Friday, September 30, 2022

QPR 2-1 Arsenal: By the Numbers

Numbers don’t tell the whole story, sometimes they can’t even tell part of the story, sometimes they can tell you the wrong story, and sometimes you just have to say “what the fuck?”

This is one of those times where everything applies.

I heard the announcer say the word “bully” so many times that I started to wonder if he was channeling Teddy Roosevelt. In reality, though, Vermaelen was at fault (mostly) for both goals and so if we are counting something in his game let’s do this:

3 – Successful headed clearances (of 4 attempts) by Vermaelen
3 – Successful aerials duels (of 3 attempts) by Vermaelen
0 – Successful headed clearances (of 1 attempts) by Koscielny
0 – Aerial duels by Koscielny
5 – Interceptions by Vermaelen*
5 – Interceptions by Koscielny
0 – Successful tackles by Vermaelen
2 – Number of times Vermaelen shit the bed today

Now here’s a place where numbers can tell the wrong story. If you look at the number of passes Arsenal made in the final third and compared it to the games in the 7 match win streak you see something like this:

QPR 149
Villa 170
Everton 100
Newcastle 132
Liverpool 64
Tottenham 115
Sunderland 155
Blackburn 168

The temptation is to see the number of passes in the QPR final third and surmise that Arsenal did OK in attack, but during the 7 game win streak Arsenal averaged 17 shots a game and only managed 13 today (many of which were poor). QPR invited the pressure and handled it well. This is the same tactic that Villa, Newcastle, Sunderland and Blackburn tried against Arsenal but with very different results.

You could also look at Arsenal’s conversion rate (goals/shot) over the 7 game win streak which was a whopping  16% (season average is just 12%) and compare it to today where Arsenal scored just one goal on their 13 shots and thus converted a measly 8%.

Which is just a fancy way of saying that Robin van Persie should have scored in his one-v-one with Paddy Kenny (that would have meant 2/13 or 15% conversion).

If we are honest, we really only have two stats that matter at this point:

2 – Number of times that Vermaelen shit the bed
1 – Number of game-changing saves made by Paddy Kenny

Which brings me to the final category: “what the fuck?” As soon as the final whistle went people immediately started having a go at Aaron Ramsey. I know, it seems incongruous that on a day when Vermaelen was clearly at fault for two goals people would blame Aaron Ramsey but hey… people.

I wanted to see exactly how he fit in with the other three midfielders so, I compared them. I know that the title says this already but I’m going to say it again: these numbers for Rosicky, Song, and Arteta are for the first 70 minutes ONLY because that’s how long Ramsey played.

I also want to point out that I don’t hate Ramsey, he’s a good player, and I am not doing this so that people can draw the conclusion that Ramsey is shit, that he’s “the new Denilson”, or that he has cabbage in his underpants. I was legitimately curious how he compared to the others because he seemed so anonymous today.

click to embiggen

Rosicky’s numbers show a player who spent the majority of the game as the most forward center mid in Arsene’s “crazy diamond” midfield. Song was the deepest midfielder: he had the most tackles and the least number of both backward passes and least number of passes in the QPR final third. Don’t get too excited about Song’s forward passes, most of them happened in the Arsenal half as he brought the ball out. Arteta’s numbers show a link player who keeps possession and wins the ball back when his team loses possession.

I suspect the reason Ramsey’s numbers look so low in most categories is simply because Arsenal concentrated so much of the attack on the right where Sagna and Walcott were a real threat. The fact that Theo scored and the pass differences between Sagna (61/68) and Gibbs (27/36) back that perception up. Of course, this is a chicken v. egg argument: was the attack concentrated on the right because Theo and Sagna were good or because Gibbs and Ramsey were shit? I’m going to leave that to you to argue about.

The numbers that are most worrying are Ramsey’s dispossessed stats. Ramsey leads Arsenal in being dispossessed at 2.9 per game. To put that in context, the next four players below him are RvP, Theo, The Ox, and The Five Head: all forwards. He was playing in the Rosicky role earlier in the season, which would explain a high dispossessed number but against QPR he was a mirror to Arteta and as such needed to be moving the ball more quickly.

Which many people point out… he doesn’t do well.

