4 - Aerial duels won by Sagna (of 5)¹
3 - Successful dribbles by Ferdinand (of 3 tried)¹
5 - Successful tackles by Koscielny¹
7 - Successful interceptions by Koscielny¹
3 - Blocks by Johnny Evans¹
3 - Blocks by Arsenal
15 - Clearances by Evans and Ferdinand (of 23 attempted)
6 - Clearances by all of Arsenal (of 20 attempted)
6 - Failed clearances by Koscielny (of 6 attempted)¹
5 - Key Passes Cazorla¹
10 - Key passes by Cazorla, Ramsey (4), and Rosicky (1)
10 - Key passes by Man U
5 - Shots by Cazorla¹ (tied with Rosicky for most)
2 - Shots on goal by Cazorla¹ (tied with Rooney and RvP for most)
68 - Passes by Ramsey¹
55 - Passes completed by Ramsey¹
Above is Ramsey v. Carrick. As you can see, the main difference is that Ramsey was deployed further up the pitch than Carrick. This is indicated by the dribbles (2/3) the key passes (4 v. 1), the shots, and in the percent of passes forward by Ramsey. Ramsey only ended the game with one tackle but he helped press United and caused a number of indirect turnovers. Ramsey’s attacking numbers, though, aren’t bad and that’s a season high percent of passes forward (74%) from the midfielder.
It’s also interesting that every one of his misplaced passes (save just one) were forward.
Oh, and this is a pretty normal performance for Carrick — only about 13 passes below his average. This is the player that many, including Arsene Wenger, felt was player of the year and he’s not, statistically, any better than Arteta.
Arteta leads the League in passes per game and is a close second in passing %. Arteta also leads Arsenal in tackles attempted per game, interceptions, and in long passes with an astonishing 176/196. Carrick is roughly the same as Arteta, except his passing is much less accurate and as an example, his long passes are just 194/260.
Last Time Out
The first column is the full time stats from the first match between Man U and Arsenal at Old Trafford which Arsenal lost 2-1. The second column is the half time data from the 1-1 draw at the Emirates, the third column is full-time, and the fourth is the differential.
It was always going to be easy to be better than Arsenal were in the first tie because by my measurements that was Arsenal’s worst performance of the season. If the penalty, the error and the red card weren’t bad enough, the Arsenal just never did get into an attacking grove and created the fewest chances this season in League play and worse didn’t even really attempt to win the ball back.
As you can see, this time out Arsenal were much more direct with that metric of “shot creation” very high on my list of determining direct v. indirect play. Rather than a shot created every 99 passes, Arsenal were almost three times as direct and created 16 shots off nearly 100 less passes. Arsenal also dribbled better (Gervinho was 0/1), tackled more, read the passing lanes better, and fouled less.
The other metric I love to use to see how much attack a team is putting out is the number of clearances they force the opposition into. In the first meeting Man U has the edge forcing Arsenal to make 29 to their 26 clearances. In the second meeting, Arsenal forced United to make 42 clearances while only being forced into 20 of their own.
One black mark in the hustle department is that Arsenal were terrible in the air. Dreadful. Worse than dreadful, woeful. Arsenal were 0/4 in headed clearances, 6/20 overall in clearing the ball with Koscielny getting 0/6. Koscielny was also 0/4 in aerial duels and Podolski was o/5. Podolski, Koscielny, Walcott, Cazorla, and Gervinho combined for 0/13. That looks like a Giroud sized hole in both offense and defense.
19 - Goals by Theo Walcott in all competitions for Arsenal this season (career high)
24 - Goals by Theo Walcott in his previous two seasons at Arsenal (combined)
12 - Goals by Theo Walcott in Premier League play this season (career high)
6 - Shots per goal for Theo Walcott in Premier League play this season
22 - Goals by van Persie for Man U this season (minus the penalties)
5.86 - Shots per goal by van Persie for Man U this season (minus penalties)
0 - Percent chance that I’m saying that these two players are exactly the same
9.7 - Shots per goal by Giroud for Arsenal this season
5.1 - Shots per goal by Podolski
100 - Percent chance I am saying that Theo and Podolski might benefit/fill-in from a run without Giroud who leads Arsenal with 107 shots
14 - Errors by Arsenal leading to opposition goals (tops the League along with Wigan, stat courtesy Orbinho)
23 - Potential points those errors have cost. Errors not accounted for below didn’t cost points, just time off our lives. Some errors happened when we were in the lead, some when they were in the lead, and some when we were drawn, points subtracted based on best guess of outcome at the time of the error.
- 2 v. Man U – Sagna pen
- 1 v. Chelsea – Szczesny pen
- 2 v. Liverpool – Vermaelen error
- 2 v. Southampton – Sagna error
- 3 v. Swansea – Vermaelen and Jenkinson errors
- 2 v. Everton – Sagna error
- 2 v. Fulham – Arteta error, Arteta pen.
- 3 v. Man U – Cazorla pen (miss!), Vermaelen error
- 3 v. Norwich – Mannone error
- 1 v. Chelsea – Koscielny error
- 2 v. Man City – Mannone error
Count that however you want. I’m sure there will be squabbling over the totals and who is to blame for which points dropped but the overall point remains: Arsenal make errors in both big games and little and those mistakes cost Arsenal points, if even half of those points were not conceded, Arsenal could be sitting on a points total of 76. Second place easily. That could be overcome with more offense, perhaps, or just as easily by less crazy mistakes like Sagna made today versus United.
All numbers via Opta or my personal databases
¹Led both teams
²Led just his team