Arsenal: Ambition Undone

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Good morning Positivistas,

And what a long time a week is in football ?

Of yesterday’s game, yesterday’s defeat for let us not pussy-foot about, I think it was the most comprehensive we have suffered for a long while against domestic competition. Of course we have lost games against PL opponents this season and last but not, in my view at least, when we have been beaten by a side playing better football. Sometimes we have lost to more efficient sides, sometimes we were genuinely unlucky, and sometimes our grief was self inflicted. But yesterday we played a Chelsea team who defended very well, organised and decisive. We played a team whose midfield buzzed (Kante) and created, and whose attacking threat (Costa and Hazard) was sharper on the day than our own. We played a team who are by a distance the best in the PL and came up short, in the end by their three goals to our one. Barring a collapse of Devon Loch proportions over the next few games we were beaten yesterday by the Premier League Champions of the 2016-2017 season.

There may of course and are reasons for the disparity on the day. Our many missing players v Chelsea’s almost injury free season, the early injury to Hector, of one or more of our players having a “stinker”, of refereeing decisions disadvantaging us, of the greater difficulty of engaging in domestic and European completion, and of the home sides’ access to unlimited funds et cetera. In other possible worlds other possible results can occur. And Arsene’s exclusion to the stands a further negative in determining the outcome yesterday – Discuss. And all these factors and caveats have a place in categorising the result and salving the discomfort.

One point I must make and underline is that many of our players performed to their limit yesterday. Their performances were by no means bad. For long periods of the game we had Chelsea pinned back. The third goal from Fabregas was the mid-point paradigm of “unlucky” and “self-inflicted” ( see above). Possession was in our favour. Chelsea at times wobbled precariously at 1-0 and at 2-0. We made four extremely good chances, one scored, to saved and the other a shade away from the post. To suggest the Ox did not play his heart out, or that Alex Iwobi did not at times shine is nonsense. Danny Welbeck’s late introduction and the sharpened edge he brought all over the pitch gave us a glimpse of what might have, been on another day.

Nevertheless I prefer to embrace defeat for what is was, a reverse against a superior team, as a more optimistic attitude than the choice of indifference, ignorance or sham adopted by many.

And the reason for my optimism is that we shall learn, become stronger, players will return and we shall recover our balance. The first stage of that will be over the next few days in our preparation for the Hull game. I heard this week that Arsene gave the players two days off after the Watford. I anticipate there will be no days off this week as we prepare for what is likely to be a pivotal fixture in our season, domestically and as we move toward the showdown in Munich. There is only hard work available now.

One small silver lining in this morning’s news is the recovery of Mo Elneny from his calf injury to play against Cameroon in the AFCON final at 7 pm tonight. A 44 year old keeper – whatever next ! Good luck to our Egyptian and we look forward to your return with a winner’s medal.

Enjoy your Sunday.




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93 comments on “Arsenal: Ambition Undone

  1. As for concussing an opponent – this is how it is done;


  2. Great refreshing post after the defeat Anicol.
    While the media is saying we played badly but we know our boys put up all the efforts.
    The media also forgets we won the reverse match 3 – 0 .

    We will surely bounce back from this bad patch and recover. We have done it before and will do it once again.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Good review Andy.
    I disagree it was just a simple matter of a superior team beating us after we played to the best of our abillities.
    The first goal obviously shouldn’t of been given and as chelski like to play deep and counter attack this was more important than usual. As you said the third goal was entirely of our own doing so its difficult to see how they were so superior. Even the second goal was a counter attack where if players would of stayed on their feet it could of been stopped.
    If we had scored first and chelski had to play on the front foot bringing the game to us i dont think they would of looked so slick. So the first goal helped them alot and while were talking about decisions the game was reffed again in an uneven way. Moses deliberatly blocked after he had been beaten early on and was not booked. He then continued making minor fouls throughout the game but again never received a yellow. costa was even told he had fould repeatedly by the ref but was not booked very strange.
    This officiating allowed chelski players to go through the back of our forward players with impunity.
    Although I thought the teams were closer than the scoreline suggest I didn’t think we played well. While Iwobi and several others looked good on the ball defensively they lacked responsabilty. Alexis probably had his worst game in an Arsenal shirt and Le Coq looked exhausted for some reason. All in all a bad day but if you judge our opponents on the day and not on their record then I didnt think they looked that great.

