Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Arsenal 4-1 Wigan: by the numbers

Arsenal 4-1 Wigan: by the numbers

The 26 minutes of handbrake

20 minutes

That first 20 minutes was nuts. The best I’ve seen from Arsenal all season. They were shooting at will (9 shots, Arsenal average 16), crossing well (5 of 10, 50% is really good for crosses), and created more chances off passes in that 20 minutes (6) than in the entire 90 minutes against Southampton (4).

The next 26 minutes after the goal there was a lull and that “handbrake” feeling crept over us all. And as you can see Arsenal defended with all hands at the pumps. Tackling, reading the lanes, fouling, and getting blocks on shots.

In the second half, Arsenal came out much like the first and put in another 20 minute shift attacking the Wigan box with 7 shots, 5 on target, crossing well again, and even tackling high up the pitch. That followed by 26 minutes of very direct counter attacks as Wigan showed signs of dead legs. Perfectly executed combination of defense and offense.

453 - Passes by Arsenal v. Wigan today
22 – Passes per shot by Arsenal (best of the season by Arsenal)
73 - Passes by Aaron Ramsey (led all players)
37 - Passes forward by Aaron Ramsey
12 - Misplaced passes by Aaron Ramsey
9 - Number of those passes that were forward
2 - Shots created by Ramsey
5 - Consecutive matches now that Aaron Ramsey has led Arsenal in passes
1 - Turnovers by Aaron Ramsey (turnovers are unforced errors)
1 - Number of times Ramsey was dispossessed
61 - Passes by Santi Cazorla
6 - “Key Passes” today by Cazorla (shots his passes created for others)
3 - Shots today by Cazorla
7 - Passes per shot-created or shot taken by Santi Cazorla
45 – Passes per shot on goal by Arsenal (second best of the season)
41 – Passes per shot on goal by Arsenal in the 7-3 win over Newcastle
20 - Tackles Arsenal made today v. Wigan
8 - Number of 20+ tackle games that Arsenal have had in the Premier League this season
5-2-1 – Arsenal’s record in those games (Chelsea the only loss)
1 - More match Arsenal have to win

Moar on Cazorla!

21 - Arsenal shots
10 - Arsenal shots on goal
2 - Wigan shots on goal
8 - Difference between Arsenal’s shots on goal and Wigan’s (second best all season)
10 - Largest difference of the season (Reading 2-5 Arsenal)
3 - Goals Cazorla scored that day against Reading
4 - Assists Cazorla provided this day against Wigan
1027 - Passes Cazorla has made in the final third this season (tops in all five Leagues)
1037 - Passes Cazorla made in the final third for Malaga last season (third best)
37 - Passes Cazorla made in the Wigan final third today (led all players)
95 - “Key Passes” Cazorla has made this season (3rd in the League)
6 - “Key passes” Cazorla made today v. Wigan
11 - Assists Cazorla has this season (T2nd in the League, Mata (12), Hazard/Cazorla (11), Walcott/Rooney (10), Podolski/Gerrard (9)
4 - Assists Cazorla had today v. Wigan


Today’s game against Wigan was another masterclass in direct play from Cazorla.

4 assists in a single game, which I have dubbed the “barbershop” (a quartet) is an exceptionally rare feat. Rarer than a hat trick by far and rarer still than 4 goals in a game. The last player to register 4 assists in a game was, oddly enough, Emmanuel Adebayor for Tottenham in February 2012. Since then there have been numerous hat tricks, Cazorla even has one.

And that’s one of the things that makes Cazorla so special. He’s one of those rare players that you can put nearly anywhere up front and he’s a threat not only to score but also to set his teammates up.  He’s equally adept at creating his own shot as he is at creating someone else’s shot. So, for example, Suarez leads the League with 95 dribbles (off an appalling 291 attempts) but Cazorla has just 12 fewer successful dribbles with 83 (off a much better 136 attempts). Cazorla is also third in the League in key passes (with 95 behind Baines and Silva) and has 11 assists after his romp against the dead legs of Wigan today.

But it’s his versatility which really makes the jaw drop. He assisted with a left foot, a right foot, and a head today and also showed that he can play wide to great effect. There have been many column inches devoted to whether Cazorla is good for Arsenal on the wing. More or less most of them take on the well worn debate over whether or not “Wenger is playing him (insert any player) out of position”. But the problem here is with sample size and like all the ladies say, “Sample Size Matters!”

12 League games on the wing is not enough to make a good judgement on whether someone should be played somewhere using stats. After all, he could come out and get 4 assists, complete 4/6 crosses, create 6 goal-scoring chances, make 2/4 dribbles, have 7 interceptions (!!!), and generally be a complete and utter badass, like he did today and tank your numbers. With small samples, then, you need to look at the qualitative data.