What I don’t show in the chart above is the following, you’re real “what the fuck?” numbers:

108 – Passes attempted by Alex Song
90 – Passes completed by Alex Song
18 – Passes misplaced by Alex Song
11 – Passes played backward by Alex Song (of 11 tried)
26 – Passes played square by Alex Song (of 26 tried)*
53 – Passes played forward by Alex Song (of 71 tried)*
18 – Forward passes misplaced by Alex Song
7 – Attempted through balls by Alex Song*
1 – Successful through balls by Alex Song
2.4 – Average per game attempted through balls by Alex Song
7 – Number of times I thought “oh boy, someone’s been reading his press clippings”

Qq

*Leads all players
**Leads just his team

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Matt F

The ‘Song Chip Pass’ was used like a Fifa through ball today.

Maddo

The next day analysis of a game (win or loss) is so much better than immediately after the game. In January 2012, there was so much negative twitter garbage about Ramsay, even I was embarrassed by the hatred (yes hatred) pronounced on-line about the boy. Yesterday the Ramsay Curse showed its head from the parapet and he again was responsible for not signing the treaty for World Peace and the consequence was Arsenal loss at QPR…. Get a grip people. Having watched Ramsay play on the wing at the Everton and QPR games I think Arsene is having one of… Read more »

AFC

I agree that an analysis the day after sounds more reasonable. It’s true, I suppose no one expected us to go on a winning streak till the end of the season, smashing every opponent as they come. So there had to be games that we don’t/can’t win. And if you look back at our season so far, there were real ups and downs, a roller coaster season. So it’s important not to focus “only” on the last 7 games to make an assessment of the team (ie: expecting them to just win it all) nor to focus on the results… Read more »

Adam

Ramsey was poor today, maybe he needs to go on loan?

vvv

Why the hell would we send him on loan? You must remember that 1) he was out of position(which leads to another question, when we have two wingers, one that tracks back excellently and does all the dirty work and another who brings a more direct, youthful, attacking approach, then why did he start a central midfielder there?) 2) he was hardly brought up in ideal circumstances; first he got his leg shattered in two, and he was thrust into the role of playmaker in an extremely desperate situation(unlike Cesc who played alongside a couple of the finest midfielders of… Read more »

Thorough

Remember who scored that great volley against Everton in the season opener some seasons back? Denilson. Remember who scored many goals after VP’s injury last season? Chamack. Does that make them good enough? Sorry, no. Ramsey was played out of position, I agree. But that he is good enough, not in this world. He started out as our playmaker, saw he was horrible. Played Arteta role against Swansea, gave them 2 assists. Lets not be deluded, he is not good enough for Arsenal. But I dont blame him, I blame the ‘genius’ tha puts him in even to the detriment… Read more »

binda

why send him out on loan? maybe because he is at the bottom of the pecking order when he comes to midfielders? and to come good he needs games

Bobby

Even though I somewhat echo Thorough’s sentiments, you have to agree with vvv’s point that the lad’s got an absolute terrible injury at an early age. Before we jump to conclusions, we must remember that he’s only 21 and that he had a fine first five months.

heihaci

Can we get Fabregas back?

SmokingGunner

I keep pressing LB and Y but its just not working!

Matt F

11 – On a scale of 0 to 10, how much of a twat Tony Gale is.

arsan

arsenal does not use the the left flank at all,they all look for Theo who can make a star like Chamberlain be useless. (it’s like they’ve never heard of changing wings ) as for Ramsey, and arteta they are always forcing to score thus killing our midfield, Ramsey doesn’t know the right time for a killer pass,so why should he be no10……I believe wenger is guilty of destroying rosiskys talent.

Frode Grøtheim

The thing about Ramsey is that Wenger just got his tactics wrong. He is clearly not fit to play as a left forward, and that’s not his fault. The system worked better against Everton, because Gibbs bombed forward and gave us width. Today he stayed very deep, which meant we were really playing one striker, one right winger and four midfielders, but no left winger. We were skewed and ultimately predictable. Ramsey has no business losing the ball as often as he does either. It’s not as if he is a brilliant flair player, constantly taking on players. Sure, Messi… Read more »

Cygan's Left Foot

I just hope Arsene stops playing him for few games or the boo boys will be out for him when we play at home. Not because they want to boo Ramsey, but to protest against Arsene’s decision. Just like they did with Arsha and Denilson.

