By Tony Attwood
Among the bits of football news which have been reported in passing, and then not explored much by the media, is the revelation that Premier League video assistant referees got over 12 percent of their decisions wrong so far this season, according to the Key Match Incident panel.
Which given that the people involved are apparently highly trained referees who are sitting in a calm and peaceful atmosphere, indoors (so not subject to the vagaries of the English weather or the noise of the crowd – the latter of which we know affects referees in the ground) is pretty appalling.
ESPNhave reported one of the mistakes includes the disallowed goal by Gabriel Martinelli in Arsenal’s defeat at Manchester United in September. Had the VAR referee got that one right then Arsenal could well still be in line for a second unbeaten season.
But referee Paul Tierney used the pitchside monitor to disallow the Brazil forward’s goal for a foul on Christian Eriksen by Martin Odegaard in the build-up to the goal.
Adding to the problems the independent panel “also concluded there had been six missed VAR interventions”. That would take the error rating up to around 20%.
Moving on, and in preparation for Arsenal’s next match against West Ham, there was a recent friendly between Arsenal and Luton, the team (with subs in brackets) for that match was…
Ben White, Rob Holding, Gabriel, Cedric Soares,
Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka, Martin Ødegaard,
Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah
After all the subs were made in the second half the team was
Lino Sousa, Rob Holding, Taylor Foran, Cedric Soares,
Albert Sambi, Mohamed Elneny, Amario Cozier-Duberry,
Fabio Viera), Marquinhos, Catalin Cirjan
That first team shows Martinelli playing at centre forward and Eddie on the wing which is an interesting new twist to the arrangements. This could be the lineup against West Ham and could well be something that is used instead of going out and buying a new centre forward.
But also on the horizon is Smith Rowe who last season scored ten goals, just one behind top scorer Saka. He isn’t quite ready for a return but is getting close.
Arsenal are the second-highest-scoring club in the Premier League this season and has the second-highest level of goals per game as shown in the final column below
Although the media is currently full of who Arsenal will buy to replace Gabriel Jesus the fact is that in the Premier League Martin Odegaard has a better goals per game record, and Gabriel Martinelli has an identical record to Gabriel Jesus.
Indeed if we took Garbiel Jesus’ five goals out of the record then instead of Arsenal being the second top-scoring team in the league we would be the fifth top-scoring team in the league – equal on goals with Liverpool.
Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus are equal in terms of goals per game this season, and so there is every reason to see if the club can play with Martinelli becoming more of an Henry type player, playing on the left wing and then moving in to score rather than moving in and passing. In the table below GPG is “goals per game”.
All of this is not to say that Gabriel Jesus is not a brilliant player but rather to say that he is not like having a traditional number nine at the heart of the forward line, and therefore he does not necessarily have to be replaced by a traditional number nine.
Moving on, Arsenal Women have played their final group stage game and the result was Zurich 1 Arsenal 9 in the Champions League, which resulted in this final table for the group, Arsenal as you can see, winning the group which gives an advantage in the next round.
Pos Team P W D L F A GD PTS 1 6 4 1 1 19 5 +14 13 2 6 3 2 1 10 6 +4 11 3 6 2 3 1 9 3 +6 9 4 6 0 0 6 2 26 -24 0
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