Wenger: the red myths descend

Discussion in 'Arsenal Talk' started by Makingtrax, Jan 5, 2018.

  1. Makingtrax

    Makingtrax Arséne Wenger once said "I will miss you"

    I came here 3 seasons ago and have argued that Wenger has always outperformed his squad cost, which climbed to 4th in 2016/17 for the first time in years. His average finishing position is 2.8. No doubt it puts his achievements into context.

    Posters argued he was poor against top clubs, even though results are roughly equal for losses, wins and draws, in all comps, home and away for the last 5 years. Which is good considering three of those teams can outspend him.

    But it's still generally accepted that Wenger is a poor defensive manager. Everybody sees the mistakes on the field, right?

    Here are the goals against just for the last 5 years, up to Sept 2017.
    Chelsea 184
    Man U 187
    Man C 189
    Arsenal 194
    Sp**s 211
    Liverpool 233

    Wenger's average finishing position for goals against is 3.4

    Here are the clean sheets.
    Man C 76
    Arsenal 75
    Chelsea 74
    Man U 72
    Liverpool 63
    Sp**s 62

    Wenger's average position for clean sheets is 2.8

    Conclusion: As a defensive manager Wenger is still better than his spend, and much better than people give him credit for.

    There is evidence that this season,and last, that his defensive record is dropping. He was 6th last season with 44 goals against, and it's looking like the same this season. Kos is aging, Mustafi hasn't reached his peak yet, Per is retiring and Chambers/Holding have clearly not reached the level that Wenger and Stat DNA had hoped . . . you can see by his reluctance to play them. Cech has also been eclipsed by the other goalkeepers in these teams. A major rebuilding job is needed there.

    Looking at goals for over the last 5 years
    Man C 402
    Liverpool 365
    Chelsea 363
    Arsenal 353
    Sp**s 334
    Man U 315

    Wenger's average attacking position is 3.6

    To me this shows that Wenger is very balanced in his attacking and defensive strategies, in fact his defensive stats are slightly better, whatever people think they see on the pitch.

    Few managers can outperform their spend for so long, Wenger is unusual in that respect. Pochettino is performing well above his spend at the moment but it's only been a couple of seasons . . can he hold onto his players?

    History shows us that whoever we replace Wenger with, the likelyhood of him outperforming Wenger is slim. But it's an exciting time to see a new era coming.
  2. Hunta

    Hunta Shivering Right Now Trusted

    Looking at those defensive stats, it's clear to see that since Per has gone out the team and Koscielny has started to decline, our defence has gone from being 'good' to 'poor'.

    Koscielny really has held us together, worrying.
  3. Makingtrax

    Makingtrax Arséne Wenger once said "I will miss you"

    Per was better than people gave him credit. 2015/16, peak Per and Kos was our best defensive record for some years.
  4. Hunta

    Hunta Shivering Right Now Trusted


    Worth pointing out, Bellerin hasn't been the same without Per next to him.
  5. Makingtrax

    Makingtrax Arséne Wenger once said "I will miss you"

    Holding the same in the Cup final.
  6. redanddread

    redanddread The stone that the builders refuse

    Love the title.

    The problem with all your stats is that they hide the dirty little truths that get lost when you average out results. For example, if we lost 4-0 to Liverpool but didn't concede any goals to West brom, Palace & Stoke (for arguments sake) - it still would be only 1 GPG conceded on average over the 4 games.

    We have the 2nd highest number of clean sheets this season but yet we've conceded the most goals of any team in the top 7.
  7. Kroket

    Kroket Trusty and Sensible Trusted

    I agree with the premise of this thread, I think Wenger knows a lot more about setting up a solid defensive unit than people give him credit for. That's not to say we haven't been poor this season, but he's been unlucky with the frankly ludicrous amount of injuries and the rapid decline of Koscielny and Mertesacker.

