Sunday, April 21, 2024

Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham: By the Numbers

Arsenal dominated Spurs in nearly every offensive statistical category today, shots (16-6), passes (542-199), crosses (44-12 and 8-3 successful), dribbles (14-7), corners (15-5), and ball recoveries (48-36). Meanwhile Spurs dominated Arsenal in nearly every defensive statistical category, tackles (23-17), interceptions (22-19), clearances (44-11), blocked crosses (0-7), blocked shots (0-7), and fouls (16-7). In short, Spurs played like a little team, sitting back trying to hit Arsenal on the counter and it nearly worked. Except they didn’t score on a counter, they scored off high pressure, from an error by Flamini. And their defense first scheme didn’t work either since they conceded a goal and Arsenal probably should have had more goals on the day had they not been in poor finishing form or had been able to get the ball and players into dangerous areas for their forwards.

45 – North London Derbies Arsene Wenger has managed
11 – Different Tottenham managers Arsene Wenger has played against
21 – Wins by Wenger in those 45 matches
18 – Draws by Wenger in those 45 matches
6 – North London Derbies Arsene Wenger has lost
5 – Wins Arsene Wenger has managed over Spurs in the last 7 matches, along with one draw and one loss

12 – Shots Arsenal managed in this exact fixture last season
1 – Giroud goal which ensured all three points as Arsenal put in one of the defensive performance of their season last year
43 – Tackles Arsenal attempted in this fixture last season
19 – Interceptions Arsenal make in this fixture last season
5 – Blocks Arsenal made on Tottenham shots in this fixture last season

6 – Tottenham shots today
16 – Arsenal shots today
2 – Number of Arsenal shots in good areas
70 – Percent of possession controlled by Arsenal
176 – Arsenal passes in the Spurs final third
199 – Tottenham passes in the entire match
44 – Crosses attempted by Arsenal
8 – Crosses successful by Arsenal
3 – “Successful” Arsenal crosses which were saved from going out of touch by a player on the opposite side of the pitch
44 – Clearances Arsenal forced Spurs to make
11 – Clearances Spurs forced Arsenal to make
3 – Number of those 11 Arsenal clearances which were well outside the 18 yard box
7 – Number of Tottenham’s 44 clearances which were outside the 18 yard box
29 – Number of attempted dribbles by Arsenal
3 – Number of those dribbles which were in our own half¹
1 – Number of those dribbles in our own half which were failed dribbles by Flamini and which led to a shot which led to Nacir Chavli scoring their only goal
∞ – Number of times this summer me or one of my friends begged Arsene Wenger to buy an actual defensive midfielder
3 – Arsenal players who were injured in this game (so far!)
Maybe – Percent chance that Arsene Wenger could play Abou Diaby against Chelsea next week
100 – If Diaby plays, this is the percentage chance I’ll be on my couch chanting “kick his head off” any time Diaby gets near John Terry

A lesson in why all stats aren’t equal

Lamela and Ox had eerily similar stats today. For example, both had 4 successful take-ons out of 8 attempts and both also led their team with three key passes. But bulk numbers are where the comparisons end. Lamela’s three key passes were much more incisive than Ox’s and Ox’s dribbles were much more important in terms of causing havoc in the Spurs back line.

So, here are Lamela’s 4/8 dribbles. As you can see, he was mostly pegged back into his own half and used his close control to open the game up from deep. These are risky dribbles (as we saw when Flamini was caught in possession) and as a result I would be tempted to count them as less valuable than dribbles in the other half.  When he did try to break the Arsenal defense in our final third, he was stopped time and again.

photo 1 (1)

Compare that to Ox and his 4/8 successful dribbles. Ox attempted all 8 dribbles in the Spurs half and did very well out on the corner of the 18 yard box winning all 4 of his attempts twice breaking down the Tottenham defensive wall and creating trouble in the back. Where he struggled was in the corner where Spurs were able to put multiple players on him. Like tackles high up the pitch, my theory is that dribbles high up the pitch are more valuable than dribbles in the defensive half. Thus I would rate Ox’s dribbles as more important for the team than Lamela’s.

photo 2

Lamela and Ox also both had 3 “key passes” or passes which led to a teammate’s shot. However, I prefer Lamela’s pass locations to Ox’s simply because I know that the places where Lamela’s teammates were taking shots are significantly higher rate of conversion than where Ox’s teammates were taking shots.

photo 3

Shots from inside the box and shots from short passes, rather than long crosses, are generally much higher conversion rates. Think of it at three fields, in and around the 6 yard box about 30% conversion, inside the 18 yard box about 15% conversion, and outside the 18 yard box is around 3% conversion which is to say anything outside the 18 yard box is a speculative effort at best.

photo 4

This isn’t meant to denigrate Ox’s contributions, I would say he was man of the match, but rather to say that we shouldn’t count all stats as equal even if they have the same definition. All stats aren’t equal, some are more equal than others.



