WEAPONISATION OF ARSENAL XG: WHY IT’S BANG AVERAGE ANALYSIS

by .

Well good morning to you, this will be a BIG week of writing and podcasting. I have a VERY special backroom guest lined up on Wedneday and I just know it’s going to be a banger. We’ll be powering on with a lot of writing because no doubt, because there will be a lot of people trying to take things off track this week.

First port of call? xG statistics.

There’s a table doing the rounds… sorry… a few tables doing the rounds that indicate Arsenal are the worst at everything this season.

We have two tables here. The bottom one is xG for the season, which has us in 16th. The on the top is Sky making a fuss of our attacking statistics this season.

So how do we react?

Firstly, on the xG table and data in general.

Statistics are there to point you in the direction of problem or an opportunity. In the world of football scouting, data tools allow analysts to drill down into a profile of player they are hunting, which gives finite scouting resource sharper direction so they get to what the club needs quicker.

In football, a statistic is rarely the ‘thing’, because it’s a nuanced game that is chaotic and difficult to measure.

Example:

INTERNET HOT TAKE: Aaron Ramsdale has been relegated 3 times. He conceded over 120 goals in his last two loans. He must be shit.

Ok. What contextual reference points do we have that might counter the above?

He won Fan Player of the Season at three of those clubs. Ok, interesting, so clearly, if fans of relegated clubs love a player, there must be something there. Especially if it’s the goalkeeper.

Sheffield United had 400 centre back combinations in a season that was ravaged by injury. Ok, so maybe the players in front of him weren’t that good?

There are hardly any 23-year-olds regularly making starts in the Premier League in that position. Ok, maybe he has something about him that is so unique, managers with weak squads keep going out of their way to have him as the first name on the team sheet?

He’s played for progressive managers and clubs, even if they have been poor. Ok, what are those guys interested in about his game? Maybe his passing is special?

If you scouted Ramsdale by his xG saves number, would you have bought him? If you scouted him based on goals conceded, would you have bought him? If you scouted him based on team success, would you have bought him?

No. Because context and the eye test are VERY important.

The xG table makes for grim reading this season, but only if you are an xG junkie that watches highlights of Arsenal. Remember, xG is a stat that is designed to give you a deeper understanding of results. Weaponising it when we’re 5th in the table isn’t sharp unless you have a good angle of attack, especially when context would say fans that actually go are very happy, and pundits were asking Arteta if Arsenal were a title threat before the Liverpool game.

Our start was brutal. We had a covid outbreak that wiped out 5 players, plus 4 injuries. We lost to Brentford, then had to play the European Cup finalists back to back. That was not good for xG. We deserved to lose, but there was context to those failings, and I think we’ve all accepted them now.

So a bad start for xG.

Arsenal then went out and rebuilt the defence, got injured players back to fitness, and covid patients recovered. We started Phase 2 of the season with a team that had 5 new starters. By the Spurs game, we’d finished with 6 new players in the starting 11.

What was the football trend? We started very fast, scored goals, then sat back to absorb the pressure.

Did anyone watching the Spurs game (eye test) come out of that thinking we were unlucky not to lose? No? Well, we lost on xG. If we’d won that game 5-0, no one would have thought us lucky. But xG had it as a loss despite the control and ease of the afternoon.

The Leicester game was the same. We should have won 4-0, we started majestically, but we let our foot off the gas and they had a few nice chances. Was the game ever out of control? Were we ever really in danger? No. But xG doesn’t record the context of the game or how we played it.

What is the reality of the season right now?

We’re 5th. Even after getting spanked by Liverpool this weekend.

We are 5th after our worst start in Premier League history. This position been earned.

We are 5th after reengineering our starting 11 with 6 players under the age of 24. These players have had 9 games together.

We are 5th after playing Manchester City and Liverpool away from home.

The xG sample size is small, it lacks context, and the eye test isn’t really telling us the things the Emery eye test was.

If we’re going to use context, let’s be fair here… let’s look at our performance since Arteta had all the players he wanted available for games.

Arsenal since Phase 2 of the season started (Norwich)

We haven’t scored a lot of goals, it’s true. But we’ve scored 2 less than Manchester City in the same period. Even with the absolute drubbing we took at the weekend, it’s safe to say our defence is going to be pretty good: Liverpool, West Ham, and an in-form Wolves have all conceded more than us. We have the 3rd best record defensively over that time period.

United has conceded 19 since Phase 2 started.

Attack is a worry, but again, only 4 teams have scored more than us. We have some problems here. Auba and Lacazette aren’t the full ticket. We know that. The coaching team know that. They have a very delicate political situation to deal with. How do you deftly deal with a captain that isn’t doing it? Eddie wants out, you can’t use him. Balogun is too young. Martinelli has been dreadful since the start of the year. Something has to give.

The attacking issue is also more complicated. Overall, it’s clear, we aren’t creating enough high-quality chances. But I also think part of that is because we don’t have elite quality in the final third when it comes to strikers, that is combined with having two rookie players as the focus of our chance creation in Saka and ESR. Would I change those two for anyone? No. But we have to accept they aren’t Mane and Salah… yet.

Let’s look at attempts at goal this season. The Sky stat box doesn’t have shots on goal, a number we usually use. In total, we’re at 13.25 a game. An improvement on previous years, but not amazing. However, when you take out the top 3 teams we’ve played again, the average goes up significantly to 16.3 per game. How does that look against previous seasons? Well, that number would have us higher than Liverpool for the whole of last season. That number would have us higher than Arsenal of 2014-15 when we had Santi, Ramsey, Ozil and Sanchez in the side. Take out the top 3 teams this season and our attempt production isn’t that bad. We are 9 games into the new regime, my guess is that when the cognitive style of football kicks in, we’ll see better chances, more will be taken, and our attempts on goal stat will climb.

Now imagine we had a striker in the system that could hold the ball up and make a nuisance of themselves like DCL or Ivan Toney. We don’t have anyone that can make something of all the great crosses we know we can deliver.

I know we don’t have other tools available now. We don’t need another striker to challenge for top 6 this season. But let’s be honest, it’s going to be tough against the top 2 teams until we change that.

Final point on all of this.

This is Project Youth 2.0.

We are not ready to compete with Liverpool. Our aim is to compete with everyone outside Liverpool, City and maybe Chelsea. I think this calendar year, we’re at 36 games and only City and Chelsea have more points than us, so again, when you put some noise cancellers on the drama queens, we’re actually demonstrating the sort of consistency required to be seriously considered in the mix for top 4 this season.

There will be peaks and troughs. The boys just delivered a 10+ game unbeaten run after a shocking start. This catastrophizing over bumps in the road does nobody any favours. It’s just a shame the most moronic voices on the internet are rewarded because tech algorithms prioritise confident bad takes over those grounded in reality because one is exciting and the other is boring.

These players have had 9 games together, that isn’t an excuse, it’s reality. They have so much work to do to start playing the cognitive style of football this system requires. They have so many lessons to learn until they are ready to deal with shocks to the system as a group and on the pitch. Sometimes the football will be fluid and dreamy, sometimes it’ll be clunky and tough to watch.

… but when everything beds in and clicks – and it will – this team will be ready to go to the moon.

The current strategy is the only way we make it back to the top. We spent 8 years trying to sign ‘ready-made’ players and it was a fucking disaster we still haven’t managed to get over. The simple truth is this: If you want to make it back to the top without the most money, you have to take some pain. We are going to take some pain this season, but at least it’ll be for an idea that stands a chance.

The biggest issue on our agenda right now isn’t trying to find an answer for losing at Anfield. That shit happens to the best teams in the world. The biggest agenda item is beating Newcastle, then taking advantage of a United side in disarray. Win those two games and we’re right back on track (sorry, I mean more on track, because we are already on track).

Our season works in phases. We’ve won the last two after a poor start. The objective now is to take 20 points from the next 27 in Phase 4. That’s going to be a tough ask, but so was 20 points from 24 in Phase 2 / 3, but we managed it.

