No Chelsea did not have the travel or the game. Its not an excuse- its an explanation for some poor finishing. Just look at what Chamakh put into the Belgrade game. Red Gooner has a point I think- it is our defensive strategy which is flawed and I do think there is an organisational weakness at the back on the flanks- and it is unresolved.

  • wen_detta

    not our 1st team..simple as that..Chelsea? 1st team..why?no injury..why no injury?their players have good physical..Arsenal need to develop muscle and injury awareness..the reason of Invicibles is king Henry..smart enough to avoid injury yet score like a machine..other players target Arsenal players? give them a wrath like Viera did like Robbie Keane did..create horror in their mind..this is a battle not a presentation.. sorry mates thats the ingredients to be an EPL champion..from my IMHO;P

  • Berrern

    @Bio: “Would I take the ball in the face in that wall?”

    I wish Song would be more brave… Could you imagine Patrick Vieira or Tony Adams veering away from the ball like that? No, they’d do anything they could to stop the ball – even if it meant taking their nose out.

  • Yes Berrern – I could imagine Tony Adams doing that – at the same age. The problem is we remember Adams and Vieira at their prime, not when they made cock-ups in their first couple of seasons.

  • Paul C.

    Tony – SPOT ON!!!! Too many people forget what Adams was like in his first few years in the side. You and I remember all too clearly. I remember him getting sent off for a headless chicken foul against Luton on their plastic. I remember him getting turned inside out by MVB in the Euros. I remember him getting called “Donkey” by opposing fans and thinking “yeah, he is a donkey isnt he?”.

  • wen_detta

    sorry roy keane actually 😛

  • Icedre218

    I think it is always going to be hard for Arsenal to be more clinical in front of goal when we have Almunia and Fabianski for the guys to train against. Just think Drogba has to beat Cech in training. If he does that then he will be set for any team in the league. Our players will never get pushed as hard in training to score, so they will not improve.