Saturday, January 28, 2023

Swansea 2-1 Arsenal: by the numbers

Let’s do a more traditional “by the numbers” where I give the stats from a single game but with a twist. Instead of just a dump of stats where you have to figure out what’s meaningful or not, I’m going to explain some things to look for in the stats which help to give them context.

Let’s start with tackles.

The 36 Chambers of getting skinned

Chambers was Arsenal’s most challenged player and ended the game attempting 7 tackles.

In the first half, he only attempted two tackles, one was in his own defensive third (failed) and the other was in the Swansea final third (successful). That’s one tackle defensive and one pressing.

In the second half, all of his attempted tackles were defensive. He was 2 for 5 and the worst part was that he was just 1/3 tackling on the edge of the box.

Interestingly, after Arsenal’s goal he only attempted 1 tackle. You might imagine that he attempted a tackle when Montero got in the assist but he actually didn’t because he was so worn down by that point that he didn’t even put in a challenge.

Arsenal’s two erstwhile defensive midfielders (Ramsey and Flamini) were 4/4 tackling. Which looks good until you see that all four of those tackles were in the first half. In the second half, they didn’t even attempt a tackle. If they had been in position to make a tackle, perhaps Gibbs wouldn’t have needed to foul, see image below.

Image via BBC
Image via BBC

Oxlade-Chamberlain was the only other player to attempt a tackle down the Arsenal right flank. He was 1/2, both of them were on the edge of the box, and critically, both were in the first half.

In fact, Arsenal’s first half tackling was 7/9 (mostly in the middle of the pitch) and the second half tackling was 8/16 (almost exclusively down the wings).  The graphics for that looks like this (courtesy Opta via the StatsZone by FourFourTwo)

First half tackles

Second half tackles

Chambers has come in for a lot of criticism in this match and the truth is that the 19 year old struggled, especially in the second half when he went from looking jaded to looking like a piece of jade. But equally true is that Chambers had no one helping him out on that side of the pitch. Ox did it in the first half for a while but after Arsenal started streaming forward Chambers was routinely beaten by his marker and Arsenal were exposed.

Key passes, huh? What is it good for?

But for all the forward play, Arsenal struggled to create much that really threatened Swansea. Worse, after Arsenal scored they didn’t create a single shot between the 62 minute and the 92nd minute.

It happens, sometimes, that top level teams can concede goals in rapid succession. These teams usually come back into the game and start creating shot after shot, usually from progressively closer positions until they score the breakthrough and then the winner.

Against Swansea, however, Arsenal froze. No one was able to create a shot until virtually the last kick of the game and that shot, which was in a fantastic position, was blocked.  So, while Arsenal took 13 shots (11 of them created by teammates) it was that missing 30 minutes which really killed the game.

As for key passes, whenever you read that X player “created three shots” you should immediately ask “what kind of shots?” Cazorla, for example, created three chances, two outside the box where players score around 3% of the time and one inside the box off a corner (header, wide). These are all low percentage chances created, and both of the Cazorla chances from open play were blocked as well, they were rushed shots.

Ox, on the other hand, created 4 chances and while two of them were outside the D and thus chucks from long range, the other two were quite special. The little pass in to Welbeck which created Arsenal’s second best chance of the game was quite good as was the cross that set up Wilshere’s last gasp effort.

Alexis and Welbeck were criticized during and after the game which is strange to me since they were the two who put Arsenal in the winning position. Welbeck was quiet on offense: he only had one shot, one key pass, and was 2 for 3 in dribbles. But, one of his dribbles produced the key pass that scored the goal which should have won Arsenal the match.

Meanwhile, Wenger continued his sometimes baffling post-match commentary with his remark that

I’ve looked at the stats and it’s true that Sanchez had a mediocre match by his own ridiculously high standard. He scored the first goal, created three chances (all in the second half, only one was a shot outside the box, and one was the best chance of the second half), and only had one dribble. He was also 14/24 passes in the final third, meaning he “misplaced” 10 passes.

But there’s more to that story than just the 10 misplaced passes. For example, one of those “bad” passes was to Theo Walcott, a caviar pass from 20 yards in the middle of a deluge which the Arsenal forward failed to control.

