Sunday, March 3, 2024

Arsenal 1-0 Besiktas: By the Numbers

Sorry for the short post but I’ve put in a full day’s work, watched the match, fed my child, recorded a podcast, built a spaceship to the moon, killed 17 fruit flies, fixed a fan, and drank three glasses of bourbon and now it’s 10pm¹. I’m bushed but let’s see if I can’t pull a Rabiot of my hat.

17 – Qualification today means this is Arsenal’s 17th consecutive season of Champions League football — a figure only topped by the 18 of Man U and Real Madrid
13 – Arsenal have won 13 out of 14 qualifying matches, I believe this is another record
47 – Arsenal conceded possession² to Besiktas only controlling the ball 46% and 48% of the time for an average possession over both legs of 47%
18.5 – Despite lack of possession, Arsenal didn’t tackle much averaging just 18.5 tackles per game compared to Besiktas 34.5 tackles per game
16 – When Arsenal had the ball, however, they were more direct averaging 16.5 dribbles to Besiktas’ 10
21 – Besiktas attempted 21 shots over both legs and Ozyakup created 8 of those shots
24 – Arsenal attempted 24 shots over both legs and had no player create more than 2 shots in a single match and 9 different players create one or more shots for teammates
8.4 – Arsenal had the worst shots per game record in the Champions League last season, averaging just 8.4 shots per game. This is part of a trend for Arsenal, who have been last or second to last in shots per game in Champions League play over the last 4 years
0 – Shots on goal Besiktas managed in the return leg today
5 – Alexis Sanchez had 0 shots in the first meeting but 5 in the second (led all players)
20 – Millions of pounds one of Alexis’ shots earned Arsenal today
– Pounds Sanchez earned with his scooped shot over the bar off Chambers’ perfect ball in to him
5 – Wilshere led both teams with 5 successful dribbles, Ox and Sanchez were tied for second with 4 dribbles each
4 – Wilshere had 4 dribbles in the first game as well (led all players)
5 – Ox also averaged 5 dribbles per game last season in 2 Champions League games, tied for 2nd with Iniesta among all players
5 – Sanchez also drew 5 fouls (led all players) today, along with 4 dribbles and 5 total turnovers
0 – Wilshere had zero turnovers or dispossessed today
10 – Giroud had 10 total turnovers (counting 8 turnovers, unforced errors, and being dispossessed 2 times) in the first leg
88 – Cazorla had 20 more touches than any of his teammates, including leading the team is passing
6-5-4 – Monreal, Flamini, and Cazorla attempted 6-5-4 tackles each
6 – Cazorla connected on 6 of 10 long passes including one diamond to Özil on the wing
1 – Caviar from Wilshere to Sanchez, which Alexis somehow missed wide
1 – Caviar from Cazorla to Debuchy which Koz nicked causing Debuchy to put into the side netting
1 – Tired blogger ready for bed


¹One of these things aren’t true.
²Opta’s possession stats are simply a division of passes — in other words, Besiktas attempted more passes than Arsenal in both games.

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Funky Gooner

So glad that they didn’t have Benik Afobe to bring on once we were done to ten men

Think Gooner

You can say that again.

Funky Gooner

So glad that they didn’t have Benik Afobe to bring on once we were down to ten men

Think Gooner



Well played sir.


Jack was definitely dispossessed at least once last night but overall a better performance from him though he still holds the ball for far too long.


I don’t think that was true last night. He had his head up and he was quick to spot the right play, instead of running into trouble the way he did in the first leg. The boy is getting his mojo back.


When Jack plays like he did last night, he’s one hell of a player. When he’s frustrated his strength and determination tend to work against him and he commits silly fouls and tries to do too much like he did against Everton at the weekend. There was a point last night that probably passed most people by where he gently used his strength to push a Besiktas player off the ball to earn a corner. If he wasn’t on his game he would make this all too obvious and commit a foul but because he seem to feel comfortable and… Read more »

dink arnold

I don’t know if he was dispossessed but in the final couple of minutes he definitely had some misplaced passes that led to some dangerous possession and scared the shit out of me when i felt he could have held onto the ball or made a safe pass. Cazorla also gave away possession earlier in the game in the centre of the pitch when he tried to play he pall out instead of making a simple pass. Both players had fantastic games and were a great improvement to previous matches this season, but those couple of errors could’ve easily proved… Read more »

Arsene Nose

The home fans were immense last night.. At one point they were louder than the commentators and the team responded.. It was beautiful to see


I think the reason we, the fans, were so noisy last night is we finally have a team out on the pitch who we believe will die for the club!! The fight and character and togetherness on display hasn’t been seen on the pitch for a long time. COYG!! Quad here we come.


i think jack is either too leggy or too lazy,keep mispassing or late in dropping for defending,what i dont understand is why the team make full use of the two remaining substitution towards the end.


You Sir, Did not watch the same game I watched!


Three of the remaining subs were Podolski, Sanogo, and Campbell and I’m not sure we needed any strikers on the pitch from 80 minutes onwards, another was Martinez and subbing our first-choice keeper might have caused quite a stir. That leaves just Rosicky and Coquelin who might have added something in defense but given that we already had to adjust the back four following the sending-off of Debuchy I think it was probably best left as it was and i was coping fine anyway. Wenger was probably also worried that bringing on any more subs would just offer the ref… Read more »


@bonbonbon: “Three of the remaining subs were Podolski, Sanogo, and Campbell and I’m not sure we needed any strikers on the pitch from 80 minutes onwards”

Are you sure? Coz bringing one of them much earlier would have well finished the game off earlier (even 2-0, job done) and spared us the unnecessary tense finish and expense of energy by our lot against a team full of heart but not quite the ability (except perhaps Ba).

