by .

Well hello.

Arsenal are playing in the League Cup. Patino might start. But who can see it? Just the season ticket holders at the ground. Weird move to not show the game this evening.

Checkout my Patino song:

(to the tune of the Vieira song)


So sad that I can’t sing this at the computer screen tonight.

Onto other news. There’s been a lot of ‘NOTHING HAS IMPROVED’ with the football, but there are some swanky new stats from Crab Stats that point to green shoots here (full read is great).

Overall Arsenal have moved the ball into the box on 23% of their possessions this season. That ranks 3rd in the Premier League this season, with only Manchester City and Liverpool doing more.


Arsenal have 209 final third entries this season, averaging 41.8 per match, ranking 7th in the Premier League at getting the ball into the final third, overall Arsenal have touched the ball 816 times in the final third which is 8th most. For Arsenal this is a bit of feast or famine, against Brentford (58), Norwich (60), and Burnley (50), Arsenal are averaging 56 final third entires per match and against Manchester City (21) and Chelsea (20), Arsenal are averaging 20.5 final third entries.

The thing to consider with the numbers:

1) These stats would be far more impressive if we didn’t have a COVID/injury nightmare at the start of the season

2) They’ll get better because we won’t play the Champions League finalists every week.

Onto the actual data, it’s encouraging. The purpose of the summer was to bring in players that could move the ball vertically at speed because last season we couldn’t get the ball into the box. Well, the new signings are doing the job we brought them in to do.

The concern? We’re shite at turning the better possession into shots on target at goals. What positives can we draw from that?

1) The players we have are all very new to each other. As they learn what the system is about, spend more time with each other, and adapt to the cognitive style of football we’re trying to play… those final third passes will get better and so will the runs to find them.

2) We have good players that aren’t firing right now. Nicolas Pepe will find the target at some point. Odegaard, ESR, and Saka will find their shooting boots. Auba, our most potent striker, will work out some chemistry and the hard work will eventually bang. Good players find the net in the end.

So in short, when people say nothing has changed, they are talking nonsense. The eye test told you that, the individual comps that fly out after every game evidence it, now you have the stats… we’re missing the final pass and shot. When that drops, we’ll start doing more damage to teams.

Hopefully, that’s soon and it starts tonight. See you in the comments, but the only way you get into the comments is consuming the podcast with your ears or eyes.



Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Venga, Dani

    Arteta on Patino:

    “He was very close, but we decided some players need some minutes. It will happen naturally with time. Charlie has been good, he’s been training with us, he played a practice game at Colney & was really good. But again, he needs time & we will prepare him.”

  2. TheLegendaryDB10

    Really happy with the win.

    Wombles were not much of a threat but it was good to see us keep control of the game and make sure we got the win.

    Now onto the Spuds. They will be tough customers with 0 pity for us.

    Let’s give ’em what they deserve and worry about the current situation after.

    Right now, beating the Spud cunts is all that counts.

  3. Dissenter

    “Brotherhood of Arsenal’s Sincere Trusted And Really Dedicated Servants (B.A.S.T.A.R.D.S)”

    Your talented is wasted on Arsenal.

  4. Dissenter

    Eddie looks like he’s coming into a different level
    Pierre may have been right about him all along

    It’s only Wimbledon but the lad is looking more and more polished as time goes on

    They have to smooth-talk him into signing an extension
    Maybe Edu, Merts, Arteta and the other B.A.S.T.A.R.D.S can lock him into a bank vault to convince him to sign.

  5. TheLegendaryDB10

    For me the fact that they are finally spelling out what they are doing right now just shows that they are just big fucking amateurs ( just like Walter said it in the Big Lebowski) .

    We’ll find out at the end of this season whether Walter was right that MA is just one big fucking amateur. 😉

  6. Dissenter

    They have to try losing him for zilch
    They have to make him sign an extension. he’s going to be a decent premier league striker, no reason why he can’t be the rotating stiker when Auba and Laca take their dog&pony show else where.

  7. TheLegendaryDB10

    Naija soccer

    There is nothing to understand.

    They are just trying to prop up a novice for the job and try and frame whatever he does as if its the future of the club.

    There is no target applicable as it is a rebuild apparently. That same courtesy was not extended to Emery of course.

    Incredible cynism.

  8. LoveSausage


    I’d love to see Eddie get a shot in a PL game or two. I’ll admit I’m sceptical whether he has what it takes based on previous performances and was hoping we’d sell him before the season. But it’s not uncommon for players in that age group to find their boots all of a sudden. With Auba being absolute dogs hit right now, it couldn’t hurt to give it a try.

