Thursday, June 20, 2024

Arsenal may be shooting more but it is not helping: by the numbers

After a 2-2 draw at the Emirates against Hull City, you’re probably looking for some good news and you’re in luck…. I have good news!

The good news is that Arsenal are shooting more!

That’s right, after two years of heavy spending in the forward position, buying Özil (£40m), Sanchez (£32m), and Welbeck (a bargain at £16m), Arsenal are starting to reap some reward and have seen their shots per game rise from 13.8 (9th in the League) last season to a much more respectable 15.75 (3rd in the League) this season.

Welbeck is leading the Arsenal charge with 3.6 shots per game — an improvement over last season’s leading shooter, Olivier Giroud, who only managed 3.1 per game. Tied for second behind him are Ramsey, Sanchez, and Cazorla who each average 2.3 shots per game. The contrast here with these players over last season isn’t so much in the per game numbers but rather in the number of minutes played. Most of Arsenal’s top, per-game, shooters last season (Ox, Walcott, Podolski, Gnabry, and Ramsey) had injury shortened seasons. Most of Arsenal’s top shooters this season have not.

So Yay! It’s all better!

Except, it’s not.

After 7 games, many of them difficult opponents, Arsenal aren’t struggling to get shots, they are struggling to get goals. Why? Because they are taking too many shots from distance and they are apparently terrible at taking shots from distance.

These are all League numbers, so don’t spit out your dummy about the Alexis goal in the League Cup.

Most teams convert shots from outside the 18 yard box at a rate below 5%. So, if a team takes 100 shots outside the box we’ll probably see somewhere between 3-5 goals scored. For Arsenal last season they converted just 3% of their shots from outside the box: 203 total shots from distance and just 6 goals. They buoyed this terrible number by lashing it to an impressive 19% conversion from shots in the box. And they took 61% of their shots from inside the box.

“What’s wrong with them shooting more from distance this season?” I hear you say “Arsenal need to shoot more from distance! Have a crack! Work the keeper!” And I agree, Arsenal should be working the keeper with their distance shots but they aren’t.

In the League this season, Arsenal have taken 64 shots from outside the 18 yard box and 51% of our shots this season have been shots from distance. Worse, 41% of our distance shots have been blocked. And worstest (it’s a word today), Arsenal have only even bothered the keeper on 19% of those distance shots, scoring ZERO!  Here is a chart comparing last season to this in terms of all the numbers above:


Arsenal used to be the most conservative team in the League when it came to shots from distance. Last season they were 17th in the League in long distance shots and only took 39% of their total shot output as hopeful pokes from outside the box.

This season Arsenal are number one with a bullet. I wouldn’t normally mind but these shots from distance have been particularly terrible this season. Here is a shot diagram from two of Arsenal’s most vexing draws: today’s match against Hull City and the match against Leicester City.


poor shoooting

Sure, take shots from distance, but let’s try to get some near the keeper.

Part of the reason Arsenal have missed so many shots² is that they have had an extraordinary number of their shots blocked already this season, 33% of the total compared to 26% last season. 41 of Arsenal’s 126 shots have been blocked, 26 of those 41 have been shots from outside. So, it’s little wonder, then, that Arsenal’s distance shots haven’t been working the keeper: they are being hunted down before they get to the keeper.

Interestingly, Man City, Chelsea, and Everton have only combined for 5 of the 41 blocks against Arsenal’s shots this season. That means that the lion’s share of Arsenal’s shots that have been blocked have come from games like Hull and Leicester.  Hull had 10 blocks today.

I suspect this is happening because those teams are playing Arsenal in the “low block”. In other words I think teams want Arsenal to shoot from distance while they have a crowded box. We will have to keep an eye on this as the season progresses to see if this is a permanent change at Arsenal or a phase.


The other problem is a return of the old Arsenal problem of allowing the opposition to score off just a few attempts. So far this season, Arsenal have conceded basically the same number of goals as they have scored¹ — 11 conceded, 12 scored — and they have conceded those goals on less than half as many shots — 57 to 126.

