Press Secretary Sean Spicer right back at it the day before a big game. The staunchest supporter of the regime dropped another hit piece on player of the season, Alexis Sanchez. The man Wenger can’t drop, because the player wants minutes so badly, is now on the shit list and our man over at #madeUfink towers is dropping press briefings like Chemical Ali in his prime.
‘It has been a source of great frustration to Arsene Wenger this season that, despite Sanchez’s histrionics making it look as if he works hard, he actually covers less ground than you think.’
You have to look at that statement and really gasp. 43 starts for club and country, 23 goals, and 12 assists. I don’t know where Sanchez factors in the league for chances created, but I’d imagine he’s among the highest in Europe this season. The guy is a powerhouse and there are plenty of clubs queuing up for his signature.
This is the central focal point of the argument of ‘work rate’
Ok, so first up. Out of those 5 players, who would you take at Arsenal? Maybe Firmino? Let’s play a game before we jump into what ‘work rate’ means. If you combined the starts, goals and assists of all the players mentioned above, here’s how that one player looks against Sanchez.
So the combined player has played 112% more games than Alexis, delivered just 6 more goals and offered up 33% less assists.
Now let’s talk about these stupid numbers and hardwork. I already referenced last week that when Carlo A’s Madrid team analysed Atleti under Simeone, they noted that Diego Costa tended to have a good game when he ran 9km. That’s one of the hardest working terriers in the game. So that was their benchmark. So much more goes into hardwork outside distance covered. Sprints are where a striker makes his money, not distance covered. According to the LiveStrong website, the average time for a normal man to cover 10k is between 50-70 minutes. For an elite athlete, it’s 30minutes. So now you can start to see that a distance covered number on its own really doesn’t tell you much, because 10km for an elite athlete is chump change over 90m.
Our pitch is 105m long, cut that in half and you have the area Sanchez is loosely playing in. 9km a game is sprinting half the pitch 171 times, that’s 1.9 times per minute of the game. Ok, now bear with me, there’s a thing called context in sport and data. The context of Okazaki, in his 19 starts, is he plays for a team that play long ball after breaking from deep, that involves a lot of long sprints and his team play deep defensive without the ball, so he’s chasing shadows a lot of the time. Arsenal, on the other hand, control possession in the opposition half. If your style is not long ball breaks, there is only a certain amount of running you can do per game, because you’re breaking down deep blocks outside the box. Sanchez doesn’t need to chase shadows all game, bar in the big ones. Liverpool are counter attacking that aren’t the best in posession, they play with an agressive press and he leads that. I don’t even want to give Peter Crouch the time of day… he’s 36 years old and he’s playing for a new deal, he’d run to London if you asked him to.
Anyway, the point is, Alexis works incredibly hard. This statistic is poorly thought out and the worst thing is it’s put there because it’s dripping in agenda. If Sanchez is ranked 32nd in a table that doesn’t consider games played, that doesn’t consider sprints per game, that doesn’t consider the impact of the players goals and assists. Well, it’s a f*cking stupid statistic that would be laughed out of the room at any other club outside one that is trying its hardest to position our best player as the problem, vs our beleaguered dictator.
I mean, I feel I went to town on that, so the idea of me picking apart Spicer’s second story about Wenger planning the clubs future for the next ten years is beyond tragic.
‘Gunners boss Wenger is already looking at big summer targets with Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette top of his wish list, the club want a new academy boss and, in the long term, a director of football.
‘The master plan is for Wenger to help rebuild the club in the next two years of his contract and get it ready for a successor to take charge when he eventually retires.’
Look at the state of that. Wenger, who has never won the Champions League, is likely to finish 6th or lower this season, has his two best players leaving, has the fans calling for his head, has lost the dressing room… thinks he can plan for the next ten years and he’ll consider a Director of Football in the long term? Two years is not long term. There should be no choice on the DoF. But again, Wenger runs the show. Shame of it is, now the narrative that’s starting to creep out is we’ll do a Leicester because CL now doesn’t matter?
Don’t bet on it people. Conte, Klopp, Poch and Guardiola with another year to bed in, Wenger already totally clueless against teams in the top 10. Wenger is dead, he’s sinking this season, and you should have no faith in him restoring the club to former glories because he’s proved with or without money, he’s f*cking useless.
As for today? Let’s see how it pans out. I always have a good vibe against City and I think we could turn them over. Makes no difference, either way, this isn’t a major turning point in the season.
Interesting to read Kelly Smith, who oversees the ladies development squad, have her damning say on Wenger.
“My mind on Wenger has been turned a bit,”
“I was always on the side of supporting him, but seeing the performances the last two or three weeks, with the lack of effort, the disorganization, it seems to be the players have really lost the passion to play and get up for games.
“It doesn’t seem as if they’ve got that hunger there any more.”
Fairplay, this is what Ivan should be noting behind closed doors.
Right, enjoy the game.