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Dear idiots, shut up about pass completion rates

It’s been a while, but not much has changed since I wrote my last blog on November 9. Chelsea are still winning, Utd are still one-paced, City are still struggling to adapt to Guardiola’s tactics, Liverpool are still conceding too many goals, Spurs still aren’t scoring enough and there’s no point talking about Arsenal until March or April – only then will we discover if Wenger has grown a pair of bollocks.

I suspect not, but I’m a glass-half-empty kind of guy - a realist pessimist; it’s been beaten into me. These days, I usually forget Arsenal are even playing, which makes me an increasingly inadequate blogger. I suppose some would say I’ve always been inadequate, but let’s not got there.

Being drawn against Bayern Munich in the Champions League doesn’t exactly bode well though does it? I just read a hilarious article claiming how Arsenal should not be afraid, because Bayern are drivel right now – even though they’ve only lost 1 domestic game this season, scored more and conceded less than every other Bundesliga team and the game doesn’t take place for another two months.

At the moment, there’s only one Arsenal story worth talking about, the elephant in the room with the big trunk blowing chunks of scepticism everywhere – Ozil and Sanchez’ unsigned contracts. As I stated in a previous blog, Arsenal have royally screwed themselves by allowing 15 contracts to enter into the final 18 months. That means big pay increases across the board would result in a points deduction if the amounts involved fall foul of the FA’s newly adopted Short Term Cost Controls.

Ironic isn’t it? Gazidis and Wenger pissed and moaned for so long about financial disparity and the need for regulation, now they’re going to be hoisted by their own petard. That’s assuming either player even wants to stay. If I was a betting man, I’d say Arsenal have no chance in the CL, will bugger up the title and Sanchez will go to Juve or Man City while Ozil heads to Mourinho’s soft bosom.

Wenger claims Arsenal will allow both players contract to run out (stifles laugh).

Finally, I’ve been meaning to say this for some time, but bloggers and commenters, please shut up about pass completion stats – it’s fecking embarrassing. Getting sick of reading about Coquelin or Elneny’s 90% pass completion rate, when all they do is sit in front of the back four, rarely venturing beyond the half way line, playing against teams who play one up front with 10 men behind the ball.

Where else are they going to pass it, other than backwards, sideways, to Ozil or the wide men, who all have 50 yards of space ahead of them and need binoculars to get a clear view of the keeper? Basically, if those players don’t have a 98% pass completion rate, it’s a disgrace (I’m allowing for 2 long ball passes going astray per 90 minutes).

Pass completion stats are only really meaningful if a player has less than 10%, in which case they’re about as much use as a chocolate dildo whatever way you look at it. Leicester won the league with the lowest pass completion rate of any team in the PL last season, which demonstrates how utterly meaningless pass completion stats are. I guess they’d mean a lot to a laptop dunce like Arsene Wenger, but he’d make Ian Dowie look like a tactical genius.

Even for attacking players they’re pretty meaningless if the players in question are not attempting creative or incisive forward passes. Basically, you can’t just look at stats. You have to have to watch the games and see everything through the prism of a side’s tactical set up, the opponent on any given day and exactly where those passes are going.

Please do your duty and pass this blog to everyone you know so we can stamp out this analytical incompetence, and while you’re at it throw into the mix anyone that ever again mentions  that horribly overused phrase: Einstein said “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Yes, we know it still applies to Wenger, but it’s time to find more imaginative ways to ridicule him.

Big week for Arsenal, with two away games at Everton and Man City, who will be without Sergio Aguero after his savage death kick on David Luiz. Remember, all great players have a bit of the Jason Voorhees in them – including Dennis Bergkamp. 

Note: Arsenal Truth is now on Twitter @TruthArsenal.


Comments should be intelligible and relevant. All others will be unread and binned.

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Reader Comments (15)

About time some attention was drawn to the non-footballing side of things. We are penny pinchers in every way. We aren't even smart or innovative about it anymore - just cheap and careful.

If fans are hoping this problem will go away once AW leaves, I think they are naive. I doubt the board will suddenly sanction the release of hundreds of millions just because AW isn't there any more.

