Sunday, February 25, 2024

Man City 2-1 Arsenal: total domination, By the Numbers

This is bleak.

Defensively, Arsenal have already allowed almost as many Big Chances* this season (27) as they did in all 38 games last season (35). Arsenal are also saving those Big Chances at a lower rate and the opposition have already scored 13 goals from Big Chance opportunities, which was the same number Arsenal conceded all of last season.

Shots in Prime** is a similar story: Arsenal are allowing the opposition to take 3.3 shots in prime per game, where last season the defense limited that number to just 2.5.

Arsenal are allowing fewer overall shots, 10.7 versus last year’s 11.8 but the opposition is converting at a higher rate than last season sinking 9% of their shots where they got just 7% last season. The reason for this is simple: they are getting better shots against Arsenal than ever before. Last season, Arsenal forced the opposition to take 50% of their shots from outside the box, this season, it’s just 37%. And worse, the opponents are taking 31% of their overall shots in Arsenal’s Prime Area, where last year that number was a stingy 21%.

I understand that Arsenal want to play counter attacking football but if you try to do that you have to prevent the opposition from getting so deep into the 18 yard box and getting off great shots. Either that, or you have to have a blood and thunder defensive attitude. Leicester were one of the top shot blocking teams in the League last season with 4.4 per game and Arsenal were a decent 3.4. Arsenal don’t even come close to that this season with a pathetic 2.5 blocked shots per game.

I don’t think it’s a surprise for me to tell you that Arsenal have now dropped points after taking the lead four times this season: Liverpool (4-3 loss), Spurs (1-1 draw), Everton (2-1 loss), Man City (2-1 loss). In those matches Arsenal have been outshot 54-39, out Big Chanced 8-4, and outscored 9-5 (the own goal at Spurs doesn’t count).

There are other stats points that make this run look worse as well: Arsenal have only had five clean sheets this season, we haven’t had a clean sheet since Boro (a run of 8 League games or 12 games in all competitions) which is one of the longest runs without a clean I have ever seen from Arsenal.

If we are trying to be a defense-first team, we aren’t doing a very good job of it.

Charts and stuff..

No chart. Do you really need a visual representation of how much City dominated Arsenal? Arsenal only took two shots in the second half, after Guardiola brought on Sagna. Both of those shots were off target. Both of those shots were from outside the 18 yard box.

In terms of possession, Arsenal only had 47 passes in the City final third and 20 of those were in the second half. Arsenal created just one key pass (a pass that ended with a shot) in the second half and two in the first. Kevin de Bruyne (while not diving around looking for penalties) created SEVEN key passes in this game.

Walcott and Bellerin were the only two Arsenal players to take a shot.

Özil led Arsenal with 41/48 passes and created just one shot for a teammate. Xhaka was 35/44, Coquelin 15/26, and Alexis was 19/26 – though Alexis led all players with 5/7 dribbles and did have the assist for Walcott’s goal (Arsenal’s only shot on goal in the game). Özil also went 0/1 tackles and 0/1 dribbles.

Just fucking dominated. City did to Arsenal exactly what Everton did but with much better players and the result was a level of domination across all sections of the pitch. Wenger can complain about the offsides decisions and he’d be right, but the real story here is that after Arsenal scored, they were never in this game.


Sources: my personal database, 442 stats zone app

*One-on-one with the keeper, shots from close range, etc.
**Shots taken in the area from the penalty spot to the goal mouth, the “prime” area to take shots


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Do these stats have anything to do with the fact that Mertesacker isn’t playing?


Do you guys think we will won the PL throphy this season? Up thumb for yes down thumb for no.


Why are you asking silly questions?
Chavs are 9 points ahead, after winning 11 in a row. Bookies expect us to finish the season 13-16 points behind them. Even that might be optimistic giving how shit we are playing.


Every team now knows how to play us – squeeze midfield, press defenders, hit space behind full backs, cross, shoot on sight. Some teams not good enough to do that for long periods but those who can will cause us trouble.

Chelski saw the need to change format after we drubbed them – AW hasn’t seen it.


