Shock Horror … Mustafi is a Good Defender ….

August 6, 2019

…. it must be true, the stats prove it!

With only three days to go until the transfer window closes, many supporters want to see players leaving as well as arriving. For many, Mustafi is top of the list to be shown the door.

With this in mind and to add some balance, I decided to take a look at his stats and compare them with other defenders..  I chose his teammate Sokratis; the world’s most expensive defender (Harry Maguire) and the best defender in the EPL – all of whom you might expect to shine in comparison.

The figures are supplied by The Premier League.

 

We all know the old adage about lies and statistics and this is by no means a definitive comparison. You would need to factor in the success rate of the team and other criteria to be objective  – specifically the players around them, how good they are in their positions and how the whole team operates when in defensive mode.

Stats such as ‘clean sheets’ (or more accurately the lack of them) cannot be blamed on just one player. I’ve included them in the analysis because they are often quoted.

The fact that van Dijk is clearly the best defender gives some credence to the figures. He only fails to come top in areas where he is less busy … this is because Liverpool are a very good balanced side that defend as a team.

Here are the results of that research, colour coded for easy recognition.

Be prepared to be shocked, it indicates that Mustafi is a hard working and effective defender.

What is impressive is that he outperforms them all in tackles made, tackles won and interceptions. It shows him to be a better defender than Maguire and Sokratis. Can this be true?

 

How do you produce a stat that represents lapses in concentration?

What can we conclude from all this? For some that will be whatever our ingrained bias makes us comfortable with. For others it could be the memory of yet another game changing incident.

The fact that his pass completion percentage is the lowest comes as no surprise, but coming top in the number of tackles won is unexpected.

What you can see from these stats is that Mustafi works his socks off. He probably tries too hard and make mistakes as a result … far too many mistakes for a lot of gooners.

Would he make fewer mistakes if we got off his back? Maybe.

Would he make fewer mistakes if his teammates were doing their job properly? It’s possible.

Arsenal own StatDNA, a specialist sports analytical company. The Arsenal coaches and manager will know just how  effective (statistically) Mustafi is at his job on the pitch. Their analysis will be far more sophisticated … but … if the picture they receive is similar to the above, will they ignore the booing and keep what these stats indicate is one of our best defenders … or will they succumb to fan pressure?

I think I already know the result this poll is likely to deliver … but have your say on the Mustafi question by voting …

Rasp

 

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Bernd Leno … next Arsenal Captain

July 19, 2019

I totally understand people being annoyed with Koscielny and feeling let down, but I have a slight issue when people talk about him being captain and how a captain shouldn’t behave in this way.

Let’s be honest, the captaincy at Arsenal has meant very little for nearly 10 years now. It wasn’t that long ago that I wrote a comment about how our ‘captains’ had played less than 10% of PL games over a 5 year period. That’s an absolute joke! Even the season just gone, we started it with 5 so-called captains, I mean what the hell is that!? Obviously Koscielny’s antics don’t help bring any respect back to the captaincy, but I think that respect had died a long time ago.

Emery really needs to have a long hard think about what he wants from his next captain and he needs to ensure that he chooses someone who plans on sticking around and hopefully chooses someone who isn’t sat in the stands most of the time.

Give us an idea of who is the most popular choice for captain among Arsenal supporters by voting in the poll at the bottom of this article.

Personally, I’d be giving it to Leno. I know a lot have mentioned Sokratis, but he is a bit too fiery for me and may cause disruption if he gets into the players too much. I like his passion and i’d want that to continue, but I think I’d prefer someone a little more level-headed for the role.

Xhaka is another option and the extra responsibility may see him cut out some of the silly mistakes, but I always get the impression he’s glancing at the exit door. A dark horse might be Holding. If he can break into the first team and become a regular after his injury then I’d love the idea of a young, English old-fashioned centre half captaining Arsenal again.

It’s about time being captain of Arsenal meant something again. Let’s hope Emery gets it right.

Written by fatgingergooner


William Saliba … Great! … but what about the here and now?

July 10, 2019
There is a mini furore among some Arsenal fans over Leicester’s signing of Youri Tielemans from Monaco for a club record fee believed to be £40m. This takes City’s summer spending to nearly £80m, twice the reported budget Arsenal have to play with. The feeling is that Tielemans is just the sort of player Arsenal need.

Tielemans is 3 months older than Ainsley Maitland Nyles!!!