  9. China1

    Just seen a short highlights video. Looks like the game was easily dominated by us. Shoreline obviously what you’d hope for and Eddie seems to have picked up where he left off in preseason with a great goal

    My main question tho is why was partey playing? He needs wrapping in cotton wool

  10. Guns of SF


    Maybe to build his fitness being out so long…
    I just hope he doesnt repeat last years game against spurs when he got hurt and mike pushed him back on the field as they scored on us.

    What a shit show that was…

    IF that happens, I full back him slapping mike a really good one in the face LOL

  11. MD-Gunner

    Possibly to the delight of some here a swap with Juve of Xhaka for McKennie. It will be a testing ground for Tets, if you think Guen was bad just wait for Weston. Disciplinary issues with Juve and the US Men team.

  12. Dark Hei

    Hold your horses on Nketiah. Sure he did a Kanu finish but Kanu is also known for his inconsistency. Let us hope he can build from here. Either a smart transfer fee or a nice contract extension. Everyone is happy if he takes it up to the next level

  13. Pierre

    As i have been saying for the last couple of years , the kids have never let us down on the pitch.They have got us through the group stages in europe with ease, same with the league cup and FA cup early rounds

    .Any one who thinks Balogun is ahead of Eddie Eddie doesn’t understand the game, Balogun is still learning , Eddie is 100% ready and as far as I’m concerned should be starting.

    We may have a similar situation to smith rowe and willock developing here, in that Eddie needs a little injury or 2 to players like Aubameyang and pepe to give him the game time to show the manager and fans how good he really is..

    Willock had to move to get game time, to show his qualities, with smith rowe a couple of injuries last christmas gave him the opportunity to stake a claim in the first team and he hasn’t looked back .

    We are a team that needs to score more goals and Eddie may have found a niche position for himself playing in a sort of inside left position, meaning he can get on the ball more in deeper areas but still make the well timed runs into the box to finish off moves.

    Eddie could be exactly what we need at this present time, push saka out to the inside right , eddie to the inside left ,smith rowe/ Odegaard in the hole with lakonga and partey holding the midfield and the full backs giving the width ..

    Will mean pepe and xhaka out of the side…

  14. Kris

    a serious question:
    What is your affiliation to Eddie Nketiah?

    less serious:
    How many goals has Willock scored this season?

    and another serious one:

    If neither Willock nor Nketiah make it in a top 6 team – as starters – will you admit you were wrong about them or will you blame various circumstances/coaches/etc? Are you the kind of man who can admit he was wrong?

  15. Nelson

    I am all for putting some pressure on Auba. As a start, if he doesn’t score after 70 mins, sub him out by Eddie. At least, Eddie works harder. But knowing Arteta, he always favors seniors.

  16. Pierre

    “less serious:
    How many goals has Willock scored this season?”

    You are showing your football ignorance .

    Firstly Willock has been playing in centre midfield and has scored roughly the same amount of goals as the Arsenal central midfielders…..nil.

    Secondly Willock never had a pre season ( about 30 mins of football) , and anyone who understands the game would recognise that without a pre season a player needs 4/5/6 games to get up to speed …

    Willock has been starting in centre mid for a struggling newcastle side despite having no pre season, so maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to judge /criticise.

    As for
    ” a serious question:
    What is your affiliation to Eddie Nketiah?”

    Simple , i like what i see , and i believe he has more to his game than he is given credit for.
    He has started probably a handful of league games in 18 months, which is hardly enough to prove his quality.

    I note that you believe that if they don’t make it at a top 6 side ( as starters) you will regard them as failures …. i wouldn’t.

    Basically you are saying that Eddie starting for Arsenal would be regarded as a failure as we are not a top 6 side.

  17. shaun

    “Ramsdale, Tomi, White, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey, Lokonga, Saka, Odegaard, ESR, Auba” looks right to me although I would swap ESR for Pepe obviously lol………………….lol .i just prefer ESR in the 10 position and although they have completely different styles of play they tend to drift into the same positions to receive the ball they being ODE and ESR .I actually prefer ESR in the 10 position but he is still a little naïve and his decision making is not quite what it should be .I would probably start ODE in the 10 and then bring ESR on when the spuds legs are tiring .Probably make a double change as I think ODE fits Auba more and ESR fits Laca more if you no what I mean .But one thing that must not happen and that is XHAKA back in the starting line up for a NLD . XHAKA is slow and ponderous at his best .The spuds have been warming up Tanguy and you can bet they are going to target Partey and who wouldn’t with his injury record so as things stand I think we have a good chance also but it kinda depends on the formation and the players selected

  18. Nelson

    An experienced coach would have Patino on the bench and subbed him in after leading by two. It would make him happy and more willing to sign an extension.

