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

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.

arteta-defense

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.

7am

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

¹Led all players
²Led just his team

56 COMMENTS

    • Shit is such a harsh word.. I would use mediocre.

      Yes we looked a bit impotent in front of goal. As much as love Poildi he has not lived up to expectations so far while playing in the striker role. I think AW should put him back on the left and play Theo up front with the Ox on the right for the final game before Giroud returns.

      But a win is a win and I am happy to see the team grind out gritty 1-0 victories

      Thumb up 36 Thumb down 1

      • I think the answer is Gervinho upfront.

        And yes, it’s a funny world when anyone even utters that sentence.

        Thumb up 53 Thumb down 1

        • I’d say Walcott central Gervinho right. Walcott on the right flank is frustating for me. He was rarely available to Sagna. The one who made himself available to Sagna was only Ramsey on that match, and Sagna was the one who got most of the ball when we’re playing on the right. Gervinho always picks up the ball, and always around, should be on the right flank for me.

          Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2

        • The obvious gag is that if Gervinho is the answer, then it is a fucking stupid question. — More seriously, I’m not really sure he’d do any better than the other two options. and flags up our lack of specialist strikers right now.

          The really funny thing is, take him away and we see what Giroud has been doing for us all season.

          Today we had Poldi coming deep, Theo drifting in and out of the box, and no one hassling the defenders.

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        • Koscielny attributed his improved second season to some strength training that alowed him to win the ball in physical duels and to hold off the enemy forwards. I think gervinho needs the same. Apart from that, a good run in the forward position ( in cup games) could give him the confidence and show that he can be a good finisher.

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        • Podolski is involving too much in the build up play instead of finding space upfront. That is the difference between him and RVP

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    • Well all of us have seen the performance.. We know it was nowhere near the best performance but 3 points we needed and 3 points we got.. Did u much rather have a dazzling performance and a loss at the end of it ??
      The only regret is that Bale scored for Spu*s out of nowhere at 85 minutes, i was heartbroken.. Thanks to the Arsenal boys for putting the pieces back again.. :)
      Up the Gooners :)

      Thumb up 43 Thumb down 0

    • 1 Tackle by Monreal that would have looked good at Twickenham.Didnt like it but that’s life and we won.Move on to Wigan match

      Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

    • I’m sure you would have preferred a team that scored in the last minute rather than the first — those teams you’d never call that word — United, Chelsea, Spurs, etc.

      Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • Was it really a shit win? Sure Arsenal are known for their offense but we really kept the ball going (literally) and we were looking aggressive on the counter, all the while maintaining yet another clean sheet. Without Giroud’s aerial prowess in the final third it’s really easy to see where he fits in the offensive part of the team. We’re maintaining the same stats without our main striker for the last two teams. How is that shit? and Walcott’s goal today was about as ruthless as we were asking them to be, especially considering it came off the “lump the ball after kickoff at the defending left back” strategy that people have been labeling shit.

      I dunno, today, we detoothed QPR and managed to remain offensive despite our key link in the final third not being in the game. As good as it gets for me…

      Thumb up 63 Thumb down 1

    • …uh, because if that’s all we had to say on the matter, these forums would be dull indeed. We come here to chat about the performance. Sadly, most people here think only two responses count: 1) we are amazing, and 2) 3 points is 3 points. Yeah…and?

      I don’t mind saying that we looked toothless in attack, and that was against one of the more useless defences in the league. This should be a warning to the team, because against a Wigan side desperate to stay up, we won’t get away with it.

      I say this while at the same being being delighted with the 3 points!

      Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6

  1. Happy with defensive improvement, sorry but not surprised it seems to have happened at the expense of attack. One of the problems we have is that there are so few players (maybe 1?) with the control and quickness of thought to make a counterattack effective. So we win the ball, what next? Very little, it seems.

    If QPR had been switched on from the beginning, we would have drawn that game. There was only one really clear cut chance from us for the entire remaining 92.5 minutes.

