Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Arsenal 3-0 Stoke: By the Numbers

Interesting game from a tactical standpoint. Koscielny’s 6th minute goal followed by a 33rd minute strike from Sanchez gave Arsenal the breathing room they needed to set out their defensive stall and practice pressing and harassing for 60 minutes. Which Arsenal did very well actually and despite the one moment where it looked like Crouch might score from just outside the 6 yard box Arsenal managed to keep a clean sheet.

Koscielny’s headed goal was the first League goal Arsenal have scored in the first 10 minutes all season. It was only the third time Arsenal have scored in the first 15 minutes of a Premier League match this season, a feat they managed 8 times last season.

Koscielny’s header was also Arsenal’s 8th headed goal, second best in the League to West Ham’s 14.

Sanchez’ direct free kick goal was the first direct free kick (DFK) goal Arsenal have scored in League play this season and the second overall. The other DFK goal was also scored by Sanchez, in the League Cup loss to Southampton.

Sanchez either scored or assisted on all three goals today. It’s not a “hat trick” in the traditional sense but it still deserves a moniker of its own. Perhaps we can call it a chupalla which is the traditional straw hat men wear in Chile. Apparently por la chupalla means “what the heck!” I dunno if that’s true or not, I read it on wikipedia.

(edited) In all 32 of Arsenal’s games this season (League and Cups) Alexis has scored 17 goals and assisted 9 times. He has assisted or scored in 17 of Arsenal’s 32 games and has pulled a double (at least 1 goal and 1 assist) in 8 games. And he has scored or assisted 9 times in the last 7 games.

More remarkable than his assisting others is that he’s only been assisted 10 times on his 16 goals. And by nine different players (reverse order from Stoke to Man City):


Only Gibbs has assisted Alexis more than once.

Cazorla’s Stats

Lost in Alexis’ gun show is the fact that Cazorla had a quietly brilliant game in midfield. This continues a fine run of form from the Spaniard and his form means that Arsene can ease Özil back into the team.

Led all players with 83/89 passes (corners aren’t counted in pass totals)
5 of his 6 missed passes were forward, and 4 of them were in the Stoke final third
Led all players with 33/37 passing in the Stoke final third
Created three chances, though two were from distance
Was part of the amazing dribbling clinic Arsenal put on against stoke with Ox (6/9), Sanchez (5/8), and Cazorla (4/5) combining for 15/22 dribbles on the day. Just to give that some perspective, Arsenal lead the League in dribbles averaging 15.4/27. Chelsea are second with 13.1/22.2
Cazorla had 14 ball recoveries, leading both teams (Rosicky had 10)
Cazorla led Arsenal with 4/4 tackles and he even made a clearance (remember when he hoofed the ball away?)

Cazorla only had the one shot on the day but if that had gone in it would have been goal of the season. Of course if frogs had wishes they wouldn’t have warts.

Wenger’s French Press

The early Kosielny goal allowed Arsenal to practice their pressing. I don’t think it’s a secret that Wenger is trying to change Arsenal’s style in order to leverage the amazing workrate of Alexis. He’s got the whole team pressing up the pitch now when Arsenal are out of possession. Sometimes this works and sometimes it looks disjointed and weird. Which is to be expected when bedding in a new system.

I’ve actually noticed that while Flamini gets a lot of the blame, it’s actually Cazorla who is often pressing like a headless chicken or not pressing when he should be, thus exposing the Arsenal defensive mids to runners with acres of space. But today, Cazorla looked fantastic and in control all the time which is born out by his stats.

Arsenal dominated possession (which you would expect them to do) but they actually matched Stoke nearly tackle for tackle winning 22 tackles to Stoke’s 26. Arsenal also intercepted the ball more (21 to 15), made just 1 fewer clearance (21 to 22) and matched Stoke 17 to 17 in aerial duels.

Watching the game I was initially impressed with Coquelin and wondered if he was a major reason why Arsenal looked so assured in midfield. But late in the game he looked like he had heavy legs.

Coquelin only completed 40/50 passes. Misplacing 10 passes isn’t a crime but it does beg the question about whether Arsenal’s main center mid in a diamond 4 can make those kinds of errors. 4 of his 10 missed passes were entry passes into the final third, 2 were in the middle third of the pitch during the first 60 minutes, and 4 of them were in the middle third in the final 30 minutes.

Coquelin was also just 2/4 in tackles and had three interceptions. I’m wan to bring these numbers up because it doesn’t necessarily mean that he wasn’t playing good defense. A guy doesn’t have to make 20 tackles in a game to be a good defender, though people would love to see that!

