Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The two Arsenal defensive stats that will surprise you

By 1970's Gooner

It seems that last week's results all went for Arsenal. And this hasn't happened for a long, long time.

First was Spurs doing a Spursy and collapsing in the second half at Southampton, loosing a game which they fully dominated in the first half. In fact so unexpected was their capitulation that I was off my arm chair celebrating like any Southampton fan.

Then it was Arsenal's turn to move to just one point from them by duly beating and ending Man Utd's recent unbeaten run.

And of course Chelsea also duly obliged with what looks like a very damaging defeat at Everton keeping them at a 3 point distance from Arsenal with the same number of games.

There are however two more stats that will give hope to all Arsenal fans. These relate to defensive performance, an area where we all feel we need to vastly improve in the coming season if we are to challenge for honours.

The first concerns number of goals conceded by Arsenal from set play situations. 

In fact most journalists and TV commentators are always berating Arsenal's ineffectiveness in this area. They tend to believe the myths they create without doing any research.

In fact if you look for the data you will find that Arsenal has the BEST record out of all Premier League teams this season! We have conceded only 4 goals from such situations and the next best team is Liverpool at 6 and then Man City, Spurs, Brighton and Leicester with 7!

Have a look yourselves:

Goals conceded from set plays:

Arsenal 4
Liverpool 6
Man City  7
Spurs 7
Brighton 7
Leicester 7
Southampton 8
Bournemouth 8
Fulham 8
Man Utd 9


And the next time we defend a corner don't be so alarmed!

The next piece of data concerns the overall goals conceded column. It is a fact that since Koscienly and Socratis returned to the first team our defensive performance has improved no end. 

Arsenal's goals conceded in the last 10 PL games has been bettered only by Man City. We stand at 0.7 goals conceded per game versus 0.5 by Man City. Liverpool and Man Utd are at 0.8. 

Our ratio since the start of the season stands at 1.3 per game and the ratio in the 10 games previous to our last 10 stands at 1.7 per game which shows the very significant recent improvement.

Goals conceded per game in last 10 PL games:

Man City 0.5
Arsenal    0.7
Liverpool 0.8
Man Utd   0.8
Spurs        1.1
Chelsea     1.7

So in conclusion the team is finding form and momentum at the right time now that the run in is gathering pace. And this momentum is in the one area of the pitch that we really needed to improve.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

When will Kroenke sell?

By 1970's Gooner

Arsenal's self sustaining financial model requires that a large proportion of any surpluses created can be reinvested back into the club. It therefore minimises the chances of injection of capital by the owner unless of course he opts to do so. Which of course does not look likely.

This would have been less of a worry in past times, when the large benefactors, pumping enormous financial resources into a team irrespective of its financial status, did not exist. It was then a much more level playing field.

It isn't now and therefore under the current owner our expectations for winning titles must be tethered somewhat otherwise our stress and anxiety levels will reach breaking points.

However if Kroenke decides to sell then I believe Arsenal will be ready to attract a major benefactor who will make available the significant resources to allow us to compete on an equal footing.

And I say this by looking at the financial position Arsenal is at right now. Kroenke is an investor and not a benefactor. He is not likely to keep his shares in Arsenal for longer than necessary. When no more significant financial growth can be squeezed out of Arsenal he will sell and move on.

And this moment will arrive sooner than we think because if you analyse Arsenal's accounts any profits that have been made in the last few years have come mainly from selling of players and not so much from internal recurring operational generation of funds (gate receipts, commercial revenues, TV money).

In fact the major substantial increase in the value of Arsenal and its shares has come from the creation of the Emirates and the subsequent paying off of the related debt.

So how much more can Kroenke make out of Arsenal? Not a lot more I say.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Where have Arsenal's number 10s gone?

By 1970's Gooner

What has been glaringly obvious is that Arsenal's defence has been its Achilles heel not just this season but at least during the last 10 years of Wenger's reign. Wenger was incapable of correcting it either through new additions or by allowing others more adept than him to coach the defenders.

