Despite the big game played in mid week, Arsenal continued their domination of the box with another commanding performance against Everton. Here’s the box score:
If you need a refresher on the terms SiP and Big Chances read my article “Cech Mate: by the numbers”.
As you can see Arsenal dominated Everton in every shooting and scoring category. The one quibble I might have is with Opta’s Big Chances data. I thought Cech’s save off the Deulofeu shot toward the end was a big chance but I guess it wasn’t as clear cut a scoring opportunity as I thought at first glance. It’s not a major quibble though because I don’t know if you reasonably expect a player to score in those situations against a competent keeper.
With a match in hand the Gunners are now top of the League in Shots in Prime with 63 and with 32 Big Chances created. And with the big chance shutout today they are best in the League in terms of limiting those chances to just 10 allowed and the best defense in the league in terms of allowing the opposition shots in prime with just 19. This goes hand-in-hand with Arsenal’s best in the League goals allowed numbers which added one today off a lucky strike by Barkley.
Cech has been a major, and I mean major, reason why Arsenal are playing so well in this first part of the season. He tops all the ‘keepers in the league in terms of BC save % with 75% and in SiP saves % with 78%.
The one place Arsenal are struggling a bit is in converting shots inside the box but not in prime positions. They are currently just 1/71 which is just 1.4%. To put that in perspective, that is where we normally see Arsenal score over 10% of their shots. This conversion alone accounts for the reason why Arsenal aren’t matching their expected goal output.
One last bit here: Leicester scored again today and with that goal (a big chance scored in a prime position) took their season tally to 10 big chances scored and 14 shots in prime scored (don’t add them together, there are overlaps). Leicester also dominate teams by not taking silly shots from outside the box and instead focusing their shooting on close range shots, taking 62% of their shots inside the 18 yard box.
But defensively they are atrocious and they have allowed more shots in prime than they have created (42-49) and have allowed almost as many goals off those shots as they have scored (12 allowed, 14 scored).
Leicester are a team who like to walk the ball into the net, who are known for a wide open style of play, but who are easily broken at the back. Leicester are playing football the Arsenal way. Well, I mean the way that Arsenal are portrayed by the media and some sections of fans.
In reality, though, they have conceded 17 to their 20 goals scored. Only one Arsenal side under Arsene Wenger had a record that bad for the first 10 games of the season and that was the team he cobbled together after Nasri and Cesc left.
Goals from headers
Arsenal scored two headed goals today and that makes 4 total on the season in League play with 2 in Champions League play. The four headed goals in League play is just one fewer than the three “best headed goals teams” in the League; Leicester, Southampton, and Newcastle.
Fans love corners and free kicks because they build suspense and we love a good bullet header goal. Who could forget Sanga’s emphatic blast to get Arsenal back into the North London Derby? But I’m not sure how important headed goals are to winning the League. They certainly help in single match situations, Arsenal wouldn’t have won with two of them today, but over the course of the season I wonder how statistically important they are?
If I was an enterprising young fella, who needed a math project, I might look to see if there is a relationship between on-field success and headed goals, headed shots, and goals from corners. All the data is available in Whoscored.com under the details tab.
Having looked at the stats for some time and seeing which teams tend to lead the League in these types of goals my gut tells me that there’s an inverse relationship. But, my gut flunked math.
Incidentally, the last time Kozzer scored was against Leicester in February. Another 2-1 win over a scrappy team in blue. But his last headed goal was against Stoke at Arsenal in January of 2015.
Ox v. Rambo
There’s a significant drop off in total passes made when Ox comes on for Ramsey and a drop in passes in the opposition final third. This is because Ox is much more direct and less likely to get himself involved in buildup play. For example, today against Everton, the Ox only went 8/12 in the attacking third whereas against Watford, Ramsey went 21/26.
Ox is also much more likely to take on the opposition with a direct dribble, deep in the opposition box. Again, the Watford match is a good example: Ramsey tried 3 dribbles (0 successful) with 2 of them in his defensive half and against Everton, Ox was 4/8, all of them in the Everton half and 5 of them (2 successful) in the Everton final third.
You can see these numbers in the averages as well. Ramsey averages 63 passes per90 and Ox averages just 44: Ox leads Arsenal with 7.3 dribbles attempted per90 while Aaron Ramsey is far below him with 1.8.
The other thing Ox does differently is cross the ball. Ramsey tends to try to be on the end of crosses whereas Ox is more of a supplier. Ox attempts exactly twice as many crosses per90 than Aaron, 2.8 to 1.4. Aaron’s crosses tend to be a bit better quality, however, as both players find a teammate about once every other match (0.5 per90).
I’m not saying one is better than the other. I’m saying they are different and it’s something to look for in the upcoming weeks.
Sources: Whoscored.com, 442 StatsZone, ESPN, and my personal databases