To give you a comparison, Morgan Schneiderlin completed 37/39 passes against Man U. His two misplaced passes were both long balls. Schneiderlin made 1/2 tackles but had 5 interceptions and made 5 clearances.

What we can say is that the pressing and defense worked today. Stoke only took 7 shots and only got 2 on target, both from distance and handled well by Ospina.


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Dear Dennis,
Thank you for bestowing Alexis upon us, your ever dedicated flock.


Great analysis — only one thing: when talking about claims, it’s “borne” out, not “born” out. Borne out means confirmed, which was what you were going for. Babies are born, hypotheses are borne (like carried).


7am… Just two quick request. 1. …Could you expantiate of this statement: “…. it’s actually Cazorla who is often pressing like a headless chicken or not pressing when he should be….” i see it as a really interesting view. 2. Could you give your assessment of Coquelin. While people raving about him, I see him as a defensively assured player, with a good eye for long passes (though it doesn’t get there half of the time) but his faults are mainly not too good use of the ball & tactical awareness tho he makes up for it by his youths.… Read more »


I think the work rate of Alexis is really inspiring his teammates. Like any good player he makes the players around him look better as well. Ox seems to be benefiting a lot from this. Its a joy to watch him run at players and know that Sanchez, Cazorla, and Giroud are lurking somewhere nearby, waiting for a final ball. Almost made me feel sorry for the Stoke defense. I hope they can find the belief needed to knock off teams like City and Chelsea. On a side note, did anyone else feel sorry for Bojan having to run around… Read more »


Bojan doesn’t suit Stoke’s style at all. He isn’t the kind of player who kicks and manhandles people. And I feel sorry for Bojan because Coquelin had Bojan in his back pocket at all times haha


Please don’t ever feel sorry for that bunch of hyper-cunts.

Bolarinwa Mayowa

Seriousely, How on earth is TR7 34?


Here’s the thing. Flamini has been in the 90 percentile in his passing rate since Arteta’s injury. An improvement for sure. But people have a thing against him and he is not ‘dynamic’ enough. If Flamini had lunged against Hull the way Coquelin did (3 times) thereby risking a red or two, he would have been called reckless. As is with someone-else, it is called ‘getting stuck in’ Now that Coquelin has not quite the magical passing numbers a shown, suddenly there is recognition that there is more to defending than passing statistics. Coquelin is a much improved player and… Read more »


The thing is the flamster made a litany of highly visible errors, which looked sloppy, and often led to goals earlier in the season. I’m not sure if an inexperienced Coq through the middle is the right answer, or if Wenger’s mind would really be for changing (it looked like we were running down his contract), but you’ve got to admit he has taken his chance well since being recalled from loan. I’ve always liked Coq – glad to see him taking his chance, even if there might still be room for improved performance.


Truly a master class from the Red & White today! Love seeing a team performance like this. Strongest bench we’ve had since (???) and didn’t even have to bring the welsh jesus on to rub in the Orc misery. All in all my favorite performance all season! Get well soon Mat, we’re gonna need you for the quarter finals of the CL!


And I think going 2up partly contributed to Coquelins relatively poor stats. There were times he was being overtly fanciful especially in the second half, which I’m 100% sure he wouldn’t have tried if we were not comfortable; just like Cazorla wouldn’t have dared that goal-of-the-season move as opposed to a simple pass.

Julian gooner

spot on. it’s unsurprising for me if any arsenal player’s stats took a decline later in the game as we were clearly cruising and had our foot very much off the gas. coquelin really impressed me today, especially with one challenge in the first half where he absolutely flew in to intercept a pass just outside our area. he didn’t complicate things until later in the game when we were 3-nil up and quite safe. i’m really hoping he can continue this form against city next week–that would see him really step up and ideally claim Flamini’s place in the… Read more »

Victor Kimuyu

How on earth do you keep track of all this stuff? Is it your full-time job? Its rather impressive whatever the case. Thank you.


Thanks. Fantastic information. How wonderful it was to see two middies (Cazorla and Rosicky) who really knew what they were doing – taking good options time and time again. Made it a lot harder for Stoke to mob Alexis like some teams have. If Arsene is trying to make Arsenal into a pressing machine (as he should) where does that leave Walcott, and to a lesser extent, Ozil? They will have to lift their work-rate or spend a lot of time on the bench. Fascinating how often Alexis has to wave his team-mates forward to press. But they seem to… Read more »


Walcott would be perfect for us in that sense. He just needs to change his approach a bit. He was too static yesterday, maybe expecting the ball to fall into his lap. He’s not lazy, but the system of last season has changed and I don’t think it will work this year, even with Ozil on the pitch. He needs to press, or at least react to the pressing game we’re trying to impose.


walcott’s defending is so poor that even Poldi does it better.. just have a look at the 71min of the stoke match that sums up his defending .


