By Tony Attwood
Is Martin Odegaard the best player in the Premier League? asks the Telegraph.
“Will my legs start working again properly soon?” asks your author. But my woes after what was undoubtedly the best New Year’s Eve party I have ever been in my life, are of course as nothing. What matters is that, “In his last 13 league appearances, Odegaard has been involved in 12 goals,” to continue quoting the newspaper. And the fact that we are seven clear at the top.
And there was more for after his goal Odegaard notched up his fifth assist “with a glorious, swirling, defence-destroying pass into the path of Gabriel Martinelli.” And we might throw in the fact that he cost £34m. In today’s transfer climate, we might actually say “Just £34m”. No wonder the Mirror alleged yesterday that Real Mad are angling to get him back.
Of course, the Guardian has doubts. “There are vulnerabilities,” it tells us, which by and large is a bit like a property billionaire complaining that house prices only rose by five percent last year.
It was indeed a singularly bizarre way to sum up a game which results in a league table that reads as it does, and a victory of this size against a team that has lost only three of the last ten,
Indeed this might be a moment to contemplate the “last ten” league table, but since we have only played 16 games in all, that may seem premature – so we will stick to the last six and for once go right to the bottom – not least because there are some interesting heroes of the media lurking in those lower reaches.
|8||Brighton & Hove||6||3||0||3||14||13||1||9|
|19||West Ham United||6||1||0||5||4||10||-6||3|
For where are those eternal media favourites, Tottenham Hotspur? Oh look, lurking in 14th. Still never mind they are not the worst London club across the last six games. Chelsea and West Ham United are both down there as well. Brighton must be quite pleased that since moving on from their manager who jumped ship and went to Stamford Bridge, they ain’t doing too bad, although of course they were no match for us yesterday.
And here’s another thing. Across the last six games, we are the top scoring team and have the second best defence. And the equal best goal difference. We are indeed matching Manchester City.
Of course the Guardian finds it impossible to admit this is a glorious team despite the state of the full league table…
But that is how they always are. “There are vulnerabilities,” they tell us. But curiously they don’t compare the top of the table with that after 16 games last season. Then the media’s darlings Manchester City were top of the league but instead of having won 14, drawn one and lost one, they had only won 12, drawn two and lost two. Instead of having scored 40 goals they had only scored 33. Arsenal are beating last season’s title winners on almost all fronts. The only thing they had that was better than the current Arsenal team was their defence.
The Daily Mail leads with the quirky, ‘That is Ronnie O’Sullivan in football’: quoting Paul Merson, but the top news on the Daily Mirror’s online football page is “Bale’s family caught up in ‘armed raid’ .” Ah well. Next they will focus on the “most nail-biting relegation race ever” or something like that.
But of course none of this hides the fact that our prediction yesterday of the most likely results being 0-1, 1-1 or 1-2 was hopelessly wrong. But even so we’ll carry on with the predictions based on form. We’re not always that far out.
A year ago after 16 games we had fewer than half the number of goals of the league leaders, we had a negative goal difference, and were one point above Tottenham who had two games in hand over us.
This season after 16 games we are just four goals behind Manchester City who apparently have the best goal scorer the league has ever seen, we have the second best defence in the league, and we are 13 points ahead of Tottenham.
Oh yes and we are also top of the league.
Football is being changed from without
- When the wise man points at the moon, the idiot looks at the finger
- No club is too big to fail, as lessons from Italy and Spain are starting to reveal
- In ten years time, one way or another football will be unrecognisable
- Are Arsenal really making progress, or are we starting to slip back?
- Luton 3 Arsenal 4: maybe it is time to say positive things
- Luton v Arsenal – the referee, the team, Saka and Cliff Bastin
- Luton Town – how do they play the game. The tackles, fouls and cards.
- Luton Town v Arsenal: Grim football, fewest goals, lowest possession rate