Data is good

by .

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Happy good morning to you.

Again, as there’s not much going wrong at Arsenal, there’s not really much to write about.

The Telegraph have dropped a bit of ‘analysis’ on the workrate of the players.

When I say workrate, I mean they’ve got figures for how far players averagely run per game.

Sanchez has a low distance number. Ozil is higher. But the highest in the team is Flamini.

It’s a weird number to pick on. Workrate goes beyond distance run. You have to factor in number of sprints, length of sprints and a whole host of other metrics to get to a defacto figure. You also have to consider position. Otherwise, the figure is just who runs the furthest. That number doesn’t really tell you that much.

The same paper claims we’re interested in signing Gundogan from Dortmund. Not sure this is the sort of player we should be hunting down. He’s played about 25 games this season. He played one last season. About 30 the season before. We need fitness in the middle of the park. We don’t need a liability.

Morgan Schneiderlin makes the most sense. 26 years old. Played through the ranks of British football. Knows the league. Can dominate games. I guess the only issue is that Gundogan would be far cheaper.

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Who are these two? Well, the guy on the left is an irrelevance, but the one on the right is Reece Watson, pitchman to the stars. He’s just won pitch of the year with the United chap. Great work sir, great work. Read more about it here.

Finally, take a read of this if you’re into football tech porn (thanks to for sending over).

If you see something advertised as an injury-prevention tool and Arsenal one of the teams using it, it is but normal to be suspicious of the product. But quips aside, one of the ways that football is being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the modern age is via performance-monitoring technology.

To follow up on the El País story published about FC Barcelona players wearing monitoring vests as part of an overall training and injury prevention program, it seemed worth digging a bit deeper into the STATSports product, to know what it does and try to explain just a bit about why it can work.

They’ve been with us for a few years, so obviously, there’s more to injury prevention than just wearing a black pack on your chest. But an interesting read all the same.

As the money in football grows and the competition increases, clubs will be looking for whatever edge they can gain. However, it’s important to note, data is only one segment. Having people who understand how to use it is a totally different ball game. You can have all the observations in the world (like ‘distance run’) but if you can’t convert those observations into actionable insights, they’re pretty worthless.

I was reading an interesting article in Monocle about creative data science. They featured a company called Quantum Black who take big swathes of data and convert them into beautiful visualisations that make the numbers actionable. They’re apparently working with Premiership football clubs as well. It’s a fascinating space and one that’ll keep evolving as football moves away from gut feel and more into science…

… what is interesting is the flip side of that. Data can make people lazy. I think one of the big trends in marketing centred around data-driven creativity. Some agencies totally get it, some don’t. Same with sport. Data informs strategy, it doesn’t dictate it. Facts and figures are there to alleviate risk, if you take that mindset too far, you can kill the spirit of what you’re trying to achieve.

Anyway, that’s my piece for the day.

Have a bloody good one.

244 Responses to “Data is good”

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  1. Willow Wilson

    NM
    “There’s no denying that to be a worthwhile option Welbeck needs to improve his goals per shots ratio, but it’s entirely possible he’ll do that. Giroud has managed it over his Arsenal career, and he’s considerably older”

    Football is a team game. It has changed form the old days where you had one main striker who you relied on for the bulk of your goals.

    Arsenal share the goals around more than any other team. Welbeck wasn’t bought to score 30 odd goals, he was bought as a player who can play up top, both centrally or out wide. Some fans fixate on this ‘prolific’ goalscorer thing and often ignore the other aspects they bring. He gives us flexibility and he’s used to the Premier League.

    In addition, you need a plan a and a plan b. When Giroud plays, teams can play a high line. When you mix that with pace, they can’t. It affects the other team. The same if you want to press high. The great thing about what we are building is we are starting to get options and he’s a valuable piece of that jigsaw because it’s about the squad. You don’t a load of strikers who all play the same.

    I agree, the more he plays and the more he gets used to the other players and they him, the more valuable he will be. As I said, I am biased for these reasons. 1. I always rated him as a player 2. He’s an English lad. 3. I don’t like our players getting jumped on before they’ve had a chance. 4. He scored the goal at OT and had the courage to celebrate, instead of all that PC Malarky.

