I feel like we’re moving out of the hysterics phase now into a more even-keeled conversation about where we are. The transfer-tweakers have stopped being important, people are a little bit more understanding of the journey, and most are on board with the idea that the players we exited were solid decisions.
Great players would have made for a nice window, but no one wants to be looking at bad deals this summer, wondering why we can’t go for proper talent.
Arteta did his piece from Dubai, his messaging was pretty clear… we’re going on a charge for top 4, the vibe at the camp is good, the fans are going to be incredibly important to the journey, the needs to be the realisation that the journey we have taken will come with bumps.
The average age of the Arsenal squad is 24, our first team usually only starts 3 players over the age of 25, Cedric Soares and Lacazette are the only players older than 29 in our squad (both 30).
Isn’t that crazy? For context:
Liverpool and City have squads about 3 years more mature than ours.
Liverpool start with five 30 year-olds and two 29-year-olds.
City has 6 players older than 29, they start 4 of them. There aren’t many sub-25 players starting on the regular up there.
‘AGE ISN’T AN EXCUSE’ until you realise that nearly every successful side that wins in the Premier League is littered with players over the age of 26 years old.
‘WE SHOULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING DIFFERENT’ we tried signing ready-made players, but it’s really hard to find the top, top talents that are older because they are so expensive.
Point here, our youth strategy is not short term, but when it matures, the hope is they’ll be absolutely elite.
Another interesting stat I found last night, is the average age of our starting defence is 23.6, and they’ve kept the joint 3rd amount of clean-sheets this season. 13 in 21 games.
We probably have the youngest defence in the league, they are already competing with Chelsea, Liverpool, and City for clean sheets. That stat really is ’10 clean sheets in 18 games’ with the new defence. Ramsdale has the best clean sheet percentage in the league, quite something, eh?
How can you not be excited about that… then imagine how good it’ll be when we have Saliba and some depth on the right. We could be building one of the best defences in the league.
There’s still plenty to be done on the attacking side of the game, but again, you don’t build a title-winning side in a season when you have our resources. The key statistic that gives me a bit of hope is that we’re joint 3rd in the league for shots per game. Remember how relevant that stat was when it was bad? Well, we’ve turned it around. The counter to this is usually ‘yeah, but bottom for shots on target’, well, surprisingly, we’re ranked 4th for shots on target.
At some point, those shots get better, and we start getting end product out of our improved statistics.
How we use our attack over the next 17 games is going to be interesting. Are the two striking options Laca and Eddie? Or will Arteta try and use Martinelli in that role. Kaya Kaynak reckons he’s been taking up #9 positions in Dubai. We’ve seen him do well there under Emery. He has all the ingredients to learn the position, so who knows what is in store.
Right, a short post today, because I’ve been on overdrive this week with content. See you in the comments. Podcast will land this weekend. Fingers crossed Balogun can impact this bland United game.