Arsenal: The 19 game analysis

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Before Geoff comes on this morning, we have a guest post from blog resident Gambon. It outlines the massive challenge we have ahead of us if we’re going to pull ourselves out of this crisis.

19 Game Analysis…

I thought you may be interested in a little analysis I have looked at concerning Arsenal’s current position. It makes pretty grim reading, and in my opinion shows that we are not experiencing a ‘blip’ as a lot of fans have convinced themselves, but that we have a real long-term problem.

As you know I am not a Wenger fan, but this isn’t intended to be a slight on him, however I think the facts point out that right now we are being very, very badly run.

I have analysed our half season form, which is pretty significant. In any statistical analysis a sample size of 50% is certainly enough to give genuine insight into a long-term trend. I have looked at the performance of all 17 teams in the PL that have played both this and last season, to make it fair. So this is the last 19 games for all teams:

League Table (Games & Points)

1- Man Utd – 41
2- Man City – 39
3- Chelsea – 37
4- Everton – 34
5- Liverpool – 33
6- Spurs – 30
7- Aston Villa – 27
8- Wolves – 26
9- Fulham – 26
10- Newcastle – 25
11- Wigan – 25
12- Stoke – 24
13- West Brom – 24
14- Arsenal – 23
15- Bolton – 19
16- Blackburn – 16
17- Sunderland – 15

Goal Difference

1- Man Utd (+26)
2- Man City (+23)
3- Liverpool (+14)
4- Chelsea (+13)
5- Everton (+11)
6- Aston Villa (+4)
7- Wolves (+4)
8- Fulham (+4)
9- Spurs (+2)
10- Newcastle (-1)
11- Stoke (-2)
12- Wigan (-5)
13- West Brom (-6)
14- Arsenal (-6)
15- Bolton (-8)
16- Blackburn (-10)
17- Sunderland (-13)

Interestingly these tables are fairly correlated, suggesting we havent just been getting unlucky, we aren’t scoring enough goals in comparison to what we concede, and vice versa….and many of these games were in our ‘easy run in’.

We have all known our defence is weak for a long time, but how weak has it been over half a season? This is worrying.

Goals conceded:

1- Chelsea (18)
2- Man City (18)
3- Man Utd (19)
4- Everton (20)
5- Liverpool (20)
6- Aston Villa (23)
7- Stoke (23)
8- Fulham (24)
9- Newcastle (25)
10- Spurs (28)
11- Wigan (29)
12- Wolves (30)
13- Blackburn (32)
14- Bolton (34)
15- West Brom (34)
16- Arsenal (34)
17- Sunderland (36)

This shows us that we aren’t just struggling, we are literally one of the worst teams in the league defensively.

Finally I have looked at league position in comparison to wage spend. So many fans talk about how Arsene works wonders financially and bemoan the unfair financial doping that goes on, well let’s see if that’s true. I have ranked every team in terms of the differential when you compare their annual wage bill with their league position, to show who is under achieving and who is over achieving financially. For example if a club was 3rd in wage bill spend and 7th in the PL their score would be -4, if the wage bill was 12th and they were 3rd they would be +9.

Wage Spend vs Position:

1- Wolves (+8)
2- Everton (+5)
3- West Brom (+4)
4- Wigan (+4)
5- Stoke (+2)
6- Man Utd (+2)
7- Newcastle (+1)
8- Fulham (+1)
9- Spurs (+1)
10- Man City (0)
11- Aston Villa (-1)
12- Liverpool (-1)
13- Bolton (-2)
14- Chelsea (-2)
15- Blackburn (-4)
16- Sunderland (-9)
17- Arsenal (-9)

This highlights 2 things. Firstly, that we as a club, and Wenger, are certainly not performing well financially. Secondly, that we aren’t even close….we are miles off of everyone bar Sunderland over a 7 month period.

I think it’s massively significant that we are right at the bottom of every table of the last 19 games. And to those who say it is inaccurate, well the rest of the league looks fairly in line with what you would expect (It has to be said Moyes continues to be proved a very good manager).