My qualitative analysis is that it doesn’t seem to matter where you play Cazorla in the Arsenal attack, when he’s on his game, when he’s direct and taking the game to the opposition like he did today against Wigan, he’s fuckin’ excellent.





  1. Wenger's Glasses

    I think the 10 days break really gave Santi the much needed recharging. Utter badass indeed! Oh so proud of him & the rest of the lads.

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    • Know I’m going to get slaughtered for this, but come on! Barring the cross of Theo’s goal, none of Santi’s assists were anything special. I don’t even know if you can call them assists. The first was a very very poorly defended corner that I would give more credit to Mert than Santi. The ball to Podoloski was once again ATROCIOUS defending where Santi just had to head the ball forward and The fourth was a threaded ball at the half way line where the Wigan defence was not exactly rigid. Having said that he had a great game as can be seen above. Lovely work Tim, always enjoy reading these pieces. Just think yesterday was one of those days when stats can be rather misleading.

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  2. 3- points that counts!!

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  3. Podolski! What a finish!

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    • Anyone else in our squad would have struggled with that one-on-one in his second goal, even giroud, shows u why Podolski can play upfront with a bit of training and developing a understanding with his team mates especially Santi he can be a truely world class CF. A knackered/injured podolski is yet more clinical than anyone on the team, imagine what he can do in his second season. Hoping the very best Poldi, we believe in you! #podolski #worldclass

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      • Yep brilliante. Top stuff, just the complete opposite of torres.

        Btw this torres jokes have crossed the line………UNLIKE HIS SHOTS!!!!

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      • Im very happy with podolski in his first year. His numbers have been strong, even with his injury, but i find him lacking a bit in the CF position. His delivery from the left is so clinical, and he has strong link up play that i prefer him out wide. It may be lack of practice in the position or injury, but his movement in the box (always behind a defender on crosses, or always looking for the drop back pass when he should be diving for a poke at the 6) and his hold up play lacks conviction for me. Top player though, and who can complain about 2 goals!

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    • Rambo’s finishing is the one I still can’t quite get over. Brilliant!

      I wonder which celebrity will be paying the ultimate price this time? (Come on, Piers Morgan…)

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      • Watch the replays in slow motion. You can see him looking up to lay the ball back to the on coming forwards. Then there’s a moment when out of the side of his eyes he notices the goalkeeper move from his post to cover the pass. Suddenly Ramsay strokes it home through the gap, wonderful stuff.

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        • That’s the stuff that separates men from boys. Awesome stuff. Also did you notice that he was still sliding in for tackles well into injury time? With the scoreline the way it was that’s some commitment to Arsenal from him.

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  4. an assist isn`t qualified until the net receives the ball. Santi delivered Ramsey killed some idiot celeb and Theo did what he`s done best this season. Poldi hit double figures

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  5. Bond. James Bond.

    100- Percent the Mike Dean/Spurs partnership failed yesterday.

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  6. A lot of players stepped up today.

    Tim’s done a good job of highlighting our attacking play, but I also want to say what an amazing job Koscielny did at the back. That last ditch tackle was sheer class. He’s quietly become one of the best defenders in the league. I was also gobsmacked by Szczesny’s save in the second half. Amazing. Things could have gone so differently for us had that gone in. And Gibbs. He’s such a great left-back. Made the latest great hype McManaman look distinctly average.

    It’s no doubt true that our excellent defensive displays are a result of the midfield working harder to close down the opposition, but you have to give credit to our back line. When called upon, they’ve been excellent since the Bayern game.

    It’s been a long, long time since I felt this confident about our defensive abilities.

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    • Yeah agreed Kos was in beast mode. And though Ramsey had a ten minute spell of wayward passing in the second half his defensive contributions were huge. How he became such a beastly tackler I don’t know, but he’s now got the highest success rate in Europe. It’s also telling that Per let it slip in an interview when he referred to Mikel and Aaron as our number sixes.

      I mean, when was the last time we conceded a goal from open play? Last night was a FK, and it was PK’s against United and Norwich.

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      • I was curious so I looked it up.

        Wigan – free kick
        QPR – clean sheet
        Man U – penalty
        Fulham – clean sheet
        Everton – clean sheet
        Norwich – header from set piece
        West Brom – penalty

        The last goal we conceded from open play was against Reading, in March. Before that, we had two more clean sheets (Swansea and Bayern). Before that, we conceded on March 3 against Spurs.

        So in other words, since Kos returned to the starting line-up over 2 months ago, we have conceded only once from open play.

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    • I was bamboozled by Arsene’s offense! #TIMOUT!

      I wanted to quantify those three but as we all know, stats don’t tell the whole story and their numbers didn’t look as impressive as their moments of brilliance.

      Thank you for highlighting them here.

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  7. Silent Stanley

    Well done lads…. One more.

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  8. Can’t hold back my tears when Walcott scored from that beautiful Santi pass! Excellent Santi! Best signing!