That’s the weird thing about passing stats. Like crosses, what counts as a “good” pass is simply whether player A kicks the ball and player B (from his own team) collects the ball. It doesn’t matter if the passes were all behind the runner, sideways, if they had to sprint 20 yards to keep it from going out of play, or if they were tackled right away after. If they collect the ball the passer gets credit.

Player Goals Shots KP DRB Pass% Disp Turn
Costa 10 3.1 2 1.2 77 2.9 2.2
Aguero 12 5.2 0.7 2.7 83 2.8 1.9
Alexis 8 2.9 2.4 3.1 77 2.2 2.5

If Alexis is guilty of anything it’s the bigotry of raised expectations. He’s a stats stuffer, like Suarez, Costa, and Aguero and when he has a game where all he does is score a goal and set up two great chances I guess he deserves some criticism.

No, wait, the word I was looking for there was credit. He deserves credit.

Overall, Arsenal did enough to win the game but they failed to defend their lead again.


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Alexis didn’t have his best game….pfft.

Must be quite warm in that glass house Arsene.


At half time a better manager would taken Monreal off and put Chambere in the middle and bring on Bellerin.But we dont have a good manager.

Cant agree we did enough to win Swansea were much the better team

Me So Hornsey

I think up until we scored Arsenal’s set up was perfect. Solid, Ramsey sitting, no risks. Swansea were frustrated, came out a bit and we sucker punched them. All according to plan. Then we reverted to type. 1-0 up and Ramsey and both our full backs caught up top for their break which les to their free kick. For Wenger to leave Chambers at right back knowing he was getting torn a new one every 5 minutes after already having witnessed Hazard do the same thing last month, also knowing we have speedster Bellerin on the bench is hard to… Read more »


You know what the saddest thing is?
He’ll still do the same thing again United.


Oh, we don’t have a good manager? Shut the fuck up. Wenger is a great manager. Wenger stays. And that’s that.


Your nickname should be Wankke.

Türkiş Gooner

They guy can’t catch a break…that Alexis. Puts us in the lead and then watches a bunch of headless chickens waste it in no time! really feel for him….and Ox.

Bolarinwa Mayowa

If we continued in this manner, it will only be a matter of time before Alexis begin to queation his own decision to have joined us in the first place if not already, we can’t just continue to let this guy down

H. P. Arsecraft

The big consern is that we have a history of our “stars” leaving when they get fed up with the direction or wage so if this continues we might have a real problem of keeping our biggest assets in the summer.
Özil, Koscielny, Ramsey, Cazorla, Wilshere all of them want’s CL football and if they don’t get it we’re in for at tough time convincing them to stay.

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

Ozil still needs to show us he is a big asset. Only his transfer fee is showing that to date.


keep in mind one thing. It is Wenger’s love for Wilshere and Ramsey that had Ozil, arguably one of the best creators and orchestrators in the team, playing on the wing in a formation that does not allow his talents to come through. I put this solely on Wenger’s desire to prove this is Wilshere’s transformational year. The team, the league, the future of Ozil, all that be damned as far as the manager is concerned.
And yes, Wilshere is a poseur. And yes, Ramsey wants to be a poseur too.


All but one of those blokes are fairly regularly crocked. We don’t finish top 4 & suddenly they all demand to leave? Righto……..

Anthony Payne

You bring up an interesting point. This isn’t the first time Alexis has placed us in a winning position only to be let down by some of his team mates it had already happened on five other occasions.There was the goal that put us 2-1 ahead against Man City along with the opening goals v Leicester, Hull, Anderlecht and Southampton (though being k/od from the Carling Cup was arguably a blessing in disguise.
The frustration of all this is that these are all symptoms of the inadequacies of our activity during the transfer window.


