By Bulldog Drummond
On the left is a picture of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which still, as far as I know, doesn’t have a sponsor’s name attached. Not sure if that is a deliberate ploy so that the name of the ground is not sullied by mere commercial interest, or because no one is interested.
However whatever the reason, ahead of the game Pain in the Arsenal is of course on the attack because, well because that is what it does. Today’s feature is that “The prospect of seeing a Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny pairing in midfield on the opening day of the season, which would be almost exactly five years to the day since they first played together in red and white, is all kinds of wrong.
“It’s a glowing example of the wretched recruitment at this club,” (the club which in the last two thirds of last season was the second best in the league following a dramatic transformation of tactics, which we may have mentioned before). “When you finish the seasons since their first outing together in 5th, 6th, 5th, 8th and 8th and head into the coming campaign with the same midfield after just one injury, it suggests quite strongly that the football club isn’t very good at buying players. Or selling them.”
Or perhaps an indictment of journalists and writers to look at the form of players recorded by the statisticians. Here’s another piece from Football Observatory, generally considered the most authoritative guide to player performances across Europe.
They look at outfield footballers with the highest score for domestic league matches played since the 1st of January 2021 for each of the 98 big-5 league clubs. Only players fielded for at least two thirds of minutes during this period are included in the rankings.
Top Arsenal player in the rankings is Xhaka who is rated the sixth best player in the PL from January onwards (a period of course thta includes Arsenal’s incredible turn around of last season. In fact the lists at the end of last season were dominated by Arsenal players
But it has ever been thus: criticise the players instead of support them, ignore the statistics when they don’t fit with one’s own prejudice.
Anyway moving on, apparently to win the series today we have to score four or more goals and win this game.
Oh yes and according to the Express, “Arsenal have been given the chance to sign a Barcelona goalkeeper, Neto…. Tottenham have also been offered Neto but their need for a goalkeeper is nowhere near as great as Arsenal’s. The Gunners have been on the lookout for a new keeper throughout the summer transfer window.”
Well… despite having their worst season in a long while and, as we are told daily, not qualifying for Europe (although the media have stopped saying “for the first time in and English record of 25 years” since that does emphasise the quality of Arsenal’s achievements over those 25 years) Arsenal had the third best defence in the league last season, conceding just seven more goals than the all-beating Manchester City.
Neto is just one of a string of unrelated keepers who have been nominated from clubs around the country and indeed Europe, to grace our goalposts, including one who played every Premier League game last season and let in 63. But still, who wouldn’t want a keeper who let in 63 while getting rid of one who conceded 39?
- Tottenham v Arsenal: last season’s improvement and the home / away record
- Tottenham H v Arsenal; covid passes at the ready but will it delay entry?
- How Tottenham used the Leicester’s model to become masters of the gentle tackle
- Arsenal transfers: Gnabry return, White a disaster, Martinez a loss?
- Why do journalists get so fixated on scoring in double figures?
- Buying players does not mean success as last season shows…
- All change with PGMO and the refs.. But what change?
- The last five years proves one big thing: nothing is guaranteed.