Category Archives: Walcott

The Formula for Success

Arsene Wenger has become renowned in the English and indeed world football for his methodical  and considered approach to training and team selection. Early in his tenure, experienced players were both bemused and intrigued by his dietary initiatives (steamed fish and room-temperature water) and coaching innovations (incessant stretching every five minutes). However, once they realised they were fitter than the opposition, and were likely to have longer careers if they had rubberised hamstrings and the ankles of a yoga expert, they bought in to these changes and embraced them. Arsene also justified the selection of individual players by recourse  to detailed statistical analysis, which although it may have strengthened his case in press conferences, had the effect of thoroughly confusing and irritating supporters on numerous occasions (e.g. Denilson).

Given our recent travails it is tempting to suggest that a calculated and scientific re-evaluation of our methods of preparation might be in order once again. It is an approach that has also worked elsewhere, at least in name. Younger readers may not remember the Everton “School of Science”, particularly as Fellaini’s recent attempt (as laudable as it was) at rearranging the face of Ryan Shawcross serves only to banish such a memory further into the mists of the distant past. It is time, I suggest, to expand on the notion of “Academies” and “Scholars” and focus the energies of both playing and coaching staff at the Grove on a more scientific approach.

It seems to me that our lack of success this season has had less to do with our form and more to do with the ability of opposition teams to prevent us from playing the game as we wish. It is one of the great clichés of the modern game that the really good sides can still be successful and pick up points even when they play badly. While watching The Arsenal this season I’ve often been left with the feeling that it matters less whether we play well or not – if the opposition play well to a certain plan they will defeat us, regardless of our form going in to the game, the attitude of individual players, or the level of preparation for the game.

What I propose, therefore, is the development and application of a highly sophisticated scientific formula for ensuring success. A suitable set of scientific parameters should be devised which can then be used to generate a range of formulae to apply to the preparation of the squad for individual matches. These parameters would include statistical, tactical, medical and meteorological data and values. Statistical values, for example, might be expressed as:

p = the value representing the efficiency of our passing game e.g. percentage of completed passes in key areas

g = the effectiveness of our goalkeeping e.g. % of shots saved, aerial balls claimed/cleared, long kicks to teammates and so on

a = the accuracy of attempts on goal

s = the total number of attempts on goal per game

d = the efficiency of defending e.g. success rate as a percentage of attempted tackles

e = the number of individual errors committed per game

Combining such values with certain other functions representing individual players, condition of the playing surface, home or away game, weather conditions etc. allows for the development of sophisticated predictive formulae which may be utilised for team selection, and the refinement of a suitable tactical approach.

Let us provide an example. A simple descriptive formula may look something like this:

3 = p(RA) + s(ÇΡ) x a + d – e

where = win, = Rosicky, A =Arteta, Ç = Cazorla, Ρ = Podolski, and W³ = an on-form Walcott who controls the ball properly with his first touch and doesn’t overtake it when trying to beat a defender.

Of course the formula may be inverted for predictive purposes, particularly when other variables are introduced:

p(RA) + s(ÇΡ) x a + d – e + ω 0

where ω = Chamakh and 0 = loss. In this instance ω could be substituted for λ (Arshavin) or ? (Park) with no difference in the outcome. 

As alluded to above, external factors can be included as in this example:

p(RxA) + s(ÇxΡx) x a + d + ≈ + Š = Ø

where  = the pitch at the Stadium of Light, Š = Martin O’Neill’s unpleasant shower of Mackems and Ø = a no score draw.

There is scope to broaden this approach by the inclusion of other formulae from different branches of scientific endeavour. Perhaps the most famous formula of them all –  e = mc² – could thus be interpreted in radically different terms:

errors = mental lapses x casual defending of a highly irresponsible nature (it follows that  would be of a heinously irresponsible nature, but c would merely be irresponsible).

I realise, of course, that this proposal is not going to put me on the shortlist for the Fields Medal, nor is it likely that Arsène and Bouldy will pay any heed to my suggestion. But if we don’t get a decent result against Martinez and Wigan this afternoon, I’ll compose a detailed paper on the subject and send it to Colney anyway.

Up the Arse.

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Filed under Arteta, Bould, Cazorla, Chamakh, Denilson, Fictional Bollocks, General Musings, gooner news, Podolski, Rosicky, Tactical Bollocks, Walcott

The Case For Theo

Today or rather more specifically tonight marks the start of my interest in the Euro’s with the Boys in Green taking on the Croats. Have to say the excitement is building even though I don’t usually take much of an interest in International football. Tomorrow marks the beginning of England’s campaign and should see Theo start after missing out on the last big international tournament. Personally I don’t think he or his teammates will play in more than 3 games but that’s not the point.

