By Tony Attwood
“It is the eternal gift of Arsenal fans to be able to identify the potential anxiety in virtually any situation, however favourable or triumphant. Pleasure is simply misery deferred. Most people look for crumbs of comfort; Arsenal fans look for crumbs of concern, scan the fixture list for oncoming hazards, scan every horizon for grey clouds. And so, even a routine and rampant 5-0 victory comes with its own quantum of unease.” So says the Guardian.
I’m not too sure how Arsenal fans compare en masse to supporters of other clubs in this regard but if it is true what the Guardian says, maybe it is because we have had so many years of being told by the media that Arsenal are no good, and that our enquiries into the very, very odd behaviour of referees, not to mention the statistical analyses that show how odd their performances are, are just paranoia. And why the paranoia? Maybe because the media will not mention these analyses at all and not even consider them possible.
And maybe it is because there is a unity of approach in the media about Arsenal – you might remember the four-part series on the conspiracy against Arsenal which began with The media conspiracy against Arsenal. How it unfolded. The easiest thing is to laugh at the title as a case of paranoia and not bother reading it. (There are links to the rest of the series at the end, in case you are interested).
But let’s be fair. What the Guardian said this time was “Jesus was arguably the best player on the pitch. He assisted two goals, created a third for Reiss Nelson, had seven shots on goal and more touches than any Forest player.” And “Arsenal are an immeasurably better and more coherent team when he is present.” Which is true. He may not score, but he distracts the defence so much others score. That’s a good bit of insight.
As a result of this approach quite soon the defences will stop bothering wiith him and go looking at the other goal scorers, and then he’ll be liberated once more. And that is a possible approach because we have ten Premier League scorers this season.
And I include the yellow cards’ column because when one of our goal scorers gets taken out by the referees, we will find other scorers are available.
And this is the bit of Arsenal’s goal scoring this season that is not normally mentioned: how many players in the squad have scored four or more goals. For while Arsenal have do indeed four players who have scored four or more goals in the league this season, no other club has that. Indeed only one club has three players who have scored four or more: Brighton and Hove.
When it comes to having two players who have scored four or more goals, that is obviously easier to get, but still only four clubs have achieved that: Manchester City, Leicester City, Liverpool and Newcastle United.
Below that six clubs have one player scoring four or more, including Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. Which leaves eight clubs without anyone who has scored four or more goals this season in the league! And that is quite a comparison with Arsenal who have four such players.
Of course, diversity of scoring doesn’t really count for much if you can’t score a decent number of goals overall, but a quick look at the league organised by goals scored is reassuring…
|8||Brighton and Hove Albion||12||5||3||4||19||15||4||18|
|13||West Ham United||13||4||2||7||11||13||-2||14|
So there we are, second in terms of goals scored, but without the vulnerability of having just one or even two players building up that total. And that is achieved without having a single player in the top ten goal scorers list of the Premier League this season.
That list is topped by Erling Haaland of course, with 17, Harry Kane with 10 and Aleksander Mitrovic of Fulham with nine.
- Conspiracy, laziness, or stupidity. Part 2 How the media missed the big Arsenal story
- Is there really a conspiracy against Arsenal? Part 3: Ownership, laziness and repetition
- The evidence of a conspiracy against Arsenal: part 4: Conspiracy, simplicity and false predictions
- Bournemouth v Arsenal: the team news, Jesus’ problem, and winning records
- Bournemouth v Arsenal: injury update, and the record between the clubs
- Bournemouth v Arsenal and Tottenham’s yellow card bonanza
- Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the dirtiest team of all?
- The great injury conundrum: how can Arsenal cope, and how are other clubs suffering?