Talent leakage issues | Major star out of Saturday | Finding value in unusual data

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The MIGHTY TOUGH GUY Troy Deeney has gone and done it again. His Watford side taught the fairies over at Stamford Bridge a thing or two about how to be big cajoned man beasts. A storming victory for Watford started with him scoring a dubious penalty. 4-1 is quite amazing, Antonio Conte taking fucks given to levels not seen since Jack Wilshere chained a box of 20 Marlboro at a Vegas pool party.

So what does that mean for top 4? Well, it means it’s very much on. The gap between 6th and 3rd is now a tighter than Wayne Rooney’s belt buckle, sitting at only 5 points. If Arsenal destroy Spurs this weekend, things could get very sexy.

Is it my dream to get excited by the top 4 trophy. No. But is it my reality? Yes.

No man ends it all because he can’t convince Clare Tomlinson to be his best friend in a stealth move to make her fall in love with him.

No. You accept that she’s out of your league and you pull the same move on Chantel from the Wimpy Bar. Do you think about Clare? Absolutely. But you don’t dwell on it. Chantel has potential.

Know your level.

Arsenal knocking about in the race for top 4 is great news, because a month ago, we were staring at Burnley and wondering if they were going to Leicester us out of 4th place. Like making a play for Clare then finding yourself locked in the gents with Keysey and Gray.

We sold our dross. We bought in some great talent. We ignored the defence. Ignored the midfield. But look, we’re more than capable of putting up a fight. Hey, we might even pull a surprise this weekend against Spurs?

Worst case, we’ll get to sing funny stories about Delli Alli’s misstep that’s doing the rounds on Twitter.

Exactly what football is all about.

A good article from Miguel Delaney here on the sale of youth prospect Marcus McGuane to Barcelona.

The Greenwich lad is just the latest young British player to opt to continue his development on the continent. He follows Benfica’s Chris Willock, Borussia Monchengladbach’s Mandela Egbo, Willem II’s Dan Crowley, Wolfsburg’s Kaylen Hinds, Sparta Rotterdam’s George Dobson and perhaps most notably Borussia Dortmund’s Jordan Sancho.

It could be valuable for England but, much more importantly, valuable for the development of young players.

The trend also highlights something of a problem for English football, given that many are moving because they want the regular competitive football at that age that will properly develop them. The demands at top Premier League clubs are now such that academy players between 17 and 20 can fall into a troublesome grey area, where they aren’t yet ready for the first team but also aren’t really being given the proper football that will make them ready. The reserves just don’t cut it in that regard. Neither does safe no-consequence youth football. It means so many just stall, and maybe don’t become what they might have been given that properly exacting experience at that age is so important.

Very worrying news, as we have quite a few players that would be interesting to foreign clubs. Reiss Nelson is refusing a new deal, Eddie banged in another hattrick for the reserves yesterday, obviously, everyone wants a piece of Rave-wobi. Arsenal need to up their talent retention offering, which really is a weird thing to say considering how many kids are landing games with us right now. What’s going on? Is it the upshot of seeing players like Theo and Chambo stagnate despite getting all the games? Who knows. Can’t imagine Wenger helps these days. Literally no young man wants him as their second father these days.

Injury news. Ospina is starting the Spurs game.

At first, I was worried. Then I slapped myself with a clamy hand. There’s literally no difference between him and Cech. It’s like getting choosy about Tesco own brand ready salted crisps and Morrisons own brand ready salted crisps.

It’s literally the same crisp. I’ve been to the factory. Don’t be fooled into the illusion of choice in own brand crisps, and don’t be fooled into thinking there’s better choice between the keepers. Sad times. We don’t have a good keeper for a major game. Another nail in the Wenger recruitment coffin. He’s only known about this issue for 3 years.

This article about data crunching with Philly was fascinating.

In fairness, Frigo (co-founder of EdjAnalytics) said, he has never seen a franchise behave quite like the Eagles, one of several teams that subscribes to EdjSports’s predictive tools. The Eagles’ shrewd application of analytics to everything from roster management to in-game strategy helped propel them to a 13-3 record and a berth in Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Analyzing every team’s risk-management style, EdjSports determined that Philadelphia optimizes decisions — on fourth down, especially — better than its peers by a substantial margin.

“The Eagles capture value at every turn,” said Tony DeFeo, the president of EdjSports, “because they understand where the value lies.”

