Thursday, August 18, 2022

Arsenal 2-0 West Brom: Monreal, Lacazette, and penalties by the numbers

3 – Clean sheets for Arsenal in Premier League play since the blowout loss to Liverpool.

Stats don’t always tell the whole story. Sometimes you need more stats to tell more of the story and this is one of those cases. If I apply my expected goals formula¹ to the last three matches, Arsenal have an expected goals conceded of 2.99 – 0.56 against Bournemouth, 1.14 against Chelsea, and 1.29 against West Brom. West Brom had the highest 7amxGA because they created two Big Chances in this match – one shot from Rodriguez on the right side which Monreal saved and a wide open Jake Livermore shot which he blazed over the bar. West Brom would have had an even higher expected goals tally if they had been awarded a penalty for that Mustafi-Rodriguez incident, or even if Rodriguez’ shot had been counted as a big chance (which it wasn’t).

7 – Shots that West Brom took against Arsenal.

West Brom only created 7 shots in this match and on those 7 shots Arsenal allowed them to get an expected goals of 1.29. That indicates a pretty poor defensive performance from the team. However, those shots were all in the first half of play! In the second half, Arsenal locked things down, allowed West Brom 0 shots and 0 expected goals. That’s a much more solid defensive performance from the Gunners.

In fact, that second half was completely dominated by Arsenal:

11-0 shots
70-30 possession
6-4 dribbles
10-8 tackles
5-1 corners and..
2-7 dispossessed

6 – Number of tackles by Monreal in the second half against West Brom

Monreal was a beast. Not only did he save Arsenal a goal in the first half but in the second half put in a huge performance. In that second half he led all players in tackles (5/6), interceptions (3), led the back three with 45 touches, led the back three with 31 passes, which he completed at a 94% clip (Mustafi and Koscielny both only completed 83% of their passes), won both of his aerial duels, didn’t foul, and didn’t lose possession.

I don’t know why but Pulis seemed to concentrate his attack down Arsenal’s left flank. Both Kolasinac and Monreal weathered the storm. Kola also went 3/3 in tackles and almost all of the dribbles attempted in that second half went down Arsenal’s left. Considering West Brom didn’t get a single shot in the second half, and that Kola and Monreal bossed Pulis’ players, you’d have to conclude that he picked the wrong left-sided duo to mess with.

Another weird stat: Neither of the center mids attempted a tackle or intercepted a pass in that second half. It was all fullbacks and center backs.

11 – Alexis turnovers (loss of possession through being dispossessed or bad touch)

Alexis had one of those nights where he seems to turn the ball over with every possession. He had 7 bad touches, was dispossessed 4 times, and lost 2/4 dribbles. This could account for why Pulis’ team attacked down the left so much and why Monreal and Kolasinac had to work so hard to keep the clean sheet.

On the plus side, Alexis was 36/43 passing and did create two shots for his teammates (tied with Elneny and Giroud). He also rocked the crossbar (now I have that song in your head) with his free kick which was scored by Lacazette. Wenger was right to bring him off.

5 – Successful dribbles by Lacazette (of 5 attempted, led all players)

Lacazette had an amazing night. 5/5 dribbles, 1 key pass (it wasn’t memorable), and he finally got a decent number of shots (4). In fact, Lacazette had all of Arsenal’s big chances in this match: header (goal), penalty (goal), and the time he rounded the keep ad blasted over the net. I chalk that last one up to wanting it too much!

141 – Number of penalties Liverpool have been awarded since the inception of the Premier League

People (Pulis) like to moan like a drain whenever Arsenal are awarded a penalty but it’s actually Liverpool who have been awarded the most penalties of any team in Premier League history. The top four are Liverpool (141), Man U (120), Chelsea (120), and then Arsenal with 115. What’s odd about this is that the goals scored record goes Man U (1873), Arsenal (1707), Chelsea (1657), and Liverpool (1613).

