COS Contributor Aquaman analyses an issue why Rafa can’t seem to perform away from Anfield.
Away: P17 W4 D5 L8 GF14 GA20 GD -6 – 17 points
Do you see the problem? We managed 2.26 points per game at home last
season and 2.38 this season, BUT we got 2.26 points per game away last
season compared to 1 per game from this season.
Our away form has let us down this year. Where last year we travelled
to Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge, The Emirates and Villa Park and
managed 8 out of 12 points, this season in the same fixtures we
managed 3. Worse still we got nothing from our travels to Craven
Cottage, Fratton Park, The Stadium of Lights, and the DW Stadium.
So where have we gone wrong on our travels? Well, looking at the stats
I’d say our big failing is goals scored. Our defence has actually held
out quite respectably. A few more goals than the norm (we conceded 15
away in 07/08 and 14 in 08/09) but acceptable. However we have scored
less than a goal a game on average (0.85 per game to be precise) and
that is simply not good enough (especially compared to the 1.3 per
game in 07/08 and 1.9 per game in 08/09).
In fact if one was to add one goal to Liverpool in all of our away
games (which is almost fair as we only failed to score three times in
away games last season and it would push the average goals per game to
1.85 which is still lower than last year) then we would have gained an
extra 15 points at this stage of the season. Those 15 points would put
us on 70 points! Arsenal are currently on 71 having played the same
number of games and Chelsea are in the lead with 74. In fact with the
extra goal per game, and the subsequent change in results, the table
would look like this:
Chelsea – 74pts
Man Utd – 70pts
Liverpool – 70pts
Arsenal – 69pts
That’s looking a lot better isn’t it? The extra 13 points would have
put our away points per game at 1.9 which is still lower than last
Now, obviously, what’s done is done and there’s nothing we can do to
change it now. Rafa can still be blamed for the same things that he
has been all season, whether fair or not. The owner’s are still crap
and a top four finish is a big push away. But despite all this, things
are possibly not as bad as they appear. We’re not in pieces; we just
have a problem which we need to fix. And we can fix it.
Fixing the problem could be as simple as buying another quality
striker. In the 7 away games that Torres has missed this season we
have scored 3 goals. That’s right. 0.4 goals per game. Not even 1
every 2 games. Additionally 2 of those 3 came against Everton which
could be called an exceptional game. The other goal came against
I’ve been hearing rumblings about us getting new investment to be
spent on players in the summer. If that news proves to be true then I
will be a very happy man. We have lot’s of small holes to fill but one
very big one: Up front when Torres is MIA. No disrespect to N’Gog but
he’s just not ready for that kind of responsibility.
Finally, some people are going to accuse me of presenting the
statistics in a way which satidfies my argument. There is truth in
that accusation, as statistics can be read one way or another. However
this does not mean that statistics are lies. Personally I like
statistics. I’m an engineer and statistics are a great way to compare
two things and also to diagnose problems. So throw my arguments out if
you wish, but that doesn’t make them any less true.
Finally, finally: I am not trying to pretend that this season has been
anything less than disastrous. All I am doing is trying to work out
where our problem has been. This is what I found and I have presented
it in as graphic a way as I can.
So what do you think has been our chief failing this season? Let’s
have a debate about it rather than a rant.