Do not forget the Ox’s first five passes went astray! We need to pass much better


Garry Monk made 2 changes, one had an assist (if that passes for it as it was Barrow that was fell for the free-kick for their first goa) and the second scored the winning goal. Exactly what you’ll expect from a top manager, what our manager used to be and never will be. And Tim, I once put forward a post that I think Kos was carrying Per and you accurately and fairly slaughtered my misquided assumptions. But how’s Mertesacker faring now. Despite all the anger at Monreal I actually think he’s been the better centerback to the specialist centerback… Read more »

Mark Hughes

What I will say is that Mertesacker is faring as well as big Sol Campbell did without his regular partner in the form of Toure, who also happened to be a quick defender. Both Mertesacker and Campbell both read the game incredibly well but still need a faster central defender to help ‘mop up’ at the back.

I understand hyperbole is all the rage when we lose but let’s not all lose perspective about every other facet of our game and players.

palace gunner

I agree with you on montero his pace was out classing chambers, which seen gibbs pounding all around mid defence sad but shows second half the early tackles should have happened not watch players run into ariel zone ball watching passes and most of all gd goal sanchez, gd to see theo and j10 play gd pace again by theo in the last quarter of the game sonago was not gd


just write “good” damn it!!!!


I don’t know wtf you are saying palace. come again please.


I think the number of yellow cards (the referee’s caution due to the rainy conditions??) had a big effect. Perhaps a similar gameplay to what Mourinho used when gaining that extra yard afforded against Hazard when the defender has a yellow card. I’d like to see some ideas on a solution on how to counter a counterattack… I think it would be quite interesting to see how Wenger deals with it. Perhaps one way would be to exploit your pace up top by using someone who is efficient in breaking up a counterattack and/or is able to play an efficient… Read more »

Hugh Jarse

3 – Number of League titles won by Wenger

0 – Number of League titles won by Wenger without any of George Graham’s defence.

H. P. Arsecraft

Spot on!


Tried it on my Jack Russell but those pesky fleas remain dame it

angel gooner

As much as i’m p’d of with the manager, that statement is false you do know that right?.
Where was lauren Campbell toure and cole in grahams team?

Yes we are angry,but don’t be silly.

Hugh Jarse

2003/4 only had a few appearances by Keown, but he was on the training field everyday.
Also Cole, Campbell, Toure and Lauren who played the majority of the games that year, were mostly bought in while the core of GG’s defence were still there.

Mark Hughes

You’ve completely moved the goalposts in your own argument when you realised you were wrong.
That’s like saying, how many league titles did George Graham win without David Dein there? You can’t try and create an argument, be proved wrong and then change it to ‘well they were there in spirit’.


2 – Number of League titles won by George Graham
0 – Number of League titles won by George Graham without any of Don Howe’s defence


Would that be the same George Graham who signed David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn and Steve Bould after Don Howe had resigned?

Nostalgic one

Great point Hugh jarse and one I’ve been making for the last 10years. Wenger was the luckiest guy in the world to inherit that defensive unit. Bring back king George to work with that defence.

kona cadabra

a nostalgic one like you surely remembers that defence ending 4th and 12th or how david got lobbed from 50 mtrs out… in a final… heh. … good old days …champions one the next… there is no denying ggs defence was strong and solid but we are not talking about maldini hierro sammer and baresi and costacurta but adams and bould and dixon who would get ridiculed by vryzas and a 19 year old giggs. if we want to be offensive and ridicule wenger and piss on his achievements for arsenal then why stop there…lets put under scrutiny the… Read more »


Lauren kolo sol cashley

the invincibles defence was all arsene


so you tell me that the greatest team of the PL era who gone undefeated a whole season were made up of the back 4 of Graham era …now let see A.Cole/Sol Campbell/kolo Toure/Lauren .Ho yea i remember now , G .graham bought them all ,
the second title(2001/02) only keown was regular because sol was already here,cole took over from silvinho with Dixon as back up and lauren was or right back then too

let not get in a way of BIG FAT LIE AND MYTH for a good story bro!!!

Mark Hughes

Technically, aren’t those players all Arsenal’s players as they paid the transfer fees?

Me So Hornsey

0 – Number of League titles won by Wenger without any of George Graham’s defence.

That is quite clearly wrong as pointed out above. So for you to add:

Also Cole, Campbell, Toure and Lauren who played the majority of the games that year, were mostly bought in while the core of GG’s defence were still there.

Your clutching here mate, really clutching….