  2. qna

    WE: And what are you saying that Falcao would have put 3 past Gala?

    I am saying its fine to include europe for Welbeck, but Falcao didnt get a chance to play CL and he has performed very well in europe in the past. The PL may have been harder for him to adjust but europe would have been a big opportunity. We have a history of guys that perform well in europe but not the league. Walcott and Eduardo come to mind. Bit unfair to compare those with Falcao is what I am saying.

    Welbeck provides less than Ramsey does when he is played wide right. But we need a quality striker out there – its that simple. Welbeck is another Gervinho.

  3. Nasri's Mouth

    @qna

    Well Chamakh was only here for 3 seasons, Gervinho for 2, so I’m not sure why you said that

    Added to that Welbeck is more useful to the squad than either of those 2

    And as a third point, we’re operating in a different financial situation now

  4. Nasri's Mouth

    @willow wilson

    I like Welbeck for his versatility, his work rate, and energy and pace, but ultimately you have to agree that he’s not as good as some other players out there that can play in a similar role AND that might be available to us

  5. Spellbound

    “Welbeck provides less then Ramsey”

    Ramsey is the better player right now but Welbeck brings something different and i think we would have been better against chelsea if he had started the game.

    Its also app that you compare these two players as I believe Welbs is where Ramsey was a couple years ago. Remember when a Ramsey would keep getting himself in great scoring positions but didn’t have the final product and a number of fans kept saying he wasn’t good enough?

  6. Nasri's Mouth

    Talking about injuries

    One of the journos made the point in the press conference that we’ve had 3 players that have played 25+ games.

    Chelsea had 10

  7. WengerEagle

    ION, How good has James been for Real Madrid this season?

    Plenty were saying that he’s overrated and overpriced and that he’d flop but he’s arguably been their 2nd best player this season after Ronaldo.

    When he broke his foot and was out injured for a couple of months Real’s form nosedived and since he’s returned they’ve won every match and he’s been their best player. His performances are already on par with Di Maria’s last season and it took Di maria 4 years at Real to get to that level.

    I remember being very impressed with James when he was at Porto a few years ago and last season at Monaco/in the WCQ for Colombia but I was astonished by his performances in the World Cup, he was unbelievable even taking away his goals/assists. Everthing that he did has purpose and a touch of class.

    The sky is the limit for this boy. Worth every penny like Suarez was for Barcelona.

  8. Willow Wilson

    Nm
    I am not sure to be honest. I think Welbeck has the ability to be a great player for us. Do I think he will be a prolific goalscorer, probably not.

    What I do know, is that criticising him after one season and on some of the performances he has put in is ridiculous. This is modern Arsenal fans all over.

  9. WengerEagle

    qna

    Falcao smashed goals for fun in the Europa League, not the Champions League.

    Apples and oranges.

    Also Falcao even at his best has always been an out and out finisher, he does virtually nothing else, doesn’t get involved in the build-up play, dribble or even stray too far from the box.

    These aren’t things that you can accuse Welbeck of.

  10. Willow Wilson

    NM
    “One of the journos made the point in the press conference that we’ve had 3 players that have played 25+ games. Chelsea had 10”

    Exactly. The point I made the other day was that we only took 17 points from a possible 36 in the first 12 games of the season.

    The last 12 games, with no injuries, we have taken 31 points.

    It proved decisive.

  11. Spellbound

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Welbeck has all the physical gifts to be a top CF. Size, strength,pace, athleticism and he is much more technical than people give him credit for. Where he falls sort is he often times lacks composure in front of goals.

    Will he ever be the complete package? He certainly has the potential but only time will tell. Wenger will definitely be patient with him and give him a chance.

  12. Willow Wilson

    WE
    “Also Falcao even at his best has always been an out and out finisher, he does virtually nothing else”

    Good comment.

  13. MidwestGun

    Injuries were definately a hinderance early in the year. However, it was also a combination of switching to a new formation to accomodate Wilshere because Ozil was unavailable. And Arteta,Ramsey, Wilshere midfield which didn’t provide cover for the counter attack goals. Also Szczezny’s form was not good. Kos’s injury was perhaps the most costly.
    So I’m not sold that had everyone been healthy we would have done better early on. Because Coquelin was nowhere on the scene and Santi playing deeper was in the experimental stage to allow Ozil central.

