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Arsenal: Ignorance Is Strength

orwell speaking the truth

As an Arsenal supporter, something that both concerns and annoys me is the constant, unrelenting efforts by the mainstream media to sensationalize and manipulate bits of information to form a patently false narrative about our club. It is common to football as it is to politics and economics. The primary victim of the need to “sex-up” news and information is truth itself. Ironically, post “1984”, we have realized an Orwellian world where “Ignorance is strength”.

Thus, no more than five (5) weeks ago, just prior to the last international break and close of the transfer window, the usual suspects were trumpeting a narrative of crisis and total disaster (“shambles” is now the word of choice) because Arsenal had lost heavily to Liverpool. The ignorant were being led to believe that the Scousers were on the verge of sweeping all before them, Arsenal’s British core was crumbling as Oxlade-Chamberlain abandoned the sinking ship and both Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil had no desire to play in lieu of non-renewal of their existing contract.

With the passage of time and the Premier League now on pause for another international break, a look at the tables easily discredits the dishonest, simplistic narrative.  Arsenal is now in 5th in position two places above Liverpool, albeit by only one point.

Premier League 17/18 League table
# Clubs P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Man City 7 6 1 22 2 20 19
2 Man United 7 6 1 21 2 19 19
3 Tottenham 7 4 2 1 14 5 9 14
4 Chelsea 7 4 1 2 12 6 6 13
5 Arsenal 7 4 1 2 11 8 3 13
6 Burnley 7 3 3 1 7 5 2 12
7 Liverpool 7 3 3 1 13 12 1 12

It is only 114 games between all 20 clubs and thus statistically too early to draw hard and fast conclusions. But it is evident that the runners are already separating themselves from the stayers. Not surprisingly the two biggest spenders over the past two years, City and United, having splurged at least £400 million each on transfers, are already atop the table.

Like Pavlovian mice, the pundits in the mainstream media are already salivating, preparing for the coronation ceremony of either two as league champions. The fact that similar fast starts were recorded by both clubs over the past two seasons and they thereafter flagged down the stretch have not dissuaded these intrepid representatives of the mainstream media from their premature ejaculations.

A particular feature of  MSM and their echo chamber (blogs and twitter) is their refusal to present the unbiased data in support of their prognostications. Yet they have easy access to massive computerized databases and well paid interns who can generate information on the fly. This is further proof to a frequent observation that we currently live in an era where there has never been so much data and yet so little knowledge.

One such ignorancy the pundits currently repeat without challenge is: the title will be decided in games between the top-6. The proximate cause of this “profundity” is the fact that Man City, under their golden boy Pep Guardiola, has beaten two teams expected to finish in the top positions i.e. Liverpool and Chelsea.

Apparently the results between 6 teams are more significant than the result between 14, i.e. a maximum of 30 versus 84 points respectively. Something so patently unscientific motivated my research of 21 years of Premier League history, covering the period it became a 20 team competition, to see whether there are any observable facts to support this proposition.

Points from Top-6 teams

PL champion pts fr top-6

As evident in the above graphic, the number of points obtained by PL champions from the top-6 have meandered between 13 and 25 points. The mean is 19 points with a standard deviation of 4 pts. Statistically, therefore, a PL champion will 95% of the time earn between 15 and 23 points (between half and two-thirds of the total available) from their top-6 rivals. Assuming it takes approximately 85 points to win the title, clubs must earn between 70 and 62 points from somewhere.

Points from Bottom-14 Teams

PL points from lower 14

Cha Ching! The data indicates that on average 67 points or 78% of the total are obtained from the bottom teams, with a standard deviation of 5 points. In other words, 95% of the time a club must earn between 62 and 72 points from 28 games. Contrary to the blather from the pundits, it is clear a team that seriously aspires for the title must consistently maximize points from those 70% of teams that comprise the middle and lower reaches of the Premier League.

The challenge facing Arsenal is having a squad that is at least able to neutralize the top-6 while doing the business elsewhere, week-in, week out. In Part II of this series I will present the data for and against the Gooners.

PS: Part II of this series may be substantially delayed as I am currently heading to the hurricane ravaged Caribbean and may have limited if any access to the internet. Hopefully  I will have a presence in comments section of the blog.  Cheers.

