Was Galileo an Arsenal supporter, does the sun go round the earth, are the Opta stats a load of cobblers.

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By Tony Attwood

Sometimes around 1615 Galileo Galilei invited an emissary of the pope to look through his telescope at the four little discs moving across the face of Jupiter.  The emissary refused to look, saying that he did not need to look through a telescope to see what his religion told him could not be true.

Galileo was reported to the Roman Inquisition, which warned him to stop his work.  When Galileo later wrote his masterpiece “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems” (concerning whether the earth goes round the sun, or the reverse) he was tried by the Inquisition, found guilty and the man who founded the entire scientific revolution in the west and who ended Mediaeval thought spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

1-0 to the forces of reaction.

This view of not wanting to look at something that one doesn’t believe is true, is still with us.  Of course football is trivial compared with the persecution of any human being (although somehow I feel more strongly about it when it is such a towering giant as Galileo) but this in the comparison I want to make.

Mediaevalism is prevalent among football supporters.  In fact it could be argued that it is the dominant mode of thought.  And yes I know its a fairly bizarre line to take – but then this is Untold Arsenal, and Untold publishes stuff that is, sort of, untold anywhere else.

My argument is that the forces of reaction and mediaevalism in football talk with a weird mix of generality and specifics, which tends to by-pass statistics and facts, and replace them all with emotion.   Just as Galileo could show that there were discs moving across the face of Jupiter, so the stats tell us a lot about Arsenal’s performance this season.  Just as the pope’s man didn’t want to look and think about it, so some fans turn away from the stats.

I’ve done the argument a dozen times about where we are in the league, about how we score lots of goals etc, so here’s a few other stats.  I must confess they don’t include this weekend’s win over Villa.  I would like to say this is because I don’t want to be accused of choosing just the right moment when the stats look good for us after a win, but actually I can’t find this week’s stats on the internet, so here’s last weeks.  If you can find the official statistics that show these issues this week, please do let me know where they are.

Most touches in opposition box

  • Arsenal 370
  • Everton 346
  • Man Utd 328
  • Stoke 302
  • Tottenham 282
  • Chelsea 279

Shots on target

  • Arsenal 83
  • Chelsea 83
  • Tottenham 69
  • Man Utd 68
  • Everton 61
  • Newcastle 60

Shooting accuracy

  • Arsenal 47.7%
  • Man City 46.6%
  • Chelsea 46.4%
  • Newcastle 46.2%
  • Birmingham 46.1%
  • Bolton 45.7%

Goals from open play

  • Arsenal 21
  • Chelsea 19
  • Man Utd 17
  • Bolton 14
  • Blackpool 13
  • Tottenham 13

Passing accuracy

  • Chelsea 84.8%
  • Arsenal 84.2%
  • Man City 82.6%
  • Man Utd 82.5%
  • Tottenham 79.8%
  • Newcastle 78.9%

Passing accuracy in opposition half

  • Arsenal 81.0%
  • Chelsea 78.6%
  • Man Utd 77.3%
  • Man City 76.9%
  • Everton 73.6%
  • Tottenham 71.7%

Dribble success rate

  • Arsenal 50.6%
  • Chelsea 50.4%
  • Blackpool 49.7%
  • West Ham 49.5%
  • Everton 49.0%
  • Tottenham 43.8%

Saves-to-shots ratio (at least six appearances)

  • Cech 85.19%
  • Fabianski 82.76%
  • Hart 79.59%
  • Schwarzer 79.07%
  • Foster 75.00%
  • Jaaskelainen 74.51%

Points per game at home

  • Man Utd 2.66
  • Chelsea 2.57
  • Arsenal 2.00
  • Sunderland 2.00
  • Aston Villa 1.86
  • Stoke 1.86

Points per game away from home

  • Arsenal 2.00
  • Man City 1.66
  • Chelsea 1.66
  • Newcastle 1.66
  • Bolton 1.43
  • Man Utd 1.29

Stats supplied by Opta

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28 Replies to “Was Galileo an Arsenal supporter, does the sun go round the earth, are the Opta stats a load of cobblers.”

  1. Good insight on those stats Tony…

    Just goes to show we are well up there and we can definitely challange on all fronts!

  2. Fair enough, but for an article talking about seeing what you want to see, where are the stats on goals conceded, late goals conceded, number of leads lost, goals conceded on set pieces, etc?

    Maybe they’re not as bad as everyone thinks, but show us at least.

  3. All very good but the perception is that we don’t defend well, especially against set pieces. I’d be interested in stats like goals scored against open play vs set pieces. And where do you find these stats, by the way?

