Thursday, September 28, 2023

WBA 2-3 Arsenal plus Arteta: By the Numbers

Bit scattered, apologies if that bothers you but it was a hell of a game and one which is actually not that statistically interesting because most of the actions came in bursts. To compensate for that I did a little comparison below for people who want to know what Arteta might be contributing to the team.

54 – Successful passes by Youssuf Mulumbu (of 64 attempts)*
51 – Successful passes by Carl Jenkinson (of 59 attempts)**
9 – Successful passes by Theo Walcott
1 – Truly lackadaisical pass by Theo Walcott which nearly cost the game
16 – Passes by Robin van Persie
27 – Passes Robin van Persie averages per game
22 – Successful attacking third passes by Alex Song*
20 – Successful attacking third passes by Tomas Rosicky in 45 minutes
4 – Successful attacking third passes by Theo Walcott
14 – Successful attacking third passes by Youssuf Mulumbu**
2 – Key passes by James Morrison*
2 – Key passes by Song**
1 – Key passes by Marton Fulop
2 – Key blunders by Marton Fulop
2 – Assists credited to James Morrison*
0 – Assists credited to Song by some stats places
4 – Successful dribbles by Yossi Benayoun (of 5)*
4 – Successful dribbles by Fortune (of 6)**
22 – Successful tackles by Arsenal
7 – Successful tackles by Alex Song*
5 – Successful tackles by Andre Santos
3 – Successful by Youssuf Mulumbu**

*Leads all players
**Leads his team

The Importance of Being Arteta

A note on the method.

I chose the last 16 games because 1) it gave a decent sized sample 2) was during a period after the players had time to all adjust 3) was during a time when most of the first team was healthy and had had ample time to gel and 4) was a crucial period for the team and thus more noticeable without even looking at the stats. Many pundits like to include Arsenal’s first three games of the season in their “without Arteta, Arsenal did X” numbers but doing so unnecessarily inflates Arsenal’s problems without Arteta by using a period in Arsenal’s season where the team was in utter chaos over the transfers of Fabregas and Nasri. And especially Nasri who put foot on pitch but essentially refused to play as he was dispossessed 9 times in that game.

What this chart shows is that Arsenal completed similar percentages of passes with and without Arteta and even very similar total numbers of passes in both the first 11 games and the last five. What is amazing, though, is how there’s a reversal in the shots, shots on goal, and equally as importantly, in the oppositions conversion numbers.

Whether it was caused by Arteta’s absence, by the injections Szczesny was receiving, or the opposition just playing their game better is not clear but what we do see is that in the last five games of the season, when Arteta was out injured, Arsenal’s forward thrust dried up and they became more vulnerable to the opposition’s attack.

More of this on twitter @7amkickoff and on


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Thanks for quantifying what many of us had felt but couldn’t quite “prove” (insofar as those numbers are “proof”). Arteta has been crucial for us this season, both in defense and attack, but also, more generally, in bringing discipline to the midfield. Without him, I feel we’ve been all over the place in the middle of the pitch, especially because Song just seems to live in his own world (Arteta knows when to cover…which is OFTEN). Anyway, I’m glad that season is over. We’ve got a lot of work to do if we don’t want a repeat, though quite honestly,… Read more »


I think we need to print a stats of Walnutt and show it in his face during the contract negotiations…….

How fantastic it would be, AW with a paper on walnutts’ face and screaming at him, “do you deserve 100k/week you lil bastard?”


Happy st totteringhams day


How do you define a “dribble?” Seems to me, in my ignorance, that you’re drastically under-reporting the amount of dribbles Yossi took during the entire 90 minutes.


They’re Opta stats, Opta defines “dribble” and what-not, Tim just reports Opta stats, he doesn’t actually count dribbles etc himself.

If you ask me though, the more I hear about Opta’s methods, the more suspicious I get.


Leave it to Wenger to get some player for Everton that everyone thought was a bad panic purchase but ended up being completely brilliant.


Oops. from* Everton.


Not really oops. though. Everton really had no choice because of their bad financial state. They had to sell Arteta. Still it turned out great for us and I actually thought he’d be a good buy. I just didn’t realize how good.

why is my name required

i hope Rvp signs on. Please don’t go and stay with us and be a legend like Dennis


I would like to think Robin would be a legend even if he did leave, purely for dragging our arses to third place and being a great captain (which we have missed ever since Henry , let’s be honest fab wasn’t the greatest). The only thing that could tarnish his reputation is if he dares to go to man city. I’m pretty sure if one more player if ours goes to that club I will burn it down myself! I mean do they have a scouting system or do they just send them all to the emirates.

