Return to Route One

Posted by kelsey

Looking through this season’s goal scorers and trying to make a comparison on yesterday’s debate about Theo  makes quite interesting reading, especially as we were literally scoring from all over the park for the first half of the season.

Who can remember the very first game when we won 6-1 at Everton ? The first 3 goals came from Denilson,Vermaelen and Gallas.

Look at these stats for PL appearances (+ subs) and the goals returned.

Diaby 26 +3 (29) = 6 goals
Rosicky 14 +11 (25) = 3 goals
Nasri 22 +4 (26) = 2 goals
Eduardo 13 +11 (24) = 2 goals
RVP 14 +2 (16) = 9 goals
Vela 1 +10 (11) = 1 goal
Walcott 12 +11 (23) = 3
Arshavin 25 +5 (30) = 10 goals
bendtner 13 +10 (23) = 6
Fabregas 26 +1 (27) = 15
Ramsey 7 +11 (18) = 3

All our other goals came from defenders.

So when we talk about Theo, it is worth bearing in mind apart from Cesc, RVP,  Arshavin and Bendtner, the goals against appearances is not that impressive for a side who nearly always have a high percentage of ball possession.

One can argue that to have scored goals from a variety of players is better than being reliant upon one striker, but several attacking player’s goal ratios are pretty average, and that’s why I feel with Chamakh arriving we might get a more direct route to be more lethal in the box. Any thoughts ?

91 Responses to Return to Route One

  1. Alfa says:


    thanks for the interesting data but I’m not sure I understand the conclusion you are trying to draw. We scored more goals than anyone except Chelsea and Man U. We were very close to Man U and Chelsea had an exceptional season with 4 or 5 freak results.

    I think we had a much bigger problem with letting goals in and not being able to score at critical times (like against Chelsea and Man U 🙂 ) – is that what you think Chamakh will help with? Not being picky, just trying to understand your point better.

    Davi, I take your point about Owen – he was top scorer in the Prem I think soon after. However he was playing every week as a striker alongside Fowler and then Heskey – the team was soon built around him scoring. Maybe if we had done the same with Theo sooner he might also be in the same situation.

    I can’t say I am a great judge of talent in a player unless I see them playing regularly so you could be right about the others. I thought Lansbury looked very good when he came on at the end of the season.

  2. Rasp says:

    Nice article kesley,

    I would hope that the thinking in general for the development of the team might be along the lines of ‘back to basics’.

    I have said many times that there is something in our training that removes too much of the ‘selfish side’ from our players. I have seen new players come into the side and score with freedom (or at least have a go) in their first few games, yet within a few months they are choosing the ‘safe pass option’ and an attacking opportunity is lost.

    I’d love to know what the statistic is for the entire Premiership, it wouldn’t surprise to learn that on average, the team with the least possession of the ball scores more goals per minute of their possession.

  3. kelsey says:

    Morning alpha.

    As we were discussing Theo, and many were of the opinion that he hadn’t advanced in the 4 + years that he has been with us, i thought it was interesting to see how others who are not always first choice players performed last season, and IMO their goal tally wasn’t great. The introduction of Chamakh may lead to a different approach instead of neat passing movements with the proverbial “walking the ball into the Net” scenario, that we are often accused of doing.

    I agree completely that the defence is the priority,as we are shipping in far to many goals, but that is for another possible post.

    Teams have learnt quite quickly how to shut up shop and therefore a return to route one may be a different option, though players like Vela and Eduardo may be sacrificed. if cesc leaves we might even see AA in his role.

  4. Rasp says:

    Morning Alfa,

    We scored a lot of goals and we conceded a lot of goals. I agree the greatest problem lies with the defence.

    What I would like to know is: how many goals do we score per minute of possession compared to the number of goals the opposition score against us per minute of their possession?

    I know stats are just manipulation of facts, but it would illustrate 1. how much penetration/cutting edge we have and 2. how easy it is to score against us.

  5. Morning all

    Nice collection of stats there kelsey – I’m shocked that Eduardo played in 24 games!

    Obviously if a team scores from as many positions as we do our problems lie in the number of goals we concede which cost us games.

    I feel it would be nice to return to having a plan B although I didn’t enjoy the long balls from Gallas to Ade a couple of seasons ago. I like it when we have lots of possesion and play tippy tappy football. All we need is for crosses to be consistently good and for Chamakh to get his head on them – simples 😉

  6. Rasp says:

    Hi peaches,

    I don’t like it when we play ‘tippy tappy’ football 😦 I like it when we break out of defence at pace, play pinball footbll and their keeper is picking it out of the back of the net before they know what’s happened – but maybe you need the likes of Bobby and TH14 to achieve that.