  4. Tony, you are a legend in every sense of the word! Ive been reading your articles for a few weeks now and they are spot on.

    Keep up the good work!

  5. I’ve been reading untold since the beginning of this year and I can remember back then thinking 250,000 visitors per month was exaggeration but now i know better cos i haven’t missed an article since(kudos to Tony, Walter and all the staff). I come from Nigeria but i am currently studying in Coventry and for the very first time in my life i attended a live match to see my beloved Arsenal take on Aston villa on sat. I can’t begin to explain how awe struck i was throughout the game.. even when the goals rained in i couldn’t celebrate(ticket confusions stuck me with the villa fans) it was surreal, a dream to behold. and so to add my pennies worth,i’d like to say that i can understand disappointment, feelings of sadness after a defeat but anger and unwillingness to let go of those feelings in the face of another game/win is beyond me. As fans, we are caught up in the rivalry and media hype of games(NLD/LD/Top4/Title Contenders/ arsenal v liverpool, get it?lol)that we play and so defeat takes on a whole different meaning and brings its own pain but it don’t mean we should condemn our players/manager/staff/stadium because we should never loose sight of one thing WE ARE ARSENAL!!! A player may have a career ranging from a Robbie Keane cameo no of months to playing his whole career for one club but a true fan supports ONE club all his life!!! Gooners, let us keep the faith Onwards&Forwards, picking up and dusting ourselves after any defeat and basking in the joy of every win. We are Champions just haven’t been crowned yet!!!!

  6. Also comparing to first 15 games of last season, we (unlike d&g believe) conceded less goals, though scored less, but nothing dramatically (comparing to our rivals, and just as example, Tottennham which bought beloved & adored vd Vaart, whom many doom & gloom bde wanted with us, scored believed or not, whole 12 goals less).

  7. Very interesting stats. A thorough analysis of defence should also be made. Like tackles won, tackles lost, passes intercepted, fouls committed. Etc

  8. Tony, thanks for those stats.
    The only conclusion can be: yes ware defintly facing the worst crisis ever in our history.. 😉

  9. Mark, there are only three teams who have conceded fewer goals than us, Chelsea, Man U and Man City. Number of leads lost is 2, Tottenham and Sunderland (thanks to a generous amount of injury time), though if you believe the press, critics etc you would have thought we had conceded more than any other team and threw leads away on a weekly basis! Our defence is not as bad as the moaners and pundits would have us believe. Its a good example of tell people something enough times and whether it is true or not they will eventually accept it as fact. A good example is the oft repeated claim that we never shoot, as Tony has shown in his stats.

  10. Excellent article.
    Now I’m almost ready to forgive that “ALL THE MEDIA HATE US” paranoia from a few months ago.
    Excellent write-up again.

  11. How can Arsenal have more points at home and away than United, but are in 3rd place while United are 1st? ; )

  12. This site is interesting because:

    A-)It helps people like me know better history of arsenal the club and to some point introduce to readers like me football history in England.

    B-)The writers make sense what they write of the new financial situation in football.

    C-)I will say it is a site for matured people and not necessarly to be arsenal fans.

    Thank you and keep it up !!

    Reading today topic is fascinating the statistics.Surely trophies are not magic creation but i believe the output of a hard work.This statistics reflect the hard work done so far.

    I might be slightly out of contest but while we are on the statistics could someone please add the statistics of Sir Alex Ferguson Vs Sam Allardice.
    I am sorry !To me what they call it a match fixing if is not on between this two entity i dont see nothing else.
    Yes i am an Arsenal fan it is really hard to take it.
    This Fat man whenever is playing against us or for that matter with chelsea or Liverpool his players are surely instructed to break the legs of the opponents.His usual excuse is “i have to do it with what i have” .Meaning they cannot pass the ball or play normal football because of the players he got and will not have a chance to stay in the premiership.
    Really Ehh ???How they where playing against manu then?? Ehh ?
    Yes when they play against Manu yesterday all in a sudden he had Fabregas -Messi Rolando and decided to play normal football and got demolished by the “IN FORM “(his quote not anyone on earth )Manu.

    Yes i know it is off the topic but i say sorry once again as the only common factor on this topic is the word Statistics.
    It is only you the guys in here that you can expose this tugs.

    Thanks !

