Saturday, June 15, 2024

Arsenal Sign Sanchez: By the Numbers

We all know about the guys who made the move from Arsenal to Barcelona: the Hlebs, the Songs, the Overmarss, the Petits, the… uhh… Sylvinhos, and that guy whose DNA was so powerfully Catalan that he now plays for Chelsea. And while Arsenal have bought a number of teenagers from Barcelona, Alexis Sanchez is the first senior player to make the move from Barcelona to Arsenal since… well I can’t find anyone.

Regardless of whether he is the first or simply the latest in a long line of players, signing Sanchez has sent a wave of euphoria through the Arsenal fan base. And for good reason, Sanchez is exactly the kind of signing that Arsenal need to compete for the League title, a goal scoring forward.

It’s almost trite to say it but scoring goals wins championships. As we found out with Holland and Brazil, teams will find it difficult to win games when they don’t score. And as we have seen over the last 4 years, the top teams are scoring more and more goals every year, culminating in this season’s record where for the first time in recorded history (since the start of the Premier League) two teams scored more than 100 goals each in a season.

Arsenal, meanwhile, has been on a bit of a downward slump in terms of goals scored per season (Premier League data only). Since 09/10 Arsenal have scored 83, 72, 74, 72, and last year 68 goals in a season. The shots numbers (shots are usually what create goals, don’t ya know?) have followed a similar trajectory: 560, 595, 585, 546, and this season’s eight year low of 523. The difference between Arsenal’s attack and the other top four teams was so stark that people, in desperation, wanted Arsene to buy “any forward” last January.

7amkickoff Arsenal Man City Liverpool Chelsea
Goals 68 102 101 71
Shots 523 673 651 692
SoG 213 238 258 229
GD 0 -34 -33 -3
ShD 0 -150 -128 -169
SoGD 0 -25 -45 -16
GD/game 0 -0.89 -0.87 -0.08
ShD/Game 0 -3.95 -3.37 -4.45
SoGD/Game 0 -0.66 -1.18 -0.42

As you can see from the chart above, Arsenal were the worst in the top four in goals, shots, and shots on goal. Wenger knew that he needed to get a player in who would not only get goals but also generate shots for himself and for his teammates. That has to be why he tried to buy Suarez last summer.

Suarez led the Premier League in shots per game for two years running now, averaging 5.6 shots per game over both seasons. Not only did Suarez lead the League in shots he also created 88 shots per season for his teammates over the last two seasons, led the League in attempted dribbles, and was either first or second in successful dribbles per game both years. Arsenal needed a player like Suarez who would turn on the offense and hopefully not bite the hand that fed it.

I should mention here that Arsenal missed Theo Walcott last season. The season prior he had found it hard to get into the first team early on but had come on strong after signing a new contract. He finished as Arsenal’s leading scorer with 14 goals and second leading provider with 10 assists. He also took 87 shots for Arsenal and created 38 for his teammates, mostly from a wide position.

You’ve waited long enough and you know what we need so what about Sanchez? Well, first I have to be clear that I’m not making any predictions for how he will play at Arsenal. The reality is that Sanchez has been relegated to a secondary role, mostly wide,  at Barcelona and before that at Udinese. Wenger may think it is time for him to play more centrally and/or be more of a focal point for the team. We also know that Wenger has spoken many times about how important it is for forwards to cut their teeth in the wide positions, where they have more time and space, before moving in to the cramped quarters in the middle of attack. A move from wide to center could be a major reason why Wenger was able to convince him to sign for Arsenal over Liverpool.

But out wide, what Sanchez offered at Barcelona and Udinese was a nose for poaching goals and the patience needed to score inside the box rather than rush shots from distance. Something we have also seen from him in this World Cup. Fans may love a poke and hope from 30 yards by Crouchenstein but the reality is that scoring in the box wins you championships.

