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|
|4||4||West Ham United||24||12||4||8||42||31||11||40|
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….
|4||West Ham United||6||4||0||2||12||7||5||12|
… 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?
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