But known our Stubborn manager, he will keep playing him till he is proved right or we are out of the top 4 and end up with another Denilson in our hand. But, if Ramsey came good on the LW it would be a real LANS.

tinomuvonga

I am curious how many through balls Song attempted after RvP’s one-on-one. It looked like he was desperate to create something for the team. I think if RvP’s chance had gone in, he probably would not have attempted so many.

I also feel for Ramsey. I think we all expected him to create lots of assists in the Cesc role, but I think he was there to score goals from midfield. The Arsenal midfield is highly competitive, so if he is not careful, he’ll start falling down the pecking order. Wilshire and Diaby will not be injured forever…

7amkickoff

I don’t have access to that information. But looking at his passing charts it looks like all of his through balls were attempted in the second half

gunner16

if he was there to score goals then he should score some!! his shot is poor and he rarely hits the target. he needs to either play for the reserves for a while and become their best player or he needs to go on loan to a decent team and start playing well there. Not good enough at the moment. and Van Persie should have scored. can we do a stat on how many chances Robin misses? A decent number of good chances I’d imagine( acceptable I guess) but still. it’s not like he’s messi.

AFC

Ramsey is basically lacking technique and pace, the numbers underline that and his “appearance” (or body language if you want) on the pitch even more so. As a opponent you just “know” that you can always try to dispossess him, because it just might work.

His game looks so forced and fluttered. That might sound a bit irrational but it speaks volumes.

Vanali77

Ramsey is not to be blamed for being shit. It’s Wenger. Wenger us great bla bla bla, I know, and he was the reason for the 7 wins. He, however, can be so shit when he inisists on choosing the same off form player again and again. Let’s start with Manuuuu! How long did it take Arsean to realize that the cunt is a horrific gk? Few years! And we all knew that he was SHIT. Then let me ask you how many ayers did Wenger destroy playing out of position. Bendtner is better than chamakh and park, and he… Read more »

kunzeboom

I love how you blame wenger but insist on playing with too very quick wengers on the wing 😉

Thorough

@Kunzeboom. And you think Wenger dont deserve any blame? Indeed, nobody is blaming Ramsey, just like I didnt blame Almunia when he was messing up. Why? Because he doesnt pick himself. And more than that, Arsenal shop from the same market where stekelenburg went for less than 6million and Jaskerlainen is available for a paltry sum. If all these games dont change your perspective about Wenger then think of the Milan game. That was the first time I can remember him play Ramsey at the left wing. Result? We were thomped. Fast forward a week after, Ramsey injured and the… Read more »

Witoldo

Did your “Enter” button break?

kunzeboom

holy crap, thorough, I hope that comment is not aimed at mine only & you wanted to make a point anyway…cause I just found the ‘wengers’ typo really funny — especially coming from someone from the “anti-wenger” camp 😉 btw, 1. I actually think wenger is at fault for a strange team selection that obviously doesn’t work & I hope he’s learnt his lesson now. (1.b..this also applies to picking almunia over mad jens since I’ve always been a fan of the latter.) 2. I’m sorry, but I think all this ‘ramsey unsettles the whole team’ — although there might… Read more »

argonaut

Arsene likes Ramsey and is trying to find a place for him at the expense of Chamberlain, Gervinho and perhaps even Santos. This is completely wrongheaded. Ramsey hasn’t got the pace and he dwells on the ball too long. He overcomplicates things and as a result loses the ball far too often.

You say Vermaelen was at fault for both goals but the second one saw him slip on the turf. That’s just bad luck. The first one he was perhaps more at fault, but that is letting other players further forward off the hook.

Cygan's Left Foot

Arsene likes Almunia, Denlison, Diaby, Bendtner and now Ramsey even if they are not good enough, as long as if Arsene’s like you, you are in no matter how bad you are. Oh, and yesterday result has just proved after winning few good hard games that put us back to a respectable position, he is back to his mental experience to prove the whole world was wrong and he was right.

Andrew

Ramsey is shit…….he is slow, he is weak and he runs around like a headless chicken playing zone defense! This ain’t fackin basketball…..I swear every time he’s in the lineup WE LOOSE!

HuiruWam

Ramsey is not shit, you are.

