Thursday, September 28, 2023

Manchester United 1-2 Arsenal: By the Numbers

Pinch me… I must be dreaming.

14 – You won’t be surprised to learn that Wayne Rooney has scored 14 goals against Arsenal in 31 appearances in all competitions. We are his favorite team to score against, tied with Aston Villa
1 – In the Premier League, Manchester United have only had one card for diving, they were rightly shown two today
4 – di Maria has been sent off 4 times in his career, this is the first time he has been sent off playing for Man U
1 – Since Arsenal’s blow-out-pre-trolley-dash loss to Man U at Old Trafford, the matches between Arsenal and United have all been decided by a goal or less. There have been three 2-1 Arsenal losses, a 1-0 loss, a 1-1 draw, a 0-0 draw, and this TWO FUCKING ONE WIN!
8 – Welbeck now has 8 goals for Arsenal this season, Falcao has 4 for Man U
1 – Danny Welbeck also has 1 goal celebration in front of Man U fans, ending this ridiculous “no-celebration” guff.
64,000 – Number of United fans who booed Welbeck off the pitch
10,000 – Number of Arsenal fans who were applauded by Welbeck after the match
10,000 – Number of Arsenal fans the world heard on television singing for 90 minutes
1 – Number of crickets you could have heard singing in the United end

Stats from this match

22 – Number of fouls Man U committed
8 – Number of fouls Fellaini committed (well, number he was called for)
7 – Number of fouls Fellaini committed before he was yellow carded
1 – Number of reasons I call him “Foullani” — which admittedly isn’t clever or funny

476 – United dominated the passing in this match, 476-353 — that’s 123 more passes — but they only attempted 12 more passes in the Arsenal final third than Arsenal did in theirs 159-147
33 – Put another way, Man U attempted 33% of their passing volume in the Arsenal final third, but Arsenal attempted 42% of their passes in the United third. With Özil, Cazorla, Ox and Sanchez hitting quick transitions, Arsenal bypassed the midfield and allowed United to make 107 more passes than them in that zone.

Another way I could show you that Arsenal were on the front foot more than United is that Arsenal’s top three players in terms of touches were Ozil, Cazorla, and Alexis. Their top three were Valencia, Blind, and Fellaini.

33 – Arsenal attempted 33 dribbles and won an amazing 22 of them
11 – United attempted 27 dribbles but only won 11
12 – Young, di Maria, and Januzaj each had 4 failed dribbles (leading their team) for 12 total failed takeons and were only successful 4 times combined
5 – Ox alone had 5 (was 5/6) successful dribbles for Arsenal, Oziil was 3/6, Cazorla was 3/5, and Sanchez was 3/4

51 – All these Arsenal dribbles meant that United actually attempted 51 tackles in the game and Arsenal attempted just 41
30 – But Arsenal won 30 tackles to United’s 28!
13 – Valencia attempted 13 tackles (he won 8) – Arsenal targeted that side of the pitch
9 – Blind attempted 9 tackles (he won 3)
7 – Cazorla… I looked at Cazorla’s heat map and noticed that he played quite deep in this match. Then I wondered how may tackles he made… he was 6/7. More on Cazorla in a minute

21 – Arsenal won 21/36 aerial duels
7 – Koscielny won 7
5 – Fellaini won 5
33 – Koscielny won 33% of Arsenal’s aerial duels

This is the theme here. As a team, Arsenal won the majority of the individual duels. I know that sounds contradictory (as a team/individual) but that’s how Arsenal played. They were compact in their shape and pressed as a team. But when they were in 1v1 situations they won the challenges. Like Welbeck’s goal: Arsenal pressed as a team and forced the poor pass, but Welbeck still needed to beat de Gea with a dribble to score the winner. Team shape and discipline with huge individual effort won the day.

And not only that, but they stood up to United when they started to flex their muscles.

Coquelin was immense. He stood up to Fellaini time and again and got stuck in to win the ball back when his teammates turned it over. He ended up drawing 6 fouls from Fellaini. He also made 4 tackles.

Coquelin’s midfield partner was also immense, despite getting a haircut that reduced him back down to 5’2″. Cazorla led both teams with 6 tackles, was second in dribbles (3), shots (3), passes (40), created a shot for a teammate, and probably should have scored if not for the hot hands of de Gea.

I was sad that Ox went out, he was Arsenal’s biggest threat down the wings. Hopefully, we figure out what went wrong with him just like we did with Ramsey and he gets back soon. But how about Wenger leaving Walcott on the bench? That sent chills down the spine.

