0h Santi Cazorla
Led Arsenal in passing with 38 completed passes
Passed at a 93% rate, second on Arsenal behind Per Mertesacker
Led Arsenal’s attack with 11/12 passes in the final third
Led Arsenal’s attack with 2 key passes and 2 shots, taking or creating 4 of Arsenal’s pathetically poor 7 shots
Got an assist for Giroud’s goal, which Giroud made him work for, and which was a perfect drag back none-the-less
Led Arsenal’s dribbling with 3/4 attempts (Gibbs was honorable mention with 3/4 as well), for some context Sanchez and Welbeck only completed 2/9 combined dribbles and Sanchez’ only successful dribble was in his own defensive third
Led Arsenal in ball recoveries with 10 – this is a sort of defensive stat where the player picks the ball up whether via errant pass or a teammate’s tackle
Was second on Arsenal in tackles completed with a 100% 4/4 rate, all tackles were in and around the Arsenal 18 yard box
Blocked a shot in the box
Drew the foul that got Borini sent off and exposed his delicious, delicious nipple
Had 64 touches to lead Arsenal, was dispossessed twice and had no turnovers. In short, he kept tidy possession, won the ball back time and again for Arsenal, and when he won the ball back, drove the attack, creating chances for his teammates and himself. It’s a toss-up between him and Szczesny for man of the match.
What went wrong?
Chambers and Debuchy passed the ball at a 70% rate — misplacing 22 passes between them. Debuchy’s bad passes were mostly long balls (6 of the 11) but Chambers was serially shut down by Lazers, Lama, and Sterling, misplacing just 1 long pass and 10 short.
Flamini was equally terrible in possession. 74% passing from your center mid is just not acceptable. Many of his passes sought out Chambers where Chambers was not standing. And like Chambers, he wasn’t trying a ton of long balls.
Chambers was also dispossessed 3 times (terrible for a defender), turned the ball over 1 time (dribbled out of play), and had a number of passes aimed at him which he couldn’t retrieve.
Chambers did tackle a lot (led Arsenal with 5/8) but that’s only because Liverpool attacked almost exclusively down his side of the pitch. Sterling and Lasers were 8/19 dribbles on the left causing panic and pulling Arsenal’s defense apart.
Liverpool’s swarming defense is designed to cause panic in the opposition in order to cause the opposition to give the ball away. Chambers, Debuchy, and Flamini combined for 80/112 passing, 1/3 of Arsenal’s total passes on the day. With those three passing at a combined 71%, Arsenal struggled to both maintain possession and build from the back
Unable to pass, unable to penetrate, and overly reliant on one player to keep them in the game, Arsenal were lucky to get two goals today.
Liverpool took 27 shots, the most shots Arsenal have conceded since I’ve been tracking
Liverpool took 15 shots inside the penalty area and 5 shots in the prime area
Five of their six prime area shots were headers, one which they finally scored from, and only one other (Lickie Rambert) which Szczesny make a brilliant save on.
Liverpool dominated the first half in terms of possession (making 293 passes to Arsenal’s 135) but only created 9 shots and most of those were from long range, and even Coutinho’s goal went between the legs of two players. So, while they had all that possession in the first half, they didn’t do much with it.
Arsenal only created 7 shots. In all the years I have been tracking Arsenal’s stats, this club very rarely have such a poor attacking performance. Between 2008 and 2011 Arsenal took 7 or fewer shots just twice, and one of those was against Blackburn at the end of the season.
Since 2012, there have been several teams which notoriously shut down Arsenal’s offence: Southampton has done it twice, Man U once, Tottenham once (the Rosicky goal winner), and Chelsea once.
But Arsenal scored, twice, we should have won!
True, Wenger even brought on all the fullbacks at the end of the game to try to get a result. This defensive posture for the last 30 minutes of the game is another reason why Arsenal’s shots numbers were so low, why Liverpool’s were so high, and why Liverpool’s passing stats were so high. For example, after Arsenal’s second goal Liverpool took 14 of their 27 total shots.
It was a poor night from Arsenal but they still nearly pulled off the smash and grab.