Good morning gang.
Another day in the “festive” schedule and another day that Tim has to collect stats from 5 matches. Man, this December has been crazy and I feel like I’ve been doing nothing but collecting shots stats non-stop for a month. I’m actually looking forward to a break from this and I get one after the match on Wednesday – Arsenal play Nottingham Forest and Chelsea in the FA Cup and League Cup and get two weeks off from the Premier League. Well, 11 days off anyway.
Yesterday we saw Mike Dean take two points from Arsenal and after the match Petr Cech confronted the referee. Cech didn’t curse Dean out, he didn’t call him names, he simply asked why the penalty was given. Cech asked Dean to explain why it is that the Premier League sends referees to tell players (they have a pre-season meeting with the refs) how they are going to interpret the laws of the game and that the referees specifically say that when the ball is that close they will not call handball. Mike Dean’s response was to give Cech a yellow card.
I love the imagery of pure impotence there from Dean. Dean can’t answer, won’t answer, and is offended by the question. He can’t really do anything but issue a yellow card. It reminds me of the very first episode of Red Dwarf where Lister and Rimmer are doing their duties and Rimmer writes Lister up for insubordination because he wouldn’t stop whistling, clicking, and making noises. Mike Dean is the Arnold Rimmer of referees.
But we know Dean is biased against Arsenal. I have proven it I think at least 6 times. How is he allowed to referee Arsenal matches?
One other weird thing is how Arsenal supporters are saying “we should beat teams like West Brom by more than 1 goal”? I get the complaint that our attack isn’t good enough – it really isn’t, it’s one of the worst of the top six in terms of conversion – but I don’t understand that thought process. I remember a match against Newcastle where Arsenal scored 4 goals and the referee made two completely insane penalty calls against Arsenal. Should Arsenal have scored 5 in that game?
The other problem with this so called argument is that it just accepts that Arsenal should have to play against 12 men. I understand where this impulse comes from, I feel it myself sometimes, but I have a hard time getting behind it today, after getting Deaned.
And then one last thing. I have been in the “sell Alexis” camp since this summer. I love the guy for his tenacity and I understand why some people are afraid to sell him but here are the main reasons to sell:
1. Our defense isn’t good enough to make top four.
2. Our offense isn’t good enough to make top four and he’s on the team, in fact he’s the entire focus of the offense.
3. If we are keeping Alexis for the money we are(n’t) going to get for top four then we should sell him for that amount.
4. I’m not convinced that the “prestige” of Champions League is much of a factor in getting players to Arsenal. We have consistently struggled to get players in regardless of whether we have Champions League or not. But this is an uncertain promise.
5. A bird in hand: if Arsenal can get £35-50m for him it’s worth more than the prospect of perhaps getting such and such from him IF he plays well.
6. The theory that he’s going to help us win something hinges almost entirely on him giving 100%. Can you honestly say he’s done that so far this season?
7. Wenger’s teams have averaged 72 goals a season over his career. Arsenal are on pace to score 69 goals this season. Since Alexis signed for Arsenal they have had just one above average season – 2016/17 when Arsenal scored 77 goals – and the other three seasons since Alexis signed, Arsenal have scored 71, 65, and this season we are projected to score 69. This is an Arsenal team which abandons midfield routinely BECAUSE the attack is so poor. This is a team where Wenger demands both fullbacks to stream forward at will because the attack is so bad. And a team where at least four players are absolved of defensive duties in order to focus on attack. This is a team which is geared toward attack and yet, isn’t a great attacking team. So, I don’t think there’s any evidence to support the idea that Alexis improves Arsenal’s attack. Whether that’s the manager’s fault (it is) or the player’s (it is – it’s both) is irrelevant. The point is that Arsenal’s attack has not been improved with Alexis.
8. Ozil is the endgame: getting Champions League is supposed to help Arsenal keep Ozil. Ehhh… Maybe. That’s such a weird thing to bank on because Ozil, who is the single most talented player at Arsenal since Fabregas, isn’t the be-all end all of the team. This team needs a massive overhaul: we need a Cazorla, a center back, another left back, a keeper, and a replacement for Alexis. Obviously, losing Ozil would be yet another blow and would require replacement adding further burden to the club but why would Ozil stay unless we get Champions League (see #1 and 2) AND ALSO replace all the parts that need replacing?
So, do you keep Alexis? Just because he “wins us games”? Or because you think he MAY help Arsenal get to 4th place this season and that MIGHT pay out with slightly cheaper buys next season or MAY help Arsenal hold on to Ozil in the summer?
Me? I’m in favor of starting over: new manager, new players, thanks. I think Wenger is gone this summer anyway, so I’d love to see the clear out start now.