Hard work evident as Arsenal cover most distance in the Premier League

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Two of the buzzwords surrounding Arsenal this summer have been ‘hard’ and ‘work’, usually with one following the other.

Unai Emery has promised that his team will ‘work hard’ and also that we’ll see a lot of ‘hard work’. It functions on many levels.

And despite the 2-0 defeat to Man City on Sunday, there was some evidence of that throughout the game.

Adrian Clarke’s Breakdown on the official website highlights the pressing game implemented by the new head coach, while Sky Sports have provided an illustration of how much effort the Arsenal players put in.

Source.

Of course running around a lot isn’t necessarily a positive thing. It can mean you just ran around a lot, or got the runaround, but in the context of what Emery said before the season began it’s an interesting stat to take note of – and one which we’ll keep an eye on over the coming weeks and months.

Is it enthusiasm and keenness to impress a new manager, or is this the physical effort demanded by Emery that we’ll see week in, week out? Let’s hope it’s the latter.

For more stats on Arsenal 0-2 Man City – check out the By the numbers post from Scott.

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Vedant
Vedant

I see Redknapp smiling…

DB10**
DB10**

and how did we do last season . what was highest we achieved. would be good to know.

Reyes
Reyes

After 22 games last season, we had average of 113km pr game. So 5km longer is very good.

Jeff
Jeff

I can’t find the distance for the equivalent fixture last year but overall we were 6th for the season (which further proves the Arsenal are lazy narrative is of course lazy journalism).

https://www.premierleague.com/news/510837

Segun
Segun

So, without Burnley topping the overall chart last season and Arsenal coming 6th where Liverpool came 11th, Arsenal have always been a hard working side; nothing new there. That we covered more distance than City may be the result of being pulled about by their crispier passing and runs; an area we will have to improve upon soon.

Segun
Segun

…with Burnley, I meant to type***

gooner
gooner

The distances covered highly depend on the tempo of that particular game. Some games are slow others fast. No question if we topped city would be thereabouts and I see them there.

Don’t know why but if you cover much ground, your opponents do as well. Only that you edge them slightly. It’s mostly the tempo.
I am sure the teams that covered the least distances faced each other. Or played a low tempo game.

Pedant
Pedant

My main concern is goals.

We are spending lot of time on pressing and defence but haven’t got many goalscorers especially if Laca and Auba aren’t both playing or if one gets injured or if other teams know those are the two to mark out of the game.

I’d love lots of 1 nils to the Arsenal but not confident we’ll get them.

Ric
Ric

The goals will come, especially against weaker opposition (everyone else in the league). Defence is still the greater concern ahead of attack for me.

Why not
Why not

We can do ok against top 5 and still finish top four if we dont kack our pants against everyone in the league away.

DeeMan
DeeMan

Why would it be after 1 game LOL… We were 3rd in goals scored and we finished 6th!! Its goals conceeded that you should worry about

Pedant
Pedant

Having got rid of Giroud and Alexis last season then we have lost a lot of goals without replacement.

Plus Wenger’s attacking mentality is gone.

My concern is that we worry for most of the season about defence and the goals we score go down a lot, as teams try to mark Auba and Laca out of the game knowing there is little threat from Ozil, Mkhit, Iwobi, Welbeck and most others.

Futsboller
Futsboller

We have two potential 20+ goalscorers in Auba and Laca, and there is no doubt in my mind that Ozil and Ramsey and Mkhi will get in on that action when we either dominate possession against some teams or get better at our pressing game against others. I don’t know if we’ll score as much, overall, as we did in the Wengerball years, but I think we’ll be near the top still in goals scored.

We now have three long-range passers (Xhaka, Torreira, Guendouzi) in our deep midfield setup, and as the team begins to gel, we’ll see that advantage result in goals. If Monreal can come back healthy and play anywhere near what he did last season, and if Bellerin continues to look strong as he has so far this season, we’ll have some nice width to complement the potency we possess up the middle (aghem!).

We are, collectively, the most anxious fans on the planet, and it is very difficult to quiet that anxiety after a loss, but we have to know that this team will get better and the attacking genes that still run through this squad will express themselves in beautiful ways. Emery is committed to that, as it is our brand.

