By Tony Attwood
Part 1: We need a new keeper
One of the dominant Arsenal stories of the moment in blogs and newspapers is that Bernd Leno has to go, and so anxious is the club to get him out that they are willing to buy a replacement who is currently banned for a year from playing, on drugs charges.
So let’s consider just how awful Bernd Leno is to make Arsenal that desperate to get rid of him.
First off we know that Arsenal had the third best defence in the Premier League last season – and that is across the whole of the last season, not just the last two thirds. Below you will discover the league table top three organised in terms of the goals conceded. Arsenal are third, and yes they conceded seven more than Manchester C, but they conceded fewer goals than the 17 other clubs in the Premier League, which surely counts for something. Doesn’t it?
Of course not every keeper played every game so let’s look at Leno’s personal record…
|Player||Club||Age||Games||Minutes||Goals conceded||Goals per 90 mins|
So Leno is better than any keeper at Manchester United, Leicester or Tottenham Hots. Not the absolute measure of a keeper, but still, he’s not even the worst in the so-called top six.
Now if we had an utterly perfect team that had run away with the title we might say that we could do with buying Ederson to get a bit of competition in the position, but we don’t – and besides those raging over the need to replace Leno are doing so because they say he is rubbish – not that he is not the best.
Leno was the fifth best keeper in the League last season, behind the third best defence in the league. Does that make him someone who must be removed from the club at once, and replaced by a keeper who is currently suspended on a drugs charge?
This is in fact another Donald Trump Syndrome tale: a story which has absolutely no basis in fact, but which is repeated so often that people start believing it. A bit like Trump’s story that every time the government taxes profitable companies and rich people less, so the government’s tax revenue goes up! There is not one single piece of evidence to support this, but at the last US election he said this over and over again.
Part 2: We’ve failed to get the man we wanted
Meanwhile the image is created over and over that Arsenal’s transfer team are too slow, the owner too mean with the cash, the club is not adventurous enough. This is the reason all the time why we don’t get players – as with the moment that the club suffered what Football London calls Arsenal “suffering Emiliano Buendia blow”.
The only evidence is what the blogs and journalists say. Yet what they don’t tell you is that last summer they only got 3% of their transfer predictions right, and that in 95% of cases you will find that they are either claims made by someone who is a commentator with no direct link to Arsenal or the world of transfers or (most commonly) they are reporting what another site has said. Go to that site and you find… well, you know.
So when we have the headline “Kevin Campbell has urged Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke to write a cheque for £200million this summer,” that’s just the ex-player chatting to a blog. What we need to ask is how he explains the phenomenal improvement since Christmas, the extraordinary tactical change which stopped PGMO given Arsenal yellow cards all day long, and the third best defence in the league, or all those Football Observatory awards?
Part 3: The club needs to be transformed
“A massive summer on the transfer front lies ahead for Arsenal and manager Mikel Arteta as the Spaniard looks to try and transform the club’s fortunes over the coming months.”
And why change again, given the changes made last season which were so successful? We are not told.
But still when the transfers don’t happen, the media can claim it is a massive Arsenal failure – when the reality is that Arsenal were not making any attempt to get the deal. I mean, why should we trust any “outlet” that fails to mention the improvement in the final two-thirds of the season, the third best defence in the league, and all the awards?
It is once more pure Donald Trump. Make up a story and say it often enough and silly people start to believe.
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