If you want to gorge yourself on stats there’s some pretty awesome stuff over at Sky Sports. For example, Clichy is the EPL’s 2nd leading passer and led the league in intercepted passes. Flamini was third in the EPL in passing and had an astounding completion rate of 87%. Or how about the fact that Kevin Davies (of Bolton) is the worst fouler in the league? I could keep going but I’ll spare you.
I will mention that The Guardian must have purchased the Opta sports pack because they provide additional analysis by league, by team, by individual, and by “odds and ends.” Pretty cool stuff, saunter on over there and point out something I didn’t see, I’d love to hear it.
One thing that that I did see is that Howard Webb hates Arsenal and the statistics prove it.
Well, he was the ref in the game at Old Trafford this season. You remember, the one who gave Man U both of their goals through eagle-eyed reffing on one end of the pitch but for some reason turning a blind eye to all the Anderson/Scholes fouling at the other end of the pitch. In that match, the cleanest team in the premier league (with only 407 fouls conceded all season) somehow merited 6 yellow cards on 7 fouls with one penalty kick and another free kick right outside the box. Man U, on the other hand, fouled Arsenal 12 times and received 2 yellow cards. Coincidence?
He’s also the guy who “refereed” the debacle in the Carling Cup final against Chelsea in 2007. You remember… the one where Obi Wan Mikel and Lampard’s continuous fouling led to a Mikel foul on Toure which saw those two square off and then Lampard attacked Toure and when the Arsenal players intervened they were shown red cards. Yeah, that Howard Webb.
But this season, he seems to be going over the top with the Arsenal hate because this term he was the referee in charge for 3/5 of Arsenal’s domestic losses.
I don’t know whether the team plays different when Webb is on the pitch or if his refereeing style encourages a different type of play, or whether it’s just dumb luck. But for some uncanny reason, Howard Webb reffed 3/5 of Arsenal’s losses; in two of which he gave a penalty to the opponents. He also has a penchant for handing out yellow cards in general (more than any other ref) and especially to Arsenal (more than any other ref). Just look at any of the Arsenal matches he reffed this season.
Transfer News (the poop scoop)
I love yesterday’s story about Hleb wanting to be a gentleman and transfer out of Arsenal the proper way. Good for Arsene: the threat of punishment has secured Hleb’s proper valuation. A funny aside to the whole Hleb transfer story is that he has admitted that he doesn’t like London. He says it’s too busy, too noisy, too dirty which is all fine, and fair enough. So, of course it makes sense that he’s trying to get a transfer to Milan; that bucolic little mountain town in Italy.
Patrick Vieira is ramping up his retirement plans by coming out as yet another Arsenal pundit. Dude, if you want to complain about Arsenal’s wage structure and transfer policies, why don’t you do it like everyone else? Get a blog.
In the NOT NEWS section:Adebayor is NOT leaving for Barcelona or joining Hleb at Milan… that’s a relief.
Yaya Toure wants to play for Arsenal. There has NOT been any contact with Yaya or Barca, but it seems like he’s one of the 220 people who keep calling Wenger to see if there’s a roster spot available. I wonder who the other 219 are?
Kroenke himself is buying Hatem Ben Arfa. That’s player number 219, but only if Wenger promises him first team football. Totally, here, you can have, uhhh, erm, uhh Adebayor’s place, NOT.
Gervinho, Kompany, and Makoun are NOT numbers 218, 217, and 216 respectively. Of all those players, Kompany is the kind of player Arsenal need most: especially since Robin van Persie needs some Kompany in the infirmary. Thank you, I’ll be here all week, try the veal, tip the waitress…
Anyway, that’s your NOT NEWS section for today!
Wait… I checked the news feed after I wrote this and I had 49 news items, let’s see if any are transfer rumors. YEP! Obafemi Martins! Arsenal have definitely NOT approached Newcastle for him. Which doesn’t make any sense since I thought Wenger was collecting strikers, oh well, guess NOT. In other NOT news, Arsenal are NOT linked to Gareth Barry, just as they are NOT linked to signing anyone… really.