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121 comments on “Arsenal: Ignorance Is Strength

  1. Talk about Mesut Ozil’s future at the club has been ratcheted up in recent days – and Arsene Wenger was asked about it in his press conference on Friday.

    This is what he had to say about the World Cup winner’s future:

    on Ozil’s agent making encouraging noises about a new contract…
    That’s my understanding, yes. I always said that the fact that we didn’t find an agreement last year doesn’t mean the player will necessarily leave. Both [Ozil and Alexis] look happy here and overall I hope that the situation can be turned around.

    on if a deal is close…
    At the moment, we are not close enough to announcing anything.

    on whether Alexis and Ozil contract talks have a deadline…
    No, not at the moment.

    on whether the club could consider selling in January…
    Once you are in our kind of situation we have envisaged every kind of solution yes. Yes, it’s possible.

    Read more at https://www.arsenal.com/news/wenger-gives-latest-ozils-contract#oE2SQmtC7WlOhyQy.99

    Read more at https://www.arsenal.com/news/wenger-gives-latest-ozils-contract#tSUJwGPo5zz3MHkB.99

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  2. Wenger’s press conference today

    Reporter: Paul Merson is coming back into football, he’ll be playing in the Welsh 3rd.

    Wenger: We talk about professional football here.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Arsenal Women‏Verified account @ArsenalWFC 2m2 minutes ago

    Goals galore at Meadow Park! What a performance from the Gunners who net seven against @LondonBees 👏

    FT: 🔴 7-0 🐝

    Liked by 1 person

  4. eduardo792
    I watched that presentation , I must say there is alot to like about the training, the over all approach and particularly the language and how was used .
    Can’t wait to see a bit more of Mr Simon Copley Pro A Licence as expected , but the most important how to develope independent thinkers and how this is articulated, if this his normal manner I think they have found a top class coach.
    If that is the standard , they should be proud to show them off a bit more
    I hope they do show a bit more of what they are trying to achieve and how organised and process driven it seems.
    I just cant see the caos

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I wonder, especially with Welbeck and Ozil both fit, will Alexis be left out of the starting 11 v Watford tomorrow, after Wenger said yesterday that Alexis was very down after Chile failed to qualify for the World Cup.

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  6. Alexis played on Tuesday, travelled the furthest and is probably more tired then usual feeling that dissapointment of missing a WC at his peak.

    And he’s in the last year of his contract. Hehe. No mollycoddling from the or any old gaffer.

    Reasonable odds that he’ll be on the bench if he’s not niggled.

    Ramsey? I think he’ll start unless niggled, or depending on the physios looking after his hammies.
    if Ozil is fit they might want to rest Ramsey and there’ll be the option for him to start from the bench alongside Sanchez.

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  7. At the World Cup in Brazil, a study by the medical magazine BMJ found that 54.2% of players were using NSAIDs. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/sport/footballs-painkiller-problem-why-many-cant-get-by-without-them-gp2q08jwx

    NSAID’s are Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

    Liked by 1 person

  8. If Welbeck is returning from his strain then most likely he’ll come offfor Sanchez 60-70mins

    why does vengarghhhhhhh do it he’s so out of touch he never listens to his minions/physios counting down the seconds on their stopwatches same old same old Groundhog Day Mugabe mumble mumble gibber-jabber *colapses into a heap on the floor* why doesn’t he listen to me I’ve only been blagging for a full decade now *blubbers*

    Why?

    The club is a shambles, watching this mess has turned me into a shambles, did I tel you I’m an expert in PR? I repeat: shambles. Shambles. Shambles? Do you see my genius? Can you sense it?
    where did it all go wrong, why can’t this club spend thirty milllion pounds on shite like Mangala what is wrong with them? If only the owners listened to me the club would learn the error of it’s ways!
    Proper Football fans that go to the matches and spend thousands on the working man’s game love Proper Football and not this Gallic gibberish. Just ask Arsenal legends like Paul Davis and Limpar what they think of crap football and managers who sell players for bungs.
    If the club listened to frustrated football agents like me they’d have been much better off. I mean I’d have been much better off…

    The Premier League is back!

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  9. Some will be critical of the decision to sell Gabriel, & it is not great to see players like Chambo go to rivals but if you’re going to back young players like Iwobi and Holding and Chambers: you back them!

    One reason we were so confident in projecting Chambo’s exit was that Iwobi had been given the No.10 keys away against Barcelona. Perhaps Chambo was out injured at the time, but the older player would still have noted the occasion.