Cygan's Right Foot

One injury-free season and suddenly he’s legend. Yes he’s been great and we wouldn’t finish 3rd without him but let’s reign in the legend talk. Seaman, Adams, Bergkamp, Henry, etc… are legends for what they did for the club over many seasons – see . I think RvP needs a few seasons at the top with Arsenal to be a legend at the club. If, after all the time out he’s had over 8+ years, he’s turned that easily for money and a shiny trophy (see Nasri as an example) then he’s no better than the other mercenaries. Wenger… Read more »


Totally agree. He’s got a couple more seasons until he achieves that status, but if he stays, achieve it he will. I really think he will stay, You could see it when Henry came back, the way the crowd reacted, he wouldn’t get that at any other club. Plus 3 more good seasons he could easily break Henrys goalscoring record!


Not disagreeing with you but when Fabregas makes it onto friars bridge, with people like Liam Brady, And becomes a “legend” surely van persie has been just as good a servent, maybe even better because when we needed fab most last year he didn’t turn up in like RVP.

I know Fabregas wasn’t part of your argument, I just think if he has acquired legend status why not RVP?


I would argue that Fab isn’t considered a legend, at least not by anyone I know. Fantastic player, yes, but no where near a legend for the club

Cygan's Right Foot

I get the feeling Fabregas is on the bridge for younger fans that don’t remember the chants of ‘Boring Boring Arsenal’ ringing out from the away fans when we beat them 1-0 again and again but joined Arsenals fan base after the invincibles season.
We have had our own fair share of glory hunters that have, thankfully, fairly quickly joined the City group…


I’d like to see Rosicky’s stats with and without Arteta. I think that might be the key to it. Some players just thrive together, and Tomas is in the centre of all our attacking moves.


What about Gibbs’s tackle at WBA that saved the season?!


Priceless, but by the numbers monetarily speaking finishing 3rd would increase the league merit payment slightly over last years finish. And of course we could estimate ~$25m for making the CL Group Stage.


what about how gibbs’ man was wide open


1 – Orgasm inducing block by Gibbs


For the brillant shot-blocking tackle alone, Gibbs is my MOTM.
Marton Fulop is a close 2nd.


Actually, so many Gunners were aghast that Wenger had signed Arteta. It was such a disappointment for them. All the negativity in the media was turning most of the fans heads like money was turning Nasri’s head and Barca titles were turning Fab’s head (despite him being contracted till 2014). We give too little credit to Wenger’s intelligence. Yes, he has his faults but he knows his team best and generally he knows which player will fit in best in the system. That is one reason he pursued Jagielka for so long. Look at Everton’s defensive performance. Arteta ticked all… Read more »


How about rosicky and arshavin for CAM with lansbury or diaby if he ever gets fit.

Eric Irish gunner

I think we also need a back up keeper it’s frightining to think we need to inject an injured keeper for a few games rather then play your number two, what would happen if he got a serious injury

gunsen gurner

Lansbury can fuck right off.I’ll never forgive him for smiling like a clown when the final whistle went at Old Trafford.


True. With Fabianski and Mannone seemingly leaving, we need a solid number two. Lots of papers saying Michel Vorm, but I don’t see that happening. Anyhow, we’re going to need someone who can be a back-up to Szczesny and if he comes with a load of experience that’d be a bonus.


I bet West Brom are regretting having a back up keeper and wish that they too injected Ben Foster!

Rectum Spectrum

Ben Foster gets injected with penis all the time.


While I am not really surprised to see a rise in opposition opportunities because of the injury to Arteta, the goals drying up is a little odd. To be honest after roughly 30 games for Arsenal you never really noticed Arteta threading through-balls and creating numerous goal scoring chances, so I don’t understand why we stopped scoring as much. He just didn’t really seem that important to the offence but obviously that’s not the case. 22 – Successful attacking third passes by Alex Song* 7 – Successful tackles by Alex Song* 2 – Key passes by Song** If Song want’s… Read more »


Basically song played the arteta role yesterday with coquelin coming in as the dm. after 15 minutes it wasnt working but once they settled down it was pretty good. i dont think we could rely on coquelin as dm for a whole season just yet but if him and mvila shared that role with song and arteta sharing the cm role i would be quite happy with that. wilshire could be eased back in as our am with rosicky.


What position does Coq play in? Or is he some super utility man who can play in every position? If so who needs RVP just play Le Coq as a striker he seems to fill in bloody well in almost every other position!


I think yesterday Wenger was trying out the formation he would like to play with M’vila and Song together in midfield, just replace Coq with M’vila. Considering Song has been probably the most effective attacking midfielder on the team it would make sence to move him forward and play another defensive midfielder.

Rectum Spectrum


We should attack with our coq next season.


I dont think people criticized Song for playing like an AM or for not playing like Mikel/Parker. He was criticized mostly because he tried playing one too many Hollywood passes when a simple, obvious passing option was available.