¹If Flamini hadn’t lost control of that ball this would have been a huge positive for Arsenal. I was complaining just last week against Dortmund that Arsenal were dribbling in their own half too much and that we would eventually get caught out. This week we contained the dribbling to the opposition final third and were still caught out. The lesson here is that one mistake, especially for a less mobile defensive midfielder, in a dangerous area is far more important than a whole lot of good work in a good area.

Stats: Opta, my database
Graphics: FourFourTwo Stats Zone

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We got caught many times on the counter attack, lucky that spuds are shit, this can’t happen v chelsea


It will happen unless wenger decides to be wise and choose to approach the chelsea game with more caution, we should not try to dominate possession at chelsea because we know they are a counter attacking team against the big sides regardless of home or away. We should surrender possession to them and use a front four of sanchez,ox,ozil and danny to hit them on the counter, diaby and jack or diaby and flamini (being more defensive) should shield the back four. I believe chelsea still play like stoke against the big sides regardless of their expensive buys, we should… Read more »


That could be hilarious.

Both teams lumping it up and trying to give the ball away in less dangerous positions, ‘whoopsy, I guess you need to push players forward with posession now and leave gaps at the back, eh? eh?’.

Diaby`s Glassware

what a dummy by Danny boy!!!


I am a big merte fan , but hes useless when we press and we could have conceded few times on counters. He cannot play big games or we will keep conceding on break esp vs chelsea


Thank God someone observes the truth and points it out, our slow BFG is the reason I want calum to be grown as a CB. Imagine a mature and pacey calum and kos at the heart of our defence, I just think its proper to have an english cb at the heart of our defence. Against the quick and tricky strikers or attacking teams I think BFG struggles alot, you just can’t leave him one on one!


Good article. You forgot one stat though –

1 – Number of points won by Tottenham compared to last year
2 – Number of points dropped by Arsenal compared to last year



4 – Number of places we are above Sp*rs in the league.
2 – points more than the spuds that we have. At this rate, we’ll end up 13 points ahead of Sp*rs at the end of the season.


You mean the game where we beat your £100 million in signings, then signed Mesut Ozil, and finished above you in the league for the millionth time? Yeah, you’re right, we did beat you that game. Don’t worry though, I’m sure your next manager will be a return to normalcy with the 2-0’s and 5-2’s we all (you included) know and love.


@Wozz – you Spudcunts are celebrating getting a point. That shows how inferior you mugs are to us. Are you going to the Spuds open top bus parade tomorrow?

Arsene's Wengerboyz

3 – Fresh new injuries ahead of Galatasaray and Chelsea. Ffs!!!!

Tee Söng

Not to praise the tots but I wouldn’t say their game plan didn’t work. A draw away to a big rival isn’t a bad result and in big games, if you’re gong to win you’re more likely to win at home. Given current form, injuries, and recent history I’d gladly take a draw at Stamford Bridge. I agree on the “balance of play,” we deserved to win. On the other hand, if you make very basic errors in possession and defensively, do you deserve to win?


I am not surprised the gunners could not win. Wenger is still persisting with trying to weave a way through the Fort Knox route to goal.It has not worked due to elaboration.It hasn’t worked since Ronaldo and Drogba scored repeatedly and yet the fm is as deluded as ever.He blames injuries.I blame him The next series of games will finally prove whether he is a specialist in failure. I am inclined to think the special one will try to nail in his superiority by beating the gunners next week. He doesn’t waste time with repeated passing . His attack is… Read more »

American Gunner

F**k Flamini. All he does is run his mouth, can’t control the ball. He doesn’t need play any game in the BPL ever again. How did he get at that level?