I don’t know what that means, but I’d say any data system that puts forward Xhaka and Gabriel as valuable is either shite, or the people crunching the data need a quick hit on finding the value in the numbers they’re looking at. When it comes to on-pitch data analysis, again, it’s very rare you see Arsenal doing anything of interest. Teams in Germany are working out the best places to lose the ball, so as to regain quickly and create chances. We’re trying to work out whether it’s advantageous to find someone who can make it past the front post with corner kicks.

Give me some visionary thinking over here.

Talking of visionary, why don’t you try our podcast? We have Dan from the comments, notorious for a viral tweet about Delli Alli last year, which is very topical.

Listen. Enjoy. Rate. Then share it with your grandma and get me some more listens.

(Also, subscribe)


217 Responses to “Talent leakage issues | Major star out of Saturday | Finding value in unusual data”

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  1. NorthernGoon


    A lot of these Wenger obsessive’s seem to have diminished capabilities leading them to come across as pathological morons unable to be objective not just about arsenal but football in general.

    Sad. So sad.

  2. salpardisenyc


    MKB is the new AKB and WOB combined.
    Sven M, keep on going brother.

    Nice job on the pod Dan you sexy beast.

  3. NorthernGoon


    Of course it is you’re embarrassing.

    Evidently judging from your performance you’re the specialist in shit comebacks.

  4. Boomslang


    You call me “r.etarded”, and you expect me to politely answer your question? fuck the hell off.

  5. Mysticleaves

    Lazio’s Stefan de vrij is in his last six months. Strong, ball playing defender, 26years of age, in his prime and rated at over 30m by transfer market even with 6months left.

    Since Rugani is wanted and he plays in Italy, If our people aren’t looking at Vrij, then nothing has changed.

  6. Pierre

    Do you think Ufraud’s son secretly uses the tickets as Ufraud may disown him for not being a Wenger obsessive.

  7. Mysticleaves

    Guys we can always argue our point of views without getting into a mud fight every now and then. You people don’t act your various ages

  8. Mysticleaves

    Pierre can reply to northern gooner, number9 and Rambo. Steve can reply to GOH and J.oe when he comes back. Redtruth can reply to redtruth and the rest all have neutral exciting convos. Not hard there.

  9. Boomslang


    Oh I get it now.

    Your umbilical cord must have been attached to your head, hence your penchant for making asinine comments.

  10. London gunner

    Northern goon

    Objective hahaha! That’s rich coming from the AKB club who make excuses for their lord Wenger at every juncture and can’t think for themselves. You don’t care about football you just care about Wenger. Everything you say on this blog isn’t about football or debating tactics or formations it’s purely about absolving lord Wenger from all blame.. that’s pretty obsessive..

    Let’s be honest you AKB are just embarrassed because you can’t admit the game is up on Wenger and you have been chumps for following a past it manager for so long.

  11. NorthernGoon


    You seem to have a fettish taking about mummies tits, daddies dicks and umbilical cords. Quite clearly a test tube baby wishing you had those normalities.

    If you can’t respond to the simple question I asked in response to your re.tarded question then don’t bother addressing me cos you are the idiot I thought you were.

  12. Leedsgunner


    “Lazio’s Stefan de vrij is in his last six months. Strong, ball playing defender, 26years of age, in his prime and rated at over 30m by transfer market even with 6months left.”

    Would be an absolute steal if we could get him for a free. It would make up for the monstrous price we overpaid on Mustafi and Chambers…

  13. NorthernGoon


    You unintelligent and misinformed.

    The fact you still use AKB shows how out of touch and desperate you actually are.

    Show me where these AKB excuses are that you’re taking about. It won’t be hard if they’re all over the blog will it?

    Put them in quotes, attribute them to someone.

    If not, stop making shit up and fuck off.

  14. Batistuta

    Rugani would be such an exciting signing, better than Stephen who i personally don’t rate to be honest

    If we’re doing business with Lazio, i know who I’d rather have though the fuckers messed up my acca yesterday

    Oh and to the men children who have literally taken over this blog day in, day out, y’all really need to get a grip or go get laid or something, it’s disturbing at this point

  15. Batistuta

    Oh and Milan may be skint with the Chinese fucking them over so might look like the summer where they sold Ibra and Thiago Silva

    I’d take Donnanoruma and Bonnuci thank you very much

  16. Boomslang


    You’re the quintessential keyboard warrior, a toothless bulldog. If you don’t want me addressing you, shouldn’t have thrown the first jab. So do le grove a favour and simply shut up. You’re not fazing anyone. Wimp.

  17. Carts

    No chance we get De Vrij.