    Liked by 8 people

  4. Watching Bellerin after the clash sums it all for me. During the match i did nor realised it was such a nasty tackle but watching video posted by Rantetta i am convinced wenger pointing out the incident may open up a debate in the media about poor refreeing in the EPL.
    If people can open there eyes.


  5. If we had got it back to 1-1 or even 2-1, and we had the best part of 40 minutes after the Chelsea second, the outcome may have been different in terms of at least sharing the points Ian.
    We had the goal chances as I say but failed to capitalise on them. The impact of Theo and Sanchez yesterday was negligible, a total contrast to the game at the Ems. Just once did Theo get a chance to run at Luiz and Cahill and poor control wasted the chance. Sanchez was snuffed out in the final third and dropped further and further back meaning from open play we rarely had anyone even in the box. Strange that all our best chances were headers ?


  6. The old fart’s thoughts.
    I ‘ad me ‘at and was wondering which merry tune to whistle. A bit sad that after 15 minutes me ‘at was looking the worse for wear and on 85 was no more. The merry tune had been replaced by a dismal sob.
    But the good news was that we didn’t start off slowly and looked promising for 10 minutes. Indeed a few chances created and we looked more than equipped to give them a game…. until …some not very good defending with three or four players ball watching, to me a clear foul, and, the loss of one of our potentially best players and a goal down. Gabriel had to replace Hector. Holy shit, did we need or deserve that? Gabriel had to replace Hector. The effect on the side was immediate and horrific. Chel$ki became faster into space and breakdowns, of which there were many, and we went back to looking like they did against us back in September. i.e. like recent Arsenal displays in the first half. But at least we survived and had a couple of attempts. The best of which was well saved by their keeper.
    What words were spoken at half time didn’t work. If anything, we kept a good deal of possession but were worse using it. Only the Ox was performing well but those around him just didn’t seem up for the fight. It was a bit like a bull fight. Picadors and matadors goading the bull to get ready for the matador’s thrust. Hazard provided the thrust. That he should have been brought down when only half way to goal was incidental. He wasn’t and got them 2-0 up. To add insult to injury, Cech seemed to say that they deserved another goal and gifted Cesc Fabregas another. That was the nadir.
    By then, Olly and Danny had come on and Olly managed to net a consolation. Not that it was much consolation. Hopefully that may arrive with Hull up next. Methinks we might do better if we “rested”, dropped actually, established stars such as Oz, Alexis, Le coq and Petr to teach them that they have to earn their money.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. No lack of effort, but definitely some room for improvement. Teams are very well organised now, if, as some suggest organisation is not really our thing, not sure whether. Believe that or not…..then it may be at our peril.
    The first goal…..despite ex arsenal players lining up to ingratiate themselves with the MSM , was a foul. If you lead with the elbow, no matter what the intention , or, as mentioned by some…..erm….height difference, it is a foul, end of, that goal should not have stood , should at the very least have been a yellow to the Chelsea player. Whether Bellerin should have been marking him is beside the point, it was a foul, one of many game changing decisions we face at Chelsea.
    As for Cech, he has made some vital saves, but part of me wonders of he needs his old gk coach from his Chelsea days back, Mr Lollichon, who I believe was released from Chelsea on contes arrival.we know Mr Wenger is loathe to change backroom staff, and sees things from day to day that we don’t, but I do wonder, as I do when you see szcz apparently tearing things up in some games over in Italy.
    But ultimately, , despite Liverpools attempt to cheer us up, a bad day. And a win for the spuds, the usual, a defender sticks his leg out, son acrobatically throws himself over it exaggerating any contact, the ref cannot wait to oblige, a knowing smile between son and Kane, and penalty number 8 or 9 for the season is despatched. Their penalty claims look very consistent and well rehearsed.
    On a final note, Keown, usually a fairly reasonable voice, and maybe one who knows more than some behind the scenes, if reported correctly has suggested that Wenger will stay on for two more years, due ….wait for it……to a lack of succession planning. IF this is true, it is a pretty damning indictment on all sorts of people within the club, as much as I want Wenger to stay, I would advise him only to renew on the basis of some sort of achievement, approval from a significant level of the fans, and not just because there is nobody else, our greatest manager is better than that and should not involve himself in such things, for the sake of his health, reputation, legacy and I am sure many other reasons.
    He needs to get players back, get himself back in the dugout, kick a few backsides, tighten things up, have a real think about what seems to this observer, a bit of a long term issue over some very decent keepers ,and put this week behind them. They can still make something good out of this season, and give Wenger, and maybe others genuine reason to stay.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. (breaking it into two so it doesn’t look like I’ve written such a mad amount)