I’m all for youth, but who are they learning from? I do like the idea of UE snapping up these young players like Martinelli and Saliba, but a club of our size should be doing that whilst at the same time bolstering the first team squad. If UE wants to be around to see these players progress then he better start improving the first team, because the likes of Leicester and Wolves will be catching us at this rate.

The defence has been a shambles for years, yet we seem to do nothing about it. Sure, there’s a world shortage of CB’s, but you’ve got to buy a ticket to win the lottery. The defence won’t improve if we sit back and do nothing (which is what it looked like last season). It’s like we got burnt with Mustafi and so we’ve stopped trying. Cut your losses, get £20m for him, and try again.

There are 2 key areas we failed last season, CB and AM. I don’t doubt Zaha would be exactly what we need in that he’s got that unpredictability that we lack, but if we can’t afford him then why embarrass ourselves? Go buy what you can afford and hope the youngsters can fill the other gaps. There’s far more potential in Nelson, Martinelli and Smith-Rowe than in that CB group. £40-£50m could get us a decent CB.

Sokratis and Koscielny are our best 2 CB’s, so why people want Koscielny to go is a strange one for me. Yes, he’s getting on, but he’s still top 2 in our side. That’s not a compliment to him by the way, more a realisation of just how poor we are in that position. Holding is coming off a serious injury, Chambers has proven himself far better at HM than he’s ever looked at CB (thank god as he was very average at CB!), Monreal is a LB regardless of what anyone says and wouldn’t get anywhere near any other top 10 PL first team playing as a CB, Mavropanos has played a handful of games so it’s far too early to judge him, and the less said about Mustafi the better I think.

You can work on shape and defensive attitude all day, but sometimes you just have to accept the players aren’t good enough and move on. Personally, I’d be selling Mustafi and Monreal. I’d bring in Tierney and look for a big name CB. I’d be using Chambers in midfield, and I’d give cup game opportunities to Mavropanos and Bielik (shame he wants out as he looks one of our more promising CB prospects).

fatgingergooner


Shkodran Mustafi – can we trust him?

June 27, 2019

According to Mustafi’s Instagram account he’d like us to believe that, like an eagle, he’s going to use ‘the negative energy of a storm to fly even higher’. It must be hard for a player to know how the fans feel about him, I haven’t seen many articles supporting him staying with Arsenal.

He has been guilty of losing concentration and allowing the defense to be breached on too many occasions to not question whether he should be replaced. His experience as a World Cup winner with Germany is one reason why we should keep him ……….. we don’t have many winners in the squad.

When he joined us in 2014 we went on a great run of unbeaten games, in fact he beat Bacary Sagna’s run of an unbeaten start with 18 games and boasted that we never lost when he played. Sadly that came back to bite him on the behind as he was unable to shore up the defense in the way that we needed.

If his partnership with Koscielny had worked out it would have been perfect for us as he was only 24 when he joined and therefore Koscielny could now be passing him the baton.

 

Luckily we have a couple of young CB’s in Holding and Mavropanos coming through and Sokratis who has impressed but if we can’t find a buyer for Mustafi we’re stuck with him and we don’t have funds available to add another better CB to the squad.

How would you feel if Mustafi was still lining up for us in August?

peachesgooner


Arsenal master Bate Borisov 3-0 – Player Ratings

February 22, 2019

Mesut to start – thank funk for that.

First Half

In need of a goal, the team started really well. Wobbly had a chance to shoot immediately. Only a few minutes had gone when Bate scored – in their own net, the defenders confused – not realising that, since it was Auba crossing the ball, nobody would be in the middle.

Frustratingly the foot then came off the pedal. Either that or Bate realised that an away goal was their best chance and upped their game. One in the side netting and then one off the line cleared by Lichtsteiner. As usual Arsenal allowed the poorest of opposition good chances.

Gradually we regained superiority. Xhaka had a cracking pot shot. Just before half time and after a succession of short corners which produced diddly squat, Xhaka planted one into the perfect spot for Shirley to fool the defender and then get in front of his man, bulleting a close range header for 2-0. Superb celebration from the master carpenter!

Second half

After a bit of Keystone cop defending in the first few minutes after the break and a few heart flutters, the result was never really in doubt once that half time malaise had worn off.

Papa majestically finished off another Granit corner launched right into the mix. Shirley put the goalie off and the big Greek planted the ball into a gaping net with the back of his swede.