Rectum Spectrum

And also for blatantly ignoring his defensive duties as part of the team. Which cost us points.

Bob the Gunner

I hope we get to keep Yossi Benayoun.


Sign him up Arsene! It was through Yossi’s efforts that we got Champions League and he deserves to enjoy it with us. He probably won’t get it with Chelsea (fingers crossed for Bayern).


well if you want bayern to win, then your pretty much saying the S*urs should get some Champions league action.

But then again, chelsea would become the first london club to lift the trophy. perils on all sides,

Luckily we are already on the other side.


If Chel$ki doesn’t win the final, the totts will have to go through the qualifiers to reach the CL proper…

Best scenario for us is for Bayern to win the CL & totts to go out in the qualifiers.. That way We can still be the first London team to win the CL, totts dreams to play CL proper shattered & Chel$ki to play a season of Europa league..

Cygan's Right Foot

The chances of the spuds going out at the qualifying stage is increased due to the fact they won’t be seeded and so will most likely play a big name team


I not overly optimistic for the simple fact that Yossi has stated that he wants to play more. And with Prince Poldi coming in (and LANS Wilshere), I think Yossi would get even less time on the pitch. Which is a shame, because I really like him not only as a player but as a person too, but it is what is.


I don’t think Arsene would go with an attacking 3 in many of the games and would like someone like Yossi to play the wide role.. Also, we need to give the first part of next season as settling time for Prince Poldi and Lil Jack may need time to get fully fit & back to his best after his season long injury..


Which is what Arsene wanted Na$ri to play on the wings. “a cross between a winger and a midfielder” I think was Na$ri’s expression. F*** him.
Still it’s true we need someone like Yossi.

Bob the Gunner

Tottenham will crash out during group stage anyway so it doesn’t matter if they are in the Champions League or not.


The thing about song is some people don’t understand what role he plays. The manager says he encourages song to push forward and that’s fine by me. The numbers are there for all to see. When he has played with Arteta and TR7, they have really worked and covered each other when one or two push forward. Song has even dropped to CB to cover TV’s runs to perfection. The thing about song though is that he was formally one big scapegoat. A big target for the boo boys and i can tell you it’s very hard to shake off.… Read more »


Simply saying Song is the easy target for criticism and that people do not know his role is a bit unfair and inaccurate, I think. There is no denying that Song is quite a brilliant player, playing in that unique role he is playing for us. But at the moment, for Song to be truly effective and shine, he needs the help of his fellow midfielders who understand his role and also to have the tactical discipline and knowledge to cover / inter-change with him. Which is why Song often have his “A” game when playing alongside Arteta (this season)… Read more »


To be fair I think most people have an issue with Song constantly trying the fantastic when the simple will suffice. He has given the ball away a number of times in very dangerous positions when keeping possession is far more important. Having said that, this is the first season he has been able to push forward so freely and I imagine he is still learning the trade …


Wts the nuber of Pounds raised by Arsenal and Jack for charity? I guess Piers Morgan gave away 10k last night.


1-team from London that finished 3rd.
1-shower of shit from Enfield that didn’t.


“when most of the first team was healthy and had had ample time to gel”

sure arteta always has ample time to gel


Totally unrelated:

Glad the season’s over. Now to enjoy the CL final as a neutral: If Chelsea lose they miss out on CL next season, if they win, Tottemham miss out…either of those would be a satisfactory outcome…


I’m rooting for Bayern, I don’t want CHELSEA to win the Champions League before us. God, that would be awful.


I just hope that cup game against Dortmund isn’t a sign of things to come.

Andre's 25 yarder

I am DEFINITELY a Chav$ki fan for the Champions league. I might hate JT, Ca$hley, and their buddies, but to see the 5pud2 qualify for C.L. and then get chucked out???

😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 PRICELESS!!!!!!

Too Drunk To Be Offside

lol I am rooting for Bayern as thay presents a scenario where there is only one London team in the group stages.

Spurs I am not worried abt as they are not going to be seeded for the Qualifing draw and are therefore in all likelihood going to face a team from Germany, Italy, Spain or France and get knocked out anyway.

So only one team in the Group Stages.

Andre's 25 yarder

im just too much of a spud hater. it would make me feel all warm inside to see Arry twitching away as he saw thursday night football become a reality, despite having managed to qualify. if the spuds qualified, and did better than we did i would be so devastated, it doesnt bear thinking about! was hard enough watching that chinless cunt dancing around with the premiership trophy yesterday, he need some attention with blogs rusty spoon grrrrr

rant over 🙂


Besides, even if Chelsea lose, Spurs would still have to play a qualifying match against a potentially tough team which they could easily lose. I think everybody would be happy with that outcome.. Both Chelsea and Spurs lose 🙂

Andre's 25 yarder

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂


I can’t wait to see teary faced terry.


yeah and when he goes up to collect the runners up medal i hope he does his best slipping act make sure the whole chelsea team falls down the stairs.
now that would be a sight to watch.


