Ozil, the Core, Keeper Capers, and Headers: Arsenal 4-1 WBA, by the numbers


We’ve got Mesut Özil!

Mesut Özil led Arsenal with 3/5 tackles today! That brought his total tackles attempted this season to 43 and his total successful tackles to 28. Today’s tackling output was 11% of his season total!

He also led Arsenal with 6 key passes today. This follows up on his 7 key passes in the last match meaning that the Arsenal play-maker now leads the League in key passes per game with 3.1. But Ozil has created 13 chances in the last two games and since he only created 69 chances this season, that means he’s completed 19% of his total key passes this season in just the last two games.

Jeepers Keepers

Ospina made his first goalkeeping error of the season today and it was so bad that it had people pining for Szczesny, who was on the pine. But before he was benched, Szczesny made 6 errors and allowed 3 goals off those errors in just 17 games in League play. To give that some context, in 44 appearances in the Premier League and the Champions League last season, Szczesny made 6 errors and allowed 2 goals. Szcz also averaged about 2 saves per goal last season and was down to just 1.4 saves per goal this season before being benched. Meanwhile, Ospina has saved 3.18 shots per goal and made just the one error.  Now before you get all weird about “errors” they are, in fact, subjective – just like all stats.

Arsenal keepers Szczesny Ospina
Games 17 18
Clean sheets 3 8
Goals conceded 21 11
Saves per goal 1.4 3.18
Errors 6 1
Errors leading to a goal 3 1
Shots faced* 204 146
Big chances faced* 30 15
Big chances scored* 13 5
Big chancce conversion% 43% 33%
*Before Coq and after

After the match everyone was looking to me for some stats that prove or disprove which keeper Arsenal should stick with: Szczesny or Ospina. And since both keepers played almost the same number of matches there could be a good basis for comparison. There’s only one problem: Arsenal changed playing style with the introduction of Coquelin and that coincided with Ospina becoming Arsenal’s number one.

As you can see from the stats above Ospina blows Szczesny away in terms of clean sheets, goals conceded, saves per goal, and errors. But, there’s a small problem in that Szczesny faced a lot more shots per game and faced double the number of big chances (big chances are like a 1-on-1 with the keeper) than Ospina.

I think the stats show Ospina is a solid keeper who had a much better defense in front of him than Szczesny had. However, Szczesny compounded his team’s defensive problems with numerous defensive errors.

There is one area however where Ospina may be susceptible…

Corner, header conceded

Guess what happened today? Arsenal conceded another headed goal! This time the assist wasn’t a cross but rather a corner. That’s the 13th League goal Arsenal conceded off a header this season. Arsenal conceded just 36 goals this season in League play but 13/36 is 36% of the goals allowed off headers.

Last season, Arsenal conceded just 8/41 goals (20%) of their goals off headers. And the season before we conceded just 6/36 (17%) goals off headers.

This goal was Ospina’s error. However, it’s interesting that since Szczesny was dropped Arsenal have conceded 16 goals (in all competitions) and all but 4 of them (12) have been either a corner, a cross, or a penalty.

And three of those four non-crossed goals came against Monaco which was probably Ospina’s worst game of the season.

Cazorla, whoa whoa whoa whoa!

Cazorla’s pass to Theo Walcott for Arsenal’s 4th minute goal handed the Spaniard his 10th assist of the Premier League season and his ‘pass’ to Walcott in the 37th minute handed the Spaniard his 11th assist! That made him second behind Fesc Cabregas for assist king in the League.

Cazorla’s second assist highlights a slightly problematic aspect of counting assist stats. It’s pretty lear from the replay that Cazorla was shooting but struck the ball poorly. Walcott nipped in and finished for him handing Cazorla the assist. Opta now counts this as an “unintentional” assist which I think is fantasti since it more accurately reflects the reality on the pitch.  I wish there was a place where I could see which player has the most unintentional assists but I don’t have that data.

