Arsenal 4-1 Reading
672 – Passes attempted by Arsenal today (590 completed)
718 – Passes attempted by Arsenal in their last meeting with Reading (season high)
107 – Passes attempted by Arteta today (99 completed, led both teams)
346 – Passes forward by Arsenal today
380- Passes forward by Arsenal in their last meeting with Reading (season high)
63 – Passes forward by Arteta today (57 completed, led both teams)
251 – Passes attempted by Arsenal in the Reading final third today (season high)
250 – Passes attempted by Arsenal in the Stoke final third (previous season high)
40 – Passes attempted by Arteta in the Reading final third today (38 completed, led both teams)
211 – Passes completed by Arsenal in the Reading final third today (season high both total and percent 84%)
17 – Chances created by passes for Arsenal today
4 – Key passes by Aaron Ramsey (led Arsenal)
26 – Arsenal shots both today and in the last meeting against Reading
5 – Shots Reading took today
60 – Minute in which Reading recorded their first shot on Arsenal’s goal
68 – Minute in which Reading converted their second shot on Arsenal’s goal
2 – Key passes by Gervinho
2 – Assists by Gervinho
5 – Head of Gervinho
2 – Consecutive League games in which Gervinho has scored
6 – Months since Gervinho previously scored a League goal for Arsenal (29 September 2012 – Chelsea)
8 – League games that Gervinho played in those 6 months
10 – Shots Gervinho took in those 8 League games
7 – Shots Gervinho took today against Reading (led both teams, season high)
1 – Shots in which he scored his only goal
4 – Goals Santi Cazorla has scored against Reading this season
12 – Goals Santi Cazorla has scored for Arsenal all season
9 – Goals Cazorla scored for Malaga last season
2 – Months since Olivier Giroud last scored a League goal for Arsenal (30 January 2013 – Liverpool)
6 – League matches Olivier Giroud appeared in in those 2 months
35 – Shots Olivier Giroud attempted in those 6 games
3 – Months since Arteta last scored a goal for Arsenal (22 December 2012 – Wigan)
7 – League matches Arteta has played in since December
2 – Shots Arteta took in those games
11 – Perfect tackles by Arsenal v. Reading (100% rate)
3 – Tackles by Cazorla (led Arsenal)
3- Tackles by Mikele Leigertwood (led Reading)
6 – Interceptions by Aaron Ramsey (led Arsenal)
7 – Interceptions by Leigertwood (led both teams)
4 – Blocks by Leigertwood (led both teams)
As you can see it was champagne football from some of Arsenal’s often derided “Proseco” footballers. Giroud went through a bit of a drought after Liverpool in terms of goals return in Premier League games. It wasn’t for lack of trying nor for want of chances, 35 shots in 6 games is very decent. So it’s good that he got one in the back of the net with a low, powerful blast that the keeper might have wished he had another look at.
On the other head, Gervinho has had the opposite problem, not getting nearly enough playing time to get back any streak of form. Whereas Giroud played every minute of his six match drought (540 minutes), Gervinho only got 356 minutes of playing time. Still two matches in a row now and two goals scored looks good for Arsenal’s crucial end of season run in.
I also put Arteta’s goal numbers there because it’s kind of shocking how few attempts he’s had. Arteta’s only attempted 19 shots in all competitions this year, whereas last season he was fourth on the team with 52 shots. That shows how much deeper he’s playing for Arsenal this season.
Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky, though, are the two players most needing a League goal for Arsenal. Neither have scored since February of 2012. Ramsey’s last League goal was Sunderland and Rosicky’s was the famous goal against Tottenham a few weeks later.
Ramsey and Rosicky, though, contributed greatly to today’s win over Reading even if they didn’t get on the scoresheet. Both players were part of an Arsenal midfield four which combined for over 319 of Arsenal’s 590 completed passes (54% of the total). Arteta completed 99 passes, Ramsey 78, and Rosicky and Cazorla had 71 each. All four players also passed at over a 90% rate on the day with Arteta completing an amazing 93% of his passes. It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that all four players also dominated the Reading final third with Arteta completing 38 passes there, Cazorla and Ramsey 37 each, and Rosicky 35.
But it might surprise you to know that Arteta did a lot of the driving in Arsenal’s midfield, completing more forward passes than any other player, more passes in the final third, all of his long passes, and his only attempted through ball. Cazorla will rightly get plaudits for his superbly taken goal and Gervinho for two assists and a goal but Arteta was the engine that drove Arsenal forward.
No real sparkling numbers besides those, Arsenal simply dominated a team that literally played 10 men behind the ball and who scored a brave goal off their only good pass.
More of the same against West Brom, please!