    Speaking of No.10 it seems AW will and always wanted to be playing JW behind the striker as his preference, now in the two behind the striker, although he may still need to play in CM at times. With both Elneny and AMN being asked to play in CM as the back up when required.

    One day this season we may see a midfield of Xhaka-Ramsey with Wilshere and Ozil behind the striker.

    With the rare exception the UAE City vs Arsenal matches have been the best football matches in the league for a time now, with the Gasprom contests under Conte also being top top level too. This season the City AFC contests are going to be something else. Hopefully the Arsenal can fight their way up the table & make them extra special.

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  10. pictures from training today
    https://www.arsenal.com/news/pictures-mesut-ozil-returns-training

    Koscielny, Debuchy, Reine-Adelaide, Coquelin, Ozil and Welbeck all back in training

    so if all fit, who is going to miss out, especially from the midfield and forwards, we have 5 slots in the starting 11 and at most another 5 on the bench for midfielders and forwards and we have 14 midfielders and forwards in training today, so at least 4 to miss out of being in the 18,

    Xhaka,
    Ramsey
    Wilshere
    Coquelin,
    Elneny
    Maitland-Niles
    Reine-Adelaide

    Iwobi
    Ozil
    Alexis
    Walcott
    Giroud
    Lacazette
    Welbeck

    even if we take AMN and Jeff out of the list, as the two least experienced, it still means at least 2 more from the list to be left out of the squad. Although AMN is so versatile that a place on the bench should not be ruled out either.

    Defensively, even with Chambers and Mustafi missing, we have Koscielny, Holding, Monreal and Per for the 3 CB spots, with whoever missed out on a starting spot getting in the subs, with Hector and Kolasinac at wingback. I expect Debuchy to miss out on squad selection tomorrow.

    So even with a few injuries we will see at least a few very experienced guys miss out on even making the 18 tomorrow.

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  11. Jeorge Bird‏ @jeorgebird

    Ramsey didn’t train today but could still be involved against Watford.

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  12. We should he able to send two sides out tomorrow to take Watford apart – time for a slaughter I say.

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  13. we’ve been waiting a long time to hammer someone in the bpl

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  14. Quite right eddy – high time we smashed an opponent – and after the humiliation Watford’s have inflicted on us in two successive seasons at home I want to see them stamped into the ground.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Wouldn’t underestimate Watford, a clever manager, who will have a game plan, probably a negative one, but agree, about time we smashed someone, the quality is certainly there in the players available.
    But if we do not, we will know for certain its Ozils fault, or that’s what the media will tell us, even if he doesn’t play.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. If liverpool loses v Utd – Liverpool will have 12 pts from 8 games – the same as in 2015 – which seen Brendan Rodgers being sacked.

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  17. might this be a hint from jw

    Jack Wilshere‏Verified account @JackWilshere 22m22 minutes ago

    Ready for tomorrow ⚽️

    Like

  18. Alexis Sanchez dispossessed 353 times in the Premier League since the start of the 2014/15 season

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  19. We have all seen our back up lads do extreamly well at the start of the season and we all know they would be needed in the premier league at times this season. With the international break taking its toll on already tired legs,wild emmotions and injuring some of players that looked fully fit, then this could be the time those players on the edge to step into the spotlight, take centre stage and take the plaudits for the quality we all know they have.
    The hornets have done well away from home and this is the best start to a season for a long time but their home record so far has been poor even though they have played top teams. Conversly our away form has looked poor on paper until you look a little closer and realise although we wern’t on top form at stoke we were still very unlucky and against chelski gave possibly our best performance of the season.
    JACKS BACK and with most of the squad dusting down the international cobwebs this could be his recoronation as young king and saviour of English football even though Arsene has said he wants to be cautious with him. Talking of returning players Per could be back in and oviously his height could be vital and his experience calming for those around him.
    I would suggest we need a fast start so in the later part of the game when the miles start to tell we can control the tempo and reduce the need to run at full pelt except on the counter of which we need to make more use of and make correct decisions at critical times. Our counter attacks are one of our poorest areas and if we get that right the goals for colomn could be greatly inflated and teams would be finished off earlier.
    Enjoyself wherever your watching P.A.s COYG.

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  20. Thank you Seebs – have stolen that for the pre match – new post up

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