Make or break December

by .

So here we are, entering phase 4 of the season. The last international break of the year has passed, and we’re about to hit a traditionally muddy part of the season. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the next few weeks will go a long way to deciding our #Top4Fate.

We’re currently high off the fumes after an exhilarating hit of unbeaten. 16 is a big number, a crazy amount of games no one really thought possible this early in the project. However, the statistics point to us being in a bit of a bubble. You can cover your eyes, you can hide behind the couch, you can scream SHUT UP AND BACK THE MIRAGE, but ultimately, it’s clear we’re at a crossroads.

We’re 11th position in the xG league. That you dislike the metric of measuring luck matters not. Simple fact is, the methodology is sound enough to be used by elite management and it states we’re overperforming. Sky ran numbers yesterday showing our save percentage of 72% was the best in the league (about time) and our conversion rate is about 23%, which is again, the best in the league. That’s not sustainable, and we all know it. If our level drops on either one, as we’re currently playing, there will be an almighty correction.

This weekend, we play Bournemouth who sit 4 points behind us in the league and occupy 5th in the xG league. They’re where they are because they deserve it. This game is going to be very tough, especially after a fairly drab run of draws. Bournemouth are going to come at us. Teams don’t really fear Arsenal, we’re wide open at the back, we’re easy to get in behind and we’re susceptible to the basic counter. This is a massive banana skin.

We absolutely have to win, because we have Spurs and United coming up. The shape of the league this year looks very much like the top 4 are going to pull away from the chasing pack quite early on. If we have a disastrous few weeks and find ourselves 7 or 8 points back, that could be very hard to chase considering the lack of quality we have in the squad compared to the others.

This is the phase of the season where I think we’ll find out whether the ideas have settled. The ideal is that in the next month, we see that the defence has settled. Hopefully, the manager finds a way to bring composure to the back line, and works out a way of integrating Mesut into the side so we release his attacking prowess at the same time as finding a way for him to defend. Hopefully, we can find a way of being more creative as a team, because at the minute, we’re winning because we’re unbelievably clinical in front of goal.

There’s a lot we’re going to find out. Bournemouth is the perfect test. Let’s see what Emery has in store, and let’s pray he’s found a formula that brings us home a December to remember.

224 Responses to “Make or break December”

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  1. Champagne charlie


    I’ll give that a look. It’s a smart approach to adopt, if you have the managerial nous then you can harness the ability and forget the “grief”. Aurier is an obvious example, that’s peanuts for a Rb with his attributes and potential. Sure, they don’t all work but the potential return is fantastic for the outlay.

    As you state, it’s the outlay Arsenal need to summon from somewhere. So what’s the alternative? It’s potential, misfits, contract loopholes, fit for purpose signings (like Mata for Ramsey perhaps?).

    We don’t have a budget to go pointing the finger at sexy names like Fekir and Koulibaly, so if we don’t do the smart shit then the only finger getting pointed down the line will be to the door, with eyes on Emery.

  2. Marko

    Accounts for the year to 31 May 2017
    Turnover £427m (3rd highest in the league)
    Wages £199m (5th highest, 47% of turnover)
    Profit before tax £45m (up from £3m in 2016

    For the Gunners, it’s a far more modest figure, albeit one defined as “a robust cash position”.

    The figure stashed? £160.7million. That’s up £37million from 12 months previously, but down £20million from May 31 2017.

    As such, expect that figure to rise in the next set of accounts.

    That article was from just February. Am I an idiot for being sceptical about 30 million pound budgets or the idea that we just have 25-30 million in our cash reserves? Basically am I an idiot is the question this Saturday evening… don’t everybody answer at once

  3. Champagne charlie


    Selling Giroud and replacing him with Auba was moronic, it gave us more of a headache and less of a budget. Well done lads.

    I think we missed a trick with Barkley too, 10 mil was it he moved for on the end? Ramsey out for 40 mil when that was a thing, replaced with Barkley. That’s how you make progress on all fronts.

  4. TR7

    Marko, wrote a post doing the math starting from that 160.7 m cash balance figure on the last page. Just that i conservatively presumed our next cash flow would be (20M) in both FY 2018 and FY 2019. If we are being more optimistic and assume only 10M cash outlay each year, we are in the 45-50 M range and that would be the best case scenario.