If you also look at penalties awarded against and at surplus penalties then things look even stranger. Both Arsenal and Liverpool have been penalized 88 times. That means Arsenal “surplus” (penalties for – penalties against) is just 27. Liverpool is nearly double that with 53! But it’s Man U who have the largest positive penalty difference with 64 – Man U have only had 56 penalties awarded against them. Chelsea are second with a penalty difference of +55 – because they have only been penalized 65 times.

So while I understand why Pulis is upset – that was a stone wall, stone roof, stone driveway, stone fence, stone garden, and stone mailbox penalty – you’re going to have to forgive me for not joining him. Arsenal are the second most prolific attacking team in Premier League history yet only the 4th most likely to get a penalty called for them and 6th most likely in League history to have a penalty called against them. And Arsenal have a defense which has conceded only 919 goals compared to Liverpool’s 997. So, um, yeah. I’m not at all upset that West Brom didn’t get a penalty awarded and that Arsenal did.

Follow me on Twitter @7amkickoff

¹Expected goals is nothing more than taking the average chance that a shot from a certain position will score, applying that average to the shots in a specific game, and then aggregating those averages. So, if we find that shots from distance have a 3% chance to score and a team takes 10 shots from distance, they get an expected goals of 0.3. Big Chances are hugely important in games. Big Chances are shots that are one on one with the keeper, open net, super close, or follow-up shots. That type of shot.

Sources:,, my personal database


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my name is bob

I’m glad we have lacazette for penalties, he has a really good penalty record, something that we need since our previous main penalty taker (cazorla) is probably out until next year


And on the other side, autumn is here, winter is coming… And may Santi follows !!

A different George

Giroud, I think, is also a very good penalty taker but obviously he is not always on the pitch when one is awarded.


No stat on the pass completion of Xhaka??? From watching the match, I think he had another average performance in terms of pass accuracy. If that’s the case I hope he steps up and comeback to his best.


93 % pass completion success according to WhoScored


So for him, average.


Great Laca numbers!

Plus we need to repeat the second half performance in the first half.

Gibbs didn’t do much.


Would rather have Kolasinac or Monreal at full-back I’m afraid. Hard to argue against that regardless of how much we love Gibbs.


Gibbs was a steady, reliable, and unspectacular left back. And Monreal and Kolasinac are both outstanding, spectacular left backs. It’s not that Gibbs was weak in any way, it’s just that Monreal and Kolasinac are streets better than him. I say this in the kindest possible way towards Gibbs, whom I greatly admire for his solid play and steadfast dedication to the club. But sadly, he was merely good, and we require excellence.


He did put that cross in off the left foot that went across face of goal and to the guy at back post where Cech pulled off some amazing pole dancing skills to keep the ball out.
That was a quality cross. Probably his only really decent moment in the game for Gibbs. Cant be easy coming back to your former club so soon after departing either.


Pulis the orc is a sore loser. ‘Nuff said.

Stuck on repeat...

That is such a great picture of Monreal!

Bai Blagoi

I am missing the stat of how many times did Ramsey wave his arms, asking for the ball, and didn’t get it.


Can’t be asked for that stat, since Ramsey is still on the pitch waving his arms waiting for a cross.


2- Number of penalty shouts Arsenal had beyond the one which was awarded, so Pulis can stuff that up his hoop before whinging some more.
Also, I thin Nyom might have been hard done by the penalty he gave away, but he committed a foul on Ramsey on the edge of the box just before (ref played advantage), so you could almost say that the penalty was an accumulation of fouls in short succession.


Pulis is acting like a petulant child.

It was a penalty. We also had a penalty not given.
Maybe it was a red. Dawson also should have been sent off.


We’ve had luck go against us so many times in so many matches, that it felt so fucking sweet to have it on our side this time around, and to laugh at Pubis moaning like a little bitch, drowning in his own tears.

Long may it continue, please. Long may ruthless and spirited Arsenal performances, a la the last Chelsea game and the second half performance in the West Brom game, continue.


Did Monreal purposefully do a “dab” when he made that goal line clearance???

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