Sorry to revisit the same subject on IND2OU but the obsession fans seem to have with something that is not truly a reality is grating somewhat again. I have twice previously written about the illusive 30 goal season striker that most fans seem to want and actually believe is out there for us this summer. So guys what is a 30 goal a season striker? Are you talking in the Premier League or in terms of league goals? If you are then they don’t readily exist. If we look at the last 10 years it has happened in three years and we are talking 2 special players – Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo and RVP. So it is hardly a regular occurrence then. Yes but are we shopping in the Premier League this summer you say. Well perhaps so we need to entice a 30 league goals a season striker from one of Europe’s top leagues then. Cool let’s have a look at our options and being fair take into account anyone with 27 league strikers in 2012/13. I am sure we are fishing in a huge pool? Well actually no there is a choice of 6 strikers on the short list and here they are:- Continue reading
A few years ago in another time and on another site I wrote a blog about the Premier League’s greatest goal makers inspired at the time by a list of the top 20 assist makers in the first 19 years of the league posted by TalkSport. What struck me at the time was as usual the cheap headline grabbing of the tabloid radio station. Why? Because it is not just the number of assists which tells the real story, because if you have played in midfield in a top side for years you will clock up assists by default . Yes Lampard, Gerrard and Scholes I am talking about you guys. No it is the ratio of assists to matches which should be the true measure of greatness. I am not I might add questioning Lampard’s goal ratio by any means.
It has be the ratio of assists to matches that identifies the true creative geniuses of the modern game. It will surprise no one that David Beckham departed these shores with an incredible number of assists and no one has a better ratio at 0.57 assist per match. However I am delighted to report that Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas have similar incredible ratios. Both players creating goals for their team mates at the rate of 0.56% per game. Cesc Fabregas sits just outside the Top 10 with 119 assists and of course there is some speculation that he might return to the EPL and further enhance his figures!! I take my hat off to Henry though. To create so much for Arsenal team mates while shattering all goal scoring records simultaneously. One would be hard to argue against TH14 being the greatest player of the Premier League era, although many Gooners I know might debate that and suggest a certain Dutchman. Continue reading
This is not an article bashing our ex hero for the sake of it, although it is not surprising we Gunners enjoy that indulgence. No this is more a vindication possibly of a piece I wrote last summer when it became apparent our then talisman would depart. There has been much recrimination about the club’s decision to sell to a rival and this is natural because we sold what most fans believed to be a world class striker at the absolute pinnacle of his game and at the peak of his powers.
Well you know what happens after you reach the pinnacle or peak? You go down the other side. And you know it takes a longer time to climb to the top of the mountain than to descend. In fact on the down slope the downward journey can on occasion be rapid. Enough of the clever analogies, I will get straight to the point.
The article I wrote last July revealed that of the 20 strikers who had scored 20 or more league goals (and there were only 20) in the previous 2011/12 season, from Europe big 6 leagues ,only 4 were 30 or over. If you are interested they were Ibrahimovic, Di Natale, Milito and Nene. Only 2 of these look likely to repeat the feat this season. Now we can all make statistics sing the tune we wish but they were the facts. The chances were that RVP would like so many others in the modern game find goals harder to score in your 30s.
When I wrote a piece recently asking why players can’t seemingly play as many games in the Premier League era as they did previously I was told that the pace of the game is more exacting, pitches firmer etc. Indeed the better playing surfaces make for more pleasing on the eye football but they are harder on the modern player’s body. Wear and tear kicks in earlier and RVP has had his share.
The facts and the truth in the case of RVP were sort of blanked out at the end of the last season by Gooners when he was our player. The reality was in March we all felt the breaking of Shearer’s EPL scoring record was a formality. With 10 matches left RVP needed 8 goals and such was his form we all thought he would make it. Arsenal’s form from February and March faltered in April and May and it coincided with our talisman failing to score in 6 of the last 10 matches. Of the 4 he did score the only one in a winning cause was a penalty versus already relegated Wolves and none were decisive strikes. As I say this dramatic decline in form and influence was missed or ignored by most in the Euphoria of grabbing 3rd from Tottenham on the last day at the Hawthorns. The truth is that had RVP been scoring still, it would not have gone to the last day and should not have. The turning point in his form is pictured below: Continue reading
I wrote a blog a few weeks back suggesting we invest our pot of cash in proven Premier League talent to hit the ground running next season. Some agreed and some did not and many thought my striker target Lukaku would not be available at a price we would pay. He may not be and it may well be a pipe dream but the more common criticism of my logic in suggesting the young Belgian as a target to challenge or support Giroud and Walcott, was that he is not proven. This and the usual ‘We need a 20 goal a season man.’ In fact I am being kind as many tell me we need a 30 goal season striker! Well sorry to be the one to burst your bubble and open your eyes, but they don’t actually exist guys, well not often. What I also find quite ironic is it seems to be the same readers who simultaneously want Wenger to spend millions on Jovetic a consistent 12-15 goal a season man?
This is not incidentally a criticism of Jovetic who looks a super player but he is a creator of opportunities or a second striker, a la Dennis, not a main striker. Of course this whole debate is far from simple as I would love us to have a two striker system and see a Jovetic style No.10 but we do not presently have that system and this blog is more about the constant Gooner demand for a 20/30 goal a season central striker. The majority seem to think Wenger’s task here is an easy one and his failure is done to lack of funds or lack of judgement. Continue reading
Today I am delighted to welcome a good pal of mine Jeremy Lebor to 1ND2OU. Jeremy is a frequent blogger for other sites and has been threatening to write for this one in a while. There is more about Jeremy who is a lawyer by profession and a twice published novelist as well. Might explain why finding time to write for me, when not discussing screenplay adaptations or appearing in court has been an issue. Anyway brilliant to have him here and I hope it will be the first of many collaborations. Watch this space….. over to JL for an amusing and insightful review of the past week
Despite the disappointment of exiting the Champions League at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday of last week, the 0-2 win actually had more of an effect on the Arsenal team for the remaining games of the season than perhaps supporters realise or are prepared to accept. Let’s not underestimate that Bayern are supposedly the ‘best’ team in Europe at present with a huge 20 point lead at the top of the Bundesligia, They had the stuffing knocked out of them in their own back yard! – Personally, I still feel Barcelona are at the forefront despite their own wavering’s and are a team you cannot right off at any cost, perhaps along with Real Madrid. Bayern best team in Europe… maybe in time when Pep Guardiola takes over the helm.
Arsenal went into the game with Bayern Munich, low on confidence having lost their previous game to arch rivals Tottenham, and as well as being annihilated at the Emirates by Bayern in the home leg of the Champions League tie. I was there, and like most, if not every Arsenal supporter, witnessed a very poor night for our team! – So with a victory that should not be underestimated, Arsenal had their pride restored – sort of!
With an enforced break upon us due to World Cup qualifiers, it was essential that the trip last Saturday to Swansea was a must win game. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work that one out! Continue reading