  5. Marko

    What’s the difference between last summer and next summer? Honestly. Level of European competition? To be determined. New commerical deals coming in next summer. I just don’t know overall but I’m willing to bow out because I want to have about 5 Guinnesses

  6. Pierre

    “Wathcing what Spurs are doing is what Emery seems to want, the attacking press pressing with intensity, dropping back to help out and also attacking with intensity.You need the personnel though, we don’t have it currently.”

    You are correct

    Our system is exactly the same as Tottenham ,a system that I like and there is no reason why we can’t replicate what they are doing offensively even with the players we have now ….they play a high energy game as we do and our stst s this season show we work harder than them so we do have the energy in the team but it has to be more of a team thing than individual .

  7. Marko

    there is no reason why we can’t replicate what they are doing offensively even with the players we have now

    I mean they have some proper wide players and it’s been discussed to death about the defensive input/effort of Eriksson compared to someone like Özil. Basically we do not have the players to play the way they do.

    we work harder than them so we do have the energy in the team but it has to be more of a team thing than individual

    Haven’t you made a case for turning the blind eye to Ozil for example not doing certain things and just focusing on what he’s good at (whatever that is these days)? So really work harder as a team except if you’re Ozil.

  8. Pedro

    Red, football isn’t a zero-sum game these days, hence why some dicks can see the value in what Poch has brought to Spurs.

  9. Pedro

    Spurs have achieved success relevant to their spend and financial situation.

    Immitating successful clubs by your metric is what? City? PSG? Madrid?

    Arsenal has more to learn from the smaller clubs that extract max value from their managers, coaches, tech and scouting networks.

  10. Leedsgunner

    Despite the Spurs admiration and love in that is surely likely to ensue — they are a small minded club with above average players as a whole. Please, please please, before anyone says it, there is no power shift in North London.

    Arsenal will always be a bigger club in North London, in history, in class, in trophies and in identity.

    Arsenal, we are by far the greatest club the world has ever seen. 😉

    Cal down, one decent result against Chelsea doesn’t win you a trophy… although, I admit, it does heap the pressure on us to beat them

  11. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Reason spurs being acclaimed is they have turned a few players who coat fuck all an turned them in to potential massive money signings..
    Mind you still ain’t won fuck all
    An had to be petty an have a bigger ground capacity than us just to be churlish …

    It will all come tumbling down … An that ain’t just the team…

  12. Leedsgunner

    Remember Spurs beat Juventus and Real Madrid last year and where did that get them?

    Here’s a clue, after the double colon:

    Let them savour in their three points, that’s all it is. It won’t get them anywhere at the end of the season.

    We need to do our bit and defeat Bournemouth and then Spurs in due course. If we do, we make their win versus Chelsea virtually pointless.

  13. Emiratesstroller


    I read your post earlier today suggesting that we have a net budget of £30 million. It was unclear whether you are referring to January or next summer.

    If you are referring to January I would be inclined to agree with you. I cannot
    see us spending on more than one player in that transfer window. The only sales that I could visualise then could be Ospina [if Napoli exercise option] and
    Elneny. Collectively I doubt that they will generate more than £12 million.

    However, I think that Arsenal’s net spend next summer will be at least £100
    million when the new Adidas sponsorship kicks in. Arsenal’s net spend seems always to be aligned with our sponsorship deals.

    The wage bill of current players is not factored into our transfer budget. Only
    a potential increase might be.

    However, quite a few players could be leaving this summer namely:
    Ramsey [£110K pw] Contract ends
    Cech [£90K pw] Contract ends
    Monreal[£90Kpw] Contract ends
    Welbeck Contract ends
    Lichsteiner Contract ends

    The only player whose contract might be extended is Cech and if so I would
    expect his wages to be reduced now that he is no longer guaranteed a first
    team start.

    Other players who could/should be offloaded are Chambers and Jenkinson.

    The club could add three U23 players to first team squad in Nelson, Smith-Rowe and Nketiah. I doubt that their combined wages would exceed £90K PW.

    Most of the current squad apart from Welbeck and Ramsey and those aged 30+ have had their contracts renewed in last 12 months so I do not foresee any
    major contract renewals or wage hikes apart from perhaps Torreira whose
    current wage seems rather low.

