Newcastle 1-22 Arsenal: by the numbers


You’re probably wondering why the odd scoreline in the title. It’s not a score, its the number of shots each team took. Newcastle got just one shot and Arsenal had a whopping twenty two.

Newcastle’s center forward Aleksandar Mitrovic was sent off with a straight red in the 16th minute for a studs-up horror challenge on Francis Coquelin. It’s probably no surprise to learn that Newcastle’s only shot in the game came before Mitrovic took a bath. Bereft of their center forward, Newcastle sat in the low block and soaked up Arsenal’s pressure.

Make no mistake, Arsenal applied pressure, despite the sort of lackadaisical look to the match. Arsenal took 22 shots, which is six more than their season average last year and those shots weren’t all pot shots either.

Arsenal only took eight shots from outside the box today — that’s 36% of their total on the day and matches their season average from last year. But the Gunners also created five shots in prime positions — these are positions close to goal where Arsenal scored 33% of their attempts last season. And to make matters better/worse (depending on your disposition), they created created three big chances in this match — these are positions where a player is 1-v-1 with the keeper or has a shot which you would reasonably expect the player to score.  In short, just like against Liverpool, West Ham, and Crystal Palace, Arsenal are creating excellent chances but simply not finishing them.

As I wrote about in the last match, Arsenal have the most shots in the Premier League this season. They have 83 shots now but critically have only scored one goal off those shots. The Gunners do have three goals this season but two of their goals have been scored by Arsenal’s likeanewsigning, Own Goal, and we don’t count own goals when we are doing our conversion stats.

There has been some speculation that perhaps Arsenal aren’t creating good chances because Coquelin. It’s an interesting theory but it’s not born out by the stats. As the chart below shows, Arsenal are creating more total chances per game than last season, the same number of big chances per game, and a lot more shots in prime positions per game than last season.


To illustrate the stats: Walcott had two of the best chances in the match — in the 8th minute Bellerin’s volleyed cross landed right at Walcott’s feet but Krul rushed out and saved and in the 32nd minute Alexis took a shot from distance which Krul parried right into the path of Walcott, only for the Arsenal man to shin the ball over the net. The third big chance of the game came in literally the last play of the game when Ramsey played the ball in to Giroud who was clean through on goal and elected to try to chip Krul rather than simply shoot into the lower corner.

Gooners have to hope that Wenger is right and goals come in clumps because as it stands, Arsenal are creating plenty of great chances but just not scoring them.

The Referee did Newcastle a favor with the red card

Arsenal started Walcott, Ox, and Alexis up front in a clear sign that he wanted to hit Newcastle on the counter. The scheme was working too, as Walcott looked dangerous in those first 15 minutes. But after Mitrovic’s red card Newcastle retreated into their keep and Arsenal were denied the space that those three speed merchants love.

It’s no surprise that Theo got the early big chance shot, Arsenal were pressing and won the ball back high up the pitch, which they switched to Bellerin and then to Theo for the chance. But after the red card, the game ground to a halt and Arsenal couldn’t unlock Newcastle’s gates.


Ox eventually helped to provide the winner, when his shot deflected off Coloccini for the own goal, but other than that (and the two big chances for Theo, one before ) all three players were easily handled by Newcastle’s back line.

If Walcott scores either of his two big chances we don’t say anything about his overall play or how little he was involved in the buildup but he didn’t score and his stats reveal a player who often frustrates with his lack of involvement. Yes, I know he makes runs (doesn’t that sound suspiciously like praise Harry Redknapp might give: “he runs around a lot”?) but in games like this, when the defense is tight, Walcott doesn’t offer anything to the team.

Here’s his entire stat line: 3 shots, 1 on target,  10/12 passing, 1/1 dribbles, 1 ball recovery, 1 foul drawn. Zero chances created for teammates and just 6 passes in midfield makes it look like Walcott is almost allergic to the ball. Walcott was only dispossessed once but he only had 17 touches… in 69 minutes. So weird.

For the record, I would point these stats out no matter if he scored  or not. It illustrates how he plays not whether that is good or bad.

