By Tony Attwood
It wasn’t that we scored four goals for the first time this year. It wasn’t that we won. It wasn’t just that the run of poor results was broken, or that the joy and relief for the players was there to be seen by all. No, the icing on the cake came because the data analysts of Aston Villa had a punch-up with the data analysts of Arsenal who were going wild with joy, and the fact that the villain of the piece was the horrible Emaliano Martinez – one of those people who believes that the rules don’t apply to him.
This is not to say that fighting is good, but rather that I do like the fact that the cause of the aggro was that Arsenal’s behind-the-scenes team are so incredibly passionate about the club and the game – and are willing to show it.
As we reported in one of the build-up pieces, Martinez is remembered for breaking covid rules and flying to South America for a game which was then broken up by the local police. Not a good thing to have on one’s record. (See Martinez and co in trouble for illegal entry and by-passing Covid rules).
This time, apparently (according to a report in the Telegraph) without the agreement of his manager or tactical staff, having wonderfully backheaded in an own goal for Arsenal’s third he then charged up the pitch leaving his goal empty and allowing Martinelli to get all his confidence and form back by scoring.
It was a joyous moment and one of the season’s great highlights and was followed we now learn by the technical staff of Aston Villa (the Villians of the piece of course) and Arsenal having a punch-up.
Mind you we can’t quite be sure what happened because the Telegraph report merely speaks of “Witnesses in the press box” who “reported a war of words, which Telegraph Sport understands to have briefly turned physical, between analysts of Villa and Arsenal.”
Now that is a sentence containing all the words that warn us that this is a fantasy tale – words like “reported” and “understands” – it not necessarily to be taken seriously.. What the media “report” and “understand” is normally at the opposite end of the park from reality.
But true or not, it is rather droll to find that “Villa staff seemed to react angrily to the celebrations of Arsenal’s analysts, and had made their feelings known.”
Arteta said he would look into it, rather like a man discovering an oil well in his backgarden. At least Unai Emery, who I have always thought to be a decent bloke, had the guts to admit he was “embarrassed about the last goal. I have never told my keeper to go forward. We have to keep our mind clear and be smart. Today he decided it was his decision. I told him I don’t like it.”
So just to add to that, I want to tell Martinez that I loved it for that, although for his actions in breaking covid rules by flying around the world, I still don’t like him.
I’ll finish this morning with the last six match table – not because it shows Arsenal have fully recovered from the blip – it will take more than a single win to do that, encouraging though it is, but because it is interesting finally to consider the form of the “big seven”. Remember all the media said that the top four at the end of this season would be Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Tottenham. In the current form table those clubs are placed first, 13th, 15th and ninth.
One really can’t trust anything these “supercomputers” (ie the guy down the pub) actually say.
|3||Brighton & Hove||6||3||2||1||11||5||6||11|
|14||West Ham Utd||6||1||3||2||6||7||-1||6|
So looking at the current form, only three of the big seven clubs – the clubs with the most money – are in the top six European places over the last six games. The much heralded (by the media) Liverpool and Chelsea recovery has not happened. Indeed Chelsea, having spent more than the rest of Europe put together, are still performing as a club only one point above the relegation-threatened clubs.
This is not to try and say that on the basis of one game everything for Arsenal is fine and wonderful, but rather to say, when looking at the recent run of form, (two defeats and a draw in the last six games) we have still knocked in 11 goals. And for the moment, let’s just focus on the positive.
- 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