Emery has also done nothing of significance as yet, as Arsenal's defensive record is as bad as Wenger's! Its even starting to get worse but this may be due to injuries of key defenders.

Nevertheless the next transfer window should surely concentrate on getting at least two high quality defenders to give the team a strong backbone and a base on which to build a title winning team.

But another area that is crying out for reinforcements is in the creative position of a number 10. Please don't tell me that Ozil can play that role. He has failed miserably to justify the hype which followed him on his transfer to Arsenal (except perhaps in his first season) and of course he has failed to provide value for the exorbitant wages of 350,000 per week.

This season in particular he has been at best an average player not influencing games (with the exception against Leicester) and hiding in the big games. Surely Arsenal should get rid of him in any way they can. 

And they should keep Ramsey who can play that role with distinction. Alas he has been allowed to leave at the end of the season.

Which begs the question: Where have Arsenal's number 10s gone?

If its not Ramsey nor Ozil who will it be? 

Denis Suarez is coming in this transfer window. But he is a winger who likes to come infield and influence play. 

You may say that a change of system to a 4 3 3 may be appropriate but doesn't any team need at least one creative midfielder to pull the strings?

What I am trying to say is that the next transfer window for Arsenal will have to include defenders AND creative players.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Options for replacing Xhaka and the real danger for Arsenal Vs Utd

By 1970's Gooner

Xhaka has received his customary one match ban and now he will miss the upcoming clash against Man Utd. What are the options available?

Let's look at Ramsey because due to his incredible performance against Spurs he has shown that he may merit a starting birth in the team. 

He had a wonderful second half against Spurs and that was because he was played at the number 10 position behind the front two of Aubameyang and Lacazette in a 3 4 1 2 formation. 

This allowed him to utilise the space between the two Arsenal midfielders and the front two which suits him very well, dropping back to assist the midfield and venturing forward providing support and assists.

He will not however be preferred to play alongside the Uruguay terrier against Utd as he is not to be trusted to be disciplined enough to stay put and form a compact duet with Torreira. 

In any case if he is to really help the team, Emery may opt to either start with the formation and players that finished the game or indeed keep him on the bench and bring him on later on to affect the game, as he did against Spurs.

I think it will be the latter.

Ainsley Maitland Niles and Elneny are other options and I would love to see AMN start in midfield as I consider that to be his real position in the team. 

But Emery will most likely opt for Guendouzi. He has shown that big games do not fuss him and displays the capability to both defend and play more creatively with his forward passes. He has of course played in that position for Arsenal and played quite well when he came on a sub against Spurs.

Now Emery has a dilemma as to which formation and players will he choose to play against Utd. 

Does he start as he begun the second half against Spurs i.e in a 3 4 1 2 formation with Ramsey behind the front two (assuming of course that Mustafi will be fit enough to play as he went off on 71 and was replaced with Guendouzi)?

Or does he start with the formation that started the game i.e 3 4 3 with Ramsey on the bench and switch later to 3 4 1 2 if and when the need arises.

I would expect that Emery will keep the same formation of 3 4 3 he started the NLD as the system worked quite well, with a goal scored and enough chances created to close the game even from the first half. Both Mkhitaryan and Iwobi had a good game both in attacking positions and defending when off the ball.

He may however opt to start with Lacazette instead of Mkhitaryan as Laca can be so much more effective and providing a much bigger goal threat than the Armenian as he proved so with Arsenal's third goal on Sunday.

My preferred 11 for the Utd game will be :


Mustafi Socrates Holding

Bellerin  Guendouzi Torreira Kolasinac 

Iwobi Aubameyang Lacazette

Although Utd are not playing well lately and players will be missing through injury this game could prove to be a real banana skin for Arsenal.

Firstly we go into this fixture on a high bordering however to arrogance. Most papers who were not giving us a chance against Spurs are now tipping us to roll Utd over just by turning up for the game. Most blogs and other analysts are also creating, what in my mind is, a false atmosphere and optimism. 