Spitting distance of top 4 by January 2nd is the goal. If we’re there, I promise you, we’re going to be in with a shout of top 4 come the end of the season, because the chances are, our young players will click during those months and start delivering a more consistent flow of performances.

Finally, I know I am going overboard in answering a loud minority of people that don’t really exist in the ground, but I do think it’s important to reiterate… how we react after a defeat is important. It’s painful to watch people go to the worst possible outcome as soon as there’s a single bad moment. #ArtetaOut after yesterday? It’s so childish. If the players behaved like that, we’d be truly fucked. The great hope I always carry is that the people that go know better, as they’ve shown over and over again this season. I am so thankful for that. I cannot wait to go to some games in December and experience it myself.

So in short, I wouldn’t let xG worry you too much. We have good players, there’s a clear vision, we’ve hoovered up a lot of points, maintained a good defensive record, and hopefully our attack will kick up a gear in December.

On that note, check out our latest podcast below OR if you are feeling frisky, check out the Latte Firm video where I hang with FK, Walid and Rohan and talk xG and that ‘fight’ on the touchline.

ACAST | SPOTIFY | GOOGLE | CASTBOX 

 

322 Responses to “WEAPONISATION OF ARSENAL XG: WHY IT’S BANG AVERAGE ANALYSIS”

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  1. naz

    Martinelli was excellent last season when he came back from injury? He hasn’t been great this season but if you’re writing off the chelsea game for the team to defend arteta, why wouldn’t you do the same for Martinelli. If anything the Liverpool game showed that even if we had our full strength team againt city and chelsea we still would have got hammered.

  2. SMK

    The attacking numbers are simply not good enough Pedro.

    We’ve been outscored by 13 teams. If we want to have any chance of Europe this season, we have to be amongst the top 6 scorers in the league! We know our defensive numbers are alright.

    Also need to reduce the amount of saves Ramsdale has to make per game. Otherwise we are in big trouble in the long run.

    We can’t keep relying on the “fine margins” sooner or later our luck will run out, again…

  3. Ernest Reed

    “So in short, I wouldn’t let xG worry you too much. We have good players, there’s a clear vision, we’ve hoovered up a lot of points, maintained a good defensive record, and hopefully our attack will kick up a gear in December.”

    So in other words, xG means little because you can debunk it to suit a narrative? Got it.

    Note to self: xG bad, Debunking good.

  4. Thank you and goodnight

    Naz

    Pretty obvious he doesn’t rate Martinelli or Eddie. Not saying those 2 are the answer, surely given game time they’ll improve on the bang average Aubu and Lacazette. I like Lacazette as he does put a shift in, but ultimately not good enough in front of goal

  5. Ernest Reed

    “how we react after a defeat is important”

    Absolutely Pedro, they must respond quickly and decisively. Newcastle are one of those teams that Arsenal should be beating, period.

  6. Batistuta

    We’re not scoring or creating enough chances for the strikers to convert, sooner rather than later it’ll catch up with us and reflect the league position. 13 teams already outscoring us is scary stuff however way you look at it. We’re on course for another low scoring season and no serious team wins anything substantial or even moves foward in their process without scoring goals

  7. Dark Hei

    My hunch is that xG correlates better with GD than points.

    I am surprised at this mega piece.

    Getting hammered by Liverpool isn’t the end of the season. Maybe to some. But to say that we are moving towards elite…..xG is a measure of performance, regardless of the results.

  8. Pierre

    The top 4 teams in the league are
    Liverpool
    Man city
    Chelsea
    West ham

    The top 4 teams with the most favourable XG difference are
    Liverpool
    Man city
    Chelsea
    West Ham

    It appears to me , looking at those stats, that XG is quite a good barometer in assessing how a team is performing

    In fact , if you look at the league table and the XG difference table , there is very little difference in teams positions in either table , Arsenal being the exception which is a worry

    Can Arsenal continue to buck the trend and stay in fith spot despite having an XG difference in the bottom .third, i don’t think so .

    It will catch up with us in the end unless we create more chances and concede less chances……

    The XG table gives the impression that we are presently in a false position in the league table…

    All i will say is , that unless Arteta finds a way for the team to perform better away from home , our league position will drop like a stone as we can’t keep relying on Ramsdale to repeat his heroics of our last 3 away games v liverpool, Leicester and brighton when he was man of the match..

  9. Rich

    I’d like to see Odegaard + Niles + Tierney brought back in for Newcastle

    We’ll likely have the majority of possession at home, I watch more Newcastle games than I would care too, they’ve got pace in their forward line that can cause issues, but defensively they’re suspect, we should definitely have a real go at their backline:

    ………Ramsdale
    …….White Gabriel
    Tomi Partey Niles
    .Odegaard Smith Rowe
    …….Saka……..Tierney
    ..….Aubameyang

  10. redbro14

    Great post Pedro! We need to dust ourselves down and focus on the Newcastle game. Not sure what people think, but I was wondering about Thomas Partey and his contribution since he joined. I don’t think we have seen the kind of player we thought we signed. It’s been patchy to say the least. Never injured for AM but with us he does not seen to get the injury free run that he needs. I would like to see our midfield strengthened as soon as possible, unless AMN and Odegard get more games there. We also need fresh blood upfront, something you already mentioned Pedro, so there is plenty we can do with current and hopefully new signings in January and next summer.

  11. Ustyno

    Pedro

    Arteta is building something nice lately whether it will succeed time will tell,but stop jumping up and down

    Few days ago you wrote about how Arteta outperformed Klopp over a calendar year and you brought stat to back it up you didn’t say say let’s ignore the top 3 teams because it favours your narrative only to be telling us now that we take out top 3 because it doesn’t favour your narrative

    I’m beginning to like what Arteta is trying to do but soft pedal on this narrative,it making us the readers seem like we can’t think for ourselves

  12. Pierre

    This is how it works…

    First game of the season Balogun and Martinelli are thrown into a makeshift side and not surprisingly struggled to make an impact….they haven’t started a league game since, despite the team only scoring 7 goals from open play all season..

    And talking of XG , we had 22 shots that day and conceded 8 shots against …the 2nd best this season home and away.

    So there could be case for saying that our young strikers were unfairly treated as apart from norwich at home , we haven’t produced those numbers.

    We lose to liverpool , so who will be the fall guys, guaranteed it won’t be our underperforming experienced strikers , no it will be lakonga and Tavares who will be banished from the starting line up ….and that’s how it works these days.

  13. Time Up

    I can’t believe Pedro just said VVD and that tall Donkey have been 37 games unbeaten while playing together at Anfield to defend the humiliation at Anfield.

    Lesser teams with lesser players “Brighton” with a better manager “Potter” every time they went there and gave them a game regardless.

    With Arteta we don’t even get out of our own half. Is that not average for you!. Your love for the man has surpassed the love of Pierre to Ozil, which was didn’t think anyone could mange.

  14. Rich

    Pierre, your obsession with fielding our 11 youngest players with the least experience, is just weird at this point

    Xhaka will brain fart at least twice a season, but he has the experience to deal with that, younger players don’t have the experience to deal with mistakes, it can really get to them

    If Tierney is fit, then he should come back in

    Sambi did ok in the first half, but fell apart early in the second half, it’s no big deal, it’s to be expected with a young players against the quality + experience of a team like Liverpool

    Taking young players who struggle out of the firing line is what most managers do, because keeping them in there, can cause more harm than good

    Older players have the experience to deal with difficult moments, younger players don’t

  15. Pierre

    The quickest way to destroy a young player’s confidence is to drop them after a defeat and then continue to leave them out of the side for weeks on end.

    We have seen this happen many times under Arteta, young players like , Guendouzi, Eddie, Balogun, Willock, Martinelli, Saliba, Nelson and AMN have all been subjected to this poor man management from Arteta.