I have noticed a lot of fans saying “we are now competing with Liverpool & Spurs” etc. Well on the basis of 19 PL games, 7 months, half a season, we are not even close to competing with them. We are competing with West Brom, Bolton, Wigan at the foot of the table. We shouldn’t go down, as the promoted clubs, and clubs like Sunderland & Blackburn will take the bottom spots, but make no mistake, over a fairly large sample size we are in the 11-16 bracket as nothing more than an average club, the only difference being we have a £120m wage bill, and the best paid manager in the PL on £7m pa.

I hope this opens some fans eyes up to the fact that we may not be able to afford to wait til January/May to evaluate where we are as a club. If we can underperform so enormously for our last 19 games, there’s absolutely no reason we cant do it for the next 19 games, especially when our poor form has seemingly accelerated in the latter half of these games (our last 9 games have been much worse than our first 9/10 in this run).

As an aside, i would comfortably predict no-one in power at the club (IG or SK) actually know these stats or understands the significance of them), if they did I don’t think there would even be a decision to make.

Heres to the forlorn hope that we will see some change and kick on this weekend with a much needed victory.

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Oxo a lone positive in a night that leaves me worrying for the next 5

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Well good morning everyone!

I didn’t attend (I watched online) the game yesterday, so I won’t pretend that I can dish out any sort of world-class match report here, but it was certainly a game of two halves and one where fitness and the quality gulf ultimately saved us from another humiliation.

Shrewsbury took a deserved lead early on after a cross from wide right looked so scary, Johan Djorrou couldn’t find it in himself to jump and defend it, Morgan found himself in acres of space and nodded the header past the rooted Fabianski. Boo’s reverberated around the stadium, the fans were not happy.

The next 15-20 minutes Arsenal continued to invite pressure on their goal. We struggled to get our foot on the game and we offered our keeper very little protection, not the most impressive of first halves. It appeared the confidence problem had leaked into every part of the squad. It’s not often a top 4 team could complain they were being outplayed by a League 2 side.

Jenkinson whipped a low cross into the Shrewsbury box on around the 30 minutes mark, the Englishman did well to fashion a downward header into the bottom corner, the keeper scrambled but not quickly enough to keep it out. A good goal and relief for the 46,000 fans who attended.

The second half was the Oxo show. He started to find his feet in the game and almost immediately made an impact, picking the ball out in the middle of the park, looking up and smashing in a low pile driver from 25 yards out. More than deserved and an exceptional goal for his first full debut regardless of who we were playing.

Yossi Benayoun added a third late on after Oyakzup did well to keep the ball in play, cutting it back to the Israeli who fired his shot past the keeper for his 2nd in his career!

All in all, not a game too many will come away from feeling convinced. We’re still struggling woefully at the back and we’re only a tweaked hamstring or a back spasm away from having to field Johann Djourrou against some pretty nasty teams.

Make no mistake, last night was a bad performance. That lack of urgency and concentration that had hindered us or years still show no sign of relenting even with a squad of unknowns slipping in. Should so-called Premiership defenders be getting run ragged by a player sacked by a Aldershot and a winger on his 5th club? This is a team so depleted, they could only name 6 subs!

Arsene Wenger wouldn’t be drawn on the need for a defensive coach,

“I’ve just completed 32 years of coaching – I don’t want to answer this kind of question.”

You’d think in 32 years of coaching someone would have pointed out to him that this was an important part of the game, especially if the last 5 years have seen your defence become progressively worse. Especially if your team is conceding 2.8 goals a game in the league.

Trouble is, we know that it’s a dictatorship down at the Grove and anyone who comes in would have to have an opinion on how we play and Arsene Wenger is not a fan of being told he might have something wrong. Did anyone hear Pat Rice say he didn’t enjoy the responsibility of managing the side last week? Embarrassing. We begged to keep that attitude on for a year.

