Summergeddon ahead will only exacerbate these terrible Arsenal stats

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via @Arsenal

via @Arsenal

I was planning on being at the Arsenal game. I left at 2pm Friday for a 6pm flight. We were parked on the runway for 7 hours, the flight was eventually cancelled. I managed to get on another flight at 8am, I slept at the airport, only to be woken up by a call saying I’d been bumped of that flight because it was overbooked. So two things, 1) please feel sorry for me, 2) know that American Airlines really aren’t a very nice airline.

You know what else wasn’t that nice? The game I missed. I bet that was a cold one in the stands.

It kind of highlighted a few sad factors we’re going to have to deal with.

The key one being that Mesut Ozil – flawed as he is – will be missed when he departs. He made the difference with a pretty ok performance. His biggest contribution was anticipating a ball coming back to him on the edge of the box, he positioned his body perfectly to volley his shot high and powerfully into the net. A lovely finish.

Outside that, it was same old, same old for Arsenal. We controlled possession, but we couldn’t finish off United. The hopes and dreams we had for a Sanchez / Lacazette / Ozil really haven’t paid dividends. The team created 22 chances, only managing to this the target a dismal 5 times.

In our last 4 Premier League games, we’ve had 88 attempts on opposition goal, delivering 3 goals (a goal every 29 chances). We’ve hit the target 34% of the time, which doesn’t sound awful, however, the anomaly in that pack of numbers is United where we had 16 shots on target. If you go by Southampton, Newcastle and West Ham, we’ve hit the target only 21% of the time. That’s kind of shoddy.

Now imagine that in a post Mesut era (and Jack), where the team is expected to do more with far less chances? It doesn’t bode well. Next season, we really are in trouble.

I don’t want to go too deep into it, but our regista signing is actually getting worse by the week. He gave the ball away recklessly twice in the last 10 minutes of the game. Against a better team, like United, that’s curtains for the 3 points. Wenger can’t quit him though. The Swiss has been consistently average all season, and he makes some sort of fuck up every game that leads to a good opposition chance. To they have an xFuckups rating?

The positives are that we put 3 points on the table and registered a solid home win. The underlying fear is our mental issues in front of goal are a team issue, and we’re about to head into a period where confidence can be further diminished by fatigue.

Wenger needs to work out a plan to have the boys back and firing. Maybe start Danny Welbeck up front? I mean, amazing that my best solution is one of the worst finishers at the club, but that speaks more to the way Wenger has built the squad than it does my creativity.

The real challenge is what’s coming over the hill. Wenger has 3 first team players that were on the pitch today moving on a free if he doesn’t do something desperate in the next month (Jack, Ozil, Sanchez). To make matters worse in the short term, Wenger now has a Director of Football who will not tolerate a disrupted transfer window. Players like Ramsey, Welbeck, Nacho, Giroud and Cech can all leave for free the year after. So basically, next summer is likely to be a bloodbath. The new guys need to build some stability into the setup. The lack of it has cost us this season, with an impotent Sanchez, and a fairweather Ozil.

What a mess we’re in. It’s going to get worse. It’s going to cost a fortune to fix. Do we have enough money from the owner to come out the other side looking good?

Still, at least the mythical ‘squad shake-up’ is likely to happen this year, because it’ll be forced on Wenger.

So in conclusion, an easy 3 points that points that highlighted some challenging short-term issues, and reminded us of the summergeddon that is coming.

183 Responses to “Summergeddon ahead will only exacerbate these terrible Arsenal stats”

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  1. Pierre

    Tony
    “He doesn’t score enough goals for his ability, and I’d rather have a less gifted player who scores goals but also can offer a reasonable ratio of assists.”

    So you’re looking for a lampard or a gerrard…
    We already have a player in the squad who thinks he’s a lampard or gerrard….

  2. Pierre

    So, what is more important this week..

    Getting to the semi final of the league cup by beating West ham or playing for 4th place by beating Liverpool.

    I know which game I would prefer to win.