    If Klopp has anything between his ears, he’d get rid of Lovren like yesterday and bring in De Vrij.

  18. NorthernGoon


    What part of don’t address me don’t you understand.

    Keep doing what you do best and contribute nothing. 1st, 2nd, 3rd your Mrs mist be well proud of you.

  19. Goobergooner

    What is it going to take for us to get in a world class CB now that Kos and nacho are ageing. The new backroom auditions do look to be the much needed refresher back there.

    This sort of interval period would be a bit of a problem for them I’d say, unless they know someone else is coming in. Getting the specific players for a new managers style of play should be what is happening next, after the short term buys of auba and Mikki (yes swap I know)

  20. Uwot?

    I haven’t a clue whether he is the answer to our cb probs but the name that appears to crop up frequently is kostas Manolas of Roma.seems there’s genuine interest.it also appears that the “dippers” appear to be after every target we’re linked with!

  21. Mysticleaves

    De vrij is free and is running under the radar. There’s no way we aren’t beating Liverpool to him if we showed interest.

    I brought him up since Weng Almighty keeps going on about us not having the financial muscle to compete with other clubs. So theres ni way we shiuld be missing out on astute free transfers like de Vrij and Max Meyer

  22. Carts

    I’m calling it now, there are at least 4 teams who De Vrij would sign for before us. Your top teams require 4 CBs – 3 of which can interchange seamlessly. Bit like Stones, Kompany and Otamendi. Include Laporte and that is 4 CBs who can defend!

  23. Bamford10


    You say that those who think as you do are still “the majority” among Arsenal fans, but I’m a little unclear on what it is you think, exactly. What is your point of view? What is your opinion of Wenger? What is your take on what has happened at Arsenal over the past ten years? Do you think the club was right to give Wenger a new contract this past summer? Would you support his staying on beyond the summer of 2019?

    Please explain.

  24. Thanos

    Why are most people on here just aresholes to each other ? Everyday I read 1 guy being a dick to another. There are factions just being rude all day. Bloggers are weird

  25. Pierre

    I would say all of the arsenal fans I know, and I know a lot(hundreds) want a change of manager but, with one exception, still support the club and want us to win football matches and trophies.

    The one exception is similar to quite a few on here, what I would call “Wenger obsessives” in that he has lost all semblance of reasoning and is overjoyed if arsenal concede or a rival wins and would never celebrate winning a trophy whilst Wenger is in charge… To be honest, he is a bit of a plonker but I humour him (similar to Ufraud or Jo. e) but he has gone past the point of no return regarding Wenger. A lost cause.

    Do I think the club were right to give him a new contract.. No…
    It was a mistake mainly because he didn’t deserve it and also because it was easy to predict the negativity that would come his way if he didn’t have a decent season in the league. And he hasn’t so the knives come out again and probably deservedly so.

    My opinion of Wenger is that he doesn’t learn from his mistakes in that the team is never prepared for the start of the season, he is too loyal to players who are not up to title winning standard, giroud and Ramsey in the present side and previously players like denilson, bentner etc, you know who I mean.

    I feel he was Unlucky with the ces, rvp, nasri, ade, rosicki, Hleb team.. They could have won the league if they had stayed together but money came into the game and that was that.

    Since then I have been pretty disappointed with the football we have played, decent at times but nowhere near the quality of previous sides.
    Having chamack and then giroud as our strikers have not worked, they are not Arsenal type players.

    However, for the first time in a long time, the signings of Aubameyang and mkhitarayan and with özil signing a new contract, I feel at long last we have a strike force that could reach the levels of Wengers previous top sides.

    I think he has got lucky in this window and it may mean he can go out on a positive note instead of being hounded out.
    If he had lost sanchez and özil for nothing and got no one in the future would look bleak.

    At least you have the intelligence to see that these signings could signal a new beginning and you are not too far gone down the obsessive road and can see what the signings will bring to the club..

  26. Emiratesstroller


    I think that your latest comment is fair representation of how most supporters

    Genuine supporters don’t wish the club ill even if they are frustrated about the
    recent stagnation caused by Wenger hanging onto his job.

    At the end of the day people like Pedro, myself and presumably you want the
    club to be successful.

    Sadly the obsessives who post on here have only one agenda and that is to maximise the damage in pursuit of objectives.

  27. Bamford10


    That’s all reasonable, except there are only like two guys here who explicitly root for losses and this is generally not well-received. So I’m not sure why you treat Le Grove like everyone here is that way or why you would take pleasure in “winding up Le Grovers,” as you’ve said.