    Way beyond my reach to watch or analyse our games as a neutral could but I strongly suspect yesterday’s game was a good and interesting one.

    We had slight upper hand until opening goal, with, I think, another couple of promising situations to go with Iwobi’s chance. It seemed clear we were looking to press them high and that it was causing some disturbance.

    Then the opening goal. Our misfortune aside, it was quite alarming how they got our defence in such disarray relatively simply.

    Then the different game; trying to come back from behind against a strong highly structured team- fantastic form, no injuries, no Europe, a light schedule- who excel on the counter.

    I thought we worked hard, straining at our limits, particularly when trying to deal with their counters. There was that hateful asymmetry to me of watching how much work and skill it takes to try and get through a packed defence compared to how little, comparatively, to rampage through big spaces with few players in them.

    As part of the same phenomenon, how much work it takes and how much margin for error from the defensive view when well set with numbers versus maximum effort and strain to cope, and no margin for error, with breakaways with less players to defend.

    I like it well enough though when it is us who get to delight and destroy in open spaces.

    Yet we created one great and one pretty good chance at 1-0.

    At 2-0 there were two more clear chances, one good one great. The intensity and determination remained high.

    We kept working hard, there were numerous instances where our defenders or midfielder stretched and strained and got there; hard running all over the pitch, contrary I expect to the news reports. And we kept trying to create.

    My initial impression was that there were plenty of moments of skill, holding players off successfully, finding decent passes, but again all that is so utterly different when being done against a wall of players as opposed to when you need only a couple of good passes to be in a very dangerous position.


    Liked by 2 people

  9. What felt clear after 1-0 is that, well, we were open, vulnerable, pushing at our limits; that our own corners represented real danger against us if the ball fell a certain way; in other words, there was little in the way of control.

    A huge amount of that can be entirely excused by us lacking four important central midfielders, while some of the rest is simply how football is when you concede first.

    The remainder is, I believe, simply our identity as an attacking team. I support it, while, if I’m honest, hoping one day soon there’ll be a little more balance, that we can improve the 5-10% I believe is needed to get where we want to be; too good, often enough, for the opposition and whatever pgmol can do to take titles to the wire. But again- four midfielders out!

    Finally, while trying to resist the temptation of wanting to be yet another team who put defence first and go from there, this league will surely lose a lot if we ever make that choice.

    I know the first thought is always about us and that we all crave maximum success but a league where every last team is ,at heart, chips down, defend and counter (with the only differences being the financial means you have and the quality of players you can use) , I think, a league that falls very far short of football at its best.