    I am hoping that Tavares and Lakonga are selected to start v Newcastle to maintain their confidence,, Newcastle is a game that will be a breath of freah air after the difficult liverpool match.

  16. englandsbest

    Eddie – go or stay – should play. Or give Pepe a go. Or anybody who can keep the opposition defence fully occupied, not allow them to settle pn the ball, pick a pass. The way Liverpool did on Saturday.

  17. Pierre

    Time up
    “!. Your love for the man has surpassed the love of Pierre to Ozil, which was didn’t think anyone could mange.”

    As you mentioned Ozil, it is no coincidence that our creativity has plummeted over the last 18 months without him… .

    We still haven’t replaced him now that Smith Rowe is playing out wide, and no, Odegaard is not the answer, never was and never will be…

  18. Pierre

    Rich
    “Pierre, your obsession with fielding our 11 youngest players with the least experience, is just weird at this point
    Xhaka will brain fart at least twice a season, but he has the experience to deal with that, younger players don’t have the experience to deal with mistakes”

    XHAKA ?…And you think I’m weird

  19. Emiratesstroller

    The lesson learned from this weekend’s result and performance is the same as our performance against both Chelsea and Man City. These clubs are well ahead of us in the
    pecking order.

    We need to measure ourselves against the next five clubs in the League ie West Ham,
    Man Utd, Spurs, Leicester and Wolves. Our objective should be to finish ahead of these teams and at least qualify for Europa Cup next season.

    Although we conceded 4 goals against Liverpool I think that our defence is good enough
    against most of the teams listed above. However, I would replace Tavares with
    Tierney. Saliba should be brought back next season, which should provide additional quality
    to the backline.

    The midfield is still a work in progress. We have two home grown youngsters in Smith-Rowe and Saka with at least one more with Patino in the pipeline. Partey and Odegaard
    are also solid EPL standard players. There is a case for Arsenal to recruit an upgrade for
    Xhaka albeit probably not this season.

    The forward line remains the major concern. Aubameyang and Lacazette are past their best
    and Pepe has proven an expensive disappointment. Personally I don’t rate Nketiah. He has
    had 4 years to prove his case in first team and at 22 years of age is unlikely to reveal something that we don’t know already.

    Arsenal need to focus the bulk of their transfer budget on recruiting a top class striker. Someone who is capable of scoring 20 goals + a season at the top level of the game. That
    must be our major investment next season.

    What I don’t want to see is short term fixes such as have been done previously by both Arsenal and for that matter Man Utd. The idea that you recruit players like Luiz, Willian, Ronaldoand Cavani is an expensive mistake. All you are doing is throwing a lot of money for short term gain and that seldom is a solution unless you have got already a top class team.

    I don’t know what Arsenal’s budget will be next summer, but we should be able to afford a
    £60-70 million striker and a £40-50 million defensive/central midfielder. I would expect
    Arsenal to have a £110-120 million budget factoring in sponsorship monies and hopefully
    some sales.

    Apart from these two positions we are discussing squad players such as second string goalkeeper and right back. This should not cost significant transfer fees.

    One last point we don’t need statistics or analytics to make a judgment on the performance
    of our team and players. Only a blind man does not see the current weaknesses.

  20. Rich

    Arteta is so bad with young players, he’s played by far the youngest teams in the league this season

    Gabriel has been called up for the full Brazil squad, and the Olympics before his injury

    Martinelli won an Olympic medal

    Saka starred for Arsenal + England aged 19-20

    Smith Rowe is a full international after just 10 months of breaking into the first team, aged 21

    Tavares + Sambi have both started a lot of games, very early into their Arsenal careers

    Ramsdale was signed at 23, after 3 relegations, and a lot of bedwetting from the usual suspects, and thrown in ahead of the vastly experienced Leno

    We’ve got the youngest centre back pairing in the league, the youngest defence, and one of the youngest keepers

    He signed a 22yr old right back, and threw him straight in, in front of more experienced options

    Arteta clearly hates young players, at least according to Pierre…..

  21. Pierre

    Stroller
    “Only a blind man does not see the current weaknesses”

    And yet some would say that because Aubamayang and Lacazette are our most experienced players, then they should start every week despite the fact that “Only a blind man does not see the current weaknesses”.

    Very confusing.

  22. Time Up

    Pierre,

    I agree on Odegaard and Arteta destroying the young players or any attack minded player.

    The man wants to win 38 games 1/0 with 25% position. He’s so averagely mid table boring manger, even Pedro’s love can’t polish him and make him exiting.

  23. Davey

    Over complicated naive manager- we go to the best pressing team in the world at Anfield and try to beat the press we over complicated football that brought pressure on ourselves. They would rather play us every game than Burnley. Embarassing

  24. Emiratesstroller

    Pierre

    Aubameyang and Lacazette are selected, because the current options are not rated better.

    As I posted Nketiah has been 4 years on the fringes of first team, but never made a breakthrough.

    The reason that he is not included in the squad is because the club knows that he is leaving.
    My guess is that Balogun will be added to the bench unless Pepe and Martinelli start showing some form.

  25. Time Up

    Rich,

    Let me rephrase it for you.

    Arteta found a good young attacking players and exciting attack minded team from Wenger and then Emery. Instead of fixing only the defensive side, he turned them into 10 defenders + Auba.

    Enjoy the boring football of this average mid table at best manger.

  26. Matt

    I have to confess, I had never even heard of XG until Pedro started banging on about it on here almost on a daily basis to show how bad Emery was. At that stage we were being told not to use our eyes and focus purely on the flaming XG stats. Now XG means nothing and it’s all about the eye test.

    If a metric is deemed important then it’s important whoever the person in charge is.

    I swear Pedro must think people have memories like goldfish and won’t pick up on the hypocrisy.

  27. Rich

    Pierre

    The quickest way to destroy a young player, is to keep them on when they’re seriously struggling, and to keep them in the team when confidence is rock bottom

    The other day you were predicting a title challenge like in 1997/98

    You’re absolutely delusional

  28. Emiratesstroller

    Matt

    We don’t need metrics to see our current status and performance.

    We are miles behind Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool. Our results and performance against
    these three teams tells you that fact.

    So our horizon this season is to beat if possible and finish ahead of the rest of the pack.

    I have listed the teams who are competing with us. Man Utd and Spurs have on paper better
    and more experienced squads. However, they have produced nothing sofar this season to
    suggest that they are better than us.

    West Ham are a decent team, but I still think that if they suffer a couple of injuries they will
    fall by the wayside. They are beatable.

  29. Terraloon

    What a jumble of stats and counter stats.

    Some of the statements are just embarrassing because quite simply saying things like only scored 2 less than City doesn’t add context it encourages blind faith.

    Most of the teams beaten in that selective 9 game period really were teams that should be beaten . Of course you can’t look at match stats to seek solace save the final score but looking say at the 2-0 win against Leicester in every stat bar the final result Leicester came out on top.
    Shots16/9
    On Target8/5
    Possession 65/35%
    Passes 642/341

    I honestly on reflection didn’t see that as a game that had a 4 goal difference in it

  30. Emiratesstroller

    Davey

    There was nothing overcomplicated with the tactics or team selections..

    Arteta put out his best team available on paper apart from not selecting Tierney. It was also
    an unbeaten team in last 10 games with 8 wins and 2 draws who had conceded just 4 goals.

    Lets be honest. The team was outplayed by a stronger and better team.

  31. Rich

    From @SamJDean via Twitter

    The average age of Liverpool’s lineup was 28 (one player under 24). LFC team had made a total of 3785 senior club appearances.

    Arsenal’s average age was 24 (seven players aged 23 or younger). Arsenal had made total of 2259 senior apps, and almost half of those were Laca + Auba

  32. Pierre

    Rich
    “The quickest way to destroy a young player, is to keep them on when they’re seriously struggling, and to keep them in the team when confidence is rock bottom”

    So which of our young players that have been involved in our 10 match unbeaten run are rock bottom in confidence.

