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Arsenal Will Compete For The Title: The Contrarian View

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This blog was written 24 hours before Arsenal’s loss to Stoke. Everything football and media-wise from that game reinforces my findings and conclusions.

Positivistas: This is not a blog about me per se but am using my experience to explain to our audience the meaning of a contrarian world view and how it applies to the football club we so love and support. After all so much is written and said about this club on a daily basis which, to me at least, is confusing and contradictory and makes absolutely no sense. Hopefully this essay may be helpful in providing a rational and logical perspective.

A contrarian according to the Webster on-line dictionary is defined as:

“One who takes a contrary view or action, especially an investor who makes decisions that contradict prevailing wisdom, as in buying securities that are unpopular at the time.”

Contrarian investors are usually successfully because they buy stocks when they are cheap due to their unpopularity and profit from them when their value rises over time.
Contrarians Rely on the Unbiased Data

As a self-described contrarian I will therefore typically disagree with or proceed against current opinion or established practice. But contrarians do not disagree simply to be disagreeable. Any successful contrarian investor, will base their opinions and findings entirely on the unbiased data, meaning it is subject to robust statistical analysis and not stitched up to suit a particular viewpoint.

Thus, for example, in my last blog I did not prescribe either an attack or defense oriented approach this season after analyzing 21 years of data demonstrating a widening gap in Goals-Against between Arsenal and the winning teams in the premier league. The data was clearly suggesting a more balanced approach where the club not only aims to score more goals but also concentrate on conceding less.

It may interest you how I arrived at this outlook. Twenty years ago I became one of the increasing millions of Americans whose employer no longer offer standard pensions, the alternative was a defined savings plans, in my case it being the very popular 401(k) retirement plan. Initially I was one of those passive investors who followed the conventional rules proclaimed by brokers, investment advisers and the mainstream media, i.e. always fully invested in the market regardless of highs and lows. Despite repeated evidence that the stock market is a dangerous place for uninformed amateurs I was like a lamb to the slaughter buying high and sell low.

My “Damascene” moment was the 2008-2009 crisis when, like almost all my American cohorts, my retirement nest-egg was almost totally wiped out by the stock market crash. I then learnt, like millions, how the big investment houses and banks such as Goldman, Merrill-Lynch, Deutsche, Barclays, etc., engineered the bubble arm-in-arm with the mainstream media, conveniently bailing out before the shit-hit-the-fan.

Public Sentiment Is A Contrarian Indicator

It is well known among all academic studies that when it comes to market performance public sentiment is a contrarian indicator. The public is inclined to buy on good news when prices are high and sell on bad news when prices are low; clearly a losing proposition.

Contrarians partially attribute this to Freud’s theory that unconsciously we human beings are often motivated by our primal instincts of fear and despair. Thus, for example, I was one of millions in 2007 who feared missing out on the rising market, refusing to sell when the market was topping out. Similarly, when the market hit rock bottom in 2009-2010 and the Feds were pumping trillions in the market most of us missed the monumental increase in stock prices out of despair that the market would ever recover again.

Similarly, how many times have Arsenal fans acted irrationally based on fear sown by the mainstream media that the club is on the edge of disaster because of a run of bad results. Despite 21 years of history showing Arsene Wenger is the most knowledgeable, most accomplished and most consistent manager in the league, fans have been frequently stirred and motivated to drive their greatest ever manager out of the club. At the very moment they are acting most irrationally the club is usually digging itself out of a hole. Last year was no exception. While the mainstream media was rushing to wager bets as to how soon Arsene Wenger would get his pink-slip, between April and May the club won 10 out of 11 matches to not only move from 8th to 5th in the league but to also secure its 3rd FA cup title in four years.

Mainstream Media Can Never Be Neutral

Much related and connected to public sentiment is the role of the mainstream media which is often the purveyors of public opinion. Contrary to conventional wisdom that the media has a neutral, unbiased interest in reporting facts, when it comes to money and investing they have a commercial interest in propagating fear and despair. Fear sells. It generates newspaper sales, listeners/viewers in radio/television and clicks on-line.

No commercially-oriented media company benefits from the boring up and down behavior of the market. To the contrary, if a media company is commercially dependent on investment banks, brokers, mutual funds etc., it is in their objective interest to hype a rise and fall of the market. At the very least, there are commissions to be made by market insiders when stocks are heavily traded.

Oftentimes a media representative, like a broker, may be professionally aware that the market is set for a fall, but because his or her commission is tied to generating new sales, he/she continue to induce more lemmings to invest, leading them like little lambs to the slaughter. No wonder so many of us were fully invested in worthless mortgage-related stocks during the last crash.

