Saturday, May 21, 2022

Arsenal 3-0 Bournemouth: By the Numbers

72.6 – Pass completion rate for Granit Xhaka (joint lowest of any Arsenal outfielder other than Kolasinac.)

Xhaka only completed 53/73 passes, meaning he misplaced 20 passes on the day. Many of those bad passes were on breakaways and counters and thus contributed to Arsenal’s low, 80% pass completion rate. Xhaka’s completion rate was the lowest of any outfield player (tied with Kolasinac) and was just above Cech’s 50%.

This stat is one to watch over the season. Wenger seems set on playing with a sort of single pivot with Xhaka in the base. This is similar to how Wenger played with Arteta and I’ve long thought Xhaka’s passing rage and ability should be compared to the lego-haired Spaniard. But Xhaka absolutely cannot give the ball away 20 times a game if he’s going to take on that role. In Arteta’s final full season with Arsenal (2013/14) he misplaced a grand total of 170 of his 1982 attempted passes (includes both long and short passes). That’s an average of just 5.5 per game.  Xhaka has already misplaced 64 passes this season, an average of 16 per game.

When Xhaka came to Arsenal, he averaged 12 misplaced passes per game and I had hoped that this was just a matter of him playing in a system and with teammates where passing wasn’t held in such high regard (counter attacking systems tend not to worry as much about possession). And this seemed right; in his first season at Arsenal, he averaged just 7.2 misplaced passes per game. But this season he’s looked sloppy and it’s really hurting the team.

4 – Highest number of Premier League goals Danny Welbeck has scored for Arsenal in a season.

He already has three this season! And two of them he’s scored off his shoulders – once he gets some shoulders installed on his feet, he’s going to be DEDLEE.

The finish for his second goal today against Bournemouth was excellent and I thought his attempted chip was the right decision even of it seemed audacious.

6 – Number of shots Lacazette has taken this season.

Lacazette scored today and once again showed that he is a clinical finisher. He’s so clinical I did a synonym search for clinical to come up with a word that means clinical but better. I wanted to say he’s a gluttonous finisher, an avaricious finisher, or even rapacious finisher but the reality is that he’s not animal-like or predatory, but just weirdly calm when he shoots – so it fits, he’s clinical, like Aguero.

Lacazette’s finishing from open play was astonishing last season, he scored 16 goals on 53 shots – 30%. That was up from a really great 19% the season before. Giroud scored 10 goals on 32 shots from open play last season, 31%, and 10 from 69 the season before, 15%. Even Aguero, who is considered to be the razor fade of fine finishing scored 14 on 119 shots from open play last season (12%) and 15 of 94 the season prior (16%) and in his last title run season scored 15 on 70 for 21%. So, what I’m saying here is we need to feed the Lacazette!

8 – Number of dribbles Arsenal attempted against Bournemouth.

Arsenal sold Ox and didn’t start Cazorla or Alexis. Those three players accounted for 285 of Arsenal’s League Leading 599 successful dribbles in 2014/15 – why 2014/15? Because that’s the only time all three of them played significant time for Arsenal. The point is that those three are the players who unlock opposition defenses with their close ball control to the tune of 48% of Arsenal’s dribbles that season.

Arsenal led the League (you could say we topped the table!) in dribbles from 2014-16 but due to injuries to Cazorla and Ox and Bellerin’s loss of form last season Arsenal have dropped from 15.7 dribbles per game in 2014/15 to just 12 this season and Ox carried almost all of that by himself: he made 17 of Arsenal’s 49 successful dribbles this season, 35% and that includes today’s stats!

I’m not even remotely suggesting that selling Ox was a bad idea but I do think that teams need players like Ox and Alexis to be like Loki and cause chaos. Alexis will play his part and Cazorla will come back, no doubt, but after them it’s really unclear who can help fill that role. Right now, Ramsey is Arsenal’s second most prolific dribbler behind Ox with 7.

6.30 – Number of goals I expect both Arsenal and Liverpool (separately) to concede this season based on the shot quality that their defenses have allowed

Ox bragged about his new beginning at Liverpool and it looked quite a bit like the OLD team he played for as the Scousers got thrashed 5-0 by Man City. Ox came on in the second half and literally added nothing to his team: 17 touches, 10 passes, 1 turnover (when he switched off on a throw-in), 1 foul, 0 shots, and 1 time where he let Leroy Sané dribble straight at him and then have an open shot on goal for City’s 5th.