Even Paul Merson is predicting a win for Arsenal. Now this should make us come back to earth and the players need to sit up and shake themselves away from this mind set. Because there is every possibility the Arsenal players will be getting overconfident. And this is a recipe for disaster. I am sure Mourinho will be getting his players up for this game showing them all the pundits predictions.

Secondly may I remind you how we all felt going into the Wolves game after that wonderful and invigorating performance against Liverpool at the Emirates. We were way below our best, the performance was flat and ended up with a draw when every one was predicting a very comfortable win....

What I mean to say is that we are not likely to repeat that performance we displayed against Spurs. We are playing away and it is not the NLD with all the hallibaloo that accompanies it and so much extra riding on the game.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Merson's expectations for the NLD and the players reaction?

By 1970's Gooner

The band wagon has been going on for days now. They are all predicting a comfortable win for Spurs in the first NLD for Emery.

Paul Merson in his comments on Sky Sports clearly favours Spurs but still comes out with a prediction for a draw (1 1)! 

He is implying that we are still getting lucky and that it is about time it will run out. A team like Spurs will, in his mind, score lots of goals. At least that's the gist of it.

Well thanks a lot Paul. Not for your prediction which diplomatically allows you to sit on the fence but for helping once more to galvanise and induce the Arsenal players to prove him wrong once again...

You will remember of course that he didn't give us a cat in hell's chance in the recent encounter against Liverpool. Liverpool were going to thrash us, their front three were going to be too hot to handle for our weak defence etc etc.

He had to of course come out afterwards and eat his words.

He will do so again.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Emery has only corrected 2 out of 5 weaknesses needed if Arsenal are to sustain current form

By 1970's Gooner

There is a debate currently being discussed among Arsenal fans and journalists on whether Arsenal can sustain this winning run. This is logical as Arsenal, although scoring a high number of goals, are also conceding a high number of shots against them. 

Fulham for example had 21 shots against our goal and others that have been put to the sword recently such as Watford or Everton had a high figure especially in the expected goals statistic.

This is despite only conceding one goal per game in the last 6 which is a good statistic but does not take into account that either our goalie had an exceptional game (which may not last for ever) or the opponents forwards were not in goal scoring form (which may also not last for ever) or both.

Emery has only corrected these 2 weaknesses which may account for the recent better outcomes and performances:

1. Better passing out of defence by the goalkeeper. Cech initially struggled badly (and he was not aided by his defenders who were not taking appropriate positions so as to allow him to pass it to them efficiently). 

Both Cech and Leno, if you've noticed, opt now to pass it long if they feel they are in danger whereas before they insisted on continuing passing the ball around their area in dangerous positions. 

This has allowed the whole team to play further up the field without being put under tremendous pressure in front of their box.

2. The second weakness corrected is finally the deployment of a genuine defensive midfielder whose main purpose in life is to protect the back four. Emery unleashed the little terrier and suddenly the whole team is now much more balanced for a change. Something that Wenger failed to recognise in the last 10 years...

3. The third weakness which has not yet been fully corrected, but it could soon be, is not playing both Lacazette and Auba up front together from the start. 

Failing to do so not only deprives the team of its most potent strike force but makes the team more unbalanced when without the ball as Auba, when deployed on the wing, cannot not really help out defensively. 

Lacazette is now undroppable so Emery has a dilemma. Does he start with Auba on the wing or play Iwobi who has really excelled in that position and added incisiveness going forward and much needed defensive duties when without the ball.

The answer is to opt for a 4 4 2 system where the brothers in arms can play up front and deploy undroppable Iwobi on one of the wings and choose another from Ozil (?), Ramsey, Miki and Welbeck on the other wing.

This formation, I believe, will bring the best out of the assets the team currently possesses and also prepares it for Ramsey's departure which increasingly looks like happening. 

It also does not look promising for Ozil as he is not really a winger so he will tend to drop in rather than than hug the wing. This will, along with his reluctance to drop back and defend properly, unbalance the team again. 

4. Find a new midfielder other than Xhaka. 

Against Fulham Xhaka played an withdrawn role not venturing too high up the field and thus not leaving gaps behind. He didn't shine but then again he didn't make the errors he is usually prone to. The central midfield looked more compact. 