Gee
Gee

Like all things in life, it’s about reaching the right balance between attack and defence, that’s what the best teams do. Focusing on either one can make the team unbalanced. Personally I am a bit worried about our creativity but it’s only one game so we’ll have to see. Bear in mind it’s easier to be destructive in football than constructive.

LEFT08
LEFT08

I hope we don’t run out of steam halfway through the season. It has happened to other teams that like to press high up. The positive is that you need young players to come into the squad in order to play this game properly.

John C
John C

We have a sample size of one but those numbers definitely matched what my eyes saw.

Gus Caesar
Gus Caesar

I’m guessing that Cech contributed about 50km…

ramgooner
ramgooner

I’m convinced that the way we approached the man city game is the right way.
We went toe to toe and we pressed them very well in their half. Barring a few gaps in midfield it was largely a success Imo. We won the ball multiple times but we struggled to keep our composure and finish the attack.

We could do with another good midfielder like santi/Torreira or someone in the diaby mould depending on the availability in the market.

Xhaka and El Neny are decent against average teams. They are not even top 4 standard. We should sell them and make good use of that money.
Also we need another wide player who can be a bit more direct like ox.
ox would have been a big match player under emery.

eternalflamini
eternalflamini

Also painful as it is to admit, their last line of defence was really outstanding. The number of times I got up from my seat in anticipation but one of their defenders made a last minute tackle/interception…

gooner1981
gooner1981

Does it not seem like the Breakdown with Adrian Clarke on the Arsenal website offers a bit too much insight, especially for opposition? Or is there an assumption that teams do their analyses of strengths and weaknesses anyway?

A Different George
A Different George

I haven’t seen the current one, but I found it incredibly insightful in the past–a real contrast to almost all the “analysis” on television or in the papers. He is honest about Arsenal mistakes and weaknesses (without insulting our players) and points out tactics and tendencies of opponents. But, to answer your concern, I am sure that every club has someone similar to him to analyze their opponents. Sometimes (Emery, obviously is one) it is the manager himself.

gooner1981
gooner1981

Fair point, thank you. It is quality analysis

beNZed

The term “chasing shadows” comes to mind 😉

Ashburton
Ashburton

..As does uncharitable 😉

In the first game under our new “coach” against last year’s record-breaking champions, our boys did not fold or give up, and looked like they card enough to give it their all. If we can say that for most of this season, that’ll do for me.

beNZed

Yeah, just bantz mate 🙂

Meletios
Meletios

We lost the game, but to me I can see some positives already.
Whether we continue to build on them in the future is for everyone to see, but the signs look positive.
If nothing else, the fact the team was more proactive without the ball, which already more than we did last season.

Fingers crossed.

Evang. Simon
Evang. Simon

Arsenal will be a terrible force in no time

Nachos in Montreal
Nachos in Montreal

Rephrase 😂 I think you mean terrific force right?

Paul
Paul

Your post just as confusing as your name. 🙂

Mark
Mark

It was a very open game at times with both teams getting up and down the field quickly, but we also were out possessed and did a lot of chasing. I did like the work rate of the team (and obviously still a long ways from being in full condition) and liked how we turned them over a few times with our press, but we also let them out too easily and put us in bad positions defensively. Was interesting to see Ozil in that second line of three on the right side when defending. He may not have had the impact we needed of him on the game, but he also was being asked to do a big job defensively and was back as deep defending as I’ve seen him.

henry
henry

we can’t score shit while infront of the goal, how can building from the back would help this situation to score more. explain to me please?

Stuart
Stuart

How much of that was retrieving the ball for a free-kick or throw-in after City players kicked it away?

Ordnance Dave
Ordnance Dave

Positive signs. City are the most well oiled machine at getting around the press and we still caused them problems. Bodes well for when we come up against teams who don’t have anywhere near City’s quality.

Ozilrightfoot
Ozilrightfoot

That’s a job well done considering starting line up had only two new signings (one of them is 17yrs old) and rest were wenger’s boys.

