By Bulldog Drummond
“Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” John Stewart Mill.
The Guardian which runs the quote above in an article on Arsenal today, considers today’s game to be of such little importance that it doesn’t even have a mention of it on its football page of its website. There is actually a preview but to find it you need to click on Norwich v Leicester and then look at the other reviews section.
It is quite an interesting approach, and I wonder where it might lead. Anyway, I found it and their team is just below the advertisements…
Soares Holding Mari Tierney
Saka Odegaard Smith Rowe
I must say the thought of that attacking midfield of Saka Odegaard and Smith Rowe behind Aubameyang is rather tasty.
Their commentary begins, “Arsenal fans have been somewhat divided” which is putting it mildly. The paper is also quoting 13-1 for an Arsenal victory. Mind you they also have Torreira on the bench which is a little odd as I thought he was with Fiorentina, but maybe there is something I don’t know (not for the first time).
Moving on, something very odd seems to have happened with WhoScored’s statistics which appears to say that we have played an FA Cup match this season in which we scored two goals. I’m really getting a bit worried about the health of their computer – or maybe we did indeed enter the FA Cup in the Extra Preliminary round (which was played three weeks ago – in the latest news Tony’s local team Corby Town beat Soham Town Rangers 4-2 to march on the 1st preliminary round proper. He was rather pleased.
Back with Arsenal it is interesting to see, however which players have played in both our games so far and lasted all the way through – only six: Lokonga, Leno, Smith Rowe, Xhaka, Pepe, and Mari.
Football London has the headline “Mikel Arteta drops major team news hint on dream Arsenal pairing ahead of Man City trip” and I perhaps foolishly read the articlet (new term meaning a piece of few words and even less news) and couldn’t find anything to back up the assertion in the headline.
The Express does have a team however and offers the same players with a slightly different formation.
Soares Holding Mari Tierney
Xhaka Lokonga Odegaard
Saka Smith Rowe Aubameyang
The Hard Tackle goes for the same line up, but do have something rather interesting as a new twist on a rampantly outrageously negative approach to Arsenal. They provide us with five key stats. Of which the two primarily are
- Not since the 1954-55 season have Arsenal lost their first three games in a top-flight season
I think we have the idea of the 1954-55 season, but as we have pointed out before, in that season although we started badly we recovered to come 12th. Hardly satisfactory by today’s standards, but what the computer also misses when asked about such things is, “what else was interesting?”
Well, Arsenal went into that season as champions with 11 players who played 29 or more games. These included Ray Daniel who played 45 games but didn’t play the following season, Joe Wade who played 44 games in the title season, but only 19 the following year. Lionel Smith played 35 in the title year but only 8 the following season. Joe Mercer played 31 in the trophy season but only 19 the next year.
The list goes on and on and shows something which I think is much more interesting than the one line blob so beloved of today’s football journalists and adopted by many of today’s football supporters.
The call is always for new players, and that is what Mr Arteta is doing – introducing new players. But it takes a while for new players to settle in and introducing lots of them can lead to disruption. As indeed happened in 1954/5 after winning the league title the season before.
If there is a worry, it is about rapid change in players which can lead to quite a spell of disruption. On 12 September 1953 the first division top four were West Bromwich Albion, Wolverhampton, Huddersfield, and Bolton. At the bottom it read…
Arsenal recovered and ended mid-table but didn’t win the league again for 17 years
The lesson is obvious: too much change all at once, can be highly disruptive for a club. And yet that is what the media demand and some fans crave. Get rid of the manager, get rid of these players, get rid of the manager… it goes on and on.
The more we let the media run the agenda, the worse it gets. But it is interesting. Four members of the current “big six” all sitting in the bottom seven. How times change!
Be careful what you wish for.
- 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.
- Injuries Time to sack Tierney according to one part of the media
- Next season starting lineup and the new Financial Fair Play rules