Remember Everton? Get your facts right before you spilled your venom.

Alex

Not slagging Ramsey off, but he is not meant to play as a left forward. Either play Ox or Gerv there, not Ramsey. Also, him playing there is just setting him up to get slagged off as useless or incompetent, which is completely uncalled for.

Ramsey will come good and people just need to remember this is his 1st full season after the leg break. Just remember Cesc`s finishing a few years back wasn`t great.

Rickysaurus

I want to see Santos back :<

Ben

Thought, Andre Santos could have played a part on the left ahead of Gibbs. Would offer defensive cover in tough games, good balance and something going forward. Maybe he’s not fit enough… Don’t see why Gervinho didn’t start though.

Witoldo

Mr. Kickoff, you wrote: “was the attack concentrated on the right because Theo and Sagna were good or because Gibbs and Ramsey were shit? I’m going to leave that to you to argue about.”

Maybe a simpler way to solve this is to look at Gervinho’s numbers (touches, passes, etc.)? I know it was a different phase of the game, but my impression was that even after Ramsey and eventually Gibbs were hauled off, our attack was disproportionately through the middle and on the right.

poogs

1– number of games in which all conspiracy theories ever conceived by conspiracy theorists is concealed.

poogs

Wait make that 2,,,I had forgotten about poor old cit3h

iSayed

That Taiwo guy is a beast! He has pace to burn, is built like a tank and had Walcott in his pocket for almost the whole game.

Witoldo

Could have really used him in January when we had no fit fullbacks…but I bet that AC Milan refused our request if we indeed made one.

Thorough

@Witoldo. Sorry to dissapoint you but our all-knowing coach didnt go for him. He stated that much in January. Taiwo will actually jump at the offer of playing for Arsenal – he is a DIE-HARD Arsenal fan. How do I know? I am Nigerian.

Lee Morgan

Is it no longer possible to lose a match and just accept we had an off day? The hysteria which 1 defeat after 7 (yes 7!!!) straight wins is actually quite comical. Yes it’s disappointing but do we have to categorise players as being shit just because they’re having a hard time at this moment? It’s happened to Kos, Rosicky, Gibbs and Song in the past few seasons and they’ve all come good.

ramgooner

@lee morgan the difference is their shitty-ness costs us points. there is a possibility that a player can be shit while the team is having a good day and i don’t mind that kind of shitty-ness. there is no point in them coming good.what is lost is lost. ramsey for me is a class player.he just needs to find a way to hold the ball when it’s not working.when he can’t find the pass he needs to be patient and keep the ball moving.perhaps arteta can teach him something in the training ground. the difference btw ramsey and rosicky is… Read more »

Thorough

@LeeMorgan. If we’d lost with the same winning team thats rescued our team, unlike the one destabilized by Wenger, then nobody would have uttered a word. The vitriol is because some of us think we lost to our coach. Sad isnt it?

HuiruWam

Wasn’t Wenger the one that put together 7 winning games? Wasn’t Ramsey part of the winning team when we played everton? You of the twisted logic!!!

How come nobody talked about RVP missing the sitter? What about TV5’s howlers?

MHO is that the whole team should be blame for the lose yesterday, period.

Snark

You are deliberately missing the point. The criticism isn’t towards Ramsey as a player, just his deployment on the left side when he is a central midfielder. This was the wrong decision by Wenger. We only just beat Everton when he was played out there, and we lost yesterday. We didn’t even look like winning, couldn’t put together any truly incisive play, and we lost. Anyone with a modicum of insight can see it was because we had an unbalanced shape that restricted our methods of attack, and that having a left midfielder/forward on from the start was the most… Read more »

gooner

Ramsey is not shit! He has tried his best this season but he’s been played out of position all season, in my view. This has been his first full season but don’t forget he was playing where MA8 in the past seasons and he looked much better there than he does when played in the hole. I can see where AW was coming from in protecting gibbs against their wingers, normally SWP and that Tarabt cunt but HE COULD have used santos. We dropped so many points playing guys out of position earlier but that was due to injuries. Djourou… Read more »

Glory hunter

Well said Gooner, well said!

lurky

Ramsey played out of position on the wing?
What should be his position then?
Maybe DM, but he will have to learn how to tackle, and track back, not run like headless-cheaken.
Maybe in the hole, but he should learn to be more creative (actually that cannot be learned), to learn to pass the ball forward. He played there too many games, and his stats are shit.
Maybe LB, RB, box to box.
Lets be real. NOTHING suits him
He is not our Gerrard!
He MAY become our Fletcher though, and that is a compliment.

