by Tony Attwood
Step by step it has been happened and now we’ve had a little breakthrough True a tiny tiny tiny breakthrough, and not one that has been sustained, but still a breakthrough, The Guardian says of Arsenal
“Their nightmare period last season came earlier, in the run-up to Christmas – five points from 10 Premier League games – and they were able to piece together a fine run of form thereafter.”
Ok their “fine run of form” was for me an extraordinary turnaround which meant that for the final two thirds of the season Arsenal were the second best club in the League.
And the Guardian just notes the change and doesn’t seek to explain how it was done, although fortunately we had already done the work by noting Leicester in 2019/20 with articles such as
Leicester in 2019/20 took the concept of “the tackle” to an industrial level and it worked, until suddenly, referees seemed to tumble what was going on, punished them for tackles in the same way as other clubs were punished, and they sank back down.
Then it seems that Mr Arteta realised the nature of the problem – we were getting mega numbers of yellow cards because we were time and again having matches overseen by refs who gave us yellow cards. Refs who gave us average or even on occasion below average yellows, only got one Arsenal match and then were never seen again.
Now we know that the media won’t publish any criticisms of referees along the lines that Alan Green undertook when he was the lead football commentator for the BBC. Now refs are hardly ever mentioned despite the figures showing the differences between referees that we found.
And if the media won’t ever criticise refereeing, a football manager could never speak out on such an issue, so Mr Arteta devised a different approach. An utterly radical approach. One that involved cutting tackling dramatically. And it worked: yellow cards went down by almost half. Instead of being the most carded team Arsenal became the least carded team, as our post-Xmas results show.
And the media never mentioned the key facts: Arsenal’s defence across the whole season was third best in the league – in the last two thirds of the season it was within one goal of being the best defence.
But no one has mentioned any of this until yesterday, with the Guardian’s piece. But then, amazingly having noted Arsenal’s record in the last two thirds of the season they conclude “…two things are plain. First, the north London giants do not feel particularly gigantic, with assorted problems and a good deal of ground to make up to get to where they want to be. And, second, the period leading up to the closure of the transfer window on 31 August will be defining.”
Even more amazingly, after that stunning last two thirds of the season they say, “Under Mikel Arteta, Arsenal have a clear style, they know how the manager wants them to play and, when it clicks, the results can tantalise. It is just that it has not clicked with the required regularity.”
IT CLICKED FOR THE WHOLE LAST TWO THIRDS OF THE SEASON AFTER THE TACKLING APPROACH WAS CHANGED TO ACCOMMODATE THE REFEREES PENCHANT FOR GIVING ARSENAL YELLOW CARDS!
And then, as if realising that the whole approach of the article is logically unsustainable suddenly it jumps (without any explanation) to, “Arsenal’s financial difficulties after they moved to the Emirates Stadium in 2006 are well-documented…”
This is the league table for the last two thirds of last season. Just look at the goals scored. If Arsenal had a “failure to put the ball in the net” so did everyone else except Manchester City.
|4||West Ham United||24||13||5||6||41||28||13||44|
This commentary from David Hynter is just contrary to the facts. And worse he is the chief football correspondent for the Guardian! Where is the article about Chelsea’s forward line? Or Liverpool’s? Or the congratulations and marvelling at Arsena’s extraordinary turn around. Or indeed an analysis of the tackles, fouls and yellow cards data last season?
Oh, silly me. To know that one was worth writing one would have to be able to read data and tackle the no-go areas, like what is going on with the PGMO.
But to be fair, we now have one senior journalist who has admitted Arsenal improved last season. And that is a breakthrough.
Looking forward: 2021/22
- How can Arsenal up their goalscoring this coming season?
- What’s gone wrong in the transfer market? In essence, everything.
- How EU foreign subsidy rules could harm football
- How the media got it wrong last season and will do again in 2021/2
- The illusion that it is all about the quality of the players is an illusion
- Why the media’s new statistical analyses of football is just a trick to stop you noticing what’s going on
- Yesterday’s game: how Arsenal won, and where the journalists got things wrong
- Brentford v Arsenal: past exploits and the Arsenal team news
- French authorities issue arrest warrant over awarding of World Cup to Qatar
- Brentford v Arsenal: the history and the build up, with some extraordinary odds