    Thumb up 10 Thumb down 18

    • If green hadn’t saved three of Theo’s shoots we would have scored 4 but hay he did and QPR were not switched on that’s football a win is a win let’s just move on.

      Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  2. Don’t care if we played shit or not..
    Two wins in our last two games and I’ll let you all shag Ballotelli’s girlfriend….

    Thumb up 49 Thumb down 1

  3. Rosickys interceptions is huge. That is the part of his game alot of people dont see. But what a difference he makes to our pressing game without the ball.
    Well done to the run in king, like gunnerblog said earlier in the season, rosicky is alot like wigan, come february he springs to life.

    Thumb up 45 Thumb down 1

  4. Its was a really poor performance but some say the 3 points that matter and at this point i tend to agree. Though qpr should have gotten a draw in this one just that they’re too shit to take their chances. We also have the tendency of making shit teams look absolutely world class. It’s abit depressing. Anyway i’m off to bed an ecstatic gooner, cursing the monkey boys heroics at the same time.

    Skunk owes us 1 today evening…..

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  5. 7am you are not a psycho. I also was laid back in the final quarter of the match when the team decided to soak up pressure. The only threat was Townsend on the left and our central defenders helped out Monreal whenever he was in trouble. the last couple of shut outs have been less nervy than say the West Brom one or the Sunderland one.

    Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  6. Andy townsend is a really good player makes it so hard to defend against him coz you never know what he’s gonna do next. Speed past you??, dribble??, shoot?? you just are never sure. Why can’t some of our players be like him and just play for the moment, be spontaeous; don’t be so ‘routine’ ====== (with the tiktaka passes, no shots from distance) it helps to be adventurous and it most of the time gets you the best of goals!!!!!!

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  7. Also noticed and not for the first time, that gareth bale looks particularly similar to a certain member from the ape family. What’s he doing in the stadiums??

    Ps. I might be a tad pissed off that he fucken scored again, explains all that.

    Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    • I don’t care if he scored to be honest. When we finish above them, they won’t have an excuse and they absolutely cannot deny that they would be mid-table without him.

      Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  8. There are many times this season when iv been negative on this blog but now isnt the time to be negative especially when we have just put in a bad peformance and won anyway.

    Man U do this all the time they grind out results thats why their champions.

    So for me good 3 points and whats interesting is in the space of 5 days Chelsea will play Man U away and Tottenham at home.

    Im actually worried for chelsea personally more than the Spuds.

    Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  9. It’s clear that Koscielny and Mertesacker is our best partnership. I still think Vermaelen is a good player, he is commited and I want him to stay. Not a bad option at all for a 3rd choice CB. Bayern can fuck off, Barca can fuck off,
    and PSG can fuck off.
    This HAS to be the summer where we keep all our main players.

    Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  10. When Man Utd win ugly it’s the sign of champions. When we do it, we are crap?! At this stage of the season those 3 points are all that matter. I’d much rather we win like this than play well and draw or lose.

    We won today. 1 step closer to a top 4 finish. It’s something to be happy about. If we get 2 more ugly 1-0 wins I won’t be complaining.

    Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  11. It’s unfair to put basically all the blame on Vermaelen for our poor form prior to him being dropped. Yes, the defence has been better without him but it’s the team as a whole that has improved. The stats may tell a tale but they don’t tell the whole story.

    Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

    • Just an FYI I was very clear: “What it looks like to me is that Arsenal are relying heavily on a much improved team defense to grind out results.”

      Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  12. Its really looking like the two best things to come out of this season are the two partnerships that have been formed in Koscielny/Mertasacker and Arteta/Ramsey. Really happy for this as I rate all four highly.

    Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  13. Fascinating analysis. Lots to say but I believe the most significant, not to mention satisfying fact is that we have taken what, 22 points from 27 (could well be slightly different, if so someone please feel free to correct me). What has pleased me so much is that on the pitch we are actually starting to see signs of a response from the manager/team/club to some of our issues (team selection, tactics, work ethic) not just the same old ‘fingers in ears, eyes closed, la la la everything’s fine’ reaction which has caused so much frustration in recent years. I really hope this apparent “attitude adjustment” is adopted in the close season transfer market both in terms of players out (cut losses to ship out poor performers and make a stand to retain quality) and players in (less brinkmanship, more decisive closure, the ‘anti-Mata’ approach if you will).

