Arsenal defeated a very good Leicester team 2-nil on Saturday. Ramsdale deserves high praise for making 8 saves including at least two worldies. Arteta gets credit for putting out a team that was high energy, high press for the first 18 minutes. But the record shows for the next 70 plus minutes Arsenal were outplayed in almost all categories; out-passed, outshot and out-hustled. In a word, battered.
But hardly anyone in both mainstream and social media seem concerned about the underlying statistic. To the contrary the dominant narrative is either about Arteta’s Arsenal going nine games unbeaten, as if Emery didn’t go 22 games unbeaten just under 2 years ago or to gush uncritically about how brilliant Ramsdale was, without questioning why our keeper had to be so busy despite having new and improved defenders in front of him.
Seemingly me and Blackburn George are the only podcasters-YouTubers willing to challenge the prevailing narrative and to express our concern that performances like those at Leicester are unsustainable. Two years ago we were among a lonely few to go on record and proclaim that Emery’s 22-game unbeaten run would end in tears. By December 2019 we were proven right after Emery had taken us down to 14th and was summarily run out of town. We may be wrong this time but I, for one, doubt it. As George said, unlike Emery, Arteta has a much younger team with a much higher ceiling. But if his team continues to perform in the current manner, sooner or later our luck will run out.
Below is more of our opinions in our latest YouTube VIDEO. As always we invite you to support our uncensored, unfiltered point of view without the hype and false narratives that now dominate mainstream and social media. We are confident in our point of view because time after time we have been proven right.
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If we don’t score we don’t win
If we keep a clean sheet we don’t lose
Outfield players contribute to goals
Goalkeepers are there to stop goals
Leicester’s ‘best attempts where a free kick and a long range effort finger tipped away.
What’s not to like.
Some of the best teams in the world have the best goalkeepers.Why?To stop goals,naturally.
I think you must have been watching a different game. For 20 minutes we showed that we were are a different class to Leicester and they couldn’t live with us. After the goals, we soaked up the inevitable pressure and never looked like losing. This is what good teams do – play decisive football when needed, stay solid at the back and be ready to respond if your opponents get back in the match. And as for the predictions of future doom, we are a new, young, evolving team that will steadily get stronger.
We were so dominant early on that it might be fair to speculate that had we not scored from those early chances, we would have continued to push for a goal and posted a higher xG than we did.
As it was, 2-0 is a cushion, and undoubtedly coloured the rest of the game. The longer they failed to score the deeper we dropped, and it was over as a contest with roughly 20 mins to go.
Beyond the fact that all unbeaten runs come to an end, I don’t see an easy comparison with Emery. Under Emery I could only see pure chaos, rescued by individual interventions. During that unbeaten run, and the rest of his tenure, I was waiting in vain for some semblance of a collective plan to emerge.
There’s an obvious plan with Arteta, but the concern, esp until recently, has lain in his failure to empower individuals. Genuinely have no idea what comes next. For a start I’d like Ramsdale to have more faith in his distribution. The Leicester pressure mounted when he started going long on Saturday.
I thought Arteta was gone in August, though there’s mitigation for those early results (Covid, injuries etc), so the fence is a good place to be.
A politician uses statistics as a drunken man uses a lamp post: for support rather than illumination. Or so said my O-level Maths Text teacher, no doubt borrowing from the lies, damn lies and statistics playbook. Having played wiith more than a few stat-padders and flat-track bullies I know that simple batting and bowling averages never tell the whole story, and I think that some of the football numbers can be similarly misleading. I’m never convinced by the shots on target metric, for example, nor by the amount of saves a goalie makes: good keepers save most shots, and more often than not most shots are taken more in hope than expectation. Learning to play without the ball is as important as knowing how to play with it, and many teams with goals in the bank will routinely cede possession, a tactical decision that plays havoc with statistics. Liverpool squandered a two-goal lead on Saturday: might they have secured all three points if they had sat back a little more once Mane had doubled their lead after just 25 minutes? We will never know, any more than we can know whether Vardy would have put Arsenal to the sword if our midfield had kept pressing forward leaving open spaces behind.
As Dr Johnson observed when seeing two old women arguing across the street from their respective upstairs windows, ‘they’ll never agree, for they’re arguing from different premises’ and I suspect that I will remain at odds with Shotta and George on this one: I see an inexperienced manager and a young team both learning and growing, they see a truth-twisting charlatan covering up tactical weaknesses with far more luck than is sustainable. And maybe it’s a little bit of both, which is why at times I feel like that Tennessee Williams character, Blanche Dubois: ‘I don’t want realism, I want magic.’ I’ve got enough reality in my life right now, which is why I will continue to hope that this group of players will grow into a legendary team. (Spoiler alert: they probably won’t.)
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Thanks for the cross-post George. I was just scribbling an introduction to our latest video and simply emphasized some of our recent themes. Hoping the positivistas get the point of our last podcast-vlog.
I have always said stats can be a useful tool used in the right place but they can be very fragile in sport. Having said that I also have always said that comments should be made about the performance and not the result as the difference between a win and a loss and the way the game goes is based on fine lines in football.
Leicester are a very good team and their passing through the lines were excellent, I can only remember Aaron making one easy save hit straight at him included in that eight so for anyone to say we scored early then sat back and controlled the game like chelski is pure fantasy.
The blitzkrieg approach will only last so long and if we turn out to be a one trick pony we could still be in trouble.
Anyone saying everything in the garden is rosy because of this nine game run is absolutely kidding themselves trying not to look at the performances and luck within most of those games.
However the Leicester game was better than the villa game and that was better than spuds game and that was better than the awful other six so no-one can deny the movement is forward and there has been a massive improvement.