    Even as all and sundry knock us we are giving the league an enormous amount towards preventing that. Contrast, excitement, entertainment, drama, something different.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Gf 60 and Mandy

    Good posts but i differ that we need to take off Chec Alexis and ozil.
    If you watch there stats they are doing ptetty well.Maybe Ozil need some sort of pat in the back but one cant say that about Alexis and Chec.
    For instance chec stats have been better than Courtious as shown by bbc 2 days ago.
    And for Alexis his efforts are 2nd to none in the whole league.

    The delima with Arsenal is that we tend to play attacking football even at away big games probably for the sake of our Arsenal brand of football. If we play a more defensive approach in our big away games ala Mancity game in 2013 we may start getting draws out of them atleast. But that would be at the cost of fan entertainment of course.

    Another problem is the biased refreeing of course.


  11. I like Andy’s approach. I will concede it was a clear loss to a team who maximized all the advantages they extracted from the game. The biggest advantage, which hardly anyone has highlighted, was in midfield. We have been decimated by injuries and it showed. Arsene tried a more 4-3-3ish set-up with the Ox, Coq and Iwobi playing very narrow on the left. They were never able to control CFC’s counter attacks or to open them up consistently. I think that is at the root of the defensive mistakes that were made. Example: Unlike our 1st game in the season, this time Kante looked like a colossus instead of us bypassing him with crisp, slick moves culminating in Ozil’s spin which left him on his ass.

    As for the refereeing. This is a proven, verifiable disadvantage which can be very decisive in big-games where the margins are so fine. The unpunished foul on Bellerin is just the most recent example. It is an unfair advantage which we Arsenal fans can help erase by sustaining a campaign for the introduction of video ref. The PL was the first league to have goal-line technology because of public pressure. There are millions of smart, influential Arsenal fans who know how sustain unbearable pressure on the PL until they curb the 100% power of their errand boys in the PGMO.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I agree with Ian.

    For me the performance at old Trafford was less pleasing on the eye!

    The difference by my understanding in top flight football is that if you lose one sub (to uncalled fouls) as with Ramsey on the opening day of the season is that it makes an observable difference. So many late goals by this squad this season when able to use the bench to full capacity late in the match is consistent data to support that understanding.

    sending offs or not dependant upon observable and identifiable game management techniques being applied (last season Stamford bridge as opposed to this, the rather strong pattern), injuries to key players like Bellerin (not many FBs like him), not having three subs to chase in a hard fought contest, the opening goal in every game of football ever played, it all effects the narrative of any match (not the result but the chronology).

    Such as in the corresponding home fixture earlier in the season. Arsenal could’ve whooped Gazprom by more then three that day but it was a fair score line in the end. Too much narrative in the media surrounding the sport means people forget that a team can go from poor form one week to good form a couple of weeks later especially when considering injuries and fitness and elbows to the head!*

    *given his sluggish form thereafter in his career, the reputation of medics (bar one) under Mourinho tanking up players on cortisone injections (not to the head! you’d hope not but you never know in professional sport…) and the understanding that he’d have been rushed back from that league cup final I don’t believe the athelete John Terry was ever the same after that smack in the head. Either that one or some other injury that he was rushed back from at that period reduced his admittedly low level of speed etc

    to be fair to Mourinho he did help introduce better safeguards to the sport after Cechs injury, and depending upon the severity of the concussion Bellerin will be out of training for three days or three weeks etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. A bit of a long read, and perhaps the wrong thread, but just to add to Shottas excellent articles on ref bias/penalties, here’s a post from Vince on Untold about the Riley effect…..haven’t checked,this and posting as he has written it. Not how many lists we are either bottom of, or very close to the bottom, which in these lists, is not a good thing

    05/02/2017 at 12:24 pm
    “Mike Riley have been appointed at the head of the PGMOB in 2009. Since then, 9 clubs played every season of PL : Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Stoke, Sunderland and Tottenham.

    Let’s see some referring statistics between those 9 clubs in the Riley era…

    Penalties given
    1 City 58
    2 Chelsea 56
    3 Liverpool 48
    4 United 44
    5 Sunderland, Tottenham 38
    7 Arsenal, Everton 36
    9 Stoke 33

    Arsenal is probably the team that spend the most time in the opponent box, yet only Stoke were given less penalties. On the other hand, Chelsea and City are awarded approximately 60% more penalties than the Gunners.

