Thursday, May 30, 2024

Arsenal 1-0 Manchester City – By The Numbers



Arsenal finally suffered their first loss of the season in midweek, but what drew more attention in the post-mortem was the concern surrounding Bukayo Saka’s injury and his potential availability for Sunday’s encounter against Manchester City.

87 – Saka’s streak of 87 consecutive Premier League appearances came to an end, which had been the longest active streak among all Premier League players and remains the longest streak in Arsenal’s Premier League history to date.

Gabriel Jesus took his place on the right, Leandro Trossard came in on the left, and Jorginho was brought in for Kai Havertz to provide additional stability in our buildup play.

6 – Arsenal had lost six consecutive home league games against Man City, their joint-worst record against any opponent, along with Chelsea (1960-65).

4 – All four substitutes contributed to Arsenal’s winning goal. Thomas Partey’s long ball found Takehiro Tomiyasu, who had been brought on to strengthen the defence but took on a striker’s role by nodding it down to Kai Havertz. Havertz then laid it back to Martinelli, whose first-time shot (0.04 xG) deflected off Ake, wrong-footing Ederson.

12 – Arsenal’s twelve shots against City were one more than we recorded against Lens (11) in our previous game, but the fewest we’ve registered in the Premier League this season.

6 – Shots for Arsenal that were inside the box.

2 – Shots for Arsenal that were on target (17%).

3 – Eddie Nketiah tied for first place in total shots overall (3) and had the highest expected goal tally (0.2 xG) among his teammates but struggled to make the ball stick. There were also numerous occasions in the second half when Ødegaard had to demonstrate when to press, and there was a forgettable moment when he took the ball off the captain while in an offside position.

Arsenal had failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 11 Premier League matches at the Emirates against Man City and had only managed to keep two clean sheets in their last 15 Premier League home games. Yet, on the day, we produced a defensive masterclass.

4 – Manchester City had only four shots, marking their lowest shot count in a Premier League game since April 2010 and their lowest tally ever in a league game under Pep Guardiola. This season, only Wolves (twice) had fewer shots in a Premier League game.

4 – Manchester City’s four shots are the fewest that Arsenal have faced all season.

58 – City’s last shot of the game was in the 58th minute, and from the 34th minute onwards, they only registered a single attempt on goal.

2 – It was only the second time in the Premier League that Erling Haaland hadn’t recorded a shot.

25 – Arsenal had 25 touches inside the box, with Kai Havertz contributing 3 of them, which accounted for 30% of his total touches (10).

14 – Touches in the box for Manchester City, eight of which they had in the first half.

193 – Arsenal had 193 touches in the final third compared to Manchester City’s 102, resulting in a 65% field tilt.

76 – No Arsenal player registered more touches than William Saliba. He won 100% of his duels and completed 97% of his 70 attempted passes against Man City. The Frenchman didn’t commit a single foul, nor did he get dribbled past once. In fact, he hasn’t been dribbled past in his eight Premier League appearances in 2023/24, and he has committed just two fouls all season. It was reported post-match that he was playing with a slight injury and will consequently miss the upcoming interlull.

He and Gabriel were absolutely brilliant.

1 – Nutmeg on Jeremy Doku by Ben White, who was also brilliant.

24 – David Raya attempted 24 long passes, completing 11 of them (46%). He also achieved a 100% completion rate for his short passes (9) and medium-range passes (14). Additionally, he tied with Ruben Dias for completing the most passes into the final third.

In my opinion, the manager’s decision to choose Raya as the number one goalkeeper is based on his belief that he possesses abilities that Ramsdale lacks. Despite Aaron Ramsdale’s popularity or the apparent unfairness of this choice, there was always a need for adaptation in Ramsdale’s playing style. Raya’s inclusion allows us to execute the manager’s preferred approach in playing out from the back, even under pressure. Arteta acknowledges that mistakes may occur but is willing to accept them because adhering to his desired style of play is more important to him.


53 touches, 36/40 (90%) accurate passes, 1 progressive pass, 2 key passes, 2 passes into the final third, 1 pass into the penalty area, 31 carries, 2 progressive carries, 4 recoveries, 3 interceptions, 3 tackles, 2 clearances, 2 blocks, 0 fouls committed and 1 clearance off the line.

It’s still early in Declan Rice’s Arsenal career, but if he continues to perform like this over the next few years and stays fit, I believe that £105 million could turn out to be a bargain – which is, of course, a ludicrous thing to say. That moment late in the game when Matheus Nunes surged through the middle, and Rice executed a flawless sliding challenge from behind was legitimately a joy to watch. He is the perfect player for what this team needed.