  7. Hi rasp

    We don’t have those players that break out of defence anymore. Do you think Arsène got bored of us playing like that?

  8. Davi says:

    Hi Kelsey.

    I posted this comment in the previous article but have adapted it because you comments in this post cleared a few things up for me.

    For one thing vela doesnt really have a poor return. Sub appearances and even starts dont tell the full story. Minutes on the pitch would be better for most of these players as they are often brought on or taken off.

    An interesting one for me is diaby. Hes been played in all 3 CM roles this year with much greater defensive responsibilities than we’re used to and still come up with 6 goals, some of which were very important – but people still complain about him!

    Vela and eduardo aside, whom I discussed earlier (vela – not many minutes, eduardo – recovering from a major injury, cant expect too much in the 1st season back), the players you mentioned who arent scoring much arent really supposed to get large numbers of goals, but really theo is meant to be a major goal threat. He’s thought of as a striker playing on the wing.
    Bendtner is perhaps a fair comparison given his age, along with arshavin and rvp, and theo is the worst of these. They’ve all had injury problems this year (arshavin played a significant portion of it while carrying an injury in an unfamiliar role). They were our main forwards who were expected to contribute goals and they did to a reasonable degree. The others are meant to chip in, which they did, as you say.

  9. Rasp says:

    I think we try to be ‘too clever’ in midfield/attack and suspect we don’t create enough ‘real match scenarios’ in training

  10. You’re right though ‘pinball’ is more exciting than ‘tippy tappy’ – Mexico were good at the pinball approach the other night.

  11. What do they do in training then?

    Count the passes in french 😉

  12. Davi says:

    Alfa – on the owen analogy again, its not just the goals that are important. Theo may never be a great goalscorer, but the point is that owen was a consistent performer after the world cup. He contributed regularly. Theo can’t really claim to have done that.
    He has had injuries, which are of course a hindrance, but he had a good long run in the side this year and I cant think he really has an excuse. At the start of it, I really thought he’d turned a corner, but all I can see hes added to his game this year is a greater work ethic in terms of his defensive duties, which is good. Unfortunately he seems to have lost his impact sub role to a large extent. I think his barca performance was blown a bit out of proportion really. He did well, but his goal was lucky and it was hardly of the magnitude of some of his sub performances in the previous season, where I honestly thought that as a sub, he was the best you could hope for. Coming from the bench he was as effective any top player imo, but he seems to have lost that edge.

  13. andy says:

    I agree, scoring is not and will not be a problem for this side in open flowing games. What has been a problem is finding some1 to unlock the tighter games and the ability to vary our game a bit. The little I know about Chamakh does suggest he will offer us something different and be more of a target man. A player who may also revive eduardos fortunes (if he stays that is)with his aerial presence Edu could feed on the knockdowns which is more his natural game.

  14. jeremy goldsmith says:

    Instead of passing the ball in triangles ,why not have the players especially Diaby run at defenders?This direct running scares the daylights out of defenders.
    Arsenal may have 98 % possession and still lose the game . I am sure the fans dont mind the gunners having 10 % possession and win the game.
    If you analyse some of the games the gunners lost, Arsenal might have the lion’s share of possession.Barca had the most possession and yet still lose to Inter over two legs.
    This boils down to scoring. Possession is not the ultimate decider of games. Unless you create chances with your possession you may as well forgo it and rely on counter attack.

  15. I think Paul Merson is being a bit harsh but he probably wants Theo to be successful in both shirts. He has improved – his pace allows him to tackle back really quickly – dumping Cashly on his behind was one of the highlights of the game against the chavs but then Cashly did it to him too.

    I think Theo is clever – not a clever footballer because he’s not really a natural – and so he thinks for too long about the right pass. He doesn’t instinctively read the game but he knows where the goal is.