    Goals scored/Penalties given ratio
    1 Sunderland 8.50
    2 Stoke 9.48
    3 Chelsea 10.11
    4 City 10.26
    5 Liverpool 10.54
    6 Everton 11.78
    7 United 12.43
    8 Tottenham 12.68
    9 Arsenal 15.47

    The better a team is offensively, the higher should be its penalty count. For example, it is logical to see City with more penalties than Sunderland or Stoke. However using this goal/penalties ratio, every team should have similar result regardless of the team level.
    What a surprise, the numbers shows that referees are a lot more reluctant to give penalties to Arsenal, compared to others teams…

    Penalties conceded
    1 Chelsea, City, United 24
    4 Everton 30
    5 Liverpool, Tottenham 35
    7 Sunderland 39
    8 Arsenal, Stoke 42

    Arsenal has the highest number of penalties conceded (tied with Stoke), 75% more than Chelsea and the 2 Manchester… Another quick remark, Arsenal actually conceded 6 more penalties than they were awarded : the only team of the Top 6 (or even Top 7 if you add Everton) with a negative balance. Compared to City with a +34 balance, that is 40 penalties deficit. 40 PENALTIES!

    Goals conceded/penalties conceded
    1 City 11.88
    2 Chelsea 11.63
    3 United 11.54
    4 Everton 11.50
    5 Sunderland 11.00
    6 Liverpool 9.71
    7 Tottenham 9.40
    8 Stoke 9.10
    9 Arsenal 7.40

    Funny, the same referee that are so reluctant to give penalties to Arsenal, they are giving penalties against Arsenal more easily than any other team. If you compare those ratios with those about penalties given above, you can see every team has pretty similar ratios. All except Arsenal who actually has a more 2-to-1 difference…

    Red card received
    1 Tottenham 16
    2 United 19
    3 Everton, Liverpool 21
    5 City 22
    6 Stoke 24
    7 Chelsea 25
    8 Arsenal 28
    9 Sunderland 39

    I don’t think anyone in their right mind would classify Arsenal as a dirty team (they more likely would talk about the Gunners lack of aggressivity…), yet except Sunderland, no team receive more red cards. Yes even Stoke has fewer red cards. Quite funny too to see Tottenham and United at the top of this table. You know, the 2 teams that gets away nearly every week with nasty challenges. Actually it’s been close to 2 years since a Spurs got a red card…

    Yellow cards/Red cards ratio
    1 Tottenham 29.00
    2 United 24.42
    3 City 22.64
    4 Stoke 21.83
    5 Everton, Liverpool 21.24
    7 Chelsea 19.20
    8 Arsenal 15.57
    9 Sundeland 13.87

    This ratio too should be similar for every team. Obviously that is not the case at all. How many times have we seen referees give a second yellow card to an Arsenal player at the first occasion, while allowing opponents 5 or more fouls. When I see that table, I can’t help but think about the sending off of Coquelin last year in the NLD, when Lamela and Dier stayed on the field despite more clearer second yellow offenses…

    If, seeing all these statistics, some people want to deny the corruption that is happening right now in the Premier League, and the fact that for years, Arsenal has been robbed by referees, well there’s none so blind as those who will not see”

    Liked by 9 people

  14. On the midfield point Shotta there was a horrible sequence in the 20th minute with Ox in the centre circle surrounded by and robbed of the ball by four Chelsea players. Not another Arsenal player in shot – it did not happen often but once is enough.

    On the topic of defending Rich there is only one side at the moment who defend reliably week in and week out and we played them yesterday. The rest, including us, have good defensive players, some great defensive players in fact, but the discipline from the first to the last whistle is missing in some games.


