Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Sp*rs 7-44 Arsenal: By the numbers

This match could not have gone worse for Arsenal and more to the plan for Jose Mourinho.

I’ve spent a day away from this and I am still very frustrated by this performance and unfortunately, I don’t think that there are any quick fixes that are on the horizon to make things better at Arsenal.

Sp*rs 2-0 Arsenal: By the graphs

Sp*rs 2-0 Arsenal: By the numbers

656 – Minutes in the Premier League since Arsenal scored a goal from open play.

46 – Shots in the Premier League singe Arsenal scored a goal from open play. Good for 6.3 open play shots per 90, which would rank 17th in the League only ahead of Burnley, West Brom and Newstacle.

4.3 – Expected goals from the shots from open play, since Arsenal last scored a goal from open play. Good for 0.6 open play xG per 90, which would rank 19th in the Premier League ahead of only West Brom.

 5 – Open play Big Chances since Arsenal last scored a goal from open play. Good for 0.7 open play big chances per 90, which would rank last in the Premier League.

It has been a long time since Arsenal last scored a goal from open play in the Premier League, with the last goal was from Nicolas Pepe against Sheffield United in the 64th minute. A quick aside, remember how excited it felt to score 2 goals in less than 5 minutes? It felt like Mikel Arteta had figured something out in the attack, with the Saka/Auba/Pepe front 3, if we had only known things were going to fall apart after that.

For those wondering the Gabriel goal against Wolves is still classified as “from a corner” because the play never reset but also shows that not everything is cut and dry with statistics. If you want to count that, that’s fine but that one goal really doesn’t change the inept attack that we have seen from Arsenal over the last 7+ matches at creating from open play.

That brings us to the crosses.

44 – Crosses attempted against Spurs

9 – Crosses completed, good for a 20% cross completion percentage below the Premier League Average of 22% but better than Arsenal’s previous completion rate of 17%.

32 – Crosses attempted from open play

7 – Open play crosses completed, of which 3 became shots (1%), which had an xG value of 0.14

81% – The number of crosses that were “chipped” or hit into the air from open play. In general, these are lower quality chances with an average xG of 0.1 vs 0.15 for low crosses. I kind of joked during the match that Arsenal should have put one of their centerbacks upfront because of this, in hindsight, it probably wouldn’t have been a bad idea because with Alexandre Lacazette (career Aerial duel win percentage of 35%) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (career Aerial duel win percentage of 33%) as the guys being aimed for wasn’t likely to end well.

178 – Crosses that Arsenal would have needed to attempt from open play to tally 1 expected goal, given the same conversion rate into shots and a pretty generous average xG of 0.06 (the actual average xG of Arsenal’s shots assisted by crosses was 0.047).

22.5 – The probability of creating a “Clear Cut Chance” with an xG greater than 0.4 from the crosses that Arsenal attempted


When you look at the possession numbers that Arsenal had in this match, you might come away thinking that Arsenal put that team under a lot of pressure. Arsenal had 52 touches within 25 yards of their goal, they put up an impressive “non-shot xG” (a way of measuring how dangerous possession a team has) that was over 2 but in reality, watching this match you could see that it was mostly comfortable to defend and especially the final balls that Arsenal tried.

Most of that comes to the crosses that Arsenal attempted in this match. The headline number of 44 seems really high (because it is) but even worse is that three-quarters of that came from open play attempts. For these crosses, Arsenal had held the ball for an average of 20 or more seconds before they attempted the cross, in the second half that average creeps up even higher to almost 25 seconds of possession before attempting a cross.

One of the things that can make crossing more effective is if the cross comes into a defense that isn’t set, this was not the case for the majority of the crosses that Arsenal attempted in this match.

It is easy for me to sit here writing about why this is a low reward strategy without offering any alternatives to creating things. Unfortunately looking at the players that can play in the Premier League in the squad, there isn’t a lot in the way of players on this team that would even be willing to attempt risky passes into box or make runs from deep. I think that a lot of this ultimately falls on the way that this squad has been constructed and that fixing it is not going to be easy.

