16 shots to 8 – AC Milan took twice as many shots as Arsenal but that number was a much closer 5 to 6 in the first half when Arsenal did their damage. Arsenal also created the better chances in that first half: Milan took 3 shots from outside the box and only had the one big chance (Bonucci’s header in the 43rd minute) but Arsenal created 5 shots in the Milan box, including three big chances all in quick succession, Welbeck (41, fast break), Mkhitaryan (45, fast break), and Ramsey (48, goal).
7 key passes – Again, the overall numbers flattered Milan but that first half saw Arsenal’s main playmaker, Ozil, notch two assists, including a beauty throughball big chance for striker Aaron Ramsey. Mkhitaryan also created a big chance for Welbeck in the 41st minute. It’s incredible that Arsenal created three big chances against Milan in this match, they have only allowed 2 total in their last 6 matches.
Ozil now has 9 assists in all competitions for Arsenal. That and 5 goals on the season. Ozil’s only played in two Europa League matches but he already has 1 goal in two assists in those games.
34 to 16 tackles – Biglia was a beast for Milan, winning 9/12 tackles in this match. Meanwhile, his midfield partner Kessie also won 5/6 tackles taking their total to 14/18 tackles in this match. Arsenal’s midfield duo of Xhaka and Ramsey won just 1 tackle. Total. One of two. Both attempted by Ramsey. In fact, Arsenal did so little tackling in this match that Xhaka, Ozil, Ramsey, and Wilshere all combined for just 1/2 tackling.
But of course Milan made a lot of tackles: Arsenal didn’t need to win the ball back that often because Arsenal already had a two goal lead. Arsenal also played on the counter, meaning that they were attempting more dribbles and getting into more one-v-one duels with Milan center mids.
Tackles and dribbles are sort of “co-stats” in that if a player advances the ball by himself he only gets a dribble when he gets into a duel with someone trying to stop him, with a tackle. Arsenal attempted 26 dribbles today and it’s probably no surprise to learn that they only won 13 of them.
Mkhitaryan led Arsenal in both stats. He won 5/9 dribbles and 3/5 tackles. The dribbles probably make sense because he was Arsenal’s main counter threat but the tackles will probably surprise. I’ve already noticed that he’s a much more aggressive tackler than I’m used to seeing at Arsenal. Not nasty, but more that he just tackles at all. Alexis liked to “virtue signal” his tackles: running back 100 yards to make 1 tackle a game. But Mkhitaryan just tries to win the ball back.
29 to 23 Loss of possession – I was surprised that Milan lost possession so much in this match but Bonaventura alone turned the ball over 8 times, 7 of them just bad touches. Bad touch and dispossessed (collectively here referred to as “loss of possession” or “turnovers”) typically indicate pressure. Bonaventura’s 8 turnovers were all in or very near the Arsenal half, and he was even dispossessed with a tackle in the 6 yard box.
Arsenal aren’t known as a high pressure team and only forced 4 turnovers in the AC Milan final third. Conversely, Milan won the ball back in the Arsenal final third 7 times, including three bad touches by Ainsley Maitland-Niles. AMN had one bad touch right on the edge of the 6 yard box. You don’t really want to do that there. Not ever.
Arsenal took an early lead and defended that lead! While wearing those cursed blue shirts.
Source: Opta via Whoscored.com