Arsenal v West Ham – why the main issue tonight is not Eddie


By Bulldog Drummond

And so as the negatives and implied negative pour in from all sides (Arsenal must buy big and go all-out for the title – this chance may not come again is just the latest, suggesting as that headline does that Arsenal’s five point lead is down to chance, or the bad form of others, but absolutely not due to clever transfer moves, a brilliant youth policy, and/or a genius manager who has been working at this since he first came to the club.

For while Untold has tracked such matters as the reduction of tackling, and hence the move away from being the most carded team to one of the least, the media focuses on Arsenal only being at  the top because of the failure of others.  But then the piece was written by Jamie Carragher so we should expect nothing else.

The big media focus is of  course on Eddie, and at last a few of the media people are recognising that Arsenal have NOT lost their top goal scorer, although they are still finding it hard to grasp the difference between the Manchester City approach and Arsenal approach.

The table of the top 20 scorers in the league (and not in all competitions, just in the league) includes three Arsenal players, and two each from Manchester City,  Newcastle, Liverpool, and Leicester.

Of course we all know that Haaland is top, and he is a remarkable player, liable to break all sorts of records – a very rare player indeed.  But just consider this: having players in the top 20 scorers can be very helpful but is not a guarantee of success.  Leicester have two such, and are 13th in the league.

What Arsenal have is three players in the top 20 goal scorers in the league this season (figures from the Premier League’s official site)


Pos Player Club Scored
1. Erling Haaland Manchester City 18
2. Harry Kane Tottenham Hotspur 12
3. Ivan Toney Brentford 10
4. Aleksandar Mitrovic Fulham 9
4. Rodrigo Leeds United 9
6. Miguel Almirón Newcastle United 8
7. Roberto Firmino Liverpool 7
7. Phil Foden Manchester City 7
7. James Maddison Leicester City 7
7. Leandro Trossard Brighton and Hove Albion 7
11. Harvey Barnes Leicester City 6
11. Mohamed Salah Liverpool 6
11. Callum Wilson Newcastle United 6
11. Wilfried Zaha Crystal Palace 6
11. Martin Ødegaard Arsenal 6
16. Gabriel Jesus Arsenal 5
16. Danny Ings Aston Villa 5
16. Alexis Mac Allister Brighton and Hove Albion 5
16. Gabriel Martinelli Arsenal 5


Now this is a considerable advantage to Arsenal because it means that if one of those three is injured as is the case now, he can be replaced (in our case by Eddie) while the other two will probably go on scoring as they have been.  What’s more Gabriel Jesus, fine player though he is, has one failure – he gets dispossessed a lot.  In fact the only player who gets dispossessed more, on a game by game analysis is Wilfried Zaha, something that is not normally mentioned by the media for the simple reason that the media has spent each of the last three summers predicting that Arsenal were going to sign him.  (They were saving the dispossession fact until after Arsenal signed him).

Gabriel Jesus also has one other failing in his statistics and that is that is that he is the second worst player among the top forwards for bad control.   Detailed figures can be found on the WhoScored site.

This is not to say that Gabriel Jesus is a bad player – of course he isn’t, but he is not the total architect of Arsenal’s forward movements and goal-scoring that the media have made him out to be since he was crocked in the world cup.

What we are actually getting from the media is a total re-writing of Jesus’ abiliity as the man who single-handedly has reinvented Arsenal and taken the club to the top of the league, and Eddie as the poor inexperienced sap who doesn’t have much of a clue and who is going to be thrust into the limelight.

Both approaches are completely untrue.   Assuming Eddie does play tonight he will have behind him the likes of Martinelli, Saka, and Odegaard, a trio who are going to take quite a bit of looking after by the West Ham defence.

But more to the point is that West Ham have the fourth-worst attack in the league – that is their big problem, and that is the issue that is much more likely to dominate the outcome of this game.  Here’s the table of the clubs that can’t score,


Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 15 2 4 9 8 24 -16 10
17 Everton 15 3 5 7 11 17 -6 14
18 Nottingham Forest 15 3 4 8 11 30 -19 13
16 West Ham United 15 4 2 9 12 17 -5 14


That is likely to be much more of an issue in this game, than anything else.

One Reply to “Arsenal v West Ham – why the main issue tonight is not Eddie”

  1. Villa is currently doing their level best to make ‘pool look like world beaters. Their play out of the back looks like a 5 yr old juggling greased eggs…every touch is an adventure.

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