3 – Big chances created by Ludogorets and Arsenal (each).
The two Arsenal keepers have been playing very well so far this season but as with all keeper stats it’s hard to quantify how well. Both have flaws but what sets them apart is that they have a tendency to come up big against high percentage shots. For example, big chances, fast breaks, and shots in prime. In this game, Arsenal allowed three big chances, one fast break shot, and four shots in prime. Ospina saved just one big chance (the diving save at Wanderson’s feet) but he saved a shot from a fast break/counter.
Fast breaks are a new stat that I’m looking in to. I was triggered into looking at this stat when Leicester won the League last season and did so off the crazy goal-scoring exploits of Jamie Vardy. Then, when Wenger went after Vardy (and when Vardy decided to end his vareer in Leicester, Wenger went after Perez) I looked at the numbers and was surprised by his conversion rate of this type of shot, which was 50% from counters last season. Big chances are converted at a 40% rate (bulk, not just shots on target), and shots in prime at about a 24% rate. So, whenever a keeper can save a Big Chance, a counter attack shot, or a shot in prime, they are doing a great job.
Ospina has a much smaller sample (I only see Champions League v. Premier League data) but so far Ospina is only saving 50% of the Big Chances he’s faced (3/6) and just 40% of the Shots in Prime. Cech is slightly better in Big Chances with 53% (7/13) but hugely better in shots in prime with 66%.
One thing that is worrying me is that Arsenal seem to be conceding a lot of shots in great areas this season compared to last. This is something I wrote about last week and I need to reiterate it again because I think it shows a fragility in Arsenal’s defence that a lot of folks aren’t seeing (there is overlap between big chances and shots in prime, e.g. most big chances are shots in prime).
Premier League shots in prime created 2016/17 – 3.9 per game
Premier League shots in prime created 2015/16 – 5.4 per game
Premier League shots in prime allowed 2016/17 – 3.1 per game
Premier League shots in prime allowed 2015/16 – 2.5 per game
Premier League Big Chances created 2016/17 – 2.4 per game
Premier League Big Chances created 2015/16 – 2.5 per game
Premier League Big Chances allowed 2016/17 – 1.6 per game
Premier League Big Chances allowed 2015/16 – 0.9 per game
Champions League shots in prime created 2016/17 – 3 per game
Champions League shots in prime allowed 2016/17 – 2.75 per game
Champions League big chances created 2016/17 – 2.5 per game
Champions League big chances allowed 2016/17 – 2 per game
What this shows me is that Arsenal’s defense is too loose. We are conceding too many shots in good areas this season, roughly the same number as we have taken, and this puts too much pressure on the keepers and ultimately on the attackers to keep the games close. Last night against Ludogorets, Arsenal needed both: they needed Ospina to make two key saves and for Arsenal to create 3 big chances. You can’t expect to see goals like Özil’s winner every week.
512 – Passes by Arsenal
76 – Passes by Mustafi (led all players)
66 – Passes by Koscielny (second among all players)
34 – Passes by Jenkinson
24 – Number of Jenkinson’s passes which were backward (led all players)
17 – Number of Jenkinson’s passes which were to Mustafi
8 – Number of completed forward passes by Jenkinson (of 12)
38 – Passes by Gibbs
13 – Number of Gibbs passes that were backward
12 – Number of completed forward passes by Gibbs (of 16)
9 – Ball recoveries by Gibbs (led Arsenal)
4 – Clearances by Gibbs (led Arsenal, Jenkinson was 3/3)
3 – Aerial clearances by Gibbs (led all players, Jenkinson was 2/2)
1 – Aerial duels won by Gibbs (led Arsenal, tied with Jenkinson, both players were 1/2)
1 – Slip that is the only stat people will remember. This actually wasn’t scored as an error but rather as a failed tackle. If you watch the slow mo replay that’s what he attempted. He ended the match 2/4 on tackles.
3 – Tackles by Jenkinson (of 4 attempted, led Arsenal)
6 – Fouls committed by Jenkinson (led all players)
4 – Fouls committed by Xhaka
4 – Fouls committed by Xhaka that could have been yellow cards
1 – Key pass by Xhaka that should have won the game but for Alexis’ poor touch
18 – Final third passes by Ramsey (led all players)
69 – Percent of final third passes completed by Aaron Ramsey (18/26)
0 – Key passes by Ramsey
17 – Final third passes completed by each of Alexis (17/22, 77%), Özil (17/21, 81%), and Coquelin (17/18, 94%)
1 – Key pass by either of Alexis or Coquelin, and I bet you didn’t guess it was Coquelin who made that pass
4 – Key passes by Özil against Ludogorets (led all players)
4 – Champions League goals scored by Özil this season: the most in a season by Özil for any team he’s played with, all four scored against the Bulgarian side Ludogorets
5 – Goals scored by Özil in his last 5 appearances
3 – Assists by Özil in his last 5 appearances
9 – Goals scored or assists by Özil’s in his last 8 appearances for Arsenal
3 – Ludogorets defenders left on their asses for Özil’s goal
4 – Passes made by Mo Elneny
1 – Chances created by Elneny (Through Ball, Big Chance, Assist)
Someone requested Alexis’ touch map, here it is!
Sources: Whoscored.com (for the touch map), the 442 stats zone app, my personal database, outer space (for Özil, this is where he is from).