So if this is the way to go (which I really hope so) what is the need to deploy an attacking midfielder in a sitting position when you will not use him as such. Better to deploy another central midfielder alongside Torreira and make the midfield a real barrier, a no go area. 

5. Added to the protection a 4 4 2 system with two central midfielders sitting deep can bring to the team, Emery needs to correct the major weakness in defence. 

Mustafi has not really improved over the last 2.5 years he has been at Arsenal. He keeps making silly errors and positional mistakes which very often result in goals conceded.

Emery can opt to give Holding a run in the team and / or wait for Koscienly to return who will, if indeed he returns healed from his problem, add the defensive nous and speed that is clearly lacking from Mustafi.

Make these changes Mr Emery and we will be challenging for the title.....

Thursday, August 23, 2018 not streaming live Emery's press conferences

By 1970's Gooner

I don't know if you've noticed but we have yet to watch an Emery pre match press conference live transmitted on

This was a Thursday morning ritual under Wenger which we all looked forward to. But alas it is to be no more, until further notice.

This is so according to official Arsenal policy communicated to me after enquiring as to why we are no longer privileged enough to be partied to a live press conference as we have been accustomed to.

This is the e mail sent by me:

' ... about the live transmission of Unai Emery's conferences.  Will transmit them live as in the past or has this been scrapped?

A lot of Arsenal supporters are asking us'


Arsenal Analysis blogspot

And the reply:

Dear .....,

If any of Unai’s press conferences are going to be transmitted live then the website will confirm this in advance.

We do not have any more information regarding this issue at present.

Kind regards

Ticketing & Services
Arsenal Football Club

Tel: 44 (0) 20 7619 5000
Fax: 44 (0) 20 7704 4041

So we just have to wait and hope.

But why this change of policy? 

Does Arsenal FC want to make sure that Emery's English is not in any way misinterpreted before it is checked first? 

If so I would hope that the press will be under the same restriction before publishing anything. However we all are able to read the live transmission of the conferences in the newspapers as it is happening....

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The formation to get the best out of Ozil

By 1970's Gooner

There is only one formation and position that Mr Emery should adopt with regard to Ozil for Saturday's game against Chelsea. And it is not that which he opted for in the match against City.

That had two drawbacks. 

The first was that Ozil was deployed on the left side of the forward line which did not allow him to dictate and play his usual game of intelligent passing. It is obvious he is much better utilised playing in the middle of the pitch rather than be wasted out wide.

The second drawback is that he is useless at tracking back and/or marking. It was really a lack of judgement by Mr Emery to actually deploy him in that position. 

Let's hope he realises his mistake and if he considers that Ozil should start then play him as a number 10 behind the main striker.

Starting Ozil at the number 10 position would mean that Ramsey's participation in the starting 11 could be in jeopardy because in the preferred 4 2 3 1 formation he can't fit in as one of the 2 'more defensive midfielders'.

This will unbalance the whole team as Ramsey cannot play the holding role nor will he be disciplined enough to keep his position.  

Emery started with Guendouzy and Xhaka against City. I think he will play one of them along side Torreira which means that Ramsey's chances for starting in central midfield are not high.

He could deploy him on the right wing and it would make sense as Ramsey will help keep the ball, combine with Ozil and make his dangerous runs into the box. He will also fall back into midfield and defend when possession is lost.

In my opinion Iwobi could play that role too as he has done very effectively against Chelsea last season.

Mkhitaryan looked very unfit and was useless against City. He neither attacked nor defended well. He should be dropped.

I expect Lacazette to start up front with Aubameyang  on the left and Emery will probably start with Mkhitaryan on the right, but in my opinion he shouldn't. Ozil will be behind Lacazette.                            


Bellerin  Papastathopoulos  Mustafi  Lichtsteiner

      Guendouzy  Torreira

Ramsey   Ozil  Aubameyang   


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Get a grip Mr Emery

By 1970's Gooner

I desisted communicating my anger and scathing criticism right after the City match as I was too disappointed and angry.