No Interest In Boring Arsenal

Similarly no commercial media house has an interest in “boring, boring” Arsenal. Just in terms of sheer numbers, supporters of the football club are clearly a fertile market for media exploitation. For example, from the reports I have read, Arsenal has the biggest online presence among football clubs worldwide. Since Wenger transformed the club into one of the biggest in England, there are now huge expectations by fans season after season. Correspondingly among these fans is chronic anxiety that the club may be falling behind its better financed rivals, not only to the traditional commercial giant Manchester United but the nouveau rich externally financed clubs, Chelsea and City.

It is no surprise that not a day passes without an alarming story in the mainstream media portending disaster at Arsenal football Club. Take for example, this week’s headlines from a Google search:

Liverpool join Arsenal in race for Jean Michael Seri: Reds in talks with NiceDaily Express

Liverpool on brink of signing Arsenal target Jean Michael SeriDaily Star

Liverpool Set to Sign Ligue 1 Midfield Star Seri Ahead of Arsenal, TottenhamSports Illustrated

It begs the question has Arsenal ever publicly disclosed an interest in signing Seri? Does the club ever get into a bidding war for any player? Any informed fan should have the answer to both questions.

Public Sentiment Is Against Arsenal

What of the current predictions by the media for Arsenal this season? As evident below is all  doom and gloom:

  • 6th Place – Guardian (Writers predictions)
  • 6th Place – BBC (Writers predictions)
  • 4th Place – ESPN (Writers predictions)

One wonders what are the factual bases for these predictions. We have had 21 years of Arsenal averaging 3rd position in the premier league and never falling out of the top-4 except last season. This new campaign the club has kept all of its top players from the previous season and furthermore strengthened the squad with: (1) the second highest goal-scorer from the French league, and (2) a left-back who made the Budesliga best XI for the last season.

The fundamental data is therefore indicating the current squad is deeper and better qualitatively than it was last year and, arguably, better than it has ever been since 2005. It seems to me a clear case of the mainstream media once again discounting the facts and data and simply emphasizing current negative public sentiment. What a surprise!

Contrarians are usually in a small minority, at least initially. I am therefore amongst a precious few who will confidently wager on a title challenge. In fact I will go further and predict Arsenal will most certainly regain its top-3 position. Only a total injury disaster will prevent this achievement and, if they are allowed to get away with it, undue referee bias.

For the sake of irony, I will conclude with the following disclosure: Information in this essay is not investment advice. Please consult a financial professional to help make decisions suitable to your particular situation and risk tolerance. That should take care of the bleeding football “experts” writing blogs, tweeting and doing podcasts.

Postscript:

Arsenal this season may well suffer from undue referee bias and another penalty embargo  but vs Stoke they were statistically dominant despite being denied two penalties and a good goal ruled offside. The following summary was obtained from Whoscored.com:

Stoke Key Metric Arsenal
11 Shots 18
4 Shots on target 6
63% Pass Success % 88%
64% Aerial Duel Success 36%
7 Dribbles won 13
19 Tackles 16
23% Possession 77%

I rest my case.

303 comments on “Arsenal Will Compete For The Title: The Contrarian View

  1. would ox get a CM spot at either Chelsea or Liverpool, the two clubs most heavily linked with him. Ox’s agent keeps feeding stories to the media that its not about the money but about a CM role and game time. Well ox has always been heavily involved in our selections when fit. So unless somehow he is blaming AFC for himself not being fit, then that end of the debate should be closed. And if its CM, then ok, the lad has played less than 20 times in CM for us, and normally only when we have an injury crisis there. so no real sign he is ever going to be a CM for us, and looking at his game, I’m not sure its ever going to be his position, I really don’t know of any CM’s with ox’s skill set. winger yes, wingback yet, CM no. So just which big club will give him a starring role in central midfield for them. so forgive me if I think it is as usual all about the money.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Ox and his parents may have sensible sides to them, but he now reportedly has a pop star GF to impress.
    Seem to remember Sir Alex having concerns with one of his reasonably well known players in a similar situation, think his response was to throw a boot in said players face, or something.
    So, if it all goes horribly wrong, guess we can blame her for everything
    But still time for him to do the right thing

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sniper‏ @clockendsniper 11m11 minutes ago
    Replying to @Talkinoutmyarse

    Nov 18th Arsenal v Spurs
    Nov 21st Dortmund v Spurs
    Nov 23rd FC Koln v Arsenal

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  4. Eddie: Time will tell.

