Saturday, January 28, 2023

Wenger goes Plan B to take three points from WHam: By the Numbers

Arsene Wenger conceded possession, then sent his team out to disrupt play, and hit West Ham on the counter! Arsenal out defensed the defensive master! He out Allardyced Allardyce!

56 – Total Aerial Duels in this game
24 – Aerial duels won by Arsenal (32 won by WHam, 16 in each half so, 16 offensive and 16 defensive, and 1 which led to a goal)
56 – Clearances Arsenal made today
23 – Clearances Arsenal average per game this season (fewest in the League)
33 – Headed(!!!) clearances Arsenal made today – I don’t know Arsenal’s average per game headed clearances, but given the fact that Arsenal only make 23 clearances on average and they had 33 headed clearances today, I’m going to guess that 33 is a big f*cking number
33 – Number of times Tony Gale complained that Arsenal don’t get mixed up in aerial duels
404 – Passes Arsenal allow the opposition to make on average this season
374 – Passes Arsenal allowed West Ham to attempt
365.9 – Passes West Ham average per game this season
543.1 – Passes Arsenal average per game this season (4th in the League)
291 – Passes Arsenal attempted against West Ham
252 – difference between Arsenal’s passes per game and their passes attempted today
457 – Passes Arsenal complete per game on average this season
197 – Passes Arsenal completed today
260 – Difference between Arsenal’s average and the number of passes they completed today against WHam
57.9 – Percent of possession Arsenal enjoy on average per game this season (4th best in the League)
42.5 – Percent of possession Arsenal enjoyed today against West Ham (remember that possession is basically just a percent of the total passes in a game)
46.6 – Percent of possession West Ham enjoy on average this season (14th in the League)
57.5 – Percent of possession West Ham enjoyed today
10.1 – Shots Arsenal allow per game this season (second best to Southampton in the League)
14 – Shots Arsenal allowed West Ham to take today
16.7 – Shots Arsenal average per game this season (second best to Man City’s 16.8)
21 – Shots Arsenal took against West Ham
2 – Number of times Arsenal players took two minutes to walk off the pitch during a substitution which made me laugh so fucking hard at Sam Allardyce getting a taste of his own medicine for once!
2 – Arsenal goals against West Ham!

Top Performers

I don’t know if it was a “top” performance but Arsenal were shut down on the left side of the pitch. Arsenal build from the back and Monreal, Flamini, and Koscielny’s passing numbers were among the worst I’ve ever seen from an Arsenal team. And I’ve seen Arsenal play Barcelona.

-Mertesacker is normally a 90% passer, he was 8/12 with 2 of his completed passes going back to Szczesny.
-Flamini is normally a 91% passer, he went an astonishing 14/24 today and only TWO of his attempts were long balls (long balls is never not funny to a 44 year old man, you’ll understand when you get older, son).
-Koscielny is normally a 88% passer, he was 12/23!!! Granted, 6 of his attempts were long and he only completed 1 but 50% completion is astonishing.
-Monreal is normally an 88% passer, he went 17/29.
-That entire left side of Arsenal’s attack was shut down by Tomkins and Amalfitano. A bit worrying those two could shut down an entire Arsenal side. Wonder what Sam Allardyce saw there if anything.

I read a lot of complaints about Coquelin during the game but he was one of Arsenal’s best performers.

-Led Arsenal with 4/6 tackles, Song led West Ham with 3/6
-Led Arsenal with 5 Interceptions, Song led West Ham with 5 as well
-Second on Arsenal in ball recoveries with 7 (behind Cazorla’s 11), Song led West Ham with 8
-Second on Arsenal in passing completing 23/30 attempts (77%), Song was second on West Ham with 40/48 (83%)
-I think if he had Arteta near him (instead of Flamini who had a nightmare passing game) or Ramsey (who works tirelessly), Coquelin would have had an outstanding match today. As it was, he was just decent.

Aerial duels breakdown

-Arsenal lost 32 aerial duels today but…
-Debuchy was actually 4/6 (Opta shows it as 4/5 but they aren’t counting the duel he lost for the WHam goal)
-Monreal was 4/6
-Koscielny was 5/8
-Mertesacker was an atrocious 3/8 today with only 1 of those failed aerials in the opposition box. I’ve said it before, I’m going to say it again, I think he’s carrying an injury. He’s normally better than this and the last two games he’s been very poor in the air
-Alexis was 1/5 and Welbeck was 4/14
-14 of Arsenal’s 32 failed aerial duels were long passes in the air to those two


-Led Arsenal in passing 35/43
-Led Arsenal in final third passes 19/22!
-Led Arsenal in chances created with SEVEN
-Led Arsenal with 11 ball recoveries
-So, basically, he picked the ball up, drove at the WHam defence and created chance after chance for his teammates. Only thing missing was a goal… oh wait, never mind!