  33. Pierre

    There is a misconception that Lakonga and Tavares were poor in the first half , i have watched the game again and both played good enough.

    The problem started 5 minutes into the 2nd half when Lakonga had a poor 5 minute spell up until their 2nd goal, he gave the ball away 3 or 4 times which led to shots on goals and this was followed by Tavares giving the ball away which resulted in a goal…

    Lakonga was substituted for AMN and in all honesty things didn’t improve , the shape of the team was all over the place and we were getting picked off.

    So for me, Lakonga only had a poor ( very poor) 5 minutes in the game , but that can happen to any player and i don’t suppose for one minute his confidence has hit rock bottom after a poor 5 minute period…

  34. underrated Coq

    Woods –

    Weren’t you a xG junkie yourself and used it to fuel your daily Emery rants? Especially during the 20 odd unbeaten streak

  35. Spanishdave

    Pedro is the king of spin.
    Producing mini pretend league tables showing us near the top .
    We are average with an average manager. Man U and Spurs will end up above us , so will West Ham.
    To win games you need to score goals, tippy tappy at the back won’t cut it.
    Auba and Laca are done the manager needs to have the balls to drop them.

  36. Rich

    Pierre doesn’t think experience is important

    But all the top clubs who win and compete for the biggest titles have an average age of 27-28

    Top managers are on record as saying they aim for an average age of 27-28,

    Pierre who posts on Le Grove thinks experience isn’t important, and you can just throw a bunch of youngsters with little experience together, and compete in the toughest league in the world, and win against established teams of the highest quality

    Sorry Pierre, I think I’ll look at the hard statistics, and listen to the most successful managers, rather than pay any attention to your dribble

  37. S Asoa

    Time up

    “ The man wants to win 38 games 1/0 with 25% position. He’s so averagely mid table boring manger, even Pedro’s love can’t polish him and make him exiting. “
    Try polishing a turd and one will only get one’s hand dirty and stinky – like the reputation of Senor Persistence

  38. Leedsgunner

    If we are going to try to play this pressing style similar to that of City we need to cut out the sheer number of turnovers that we gifted to Liverpool… it was ridiculous.

  39. Pierre

    Rich

    “Pierre who posts on Le Grove thinks experience isn’t important, and you can just throw a bunch of youngsters with little experience together, and compete in the toughest league in the world, and win against established teams of the highest quality”

    Your words not mine …

    I would love to see experienced players in the side, if they perform better than the young players .

    Partey is experienced is he not …fine.

    But i don’t see the point of playing experienced players just because they are experienced.

    Look where the experienced players got us last season before Christmas, on the verge of relegation.

    So yes , if i had a choice , I would rather see lakonga or AMN in central midfield than the experienced Xhaka, and i would rather see a young hungry striker like eddie,martinelli or Balogun than a toothless Aubamayang who plays in self preservation mode .

  40. youdamn

    Tavares did very well defensively on Sala throughout the game.
    The problem occurred with him losing possession, but defensively he was decent.
    Lokonga and Partey were very poor.
    At what point does Auba get dropped? How badly does he have to play?
    Way off what is required.

  41. Tony

    ‘Sorry Pierre, I think I’ll look at the hard statistics, and listen to the most successful managers, rather than pay any attention to your dribble’

    Then why are you reading it? Why not skip past to posters you do like.

    It’s not rocket science, Rich.

  42. Thank you and goodnight

    Also don’t agree on your assessment of Martinelli. The guy has barely been given a chance since returning from injury. How many shit games did Willian have , yet was never dropped. Maybe if he showed same faith in Martinelli game wise as he did Willian we’d see a different Martinelli

  43. Cheffy

    I’m normally seeing the salient points being written on the blog, but hard to see it on this one, except that putting xG into context is important. But to say it’s not that bad by comparing it to a select team is just as bad as not putting xG into context.

    I know there’s been a lot of shots taken, but lets dig into that, how many were shots from high probability chances? How many were Lokonga and Partey from 30 yards? Take those out, what do we get? I remember the team got a lot of flak for trying to walk the ball into goal in the example being compared to.

    Auba and Laca have been poor in terms of goals, and I don’t have stats on this, but the style of play is definitely not suited for Auba. The issue I see, is that we are still working out transitions and there is a lack of ability to break lines through an unpredictable player (which ESR/Shaka was for a bit) or midfield runs that break out from the system the team tries to religiously employ, but in a slower more predictable movement than Man City.

    The other issue is that we can’t seem to hold on to the ball around the centre circle. This severely affects our transitions, as the team looks to move sideways and backwards in an effort to maintain possession, and then we lack the nous to restart the attack.

  44. Thank you and goodnight

    I’ve always said not a fan of Arteta ball or Pep ball. Give me klopp and exciting football all day long. It’s like Tuchel, obviously a very good manager but let’s be honest, as effective as his football is , it’s so fucking boring

  45. Pierre

    Samesong
    “Tavares should stay in the team against Newcastle. Lakonga needs to be changed with AMN.”

    AMN deserves a start

  46. Thank you and goodnight

    But credit to Arteta, apart from Ben White ( who’s an ok purchase, but no better than Saliba) , the other signings have been very good compared to some of the shite we’ve seen over last 10 years. I think Tavares, lokonga have the potential to be world class, wether they will kick on though is anyone’s guess. As for tomori , much rather him than either Bellerin or Soares

  47. Thank you and goodnight

    Is it Arteta ball whiich has Aubu looking shocking or is it just an age thing? Personally I think it’s an age thing and he’s past his best, so can’t blame Arteta for that. Though you can blame Arteta for continuing to play him. That 50 million paid for White would of bought an upgrade on both Lacazette and Aubumeyang

  48. Jaroda

    Arteta’s challenge is to move us from a position of “I know we’re going to be beaten by Liverpool but I hope (blindly) that we can get something out of the game” to actually contesting the game.
    We so rarely produce ‘shock’ results against teams that are better than us.

  49. izzo

    Started reading the post and gave up and skimmed through the rest. You know what is a fact? Our strikers aren’t scoring and how attacking play sucks. FACTS!!! We’re not maintaining the current position on the table without goals. FACTS!!! Could care less about stats.

  50. Pedro

    Izzo, you what a fact is… despite all those things, we are 5th, 3 points from 4th, 5 from 3rd.

    Those are the facts that matter right now my friend. Maybe you should have read the whole post.

  51. izzo

    Pedro how many points separate us from the teams behind us?? The table at this point in time being November isn’t a clear reflection of where we will finish the way the team and manager are performing.

  52. Graham62

    Tell me Pedro, do you get through life by giving excuses for every mistake or misdemeanour made by yourself . “Yeah but, statistically, I only made that mistake because the wind was blowing from the SW and not the SE, which made me lose concentration at the time”

    You know I’m old school and and very set in my ways, I’m also a stubborn old bastard on occasions, nevertheless, by highlighting certain issues with statistical data is not how I personally come to conclusions in life. You obviously do because it’s something you’re probably used to doing in your daily routine.

    Apologising the other week for some of my own comments, doesn’t paper over the visible cracks. Tell me, how come Arsenal are getting stuffed by Liverpool, Chelski and MC and yet teams like West Ham, Crystal Palace, Brighton, Southampton etc are not?

    Are they better than us? Do they have better players and a better squad ? Or, is it simply down to the fact that we don’t have the right man at the helm?

    Makes you think, doesn’t it?

    I tend to look at things with my own eyes, observe and try and apply common sense. I don’t go by spreadsheets or what I like to call theoretical management. Most of life requires practical decision making and practical actions. Unfortunately though, modern society doesn’t work that way.

    I know, different generation and different philosophies but please don’t disregard the fact that Mikel Arteta is making some incredibly poor decisions, on a consistent basis, that are impacting on the teams performance and abilities to progress as a team.

    Aubameyang is clearly not fit for purpose and yet those young and hungry players who should be taking his place are not being given a look in. Why is this? Why can’t Arteta show equal faith and trust in them? Being younger it will definitely have a negative impact on them all.