Alex

OrAW could have used Gervinho who may not be in form but is more suited to the wing than Ramsey & he contributes defensively like vs Villa where Gerv was applauded for tracking back

Runcorn Gooner

We had to lose eventually and give QPR credit for really getting stuck in.The good news was that Kos didn’t get booked so is ok for Citeh.
I think AW should have realised much earlier that the role AR was playing was
just not working but heh hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Back on song next week for the Middle Easterners and we will all be happy again.

T

Gerrard is a chav cunt who’s Mrs got double teamed by two crack dealers, and who beats people up for little reason.

I would much rather have Aaron around than a piece of shit like that.

Stone

Playing Ramsey yesterday not only rendered our left wing ineffective but also brought Rosicky down. I think Tomas’ worst games recently have come against Everton and QPR when Wenger has tried this crazy system. It seems like something done to increase Ramsey’s confidence. At least I have a hard time believing that Wenger honestly thinks that playing him will make us more dangerous than if Gervinho or the OX were on that left wing.

Rodger

Agree with stone up there, I remembered tweeting yesterday while the game was going on, that Rosicky’s worst performances this season have been when he was started with Ramsey, the midfield gets contested cuz even when started on the LW, Aaron always finds himself gravitating towards the middle, exposing us on the LW & Rosicky finds it hard to find playing space to create…. Wenger’s fault in this is stubbornly wanting Aaron to impress at the expense of our results, i would much have loved if he was eased into the game (bring him in the 70th/80th minute) but not… Read more »

diefenbaker

kid keeps running in positions other then the left

Thomas

Hey, we just won 7 in a row. Winning streaks don´t continue forever, especially away against a decent side which is fighting against relegation.

Now let´s go and beat City.

arse power

Oh fuck Go Swansea

Jin

Fuck. Spxds would have been just middle place without our ex players

Arsene Wenger

Barndoor’s level of cuntishness has gone through the roof.Fucking cunt…

adahdff

Ramsey’s crap. But Wenger loves players like him that are small, light, technical – he’d build a whole team of them if he could, and he’s tried. Wenger will always try to force this ideology through when the team is in a satisfactory position, and so they fall back again. He’s a selfish cunt of a manager that uses Arsenal as his silly little toy – and the board are too dumb to see it.

Thorough

Sorry to dissapoint you but he will not come good. Played CAM, a total failure. Got switched to Arteta’s role against Swansea, he gave away 2 goals. Now playing wings, got thomped by Milan, nearly Everton, and fuckin QPR. He’s 21, if he’ll get better we should have known. Wilshere showed sensational touches playing Carling Cup at 16…and he played all over the pitch, wing, Central midfield et cetera. Ox at 18 is playing every position like a veteran. You are either football wise or not, ask RVP. Just so sad it will take Wenger another year to realize and… Read more »

Witoldo

I think people are having major selective memory problems. When Arsene played Arshavin out on LW (fairly frequently over the last couple seasons, I might add), the little Russian drifted inward quite often as well. Pretty much the same situation when Nasri nominally played on the wing too.

It’s not quite the dramatic switch in formation many are suggesting putting in Ramsey instead of a dedicated winger.

GoonerTerry

Well I know that English is not the first language for some on here but Jesus H Christ, WordPress has spell-check so what’s up with the spelling today? Call me anal but bad spelling makes me think that too many of the people above are just plain ignorant and I shouldn’t take their rants seriously..

HuiruWam

Amen.

morefiah

Thank God for good results, good play, a manager who loves the club and those fans who support the club win, lose or draw. Its frustrating for all of us when AFC loses, but really?? Arsene out?? REALLY??? Funny enough, during the 7 game winning run some of the long knives didnt show their faces on here. I suppose its because we were winning and they only become F.A.N.S (Fickle Assholes Not Supporters) when we lose. But guess what? Its football: some days you win, some days you lose. Some days the manager is a genius, some days he makes… Read more »

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