We are cheap. We are run like a financial institution instead of a sporting institution. We need change from the very top down, with sporting interest the main priority.

December 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGoonerDave

Stupid Arsene and his board will let the key and the engine to go rather than gives them what they deserves, Özil is an ignition key and Sanchez is the power horse we need in any dynamic car. I love Arsenal, but I hate to face the reality that buying world class and maintaining them is our big problem.

If things won't work, swap Özil for our man Cesc who I believe will not demand much and retain Sanchez in whatever cost. Nothing will change since Cesc is also class and more of a fighter than Ozil, especially in big games.

December 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMannix

"I suspect not, but I’m a glass-half-empty kind of guy - a realist pessimist; it’s been beaten into me. These days, I usually forget Arsenal are even playing, which makes me an increasingly inadequate blogger. I suppose some would say I’ve always been inadequate, but let’s not got there."

If you're not even watching the game, why do you blog in the first place?!


Because even without watching the games I have better knowledge than you.

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterVeyssiere

Statistical analysis in football is a joke and almost entirely pointless, whether it's pass completion, goals, assists, whatever. You have to factor in other aspects of the game to draw any meaningful conclusions from them. American sports go into a lot more depth and even they don't tell the whole story.

December 13, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterhenry8

Hello again A.T. It's been a long time since I last posted on here, as nothing much has or ever does change at Arsenal, so there's not been much to comment on - a sentiment I know you share.

I've been sitting on the sidelines quietly observing our performances so far, and granted, we have been playing some attractive football and putting a good run together. But am I genuinely excited? Of course not. Because anyone with true insight and armed with a historical analysis of our past performances knows that inevitably they don't last.

We may have the technical abilities in the team, but just as importantly we have proved that we don't possess the fabled mental strength that Wanker bangs on about constantly. We DO flatter to deceive, however. We're OH SO GOOD at that.

The AKB's chests are puffed up with pride at the moment because they think this will be the year we finally go the distance and ACTUALLY WIN something significant! The gullible fools should also know this - pride comes before a fall! That fall may have just started with our loss to Everton last night, and with City the favourites to beat us this weekend - even without Aguero.

Then we have drawn Bayern (yet again!) in the Champions League* (*Incidentally A.T., what do you make of the (somewhat laughable?) claims going around, that the draw was rigged against Arsenal?) So our usual collapse may just be about to start - albeit a little later than usual this season.

One thing I did find interesting though, and that is regarding loanee Jack Wilshere. He's notoriously injury prone as we know, which I put down to Wenger's outdated training methods - at least in part. Intriguing then isn't it, that this stat on the BBC website appears to confirm the validity of that belief; ( quote ) "....Jack Wilshere has played 932 minutes this season, that is more than in the past two campaigns combined...".

Is there "something in the water" at Bournemouth to explain Jack's sudden fitness longevity, or is it that he's finally being trained by someone who knows what they're doing? I know which one I tend to believe.....

" In Arsene we rust."


Hi Spec. Not aware of any Bayern conspiracy theories, did you read it on Untold Arsenal?

As for Wilshere, it wouldn't surprise me if Bournemouth have superior fitness coaching, but may also have something to do with how he is told to play, i.e. not being given free reign to dribble with the ball and invite fouls.

December 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSpectrum

Our luck finally ran out against Everton.


Remember, it wasn't a corner.

December 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChris J

A.T. - I'm surprised you weren't aware. The stories about the Bayern draw are all over the news outlets and Twitter. No evidence is presented to back up the fanciful speculation, so I reckon it's just a matter of sour grapes that we've got them again.

Can you imagine why anyone at UEFA would deliberately try to sabotage Arsenal's chances to progress when we do that to OURSELVES every season under Wenger anyway? (Incidentally, we've had 19 attempts at winning the CL and only made the final once - in 2006. It's an appalling record given our resources, especially in more recent times. Remember that we've exited in the knockout stage for the last six seasons in a row!).