It is only an intelligent manager can find other options. Modern football, especially EPL does not only require skills but guts and determination. I believe it is something a manager instills in a team. Wenger is too nice. His style is not near enough to win the league. he seemed not to have any clue about Arsenal problem as they keep reoccurring. Our boys are the only team in premiership that doesn’t know how to press other teams. We appear always tired and lacking in stamina. Wengers’ excuses against Everton and City are cries of a clueless manager. Ozil’s skill… Read more »


therefore all we really need are some good wingers to open up play out wide. And in that i mean players who can run with the ball and actually take on players with some pace. That would make it easier for the midfield to ease the pressure and make the opposition think twice on how to defend against us. Times like this a player of Joel Campbell’s qualities (protect the ball, take ons, eye for a pass, eye for goal and able to track back if dispossessed) would suffice. Our offensive players are a bit to one-trick players- Theo good… Read more »


December – The new November.


there was a moment in 2nd half where Petr was our top passer 33 passes.

like back in the days where seaman was our playmaker, just lump it up to wright or pass to dixon to lump it up to…. wright.

Mr November

This tells the story. We were fucking terrible. From what I’ve seen though there’s a large group that are grabbing their pitchforks and fire for Arsene and certain players and then the other side are blaming decisions and refusing to acknowledge that we deserved to be beaten. Where are all the sane people that can find a happy medium?


They don’t post on social media and blog comments sections.

Well, most anyway.


I actually don’t think much has changed in the last ten years, our players are a bit better, so we are a bit better. Otherwise it is the same old problems, press arsenal and they don’t know what to do. You think Wenger would try to address this problem. Not every team can do it to us, they need to be pretty decent. Also, the main point of this article is worrying. We have been getting away with a weak defensive record, it is bound to catch up, and it did. There is a lack of defensive commitment from some… Read more »

Mexican Gunner

I hadn’t thought about the idea and coming from anyone else I would’ve found it as a crazy exaggerated reaction to his performances in the last games. But coming from you its most probably because of the how much it costs to balance his lack of defensive effort. It would be an interesting experiment, to play with a three man midfield without him, but one I don’t think we’ll ever see.



Passes completed: 498 – 220
Final third passes: 217 – 76 (triple!!)

Yep, those lion refs are to blame.


Man that’s not a good read.

Can’t blame fatigue too much either, we had one day rest more than City. You would’ve thought we couldn’t have a worse 2nd half than against Ev. Just so, so disappointing.

Theo's Wall-cot

I haven’t sworn so much in an Arsenal game in some time. What a desperate performance. Can only hope the kind run of fixtures in the next 6 games lets us get some momentum going again!


“the kind run of fixtures in the next 6 games”

Knowing Pulis and his West Brom, I’m not really looking forward to next monday.


For would that say stats are worthless…

By The Numbers for a while now have been warning about Arsenal’a allowance of big chances and shots against them being a huge worry that wasn’t being addressed, but the general fan overlooked this because our conceded number looked good.

The warning signs were there.


The warning signs have been there ever since the start of the season. The games where we played well are few and far between. Winning did well to mask our atrocious performances on a lot of occasions and it was bound to catch up with us. It doesn’t look good, especially when you take into account that, bar Cazorla and Mustafi, this is our best 11.


Stating the obvious.. but why do we decide defending is our best plan when we are so obviously an offensive minded side (Wenger has admitting this himself). Play to your strengths – simple. Apart from Kos we simply do not have the defensive authority required to close out games… especially from the 5th minute onward. It creates a negative mindset in the side.. one which we struggle to alter once opposing teams alter tactics and/or score.


Playing this way is something we haven’t tried too many times and, even though it worked in the same fixture two years ago, I thought today wasn’t ideal for it.

City had a lopsided lineup, they were fragile in defence and had very important players missing, hardly an intimidating set of circumstances.. especially after our early goal they were there for the taking. Why, Arsenal?


Agree on second para but, unfortunately, we’ve been playing every game like that this season. Score, defend (badly), look for break. Home and away.


I think we’re caught in two minds defensively, between sitting deep and pressing. Instead we end up in a situation where we press individually, are easily bypassed and then our back 4 sit passively and try to play offside on our 18 yard line. A very poor tactic and one executed horrifically today


After looking at those stats, I am shitting myself about Bayern.
I hope they don’t spank us for 5 goals like they did last season.

