Few teams could survive losing all 3 goalscorers, but staying with the tactics will help

By Tony Attwood

The responses to last night’s defeat seem to be that Arteta is the wrong manager and we have a fair number of the wrong players.   Which when one comes to think of it was the response to Arsene Weneger and Unai Emery.  So the calls seem to be out for another change around.  A new manager and new players – in the latter’s case presumably some of the 130 or so who have been touted by the media.

But what I am not sure I am seeing is an answer to why it would work this time, when it didn’t work the last two times.  Maybe it is just the thought that if we keep changing the manager and all his team often enough, eventually, by sheer chance if nothing else, something will work.  Which I suppose would be the case… eventually.

The team that started the opening match of the season two years ago contained

Leno, Maitland Niles, Monreal, Xhaka, Sokratis, Chambers, Mkhitaryan, Guendouzi, Aubameyang, Willock, Nelson

Last night it was

Leno, Chambers, White, Pablo Mari, Tierney, Sambi Lokonga, Xhaka, Pepe, Smith-Rowe, Martinelli, Balogun

Which meant that the only survivors from two years ago were Leno, Xhaka, and Chambers.  Three out of 11.  And the response that came in as comments on this site, and indeed on a few other sites I looked at, were that we had the wrong team.  Apart from the comments that said we had the wrong manager.

Yes I suppose it is possible for Arsenal to go on changing manager every 18 months and having a change of around three-quarters of the team every two years, but it doesn’t seem to be doing any good.

Of course, those people who called for the removal of Arsene Wenger haven’t got too many other options and opinions, but there is an explanation for what happened last night which is quite simple, and doesn’t require a journey down the road of “hey let’s do what we have done before and which has failed before, because you know, if we keep on doing it, it must work out in the end.”

As Untold has been pointing out for some time, there is the issue of tactics, and tactics are generally ignored by the media once they get past the range of “Pepe is playing on the left” and “Arsenal are playing four at the back”.  (The media don’t like tactics, largely because most editors believe that fans are stupid and cant understand them, so they don’t get mentioned.  But they are present, even if they don’t work).

The simple fact is that Arsenal dominated possession (two thirds to Arsenal), Arsenal had 22 shots to Brentford’s 8, but only got four on target to Brentford’s three.   I could go on, and I will, but that is enough to tell you that something was wrong with the forward line, and oh yes, we were missing our forward line.  Not just the main two but Eddie as well.

As for the ability to pass – that was running at 86% (Brentford was at 65%).

We also continued last season’s incredibly successful policy of laying off the tackling – two third’s of last night’s tackles and fouls were committed by Brentford which meant that we didn’t start on the yellow card tally which crippled the team two seasons ago.

So we got all that right, but still we lost.  And why?  For the simple and obvious reason that the entire main focus of our attack was unavailable to play.  As for why that was, I don’t know, but there is the answer we lost.  Except in attack we were much the same team as the last two thirds of last season, playing the same way as we played then, but at the last moment we didn’t have Lacazette and Aubameyang, and Eddie was already out.

If Arsenal had not been part way through the revolution of having their third manager in four years it is possible that the squad would have had more depth to cope with this, but as things stand it isn’t.  Although if whatever it was that kept the two players out of the team is long term, then it looks like we are going to be in trouble.

The good news is that the tactics that served us so well in the last two-thirds of last season were adhered to.  The bad news is that our goalscoring decline of the last two seasons of managerial change is now exposed.

Mr Arteta’s new approach does bring huge rewards as the last two-thirds of last season revealed, but at the moment it has one weakness: it generates fewer goals as we can see from the goalscoring chart:

Season Goals scored Top scorer Top man’s goals
2016/17 77 Alexis Sánchez 30
2017/18 74 Alexandre Lacazette 17
2018/19 73 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 31
2019/20 56 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 29
2020/21 55 Alexandre Lacazette 17

The drop from goals in the 70s in Mr Arteta’s time in the club, through his different style of play, is ok if everything is working in defence through the new no-tackle approach.  But we now have little leeway having reduced the goals to the 55 or 56 a season level.

It ought to be possible to combine no tackling with scoring in the 70s which was Mr Wenger’s style.  It doesn’t need someone knocking in 30 goals or so, as 2017/18 shows, but that can help.  But take out all three goalscorers, and no team is likely to be able to survive that.

25 Replies to “Few teams could survive losing all 3 goalscorers, but staying with the tactics will help”

  1. It is obvious that this arsenal team currently is not the dream team of the fans, including the coach, it is better we face the bitter truth than to hide it.
    Artita should be sack, and a new coach come in, or the rate in which this team is going to lose their fans in this 21st century football ideology will be nothing to write home about.
    I could two major striker got ill on a day like that….considering the fact that our next matches is to face some of the best team in Europe. I hate the display l saw yesterday by the team.