That stat is mostly explained by the fact that 4 of Arsenal’s 7 games this season have been come from behind matches. In other words, the opposition have scored on their first or second shot and then have looked to defend while Arsenal have been forced to take shot after shot.

The result is that Arsenal have taken a lot of shits from the outside, missed a lot of shits, and are basically shitting all over the place while the opposition takes one shit and smears it in our faces.

Wait… I mean shots. I think. Ugh, it’s early in the season and a lot of this could change very quickly but that is the deplorable state of the Arsenal at the moment: 13 goals scored, 11 conceded, lots of useless shots boomed hopefully from long range and just 10 points off 7 matches. UGH.

As Arseblog put it, today’s match was a bag of shit.

Errr. shots.


¹When counting conversion rates we don’t count Own Goals. So, Gibbs’ cross-cum-shot-own-goal against Villa isn’t counted.
²Every time I type “shots” my finger wanders over to “shits” I swear this is purely accidental. I’m sure Arsenal don’t take a lot of shits from outside.


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Wasteful in the final third. everybody wants to be outside the box trying to play a pass rather than attacking the box.

Chambos touch is awful with often readable passes but he tries so hell come good at some point. not scoring enough too.


Sorry to say but I’m getting a little tired of this. I’ll always be a Gooner and walking away isn’t an option but I want to see some positive results. We should be thumping teams like Hull and not in a state of bemusement because they play hard football. They aren’t a bad team but we need to be picking up points before Christmas. Oh well…..I’ve been supporting Arsenal now for over 50 years and I guess i’m too old to change. COYG and give Anderlecht a slap on Wednesday


Also my boy wilshere trying too hard in two things

1. winning the ball back
2. winning back the ankle injury that kept him out for so long.

he needs to calm his titts

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

We are not getting any of the benefits you expect from a vastly experienced manager. We often do not find the adequate tactics, our squad is not managed in a way to cut down on injuries to players. Fans get disappointed every two weeks and humiliated in front of Chelsea supporters all the time. WENGER FOR FIFA PRESIDENT ! A man of honour who will surely clean up all the corruption out there.

La Défense

Welsh Jesus needs to repent from his Hollywood ways and go back to basics. Win the ball and guard the spaces first. The rest will follow. Welsh Jesus needs to stop playing like he’s some superstar who’s already made golden boot.


First of all, this makes for much more enjoyable reading than the usual by the numbers stats! Kudos 7am! Sadly though it’s still as depressing as the old by the numbers after a frustrating match… As you said teams are packing the box and that’s leading to more shots being blocked but that is a symptom of our sometimes ridiculously slow build up and overly intricate play. By the time we get to the opposition box they have already shoved all ten men in and around the box which leads to either us A. Taking a crap shot. B. Trying… Read more »

Si in Galway

Agree with this so much. To add: 1. Since shooting from range is something almost certainly discouraged and probably even an offence in training, it’s no surprise we’re not great at it. 2. And bolstered by having some of our best “shooters” out – Poldi, Walcott, Giroud 3. And it being early in the season, people finding their passing touches but not their range shots yet? 4. Glueing those together, with your comments, slowly passing it around the box then someone (usually Santi) getting frustrated enough to try to craft a ranged shot right next to a packed box is… Read more »


I too would love to see a bunch of fast counter attacks but the other team has to get out of their half. For the most part Hull attacked with as few players as they could. Even City played a fairly conservative, counter attacking game against us. Is it the way we play or the way teams play us? It’s a bit of a chicken/egg dilemma and the answer is somewhere in between. I mostly watch Arsenal, do other big teams get this sort of treatment?

The Rozzas

I love Szczesny so much i went to the trouble of spelling his name right but i think he goes to ground far too easily i thought goalkeepers were told to stay on there feet until the last moment


Agreed. From that angle Diame would have found it almost impossible to score if our keeper had just stood his ground.


How long before we kill Alexis’ motivation?


It took a year for us to beat the free kick accuracy out of Cazorla and the desire to shoot out of Podolski, so in a few months time you might see some changes.


Last season we take points off d smaller teams but so far we have struggle and failed to take out reasonable points….. Has Wenger lost his charisma? We find it difficult to dictate and impose our game on teams these days…. #No_game_plan

#YOLO Toure

It’s like every team in the league has figured out how to play against us but Wenger’s the only one that hasn’t realised.


