Are really Arsenal in as bad a state as the Mirror suggests?

By Tony Attwood

When people start having a go at Arsenal I do like to delve a little to see what lies beneath.  Like for example how odd the transfer of Auba to Barca really was, given that there was no transfer fee.  And (as I explore below) Arsenal’s alleged inability to score goals.

Three things turn out to be odd about that transfer.  One is that only 15% of players transferred in that last window were over 30.  Aubameyang is 32 – he’ll be 33 in June, so he is in a minority of players transferred due to his age.  Suggesting in fact that players over 32 don’t often get transferred very much, presumably because as they get into their 30s they are less and less likely to be of value to a new club and more and more likely to be taking a salary while out injured.

Also there’s the fact that they only have a bit of time left in their careers and will have no sell on value.  Also we know that the skills and abilities of players at this age declines.  And we know they are much more likely to get injuries that can keep them out of the game for a long time.

But then I looked at all the transfers that happened in January irrespective of age and found that there were 3,534 international transfers in January.  Of which 85% had no fee.

So that means that at the moment the vast majority of transfers of players of all ages are free transfers.

Seen from that point of view, any club paying any money to get 32 year old Aubameyang, a player with timekeeping problems and a sharp decline in the number of goals he scores, in a window where very few players commanded a fee, would have been very unusual indeed.  Indeed had Barca paid a fee I think the Spanish media would have gone berserk.

So leaving aside anything particular about Aubameyang, a non-fee transfer was always the most likely outcome.

Elsewhere the Daily Mirror’s drive to knock Arsenal in half a dozen new stories a day has taken them into a land that now bears absolutely no resemblance to reality.   Their latest diatribe reads

“The Gunners were renowned for their blistering attack over the years, while their defence would continually let them down.  Now, it’s the complete opposite….

So let’s compare this with what outside the walls of Canary Wharf, is known as reality.

In terms of goal scoring this season, Arsenal are the sixth highest scoring team, which is pretty much what you would expect for a team that was in sixth before the last game but is now in fifth place.

The following tables are set out by goals scored (F) and then where teams are equal, points.

Lge pos Goals position Team P W D L F A GD Pts
2 1 Liverpool 23 15 6 2 60 19 41 51
1 2 Manchester City 24 19 3 2 57 14 43 60
3 3 Chelsea 24 13 8 3 48 18 30 47
4 4 West Ham United 24 12 4 8 42 31 11 40
6 5 Manchester United 23 11 6 6 37 31 6 39
5 6 Arsenal 22 12 3 7 34 25 9 39

Now most of the traditional big six are in that list of six top scoring teams – the interlopers are West Ham, which means one team that is traditionally known as a top six side is missing.  And it is not Arsenal, but Tottenham.   When it comes to measuring the league by goals scored and thinking of frailties in attack the team to focus on is indeed Tottenham.

Tottenham in a league table measured by goals scored are 11th.  They find themselves below such goal-scoring luminaries as Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Southampton.

But of course, we always need to take into account current form as well as the position across the whole season, for it would be terribly unfair to criticise the Mirror and their friends at White Hart Lane if in fact, Tottenham are currently on the up, scoring for fun, etc etc.

So if we take a look at top scoring teams in the last six games, as opposed to across the whole season, Tottenham are….

Premier League Form (Last 6 games) in goal scored order
Goals pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 6 5 1 0 13 5 8 16
2 Arsenal 6 4 1 1 13 3 10 13
3 Southampton 6 3 2 1 13 10 3 11
4 West Ham United  6 4 0 2 12 7 5 12
5 Liverpool 6 3 2 1 12 6 6 11
6 Leicester City 6 2 1 3 11 12 -1 7
7 Manchester Utd 6 3 2 1 10 6 4 11
8 Tottenham Hotspur 6 3 1 2 10 8 2 10
9 Aston Villa 6 2 2 2 10 10 0 8
10 Leeds United 6 2 1 3 10 18 -8 7

… eighth in the league equal on goals scored with the almighty Leeds United.

So here is the Daily Mirror with its agenda of half a dozen attacks on Arsenal a day getting wilder and wilder and now having no relationship with reality whatsoever.

To reiterate the charge…

“The Gunners were renowned for their blistering attack over the years, while their defence would continually let them down.  Now, it’s the complete opposite….”

In the league this season, across the whole season, Arsenal are the sixth highest-scoring team.  

In the league this season, across the last six league games (a good measure of current form) no club has scored more goals than Arsenal.  Tottenham are 8th in that league.

As one approaches the doors of the Daily Mirror building, reality it seems, breaks down.  What are they smoking in there?

Why are Arsenal getting so many yellow cards this season?