Ox had 47/53 passes, a tackle, an interception, five ball recoveries, and two shots but he also failed on both attempted dribbles, all three crosses, and didn’t create a single shot for his teammates. He was also dispossessed 5 times (led both teams) and had 6 unforced turnovers (led both teams). It was a night to forget for the Ox.

Man of the Match, easy, Alexis

It’s probably not fair to compare but Alexis’ numbers are always crazy good: 54/66 passes, 7 shots, 2 on target (one which created that big chance for Theo), 2/2 dribbles, 1/4 crosses, 2 chances created for teammates (one in the 6 yard box, should have been a goal), 5/6 tackles, 1 interception, and drew 5 fouls. He was dispossessed 2 times and had 2 unforced turnovers.  The dude is a boss, I just hope he gets a break one day.

Some of you will disagree and pick Ramsey but if you go that route, I think you have to look at Cazorla as well.

Cazorla Ramsey
Passes 117/126 90/101
Shots 2/3 1/2
Key passes 4 5
Big chances created 0 1
Dribbles 2/2 0
Ball recoveries 4 5
Tackles 0 0/1
Interceptions 1 0

If it’s between those two I give it to Ramsey, he created that big chance at the end of the game and one of his key passes was to the penalty spot. That means he created two great scoring chances for his teammates while playing a key role.


It’s not always how much, but sometimes it’s also where and when. Coquelin had 11 ball recoveries for Arsenal (21% of the team’s total) and he also made 4/5 tackles on the day. But three of his tackles were on the sidelines, pushing the ball out for a throw-in, snuffing out the Newcastle counter attack, and giving his teammates time to breathe.

And he was 69/73 passing — 95%.


Prime shots data from my personal database all other stats from Opta via or the 442 StatsZone app.

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Pass debuchy from the left hand side

I bloody love Coq.

Dope Smoking Pope

heh ! I just hope you are a Female

Pass debuchy from the left hand side

Come on mate, its 2015. Coq is for everyone.

Dope Smoking Pope

Sorry this guy will take all the Vag he can get .

Pass debuchy from the left hand side

Haha alright. You must be a Vergini.

Dope Smoking Pope

I would prefer being a Vergini than being a Coqlover/Coqsucka ,heh heh heh .


Homophobes out!

Unyoke the ox

How does saying “Sorry this guy will take all the Vag he can get ” make you a homophobe? Being overtly heterosexual doesn’t make you a homophobe.

Granted, he should be able to take or roll with a joke, but branding him homophobic’s a bit much.


Dude, chill.

Arse Sutra

The Coq has come huge…..

Pope Football

All those numbers are mostly gloom and doom for us Gunners. 1 of 83 converted WTF!!!!
Let’s pretty it up folks: Chelsea 1- Crystal Palace 2!

Arsene Wenger's Zip

Its not a coincidence, those two own goals of course. I would credit the own goals to the way we play, and the way oppositions play against us. If they put so many defenders in the box, and we keep drilling shots in, some of them are bound to find their way into the net through deflection!


Sterile domination! Just hope that we turn these stats into goal because stat doesn’t count,goals counts.


It’s not that sterile…it’s just not finished off with goals. Sterile is not creating chances. We are creating tons of chances. At normal conversion rates for our own players (not for other teams, our own guys from last season) we’d have scored ~10 goals this season already.


To add extra context, we are also not getting the benefit of decisions right now — Ramsey’s non-goal against the mugsmashers after 8 minutes and not getting the penalty yesterday even before the red card, could have reshaped both games.


Walnut proving he is no CF!


Walnut proving he is barely a footballer.


“walnut”….. WTF!!!! When did he stop being an Arsenal player???


Dont be a cunt 7am..


He’s all fart and no poo


That conversion rate *____*


Ox is frustrating. Too much talent but cannot do simple basics like pass a football.


Goin’ like mad but not quite sure where at the moment. He needs to play a little more with his head up and choose his moments.