AW: “its ok Steve bould has been training with the team, he still have his mental strength, togetherness and physically sharp, i think he will play next match”

Az Ahmed

I have not been one to jump on the WengerOut band wagon but what he has done this season knowing the weaknesses we had in defence and defensive midfield is nothing short of unforgivable. He had all summer to sign at least one centre back and one defensive midfielder. What does he do? He signs a right back (Chambers), and with his logic, he has filled the centre back and defensive midfield position. With a heavy heart, I say Wenger needs to go now. If he really loves Arsenal he should do what’s best for Arsenal and leave. He should… Read more »

Follow the money

Wenger wants them to walk the ball into the net. Ergo no shot from distance training. Ergo we suck at it. Change the manager


Brilliant analysis that makes for awful reading. We are lacking in creativity and some invention. We move the ball too slowly at the moment allowing for the massed ranks in front of us and thus the long shots. The stats are brilliant, great work 7am, and I agree with you when you say we don’t practice long shots in training. I guess If anyone did shoot from long range in training would be tarred and feathered. We need to exploit the pace we have like we did at Villa.

Third Plebeian

Love this, 7am, but do you ever get tired of doing analyses like this? I mean, over the past many years, Arsenal have found a hundred ways to suck. Figuring out which way they suck now is just part of a monotonous story about how Arsenal have lost their way over and over again.

We never learn from our mistakes. We look like an average team that may just about fight for fourth. As always.

Nothing has changed. We haven’t even gotten better after spending record amounts of money.

Truth Hurts

We lost because our defense sucked Our defensive midfield sucked We saw this coming Arsene knew about it He talked about it and did nothing about it. We are weak defensively. No one’s protecting our back 4 Diame is an average player but he is still better than Flamini. why we we didn’t t buy him or Schneiderlin beats me as I’m sure they’re both cheaper options to khedira. (If money was the problem) This is only the begining, it gets worse from here unless some healer heals up our injured. Hopefully Wenger will take care of this same problem… Read more »

Andre's sandals

From how they played yesterday, its either the players dont practice their moves enough, they dont fear arsene, or they are concious of the fact that the system and tactics are shite and therefore make half-hearted moves. They particularly didnt look keen to win the match against Hull save for the final 6 minutes. And hull scored 2 from the only two decent chances they had. Shit.


Who saw Cesc’s goal yesterday? Chelsea now playing the ticki tacka…
Hmmm interesting development..
oh btw #WeDontNeedCesc



But Chelsea are a bus parking, ball hoofing, all out defensive team that can’t attack while we are ‘attractive and try to do things the right way, playing beautiful football’. That’s what some of these bitches tell themselves so they can sleep better at night.


The whole world and his mother has known for the the last two years we needed defensive minded midfielers but Mr Wenger continues to know best.Is there any point in Steve Bould being there as his body language tells a different story seems to have little input on what happens on and off the pitch


We all love and respect Wenger. But I can’t say I was particularly pleased when our board were falling over themselves to renew his contract. He is a legend but he doesn’t have the tactical nous to deal with having a squad with with top players in the same position. He is as stubborn as he has ever been. Trying to implement a new formation which we can see that the boys clearly struggle with has cost us the league again. Not buying defensive cover after selling two centre halves, while knowing Kos has a niggling achillies issue,as well as… Read more »

It's really a simple game

I’m dying here. Let me tell you why. I used to believe in this with football: Under-8’s through to under-15’s, teach the kids the skills, the structures, the fun, the enjoyment. If you want to win something, well then all you needed was one killer striker, 30 goals a season, you know the type.. And a team of at least average players behind him/her. Under 16’s to youths, you still need your killer striker to win anything but the other players evolved in intelligence and fitness. Tactics became important now. Systems kicked in. Four four two, three five one one,… Read more »

alexis' shorts

We don’t need anything more than the strikers we have. We need quicker build up. We need players making runs. That’s not happening, the only one running is the person with the ball while everyone else waits for the perfect pass in order to START their run. This would work if the entire opposition wasn’t set up to stop exactly what we want to do. It’s annoying. Tiki taka is not reactionary, it’s proactive and we are not doing that. Sure the opposition is ALWAYS [I wish I could just use italics] set up to defend us, but that’s okay… Read more »


With the current number of shots from outside the box, we ought to just put Podolski lurking outside their box and set him up with some cracks from distance. Then we might actually convert a few of the shots into goals for a change.