I’m rambling now… I need to go have a drink to calm my nerves.

Up the Arse!


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But honestly, how ABOUT that from Wenger. If that didn’t get a message across to Walcott’s camp that he needs to up his all round game despite his obvious forward threat, then they must be sleeping in a bunker 200 ft below sea level.


I bet the sight of Ozil working hard, closing down opponents, and making a few good tackles would not have escaped Walcott’s attention.

Alexis work ethic better rub off on you too theo!


After watching the match last night, i can confirm that Francis Coquelin wasn’t the only hard coq still standing at the final whistle!



I bet it did escape their attention. 9 years Walcott has been at the club and the penny still hasn’t dropped. Time to offload and free up a space for someone with a brain.

Don Cazorleone

you got a lot of down votes, but I for one wouldn’t be too bothered if we cashed in on Theo this summer.

Kliban F.

I Absolutely agree


I’m with 7am, seeing Walcott left on bench sent chill down my spine too. The way he stripped off but then Ramsey got the nod, it could be the beginning of the end for his Arsenal career :(. Was shocked when Welbeck played ahead of him at WHL too, feels like he’s almost being phased out like Podolski. Hoping for a big response from him and he might get his chance with Ox (sensational first half) injured.


If Walcott can prove to be less of a defensive liability then I am sure he will get a chance. Theo has such a threat going forward, but if we get destroyed down the right-hand side and have no team shape then it means nothing. Case in point is Danny Welbeck – he is such a hard worker and scored the winner – yet we didn’t sacrifice our shape and let ourselves get over-run in order to score, as has happened in the past. If Theo can put in even half the effort that Alexis, Welbeck, or Ox do, then… Read more »


In fairness to Walcott, when was the last time he cost us defensively? And I recall him putting in a shift before his injury so maybe he just needs time…


I don’t think it is just his lack of effort on defence. He doesn’t really add much else at the moment. in the games that he played it was just his goals that were good, he didn’t really set anyone else or he wasn’t involved in link up play well. he was pretty average overall


I think Theo last started during the Leicester game. He did not put in a shift defensively. He trailed the ball back into our end without urgency. He didn’t move toward loose balls. He felt like a passenger; someone still frightened of contact. That was a game that required more than a little courage. Since many teams still attempt to kick us off the pitch (and are enabled by referees) most Arsenal games require more than a little courage on our part. Coq goes where he wants. Ozil is starting to get stuck in. Santi, bless him, has been stuck… Read more »


Anmol, you make a good point. But I’d stress that this is only “at the moment”. He hasn’t performed as well as Ox, Welbeck or Sanchez this season (he’s barely played tbf and still has the same amount of goals as Ox) but hopefully he’ll come good again. Feel too many people have forgotten about this season..


Great stats as always.
I really hope the Ox isn’t injured to badly, I love him playing in this team. One of our best attackers but he puts in a shift defensively unlike Theo.

No surprise we won at Citeh with Ox in the team and didn’t look as good against Monaco without him. Just hope we can keep him fit so he can play an entire season for us without injury

Bould's Eyeliner

Just needs to get that end product jitters out and we will literally have a goal-scoring machine. He is creative, holds the ball, has pace, makes penetrating and intelligent runs… and has scored beautiful goals on the odd occasion.


That’s the one thing that stops him starting ahead of Walcott for me is goals and assists. If he adds those to his game, it’ll be a no brainer and the emphasis would firmly be on Walcott improving his all round game (or at least getting back to his level from last season!).


The Ox is massive, he always puts in a shift and has upped his game since Sanchez joined the Arse. He just needs to work on his finishing and gain a wee bit more confidence in the final third and he is a fabulous team player. Get better soon, real soon.

Gooners & Roses

I think its safe to say that Theo has gone down the pecking order.

Runcorn Gooner

Ramsey or Walcott to come on.No Brainer.Theo has not got himself involved in matches since his return


Three goals in three starts, he’s defo got himself involved. Just not in the way Wenger apparently wants. Walcott was the more obvious replacement and I’m a big fan, but Ramsey was immense against United and the right decision


1 – Number of good referees in the Premier League, I’m glad we got him.

But it’s the players and Wenger who deserves all the credit tonight. What a brilliant game of football, and I had almost forgot how wonderful it is to win up there!


he got four things wrong – foul on wleb, then he was far too lenient on foulani, rooney should have been booked for complaining and trying to get bellerin sent off and di Maria should have been red carded straight for assaulting him. its no worse than di canios small push on alcock

but that was the best referee we have in a long, long while


I mean..the guy isn’t a god. He’s always gonna get something wrong but for me..Michael Oliver is the best ref in the league by a mile!