    I agree with you that the prospect of recruiting Dembele is pure fiction and a pipe dream. Both his transfer fee and wages are going to be beyond our budget.

    If we do bring in a new winger I would be very surprised if we buy someone
    for more than £40-50 million. That would be equivalent to half our transfer
    budget and allow us to buy a couple of more modest acquisitions where they
    are still needed elsewhere.

  14. Bamford10


    “Spurs starting 11 when everyone is fit is second only to City.”

    Nah, Liverpool have a better XI than Spurs do.

  15. Emiratesstroller

    Here are current expiry dates of contracts

    JUNE 2019
    JUNE 2020
    JUNE 2021
    JUNE 2022
    JUNE 2023

  16. Bamford10


    “Morata is pony and Lukaku a donkey. Some experts here wanted us to sign them ahead of Lacazette.”

    I agree that Morata has been a bit of a headcase and a disappointment at Chelsea so far, but he has 5 goals in 750 minutes in the PL this season; Lacazette, on the other hand, has 5 goals in 900 PL minutes. So I don’t see how Lacazette has been all that much better.

    As for last season, Lacazette had 14 goals in 2,200 PL minutes, whereas Morata had 11 goals in 2,000 PL minutes. So even with respect to last season, which was so woeful for Morata that he had to seek psychological counseling, it’s not like Lacazette was all that much better. He was better, sure, but he wasn’t LEAGUES better.

    Also, whatever Chelsea and United think of the strikers they signed, I seriously doubt that either club is pining away for Alexandre Lacazette to be their starting CF. He’s a decent striker, but he’s no Aguero, or Suarez, or RVP. Indeed, I just checked and at the moment there are 13 players in the PL who have scored more goals than Lacazette has.

    I get that you like Lacazette, and no question he’s been better through the center for us than Aubameyang has, but let’s not get carried away with what he has been or what he has done for us so far. He’s been decent, but he hasn’t been pulling up trees.

  17. Emiratesstroller

    Bamford 10

    Aubameyang and Lacazette should be treated as a striker combination. Chelsea are heavily dependent on Morata as their main striker and the same is the case with Lukaku at Man Utd.

    Morata and Lukaku cost significantly higher transfer fees than our strikers so
    one would expect from both these players a better outcome.

    On an entirely different tack much has been discussed about our current wage bill. I am not so sure that it is significantly higher than last season.

    We have offloaded in last financial year Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott,
    Giroud, Sanchez, Mertesacker, Campbell and Peres. That took wage bills of more than £600K pw off our payroll. We have also loaned out this season Ospina and Chambers. Presumably Napoli and Fulham are paying their wages.

  18. Bamford10


    I’m not sure what you mean when you say that Lacazette and Aubameyang “should be treated as a striker combination”. Do you mean that neither was signed as a #1 or a #2 but that they were regarded somehow as equals and alternates? That they were signed in order to be played together and alongside one another and that one should therefore not evaluate them in isolation?

    Please explain.

  19. Goobergooner

    I’m not sure who said it within the coaching staff a few weeks back that they felt Laca could play as the Cam, but I feel that that could work with auba up top and iwobi wide.

    A 4 4 1 1 wouldn’t go astray In my opinion either.

    Though I still don’t know why mhki hasn’t been played central with auba either left or up top.

    We really do need to shape up properly and start playing some good football. If we could sure up the midfield more, and really start controlling the centre of the pitch, our lack of proper width wouldn’t be such an issue, as we could play auba and Laca through the inside channels or over the top a lot more.

    We are usually so deep when starting attacks, but our playing through the lines this season hasn’t been the best, where a lot of our defensive players and deepest cm’s haven’t had enough options playing forward.

    We need that little bit more urgency in wanting the ball from our attacking players, even if it is leaving the halfway line to receive a ball higher up the pitch and playing it back so as to allow another forward pass to another overlapping player, or for a one two if the player passes and moves quick enough.

    I can see Emery’s style of play coming through, and over time I expect it to get quicker and more efficient, especially with new signings.

    I just feel like we need to change something up against Bournemouth and really take it to them.

  20. Bamford10


    “Include all the stats, goals and assists are the standard.”

