Tag Archives: She Wore

Gabriel Jesus goal drought should not worry Arsenal fans

In recent weeks, Gabriel Jesus has been labelled a “flop summer signing” and come in for criticism for his “lack of goals”.

Now admittedly, the loudest of this criticism has from Liverpool fans, who have taken to criticising Jesus in an attempt to defend Darwin Nunez.

But anyone thinking Jesus has been a flop clearly has little football knowledge.

Football is becoming more and more about systems rather than individuals, and you fit players to your system.

A world class player will struggle if the system they are being asked to play in does not play to their strengths. Likewise an average player can look fantastic in a system that suits him.

And Gabriel Jesus suits Arsenal’s system.

A mate of mine recently said “we should replace Aaron Ramsdale with Jan Oblak”, a perfect example of someone not understanding how important systems are.

Oblak is what we would call a “goal line keeper” – he likes to stay close to his line, and very rarely ventures towards the edge of his box, let alone outside. Petr Cech is another example.

Now Arsenal play with a very high line – Gabriel (the centre back one) and William Saliba defend the half way line.

To hold that highline, you need a keeper whose naturaly starting position is on the edge of his box, rather than his goal line. The sweeper keeper.

Oblak in the Arsenal line up would be horrificially exposed. Just like Cech was when we played for us with our higher line. And Leno.

These sort of keepers would flourish at someone like Spurs – or any Jose Mourinho team – where sides play defensively and with a “low block”.

Likewise Oblak is poor with the ball at his feet.

Whilst he might be the “better goalkeeper” in comparison to Ramsdale, he would not be the goal keeper we need.

Likewise Coady Gakpo.

Gakpo reminds me a lot of Nicolas Pepe – he needs space to run into and flourishes in a counter attacking side.

Arsenal do not play counter attacking football, Gakpo would struggle in our system in the same way Pepe did; Gakpo’s team mate Xavi Simons is a more suitable target.

So back to Arsenal and Jesus.

Arsenal are not set up to feed the ball to a single striker. We have a front 3 and look for them to press and rotate to score a goal.

Compare us to Manchester City.

Alfe Inge Haaland’s son is your old school centre forward. He has no interest in dropping deep, running the channels or assisting others. He just wants to get in the box and score goals.

So City are now set up to engineer the ball into positions for Haaland to score.

Jesus, meanwhile, is a much more mobile forward. He looks to drop deep, run the channels, and go wide.

This season, Arsenal are sharing the goals out amongst the front 3, rather than having a big, single goal scorers.

At the time of writing, Haaland had scored 46% of of Manchester City’s 37 league goals. Phil Foden has scored 16%.

Meanwhile, Gabriel Jesus had scored 16.6% of Arsenal’s 30 league goals. Gabriel Martinelli the same.

Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard have both scored 13.3% of Arsenal league goals.

Haaland and Foden account for 62% of Manchester City’s goals; Arsenal’s front 4 account for 60%.

Manchester City’s 3rd top scorer is Kevin de Bruyne with 3 league goals. That is the same as Arsenal’s 5th top scorer – Granit Xhaka.

There is more than one way to skin a cat.

Manchester City have a single focal pointt, Arsenal are spreading the goals throughout the forward line.

What sums it up is we have 4 players in the Premier League top 15 goal scorers this season. Over 25% of the Premier League top scorers play for The Arsenal!

And assists show a similar trend.

Whilst Kevin de Bruyne is the Premier League top creator, Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka are in joint second.

de Bruyne has assisted 25% of all of Manchester City’s goals, whilst Jesus and Saka are both at 16.6% – once again we share the load.

That means Arsenal have more of a goal scoring threat across the pitch – and are more creative.

Now it is all well and good your striker “contributing elsewhere” as long as others are scoring.

One problem we had previously was that Alexandre Lacazette would “put in a shift”, not score and we would draw a blank.

At the moment, whilst Jesus is not scoring, others are.

But likewise, the lone focal point is not perfect.

If Haaland is not scoring, he is doing very little else. City are basically playing with 9 outfield players until he comes alive in and around the box.

Haaland suits City, Jesus suits us.

Only worry about Jesus when Arsenal stop scoring.


Southgate goes from Arteta-ball to cautious Conte


Let’s blog today as it took me a few beers to get over that England performance last night.

I had the first draft of a great blog written about how Gareth Southgate’s England were inspired by Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal.