Man Manny

The truth is that, unlike our loss to chelsea, we were beaten by a team I believe we were better than on the day. And that is a major source of worry – the mentality is not right. We see teams with a strong mentality win games with a make-shift defence; Man U spring to mind. I wonder what the manager tells these boys. Does he demand victory at all cost? Or do they have the feeling of a father figure who tells them tomorrow will be better? This team is potentially better than what they are producing. They need… Read more »


Arsenalling……Wenger has made us fall so low we are a byword for fucking up.


It’s obvious what Wenger was saying, that this wasn’t Sanchez’s best game. And who can disagree with that? Personally, I think he did fairly well. Yes he scored, but it was a tap in. The Ox, Cazorla and Welbeck did all the hard work for the goal, Sanchez just added the garnish. We must be careful to not go to the other extreme. Obviously I can’t go into the detail 7am goes into, but we can look at the raw stats. Sanchez. 1 goal (tap in). 3 key passes. 41 passes with 71% accuracy. 1 dribble. 0 tackles and 1… Read more »


The point is why did Wenger single out Sanchez, why bother? Even if he was asked specifically about Sanchez his retort that he “did not have his best game” was at best naive, and certainly totally needless, not even considering his performances and the effort he has put in since he joined.


Im pretty sure he was responding to a question about alexis.

apart from one run and key pass alexis was very quiet in the first half. I also think he has played better for us.


Why not protect Alexis and himself by saying “I will not comment on individual performances”, like he should have


I have to stop watching ground hog day it’s fucking messing with my mind
Wenger out anyone?

A K 57

Baffling choice of words from Wenger to go with his baffling choice of substitutes. We have seen how podolski can get you a goal in dying minutes and yet Sanogo is preferred to him. I got no doubt had the Sonogo not been playing then Sanchez would have been where Wilshere was for the last chance and he would have scored. Wenger is not the manager he was few years ago. His assessment of the first goal was ridiculous. The first goal happened due to the fact we had 6 players including Ramsey and Flamini in Swansea half. One through… Read more »


I think the decision to bring Sanago on instead of Poldi baffled most people.

Regarding Sanago, I want to make my position clear – he is not and never will be good enough for Arsenal football club.


He’s not good enough for Yeovil town FFS


I’ve got a plan Arsene.
We go 1.0 up in the second half ,away from home in the Premier League in a tight game. You stay rooted to the bench but let Steve Bould stand up and bark orders to our back four and two sitting midfielders about discipline and shape. I think monsieur it will work.


I think Steve Bould values his job too much


Klopp might let Bouldy speak?

monkey knees

Get Hummels and Matuidi or Schneiderlin in, in January (players with proven top league balls and quality – something we lack in their positions!) and give Wenger until the end of the season, to use this injection of defensive minded class to push for 2nd place. I fear his time is very nearly up, though. Lose against this terrible united team and things may get ugly.


Didn’t this terrible United team finish 7th last season? Well at least we didn’t lose to them last season …… oh wait.


I’m relieved that I’m not the only one who thinks Wenger’s post-match interviews have become quite nonsensical.

Diaby`s Glassware

AW for Indian Super League anyone? Rambo is seriously…or dangerously for that matter, out of form. flamini and form are two planets apart. Chambers had a good teacher…that encounter was good for his experience. Now about some skank talking about George Graham…you’d better get an emergency check-up

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

Wenger for FIFA President ! He deserves better than you are suggesting. As a manager he is getting himself in the same category as Ranieri, Svend Goran Erickson etc…The has-been managers. All this because of his stubborn attitude.


I don’t care if Alexis the Sanchez didn’t have a good game. The fucking guy is human.
This is a squad of 11 players.
He has done too much in a short period of time.
I really dont want to hear any complaints about him.