    It’s funny, but I thought strikers were assessed primarily on goals scored. You’re welcome to highlight other statistics if you like, but none of them are going to show or prove that Lacazette has been leagues better than Morata or Lukaku, even if these two have been somewhat disappointing.

    “And hasn’t Lacazette played for a shit Arsenal to date I thought?”

    Well, no one here has said we are “shit,” so I’m not sure why you are saying that. But if your point is that Morata gets more chances on account of playing for a better team, both players are averaging roughly 2.5 shots per game, so I don’t think that argument carries weight.

    “Oh no Oliver don’t say that….”

    So a Daily Mail writer thinks — four months in to the post-Wenger era — that we’ll need to go beyond the self-sustaining model and the owner will need to dip into his own pockets if we want to contend for the title. Wow, that really changes the argument, Charlie. Groundbreaking stuff you’ve dug up there.

    It may turn out that we’ll need the owner to dig into his own pockets if we want to contend. I think it’s a little early at this point, however, to give up on the current model, the current approach.

  21. Cesc Appeal


    I wouldn’t mind seeing that either.

    Lacazette is quite good at pressuring the midfield players as well. That sort of 4-2-2-2 or 4-2-2-1-1 was the type of thing we were playing against Fulham and it worked really well.

    Guendouzi/Xhaka and Torreira in central midfield, currently you would probably have Iwobi at LM and Mkhitaryan at RM and then Lacazette at CAM/CF/ST and Aubameyang at ST.

    I would give it a go, I think given Emery’s style it might work better for us.

    Against Fulham what happened was that Welbeck sort of filled that role and would rotate out with Mkhitaryan to provide a more conventional CAM in that position when needed.

  22. Paulinho

    That’s why I wanted the XMAS tree formation. Have Auba at the tip of it, and Lacazette just behind with either Ozil/Mikhi also just in behind.

    If we continue to play Auba left wing he will become dispirited and just nose dive because he’s such a limited footballer.

  23. Goobergooner

    Also I still believe unless we sell one of the strikers, xhaka is our most valuable asset at the moment.

    His contract was renewed not because he is seen as great, but because he has value and of course the club don’t want more of the shitty contract situations we have had the last few seasons happening again.

    If we get another cm, I don’t see xhaka being here very long. He is easily replaceable, and I feel that if guen keeps making strides he will take xhakas place sooner rather than later, getting rid of elneny will call for another young player with good potential and then selling xhaka should support new investments either in his replacement or in other parts of the squad.

    It’s all a matter of time for him in my opinion.

  24. Goobergooner

    Cesc, paulinho,

    That Fulham game was great to watch, I wonder what Emery’s thoughts have been on that formation as he hasn’t really gone back to it since.
    I think it would be perfect for the Bournemouth game.

    I just think that having auba up top will see him take his goal scoring to another level above his wing play, and that putting Laca behind him gives that bit of hard work and determination to the Cam/CF spot, as well as an actual goal scoring threat.

  25. Paulinho

    AC Milan played it with great effect:


    ———Rui Costa—kaka——-


  26. Paulinho

    Cesc – Also means Bellerin could concentrate on just providing width. Hasn’t got the ability to come in-field like Lauren or even Eboue so just needs to run in a straight line in this formation.

    If only Monreal was a few years younger……..

  27. Champagne charlie


    Only when it suits does a striker get reduced to a simple goal tally. I’m not going to bother to make a case for Lacazette as better than Morata or Lukaku, the overwhelming evidence comes in watching them play. United fans hate Lukaku, Chelsea fans hate Morata, Banford hates Lacazette. Not the same.

    As I’ve suggested prior, you’re always on edge to produce a comment denigrating Lacazette because it’s the position you took early doors and you don’t get things wrong in your mind. You’d rather change the entire landscape of a convo and attempt to prove countless others wrong than admit fault yourself.

    Also I’ve not dug anything up, it was a headline of an article from today it seems, I didn’t even read it. Just felt compelled to share it given the convo I had with Pedro just earlier about our transfer approach this coming summer with names to replace and little in the back pocket. Stan being tight fisted is simply a concept not lost to folk, despite your ardent support of the yank shadow and suggestion his penny pinching is a made up concept by ”Akbs”.

