I really could get used to weekends like this. When we win and the others around us drop points 2 weekends in a row life becomes easy. Everything just rolls on by and smiles replace frowns on the Monday morning work commute. There are the rare few people you see looking joyous on a Monday morning, the ones you do tomorrow will be Gooners. We did somehow almost snatch despair from the jaws of joy but the post was kind to us and thankfully the weekend went pretty well thereafter.
It’s very tight from 7th to 3rd and even 2nd to a degree but to be in 3rd place with 7 home games to come is a great position to be in. If we can get 2 more home wins on the bounce vs Monaco & Everton the momentum really will be with us, especially as Sp*rs and Chelski don’t play next weekend. There’s still a long way to go and a lot of football to be played and I’m sure there will be some more twists and turns along the way but we’ve put ourselves in a great position of strength to move on from.
My main point of discussion this week is around the masses of stats that are now readily available to us all. We regularly see comparisons of stats and records of players and because they are so heavily used across social media I do get the feeling that it does play on the minds of the players. They are mightily useful for analysis and for us to see and use but I do feel that players are now so much more aware of them that it can influence their performances and decision making. For example it might cause a deep lying DM to continue to play simple sideways passes subconsciously thinking about their percentages or more attacking midfielders to look for the goal scoring opportunity more than what may be better for the team as a whole. If I’m honest I think that this syndrome affects midfielders more than defenders and strikers as their jobs are more clearly defined; stop goals, score goals – simple. Midfielders success/value, however, is determined by the way that their numbers look a little more; successful passes, key passes, interceptions, tackles, dribble success (for the box to box midfielder) and I’m sure there are many more. Some journalists in Spain are even suggesting that Ronaldo has become all about the numbers and not about team play this season. That all he cares about now are his own numbers. Now I’m not saying that this is by any means accurate, but what I am saying is that there has never been such an importance placed on individual numbers as is now the case. As I said it makes for great analysis to compliment the watching of a game for us but it may be detrimental to the quality of football that we see in the near future. I guess that’s why there is a need for analysis to be inclusive of both numbers as well as player movement, touch, finesse & power. I feel like these parts of the games are often neglected and it’s the broadcasters duty to ensure they are present to keep the game we love as much of a team sport as it can be.
Numbers are a great basis to debate from these days and regular ‘pub banter’ has now become infused with them. If you have numbers you have the power of steering the debate and winning it as a fan, which makes for more logical and sound discussion but maybe not quite as fun as it used to be. Fantasy football, namely the Premier League’s official version attributes certain shots as assists, which is an inaccurate representation of what actually happens. I guess what I’m trying to say is enjoy the game, not the numbers. I mean when you see a video like the keepy uppy contest that Santi Cazorla and Nacho Monreal had (http://bit.ly/1w17RuV) you have to be able to admire the stuff that sits outside the stats!
So we now have to prepare for Monaco at home. This looks like it will be a tough tie over the 2 legs but one that we really should be getting through. It was on paper the best we could have hoped for so let’s make sure we can go into the game vs Everton with our tails up rather than in a deflated manner that could quite probably lead to dropped points. We win and the snowball effect continues, anything else and we play the “pick ourselves up again” routine. One that I’m sure we’re simply not fond of!
Let’s hope for another positive week on the Arsenal front.
Have a great week folks.
Follow me on Twitter @MiteshLakhani1.