Last season at Barcelona, Sanchez took just 66 shots but 56 (85%) of those shots were inside the 18 yard box. Sanchez also scored 16 of his 19 goals from inside the 18 yard box. Basically, Sanchez made the most of the chances that fell to him converting a ridiculous 29% of his overall shots. To give you a sense of how ridiculous that is here is a chart of Sanchez, Messi, Suarez, and that Ronaldo guy:

7amkickoff Sanchez Suarez Ronaldo Messi
Goals in the box 16 24 25 21
Goals outside 3 7 6 7
Shots inside 56 104 126 99
Shots outside 10 77 90 61
Conversion inside 29% 23% 20% 21%
Conversion outside 30% 9% 7% 11%
Overall Conversion 29% 17% 14% 18%

You’re not reading that wrong. Among the elite goal scorers in the world, Sanchez has the best conversion rate and the best conversion rate in the box. Don’t get too hung up on his conversion from outside, yes, it’s high but the sample size is small — he has only taken 10 total shots from outside the box in the last 2 years.

7amkickoff Sanchez Benzema Rooney Bale Hazard Balotelli Griezmann Vela Remy
Minutes 2374 2748 2446 2065 2889 2294 2652 3104 2098
Goals 19 17 17 15 14 14 16 16 14
Assists 10 9 12 12 7 6 3 12 3
Shots 66 102 101 88 73 152 111 86 90
Shots on goal 36 46 43 30 32 51 53 36 32
SoG % 55% 45% 43% 34% 44% 34% 48% 42% 36%
Key passes 37 54 46 28 92 32 31 66 27
Attempted dribbles 103 37 64 107 210 113 60 170 60
Successful dribbles 36 19 41 57 132 57 23 74 29
Dribble % 35% 51% 64% 53% 63% 50% 38% 44% 48%
% of Team’s goals 28% 26% 45% 27% 30% 35% 31% 45%
% of Team’s shots 10% 14% 19% 12% 11% 25% 22% 17%
% of Team’s KP 9% 11% 13% 6% 20% 8% 9% 20%
Goals + Assists/90 1.10 0.85 1.07 1.18 0.65 0.78 0.64 0.81 0.73
Shot/90 2.50 3.34 3.72 3.84 2.27 5.96 3.77 2.49 3.86
Key passes/90 1.40 1.77 1.69 1.22 2.87 1.26 1.05 1.91 1.16
Key pass+Shot/90 3.90 5.11 5.41 5.06 5.14 7.22 4.82 4.41 5.02
Dribbles/90 4 1 2 5 7 4 2 5 3
Shot+KP+Dribble/90 9.21 8.09 9.46 10.94 14.55 12.91 7.91 11.25 8.75
Successful events/90 5.23 4.75 5.85 6.19 8.63 6.28 4.28 5.91 4.50

What kind of player is Sanchez? I think it’s really hard to tell from his Barcelona stats. We know he’s a good finisher. He’s a Clinical Finisher, in fact, because he’s a “fox in the box” type of player — the shots in the box numbers show that.

But looking at the chart above, you can also see that he hasn’t created much for teammates (37 key passes) and he’s not a very efficient dribbler (35% is poor). He also isn’t putting up huge shots numbers. Though, like everything else on that chart, you have to temper that with the knowledge that he was second fiddle behind Messi at Barcelona.

Still, looking at  that chart you can see that even given the limited touches that he got at Barcelona he contributed a goal or an assist every game. And his “successful events/90” numbers (goals+assists+key passes+successful dribbles) numbers were on par with a player like Rooney who played second fiddle to a disinterested Robin van Persie last season.

He’s not been a stats stuffer like Suarez and I don’t think we’ll see him get 190 shots next season. But I have to think that regardless of where Wenger plays him Sanchez is adding great quality across the front line at Arsenal. And if he can keep his efficiency at around a goal or an assist a game Arsenal will have a real chance to win the title next season.