  14. daz

    NM
    “One of the journos made the point in the press conference that we’ve had 3 players that have played 25+ games. Chelsea had 10″

    I said few weeks ago this same thing but in regards to the fact lack of rotation has been thrown at our manager for the injury pile up and players underperforming due to burn out yet Chelsea have done alright without rotation

  15. karim

    The night Falcao scored 4 against Chelsea ( was it Chelsea ?) for the European Super Cup certainly was his best performance ever.

  16. Emiratesstroller

    According to Sky this morning Wenger has ruled out buying a new goalkeeper for next season. His argument is that Ospina has the best goalkeeper stats in the EPL.

    There was no mention of Szczesny, but the implication is that he plans to keep him at the club even if he is only second choice.

    This is quite interesting because I read also in the last 2 weeks that Arsenal rate very highly Martinez as well.

    The conclusion is that Arsenal do not plan to invest in any goalkeepers even if
    the likes of Cech and Casillas become available in the market.

    My impression is that Arsenal will focus on a couple of quality players in transfer window and be prepared to spend a lot of money on them rather than
    making wholesale changes.

    In other words they would rather spend a lot of money on one top quality midfielder to replace Flamini even if it means holding onto Arteta who may not even get the opportunity to sit on bench let alone start.

    Welbeck is a very good player as many suggest, but we do need an additional forward in squad to be able to score consistently goals. If Giroud gets injured
    or Sanchez loses goalscoring form we have few other options at the moment.

  17. Nasri's Mouth

    @Emiratestroller

    Wenger was asked about the goalkeeper situation in his press conference.

    From his reply I would bet he HASN’T ruled out buying a keeper

  18. salparadisenyc

    I’d be surprised if Wenger went and spent the asking on Cech with Ospina and Szcz on the books. To be fair as Estroller said our 3rd choice looks good in Martinez, he massive as well… NBA tall.

    Personally would like to see the back of Szcz, spent force with the club and could easily see Ospina go down for a spell and be saddled with him and the mental baggage. If there was ever a time to sell the Szcz its now.

    Its going to be a quiet summer on the in’s w/ 2 signings and Walcott out is what i’d wager… 3 if we sell Wilshire.

    My moneys on Sterling and Schneiderlin.. although i’d love to add Lacazette to that. But with the 2 CFs we have, no chance… not to mention the young Akpom whom hopefully sees a loan.

    Imagine we’ll also see deals for Poldi, Campbell, Jenks and a few others to get em off the books… that leaves dear ole Diaby working some type of pay as you play deal. The circle complete.

  19. Thomas

    karim
    May 1, 2015 17:31:49

    The night Falcao scored 4 against Chelsea ( was it Chelsea ?) for the European Super Cup certainly was his best performance ever.

    _____________

    It was a hattrick but yeah great performance.

  20. Dan Ahern

    Sal — Think Schneidi will come but Sterling I imagine they’d sell overseas. Obviously because we’re Top-4 competition, but Liverpool seem very petty towards us in general.

  21. WengerEagle

    Not sure about Sterling being sold overseas Dan, to who?

    Nobody in Italy could afford him, Bayern are stacked with attacking players and can’t see anyone else in Germany who’d be willing to pay what Pool would want, I doubt that he’d want to go to play in France (no disrespect karim!) and neither Barca nor Real need him with the former being banned from signing players this summer and the latter facing the same possibility anyway.

    IMO it’s between us and Citeh for his signature, if I had to bet on it I’d say Citeh as they are desperately in need of a quality wideman. Sterling is also young and English, he ticks every box for what they need right now.

  22. Johnty79

    The once was a wise man who said Chelsea would win the league at the start of the season…that was me.

    I also stated numerous times about having physical beasts in the team.. Told you that it is size why terry can coast through every game while koseiny instantly struggles when we get two games a season..

    One thing we have to do is stop having attacking fullbacks as they offer nothing. Chelsea’s full backs hardly go forward in open play and they can defend. Our cannot although Montreal has improved.