  3. Pierre

    Copied this from arseblog as you know I like my stats.

    Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle (plus week 18 stats): by the numbers…

    18 – Failed passes by Xhaka
    14 – Failed passes by Xhaka in the 2nd half (of 44 attempted, 68% passing, led all players in passes attempted and failed passes)
    10 – Failed passes by Bellerin in the 2nd half (of 42 attempted, 76% passing)
    5 – Failed passes by Ozil (of 48 attempted, 90% passing)
    6 – Key passes by Ozil in the second half (led all players)
    3.6 – Key passes per game average by Ozil (leads all players in the Premier League)
    50 – Key passes from open play (not a corner or free kick) by Ozil this season (leads the Premier League)
    7 – Key passes from open play by Ozil today against Newcastle (14% of his total for the season, led all players)
    5 – Failed passes by Alexis in the 2nd half (of 19 attempted, 74% passing)

    Stroller and Tony
    What I noticed is that özil made 6 key passes in the 2nd half which I am sure you agree is quite high. That sort of put paid to your assessment that özil had no/low influence on the game 2nd half unless you regard a player making key passes as unimportant.
    Me personally, I would think key means important and are passes that create and influence a game otherwise why mention them.

  4. Emiratesstroller

    First of all the stadium was not 30-40% empty although it might have looked like that 10 minutes before game started. It was probably 5% empty, but that is still a significant number for an EPL game.

    The second matter which needs to be discussed is what Wenger and the coaching staff are actually doing to merit their grossly inflated salaries.

    You watch Wenger and Steve Bould at matches sitting like dummies. There is
    absolutely zero reaction to what is going on. At best their sole contribution at
    most games is to make the PREDICTABLE substitutions almost always around
    70 minutes.

    The only strategic changes made by Wenger in recent games, which was forced by injury and dire defensive mistakes was to switch to a flat back four
    from three at back.

    Yet when you watched us play with this reversionary system we are also struggling, because the wing backs are still playing like wingers rather than as defenders. Ballerin’s lack of progression as a player is almost entirely due to the
    manager and coaching staff’s failure to curb his attacking instincts at critical
    times when he should be focussing on what other wing back is doing AND more importantly react better to what other teams are doing.

    The reality is that under Wenger our teams are playing with just 2- 3 defenders instead of the traditional 4. That is due to poor discipline and coaching.

  5. Don

    Wilshere again lads
    What did I say marko
    Wilshere is our best midfielder. Is anyone going to mock me now? The fifa 17 Xbox knobs on here cant see the wood for the trees. Can’t spor a player. Can not accurately assess his abilities or what he brings to the side. Just like they can’t see that Aaron Ramsey is a liability in midfield against any team that wants to attack. He leaves too many holes and isn’t talented enough at the other end to warrant the risk of having him there.

    Jack Wilshere is our best midfielder and I would t swap him for anyone.

  6. London gunner

    Twas listening to arsecast of arseblog fame and the Irish dude was saying what strikes him about lacazette is his link up play and hold up play has been superb better than one imagined it would be but his finishing hasn’t been all that.

    I think lacazette yesterday was awesome had a brilliant performance if you don’t like at his finishing.

    Think the guys a super intelligent player and with the right team dynamic will be great.

  7. London gunner

    Don you might be an aggressive hostile guy, but your point about Wilshere has turned out to be bang on the money.

    Guy is class above. Passing, dribbling, one twos, linking play between defence and attack and heck even his tackling has been superb.

    Wilshere needs another contact

  8. Pierre

    Well said Don.. If özil leaves , Jack could easily play his role as playmaker.

    And I know you don’t rate özil but no ones perfect.

  9. graham62

    Don

    100% in agreement over Wilshere. Have this awful feeling though he may have had enough of all the shite.

    Only hope is that a new guy comes in, otherwise Jack may be off.

  10. graham62

    London gunner

    Lacazette is a talent. Coming to a sinking ship, because that’s what AFC is, must be frustrating for him.