Be like Ti-Ti

It’s a little perplexing to me that Theo wants so badly to be a central striker. I understand the extent to which he admires Thierry Henry, and I can even understand wanting to emulate him a little bit. But both he and Wenger have to realize by now that he just hasn’t grown into that sort of player. Which is fine, because I’m sure everyone here remembers how great he was playing on the right wing for us a couple years back. There was even a patch of games where he was carrying the squad with his goals from the… Read more »


I agree entirely. He’s far more effective coming from the right and given that Rambo spends most of the game on the left wing when played at right side midfield I don’t think the lack of defensive cover argument is valid anymore.

Dr Duh

I wonder if Wenger will give Alexis a go in the middle. He may not have Theo’s speed, but he’s nuch harder working on both sides of the ball. The question is who would we put on the left. Ideally someone fast, creative, left footed and good in the air. I wonder if it would be easier to pry a winger loose than find a top cf.


There’s talk of Riyad Mahrez from Leicester. Definetly a wenger-esque signing. Thoughts?


And good cover with Nacho there when Ox drops a pie. He’s used to it with Alexis’ turnovers.

My concern with Alexis there is his tendency to drop back deep. That and the 0 goals thing.

Me So Hornsey

Theo swapping with alexis between left and middle worked superbly in the FA CUP final. Villa’s defenders were baffled. Wenger hasn’t tried it since for some reason.

John C

Can’t see that happening, as Wenger had the opportunity to do just that against West Ham but instead decided to shift the midfield around.


Walcott should start on the left. I like it when he plays there.

Abdel Abdellater

You can put Ramsey or Wilshire on the left. Ramsey is right-footed and Wilshire is left-footed, so they’d play the role differently, but they can each play there. Walcott can also play there. For a more defensive-minded playing structure, you could also put Arteta there. Thus, if Wenger put Alexis in the middle — which I’d like to see happen — it wouldn’t call for a new signing for the left.


The Verminator now has as many goals for Barca this year as the entire Arsenal team does in its 4 games.


Sign him up then. He’s the panacea to our goal scoring problem.

David C

not gonna lie, I was happy to see Verm. score for Barcelona. He had a terrible time last year with injuries.


Even if we win the CL and Coquelin gets man of the match, the comment sections of the articles of praise written will be chock full of cock puns and joke. I bloody love it.


Only the English ones. Don’t know if the French share the English love of Coq jokes.


It’s all chicken jokes to them, isn’t it 🙂

He's got no hair but we don't care...

The perfect storm of results (barring man citeh) means this result was fantastic for us BUT we were one own goal away from being 7 points off the top already!

We need to pull out all the stops to sign that striker, as well as getting Jack back to replace the out of form Santi and Wellbeck for Theo.


“out of form Santi”

…I hope this is a joke.


He has been abit Arteta-esque with his passing but i suppose this comes with the territory not being out of form.

The one area the whole team needs to improve is shooting and Santi certainly should lead the way.


How is Santi out of form?

Luis Boa Muerte

Personally I think he’s been quite poor. Out of everyone in our team he’s most responsible for setting the tempo / dictating the avenues of our attack, but his decision making has been uninventive and he seems to be playing with little urgency. His passing, whilst not inaccurate, hasn’t been crisp. It’s all just a little off. That deep playmaker position he’s got isn’t quite his and I think it’s shown since he’s played there – 3 or 4 outstanding performances aside. Whilst possessing all the technical skills, he doesn’t have the know how for it. He also obviously lacks… Read more »

bims lay

cazorla “not starting?”…”out of form?”,…. your assumption based on what stats??……..are you on happy juice?

mate, don’t know what you are on about but his activity stats, day in day out, scoring or not, shows he is consistently one of our “better” players on the pitch by a mile!…forget the stats, just look at the player ratings for previous matches.

Luis Boa Muerte

Nah mate I actually watch him. He’s been generally slow, ponderous and a bit sloppy.