  19. Naija+soccer

    Unpopular opinion but how about we try Pepe in the hole behind striker. Got a feeling he will really thrive there. Although that would mean moving ESR and I don’t want that either.

    But they can alternate or replace each other when the other one isn’t available.
    I just think playing Pepe on right wing all the time is lazy .

  20. Ishola70

    Pepe has shown he lacks intelligence so in the hole behind the striker may not be the best for him.

    You got to be cute for that position.

    But I understand why it was put forward.

    The search for goals in this barren side.

  21. China1

    What is the definition of a final third entry? A player has to carry the ball into the final third or the ball has to be played to someone in the final third? Or the ball just has to be played into the final third irrespective of if the pass is successful?

  22. China1

    Curious because we’d probably be extremely high up in the PL table for stats like ‘crosses attempted’ which sounds good until you realize our crossing game is poor and strategically dumb with usually just an isolated not very good in the air CF to half heartedly aim for!

  23. China1

    Naija Pepe at 10 would be goals, I do believe that – but his passing and decision making can be quite dubious at times so I’m not sure the rest of his game would justify it

    It would be the inverse of ozil who would get assists but otherwise be largely poor in 2/3rds of games

  24. Valentin


    Answering from the previous thread to your view on Nkethia and Balogun.
    I agree that the agent (BTW it is the same for both Nkethia and Balogun) did not give them the best advice for their long term career. Unless he believe that Arteta will soon be gone and that the new manager is likely to play Nkethia.

    I said last year that despite the hype Balogun was nowhere near ready for premiership football especially not at Arsenal or any top 4 aspiration club. The best thing he should go is a regularly starting place at a championship club that plays decent football. He needs 2 seasons of professional senior football: 1 at a lower League and one at a top League maybe in Germany.

    Regarding Nkethia, I got a nagging feeling that he could surprise people, because his summer training session with Willock and St Maximin resulted in him bulking. He looks he now has a presence where before he looked too skinny.

    Anyway when one or two of Lacazette and Auba are gone, we will still need to have an ready made striker with a physical presence upfront when we need our Plan B.

  25. Valentin


    The problem is that we play basic high crosses to a tall striker, but we don’t have any and none of our strikers are great in the air.
    Replace Aubameyang by an Isak type of striker and he would lap it up.

    We need to change our way to attack. Also Tierney need to offer more variety in his crosses: hard low first post (like Cedric did yesterday for Nkethia’s goal), cutback, floaty second post.

  26. Naija+soccer


    I actually think Pepe is intelligent enough to play well there. I don’t know who decided that the right wing is his best position but its never been. He’s restricted there.

    Most expensive player and we can’t even be bothered to find his ideal position. The few times I ve seen him popping up in that ‘in the hole’ zone, he’s looked a better, different and a transformed player.

  27. Naija+soccer


    I think he would provide more than goals. For one he would insert the chaos factor in our attack and defenses would be scared.

    Hes playing on the right wing restricted almost one hand behind his back. Position doesn’t suit him.

    Funny enough, I think his time playing on the right wing restricted, is the torture and training that would help him blossom in the right position.

  28. Ishola70


    “Most expensive player and we can’t even be bothered to find his ideal position”

    We don’t know what his “ideal” position is do we except he has played most of his career exactly where Arsenal have been playing him for the most part.

    As others have said it’s a shame that his decision making is very suspect.

  29. China1

    The lack of aerial threat in the box is only half of it tho because our invincibles scored fuck all headers – but they didn’t need to because they flooded the box.

    Mid height crosses, low smashed crosses, cut backs, all in towards top quality finishers and if the ball had any sort of deflection or poor clearance, or flapped save or pinball, there was always a high chance of it landing at the feet of any of about 3 players with a couple more not far outside the box.

    Seeing a CF by himself in the box as a cross comes in is one of the most miserable sights in football!

  30. curse

    Naija, it’s maddening isn’t it?

    not completely wasted out wide as his stats suggest but for me he should be CF.
    the most clinical finisher we have and he’s played there before. Not to mention he actually has an ariel threat.
    Right foot left foot, short back lift, ability to dribble past, speed etc…
    I’d would imagine Auba’ contract is what laid that to rest, shame.

  31. Tom

    Roberto Martinez amongst a handful of names to replace Koeman at Barca who’s rumored to be on his way out.
    Arteta’s name not in the mix though, which is strange considering they are also in a midst of a process youth type a rebuild Arteta is being championed for by many around here and his Barca alleged DNA.

  32. englandsbest


    I think we’re both on the wrong page, but yes, an eye=opener of a movie.

    Sticking to the ‘M’s, I make Matthew McConaughay my most memorable movie man