    I said in the post yesteday, if he can shine in training at the England camp then the fat one might be prepared to bring him into the game. Rooney always includes Theo but those other olduns’ are proabably just jealous 😦

  16. Davi says:

    Wenger’s first side was all about counter attacking, making using pace to beat teams. Then everyone started to sit back so we couldn’t beat them like that, and he started playing with CMs out wide (pires and ljungberg) who made runs inside which fullbacks found difficult to track, (although henry also scored a fair few on the counter as well).
    Now teams sit back so much that pace is seemingly useless, so we’re trying to play like barca.
    I think you’re right jeremy, we need players to run at opponents more. I think that’s why eboue has been so useful at times this year, because he can beat many defenders with ease, particularly against the smaller teams. This creates extra space for the others and makes things happen.
    Theo could be an extremely good dribbler with the pace he has, and his best moments this year have come from him beating defenders 1-on-1, but he is so inconsistent! Maybe he still struggles with knowing when to dribble and when to pass, Im not sure, but eboue is a little slower than him and I wouldnt say hes a more talented a dribbler exactly (maybe a little) but is SO much more effective.

  17. kelsey says:

    oh by the way, this wasn’t intended as today’s post, it was just a comment that was suggested by those above to be today’s post 😉

    if you read Merson’s article he contradicts himself big time.

  18. Rasp says:

    Good comment jeremy,

    Ironically, Eboue is one of the better players at running at defenders, but unfortunately h has little end product.

    I agree with you about Diaby, I’m not sure he’ll ever jhave the concentration to play DM but he shows flashes of genius in his attacking play and he can do something that Nik can’t – turn defenders.

  19. Rasp says:

    Hi kelsey,

    He does contradict himself. He seems to think that Theo has the ability to be much more effective for England than Arsenal.

  20. Jeremy you’re right, we used to allow teams to have possesion and then nick it when they lost the ball. We were so consistent at scoring on the break – oh happy days 😛

    Davi – For a while the Theo/Eboue combo was paying dividends, they always seemed to know where the other would be while attacking. It worked best when Theo came off the bench for Sagna and Eboue dropped back into defence. One of AW’s best tactical substitutions IMHO

  21. rasp – I’m not sure how a player can have the ablility to play more effectively in one team or another unless he’s played in a different position.

    Is that what Merse was saying? I’m going to have another look ……………

  22. One of the accusations leveled at Theo is that he runs up blind alleys but surely if a team-mate shows for the ball he gets the opportunity to release it quickly – this hardly ever happens in the way Arsenal play. We more often than not leave a player stranded and surrounded out on the wing.

    Maybe he’ll learn something from the England camp that he can take back to London Colney

  23. Alfa says:

    Sorry I disappeared, something came up. Thanks for the replies Kelsey, rasp, andy and Davi.

    To be fair Michael Owen did turn into a world superstar and I’m not sure Theo will ever be that. My point is only that he has something special and its too early to give up on him.

  24. SharkeySure says:

    Afternoon All,

    “Diaby. Hes been played in all 3 CM roles this year with much greater defensive responsibilities than we’re used to and still come up with 6 goals, some of which were very important – but people still complain about him!

    Well said Davi.

    Diaby when he’s playing well can be brilliant. When he’s not …he’s still effective, cos he’s a big boy who wins headers, gets his tackles and is our quickest (if not always the smartest) at tracking back.

    There’s no one in the squad that I’d rather have chasing down an opposition breakaway. He really covers the ground with ease.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing him play in the World Cup

  25. andy says:

    I am resisting the temptation to disagree with you SS. Changing the subject do you think theres any truth to this latest Hangeland rumour ? On legendaire they say he has agreed terms !

  26. Rasp says:

    I read the piece on Hangeland. The author is usually well informed, but I still find it hard to believe. £10m for a 29 year old doesn’t seem ‘Arsenal’. We could get a better younger defender for £15m I’d hope, having said that, clubs are sticking ridiculous price tags on players – probably because they know prices will go up during/after the WC.

  27. andy says:

    yeah £10m dont go very far nowadays !! haha

  28. irishgunner says:

    “What do they do in training then?

    Count the passes in french”

    One Handball? Two Handball? Three Handball? 😉

  29. Rasp says:

    Afternoon Irish,

    I fine victory by your countrymen yesterday – it must make you even more bitter 😕

  30. Aha irish – prodded by the french 😆

  31. Held your bat again then raspno 😛

  32. Rasp says:

    Cricket rained off, consoling my son who has also had his game rained off peaches.

  33. Rasp says:

    You’ve got to hand it to the French, they know how to beat Ireland 👿

    I’m off 😳

  34. irishgunner says:


    I’ve an article on the French coming up mainly on Titi but it won’t be a whinge I promise 😀

    Yep good win Rasp – just have to look towards 2012 now. I’m going to back Holland and RvP as top scorer for the WC.