  15. Sheesh, Vince has gone and done what I had in mind but was unable to do- by linking pens for and against with goals scored and conceded.

    Then the other, similarly wrong- looking stats. Astonishing stuff.

    I feel the argument will quickly be upon us of what is the point of carrying on watching if you are so sure we are being fucked over like this.

    I have a great deal of sympathy for that point, and indeed today is one of those day’s when i am going over in my mind if it is possible for me to rewire my brain and insist it isn’t how I think it is.

    Sounds totally mad, and may prove totally impossible, but it seems worth a try.

    My football addiction is unlikely to ease in the near future and my distrust and hatred of the officials (and pundits, and…) is making things unpleasant and absurd too often.

    I thought it was genuinely mild stuff from Atkinson yesterday. The brutal nature of the elbow aside, I can accept that as being easy to miss; while his habit of going so easy on rotational fouls against and ensuring he never penalises small fouls against us leading to breakaways, is something I am so accustomed to I almost dismiss it as being nothing.

    Mild, and plenty in the actual game to focus on as legitimate reasons we lost.

    It’s been the reaction to the elbow that has got to me more. The near total consensus it was ok, and then my agreement with the notion it would (almost) certainly have been so different, on pitch and after, had we been the team doing the elbowing.

    I find it so easy to believe it would have been spotted and could even have received a red had we done it; while the talk afterwards would be of a vicious, dangerous elbow which deserved to be called and punished.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Mandy

    Great read.If the data is correct than the tef bias is quite obvious for the non believers to see.

    In all aspects Arsenal have been hit.

    Kindly reconfirm if the figures ate correct.


  17. “Arsenal is the team that spend most time in the opponent’s box”

    Eh ? I would love to see the data on that one – a few years ago that was probably right but for the past six /seven seasons we spend far far too little time in the opponent’s box, particularly running with the ball at our feet and taking the defenders on.

    Shotta is there any data ?


  18. Some unpleasant things go on in football Rich, agreed, but get the impression at least, that Arsenal are a bit of an oasis away from the worst of it at least, and are perhaps treated accordingly.
    Agree on Atkinson, cannot completely blame him for missing that …at the speed it happened, I am not even sure there was any intent, but yes the reaction, all the good old English physical boys are out in force since that game, including a physical wife beating type……who, quite rightly highlights mental health and depression issues, but is sponsored by gambling firms, and the misery they can cause to some. Sorry for hinting you may be a hypocrite Stan Collymore
    Anicholl, unfortunately would add the Spuds to teams that defend better than we do, though that could change with an injury or two, and as they run out of steam, and if the officials ever apply the same criteria to dishing out penalties against them as they do us.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. You may be right about Spuds Mandy but my finger hesitated over the neighbours’ button after their Wycombe humiliation they recently suffered at home, and the multiple hidings they sustained in the CL this season.


  20. Rosicky, cannot confirm ,just posting as written from Vince on Untold, as a sort of carry on from Shottas excellent and well researched articles, but I will say, he usually posts some pretty good stuff. Vince goes back to the birth of Riley, but on first glance, those numbers would certainly match the perceptions at least of this season, or at least the second part of it. We did get a few pens our way at the start, seemed to stop after we beat Chelsea in the autumn….again, can’t prove significance here. Since then we have been conceding pens at a rate that may well take us above a highly unusual ten conceded in a season, especially, for a non dirty team. As for red cards, think two this season…..one perhaps deserved, the other , unprecedent, and yet to be repeated in any game I have seen, both by the same ref on the same player. In contrast, the spuds, who I regard a far more dirty team, but play a more English style are up around the mid 60s of games without conceding a red….in play at least. Make of it all what you will, but agree with wengers statement after I think the Burnley game….something to the effect “we don’t make it easy for ourselves, nor do we get it easy”


  21. Good point on Wycombe and the CL games, let’s hope we see more!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Andy: I have got to search for the time in the box data. Opta probably has it but one would have to pay through the nose. Maybe there is some proxy. I will search.

