Of all the things that disconcert me about the Emirates experience one of the most boring and unnecessary is the crowd shouting shoot when a player is anywhere inside the opposition half.
I mainly sit in the lower tier when I can get a ticket and behind one of the goals. At the Wolves game a number of build up passes would be greeted with growing cries of shoot, no problem you would think, but the perspective from the lower tier is such that when the ball is up the other end there is no way you can judge how far the ball carrier is out from goal or otherwise. I tried to encourage those around me to look for the only lines visible to us the 18 yard box vertical markings (the vertical ones if you are looking from the goal..the ones that are 18yards long….shall I draw a diagram?). Using them as a guide you suddenly become aware of how far out players are when the cries of shoot begin.
During the match when the chance fell to Rosicky I felt certain he would score, he was surely on the penalty spot or closer. We all held our head in frustration some berating him for missing an open goal. Then the replay showed the ball had broken to him on the edge of the D and whilst he dragged his shot somewhat it was a much harder chance than it had first appeared.
But these are not the reasons why I want the crowd to stop the “shooooooooooot” stuff. As has been recently pointed out we have scored 1.6 goals per game at home yet 2 per game away. Is there a psychological reason for this?
Well perhaps there is and perhaps it is Arsene Wenger…recently when asked about Frimpong he said the following:
Football is made about what the game wants not what the fans in the stands want. Good players always respond to the game situation and make the right decision taking all the emotional part out of it.
It’s a question of experience. When you are young you think you have a strong shot and people say: ‘come on have a go.’ You are tempted to do it even though you have a pass to make.
At 24 you think: ‘come on, I have that pass to make’.
Clearly Wenger discusses this with players doing what you want not what the fans want you to do, so if you take this further even if it is the right choice to shoot perhaps they will not do it as it will appear to the boss that they are following the crowds wishes rather than their own decision.
I know some will think that Wenger’s comments are exactly the problem as he talks about looking for another pass rather than shoot, maybe thats the case but statistically in the Premier League you are more likely to score from within the 18 yard box than outside it.
I borrowed the following image from Prozone and they have helpfully been analysing goalscoring trends over the last few years. It shows 2010-11 scoring positions.
So you see what is evident is that it is not merely shooting that will get goals, its a shame they couldn’t produce a shot chart to to show how many fruitless efforts there are in a similar form. As has often been said we were second top of the shooters charts last season (to Chelsea) here are the charts for the current season up to Christmas Day.
So we are bottom of the shooting charts behind everyone this year (level with United) but as you can see from United and City its the conversion rates that we are way behind in comparison.
Anyway the numbers are a side issue my main point is given that Wenger has openly criticised a player for following the will of the crowd rather than recognising there are better options available, I think the more we shout shoooooooot like a bunch of speech impeded cows the less likely it is that players will shoot from outside of the area.
Written by Gooner In Exile