You have to give Ox credit though, the teams he’s played for in the last month are both spectacularly bad at defending. Using my expected goals formula (which takes account of shot quality and past scoring rates from certain positions on the field) Arsenal and Liverpool both have an expected goals allowed of 6.30 – that’s tied for 7th WORST in the League. And both teams have conceded 8 goals so far this season!

If you follow my blog you know that I don’t think Klopp is any better than Arsene Wenger – especially when it comes to defense. His “Heavy Metal Footbal” often leaves his teams exposed and over the last two seasons he has, I think, proven that he can’t win the League.


Sources: and my personal database


Related articles


newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

3 nil, not 4. Undermines you’re whole by the numbers bit.


Shame, your spelling undermines your whole comment bit


True, I’m drunk in Canada so my synonym game is off, but I still know the score of the game!



Dennis Elbow.

Well said BigArse.


Not a synonoym either ?


Damn my spelling. I deserved that


Great article. Still little can be said about the Ox at this stage other than he’s got the same obvious flaws that he had with us. I’m really not sure about this Xhaka holding and Ramsey running everywhere model. Ramsey is so talented but at times so irresponsible. Even yesterday when he played alright there were times where the defense just had no idea how to get out because there was an enormous lacuna in the middle of the park. Any team knows that when they play us you can try to press us high up because we struggle to… Read more »


4-4-2 diamond. Bellerin and kolasinac can both be 1 man flank.
Eleny Ramsey xhaxa ozil for midfield 4

Ramseys backheel

Yes 442 was working so briliantly last season, before it was changed to back three and wenger dalvaged himself another contract. How short is your memory?

With Ox it was clear that he was slowing us down. His dribbles had no end product and that stupid running pulled him out of position. Even he had that meatloaf bosycomposion it does not help to get you back in position, if you play yourself out from the game time by time.

Jay Salhi

We didn’t play 4-4-2 last season or any other season in recent memory.


For a significant part of the first half of the season, we were practically playing a 4411 formation. Alexis was up front, but ozil was making a lot of runs ahead of Alexis, while Alexis was dropping deep (so they were basically interchanging positions)

At the base we had Cazorla and Coquelin/Xhaka. It was actually working pretty well until Cazorla got injured…then we started scraping wins until Everton finally beat us.


4-2-3-1 is basically the same thing depending on where the wingers are. It’s all a bit moot really as we customize by players.


I want to see Wilshere paired with Xhaka. Wilshere is mobile and has good technical skills but seems more of a defensive minded player then Ramsey, meaning he knows when not to bomb forward, while Ramsey just throws all caution to the wind and leaves the team vulnerable. We can’t afford another humilation due to Ramsey thinking he’s a forward. The only players who should be allowed to roam the pitch at will are Ozil, Sanchez, and Lacazette. Everyone else should be anchored and disciplined and focused on defense.


It’s critical xhaka finds his stride. His passing is going to critical for the team. I think it’s a matter of time before things click together and we destroy a few teams looking like world beaters of course to be inevitably followed by a crash…

Ah to be a gooner!

Islam Ismael

Am not a big fan of Mo El neny, he makes crap sometimes, but he really gives sort of stability to the midfield and the whole game in general, the guy is smart and fast learning and even worth to invest more time to develope him.


We all make crap sometimes. Fairly regularly in my case. It’s all the coffee.


I think everyone likes Elneny as he’s a solid player who always works hard for the team. The problem with Elneny (so far anyway) is that he’s not good enough to be playing for Arsenal. We could say that about a few other players also. Elneny is a solid squad player who occasionally does fantastic things (like that beautiful cross to Lacazette against Leiecester) but has to vastly improve if he ever wants to be more then a sub and an occasional starter for Arsenal.

Lack of Perspective

Maybe because im egyptian i want him to do well so he can represent our country positively as salah is also doing at poo. I love the guy, runs his hole off, covers, harries and passes metronomically and is capable of a goal. Barcelona….oooooof.

What strikes me the most in his limitation is that he is heavily right footed. If he used his left more and kept his game as disciplined and energetic i think he would double his creativity by taking just that 2-3 seconds less to pass.

Get the practice in mo.


These stats on Xhaka vs his rating by Blogs.. Interesting!


On Xhaka’s pass completion rate, I think it will be insightful to count how many attempts were through balls and how much threat a successfully completed through ball would produce. From my limited and flawed recollection, Arteta’s mandate was to provide a technical base for the team to build possession based attacks. Xhaka, it seems to me, has a mandate to cut through the lines in quicker and more direct fashion.

Dave M

“Xhaka, it seems to me, has a mandate to cut through the lines in quicker and more direct fashion.”

Definitely yesterday. That is the most direct we have played in a long time. It suits all three midfielder way more.