    It actually beggars belief that excuses are always being made to cover up Arteta’s visible failings ………..but using spreadsheets to justify these flaws makes things even worse.

  53. Danny

    Constantly reading how the job was too big for Solskjaer but I see no difference with Arteta.
    Both of them should’ve been applying for the Rangers position, that would be suitable for one of them.
    We could’ve had Klopp 6 years ago or Tuchel a year ago or Conte 6 months ago.
    “It’s a sad, sad situation and it’s getting more and more absurd”……

  54. Awa

    Good write up Pedro, I think people have got to realise that success will not be quick (not this year and probably not next year either, given where we are). We are still recovering from the post Wenger era, but I think we are on the right path, even though it will be a long path as we don’t have the luxury of multiple $100+mln windows, we can probably only afford one or two (this summer being one of them)

    If there’s any Australians on this blog, I see us following a path similar to the Melbourne demons (though not as extreme as their situation) they won there first premiership in 60 odd years this year, and about 5-6 years ago they hit the reset button on the club and rebuilt the culture from the ground up. It took them a while but they are now the yardstick of the competition and have looked to create a dynasty for the next few years.

    There success was built on a ‘team first’ selfless attitude among the players, a strong defence and an organisational culture that prided itself on professionalism.

    I see Arteta trying to instill this kind of culture at Arsenal, it won’t be a quick fix, there will be bumps along the way ( the weekend being an example), but it will be sustainable if we get there.

    You just need to look to United on how not to transform a club, I’m glad we are going a different way.

  55. Pedro

    Graham, I get by in life because I know how to set a vision, build out a team, then deliver over time.

    What is the truth right now?

    We are 5th. After losing our opening 3 games of the season. We went on an 11 game unbeaten run. Since the new team has been in place, we’ve accrued the 3rd most points, 4th most goals, with the 3rd best defence.

    There aren’t excuses. There are bad actors, like you, trying to re-up a dead agenda that we aren’t on track using metrics blindly that you mocked 6 months ago.

    We are on track. Above your boys Brighton, so who cares how they did against Liverpool. Above United, Spurs, and Everton. Coming for West Ham who were battered by Wolves at the weekend.

    All managers make decisions that you, an absolute amateur, will disagree with. Doesn’t mean he’s not the right man for the job. He’s doing well, this young squad are racking up points, things will get better and better.

    This childish view that only 100% banging performances are acceptable is painful reading.

  56. Pedro

    Awa, great comment.

    Arsenal don’t have the resources for instant success. We are building a sustainable model of football that will make us future-proof.

    West Ham are at the end of their cycle, if nothing happens this season, it’s a painful rebuild.

    Arsenal are at the beginning of theirs, we have a great academy, the scouting is much better now, and when we are ready for the cherry on top, we’ll go big. Very much like the Liverpool model.

    It’ll take time though, but it’s a good plan.

  57. Majesticgooner

    Why is it we struggle to score against the likes of Liverpool and Man City? To me , we lose even before a ball is kicked, it’s a mental thing, none of the players believe we can score or win .The team seems to be set up to defend and live in hope that maybe we score from a set piece. When we go a goal down I never seem to have the confidence we would come back and win the match, in the past year the best performance I can remember was the second half performance against west ham, coming from three goals down, and before that, it was the Spurs performance, surprisingly the common factor in the two matches was there was no auba, something maybe to think about.

  58. The Bard

    Interesting description of our thrashing as a ‘bump in the road’. I think you place too much faith in the long term project. I hope it happens but I havent seen or heard of our plan to hold onto our youngsters when the big clubs start sniffing.

  59. Spudnik

    Pedro, you’re right. 5th in the table is a better metric than 16th in xG. While the reality of Saturday’s scoreline bit hard, there are already really positive vibes coming from Aaron Ramsdale who is looking forward to putting the result behind them and that’s what we all want to see.
    Still, it could be worse. It seems United have chucked the baby out but kept the coaching bath water.

  60. Pedro

    ‘Still, it could be worse. It seems United have chucked the baby out but kept the coaching bath water.’

    What does that mean?

  61. Pedro

    Oh… yeah, think they are going to have to slug it out with an ugly interim.

    Laurent Blanc feels like good news for our season.

  62. Janky

    Our xG stats kind of look like what we see on the field. In our unbeaten run how many big wins did we have? Our GD kind of says the same thing. The totality of what we see on the pitch harmonizes pretty well with the stats. We aren’t consistently dangerous, we don’t make loads of chances. Ramsdale looks a MOTM candidate regularly. That last bit is never a great sign.

    We need some kind of solution to this problem, not a narrative that suggests it is just numbers and not a problem. That’s not an exceptional take.

    I’m hopeful that we’ll address this with personnel as the rebuild continues, a player in the middle, someone up top. Our team has assembled something very promising at the back, what do they have up their sleeve for the attack?

    As well, I’d like to see Arteta step out a little more with addressing the issue. I know the Auba situation is difficult, but it has shades of Willian to it. Playing like shit, but always playing. It is redundant to say it here, but who including Martinelli would perform worse? There’s plays to be made, why not make them?

  63. Pedro

    Janky, the eye test suggests we start well, blitz teams, then sit back. We were magnificent against Leicester and Spurs then the game changed because we didn’t need to continue to chase. That’s just a game strategy, not a massive issue.

  64. Kris

    More mindless pro-Arteta propaganda.

    – “The xG table makes for grim reading this season, but only if you are an xG junkie.”
    But you constant and genuinely worthless “shots taken” stat is gold, eh?

    – We’re 5 points off third, sure, but are we not also 5 points off 12th?

    – Losing a few players for 2, 3 games is an excuse, but Liverpool playing most of your “Post Christmas Table” games without a single fit CB was not a much bigger excuse for them??

    – Please give a link to some authority where these “Phases” of the season come from or did you just invent this?

    -If the problem is that the players are not just young, but TOO young, why not play older players then? No coach plays exclusively for the future.

    – I thought it was 13 teams that scored more goals than us, not 4. Or is that in a particular “phase” of yours?

    – And please, please stop with our shots stats once and for all when most of them are positively harmless. THAT’S why are xG is low. They look at the quality of shots, position, distance…

    I bet we don’t score 60 goals this season. Maybe not even last year’s 55, which was the worst in decades.

  65. Habesha Gooner

    I have been an arteta outer for a while. It isn’t because I don’t think he can get us Europe eventually or get us in to top 4. But I don’t believe he can coach a team to play better than Chelsea, City and Liverpool with the coaches that they have.

    But this mini run has changed my mind a bit. I am willing to give him a chance again. Because I saw some good football that resembles an identity the past 5 games. That is all I asked for. But a small margins winning strategy isn’t the recipe for success. I only have seen Simeone succeed with that.

    But Liverpool’s defeat didn’t put me off. we knew we were far off. But what mattered in that game was our inexperience. That was the hardest I have seen Liverpool work to put us away at Anfield. When the second went in, we dropped our heads. Our best attackers in ESR, and Saka were stifled. Tavarez and Sambi were too nervous. It also shows that Tierney is still the better choice. We need him to get back to last season’s form. Tavarez did well. But we knew he was green and he was going to make a mistake sometime. Ramsdale was sensational. If we are together for a year, we will put in a better performance. That I have no doubts about. This is still the right strategy. Building on young players is painful but the right move.

    The recruitment has been great. One bad performance doesn’t make our players bad. I hope we can pick it up again. Newcastle will be a huge game to see if we can respond properly.

  66. Tom

    Watching United fans cheering” Ole’s at the wheel” after each one of their many come from behind wins was quite amusing.
    Obviously it couldn’t last, but they did celebrate their team’s “resilience “ and Ole’s mastery of throwing £200m of additional attacking talent on late in games to rescue the previously botched up 75 minutes.

    Arteta needs to solve the goal scoring issue. Just like in United’s case, this is not sustainable.