The Aubameyang worry Level rises

2 – Shots in this match, 0 on target. This was the 8th time this season that he has had 2 or less shots in a match.

19 – Shots total that he has in the Primer League, this ranks tied for 31st.

0 – Goals in this match, the 10th time this season that he has failed to score a goal (non-penalty).

0.09 – Non-Penalty goals per 90 in the Premier League, this ranks 111th.

0.2 – Expected goals in this match. This was the 7th match that he has had 0.2 expected goals of less in a match. (0.2 xG per 90 for context would rank at around the 10th percentile for a striker).

1.8 – Non-Penalty expected goals in the Premier League, this ranks tied for 40th.

0.17 – Non-Penalty xG per 90 in the Premier League, this ranks 56th.

0 – Key passes in this match. This was the 4th time this season that he did not create a shot for a teamate.

1.3 – Expected goals assisted in the Premier League, this ranks tied for 38th.

It might be a bit simplistic to only look at things like shots and shot assists but for a player making big money as a forward, that is really what you are looking for from that type of player.

After the match against Wolves I had written that I was somewhat hopeful that his performance might have meant that there were “green shoots” for him. Unfortunately that did not carry over into this performance and my worry level is rising. I was cautiously optimistic that extending Aubameyang’s contract wouldn’t be a bad idea but now I think that I was too optimistic in that his dip in his underlying numbers was a blip and not the first red flags of a decline. That was probably a mistake and one where because I so like watching the player play that I overlooked the evidence that this was a very real possibility.

It is possible that this is still just a slump and that he will come out of it looking something close to his former self but the longer he goes without showing that the less likely it becomes.


P.S. thanks to everyone who participated in the approval rating survey, the results are here but I think that people would probably be a lot less approving if they were asked today.

Sources: Opta via WhoScored and my own database. StatsBomb via FBRef.




Related articles


Notify of

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The non-shot XG intrigues me. Surely this is a silver lining – that the final ball is all we need?


Sadly not, it means the spuds sat deep and let us cross the ball safe in the knowledge their CBs could fill their boots.


So in other words, we play shit football.


At least we are better than Newstacle.

Bob's Mexican Cousin

Looked more like a volleyball practice


TIL if we put in enough aimless crosses, it will increase the expected goals count.

Gooners & Roses

I was thinking that we played in similar fashion to Everton’s (during Moyes and of course Arteta time there), except they have Cahill and co to get into the end of the crosses.

Malaysian gunner

With the current malaise afflicting Arsenal,dont rule out MU will offer gbp 30 for Abu.
If the US owner accepts it that means he has no ambition.
Assuming a deal goes through just imagine how Abu suddenly stars scoring for fun and helps the rd to win the epl and even the cl.
Shades of Cantona again.
I just hope that Arsenal will throw an offer into the wb.Arsenal is a premium soccer brand that has been degenerating since it was bought by the US owner.

Merlin’s Panini

Abu? Diaby?

Pat Fried Rice with Egg

That’s a lot of assumptions to make. Assuming everything you said happens, I would hope Arsenal does not throw any offer at what will be a 32 year old Auba then.

Also, it’s more like shades of Van Persie.


for footballing reasons can someone explain why Ozil cannot make this team?

is it the process? or maths?

Naked Cygan

Since sadly football is connected to money, ozil is punished for his China comments. Since money talks, we can’t play him. Personally I wasn’t happy with ozil during the last 2 seasons under Wenger or Emery, not sure why he has declined so much, but given how poor we have been over the last 5 years I would take ozil Denison Bentner iwobe Walcott and Adebayor over these players we have playing now.


Our revenue from China cannot be very much with the way we are playing.


Ozil played after those comments. I suppose Wenger stopped picking him for tough away games and Emery froze him out because they foresaw his comments or something too. Give over, it’s not about that.

Nketiah success

Apart from the fact he’s not registered in the squad, he was last effective for the team at the end of 2017 and even then he barely played an away games…I loved Ozil but he was a luxury player that needed 10 other players working their arse off to be effective. I don’t think our team is good enough to do that anymore. I wish he was the answer but he clearly isn’t and hasn’t been for some time


“4.3 – Expected goals from the shots from open play, since Arsenal last scored a goal from open play. Good for 0.6 open play xG per 90, which would rank 19th in the Premier League ahead of only West Brom.” I am afraid that this is all you need to know, we are about as dangerous as a snowflake. These stats tells us we are heading for relegation (not considering other stats, but still) and that is just not good enough, not for Arteta, not for the players or the fans. Artetas tactics combined with the formation and selected 11 for… Read more »


Hi Scott, does Gabriel’s headed goal against Wolves last week not fall as under open play?


Sorry, can’t believe I missed that! Also, agree with your comment, 1 goal doesn’t really make a difference. Worrying times.


I really hope that the fellow gunners could just gather at Emirates to send a message to the board and the manager that enough is enough and that this shitshow must not continue if the form and if there are no improvements in fixing the attacking problem similar to what Celtic Bhoys did at the park.

God I’m so depressed watching these toothless c**** ruin our weekends.


Fans are in a mood today. I remember when I use to be like that. I’ve watched this decline for too long that my expectations are way lower now. I think we’re going to lose most games when we come up against opponents with a superior midfield, and most PL sides have a better MF than us. Some of you need to realize we have players in this squad that are 12th-15th place quality; and it’s the majority of our players. Set your expectations lower until the ownership shows real ambition.


And Bergwijn, Davies, Aurier, Dier, Lo Celso, Regullion, Sisoko are all amazing world-class talent. That’s exactly why they won. Spurs have incredibly talented players and we have terrible players.

It has nothing to do with the shitty tactics our manager is using. It’s all about our terrible, terrible players.
The ownership has shown lots of ambition in the last 2 years or so. We have signed players in all positions, players who prior to us were playing great football.
The squad is performing way below their abilities due to the manager’s tactics


Sorry my friend don’t agree with your list of supposedly world class players.None of these listed would improve our team.Only 2 spurs players would improve Arsenal Son and Kane without those two spuds would be in a similar position in the league to us.


Mostly true but I reckon we’d take Lo Celso, Ndombele or Alli now actually. CAM is a real weakness for us, at least as long as we’re unwilling to try Ceballos or Saka at 8 or 10.


By the way Ballz read your post again.You are contradicting yourself. Terrible Terrible players who were playing great football before joining Arsenal.😂😂😂


Oh boy, you really don’t know anything about sarcasm, do you?! It went right over you like a David Luiz Free kick over the post from 25 yards out

Pat Fried Rice with Egg

“It has nothing to do with shitty tactics our manager is using…. The squad is performing way below their abilities due to the manager’s tactics.”

You are Tony Adams level of drunk right now.


This ballz blogger must be the only person I know that thinks Aurier is world class.Speak to spurs fans they all think he’s shit .This also applies to Davies and Sanchez.I will say it again without Kane and Son bang average.


I was being sarcastic. Can’t believe I have to spell it out haha


44 crosses with no Giroud-esque player on the pitch. How can you expect goals?


44 Crosses make a graveyard for Arsenal

David Hilliers Arm Cast

The more worrying thing is that Arteta is sticking to this formula of crossing mindlessly despite it clearly NOT working.

SB Still

To that, I would also add Arteta throwing some of the players under the bus – after the Leeds draw, Pepe, after yesterday Partey. It was the same Partey that Arteta said was making it very difficult to leave him out of the squad and he and medical team being cautious. Yet somehow the on-field situation was reverse. If the former part was true, then, Partey couldn’t have continued to come off like that? Maybe, its not Arteta’s problem but mine. Since I started following Arsenal around the same time Wenger started managing, I’ve come to expect our managers to… Read more »


Have you (and many other fans) considered that the fact we cross the ball so much is because all of our creative players play on the sides? We dont have a central/attacking midfielder with any noteworthy attacking quality (Ceballos can play a pass from deep, thats it), ofcourse we are not going to be much of a thread from the center.


