by Sir Hardly Anyone
Well obviously yes, and as we pointed out before they have indeed been getting better. The only problem is that the story keeps going around that they have been getting worse.
The three most successful managers ever, in terms of win percentages who have managed Arsenal for more than one season, are in descending order, Wenger, Arteta and Emery.
Arteta, like Wenger, has been incredibly adventurous in terms of tactics, taking on the PGMO who made Arsenal the most carded team in the league, and reducing that to a club much nearer the foot of that table.
But journalists love jumping to conclusions even when they say they have not the slightest amount of data to support their argument. For example, Karen Carney in the Guardian today says, “We are only two games into the new Premier League season so no one should get too carried away,” which is fair enough, except that is what all the journalists did last year when Arsenal got no points in the first three games. They were carried away with tales of doom and disaster. And as Arsenal moved to become the third most successful team across the last 37 league games played, no one has apologised for the substantial errors of judgement in their tales of doom and their calls for Arteta to go.
Now suddenly Edu is also flavour of the month as the media forgets that for example on 19 May 2022 — they were writing things like “Arsenal’s failure to react to success leaves Mikel Arteta facing ‘big problem‘.” And on 1 February this year “Edu has failed to address main Arsenal transfer problem – and Mikel Arteta is paying price” While in April we got “Arsenal’s biggest problem is plain to see for everyone.”
At least there is a moment of truth in today’s Guardian piece where it says “A lot of the time – as pundits, fans and ex-players – we don’t know exactly what happens inside the club” – but sadly that has never stopped the media expressing its opinions and calling for change, the need for which and direction of which they can see, but apparently the club can’t.
But we are getting a lot of the bleedin’ obvious from the media, as with, “To get to that next level, after finishing fifth last season, they will need to do better against the teams that finished above them.” Err yes, I think we have got that. And indeed it was Untold who showed how hard that is with an analysis of where teams that have finished fifth end up next season.
Of course, English clubs, in general, have always got a few tricks up their sleeve, as with West Ham, whose opponents in the Europa League playoff had a couple of their players denied entry into the UK to play the game because their visa applications were not put in early enough. In fact those applications were put in the day the draw was made, but that’s still not early enough apparently. Denying players entry because UK immigration is short of staff and so running way behind with temporary visa applications is just one of the benefits of Brexit we were never told about.
And here is something else that has changed. In fact, several things that have changed: Arsenal’s statistics for this season compared with last season.
|Team||Shots pg||Tackles pg||Interceptions pg||Fouls pg||Offsides pg|
|2022/3 as % of 2021/2||71%||130%||109%||135%||118%|
So we now need 29% fewer shots to score a goal, but everything else is up: tackles and fouls particularly so. But such changes pass the poor little journalist by, even though this is actually quite an interesting story. Maybe the Mirror and others could get their infamous supercomputer to work on finding out why we are having so few shots per goal. And why having spent a couple of years getting rid of tackles they are back on the agenda.
But no… that might involve writing something about the PGMO and the way it works, and that is strictly off the agenda. Especially that 35% increase in fouls per game.
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