Sunday, August 14, 2022

Arsenal 1-1 Sp*rs: by the numbers

Sorry for the late post, typically I get these done before midnight on match day but this weekend was crazy and I couldn’t get to the post before I heard the sweet siren call of alcohol. But the bonus is that you get more to talk about and under the fresh light of day to boot.

Ozil assist #10

You know all this stuff already, because Blogs tweeted out the stats, but it’s worth repeating that Arsenal’s Mesut Özil created his 10th assist of the season last night. That was his 6th consecutive Arsenal match with an assist, beating Fabregas’ record of 6 games in a row which he generated by assisting in his last three Arsenal matches and his first three Chelsea matches.

Özil now has 54 key passes and that, along with his 10 assists makes him the most prolific provider in the top five Leagues of Europe.

Özil was determined to get an assist in this match, he created 7 chances in this game. Of those 7 chances 3 were “Big Chances” and 6 of the 7 were for shots in prime areas. Because of Özil, Arsenal created 4 big chances and 6 shots in prime compared to Tottenham’s 2 big chances and 3 shots in prime.

Four of his chances came from set plays, corners and free kicks, which is something that Özil practiced and learned while at Real Madrid. It’s fabulous that Arsenal finally have a threat from set plays. Though, his only assist did come from open play!

In fact, with Özil creating such gilt-edged chances Arsenal were unlucky not to score more than the one goal. Michael Caley’s Expected Goals tally has Arsenal with 1.8 to Spurs 1.3. My own, simplistic, expected goals put it at 1.5 to 1.

Does that change your perception of the match? I’ve heard that some folks thought Arsenal did poorly and of course, that Ozil is “nicking a living” but I didn’t see it that way. I saw a team ravaged by injury playing against a fully healthy opposition, gutting out a 1-1 draw that very easily could have been a victory.

Difference between Campbell and Ramsey

The day before Ramsey went down injured I was going to write an article about the differences in playing style between each of the three Arsenal right-sided wing players. But it’s not really much of an “article” because it boils down to one key stat: passes.

Ramsey averages 63 passes per90. That means if we divide his total minutes played by 90 and then divide his total passes into that, we get 63. That’s a lot of passes for a wide player and what that shows me is that Ramsey’s industry down the right side, along with his penchant for coming inside to offer a passing option, acts like a ventilator for Arsenal’s attack. He is providing the Arsenal midfield with options, helping to open up play, and breathing life into the midfield.

Joel Campbell averages 25.1 passes per90 and Ox 43.8.

Joel Campbell changes the team dynamic. He’s not involved in build-up play as much, and not providing an outlet on the right as much as Ramsey. Sagna used to play a similar role on the right and when he went down injured we saw a similar problem with the midfield being overrun.

Ox, on the other hand, is the middle between Ramsey and Campbell in terms of passing but he also provides Arsenal with something unique on the right: he’s a Neymar/Douglas Costa level dribbler. Ox has 4.9 successful dribbles per90 while Douglas Costa has just 4.4 and Neymar 4.3.

Joel v Ramsey

There are 11 days until the next match. I trust that Wenger will be getting Ramsey and Ox some extra treatment so that he can have a few more options available toward the end of the month.

Let’s talk about shots, baby

Did Arsenal have a shot in the first 45 minutes? It depends on who’s counting. Opta counted the Alexis attempted back heel off the Campbell pass despite the fact that it was offside. The reason why they counted it is because I don’t think the referee actually called for offside. I think they just got back on with play.

The funny thing is I think that they would have called offside if he’d have scored. So, is it a shot? For now, it is.

If you don’t count that shot then Arsenal went 48 minutes without a shot and then blitzed Spurs with 9 shots in 36 minutes. Between the 48th minute and the 84th minute, Arsenal created 9 shots, including all of the chances I talked about in the Özil section above, Spurs had 6 shots in that time, 1 which produced a top quality save from Cech to keep the game in reach.

The tackles thing

Debuchy put up some nasty defensive numbers in this match, completing 9/10 tackles on the day. He was part of a crew of Arsenal players who were putting themselves about in order to win the ball back. Arsenal ended the match making 35/51 tackles. In context, Arsenal only average 21.7/33 tackles on the season.

It was a weird defensive match all around. Arsenal out-tackled Spurs 35-22 and Arsenal won the ball in their half of the pitch 8 times compared to them winning the ball in our half just 4 times.

Meanwhile, Arsenal are 2nd in the League with an average of 20.2 interceptions per game and Tottenham are 5th with 18.5 yet neither team seemed interested in playing the passing lanes and finished the game 13-14 interceptions.