  67. Spudnik

    Our attack is becoming more of a worry as the season goes on. Josh Kronke said that not all of Arsenal’s targets were purchased in the summer and that there was still some more recruitment to do. Does that mean a striker in Jan? If so, who leaves? Laca?
    There’s a clear path of succession for Eddie to take over the striking role, why isn’t he going for it? Has he been told it’s never going to be his so he wants out? Surely at this stage of his career if he knew there was a chance he’d go all in and commit.

  68. TR7

    I don’t know about XG but it is clear that Arsenal look lively only when ESR is on the ball in advanced areas. We look toothless otherwise. Saka is not in great form either. If we continue to rely on Auba and Laca then eventually we will drop down the table. Only if at least one of Eddie or Martinelli is slowly bedded in and they grab the opportunity with both hands can we continue to pick 2 points per game on an average.

  69. Words on a blog

    If we set aside the games against Liverpool, Man C and Chelsea, then what’s been the typical pattern of marches this season?

    We score one or two early on, then tend to sit back and let the other side have possession, hoping to catch them on the break and kill them off.

    This has been effective, but in a “fine margins” kind of way, in which we relied on a mixture of luck, poor fines from our opponents, last ditch defending and/or saves from Ramsdale.

    To me, this pattern has to change and we have to be more proactive/creative in attack after taking a lead and also more able to maintain possession at that point, the pattern can’t be relied on to maintain us in our lofty if somewhat precarious 5th place position.

    There will also be times when our opponents will take the lead, and our inability to maintain persistent attacks will also obviously cause us to revert to the mean.

  70. Janky

    A strategy?

    I’m unconvinced that the numbers are the result of a strategy. For 2-0 wins that’s usually how it goes. For 1 goal wins and for the hiding we got this weekend, it is the result of weakness in attack. Who doesn’t play less aggressive, ‘pool and City excepted, after they get a lead? And this is a generalizing retort, of course, but saying it’s our strategy to not score more goals, I don’t know where to go with that. If it is, it’s a bad strategy.

    Specifically, why would you continue to push Auba in light of his contribution thus far? There’s a stubbornness to it that we’ve seen before.

  71. Sid

    Blanc has experience in managing A list footballers.

    Meanwhile Diet Pep is shadow boxing a 54 year old, eye glasses wearing, hipster uncle.

  72. Tom

    Janky, definitely not a strategy because I’ve seen Arteta motion to players to push up.

    We lose the midfield battle and when you do, the natural instinct is to fall back and defend deep.

  73. Nelson

    EPL managers analyse the opposing team and come up with a plan to stop the opponent. Klopp saw that Laca is the linkup man in Arteta’a 4 4 1 1 formation. He assigned Fabinho to eliminate Laca. Without Laca, Auba is powerless. For the whole game, he hasn’t held up the ball once. He had a few headers to nowhere. There is no surprise that our attack was shutdown completely.

    Newcastle will learn from Klopp to stop our attack. Put Ødegaard back as the linkup man is an option, since he can pass the ball better. I also want to try Laca as the striker replacing Auba. Maybe play Auba the 1st half and Laca the 2nd half.

  74. Danny

    54 year old, eye glasses wearing, hipster uncle.
    ——————
    Sid you should go to Specsavers, Klopp doesn’t wear glasses anymore.

  75. Terraloon

    Pedro

    “Arsenal are at the beginning of theirs, we have a great academy, the scouting is much better now, and when we are ready for the cherry on top, we’ll go big.”

    Again you talk as if you team / squad will definitely develop but it’s far from a given.

    Time after time after time we have seen young players showcase their skills at PL level and the world and their dog laud this new taken and then… they hit a brick wall.

    One thing I really wouldn’t over egg is the academy . Yep Saka and ESR seem jewels but other than those two none of the players that so many many big up are close to the levels of a top 4 team. Most are at best lower PL level and to be honest

    It’s a harsh reality I think right is saying not one academy product is out on loan at a top 5 European ( including the PL ) club. Compare that to other top clubs.

  76. Graham62

    I always have a good chuckle when, my local team, Brighton and Hove Albion are brought into the equation. Actually, why not bring Worthing Town into the discussion, I can actually see their floodlights from our bedroom window.
    I’m sorry Pedro but by glossing over our predictable trouncings and capitulations against the better teams is a cop out.
    Using the words “childish” and “amateur” is very reactionary, which you have often labelled against me on here before.
    Yes, amazingly we are in 5th position but can you honestly say, hand on heart, that Arteta is the reason we are where we are or, is it simply down to the fact that we are playing in a separate league these days with teams like West Ham, Wolves, CP etc and will continue to do so unless Arteta changes his ways and philosophies when it comes to taking on the big boys.

    If you and others on here, see things as being all rosey and hunky dory under Arteta’s guidance and that getting spanked by the better teams is acceptable and something to be brushed under the carpet, that’s up to you, BUT, why is it that other teams, with far less ability in their ranks than Arsenal, can perform so much better in these type of games?

    Yes, you always respect your opponents, whoever they are but it seems with Arteta that he goes completely over the top on this, hence we are scared and timid in games when in fact we have players at our disposal who could show far more if given the correct guidance and encouragement.

    Cheers.

  77. Sid

    Diet Peps tactic of using Lacatestes as an extra midfielder was nullifed by Klopp,
    watch him fumble for the next few games until he stumbles onto a new working formula.

  78. Sid

    Not even Guen would sink as low as picking a fight with a man 20 yrs older,
    the footbal gods are angry and will have to be appeased.

  79. Dissenter

    This is one those days where Pedro tries to outwit Einstein and just comes out looking like he works for Arteta.
    xG has not changed since you used it to bash another Arsenal manager.

    What’s the point of now trying to re-invent the wheel?
    We are not the finished article yet, lets admits that and move forward.
    The xG does not lie, all is not so well despite our recent resurgence and progress.

  80. Aaron

    AFC will regress to the mean.

    xG 16th means we will not score much.

    On pace to score 41, probably around 50, but definitely not 60 goals this year.

    Our extra 3 shots are from distance, and we all know where those have been winding up.

    We are predictable, slow, and our chance creation non-existent.

    Look at the stats about what Arteta’s record is when we go a goal behind, it is atrocious.

    If AFC does not score first, his season is done, if we do not improve chance creation and score over 55 goals his season is done.

    Other teams will take a page from Klopp’s playbook after that game, and see that when pressed, AFC coughs it up around the final third, and whomever is supposed to feed Auba becomes tied up, he ain’t getting any service.

  81. Rich

    TR

    Why would I demand bonus points?

    I just understand why we are where we are, which is where I said we’d be

    You told me I was losing the plot for predicting 5th spitting distance of 4th after our first 3 games

    I also predicted we’d lose points in this period of the season with tricky away fixtures, and the usual suspects would typically overreact

    We’re at the beginning of a new cycle, building a new team, I have no problem with people who think Arteta is the wrong person to see out this process

    If he doesn’t deliver minimum Europa League, and if the football doesn’t improve, then I’ll join the picket line with you in May

    The reality is he’s unlikely to be sacked mid-season, so we may as well get behind him and his young team, whatever happens he’ll leave behind a much healthier squad, than the car crash he inherited

    My issue is more with those who crawl out the woodwork every time we lose, with ridiculous stories of computer chip shortages….

    People who demand we pack our team with inexperienced players, then kick the club when we get turned over by experienced + established teams, then claim inexperience and a lack of cohesion with 5 new players, had nothing to do with it….

    Absolutely ridiculous analysis, that stinks of agenda.

    We’ve put the foundation is place, we’ve got some exciting young players, it’s now about building cohesion, keeping the Crown Jewels, and adding well as we go.

    When I asked what people would find acceptable this season, a few said 4th was the minimum requirement, but most said 5th-6th would be acceptable

    We’re 5th, we’re in the mix for 4th, and yet the usual suspects are still pushing their agendas after a loss

    There’ll likely be periods in the season where we drop down to 7th-8th, but we’ll be in with a good chance of edging the others out, particularly playing once a week at the business end of the season, with new players settling.