Here’s his chart compared to Walcott in 12-13 before the injury:

7amkickoff Sanchez Walcott 12-13
Minutes 2374 2285
Goals 19 14
Assists 10 10
Shots 66 87
Shots on goal 36 39
SoG % 55% 45%
Key passes 37 38
Attempted dribbles 103 108
Successful dribbles 36 47
Dribble % 35% 44%
% of Team’s goals 28% 33%
% of Team’s shots 10% 15%
% of Team’s KP 9% 9%
Goals + Assists/90 1.10 0.95
Shot/90 2.50 3.43
Key passes/90 1.40 1.50
Key pass+Shot/90 3.90 4.92
Dribbles/90 4 4
Shot+KP+Dribble/90 9.21 10.67
Successful events/90 5.23 5.83

Last season I felt that Theo was ready to become a star. He scored or assisted 24 League goals two years ago, his numbers have gotten better every season (especially dribbling, which people usually put him down for), and he made himself indispensable to the boss with sterling performances despite being benched.

7amkickoff Sanchez Walcott 2012-2013 Suarez Ronaldo Messi
Goals in the box 16 14 24 25 21
Goals outside 3 0 7 6 7
Shots inside 56 60 104 126 99
Shots outside 10 27 77 90 61
Conversion inside 29% 23% 23% 20% 21%
Conversion outside 30% 0% 9% 7% 11%
Overall Conversion 29% 16% 17% 14% 18%

If Walcott can return healthy and hasn’t lost a step we have a mouthwatering prospect/selection headache in the forwards department.

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Eddie McGoldrick

Love this stuff! Great stats comparisons again


Still can’t believe…


it’s a very confusing time to be a gooner.


Did Wenger just kill gnabry?

Hopefully he kills coquelin now and buys mascherano….

Does that make me a bad person??

Bring on the Cup!

Gnabry is 18 (for a few more days). He now gets to learn from one of the best. And we can go back to playing a youth team in the Carling Cup now that that damn trophy monkey is off our back. And hopefully subbing guys like Gnab on when we are 5-0 up at half time. 😉


Nahh Gnabry has the needed quality to succeed at Arsenal. He needs to just mature a bit still. A loan in the 2nd half of the season may be good for him.

Mesut Aussie

What a champion! A perfect fit!


His name is Sanchez….. He is a showman….. When he gets the ball to feet…… He’s f’ing hard to beat…..




Still can’t believe it, you just wonder how these things happen,absolutely incredible…….. Spurs spent 100 million and are still shit. life just isn’t fair sometimes.


Spurs spent as much on Erik Lamela as we did on Sanchez.


And almost as much on Soldildo.


First of all….EPIC signing!!! Testimony to the fact that Wenger was telling the truth all this time and hopefully many disillusioned fans would lose their ego and embrace the steps taken to attain INVINCIBILITY.
As for the stats, I bet its gonna sky rocket at Arsenal as he has shown to posses the ability to be very efficient and its only gonna be a matter of playing time for his other numbers to catch up.
__Monster def mid__Welsh Jesus
________Steel Defense_________

Super subs Giroud Podo Jack and Ox

EPL watch out!!!


I dunno if Wenger will drop Giroud. We were pretty immense when Theo was fit. Imagine Sanchez and Theo floating around Giroud = Goals Galore.

Either way, we have options and a much needed goal threat which offers pace and power. Exactly what we were missing.

Nice work Wenger. The guy is a genius.

Eric Blair

I’m not sure that Wenger will play Sanchez/Giroud/Walcott as that’s basically playing three forwards and our creativity will suffer. Wenger seems to prefer two forwards and a wide playmaker, so I think we’ll see a rotation of two of those three forwards (Walcott is still injured for the start of the season anyway).

Of course this also means that Cazorla’s days aren’t numbered yet, he’s perfect for that wide creative role.

Rj gooner

FUCK yes, i love signings like this! Its like ozil all over again.

My non-arsenal supporting mates have been bombarded with pictures, tags, quotes and general piss taking so much already! Its a great time to be a gooner and boy am i letting them all know it!!!

On a side note, in the first graph on this post what does the GD, ShD, soGD etc mean? I havent had my morning coffee yet!

