3 – The number of years that I have been talking about Arsenal’s lack of shots in Champions League play
Look… Arsenal have been the worst team in Champions League play over the last three years in terms of shots per game. By that I mean they have been either at the bottom of the table or second from the bottom in terms of shots created per game for each of the last three years. There have been excuses in each of the three years: Arsenal lost their best player to injury, the team was just learning to play together, the team was just learning to play together, Arsenal lost their best players to injury, and Arsenal have drawn stiff opposition. All true. Still doesn’t change the fact that Arsenal haven’t been able to really dominate in Champions League play. For three years.
So, what you saw tonight against Borussia Dortmund wasn’t much of an anomaly actually. Last season in Champions League play, Arsenal averaged just 8.4 shots per game, the lowest of all 32 teams in the Champions League. Yes, fewer shots per game than any of the tiny clubs from some backwater. And one could argue that they are facing a lot stiffer competition considering the relative wealth of the two clubs. Worse, Arsenal only managed one shot on goal and that was from Sanchez with a crack from distance.
Shooting a lot doesn’t guarantee wins, after all Arsenal have been able to make it into the group stages despite their poor shooting record mostly on the back of the fact that they have an outstanding finishing record and a decent defensive record. But if the team doesn’t create and doesn’t finish, which is what happened against BvB, you are almost certainly going to lose a game.
Probably the most shocking stat is that Arsenal only completed three passes into the Dortmund 18 yard box between kickoff and he 47th minute. That’s not “passes that led to shots” that’s passes. In contrast, Dortmund had their way with the Arsenal box, creating four shots from passes which penetrated the Arsenal box in that same time period. By the end of the match, Dortmund would have 23 shots to Arsenal’s 5 and dominated Arsenal’s penalty area.
Merse is right, Arsenal are a gillion miles away from winning this.
Most everyone was poor
Özil had just 23 passes, 3 in the final third. He did “create” a shot: the 40 yard speculative effort from Sanchez.
Wilshere led all players with 49 completed passes, created zero shots and had just one successful pass in the BvB 18 yard box. Wilshere did lead all players with 5/6 tackles and became the 4th player injured for Arsenal this season.
Bellerin was second, behind Jack (15/19), for attacking third passes (13/18). He didn’t manage to get a single ball in the 18 yard box.
Gibbs was probably the star player for Arsenal: he created two shots, one was a dribble plus a caviar pass to Welbeck. He also led all players in interceptions with 6 and was 2/2 in tackles. YAY!
Arteta was, well, I can honestly say I’ve never seen a worse performance from an Arsenal captain. I don’t know if he was unfit or what but he misplaced 11 passes out of 56 (he is normally a 90% passer) and fell over three times. He also seemed two steps slow to react to danger.
Ramsey only attempted 37 passes, completed 25, and did create one chance (another caviar pass to Welbeck). He didn’t do much else.
Sanchez was lively, won 6/9 dribbles, but also led all players with 5 dispossessed and had several turnovers. He probably should be credited with a shot which was wrongly flagged offside.
I could go on, but I’ll spare you. Hey, I guess Koscielny wasn’t bad. And he didn’t crush his face to death on the post. That’s a win!