Will

Apr 282011
 

Some stats, based on all games this season:

Arsenal have won every single game in which Koscielny has not played. When he has played, we’ve won only 41% of games. Compare this to Fabregas – when he’s played we’ve won 61% of games.

When Fabianski has played, we’ve lost 28% of our games. when Szczesny has played, we’ve lost just 18%. The only player with a worse percentage of games lost when played is Diaby, at 19%.

The player with the highest percentage of games won when they’ve played is… Eboue (!?!) with a massive 75%. We’ve won only 45% of our games this season when Sagna has started.  Furthermore, we’ve won 80% of the games in which Sagna didn’t feature [but I don’t think he would have given THAT penalty away… ]

Our average points per game is 1.82 this season. With Djourou playing, we’ve got an average of 2.31 points per game; Squillaci playing – 1.79 points per game; Koscielny playing – just 1.59 points per game.

With Djourou NOT playing, we’ve come away with 1.59 points on average; with Squillaci out, 2.00 average points per game; and Koscielny out, 3.00 average points per game.

Looking at the average number of goals per game for and against does not make for better reading for Koscielny – quite the opposite, it’s even worse. Taking the team as a whole, we’ve scored on average 1.82 goals and conceded 1.04 in each game this season. With the Frolish centre-half, we’ve scored marginally fewer at an average of 1.81, but conceded more with an average of 1.22. That might not sound like a lot, but we’re conceding 18% more goals with him on the pitch. It’s without him that the real difference is shown: we’ve scored a whopping 2.57 and conceded just 0.43. That’s a massive difference. It’s almost like the stats breathe a sigh of relief when he’s off the pitch.

That’s what you might call damning.

Apr 252011
 

It’s hard to know exactly where to begin; how to summarise a game that cruelly ended our title hopes. From 4 possible trophies a month or so ago to zero is a massive disappointment.

And it’s not the first time. For the third season in a row we have been fighting on all possible fronts, in with a shout of all possible trophies, only to slip away at the end of the season. AW mentions mental strength and mental fragility more than any other manager I know of; why is it then that we seem to lack the fight, the resilience, the edge – the mental strength, if you will, Arsene – to see the season through to the end?

I can’t be bothered, frankly, to go through all the games we’ve come close to winning but failed. Some just stick in the memory. That ridiculous game at St James’s Park, the recent game against Spurs. We just cannot seem to get through the last few minutes of a game without conceding a goal. And just taking the Bolton game as an example, can a side that concedes two goals from two corners compete for the title?

I’m a big AW fan (as you may be aware!) but reading this on the official site really p*ssed me off:

The facts are the facts. I feel the players [have] had an outstanding attitude [during] the whole season and they are not to blame. If there is someone to blame, it is me. I pick the team and I choose the players. For me, the players [have] had an outstanding attitude all season.
Yes, it is very unsatisfactory because that is one of the easiest run-ins we have had for a long time. We didn’t take our chances many times during the season and that is frustrating because you feel that the potential is there. But we live in a job where you have to take your chances and be realistic. We still lack something that is called maturity, experience or calmness in important situations.

Firstly, I’m not so sure that the attitude has been right. Attitude and the inability to keep a clean sheet for the last ten minutes are closely linked. The right attitude should mean that we do not, ever, concede such goals. And all too often some players – Arshavin, Bendtner, Clichy, I’m looking at you – have been respectively completely anonymous, unbelievably useless, and on a different planet.

Secondly, in terms of “something that is called maturity, experience or calmness in important situations”, that just can’t be used as an excuse any more. Let’s not forget it was Eboue who gave away the penalty to Sp*rs. An experienced international, not someone who can be marked down as young and inexperienced. The rest of the Arsenal ‘youngsters’ – Jack Wilshere excluded – all have years of Premiership experience and international tournaments behind them. It’s about time that youth stopped being an excuse. It never was a good excuse anyway, and for one thing, they’re just not that young any more.

So what is the future for this Arsenal team. I’m not going to join the ranks of those who campaign for an end to AW’s tenure, but I am going to suggest that this team requires some major surgery to turn it from a group of promising also-rans to a team of winners.

The problem is, will AW and our new owner countenance such changes? Do we need to change the philosophy of the club and buy experienced players? Do we need to change the way we play? These are difficult questions, and the answers requires more thought than a simple knee-jerk reaction to an awful performance, even it is a performance that relegates us to third, and puts an end to any hopes of silverware this season.

In my opinion, it’s certainly a good thing to be able to laugh at oneself, and a necessary ability in any gooner. Have a look at this from the Daily Mash.

Arsenally and unhappily yours,

Will

Apr 192011
 

A bit of a review of the Liverpool game first, as I was out of blog-ception and unable to post. Which is a good thing too. It would have been messy. A massive rant would have ensued.

I have to confess to some double standards. With work colleagues I put a brave face on, saying we were denied by a crazy bit of refereeing, where did he think we were? Old Trafford? You know the things you say when confronted with room-fulls of ManUre, Chelski and Sp*rs fans. What’s a gooner to do?

But deep inside, I knew that we threw it away. Or rather Eboue threw it away. Was it over-excitement that led to him giving away the penalty? Well if it was, then shame on the Ivorian. He’s meant to be one of the most experienced players out there. All we needed to do was play out a couple of minutes of extra time. All he needed to do was usher Lucas out towards the corner flag. I could have done that. My granny could have done that, and she’s had a heart attack and two hip replacements. Really poor, Manu.

And it could well have put to bed any chance we still had of winning the title. Yes, in theory, if we win all our games, it is just poosible if Chelsea also do us a favour, but can we do that? Can we go to Sh*te Hart Lane and get a result?

The heart says yes, but the head says, well, let’s bl**dy hope so. The consequences of another poor end to the season could be felt for quite some time.

All the players have got to step up to the plate, and that includes Fabregas and Nasri, who have been conspicuous by their comparative lack of form recently. Szczesny seems to have realised the importance of the ficture tomorrow night:

It is a very good game for us to come back from a big disappointment. We owe it to the fans as well because they are obviously very disappointed about what happened. We owe the fans a result at White Hart Lane.

Let’s hope the rest of the new lads, as well as more experienced players, can produce on Wednesday, and bring us back into contention not just in the league, but as a team itself. Lose, and it’s a serious indictment of the current crop of players, and by extension, of Wenger and his philosophy.

Odds to follow.

Bring on the rabble from up the road.

Arsenally Yours,

Will

 Posted by at 9:42 pm