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little mozart

I just think stats never tell the whole story

Third Plebeian

Where did that matter come from???

Danger Mouse

It doesnt matter.

To Pooh is To Do

That’s what she said.


Stats don’t tell anything. They are just numbers. It is how you look, compare and interpret them that tells you a story. And if you do it properly, you can get a pretty accurate picture from them.


Basically, they had more possession, we had more chances.

Alex Song was better than Coq, who in turn was better than Flamini. Santi was the best.

People are still doing their best to make excuses for Mert even when he didn’t play poorly.

We won 2-1.


People usually say this because they fear stats.


Stats tell a different story often, always when the commentary comes from retired ex-English footballers, esp those who played for Arsenal’s opponent (and S Robson.) One story here is that they — the stats — are so different that you have to conclude that Arsene chose to play the game differently than he normally has the team play it. Maybe you thought that was the case, and this confirms it; maybe you simply complained to the TV that once again the manager couldn’t manage, which would be proven wrong. Maybe you believe that it was all up to All-our-dice, but… Read more »


Excellent analyses again, been waiting for the numbers and actually look forward to them much more than match report and player ratings. I would pay to read this. If I had a job. Thanks 7am.


Winning ugly, was what they said we could never do. We did just that!

Rohith J

Killer numbers. It’s so good to have Santi back in form. Pleasure to watch!


We’re winning ugly, another scruffy three points at St Mary’s and 4th is on bitches!!


4th is almost guaranteed. Everyone is pants this year. A fully fit squad and some cohesion and we could have challenged. As it stands we should be setting the sights on 3rd spot as an absolute minimum.

Red Cannon

Don’t get ahead of yourself. Nothing is guaranteed. As soon as our team thinks 4th is guaranteed, then we’re sure to end up 5th.


When was the last time that happened?

To Pooh is To Do

I wasn’t even born yet..


So when will a CB to relieve Per be delivered from the promised land? Winston Reid didn’t look particularly convincing.


Ironically, how a player plays against your team is probably the least relevant consideration in signing him, given that he’ll never be doing that once you sign him.

Not saying Reid is the answer, but that he was pants today means even less than if he was pants in some other random game.

To Pooh is To Do

Red Card – You talk too much sense. And an extra 24 hour community work just for stating the obvious.

Gooner Smurf

I studied stats in varsity and I can tell you that stats give you exactly what raw numbers won’t give you

The point of statics is to make and create a scenario that raw numbers fails to make.

Stats generalizes so that the user is best place to make rational calculated decisions.

So if you don’t like stats in sports, watch a soap instead.


Agreed to an extent, but people don’t trust statistics because its an inherently gi-go system. Choose the right numbers, and the statistics tell you the story you want to see. The stats get blamed, but they are just a way of hiding bad numbers, or not accurate numbers, or even not enough numbers. In football it can be even worse because the raw data itself can be subjective (e.g. is the fouls count the number that happened, or the ones the ref saw?) And you are counting events that are not all the same — It assumes to some degree… Read more »


would it be possible to find out the ball retention per individual player over the span of the game I.e. in seconds or minutes. For example players kike Alexis and Santi love holding onto the ball. Would be interesting to find that out. Cheers

ramsey's spirit

a good 3 points against w ham, a good 3 against qpr, results count more than performances on the league table even more so over the festive period when we are given far too little rest time for the players. good management but i will be paying close attention to the transfers as always; Arsene can make this contract extension brilliant or poor and given his match ability i think it largely comes down to how he manages the transfers, we’ve seen him make do and mend so often and do it well but now he has a chance to… Read more »


Kept telling my pals Coq was outstanding. He wasn’t just breaking up play and starting our very effective counterattacks, he was taking the game to them. I was pissing myself at one stage when he harried a westham player near their own corner flag till he got the ball. The West Ham player had a look of wtf on his face. Few more games and he could prove an option.


He’s better than than Flamini and I felt he showed enough promise earlier during his career to merit a regular place in the team. Also, I’ve never understood why a lot of Arsenal fans rate Flamini so highly. His passing is poor, his upper body strength is nothing to write home about and his reading of the game isn’t extraordinary either. Don’t get me wrong, but we need a better DM than Flamini.


He works hard. He’s dedicated. Very dedicated. It is impossible for me to dislike him based on those traits. I agree on the natural qualities and limitations and believe there is much more around for that position, but on a free he was a massive bargain in mileage and spirit alone.

