Wenger’s legacy is fundamental. Free flowing, attacking football by a club with integrity and class.

Arsenal Thrash West Brom: False Dawn or Glorious Future?

Arsenal gave the Baggies a thrashing, no doubt about it. The writing was on the wall from the 2:00 minute mark when Bellerin picked up a cross by Aubameyang and drove it low and hard towards goal for Johnstone to make his first of many saves, his block rebounding to Saka, whose right-footed shot attempt showed he was in goalscoring mood.

The final scoreline of 4-O to the visitors gave lie to Sam Allardyce’s bold pronouncement two weeks ago, after getting the WBA job, that Arsenal were fellow relegation candidates.  The truth is Big Sam was not alone. At the time the Gunners had struggled mightily to get a point out of Southampton with Theo Walcott, a former Arsenal man of 10-years standing, proclaiming he could smell the fear in his former teammates. Yours truly and others publicly mused if we would see a win in December.

But even those of us who were pessimistic in mid-late December always penned in West Brom as a likely win. As @shardgooner predicted in his usually excellent previews:

…WBA’s home form is terrible right now, conceding 13 goals in their last 3 and scoring just one. In fact, they are last in creating shots. But they have managed to score 11 goals in the league. They seem to spread the goals around as Callum Robinson and Connor Gallagher are top scorers with 2. Their defense is terrible though having conceded 35 goals. I think it’s fair to say we can look forward to having a lot of the ball as Sam Allardyce looks to sit deep, tackle hard, play on the counter, and have players dive.

That was indeed the case. West Brom are terrible both sides of the ball and Arsenal outdid them in every key attacking metric.

WBA   ARS
38.1 Possession % 61.9
3 Shots on target 12
7 Shots 21
570 Touches 817
374 Passes 623
3 Corners 5

So after giving West Brom a hiding does that mean Arsenal and Arteta are on their way to glory. The pundits on my tv feed were waxing poetic. So were the faux optimists on Twitter who are blindly “trust the process” and “Arteta will get it right”.

But as the graphic at the top of this page demonstrates, it was the first time this season Arsenal have created 20 or more shots with 12 on target. In the game before, against 17th place Brighton, the club created only 11 shots with a miserly 3 on target. For most of this season we barely scratch double digits in shot creation with a miserly 2 or 3 shots on target. It is no surprise we struggle mightily against any decent opposition.

As has been pointed out on the Uncensored Arsenal podcast and on other platforms, even in his worst season, Wenger’s Arsenal were creating an average of 15 shots per game. Arteta has a long way to prove he can set up a team to consistently create chances and score goals to take this club back to the top-level.

“A win is a win is a win” to quote the American sports media. After four (4) straight home defeats including a loss to the hapless Burnley, it is good to see the Arsenal squad demonstrate it is far from being the 15th worst squad in the league as many of us argued. With his back against the wall, Arteta turned to a 19 yr-old to be his creative #10. Apparently that justifies his binning of Ozil, who even on his worst day could teach Emile Smith-Rowe a thing or two about creating chances against physical, deep-lying double block defenders.

Barely half-way through the season, there is still a long way to go. False dawn or a bright and glorious future?

11 Comments

  1. As it was only WBA it doesnt warrants we can score 4 against top teams of the league for sure.
    However it is obvious that with the change in system we can improve our chances to stop the dowfall. If Arsenal are to challenge for top4 we must bring Ozil back immediately and play the attacking stuff we used to play under Arsene.

    Reply
  2. Yes Wenger had stars like Gervinho and Chamakh taking fifteens shots per game. And the defence was solid, wasn’t it…?

    Reply
    • Another of these standard dumb, stupid observations of the Wenger era that have become popular in social media that is a precursor to the club falling to 8th last year and god knows where in the future. While we had Gervinho and Chamakh we never fell lower than 4th and played a 100 times more attractive football, creating chances and scoring goals. But obviously you prefer a boring, goal-less brand of football.