Some one needs to shout about subs at Wenger’s ear from 60th min onwards.. after all, he is getting old 🙂


Thanks for your input there Jamie (Redknapp)

jack jack jack

Jack was fucking excellent last night.


Your name says it all.


There is no better sight in football than koscielny flying into tackles and mertesacker calmly sweeping behind him. I love me some mertescielny… now just get the necessary signings done and we are ready. Up the arse!!


Mertescielny, our own Rocket and Groot combo


0- the amount of petrol left in Alexis’ tank at the final whistle.

Was literally standing up in my pyjamas here in Australia at 6am in the morning, clapping at the screen at the site of Alexis falling to the ground in exhaustion at the end of the game.

Great effort lads. 3 points a must on Monday, couple of deals to be done by then too.


Was on my feet in front of the tv clapping for over a minute after Alexis collapsed, what a shift.

1 – Caviar from Ozil to Wilshere/Alexis! Quite a few gems and Santi especially was dishing out diamonds with the left and caviars with the right!

A Veryxerioz Gunner

Yeeee….. We are in the champions league Again for the 17th time unlike those mid table wanna-bes (Man Utd)

Jimmy C

1 – Caviar from Monreal to the Ox, which he will hopefully bury next time


If he’d just shot the way he was facing that would surely have gone in, easy to say sat at my desk the morning after though. It was one of a few ‘almost’ chances that we had had on balance we really should have got at least one of them – that Chambers to Alexis cross being the most obvious but there was a couple of moments where a better placed pass would have sent someone through on goal. Ozil missed a simple ball to Alexis on the counter-attack that you’d expect him to see, for example, and there was… Read more »


We had the fewest shot per game last season because of the pedestrian nature of Giroud. Couldn’t you see how our game was more fluid yesterday because of more mobile players? I’d love to see more of this as the season goes.


For a player of 5 foot 9, Alexis wins quite a good number of ariel balls. And I thought he held the ball well yesterday too. Love to see more of that.


Make that 5 foot 7

Angolan Girl who Loves The Gunner!

Hmmmm….17th UEFA Champions League qualification, our number 17 scored the winning goal…Alexis Sanchez! Niiice!!!! Forward Gunners! #COYG 🙂


I’ve gotta say that the boys showed some big Cojones last night. Special mention to Debuchy, Santi and Alexis. Never gave an inch while they were on the pitch.


200: The average blood pressure of every gooner during the match. I doubt Almunia’s heart would have been able to handle it. Mine nearly imploded


In slightly poor taste.. but sentiment appreciated


Does anyone feel Debuchey does himself no favours by having that haircut and tattoos up his neck? Does it maybe make him look ‘aggressive’ and subliminily effect a referee?…hence his soft bookings.


We have become a counter-attacking team. That is so disappointing. We concede possession in every game now! A club like Arsenal, which was renowned for its ability to keep the ball and making passes, is now totally unable to control possession at home against Besiktas! Incredible. How could Wenger accept that? No one seems to notice that. It is often interpreted as a good sign: we are now able to defend. But it is complete nonsense. We concede as much goals as last seasons (when we had possession)! Why do we sit back behind the ball when we lose it?… Read more »


I think the lack of vocabulary isn’t a problem , the lack of knowledge is.
(I’m not English either)


You, sir, have hit the nail on its head. Most Arsenal fans (at least those who were still supporting the club from the early Wenger days) are unhappy with our style of play (or lack of it) in recent times. No effective hard pressing by the midfield (only our fullbacks, CBs do them), no patience and probing, and not even accurate passing and ball retention… Just relying on the whole team defending in fear and trying to hit on the counter like some mid-table team – it is almost sad to watch them.. Time to replace Wenger (been for some… Read more »


We signed Alexis bloody Sanchez!! What a massive shift he put in last night. I thought Ramsey had an engine on him but Alexis could give him a fun for his money! For such a “small” lad he is quite strong and doesn’t get easily bullied of the ball. Thought in the first half he was dropping to deep sometimes to try and get the ball but in the second half he was absolutely immense! But Jack Wilshere personally was my MOM. Not only were his stats amazing watching on the pitch was as well. That little turn he had… Read more »


Wilshere MOTM, Santi didn’t have one of his best games yet the stats prove what a special player he is.

2 footed, amazing technique, dribbles, works hard, tackles. Santi is the reason Poldi is leaving.

Saying Arsenal is good is bad cause we are the best

Ramsey or Wilshere not Ramsey and Wilshere

New Magic Hat

“17th consecutive season of Champions League football — a figure only topped by the 18 of Man U and Real Madrid”

And that Man U run seems to have stopped (and by the looks of things – it might be a while before they can start another)

So we will soon be the most consistent team in Europe together with Real Madrid – with a LOT less resources.
Take a bow, Monsieur Wenger

New Magic Hat

Can we please change the “Caviar” terminology to “Bacon”? Caviar is just disgusting fish eggs, which rich people eat only because it’s rare and expensive – and a status symbol. It’s basically a load of tiny, expensive sturgeon abortions. Bacon, on the other hand, is delicious. And I think Arsene would rather buy some unknown French bacon from a small farm, expertly develop it in the kitchen, and turn it into a world-class bit of nosh which wins culinary prizes. Not like some petro-oligarch who, from his gilded office at FC Gazprom-Routemaster Lokomotiv Hammersmith, just sends a servant out to… Read more »

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