Good point about Ozil. A few times yesterday I saw Sanchez urging him forward. He did press but it was evidently half hearted. Ozil will seriously need to change his game as well

fish oil salesman

It is odd that you bring up Coquelin having poor stats because I was very impressed by him today. I believe he would have been wasted at Charlton (more evidence of that today after Peeters’ sacking–while Coq may not be starting quality, he’s certainly good enough for backup or as a starter in a mid-table team like Liverpool)

plus, the coq jokes have to be made, and we’d rather have the opportunity be present


We pressed well this game, but I’m not sure we’re improving. It just clicked for us this time. We pressed well against City in the Community Shield, but we forgot how to do it in the Premier League games that followed. Let’s see what happens in the next few games. Hopefully we get better and we string a few wins together.


We also pressed well against Utd but when we conceded that fluke goal, our defense went AWOL. We should keep doing it though


Yes indeed.
“Por la chupalla!” means, “what the hell”. Im surprised you were able to look that up.
However, when AS17 misses an opportunity, he says “conchetumadre!”, which means….

Gutbukket Deffrolla

Ooh, you naughty little devil !!!!!

Petit's Handbag

Rosicky, Cazorla, Walcott, Ox, Giroud, Ozil, Sanchez.
That is the attack I dreamt about

henley gooner

And playing a 2 1 7 formation?


I was a little disappointed that Rosicky did not get more of a mention? They may not be the best players we have, but Rosicky and Cazorla appear to bring the best out of each other in terms of balance within the team. Having Coquelin flying solo behind them really helps too. When you consider the short time he has had to adjust from the Championship side, and has improved every game, he has done really well? I too, thought he did not quite last out the full 90, but then only Rosicky seemed capable of that? I don’t like… Read more »

Gutbukket Deffrolla

So the frogs must have got their wishes then!! Lucky wart-free frogs.


I would love to see Mertesacker’s pass completion stats from rushed clearances.
Every clearance seems to go to a team mate. Phenomenal.
Up The Arsenal!


The case of Sczcesny and Ospina is just like that of two drivers trying to maneuver through a dangerous curve. While the first one takes the savest route and carefully goes through, the other drives almost to the extreme of the curve then skillfully controls the car through the curve. Even though he went through, it was very dangerous and risky and anything could have happened at that point. The same applys to ospina and sczcesny. While Ospina seems to play save and avoiding risks woj likes to display his skills which puts the team at risk many a times.… Read more »


Had always know le Coq was this good. He just wasn’t given opportunities. And its partly down to Arsenal fans screaming ‘buy!’ ‘Buy!!’ ‘Buy!!!’. He could have odd off days where he won’t be any good but so does Matic and ‘saintsdarling’. For me no need to buy DF this winter. Atleast wait till summer when Flamini might have moved on. Good performance by the good guys!

Dick Swiveller

It’s really not down to that at all, there is one man who decides who ges chances, and he isn’t swayed by some virtual screaming on Twitter. At all.

caveat emptor

Another important stat is the number of corners. I think Arsenal had 10, while Stoke had just 1. That certainly contributed to a relatively tension-free game (players and viewers).


The very best DM’s only get noticed when they are not there. Gilberto was brilliant at breaking up play and it is him more than anyone that we have failed to replace. He was let go far too early


You say you can prove anything By the numbers, please Sir prove that our beloved monsieur Henry is a far better player that..maybe Ronaldo ever was/will be..Cristiano, that is..Thank You in advance

Gutbukket Deffrolla

Number of goals scored for Arsenal by CRonaldo: 0

Conclusion: He’s not as good as Henry.

Brazilian Matador

When Ozil returns to his no. 10 role, and Cazorla is inevitably pushed out wide, I really hope we see a new player that has taken the time to learn his role in the squad, has watched Sanchez and begins to show a higher work rate offensively and defensively. I think all of us really want to see Ozil succeed and he can do that by starting to put a lot of pressure on the opposition when Arsenal are without the ball.


I’d be concerned if Le Coq would play that Hugh up the pitch against City…

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