Well like they say, the title isn’t won in September. The season is long and still a lot of sh*t can happen. Maybe Costa or Fabregas will get injured at some point. Maybe Costa won’t be able to cope with the absence of a winter break. No league leaders in December has ever won the league. By winter we’ll also have our long term injured players back. Let’s stop looking at the table for a moment and just focus on our performance (yes, that’s Wenger talk). I think offense is actually a bigger problem than defense for us. We score… Read more »


no league leader in December has ever won the league.
I doubt that.


I just think he means that the league isn’t won between August and December.


It isn’t won in September, or December for that matter, but it’s entirely possible for it to be unobtainable by then. We’re 6 points behind in 6 matches. That’s 1 lost point per match. At this rate, we’ll be 20 points behind by January, unless we shape up and start winning.

That being said, our run in the league looks pretty good after the Chelsea match. I’m hoping we’ll be able to go on a winning streak then.

American Gunner

Flamini, What a loud mouth. This guy shouldn’t play at this level. Where did we find him? Every time he’s on the ball, my heart rate goes up. He can’t defence, can’t control, can’t place a good pass. Always causing us to lose game or points

Mate Kiddleton

Except last year against Man City when he scored that equaliser, and generally had a stormer of a game?


0 – how many times we get to face Chelsea with a full strength team

100 – percentage it seems Chelsea always seem to have all their key player fit against us


Naija Fan

I can’t figure it out why Arsenal can’t get a top quality stiker and DM.Are we satisfied with qualifying for CL and finishing above spurs?


1- crapviar distribution from Szcz rushing the outlet which led to our defenders all being under pressure leading to Flam getting caught on the ball. Yes Flam got caught. No, Szcz did not have to rush that out. I’ve been very disappointed by his distribution this season.

Dave Gooner

Correct, and why did we buy Ospina if not for precisely this????


I really hope in January we shell out the cash a buy cover in the d and a fast, strong, proven and athletic DM…I know they come at a premium, but that’s the cost we pay to complete our team and push for silverware! Please do it AW and company…please take us to glory


1- number of first half penalties ref Michael Oliver failed at giving to the Arsenal.
2- number of times Lamela made poor tackles before he was carded (compare that with Wilshire being carded after his first foul).
2- number of additional bookings Lamela should have received for poor challenges on Wilshire and Gibbs.
3- number of times Oliver should have booked Kaboul.


Also I forgot:
20- the number of consecutive years that the Arsenal will have finished above spurs when this season ends.

Dave Gooner

1 – the number of people IN THE WHOLE WORLD who won’t play Mesut Ozil through the centre, despite the evidence of his own eyes.


The real facts are that any spurs fan once they saw that team Pochettino had put out thought we would be in for hiding. The back four barring vertonghen are championship standard. Naughton, kaboul, rose, Chadli and adebayor are terrible players and adding mason in was suicidal but it paid off! Spurs had many better players not playing tbut still took the lead and came away with a point. What we have learned here is that spurs team was better than spurs fans thought it was going to be and arsenals are not as good as they think they are.… Read more »


100% – Soler will be MOTM for Chelsea
100% -praying The Despicable One will just defend and we will just defend so will end in a 0-0 draw otherwise it will end up in tears. For us


11- PL. Games undefeated


You list a load of stats to show how Arsenal dominated the game and supposedly should have won, yet then go on to write a whole paragraph as to why stats are misleading and Oxlade was better than Lamela despite similar stats. Which one is it?

I think most people with half a brain would have recognised that Arsenal did have a few chances and a lot of posession but with a better final pass/shot could have been two or three clear by HT. It was a great defensive performance and I think overall a draw was fair.


*Spurs could have been two or three clear…


And how many dropped points @arsehobbit how many


Bonaroca:- Arsenal needs to cut up on passing the ball from one olayer to another even when one can see that the opposition is reorginizing their defense, which eventually they are capable of turning into attack and get us cold with the defense wide open.

I still insist that Arsenal really need an experienced MDF to cover the slow experienced Merc , Mourinhio has very good players on the break who could score goals something that Arsenal lack.

I will be happy a draw against Chelsea.


So um, we should only look at stats that favor our opinion or team & ignore the ones that don’t fit the narrative……got it


It’s all a huge fucking conspiracy mate. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The narrative be like a penis and then girls be like “damn, it don’t fit!” You know what I’m saying? No? Oh, ok, I don’t know what you’re saying either. Maybe we should both just shut up then.

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