If those three games had been the first three of the season instead of the last then we might be looking at replacing our manager like the spuds have done and manure will surely do.
If I’m honest, after our first three games of the season, I was already regretting having given Arteta until Xmas to win me over.
I’d been bemused by our summer transfers – Twitter had already warned me what a waste of money Ramsdale was – and I knew little about the rest.
But I remember watching M City play a game just after our third defeat and the penny finally dropped as to what Arteta was at least aiming at. If you try to play like City but without the skills available to the blank chequebook merchants, and the passes go astray and your teammates aren’t where you are expecting them to be, then ‘Cityball’ looks absolutely dreadful.
Since our ill and injured have returned to the fold, so much has clicked into place and we look so much better for it.
Liverpool thrashed Manure 0-5 last week but it felt like 0-10, and indeed it probably should have been. But Liverpool had the game sewn up at five, saw no need to risk injury, exhaustion or to let MU back into the game, no matter how marginally.
Arsenal looked to have an extra gear which they elected not to engage after the second goal v Leicester. For those of us brought up on the idea that attack is the best form of defence, this disinclination to continue risking our lead by launching un-required further attacks, led to an element of squeaky bum. But I agree with ForeverH, the need for more goals was simply not there.
Under Arsene we found it nigh on impossible to defend a lead and lost numerous points leaving ourselves exposed at the back whilst pursuing exciting but largely unnecessary attacking football.
In Ramsdale, we have acquired, in my view, a world class stopper and an outstanding distributor of the ball. He is also a brilliant commander of the defence.
The very best sides all have the best goalkeepers. And I now see more than just a spine of an able and competitive side, even if squad depth may require more work.
I think these are again exciting times, though I remain braced for setbacks.
Right now I’m just concentrating on enjoying what we have. And what we have, at long last, is a very real sense of hope.
Long may it continue.
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I refuse to be negative. I am an Arsenal supporter and really want this to work so all the time we are winning, play is more exciting, we are not leaking goals, players look as if they are working as one and the GK looks in control and can produce stunning saves I am not going to be the one to burst the bubble at this point in time.
I am and always have been a supporter rather than a whinger but ” IF” Kipling taught us anything you have to be grounded and look at the whole picture to get perspective.
We have lost the same as Southampton and won the same as manure (who manager is under massive pressure).
We seem to be heavily influenced by just three players Aaron, Saka and ESR and rely on a tactic of going for the throat in the first twenty minutes and then sitting back and playing on the counter.
We have no idea if we can come from behind or cope with a few key injuries, at the moment Aaron is having a massive impact on clean sheets and conceding goals, more than probably any keeper in the league, that is not a good fact for the teams defending to hang their hat on.
We still have only really played well in two and a half games and although the Leicester game was a great performance against a really good side it still had some big flaws and if I had to bet who would finish highest out of the two sides I think I would put my money on Leicester.
Having said that I think we will win easily at Watford and can cope with most sides in the league. Those who are saying we will now get top four are still aiming to high. I actually think we will struggle to get top six so I am aiming for seventh this year.
Fortunately I am quite often wrong.
Winning With a clean sheet at the latter day Leicester is an impressive feat, they are a dangerous , largely experienced, streetwise team, with some decent attacking talent.
This Arsenal is a young side, I read the youngest average age in current EPL , with some decent academy players, some who look very good signings, and a keeper who so far, has shown infectious energy and quality, it’s good to have someone like that in this team.
Progress won’t be linear, and there will be games when they get found out, especially when we get hit by injuries and tournaments, but hope something is evolving, it seems to be.
Just looking forward to the next game with this lot and watching them evolve into hopefully something a bit special, and a tough proposition with it.
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There’s a short video compilation doing the rounds of Aaron Ramsdale’s distribution, which got me thinking about how much more potent that would be if had a real target-man to aim at: someone who won lots in the air and could hold the ball up.
Not many of them about Tim, but yes.
Arsenal U21 v Plymouth: Okonkwo, Alebiosu, Norton-Cuffy, Rekik, Swanson, Lopez, Akinola, Olayinka, Taylor-Hart, Biereth, Balogun.
Subs: Ejeheri, Foran, Awe, Walters, Henry-Francis, Butler-Oyedeji, Ideho, Edwards.
Interesting managerial decisions at Spurs and Newcastle. That’s all I am saying at this point.
The natives are always more restless when their neighbours are doing well, this could have a big impact on us.
We shall see, Tottenham have a load of problems to be fixed, he has 18 months, when presumably, they want Poch back?
Seems an arrangement to suit both rather than something Contes heart burns for, especially with Utd and other big teams in no hurry to snap him up , perhaps a reason for that
I feel it’s a short term fix and I am sure that he will fix it as far as results go but clearly it wasn’t seen as a great fit two months ago. How significant the 18 month contract is remains to be seen but suggests it suits both sides.
He left both previous jobs because of lack of financial backing among other things so that will be interesting.
However the natives will get twitchy for certain.
Meanwhile let’s hope for some entertaining football and a win on Sunday.
Good afternoon.How are you?
I’m not sure how many of you listen to the Tuesday Club podcast. I don’t very often because I concluded that Alan Davies’s treatment of Arsène was way over the top.
But I found myself with some dead commuting time yesterday and checked in on last week’s episode. There’s a segment about 30 minutes in where they are discussing Arteta’s comments about Smith-Rowe’s “lifestyle” and Nketiah’s “personal issues.” This expressed, albeit in more strident form, some of the misgivings I continue to have about Arteta.
New blog/podcast/Youtube is up