It's the third time in five seasons we've played Bayern in the last 16. That's a lot yes, but to me that's merely the luck of the draw, not a Machiavellian plot to derail us. Munich as always, are strongly tipped to win the comp, currently being 2nd favourites at 4/1 behind Barca. The first leg is at the Allianz. If we're good enough we'll win. The question is; just WHEN WILL we be good enough to win the TROPHY ITSELF?

" In Arsene we rust."

December 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSpectrum


Don't forget is wasn't a free kick. Also, we should have had a penalty. Oh, and the grass was too green.

Seriously though, a few wins and the AKBs come out saying how great we are - a few poor results and they tell the realists to shut up. Personally, I'll give the team and Wenger praise if he/they earn it but will be critical if Wenger/the team do poorly.

December 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChris J

I've just finished watching an interview with Pep Guardiola on ESPN. He seemed tired, stressed and somewhat irritable at the journalist asking the questions. One of which was about the pressure of not having City playing well over the previous few games. In his response, he said he needs more time and feels he should be given it - referring back to Alex Ferguson's tenure at United where it took him 11 years to win his first trophy with them. Fair enough point I thought.

Jose Mourinho is feeling the pinch too. I feel it's also unfair to expect instant success from him with United. Ex-Watford manager Quique Flores among others, is defending Jose, saying that he knows what he wants to do, has a plan and needs to be given the time to implement it. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. How do you assess Pep and Jose's future prospects, AT?

Of course the irony is not lost when you compare those clubs and their managers records and trophy cabinet, to ours. They've both been at their new clubs for a much shorter time and are expected to win things quickly. While we've had our incumbent idiot for the last twelve - correction - now almost thirteen - years, with virtually nothing to show for it apart from millions in wasted salary....

" In Arsene we rust."

PS On the Ox - does he deserve a new contract?


Unless their performance is utterly abysmal or they've lost the dressing room, all managers should be given a couple of years to implement their ideas. Guardiola and Mourinho are both highly intelligent managers and more than capable of turning the fortunes around of both clubs.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is a headless chicken. His only use is as a late sub.

December 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSpectrum

Another beginning of a false dawn. There is nothing to get excited about the club these days. This club only bullies teams in the bottom and fades against half-decent teams.

Ozil has got to be the most overrated footballer ever. The dude does nothing against the big boys.
Wenger is one of the poorest managers tactically. He lacks any hindsight in winning.

December 15, 2016 | Unregistered Commentergrimsy b

Lose to MC and we're back to square one. Wenger remains an embarrassment. PR at AFC is a joke. Walcott needs to belt up, keep his head down and only talk as he has when they finally win something!!

December 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMICHAEL

Told you, what a joke! Tired are they?? Wenger shows once again he is clueless and backward thinking. The look on the Arsenal fans faces said it all. Roll on predictability!!!!!!!!!

December 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMICHAEL

Another loss. Nine points behind leaders Chelsea now. That being the equivalent of three matches that we need to win JUST TO DRAW LEVEL WITH THEM. Assuming of course, that they drop three matches as well. Our mythical title bid is disintegrating, folks.

So the perfect reward for this outstanding failure....? This ; http://www.arsenalnewsreview.co.uk/arsenal-board-and-wenger-agree-a-new-two-year-contract/

If this news is true, I'm emigrating.

" In Arsene we rust."

December 19, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSpectrum

Exactly what was Sanchez thinking as he crouched on his haunches at the Etihad? Answers on a postcard please.

December 19, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMICHAEL

@ Michael maybe he was frustrated and bored with the same old crap.

AT, do you think a player of Alexis' quality deserves more then what Wenger is able to offer him (fack all). Imo yes, and I wouldn't blame him for leaving.


He'll probably leave for the same reasons Vieira, Henry, Van Persie, Fabregas etc. left, they eventually got sick and tired of waiting for Wenger to surround them with players worthy of their talent. Why should he bust a gut for a cretinous manager like Wenger?

Ozil's a bit different. He loves being worshipped. That's why he feels entitled to walk around the pitch like he's shopping.

December 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChris J

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