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  9. Blogs: It might just be my computer, but this article isn’t showing up in the main Arseblog News site alongside the other stories. I had to go to the facebook page to get here. Should be easy enough to fix (if it’s not just me.)

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  10. …and the iconic Rosicky be mopping up wigan’s adventures. Walcott, Ramsey too. Add the unpredictability of a Walcott’s surging run to Carzorla’s masterclass, Arsenal is getting a good shape front and back. 1more sharp striker/CB and My Arsenal will romp through next season destroying everything on its wake. Proud these days of our clean but resolute defending. I just love these players. Let our blazing guns go giddy! A gun gone giddy is a gun gone outta control

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  11. As someone so eloquently put it, we didnt get a clean shit, but that performance was absolutely fantastic.

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    • What I like about your comment is that this Arsenal team is beginning to form a strong bonded unit of good attacking football and sound defending(since Bayern2nil), that we begin to measure our new found perfection with clean sheet victories. That’s a good phase to be in as a gunner. Back to stark reality, once in a while you concede an odd goal. But the clean sheet objective is classy and noble ( for a clean sweep of the trophies next season) #momentum

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  12. No possession at home… The only negative point of the evening.

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    • This is one of those occassions when statistics can be misleading. How many times have we seen Arsenal dominated possession but only have one or two shots on target? Wigan may have had the ball longer than we did, but we made far better use of our possession, and that’s what counts.

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      • Yes, the most important thing is to use possession, but we do not dominate matches anymore! We are often obliged to react after a goal conceded; we do not control matches like before.

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      • That’s why I highlighted the passes per shot ratio. There’s this phrase “Sterile domination”.

        Against Wigan Arsenal were more direct, against Southampton (1-1 draw courtesy an own goal) Arsenal made just one shot on goal. That’s 538 passes per shot on target!

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    • Sometimes its more than the pure possession figures.

      They threw up a graphic last night fairly early on showing a 60/40 split in Arsenal’s favour in possession. Good on its own, but splitting the possession by zones told a different story. 50% in the middle third, 40% in Wigan’s final 3rd, and 10% in ours.

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  13. Love the “fucking excellent” tag line, because he really is! Credit should go out to the save from the big Pole, and Wolcott for such a strong performance, and i have to say, in the past i would anticipate a collapse, but with our current defensive partnership, and hard work all around i am feeling much more confident. I think a lot must be said for Arsene bringing in previous sides captains and established internationals for changing the mentality at the club. With 170 million (puma), plus 150 million (emirates), plus 40 million (TV), plus hopefully 20 million from CL, plus the Foreign regional sponsors, another 20 million in wages cleared (Squillaci, Johan, Denilson, Arshavin, TGSTEL, Sagna, Chamakh, Insert failed players name here) and the resigning of pretty much our entire first team for the next 3-4 years, (podolski, giroud, wolcott, wilshire, ramsey, ox, koscielny, mert, gibbs, cazorla, arteta, and vermalean) I have never felt more confident going into a summer, that we will be fighting for honors next year!

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    • re-signing*

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    • I don’t think it’s fair to lump Sagna into the same group of players as you mention. He gives 100% every time he plays. Perhaps his performances have been lacking as of late, but recovering from having his leg broken twice takes time.

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  14. At least, surely one summer in a long while a pivotal star won’t be leaving. But one to consolidate with and for once record plusses, and no strong minusses.

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  15. Ironically the average WhoScored-com rating of Cazorla is 8.01 as AML and 7.63 as AMC. I guess you could make the argument Cazorla is better as a “winger”.

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  16. Santi Cazorla, Arsenal Player of the season, simple as that!

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  17. An all around great performance, even though Tomas and Mikel were a bit more subdued they did their job and carried on and were still essential to the team.

    And can I also say we’ve waited all season for Rambo’s first EPL goal. He’s had really good shots blocked, and he’s also missed some sitters. For someone who’s had issues with his finishing, that was a mighty good finish and a sublime goal to get back on the scoresheet. Let’s hope this is the floodgates opening for next season.

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  18. Santi was excellent, Walcott was excellent, Ramsey was excellent, etc… I really think that Gibbs hasn’t got nearly enough credit for his performance yesterday though- he was simply sublime for most of the game, keeping McManaman quiet, and providing a strong attacking threat as well. Almost got a goal himself, but couldn’t quite stretch out far enough. One of his best performances of the season!

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  19. I know this is off topic but I found this today and wanted to share. This case as well as the Van Persie incident against Manchester United really show Sagna’s class and love for Arsenal. I hope he doesn’t leave.


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    • Haha… Good on you Sagna… didn’t even acknowledge Adebayor… Funny though that Ade though about it then didn’t even bother with Walcott.

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  20. Will be sad if kosc, Theo and Santi don’t make d team of the week

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