Because he consistently gets the big decisions right and for me that is so refreshing!

I haven’t seen him yet have a bad game. I’ve seen him make mistakes but in the end i’ve always been satisfied with him.

But what about that Arsenal team. Monaco game aside i’m loving those guys #DatGuy


What about Rojo going through Santi from behind? The handball in the box by Smalling. How many fouls was Fellaini going to commit before a foul got called much less a carding? He was a one man crime spree.


1- smile I’ve had on my face for the last few hours. 6 (and counting) drinks to settle my nerves,
Stats confirm what I thought I saw- not as tidy as we could have been in possession but to a man worked to win the ball back. If Le Coq isn’t careful he’s going to be the player of the season

David C

Great article. Too many jokes to pick the best one.

I thought Fellani was double figures in fouls before finally receiving a yellow.

Ashley Young should have had a yellow for diving too.

Great work by Wenger to get Bellerin off before a 2nd yellow. Di Maria? 70 million for that? wow…


Another superb article, your writing keeps getting better and better.

Here’s hoping the Ox isn’t out for too long, those twinkle toes for the first goal were delightful.


As for Man U passing in their own territory, here is a great article from Grantland that espouses as much. Great read if you are into stats, which obviously you are because you’re reading By the Numbers!


VG said MU gifted Arsenal the win. He has forgotten the lucky win in Nov. What about Munich 1999. Mu were battered and pulverized and would have lost by 8-1 but got lucky. Whenever any team especially Arsenal beat MU I will do a jig in my bedroom.Their days of dominance are over. From the 1990s to mid 2000s they were able to buy the best players. Now they are feeling the heat from MC/Chelsea/Arsenal/ Pool.That’s why rf left because he knew the game was up. Now it’s amore level playing field and it aint going to be easy for… Read more »


Good ole Roger Federer!


In hindsight, Arsene Wenger choosing to replace Chamberlain with Ramsey instead of Walcott was a good decision as Arsenal would get a lead to defend a few minutes afterward. Walcott certainly wouldn’t have helped in that regard. Ozil put in a relatively good defensive shift on the right after the injury and its no wonder he continues to keep his place in the starting XI.

Lack of effort my arse.


Ive read a shitload of articles/match reports tonight (just cant get enough of this win) and once again 7am delivers with the best!


I’m glad you pointed out Santi’s haircut. I got several strange looks at the pub I was at when I shouted out early on “Santi got a haircut!” I didn’t bother explaining to any of them.

In other news, everyone was immense and I like how you put the notion of us playing as a team but also individually. After all, when the team plays together, it allows each individual to excel without having to worry that they’re not being covered.

So awesome to win at OT and shut up all the idiots I know who support Man *


Wenger got all the changes right. I for one wanted either rosicky or ramsey to come in for the ox.
Guess this myth of ozil being “lazy” is now put to rest. He had a super second half.

rambo sambo

Lovely to see Wenger smiling and happy again. I feel like I have seen him show real happy emotions this year for the first time in a very long time. Despite the disappointments that we’ve had this season, wins like this one and the one at City are major steps forward for us psychologically. We are on the cusp of being a true powerhouse again and Wenger knows it. I’ve certainly had my ‘Wenger out’ moments over the last few years, but tonight I am very happy for that man and very grateful for the unwavering service he has given… Read more »


Found Blogs’ 6.5 rating of Sanchez pretty low. I’d give him atleast a 7 for hogging the Man Ure cunts down every minute of the game. Created chances for others and himself too, according to this numbers.


4 – number of goals we will get in Monaco. After tonight, we here in NY still think we will spank them and tear them a new one.

Juxta Position

Coquelin is made for scrappy games like this. Sit back, then pounce and give it to cazorla and ozil to launch the raids. He’s some player. And big ups to monreal, didn’t use to rate him but he’s top notch.


We needed someone in The Coq’s mould and boy did we get him! He owned Fellaini and made the afro haired chappy his bitch!


Thanks for picking up on the fans! I’m 10 minutes from crawling in at 4am having set off to the coach pick up in Alexandra Palace at 10am – and it’s been worth every second – deafening noise in the away end. You could hear a mouse fart and see a flea move amongst the home fans on the other hand


It was natural, wasn’t it? They knew that we had the quality to make the difference on their turf and were just as appalled (but perhaps less amused) as our supporters at their team”s style of play which can be summed up as “Chuck it long to that fella(ini)!”.. Even gorillas can go quiet when that is all that happens..