12 – Arsenal end their 12-match losing streak against Man City, beating City for the first time since 2015.

24 – Mikel Arteta has now beaten all 24 clubs he has faced as Arsenal manager in the Premier League.

We experienced a shaky start, but we persevered, overcame some terrible refereeing decisions, and ultimately put on a remarkable defensive performance, effectively taking control of the game. While our offensive threat was limited, it wasn’t Mikel Arteta’s primary focus. The introduction of Martinelli in the second half improved our approach, and the manager’s substitutions were fantastic, helping change the outcome of the game.

As we head into the international break, we’ve broken a 12-match losing streak by defeating the reigning champions and now find ourselves tied for the top spot in the league.

Follow me on Twitter @jonollington

SourcesOpta, fbref, @Orbinho twitter feed

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Bleeding gums murphy

It’s time to give Jesus an extended run as centre forward, I believe he is capable of scoring lots of goals. Certainly his close control and amazingly quick feet and movement over the first few yards will cause headaches for any defence. The one area to upgrade them is a back up or challenger for him. Surely now those who were holding onto Eddie being good enough have accepted reality. He seems a lovely guy and I wish it could have worked but we are going for titles here. Cannot let sentiment get in the way.


I think the answer to resting Saka might be havertz up top. He had shown limited creativity, which makes his role at #8 really questionable, but as a striker he’s really good in hold up play (he’s fucking big) and in the air. His simple passing game functions there bringing in others like Jesus, Martinelli feeding off him. I’m ok with jorgs playing the #8 as is actually similar to xhaka. It lets him be a creativity piece, but without the concern of being exposed on the break because rice is there. I’d rather see him there than havertz, use… Read more »


Jorginho at 8? Some days I am glad football teams aren’t selected by fan vote because some of the takes are just baffling.


I bet you (like the rest of us) said the same about xhaka playing the 8… I didn’t think he had the pace for it, turns out it’s more important to have mobility as the #6 in modern footie. The #8 needs to be able to defend higher or in a bank with the #6, and provide creativity. Jorgs essentially played #8 against city. Rice was still very much the lone #6 tasked with killing any breaks.


Harvertz was “up top” for Chelsea for 3 years and didn’t pull up trees.


I prefer Jesus definitely, but as a backup? He seems with a try over Eddie who just doesn’t have the hold up play this team needs. If havertz helps others score, which we’re setup to do, then great.


There’s a role for Eddie to play in the squad. But I agree he shouldn’t be our first choice CF.
Personally I’d like to see Havertz get a run.

I Like Ebøue-bøue

Some good, balanced comments on Eddie in the posts above. IMHO, he’s not useless, he should start certain games, he’ll always press with intensity and chase down lost causes, and he’ll continue to score valuable goals every so often. However, our squad needs to be in a position where we aren’t forced to pick Eddie, but we pick him for the games that suit him. At the moment, if any of our first-choice front three is unavailable, our default plan B is to stick Eddie up top and rearrange the other attackers around him. It’s an imperfect solution which sometimes… Read more »

Heavenly Chapecoense

Havertz, how 30 good minutes change the life of a player with fans!

Naked Cygan

Couldn’t agree more with you regarding Eddie. We really need an upgrade in that position. Toni or Watkins who are proven premium league scores or the Nigerian goal machine from Napoli would be my top 3 choices in January ideally or the next window. Eddie +£££ could tempt Brentford to let Toni go. Watkins just signed a new deal which might make things harder.


Not Toney, he’s a gobby cunt with an attitude problem and a gambling addiction. I enjoy liking our players and there must be another striker out there who isn’t so unpleasant.


Toney and Watkins give me Christian Benteke vibes.


Everyone fit, the starting front 3 this season should be the same as last season. Arguably it’s the best front 3 in the league, but if Jesus is out or has to be shifted out wide I’m starting to think our next best CF option is Havertz. He can still do a job in midfield, especially in games that are stretched and there’s space. But currently he looks a lot more comfortable and influential up top and that’s twice now that City couldn’t really handle him.


Havertz is also great off the bench as he’s versatile to play a number of roles with a full strength XI.

Bleeding gums murphy

You are forgetting Thomas Partey. For me partey sits in front rice goes box to box and odegarrd makes up the three. Do t think there’s a better 3 in league.


I haven’t, and I sort of thought the same until recently, but it’s hard to see Rice playing anywhere but the #6. He’s SO effective as a line defensive mid. Partey is too and I’m a huge fan, but Rice has taken it to another level. Maybe partey can play the role further forward, but I wouldn’t be moving Rice except to rest him for Partey.