    Mandy: Very interesting info from Vince. Although we approach the data from different directions it led to the same inexorable conclusion. That is the power of unbiased data. It is entirely unemotional and objective. That is why the purveyors of fear and emotion on twitter, blogs and podcasts do not use data to back up their wild diagnosis and prognostications.

    BTW: Because of Mandy my entire blog for Monday is now in tatters. Respect mi bredrin.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. The in-the-box data is probably divided into ‘BH’ and ‘AH’ categories Shotta – before Hleb and After Hleb.

    I used to love his lovely little jinking runs up and down the edge of the box, pursued by by four defenders.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. A5: Also Jose Antonio Reyes used to love dribbling into the box until he was hacked to pieces without protection of the refs. Hleb was also hacked to the point of being bloodied and bruised according to reports from the AFC camp prior to him fucking off to Barca.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. And for any who doubt the fickle nature of the game behold the news not so very long ago;


  26. nice composed piece as real fans and adults should write, tanx for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Sterling penalized for diving based purely on reputation. Fabianski arguably fouled him.


  28. He was certainly hacked one afternoon in Manchester Shotta – oddly enough one snippet I remember about JAR when he joined us from Sevilla was that he was already the most fouled player in the Prima Liga

    Hleb I don’t ever recall suffering much from violence as he was a pretty tough cookie who had earned his spurs in the Bundesliga – it was ice cream that did him I thought ?


  29. Shotta

    I thought the superior thing about that set of stats was that they contained something to support any claim we get less pens than we should based on the amount we attack, and concede more than we should defending.

    Namely, the goals scored/ Penalties given and goals conceded/ penalties conceded ratios. That offers a further dimension which the total pen figures don’t, and for my money is slightly more useful than possession in box stats would be. Or it’s certainly on a par with those and serves the same purpose.

    Even in an era dominated by counter attacks, there must still be a strong relationship between goals scored and time spent in the opponents box. If that relationship has collapsed I’d be glad to see that confirmed and will update my ideas accordingly.

    We may spend significantly less time in the box than we once did, but i’d be amazed if we don’t still spend significantly more time there than our opponents do in our box, in the majority of games and overall.

    Again, though, no one set of figures can prove anything definitively, other than the hard fact they represent- i.e how many pens we’ve had, or conceded, etc.

    Likewise, even ten different stats measuring different things cannot unequivocally prove a damn thing is amiss- otherwise there’d be no arguments to be had; you’d go hand em over to the authorities, if they were incontrovertible proof of anything, and action would be taken.

    But you can, if so minded, seek out these statistics, put them together and ask questions about whether they can possibly be regarded as normal, or if they make basic sense.

    Those Mandy supplied from Vince are the best I have seen at illustrating, or suggesting, surely not.

    We are incompetent attackers- in terms of having the skill to earn penalties or convert pressure into pens; incompetent defenders in terms of being tricked by skill or indulging in clumsy play, to concede pens; and we are also exceedingly incompetent foulers, earning cards for far fewer infringements than our rivals, and committing more serious fouls than them.

    All while somehow making that top four every year, with an attack and defence good enough each time to do that; also while being weak and vulnerable to a good bit of above board, good, honest bullying. It’s a fucking mad picture which defies basic sense in many ways.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Rich, Mandy; Based on A5’s request some damning data has been found. Don’t want to overhype it. As for data being proof, there is in English and American jurisprudence 3 standards:
    * proof beyond a reasonable doubt,
    * preponderance of the evidence, and
    * clear and convincing evidence.

    When you see, read and hear sceptics panning the abundance of evidence that I and others have presented, remind them that in civil cases this has been sufficient to find many defendants guilty. Some of us work in very regulated businesses and the PGMO disparate treatment of Arsenal would be very costly.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I’m strictly a balance of probability man myself Shotta

    However to prove the charge that a referee is a “disgusting excuse for a human being” as I have read recently in connection to one of our men in black – a fourth official to boot – I tend toward beyond reasonable doubt.