  28. Marko

    Supporters will not hold up placards in the stand telling Emery it is time to go. They will not hurl invective at him as he stands on the touchline. They will not turn their stadium into a swamp of toxicity, fetid with discontent and seething resentment.

    Why would they, anyway? Well, how about the fact that, with a third of the campaign gone, Arsenal have made a near-identical start this season to the one they made last season under that clapped-out, washed-up, super-annuated, time-serving former manager, Arsene Wenger.

    Obviously there’s a difference between someone 6 months into a job with a mostly inherited squad and someone years past their sell by date who put together said shite squad.

    As for the underlying point of the article about Stan needing to dip his hands into his pockets for us to start winning titles again yeah no shit Sherlock. You gotta question the timing of the article really too. Late November and Emery with only one transfer window under his belt… it’s a bit of a pointless article really. Probably written by a writer not too fond of Arsenal

  29. Leedsgunner

    Whenever formation Emery chooses we should be able to defend better. The team does this first and foremost by not switching off and gifting silly penalties, free kicks and goals to the opposition. I might be harsh here but we defeated ourselves versus Crystal Palace and Wolves with our own stupidity.

    We have to attack and defend as a team like we did against Liverpool.

  30. Dream10

    Good to see some separation occurring at the top of the table. City and the Spuds will be the top two for me. Liverpool alone in third.

    I feel Chelsea are the side that us, Utd and possibly Everton can catch. There will be a number of weeks where their profligacy will cost them. Great news is we have a flawed team we are chasing for 4th place. Bad news is Utd have a chance of shithousing their way to 4th because Arsenal and Chelsea are up and down. Four points in the next two matches would be decent. Six points before we go to Old Trafford would be class

  31. raptora

    If someone can explain to me why did Sarri stop using Barkley?! The guy was clearly a standout performer and possibly the only one being able to share big responsibility with Hazard in the whole Chelsea squad.

    Chelsea had started to hit a bit of a brick wall when in round 6 and 7 they drew vs WH and Pool with 5 wins before that. In next 3 rounds Barkley started 2 games and appeared 1 as a sub vs Manure. He landed 3 goals and 3 assists in that period and Chelsea looked like the thing.

    What did Sarri do?! He benched Barkley and gave back the starter role to Kovacic, who I think has been having a pretty average start to his EPL career. To all the people advocating him as a world class player, he deffo looks some way off the mark at this point of time.

    Chelsea drew a home game to Everton and lost to spuds tonight.

    I’m writing this to people like Pierre and co that were saying how Sarri is the manager we should have signed and not Emery. How he’s already changed Chelsea’s style and Emery has played some scrappy football. It might proof that you guys were right. But Sarri is far from perfect himself. So it’s a bit premature to ejaculate all over him for the sake of Emery. Let’s see how things shape up in the winter period. Then we’ll have a clearer view on things.

  32. Dream10


    Agree with you on the Chelsea CM situation. People are enamored with Kovacic because of his touch and his ability to carry the ball. He’s effective in deep positions or as a box to box, a #6 or an #8. But Jorginho and Kanté are ahead of him for those roles. Barkley is better than Kovacic as the third CM in a #8/#10 role. He can do something in the final third. Chelsea are too flat in the middle. They need a Barkley/Ramsey/Coutinho/Dele/Lampard to get at least two shots per game to balance the team out. We had that problem when Wenger played four creative players behind Giroud with no Walcott in the side. Lots of intricate possession with a low number of efforts on goal.

  33. useroz

    While the xG v points argument may go on for AFC we’d have been seen as ‘luckier’ if Auba, Iwoni, Bellerin did better with their shots say in the Chelsea game as well as two absolutely silly backpasses by Laxazette that costed us points, I suppose we’d all judge in May as usual…

    Manure played awful and CP should have go the 3 pts if, again, someone can shoot. If we’d not deal with this version of Manure God helps Emery.

  34. Champagne charlie


    Good to see you start your day as you mean to go on…

    Maybe our Korean finds simply mirrored everyone else’s until they produced a half decent talent capable of excelling in one of Europe’s top 5 leagues. Or is that what you remember?

  35. Graham62


    #1 highlighting a fact as far as Son is concerned.
    #2 highlighting an engrained opinion, which will never waiver, as far as the rest is concerned.


    Onwards and upwards.

  36. Graham62

    Tough game today.