    What’s your minimum requirement for the season?

    At what point do you stop whinging?

  82. bacaryisgod

    Maybe my memory is failing me here but didn’t Pedro use xG like a crowbar to beat Emery over the head with even when the team was around 5th in the table?

    I believed that Emery should have been fired at the end of his first season with us-the players had essentially given up on him and he was a cultural mismatch for the club. Still, it would be nice to see a little consistency from Pedro once in a while.

  83. Pedro

    Quite amusing that people like Chris are talking about mindless propaganda like the xG table is the truth.

    Bacary, there’s total consistency here. xG + context + eye test.

    Unless you think that this current scenario we are in is exactly the same as the one we had under Emery?

    That wouldn’t surprise me to be honest.

    Aaron, regress to the mean? What is that over the course of a year?

    Oh… 3rd most points. Only Chelsea and City have bettered us.

    Or are you suggesting that the first 14 games of last season are about to repeat?

    What is your evidence for that after a 9 game unbeaten run in the league coming to an end?

  84. Pedro

    Dissenter, let’s be honest here, you are an Emeryista. It always comes back to him. But, as the post asks: context + eye test + xG

    If you think what is going on at Arsenal right now is the same, tell me what are the similar threads?

  85. Dissenter

    “Quite amusing that people like Chris are talking about mindless propaganda like the xG table is the truth.”

    Pedro
    I believe that was you, when you were using xG as a cudgel to bash another manager, were you being mindless at the time?
    The xG table speaks for itself, at best you can present mitigating factors not try to undermine the methodology.
    I suspect Arteta does not live in the same state of denial as you.

  86. Pedro

    Graham,

    You have had to wait three months to come on and tell us Arteta is terrible… and your moment is after a loss at one of the best teams in the world.

    You talk about reactionary… you are literally saying Arteta isn’t the right manager after our first loss since early September. You can’t even follow your own principles.

  87. Pedro

    Dissenter, no statistic speaks for itself as a singular point of reference.

    You have to watch the games.

    If you have watched Arsenal over the last 3 months and thought we’ve been porous, uninspired, and lucky. Then tell us.

    If you think this run of games is the same as the Emery unbeaten run, which was clearly very lucky, and unravelled… tell us.

    Just typical opportunistic behaviour from the usual crew who seem hurt everytime we go on a run of good games.

  88. Pedro

    Mb, same concept. Easier to share with people when 1) The ‘since Christmas’ table proved to be predictive of our form this season 2) We are 5th in the league right now. Showing that most of that form came when we switched to our 6 new signings feels like a pretty easy get

  89. Dissenter

    Pedro
    I’m not even going after Arteta on this one. It’s a project that may be in it’s infancy
    It’s your lack of consistency and selective goldfish memory that’s been called to task

    Leave xG alone.
    We do have to improve against big teams because they are statistical sinkholes for us. One bad loss against a big team like Liverpool undermines the data generated from two good games that we eked out 6 points from.
    I would rather take 20 points from 12 games that get good xG numbers, same way I felt under Emery. That’s consistency for you.

  90. Pedro

    ‘People who demand we pack our team with inexperienced players, then kick the club when we get turned over by experienced + established teams, then claim inexperience and a lack of cohesion with 5 new players, had nothing to do with it….’

    Rich, this point landed.

    ‘Balogun should have started against Liverpool’ was quite the reach.

  91. Aaron

    Pedro,

    Of course over the entire season, what did you think halftime at the next game;-)

    Look at the xG for the last 5 seasons and the final EPL tables, bet they are quite close, and that is the point now is it not?

    Facts, 5th now, and 4 points off of 4th and 4 points off of 11th
    .
    xG by the end of the season, only the end of the season, and what only matters, will probably end up around 7-8th if things improve or we all know it will be midpack!

  92. Pedro

    Aaron, what is more relevant in data circles… a years worth of actual points data, or an xG table loaded with contextual issues?

    I’ll tell you what is more important, points on the table.

    You can rewire why 5th is not great all you like. The reality is we’re 5 points off Liverpool, 3 off West Ham and we’re at the end of November.

    Desperately trying to delegitimise the youngest team in the Premier League is the sort of behaviour I expect from Spurs fans, not Arsenal fans on an Arsenal blog.

  93. Pedro

    Sid, I’ve got a lot less time for you snippy comments now I know you go into hiding when we’re winning. It looks like trolling proper now, not just a ‘character’ of the site.

  94. Pedro

    Dissenter, I think some of those 1-0 to the Arsenal teams were pretty good attack-wise.

    Agree with you. We have an issue with Liverpool and City, there’s no belief we can compete. That has to change. The home games are going to be crucial barometers. A good December might see us put up a fight. A bad one, and well, we’re in trouble again.

  95. Mb

    Pedro

    I believe you have very good intention with all these. We got 6 new players, we played some good football against Spu*s and Villa and we were kinda expecting a beating from pools.

    New players are bonding over and we will improve over time.

    However, these post Christmas table and phase 2 is crap, I’m sorry to say. We all know we don’t have oil money. We cheer for every bit of red and white and the self sustaining model Edu and Arteta are now building is the way to to.

    Now, if you someone comes in and asks – why willian was brought in, why Guen and Saliba is on loan, Eddie and Martinelli do not get game time when everyone can see Auba is done, Xhaka keeps getting picked in playing XI while AMN sits on bench after his sell was stopped — he is not wrong.

  96. Pedro

    Mb, the real table isn’t crap my friend. We are in good shape. When you look at the performance of the new players, the story is even better. So when we’re debating hypothetical stats, I’ll use whatever I need to to paint a picture.

  97. Rich

    Aaron, the difference between 5th and 8th, will likely be a maximum of 7 points

    Leicester finished 5th. 5 points ahead of us last season, If we’d beaten Leicester in the 1-0 loss at home, we’d have finished 6th, Leicester7th, Spurs 8th

    It’s fine margins

    It would be nice to get something against the top 3, but those games won’t define our season, particularly away

    Our season will be settled by taking minimum 4 points from Leicester, Spurs, West Ham, Villa, Everton, Wolves, these games are the 6 pointers

    Then having very few slip ups against the rest, I can deal with getting spanked at Anfield + City with a young team, but the margin for errors elsewhere, particularly at home, are minimal

    We can’t afford more Brentford or Palace type results, we should be at least + 3 from where we currently are from those fixtures, but we did make up 2 points at Leicester

    Newcastle (home)
    United (away)
    Everton (away)
    Southampton (home)
    West Ham (home)
    Leeds (away)
    Norwich (away)

    We need 15 points from the next 21 available

  98. Globalgunner

    Sophistry, mendacity and hubris. That’s all you get as teflon coating to deflect from Arteta’s averageness. Come next May the final table cant be spun beyond stark reality. This inept manager is taking us nowhere.

  99. Mb

    Nope, the real table is not crap. All 6 new signings are in playing XI and they all have improved the position they play for. You are right without even the need of these stats and tables and what not.

    But that doesn’t let me not see Arteta’s poor in game management or our lack of scoring or the fact that Ramsdale is making so many waves the luck will run out someday…

  100. Tom

    Pedro, your trying too hard, dude.
    Arteta isn’t in any danger of losing his job. The Liverpool loss was bad but no one expected points from them.
    The team is young by choice and not necessity, but it is young and we roll with it.

    Stats can be useful ( although I’m not a huge fan) because relying on someone’s perception could be misleading.
    You, for example, thought a 9:0 combined score from the Tottenham and Leicester games would’ve been an accurate reflection, even after calling Ramsdale’s Leicester performance one for the ages( it was) ……….most people would say that’s nuts.