  13. Have you noticed that considered and balanced views of Wenger are rarely criticised? The scales 9 out of 10 times quite rightly fall in favour, but the anti Wenger rants and Wenger cock sucking (both on the decline) equally get people irate. Just an observation

  14. Just out of curiosity, I looked it up:

    Harry Redknapp has won… the FA Cup with Portsmouth in 2008, the Intertoto Cup with West Ham in 1999, the 2nd Division with Portsmouth in 2003 and the 3rd Division with Bournemouth in 1987. Not exactly sterling qualifications for “the next England manager,” are they?

    Sam Allardyce has won… one league title, that league being the League of Ireland, with Limerick in 1992. Not exactly the English Premier League, is it? Or one of the top 10 leagues in Europe.

    Phil Brown has won… nothing, unless you count The Championship Playoff with Hull in 2008.

    Roy Hodgson has won… 5 league titles, all in Scandinavia (4 in Sweden, 1 in Denmark), 2 Swedish Cups, and gotten 2 teams to the UEFA Cup/Europa League Final (’97 Inter and ’10 Fulham). Not much in England, but better than the rest of these numpties.

    Nor did any of these men win anything as a player, unless you count Fat Sam winning the 2nd Division with Bolton in 1978.

    These are the exemplars of “English football” management? Sounds more like medievalists than leaders in the modern game. (I was tempted to add Mark Hughes, who’s won f***-all as a manager thus far, but he’s Welsh, or does that count?)

  15. Let me raise my hat – again – to you Tony for another witty and thought provoking piece. Well done!

    I follow the Gunners now from Jamaica where I have lived since 1990. But as an Islington lad, born & bred, who went to Holloway school, and has never lived more than 4 miles from Highbury while growing up, Arsenal is in my blood. In the two decades of the 1970’s and 80s I hardly missed a game – home or away…and all through the 1980’s I was a season ticket holder, a traveler’s club steward and once had the distinction of never missing a single game for three consecutive seasons (including European away games)…all this to say that I have seen a lot of Arsenal – including a time when boring, boring Arsenal didn’t quite sum up how abysmal the Arsenal was (getting beaten 0-3 by Norwich – at Highbury – with me and 13,000 other sufferers comes immediately to mind) so I have suffered believe me! So when I read these jerk-offs criticize Wengar and the team I wonder how long they have been been supporters…You can make a distinction between those of us who have been lifelong supporters and the johnny-come-lately’s…Lifelong supporters who have suffered for the cause are so fecking GRATEFUL to Wengar; so completely enthralled by the football we play, and; so proud of the wonderful new stadium and our financial management of the club – not to mention the Arsenal in the Community programmes, the social housing and the investment that Arsenal has made in job-creation in Islington – Those of us who have suffered for being Gooners know how wonderful things have been for the past 14-years, that in all honesty we can’t feel anything but pride in our team..

    I absolutely love it when a new Gooner finds religion (like obichibz did at Villa Park) after seeing their first Arsenal game live in the flesh! We all have our stories but us lifelong Gooners know that we have never had it so good. That Tony has to resort to stats to convince the naysayers is bollox – it makes me want to puke! Feck em I say…lets keep Untold Arsenal for the real supporters who know something about the game and who can have mature conversations about facts and figures..there are plenty of other sites out there for the wankers who can’t be pleased

    *** RANT OVER ***

  16. Thanks for the stats your Lordship.And yes ,Walter ,this is one of the worst starts to the season -4 losses and its only November !Wait ! Chelski have also lost 4 ! What is the world coming to?
    If only had Galileo invented a time machine instead of stargazing, we could send all those naysaying ,Johnny-come-latelys back in time to watch the Arsenal under Terry Neill, Don Howe and in the last years of George Graham .It was cruel and sadistic punishment.
    But we endured and have arrived at Nirvana ,Shangri-la or for some Jamaica !
    Gooner Terry , keep on ranting -you’ve earned the right!

  17. Tony,

    Being a regular visitor of this site, i have one question…

    Why do we have to allow obscene, lowlife comments from people like “Bexxy”?

    He has been making such comments on a pretty regular basis now a days. Unless he has something constructive, why do you even put it up on this section? Why does this site have to accomodate for comments that are coming from someone who clearly represents a “class” that is way down the order than the one your regular visitors come from. I mean if I wanted such class less biased comments to fill up my psyche, I could have visited other “TRUE” Arsenal site like Le Sh*t or so.

    I eagerly await to get your reply on this.

    In Arsene We Believe.


  18. I agree with chowdhury above that bexxy’s comments are in poor taste. But I don’t agree that we should ban him/her. Its best to ignore comments like that, as most people seem to have done.

    Completely agree.. Unfortunately its just one of those things that nothing can be done about. Fat Sam is always going to cosy up to srallex in the hope of getting favours. Of what kind I will not say 🙂

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