  2. You’re half right. The lack of goal scorers was obviously a problem. But the other half is the defence. Bullied is the word I’m afraid, we just didn’t compete. And our keeper has no competition so is playing below standard required.

  3. As an aside the ref signalled 6 advantages 4 to Brentford and 2 to Arsenal

    Another interesting stat in your first game of the 20/21 season against Fulham there were 12 for and 12 against. No idea how many advantages

    The missing two forwards ( sorry can’t get serious about Nketiah) were said to be ill but you will all no doubt be aware that the rumours out there, and yes just rumours, suggest something far more sinister

  4. I sincerely do not understand what people talk about in reference to Arteta’s “tactics”. The fact is that he has no discernible pattern of play. It is not enough to claim that a team is playing out from the back, which presupporses that after the goalkeeper has given out the ball, there should be a build-up play from defence to the final third. Do we have this with the Arsenal team? The answer is NO.
    Arteta is not building anything at Arsenal, he will take Arsenal down if drastic action is not taken.

  5. At the beginning of the summer we was told by edu and ateta that we had a plan we where going to remove the deadwood and sign an attacking midfielder a new goalkeeper a new defensive midfielder and a back up left back plus replacement squad players for who ever else was sold.. Instead of going ahead quietly an efficiently following that plan we shout out who our targets are offer the club far below the price being asked and spend weeks haggling during which time other clubs see an opportunity and make offers too.. add to this the plan went off course almost right away when we decided to try and buy white now we seem to be pin balling around trying to find people to buy after our main targets either don’t want to come to arsenal or we don’t want to pay the asking price.. With a couple of weeks to go we still haven’t cleared the deadwood and are still looking to fill those positions and yet we’ve spent around £70 million.. I think we have a great group of youngsters at the moment and was excited to see the forward line last night but for what ever reason they dident do very well I think they need a bit more preparation to become affective I’ve not been sure about ateta since he arrived believing we should have gone for an experienced manager unfortunately the longer it goes on the more I think it and this summer has proved that edu and ateta are just not taking the club in the right direction atetas tactics his substitutions his team selections have often left me asking why? I can’t see this season being much different than last season

  6. Afam – the fact that you don’t understand the tactics is one thing, but then to jump to the conclusion that there are none, is quite different. The simple point is that a club could not cut its yellow cards in half, so that Arsenal moved from being the most yellow carded team in the league to the least yellow carded team, in one season, without tactics. I do think the key point made by yourself is at the start – you don’t understand the tactics. Which is fair enough. The aim is to keep them obscure otherwise other teams will nullify them.

  7. Tez – I don’t think we were told that by Arteta and Edu at all. That is what the newspapers said, but if you can show me where Arteta and Edu said it, I would be very grateful and of course will apologise here, for having missed it.

  8. Here we go again 1 game in to the season and the moaners are out in force
    I am so bored with these so call supporters who just can’t wait to put the team and management down for fuck sake go and support someone else and leave us alone

  9. Back in the 1960s when the Danish national team – a team of ‘amateurs’ – were regularly taking huge losses in international games, losses like the stuff of nightmares – 6-0, 7-0, those sort of numbers, the Danish radio commentator Gunnar Nu Hansen produced a phrase to describe a Danish player, ”World famous in Denmark.”

    It became a classic. It could be used anywhere. It was used everywhere. The Brentford Danish manager took it one step further last night. As a world
    famous crowd conductor he created a wall of sound where every Brentford fan took centre-stage on a global event watched around the planet and cheered their team on and on,

  10. Paul I can’t comprehend how you can’t appreciate that such a result is not acceptable for a club that has the level of ambitions that Arsenal has. Be it City, Chelsea, United, name it such a result would be unacceptable.

    What makes Arsenal’s case special is that such results have been far too consistent.

    This is compounded when you consider that Arsenal is the one team among it’s peers that needs to improve most. And you do not improve by getting points next game at a time.

  11. Years ago when my Danish brother got his Danish coaching badge two things he said stand out – every kid has to have their own ball. No coaching sessions with a shared ball. You run onto a pitch with a ball, your ball.

    Second, to get the badge, he had to attend a session where he would be taught how to deal with a father/mother on a touchline who could only cheer on their own kid, who saw everything through what that kid was doing, who therefore couldn’t see football is a team game.These parents have to be dealt with. They disrupt.