    As I highlighted the other day, Sanchez should not be starting. Lacazette would thrive far more without the Chilean hogging the limelight.

    The fact that Lacazette didn’t start against Liverpool or Man City proves how brain-dead Wenger is.

    I wish him well but fear that Wenger will continue to mess him about.

    OH THE JOYS!

  11. Wallace

    “And so City march on, and thrillingly so. Much has been made of their industrial-scale spending. City’s riposte, and Guardiola’s real passion, is the brilliance of an early-20s front three who have hardly been plucked straight from the front rank as ready-made superstars. Sterling-Sané-Jesus came to City as talented, biddable, high-priced parts. There is an art in their current attacking chemistry, something distinct from simply lassoing the nearest precooked superstar.

    Sané is still just 21, still improving, all potential energy, unburnt speed, power in reserve. This was his turn to shine, the most direct component in an attack that shows no sign of slowing down even as the rest of the field falls away.”

    – B Ronay

  12. TonyD

    Don
    I think many of us were waiting for Wilshere to get game time.

    He did well and with more talented players around him with better timed runs into the box, I’m sure greater rewards will come for his directness in the form of goals.

    He looks best at unlocking the doors to parked buses.

    Now if he could only score goals from 8 meters instead of passing to the keeper, he would be the real deal on all fronts.

  13. Ishola70

    Bit of over-rating of Jack Wilshere’s performance yesterday but if you are being compared to Xhaka in a game or have been served up Xhaka turd for a long period then the over-rating of him is understandable I suppose.

    He was tidy without ever looking dynamic in the match.

    Even though Wilshere may not be the answer as deep lying CM in the long run there is no reason at all now why he doesn’t come into the team at Xhaka’s expense. Can carry the ball unlike Xhaka and not full of passing errors at this time.

    Even Maitland-Niles would be favoured over Xhaka. That’s how pointless Xhaka is in this team.

  14. Paulinho

    “Apparently he gave the ball away 5 times yesterday (90% possession) which doesn’t seem excessive to me,and he made 6 key passes, whatever that means”

    “Me personally, I would think key means important and are passes that create and influence a game otherwise why mention them”

    Amazing the power of Ozil eh.

  15. graham62

    When you read headlines in the national press highlighting Arsenal’s predicaments, you have to wonder just how bad things can get.

    ‘GUNNERS GONERS -Up to 10 stars face exit as new head scout plots revamp'(Daily Mail 16/12)

    Wenger is, as we well know, totally oblivious to the outside concerns that afflict the club. However, even if this was true, all the other employees (players/coaches/staff) are not.

    Just imagine working in such a negative environment, where you are all well aware that your leader is absolute crap and yet you still plod along each day because you, supposedly, love your job.

    Even the tea ladies, unless they’re Spuds supporters, should not be above reproach.

    Sorry Betty and Mavis.

  16. Paulinho

    TonyD made a good point.

    Ozil getting continually dispossessed when he waves the white flag after another lifeless dribble doesn’t show up on passing stats. Yet that is what happens to him continually.

  17. Emiratesstroller

    Last week someone posted that football in EPL was becoming boring, because
    most of the teams are playing in packed defensive mode, which makes goal scoring difficult.

    The reality is that Manchester City are averaging almost 3 goals a game and both Manchester United and Liverpool are averaging 2 goals a game.

    The rest of league including Arsenal are scoring less than two goals and Burnley who are currently vying with ourselves for a place in top 4 are managing
    just 18 goals so far this season.

    Arsenal’s problem this season is not chance creation but poor finishing. Lacazette has missed recently a lot of chances, but will improve once he has settled in team and better supported.

    The real problem has been the performance of Sanchez who is no longer getting into goal scoring positions and has become wasteful. This is a player who
    scored 30 goals last season and was complemented by Giroud and Walcott who scored more than 30 goals between them.

    Giroud is now a full-time bench player and Walcott does not even get on the bench for EPL games.

    The current situation is that for all our so-called forward/striker resources we
    are over reliant on one player to score goals. Sometimes having “too many cooks spoils the broth” particularly if they are not playing!!

