Saturday, December 10, 2022

Arsenal 2-0 Bayern Munich: By the Numbers

Efficient Arsenal Dominate Bayern

Arsene Wenger is known for his expansive style of possession-based football. Playing football the Arsenal way means that teams often come to the Emirates stadium and sit deep while Arsenal play the ball in a horseshoe shape around the 18 yard box. Inevitably, one of these teams, like a West Ham or a Villa, will get a quick counter against Arsenal and score a goal.

But facing a team like Bayern who are always looking to dominate the ball you have one of two choices: try to dominate them on the ball as well or sit back and try to hit them on the counter. Wenger chose plan B today against Bayern Munich and told his players to sit deep in two banks of four.

To play this way isn’t just a matter of telling your guys to sit back and run around a bit. It requires practice, leadership, and organization. And most importantly, it requires efficiency. As you often hear from the pundits “you have to take your chances when you get them.”

Let me illustrate with a few stats.

Bayern Munich took 21 shots today. They got those shots on a total of 694 completed passes with 194 of those passes in the Arsenal final third. Their 194 final 1/3 passes created 16 chances (passes that led directly to a shot).

Those numbers aren’t bad. But, the problem is that Bayern’s efficiency was well off the mark. They only created 3 shots in prime and/or 2 big chances.

In comparison, Arsenal only took 13 shots in this game. But they only needed 207 passes to get those 13 shots, and only 50 passes in the Bayern Munich final third. And they created 9 chances off passes. 9 out of 50 Arsenal passes in the Bayern final 1/3 were shots!  The ratio of Arsenal final 1/3 passes to shots is an amazing 3.84 to 1 whilst Bayern were 9.23 to 1.

Drilling further down, Wenger’s men also got the best of Bayern in terms of penetration. 12 of Arsenal’s 13 shots were inside the 18 yard box. Arsenal had 7 shots in prime and created 4 big chances, scoring with two of the big chances/SiP.

Arsenal dominated Bayern Munich. It doesn’t matter how many passes you make or how much possession you have. When I say a team dominates another I’m strictly thinking of how many great chances they created compared to how many they allowed. Arsenal opened them up and kept Bayern Munich, the best team in Europe, shooting from distance.


This isn’t a new tactic for Arsene Wenger. He’s deployed this successfully against Liverpool (technically not a top team, I know) and Man City in the League and against Man U in the League this season. All of those matches were convincing wins. He also played this way in the impressive 2-0 win over Bayern in Munich three years ago.

Petr Cech

Cech put in yet another strong performance for the Gunners and Chelsea have to be kicking themselves that they sold Arsenal the best ‘keeper in England this summer. Neuer will make the highlight reels with his save off Walcott’s header (that was a big chance save) but Cech actually had two impressive saves himself in this match.

The first was the save off the Alcantara shot and that save was more difficult than people give credit. It was a big chance in a prime position and Thiago took it one time off the volley. He hit it at a comfortable height for the Arsenal ‘keeper but it still took the same kind of reactions to stop that shot which it took Neuer to save Walcott’s header. The second was the shot from Lewandowski hard in the right channel. It wasn’t a shot in prime but it was another big chance save.

Cech has saved 75% of the big chances he’s faced in the Premier League this season and 77% of the shots in prime he’s faced. Those stats are both best among the top four keepers in the League.

Playing deep usually makes for funny stats

I’m used to seeing Arsenal players dominate the passing stats but not today! Arsenal’s most prolific passer was Mesut Ozil with 30/36 passes on the day, well below Alcantara’s 107/113. Cazorla was second with 27/30 passes.

You probably aren’t even batting an eye over the fact that both of those players had a high pass completion rate (83% and 90% respectively) but the thing about sitting deep is that you often see teams complete 70% passes because they are taking chances with long balls and trying to pick out a runner. So, to see two of Arsenal’s best midfielders passing the ball above 80% is impressive. No surprise, those two were also Arsenal’s most prolific chance creators: Ozil created 3 and Cazorla created 2.

Ozil and Cazorla also topped all players (tied with Thiago Alcantara) with 9 ball recoveries each. Normally we see Coquelin filling this duty but he was busy covering Lewandowski.

Ozil is on a streak right now and since the Olympiacos debacle he has scored or assisted in every game, often more than once! Giroud is also on a mini-roll and has scored in three of the last fourgames he’s played for Arsenal. All of those matches Giroud came on as a substitute.


How much ground did the player cover?

When you play a defense first match you tend to cover a lot of ground “chasing ghosts” as they say on the tee vee. Aaron Ramsey was the top runner again today, clocking up 7439 meters in just 56 minutes of play. That’s 133 meters per minute and basically he was running the length of the Emirates pitch (105m) plus 1/4 every minute for 56 minutes.

This may seem fast but it’s actually not a bad jogging pace. According to the Runner’s World Pace Calculator 2.216666 meters per second is a 12 minute mile. That’s a pretty decent mile pace for anyone who runs and I had to beat 12 minutes when I was in the army (USA). I was a smoker at the time and smoked unfiltered cigarettes. Of course, I only had to do that for 2 miles at a time while Ramsey did 4.6 miles just today. He’s also got a 15 minute break!

It’s still a lot of work. If he’d have kept that pace going, he would have broken 12k in 94 minutes.

Cazorla finished the match clocking up the most distance of any Gunner with 11487m. Ozil was second with 10876 and Bellerin third with 10787.

Bayern Munich’s hardest working player was Thiago Alcántara, he covered 11070 meters today.


Sources: 442 Stats Zone App,,, and my personal database


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Gibbs' volley at Swansea

To be more than twice as efficient as a Guardiola team in the final third makes me tingle with happiness

Arseology - Reloaded

No team has ever managed more shots on target vs.a Pep Guardiola side in the UCL than the eight Arsenal mustered tonight. – Opta Joe.


10 – Number of years contract which should be offered to Hector Bellerin.


10 – Number of contracts which should be offered to Hector Bellerin.


10 – Number of 10 year contracts which should be offered to Hector Bellerin


Deep freeze until we can clone humans – what we should do at the end of that contract.


Numbers – we don’t need to begin sentences with them any more.


As you rightly pointed out its not possession or shots that wins games. Arsenal have been hard done by stats. I recall the games against Hull and Blackburn when Bergkamp was around. Hull were battered and bruised just like BR.Out of the blue the Brazilian scored along range shot to win the game.In the BR game,it was Friedel then at his peak,who foiled the gunners repeatedly. I would prefer Arsenal win with less possession and and a handful of shots which can end in goals. Maybe Wenger is now less obsessed with possession. We wont know until, he can dispose… Read more »

Coq au Vin

Numbers don’t lie: ‘Arsenal dominated Bayern Munich. It doesn’t matter how many passes you make or how much possession you have.’ Great analysis!


Having PVR’d the game here in Canada, I wonder what it must have felt like watching it Live.

* Cech showed why we now have the best goalkeeper in a long time.

* Hector Bellerin can run

* I love Arsenal

Bould's Eyeliner

I always love reading about km run per match stats. It reminds me that top flight footballers can literally run a 10k while dribbling and doing suicide steps, in the time it takes me to put on a shirt and make some coffee.

Last arse standing

Thanks for those stats but with all due respect I’m going to have to disagree with you regarding Ramsey running 133 meters per minute. The ball was clearly not in play for 56 minutes. You need to consider the time the ball was out of the pitch boundaries. During that time Ramsey was clearly not running. Would you mind re-computing if you actually have the information. In Italy that would be a Stat provided to viewers at the end of each half.


Good catch buddy…

Gutbukket Deffrolla

The ball may go out of play but the players have to move into a position to receive the throw-in or receive a subsequent pass. Just because the ball isn’t moving it doesn’t follow that all the players are standing still. Positioning yourself while a ball is out of play is a part of play and I would think that was why they don’t add on added time for throw ins.

gooner 44

stats nil arsenal two fuck the rest C O Y G’s


I am writing stats today. I wish I could have you in my pocket

Me So Hornsey

I’ve run a London marathon and various half marathons and I can tell you that 12 minute miles isn’t a very fast time at all. I’m “average to slow” and always hover around 10 minute mile mark. That’s a 2 hours and 10 minute half marathon.

Having said all this, as pointed out above, I’m not dribbling, tackling, sprinting, jumping or even concentrating very much really during any of this time neither am I running on grass.

So the point I’m making is… Well I don’t know really. Heh.


I’d say those were mainly sprints, not constant pace jogs. I’d wonder if all that running around led to the injury…


Exactly bro – 56 minutes of HIT training. Put that in your fucking pipe.


Aaron is a machine, he does this every game. But I think it will catch up to him if he doesn’t rest. I noticed earlier in the game that he seemed to be stopping to walk a bit more than usual. Wondered if he was tired. He still ran his socks off, but I’m sure the hamstring was due to overwork. Didn’t seem like there was any abnormal stretch or contortion when he actually pulled up.

Bould's Eyeliner

Higher tension games can have a drastic effect on muscle tension, resulting in injuries. Not an unusual thing, and his hamstring was most likely not a symptom of overwork, as he regularly runs 11 km a match without a problem, week in, week out.

I would think it’s more a case of nerves/desire to win/fatigue from Watford (which was a very physical game as well), just slightly affecting his movement, and over that many steps, it took its toll.

Gutbukket Deffrolla

Exactly. It’s the frequency and number of the 11km games that adds up towards an injury. Our medical/conditioning team should have been warning Wenger that Ramsey was nearing the twanging point… Perhaps they were but Wenger overrode them because of the importance of the game. If he did he’s a bit of a silly bugger. He hired them to stop him from running anybody into the ground, yet he seemingly still does it. This is what happens when you are trying to win leagues and cups at the highest level and don’t have two identical copies of each player, I… Read more »

Saigon Jack

Hahahahaaa yaaaaaaasss, fuck Bayern, fuck possession, COYGGGGGGG


. Sterile Domination.


Ughhhhh….that was like….*so* three years ago.


A big F U to Big Sam for continuously saying that Wenger fails to change and adapt tactically.

I for one welcome our new sitting deep, highly efficient counter attacking overlords.

Gunner From Another Mother

That bum will never manage a club worth a damn

Cornelius P. Snuffington III

But last year he told us that he’s good enough to manage Barcelona! Why would he lie?


Because it’s only by saying things like that that he can take the reins at illustrious clubs like Sunderland.

Out of curiosity – does Big Sam lead the “number of times relegated” standings, or is it still ‘Arry at the front of that particular race?


I have a question: The best goalkeeper of the world made a mistake and it was costly for Bayern, do you think he will be destroyed like Ospina was after the game vs Olympiacos?… I don’t think so, the colombian was literally eaten alive and I know Neuer is in another level and he is a world class goalkeeper and Ospina on the paper is not, but… come on! even the best can have a bad day, that’s the problem of being a goalkeeper.


Ospina did not make a huge save prior to that so yea…


He also pulled of some incredible saves and his mistake was missing the ball, it’s still bad judgement by him but it’s not as bad as putting it in your own net. I don’t think the criticism of Ospina was because it’s him, I think more so due to him being the number 2. If we didn’t have Cech and he was the number one making that mistake I don’t think he’d have been slated as much. Neuer gets away with a lot of mistakes though, against Wolfsburg he nearly conceded because he was fucking around at the half way… Read more »

Clock-End Mike

It may be a bit early to start looking at predictions after just half of the group stage, but we knew after the first 2 rounds we were on a knife-edge. The win against Bayern, let’s face it, just keeps out head above water. If, as seems likely, Olympiakos beat Dinamo Zagreb again in the 4th round, then Arsenal still cannot afford to lose at Bayern. For if we do, Bayern and Olympiakos can then just draw in the 5th round and both will qualify with 10 points from the first 5 rounds; Arsenal and Zagreb, with 3 points each… Read more »

Clock-End Mike

Just realised that if we draw at Bayern, we may still have to beat Olympiakos head-to-head by winning there by 2 goals or better than 2-3 (that’s if Olympiakos also draw at Bayern in the following round).


Basically its in our hands now. All we have to do is win our remaining games. I think it’s time for this squad to start believing we can do that.


If we lose in Munich, Bayern will already be on 9 points, and surely you’d back them to beat Dinamo Zagreb to get to 12.

We need them to best Olympiakos, and we ourselves need to get a good result in Greece too. And of course take care of business at home versus the Croats.

Maybe Dinamo can drug up their players again and win in Greece next match day. That would help our cause a lot.


Personally I dont see this as the same “park the bus” plan used by the scums in blue. We were never “anti-football” at any point, even when we could have wasted time and hold that 1-0 going into last 10 mins. But we were always looking forward. Granted we did score frm a free kick, but we did cut through them with precise passing on so many occasions. I really fucking love this. COYG!!


Agreed it’s more like idle the Lotus and get ready to pop the clutch and smash the gas.
*Looking at you Bellerin

Cornelius P. Snuffington III

For me, the difference is that we played this way against one of the best sides in Europe, Chelsea would play this way home to a League Two side.


Didn’t they do that against Bradford last year and lose?

Gutbukket Deffrolla

Chelsea have NEVER parked the bus the way we park our Ferrari.

Woolwich Peripatetic

I’d actually be concerned that Bayern might shift tactics for their home game but if you look at the makeup of their squad I’m not sure how they could. Like Barca under Pep, they have no real defence except possession – defensive midfielders rather than defenders.


Great stats – particularly about shots from prime. And if our 1 shot outside the 18 was Coquelin then that really was not a bad effort and well set up. I would really like him to finally get a goal.


Our coq celebrates every goal like it’s his goal.. I shudder to imagine what he would do if he scored one himself


Seriously I cannot fucking wait to see a Coquelin goal celebration

Lone Star Gunner

Great work 7am, as usual, but seriously are we sure about Bellerin’s stats for meters run? I mean, how can they measure him during the periods where he sprints faster than the speed of light? 🙂


Good point. Maybe this is why he’s progressing so quickly.. He is able to bend space time.. He moves so fast that time comes almost to a halt. Hence he might be 20 years to the external spectator but in actual fact his football age is 27…


why are you obsessed with thisb

why are you obsessed with this ‘prime’ thing


That is the position from whence most goals are scored, hence the nomenclature.

The Car2n Goon

Because when your friend is the leader of the universe-saving transformers- Optimus, it’s the best position to be in…

*gets coat


If a team could develop a playing system where they only need 30-40% possession to engineer 5-6 chances in ‘prime’ areas every game, then as long as their back 5 is solid that team could become hyper-efficient and lethal even against superior opposition. Acquiring the ability to focus your attack in this way is a great way to overcome other deficiencies in your team. According to UEFA’s stats Arsenal are only 14th (out of the 34 clubs) in avg passes completed pg, but 3rd on the list of avg shots on target pg. This is an area that we had… Read more »


Based on stats, some would conclude we did not stand a chance.

That’s not how it works.;)

Gutbukket Deffrolla

According to stats, the stats change every time a game is played.

Bayern Munich were top of the European Ladder before this match. Barcelona overtook them after we beat them. The stats now prove Barcelona are the best team in Europe, so when we play Bayern Munich they will only be the second best team in Europe so will clearly be much easier to beat.

That’s probably not how it works either. 🙂

Singapore gooner

Yet again, really great analysis. This stuff really adds to our understanding of the game.

Die Hard Gooner

To be honest this is a performance that got me thinking that may be we can win the league this year. It showed me our players have grit and determination. The difference between this win and last year’s man city team was this was against a team on another level. I have to praise our players from the academy Bellerin and Coquilen. They were out standing. I dont think coq has run that much in a game. His passion has makings of a future capitain. Bellerin bounced back and made an amazing second half performance. and to top it off… Read more »


I’ve never thought about Coquelin as a potential captain before but you’re absolutely right. At the moment the captains in the squad (from Wenger’s point of view) are Arteta, Mertesacker, Cazorla and then possibly Ozil, Koscielny, Ramsey.

Coquelin has all the makings of a captain except experience – which is already growing. If he becomes club captain in the future his rise will be one of the greatest stories about an individual player at AFC.

Gutbukket Deffrolla

Well if we’re looking for great stories about an individual player, then I truly hope that Jenkinson becomes Club Captain in the future. He’s one of us.


This performance was reminisce of Mancity 2-0 away last season and if im not wrong after that result we went on quite the run.

We were caviar when attacking and balls to the wall when defending. More of this please.



I don’t often rewatch full matches but I’ve got a feeling that’s how I’m spending my day off! Amazing result and fantastic performances from every single Arsenal player.

May I ask, because I’m terrible at working these things out, what is the minimum we now need to do to go through to the knock-outs?


If we win all our remaining games, we will advance, because in that case we would have 12 points and it would be impossible for both Bayern and Olympiakos to also have 12. So, our destiny is back in our own hands. If we lose to Bayern, we will still advance if we win the other two matches, as long as Bayern beat Olympiakos and we subsequently beat Olympiacos by at least two goals. There are some other sets of results that would also see us advance, but what it boils down to is just go on a winning run… Read more »


I think the special one must be kicking himself for letting go off Cech.Anyway I doubt Cech will settle for 2nd best. Hopefully the gunners can use this win as a marker for the game against Blues. Everton will ,believe me,deny the gunners time and space and will play robust. Ultimately its the players skills which shd help the gunners garner the 3 points. The ref in this game could be a VIM(very important man).You never know. He may not want the gunners to win and in his tool kit are many instruments to sabotage the gunners.This ismy guess and… Read more »


Nice article! But what about Bellerin’s pace? I expected to see something around that..

Abayomi Aje

Great win, hopefully we can play more like this often.

Arseology - Reloaded

Lemondowski – best striker my arris’

Diaby's Glassware

Hahaha…Bellerin could run from our goal and get to Bayerns goal before Neuer. Should we just call him flash?


Arsenal players must be at their limits physically and mentally. How many can avoid injury by next week will decide how far this team can go.

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