    When Nick Ames in the Guardian writes after last night ”Frank had noted before the match that there is “a part in every single game where all players feel a little bit insecure, a little bit under pressure” he could have added a few more paragraphs.

    Frank knew exactly what he was doing. The fans create the team.

  12. Jack,

    With all due respect, I cannot comprehend how you can compare Chelsea, United and City with Arsenal. I mean…just adding the player values and looking neverending money supplies these clubs render any comparison just moot.
    And, just for the sake of it, how would any of these play losing their 3 attacking play ? We’d get headlines about how courageous the other players were and hot much genius their coaches displayed playing against all odds and so much adversity, and I guess some in the press would ask for their knighthood.

    And if the results from Christmas on ahve not been consistent, then I don’t know what the definition is.

    Then again, I feel better. Arsenal have apparently lost all chances to :

    – win the PL
    – win the FA Cup
    – win the Carabao Cup
    – earn a european place
    – play any decent game in the next 10 months
    – give any of us emotions and happiness.

    So I’m now not expecting anything, will not waste my time in front of a TV and I’ve got my life back.
    As for Arsenal, well, they’ve gotten rid of any pressure as the season for them has been decided after 90+ minutes.
    So they can enjoy themselves and not care about crybabies and so-called experts.

    Statistically there is only one coach that could have satisfied you I guess. Mr Wenger. He’s the only one who was able not to lose a single game. Then again, what good did it serve him ?

    Unacceptable….yeah that is a funny one.

  13. Jack
    Losing to Brentford was not acceptable it the constant attack on the club as a whole by the media that get me mad I am fed up with all the negative spread by the so called expert and our fans who seem to believe everything they are told only got to listen to those dope

    who phone in to talkshit and agree with everything they claimed is wrong with our club
    I also think it affects every aspect of what happened around our club from the kids up how we ment to build a successful side
    If all the people hear is negative side from fans and media
    Who want to play for a club where ever mistake or setback is highlighted and held to ridicule
    Get beside the team in all time then things will improve

  14. Chris

    Clarify for me who Arsenal currently consider as their peers in terms of stature and ambitions. Is it the elite caliber of elites like United, Chelsea, City and Liverpool? Is it level of Tottenham and Leicester that are just comfortable hanging around the top. Or is it others like Everton and Westham that periodically punch above their weight?

    If it’s the elite then expect a bit of pressure. If it is Leicester and Tottenham who are comfortable where they are then I’d understand the indifference. If it is the likes of Everton, we’d be expecting too much.

    For so many Arsenal is too big a club to be indifferent.

    A new season has just began. Liverpool won League one season, the next they almost finished outside top 4. Let the club prove the can build on last season’s ending.

  15. Jack

    Man City have a net loss of over ONE BILLION pounds over the last 10 years on transfers alone. Yes they have won a lot of trophies.

    Every one not worth a toss as far as I’m concerned.

    Give any club that and they would do the same. Arguably given their spend and their European failures they have under achieved.

    Everything Chelsea have done is on the back of Romans Billions. Yes they have won a lot of trophies.

    Every one not worth a toss as far as I’m concerned.

    Not long before Roman arrived this club was sold for ONE POUND. Now that’s failure.

    Man Utd are the richest club in the World and spend 100’s of millions on players. Even they have struggled in the face of the financially doped teams.

    But at least what they do win they win on their own money.

    Apart from those 3 mega spending Clubs, since our last title, 1 title went to Leicester, a remarkable achievement I agree, but they will not win it again, and 1 to Liverpool, their first in over 30 years (now that’s failure and yet their fans never ever moaned like our lot). The rest to those 3.

    Can you spot the financial thread running through those 3 clubs ?

    Our club is trying to run itself on a self sustaining model, a model they said they would adhere to 20 years ago, and a model I am absolutely and totally behind, as I am the team.

    No, we are not perfect. We may not be good enough.

    Fine. I’d rather be both of them than either Man City or Chelsea.

    If you are not, just keep endlessly whinging and whining but cant you do it somewhere else please.

  16. Agree with Paul 100%
    Teams go up and down, thats the beauty of English League.
    Now Man City & Chelsea have changed that with Oil Money.
    Billionaire Owners don’t mean ready Cash to spend. Money has to be generated from Assets, or loans, leaving a debt, which can be paid off over time from income. 3rd richest owner are that from what they have as assets, not from cash in the bank.
    Also Untold don’t keep stating the same stats with the same argument just leave a link. Its time to move on, those who don’t pay attention let them be.

  17. Nitram

    Your problem is you think success comes by chance. That you can sit around and implement below par strategies and boom, success, simply because you are Arsenal. Success is by merit, It’s by design and no excuses. What you are giving are excuses.