    Like

  5. TBH if it were me, I’d show AOC, Ozil and Sanchez the door.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. George did the preview come through OK?

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  7. Arsenal U23’s play Liverpool u23’s this evening, kick off at 7

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  8. George at 3:59 pm – I think we all know your stance.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Unlike those other nameless c*unts you will accommodate an alternate point of view. Respect to the max.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Alex Hleb plays for Bate Borisov

    Liked by 2 people

  11. love how spain list the squad, they know how important Monreal is

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Ramsey in the Wales squad, Ozil in the German squad, Mustafi did not get selected

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  13. Barcelona have signed Ousmane Dembele from Dortmund

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Eddie: How much did Dembele cost Barca?

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  15. seemingly €100M with another €50M in add on clauses

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Barcelona have said they have put a €400M release clause in his contract

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  17. ALL IN A WEEK’S WORK…..

    Relocate Debuchy & Gibbs.
    Loan out Akpom, Reine-Adelaide & Bielik.
    If the Ox absolutely wants to go, I’d sell him too PG. £40-50m should do it.
    van Dijk for £50+ (if he desires the red&white & the Saints accept).
    Absolutely keep Ozil. He’s best retired a gunner.
    No no selling Mustafi..”we’ve only just begun”.
    Reboot, re-love, extend and revive Joel Campbell if possible. If not, grab Goretzka for £30m and make Jack prove he’s better.
    Alternate between Nelson & Maitland-Niles @ RW/RB behind Bellerin.
    Keep Chambers. BFG might not last the season with Europa nights aplenty.
    Alexis to PSG for Draxler (or zat Rabiot) plus £20m would be a go too if the Chilean throws a late tantrum. Otherwise KEEP him, love him & hope for the best.

    Should be quite a season.

    1 Cech – Ospina – Macey

    4 Mustafi – Chambers
    6 van Dijk – Mertesacker
    5 Koscielny – Holding

    2 Bellerin – M.Niles – Nelson
    3 Monreal – Kolasinac
    8 Xhaka – Coquelin – Elneny
    10 Ramsey – Cazorla* – Wilshere

    7 Özil – Walcott – Campbell*/Goretzka
    11 Alexis – Iwobi

    9 Giroud – Lacazette – Welbeck.

    All the very best to Kieran Gibbs. Forever one of ours.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. €400 million eh ? Luring the Qataris toward the the trap I think – very cunning

    Liked by 4 people

  19. edu, ox might get a central midfield role with liverool though. klopp like lots of speed in his team. but liverpool arent top 4 club. them along with spuds will be back in their places this season. as with klopp, you dont have to have the end product, just the speed and ox ticks all the box. plenty of speed but little or no end product. at chelsea, his only chance is the right wing back but moses is better than him defensively and in end product. i just think wenger has over indulge him and some guys just because of pausity of english and home grown talents. if the likes of campbell had recieved same treatment and game time, they would have developed better and apprecieted the manager and the club more. he was put straight away into the first team at 16 despite having better players ahead of him. even now some are even suggesting we play him ahead of bellerin despite the defensive lapses in his game. there is a reason wenger switched him to the right during our game against leicester and stoke.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. very young team selected for the u23’s

    AFCU23 to play @LFC: Keto, Osei-Tutu, McGuane, Pleguezuelo, Dasilva, Maitland-Niles, Willock, Nketiah, Nelson, Reine-Adelaide, Akpom

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  21. Jeorge Bird‏ @jeorgebird 31m31 minutes ago

    Steve Bould and Gerry Peyton at the game. Competitive U23 debut for Osei-Tutu.

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  22. seemingly the u23’s are playing a 4-2-3-1 formation

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  23. reports that Bielik’s loan move out is off after he was ruled out with a shoulder injury picked up v man city u23’s on monday. He is said to be out for 2 months.

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  24. now for anyone who still thinks John Cross is anything other than a click bait journo who will stoop to any old lie, here is his latest shit

    Wenger has told Ox privately a move would be best for his development. Liverpool and Chelsea both want the player. (John Cross)

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  25. Jeorge Bird‏ @jeorgebird 3m3 minutes ago

    Ht. 0-0. Tight game with both teams having good chances. Osei-Tutu has been a threat pushing forwards from right-back.

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  26. shotta this might be of interest to you, Seri has been left out of Nice squad for their game tomorrow, reports in France suggest he is set for a transfer.