14 Replies to “Are really Arsenal in as bad a state as the Mirror suggests?”

  1. All I can say is, it’s a good Job they have Arsenal ‘fanatic’ (not my words, that’s what The Mirror told me)) John Cross, as well as Arsenal fan Darren Lewis (Possibly a fanatic, but I haven’t had that confirmed), to keep an eye on things then !

  2. Just to say, a few years ago I tried to speak to John ‘Arsenal Fanatic’ Cross (Via email) to ask him why he was so negative about Arsenal all the time. The coward would not engage but instead got his minions to answer for him.

    I say ‘answer’ in the loosest possible terms as all I received was a short, condescending reply, informing me what an Arsenal fanatic Cross was.

    These are the sort of cowardly ignoramuses we are dealing with.

  3. Well, if I look at it from the Mirror point of view :

    – for almost 2 decades Arsenal were into the CL year after year
    – then they were not able for some years in a row to go back

    so yes, they have problems, have they not ? They cannot get to the ‘not a trophy’ place.

    So what happened to Arsenal ? Ah yes, they got rid of the manager who was bringing them into the CL by NOT winning a trophy and just getting to 4th whether he had money for transfers or not while enabling Arsenal to pay for it’s new stadium.

    But wait, wasn’t the Mirror part of the hounders of said manager villifying and lambasting him to end, making sure that the general mood truned sour against him ?

    Just wonder when they’ll start playing ‘Those were the days my friends’, reminisc the good ol’ days and start a campaign for that manager to return ?!?!

  4. How cares about journalism? It’s just blah-blah-blah. Journalism is to explain to others what you yourself don’t understand, as the old man said (Lord Northcliff?).

  5. I have just watched the Untd Southampton game .Shaw pulled Brojas shirt when got passed him , no card . Fernandes through a punch nothing Pogba a foul a shove and dissent just a yellow ,that would be a least 3 bookings and maybe a red

  6. I care about journalism and I have tried to explain many times, hans andersson, why I care about journalism. I note you don’t think it is important, and I wonder why you keep making the point.

  7. edward rockhill

    I said this on the previous thread, but you can add it to the list:

    During Man Utd’s 1-1 draw with Southampton Lingard was booked for a foul in the 90th minute. 1st Yellow. He then immediately showed dissent by word AND action, right in the face of the referee. That is, by the rules, clearly another yellow card offence. Was it issued ? Of course not.

    Make that 2 reds we would of had.

    I wish some of those people who told us to “stop moaning, it was 2 yellows, get over it” would come and explain those. Rest assured they wont because they never do.

  8. Hi all,
    Was just reviewing our run-in and I listed all our remaining matches in order of difficulty, and something weird popped out:
    1. Chelsea (A) LONDON
    2. Liverpool (H) LONDON
    3. Spurs (A) LONDON
    4. Man United (H) LONDON
    5. West Ham (A) LONDON
    6. Wolves (H) LONDON
    7. Leicester (H) LONDON
    8. Southampton (A) SOUTHAMPTON
    9. Aston Villa (A) BIRMINGHAM

    Which means that for all our toughest remaining matches the players will be able to sleep in their owns beds and stick to their normal matchday routines.

    Might be a small advantage for us there.

  9. That is interesting and could help but looking at those fixtures we are going to need some help as we are playing, on current standings teams that are:

    2nd home
    3rd away
    4th away
    5th home
    We are 6th
    7th away
    8th home
    10th away
    11th away
    13th home

    If you take us out of the equation, obviously, we are playing 6 of the other top 7 and all 9 of our opponents are in the top 12.

    That is one tough run in.

  10. Tony, you asked a question and much as I don’t have an answer, I will attempt to provide a suggestion of one.

    What are they smoking? Expired weed most probably.

  11. @Nitram + @edward rockhill => Ref. M.Utd vs Southampton. Has anyone noticed at the very end of the game (score 1:1) the blatant foul in the M.Utd’s box by H.Maguire, captain? ‘A foul, a penalty, possible yellow card’ and to add in the continuation: six studs stomping on the leg of a Southampton player? ‘Dangerous play, straight red card, 3-match suspension’. The referee was close to the action, I saw the replays, VAR anybody? Nothing was given, no foul, no penalty, no yellow / red card!?
    I looked into the numerous written comments via Internet => Not at all mentioned! Did not happen. The same on BBC Match of the day => Not a word!? Tony is right about media and, of course, about corrupt PGMOb.
    I can only speculate, ‘What if …’ that was an Arsenal’s player, not to mention Granit Xhaka’s special treatment by PGMOb (:-( ! COYG? Nekuhan

  12. PS @Nitram + @edward rockhill => Ref. M.Utd vs Southampton. It would be nice if someone can provide us the WEB link / video of the mentioned incident. Thanks in advance. Nekuhan

  13. Nekuhan

    Sorry didn’t see it. Was dipping in and out. As you say, would be nice if someone could supply a link.

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