The transition to 4 at the back, a single pivot defensive midfielder in front of them, two 8’s and inverted wingers.

It worked against Iran as we pressed high, we’re aggressive, and scored 6 goals.

Last night Southgate went from channelling his inner Arteta to becoming Antonio Conte.

The defence dropped deep, Bellingham was pushed deeper to make a 2-man central midfield, and the front line did not press.

Like Conte’s Tottenham, England were set up to not lose rather than win the game.

It is already a bad sign that 2 games in , Harry Kane looks shot. and that Southgate is incapable of substituting him.

He was a passenger for most of the second half and clearly not fit. Yet played the full 90.

I still think we would have beaten Italy in the Euro’s had Southgate had the balls to take Kane off in extra time.

Kane contributed nothing in those 30 minutes and he was basically kept on to take a penalty.

During extra time, whenever Bukayo Saka got the ball he looked a threat. Italy’s tiring, ageing defence were reduced to fouling him on the halfway line.

Imagine had Southgate bought on Marcus Rashford for Kane to play down the middle. Lightening and fresh, he would’ve carved out a couple of chances for himself.

And if it is going to be the same this tournament, England might as well go home.

After 60 minutes, Kane is finished. He begins to rely on just being a 6-yard box striker. Needs others around him to do his running. It is basically like playing with 10-men.

What is the point of having Calum Wilson on the bench if you are not going to bring him on?

England will get through the group, then be knocked out by the first decent team we play (again). Southgate will be heroic in failure, when the truth is he is an awful coach who is wasting a talented group of young, exciting, attacking talent.

Time for a coffee. Tomorrow we go back to focusing on The Arsenal.


Tottenham trio put country over club (whilst Arsenal gave 100% to the end)

Earlier this week we discussed how Arsenal players “did themselves proud” in the lead up to the World Cup.

Players continued to give 100% right up to the break, with none crying off with injury. The result is Arsenal are top of the league.

The same can not be said about Spurs, however.

Three of their key players have shown country is more important than club.

Firstly we have last nights double scorer against Brazil, Richarlison.

The forward went down with a “calf” injury agains Everton in the middle of October. He then missed 7 games in a row before returning for less than an hour against Nottingham Forest inthe League Cup. He also played in their final league game against Leeds United.

During those games, he was clearly not giving 100%, and it was almost as if he was giving himself a small “pre-season” prior to the World Cup.

Tottenham won just 1 of the 4 league games he missed “injured”.

Cristian Romero is another Spurs player who gave himself a nice rest before the World Cup.

The Argentine centre back missed the last 5 games prior to the break with a “hamstring injury” that no-one really knows when he picked up.

Considered a bit of a hardman, he seemed to go soft for Spurs as he decided to focus on being 100% for country rather than performing for club.

His absence saw Spurs knocked out of the League Cup – their best chance to to win a trophy this season – and concede 9 goals in 5 games.

Romero was fit to start for Argentina.

Finally we have Heung-Min Son.

He who can do no wrong, despite a career blighted with diving and leg breaking tackles, Son seems to escape any sort of criticism for his behaviour.

Granted, the South Korean suffered a fracture around his left eye during the Champions League clash against Marseille.

That ruled him out of Tottenham’s last 3 games of the season – 2 of which they lost.

He returned yesterday for South Korea wearing a mask – so questions need to be asked as to why he could not don the mask for Spurs?

Maybe he decided to hide behind the injury to give himself a nice rest ahead of the World Cup?

Whilst Arsenal players continued to give it 100%, Spurs players hide behind injuries to ensure they were ready for their countries. And that probably shows the difference between Arsenal and Tottenham right now.

Arsenal are together as one, fighting as a team. Performing well and in the title race.

Meanwhile Tottenham are clearly a group of individuals. Players their have other priorities, such as the World Cup.

The likes of Romero and Richarlison clearly see the club as a stepping stone to something else – a move to one of Europe’s elite.

It is the same for the likes of Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur. The pair, signed from Juventus, trying to rebuild their careers and reputation at a lower level before a move back to a top team.

I am proud of every Arsenal player at the World Cup. Many were not guaranteed their seat on the plane.

The likes of Gabriel Martinelli, Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale and William Saliba forced their way into their international squads due to their performances for Arsenal this season.

We clearly have a group of young, hungry professionals that want to do their best for club AND country.

I am not sure the same can be said about the Spurs lot.