Squeaky Sphincter Time
Yes, it’s squeaky sphincter time, again folks.
I saw a twitter friend having a mini meltdown after the Chelsea win over United this weekend. The gist of it was “How could Arsenal put itself in this situation. How could Arsenal give away so many points, stupidly, earlier in the season.”
Well, a reasonable question/view on the one hand, but…instead let me take the counterpoint to that point. Once again, Arsenal had a very poor/slow start to the season. So, to be in the chase, we must have been pretty good lately, which is very encouraging going forward.
But how lately? And how good?
Here WERE a few myths about this team/squad
1. They couldn’t defend and didn’t practice (See my rebuttal in this blog (It’s Not The Defense, Stoopid)
2. They couldn’t defend set pieces (See my rebuttal in this blog (It’s Not The Defense, Stoopid)
Here’s a little teaser graph from that blog…
3. They couldn’t and therefore would never put a run together. Asked and answered.
4. They had no leadership
5. They had no winning spirit.
6. They are a million miles away from being capable of contending
Now, let me show you evidence focused on point #6. Because, it really answers points 1 through 6. Also, if you didn’t catch it, please read through my blog on defense: (It’s Not The Defense, Stoopid)
Right. let’s get down to the dirty. Yes, we had a very slow start to the season, and a slow middle. It is a season of three thirds (rather difficult for an Irishman to say and still be taken seriously. I have some experience in this matter.)
Now, just before we start, clearly this team needs strengthening. And we all generally agree where that strengthening needs to take place over the summer. But how decent a base is this team/squad entering the summer. Or put another way, how far off the pace is this squad, allowing for the fact that it took a little while to gel??
Would you believe me if I told you that this team of ours is the third best team in the league if you erase August 15th through September 30th? 3rd best in terms of average points won per game and therefore consistency?
Would you believe me if I told you that this team is the second best team in the league if you erase August 15th through November 14th? 2nd best in terms of points won and therefore consistency? I doubt you would. If true, that would mean we are the 2nd best team in the league for the last 2 thirds of the season.
Would you believe me if I told you that this team is the best team in the league if you start counting from Feb 1st? Measured by average number of points per game, we are. Of course the sample size is starting to get small at that point but it surely is a good measure of strong finishing form, if not quite proof that we are the best team in the league
When you start slowly, and we all know the reasons why we did, whether you think they are acceptable reasons, or not, the only thing you can do is finish strong.
So here’s the data. A chart of the average number of points per game, measured from each date to the end of the season thus far…
So what can we conclude? Only that this squad is a lot, lot closer to a contender than we thought at our low point during the season. Add some extra quality and we should be the real deal.
Let’s pray we make the top 4 and push on in the summer.
Here are some Photos from the QPR game. Not a classic. But it was 3 points. And I think the photos tell a story that maybe we didn’t see from our respective vantage points during the match.
Oh, and by the way, some of you fuckers owe Theo an apology. 2 goals in the last 2. That’s 4 points, instead of 0. And Sagna’s fuck up against United was 100% on Sagna, so don’t try laying that on Theo. But let’s not play Theo through the center, eh. He’s doing fine where he is.