    We will never win the league as long as mourinho is at Chelsea.

  23. Lee

    I disagree
    Welbeck does have the ability to be a great goal scorer for us
    Look at Adenayor or RvP.
    Look how average their goal returns were initially
    Wenger can make welbeck great

  24. Lee

    Johnty

    You mong

    It doesn’t take a wise man to predict Chelsea would win the league
    The whole country knew that
    Also kosielny plays a few more than two games a season.
    Know back in your jam jar you padded celled faeces smearing window licker

  25. Dan Ahern

    WE — Juve will probably have tons of money of Pogba goes. Dortmund could be looking at a cash influx too. Real yet to be banned, but sounds like they will be. If not though, needs have never been a criteria for their buys. PSG would probably enjoy selling Cavani and plugging in Sterling, and even though you say he wouldn’t want to play in France we’re still talking about an elite tier club here, which appears to be his goal.

    Agree City are a likely scenario though. They would no doubt offer a huge fee, being desperate for home-grown young players. They are a wrung above us too–we are direct Top 4 competition for Liverpool.

    You think they’ll come to their senses and just pay him, or has too much damage been done?

  26. Redtruth

    Midwest

    I’m speaking from first hand knowledge and Messi wouldn’t last 90 minutes if he played in the 70’s and 80’s he’d be stretchered off or subbed as he wouldn’t have the luxury of officials giving the attacker the benefit of the doubt like they do today.

  27. Dan Ahern

    Adebayor and RvP became our main strikers though, will Welbz?

    Also:

    Welbz this year: 1 goal per 314 mins

    Adebayor 1st full season: 1 goal per 251 mins

    RvP 1st season: 1 goal per 155 mins

  28. tunnygriffboy

    I like Danny Welbeck. Even if he’s not having a great game he still offers the team something. Still youngish and is versatile

    He said himself that the move to Arsenal has been good and he’s improved as a footballer. He’s enjoying it. Said that he’s had to learn a new style of playing, get used to new team mates. He’s been disappointed that he hasn’t scored more goals but is positive that that will improve

    He seems to me from what I’ve read to be level headed, hard working and a good team man. He seems determined and has a good family team behind him. We know he is capable of finishing as he has for England. Know the opposition is not always great but you have to take chances when they come. Other players have improved their goal scoring as they’ve gained more experience.

    I’m prepared to give him some support and time to improve. He seems pretty determined to

    #teamwelbz

  29. Redtruth

    Miswest

    Off course ot was easier to score goals 100 years ago than it is now.

    I am talking about the 70’s and 80’s where it was a lot harder, you stupid idiot.

  30. tunnygriffboy

    No no no no no no no no to Casillas. Busted flush plus more physical aerial league

    Cech is not where he was 3 years ago. New challenge may invigorate him. Still a very good keeper and has experience and winning mentality. Much better bet than the Spaniard

  31. jwl

    Interesting to find out in summer if Szcz wants to be number 2 from now on after being our number 1 for few years. I think Szcz must be leaving in summer, Wenger does not seem to respect him now. Ospina seems to be our number one, we playing well and presumably our defenders prefer Ooooooospina. Szcz must be on his bike in summer.

    I wonder what occurred in November to change Wenger. For once, injuries kinda helped our form this year. Coq, and Santi in middle, happened because arteta, wilshere and flamini injured and we havent looked back since. I wonder if injuries helped Wenger make needed changes.

  32. jwl

    If Welbeck scores 10 – 15 goals per season we should keep him because he puts in proper shift, he tries almost as hard as sanchez, and he adds to our game. If decision comes down to keep walcott or welbeck, I prefer welbeck.

  33. jwl

    Redtruth I was not too impressed when we won FA Cup last season but twice in row would be notable. I don’t think we are going to win league again with wenger but winning cups is good for fans and players.

  34. Redtruth

    Midwest

    I don’t need to read some spurious graph, i know why it’s easier to score goals now than it was 30 years ago for the reasons i mentioned earlier. lol

    Stop hiding behind articles and give me a counter argument as to why you think it is not so. pleb

  35. Redtruth

    Midwest

    Tackles from behind and from the side are banned even if you win the ball.