Rambo was really good yesterday to, but just needs to find a balance between helping get the ball out and his propensity for all out attack


You missed the stat on how many times during the Liverpool game the Ox asked himself if he’d made the right decision


I’d like to see Klopp’s stat on that as well.

Lord Bendnter

Ah when the stats in your mind while watching a game tell you one thing and then 7amkickoff hits you with actual, factual, undeniable numerical facts 🙂

Lord Bendnter

Oh man, if only if only!!

Mesut O\'Neill

Not entirely sure why everyone & his dog is sniping at Ox.

Average player but he is not the reason we have been so bad for so long.

Let him get on with his new team, & let’s just shit on the players we do have ?


Personally I’d rather take it out on the rats and make the best of what we’ve got, but to each their own.

Oh, and I would go so far as to say he was a strong contributor to our defensive shapelessness, dangerous turnovers, and lack of goals when he was on the pitch- bar when he’d put himself in the shop window, that is.

Fun guy, Lacks a football brain.

George Gunner

Beating Howe’s team aint that great.One Chelsea player has said the gunners are flat track bullies. I am inclined to agree with him.
If Wenger can beat Chelsea 1-0 it would be a statement of intent.
in the B’mouth game ,I saw the willingness to shoot from outside the box as encouraging. That was how Watford scored and won.
Btw,Wenger has rebutted Cech ‘s claim about the difference between Mourino and him.Well if he continues to play pattern weaving/backheel,
dancing soccer,etc,Arsenal will be beaten by Chelsea.
And please don’t give the Europa game as an excuse.

Ponsonby Gooner

When was the last time we won 1-0?


You forgot that Oxlade Chamberlain made his debut for Arsenal in that 8-2 at Old Trafford 🙂


Right now, Ramsey is Arsenal’s second most prolific dribbler behind Ox with 7.

it shouldnt count if you are going backwards

Ramsey\'s Slippy boots

There was a noticeable change in the amount of one-touch football today. Everyone was trying to move the ball faster, passes were pinged over the top without hesitation and both wing-backs were involved in numerous one-touch and go moves. To me that explains why the pass accuracy was down, especially for Kolasinic and Xhaka, and I don’t really see it as a problem because it is exactly what we need to make sure teams don’t get back into position around the box and stifle us. Everyone was tracking back today as well, so most misplaced passes were quickly turned back… Read more »

Dennis Elbow.

As soon as Welbz gets some shoulders attached to his feet…????????
Blogs cracks me up!!


Not blogs, but still funny

Jay Salhi

Klopp conceded the game when he brought on Ox for Salah. Even with 10 men, Salah was still making runs and getting in behind City’s back line. Whatever faint hope Liverpool had, vanished when Ox took Salah’s place. Ox posed no threat at all and didn’t even appear to put in much effort, often standing around. Did not look like a player out to impress his manager.

Ex-Priest Tobin

Solid win but just papering over the cracks. 2 more I await that day..

Me So Hornsey

What a fantastic article. Thank you.

Dr Richard Kimble

Thumb up for the name


“once he gets some shoulders installed on his feet” That made me laugh.

Willy Waggler

Brilliant analysis. Xhaka needs to learn how to be more clinical. He has the ability I’m sure. We badly need a dribbler, although Ox used to dribble his end product wasn’t all that great.


‘ …’s really unclear who can help fill that role ‘

Iwobi, I would hope.


Liked the vikings reference


Good to know you’re so optimistic. Stats only tell you so much about a team. I do agree that Xhaka must improve if we have any shot at all of finishing in the top four this season. Kolassus has to improve a lot also, he’s a bit careless with some of his passing. Luckily his aggression and drive to get to the other end of the field and score outweigh his mistakes. Once Wenger is done polishing Sead he’ll be a passing monster.

Early Arsenal

Thanks again 7am you are right about the need for players who can beat their man with the dribble. Whoever I don’t see Ox as a huge loss even on the dribbling front because often he beat his man through power and speed in deep wide areas with plenty of space available. Hence it mostly didn’t put him into really dangerous positions and even if it did his decision making or passing/crossing let him down. Sanchez is a different beast altogether and he makes his dribbles count with real end product combined with the odd terrible give away which is… Read more »


Any stats on Mustafi’s interceptions? He had 3 within the first 20 minutes. He essentially broke up any interlink play between King and Defoe and is probably the reason Defoe was held to only 4 touches in the entire game!


2 interceptions according to the Opta stats. Monreal had 3, Koscielny 4.

Share article

Featured on NewsNow

Support Arseblog

Latest posts

Latest Arsecast

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x