Just a quick post because I know you’re all celebrating like mad but I wanted to highlight a few stats from today’s game.
Playing the deepest I’ve seen all season, so deep that at times he was behind the last center back, Cazorla still found a way to dictate play today as he went 12/12 with his long passes. These passes showed the full range of his technique: some hit like a frozen rope, others hit soft as cotton wool. He also led Arsenal in total passes and hit them with 94% accuracy. And just like the Italian master, Pirlo, Cazorla was so perfect he was able to paint the pitch with 3 key passes and an assist.
Coquelin Grows Up?
With Cazorla often deep, Coquelin actually had more to do offensively. Coq was also perfect in the long pass, hitting 7/7 long passes, but more impressive he was able to recover the ball in defense and beat the immediate pressure of Delph with a deft dribble. He did that 3 times today!
Coquelin is a surprisingly good dribbler. He only attempted 25 dribbles this season, but he was successful 21 times. Which is good because you don’t want your defensive midfielder giving away the ball.
Szczesny Punch Perfect
Was I the only one who thought Szczesny’s punch early in the first half was brilliant? You can almost see him visualizing his father’s head as he punched through the ball with all his might.
By full time, Szczesny actually didn’t have much to do. Villa took just two shots in the entire 90 minutes and neither shot even made it into the 18 yard box.
Instead of saves, Szczesny’s job was to collect high balls and punch away danger. With Ospina in the sticks, Arsenal have been susceptible to crosses hit in the air to the far post. And so when Villa tried the same tactic, Szczesny was ready. He claimed all 3 high balls hit near him and was successful on one of the two punches he tried. Szczesny “dominated his area” so well that Villa were forced to hit crosses further away from the penalty spot as the game went on.
Those crosses were then dealt with by Mertesacker and Koscielny who each won 3 defensive headers against Benteke.
Oh and Mertesacker looked aggressive in the air. Getting his big schnoz in danger’s way defensively and also scoring that header!
Arsenal’s swarming defense stripped the ball away from Villa any time they attacked. Then Arsenal turned to attack and if they beat their man, Villa fouled.
Arsenal dominated possession but still matched Villa for tackles (18 – 20), had more interceptions (11-7), and Villa finished the game with 15 fouls and 5 yellow cards. They probably could have had more yellow cards but referee Jon Moss was lenient throughout.
Sanchez was fouled 5 times, Cazorla 4, and Coquelin 3.
3 fouls and 3 dribbles? Coquelin is going Hollywood on us!
What Ozil Sees
Ozil finished the game with 3 key passes, the same number as Cazorla, but he probably could have had a dozen key passes but for the wastefulness of some of his teammates.
That backheel through ball for Walcott? Stay on side son! Same for several other passes to Walcott, who strayed off 4 times.
But what won’t show up on the stat-sheet were some of his long attempts. Ozil is best in these kinds of open games where he has the run of the midfield and can pick out a pass that switches play or sets off a man on a counter. Think about his long ball to Theo Walcott.. that 40 yard ball, on the ground, curling around the defender, whew… that was hot.
Sanchez Turnover Machine
Alexis was dispossessed 3 times and involuntarily coughed the ball up another 4 times. He only completed 2/4 dribbles and misplaced 10 of his 50 passes.
DROP HIM! WHAT A WASTE!
Oh wait… he assisted Walcott’s goal? And he scored the second? The second being a candidate for goal of the season?
With his 6th final win and his second back to back final win in his career, Arsene Wenger is now tied with George Ramsay for most number of FA Cup wins.
Ramsay managed Aston Villa and won his 6 cups over a 33 year span from 1886-1920. Ramsay stayed on as manager for another 6 years after his last cup win finally ending a 42 year managerial career in 1926. His 6 cup wins was a record that many thought would be impossible to match in the modern football era. This is, after all, a time when Carlo Ancelotti is fired the season after winning the Champions League.
But Wenger and Arsenal aren’t like other clubs and despite the lean years during the Arsenal stadium project and the dismantling of his team by oil barons, tundra barons, and a couple of turncoats who couldn’t wait to go play for the old enemies, Wenger has managed to rebuild his team into a group that wins trophies.
Oh and this trophy is Arsenal’s 12th FA Cup, more than any other club in England.
Not bad for a “specialist in failure.”
All stats from WhoScored.com today