    No endless replays so game not as demanding as in years gone by.

    Bigger squads and fewer games than 30 years ago.

    Offside rule a joke which makes scoring today childs play compared to 30 years ago.

    I could go on and on but simpletons like you will never learn.

  36. MidwestGun

    Players have improved as the game has matured: They run faster, they shoot harder, they dribble quicker, and they pass more accurately. And as they have improved, so structures have been built to contain them. These structures—offside traps, pressing, triangular passing—are the reason that goal scoring has largely withered on the vine, moving from an average of 4.5 goals per game in 1890 to 2.6 goals more than 100 years later.
    ________
    This is why with the advent of specialized defending and uniform world wide systems. Exactly what it says and shows. But i forgot you can’t read.

  37. tunnygriffboy

    Dan

    Not sure City are are a rung above us. Certainly not since Christmas. They also have an old squad that is aging together and if Ffp does kick in they will have things to ponder especially if they have to use what money they have to fill their homegrown quota with expensive british players

    As a squad we now have a nice blend of experience, players in their prime and youngsters

  38. MidwestGun

    Ahern –
    Won’t because he knows a well researched article with supporting evidence will make him look dumber if that’s possible. Yes I’m sure Messi would have been useless in the 70’s.

    There is no counter arguement to its easier because goal scoring average shows it to be untrue. It’s like argueing why is a fact not a fact.

  39. Dan Ahern

    tunny — I like our situation vs. theirs at the moment, but objectively they are more successful in the past coulple years. We keep rallying to get a CL play-in while they won the league twice in the past four seasons. Irrespective of feelings or fairness, they’re the better club recently.

  40. Redtruth

    Midwest

    I haven’t read the article but it’s fooled you.
    I go on truth and the truth is besides you being daft is that strikers today are not as clinical. 

  41. Dan Ahern

    “will make him look dumber if that’s possible. ”

    Nope. Lol. that’s why he keeps it up I think: we couldn’t respect him any less so there’s nothing to lose.

  42. Redtruth

    Premier league was formed in the 90’s not 40’s lol

    Like i said give me a counter arguement or just shut up because you have no idea of what you are talking about

  43. MidwestGun

    Tell you what Redtruth you write your own book on the subject of goal scoring over the decades with research and a co-author and I’ll link your truth article.
    Gonna be hard to do with each chapter one sentence long tho, genius.

  44. London gunner

    Not really getting this welbeck love in.

    He is a nice lad and a hard worker, but we should and can do a lot better.

    Much rather we sold of welbz to bring in a lacaZette, can’t think of any argument for why we shouldn’t he has more pace power and a far better finisher and also bettet on the wing to boot.

    Welbz couldn’t mAke the Man U squad he wouldn’t make Chelsea’s Bayern, Barca Real Madrid.

    Sanchez And ozil r serious quality we need another player on their level

  45. bobthebuilderhewillfixit

    Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger says Jose Mourinho lacks respect

    Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho lacks respect for his fellow managers, says Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
    Gunners fans chanted “boring boring Chelsea” during last weekend’s 0-0 draw, and Mourinho said the Gunners’ 11-year wait for a title was “boring”.
    Wenger was asked about those comments in his pre-match news conference for Monday’s game with Hull.
    “The biggest thing for a manager is to respect other managers. Some people have to improve on that,” he said.
    In February 2014 the Chelsea boss called his opposite number a “specialist in failure”, and then in October the Gunners boss shoved his rival during a heated touchline quarrel.
    Wenger said: “You can have incidents with other managers sometimes.
    “It gets a bit heated when you fight directly with them, but in the end I believe time heals and the important thing is to respect each other as much as you can.”

    is that respect Wenger when yo walk down the tunnel without shaking the oppo managers hand….that kind of respect ?

    short memory Wenger

  46. MidwestGun

    Redtruth it isn’t harder it’s the same, has been since the 70’s. Read the article if you can read. One Author is a former professional keeper and the other is a professor at Dartmouth. Your original assertion that it’s much easier now is wrong. Like most things you say.

