QPR 0-1 Arsenal, defensive stalwarts? By the Numbers


582 – Passes made by Arsenal today v. QPR
7 – Shots on goal by Arsenal today
83 – Passes per shot on goal by Arsenal today
256 – Passes per shot on goal by Arsenal against Fulham (1-0 win)
254 – Passes per shot on goal by Arsenal against Everton (0-0 draw)
3 – Number of shots Arsenal took in the first 30 minutes (2 on goal, 1 goal)
0 – Number of shots Arsenal took in the next 30 minutes
9 – Number of shots Arsenal took in the last 30 minutes (5 on target)
173 – Passes by Arsenal in the final 30 minutes today
35 – Passes per shots on goal by Arsenal in the final 30 minutes today against QPR
409 – Passes by Arsenal in the first 60 minutes today
205 – Passes per shot on goal by Arsenal in the first 60 minutes
666 – The number of times I’ve now heard the phrase “STERILE DOMINATION”
5 – Shots by Theo Walcott today¹
4 – Shots on goal by Theo Walcott today¹
3 – Shots by Loic Remy today
1 – Shots by Loic Remy which were palmed away by Szczesny
2 – Defensive aerial duels Arsenal lost
2 – Defensive aerial duels Koscielny lost
8 – Offensive aerial duels Arsenal lost
7 – Aerial duels Podolski lost (of 12)²
11 – Aerial duels Bobby Zamora lost¹
94 – Passes attempted by Ramsey¹
18 – Number of those passes that were exchanged with Sagna¹
52 – Passes by Ramsey that were forward¹
46 – Passes attempted by Ramsey in the QPR final third¹
3 – Chances created by Ramsey¹ (Tied with Park and Jenas)
5 – Successful dribbles by Andros Townsend¹
3 – Successful dribbles by Ramsey²
2 – “Shots” by Ramsey

Defensive stalwarts, Arsenal?

Today was one of the best team defensive efforts Arsenal have put in all season and the contributions were from all over the pitch. Arteta led all players with 5/6 tackles (Clint Hill tied him) and was second with 6 interceptions (again, matched by Clint Hill) — on the season, Arteta averages 3.3 tackles per game and 3 interceptions so he doubled his effort today to help keep the clean sheet. As you can see from his defensive dashboard, he was quite active and important as the shield in the midfield.


But he got help from others, Cazorla completed 3 tackles (of 6 attempted), Podolski had 2 tackles (of 2), and Rosicky and Ramsey both made a good tackle. Even Walcott, who was often drifting alone up front made an interception deep in the Arsenal half.

With Arteta acting as the shield Ramsey and Rosicky were free to press high up the pitch. Rosicky topped all players with 7 interceptions, 4 in the opposition half. Ramsey had 4 interceptions too, two in each area of the pitch (he also blocked a shot which is rare for him).

Arsenal also won 21/31 aerial duels today and as I mention above, most of the duels we won were defensive (only lost 2) and most of the duels we lost were on the offensive end.

Not sure if the injury he’s supposedly carrying is limiting Podolski but over the last two games he’s 5/17 aerially and that includes the 0/5 against United. The defenders, however, were excellent. Koscielny lost just the two and combined with Mertesacker to win 10/12 aerials. Against Bobby Zamora that’s no small feat (PUN INTENDED).

The one place Arsenal continue to struggle is in clearing the ball. Koscielny and Mertesacker were 5/13 clearing the ball. 50% clearance rate is acceptable, anything below that makes the casual observer think the team is under a lot of pressure (which they are!).

What it looks like to me is that Arsenal are relying heavily on a much improved team defense to grind out results. Which is driving some of you crazy but it doesn’t bother me at all. I don’t think that this defense is anywhere near what the Tony Adams led Arsenal defense was at its peak but there’s no denying that there is something very different about this team this year over last year. Something which has become even more apparent since Vermaelen was dropped. Have a gander at these 8 game bands:

8 – League games Arsenal have played since Thomas Vermaelen was dropped from the starting lineup after the double-dumbass against Sp*rs
4 – Goals Arsenal have allowed in those 8 games (0.5 goals per game)
82 – Shots Arsenal faced in those 8 games (10 per game)
5 – Percent of the opposition’s shots that are scoring goals in that 8 game run
10 – Goals Arsenal allowed in the 8 League games prior to Vermaelen being dropped
96 – Shots Arsenal faced in those 8 games
10 – Percent of opposition’s shots that were scoring goals during that run
9 – Goals allowed in the previous-previous 8 games set
88 – Shots they faced
10 – Percent of shots that the opposition converted into goals
14 – Goals Arsenal have scored in the 8 games since Vermaelen was dropped
120 – Shots Arsenal have taken in that time
12 – Percent of their shots they are converting
13 – Goals Arsenal scored in the previous 8 games
143 – Shots Arsenal took in that period
9 – Percent of their shots they converted
17 – Goals Arsenal scored in the previous-previous 8 game tranche
111 – Shots in that period
15 – Percent of conversion in that time
0 – Losses by Arsenal since Vermaelen was dropped
2.5 – Points per game by Arsenal since Vermaelen was dropped
1 – Ranking on the form table in the last 8 games

I don’t know what’s going on, call it the Bould effect if you must, but there is something different about this team this year.  It’s too soon to call it a sea-change but unlike everyone else (it seems) I’m calm at the end of these games these days. Maybe I’m just a psycho? I don’t know but I feel a lot less nervous now than at any time watching Arsenal.


(All data via Opta, ESPN, or my personal databases)

¹Led all players
²Led just his team

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