BTW, Heartfelt thanks to Moyes for that one season..


Always unpredictable these Numbers! Seems we’ve settled into a system that is very much post-Monaco and it worked for us tonight – encouraging for the rest of the season too, but it is defensively demanding of players. Hence, no room for Theo in a game many thought he would start. This squad is nothing short of remarkable in one major aspect – the way it has absorbed injury after injury. Seeing our Ox sat dejectedly on the ground took the shine off a monster win (great to so him up and celebrating at the end though) but could be Theo… Read more »


Yea that was terrible especially because he was playing so well. But in saying that I don’t think Theo will get a look in still. Welbeck will be played on the right. Or now that Ramsey is back, it will be Coq, Ramsey in mid with Santi playing no. 10. Ozil on the left and Sanchez on the right.


On the strength of the second half performance by arsenal and with no outward movement but inward by way of addition to the holding midfield position, I can see Arenal run away at the top of the league next season. But first thing first… Monaco!!!!


33 – Arsenal attempted 33 dribbles and won an amazing 22 of them

Does Ox get 3 for his scrumptious dribble before he passed to Monreal for the goal, or does that count as just one?

My Free Kick

My favourite numbers of the night: 20 – 9.

Lovely reminder of how they used to play us and our dominance.


I’m going to frame that set of stats.


This year is all about depth. Lose Debuchy, Bellerin comes in and makes a name for himself. Need to take Bellerin off. Chambers comes in and does an excellent job. No drop in ability at all. It’s truly amazing the options we have in this team now.

palace gunner

I like that one foullani tehe, arsenal fc deserved to win and nacho goal was class plus the runs from alexis, santi and ox class then came shrek equaliser, de gea made saves to but pukka goal welbeck coyg lets go get this cup again.


Well lads, wasn’t that something else?! Amazing performance, Coquelin had 12 duels with Fellaini and won 10! Can we stick that in please? Amazing performance last night, the grin is still wide on my face, now all I need is the two other Arsenal fans in my office to get in and it’s a Wenger themed party!

Have a great day all, we deserve it! COYG!


3 – number of ironic moments were United tried to cheat to get something out of the game after their fans were singing ”Same old Arsenal, always cheating” in the first half.

Springbank 1962

Fouls: 22 to 11 (8 by Fellaini) Yellow cards: (7 to 2) Tactical geniuses (0 to 1) It’s about time even ManU supporters recognized that Van Gaal is a donkey of a manager who’s only evidence of him being some kind of tactical guru comes from his own mouth. He’s an idiot. And we get to show him to be exactly that again in our penultimate PL* match later in the season. *It might have been our penultimate match (full stop) if it wasn’t for the fact that Van Gaal was the donkey that helped pave our way to another… Read more »

bims lay

Fantastic article……….again!

heheheheh!………Foullani…..absolutely spot on!

Barry Nicholas

Fantastic result, it’s amazing how this win can make living so much better ! The team played as a team from front to back with great credit to them all for work rate. Also a mention to Michael Oliver for taking a tough action on the diving cheats and sending off Di Maria for the fasted two yellow cards I have ever seen !


Props to Wenger: Since the beginning of the season (community shield), Cazorla has dug in defensively and in the absence of Arteta, he has held down that deeplying playmaker position. I think this change was intentional from Wenger to accomodate Özil and Cazorla in the same 11. I doubted him Cazorla, like many, to hold his own against the Citys and the Uniteds, but he has won me over. Great season for him.

Wenger still has that eye eh-who else would foresee that tiny magician as a hardworking CM.


Yeah, Cazorla’s transition from No.10 to complete midfielder can’t be underestimated and it’s something I hope Wilshere learns from. It also shows you don’t need to be a 6 foot whatever monster like Matic to compete physically in the premier league! It’s one of the reason I love football, for the most part size doesn’t matter


1 – glum looking Alex Ferguson LOL


Wembley on my mind


Food for thought:If the bald eagle were the ref,he would have probably given Januja
a penalty and Arsenal could lost the game.Recall the 2004 49th game .
Reyes was battered and lucky to be alive. No yc was dished out to the orffending bros until late in the game.
That is why rf for all his epl dominance couldn’t transfer it to the cl
You got it. The ref matters in his case. Don’t believe me.
Rewind the videos when the bald eagle was ref.


That was also the game where the ref bought the dive from Rooney! I’m still pissed off about that a decade later. Was very impressed by last nights decisions by the man in black though.

Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

What about Fowlani, mounted by a Coq again and again and again.

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