5 Football myths debunked
1. Buying players for huge money is the answer
Would Mudrik have destroyed our run?
Fans are always screaming buy, buy, buy without ever analysing why we need them. For me it is simple, are they better than what we have? If not what’s the point? The next reason to buy is as cover and that makes sense. Cedric was brought in cheaply as cover. He did a job. Paying big money should only be for proven players and even then they often don’t work out.
Am I the only one who is happy that Mudrik didn’t come to Arsenal? The huge sum paid brings with it several problems. The most crucial is, is he good enough? That will take time to establish but Chelsea have so many top players that he is going to have to knock some of them off their perch and then they are not happy. Suppose he had gone to Arsenal? He would have had to displace Martinelli or Saka. Is that what people want? Not me, unless, of course he had turned out to be better than one or both of them. But then they would have been unhappy, being relegated to a bit role.
Surely no-one can replace this guy?
Another problem is his temperament – can he handle the pressure of being Arsenal’s most expensive player? Many top buys haven’t at various clubs. His huge salary demanded would have possibly brought about dissent in the dressing room, particularly if he is not seen as the best player i.e. good enough to get a place but not the best. Would his personality suit the strong team bond created or would he be a bit of an arsehole like Aubameyang, thinking he didn’t have to follow the rules? Plus after a chairman ratifies a huge signing, they want the player to play. He is not like other players, easy to dispose of by the manager.
Aubameyang - a destructive influence?
He also has not got anywhere near the body of work for such a big fee. Aubameyang had, but you then have to hope that this young kid can come in and prove he is the man. Big transfers have been a mixed bag at most clubs. Arsenal are no different. Can I mention Lucas Torreira, Shokdan Mustafi, Nicolas Pepe, and even Ozil, Lacazette, Sanchez, and Aubameyang as big money signings who didn’t work out as we all hoped. Shevchenko at Chelsea was a big example of a wonderful player coming for a huge fee. I remember thinking Chelsea will be unbeatable with him. It didn’t work out. Buying big, as fans screech, is an art that you have to get right and few do. Far better to work at a strong team bond and bringing players on from the academy or like Martinelli at £6m, turning him into a world class player.
2. Goalkeepers are part of the football team
By this I mean that they have a specific set of football skills that is just as important as a strikers. If Saka destroys a team with a hat-trick we don’t say Arsenal were lucky but if Ramsdale makes a string of saves most people will say that we were fortunate, as Gary Neville disgracefully implied by awarding Ramsdale Man of the Match against the Spuds. Ramsdale was good, yes, but in the first half he had little to do and most of his saves were normal enough in the second half. Saka, Odegaard, Partey, Xhaka, and even Nketiah were better in a great team performance. But if Ramsdale truly had a difficult day and had lots of outstanding saves it is because his performance was the difference between Arsenal and the opposition and his football skills enabled Arsenal to win. Let’s have no more of a team is lucky because a keeper pulled off a string of fine saves. It is a football skill that all top teams need.
3. Managers are the reason teams win.
Will he end up at Bolton?
I have always had a difficulty with this one. Some managers can seem like geniuses but end up being ridiculed by their own fans. Poor Arsene Wenger was one such. Probably our greatest ever manager, I was embarrassed at the Emirates watching fans shriek Wenger out. It took us several years to get back to being competitive again. Mourinho is one of the big modern examples, when Ozil came to Arsenal, one of his early matches was against Mourinho. They warmly embraced each other and when asked about it afterwards, said that Mourinho was the greatest manager in the world, I am sure much to the chagrin of Arsene Wenger. Now Mourinho’s record is truly impressive, he made Chelsea the best team in England, Porto the top European team for one season, and Inter into the best team in Italy and Europe. But now? Man Utd, Spurs and Roma are not examples of a fantastic manager and even at Real Madrid, he is not in their pantheon of greats. Roy Hodgson was superb at some clubs and the fans couldn’t wait to get rid of him at others.
A very sad time
There are plenty of examples of this but a manager is only a part of the reason teams win. Yes, they can make a difference but not to the extent that people think. The players must be kept happy and willing to die for each other. Sometimes players only think of themselves like Cristiano Ronaldo that affects the team’s performance and Ten Hag has fashioned a truly impressive run with him gone. It can be difficult to get rid of players for various reasons and if they contribute to a bad atmosphere it makes it hard to win. Even a small bad run sees managers targeted, certain players targeted and makes it harder to turn things around. Once fans turn against you, a manager’s job becomes almost impossible. I say it is a combination of factors that make a team successful, not just the scapegoated manager.
This is a real bugbear for me. We are always seeing statistics, particularly on social media about all sorts of things. But an awful lot of them are dubious. For instance Liverpool a few seasons ago had 52 points out of 18 matches with all wins and only one draw. Any statistic could have been made up without any correlation. For example, if Klopp had a piss just before a match Liverpool would win. If Kenny Dalglish was in the stands, Liverpool would win. It’s the same with Arsenal this year so far, we have won nearly every match and you could throw in any random factor and say Arsenal always win when this happens. Bullshit, yet fans lap it up. The top teams that win most matches, you could make any arbitrary correlation as to why they win but it wouldn’t be true.
5. Strikers scoring and winning
Finally, this has always been a annoyance of mine and following on from what I was saying about statistics, and this has gone on since I first started watching football. A journalist/commentator would say a team always win when such and such a striker scores, but these teams are invariably running away with the title and they would have to lose or draw when a player scores which means the opposition has to score at least twice, which doesn’t happen that often. I have heard this old canard many times about so many strikers including our own Thierry Henry that it is irritating but for sure I will keep hearing it forever as journalists and commentators try to fill up space. It’s nonsense, people. Tell them to go fuck themselves when you hear such rubbish.