British core!

It was so nice to see Wilshere and Walcott back on the pitch today.

Walcott scored a hat trick and that brought his season total number of goals to 5. That is more goals than either Welbeck or Ozil (4 each) who have both played 4-5 times as many minutes. He’s scored 5 goals off of just 23 shots!

Walcott also showed a bit of his skill in the 18 yard box today, completing a rare dribble-and-shoot goal. It was his only successful dribble on the day and he’s only completed 8 dribbles all season. Theo also completed 100% of his passes today. Sure… it was just 15 passes. He also only had 33 touches! Well, the kid is just, erm, efficient!

Wilshere was 49/52 passsing, 3/5 dribbles, and scored a beauty of a goal. But he didn’t create a single shot for his teammates. Boo!

All total the British players accounted for 15 of Arsenal’s 28 shots today. That’s the British core we were looking for at the start of the season!


All stats from Opta an the 7amkickoff Index

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Özil's apostle

“But he didn’t create a single shot for his teammates.”

Didn’t he flick the ball to Santi in his shot/assist?


A pre-assist in the mould of Alex Hleb 🙂


No, he didn’t.. An assist has got to be clear-cut.. Sure, Santi could have even scored from an extreme angle but is that what anyone would expect in that situation?

Well, Santi in his magical way somehow managed the ball to evade one and all (he HAS done that bfore this season) with his cross/shot which Walcott latched onto.. so the pass from Jack to Santi can be termed as a ‘key pass’ and nothing more..

Bob's Mexican Cousin

I would go with Ospina for the cup final, if we as fans feel safer with him in goal I’m pretty sure the players do too, and we want them calm and confident for the final.

Remember the invincibles

Cazorla took a shot that ended up as an assist. Wilshere assisted the Santi shot. How can you say that he didn’t create a shot for his team?


Yeah but what the guy’s saying seems right. He did create a shot. It was an off target shot but that isn’t Wilshere’s fault. It seems weird to count whether someone created a shot for another player by whether the other player got it on target.


The assist/key pass is a single transferable event. Much like an immortal swordsman, there can only be one.
So I guess opta discount the cazorla shot as a shot because it became an assist, so the key pass goes to santi.

But we know he deserves a key pass.

Runcorn Gooner

One of the big differences is that Ospina plays safe something which Chessers finds impossible to do.

I love Chessers and really hope he gets another chance to prove that he can “make the grade” and also has learnt a few lessons about playing safe.

He got another chance when Fab got injured perhaps he might get lucky again but at the end of the day he was the one who threw away the 1st team place.

Clock-End Mike

Goalkeeping stats are so difficult to assess. For example, I believe Fabianski would, if ke’d kept a clean sheet yesterday against Palace (who beat the Swans 1-0), have had a share of this season’s Golden Glove, having played virtually every game this season. Does that make him a better keeper than either Ospina or Szczesny? Do we regret that he’s not *our* no.1 keeper? Even the “big chances saved” and “mistakes” stats can be misleading. Some mistakes are basically misjudgements — coming for a ball you have little chance of reaching, for example — and some are technical errors, like… Read more »

Bumpy Bear

Last season in France, Ospina played behind a terrible defence but led all goalkeepers in Europe’s big 5 leagues in saves per goal. So he has proved he can excel at both imo. Szczesny played behind a very good solid defense last season. Season 2013-2014: Szczesny: Arsenal Appearances 37 Clean sheets 16 Average goals conceded per game 1.11 Avg saves per goal 1.95 Ospina: Ogc Nice Appearances 28 Cleqn sheets 12 Avg goals conceded per game 0.89 Avg saves per goal 3.39 So stat wise, Ospina has proved he can play well behind any defense good or bad. He had… Read more »

Dick Swiveller

You may well be right, but i think that is a rather big leap to make, as it seems to me that most players don’t think much like fans.


