Arsenal in the Champions League
17 – Consecutive away games since Arsenal secured a clean sheet in the Champions League (AC Milan 0-2 Arsenal, March 2008)1
9 – Number of away games in France that Arsenal have played
5 – Wins in those games
4 – Draws in those games
2 – Number of Champions League goals Aaron Ramsey has scored
2 – Number of those goals that were scored in the 90th minute or later
5 – Consecutive undefeated matches in Europe (includes CL qualifiers)2
7 – Goals scored in those matches
3 – Goals allowed in those matches
2 – Clean sheets in those matches
Comparing Champions League v. Premier League Performance
This data raises more questions than it answers but that’s always a good place to start research. For example, Arsenal are allowing 0.13 goals per shots on goal (OGPSOG) in the Champions League and yet 0.46 (almost one goal for every two shots that they allow) in the Premier League. What is the historical average for these two numbers?
Same with the defensive conversion number (percentage of opposition shots that turn into goals). Is this just an anomaly because of the Man U match or does Arsenal historically play better defense in the Champions League and why?
The fact that the offense numbers look the same should also be looked at. Do Arsenal track across all tournaments as closely this? Is this just an anomaly for this season? What does it say about our opponents in the Champions League and in the Premier League so far.
Like I said, lots of questions. Still, it is interesting that Arsenal are numerically playing much better defense in the Champions League than in the Premier League.
Watching the game yesterday I was amazed by the number of crosses that Arsenal put in. 46% of Arsenal’s attack came down the right side and it seemed like Jenkinson, Theo, Arshavin and Gervinho just kept bombing down that side and pumping in blocked cross after blocked cross. Arsenal seemed to win more corners and throws than goal attempts off our crosses yesterday.
In looking at the data, it turns out that Arsenal only had one successful cross yesterday: Djourou to Gervinho which led to Ramsey’s goal. That was counted as a successful cross because somehow Gervinho’s missed control was counted as an assist. If there were a “dubious cross/assists panel” that that cross/assist would almost certainly be ruled as a missed cross and a non-assist. That means that in the real world Arsenal attempted 32 crosses and not a single cross found its intended target.
Crosses are a low percentage pass already but zero of 32? Come on, you’re doing something wrong.
Of course when I see something like Arsenal missing a ton of crosses in a game, I immediately wonder if this is a one game phenomenon or if there is a pattern. So, I spent way too much time on the crossing numbers for Arsenal in the Champions League and produced this graphic:
Arsenal have the record for our group in terms of futility on crosses with just under 11% finding their target. A number which is hugely buoyed by the 5/16 v. Olympiakos.
Another odd thing is that the numbers show few teams are attacking Borussia and Olympiakos on crosses. BvB on average only has to deal with 12.3 crosses per game and Oly only deals with just under 16 per game. Meanwhile, Arsenal are dealing with 21.6 per game and poor Marseille lead the pack with 27.
And in terms of success rates, BvB only allows 3 per game, Marseille 3.1, Olympiakos 4, and Arsenal 5.6. In terms of percentages Arsenal top the pack again, with the opposition successful 26% of the time, Olympiakos 25%, Borussia 24% of the time, and Marseille the best in Group F with a stingy 11%.
Teams are attempting a lot of crosses on Arsenal and getting a lot of crosses into our box. Meanwhile Arsenal are getting forward a lot and attempting a fair number of crosses but they aren’t coming off. Does this mean that teams are targeting Arsenal as vulnerable on crosses? Does this mean that teams are just allowing Arsenal to cross because they know that they can deal with the cross?
I don’t know.
Aaron Ramsey’s Entire Numerical Performance
12 – Minutes
11 – Touches
8 – Passes
8 – Successful passes
1 – Attempted crosses
0 – Successful crosses
0 – Tackles
0 – Aerial duels
0 – Dribbles
0 – Interceptions
0 – Turnovers
0 – Key Passes
0 – Fouls
0 – Blocks
0 – Clearances
0 – Through balls
0 – Long balls
1 – Shot
1 – Shot on goal
1 – Goal
1 – Aaron Ramsey
1. Follow Orbinho on twitter for more fascinating stats like these.
2. Champions League qualifiers aren’t counted as “regular” Champions League matches.