Auba struggled to find a goal but he could have played all night and not scored. Saving them for Southampton on Sunday, I hope. Mesut scuffed a relatively simple volley with the goal at his mercy but the three goals would have to suffice, and they did.

Conclusion

Job done. Relatively straightforward in the end. Bate had two decent chances to get the away goal they craved but we really should have had more to show for such dominant superiority. An OG and two headed goals from corners from 22 efforts on goal did prove enough to put us in the last 16 though.

The draw for the round of 16 is today at 12 noon GMT. There are a few teams we’d  miss ideally, though we’ll have to beat some good teams if we’re going to win it, no doubt.

Ratings

Cech – nowt to do … 7

Lichtsteiner – looked more like his experienced professional self against the Belarusians … 7

Mustafi – excellent header – relatively untroubled throughout and even showed some composure on the ball … 7

Koscielny – class again – hope his injury isn’t too serious … 8

Monreal – battled manfully – love his commitment to the cause … 7

Xhaka – available throughout – passing excellent – went a little anonymous when moved forward to accommodate Torreira but two assists and plenty of great work – loved how he defended Nacho from the thuggery near the end… 8

Guendouzi – enjoyed himself – he’s going to be some player if he continues progressing at this rate … 7

Ozil – class – his movement is incredible – mind you, the opposition weren’t up to much … 7

Mkhitaryan – a bit lightweight – he really should be able to shine in these sort of games … 6

Aubameyang – poor Auba – a goal was never going to come, nevertheless he competed well and came deep when nothing was fed to him in the area – the dink over the keeper near the end should have ended up in the back of the net … 7

Iwobi – always a threat, just lacked that killer final ball …7

Subs

Sokratis – he was good enough that Kos wasn’t missed and he also popped up with the decisive third … 7

Torreira – not sure why he was brought on for Matteo, contributed little of note – a run out, I suppose … 6

Suarez – late sub to give him a run also – inconclusive … 6

Managers

Emery – got the job done – picked Mesut for a game against lowly opposition and it was the right decision – lovely heartfelt goal celebrations … 8

Wagner – should go back to Huddersfield … 6

chas


Emery’s Bermuda Triangle

January 7, 2019

Prompted by my Bros to expand on my criticism of Dick’s current tactics evident at the Fulham game, I offer another controversial effort for the perusal of AAers the world over.

I qualify what I am going to say in advance with the facts that…….

  1. We have lost Holding for a long time.
  2. Have not had Kos (and may never have the old Kos) for  a long time.
  3. Have missed an Improved Hector and reliable Nacho in recent weeks.
  4. Let alone had no chance to see the other Greek God, Mav, who I think could prove in the future to be the solution, together with Holding, to Dick’s Bermuda Triangle.

To explain:- Dick has regularly opted recently for the following three players in the vital “central triangle of defence”, and it is here he is making his mistake. Mustafi and Sokratis as CBs, with Xhaka in the central holding/receiving slot.

I will start with the CBs (without really needing to for anyone with eyes).

Sokratis has got guts, is committed and occasionally is in the right place at the right time (See fourth goal against Fulham). But good enough for us as a CB? Nah!

Mustafi is dog’s poo (thought I’d do your job for you, ed). Positionally poor, rarely wins a header as he is a short arse, slide tackles late and nowhere near the ball. Good enough for us as a CB? Nah!

Now, given this criticism, Dick has doubled the problems in his triangle by allowing Xhaka to play at the top as holding/receiver of passes from these two! Xhaka is in my eyes massively overrated. Sure he can spray long balls, but only when the oppo back off, and these long balls are rarely “dynamic” in their effect. (He is no Alonso). Under pressure he shovels poop, and under real pressure, he makes potentially disastrous passes. (He is no Gilberto). He cannot tackle really, and is regularly booked for this (lack of) “skill”. (He is no Kante……or for that matter, Terrier). And much of this slaughtering criticism is because he is not quick enough of thought or limb.

Sorry, I seem to have been a little scathing!

Does he deserve a place in the starting eleven? Well, for the moment my answer is ‘yes’. But play him forward of Terrier and Ouzi (alongside each other and in front of the defence). Both of these two are better at the job required there and, will shore up some of the defensive frailty currently evident. “For the moment” for that is the position I advocate for A M-N in the future, and then it could be bye bye Xhaka for me.

My view, sorry if you think I am still drunk with joy from my recent Birthday.

Written by LBG