I just don’t understand how last season we played well under Arteta and Auba put the goals away, then, with more or less the same team (in fact, in theory, with new signings, an even better team) and the same manager we play shit. Can anyone explain?


To be fair to him, its very hard to keep the standard and many teams have sussed out how to contain us from the left since we are lob sided with threat. I had the nagging feeling that extending Auba was a mistake and warned about it. Its always the case where better more experienced managers know went to relinquish the stars particularly when they hit a certain age and their game is more based on “Pace”. Wenger excelled at this. he did not want to lose RVP and said he had one more good season which proved the case… Read more »


Me too, how come we were so naive to concede exactly like maureen wanted da fuq ?

Naked Cygan

No matter how we look at things (stats & visuals) we are sh*t. Time to mix things up a bit. Drop Willian Bellerin and Aubu next game. Or even better, drop the first team and play the 2nd team in the league. We need s reset, turn the team on and off again.


Is it possible to ask Arsenal to go direct for goal by shooting from distance, put 4 guys into box ans pass the ball to box instead of crossing? No one at this point wants to see Bellerin crosses or crosses in general. They are awful. Its 80’s tactics. Where did you got this manager from? Time machine?


I would sign a keeper so obese that he stuffs the entire goalmouth without even having to move, before we try other fanciful stuff like attacking.


Who would take Torreira and Guendouzi in that midfield right now ? Heck, when Chambers is up and running, I’d have Chambers and Niles in there !!

For the life of me, we CANNOT be having Xhaka/Ceballos anymore ! Infuuuuriating.


You can bring Xavi and Iniests and little would change. Regardless of who we play, the results are the same. Partey, Mo, Willock, Ceballos, Xhaka, doesn’t matter. The underlying tactics are shit and the results will keep being shitty. Torreira and Guendouzi would change absolute nothing


Yeah xavi and iniesta wouldn’t change anything now but at their peak are you kidding me.That is the sort of flair we need in the team that sadly at the moment we don’t have.


I’d be shocked if the players aren’t seriously concerned about the tactics theyre being asked to play.


Why is there no locker room meeting initiated by the players now?


Basically, I think arteta’s decided we’ve got a couple of decent wide men, decent fullbacks, and decent forwards but a shit midfield so he’s decided building up from wide areas is all we can do. I don’t know what happened with Ozil, but we’ve got to cling to the idea that if we sign an attacking midfielder with some quality this will change our buildup.

Nati Malhi

You want goals? Easy.
Take the all the 11 that started against Rapid,
And exchange the 4 back players with the 4 starters against Tottenham. That’s all.
Leno, Holding, Gabriel, Bellerin, Tierney,
Elneny, Maitland-Niles, Lacazette,
Nelson, Nketiah, and Saka instead of Pepe that cannot play.

Willian out – Nelson in.
Aubameyang out – Nketiah in
Chaka out – Niles in.
That is the team.


Wanna have a night of drinking, but be in bed early? Take a shot for every horribly inaccurate Willian cross….

Mark Driver

Wenger said it would cost £100m to replace Ramsey. That’s all.


Wouldn’t I love some Martinelli on those crosses now?

To be serious, Mikel really needs to play the youth. AMN, Reiss/Pepe, ESR, and hold them accountable for their performance because they still have something to prove. Not Auba?Willian/Laca/Xhaka, who can’t even muster a smile when things are hard.

Once a gunner

Is so obvious we need Ozil in the team


Beginning to think Scott Willis just stuffs his articles full of typos for fun.

Share article

Featured on NewsNow

Support Arseblog

Latest posts

Latest Arsecast

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x