    I also don’t get the mocking of those who choose to protest. After all, those guys don’t want the team to lose and, like you, they think Wenger needs to go. They’re just a bit more impatient than you are, and they think that without protests the club might keep Wenger on even longer.

    Do these guys deserve your derision? I don’t think so. They’re fundamentally correct: Wenger needs to go. The difference between you and them isn’t your attitude toward the club, it’s your attitude toward protest.

    Anyways. your POV is perfectly reasonable; I just don’t get the point of the trolling and mockery of supporters who have simply had enough of Wenger and his bullshit.

  28. TonyD

    Well said

    Here’s an interesting article on Dele Ali by Martin Samual pf the DM.

    I wonder if he’ll (Ali) behave himself this weekend.


    I’m looking forward to seeing Auba and Mikhi against a better organized midfield and defense, and stronger pressing team Saturday. It will be an interesting test for both Mikhi and Auba and will start answering questions some of us are raising or have raised.

    Interesting point made by Rooney about Mikhi being stifled by Jose and not allowed to express himself at United. Also from the podcast when it was said they wondered if the Dortmund or United Mikhi would show up.

    Great weekend of sport with the 6 Nations in full flow now. England v Wales will be a cracker after the Spuds game.

  29. TonyD

    It makes you wonder who the obsessives are here?

    For those of us that want Wenger gone at the earliest opportunity or WOBs as we’re called do so purely because we want our club back and to be constantly challenging for the top honours again.

    Challenging is the key word. No club can win everything, but as someone said recently, it doesn’t hurt anymore to lose when it should, especially games near the end of the season when we could actually win the league, which are a long gone memory.

    Many of us just feel numb with bad results and not get anywhere near the elation we should feel with good wins. That doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy beating the Spuds or United etc, but it’s not the same as it was 15 years ago.

    That long term void of emptiness needs to go and it will when Wenger leaves.

    We don’t want a repeat of the last AGM or to be told top 4 is a trophy or that we’re over achieving.

    We just want the lies, deceit, bullshit and belittling of the fans by Wenger and the hierarchy to stop. We’re tired of delusional pressers from Wenger and him playing God at our club.

    Where as the AKBs or Wenger Apologists just want to support Wenger no matter what. They are happy for top 4 then not getting to of the knock out stages, and us being a cup team and are the kings of lip service.

    Sven & Raul gives us hope.

    Auba and Mikhi we’ll know about soon enough, but also offer hope because of the change they represent. They are the glimpse of the future post Wenger. If they rekindle their Dortmund partnership, we will win games despite Wenger.

    At least we have something to gauge the future on now, whereas before Sven and Raul and Auba and Mikhi we had nothing but the odd cup that secured Wenger’s job, and little else, but assured misery that commenced at the beginning of a season, and save for the odd few performances we had very little to look forward to.

    I’ll love the cups again when we’re fighting on all fronts to win titles, CL cups with as best team we can afford with a manager who can get the best from the team and demonstrate astute tactics with a team who know how to execute the tactics on the pitch.

    Compared to the last 14 years it seems as though there is actually something happening for the better, so some of revolution within the club.

    Let’s hope there’s continued momentum to help us find a sustained feel good factor again.

    14 years has been a very long time!

  30. Rambo Ramsey


    ‘Pierre can reply to northern gooner, number9 and Rambo. Steve can reply to GOH and J.oe when he comes back. Redtruth can reply to redtruth and the rest all have neutral exciting convos. Not hard there.’

    What a bizarre post. There’s nothing more comical than a man patting himself on the back.

  31. Mysticleaves

    “I dreamed of playing for Spurs since I was a boy,” Kane added. “For a long time my motivation was simply to close my eyes and picture myself scoring against Arsenal in the Premier League.
    “[I’ve] done that a few times now, and it never gets old. But now, my motivation is a bit different.
    “Now, I close my eyes and I picture myself lifting the Premier League trophy at our new stadium with my mates. I’d trade the next 100 goals for that feeling.”

    Harry f**king Kane! I wonder how someones dream will be to play for spurs.

    Anyway hope Eddie can channel the same kind of drive in making it for us. We are long overdue a home grown striker

  32. Steveyg87

    Will be interesting to see how many stay on board in Chelsea don’t make top 4 this season, I cant imagine Hazard staying on

  33. graham62


    Contrary to popular belief I am not a “misery” when it comes to Arsenal and, in particular, Arsene Wenger..