  18. Ishola70

    Samesong
    “I would ask this Ishola would Xhaka have been bought if Wilshere wasn’t so injury prone?”

    I can’t see how Xhaka was bought in any circumstance tbh. It seems such a lazy signing with the player not being scouted properly.

    The thing to remember with Jack is when he managed to stay fit for periods many didn’t know which midfield role suited him the best. This was due to inconsistency in his performances. He was slated and praised when playing attacking midfielder and same with deeper lying. Inconsistent.

  19. Paulinho

    Ishola – Disagree. Back in 10/11 it was clear Wilshere’s best position was deep midfield.

    When he had that little period of fitness a few years ago he was excellent for England in that deeper role. He completely outclassed Xhaka in that role when he came up against him for England against Switzerland in Basel.

    Can’t remember him ever getting the same plaudits in the a number ten role. He’s simply shit there.

  20. Ishola70

    He was very erratic previously as deep lying mid from a defensive viewpoint.

    Making wrong decisions in when to put in tackles. flying in at the wrong times and his turnovers to the opposition came from him carrying the ball too many times from deep and on occasions at the wrong time.

    What Arsenal need is a more mature Jack Wilshere in his play from previously.

  21. Ishola70

    We must also take into consideration the opposition yesterday.

    Newcastle were woeful for 80 minutes of that match. A complete non-entity opponent for 80 minutes.

    For Xhaka to be slated in such a match by fans show how low he has sunk.

  22. Paulinho

    Ishola – Think a lot of that was injuries. As you said ‘previously’. Players mature as they get older not the opposite. His ankle was always playing up and left him frustrated because his touch would let him down and then he would look to overcompensate.

    When he was fully fit in that first season he always seemed to make the right decision.

  23. Paulinho

    Right decision in deep midfield. His decision-making was always awful in and around the box.

    If he had stayed fit, it would’ve been interesting how much that flaw held him back. Probably would’ve stopped him being elite.

  24. graham62

    SPORTS PSYCHOLOGISTS would have a field day at Arsenal.

    Putting the manager aside for one moment, which is never easy, it is the players who are responsible for what happens on the pitch. Creating so many chances and not burying them is not just down to poor finishing, it is down to a confused or negative mindset.

    Arsenal’s players are drained of self-beleif/self-confidence and a hunger to be positive in key sitations. Whether attacking or defending we can all see where the problem lies.

    So back to Wenger(Yipee!). If the correct messages and vibes are not conveyed and promoted, how do you expect the players to feel?

    Look at Everton. Allardyce comes in and promotes positivity and belief and, hey presto, the team responds.

    Simple really.

  25. Ishola70

    I’m not going to go overboard about Wilshere at this point because ultimately he has disappointed in his career and the odds look like he may be leaving the club anyway.

    But from now until the end of the season he should be brought in to replace Xhaka. It shouldn’t even be up for debate at this present time.

    It is now being a footballing crime that Wenger continues to select Xhaka every match.

  26. Cesc Appeal

    We have big holes in our side but it has been said for years that a better manager would be getting more out of this current crop.

    Nothing is more irritating than another season of identical failings and then people ask ‘how much responsibility do the players have to take?’

    None.

  27. graham62

    Xhaka is being used as a scapegoat.

    I wish the fans would turn on the manager rather than the players, then we wouldn’t be in this mess.

  28. emmanuel nwaneri

    Scoring a ‘great’ volley against relegation-bound Newcastle doesnt wash with me. We talking about Mesut ‘Missing’ Qzil here of cos. He clearly has upped his game a notch this season seeing that no club was interested in his services over the summer.
    At 29 years of age; forever disappearing in big games and facing a fight for his place in the German national side, ‘Missing’ Ozil has suddenly realised that staying at Arsenal might be his only real option to save his fledging footballing career.
    So guys, expect more ‘great’ volleys against the likes of Stoke City, Crystal Palace, Swansea, Brighton, but nothing against Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea.