Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal: By the numbers

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If Arsenal measure themselves against the best in England this match really showed how far they have to go. This Liverpool team is really good, if we hadn’t just seen a 100 point Manchester City team last season they would be almost locks to win the league at this point, instead of just title favorites.

It has taken a few years, but Liverpool have trusted the manager that they hired and the recruitment system that they put in place to build a team and it has born fruit. Looking at Arsenal’s squad, especially after the last two performances, there is still a long road to go in rebuilding this team to try to match this level.

Running xG

xG Shot Map

Shot Placement xG Map

Simulated Match Result

Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal: By the numbers

3 – The number of drinks I have had between half time and writing this. My wife was bugging me to take her and the family out for a Saturday brunch this morning but I said that I really needed to watch this match. After the fourth first half goal went in, I decided that going out to get a drink was probably a better idea for my sanity.

2, maybe 3 – The number of beers I will need to have to be able to write this column. If my grammar and/or spelling is worse than normal you’ll know why.

16 – Points back from Liverpool Arsenal are after this result. Last season after 20 matches, Arsenal were just 1 point back of Liverpool (38 points vs 37 points) and 21 points back of the leaders Manchester City.

0.83 – Points per match Arsenal have against the “Big 6” this season. 1 win, 2 draws, 3 losses. Arsenal still travel to Tottenham (who may or may not have a home) and Manchester City and host Chelsea and Manchester United. Arsenal drew just one of those matches and lost the rest last season so it is possible Arsenal can beat the six total points they had from the same fixtures last year.

Liverpool dominate the space, vs possession

52% – Arsenal’s possession in the match. Also their share of the total touches 606 vs 554.

53% – Liverpool’s share of the touches in the final third. 152 for Liverpool vs 135 for Arsenal.

65% – Liverpool’s share of the touches in the box. 31 for Liverpool vs 17 for Arsenal.

46% – Arsenal final third entry pass completion percentage. Liverpool completed their final third entries at 54%.

14 – Times that Arsenal players were dribbled past in this match.

5 – Times that Lucas Torreira was dribbled past in this match. Lead all players (Liverpool as a team were only dribbled past 8 times)

2 – The number of players that Roberto Firmino dribbled past on his way to Liverpool’s second goal.

12 – Misplayed passes by Granit Xhaka (7) and Torreira (5) in the defensive and middle third of the pitch.

One of the key philosophies of Jurgen Klopp’s system is to dominate the space and not necessarily the ball like a Pep Guardiola. In this match, and like many matches against the top teams his teams used lightening quick, direct attacks to exploit space instead of methodically breaking down a team with possession. In this match against Arsenal, Liverpool also used the dribble very effectively to beat the first line of Arsenal’s defense and send everything into shambles.

With a makeshift back line, the Arsenal midfield was tasked with keeping control of things in this match but were unable to meet the challenge.

Liverpool find their main threat, Arsenal can’t

17 – Touches in the box for Arsenal as a team.

1 – Touch in the box for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

13 – Touches in the box by Mo Salah.

8 – Passes into the box received by Arsenal as a team.

1 – Pass into the box received by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

5 – Passes into the box received by Mo Salah

Both attacking players are not super high volume touch contributors as their nature.For the season Aubameyang was averaging 22 touches per 90 minutes and Salah 27 touches

Both players really find themselves on the end of plays rather than helping to start attacking moves. In this match it was very obvious that Liverpool were able to get their star scorer involved a lot better.

As a striker, if you are starved of service it is really hard to make an impact on the match and Liverpool did an excellent job of cutting off Aubameyang from the rest of the Arsenal attack. He ended the match with just one shot, and one chance created. By comparison, Salah had two non-penalty shots, created two chances for teammates and created a penalty for himself as the Arsenal defense had no answer for his movement in this match.

Top 4 chances on life support?

27% – Chance that Arsenal make the four from FiveThirtyEight

29.4% to 26.7% -Implied Probability of Arsenal making the top four by the betting markets which have Arsenal at between 12/5 and 11/4 currently as the odds for Arsenal to make the top four.

25.5% – What my simulation model gives Arsenal to finish in the top four

With just 8 points from their last 5 matches Arsenal have fallen off the pace of the other top teams and now find themselves staring at progressively longer odds to get back into the top four. With this as the minimum requirement for the season to be a success it is looking more and more likely that the goal will be missed. If Arsenal want back into the Champions League, the “easiest” path may end up being through the Europa League, but with strong teams still in the competition the betting markets give Arsenal just an implied odds of 14.3% to end up lifting the trophy.

@oh_that_crab

Sources: Opta via whoscored, StatsZone and my own database. Betting odds from oddschecker.com and FiveThirthyEight.

The final answer on beers consumed while writing this was two. In case you were wondering.

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Malaysian gunner
Malaysian gunner

When Arsenal took the lead,I thought maybe the gunners might be the team
to beat the reds. Horror of horrors this shows the gulf in class between Arsenal
and the top epl let alone cl teams.
I don’t know but Wolves could have got a draw if not for the red goalie.
I am not blaming Leno but compared to the top custodians he is a distant 2nd
but blame it on the defence.
Arsenal are fast becoming a joke in the epl and cl if they qualify.The reason is obvious.The investment in the team is 2nd best compared to the top teams.
The move to the es was supposed to generate funds to compete with the best.
This has stagnated with players bought not at the top end.
Tactically Arsenal have been found out and until this is resolved they can forget
about competing for the games top prizes other than to fill the coffers for the US owner.

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

This is due to years of no real transfer policy. Our policy seemed to just buy whichever top attacker is available to us due to their situation at their clubs and not being wanted (Auba, Sanchez, Ozil), and then just fill the squad with specialist players who are very limited (Xhaka, Mustafi, etc) and we’ve been operating as such since, just bargain basement hunting.

Gargoyle
Gargoyle

First you say Wolves could’ve gotten a draw (I agree with this statement, as they gave Liverpool a good game a few days ago), but then you go on to blame lack of transfer activity for this humiliating result. Are you saying that Wolverhampton have a better squad than ours?

Sussexfan
Sussexfan

At the moment Wolves have probably got a better balanced squad than us, a mixture of technically good Iberian players and mobile big strong players and a speedy winger. The manager doing pretty well with the first season in the top league.

Mpls
Mpls

Defense aside, our midfield and attack should be better than it is with what we have on paper.

But when our back line is makeshift and then we go and fuck the midfield chemistry over by repeatedly playing one of those midfielders in varying back line positions, then only put them and Mustafi and Sokratis back together last minute for a match like this, we asked for a spanking.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

The really scary thing about Liverpool is they’ve conceded just 8 goals all season; we almost conceded 8 goals today! Only City have scored more as well. And they’ve done it without a fully fit Keita or Lallana and without Chamberlain at all. Beat City and it’s hard to see who can stop them claiming their first league title in over a quarter of a century. Only thing that could still happen is a long term injury to Robertson, Alisson and/or VVD which might affect them the way losing Fernandinho has affected City.

As for us, hopefully the last couple of results will convince the board that there’s no way we’re getting back in the top 4 without serious investment. We need to back Emery the way Liverpool have backed Klopp.

James Mathew
James Mathew

“We need to back Emery the way Liverpool have backed Klopp.”

Ain’t happening.

Liverpool have done some incredibly good business in the transfer market both in buying and selling. They sold Suarez, Coutinho and Sterling for top money and reinvested all of it smartly. They also plowed in the money from CL into squad building. AFAIK they didn’t get much in terms of owner investment.

Compare and contrast with Arsenal. We don’t have any players to sell that will fetch top money. And those that we could have sold for decent money are getting their value knocked down further by stupid acts and comments or are being let go on a free. Key priority wrt to money earned by the club is to pay dividends to the owner for providing non-existent consulting services.

God. How much worse is this gonna get..

Donald's Trump
Donald's Trump

It’s not a key priority at all really. 2 or 3 million a year taken out by Stan doesn’t really affect transfer policy all that much.

Sad Gooner
Sad Gooner

Sterling money was nothing , and their spending is way more than the money they got from Coutinho and Suarez.

Me2
Me2

Convince the board?
We are talking about the same group of pensioners who would have happily kept Wenger on if it wasn’t for mass protests and thousands of empty seats affecting their bank balances.
Things will not change.
Arsenal are not the progressive club that Liverpool are.
Arsenal are a fucking shambles from the top to the bottom…

N10
N10

I couldn’t watch the game live and I started flipping ahead in the recording after the first Pool goal, an utter embarrassment. Told my wife thereafter, change of plans, it was gonna be a very short viewing, and shut the stinking slab of shit off after all of 20 minutes. My beer was still cold.

LongRoadtoRuin
LongRoadtoRuin

Rebuilding necessary….doubt this manager is up to the task…almost January and no semblance of a plan

Me2
Me2

I agree.
I never wanted Emery at Arsenal.
It seems to me that the only reason we signed him was because he was a free agent and it was the cheapest option.
Had he not been sacked and remained at PSG we would never have bothered.
I hate what Arsenal are.
Cheap and unambitious frauds.
Talk about challenging the top four then sign crap like Lichtenstein.
And he is fucking crap…

GraeB
GraeB

I hate that so many “fans” are coming on here to abuse the club.

Yes, it was a bad result yesterday but Liverpool had bad results in the Klopp era before arriving at where they are today. Emery has had one transfer window and half a season to correct the errors of a previous decade. Citeh had decades of nothing, Spudz still have. Manure have spent fortunes chasing the old days without League titles.

By all means criticise but to call our club “cheap and unambitious frauds” is not helpful. I’ve been a fan since the days when we struggled to avoid relegation and were perpetual mid-tablers with never a trophy in sight.

We need true supporters not instant gratification seekers but by all means thumb me down if you are.

Ben
Ben

They’re not fans, they’re trolls.
I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the same person using different names to write the same comment about Emery.
Perhaps the IP could be checked and dealt with accordingly.

Martin
Martin

I too am sick of the so called fans with their nasty and disgusting knee jerk reactions. We always new that Emery needed time.

Martin
Martin

He wasn’t sacked by PSG. He signed a 2 year deal and decided to leave. Why would they sack a manager who won a treble and a double in the 2 years he had been with them? You are a typical toxic fan who canno see that he needs time to take us to the next level. He had very little to do with the signings and at least have Torreira and Guendouzi. Do you not see the new spirit in the team and a 22 match undefeated run showed what improvements he has made.yes we must sign some top defenders but you can’t legislate for injuries to Holding, Bellerin and Monreal. To show such disrespect based on a couple of recent matches is disgusting.

Cechmate
Cechmate

I’m not against Emery and would like him to continue for sure, but just to point out, he did lose a one horse race in ligue 1 to Monaco and didn’t do anything that PSG hadn’t done before. So, let’s not play him down or hype him up – particularly based on this match. All of us at some level knew Liverpool were far too good to lose to us, only disappointment for all here is the lack of fight or the new spirit that you are talking about.

Every team goes through injuries – Man U has the same issue too, Man C too to a certain extent and we’ve been blaming it on the injuries for a decade now. This is what people hated about Arsene – blaming injuries, lack of funds, lack of defensive tactics and everything else around him.

Devlin
Devlin

Does anyone think we would be a good team defensively if we had Virgil Van Dijk in our side?

Spending big has to be backed up by good coaching. We still don’t have a defensive strategy this far into the season, even before the injuries, we conceded too many clear cut chances. Our Goalkeepers have the most saves of clear cut chances in the league, so it shows that it has been a problem all along, teams are just taking their chances now.

We might hate on our players, but it’s really frightening how people are convinced that our players are not quality players. Sometimes a system can make you look worse than you are, just like Man Utd this season. The quality in our side is there to put up better defensive performances. We might not be the best team in the league with defensive personnel, but we are better than what we are extracting from these players by far.

So Mustafi is bad for us, but he is a World Cup winner who played the Benjamin Pavard role in 2014, I k ow I would take Pavard now. Sokratis has been a proven performer for many years in Germany, Arsene even bid for him a while back. Kolasinac had been a player of tremendous promise and we prised him from the hands of Barcelona, Man City and Bayern, I doubt he would have been as questioned or exposed at either of those sides. Lichsteiner was used to demolish Spurs last season for Juve, they knew how to use him and how to hide his weaknesses.

We are asking a lot for players to take charge if there isn’t a reference point of a system to revert to. A player can only do so much and his quality can only produce so much, it is up to the coaching staff to maximise the talent at hand and form a cohesive unit that is greater than the sum of its parts. We have been performing at a midtable level, with top 4 players, this entire season.

If we still need to do more by now, then we have wasted 6 months of transitioning. If an overhaul is needed, it cannot happen overnight. So ask yourself this question, are you willing to put up with this until we have sold majority of the squad, found replacements and waited for them to adjust/adapt to the system?

Thimothé Luvungo
Thimothé Luvungo

I think you make a good point by mentionning that the defensive strategy is not good enough at the moment but I think it is mainly due to the level of players. I think that with our personnel being defensive would only result into losing games we could have won because we simply cannot defend well in our box. I don’t intend to say that emery’s tactics are right but I think that his will to make us score more goals is linked to the fact that he thinks this team is not good enough defensively.
Arsenal is like last year the team that made the most mistakes leading to a shot and to a goal as well. Mustafi is indeed a world cup winner but he did not start more than one game there and to be frank he is horrendous at the moment, he and sokratis are too nervous. The midfield is also an area filled with incertainty, xhaka has been improving but in the previous years this guy has been played in position that did not suit his style and torreira has been playing way too many games because of the lack of depth in the squad. To perform this team needs to be a 100% otherwise the pressing, aggresivity and the transitions will be sloppy. I think that emery can turn it around
COYG

I'm 14 again
I'm 14 again

Has anyone stopped to think what impact an ever running Elneny would have had on this game? Dislike him all you want but you don’t have a squad with a player with such energy against a high tempo team, in a period as this and sit him on the bench.
He is fresh, is adept at CB and for all the criticism he receives, he keeps the fucking game ticking. He let’s the creative midfielders get the ball in time – something sorely lacking last game. I know hindsight and all, but I have always thought these were the times we would see Elneny. I mean, look what regular game time has done for Fabinho

Cechmate
Cechmate

That’s indeed a good point, particularly instead of playing Xhaka out of position which ends up making us less secure defensively and also offensively, El could have been a better option. This is one part that I’m not convinced with Emery – his choice of players and treatment of others. Sending out chambers wasn’t a great idea and I had said it at that time too, I think he froze Cech out too soon and Leno hasn’t brought anything additional to the table as yet (I hope Leno’s confidence remains in tact), he plays an soon to be out of contract player (Ramsey) more than the highest paid player (Ozil), subs off Laca who is more suited to his pressing style, asking Lich to play in an advanced area of the pitch when you know he doesn’t have the pace to recover etc.

But this being his first season I’m willing to give him the benefit of doubt – very few get it right during their first season in charge.

tayormi
tayormi

Spot on mate

Deano

Mustafi is like Bambi on ice, he’s been sat down more than Joe Bugner. Sokratis was terrible last season but to be fair before yesterday he has been ok. Kos has lost a yard through the bad injury from last season Lichsteiner is to old and to slow. Kolasinac is brilliant going forward and for Bayern, Barca and Man City that is all he would be doing with other players picking up the slack. Monreal is struggling with injuries and age and yesterday people were crying out about the terrible loss of Bellerin as if he had become the next Phillip Lahm.

Would Virgin Van Dijk improve us? Of course he would but you must pay big for that type of player instead of buying half the price for half the player I.e Mustafi. I mean come on Gary Cahill = cheap option and lack of ambition.

Bob
Bob

The defensive strategy was clearly improved this season, especially in big games and away from home when we had our first choice side out. The defence has gone to shit since holding and Bellerin got injured and that’s not a surprise. Does anyone really think after 3 years that Mustafi can be coached in to a good defender? Sokratis was suspect for dortmund last season and we saw that yesterday, lichsteiner is totally finished and Kolasinac is a defensive liability. I’ve seen enough from emery when he’s had resources available to him that gives me confidence in him going forward but sometimes you have to accept the players are just bad players. Everyone is so obsessed with coaching and tactics these days I think we’ve forgotten sometimes it’s purely just who has the better players. Do you think zidane is a great manager? He isn’t, but he had Sergio Ramos and Emery has Mustafi

Devlin
Devlin

Its not about coaching Mustafi into a good defender. It’s about coaching Arsenal into a good defensive side. I would prefer it that way, because Sp*rs entire team was built on players that were never considered the best the world had to offer, but your player’s value grows within a fully functioning team structure. And that is built on the tactics of the manager.

I say all this about tactics because we will never have a side with the best players in the league. We don’t have the money, we don’t have the trophies to draw the best players and most importantly we don’t have the kind of environment right now that is welcoming to the best players out there.

So the quality of players at Zidane’s disposal was extraordinary and the squad was built very well. He did most of his work doing man management and it worked out for him. We will never be a draw for such players if we can’t utilise those already at our disposal.

I hope we can bounce back because I am an Arsenal fan, not an Emery hater. I just want the best for our club, with anyone at the helm.

Santori
Santori

Pointless…don’t forget points difference same stage last season +1.

Is Wenger in charge? I thought Mslintat has been buying well.

Ealing
Ealing

That’s when capitulation started in the previous season with bad transfer business, apart from PEA.

Bob
Bob

We’re paying the price for past failings. We have made some good signings but we still rely on Mustafi and lichsteiner was a bad signing if Bellerin ever got injured and that’s proved to be the case. There is no auba or Torreira in our back 4 they’re bad defenders and the manager can’t magic that away

Jean Ralphio
Jean Ralphio

What also has worried me is our lack of creativity going forward. Emery has not got our attacking football to click. I’d sacrifice some lack of efficiency in front of goal for more chances being created. Spend 75 million on Koulibaly and let’s get that champions League spot. We have to do what Liverpool did and invest in and trust our manager.

Devlin
Devlin

I don’t want to sound like a jerk, but they didn’t invest in the manager himself, but the system/philosophy/style of play that he had put in place. Klopp had got a great record against the top sides first, and has been working on how to beat the smaller sides.

We keep talking about backing the coach, without looking into what a coach really does, which is implement a system within which the players the club signs will thrive. Or else we will just be backing a person who doesn’t get on the pitch and play. A coach does not just pick the starting formation and players, he is the one who decides what kind of defensive style we will utilise and how we will attack.

We can only back the process, not the person. Backing the person separates and absolves him from all that happens on the pitch. As the coach, he is a reflection of what his team does on the pitch. And attitude is a reflection of leadership.

Alex
Alex

For creativity, we’ve got Özil… oh, i forgot he was at fault yesterday because of his lack of pressing.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

In the spirit of a By The Numbers article, let’s but some stats to it!

And, according to Premier League Player Stats, Ozil isn’t even in the top 20 in the league for big chances created this season. He was joint 8th last season with Sane and joint 9th the season before (alongside the Ox!).

He also has just the one assist this season, compared to Ramsey’s six and the prem’s leader, Eden Hazard on nine. So, I’m not saying we don’t miss Ozil, but maybe not the Ozil of 2018.

Deano

He’s hardly played this season, got a few goals though.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

He’s made 13 appearances in the league and, according to Squawker, he’s had more minutes than Ramsey…

Deano

Who on the other end of the coin has assisted but hardly scored, but hardly an issue to whine about as it looks pretty obvious that they’ll both be going. Never mind we’re looking good for Benega….

I'm 14 again
I'm 14 again

Last season we did quite a lot of 3-5-2 or a variation of the sort, that system is not one that best system for creativity. Look at Juve for instance, they have rightly been criticised for not making the best of their squad in an attacking sense and that has been the main and possibly only criticism of that Juve team the past two or three seasons. That system is apparently more reliant on the flanks than the middle. ozil is not a winger neither is he a WB, the middle in that system is sacrificed. You need workhorses in the middle in that system. with maybe one good passer of the ball. Isn’t that how Fabregas began his journey to being a bit part player too?
The stats won’t outright tell you that until you look closer

Bob
Bob

If you seriously think Ozil would have made A difference in a game that intense I don’t know what you’ve been watching for 5 years

A Different George
A Different George

He not only didn’t press, he didn’t track back.

Faisal Narrage
Faisal Narrage

In the summer, I asked Tim Stillman on twitter if having a team full of dribblers was the way to break the high press (my observation was similar to basketball where statistically the 2-point shot was statistically the highest shot so teams stopped going for 3-pointers and banked on 2-points, so due to that teams sat deeper to Bank on that. Then the Golden State Warriors won the play offs by filling the team full of the statistically weaker 3-point shooters), but Tim didn’t think it would work and figured as much.

After yesterday I change my mind. Having a team full of dribblers is the only way to beat the super press. It pulls them completely out of shape and make spaces due to their aggressive pressing. And Liverpool destroyed us in the same way.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

Football and basketball aren’t always comparable. And Golden State and Arsenal are definitely not comparable! They could afford to play like that because they had a couple of the most elite scorers of all time, arguably the most elite PG of all time and unbelievable ball movement. And we..erm, do not..

Another way to beat the press is to do what we did to them at the Emirates, do a press of our own and play direct into the spaces they vacate. Couldn’t manage that due to a lack of quality in our engine room and back line though.

Ben
Ben

Yes, that’s exactly what they did to us yesterday. With Mane, Salah, and the chap with the over-white teeth (I don’t even want to say his name) turning our defenders inside out. If we had a few more of those it would undoubtedly make a difference.

Gunnery
Gunnery

When Klopp joined Liverpool he didn’t buy anyone in his first year. He just developed the youngsters and gradually made astute signings. It helped that the Premier League hadn’t seen tactics like Klopps famous gegenpress before, so he knew he could gain instant results and get the credibility with the board, who were even more than willing to fund him. Now people have seen what Klopp’s tactics are they tried to counteract it but he has changed his system again, and made strategic signings to enable that to happen.

The difference in terms of the situation is that everyone has seen most tactics, and any variation they havent seen is usually worked out within six months, not a year like Klopp had. The other is that even if Emery had some tactic which worked wonders over a full season, the following season he has alot more work to do than Klopp, because the quality of players we will sign will be lower value and take more time to bed in.

When Arsene signed his contract extension it did herald a change in transfer policy for whatever reason, most likely a combination. But either way a difference to Arsene’s traditional buy em young and develop them over 2-5 years. The change in policy was to buy experienced players but not as talented and hope they settle within 6 months (but in reality this strategy is highly hit and miss and can end up taking 1-2 years for the player to settle by which time he is into the final 1-2 years of his contract). And then the cherry ontop was massive contracts for 3 players who were nearing 30. A big departure from the Wenger budget era (which he still made top 4) and not renewing contracts of players over 30 (Ozil is now 30 btw)

Most football observers recognise the big move for Ozil, Mikhi and Auba was a hail mary move. As we chose not to buy Evans (12m) or a recognised CB

We have so much to catch up on and don’t have the pool of talent that United have to make an instant or sustained difference.

It’s a long term game for us and fingers are crossed. Sven and Raul must must must pull something amazing out of the bag of tricks this January and next summer to even stay level with where we are, as the squad is ageing rapidly and the youngsters are probably one season too far to make a sustained impact that we need.

Gunnery
Gunnery

I think our situation can be concisely summed up by our bench/squad:

Top 5 teams:
2 quality sub fullbacks

Us:
2 free transfers

(with somewhat glaring issues in their abilities, the size of which most teams will choose to target as weaknesses.)

Bob
Bob

2 fullbacks who have played their best football at wingback as well and both struggle going back towards their own goal

Bob
Bob

I thought we’d finish 5th this season and I still do. Europa league was always the more realistic route back in to the champions league and I believe emery can deliver on that. With the unbeaten run I think we convinced ourselves the squad was better than it is and that all we’d needed was a new manager and not a much larger shake up. People need some perspective though, we can win the Europa league and the turnaround was never going to be smooth. I don’t think it’s even surprising that a poor defensive team that signed poor defenders is struggling to transition to a more pro active defensive style. With respect to your column, I think the stats are kind of a write off until emery has built his team.

Cowabunga
Cowabunga

After AMN had scored I said to my little brother that Liverpool would equalize within five minutes. Turns out our defence was in a charitable mood and gave away two goals in five minutes..

Santori
Santori

May want to highlight the gap to United is just 3 points now. The gap to Chelsea is 5.

This time last season we were only 1 point poorer under Wenger.

We lost 4 nil away to Liverpool.

PLUS…granit may have been fleeced more than Torreira according to your stats but two of Torreira’s ended up in goals.

Stats.It’s what they want you to see.

Santori
Santori

https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/46712605

Auba 13 touches all game. 6 from kick offs.