Great piece, , thanks. Clearly it has to be Ospina in the cup final. Regardless of who you think is inherently the better keeper (and I suspect it might actually be Szczęsny), there is no way we could reintroduce him in such an important game at this point — the team needs solidity and stability in the back and I can only imagine his state of mind is the antithesis of that. There is also no way, it seems, that he will be with the team next year. I’d be thrilled to have Petr Cech and his magic hat.


Szczęsny will start the final man. Whether you agree or not, it’s going to happen

Dick Swiveller

If Wenger hasn’t lost faith in his mentality, he’ll stick around and give him the Summer to get his head together I think, it looks increasingly like he has had enough chances though and with our ability to actually buy players now, it might be curtains for Szcesny.


The reason why we conceded bigger percentage of headed goals is because last season we had Sagna, who was an aerial boss


A taller Ospina would be brilliant. Chop his legs off and attach some bladerunner stuff down there. Or those
that girl from Kingsman wears, for whenever John Terry comes up for a corner.

Go Theo for the final, I doubt Villa is gonna sit deep. He looks hungry!



Little doubt here. You said Wilshere didn’t create a single shot, but that Santi shot that became an “unintentional assist” for Theo, was created by Jack. How does it go on the stats-sheet? Pre-assist or key pass?

Lloyd Townsend

Wilshere did create a shot! Cazorla’s assist to Walcott for the fourth goal was from his dinked pass.


“Wilshere didn’t create a single shot for his teammates. Boo!” …however… “It’s pretty clear from the replay that Cazorla was shooting but struck the ball poorly. ” That’s a shot created for his team mates then… Yay!


I think we’ll win the final 10-0


Through his performance for this last 3 games was not so good as he uses to be..inshallah he’ll come back in a final and win comfortably!


Now let’s finish the season on a high. FA Cup glory is a must. COYG

kos the boss

I surely counted two errors from ospina today. What about the shot he fumbled on to the post? Is that not an error?


One Error…yet so much negativity and bad feeling towards him via his Twitter Acct
He knew he made the error because
Immediately thereafter the goal both Ozil and Alexis took control of the second half which was being managed by Pulis men to that point
Alexis gave Ospina an encouragement sign which must be something pre-planned between the team
The team like each other and support each other
I saw that yesterday


Agree it is odd that Ospina had only one official error yesterday. It seems that his fumble onto the crossbar was counted as a save!


It technically gets counted as a save. If it had gone in it would have been an error. That’s just the way the statistics work. Obviously it was a poor save even if it worked.

Black Hei

Sorry 7am but Szczesny was almost invincible last year. He pulled off big saves. I don’t see Ospina doing that no matter how nice his stats look.

As per kos the boss, many of his mistakes were perhaps not punished ruthlessly. He did have a good game last weekend though. But what my eyes tells me is a quick goal keeper who is good with one-on-ones but not a very good shot stopper.


I like all the clean sheets last season and stuff but when we did concede in games we conceded loads, that’s why the golden gloves crap is crap. No point keeping clean sheets in 2 games then letting in 7 the next.

Black Hei

Beg to differ.

If we get clean sheets, we get at least a point. If we concede plenty, it is down to GD. But then if you are getting points, you don’t need to worry about GD.

We conceded buckets last season because the midfield collapsed. Don’t blame that on Chezzer.

He has been rubbish this season though. I am certainly not advocating for his return between the sticks.

das pauly bear

Chezz invincible hahaha classic jokes

2013/14 howlers

afc v villa 1-3
Man city v afc 6-3
Liverpool v afc 5-1
Chelsea v afc 6-0
Everton v afc 3-0

southampton and swans dropped points because of bad keeping.

The lad is a clown and needs to go out on loan.

Ospina is ok till we sign a good No.1


In fairness Das Pauly Bear there was nothing he could do with any of those goals!

das pauly bear

I will never forgive him for the 8 in old trafford


Well, if that 2nd assist from Cazorla was actually a shot, so Wilshere did create a shot for a teammate today =]

Psycho scientist

*in tarzan’s voice*


100%. how I am feeling for the final! COYG!!


