For the fourth consecutive year Arsenal went into the second leg of the Champions League knockout stages with one foot deep in a first-leg hole. But for the first time in all of those matches Arsenal actually dominated the team they faced and just came up short.
I can talk about possession v. Monaco (Arsenal had 71% today), I can talk about star players and studs (Cazorla once again dominated the “top players” category in almost every stat), and I can talk about getting unlucky over both legs but I think this chart says it all really:
Just to fill this out a little more (it doesn’t need much more discussion), Arsenal created 9 big chances against Monaco, which is more than they created against Bayern and AC Milan in all SIX of those previous matches. Big chances are an Opta stat which is a bit controversial but but even if you don’t agree with each and every shot that they picked, you have to admit that the total number of big chances created by Arsenal over these two legs was phenomenal. Arsenal created 6 big chances in the first meeting and missed all of them. One one of those big chances in the first meeting was even saved. And today the Gunners created an additional 3 big chances, hit the woodwork once, and had a shot blocked off the line.
From start to finish, over both 90 minute ties, Arsenal were the more dominant team and should have advanced. And you have to think that third goal Monaco scored (which they tried to replicate by bringing that same player on again) — the one where Arsenal were attacking like crazy — at the Emirates was the killer.
Oh well, onward and upward. Arsenal can now concentrate on the League and FA Cup.
By the way, most people are speculating that Arsenal would need to win their remaining matches in order to overhaul Chelsea for the League title. It’s a bit of a fanciful ask considering the fact that winning the last 9 matches would extend Arsenal’s current win streak to 14 matches ad no team has ever won 14 consecutive League matches in a single season.
The 2001-2002 Arsenal side won 13 in a row to finish that season off (and then one the first match of the next season to take the record with 14 consecutive) but no one has ever won 14 in a row in a single season.
Data about Arsenal’s 14 game win streak from Arsenal.com
“Big Chances” stats from the ever improving 442 Stats Zone app
“Big Chances” definition: A situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score usually in a one-on-one scenario or from very close range