What drove a lot of this tackling for Arsenal was the fact that Deli Alley (mmm… sandwich) went dribble crazy, attempting 12 dribbles in this game. Fortunately, Debuchy had him covered and the Englishman completed just 4. Spurs only attempt 19.3 dribbles per game on average and only complete 10 per game so, one player going 4/12 is pretty nuts.

Meanwhile, Arsenal are the best dribbling team in the League, averaging 13.6/20.5 dribbles this season. But against Tottenham, Arsenal went 5/15. Arsenal’s three best dribblers (beside Ox) are Özil, Alexis, and Cazorla but against Tottenham last night they went 1/5, 1/2, and 1/1.


Sources: Opta


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Oooooooozilll! Gotta love him!


Ozil stats better than Deli Alli on just about everything. And Alli was MOTM…

True Red

No, Alli was BBC MOTM. Huge difference. According to everyone else, Mesut was MOTM.




NBC gave it to Moussa Dembélé…

David C

I quite like Dembele, he’s too good for that team.

But Ozil was MOTM by far!


Sky said delli alli as well. He got it because he is young, english and has just stepped up from league one not necessarily for being the best player on the pitch. Which is ridiculous.

bims lay

The power of statistics. Thanks so much for this, @7amkickoff, as i am sure it will go a long way to smoothen a few ruffled fan feathers out there. The stats shows conclusively that we did try, and the performance is not as bad as some bias, stupid, and uninformed so called pundits will have us believe. A not so good day in the office, period, happens to everybody sometimes and is understandable, given the type of week we’ve had. The stats, and this article shows you can’t fault the lads for not trying?….its a case of the soul is… Read more »


Thanks ! Someone brought a point last week that Alexis plays differently depending whether he plays alongside Walcott or Giroud. Is there any way we could quantify this? The hypothesis was that Alexis is more efficient when playing with Walcott as he goes, more often, centrally and score goals, but I am thinking that this might also mean that he does not defend as well as when playing with Giroud. Any insight?


I think that’s just an over analyzing stuff. Alexis is a top class player, he can play with everyone. The only problem in the last few games is he looks off the pace. Our energizer bunny needs to be recharge.


Useless piece of information here. Kane scored in the 32nd minute, while Gibbs’ equalizer came in the 77th. If you look at the halves as isolated then Gibbs scored in the 32nd minute of the second half. Just found that quite amusing


Again with the stats.

Tells you what you want to see.

I see Ox as good for us going forward but a liability in decision making at times and suspect at the back.

I see Ramsey good providing creation but not nominally comfortable at RW.

I see Campbell good at retaining the ball for us and sensible with use of the ball plus diligent tracking back.

Third Plebeian

Again with the words.

Bould's Eyeliner

Again with the plebeians.

Siggi Jonsson

Are you having a laugh with your description of the Ox as a Neymar/Costa level dribbler? If you are serious with that, then it really just goes to show how misleading statistics can be if you’re not actually watching the matches. What is the definition of a ‘successful’ dribble? The Ox’s trademark is to just put his head down and keep going until he either loses the ball or finds himself isolated near the corner flag, having failed to release the ball in a timely fashion to a number of better placed teammates and rarely creating a meaningful chance on… Read more »


What you think the ox lacks is final-product and defensive work rate, and they have nothing to do with dribbling. A ‘successful’ dribble is running with the ball and going past a (or a number) of players, which the ox can do brilliantly. Doing just that won’t make you great player though. The stats don’t say he does everything Neymar or costa do, just that he is good at dribbling.

Siggi Jonsson

Yes, a successful dribble is indeed when you are able to dribble successfully. The point is that you need to be a bit more intelligent in interpretation of the statistic – if you are hoping that these successful dribbles lead to chances on goal (as often the case with Neymar/Costa) and not just losing the ball near the corner flag after running a long way (as often the case with the Ox).


@Siggi Johnson
7am said “hes a neymar/costa level dribbler” he didn’t say anything about chances on goal or player ability and decision making. A successful dribble is literally getting past a player initially it has nothing to do with what you do after that, so yes that stat says EXACTLY what it means you are the one who misinterpret it.


Neymar’s stats have to be taken with a pinch of salt too. The guy is playing with some of the best players in world football, and in one of the weakest leagues in Europe. I highly doubt if you stuck him in the EPL with any of the top 4 sides he would do nearly as well as he does in Spain for Barcelona.


Statistics is like a mini skirt. What it reveals is interesting, but what it hides is vital.


