Tag Archives: Henrik Mkhitaryan

Who has been Arsenal’s best (and worst) player so far?

Statistics always need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

They can be used to prove or disprove whatever agenda you wish them to support.

Look at Paul Pogba on Sunday.

Against Brighton he was awful in a 3 – 2 defeat, yet the statistics will show that he scored a goal and now has 2 goals in the first 2 games.

The basic statistics of goals to games will not show that he scored a 94th minute penalty, during a game that he was horrendous and his side lost. It will just show that he scored a goal.

That is why if you look at statistics, you need to look beyond the basic. Although I feel with things such as “2nd assists” and “expected goals” things are being taken a bit too far.

Ultimately, the only statistic that matters in football is the final score.

I open with this because when researching yesterday’s article on Matteo Guendouzi I noticing something interesting on WhoScored.com.

WhoScored.com is one of my go-to websites for statistics. They pay for OptaStats (or whatever it is called now) and publish the information for free. It is a brilliant source.

My hope was that they would show that Guendouzi had been Arsenal’s best player in the opening two games.

What WhoScored.com have is an algorithm that looks at all the key statistics for a player within a position and comes up with a rating. It is not an opinion like you get in a newspaper, it is based on cold, hard maths. therefore removing the bias that Scott Parker always gets an 8 out of 10 because the journalist likes him.

I was mildly surprised by the top 5 Arsenal players in the opening two games:

In Petr Cech and Hector Bellerin you have two of the most criticised – and called upon to be dropped – players. Yet the statistics show that they have been two of the top 5.

Pert Cech’s can probably be explained that as we have been under the cosh for 2 games, he has made a lot more saves than normal. What the statistics that WhoScored.com do not show is the shots that he should have saved, but went in.

And mistakes such as nearly putting the ball into the back of the net against Manchester City go’s down as a misplaced pass.

Now before you pass the statistics off as a load of rubbish, let’s look at the 3 worst players…

I removed the players who had yet to start a game, and that leaves us with a “worst 3 players” of Mesut Ozil, Sokratis and Granit Xhaka.

I doubt anyone would disagree that Ozil and Xhaka have been poor in the opening games.

Sokratis inclusion is surprising, especially as Shkdoran Mustafi has been our “6th best player”. But then it is explained in the statistics.

Mustafi has made twice as many tackles, and Sokratis is yet to make an interception in the opening two games, although he does lead the way in clearances.

I might revist this as the season progresses…



Jekill and Hyde Arsenal, Lacazette Agenda, Wenger Out Protest and Other Stuff

Jekill and Hyde Arsenal

Great win, great performance. How frustrating.

Arsenal’s last 4 results in the league are LWLW. Both losses came away, both wins came at home.

Bournemouth (A) 1-2
Crystal Palace (H) 4-1
Swansea City (A) 1-3
Everton (H) 5-1

32 out of a possible 39 points at home, 13 out of a possible 39 points away. As an Away Scheme member, it is frustrating.

But rather than spend a Sunday focusing on what we have not achieved, lets enjoy yesterday.

Hat trick for Aaron Ramsey
Goal on debut for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
3 assists for Henrik Mkhitaryan

On Mkhytaryan, if a player left Arsenal and hit 3 assists and a 10/10 performance on his debut, we would be saying that’s what happens when a player plays under a decent coach. Well Mkhitaryan left Manchester United for Arsenal and has put in his best performance in England. What should we say now?

A delightful victory to take us into Spurs.

Lacazette Agenda

I really hate Arsenal fans sometimes.

Spend years moaning about lack of options, a weak bench, a poor squad, then we have two £50m strikers competing for one space and the narrative changes.

Now it is how can we fit both in?; how can we keep both happy? Lacazette is the fall guy.

Other sides throughout England, and Europe, have multiple quality players for every position. They do not have their own fans asking these questions.

Manchester City have 3 £40m+ centre backs in their squad (and Vincent Kompany). They have Raheem sterling, David Silva, Bernad Silva, Raheem Sterling & Leroy Sane competing for 3 spots – and still tried to buy Alexis Sanchez and Riyad Mahrez.

Why are we complaining?

And then the lies come in. That Lacazette has fallen out with Arsene Wenger. That he has questioned him.

The truth is Lacazette has scored 1 goal in 12 games so was rotated to the bench. nothing more than that.

Wenger Out Protest

It was disappointing to see so few turn up for the organised Wenger Out protest.

Looking at pictures, it seems their was more journalists than fans there. This has the potential to kill any pressure that fans can put on the club as the Arsenal board will see it as 25 turned up to a protest out of 60,000. And they have a point.