    Where I do take issue with Wenger is how he seemingly prioritizes playing attacking football over stopping other teams from scoring, regardless of the quality of the opposition. Going to Anfield and the Etihad hoping to outscore your opponent is naive at best, and even at home we've suffered from being too gung-ho in our approach, especially when leading games. After we went up against Liverpool and Chelsea we should have shut up shop for a bit and taken control of the game, instead we kept bombing forward and dropped four points as a result.

    It's especially frustrating because for me Wenger has proven multiple times he is capable of settings his teams up to prioritize clean sheets and frustrating the opposition. Stamford Bridge earlier this season is a good example, he's done it a few times at Man City, the entirety of the 15/16 season, the second half of 12/13.

    Having said all that, regardless of whether or not Wenger is in charge next season, we need a complete revamp at the back. Mertesacker and Koscielny are done at the top level, while Chambers and Holding have to improve a lot before they can be considered good enough to play for a Champions League club. Mustafi and Monreal should be decent options but even they come with question marks of their own.
    Gooner Zig, Makingtrax and krengon like this.
  8. Makingtrax

    Makingtrax Arséne Wenger once said "I will miss you"

    I've included clean sheets in the analysis. And any 4-0 loss is included in the goals against. Our games against top teams are even over the last few years. You just won't believe it.

    Everton beat Man C 4-0 last season, so what?

    Believe the stats bro.
  9. redanddread

    redanddread The stone that the builders refuse

    Here's another example that would get lost in your averaging out the results:


    Arsenal 1-1 Sp*rs
    WBA 2-1 Arsenal
    Norwich 1-1 Arsenal
    Arsenal 3-1 Sunderland
    Villa 0-2 Arsenal
    Arsenal 2-1 City - Arsenal Top of the league
    Southampton 4-0 Arsenal
    Arsenal 2-0 B'nmouth
    Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle
    Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal - crucial stretch of games to get back into title race
    Stoke 0-0 Arsenal
    Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea
    Arsenal 0-0 Southampton
    Bournemouth 0-2 Arsenal
    Arsenal 2-1 Leicester - there's still hope
    UTD. 3-2 Arsenal
    Arsenal 1-2 Swansea - 7pts of 24 when a genuine league title challenge on the line - title challenge done & dusted - March 2nd

    After the Swansea game, Arsenal go unbeaten till the end of teh season and somehow manage to scrape 2nd after Sp*ds hilariously collapse at Newcastle.

    All your averages fail to highlight the simple fact that in recent years Arsenal have capitulated when positioned to challenge for the title and all because we don't score enough & can't defend well enough when it really counts at the business end of the season.
    BBF, Toast, Gooner Zig and 3 others like this.
  10. redanddread

    redanddread The stone that the builders refuse

    You fail to appreciate that certain results have more weight because of when and against whom the result occurs. When we lost 4-0 to Southampton we climbed to the top of the league table & were in with a real shot at winning the whole damn thing.
  11. IslingtonBornandbred

    IslingtonBornandbred Well-Known Member

    Interestingly though, for whatever reason, the majority of top European clubs and teams would have and do change managers regardless if they can dig out averages and relative spend etc. I do believe though we have one of the highest "squad value" amounts in the world though. Arguably, "squad value" is a much more important factor than "squad cost" i.e it's how much something is worth that's important rather than what you paid for it.

    Forgetting averages for a moment. Appalling defeats against the big sides - Chelsea 6-0, United 8-2, Liverpool, Bayern and even the Monaco defeat at home should be enough for the club to seriously consider the manager's position. He's hanging on now for dear life and it was time to go a while ago now.

    Why are we taking about "as a defensive manager Wenger's better than his spend". It's like saying " as a defensive manager Wenger's poorer than his yearly salary compared to managers on a lesser salary". It's muddling finances and stats to suit a certain narrative when the problems are clear on the pitch.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
    redanddread, Gooner Zig and Jury like this.
  12. freeglennhelder2

    freeglennhelder2 Well-Known Member

    On Wed I observed at least 4 occasions where Chelsea took a quick free kick or corner and our players were not alive to the situation (facing the wrong way, having a chat, not "tuned in" to the danger)

    I remember seeing Eboue do exactly the same thing many years ago, facing the wrong way at a throw-in which lead to the oppositions equalizer.