Statistics are pretty useless unless you have the understanding to use them in a cogent discussion. It is pretty obvious the problem lies with not having a striker who can push opposing defences back to create space for the likes of Alexis, Ozil and Santi to utilise the ball. Spurs held a very high defensive line, a lot like Bayern did to compress play into a very small area. That stopped Santi creating anything. Add to that his defensive enforcer, Ramsey is injured. Arsenal have had very little fluency for the entire 3 years Giroud has led the line. He… Read more »


It’s funny… I’d also forgotten that Welbeck was in the team.

Third Plebeian

Some ungenerous comments about this column today. I don’t really get it. Many of the criticisms are unrelated to the content. For example, this IS a cogent discussion, even if it leaves out things you wanted to talk about. What’s not cogent is imagining your opinion about the stats to be more cogent while at the same time providing no stats to back them up. If you don’t have a better way to use the stats, then best not to make that foundational to your criticism of the post.

Tomas Casus

Wenger tried to sign a striker, including Benzema if the stories are to be believed. He can’t force another club to sell their players. And we are suffering because of injuries. If Theo and/or Welbeck were fit I reckon we’d have won that game. Honestly, I think we did alright given the state of the squad, because Sp*rs are no push-overs recently, and they’re always gonna raise their game against us. These are the games, when we’re not on top form, that we need to grind out a result in if we are to have a chance to win the… Read more »


As for numbers you may also say whilst many felt we were out played by Spurs, this was only a perception formed by the fact that as poor as we were, we could have still beaten them and there was at no point a sense that we would not get that goal. Roughly speaking – 0-20 minutes we dominated 20-30 Niggly even patch where our play broke down 30-40 spurs in spurts + gift for them 40-45 even stevens 45-50 even with us slightly better 50-60 we dominated 62-72 dangerous patch where Spurs threatened and we rode our luck too… Read more »


Is there a way I can subscribe to this site to get articles directly into my mail. pls look into it cos I don’t want to be missing this ‘By the number’. Almsot thought I had today


That “running into a corner” happens with a lot of dribblers, especially when they are played on the side of the pitch matching their dominant foot. It’s easier for them to get past their man and whip in a pointless cross than to cut onto their chocolate leg. Ox does suffer from that when played on the right, though I seem to remember a rather deft dribble onto his left foot and a left-footed shot for a goal which beat Chelsea in the Charity shield. Ox’s end product hasn’t been that good this season, he has zero assists and zero… Read more »

Siggi Jonsson

I can’t really agree with your assessment of the Ox. There is far more to technical ability than being able to dribble a bit – would you also say that Aaron Lennon has great technical ability? The Ox’s first touch is below average for an attacking player, as is his ball control and passing accuracy/vision. Not to mention that he looks completely lost without the ball half the time. At this point he looks to me strictly a substitute, put him on for 15 min to run against tired defenders and hope he doesn’t give the ball away in a… Read more »


I agree to an extent with what you’re saying, but, I think the Ox does have the slightly greater potential. I think he has shown flashes of brilliance in previous matches that Campbell has yet to do – his real issue currently is making the right decision at the right times. I mean Campbell has done okay, that’s it, just okay, he’s not set the world on fire, nor has he been a revelation like Coquelin or Bellerin. The Ox aside, has Campbell done enough to show that he is a better solution on the right hand side over Alexis,… Read more »


Campbell is also a couple of years younger than either AOC or Ramsey. He is only 22. And has barely played with his current teammates. AOC has had years in the setup at Arsenal yet is only marginally better, and that is certainly an arguable conclusion.

Dick Swiveller

Given that the Ox is 22 as well, I don’t think there’s that much between them.


And the Ox has been out with an ACL tear for ages too.


It’s obvious that you are being biased in your assessment of Ox vs. Campbell. It seems as though the stats you are using to compare them are those that make the Ox look better. Rather than doing that why don’t you show real stats to compare them equally in the overall impact of a game (both defending and attacking). For instance why don’t you compare “mistakes” that have led to chances/goals to the opposing team and lets see who comes on top of that….you’d be surprised! another thing is that it’s not fair to have the same measuring stick for… Read more »


Of all of our absences I think Ramsey’s hurts the most as he puts in such a high workrate shift each match and does so many things to help us keep or win back possession that often are not on the scoresheet. It’s a huge drop off in my opinion from him to Campbell. Honestly am thrilled we were able to get a point Sunday how beat up and tired we are from the midweek trip to Germany in a tough match there and what we’ve been facing the last few weeks with in effect just 14 players or so… Read more »


So having read it all it seems that Sp*rs are shit! Right? 😉

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