Now two days later the anger has gone but my disappointment is still there. And the reason is that almost all our obvious failings were avoidable and the reason they were avoidable is down to the ineptitude of the Coach.

Let's start:

Unai Emery proved inept because he thought the team were ready to start playing the ball out of defence in their first game of the season! 

If you remember I pointed out in my last post that the effectiveness of our all out pressing during the pre season games was a joke and a lot of you slated me for it. But so it proved to be. And he surely saw that the players were not up to it...

Deciding to do it against a City team who are masters at getting out of it was suicidal and really smells of ineptitude in my mind.

It's also ineptitude to expect the goalie and the rest of the defence to get out of their half by passing the ball out...

It is also ineptitude not to change it during the game when it was so obvious that it wasn't working i.e Emery's ability to read the game and make corrective alterations come seriously into question.

Let's carry on:

Unai Emery proved to be inept by opting to play Maitland Niles as a left back when it was so obvious that the experience and character of Lichtsteiner was a far safer choice. 

Guardiola and Arteta exploited it to the fullest extend. And don't tell me that Lichtsteiner was not ready. Stones for example came back to training much later than Lichtsteiner...

It smacks of ineptitude when Torreira was not in the first 11. Did Emery expect that Xhaka and /or Guendouzy would be able to play that role? Really? 

Why not start Torreira and then take him out in the latter stages IF he got tired. 

Let's carry on:

If Emery did not realise that we wouldn't be seeing the ball too much against City then doubts emerge about his judgement. And I am saying this with respect to Ramsey's position in the formation. He was deployed as a number 10!!

But his forte is to be a box to box midfielder and a playmaker. He was wasted up there and messed up Aubameyang too with his positioning. More importantly he was not able to give a way out with the ball in the midfield areas.

It smacks of ineptitude when Emery didn't realise that Lacazette should be starting in the same team as Aubameyang. We all saw the difference he made when he came on. And it was the same in the friendly games.

Mickitarian is not fit yet. I could tell having watched all the pre season games. It was so obvious but Emery had to start him. He was useless and predictably so.

And finally to expect Dozy Ozil to track back by positioning him on the wing is wildly over the top optimistic...

Most Gooners are writing the Chelsea game off. As things stand now we should be worried about the West Ham game too unless the right formation and players are selected. Then we have a chance in both games.

Get a grip Mr Emery....

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Lets hope Emery doesn't make this big mistake against Man City

By 1970's Gooner

To be honest I haven't seen enough to convince me, during pre season so far, that the players are putting into practice what Emery has been preaching in his press conferences so far.

He has been talking, sensibly so, that he considers it as important to be alert not only when in possession but when we loose the ball. 

However the practice session of holding hands in a circle with three players in the middle (also holding hands) trying to win the ball in unison doesn't seem to have done the trick in the real games. No wonder the assistant coach had to get in among the three players and really show them the aggression needed to win the ball back!

But I haven't seen the pack mentality adopted by Pep's teams when not in possession. We have only been pressing with the players playing up front but, hell, we have been doing that even under Wenger.... If you don't transmit this mentality to the rest of the players then what's the use. 

The second issue that worries me is that the team appears to be playing a very high line with the defenders pushing up to the half way line. 

But in the absence of pace at the back I would be really worried. A ball over the top and I don't see Socratis nor Mustafi having the pace to catch the Leroy Sane's of this world....

Again a throw back from the Wenger days....

And lastly, and this is my biggest worry, Kolacinac has been dreadful so far. He was at fault for both of the goals we conceded so far (against Athletico Madrid and PSG) by either being too slow, out of position stationed too far up the field or both.

He is not good enough to start as a left back and if Emery cannot get Monreal ready enough to start against City we will be in big big trouble. 

All you will need will be the long ball on our left side over the top with the centre backs unable to accelerate to cover and you can kiss good buy all the good work that will have been done during the pre season.

 I am sorry if I appear too pessimistic but I have to call it as I see it.  

We do of course have 12 days more to get things sorted out (and get Monreal ready).