    I just can’t tolerate people who lie/deceive/manipulate/patronize and show contempt to others, in their own selfish quest for personal gain and glory.

    Wenger remains, nothing changes in my eyes.
    Wenger goes and AFC can finally move forward.

    There are obviously behind the scenes changes unravelling at the club, BUT, until AW is forced out, because, as we have seen, he will not leave graciously, I will continue with my regular “fucking misery” take on things.

    I don’t need to listen to Podcasts in order to understand things.

    Arsenal are and always have been, my club. Nevertheless, if I have to forfeit the joys of irregular and insignificant victories for a few months longer, I can take it.

    I have more important things going on in my life than worrying too much about Wenger. Coming on a blog site was merely my way of expressing my views.

    Meet me in a person and you’ll soon see I am not the Grinch some of you make me out to be

    So tough shit everyone, my perceptions remain unchanged.

  34. Wallace

    remember that day last week when le grove was 85% interesting posts about football and footballers and the transfer window? normal service has now been resumed, alas.

  35. Rainman

    Why would someone come on what is very clearly an Anti Wenger blog and then complain that 85% of the posts are about Wenger? Rather like someone going to a Chinese Restaurant and then complaining that 85% of the dishes are Chinese.

    If you don’t like it then why are you even here?

  36. Pierre

    I get the feeling that the Tottenham match at the weekend could have a massive influence on either club for the rest of the season.

    Will spurs play with a high defensive line like they normally do.. Will mkhitarayan and özil find the space in midfield to create the chances for Aubameyang run into the open spaces behind the spurs defence.

    Will our defence have one of our good days where we stay focused for the 90 minutes or do we start sloppy as we have recently in the home games v United and Chelsea…. I am OK with ospina in goal as he is more athletic and braver than cech coming out of his goal though cech is better collecting crosses.

    Personally, I would like to see us sit back with a solid back 4 and 2 defensive midfielders in front and then hit them on the Break with quick one/two touch football.

    Should be interesting to see how it pans out.

  37. Akilan

    Good read bamford. I would take Sarri in a heartbeat. He’s 58 tho.

    If/when Chelsea sack Conte, he should be our first choice though. Nailed on for at least a league title.

  38. Cesc Appeal

    An agent in Italy saying that Sarri has biggest chance of being Arsenal manager is he moves this summer, has a release clause in his contract.

    I will take any rumour.

    Within a short space of time getting in Sanllehi, Mislintat and then getting rid of Wenger and bringing in Sarri, the fan base would be ecstatic.

    We deserve this as a fan base, we have put up with a lot of s**t. Wenger does not deserve to see out his last year and sensibly the club needs to move on this summer.

  39. WengerEagle

    Great thing about bringing in a new gaffer is that they have that pulling power of their former star players.

    Ghoulam, Koulibaly, Allan, Mertens would all greatly improve us.

  40. S Asoa

    Looks good game plan.
    Pierre seems a smart guy except for the Wenger fixation.
    But will Wenger the Tinpot Dictator give a free hand to Bould to organise the defence ?

  41. Cesc Appeal


    It is the new coaches as well I want.

    Whichever players we bring in it is almost as if you need to apply some sort of minus to their abilities because of the manager and coaching staff. Whereas some other teams can get more out of inferior players at Arsenal we actually seem to sap great players. I think basically though a lack of tactics and system in the team as a whole and boredom.

  42. WengerEagle


    Wholly agree, I was just taking it as read that if we we to miraculously replace Wenger with Sarri that he would want his own backroom team behind him.

    Not sure how great our players have been this last half decade mind, that’s also down to AW as he has recruited poorly.

  43. Cesc Appeal


    I think about Guardiola and the effect a new manager can have.

    That midfield of Fernandinho, Silva and De Bruyne on paper looks like it may have issues in the EPL. But they are so structured and play with such intensity that it makes up for maybe lacking a bit of physicality. Their on the ball and off the ball work has such purpose and intensity.

    That is the thing with Arsenal fans, when we propose names for transfers we are doing in a way that makes up for the fact we have a dud manager. Every player has to own their position with no coaching.

    If you have a better manager and coaches you would need to be so caught up in making sure every buy was exactly right.

    No idea why the club would want to stick with Wenger next season.

    Fingers crossed the Kroenke has enjoyed the excitement of the LA Rams this year after firing a manager and the excitement and efficiency that has come with appointing Mislintat and Sanllehi. Compared to that Wenger is just boring and stale.