    Faster tempo that Bournmouth play out may suit Arsenal, as long as everyone’s at the races.

    2-1 or 3-2 to “The Arsenal”.

  37. Champagne charlie


    Interesting that you promote yourself as someone capable of having an opinion that will never change. Quality trait that is..

    Oh back on the onwards and upwards garb after a dig at the past? Maybe do with changing it to onwards and upwards, backwards and sideward. More accurate of you

  38. gonsterous

    Jesus, how shit were chelsea s defence last night?
    Spurs have firing power, hope we have our strongest back line available next week.

  39. China1

    Was son injured earlier in the season?

    Seems like he’s barely played. Whilst the usual names always get the plaudits at spurs, I think he’s their best player. He’s got something like 50 goals in 150 games despite being utilized as a utility player, often off the bench and across several positions

    He’s fast, has technique, an excellent shot and he’s not selfish either. I don’t wax lyrical about spurs players often but he is quality and I’d love to have him on the right wing at arsenal. Would be a substantial improvement

  40. Graham62


    Why does it bother you so much what I think?

    Remember, this is an opinion blog on everything Arsenal, good or bad. That’s what it’s all about.

    Your daily policing of the airways is rather tiring, telling people what they can or cannot say.

  41. Bob N16

    CC, got in there first.
    Graham, a man who likes to share his ‘opinions’ which unapologetically never differ- jaundiced bore.
    ‘Onwards and upwards’ , yeah right!

  42. Champagne charlie


    What did I tell you to say exactly? I responded to a comment you left, that’s what happens when you put opinions out there on a forum. In your head that’s policing obviously, to express a different opinion to yours is to police matters. Brilliant stuff

    Nobody disagree with Graham, that’s not allowed on here.

    “Remember, this is an opinion blog on everything Arsenal, good or bad. That’s what it’s all about.”

    Remember opinions lead to discourse and debate, instead of thinking your opinion can’t be met with any of the above.

  43. Leedsgunner

    This view no doubt will be in the minority and unpopular but Park Chu Young was criminally underused and treated badly by Wenger. The player was a mainstay and a top goal scorer for the national side before he came to us after he left us he was ridiculed for wasting his best years on the bench with us.

    He began his life with us as a panic buy and he was never really given a proper platform on which to prove himself. In doing so, Wenger damaged our relationship with the Korean market such that any player who is any good will ignore us (citing PCY’s experience) and choose Tottenham instead.

    One of Madrid’s top young prospects is a Korean and I know Tottenham is looking to take him on like we took Cesc Fabregas.

  44. Graham62

    CC/ BobN16

    It also makes things interesting.

    Pretty tedious existence if we all agreed on things.

    As far as my opinions on “Arsenal’s history post 2008”, that’s set in stone.

    Suck it up!

  45. raptora

    “When I work with players, whether their level is higher or lower, for me the most important thing is to know the person, what is in their heart.
    My first thing with every club I have worked in is to get a personal relationship with the players, and then build a professional one.
    And the best success for me is not one trophy, it’s not harmony, it’s when players improve and grow.”

    Sounds nice. If he manages to make that special connection with his players, and they are ready to go to war for him, that’d be a huge positive for us. We might be sitting on the lowest skill team we’ve had for the last 20 years but if they give their absolute best we’d be a pretty serious contender for top 4.

  46. China1

    I’m of the opinion that literally all of the Asians we bought were specifically bought as a cheap way of selling a few more shirts in Asia

    I doubt it’s a coincidence that the three or so we’ve signed have basically been refused any opportunities to actually play. They were never bought to play. They were bought for cheap financial wins and I’ve few doubts they more than achieved that

    Call me cynical (I am) but I’ve believed this ever since our first Japanese signing who was actually a very solid player but couldn’t buy an opportunity to play. These are the real arsenal values unfortunately

  47. China1

    I’m still not sold on this xg stat

    It has some meaning but it’s far too much of an oversimplification to build a major argument on

    Winning ugly and taking your chances is a sign of actually being quite good. Because it means that when you are actually on better form things will be easier rather than harder. There’s nothing bad about being efficient. That is a dream scenario.

    Rather than be disappointed that we were winning without playing teams off the park, I’m impressed that things can get easier as we find better form.