  47. Marc

    London

    You need a squad and top class players will only spend so much time on the bench. I think Walcott will go in the summer and we will bring in an upgrade in quality, this will give us a front 4 of Sanchez, Ozil, new guy and Giroud. Welbeck is a versatile back up to this. I can see us selling him on when we add another striker who will rotate with Giroud in a couple of years but just as we’re putting together a more rounded squad you seem determined to break it up.

  48. MidwestGun

    Beer o’thirty!!!

    Altho, I’m waiting for Redtruth’s rebuttal that water isn’t wet and the sun isn’t hot. Time to drink a few and make some crop circles.

  49. Thomas

    Bankz
    May 1, 2015 19:43:20

    Thomas

    Falcao scored FOUR against Chelsea.
    They won 4-1

    ____________

    No he didn’t. He scored a hattrick. Miranda scored the fourth one.

  50. Bankz

    Thomas

    My bad then.
    It has actually been a while and I guess I was more content bout the fact Chelsea got destroyed.

    We will never know what happened to that Falcao.
    He was the perfect finisher at Porto & Atletico.q
    A striker who struck fear in opposition defenders. …now he’s just a Colombian Sanogo on the pitch.

  51. Thomas

    Welbeck is a bang average Man Utd reject. If he had gone to Spurs most Arsenalfans would have said: “Puh dodged that one, Spurs is his level.” Now it’s more: “He can become the next Henry”. “He has pace”. ” He can change games” lololololol

  52. karim

    Alright, well done Miranda lol

    You see, that s typical statistician bs
    My point was that Falcao was fucking brilliant at that time, however average or physically shot he may look now.

  53. TheBayingMob

    Football is a team game. It has changed form the old days where you had one main striker who you relied on for the bulk of your goals.

    Disagree with this very strongly … Every team even in recent times that has won the league has done so with tallismatic strikers who have scored ~20-25+ league goals. In good teams the goals have always been shared about (Pires, Henry; Lampard, Drogba; Dalgliesh, Rush; Smith, Merson; Barnes, Aldridge) … The game gas changed a lot but the fundamentals haven’t, its an AKB argument to protect Wenger, although to be fair Wenger said he would have only loaned Welbeck bandit made it a perm transfer.

  54. BacaryisGone

    When you put together the team stats for this season and add the names listed on the Arsenal first-team squad, there are 36 players in total.

    I would break these 35 players down as follows:

    -16 contributors who are 100% likely to return next season
    (Ospina, Bellerin, Chambers, Gabriel, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Gibbs, Debuchy, Coquelin, Ramsey, Ozil, Alexis, Welbeck, Ox, Giroud). Interestingly, 8 of the 100% group are defenders.

    -9 prospects who are unlikely to contribute significantly to the first-team next season
    (Martinez, Hayden, O’Connor, Bielik, Zelalem, Maitland-Niles, Gnabry, Sanogo, Akpom). A little harsh perhaps on Gnabry but missing almost an entire season through injury simply puts him further back on the waiting list.

    3 currently on loan players who are likely to be surplus to requirements.
    (Jenkinson, Podolski and Campbell). All three players have their merits, but none seem to meet Arsene’s needs. I cannot see any of them breaking through at Arsenal based on our current squad composition.

    This leaves us with 8 players who have been the subject of discussion and more than a few rumours about their possible departures.

    1) Santi Cazorla: Remarkably, some fans would like to move him on and bring in a younger player. There have been reports of him being unsettled at Arsenal, but his performances have left no doubt about his commitment to the team. His move to a central position was arguably as important to this season’s turnaround as the arrival of Coquelin. I still put the chances of him staying at above 75%. He’s under contract, the fans love him, Arsene loves him and his teammates appear to love him.

    2) Jack Wilshere: Based on Arsene’s recent comments, we have no desire to sell Jack. His off-field behaviour has certainly disappointed but the most troubling aspect of his time at the club has been the ongoing injuries. I think Jack will have one more season to cement his position in the team but unless he finds the form that made him a fan favourite, he might be at a new club in the 2016-2017 season.