    Were just not hungry/sharp/disciplined enough on the defensive front.

    After a while a player will reflect the defensive ideologies of his manager.....I'm not sure how you represent this with a stat.
  13. Makingtrax

    Makingtrax Arséne Wenger once said "I will miss you"

    The timings/weightings are just perceived by fans, unless you're trying to say we bottle big games. In which case our games against top teams wouldn't be even

    And you can't get a bigger match than the Cup Final, if we were bottlers, we would have lost that. Or the North London Derby, we didn't bottle that.
  14. Makingtrax

    Makingtrax Arséne Wenger once said "I will miss you"

    Well there's the problem in a nutshell. Confirmation bias.

    You see a couple of things on the pitch to confirm your ideas, so you ignore years of evidence.

    This is what happens when people convince themselves of something and really there's no counter debate to that.
  15. Makingtrax

    Makingtrax Arséne Wenger once said "I will miss you"

    Squad cost is about 'you get what you pay for'.

    All so called appalling defeats have their stats in goals against . . . so why aren't the goals against higher?

    The myth that losing one game 4-0, is worse than losing 4 games 1-0 doesn't make sense to me.
  16. Preacher

    Preacher Always Crying

    Please seperate these stats into home vs away. It will be like night and day.
    Gooner Zig and Jury like this.
  17. redanddread

    redanddread The stone that the builders refuse

    We do bottle big games against the big teams. FA Cup aside I guess. The FA Cup has saved Arsène's arse and at least put us back on the silverware path however we all realise that the FA Cup is of lesser importance than the League & the CL - fortunately it has saved our season for a while now.
  18. CurryFlavoured

    CurryFlavoured Well-Known Member

    The stats over 5 years are skewed slightly for a few reasons, so they don't really represent the here and now or even the most recent seasons. Sp**s and Liverpool weren't real forces until 2 to 3 seasons ago - in that period I'd imagine Sp**s are absolutely conceding less goals than us. Tim Sherwood's Sp**s aren't comparable to their current team. Since Potch and Klopp came in, the stats will look different (certainly for Sp**s) and we've allowed them to leapfrog us.

    Similarly, is Pep's City comparable to Pellegrini's. Conte comparable to Hiddink who finished 10th? My point is that we've had longevity and been consistently OK but aren't capable of any more under the current regime, where other teams have had drops but much higher peaks. I fully expect a drop initially (or at best maintaining current position) when Wenger leaves initially, but in time we could be capable of more than aiming for 4th under the right management. That's the best that Wenger can do, and right now even that's out of his reach.
  19. Makingtrax

    Makingtrax Arséne Wenger once said "I will miss you"

    I'm sure home would be a lot better than away. In fact Arsenal haven't done well away recently, but made up for it at home.

    You'd have to see if there was a pattern over the last 5 years. What would it show you?
  20. IslingtonBornandbred

    IslingtonBornandbred Well-Known Member

    I get it. But you don't always get what you pay for. So Kolasinac was a free but may be worth 25 million. Ramsey was a lot less than what he's worth now. So my counter argument would be what's more important then is the value of the player you are putting on the field, not what you did or didn't pay for them.

    I don't think that's a myth. As a one off yes, but in a tight game I think many people appreciate you can have a mishap or something go against you and lose 1-0 or 2-1, but so many defeats of bigger scorelines show a complete capitulation and highlight something isn't right somewhere. But over a course of a season I'd rather lose one game by a large margin than four games by a small margin but the problem is we usually do both, and the big defeats are highlighted because people are often waiting to see what's changed and what's been addressed and usually it's the same old story with the same old mistakes.

    People expect more from us as a team and a club. And if we are going to not win the league, at least let's try it doing something different. There's literally no point in going away to Stamford Bridge and grinding out a 0-0 draw if you are going to go on and show the crazy stuff we did against Liverpool, United and Chelsea.
    redanddread likes this.

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