    Back in a day when I used to visit Untold on occasion I noticed the guy who ran it would take any perceived anti-Arsenal thing he might’ve found( no matter how small) as a personal affront and spent all his time trying to debunk it or put a positive spin on it.
    It was exhausting.
    You seem to be falling into the same trap.

  101. TeeCee

    You can dress a lot of things up as Pedro has done. Against Spurs, we were fantastic for 30 mins as we know, but if Kane hadn’t missed two sitters, we could have drawn with the worst performing Spurs side in the last 20 years. Against Leicester we started strongly of course, then faded so badly, only a world class performance from Ramsdale stopped us from losing the game. Big up those perfirmqnces all you like, but they were tiny margins, we haven’t won many games ‘easily’ this season but we sure have lost a few easily!!

  102. Graham62

    Blind optimism is what’s going on here.

    Yes, I will be as positive as I can when Arsenal do well but I will also look at things realistically and logically when we lose. That’s called criticism.

    I don’t brush games under the carpet just because we are playing the better teams.

    I look at the game, see what unfolds and make what I feel is an honest and frank assessment of what went on.

    Saturday nights game followed a clear pattern.

    1. Before Liverpool scored we were doing reasonably well. Generally, we were keeping the crowd quiet and nullifying most of Liverpool’s threats. Offensively we weren’t offering much but there were signs that we could hurt them.
    2. Arteta had his meltdown and the rest is history.

    Do I therefore blame Arteta for our capitulation? Did his irresponsible antics affect the dynamics of the game and Liverpool’s intensity? Did the crowd get involved? Did they become more hostile and vocal? We’re our players influenced by what happened?

    It was the 39th minute when Mane scored. Had we gone in at 0-0, would the result have been any different? Probably.

    Defending Arteta for what he did shows a naivety to the game itself, the situation, where we were playing and what was at stake.

    So let’s forgive and forget and look at those wonderful statistics shall we. You know those same statistics that show we conceded 4 goals in a 38 minute period because our excellent manager lost the plot.

    What graph is that on?

  103. Mb

    Graham

    I’m an equally non- believer of what Pedro is preaching. . .but come on man – if it was a pretend fight from Arteta, it’s a sports and it happens. And there is no reason for it. And Mane is c*nt. And Klopp was one too.

    Now that 12th man and all I understand but if my coach goes in a fight and we lose the match, I’m not gonna blame it on him.

  104. bacaryisgod

    Pedro

    Your cheap shots betray some real desperation on your part.

    I already said that Emery should have been sacked after the Chelsea disaster in the Europa League final. The players gave up on him and most of us could tell the writing on the wall. It comes down to results. You were hammering Emery during a long unbeaten run due to xG. Now you are going after people for doing the same thing with Arteta. It just smacks of hypocrisy.

    Despite the xG on Emery’s team during the unbeaten run, there were plenty of promising signs. Auba was firing, Torreira and Guendouzi were looking promising signings etc. The same applies with Arteta’s team now. The xG doesn’t look good right now but there are also promising individual and team performances..

    At the end of the season, we’ll know if the team has kicked on or regressed but for you to not see the contradictions in your thinking is actually pretty alarming.

  105. Aaron

    Pedro,

    Your blog, your time and energy for sure!

    Me, just a fan, not your type of fan, but nonetheless a fan, and for a very long time.

    The table at the end of the year is what matters, and if AFC does not get 5th or better, Mikel and co. need to go.

    More importantly, the futbol, from an entertainment perspective has been utter $h*tE for a few years, more than your boys 100 games, and Emery’s 78. A total of 3 seasons worth of EPL games, and they are f’n boring.

    Perspective, from what I wrote on another site.

    Yet, honestly, I would rather watch Leeds play 7 days a week out of 7 than watch what we have been served these last few years. It is just the way it is, they are entertaining and were middle of the pack last year despite spending 1/10 of what we have, and had come from a division below us. Yes, they might get relegated this year, but at least they will die on their sword.

    Stated earlier I appreciate wins and entertainment, and have been fortunate enough to be a lifelong AFC fan. Yes, the clubs has had it’s ups and downs, mainly ups and have been very entertaining most of those years, I am a spoiled brat.

    However, I am paying penance now for sure with what I am witnessing. The wins lately have been hard earned, yet most of them were only mildly entertaining.

    If not for our youngsters, and some smart buys, Arteta would have already been canned, and he did not choose them, he was forced through injury or such an abysmal performance level from his favorites that he had no choice.

    Like I said, if we lose to those teams with new coaches than he is done, not just one game, but a pattern of averageness that should not be rewarded, especially against teams that are falling like a rock and brought in new coaches.

    Arteta has had time, and if he makes it to seasons end in 4th or better I will stand up and admit I was very wrong.

    Will others do the same if it goes the other way?

  106. TR7

    Rich

    I don’t whine really, at least I don’t think I whine 🙂 If I like something about Arteta I praise him for it and if I don’t I criticize him.

    My limited point is stop overplaying the fact that we have the youngest team in the league. It is not something which was enforced upon us. We chose to go with a young team.

    When ESR or Saka win games for us, nobody cares about their age. But if Sambi or Tavares cost us a game, everyone starts reminding people that our players are young and there will be mistakes. You can’t have it both ways.

  107. Tom

    I kinda find it funny Arteta is blamed for not fighting Klopp for real.
    How would that have happened btw?
    The fourth official becomes a ring ref, chops his hand downward and…………. it’s on bitches, let the best man win?

    When was last time anyone saw players getting into each other’s faces and their teammates not trying to stop them?

  108. Rich

    TR7

    I love Saka + Smith Rowe, but neither are at the level we need them to be at yet, they’re 20 + 21

    Smith Rowe is going through a purple patch, but that’s unlikely to go on for the entire season, otherwise he’d be looking at 15- 20 goals, he’s almost certain to have a dip in form at some stage

    The club choose to go with a young team, but whoever our manager is, will have to go through teething stages, time will tell whether this project will come into fruition

    There’ll be times this season when we come up against top teams who know exactly what they’re doing, and we’ll get pulled apart because our inexperience

    But we should also have enough quality to get our fair share of results

    Experience + cohesion are important, and when you’re building a new team with young players, and a lot of new players being thrown in together, you have to accept that we’ll have a few days like Sat

  109. Habesha Gooner

    Liverpool run all over us because we didn’t adopt the right strategy. Arteta fucked up in thinking this was going to be like Leicester. When we go away to City, Chelsea and Liverpool, we need more protection. A 343 would have switched up our game and surprised klopp. And we could have nullified attacks from the wing. Their midfielders played well but the damage came from the wings. And Fabinho completely stopped Lacazette. I would have dropped Auba for that game. Our young fullback in Tavarez was completely exposed. He had no passing options because of Liverpool’s press. Instead we could have had him higher up the pitch on the RWB with Tierney coming in as the LWB. Or Tierney as the LCB and tomi and Tavarez as the WBs. Our fullbacks would have had more freedom and we wouldn’t have had to deal with Fabinho through the middle. We could have exposed Trent. But playing two strikers meant Saka and ESR had to do a lot of defensive work to stop Trent and Tsikimas. We should have gone Defensive. And because of that our young inexperienced team got exposed. We aren’t at a stage where we could pick and choose our formation for every game. We need to nullify some teams to get a result. Arteta was great at shit housing when he took over. We need some of that in the big away games.

  110. englandsbest

    Arsenal have made substantial progress this year. Anybody who denies that must watch games with both eyes shut. But the progress is not just games , it goes far deeper, to what Arteta calls the ‘culture’ of Arsenal. It shows in every area of Club activity. And it shows here on Le Grove, in the way so many of us have changed our view of the team, the Club, the future.

    Yes, there is still a distance to go yet to reach the elite – but now they are in sight.

  111. GAZZA

    We shouldn’t stress over a hammering by LFC when our level is Brighton, WHU , Leicester & ManU
    however Arteta needs to get shot of Eddie & Martinelli if he is not prepared to give them any mins what so ever, especially when Auba/Laca both not performing to their ability