    Fegurson never complained of Chelsea & City money. Neither has Klopp or Brendan Rodgers. Those managers or clubs have taken on “oil” money and beaten them. Lille and Monaco have beaten PSG. Atletico compete and beat Barcelona and Real. Inter have beaten Juventus. Stop the excuses and compete.

    Arsenal, like Chelsea, united, City, Liverpool, Leicester are owned by billionaires. Difference is some are better run than others. Net spending of Chelsea and Liverpool is below Arsenal for the last 5 seasons.

    You are comfortable with 2nd place. Don’t expect the same from us.

    If you won’t Demand for the club to be run better let those who want to do it, do it.

  18. This whole subject has summed up the way different arsenal supporters view what’s happing with our club even though our opinions differ one thing is apparant the only reason we are voicing our opinions is because we love our club dearly enough to care about it… As a committed arsenal supporter of around at leat 50 years I couldn’t walk away and not watch them… I know that…having seen the football under number of different managers giving verious degrees of success or failour arsene wenger came along and compleatly spoilt me playing beautiful football the way I had only drempt about of course it came to an end and although we’ve actually been very lucky winning the f. A. Cup a number of times I can’t help looking back on those days with nostalgia… I think with the crop of youngsters we have we are capable of producing good times again… But with respect Tony.. I don’t think it will be with arteta.. It dosent mean I won’t support him or arsenal with all my heart it’s just that I don’t think he’s good enough… If he turns it around I’ll be the first one back on here to admit I was wrong…… As for the transfer plan I mentioned in another reply… I was only quoting what I’ve been led to belive was the playing staff we needed to turn things around.. Weve all seen the verious different reports in papers and on websites claiming to be what edu and arteta are looking for in this transfer window… Now you are proberbly right that they themselves may not have stated that but surly there is no smoke without fire… Arsenal for the last couple of transfer windows have seemed to go about there transfer business in a very loud way taking ages to tie any thing up… Now I know its not an easy thing to do but why are we taking so long to get moves over the line… partly last summer took ages and white this summer took ages other clubs seem to approach a player then within a week or so it’s done.. I know a lot must go on which we don’t see before hand but that is how it should be normally we don’t hear about it… With our approaches it seems so public and so drawn out because we do know about it

  19. ” You are comfortable with 2nd place. Don’t expect the same from us.

    If you won’t Demand for the club to be run better let those who want to do it, do it.”

    Besides getting Mr Wenger sacked what have ”the us” ever done?

    Take on the Board?

    Take on the PGMOL?

  20. Jack,

    I’ll reserve my judgement for Day 38 of the PL.

    Until then, I can either accept the team and manager that are on the field and support Arsenal, or whine each time something does not suit me. I’d rather sit back and enjoy the ride then get upset about things 1) I have no idea about 2) have no technical capacity to judge 3) cannot change.

    Thing is the players need support rather then constant second-guessing and complaining. And when Saka is getting clobbered for a missed penalty all of the UK say this is outrageous. When Xhaka or Leno get some of that treatment (I specifically state you did not attack them as far as I can see !)the gloves are off because I guess Arsenal fans can start destroying their own club instead of defending it.

    As Arteta has stated : he’s got the team he has and he is doing his best to get the best out of the players on the field.

  21. Jack

    “Your problem is you think success comes by chance”

    Do I ? And how the **** do you know that ?

    Tell me that and perhaps I’ll take your endless whinging seriously.

  22. Nitram

    I don’t care whether you to take my whining seriously.

    My opinion of you are based on your comments and I stand by my assertions.

    Am comfortable that there are voices pushing the club to get better.

    If you don’t want that, don’t expect us to join you in your silence

  23. Nitram

    You are trying to prove a pointless point to me.

    It’s unnecessary. We both support Arsenal. When Arsenal loose we both feel the pain.

    When Arsenal win we both celebrate.

    What we have is a difference of opinion.

    Arsenal’s position at the end of the table will vindicate us. I hope you win coz that means I win.

    My win can’t be celebrated coz that means we both loose. I hope you are right.

    What I reject is this endless belief that something great will happen when there is no deliberate action to make it happen. Or rather the belief that the club should be given endless time and space to make it happen regardless of consistent failure.

    Am not the enemy, I am an Arsenal fan like you.

    What I will tell you is that I won’t subscribe to your thinking. I hope you are grown enough to appreciate it

  24. Nitram

    Do you. I will do me. “Our” methods may or may not work. But we won’t sit around and wait for things to happen.

    “We” will push and in the event “We” fail, let it be because we were wrong and not because we didn’t try

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