    Honestly I’ve seen enough dominant arsenal performances that ended in tears over the years. Whether or not statisticians are surprised that we’ve got a decent points tally without a good squad, in a new system, without finding our best form and whatever else is the last of my concerns. As someone who spends a lot of time at working analyzing and reporting on stats and their significance, a large part of my job literally revolves around creatively interpreting stats to mean what I need them to mean. And this is a very simple thing to do.

    So as someone who needs to push a lot of statistical reports and explain their significance, I’ll be the first to say that people care far too much about one or two key numbers, seriously

  48. useroz

    Our worse results coincide with needing to play with makeshift full backs.

    Kolac has been poor and shows vintage side/back passes during late Wenger times. Not to exonerate Xhara but wtf Kolac made that silly back pass all the way from the Wolves half? Could easily have bring it further upfield. That’s self inflicted and up there with the ones Laxazette did.

    3 stupid back passes ended with 3 goals conceded one way or other. Cut it out and we’d be fine for now.

    AFC must do some deals in Jan though. Sell some and grab a 2 to 3 young guns in would set up 2H of the season nicely.

    Chelsea really isn’t scary nor Spuds and Manure. If we keep it up, Top 4 is very achievable in our first season along the recovery journey.

  49. gonsterous


    son came back late from the world cup and then went away for the Asian games. So he’s missed a huge chunk of their games but on the upside, he’s been playing a lot of games. Been over used by the Korean national side and I’m sure he’s going to either drop in form soon or get injured.

  50. Cesc Appeal

    This will be a very tough game today. We know that Bournemouth will start the game with a lot of intensity and look to rattle us right away.

    We need to put a lid on them and move the ball quickly up the field, we cannot afford any passengers.

    Quite an interesting discussion last night about formations, whether it should be a 4-2-2-2/4-2-2-1-1 or something like a 4-3-2-1 with Lacazette taking a more CAM/CF/ST type role.

    But we are likely to see a 4-2-3-1 today. If we play Aubameyang at LM we’re going to struggle, these are the type of games Welbeck would have been great in.

    If Ozil starts we cannot afford for him to do his usual and go into hiding. He has to actually have some balls and show for the ball otherwise we will struggle against the press.

    Interesting game.

    I’m glad Emery already realises there are no easy games in the EPL.

  51. Cesc Appeal

    There are so many links to Arsenal and players in January.

    Some are no doubt click bait, but I think there’s too much smoke here.

    I read that how we enter January will govern how much the club spends, if we’re in the top four or within touching distance the club might spend more freely gambling on UCL football, if not then not so much.

    Why did we wait this long to change things? Look at the position we’re in now.

  52. Goobergooner


    “I’m still not sold on this xg statIt has some meaning but it’s far too much of an oversimplification to build a major argument on Winning ugly and taking your chances is a sign of actually being quite good. Because it means that when you are actually on better form things will be easier rather than harder. There’s nothing bad about being efficient. That is a dream scenario. Rather than be disappointed that we were winning without playing teams off the park, I’m impressed that things can get easier as we find better form.”

    I absolutely agree with this. Well said!

    How many times in a season do things happen like a miss from inside the 6 yard box that any other day would be taken; and the exact opposite where someone flukes it say like David Luiz getting out of the way of Kane’s shot last night which left the keeper flat footed.

    I just don’t see how it’s now bandied about like the most important stat.

  53. Goobergooner

    Haha a lot may argue that Kane’s goal wasn’t a fluke, so another example would be mkhis cross that ended up in at the far post curling over everyone.

  54. Ddkingz

    Kolasinac is totally awful
    No pass from mkhi..
    Auba is awful, no off the ball movement… can’t hold the ball…. Totally ineffective game…

    Anybody that laments more about mkhi and auba understanding and chemistry….. Please pedro, do everyone a favour by totally blocking the poster….

  55. Wenker-Wanger

    yh i agree with many that say we have quite an incomplete team…many flawed players….some with weaknesses that you would worry about against the top teams.
    But how do we keep on being unbeaten?
    why didnt liverpool thrash us in the first 25 minutes?
    simple! A manager that is very astute tactically and has the players confidence in everything he tells them.
    Im very impressed with emery….we are to some degree punching above our weight.
    The contrast to the mr magoo we had a year ago is stark.