    3) Theo Walcott: He still has many positives. The speed is still there despite the ACL injury, his finishing is often excellent and he’s a great ‘homegrown’ ambassador for the team. The downside is that the contract wrangles seem to have left a slightly bitter taste on both sides and he’s fallen down the pecking order primarily due to the arrival of Alexis and Welbeck in the summer. Combine that with the sense that Arsene has lost a little faith in him, and it’s quite possible that Theo could be at another club next season. It certainly feels like a 50-50 possibility based on his minimal involvement since his return from injury. I have a gut feelign though, that like Wilshere, both he and the club will give it one more season for things to improve.

    4) Mikel Arteta: Logic dictates that despite Arteta being a model professional, and a steadying dressing room influence, his lack of mobility and recent injuries should mean that he doesn’t return next season. It seems we’ve been getting mixed messages from the club and it will be interesting to see how this one plays out. I think he stays for one more season and he’ll make a minimal contribution to the team if he appears in the starting line-up at all.

    5) Wojciech Szczesny: How do you solve a problem like Chezzer? He has the physical gifts but whether it’s a case of arrogance or insecurity dressed up as over-confidence (I opt for the latter), he has damaged his future at the club by his inconsistency at the ball and his immaturity off the field. The baby-like grabbing for the bottle during the Southampton debacle bordered on alarming and he probably joins Theo and Jack in the last-chance saloon.

    6) Abou Diaby: Abou has a lifetime membership at the last-chance saloon. I’m not opposed to play for pay deal but I would prefer that deal to be done at another club on loan with Arsenal having an option to bring him back if he completes a full season without any problems. Even if we brought him back the option we would be on a play for pay deal too. He has professed his gratitude to the club for their loyalty to him. The above arrangement would go a long way in showing that he is prepared to go the full distance in justifying a return to first-team action.

    7) Thomas Rosicky: Look, we all love TR7. He’s still a magician but the sad truth is that Arsene has put him out to pasture. He deserves to finish out his career playing just a little more often at another club and when he does leave it will be with all of our blessings. That says a great deal about his professionalism because at one time it seemed that he would never make it back from his bad run of injuries.

    8) Matthieu Flamini: Never been a huge Flam fan but his attitude has been excellent since his return. He’s gone a long way to dispelling the bad feeling he deserved when he slunk out of the club, so even if he is gone at the end of this season, the recovered goodwill in itself has been an achievement for him.

    Of the 8, here’s the prediction:

    Should Stay: Cazorla, Walcott, Wilshere,
    Should Go: Arteta, Flamini, Rosicky, Szczesny, Diaby

    Will Stay: Cazorla, Walcott, Wilshere, Arteta, Szczesny
    Will Go: Flamini, Rosicky, Diaby

  55. Wallace

    Bacary

    nice post. agree with nearly all of it, although i think Bielik, Gnabry & Akpom, or certainly the latter two, have a good chance of making a significant contribution next season. Sanogo’s a wild card. was hoping the Palace loan would clear the water, but it’s just been more of the same – some good, some bad, but mostly too many injuries.

    also think Arteta’s unlikely to stay. looks like he wants to continue for at least another year, but just can’t see him getting the games at Arsenal.

  56. Sukky

    Am I the only one who think Rosicky is still value in some matches when we want to rest some players. Can we get someone younger and of equal quality to be a part time prayer? I’d love rozza to retire at arsenal. He’s a great leader on the pitch

  57. KurtF

    Sell Wilshire, buy Schneiderlin , Reus and Cech, trade Welbeck with Villa for Benteke plus cash and keep Theo and hey presto: the title is ours.

  58. Wallace

    Sukky

    will be gutted if Rosicky leaves, and slightly puzzled he hasn’t featured more, but at 34/35 can understand him just wanting to play.

    KurtF

    if we take City’s 30m+ for Jack and then give 25m of it to Soton for Schneiderlin i’ll weep…heavily.

  59. Arsene's Nurse

    @Bacary – good post. You missed out Ryo Miyaichi btw. I suspect you’d have put him in the “on loan and surplus to requirement” pile.

  60. Nasri's Mouth

    Arsene’s Nurse: You missed out Ryo Miyaichi btw

    It’s an easy mistake to make to be fair to him.

  61. Arsene's Nurse

    @Nasri – yeah, it’s a shame really because a few years ago he actually looked quite a promising player.