The FA the expect  to report for duty, despite Arteta ruling him out of contention … fuck no!!!




Eddie did a great job yesterday, as did everyone who played for us in toppling last season’s champions. If you continue to maintain that scoring lots of goals is the benchmark for our central forward, and use that dismiss Nketiah, then you simply aren’t seeing what makes us so damned good as a team.

Bleeding gums murphy

“Eddie did a great job yesterday” 😂😂😂😂😂


literally commenting under a stats page that confirms Eddie did not do a great job yesterday


Eddie was great — just ask Arteta!


He subbed him.


He subbed Zinchenko, too, who had an excellent game. Everyone played well yesterday. Eddie was great; I know you guys can’t accept that, but I’m with Arteta on this one. I could write a book below listing how wrong you guys have been about our manager and our players since Arteta took over! 😉


I didn’t hear Arteta describe Eddie’s performance as “great”.


Sure looked happy hugging him after the game. 😉 And boy, Eddie was better than Haaland, the best striker in the PL at the moment, so that tells you something. Eddie was great yesterday, as was everyone in red and white!


I keep saying “yesterday” — sorry! I just keep watching highlights and bench cams and what have you, so it feels like yesterday. 😉


From motd only, Eddie was good. Sure its only in the highlights but strikers live for moments


If he was good, he would have buried that chance he had from the left. That was one of the best chances created on the day. He received the ball in space, which allowed him to turn inside and he had a tonne of space for a good shot, but blazed it way off target. And again, he is far inferior to Jesus (and probably inferior to Havertz) in hold up play, which is so critical to our impact in the final third. That’s the difference between lots of touches in the final third and lower expected goals and lots… Read more »


I think we should be grateful for what we have got for now and support our players. However if we should start on how some players are not good enough and so on and so forth we should do so with proper starts. So far in the EPL this season only Saka with 4 and Odeegard with 3 has scored more goals for us than Nketiah with 2. The result is that we have won 6 of the first right games and drawn two. Player when faced with the real life pressures of each matchday do the best they can.… Read more »

Heavenly Chapecoense

Surely now those who were holding onto Eddie being good enough have accepted reality”, you should replace the word “those” by Arteta and “have accepted reality” by “haven’t accepted reality yet”.
We’re lucky to have Arteta but the truth is the truth.

Crash Fistfight

“Surely now Arteta who were holding onto Eddie being good enough haven’t accepted reality yet” makes no sense as a sentence.


Impressive by Arsenal against the treble winners and without arguably our best player, Saka. Some great players on the pitch, Saliba, Rice, Gabriel (x3) White etc.
Interesting stats, thanks.


I agree on all counts – except Saka being our best player. Our best player scored. I know it’s sacriledge, and I *love* our Starboy, but Martinelli seems that bit more direct, creates magic on his own so often. Martinelli is the “katana” to Saka’s “sledgehammer” – we need both, I love both, but “all things being equal” my scales tip toward Martinelli. Might be a factor that Saka has 2 defenders on him at all times – and that’s why he chooses to combine more than dart past defenders. Gah… nothing I can write will make it seem even… Read more »


I love Martinelli too, but if I had to judge I think Saka is the better all-around player. He’s so intelligent on and off the ball. But the key point, as you said, is that we need them both and the unique abilities they bring to the team. I wouldn’t want them to be too similar to each other; their differences are key to unlocking defenses.


I agree completely. Saka is better all-round, and has a much bigger set of tools. I think what I was trying to say was that when we’re on one of those counter attacks, and Rice is looking for someone on the wing to pass it to, my inner voice (and, frequently my actual voice) is screaming for him to pass it to Martinelli, because I fully expect him to go weapons-grade mental and dribble past 3 guys, and the corner flag, before unleashing a deadly curling shot. When we pass it to Saka, often it ends up stalling the attack… Read more »


The difference with Saka is that every team knows they are going to have to double up on him which creates more space on the rest of the pitch if we can move the ball back inside quickly or overlap. The benefit only comes if we can exploit that extra space, but we have been a little more pedestrian this season with a number of new faces still adapting. Despite this Saka still has great G/A figures so far. We just need to speed up possession to get the most out from f him, hopefully it comes soon.

Crash Fistfight

I disagree with both of you. Our best player is Saliba. The fella is nearly-flawless most games.


We have discussed the Raya Ramsdale debate enough but for me Ramsdale is better at shot stopping and crosses. Yesterday two times Raya underestimated the cross and led to chance. First on a corner really early and one cross from our right side.

Man Manny

Every pundit is talking about City kicking on from January; if they allow this Arsenal the luxury of that same healthy lead of last season, they’ll kick on in vain. This team looks better at grinding out wins. Would Liverpool and West Ham come back from two-goal leads? I doubt. They wouldn’t be beaten by Forest either.

Naked Cygan

Dumb question regarding Raya’s long pass accuracy. If the long pass reaches the intended target but the outfield player is unable take the pass, does that count as an accurate pass?

djourou's nutmeg

if the ball connects with a teammate, it’s an accurate pass. even if it’s a poor ball and the receiving player loses it immediately, it will count as a “poor touch” by the receiving player. but if the receiving player fails to connect with the ball, even if it was a perfect pass, it will count as an inaccurate pass by the passer. so a passer’s stats actually have a lot to do with the people he’s passing it to. im not a data analyst tho, so take my comment with a pinch of salt. tough matter, individual statistics…


But if the ball does not end up in your own net. You concede fuck all for goals – regardless.. then what.. Ramsdale .. will do minus goals? I defend every AFC player when I am here and drunk enough to post.. like it is my job. There is always one more AFC player to defend. Always. The fact this is the major topic on this thread, is a joke. AFC fans…the old..yet the new CFC and ManU fans. What is lovely when we win is. .not only we win.. but half out fan base cant say ‘I told you… Read more »

Big L HoP

Would love there too be a deeper analysis on this. I’ve not been overly impressed by Rayas distribution so far but the numbers bear out. Eye test tells me there’s more under the hood.


It is how many times AFC fans cry vs how many times they whimper. It was easy to have the love of all of us when we moved up from what.. total shit to 2nd? But now.. the demand is 1st.. so yeah….the bitches be back.. What is dumb is.. our own fans and pundits getting caught up in a debate about fuck all. Find a point to talk about. Have not beaten City since when..Moses came down with 10 amazing rules..thou shalt not use VAR with any common sense.. and now.. we beat them with 0 goals condeded.. oh… Read more »

Naked Cygan

We really played with a balanced approach with our pressing which let to City caught in two minds with their attacking passes. I noticed in other matches we press much higher from the goal kicks or when the keeper has the ball. Against City we pressed but we were more conservative which really helped slow City’s attacks when they beat the press. I also hope this performance can be a play book for other top teams to use and have a chance against City.


i agree and it is also our play book when playing against stronger opposition, i.e. EPL top 6, and away at other strong premier league teams and at CL games away.
we need Rice with TP5 or J20, or if Rice is rested J20 with TP5.

A Different George

Watching as it happened, I thought Arsenal were narrowly, but clearly, the better team after the first few minutes. After watching again, I would say the same except the gap–certainly in the second half–was a little larger than I had thought the first time (when I was nervous). I think I don’t understand the expected threat/momentum graph which (as I, perhaps incorrectly, understand it) shows City doing much better in minutes 45-70 than I saw. If you can explain Jon, that would really be helpful for the future.

Greg in Seattle

Appreciate this comment. Your column is a weekly highlight.

A Different George



Wicked smart football brain coupled with humility and explanations.. Wenger taught you well 😉

My shitty jokes aside.. love your read, as brilliant as the rest of this site.


We’ve definitely beaten City since 2005 as I remember Arteta scored a winner at the Emirates. Arteta hadn’t joined yet in 2005. I’m guessing maybe mistype and it means 2015.


What really impressed me was our defensive tactics and the near-perfect execution of those tactics (bar a couple of early shaky moments) against the highest quality opponent you could face. There’s a noticeable pattern in the reduction of chances we are allowing. Bournemouth and Everton created nothing against us, which is a feat in itself across 90 minutes, but do that to Man City is incredible. If we can keep that up, reduce our errors (which seem to be the cause of most of the goals we concede), and step it up a notch in attack, we have the potential… Read more »


Declan Rice is a foocking beast

Another Paul

Saliba’s stats are incredible. In complete control every game and only gave away 2 frees all season. What a super player !


If Rice continues to perform like this over the next few years and stays fit, Messi will be forgotten.


We used Akanji’s shin to equalize in the community shiled win and his face to win this this one. Long live Manuel.


We used Akanji’s shin to equalize in the Community Shield win and his face to win this one. Long live Manuel

Crash Fistfight

I’m confused by the field-tilt graph. Why is there so little ‘blue’ below the x-axis, if Man City’s field-tilt was 33%? The graph makes it look like it should be something crazy like 95% to 5%.


Curious how the Raya/Alvarez incident plays out in the Raya passing statistics, does it go down as an incomplete long pass?


2 – Times Kovacic should have been sent off.

1 – Time Michael Olivier didn’t care about influencing the yane by sending a player off for two yellows in the same play

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