Early this week I took a slightly less than serious view of our English winger and his present contract situation, today I wish to look at things in earnest. We all know Robin’s deal expires and that every team with a Billionaire owner wants to sign him but very little has been made of the lack of talks regarding Theo’s contract, whether from the media, club or the player himself. I find this slightly surprising, especially the lack of media coverage given the fact Theo is currently one of our main first team players who also happens to be English.

Theo first joined the club as a 16-year-old in 2006, his current deal expires after the end of next season in 2013 when he will be 24. This will mark the end of his second contract with the club. The general figure bandied around on the interweb as to Theo’s current earnings seem to put him on a wage of 60k a week or 3 million a year. While this is a nice wage by anyone’s standards bear in mind that Chamakh is rumoured to be on a wage of roughly the same value. Reports in various media outlets suggest that Theo is looking for wages of roughly 100k a week on a 4 year contract. While some people (myself included) may question if he is worth this outlay, I personally would offer him close to what he is looking for or perhaps meet in the middle from his current wage and land at 80k a week.

If we look at his stats from last season where he assisted on 8 goals in the premiership, this puts him ahead of other players including Van Der Vaart, Ashley Young, Downing, Dempsey, Yaya Toure, Steven Pienaar & The Forehead. His 8 goals scored in the Prem but him only 1 behind Welbeck, Bale & Bent and only 2 behind Crouch, Hernandez & Odemwingie despite not playing as a striker. I don’t think there is another player we could easily bring in that could replicate his contribution from a purely football sense. While he is by no means the finished article, he is considerably more polished than some of those around him.

The decision to award Theo his new contract can also be looked at from a purely financial point of view. If we were to offer him a 4 year deal on between 80 & 100k a week this amounts to an outlay of between 16 – 20 million over the lifetime of the deal which would expire when he is still only 28 and reaching his peak as a footballer. The cost to bring someone in as well as pay signing on fees and wages would surely vastly outweigh the cost of a new contract for Theo.  In the current transfer market where Ashley Young, Downing & Henderson are all worth £20 million, what could we expect to receive for a fully tied down Theo, £30  million perhaps from Chelsea or even Barcelona who are known to be admirers of our flying winger. Also bear this in mind: The Park signing has been widely speculated to be a ploy to eat into United’s stranglehold on the Asian market. In Theo, Ox and Jack we have a trio who are perhaps the most marketable group to any English supporting populace, this equals sales that in merch that while not on the Asian size still produces a vast amount of income and revenue for our glorious club.

I hope this has given some people a bit of appreciation for Theo and reminds us that Robin ain’t the only one that it would be disastrous to lose for nothing next season.

Later Folks

follow me on twitter @wicklowgooner for Arsenal & Alcohol related ramblings

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Filed under Arsenal, Walcott

Theo Walcott and The Mysterious Contract(a fairytale story)

Once upon a time there was a little boy named Theo. As a boy growing up he loved athletics and football, talented in both he decided he would follow his dream of becoming a footballer and was soon signed by Swindon after scoring one hundred million goals for his local team. Shortly after joining the lowly Swindon he was spotted by scouts from Southampton and he promptly joined the Saints.

While at Southampton he continued scoring goals at youth level gaining the notice of the villainous Villian Arry Cuntknapp. Arry was trying to deceive the young Theo into thinking he wasnt a villainous cunt and so handed him his first team debut at the age of 16 where our hero scored 3 goals in his first three games, the cunning plot devised by  Arry to indoctrinate Theo into his band of merry idiots nearly worked but for the intervention of the wise and magical Arsene Wenger. In a move reminiscent of Gandalf rescuing the Hobbits, AW signed Theo for the Best Team The World Has Ever Seen, thus rescuing him from the evil clutches of the Cuntknapp.

While all this was going on, the sleazy foreign Uncle of the English footballing world was trying to figure out a way to distract people from the fact he hadn’t a dickie bird about what he was doing. He struck on the wonderful idea of bringing our Young Hero to the World Cup in Germany so that people would be distracted from his off the field extra curricular activities. Despite being surrounded by the absolute Cunteryness of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney & Co our hero returned un-scathed and uncapped from Germany.

Over the following 6 years Theo tried his best at being the most infuriating and consistently inconsistent player at the club mixing great performances with bouts of absolute mediocrity. All this has brought us to our present situation where we find Theo awaiting the offer of continuing adventures with AW and the aforementioned Best Team The World Has Ever Seen or face the prospect of leaving for pastures shittier in 12 months time.