I’ll take the win. I’ll take the knowledge that AOC could emerge as a talent that will numb the not too sharp a pain of losing Theo, but I’m still gravely concerned about the direction of this club over the next few months. Our manager shouldn’t be in a position where he is told he is un-sackable. It’s a nonsense. Where is the accountability? Where is the motivation for him to change what he’s doing? It’s madness.

I kind of feel for Gazidis though. What can he say 2 months into the season? The cost of removing Wenger now would be £20million+, you’d have no time to bed a new manager in and it could all end in a disaster that would fully be on the head of CEO for years to come.

We’ll have to ride out this season and pray to god a miracle happens and we finish 4th. At the moment, that looks like a pipe dream, we simply don’t have the quality, we don’t have the preparation and the players don’t look like they have the guidance.

The next 5 games could get very messy…

Radio

I made a brief appearance on Radio 5 live last night, which had one caller praising the site and reeling off stats he’d picked up from Sunday’s post, followed by a rampant AKB more interested in debating Le Grove than the facts of Wenger’s demise as a manager. Very embarrassing. He even thought it relevant verbally spell out a very naughty word on a family radio station. The embodiment of class and intelligence.

Fancy that, a debate about Le Grove on the biggest news station in the world. Who’d have thunk it? I’ll post a link when I get one!

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We’ll learn from the Blackburn defeat says Arsenal’s Djourou, or was it Van Persie after the Manc game or Wenger after the Liverpool game Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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My point is that after every loss last season and this, the players always say they’ll learn from this, they owe it to the fans, they’ll come back stronger, but they don’t do any of the above so I wish they’d just stop saying it.

Something like we aren’t worth the money we are paid so will donate it to the miners fund or something similar, may go a lot further.

Anyway forget all that, this team is going nowhere with this current management at the helm so I’m not getting too excited either way, however tonight is a different issue, tonight we get to see the players that haven’t yet been affected too much and will go out and give us a performance to lift our spirits, like in the first game at Shite Hart lane last season when our reserves tore the spuds a new one, remember that? I do, it was one of our rare victories!

I was thinking what his team will be tonight so this is my best guess.

Fabianski

Jenkinson Mertesacker Miquel Santos

Frimpong Yossi Coquelin

Rio Park Chamberlain

With Afobe and Rosicky if fit amongst the others on the bench.

I think he play Mertesacker to give him games that he sorely needs and Santos to get fit. Anyway Gibbs is probably injured so he won’t be available, Frimpong and Coquelin in the middle with Yossi for experience and a brand new forward line which I have to say fills me with excitement, and given that our current forward line will be sold next summer we should at least start bedding them in early, and a team like Shrewsbury would be ideal, and something that even Wenger and Rice, the Laurel and Hardy of the EPL should be able to handle.

I think that Flappy in goal will be okay for this one but don’t get him near the first team door and Miquel will relish the chance to show how good he will be, thing is I think he’s better than Kozzer and Squillaci already, talking of Squillaci I will be happy if he stays out all season, he really is a liability.

Jenkinson is a boy I like, though nowhere near ready yet, he is one for the future, Frimpong and Coquelin once again have their chance and I’m backing them to succeed big time.

I had a dream on Sunday, Cesc (who can’t stop talking about us) was so upset at the shite results we have been getting, asked Barca if he could go back on loan until the end of the season as he felt responsible, then yesterday I read that Cesc says he won’t rule out coming back to Arsenal and a buy-back, first option is in the contract, in 4 years he’ll be 27 and Thiago will be 23 so you never know.

I suspect by then Jack will be the best midfielder in the world, though you’ll probably have to go to Madrid to watch him!

I know it’s only the Carling Cup but for me it’s still the League Cup and when we beat the much fancied Liverpool in 1987 (I was there) we kicked on and became successful, so who knows eh?

Maybe I do for once! Big score tonight, tip our front three to score a bagful, 6nil. Enjoy your night Grovers, this could be a fun one.

P.S. If anyone has a pair of spares they’re looking to shift on, let me know, I have a buyer.

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