Stats (as they’re made available to the public) at the moment don’t tell us shit. They don’t tell us anything about the actual quality or usefulness of someone’s play. They need to be far more nuanced than ‘number of passes’, ‘accuracy %’ etc. This isn’t baseball.

bims lay

Well, guess what?…i actually watch him too, including in this last newcastle match, and he didnt appear “slow and ponderous” to me, so i guess this depends on everyone’s viewpoint, but the stats, which is the only objective measurement yardstick available at the moment, certainly don’t bear you out. while santi is no speedster like bellerin, alexis or walcott, he isn’t a slouch either. in a less pacey squad, he will probably contest for one of the quicker players?……..just do a playback of any of arsenal’s counter attacking move that he was involved and you will see what i mean.… Read more »

Luis Boa Muerte

Attempting to objectively measure the quality of a player in a specific role is like trying to do the same for the prettiness of a woman. I think freckles and large, dark eyes are very attractive. I’ve got no stats to back it up, and your opinion might differ, but you can’t prove me objectively wrong. I mean, what is a key pass? Who decides? Were these key-key passes or sort of-key passes? Is 4 key passes good or bad for a player in his specific role playing with Ramsey, Sanchez, Ox and Walcott, without Ozil against 10-man Newcastle playing… Read more »

Reality Check

One stat that doesn’t go in his favour is he has scored 1 goal in 50 odd PL games. Leaving penalties aside of course.


Apart from his shooting, there’s not much you can criticise about his performances.

Abdel Abdellater

Santi is the queen of tiki taka. In the game against Newcastle he made 126 passes, with a passing accuracy of 117/126 = 93%, and the net result of all that possession was zero goals by the team. Similar statistics are recorded for Arsenal’s other games this season and for many games in the later part of last season. The lack of goals is attributable, in part, to a system in which Santi is the orchestrator of possession: he’s the chief passser and the chief receiver of the ball on the team. He is the biggest fulcrum on which the… Read more »


“that striker”


The stats paint a massive dominant Arsenal but has only a single goal to show for all the possession and shots at goal. This aint good enough for a team aspiring to challenge at the top of the epl.The problem is ,imho,Wenger’s insistence on ball passing/retention and weaving intricate patterns.The speed of the attack was not there and NU had the nos to stifle the attackers. Watch how CP beat Chelsea. The gunners were lucky against CP.Against a similar team to CP,the gunners could lose. Why? Speed of passing and fewer passes made give defences no time to regroup.The much… Read more »


No….the problem is we arn’t finishing our shots. That’s the only problem. We are creating lots of good chances. There’s no problem with anything except our finishing.


I get the feeling a few of these boys break their ducks for the season to get their confidence back and we’re in for some good times.

bims lay

i agree. look at how potent, slick and smooth they were pre season?. ……still the same players, only short of confidence.

i believe the west ham result surprised and dented confidences, but once they shake it off, i bet we will be in for a hell of a ride….too many offensive creative talent in the team to expect anything less?

chippy's chip

We can always try slinging in some crosses for giroud…


Somebody would have to be brave enough to venture out into those scary, lonely wide spaces.

chippy's chip

And maybe use some pace?


4th place trophy is looking more promising after today’s results.#welldonewenger


Twenty two shots and only one in the back of the net (& that in off Coloccini to boot!)?! That stat pretty much sums up our stuttering start to this season. Let’s hope things start to click before it’s too late.


People overlooking the fact that we’re in 6th today and all these newly rich “little teams” are improved since last season. Things are tougher because the league is tougher this season. It’s affecting everybody, except Citeh, so far.

We lost to West Ham, but they absolutely tore Liverpool a new one on Saturday. People complained that we struggled to win against Crystal Palace but they’re running 2nd and just kicked Chelsea’s arses at the ploughed field. There are no easy games now.


All I will say is this:

Fuck Chelsea.


With the amount of shots/chances we’re having, one of these smaller teams is gonna get a good trashing. God I hope it’s Chelsea.


Your wish is granted, though not quite the way you imagined I should think.


Such a cruel headline, 7am.

Woke up on the other side of the world. 1st thing I do is check arseblog for the result still 90% asleep and see this.


Here’s my question. Why not replace Walcott early once his game is blunted by the red card? I would go as early athe first half, but at least get him off and put giroud on at the start of the second? Fucking pre-programmed substitutions


Totally agree. I can’t understand this obsession with substituting after 65-70 minutes. Where is the element of tactics or surprise in this?