Ramsey's spirit

i too couldnt work them all out, but i THINK gd is goals denied? like a ref? and sogd maybe shots on goal denied?, fucking mystery stats mate lol


D stands for Difference.
XD = Our X – Their X

GD = Goal
soGD= Shot on Goal

etc etc


I’ve got wood just thinking about Ozil, Sanchez, Walcott, Ramsey all on the same pitch.


He said no Brendan, he said no. Ooo Brendan he said NO


still watching his 10 best goals video. Can’t believe he has signed.


Alexis Motherfucking Sanchez!


The dribble stat stands out. Presumably Wenger will aim for him to focus on efficiency – in this case, make runs into the box and don’t try to beat players too much. Walcott is much the same in terms of the ratio of shooting efficiency to dribbling (that’s not to say that Walcott compares in quality to Sanchez). It would be interesting to see if Wenger goes for two run-making wingers to play off Giroud. This would certainly maximise Ozil’s options. That quartet would work pretty damn well on paper, but it’s quite un-Wenger-like to use two such wingers.

Oooh to, ooh to be

Pires & Ljungberg? Although they played with two strikers.. I like the idea of two rapido forwards with Giroud as the ‘pivot’ and Oz working his magic. Could at least be a plan B when chasing a goal


Although Pires did score a lot, he was a playmaker that had plenty of possession of the ball. Ljungberg played much the same position as Walcott.

Woolwich Peripatetic

Are we talking the classic attack? In which case Super-Bob was an AML, TH14 was a LWF, God was the playmaker/no. 10 and Freddie was an AMR. Giroud offers an entirely different approach, his ability to distribute with his back to goal is phenomenal. If we played with Özil in the ‘hole’ as it were, Giroud between the centre-backs and Sanchez and Walcott coming in from wide positions, that adds tremendous variety to our attack. We could go route one up to Giroud with runners picking up the second ball; we could keep it on the deck into Özil, who… Read more »


Football has changed, we may need to go more direct and become more efficient. 2 wingers with Ozil/Cazorla/Rosicky instigating from central areas will be deadly. We can also play possession football when needed and control the game.


Interesting point. I was wondering if Walcott and Sánchez on the wings would do enough defensive work. Last season Cazorla was asked to do more defensive work (and that may partly explain his drop in form), and for all the criticism he gets, he actually did quite a bit of defending: 1.5 tackles and 1 interception per match, which is not too bad for an attacking midfielder. Walcott we all know doesn’t like defending, with 0.4 tackles and 0.3 interceptions per match. Sánchez also does quite a bit of defensive work, with 1.7 tackles and 0.4 interceptions per match, which… Read more »

Woolwich Peripatetic

Walcott does his defending by position rather than tackling, though I have seen him chase down a LB in possession, blaze past him and win a free kick in the process once or twice.

Kos the boss

The season dutch skunk was on fire, we played gervinho and walcott on the wings almost every match.


Woke up this Morning still having this nostalgic feeling. Alexis has signed!!! Ivan said more to Come. Greatest time to be a Gooner!


He’s basically a less selfish, less wasteful, less racist, faster, stronger (don’t be fooled by his height), version of Suarez, without any biting or diving.
Unlike Suarez, he behaves himself off and on the pitch.

Being 3rd/4th choice at Barca and still putting up those numbers, he’ll definitely improve at Arsenal. He has everything needed to be that game changing forward we’ve missed, (and he’s not injury prone like the Skunk either)

Giroud's Mistress

“You need players who score goals, that’s how you win games.”

– Michael Owen, BT Sports.

It’s almost like he predicted this move. He’s such a great reader of the game.


He’s almost wasted on punditry, but at least his wisdom is equally accessible around the football world rather than hogged by one lucky club.

He’s like the Wikipedia of football.
The youporn of soccer.