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  27. Jeorge Bird‏ @jeorgebird 2m2 minutes ago

    1-0. Nketiah plays in Nelson who scores his fifth goal of the season.
    Assured finish from Nelson who made a great run to catch the Liverpool defence off guard

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  28. Jeorge Bird‏ @jeorgebird 5m5 minutes ago

    Malen on for Akpom, who wasn’t involved much

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  29. Jeorge Bird‏ @jeorgebird 2m2 minutes ago

    1-1. Liverpool equalise through powerful strike from Brewster

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  30. Jeorge Bird‏ @jeorgebird 2m2 minutes ago

    Dragomir on for Reine-Adelaide. Latter had some good touches

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  31. I see the French manager has said that he will not release players to complete transfers, once the join up with the squad on Monday he will not allow any distractions.

    Like

  32. Jeorge Bird‏ @jeorgebird 58s58 seconds ago

    2-1 to Liverpool in dying moments. Hart free-kick. Arsenal left with broken hearts.

    Like

  33. Jeorge Bird‏ @jeorgebird

    Arsenal U23s suffer first defeat of season. Keto, Nelson, Nketiah good but makeshift defence struggled at times.

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  34. Arsenal have 31 players listed in our first team squad on Arsenal.com, and only 3 of that 31 were not bought from other clubs, odd that so many ASB say Arsenal don’t do transfers. We also have 3 more senior players on loan at other clubs who were bought in, not including Bramall who was also bought.

    by the way, Willock and Nelson no longer included on the list.

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  35. seemingly a deal for gibbs to join watford is agreed, fee in region of £7M, set to be completed over the weekend.

    Like

  36. Some Interesting quotes from Wenger on Alexis and Ozil

    on Aleis – I want him to stay, after that there is of course a lot of money involved as well and the club needs to make a financial sacrifice.

    on who will have the final say…
    I have always been followed by the board, but the final say belongs to the board.

    on the ‘financial sacrifice’ in Alexis’ case…
    The financial factor you sometimes have to prioritise, yes…

    on Alexis and Ozil being a combined £150m ‘financial sacrifice’…
    It’s still not an Mbappe, no! It is true, yes, I agree with you, that’s why I said, it’s a financial sacrifice for the club and at the end of the day you have to calculate what you can afford and what you can’t afford.

    Read more at https://www.arsenal.com/news/i-deeply-feel-alexis-loves-be-here#S2mZKKTUQLh8ZoCV.99

    Read more at https://www.arsenal.com/news/i-deeply-feel-alexis-loves-be-here#gqU9D6HutfegGjGc.99

    Like

  37. Jeorge Bird‏ @jeorgebird 2m2 minutes ago

    FT. Arsenal U18s 6 (Smith Rowe (3), Medley (2), Balogun) West Ham 1.
    Smith Rowe really is a standout talent.

    Like

  38. Arsenal U18 v West Ham: Virginia; Daley-Campbell, Olowu, Medley, Omole; Ballard, Benson; Olayinka, Burton, Smith Rowe; Balogun.
    Subs: Okonkwo, Smith, Spencer-Adams, Sako, Thompson.

    Like

  39. Jermey Wilson of the Telegraph trying to stir shit – Arsenal to sell Ox, Mustafi, Gibbs, Debuchy and Perez but will not sign anyone but will instead wait till next summer to try and sign Lemar and Van Dijk

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Arsenal U18’s have this season moved Daniel Ballard from his usual central defender role to a defensive midfielder role, and he is performing well there, apart from the fact that he has now been booked in each of his last four games.

    Like

  41. Mendy looks about 2 stone over-weight and about £35 million overpriced – he is in for a busy season

    Liked by 1 person

  42. just been told on twitter that Alexis was the only significant signing AFC have made in the last 10 years. That is the state of some of our fan base

    Like

  43. best rumor of the day

    Arsenal demand £40M + £1 from Liverpool for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Jenkinson went off injured after 33 minutes of his Birmingham debut, a shoulder injury

    Like

  45. Leicester City took a 14 minute flight to Manchester for their game this evening with utd, but unlike when AFC take short flights for games, no media outrage at the impact on the environment

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  46. EDDY, LOVE DAT RUMOUR OF 40 PLUS 1. LOL

    who is surprised that the media do not mention Leicester. its good we do our bit here and will also be nice to have the info out on twitter.

    we do not say it’s wrong just that it is not uniquely arsenal to take quick fights on match days

    Like

  47. Sharing with you guys 2 of my tweets:

    A day like today is further proof the PL is going the road of professional wrestling without a fairer system of officiating. VAR asap

    I am hanging onto the league only because Arsenal proves there is an alternative; playing the right way relying on your own resources.

    Liked by 2 people

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