While all the talk recently has been of the contractual  situation with our Oranje Captain, people seemed to have glossed over the issues surrounding our other great English hope. While our hero can be frustrating, at his young age he must surely be worth the offer of a new deal if for no other reason than we could flog him for multiple bags of gold coins if things don’t work out and he doesn’t become the Grand Hero we all hope.

For more tales of adventure follow me on twitter @wicklowgooner

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Filed under Arsenal, Fictional Bollocks, Walcott

Arsenal 3 – Villa 0: our winning form continues…

Arsenal secured a seventh consecutive victory yesterday with a 3-0 result against Aston Villa, and by doing so gained a three point cushion over fourth place Sp**s who were unable to score against the nouveau riche Chavs at the Bridge. It was a scoreline predicted by Nigel Winterburn on Arsenal Player just before kick off, and it turned out that his optimism was fully justified. Koscielny was unable to start having woken up on Saturday morning with a knee problem and he was replaced by Johan Djourou, who found himself at the receiving end of a non-malicious elbow from Emile Heskey moments after the game kicked off.

Thereafter Arsenal started to apply the pressure, and the first half was characterised by the sort of focus and urgency displayed by the team in the first twenty minutes against Everton in mid-week. Gervinho started in place of Ramsey and put in a very good performance, supporting Kieran Gibbs and tracking back to defend effectively whenever the left back made forward runs. It was such forward movement from Gibbs that brought him his first Premier League goal, as he surged between statuesque Villa defenders and fired off a shot from close range. It was an effort that Given should probably have stopped, but Gibbs couldn’t have cared less.

Arsenal’s second was tucked away expertly by Walcott, who showed superb control after Alex Song’s magnificent lofted pass picked him out behind the Villa defence. A powerful effort by Arteta from twenty yards might have put us up by three, and RVP was unlucky to have a close range chance denied by an excellent instinctive goalline header by Warnock.

Villa offered very little in reply; Albrighton looked to counter attack on a couple of occasions but was unable to keep a cool head when it mattered. Emile Heskey confined himself to giving Djourou a hard time, harassing him at every opportunity, which proved ultimately fruitless.

The second half saw us apply some of Arsene’s infamous handbrake. Concentration levels dropped and possession was conceded by a few soft passes and an annoying tendency to over-elaborate. Such were Villa’s limitations, however, that they failed to punish us. Heskey was replaced by Weimann, and the energetic young Austrian proved tricky in and around our penalty area. When Villa did work the ball into dangerous positions, however, no-one was able to get into position to make the seize the opportunity and in the main we defended with focus and efficiency.

The Ox came on for Walcott on the right hand side and demonstrated his searing pace by absolutely skinning the opposition defence with a couple of runs. Ramsey replaced Gervinho and got into shooting positions around the edge of their area, and Andre Santos returned to first team action, only to give the ball away with his first touch – if Villa had been clinical in attack they would have punished us immediately.

Stephen Ireland should have counted himself very lucky to have remained on the pitch – a two footed lunge at Song should have resulted in a straight red, and if referee Dowd had seen it from a different angle he may have acted appropriately. Only a few minutes later, Ireland tripped Rosicky (if I remember correctly) outside the Villa box, and if Dowd had already cautioned him, it would have earned him a yellow. But he’s an odd performer, Ireland, capable of rank stupidity and at other times great skill, and he then went on to make a superb tackle on the Ox in his own penalty area which drew loud appeals for a penalty, which Phil Dowd wisely ignored.

The final significant act of the game came in injury time, following a foul on Song about 25 yards out. Arteta lined up the free kick, and just to confound the expectations of all those Twittering Gooners who were bemoaning his previous effort, he smashed a perfect strike past Given into the corner of the net. It was a superb strike, but it almost seemed too good for the match situation, two goals to the good in injury time against limited opponents; it would have been sweeter if it had been a match winner against Stoke or City, but I’m being churlish. Arteta certainly deserved the goal, and the scoreline was a fair reflection of the game.

We’re off to Loftus Road next weekend, while Sp**s face Swansea at the Lane.  On their current form, Twitcher’s side might find that fixture a real struggle. We should be looking at another three points against Rangers, but as they showed against Liverpool the other night, we cannot afford to take anything for granted. We were greatly superior to Villa yesterday, but a more dangerous opponent might have taken advantage of our lack of focus and intensity in the second half.

In the meantime, however, I’m off to enjoy that free kick again…enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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Filed under Djourou, Gibbs, Match Day Postmortem, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Rosicky, Song, Van Persie, Walcott, Wenger