A year ago we were constantly linked with Begovic. What happened to that. I’d rather have him than Cech.


Any more people going to point out Wilshere created a shot :-)…
Jack n Theo both looked hungry last night, if only we had another game before final to give em a runout.
This is what the doctor ordered just before the final… But Giroud or Theo? Was wellbeck still not fit?

Thierry Bergkamp

As everybody has failed to mention it, I will. Jack created a shot for Santiago.
Gold star for me!


Have we progressed this season?

We’ve scored less points than last year but finished a place higher. We’ve ended up 12 points behind the champions and were never in the title race; but we did manage to win away at City and United.

So have we progressed?

Dick Swiveller

I’d say so, but not neccesarily based on the numbers. Our squad is better balanced, with more established talent alongside potential starting to come to fruition, with a better balance of steel and slik, plus they’re learning how to play well with each other. We now have (almost) everything we need, it’s just a case of pruning the squad and upgrading where possible.

Clock-End Mike

Good question, Fatgooner. We’ve certainly recovered from a poor start this season, but compared to last season? It’s not obvious, is it? And I admit I don’t know the answer either. Subjectively, one might think we “fell apart” last season, when we slipped from leading the league at the new year to fifth place, and only grabbed fourth because Everton fumbled it in the end. But this is the record: 1st half of last season: P19 W13-D3-L3 42 pts 2nd half of last season: P19 W11-D4-L4 37 pts 1st half of this season: P19 W9-D6-L4 33 pts 2nd half of… Read more »


Post-world cup year, stats are incomparable.


Yes, mainly because the team is moving from the scraping for 4th to favourites playing under pressure (to win), which is both difficult and something the players need to have mentality for. And there was the improvement in big games. But of course, it all depends on the outcome of the final.

portland gooner

In addition to being Coq-less, Szcz also had to deal with an ever-changing backline that for several games featured Nacho in Kos’ place. Ospina has done well but I still think that Szcz is a decent keeper, who unfortunately has trouble coping with the fatigue of holiday football. Every major drop in form for him has coincided with games in December/January.


Big test next season. For this team. One big signing and a couple of decent ones combined with no qualifiers should be a huge benefit for our team.


If Ospina starts in the final, then it’s pretty much confirmed that Szczesny is a gone.


“is gone” I meant.


Is it?
We knew that Fabianski was going to leave but he started anyway

A$AP Rocastle

If we can keep Theo this summer, we could begin to deploy him in the CF role he has always wanted, and swap him and Giroud in and out of the team depending on what kind of defence we face (high line and high pressing=theo, sitting deep and waiting for us to attack=Giroud) anyone with me?




Ospina has had to adapt to a new team and new league, so I think he’s done really well and I really like his attitude. We always say outfield players are better in their second season, so that must go for goalkeepers too, surely? I would feel a lot more confident with him in the Final.

Black Hei

I think a better way to evaluate goal keepers is to look at the performance rather than the stats.

Example, if the GK makes a save via a parry that bounces back into play and a super defender hacks the ball away; that should count as an error if the GK could have pushed it around the post instead.

If he lets a loose shot squirm around before collecting it, that is an error too.

This is important because opposition will spot your goalie’s weakness and eventually, the numbers will start to turn and match reality.


Ospina had some potential slippery moments (it was raining) but he still shades it to Szsc. Szsc is still a young and learning keeper. Whether he decides to stay and fight or leave will dictate if we make any moves for a Cech (tempting as that is) Whether Walcott feels accomodated (and I can’t see why we can’t have him profit from RW as it hasn’t restricted Alexis on other end) will dictate how tempting an offer from a City or Chelsea maybe should they want to replenish their homegrown quota (in that we have Sterling to thank for as… Read more »