Optimism and patience is name of this season

420Goonerblayzeit
420Goonerblayzeit

The thing that stuck out to me is our weakness in transition. You watch City move from defense to attack and the players are so good at spacing and making themselves available in transition. Of course they’re incredibly well drilled and have been together for 3 years. Whereas in transition we’re all over the place. We find a couple of nice passes through midfield and then it breaks down because there’s no options.

That’s not as worrying, that will come with experience playing together. But like others have said, City’s wingers are a consistent outlet for them. If not their wingers then it’s their fullbacks who are the keys in transition. There were stretches of the game where everything went through Mendy and Sterling

MrSymes
MrSymes

Yeah the transition was a problem. Ramsey should have been dictating that but he’s perhaps not the player for it. Equally he’s clearly been singled out as the man to lead the press from the number 10 position, doubling with Aubemayang.

There’s no obvious solution. Either we move Ramsey out right and Ozil to number 10, losing that doubling up but gaining some composure and vision in the middle, or we leave as is and perhaps get Ozil to drift in more… but then there’s less cover for the right-back (which Ozil did an unusual amount of for him).

Going by Sunday the solution should probably involve Lacazette. He seemed a better presser than Ramsey and Aubemayang combined…

Ozilrightfoot
Ozilrightfoot

The transition problem is down to wenger’s romantic approach of football. Right now we have four no 10’s in starting line up. We lack direct approach was really hoping for nzoni or kante type midfielder.
Provided Stan don’t left our new head coach in cold he would need at least 4 transfer windows to turn this mess around.

420Goonerblayzeit
420Goonerblayzeit

I agree it is too many of similar players. I love Ozil and have always defended him, but if we want 3 central midfielders (say Xhaka, Ramsey, Torreira), Ozil simply has to be left out. He doesn’t even play on the wing when he’s “positioned” there so it doesn’t really matter. He was struggling on the right flank trying to out pace Mendy/Sterling. That was never going to happen. The problem is that any manager would keep playing him so they don’t blow up the dressing room. Because let’s face it if he gets dropped for a few games it could get ugly.

420Goonerblayzeit
420Goonerblayzeit

It’s tough to squeeze all the players in there, but I think Ozil is wasted on the wing. I think Mikhi can do a job on the right if he’s instructed well. He needs to give us that width if Auba ends up on the left cutting inside. It’s a difficult puzzle to solve. City have had 3 years of Pep building his squad exactly how he wants it. Every player in every position is there for a reason and are carrying out his specific instructions. I hope Emery gets at least 2 more transfer windows to bring in who he likes.

santori
santori

As mentioned, not sure what media are watching.

Sure we lost by 2 goals but it was night and day compared to last season.

Pressing as I have been saying is not a new thing. Klopp does it with his supposedly ‘revolutionary’ Gherkinpress and Pep did it way before.

Media now have no more Wenger story so they are trying to sow dissent again.

I didn’t think City were all that dominating against us as suggested. Rather the reverse I thought despite having less possession and shots on goal to them, we were in the game to the end. Had we been sharper in front of goal, we could have taken something.

Emery has (rightly) not done anything terribly different from what Wenger was attempting to do. Formation is similar (and frankly moot these days as they can switch), Wenger also had the team press high.

The difference is enforcement :

1) Where Wenger was allergic to TIMELY intervention, Emery is willing to explore using all facets in our Arsenal to switch and tweak within a game quicker.

2) Where we dissipated in effort after 20 minutes, I thought our pressing at least sustained.

3) Despite letting two goals in from same problem area in front of the D, I thought in general we kept our defensive shape well even when under duress on the counter.

Now I get what Big Sam and some other commentators are saying about the whole”work it out from the back” gripe.

We simply lack the asset to hit quickly and transition from defense to attack more directly.

Where City, Liverpool, Chelsea etc have wide players that can take on and beat a man or two for either pace or skill or both, we have more pass and play types like Ozil, Mhki and Ramsey who when confronted with opponents will tend to slow down and wait for reinforcement.

SO it makes sense for Emery to work on passing with better efficiency at the back to create the space behind the first line of the press.

BUT we could also do with the direct option bearing in mind Granit, Torreira and Guendouzi all have ability to find players with long reaching balls over the top.