I’d like to see him stick around for a little while as the sub pit bull to help see out a match. Of course with the Arsenal that means he’s third in line, otherwise he’d still be starting all the time.


The fact that aerial duels was mentioned, another interesting stat is that Debuchy wins 76% of his headers. That is outstanding. Not only is that the best for an Arsenal player but it is the second best in the league! How misleading commentators can be. In the last 2 games, I heard commentators alluding to the fact that Debuchy is poor in the air. Well, he’s not!


He is pretty much as exact a replacement for Sagna as you could find. They are both deceptively good in the air, defensively solid, and competent if not amazing going forward.

I don’t think his wife is as hot, though.

Patrick anaekwe

It was a dug-out affair and Arsenal came out fine. This is a match Poldoski would have scored all the begging chances created by Carzola.l still cannot understand why Wenger refuses to field this lethal finisher. Sad.


Coz, the old loon is a timid coward afraid of bringing subs early even if he sees them barely standing after running hard for 70 mins – reg. yesterday’s game, that was one of Alexis, Danny or Ox. Oh and we had Poldi, Joel and Chuba waiting.. What an old senile fucker beloved Arsene has become? He has now come down to winning by shutting up shop against even midtable teams… dear oh dear

Bould's Eyeliner

There are many words to describe Arsene Wenger, both good and bad, but timid and coward are not two of them.

And as long as we win, who gives a shit?


@Bould’s Eyeliner: Not to get picky, but you do care about how we play and whether we deserve a win, right? Teams don’t win a league by winning ugly all the time – they do because (even ManUre) they play well and deservedly win most matches, don’t they? And like all of us, you do notice how it looks when Arsene delays subs, doesn’t introduce them at the right time, and basically tries to set up shop against even poor teams by defensive subs; This is sheer panic and desperate cowardice he is showing these days and I’m not afraid… Read more »

To Pooh is To Do

Tell it to his face then.. If not, jog on!!

Teams don’t win by playing beautiful football.. Teams don’t win by playing ugly.. Next thing you know – Teams don’t win by headbutting.. Oh wait.. Sorry – Teams don’t win by playing in their undies.. Damn it.. Yawn!!


I think it’s because Thor’s hammer doesn’t do much if it’s in the wrong place to start with. I do think Poldi should get more game time but Welbeck is our only real CF, and with the Ox looking so dangerous and Alexis being undroppable for obvious reasons it’s tough to see him getting a start, leaving him as an impact sub when we’re losing.

The Arsenal Optimist

Another ugly win – delighted with the 3pts. I will be interested to see whether Wenger will retain this approach when he has his ‘ball-players’ like Ozil, Arteta and Wilshere back at his disposal?


Notice nobody misses Wilshere?


Why would anyone? Ppl talk a lot about him but what has he ever done? He scores a handful, creates (or pre-assists) almost nothing over a season, gets perennially injured, can’t tackle well, no tracking back.. the list is endless.. And in the last two seasons, even his bread-and-butter: accurate passing, distribution and dribbling play slumped..

Jack, for both club and country, has become a wasted, overhyped talent (sad, becoz I know the guy’s potential) and his mismanagement has a lot to do with the manager too..

Bould's Eyeliner

Both major injuries to Wilshere this season and last season were the result of other players being careless with their feet. That being said, Wilshere has done so much for Arsenal since coming back from injury in 2012-13, despite all the drawbacks, he’s had at least a few MOTM performances, and time after time looked to be the only player willing to attack in a brittle Arsenal side over the past few years. He hasn’t been excellent all the time, but that’s no reason to just dismiss him. If it were the right decision to dismiss him, then we might… Read more »


No one is dismissing him.. I have always said that short and talented southpaws with close ball control are such a rarity in the game and Wilshere is such a talent – but anyone will tell that all his promise has almost petered into nothing concrete over almost 4 years (I think).. he hasn’t added anything much to his game.. Worse, his basics have regressed and he is still lacking nous, intelligence and composure in his game; If he had, he would have learnt to stay injury-free (e.g. remember how Cesc would go down like he was shot, earned ref’s… Read more »


I miss the Wilshere of his first season, he did everything and looked like he would be able to walk into any team. Hopefully he gets a bit of a run without injuries, incidentally it still annoys me that Giroud gets a red for staring into someone’s eyes a little too close yet a tackle that has left Wilshere out for quite a while doesn’t even get carded; priorities need to be shifted.


People said the same thing about Ramsey 2 years ago.