Some will point to the rain – but then thousands are marching for the NHS today (although those marching today are probably using the rain for their monthly wash). Others will say it is apathy. That fans now know longer care about, they do not think they can actually do anything.

These fans are wrong. The recent changes in the club – the employment of the likes of Raul Sanllehi and Sven Mislintat – came due to Ivan Gazidis bowing to fan pressure and reducing the influence of Arsene Wenger.

I feel this protest was always doomed to fail, and it has nothing to do with Wenger or apathy, and everything to do with organisation.

In the past, the likes of GC from this site, the Blackscarf Movement, and influential large Twitter accounts have been involved in protests. It takes a lot of work. It is not as easy as “put a message on Twitter and hope people turn up”.

It takes mobilisation of people to get them out. Canvasing the pubs. A call to arms in WhatsApp groups. Actual organisation. The BSM had around 5,000 turn up a few years back.

This was done done by merely putting messages on Twitter. It was done through actual hard work.

I was in The George from about 2pm yesterday. No one was even asking if people were going to the protest. No one seemed to even know about it.

Having faceless 16 year olds running Twitter accounts promoting and attempting to organise protests is always going to fail. Having 100s of RTs about the protests from fans who do not even go is pointless.

Hopefully this failed protest is a lesson to some of those involved, and those Facebook pages and Twitter accounts who promote the protests.

These protests take make organisation than sitting behind a keyboard. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if many of those organising or aggressively advertising it did not even turn up themselves. They probably do not even go to game themselves.

A lesson to be learnt.


Alexis Sanchez scored and was Manchester United’s best player at the weekend. He also gave the ball away 32 times – the most by a Manchester United player in a single game this season.

Two MOTM games, Sanchez is putting in the same performances for United as he did for Arsenal.

He gives the ball away then more than any other player, gets involved when he shouldn’t be, has one of the worst pass completing percentages on the pitch, but will always be one of the best players on the pitch, one of the biggest threats.

Liverpool v Spurs – The “Won two League Cups between them in a decade but everyone thinks they have been really successful recently” Derby. Are there two sides that have won so little in recent years, yet seem to be praised so much by the media? They are the darlings of the British press.

Pep Guardiola – Interesting to see the difference in opinion on poor tackles. When Wenger complained about poor challenges and players needed protecting (3 double leg breaks), the media labelled Arsenal Soft Southern Softies. Guardiola makes similar comments, and that same media publishes a two page spread highlighting the “9 bad challenges on Man City player this season”.

As for him saying he does not have enough players, I always find it interesting the Jose Mourinho is labelled a “cheque book manager” whilst Guardiola is a great coach – he has spent nearly £500m in 18 months at Manchester City.


Have a good weekend all!


How will the new look Arsenal line-up?

You have to love Arsenal fans, they spend years moaning abut lack of squad depth, lack of competition, then as soon as we have more than one decent player for a position, they complain that we can’t fit them both in.

Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. 4 into 3 do not go. But rather than make it a problem, and start questioning how to keep them all happy, lets celebrate that finally we have some quality options, a bit of depth.

Manchester City fans do not sit trying to work out how to fit Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus into the same team. Or wonder Pep Guardiola will keep Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva all happy.

Arsenal play over 50 games a season. To potentially have Lacazette and Aubameyang fighting over one spot, or even Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey, is a good thing.

If a player does not want to fight for their spot, they are free to leave. You want hungry players in the squad. Players who strive to improve, to give 100% in training, to ensure they get in the team and stay in the team.

A player who knocks on Arsene Wenger’s door and says “I am not happy I am not in the first team,  I want to leave” can pack up their locker and go. They are clearly not good enough to start, nor has the motivation or desire to push for a first team place.

Healthy, fair competition will only improve players. Someone like Hector Bellerin has gone backwards this season due to a lack of competition.

On a side note on Hector Bellerin, I notice people getting on his back, saying we should sell him.

Bellerin has been let down by the tactics and formation we are playing. He never has cover infront of him in defence – so is often left 2 on 1. And going forward he does not have a winger alongside him so is often left isolated.

Let’s get off his back. Remember he is still just 22. He is the only Arsenal player to have played every Premier League minute this season. For a team that has had so many injury problems in the past, we are digging out a player whose fitness is reliable.

Were we to “make Hector Bellerin available for transfer”, the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, PSG, Barcelona and Real Madrid would vie for his transfer. That sums up the quality that he is, that the best clubs in the world would go for him.

So rather than criticise Bellerin, lets understand the real problem. Tactics that leave him exposed, and no competition for his place to push him further.

Anyway, I have digressed.

The reality is, when you have quality players, it enables you to play whoever is fit, whoever is in form.

So how would I now expect Arsenal to line-up?