- Arsenal are back in Europe: but who else is on the up this season?
- Arsenal v Leeds; Leeds new manager, recent history, levels of fouling.
- Arsenal v Leeds (who have had 27 managers so far this century)
By Bulldog Drummond
As we have seen in recent posts, everything is pointing in Arsenal’s direction for this game – which is always worrying, and the journalists settle down with hopes of “giant upset”.
One stat we haven’t looked at much this season – which is obviously my mistake – is the number of shots.
|Shots||On Target||Goals||Shots||On Target||Goals|
Now we all know that Arsenal’s problem this season has been a lack of goals – we are sixth in the goalscoring league, three behind Manchester United and six behind Tottenham. That’s not quite as bad as some people like to make out, but it is not as good as it could be.
But if we look at the number of shots, we can see that Arsenal have the third highest number of shots in the league – with more shots than Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham etc etc.
Which suggests we don’t need more shooting but better shooting. True we have 13 fewer shots on target than Chelsea, but this is roughly one shot fewer on target per three games less, which is not a huge amount.
But I think there is a hidden bonus here, and that is the age of our top scorers. Saka with 12 goals, Smith Rowe with 11, Odegaard with six and Martinelli with five are all young players, and if they follow the normal pattern, they each have maybe six years of improvement still to go as their strength and experience continue to grow.
On the other hand we should note also that Liverpool and Manchester City are both putting in three shots per game on target more than Arsenal, which is enough to explain why they are scoring one goal a game more than Arsenal.
So this deficit may not completely correct itself next season, without buying a new 30 goals a season man, but all the figures suggest that there will be some improvement, simply because of the fact that the current goal scorers are all so young.
Here is the Evening Standard’s projection for the team…
Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Tavares;
Odegaard, Elneny, Xhaka;
Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli.
Sports Mole suggest using the same players but in different positions.
Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Tavares;
Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli;
There are lots of publications suggesting that Nuno Tavares is the problem to be fixed and Gooner News come up with this solution
Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Cedric,
Elneny, Odegaard, Xhaka,
Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli
The Short Fuse do however find a place in the line up for Smith Rowe…
Tomiyasu, Holding, Gabriel, Tavares
Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe
The reason for including Tavares is summed up by Pain in the Arsenal which says “Another nightmarish performance from Nuno did improve as the West Ham game went on, which is the level he needs to maintain from the start in this match.”
Virtually everyone else has some combination based on those selections above. Which means all we have left to offer is the current league table after yesterday’s matches…
Tottenham can overtake Arsenal if their results are better than ours over the remaining games, but Manchester United can now only reach 61 points, and West Ham can now only match the same, which means Arsenal are back in Europe next season, and the dreadful Europa Conference (from which Tottenham so ignominiously got kicked out this season, has been avoided.
So it is either the Champions League or the Europa League depending on the outcome of these last games. And that after all the early season talk of relegation, and West Ham having a break-through season and all that usual mindless gibberish. How odd that so many writers could be so wrong. Why is that?
The league table after last night’s games…
|7||West Ham United||35||15||7||13||53||46||7||52|
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