Don't Coq it up

And yet they don’t have enough self awareness to realize it. Can’t wait for next year to hear the same thing about Chamberlain. “Sure Wilshere and Ramsey are great, but Chamberlain just runs around a lot and doesn’t score enough”…


I’d like the know the distance covered by our players today, in particular Santi and Alexis. The only time I see that stat is during or after Champions League games. If you have access to it and can share it, I’d appreciate it.


Tony Gayle was hilarious last night. Totally impartial

Man Manny

I am glad about the imminent return of Ozil. But sometimes I wonder what that portends for our little magician Santi who has been a joy to watch of late. Does he stay and Ozil resumes on the left? That’s the initial problem all over again. Does Santi go left? He’s not at his best there. Oh well! Maybe I should just let the manager do the worrying but one thing is clear; there are 4 players now in Arsenal I really love to watch – Santi, Alexis, Ox and Rosicky. Great artists if you ask me and they bring… Read more »


Against teams that have midfields which are a little more artisanal than aggressive, Santi can comfortably play a little deeper, in fact his quick feet and quick passing are actually very useful back there.


Santi is a legend. Like a totally legendary legend. Its great to have him back after what’s been a pretty poor 18 months by the standards of his first season. I think the rebalance of the team to accomdate ozil last year and jack/rambo this year has really impacted his form. Did I mention I think he is a legend. Those little tika taka feet he does to himself under pressure… Legend!


Santi > Ozil


He is the only world-class MF we have and even he can improve.. And it is imperative that he is not sold this summer (to Atleti or anyone else).. When Ozil returns, both must start and keep mediocre, inconsistent talent like Ox or Ramsey or Wilshere on the bench (where they belong)… Santi can play deeper (or centrally) and Ozil further ahead (or in the flanks)..


It certainly affected the form of the team, I’m not sure it is what prompted him to be missing easy passes or shanking the ball into whichever part of the ground was furthest from the goal when he was shooting. He seems a lot stronger than that mentally ( see Cup Final) and only succumbs to that peculiar malaise which grips us from time to time, I guess it is just something players go through.

Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding

You know it was a committed and gritty team performance when you can honestly say we didn’t really miss Giroud’s height and physicality away from home to a good Sam Allardyce side.

Andy Mack

Is “short balls” funny to a 44 year old man?

Gutbukket Deffrolla

In other articles we’ve been told that Song was shit. I think that must include a large dose of sour grapes if the stats here are anything to go on.

How much of West Ham’s success this season is based on the presence of Song and Jenkinson?

Don't Coq it up

The raw numbers don’t show it, but Song did have a couple bad giveaways where he lost the ball in spots that immediately put West Ham under pressure. For a holding/defensive midfielder, avoiding those is job 1. Coq really didn’t have that. I’d take Coq’s performance yesterday over Song’s because of it.


From what I’ve seen of Song he has been somewhat similar to his performances for us in his last season, only difference being there is someone to clear up after him at West Ham. I’m guessing he was more motivated against us, for some reason.


Arseblog News, and Arseblog generally.
Best source of information on the planet………………..(well, about Arsenal anyway!)

Policeman's Bangers 'N' Mash

Great article.


I’ve noticed that player ratings seem to be higher in games where we play on the counter. WTF! Drives me fucking batting reading the ratings. It’s as if the shittier we play the higher the teams rating. I can’t wait till Arteta and Ramsey come back so the team can ping one or two passes together. The team is borderline unwatchable right now.


You are spot on! Those who love counter-attacking style with mindless turnover of possession due to forcing things early (and lack of quality) should watch mid-table teams. Coz that’s what they do…

I want Arsenal to dominate (or at least to try) the game, play in opponent’s half, have a measure of control over proceedings against average/poorer teams.. To simply say “We won, so shut up” simply glosses over the issues which inevitably surface against equal or better teams. Or am I the only one embarrassed of our display at L’pool, for instance?


I like Tony Gale, but yesterday he was embarrassing. Even when BFG did a Bobby Moore-esq tackle, rather than saying how good it was he just said “Mertesacker was lucky”, through his gritted, bitter, tear stained teeth.


Watched the game again. Flamini misplaced 3 passes all game. Two were under duress and were more clearances. He cleared plenty of balls particularly heading out 4 balls from danger. Metersecker’s passing completion rate is also misleading. He made way more complete passes and critically headed out a ball that was destined for Carol; with Szsc stranded. He also held firm on two occasions dragging back a ball off of Valencia and before that making a double block off of Amalfitano. Clearly the narrative is clear, we need someone better than Metersecker andFlamini which is disingenuous at best. You’d think… Read more »

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