Arsene Wenger's Zip

What if there are injuries to other team members and they need to be replaced and we have run out of subs?

Luis Boa Muerte

We would have 2 subs left after making 1 sub…


How else is he going to learn how to play against those types of teams?


He should go and learn in carling cup matches. The guy is not on a learner’s salary.

bims lay


Woolwich Peripatetic

Counter intuitively, Walcott does his job against a low block quite well. If he was heavily involved in build up play, that means he’s in space in front of the block. If he’s taken out of the game, that means a defender or defenders is/are tracking his movement, if not actively marking him. Since the pitch doesn’t change size, it’s harder for the block to control all that space and keep a lid on Theo. Normally you would bet on him finishing a one-on-one with the keeper – the Krul parry/Theo miss would have gone down as an almighty keeping… Read more »


I agree, though with less fucking swearing

Walcott said he has to be more adaptable and that sounds like something he’s been told in training. He should also be told that if he doesn’t learn it quickly then he can expect to be pulled at half time in situations like yesterday’s. I don’t think he will change though. At 26 he isn’t likely to learn any new tricks. He doesn’t have the footballing brain of a Thierry Henry so regardless how much he wants to emulate him he’s unlikely to ever manage it.


Truth be told, Walcott hides, except when he sees a very large space…….quite a rare commodity !


Re: Ramsey, 90% passing for a #10 is pretty damn good, right? Especially if you see that he was creating good chances and also doing good defensive work? Think he might have deserved his MoTM? Sanchez was good but I really do think he’s being quite wasteful and not at 100% quite yet?


So long as we are racking up chances and actually shooting, goals will come. Not finding fluency in the game at the moment but we are getting it done , what do they say about playing badly and still winning (even if its against ten men???) City are five ahead and clearly on form but we aren’t far off and level with United whom the pundits would deem to have had a dream start (until recently) Liverpool just got exposed as the mediocre team that they are (albeit by the same West Ham that exposed our flaws) Chelsea racked up… Read more »

palace gunner

A win means three precious pts leaped the table all this attacking and an own goal scored coyg


Theo needs to play on the right. That’s his natural position and where most of his goals have come from. He and Ox can trade off there. When Welbeck comes back I think a front line of Alexis, Welbeck and Walcott or Ox could be pretty good because they can all interchange. Everyone is happy because they can interchange througout the game..kind of a poor mans Barcelona front line. Then Giroud is a good change of pace. Anyway Theo has never been clinical…he can hit a screamer one minute and miss a sitter the next. OG is similar. We need… Read more »

Cyprus The immortal Gooner

So if you are going to compare Ramsey and Cazorla why not include the negatives of their play like losing possession, always looking for the superb play instead of doing the obvious simple in some cases which ends up in breaking up play and rhythm etc…You have done that for Alexis (negative stats) but WE HAVE to find a way to male Ramsey the best player in our squad. It’s like a campaign from the bloggers…

Cyprus The Immortal Gooner

and just to back up what I’ve said with statistics, visit whoscored and you can clearly see that Ramsey’s stats on the negative side of play are worst than Cazorlas’…

Wenger the fashion icon

10/10 the feeling of having 3 points in the pocket while watching other teams lose or draw.


Good win without playing particularly well. Cheer up people.


Surely it is time to put the goalposts back on the training pitch, just to see what happens!


Win without playing well; players should have more passion and get involved more, with all those reckless tackles by Newcastle NO Arsenal player even attempted to protest to the referee. Very timid and light for a team that is supposed to be challenging for the PL…


why should they act like kids running to the ref after every foul. The ref should be left to do his job.


So you’re saying we should complain and whine like little children like Chelsea and Barca. I like how we don’t complain and get on with the game. In football there will be rash tackles.


The ref was punishing them for their bad tackles every time. What would have been the point of whining? There’s plenty of season when Chelsea whined at refs and didn’t win the league. It’s not actually the whining that does the winning.


Here’s another interesting statistic the press should get all up in arms about.

Number of British players for Newcastle – 1


..and he wasn’t very good!