If anything, when Cech gets the ball, I felt we were lacking in having one player or two already station on half way line ready to receive the ball. I think we need both options of working it our from the back or hit quick with minimal touches.

Keep them guessing is the name of the game.

We saw how effective City were transitioning immediately from defense to attack and we need to take a page from that.

Having said all that, press as usual spout nonsense prime example the much loved Ian Wright.

His passion for the club is undoubted and you have to love him for his sincerity.

BUT he is many times the club’s worse enemy.

Some big nonsense about the choice of keepers from him this time.

Look, Cech had a couple of hairy moments with the left foot but he also came up with 2 MASSIVE saves which have generally gone ignored by the critic corner.

The save against Mahrez and then double save against the follow up, and when Guendouzi mucked it up, he stood tall and kept us in it against Aguerro (alebit unfortunately not for long)

As I mentioned, Leno has done NOTHING to suggest he should start. Its on the incoming keeper’s onus to displace the experienced man and how ever much we paid for him has got nothing to do with it whatsoever.

Emery got it spot on starting Cech. Whether Cech continues good form remains to be seen but that is the point, we now have a genuine viable option where Ospina had some inherent weaknesses to his game that were harder to correct (namely height)

Chidi
Chidi

Michael Owen would be proud

Michael Osborn
Michael Osborn

Hopefully there is going to be a “did the most running” trophy..feeling excited already!

Bould's face
Bould's face

Maybe some stats on max and average accelerations will be interesting.

Hani
Hani

I think arsenal is a great team.. well it was the first game against the title defenders. This week we aint going far .. just london so the climate will be okay for both teams..with new managers.. its going to be an interesting match as both teams were eyeing to get a strong midfield and made new signings ..jorginho for chelsea and arsenal bringing two great signings who will really build up the midfield with time.. I just think having torreira and guendouzi as the starting line up will be great . I am not saying xhakas game is bad ..but .. making an impact when it matters has not clicked to him . He should start second when we are two goals up or sth.. an idea of having laca and auba play the same time is awesome.. together with torreira and guendouzi will be ultimate .. i think mhkitaryan should be the one making way for ramsey or ramsey making way for him as the two strikers really blend very well.. considering the fact that the two are usually injury prone and have a less impact/form .. but its too early to judge i just hope Unai will get to know how to deal with excess playmakers and make that substitute depth.. well I would want a built team with depth not putting a world class striker then subbing him off to a player that is not on form.. 37 games remaining is notva joke considering the Europa league Fa and carabao still in the list.. well i really hope we wont get athletico this time round.. guys we would be playing uefa if not for that concrete team …and oh the punisher was there this time.. Costa .. did Wenger hit and run your wife.. what do you really have with arsenal?

Ash
Ash

The running stats are misleading. Despite 60% possession, ManCity ran just 3 km less that us. So, maybe these stats should be divided, distance in possession and distance without, and running towards goalkeeper with no chance of getting the ball.
One denotes movement, the other press, and the final – headless Sanchez (chicken) runs…

Valentin
Valentin

I agree with some of your points. Running stats can be misleading or misinterpreted if they are not correctly sub-categorised.
Pressing their goal keeper did result in getting some throws higher up the field, so not completely useless. Again less adept goalkeepers and less accomplished teams, we will score goals because we will retrieve the ball much higher. If Lacazette and/or Auba are one v one against a central defender, in most cases it will end up with an attempt on goal.

Regarding Sanchez, the things is that despite looking like he was running a lot, he was consistently the attacking player with the smallest distance run and the smallest number of sprints, but the highest number of turn-overs. He was the epitome of a busy bee and a highlight player. What saved him was his flash of brilliance that IMHO could not compensate for his lack of intelligent effort otherwise. Now at ManUtd and he is starting to frustrate their supporters as well, despite the best effort by the media to portray him as a serial winner and a success. Maybe Arsenal and Arsène were not the problem, he was.

Pip
Pip

When Russia did this it was questioned…

Pip
Pip

First we’re talking about marginal gains and then we’re running further than any other team – admittedly this is only after one game but it sounds a bit familiar.