    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  14. It now looks like Arsenal just need to look for backup in defense position and put their priority in buying two strikers in the summer transfer window which is quite different from what people are shouting for in the first half of the season. Koscielny,Mert and Arteta are especially reliable and consistent in the second half of the season, if not the whole season. Competition is what proved to be crucial for gks, you can see we have two keepers that is quite good after Wenger decided to drop Szcz for a few games.
    By the way I would choose to Walcott in central position, Gervinho at left and the Ox at the right in the next game.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • I think those four and Ramsey have been our most solid and consistent performers during the second half of the season. Definitely agree on a back up defender and a real killer striker, the latter we need, BAD. Still not 100% sold on the pure and out DM, but perhaps a more physical midfielder is needed but is not top priority for me.

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  15. 3 good points that’s all that matters. This football reminds me of The Arsenal circa 1993, makes me realise how spoilt we have become.

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  16. Itz obvious Giroud is our most imposing centre forward but he lacks d veri top quality a great team like Arsenal needs. His presence up front is veri imposing no doubt, he’s very stong n well balanced wit d stamina of an ideal athlete, plays a veri gud role in d build up play n his biggest assets r his aerial ability n gifted/lethal left foot. Unfortunately, dis guy lacks d most important attributes a striker in d Premier League playing 4 a top side like Arsenal needs – Ruthlessness, Technical n Creative Skills, Speed n Accuracy, Championship n Leadership qualities. I regard d leader of d team’s attack as d hope n source of confidence n insiration of d team. Remember d role RvP played last seasn 4 us n dis seasn 4 United, Ronaldo in United n Madrid, Messi in Barca, Gomez/Mandzukic in Bayern, Lewandowski in Dortmund, Cavani in Napoli, Di-Natale 4 Udinise, Falcao 4 Atletico, Wilfried Bony 4 Vitesse Arnhem, Drogba 4 d Old Chelsea, Jackson Martinez 4 Porto n most evidently our very own King Henry of old -u kno d rest of d story. Podolski must accept d clear truth dat he’s not an out n out striker. He’s a no-nonsense finisher no doubt but one dat is best at scoring loose balls n clear through balls as well as dead balls. His accuracy, creativity, ruthlessness n speed is plausible but his presence, imposition n positioning in d opponent’s box is poor making it difficult 4 him 2 challenge n beat defenders n find d net. He best performs from d left flank n there he must continue 2 play n support d attack wit his crosses, speed n finishing of all through balls 2 d left frm d mid-field. Walcott is suppose 2 b our best bait bt his size, weight, strength n technicality (bribbling n creativity skills) is quite disappointing n awful. His greatest strength of course is his pace n accuracy in finishing in d final third. Gervinho is nt evn an option 2 me. He’s frustrating, annoying n just a show man. Cn’t evn score a tap-in, wants 2 shyn @ d expense of d team n in d end, he gets dispossessed cheaply or he does sumtin stupid wit d ball afta watz suppose 2 b an exciting display. 4 me, he lacks evrithing as a striker. D solution 2 our attack’s non-prolificity lies in any one of dis strikers below: Lewandowski, Jovetic, Di-natale, Mario Gomez or Mandzukic, Wilfried Bony, Yilmaz, Suarez, Benteke, Cavani, Falcao, Jackson Martinez, Villa(Partially), Ronaldo or Messi. Any 1 of dem above will b a great addition 2 our attack (at least they’re all better dan Giroud). COYG!!!

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 16

  17. I remember reading that last season cazorla had scored the most goals from outside the box (or was at least in the top 5). I wish he would take a few more shots each game just keep the defence guessing.

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  18. There can never be a time in my life where i can be calm when the opposition have the ball in the final third. Not even after this improved defense.

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