    Peaches – is that a pie in your picture ha ha

    Oh and things are cleared up with Kelsey over yesterday – I was only having a laugh but had to pop off before I could clarify – just so ye know, I didn’t go a bit mad ha ha

  35. An article on the french mainly about Titi written by irishgunner and its not a whinge hmmmmmmnnnnn 😆

    Phew I’m glad you’ve come on Irish I was going have to send a search party out for you we were that worried kelsey had upset you – good thing you’re back home 🙂

  36. Yes, its a chicken pie actually, much more exciting than my legs don’t you think 😛

  37. irishgunner says:

    It won’t be a whinge, it’ll be an honest take on Titi and where his career is now – honestly! *does my best honest face*

    LOL I think I took it a bit far yesterday 😳 it always happens, I had to go away without realising I had to go if you get me so I didn’t even have five secs to write in I was joking.

    We all know there’s two types of people in the world: The Irish and those that want to be Irish 8)

    This ain’t football but this is the wackest shit I’ve seen in some time:

    How far away is October????

  38. irishgunner says:

    Two of our chickens died last week – is that where they went? 😛

  39. Not guilty 😎

  40. irishgunner says:

    Probably eaten all the evidence by now anyway 😛

  41. Wow – she’s completely nuts irish 🙂

  42. irishgunner says:

    I know :mrgreen:

    Oh why is October so faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar away I wanna go now, wanna go now – although god only knows what she’ll come up with by then.

  43. Look who’s going to be singing to me tonight

  44. irishgunner says:

    You mean your not watching the Eurovision? 😯

  45. No…………….surprising eh

    Heres some more

    I was at this concert at the Albert Hall – huge place, right up at the top but tonight I shall be in the 20th row – he must be so excited that I’m going 😛

  46. Its your fault irish that I’m now trawling through youtube videos 😳

  47. irishgunner says:

    He played Limerick last year but I didn’t go.

    I hope you enjoy it, he is meant to be a good entertainer.

    I went to The Police about 2/3 years ago in Croke Park – I’d to get seated tickets and was like 20 miles away from the stage – it was rather pointless.

    Since then I’ve refused to go to any gig unless I get standing tickets. I’d a terrible argument with ticketmaster online because they kept trying to sell me the dearest tickets for Gaga which where seated but I preserved and got my standing tickets – “sitting at Lady Gaga” 😆

    Pink is playing Limerick in a few weeks so I might have a saunter in and see what she’s like.

  48. irishgunner says:

    Ha ha its addictive – you should watch Insane Clown Posse – they are a bunch of creationist rappers from Detroit – i.e. a bunch of idiots.

    I make no apologies to any creationist that happens to be reading…

  49. SharkeySure says:

    No worries Andy re respectfully disagreeing !!!

    I have only heard the Hangeland rumours by reading them on here. I very rarely chase Arsenal ‘news’ in any shape or form.

    He seems decent enough, but not exactly suitable for the high line we play, he practically said so himself a year ago I think.

    Still, it would be a signing !!!

  50. dandan says:

    Afternoon all, Peaches I can get their in time if you are taking me, Rod Rocks LOL

  51. Pink is also fantastic live – I went with my daughter a few years ago.

    I’ve had a passion for Rod for about 100 years so I’m really looking forward to it – the stewards are so mean about letting you stand at gigs these days but I reckon I’ll be ok in the 20th row at the O2. They used to let you stand on the seats – I was 7 months pregnant standing on a seat at a Billy Joel concert at Wembley!!!!

  52. kelsey says:

    I am sure the author is right about Hangeland 😉

  53. dandan says:

    Yes I like him a lot peaches, although some of his more modern stuff isn’t so clever

  54. For sure he is kelsey 😉

  55. irishgunner says:

    ” I was 7 months pregnant standing on a seat at a Billy Joel concert at Wembley!!!!” – You rocker you 😆

    There is a ticket lying around at home for Pink, I don’t even have to pay to go so I might just pop a long.

    Is there no standing area that you could have got tickets for? I’m going to have myself planted in the front row for Gaga – just someone try and stop me 😀

  56. kelsey says:


    I tell you what. i wish I was as fit as he is for his age, or my age or your age. He is a bit like arsenal, every 4 years he gets a new captain.credentials, must be blond 😉

  57. dandan – I’ll have a sing for you too then, altogether now ….. wake up Maggie I think I’ve got something to say to you, its late september and I really should be back at school …………… 😆

  58. kelsey says:

    The late john peel on mandolin intro.