In the league we have converted 10 % of our shots and the opposition 19 %. Mostly it is down to our opponents having more of their shots on target. We converted 33 % of our shots on target and the opposition 39 %. If however you add CL things change dramatically by regressing towards the mean. Then our overall conversion rate is 11 % and that of our opposition 12 %. Of the shots on target we converted 34 % and our opponents 30 %. The conversion of shots on target is very close to historical means. In the… Read more »


I want Ian Holloway as the new manager – he can’t be any worse and is far funnier! 🙂


If we had won all the games we drew this season we still wouldn’t be top! Oh fuck!


7amkickoff, I’m in awe of your ability to analyse and interpret statistics, and convey your findings in a insightful and meaningful way. Thank you!


The real problem is conceding the shit goals. Teams like hull will always be deep but by giving them soft goals and something to hang on to we drive them even deeper until the entire game is played on the edge of their box.

I agree we dilly dally way too long half the time but it’s very hard to break with speed if the other team don’t come out.

Stop conceding stupid goals and the other side will come occasionally and we’ll have more space to play


Let’s not kid ourselves. Arsenal’s problem is mental. Wenger is only interested in winning fair. This is who he is. Someone will say that the period from 97-05 doesn’t show this. Well, that’s because of the character of players AW had at the time. You’d also say that AW bought the likes of Viera, true but he grew up as a footballer under the leadership of Adams. All those red cards and rough play that made that team champions was not what AW wanted. When he said “I didn’t see it” he actually mean’t that. It was not to protect… Read more »


this is an outstanding point – AW inherited TA, Keown at al, players who know the dark arts of the game, who in turn taught them to Dennis, Patrick, Titi etc. there is a word that keeps coming to describe AW this season – criminal – & i couldn’t agree more. we got away with it last season at the back, & for him to say we have the same defenders is, frankly, taking the piss out of his own supporters. i was so excited when we got Alexis, & genuinely thought that 3 or 4 more would follow because… Read more »

Wilshere for EPL player of the season

I, like most of us gooners.. I believe are tired to even lament anymore after watching us keep repeating such disappointing performance. Season after season.


The buck stops with arsene wenger, it’s his team, he decided not to buy a defensive midfielder and a centre back. As the posters before me said it has become so pathetic that I was not sure what to say in my post without saying something I have not repeated before. I am not a Wenger out person but more of he needs a kick up his arse. Ypu get paid 8 million , a top salary, so the least you can do is own up to yor deficiencies, its not a excuse to not learn. Dare I say(100 lashes… Read more »


..Arsene Wenger…


You don’t stop playing until the ref blows the whistle, even if you are fouled.
Understood Flamini?
Not the first time you are costing us important goals.
And Per, grow a pair! Attack this facking ball!!! You should win headers all day long.
And what is this corner taking? Can it be slower? Can you make it easier to defend?


I don’t doubt the statistics at all, but ~16 shots per game on average sounds good. So why does it feel like so much of what I’ve watched this season has been so poor?

Also, I’d be interested to see if there’s a difference in shooting ratios in CL games? We are told European teams are more expansive and likely to “let you play”; is this true and are we taking advantage of it?

Le' Cheupez

The shooting statistics are baffling. I wouldn’t say i haven’t noticed them though. The Ox and Carzola have been particularly guilty of speculative shots which in my opinion and certainly Arsene’s are not ‘our’ game. With all the bile that that Hull result brought on us i think it’s important not to forget our offensive deficiencies of last season. I believe it was properly addressed in the transfer window and we’re just struggling in that learning curve trying to form relationships in the final third. I don’t believe AW is not tactically astute as some may have you believe, when… Read more »


Chelshit are so much better than us it hurts.


Meanwhile we’re spunking good money on pedigree players we never use.


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