Ex-Priest Tobin

Unfortunately Ozil has the personality of a natural coward. Hope he doesn’t sign a new contract, but I pray to god we keep our dear Alexis.


And you have the attitude of a natural bullshitter, I daresay.

Reality Check

We can keep going back back and fourth about it all but it doesn’t change the fact, we need a new direction. When team isn’t doing well Wenger just goes, sits on the bench quitly, feeling sorry for himself instead of being active on the touchline. He should be pushing his players, rousing them to give that extra mile. If your leader has given up what do you expect from the troops. This is where the modern breed of managers are doing so well.. klopp and Pooch have transformed those serial bottlers by just adding that extra passion to their… Read more »

Jeffers the Francis

Today was probably a good example how to not play counter attacking futbol.


When Welbeck is back, I think we should try a 4-4-2 Diamond with Welbeck and Sanchez playing up front. Bellerin and Gibbs playing at fullback. Mustafi and Kos at CB. If Xhaka/Coq at DM. Perez on LM, Ozil/Ramsey CAM and Walcott/Ox on RM.


I don’t know tactics as much as everyone else, but what or who is the primary problem? Is it system? Bad goalkeeping? Bad fullback play? Bad central defenders? Coq and Xhaka not doing enough? Today, it seemed like fullbacks were at fault for both goals, but then again, outside of Walcott and Sanchez, the team looked apathetic.

Dial Square

Look at the post before yours. I think the manager is passive, and doesn’t motivate the team. This was patently obvious at Old Trafford last season when a twelve year old boy in a really shit Man U team scored against us to beat us 3-2

Qld reds

I hate how slow we are at coming out of our own 18 yard box. Teams press us high, drive the team backwards and we can’t string more than a couple of passes together. Theo, ox and one or two others couldn’t pass there way out of a paper bag. Our lack of movement in these deep areas makes it easy for teams to cover our forward options like ozil etc. All of them seem to be waiting for someone else to do something. All I want from the team is some fight, passion and desire to win the game.… Read more »


Perhaps we’re missing Per more than we realised ? (and Santi)


Comment above you suggest we are slow and you asked if we are missing Mertesacker…. I cant believe my eyes….


For real alot has been said, en i don’t know how to express my disappointment with Arsenal, for real much as we need ozil as our key player, indeed for a tactical manager ozil wouldn’t have stayed up the pitch at half time. It really puzzles me why ozil does not perform on such big occasions that means in such games we are always one man down. En i even wonder which kind of game plan arsene is going to produce with bayern. In my opinion if we continue playing like the way we played in the previous two matches… Read more »


Same old after all. Let s do like Chelsea and bring a younger energetic manager next season, Wenger is not a winner anymore


He’s still a winner, but he lacks ideas. Mourinho and Van Gaal lacked ideas as well and that’s why they struggled. It’s not an insult to Wenger to suggest that bringing a new (younger) manager might just be the thing we need.

Alexis, Atom & Humber

Diego Simeone anyone?


Yes please! But i fear he will go to Inter


Would you have wanted Mourinho? Same reputation.


Maybe,just maybe, Carzola is our most important player. Maybe not having a like for like replacement when he’s out is kiling us.


Perhaps it’s the lack of any second playmaker. With only Ozil to worry about, opponents can take our midfield forward play out easily. Coq/Xhak/Elneny/Ramsey all the same player really, not the ones to play key passes. Cazorla cannot be the long term answer at his age/fitness. (Ibrahimovic is doing well at that age but that’s because he doesn’t actually move except to score/elbow) .

patrick rice

can we please discuss alexis and his general selfish nature on the ball sometimes….had a brilliant chance to get in on goal but instead of passing he held on to the ball too long went the other direction and the chance was over by then


Yes, let’s discuss the selfish nature of our best player and the one who looks like he gives a fuck in every game. He’s not perfect, and some of his decision making is a bit slow, but he is, quite literally, the least of our problems.

patrick rice

lol yes I know its a bit harsh to come down on him for that considering everything else that he brings and everything the team did not bring yesterday …..but in an away game where we had to make the most of our counter atttacks i think he had enough time to realize that iwobi and monreal had a good chance to create something on that occasion….i wouldnt make a deal about it if it was a one off but he regularly holds on to the ball too long ….we would score a few more goals a season if he… Read more »


Clearly you can’t understand why he does that sometimes and other not. Hes always searching for oportunities to go foward, and get the goal. Others arsenals players usually resolve passing to the side, looking to other to resolve the play, with no relevance at all.