      Reply
  3. Exactly Shotta these idiot fans like Glenn are the reason we have regressed on and off the field.
    They are happy finishing 8th in the league but were criticizing the club when we finished in top4 for 2 decades.Shameless idiots.

    Reply
  4. The whole anger towards Wenger was because the decline had already set in. We lost 10-2 to Bayern Munich – do you honestly think we’d be in the top four now?? The problem was that Wenger became untouchable. Have you forgotten the mockery about the types of goals we conceded, whilst myopic Arsene berated the fourth official? Keep up the love affair if you want but spare us the crap that Wenger finally being sacked was not in the best interests of the club.

    Reply
    • Apart from conveniently aggregating scores Home and Away and ignoring the fact we went to Munich and beat them, how about us having absolutely no chance of meeting them competitively as we get hammered by the likes of Aston Villa and Burnley in the Premier League. Beating up farmers and fishermen in the Europa League is now the height of the ambition of the anti-Wenger brigade. What a trade off!

      Reply
  5. Nice analysis Shotta! Can always count on the sanity and perspective here. Partey is coming back. I’ll take a break from watching the games and will just rely on stats, you and arseblagger for a picture of what’s happening. I can’t bear to watch all the mindless running, always going down the wings and the unsophisticated physicality in our midfield from DMs Elneny and Partey. Got to satisfy my entertaining football elsewhere while our club hopefully sorts itself out

    Reply
  6. Great reply Shotta.
    For the convinience of Glen i will help him further by admitting our big losses of 8-2 to United and 5-0 to Liverpool were embarassing and low point.But didnt we recovered after that and finished top4 in thoose seasons as well.
    But Glen do you think its only Arsenal who has lost big.
    You didnt come across news of heavy defeats to Real Madrid Barcelona United Liverpool Chelsea and all other big clubs.
    If you havent search the web or let me know i will send you a list of embarrassing defeats for these clubs. For your info Messis Barca lost by tennis scores atleast twice in this decade.

    Reply
  7. Shotta I wouldn’t say we were ‘hammered’ by Burnley. In the year Bayern put 10 past us we lost at home to Watford and lost away at West Brom. It happens every season. But shipping 10 to Bayern was not a freak, it was symptomatic of our decline and Wenger never could admit this.
    There seems to be a lot of confusion about the Wenger doubters. I also idolised the man until it started to become apparent that he’d become untouchable within the club and was losing touch with the game. Our football was scintillating in the early to late 2000’s but then it started to become slow and possession obsessed and our defending was a laughing stock. Things changed!!!
    Since he left we’ve been in two cup finals, one domestic, one European. I think fans should try to move forward. If we’re constantly going to cite Wenger then do it from 2004, because the football was on another planet. If you’ll cite the era of Walcott et al and the top four as some kind of yardstick then I’ll just say I prefer Martinelli and the future thankyou very much.

    Reply
  8. Another myth about Wenger doubters. I hated the ‘race for fourth’ AT THE TIME. At no point in the past few years have I EVER wished we could go back to that kind of excitement. I was embarrassed when the players were pictured celebrating fourth up at Newcastle and I still am. I believe Arsenal should always be challenging top two, as you probably do to. We’re winners. If we finish 10th or something it’s missing the point to think we miss the consistent 4th places that Wenger cited as an achievement.
    For our club, 4th should be seen as a springboard. The whole setup became complacent and the club divided.
    Pity, because we do all support the same team 👍😂

    Reply
    • Welcome to the race for 8th. You are evidence of the widespread insanity in the Arsenal fanbase that is taking our club down. Apparently it is too much commonsense to recognize we had objective financial constraints preventing us from competing with deep pocketed rivals like Man City, Chelsea and Man United, that Wenger was 16th of all PL clubs in net transfer spend and that it took a genius to keep us in top-4 for 20 out of 22 years.

      Nah. It was easier to believe the parasites in mainstream and social media who, for their own selfish reasons, wanted Arsenal to get into the crazy debilitating transfer spending of clubs with deeper pockets. Well you got your wish Glenn; £290 million in transfer spending since Wenger left and what do we have to show for it?

      Reply

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