  59. Must be blond and have legs up to her armpits 😉

    Unfortunately I don’t qualify and I’m probably much too old ….. but I make a mean Chicken soup, do you think that would work 😀

  60. kelsey – how are you?

  61. irishgunner says:

    You’ve developed a weird affection to Chicken foods over the last half hour Peaches 😆

    Fun but boring fact: I once pulled my calf muscle at a concert – hardcore so I am 8)

  62. kelsey says:

    Do you really want to know a secret 😉

  63. Shhhhh tell me, no-ones listening …..

  64. kelsey says:

    The best concert I ever went to was the eagles at Wembley indoor, and they had the full London synmphonic(sp) orchestra just for one number.

    The one that turned into a nightmare was a young Dianna Ross at the Albert hall, and she was singing walking up the aisle and I had an end seat, and every few rows she stopped and put the mic into someone’s face to carry on where she left off.Gratefully she turned round just as she approached me.

  65. I went to see Rod Stewart one xmas eve with just a small sore throat and sang myself hoarse much to the delight of my family as I didn’t have a voice for 4 days – Raddy if you read this later thats the concert I went to with your friend Dennis Sugarman.

  66. irishgunner says:

    Father Ted Crilly: Ah, that’s right, yeah, you told me about that, but what exactly *is* his problem?

    Eoin McLove: I’ve no willy! …

    “Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet is a fan-fucking-tastic song

  67. I’d be so embarrassed kelsey. A girlfriend of mine was interviewed out-side Wembley Arena when Barbra Sreisand came a few years ago and she’s on the video!!

  68. Sorry Sharkey you put up a football related comment a while back and we all ignored you 😳

    If we were going to sign Hangeland why didn’t we do so last summer?

  69. irishgunner says:

    I’m now of the thinking that Hangeland is too slow for us.

  70. You’re right irish – now we’ve had the twinkle-toed Super Sol …………

  71. irishgunner says:

    Exactly don’t want too many snails at the back.

    Just buy another Vermaelen but right footed and we’re sorted – simples!

  72. SharkeySure says:

    Wot a world eh Irish.

    I worked with a girl (aged 35ish) who took a day off work to ‘attend’ an online wedding between a fish and a human in some virtual world game that she played.

    That girl was Japanese.

  73. irishgunner says:

    😆 Sharkey

    Some people need to go study the auld dream versus reality chart.

  74. SharkeySure says:

    No worries re being ignored…I get that a lot at home as well !!!

    Shouldn’t really happen to a father of four…but it does 😉

  75. kelsey says:

    I will find out for sure on tuesday about Hangeland, as all the Fulham boys come into my son’s shop, as you know.

  76. dandan says:

    Thats it, dinner cooked, wife and dog fed, dishwasher stacked, time’s my own at last.

  77. dandan says:

    So then they take all the cricketers off for bad light.

  78. andy says:

    SS. 12 months ago I would have been pleased with Hangeland, probably still would but we have been linked with better. That German fella would be my favourite now I think. I wish I could avoid the Arsenal newsnow but every transfer window i’m drawn to it like some junkie after a fix. sad really !

  79. dandan says:

    I refuse to go there Andy the more lurid the headline the less the content.

  80. Big Raddy says:

    Thank you for the Rod links. I loved that man and used to see him every tour (until he went soppy). and one of my top memories was seeing the Faces supporting the Who at The Oval too many moons ago. Mott the Hoople played as well and Lindisfarne.

  81. Big Raddy says:

    I’m with you DD, no Newsnow for me. It is all hyperbole.

    Haangeland would be a decent signing, PL experience and the right stature.

  82. Big Raddy says:

    It is said that one learns something new everyday. And here is what I learned.

    John Ford , one of my favourite film directors, the man who introduced us to John Wayne and made the films Stagecoach, She wore a Yellow Ribbon and countless other brilliant westerns was an Irishman.

    His real name is Sean O’Feeney!

    No wonder he made The Quiet Man. And Maureen O’Hara – born Maureen Fitzsimmons in Ranelagh, Co. Dublin was a real babe

  83. charybdis1966 says:

    Everyone’s probably gone but I was at this concert – straight after watching us draw to Sunderland.

  84. charybdis1966 says:

    Oops, what’s happened to the blog? It looks so weird.

  85. Rasp says:

    Nothing’s happened chary – what can you see?

  86. Big Raddy says:

    Of course it is weird.

    Halford looks 105 y.o.

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