Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Arsenal's play is not rocket science, just simple mathematics

I don't understand why the football pundits and commentators keep saying that the Arsenal players tend to over elaborate when attacking. Often they would use their favourite phrase "walking the ball into the net” when our boys don’t shoot when they have the goal in sight, even though there might be couple of players in front of the goal or when the player is in an acute angle for the shot. These commentators tend to like players who just shoot on sight. However doing that when there is a better opportunity to create even better chance is just wasting your possession.

In the real world, we use a mathematic term which any high school student can teach you. It's called PROBABILITES. In an Arsenal player’s mind, he is always thinking: pass or shot? His selection boils to the probability of his choices? Which is the better pass? What is the probability I can score for this angle or is it better to pass? All these are choices the players make in the split second. Most of the time the players get it right. That is why Arsenal has the best percentage of shots on target than any other team in the Premiership. We also lead in the goals to shots ratio. In others, we are just more efficient in our attacking play than all the other teams.

We don’t go whacking the ball goalwards at every opportunity like other teams do and hope for the best. Yes, it will come out once in a while but for the majority, the ball goes out of play and you lose possession. It is just very inefficient.

Arsene Wenger is the most astute manager in the Premiership and he understands all about efficiency in shot selection. He has drummed this mantra into all his players and it is evident in all his teams from the juniors right up to the senior squad. This mentality has also not changed in the 16 years than he’s been with the Gunners. The simple reason is the efficiency works and there is no reason to change it. It is better to educate the pundits and commentator who are totally ignorant of this simple concept.

At the end of the day people like to watch Arsenal play because we play intelligent football. However, there’s nothing so rocket science about it. It all boils down to simple mathematics and any child can explain it.

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