If AW wants the team to play on the break, he needs to train his players how to approach that and pick the team accordingly. What’s the point in having his team go flat out from the start and play teams off the park if we immediately stop that system once its worked? All season – even at home – we have scored, sat back, and then invited the opposition to gain confidence by letting them have the ball. Great if we manage a second goal but look how many big chances opponents have missed in some of those games… Read more »


Not that it happens often but, you feel safe when we’re 3 goals up?


Only if we’re into added time normally ?


I still believe that, on paper, as a footballing side, the quality we have is not good enough. It could be Wenger but this is not a team of winners and it shows in their quality and mentality. I cannot see how it can be the fault of Wenger that they play so poorly because he has got some of his past teams to accomplish things managers can only dream of by instilling a winning mentality. I just think the players we have in certain areas of the field are simply not good enough and their focus is elsewhere. Football… Read more »

Crash Fistfight

True, but at the same time, even with a team of great players we were very good at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Look at the 2001 FA Cup final (battered Liverpool for 80 mins only for Michael Owen to score twice in 10) or the 2003 season (2-0 up at Bolton back to 2-2, etc. letting the lead in the lead slip).


It’s harder nowadays to get a winning mentality out of semi average players, is what I am trying to say. Leicester was a one off and should have been an example. However, Arsenal is full of pushovers and no matter how much Arsene tries to instill a winning mentality, they will always fall short. They’re too focused on other things nowadays. It’s a sad site. They don’t know how good they have it. Which is why a team of Leicesters caliber was able to believe they could do it, because they felt they had nothing to lose.


I think I preferred watching when we lost occasionally (and rightly got panned for) going for more goals when we were winning. I’d rather be naive than spineless.

change is good

still thinkin whether we should bid for fabregas in jan


Wow. Brutal game. I’d like to Perez on the pitch. He’s fast, but also provides a target. Don’t care much where along the front. Love Coq, but he’s been found out — no ball skills. Press him, and get the ball back. Elneny may need some time in front of him. That game was fucking awful, especially since I missed Theo’s goal.

John Dee

Arsenal finish 6th. Man U will pass us in next two weeks, others stay ahead. Both Alexis and Ozul will not sign new contracts, and will be gone soon. Sad, really.


One of the things that really surprised me against Manchester City was how unco-ordinated the high pressing seemed to be When your striker (Alexis) has to keep waving his arms to get people to press on either side of him, there is something very wrong. It was obvious the plan was to press high but Iwobi in particular didn’t seem to be confident about getting forward and closing down his man, so there was always an outlet. Man City has had a lot of trouble against the press this season, so I’m sure Pep couldn’t believe his luck.


We have no leaders on this team. Lee Dixon on commentary pointed out that at one point during the game when an injured player was receiving treatment none of the other Arsenal players were talking to each other to sort out the problems – they’re all off thinking their private thoughts.


For me it was like Arsenal player didn’t know who to mark and where to press, and that was a manager failure. He didn’t prepare for this oponent. They just practice tiki taka games during the week. Thats why the ball run fluidly for Man City.


So we had a couple of piss poor performances. Before this week we had a pretty good run. Get back on the horse – get on with it. Cheer up fellow gooners, this is football, this shit happens! City have had a horror run, so have everton, imagine how them poor cunts have been feeling – they had a bit to play for and what better time to stand up then when the arsenal come to town. They did us over but it’s in the past now – it’s how we react that matters. I honestly believe this group can… Read more »


Wenger’s time is up. It has been for nearly ten years. He has to be one of the most over rated managers in our history. He’s had 13 years, since we last won the title, to win the league and he’s come close maybe twice. I have supported this club for nearly fifty years and I’ve never known such a supine board. No manager in the twentieth century would have lasted that long at a top club and the Arsenal of the past would have jettisoned a manager with his record years ago. There’s no ambition at Arsenal bar making… Read more »

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