7amkickoff consistently likes to use statistics to colour the story his way. God forbid if you goes against his narrative, they don’t like dissent on that site, much prefer the sound of their own voices. That said, not sure what the gripe is about Wenger’s comment. Alexis plays to his own standard and he wasn’t entirely up to the level. That’s all Wenger is saying. Meanwhile Wenger has more pressing issues to address. Namely the brittle nature of the Back 4 has an immediate impact on the rest of the team. The midfield was relatively solid through the game. Much… Read more »


Gibbs and the first goal. Again 7amkickoff chooses to interperate it the way he seems fit. yes Flamini and Ramsey were on this one occasion too far up. But Gibbs caught up with the attacker and there was at least on defender (Per) between the attacker and goal. The issue here in this instance would be how Gibbs manages the situation. IMO he was rash. he had done the hard part catching up to the player. He needed to push the player wide in concert with Metersecker. The situation was far from goal and manageable. It’s how you see things.… Read more »


Wenger is caught in a bit of a damm if you do and damm if you don’t situation. He puts on Podolski last game and the chap did not perform. People chastise Wenger for not using Walcott. He uses Walcott this time round and they ask him why he did not use Podolski Granted the German is a potent asset, Sanogo flatters to deceive at the moment. I think at that point, he was thinking strictly route one. That should not preclude Podoslki not being able to profit from the box though with Welbeck kept on. I have an issue… Read more »


Sanogo flatters to deceive at the moment….

I beg to Differ,

Sanogo is shite, he’s a backwards step from bendtner


Martin – you will get thumbed down on here for saying Sanago is shite, probably by the same dicks that 5 years ago thought Bendtner was a future goal machine.


7amkickoff might like to highlight how many times Montero got past Calum Chambers.

Wait that doesn’t prove the need for a new physically imposing DM.;)


Santori are you trolling?


Boy, does he have a hard on for you.

Mark Hughes

Don’t let the bastards grind you down. A lot of us here appreciate your posts as it allows us to see the information in one place rather than having to scrabble around ourselves for it.

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

I have always said Wenger has gotten too powerful as a manager in a club. Proof is his refusal to recruit players that we need year after year. Podolski is obviously a player who is frustrating at times but to give up on what he can bring to the club is another proof everything is about Wenger at the club.


Remember when he didn’t buy that striker we needed, or that right back we needed or that goalkeeper we needed.

We bought three new players and tried desperately to keep Sagna. In an ideal world we would have another CB and a DM but because he couldn’t get them doesn’t mean he is refusing to buy players we need. We had a good transfer window, just not the perfect one.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

We are now seeing the value a player like Sagna had for Arsenal. Even though he is in the business of warming the bench to stuff the bank account these days, nobody can forget the performance he used to put in when used as a CB.


The Sagna situation typifies what is wrong with modern football.
He could have stayed and become a true legend but instead he’s gone to sit in the bench at Citeh for some extra money that he will realistically never spend.


i hope Wenger sticks with the 4-4-2 formation with Alexis and Welbeck/Giroud as strikers. no reason why Alexis can’t be like Aguero. don’t waste him on the wing.


I would prefer Monrea on right back…remember Sagna played left back against Udinese and had an assist.


Putting things into perspective, we are currently third. I doubt the likes of Southampton, West Ham, and Swansea will finish in the top 4. Every big team is doing bad except Chelsea. Actually if the chavs weren’t doing so well, I doubt we would be so angry (same can be said for fans of other clubs). I’m still waiting for Costa to pull a grade 3 hamstring, and Fabregas to dry out like an overused old c*nt. To be honest, I think the league is over, and we’ll need a miracle to win the CL. That leaves the FA Cup… Read more »

Mark Hughes

Sixth is the new third apparently.


I tell you a stat I’d like to see how many headed goals have we concerned this season??

Down under

The second most in the league only after burnley which is a team at the bottom of the table with one win…


I’ve always been a supporter of Wenger, Still am, But I think failing to sign a centre half should be the final nail in his coffin, make no mistake, were one of the longest running jokes in the premier league, usually that we fall off at christmas and end up in a scrap for fourth, reality this season is we were never ever going to challenge for the title, the middle of the park may as well not be there for all the good its done this season and our back four has been awful, Debuchy looked solid and Gibbs… Read more »


our back four has been awful, Debuchy looked solid and Gibbs is ok, Chambers has potential as well”

Our defence is good, we just desperately need a backup Center Back.


Apart from Kos none of our defensive players would make it into city or chelseas team, thats the harsh reality, to overtake them we need better players than them

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