Today, we have a bit of a fun data run for you with the YouGov Chat button that a load of you have been playing with. We’ll talk about fan player ratings today.
I asked: Value a player from 1-5, 5 being the most valuable, 1 being not so valuable.
The numbers were very interesting. The sample size we had was about 500, which is pretty good going for a survey.
Let’s start with the: What do the fans think of the new signings?
As you’ll remember, there was a lot of ‘WE HAVEN’T MOVED THE NEEDLE BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW THESE PLAYERS’ after the transfers window. Well, we’re one game in and the average rating for the 6 new signings was 3.81. Which is really high considering the average value of the entire squad was 3.10. Take Nuno Tavares out, who hasn’t started a game yet, and the rating goes up to a whopping 3.97.
- White 3.95
- Ramsdale 3.98
- Tomiyasu 3.89
- Lokonga 3.85
- Tavares 3.03
- Odegaard 4.17
So what can we take from this? Well, it seems the fans like the players a lot after winning, but in general, knowing a lot of Arsenal fans and hearing a lot of opinions, I think the fans actually just like this new group of players. There will be ups and downs, there will be mistakes, but they all have talent and they’ll all get better as the season goes on. I also like that character is shining through. Tomiyasu is clearly a big personality in the dressing room, and I love to see Aaron Ramsdale making videos for kids that have suffered loss. It’s small things like this that you think are standard with footballers, but I can tell you, there are players that have been at Arsenal where that has not been the case.
The top 5 players the fans are loving at the moment are to be expected.
- Saka 4.88
- ESR 4.70
- Tierney 4.67
- Partey 4.66
- Odegaard 4.17
Nothing mind-blowing there, though I was surprised to see centre back Gabriel just outside the top 5, clearly his performance against Norwich struck a chord. Getting a little more specific? The average age of the top 5 players is 23, even with Thomas Partey stinking the joint out at the grand old age of 28. If you expand the group to the top 10 most valued Arsenal players, the age goes to 22.7.
What does this tell you?
That the fans are on board with the summer strategy, that they like the idea of a youthful squad, and hopefully they are willing deal with the ups and downs that will come as part of the learning process this season.
We wanted a Dortmund++ and we basically have it. The ++ comes from the fact that we buy expensive players to supplement our kids like Auba and Partey. It also differs from the German side because we’re buying elite young players with bundles of Premier League experience. But make no mistake, this is a similar model. We’re doing it this way because that’s the only way to compete. We can’t buy a Premier League winning team, we’ll have to grow it.
This comes with some ramifications. Fans will have to temper expectations of a league run this season (lol). They’ll also have to accept that young players have ups and downs. But long term, this was the only way to do things and I think that it’s a very likeable plan that 95% of fans will get behind. As Mike McDonald said yesterday, we just have to be patient with it, and remember to continue to be awesome fans in the ground like we have been in every game so far. Young players need to feel the love, when they do, they get better, and learn faster.
I don’t really want to get into the players the fans aren’t loving at the moment. It’s basically a mix of players that we’ve replaced, that won’t leave, or have big PR issues at the moment. Overall though, the message is positive. The fans like the new squad, they like the players, and the direction on paper seems to be pleasing fans.
Right, before I go, make sure you read the ‘WHAT THE HELL IS ARTETA DOING‘ article from yesterday. Mike is a successful British coach in America and he took the time out to explain what he thinks is going on at Arsenal and I thought it was excellent. The article is the most engaged article of the past year, I think it’s clear that it has opened a lot of minds to what the plan is, and it’s hard not to get behind the sentiment.
Now we have to hand the controls to Arteta. He has to deliver a result at the weekend. He has to continue the good work of Norwich at a very violent stadium. I can’t wait.
Also worth noting that Arteta has pivoted his messaging. Hearing him talk about a ‘very bright light’ at the end of a tunnel is what fans want to hear. He needs to be aggressive about this new vision at Arsenal. He needs to defend his players and pump them. He needs to make us all believers again. The time is now, let’s see what the boys have.