Ramsey's spirit

i think he is completely wasted as a pundit to, its almost selfish of us to hoard his yoda like wisdom and keep it to our sport, i say we ship him off to a Buddhist monastery immediately! (and lock the fucking door)


Over on Sky Sports News, Alan Smith – our great ex title winner – was interviewed and said ‘ it’s great news for Arsenal and I’m sure most Arsenal Fans will be delighted to see the Club getting it’s business done early instead of leaving things to the last minute as they have done recently’.

Now where on earth could he have got that idea from ? :)))))


Walcott on steroids!!?!….I would love to feel the atmosphere at the Ems in that Everton game when we where 1 up throughout the season.


Thank professor, top signing… We need a song to welcome him for the charity shield. Any ideas?

The Panther

Miley Cirus……

Giroud's Mistress

He wants his own song, he wants his own soooooonnnngggg, Alexis Sanchez….

Black Hei

Sanchez does not look like a 35% dribbler during the WC. He looks slick with the ball

bergkamp's hooped sock

FIFA mandate to keep cards to a minimum? Seriously? Mucho fucked up shit.


Hey RVP we just signed alexis Sanchez from barca for 30 mill… Your guys spent that on a young lad from Southampton.
This is to go on top of Ozil from Real Madrid to your Maroune Fellaini.

Where’s the fucking ambition? You dirty old World Cup losing badger.

Trex d' Gunner

Infinite thumbs up.
Suck on that skunky

Let's Find Hleb!!!

We the famous arsenal and we just signed alexis…


Oh my God its happened !
Sanchez is an Arsenal player
I’ve lumped on at 9/1 for the title as i have a really strong feeling that this season is our season.



Nice one gunner. Sanchez, Walcott in d front loos good

Bonker Jonker

“We also know that Wenger has spoken many times about how important it is for forwards to cut their teeth in the wide positions, where they have more time and space, before moving in to the cramped quarters in the middle of attack.”

No, Wenger says the opposite, he says playing on the wings with the touchline hugging you makes you understand space better.


I don’t know why, but I always had this weird perception that guys with tiny nipples can’t build muscular chests. I guess I was wrong…


Anyone know what Crouchenstein means?


What I think is interesting is that you can see he plays very differently for Chile, and did while in Udinese. He has been and was more involved for those teams. This World Cup he has averaged 5 successful dribbles per 90 minutes, while only doing 1,36 for Barcelona. His success rate was 65 % versus 35 % for Barca. That last number isn’t as bad as it looks, because only 35,6 % of dribbles in La Liga are successful. (Source: For Udinese he had 2,2 successful dribbles per game in 09/10 and 3 per game in 10/11 (led… Read more »


Great analysis 7am. Much appreciated.


Woke up so happy this morning that one look outside and the clouds dispersed and the sun at 9:00 am was 35 degrees hot great day to be a gooner

The Invincible Puma's

The well oiled machine that is Arsenal just added an amazing piece! Thank you Arsene! Handbrake well and truly off, I think we will be in top two for goals scored next season when we destroy that 7 point gap and become Champions once more! COYG


nice stats but not needed. Anyone who knows their football would know this guy is Suarez/fit Aguero level


A front 3 with Chambo – Sanchez – Walcott and Özil behind feeding them balls is really mouthwashing


It’s far more likely to be Sanchez – Giroud – Walcott, as Wenger is fond of having a physically strong player up there.

Anyway, that does indeed look very solid.


Great analysis as always.


Not a dirty Sanchez then, as in “Alexis has shown John Terry a clean pair of heels”

Az ahmed

Liverpool showed how it’s done last season in attack. No reason why we can’t replicate something similar with Sanchez, Walcott and Ox up front rotating and giving defences the run around as Özil feeds them balls on a platter. Although I expect giroud ahead of ox, I just hope it’s ox up front


Fuck Liverpoo, last few games of the season the EPL teams done a barca/spain V Rest of the world and figured out how to play against them, they slipped up as they had no plan B.
They will be shit this coming season, no bitey racist and Gerrard another year slower, and that’s who their team were last year.
BT will deservedly have egg on their greedy little whore faces.

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