    As for the regulated industry I thought Goldmans were already on that ? ( banned winkie thing)

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Swansea had better be careful. City is not Mike Dean’s favorite team but, based on the data, a big call in favor of City is likely. As Arsene would warn, “don’t make it difficult for yourself”.


  33. Sorry Shotta, but hope you are going to publish it, always look forward to your stuff.
    But I blame Vince!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Swansea did not take my advice.


  35. A5: I don’t think we are in disagreement about the evidence. We concur that appeals to emotionalism and abuse of individual referees is not evidence.

    Liked by 3 people

  36. Actually Swansea did not take Arsene’s advice.


  37. Oh gawd – weeks and weeks of Jesus as the best player ever

    Until this time next year he is on loan at Roma

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Deano would have got his bald head lashed for the position of Dyer on the Swansea goal – Sighurdson is bloody deadly on the edge of the box though


  39. A5: City won. That’s all that matters. Didn’t you get the memo?


  40. A last minute winner Shotta – a sign of mental strength (as I always say).


  41. Its good to see we still have water at our little oasis

    Liked by 3 people

  42. There’s no individual abuse of officials within the data collected over several years at untold*. Collected using standard metrics used to asses referees, and consequently those reports are read by some of the pgMOB officials themselves.

    If I wanted to attempt poo poo upon that data or the method I wouldn’t do it here.

    Which is why i’d previously requested that eds and andrew take there referee debate there.

    *indiduals posting comments may have opinions *gollum gollum*, i’d be dissapointed if they didn’t: after all one reason the away goal rule exists is because refs, especially linos, the pattern was that they’d get influenced by crowds hence the away goals rule, something we’ve witnessed last couple of seasons which we’ve seen in N5 with a couple of late pelanty calls (linos especially), Burnley and the previous one for the big tug on Giroud’s shirt.


  43. Alexis fucks us up more than any player Arsene has signed. I’m convinced he takes away more than he gives.
    But really, wtf do I know.?

    Liked by 3 people

  44. hey!

    Leave Alexis alone! You meanie.
    (he was a contender for an early sub!)


  45. Rich

    The reaction to Bellerin being elbowed in the head would definitely be different if Arsenal were the ones doing the elbowing. For evidence, the commentators yesterday were saying Gabriel was lucky to get away with throwing an elbow at Hazard because he made himself wider to protect the ball, and Hazard went down clutching his face. It wasn’t even a foul by the usual standards but of course Atkinson obliged. However the commentators said this was totally different to the Bellerin incident and Gabriel ‘knew what he was doing’.

    Liked by 3 people

  46. Swansea manager Paul Clement, speaking to Sky Sports: “We are disappointed with the circumstances of the late goal. I don’t think it was a foul and then they took the free-kick 15m deeper than the foul and the ball was rolling.

    “If the free-kick was taken where it should, we are in position and would have dealt with that attack.”

    Managers eh ?


  47. @shotta_gooner I was slowly turning to wanting video evidence, but then listening to the pundits and one of their favourite Refs , I don’t have confidence Arsenal would get any better,more even or correct calls.
    The story is set ,the culture is in place it would take a clear out.
    To para phrase a lady in Oklahoma City the ain’t got time for that

    Liked by 3 people

  48. I don’t have a debate Fins – there is nothing to take anywhere.

    I have the suggestion that the only ‘data’ that should be allowed into any credible analysis of a referees performance, or lack of it, is the ‘data’ that is derived from the view taken by the observer, be that referee or fan, the first and only time they see the incident.

    It is absurd that a controversial incident is reviewed from five different camera angles, in slo mo, stopped, rewound, re-started, with GREAT BIG LINES drawn all over the pitch before the referee is either condemned for gross incompetence or £££ worse, or wholly exonerated as a brilliant judge with the wisdom of Solomon and eyesight of a diving kestrel. Nonsense in my view.


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