Chel$ea to lose the final.
Spud to lose the qualifier.
That is the only satisfying outcome.


fuck chelsea fuck spurs.
we are in the champions league and they still are not.
and heard a chant from a chelsea fan berlin berlin we go to berlin idiot doesnt even have the idea where is the final held(those are chelshit fans).


The problem with Song and one or two others is their attitude. Skill and abillity are not in doubt. Application and desire are qualities you can’t buy and have to come from within. Ego is Song’s biggest problem. Barca players have amazing abillity AND commitment.

Too Drunk To Be Offside

Oh So Many Things to say, lets start by wishing everyone a very happy St. Totteringham’s day. To prove that he is a total muppet, this is what Harry had to say abt the Final between Bayern and Chelsea:- “Obviously I want Chelsea to win. I’m going (to Munich) and looking forward to it. My allegiance is Tottenham only, I want to see us in the Champions League next year.” Will you tell him or should I? Thank You Spurs for reminding us all season through your mind the gap campaign that we should be above you and officially we… Read more »

Too Drunk To Be Offside

Oh and yes Benayoun, should be signed, if for nothing else then purely as a thank you for his immense contribution to our cause this season. He was huge in the final run in, and he does bring a poachers instinct which we could do with next season. It rare I say this for a loan signing but he gave it his all for us, and never looked like an “on loan” player who knows that this is just a stop gap arrangement, and in all likelihood whatever this team does, he will not be affected by it next season.… Read more »


well personally i dont want chelshit to be the first london club to win d CL, so bayern should woop their ass, as for 2pur3, they wont make it through the qualifiers.

Too Drunk To Be Offside

Oh Bayern will win………I know the EPL is tough, really tough, but then again, you have to be a poor team to finish 6th, you don’t finish 6th cos of bad luck or accidentaly, if u r 6th then its because u are poor (by Chelsea’s normal standards of the past few seasons, and the stadard you expect of a CL Finalist as well.) So a poor team with half their key players suspended and out injured, will not win. I know ppl will point to Barcelona and while that was a herculean effort no doubt and a fully deserved… Read more »


There’s also the fact that Chel$ea’s centre-backs are all injured. How about that? Luiz injured, Cahill injured…Luiz is coming back, but Cahill is still in question. Worst-case (or maybe best, take your pick) scenario, they play Luiz and Essien or something.

North Bank Gooner

Take a bow Yossi, hope you get what you desire, God bless!!

The best thing to happen is for Chelsea to lost to Bayern Munich in the Champions League Final and Spurs to be drawn against a top side in the Champions League qualifier and lose. Think Ashley Cole will be the first player to lose in a Champions League Final 3 times!

I want Arsenal to be the first London club to win the Champions League, not Chelsea!


bang up for Bayern winning the Champions league.

Spurs qualifying, then getting knocked out in the qualifier in August!

And if they do manage to get through then we”ll knock them out in the Quarter Final.

To be honest, as much as i hate the scum, they probably deserve to be there.

Rectum Spectrum

Wash your keyboard out with soap Shavid. Spurs deserve to be minuturized, preserved in amber, and kept at our stadium. We own them.


3 – Number of times in recent memory players have said ‘Whatever happens I’ll always be a gunner’ – Viera, Henry & Fabregas.

3 – Number if times Van Persie has said something along the lines of ”Whatever happens I’ll always be a gunner” in the past few weeks.

0- Number of Arsenal players who have said this that are still Arsenal players..


Ouch. That’s a hard truth there, HR.

I wonder whether Wenger is serious about forcing RVP to run down his contract. Somehow I can’t see it. We’ll take the £50m and run, probably.


I think Arteta was one of the most essential players this season. He was injured during the January doldrums and during the end of season run. In that stretch we won only the WBA game and that one probably because their normal keeper was ruled out by training injury. Looking forward to next season when Arteta comes back healthy again. Fingers crossed we can resign RvP. I wish there was some way to keep Yossi, too, but I suspect we’ll be busy trying to sell a bunch of non-performers and won’t have the quid to buy Yossi from Chelski. –… Read more »

Rectum Spectrum

Bayern beat Madrid over two legs, the final is in their stadium, and Chelsea are missing half their squad. Bayern will triumph for sure. Spurs’ squad, decimated by the euro’s, will face tough qualifiers and hopefully lose. Will be gteat fun watching as we conclude our transfers.


So, what do you say now Mr. George Graham about arsenal finishing 3rd. As i remember it was you who said that it would be Arsene’s greatest achievement if arsenal finished in top four this season. Don’t underestimate Le-prof.

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